Letters | Dec 13, 2010
  • Shocked, We the People
    Dec 13, 2010

    Kudos to Vinod Mehta for daring to put this in the public domain ‘as-is’ (All Lines are Busy, Nov 29). It was really shattering to see the names of the likes of Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi appearing in the published transcripts. I am all the more amazed at their ludicrous rejoinders and responses—they are clearly deluding themselves if they think this is a ‘passing’ phase and the public will forget (as it usually does). Whether their motivation to become ‘high-stake players’ was a simple case of ‘feeding the ego’ or based on ‘material’ expectations is beside the point. If they had any self-respect (forget journalistic ethics), they would resign from their positions till they clear their names.

    Saleembhai, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    I always thought you were pro-Congress and am happy to have been proved wrong. It’s surprising that all the pseudo-secularists are keeping a deathly silence. I always knew it; given a chance they will sell the country to the devil. The sad part is we will not be seeing Mr Mehta on some of the news channels anymore.

    G. Vishwanathan, Chennai

    These half-baked, small-minded wheeler-dealers run our government and our lives.

    Sudha, Coimbatore

    Bhai, is hamaam mein sab nange hain. Darwaza khologe to sab ka nangapan duniya ko nazar aa jayega (Everyone is naked in the bathtub. Open the door and the world will see their stark, naked reality).

    Abbas Rumani, Kuwait

    These tapes have been released only after the Congress head honchos weighed the benefits. We know nothing moves in Outlook without the Congress high command’s approval. They have thrown their loyal journos under the bus in order to ease media pressure on the 2G and other scams. Still, the people ought to be thankful. We now have confirmation of everything that we suspected. Next time we read Counterpoint, I hope Vir Sanghvi declares which party or corporate house has sponsored it!

    Ankan Kumar, Columbus, US

    At least the politicians are brazen about their actions. These reporters hide behind columns, editorials and a permanent smile on TV #to fool the common man.

    Nicky Kumar, Aurora, US

    So, the cat is finally out of the bag. But very few believe it would lead to even an attempt to cleanse the system. If indications so far are anything to go by, the Congress-led government seems determined to do everything possible to prevent a full disclosure of what went on behind the scenes. And if everything does ultimately come out in the open, brazen it out just as it did with Bofors.

    Sandeep Sahu, Bhubaneswar

    As a trenchant critic of Vinod Mehta and his sycophantic propaganda pamphlet, I was expecting a cover story defending the Congress and singing paeans to the 2G (Sonia G and Rahul G). But I must confess that this has caught me totally unawares. Though Outlook may not have been the first off the block, it still happens to be the only mainstream media outlet to have highlighted the nexus between media, lobbyists, politicians and corporate honchos. For that, I cannot believe I’m saying these words, kudos to Outlook and VM.

    Srinivas, Lucknow

    Outlook has proved that at least some parts of the media still have a clear conscience and are not party to a corrupt coterie.

    Amitabh Pandey, London

    Their heads firmly buried in the sands of arrogance, the Indian media continues to maintain a deafening silence on the issue. Oh, sorry, the Times of India has broken its silence, but only to sneer at us, dismissing this outpouring of public anger as a 2G scam sideshow.

    Madhav Ajgaonkar, New Delhi

    Notice the conspicuous silence of the leading news channels, the same ones who huff and puff, scream and shout and take credit for everything, from medals in the Commonwealth Games to the timely arrival of the monsoon.

    Sudharshan, Chennai

    With the kind of names involved, it’s not surprising that yours is the only major media outlet covering the story. The others have obviously been gagged by their sources of advertising revenue.

    Tom Bombadil, Mumbai

    All the media is in the hands of the upper castes and they are trying to tarnish the image of the Congress and its alliance partner, the dmk in Tamil Nadu. The cag report itself shows only a presumptive loss to the exchequer. There is no concrete evidence to show that the stakeholders involved in the transactions derived pecuniary benefits out of the distribution of 2G spectrum. The media is interested only in the Karunanidhi family and the rifts between the siblings, not in the work done by the Tamil Nadu government which other states would do well to emulate, be it the Re 1 per kilo of rice, free colour TVs and gas stoves or the slew of welfare schemes benefiting womenfolk. India Today placed Tamil Nadu third among all states for performance. The media war against them should not turn into a war on civilisation.

    V.S. Sankaran, Madurai

    Bravo Outlook and VM! Like many others, I have been a sceptic and disturbed with your magazine’s openly pro-Congress content. But today I have transformed my ‘outlook’ towards Outlook!

