Indian television

Channel surfing: A panel debate that wasn’t a slugfest? That’s Rajya Sabha TV for you

The public broadcaster is winning fans with its sober programming.

If you’re looking for a dollop of calm and reasonable conversations, you could do worse than head over to Rajya Sabha TV. I’ve been hearing this on and off and decided to check it out for myself the other day by tuning in to the programme The Big Picture, which focused on India-Africa ties.

It was a remarkable discussion, providing actual context to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to four African countries. One of the panelists touched upon the fact that China is a factor in India’s relationship with the continent and pointed out that the expanding relationship with African countries is driven by commercial interests. Journalist and strategic affairs analyst Pramit Pal Chaudhuri pointed out that 50% of FDI in Africa is in services, so we are talking about telecom, hospitals, financial services, which are areas of strength for India.

Chaudhuri was actually given enough time to make all his points. There was no rushing by host Girish Nikam, no “Right” or “Of course” or any verbal interjection to cut Chaudhuri off.

And then it was the next panelist’s turn, and then the next, with Nikam coming in only essentially to raise his questions rather than speechify.

‘The Big Picture – India-Africa Ties’.

It felt like a proper conversation, very civilised in tone and tenor, and substantive too. The panelists all got to weigh in on the issue of racism, how the government handled it, whether it would come up in talks (not likely in a state visit), and whether it casts a shadow on the resurgent ties. They disagreed with each other on several of these points, but it wasn’t a slanging match. We had the right guests on hand to talk us through some of the highlights and challenges in these relationships (also the problem that India tends to have with lumping all of Africa in one hyphenated part of those “ties”).

By the time the discussion was over, I felt I had learned something, been part of an engaging conversation, and didn’t feel the urge to flick channels. There’s a fascinating social experiment in there somewhere. I wonder if we’ve gone too far along the other way in our news consuming behaviours, though that remains to be seen. (This type of format may never work online, for one).

I belatedly noted two surprising things though – there weren’t any back-up visuals or B-roll (which has become a default setting for TV news). And sadly, this was a manel.

Nonetheless, when you’re in the mood for analysis and information on the telly rather than a gladiatorial match or a volley of infotainment, I suggest flipping to RSTV.

On Sunday afternoon, the channel has the programme Virasat with a lovely look back at Zohra Sehgal’s life (complete with an old map tracing her journey to England by land through Multan, Tehran, Gaza and Lebanon.) I’m not entirely sure what Doordarshan is thinking in terms of packaging nostalgia, but, whatever works! I’d love to see if there are considerable ratings for this one.

Amrita Tripathi is an author and recovering news junkie. She has previously worked for CNN-IBN and The Indian Express. At times, she may have a glancing familiarity or more with the news players mentioned.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Now that you’ve reached the top, how often do you say, “Thank You”?

What kind of a leader are you?

How do you define success? The typical picture of success is a large bank balance, expensive material possessions and fame. But for some, success is happiness that comes from fulfilling a childhood dream or attaining a sense of purpose. For those, success is not about the volume of an applause or the weight of a gold medal, but about showing gratitude and sharing success with the people without whom the journey would be incomplete. Here are a few ways you can share your success with others:


While it sounds simple and formulaic, a genuine, emphatic and honest speech can make everyone feel like they are a part of a winning team. For a personal touch, acknowledge the team’s efforts by mentioning each one of them by name and thanking them for their unique contributions. Hearing their own name makes people feel proud and honoured.

Realise the success should be passed on

Instead of basking in the glory of their own achievements, good leaders encourage, motivate and inspire others to achieve success. A good leader should acknowledge his own mistakes, share his experience and knowledge and cultivate an environment where every milestone is an accomplishment for everyone in the team. Talk about challenges, the personal and professional struggles that you had to overcome. Sharing setbacks helps others to relate to you and helps them overcome struggles they may be facing.


Nothing beats shaking-off the deadlines, work-pressure and fatigue by celebrating success together. Enjoying a job well done together as a team brings about a spirit of camaraderie. A catered lunch, evening drinks or a weekend off-site, the important thing is to enjoy the win with people who have gone through the same struggle.

Keep it flexible

The last thing you want is for work celebrations to become monotonous and repetitive. Not all milestones have to be celebrated in a grand manner, some can just be acknowledged with gestures such as personal Thank You notes or writing a recommendation on LinkedIn.

Make success more meaningful

Go beyond numbers, sales targets and profits and add meaning to the achievement. Reminding everyone of the larger purpose inspires people. It’s easy to lose interest when you do something in a routine fashion. Giving a larger meaning to success makes people feel more involved and energized.

Great leaders are those who share their victories with others. They acknowledge that the path to success is collaborative. Great leaders don’t stand in front of their team, but are found working amongst them. This video is an ode to such leaders who epitomise the Chivas culture and know how to Win The Right Way. Follow Chivas on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Chivas Studio Music CDs and not by the Scroll editorial team.