GUWAHATI, Aug 24 - Veteran journalist, human rights activist and author Kuldip Nayar was fondly remembered for his fearless journalism, unbiased writing and deep understanding of the crucial issues of Assam at a tribute-paying programme organised by the All Guwahati Students� Union at Swahid Nyas here today.
Nayar shared a special bond with the All Assam Students� Union since the time of the Assam Movement and guided the student body on several issues, besides giving a powerful voice to the concerns and issues of the State at national and international levels.
The programme started with veteran journalist Dhirendra Nath Bezbaruah and Pradeep Baruah, editor of Assamese magazine Prantik paying floral tribute to Nayar, who breathed his last on Thursday.
Remembering his close association with Nayar, Bezbaruah said that a champion of civil liberties, Nayar had a humanitarian approach to all the issues, which was a special trait of his personality.
�He was a founder member and former president of the Editor�s Guild of India and we had several opportunities to get to know each other. He was a simple person with a positive outlook. An untiring activist for peace between India and Pakistan, he was also passionate about finding a solution to myriad problems of Assam,� Bezbaruah, also a former president of the Editor�s Guild of India told the gathering, while reminiscing about his personal association with Nayar.
Pradeep Baruah, while recalling Nayar�s consent to publish his write-ups in Assamese in Prantik, said that despite being a powerful journalist, he was very tolerant by nature.
�Despite the fact that he was jailed during Emergency for taking up the cause of freedom of press, Nayar never had any grudge against the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi,� Baruah said.
Also speaking about Nayar�s love for Assam and Assamese people, Baruah added that Nayar understood Assam in and out; he knew about the problems, concerns, hopes and aspirations of the people of Assam and stood by them during the most crucial time.
Asam Sahitya Sabha president Paramananda Rajbongshi recalled Nayar as an institution in himself, who was much more than a doyen of journalism. He also proposed to publish a book on Kuldip Nayar�s association with Assam. �Being a literary body, we are ready to take an initiative in this regard in collaboration with the AASU,� he mentioned.
Educationist Dr Krishna Gopal Bhattacharyya said that while many journalists from outside the State covered the Assam Movement, Nayar was the one who understood the causes and consequences of the movement. �He always reminded us that we should focus on the main objective of the movement and should never allow any communal flare-up,� he added.
PJ Baruah, executive editor of The Assam Tribune while speaking on the occasion said that it was disturbing for the people of Assam, when the movement was being wrongly projected at the national level and the people outside Assam did not get a clear picture of what the movement was all about. �But, Nayar projected Assam in a different light. As a true journalist, he was unbiased and free from any prejudices. He inspired many youngsters of that time to join journalism,� Baruah added.
Educationist Basanta Deka also had a very close association with Kuldip Nayar. While speaking on the occasion, he threw light on some of the humane aspects of Nayar�s personality. �It was his simplicity that helped Kuldip Nayar understand the problems of Assam without any preconceived notion. One of the greatest journalists of India, his articles were translated into 15 languages and published in nearly 80 newspapers in India and its neighbouring countries,� he added.
AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath, general secretary Lurin Jyoti Gogoi and advisor Dr Samujjal Bhattacharyya remembered Nayar as a guardian of the AASU, who extended all support to the student body both during and after the Assam Movement.
�We looked up to him when we needed a strong support in Delhi to make the authorities and the national media listen to our demands. While attending our Barpeta convention as a Rajya Sabha MP, he supported us with his MP fund to start education centres and AASU offices at different places of the State. He also extended financial help to the Assam Jatiya Bidyalaya with an objective to help vernacular medium school,� AASU advisor Bhattacharyya said.