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INTERVIEWEE* Name: Kuldip Nayar


Medium: Audio recordings* Format: Audio .wav

  • Language: English/ Hindi
  • Date of the interview: 30/01/2016

Clip name/DURATION: * KNayar1.wav/ 01:05:56

  • KNayar2.wav/00:20:19


TimeCode Transcription Remarks
00:00:00 KF: … Interview with Kuldip Naayar at his home in Vasant Vihar on the Thirtieth of January, Two Thousand Sixteen. Mr Naayar, I know you’ve-you’ve… Constant feedback in the recording.
KN: Uhh… Pronounciation is Nai-yurr. Because it's Naa-yar is South
Nai-yurr, sorry.
- Because it is, Naayar is
- is South Indian, are Nairs.
- is an Arabic word.
And uhh… it’s a- it’s a… North, background is that.
00:37 Theek hai. Uhm… Yeah. If you could start with – with a little bit about how you started in – in – in journalism which I believe was in an Urdu daily…


See... I did Law from Lahore. So I’m BA Honours, LLB. Uhh… And I did Honours in History. And uhh…So I was uhh… hoping to… settle down in my hometown, Sialkot City. And then, start practice. We had some property and people knew so that my plan. But… … just soon after partition... the partition took place and uhh… I had already in the exam I knew I would pass. So now I, when I … came to India. I mean from Sialkot city. Migrated. When I crossed the border, I had nothing – no money. After you had lost everything. One had left Sialkot at that time just before uhh… I would say... around partition – this thing you will settle down you will go back. But there was no going back. One had never imagined ki it could happen that way. So as I told when I crossed the border… I had no money. So … my maternal aunt was in Delhi. So I came and uhh… lived with her for a while But uh… her husband was also poor – head clerk – so it, they didn’t have that kind of money or house that kind of thing. So I had to look for a job. So near Daryaganj is Jama Masjid. So I used to eat at Jama Masjid because I was very fond of non-vegetarian food and it was cheap. So one gentleman used to see me. And after a couple of days he said ki… you don’t work? I said there’s no job. He said what are your qualifications, I said I have done honours in History BA Honours and I am also LLB. He said surely you can get a job. I said yes but I don’t want to be a clerk. Uhh… and, so… so he said uhh… Do you know Urdu? I said yes. Persian, Urdu I have graduated in Persian, Urdu also. All of these kinds of languages were from Punjab so I… So he said here is a… newspaper. Muslim-owned newspaper. Very h- well-circulated. They’re looking for a Hindu who knew Urdu… English, Urdu and… They have a job. So I went there. So that man… I still remember, the name of the owner was Yaseem. And uhh... so I asked… I’m looking for a job. He said you- yes, we know, we are looking for a person. Do you know Urdu? So I wrote down I said yes sir. Yes, you sit down at the desk and that’s how started the job. Now… I could not go back- I thought ki I would practice one day. But uhh, that has a gestation period, and all these books and other – so, ki now I have to come to journalism. So, there was a very famous poet in... living in that area. Hasrat Mohani. And when I heard… so I went to him and uhh… He said, Urdu has no future in India. So you switch over to English. Now how do you get a job? So what I did was that I said alright- or I shall become a journalist. So let me go to… America and get a degree. Journalism degree. I had no money. And we couldn’t afford so I went to USIS. LAHORE/PARTITION
06:23 - Mandi House.
- Huh?
- Mandi House.
Haan, used to be in- Not – At that time it wasn’t Mandi House, it used to be at Pa- Kasturba Gandhi road. So there I went and uhm… I said I would like to go. To America. They said we can give you travel grant provided you have an admission. Somewhere. So I sat there and found out which university. So North Western University they said. Yes yes, Medill School of Journalism. So I wrote to the dean... yes, admitted. And uhh I had asked for some scholarship so he gave me first- first masters scholarship and that’s how I went there. There it was hard because you had no money and couldn’t get it from home. So you had to do work – all kind of work; raking lawn, washing windows, waiting on tables. All these things you had to do. And uhh... So I got uhh… … twenty hour… ... twenty hour per… week or something like that. So I got the degree in three semesters. USA EDUCATION


