Pritish Nandy -- Padma Shri-winning poet, designer, painter and photographer -- changed the face of Indian journalism, setting new standards of excellence at the sadly deceased The Illustrated Weekly of India. After editing The Observer of Business and Politics and The Sunday Observer, he turned his attention to television where his candid interviews angered the P V Narasimha Rao government which banned him briefly from Doordarshan. His Pritish Nandy Communications now produces several television programmes for the national television network. He is currently a member of the Rajya Sabha as a Shiv Sena representative.
In Search Of Mogambo
Former UTI chairman Subramanyam may have made some wrong choices. Every fund manager does. But, by targeting him, we are allowing those who are actually guilty to escape.
Phew, what a movie!
'Congratulations, Aamir Khan. Move over, James Cameron. Asutosh Gowariker has arrived.'
Trial by the media
'Everyone manipulates the media to serve their own interests or hurt their rivals. In the process, justice is compromised, fair play is lost, truth is injured.'
Subverting the truth
'The absoluteness of truth has vanished in the melee of gossip and rumours. If the media does not wake up to this, it will have only itself to blame.'
Defending Salman Khan
'I find the media's obsessive
hostility towards Salman sick, perverse, grossly unfair. After all, he is just another person like
you and I.'
F is a dirty word
'No one wants to admit to it. No one is ready to acknowledge that it
actually exists. Famine is possibly the dirtiest word in the political lexicon of modern
The heart has its reasons
'For years, I have believed that the Indian people want a clean government. I was wrong. Entirely wrong. Or so the results of the state elections have proved.'
'Katherine Frank's biography of Indira Gandhi stinks. Even the worst political leader does not deserve a biography like
Behram Contractor RIP
'It bugs me to see this huge spectacle we are making
over Behram. It is totally contrary to what he would have wanted. For Behram hated hypocrisy.'
The invisible men
'We have lost the ability to make out the difference between someone accused of a crime and someone adjudged guilty by the courts. No, this is not the psyche of a moral nation. It is the psyche of a frustrated, blood thirsty people.'
A time to heal
'We cannot allow every scam to run away with India's future. Instead, we must find out what exactly went wrong and try to set it right. Otherwise, we may as well give up all pretence of parliamentary democracy and ask the CBI to run India.'
Where are the bears?
'You can blame Parekh. But you cannot allow the bears, who engineered the whole crash, go scot free.'
In Pursuit of Lakshmi
'We do not realise that more money does not necessarily mean a better life. The happiness index has nothing to do with GDP growth or the rise in Sensex. It has more to do with self realisation and preserving the traditions and values we
have grown up with.'
The great media comeback
'The Tehelka story will certainly succeed in cleansing the system to an extent. And that is what we all want. We want the thieves and carpetbaggers out. Not the government.'
Lessons from Tehelka
'Those whom we admire as the rich and the famous, are mostly the scum of the earth. Crooks, criminals, carpetbaggers who survive only because we do not swat them hard enough.'
The Unseen Majority
'It is time to focus on what India wants, what India needs. It is important for those in power to hear the voice of the silent majority. To frame Budgets that speak for them as much as they may speak for those among us who are privileged to be heard by those in high office.'
MI3, The New Scourge
'Militant Islam is actually a dangerous and scary political force that is using Islam as a convenient ploy to
spread its tentacles of fear worldwide.'
A distressing sale
'Whichever way you look at it, BALCO is a dud deal.
The price is wrong. The methodology is opaque and
unconvincing. The choice of buyer, unfortunate.
Someone somewhere has made a terrible mistake and it
needs to be quickly corrected. Otherwise, we have a
serious problem of credibility out here.'
Why the tamasha?
are in desperate need can do with your money, your old
clothes, used utensils, other household stuff. But
they can easily do without all your singing and
dancing, your silly birthday bashes, your cocktail
parties, your art auctions, the tearful dialogues in
your movies, the silly poems you are dying to read
The Hindujas Again!
"There are many political interests who will benefit from the hammering of the Hindujas. In the UK, they have already very successfully put Tony Blair on the mat. In India, they are using this as an excuse to corner the prime minister.'
Why is being a good Hindu politically incorrect in secular India?
'A good Hindu is no less than a good Christian or a good Muslim and it is time we acknowledged this fact. In this acknowledgement lies our future. As Hindus, as Indians. As a nation on the move.'
The Ugly H Word
'When Vajpayee speaks of Hindutva or the Ram temple, why should we brand him as a fundamentalist? Bush does not become a fundamentalist when he refers to Christianity or the Bible.'
