Words are a magic wand. They can shape opinions, sway people, bring a smile or unleash a valley of tears. Few word magicians can do it all. Bhupat Vadodaria was one such personality who was adept at all of these and has left a lasting legacy in Gujarati language’ with his huge universe of fans still fathoming whether he was a better journalist or a better litterateur.
One of the foremost names in Gujarati world of journalism and literature, Bhupatbhai, as he was known, struggled in life, like most journalists but never flinched at the basic ethics of journalism. He became an editor with Phulchhab at 26 and never looked back, working at various organisations across the State. At 56, he dared to start his own newspaper. He named it Sambhaav.
A huge number of fans, ex-colleagues and Gujarati language-lovers gathered today evening to celebrate his 93rd birth anniversary. Bhupatbhai died in 2011.
He breathed his last in November 2011 but in his 82 years of life–he spoke truth to power, opened the windows of world literature to his Gujarati readers and used media constructively to push the envelope.
He can be called one of the most well-read editors of Gujarat. He was and probably still remains the most well-read. Marcel Proust was his favourite. He could casually quote Tolstoy and William Faulkner’s characters that made him go into thinking of the darker aspects of life. Bhupatbhai embodied Oscar Wilde’s wit, Charles Dicken’s sensitivity and Proust’s philosophy in his writing.He was the first-ever writer to bring this confluence of world literature to the Gujarati readers using an anecdotal style of writing. His columns Ghar Bahire and Panchamrut, now available in multi-volume books are still gifted among the reading community. He wrote over 50 novels including three humour novellas.
Swami Brahmavihari Das of BAPS who addressed the impressive gathering virtually described Bhupatbhai as a ‘man of resilience; someone whose life is worth celebrating. He said, “I met Bhupatbhai through Pramukh Swami ji. Pramukhswamiji spoke fondly of Bhupatbhai and his journalism. Bhupatbhai used his words to spread smiles and that’s an achievement in itself. Some people get light from the Sun while others get it via the moon; we can celebrate Bhupatbhai through his work–a source of light in these times. His life is a symbol of resilience, the Swami said.
Spiritual leader Morari Bapu spoke about the simplicity of Bhupatbhai. He said, “He used the power of his words to influence society in a positive way. He was a learned and a simple man. His work can not be overlooked when you are talking about the history of Gujarat and its media.”
Vishnu Pandya, chairman of Gujarat Sahitya Akademi fondly cherished his memories with Bhupatbhai and said he embodied the two most important characteristics of a journalist: truth-seeking and truth-telling.
Leaders lead by example and Bhupatbhai vouched for it–all his life. Senior journalist Padmashri Devendra Patel who began his career with Bhupatbhai recalled the days when Bhupatbhai inspired him to explore the creative side of writing. “He was one of the rare gems of the media industry who could be both: editor and a creative writer. I was hardly 26 years old when he inspired me to write my first book ‘Baby’. Be it advice or inspiration; I have always resorted to him.”
Gujarati writer and orator Kajal Oza Vaidya talked about Bhuptabhai as her mentor who advised her not to pursue a job but to work independently. “I first met him when I was 17. He trusted me when I had lost hope in myself.” “Bhupat kaka never used the media as a weapon to threaten anyone and that’s a lesson one can learn from him.” she added.
Senior journalist and Editor of NavGujarat Samay and Ahmedabad Mirror, Ajay Umat talked about the strength of Bhupatbhai as an editor. “He was someone who stood by his reporters. He questioned facts and was never afraid to face its repercussions. From Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Morarji Desai to Narendra Modi; he wrote about all of them with utmost honesty and impartiality. He embodied the best characteristics any editor can dream to achieve.
In all his up and downs, his trials, tribulations and struggles, his wife Bhanuben was an unshakable supporter. She was always there for him supporting him in his struggles and being a part of his success.
The function was organised by Sambhaav Trust under the guidance of senior editor Tarun Dattani. RJ Tushar anchored it.