Journalism is a responsibility, says Tarun Tejpal

Aman Kanth

Jaipur: Behind those long silver locks lies the face of a fearless man – Tarun Tejpal, an honest, blunt and brave man. As a journalist and author, Tejpal believes in inducing discomfiture for his readers rather than invariably providing them with pleasure.

As the founder head of Tehelka, Tejpal gave many sleepless nights to Delhi – the epicentre of power - with his sting operations, which rocked the nation with seedy defence and cricket exposés.

Tarun Tejpal’s ‘Tehelka’ became a household name as it uncovered the ugly face of Indian politics, which eventually prosecuted him for unmasking vile and power hungry politicians. Venkatswamy Commission is one of the glaring examples of how the state prosecuted Tejpal and his team of journalists, under which, Tejpal and his co-workers were accused of being the stooges of Congress.

On Day 5 of DSC Jaipur Literature Festival, Tarun Tejpal, the editor-in-chief of Tehelka and author of ‘Alchemy of Desire’ and ‘Story of My Assassins’ spoke at length about his trials and tribulations, which he faced in search of truth.

Speaking on truth, fiction and challenges of India, Tejpal lashed out at power hungry politicians, who tried to break his spirit by constantly hounding and meddling in his work. Tejpal frankly acknowledged that the constant pressure from the state tried to jeopardise the fate of Tehelka, to the point of pushing it to the brink of closure. Yet, come what may, Tejpal made up his mind not be afraid of anything in life.

Going against the wind, Tejpal even came out with Tehelka weekly magazine, with just enough money to come out with its initial two issues. However, fate smiled on him as a generous couple invested in his venture, picking up five percent in the company and the rest became history.

Today, Tarun Tejpal is perceived more as an activist rather than a journalist or writer, something he is extremely proud of. He firmly believes that journalism has a responsibility in making an impact on the policymakers and decision makers. However, Tejpal is not a nihilist as he believes that if Delhi works right, things can come back on track.