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INTERVIEWEE* Name: Pamela Phillipose [PP]

  • Occupation: Journalist, writer, activist
  • Third participant: Achin Vanaik[AV] (mostly in the background)

INTERVIEWER* Kai Friese [Kai]

Medium: Video + Audio recordings* Format/ Type of File: Ogg Vorbis File (.ogg)

  • Language: English
  • Location of Interview: Residence, Panchsheel Park
  • Date of the interview: 22 January 2016

Clip name/DURATION: * Name: (1): kf_pphillipose_raw_220116_1.ogg

(2): kf_pphillipose_raw_220116_2.ogg

(3): kf_pphillipose_raw_220116_3.ogg

  • Size: (1) 11.7 MB  Date modified 22 January 2016 (a) 13:02:55

(2) 1.94 MB  Date modified 22 January 2016 (b) 13:10:37

(3) 5.17 MB  Date modified 22 January 2016 (c) 13:27:15

0:02 [Kai] : Interview with Pamela Phillipose on the 22nd of January 2016 Panchsheel Park. Pamela start well with your... (PP starts before Kai could even state his question)

0:11 [PP] : Okay...Okay...So I actually did my journalism at IIMC. It was at that point in South Extension. And so ---- [Kai: You were from Delhi?] ---- ...No, I was from Bangalore but I came here to do that course and after which I was recruited for the training scheme. 

0:34 [Kai] : And this was where?

0:35 [PP] : In the Times. This was 197....I think it was late '74...early '75. ---- [Kai : Okay!] ---- So ..so I joined. I was very excited being a very young innocent because I did this and I was very excited joining the world of journalism.

0:52 [Kai] : But June had happened...Emergency had happened when you had finished?

0:54 [PP] : No...no...not yet. And...so you know one do…one thought of journalism in terms of words and not really in terms of what it does...the social, you know, roots of journalism, one didn't really consider. And it wasn't until one day when I came into...now you know...imagine the Bori...lady... old lady of Bori Bunder (Reference to: The area where the TOI offices are located, used to be known as Bori Bunder before being known as VT which is now changed to CST.)...big grey building of ...very handsome looking building right opposite the VT station (Ref: Victoria Terminus now Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) and it...it just struck you as an institution that would make a difference, and we're all part of that. In fact, when I was interviewed for this training scheme, people like Khushwant (Khushwant Singh) and B. K. Karanjia, who was editing Film Fare at that point and many others, you know. So they took this recruitment seriously and you felt that it was a very important process. I remember the person sitting next to me was Khalid Mohamed. 1:57 You know, and he of course went on to write on films and he made films himself and so on. So a group of young interesting people came together as part of the training scheme. And we were trained typically by ... we had a sort of classes and then had to actually go to the various departments and serve there so...you went to various weekly...Femina...

2:23 [Kai] : So this was something of an internship while you were doing your course in...or you had finished with the ....completed course?*
2:28 [PP] : No, I'd finished my course so that helped me get into this in a sense because I was one of the few who had a basic theoretical understanding of journalism in that sense. 2:38 So... so there was this wonderful big room, you know, in the Times of India which was divided according to the publication. So there was Maharashtra Times on one end and Times was behemoth. You know it had so many different publications and on the first floor, which was the most important floor was where they had Maharashtra Times on one end, and Economic Times on the other and then the Times of India desk and then the reporting desk, the evening news desk. So they were broken up like this. So but in a sense it was like a concourse and you could hear the teleprinter machines going tack tack tick tick tick tick...that was the pulse of the newspaper and you really felt news was coming to you by the minute in that sense. 3:25 So it was all very exciting for me. And so I was serving I think at that point in the evening news desk and I entered the room, I think it must have been 26th (June)...when was it declared- Emergency? ---- [Kai : June...] ---- 25th or 26th any way the day it was declared. I mean... I think it must have been declared at night...in the morning of the day (read as: the Emergency was) declared, I came in as usual to sit at the desk because we were processing copy at that point, the sub-editors and there was a silence...the entire thing...normally people are chatting and jabbering and you know consulting each other...there was actually a pall of silence, which you could perceive and hear the silence. And I kept, you know...slipped into my desk and asked the person, - why is everyone so quiet? 4:22 --- 'You don't know?-- Emergency has been declared.' It's like Shhhhh... Emergency has been declared. But what...because I had no idea what Emergency was you know! So at that point she probably didn't know either but she was like you know schooled- you were told to keep quiet so everyone kept quiet. And there was this...everyone going around very quietly to doing their work, you know. We really didn't know what it entailed...what was Emergency all about, you know and that was the...All we know was there's this you know our constitutional, you know, rights had been suspended. Now whether we even understood what constitutional rights were because all these things were not taught in journalism school, you know. 5:12 And this was the first time that you became aware that...what's happening...I mean - how does this matter? I mean someone has declared something ...the Prime Minister has declared something in Delhi...How does it impact me as a journalist in Bombay? A lowly journalist ...lowliest of the lowly. And so a lot of questions buzzing around my head. And then of course one of the people later came up to me and gave me a, I think, a small piece of cyclostyled paper saying - Meeting at BUJ - Bombay Union of Journalists is going to take place and if you 'd like to come then come along. And it was Darryl who later of course played this very negative role but at that point he was something of a human rights person. 6:01 And so they had a meeting...public meeting at BUJ....almost I think on the day of the...the next day, you know, when the Express came out with its...actually the Express came its empty .... ---- [Kai : later.] ---- .... later. It came out I think in ...on the 27th (June) Edition...didn't carry the edits, which was of course the famous…they didn't carry the edits and the Times by mistake carried that wonderful ad, classified ad...

