‘Ability is a function of availability of opportunities’

There is a need to redefine ‘capability’. Often, capability is equated with intellect; whereas the truth is that capability is decided by the availability of opportunity and the environment in which one works. Ashok Chaudhary in conversation with senior journalist Rajiv Sachan

You are in an important position in Dainik Jagran. Being an OBC, how easy or difficult was your journalistic journey?

In Dainik Jagran, the journey was fairly easy. That is because at the initial stage of my career, I came into contact with my editor Narendra Mohan ji. I believe that one who knows his job and does it well, his journey is always easy. Of course, there are often exceptional circumstances as there are good and bad people everywhere.

Why is it that the representation of OBCs, Dalits and Tribals in the mainstream media is almost negligible and that no Dalit has ever become a senior editor?

This is a bitter truth but this situation is there in other non-government fields too. No special efforts are being made to give representation to the members of these communities. The private sector is refusing to acknowledge its responsibilities in this regard and is also forgetting how in the US, through affirmative action, deprived sections were given representation not only in the government but also in the private sector. Unless the private sector – media included – makes efforts at its own level to give representation to all sections of the society, the situation is unlikely to change. As for no Dalit becoming a senior editor, it is obvious that when the representation of Dalits in the media is low, the chances of a Dalit becoming the editor are automatically reduced. But this can easily happen if a Dalit builds up his own media organization. It is surprising that no one has taken the initiative in this direction thus far.

What is your understanding of capability?

There is a need to redefine “capability”. Often, capability is equated with intellect; whereas the truth is that capability is decided by the availability of opportunity and the environment in which one works. If, of two students with the same ability, one is a villager and is struggling with adversities and the other hails from a metro and has access to all facilities, the latter is bound to leave the former far behind in the race for “capability”.

Published in the June 2013 issue of the Forward Press magazine

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