Coastweek website







Living with Kenya's Golden Century of Indian Journalism Saga | Coastweek


Living with Kenya's Golden Century of Indian Journalism Saga | Coastweek




1. Public spirited businessman Alibhai Mulla Jeevanjee founded the first Indian owned newspaper in Kenya in 1901 to counter racial attacks by British owned newspapers and drove them out of business.
2. Fearless Indian editor G. L. Vidyarthi who struggled for human rights but was charged with sedition and jailed thrice. His son, Anil, was charged with sedition 45 years later but let off.
3. Zarina Patel, the author of
'THE IN-BETWEEN WORLD OF KENYA'S MEDIA: South Asian Journalism, 1900 – 1992', is the granddaughter of A M Jeevanjee who founded the first Indian owned newspaper in Kenya . She has written numerous biographies of South Asians and is a human rights activist.
4: Top professional, Joe Rodrigues rose from a sub-editor to become the editor in chief of the Nation, the biggest newspaper in East Africa; and was elected the president of the International Press Institute but was dismissed after working for 21 years.
5. Legend in his lifetime, Mohamed Amin covered African events for world media and produced over a dozen photo books for different countries and was honoured with numerous international awards. He died on duty during a hijack.
6. Renowned photojournalist Sir Mohinder Dhillon covered East Africa for global media and was knighted for his contribution to draw the world’s attention to a famine in Ethiopia.


Zarina Patel on Kenya Golden Century of Indian Journalism Saga

NEW DELHI India -- Kenya Indian journalists founded newspapers and magazines to demand human rights and freedom under colonial rule in the first half of the last century; and during the latter half showed professionalism and ingenuity to reach top positions. Despite facing threats, prison, exile and deportation, they contributed to developing Kenya’s media in no small measure, writes Swami Anand Kul Bhushan.

An Indian merchant, Alibhai Mulla Jeevanjee, set up a newspaper, The African Standard, in Mombasa in 1901 to counter Anti-Asian racism by the existing British owned newspapers, East Africa and Uganda Mail.

Within three years, the British owned paper went bankrupt.

A year later, Jeevanjee sold it to two Englishmen who renamed it as East African Standard which is still in print.

Later on, other South Asians founded newspapers in Nairobi to fight for equal rights, self-government and freedom.

Colonial Times and Daily Chronicle were the early ones.

Girdhari Lal Vidyarthi, editor of the Colonial Times, was the first journalist to be jailed for sedition in Kenya.

Two others followed suit.

The colonial government charged the editor or journalist and fined the publisher or printer with sedition to intimidate and close down the offending paper.

The journalists suffered rigorous imprisonment, exile and deportation and a well-known freedom fighter and editor Pio Gama Pinto was assassinated.

But they persisted in their fight for equality and human rights.

During the first half of the last century, Kenya’s South Asian journalists suffered under the British colonial rule but contributed to the independence struggle by publishing newspapers and magazines.

After independence in 1963, the Indian owned newspapers and magazines went out of print.

With the launch of a major newspapers group, The Nation in 1960, the South Asian journalists made their mark in news reporting and newspaper production.

Mostly starting as trainees, they rose to become editors in almost all departments; and the most outstanding of them, Joe Rodrigues, became the editor in chief.

During this time, another Sunday paper, Sunday Post, was also bought by South Asians.

More than 20 South Asian journalists worked for The Nation to make a major contribution enabling The Nation to overtake its rival, East African Standard, in circulation by 1969, in nine years.

The South Asians outclassed the long established rival in hard news, sports news, business news, and cultural news with action photos.

By 1975, most of them left Kenya and flourished in their new locations to enjoy their golden years.

All this is presented in a magnificent new coffee table book, ‘THE IN-BETWEEN WORLD OF KENYA’S MEDIA: South Asian Journalism, 1900 - 1992’ by Zarina Patel (Zand Graphics) released on 19 April 2016 in Nairobi.

The pre-independence era is mostly presented from archives while the stories of the freedom era journalists are mostly told by themselves or their relatives.

Interestingly, the author Zarina Patel is the granddaughter of A. M. Jeevanjee, the founder of the first Asian newspaper.

The author of a number of biographies of South Asians and a human rights activist, Zarina Patel took five years to collect personal stories of nine print journalists in the Kenya’s colonial era; and another 28 print journalists; 18 photographers; ten radio journalists in the independence era.

"There is a bullet with your husband’s name on it; get him out of Kenya as soon as possible," the wife of a Kenya Indian editor, Cyprian Fernandes, was warned at work.

At the peak of his career as Foreign Editor of the Nation, he left Kenya within a month.

