RAMESH CHANDRA AGARWAL
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)