Daily Archives: 4 April 2011

Prabhu Chawla: My greatest feat, and failure

A fresh selection of media questions from readers to the editorial director of The New Indian Express group, Prabhu Chawla, and answered with trademark candour.

Vol 1. No III.


Q: Why did you quit India Today group? I am asking this question because I am a big fan of your show Sidhi Baat.

A: I am now 65 year old. I wanted to do something new. You can watch my show Sachchi Baat on all the ETV channels on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

Q: Once the Indian Express was the largest selling newspaper in the country with an impact which was unmatched. Why don’t the TNIE and IE merge? Please don’t evade the question by saying “I can’t comment”.

A: Of course, I can’t comment on an issue which involves the owners. I am sure both of them know what is good for both the organisations. Future of the Express spirit is great.

Q: What, in your own opinion, is the greatest achievement of your life? What is your greatest failure? If there is one thing that you could change in your past, then what would that be?

A: It is a tricky question. But greatest success has been in creating my successors who are better than me. My failure lies in that I haven’t learnt to be a good listener.

Q: If one analyzes the trend of this column, one can invariably reach the conclusion that some of the questions and answers are written by you yourself. Self praising column…as what more can be expected from you?

A: Please grant me the right to express myself. Don’t try to gag me as you will not succeed.

Q: I thought some of your columnists are anti-Hindu and biased, case in point is Jyoti Punwani‘s write up. Has paid news comes to TNIE? Please reply.

A: I didn’t know that if an article doesn’t support your point of view becomes a paid news? We allow free flow of expression and can’t be intimidated by those who are arrogant and intolerant.

Q: When India Today was facing strong attack from the newly launched Outlook*, in 1990s, Aroon Purie chose you to command the counter charge. Under your command, India Today won the war. Shall we expect a repeat of that feat now at the NIE?

A: Let us hope for the best. NIE is a very strong and credible brand. With the support of loyal readers and well wishers like you, we will make it better than the best.

* Disclosures apply

Also read: Prabhu Chawla out, M.J. Akbar in at India Today

Khushwant Singh: Why Aroon Purie ‘elevated’ Prabhu Chawla


Prabhu Answers

Vol I. No.I: Straight drives from the man behind Seedhi Baat

Vol I. No IIHome truths from the man behind Sachchi Baat


The 25-paise mag where R.K. Laxman began

R.K. Laxman may have made his name after a lifetime at The Times of India, but it was for a small Kannada humour monthly called Koravanji that the Mysore-born cartoonist drew his first works.

The magazine had been inspired by the British satirical magazine Punch. The first issue saw the light of day, today, 70 years ago and shut down 25 years later, in 1967.

A CD containing 300 past issues of Koravanji (which refers to fortune-telling tribal women) was released in Mysore last week, and a website has been launched to keep the jokes going.


Prof A.V. Narasimha Murthy, former head of the department of ancient history and archaeology of the University of Mysore, recounts the origin of Koravanji in Star of Mysore.

“The editor of Korvanji was Dr R. Shivaram, popularly known as RaShi. He was a medical doctor but his stethoscope could detect humour. It seems that he was a regular reader of  Punch, the internationally known humour magazine.

“The college in which RaShi was studying auctioned all the old magazines including Punch. Shivaram managed to collect Rs 3 to buy them. But the Principal of the college himself purchased the lot at Rs 4.

“The boy was highly disappointed. But the understanding Principal presented all the volumes to Shivaram as a gift. This precious gift from the Principal was a turning point in the career of young Shivaram and years later he started the monthly magazine Koravanji.

“The first issue appeared on Ugadi day of Chitrabanu Samvatsara (1942). Each issue was sold at 4 annas of 25 paise. Newspaper agents purchased the copies but did not pay the Editor/MD. The doctor who had made a good name had no cure for these agents.”

Koravanji‘s editorial menu comprised humourous skits, light hearted poems, parodies, gossip, limericks, cartoons, etc. The absence of obscene lines and double entendre was a stand-out feature, according to the professor.

Links via E.R. Ramachandran


Also read: Laxman & Narayan: How one family produced two geniuses

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

Making all of us smile can make one of us cry

EXCLUSIVE: The unpublished doodles of R.K. Laxman

Has namma R.K. Laxman drawn his last cartoon?