08:16 This was- you finished in which year? In the fifties this is still... na?
Yes… it would be it… … fifty… two or fifty three. Something like that. And I came to return to India.
08:42 - You were keen to return…?
Yes. See, there were- I must say ki there were jobs at that time. They – as soon as you pass they offered – some provincial newspaper. So I said no I don’t want to settle down here so I must go back home. And here, those days… five year plan had been launched. And they were looking for feature writers. So I had this degree… so the fact that I had a degree, I hadn’t written much. SO they hired me. Later on I qualified in UPSC so et cetera. So that’s why –
09:40 You were hired by the Press Information Bureau.
- Haan, Press Information Bureau. And uhh, as a feature writer. So I used to travel in the country and do features and I got, I would say, those days, newspapers even Times of India used to publish whatever came from PIB so I had my feature printed in lots of papers after that, And I used to travel long and produce something. Because see these newspapers could never – I mean could afford but they never sent anybody out so I used to go. Not in Daheli, somewhere outside. Some Bhakra dam or some don’s house – somewhere. So PIB used to pay for that. But there I used to appear. PIB
10:43 Reporting on the great developmental projects.
- Ah yes. Some projects, some… uhh… I still remember I stayed with this... then this village level worker used to be very big thing. So, I produced that and... that type. Now… qualified also for UPSC so I … As I said started… But, after …. Ten years in PIB… I found ki, yes those days PIB used to – woh jo feature writers, information officers, used to have good pay – seven hundred and fifty rupees. REPORTING ON DEVELOPMENT
- And perks. Car-var?
- Huh?
Car also? House?
-Nahi nahi nahi. Car nahi. House was just like any government so… So I was working with … first as feature writer then they said ki why don’t you come regular – to the regular side of PIB… so I said yes. So they attached me to Pant.
12:08 - G. B. Pant.
- So I… he was very particular that his information officer would travel wherever he goes. He was very fond of publicity. Not that I could do anything but he had that idea that if information officer with there so his publicity would be taken care of. GB PANT (HOME MINISTER)LB SHASTRI
- He was Home Minister?
- Home Minister. At that time… Newspaper would cover him obviously Home Minister. But anyway, so I went around with him … I would see everything. Then when he died. Shastri had been in some other ministry but he was seeing all the time, that... one eye was with him and second thing that lot’s of publicity we have – oh Govind Ballabh Pant – he got it because of Home Minister but anyway... So when he, Shastri became Home Minister, so he retained certain staff et cetera. So he was very particular to retain me that I would work with him. And then... I must say, I stayed with him until he was the Prime Minister... After that I came to the private sector and uhh… LB SHASTRI
- UNI that… had founded it and since I had lot of contact with in the ministry et cetera so I did also news stories. And it appeared o lot... UNI. Became self-sufficient also. UNI became a competitive news agency for PTI. And… during… when I was in… Urdu paper I covered the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi at that time nd it appeared in.. Then in UNI, I started doing some stories which were unusual; so that it would appear and it did appear. For example I still remember Indian government was talking to the Naga Leaders. And… everyday news would appear ki they talked cordially and all kinds of things. So I went to this Naga leaders. So I said ki what everyday you are talking. What are you talking about? He said we’re telling the government of India that we want independence. So I came and reported. Oh my god it was such a furore that the Information Minister rang up ... How do you run these kinds of stories. All India Radio used to buy UNI so they reduced our (?) because of that. Anyway... But uhh… since I was doing my unusual story I remember PTI when … was little... rattled so I was approached by PTI ki look here. Why don't we come to some kind of -
16:32 - arrangement.
- arrangement et cetera and... You have certain other field, we have certain other field. So, but anyway, that wasn't… both agencies was owned by the newspaper so it was upon the owners really to decide. So they decided nahi, they should keep them we together, separate et cetera. So… there… woh… when I working in UNI... I had done lots of stories. So...
17:12 - But in UNI, if I can interrupt for a second, there, although there were calls like this from... from ministers when they object to stories but the... uhh newspapers – the owners never uhhh... interfered at all?
- No. As I said, the owner owned the paper
- Hmm.


See, both PTI and UNI were owned by big newspapers. Now they could have kept one but they wanted two so that ki there could be competition and so that – that was the only … we used to – UNI used to land up uhh... I would have very uhh... Small and takes(?) and story would be more than five hundred because I didn't PTI- sheafs and sheafs so I toh UNI then started appearing a lot et cetera. And... The biggest scoop I had when Shastri died at Tashkent so I... was working with UNI still and I went to his room because I knew Shastri, I had been working with him. And there was a hotline so I picked up. The operator said which number. Because from his room. So I UNI number I – so, she gave me that number... And there I told person who was working. Dhingra I still remember that... write down that – send a flash: Shastri dead. So he said, I am doing a banquet speech. I said bhayi... (laughs)
- Story had lapsed.
So we were – the scoops little bit et cetera. Statesman... picked me up as resident editor. Daheli. And from then onwards STATESMAN
19:24 - But this was already – this was in Pran Chopra's time.
Pran Chopra was... yes but almost -
- On the way out.
Then Pran Chopra episode took place. So he left but I was there but I had just joined it when he was the – he was the editor. And I was the resident editor. Very few months together though I... - And then, of course, Irani came …
19:54 But that must have been your first taste of interference, both well, particularly from the corporates, from the Tatas... uhh...?
- Nahi, I must give him credit he uhh... Once JRD called me to Bombay. And asked, he said ki look here, what do I do? I have only twelve and a half percent share. And this paper, Statesman is known by Tata, my newspaper. There are so many, Moffat Lal is there, many others are there. So... he said ki see, I have business with Iran. And you people have go on-go on publishing certain things and this has – this has created a problem for me. INFORMAL PRESSSURE:


- Criticising the Shah.
- Haan, haan. In fact he once... he rang me up also. He said ki this cartoonist you have, he all the time depicts Indira Gandhi as some kind of dog or something, barking dog or something.
21:18 - It's – this is Rajinder Puri. RAJINDER PURI
Haan. So you do something about it.
- Hmm.
So... I said ki he's on the staff. I said you can't fire a working journalist. So what happened was that Calcutta... stopped publishing his cartoons. But I was publishing his work. And Daheli was the only place where he was appearing. So Rajinder was a good cartoon and a good writer also. And then as I said ki from Statesman, I said ki this uhh... Now from UNI, Statesman I came and once Statesman then... When Irani came... He made my life miserable because he had, you know wanted to control everything and he did et cetera. So then I left for Express. IRANI
22:26 But there must have been a lot of talk then cause he was seen as a – a management person, na? Coming in, again from the owners.
… In fact Palkhivala, who brought him, I complained to him. I knew Palkhivala and uhh... So he said uhh.. Maybe I made a mistake. But nothing he could do, now that Irani... So Irani... Nag Bhuliya was the editor then, he was a good... very good journ- writer, at least... he didn't know the background of anything, he wrote well. And so, you... suppose he's writing on something on Congress or et cetera so he would talk to me. I'd brie- get briefing and then wrote very well. And argued well et cetera. So that... And... Irani, now when he came he started interfering... So... and he... first asked me uhh... To tell certain things against Nag Boriya to... Palkhivala. I said I have nothing against him but he wanted to use, then he turned against me also. But Nand Bolya … Palkhivala then did smell but was just too late. So both Nand Boriya had left I left and Irani... this... paper uhh... from Calcutta – Telegraph. So Akbar used to be its first editor. We knew very well because he had started Sunday and uhh... toh he was very particular I would do cover page story – first cover page story of Sunday. I did on Bhutto.

