Woman with a voice: Barkha Dutt
She’s a woman, she’s strong, and she has something to say. There are very few women who have been able to raise their voices as clearly and as eloquently as Barkha Dutt. Despite journalism being dominated largely by men, when Barkha Dutt burst into the scene,everyone got up to listen to her. And she made sure that she left her mark by covering and featuring in issues which women themselves would have been hesitant to be a part of. Her strong maternal influence, however, had a lot to do with the woman that she is today. Even she admits to the fact that her mother, Prabha Dutt, who used to work for the Hindustan Times, was a strong influence. It was under her guidance that Barkha Dutt decided to be the kind of woman she is today, and it is her inspiration which made the daughter choose this line of work.
Barkha Dutt was born to mother Prabha Dutt and father S. P. Dutt, who was an army officer, in 1971. Her mother was a champion in the field of journalism, and she set a benchmark for women journalists who came after her. Unfortunately, a brain haemorrhage lead to her death in 1984. Barkha Dutt did her Bachelors in English Honours from St. Stephen’s college. For her Masters, she went to Jamia Millia Islamia Mass Communication Research Center in Delhi. She finished her masters here and went on to do another Masters in Journalism from Columbia University, with a scholarship. It was clear that she was destined for big things in the future.
Barkha Dutt rose to prominence in the country and earned a brilliant reputation worldwide, with the cover she did of the Kargil War in 1999. The Line of Control near Kargil was a blood-shot, ugly point at which India and Pakistan were fighting tooth and nail for the land which the Pakistani Militia had infiltrated upon, and which India wanted back. She covered the war, and she also interviewed Captain Vikram Batra. Her clear and decisive voice and her concise covering of the war was what put her on top of the journalism ladder. She quickly became a woman journalist who would be covering the “serious” issues such as conflicts between countries. She has also held talk shows in news channels to discuss controversial socio-economic issues.
Dutt has received many an award for her services to the country and for her exemplary journalism. She has been a game-changer, and she has strayed into unknown territory many a times. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2008. She was also awarded the Indian News Broadcasting award as one of the most intelligent News Show hosts. She will always be an example to women who are aspiring to make a difference with their voices. Without fear, without hesitation, and with confidence, she has stood at the forefront of news and broadcasting, and has stolen the limelight from many competitors with her charisma, her confidence, and her strength.