NATIONAL HERALD MEMORY LANE

An Idea Heralds

In 1936, dampened by certain reactionary tendencies in the National Movement and the Congress Party, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is persuaded to launch an enlightened newspaper.

Sailing Forth

Nehru launches the daily National Herald in Lucknow with himself as Editor and Chairman on September 9, 1938 amidst rumbles of the upcoming Second World War. He was soon followed by Kotamaraju Rama Rao as Editor.

Freedom Full—mast

The masthead of the newspaper carried since 1939 a line beneath the title in Nehru’s hand – Freedom is in peril, defend it with all your might.

Inspiration

Nehru’s ‘freedom is in peril’ line on the masthead was borrowed from a cartoon drawn by Gabriel of Brentford, Middlesex, England. In November 1939, Nehru had sent Indira Gandhi two cartoons by Shankar and in return she had sent him Gabriel’s cartoon.

Irony

Gabriel’s cartoon was part of a British propaganda poster during World War II. ‘Freedom in peril’ signified European freedom threatened by the Nazis. Nehru’s line evoked both the Nazi threat as well as the imperialist disdain for India’s freedom, since India was being dragged against its will into war by the British.

Crackdown

Forced by British displeasure, National Herald shut down for three years on August 15, 1942 with an editorial titled ‘Bande Mataram’. Its Editor Rama Rao was jailed for writing a piece titled ‘Jail or Jungle’ on the mistreatment of Satyagrahis in jail.

Resurgence

National Herald resumed publication again on November 11, 1945 with an editorial titled ‘Jai Hind’ that Nehru himself wrote.

Passing the Baton

M Chalapathi Rau became Editor of National Herald to serve a long innings till 1978. Nehru gave him full editorial independence. Only twice did Nehru suggest topics for editorials – once asking Britain to open diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and next, to implore Pakistan to release Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan.

Propriety

Nehru relinquished Chairmanship of Associated Journals that brought out National Herald on grounds of propriety when he joined the Interim Government as Prime Minister in 1946. Feroze Gandhi succeeded him as Chairman and also became its Managing Director. He served till 1950.

Playing Puck

Apart from a brief editorship, Nehru also served as the newspaper’s International Correspondent and at times local reporter. He frequently wrote unsigned editorials and reports and signed articles for National Herald. Once he wrote the report on his own speech at Barabanki. That was the Puck in him, writes Chalapathi Rau.

Dawn of Independence

National Herald brought out a memorable Independence Day edition on August 15, 1947, its cover adorned with the tricolour, India's lion capital state emblem and Rabindranath Tagore's immortal poem, ‘Where the mind is without fear’.

New Location

The paper began its Delhi Edition in 1968 from Herald House on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg.

TIME PRISM

Welcome to the Beta version of National Herald.