Dehradun, 18 May: The 1st Bhairav Dutt Dhulia award for Journalism was today conferred upon senior journalist from Dehradun, Jay Singh Rawat. The Award has been conceptualised by Karmabhoomi Foundation.
It may be recalled that Bhairav Dutt Dhulia was amongst the leading journalists in Uttarakhand who continuously wrote articles in support of the Freedom Struggle and on various social issues in the newspaper, ‘Karmabhoomi’ founded by him and published from Kotdwar (Pauri Garhwal).
The Chief Guest on the occasion was leading environmentalist, Padma Bhushan Chandi Prasad Bhatt.
The selection committee had members like senior journalist Uma Kant Lakhera, and Prof Shekhar Pathak, an eminent professor and author.
Speaking on the occasion as the Chief Guest, Bhatt narrated several incidents and in particular relating to his environmental concerns. He also reminded that he had been writing articles for some leading newspapers on the important issues such as environment and social issues. He observed that in the past, newspapers were less commercialised and wrote freely on social and environmental issues and also intensively covered public movements like Picketing against sale of liquor in the hills and on Chipko Movement.
He said that there is need for today’s media too to cover issues and concerns of the common man and the environmental issues. He also appealed to the media to remain factual and cited some examples that he along with some more environmentalists and media persons had written way back about the fragility of the soil in Joshimath and had been astonished to notice that the national media as well as some scientific experts had been factually wrong about the recent Joshimath land subsidence. He further reminded that in the past, public agitations were covered more extensively by the newspapers and it was for this reason, the movement of picketing against sale of liquor led by the women of the state and in which he also participated led to complete ban on sale of liquor from 1971 to 1990.
Bhatt also liberally praised late Bhairav Dutt Dhulia and his Karmbhoomi newspaper. He said that issues of public importance and those related to social concerns were given very wide coverage by Dhulia in his newspaper Karmabhoomi and that it was a very popular newspaper then, which took these concerns to the masses. Bhatt also recalled his association with the Dhulia family and the four generations of the family beginning from Bhairav Dutt Dhulia. Bhatt also praised the journalism of Jay Singh Rawat, the winner of the first Bhairav Dutt Dhulia Award.
Jay Singh Rawat, whose career in journalism spans over 40 years lamented the decline in the standards of today’s media and said that after Covid pandemic he has stopped subscribing to newspapers and only reads digital newspapers and has also stopped watching TV which according to him deliberately sought to divert public attention from core issues concerning the state and the country under pressure from the ruling party and instead held debates on “divisive” issues such as Hindu-Muslims. He also said that the government and the media talk so much about fake narratives like Land Jihad and Love Jihad. He also claimed that films like Kashmir Files and The Kerala Story were made to appease the present government.
Prof Shekhar Pathak in his address recalled his long association with late Bhairav Dutt Dhulia which began in 1976 and continued till 1988 when Dhulia passed away. He also claimed that all the present generation members of the Dhulia family have their smiles very similar to late Bhairav Dutt Dhulia. He shared several aspects of Karmabhoomi newspaper and of Dhulia’s life in detail and recalled the contribution of Dhulia and Karmabhoomi in journalism. Pathak has published the life and struggle story of Dhulia in ‘Pahad’. Some portions of which were read out by Secretary of the Foundation Himanshu Dhulia.
Pathak also claimed that due to present regime in the Centre, the atmosphere has become charged with communalism and the media too has become silent on issues which should be expressed extensively by the media. He claimed that the media is not writing the story behind the Ankita Bhandari murder case though the ruling party leaders are aware of who the real culprits are.
The President of Press Club of India and senior journalist, Umakant Lakhera reminded that it has beome a matter of shame to be a journalist and the real journalism today is almost dead. He said that the media has stopped questioning why Prime Minister has not bothered to address a single press conference in past 9 years. He claimed that there is a deliberate attempt to pressurise the media as well as the judiciary. The freedom of expression is under threat but the judiciary is not taking this issue so seriously. The electronic media is busy in misleading the people by brainwashing the viewers’ mind.
Secretary of the Karmabhoomi Foundation Himanshu Dhulia gave the welcome address as well as moderated the session. He also briefed the audience about the history and background of Karmabhoomi newspaper and its founder late Bhairav Dutt Dhulia.
Many leading dignitaries such as Justice UC Dhyani, Justice Ramesh Chandra Khulbe, retired IAS Sanjeev Chopra, poet Atul Sharma, Avinash Joshi, Social Activist Anoop Nautiyial, JP Mamgain, were amongst those present on the occasion.