Shimla: Renowned journalist and educationist Vepa Rao passed away on Monday after prolonged illness at 76, at a hospital in Hyderabad.
He worked with renowned newspapers and is best known for his contribution to education in journalism from 1990 to 2006 at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication in Himachal Pradesh University in Shimla, along with his stint at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication.
Scores of his former students and family members, journalists, members of the Himachal Pradesh University teaching fraternity, politicians, and bureaucrats have expressed grief over his demise.
Two-time Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has termed his death as “the end of an era”. He further said: “As a Chief Minister, wherever I went, I would very often run into a journalist trained by Prof Rao.”
State Congress President Pratibha Singh said: “He was a beacon of light and reason. He has a unique political and social acumen.”
Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri said: “Prof Vepa Rao’s contribution to journalism and journalism education will always be remembered by the people of the state.”
S.P. Bansal, Vice Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University, said: “He was a stellar teacher and the pride of our university.”
A condolence meeting was held in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. The meeting was attended by students of the current batch along with his former students, including some from his first batch in 1990.
Rao, as a fellow at Indian Institute of Advance Study, Shimla, published a research-based book ‘A Curve in the Hills’. He also wrote a poetry anthology ‘Liquid Folds’.
Rao also received a state award for developmental journalism from the state government for his outstanding reporting in 1997.
A seasoned journalist with over two decades of experience, Vishal writes on a wide range of subjects which include biodiversity, climate change and links between environment & development. He also covers politics and other developments in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. He lives in Chandigarh & Shimla.