Ravish Kumar, a celebrity journalist with the Hindi news channel of the beleaguered NDTV network, had recently written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where he used his trademark rhetoric to further the narrative of journalists and freedom under attack ever since Modi became the Prime Minister.
Ravish had centered his letter around allegations that he had received some ‘death threats’ by such people on social media who are closely related to BJP, with some abusive users even being followed by the Prime Minister. In his letter, Ravish asked if such strong dislike for him by BJP supporter will end up taking away his job.
The letter by Ravish Kumar was used by many other left-leaning journalists and politicians as a ‘proof’ that freedom of expression and press was under attack in India. However, others criticised it for exaggerating things to push an agenda. There were also speculations if Ravish Kumar was preempting his resignation or firing from NDTV amid rumours that the television network was up for sale.
Now Ravish has met his match in another open letter, which has incidentally been written by a former NDTV colleague. The letter has been written by Sushant Sinha, a journalist currently with India News TV channel and who has earlier worked with news channels like NDTV, News24, Live India and others.
In his hard-hitting letter (you can read it in Hindi here), Sushant calls Ravish “unwell” and has wished “get well soon” to him. Sushant has highlighted three reasons, rather symptoms, why he believes Ravish Kumar is unwell and suffering from some diseases.
The first symptoms are of suffering from paranoia, Sushant writes in his letter.
Hitting out at paranoia of Ravish Kumar about losing his job and being ‘pushed on roads’, Sushant asks Ravish the basis of such hysterical claims. He points out that a senior and celebrity journalist like Ravish Kumar could be getting around a crore rupees as annual salary, and such a person talking about being on road showed that perhaps Ravish was paranoid and suffering from some phobia.
Sushant then writes about the real grief of job loss that apparently happened to some NDTV employees recently (presumably to control costs as NDTV is known to be struggling financially). He writes that Ravish Kumar never cared about these employees, earning hardly 20-30k rupees per month, who had the real risk of being pushed on roads due to job loss.
You can fight with the Prime Minister when you think your job is in danger, but you did not fight with the NDTV management for these poor employees – Sushant tears into selfish activism of Ravish.
He further questions the logic as to why the Prime Minister will like Ravish to lose his job, when despite their (Ravish’s and NDTV’s) relentless attacks and criticism of Narendra Modi since 2002, both Modi and the party are only growing in stature.
Sushant then tears into Ravish Kumar’s hypocrisy and NDTV’s double standards when it comes to freedom of speech. Sushant recounts that he was once threatened of being fired from his job, just because he had written in a Facebook post that why do some people don’t respect court’s judgments that have not found Narendra Modi culpable in 2002 Gujarat riots.
Not only the open letter exposes bias at NDTV where journalists are threatened to be thrown out of job for taking a pro-Modi stand, the letter claims that Ravish Kumar did not fight for Sushant’s freedom of expression. Ravish did not summon courage to fight against NDTV’s management reprimanding them that an employee’s freedom of expression should be respected.
Sushant claims, with a sting of sarcasm, that this shows yet another symptom of Ravish being suffering from another disease – schizophrenia or split-personality in this case, where at one end he fights for freedom of expression and on another end, he slavishly agrees with everything when his bosses crush the freedom of expression of a colleague.
The third disease that Sushant suspects Ravish Kumar of suffering from, is megalomania.
He recounts how once Ravish Kumar had apparently told his editor, after recording a TV show with superstar Amitabh Bachchan, that his own presence on screen should surpass that of Amitabh because people like to watch Ravish more than Amitabh.
This megalomania is responsible for Ravish going hyper and making freedom of speech related issues about himself, and Ravish’s open letter to Modi was nothing but an attempt to make it Modi vs Ravish, Sushant alludes in his letter. Sushant writes that due to this megalomania, Ravish keeps looking for marketing opportunities for himself on every occasion.
Don’t give yourself too much of importance, and things will appear normal to you – Sushant offers help to an unwell Ravish in his letter. Get well soon Ravish, he finally concludes.
This is the second time in recent times a fellow journalist has spoken out against a person trying to paint himself martyr by accusing Narendra Modi of attacking their professional lives. Earlier journalist Nikhil Wagle was exposed when he tried to insinuate that his TV show was stopped under pressure from Narendra Modi.