Senior UAE-based journalist dies at age 61

P. V. Vivekanandan, consulting editor of Sharjah-based Gulf Today, who died in Kozhikode, Kerala, India on Tuesday.

Senior UAE-based Indian journalist P. V. Vivekanandan died on Tuesday at the age of 61 in a hospital in Kozhikode, Kerala where he was undergoing treatment for a heart ailment.

Vivekanandan’s body is currently kept in the morgue of Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences (MIMS) Hospital in Kozhikode where he died and will be taken to his native place of Ottappalam for a public condolence meeting and cremation at the Thiruvilwamala Aivar Mathom.

Vivekanandan is survived by his wife Chithra, son Anoop (Saudi Airlines) and daughter Vismaya.

Vivekanandan had worked in the Middle East as a journalist for more than 30 years and had gone to India recently for medical treatment.  He was also the founder-president of Indian Media Forum, an association of Indian journalists in the UAE.

Vivekanand used to work as a media consultant for the United Nations and was close friend of many government officials and heads of states in the Arab world. During the Iran-Iraq war and other Middle Eastern crises, he used to pen analytical pieces for newspapers from around the world.

Son of Puthukkudy Valiyaveettil Raman Kutty of Ottappalam in Kerala’s Palakkad district, Vivekanandan went to Mumbai to join the family business, from where he went to Beirut in Lebanon in search of greener pastures.

Vivekanandan started his career as a part-time proof reader with Jordan Times in 1979 which he left in 1997 to join Bahrain Tribune as editor. He came to the UAE as assistant editor of Sharjah-based Gulf Today, rose to become the daily’s editor, a position he held till 2006, and was the daily’s consulting editor when his end came. He was a well-known columnist and commentator on Middle East politics.

“He had been under treatment in hospitals in India for more than three months. He had a bypass surgery earlier and his health condition was deteriorating. A week ago he seemed to be returning to normalcy but died suddenly on Tuesday,” said Biju Abel Jacob, Indian journalist, who was with Vivekanandan during his last days.

Vivekanandan was  a regular commentator on radio, TV and in newspaper columns in the Gulf. Well versed in Middle East politics, he had a good knowledge of the Arabic language. He was at the forefront in the formation of the Indian Media Forum UAE and was as its president for several years. He has won many awards and recognitions including the latest Chiranthana Media Award this year. 

The Indian Media Forum UAE is organising a condolence meeting for its founder-president.

Vivekananda was a mentor to many journalists. Social networking web sites are flooded with condolence messages and remembrance pieces by journalists who recalled their first job offer from Vivekanandan.

Since this seasoned journalist of yesteryears was finding it difficult to meet medical expenses back home, the media fraternity in the UAE helped to meet part of his medical expenses. 

“We are deeply saddened by the sudden death of our founder-president. We have been following up on his health condition and offering periodic monetary support for his treatment. He will be remembered by one and all here in the media fraternity,” said Elvis Chummar, President of Indian Media Forum UAE.