A veteran journalist speaks
Veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar’s autobiography Beyond the lines was launched at a gala on Wednesday. Graced by the Who’s who from media, political world and diplomatic circles the event not only saw a stimulating discussion on Nayar’s book, but also some interesting anecdotes exchanged by eminent speakers and the author.
Founder chairman Pramod Kapoor, Roli Books and publisher of Beyond the Lines, commented, “The book may have already created news due to some revelations but Kuldip left many juicy parts out.
“As much as the many controversial parts of the book are bound to help us in the sales, we take full responsibility for all that is published, and the fact that Kuldip’s son is a lawyer gives me much comfort,” he said cheekily leaving the audience in splits.
Vinod Mehta, former editor of Outlook said that Kuldip has always championed just causes as an activist and a media man. “I have always called him the patron-saint of all causes - won and lost. He would be the first to go and light candles at Wagah for betterment of Indo-Pak relations and request us fellow scribes to accompany him. He stood by Sikhs during Emergency whatever in the book may have angered them now.”
“The book,” he added, “has a wonderful record of events in the nation’s history. Not only do we have the ‘juicy parts’ speculating on how former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri may have died but also interesting facts on his life.”
BJP leader Arun Jaitley remarked, “Kuldip’s innocence is his biggest strength. After reading what he wrote on Pakistan’s nuclear programme, and comparing it to other accounts, I realised that he got it just by talking to AQ Khan. He is the kind of journalist who will simply talk you out of information and you wouldn’t even come to know.”
Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of a leading Bangladesh newspaper - Daily Star observed that “Kuldip’s knowledge and memory of events and incidents remains unmatchable.” Thanking Mahfuz for his kind words, the 89 year old journalist remarked, “It is a good memory that makes a good journalist. I am blessed to have one. Also, a nation must have a good memory. The time of the Emergency, which I have elaborated upon in the book, is a time to remember - the media, hopelessly, submitted to the ruling political class. I think it was at that time newspaper proprietors realised that if journalists can bow to politicians, then why not us?”
“The freedom of the press is invaluable. Journalists must work independently, without any fear or favour. We must be an example for our South Asian friends where the press is subjugated, where there is lack of democracy and the judiciary is struggling. I dream of a peaceful South Asia - capable administration, fair judiciary and an independent press. I hope this dream comes true very soon.”