New Delhi: Senior journalist, author and human rights activist Kuldip Nayar died at a hospital here, his family said on Thursday. He was 95.
Nayar breathed his last at the Escorts Hospital at 12.30 a.m. The cremation will take place at 1 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.
Born on August 14, 1923, in Sialkot (Pakistan), Nayar was among the country’s first syndicated columnists and wrote several books.
He was appointed High Commissioner to the UK in 1990 and nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1997.
Nayar started his journalistic career with the Urdu daily “Anjam” in 1948. He worked in the Press Information Bureau as a Press Officer to then Home Ministers Govind Ballabh Pant and Lal Bahadur Shastri.
He was the editor and General Manager of United News of India (UNI) and also the editor of The Statesman. He also worked with the Indian Express, The Times, The Spectator and the Evening Star.
He was also the author of 15 books including “Beyond the Lines”, “India after Nehru” and “Emergency Retold”.
Senior journalist H.K. Dua, who knew Nayar for 54 years, described him as a “good friend”, a “great journalist” and said his death was a loss to the profession.
“Till the last, he was working. At the age of 94, he kept his interest alive in the news world. He was a great chaser of news and broke many stories in his life. He knew much more of what was happening behind the news than many other journalists and got lots of inside information. Essentially, he remained a thorough journalist,” Dua told IANS.
He said Nayar also made efforts for peace between India and Pakistan and organised candle-light demonstrations.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind were among the leaders who condoled Nayar’s death.
Modi termed him an intellectual giant and recalled his role as a staunch opponent of the Emergency.
“Kuldip Nayar was an intellectual giant of our times. Frank and fearless in his views, his work spanned across many decades. His strong stand against the Emergency, public service and commitment to a better India will always be remembered. Saddened by his demise. My condolences,” Modi said in a tweet.
Kovind described him as a determined champion of democracy.
“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,” he said in a tweet.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Nayar will be best remembered for his struggle against the Emergency.
“Saddened by the death of the veteran Journalist Sh. Kuldip Nayar. His contribution to the cause of free speech is unparalleled. He is credited with breaking some of the most exclusive news stories. Will be best remembered for his struggle against the Emergency,” Jaitley said.
Congress communications incharge Randeep Singh Surjewala also expressed his condolences and described Nayar as a role model for his profession.
“My deepest condolences on the passing away of veteran journalist, political commentator and human rights activist, Sh. Kuldip Nayar ji. A role model for many in his profession and beyond, his demise ends an era of journalism of courage, ethics and values, Surjewala said.