Posts Tagged ‘Vir Sanghvi’

‘Tarun Tejpal was trapped in a skin not his own’

25 November 2013

unnamed

Former Outlook* publisher, Maheshwar Peri, who now runs Pathfinder Media, the magazine company which publishes Careers 360, on his friend and former colleague Tarun J. Tejpal**.

***

MaheshPeri

By MAHESH PERI

The stupidity of our nation gets greatly exposed with the extreme reactions to Tarun J. Tejpal—the cult following of his journalism at one end, and the lynch mobs baying for his blood, following the outing of his sexual escapades, at the other.

Tarun comes across as a sexual predator, on the prowl, in search of his next victim. He used his power and influence over young women half his age. The girl is his daughter’s friend and his friend’s daughter.

However, this should not take away some of the most seminal work that the journalists of Tehelka have done over the years.

***

Tarun’ s story in itself is an alchemy of desire. He was like most of us: chirpy, fun-loving, naughty. However, post Tehelka, he donned the robe of a saint. He became preachy and started espousing causes that he never stood for and never could.

He was nothing that the nation started acknowledging him for.

He was a normal guy with all the flaws, fallacies and weaknesses.

It was a facade he had to put on for the survival of Tehelka, which was losing money, each year. Only the power exuded by Tehelka could make it viable.

He glorified himself when not due. He “owned” the company when the money came from others. He acted the hero while he was just a team member.The existence of Tehelka is not just because of Tarun.

Tehelka exists because of:

1) The financial contributions of many citizens, celebrities and most importantly [the banker] Shankar Sharma, and,
2) The work of Aniruddha Bahal and Ashish Khetan.

If Tarun’s lofty objective was to start a not-for-profit free and aggressive media enterprise, he could have made all contributors as shareholders. He crowd-funded Tehelka but did not part with ownership. The new shareholders include K.D. Singh, a Trinamul Congress MP, who bought his way into Rajya Sabha.

Any intelligent person should have cried foul then.

It is too late now.

***

Sometime in 2009 when my fledgling publication wrote against an educational institution with doubtful credentials, we got into a lot of trouble.

Editors like Aditya Sinha (New Indian Express), Vir Sanghvi (Hindustan Times), Shekhar Gupta (Indian Express) personally supported us.

We were going through multiple cases and draining all our resources.

When Tehelka decided to do a story to the subject, we were too happy. Who can espouse the cause of investigative journalism better? Only till we got the questions from the journalist. We realised that it was a story being done on behalf of the institution to throw insinuations at us.

I was very upset because I knew Tarun personally but for him, it didn’t matter. We responded professionally, sticking to facts. I dared them to do a story despite the facts. It was no coincidence that the dubious institution is Tehelka‘s biggest advertiser taking all its back covers.

The story never appeared, because our response didn’t leave any gaps. And the owner of the institution was at the THINK fest in Goa, rubbing shoulders with the then HRD minister Kapil Sibal and gained access to a ministry that should have punished him.

Kapil Sibal later attended a special screening of a movie produced by this institution, and the picture was advertised/showcased all over to unsuspecting parents and students. For me, THINK became a place which conducted an orgy over social issues.

I stopped following it.

***

This is not just about Tarun.

It is about abuse of power, by a journalist, an editor and a man. A self-styled messiah. Each time, they believe they can get away with unfair demands, they push the envelope further.

People in power with no humility can destroy like nothing else. The desires, fantasies and a coterie is a very potent combination.Tarun is a victim of his own facade, fantasies and greed. He was never what he was portrayed, then and now. He was never a saint and neither can he be a rapist.

He is trapped in a skin not his own. We couldn’t stop people from hailing him as God, as much as we cannot stop them from calling him a devil.

Alas. It is too late now.

* Disclosures apply

** This comment was first posted by the author on Facebook

Photographs: courtesy Karamchand Jena, and Campaign India

Also read: Tarun J. Tejpal steps aside as editor of Tehelka

Life yourselves up, dearie, or get into my elevator

POLL: Is sexual harassment rampant in Indian media?

Online petition to protect Tehelka journalist’s privacy

***

Tarun Tejpal on the five facets of his life

How Congress regime stepped in to help Tehelka

A magazine, a scam, a owner & his Goan house

NYT, WSJ weigh on Tehelka‘s Goa controversy

Tehelka promoter says he didn’t turn off FW tap

The Editor who declined the Padma Bhushan

3 November 2013

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Today, 3 November 2013, is the birth centenary of Nikhil Chakravartty, the “barefoot reporter” who founded the journal Mainstream.

NC or Nikhilda, as most who knew him called him, plunged into active journalism as a special correspondent with the Communist Party organ People’s War (1944-46) and People’s Age (1946-48), and later Crossroads (1952-55) and New Age (1955-57).

He then set up a feature news service, India Press Agency (IPA) in collaboration with another Communist journalist David Cohen.

In 1959, IPA shot into prominence with a report of the then prime minister’s personal assistant M.O. Mathai, that rocked Parliament, forcing Mathai to resign.