The dumbing down of life
'Entertainment is shifting us away from our cultural priorities,
transforming our lives in many ways. I do not know if this is good for
India or bad. What I do know is that it gives hype, hysteria and
horseshit a thumbs up.'
is time we realised the simple fact that this is no altruistic campaign
that the media is running. To reveal the truth or track down a new
villain. It is just part of its ongoing business, to create every few days
a new hero or a new villain who can capture the headlines and sustain the
Let's stop sermonising
'To protect our hypocrisies, we conveniently ignore the fact that far more dangerous than the dancing girls in any restaurant are the cops who terrorise them and try to deny them their livelihood.'
'Big money leads to scandals and scams. Whether it is the stock market or the gentleman's game of cricket or show business or dotcoms, whenever we succeed, we hurtle towards our own damnation. Like Sisyphus, we are condemned to
roll the same huge boulder up the same steep hill only to watch it come rolling down after a while.'
The most mysterious film to have ever emerged out of Bollywood
'Tantalising as it may be, The Great Bottom (even if it happens to be Madhuri's) cannot hold your attention for all of two hours in a dark auditorium.'
Where's the moolah?
'The way Veerappan is slowly emerging as a putative Tamil freedom fighter speaks volumes for the way his image building exercise is being planned and executed by a team of brilliant media managers. The question is: Who is behind it all?'
Lynch Mob Psyche
'If you allow the State to punish these cricketers without adequate evidence, you will be giving the law enforcers a handle to hurt all of us unjustly one day.'
Lessons from Sharjah
'Not only are we incapable of turning back a cricket match from the edge, we are also terribly bad losers. At least, as watchers of the game.'
Time for Teamwork
'There is nothing wrong with ambition but when we fail to forge outstanding teams of talent simply because anyone who has
any skills wants to break away and do his or her own thing, India loses.'
Villain or Visionary?
'In politics, the dividing line between the two is too thin. I am sure
his admirers and his enemies are as confused because it is not easy to
figure out whether we are punishing a great visionary for a minor
indiscretion or not letting a crook go simply because he once held the
highest office in the land.'
The RSS is wrong
'It has failed to recognise the fact that whatever success Christianity has met with in India is only because it has successfully understood and adopted the spirit of India and, therefore, Hindutva.'
The oil price hike: The blow could have been softened
'The government should come clean and tell us how they intend to restructure the taxes for oil and petroleum products so that we, the people, know exactly at what price they are importing the stuff and at what price it is being retailed to us. We are today mature enough, as a nation and as a people, to face the facts and it is the responsibility of the State to take us into confidence.'
Coping with the K word
'After Pokhran II, a conflict between India and Pakistan is everyone's problem because one mistake can blow us all up. Nuclearisation has brought the issue centrestage. It is now everyone's concern.'
Is Taurani guilty?
'The actual evidence against both Nadeem and Taurani appears too slender for anyone to conclude definitively that they had conspired to kill Gulshan Kumar. The case is before the courts and till the honourable judges decide, we cannot call them criminals. They are merely the accused.'
Defend the defenders of the law
We must thank Justice Bharucha and the Supreme Court for reminding us that a bully State is admittedly a sick State, but a supine State is even worse. And for teaching our state governments that the easy way out is not always the right one.
Om Ganeshaye Namah
On one hand, we worship Lord Ganesha. On the other, we steal a hapless baby elephant from its mother and force it to drink whiskey to amuse ourselves. Is this entertainment? The Mahatma once said that a nation is known by the way it treats its animals. It is time we realised how we make a mockery of our non-violence when we allow such films to be made and shown.'
Give Bachchan a chance
'At least Bachchan has showed that he does not walk away from a failure, however ignominious it may be. He is ready to acknowledge it, pay for it and start afresh with a clean slate. How many businessmen can you say that for?'
Flying The Tricolour
'Why should the ordinary citizen not be allowed to fly the national flag atop his home or place or work? Is it a crime to be a patriot?'
A slum dweller's saga
'Frustrated by poverty, Joachim Arputham ran away from home when he was 16. He boarded a train to Mumbai and landed in the midst of one of the city's most ghastly slums. Last week, 53-year-old Joachim won the world's most prestigious award -- the Magsaysay.'
Our highest tax payers are not top industrialists who boast about their contribution to the exchequer
'Most of the people who won the awards that evening were professionals who earn their livelihood through, as they say, the sweat of the brow.'
