Afternoon Voice celebrated its 11th Anniversary on August 8. On the occasion of completing these many years of supporting the fourth the estate of the democracy and fighting its evil, Afternoon Voice organised its first Media Conclave that was unique with its wide range of topics of discussion and with the presence of renowned dignitaries from all strata of the society. While notable politicians like Minister of Education, Sports and Youth Welfare Ashish Shelar, NCP Mumbai President Nawab Malik, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) MLA Waris Pathan, State Agriculture Minister Dr. Anil Bonde, BJP Maharashtra Spokesperson Shaina NC and Avadhut Wagh added grace to the Conclave, exponential classical singer Padma Shri Dr. Soma Ghosh, one of the champions of Bharatanatyam and academician and the principal of Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya Dr. Uma Rele, Singer and author Sonal Sonkavde, Comedian Sunil Pal, journalist Shikha Dhariwal, RTI activist Anil Galgali, Namrata Thakkar, Psychologist, Indian writer and Film producer Swapna Patker, and Advocate Pratibha Bangera were among the other panellists. Child artists Nitanshi Goel and Harshita Ojha too were present at the conclave.
The day was also marked with the launch of De Dhakka, Desh Chalana Hai, an initiative by Afternoon Voice which was launched by Minister of Education, Sports and Youth Welfare Ashish Shelar. De Dhakka, Desh Chalana Hai is a platform launched to bridge the gap between the common man and the power corridors. The government is a responsive and accountable form of democracy that belongs to you. While Power Hunger, Corruption, and Discrimination are ruling the power corridors, Afternoon Voice has come up with this platform which gives citizens the opportunity to question the government and run the government. The initiative appeals to the common man to connect with De Dhakka, raise questions, and work hand-in-hand with the government to work towards a progressive nation.
“I want to congratulate the entire team of Afternoon Voice and Editor-in-Chief Vaidehi on the 11th anniversary. I am observing how the entire team is doing fearless journalism throughout these years. Afternoon Voice has come up with an impressive initiative De Dhakka which will act to strengthen the democracy by bringing forward the voices of common man,” said Ashish Shelar.
With the blessings, co-operation, and encouragement of the readers, Afternoon Voice could sustain the parallel media by voicing for the voiceless, sometimes questioning the governance and sometimes defending the government against the odd voices. Its main aim is to live journalism and fight the evil in the fourth estate. The newspaper and its team also aim to fulfill the dream of the Prime Minister to create a better India by taking everyone along.
Afternoon Voice celebrated One More Year of Success as a daily and one of the fastest-growing tabloids from Mumbai that began its journey with a rebellious story 11 years back to voice the opinion of the journalists who were imbibed with an idea that newspaper is not a prerogative of a common man. The anniversary edition launch of Afternoon Voice by Ashish Shelar, Nawab Malik, Shaina NC, and Waris Pathan was another moment to cherish.
Talking about the journey of Afternoon Voice and the launch of De Dhakka, NBC Group Editor and Afternoon Voice Editor-in-Chief Dr. Vaidehi Taman stated, “The motive of the Afternoon Voice Media Conclave was to engage people in interaction and create voices. Perhaps, that is the same reason we decided to launch De Dhakka which is a platform for the common man to reach the power corridors. This was our first effort and I hope we have many more to go.”
Nitanshi Goel, who was co-anchoring the launch of De Dhakka with the Editor-in-Chief started the event asking the panellists what do they expect from the next generation to contribute to the nation-building. Replying to her, Nawab Malik stated, “Once we grow up, we tend to forget our responsibilities towards our parents who have dedicated their lives for our future. I hope that the coming generation will not ignore their parents and will abide by their duties towards their parents.” While Waris Pathan said, “I would like to suggest the next generation to be highly educated and not restrict themselves to only graduation level. Only educated youth can take the nation forward and add to the betterment of the country”, Shaina NC asserted, “While people say youth is the future, I believe youth is the present and only the present can decide how the future will be. I want all the youngsters to be socially motivated and engage with social causes.”
