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Ravish Kumar has become the megalomaniac he accuses Modi of being, summary of the two ‘interviews’ he gave since becoming a YouTuber

Ravish Kumar has given two 'interviews' after resigning from NDTV, and he has spoken his heart out, or let's say, has preached sermons to willing listeners

Since willingly resigning from NDTV after Gautam Adani took control of the media group, Ravish Kumar has given two ‘interviews’, and he has spoken his heart out, or let’s say, has preached sermons to willing listeners. One was a chat with Ajit Anjum, a former TV journalist turned YouTuber, and another with Karan Thapar from the leftist propaganda outlet called The Wire.

They are not really interviews as there were hardly any tough questions – something over which Ravish keeps attacking every journalist who interviewed PM Modi since 2014 – but the two ‘interviews’ also went on to prove that the charge he frequently throws at PM Modi – of being some megalomaniac of sorts – that is actually applicable to him.

For example, while chatting with The Wire’s Karan Thapar, he went on to say about NDTV’s takeover by Adani, “It is not a normal takeover, it is like snatching food from someone’s mouth”, and he even went on to claim that Adani is spending thousands of crores to buy NDTV to silence him.

Ravish Kumar has resigned from NDTV. Currently, the “famous” journalist is unemployed and giving interviews to other journalists who are in sync with his thought process, the likes of privileged Karan Thapar and now fellow YouTuber Ajit Anjum. Ravish, who evidently thinks NDTV was running only because he was part of the media house, is definitely not pleased with Adani Group taking over the operations at the media house.

In an over 10-minute rant right at the beginning of the interview with Thapar, Ravish constantly targeted Adani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming he is unemployed because of these two persons. Gautam Adani controls over 27 percent of the share in NDTV and he will soon control the majority share. Thapar questioned Ravish what it meant for a channel that is considered “India’s best” now that Adani has bought 29 percent shares and launched a public offer for 26 percent more.

Ravish warned Thapar that the first answer itself would be wrong. We braced ourselves for a long rant while listening to the question, and behold, it was over a 10-minute rant! While Thapar tried to stop Ravish in between and ask the next question, Kumar had no plans to do so.

Ravish said, “When it was clear in August that Adani Group would take over NDTV, it was clear in my mind that they could not buy me off after all these years, so they have formulated the plan to take over.”

He did not miss the chance to emphasise that NDTV is a brand connected intangibly to him. He said, “There is no doubt that NDTV is in itself a brand, but as you know, it is obvious that this channel is seen as connected to me. People say it is Ravish’s channel. Dr Roy never had a problem with it. He was happy that people think this way.”

He mentioned an op-ed in TMC supporting paper ‘The Telegraph’ by Mukul Kesavan that the takeover was being done to remove him. He said, “When it was clear [that Adani Group will take over NDTV], many people said the same on social media. And it is a strong point. I firmly believe that this was planned to remove me. People call it a great deal and claim it is a normal corporate deal and a regular takeover. It is alright that you are pushing me towards the footnotes. You can keep doing it, but I am not a footnote. This much Adani must have known by now. The public and I know very well who was targeted by this takeover. When you could not buy the voice of the poor, you pushed it from the stage. Or just buy the stage itself.”

He added, “I feel that they have spent thousands of crores to make me unemployed. Karan, I feel with this amount, they could have employed thousands of young men and women from UP and Bihar.”

Ravish Kumar then pointed out an interview Adani gave in Financial Times where Adani said that if the government has done something wrong, the media is free to talk about it but should also talk about the good work that the government has done. He was angered by “something wrong” and said, “It was like this government only makes mistakes occasionally. It was an editorial diktat of Adani about what will happen to NDTV. I am reversing this diktat.”

Ravish further said that nobody in the media has the guts to criticise the government. He said, “The Godi Media and Godi Seths do not have the guts to talk about the government’s wrongdoings. If Adani had said this, I would have felt it was a message for me that no one would touch me, and I could continue doing what I was doing. You know my identity is linked to the government’s criticism. Can Adani tweet if a reporter criticises the Modi government, the BJP and its ministers should not boycott the reporter [or the channel]? Can Adani do this? If he tweets like this for four days, he will sit at ED’s office the next day. This is Adani’s real position and status. He will remain in this position until he does not start criticising the government. The day he criticises the government, he will not get a stool to sit at ED’s and CBI’s offices. You do not need to tell him. He knows it very well.”

He further added that his programs were boycotted, and as soon as he left NDTV, BJP’s spokespersons started appearing on those shows. “What are all these indications telling you, Karan? 99.99999 percent of the media in India praises the Modi government. They spent lakhs of crores to spread hate and fake news. It includes the channels of Ambani and others. Look how big the empire of Godi media is! Still, Adani thinks no one dares to praise the government. They praise the government from morning till evening. These channels do not give space to the public’s voice. I feel it is rubbish that Adani is giving a lecture on media freedom.”

Ravish further claimed that all his work was not just anti-someone. and he did the proper research and added context to what he said. He claimed he followed journalistic skills and ethics. “It is clear that Adani is giving me a message. He is challenging me. Can he tell PM Modi to watch ‘Bagon Mein Bahar Hai’, ‘Black Screen’, or any episode of Covid coverage on Prime Time? If he had done that, I would have known how much he or the ‘fluent English speaking journalists’ he brought respect the press freedom. Can he tweet The Wire’s Pegasus story?”

