Ms Renu Malhotra, Editor-in-chief of Afro Asian, business chronicle, a journalist of international reputation and wide connections in and outside her homeland India, is currently on visit to the Sudan at the invitation of the Sudanese government and since arriving here. She called on several government officials in Khartoum and particularly on the media and information institutions. During a visit to the SUNA offices she sat with Mohamed Osman Adam, editor in chief of Sudanow. Following are excerpts
Sudanow: Thanks Ms Renu Malhotra for a pleasant, refreshing and informative visit. It is a brainstorming session. thanks again from all of us in this group, and hope to have some of it materializes soon. Ms Renu the saying goes that you should "trust the tale not the teller". You have been hearing lots of tales about the Sudan, mostly negative, has your visit to Sudan changed or reinforced the view that this was a lawless, no man's land?
Answer: well! Lots people back home, which is India, cautioned me about making a trip to Sudan, saying that there is no law there and it is not a safe country. Unfortunately, that is the belief people from India and some western countries about Africa. If one can give vent to one's imagination, one would imagine a scene from a western cowboy movie of gun or bow-and-arrow slinging mafia. I am happy to say my visit to Sudan has been an eye opener...and contrary to the opinions elsewhere, Sudan is a land of gentle caring people racing to learn and forge ahead into development. God willing, I shall help them in whatever capacity.
Question: There is a conviction that the upcoming competition and conflicts in the world would be spurred by clash over who controls water and information, as a media person what would you say to this and what role should the media assume in the 3rd world??
Answer: yes, water and information will play a crucial role in determining the geo-politics of the world...even the poor are buying bottled water for drinking...that is huge revenue model… Information is power...besides , I can add the quality of human resource....the third world media should first stop looking at itself as third world...its the first world that needs to spur on. To forge ahead....sharing with caring is the mantra for development. it must unite over differences of land , water and resources, and close ties with people ahead...its like the hurdles race...to jump over, you have to extend your hand in trust...to win trust , you have to invest in good quality human resources...that global education regionalized.
Question: There seem to be a need for a change of mind set in many areas for South-South Nations to stand out and appreciate what they have and move up the ladder of development, are the challenges the same as say in the 19th and the 20th century?
Answer: You are absolutely right, we need to move with the times... rather than expect time to move with us...as much leadership in the world are doing. The challenges of the present century are different....man/land ratio is tilting...and level of personal and national insecurity is rising...so huge completion for resources...there's more manipulation and dirty politics in every walk of life than you had in earlier times.
Question: Some believe that lack of strategic planning is the main problem causing the woe of the developing afro-Asian countries?
Answer: It is not strategic planning...it's the paucity of considerate strategists who are in sync with the ground realities of their countries and their people. The afro Asian countries need liberal leadership having smart, nationally minded, humane strategists to take development forward and make it meaningful for all.
Question: What should the Sudan do, in your view, to follow the path of India in creating a good educational system that will cover the market needs of good and well equipped manpower?
Answer: Sudan has great resource strength, both human and mineral. It needs to, like India, concentrate on educating its people in technology, and other vocational fields in syn with its country needs. Sudan has minerals, land etc...It needs agricultural university, metallurgy, management...like India it needs basic education in its language and English too followed by short term training courses and management studies. You need to encourage scholarship programmes for students to go abroad to study and work to give people the benefit of global exposure.
Question: India has developed tremendously in the electronic and computer domains, informatics in particular, what is the magic word, the talisman?
Answer: The magic mantra is liberal leadership, alert press, demanding population....people have become to demand good life...education also begins at home...in the message of the elders to the young ones that they deserve the best in lives and they need to work hard and honestly for it...work is worship.
Question: You seem to have particular interests in the common elements that bring Africa and Asia together, what are the positive elements, in your view that they could contribute in 21st human civilisation? Is it material or rather spiritual and moral?
Answer: I am particularly interested to usher in happiness to people...spiritual, physical, moral - all are different hues of the same colour...thats life...spirituality is essence of body and that is material, morals are manifest in the essence of spirituality...and spirituality is universal and is divine coexistence of creation. so divine coexistence between people should be the mantra of life all along...with human awareness increasing manifold, we must ensure happy coexistence in the 21st century and times to come.
Question: tell us about the first thing that initiated your present trip to Africa and to the Sudan in particular?
Answer: my desire to see the Nile and the people around it. I wanted to see the real Africa and touch the hearts of the people and if possible in my humble way contribute towards their prosperity and happiness.
Question: a word to the people, you would like to say?
Answer: God bless us and we the people make the almighty want to really bless us by making sure his land and people are in harmony. Insha'Allah