News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay

This article was first published 1 year ago  » News » Shobha Warrier: Journalistic Role Model

Shobha Warrier: Journalistic Role Model

December 31, 2022 11:16 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

If somebody wants to do an instant noodle study on contemporary Indian politics, Shobhaji's book, Battlefield India - 25 years of Politricks and Economix, is the one to look into, applauds M R Venkatesh, the well-known economic and political commentator.

IMAGE: Sashi Kumar, chairman, Asian College of Journalism; N Ram, chairman, Kasturi & Sons Limited and publisher of The Hindu, Shobha Warrier, Ajit Balakrishnan, founder and CEO, veteran commentator B R B Bhaskar at the launch of Shobha's latest book Battlefield India - 25 years of Politricks and Economix in Chennai, November 20, 2022. All Photographs: Kind courtesy Shobha Warrier

At the outset let me make a confession: I know Shobha Warrier for more than two decades.

I have been a silent admirer of Shobhaji (I call her, chechi, elder sister in Malayalam) who despite her legendary ability to extract information in the most pleasing manner remains one of the most unheralded personalities of Indian journalism.

Luckily, she is not a dentist. Otherwise, I often tell her, that she would extract your wisdom tooth without administering anaesthesia.

It is this ability of Shobhaji to extract information that has led her to various people (including yours truly) to be candid on several issues in interviews with her during the last two-and-a-half decades.

IMAGE: Ajit Balakrishnan speaks at the launch of Battlefield India - 25 years of Politricks and Economix.

Personalities as diverse as Ramaswamy Venkataraman, the former President of India, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, RSS ideologue Swaminathan Gurumurthy and the prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, have been interviewed by her.

All these experiences of interactions of Shobhaji with the socio, economic and political leaders of the last two-and-a-half decades which have featured regularly on has been now encapsulated in a book titled Battlefield India.

Interestingly, the publisher has added a tagline, A book of prophetic interviews.

The reason for the same is indeed self-explanatory -- If somebody wants to go back and do an instant noodle study on contemporary Indian politics, Shobhaji's book is the one to look into.

It begins with an interview of former President Venkataraman during the turbulent days of the late nineties when formation of a stable central government was virtually an impossible task.

There are interviews on matters including as complex as a Constitutional review to one on the Budget -- an annual must for Shobhaji to interview me on the Union Budget.

What is remarkable is her pleasant demeanour without losing focus on what she wants to ask and extract comes about so well as you read this book.

The disarming questions, camouflaged in a childish innocence, ensures the readers get to know the perspective that she so effortlessly brings about from the interviewee.

The only problem is the interviewee would not know that he has been disarmed by the end of the interview.

IMAGE: Battlefield India -- 25 years of Politricks and Economix cover page.

While I do not wish to play spoiler, I would definitely point out that some of the issues that she has touched upon with several of those who she has interviewed have serious implications for the nation even today.

This book must be read by all who are keen to have a grasp of contemporary politics, especially journalists and, of course, students of law, politics and economics.

It is a pity that Shobhaji is one of the vanishing breed of classical journalists who conduct themselves in the most dignified manner without imposing their views.

I only wish this book is made a part of curricula in journalist academia.

Having said this, I also feel that contemporary media has not risen to the occasion in celebrating this book in a manner it should have been.

Probably the fraternity of journalists do not wish to celebrate the success of a fellow journalist, more so a woman who has fought many a personal battle to be a role model for others.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024