Veteran PTI journalist Walter Alfred passes away at 103


PTI, Sep 13, 2023, 9:45 AM IST

Former Press Trust of India (PTI) journalist Walter Alfred, who covered many landmark events in the last century, passed away on Wednesday at his home near Mumbai, his family said.

“Papa would have turned 103 later this month. He passed away at 1.30 am peacefully in sleep at his Mira Road home,” his daughter Anita told PTI.

Alfred used to regale anyone who met him with anecdotes from his meetings with world leaders, facing arrest in Pakistan and covering wars.

A resident of Srishti complex in Mira Road since the last several years, the veteran journalist who traversed the globe as a PTI correspondent, was witness to some of the most historic moments of the 20th century.

From covering India’s Independence and the days of Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, to reporting on the India-Pakistan and Vietnam wars, to rubbing shoulders with leaders from Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistani General Ayub Khan to former Indonesian premier Sukarno, Alfred had seen it all.

Born and brought up in Mangalore, Alfred had a penchant for news from a very young age.

For his undergraduate course, he studied History at the then Government College in Mangalore. He moved to Khalsa College in Mumbai.

Three days after the 1971 India-Pakistan war broke out, Alfred was jailed for a month in Rawalpindi on espionage charges.

His assignment as PTI’s Southeast Asia correspondent saw him stationed at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Singapore.

After working for 60 years, Alfred retired in 1980, but found it hard to let go of his passion for journalism. He went on to teach the subject at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication.

He moved back to Mumbai in 1997, and kept writing for Indonesian and Malaysian papers for several years.

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