KuldeepNayyar bid final adieu to this mortal world, leaving his admirers and relatives in tears. With his death closed a chapter of history the chapter that has illuminated the struggle of life and people-orient journalism and the brilliance of journalism.
Through sheer hard and perseverance, he reached at the top of Indian journalism, and never forgot anyone who helped him attain that position. This is the quality that ceases to exist today.
His greatness not only lies in the fact that he attained a coveted place for himself, but his greatness is also due to the fact that he helped shaped careers of many people and left an indelible impression on everyone in the world of journalism.
After the partition a young man, whose family migrated from Pakistan, starts his journalistic career from the Urdu newspaper and later became the editor of the country's largest English newspaper.
In the meantime, he went through many ups and downs of life. But when he became an editor, he became epitome of courage in his choice of reports.
As soon as the Emergency was imposed in 1975, Kuldeep sahib immediately opened up a front against it by publishing blank editorial page. He did not stop there. He also persuaded his friends Ajit Bhattacharya and Prabhash Joshi to do the same.
The kind of journalism Kuldeep sahib was known for was always like a thorn in the flesh of the government.
That is why he topped the list of most-wanted amongst independent-minded people and he was put him behind bar for 19 months during the Emergency.
He would have come out of that hardship, had he written a formal apology letter to the government like many others had done at the time. He used journalism as a tool to shake the consciousness of the common man. His reporting stirred up hearts and mind of the readers, but his brilliance come to fore in his selection news as an editor.
KuldeepNayyar started new trends of meaningful journalism and active journalism. Even after his retiring he wrote regular columns and never wandered from burning issues of the society. He did not just write on those issues, but also worked to stirred up the people.
He extensively travelled the country and established dialogue with people on socio-political challenges, economic questions and falling political space.
He was one of few editors, who also established dialogue with the readers through their writings. He never let the age or illness to stand between him and his resolve.
Kuldeep sahib continued to wake up common man even at the advanced age of 95 years. The journey that started at the age of 20 stopped at midnight of 22 and 23 August. He remained active until the last moments of his life.
In order to normalize relations with Pakistan he organized a function and light candle almost every year on the Indo-Pak border. He was not alone in that effort. His friends from across the border also grace the occasions and take a pledge to spread public awareness for the sake of peace. It is not possible to say now as who will take that pledge in his absence.
Whether a conference of Asian journalists or a debate on journalism at an international forum or an Iftar party hosted by ChauthiDuniya Weekly, Nayyar Sahib was to be found everywhere and remained at the function till the end.
When Urdu edition of ChauthiDuniya was launched, Nayyar was the first dignitary to turn up at the inaugural function and remain there till the end.
Thereafter he never missed any of Iftar party hosted by ChauthiDuniya (Urdu), but on the last occasion infirmity in his steps was quite visible. It was KuldeepNayyar Sahib’s affection towards those who remain upright in their journalism.
I am lucky in that whenever I chanced upon meeting him I touched his feet and he placed his hands either on my back or on my head.
Now I won’t be able to feel the warmth of those unsteady hands. But I am not mourning the death of Kuldeep Sahib. The path he treaded in his entire life cannot be followed by those who corrupted the profession of journalism.
Kuldeep Sahib had a lifelong mission of facilitating continuous dialogue between journalists and between People of India and Pakistan. He possessed no animosity against anybody and looked only for positives only.
The body of work he produced as a journalist will continue to remind future journalists as to what it takes to be a true journalist. He never compromised his journalistic credentials or indulged in flattery.
For him it did not matter who was in power – Indira Gandhi or NarendraModi – he continued to challenge the establishment, not to score any personal point but for the people of this country. There are a very few journalists who can match the power of his pen.
This reminds me the couplet of Kabir: Kabirakhada bazaar meinliyekulhadihaath / jogharphoonkeapnachalehamaresaath (Kabir dares people in bazaar with an axe in hand / only those who can burn their abode can stand). KuldeepNayarSahab was Kabir of our time. Today our Kabir went away from us. My humble tribute to him!