Mokter Hossain Mondal is a 30 year old young man and has three cute daughters. He hails from small village Panditpur of Nadia district in the state of West Bengal. His family consists of his father Jakir Hossain Mondal a day wage earner, and home maker mother, and seven siblings. He married in earlier age to a writer Jyotsna Begum.
Azhar [B]Vhai, why you want my details..? Mondal asked me with his innocent expressions.
(You know most of the Bengali speaking people pronounce “B” as “V”)
I said, just to introduce you to the world around us.
Mondal said, (with smiling face), “I am a journalist and preparing few more to protect the 4th pillar of democracy.” Also I am a student of Bengal Literature, and have completed M.A and B.Ed”.
When asked about literary contribution as a graduate of Bengal Literature, he was quite for a while and I thought, “did I ask a wrong question?”
Myself thinking that Mondal is not interested is answering, was about to ask another question. He raised his head and started speaking…
“I started writing poems when I was in class VI, more than a thousand poems got published in several magazines and newspapers”, said Mondal with deep breath.
Am I speaking to one of my best friends from Bengal or to an intellectual of Bengali soil? Many such questions were getting in my mind.
Without interrupting him, I thought of listening to him more.
Mondal, after a small pause, started saying with his humble and pleasing voice, “Apart from poems, I penned down many stories and various essays which were published in daily, weekly and monthly magazines.
Mondal’s journey of writing didn’t stop here. Now he is not just a columnist or an article contributor to news papers.
Mokter Hossain Mondal is an author, the author of 3 books and few more to be released in near future.
Modal’s first poetry book – “Paschattyo Amar Bondhu” (The West is Our Friend) was published in 2014.
His second book “Mod Mukto Bangla Bangalir Swapno” (The Bengali Dreams a Liquor-free Bengal) which features the harmful effect of liquor consumption was published in 2016.
Third in a series was a book on poetry titled “Dui Hazar Ekush” (The Twenty First Century) released in 2018.
Apart from books, a dozen of anti-liquor songs and poems by Mokter Hosaain Mondal was released in 2016 as an audio album.
A student from a small village and madarsa background is now a poet, author and a script writer.
I was more interested to know about him and his journey as writer but he has another chapter in his life as a journalist and a guru to 100 more such journalists.
We both were sitting in a room at New Delhi, after the completion of Media Amelioration program which was the workshop for editors of newly started online portals in various languages on 2nd and 3rd March 2019. Mokter as a journalist shared his various experiences in the said workshop and also received the certificate of appreciation for his tireless contribution in the field of journalism.
When I asked him personally, what your experience is and how you see the field of media? Replying to my question he said, “In today’s era, most of the media houses don’t present the actual picture and news stories; sometimes they project the victims as villains and vice versa. They don’t talk about the deprived and marginalized section of the society. In such circumstances, we talk about those people whose voices are denied, those who are deprived, and those who are in need for justice. TDN Bangla is a light, a hope for them.
TDN Bangla…..! I asked shockingly, as I know it’s just a news portal like 1000’s across the nation.
“Yes, TDN Bangla is not just a news portal but a dream project of mine.
It’s a platform of voiceless, deprived and marginalized.
It’s a school for many journalists who are serving in the field of journalism.
It’s a course of learning by doing.
It’s a part to protect the 4th pillar of democracy.
On the whole it teaches and spreads ethics, truth and peace message among communities.
This is how I can introduce TDN Bangla. You may define it in another way after knowing the about it”.
Mondal introduced that TDN was founded with a vision of a value-based and powerful media-house. To achieve this dream, TDN has arranged reporters training camp in several districts of West Bengal. Till now, over 30 training camps have been held to train the young journalists and every training camp gave new reporters who have emerged out and they are fruitfully able to contribute and are contributing in the media-field.
Mokter Hossain Mondal said, I myself have travelled place to place to discover potential journalists in small villages and towns of various districts of West Bengal and to help the youngsters in getting jobs in mainstream media with his strong network with other media houses. Being involved in this noble mission, I had the opportunity to build up a friendly relationship with almost all the prominent leaders of the Dalits, Muslims, Adivasis apart from politicians, government officials and activists.
