Posts Tagged ‘Sunday’

In Ernakulam, this is Anita Pratap reporting for…

10 March 2014

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Former Tehelka, India Today and Headlines Today journalist Ashish Khetan is to be the Aam Aadmi Party’s candidate from the New Delhi constituency, continuing the fledgling party’s strange infatuation with journalists.

But from deep south, there is news that AAP may field a blast from the past, Anita Pratap.

The former Time, CNN, Indian Express, Sunday and India Today reporter, who was one of the first Indian journalists to come face to face with the LTTE chief, V. Prabhakaran, has been shortlisted to contest against the Union minister of state for food, K.V. Thomas, from Ernakulam.

The Cochin edition of Times of India quotes Pratap as saying:

“I have been writing for the last 35 years mainly with a view to give voice to the voiceless. But the plight of the people is not changing. I now feel I should have a more direct role. Let the youngsters carry on with the interventions in the society through writing.”

She tells Bangalore Mirror:

“I don’t see myself as a politician. There is no fundamental change in my aim. I took up journalism as an important democratic tool and I wanted to be the voice and face of millions. There is a fire in my belly and I needed to get to the political stage to encourage the right kind of decisions. My aim is still the same, to be a representative of the common people.

“I am not here to defeat Prof Thomas. I am here because my heart is in this place. I am from Kerala and I wanted to be here for my people. I believe in what the Bhagvad Gita says: do your duty, reward is not your concern.”

Photograph: courtesy Anita Pratap

Also read: Who are the journalists running, ruining BJP?

Don’t laugh, do journalists make good politicians?

Why the BJP (perhaps) sent Chandan Mitra to RS

Kanchan Gupta versus Swapan Dasgupta on Twitter

For the BJP, is the pen mightier than the trishul?

Ex-Star News, TOI journalists behind ‘Arnab Spring’

When the gang of four meets at IIC, it’s news

Are journalists already poised to ride Modi wave?

How a BVB journalism course shaped a writer

14 October 2013

NEWS

Shashi Deshpande, the Bangalore-based short story writer and novelist, on how journalism shaped her writing, in the Indian Express magazine on Sundays, Eye:

Do you remember how your writing career began? And how you became a journalist?

I was working as a trainee with the Onlooker when a colleague asked me, ‘Why don’t you write a story for our annual?’ I must have said, ‘What! Me?’

But strangely, I did write a story (The Legacy) over the weekend. It was published and so it began — more stories, then novels and more novels …

I joined a journalism course [at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Bombay] because, after my children were born, I was desperate at losing out on an intellectual life, which had always mattered to me. My family life was wonderful, but it was not enough for me.

Once I got into the part-time journalism class, I found I enjoyed the writing — it felt like something I had always been doing. And when I had to do a three months’ apprenticeship, my writing was much appreciated and I was asked to join the staff. Unfortunately, my children were too little to be left on their own, so I didn’t. I stayed home and wrote.

For the record, the now-defunct Onlooker magazine was published by the Free Press Journal group, competing among others with the fortnightly India Today and weekly Sunday.

India TV founder and Aap ki Adalat host Rajat Sharma was among its editors.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Read the full interview: Shashi Deshpande

Also read: How journalism helped cartoonist Manjula Padmanabhan

How to pass IAS exams: read newspapers and magazines

Bangalore reporter who became a ‘RAW agent’

31 August 2013

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In Lounge, the weekend section of the business paper Mint, the columnist Aakar Patel doffs his hat to Prakash Belawadi, the Bangalore engineer who became an Indian Express reporter, who became a magazine correspondent, who became a television chat show host, who launched a journalism school, who launched a weekly newspaper…

Who made a national-award winning English film, who makes a hit TV serial—and who is winning accolades for his role as a Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) agent in the just-released Hindi film, Madras Cafe:

“Prakash Belawadi started and edited a weekly newspaper, Bangalore Bias (it shut down). He has begun so many enterprises, a media school among them, that I have lost count just of those he has been involved in since 2000, and would not be surprised if he has too.

“Belawadi began his career as a journalist and worked for Vir Sanghvi’s Sunday. He remains a columnist and a first rate one. He has the best quality a columnist can have and that, according to Graham Greene, is never to be boring.

