Veteran journalist and editor S. Nihal Singh, a trenchant critic of the Emergency in the mid-seventies and equally of the Modi government, died on Monday following illness. He was 88.
The end came around 5.30 p.m. at the National Heart Institute here where he had been admitted. The cremation will take place at 12 noon on Tuesday at the Lodhi Road crematorium.
A journalist friend of Nihal Singh said he had been in and out of the hospital four times in the past few weeks and died due to multiple organ failure. Nihal Singh would have turned 89 on April 30.
An incisive writer, Surendra Nihal Singh was the Chief Editor of The Statesman, Editor-in-Chief Indian Express and Editor of Khaleej Times. He was also the founding editor of the The Indian Post.
Author of several books, he was active till recently contributing regular columns to newspapers.
He won the prestigious International Editor of the Year Award in New York for his role in opposing the state of Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in mid-1975. Of late, he was also critical of the Narendra Modi government on various issues like intolerance arising out of the activities of Hindutva organisations.
Nihal Singh was Director, Press Institute of India and a senior associate Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, New York City. He was also President of the Press Club of India.
Paying his tributes, senior journalist H.K. Dua said Nihal Singh was one of the most outstanding journalists and an excellent commentator on national affairs and foreign policy.
"He was a thorough democrat-liberal, moulded in a classical mode of journalism. He was a popular leader wherever he worked," Dua said.
He said Nihal Singh was always fair in his approach in commentary and could be incisive in comment without malice.
Senior journalist Kuldip Nayar said Nihal Singh would not only be remembered for his contribution to journalism but also to public life.
Nayar said he and Nihal Singh were colleagues in The Statesman for many years and described him as a serious writer.
"He was posted at Singapore when I joined the The Statesman. We used to wait for his dispatches which were read with great interest," Nayar said, adding that he gave whole perspective on China and Southeast Asia.
He recalled Nihal Singh coming regularly to the India International Centre and addressing meetings and mixing with people.
"We were not only colleagues, we became good friends and I am shocked that he is no more. It is definitely loss to profession and also to me."
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala also paid his tributes, saying Nihal Singh's impeccable integrity and journalistic ethics is a benchmark.
"My deepest condolences on the passing away of Nihal Singh. In a career spanning several decades, his impeccable integrity and journalistic ethics is a benchmark in today's times. My prayers are with his family and friends," Surjewala said.