Kuldip Nayar
Nayar in 2012
Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha)[1]
In office
ConstituencyRajya Sabha
Personal details
Born(1923-08-14)14 August 1923
Sialkot, Punjab, British India
(now Punjab, Pakistan)
Died23 August 2018(2018-08-23) (aged 95)
New Delhi, India
EducationMedill School of Journalism
  • Diplomat
  • journalist
  • author
  • parliamentarian
  • activist
AwardsPadma Bhushan (2019; posthumously)

Kuldip Nayar (14 August 1923 – 23 August 2018) was an Indian journalist, syndicated columnist, human rights activist, author and former High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom noted for his long career as a left-wing political commentator. He was also nominated as a member of the upper house of the Indian Parliament in 1997.[2]

Early life and education

Nayar was born at Sialkot, Punjab, British India on 14 August 1923, in a Punjabi Hindu family.[3] He was educated at Murray College.[4] He completed his B.A. (Hons.) from the Forman Christian College Lahore and LL.B. from the Law College Lahore.[5][6][7] In 1952, he studied journalism from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University on a scholarship.[8][9]


Nayar was initially an Urdu press reporter. He was editor of the Delhi edition of the English newspaper The Statesman[10] and was arrested towards the end of the Indian Emergency (1975–77).[11] In 1978 he founded the Editors Guild of India.[12]

He was also a human rights activist and a peace activist. He was a member of India's delegation to the United Nations in 1996.[11] He was appointed High Commissioner to Great Britain in 1990 and nominated to the upper house of Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha in August 1997.[11]

He wrote syndicated columns and op-eds that were published in over 80 newspapers in 14 languages[11] including the Deccan Herald (Bengaluru), The Daily Star, The Sunday Guardian,[13] The News,[14] The Statesman,[15] The Express Tribune,[16] Dawn,[17] and PrabhaSakshi.[18]

Nayar in June 2014

Peace activist

Every year since 2000, Nayar had been leading peace activists to light candles on the Independence days of Pakistan and India (14/15 August) at the Attari-Wagah India-Pakistan border near Amritsar.[19]

He was a close friend of another Pakistani politician ch. Jaleel Ahmed Khan (Ex-MNA) who arranged the launch of Nayar's book (Beyond the lines : An Autobiography) in Avari hotel Lahore in 2013. Both of them participated in various peace enhancing events in both countries as ch. Jaleel Ahmed Khan a senior Pakistani politician who migrated from India in 1947 also strongly advocated peace between the two neighboring countries.[20]

He had started a tradition of candle vigil since 1995 at Indo-Pak Wagah Border during midnight of 14–15 August for India-Pakistan Peace through celebration of Independence Day and remembering people of both sides. In later years of his life, he could not participate in this due to his old age but inspired many young folks to continue the tradition.[21] Ten days before his death, he had flagged off 'Aman-Dosti Yatra' which was a 40-member delegation of Aaghaz-e-Dosti that marched from Delhi to Wagah Border under leadership of Aaghaz-e-Dosti founder Ravi Nitesh and Gandhi Global family's secretary Ram Mohan Rai for lighting candles for Indo-Pak Peace and thus continued his legacy.[22] This was his last public presence.[23]

Political commentator

As a political commentator, Nayar wrote his views freely on most politically current issues.[24][25] He had supported the movement of Anna Hazare[11] and chided the Pakistan Government for not apologising for the army atrocities in East Pakistan in 1971 that led to the formation of Bangladesh,[26] and for allowing drugs to be smuggled into India.[27]

Nayar has been accused of supporting "anti-Indian conspiracy theories". In a February 2010 article in Pakistani newspaper Dawn, he alleged that the Indian anti-terrorism squad leader Hemant Karkare was murdered by Hindu right-wing activists.[28] In July 2011 US authorities confirmed that Nayar attended many events in United States hosted by and supported by Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, which had been funded by Pakistan ISI.[29]


Kuldip Nayar has written widely about current issues and historic persons, including Jawaharlal Nehru and Barry Manilow. Nayar has advocated a policy of bilateral talks and engagement with India's neighbour Pakistan. He was known for his vision of a new South Asia, in which Pakistan and India would be on friendly terms.[30][31]

Nayar's autobiography is entitled Beyond the Lines.[32] The book was released in July 2012.[30] In 1999, he was awarded an Alumni Merit Award by Northwestern University.[32]

Personal life

He was married and had two sons, and several grandchildren.[33]

