K G JYOTHIR GHOSH
An author, journalist,coulmnist, transactional analyst, management professional, and a teacher in communication.Earnestly seeks to become a better human being. Lives with family at Kochi in Kerala, India.
Born at Kollam, Kerala ,India on 2/05/1960.Father: Kavila G Gopalakrishnan , who was a Samskritham teacher.Mother:M Lalithabhai was a complete home maker.Wife: Meena I V, a Civil Engineer by profession.Daughter: Dr.Madhavi Ghosh, doing Masters degree at National Institute of Design(NID),Gandhinagar, Ahmmedabad.Son: Krishnan Ghosh, Experience Designer who had his degree from NID, Ahmmedabad.Son in law: Arjun Prasad, Scientist, Kerala Science and Technology Council,Thiruvananthapuram,Kerala.Grandson: Padmanabhan Arjun
Schooling- SNVSHS(Kavila Shcool),Thrikkaruva, Near Anchalummood, Kollam in Kerala.Had degree from S N college Kollam.Post graduate degree in Journalism from University Campus, Calicut,Kerala.Masters Degree in Journalism and communication from Kariavattom campus, University of Kerala
Started career as correspondent ,Indian Express at Kollam. Then Joined Mathrubhumi as Sub Editor, After 25 years left the Mathrubhumi as it’s News Editor at Kochi. Got enough opportunity to go through varied experience during the stint in the Mathrubhumi. Exposed to almost all kinds of reporting inside and outside the country .Times at the editorial desk as a Sub Editor, Chief Sub Editor, Dy News Editor and finally News Editor triggered, and nourished creativity in many ways. Joined Reliance Industries as General Manager in 2007.Played a pivotal role in bringing in huge investments to the tunes of rupees thousands of crore to Kerala resulted in providing employment to thousands of youth in the state..Authored three books 1) Aduthirunnu, 2)Sabarimala Orarthavanubhavam, 3) Elizen.
THOSE WHO ARE GENUINELY INTERESTED MAY READ
Out of extreme passion thirty eight years ago, I took up the career in journalism without having much exposure to the nuances of that great profession. but I was sure that it is a great profession. Today what I realize is that the profession is bereft of its greatness, and subjected to all kinds of attack from every corner. Governments enact new laws and bring in stringent measures to tame or control the unbridled trajectory of the media in the changed scenario. Though I am not part of the mainstream media today I am still in the field of journalism trying to decipher the subtle aspects of its greatness, its significance than ever before and I could indulge in the process with much more enjoyment, and the feeling of being accomplished.
When I joined the field it was referred to as the press. Today it is the media. The transition from the press to the media speaks loudly about the changes the world has gone through the last three and a half decades due to the changes brought out by technology. That change enables me to practice that profession with the sanctity I attach though I do not officially belong to any conventional media house. When I joined the profession we were indoctrinated that politics decides everything. Today politics has been and is defined by technology. This resulted in the degeneration of politics without exception. It is not because of the systemic flaw as politics. It was due to the inept handling of politics by the leaders who dealt it. Still that system supports the institution of democracy by letter though not in spirit. The chaos caused during the transition period of previous technology to the emerging digital environment was the natural fall out of theoretical biases and its unscientific temperaments shared by political parties. This decimated the stakeholders of political parties to a very pathetic situation as most of them are entangled in all kinds of illegitimate and unscrupulous scandals.
Against the backdrop of Covid-19, again the dictum ’politics decides everything’ seems to be resonating back. That too is the impact of the technological change. This crucial historical juncture is triggered by this pandemic. First time in the history of human beings that departing from the primitive tribal culture and coming together and united on a single agenda, survival as species. This was caused by the pandemic. Had the human species been bound by this universal awareness and it reflected and guided in the character of the politics which got consummated in the twentieth century the history of the species would have been entirely different not only for humans but for all living organisms on this planet.
