Ravish Kumar is extremely hurt, upset and angry at the bullying and abuse he’s been getting on social media platforms of late, all at the hands of political groups at variance with his own liberal ideology. “I don’t deserve it, I don’t want to go through these trials,” he says, visibly upset. The targeted hate mails recently forced him to deactivate both his Facebook and Twitter accounts and carry forward his battle against the “online political war rooms” on his popular blog, ‘Naisadak’. The distress aside, the positive side to this clash with social media lumpens has been that it has conclusively proven that Ravish does matter. Love him or hate him, but you can’t ignore him.
In the English-dominated media, where languages have to fight hard for parity, Ravish has built an enviable stature of his own. Even English-speaking viewers have their daily dose of him on NDTV India Prime Time. Times may have changed but his popularity today is comparable to the likes of S.P. Singh or Vinod Dua of yore. His connect with his viewers is undeniable, way beyond what the lopsided trps throw up. We meet him in a coffee shop in an NCR mall, close to his home, the long conversation punctuated by ceaseless interruptions from fans. He, in turn, talks to them directly, one on one, shorn of any glamour. “There is no halo of a star,” says sociologist Shiv Viswanathan of his appeal. “The human warmth and accessibility is rare,” says writer-journalist Om Thanvi, former editor of Jansatta. The fans want selfies, they talk about a show that was shot close to their own hometown. It’s not a fickle following but one which is committed. So Aanchal Unnati, who works with Vats Publishing, even has “admirer of @ravishndtv” displayed right up there on her Twitter bio, something she is proud of.