“My father is my role model, whose name I bear as a badge of honour.”
– Vijay Darda
An award-winning journalist, veteran parliamentarian, dynamic entrepreneur and compassionate philanthropist, Vijay Darda straddles several worlds of experience. Born on May 14, 1950 in Yavatmal (Maharashtra, India), his father and freedom fighter Jawaharlal Darda (Babuji), overwhelmed by the country’s independence, named him as ‘Vijay’, meaning victory. He wanted him to fight for the poor and downtrodden, lend voice to the voiceless and contribute to nation building.
Darda was groomed as an all-rounder in his school days under the mentorship of Arun Halbe, recipient of the President’s Ideal Teacher Award. He developed a flair for painting and poetry, while excelling in hockey and table tennis. He further obtained his Diploma in Journalism and Printing Technology from Mumbai University and completed a Humanities Program on Religion, Conflict and Peace from Harvard University.
Vijay Darda was awarded D.Litt. (Doctor of Literature) degree by internationally renowned D Y Patil University at the convocation of the university in Navi Mumbai on 28th March, 2023, at the hands of Maharashtra governor Ramesh Bais and chancellor of Dr D Y Patil University Dr Vijay Patil in the presence Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and dignitaries from all walks of life. He was conferred with the degree for his outstanding work across the fields of journalism, social work, education, politics, philanthropy for the betterment of society.
Vijay Darda along with his brother Rajendra took up the reigns of Lokmat, a Marathi daily newspaper launched from Nagpur on December 15, 1971. They later introduced Lokmat Times (English) and Lokmat Samachar (Hindi), while ensuring the numero uno position of Lokmat among all Marathi dailies in India with 21.8 million readership. Today, under his chairmanship, it is a leading multi-platform media company with a diversified portfolio of publishing, broadcast, digital, entertainment, community and sports verticals.
Darda has been conferred with several awards, including Feroze Gandhi Memorial Award (1990-91) presented by former Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao. He headed media institutions like Indian Newspaper Society (INS), Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) and was the founder president of South Asian Editors Forum (SAEF). He also has many books to his credit and weekly columns published in various national and regional dailies since decades.
Darda served as an active Member of Rajya Sabha for three consecutive terms from 1998 to 2016. He discharged his duties sincerely as a member of multiple Parliamentary Standing Committees and piloted crucial Private Member’s Bills on issues of national interests. He firmly believes in the ideology of Indian National Congress which advocates secularism and strives to alleviate the woes of the common man.
Darda attended the World Economic Forum, United Nations Security Council meeting and Non-Aligned Movement summit, and extensively reported the deliberations. During his foreign tours as part of government delegations, he promoted Indian culture and values. He was also a part of numerous international summits and business conferences. He received the International Jurist Award (2011) at the hands of President of the Supreme Court (UK), Rt. Hon. Lord Philips in London.
Darda continues to pursue his philanthropic endeavours through various trusts and foundations. A true nature lover, he strives for environmental preservation and wildlife conservation. He promotes the development of sports and arts alongside holistic education, specifically in backward regions. He espoused his wife, Jyotsna Darda to establish Sakhi Manch, a forum for women empowerment.
Though a devout Jain, Darda believes that all religions preach love, harmony and co-existence. He encourages public discourses of gurus, munis and sadhvis of diverse communities for spiritual upliftment of humankind. He united all sects of the Jain community under one national level organisation, Sakal Jain Samaj. As the founder president, he organised a historic four month holy Chaturmas (1994) in Nagpur. It was attended by the then prime minister P. V. Narasimha Rao, along with many eminent dignitaries, religious saints and people from all walks of life.
Darda has inherited the rich legacy of his father, and constantly endeavours to make it illustrious. He erected a memorial named ‘Prerna Sthal’ in his remembrance at hometown Yavatmal which is a source of inspiration for the present and future generations. Vijay Darda and his late wife, Jyotsna, are the proud parents of Purva and Devendra.