Noted journalist Rana Ayyub’s first book ‘Gujarat Files- Anatomy of a Cover-up’ is an Amazon bestseller. The book is Ayyub’s account of her experience as an undercover journalist investigating Gujarat’s politics, casteism and the 2002 riots, which were the the worst the state has ever seen. In 2010, the young journalist spent eight months in Gujarat, posing as a filmmaker- Maithali Tyagi, and over the time of her investigation managed to get access to some police officers at very high levels, who have made some fierce revelations that affect the current central government and some of the prominent ministers in it.
SheThePeople.TV caught up with Rana to get to know about her eight-month long stint at investigative journalism being a female journalist. She explained that it was the most difficult time for her mentally and emotionally living a life having dual identities. “Nobody should have to be in that position where I was as it just scars you for life. I am still seeing a therapist since five years,” said Ayyub.
About her view on being a female journalist, she retorted saying that I only consider myself a journalist. “Rather than being Maithali tyagi, I could have been Rahul Tyagi and it would have turned out just the same. In today’s day and age I don’t think there is any discrimination between a man and a woman. If you are intelligent with your question I don’t think anybody really bother if you are a man or a woman.”
“I hate these tags that people give me like a female journalist or a Muslim journalist. I have seen this internalisation since the time I was a TV journalist when I was only sent to cover rapes and lifestyle so I have serious problem with people asking me if I have faced any discrimination. I have never really felt that. There is Ritu Sarin in Indian Express, Shammy Baweja in Hindustan Times who have broken the biggest stories of all times.”
She added, “I don’t really think that women journalists have not really arrived, they have always been there. It is just that we have to start look at them as just another journalist rather than tagging them as woman journalist.”
She also told us that she idolizes Nellie Bly who went undercover in a mental asylum and broke some of the best stories.
Investigative journalism is the toughest job for a journalist and Rana shares some of the qualities that a journalist must have while going undercover, “Courage, persistence and hard work beats everything else.”
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