6:31 [Kai] : Yeah! The famous…

Background of PP

-->journalism course at IIMC, South Extension.

-- Native of Bangalore.

--Recruited at Times of India for a Training Scheme in late 1974 or early 1975.

--- PP joined before Emergency was declared.

--- PP’s personal impressions of working in journalism.

---institution as making a difference.

--- Khushwant Singh and B. K. Karanjia part of the interview panel and they took the Training Scheme selection seriously.

---Khalid Mohamed.

- details of the Training Scheme.

--- PP one of the few to have theoretical knowledge of journalism gave her an edge.

- structural placement of different publications.

-Ambiance of the office.

---PP working at the evening news desk when she was informed about the Emergency.

---description of the ambiance in office after Emergency was declared…people did not completely understand the implications.

---Suspension of constitutional rights but people had very little idea of the true extent of constitutional rights.

--How was Emergency to affect someone really low in the professional ladder?

---Meeting at BUJ

--Darryl D’Monte

---Blank editorial of the Express as protest.

---The infamous classified ad taken out by the Times that expounded the virtues of liberty at a time when liberty was being squashed.

6:33 [PP] : Berty son of Liberty ....brother ..husband…that kind of thing. So that actually came out, you know...kind of veiled attempt to talk about that liberty is dead.

6:46 [Kai] : So that was a big...

6:47 [PP] : Yeah...it became a kind of little bit of the  saying ...it had a ...like a meme, you know...in today's language

6:55 [Kai] : You know anything of the background of that story- was it done by an independent person or was it an in-house job? 

7:01 [PP] : It was an actual classified ad...I don't know who put it in. 

7:05 [Kai] : So you think a private citizen placed it?

7:07 [PP] : Perhaps. I'm not sure. It's one of those, you know, stories that have no beginning, and middle and end. And maybe it surfaced in other situations in other countries ...god knows! But definitely this was the atmosphere and the so clearly articulating a view on this became important...at least we felt we needed to and there as young people who had no stake in the system, we felt we'd rather be on the side of the heroes who are trying to fight this than rather…than all these dour old men who, you know, kept quiet and went about their job. 

7:49 [NOTE: The last line elicited laughter and spate of mumbled comments from Kai Achin Vanaik and PP]

7:57 [PP] : No and so you felt you don't want to be a part of them who were...they were keeping quiet and pretending to .....  (PP laughs for a few seconds) go on and pretend things were okay. And I wanted to be on the side of the fighters...so that this thing was there. And Khushwant Singh came down...he, you know, typically the newspapers brought out by the people sitting on first floor...the second floor was it? ---- [AV pips in: the second floor] ---- second floor. ---- [AV clarifies: First floor was Maharashtrian...Maharashtra Times, at least when I was there. Economic Times was on the second floor] ---.... the management was also there...yea...

