WOWED BY RAJDEEP SARDESAI AND INSPIRED BY HARSH MANDAR
By Faridoon Shahryar
1) The first session that I attended today at the #TataLiteratureFestival2015 was: Uncovering the truth in an ocean of headlines. The panel comprised of noted journalists Rajdeep Sardesai, Avirook Sen, author-journalist Lorraine Adams and it was chaired by another noted journalist Sreenivasan Jain of NDTV. It was such a brilliant session that one hour was way too short. To add to it, the session was organised at the magnificent Prithvi Theatre. The lights dimmed amongst the audience and the spotlight was on the august panel. Wow!
The discussion was on the state of journalism in India today. It was observed that as per Outlook, amongst the top 10 upcoming journalists in India most of them belonged to the print medium. So is there a saturation in the growth of the television medium? Jain said that by 6 in the evening, the reporters are done for the day and then the 'Opinion' takes over on news channels. Noisy debates take place raising the collective decibel level of the country. Sardesai observed that the rhetoric and war mongering in the news rooms become so much at times that it can actually escalate into a war. The lust for TRPs is pushing the country to war, which is bizarre. As Mr Sardesai spoke and spoke a bit more, the ex Washington Post journalist Lorraine observed that, "This guy is the most entertaining amongst all of us." Lorraine on her part brought in some funny moments when she expressed her unequivocal disdain for Republican contender in the forthcoming US elections Donald Trump.
Rajdeep Sardesai laid emphasis on how the future belongs to the digital world, how the online news will rule the roost. Sreenivasan Jain gave an example of how #Guardian went digital before their competitors and how they ended up earning humongous money without compromising on the basic principles of journalism.
2) The second session that I attended today was: Rising inequalities and prejudices in New India. Panelists were Social Worker and Writer Harsh Mander, Political Scientist Prerna Singh and it was chaired by senior Journalist with #TheHindu Kalpana Sharma
I had read Mr Mandar's columns on secular thought and I have always found it very intriguing. That was the reason for me to attend this session. It was an enriching experience. Mr Mandar gave instances of homeless little girls being raped, the callous disregard for riot victims and the rooted inequalities in #India and the world in general. He espoused Empathy as an important tool that can make the world more tolerant. Prerna Singh made some pertinent points when she spoke about the egalitarian society of #Kerala and how various communities naturally coexisted. It was a wonderful session.
I purchased Mr Mandar's latest book #LookingAway ...which is on 'Inequality, Prejudice and Indifference in New India' and got it autographed. For a few minutes that I spent with him, I could feel an immense warmth and compassion. Can't wait to read the book. A Sunday well spent!