Nikku – A Tribute

For many he was a photojournalist; for many others he was a great friend

Aman Kashyap’s death last week is a shocker

He was just 31 and so adventurous. His body was found by the railway tracks in Sahibabad, bordering Indian capital Delhi. His family says Kashyap was killed while trying to save his camera from wild-eyed goons who had waylaid him. On 30th December, Kashyap had gone to Sahibabad railway tracks to get pictures of fog, and that of a train emerging from the smog, for the New Year. But he was found dead, late in the day.

His family found the body by the tracks, with his bag and camera equipment missing. The postmortem report indicated multiple abrasions over his body. Untimely, tragic. Inhuman.

His friend Mustafa Quraishi, photographer with AP,  says Jantar Mantar isn’t going to be the same anymore!

I came to know Kashyap while I was leading a sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

It was during November-December 2002.

He, then, ran a tea-stall in the vicinity.

He was Nikku to me; always smiling. He would offer me tea, free of cost whenever I visited his stall alone.

He would ask about my trade union’s agitation, its progress.

In the last few years, he had developed a penchant for photojournalism, having befriended some lensemen who would assemble at his tea stall.

He was gearing up to become a fine photographer. His photos were being picked up by leading newspapers and news agency PTI as well.

Yesterday, I visited the tea stall where we would meet. There was silence.

Shutters and flashes had gone quiet. He too was there, but in a photo-frame.

There was a visitor’s book, in addition. I wrote few words in his memory. And also that, “Nikku, I love you.”

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