8:31 [AV] : Management was on the second ....  ---- [PP: First floor] ----- .... (AV disagrees with PP) ... floor...second floor also.

8:36 [PP] : Anyway whatever it was it was on a higher floor...Illustrated Weekly. He came down and he said- “We all know what's happening,”...- he made an announcement and we all congregated around him and I think he stood on a chair or something... anyway... He told us that we will not...we will fight. We will fight this. We have to fight this because it is the question of our rights. 

9:05 [Kai] : Khuswant Singh said?

9:06 [PP] : Khushwant Singh ...It is a question of our rights and I for one have taken the decision...so it showed the autonomy of that period where editors felt that they could decide unilaterally to suspend publications. So he said,  'I for one will not bring out the Illustrated Weekly for two weeks.' You know, and so we were all very thrilled ...slowly even the dour old men were stepping forward to you know take up this cause. So...

9:37 [Kai] : But did he (Khushwant Singh) follow through in that because ....?  [PP speaks before Kai could finish]

9:39 [PP] : No, he didn't. He did not. I mean very soon he succumbed. He didn't bring out one edition but soon enough he was very much part of the establishment and put Sanjay Gandhi on the cover and all that. 9:50 So he was completely co-opted within a very short time but he did...that initial thing he did say 'we have to fight it.' And that was very interesting. 10:01 So at that point...now it's a bit of personal history but some of my friends who...who were radical Maoist, you know, they felt that this is the time to strike as it were...we have to ...now, you know, because this is unacceptable and we have to do...so actually what...In fact I'd written about it in this book...not ...there's a chapter there but I have talked about how we were a small Maoist group...very tiny one and we used to bring out our own publication

10:35 [Kai] : Cyclostyled or?

10:35 [PP] : Cyclostyled ...one of us would type it. You know about the cyclostyle paper in those days...in must have been before your time ... the technology but you had to first type it on a cyclostyle sheet, the matter, and then it's like screen printing. That becomes your 10:56 [CHECK]  printed out. So we brought...it was very radical and...

11:01 [Kai] : Did it have a title the...?

 11:02 [PP] : Spartacus...the first one was ...I forget now...Two very interesting titles ...but ..sorry (Note: something falls or shift and hence the apology) So yea, that was very interesting.

---source of the classified unknown…a kind of meme.

---The kind of people who attempted to carry out protest against the restrictions of the Emergency were young and those who had less to lose.

---general feelings of insecurity to voice real opinions about the Emergency.

---First attempt to defy Emergency was by Khushwant Singh - did not publish one edition of Illustrated Weekly; before acquiesce.

---Khushwant Singh in fact went on to have Sanjay Gandhi on the front cover.

---PP’s engagement with Maoist groups and underground Cyclostyled pubcliations- The Commune Art and later Spartacus.

--mechanics of cyclostyling

11:14 [Kai] : You've got any old copies?

11:17 [PP] : I don't have it with me now but maybe I do somewhere tucked away but not ...I'll just take it out . But what's interesting is that we felt that we had some control over news. There was Times of India writing all kinds of nonsense and pretending that life was going on and trains were running on time and the middle class was being the major beneficiaries of this you know that we get our rations and we...in those days rations meant even for the middle class it was very important. So what was at that point it seemed as if we had to have a alternative discourse, you know and that was ...that was why we felt ... okay so....yea....so it was Communard, the first one (Note: the name of the first cyclostyle)  (Note: An excerpt from PP's work follows next) "Before long I found myself a part of a tiny group who swore by Marx and Mao and vowed to fight the Emergency. It extolled its members to discard their bourgeois conditioning and values and 12:31  ?? themselves and work for the liberation of the toiling classes. The self-doubt and hesitation that had once plagued me suddenly vaporised. It was as if I could move into already well furnished intellectual space that provided both unassailable interpretation of the world and a comfortable sense of personal purpose." That's it ...You know, you felt that you were trying to make a difference and you could. “We ...we were quickly convinced that all the truly great people of the world were on our side while on the other 13:02 were serried ranks of rogues and charlatans and profiteers and exploiters. To give ourselves a voice we began a thirty-page tract- The Communard, turned a bulletin for the front against fascism, which will later {CHECK} immediately after the Emergency was lifted into a slightly bigger publication called Spartacus." So during the Emergency, it was The Communard. "So the first issue of our publication indicated that the main task was to hold a theoretical response to the ruling class. At a time when fundamental rights stood suspended. And the existing Left parties were letting down the revolutionary cause. When theory encrypts the masses becomes material force Marx had written. But nobody and certainly not a established ...established weak-kneed communist parties of the day had an adequate theoretical understanding of current politics. It fitted words like 'cannon balls' into the other..." I mean we really felt we were firing...And we felt we were also under surveillance so there's this feeling of, you know, we're the heroes of the underground. huh? 14:14 So ...so... in fact Chasnala, the mine thing...the tragedy (Dated: 27 December 1975) that happened at that point, you know, so it was so interesting that two discourses- how we saw Chasnala, which was a flooding of a mine; and how the newspapers reported it, you know. It was a...when a coal mine got flooded at Chasnala in December 1975, the Communard vented its ire against the term tragedy used to describe the disaster. Chasnala is not tragedy, it is murder." 14:51 The compradore bureaucratic bureaucrat landlord regime and its crazy greed for profits, it sacrificed 376 lives at the altar of capital." So this ...these things we used to circulate just by ...through....by, you know...  15:07 [AV and Kai start talking simultaneously and this drowns out PP's point] 

