T. J. S. George Indian writer and biographer

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T. J. S. George
TJS Ammu 60th anniv Aug 2017.jpg
T. J. S. George and wife Ammu at their 60th wedding anniversary, 2017
Thayil Jacob Sony George

(1928-05-07) 7 May 1928 (age 92)
OccupationJournalist, author
Spouse(s)Ammu George
ChildrenJeet Thayil, Sheba

Thayil Jacob Sony George (born 7 May 1928) is an Indian writer and biographer who received a Padma Bhushan award in 2011 in the field of literature and education.[1] The fourth of eight siblings, TJS was born in Kerala, India to Thayil Thomas Jacob, a magistrate, and Chachiamma Jacob, a homemaker. Although his roots are in Thumpamon, Kerala, he lives in Bangalore and Coimbatore with his wife Ammu. He has a daughter, Sheba Thayil and a son, Jeet Thayil. American TV journalist Raj Mathai is his nephew.

Career and writing style

T. J. S. George has achieved distinction internationally as a professional author, serious political columnist and biographer with a series of major books. After graduating from Madras Christian College in Chennai (then Madras), India, with an Honours degree in English Literature, he began his career in The Free Press Journal in Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1950. He moved through the International Press Institute, The Searchlight, and the Far Eastern Economic Review to become the founding editor of Asiaweek (Hong Kong).[2]

He is currently the Editorial Advisor of The New Indian Express.[3] A veteran senior journalist and one of the best known columnists in India, he continues his fight against social injustice, corruption and political anarchies through his columns in Indian Express.[4]

Besides being an editor, columnist, author and eternal wordsmith, he has also been a longtime China watcher. After a gap of 10 years, he went back to China in 2008 to witness the Olympic preparations and wrote a series of articles about modern China.[5]

Few media persons have experienced the romance of journalism in as great a measure as T. J. S. George has. His journey from the newsroom of S. Sadanand's Free Press Journal to the top of the profession was eventful. While heading a Bihar daily, he earned the displeasure of the chief minister and became the first editor to be charged with sedition in free India. During a stint abroad, the highlight of which was the founding of Asiaweek in Hong Kong with himself as its Editor, he incurred the wrath of some of Southeast Asia's rulers.[6]

— B. R. P. Bhaskar

When The Searchlight editor T.J.S. George was arrested for his thunderous editorials against then Bihar Chief Minister K.B. Sahay, it was [Defence Minister V.K. Krishna] Menon who airdashed to Patna to defend him.[7]

— A.J. Philip

He is a man who does not mince his words to please others and who does not believe in withholding the truth however unpleasant it may be.[2]

— Dr. K. Javeed Nayeem

Very few journalists are capable of expressing a subjective opinion as clearly and boldly, without prevarication or rigmarole, like T. J. S. George.[8]

