A year later, why hasn’t the Tarun Tejpal trial begun? Who benefits from a delayed trial?

(First published in Scroll.in on 25 November 2014.)

It is unfair, some argue, that Tarun Jit Tejpal is being hounded like a criminal, and people are ganging up against him and not even letting him speak about literature on a stage. He is accused of rape, they point out, but not convicted of it, and is as such innocent until proven guilty. Continue reading “A year later, why hasn’t the Tarun Tejpal trial begun? Who benefits from a delayed trial?”

Rajdeep and Sagarika to resign as Reliance takes over Network 18

For Scroll.in on 30 May 2014

Celebrity TV journalists Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose are likely to resign from CNN-IBN by end of June, as Reliance Industries Ltd is taking over the channel’s holding company, Network 18. They are likely to go on leave from June 1 and resign by June 30, Network 18 officials told Scroll.in. In between, they will sell to Reliance Industries their minority shares in the company. Continue reading “Rajdeep and Sagarika to resign as Reliance takes over Network 18”

DNA’s explanation about its self-censorship is not convincing

For Scroll.in on 14 July 2014

During Indira Gandhi’s Emergency, articles censored by the government resulted in blank spaces in the papers. The equivalent of those blank spaces today is a link on a website where an article once existed but now says, “The requested page could not be found.” Continue reading “DNA’s explanation about its self-censorship is not convincing”

AK49: Arvind Kejriwal’s oddly-coloured socks and the 2014 general elections

For Scroll.in on 5 March 2014

A thirty-something architect sat next to me as we waited for the show to begin. This was to be the second edition of Facebook Talks Live, an interaction with several wannabe PMs. But the first guest, Narendra Modi, had cancelled his participation at the last minute.

Continue reading “AK49: Arvind Kejriwal’s oddly-coloured socks and the 2014 general elections”

Why Emperor Modi needs Nehru, Gandhi, Indira and JP

For Scroll.in on 14 October 2014

Nicholas Kamm/AFP

When the English built the New Delhi capital in 1931, they gave many major roads around it such Indian names as Prithviraj Road, Ashoka Road, Ferozshah Road, Akbar Road and Aurangzeb Road. This was only partly in response to growing Indian nationalism. It also served to legitimise the British Raj as the legitimate successor of empires past. For most of history, Delhi has been the capital of the land, and the British decided to move here from Calcutta to show who ruled it. Continue reading “Why Emperor Modi needs Nehru, Gandhi, Indira and JP”

Why Dalit radicals don’t want Arundhati Roy to write about Ambedkar

For Scroll.in on 12 March 2014

As blogs and social media took India by the storm in the mid-2000s, their big target was Big Media. For the first time, journalists and editors got a taste of their own medicine. They began to hear criticism of their work on a minute-by-minute basis: some fair and some unfair, some in long prose and some in nasty one-liners. They did not take to it nicely. They complained about the language used by bloggers and social media enthusiasts, they went on and on about the abuse. One often heard the grouse, “On the internet, anyone can say anything!” Continue reading “Why Dalit radicals don’t want Arundhati Roy to write about Ambedkar”

Why exactly is ‘Haider’ offending India’s Twitter nationalists?

For Scroll.in on 3 October 2014

Patriotic Indian Twitter users are asking people to not see Haider. I wonder if they saw the same film as I did. The Tweeple who made #BoycottHaider trend all Friday on Twitter say the film shows the Indian army in a bad light. On the contrary, the film is a tribute to the masterful way in which the Indian army (and other security forces) suppressed a popular rebellion against India. Continue reading “Why exactly is ‘Haider’ offending India’s Twitter nationalists?”

Rajdeep Sardesai on his relationship with Arnab Goswami, and other anecdotes from his book

For Scroll.in, 3 November 2014
Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai’s book, 2014: The Election That Changed India, is a gripping account of the general elections that made Narendra Modi India’s prime minister. Among other things, the book reflects on the role and the use of the media in the elections.

Here are a few anecdotes about the media from the book.

1. On Arnab Goswami: That the two star news anchors are not on good terms is well known. A profile of Goswami in The Caravan magazine two years ago had said, “Goswami had worked under Sardesai for almost a decade, and despised him so deeply that his son had made a charming drawing of Goswami triumphing over his former boss. Goswami is a dedicated father, and he proudly displayed it in his office.” The coldness between the two when they came together on stage in June this year was noticeable.

Continue reading “Rajdeep Sardesai on his relationship with Arnab Goswami, and other anecdotes from his book”

Why Janata 3.0 is doomed to failure

For Scroll.in, 12 November 2014

First they came together against Indira Gandhi’s Emergency in 1977. Then they came together to defeat Rajiv Gandhi in 1989. On those occasions it had taken support of the Bhartiya Janata Party (known as Jan Sangh in ’77) to oppose the Congress. Now, India’s hoary socialists want to come together once again to oppose the Bhartiya Janata Party. Continue reading “Why Janata 3.0 is doomed to failure”