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Updated: February 17, 2011 20:54 IST

Every new-s day

NEETI SARKAR
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PEOPLE BBC's diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall presented her flagship show, The Forum, from India

She is the first woman to have won the James Cameron Award for distinguished journalism in 1992. At present, she is BBC's diplomatic correspondent and covers top foreign stories for radio, television and online news.

Bridget Kendall's particular interest and expertise in Russia and East/West relations, dating from when she was BBC's Moscow correspondent at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

She is also host of “The Forum”, the BBC World Service global exchange of ideas programme, which brings together acclaimed thinkers from across national, social and cultural divides who explore and challenge theories, opinions and beliefs from around the world.

In India at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2011 to present “The Forum”, Bridget expresses her delight at witnessing a literary fest of this quality and magnitude. “I've sat through some of the sessions that were in English and I'm impressed at the variety of experiences one gets to be a part of.”

The top-notch journalist had on her show Sanskrit scholar Gurcharan Das, Dr. Kaveri Nambisan and Nepali writer Manjushree Thapa on January 22. Photographer Dayanita Singh, writer and science fan Abha Dawesar and Delhi-based writer of both historical and contemporary fiction Jaishree Misra were the guests on January 24.

At the conclusion of the first show Bridget thought it was especially interesting to hear Gurcharan Das and Manjushree throw light on different Hindu and Buddhist views respectively.

“This was quite different from hosting the show in London. It's like I'm seeing the world from another place. The audience is astonishingly big and extremely energetic. Everyone here is so keen on participating in what's going on,” she says.

Stating that one of her most memorable interviews was with South African anti-apartheid activist Albie Sachs, Bridget adds: “There's so much I get to learn anchoring ‘The Forum'. Each day is a new day in the life of a journalist.”

Despite covering war and other political issues, Bridget reveals the topics that intrigue her journalistic sensibilities now are ones that are related to cognitive studies.

If she were to choose any three illustrious personalities from across the world to interview, who would they be? “I would love to have Nelson Mandela on my show but if he refused I wouldn't mind because of his age. The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, would be another worthy choice as it would be great to exchange ideas with the leader of a rapidly-developing nation. As for the third, I don't quite know. There are far too many great visionaries to choose from.”

The world of journalism has witnessed quite a revolution with the surge of 24 hour news channels and the expansion of the new media phenomenon.

Ask Bridget what she thinks is the next step towards development in the field and she responds: “Probably an instant translation device where news that is read in Hindi in India could be read simultaneously in Spanish in some part of Latin America!”

The star anchor has co-authored a book on classical Armenian philosophy, “David The Invincible”, published in 1980. She is also a co-contributor to two BBC publications: one on the impact of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, “The Day That Shook The World”; and the other on the run-up to the Iraq war of 2003, “The Battle For Iraq”.

“I've been so busy being a journalist that despite people asking me to write a book, I wasn't able to devote time to it. Also, back when the Soviet Union collapsed, many people were writing books and it didn't make sense for me to do the same. But now, several years later, I might have something new and interesting to share with people who weren't around at that time,” she concludes.

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