Daily Archives: 19 July 2010

Tarun J. Tejpal on the five facets of his life

Tarun J. Tejpal, editor of Tehelka, in Hi! Blitz, the in-flight journal of Kingfisher airlines:

On his father, an army officer: “He gave us an idea of the big world. It was a routine to discuss world history and affairs at the dinner table. When I was seven, I knew the names of secretary-generals of the United Nations. My father talked about these, so it became part of my metabolism.”

On how he parcels his time: “Fifty per cent of my time has gone in finding funds in the last seven years. It’s getting better just by surviving. Today, there are investors all over the world who would love to have a piece of Tehelka.”

On India: “Very often people criticise me for being tough about India, but toughness arises out of great love. I am not one of those who believes India is a great country. I think we have a lot of hard work to do to get there. Gandhi, Nehru, Azad… came from elite backgrounds but they understood that the soul of India was a deeply damaged and impoverished soul. That’s something I try to convey through journalism and writing to my own class—that no matter how elite you are, you are tied to a very deep social contract. The more elite you are, the more responsibility you have to give back for the greater good, but that also doesn’t mean that we don’t lead a good life.”

On politics: “I was offered a ticket in the 2004 elections (I will not tell which party). I thought about it for a very long time. I decided not to go for it largely because I am an extremely idiosyncratic person. I like to live life on my own terms. I am whimsical and like to answer only to myself and not to anybody else. I squared up my personality and decided I was a bad fit. Our task as journalists is to impact power and money and make them (politicans) do the right thing.”

On his essential mien: “I’m a risk taker. I think  my biggest failing and strength is that I am easily bored unless I am challenged. Whether as a writer or journalist, I try to push the boundaries. My ability to stay unafraid has somehow worked in my favour and also got me in trouble.”

Photograph: courtesy obiwi

Also read: ‘Media is now a part of the conspiracy of silence’

Gandhian activism, fiery journalism & cocktails!