    Karthik, Chicago

    Our journalists are finally in line to qualify for the much-sought-after Indian Corrupt Champions League (akin to the uefa Champions League in soccer). In essence, we have adopted the materialist philosophy of Carvaka—money is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Paisa phenk, tamasha dekh!

    Siddharth Rajkonwar, Delhi

    You have shown the entire political, journalistic, industrial class in a new light. This edition has given me a little (just a minuscule) hope. I will be watching you, Outlook.

    Pramod, Phoenix, US

    An expose of this kind where the basic foundation of a democratic government is put to question should have had the whole of the media world and Opposition parties going hammer and tongs. Unfortunately, they are mum. What worries me is that nothing will change. A couple of weeks from now or maybe a month later, when our impotent rage has died down, things will be as usual.

    A.K. Sharma, Allahabad

    Having given us this exhaustive cover story, please tell us who young India should believe in?

    Padma Balasubramani, Chennai

    I have been subscribing to Outlook almost since its inception but never have I read something like this. Listening to these tapes leaves every honest Indian depressed.

    Raji Bhakta, Chennai

    You may not realise this but what you have done today could have a significant impact on our country’s future (hopefully a positive one).

    Rove Kasparov, Boston, US

    There is nothing in these tapes, except a little bit of education for people not having direct experience of governance in the states or the Centre. Why has Outlook suddenly decided to publish these tapes? Radia is neither a bureaucrat, nor a politician; she is in the business of public relations. Ever since the Raja scam became public, the ruling clan has been trying to cover its tracks. This is one such attempt—defocus on the Raja scam, enlarge the frame, divert the people’s attention, discredit the media and establish the superior morality of Sonia Gandhi by citing these illustrations as proof of a “shrunken moral universe”, of a “greedy and corrupt India”.

    M.L. Gupta, Delhi

    Finally, great journalism of the kind Indian Express displayed in 1975 when it wanted Indira Gandhi to step down following her manipulative election malpractices. The very same cabal is still with us—industrial groups, family conglomerates (Reliance, Tata, Birla, Mittal, Sterlite, Jindal, Nanda etc), political parties (SP, Congress, dmk and tdp in full, bjp in part), bureaucrats and now the very markets themselves (stock, telecom, bond, gold, land, building, farmland etc). Was Winston Churchill right then? “Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues and freebooters. All Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.”

    Calahas, on e-mail

    All we are going to be is the superpower of corruption.

    Sudha, Coimbatore

    I’d recommend that these tapes be made ‘required hearing’.

    RSM, Delhi

    Is our electoral democracy in reality a sort of dictatorship of the corporates?

    Kasim Sait, Chennai

    With so many shining stars on the cover, the Nov 29 issue was so bedazzling it almost blinded this reader.

    Rupesh Bhandari, Amritsar

    Bravo, Outlook! You have challenged the entire political establishment, the government and the Opposition.

    Popat, Mumbai

    At this rate, I wonder if corruption will be the new graduation degree required to get into Parliament.

    Jayanthy Subramaniam, Mumbai

    This is a lesson in how ‘cunning women’ use willing males to do their dirty work.

    Parthasarathy, Chennai

    India’s actually a wwe game, and only the naive believe that every single aspect is not fixed already.

    Varun Garde, Bangalore

    Vinod Mehta’s ‘Editor’ may yet be the best suited for senior positions in the media. He is loyal, has a bark and bite, stands no nonsense and is totally trustworthy.

    V. Krishnan, Pune

    Radia is exactly the kind of lobbyist any sensible businessman would love to hire for doing business in India. One needs to look at the root cause that gives birth to such “fixers”—the corrupt babus and politicians in India. Can anyone get anything done in government circles without paying obeisance to their lust and greed? Besides, the media has become like the mafia. You can’t point a finger at them (they’ll discredit not just you but your entire organisation). However, when it comes to protecting one of their own, all the media rallies together. I don’t have great respect for the Outlook editor but he’s done something really good this time.

    S.K.D., Bangalore

    Outstanding. I’d have paid Rs 10,000 for this issue.

    Hemanth Raj, Gloucester

    India, the republic, is now on sale. We truly live in a 100% corrupt society.

    Berlin Wilson, Sheffield, UK

    Give them hell, Mr Mehta.

    Narendra, Hyderabad

    I am not surprised that the leading newspapers have ignored these explosive tapes.

