End of an era: Ved Bhasin is no more

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 11/6/2015 1:14:48 PM

JAMMU, Nov 5: Doyen of journalism in J&K, the founder editor and chairman Kashmir Times group of publications Ved Bhasin passed away late this evening after a brief illness.
He was 86.
Bhasin breathed his last at his residence at Gandhi Nagar at around 11.00 PM with all the members of his family by his side.
His cremation will take place tomorrow at Jogi Gate Cremation Ground at 4.00 PM.
Bhasin is survived by his two daughters Dr Anju Bhasin the Professor of Physics at the University of Jammu, Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal senior journalist and Executive Editor `Kashmir Times’, son-in-law Prabodh Jamwal Editor Kashmir Times and its other publications and grand-daughter Saba Jamwal.
His wife Vimal Bhasin stood by him and supported him in his struggle for creating an egalitarian society till she lost her struggle against cancer 25 years back.
A distinguished journalist, a human being par excellence, who will always be remembered for fearlessly upholding the freedom of the press, Bhasin was born on May 1 in 1929 in Jammu. An alumnus of Prince of Wales College, Jammu (now G G M Science College), Bhasin was known for his fearless, bold and independent journalism. He is regarded as a pioneer and a legend in the field in Jammu and Kashmir who maintained highest standards and ethics in journalism.
With the firm belief that humanity is the core of life, he always sided with the oppressed and down-trodden and took up their cause.
He was active for almost 70 years in active journalism and was also close to politics. Politics, in fact, was his first love, that eventually gave way to journalism. He had been close to players that mattered in Kashmir and witness to unreported histories. His journo-political career gave him the privileged inside out view of many events. He was also known for his contribution to the field of literature and culture and was engaged in social movements.
Ved Bhasin was widely renowned across the world and was considered among the top-ranking Kashmir experts. Popularly known as `Ved Ji’ or `Ved Saab’ among friends and acquaintances, his work and life won respect and admiration from all quarters of society and from across Jammu and Kashmir.
A crusader against communalism, tyranny and human rights abuse and during his career as journalist, social activist and politician he fearlessly fought communal and tyrannical forces even as he was physically attacked on several occasions. He also courageously raised voice against the wrong doings of the government despite being victimized and harassed by the different organs of the government.
Since his college days, he was more interested in politics than journalism. He came in touch with journalism because of his association with the `Tawi’- his college magazine. He used to write news items also concerning the academic and student activities in the newspaper `Ranbir’, which was founded by Lala Mulk Raj Sahaf, the first newspaper in Jammu and Kashmir state. With him he learnt his first lessons of journalism.
Given his political inclination, Bhasin remained associated with the National Conference. His association with NC started at the age of 14. At the national level, in Indian politics, he along with his close pals he was associated with the Socialist Party of India, Jaiprakash Narayan and other leaders and worked for overall freedom of India and also for fight against autocracy in Jammu & Kashmir.
In a way his life was a kind of intermingling between politics and journalism and some kind of literature also. Afterwards he went to New Delhi for post graduation. After he returned in 1949-50, he joined newspaper `Naya Kashmir’ edited by one Nazir Samadani, who later became MP also.
During his distinguished career spanning around seven decades, Bhasin served as Editor Naya Samaj (Urdu weekly) - the first political weekly in Jammu, from 1952-54. It was banned in 1954. Although that time National Conference was in power and Bhasin was member of the National Conference, still he pursued an independent policy. He was critical of the establishment.
He started `Kashmir Times’ in 1955. He served as Editor Daily Sandesh from 1948-58, Editor Kashmir Post Srinagar from 1958-63.
He worked as the Jammu correspondent of Khidmat. Bhasin also worked as a Radio Kashmir Correspondent, but his services were terminated in 1953 because he opposed the arrest and deposition of Sheikh Abdullah.
His editorship of various papers was marked by excellence. He held the highest professional standards and displayed absolute integrity and character. He remained Editor-in-Chief Daily Kashmir Times from 1964-2000 and Dainik Kashmir Times (Hindi) from 1989 to 2000 then as Chairman Kashmir Times group of Publications since 2000. Bhasin also worked as Correspondent UNI for Jammu and Kashmir from 1963 to 1969. He contributed to various journals and newspapers on Kashmir, India-Pakistan problems and other conflict areas and media.
Bhasin, who had become an institution and an icon in the domain of journalism in J&K as well as at the national level, also taught journalism for journalism course in Jammu University and also served as UNI Bureau Chief in J&K from 1963-69.
A towering figure in the world of journalism, he served as the President J&K Association of Journalists, Jammu Editors Conference and Press Club of Jammu besides serving on various Press bodies including Press Advisory Committees (as Convenor) for a number of years.
Throughout his life, he used his journalism, politics and philanthropic in pursuit of bridging the caste and communal divisions within the state. He also tirelessly worked for peaceful and friendly relations between India and Pakistan.
A staunch believer of socialism and secularism, he upheld values of humanity and universal brotherhood through thick and thin facing all odds.
He was front-runner in promoting the cause of culture and literature through his publications as well as his individual efforts.
He was Chairman, Cultural Forum Jammu 1950 to 1953, 1957 to 1 960, General Secretary Hindi Sahitya Mandal 1949 to 1952. Bhasin was Founder member of Dogri Sanstha and also remained associated with Bazm-e-Urdu, Punjabi Lekhak Sabha and several other social and cultural organizations. He was also Member Central Committee and General Council of J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages and patron-in-chief Nami Dogri Sanstha - The Art Foundation (Regd) Jammu since 1998.
He served as Patron Individuals-Group of Artists, Chairman Jammu Consumers Council since 1991. Besides he had also been Patron AWARE (Rural Development Body) Associated with Cooperative and consumer movement since 1970. He served as Chairman Jammu Super Bazar 1947-1976, served on the Board of Directors of India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) from 1972 to 1975.
A strong votary of peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue, Indo-Pak friendship, Bhasin was Founder President Jammu Peace Committee, remained associated with human rights groups. He was founder member (ex-co-chairperson) Pakistan-India Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) and chairman of its joint Kashmir Committee, South Asians for Human Rights besides President, J&K Institute for Peace, Justice and Democracy.
He also participated in the ‘Dialogue on Kashmir’ at Washington sponsored by US Institute of Peace January 1994, delivered series of lectures on Kashmir problem in USA and UK.
In this connection, he attended national and international seminars, conferences and workshops concerning media, politics, human rights, peace, literature and social work. He also widely travelled inside India and abroad including USA, England, Spain, Egypt, Japan, Phillipines, Singapore, Germany, France, Turkey, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Neitherland, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
As a fearless journalist he upheld the principles of independent journalism, even in times when it is becoming rare, and never compromised even in the face of harassment and victimisation.
Leaving behind a legacy of excellence, with his demise, a glorious chapter of journalism has come to an end in J&K.



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