TDN of course, did unveil a new horizon in the media world with hopes. ()
It is amazing to hear about the new startup as a journalist and as a social entrepreneur.
When he looked at me, Mokter was so emotional and said that he was happy to have introduced about TDN to me.
As Mokter knows that I write articles on various issues now and then, he asked me to contribute to TDN also.
I am from Warangal, Telangana and I don’t know Bengali except asking “Bhalovach – How are you” followed by “Bhaat Khaboo – Have ate”? I replied to him.
With lots of happiness and glow in his face, Mokter said, need not worry Azhar Vhai you can contribute in English, I am starting TDN World in English.
Instead of getting into complexities, I interrupted him and asked him what actually TDN means?
TDN stands for ‘The Daily Notification’. TDN is moving forward with a noble mission to serve most authentic news as always. We believe in a philosophy- “Sotyer Pokshe Khoborer Awaz”, Mondal answered.
Continuing his talk, he said our journey in the field of journalism started in 2014. Initially it was like experimental project. But personally my professional career in journalism began as a field reporter of ETV news (2010-2011) during the final year of my graduation. Then I worked in the editorial section of a weekly magazine, Mizan. After few months I joined The Daily Kolom and worked there. Alongside, with the help of few like-minded friends I started TDN Bangla on social media platform. In 2016 July I joined Daily Jugasankha to cover news over Dalits, Minorities, and Adivasis and Bangladesh Embassy. This was the time I launched website for TDN Bangla.
Apart from his professional career, to my knowledge he has also contributed his writings in Anandabazar Patrika, Ei Somoy (Bengali daily by Times of India group), Pratidin, BBC, and Radio Tehran on various issues.
I felt to ask an important question, and asked him, “What made you start TDN Bangla?”
You know, we as a minority community, have a long past of failure trailing behind us. There was a time when radio was a key medium to reach out to the mass people. But we could not utilize that platform. Even we failed to utilise the era of Television and paper media. Taking note of all our previous failure and shunning negativity, for the first time with some novice youth we took effort to reach out the masses solely depending on social media platform. At the initial stage, we launched a news portal named ‘ Ekhon Bangla’. With this name, with tottering feet, we carried forward our mission to serve authentic news stories. On October 2016, we were able to take it to next level, developed the website by changing the name as ‘TDN Bangla’. Besides, we did stop to utilize the social media platforms as it was only source to reach the masses with almost NO capital, later we launched TDN apps also. Our slogan for TDN is ‘সত্যের পক্ষে খবরের আওয়াজ’ (Voice of news in favor of truth).
While listening to him, at back of the mind I was feeling that, the idea with which he started the news portal was exactly mine.
I convinced myself, by saying to my mind and heart that, in this huge world similar ideas blink in various minds but who acts on it will become the leader of that field.
What is present status of TND Bangla after successful completion of 4.5 years?
At present TDN Bangla has become one of the most popular online news outlets among Bengali speaking world. A larger section of the Bengali speaking people now follows TDN news on a daily basis. It was TDN Bangla that carried the news of Afrazul’s murder first, not the main-stream media. As an immediate impact of our news coverage the Mamta Didi’s (CM West Bengal) government was forced to respond over the matter, they announced to offer job to Arazul’s family. This is not the sole example; we did carry out various issues on which the government responded positively.
With a vision to bring media revolution in the international sphere as well, we put efforts to go beyond the regional barrier and began publishing news in Urdu and English.
Few days later, on one fine morning Modal called me on phone and had a long conversation on various issues.
As I interrupted and asked him other question when he asked my contribution in TDN World and I ignored that time.
But now he directly asked me again. He explained all the concerns one after another. During the talk he said, “I need your services as the Editor of TDN World”.
First I laughed and then said, “You know I am pre occupied with other assignments”.
He forced me again and again, without concentrating on my excuses. At last I agreed to be in the Editorial board team instead of being the Editor.
