A Journalist By Passion

Rajdeep, thank you so much for joining me today. You know you have had a phenomenal career. You’ve seen and chronicled the changing India, the political landscape and one has read your book. So, one knows the journey that you have kind of traversed. But I am going to ask you, if you look back at your career, what are the 2-3 pivotal turning points which define what you are today?

I think one of the pivotal turning points was the fact that I became a journalist, because I was trained to be a lawyer, I did a post graduate degree in law, I came back, started practicing at the Bombay High Court, and suddenly one day I said that I needed to take a year off. And journalism actually became my year off. I worked under the Times Of India, I used to write a bit, and that was I think the pivotal moment, I should have otherwise been a lawyer in a black coat, wandering around the precincts of the Bombay High Court. That’s what I was trained to do, I was not trained to be a journalist. I think that was a pivotal moment. The second pivotal moment happened in 1994, when 6 years into print, I come to Delhi, we are going to set up the Telegraph newspaper in Delhi, that doesn’t happen, I meet Pronoy Roy somewhere and he says I’m planning to set up a news programme on TV (till then I knew him only from ‘The World This Week’), the next thing I know is that I am on television and I thought I’ll do it for a year. Again it was to be my year off. Next thing I know is that I am doing 21 years of TV and counting. And I think the third pivotal moment was when I left NDTV and set up CNN IBN, again doing something new. So, I think every 10 years, you try and reinvent yourself. And then I wrote a book a year ago, again 10 years later. So, I think pivotal moments come at times when you are looking to do something new and take up a new challenge.

As a journalist, I was thinking you’d talk about the moments that you have covered to be the defining moments, but you have chosen the turns that you have taken. Now how is that?

Look, if I hadn’t moved from being a lawyer to a journalist, none of those defining moments in my journalism would have come about. So I think the first choices I said was the fact that I think you take a career choice. Do you want to be a lawyer or do you want to be a journalist? I know friends of mine who were with me in the chambers at Croford Bailey in 1988-89 who are today multi billionaires, because they are top customs and excise lawyers. And then I look at myself, and again when I started as a print journalist, we got 1500 rupees. Today, as television anchors, you get paid much more. So, I think it’s just the turns that your life takes, which takes you into a completely different trajectory and that’s why I think those are pivotal moments. What you do once you are in the profession becomes landmarks in the profession. But I don’t think they turn your life in a manner which a career decision – do I become a lawyer or do I become a journalist – do, did in my case.

While law is a natural entry point for most politicians in India, for journalists it’s been else, but I am going to ask you a question – you started off in ‘94 as a political editor of NDTV in that context, what was the learning curve like, Rajdeep? Were you familiar with the entire political ecosystem, because you know you have really got into the, with your teeth in so to say with lots of interesting events that you’ve covered. What was the learning like?

I think one of the big learnings was that I started off as a print journalist in Bombay, a city which I knew very well. And it was one thing for me to cover Shiv Sena and cover the Mumbai politics, because it was an arena that I was rather familiar with. The big change for me was to move from Bombay to Delhi. I came to Delhi and hated this city. I remember telling my wife Sagarika that I am going in a year. I mean I came from a city where there was 24/7 power and I came to a city where there were power black outs. I came from a city where I had friends, college friends and knew people and I came to a city where everyone became a contact. I was in a city where as I said I understood the politics, and I came to North India and I didn’t understand the politics. My Hindi was good, but certainly not good enough to conduct a full programme in a UP or a Bihar. So I think the big learning for me was to understand that I was in a completely different environment. I was out of my comfort zone. And I think that made me work harder. I think the one thing that I sort of take great pride in is that my Hindi is good. I will never forget the fact that Aaj Tak has carried live interviews of mine in Hindi. I did Shivraj Singh Chauhan the other day and it was – I was elated when the Aaj Tak editor told me – Sir, hum live ja rahe hai. I would have never thought 21 years ago that I would have been able to pull off a live programme in Hindi. So, I think once you break out of your comfort zone in life, then you are faced with new challenges and I think that was one of the big challenges just to work in this completely different political environment and this animal called Delhi, where everyone is trying to bring everyone down and I was just an observer, I was just watching it. And I have always remained an observer I think. I have tried consciously not to get into this Delhi party circles, kissa kursi ka, in a way, TV is good, because whenever I am invited in Delhi for one of these functions, I say – raat ka programme hai. I’ve got an evening show. So, I try to avoid that. But having said that, as a journalist, you have to meet politicians, and I enjoy meeting politicians. So, I think from that point of view, I think it was great. I didn’t only have to meet the Bal Thackerays and the Pramod Mahajans as I had to in Mumbai, now I was able to meet all the big politicians of India. So, I think that was another sort of great experience , just to have a sort of Narsimha Rao.

