*Picture shows PTI’s Ranchi Incharge PV Ramanujam

On the morning of August 13, I received the news of my dear colleague and friend PV Ramanujam’s death with utter shock. 

After visiting his office cum residence in Ranchi, I talked to his wife P.Sobha Laxmi and learnt that the cause of his death was hanging before midnight on Wednesday. The reasons for his abrupt departure are tension and depression.

Having gone out of this planet, he has left his single child family in shock and helplessness. They will not even get life insurance benefits as the cause of his death is ‘suicide.’ The son is still studying and Sobha has been a housewife.

Almost two decades ago, in 2002, Ramanujam, who came to Ranchi as Press Trust of India(PTI) office chief cum reporter, was head of a single child family. He moved around by a rented three-wheeler. One of his photojournalist Mahadev Sen or Somnath Sen assisted him to travel and attend press conferences.

“I am going to buy a mo bike”, he told me years ago. Soon, he bought it and came to my residence riding this bicycle.”I have a passion to read and write”, he told me inside his official three-room flat with a two-room office in one of which he hanged himself to death last night.

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PTI Ranchi Office where Ramanajum committed suicide on August 12 night 2020

After I resigned from the Indian Express and started editing www.jharkhandstatenews.com, Ramanujam stood with me. More than a dozen stories written by him were published by www.jharkhandstatenews.com.Each of these stories were read by over 30,000 viewers across the world.

In any case, two almirahs in his drawing cum bedroom are packed with books. The laptop he must have used umpteen times was lying on a table there. While Laxmi said she was asleep in her bedroom, Ramanujam was busy doing a story on the status of COVID in Jharkhand.”In the morning I found him hanging from a ceiling fan in his office room”, she said with tears rolling down her face.

Was he suffering from depression? Laxmi replied in the affirmative. With his wife and son who is doing graduation in mass communication in Bhuvneshwar, Ramanujam has earned love and regards from among journalists in Jharkhand. Apparently, impressed by his enthusiasm and devotion, the PTI management must have kept him in the capital city of Jharkhand for twenty long years.

Over the past five years, he grew into a feisty journalist with an unmistakable nose for news. To be a PTI reporter is not easy, the odds are generally stacked against him. He has to swim for official and unofficial quotes to substantiate and complete the text of the story.

During his long inning of service to PTI, Ramanujam seems to have had earned the trust of politicians.No wonder why leaders cutting across party lines including JMM leader and Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Congress leader and ex-Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahay, Minister and Congress state unit president Rameshwar Oraon, BJP leader and ex-CM Babulal Marandi and BJP Ranchi MLA CP Singh has expressed sincere condolence message on his demise.

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