Be it covering the breaking news that covers an attack to the nation or having a strong political debate in the newsroom or be it speaking to an IIT Topper one must admire the passion and pride with Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai (Currently: Consulting Editor, India Today Group) has been doing it brimming with confidence. What I have appreciated in this individual is not only the way he would present us with the news but also create an equal interest over the subject in the minds and hearts of the viewers. One of his biggest strengths I would say is intonation – the rise and fall in the pitch of his voice and his ability to probe questions and then later getting into the heart of the story.
Today, Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai is not only India’s Top Journalist but also an author of his recently released book titled, “2014 – The Election That Changed India”. In the recent past I had the opportunity to meet this prolific news anchor over a freewheeling chat.
They say, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”. While young Rajdeep was very much found of playing cricket. His father Late Dilip Sardesai was a prominent Indian Test Cricketer in the 1960’s. His Mother Nandini Sardesai worked as a Professor of Sociology at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai.
Rajdeep always loved playing cricket and represented while playing at University level. It’s here he had close interaction with well-known right handed middle order batsman Mr. Sanjay Manjrekar.
Education / Career
Before getting into journalism Rajdeep aspired to become a lawyer. He first completed his Bachelor’s Degree Course in Economics from St. Xavier’s College. Post which he went to England to study in Oxford University and acquired the following degrees namely Master of Arts (M.A.) and Bachelor of Laws (L.L.B.).
On his return from England in the year 1988 he decided to start his career as a lawyer by practicing law in India. But destiny had its own plans for Rajdeep. It was around the same time while Rajdeep was contemplating “Lawyer” as his profession he had the opportunity to meet the eminent journalist and the current editor then of “The Times of India” (TOI) Mr. Dileep Padgaonkar.
Rajdeep, being a compulsive reader and writer the thought of joining TOI appealed to him. Initially he started writing for TOI and later worked there for a brief period of six years and was the city editor of its Mumbai Edition.
I was fortunate to enter into the field of journalism at a time when there were many events and happenings taking place within our country. Had there not been any major upheavals taking place in the country however any journalist may aspire to write the fact remains what is that topic the journalist would choose and amplify their thoughts that shall appeal to the voice of the readers. Rajdeep admits destiny was kind enough which allowed him come into the field of journalism at an opportune time which gave him immense opportunities to amplify on his strengths and competencies.
Rajdeep had a flair for General Knowledge and always searched for answers beyond what the textbooks could offer and that too at a very young age. One thing was evident his thirst for knowledge was always growing as he was keen to know more about the world and surroundings.
What would be the future of his chosen craft namely “Television Journalism” was something even his parents were not much aware about. All they could do at that point of time was to believe in his strengths and motivate him on his voyage of discovery.
Rajdeep Sardesai is a successful name today but there were risks he took and dare to achieve it. The point of time when he decided to leave NDTV and start his own venture “CNN IBN” his parents were apprehensive as he was already doing well in his career path. However, as Rajdeep wanted to follow his dreams his parents allowed him to take the risk and go that extra mile.
Rajdeep has also been the President of the Editors Guild of India the only Television Journalist to hold the post and was also chosen as a Global leader for tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 2000.
Commitment towards Craft
Rajdeep Sardesai’s commitment towards his chosen craft is commendable. He is workaholic and works round-the-clock to achieve prominence and excellence. Reading relates to his mind as much as exercise relates to his body. Never complacent despite his near stardom status, he firmly believes when there is work it must be completed and there are times when Rajdeep doesn’t take his weekly offs.
He believes in precision to details and in his farewell letter written to IBN 18 staff he says, “Am sorry if I would occasionally call at 3 am in the morning. Blame it on being a news junkie. And remember, every time there is a spelling mistake on the ticker, my ghost will haunt you”.
I would love to sum up my piece in his words, “I guess certain things in life are written in the stars. Editorial independence and Integrity have been articles of faith in 26 years in journalism and maybe I am too old now to change”.