Murder Most Foul
'In one week we have killed 13 of the rarest tigers in the world, 80 peacocks, our national bird and 12 spotted deer in different parts of India through criminal callousness. Yet, those who have done this are walking about as free men. By turning a Nelson's eye to such crimes, we are giving militancy a free hand.'
A Tragic Hero
Before we pass judgement on Hansie Cronje, let us look at the facts dispassionately
Mumbai versus Bombay
Like India, Mumbai has split itself wide open. We had India versus Bharat. Now you have Mumbai versus Bombay. With both sides pretending the other does not exist
Bad laws make bad people
The purpose of many of our laws is to terrorise, loot and extort. They have been devised specifically for that purpose.
The myth of Khairnar
We must stop lionising a good and honest but imbecilic officer of the State simply because he goes out and breaks down the homes of the poor, robs vendors of their wares, destroys places of worship, all under the pretext of cleaning up Bombay.
The art of self-defence
No one has time to evaluate charges. People look at how public figures respond. And that is how they make up their minds as to who is guilty.
King Canute returns
The compulsions of any commerce, be it brick and mortar or e-trade, cannot be allowed to subvert human rights and the freedom of citizens to traverse the information highway of tomorrow.
Only the dot-coms that match click for brick and swiftly integrate new stratagems with old revenue models will thrive. The rest will stumble.
The cooks and drivers and peons and stenos who slog for years in the Gulf to bring up their families in India are the ones who have built up modern India's huge dollar reserves which now exceed 37 billion. While powerful politicians and bureaucrats and corrupt businessmen before whom we are always eager to crawl are those very rascals who have traditionally shortchanged India and banked their wealth offshore.
Justice delayed may not always be justice denied
'Whether it is encounters with insurgents in the Kashmir Valley or it is enquiring into the betting scandal in cricket or trying to track down the mystery behind the murder of Priya Rajvansh, the problem is the same. The media puts far too much pressure on the police to perform. The result is the precise opposite.
New temples, new India
'Whether the Indian stock market booms or flops, the ICE Age is here to stay.'
50% PR, 50% Pyaar
'Vajpayee appears more and more keen to settle issues and put our relationship with Pakistan back on the rails. He does not say so openly, given the fact that he does not know how the new leadership in Pakistan would react to such an approach. He is also concerned with what the hawks within his own party and its allies would say if he were to send out an olive branch to a despised neighbour who only recently provoked an unnecessary and brutal war at the border resulting in the death of thousands of young soldiers.'
Bil Vil Pyaar Vyar
'Just as we cannot afford to allow the jehadi forces to win against us, nor
can America. For the very terrorists who are striking against Indian
targets today are the ones who will strike at American targets tomorrow.
Kargil is just a trial run. The real target, for them, is the Pentagon.'
'If at all Hindu fundamentalism exists, it is marginal and somewhat comic. No one takes old men in khaki half pants seriously. But Muslim fundamentalism means violence and terrorism. It means bloodshed on our borders. It means Osama bin Laden...'
Hail Sinha for offering a Budget for the new economy
'Yashwant Sinha has obviously made up his mind that the future of India lies not in the commodity economy of the past but in the ideas economy of tomorrow.'
A drain inspector's report
'I am sure there are many lonely wives finding solace in each other's arms. I am sure there are many poor widows in Varanasi whoring for a livelihood. There is no shame in admitting that. But surely there is much more to India today than its failures, its aberrations.'
The ISI bugbear
'The ISI is bad, yes. The ISI is wicked, true. But by giving it too much undue importance, by making it look larger than it really is, we are making Pakistan look far stronger than it is.'
'N Vittal is in the eye of a storm with everyone baying for his blood simply because no one ever thought that the fight against corruption was meant to be taken seriously.'
Five myths about second hand cars
'Import of second hand cars will not harm the domestic industry in any way. The resistance to the move only exposes the Indian companies' incompetence.'
e-com or e-com?
'E-com meant electronic communication, not electronic commerce. And, in fact, the entire Internet community looked down upon those who wanted to use the World Wide Web for business.'
A short pause
'Today I hope you will forgive me as I take a break from matters of state to write about my mother as her dead body lies on the cold floor...'
A time to celebrate
'Tony Blair and his merry men attracted more tourists to London on a freezing winter day than we get here in this gorgeous country in an entire year. Where there is so much to offer in terms of beauty, history, nature and celebrations. We fear celebrating anything because we fear criticism, harassment.'
