Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Barkha Dutt's This Unquiet Land: Such an important book...

...especially for media students, and especially for those who want to become television journalists.

When I brought a copy to the college today, Sreya Chatterjee (Class of 2017), whose ambition is to become a TV reporter, immediately called dibs on the book and made me promise to give it to her first. And as soon as she got her hands on it, she began reading it, giving me regular updates. "This is so amazing," she told me five minutes into the book. When we met again a little later, she was still raving about Barkha Dutt's writing: "That line about journalism and the anticipation of adventure. I just loved it."

So naturally I asked her to give me her first impressions in some detail. Here's what she had to say after reading just a few pages of This Unquiet Land:

Every aspiring journalist should read This Unquiet Land, especially if you have that fire in your belly. On Page 11, Barkha Dutt writes, "The anticipation of adventure is one of journalism's many blessings in my life." That is so true for people who get bored very easily. And I am one of those people.

A journalist's life can never be boring  that is what I believe. There might be days when things won't work out; days when you think you should have taken up a bank job instead. But the idea is to never give up. When you're feeling low, what better inspiration than Barkha Dutt? All you have to do is picture one of the country's best-known journalists clambering onto the the bonnet of a car — in the line of duty — and then climbing up to the vehicle's roof and parking herself there just to get a sound bite from a man the authorities were shielding from the media. As she tells it, the car began moving, albeit slowly, but she refused to get off. And seeing that it would be impossible to dislodge her without harming her, the officials gave in and let her have her bite. As our journalism professor never tires of telling us, "Persistence, persistence, persistence."

One more thing: If you're a feminist, as I am, then that is another reason to read this book. There's so much in This Unquiet Land, with regard to a woman's place in our society, that I can identify with and appreciate.

Thank you, Barkha Dutt, for this wonderful book.

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