Jammu: Veteran journalist of J&K Ashok Pahalwan passed away, following a prolonged illness, in Jammu on Saturday.
He was 65.
Belonging to a Kashmiri Pandit family from Manasbal area of Ganderbal district in Kashmir, he spent most of his life in Sathu Barbarshah area of old Srinagar city before migrating to Jammu close to nineties.
“He breathed his last in a room in the TRC complex on Residency Road where he had been staying for around three decades. He is survived by his brothers and their families. During the last stage of his life, he was confined to his room due to illness and he was all alone in his room,” a close friend of the veteran journalist informed Greater Kashmir.
“He had been living alone in a hotel room. Today, when he did not open the door till 2:30 pm, the neighbours became suspicious. Hence, the staff members and others broke open the door. They found him (Pahalwan) lying in an unconscious state inside his room. They shifted him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead,” said senior journalist Anil Bhat.
Bhat said that his elder brother was on way to Jammu from Delhi and accordingly his last rites would be performed after the arrival of the bereaved family.
Pahalwan was one of the senior most journalists of Jammu and Kashmir. He started his career during 80s when he started working with Hind Samachar from Srinagar.
He also worked with international news agencies viz., Voice of America, Reuters covering J&K for almost two decades and CNN. He was one of the founders of Jammu Press Club.
“Known for his honesty and dedication towards the profession, he was an upright gentleman. He used to organize parties in the Press Club on all the occasions i.e., Baisakhi Milan, Shiv Ratri, Diwali and Eid Milan,” recalled M K Bangroo, a veteran journalist.
He remembered, “Ashok Pahalwan also remained associated with Greater Kashmir and contributed regularly for it prior to migration along with M L Kak. Ashok Pahalwan was beyond the concept of a journalist. He was a great human being. He used to help people. As a journalist also he made a great contribution to the field of journalism and humanity,” he stated.
“Known for his hospitality and magnanimity, Ashok Pahalwan was indisposed for the last two to three years and doctors were treating him. I lost a good friend and good human being. Our association dated back to 1987. He worked with Reuters for more than 20 years and we travelled together to cover many important news events including tragic massacres etc. Finance and tourism related stories were his forte as a journalist. He did a lot of work about Ladakh. He would spend most of his earnings on entertaining friends and colleagues. He was very close to his friends particularly Naeem Akhtar, Yousuf Jameel and Jeelani Qadri,” former president Press Club of Jammu Ashwani Kumar recalled emotionally .
“His annual get-togethers had become famous in Kashmir as he would throw grand parties each year to entertain people who also included the chief ministers to the cub reporters,” recalled one of his other friends.
“Senior journalist Ashok Pahalwan passed away in Jammu this afternoon. A good host and a great human being with so many other friendly qualities, he was found dead in his hotel room (TRC Jammu) today. His room would always remain bustling with visitors. Journalists from the valley would never miss the occasion to visit his office or residence when in Jammu. Rest in Peace,” yet another friend from the Valley paid an emotional tribute.
“He was a thorough professional, self respecting and great human being. A huge personal loss to most of us! I was regularly in touch with him on the phone. I have received his last good morning messages and religious videos which he was sending to some of his friends including me daily without fail. Pray for peace to his soul. Om Shanti!!,” former J&K Director Information K B Jandial stated in his condolence message.