Neelum Sharma was the face of news on Doordarshan (DD). Known for her impeccable and bold reading of news, and later, for her documentaries, Sharma passed away this August.
On the occasion of International Woman's Day this year, well-known news anchor and journalist, Neelum Sharma, was busier than usual. She was at the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhawan, where many woman achievers had assembled to receive the Nari Shakti Puraskar from President Ram Nath Kovind for their contribution in their fields, to society in general, and to India.
There was a script in Sharma's hand. It was no ordinary one. The day was historic for Sharma herself. She was the master of ceremonies (MC) at the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the award ceremony.
"Main mananiye Rashtrapati se nivedan karti hoon ki wo varsh 2018 ke liye Nari Shakti Puraskar pradan karein," she announced. She proudly introduced the women to the audience one by one, as they walked to the President. And then, it was her turn to introduce herself.
"Aur main, Sushri Neelum Sharma, DD News varishth anchor va samvadata hoon. Maine apne jeevan mein mahila adhikaaron ke sanrakshan, aur sashakstikaran hetu kaarya kiya hai. Main aapki anumati se yeh puruskar grahan karna chahungi." She then proceeded to receive her Nari Shakti Puraskar from the President!
(Translation: “And I am Sushri Neelum Sharma, DD News senior anchor and journalist. I have worked all my life to protect women’s rights and improve their status in society. With your permission I would like to accept this award.”)
A fighter in her own right for women's space in the general narrative, Sharma lost her battle with cancer last month.
For many of us who grew up watching Doordarshan and DD News, Sharma was known for her impeccable and bold reading of news, and later, for her contribution to documentaries.
Then, she won hearts with her smile — and perhaps also — for being the complete reflection of the Bharatiya naari who brought news to the nation.
Among her programmes on DD were 'Badi Charcha' and 'Tejasvini'. 'Tejasvini', where Sharma would explore the lives, thoughts and contribution of women achievers, swelled in viewership as people's favourite.
Sharma's interaction, narration and expression in 'Tejasvini' was quite a true reflection of herself. There was warmth, simplicity and calm grace in her conversations. She added life to sentences and brought out the stories with happiness in her voice.
In times when one’s presence on social networking sites is considered a big factor contributing to a news anchor's or a journalist's success, Sharma was quietly occupied in creating, thinking and exploring for her work, away from the limelight.
Prasar Bharati Chairman, A Surya, tweeted, "We have lost our 'Tejaswini'."
This was a fitting tribute to the karmyogi who had strengthened DD with her creativity.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.