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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why I will be buying a copy of Vinod Mehta's new book for the college library

Excerpts from an interview with Vinod Mehta in Mint last week:

Your new book is about your years with Outlook?
No, some portions are about the magazine. There’s one chapter on Ratan Tata. Outlook had problems with him. He filed a court case following our cover story on Radia tapes (controversy). There’s a chapter on Narendra Modi and a long one on the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. I once met Rahul Gandhi at a party at BJD (Biju Janata Dal) MP Jay Panda’s house. He was drinking Club Soda. When I told him to have some wine, he said so emphatically, “I don’t drink.” He repeated to make sure that I heard it. On another occasion, about a year ago, I found him sitting next to me. He asked me about work. I told him the famous saying that journalists, like harlots, enjoy power without responsibility, explaining my new position in the magazine. It was a little joke but he immediately pounced on that and said there’s no such thing like power without responsibility. That was lovely.


Do you have any equation with Narendra Modi?
Mr Modi and I have a very strange relationship, if I can call it that. There’s a defamation case against me in Ahmedabad that he had instituted about 10 years ago (as Gujarat’s chief minister) and it is still alive. It concerned a minister in his then cabinet called Haren Pandya, who was murdered... You see Mr Modi doesn’t interact with anybody. He has no social life, no kitchen cabinet. There’s a coterie of journalists who are very sympathetic to him, but they all are very upset at the moment because they haven’t been rewarded. Who are these journalists? I can go so far as to tell you that one of these journalists was desperately trying to become the Indian high commissioner in Britain. Mr Modi’s staunch defender, he is a very sober, moderate sort of a person, but on Modi, if you know from TV debates, he goes berserk and loses all sense of proportion. There’s another editor who had done Mr Modi’s party a great service and who runs a newspaper, but he is suddenly out of favour. He is feeling very bad. His close buddies tell me that there’s nothing he could do. Mr Modi either likes you or he doesn’t like you. There’s no convincing him to change his view. Once he doesn’t like you, you are finished.

Some people say that your magazine’s owner kicked you upstairs to the new post.
There may be some truth. The fallout of the Radia tapes (cover story) cost us in terms of ads from companies. Any proprietor would be worried by that. I had been editing the magazine for 17 years when the owner suggested the new position. I jumped at the offer. My wife had also been telling me that I was not doing anything, just slogging. I was not writing, just looking at pages and getting the designs supervised. I was ready to move on.
  • ALSO READ: If you want to understand journalism as it is practised in India today, its joys and its pitfalls, I can recommend no better book than Vinod Mehta's Lucknow Boy : A Memoir.
  • Photo courtesy: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Your new book is about your years with Outlook? No, some portions are about the magazine. There’s one chapter on Ratan Tata. Outlook had problems with him. He filed a court case following our cover story on Radia tapes (controversy). There’s a chapter on Narendra Modi and a long one on the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. I once met Rahul Gandhi at a party at BJD (Biju Janata Dal) MP Jay Panda’s house. He was drinking Club Soda. When I told him to have some wine, he said so emphatically, “I don’t drink.” He repeated to make sure that I heard it. On another occasion, about a year ago, I found him sitting next to me. He asked me about work. I told him the famous saying that journalists, like harlots, enjoy power without responsibility, explaining my new position in the magazine. It was a little joke but he immediately pounced on that and said there’s no such thing like power without responsibility. That was lovely. Do you have any equation with Narendra Modi? Mr Modi and I have a very strange relationship, if I can call it that. There’s a defamation case against me in Ahmedabad that he had instituted about 10 years ago (as Gujarat’s chief minister) and it is still alive. It concerned a minister in his then cabinet called Haren Pandya, who was murdered... You see Mr Modi doesn’t interact with anybody. He has no social life, no kitchen cabinet. There’s a coterie of journalists who are very sympathetic to him, but they all are very upset at the moment because they haven’t been rewarded. Who are these journalists? I can go so far as to tell you that one of these journalists was desperately trying to become the Indian high commissioner in Britain. Mr Modi’s staunch defender, he is a very sober, moderate sort of a person, but on Modi, if you know from TV debates, he goes berserk and loses all sense of proportion. There’s another editor who had done Mr Modi’s party a great service and who runs a newspaper, but he is suddenly out of favour. He is feeling very bad. His close buddies tell me that there’s nothing he could do. Mr Modi either likes you or he doesn’t like you. There’s no convincing him to change his view. Once he doesn’t like you, you are finished. Some people say that your magazine’s owner kicked you upstairs to the new post. There may be some truth. The fallout of the Radia tapes (cover story) cost us in terms of ads from companies. Any proprietor would be worried by that. I had been editing the magazine for 17 years when the owner suggested the new position. I jumped at the offer. My wife had also been telling me that I was not doing anything, just slogging. I was not writing, just looking at pages and getting the designs supervised. I was ready to move on.

Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/FZQyvFsoQvz7gLuYXbVf7N/I-dont-appear-on-Arnab-Goswamis-Pakistan-debates-Vinod-Me.html?utm_source=copy
Your new book is about your years with Outlook? No, some portions are about the magazine. There’s one chapter on Ratan Tata. Outlook had problems with him. He filed a court case following our cover story on Radia tapes (controversy). There’s a chapter on Narendra Modi and a long one on the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. I once met Rahul Gandhi at a party at BJD (Biju Janata Dal) MP Jay Panda’s house. He was drinking Club Soda. When I told him to have some wine, he said so emphatically, “I don’t drink.” He repeated to make sure that I heard it. On another occasion, about a year ago, I found him sitting next to me. He asked me about work. I told him the famous saying that journalists, like harlots, enjoy power without responsibility, explaining my new position in the magazine. It was a little joke but he immediately pounced on that and said there’s no such thing like power without responsibility. That was lovely. Do you have any equation with Narendra Modi? Mr Modi and I have a very strange relationship, if I can call it that. There’s a defamation case against me in Ahmedabad that he had instituted about 10 years ago (as Gujarat’s chief minister) and it is still alive. It concerned a minister in his then cabinet called Haren Pandya, who was murdered... You see Mr Modi doesn’t interact with anybody. He has no social life, no kitchen cabinet. There’s a coterie of journalists who are very sympathetic to him, but they all are very upset at the moment because they haven’t been rewarded. Who are these journalists? I can go so far as to tell you that one of these journalists was desperately trying to become the Indian high commissioner in Britain. Mr Modi’s staunch defender, he is a very sober, moderate sort of a person, but on Modi, if you know from TV debates, he goes berserk and loses all sense of proportion. There’s another editor who had done Mr Modi’s party a great service and who runs a newspaper, but he is suddenly out of favour. He is feeling very bad. His close buddies tell me that there’s nothing he could do. Mr Modi either likes you or he doesn’t like you. There’s no convincing him to change his view. Once he doesn’t like you, you are finished. Some people say that your magazine’s owner kicked you upstairs to the new post. There may be some truth. The fallout of the Radia tapes (cover story) cost us in terms of ads from companies. Any proprietor would be worried by that. I had been editing the magazine for 17 years when the owner suggested the new position. I jumped at the offer. My wife had also been telling me that I was not doing anything, just slogging. I was not writing, just looking at pages and getting the designs supervised. I was ready to move on.

Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/FZQyvFsoQvz7gLuYXbVf7N/I-dont-appear-on-Arnab-Goswamis-Pakistan-debates-Vinod-Me.html?utm_source=copy

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