Veteran journalist Anil Dharker passes away The writer, editor and columnist, was a guiding light at CJP

26, Mar 2021 | CJP Team

Anil Dharker passed away in Mumbai on Friday at 74, following a bypass surgery. Over a career spanning five decades, Dharker was not only a prolific writer, penning memorable columns that had become mandatory weekend reads in many a household, he was also a deeply compassionate and socially conscious individual.

He was a founding member of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) and was our third president, a post he held for the past many years. He was one of the driving forces behind CJP’s commitment to communal harmony and social justice, and stood unflinchingly by the team even when we were targeted and hounded by a vindictive regime.

Be it CJP’s commitment to pursuing justice through the courts, an invariably long and testing process, our Hate Watch initiatives, the pathbreaking work in Assam, our struggle for land rights for Adivasis and forest dwellers, the campaign for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, CJPs #LetMigrantsVote or Fellowship programmes, Dharker was one hundred percent committed to our widening struggle for human rights.

We are most grateful to him for lending voice to our Peace in Ayodhya Campaign. He became an intervener in our petition seeking peaceful resolution to the Ayodhya dispute in the Supreme Court. This is how he walked the talk.

“For me personally, his was the voice at the end of the call, calls made often, where his calm, sagacity and unflinching courage informed us. A guiding star. He will be so sorely missed,”
said CJP secretary Teesta Setalvad.

A memorial meeting was held in the CJP office today.

Glimpses of an extraordinary life

He had degrees in Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering (from the University of London), and was part of the academic staff of the University of Glasgow. When he returned to India, he worked in the field of architecture with special focus on fire safety.

Dharker was passionate about cinema and wrote frequently about it. He went on to work with the Board of Film Certification, promoting a liberal culture and minimal censorship. He also worked with the Film Finance Corporation and the National Film Development Corporation.

As a journalist, Dharker has been the editor for several illustrious publications such as The Illustrated Weekly of India, The Independent and Mid-day, his own flair shaping the personality of each publication where he worked. His columns have also appeared in The Times of India, The Economic Times, The Hindu and DNA. He has also dabbled in television, conducting hundreds of interviews with award winning writers, filmmakers and actors.

Though he has donned many hats in his long and illustrious career, he is best remembered for founding the Mumbai International Literary Festival.

Remembering a giant

Tributes have been pouring in on social media since his passing:







Dharker’s website has the following quote by him:

“I am happiest when I am writing. I can write anywhere. When I write people might be shouting around me but I can’t hear them.”

One can only imagine that perhaps he is writing a whole new story in the afterlife.

You will be missed, Anil Dharker.


Anil Dharker appeals for Peace in Ayodhya


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