Manoj Kant Dash,
with Prasanta Patnaik,Sr.TV Journalist & Patron of odishabarta
Sir please tells us about your child hood (?)
Prasanta: - I was born on 10th April, 1941 in Olasingh village under Khurda Sub-Division of undivided Puri district.
Family Background and nativity please (?)
Prasanta: - My father Raghunath Patnaik was a freedom fighter and was one of the founder members of Communist Party during the pre-independent days. He was a social activist and motto of his life was to help all for their development. My mother Harabala Patnaik, though was a house wife, she was indirectly associated with all activities of my father. We are four brothers and nine sisters. I am the eldest among sons. I had an elder sister Prativa who died on 10th March, 2011. My third brother Dr. Pragati Patnaik, who was serving the deprived and downtrodden in Nagaland, was assassinated by the militants.
Very Sorry Sir (!)
Prasanta: - After completing my school career from Dasarathi High School, Olasingh, which was established by my grandfather a popular zamindar, I joined S.C.S. College, Puri from where I completed my intermediate. Then I did my graduation as well as post graduation in English from Ravenshaw College, Cuttack.
Your portfolio (?)
Prasanta: - From my student career I was interested in literature and journalism. I was contributing short-stories, poems, satires, news photographs to various magazines and newspapers. While a student of Ravenshaw College, Cuttack I was actively associated with “DAGARA” and edited “CHANDRIKA “a monthly devoted to literature, art and culture. I was also reporting for The Eastern Times, edited by Sri Janaki Ballav Patnaik.
After completing my M.A., I had got an offer to join as a lecturer in P.N. College, Khurda and on the same day I also got an offer to join as a sub-editor in Amrita Bazar Patrika, at Cuttack. Since journalism was my first love, I preferred to join Amrita Bazar Patrika in 1967 and since then I am continuing as a journalist. During my journalistic career, I have worked for the Kalinga with Sri Surendra Mohanty as the Editor, and then joined Hindustan Samachar, a multi-lingual news agency as Bhubaneswar Bureau Chief after sudden closure of Kalinga. After a brief stint, switched over to Patriot, English daily and LINK news weekly published from Delhi. Simultaneously I also worked as photo-correspondent for Pan-Asian Photo-News Agency with head office at Tokyo and Land & Life Photo-News Agency, Calcutta. I contributed photographs and features for ONLOOKER,Mirror, Bhavan’s Journal, SUNDAY, Ravivar, Current, The Week, Sunday Observer etc. After quitting Patriot & Link, joined News time English daily published from Hyderabad and subsequently headed the Orissa Bureau of News time, EENADU and ETV till 2001. Edited Chandrika, Oriya News weekly.
Today you represent (?)
Prasanta: - Worked for Rajat Sharma’s Independent News Service. and finally joined as Orissa Bureau Chief of INDIA TV .
Political view (?)
Prasanta: - I believe in Marxism, which is aimed at well being of the masses.
Political interest (?)
Prasanta: - No interest in politics as I feel it is the “ last resort of scoundrels”.
What you are dreaming for Orissa (?)
Prasanta: - A rich and exploitation free Orissa.
Since when you started creative writing (?)
Prasanta:- I started writing poems and short stories since 1958, while I was a student of S.C.S. College, Puri and was contributing to various newspapers and magazines. My first published book was KALAPANA RANI, Oriya translation of Alaexander Puskin’s QUEEN OF SPADES. My other publications include ANDHAKARARA KABYA, PUNASCHA ANDHAR, RAVAN PODI AND KRUSHNACHUDA RA RANGA, all short-story collections. I have also written more than a dozen of crime novels published in Masik Detective, Goenda, edited by my eldest brother-in-law Kanhu Charan Patnaik in the pen name of Falguni Das. A number of my satires had also been published in DAGARA and other magazines under the pen name of Sri Lachhaman. You were one of the pioneers in photo-journalism, what were your achievements? I tried to give a new twist to photo-journalism in Orissa. Instead of head hunting (covering VIPS only ), I started highlighting problems of people. Human touch gave me more pleasure and satisfaction. My news photographs have appeared in almost all local and national newspapers and periodicals as well as in some international newspapers and magazines. Because of my love for visual media, I had introduced a half-page photo-feature in CHANDRIKA while editing it. Besides news, my other interests were wildlife and tribals also. I was also founder of Eastern Press Agency and Associated Media Foundation.
You expect from the Society (?)
