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Farewell Jassal

New Delhi, Mar.16 (ANI): Nobody quite tied his pagdi (turban) as perfectly as Raminder Jassal. Each pleat ran parallel and was tucked tight, and even at the end of a 12-hour workday, the pug was in place and he was ready to go on camera as if he had just tied his turban.

The Antim Ardas or the final prayer for India’s Ambassador to Turkey, Raminder Jassal, was held in New Delhi today. Jassal breathed his last battling cancer, bravely. In his 40 years in the Indian Foreign Service, Jassal served as Ambassador to Israel and Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington where he played a crucial role during the Indo-US nuclear deal. He also served in the Indian missions in Russia and Israel.

Jassal, however, became a household face during the Kargil conflict. His daily briefings to the media were televised and came live into our living rooms. He recounted with dignity the loss of lives, he proudly stated our daily wins, and sombrely noted the casualties. In effect, the Kargil conflict was the first televised war and Jassal was a part of the information mechanism that brought the horror of war close to us.

Jassal was popular with journalists, this mostly, because of his ready wit and unflinching patriotism. I met him in April 2010 for the last time. He was battling cancer, and when I asked him how he was, Jassal replied “as handsome as ever, and I dare you to say no.” I couldn’t have said anything but yes, because he looked the same Jassal, smiling, and always ready with a joke. Farewell friend. (ANI)

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I am the Editor News, at Asian News International (ANI), Indias leading Multimedia News Agency and the India Correspondent for Channel News Asia, a Singapore based broadcaster.
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