(Unknown name. Apologies.)

24:32 - Okay. This – but this is much later, na?
- Much. Nai nai. Earlier. And later I came to as I said ki – ah! Yes-yes, later, no doubt about it. Because Akbar came late in the – in journalism. But uhh... I would say ki... person who really destroyed Statesman was Irani. TELEGRAPH


- Irani. Hmm.
Because he just – he tried to... interfere everywhere and his own idea of what was news and what should be said. But I remember once... uhh... … Gujral was used to be I and B Minister and... he rang me up . I knew him also. He said ki Kuldip... your reporter all the time is not correct et cetera. So, I told Irani, I said ki, he said he should-why doesn't he ring me up? I said, well, I know him. So I... anyway I said ki bhayi, I left for Express. And I... there I started feild work also. And uhh... those were times when Emergency was imposed.
26:00 You joined in '75 only, na? In the same year.
- So I … was detained uhh... and... I used to be a corres for the Times, London. This-anybody who was resident editor of Statesman used to have that. So I was there. I styed with them almost twenty-five yeas as their correspondent. Of course they would have their own man. But whenever did not I was sending et cetera. And... so there... I … and … see, then... Ramnath Goenka no doubt stood by me during the emergency whatever – whatever I wrote everything et cetera. But when Mrs Gandhi returned came back in 1980 I still remember. Ramnath Goenka said ki, Kuldip, I want to make up with her. RAMNATH GOENKA: RECONCILIATION WITH INDIRA GANDHI
He told you frankly?
Haan. … I said, so? He said for that I will have to sacrifice some of my people. So I wrote my resignation and handed over to him. After that, I didn't get any job in any newspaper. Equivalent job... So I started my own column, Between the Lines, which I used to... and syndicated it. Then, till today I'm doing that. Then I had at one time, almost 70-80 newspapers, today I have roughly 30 papers. But I am now writing so that some outlet and my mental exercise. But I have written in books some, books that I took some time, wrote some books, In fact that in, nobody really wrote any book, I remember the first book. Between the lines became very popular. As many as now, I would say, twelve-fourteen books I wrote. Today, in fact all of my still do, it does appear in Pakistan Bangladesh. Because they know by this time I'm know. And secondly, I know their politics.


But to return as bit to the emergency. By, the time that happened, you were a very well-connected journalist. You – you knew people across the board, in in- in politics also, in government. Was it still a sh- a shock for you when it actually happened on the Twenty Fifth of June? Or did you... pretty much guess it?
See, I... I, see I could see and I wrote also. Mrs Gandhi used to be very god friend. After all those days... Since I was with Shastri working. She was uhh... Nehru had constituted a committee after the debacle...
- Nineteen Sixty-Two. Yes. And so she presided over that people committee. Shastri was its member. And so I .. so I the how I came to know each other. I... She used to ring me up also. I used to ring her up... But when she- now I was writing for the Express, as I said. But when she became more and more undemocratic, I... didn't like it. SO I started criticising her. And uhh... then she went on and on and I went... So she does- did say later to somebody ki one person who destroyed my reputation was this Kuldip Nayyar. Because I used to write in the column every week against her. It must be said to the credit as I said to Ramnath Goenka, he never interfered. He interfered only when she came back and he said ki and all that...
31:04 But at that time, did you get- just before emergency, did you get the sense that she or anyone else in government would call and complain to Ramnath Goenka.
- Nahi nahi. I was …
- No?
- No.
- No one complained directly to you?
After all, I joined the profession only short while before Emergency. Earlier I was in the government. So that... only then they started ki bhayi... … and, of course... I was warned. Nikhil Chakravarty used be a good friend of mine. He said, they are very much against you. Ramnath Goenka also came and he said ki he went around and if at all they want to do something about a person and that is you, because you... Of course it happened that once... the Emergency was imposed, Nikhil in fact told me, Nikhil Chakravarty, ki they are going to search your house. So whatever papers I had I gave to my son. In fact they never came back those papers, maybe they would have been valuable. Because I was in the Home Ministry so I was collecting certain reports et cetera. So on... NIKHIL CHAKRAVARTY
32:28 - Your son has lost them?
- Huh?
- Your son has lost them.. or?
No. Oh haan, they never came back. Son never gave it to some other boy. Because they were... certain reports of the roits. Certain reports about political reports. So they interesting reports. And.. One report I remember about land reform. Lojunski(?) was the person and... But that uhh... briefly I was In the planning commission. SO at that time I .. leaked out that report becaue it was very critical of India and and reforms... so Nehru had appointed him and Nehru... so when I, Planning Coming I just clicked up So I still remember the deputy chairman. Turvedi(?) was there. SO was there he called me. He said it’s a fact that you leaked out that report? I said yes. He said why? I said so that public should know that how we government hasn't done anything and there are no land reforms et cetera. He said but then you can't stay in the government. So he just sent me back t the Home Ministry, from where anyway after a while I resigned. Emergency... parti- coming back to the emergency, so as I said ki bhayi, I never thought that they would arrest me. And uhh... when he Nikhil told me ki look here, clean up your house they will come. So when they came, I said you can search the house, he said no, we haven't come for that, we've come to arrest you.
34:31 Where was the house? Was it this house or...?
No no no no, that uhh... I think we were living at rented house at Malcha Marg – Malcha Marg there was. We were living in that house so. And uhh... so when... I still remember that government – police jeep wouldn't move.
- Start.
So I had to push also (laughs). So anyway. SO when I landed in jail... ab... suddenly you from air condition room … you come to jail. Suddenly with food well-prepared et cetera well served, you are in. So... first experience mine was of course the Superintendent of jail was a great admirer of mine – of my writing – so he when... he when in his room he gave me tea, biscuits et cetera. So then he took me in , after all I had to be locked. So they- that was the lunchtime. Lunchtime and uhh.... there were too many flies I had never seen so many flies. EMERGENCY IMPRISONMENT
36:09 This was July, na, when you... when... ?
Haan. When they … the.. So, when the food came, food was prepared by some... prisoners because prisoner who were given life imprisonment, they would be the cook. So daal was there and roti. Nothing else. But daal there were flies in the daal so I couldn't. So there was a person sitting next to me. I still remember, he said... there's nothing else or you will go hungry. I said but I can’t take it. He said I can give you this lemon pickle. Pickle – lime. So that would help you. So then I got so used to used to it that whenever I should... fly I would put them out and then start, you know because you get used to it... Similarly, uhh... in the barrack, we were eighty- twenty-eight people at that barrack.
37:28 Mostly political prisoners?
Haan. Only. And … this... uhh... those days, Jan Sangh... people were also being arrested. So with me there were only Jan Sangh were there.
37:41 Achha, who Vajpayee was there...
Later on some socialists came... but I must say ki they... respected me a lot and... toh they would say, that there's only fan so people around so we shall give you also so that is... but it was still hard... to put... but I think... human nature is very adaptable so I adapted everything. I was there for three months.
38:27 And was it an interesting community? Many of the senior Jan Sangh leaders or...?
No no no. Nahi, there was only one... ex-mayor was there. But nobody, they would... talk generally but they wouldn't talk to me because they knew I had been writing against the Jan Sangh for such a long time, and so
38:45 Par, kaun the yeh, was Vajpayee with you or Advani with you - woh sab yahan nahi the.
Nahi-nahi yeh – uss waq- yeh the... Mayor tha yahan ka... Dilli ka. Nahi. Yeh jo Bajpayee wagerah the woh saare who ab... Ambala jail mey gaye.
39:00 Oh. And you were in Tihar.
Haan, I was in Tihar. And... uhh... my wife had filed a habbis corpus- habbis corpis petition. Rangarajan, I still remember. So he... Gave judgement that- here is a person who's nothing to do with political, his job his profession, so he writes his own, what is wrong. So he released me. And gave a very good judgement. Still it’s being quoted on the freedom of press et cetera. But he punished. He was taken from Daheli to Guwahati. Was transferred to Guwahati. Habeas Corpus?
39:55 And what had – was there, I mean a warrant, a charge as such when they arrested you... What exactly was the charge... sedition or...?



