Friday, June 18, 2010


P. E. Shankar was a Journalist per excellence working in Guwhati in early Fifties during the last century. When he landed in Guwhati to take charge of Reuter-PTI combined office of the News agency it was Lion Heart visionary of Assam RadhaGobinda Baruah requested his Assistant Editor of Assam Tribune to help him settling down in the town. Satish Chandra kakoti was the Assistant Editors then who received him at Gauhati on his arrival and helped him not only to settle down but to feel the pulse of Northeast and its culture. Both became great friends and their friendship lasted till Kakoti’s demise. Both the family maintained the family relations till today. Shankar died on 17th June 2010 at Chennai at the ripe old age of Ninty, leaving his two daughters and a son.

Shankar brought in the concept of News agency reporting into Assam . Assam Tribune and Natun Asomiya became one of the earliest customers of the Reuter- PTI combined. In early fifty the relationship between Reuter and PTI has broken down and PTI took over the entire operation in India. It is Shankar who presided over the smooth transfer news agency operation in Northeast.

“In September 1952, PTI ended the news-sharing arrangement. Reuters was suddenly left with just two correspondents and half a dozen stringers in India. Its heydays in this country were seemingly over”., according Naresh Rajkhowa who was journalist of Assam Tribune then.

Shankar was the Head of the newly formed PTI Bureax at Guwhati and tought the importance of “Objective Reporting” in modern India. Shankar became a wellkown face of Journalism in Assam. He took an office in M.C. Raod and it became a place of pilgrim for senior politicians of North East India. Then Congress office was in Happy villa, near PTI Office, and most of the front ranking leaders used to visit Reuters office including former Chief Ministers B. P. Chaliha, Devkanta Barooah and K. P. Tripathy whenever they visited Guwhati.during those days.

It was Shankar who trained up a few Assamese teleprinter operators , for a Journalistic career, like Pulin Bihari Barthakur, Kartick Kumar Baroowa, who became later years famous Journalist and Media Persons . Bartakur became Director of Government of India ‘s Information Department and Baroowa became head of Press Trust. Of India’s Bombay operation.

Shankar was not only respected by elder statesman of northeast and intellectuals of the region but was loved by even the children of Uzanbazar for his amiable behaviour, where he lived and worked. Dilip Kakoty, formerly Chairman of Higher secondary Board,( eldest son of S. C . kakoti )used to call him as “Reuter Mama” and we all his class mates and neighbour found it convenient to call him by the same name. We were in our teen’s then .At later years I joined PTI and learnt about his idiosyncrasies. He used to visit temple on the Bihu Days as it was also their “Bishu” the day of New Year. He used to distribute sweets to his staff on the occasion.
Shankar had left Guwhati to take over the charge of Tiruvantpuram office when P.M. Balan took over his place. Shankar retired from PTI in 1980 as the Head of the South India operation. His wife Parvati predeceased him . She was a great lady who brought up her to daughters Shanti and Jayanthi and only son Raja as responsible citizen. Shankar lived a full life and died on second week of June. Perhaps modern journalist of Assam might not have heard of him but older generation must be remembering his yeomen service to the Northeast. We salute to the noble soul and pray almighty to give strength to his children to bear the loss..


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