A socialist journalist who had gone to jail fighting for Kenya’s freedom, Pio Gama Pinto, was assassinated in broad daylight as was leaving for office.

Another, Pranlal Sheth, was deported while two, Karim Hudani and Chander Mehra, exiled themselves.

Most shocking of all, Joe Rodrigues, editor in chief of the Nation newspaper group, was summarily sacked after 21 years of sterling service.

Other Kenya South Asian journalists were regularly picked up for questioning by ‘the special branch’ of the police.

Over 45 years after G. L Vidyarthi was imprisoned, his son, Anil, became the last Kenyan journalist to be charged with sedition to date.

In 1998, Anil was acquitted after the sedition law was repealed from the Constitution.

Among the print journalists in free Kenya, Joe Rodrigues stands out as he joined The Nation as a Sub Editor and rose to become the editor in chief purely on his professional capability and hard work.

At the global level, he was elected the president of the International Press Institute.

Another sub editor, Alfred Araujo became editor of the Sunday Nation, Cyprian Fernandes rose to the post of foreign editor, Kul Bhushan was appointed as the first business editor, Rashid Mughal became features editor after joining as a proof reader, Norman da Costa as sports editor, while Sultan Jessa and Sham Lal Puri made sterling contributions.

This list is almost endless.

Press photographers and radio journalists have also been included as they played a major role during this century.

Three South Asian photographers, Mohamed Amin, Priya Ramrakha and Sir Mohinder Dhillon, made their mark on the global scene with their photo-coverage of Eastern Africa during this time.

Priya Ramrakha and Mohamed Amin died in the call of duty; Sir Mohinder Dhillon decided to walk away from a torture scene deliberately extended for filming; 21-year old Mohinder Singh Marjara disappeared in the Congo and no search was ever mounted for him.

These and many other cameramen have their tales and top photos here.

The air waves were dominated by Chaman Lal Chaman, Pritam Chaggar, Mussa Ayub, Sajjad and Darshi Shamshi, and others.

The first Asian women print and radio journalists, Gaytri Sagar and Tochi Chaggar respectively, are included with due diligence.

Why does the book stop at 1992?

Because then the air waves were liberalized and most of the earlier journalists had emigrated.

Journalists are normally writing or telling other people’s stories, here they are writing their own.

In cases where the journalist was no more, relatives or colleagues stepped in.

Leafing through the book,  one still prominent Kenyan African journalist has commented:

"I had no idea these guys existed.

"This book has secured their place in Kenyan history for posterity."

To label it as a magnum opus of Asian journalists’ saga in Kenya is an understatement.

• Kul Bhushan worked as a full time journalist and editor in Kenya for 40 years during this period and is included in this book.



Close Encounter with Mohammed Ali by Swami Kul Bhushan

Cheetah in my lap: Kenya Safaris never stops surprising you!

Infinity needs to be highlighted in movie: 'Man Who Knew Infinity'

Over 105 tons of ivory burnt by Kenyans to save African elephants

Joginder Paul: Journey from imported husband to iconic author

Behind that enigmatic smile of a beautiful girl in an advertisement

PM Narendra Modi is still 'tops' among the Indian middle class

Splendid splash of colours and joy as 'Aussies' celebrate 'Holi'

Madad’ or Help for Overseas Indians now just a 'click' away

Legendary Lensman Steve McCurry on Fashion Shoot in Kenya

Osho's Unhurried Childhood: movie review of 'Rebellious Flower'



New avatar unveiled for annual convention of the Indian Diaspora

Appoint Two NRIs to India’s Upper House - suggests Praful Patel

India Art Fair: Where to see and to be seen with Delhi arty crowd

Kul Bhushan: 'Alone with Dalai Lama in a Hall with 500 People ...'

'Maasai drink cow blood but don’t kill it' - suggests Hindu Leader

Click with your heart, not your brain, advises celebrated lensman

India host biggest meeting of African heads of State outside Africa

Joginder Singh really was a most successful Kenyan rally driver

Heroes Day: Kenya Indians flourished under President Kenyatta

London to give a rousing welcome to Indian Prime Minister Modi

'Geometry of Buddhas transport you into meditation' says Osho

Narendra Raval - From Priest, Palmist and Astrologer to Tycoon

Kul Bhushan: There is no Planet 'B' - This planet is all we have

Asish Thakker: From schoolboy trader to multi-business tycoon

From Africa to India - Kindness: The most cherished currency

Guru Purnima - Flight from Known to Unknown to Unknowable

Abdul Kalam was a scientist, a spiritualist, a poet and a humanist

Kenya Indian diaspora is delighted with President Obama's visit

Indian language words still flourish in East African 'lingua franca'

'Guru Purnima' often means 'Independence with Dependence'

We should pay homage to the mystic Paramhansa Yogananda

Indo-Australia relations on upswing after prime minister Modi trip

Mombasa youth develops robot that helps patients to walk again

Eat, Drink. Be Merry and Meditate often: That’s The New Man!

