Tag Archives: Tehelka

Lift yourselves up, dearie, or get into my elevator

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Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal receiving the IPI Award for Excellence in Journalism for 2010, from Union minister Veerappa Moily.

Tehelka editor Tarun J. Tejpal‘s 312-word letter to managing editor Shoma Chaudhury, expressing his “offer to step down” and not attend office for six months following a “bad lapse of judgement, an awful misreading of the situation” with a younger female colleague, has received plenty of negative acclaim for its sheer lack of contrition.

Inspired by the high-falutin’ prose of the non-apology apology and non-resignation resigntion, B.V. Rao, former editor of the Indian Express in Bangalore and Bombay, and currently editor of Governance Now, attempts his own apology-cum-resignation to the staff of the apocryphal newspaper, Dhamaka.

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Dear All,

It is a sad day when our organs threaten to bring down the organisations we erect. That sad day has visited upon Dhamaka.

I am devastated. I can’t bear to see the painstaking work of more than a decade come unstuck over one instance of bad judgement. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to repent. I don’t even know how to make out with all of you…

Wait, don’t pounce on me; that’s my job. I know I mixed up the phrase there…Normally I’m better than this but today words are failing me.

Luckily, I’m told, Tarun Tejpal of Tehelka is also in a similar situation and has written a fab confessional. So I’m going to borrow liberally from his letter. I’m not separately marking out my debit transactions with Tarun but whenever you see elevated prose cover up lowly misdemeanour, you know it’s not mine.

As all of you are aware, Dhamaka has been born and built, day on day, with my blood, toil, tears, sweat and other semi-fluids.

I have been a conscientious editor and publisher. Through bad, and worse, times I have protected Dhamaka and its journalists from the inevitable demands of power and corporations.

I have always allowed every journalist’s sense of the right to flower and express itself. No one has ever been asked to do what they don’t believe in.

But perhaps I was a bit overzealous. On occasion I might have been guilty of discharging more than my duty required me to.

I have already unconditionally apologised for my misconduct to the concerned journalist, but I feel impelled to atone further. I am therefore offering to recuse myself from the editorship of Dhamaka and from the Dhamaka office, for the next six months.

Some of you might say that I have been very considerate on myself with this light, self-indictment and you might be right. So, to increase the degree of difficulty of my penance, I undertake to move my office to the building elevator for these six months. Maybe at the end of it I will master the trick of keeping it in circuit long enough.

As I bid a temporary goodbye to all of you, let me assure you, I’ll make it up to you (that came out right!). Don’t let this one unfortunate incident bog you down. Always remember we have a lot to be proud of. We are the Dhamaka.

Brace yourselves for the tough times ahead. Lift yourselves up. And if you can’t do that on your own, help is in an elevator close to you.

With thanks to Tarun,

Venkat

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

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

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Tarun Tejpal steps aside as ‘Tehelka’ editor

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The following is the full text of the letter sent by Tarun J. Tejpal, founder-editor of Tehelka, to the managing editor of the magazine, Shoma Chaudhury, at 2.58 pm today.

The subject line is: Atonement.

My dear Shoma,

The last few days have been most testing, and I squarely take the blame for this.

A bad lapse of judgment, an awful misreading of the situation, have led to an unfortunate incident that rails against all we believe in and fight for.

I have already unconditionally apologised for my misconduct to the concerned journalist, but I feel impelled to atone further. Tehelka has been born and built, day on day, with my blood, toil, tears and sweat, and that of many others, against near-insurmountable odds.

It has lived for and fought the big battles of our time, always on the side of the oppressed and the wronged, always on the side of equity and justice. Its voice has travelled the world and changed policy and perceptions. It has been a beacon for those who would do the right thing.

Through bad, and worse, times I have protected Tehelka and its journalists from the inevitable demands of power and corporations. I have always allowed every journalist’s sense of the right to flower and express itself. No one has ever been asked to do what they don’t believe in.

I have always held that Tehelka the institution, and its work, have always been infinitely more important than any of us individuals. It is tragic, therefore, that in a lapse of judgment I have hurt our own high principles.

