As women around the world make an effort to break the proverbial ‘Glass Ceiling’, we have examples of women who have defined and written the rules of the game in the domain they have chosen to make a mark for themselves. In an era, where women are considered equal to men, powerful women leaders have emerged across the world, be it Angela Merkel in Germany, Teresa May in United Kingdom, Aung San Su Kyi in Myanmar or Hillary Clinton in USA or closer home Sonia Gandhi and Sushma Swaraj. Leaving politics apart, in the world of media, Barkha Dutt emerged as the star of electronic media in India in the early 2000’s. This was the period that marked the flourishing of the media and entertainment industry in India. Prior to this period, Career as journalists were not looked at as people of eminence for youngsters to emulate. Barkha Dutt’s mother was a journalist. She was a trailblazer in the field because of her coverage of Kargil War Never before in Indian media had any news channel or a journalist acquired such name and fame. She was a celebrity in her own right but the one who was a pioneer and paved the way for youngsters to join and contribute to the flourishing sector.
Barkha’s continuing stint with NDTV
Giving details of her career history, she is the daughter of Ms. Prabha Dutt who died when she was still in her early teens. Both Barkha and her sister Bahar went on to join the world of journalism, following in their mother’s footsteps but it was Barkha who put the Indian electronic media at the centre-stage along with the likes of Dr. Prannoy Roy and Rajdeep Sardesai. She is an alumna of the prestigious St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi; Jamia Millia Islamia and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She joined NDTV as a reporter / correspondent and went on to become its Managing Editor. She is now associated with the channel as a Consulting Editor. ‘We the People’, her show on NDTV has been on air for more than a decade. In a world where it is easy to get influenced by rhetoric, bias and bigotry, hers was a voice of liberals in the country.
Her coverage of issues aimed at providing an objective look and perspective on subjects that otherwise had an emotive appeal that could be channelized into propaganda and destructive actions using mobs as has often been the case during bigotry fuelled riots. Her ability to interact with people by building a personal equation with them has ensured that doors of power have always been open to her. Politicians and celebrities who are wary of media in general, finding themselves at the receiving end of slanderous campaigns more often than not, are more than willing to clear the air through interactions with Barkha Dutt. Having a liberal mindset, it was inevitably the politicians from the Congress that chose her channel to put their opinions out in the open but that never limited her reach in other political parties her having established a good rapport with the likes of Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad and Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman from the BJP as well as Omar Abdullah from the National Conference. Hillary Clinton, Hamid Karzai, Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey are some of the people she has been able to interact with.
Barkha Dutt has given women a special place in the Indian media but she is a role model not just for women but for anyone who aspires to join the Indian media. She has also received international recognition in form of awards for her journalistic endeavors and is followed avidly on social media, her having one of the largest number of followers on Twitter when it comes to people in the media not just in India but from across the world.