Kirti Khatri, Kutch and Kutchmitra have become synonyms. Any journalist who has been to Kutch on a journalistic assignment will agree with this introduction of Kirti.
He is a kind of moving encyclopedia of Kutch with a clear vision for better Kutch.
Though Kirti retired as editor of the leading newspaper of Kutch, Kutchmitra two years ago, he is still associated with this newspaper as its consulting editor. This is just a technical shift in his position in the newspaper, for people of Kutch and the staff of the newspaper it is the same Kirti Khatri.
Recently he had been to North-East on what he calls a personal study tour and has penned his views in five weekly articles in his newspaper Kutchmitra for his readers. Not many have the idea that Pakistan first attacked India on April 9, 1965 in Kutch as a kind of trial for full fledged attack on India later that year.
Earlier this year, Kirti visited Bangalore to interview 81 year old S J Coelho who was Collector of Kutch at that time. He had literally seen the attack as he was in the target border area on that day. Kirti remembered that story and like a great journalist traced Coelho and interviewed him for the 50 years of the attack in which CRPF had a huge causality.
Kirti is Kutchi, son of famous short story writer of Kutch, Jayant Khatri. But his journalistic career began with Janshakti in Mumbai and later he moved to Jansatta in Ahmedabad. It is here that I met him first.
However, it is his career as Deputy Editor in 1980 and Chief Editor since 1982 for ‘Kutchmitra’ which makes him a noted journalist of the best cadre. His insightful Editorship for ‘Kutchmitra’ has taken the Newspaper to a new height.
He has been honored with several awards starting from ‘Kutch Shakti Award’ in1990 to ‘Harindra Dave SmritiParitoshik’ in 2011. He has also been awarded by Life Time Achievement in Journalism Award by Gujarat Media Club.He is the second recipient of Tushar Bhatt Journalism Award.
Kirti Khatri has come out with a nine volume of his writings. It is basically a compilation of his writings spanned over 32 years. This is the period when he has remained with Kutchmitra.
The compilation is missing the young Kirti, the man who started his career in Mumbai and later shifted to Jansatta in Ahmedabad. He belongs to old school of journalisms where journalists rarely thought of having records of their writings to create profile. Even the writings in these books could become possible because of the well organized library of Kutchmitra.
The first of the nine books “Manas Vali Kutchimadu” tells what Kirti means to his friends in media, leaders in society whether they are businessmen or bureaucrats.
|One of his books|
The title of the first article in this book aptly describes what Kirti Khatri is. The title is “national editor of a district newspaper”. Probably nothing can describe journalist in Kirti better than this title.
Like me many journalist friends feel that he would have a star journalist if he were in Mumbai or Delhi. But, he is Kutchi Madu-man of Kutch- and always remained kutchi. As son of famous Kutch based short story writer Jayant Khatri, spirit of Kutch is in his blood and since he was brought up in Kutch and his growth was mainly in Kutch, he breaths Kutch in all aspects of his life.
And if he were not there, who could have told national media about what Kutch is what are its problems and the fascinating kutch. Like me there are scores of journalists for whom Kirti was the main source of stories about Kutch. Stories of border issues hit headlines in national media with journalists accumulating by-lines, all courtesy Kirti Khatri, a name unknown to the readers of these stories.
Writings in the eight volumes take reader to Kutch when scarcity and Kutch were common as struggle of Kutchi men and arduous terrain of the second biggest district of India.
March 12 is the birthday of Kirti born in 1946.