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I yield to no one in my support for Salman’s right to be at Jaipur or his right to publish freely, but his manipulation and stoking of the protests ensured he would remain the principal topic at the festival on all five days


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Digression
1
Feb 20, 2012
Rushdie Cloud on Jaipur Sunshine

Was Sheela Reddy hinting at her own editor when she said in Bibliophile (Feb 6) that lesser-known writers at the Jaipur litfest were “enraged” at how Rushdie had hijacked all the attention? Vinod Mehta does sound “peeved” in his Jaipur Diary (Feb 6) when he refers to Rushdie’s “manipulation and stoking of protest” at the litfest.

Prachi Kalra, on e-mail

Vinod displays a small-mindedness in his diary which does not behove him.

Kumar Rakesh, Chandigarh

Come on, Mr Mehta. Very few will accuse you of producing great literary or scholarly work but you have done exceedingly well for a third-division BA from Lucknow University. Your magnum opus is quite a juicy and interesting read, so what if it’s written in vintage Khushwant Singh style. The reader gets his paisa vasool.

R.K. Singh, Gurgaon

Mr Mehta, I am a great admirer of your work and recently asked someone to pick up a copy of your memoir from India as it is not available in NY, but I am greatly disappointed at what you write about Rushdie. So what if he used his cunning to stay in the limelight? Does this not benefit free speech? Does this not benefit you?

Aleya Jung, New York

In all the heat and dust raised by the Rushdie affair, no one ever asked what Oprah Winfrey was doing at the litfest. She did not cast a single pearl of literary wisdom on Barkha Dutt’s live interview to an audience which had mostly gathered there just for that one show. If the purpose was just to drum up a crowd, Angelina Jolie or Madonna would have done better.

R. Ramachandra, Bangalore

Order by HAVE YOUR SAY
1/D-63
Jan 28, 2012
01:53 PM

"Sir Salman Rushdie dominated the festival by his non-attendance......his manipulation and stoking of the protests ensured he would remain the principal topic at the festival on all five days."

He likes to draw attention to himself but I never thought he, or anybody else, could overshadow Oprah Winfrey.

Anwaar
Dallas, United States
2/D-67
Jan 28, 2012
02:11 PM

 I don't know whether you consider Shobha De to qualify as literary or not. I realize you were the one who slouched on the couch on Times Now and started the diatribe about rushdie's manipulations to stroke a riot. 

Hard to see you in Rushdie's shoes. Given you were to be somehow, what would you have done. After banned from the festival, sit in cozy house and give it pass. Had rushdie done that, I bet the tenor and context of your polemic against him would have been different. 

jackass
lol, india
3/D-69
Jan 28, 2012
02:22 PM

I wonder what does it say about the entire govt. machinery that it can be thrown into chaos by a few tweets. Vinod wants us to believe that rubbish.

Amit
Tucson, United States
4/D-70
Jan 28, 2012
02:24 PM

VM has used his space well on Outlook to promote his book ( and without saying so, himself ).

His women may look divine, but the point he has missed is that it is the female authoresses who are hogging all the lime-light in this era of feminist editors like himself.

Another point is about the freedom of speech that VM speaks off in public. In his own magazine, however, he ruthlessly edits / bans ( as abusive ), away any comment that may not be to his own / petty / anti-male, views of the world.

Male Unblocked
Chennai, India
5/D-84
Jan 28, 2012
03:31 PM

Your statement that Salman Rusdie wanted to provoke a riot sounds very much like Digvijay Singh. I know Digivijay lost it and I knew that you have never had it but now I see the connect: aap dono kumbh ke mela mein bichad gaye the! Happy reunion!

