Indian journalism woke up to disappointing news this morning with the passing away of G Kasturi. Kasturi is remembered as the former editor of The Hindu and former managing director of Kasturi & Sons.
The longest serving editor of The Hindu till date, he lived to see the 134th anniversary of the founding of the newspaper that was celebrated just a day before his death.
Described as a visionary and moderniser, he led the phase of rapid technological transformation at The Hindu and left his legacy on multiple aspects of editorial up gradation.
Noted columnist Ayaz Memon says, "G Kasturi stands as a titan among Indian editors. In many ways, he gave The Hindu the gravitas and credibility which makes the newspaper perhaps the most respected in the country. He was also progressive in his outlook as a publisher, and the Hindu was amongst the first to modernise, setting the benchmark for others to follow. Where sports is concerned, The Hindu was for several decades head and shoulders above all other newspapers because of the importance given to it by G Kasturi and followed by subsequent editors."
After acquiring a Masters degree in economics from Presidency College in Chennai, Kasturi joined The Hindu in 1944 and rose up the ranks, being trained in all aspects of newspaper production and publication under the aegis of his uncle, the late Kasturi Srinivasan. He became the joint editor and eventually took over the reigns as the editor in 1965. He retired in 1991, and was succeeded by N Ravi.
Post retirement, Kasturi maintained an active interest in the affairs of the newspaper, particularly on the technical side, a virtue he championed.
He gained expertise with the aspects of the printing industry travelling across the world and choosing equipment, systems and processes best suited to the newspaper, informs The Hindu. Kasturi introduced a full page facsimile transmission system for printing for the first time in India in 1969 and introduced computer-aided photocomposing in 1980 to the Hindu. He adopted the use of satellite transponders for facsimile transmission of pages when The Hindu launched its Delhi edition in 1986.
Kasturi was associated with leading industry bodies such as the Press Trust of India (PTI) and the Indian Newspapers Society (INS). He was the chairman of Samachar, when the news agencies came under one umbrella.
The second son of late K Gopalan, publisher of The Hindu, Kasturi is survived by his wife, two sons - K Balaji, former managing director of Kasturi & Sons and K Venugopal, director and former joint editor of The Hindu and Business Line - and daughter Lakshmi Srinath, who, along with her brothers, is a director at Kasturi & Sons.
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