Because it involves Tehelka, and a sterling shared legacy, I feel atonement cannot be just words. I must do the penance that lacerates me. I am therefore offering to recuse myself from the editorship of Tehelka, and from the Tehelka office, for the next six months.

You have always been stellar, Shoma, and even as I apologise to you and all my other colleagues, for this unfortunate incident, I leave Tehelka in your more than capable and safe hands.

In apology,
Tarun

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The following is the full text of the email sent by Tehelka managing editor Shoma Chaudhury at 7.03 pm today, forwarding Tejpal’s letter to all staffers.

Dear All,

This may come as a rude surprise to many of you.

There is a letter from Tarun appended to this mail. There has been an untoward incident, and though he has extended an unconditional apology to the colleague involved, Tarun will be recusing himself as the editor of Tehelka for the next six months.

Tehelka is an institution he has built, and which many journalists both current and former, have contributed to in the most profound ways. Throughout our 13-year career, we have proudly articulated and tried to live by the highest standards.

We have also believed that when there is a mistake or lapse of any kind, one can only respond with right thought and action. In keeping with this stated principle, and the collective values we live by, Tarun will be stepping down for the period mentioned.

This is a hard time for all of us, and I hope all of you will stand by the institution.

Best,
Shoma

Photograph: courtest Outlook

Also read: 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

Dayanita Singh’s #1 tip for young photographers

The photographer Dayanita Singh in conversation with Shougat Dasgupta of Tehelka:

What also may appear archaic to young photographers is your insistence on reading. You advise photographers to take a course in literature rather than photography…

I don’t think there’s anything to go to photo school for. I could teach you how to make a photograph in two days. Where does that leave photography? So I say to young people, what you need to become is the author of your work.

How do you find your voice? Literature shows you something about life. The family portraits I could have taken had I known William Shakespeare when I took them. Who understands jealousy, betrayal, treachery, all these human emotions that are so much part of family life, better than Shakespeare?

A comparative literature course is a great one for anyone interested in photography. You can study how Italo Calvino finds a new form for every work; how Geoff Dyer completely takes the idea of the novel apart and stitches it back together, how he has the courage to write a book [Out of Sheer Rage] about a book that never gets written; how Michael Ondaatje knows just when to stop, to keep you guessing.

When I read [Dyer’s] Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, I was on a grant from Harvard to photograph ‘social issues’. It was a lot of money and very prestigious and it was a trap. I took the photographs I thought Harvard wanted during the day, and photos for myself at night. I was obsessed with this hallucinogenic colour of Calcutta at night. I learned from Dyer how you can weave together two different books and complicate both.

Photography: courtesy Arts Collaboratory

Read the full interview: Dayanita Singh

Also read: Raghu Rai on photography

T.S. Satyan on photography

Prashant Panjiar on photography

T.S. Nagarajan on photography

The ex-journo who cast ‘Shah Rukh’ in a film

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Former print and TV journalist Janaki Vishwanathan, whose first Hindi film Bakrapur has a goat named Shah Rukh, in an interview to Tehelka magazine:

What draws you to your topics — child labour and devdasis?

My training as a journalist made me pick on something that has a basis in reality. Also, I ceased to see cinema as just entertainment. It’s more than that. It can entertain but also inform. Even in mainstream cinema, the issues that these films talk about come from society. It’s the treatment that dilutes the issues for entertainment.

Photograph: via Twitter

Read the full interview: Janaki Vishwanathan

Also read: How a BVB course shaped writr Shashi Deshpande

How journalism helped cartoonist Manjula Padmanabhan

Prakash Belawadi: Bangalore reporter who became ‘RAW agent’

For Sashi Kumar, acting is second string in bow

Karnataka gets an acting chief minister in Ravi Belagere

‘TV news full of non-issues. So, we don’t think’

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S.M.A. Kazmi, the Urdu and Persian journalist arrested in February 2012 for his alleged involvement in the attack on an Israeli embassy vehicle, and released on bail eight months later, is set to launch an Urdu daily titled Quami Salamati (national security).

In an interview in the latest issue of Tehelka magazine, Kazmi answers what is now a standard question for journalists held and released on “terror” charges:

What is your view of the current state of journalism in India?