The event started with the political panel consisted of Shaina NC, Nawab Malik, Waris Pathan, and Suresh Nakhua, Avadhut Wagh. When asked how she sees the growth of the country going by the promises of PM Modi, Shaina NC replied, “PM Modi has already delivered on hardest of promises — be it the abolition of Triple Talaq and abrogation of Article 370. I joined the party 16 years ago and one of the reasons behind was BJP’s agenda of the abolition of Uniform Civil Code and Article 370.” Shaina also spoke about the performance of the Parliament where several legislations have been passed. Calling the Modi government a progressive one, she highlighted several pro-people schemes launched by BJP. Shaina also attacked the Congress party for following pseudo-secular politics. When asked about the small businessmen being affected due to the implementation of GST, Shaina stated, “Under MUDRA banking, 70 per cent of assistance have been provided to women from rural areas. Under Ujwala scheme, 6,50,000 cylinders were provided to poor women.” She said that out of one crore thirty lakh population it called it a big achievement. She also took a jibe at Rahul Gandhi for indulging in photo-ops by visiting homes of Dalits during poll campaigns.
Replying the recent mass resignation in NCP, Nawab Malik said, “So many leaders have quit NCP and many more will leave the party. NCP will not come to an end with the resignation of few leaders.” He said that the country has achieved progress in the last 70 years and praised former PM Rajiv Gandhi for bringing computer era into India. He added that BJP is taking credit for the development of the nation. Stating that lies and false propaganda don’t last for long, Malik attacked the government saying, “India is faring only slightly better than Bangladesh and Ethiopia and the government is claiming that India will become a 5 trillion dollar economy.”
Adding to the discussion, Avadhut Wagh said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that since Independence each and every Prime Minister has contributed to the development of India. BJP government has carried out development work in the last five years and people have given a mandate to the government. People are with the Modi government.” Attacking the Congress party for taking credit for computerisation and not for introducing EVMs, he said, “If political parties want EVMs to be scrapped then they should approach the Election Commission.”
Another panellist Pathan said, “In today’s time if anyone speaks against BJP, they are termed as anti-national. For the development of the country, it is necessary to take along people belonging to all communities. I am always with the minorities and the underprivileged. It is unfortunate that more than three crore Muslim women have sent letters to the government against the Triple Talaq bill.” RTI activist Anil Galgali said that every political party should be given De Dhakka as neither BJP nor Congress has been able to deliver and they are indulging in vote bank politics. He also regretted how most of the schemes started by the government remains restricted on paper. He appealed the citizens to join with De Dhakka and participate in the betterment of the country. Talking about his stand on the recent RTI amendments, he said that ‘not only BJP whichever party comes to power oppose RTI’.
Another panel had Dr. Soma Ghosh, Dr. Uma Rele, Namrata Thakkar, Sunil Pal, and Swapna Patker. When asked about the thoughts on the vulgarity in the present-day entertainment media, Dr. Soma Ghosh and Dr. Uma Rele highlighted the use of tasteless and crass lyrics and dance steps used in recent times and how it is harmful of the sane mind was also elaborated by them. Dr. Ghosh said, “The way music has the ability to heal an unwell person, it also has all the strength to make a healthy human mentally sick.” Talking about the same in the stand-up comedy, Sunil Pal said, “Such contents are used because the audience likes it; however, not every comedian follows the same path while they perform. The same applies to the Youtubers who take the support of adult talks to get more reach and likes. While performers with good content get trolled, ones who use vulgar content get the most support.”
While talking about the importance of music in our lives, Padma Shri Dr. Soma Ghosh said, “Music has tremendous power. Nowadays, kids are under a lot of stress and they are many who are consulting the psychiatrists. The doctors suggest singing as a method to relieve stress. We used to have extracurricular classes in schools before, but unfortunately, we hardly have any in the current education system. Education without music is incomplete.”
