Mark Tully, the renowned radio journalist with over six decades of immersion in India, remains captivated by the nation’s ability to accommodate diverse religions harmoniously. In an exclusive interview with Awaz-the Voice, conducted at his central Delhi residence, Sir Tully, the former BBC South Asia Bureau Chief for over two decades, applauded India’s rapid progress while urging a more comprehensive transformation of its agriculture sector to spread prosperity equitably.
Decorated with India’s highest civilian honors – the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan – Tully, born in Calcutta in 1935, maintains a deep bond between Britain and India, epitomizing an Indophile. His accolades culminated in a knighthood in 2002.
Tully’s journalistic career, spanning nearly six decades in India, encompassed momentous events like the India-Pakistan conflict, the Bhopal gas tragedy, Operation Blue Star, and the assassinations of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi. Notably, the Bhopal gas tragedy deeply impacted him, highlighting the consequences of shortsighted decisions.
What inspires Tully most about India is its unique philosophy of coexistence among religions. He lauded the Indian ethos of allowing diverse religious beliefs to coexist peacefully, a principle that profoundly resonates with him.
While Tully greatly admires Mahatma Gandhi, he admits to not fully emulating Mahatma’s asceticism but seeks to embody his principles in various ways.
Tully envisions India as a continuous journey, urging inclusivity and equitable economic growth. He emphasizes India’s unique historical context and the need for internal progress rather than the pursuit of great power status.
In the realm of journalism, Tully acknowledges the challenges faced by current journalists, including editorial pressures and job insecurity. Despite evolving media landscapes, he advocates for the continued relevance of newspapers and highlights the potency of radio journalism.
In summary, Mark Tully’s unwavering affection for India, profound journalistic insights, and dedication to preserving the nation’s values continue to inspire generations, leaving an indelible mark on India’s narrative.
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