The Shillong Press Club expresses profound grief and sorrow at the unfortunate passing away of yet another strong pillar of journalism of Meghalaya, Mr. Tilak Rai on September 28, 2021.
Born on February 4, 1965, ‘Tilak’ to his peers and ‘Bah’ to his forever long line of cub reporters, he was known and acknowledged for his keen sense of news and drive to close a story at the earliest but thoroughly. A product of Little Flower School, Malki he completed his graduation from St. Anthony’s College in the late 80s and then embarked on his remarkable journey of journalism.
Tilak was widely known and sometimes feared for his astute sense of unseen news and his keen drive to elicit information from anyone. It was never a challenge for him to cajole, induce or coerce someone for a story. He had that much wind in his sail even on a dry day.
Prolific in English, Hindi, Nepali and Khasi, Tilak began his journalistic foray with U Lum Shyllong a popular weekly Khasi in 1990-91 which was published by Bah Bindo M Lanong. Then came the rush of print journalism and he had a brief stint with Shillong Times after which he continued his writing with Meghalaya Guardian.
Forever on the move and exploring new avenues, he then joined the Indian Express in 1997 where he not only interviewed numerous dignitaries and celebrities; but closely interacted with quite a few of them much to the envy of his peers and officials on many occasions. Raj Bhavan, the State Assembly and Secretariat were his favourite hunting grounds, and he maintained a very cordial love-hate relationship with the Who’s Who of Meghalaya and even outside.
He then quit the Indian Express in 2003 to introduce a new concept of news dissemination with the launch of ‘Evening Mail’ an evening daily which hit the stands at 4pm every day. Tilak also was the first to start an online news portal in the State ‘Oh Meghalaya’ in 2008 which still receives ample visitors till date.
Tilak Rai will be remembered as the first self-made journalist in the State who unlike his contemporaries, was not publisher, editor and reporter all at once only to wind up after a little time. He stuck to hardcore reporting eventually working in one of the biggest news houses in the country and culminating in launching novel projects of his own.
He was a very generous person with information, ever willing to part with knowledge to younger colleagues. He will also be long remembered for his stout defense of any journalist in need of help in any aspect of life.
In his passing away, the journalist fraternity has lost a great soul, learned journalist & scholar, humble personality and above all, a towering elder brotherly figure who will be extremely tough to replace. May he rest in eternal peace with his Creator.
Once again, the Shillong Press Club with deep regret and sorrow conveys its sincerest condolences to the bereaved family members of (L) Bah Tilak. May God Almighty grant you solace during these darkest moments.