Letter from the Editor

first_imgParekh (centre) in MoscowThe editorial decision on how best to cover Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s official tour of Moscow and East Europe last fortnight, proved a tricky one. What was required was a fresh, original approach rather than a drab and detailed account of the agreements signed and the well-worn cliches on Indo-Soviet amity.The answer literally dropped into our editorial lap in the form of a stocky, pugnacious, bearded character festooned with cameras – KISHOR PAREKH, the doyen of India’s camera corps. His suggestion that India Today’s coverage of Desai’s visit should be essentially a pictorial one, was accepted with alacrity. Parekh has an enviable reputation of producing the unusual, and judging from the results of his recent tour he has lived upto it.His rare, behind-the-scenes pictures featured in this issue are an evocative tribute to his photographic genius. “Desai is probably the most difficult and dull subject in the world to photograph,” he said on his return. On one occasion in Moscow, he waited while other news cameramen guzzled vodka. His patience paid off. He was the only photographer present when Desai began to spin his charkha under the chandeliers in the Kremlin. Behind all the egoistic bluster that Parekh sports, is a man intensely dedicated to his art. He took his Masters in cinema from the University of Southern California. While there, he was awarded six of the seven prizes in an international contest sponsored by the National Press Photographers’ Association, Encyclopaedia Britannica and Life magazine.On his return to India in 1961 he joined a newspaper group in Delhi as chief photographer and made his mark in covering the Sino-lndian war of 1962 and Indo-Pakistan war of 1965. One of his best known works is his moving record of the traumatic birth of Bangladesh.Since then he has moved to the more lucrative field of commercial photography and only occasionally dabbles in news assignments. His pictures from Russia will form part of a photobiography he is compiling on the prime minister and will follow his recently published pictorial book on another prominent octogenarian, business tycoon G.D. Birla.last_img