The Tribune 130 Years: A Witness to History

JOURNEY OF A NEWSPAPER
The Partition affected people and institutions alike. This excerpt from The Tribune 130 Years: A Witness to History authored by V. N. Datta traces the newspaper’s tumultuous passage from Lahore to Chandigarh.

IT speaks volumes of the strength and resilience of The Tribune that it resumed publication soon after the Partition. It had stopped publishing for 40 days. After the Partition, the first issue of the paper appeared from Simla on September 25, 1947. The Tribune had to find a suitable place for its publication. Amritsar was sulking on the border, and was not considered the right place for the publication of the paper. Ludhiana was not developed, and Ambala city had water problems.

A small printing press near the Ridge known as Liddell’s was available, which The Tribune trustees secured through the aegis of the Punjab government. A large bungalow ‘Bantony’ on the Mall was obtained for providing accommodation to The Tribune office and staff and some other employees, who occupied three rooms on the first floor. The Tribune began to function under difficult circumstances because of the small printing press, inadequate staff, and financial crunch.

Mercifully, cash reserves approximating to Rs 10 lakh had been transferred from the Punjab National Bank, Lahore, to its Delhi office three days before the Partition. The Tribune also held securities worth nearly Rs 25 lakh. Vallabhbhai Patel, the Home Minister, asked the Minister of Rehabilitation, K.C. Neogy to ‘give all facilities to The Tribune to resume publication’.

Later, owing to the initiative of the Chief Minister, Punjab, Gopi Chand Bhargava, the special representative of The Tribune,A.C. Bali, went to Lahore at his personal risk and succeeded in bringing back The Tribune records, The Tribune files since 1881, and some library books in five trucks provided by the Pakistan government with a police escort for their safety till the Indian border. Excerpted from The Tribune 130 Years: A Witness to History by V. N. Datta. Hay House India. Pages 380. Rs 500.

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