Siddharth Varadarajan, Indian Journalist, Visits Yale
The eminent Indian journalist Siddharth Varadarajan is visiting Yale as part of the Poynter Fellowship that enables eminent media personalities to visit Yale. He will be delivering a lecture entitled ‘India-Pakistan Relations after the Mumbai Terror Attack’ at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 17, 2009. In addition to his public talk, he will participate in an editorial workshop with student journalists from the Yale Globalist on February 18. Varadarajan will also speak at a Master’s Tea hosted by Professor Judith Krauss at Silliman College at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, the 19th of February.
Varadarajan is currently Associate Editor and Editor of Strategic Affairs at The Hindu, one of India’s largest national news dailies, where he writes regular columns, op-eds, editorials and special stories on international and strategic affairs, political economy and human rights. Prior to that, he worked with The Times of India, another national daily, for nine years. Early in his career as a reporter with The Times of India, Varadarajan was the only Indian journalist to cover the 1999 Nato bombing of Yugoslavia from Belgrade and the 2001 destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban in Afghanistan. He has written numerous journalistic pieces and editorials for the International Herald Tribune, Far Eastern Economic Review, Le Monde Diplomatique and several other Indian and international publications. Varadarajan has won a number of awards in the course of his career as a journalist. In March 2006, he was awarded the Orden Bernardo O’Higgins ‘Gran Oficial’ by the President of the Republic of Chile for demonstrating excellent in journalism and for promoting India’s relations with Latin America and Chile. A year earlier, in December 2005, the United Nations Correspondents Association awarded him the Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize Silver Medal for excellence in print journalism, for a series of articles on Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, entitled Persian Puzzle.
In addition to his work in print journalism, Varadarajan has had extensive experience with television and radio media in India. He currently anchors a television program called Searchlight, a discussion with Members of Indian Parliament on reports submitted by Parliamentary Standing Committees, on Lok Sabha Television. In 2004, he co-anchored a nightly news analysis program with special studio guests during the general elections in India. He has also anchored a number of live studio discussions, primarily on contemporary political issues, for All India Radio. He also writes a regular blog, Reality, one bite at a time, on political and current affairs in India, Asia, and the world: http://svaradarajan.blogspot.com/.
Varadarajan has also been closely involved with the academic world in the course of his work. After studying economics at the London School of Economics and at Columbia University, he taught courses on the Economics of Development, Money and Banking, Economy and Society of Africa, and Microeconomics at New York University for four years. Not only has he has published numerous articles in scholarly journals ranging from the Indian Foreign Affairs Journal to Seminar, he also has contributed chapters to several books including, most recently, an entry on ‘Secessionism’ in Prem Poddar and David Johnson’s edited volume, A Historical Companion to Postcolonial Thought. In 2002, Varadarajan edited a volume entitled Gujarat: The Making of a Tragedy, intended to serve as a permanent public archive of and alert Indians to the state-aided communal riots that took place in the state of Gujarat in 2002. Drawing upon eyewitness reports from the English, Hindi and regional media, citizens' and official fact-finding commissions, and articles by leading public figures and intellectuals, the book, which is divided into three sections – ‘The Violence’, ‘The Aftermath’, ‘Essays and Analyses’ – provides a chilling account of how and why the state of Gujarat was allowed to burn for so long. The book was extremely well received both in India and abroad, being hailed as an invaluable and extremely timely analysis of the carnage.
Varadarajan’s visit to Yale has been made possible by support from the Poynter Fellowship and the South Asia Council. The Poynter Fellowship plays a unique role in the educational life of Yale University. In 1971, Nelson Poynter (Yale, M.A. 1927) established the program to enable Yale to bring to campus distinguished journalists who have made important contributions to the media. By sponsoring lectures and conferences on issues of broad public concern and by bringing to the university some of the most outstanding journalists from around the world, the Poynter Fellowship has helped Yale students and faculty gain special insight into the media and its role in contemporary culture. Previous Poynter fellows have included David Brooks, Al Franken, Tom Friedman, Charlie Rose, Margaret Warner, Michael Wilbon, Judy Woodruff and Bob Woodward.