The Ravish Kumar hoopla
By Justice Markandey Katju
A big fanfare, hoopla and hullabaloo is being created at present on social media in India over the resignation of the well-known Hindi journalist Ravish Kumar ( winner of the Magsaysay award ) from the TV channel NDTV ( on the purchase of the channel by an Indian tycoon ), and he is being painted by some to be a kind of a David who had taken on a Goliath ( the Indian Establishment ).
I respect Ravish for his bravery and uprightness. He has retained his journalistic ethics and integrity, when most of the Indian media had surrendered before the Establishment, making the Fourth Estate in India as part of the First Estate, and becoming what is known as ‘godi’ media.
That having being said, however, in my opinion his resignation is not going to create history, nor will it matter much. In fact I think it will soon be forgotten.
I regard Ravish as a good journalist, but not a great journalist, of the same rank as William Lloyd Garrison, Walter Cronkite, Peter Arnett, Walter Lippmann, Seymour Hersh, William Shirer, WEB Du Bois, David Halberstam etc in the West, or Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, Nikhil Chakrabarty, Saeed Naqvi or P. Sainath in India.
Who does not know of William Garrison’s fight against slavery in America through his newspaper ‘The Liberator’, for which he had to make great sacrifices?
Who does not know of Walter Cronkite’s high credibility, and his famous TV telecast on 27th February 1968 on CBS Evening News ( after visiting Vietnam ) stating that the Vietnam War was in a stalemate, and America was not winning, a statement which made President Lyndon Johnson say ” If I have lost Cronkite I have lost the war ” after which he did not contest the next Presidential election?
Who does not know of Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi’s fight for the oppressed rural farmers, factory workers, and the downtrodden through his newspaper ‘Pratap’, and his death during communal riots in Kanpur when he was trying to save people?
Who does not know of P.Sainath’s outstanding investigative reporting which for the first time revealed the ghastly widespread suicides of hundreds of thousands of farmers in rural India, something which the politicians had been concealing up for years?
Ravish, in my opinion, though a good journalist, cannot be regarded as of that level.
He has now started his own Youtube channel, and it is learnt that it already has a large number of subscribers. One wishes him well in the future.