Nikhil Chakravartty quit the Communist Party for its support of Indira Gandhi‘s emergency and played a key role in opposing press censorship (1975-77) and Rajiv Gandhi‘s anti-defamation bill in 1989.

Tellingly, he declined the Padma Bhushan conferred on him by the National Front government In 1990, with a dignified letter to the then President, “pointing out that a journalist carrying out his professional obligation should not appear to be close to any government and/or any political establishment.”

A commemorative issue of Mainstream, released at a seminar organised by the Editors Guild of India in New Delhi yesterday, records:

“He always called himself a ‘reporter’. He did have the finest attributes of a reporter, and despite airing his own views in commentaries and editorials never discarded fairness in reporting or tampered with facts.

“His fidelity to facts was extraordinary. And he knew what to report and what not to report—always preserving the confidence reposed in him by his interlocutors.”

Nikhil Chakravartty passed away on 27 June 1998, by which time he had stepped down as editor of Mainstream to become its editorial advisor.

Mainstream is now edited by his son Sumit Chakravartty.

Also read: Why Rajdeep, Barkha must decline Padma Sri

Lessons for Vir Sanghvi & Barkha from Prem & Nikhilda

Did Radia tapes impact Padma awards for journos?

External reading: Usha Rai on Nikhil Chakravartty

When an editor draws a cartoon, it’s news

13 September 2013

MJ

Indian print editors have done book reviews (Sham Lal, Times of India), film reviews (Vinod Mehta, Debonair), food reviews (Vir Sanghvi, Hindustan Times), music reviews (Chandan Mitra, TOI, Pioneer, The Sunday Observer; Sanjoy Narayan, Hindustan Times), elephant polo reviews (Suman Dubey, India Today) etc, but few have done cartoons.

When The Telegraph, Calcutta, was launched Pritish Nandy (who later became the editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India) would do a daily, front-page pocket cartoon, with Mukul Sharma (who later became the editor of Science Today) writing the caption, and vice-versa.

Even today, former Statesman and Indian Express editor S. Nihal Singh is a happy doodler.

In the latest issue of Open magazine, its editor Manu Joseph (who has set crossword puzzles at his previous port of calling, Outlook) puts his signature on a cartoon. Let the record show that “Pope” Joseph‘s handwriting bears a close similarity with Dr Hemant Morporia, the radiologist who draws cartoons.

Also read: If The Economist looks at Tamil News, it’s news

When a stringer beats up a reporter, it’s news

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

When a politician weds a journalist, it’s news

When a magazine editor marries a starlet, it’s news

When dog bites dog, it’s news—I

When dog bites dog, it’s news—II

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

Vir Sanghvi, Modi, 1984 and Hindustan Times

26 July 2013

In the latest issue of Open magazine, its political editor Hartosh Singh Bal writes on the re-appearance of former Hindustan Times editor Vir Sanghvi on the pages of the newspaper, to underline the the media’s janus-faced approach to the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984 under Congress watch and the 2002 Gujarat riots under BJP rule:

Narendra Modi is not just unfit for the post of Prime Minister; he is unfit for any public office. But the shamelessness of such a man is best questioned by a media that is immune to questions about its own motives.

“Just this week, Delhi woke up to an article on the edit page of one of India’s leading newspapers, the Hindustan Times, by none other than Vir Sanghvi.

“Writing in the paper on politics for the first time since his misuse of the same space was rather dramatically highlighted in the Radia Tapes, he commented on the Modi campaign: ‘No matter which party wins, India is certain to lose.’

“It seems even shame has its limits.

“It is no surprise that almost a decade earlier Sanghvi had written about the 1984 massacres: ‘On the more substantive issue of whether the administration allowed Delhi to burn, all the commissions have been unanimous: yes, it did, but this was because of incompetence and negligence, not because of any sinister design. If there is a parallel, it is with the 1993 Bombay riots rather than with Gujarat.’

“Somehow, he always manages to say exactly what the Congress wants to hear. To me it seems that no matter who wins, with his piece being published, journalism in some measure has already lost.”

Read the full column: The end of shame

Also read: Vir Sanghvi and Barkha Dutt: “We were targetted”

HT strips Vir Sanghvi of his editorial advisory role

Vir Sanghvi suspends Hindustan Times column

Vir Sanghvi says his HT column will resume soon

Why we didn’t hear Niira Radia tapes: 2 examples

86% feel let down by CD baat of journalists

After Athreya and Kautilya, enter Chanakya

Vir Sanghvi clarifies on Caravan profile of Arnab

9 January 2013

In its new avatar, Caravan magazine doesn’t have space for letters to the editor.

But in the January 2013 issue, the contributors’ page contains a response from Vir Sanghvi, the former editor of Hindustan Times, on the profile of Times Now editor-in-chief Arnab Gowsami in the last issue of 2012.

An error seems to have crept into Rahul Bhatia‘s otherwise well-researched story about Times Now.

I am quoted as having told a Times Now employee in 2006 that the Jains had offered me a job to head their television channels. I do not know who this unnamed employee is but she or he is clearly mistaken or has misremembered our conversation.

