Indore Administration: an example of perfect teamwork

DB Post 26 March 2017


Ask any self-respecting Indorean to locate the world capital, and chances are that he would unhesitatingly name Indore. It is a people passionately in love with their city. The citizens of Indore have just discovered one more reason to admire their beloved town.

People of Indore are still gushing about, with awe in their voice, about the city administration’s ongoing crusade against cattle mafia. The unprecedented blitzkrieg against mafia started about a month ago, when illegal cattle-breeders stabbed to death a 25-year-old municipal employee during a drive against stray cattle.

The murder took place in a crowded locality in broad daylight as armed thugs attacked municipal staff removing stray cattle. The stray cattle squad of Indore Municipal Corporation had gone to that area in response to citizens’ complaint to chief minister’s helpline.

Continue reading “Indore Administration: an example of perfect teamwork”

We get the Neta we deserve


DB Post 1 December 2018


Yogendra Nirmal, the sitting BJP MLA from Waraseoni, is known for his simplicity and honesty. His austere lifestyle inspires both awe and amusement. Dressed in knickers and vest, every morning he can be seen sweeping not only his house but also the street in front of it.

He did not pick up the broomstick because of the Modi Government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. He has been wielding it long before he became a member of the MP Assembly, long before he became the chairman of the local municipal committee.

Most of the voters in the constituency have their favourite Wodehousian tale to share about their MLA’s unimpressive appearance. “Once, I went to Bhopal to meet him,” recalls Balaghat journalist Atul, “he opened the doors in his chaddi and then went to the kitchen to make tea for me.”

His dress sense, rather lack of it, has become part of the political folklore in the area. He is oblivious to his crumpled shirt, unshaved face with several days of growth and the habit of wearing his trousers without belt. “And he would climb the stage in that kind of dress even to address a rally with the CM,” says Devesh. Continue reading “We get the Neta we deserve”

जब एक जनरल चुनाव लड़ता है

Prajatantra 25 Nov 18

When a General fights an election


छपे हुए प्रोग्राम के मुताबिक़ सुबह ७ बजकर ५५ मिनट पर चित्तौरगढ़ से भाजपा उम्मीदवार जसवंत सिंह का क़ाफ़िला चुनाव प्रचार के लिए रवाना होनेवाला था।

और ठीक 7.55 बजे अपने सुपरिचित सफारी सूट में उम्मीदवार महोदय उस दिन का चुनाव अभियान शुरू करने के लिए चित्तौर के सरकारी सर्किट हाउस में अपने कमरे से बाहर आए।

बरामदे में उस वक़्त हम केवल पांच लोग  थे। मैं था, एक फोटोग्राफर थे, जसवंत सिंह की गाड़ी के ड्राइवर थेऔर चुनाव इंतज़ाम में लगे भाजपा के दो कार्यकर्ता थे।

सिंह ने पूछा, “और लोग कहां हैं?”

“वे आ रहे हैं,” कार्यकर्ता चिंतित नज़र आ रहे थे।

“लेकिन हमें 7.55 पर निकलना था। कोई बात नहीं, हमें निकलना चाहिए। “उम्मीदवार ने कहा।

जसवंत सिंह ने एक चौथाई सदी से भी पहले फ़ौज की नौकरी  छोड़ दी थी.  लेकिन फ़ौज ने उन्हें कभी नहीं छोड़ा। वह अपनी  राजनीतिक लड़ाइयाँ फ़ौजी तरीक़ों से लड़ते थे। Continue reading “जब एक जनरल चुनाव लड़ता है”

Political battle by military man

First Print 25 Nov 18



The days’s programme for Jaswant Singh, the BJP candidate from Chhittorgarh, Rajasthan, began with a numeric ‘0755 hours’.

At the appointed hour Singh, dressed in trademark safari suit, came out of his room at Chittor’s government circuit house to start the days’s election campaign.

In the veranda only five of us were there. Me, a photographer, a driver and two party workers.

“Where are others”, asked Singh.

“They are on their way,” mumbled the embarrassed workers.

“But we were supposed to start at 7.55. Let us go,” said the candidate.

Jaswant Singh, who would later become India’s Defence, Foreign and Finance Minister, had left Army a quarter century ago. But the Army never left him.  He used to fight his political battles with military precision. Continue reading “Political battle by military man”

Each farmer gets Rs 50K, yet suffers

DB Post 24 November 2018


Baihar Baiga is a differently-abled man of uncertain years. The tribal from Shahdol district is lame, to use the politically incorrect term.

In the courtyard of his mud-thatched house in the Baiga quarters of the Singhpur village, he is surveying with resignation the crop that his two school-going grandsons have just brought in from the fields.

The paddy plants are shrivelled, with few grains to be seen. It can be, at best, used as a fodder. The crop has failed.

A member of one of the most impoverished primitive aboriginal tribes in India, Baihar Baiga owns one acre of land, a gift from the State.

But he is not a member of any agricultural credit cooperative society. Neither does he have an account in the cooperative bank. He could not, and did not, buy the crop insurance policy.

So, he cannot get any compensation. Farming, for him, is a gamble that did not pay this year.

Continue reading “Each farmer gets Rs 50K, yet suffers”

एक मुख्यमंत्री और उनकी नकदी के साथ चुनावी यात्रा

Prajatantra 18 November 2018

When SC Shukla flew with bundles of currency in a chopper


पंडित श्यामा चरण शुक्ल का कद बड़ा था। केवल शारीरिक रूप से ही नहीं। वह तीन बार मध्य प्रदेश के मुख्यमंत्री रह चुके थे। वे अपने राज्य के बारे में बहुत सोचते थे. खासकर सिंचाई योजनाओं को लेकर वे बहुत कोशिश करते थे. इस क्षेत्र में उनकी जानकारी किसी इंजीनियर से भी ज्यादा थी. शिवराज सिंह चौहान के अलावा वह इस प्रदेश के शायद ऐसे एकमात्र मुख्यमंत्री थे जो सोते-जागते हमेशा विकास की ही बात करते थे.

