33 YEARS IN HERALD 46 IN GOA

I have mixed feelings on the 33rd Anniversary of the Herald. A newspaper which I created at least in its present Avatar. Before I launched the Herald on October 10th 1983 it was a Portuguese paper with very limited circulation. My mandate was to convert the almost century old Portuguese paper into a fully fledged English newspaper. There was only one English newspaper in Goa in 1983 which was the Navhind Times. The Navhind Times was a pro-government paper which catered to the majority community. My research revealed that 70 to 80 % of readers who bought an English paper in Goa were Catholics. The Hindus bought Marathi papers. I positioned Herald as the anti-establishment, minority community newspaper of Goa. Besides tapping a virgin market, it was also good for cash flow as the paper started earning some income from death ads. Incidentally large death ads are placed in the newspapers in Goa to announce that a person was dead and all the heirs could come and claim their share of the property of the dear departed under the uniform civil court.
When I arrived in Goa on October 1st to start the Herald there was no staff. There were not tele-printer which used to bring news from the Nationals agencies. There were not even type writers. The only experienced staff was the news editor Vydianathan whom I brought with me from Bombay. We were also lucky to be able to get a very enthusiastic and committed Chief Reporter, who was a young Goan lady by the name of Devika Sequiera. Since Goa had only one newspaper and no journalism school we had to pick up students from the Dempe College who were hanging out on the Miramar beach and hire them. The Herald became the biggest journalism school in Goa. Looking back I am happy to note that many of the senior most journalist in Goa including the present news editor of the Times of India and the Editor of the Goan are graduates of the Herald training school. More interestingly former Herald staff still comprise the bulk of the staff of newspapers not only in the Gulf but even in Hong-Kong with one of them now working in China.
I am happy that the Herald is celebrating its 33rd anniversary. The 10th of October also makes me sad because it was on the 20th anniversary in 2003 that I submitted my resignation to the Present owner of the Herald, Raul Fernandes at the Mass held to mark the occasion. I enjoyed myself in Herald as long as the Patriach Antonio Cateano Fernandes was alive. He was simple man who besides running a stationary shop called Cassa JD Fernandes at the Municipal garden was also involved in binding and printing. He bought the Herald title in Portuguese because he wanted prestige. He was not interested in power and was committed to the freedom of the press. This was dramatised when he told the then Chief Minister Pratap Singh Rane that he had no business to tell him to sack me for writing a story on his wife getting the Director of the Kala Academy Damu Kenkre sacked even though it meant risking the economic viability of the paper. His only editorial direction to me was to serve the people of Goa.
The son Raul Fernandes who inherited the Herald in sharp contrast was only interested in making money. He sold the soul of Herald to politicians. He got land in the Verna Industrial Estate for putting up a printing press and even a plot in the Patto Commercial Complex from Luzino Falerio and Alex Sequiera who were both members of the Congress cabinet. In return he promised that nothing critical would appear against them. The note that he issued to me about people who cannot be attacked in the Herald was headed by Luzino Falerio and Alex Sequiera.
The last straw which broke my back was his attitude to the BJP and Manohar Parrikar. When the Herald carried a story on Manohar Parrikar Patronising unhygienic ghados near Arlanker Cinema when there was a Jaundice Epidemic in Goa, he told the staff not to carry any articles by my better three quarters Tara Narayan. The greatest betrayal was when Manohar Parrikar the Chief Minister sent a legal notice to the Editors and publishers of every newspaper in Goa. The provocation was a charge by the then opposition leader, Luzino Falerio that Manohar Parrikar had extended special treatment to his brother-in-law Rayu Sankhwalkar for a loan taken by his company Symchem from the Economic Development Corporation. Raul Fernandes would not even publish a news item on the absurd demand of the then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar that we should not carry any statement by the leader of the opposition. There is no parallel to Parrikar’s legal notice in the history of Indian Journalism. Raul wanted to keep Parrikar happy because he wanted a Casino licence.
It was out of disgust over the betrayal of the principles of his father A.C Fernandes and his misuse and abuse of the Herald which I had build with my blood sweat and tears that I quit the Herald. Raul Fernandes was so mean spirited that he used to pay me a salary of only Rs 10,000 a month all inclusive. I had no transport and used to travel home to Dona Paula on the pillion of my PSOs bike. When I got beaten up for forcing a politician to quit over molesting his employee. Raul did not paid any of my medical bills which ran into several lakhs of rupees. When I resigned after twenty years and establishing the Herald as the leading newspaper of Goa all that I got for my 20 years of sacrifice was less than rupees one lakh as gratuity. Never mind that Raul has earned hundreds of Crores by misusing and abusing his position as the owner of the Herald. The latest instance being the sting operation conducted by the Director of Pride casino which showed the Herald Advertising manger demanding huge amounts for not writing hostile articles against the Casinos.
I am happy that Herald has survived for 33 years. I am sad that it is no longer a paper with any principles or commitment to the people of Goa. At least the Times of India does not make any secret of the fact that it solicits paid news. What angers me about Herald is the hypocrisy. I failed to understand why successive government have not taken action against the Herald cable TV channels for illegally running lotteries. I am happy that I am no longer associated with Herald though I feel nostalgic about my first 10 years in the Herald. When we faced so many challenges including covering the common wealth heads of government retreat where we had to keep track of 52 heads of state and government unlike BRICS which will only host five heads of state.
I am still alive even though I may not exist in the social network and I hope that all Goans particularly business houses and all sections of the Goan community who have benefited from Konkani being made the official language and Goa achieving statehood will support Goan Observer which will complete its 13th anniversary in November. It is Goan Observer which represents the real legacy of the Herald. The 33rd anniversary of the Herald marks my 46th years in journalism in Goa.

2 thoughts on “33 YEARS IN HERALD 46 IN GOA”

  1. We all know Rajan narayan’s “philosophy” and we also know he us a communally minded individual. Newspapers are supposed to cater to the truth and absolute truth. But Narayan claims, “I positioned Herald as the anti-establishment, minority community newspaper of Goa.”.
    This means he is responsible for making Hera.d a mouthpiece of the Catholic community. No wonder Herald was always ridiculed as being the altar boy of Bishop’s Palace.

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