Speaking truth about power is the historic task before writers & journalists: P Sainath

Renowned journalist and former rural editor of 'The Hindu', P Sainath was addressing a gathering in Delhi during an event organised by the Progressive Writers’ Association

Speaking truth about power is the historic task before writers & journalists: P Sainath
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NH Political Bureau

Renowned journalist and former rural editor of 'The Hindu', P Sainath said on Monday that speaking truth about power is more important than speaking truth to power.

“Speaking truth to power is a cliche because power always knows the truth. It is not so naive. Power knows better than you and it acts consciously. More important is speaking the truth about power and society. That is the historic task before writers and journalists,” Sainath said. He was speaking in an event in Delhi 'Resistance in the time of Amrit Mahotsav' organised by the Progressive Writers’ Association – an association of writers and journalists associated with the Left ideology.

Saying that inequality has grown in India in the last two decades, Sainath, who was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2007, asserted that India added 98 billionaires to the list in the last 20 years.

But the rise in the number of billionaires was not due to the creation of wealth and growth, instead it was “sucked from poor”.

Underlining the fact that the Coronavirus pandemic was used as an opportunity to exploit the poor and deprived more, Sainath asked, “Who gained in the pandemic? Big pharma companies, CEO of the Serum institute Poonawala and companies like BYJU’S.”

He said that in the present time of turbulence and rising inequalities, “Writers have the fundamental responsibility of writing about inequalities”.

He referred to the farmers' protest following which, three farm laws were repealed by the Modi government and added, “Every second slogan was on Ambani and Adani in farmers' movement, but no one reported that Adani and Ambani's personal wealth is greater than GDPs of Punjab and Haryana”.

Highlighting the role of independent journalists and writers, Sainath said since powerful corporates control media directly or through advertisements, hence no media would report about inequalities.

“Only independent journalists and writers can write about them,” said Sainath.

The two day event “Resistance in the time of Amrit Mahotsav” has been organised in the memory of late PWA president and renowned Urdu writer, social activist professor Ali Javed who passed away last year.

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