There are different organizations of Journalists stationed at Bhubaneswar. But they all were united on Tuesday evening to pay epitaphic tributes to deeply mourned Gopal Misra, who passed away in the evening of Sunday and whose cremation, witnessed by many a luminaries of Orissa, was performed at Swargadwara, the classic gateway to the abode of the gods, on the beach of Mahodadhi, wrongfully known as Bay of Bengal, at Puri, on Monday.
The condolence meeting was held in the auditorium of the Department of Information with eminent journalist Barendrakrishna Dhal in the Chair. Under request of the scribes present, senior journalists Ramahari Mishra, Subhas Chandra Pattanayak, Rabi Das and Sarat Das were on the dais when Ramahari Mishra coordinated the event.
Ramesh Chandra Mohanty initiated the obituary when Barendrakrushna Dhal dwelt on how suave but strong was Mishra in his mission all through his life as a journalist. There was a time spanning at least two decades in the last century when he was regarded as the reigning luminary in Orissa media, but there was not a single moment, even then, when he had no time to come to the needs of the newcomers to the profession, he said.
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak focused on the professionalism he personified. Recalling his contributions to putting on records Chakradhar Mohapatra’s well researched determination of Orissa being the real birthplace of Buddha as well as Kavichandra Kalicharan Pattanayak’s meticulous endeavors to obtain recognition of Odissi as a classical dance, he said that Gopal Mishra was so sharp and quick in reporting critical issues by locating its crux as cautiously as consciously that for ever he would remain not only a poll star to follow but also a professional to imitate.
Rabi Das recalled Gopal Babu as a trendsetter in pro-people journalism even as to Sarat Das, were Mishra not there to organize his stay at Bhubaneswar in the initial days of his posting, he perhaps could not have ascended up to the bureau chief position of PTI in Orissa. This eagerness to help newcomer journalists in getting settled was a distinct part of Mishra’s way of life, he said.
Ramahari Mishra recalled his association with Gopal Babu prior to and after his joining Amrit Bazar Patrika. He cited instances to show how he was regarded as unquestionable as a journalist. He said that the sad demise would always give the journalists of Orissa a feeling of loss.
Prasanta Patnaik deeply mourned the sad demise. To him, Mishra was a man in whom journalism had blossomed into dignity. Commitment to profession and devotion to democracy had created the distinction that Mishra had personified, he said, while making specific suggestions on how the scribes of Orissa may make the bereavement bearable to the family of the late doyen.
Bimal Krushna Bhanj and Akshaya Pati described how the entire media community has been drowned in grief due to the sudden demise that has created a void hard to be filled up, when from his chair in the audience, Pradyumna Mohanty expressed deep dismay over failure of the ministers of the incumbent government in physically paying last respect to the departed scribe who till breathing his last was active in the fourth estate of democracy.
(Gopal Mishra’s last contribution as a columnist, published in the daily Sambad at the end of the night he passed away, was speakingly critical of the style of administration of the Orissa Ministry that was, on the one hand, irresponsive to SOS cries of the farmers, but on the other hand, over eager to serve the multi-national corporations. This perhaps explains the absence of Orissa ministers from paying individual and / or collective respect to the departed scribe who by choice had preferred this profession to serve the people.)
The former and founder Mayor of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, Dr. Jagannath Mohapatra recalled the unique joie de vivre that Mishra personified despite his being in his entirety a dedicated sentinel of the State.
A close relation of Mishra, R.N.Dash, who happens to be the Secretary of the Information Department, recalled from his personal memories how affectionate was Gopal babu and how averse was he to falsehood and hypocrisy.