I started my career with the Indian Express, and later joined the Mathrubhumi Malayalam daily. After twenty five years of varied experience in Mathrubhumi I left it as News Editor, and joined the profession of Management in the corporate world. I joined the field of core management stream of Reliance Industries at the senior level without having any kind of conventional management training, or academic track record. My friends and those who know me were taken aback on that decision. To them it was unbelievable. Many cross checked with me what they heard was correct or not, some expressed their anger, astonishment, despair, and some others lauded me. But I didn’t try to convince my position nor defend the decision taken by me. Because I didn’t feel the need for it. They, my good friends, were going through the conduit of their emotions and defining themselves. Some had gone to the extent of cutting their friendship with me while some others tried to avoid public contact with me and maintained their intimacy very warmly. One of them was the then minister of the Kerala government. To the achievement of his position as a member of the legislative assembly I was instrumental, though not in a manipulative manner. When I reached Thiruvananthapuram on an official mission he invited me to his ministerial residence to join him for breakfast. But I could not. And we spoke for almost more than an hour on the phone. On that day when I was waiting for the lift at the ground floor of the secretariat of Kerala government with some of my media friends he was alighting from the lift. Upon seeing me he deliberately controlled the spontaneous smile, and didn’t show off any gestures of acquaintance. That kind of response didn’t affect me at all. Nor did my attitude or rather friendship towards such friends change. And I was thankful to such friends for offering me a real life situation to witness myself.
Today I fancy myself ”is it possible to join the field of a senior position in the editorial department of a mainstream media from the profession of management? And what made me enthusiastically join the profession of management at a very critical period of my life in terms of career and my age”. What I understand today is that a journalist is a person who is not at all alien to the profession of management as dealing with news is nothing but management of subtle affairs in the society. Each and every moment in the corporate world was that of a test against the tenets of journalism that has been part of my DNA. And now I can very precisely state that the journalistic perspective, and its tools made me capable of understanding any situation dispassionately, and take decisions accordingly. Apart from decision making and its implementation, in critical problem solving occasions also my journalistic experience proved to be of great help.
Journalism is nothing other than management of facts and emotions with a social perspective. That aspect in fact gained me a special consideration among my colleagues who have been schooled and trained in the best management institutes of the world. Any corporate house no matter small, medium, or big it positions itself in the society. And it is part and parcel of the society. The experts in the corporate world or in the business world in fact are not so bothered about the significance of the societal realities.Most of the time the corporate world is more focussed on the single point – profit and growth. But it has to be borne in mind that any growth primarily depends on the health of the environment where it is located. The outbreak of Covid 19 testifies to that reality.
I was fortunate enough to identify the area of my genuine interest at the age of eighteen. I remember the moment when I made up my mind when Prof. Ramachandra Acharya, from the politics department , SN College , Kollam, engaged in one of our degree classes as a professor substitute following the long absence of our world history professor . At hindsight , my practice of journalism was a period of active learning encountering face to face the ever changing facets of life. . I realised that of all the branches of the science ,social science is the branch that stands atop all. And journalism is the only branch as a profession that deals with it each and every moment. Like graduating from a great and unique school after twenty five years of service I unceremoniously self convocated myself from the Mathrubhumi.
Stepping out of the world of mainstream media though I joined the corporate sector in fact the thirteen years that passed was a period of self imposed social quarantine. I came out of that quarantine with the accidental writing of a book in 2019.The twelve years almost completely withdrawn from all kinds of social connectivity I spent my time in self searching .To a certain extent that was in the form of writing. I found it very interesting to decipher the kind of response that takes place in my mind to each moment in my life . It can be a simple stroke of a toddler, shards of utterances of a baby, passing expressions on the face of a person who comes across and the like . Sometimes it could be from my wife, children or colleagues. That lent me a feeling that I am passing through a museum of experience of which I am also a part of it, and at the same time a witness to it as well. Likewise the conversation of others also caught my attention. Which made me write on transactional analysis. Each passing moment in my life becomes a window of life in front of me. Through which I started witnessing myself.
