Interview of Ms Richa Anirudh

Interview of Ms Richa Anirudh

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Ms Richa Anirudh- a Journalist, is a well known face of Hindi television news. She is best known for hosting the talk show ‘Zindagi Live’ on IBN7, which won the Best Talk show award in all its 6 seasons. Zindagi Live was a powerhouse of emotions and raised many burning social issues.

For last 2 years, Richa has been an RJ on 92.7 BIG FM. Through her breakfast show "Dilli MeriJaan" she highlights the civic and social issues of Delhi.

 She is also the editor in chief and publisher of School LIVE magazine an exclusive monthly magazine for the school community. This magazine encourages teenage students to express themselves through reviews, blogs, poems, stories. This is a magazine by the students for the students.

Richa appeared as the Expert Advisor on 4 seasons of the much acclaimed TV Quiz show “Kaun Banega Crorepati” hosted by superstar Amitabh Bachchan.

In 2012, she was selected for U.K. Govt ‘s prestigious  CHEVENING  GURUKUL SCHOLARSHIP. which is offered to Only 12 Indians every year.

Congratulations, on your winning the ‘Media Excellence award’ from PHD chamber of Commerce. CSR VISION compliments you for taking on pioneering initiatives for bringing up sensitive social issues to the common man, commonly not discussed in India. What inspired you to do a programme like “Zindagi Live”?

Thank you very much. Even before Zindagi Live, I am a journalist by destiny. I have never thought to be a journalist. But I always have a soft corner, or interested in human oriented stories. In  my reporting  years, I didn’t want to do stories like how people are celebrating new year in a hotel or club. Instead, I visit old age home and the orphanage and collect stories. The little happiness in their faces makes overwhelmed.  I use to concentrate more on soft stories and news. That was a time when the media focuses on stories which ranks the channel at the top of  TRP list. Lot of times I felt that I don’t belong to this industry where people focuses more on scandal stories. So, there was always an inclination towards human stories. I should say I am blessed and fortunate  that show, like Zindagi Live comes to my way. Zindagi Live cameenactly when I was planning to quit my journalistic career. In a way I can pronounce that zindagi Live is the turning point of my life. Thank you to my channel and the producers who choose me for Zindagi Live.

What has been the experience of “Zindagi Live” & how did it influence your life?

Zindagi live is not the  show, which I have hosted but it’s become an integral part of my life. I take my work very passionately and ‘Zindagi Live’ made me more focus and passionate. The shows gave me a new meaning to my life. The perspective that helped me to answer so many complex questions that I had always  pondered about. I have learnt to let things go. Whatever I feel or do, no matter how amazing or horrible, really doesn’t mean anything at the end of the day. All that’s left to do is to enjoy life. In my show, I met people who have different tragic stories. My problems turned out to be ridiculously stupid after feeling and seeing the pain of my guests. Richa Anirudh has gone through a big  transformation  while doing the show ‘Zindagi Live’.

CSR VISION is committed to bring up social problems not addressed by Government schemes & no direct corporate CSR finding to address them. What is your understanding on CSR?

I wish CSR was done seriously, the companies could have taken CSR earnestly as they take their operational, sales and marketing plan. CSR can change our thoughts and our society. Government should be more focus on how to bring Corporates under the CSR umbrella with various developmental projects. CSR is a topic that is increasing, capturing the interest and imagination of all the citizens of India. Despite of all positive attention, the result is not being delivered in an expected way. The Government of India  with 1.2 billion population, practically won’t be possible to focus on every problem. The Corporates should work with the Government to bring the change the people wants to see. The dream of any government won’t be possible without Corporates and PSU’s support, CSR should expands be with corporate and PSU’S.

As per your understanding, what is the potential of CSR for making an impact on society?

CSR isn't a cynical marketing policy. Only Corporate Social Responsibility is the concept that a business needs to be concerned with more than just profit. Protecting the environment is one aspect of social responsibility; another is making an effort to address social problems such as poverty and hunger. I believe CSR isn’t about giving money to charity or just asking people to protect Mother Earth! CSR is about working for the society by giving only 2 % of its and to produce an overall positive impact on society and the country. CSR is supposed to be win-win. The companies make profits and society benefits. But the question is who really wins?

Media seems to be not interested to get into the depth of CSR beyond 2% – mandatory CSR spendings . What CSR activities the media companies (where CSR is applicable) should undertake?

Media should start focusing on stories of CSR and cover companies who are taking initiatives under CSR for the development of the country as a whole. Media can inspire the positive change taking place. These stories will not only influence companies to undertake CSR but also will bring a ray of hope amidst these negative stories and environment. I think any media can publish or produce a newsletter on this subject. I am sure many of the Corporates and PSU’s are working for the society. For example, Infosys is a suitable example. They are running life. I have read Sudha Murthy’s foundation is doing exceptionally good in term of giving back to the society. But has media is showing any news or initiatives taken by Infosys or any other companies? Media should start promoting and highlighting such stories.

Companies in India are doing CSR only with a compliance orientation without realizing that CSR can be beneficial to the companies & the society if implemented strategically. How can media inspire companies to get involved in CSR activities whole heartedly ?

Media can become a mirror. A mirror to show the good deeds doing by the CSR-oriented companies. In this manner, it will not motivates the company, but will also encourage to work on CSR. A story on CSR focusing of a company for an hour. Print media can publish an article highlighting the initiatives of CSR-oriented companies.

Out of various themes on which you did programs.  What are the social issues not addressed commonly, need to be taken up under CSR.

Female Foeticide- the most brutal form of killing female which takes place regularly, even before they have the opportunity to born. It is increasing in a alarmig rate. ‘Saving and educating girl child’ can be a great initiative under CSR.

As  a social development centric media person what are the most neglected development challenges need to be focus on.

Schools and Rural areas. At one point the government is talking about development and on  the other hand, we hear students walking for about 12-14 kms to reach their respective schools. In some areas, there is no road. But I am happy with the initiatives taken by the Modi Government BetiBacho and BetiPadho and construction of Toilets. The reason behind girl student dropout from school is nonavailability of toilets and now we can see a positive hope for our girls in rural areas. We need to work on such challenges to make India free from open defecation and also empowering girl child.

How will you like to get involved in CSR media activities in coming years?

I would love to assist companies who wants my help and to give them ideas. But the cause should be a genuine one. I have come across many stories who want to work in an ad-hoc manner. This trend is not acceptable, neither on my part nor to those who are in need. Media can play the bridge. The show Zindagi Live has covered various such  stories. For examples, a talented young girl who was suffering from ‘thalassemia’ came to our show. And as we know every month they have to go for treatment which cost around five thousand rupees. Her father couldn’t afford that big amount. So, we request our viewers to donate something for her treatment. An amount of rupees 6 lakhs  has been collected and given to her. This is a genuine example and a genuine cause. I want to work for any genuine cause  that comes under the umbrella of CSR.

Anything you want to share with our readers?

CSR VISION is doing a commendable job in spreading awareness and making readers aware of CSR and its policy. We are being educated and blessed from this Magazine. My motto of life is to dedicate a portion of my salary to the society. The percentage of giving to the society will increase if my salary increases, I also like to request the readers of CSR VISION to dedicate a portion of their earnings for the development and betterment of the state India. u

About the author

CSR VISION is India's (probably World's) first monthly magazine in print devoted to CSR and Sustainable Development for bringing together all stakeholders of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT at a global and local levels and act as a platform for promoting strategic CSR and sustainable development practices through dissemination of information and knowledge.