Srinivas
Lucknow, iNDIA
6/D-87
Jan 28, 2012
04:04 PM

 VM will not write that will show congress in non-secular light. In the case of Rushdie, the Congress was blatantly communal! That is what caught VM on wrong foot. Since he cannot blame Sonia and her chamcha Govt, he selected Rushdie who cannot defend himself!! 

pankaj hedaoo
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
7/D-93
Jan 28, 2012
05:30 PM

Mr Mehta, I generally like what you write, and that includes your memoir. But in this small piece, which puts Rushdie in the dock for a controversy which was not his choosing -- i am sure you are aware that he had attended the festival several times in recent years, you have exhibited a small-mindedness that does not behove you. A blatantly cynical government with a eye on Muslims votes does not find a mention in your write-up. An embarassing stuff sir... 

kumar rakesh
chandigarh, India
8/D-96
Jan 28, 2012
05:54 PM

 Sir, Vinod mehta this is the first time You dissapointed
me in Delhi dairy.As a keen observer, I notice that after
the Publication of of " Lucknow boy", which I had the
previlage to read and felt nice, you seems to boast about it lot.

V.N.K.Murti
pattambi, India
9/D-98
Jan 28, 2012
05:56 PM

In all the heat and dust raised by the Rushdie affair, the question that was never asked is, What was the relevance of Oprah Winfrey’s presence at the Jaipur litfest(other than that she runs a book club)? In Barkha Dutt's live TV interview with her on prime time, not a single literary pearl was cast before an audience most of which had come to Diggi Palace only that evening for just that one show. If the purpose was merely to drum up a crowd, Angelina Jolie or Madonna would have been a better choice.

The organizers allowed themselves to be highjacked and manipulated by a fading author, a cynically opportunistic political party, a bunch of fundamentalist religious thugs, and a TV news channel hungry for TRPS ratings. And if pulp fiction authors who can’t even verbally articulate their thoughts in clear and correct English can so easily access the stage, then very soon we will be hearing readings from Mills & Boon at the venue.

Unless those at the helm take pause and frame a policy to restore the Jaipur litfest to its pristine purity, it is sure to degenerate over the years into an annual carnival replete with the likes of stand up artistes, clowns, and fortune tellers under tents gazing into crystal balls, and vendors plying helium balloons and pink candy floss amidst ferris wheels and merry go rounds.
 

Ramesh Ramachandra
Bangalore, India
10/D-99
Jan 28, 2012
06:03 PM

9D,

"...What was the relevance of Oprah Winfrey’s presence "

You ve missed the plot. She is a woman, a feminist, and in the media ( like the disgraced Burkha ). But most importantly, in todays media, she is a WOMAN.

Male Unblocked
Chennai, India
11/D-104
Jan 28, 2012
07:05 PM

So VM wants readers to believe that in Jaipur saga it is Rushdi who is at fault?

This piece is written for Outlook readers or UP election voters?

Gambler
Thar, India
12/D-107
Jan 28, 2012
08:01 PM

Even Shobhaa De seems to have joined the ranks of the converted. Her reivew of LB was uncharacteristically mild. Of course, if VM is an Uncle, she is hardly a teenager.

ashok lal
mumbai, India
13/D-115
Jan 28, 2012
08:42 PM

You are praised and celibrated in jaipur festivel becauseyou are editor of most popular weekly your smart and chrming in old age also.Those gathered  in mela some are fools and others exrtaoradnry fools so  they loudacclamation  to you without reading your chronology of your life.If they read  your book may bored within minute.

About Rushdie he is extremly hungery for publicity,want to live constantly in limelight that is why he made events of so called  boycott of  his appreance in that mela.and his four  blind followers  who timidly ranway from mela because of prosecution.If they had daring they must face the trial.All who gathered there inculding you if you think government baned his book is unjustable why not some one pubilish it  challange it in court  to ban?

Ramesh Raghuvanshi
Pune, India
14/D-135
Jan 28, 2012
10:56 PM

VM, People thought you might be a pompous ass, realised after seeing you that you are not pompous after all.

K.Suresh
Bangalore, India
15/D-4
Jan 29, 2012
12:46 AM

Vinod Mehta blames the victim for the crime!

Bhagat Singh
Atlantis, Heard and McDonald Islands
16/D-32
Jan 29, 2012
12:30 PM

>> He seemed determined to provoke a minor riot.

When Ashok Gehlot murdered free speech in Jaipur, a part of his soul detached itself, and attached to Vinod Mehta. This is probably how Mehta has learned to speak like a snake.

Whats InAName
San Francisco, United States
17/D-36
Jan 29, 2012
01:33 PM

I yield to no one in my support for Salman’s right to be at Jaipur or his right to publish freely, but his manipulation and stoking of the protests ensured he would remain the principal topic at the festival on all five days. 