It was fascinating, that entire era of politics has been fascinating. But I am going to ask you – journalism is one profession, especially live television journalism, where you every day come across your own ignorance, because every day you are learning. I don’t know whether you still find it that way. But you know every day a new chapter or a new piece is opening up. How do you keep abreast? What was the learning like through those years because you were capturing slices of Indian history being made, what was the study that it required?

I think there are 2 ways to look at it. One is the RK Lakshman, the great cartoonist what he told me once. I asked him what kept him going for 40 years and since he was virtually doing the same pocket cartoons every day. And he said that I treated every carton like my first cartoon. So every day is a new day. I think a lot of that is about journalism. You get new experiences every day. I remember the first time travelling through Uttar Pradesh It was completely alien territory to me, but as I started going more and more often to Lucknow, I started understanding how the politics of UP worked and it fascinated me. It was also of course a great time to be there, because you had Mayavati, Mulayam Singh, the BJP with it’d Ram Mandir agenda. But I think if you are willing to learn, if you realize as you say that you don’t know everything, then it is the curiosity which is the best thing that a journalist can have. A journalist doesn’t need to be a PhD. A journalist needs to have a curious mind, an enquiring mind. And if you have an enquiring mind and that matters far more than being a PhD. I didn’t need to be a PhD in UP politics, I just needed to be someone interested in UP politics. And that I think made me understand it better than let’s say someone who was a PhD, who would have probably said I know it all. And I still don’t know anything. At the end of the day, I think every day in journalism is a new day. You learn something new.

What was the biggest mistake, the failure from which you have learnt, because very often when you look back you look at the successes, is there something where you said, oh God, I really got it wrong and I think I learned something from it?

One of the things that I was not very good at was the ability to do live anchoring. I was not a natural live anchor in a studio with jacket and tie. I was very happy in the field. And I think one of the big learnings was how do you become a better anchor, how do you become more confident in live programming. And I think the first few times that I did it, I just wasn’t up to it. I think 98 general elections was a big turning point, because that was the first time I was in the studio with Pronoy Roy and others doing live election programming. I think it was just about the first election that private television was doing at Star TV. And I think that was a huge opportunity. I really worked hard for 6 days before that to prepare myself . I knew every constituency by the end. I had made myself a master at every constituency just so that I would feel more confident when I was on air. So I think that was – I had learned that in the first few years that I was doing live anchoring. I just wasn’t trying hard enough to master the skills required. By 98, I sort of, more or less my stage fright was gone. So I think I learned from that.

So, that was more of a challenge than a failure. Was there a mistake that you made ever, a story that you got wrong, a source that misled you?

There have been many stories that I got wrong in hindsight. I remember once I very tragically pronounced Murasoli Maran dead, because based on a source from the Prime Minister’s office, I said you know he passed away in Texas or wherever he was. He was in a coma, but he wasn’t dead. And we flashed it and I remember the repercussions that we had because I remember Sun TV was irate, we were blanked out for a while in Tamil Nadu, and I realized the importance of not relying on one source for a really big story. And for a really big story, you need more than one source. I think that was one lesson, but there have been many over the years. When I did the cash for votes sting and I suddenly found that we were caught in the terrible BJP Congress war, because we had gone so close to the BJP, virtually allowing them to dictate the terms of a sting operation that we didn’t know how to back out, in terms of being an independent journalist. So, I think you can’t get so close to a source, particularly to a political party, that they dictate the agenda. I think I’ve learned those lessons, some the hard way and you know you sort of try and make sure that you don’t do it again.

