The Birth of The New Indian

Aarti Tikoo | Updated : November 9, 2021, 6:26 pm
Aarti Tikoo
Updated : November 9, 2021, 6:26 pm

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31 years ago, when I was a 12-year-old kid, India was almost falling apart. And so were we. My family and thousands like us were forced to leave our homes in Kashmir.

Soviet Union had collapsed, India was struggling with balance of payment crisis, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, Kashmir was violent, governments at the Centre were crumbling and emerging only to fall again, implementation of the Mandal commission report provoked self immolations by youth, and then Bombay was hit with a series of blasts and communal riots following the Babri Masjid demolition. Also Read & Watch: “Gandhi & Savarkar, Two Irreconcilable Poles Of Indian History”: Vikram Sampath

The idea of India was going up in smoke. Part of my family, lived in a refugee camp. I saw my parents eating less so they could feed us two meals a day; I saw them wearing old worn out clothes so that they could buy us school uniforms; I saw them walking on foot and giving their savings to us to buy books.

Like the hundreds and thousands of Indians, who were struggling to come out of poverty, they worked hard to educate us because they believed in our future; they believed in the future of India. Apart from the burden of poverty, they had to bear the burden of history, violence, ethnic cleansing but my parents did not give up. Just as India did not give up.

We survived; India thrived. And that survival gave us the confidence to find our own voice. My generation began asking questions which the mainstream media had not.

The mainstream media in India had emerged from the Colonial era and yet failed to shed the Colonial influences and the template with which the British looked at the unwashed masses of its colonies. The approach to dissemination of information was top-down, with an assumption that the media organisations run by the English speaking elites, were the repositories of knowledge and information while common people were ignorant and had no mind of their own.

Even after India opened up its economy in early 90s and the country witnessed a media boom, the approach was the same. As a result, one of the most powerful stories of our times — the struggle and survival of our parents’ which rebuild India from the ashes — remained untold.

The story that despite ethnic cleansing of a community, despite hundreds and thousands of Indians who had no access to basics of life, no privileges, no power but by sheer hard work, and belief in India’s future, we turned the tide.

Many such stories needed to be told not in one way but a million ways. I tried to tell such stories of common people in Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand with honesty and integrity while working for two decades in the mainstream media. But, by and large, the mainstream media remained caged in the established formats and old ways. Little reformation happened. The mainstream continually failed in its duty to tell intellectually honest stories and share disparate perspectives of the common people in India.

Some disrupters in mainstream media including myself found space in social media powered by smartphones — as India entered the digital age. Today, newspaper, especially after the coronavirus pandemic, is almost dead and television is driven primarily by the trends on social media. Youth neither read newspaper nor watch the polarized and theatrical television news. People across generations have moved to smartphones.

Simultaneously, India has been fast becoming the startup hub of the world. There are all kinds of startups in different fields — in biotech, in engineering, in fin tech and in media as well.

In the last few years, many digital media platforms emerged in India. Most of the professional platforms are blatantly partisan, with their political leanings coming in the way of journalism. Most of them are also focused primarily on textual content.

It has been a torment to watch the decline and deterioration of media in India. I was sensing the need for a new media institution, with a dispassionate approach to news gathering and a passionate but civilized approach to debating opinion.

Incidentally, many investors reached out to me in the last two years of the coronavirus pandemic. I turned down many offers because I did not want to compromise on my independence of thinking and action as a journalist. Because I believe in fearless, credible and non-partisan media, even as I, myself, may be socially liberal, fiscally conservative and on India’s security issues, unapologetically hawkish.

After much thought and many delays, The New Indian came into existence with the help of multiple investors, on the condition that we will be autonomous editorially as well as in day-to-do operations. The New Indian has been founded on the values enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution of India, and with a passion for true journalism.

We are a lean and efficient organisation, which promises to bring in-depth news and perspectives that nobody else shares with you. We promise to hold a dialogue to connect you with the new India.

The inspiration for The New Indian came from 12th century Rajatarangini —Kalhana’s documentation of history of Kashmir, which was carried on by other authors. I believe in the continuity of that documentation. Because, nothing has changed really. Only the medium has. I believe the torchlight of knowledge and education must glow at all times. We are merely adapting to the 21st century needs and the new India. We believe in the New India. We are the New Indian.

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43 replies on “The Birth of The New Indian”

  1. Dr Ashok Kumar

    I’m poor in English, but I wish to say you that, your true patriotism to our ccountry was the driving force of your journey till now and I hope that the same will lift you up to the Everest of journalism provided you follow the preamble of our constitution mentioned in the story.
    I congratulate you whole heartedly to take this step, you are a true daughter of our nation.
    Thank you

  2. [email protected]

    A true picture of the situation that prevailed, the role of media,then and now is an eye opener.Credit goes to Arti Tickoo for highlighting the events and the changes media has enabled

  3. Akshay Pradhan

    It is refreshing to see some real people are behind this venture . Looking forward to a new age journalism with authenticity and reality to work for the soul of Bharat .