Ravish was also angry over the reports that Adani Group sometimes decides not to reply to the media houses, including Al Jazeera. He mentioned when Al Jazeera sought a reply from the Adani Group for a report on the NDTV takeover, and they were asked to check the interview published in Dainik Jagran. Ravish was angry that Adani Group decided not to reply to Qatar’s official mouthpiece which is known to be biased against India.

Towards the end of the 10-minute+ rant, he said, “Having money in the pocket and having courage are two different things. I say, hey Godi Seth, you can keep money in your pocket, and I will keep the courage.”

While Karan Thapar consistently tried to make Ravish Kumar say that the NDTV takeover took place at the behest of the Modi government and particularly PM Modi, Kumar kept his answer a bit diplomatic and said, “We cannot be sure what these two have talked about in private but what is evident from what has been happening, it is clear [it is being done to silence me].” Ravish also pointed out PM Modi did not congratulate the late photojournalist Danish Siddiqui who won a Pulitzer award.

Toward the end of the interview, Kumar claimed that no Hindi newspaper was ready to publish his articles. He said, “They are so scared that they [Hindi Newspapers] are not ready to publish my articles. They are spending crores to stop me from earning Rs 2,000 for writing articles in Hindi media.”

The interview with YouTuber Ajit Anjum

The interview with reporter-turned-YouTuber Ajit Anjum was hardly any different. It was interesting to see Anjum promote it as “Ravish Kumar’s first interview after leaving NDTV” and trying to cash in on his “popularity”. Maybe inspired by Piers Morgan’s explosive interview with Cristiano Ronaldo, Anjum decided to release the interview in parts. The first part of the interview was released on December 15, followed by clips on social media platforms. Then another two parts, one main interview, and one part only with personal questions, were published later on Anjum’s channel.

In the interview with Anjum, Ravish expressed how “hollow” and “empty” his days have become after leaving NDTV. “I do not know how my viewers are coping with it. It was a routine for me to sit for hours without sleep in the night and prepare for the show.”

He mentioned that since the reports came out that Adani Group was in the process of taking over NDTV, he stopped going to the office. “It was shocking when the news came. For a moment, I sat down. The production people thought I was not feeling well and offered to stop the shoot.” But the ‘show must go on’, so he shot the episode. “Every takeover is not a normal takeover,” Ravish Kumar also mentioned in the interview with Anjum.

During his megalomaniac episode on Anjum’s channel, Ravish targeted other journalists and news channels that he considered “Godi Media”. For those unaware, God Media is a term used for journalists and news channels that are allegedly pro-PM Modi or pro-Modi government. He questioned if there is press freedom and Adani talks about it, will he talk about the Washington Post reports on him, or will the “Godi Media” channels talk about the Al Jazeera report? He claimed the BJP leaders who saw him as a prominent journalist before 2014 started boycotting him after coming to power.

Ravish further claimed that the takeover took place not only to get rid of him but also because there would have been primetime episodes covering the failure of the Modi government based on the reports he had done in the past. “We had records. We would have talked about them from the next year till the elections,” he added.

Ravish was angry with the “mother democracy” and “mother India” as well. He said, “If democracy is mother, then mother threw me out of her lap. What you have done (the democratic system of India that includes the people of India and the media) and what you have let happen will weigh on your soul forever. I have worked hard, but you took the bread out of my mouth. I want to ask Mother India why she did not have a place for me in her lap.”

One interesting point Ravish raised is that the common exclusive interviews from inside the ministries have stopped. Notably, it was pointed out by Barkha Dutt as well during an interview after the Modi government came to power for the first time. It is a known fact that journalists used to enjoy deep relationships with ministries, and there are speculations that they even influenced decision-making processes in the ministries, as seen in Radia Tapes.

However, since the Modi government came into power, access to the inside scoops has completely stopped. So much so that the Modi government put a complete stop to the practice of letting journalists tag along with the Prime Minister on his plane on foreign trips. Earlier, Dutt expressed her anger over the issue, this time, it was Ravish Kumar who subtly expressed how the power went out of their hands.

Journalists are not Gods

Understandably, journalists have been seen as pillars of truth in society. It is assumed that they go by ethics to present the facts and only the facts without any bias. But look at the history of media and think once, was there a time when journalists, media houses, newspapers etc., were ever non-biased? Every journalist, media house, and person linked to media in any capacity is biased to a certain level. Some show their biases openly, but some keep themselves on the centrist lines just to stay in business.

For example, Ravish Kumar almost swore during an interview with Anjum that he talked facts and researched properly before presenting any report to the public. However, OpIndia, on several occasions, showed how Kumar openly spread fake information and data. For instance, In January 2021, he lied about paddy procurement. It is available in the public domain, and thanks to the digitisation of government data, people can cross-check. Otherwise, if it had been 2001, Ravish Kumar would have gotten away with the lies.

In the end, please note that no one snatched the bread from Ravish Kumar’s mouth. There was no request from Adani Group seeking resignation from Ravish Kumar. NDTV did not fire him. Ravish Kumar himself said he left the channel on his own.

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Searched termsRavish Adani
Anurag
Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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