Which has been your toughest day at work Rajdeep because I go back, and for me after reading a large part of your book, after reading your book, it is the moment in 2002, when you come out of Narendra Modi’s office after the interview and you are accosted by a mob, very close to the Chief Minister’s house. I think that gives you goose bumps, even thinking of it, but in hindsight what has been your toughest day?

Well, I think that day when we – that night when we left narendra modi’s house in 2002 and was accosted by a mob at source, who wanted us to pull down our trousers to find out whether we were hindus or muslims, I guess from the fear factor point of view that was a moment I will not forget. I was born in Ahmedabad. So it was almost the wheel had come to a full circle. But from a personal point of view, the most difficult thing for me to cover was the 92-93 Mumbai riots. you know here was a city I was born in, I had grown up in, it was the city which I loved passionately and to see that city broken apart in the way it was and then I knew Shiv Saniks very well personally and then to hear the things that Shiv Sainiks were up to and then report those, then the Bombay blast take place, I think from a personal point of view it was traumatic. It sort of – I almost felt like I didn’t recognize this city any more. From a fear factor point of view you could argue that what happened in 2002 Gujrat was possibly the moment I would not forget because of personal threat, but just in terms of emotional investment, I think ‘92-’93 for me was the most difficult period as a journalist.

What was the most proudest, moment that you thought all of it is worth it?

Ironically the most proud moment that I have felt as a journalist was when we were able to set up CNN IBN and it was up and running. To be able to set up something out of nothing, and then to see it out on the screen and then to see it become successful was terrific, because I’ve always believed TV is a team game. TV journalism is not about the individual. It’s not about a star anchor. It’s how good your team is. I got a lot of satisfaction out of the team which was being built and which was able to put out a channel. Stories you know, frankly give you momentary satisfaction. You do a great story, or you do a good interview, you feel satisfied for that moment. But I think setting up a channel virtually out of nothing was probably the most satisfying.
You’ve seen the evolution of broadcast medium Rajdeep, you have been at the helm of it, you’ve been riding the wave, you have really created that wave. I am going to ask you – You know a lot has changed. There has been a proliferation of news channels, we have perhaps the maximum no. of news channels any country can boast of, but as we have grown, the talent gap has only grown worse. And I think the biggest struggle is to find the right people with the passion to drive news. What do you make of it? Do you think you have grown too fast, do you think it’s not caught up, do you think it’s the ugly stage of evolution, what do you think?
You know Mini, I think we have reached a stage where there is a remarkable paradox. We have grown in quantity. There are 400 news channels and we decline in quality. We actually did far more quality work 10, 15, 20 years ago. I remember when we were doing World This Week, we had one week to do one story. So you could put all your energies into it. Today you have to do one story in one hour at times, so where does the reporter have the time to think, where does the reporter have the time to structure a story? So I think it’s ironical. What competition should normally do is raise the bar. In a strange way in television, competition has done just the reverse. It’s actually brought us down to the lowest common denominator. The concept of breaking news is broken down. Sense has been replaced with sensation. News has been replaced with noise. Credibility with chaos. And I start wondering that why should that have happened? Competition should raise the bar. In India in television in particular, competition at times has actually lowered the bar. I don’t know who to blame for that. Do we blame the business model of television, where there are so many channels competing for the same no. of eyeballs, advertising revenues not multiplying, so I don’t know why that’s happened. But I think that’s the biggest sort of – that’s unfortunate you know. There was a wave, there was a revolution that was created, but revolutions tend to devour their own and I think that’s what happened in India. The television revolution in India is dangerously devouring some of us who started it.

At the heart of every journalist who is in the business for the sheer passion with which he sees journalism or the story or the fact that you are making a change, a positive change, there is a little kernel of positive energy. How do you develop that Rajdeep? How do you get the right kind of perspective, the right kind of development for talent for the youngsters who are coming into journalism, what can be done in that sense?

