The late Vinod Dua, born on 11th March 1954 and passing away on 4th December 2021, was a trailblazing figure in Indian journalism. His impactful career spanned decades, marked by numerous accolades, controversies, and a commitment to honest reporting.
Vinod Dua's roots were grounded in the refugee colonies of Delhi. His parents, Saraiki Hindus who migrated from Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, post-Partition, instilled in him a sense of resilience. Dua's early engagement with the arts, including singing, debates, and theatre, set the stage for a diverse and dynamic career. His association with the street theatre group Theatre Union reflected his commitment to addressing societal issues, such as dowry, through the medium of art.
Educationally, Dua graduated in English literature from Hans Raj College and earned his master's degree in literature from the University of Delhi. His journey into television commenced in November 1974 with 'Yuva Manch,' a Hindi youth program on Doordarshan.
Dua's television journey gained momentum with shows like 'Jawan Tarang' and 'Aap Ke Liye,' showcasing his versatility. Co-anchoring the election analysis on Doordarshan in 1984, alongside Prannoy Roy, propelled his career. Dua's distinct style and insightful analysis led to opportunities with various television channels.
In 1988, he founded The Communication Group, a production company focused on current affairs, budget analysis, and documentary films. Notably, he produced the weekly current affairs magazine 'Parakh' on Doordarshan between 1992 and 1996.
The pinnacle of Dua's career came in 1996 when he became the first electronic media journalist to receive the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award. His association with diverse shows, from 'Tasveer-e-Hind' to 'Chakravyuha,' showcased his ability to engage audiences across different genres.
Dua wasn't immune to controversies. His outspoken disapproval of sexist remarks against his daughter led to a public spat with actor Akshay Kumar in 2017. In 2018, film director Nishtha Jain accused Dua of sexual harassment, a claim vehemently denied by Dua as a right-wing attempt to tarnish his reputation.
Amidst legal battles, an FIR filed in 2020 accusing Dua of spreading fake news on his YouTube show was eventually quashed by the Supreme Court, emphasising freedom of speech.
Dua's legacy is immortalised in the annals of Indian journalism. His recognition with the Padma Shri in 2008 and the Ramnath Goenka Award showcased his unparalleled contribution. In 2017, the Mumbai Press Club honoured him with the RedInk Award for his lifetime achievement in journalism.
Tragically, Dua's battle with COVID-19, which claimed the life of his wife in June 2021, culminated in his demise due to chronic liver disease in December 2021.
Vinod Dua's enduring impact on Indian journalism transcends controversies and challenges. His commitment to truth, fearless reporting, and innovative storytelling continue to inspire a new generation of journalists navigating the ever-evolving landscape of media in India.