As editorial advisor of Malayala Manorama daily, Kerala’s leading daily language newspaper, he has a lot to write about. His off-the-track stories of people, places and passions breathe new life in the regular column writings we are used to read. The veteran journalist of 50 years is in Kuwait to inaugurate the anniversary of Malayali Media Forum scheduled on Thursday at Khaitan Indian Community School.
Extraordinary stories of ordinary people and untold stories of celebrities are the trademarks of 'Jacobian' writing. The readers are 'infotained' - informed and entertained at the same time. Thus, we come to know that singing sensation SP Balasubramahnyam is also a dubbing artist who gave voice to 7 characters in Kamal Hasan's Dasavatharam. His is the voice in the Telugu version of Richard Attenborough's Oscar winning Gandhi as well.
Jacob also tells us Attenborough's Gandhi - immortalized by Ben Kingsly - reappears in some Indian media as the Mahatma on October 2 and January 30. When Thatcher died, Jacob adds, a Thai newspaper published the picture of Meryl Streep who enacted as the Iron Lady.
Another story - not of mistaken identity - is the error that appeared in the Malayalam daily Deshabhimani, CPI (M)'s voice. In the Bahrain edition of the leftist newspaper one day, the editorial was a severe criticism against the Marxist party politricks. The un-regrettable error happened when Muslim League newspaper Chandrika's editorial got mixed up with that of the leftist paper. Both dailies are printed at
the same press in Bahrain.
Jacob recalls the story of a Hindu named KP Raman who was a Muslim League MLA. Whenever reports went to the desk the Hindu changed Raman's name to Rahman. Malayalam daily Deepika shed crocodile tears when Dr Fakruddin Ali Ahmad passed away in 1977. Deepika published a photo of Indira Gandhi laying wreath on the dead body of Dr Fakruddin. But that was originally the photo of Ms Gandhi paying homage to Dr Zakir Hussain when he died in 1969. Ms Gandhi had the same sari.
On birthdays, Jacob has many many returning stories to tell. General VK Singh, Jacob writes, gave his irthday in UPSC application form as 1950 May 10. His school certificate has 1951 May 10 as his birthday. In the time of retirement, however, Indian government did not consider the school certificate despite his plea. Harkishan Singh Surjith, another anecdote tells us, only knows he was born in 1961. He decided
March 23 - Bhagath Sing martyr day - as his birthday.
From birthdays to christening, Jacob tells us it was MV Gopalaswamy who gave the name Akashavani to Mysore Radio in 1935. How Kumbhakonam, a place in Tamil Nadu became a synonym for corruption in Malayalam is the topic of another Jacob-piece. It traces back to the 1940 Tamil novel Kumbhakonam Wakil and the subsequent Tamil film Kumbhakonam Wakil vs Digambara Swamiyaar, the story of a corrupt lawyer. Jacob also serves an additional dessert: In the movie MN Nambiar acted in
By Jinku K