Reminds me of this  and this.  Here is a literary giant of our times denied basic human rights, and all VM can think of is twitter conspiracies by the mean author to hog the lime light. Is it because Lucknow Boy is not visible on the sales radar?

Tearful Onion
Jhumri Talaiyya, India
18/D-56
Jan 29, 2012
04:28 PM

 Writing as the you do in your capacity of editor-in-chief of your Republic Day Special issue of OUTLOOK, at least in this issue you should have explained why you kept the name of Escorts Hospital and Escorts JCB out of your Nithari 'coverage'.

You should also have explained, at least in this issue, why you do not find it worth a cover story that the murdered driver of Anil Nanda of Escorts, in his dying declarion, named Anil Nanda  as his murderer, in June 2010, and till today, ie, nearly two years later, no action has been taken in this murder case involving Anil Nanda of Escorts.

Arun Kumar
Lucknow, India
19/D-62
Jan 29, 2012
04:32 PM

 In my previous comment please read 'and till today' as 'and that till today'. The error is deeply regretted. 

Arun Kumar
Lucknow, India
20/D-67
Jan 29, 2012
05:14 PM

So far you did not qualify as a literary person . Presumalby Luckhnow Boy  did the trick. If you have real ambition for literary fame follow it up with another. But you must be sufficienty sexy this time about prophets or marriamma or Mother Mary. I promise you Mr. Vinod Mehta  I will tip off the concerened mullhas - be they are from Deoband, Nagpur or Kottayam and there's your jackpot. This drudgery @ Outlook will come to an end !

MANISH BANERJEE
KOLKATA, India
21/D-70
Jan 29, 2012
05:27 PM

You hit it right. Its about  consummte craft - rather than the old fashined human appeal. And right reading of the mind of the mullah of every description - Muslim , Hindu or Christian. above  at the given moment which group poiticians badly needs  a rabble rousing issue.

MANISH BANERJEE
KOLKATA, India
22/D-72
Jan 29, 2012
05:37 PM

We knew your professional life  was about quintessetial 'rags'. That it's about 'riches' also is news. Congratulations,  Sir.

MANISH BANERJEE
KOLKATA, India
23/D-73
Jan 29, 2012
05:44 PM

Every evening there were bashes..women looked divine..acohol flowed . Looks like the Jaipur Literarary Festival has finally turned literarary.

MANISH BANERJEE
KOLKATA, India
24/D-74
Jan 29, 2012
06:11 PM

What manipulation did Salman Rushdie resort to? He was rightly indignant that he was being prevented from attending the JLF. Conspiracy theorists like Vinod Mehta should have a drink of their choice and calm the heck down. 

Alakshyendra
Hyderabad, India
25/D-77
Jan 29, 2012
07:03 PM

What manipulation did Salman Rushdie resort to?

Manupulation of the media. Also known as skulduggery .

MANISH BANERJEE
KOLKATA, India
26/D-91
Jan 29, 2012
11:20 PM

Mr.Mehta I am a great admirer of your work, I have recently asked someone to pick a copy of your memoir from India as it is not available in NY, I am dissapointed at what you write about Rushdie, so what if he used his cunning to stay in the limelight for the entire duration of the festival? does this not benefit free spech? does this not benefit you? what do you  mean he was intent on flaming a riot? large and well respected literary figures were supporting him, you think Rushdie is smarter then them? you do not respect the giants present who lent their support to Rushdie, but really were supporting free speech?

I fail to understand your stand.

Aleya Jung
New York, United States
27/D-2
Jan 30, 2012
12:54 AM

Mr. Mehta Salman Rushdie was a publicity desperado, no doubt. But was he alone angling for that? The Four 'intellectuals' were what if not so, who ran away from their protest venue like criminals?

fehmi
delhi, India
28/D-5
Jan 30, 2012
02:29 AM

"his manipulation and stoking of the protests ensured he would remain the principal topic at the festival on all five days."

It is the same twisted logic used by congress lackies like Mehta and one resident here that blame BJP for using Shahbano incident for political advantage.