— K. B. Ganapathy


  • Krishna Menon (London: Jonathan Cape, 1964; OCLC 2882534 / New York: Taplinger, 1965; OCLC 409386) offers a remarkable insight into the baffling personality of the Indian statesman and freedom fighter who inspired a few, infuriated many and embarrassed all.
  • Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore (London: André Deutsch, 1973; ISBN 978-0-233-96517-8) is a penetrating analysis of the policies and predilections of this controversial leader.
  • The Life and Times of Nargis (New Delhi: Megatechnics, 1994; ISBN 978-81-7223-149-1), an elegant and informative book about the eternal artiste who goes beyond the Hindi film industry, is a throwback to a Golden Age of artistic talent untainted by technology or commercialism.
  • The Enquire Dictionary: Ideas, Issues, Innovations (New Delhi: HarperCollins, 1998; ISBN 978-81-7223-377-8) includes Indian and East Asian terms that are conspicuously absent in Western dictionaries.
  • The Enquire Dictionary of Quotations (New Delhi: HarperCollins, 2001; ISBN 978-81-7223-417-1) reflects Indian thought, ancient and modern.
  • Lessons in Journalism – The Story of Pothan Joseph (New Delhi: Viva Books, 2007; ISBN 978-81-309-0788-8. See also Pothan Joseph's India, New Delhi: Sanchar Pub. House, 1992; ISBN 978-81-7203-008-7) depicts the colourful life of the legendary editor and freedom fighter whose career highlights the importance of professionalism and values in journalism.
  • The First Refuge of Scoundrels: Politics in Modern India (Chennai: Express Publications, 2003; ISBN 978-81-86013-05-2) is a collection of articles from TJS George's weekly column, "Point of View", that was a regular feature of The New Indian Express for 10 years.
  • Revolt in Mindanao: The Rise of Islam in Philippine Politics (London: Oxford University Press, 1980; ISBN 978-0-19-580460-7)
  • Revolt in Bihar: A study of the August 1965 uprising (New Delhi: Perspective Publications, 1965; OCLC 7368391)
  • Moments (Patna: Searchlight Press, 1965; OCLC 2870547) is a collection of articles from "Sidelights," the author's editorial column of The Searchlight newspaper, Bihar, India, 1964–65.
  • The Provincial Press in India (New Delhi: Press Institute of India, 1966; OCLC 133804) discusses several aspects of the growth of Indian language newspapers.
  • Editing: A Handbook for Journalists (New Delhi: Indian Institute of Mass Communications, 1989; OCLC 65172561) foresees the threat of electronic competition and redefines the new role of the print media editor .
  • (ed.) India 1000 to 2000: the story of a 1000 years (Chennai: Express Publications, 2000; ISBN 978-81-86013-04-5) A Millennium Book of Reference.
  • (ed.) India at 50: Facts, Figures and Analyses 1947 – 1997 (Chennai: Express Publications, 1997; ISBN 978-81-86013-03-8)
  • MS – A Life in Music, (New Delhi: HarperCollins, 2004; ISBN 978-81-7223-527-7) "unravels the saga of one of India's most revered musicians",[9] M. S. Subbulakshmi, "who broke through the barriers of class and caste to be accepted by the puritanical upper crust of South Indian society and applauded by the male-dominated bastion of Carnatic music in Madras".[10]
  • The Goenka Letters: Behind the scenes in The Indian Express (Chennai: East West Books, 2006; ISBN 978-81-88661-50-3) provides an insight into the hidden and often selfish and petty side of some of the mightiest icons of Indian politics,[2] as well as "vignettes of a period when journalism [in India] underwent a metamorphosis."[11]
  • Nātōtikkappalil nālumāsam (Kottayam: DC Books, 2006; ISBN 978-81-264-1383-6. This is a Malayalam translation by Malayatoor Ramakrishnan, illustrations by Bal Thackeray. Original title: Journalist at sea) describes the author's travels to Africa, England and Europe in a merchant ship.
  • Ghōshayāthra (Kottayam: DC Books, 2008; ISBN 978-81-264-1956-2), memoirs written in his native language, Malayalam, is an egoless "procession", a journey set off from Bombay to New York through Hong Kong and includes a historical account of modern Indian English journalism.
  • Askew: A Short Biography of Bangalore (Aleph Book Company, 2016; ISBN 978-9384067212) brings alive the history and culture of the erstwhile Garden City turned IT hub, with colorful anecdotes about people, places, and eateries narrated by a longtime resident.
  • Jaya: An Incredible Story (Pinnacle Books, 2018; ISBN 978-8193656907) is a compilation of photographs capturing the life and times of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa with interesting captions and annotations.


  • Kesari Media Award (2017))[12]
  • Kamala Surayya Award (2017)[13]
  • Azeekodu Award (2013)
  • Padma Bhushan (2011)[1]
  • Basheer Puraskaram Award (2008)[4]
  • Rajyotsava Award (2007)[14]
  • Mohammed Koya Journalism Award (2005)[15]
  • Patrika Academy Award (2001).[16]


  1. ^ a b Padma Awards Announced Press Information Bureau, Government of India, 2011
  2. ^ a b c Dr. K. Javeed Nayeem, "By George!"Star of Mysore, 2008
  3. ^ Kannada Prabha, 2008 part of The New Indian Express Group
  4. ^ a b Basheer Puraskaram Award, 2008
  5. ^ First of a six-part series on China Churumuri Wordpress, 2008
  6. ^ B. R. P. Bhaskar, "Ghoshayathra" Review, The Hindu, 2008.
  7. ^ A.J. Philip, "Menon deserved better" The Tribune, 2008.
  8. ^ K. B. Ganapathy, Chief Editor, Star of Mysore
  9. ^ MS – A Life in Music Indiaclub book review
  10. ^ MS – A Life in Music Muse India book review
  11. ^ A.J. Philip, "Press and pressures" The Tribune, 2006
  12. ^ Kesari Media Award, 2017
  13. ^ Kamala Surayya Award, 2017
  14. ^ Rajyotsava Award, 2007
  15. ^ Mohammed Koya Award, 2005
  16. ^ Patrika Academy Award, 2001

External links

  • Blogspot TJS George – Point of View
  • Q&A: TJS on journalism
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