As Dalrymple changes his mind on Rajiv Malhotra, JLF attendees must take on Dinanath Batra and the threat to books in India, says Hartosh Singh Bal

william_dalrympleThe Jaipur Literature Festival, or to give it its rightful name this year, the ZEE-Jaipur Literature Festival, has, like every other year, attracted a number of well-known authors. But this year in India is not like any other year. We have a new government in place, and the change from one dispensation to another is reflected in the festival as Tarun Tejpal gives way to Tarun Vijay.

Of course it is not incumbent upon the festival to reflect on this change; politics need not be the stuff of literature. But over the past year, a man named Dinanath Batra—who has the full endorsement of the current dispensation—has had considerable success in ensuring that publishers think more than twice about publishing anything that may annoy the Sangh Parivar, which is but a name for the vast amorphous machinery of Hindutva ideologues that drives the BJP. So even if politics does not concern the festival, its impact on literature should.  

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‘A Self-Styled Messiah’: Maheshwar Peri (Outlook)

TejpalThe stupidity of our nation gets greatly exposed with the extreme reactions to Tarun J. Tejpal—the cult following of his journalism at one end, and the lynch mobs baying for his blood, following the outing of his sexual escapades, at the other.

Tarun comes across as a sexual predator, on the prowl, in search of his next victim. He used his power and influence over young women half his age.

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A former editor speaks: Hartosh Bal on Tehelka’s ‘overdue’ demise (Firstpost)

Firstpost reached out to former Open editor Hartosh Bal for his view on the impending end of Tehelka. Bal was hired as Bureau chief at the inception of Tehelka magazine in 2004 and served for nearly 18 months. Moreover, as a veteran journalist, he offers an astute and startlingly candid view of the magazine and its place in the media landscape.

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The desire, the assassins and the masks – Tehelka: the unmaking of the maker (The Telegraph)

Sankarshan Thakur on Trun Tejpal and Tehelka: The great pity is, it’s not all about Tejpal or his dual lust for rarefied celebrity and subaltern stardom, Sir Vidia Naipaul and Soni Sori. Nor only about the bolt of disrepute he has called upon himself. The great pity of it all is that this is also about a brand he created and an institution he failed to craft.

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At a time when a shocked India is dealing with the allegations of rape against a high-profile writer and editor of Tehelka magazine, Tarun Tejpal, Dr. Usha Bande throws some light on an ugly reality: the rampant violence against women in the Indian sub-continent.

sea-of-innocenceViolence is a lived reality of a woman’s life that she alone experiences, suffers and endures. No amount of words can explain the pain and terror it causes because it is an experience that is personal. In a short story entitled “It was Dark” by Shashi Deshpande, a nine year old raped girl is in shock and when asked about the incident she can only repeat “it was dark”. This darkness is the subjective experience of every traumatized woman who falls a victim to violence be it sexual, domestic or social.

Violence against women is a hydra-headed monster that refuses to listen to reason; it is not intimidated by law; it refuses to make a retreat and that is why we need multi-pronged approaches to eliminate it. Violence, aggression and cruelty, wife bashing, rapes, acid attacks, murders and torture – indeed, this surfeit of violence is becoming more complex and manifest day by day. What reaches us is far less than what actually takes place and goes unreported.