Alok Mehta is a multi faceted professional. He is an Editor, a T.V. Broadcaster, a Political & Social Commentator and a writer. He has been honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri Award for contribution to Hindi Journalism and to Hindi Literature. He is also an ex-President and Secretary General of Editors Guild of India.Alok Mehta has a wide Experience of 44 years in Print and audio Visual Media. He has anchored the popular show ‘Encounter’, a TV Interview program for Zee News for close to 5 Years. He has also been active participant across Hindi news channels and also did a number of Independent TV Programs for Doordarshan.

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Kindly tell us about your initial years as a journalist.

My first brush with the print media began as a stringer with newspapers such as Nai Dunia and the now-defunct news agency, Hindustan Samachar. My first full-time job came with Nai Dunia in the capacity of sub-editor-cum-reporter in 1969. Life has come full circle now that I am back in Nai Dunia. The move to Delhi in 1971 for Hindustan Samachar marked a momentous turnaround in my career. Covering the political and parliamentary beat provided me with an opportunity to meet and interact with eminent personalities such as Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and many others.

What was your most enriching experience as a journalist?

During the Emergency in 1975, I pursued a story that brought to light the shocking fact that as part of the population control measures, women were being operated upon with no or little light in remote villages. At that time, access to top leaders was less cumbersome and I myself went with the story to Gandhi. Well, I knew that I’d either get thrown into jail or succeed in getting the issue addressed by the top bosses.Interestingly enough, the Prime Minister directed officials to look into the matter. Being a journalist is a lot like being a doctor or a soldier because all three professions are always on the verge of coming under attack and criticism at the slightest hint of complacency.

What qualities according to you make a good journalist? What, on the other hand, can journalism teach a person?

A person who has a good command over copy and can write with equal ease makes a good journalist. The profession, moreover, teaches you to practise detachment even when you have reason enough to be attached to a work or idea. I believe the agenda of a reporter or a newspaper is not to bring about any sort of revolution – rather, the idea is to use research and fair criticism to educate people about the issue and then leave them to bring about the required change. This is what a prospective journalist needs to understand. Journalism is such a profession that it teaches one to remain calm and tactful.

What are you looking forward to in the upcoming Art and Literature Festival, Valley of Words?

The fact that it is not just a Literature festival, alone makes it very interesting. An amalgamation of Art and Literature could do wonders. I am hoping for it to be a lively event as it would involve numerous people from different disciplines with immense knowledge. And my interest in the festival had been pushed a notch higher since I was informed about the special emphasis on Hindi Literature and poetry in the festival.

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