Swapna Patker threw light on how these contents have harmful effects on the minds of teenagers. She also said how social media addiction and the hunger to keep updated at every social platform have taken people away from their own selves. “People are afraid to face themselves,” Patker added. She further added, “Any art form is similar to meditation that sharpens your attention. We lack focus in today’s time.
Uma Rele said, “The duty of every art form is to teach at least something to the society. Our responsibility is to upgrade the audience without degrading ourselves as an artist.” When asked about the challenges to maintain the ethicality of the industry, Namrata Thakkar said, “We suggest the entrepreneurs how distressing can eventually help in their businesses and take them ahead in their careers. Entrepreneurship is entirely about the mindset.”
Another panel that was joined by Advocate Bangera, Dr. Patker, Journalist Dhariwal, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti spokesperson Ramesh Shinde, and social entrepreneur Adhik Kadam. When asked why 90 per cent of cases in courts these days are not genuine and why people are using legal tools for revenge or personal agenda, Advocate Bangera said, “You are right. Many come to the court for revenge or with some ulterior motives while the ones who really need justice, do not think about revenge. I can easily understand that my client has come for revenge or justice. I have noticed that a person, who wants to take revenge, has his agenda ready.”
While talking about the present situation in J&K after the scrapping of Article 370, Adhik Kadam, who runs shelter houses in Kashmir Valley for the orphan girls, anxiously said, “To see the change, I will have to reach there. After a new step by the Centre, I am unable to contact my children. Internet and phone services are closed. Only through the military, I could only know that some essential things have run short in the shelter houses. I am worried about their security and well-being. There is no communication. Many persons of Jammu are against the scrapping of Article 370.” On being asked how does she perceive spicy news by media particularly in the entertainment industry, Dhariwal said, “The present time is an era of social media. Celebrities are very active on social media and spicy news or rumours are not new for them. This is quite normal for them. Celebrities are also responsible for this.”
Talking about what are the threats against the Hindus in India, Ramesh Shinde said, “Yes, Hindus are not safe in India. The Supreme Court of India fined Rs 100 crore to Times of India for tarnishing the image of a judge. However, there is no instance of punishment in the cases of blasphemy of Hindu gods-goddesses. A Supreme Court judge said that Krishna was in live-in relationships with Radha as they did not marry. He may be expert of Law, but he has no knowledge of holy books of Hindus. For me, this blasphemy of Krishna is more than Rs 100 crore.” Psychologist Swapna Patker added, “All these, problems are due to lack of trust and end of teacher-pupil (Guru-Shishya) tradition. Whenever you are in distress and pain, there is no one to whom you can share your problem. I am a psychologist but whenever I am in trouble, I consult my teacher.”
In the post-event media conversation, wishing luck for the entire Afternoon Voice team, Shikha Dhariwal said, “All the panels had discussed a wide range of topics, be it religion, politics, or journalism. Afternoon Voice has completed its 11th year and I feel being completely unbiased in putting out the opinion and maintain it for this long is excellent in itself.” Uma Rele stated, “De Dhakka is an exceptionally impressive initiative by Vaidehi and team which is much needed in the current era. Incidents which all are happening around us every day undoubtedly need a Dhakka (push) to work in the right direction. We have all our support to De Dhakka and the team. I want to congratulate and have only good wishes for the initiative.” Waris Pathan congratulated and gave good wishes to Afternoon Voice on its anniversary. He also wished De Dhakka great success ahead.
Dr. Soma Ghosh expressed, “On the 11th anniversary of ‘Afternoon’ newspaper, I was the Guest of Honour in the conclave. The Editor Vaidehi anchored the discussions of the evening that covered a variety of topics ranging from ethics in politics to fundamental rights to intellectual property rights to Cultural/ therapeutic aspects of Indian music and the decay and vulgarization of Indian folk music. I made a point when I brought to focus the greater need for monetary as well as the government facilities that ought to be given to Padma Awardees. According to me, these Awards bring greater responsibilities and more social obligations and thus we have to travel more to reach out to a larger number of people. I was loudly appreciated for my various views and also for singing a few songs!”