Sunday, November 18, 2018
 
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Valley’s distinguished broadcaster, Mahendra Nath Koul, bids adieu after a brief illness
recipient of OBE and DOE for contribution in field of journalism, his programme on immigrants for BBC ran for over a decade,



Srinagar, July 12, (Scoop News)-An outstanding broadcaster of Kashmiri origin, Mahendra Nath Koul, died in London after a brief illness. He was 95 and passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning at his home while being surrounded by his immediate family members.

Koul is survived by his wife, Rajni Koul (a prominent broadcaster who served in BBC for over three decades) and daughter Kalyani Koul, a London based judge.

Son of the soil, Koul was born in Srinagar in 1923. He belonged to a middle class Kashmiri Pandit family and obtained his early education at his native place.

Koul was among the first few newscasters who started his career with Radio Kashmir- Srinagar (RKS) and his contemporaries at that time included Ghulam Rasool Nazaki, Prem Nath Harman, Moti Lal Khazanchi, Abdul Rashid and others. Koul’s baritone voice made him a popular newscaster overnight.

In early 60’s of last century, he went to New Delhi to join All India Radio (AIR) where he got an exposure to the broadcasting world. Koul had a brief term with Voice of America (VOA), for its regional service, at Washington. Koul shifted to London and joined British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) where he used to produce two weekly TV programmes for South Asian viewers for nearly two decades. His programme on South Asian immigrants made him very popular among the viewers and listeners.

He was the first Indian to be honoured with an Order of British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II back in 1975 for his services to race relations. Kpul also received the Duke of Edinburgh award for his contribution in the field of broadcasting and journalism.

His “Apna Hi Ghar Samjhiye’ (Make Yourself At Home) a popular programme which Koul produced for BBC that ran for 14 years. He was brought in to present a host of such shows to help some of the early immigrants settled to integrate into the British society.

Koul also interviewed a series of high profile personalities including then Prime Minister Margret Thatcher and Indra Gandhi besides Indian matinee icons like Raj Kapoor, Dileep Kumar and others for his show.

He was known for his witticism and there are many anecdotes attributed to him. In one of his interviews broadcast on RKS nearly four decades ago, Koul said he was instrumental in introducing Kashmiri Wazwan (Kashmiri Cuisines) in London. In this connection, he said, he had sought the help of Mirwaiz Molvi Mohammed Farooq, for arranging the best Kashmiri chefs for the purpose. ...
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