Nayar died in Delhi at 12:30 am on 23 August 2018. His funeral took place on 24 August 2018 at Lodhi Crematorium and was attended by former prime minister Manmohan Singh, current ministers Harsh Vardhan and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore; current Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.[34] As per his last wishes, ashes were immersed in Ravi River on the outskirts of Lahore in Pakistan by his family and friends, including Aitzaz Ahsan.[35]



Nayar is the author of at least 15 books:[33]


  1. ^ "RAJYA SABHA MEMBERS BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 1952–2003" (PDF). Rajya Sabha. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Kuldip Nayar, former Editor of The Indian Express, dies at 95". Indian Express. 23 August 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Kuldip Nayar- Fighter against Emergency who followed his conscience". The Economic Times. 23 August 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Flashback: Of the days gone by". 29 July 2012.
  5. ^ Nayar, Kuldip (10 August 2012). Beyond the Lines: An Autobiography. Roli Books Private Limited. ISBN 9788174368218.
  6. ^ "Kuldip Nayar: Life and work". The Daily Star. 25 August 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Journalist Kuldip Nayar, Modern India's Chronicler And Conscience Keeper". NDTV.com. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Hall of Achievement: Kuldip Nayar". Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Nayar". Archived from the original on 25 January 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  10. ^ Gupta, Shekhar (25 August 2018). "Kuldip Nayar: The rock star Reporter who should've been Editor". The Print. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Governments to be blamed for Indo-Pak animosity: Kuldip Nayar". Daily News and Analysis. India. 31 July 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  12. ^ Shah, Priyal, and Aakanksha Chaturvedi. "Laws for Journalists in India: An Overview."
  13. ^ Nayar, Kuldip. "LEADERS & MISLEADERS". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  14. ^ Nayar, Kuldip. "All stories / articles Kuldip Nayar".
  15. ^ "Geeta should have opened more doors". The Statesman. 28 October 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  16. ^ Nayar, Kuldip. "Stories by Kuldip Nayar". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  17. ^ Nayar, Kuldip. "Posts by Kuldip Nayar". Dawn. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  18. ^ Nayar, Kuldip (20 December 2017). "Columns by Kuldip Nayar". PrabhaSakshi (Online News Portal).
  19. ^ "Who Has The Matches?". Outlook (India). 30 August 2010. Archived from the original on 29 May 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  20. ^ http://www.na.gov.pk/uploads/former-members/4th%20National%20Assembly.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  21. ^ "The Aman-Dosti Yatra: A voice for Indo-Pak peace". 21 August 2018.
  22. ^ Rana, Yudhvir (17 August 2018). "'Aman Dosti Yatra' reaches Attari, backs Indo-Pak peace | Chandigarh News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  23. ^ "कुलदीप नैयर: साहस और गरिमा का संयोग". Navjivan (in Hindi). 23 August 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  24. ^ "Dangers to secularism in India". 28 July 2018.
  25. ^ Outlook Publishing (28 January 2008). Outlook. Outlook Publishing. p. 30. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  26. ^ Nayar, Kuldip (20 December 2011). "The birth of Bangladesh". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  27. ^ "Pakistan pushing drugs into Punjab: Kuldip Nayar". Sify. 12 January 2012. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
  28. ^ Nayar, Kuldip (19 February 2010). "Politics of terrorism". Dawn. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  29. ^ L'affaire Fai: US lawmakers, Indian liberals come under scrutiny Times of India – 20 July 2011
  30. ^ a b "Kuldip Nayar's autobiography to be released on birthday in August". NewKerala. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  31. ^ "India, Pakistan press rue Kashmir deadlock". BBC. 7 September 2004. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  32. ^ a b "Kuldip Nayyer". Herald (Pakistan). Archived from the original on 30 June 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  33. ^ a b "Kuldip Nayar laid to rest amid sea of politicians, scribes". The Indian Express. 23 August 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  34. ^ "Kuldip Nayar laid to rest amid sea of politicians, scribes". The Indian Express. 23 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  35. ^ "Kuldeep ashes immersed in Ravi". Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  36. ^ "Award for Kuldip Nayar". The Hindu. 1 March 2003. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  37. ^ "Kuldip Nayar presented lifetime achievement award". The Hindu. 10 September 2007. Archived from the original on 16 September 2007. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  38. ^ Sengupta, Arghya (2011). "Judicial Independence and the Appointment of Judges to the Higher Judiciary in India: A Conceptual Enquiry" (PDF). The Indian Journal of Constitutional Law. 5: 117.