Vinod Mehta passes away

Mon 09 Mar 2015
New Delhi, March 09, 2015 (Agencies) Veteran journalist and founding editor of “Outlook” magazine Vinod Mehta, 73, passed away on Sunday after a few months of illness. He was suffering from severe lung infection and on life support. He died of multiple organ failure, said All India Institute of Medical Science spokesman Amit Gupta here.

“Frank and direct in his opinions, Vinod Mehta will be remembered as a fine journalist and writer. Condolences to his family on his demise,” tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in 1942, Mehta was a distinguished editor who successfully launched a number of publications such as the “Sunday Observer”, “Indian Post”, “The Independent”, “The Pioneer” (Delhi edition) and, finally, “Outlook”. Mehta was three years old when he migrated to India along with his family after Partition. The family settled in Lucknow, where he completed his schooling and received a bachelor's degree.

Leaving home with a BA third-class degree, he experimented with a string of jobs, including that of a factory hand in suburban Britain, before accepting an offer to edit men's magazine “Debonair” in 1974.  Years later, he shifted to Delhi, where he launched the Delhi edition of “The Pioneer” newspaper.

His longest stint was in “Outlook”, which he launched in 1995 and continued till a couple of years ago, when he retired as an editor of the magazine and became the editorial chairman of the Outlook group. He was also popular in television debates.

His 2011 autobiography is titled “Lucknow Boy”. He recently published another book, “Editor Unplugged”, but could not attend its launch in December last year because of illness.

Mehta is survived by his wife Sumita. The couple don't have any children. In “Lucknow Boy”, Mehta said he has a daughter from an affair in his younger days. He said nobody, other than his wife, knew about his daughter until he wrote about it in the memoir.

Several political leaders, like Sonia Gandhi, L K Advani, Arun Jaitley, Rajyavardhan Rathore and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, along with scores of journalists, attended his funeral.

Tributes poured in on social media as a large section of his friends, colleagues and readers praised him as an editor who could stand up to political pressure or threats from industrialists.

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