Monday, May 17, 2021
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Rest in Peace Sir Kamal Morarka

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I had a love and hate relationship with businessman Kamal Morarka, when I was working with Afternoon Despatch and Courier, he was the one being the owner of publication stood strongly behind me, while the entire publication house was sunk into dirty politics. Old staff was unhappy with newcomers and their sudden growth, new staff had to go through a lot of challenges and dominance by senior staff. There was constant unrest and the final control was in the hands of Morarka’s personal staff. Morarka used to get influenced by the hair gays and gossips, he was not a man to cross-check, perhaps this is the reason he sacked many able journalists and staff from Afternoon. He was very weak by ears; anyone could make him believe that the people in newspapers are not good for him. There was a lobby that used to constantly penetrate opinions in his mind. A very adamant administrative and decision-maker compromised this newspaper in many ways. Finally, the paper succumbed to internal disputes. Kamal Morarka also had a family heated discussion; he never liked his brother Ambu Morarka getting space in Afternoon Newspaper. Whoever dares to quote Ambu Morarka in any report has lost his/her job. He had his set rules but in such adversities, he encouraged then the young journalist as city editor. One day I had to quit Afternoon due to unreasonable happenings around. For the last 12 years, I have been successfully running my own tabloid, Afternoon Voice, I must confess whatever I learned in the newspaper industry it’s all because of him.

Born in a Marwari family on 18 June 1946, Morarka was a lively man and very private person. As a vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), from 1996-2005, Morarka had strong views on certain issues, specifically on the match-fixing scandal of 2000, after a hard-hitting Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report on match-fixing alleged that many cricketers — Indian and foreigners — were involved in tanking matches. While the BCCI, then headed by AC Muthiah, was struggling to find ways to handle the match-fixing scandal, Morarka famously said that “there was more corruption in the CBI than in cricket”. He said that after a BCCI meeting, convened to deal with the scandal when surrounded by the media at the Taj Mansingh hotel in New Delhi. As a cricket official, he opposed the decision to ban Mohammad Azharuddin and other cricketers in the match-fixing scandal in 2000, and later called the decision to ban them “total sham”. He felt that BCCI acted in undue haste to ban players for their alleged roles in match-fixing and that it was done to show the world that it was promptly taking action. As one of the three members of the BCCI disciplinary committee, Morarka skipped the crucial meeting at which the decision to ban Azhrauddin and four other persons was taken, on December 5, 2000, and later called the decision a “total sham”. Then BCCI president Muthiah and Karnataka State Cricket Association president KM Ram Prasad were the other members of the disciplinary committee. Despite Morarka skipping the meeting and refusing to sign the minutes, the BCCI, in the minutes of the meeting, claimed that the decision was “unanimous”.

Morarka headed the Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) from 2012. He was Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office under the Prime Minister-ship of Chandra Shekhar from 1990 to 1991. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan in 1988. In the 2016 Rajya Sabha election, he has backed Indian National Congress backed him as an independent candidate for Rajasthan polls. He received 34 votes of which 24 of the Indian National Congress, four of the National People’s Party, two of the BSP, and four Independents.

Morarka was chairman of Morarka Organic a Private Sector Organisation that offers services in Food Processing/ Beverages. He was also the owner of the biggest clothing mill in Indore, name Hukumchandra mill. Hukumchandra mill was closed in 1990 due to a financial crisis, which produced the highest unemployment in the history of the Indore. From 1990 to 2020 still all due is pending for more than 5000 workers. Most of the people died in these years; they are fighting with the MP govt. for their rights. Kamal Morarka is still an owner of few heritages “Havelis” in Rajasthan mostly in Nawalgarh. The most famous haveli is Kamal Morarka Haveli Museum, which is also a private museum. It was built in 1900 by Shri Jairamdasji Morarka (ancestor of Kamal Morarka), a connoisseur and patron of the arts.

Kamal Morarka was chairman of Mumbai-based tabloid Afternoon Despatch & Courier that has stopped printing for many years after a public spat between Kamal Morarka, chairman of the 34-year-old paper, and the CEO, Farzana Contractor. Contractor was dismissed by Morarka. Later on, she had written an emotional article against the chairman, which went as the cover story of the paper. In the article titled “It’s a sad day”, Contractor wrote about the tussle over the ownership of the paper, which she said had … The Afternoon Despatch & Courier was an evening tabloid in Mumbai, India. The newspaper was launched by Behram Contractor, better known as “Busybee”, on 25 March 1985. This newspaper served as a launchpad for several well-known journalists in India. The Afternoon Despatch & Courier concentrates on news and features from Mumbai and the adjoining cities. Finally, the newspaper was shut down in Feb 2020. Afternoon Despatch & Courier (ADC) had issued a Notice of closure stating that 19th July 2019 was the last working day at the publication’s office.

The 34 -year-old ADC, once a praiseworthy evening newspaper of Mumbai, has announced the imminent demise owing to continuing financial troubles and inability to revive the business fortune of the company. In its closure notice issued by the commercial manager of Courier Publications Pvt. Ltd. dated 18th July, stated that the Afternoon Despatch & Courier was stopped from 29th December 2018 owing to the dwindling circulation and advertising revenues. The efforts taken by the management to revive the business didn’t yield any positive results and subsequently, the company was closed effective from 20th July 2019. Consequently, the service of all the paid staff in service was also terminated w.e.f 19th July 2019 with a promise of settling their dues as per the legal process.

Earlier in 2013, Afternoon Despatch & Courier had stopped printing after a public spat between Kamal Morarka, Chairman of the paper, and the CEO, Farzana Contractor. The Newspaper’s financial conditions were not that great for more than a decade owing to the ownership war between Morarka and Contractor. Well, the newspaper got despatched and dumped much before the demise of Kamal Morarka and now there is no hope that ADC will ever have lived.


 

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