We mark our Anniversary with a tribute to you

Indian Newslink completes 23 years today, November 15, 2022

Every issue has been challenging and rewarding

Venkat Raman
Auckland, November 15, 2022

Indian Newslink marks its 23rd Anniversary today, November 15, 2022, with renewed vigour, hope and expectation.

We dedicate this 23rd Anniversary to our Readers, Advertisers and Contributors for their encouragement which has given us courage, commitment and editorial integrity.

On this day, as we mark the 23rd anniversary, we remember with respect and admiration, our Founder-Managing Director-Publisher, the late Ravin Lal. It was his vision and penchant for editorial freedom that has kept journalist values alive today.

Ravin Lal passed away on November 28, 2019. Although he ceased to be the owner on May 4, 2015 (when Jacob Mannothra became our Managing Director & Publisher), we never lost the connection, until that fateful day.

We commemorate his memory with Special Commemoration Awards presented to achievers at the Indian Newslink Sports, Community, Arts and Culture Awards and the Indian Newslink Business Awards every year.

The journey that began with Ravin has been one of challenges and opportunities, threats and gratifications, bouquets and brickbats and more but we have reached this milestone solely because of you.

We hope to publish a Special Commemorative Issue in 2023 when we step into our 25th year, with appropriate celebrations.

But let us first look back at George Orwell and his prophecies.

Journalism is no longer the domain of a few, who, through qualifications and tough training, get their first by-line after a year or two of cub reporting.

In a fast-changing socio-economic landscape, almost everyone is a scribe, thanks to social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, people can report people, events and opinions. The world thrives on instant posts- messages, reports, pictures and even love and hate.

It is a long journey with twists and turns but moving up (Photo by Ashok Kochhar)

The Big Brother in 1984

My first reading of ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four,’ a classic novel in content, plot and style by George Orwell, was one of petrification. I read it as a teenager (the book was published in 1949) and did not think of it as a literary political fiction and dystopian science-fiction as many others did at that time.

I was astounded because it was beyond the human imagination of a time when everyone would ‘feel naked’ even when fully clothed in public or even private. I did not perceive then that there would be the Internet of Things that will carry our words instantly from one corner of the earth to the other, crossing time zones, seasons and political territories. Life was simple; we read books and newspapers, holding them in our hands or occasionally placing them on little stands. We never thought that the world itself would be in the palm of our hand, waiting to be tapped and clicked.

Orwellian Concepts

Many of the concepts propounded by Orwell, startling then, are a reality today.

Many of his terms, such as ‘Big Brother, ‘‘Double Think,’ ‘Thoughtcrime,’ ‘Newspeak,’ ‘Room 101,’ ‘Telescreen,’ ‘2+2=5 and ‘Memory Hole,’ have entered common usage.

‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ popularised the adjective ‘Orwellian,’ which connotes official deception, secret surveillance, brazenly misleading terminology and manipulation of recorded history by a totalitarian or authoritarian State.

In 2005, ‘Time’ chose ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ as one of the Best English-Language novels from 1923. It was awarded a place in both Lists of ‘Modern Library 100 Best Novels,’ reaching Number 13 on the Editor’s List and Number 6 on the Readers’ List.

In 2003, the Novel was listed as Number 8 on ‘The Big Read,’ the BBC Survey.

Change and Constancy

While the lifestyle of people has changed dramatically, information gathering and analytical reporting, fortunately, has a place even in today’s rushed world.

That is where Indian Newslink has retained its steadfast beliefs in quality and investigative journalism, becoming a forthright fortnightly. As it is often said, it is relevance and not the frequency that matters.

However, our presence among our people has been strong and pronounced. We reach them several times a day through new posts on our website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, twice a week through our Newsletter that reaches several thousand people on our select list and every fortnight through our print edition.

The Beginning

It all began in the Spring of 1999 when there was not a publication around to speak for the growing Indian community.

There were voices that were never heard.

There were concerns, issues and matters that existed but were never raised.

Simply because there was no platform to allow a dialogue to take place and for the exchange of information and experience.

And then appeared an individual who dared to act. A one-man army that was prepared to launch, lead and sustain a campaign with a sense of purpose.

There was no bank balance or venture capital to speak of, and there was no one willing to lend an ear for the project, leave alone lend money but there were plenty of people to run down the idea.

Encouraging Response

The first issue of Indian Newslink was a much-discussed topic.

There were a few who encouraged its continuation and many who still considered it a non-starter. It was not long before they were proved utterly and depressingly wrong.

The market seemed to have accepted the product, but several challenges remained.

For, producing a newspaper, aiming to institute itself as the voice of the community was not easy. It required resources – financial, no less human, with all the attendant issues of marketing, production, printing and distribution.

There was no competition but erstwhile efforts of some to publish a community newspaper had fallen into troubled waters, enough to dissuade similar attempts.

And yet there was no looking back.

Despite the challenges, even problems that at times appeared insurmountable, the newspaper rolled on, issue after issue, carrying news, reports, events and developments that either affected or appealed to the larger Indian community.

There were indubitably moments of despair but never a throw of hands.

Because we wanted to be counted.

Sustaining interest

As Indian Newslink began to evince reader and advertiser interest, one issue was of serious concern and discussion.

How to sustain reader interest? Was it enough if the newspaper was a giveaway? What about the duty owed to advertisers who had reposed faith in the individual who had invested his meagre savings into the project?

Responsibility-that is what perhaps distinguished Indian Newslink then and now.

From its inception, one objective was clear: there must be integrity, transparency and honesty in all operations and the publication should stand the test of market scrutiny.

The first year came and went, and so did the second, bringing with it increasing market support, accentuated by advertisers and readers.

Disaster strikes

And then disaster struck.

November 11, 2001, was the day when the offices of the publication were gutted by a merciless fire that raged through the precincts.

Everything perished-computers and computer equipment, software, newspapers, documents-three years of hard work reduced to ashes in less than three hours.

Everything went up in smoke.

Except for our determination and will to carry on relentlessly in our professional pursuits.

Less than 24 hours later, we were back in action, with the workstation shifting from place to place every 24 hours, giving way for loss adjustment officials, builders, painters and others to do their job.

Indian Newslink was released on schedule, thanks to the cooperation of the then-production team.

But 11/11 became a nightmare in our thoughts.

That was 23 years ago.

Today, the newspaper wears a new look-smarter, stronger and more responsive to the needs of the community.

It has been a journey characterised by a mixture of rough and smooth rides, success and failure and achievements and drawbacks. One has instilled in us a spirit of fortitude and the other a sense of humility.

Our Brands

Indian Newslink was the first to establish a programme to reward business successes and since its launch in 2008, the Indian Newslink Business Awards has become the single most important and the most extensive Awards Programme in the country. With 18 categories and the Supreme Business of the Year Award, this initiative is seen as the best way to promote good business practices.

We launched our Sports Awards in 2012, which has now grown to include Sports, Community, Arts and Culture Awards.

Our Lecture Series, which began as the Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture in 2011 was rebranded as Indian Newslink Lecture in 2019 and remains a platform to promote the concept of Good Governance in the public and private sectors.

The Indian Newslink Festivals of South India, established in 2019, celebrates the colours, costumes, cuisines and cultures of the five States of South India.

Each of these brands stimulates the competitive spirit and companionship of New Zealanders, especially people of South Asian origin. We are grateful to our sponsors, advertisers, associations and people for their continued support and patronage.

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