Yogi and his Thakurs

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Lucknow: Not many know that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was a prolific writer and journalist also. He was Chief Editor and Publisher of a weekly newspaper called “Hindvi”, published from his hometown Gorakhpur.

Yogi had launched this Hindi weekly coloured newspaper on Dussehra day in 2007 with a view to making it the mouthpiece of his outfit Hindu Yuva Vahini on the pattern of Shiv Sena’s “Saamna” which was edited by late Bal Thackeray till he was alive and now by his son Udhav Thackeray.

The firebrand BJP MP from Gorakhpur and now Chief Minister of the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi had given a very aggressive tagline to his weekly newspaper – “A Weekly

Newspaper Devoted to Cultural Nationalism against Disparity, Terrorism, Hunger and Corruption”.

The 16-page weekly newspaper was launched from Yogi’s office at Gorakhnath temple and math complex. Yogi had personally interviewed many a journalists to select the Editor, sub-editors, reporters and photographers of his new venture which was aimed at taking his aggressive Hindutva to all over Uttar Pradesh and outside state and abroad. His spiritual Guru Mahant Avaidhnath was the Patron of his weekly newspaper while Dr Pradeep Rao, a Hindi literary scholar having command over Hindi and subjects related to Hinduism, was made its Editor.

After selecting the staff, recalls its photographer Vinay Kumar Gautam, Yogi had himself given training to the editorial staff and spelled the purpose and ideology behind launching the weekly broadsheet. “I had joined as a trainee. Guruji would daily give me tips about angles and quality to make my pictures match with the stories and, sometimes, speak better than stories done by reporters,” recalls Gautam, who is still Yogi’s personnel photographer at Gorakhnath temple. Quoting Editor Dr Pradeeep Rao, a local Journalist Gaurav Tripathi, said that the weekly newspaper was an instant success as it would raise voices of the common people and issues pertaining to them. After two months when the staff increased, the office of the weekly newspaper was shifted from temple premises to Hindu Yuva Vahini office near Gorakhpur Railway Station.

The Editor Dr Rao said that Yogiji not only acted as the Chief Editor but he would read all reports going in the edition and do proofreading also before it went to printing on every Friday. “He would miss nothing and will catch even a smallest grammatical and spelling mistake,” told Dr Rao, who is now Principal, Maharaja Pratap Shiksha Parishad College.

Many a times Yogi would himself take morning meetings of reporters to suggest topics they should investigate and write. He would take out time to visit editorial twice a day to suggest headlines and check copies edited by sub-editors. He would also make suggestions on the designing of pages and of proper photographers for stories.

After yogi takes a final look, the edition would close and go for printing on every Friday. On few occasions, the photographer confides, that Yogiji would drop many a stories and change entire page. Burning topics and stories are told in an effective way to readers were his main concerns.

Yogi’s weekly newspaper “Hindvi” was printed at Kamal Offset Printers, Durgbadi Road, Gorakhpur. “We would print Hindvi every Friday night and sent printed newspaper the next day to its office,” says Govardhan Singh, the owner of the printing press.

“His focus was mainly on issues plaguing regional and local problems of the people. He would himself write editorials for every issue. His topics ranged from nationalism to terrorism and mis-governance to corruption and many a times he would offer solutions to governments and authorities on burning issues. I have no hesitation in saying that his writings suggest that he was a matured journalist,” Dr Rao told the local journalist Gaurav Tripathi.

Initially, only 2,000 copies used to be printed and distributed free of cost. “But because of its rich content and issues it rakd up soon the newspaper became most sought after and circulation reached to 10,000 copies a week. A few of its copies used to be sent to Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and other countries having Hindu population.

The weekly newspaper was closed down after five years of its publication due to increasing busy schedule of Yogi Adityanath. “People in Gorakhpur still remember hard-hitting editorials and exclusive stories published in Yogji’s weekly newspaper Hindvi,” claims Anurag Tiwari, a senior journalist who worked in Gorakhpur.

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