- Mandira Nayar appreciates Pakistan govt for giving a chance to participate in her grandfather’s last rites
LAHORE: The ashes of India’s senior journalist and renowned peace and rights activist Kuldip Nayar immersed on Friday here in the Ravi River in the presence of his family members, friends and peace activists.
Born in Sialkot and educated in Lahore, 95-year-old Kuldip Nayar passed away on August 23, 2018, at the Escorts Hospital in New Delhi. He was one of the last of a generation of remarkable journalists who started their career just after the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947.
Kuldip Nayar’s granddaughter Mandira Nayar, also a journalist, and her husband Ratish Nanda, a noted conservation architect, crossed the border at Wagha on Friday morning to participate in an Asthi Visarjan (immersion of the ashes) in the middle of the Ravi River in the afternoon.
Mandira Nayar appreciated the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi for giving her and her husband visas to participate in her grandfather’s last rites. “I was amazed at the goodwill and overwhelmed to see such a huge crowd who were chanting slogans of peace and love at the border,” she said.
Former federal minister Aitzaz Ahsan, IA Rehman, Karamat Ali, Farooq Tariq, Irfan Mufti, Rubeena Jameel, Tanveer Jahan, Amir Sohail and others were present in the two different boats, arranged by the Joint Action Committee of People’s Rights, an umbrella group of several non-profit organisations, to immerse the ashes in the river’s middle.
It is pertinent to mention here that the paramilitary forces at the border granted special permission to the host delegation to enter the reception hall at the Azadi Gate and meet the Indian guests as they emerge from immigration and customs. Previously, ashes of former lawmaker and peace activist Nirmala Deshpande and journalist Praful Bidwai were also immersed in the Indus River in Sukker and Jamshoro, respectively.
“I will be always grateful to the government of Pakistan who made this possible for us,” Mandira said after the ashes immersion ceremony. “I’m really thankful to the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi for giving us the visas to perform the last rites of my grandfather,” she said.
On the occasion, Aitzaz Ahsan said that the late Kuldip Nayar was a friend of peace-loving people and he was a citizen of the (Indian) subcontinent that is why he had the right to come here back. After partition, he said that he (Nayar) went to India due to some personal reasons but his heart was always here.
“Kuldip Nayar Sahib was so humble and he always wished that the border should be open for the people so they can visit each other easily,” he said, adding that peace was the vital solution for Pak-India crisis. In the current situation, this act of kindness and peace was a direct message to the governments that the people want love and harmony, he said.
Addressing the short ceremony at the Lahore Press Club, Mandira Nayar was awarded an honorary membership of the press club. “It’s a great privilege for me to be a part of this club as my grandfather didn’t have the membership of the Delhi Press Club but he was a member here. Journalist family has always given us unconditional love,” she said.
“I always received bundles of love here and I have never felt that I am away from my home. The reception we always get is so warm and lovely that I will continue my grandfather’s legacy. I planted a tree in his memory at the border to show the peace and love he had for the people,” she said.
On the occasion, Lahore Press Club President Azam Chaudhry said that Kuldip Sahab, one of the champions of South Asian solidarity, was equally loved and respected in Pakistan, and every place where his writings were published and translated. He (Nayar) was a courageous spokesperson for press freedom as well as an important promoter of India’s secular tradition, he said.