“Belawadi has a dangerous lack of ideology that makes him an aggressive and unpredictable debater. He can casually assume a position, often contrary to one he held a couple of days ago, and unpack a ferocious argument. Like all good men, he likes a fight, and like all good men it is promptly forgotten. He has a quality that is admirable among men.

“He is restless and tireless, and totally uncaring for the middle-class ambitions that most of us cannot let go of, and few of us ever achieve.”

Read the full article: A restless Renaissance man

Also read: For some journalists, acting is second string in bow

Finally, Karnataka gets an acting chief minister

External reading: Dibang of Aaj Tak, NDTV India is ex-RAW agent

Salman Khurshid, India Today & Sunday Guardian

21 October 2012

Salman Khurshid, the Oxford-educated Union law minister, has taken the India Today group to court in Delhi, Bombay, Lucknow and London claiming damages of Rs 243 crore following Aaj Tak‘s sting operation that accused the trust run by his wife, former Sunday magazine journalist Louise Khurshid nee Fernandes, of a discrepancy of Rs 71 lakh.

But ranting on TV against pesky reporters or the threat to meet his detractors with “blood” are not only the excesses of the smooth-talking Khurshid. His supporters are no better.

In The Sunday Guardian edited by M.J. Akbar (who also wears the hat of editorial director of India Today), reporter Abhinandan Mishra writes of the reception he got in Khurshid’s constituency Farukhabad, when he had gone to investigate the truth behind the camps organised by Zakir Hussain memorial trust.

“Once done with our investigation, we moved toward our car to discover that a small group of men had gathered. One of them asked me the purpose of my visit. When I realised that I was verifying the credentials of the disabled, the mob got agitated and asked me to leave.

“They were shouting that I was wasting my time and was trying to malign “SalmanSahab“.

“I understood the gravity of the situation and did not wish to get into further arguments with the men and decided to leave Pithora. But a well built man in his early 30s started following us on a Bullet motorcycle. He started banging the passenger window asking my companion to roll down the glass.

“When we ignored him, he signalled to the driver to roll down the window. I obliged.

“What followed was a string of abuses and threats at me: “Tu nikal yahaan se. Tu Salman Sahab ka kuch nahi bigaad paayege. Farrukhabad se bahar niklo, batate hain tujhe (Get out of this place. You will not be able to do anything to Salman Sahab. I will deal with you once you step out of Farrukhabad).”

“We asked the driver to speed up.

“The next stop was Kaimganj. As I finished with the investigation and was about to exit the city, the second attack happened, much more ferocious and well planned. I heard a loud thud on the window and saw a man who appeared to be in his 40s attempting to break the glass.

“Threatening me, he shouted, “Kar li tehkikat? **&*&* kuch nahee kar paayega tu, kitna bhee likh le Salman ke khilaaf. (Are you done with your investigation? You cannot harm Salman no matter how much you write).” He then asked the driver to stop the car.

“I asked the driver to accelerate the car. However, the attacker caught up with us and shouted, “Bahar nikal tujhey batata hun. Tu yahaan se zinda nahi jaayega. (Get out of the car. You will not return alive from here).” He then raced ahead and parked his bike. We saw three people joining him and then starting to pelt stones and bricks at our car. They missed us narrowly because of the speed at which our driver was driving the car. They followed us till the time we entered the main city of Farrukhabad.

“I called up the superintendent of police, but the number was switched off. I then called up the assistant SP of the district, O.P. Singh, who said to my shock that I should have informed the police before going to these areas.”

In the Hindustan Times, the Cambridge-educated television anchor and interviewer Karan Thapar gives Khurshid a clean chit:

“There’s one question that’s dominated the last week. It’s been asked again and again. Equally significantly, it’s been put by a wide range of people. “Do you believe Salman Khurshid?” My answer is simple and blunt: yes….

“I have three deeper reasons for believing Salman. First, I’ve known him since I was 21 and cannot believe he would forge letters or pilfer money meant for the handicapped. Second, I admire his willingness to subject himself to a rigorous interview less than two hours after returning from London. A man with a guilty conscious would have ducked for cover instead. Third, he wouldn’t sue for defamation if he did not have a credible and convincing defence. Oscar Wilde did that and look where he ended up!”

