‘Public is biggest pillar of journalism,’ What Ravish Kumar said in his address after resigning from NDTV

File photo of journalist Ravish Kumar

Ravish Kumar joined NDTV as a translator in 1996. In 27 years, his shows like Hum Log, Ravish ki Report, Des Ki Baat, and Prime Time are the most popular news shows in India.

Huneza Khan | TwoCircles.net 

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NEW DELHI — Well-known Hindi journalist Ravish Kumar resigned from NDTV late last night after 27 years of association with the TV channel. His resignation came only a day after Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy resigned as directors of RRPR Holding Private Limited. The resignations are the outcome of Adani Group’s takeover of almost 99.5℅ shares of NDTV’s promoter, RRPR Holding Private Limited. 

According to the Indian Express, in an internal mail, the channel stated that the resignation comes into effect immediately. “Few journalists have impacted people as much as Ravish did. This reflects in the immense feedback about him — in the ‘crowds he draws everywhere; in the prestigious awards and recognition, he has received, within India and internationally,” read the mail. “Ravish has been an integral part of NDTV for decades, his contribution has been immense, and we know he will be successful as he embarks on a new beginning,” the mail said.

Ravish Kumar joined NDTV as a translator in 1996. In 27 years, his shows like Hum Log, Ravish ki Report, Des Ki Baat, and Prime Time are popular among folks. Kumar is the two-time winner of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award, and the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2019.

Following the news of his resignation, the internet was abuzz with numerous emotional posts, lauding the senior journalist for his bold step and for having a spine that cannot be bent. 

What Ravish Kumar said in his address
Ravish Kumar, in an emotional address on YouTube, thanked his viewers for their incredible support for years. The video has received 12 lakh views in only 6 hours. Here’s what Ravish Kumar said in his farewell speech. 

He began by calling today’s age of media “Bhasmayug” which is the doom of mainstream media in India where every good in the profession of journalism is speedily turning into ashes. He said that the ecosystem of journalism is demolished in India. 

Ravish Kumar continued recalling his 27 years of journalism with NDTV. He joined NDTV in August 1996 as a translator. At that time his job was to make reports on feedback letters posted by the audience and then send them to producers and anchors. He called himself a daily wage labourer of that time. Then turned into a translator, and a reporter. 

Kumar said that he submitted himself to the viewers. “Once I stepped among you and never returned,” he said. “Today’s evening is where a bird is unable to find its nest because somebody else has taken it. However, the bird has a limitless sky until it is tired,” said Ravish. He appreciated opportunities in NDTV that a letter sorter became a group editor who is now resigning. 

Ravish Kumar requested his viewers to avoid sympathizing with him for his letter sorting job, “I am not like him who is stepping down from an aeroplane and talking about selling tea. I don’t want to do it for sympathy or to show off my struggle as great,” he said. 

Kumar talked of his viewers with great passion when the other institutions were collapsing and hate spread everywhere. “I saw the formation of a new institution that is the institution of the public. The few viewers have saved the institution of the public in this dilapidated democracy,” he said. Kumar continued admiring his viewers saying that they made a cost-free newsroom for him in their homes and minds. He pressed that they have every authority over him. “It was a relieving experience to see the process of formation of viewers crumble and then its formation,” said Kumar. “The viewers are my editors. My existence is based upon the viewers like you,” he said. 

Ravish Kumar called the public the biggest pillar of journalism. Somebody might muzzle the voice of the public with hatefulness and destroy democracy but the existence of viewers like you gives hope. “Democracy might die but its desire will always live,” he said. 

He said that he remembers his viewers more than NDTV. “Sometimes I think I am the representative of the public. I got an opportunity to work independently. The world kept changing in front of me but I kept struggling like a test match player. Now somebody has stopped that match by turning into a T20,” he said. 

Kumar said that it always vexed him to understand why Hindi journalists cannot reach the high. I worked with vigilance to make people fall in love with my Hindi. “The obtuse language of Hindi lands weaponized Hindi and benefited none,” he said. He thanked both the Hindi and English language journalists who helped him grow. Ravish Kumar also presented his gratitude to his teachers, friends, and colleagues. He gave special thanks to his female colleagues and family. “Journalism is a profession full of people of the patriarchal mindset. One cannot be artistic amidst so much aggression. My female colleagues saved me from male aggression,” he said. He advised journalism students to be well-mannered, respect, and recognize the work of female colleagues. 

He said that he learned from the public how to look at the government. “I see the ray of hope in Shaheen Bagh and Kisan Andolan. I have seen you forming into public. By crushing opposition and the public with the help of the media, some people believe that they control every system. It is true but not eternal. One day when people will be bored of this hatred they will recall a journalist in search of land. Only you can pave the way to freedom from the slavery of hate,” he said. 

In concluding his speech, Kumar said that as soon as he woke up in the morning, it used to be 9 o’clock in his mind. “I don’t know what I will do now at 9 o’clock. I love TV. This medium touched my heart and maybe that’s why I am emotional. I will miss that red mic,” he said. 

“I know I became a habit of my viewers. I gradually disappeared from Prime Time to make you forget myself but you don’t forget. Think of those media students who are paying lakhs of Rupees for Journalism but they will have to work as a broker because there’s no institution left for them,” he went. 

Kumar said that even the judges are reluctant to give bail because they are afraid to be targeted. “A scared journalist produces a dead citizen. You are the citizens of the nation that barefooted bent Britishers. You won’t remain slaves forever. You will have to fight because without it you cannot live with dignity. You will only be recognized as the slaves of Godi media in an independent country,” he said. 

He emphasized understanding the threat of slavery. The rights are violated in the name of laws so that what is illegal can be done legally. “My roads are uncertain but I am full of courage and I don’t know until when,” Ravish said. He requested the viewers to subscribe to his YouTube channel as he won’t appear on TV anymore. 


Huneza Khan is a student and a budding journalist from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. She tweets @KhanHuneza