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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 23, May 25, 2013

Tribute: O. P. Sabherwal

Monday 27 May 2013, by SC


Om Prakash Sabherwal, eminent journalist and author of the much publicised India’s Tyrust with the Atom, passed away on May 16 following a brief illness. He was 90. OP, as he was popularly known in the media world, is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

Regarded as an authority on India’s nuclear programme and global nuclear issues, Sabherwal was born in a wealthy business family at Ludhiana on April 13, 1923. After his graduation from the Punjab University, Sabherwal moved to Calcutta where he participated in and led the undivided Communist Party’s student and youth movements for the freedom of the country.

He was initiated in journalism in 1959 by the late Nikhil Chakravartty as a young reporter of India Press Agency, the Delhi based news feature and analysis syndicate, to become its chief editor in 1980. He was professionally associated with the IPA almost till his last days, never failing to file his weekly column on time. His last piece was on the India-China ties as they evolved since the 1960s.

One had the privilege of being closely associated with him professionally on several occasions. One had jointly participated with him at an international journalists’ meet in Kabul in 1987 when both were fortunate to get an interview from the then Afghan President, Dr Najibullah, wherein the latter had spoken warmly of Afghanistan’s age-old ties with India that he fervently desired to consolidate and promote. In Kabul at that time OP developed close personal rapport with the veteran Karachi-based journalist M.B. Naqvi, who too passed away a few years ago. It was a treat to listen to them reciting appropriate Urdu couplets in the evening in the Afghan capital.

As a tribute to OP’s memory we are reproducing the following piece he wrote in the Mainstream Annual November (dated December 22, 2012) marking the journal’s fiftieth anniversary. S.C.

Illuminating the Path to Nation-building

The Legacy of Mainstream and Nikhilda

O.P. Sabherwal


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