    Bharat, Pune

    Outlook deserves kudos for exposing the true colours of so-called apolitical independent journalists like Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi. By tearing off their mask of neutrality and revealing their abject promotion of Raja’s cause with their sources at the higher echelons of the Congress party, Outlook has rendered their frequent pontifications on current affairs devoid of any merit or credibility. In this context, one appreciates Vinod Mehta for his transparent admiration for Sonia Gandhi and his preference for the Congress ideology. He is not a hypocrite like several other journalists.

    P.N. Radhakrishnan, on e-mail

    So now Vinod Mehta doesn’t get called to sit on the panel of We the People! As a small gesture for your bold exposure, I have just taken a one-year subscription of your magazine!

    B. Anupkumar, Kalpakkam, TN

    Just listened to a few recordings involving Raja, Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi and Ratan Tata. Prima facie, there seems to be a serious issue. Why should journalists and corporates try to facilitate ministry formation, or facilitate communication between parties etc? How does it matter to them if the Congress is talking to Kani or Dayanidhi or Karunanidhi or whoever? Why can’t they just let the Congress and dmk talk in whatever way they want and decide on who gets what? Somewhere down the line, there is not just facilitating, but steering/influencing the direction in which things/ ministries will take shape. There seems to be an attempt to keep Dayanidhi out, and unfortunately Barkha and Vir (who are among the people I admire the most) seem to be cooperating or playing along—if not actively pushing for it.

    Kumar, Bangalore

    Barkha Dutt’s professional integrity was always suspect as her partisan attitude was evident in her TV shows. However, I never suspected Vir Sanghvi to be a power-broker. His impish sobriety has turned out to be a pimpish one.

    R.K. Sudan, Jammu

    It seems a section of the media is worse than the oldest profession in the world. Listening to the conversations between politicians, corporates, fixers and journalists, I could not judge who was pimp and who the commodity. BD and VS come out as petty dalals (with due apologies to dalals; I cannot think of anything else to describe these two).

    Samir Rai, London

    With this one act, VM’s shown that he might be opinionated, but he is not partisan. As for the self-righteous Barkha and Vir, they might survive in journalism but their political career’s ended. Of what use will they be to a party if they can’t parrot the party line as the people’s?

    Srinivas, Bangalore

    It’s comeuppance of a sort. The haste with which Barkha used to demean others, like her interview with Kapil Dev, putting words in his mouth and humiliating him, something like this was waiting to happen. And though Vinod Mehta admits he is a Congress stooge, with this story he has shot them in the foot.

    Venkat Mahalingam, Secunderabad

    What is surprising is Barkha Dutt still defends her actions on Twitter. It not only confirms her Congress bias, but also her bright future in that party. Don’t be stunned if she gets a ticket in the coming elections or even a nomination for a Rajya Sabha seat.

    Muthur Radha, Melbourne

    The nation’s conscience-keeper has unfortunately prostituted itself to the highest bidder. At a time like this, it’s sad that there is no opposition party which is clean and in a position to challenge a totally discredited upa.

    Dilip Mahanty, Sydney

    Barkha Dutt once accused Arundhati of romanticising the Naxal movement. Now she says she was collecting information from Niira Radia, and not lobbying! What a romantic notion of journalism!

    Salim, Kannur

    Is Vinod playing Dr Jekyll?

    K. Suresh, Bangalore

    Padmasri Barkha Dutt, we are happy you are exposed. It was long overdue.

    Raja, Chandigarh

    Dear Barkha, I fail to understand how a journalist of your stature could even be involved as a messenger in the formation of a coalition government. I still remember you covering the war from Kargil. From that to this. You have let us down.

    Kaustav, Utica, US

    Pathetic. However hard they might try to defend themselves now, Barkha and Vir will not be able to restore the people’s trust in them. This is worse than paid news.

    Arijit Choudhury, Delhi

    I used to read Vir Sanghvi’s column like the Bible. Now I am going to read it more like satire.

    S. Raghunatha Prabhu, Alappuzha

    Day in and day out Barkha and Vir preach about anything and everything under the sun. If they had 0.001% self-respect, they would not show their faces in public ever again.

    Prakash Adhyapak, Belgaum

    And so the noble profession of journalism gets reduced to a bare PR act!

    K.V. Raghuram, Wayanad

    “Our wills and fates do so contrary run/That our devices still are overthrown.” Sad indeed the colour of corruption, and the inclusion of Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi in the tangle. They have proved they are mere pawns on the chessboard of men who lust for power. Hamlet’s time to say: Let the galled jade wince, our withers are unwrung...

    Uma Nair, New Delhi

    Time Ranjan Bhattacharya stopped calling himself Vajpayee’s foster son-in-law.

    Santosh Gairola, Taiwan

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