Senior journalist Ramesh Tanna talked about his experiences as a journalist in search of positive stories, and his endeavour to utilise journalism as a tool to inspire; the third talk in the Paraspar series turned out to be rich discourse of exploring the purpose and intent of journalism.
“A few days back I was at a social function, I introduced myself as a journalist during a conversation, and someone from the group just intervened saying, these days if you squash a newspaper then a stream of blood would just hurtle down from it.” – shared senior journalist Ramesh Tanna, while discussing the purpose of media and the role of journalist in the society. Rather than the more prevalent approach of ‘What to write?’; Tanna’s sojourn in the world of journalism has been an exploration of ‘Why to write?’. His published work of more than 7000 positive stories is a clear evidence of his prodigious pursuit.
Ramesh Tanna is the editor of the Gujarati News portal – gujaratconnection-raa.com – that connects the Gujarati diaspora of Australia with news from their native state. Tanna was the speaker for the 3rd volume of Paraspar, a monthly talk series that focuses on creating vibrant dialogues between creators and audiences, using the medium of Gujarati language. Paraspar is a joint initiative of Matrubhasha Abhiyan, Kanoria Centre for Arts, Gujarat Literature Festival and CreativeYatra.com. The stimulating evening was enjoyed by a room full of enthusiastic listeners on 28th April 2017 at the Kanoria Campus.
Hailing from very humble background, Tanna’s childhood memories are filled with instances of him reading novels and scriptures to his mother. Tanna’s mother lacked the ability to read, yet showed tremendous urge to know and learn, and this instilled in Tanna the necessary curiosity and passion to pursue a career with language at its core. Tanna’s zeal towards journalism is remarkable, and his struggles are a testimony of his conviction for his writing. Tanna with the support of his wife initiated a newspaper called ‘Amdavad Today’, which they sold for Rs. 2 at Lal Darwaza, Ahmedabad. Amidst challenges, he kept searching for affirmative purpose to expand the impact of his work as a journalist. Like the occasion when he managed to get Indulal Yagnik’s Gujarati autobiography printed inspite of his fiscal limitations, or the incident where he helped painter Trimunatirth Pancholi in archiving some rare scriptures worth more than Rs. 10 crore, at the LD Institute of Indology, Ahmedabad.
Tanna who has formerly worked with Gujarat Times, New York as the chief editor for 14 years shares his belief on why people need to surround themselves with optimistic literature in this fast moving digital era, “Life was never too easy, neither for our forefathers nor it is for today’s youth. The struggles have evolved and with it the stress levels are widening. Within this speeding life, mental problems and suicides have become common headliners, I believe here the media has to plunge in and take over the responsibility of flipping the life perspective with positive journalism. Media should focus more on the inspiration around us, instead of focusing solely on ascending crimes and the flashing entertainment industry. Like a mother who nurtures and guides her child, media has been a source of nourishment and guidance ever since journalism took birth. This purpose of Media to provoke positive thoughts among the society has to be worked upon.” Tanna added further, “Mahatma Gandhi’s literature, is an ideal example of inspiring writing. He is one of the greatest journalists India has received till now.” Tanna peppered his talk, with various instances from his experiences in positive journalism, and the satisfaction he has capitalised from those invaluable experiences.
Tanna has authored several books and done translations in Gujarati, all of it fueled by his passion for uplifting the regional language. He believes in the power of words, and his quote, which left an indelible impression on the audience was ‘I left my home with words and see where they have taken me now.” It is the energy of writers like Ramesh Tanna, that keeps pumping the fuel of optimism in the readers to run their engine of life. He is among the rare breed of journalists who light the lamp of positivity with their words – Tanna is doing an extra bit by carrying out his mission in his mother language Gujarati.
Graphic : Dipal Sisodia
Photographs : Aditya Sharma
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