Creating new age Communicators

The early part of the 20th century saw the advent of radio followed by cinema, television and later computer & the Internet which has truly turned the world in to a global village.

absThus mass communication was possible through the entire available medium. In order to widen the scope of mass communication formal education was necessary hence with the vision of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the suggestion of UNESCO the Indian Institute of Mass Communication IIMC, was formed in 1965. Dr. Jaishri Jethwaney, has made quite a name for herself as professor at IIMC, where she has been working for over a quarter century. She has many books to her credit that are read by students and scholars globally. Let’s traverse her long and illustrious journey

What did your family do in Sindh?
My father Narayan Jethwaney was the Surveyor of Dadu. In fact after doing his degree in Engineering from Bombay (Now Mumbai) in1946, his first posting was as the Surveyor of Dadu. He would have been about 20-21 years of age then. My grandfather T. R. Jethwaney was a school teacher and my great grandfather Pherumal Jethwaney was a municipal corporater who also participated in freedom struggle.

When and where did they settle in India?
As per my mother Parwati Jethwaney, who had just got married to our father in 1946, that as soon as India got independence in August 1947, communal riots began in various parts of Pakistan, so without wasting time the entire family took the sea route and came to Bhavnagar, Gujarat. After about two years, they migrated to Delhi, where my father got the job in CPWD as an Overseer. My Grandfather joined a government school as an English teacher. He rose in a few years to head the school as its headmaster.

Where were you born in India and where all did you study?
I was born in New Delhi. My schooling and college was in Delhi. For professional education and doctorate, I went overseas.

What has been your field of academics?
I did my Masters in Political Science from the Iconic Hindu College, my PhD from the Jawaharlal University. My professional education in Journalism, Advertising and Public relations was at two places, Delhi and New South Wales and for my PhD field work I went to the USA and Germany.

Despite your professional education in media, why did you choose teaching as a profession?
Well, in lighter vein, you need teachers in media teaching also! In fact after finishing my professional education, I got an extraordinary job in brand management in a public sector. After a couple of years, I shifted to another public sector in the core infrastructure area, where my hands-on-training in various kinds of communication began. After putting in a few years, I shifted to academics

You have also been training the armed forces, judges, civil services officers including the IAS also.
True, both at the institutional and professional levels, I have been engaging with both senior level officers and also those at the threshold when they join the IAS. Media plays a very important part in the day to day functioning of various departments both at the grassroots and national level, so having an avid understanding about media sociology, media functioning, writing for media and crisis handling, among others are the areas, the officers are trained in.

Is social sector communication different from other kinds of communication?
In a sense, it is different because the objective and the desired response vary depending on who the communication is addressed to. Most of the communication on social issues includes behavior change communication. On the other hand for bringing about policy change, we need social mobilization, advocacy and communication to bring issues in the public domain and reach out to those who can bring about the change.

How many books have you authored?
My first book was published in 1993 and subsequently there have been several, mostly on Corporate Communication, Advertising, Management, Public Relations, Media and Relation Management including Disaster Communication.

How do you think India has fared in the last 67years?
Sixty seven years is not a long time in the making of a nation.India to my mind has done extraordinarily well. However one thing that does not seem to go is the growing disparity between the rich and the poor. The rich seems to be getting richer and the poor only poorer. It is hoped that the government and the strong civil society put together will bring in innovative policies that would aim at inclusiveness and aim at reducing corruption and nepotism to bring about the much needed balance.

India has been performing extremely poorly on human index parameters that are worse than some Sub-Saharan countries, especially when it comes to health and nutrition standards of our teeming impoverished millions. This needs to be addressed on a war footing by the central and state governments.

What do you think the people who matter among the Sindhi community to do, to take the cause further?
There are two kinds of people among the Sindhis who can contribute; one who have made their mark in various areas, Like Ram Jethmalani in law and politics. People like him can provide their good offices in reaching out to the government with our demands. Then there are very rich Sindhi entrepreneurs, who could consider contributing generously in improving the lot of the less fortunate ones; they can open schools, colleges, provide scholarships to deserving and needy students. They can help build cultural centers in various states.

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