Khushwant Singh stands up for Barkha Dutt, again

23 May 2011

For the second time in five months, Khushwant Singh, the former editor of the now-defunct Illustrated Weekly of India, stands up for the beleaguered NDTV group editor and anchor, Barkha Dutt, in Hindustan Times:

“I shudder to think what would be left of Indian television if Barkha Dutt decides to call it a day.

“For many years I made it a point to watch two programmes to keep myself abreast of what were the main issues facing the country. One was Barkha’s We, the People and the other was The Big Fight by Rajdeep Sardesai.

“Both Barkha and Sardesai did their homework in order to ask right questions from the people they had invited to appear in the programmes. They also took care to have eminent people who had conflicting views so that viewers would get different viewpoints before making up their own minds.

“Barkha does a lot more than We, the People. Wherever riots and violence erupt, Barkha is the first TV personality to give viewers an idea what is going on and why. Our countrymen rely heavily on what she says because she never takes sides but gives participants an occasion to put across their views to a huge audience, which runs into millions.

“Recently when Osama bin Laden was killed by American commandos in Abbottabad and viewers round the globe wanted to know how Pakistanis felt about the entry of foreign forces in their soil without their permission or knowledge, Barkha was in Pakistan in order to know what Pakistani leaders had to say about it. Next to Americans Pakistanis hate Indians.

“Barkha is a fearless woman. Her good looks and dress-sense add to her acceptability. Some people say that Barkha Dutt has a swollen head. I have no means of checking if that is true. I have met her only once for a few minutes. Far from being swollen-headed, I found her totally unaware about her iconic status.”

Also read: Barkha Dutt tarred by pure malice: Khushwant Singh

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12 Responses to “Khushwant Singh stands up for Barkha Dutt, again”

  1. voyeur Says:

    I will tell one poli joke. Khushwant Singh always stands up for any woman.

  2. Jackdaw Says:

    He’s 96. Explains everything

  3. Natasha Says:

    Related to the comments above, here is an addition: all of them are from Delhi. That is how journos (and people in general) in Delhi behave. They come from the same muddy water. And they keep rubbing one another. ‘My friend, my yaar, janta hai mein kaun hoon’ crowd. KS has written some good books, but he is too superficial; he is too ‘Delhi’.


  4. Khushwant Singh ji is a national icon in literature. I like the novels that he wrote during the early years of his life.

    But in the field of ethics, morality and integrity, I would prefer not to depend on him for his guidance.

    He has always been pro-establishment in his life. He is a man of the kingly class.

    Barkha Dutt is like a Super big Queen of the Indian media. So it is natural that Khuswant Singh ji should support a fellow royal.

    It is in the nature of the Kings and Queens to support each other.

    We should not forget that media is like an Onion. There are always layers within layers…

  5. VOXINDICA Says:

    Baburao Patel, the editor of ‘Mother India’ used to describe Kushwant Singh as a ‘sex-starved Sikh’ and B-Bahadur Singh. The first ‘B’ stands for something, for pinching which K. P. S. Gill was penalized by a court. [The court should have let off Gill with a slap on the wrist for an indiscretion when inebriated, considering his services to the country; he had probably saved India from being vivisected.] Kushwant turned the staid ‘Illustrated Weekly of India’ into a cross between ‘Playboy’ and ‘Penthouse’ and shamelessly kowtowed to Indira Gandhi as a journalist. He is one of two Indo-Anglican writers who are known for their ability to write graffiti in elegant English. He is past even that stage in life now. A few periodicals still indulge him by publishing the muck he dishes out, more than two-thirds of which he ‘cuts and pastes’, although one wonders whether he can wield a word-processor or still pecks with two fingers on WW-II model Remington portable. Singh’s testimonial to Barkha Dutt is not even worth the paper it written on!

  6. Krishna Kumar Says:

    Khushwant, as the Editor of Illustrated Weekly of India during Emergency, brazenly promoted Sanjay Gandhi. A few years ago, Ramachandra Guha wrote a nice story about it in The Hindu Sunday Magazine.

    His autobiography, ‘Truth, Love And A Little Malice’ gives the impression that he is a person who yields for an easy compromise, whenever an opportunity to fight for the principles he stands for, come up.

    The finest moment in his life was when he stood up to Bhindaranwale during the Punjab crisis in the 1980s.

  7. VOXINDICA Says:

    Baburao Patel, the editor of ‘Mother India’ used to describe Kushwant Singh as a ‘sex-starved Sikh’ and B-Bahadur Singh. The first ‘B’ stands for something, for pinching which K. P. S. Gill was penalized by a court. [The court should have let off Gill with a slap on the wrist for an indiscretion committed in an inebriated condition, considering his services to the country; he had probably saved India from being vivisected.] Kushwant turned the staid ‘Illustrated Weekly of India’ into a cross between ‘Playboy’ and ‘Penthouse’ and shamelessly kowtowed to Indira Gandhi as a journalist. He is one of two Indo-Anglican writers, who are known for their ability to write graffiti in elegant English. He is past even that stage in life now. A few periodicals still indulge him by publishing the muck he dishes out, more than two-thirds of which he ‘cuts and pastes’, although one wonders whether he can wield a word-processor or still pecks with two fingers on a WW-II model Remington portable. Singh’s testimonial to Barkha Dutt is not even worth the paper it is written on!

  8. seema sinha Says:

    Barkha dutt is a fearless women and one of the idols of modern india.She has an amazing screen presence.

  9. Murthy Says:

    @VOXINDICA, :) Hilarious.

  10. vanita singh Says:

    Khuswant singh will fight for any women as long as he lives.

  11. jazz Says:

    I always wonder why people always look on to the bad side of a person even though they know the actual (good)things abt them jst bcuz they are envy(probably) of them and they know jst random cheap facts and always poke about the personal life of such intellectuals and that too on basis of few unseen and unreliable (made) stories.They should rather praise them and discover the brighter and hearttouching things of such phenomenal person who is still imbuing millions of ppl at this stage of life ..tell me a single artist(for u its a journalist only) who has crossed 95 (or 90) and is still writing.
    If its only about sex then (millions of) ppl will not give a damn to him ..@ voxindica: may be u r a good person but a bad critique..i rellly mean this!!!

  12. VOXINDICA Says:

    @jazz Thank you, for taking time to comment on my comment. You have asked a good question: “Why people always look on the bad side of a person…?”, and lamented about “…random cheap facts and always poke about the personal life…” being bandied about.

    Now consider how the same criticism can be applied to Kushwant Singh himself. When the HH Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati of Kanchi was arrested on trumped up charges because the ‘Puratchi Thalaivi’ wanted to settle some personal scores with him, the yellow press in Tamil Nadu went to town with malicious gossip about the life of the pontiff. Singh picked up the more salacious parts of that muck and repeated them in his column in “Deccan Chronicle.” Could he not have seen the good side of the Sankaracharya or at least have given him the benefit of doubt, considering his services to the society for over half a century?

    You have, in my view, inappropriately used the following descriptions in relation to Singh: ‘intellectual’; ‘phenomenal person’; ‘still imbuing millions of people at this stage of life…’

    A writer with ‘intellectual integrity’ would not have recommended the banning of a book. Did you know that it was Singh who recommended to Rajiv Gandhi to ban the ‘Satanic Verses’? India had the dubious distinction of being first the country in the world to ban the book. This led to Ayatollah Khomeni’s fatwa, forcing Salman Rushidie to live an incognito life for more than a decade. The same Singh had a different take on MFHussain desecrating Hindu gods and goddesses in his paintings.


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