Journalist Upendra Prasad dies at 61

NEW DELHI : Senior journalist Upendra Prasad, who had made a sort of history in Hindi journalism in 1990s by writing on socio-economic issues that influenced both the society in the Hindi speaking belt and the politics in transition at that time, passed away at 61 on Friday, after a cardiac arrest. He is survived by his wife Manjula Prasad and a daughter Kriti.

In 1990s, the era of economic reform with political transition with social justice as the major theme. Socio-economic issues had come in the forefront of journalism, but there was a dearth of economic journalists in Hindi newspapers and magazines, which were generally publishing the economic pieces after translating them from English. Upendra Prasad had just passed out from Delhi School of Economics and pursuing further studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University. He had started writing economic issues. for Navabharat Times. Later he was appointed as an Assistant Editor.

It was a sort of history, for such a special appointment for economic writing in Hindi was unheard of in Hindi journalism though some of the other bigger newspapers did have some writers to write in Hindi on economic issues. That was the year 1990. Mandal Commission’s recommendations were implemented the same year by the then Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh, which influenced the entire socio-political scenario of the country. Moreover, the economic liberalization was initiated in 1991 by Dr Manmohan Singh as finance Minister under PM Narsimha Rao. The socio-political and economic environment of the country was ridden with a particular sensation and uncertainty. During that time Upendra wrote brilliant pieces  on socio-political and economic issues.

He supported reservation, but opposed the creamy layer, and advocated rethinking on the entire reservation policies since it has failed to bring several most backward castes and maha-Dalit communities into the mainstream. His stance has attracted many political leaders batting for social justice, like Lalu Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav, and Mulayam Singh Yadav etc towards him.
Upendra was also against disintegration of Bihar. Carving out Jharkhand from Bihar was a mistake, he used to say, but then he also opined with great sadness that leadership in Bihar had not been treating Jharkhndis well, which resulted in bifurcation of the state. He was for some sort of stronger alliance of Bihar and Jharkhand, to overcome the miseries of both the states. This stance has attracted several politicians from Jharkhand, such as former JMM leader Suraj Mandal. He wrote very hard-hitting commentaries on socio-economic disparities and contradictions for which the mainstream Hindi journalism would remember him.
After quitting NBT he joined IPA in the capacity of editor of its Hindi service “SAMVAD” in 2008 and continued  until his death. He was born in Barh District in Bihar . (IPA Service)


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