MY BBC GURU PASSED AWAY; A BIG SALUTE TO KAILASH BUDHWARJI (Post No.8329)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 8329

Date uploaded in London – 12 July 2020   

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

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tamilandvedas.com, swamiindology.blogspot.com

HOMAGE TO MY GURU KAILASH BUDHWAR!

OM NAMA SIVAYA!

FORMER HEAD OF BBC HINDI AND TAMIL SERVICE SHRI KAILASH BUDHWAR PASSED AWAY PEACEFULLY IN LONDON LAST NIGHT ON 11TH JULY 2020

HERE ARE THREE INTERESTING ANECDOTES ABOUT THAT GREAT MAN (all personal).

EVERY DAY AROUND 10 AM HE USED TO COME TO TAMIL SERVICE ROOM ON SEVENTH FLOOR OF THE BUSH HOUSE, NEXT TO INDIAN HIGH COMMISSION IN LONDON.  HE WOULD ASK ALL OF US JOIN HIM FOR A CUP OF TEA IN THE BBC CANTEEN.BROADCASTERS FROM HINDI SERVICE, NEPALI SERVICE, BENGALI SERVICE (BOTH ARE MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBHOURS), SOMETIMES OTHER STUDIO MANAGERS USED TO JOIN US. WE USED TO DISCUSS ALL THE LATEST TOPICS EVERY MORNING AND CRACK JOKES. ONE DAY WE OCCUPIED A BIG ROUND TABLE; ABOUT 30 BROADCASTERS!  KAILASH BUDHWAR SUDDENLY MADE AN ANOOUNCEMENT; I WAS SHAKIG AND SWEATING. WHY?

HE SAID, TODAY I AM GOING TO TELL YOU A SECRET ABOUT SWAMINATHAN (THAT IS ME!)

“I went to Madras to recruit a new Tamil broadcaster (in  1986). Swaminathan is one of the few hundreds who wrote the tests and attended the interviews. (I understand another test was held in Hyderabad? In total 500 candidates wrote the written test));

A lot of people approached my wife, who acted as my secretary, after the interview; they came to her to ask who this man (Kailash Budhwar) was and how can they influence him to get the post. But swaminathan was the only person who went out of the room as soon as the interview was over. He did not ask any personal details about me or how to influence me , bribe me or to approach some minister who was close to me etc. Moreover he did very well in Written Geneal knowledge Test , Interview and Voice test. That is how Swaminathan was recruited and came to London. Immediately there was a big applause which tore the ceiling of the BBC canteen. Somalis, Nigerians, Swahili broadcasters, East European Broadcasters, sitting in other tables, turned towards us and saw with great curiosity what happened. All of them congratulated me.

(In the BBC, my name was Swami; all the staff knew me only as Swami; my name Santanam Swaminathan was too difficult for them to say)

***

Second anecdote

I reached London on 1st January 1987. For the first few days I was asked to stay in my Sri Lankan colleague’s house and her husband Mr Suryaprakasam cooked special vegetarian meals for me ( my homage to him; he is no more; nicest man). Then I was moved to BBC hostel; There was no vegetarian dish! Only boiled vegetables, mashed potato, boiled potatoes, half fried potatoes, fully fried potato fries. I was almost dead ; I am a strict vegetarian till this day. A week passed like this. One day Kailashji came to my room after the broadcast was over.

‘Swami, you don’t look good; what is happening?’

Kailashji ! I am a vegetarian, I don’t get anything veggy in the BBC canteen; they don’t even know what is rice; they gave me fried pilaf (half boiled rice in half fried condition) ; so for one week I am just eating vegetables and potatoes. He did not say a word. He went to next room, which is Bengali Service. He brought a broadcaster with him.

Swami , he is Pankaj Shah; he is taking you to Indian YMCA tomorrow evening; you will be accommodated there and you will get rice, chapati, parotta and vegetable Dhal etc.

Very next day we went to INDIAN YMCA HOSTEL and I was given a room. Next day I moved there and I SAW AMRIT; that is rice, a Tamil’s everyday food.  I  have been surviving in London for 33 years till this minute due to that Great man Kailashji.

