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September 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         September 2018 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:August' 2018


A strong votary of Indo-Pak amity

Kuldip Nayar "I believe India and Pakistan can succeed in normalising mutual relations by expanding the peace constituency on both sides of the border. Both countries will gain enormously once the atmosphere of distrust and enmity in the subcontinent disappears forever. India, being a bigger country, is bound to be benefited more as friendly relations between the two neighbours will help promote communal harmony and mutual trust between the two principal segments of society on our side. Besides this, a substantial increase in the volume of trade and other kinds of business activity between the two beighbours can economically transform them beyond recognition."
These thoughts were expressed, though not in these words exactly, over a decade ago by renowned journalist Kuldip Nayar, no more in our midst. He breathed his last in Delhi on August 23 when he had turned 95.
Nayar provided a peep into his mind during an interaction after the conclusion of his annual August 14-15 midnight's candle light vigil programme for India-Pakistan peace and amity. I was among those who had accompanied him that night near the Wagha-Attari border as a representative of The Tribune of Chandigarh for doing a write-up on his meaningful initiative.
The annual programme, started by him as a peace activist, was based on the belief that once the peace constituency on both sides of the Radcliffe Line became a powerful factor, the governments in the two countries would be compelled to develop a stake in friendly relations.
In such an atmosphere, every issue that has been preventing India and Pakistan from coming closer to each other will get resolved peacefully in course of time, as Kuldip Nayar explained.
But this was not the only activity in which he was involved passionately. As a well-known author and columnist, he had also been working tirelessly for the protection of human rights. He wore many hats at the same time, but he remained essentially a journalist and used his professional abilities to promote the causes dear to him. After doing his graduation from Foreman Christian College, Lahore, and acquiring a law degree from Law College, Lahore, Nayar abandoned his family's idea of pursuing a career in legal practice and entered journalism as a reporter in a Urdu newspaper. Soon, however, he shifted to English language journalism and gradually acquired the status of a celebrated journalist based in New Delhi.
Nayar became a household name by coming out with scoop after scoop, unnerving those in authority. Though he had shifted to the government service as Information Officer to Lal Bahadur Shastri and later Gobind Ballabh Pant during their stint as India's Home Minister, his heart lay in full-time journalism where he came back as head of the UNI. After some time he moved over to The Statesman as its Resident Editor and earned accolades for his highly readable weekly column, "Between The Lines". This resulted in Nayar getting picked up by the legendary media magnate Ram Nath Goenka to head the newly launched Express News Service. He added considerably to his stature when he opposed the Emergency imposed in 1975 by Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister. This led to his arrest but only for a short time. He, however, utilised the adverse circumstances to write a well-received book, The Judgement, and emerged as a crusader for democracy. Nayar authored around 15 books, but never felt satiated. As he admitted, he made more money through his syndicated columns than he got while working as a journalist in various organisations. At one time, his columns were carried in around 80 newspapers published from South Asia and West Asia, where he needed no introduction. His articles were admired not for his quality of writing but for the information he provided. He was gifted with a temperament to easily develop intimate relations with anyone, whether in a position of power or not, which helped him in coming out with highly appreciated pieces of writing. But the popularity and respect he gained as a journalist could be possible because he was luckier than his contemporaries, as he often said.

Syed Nooruzzaman