Cartoon: courtesy R. Prasad/ Mail Today

Salman Rushdie, Satanic Verses & India Today

22 September 2012

The launch of Salman Rushdie‘s memoirs, Joseph Anton, written in third person, has seen a flurry of TV interviews, and profiles, reviews and soft stories in the newspapers.

Hindustan Times runs this short excerpt from the book which chronicles how The Satanic Verses ended up getting banned in India:

On the day he received the bound proofs of The Satanic Verses he was visited at home on St Peter’s Street by a journalist he thought of as a friend, Madhu Jain of India Today.

When she saw the thick, dark blue cover with the large red title she grew extremely excited, and pleaded to be given a copy so that she could read it while on holiday in England with her husband. And once she had read it she demanded that she be allowed to interview him and that India Today be allowed to publish an extract.

Again, he agreed.

For many years afterwards he thought of this publication as the match that lit the fire.

And certainly the magazine highlighted what came to be seen as the book’s ‘controversial’ aspects, using the headline AN UNEQUIVOCAL ATTACK ON RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM, which was the first of innumerable inaccurate descriptions of the book’s contents, and, in another headline, ascribing a quote to him – MY THEME IS FANATICISM – that further misrepresented the work.

The last sentence of the article, ‘The Satanic Verses is bound to trigger an avalanche of protests…’ was an open invitation for those protests to begin.

Madhu Jain offers an explanation in Open magazine:

When I returned to Delhi my editor in India Today asked me to write a review before anybody else did. Since the book was yet to be launched, I called Salman in London for permission to publish a review. He said yes….

Unfortunately, the editor of the books pages of the magazine at the time, who later went on to edit a national daily, plucked some of the more volatile extracts from the novel—those about the Prophet’s wives—and inserted them into the book review.

Not too long after the IFS bureaucrat-turned-politician Syed Shahabuddin read the excerpts (not the book as he admitted ) and demanded that The Satanic Verses be banned. Protests erupted in India and Pakistan.

In Karachi, a few protesters died when they were fired upon. It is believed that Ayatollah Khomeini watched this on television and ordered the fatwa.

Madhu Jain writes that Rushdie stopped talking to her after the review and even snubbed her when she offered an explanation of what had happened.

But in Joseph Anton (pages 112-13), Rushdie writes:

“With the passage of time came forgiveness. Rereading the India Today piece many years later, in a calmer time, he would concede the piece was fairer than the magazine’s headline writer had made it look, more balanced than its last sentence. Those who wished to be offended would have been offended anyway. Those who were looking to be inflamed would have found the necessary spark.

“Perhaps the magazine’s most damaging act was to break the traditional publishing embargo and print its piece nine days before the book’s publication, at a time when not a single copy had arrived in India. This allowed Mr Shahabuddin and his ally, another opposition MP named Khurshid Alam Khan, free rein. They could say whatever they pleased about the book, but it could not be read and therefore could not be defended.

“One man who had read an advance copy, the journalist Khushwant Singh, called for a ban in the Illustrated Weekly of India as a measure to prevent trouble. He thus became the first member of the small group of world writers who joined the censorship lobby. Khushwant Singh further claimed that he had been asked for his advice by Penguin and had warned the author and publishers of the consequences of publication.

“The author was unaware of any such warning. if it was ever given, it was never received.”

Read the HT review: Joseph Anton

Madhu Jain: The deadly review

Tiger Pataudi’s parting shot for the media

24 September 2011

A day after the passing of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, The Telegraph has reprinted a 1995 interview with the former cricket captain, who also did a stint as editor of Sportsworld, the now-defunct magazine from the Ananda Bazaar Patrika group that owns The Telegraph.

The interviewer is Salman Khurshid, the current Union law minister, whose wife Louise Fernandes used to be a correspondent for Sunday magazine, also of the ABP group.

Salman: Tell me about other things in life… something about the media world.

Tiger: Really, they deserve the biggest kick up their arse. They do the most damage.

