Nagpur: Senior Journalist and Press Trust of India (PTI) Bureau Chief Joseph Rao is slated to be felicitated on July 9 at Tilak Patrakar Bhavan Sabhagruha, Dhantoli for his Chequered career spanning more than 40 years and contribution to the field of journalism.
While addressing a press conference at Tilak Patrakar Bhavan, Patron of Joseph Rao Felicitation Committee and Veteran Journalist S N Vinod informed that Joseph Rao would be felicitated at the hands of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis while Union Minister for Road Transport and Shipping Nitin Gadkari will preside over. Former MP and Managing Editor of ‘The Hitavada’ Banwarilal Purohit, Guardian Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Mayor Pravin Datke, Former Guardian Minister Shivajirao Moghe will be guests of honour.
Illustrious life of Joseph Rao
Joseph Sheshrao Rao is 59 years old veteran journalist of Nagpur city and has served various media for the past 39 years. He did his schooling from Saint Anthony High School (Hindi Medium). He did his graduate studies from Hislop College (Nagpur University) followed by Post graduate studies from Osmania University, Hyderabad. Joseph Rao has excelled bilingually (both spoken and written English and Hindi while his mother tongue is Tamil.
Joseph Rao is an all round Journalist par excellence. He has handled several beats like Sports (barring Cricket), Politics, Assembly (both Houses, (Assembly and Council), Crime, Courts both Lower Court and High Court, Aviation, Corporate Affairs, Companies, public sector undertakings like WCL,MOIL, MECL, University, Commercial Reporting, Industries, Specialized in RSS, Naxalism, Important Coal, Water, Energy, Thermal Power, Solar Power, Big Limited Companies Indo Rama, NECO, MIHAN
From a big affectionate family
Joseph Rao was born in a middle class railway family in the city on July 11, 1956. His father Sheshrao Rao (S D Rao) retired as special A+ Grade Driver from Central Railway, Ajni and Mother Sheela was housewife but active social worker and an office bearer of Mahila Congress.
Joseph is the fourth child, a twin-child with a sister, among eight. He has six brothers and two sisters and host of relatives. He studied throughout in Hindi Medium Schools and later switched to English Medium in College.
Joseph had a flair for writing since his school days. He used to write in Lokwani column, a reader’s column in Hindi daily Nava Bharat when he was in tenth standard in St Anthony School. Later he continued when he went to college.
He had the opportunity of joining the profession in 1977 at the age of 19 years when joined Hindi evening daily, Best Samchar as a cub reporter and later worked with another Hindi evening daily Balidaan for some time before joining the Central India’s biggest Hindi newspaper Nava Bharat in the following year. But an ambitious, Joseph, soon switched over to English journalism and first went to oldest English daily The Hitavada on June 1, 1979.
After serving three months which is considered as transition period or compared like a situation when an aircraft hovers around waiting for landing at the airport.
He subsequently joined the much awaited job as a reporter with Central India’s most prestigious English daily Nagpur Times on Sept 1, 1979. Rising from a Sports Reporter to City Reporter, Chief Reporter and finally occupied the coveted Chair of News Editor. That was number two position. He not only looked after news section but also was responsible for circulation, revenue and factory side
co-ordination. There was a time when Nagpur Times was in a crisis from 1994 to 1996 and some of the staff had deserted like rats deserting sinking ship but like a captain of the ship, Joseph stood there. He led the Nagpur Times and Nagpur Patrika employees fight for recovery of dues from the owner Shrikant JIchkar who later met with a tragic death in a road mishap on June 3, 1999. He successfully negotiated with the new owner of land where once Nagpur Times stood. The new owners Mohabbat Singh Tuli and his brother conceded to the demands of employees and settlement was done.
By that time, Joseph was writing for the United News of India (UNI) as a stringer for 12 years (till 1997) and also contributed for Press Trust of India. At this juncture, the then PTI Bureau Manager B Someshwar Rao helped him in joining PTI. His name was recommended to Rao by Joseph’s old and trusted friend, Pradeep Maitra, his class mate from Hislop College and from Ajni area.
Joseph had already covered State Assembly in December 1996 before joining PTI. He joined PTI on July 1, 1997. A widely travelled person, Joseph has gone to foreign countries on 27 times and visited more than 50 international cities.
A sports commentator for Radio and TV, in Hindi for Hockey, Football and Badminton, he is an approved national commentator of Badminton of the All India Radio. He did not pursue this broadcast journalism since he was more interested in agency reporting.
Though born in a Tamil Catholic family, he married a Keralite Catholilc, Janet Mary who is first lady station master in the country. Now she is Deputy Chief Controller with South East Central Railway (SECRLY) Nagpur. They are blessed with a son Justin who is also with PTI Mumbai as a Entertainment Life Style reporter.
Joseph Rao started Journalism at the age of 19 years in Best Samchar later worked in Balidan.
This was followed by him working with Nava Bharat, Nagpur 19780-79. He had a short stint with The Hitavada (for three months). He joined Nagpur Times on Sept 1, 1979. He worked for more than 19 years till Nagpur Times closed down in October 21, 1996.
Joseph Rao had worked as Sports Reporter, Chief Reporter and rose to the rank of News Editor at the time of closure.
After Nagpur Times closed down, he worked as a Stinger for U.N.I. for 12 years. Joseph Rao then joined Press Trust of India (PTI) on July 1, 1997.
Joseph Rao is presently working as Bureau Manager, Nagpur, looking after entire Vidarbha region.
Joseph Rao is AIR and DD approved commentator in Hindi for All India Radio and Doordarshan.
Joseph Rao is also the Secretary of Catholic Association of Nagpur.
Joseph Rao has been associated with Nagpur Union of Working Journalists (NUWJ) as Organizing Secretary, Joint Secretary and Vice-president.
Joseph Rao is also an office-bearer of Maharashtra Union Working Journalists (MUWJ)
Honorary Treasurer of Tilak Patrakar Bhawan Trust from 2007-13 and 2013-19.
Member-State Government’s Accreditation Committee
A sportsman too!
Honorary Treasurer Sepak Takraw Fedration of India for 15 years
Manager of Indian Sepak Takraw team for World Sepak Takraw Championship held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in 1984, 1986 and 1987.
Joseph Rao visited Bangkok (Thailand) and Singapore for sports related work.
Travelled the world and the seven seas!!!
Foreign Assignments and visits
He had gone out on 27 foreign trips and has visited United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
He has visited about 50 International cities.
Awards and Accolades:
He was awarded Maharashtra Government’s prestigious Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Dalit Mitra award on April 14, 2011.
He received the Excellence in Journalism Award in memory of Former Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Late Nashikrao Tirpude on Jan 15, 2011.
He was awarded Excellence in Journalism award Rajratna Award after Raje Raghuji Bhonsale in Feb 2014 by the then MLA Devendra Fadnavis.
He also received Life Time Achievement Felicitation by Maharashtra Governor Vidya Sagar Rao on Dec 12, 2014.
He also received Excellence in Journalism Award in memory of Founder Editor of Hindi daily Nava Bharat Ram Gopal Maheshwari on December 21, 2014 by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.