'Fearless' journalist Prabhash Joshi dies at 72

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 06, 2009 12:50 hrs

Well-known Indian journalist Prabhash Joshi, 72, died following a heart attack here late Thursday. His demise was widely mourned as the passing away of a 'fearless editor' who was dedicated to 'ethics and transparency'.

Joshi was taken to a private hospital after he complained of chest pain at 11.30 p.m. where doctors declared him dead, hospital officials said. He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

Joshi began his career with 'Nai Duniya' and became the founder-editor of the leading Hindi daily 'Jansatta' in 1983.

'His family has taken the body by a chartered plane to Indore, Madhya Pradesh. They will travel to his native place Badwaha, 100 km away from Indore, where the cremation will take place Saturday afternoon,' a family friend said.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni expressed grief and recalled his immense contribution to the world of Hindi journalism.

'The journalistic fraternity has lost a multi-faceted personality with the demise of Joshi,' said Soni while recounting his career as a noted columnist, political analyst and a popular television commentator in his later years.

Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said in a statement: 'He was representative of that generation of journalism which, despite everything, stayed rooted to issues of the common man, villagers and the grassroots.'

'His writing reflected Indianness. Journalism was not only his profession but also his social responsibility. He played an important part in Gandhian movement, Bhoodan movement, in the surrender of bandits and in the struggle against emergency,' Vajpayee said.

'I am saddened with the death of a determined, people's journalist who was a great friend,' he added.

Pankaj Pachauri of NDTV news channel said: 'Prabhashji was someone who never came under any pressure, either political or market pressure. He was one of his kind. He singlehandedly ran a campaign against communal forces at the time of the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign.

'His understanding of Hinduism was very clear and that's why he could talk about it while keeping politics away from it. His book on Hindutva is the best in the country for anyone who wants to understand Hinduism. It is a must read for everyone,' Pachauri said.

'Secondly, he used to love cricket and Sachin Tendulkar was his favourite. He used to watch cricket matches live to understand the game more,' he added.

Writer and magazine editor Pankaj Bisht said: 'Joshi was one of the important Hindi editors. His contribution to maintaining the seriousness of Hindi newspapers and keeping the position of editors intact at a time when papers were getting commercialised is commendable. He was a fearless editor.'

The National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI) also expressed condolence on Joshi's death.

'We, in the NCPRI, deeply grieve the demise of Prabhash Joshiji, a great advocate of the right to information, creator of the campaign and supporter of ethics,' an official statement by NCPRI said.

'He was a journalist of great repute. Apart from his immense contribution to journalism, his commitment and dedication towards ethics, transparency and his belief in securing social justice for all has inspired and encouraged many of us in the RTI campaign,' the statement added.

'Prabhashji was not only a prolific writer, he was a brilliant orator who spoke with frankness, and a ready sense of humour. His persistent support for transparency and ethics as the backbone of democracy. He also played a very important role in drafting the RTI legislation,' it added.

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