“The act of speaking out makes you alone.”Ravish Kumar
This line from Ravish Kumar’s The Free Voice: On Democracy, Culture and the Nation sums up his own solitary mission to give voice to the voiceless and call out what is wrong, even if its means to displease the forces in power and endangered himself.
Vetaran journalist, newscaster and managing editor of NDTV, Ravish Kumar has been awarded with the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award for “his unfaltering commitment to a professional, ethical journalism of the highest standards.”
And while doing so, Ravish Kumar has created some of the most awe-inspiring moments in India’s history of news broadcast.
Here are some of his best TV moments:
‘If We Can’t Ask Questions, What Can We Do?’
When Ravish Kumar greeted his Prime Time news watchers with two mime artists, and asked this question, without saying much the silence raised a powerful question:
“Just because you represent authority means I can’t ask you questions?”
The theatrics, or rather the pure piece of art, that he created on screen was in response to a statement by BJP MP Kiren Rijiju. When asked about the encounter of eight SIMI men in Bhopal back in 2016, the then junior home minister Kiren Rijiju had responded that reporters should stop their habit of asking authorities and police any questions.
Deeming it as an attack on freedom of speech and the fourth pillar of the democracy, Ravish categorically stated that media’s right to question authority itself is in question.
‘Debate TV Leading India Into Darkness’: Ravish Kumar’s Show
On 19 February 2016, Ravish Kumar started his Prime Time with the line, “We all know that our TV is sick. He then followed it up with an impassioned monologue that critiqued high decibel ‘prime time debates' prevalent in most news channels.
“The current debate TV is killing what is the opinion of people by only showing one kind of opinion,” he said.
The highlight of this telecast was when the screen gradually faded to black and his monologue continued on to explain what the role of media, especially that of newscasters and anchors, truly is.
‘We Should be Objective and Not Get Swayed’
This particular speech that he gave while receiving the Best Hindi News Channel Jury Choice Award at Exchange4Media News Broadcasting Awards (ENBA), in February 2019, went viral soon after a footage of it was shared online.
In this speech, Kumar categorically called out the war mongering that was ongoing on most prime times on news channels, post the Pulwama terror attack where 40 CRPF jawans lost their lives.
"We all get swayed by emotions, but professional ethics teach us that we should be objective and not get swayed,” he said.
Ravish’s Take Down the PM Modi Interview by Akshay Kumar
This was a gem of a sarcastic take down of Akshay Kumar’s “apolitical” interview with Prime Minister Narendra Modi few days before the country went to polls. In this bit, Ravish Kumar mocks the obviously patronising ‘questionnaire’ that Akshay Kumar had prepared for the PM, with ridiculously insignificant ones like, ‘Do you like mangoes?’
Ravish Kumar's Speech At Press Club On Journalist Gauri Lankesh's Murder
When senior journalist Gauri Shankar was killed, Ravish Kumar was one of the loudest voices against the attempt to silence independent media. Several journalists had gathered at the Press Club in Delhi to condemn the murder, as well as those on social media who cheered it. Ravish’s speech underlined how perverse the social media timeline can get when people can support a murder without any hesitation, because the victim was someone they didn’t agree with.