Educational Health Nation obituary Welfare State

A rare breed of journalist, Vinod Dua who took pride in his work became commoners voice

NEW DELHI: For the Indian media, 80s was the decade of a remarkable jump from print to television. Arrival of colour TVs and the first direct telecast of election results was a watershed moment. During this decade, two figures came to be closely associated with Indian TV — Prannoy Roy and Vinod Dua.

Vinod Dua (1954-2021): While Roy emerged the anchor for the educated, and he remains that way, Dua was the man of the masses. The two together did psephology shows and poll result analysis bulletins on Doordarshan, which then enjoyed a monopoly. Roy may have drafted Dua as the translator of his analysis made in English into Hindi, Dua held his own and emerged as more than a mere translator.

Dua, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 67, December 4, 2021, belonged to Delhi in true sense. His parents had migrated from Pakistan and Dua grew up in a refugee colony. He graduated and did masters in English literature from Delhi University in the 1970s, an era which saw many a sapling on campus later become colossus of the media world — Rajat Sharma, Chandan Mitra, Swapan Dasgupta, Harish Khare, to name a few. Prabhu Chawla and Roy were a few years senior to them.

While most of his contemporaries remained limited to politics and governance, Dua gave cultural journalism a new meaning. This is not to take away the credit for his news feature programmes on Doordarshan, NDTV, Zee, India Today, Sahara, Sony and many more. No wonder he became the first recipient from broadcast journalism of the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in journalism.

While Dua is listed as a progenitor of the poll result analysis, he gave his heart to food. The production of his immensely popular television show ‘Zayka India Ka’ was actually putting on screen his true-life likings. Much after he had become a TV personality, he could be seen frequenting eateries in Kingsway Camp near Delhi University. These were the party points of 80s and even 90s when burger was still to replace Chicken Masala as the essential party food.

His show ‘Zyaka India Ka’ gave ‘dhaba’ and canteen food a place of respect on the menu card. It also laid on the platter India’s culinary diversity. He took pains to explain at the end of each episode that he paid for all that he ate. That was someone from that genre of journalists who took pride in their work, not the network.