Gopi lived an active life in spite of his disability due to polio.He was a journalist and one of the best in the business.Here is a touching write up on Gopi by the well know columnist Busy Bee.He wrote this piece in the Mid Day newspaper dated July 23,1984 just after Gopi passed away,a victim of the family scourge, cancer.Here it is
“For Gopi Baskaran,till the other day so young and so full of life,death could not have come at a less opportune moment.He literally designed Mid-Day,gave it life and shape and integrity.He was the first member of this paper’s staff, and , in many ways the best.
While the rest including myself were still thinking of starting a paper,leaving our old jobs and taking a new one,Gopi was already designing the paper.
I remember the first meeting of the likely staff.We meet one evening to consider whether we should leave the security of our existing jobs and venture out on something unknown. Gopi Baskaran came to the meeting with a complete “dummy” of the paper,printed on the old “Inquilab” machine. It looked very much as the paper does today, five years later,and more than any thing else it was Gopi’s dummy that made us join.At least it made me join.
For five years he was the constant factor in the office.He put in real,old fashioned working journalist hours;starting early in the morning with the evening paper ,then putting together the Sunday paper,the various dak editions,designing the Bangalore edition.
He may not have got much credit for his work. He was a sub-editor the tribe that belongs to the back rooms of newspapers all over the world.The reporters are the front men , meeting people, giving an odd story here and there, getting their names in print. The sub-editors work through the night,rewriting the stories,giving the headlines,selecting and discarding news, putting the whole newspaper together.
Gopi Baskaran was a sub-editor and the very best that I have known in all my working life.
Only recently, a month before his illness,he was promoted and officially made news editor,a job that anyway he had been performing since the first day.
And then as he was getting set to enjoy his new status ,tragedy struck.Though I could see him being wasted away by illness , he kept coming to work, planning regular colour issues, sending transparencies for processing, designing new pages. He took two days casual leave to go to the hospital for tests — he never came out of the hospital .
He was a good friend , honest and considerate and non-interfering. I value his friendship, but ultimately I will remember him as a colleague, as the best sub-editor I have know. “
Thank you Busy Bee for that warm write up and kind words about my dear brother.He represented all that the Baskarans stood for, simple hard working,passionately committed to our professions and men & women of honour.It is so sad that we are all not together now.