The quality and success of a conclave not only depend on what is discussed but also on what is celebrated. After all, it’s a coming together of bright ideas and thinking minds that help shape future narratives. Organiser’s media mahamanthan ensured that it not only got political and social influencers to talk about matters of national interest but also celebrate those that are working and contributing tirelessly towards nation-building. These are voices that are being heard, often echoing the sentiment of many others and using their journalistic prowess responsibly, often fighting the mighty left ecosystem. Organiser and Panchjanya have a 75-year long history of great journalistic lineage –its DNA full of ink from the mightiest pens—so it was only natural that the media house celebrated the same quality and potential, conferring its first media awards to those who are walking the same path of truth.
Listed below are the awardees:
Monica Halan (Business & Finance, Print)
A personal finance writer, speaker, and author, Monica Halan is the Founder of Dhan Chakra Financial Education and the best-selling author of Let’s Talk Money (Harper Collins, 2018). The book has become a huge success, being quoted as the go-to book for its simple approach to money management, and is already translated into Marathi and Punjabi. The Hindi translation Baat Paise Ki was released in December 2020. Her first book, Seven Steps to Financial Freedom, was published by Macmillan in 2005. She is also an adjunct professor both at the National Institute of Securities Markets, A SEBI-founded educational institution and at the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, a Ministry of Corporate Affairs think tank. With a Masters’s in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics and a master’s in Journalism Studies from the College of Cardiff, University of Wales, UK; and has worked across various media organisations, including Mint, The Economic Times and The Indian Express, and Outlook Money, today she is a regular speaker on financial literacy, regulation, inclusion, and consumer issues in retail finance. She has also run four successful TV series around personal finance on NDTV, Zee, and Bloomberg India. Monica also got public policy experience as a Member of the Task Force set up by the Government of India to put in place the Financial Redressal Agency.
Swati Goel Sharma (English Digital)
Having started her career with The Times of India and Hindustan Times before joining Swarajya magazine, today Swati has a decade long career. She is particularly known for her coverage of issues that often go under-reported or misreported in the national media, such as targeting women for religious conversions, the menace of cow-smuggling, hate crimes, caste atrocities and so on. Many of her reports have seen intervention from national-level agencies, such as the child commission, the women commission and the scheduled castes commission, and resulted in action. Minor girls have been rescued in time, and victims have been given compensation. Her report on porn literature targeting Hindu women was taken cognisance of by the women commission, and Amazon was forced to remove many of those books from its Kindle application.
Swati not only reports but has also been a petitioner in Supreme Court for several cases of national importance, such as Uttar Pradesh’s anti-forced conversion law and the Karnataka hijab row.
Ravish Tiwari (English, Print)
Ravish Tiwari was the National Political Editor and Chief of the National Bureau of The Indian Express. He passed away earlier this year, at 40 years of age, after a two-year-long battle with cancer. He was passionate about politics and deeply entrenched in matters concerning the nation and society. Applauded for his informed and transformative journalism, even PM Modi paid his respects on his untimely demise, appreciating his great contribution to Indian News.
Palki Sharma Upadhyay (K R Malkani Memorial Award for Excellence in English Journalism)
Award-winning journalist and the Executive Editor of WION, India’s only international news channel, Palki is known for her sharp reportage, straight-faced sarcasm and on-point critique of situations. She hosts a prime time news and views show called Gravitas that tracks and comments on all the major developments around the world. A career spanning 20 years with stints at the ITV Network, CNN-IBN and Doordarshan News as anchor and editor, she has interviewed some of the biggest names in world politics and done on-ground reporting of key international events.
Rohit Sardana (Panchjanya’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee Patrakarita Puruskar)
Rohit Sardana was a celebrated Indian anchor and journalist whose shows, Taal Thok Ke, a debate program of Zee News and later Dangal of Aaj Tak Channel, were hugely popular and widely viewed. He passed away at the age of 41 last year due to post covid complications and is survived by his wife and two daughters. Known for his clear thinking, great command of the Hindi language, and precise reporting, his death was condoled by his peers, Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Modi.
Dr Shipra Mathur (Environment, Print)
Founder, www.penliteracy.com, Consulting Editor with Global Strat View (Washington DC) and Advisor with IIS University (Journalism and Mass Communication Dept), Dr Shipra Mathur has 25 years in media and media teaching behind her, specialising in Public Service Journalism, impactful campaigns for electoral participation, gender, education and issues of the marginalised sections. She has received the Shreephal Award for Public Service Journalism and the Child Safety Award by Rajasthan Government, along with earning the ‘Outstanding Persons Fellowship’ of the Cultural Ministry of India.