I made no such remark.

Considering that the story quotes me in inverted commas, I wish Caravan would have mailed or phoned me to double-check the quote. That way, I could have clarified this before the story appeared, rather than right now, after publication.

For the record, I have watched Arnab‘s progress from his days at The Telegraph, through his stint at NDTV and now, as editor in chief of Times Now. Though it is ages since we last spoke or met, I have always liked him and respect his considerable achievements.

Certainly, I will never diss him to a member of his staff. I have been in this business long enough not to do something that crass.

Vir Sanghvi

All the news that is fit to cook, serve and eat

9 December 2011

Although his reputation as a political journalist lies in tatters after the Niira Radia tapes, Vir Sanghvi is still a marquee food name in the Hindustan Times‘ Sunday magazine, Brunch. When not reporting for his paper’s hunger project, former HT managing editor Samar Halarnkar whips up a food column in the business daily Mint, titled Our Daily Bread

Business Standard opinion pages editor Mihir S. Sharma used to do a food column of sorts in his former port of call, The Indian Express even while he was gorging on sweet meat. And rare is the journalist who doesn’t confess to spending quality time in the kitchen to “destress”.

Which leads us to ask, after cooking up stuff at their day-job—in a manner of speaking—does cooking food come naturally to journalists? Or can only a cook who knows what to serve for the body know what it takes to serve for the mind?

Sourish Bhattacharyya writes about the latest chef on the block in Mail Today:

Journalists seem to have discovered a second career in the kitchen. [Former ToI and Express staffer] Satish Warrier led the way with the much- acclaimed Gunpowder in Hauz Khas Village and now Arun Kumar, journalist-turned-filmmakerturned-chef (in picture, above), has rescued Zambar from its amateurish foray into South Indian cuisine….

Unlike Jiggs Kalra, who was the first journalist to get into the food business but has never cooked in his life, Arun Kumar ( like Satish Warrier) has been a serious hobby chef. He picked up recipes on his many filmmaking assignments across the country and replicated them for Ritu Dalmia’s catering company.

Photograph: courtesy Mail Today

Also read: When Samir served a thali, Vineet served a scoop

Julie & Julia, Betty Crocker and “Premila Lal

ToI food writer Sabina Sehgal Saikia is dead: RIP

Vir Sanghvi says his HT column will resume soon

29 November 2011

After gripping the nation’s attention for nearly a year, the Niira Radia tapes that brought the politics-business-media nexus into sharp focus, is now on a slow but screechy rewind.

The lobbyist Radia has shut shop; arrested politicians (Kanimozhi) are on the way out of jail; the corporate bosses and business executives have secured bail; the government is busy reassessing the quantum of the scam (from Rs 173,000 crore to zero-loss to something more agreeable) and the case goes on.

Now, Vir Sanghvi, the former editor of the Hindustan Times, who “suspended” his weekly column in the Delhi paper and was redesignated “Advisor, HT Media” instead of “Advisory Editorial Director, HT Media”, after he was caught in conversations with Radia, claims he is on the way to resurrecting his “Counterpoint”.

In an interview with Revati Laul of Tehelka magazine (after a two-page column in Outlook* magazine and an appearance on NDTV to tout his innocence after forensic labs apparently certified that the tapes containing his voice were faked), Sanghvi claims he now stands vindicated:

Why did you feel the need to withdraw the column and from political journalism?
Because the allegation was that I was hand-in- glove with the Congress and that I was willing to offer Counterpoint to industrialists who wanted me to write things about them. These were damaging allegations. There are two ways to react to it. One is to say they are fake and I will ignore them. Or there’s my way. Which is to say they are fake and until I can prove they are fake, I will not do anything because I think it’s only reasonable that I go away and prove my innocence. I took the second approach.

Are you going to revive the column?
Yeah. Once I finish shooting the two television shows I’m working on.

For the record, HT replaced Sanghvi’s column in the same slot with a column bylined Chanakya six months after he “suspended” his.

* Disclosures apply

Photograph: courtesy Hindu Business Line

Read the full interview: ‘I have been vindicated’

Also read: Scribe says tribe crossed line in Radia tapes

Vir Sanghvi & Barkha Dutt: “We were targetted”

HT strips Vir Sanghvi of editorial advisory role

Vir Sanghvi “suspends” Hindustan Times column

When a paper announces a new editor, it is news

2 November 2011

The appointment and removal of editors in Indian newspapers is an opaque affair, shrouded in mystery, secrecy and intrigue.

It is as if the maaliks and managements have all convinced themselves that they owe no obligation whatsoever to inform the reading, viewing, surfing, shareholding public as to why editor X has been replaced by editor Y, especially if the exit is due to scandal A, scandal B or scandal C.

Business Standard makes an exception on today’s front page, announcing the arrival of A.K. Bhattacharya to replace Sanjaya Baru, who has left to join a strategic affairs thinktank.

Also read: When editor makes way for editor, gracefully

Conflict of interest and an interest in conflicts

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′

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