15:10 [Kai] : So did you distribute it in the office?

15:12 [PP] : Ya…ya but to people we trusted so it was all very quiet....but it was also scary because you didn't know at what point of time you would be exposed or whatever, you know. There were two or three of us who were all in the Times.

15:27 [Kai] : Okay...what fun? Were you bringing out monthly---weekly---what?

15:31 [PP] : I forget now. I think fortnightly...quite a bit actually. Quite...it's tough ...30-pages .... ---- [Kai : ????? ] ----.... I don't know if it is.

15:41 [Kai] : I keep hearing of ..of .. ---- [PP: Of this kind of thing...?] ---.... of people bringing out their own newspapers and magazines on the side but no one keeps anything! [AV says something but he is too far]

15:52 [PP] : Every time we ate a dish of chicken fried rice in a Colaba restaurant, we felt like a major class betrayal because it was two different things ...then there was neat unquestioned division along gender lines and so on. Basically the point was that was the period when we were too small to matter really, so we could take these positions but people who actually were the guardians of the paper, they buckled down very much so except for maybe a couple of people like ...yes...one or two were sent to jail.

16:32 [Kai] : who were? ---- [AV : Sunder Rajan]

16:33 [PP] : Sunder Rajan was the only person from the Times, I think....

16:36 [Kai] : What was his position?

16:38 [PP] : He was also the assistant editor. And I don't know why they threw him to jail but I think he must have been a socialist or ...  

16:45 [AV] : He was sometimes a socialist that’s why NOTE ---WHAT AV SAYS IS UNCLEAR so please cross check

16:47 [Kai] : And the paper took no.... (Kai and PP speak at the same time and not audible).

16:49 [PP] : no no...They did not say ...nothing...nothing....so that's the thing...that's why, you know, when it got over, people....in fact Shyam Lal's response ...now Shyam Lal is a thinking person...he must have read enough of Marxist literature and all the rest so I'm sure it was disagreeable for him. 17:09 And ...but ...what....how he handled it was to write on esoteric subjects...he'd write on, you know....new thinking among the Left-bourgeois press whatever...in Paris. You know, he'd ...he’d think of other things to write about. And so in a sense it was a denial. 17:29 It was a strong sense of denial and I think we all felt the burden of it. I think it would be unfair to say that they kind of brazened it out. I think they were sufficiently aware of what it meant but they felt required to do it as there were Censors who sifted, who cleared copy and these were the realities of the time, you know. 17:52 They ...the censors would come in the evening and clear copy. So anything that is published would first have to go through the censor. So you can image how, and it was very draconian because if you defy the censor, you would definitely be reported in.

---The underground publication gave a sense that they were making some difference in spite of the dangers involved.

---Excerpt from PP’s work on reflections on the Emergency.

---nature of reporting on the Chasnala tragedy in mainstream reportage and the underground one.

---published fortnightly.

---how eating in a better restaurant felt like betrayal of ideological beliefs.

