Kanti Bhatt was a trailblazing Gujarati journalist and author whose legacy will live on through a unique initiative. Veteran journalist and editor Sheela Bhatt, wife of the late Kanti Bhatt, and noted Gujarati writer Madhu Rye, dedicated to the public a unique memorial and reading room that stores all the works of Kanti Bhatt. The event was held in Ahmedabad earlier this week.
The memorial is hosted by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Harilal Bhagwati Institute of Communication and Management (HBICM) in Khanpur area. It stores Kantibhai’s personal collection of over 1,600 books and more than 16,000 of his published articles, along with some of his personal belongings.
Kantibhai’s writing career spans over nearly five decades. He started writing in 1970 and continued it without a break until 2019, when he passed away. He has written mainly as Kanti Bhatt but also extensively under multiple pen names. His columns and articles were a staple for Gujarati readers across the globe for decades for accurate information and sharp perspectives on local, national, and global affairs. He also wrote on varied topics such as sports, entertainment, and travel.
He and his wife Sheela Bhatt jointly launched one of the most popular Gujarati magazines, Abhiyaan. Kantibhai has penned over 50 books. Known for his honesty and integrity and for writing very sharp and hard-hitting articles, Kanti Bhatt reached a legendary stature in his lifetime.
Describing a memorial as a fitting tribute to a journalist of Kanti Bhatt’s stature, Sheela Bhatt appreciated Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s initiative. She urged those in the audience and society at large to replicate this model and create living memorials of legendary journalists and writers. “Books were so close to him. I am sure during his last moments he must have thought about what would happen to his books and his writings. Now his soul can rest in peace,” said Sheela Bhatt in her address to the audience.
Renowned Gujarati author and playwright Madhu Rye dedicated the Kanti Bhatt memorial to the public. He touched upon the massive popularity and success that Kanti Bhatt enjoyed, which was rare even for many accomplished writers.
Veteran journalist and editor Shyam Parekh, who is the memorial curator and director of Bhavan’s Rajendra Prasad Institute of Communication and Management (RPICM), said, “It was indeed a great initiative of Sheelaben to entrust the entire legacy of Kantibhai to this public institute and making it accessible to all.” He added that currently the published articles of Kantibhai are getting digitised and will be eventually accessible online.
Speaking on the occasion, the chairman of Bhavans’ Ahmedabad Kendra, Mukesh Patel, and the secretary, Prakash Bhagwati, welcomed Sheelaben’s support to the Bhavans for setting up this memorial. Treasurer of Bhavans, Gaurav Shah, expressed that this is the right tribute to a journalist of Kanti Bhatt’s calibre.
Kantibhai’s sister Indiraben Vyas recollected her memories of young Kantibhai, who was deeply attached to books and reading. The memorial houses about 1,600 books from the personal collection of Kantibhai. This memorial will also function as a lecture hall and classroom for students of journalism and other disciplines. Around 16,000 articles penned by Kanti Bhatt are being digitised and preserved here.
The memorial will be free to access and remain open from Mondays to Fridays between 12 noon and 6 pm. Those wanting to access the collection of books and articles can contact Keyur Dhandeo on +91 –7435012121.