Srinagar,July 11 CNS:Veteran Kashmiri broadcaster of Radio Kashmir – Mahindra Kaul passed away peacefully in his sleep on the morning of 11 July 2018 in London. Born and educated in Kashmir, Kaul started his career with Radio Kashmir where he served as newsreader, actor and producer of programmes including plays. He was the first Kashmiri to broadcast in the Kashmiri language. The then Prime-minister of India, Pandit Jawarhalal Nehru commended him and frequently took part in his programs. Besides, he also assisted the Films Division to promote rural development.
After a glorious stint at Radio Kashmir, Kaul moved to join Voice of America. There, he created the Indian Services department at Voice of America (1955-60) after being specifically sought by the US Government on unanimous recommendation of the Indian journalist corps. He wrote speeches for Vice President Nixon in relation to India.After a rewarding stint, he joined BBC Overseas Service Radio which he served for 5 years.He was later chosen to join the Asian unit of the BBC and produced two weekly TV programmes for Asian viewers for nearly two decades. These were the first non-English broadcasts on BBC TV. Such was their popularity that one program ‘Apna Hi Ghar Samjhiye’ (Make yourself at Home), ran uninterrupted for 14 years. Besides, he also interviewed two Indian prime-ministers (Indira Gandhi and Morarji Desai), and Prince Philip.He also interviewed three UK Prime Ministers (Callaghan, Heath, Thatcher) and built a close friendship with the Home Secretary William Whitelaw. During his chequered career, he also interviewed several leading Indian artists, including Ravi Shankar, Lata Mangeshkar and Raj Kapoor.
In London, he achieved a cult status in London dazzling people with his versatile talent and a polished personality. He was the first Indian to get OBE (Order of British Empire) in 1975 after the World War II for services to race-relations through his BBC TV programmes, and later was conferred with the Duke of Edinburgh award also.Programming. Besides this, he was also conferred the Community Service Award at the House of Commons. Kaul received the award from The Baroness Betty Boothroyd, OM PC, former Speaker of the House of Commons.
In addition to his broadcasting services, he started an immensely popular restaurant in London – Gaylord. Mr Kaul is survived by his daughter Her Honour Judge Kalyani Kaul QC, who is the first Kashmiri judge of the British court. With his death, a glorious chapter in the history of broadcasting in Kashmir has come to an end after leaving a glorious legacy that future generations will strive hard to meet in vain.