Around midnight Monday, when Channi Anand, 50, heard his name announced among the winners of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize, he started crying. Anand could not believe he had become one of the three photographers from South Asia to achieve the feat this year.
Only a few hours earlier, when he had asked his family to gather round his laptop for the awards live streaming on YouTube, his son Abhay, 20, a first-year BCom student, had asked him why were they watching it. ‘Do you expect to get the award’, he had asked. “I had not anticipated it even then,” Anand said. “All I told him was that my office had asked me to watch it along with my family, so there must be a reason.”
The other two to win the prestigious award along with Channi Anand are Mukhtar Khan and Yasin Dar from Kashmir. Working for Associated Press, all the three have been awarded in the category of feature photography, for showing through their cameras the images of life in Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370.
Channi’s winning photograph was of a BSF personnel positioned amid standing crops in R S Pura sector, watching the international border through binoculars, following tension between India and Pakistan post scrapping of Article 370.
Soon after the prize was announced, his office called him around 1 am, asking for a family photograph. Anand called a neighbor and got the photograph clicked on his camera.
Anand, who hails from Jammu, began his career with State Times, a local English daily, and then moved to Amar Ujala. He also contributed to some magazines, before starting work with AP as a stringer in 1999. He was taken on board as a staffer by the news agency four years ago.