Veteran journalist Ajit Bhattacharjea died on Monday at the age of 86. He was diagnosed with brain tumour six months back. He will be cremated at the Lodhi Road crematorium at 10.30 am on Tuesday.
A close associate of Jayaprakash Narayan, Bhattacharjea began his journalistic career as a sub-editor and reporter at the Hindustan Times in 1946 and went on to become the newspaper’s editor. He was also the HT correspondent in Washington.
KK Katyal, who was Bhattacharjea’s colleague at HT in the 1960s, remembered him as “a highly likeable person” both personally and professionally. “I had known him for decades. There was nothing flashy about him — he was solid and sober,” said Katyal.
Bhattacharjea edited The Times of India and Indian Express in his illustrious journalistic career and also served as the director of the Press Institute of India (PII). He chose to edit Jayaprakash Narayan’s weekly Everyman’s when restrictions were imposed on the media during the Emergency.
Usha Rai, his deputy at the PII, said, “He would always stand up for the underdog. His writings revolved around issues that touched the lives of the common man. The right to information movement was very close to his heart.”
A prolific writer, Bhattacharjea authored several books, including the biographies of Jayaprakash Narayan and Kashmir’s Sheikh Abdullah.
He was also a fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla and the editor of Transparency Review, a journal of the Centre of Media Studies, New Delhi, which focuses on right to information.