Recently, senior journalist Ravish Kumar was awarded this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Award, which is regarded as Asia’s Nobel Prize. Ravish Kumar, who has become the voice of people, is among five individuals who were declared winners of the award, which is Asia’s highest honour and celebrates greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia. He is the sixth journalist who won this award. Earlier, Amitabh Chaudhary (1961), BG Verghese (1975), Arun Shourie (1982), RK Lakshman (1984) and P. Sainath (2007), had received this award. Ravish Kumar (44), born in Jitwarpur village in Bihar, joined New Delhi Television Network (NDTV) in 1996 and worked his way up from being a field reporter. After NDTV launched its 24-hour Hindi-language news channel – NDTV India – targeting the country’s around 57 crore native speakers of Hindi, he was given his own daily show, “Prime Time.” Ravish Kumar’s “Prime Time” programme “deals with real-life, under-reported problems of ordinary people”.
Three years back, I met Ravish Kumar in Ghaziabad, with one of my writer friend who gave me this surprise. We were casually discussing about the book “Ishq Mein Shahar Hona” authored by Ravish Kumar himself. The book is about the unification of different romances that goes on in every corner of the busy Delhi. After reading this book, you will entirely see the different picture of the national capital. Very emotional yet gives space for reasoning, and that is what Ravish Kumar is all about. He compels people to think, to react and to change monotonous perceptions. I am his one of the greatest fans, read his posts religiously, and never miss his anchored show ‘Prime Time’. The ease that he deals with every subject fascinates me the most.
On that day, my friend said, “We are meeting Ravish Kumar”, believe me my happiness knew no boundaries. I dressed well, covered all my tattoos, tried to be decent and matured. We were supposed to meet him at a mall. When we reached the spot what I saw, a casual man in casual outfits and in simple slippers, a book in hand which was supposed to be reviewed by him, no attitude, behaving just like you and me. He gave us quality time. We spoke on various subjects from politics to a social crime. I had so many pre-set notions about him but overwhelmed to see a brutally honest person with unbiased approach to every aspect. He had volumes to talk good about Narendra Modi at the same time he had his own observations about Sangh – BJP and other political parties. He holds no bias or pre-conception for anyone. Rather, I being little out spoken and criticised many politicians and parties, but he was silently listening to me. He was trying to understand my anger. I was expressing my anguish as a journalist but he was giving ear and strength to my words. I wonder from where, he gathers so much of patience.
I posted a photo with him on Twitter and on Facebook, traumatised to read remarks by some followers. Comments like “Does he chew gutka?” Did he ask you your caste before meeting? Many people have notion that he is an AAP’s supporter, he is caste prejudice. Some even think that he is against the upper caste Hindus, but believe me he is not like that. He is open to every thought, every aspect and every subject that journalists of today need to look at. He is a great thinker yet modest enough to express. He can’t scream or overpower his guests but gives space to people for reasons. Yes, his long pauses and silence bothers because he leaves that vacuum for you to decide. On the other hand, many tweeples expressed their love for him; they all want him to be back on social media. One guy gave special message in Hindi which translates as ‘Ask him to come back on twitter; there is no fun without him. Leaving the haters apart, he has mass following and fans too.
He is one of the rarest journalists those who cover topics concerning to politics and society. Observed mostly for his offbeat approach in explaining the current plight of society, he is one of the few writers who began writing micro fiction stories. He has been praised for conducting interviews and debates in an unbiased and neutral fashion. He had created buzz all over social media through his episode of ‘nationalist v/s anti-nationalist’ saga which is dividing the nation on ideological lines. Ravish did not shy away from slamming prime time news anchors Deepak Chaurasia and Arnab Goswami for blatantly taking the far-right stand. The entire episode was largely a 41-minute monologue, soiled with sound clips of ‘personalities’, organisations and political parties associated with JNU row. These ‘personalities’ also include the TRP drawing faces of ‘9 PM news shows’ and news hours of various channels, where the anchors shout their lungs out to suppress the voices. In such era, Ravish delivered beautiful presentation with facts and figures on JNU saga, no noises, no panelists and no melodrama, just a dark screen and captions with darkest facts. Probably this is the reason the propagandists opened attack on Ravish Kumar. Many politicos avoid going on his show because they feared to get exposed. He is one of the few Hindi news reporters who doesn’t insult the intelligence of his viewers and doesn’t make a tamasha out of the news. One should never miss his first six minutes on Prime Time. Ravish Kumar’s calm presence, hard-hitting stories; changes syntax of present media.
Irony is that, people allege media by giving various adjectives like Bazaroo, bikau, paid media, presstitutes. They pretend to be craving for honest journalists and journalism, however, honest journalists are often attacked because they don’t buy their logics and ideology. There are many ‘hate agents’ promoting biased opinions through their so called media platforms by doing 24/7 bootlicking to one political party, their reporters literally turned to be PR agents. Such hate mongers in media are respected because they have mortgaged their ethics and integrity to leaders and government. They never dare to evaluate government or their ministers. Anyway, let me stop here; the more I will write about bonded journalism the more I would be frustrated.
Coming back to my topic, Ravish Kumar is the best journalist, who chose sensible issues for debate. He does not yell at the top of his voice. You will definitely fall in love with his way of talking. His simplicity and serenity in language will make you his fan. Politeness while conducting debate and sense of humour literally kills. His topics for debates are interesting and at the end, he concludes it very well. He is the one who recently gave message that without any guest, he can carry on debates and provoke the thoughts of viewers. We need more anchors and journalists like him, to fight the odds in the society and in the 4th estate collectively. You hate him or love him, he is unique and most promising media persona but living in this era with honest journalism is the most difficult task.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of AFTERNOON VOICE and AFTERNOON VOICE does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)