Amrit Kakaria, well known Indian American scribe, dead

New York : Amrit Kakaria, a leading Indian-American journalist, has died of a heart attack in New York. He was 72.

Kakaria, who died Sunday, is survived by his wife Bettina Kakaria and other family members, including, his brother Bal Kakaria. He was battling cancer but it was under remission, his family said.

Kakaria retired in 2002 after 45 years in the media business, most recently as head of US operations for the India Today group. He had earlier launched India Today’s North American edition and also worked in New Delhi and London.

An early member of the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA), Kakaria played a critical role in the group’s growth as an adviser to the group’s founding members.

In 1996, he wrote a personal check for $2,000 to a launch one of its most influential programmes, the SAJA Journalism Awards.

“Amrit was SAJA’s guiding spirit and a mentor to dozens of us in the media,” said Sree Sreenivasan, SAJA co-founder and a professor at Columbia Journalism School. “His passing is a tremendous loss to all South Asian journalists in the US,” he said.

In 2005, he was inducted into the SAJA Hall of Fame, which recognizes pioneering South Asian journalists for their contributions to US media as well as veteran US journalists who helped shape coverage of South Asia.

Kakaria’s cremation, for family only, will be held on Wednesday.

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