… it was a detention without trial, na. But later I wanted when I, when emergency was lifted I wanted to see what was the chargesheet... At least the police had to give something. So they had given given ki likhe- he was fomenting trouble among Muslims and had gone to propagate Jama Masjid. All concocted but still... And uhh... I'm saying... there, I... Now when I was to be released because Habbis Corpus and... All these now inmates they said ki bhayi you didn't be able to write. I said yes I shall write between the lines something but... They said why don't you go to Srinagar and Sheikh Abdullah is the person who can speak out something. So I.came, I went to Srinagar and spoke to Sheikh sahab, ki issue some statement. SheiKH ABDULLAH and STATEMENT AGAINST THE EMERGENCY
41:17 And this was the Jan Sangh wallahs, encouraging you to do this and...?



Haan, haan. So, all these... so... some of them even sent a uhh... Their regret and apology to the government. Otherwise, talk about, very big but, they apologised. Some were released also, on that point. So I went to Sheikh sahab. Sheikh sahab... I was surprised ki … he said ki, Kuldip, you don't know her. She will arrest me also. So I said, Sheikh sahab, everybody' eyes are really fixed on you. So... so he... his... mmm... lieutenant was Shamim, I still remember. He used to be parliament ember also so I knew him little because I was in (?). So Shamim came to the airport, I still remember, to receive me, And so I told Shamim that Sheikh sahab he said you go and talk to him. He's not Sheikh sahab now, that kind of thing. He's very reluctant to speak. I said, achha. So I went to the hotel and sent to him... So, I must ki... That very afternoon he came. And he embraced me and said, ab tum bhi Haji ho gaye. Khuda, tum bhi Haj gaye, maine kaha. Maine kaha, Sheikh sahab, sab loge apki taraf dekh rahein hain, toh. Kehta, haan, baat karenge, baat karenge. So, I was there for a week. He wouldn't talk, he wouldn't see me or anything but. So this Shamim, as I told you, he was MP and so he was very... he was also, I said, tell him. He said I have told him but he doesn’t want to issue a statement,. So Shamim and I drafted a statement on behalf of Sheikh sahab. Sheikh sahab, wouldn't sign it. We issued, without his consent.
43:49 Ohh! In his name?
- Haan!
- Shamim was quite brave also.



I said ki look ki, we, we thought both ki he wouldn't contradict because it was little critical of emergency but otherwise it was about country blah-blah. And he didn't- we did issue that without his knowledge, and... But... Sheikh sahab, later, many years later, told me. He said ki, mujhe bura toh laga lekin aap logon ne achha kiya. Because it saved his face et cetera. Then... it was now... an endless tunnel. What do you do. After emergency who’s going to... So I... uhm... those days I remember I met lots o people, I said ki why don’t you speak? No body wanted to speak, they were so afraid. Journalists, afraid, nobody would, Press Club, I would go.. People wouldn't even come near me. They would shun. Shun our house also. Because such fear. I was a member pf the Press Council so I raised the pint there to be the chairman to convene a meeting... he said what is the purpose? you know... You know nobody publish our publish our proceeding. I said it's not a question of proceeding. Posterity will see my god, here's the highest body to protect and preserve freedom of press so nothing,, not a word was said So he called the local members first. To my surprise, shock, nobody supported me, only I was the one. The people were so afraid. So... Iyengar, Iyengar used to be higher member trust, Justice Iyengar. So, he was justified ki tu kya...? But later when this... white paper was issued... FEARFUL MEDIA


46:10 - In '77.
I saw that there was a letter by him to... to... Shukla at that time.
- V. C. Shukla.
Haan. There he said ki, with great difficulty I have managed that no resolution should be passed, though Kuldip was very insistent blah-blah. I said my god! Even that man, I had never knew ki he was party to but anyway...
46:38 But in Express itself, what was, I mean the line...