---K. R. Sunder Rajan, the only person to raise voice against the Emergency in the Times and was arrested for his socialist stance.

---Reflections on Shyam Lal’s vituperative edit after Emergency was lifted.

---Shyam Lal in a state of denial during the Emergency.

--- Functioning of the Censors.

18:11 [Kai] : And...what was your work? What were you doing at the...

18:14 [PP] : Ours was just... Mine was just a sub-editor's job...so all I had to do was to process copies so I didn't really have any stake in it or wanting to even change  what was being published because.....   ----- [Kai : because you weren't writing or reporting. ] ----- ... I anyway had no power.

18:29 [PP] : Yea ...Yea...but I think what happened was there was a period of a... I mean 1977 came as a real???. (Muffled spot)... you were not there Achin at that point. 18:41 ---- [AV : I was in ...I came in ????] ---- But were you in India at that point? ----- [AV: yes..yes...I only left after you ????] ---- So that 18:50 (Pressure cooker's whistle goes off...lots of giggles18:55 So at that point it was an amazing feeling that there was a change for the better. I mean never ever go back to those days.

19:03 [Kai] : When elections had been declared or ...?

19:06 [PP] : Yeah....'77 ... yeah...when they announced elections from then onwards there was this celebration. Of course then elections turned out the way they did ...there was a huge celebration. That was there...But you see the thing is it did, I think, Achin may not have been there because he was any way ...he was a ... a... a opinion maker rather than a reporter, so there was a ...there was a surge of writing that, you know, that kind of wanted to expose things that were going on. So there was a huge this thing that people like B. G. Verghese and others were very much on the forefront of this, and I don't know when the Kamla thing happened. When was the Kamla ...the buying of Kamla. ---- [Kai : the buying of Kamla] (Reference to: Arun Shourie in 1981 asked a reporter to 'buy' a girl called Kamla to prove that laws were being broken every day by the illegal trafficking of women and children ).

 19:53 [AV] : That Arun Shourie was there. I wasn't there.

19:56 [PP] : Yea, but that must have been the early ‘80s. But that kind of journalism that happened; and I would say that many of those things- Bhagalpur for instance was also a factor of this resurgence ...of that we should not go back to the days of the Emergency because that was when our voice was shut.20:15 And interestingly there were people like Anand Patwardhan...I remember Anand eating peanuts and walking around, you know. He did the...he was also gathering footage and so on.

---PP’s work profile---sub-editor

---Lifting up of Emergency brought with it awareness of change and charged people.

---Surge in writing, especially investigative journalism post-Emergency to write on the excesses committed.

--- B. G. Verghese at the forefront of the new expose journalism.

---Arun Shourie’s expose of ‘buying’ Kamla to prove that law was broken every day.

---Bhagalpur incident.

--- Anand Patwardhan doing research work on his documentaries--- Prisoners of Conscience on JP Movement.

20:29 [Kai] : Haan he was filming the JP Movement ...Prisoners of Conscience.

20:31 [PP] : Yea...yea.. based on admissions Prisoners of Conscience was his first. 20:35  (Completely mumbled cacophony20:39 Waves of Revolution was also there .... ---- 20:41  [AV says something which is not comprehensible] ---- .... 20:44 yea but he was very much there in....now Bombay...it's very interesting, you see, that shift to Delhi...Delhi as the centre of journalism hadn't happened. At that point Bombay was very much because the editors were in fact located in Bombay. 21:01 So to that extent Bombay was central to the response...all that action that was happening was...the Kuldip Nayar and other stories...that was true...I mean that happened in Delhi. But Bombay was the ideological kind of space on which much of this played out, you know. 21:23 So there's this interesting shift that happened post-...post- Emergency when the shift to ...Delhi became the centre of journalism in that sense. And during that period a lot of journalism that was created in Delhi was very much....I...I definitely see a organic link between the sphere of silence and the ???. because there was so much activism; and I would only look at the Women's Movement of that time, you know. 21:54 What happens see...post-70s...I mean post-'77 for instance you had the Mathura Rape Case (Dated: 26 March 1972 but brought to trial in 1979) of 1979. Now what was that about? That was about this whole idea of defying the court interpretation of what consent is. 22:14 When a woman consents to a sexual act, how do you define that consent, especially if it’s done by two policemen within the precincts of a police station. What is the... I mean those kind of questions, which we would never have asked, I think in an earlier period could be asked. People would understand because, you know, the police taped...was very much a reality. 22:40 They had just got out of that. So ...so the...the response ... the public response I think was much sharper after that. So you felt that you could write something on these issues and get a kind of ... there was a resonance...public resonance, which would not have happened I think if emergency hadn't happened because it would all been part of everyday reality. 23:05 So I think that was the difference and the women's movement actually took off at that period and it ...because you questioned....you questioned why don't you see rape as an important issue?  Why do you see it in terms of a ...like ...why do you equate it with pickpocket....a crime of pickpocketing. 23:27 The first time, in fact we confronted the Khanna. 

