(December 22, 1934-March 27, 2013)
Noted valley based journalist and political commentator, Tahir Muzter breathed his last on Wednesday evening at his Sanat Nagar residence in uptown Srinagar. He was 79, and is survived by his wife, son Dr Syed Kaiser Jha, medical superintendent government dental college Srinagar, and two daughters.
According to his relatives, Muzter called everyone on Wednesday, perhaps knowing that his last day has approached. “I am unwell since three months,” he told Altaf Bashir, a local columnist and last visitor to his home before he passed away.
“He wanted to convey something to me, but death didn’t allow him to utter a final word for which he invited me to his home. He took his last breath in the lap of his wife before my eyes. Few months ago, he told me that his book on Kashmir needed a final touch before publishing. He wrote poems on Kashmir which now will remain unpublished because of his sudden death.”
As the word of his demise spread, condolences started pouring from almost all sections of the society. Soon a condolence message from chief minister, Omar Abdullah read: “Muzter’s death is a great loss to the society.”
Born on Dec 22, 1934 in Zaina Kadal area of old city, Muzter started his journalistic career in early sixties as printer, publisher and editor of a biweekly newspaper Salsabeel, soon after a brief stint with state government. In late sixties, he brought out an Urdu daily the Political Times, which for its biting journalism immediately created a niche for itself.
He also edited Aahang, and was also associated with daily Chinar. In late seventies, he became the first editor of the Nawa-a-Subah, the official organ of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference.
“Without a moment’s notice his passing shook everybody, because a person who updates his status on Facebook appears fine at 5:00 pm, and dies all of a sudden shortly after,” Bashir said.
In eighties, chief minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah appointed Muzter as his political secretary. For some time, Muzter also remained associated with news room of Srinagar Doordarshan. He also produced and directed some documentaries and programs on culture and literature of the state.
He was also well known in literary circles as an Urdu poet. His first collection of poems Neelam Ghar was released in Jammu in 2000. The anthology won accolades from eminent poet of the sub-continent that includes Prof Jagannath Azad.
During past few years, he was active on social networking site Facebook giving his comments on various issues and happenings mostly in Kashmir, besides he contributed regular columns to various local dailies based on sensitive issues including Kashmir dispute.
“His laptop was switched on with the lid down when he took his last breath. This is a very unsettling, and painful experience. May his soul rest in peace,” Bashir said.