Smell of Change…

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

Who was Vikram Thapar?

Exerpts of a conversation between Devanjali and Vikram Thapar

“Well, Ms Devanjali what do you think of me?” Vikram Thapar was abrupt and pointed in his question.

Devanjali looked at him trying to understand the orientation of his question. She said – “Well, people think of you as a successful media magnet who…”

“What do you think of me?” He interrupted her half-way, “Honestly; shed your

She looked at him and on the face of his stare, said – “Well, I think you’re a man with a great sense of marketing skills but with least sense of journalistic abilities; someone who knows how to sell his news without understanding what the news actually means.”

“Ha .. Ha … ha. You’re virtually boasting of my success.”
“A success people hate to look up to.”

“That’s the envy, young woman. People are jealous of my success. Mankind is
blessed with the wonderful ability to camouflage its jealousy and envy under a more
acceptable social emotion called hate. People express their hate through one of those
many saleable virtues called ethics, values and morality.”

Devanjali looked at him and listened silently, her side wisps waving slowly
in the morning breeze coming from across the Potomac river.

“The more they envy the more I prosper because I understand that at the root
of their jealousy lies the sense of their own inferiority…an inferiority that is born out of their inability to rise over their incompetence; they know well that they can’t
compete with me or stop my growth.”

“Well…” She asked, her head still slanted, “how does it matter what do I think of you?”

He smiled at her and took a long breath – “It matters; well, to be specific, I
want you to join my group and to work with me.”

Now, her head was straightened. She looked startled.

“I want you to join the ‘Newswire Group’ as Editor-in-Chief of a new TV news channel in English – ‘The Mirror News’, which I have been planning in India.”

Before she could open her mouth to say anything, he added – “Well, it’s my
pleasure to remind you that as per our management policy we pay the best in the
industry and better than the best someone like you could imagine for herself.”

For any journalist in her position, the offer was breathtaking.

“Why do you want me to join ‘The Mirror News’?”

“It’s because of the opposites we share.” He grinned – “Well, I think of you
exactly the opposite of what you think of me.”

She raised her brows.

“I think of you as a woman with great sense of journalistic abilities but with
little sense of marketing skills; someone who understands news better than many of
her colleagues twice her age, though, she might not be sure to sell it.”

“So, you want to make a team?”

“It makes a great journalistic sense, doesn’t it?”

“Say commercial sense, Mr. Thapar.”

“We can make it synonymous.”

Devanjali fell silent.

A man who symbolized many ills that the media was afflicted with, a man who
transgressed the inviolable codes of ethics, a man who violated each and every tenets
of journalism and a man who was anti-thesis of everything she had held to be sacred
and imperative in her profession was sitting in front of her asking her to team up.


Who was Vikram Thapar?

Interested…? Follow the post in ‘Curtain Raiser’ to know more about the coming fiction “DEMOCRACY 2.0”.



Who were ‘The Conventionists’?: A peek on the political climate of the day


……At the time, there were two main political alliances in the country – the ruling alliance and the opposition alliances. They formed two magnetic poles for the existing political elites of the country who kept drifting towards these two poles as per their convenience during or after a general election. These political elites had divided themselves into different political parties.

The ruling alliance was headed by its main political party, The National Convention Party.

‘The National Convention Party’, or more popularly the Convention Party, was the biggest national party that ran its government across many Indian states and had the highest number of Members in the Parliament. The opposition alliance was led by the ‘Bharatvadi Janhit Party’ or more popularly, the Janhit Party. These 2 parties formed the two opposite poles of political magnet around which many other regional parties coalesced.

Outside these 2 alliances were the leftists, the Indian Communist Party (ICP) which, in association with some other regional parties, had formed a feeble third alliance called ‘The Third Front’. The Third Front, like the third eye of Shiva, got active only during turmoil of grave political nature.  It was hardly visible on the political map of the nation but its resonance was well audible through the emanating sound bites of its leaders. However, the parties clustering around the third pole displayed the best political wisdom – they were no one’s eternal enemies, no one’s perpetual friends.

The general election happened after every five years.

The National Convention Party of the ruling alliance was a party which had ruled the centre for most part of the last six decades.

