Well known journalist and author Anil Dharker passed away on Friday morning, prompting an outpouring of grief-stricken messages on social media. As per a tweeted update by writer Meenal Baghel, he had been hospitalised for a heart ailment.
"I may sound pompous when I say I'm multi-faceted, but I have worn many caps. The list is pretty long. I have headed a TV channel, written scripts for audio-visuals, I have also written books. Basically, I do a lot of different things," reads the opening page of his website.
And this is no idle boast. Over an illustrious multi-decade career, he had been a columnist and writer, an architect, a member of the advisory committee of the film censor board and more. He has been the Editor of several publications including Mid-day and The Independent. He founded the Mumbai International Literary Festival, and responsible for opening the Akashwani Auditorium in South Bombay as an art movie theatre. His columns, have appeared in leading publications both in India and abroad, and he is also the author of The Romance of Salt.
"RIP Anil Dharker, kind and generous man and director of a great Lit Fest," tweeted historian and author William Dalrymple.
"Goodbye dearest Anil. An elegant mind, a stylish writer, and a loyal friend. You will be missed by all those whose lives you touched. RIP," wrote writer Shobhaa De.
"I am extremely saddened to hear about the passing away of a lovely human being, always in his immaculate bespoke churidaar-Kurta :Anil Dharker. The ultimate intellectual liberal who made Tata Literature Live event a global brand and loved books. He loved life. We will miss him," wrote former Congress leader Sanjay Jha.
Countless others from the media fraternity and beyond have echoed this sentiment. Journalist Barkha Dutt reacted to De's post with shock, even as Juggernaut Books founder Chiki Sarkar said that it was "very sad".
"Sad news coming in of Anil Dharker passing away. Was my editor at Mid-Day and The Independent. Man of delectable prose and varied interests. Sports buff. Compassionate and caring. Freethinker and fiercely democratic. RIP," recalled well known sports commentator Ayaz Memon.
"I’m terribly sad to hear this news. Anil was such a good friend to us at Roli - we’ve published him and his sister, Rani. He was always a call away for help, advice, ideas. You’ll be deeply missed, Anil," added Roli Books' editor Priya Kapoor.
Further details awaited.