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Kuldip Nayar Papers

Kuldip Nayar Papers

"In a free society, the Press has a duty to inform the public without fear or favour. At times it is an unpleasant job, but it has to be performed because a free society is founded on free information."

Kuldip Nayar (b.1923-d.2018), a renowned journalist, syndicated columnist, diplomat, and parliamentarian was born on 14th August 1923 at Sialkot in undivided Punjab (now in Pakistan). He spent his early childhood and youth in Pakistan. He graduated from Forman Christian College before pursuing law in Lahore. For his first assignment as a scribe, he reported the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 for a Delhi-based Urdu newspaper, Anjaam. In 1952, he joined the United States Information Services, and earned a degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, Illinois in the same year.

In a career that spanned over six decades, he was a champion of civil liberties and human rights, an untiring advocate for peace between India and Pakistan, a chronicler of the historic events of his time, an uncompromising editor, and an author of several bestsellers. He was among India's first syndicated columnists and his columns were read and appreciated across the border. Kuldip Nayar headed many prominent national newspapers for more than two decades. He was editor of United News of India (1964-1967), Statesman (1967-1975) and Express News Service (1975-1981). He was also a regular columnist to the Deccan Herald, Daily Star, Sunday Guardian, Statesman, Express Tribune (Pakistan) and Dawn (Pakistan), etc.

He served as Government Information Officer to Govind Ballabh Pant and Lal Bahadur Shastri. He was arrested during the Emergency (1975-77) for voicing his dissent at the suppression of the press. Kuldip Nayar served as the High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom (March 1990-November 1990), was a member of India's delegation to the United Nations in 1996, and a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha (1997-2002).

His stature earned him recognition in the form of numerous honours and awards, such as Astor Award for Press Freedom (2003), Shaheed Neoga Memorial Award (2007), Ramnath Goenka Lifetime Achievement Award (2015), and Padma Bhushan (2019 posthumous) for his contributions to journalism.

A prolific writer and staunch supporter of human rights and civil liberties, Kuldip Nayar authored many books on national and international affairs. His publications include: Between the Lines (1969), Distant Neighbours: A Tale of the Subcontinent (1972), India after Nehru (1975), The Judgment: Inside story of the Emergency in India (1977), Tragedy of Punjab: Operation Bluestar & After (1985), Wall at Wagah, India-Pakistan Relations (2003), Without Fear:The Life and Trial of Bhagat Singh (2007), Beyond the Lines: An Autobiography (2012), and On Leaders and Icons from Jinnah to Modi (2019, released posthumously).

About the Collection: The papers comprise 67 bound volumes containing articles contributed by him to almost all the leading newspapers between 1968 and 2016. The volumes are a vast collection of political commentary on  current affairs -- international relations, Emergency, India’s neighbours & South Asia, political personalities & interviews, Kashmir & internal security, communalism, political parties, stories from across the border, judiciary, civil liberty & human rights, etc. The collection is significant for the study of contemporary politics in South Asia and the world at large. (Catalogue available)

Donor: Kuldip Nayar
Acquisition: 2017