New Delhi: The well-known journalist and commentator Praful Bidwai – whose syndicated columns on politics, foreign policy, the environment and political economy provided a critical, left-wing perspective on national and international developments for over four decades – passed away in Amsterdam on Monday night, The Wire has learned.Bidwai, who was 65, died after choking on his food, a close friend of his said. He was in the Dutch capital for a conference.

He wrote regularly for magazines and newspapers across India and the world, besides being an anti-nuclear activist and campaigner. He was a founding member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Peace, the group set up after the 1998 Pokhran tests.

Praful Bidwai at an anti-nuclear protest. Photo: Joe Athialy, CC 2.0

Praful Bidwai was the author of several books, including the 1999 South Asia on a Short Fuse. Nuclear Politics and the Future of Global Disarmament, co-authored with the political scientist and activist Achin Vanaik, and the Politics of Climate Change and Global Crisis. Bidwai’s latest book on the Indian Left was due to be released By HarperCollins later this year. “Praful was a committed, courageous and articulate voice on the Left,” Vanaik told The Wire, and had “an extraordinary command over a vast range of subjects.”

Born in Nagpur, Bidwai worked in the Times of India for many years as a Senior Assistant Editor before embarking on a freelance career that made his byline a household name across India. He wrote a regular column for Frontline and Hindustan Times for several years.

Bidwai had been a Professorial Fellow at the Centre for Social Development, New Delhi, and also a Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. He had also served as a member of the Indian Council for Social Science Research, the Central Advisory Board on Education, and the National Book Trust.

He was a long-time Fellow of the Transnational Institute, the Amsterdam-based organisation of international scholar-activists including Susan George and Walden Bello.

A bachelor, he is survived by two sisters.