Other than when engineering pathetic palace coups or other execrable exercises, much of modern Indian journalism (and indeed corporate life), is increasingly about I, me, myself.
Journalists, otherwise flatulently pontificating on what’s wrong, are willing to stomach the gravest injustices under their cavernous noses as long as their positions, pay packets and other perks are safe.
How heart-warming, therefore, that a bunch of eight journalists (and two business executives) should have bucked the trend and chosen to fearlessly speak truth to power, in their individual capacities, on Charudatta Deshpande, the journalist turned corporate communications manager, who committed suicide in Bombay on Friday, 28 June.
Instead of pretending it wasn’t their business, instead of worrying about what their present and future bosses (and managers) might think of them, instead of worrying about how their lives and careers might be impacted, these fine journalists and executives put their hand up on behalf of a deceased friend and ex-colleague, wrote to the Tata bosses, and initiated a probe that, hopefully, will bring some justice to the family.
These, then, are the nine:
Top row (left to right), Indrajit Gupta, former editor, Forbes India; Gurbir Singh, senior associate editor, Businessworld, and president, press club of Bombay; Charles Assisi, former managing editor, Forbes India.
Bottom row (l to r): Forbes India. T. Surendar, deputy editor, Fortune India; Debojyoti Chatterjee, corporate communications manager, Larsen & Toubro; and Dinesh Narayanan, senior editor, Forbes India.
Now is also a good time to doff the hat to Krish Ram Kumar, the ICICI executive director, who too chose not to exercise his right to silence and instead wrote to the Tatas in his individual capacity, flagging many of the concerns raised by the nine.
Time, also, for the rest of us to remember Martin Neimoller‘s famous line:
First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
External reading: Remembering Charudatta Deshpande