Kailashji was on the BBC Canteen committee as well; He instructed them to make at least one Vegetarian dish every day and colour code it green; all for me!!!

Will you believe it?

Oh My God; next day the veggy dish was sold out by 12-30 pm. BBC lunch session starts at 12 noon. If I go late, I would not get veggy dish on any day. Kailashji warned me, ‘Swami, you must go for lunch at 12 noon everyday; vegetarian dish was prepared for you; now it is becoming more popular and is sold out in half hour’. As told by him, I always went to the canteen as soon it was opened for lunch session.

Sometimes I go to Indian High Commission next door and enjoy Idli & Sambhar on Thursdays. We had some Tamil officials at that time; I used to entertain them in BBC canteens some days as a reciprocal gesture.

Long Live Kailash Budhwar!

***

Third anecdote

My immediate boss Shankar Anna was a pukka anti Brahmin and my Sri Lankan colleague was a great supporter of LTTE. Big clashes broke out in the department and her conspiracy won; A brahmin should not hold the post next to Shankar Anna; so, when my short term contract finished I was out of the BBC in 1992.

But before that,  a third rate fellow was recruited to replace me; he was from Hyderabad. I taught him whatever I learnt in the past five years; My colleagues never taught me anything. Even the new recruit, told me ‘we in the Doordharshan never teach others; these are secrets; but you are too good’.

After praising me like this, every afternoon that fellow went to the studio before all of us and occupied my seat. My mike in the front row was taken by him. There is a seniority principle. So we always respect our seniors. But this fellow occupied my seat every day. As usual ,Kailashji came to our room asked how we are. Then I asked for an appointment one evening. I met him privately in his office. I told him,

Kailashji , I don’t know how to thank you for all the things you have done to me. But this new recruit is occupying my seat every day; I am embarrassed to tell him to get out of my seat because of his age (he was older than me).

Kailashji said to me,

‘Leave it to me Swami’.

Great wonder happened. Next day we got a new studio; my colleagues were wondering why the studio for Tamil broadcasts was changed suddenly. Original studio was on our own seventh floor.  Now the new studio , a few floors down. My colleagues were wondering. Because in the BBC changing a studio or booking a studio for spare recording session was a rare commodity; you can get Tiger’s milk, but not a new studio! I also did not know till I went to the studio. There was a big ROUND table. There was no first or last. I was wonderstruck. Within 24 hours he changed our studio where the dirty fellow cannot occupy my seat. There is NO seniority in a round table. Umpteen mikes were there. Wherever we sit, that mike will be switched on with a green light showing. I was laughing, smiling, enjoying in my mind. Just to keep my prestige intact, he changed our studio!

So to keep one honest individual happy,  he brought vegetarian food, he got a new studio, he got me a room at Indian YMCA. A good soul. Thought always good for others !

So with all my heart I express my deepest condolences to Kailash Budhwar’s family and sincerely pray to God that his soul  reach the feet of GOD.

Om Nama Sivaya!

There will be 100s off BBC staff to tell you good things about him. What a Great Man!

Long Live Kailash Budhwarji!

Thanks to New Indian Express for publishing the following  news item: please see the attachment.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is KAILASH%2BBUDHWAR.jpg
Sri Kailash Budhwar

Veteran Indian-origin BBC journalist Kailash Budhwar dies in UK at 88

Budhwar also worked as a media advisor to the Indian High Commission in London in the past and was a regular commentator on radio and television

LONDON: Prominent Indian-origin journalist and former head of the Hindi division of BBC World Service, Kailash Budhwar, passed away in London on Saturday after a prolonged illness. He was 88.

Budhwar also worked as a media advisor to the Indian High Commission in London in the past and was a regular commentator on radio and television, having worked with All India Radio and the National Radio Network of India.

“Remembered as a smiling and pleasant person, and often regarded as a beacon of knowledge, Budhwar was one of the most prominent and senior members of the Indian Journalists’ Association UK (IJA-UK),” IJA UK said in a tribute statement.

Budhwar was not keeping well and was in hospital for the past few weeks. He breathed his last surrounded by his family.

tags – Kailash Budhwar, BBC Tamil Service, BBC Guru

— xxxxxx—-

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