Gitanjali Aiyar Age, Death, Husband, Family, Biography & More

Quick Info→
Age: 76 Years
Death Date: 07/06/2023
Death Cause: Brain Hemorrhage

Gitanjali Aiyar

ProfessionNews Anchor
Known forBeing one of India’s first English female news presenters on Doordarshan
Physical Stats & More
Eye ColourDark Brown
Hair ColourBlack (dyed)
Associated WithDoordarshan (1971-2002)
Awards• Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award for Outstanding Women (1989)
• Awarded the best anchor four times during her tenure at Doordarshan
Personal Life
Date of Birth29 January 1947 (Wednesday)
Date of Death7 June 2023
Place of DeathNew Delhi
Age (at the time of death) 76 Years
Death CauseBrain haemorrhage

Note: Gitanjali Aiyar was sufffering from the Parkinson’s disease.
Zodiac signAquarius
Nationality Indian
SchoolCathedral & John Connon School
College/University• Loreto College, Kolkata, West Bengal
• National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi
Educational Qualification(s)• Graduated from Loreto College
• Earned a diploma from the National School of Drama (NSD)
Relationships & More
Marital Status (at the time of death)Separated
Husband/SpouseSwaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar (economist, journalist, and columnist)
Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar
ChildrenSon- Shekhar Aiyar (works at International Monetary Fund in the United States)
Daughter- Pallavi Aiyar (foreign correspondent and author)
Gitanjali Aiyar with her family

Gitanjali Aiyar

Some Lesser Known Facts About Gitanjali Aiyar

  • Gitanjali Aiyar (1947-2023) was a prominent Indian news anchor who made an enduring impact on the Indian media throughout her remarkable career spanning over three decades at the prestigious Doordarshan. Notably, she held the distinction of being one of India’s pioneering female news presenters, delivering news in English on the Doordarshan platform. Gitanjali passed away in June 2023 due to Parkinson’s disease.
  • During her formative years, Gitanjali Aiyar’s upbringing was deeply influenced by the resonant voices of distinguished broadcasters such as Surojit Sen and Pamela Singh, who captivated audiences through their news presentations on the radio. The unique styles and techniques employed by these renowned figures left an indelible mark on Gitanjali, shaping her own approach and delivery when it came to news reading. Her passion for the field had ignited at a young age as she aspired to become a news anchor at the age of six.

    Gitanjali Aiyar in her youth

    Gitanjali Aiyar in her youth

  • Gitanjali Aiyar began her illustrious career with Doordarshan in 1971 as a prime-time news anchor. She was the familiar face delivering the 9:00 pm English news several times a week for more than ten years. Beyond just news presentations, Aiyar also captivated the audience’s attention as the host of a range of popular shows. One such program was ‘A Date With You,’ a delight for English music enthusiasts who eagerly awaited their song requests to be played every Friday night on All India Radio. In 1978, a significant shift occurred as All India Radio and Doordarshan became separate entities. Gitanjali, however, made the choice to remain an employee at Doordarshan until 2002. [1]Gitanjali Aiyar – LinkedIn

    Gitanjali Aiyar in the newsroom of Doordarshan

    Gitanjali Aiyar in the newsroom of Doordarshan

  • Aiyar’s career was not confined to her news presenting role at Doordarshan; she held numerous positions at other esteemed organizations as well. She joined the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces in Delhi as a sales and public relations manager in October 1982, and she worked there till October 1983. She was appointed as the vice president of the corporate communications and public relations department at Damlia Group and Corporate Voice Shandwick PR, New Delhi, in 1994; Gitanjali held this position till 1998. She served as the deputy head of the Press and Public Affairs department at the British High Commission, New Delhi, from 1998 to 2001. [2]Gitanjali Aiyar – LinkedIn
  • Following her substantial tenure at Doordarshan, Gitanjali ventured into various domains such as corporate communications, government relations, and marketing. She served as the vice president of the public affairs department at Yash Birla Group in New Delhi from 2001 to 2005. She was appointed as the director of the international sales department at The Oberoi Group in New Delhi in 2005; she served in this position till 2007. Gitanjali Aiyar joined the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as a consultant in 2007, and she continued till 2010. In 2011, she became the head of the Major Donors Hub of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), India. [3]Gitanjali Aiyar – LinkedIn
  • Beyond the world of news and corporate communications, Gitanjali Aiyar held a deep-seated passion for the performing arts. She performed in various theatrical productions. Her passion for performing arts landed her a role in a television series titled ‘Khandaan’ (1985), which aired on Doordarshan; the series was directed by Shreedhar Ksheersagar. Alongside her work in television series and theatrical productions, Gitanjali was featured in many print advertisements.
    Gitanjali Aiyar featured in a print advertisement for the brand Marmite - the picture was taken on the dining table at her home