I think what is critical is you need better journalism schools in this country. Journalism schools cannot become either sweat shops or journalism schools can’t be – let someone just get a degree, it’s not just about a degree. I think the best degree in journalism in any case is a degree called life. You know you learn more in a news room than you will ever learn in a classroom. More than that seniors need to mentor. In India, seniors are so obsessed with themselves and building their own personas that they have no time to build young people. I genuinely regret that. You need seniors to be there, guiding people, encouraging them. I was very fortunate, both at the Times Of India – I had a great boss in Darren Demonte, I mean he gave me opportunities which are unthinkable for a young journalist – I was 25, I was allowed to cover the Rath Yatra. Pronoy Roy at 29-30 was taking me on live shows with him on elections. I mean what more can a young man want? Which 29-30 years old is given that kind of space today? And I start wondering again that why are we not spending more time in mentoring, perhaps we are so caught up in our own little worlds, our own little cubby holes that we don’t do enough to encourage talent. So I think if we don’t we are again really heading for a crisis because the next generation is just not being given the opportunities.

My generation was thrown in the deep end and was asked to figure it out and swim and we did swim. But I’m going to ask you this. Today the opportunity to learn if you want to learn is also immense Rajdeep, because you are exposed to the best media, you are exposed to great stuff on the digital space, so can that be a positive change that comes around where students can really, if they are interested in it really develop themselves?

I think so. I think what digital is doing – digital is going to be for the next generation what TV was for us 20 years ago. Opportunity. At the end of the day, any profession, particularly journalism is about opportunity. I don’t get those opportunities on TV which I might get today in digital. I might be able to write a blog, I might be able to may be do an interview, do things which I am not getting a chance to do in TV. So, I think digital because it is not as costly, the business model does not require you to put in that kind of an investment that TV requires, maybe will encourage younger talents. And because it is going to become competitive, I think people will want quality content. Quality content is going to survive in the digital age. Television is getting comodified, because everybody is doing the same thing, chasing the same audiences. In digital, you are going to have to create new audiences for a new India. And that will force you to think out of the box. So, all the innovations that are coming in, the young kids who are coming in are coming in with innovations for digital. So I think digital will spur the same kind of innovative passionate mindset that TV did 20 years ago.

One of the big game changers that’s also happening Rajdeep is that digital is replacing the platform, is becoming the platform of choice for viewership. How is that disrupting business models for news channels you think because you know over a period of time do you see that as a big threat?

This is like saying again 20 years ago that print will go the moment television takes over. I don’t think anyone takes over from another medium. I think each medium supplements the other and there are complementarities that you can build. So if digital grows, television must also adjust to the digital age. Every television platform will need to have a strong digital backend, some may even need a digital front end. So you’ll have mobile TV for example and television for screen will become a backend where you can have news on demand or you can watch a programmed at a time of your choice. But you can watch it all the time live streaming on your mobile TV. So I think the delivery systems will vary. But content will still be king. So whether you put the content out on digital, whether you put it out on TV, whether you put it out on print, the choice is yours. So I think content – there will always be a demand for content. What will happen I think is the delivery systems will start changing, where people will increasingly in this country go to hand held devices for their news and information. And maybe if I want to watch a longer format or maybe if I want to watch a sport show, I will go to the television. Each one will have certain skill sets. Each one will offer certain specialized values which you will have to sort of work together. They’ll all co-exist, I don’t think one is going to replace the other. And I think increasingly news is a service, which means I will have to provide the viewer or the reader a service when I’m giving you news and information. I can’t do it for some vicarious or derive vicarious pleasure for myself if it isn’t changing your life. So I need to provide news as information for the new generation. People want to be informed when they watch news. They don’t want to be just titillated. For that they will go to Kapil Sharma & comedy nights. So, that’s also going to change. News as entertainment will come on – entertainment will be Kapil Sharma, mobile will provide FIR quick information and television will provide me maybe a longer format show.

