In memory of K.E. Eapen

k_e_eapenProfessor K.E. Eapen, a pioneer in journalism and communication education in India, passed away in Bangalore on Saturday 23 October 2010. Professor Eapen was actively associated with journalism for over 50 years, having set up three university departments of journalism and communication. Professor Eapen was Vice-president of IAMCR from 1988-1992.

Condolence messages from IAMCR members

Some of you may remember Prof. Eapen as an IAMCR stalwart. He was a Vice President of IAMCR in the late 80s and early 90s. He played a pioneering role in India and established the first, professional journalism course at Hyslop College, Nagpur and was subsequently involved in establishing a number of J&C schools in the country. He was, I believe, the first Prof. Emeritus in J&C in India.

Click here to read an obituary at the Hindu newspaper.

Pradip Thomas (Australia)

Dear colleagues,

I do recall Professor Eapan's participation in IAMCR in past years. Ibelieve he was one of a handful of members from 'developing' areas, certainly from South Asia, in earlier times. I am glad that Professor Eapen lived to see his country growing into agreat power, with a major economy and a press, one which is seen as anexemplary press in a developing country, in many quarters.

I would like to publicly express my sympathies to the Eapen family and Professor Eapen's colleagues and friends, including those in IAMCR, on his passing.

Naren Chitty (Australia)

Dear colleagues,

My heartfelt sympathies go to Professor Eapen's family, friends and colleagues. He was the voice of reason and wisdom.

Annie Méar (Canada)

K.E. Eapen was indeed a milestone colleague of media scholarship as well as in the IAMCR family. He was Vice President of IAMCR in 1988-92. His participation in IAMCR started in the 1970s and throughout the 1980s he was involved in the Professional Education Section and its "texbook project" where he was in charge of India & SAARC countries.

Kaarle Nordenstreng (Finland)

Dear colleagues,

It is from Prof. Eapen I learned to approach the study of the media as society-centric and not media-centric as it used to be. He was a man of great calibre who not only encouraged youngsters but exchanged views with youngsters without a fuss. The moment he became less active in academia the all-India media teachers' network and the journal he established started dying. I continue to be a life member of the Indian association he found and cherished, but the association died as no one was willing to devote the time and energy like him. Prof. Eapen was a rare species who totally devoted his life to the discipline of his choice; and all media teachers in India should take him as a role model.

I deeply mourn his death.

Arul Aram (India)

Dear All:

K. E. Eapen was a man of extraordinary grace and gentleness as well as a very fine scholar.  He exemplified all that is good in the scholastic tradition.  It is splendid that the Indian press is recognizing his profound contribution to the establishment of journalism education and communication studies in India.

I suggest that we collect the various tributes to him and remember him together at the next IAMCR conference in Istanbul.

Annabelle Sreberny (United Kingdom)

I do remember Eapen K. Eapen very well and I feel honored that he always was in support of my work. It was him who brought my attention to India, to her very variety of people, languages and cultures. And it was his and Binod Agrawal's work at the Prague General Assembly 1984 that the IAMCR conference took place in New Delhi 1986 (and this decision was taken against the majority of US and European votes).

Jörg Becker (Germany)

Dear Colleagues,

I also have fond memories of Professor Eapen, and I was glad to be able to support his candidacy for the office of Vice President of IAMCR at the 1988 conference in Barcelona.  He was truly dedicated to the field of journalism and media studies, and to improving the practice of journalism and public communication in his beloved India.  I remember once in a discussion at an IAMCR meeting about new communication technology that he made a plea for the old technology of typewriters for journalism classes in India.  He had an ability to cut through abstract rhetoric to the reality of the situation in his home country time and again.  I will miss him, even though I have not seen him since the Singapore conference of IAMCR in 2000.  He made a positive and lasting difference in our field and in his home country, which is all that any of us can hope to do.

Dave Weaver (United States)

We should all celebrate the life and distinguished career of Professor K.E. Eapen. As an experienced scholar and an institution builder he devoted his skills and energy to teaching new generations of media scholars the art and philosophy of journalism in the service of society. While his pedagogical activism and academic leadership were keenest felt in his native India, as the local press and so many of his colleagues have affirmed, he also touched the lives of many others around the world. I had the pleasure of many insightful conversations with him at meetings of the IAMCR, and he was among those who welcomed and oriented me and other new members when we first
attended conferences of the Association. The IAMCR, as the global Association that he served as a Vice President and helped to strengthen, especially in Asia, will now need to consider the best way of honouring him on the sad occasion of his passing. In the meantime, individuals such as myself from the other side of the world in the Caribbean will simply treasure the memory of a kind man, a mentor, a towering Asian scholar and an institution builder.

Condolences to his family and close associates.

Hopeton S. Dunn (Jamaica)

I met Dr. Eapen at IAMCR 1986 in New Delhi and he became a life long friend and mentor. His contributions to the growth of journalism and media studies in India and to the enrichment of colleagues at IAMCR is invaluable. My heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the family of Dr. Eapen and to all who were associated with him in any way.

Mohammad A. Siddiqi (United States)

It is sad news. I've known Professor Eapen for more than 20 years and he was one of the trusted sources if you wanted to know something about India, developing country of the global media policy. We will miss him.

