Kuldip Nayar’s Life – Between and Beyond the Lines

Cardinal New Man, Roman Catholic Theologian defined a gentleman as one who never wounds the feeling of another. This definition suits to none other than to the Eminent English writer and the great journalist, India has ever seen,  Kuldip Nayar. He was a renowned scholar, authority on Indian writings. He has left everything he touched, into gold. Ability shines with the double luster when it is set against to modesty and an able yet humble man is a jewel worth a Kingdom.

Kuldip Nayar a multi-faceted man was a journalist, syndicated columnist, Press Information Officer, author and former High Commissioner of India.He was so kind and friendly with everybody. He also took part in group programmes and gave importance for the relationship. He fought for Human Rights, Freedom of Media, protection of Democratic and Religious issues, and for Peace.

He was born on 14th August 1923 in Sialkot, Pakistan (pre-partitioned India). His father was a famous Doctor named Gurbaksh Singh Nayar and mother Pooran Devi Nayar. He completed his B.A.(Hons.) from the Forman Christian College Lahore and L.L.B from the Law College, Lahore.

The journey began from Sialkot, Pakistan in the Partition period. At the time of Independence, he wished to remain in Pakistan but, thinking of the future, his parents sent him away to Delhi. At the time, he was only 23 and reached near Daryaganj, with B.A.(Hons.) and a small satchel carrying with him. His only acquaintance in Delhi was his aunt.

Holding a B.A.Honours degree, it was easy for him to find a clerical job, but realizing self potential, he did not want to pass time being just another clerk. Instead he searched for a better opportunity to utilize his skills and caliber. He became the reporter of an Urdu newspaper’Anjaam’ in 1948. Since he was born, brought up and educated in Pakistan, he was very fond and master in Urdu language.

He realized that Urdu language journalism has no brightened future in India and wanted to pursue his career in English language journalism. In 1952 he managed to get admission in the Shikago Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University on Scholarship basis and completed his degree in Journalism. He did part-time jobs like washing utensils and cooking foods in restaurants and earned a very little for his supper. He was not bothered about the severe cold and he even worked in some houses as cleaning servant.

That was why, without any comparison or partiality he maintained a good relation with everyone. He was always kind, considerate and sympathetic to people. He combined in himself an endearing and ennobling qualities of an ideal writer.

The second part of his working was through UPSC examination, when he returned to India, he worked as an Information Officer. He was the Press Information Officer to the former Union Home Minister G.B.Panth and the Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shasthri.

Later, he rose like a flaming fire in newspapers like ‘Times’ in London etc…He was the editor of the Delhi edition of the English newspaper ‘The Statesman’ and was arrested towards the end of Indian Emergency (1975-1977). He did not shilly-shally when he was arrested and stood adamant. His books were manifestation of his internal heart felt thoughts and pains. He was a part of about eighty newspapers, in different languages, including The Daily Star, The News, The Statesman and Dawn. He was nominated to the Upper House of Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha in August 1997.

He had an abundance of facts to say and there were lots of information to the new generation. In each programme, in his each talk, he used to share his personal experiences and about his new ideas. In the Independent India, he focused on the challenges which media organizers were facing and rose up his head. The war for rights and media, he did not surrender in-front of anybody and did not yet kneel down. All times he was in the habit of saying truth and will not speak out according to the audience and he would speak a spade as spade when he was addressing the people.

He was married to Bharati Sachar, and had two sons- Rajiv Nayar (Senior Advocate of Supreme Court) and Sudhir Nayar. He was awarded the Alumni Merit Award by the Northwestern University(1999), the Astor Award for Press Freedom(2003), Shaheed Niyogi Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism(2007), Ramnath Goenka Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism(2015).

He wrote a column named ‘Between the Lines’ in about eighty newspapers and in fourteen different languages. He was working in some newspapers until his death. ‘Beyond the Lines’ is the autobiography of Kuldip Nayar. This book was released out in July 2012.

He authored about 15 books including Beyond the Lines(1969), India- The Critical Years(1971), Distant Neighbours- A Tale of the Subcontinent(1972), Suppression of Judges(1973), India After Nehru(1975), The Judgement: Inside story of the emergency in India(1977), In Jail(1978), Report on Afghanistan(1980), Tragedy of Punjab: Operation Bluestar and After(1985), India House(1992), The Martyr: Bhagath Singh Experiments in Revolution(2000), Wall at Wagah: India-Pakistan Relations(2003), Scoop! : Inside Stories from Partition to the Present(2006), Without Fear: The Life and Trial of Bhagath Singh(2007) and the Tales of two cities(2008).
Nayar died in Delhi aged 95 at 12.30 am on 23rd August 2018. Kuldip Nayar left an irreparable loss in the eminent Indian English writers and an indelible impression in our minds.


Nashvah Anees


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