Rajdeep Sardesai greets the 1st Dileep Padgaonkar Memorial Lecture

To commemorate the life of Dileep Padgaonkar, veteran journalist and founding member of Pune International Centre (PIC); PIC and Symbiosis International University organised the first Dileep Padgaonkar memorial lecture on “Responsibilities of the Conventional Media in the Age of Proliferating Social Media” on November 27, 2017. The lecture was delivered the renowned journalist, Rajdeep Sardesai, who shared the dais with Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, former chairman of CSIR; Prof. S.B. Majumdar, Founder and Chairman Symbiosis Society and Prof. Rajane Gupte, Vice Chancellor, SIU.

Recalling the fond memories of PIC’s inception, Prof. Mashelkar reasserted Prof. Padgaonkar’s vision to make PIC an international centre with a global outlook. Prof. Majumdar shared his gratitude towards Mr Padgaonkar’s commendable association with Symbiosis where he chaired the R.K. Laxman chair and delivered thought-provoking lectures across all institutions of SIU.

Sardesai, who had been associated with Padgaonkar since the birth of his journalism career, spoke about his earnest desire in making journalism plural and liberal by rebuilding the Chinese wall between marketing and editing. “The only people I see challenging this, are not mainstream media, but it is those who inhabit smaller websites like Alt News”, Sardesai said. Calling mainstream TV news Ravan School of Journalism with 100 heads propping up on TV screens, he agreed on the inclination of mainstream media on sensationalism and dramatics.

On the role of proliferating social media in our lives, Desai added that he has never been aware of an anti-social element being called a social media. Summing up the lecture, Desai reiterating on the power of samvad (effective communication) in making a difference in the life of people.

PILF’16: A literary paradise

The 4th Pune International Literature Fest (PILF) kicked off on 2nd September. The 3 day long festival hosted innumerable interesting workshops and interactions for all.

PILF has always lived up to the expectations of readers and budding authors, and have always given them something new and exciting too look forward to every year and this year was no different. Now in its 4th year, PILF was started by city-based author Manjiri Prabhu. With more than 100 authors participating, the festival has found a place in the city’s rich culture and has inspired the many budding authors and enthusiastic readers the city houses.

Bollywood actor turned politician Shatrughan Sinha inaugurated the Pune International Literary Festival (PILF) at the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy for Development Administration (Yashada). This is the first time the festival is being organized outside MIT campus. “Pune has a special place in my heart. I left my hometown to be a part of FTII. I had no film background and the city gave me an identity. Today, I am here again making an announcement about my biography. It feels special,” said the actor.

This year, PILF had over 50 sessions and panel discussions apart from workshops and book launches in a span of three days. Stalwarts and celebrated national and international authors. Sunil Sethi, Satyajit Bhatkal, Piers Moore Ede, Anand Neelakantan, R. Raj Rao, Francois Gautier were a part of panel discussions held at the festival. Author Ravi Subramaniam hosted a special court martial/ roast which was a part of the event.

The ‘Yours Truly’ section also featured eminent personalities like Sudha Murthy and Shashi Tharoor. A special exhibition on Agatha Christie – The Queen of Crime and Mystery was organized at the venue to mark her 125th birth anniversary. The highlight was the three special sessions with American-French documentary maker Neil Hollander, actor Bharat Dabholkar and classical singer Arti Anklikar-Tikekar. Personalities like Shobha De, Rajdeep Sardesai, Parsoon Joshi and Anupam Kher also graced the festival, providing insights to the city’s youth.

Youngsters across the city seemed to be equally excited at the prospect of meeting authors at the festival and exploring new genres. Shweta Bagadia a student of FAD international says “I was looking forward to attending Rajdeep Sardesai’s session as well as be a part of the Pune Poetry slam workshop. It was great to revisit my childhood by attending an exhibit on Enid Blyton showcasing all her wonderful works,”

Rajdeep Vs Fadnavis: The Secular Battle

Image Source: firstpost.in
Image Source: firstpost.in

The heated exchange of words between noted journalist Rajdeep Sardesai and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis came as a refreshing change from the always seen- and –done, usual platform for debate viz prime time television. What was worth reading however in the so called blame- game were the points which they raised.

When on one hand, Sardesai criticized the government for their critical policies of meat ban, quick transfer of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria, circular about sedition charges and also the weary of farmers, Fadnavis was quick to reply with the kind of administrative decisions taken by his government and also which were not taken by his government (Apparently, he said it was Congress-NCP which decided to close the slaughter house first in 2004). He also went ahead in calling Rajdeep a leftist and pseudo-secular.

Twitter was quick to hail Fadnavis’ letter and #DevendraSlapsRajdeep was the trend that soon caught up on the micro-blogging site. Quick reactions to the verbal tiff soon caught up with senior journalist Nikhil Waghale tweeting ‘Rajdeep has given befitting reply to @Dev_Fadnavis. Now instead of targeting d media, Fadnavis should concentrate on his poor governance’ in favour of Sardesai. On the other hand, The Frustrated Indian supporting Fadnavis Government tweeted, ‘ If Rajdeep is a Senior journalist & Nikhil Waghale is a rationalist then KRK must be a Bollywood superstar.’

It was the first time ever that the social media witnessed such a discussion on burning issues from people of two extreme concerns with such details. This is why when Rajdeep drafted his reply to Fadnavis letter, he appreciated such creation of a space for a public debate and expressed this to be a sign of a truly healthy democracy.

There are two interesting observations which can be especially made from the letter Fadnavis wrote to Sardesai. He concluded by saying that a ‘common man only expects roti and the chief minister is more concerned about that than anything else.’ He also asked the senior journalist to check their details before they ‘pursue their leftist agenda vigorously and passionately.’

If only Fadnavis could re-iterate the exact meaning of pseudo-secular, we would be in a position to guess what the CM’s agenda is leading us to?