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Navneet Chugh. (photo provided)

Growing up in Nagpur, my family was addicted to newspapers. A dozen would arrive every morning, and my father spent more time with newspapers than other humans in the house. Naturally, the humans in turn got close to the newspapers. No internet, no television, a radio on CPR, and the conduit to the world was black ink on dead trees.

Then the patriarch arrives in Los Angeles, and the active 60-year-old had to be kept very busy. So, we lean towards what we know best – newspapers. Sensing a void in the news dissemination to the SoCal Indian community, we start L.A. India on June 17, 1988. Local news from the SoCal Indians was given preference over what was happening in New Delhi, and the community loved it.

Birthdays, engagements, weddings, anniversaries, graduations – everything was newsworthy. If five Indians gathered anywhere between zip code 90000 to 93999, it was worth telling everyone about it. News from zip codes starting with 94 and 95, we ignored and left to our worthy older opponent – India-West.

A few years later we changed the name of the paper from L.A. India to India Journal, which in hindsight was not a smart move. A score years later, people still write their subscription checks to “L.A. India” and mail them to us in an envelope addressed to “India Journal.”

We are happy that we played a role in keeping the SoCal Indian community informed of all things “Indian” and provided a taste of “India” 8,000 miles away. Our calendar kept you informed of all Indian American activities in town, our readers always knew which shop was selling jalebis at 99 cents a pound, and our advertisers were able to grow their business by advertising their products and services.

Any regrets? Yes, we didn’t do enough sharing of community news. We didn’t share every pound of good news and every ounce of sorrow. We should have been even more community centric than we were. We often forgot why we took birth.

To our readers, a thank you for reading and encouraging us to put out 1,600 editions of the paper since 1988. We will never forget you, and give you even better information through a new avatar.

To our advertisers, no amount of thanks is enough because you kept us alive. Your advertisements paid for the news gathering, printing, and mailing. For you, our marriage with India-West will yield the best results.

Along the way, many people worked at India Journal in the last 31 years, and to each one, a heartfelt thank you and a bow of gratitude. No one we hired had ever worked at a newspaper, and no one knew what to do or how to do it, but we all managed, including our first typist who didn’t know how to type. Or, when Raj Kapoor died the first week of India Journal, we published his dead horizontal picture upside down. Nevertheless, gems of human beings we had an opportunity to work with.

Life goes on, and best to adjust with the turns along the way. News is reaching people through many channels, and print media is not the flavor of the month. There is no need for two newspapers to be serving the California Indian American community, and a combined India-West-India Journal should do the trick. Every person at India-West is a hardcore journalist and cares about the community more than they care about themselves.

Combined we shall reach you in every way possible beyond print. You will see us on every platform you use, and we commit to doing everything better than ever before. It is a community newspaper, it is your paper, it is your media outlet. Share with us everything about your life and we will share it with the other passengers on this journey of life.

The passengers are no longer on an L.A.-bound train, they are now – thanks to the internet – eight million South Asians in North America. It is truly now the Indian Subcontinent in the West. Forty million diaspora of the subcontinent has drifted away, a fifth of it to North America. To these eight million, we will connect you to the Indian subcontinent, and to each other.

A goodbye to you from India Journal, and excited to say hello to you from India-West. Be well.

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