राज्य के पहले मुख्यमंत्री रविशंकर शुक्ल उनके पिता थे. छोटे भाई वीसी शुक्ला इंदिरा गांधी की किचन कैबिनेट का हिस्सा हुआ करते थे। मैं आजतक जितने नेताओं से मिला हूँ, उनमें सबसे पारदर्शी लोगों में वे एक थे. हमारी अच्छी घुटती थी. हो सकता है यह मेरी कुछ रिपोर्टों की वजह से हो, जो उनके राजनीतिक रकीब अर्जुन सिंह के ज्यादा अनुकूल नहीं थीं. Continue reading “एक मुख्यमंत्री और उनकी नकदी के साथ चुनावी यात्रा”

A politician goes on a princely padyatra

First Print 11 Nov 18


“Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past.”

–         George Orwell, 1984

The turbaned attendant, dressed in the palace uniform, walked in barely after we had settled in our room in the royal family’s guest house. He brought in a silver tray that carried a bottle of scotch whiskey, fine crystal glasses, ice bucket, a siphon for pumping soda and a little something to munch.

As he placed three glasses on the table, we looked at him enquiringly. Only two of us were in that room — GV Krishnan of the Times of India and myself, who used to work for Indian Express then. “Maharaj Sahib aa rahe hain,” he said gravely, bowed, and left the room.

We were guests of Madhavrao Scindia, the scion of the erstwhile princely state of Gwalior and the Congress MP from Guna. He had invited us to Shivpuri for coverage of the padyatra that he planned to undertake of his constituency. He had also, graciously, put us up at the guest house where he was staying. Continue reading “A politician goes on a princely padyatra”

एक राजनेता की राजशाही पदयात्रा

Prajatantra 11 Nov 18


एक लम्बी यात्रा के बाद शिवपुरी के शाही गेस्ट हाउस के अपने कमरे में हम अभी तरो-ताज़ा हो ही रहे थे किपगड़ी धारी एक अटेंडेंट बड़ी अदब के साथ कमरे में आया. उसके हाथ में चांदी की एक ट्रे थी. उसमें स्कॉच व्हिस्की की एक बोतल, आइस बकेट, सोडा निकालने का एक ख़ूबसूरत साइफ़न और कुछ तश्तरियों में खाने की सामग्री थी।

जब उसने हमारे सामने की टेबल पर क्रिस्टल के तीन नक़्क़ाशीदार ग्लास रखे, तो हम चौंक गए। कमरे में हम दो ही लोग थे। मैं था और टाइम्स ऑफ़ इंडिया के जीवी कृष्णन थे। मैं उन दिनों इंडियन एक्सप्रेस में काम करता था.

अटेंडेंट हमारी आँखों में तैर रही जिज्ञासा समझ गया. उसने मेज पर सामग्री सजाते हुए ऐलान किया, “महाराज साहब आ रहे हैं.” अपना काम करके उसने झुक कर अभिवादन किया किया और कमरे से चला गया. Continue reading “एक राजनेता की राजशाही पदयात्रा”

Gracious Maharaja offers gracias

First Print 4 November 2018



I was on cloud nine. Madhavrao Scindia was himself at the wheel. Renowned culture czarina Pupul Jayakar was in the passenger seat. And we were at the back —- yours truly and Madhu Jain, a journalist working with Sunday magazine then.

The Ambassador car was hurtling from Gwalior to Shivpuri, its needle sometimes touching 100. Obviously, the scion of Gwalior’s princely family liked to live in the fast lane. Other vehicles in the carcade, some of them imported luxury cars, were finding it difficult to keep pace.

Earlier, as the liveried chauffeur had pulled up outside the imposing Jaivilas Palace and opened its doors for passengers, Scindia dismissed him, asking him to come in the follow up vehicle.

Then the former prince himself opened the front passenger seat for Jayakar. He asked us to sit at the back; the driver had been shunted out to accommodate the journalists. The gracious Maharaja was being the perfect host, I thought. Continue reading “Gracious Maharaja offers gracias”

शाही सवारी का मजा, भूखे रहने की सजा

Prajatantra 4 Nov 18


Untold Stories

A Maharaj Cultivates A Culture Czarina


मैं सातवें आसमान पर था.

हमारी गाड़ी माधवराव सिंधिया खुद चला रहे थे. ड्राईवर को उन्होंने पीछे की गाड़ी से आने को कह दिया था.

उनके बगल की सीट पर कला और संस्कृति की मशहूर शख्शियत पुपुल जयकर बैठी थी. और पीछे की सीट पर हम दो पत्रकार बैठे थे —- मधु जैन, जो तब सन्डे में काम करती थी, और मैं खुद.

ग्वालियर से शिवपुरी के पेंचदार रास्तों पर महाराज उस एम्बेसडर कार को बेहद तेज रफ़्तार से एक कुशल ड्राईवर की तरह चला रहे थे.कई दफा कांटा १०० तक पहुँच जाता था.

इम्पोर्टेड लक्ज़री गाड़ियों समेत काफिले में पीछे चल रही दूसरी गाड़ियों को हमारे साथ चलने में पसीना आ रहा था. जाहिर था हम एक ऐसी हस्ती के साथ थे जिसे तेज रफ़्तार जिन्दगी जीने की आदत थी. Continue reading “शाही सवारी का मजा, भूखे रहने की सजा”