She conceptualised and led the LAADO campaign across three states as National Campaign Editor (a decade long stint) with Rajasthan Patrika. She also founded the Department of Journalism in ICG Girls college (1999) and Patrika’s School of Journalism (2006), besides launching a series of 60 episodes on “Changemakers” for Patrika’s TV platform.
Shefali Vaidya (Arts & Culture, Digital)
Known mainly for her social media presence, Shefali is also an award-winning writer, scholar, public intellectual and media professional with a post-graduate degree in mass communications and a diploma in Indology. With a keen interest in Hindu art, architecture and iconography and Indian textiles and heritage travel, she is an expert member of the committee of textiles appointed by the central ministry of textiles and an author of three books, one published and two in the final process of publication. She has curated conferences on temple architecture, textile art and Hindu traditions of arts and crafts for Indic Academy. At present, in the process of designing a course on Indian Textile History for Heritage India, she has worked for the welfare of weavers in five Indian states during the pandemic period by conducting fundraisers for them online.
A social and cultural influencer, her coffee table book on temple architecture will be out in 2022 as she supports a Vedic Gurukul in Varanasi.
Ashwani Mishra (Arts & Culture, Digital)
Mishra has been an anchor with DD news since 2009, and during this time, he has covered major historical and political events like Howdy Modi in Houston and the Ram Mandir Foundation. He is known for his in-depth documentaries and clean, detailed reporting.
Balendu Dadhich (Science & Technology, Print)
Nationally awardee, senior technology professional, author, former editor and speaker, Balendu Dadhich is constantly working to leverage digital technologies for social good.
A technology and marketing person by profession and a social activist by heart, he writes on science and technology-related issues in mainstream media, in both Hindi and English.
Recipient of the “Atmaram Award”, given by the President of India, he has authored more than 1500 articles on science and technology, along with six books. He has also made dedicated efforts towards popularising Indic technologies through training, conferences and workshops; content development; marketing campaigns; and newspaper articles. He has also developed many Indian language software, making them available to common users for free.
Nishi Bhat, (Science & Technology, Print)
Proficient Health Writer Nishi has worked extensively with UNICEF, WHO, and on Child care and nutrition. She played a constructive role during the vaccination drive for Covid and has written many articles on public health and wellness in known publications. Her portal, Health 365 is widely recognised for its work in the field.
Nimesh Hemant (Hindi, Print)
With over a decade of experience in journalism and social work, Nimesh Hemant is known for his work and special coverage in the field of politics, current affairs, cultural and religious developments and forming social narratives.
Nishant Raghav (Hindi, Print)
Principal Correspondent with Punjab Kesari Group since 2016, he is known for his special reports on the Nithari case, forged documentation in the Ahmedabad Jaipur Blast case, 26/11, and accurate political reporting of PM schemes and other national policies.
Gowtham Narayanan (Regional Language, TV)
Currently, with Janam TV, Gowtham is a Visual media journalist who has done several exclusive stories, like the Marichjappi Massacre, the Hathras case, and the involvement of Sidhique Kappan. Due to his efforts, the Malayalam audience saw the plight of Hindu refugees from Pakistan, Hindu victims of TMC/Islamist violence in West Bengal, the Rise of the BJP in Tripura, the struggle of Kashmiri Hindus etc.
Nivedita Vaishampayan (Regional Language, Print)
She has worked extensively in various publications like Tarun Bharat, Loksatta, and Lokmat and authored seven children’s books, along with being involved in important cultural and regional organisations.
Anand Ranganathan (Social Media)
After having received the Nehru Centenary Scholarship for Cambridge, UK and completing his BA (Tripos) in Natural Sciences, MA, and PhD, Anand Ranganathan returned to India to join the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Delhi and ran his lab for 16 years as a Staff Research Scientist. In the year 2015, he joined the Special Centre for Molecular Medicine, JNU, Delhi and became a full-time Professor in 2019. His scientific contributions have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Today, he frequently appears in TV debates, talking about Politics, Media, and Science. His columns appear in Swarajya, DNA, Firstpost, and Newslaundry, and he is also the Consulting Editor of Swarajya.