Indians advised to emulate tigers and help save our environment

Marking World Environment Day: From Metal Junk to Works of Art

Peepal Baba still going strong after planting twelve million trees

Minister Rudy addressing diaspora in Melbourne on 'Special Day'

Prime Minister Modi: 'Rock Star' woos and wows Indian Diaspora

Minister Priti Patel: From Uganda refugee parents to U.K. Cabinet

Super talented Hans Raj Hans enthralling, indeed intoxicating!

Kenyan architect Braz Menezes turned 'Hakuna Matata' author

Disciples perform Buddhist healing meditation for Nepal victims

Rock Star Modi Wows Canadians; Boosts Indo-Canadian Trade

British elections: Indian Voters can really make a big difference

High time 'path breakers' given their rightful place in history

Kenya Indian diaspora is delighted with Obama's July safari

Indians of Kenyan diaspora made their mark on World Stage

Source for pride: Indian budget charts road to social welfare

Vinod Khanna joins crowd at Osho World Book Fair Pavilion

Thoughts on celebrating annual UN International Women’s Day

We need to treat women with respect and ensure their freedom


Common mortals discover 'Polo' and the swish 'Polo Crowd'

Diaspora hope polls will sweep out deadwood in bureaucracy

What Delhi elections mean for the world wide Indian Diaspora

Lord Ranbir Singh Suri - From Mombasa to the 'House of Lords'

Tomorrow’s gizmos: Nothing earth shattering but very interesting

Increasing Diaspora interest in voting during the Indian elections

Mahatma Gandhi centenary dominates 2015 Diaspora Conference

East and West Merge in music celebration at Osho World galleria

'Feeling at Ease with Yourself': Guide to holistic health with Dr. Raj

Kenya Indian Father and Son Cricket Duo in ‘Believe It Or Not’ Act

Indians holding their heads high with Modi's state visit to Australia

Monument highlights sacrifices by Indian labourers in Mauritius

Praful Patel is a stalwart British Asian leader for many causes

Words of Wisdom: 'Light up with your own Light for this Diwali'

Sport Biopics: Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand may score film 'Hit'

Narendra Modi opens doors to India with Diaspora 'goodies bag'

African roots and Indian DNA - Who is this actor Sir Ben Kingsley

Naked on the Net: You are always being tracked 24/7 on the web

Kul Bhushan: Kenya Hindus bring smiles to Nairobi African pupils

Kul Bhuhsan: Wish List to Modi Government from Indian Diaspora

In his own words: Why Idi Amin expelled Indians from Uganda?

Kul Bhushan: Overseas Indians keen to tune into Modi’s Speech

Independence Day: Overseas Indians showing pride in their roots

The tricolour unfurled with massive roar and ear-splitting fireworks

'Yes, We Can Succeed Here' declare Indian Management Gurus

Wake Up and Smell the Chai! ... Stop Cribbing, Start Contributing!

Life has become harder for section of Senior Indian civil servants

Documenting the long rise and sudden fall of Indians in Iraq

Nairobi host meeting of Cabinet Minister with overseas Indians

Overseas Indian visitors enjoy 'E' Visa and better pilgrimages

Kul Bhushan: Greatest English singer was Parsi from Zanzibar

Kantilal and Urmila Zhaveri joined fight for freedom in Tanzania

Multi talented Prime Minister Modi is 'the perfect man for India'

A change of guard - From Moribund India to ‘Modified’ Bharat

Kersi Rustomji: Indian 'Dukawallas' who helped build Eastern Africa

Doctor Vali Jamal is recording Uganda Asian Exodus for posterity

New Ugandan postal stamps mark centenary of Sikhs in country

Kul Bhushan: Simple guide to 'state-of-play' in Indian elections

Kul Bhushan on Indian polls: Politicians must perform or perish

'Deadly donkey route for entering Britain illegally' by Shamlal Puri

What Osho says about women… Let us celebrate Women’s Day!

Kul Bhushan: The Humour, Satire and Quirkiness of Indian Art



Remember: you read it first at !


Please contact

MOMBASA - GULSHAN JIVRAJ, Mobile: 0722 775164 Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130 /
Wireless: 020 3549187 e-mail:

NAIROBI - ANJUM H. ASODIA, Mobile: 0733 775446 Tel: (+254) (020) 3744459

    © Coastweek Newspapers Limited               Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130  |  Wireless: 020 3549187  |  E-mail: