Veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar passes away

Kuldip Nayar in a programme in Bengaluru in 2005. (DH File Photo)

Veteran journalist and activist Kuldip Nayar, who was jailed during the 1975 Emergency, passed away here last night.

95-year-old Nayar, who was a Director at The Printers Mysore Pvt Ltd that brings out 'Deccan Herald' and 'Prajavani' among other publications, breathed his last at the Escorts hospital at around 12:30 AM where he was admitted a day after his birthday on August 14. 

Though he was not keeping well for some time, he was writing till recently his regular column 'Between the Lines' till recently and appeared in around 80 newspapers in 14 languages, including Deccan Herald.

He also former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. The cremation will take place at Lodhi crematorium at 1 pm.

Born in Sialkot, now in Pakistan, in 1923, he did his BA from Forman Christian College in Lahore and LLB from Law College, Lahore. Later in 1952, he did a journalism course from the US.

He started off as an Urdu journalist before becoming the editor of The Statesman. During Emergency, he was jailed for his opposition to the Indira Gandhi regime and credited with not crawling before the government as many media did during that period.

Nayar was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1997 while he was media advisor to the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. 

'Between the Lines'

There will be no more 'Between the Lines' columns, which enriched the readers understanding of India and the world. DH was among the newspapers which used to publish the popular column.

A quintessential journalist, Nayar was one of the doyens of journalism who stood firm against any politician or policymaker and always kept the interest of the common man while doing journalism.

Before he was hospitalised on August 15, Nayar had completed a column, which would become his last column. That was Nayar's passion for journalism and writing.

He donned several caps -- editor, media advisor to a Prime Minister, diplomat, a peace activist, an MP, a columnist, writer and moreover a hope and inspiration to generations of journalists.

Nayar was Media Advisor to the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and was with him when the latter breathed his last in Tashkent. He returned to journalism following this.

Later, he was also made India's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. In 1997, he also became one of the nominated members of Rajya Sabha.

Known for his scoops like Pakistan nuclear scientist AQ Khan's disclosure about the neighbouring country having atom bombs much before it was made public, Nayar was a peacenik and wanted to see lasting peace between the two countries. 

He was also an instrumental figure in the back channel diplomacy with Pakistan.

Nayar has been one of the directors of the Printers Mysore Private Limited which brings out Deccan Herald and Prajavani among other Publications.

Condolences

Politicians across the party lines expressed their grief over the passing away of Kuldip Nayar.

President Ram Nath Kovind said on Twitter Nayar's readers will miss him.

"Sad to hear of the passing of Kuldip Nayar, veteran editor and writer, diplomat and parliamentarian, and a determined champion of democracy during the Emergency. His readers will miss him. Condolences to his family and associates," Kovind tweeted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Kuldip Nayar as an "intellectual giant" and said the veteran journalist would be remembered for his fearless views.

"Kuldip Nayar was an intellectual giant of our times. Frank and fearless in his views...His strong stand against the Emergency, public service and commitment to a better India will always be remembered," Modi said on Twitter. 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also conveyed her condolences to Nayar's family. "Saddened at the passing away of fearless, popular veteran journalist and author Kuldip Nayar. My condolences to his family, admirers and colleagues," she said on Twitter.

Offering their condolences, the Editors Guild of India said Nayar as known to be a "reporter's editor". His many "legendary news scoops will continue to inspire generations of young journalists for their sharpness, credibility, speed and standards of due diligence", it said.

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Veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar passes away

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