Timeless Personality of Romesh Chandra
The year was 1942 when winds of the call for August Kranti- Quit India movement by Mahatma-Gandhi reached the soul of every Indian. Faraway in the city of Lahore a young student Romesh Chandra was roused enough to join in promptly, following the footsteps of his father Lala Jagat Narain ji who already actively participated in the freedom struggle. Going back to the time of being a colleague of Lala Lajpat Rai popularly known as the Lion of Punjab-‘Punjab Kesari’ and carrying his torch forward after him being killed with Lathi– blows! Jagat Narainji, too, had joined the Non-cooperation Movement way back in 1920; on Gandhi’s call!
Young Romesh’s Satyagraha journey commenced one day when this student of Bachelor of Sciences from DAV College Lahore led a Morcha of the students on cycles as part of the Quit India movement and was subsequently arrested. He was arrested and jailed several times during freedom movement working in co-ordination with his father Lala Jagat Narainji.
As a young Satyagrahi he attended the Shimla conference at the Viceregal Lodge in the 1945 meeting stalwarts like Dr Rajinder Prasad, Maulana Azad, Sardar Patel, C. Rajagopalachari, Abul Kalam Azad and many more.
Post partition days
Facing the travails of one of the biggest genocide of the world- the partition of the Indian sub-continent, Romesh Chandraji’s family migrated to Jullundhar in 1947 and soon after started publishing the Urdu daily- Hind Samachar in 1948. Constantly struggling against odds; the Hindi edition of the newspaper- Punjab Kesri was added in 1965 with Romeshji as the Editor. A decade earlier in the year 1955 Romeshji had been elected as a well-loved, youngest Municipal-councilor offering honest selfless service! Years later in 1975, he was elected as an Independent Member of Legislative Assembly from Jullundhar-North by defeating a long time serving MLA.
He became the Director of PTI- Press Trust of India in June 1981 and had been Executive member of INS–Indian Newspaper Society since the year1973. He was a renowned politician who actively advocated freedom of ‘press and pen’. He was decorated with Tambra-Patra for Freedom struggle by Prime-Minister Indira Gandhi and received several Printing- awards for Punjab Kesri (Hindi) and Hind Samachar (Urdu) newspapers, especially the prestigious Excellence in Printing Award from the President late Fakru-din-Ahmed.
He became the Publicity- Secretary of Baba Harivallabh Sangeet Sammelan in 1972.It is a traditional Hindustani classical music festival organized every year since the year 1875!
Back in time in 1952 when the first Cabinet was formed Lala Jagat Narainji, his father, became the Education, Health & Transport minister of Greater-Punjab (present states of Punjab, Haryana, & Himachal Pradesh) and schedules got so hectic that Romeshji initiated writing the Editorials with the belief that they should reflect the freedom of ‘Kalam’ – the Pen. Soft spoken Romeshji often penned ‘polite’ disparaging thoughts against the government but later clarified that they were only debates and the onus to report them fell on him as they were not personal attacks on any party or people in particular!!
Pen ran Dry
During the dark phase of Punjab he established the legendary Shaheed Parivar Fund for the terrorist victims in 1983 which till date has made a collection and distribution of crores of rupees. Romesh Chandra ji who looked upon Bhagvad Geeta for spiritual guidance and was a true Karma Yogi. He laid his life for the unity and integrity of the country when he was assassinated by terrorists on 12th May 1984 for his fearless writings and it indeed ironical that in the ‘last meeting of his life’ at Hansraj stadium, he addressed communal harmony!
His brother Padamshree Vijay Chopraji, present Editor-in -Chief resumed where he left to pursue the goals further; reaching newer pinnacles and summits.
Music and Sports
Romesh ji strongly advocated the contribution of the youth of our country that they could make towards the Nation and always encouraged all kinds of events through the columns of his newspapers. Besides courageous writing in his editorials he was deeply interested in Music and Sports ,as well. He travelled all over India and the world interacting with individuals that greatly influenced his articles. He was frequently important part of government delegations and his companion would often be his wife Mrs Sudershan Chopra; an accomplished and dedicated social worker.
RCMS-Romesh Chandra Memorial Society
Creating a timeless trail for his father’s timeless personality; Romesh ji’s younger son Arvind Chopra and grandson Abhishek Chopra have instituted RCMS- Romesh Chandra Memorial Society to promote the Educational, Cultural & Sports activities in the revered memory of late– Romeshji, the former Chief-editor of the Hind Samachar Group of newspapers (Publishers of Punjab Kesari, Jag Bani and Hind Samachar). Romeshji was a renowned calm-personality, duty-bound politician and a true Gandhian!
At present the RCMS- Romesh Chander Memorial Society holds national stature events or makes contributions on the 24thDecember, his birth anniversary and12th May, his death anniversary; keeping his likeness to welfare, music and sports – At Harivallabh Sangeet Sammelan, sponsoring Educational programs, supporting Saksham Society for Visually Impaired , organizing Hockey-tournaments, national-theatre events, Bhajan- Sufi evenings & Free distribution of food.