I hope that happens because right now we are veering towards Kapil Sharma in many cases. I am going to shift focus a little. What is also true is that news rooms are younger and younger and I think it’s going to remain that way because of the demographics. What do you think of the youth and how are they going to transform the business? Are you positive do you think they need to really skill up?

You mean the youngsters in the newsroom? I think no, I have enormous admiration for India’s youngster’s energy levels and their ambitions. They are far more ambitious than I was. I joined Time of India, I was very happy to be there till the age of 60 frankly. I would have happily written my – television just happened. Today’s youngsters are very keen to know where I am going to be in 3 years from now. So you have to admire the energy and the ambition that they have. What they need to realize is ultimately to be a good journalist you need to have a passion for news. And you have to have some kind of creative innovative impulses. So it can’t just be getting on to television for being famous, it can’t just be being a journalist because you know let’s try it out. It should also be about your commitment to news gathering, a feeling of passion for news. If they have that, combined with their energy and ambition, then I believe that they will conquer the world because today there are far – digital is going to provide them far more opportunities than I had. In 88 when I had joined, I had no choice but to join the Times of India if I wanted to be a journalist. 94, NDTV just happened, it was the first private news channel as such. Today, there are dozens and dozens of news channels and there are also dozens and dozens of digital platforms coming. So look at the opportunities that have emerged between 26 years. You don’t have to join just one place anymore. I’m actually hopeful for today’s young. They have huge opportunities. What they need to have is a little bit of patience and a little bit more of passion for the news.

I want to ask you a couple of questions on continuous learning. You know the fact is that as we discussed, journalism is about really learning and keeping an open mind and really soaking in a lot of information. How important is continuous learning, and do you see that as a big lacuna between people who are successful and who are not so successful?

Well I think it comes back again to the belief that no one has arrived in life, simply because you did one great story or one great interview in the journalistic context. I think you got to see your career or life as a journey, where you have highs and lows, where you learn from your lows, where you take your highs also with a sense of gratification, but without getting carried away. You know success and failures are both imposters and it’s really true. You never know what tomorrow brings. I think you are right. I think it is important to realize that you have taken a career choice. You are not here to do a – Career is not a T20 match. Today’s generation wants everything – instant gratification. They want here, now, out. That’s not going to work. You’ve got to be able to use each learning as a building block for the next challenge. So if that’s the way you look at life, I think – and you call it continuous learning. I think that’s the way to look at life, hats what our old philosophers would tell us, the old shastras tell us that every stage of life prepares you for the next. And that’s the way I see it.

Who are the people who have influenced you and inspired you along the journey? I know it’s a very large kind of canvas that you can look at, but there are 2-3 people you can think who have really helped you along the way because they really inspired you to do better?

Actually to be honest, there’s no one I’ve said that he’s my role model. I’ve never really had a role model in journalism as such. I was very lucky as I said when I was at the Times of India in the late 80’s and early 90’s, I built this great friendship with RK Lakshman. It was a strange relationship between a 70 year old man and a 25 year old kid. And every morning I would sit with him for an hour, we would go through the newspapers and I think he taught me the importance of simplicity of communication. I learnt from Darrel Demonte, my first editor, the importance of giving young people opportunities. I learnt that from Pronoy Roy also and Radhika Roy, they gave a lot of opportunities to lot of young people at that critical time. I learnt from Raghav Behl the ability to empower people, to give them again – trust them and give them opportunity. Fairly around the way, you learn from various people different skill sets. Was I inspired by someone – I would love to say that I was inspired by the Mahatma, but when I read Gandhi and I say, bloody hell, how do you become, where did this man come from because he is remarkable, you know the moral courage of this man – I mean in weaker moments you turn to him, I read a lot of Gandhi, I’ve read a lot of Ambedkar. Ambedkar – powerful intellect, much more powerful intellect than Gandhi could ever be, but Gandhi – sheer moral courage of that man and it gives me goose bumps thinking about him. I know I don’t have it, bit I think it’s important to sort of read and try and understand that there were such people. And it inspire – I remember meeting Nelson Mandela in 1991 as a young journalist covering a cricket tour o South Africa and then catching him up at the airport and interviewing him. And I just thought you know – there was one thing that struck me about that man. He spent more than 2 decades in jail, but there was no recrimination against his captors. He was smiling. Every answer he would give, he would smile. And you just thought in that smile, maybe that’s the closest I met someone who was close to the Mahatma. That’s the way Gandhi was with the British. He must have unnerved them with his smile. You arrested me, kept me in jail for 5 years, I come out and smiled at you, you have no chance, you killed me. I know Munna Bhai tried this experiment in another way, but I think those are figures which should inspire everyone. They are remarkable people.

