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Aug. 17, 2019 | Saturday
Local News
In Memoriam: Zuhair “Kash” Kashmeri
Zuhair “Kash” Kashmeri. (Supplied)


On Dec. 21, I was stunned to hear the news that one of our respected citizens and friends had died.

I first met Kash in 2013 as a tour guide with Taste the Town Tours. One of our stops was the business he owned with his lovely wife Carlotta - Gelato di Carlotta - on Queen Street. Over the years our relationship developed from business associate to personal friend. I’m sure I speak on behalf of anyone who ever had the privilege of meeting Kash when I say that you quickly came to think of him as a friend.

When you entered the shop, his open demeanor and pure passion for meeting the public was an experience you would never forget. He was soft spoken and I relished each conversation we had, listening to him expound on a variety of topics with such enthusiasm and wit, I could not help but admire him.

After learning about his illustrious career as a journalist, I coaxed him to come and join the Niagara-on- the-Lake Writers’ Circle. Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I attended one of our meetings and saw Kash sitting across the table from me ready to participate and that he did.

At the University of Western Ontario Kash studied Law, Business and Economics. At the Siddhartha College in Bombay he received a diploma in Journalism & Public Relations. He attended the London School of Journalism in England and received another diploma for Journalism and Public Relations. As an instructor he taught Diversity Reporting at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Kash initially worked with The Indian Express in Bombay. As a freelance reporter for the Associated Press of America, he made the issues of the day come to life. He later came to Canada and started work at The Daily Times in Brampton, Ontario. He then moved on to the Globe and Mail where for thirteen years he researched and wrote on a variety of topics, including the Middle East. He was a well-respected journalist who was known for writing articles that were terse and controversial, and always ended his commentary with “think about it.” As part of the Globe series “Inside the PLO”, he conducted the first major interview in North America with Yasser Arafat and his commanders. In 1985 he took the helm to lead news media coverage of the Air India bombing. He wrote a book chronicling this disaster, titled Soft Target. He also wrote a book on the Gulf War called The Gulf Within. His reporting covered human rights, diversity, business and finance, international trade, and conducting many special investigations. His articles were published in major newspapers throughout North America.

He enjoyed a successful career as did his father and brother. His father, Agha Jani Kashmiri, wrote screenplays in Bollywood from the 1920s to the 1960s. Kash honored his father’s by producing a documentary called The Golden Pen. along with Howard Bernstein of CBC for the OMNI-TV network.

Kash’s brother, Sarwar Kashmeri, is a professor at Norwich University. He too is a journalist, current affairs commentator, and author, well known on both sides of the Atlantic for his expertise in United States-European relations.

I remember constantly running into Kash downtown. He was either walking the dog with his familiar headphones on, or pedaling along on his bicycle. He always made time to stop and talk. The last time I saw him, he appeared to be the picture of health, upbeat and sharp as ever. The news of his passing was so very hard to comprehend and accept.

His wife Carlotta, a beautiful spirit who always exuded joie de vivre, now laments the loss of her soulmate. Our hearts go out to Carlotta and her family for their profound loss. I’m sure all who have met Kash cherish a special memory of him and also feel the loss of this exceptional man in our community.

His sudden passing reminds us how precious this gift of life is, and how we should live each and every day like it was the last… “think about it.”