Although all through this long time the Convention Party had earned many cheers and boos to its credit, the analysts felt tempted to analyse its decades of rules on a single parameter – that, it was controlled all along by one single family, known as ‘The Sarvapriya Family’. They believed that the authority of this family over party was total and unchallenged. The members of the party were organized around the conviction that ‘The Family’ possessed the divine right to rule – a right which was considered sacrosanct and indisputable.

This faith had emanated from a not-so-unfounded belief that masses in the interiors of the rural India and in the dusty bylanes of towns and cities venerated ‘The Family’. Generations of Indians had inherited this feeling for ‘The Family’ as an ideological legacy from their ancestors. Maybe somewhere deep in the psyche of the Indians, an infatuation for the dynastic monarchy still lingered.

True republicans are a minority in society; the majority of men and women have a secret longing for a romantic authority over their destinies.

However, this unflinching faith among the Convention Party members in the authority of ‘The Family’ had made sycophancy a coveted virtue which was institutionalized by the material and emotional rewards it ensured to them. Sycophancy was equated with the virtue of loyalty; the dividing line between the two didn’t exist for the Conventionists.

However, the analysts believed that the fabled grip of ‘The Family’ over the masses was no longer undiluted. The mesmerising hold of The Family over the masses in the past decades had been mainly due to the charismatic leadership and persona of then leaders; such persona was built around carefully-crafted sloganeerings. However, the same charisma was no longer visible in the existing leadership, though sloganeering still ruled the day.

In the given backdrop, the spate of scams, scandals and corruption stories had further shaken the confidence of even the diehard proponents of the party. The government was dragged into a series of court cases, and it had to suffer many reverses in many of those cases.

The prestige of the National Convention Party had taken a severe beating.

Yet, the party leaders had put up brave faces. They knew that the battle had two fronts – one lied in courtrooms and the other lied in the minds of the people. They knew the right ways to fight both the battles. They had a battery of lawyers and they deployed the best among them to fight it out at both the fronts. Donning the black in day times, these gentlemen defended the government in the courtrooms and wore a Chickan kurta at the panel of the ‘Crossfire’ in the night to demolish the arguments and accusations of the opposition leaders, who sounded like prosecution lawyers.

The Conventionists had developed the art of defending all these accusations and much more through the twin powers of sophism and polemics; they had raised this art to an awesome height of craftsmanship.

Much in the same way as in the profession of law, politics has been one such field where a conscientious approach is a recipe to disaster whereas polemics and sophistries are the virtues which win the battle. The more you have these, the more leverage you acquire in nagging circumstances.

No wonder why the Convention Party kept so many lawyers in their folds.

Presently, the onerous job of putting the Convention Party back to its charismatic old days was taken up by the young scion of The Family, Mr. Rohan Sarvapriya, who, the analysts believed, was destined to be the next ruler of the nation by default.

Mr. Rohan Sarvapriya was fortunate to get a battalion of able men and women working for the party. Although a great many of them were veterans in the party, serving it from the time when Mr. Sarvapriya was not even born, they never aspired to take the top job of heading the government or the party.

Loyalty commands subservience.

Many of these veterans, with immense experience behind them, could have become a far better choice for the top job but they never ventured to nurture such dreams.  To them, ‘The Family’ always came before the nation! These were the men and women who had limited their dreams.

Those who limit their dreams, limit their capacities.

These seniors publicly craved to be taken care of by the young scion, but the later was aware of the pitfalls. Like Bairam Khan and his seasoned generals, who zealously guarded the Moughal crown till Jalalluddin Akbar was fit enough to wear it, the Convention Party generals led by its Prime Minister often knelt down in complaisance to offer the crown to the ‘crown prince’ who they believed was its rightful owner and by the time fit enough to wear it. But, unlike Jalalluddin who accepted the offer despite being a political greenhorn at the time, the crown prince used to jump over the bent heads of his men and walk away with a wry smile. He informed them that such a time had yet not arrived; maybe not till the scams and scandals were swept under carpet and out of public memory. He was not there to clean the muck, though publicly he always had to say the opposite.

Ah, the crown!

The crown, because of some knotty circumstances, had fallen into the custody of the party generals and under the circumstances a gentleman was trapped in becoming the party’s unintended Prime Minister….



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