Former Express Chief Photojournalist Raaj Dayal passes away

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Written by Surbhi Gupta | New Delhi |
March 3, 2021 1:48:24 am

Dayal is survived by his wife, daughter and two grandsons.

In 1993, when the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) bribery scandal hit headlines — 10 MPs belonging from JMM and the Janata Dal cast their votes to defeat a no-confidence motion moved in Lok Sabha against the minority government of P V Narasimha Rao — a photo by former Chief Photojournalist of the The Indian Express, Raaj Dayal, captured a defining moment — the exchange of briefcases.

This is one of many key moments captured by Dayal, who covered the length and breadth of the political and social landscape in India for over four decades. He died on Monday due to cardiac seizure. He was 67 and is survived by his wife, daughter and two grandsons. Dayal had joined The Indian Express in 1988 and retired in 2012 as the Chief Photojournalist. Before that, he worked at the film magazine Mayapuri and studied photojournalism at Thomson Foundation in Wales, UK.

“Photojournalists cover everything but he was known for capturing that excellent picture that went beyond politics,” said veteran journalist Usha Rai, who has covered a number of assignments with him.

He is known to have mentored generations of photojournalists. “He was full of knowledge and was always ready to share it with his students and juniors. He used to teach at various media schools around the country,” said his niece and journalist Karuna John.

Dayal is also remembered as an ace sportsman while he studied at Delhi University’s Ramjas College, and an artist and illustrator, who has exhibited at various group shows in Delhi.

“A lot of people remember him for his laughter. Whether they were covering the budget or a natural disaster, they remember how he cared for people on assignments…,” said John.

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