Agra: Mahatma Gandhi as a journalist was the theme of a discussion on Hickey's Day, observed on Saturday by scribes and students of mass communication at a function held here.
On the occasion, organised by NGO Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society, tributes were paid to the pioneering crusader for free press James Augustus Hickey, who laid the foundation of journalism in the country with publication of his weekly Bengal Gazette, the first Indian newspaper, from Kolkata on January 29, 1779.
The speakers lauded Hickey`s anti-establishment stance, bordering on scandalous outbursts against rulers of the day and deliberated on Mahatma Gandhi.
Mahatma Gandhi`s journalistic career spanning over four decades, his exemplary stewardship of the Indian Opinion in South Africa, later Young Indian, Nav Jeevan and Harijan, throw light on the process of his evolution from a barrister to a mass communicator, said senior journalist Rajiv Saxena.
Social activist Shravan Kumar Singh said for Mahatma Gandhi journalism was not a vocation rather a platform to interact and shape his ideas that eventually catapulted him as the tallest leader of the Indian freedom struggle.
Gandhi himself had said "I have taken up journalism not for its sake but merely as an aid to what I have conceived to be my mission in life".
Shiv Pratap Singh, a young journalist said Gandhi used journalism to educate public mind. "He wrote on a vast variety of subjects from nature, environment to women`s empowerment, charkha weaving, British colonialism and western culture. In his columns he elaborated his thinking on Swaraj, Satyagrah and non-cooperation."
The hall-mark of Gandhi`s journalistic style was simplicity, tempered by transparency and sincerity, said Sachin Saini. "Gandhi wrote for the common man and made no pretension of being literary."