Veteran journalist Kuldeep Nayar passes away at 95

Nayar's many legendary news scoops will continue to inspire generations of young journalists, says the Editors Guild of India

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Aug 23, 2018 1:16 PM Updated: Aug 23, 2018 1:16 PM

Veteran journalist and former Rajya Sabha member Kuldeep Nayar took his last breath in New Delhi around 1 am on Thursday. He was 95.

Nayar is survived by his wife and two sons. His last rites will be performed at 1 pm on Thursday at the Lodhi Road crematorium.

Several eminent personalities of the country, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, paid tributes to Nayar. President Kovind said Nayar was a "determined champion of democracy". The Editors Guild of India has also expressed condolences on Nayar’s sad demise. Paying its tributes to Nayar, the Guild, in a statement, said that “his many legendary news scoops will continue to inspire generations of young journalists for their sharpness, credibility, speed and standards of due diligence.”

Nayar was born on August 14, 1923 in Sialkot, Punjab, and moved to India after the Partition. In his professional life, Nayar wore many hats. He was an eminent writer and journalist who highlighted human rights violations by the state, he was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha and a diplomat who served as India’s Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

During the Centre-imposed Emergency in 1975, Nayar was one of the first few journalists to have been put in jail. Later, in an opinion piece in the an English daily, he wrote that “Indians faltered as a nation during the Emergency as Prime Minister Indira Gandhi switched off the lights of the democracy to make all the Indians grope in the darkness of police raj.”

In his long journalism career, Nayar worked with various media houses. While he started his career with an Urdu newspaper called Anjam, he later worked a correspondent with The Times, London, for over two decades. In 2015, Nayar was awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the eighth edition of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence Award for his contribution to journalism.

Nayar also served as the Press Information Officer to former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shashtri and former Union Home Minister Govind Ballabh Pant.

He penned nearly 15 books, including his autobiography 'Beyond the Lines' in which he wrote about his interview with Pakistan’s nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan who revealed to him about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Some of his other famous books are ‘India after Nehru’, ‘Emergency Retold’, ‘Scoop! – Inside stories from partition to the present’, ‘Distant Neighbours: A tale of the subcontinent’.
Also, filmmaker Meera Dewan made a film on him for the Films Division -- ‘In His Inner Voice: Kuldip Nayar’.

Editors Guild of India's full statement:

The Editors Guild of India offers its condolences on the death of Kuldip Nayar, one of the doyens of Indian journalism and a founder member of the Guild. As the president of the Guild, he provided it with energetic and visionary leadership.

Known to be a reporter’s editor, Kuldip Nayar held many leadership positions in news organisations, including The Statesman and The Indian Express, where he provided both edge and depth to its formidable team of reporters and editors. His many legendary news scoops will continue to inspire generations of young journalists for their sharpness, credibility, speed and standards of due diligence.

An exemplar, Kuldip Nayar fought, through his writings, the oppressive Emergency regime that had imposed curbs on media freedom and as a result of which he was also arrested.

A prolific writer and an author of many books, Kuldip Nayar was also a human rights activist and had been appointed India’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and later nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha.

The Guild will also soon consider a proposal to honour Kuldip Nayar’s memory and contributions to journalism.

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