I am going to come to some personal questions. You’ve had some tough turns to manoeuvre, very public tough turns and you had to take a setback, had to really walk a tight rope so to say. What was the sense, how did you survive that, what were the learnings from that?

One of the most difficult decisions was to leave CNN IBN last year. You know you set up something, you built it up, you’ve created a team, you are very comfortable and suddenly the world changes. It took me a long time to recover from it, I think I’ve still fully not recovered. It was emotional, it was traumatic, it was difficult and you realize that life is not one smooth journey. And I said this at an interview a few months ago that I was really down and out and I did 2 things, one I wrote a book, so I put all my energies in the book. Someone asked me how did I write the book so soon, I said there was nothing else in my life for those 3 months, if I didn’t write, I would have been depressed. So, I just put all my energies in it. And no. 2, I was watching this cricket match and this Australian cricketer died on the cricket field. And to me the thought that someone had died while playing the game he loved so much made my condition seem so trivial in contrast. No one had died here. I told myself that it is time to get back to some kind of rhythm in life and you get up. So I think you shake yourself up, time is a healer but more than that you learn new skills. I never thought I could write a book. People asked me how I was able to write a book so fast, because for 3 months I did nothing in my life but the book. It was my way of getting out of the depression I felt after leaving CNN IBN. Had I not written, I would have been griping about it all the time. And then there was this cricketer who dies on a cricket field and I saw it and I said, a cricketer is dead playing the game he loved so much and what am I sort of griping about? And I think you wake up, you pull yourself up, tell yourself that life is a journey and you have not so good times and good times and you embrace both and you learn new skills. So, I learned the skill of writing a book of 130,000 words and it was reasonably successful and I must confess that now I can at least go and tell my grand children that whatever else I’ve not done, I’ve kept enough copies of the book so that if I do have grand children, they will all be presented copies of my book, whatever else happens.

You know Rajdeep, what is the next thing in your vision? You said you have this thing about having decadal changes and what we’ve heard, you have chanced upon very happy turns in your life, you embraced it. What’s next?

I’ve been very lucky. I don’t know what’s next but I’m interested, I’m curious in learning new skills. I mean if you ask me in 94, television, I didn’t have the foggiest idea. If you ask me in 2004-5 setting up a channel, I didn’t know how o do it. I don’t know what it is next, but yes, I am looking for my next challenge in a way. I think decadal is a good way to put it because this is the end of that decade. I don’t know where it is but hopefully, it’s somewhere, maybe in writing a film script, maybe it is writing another book or maybe it’s discovering digital. I love working with young people and all the young people who come to me now, all tell me they want to do digital. 5 years ago they told me they wanted to do TV. So maybe their energies will convince me that maybe can I do something with them, I’d love to do that, but I don’t know what.

What is your message to the youth? I am going to break it up into 2 – young journalists who look at you and aspire to be you and second to youth in general because you have kids, you’ve seen them grow up, what would your message be?

I think to young journalists the message is very clear – journalism is not a one day match. Life is not a one day match. But, journalism, in particular, is not a one day match. You have got to stick at it, you’ve got to be willing to take the highs and lows, it’s a great profession because no 2 days are the same. But at the same time, you’ve got to have the passion and curiosity. Never allow the curiosity to leave you, and learn new things. I think that singularly marks a good journalist from a not so good one, the curiosity to learn new things. What is my message to all young people is the same message that I gave my son and daughter which is chase your dreams. My son is training to be a doctor, my daughter has just joined law school. I told them that do what you want, but don’t be a journalist.