No, Express itself, see... Goenka... did not interfere. And... I... was on the nes side et cetera. Ajit Bhattacharjea was on the … Mulgaonkar was the editor, he had been... I think sent back or some... asked to step down. So... they used to be uhm... Financial Express editor, so he was an old man, I'm forgetting his name He was asked to look after the.. And but, he, I must say, that man... was... such a fierce, independent person and he uhh... gave me full freedom, he said you do, you write whatever... so I when I now was very conscious about writing so he would make it stronger, he said ki, it doesn’t... let it go. So he... it went on like that. Uhh... Now... when the emergency was about to end, I mean there was no reason to believe but some policeman told me. They said, look here, it looks like emergency is ending. He said we have been asked to think of candidates who can win. So they connected two and two, must have... This happened, no doubt about it. And then, I must say, to the credit of I N- this intelligence bureau. They gave a report to her. That she would sweep the polls. So she was riding a Tiger. So she wanted to say, look here, how do I dismount. So she announced an election. And was...
- Trounced.
- Hope- hoping that she would make a comeback but she was wiped out. I must say the question. She was defeated, her son was defeated – all them... And I, in express we used to have outside, you know.
49:26 - The hoardings. I remember. I saw them myself.
- Achha. So... so when I was... I... saw that Sanjay Gandhi so I put it. SO everybody now was saying, bachhara toh hua, gaaye ka kya hua? Toh... So I got this flash now. Of no, first, this man rang up from my stinger who was in Rae Bareilly. He said ki ji... Mrs Gandhi is trailing. I said, don't be silly. How can she... So then... the turnout she was defeated. So now, I was in charge to put... I said not possible.
50:25 - I'll tell you the one I remember, but go on.



I said, not possible. And even if she were- she would come back from some other constituency. After all I never thought that Congress would be backed up. Would never imagine... So I didn't want to pretend- there were so much pressing people, what is the result, what's the result. So I called this stinger of mine, I said please check again. He checked. He said ki, she's lost. I said what about the returning officer. He said ki returning officer has not announced it yet. So anyway, he returned et cetera. But I tell you ki, returning officer announced defeat. So... I think Brar was his name, I still remember. Second day, after say election et cetera. I flew to Lucknow and drove to Rae Bareilly. I said tell me, how did you announce the election. I'm saying- defeat. Because, she at that time, there was no- All India Radio say at the end. During the period you ddint know ki bhayi, who was at... He said ji you come inside and you meet my wife. So I... widfe was Gujarati. He said I when she was defeated and her... Fotedar. Fotedar rang up and Raman rang up ki don't announce. … So he said ki I went to my wife, she said ki this is a betrayal so we must announce. So he- I – he take me there. So I said ki, why did you say. She said ki, look here. I come from very small family et cetera. But this was dishonesty, I told him ki mai bartan maanj lungi, lekin beimani nahi karenege... And he announced... becaus eit was very brave of him, that is how I am saying ki I went and found... aNNOUNcement oF ELECtion reSULtS
53:24 Did he- did he face any consequences later after...
He did. See, during the emergency, uske baad toh Janta aa gayi, and he was very good. So in 1980 when she came back, so I was trying to find out as a news story. What has happened to hi. So somebody told me it’s Allahabad, so I rang up. I was able to trace hi. He said, Mr Nayar, kindly ring me up and never again. He said you have no idea how I have been harassed. So, please, don't ever ring me up. I have respect for you that's the reason I took the call, otherwise I wouldn't. They have rally made my life miserable. So he was a poor man.
54:21 - Such vindictiveness, my goodness.
This.. When as I said ki... me... Now Ramnath Goenka said I want to make with her. So I had to lie. After that I never got a job. Anywhere. And I started writing this column which I syndicated. Then people... by... It sustained me, na. And wrote books also, little bit. It sustained me. I had to, at that time, my children were going to school, I just was able to manage. We were able to... But it was tough. Because, after all, on freelancing you couldn't really live.
55:16 Do you think that- that character of the relationship between journalists, proprietors and the government remains? That it's still a dangerous profession to make enemies in?
See, now I find ki journalist himself has given up. He has compromised. I don’t think there has been pressure on him. He now has realised ki which side is bread is butter. So he has... After all now, every body looks pro-Modi Modi Modi. I don’t find any criticism of Modi. Maybe there is very little if at all. So I think what has happened to journalist today that he has lost that commitment. He doesn't have that kind of... – VOLUNTARY COMPROMISE
56:13 But not out- You don't think it's out of fear – you think it's out of chasing... the buttered bread?
No. Out of fear. No doubt about it. But that is not the profession. We are not... we- when we chose to be journalist... you knew ki, look here, this is a profession that , a little– away from other things. And so, you had certain commitment, certain thing. And you ha to suffer. But not today's journalists. Today's journalist, he can- Modi hai, Mrs Gandhi hai, koi aaye- toh theek hai, bhayi... But that way, I am disappointed in journalism. I don’t think there is a pressure from the government or from the owner. Now he himself has...
- It's been internalised.
One thing that intrigues me, again, about the emergency is – you know I had some memory of it, but – the –the Express and the Statesman to some extent have a reputation for having stood up, obviously the partly people like you suffered.
- Specially the Express.
- Hmm. But what was it that you were actually able to get away with? Since there were strict controls, there was censorship, I know that in the period from Jan until March, there a lot of people came out because there weren't consequences. But...
57:39 - See, what...
- What did you get away with before that?