Salman: And they are absolutely irresponsible. Don’t you see something in this, apart from the fact that there is a big problem of accountability in the media and every time we’ve tried, or anyone has tried, to make a system by which the media can be made accountable, they’ve cried, they’ve cried themselves hoarse, and we haven’t succeeded. People can defame anyone they like, people can write anything they like. But non-accountability is a part of modern Indian culture.

Tiger: But they’re also well patronised. They wouldn’t be doing this unless they were patronised by the politicians.

Salman: Yes that is true. But the media is going to change. There is a new kind of media. I often tell the small-time newspaper people that you keep publishing your 5,000 copies defaming people, but there’s an electronic media coming that sees facts a little more clearly because it shows them on the screen. You object as much as you like, but the day of the electronic media has come.

Read the full interview: ‘Can’t be taken seriously till you are 70′

Rajeev Shukla: from reporter to minister of state

12 July 2011

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from Delhi: Rajeev Shukla, the journalist who began his career as a lowly reporter in the Hindi daily Northern India Patrika in Kanpur in 1978 before turning to politics in 2000, is to become a minister in the Manmohan Singh government this evening.

The 52-year-old will be the minister of State in charge of parliamentary affairs.

Shukla, a member of the Rajya Sabha from his home-state Uttar Pradesh, earned his journalistic spurs during his three-year stint in the late 1980s at the weekly Hindi magazine Ravivar, where under its then editor Udayan Sharma, he broke a story on the former prime minister V.P.  Singh.

Singh, a bugbear of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on the Bofors issue, had signed away large tracts of land he held as the “Raja of Manda”. Shukla reported that Singh’s wife had objected to the sale, saying he was not in his right mental balance at the time.

That story propelled Shukla into the Congress orbit.

Shukla later held several senior editorial positions later in the ABP-owned Sunday and The Sunday Observer, which had been purchased by Dhirubhai Ambani‘s Reliance Industries.

The arrival of satellite television saw Shukla host a weekly interview programme on Zee called Rubaru, before he branched off to launch his own production house called BAG Films (BAG for Bhagwan, Allah, God) with wife Anuradha Prasad (sister of BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad) in tow.

The couple now own a news channel (News24), an entertainment channel (E24), a radio station (Dhamaal 24), and a school of media and convergence studies.

Shukla entered the Rajya Sabha in 2000 as a member of the short-lived Uttar Pradesh Loktantrik Congress, winning votes disporportionate to his political lineage and vintage from the BJP, Congress and the BSP. His vote tally set tongues wagging in Lucknow.

Venkitesh Ramakrishnan of Frontline magazine reported:

“The grapevine said during the run-up to the elections that two powerful industrial groups backed Shukla.”

Shukla soon become a prominent functionary in the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI), rising to be vice-president.  DNA reported that a firmed owned by him had bought a stake in Shah Rukh Khan‘s Kolkata Knight Riders, at whose matches Rahul Gandhi has been one of the more famous faces from the VIP box.

When Shah Rukh Khan was detained in the United States in the run-up to his film My Name is Khan in 2009, he famously said that the first person he called to bail him out was Rajeev Shukla.

Anuradha Prasad watches her husband Rajeev Shukla take oath as minister in this photograb from the couple's news channel, News24

‘The most prolific journalist of our times’

11 June 2011

Khushwant Singh on his Illustrated Weekly of India protege M.J. Akbar, in The Telegraph, Calcutta, the “unputdownable” Calcutta paper founded by Akbar in 1982:

M.J. Akbar must be the most prolific journalist of our times. He heads the editorial board of India Today, edits The Sunday Guardian financed by Ram Jethmalani, and writes for many other papers including The Times of India. He frequently appears on television channels and has over a dozen books to his credit. His latest is Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan. He is tireless and highly readable.

“I take credit for some of Akbar’s achievements, like a father would of his son’s successes. Akbar started his journalistic career as a trainee picked by me. He met his wife-to-be in my office and nominated me the godfather of his daughter. Few people could be closer than he and I.

“Despite our closeness, I went woefully wrong on one important issue. I had assumed that, like me, he was an agnostic. He is a devout Muslim. He fasts throughout the month of Ramzan but celebrates Id-ul Fitr in my home. He has performed the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.