23:32 [AV] : Yea! In fact, K. C. Khanna said to me because I was...He said, 'This is die down ... this chaotic.' ...because there is a huge spurt after the Emergency...this thing here, and of course it never died down.

23:43 [PP] : Yea, he said .... 'what nonsense' and rape...issue like or a sexual autonomy of a woman, of course was not there. But at least the violation...there was Susan Brownmiller's Against Her Will and so on. So there were enough ...so I mean there was enough kind of theoretical understanding of these are unacceptable things and everyone has rights...your rights bearing people. 24:13 That articulation happened and became ever present feeling only after the Emergency. So ...thats'...

24:23 [Kai] : I mean also it leads for a brief period this sense that the media as a watchdog …as the pillar of democracy (PP and Kai are talking over each other and is not clear--Check)

24:34 [PP] : Ya…ya...very much so...very much so (...response to Kai's query). yes, of course and the 80s' also it went on into the '80s. I would see '80s as a reflection of the ...the '70s in that sense because in the '80s you have Bhagalpur for instance, you had major exposes when Union Carbide happened... much before it happened, you had this man actually writing about it...saying that this is a gas chamber.

24:58 [AV] : In fact we had journalist who went and marched to the Union Carbide office in '84 in Bombay.

25:04 [PP] : So you see...you saw that activist phase of Indian media and journalism.  Those days only newspaper but you saw that phase of it because of the...because of the Emergency...I'd definitely make that link between the two. Then of course by the '90s you had another shift...the paradigm shift and that is linked directly with the opening up of markets, which started from the mid-'80s onwards under Rajiv Gandhi. 25:35 And Mrs...in fact Indira Gandhi also I think...the IMF loan, I remember in 1984 or something.... ---- [AV : '82...'83 that was...I can't remember.]

25:47 [PP] : Yea, whatever there was a ..... -----  [AV : perhaps first sort of a pro-liberal budget actually took place in 1977 I remember...1976 during the Emergency, I remember.]

25:56 [PP] : Yeah, so I mean ...I mean it manifested itself at a larger level...it took much longer. But it was interesting that this shift…these very shifts were happening and of course the '91 liberalisation thing made a huge difference to the way media was seen, you know; and ... and the consumer of news from a...from a reader or viewer became a consumer of news so that shift 26:29 [Someone rings the bell and PP: Oh I have to pay him Achin---- [Achin: I'll pay him. It's all right] ] 

---Anand Patwardhan--- Waves of Revolution.

---Bombay as the centre of journalism and being an ideological space.

---Kuldip Nayar

---Delhi as the new centre of journalism, and the changes that such a shift brought in the nature of journalism.

--Women’s Movement.

---importance of the re-opening of the Mathura Rape Case in 1979.

---It’s implication of consensual sex.

---Post-Emergency a feeling that one could write on things that mattered.

---K. C. Khanna’s cynicism or stereotypical reaction to the furore of the Mathura Rape Case.

---Theoretical arguments on rape in Susan Brownmiller’s book- Against Her Will

---Post-Emergency a sense that media was a guardian of democracy due to resurgence in writing after being supressed.

--- Union Carbide

---Post-Emergency as the activist phase of Indian journalism.

---Discussion on various shifts in journalism.

--for example- 1980s under Rajiv Gandhi with the opening up of the markets.

---first pro-liberal budget in 1976.

---Another paradigm shift in the 1990s.

