A Women Journalist whose spent one & half decades working for India Today Group’s Hindi News Channel Aaj Tak, Gopi Maniar, was felicitated with Udgam Women’s Achiever Award 2017 for her prolific contribution in the field of Broadcast Journalism.
In a field where only few women go the distance, Gopi Maniar has slowly & gradually climbed the steps of success to become the Bureau Chief Of Gujarat Division for Aaj Tak. From 2002 Gujarat Riots to Asaram Bapu Scandal to DG Vanzara- Israt Jahan case, Gujarat Elections 2012 & many more, Gopi Maniar has been a part of covering stories which have made national news.
As we get talking to her after she receives her coveted award, Gopi Maniar opens up about her journey, the kind of challenges she faced, the work that has been most dear to her & more…
Journalism is a profession which girls usually don’t prefer. What was your motivation behind taking it up as a Career choice?
Yes true. People usually think that Journalism is a field which is not meant for Women because of the high demands of the profession. Journalism is a 24/7 Job, more so Mainline Journalism. In case of any event, I have to go on the field and cover the story myself. Whereas in Print Media, you can gather information from your sources & put it in the papers the next day. In TV journalism, you might be out of your home for days at a go to cover a particular story. You might just get a call at 12 in the night about a major event & you’re on the move. So girls do prefer Journalism before marriage, but post-marriage, most of the times they tend to change their field. As for me, Journalism has always been a dream job for me. So I suppose I am just fulfilling my dream with AajTak since the last 15years & hopefully many more to come.
You have been working in this field for the last 15 years. We are sure it wouldn’t have been a smooth sail always. Can you talk about the challenges that you have faced in your long & successful career, especially as a Woman Journalist?
See, there isn’t any different set of challenges for Men & Women in Journalism. It’s true that TV Journalism is more male oriented, but as you keep working & exploring the field, things start working your way. If you’re talking about challenges in terms of family pressure for a Woman Journalist, well, I have got a very supportive family. Not only my parents, but even my in-laws have been so supportive that even if I am not at home for 3/4 days due to work, I know my little children are being looked after & there isn’t a need to worry.
You’ve covered numerous stories over the years. Is there a particular story that was Career defining for you?
2002 Gujarat Riots is when I started my career in Journalism. Even today, just a thought of those riots can give us goose bumps. Imagine that being my first outing in professional journalism! But the turning point in my journalistic career was the Asaram bapu Scandal where Abhishek & Dipesh Vaghela, 8 & 9 years old students in his ashram, were found dead on the Sabarmati riverbed. I was personally covering that story & was a part of the ill-treatment meted out to the media, where journalists & camerapersons were beaten up & their cameras broken down. I also got a beating by Asaram Bapu’s gundas or devotees, whatever you may call it. But I was proud to present the facts to the public & show the blind followers of Asaram Bapu that this man is not a saint, but a black spot in the name of spirituality. This case was an eye-opener for many & I consider this as a major achievement in my career. Till date, if the stories covered by me have made even a minor change in someone’s life or it has benefited them in any way, I find immense satisfaction out of it.
Finally, if you could leave a message for the independent & Aspirational Women of today, what would that be?
My only message would be “Karam karte jaiye, fal apne aap milega”!