He has written three books, all novels: The Land of the Wilted Rose (Rupa, 2012); For Love and Honour (Bloomsbury, 2015); The Rat Eater (Bloomsbury, 2019; co-authored). His forthcoming book is on India’s forgotten scientists (Penguin, 2022; co-authored)
Ashok Shrivastava (Social Media)
Senior consulting editor and anchor with DD news, Ashok Shrivastav hosts DD News’ popular show, Do Took. He has almost three decades of journalism and media experience, with not only anchoring but also proficiency in the field and on-ground reporting. In his long career, he has covered the stints of three prime ministers of India, and his 2014 interview with Prime Minister Narendra Modi became particularly popular. He later turned that into an inspiration for a book on Modi.
Karma Paljor (Special Jury Award, Digital)
An award-winning Indian journalist and entrepreneur, Paljor co-founded Atvi Infotainment, a content creation company, in 2018. The business verticals include EastMojo.com, a digital news website that reports extensively on northeast India to bring out the lesser-known stories of life in this otherwise ignored region. Karma’s career spans 22 years, starting with The Times of India,
Awarded ‘Reporter of the Year’ by Indiantelevision.com in 2010, he has also won the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism for investigative ground reports in 2011 and 2014. Karma was part of the CNN News18 team that won the award for Best National News Coverage in English at the exchange4media News Broadcasting Awards (ENBA) for their coverage of the devastating Uttrakhand floods in 2013. In 2014, Karma won the ENBA Award in the Best Spot News Reporting (English) category for his coverage of the ‘Cyclone Phailin’ in Orissa. He has produced, directed, and anchored several award-winning programmes for CNN News 18. He is a Fellow of the sixth class of the Kamalnayan Bajaj Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Bashir Manzar (Special Jury Award, Print)
When the entire media was full of the separatist narrative, Kashmir Images came into being to give space to unheard common voices – economic, gender, environmental, educational, health and employment-related issues. Bashir Manzar is the publisher and editor of Kashmir Images, an English Daily from Srinagar. Starting in 1996 as a weekly, Kashmir Images took a strong stand against gun culture and, on the other hand, exposed the rot and corruption within the government.
Terrorist groups banned Kashmir Images and issued dictates to all printing presses not to print the Weekly. However, braving all odds, it defied the ban and continued publishing.
In 2001, the periodicity of the newspaper was changed from Weekly to Daily, and since then, it is being published regularly without compromising on its basic principles. In 2002, there was a terrorist attack on the Kashmir Images office, and staffer Zaffar Iqbal miraculously survived after several critical surgeries. Kashmir Images was the only English language newspaper which openly opposed stone pelting, violent protests and Hurriyat’s hartal politics in 2008, 2010 and 2016 agitations.
Abhishek Dubey (Sports)
Abhishek Dubey is India’s foremost sports journalist who has covered international sports for over 25 years now. Currently, he is working as Channel Manager, Sports at Prasar Bharati Sports, India’s state broadcaster. As part of the senior management team of Prasar Bharati Sports, he has been instrumental in the ideation and execution of key projects like indigenous games, reinvigoration of the content path of DD Sports, setting up of the digital footprints of the sports vertical of the network and big-ticket projects like DD Sports Conclave & recently organised Khelo India University Games to name a few. He has also led cross-functional teams in organisations like NDTV and IBN7 (Network 18), to name a few. As Sports Editor of IBN 7, he made his mark breaking stories related to the sporting ecosystem and beyond the headlines feature stories. His reportage of irregularities in IPL and CWG 2010 was widely appreciated by the mainstream media. He covered the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa, London Olympics 2012, Formula One race in Buddha International Circuit and 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. He has conceptualised major television shows like the CNN-IBN Award of the Year, Diamond States Award and Guru Shishya Award, to name a few. Today a regular columnist with leading dailies and news magazines, he is also the author of three critically acclaimed books. She Dared: Women in Indian Sports by Rupa Publications, Dressing Room: The Inside Story by Fusion Publications and The IPL Story: Cricket, Glamour and Big Money from Pearson’s.
Praveen Sinha (Sports)
Praveen Sinha has been in Sports Journalism for more than 25 years. He has constantly promoted Indigenous Games and produced at least 100 episodes on DD Sports. He has covered the 1996 Wills World Cup and 2011 World Cup cricket matches held in India. He has covered Cricket, Golf, Wrestling, Kabaddi, Mallakhamba, and Kho-Kho in different parts of the country. He did the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games commentary (all 15 days) for DD Sports and has been appointed to promote Indigenous Games.
Ambuj Bharadwaj (Fact Check)
Founder, FalanaDikhana.com, a fact-checking website which aims to reveal any misuse of the SC/ST act, and known for its special reports on the Hathras and Vishnu Tewari case.