Selected by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for the India Information Service, Bishal Das is currently appointed as Media and Communication Officer in Press Information Bureau (PIB). Simplicity and sincerity is what makes a fine blend in the personality of this young officer. In a candid interview with OdishaDiary, Das talks about his academic and professional interest and throughout the conversation his motivation and commitment to work for the country especially the underprivileged reflects.
Tell us about your educational background.
I did my schooling and graduation from Baripada, my hometown. After completing my graduation with distinction in Political Science (Hons) from MPC (A) College Baripada, I joined the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Dhenkanal, to complete my Post Graduate Diploma in English Journalism. After that I pursued my Post Graduation in International Relations (School of International Studies, SIS) from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and completed M.Phil from the Centre of Russian and Central Asian Studies.
Would you please share about your interview in the UPSC interview board ?
My interview was scheduled at 1100 am. When I entered the room, there were three members including the chair. The other two members asked questions pertaining to the media scenario of the country. Since, I worked at PTI, the board asked me to differentiate between PTI and another leading news agency of the country UNI. Some questions were also related to my M.Phil research topic. Overall, the entire interview board was very cordial and I was also satisfied with my performance.
Could you please narrate your stint in PTI?
My advise to all students who are willing to pursue a career in journalism, PTI is the best platform to learn the basic traits of journalism. I joined PTI in 2007 as a trainee journalist after qualifying in a test conducted by the news agency. While working in PTI, I was mainly confined to the foreign desk. PTI has foreign correspondents in different countries of the world like London, Washington, Islamabad, Beijing, Colombo etc. Those reporters sent stories and a desk person I used to edit those stories and release it on wires after which various newspapers carry those stories.
Any memorable experience while working with PTI?
PTI is country’s premier news agency and its working schedule is 24/7. I remember the day whenBenazir Bhutto was assassinated on 27 December 2007. Those were the days when I had just joined PTI and was completely new to the profession. PTI’s correspondent stationed at Islamabad was continuously providing latest developments and we on the desk were releasing those. It was indeed a learning experience. The next was on the ill-fated day (26/11/08) when terrorists coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai. That day we were in the office all through the night. Such events make you realise the role of a journalist at times of such emergency.
What do you think is the secret of your success?
To be very honest there is no such secrecy as far as success is concerned. As a student, it was normal on my part to stick to my syllabus to appear in the exam and score good marks. During those formative years, I made a regular habit of reading newspapers and magazines. Sometimes, if I felt strongly about an issue, I made it to express through the Letters of the Editorial columns of various newspapers. My letters got published in various English dailies like The Times of India, The Asian Age, The Hindu, Hindustan Times, Mail Today.
How do you think your achievement will contribute towards the betterment of society?
I will try to reach out to the marginalised sections of the society by making them aware of various welfare schemes initiated by the Government. The Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India has developed the concept of Bharat Nirman Public Information Campaign, a media outreach strategy to disseminate information to the targeted beneficiaries focusing on the flagship programmes of the Govt. of India. I will try to hold such campaign across the country including in the tribal dominated districts of Odisha so that such programmes reach out to the real beneficiaries.
Your advice to those students who are intending to make a career in journalism.
First of all, they should develop the habit of reading. Regular reading will definitely develop one’s thinking ability and he/she will be in a better position to comprehend any issue and put forward his viewpoint. Since a degree or diploma is required at the entry level, one should try to acquire it from the university or institute those are offering it. Lastly, sincerity will lead to achieve one’s goal if pursued in the right manner. Here I would like to quote Swami Vivekananda, who said, Arise! Awake! and stop not till the Goal is reached.