Do you have any future plans ahead? I asked Mondal as he was showing more interest to speak with me.
TDN Bangla has always been sincere in its perpetual role of publishing news over the needs of the deprived and underprivileged sections of the society. Four years elapsed since then TDN Bangla commenced its journey with a noble mission to convey the message of truth through news stories. Till now, it remains stiff and consolidated towards its commitment as it was before, without faltering a bit or deviating an inch, without bowing its head before any political pressures. We believe that journalism is a noble and holy profession. Media plays the role of conscience in a nation-state. And with the sole idea to make this country a beautiful place, of peace and values, our employees and columnists are working day and night, round the clock. TDN Bangla is acting as a mouth-piece for all the marginalised people across the globe.
Further he said,” I have 5 plans of near future”.
- To work as an independent and complete news agency.
- To launch a television channel.
- To prepare documentary videos on different issues
- To set up a media house on the global platform
- To start similar platforms in Hindi, Arabic, Assamees as well.
What was actual idea by which you started and converted into huge alternative media platform and will you continue with those same objectives?
Of course, the objectives with which I started with the support of my friends and loved ones, will continue with the same, Mokter added.
He continued saying, we chalked out four objectives 1. A news agency to secure a strong-hold in the global platform. 2. To make a group of skilled and efficient journalists by providing them due training. 3. To play a vital role as the fourth pillar of democracy. 4. To prepare reporters, by providing enough support through training camps and to help these journalists in getting jobs.
Did you achieve what you were expecting for last 4 years? If yes, what are those achievements?
Mondal – Yes, the achievements are many and those are milestones for a student of journalism like me.
Many of the journalist working in various media houses and are in good positions are the students who emerged from our training camps and TDN Bangla is a leading and popular media nowadays in and around with a reach of over 5.54 lakh visitors on website. Among all, 87% are Indians.
Now a days people calculate their reach with the impressions, shares, likes on social media. Can you tell me know how the presence of TDN Bangla is?
More than 16.5 million followers on facebook, with 6 million reach (and increasing every day) and engagement of 2.7+ million. As if now the highest share of any single post is 4.5 millions. TDN Bangla has a regular readership across the globe, in almost 189 countries.
Any problems you are facing while running such an alternative media platform, without political and corporate support?
Hmmm…..With a smile of pain Mandal said we will drop this question, because I don’t want unnecessary remarks from others on this.
But I forced him, to express his concerns because I am of the view that people should learn from the hard times and should be thankful in good times.
Mondal while keeping calm he said, Azhar bhai, as I respect you a lot I am sharing these concerns, please don’t take it in other sense.
While changing the position of chair Mondal started saying, “Firstly, since the initial days TDN has been running with the help of a few individuals. At the face of acute financial crisis TDN has been working incessantly with a passion and vision to contribute something significant in the world of media. Till now we have to rely on mobile phones to record video and publish news stories, interview, etc without a camera.
Secondly, the reporters’ friends who are backbone of TDN are paid a minimal amount for their contributions as journalists. In various districts reporters training camps has been conducted, we have reporters who have emerged from this sort of training camps, we helped them in securing job in other media houses and those are helping us back with their capacities. As of now, we prepared 30 top journalists from our reporters training camps and more to join the row in the near future. Of late, following the example of TDN, several other portals have come up in the online platform. But, due to financial crisis TDN is unable to make its natural progress as it could have done otherwise.
To take this institution more forward with a spirit of professionalism in 2018 a commercial company has been registered. The company name is TDN Media Private Limited.
What’s your destination?
As long as the Earth survives, the voice of truth must be conveyed through news. Therefore, wishing that TDN Bangla may float the messages of truth and peace from person to person, country to another country, beyond the barbs and borders, up the ages. And in its noble journey we expect from the readers’ their beloved prayers and moral support always.
I asked Mondal, your message to youth.
I am neither a Guru not a celebrity but a servant of creator of this universe. As of now, the only thing I can say is if anyone is in need of guidance to become a journalist or to start a media platform I am ready to share my entire experiences without any returns. They can reach me on my email id [email protected]