See, I personally think ki Express, since at that time, I would say, uhh.. I was practically running the paper Mulgaonkar as I told you had gone. And Ajit Bhattacharjea was more interested in writing et cetera. So, I was uhm... I used to write – I told. I still remember, I told reporters uhh... to kill me may not be able to publish what you are saying. But you write, some day we shall see, we shall tell people ki this wasn't the thing. So some of them wrote and some they don't, but still I remember I told them that ki.... And... what... I had in mind was that... that the Express had now become a sentiment. For the people. Here's a paper that stands against the government. Something. So... articles may not be but news items... the government at one time, punished us in one sense. There used to be samachar. So they stopped. Samachar. SO I had, after all our bureaus also. SO I... I still remember Javed Laiq was a journalist at that time. So I got him a short band radio. So you- I said you listen to world news and Voice of America, BBC et cetera. So he- and he used to produce. So we produced the paper, without news agencies. And in fact the paper was- without the agency was so good that people when I- we resumed, they said, nahi nahi nahi, woh tumhara pehla achha tha. Becaue at that time, all bureaus were different – stringers putting in and then. Who radio se sun- radio se sun-vun ke achha paper release karte the. But then jab yeh cheezein mil jaayein toh kaun yeh karta hai... And... uhh... … Express used to be little cheaper than other papers. Toh... Goenka said ki bhayi, itna news toh mehenga ho gaya hai and you are still publishing because- order zyada aatey the. So I said, we shall raise the price. He said, nahi nahi nahi. Today, Express is not selling sentiment, selling, whatever we do. So we raised the price – nothing. I mean, there was no... But once the emergency was over. I think I had crossed the circulation of one lakh or something. Once emergency was over. Ramnath Goenka said you can retain this. I said, no, I wouldn’t be able to retain. He sad why, I said that time, Express was not selling. But no, he said, they people bought it only because of... it happened...
- The emergency was- the emergency was good for circulation.
Haan. After that, toh... after that, when it was emergency – lifted. We were not able to regain the circulation at all. PUBLISHIN DURING THE EMERGENCY: CONTENT AND CIRCULATION
1:02:02 But, it would be interesting- what about advertising, at this time. I mean was there a perception – did the market know that your circulation was high? And did you benefit in terms of advertisement, then – or did advertisers stay away out of fear of the government?
1:02:19 No, I must say that... some advertisers stayed and not only stayed but helped. Take, Lever brothers. Dear brothers was now a big... So, they used to be their … I still remember. Alphon or whatever name, I just forget. I said ki bhayi, look here. I knew him. I said ki bhayi-bhayi we have a very big problem of cash. And... we can't – we wouldn't be able to give salary. So he said, what do you want. I-I want you to raise little bit, whatever you can and give us advance of two years. He raised. And they gave us the advance for two years. Now that he would do because- he said- he told me later- he said ki the person in charge was sympathetic to you... the emergency et cetera. Was against emergency. So when- he said he put up the proposal he just said yes. But Lever bother would do it because after all, they were not directly under- because England waisa tha.
1:03:53 But- and Tatas, Birlas, how did they behave in terms of advertising – did they squeeze you at all?
Birlas didn't behave well. But Tatas did. Tatas... Birlas was afraid. GG Birla was afraid.
And was sarkari advertising important at that time or...?
Nahi, sarkari almost stopped.
- So it was there, but it stopped.
See, UPSC advertisement we would get because after all that was meant to attract..... then also they didn’t want to say ki so much discrimination that they just stopped. So UPSC we would get our- some other tender we would get but nothing much. But we were able to manage. Uhh... And as I said, advance et cetera. But also, to the credit of Ramnath Goenka, that he also had... See, in Bombay, he had that tower, do you know? ADVERTISING:LEVER BROTHERSTATABIRLAGOVERNMENT
1:04:51 Yeah. Express tower.
So, is there a lot of rent and he used to divert money to this side. Because otherwise, it would not have come. Later, of course, It's another thing that... and when... when he said that I want to make up with Mrs Gandhi. He said I am at the end of the road. Either I close down the paper or I make up with her. So I am going to make up with her.
1:05:20 So that was a business decision for him you think, essentially, yeah? Because he seen you've also written his sentiments were basically Jan Sanghi.
Haan haan. Pakkka. Pakka. He was RSS man. There …. In fact he, once he won on their seat – some ticket.
- What else would you like to …
I think we can leave it there.

Audio 2

- Hmm.
00:01 - Who would go to the houses and slip in their doors et cetera. Because uhh...
- These newsletters?
Haan. Hum prepare karte the aur...
- So, were you involved with that also? Did the Express use its presses what- cyclostyle machines to do it or...? UNDERGROUND NEWSLETTERS
No. But I was associated with the people who were doing it. They were underground people.
00:22 Can you tell me any more? I mean like who...uhm... and one set of people or were there multiple newsletters.
One person who used to work with me was... mmm... Barkha Dutt's father...
Mother. Father? Achha. He's still alive I think, no? Jangpura mey rehte the.
I don't know if he's alive or not. His brother also. His brother was my class fellow. But... and...
01:03 So they did what- they were bringing out newsletters? Achha.
Yes. Though I was (?) helping them. And because I had the source, na? Where would they get from otherwise. What I couldn't it use there, we would use there.
And those would be distributed by hand? So to speak.
Haan. I... But, I can tell you, that it was... great kind of feeling. Uhh... I would say of course... you could be arrested. I had been a month arrested. I still remember VC Shukla ringing me up. He aid ki, look here, we will put you again behind the bars. So I gave him very, since I knew him well. I gave him a very bad example. I said you lose your chastity once... So I have now been used to jail, so it doesn't matter now. You can pick me up. VC SHUKLA
02:31 And tell me a little bit about the strangeness of this. Of personally knowing many of the people... in government –
- Intimately.
So, how did they interact with you, did they just cut you dead? Or you're saying VC Shukla called you up to give you a warning, was it a friendly warning or...?


