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Arnab Goswami: From the lens of an observer

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“What’s the valuation behind passion?”asked Arnab Goswami at the keynote address of the Republic Economic Summit 2021, this very question encapsulates the life story of the editor-in-chief of Republic TV and gives us a glimpse into his entrepreneurial mindset. Having written two success stories, that of Times Now (2006-2016) and Republic Media Network (2017-present), Goswami has presented a brilliant example for his young viewers, he has inspired them to make a mark in their respective fields to be recognised by the nation and the world and not shy away from challenges and trials. Arnab Goswami is the very popular trending hashtag on Twitter. His name trends on Twitter even without him having an account on the platform.

Admired by supporters, criticized by critics and envied by detractors, Arnab resides in the minds and hearts of many. He is popularly known for conducting interviews of politicians in a viva format, asking ‘out of syllabus’ questions. The man has the ability to grab eyeballs because of the fact that he takes a stand on issues and lets the viewers agree or disagree with him. His supporters watch him because they appreciate his honesty even when they dissent with him on certain issues. The recent examples are that of the COVID -19 management by governments, vaccine policy and the conduction of rallies in the pandemic situation, wherein Arnab grilled the representatives of all political parties and governments for he took a stand and believed that the situation could be managed in a better way for which, he was called out by politicians . 

Some people have a high regard for him because they trust him. Others criticize him and differ in their views because the very format of his debate consists of people being at loggerheads with each other on issues of national and international importance. Many people are of the view that Republic is synonymous with Arnab. But given the fact that he himself is now the Managing Director and editor-in-chief of a channel, he believes that there are many anchors of his channel who have a very high viewership because of the debates and news analysis programs hosted by them in Hindi and English.

Arnab has gained the degree of admiration which was previously enjoyed by film stars, he interacts with his viewers and expresses gratitude for their unwavering support, he considers himself to be the voice of the common man, a person representing the collective opinion of many and not a film star who has a different identity in films and a different one in real life, that people like him because of the of the character he enacts and not for the persona he is in real life. Arnab is blatant at times, never minces his words and does not pretend to be a sugar coated personality on camera. Some people dislike him for the very fact that he chooses to fight back, but heart of hearts, they know that the man is resilient, he refuses to budge when he knows that he is right, he prefers to choose the difficult path to attain great things. 

In today’s world, one cannot interact with the youth or any audience using the prepared speech format or using a vocabulary which can only be understood if the audience enters with a thick Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Arnab is a good speaker in that sense, he tries to present real life experiences and anecdotes to establish a connection with the viewers or listeners, but one prerequisite to understand his speeches is that one must have a good understanding of the past and present of the nation and the evolution of journalism. He explains that the most important news story, the turning point in life was not a story that he covered after the launch of Republic TV or when Times Now became famous but an incident that took place in 2006, the story of the then four year old Prince who had fallen into a 60ft deep borewell in Haradhi in the district of Kuruskeshetra.

Times now had run a campaign for him until the attention of the authorities was diverted to the issue and he was rescued after forty eight hours. In many interactions, he has described as to how difficult it is for someone to get into a news organization in Delhi even with a degree from Oxford until and unless one has contacts with powerful people, and how the initial five years are that of struggle for a journalist, one has to be determined and tenacious in order to succeed. He never indulges in theoretical, intellectual or hypothetical debates, he demands practicality and ground reality. That is what makes him different. We cannot judge a man for his viewpoints on certain issues, we may certainly differ with him. Every individual’s  experiences are different, he has been into journalism for more than two decades hence his experiences have shaped his opinions. 

Even as supporters and viewers we have a clash of opinions with him, but dissenting  with him is never equivalent to not watching him because of the fact that he speaks truth to power even at the cost of being labelled as ‘prejudiced’ or keeping his and his organization’s reputation at stake due to statements and news stories that may seem brazen or offensive to some. In the real world, we relate to people who are human like, in the sense that they feel angry, are elated at times, worked up at times and not perfect plastic creations with whitewashed exteriors. Arnab is that human being, he questions everyone, he speaks his heart out, like any common man and a law abiding citizen, he speaks about his experiences when he feels that he is being deceived or governments must listen to his grievances. He has received the love and support of many, he has become synonymous with prime time, he has become a part of the routine of many people.

In everyday life, people meet their colleagues at the workplace, teenagers meet their friends and teachers at school and interact with them, at 9pm, everyone meets Arnab, they interact with him via Koo or Twitter and on Arnab Online and eagerly wait for their Koos and Tweets to be flashed on the screen to be assured that their communication has reached him, he reads out their messages from Arnab online on air. Arnab has become a household name for many, he has made a remarkable impact upon us, he has made us feel the news, for teenagers, the knowledge of the world has been expanded not by memorizing but by watching the news. The very fact that he pushes the idea of India being a superpower in the future makes way for the manifestation of the dreams and ideas of many, for the betterment of the nation. Our differences upon many issues or even on Arnab’s style of journalism are eternal, at the end of the day, it was Arnab Goswami who popularized TV debates in Indian households.

To conclude, I would like to quote his colleague Niranjan Narayanaswamy as mentioned on a post in 2016 on Instagram, “Take a bow. You didn’t just change the news, you changed lives. Because you changed the news, and you made us change the news with you. Take a bow because you led so fearlessly knowing that 24×7 wasn’t enough to do the news. Take a bow because your simplicity shone through to those who didn’t know you beyond the tv screen. As you march on, there are so many memories and so much of you in each one of us. Take a bow because, there’s only one Goswami on television”.

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