    Gitanjali Aiyar featured in a print advertisement for the brand Marmite – the picture was taken on the dining table at her home

    Gitanjali Aiyar featured in a print advertisement for the brand 'Solidaire'

    Gitanjali Aiyar featured in a print advertisement for the brand ‘Solidaire’

  • Gitanjali, in an interview, revealed that she used to receive lots of fan mails and letters during her tenure as a news anchor at Doordarshan. Her admirers were enamoured not just with her anchoring skills but also with her distinct style. Her distinctive hairstyle and the exclusive design of her saree blouse became iconic, influencing trends of the time. Gitanjali reminisced about instances when admirers, determined to emulate her style, would approach her in public, requesting details about her hairdresser and tailor to recreate the same look. [4]NDTV India – YouTube
  • In an interview, Gitanjali Aiyar shared a collection of delightful anecdotes from her early days at Doordarshan, mentioning intriguing and hilarious incidents that happened behind the scenes. One winter day, she took off her coat and placed it over a chair upon arriving at the Doordarshan studio. As she collected her coat at the end of the day, she was startled to discover a mouse had made a cosy space in her pocket. Gitanjali recalled another incident when a live broadcast was humorously interrupted by a cat that decided to take a stroll across her table. Aiyar further mentioned an amusing anecdote about an on-air tug-of-war involving her microphone wire. While delivering the news, Gitanjali noticed someone pulling on her microphone wire. She maintained her calm and continued with her news reading while subtly resisting the pull on her microphone, which turned the news reading into an unusual battle of strength that lasted until the show was over. Following the broadcast, she discovered a member of the crew at the other end of the wire, who had mistakenly thought the wire was trapped under a table leg. [5]NDTV India – YouTube
  • Gitanjali provided a glimpse of the challenges that anchors faced in the early days when modern technological aids like teleprompters were yet to be introduced. She vividly described a time when anchors had to rely on physical scripts or papers, meticulously rolled by hand, to read the news while ensuring their composure and unwavering focus on the camera. While talking about this, Gitanjali Aiyar said,

    We didn’t have teleprompters. There was someone who was manually rolling the script for us. It was very difficult to look at the camera and look down at what you were reading all at the same time. We also had to be agile at all times because a person standing near the camera would suddenly gesture and ask you to go faster or slower depending on what was appropriate.”

  • Aiyar’s presence as a news anchor garnered admiration from the audience, elevating her to heroic status. In an interview, she recounted the early days of her career, where she found herself approached by numerous individuals seeking her assistance for various societal matters. A memorable incident she shared was when an auto driver, after driving her to her son Shekhar’s school, graciously refused to accept any payment. This touching gesture left a lasting impression on her, highlighting the impact she had on people’s lives beyond the realm of news broadcasting. [6]The Quint Gitanjali talked about this and said,

    Once a man came and rang the doorbell to ask me to do something about bringing electricity to the chawl he was living in. Another time, an auto driver in Dehradun would not take any money after dropping me to the school where my son was studying. Many felt we were doing a lot for the nation. It was all very touching.”

  • On 7 June 2023, Gitanjali Aiyar, who had been facing the challenges of Parkinson’s disease, collapsed upon returning home from a walk. She was rushed to a nearby hospital in Delhi by the house helpers; however, she was pronounced brought dead upon arrival.