All is not lost or undone yet

Media Coverage | 03-06-2023

Diversity thrives in Central India, Vidarbha region still reflects plurality

I have had long relationship with Dardaji and his family. I recall my first opportunity to meet Indira Gandhi in Nagpur back in 1970, when you were associated with Youth Congress, your father was associated with Congress party. Many of us will recall that it was the time Indira Gandhi was spearheading land reforms in country. The years were 1970, 71, 72. In these two-three years, land reforms were the main agenda of the Congress and you had organised a conference on land reforms in Nagpur. I was the young student leader from Hyderabad, Nizam College. I remember participating in it and some of us had the opportunity to actually interact with Mrs Gandhi. So my association with your family goes long way back. My professional relationship with your family has been there for last 20 years or so.

I have been fortunate enough to recieve your regular columns in my email for many years and I have been a regular reader. For the next few minutes, I want to emphasise the importance of voices like that of Vijay Darda in different parts of the country. They still exist at a time when we are so frustrated by the incompetence and servility of the media, particularly in Delhi and in many parts of the country. You read his articles. When I read him over the years, there is certain maturity and balance. He doesn’t take partisan positions, there is certain professional objectivity. Even though his family has been associated with Congress party, his columns, the professionalism with which he looks at issues, are a reminder that we have people like him in media. All is not godforsaken or undone. So I feel honoured to be here, my respects for the family.

Second, I want to say, we both come from the same part of the country. In one of his columns, he regrets that when Telengana was formed, Vidarbha was not. So that part of India is a reminder of what we all are about. When Gandhiji went to Wardha, I don’t think it was a chance that Vinoba Bhave came. The heart of the country still reflects the diversity of the country, Maharashtra is both backward and forward in its politics. Vidarbha region still reflects the plurality.

Third thing I want to say is about regional media. One thing that I did when I was managing a daily newspaper, I always tried to give more importance to regional representatives. In fact, I just met a journalist from Lokmat whom I had met when I was managing media for PMO. I keep meeting journalists from regional media. I congratulate Lokmat group for keeping the flag of professional journalism high. Thanks.

Dr Sanjaya Baru, acclaimed author and former advisor to Prime Minister, during the launch of the book ‘Ringside – Up, Close and Personal on India and Beyond’, authored by chairman of editorial board of Lokmat Media Group and three-time member of Parliament Dr Vijay Darda in New Delhi.

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