A renowned journalist, a visionary politician, a dynamic entrepreneur and a spirited social worker, Vijay Jawaharlal Darda, was born on May 14, 1950, at Yavatmal (Maharashtra). He obtained his Diploma in Journalism and Printing Technology from Mumbai University. As the Chairman of Editorial Board, Lokmat Media Group, it has been his mission to highlight the problems of the common people. Impartiality and judiciousness have been his great forte.
Darda was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in July 1998. He always strived for the development of Vidarbha in particular and Maharashtra in general. An upright and sincere public representative, Darda has earned the reputation of being a man committed to growth and progress.
As an active member of the Upper House, Vijay Darda highlighted crucial issues like power shortage, health, agrarian crisis, probity in judiciary, progress and uplift of the common man and women empowerment. Darda successfully handled important responsibilities bestowed upon him by the constitutional authorities from time to time. As member of several standing committees, he discharged his duty with utmost responsibility.
As a committed social worker, Vijay Darda never lagged behind in extending a helping hand to the poor and common man in period of disasters and tragedies. During the devastating floods in Mowad, earthquakes in Latur and Beed in Maharashtra, Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, Bhuj in Gujarat and Munger in Bihar, Darda helped redress the sufferings of the distressed people by extending moral and financial assistance through the Lokmat Newspapers Charitable Trust. Darda greatly contributed to the rehabilitation of malnourished children in Melghat in Amravati district of Maharashtra.
The Lokmat Krushi Manch headed byVijay Darda organized a Shetkari Atmanirbharata Rath Yatra in 400 villages of Vidarbha region of Maharashtra to motivate the distressed farmers not to take the extreme step of ending their lives. It also conducted social and educational programmes in suicide-hit areas of the region.
Vijay Darda vociferously raised the issue of Vidarbha’s agrarian crisis in the Rajya Sabha and appealed to the then Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and the Congress president, Mrs.Sonia Gandhi, to visit the region and make a first hand assessment of the situation there.
A mega agriculture exhibition (State Krushi Pradarshani – 2008) was organized at Amravati in January 2008 to acquaint the farmers with advanced technology and various government schemes meant for them. Apart from Maharashtra, reputed firms from Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh installed their stalls in the expo. More than 3.5 lakh farmers attended the exhibition.
The Jawaharlal Darda Foundation headed by Vijay Darda donated Rs 5 lakh to the great grandson of freedom fighter of first freedom struggle Tatya Tope to help his family lead a better life. The Foundation also donated Rs 2 lakh to Sultana Begum, the great grand daughter-in-law of India’s last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar for the marriage of her daughter.
Vijay Darda served the highest national and internal media bodies in different capacities and immensely contributed to both print and electronic media. During his tenure as president of the Indian Newspaper Society and deputy chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulation, he initiated several projects for the promotion of the newspaper industry. Vijay Darda was instrumental in setting up the South Asian Editors Forum and was its founder president.
Recipient of several journalism awards, including Feroze Gandhi Memorial Award, Vijay Darda has several books to his credit. He attended several national and international conferences, seminars and toured many countries with top dignitaries of the country.
Deeply concerned for betterment of small and marginal farmers, especially of the Vidarbha region, Darda made constant and vigorous follow-up with the concerned authorities regarding approval of laying of new Railway Line for Wardha-Yavatmal-Nanded sector, to usher in an era of prosperity through resultant multiple employment generation opportunities in Vidarbha region.
School and college days:
Vijay Darda undertook his primary education at a municipal school in Yavatmal (Maharashtra). From Std. V to Std. VII, he studied at the municipal high school and from Std. VIII to Std. XI at the government high school.
Speaking about Vijay, his childhood friend Anand Gawande says, “Vijay was very fond of automobiles and movies from a young age. By the time he reached Std. XI, he could drive all the vehicles at home - a scooter, a motorcycle, a tractor, father's car and a truck. The speed at which he drove was very scary. He would also often ride a bullock cart. Vijay was always smiling and would make all his friends smile. This nature continues till today. During our childhood, he gave me a picture and wrote these lines in his beautiful handwriting “main nirala, tu nirala, apna premnagar nirala”.
During his high school days, he was mentored by his teacher Shri. Arun Halbe, winner of the president's award for teaching. Shri. Halbe inspired Vijay to take up painting, which he adopted with great flair and passion. Recalling the past, Shri. Halbe says, “Vijay was very fond of painting and poetry. He would come to me at odd times even in the scorching sun to show the poems he had written and the paintings he had drawn. He would leave only after all his doubts got cleared. Once when he came home, my mother locked him in a room as it was very hot outside and she did not want Vijay to expose himself to that heat. He was allowed to go only after 4 pm. Vijay also worked hard on his handwriting. He would always try to write like me. Even today, his handwriting is excellent. He has took a lot of pain to adopt a beautiful Signature. Vijay had an analytical, brilliant and skillful mind."
“Shri. Jawaharlalji's thoughts, values and behaviour had tremendous impact on Vijay. He was very fond of sports and excelled in hockey and table tennis. Veenadevi, Vijay's Mother recalled “in 1966 the hockey finals were being played between Government High School and Anglo Hindi High School (Vijay is now the chairman of both the schools) and Vijay engineered a superb win for the Government High School team despite Anglo Hindi being the favorites and the stronger team.”