Senior journalist and well-known columnist Praful Bidwai has died, a family friend said on Wednesday. He was 65.
Bidwai died in Amsterdam on Tuesday evening while eating at a cafe there, family friend Pamela Philipose told. Earlier reports said he suffered cardiac arrest.
“He was sitting at a cafe there when he choked on his food and died,” she said. Bidwai was single and is survived by his two sisters.
Reminiscencing, Philipose said Bidwai was “a concerned human being…concerned journalist who worked for voiceless in the country” and had a “great mind”.
“He understood politics of the world very well, and was a realistic journalist. His work with various media organisations speaks for itself,” she said, adding that Bidwai also had a solid academic background which worked in his favour as a journalist.
Bidwai was a social science researcher and an activist on issues of human rights, environment, global justice and peace.
One of South Asia’s most widely published columnists, his articles appeared regularly in prominent publications such as The Times of India, Frontline, rediff.com, The Kashmir Times, The Assam Tribune and the Lokmat Times in India, The News International in Pakistan, and The Daily Star in Bangladesh.
He also contributed to The Guardian, Le Monde Diplomatique and Il Manifesto.
A former senior fellow of the Centre for Contemporary Studies, the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Bidwai was also a member of the Indian Council for Social Science Research, the Central Advisory Board on Education, and the National Book Trust.
He had co-authored or contributed to several books on political economy, the environment, sustainable development, science and technology, ethnicity and politics, North-South relations, and security and nuclear issues.
Bidwai was also a founder-member of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, an umbrella organisation of Indian peace groups founded in 2000.
He received the Sean MacBride International Peace Prize, 2000, of International Peace Bureau, Geneva and London, one of the world’s oldest peace organisations.
Born in Nagpur, Bidwai worked in the Times of India for many years as a senior assistant editor before embarking on a freelance career that made his byline a household name across India. He wrote a regular column for Frontline and Hindustan Times for several years. (IANS)