‘History of freedom struggle has a major role in shaping our country’

“The aspect of fear has become an integral part of Indian society, and it is the crippling factor and also the main reason why Indians are afraid to speak up against growing corruption,” said Editor of Tehelka Tarun J. Tejpal at the first in the series of lectures on ‘The power of inspiration’ at GITAM University here on Tuesday.

Talking of corruption, role of media, and youth, Mr.Tejpal, who brought the sting operation to the field of journalism by exposing scams such as cricket match fixing and defence deals, said, “On the one side we talk of being a super power and on other we have children begging at traffic signals instead of going to schools.”

Giving a strong message to the youth, Mr. Tejpal urged the young minds to develop the habit of questioning. “Don’t just absorb what you are told. Build up an attitude of curiosity, but that does not mean that you have to be disruptive,” he noted.

He also advised the students to read facts on freedom struggle.

“The history of freedom struggle has a major role in shaping our country and individuals. I am greatly inspired by the vision of our founding fathers, be it Gandhi, Nehru or Patel. And our policies have gone wrong only when we have deviated from their vision,” he said.

He reminded the students not to take the freedom that we gained after a great struggle for granted. “This view was consolidated only after I experienced the 1975-76 emergency period,” he said.

Role of media

Talking on the role of media, he pointed out, “Good journalism is all about keeping in check the abuse of power and money.” At the same time, he said, “In the present context, commercial impulses seem to dominate editorial impulses. And that is one reason why I took the risk of becoming an entrepreneur and publisher so that the distinctions between the impulses collapse.”

The second part of the lecture session was handled by Director of Society for Social Audit, Accountability and Transparency, Department of Rural Development, AP Government, Sowmya Kidambi.

Focusing on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, she gave an idea how it works. To root out corruption, she urged the students to take a small step to build a collective protest. “Take a small step to reduce inequalities at home first and the change will begin there. We need to question and that is the way out,” she said.

The speakers were introduced by Vice-Chancellor of GITAM University G. Subrahmanyam. The lecture series, an initiative of Tehelka, is being supported by mobile operator major Aircel and will be held in 25 cities across the country. Mr. Mohan from Aircel gave a corporate presentation.

More In: Visakhapatnam