Maha
NJ, United States
29/D-58
Jan 30, 2012
01:54 PM

>>I yield to no one in my support for Salman’s right to be at Jaipur or his right to publish freely, but……

The Indian liberals’ support of a constitutional right is always followed by a BUT. And invariably what follows the BUT exposes the hollowness of their support. Here Mehta goes one step further – he blames the rape victim for wearing revealing clothes. Mr. Mehta is the quintessential Indian liberal.
 

RSM
Delhi, India
30/D-72
Jan 30, 2012
04:39 PM

Literary Festival is a misnomer. It is more like a cheap tamasha.

Rajeev
Delhi, India
31/D-73
Jan 30, 2012
04:43 PM

Whoa!! So Outlook does a Rajasthan on me. I question VM's criticism of Rushdie's "manipulation of the JLF" and my post is quietly removed. Not even the cursory message that it failed to meet Outlook's guidelines? Nice way to ensure freedom of expression!!

Alakshyendra
Hyderabad, India
32/D-74
Jan 30, 2012
04:47 PM

Manish Banerjee,

You should re-read the meaning of manipulation. If you were in Rushdie's shoes and the government used dirty tricks to keep you out of a "literary" festival, what would you do if not express your indignation? And if in the process, the media picked up your statements and broadcast them, is that manipulation?

Alakshyendra
Hyderabad, India
33/D-83
Jan 30, 2012
05:40 PM

Vinod Mehta like every other secularist in this country is evasive in not asking the question,as to why the Muslim bigots were allowed to disturb the meet.Why were they not lathi charged like the Ramdev congregation was subject to in Delhi?

S.S.Nagaraj
Bangalore, India
34/D-90
Jan 30, 2012
06:15 PM

Jaipur Diary
I yield to no one in my support for Salman’s right to be at Jaipur or his right to publish freely, but his manipulation and stoking of the protests ensured he would remain the principal topic at the festival on all five days
Vinod Mehta

I regret, Vinod Mehta Sir, I can,at best, agree to disagree with you. Your outright condemnation of  Rushdie is un-substantiated. Your eye witness account of Jaipur Literary Festival ,sorry,  jamboorie  exhibited your pathological  indifference towards  a fellow writer settled in UK but with indian roots.Both Salman Rushdie and  Vinod Mehta are celebrities for me in equal measure. The  celebrity status of Rushdie, however, grew exponentially  after the Deoband fatwa.

I am not competent to assess the relative merits of writings.My main concern is for Right to Freedom of Speech flowing from the Right to Life,enchrined in the Constitution of India.I strongly appeal to all the eggheads of the World. Let them unite to save the  sacred Right from despots ostensibly in the name of religion but actually to achieve narrow political ends.

A K SAXENA   (A retired civil servant)

A K SAXENA
DELHI.INDIA, India
35/D-91
Jan 30, 2012
06:15 PM

Jaipur Diary
I yield to no one in my support for Salman’s right to be at Jaipur or his right to publish freely, but his manipulation and stoking of the protests ensured he would remain the principal topic at the festival on all five days
Vinod Mehta

I regret, Vinod Mehta Sir, I can,at best, agree to disagree with you. Your outright condemnation of  Rushdie is un-substantiated. Your eye witness account of Jaipur Literary Festival ,sorry,  jamboorie  exhibited your pathological  indifference towards  a fellow writer settled in UK but with indian roots.Both Salman Rushdie and  Vinod Mehta are celebrities for me in equal measure. The  celebrity status of Rushdie, however, grew exponentially  after the Deoband fatwa.

I am not competent to assess the relative merits of writings.My main concern is for Right to Freedom of Speech flowing from the Right to Life,enchrined in the Constitution of India.I strongly appeal to all the eggheads of the World. Let them unite to save the  sacred Right from despots ostensibly in the name of religion but actually to achieve narrow political ends.

A K SAXENA   (A retired civil servant)

A K SAXENA
DELHI.INDIA, India
36/D-23
Jan 31, 2012
11:16 AM

Come on , Mr Mehta. Very few will accuse you of producing great literary or scholarly work but you have done exceedingly well for a Third division BA from Lucknow University. Hats off to your hard work, perseverance and occasional refined sycophancy. Your magnum opus is quite juicy and an interesting read. So what, if written in vintage Khushwant Singh style. The reader gets his PAISA VASOOL. As for Salman episode, he is a confirmed publicity hound like any faded film star and some editors. So do not blame him for all this charade. Wish your book picks up sale.

