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Mahadev Desai receives award from Hindu Temple of Atlanta for his years of reporting

Compiled/partly written by Suzanne Sen Email Compiled/partly written by Suzanne Sen
October 2019
Mahadev Desai receives award from Hindu Temple of Atlanta for his years of reporting


(Left) Mahadev Desai. (Photo: Vinod Sharma, SFA Productions)

At the Hindu Temple of Atlanta’s Volunteer Appreciation Day on September 15, 2019, several volunteers were recognized and some high school students received scholarships; the primary person honored was Atlanta’s veteran reporter Mahadev Desai, for his years of reporting in Atlanta and especially for his yeoman’s service to HTA. He was garlanded, felicitated with a shawl, and presented with a plaque and check.

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The blue plaque reads, “The Hindu Temple of Atlanta … is proud to honor Sri Mahadev Desai for excellence in journalism & in appreciation of your long time dedication & commitment to promote HTA in the media.”

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Mahadev Desai being honored at Hindu Temple of Atlanta, Riverdale.

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(Left) Mahadev Desai reading his acceptance speech, as Dr. K. Sujatha Reddy of Sai Health Fairs stands by. (Photo: Suresh Volam, Sri Photos)


The honoree read his written thanks, graciously acknowledging his colleagues and supporters, and the others being recognized, and complimenting the Temple on its hospitality, its pool of talent, and its many activities for keeping alive the Hindu heritage in our adopted land. 

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Mahadev Desai among members of the press reporting on Consul General Kulkarni's Republic Day celebrations at the Consulate in Atlanta. (Photo: Magic Dust Photography)

He spoke with humor as well as seriousness of the many changes he has seen over his years of reporting, and noted that “it takes time, toil, tenacity, honesty, passion, and being impartial fair, objective, informative, and engaging to win the trust of the readers.”

All of these qualities have been amply demonstrated in Mahadev’s many informative reports, which have enriched the pages and later the websites of India Tribune, Khabar, NRI Pulse, Atlanta Dunia, and other publications for over 20 years. As well as covering community events such as dance productions, health fairs, cultural festivals, and religious events with his extensive knowledge of Indian songs and dances and Hindu religious customs, he has enjoyed writing profiles of community members, literary reviews, movie and play reviews, and his own short stories and humor pieces.

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Mahadev Desai and his wife Ansuya enjoying an event at Hindu Temple of Atlanta. (Photo: Sri Photos)

His international background (having lived and/or studied in Tanzania, Kenya, India, England, and the USA), his sporting prowess (in cricket, table tennis, and various other sports), his professional expertise (in accounting, taxation, teaching, and educational writing), his natural qualities of curiosity (being an avid reader and a sociable and empathetic person), as well as his positive energy have all contributed to his success in his many endeavors, not the least being his current career as a journalist. Atlanta is fortunate to have him among us.

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Mahadev Desai receiving an award (left) in 2013 from the Indo American Press Club and (below) in 1998 from GFUSA co-founder Giriraj Rao.

His many awards reflect the breadth of his service to the community:

1   National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of Interior; GA Human Relations Commission, Jan. 24, 1998.
2  The Gandhi Foundation of USA, January 17, 2007.
3  India American Cultural Association (IACA), August 14, 2010.
4  Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), Atlanta Chapter, 2011.
5  Georgia Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage (GAPI), April 30, 2011.
6  NRI Pulse, August 2011.
7  Senior Citizens Program, March 25, 2012.
8  India Awareness Foundation (IAF), June 15, 2013.
9  Indo American Press Club, October 6, 2018.
10 The Hindu Temple of Atlanta, September 15, 2019.

The text of Mahadev Desai’s acceptance speech:

Namaste and Good evening to you all.

I am really touched by this token of appreciation and recognition by you. I am deeply grateful, feel humbled and thankful to you all, including my media colleagues, editors, photographers, and all those who help me with useful information and most of all, the readers. I also thank my son-in-law Harshadbhai (who is sitting right there), my daughter, granddaughter, and wife for their support and encouragement.

I have always enjoyed coming to the Hindu Temple where I have always received warm hospitality and respect. Hindu Temple has a vast pool of talent and resources and is a throbbing Temple with many activities designed to keep alive the Hindu religion, values, our rich culture and traditions in our adopted land. Coming to this Temple, attending many events, and giving media coverage has been a rewarding learning experience for me. I take this opportunity to wish the very best to the Temple. I also congratulate all the other Award and Scholarship winners. Having said that, I will digress a bit.

In my long career as a journalist, I have seen quite a few changes. Before the internet and digital gadgets, I had to type my report, fax it to the Chicago office of India Tribune, load a film in my camera, take pics, get those developed in a studio, run to Fedex, and mail them. Now it is using Word, email, and a few digital camera pics. Digital technology is fast impacting the traditional media landscape. TV, internet, social media, WhatsApp, Skype, digital cameras, camcorders, etc., are providing and transmitting news at amazing speed.

Readers’ preferences are also changing. Instead of long reports, the current generation prefers texting, tweets, comments, blogs, etc., and quick soundbites. Speed is the name of the game. Very few have the patience to wait for three or four weeks to read a report. Even while the event is going on, pics, videoclips, and comments start appearing on Facebook, etc.

Many newspapers are closing down as a result of this. To survive, print and other media content is increasingly being commercially driven. You find advertisements embedded within a report or in a movie or a serial story.

The journalist must learn to adapt to the changing scene. It takes time, toil, tenacity, honesty, passion, and being impartial, fair, objective, informative, and engaging to win the trust of the readers. He should always try and avoid fake news and remember never to underestmate the readers.

I thank you all for attending today and listening to my remarks. Enjoy the evening.

[The article above is a Website Bonus Feature, appearing only on the website for October 2019, not in the print/digital issues.]

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