At the start of my career I needed a bit of preparation to write something special other than news reports and features. I had often gone through the writer’s block as well. Most of the time I was driven by mood and it resulted in the habit of postponement. At the age of 42 in 2002 I took a total holiday from writing. That time I was the News Editor of the Mathrubhumi daily of Kochi edition. The position of the News Editor also helped me a great deal to take such a holiday as that position didn’t demand anything in terms of journalistic writing. That holiday lasted for five years. During that period I devoted myself to reading and practicing creative writing. It was a wonderful experience. Resting the tip of the pen on the page of a notebook, and at a certain point I would start writing with a letter that spontaneously dripped out of the pen on the page. Then with maximum speed without thinking about anything the writing would go on. While writing thoughtlessly with maximum speed the content, grammar, spelling, handwriting ,nothing was considered. It was as if allowing my fingers to write what would come to it. Slowly the writing acquired a quality of having content. After a few months’ practice, the writing became meaningful, though not worth publishing.
I indulged myself in the creative writing practice invariably after 1 am in the morning after reaching the newspaper office. Through that experience I could unlearn the kind of writing I used to as a journalist. After bidding goodbye to the mainstream journalism in 2007 I planned to write a book and the matter for the same was also completed. But before that another book happened without any planning. It was an experience cum biography book ,” Aduthirunnu”. After that I had gone through the matter of my dream book. On each reading I asked myself whether I was qualified to publish that book or not. That enquiry took 12 years. In the meantime in 2019 another book also happened without any planning. It was on the impact of the verdict of the Supreme Court on the entry of menstruating women to the Sabarimala temple in Kerala under the title “ Sabarimala oraartava anubhavam”. And finally my dream book ,‘Elizen’ was released on November 15th 2020
As I referred in the beginning when I learnt the power, significance and the sanctity of the profession of journalism I quit the mainstream media. The clarity of the popular dictum ‘medium is the message‘ of Marshall Mcluhan became clear to me. Generally it was referred to the credibility of the medium, ie , the credibility of the message depends upon the credibility of the medium. It is true. But the core meaning of the word of Mcluhan is much deeper than that. The medium is the journalist herself, a person who is committed to walk the talk, and only when a message would carry credibility. It is a huge responsibility on the part of a professional journalist. At least the editor of a media organization should have such orientation. There comes the significance of the Editor. Unfortunately today the main focus of the Editors are to increase the popularity in terms of circulation or viewership depending upon the nature of the media.
If we detach ourselves from the orientation of filing sensational stories with the aim of expanding popularity of the medium where all the possibilities open up. The question of cut throat competition between the media would come to a halt. At the same time those media realize the power of the medium against the backdrop of it being the most significant tool of social science the popularity will also go up organically. Maybe at a much faster rate, particularly in the digital age, than building up in a competitive spirit. The lack of that understanding puts all the editors and journalists under perennial pressure making them commit gimmicks to catch the attention of the readers or viewers. There, the focus of the media is lost as it gets shifted from society to that of the growth of the organization. After quitting Mathrubhumi I started a news portal called lifeglint.com. Through that portal along with committed youngsters we tried to redefine the definition of news. Instead of focussing on the events and event related developments we look at different aspects of life and find out news.
The fundamental approach behind our redefining news is that in the world driven by digital technology the life on the planet becomes transparent. In such a transparent world a professional journalist does have only a limited role to inform people on events and developments. That role is taken over by technology. Since ours is a very isolated move on the virtual world we could not create the base of a huge readership or followers. My well wishers and experts in the online activities advised me various methods to increase the hits of the portal. They had even suggested examples of content to build huge hits or the base of viewers. .
After seven years we started a YouTube channel supporting the portal still sticking to our focus. We take up the trending topics and try to provide a clarity focusing on the merit of the topic rather than the sensational hue of it. The trending in the world of the internet is always driven not by it’s merit but by the sensational quality. Unfortunately the communities that take up each issue in the social media are under the strong belief that their reaction happens out of human virtues. On some occasions such trends bring some benefits to those in suffering. Since these are the results of emotional outbursts it fails to influence usher in a culture and thereby a societal systemic correction rather than isolated incidents. The life of that trending lasts only a few hours as it is pushed into oblivion by the emergence of the other trending topic. It may be after a few hours or a few days.
Now the powerful tool is available. But still it is unfocussed in terms of society. That is due to the mismatch between the culture created by the prominent culture still prevails created by the previous age established by the industrial revolution. To be precise, today’s technology has become subtle; but the behaviour of the society is still in a gross manner. It can otherwise be termed as the mismatch or conflict between the emerging culture of the transparent world and the predominant residual culture of the previous age which was primarily dictated by secrecy. In other words it is between the tug between the culture of transparency and secrecy, and networking and compartmentalisation.
