Ghulam Muntaqa was a Karnataka Rajyotsava winner
Ghulam Muntaqa, a senior photojournalist, died of a heart attack just before the morning prayers on Saturday in Bidar, according to his brother Ghulam Muzzamil. He was 77.
He was a Karnataka Rajyotsava and Karnataka Media Academy award winner. His pictures, taken over six decades, earned him a place among the greats of Indian photojournalism.
His black and white pictures of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru walking with friends with his achkan fluttering in the wind are iconic. They were shot when India’s first Prime Minister arrived here to inaugurate the district stadium in 1962. Since then, Mr. Muntaqa had shot all Prime Ministers with the exception of Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Another one of his achievements was the nine-foot-long negative that included pictures of the Gateway of India and the Taj hotel in Mumbai in a single frame, shot with a rotating camera. It was one of the several innovations that Mr. Muntaqa came up with. He was working on a camera that would rotate on a 360 degree axis, but could not finish it. He leaves behind some immortal moments in Karnataka’s history captured on film and memory chips, a collection of over 300 antique cameras, guns, and scores of bottles of wild honey collected over decades on his hunting expeditions.
His pictures brought out the agony of people waiting for food packets dropped by helicopters during the floods in Bidar taluk, the earthquake of Kilari-Latur, the communal clashes and month-long curfew in Hyderabad and the anti-Sikh riots of Bidar.
His passion was portrait photography. His pictures adorn the walls of the Royals of Hyderabad, religious leaders in Maharashtra and politicians in Karnataka.
He was also known for his ability to adapt to technological changes over the course of his career.
Born to Ghulam Mustafa, a police photographer in the government of the Nizam of Hyderabad, Mr. Muntaqa began shooting pictures when he was 12. He worked for newspapers and magazines in Bidar, Hyderabad and Mumbai.