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Utpal Parashar: Over the past 70 years, Lalbiakthanga Pachuau appears to have lived several lifetimes – from
donning olive green military fatigues to fight the Japanese during World War II to starting his own newspaper and editing it for close to half-a-century.
On Friday, the 90-year-old editor of the Mizo daily, Zoram Tlangau, was declared India’s oldest working journalist by the Mizoram Journalists Association.
State information minister Lal Thanzara handed over a citation to Pachuau for his long innings in journalism and his contribution to social causes at a function in Aizawl.
“I never expected to achieve such a record. I am thankful to almighty, my family, friends and colleagues for the honour,” Pachuau told HT over phone. A devout Christian, the 90-year-old hopes to continue his stint with journalism for as long as he can.
Born in Siachal, 80 km away from the state capital, Pachuau studied only till Class III before joining the Assam Regiment of the British Indian Army in 1945 at 18.
He fought for the British army in Burma (present Myanmar) against the Japanese. Pachau was awarded several medals for his valour, including the Burma Star, during his 17-year-long military career.
After leaving the army, he started writing for Mizo newspapers and went on to start Zoram Tlangau, his own newspaper, in 1970, which he edits till today.
There is no official record India’s oldest working journalist but the Mizoram Journalists Association — the apex body of journalists in the state – is confident that Pachuau is the record holder.
Guwahati-based DN Chakraborty, 85, who is the editor of Sankar Jyoti (daily) and Prag Jyotish (weekly), both in Assamese, was earlier termed by some news reports as the oldest working journalist.
“We are very lucky and proud to have someone like him in Mizoram.