Vaartha Bhaarathi Completes Eight Years Of Value Based Journalism

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 PMNov (Letter, Literature, Media, Music, Slice Of Life)

[Adaab. Vaartha-Bharathi completes eight years of its service through Journalism. On this occasion e-paper has been launched (www.vbepaper.com) and a special edition has been brought to mark the eight years of its existence. Following is the translation of my article that appeared in the special edition of Vaartha-Bharathi. It begins on page one and continues on page five.]

Mangalore witnessed yet another communal violence in 2006 October. Teesta Setalvad then visited Mangalore and also held a press conference. While speaking in the press conference she misread, by mistake, the dates of the riots. The journalists assembled in the press conference woke up to say, “You don’t even know the dates properly,” and walked out of the press conference. But one man, like in the joke that we have heard many a times, stayed back. No, he wasn’t the one who was supposed to close the doors, like we have heard in jokes several times. He was a reporter, a journalist from Vaartha Bhaarathi.

I had learnt about this incident, as a student, from a senior activist friend who is a member of the organization which had organized the press conference. This incident spoke to me of the dedication, sincerity, patience and the values of the newspaper. It also spoke of the condition under which the newspaper was working and also the kind of journalism, journalistic values and journalists that surrounded it.

In Manipal those days there was only one shop where one could find Vaartha Bharathi. The shopkeeper got just a couple of copies. We would get a copy only if we went early and had the luck. While reading such luckily gotten copies of the newspaper, it got close to my heart because of its editorials and for the values that it stood for.

When Rajdeep Sardesai and few others were awarded the Padma award in place of congratulating the awardees or highlighting their contributions and glorifying their career Vaartha Bharathi wrote an editorial which remembered the Maulvi in the Girish Karnad play Tughlaq and cautioned the journalists and revealed the politics of awards.

An article which was more critical than a review was published by Vaartha Bharathi when Aravind Adiga won the Booker award for his novel White Tiger. The article by one Gauthami spoke of the limits of the novel and the novelist to show what a work of bad faith writing the novel was. The attitude of the newspaper saying, “It might have won an award but…,” stands as an image of its concern regarding truth of art and its sincerity.

The editorial written in memory of Gangubai Hanagal was such a hearty writing that I had rung several friends of mine and had read out it to them completely. Most of them had said, after listening, “This must be translated and circulated so that many get to read this.” Without bothering much about the birth, riyaaz and gharaana of Gangubai the editorial spoke of the incident where during communal riots Gangubai went on the streets of Hubbali introducing herself as the “sister of Bismilla Khan” and requesting people to maintain peace. This replaced the image of ‘Gangubai on stage’ from our minds with a new image of Gangubai.

These are only a few glimpses of the unique outlook and insights that the newspaper named Vaartha Bharathi has.

While I was teaching in a media institute in Manipal a new joke would become a part of our friends circle every Monday. These would be the jokes that we learnt from the ‘Budubudike’ column from Sunday’s Vaartha Bharathi. The column was being written by one ‘Chelayya’  and this would be photocopied and distributed by us to many for only a few copies of Vaartha Bhaarathi was available in Manipal. Many a times, in college, we would also make remarks like, “Why is he acting like Enjalu Kaasi?” (Enjalu Kaasi being the fictitious journalist in the column Budubudike) and laugh aloud. To this extent Chelayya and Enjalu Kaasi have become a part of our lives.

Vaartha Bhaarathi threw light on the questions that Parvathi and Hajima left behind. It also published the letters that some Naxalites wrote to some thinking minds. Such ‘uncomfortable’ questions and issues raised by Vaartha Bhaarathi naturally angered the people in power and also the state. When power pounds and grinds democratic values, human values and human lives, it is a certificate to be the cause of anger for such an inhumane heartless power and state.

Vaartha Bhaarathi is practicing ‘pro-human journalism’ when it is surrounded by ‘yellow journalism’, ‘P.R. journalism’ and ‘saffron journalism’. Let me congratulate Vaartha Bhaarathi while it completes eight years of valuable value based journalism.

28 August 2010

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