RAMESH CHAN­DRA AGAR­WAL

Marwar - - Contents -

Ramesh Chan­dra Agar­wal, the man who is cred­ited with turn­ing Dainik Bhaskar from a lit­tle known news­pa­per into the fourth largest daily in the world, is no more. Af­ter a highly fruit­ful ca­reer that saw the cre­ation of one of the na­tion’s most suc­cess­ful me­dia houses in the coun­try, the me­dia baron breathed his last on the morn­ing of April 12, 2017, fol­low­ing a car­diac ar­rest. He was 73.

Ramesh Chan­dra Agar­wal, the man who is cred­ited with turn­ing Dainik Bhaskar from a lit­tle known news­pa­per into the fourth-largest cir­cu­lated daily in the world, is no more. Af­ter a highly fruit­ful ca­reer that saw the cre­ation of one of the most suc­cess­ful me­dia houses in the coun­try, the me­dia baron breathed his last on the morn­ing of April 12, 2017, fol­low­ing a car­diac ar­rest. He was 73.

Ramesh Chan­dra Agar­wal was born on Novem­ber 30, 1944, in the Jhansi district of Ut­tar Pradesh, to Seth Dwarka Prasad Agar­wal and Kas­turi Devi Agar­wal. Dwarka Prasad owned a mod­est print­ing press in Jhansi, where he printed note­books, and from a very early age, his son Ramesh Chan­dra Agar­wal took in­ter­est in the busi­ness. Apart from print­ing note­books, Dwarka Prasad also pub­lished a news­pa­per, though this was merely a par­al­lel busi­ness that was run from so­cial con­sid­er­a­tions rather than com­mer­cial. It, how­ever, started fetch­ing good profits and this had the Agar­wals grad­u­ally shift fo­cus to their me­dia busi­ness, un­til it be­came their main­stay.

In the late fifties, the Agar­wals moved to Bhopal, where Dwarka Prasad launched a Hindi daily called Dainik Bhaskar. As the news­pa­per grew over the next cou­ple of decades, son Ramesh Chan­dra’s in­volve­ment with it took a quan­tum leap. A man of vi­sion and in­no­va­tive think­ing, he re­alised the huge po­ten­tial for re­gional me­dia, where­upon, in 1977, he per­suaded his fa­ther to buy a web off­set ma­chine to gain com­pet­i­tive edge and take their busi­ness to the next stage. The gam­bit paid off and by 1983 Dainik Bhaskar had ex­tended its foot­print be­yond Bhopal with an edi­tion in Indore. This was fol­lowed by the launch of the Raipur and Bi­laspur edi­tions in 1988 and 1993 re­spec­tively. By the late nineties, Dainik Bhaskar had emerged as the fore­most Hindi daily in Mad­hya Pradesh.

By now, all his sons—Sud­hir, Girish and Pawan—were well im­mersed in the fam­ily busi­ness. To­gether with their help, Agar­wal next looked to launch in Jaipur. As­sisted with a blitzkrieg door-to-door cam­paign that com­bined huge mar­ket­ing and sub­scrip­tion drives, he man­aged to un­seat the reign­ing pa­per of the re­gion and with that the Jaipur edi­tion of Dainik Bhaskar took off with a bang. Repli­cat­ing the same model, he was able to suc­cess­fully launch a Gu­jarati daily from the Dainik Bhaskar sta­ble, Divya Bhaskar, in Ahmed­abad next. Hav­ing grown in leaps and bounds since, to­day, the Dainik Bhaskar group, or DB Corp as it is bet­ter known, boasts dailies in four lan­guages which com­mand a pres­ence in 14 states, through 62 edi­tions. Also, ac­cord­ing to a 2015-16 re­port, Dainik Bhaskar is the fourth-largest cir­cu­lated daily in the world. The group’s ma­jor pa­pers in­clude Dainik Bhaskar (Hindi daily), Divya Bhaskar and Saurash­tra Sa­machar (both Gu­jarati dailies) and Divya Marathi (which is pub­lished in Marathi). It has also re­cently launched an English daily in Bhopal called DB Post. Fur­ther, the group has a pres­ence in ra­dio, dig­i­tal me­dia and the power sec­tor as well.

A man of ideals, Agar­wal was in­spired by Gand­hiji’s 'Seven Deadly Sins', which he fer­vently fol­lowed. Mild man­nered and po­lite, he is also said to have taken his work and pro­fes­sion as a mis­sion rather than a prof­itable busi­ness. In the an­nals of DB Corp, his name will re­main en­shrined as the man who turned Dainik Bhaskar into a fi­nan­cially self-suf­fi­cient me­dia house—with­out re­ly­ing on any po­lit­i­cal force or busi­ness house.

As edi­tor, Agar­wal’s vi­sion of pop­u­lar­is­ing his pub­li­ca­tions through de­signer-friendly lay­outs paid rich div­i­dends, help­ing the group’s dailies gen­er­ate added in­ter­est and pop­u­lar­ity among read­ers. He was also be­hind Dainik Bhaskar’s re­cent ‘No Neg­a­tive Life’ cam­paign, which saw the news­pa­per pub­lish only pos­i­tive, de­vel­op­men­tal, cre­ative and in­spi­ra­tional news and con­tent ev­ery Mon­day. In a fit­ting trib­ute to the man who has ded­i­cated his life to news-mak­ing, the cam­paign went on to earn ac­co­lades from not just his read­ers but Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi as well.

Ramesh Chan­dra Agar­wal with Ra­jasthan CM Va­sund­hara Raje (in 2016)

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