The Mood When Ravish Arrived

The time stood still when Ravish Kumar made his way to Talk Journalism 2019, leaving everyone in awe of him.

Jaipur, 21 September 2019
Since being bestowed with the Ramon Magsaysay Award last month, NDTV India’s Managing Editor Ravish Kumar had become the toast of the media fraternity. Hence, it was no surprise that when he was at the garden lawn outside the ballroom area, he was swarmed by an excited crowd of students wanting to have selfies and pictures. Eventually, the guest crew came in to escort him inside the ballroom for a discussion on “Speaking Truth to Power”. 

The galleries of the second day of Talk Journalism 2019 draped in silence, while the ballroom overwhelmed with the audience that waited patiently for the evening session to begin. The session “Speaking Truth to Power” delayed by a few minutes, was back on track. as one of the speakers and the main attraction of the event, Ravish Kumar was eventually freed from requests of selfies and pictures. Some were lucky enough to get clicked with the man of the moment. It meant that the eager students, who couldn’t get a chance to get a photo of theirs alongside him, moved into the ballroom to listen to the person they admire the most. Despite his humble attire of white shirt and blue jeans with just his pair of spectacles in hand, the Ramon Magsaysay Awardee was no less than a celebrity at the media festival being held at Hotel Fairmont in Kukas on the outskirts of Jaipur. 
Here, he was to discuss with another eminent international columnist, Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post and Executive Editor of Hindustan Times, Sachin Kalbag ahead of a tightly packed audience of budding and senior journalists. It was no surprise that the moment Ravish Kumar was making his way to the stage, the jam-packed hall was on its feet, clapping and cheering for him. 

It is to witness a bevy of distinguished journalists that thousands of media students and professionals head to Talk Journalism each year. In its sixth edition this year, the three-day event commenced at Jaipur on Friday. While almost all of the speakers at the Talk Journalism hold a long list of admirers and each session enthralled its audience. The Eugene and Ravish session on Saturday had an electrifying spell on the audience.  The euphoria was such that all other activities seem to have taken a pause to listen to the conversation happening at the stage.

“It is an awesome experience to see such renowned journalists in conversation with no cuts or ad breaks,” said a journalism student from Mumbai. “We wish to be like Ravish,” said another participant from New Delhi.

Talk Journalism is a festival where journalism looks upon itself and is experienced as a subject of interest instead of being a mere occupation. It is an annual three day recluse from the routine news and reportage that injects freshness and breaks the monotonous schedule of students in the university. Of all the sessions taking place on Saturday, Speaking Truth to Power was undoubtedly the most awaited programme. 
It was a rare opportunity for participants who have travelled from all over the country to listen to Ravish and Eugene on the same platform. Of late, Ravish has been more popular for his stern criticism on various issues. Be it be the language used in news channels, the vanishing bank of stories for Hindi newspaper reporters, the fake news menace and lastly, the government in power.  
His lines in Hindi and English (for the benefit of Eugene) where he indirectly highlighted the truth was greeted with applause and cheers. Some of his examples were met with sarcastic laughter and claps. It was clearly evident from the audience reaction that they were engrossed and enjoying listening to a journalist regarded as a fearless voice for the voiceless. After the session ended, Ravish got another round of applause when he was given a memento as a token of appreciation. 
It would be an understatement to say that the ballroom witnessed a talk which they wouldn’t be forgetting for a long time. After all, a journalist getting a high level of adulation is rarely seen.  
Text: Niharika Raina | Copy Edit: Niharika Raina | Photo Desk: Sagar Samuel | Editorial Coordination: Rupali Soni & Niharika Raina