Fired by zeal to serve country Allahabad boy turns journalist at 12
Love for the written word and the desire to serve the nation inspired 12-year-old Utkarsh Tripathi to turn a journalist and start a handwritten newspaper focusing on various social issues. At an age when children struggle with their home-work and subjects taught in school, Tripathi is concerned about story ideas, deadlines and increasing circulation of his one-year old weekly tabloid.
Tripathi says he started the newspaper, named ‘Jagriti’, – meaning Awaken – to create public awareness on pressing social issues. A class eight student at Brij Bihari Sahai (BBS) Inter College in Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, Tripathi performs the multiple-roles of reporter, editor, designer and publisher of the newspaper.
Boasting of a circulation of about 150 copies, the handwritten newspaper is distributed free of cost to subscribers. Tripathi first makes a single copy of the newspaper and then takes photocopies of the same.
Jagriti covers topics relatingto social issues such as environment, female foeticide and government welfare schemes. The paper also reports success stories of politicians, scientists, and social workers in the neighbourhood.
The idea to bring out a handwritten newspaper hit the boy a little over a year ago during a casual conversation with his father Hari Prasad, who runs a coaching institute for high school students.
Prasad recalls the day when Tripathi came to him after reading an article on Indo-China relations in a Hindi daily. “I don’t know what came into his mind after reading the article; he came to me and asked me to suggest a way to serve the nation,” Prasad said.
“I said that joining the defence services was one of the best options to serve the country.”
While his father came up with the idea of joining the defence services, Tripathi rejected the idea, for he wanted to do something right away. Knowing his flair for writing, Prasad instantly suggested that he become a journalist and make people aware about their rights.
Asked how he juggled his school work and journalism, Tripathi says if you are passionate about something, then you will not find it difficult to take out some time to purse your passion, irrespective of the hectic schedule.
“I spend some time daily on researching topics and gathering public utility information from sources like magazines, news dailies and the internet. On Sundays I get more time to work on my project and make pictorial representations that could go along with the articles,” he signs off.