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Jane Swamy – Tributes to the media professional

Jane Swamy – Tributes to the media professional

by The Daily Eye News Desk September 24 2020, 6:07 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 51 secs

The Daily Eye Newsdesk spoke to Monarose Pareira, Ramesh Tekwani, Jehangir Patel and Fr. L Yesumarian sj to remember Jane Swamy and recall the great woman and teacher that she was.

Jane Swamy was a journalist, TV presenter, voice-over artist, a documentary filmmaker and media professor. She recently died aged 86 at her Prabhadevi residence. Jane Swamy had a Post-graduate Diploma in Journalism from Madras University and an M.A. in Journalism from Marquette University, Wisconsin, USA. She was one of the 12 women, who were part of India’s first female delegation to a meet in the USA in 1964. She was the first Woman Executive of Glaxo India, the first female President of the Association of Business Communicators, India. Various professionals pay tribute to her. Over to them:

Jehangir Patel, Former lecturer, XIC, and Editor – Parsiana

Jane and I joined XIC together in 1977. Fr Gerry Rosario interviewed us both, together, in a small office on the ground floor of St Xavier's College. Jane was feisty but well meaning individual and beneath her sometimes seemingly crusty exterior she was a caring and congenial person. She built up the journalism curriculum from an evening class with two or so sessions into a full fledged, structured, academic course.

Several directors said the journalism faculty and the course was one of the mainstays of the institution. That was due to her perseverance and determination. Her legacy lives on at XIC.

  1. L. Yesumarian sj, Advocate, and her journalism student

It is very sad to hear about the demise of Jane Swamy. Just this morning I thought of her in the context of my short story The New Week, which I wrote during our training. She liked it and read it out in the class. When I recalled the short story I remembered her. Once, she had said in the class: "I am keeping all my personal issues of National Geographic (a monthly), so that in my old age I will peruse, them leisurely". Hope she enjoyed them. She was a committed teacher. I remember her in my prayers and in the Mass.

Monarose Sheila Pereira, Author and Media Professor says, "Jane Swamy taught me Journalism at The Xavier Institute Of Communications, Mumbai. She had studied abroad and because of that she bought with her a different angle to the subject. She also headed the Public Relations department at Glaxo. She brought to class her vast knowledge and experience in the media and the corporate world. She was one of India's first English anchors. TV came to Mumbai around 1973. I was in school then. I remember her swiveling around on her chair and saying - Welcome to Tele-go-round. It was a program of interesting snippets of various events and people. She was a boon to media students. One has to just observe the upside down 'exclamation mark' bindi in her photograph to know that she was a very unconventional woman of her times."

Ramesh Tekwani, Writer, Filmmaker and Vice President - Film Federation of India, says: I was once a student of Jane Swamy and had been a good part of my life from my teens, my college days, till about a few years ago. As TV newsreader she was part of the indomitable gang of dynamic women who powered Mumbai Doordarshan then; they include Luku Sanyal, Sarita Sethi, Shukla Das and Suman Bajaj (now Bajaj-Kalra). Our paths did not merely cross, but my fanboy moments soon interwoven with professional interaction as I matured to become a practicing media professional. With Jane Swamy it went beyond, she became part of my life at XIC - The Xavier Institute of Communications where she headed the Journalism and PR Course and even became Dean. I was visiting faculty at XIC, taking audiovisual application sessions for advertising and film making courses, she saw the importance of my sessions for Journalism and PR and got me to create some customized sessions. Then, work exigencies kept me away from XIC, but nothing could keep me away from the annual XIC Alumni and Faculty meets. This is where I got to meet Jane Swamy regularly. Her winsome smile and gently voiced updates made our brief meetings, both energizing and rejuvenating. Then, suddenly, one year she went missing. Not keeping well, we were told. Today, as we reel in the grip of an unrelenting pandemic, I received a matter-of-fact WhatsApp post telling me that Jane Swamy has passed away. This lockdown has even denied us the opportunity of expressing community grief where an unwritten kinship transforms the personal sorrow of the moment to sweet fond memories. We shall miss you Jane ma'am.

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