Wolfgang Kleinwächter (Germany)

Dear Colleagues,

The demise of Professor Eapen is a great loss for communication scholars. Almost all Indians and scholars from across the globe respect him a great scholar and passionate media researcher, in particular Journalism Educators.

I pray for his salvation and express my sincere sympathy to his family members and associates.

Mohammad Sahid Ullah (Bangladesh)

Dear Colleagues:

I was going to let members having closer ties with Eapen speak for me.  But Jörg's pictures are touching.  Eapen was very kind to me when I was still a young scholar and new to IAMCR.  Such kindness, and such perspicacity.  Am grateful for the opportunity to have known him.  He'll be missed.

Thomas Jacobson (United States)

My condolences to Professor Eapen¹s family.  Meeting Professor Eapen in Prague in 1984, my first IAMCR conference, was inspiring.  He corresponded with me several times during my term as President.  He was very interested to learn about IAMCR developments during that period.  He was very generous ­ a lovely man with strong convictions who will be missed.

Robin Mansell (United Kingdom)

I first met Professor K. E. Eapen in the late 70's in Mysore University and also several times in India and latter in Bangladesh when he came to visit University of Dhaka for a research purpose. One of the pioneers of Communication Education in India and also proponent of Development Communication, Prof Eapen had a vision how to utilize modern communication technology in the developing societies of India, and other countries. He was involved in Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) Communication research in India in 1975-77, when he shared his experiences in Mysore University of that project. I remember him as one of the real educationists and intellectuals of communication arena. It is a great loss. We miss him. 

Md. Golam Rahman, (Papua-New Guinea)

When I shifted from journalism to media academics, he was one of the recognised leaders in the field in India. At his request I joined the association he was leading. I was neither his student nor one of his favourites. His greatest contribution in my opinion was to bring IAMCR to New Delhi in 1986. That was the period when I interacted with him and later also met him at his home in Bangalore where after retirement he was helping some NGOs. May his soul rest in peace!

K.M.Shrivastava (India)

Dear Colleagues:

It is hard to believe that Prof. Eapen is no longer with us. I first met Prof. Eapen in 1992 in Brazil while I attended the IAMCR Conference. I am really greatly shocked with the sad demise of Prof. Eapen. He was very knowledgeable in his subject and cordial to others. My heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the family of Dr. Eapen and to all who were associated with him in any way.

M. Abul Kashem (Bangladesh)

Dear All:

I have been reading the tributes on Dr Eapen and I am thrillled at the contributions of this great man to communication. His spirit lives on. May he rest in peace.

Kate Azuka Omenugha (Nigeria)

Slowly, but inevitable, a generation of colourful and inspirational IAMCR devotees begins to fade away. Our Council of Elders is getting smaller by the year. Reflecting on the death of K.E.Eapen all of us have our own fond memories of a learned, modest and gentle colleague. I met Eapen in the late 1960s when he was a PhD student of Jim Halloran. He worked in Leicester on an important study on development communication in Zambia and Indonesia. In 1972 I could invite him to a seminar (in Hilversum) that produced an agenda for international media research. Among his many contributions to this meeting was his critique of the prevailing attitudes and strategies of  Western fly-by-night researchers. They  arrive in a hurry with vast resources, gather data, and then vanish never to be heard of  except via scholarly journals from abroad or through books published in the West. He added to this that with all their claims about media that could solve the problems of poor countries, Western social scientists had not been able to propose how media should be used to solve the problems in their own societies, such as the use of drugs among young people. This critical position formed the basis  for of a long East/West friendship that should have lasted longer!

Cees Hamelink (The Netherlands)

Prof. Eapen's passing away is indeed a big loss for the communication teaching and research fraternity in India and around the world.  He was one of the pioneers of Communication and Journalism Studies in India and was largely responsible for introducing many of us to the IAMCR.  The hosting of the 1986 IAMCR Conference in New Delhi was one of his major successes. 

I worked closely with Prof. Eapen as a member of the University Grants' Commission's Panel on Communication and Journalism.  He lobbied hard for accreditation of media programmes across the country but made little headway; that struggle still continues even as low-quality training institutes proliferate.  He was also keen that textbooks by Indian scholars be promoted.  His concerns about communication education are expressed lucidly in his little-known monograph titled 'Communication: A Disciple in Distress'.

We will miss his sage presence at seminars and conferences.

Keval J. Kumar (India)

It might sound queer and even blasphemous to say that as an Indian and as a Communication teacher and researcher,  I met Prof.Eapen only once and that too outside India! I met Prof. Eapen for the first time at Glasgow IAMCR conference in 1998! Anyone  who have had something to do with  Mass Ccommunication teaching and research in India knew him even without having met him.  His presence was stamped on the teaching, research and policy-making bodies of Journalism education in India for over 4 decades.

Recently, news of his illness and being in the hospital was quite shocking for all of us , and  whenever & where ever some of us met, this was an issue of great distress for us.  The news of his death has in a way drawn curtains on one generation of Indian scholars who gave a new perspective to issues of development communication  and challenges of technology in a poor setting.

We can think of some way of dedicating our homage to the departed soul during the next IAMCR conference in 2011.

Gita Bamezai (India)