Yes. No, he called me to his room. He said, why don't you drop in sometime. He said, Kuldip, Younus- Younus used to be a kind of busybody. Younus, Frontier Gandhi's some cousin. So he was very close to Mrs Gandhi. So he said ki Younus said ki, arrest him. So I have been saying nahi. So I'm warning you that I – probably they would arrest you. I said doesn't matter aur isme... But he did give me- so when I met him in the press club. So... he said, how was jail? I said, what are you on? He said but they gave you publicity of millions of rupees. I said that's well, may be. He said ki, the fact that you were the only journalist who was picked up, so you... you have been quoted in BBC... like all... Alright. But... but after that, Shukla and I just so... I mean used to be, he was Defence Production Minister. So he used to take me along also and I used to... we were good friends... He did try once or twice ki we could revive old kind of thing. I said, nahi, khatam ho gaya woh. INFORMAL WARNINGS
04:30 Who else did you know from that Emergency generation of politicians. Gujral you knew, of course, but he was shunted out.
Uhm... Gujral himself was... I knew...
Bansi Lal?
Bansi Lal knew me. I mean also knew him. Bansi Lal was with Sanjay. And... Kamal Nath I knew. See, Kamal Nath close to...
- He's a much younger...


- Haan. But see, Kamal Nath is a Punjabi. So he when, Indian Express board was re-constituted, during the Emergency, KK Birla became the chairman. Kamal Nath was a member. So Kamal Nath, he said that, Kuldip bhai, we'll make you the chief editor. You come and meet Sanjay Gandhi. I said I've no compulsion in meeting him, but tell me, Kamal, what common ground do we have? He said why don't you write in favour of us? I said ki, what you are doing, I don't believe in. So if you were to do something good, I shall definitely write about you. But anyway... KAMAL NATH
06:13 So that was a relatively friendly interaction.
And... Kamal Nath was the only person. You know it's happen. Now when the Emergency was over, Janta government came. So Kamal Nath was the first one who came to my house. He said, Kuldip, they're after me and Sanjay. I said I don't think anybody can help Sanjay. But I can help you in one way. He said, how. I said, dekho, ki Kamal Nath, the government now would not – what I want you to- You slip away from the country. He said woh toh, sab jagah pe mera naam hai. Maine kaha, if I know this government, hamara jo system hai – tum Madras se chale jao. Wahan nahi tumhara naam hoga. And which was – came true. Kyunki, hamara system aisa hi hai na. Dilli aur aaspaas. So he went to- or he went away then, no rpblem.
07:32 He flew out or took a ship? Or...? He had a passport.


Haan! Passport uska pehle hi ho gaya tha. Sab tha. Aur wahan pe – wahan pe kisi ko pata bhi nahi tha. See, Daheli had not informed Madras ki, look here – iss kism ka aadmi. Phir mai jab woh … aya wapis toh usne dekha ki that this was very good – this trick worked. So, lekin... I said ki, btao yeh... ki... mai kitaab likh raha, The Judgement. So I said ki mai... Sanjay se milna chahta hoon. Kehta no problem. So I... … ab doosri government bas aa rahi thi. Toh I went to Mr Gandhi's house. So Mrs Gandhi saw me, Indira Gandhi and came – barande se aane mey. Maine kaha, nahi, I haven't come to meet you... today I've come to meet your son. Toh woh darkhat ke neeche khada tha. Toh maine kaha, Sanjay, tell me, how did you think you would get away with it? He said, what was the problem? Bansi Lal ke saath, I would have ruled the country. In my scheme of things, there were no elections for thirty years. Toh maine kaha election kyun hue? Kehta woh unse poochho. I opposed her, she said no, election must be taken. Because she wanted to – SANJAY GANDHI
09:24 - Be the good guy still –
- Nahi, dismount that Tiger. Aur uski jitni criticism thi, sari West se thi. East mey taarif ho rahi thi, West mey toh sab uske...dost the, saheli thi … so she couldn't take it. So that is the first thing she did ki kisi tarah main... But she was confident she would come back... Only thing where I look back – I think if she had only – emergency mey uttha ke, ekdum election na karati. Chheh mahiney ke baad karati toh she would have had a better... Kyunki yeh unka aapas mey ladna-vadna shuru ho jate hain.
10:05 - Give them more time to... Well, in the same way, do you think... I mean... there wasn't much retribution in the end. I mean, there was a sense immediately that they were going after them but turned and then the implosion of the Janta. Do you think it would have been a good thing if – if you- the commissions, the judgements, if there had been more punishment for... POST_EMERGENCY: LACK OF RETRIBUTION
- Dekho na... See, Shah Commission appoint hui. Aur baqayada trial wagerah hue. Lekin... What I found was the people said ki bhayi, aap usko defeat kar diya toh usse badla le liya. Ab jab...-
Political class was saying or this was the common sentiment?
Common sentiment. Looked like that. Because when she got back... I tried to analyse, I went around to people et cetera. Woh kehne lage ki bhayi, ji, ab ek dafa saza dedi... Hamare yahan woh aage giri hui hai, usse aur maartey ho. I think this psychology I didn't understand.
11:19 Striking, given your-your other stories of the vindictiveness of these people even later when they come back in '80 that they would punish a small official.


