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”

Kamal Nath’s journey from Davos to Dewas

DB Post 13 Oct 2018



Perched atop Bhopal’s Shamla Hills, the CM House is indeed MP’s power centre.

Just across the road, overlooking the picturesque Upper Lake, stands another colonial bungalow that has emerged as the state’s second power centre.

Only a few feet of asphalt divide the two high profile neighbours.

State Congress president Kamal Nath, the occupant of the other house, has pitched a make-shift tent in its sprawling campus. It is to accommodate the perennial stream of visitors.

The campus resembles a mela ground. Those making a beeline to the house include political leaders, not necessarily from the Congress party, business tycoons and journalists. Some government officials are also in touch.  Continue reading “Kamal Nath’s journey from Davos to Dewas”

The Rise of OBCs in MP Politics

DB Post 11 Aug 18


Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has invoked his OBC status in the run up to the MP assembly elections. He tells the voters that he is the son of a poor farmer from backward class. And that is why raja-maharajas like Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia and business tycoons like Kamal Nath were trying to oust him from power.

The forthcoming election, he says, is a fight between the poor and the backward on one side and the rich and the feudal on the other.

When Kamal Nath reached Bhopal three months ago to take over as MPCC chief, his combat gear consisted of a voluminous document detailing caste composition of each assembly constituency.

His election strategy also hinges on the OBCs, who constitute more than half of the population in the state. The Congress has realised that its traditional dependence on tribal and dalit votes is no longer a guarantee of smooth sailing at the hustings. Continue reading “The Rise of OBCs in MP Politics”