Shiromani Award bestowed on Quraishi

NEW DELHI: It came, but a trifle too late.

S Y Quraishi, who was relieved of his duties as director general of Doordarshan (DD) from 1 September and moved to the steel ministry, has been given the Shiromani Award for distinguished work in the electronic medium.

The Shiromani Award ceremony was instituted way back in 1977 by a band of NRIs. This year, the awards were bestowed by the former prime minister I K Gujaral at a glittering function on Saturday. The awardees included outgoing British High Commissioner in India, Rob Young.

Though Quraishi was moved from DD because of alleged misunderstandings with information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Shiromani award citation lauds his work on the public broadcaster.

The citation reads:"Dr SY Quraishi's greatest contribution as the director general of Doordarshan, was to emphasize Doordarshan's mandate as a public service broadcaster and give it a definite brand image in the clutter of entertainment channels and in the face of stiff competition from commercial channels. He stressed the role of television in providing meaningful entertainment that promotes social justice, equity and overall development of individuals and progress of the nation. He developed the concept of 'people's television', proposing 1000 local TV channels, to give voice to the marginalized people of India and make them participate in the development process."

The citation explains that in spite of being a career bureaucrat, Quraishi is best known for his academic contribution to the field of social marketing. He authored the book Social Marketing for Social Change. An innovative and empathic development administrator, he was recently nominated to the prestigious Salzburg Seminar on 'Leadership Across Boundaries'. He has many articles and international presentations to his credit and is also a Nehru Fellow.

It mentions that Quraishi has used his background in social marketing to promote the cause of women and children. He initiated a project - the Universities Talk AIDS - that now has international recognition as the best practice. The project was the first youth-to-youth contact programme on HIV/AIDS in colleges across the country.

As the director-general of DD, one of his outstanding achievements has been to set up Doordarshan Archives to showcase and preserve its treasures of music and dance. Today these shows are available to the public as CDs and VCDs at a nominal cost. Quraishi restructured the news broadcasting at DD and initiated coverage ofc for an independent view and Indian perspective. These initiatives have given DD News the high viewership and credibility it currently enjoys, the citation reads.

It concludes stating, "He is an acknowledged and rooted media person with unique leadership skills and has blended his in-depth knowledge of the Indian development scenario with a rare vision and commitment to public service broadcasting."

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