The media, both in India and other countries, is full of non-issues to keep people from thinking. In India, we sit in front of TV news channels for hours without having heard any news. At least a Doordarshan or an AIR bulletin gives out information. There is a set of journalists I call ‘poultry eggs’. They do stories the way editors tell them to. Reading newspapers in custody, though, I still have hope for the print media. It is more responsible.

Photograph: courtesy Tehelka

Read the full interview: ‘My arrest was psychological warfare’

Also read: Nine lessons a terror-suspect journo learnt in jail

Thankfully, TOI calls S.M.A Kazmi a journalist

S. M. A. Kazmi, the Urdu and Persian language journalist arrested in March this year for his alleged involvement in the attack on the car of an Israeli embassy official in New Delhi in February, has been ordered by the Supreme Court of India to be released after seven long months in custody.

Not surprisingly, there is great cheer in the Kazmi family.

His son Turab, is quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying:

“The first call I made was to my mother who started crying over the phone when I gave her the good news. We are very happy because the truth is out and justice has been finally done. We want to thank the Almighty for giving us power to fight for injustice.”

Kazmi’s wife, Jahan Ara, is quoted by the Indian Express as saying:

Ibadat mein hi time guzra hai in saat mahino mein. Humare liye aaj hi eid hai (These seven months have been spent in prayers. Today is Eid for us).”

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However, behind the good news are signs of a sad and devious police plot.

Initially, many in the media merely doubted the police version of Kazmi’s alleged role in the attack. Now, it appears as if sections of the media are parroting the Delhi police version which doubts his very credentials as a journalist.

Kazmi read news for state-owned Doordarshan Urdu and did work for Radio Teheran  and covered the Gulf War. But news reports carrying the SC order, citing the Delhi police, are revealing.

Press Trust of India (PTI):

“Kazmi, who claims to have been writing for an Iranian publication, was picked up after a probe showed that he had been in touch with the suspect who is believed to have stuck the magnetic bomb on Israeli diplomat Tal Yehoshua’s car on February 13, according to the police.”

Hindustan Times correspondent:

“Kazmi, who claims to have been writing for an Iranian publication before his arrest in the case, was picked up after Delhi police investigation showed he had been in touch with the suspect who is believed to have stuck the magnetic bomb on Israeli diplomat Tal Yehoshua‘s car on February 13 this year, police said.”

The Indian Express quotes the court:

“The court said Kazmi, who claims to have been writing for an Iranian publication, has acquired his statutory right to bail on July 17.”

Thankfully, The Times of India bucks the trend:

“The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to Syed Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi, a journalist who has been behind bars since March 6 in the Israeli diplomat car attack case.”

Image: courtesy Hindustan Times

Also read: Let the record show, Kazmi is not forgotten

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External reading: Eid comes early for Kazmi family: The Indian Express

Tehelka: Is there a case against Kazmi?

Tarun Sehrawat: 22, and killed in the line of duty

sans serif records with regret the passing away of Tehelka photographer Tarun Sehrawat after contracting malaria while working on a story in the Maoist-controlled areas of Chhattisgarh. He was 22 years old.

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The Hindu‘s Aman Sethi pays tribute:

“Today, when one of our own has been irrevocably lost, I feel we — as reporters, photographers and editors — must turn our gaze inwards and ask ourselves why a 22-year-old photographer with access to the best health care in the country, was claimed by a disease that was demystified in 1897….

“India’s journalists tend to nurse a healthy disregard for institutionalised frameworks, arguing that it is impossible to take all risks into account. But a few basic measures could help eliminate entirely predictable and avoidable tragedies like the one that claimed Tarun.

“It is the responsibility of senior editors to assess the risks that junior, inexperienced journalists take in search of a story. It isn’t enough to tell a 22-year- old like Tarun to ‘Be Careful.’ An organisation should be in a position to direct its journalists to information on possible health hazards and the corresponding vaccinations, inoculations and precautions.

“Reporters working out of conflict zones need specific training; all of us in Chhattisgarh operate in the hope that “everything will be okay,” but sometimes that isn’t enough.”

Read the full article: Remembering Tarun

Also read: Salute to a friend and colleague

Hellishness of others’ lives