Veteran Gujarati journalist and columnist Kanti Bhatt died in Mumbai at the age of 88 on Sunday, days after he suffered a stroke.
Born on July 15, 1931, Bhatt hailed from Zanzmer village in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat. He had done his Bachelor of Commerce from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (Vadodara). Following his graduation, he spent nearly 10 years in Malaysia, handling the business of his uncle.
Bhatt started his journalism career in the late 1960s as a financial journalist in Mumbai. He later became a freelance journalist and also wrote columns for various publications. Bhatt gradually rose to prominence as a prolific columnist who wrote on diverse subjects.
He must have written more than 45,000 articles in the course of his journalistic career. Bhatt was also the founding editor of one of the leading Gujarati magazines, Abhiyan, which he launched with his wife Sheela, also a veteran journalist and member of the Editors Guild of India. Sheela Bhatt has also worked as an editor with The Indian Express.
Ashu, a journalist who considers Bhatt his mentor, said the veteran journalist had a tremendous passion for writing and reading articles on diverse subjects. He also spoke of Bhatt’s wish to write a novel. “He had never written a novel. And on his last birthday, July 15, he told me that he wanted to jointly write a novel with me,” Ashu said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over Bhatt’s demise. In a tweet, Modi said, “The world of readers has suffered a big loss due to the death of columnist and journalist Kanti Bhatt whose column used to make the mornings informative.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, too, expressed his condolences. “Shree Kantibhai Bhatt has a priceless contribution to Gujarati journalism and column writing. Kantibhai impressed a number of generations through his personality and writing skills. His death has created a void that can’t be filled,” he said.