Kashmir Sentinel Editorial and Staff mourns the death of Sh. J.N. Raina,
Sh. Raina contributed regularly to Kashmir Sentinel right from its inception.
As a tribute to this professional journalist of unsullied integrity, we are
publishing an article written by Sh. Sham Kaul (eminent journalist) in memory
as a tribute to Lt. Sh. J.N. Raina. –Editor
By Shyam Kaul
All his life, manor part of which he spent as a professional journalist of
unsullied integrity, J.N. Raina studiously preserved the ethical standards of
his vocation. He was never once proved wrong in his life, nor so in his death
which came to him on the intervening night of October 22-23, In Pune, where he
lived with his family since 1990.
Hours before he passed away, JN had made a telephone call to a journalist
colleague in Jammu, Ashok Pehelwan, and had told him in an ailing voice to
give his last ‘Namaskar’ to all friends here, and convey to them his
‘final adieu’. He keep his word by departing only a few hours later.
For well over three decades, JN served as the chief of Srinagar bureau of
leading national news agency, UNI, before moving over to Mumbai office of the
agency in the wake of the eruption of militant violence in Kashmir.
The two of us, pestered by threatening phone calls and other intimidatory
ways, were the last non-Muslim journalists to leave Srinagar when our fellow
city journalists advised and insisted that we should do so for the sake of our
security and safety.
Before that, the Governor, Mr. Jagmohan, had suggested that we should shift
to Tourist Reception Centre complex, a safer place, and operate from there.
But it was not feasible, simply because we would not be able to do justice to
our work, closeted all the time in a room.
During his prolonged posting in Srinagar, his office near Central Telegraph
office, was JN’s temple where he spent all his time, wholly dedicated to his
work, sometimes late into nights. The outcome of the toil of his pen was there
for the readers to see and relish the quality, accuracy, authenticity and
excellence of his despatches, day after day.
JN was a man of few words, a soft-spoken person, and normally talked only
when talked to. He rarely mingled with his tribe in their occasional gala
get-together and merry bases. Interestingly, however JN had a subtle sense of
humour and could sometimes entertain others with his quips and cracks, when he
opened up. One recalls a professional tour of a group of media persons to
Bihar and West Bengal several years ago. As we went around visiting places, it
was a revelation to us to see JN enlivening the ambience with his pithy
comments and observations. While going round the zoo in Kolkata, we saw a
tiger, fully stretched, sleeping peacefully in his cage. Pointing to the
animal, JN quipped, “He should have been working for a news agency to know
the price he would have to pay for sleeping so deeply and unmindfully during
the rush hours of the broad day.”
Despite his comparative aloofness and distance from his fellow journalists,
JN was highly respected by everyone in the profession. It was not uncommon for
his colleagues to often seek last minutes confirmation from his the
credibility of some sensitive new reports and stories, which, at one time in
early days of militancy, were a plenty in Jammu and Kashmir. JN would never
fail to respond and oblige. In fact we would often say, “Ask Raina Saheb, if
the story is factual and if he has done it.”
A gentleman journalist in the manner and nature of veterans like R.K. Kak
and Mohammed Sayeed Malik, who are held in high esteem by the fraternity, JN
was a fine gentleman too, bearing malice towards none, and never doing any
working to anyone. Those who came close to him were struck by his simplicity,
decency and humility, and, of course, his dedication to work and his
By virtue of his standing in the professional as chief of bureau of a
national news agency, JN did have a latent clout, but being essentially a self
effacing person, he never threw about his weight, and never sought or asked
for any favours and concessions from the establishment. His primary concern
was his work and duty and he did proud to the agency and people he worked for,
earning their acclaim and appreciation, as also of the entire media community
of this state.
Honesty and humility were quintessentially the cardinal attributes that
thoroughly permeated JN’s persona. As a man, a media person, an associate, a
friend, a conscientious professional, a social being, and a householder,
honesty and humility stood out in all his actions, workings and dealings. And
it has been said, “An honest man is the noblest work of God.”