Do you think – kafiyon se. Woh, mujhe yaad hai ki bhayi, Police award mil rahe the. You know, who had done very well... during the emergency wagerah jo matlab... … ke baad unhone jo, kin logon ne... (?) kiya, wagerah. By this time, award milne- diye jaane the. Toh, she was there. Woh award milne – they stopped it. They said ki, nahi. Nahi award denge. Police wagerah, koi award nahi diye. Bravery ka. Because we did... Power jo tha, who Dhawan tha. And Dhawan se maine, baadmey. I mean I... said ki bhayi, I wanted to write a book and so give me material. He said family ke muttalaq kuchh nahin kahunga. Baki jo marzi poochho. Maine kaha baki toh open hai lekin khair... He did tell me about this woh... West Bengal mey Chief Minister tha...? RK DHAWAN
- Uhh, at that time? Mai bhi bhool ja raha hoon, uhm... Ashok Mitra? Nai, uhh...
Nai nai nai, Ashok nahi. Khair, toh... She... yeh jo tha, he said ki, yeh jo advice thi, ki emergency lag sakti hai. Yeh uss hi ki thi. Kyunki Mrs Gandhi ne toh kaha emergency toh lagi hui hai, jo Bangladesh ke saath ladai hui thi, uske baad. He said nahi, woh domestic emergency aur hai. Aur usko constitution mey yeh tum kar sati ho aur... kehta...
13:30 Basically, a period that is under-examined, the lessons of which have not been absorbed, do you think...?
No, we haven't learnt anything. Because what has happened after that is... See, … emergency ke bohut bhayi loge pakde gaye. Hundred thousand people without trial pakde gaye the. What happened was Mrs Gandhi ousted morality from politics. Kyunki... She resorted to anything. Hitting below the belt wagerah Uske baad bas yeh ho gaya ki bhayi, jo marzi karo. Toh Chief Minister, when they came they- police ko use kiya, sab kuchh- jo marzi karo.
14:21 And you think that culture has continued?



So that-… and also those institutions, jo assert karti thi, who khatam ho gayin. Institutions kaunsi reh gayin? Jo bhi... Press- who dara hua. Bureaucracy - woh dari hui. Judiciary tak dari hui. So institutions jo hain, they had been hammered and they have not – what - regained their health. Because... and, I don't know whether we would get them back or how. They – ab yeh jo doosri jo cheez ho gayi, na, ki whole thing has become politicised. Press politicised, bureaucracy politicised – everything. Take this, apna... matlab bureaucracy ko. Kya hota hai ki... Agar ek Chief Minister toh woh jo kehtein hain who karta hai. Willing- now they're willing to the tail-end. Ab toh nahi – agar fuss kiya, unko kaha jaye, ki bhaiya Kuldip Nayar ko... toh phir... jhoothe mukkadame mey dhaka(?) denge – kuchh kar denge... Achha, aur jo... kyunki TV-vee-vee keh denge: hanji unka pakda gaya humne dekha ki unhone koi paise ghapan kiye hain ya kuchh aisi baatein. Transperency toh hai nahi na? So we, no doubt are a democracy. Jo vitues hoti hai na democracy ki who kaafi devalued ho gayin hain. Ek toh ab aaj... waise election jeetna hi kitna mushkil hai – pata nahi kitne karodon lagenge... JP ki wave aayi toh doosri ayegi. Doosra yeh ki bhayi ab, dekho kabhi... Polarisation Hindu-Muslim ke naam pe bohut kam thi. Ab uske naam pe bohut shuru ho gayi. Polarisation. Ab who Modi aya toh... achhe scholars jo hain, who jagah se- jagah se nikale haye hain kyunki bhayi, supposed to be secular toh apne-apne bhar raha hai. Pune mey ab jo agitation ho raha hai who institute mey, woh yehi hai ki they have brought a- some RSS man and the students are not willing to accept him. So yeh jo cheezein aa gayi, na, ab yeh... DESTRUCTION OF INSTITUTIONS
17:21 At the same time, so many of people who are in government now first tasted popularity in the emergency. That...


Nahi ab, woh … How many officers would really stand up? Bohut kam. Agar uska Minister kuchh kehta hai but... At, dekhiya na, at best, kya hota hai, officer ko... transfer kar diya jayega. Ya... chaliye, koi aur post de di jayegi. Aur toh nahi permanent - constitution mey unko... bohut kam hai jo... aur … Standing for principles … any sort of thing. Theek hai chalta hai, humey kya? Toh zyada- yeh corruption bhi bohut ho gayi, na? Pehle inta nahi tha... (?) Zyada jo darr jo ho raha hai, na, woh yeh hai ki... judiciary jo thi independent, woh kam ho gayi independent.

Signal interference.

Independent kahan thi...
Pehle thi! Bohut thi pehle – uff. You have no idea.
Kab? '60s mey...?
Mai baat kar raha hoon, after independence for many years. Yeh... I remember, Mehr Chand Mahajan was the senior-most judge. Nehru did not want to make him Chief Justice of India, because iske zara views thode se... The whole bench! All members said we will resign if you do not make so Nehru had to make it. Ab woh cheezein nahi na rahin. Doosra yeh ki, dekho, ab take an example, even a journalist... Uski woh commitment nahi rahi. Woh profession toh hai. Industry hi samjho – ab kya professionalism.
19:27 Haan, journalism is easily parleyed into contacts and money. STATE OF JOURNALISM TODAY


Haalanki, bhayi, we are the persons. Jo ki, isko, democracy ko bacha sakte hain. Ki bhayi... After all, we are the transmitting lines. Theek hai, reader ya jo... listener - woh jo hum likhte hain wohi yeh sunta hai ya parhta hai. Agar hum hi dishonest ho gaye, toh usko jo... After all, if... the information is not free. Then how reponse can be free? Woh toh wohi hoga jo hoga jo hai. Toh yeh do cheezein hain. ROLE OF JOURNALIST IN DEMOCRACY