On 15 June 2012, TEHELKA lost one its most daring photojournalists on an assignment in the Maoist heartland of Chhattisgarh. Tarun Sehrawat was only 23. Driven by a rare empathy for the dispossessed and an intuitive moral concern, he wanted to tell the most challenging stories of our time. He wanted to use his camera as a tool of justice.
Tarun was rare. But he isn’t alone. Every day, exceptional journalists across India put their lives on the line to tell the most compelling stories of our times.
In memory of Tarun, TEHELKA instituted an award for journalism of courage and conscience. The award honours stories and images that capture injustice, inequity, dispossession and other social, cultural, economic and political faultlines in the country.
Each year an eminent jury will choose a story or image that is not only powerful and skilled but is driven by a deep moral and social concern or has been pursued at great personal risk. The results are announced at TEHELKA’s annual flagship event THiNK, held in Goa.
This year’s jury included senior journalist Madhu Trehan, one of India’s most celebrated photojournalists Raghu Rai and well-known social scientist Ashis Nandy.
The Tarun Sehrawat Award for Journalism of Courage and Conscience 2013 was awarded to Rahul Kotiyal and Brijesh Singh of TEHELKA and Chandan Khanna of The Indian Express, at the THiNK fest in Goa on 8 November. The jury was unaware of the publication the entries were from.
Rahul Kotiyal and Brijesh Singh were awarded the Tarun Sehrawat award for their stories (How Varun Gandhi silenced the system, 25 May 2013, and Saving Mr Bansal, 26 August 2013) on the subversion of justice in the Pilibhit hate-speech case involving BJP MP Varun Gandhi and the exposé on former Railway Minister Pawan Bansal, while Chandan Khanna was awarded for his photo-feature on Madrassas in old Delhi.
Tina Brown, editor of the Daily Beast, presented the award, which consists of a scroll and a cheque for Rs 1.5 lakh each.