Vinod Mehta, distinguished Editor and commentator who successfully launched a number of newspapers and magazines, passed away on Sunday after prolonged illness. He was 73.
Mehta, who was Editorial Chairman of ‘Outlook’ magazine which he had founded, had been ailing for several months and was hospitalised at AIIMS.
He was suffering from severe lung infection and was on life support.
He died of multiple organ failure, AIIMS spokesperson Amit Gupta said.
Mehta, who wrote the bestselling autobiography ‘Lucknow Boy’ in 2011, was a popular face in TV debates.
He recently published another book ‘Editor Unplugged’ but could not attend its launch in December last because of his illness.
Mehta was a dog lover and had adopted a street dog whom he had named ‘Editor. The dog often figured in his columns in ‘Outlook’ magazine.
Born in Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan) in 1942, Mehta was known for his bold journalism.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled his death. “Frank & direct in his opinions, Vinod Mehta will be remembered as a fine journalist & writer. Condolences to his family on his demise,” Modi tweeted.
Mehta was a distinguished Editor who successfully launched a number of successful 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 down in Lucknow where he did his schooling and got BA 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 Debonair in 1974, a men’s magazine.
Years later, he shifted to Delhi where he launched the Delhi-edition of ‘The Pioneer’ newspaper.
He was married to Sumita Paul, a journalist who worked for the Pioneer and the ‘Sunday Times of India’. The couple do not have any children.
According to his own account in his book ‘Lucknow Boy’, Mehta has a daughter from an old affair from these younger days.
He said nobody, other than his wife, knew about his daughter until he wrote about it in his memoir. He said he spoke to his wife and she encouraged him to write about it.
Mehta has also authored biography of Meena Kumari and Sanjay Gandhi and published in 2001 a collection of his articles under the title ‘Mr Editor, How Close Are You to the PM?’.