  4. Ravinder Raina

    Thoughtfully summarized , forward looking and drawing inspiration from the historical trends which have survived for centuries . May you continue on the chosen path of honest and fearless journalism .

  5. Laxman Singh Rathore

    I really appreciate your work , I really hop this plat reaches as many people as possible.

  6. rajivlochan

    more strength to you. Have been reading your reports for a long time. Shall follow The New Indian

  7. Subroto Roy

    Many congratulations to you lady. Maintain your fearless attitude and be open to comments snd ideas. You and your channel will do well.
    Stay well and stay safe

  8. Sachin

    People of India deserve an independent and neutral media. It is absolutely critical that people get unbaised and objective analysis and reports of what is happening around them. The main stream media has failed India and one can sense them pushing biased narratives depending on their political leanings. I wish the entire New India team all the best! I sincerely hope you will be different.

  9. Shamboo Marhatta

    Men may come & men may go, Nature plays it’s best part to & fro ! Struggle is the second name of unknown success, evident in the form of New Indian! My best wishes & good luck to all of New Indian team!!

  10. Sanjay Verma

    Though I am not a Kashmiri, but could very well relate to your description of pre and post 1990 india. I have lived through that phase and will never forget the hardships common indians went through in their day to day life.
    I am also in agreement with emergence of ‘new India’, a confidant, strong, aspiring india taking all its citizens forward to the place in world order, which we deserve.
    Wishing you the best in your noble endeavor 👍

  11. Kuldeep Mattoo

    Congratulations Aarti.
    Reminding you of the ancient saying: Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. Let us not forget our past and the events that brought us to this, our miserable present.

  12. Yogesh Gowda

    “ If lions don’t have a story teller, then hunters will write their story. “ This is an old African proverb. Best wishes for your venture

  13. [email protected]

    Dear Ms. Tikoo,
    Congratulations and best wishes to you and your Team of New Indians. Looking forward to unbiased and unfiltered news without the views of the journalist. Present all sides of the picture and allow the readers to form their opinions. Will follow with interest your new journey. M. Radhakrishnan

  14. [email protected]

    We grab more media data than anyone around. We should talk sometime. I am not looking at dhandha here. I am just looking at the aya to encourage a Kashmiri build a brand. A fellow Indian, a tortured Indian with

  15. Dr. Lakshmi Bandlamudi

    Congratulations and best wishes on your new venture. What you are doing is urgently needed. I am a Professor @ City University of New York and like you I too went to Columbia University. I am at present working on a book – Language, Reality & Laughter: Dialogues between Bhartrhari, Bakhtin and Abhinavagupta. I am delighted to see you mention Kalhana (who will feature in my work). I do believe in order to be close companions of truth, we need the insight and analytical tools provided by Kashmir thinkers. Here is my link to my Academia page: My email address is [email protected]

  16. Tanmoy Chakrabarty

    This is a very inspiring story of how when people loose all hope are able to use their steely mental resolve to bounce back
    And Aarti you have epitomised one such journey . I wish you the very best with this new beginning ! All
    The very best !

  17. Dr. Arvind Kumar Mishra

    A great idea and a clear and complete vission with new face is going take its shape. India needs everything in its new look . In the fild of media you are trying to so is a matter of most welcome. Congratulations

  18. Dr.Ranjana Dhar

    Well said
    At my age I find myself , by reading out our original history.Analysis as a part of education people lacked and just did not question. But as k.p Community knows all in and outs of “maleech” sect as they have been called,it’s time to enlighten Hindus
    We can do it.
    A very good beginning.
    All the best

  19. Nidhi sharma

    The sharda peeth(seat of knowledge)is crown of Indian map…. jammu and Kashmir. The New Indian will be a jyoti punj or The Light

  20. Shishir kumar Grahacharya

    Good n realistic narratives hope it will be different from the congress n leftist biased media who always always interprets not only history but current in an western colonial mindset

  21. I.b zutshi

    Yes India has reached a stage when people here need an independent narrative. India needs a narrative that is neither highjacked by politicians or by those who support an extremist view. We need independence of thought and action. Hope this unbiased and common narrative emerges from New India. Best of luck.

  22. I.b zutshi

    Good luck for ur great initiative. India required an impartial and unbiased narrative and it has emerged in the form New India.

  23. I.b zutshi

    Good wishes for ur great initiative. New India required a new and impartial initiative, which I hope will come via ur New India.

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