In each moment the time tells us something new to us through events.The covid 19 for the first time in the history of human species brought all the human inhabitants on the planet to a single focus. First time since the start of the human species ending the tribal nature of fighting each other , and making them united for the survival of the whole species. In fact coronavirus made the species think and act together for survival.That is the major shift that should happen in the human psyche.In fact the history of our race is broadly divided into two parts. One is pre-covid and the other is post-covid. In the pre-covid era the evolution was driven by conflict. But the post-covid era demands evolution to be driven by creativity .If taken to the path of conflict ,survival is in question, however superpower one may be. Each individual organism is equally significant in the post –covid world. A woman in Wuhan in China got infected by the corona virus supposedly from some animal. In a matter of a few months the whole world has become under the grip of the pandemic threatening the survival.
The outbreak and subsequent lockdown period also made it very clear that all the other branches of science humans were too proud of proved to be ineffective to ensure the survival of the species. Therefore the single lesson taught by the corona virus is that if the human species do not consider it’s survival the progress is not possible using the latest technology. If survival is taken care of it is a chance for humanity to advance to its human quality creatively using technology. The period of exclusivity is over. The emerging culture dictated by the technology demands each and every stroke of each human being should be driven by inclusiveness. In that inclusiveness not only does human beings take care of but no matter micro or macro, each other living organism on the planet should be taken care of. That makes social science above all the branches of science , and journalism that deals with that science each and every moment.
Every moment we live on this planet is a new moment since the start of this universe and start of life on this planet. What is that newness? How does it influence life on the planet? To identify that subtle change and grossly make aware of the public is the duty of a professional journalist. To identify that change a journalist doesn’t have any other tools except his own faculties. Against this understanding we, lifeglint.com look into the life of infants, adolescents, teenagers, youngsters, interpersonal relationships, professionals etc to decipher the kind of changes and factors that drive the same. I used to write in lifeglint.com on such matters under the pen name, GlintGuru since 2013. And occasionally I write with the same perspective in various publications as well.
I have taught journalism students since 1993. The topic I invariably handled was Mass Communication. Since 2008 I was focussing on the shift of the culture brought in by digital technology. No annual examination of the Kerala Press Academy passed without this question in the Mass Communication paper since then. Though not in syllabus I devoted the first sessions only on the shift of culture following the change of technology. I tried to share my understanding of culture being brought in by digital technology. Because the activities of human life take place in culture only. That culture is the result of activities and the resultant interaction between humans and their habitat. That activity is promoted and facilitated by the tools available. In turn the impact of the activities would dictate a trail of other activities. That vicious nature is known as culture. .Which was neglected and abused in the pre-covid era. So all the journalism schools across the globe require an upside down redefining of syllabus understanding the significance of journalism as a subtle and significant branch of science.
WITNESS and WITNESSING
If we watch the visual media, particularly television channels most of the time we are reminded of the atmosphere of the courtroom presided over by a weak and partisan judge whose gavel also contributes to the total mess created. Only arguments and counter arguments . The viewers also join either of the arguments and enjoy the conflict. The voice of a witness is ignored in such a way that they seem to be unaware of it. The viewers also therefore forget the significance of a witness in the effort to find out the fact of a matter. This ruckus is the result of failure of one party in the discussion to convincingly place their arguments. That prompt them to engage themselves in whataboutering and distract the focus of the discussion. This is due to the fact that some evidence of the topic of discussion is available before all in the form of digital format. These digital evidences cancel the significance of the witnesses in the arguments. But all, including the media fail to admit the fact that the technology has turned out to be the flawless witness to any activity taking place. Not even a single moment of a person is not left without a digital witnessing or digital evidence.
This digital witnessing and storing of facts pose a potential threat not only to the professional journalists but to all human beings. There comes the real opportunity of unending curiosity to witness oneself .I am enjoying it. That enjoyment is the journalism today I practice. And I believe the future of professional journalism,if any, rests on that enjoyment. Only when Marshall Mcluhan’s saying “ medium is the message” would come true.