The proliferation of private television news channels in the latter half of the 1990s was a boon for journalists. Overnight, they were catapulted to dizzying heights of fame. Most were young, driven, energetic and unabashedly competitive. Yet only one managed to attain the status of a prima donna. That was Barkha Dutt.
In the opening pages of this account of her career as a reporter and anchor, Ms. Dutt reveals how she was able to get the upper hand over her peers. When she was just about five, her parents taught her to identify the individuals on the cover of Time magazine. And talk around the dinner table was about the news of the day.
This was no surprise, for her mother, Prabha Dutt, was one of the most talented journalists of her generation. What Barkha inherited from her mother was a feisty approach to news gathering, an acute awareness of gender biases, a sustained empathy for the underdog, a loathing for religious extremism and pride in India’s diversity and its raucous democratic order.
Barkha honed these instincts in...