“He has many years to go before he retires. By the time of his retirement, I expect him to have done much by which posterity will remember him.”

For the record, Akbar’s name also appears as editor of the Indian edition of the International Herald Tribune, published by Deccan Chronicle from Hyderabad, in an arrangement with the New York Times.

Photograph: courtesy The Telegraph

Also read: ‘Never let your head stoop as a journalist’

‘News is the subtlest form of advertising’

‘In fractured media, the word is the common fact’

Look, who inspired R.K. Laxman‘s common man!

Vir Sanghvi “suspends” Hindustan Times column

27 November 2010

Vir Sanghvi‘s weekly Hindustan Times column Counterpoint will not appear from next Sunday, after tapes of his alleged conversations with the lobbyist Niira Radia surfaced in Outlook* and Open magazines last week.

The column which will appear tomorrow, 28 November 2010, will be his last, although Sanghvi claims on his website, a) that he is merely taking a break and will be back soon, and b) that his other work for HT will appear as usual.

“The whole episode has left me feeling battered. Perhaps it will drag on. Perhaps more muck will fly around. I have no desire to subject Counterpoint to this filth. It deserves better. So, Counterpoint will be taking a break. When life returns to normal, so will Counterpoint.

“As for me, I must say in all humility, that I will use the break to do some thinking. Of course, I’ll still be around, both here at the HT and in Brunch and in all the other places your normally find me (TV, books, live events, etc.). Counterpoint has taken a break before (six months in 2000). It returned rested and refreshed. This time around, perhaps a rest will lead to renewal.”

The rumour is that the New Indian Express which, too, runs an exclusive column by Sanghvi has decided to drop him after the tapes’ scandal.

Sanghvi, who happily drops the names of Congress bigwigs Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in his conversations, suffers further public opprobrium in the letters column of Outlook* magazine, where a “clarification” reads thus:

“After Outlook’s disclosure of the 2G scam tapes, sources close to the Congress leadership have said journalist Vir Sanghvi’s references to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in his conversation with Niira Radia were a figment of his imagination. He was neither consulted during the cabinet formation post-2009 election nor given the opportunity to speak to the Congress leadership on the allocation of portfolios.”

Oxford-educated Sanghvi was editor of Bombay magazine of the India Today group, Sunday of Ananda Bazaar Patrika group, and Hindustan Times before being named “advisory editorial director of HT“.

One of the few print journalists to graduate to television with ease, Sanghvi has hosted shows on a number of networks Star and Discovery Travel & Living, and writes a popular food column.

Counterpoint has appeared for over two decades in both Sunday and HT.

* Disclosures apply

Update: An earlier headline for this piece suggested that Hindustan Times had “suspended” the column.

Read the full column: Setting the record straight

External reading: The Niira Radia tapes and transcripts

‘Perhaps, it is time for missionary journalists’

10 April 2010

In a week in which the Hindustan Times front-paged the story of children eating silica-laced mud not far from Allahabad, and 76 soldiers were ambushed by Maoists in poverty-stricken Dantewada, the former Sunday magazine and India Today correspondent Madhu Jain laments the loss of “missionary journalism” in her DNA column.

“The words of my boss still rankle, decades later. ‘Look, forget all this missionary journalism. Nobody likes to read about poverty.’

“There was a major drought going on that summer in Rajasthan. I had just returned to Delhi after over a week in the remotest corners of the state—barely a stone’s throw from the Pakistan border— on the trail of famine deaths.

“The government of the day was almost going blue in the face denying famine deaths. But I had found several such incidents, mostly children who had died after successive years of malnutrition — heart-rending stories, each one of them. Yet, nobody seemed interested. My story didn’t make the cover….

“Poverty is also not a sexy issue for the media — most of the time that is. These days they are mired in the hullabaloo over Sania-and-Shoaib. They are obsessed by the IPL, Indian billionaires, the clichés of India Shining. And, of course, the Page 3 syndrome and the most trivial of pursuits of the inhabitants of Bollywood.”

Read the full article: A call for missionary journalism

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