Another stupid ban
'Matka ends up as a crime while horse racing is a wonderful sport. The matka operator is a criminal simply because his clients are not dressed in Armani suits, do not speak English and would not know how to uncork a bottle of champagne after winning.'
'The GAIL divestment was shoddy, and at a price that is shamefully low. The offloading of PSU stocks must be open to public scrutiny. No government has the mandate to sell off PSUs for a song.'
The BJP's secret weapon
'If Indian democracy has to grow and flourish, the Opposition also needs a leader of similar status. Sonia can not, will not do. She will only make the BJP stronger and the Opposition weaker and weaker.'
'If we are so amoral about profit, why do we make such a tamasha over small things? Why do we want to close bars at midnight, chop off kissing scenes on the screen, banish rock concerts and casinos, and treat those who smoke grass or drop acid or snort coke as noxious criminals?'
The road not taken
Look at our most recent prime ministers. V P Singh, Chandra Shekhar, P V Narasimha Rao, H D Deve Gowda, I K Gujral. Each of them makes a perfect study in despair. They basked in their own glory and wrote themselves out of the history books.
Bulls in China Garden
'I have no reason to support Nelson Wang. I recognise him simply for what he is. A fine restaurateur, a sharp businessman, a soldier of fortune. But I am sad the institution he built, whatever may be its technical flaws, was openly murdered in full daylight.'
The importance of competition
'Those who had presumed that the Indian market was a cakewalk suddenly found they were all wrong. The huge 350 million middle class they were told that was just waiting to lap up firang goods simply did not exist.'
Doing Your Own Thing
'We need to encourage more self employed professionals however humble their skills may be. We do not need, we do not want India to be a nation of frustrated peons, clerks, typists, stenographers and telephone operators.'
No Time For Deals
'Whichever party, whichever alliance comes to power it must make one fundamental choice. Who will it work for? Will it work for the Indian people? Or will it work for our business houses?'
The Awesome Threesome
'Nothing matters, nothing counts except politics, cricket, movies. Loved, hated, despised, revered in equal measure, they are the new deities of modern India.'
Who wants a Nanny?
'Freedom does not diminish us; it strengthens us. It teaches us how to face the world. While banning and censorship keeps us in chains.'
Soft options, hard choices
Sack Asha Parekh
The Break Up Bug
The State as Bully
Time to change friends
The Lessons of Kargil
Exploiting the War
The Great Comeback
Eff the Killer Instinct!
Demolish the myth
Stop Bashing Azhar
What a choice!
The Story of Jack Preger
What happens now?
The Art of Besharmi
A Silly Season
Tragic Memory Lapse
Don't Buy the Lie
The Shadow Government
Missionaries of Hope
The end of manufacturing
Living with pain
Playing ball with the enemy
Failing Hopes, Rising Crime
Not a bad year after all
Stop the Yankee-bashing
Let's scorn hypocrisy
The Fire Within
Lessons for a Loser
The Right to be Heard
Simple Ideas Work
The Mafia vs the MNCs
The wages of sin
The Hypocrisy of Politics
Out with Laloo!
An evil empire grows
Wanted: A Visionary
No, Chief Minister!
Excellence beats inflation
Brave New Media
Stop The Bullies!
Natural Born Killers!
The thoughtful taxman
A Stupid, Senseless Ban
The Politics of Bungee Jumping
BJP comes centrestage
Re-engineering Pokhran II
Hindu, Yankee Bhai Bhai
The Mask of Swadeshi
The Theatre of Strife
News? No washed in Lux!
Wrong, Harshad Mehta
The war within
The Power of Villainy
Thank you, Amma!
The Young and the Restless
This bane of swadeshi politics
Seeta Aur Geeta
Our New Netas
Altering the Mandate
The prodigal son
Lies, damned lies, and politics
The Men Who May Be PM
Indian democracy does not get hysterical about a blow job
The weak and instability
The media as villain
Great cricketers do not usually make great captains
The BJP and its new-found ugly allies
The Sultan of Sham
The State as Bribetaker
Both the BJP and Congress stink!
Freedom from falsehood
Yet another Slugfest
Everything is collapsing because we refuse to see the big picture
Why do Indians hate success?
A Preposterous Gallery of Rogues
Kesri is baying at the moon. A werewolf without his teeth
Extortion, a national pastime
Ladakh is too innocent for bloodshed
India wins another round
The Lost Children Of India
This Was No Candle In The Wind
The Lessons For Bollywood
Crime, Films, New Age Politics
The Great Betrayal