Parrikar played editor for MoD’s e-book; ‘In Defence of the Nation’ a hit

By: Dr Anantha Krishnan M
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Bengaluru, March 31: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar exhibited his editorial skills to perfection while putting together an e-book capturing the tasks, mandate and achievements of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) recently.

The e-book titled ‘In Defence of the Nation' was released on March 5, fulfilling the requirement of Narendra Modi government, which had asked every ministry to bring out their achievements.

Parrikar played editor for MoD’s e-book

Sources tell OneIndia that though MoD missed the deadline to submit the e-book, and was the last to do so, its crisp content, presentation and packaging caught the attention of many ministers in the Cabinet.

With Parrikar's eye for detail playing the propelling factor, MoD's e-book is said to have overtaken other ministries by a fair margin.

A total of 43 e-books have been brought out by various ministers under PM Modi's command.

Parrikar played editor for MoD’s e-book

Parrikar wanted MoD to follow the Navy model

Sources in the MoD confirm to OneIndia that Parrikar wasn't impressed with the first draft being shown to him.

"He wanted the e-book to be different, packed with facts and figures. He kept on saying that the e-book must be useful for the people of India. He insisted that the final product should be technology-friendly so that people using smart phones and tablets have an easy reading," an official said.

Impressed by a presentation made by the top brass of the Indian Navy, Prrikar is said to have instructed MoD officials to follow the same pattern for the e-book. The e-book's first draft hence came back to the MoD officials with the minister's remarks.

Parrikar played editor for MoD’s e-book

"The minister asked us to take help from the Services, especially the Indian Navy, whose presentations often stood apart from the rest. He was also open to the idea of us taking external help to put together the e-book in an eye-catching and reader-friendly manner," the official said.

NFDC checks in with its expertise

The next stop for MoD was the renowned National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).
"Two youngsters Vidya Mallik and Rupinder Kaur were roped in to infuse new ideas to the e-book. NFDC had earlier made a documentary for Indian Navy as well. They began to go through every page and decided to make the e-book visually more appealing," the official added.

The team then began digging into the rich archives of the Directorate of Public Relations (DPR) with the help of the Photo Division under MoD, for photographs.

Parrikar played editor for MoD’s e-book

"The team decided to give a thematic presentation for the front page cover. The book's name ‘In Defence of the Nation' was picked from a list of 15 names shortlisted by MoD," the official added.

50 pages of delight in 60 days

All through this exercise, Parrikar kept a close watch on the progress of the e-book. Many drafts went to his office and came back with his suggestions. The whole exercise took around 60 days.
"The idea to inset photographs and texts was given by the minister. He said that the internet connectivity in some areas in the country was poor and hence people should not get disappointed while downloading the e-book," the official said.

A rare grab from the 1962 war showing Indian soldiers walking near Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh, too adorns the 50-page e-book of MoD.

Parrikar played editor for MoD’s e-book

Sitanshu Kar, Spokesperson, MoD, said that the e-book will be updated periodically. "This was one of the first directions given to us. In the days ahead, you can find some more proactive measures from the DPR," Kar added.

The e-book ‘In Defence of the Nation' is now hosted on the website of Press Information Bureau.

(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake.)

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