RK Singh
Gurgaon, India
37/D-27
Jan 31, 2012
11:39 AM

 And if in the process, the media picked up your statements and broadcast them, is that manipulation?

That precisely is the point. 

Officially 42 % of the population of this country is below poverty line or lives on Rs 32 /day or less. Index of human development in this country is officially sub-saharan. Hunger index in a devoloped state like Gujarat is 29 %. According to a FAO report 230 million Indians go without a morsel of food every day. The litany is endless. Did you hear or read discussion about these things in media ? There has been saturation coverage of whether a novelist like Rushdie will come to attend a lit fest or not. Not that Rushdie is a great humanist or known for treating issues of human or universal appeal. What I hear his literary treatments are more on weired side.

Organisers of Jaipur Lit Fest, Salman Rushdie, religeous bigots, politicians & above all media knew which way their bread is butterd. So each of these sets milked the inconsequential issue of whehther Rushdie would or should come to Jaipur or not  with disgusting brazeness.

Rushdie, if not anything , knew his media well. He knew this is a golden opportunity to get back to limelight or create a surge in sales of his books. He actively lent an active hand to this putrid show to be endlessly kept alive in the media. 

The alarming thing is that media got away with making this matter a life & death issue for you, me ,for the bumpkins & the geeks. 

MANISH BANERJEE
KOLKATA, India
38/D-52
Jan 31, 2012
02:54 PM

Maneesh,

"" Officially 42 % of the population of this country is below poverty line or lives on Rs 32 /day or less. Index of human development in this country is officially sub-saharan. Hunger index in a devoloped state like Gujarat is 29 %. According to a FAO report 230 million Indians go without a morsel of food every day.""

What has Salman Rushdie got to do with this.? Or do you mean to say that media

should only talk about what you have mentioned. ? 

Strange logic .

Gautam Mohan Gulati
Adipur, India
39/D-56
Jan 31, 2012
03:44 PM

What has Salman Rushdie got to do with this.?

Nothing really. Media has a lo to do.

 should only talk about what you have mentioned.

No, they should not talk only about what I have mentioned. But they should talk at length about what I have mentioned. They should also create an awareness about destitution , its genesis & what needs to be done retrieve the situation. Only then Rushdie's, yours & my rights are secure.

MANISH BANERJEE
KOLKATA, India
40/D-73
Jan 31, 2012
05:00 PM

Vinod Mehta has read too much into Sulman Rushdie's tweets. If Sulman could orchestrate the Jaipur Literary Festival sitting back in London, there could not have been a greater shame for the Organizers and the government. I think Vinod Mehta gave a conflicting view just to prove his shrewdness and one-upmanship.

SUBHASH CHANDRA SHARMA
NEW DELHI, India
41/D-129
Feb 01, 2012
10:48 PM

The day for VM to quit has arrived at last.

But who is going to feel miserable for one more anti-male editor fulfilling his feminist 'passions' away from the editorial desk?

Male Unblocked
Chennai, India
42/D-96
Feb 02, 2012
06:25 PM

Vinod Mehta's first makes an apologetic defense of Salman Rushdie's right to freedom and then accuses him for manipulation and stoking protests. Had we seen similar protest on a Hussains painting , the same Vinod Mehta would have been spewing venom on the protestors and calling it a challenge to secular fabric of India.

People like VM make a travesty of facts and most of the readers succumb to it.

Navien K Batta
muscat, Oman
43/D-109
Feb 03, 2012
03:09 PM

Saw the news article on your quitting Outlook at Chief Editor (and no day to day role). I guess you Outlook as ensured one cannot comment on that article directly. So I am choosing this one.

More time for TV (not watching but providing gyan on it) :-). You prompty showed up on Gornab Aoswami yesterday. Hopefully, you will be seen on Darkha Butt and Sajdeep Rardesai in short order. (BTW, see what a mistake of switching one alphabet can do, Dear Minod Vetha).

Arun Maheshwari
Bangalore, India
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