Why?

Because I think it will be unfair to them. My father was a cricketer and I for the longest time just wanted to play cricket. But I was not good enough, because my Dad had absolutely no real training in cricket and yet went on to play for India. And I had every facility given to me, and I was just not good enough. And I think if my kids became journalists they will have all the pressures of being like Dad or whatever else, my wife is a journalist, then have that pressure and oppression. Now in their world as a doctor and lawyer, particularly my son, who’s already in his 3rd year, he is another world altogether. So, I’m curious to learn about his world. He has just come back after several months, so he was telling me what happens in an autopsy, and I was looking at him admiringly and I’m glad that he actually now thinks that he is my Pop in a way. He knows more than me, which is great because that’s his world. And I think it is important for young people to chase their dreams and be comfortable with what they are doing rather than try and imitate someone else around them and be forced into something which they really don’t want to do. I think people should just – If you want to be an artist, be an artist, if you want to be a designer, be a designer, just be what you are.

And to be fair, you actually succeed only if you love what you do, actually that’s one of the things that I’ve all the people that are great at the things that they do are passionate about it. Those go together I think.

Absolutely, I remember my passion and my love for journalism was born because when I was in college I used to go to the afternoon dispatch and courier, an evening paper of Bombay and I used to work as an intern for Behram Contractor who was the editor. And just the sound of the typewriter and the newspaper coming out, I loved the smell of newspaper and the sound of the typewriter and it stayed in my mind. So I think I fell in love with journalism in a way I didn’t with law. And that’s why I could never become a great lawyer. I became a decent journalist because I think I loved the idea of news. I am still passionate about a story which is broken. When I hear a good story or on election day, when you see a big politician losing, it’s a great joy. You know when Arvind Kejriwal was getting 67 out of 70 seats, you know it was great. When Modi was winning 300 seats, you know you felt you were a part of history. So when you feel you are a part of history in your small little way, it excites you and I think that excitement is what’s kept me going and I think that’s important. You are absolutely right. You’ve got to love what you do to really be successful at it.

I want to ask you a last question. Online offers a great platform to learn like never before. I can pick up any course, if I’m interested in something, I’ve got access to it, what would your message be to youngsters who are looking at online, because UpGrad is looking at online at really fixing the gap between skilling and what is really available in education, to really show the way.

I think what online will do is what a classroom can’t. A classroom often requires your physical presence there, it requires you to be in a specific relationship between teacher and students. Online you can be your own teacher and you can be your own student, because it’s you and your computer, it’s you and your Ipad, it’s you and your mobile. And you are constantly getting this information. And there’s an information overload out there. Then it’s on you the challenge on online is to sift this information out and use the information which is relevant to you and your profession. But it’s such a great opportunity. I call it Google Namo Shivay. You know if I had google, I wouldn’t have gone through all those books in college that I had to. Now everything is available on google. You know it can make you look so good. And I think that’s the challenge. How do you use online to make yourself more informed and I think in that sense, it’s the perfect education. Because it is up to you now, not up to your teacher or your classroom to determine the quality of education that you receive. It’s an equalizer. It is a great democratizer. And I think online’s biggest, biggest achievement is it democratizes information. I think that’s the advantage that any young person should take.
All right Rajdeep, thanks so much.

Rajdeep Sardesai - Consulting Editor , India Today Group
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Rajdeep Sardesai - Consulting Editor , India Today Group - In a glorious career spanning over 28 years, Rajdeep Sardesai has covered major national and international stories, specialising in national politics. He has also contributed to several books and writes a fortnightly column that appears in several newspapers. Having hosted popular shows like 'The Big Fight' at NDTV, He was the Managing Editor of both NDTV 24X7 and NDTV India and was responsible for overseeing the news policy for both the channels. He has also been the President of the Editors Guild of India, the only television journalist to hold the post and was chosen a Global leader for tomorrow by the world economic forum in 2000.
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