Prasanta:- Many claim that you were also one of the pioneers in feature writing in Oriya and many of your features had sent shock-waves in the State and outside: I tried my hand in feature writing in the seventies being inspired by Sri Srikanta Panda, who was editing ASANTAKALI from Kolkota. All my features were appreciated as those were supplemented by a number of photographs.
Which aspects of journalism you have never touched (?)
Prasanta: - I have tried my hand in all branches of journalism. I was associated with English and Oriya journalism, Agency journalism ( Hindusthan Samachar), Photo-Journalism,TV Journalism ( EENADU TV, Independent Media and INDIA TV ) and Web Journalism ( odishabarta.com ).
Because of your bold and investigative journalism you were subjected to threats, attacks and harassments, how you accepted all these cooly (?)
Prasanta:- My first love was investigative journalism for which many vested interests were unhappy with me. I was repeatedly threatened and harassed. My children and family members were subjected to threats. But we accepted it cooly.
You were the only media person who was a victim of political atrocity during tenure of J.B. Patnaik as the Chief Minister . How you reacted?
Prasanta:-Yes I and my family were thrown out from the Government quarters on a winter night, while my wife was undergoing treatment from suspected brain injury. I accepted it as a part of the game. I am very much thankful to the politicians who had taken such steps as because of them I could become the richest media person in the country, though not materially, certainly by experience. No other media person in the country had ever faced so much harassment. But God and blessings of my parents, support of all my family members, friends and readers were always with me, which was my greatest strength in life.
Why you have chosen for Media line Sir (?)
Prasanta: - As I was keen to do something good for the State and the society as well as the common men of Orissa by creating awareness against exploitation and corruption, I choose media as my career. Both me and my fifth brother-in-law Dhiren Patnaik who was bringing out Tuesday weekly and Khabarkagaj daily had planned to go ahead with strengthening the circulation and contents to create awareness among people against corruption in political and administrative level. But unfortunately Dhiren died of heart attack about 24 years ago, which shattered all our dreams.
You’re blessed with (?)
Prasanta:- Two sons and two daughters. Now I am a proud grand father of four grandsons and a granddaughter.
Sir Pls tell us few line about Madam (?)
Prasanta:- My wife Chandraprava was a senior lecturer in Kamala Nehru Women’s College, Bhubaneswar. She is a social activist and was a office-bearer of National Federation of Indian Women founded by Smt. Aruna Asaf Ali. She was also a national vice-president of Indian People’s Theatre Society (IPTA) and worked with Kafi Azmi, Shabna Azmi, Farooq Seikh, A.K. Hangal. She writes poems and features. Recently her first poem collection SWARA MAYA has been published.
In your carrier please tell us your memorable day(?)
Prasanta:- My most memorable day was the day when I had brought the then Chief Minister Biju Patnaik in my Kinetic Honda scooter, after he had a fall from the bi-cycle.
Have you ever accepted any gift from any politician or businessman (?)
Prasanta:-None had ever dared to oblige me materially. But I had to accept a Canon Camera from Smt. Nandini Satpathy which she had brought form during her foreign tour with lots of love and appreciation for my photography. Though I was her worst critic while she was the Chief Minister, she loved me immensely till she breathed her last. In the meanwhile the camera has become obsolete after introduction of digital technology, but still I have preserved it carefully as a token of memory.
What is your choice (?) And what you hate (?)
Prasanta:- I love boldness and truth and hate hypocrisy.
You were felicited by various organizations for your contribution to journalism, photo-journalism and creative writing can you name a few(?)
Prasanta:- I was felicited by Jiban Ranga as well as Utkal Sahitya Samaj for my literary activities, Chintamani Panigrahi Memorial Committee for life-time achievement in journalism, and also Narad Samman by Viswa Sambad Kendra, life-time achievement in photo-journalism from Swarajya.
Besides photo-journalism what were your other activities in photography (?)
Prasanta:-I also worked as a still photographer for Srikrushna Rasa Leela film and had tried my hand in model photography before any photographer had did so.
You are a non-smoker, but you has modeled for Captain Cigarette why (?)
Prasanta:-Just for fun (!) As far as I know till date none of media persons have been offered to model for any product.
Last :what is your Dream for your Media friends, Brothers(?)
Prasanta:- My dream about media is to ensure a true free and fearless media, free from political, bureaucratic, corporate and mafia influence which can serve the interest of the State, the country and people at large.
Thanks for valuable time share with us. We seek your noble guideline and advice for ever. Namaskar