26:36 [Kai] : Also if   (not clear) .... yourself identifying as a young Maoist during the ...when the Emergency was declared but to what extent did the ... this mix of ...of socialists and Jan Sanghis and what became the Janta Party...to an extent did you identify or sympathise with them?

27:06 [PP] : See I think...I...no ...the thing is we hadn't yet had  a view of the RSS but we ..we saw them as right-wing, you know, forces so. I mean they were already identified as the bad guys as far as we were concerned. The socialists were the pink course and they could be accepted, you know as part of this thing. Actually what's interesting about the women's movement was, you know, when the Forum Against Oppression of Women, started off Forum Against Rape and then it became Forum Against Oppression of Women...what was different. I mean as a Maoist I mean I kind of moved away from my group and I found it was very much more democratic in its function and that appealed to me as a person and also the...what the vision ...whatever they were articulating was important to me. I'd written a little bit about this shift from Maoism to Feminism, and how, you know, the ...the capacity to raise questions, you know, which in a sense what the Maoist groups did was to create a similar kind of authoritarian structure within the group of control, of arguments and control of views. So you were trying to break ...you saw what was happening at, you know, the larger level but you saw that there were reflections of that...the control and the ability to speak out was being peppered constantly. So that change where the Feminists to me did was to allow me to be myself and you know at the same time use the frameworks of Left, you know...left ideology.

28:54 [AV and PP talks about something personal not related with the interview] 

Interview Ends

---To what extent did PP sympathise with Jan Sanghis.

---RSS was kept at a distance.

---Move towards Women’s Movement--- Forum Against Rape and then it became Forum Against Oppression of Women.

---how Maoist also followed almost similar restrictions as the Emergency did—so a step away from them towards feminism.

Recording Two

0:00 [Kai] : Meanwhile what was happening with your career?

0:04 [PP] : Yea, so I ...actually I stayed on in the Times till the early '80s.And then ...and then I got married nah...1980 I got married to Achin so after that kids came and so on. So I wasn't a ...sort of...I took a sort of the side rail of the railway station, you know in the sense I joined the Eve's Weekly as a Features Editor or something. And then I joined the Sunday Observer, which is also an interesting period because this is post-Vinod Mehta. And Rajiv...Rahul Singh (Khushwant’s son) was the editor then and this was the time when the Ambanis tried to take over Sydom Survey 0:49 ??? So I was there then. And then I came to Delhi. We decided because Achin had to be with his parents so we came here and so after that we've been in Delhi since. 1:02 I joined the Express in the 1993 and have been...was with them till 2007 and then I joined Women's Feature Service. And now I'm doing research for ICSSR (Note: Indian Council for Social Science Research, Delhi). So that's my trajectory. 

1:20 [Kai] : But you...before you left your ??? you started writing and doing by-lined stories? 

1:25 [PP] : Hmmmm...yes, of course because I was then located in the Sunday Magazine. So we had editors like Daro (Darryl?) and then Gautam Vohra and others were editors at that point. And at one point Muhammad Ali also came. I mean Ayesha Kagal and me we interviewed him together. It was fun. But what is interesting about the Times was Times was always the exemplar, you know, everyone looked up to the Times because it had the clout of it, you know. But it’s interesting how...how newspaper technology changes the relations of production within the paper and also relations of how people relate...how for instance journalists relate to the printers’ downstairs. 2:17 In those days the printing activities ...they were linotype machines and they used to...and all the operations would take place in the basement, which is now of course converted into shop ...shop I think...shop space or commercial space. You know if you go to the Times building now you'll find that the basement is being used for other things. But in those days the presses were located there. 2:45 So this composite idea ...the Union as a composite entity was very much located...the spatial you know arrangements as well, you see. Now what has happened is the press is now Kandivali in Bombay, and similarly in here its moved to...... ---- 3:04 [Kai] : from Delhi to Noida. -----..... Yea Noida. So again there is that you know you don't identify with the workers ...why? we as young sub-editors had to constantly ...because you had to pass pages and so on...so the nature of that was far more interactive with different processes of newspaper production and it was so wonderful...some of the men who were down there. We'd go down there and we had to pass the pages, we had to sign...this thing and all that. And there were people who could actually read the front page backwards...I mean because linotype was in reverse. And so sometimes a whole galley of linotype led would...you know...what were they called? They were bullet type things in each page...each line had a separate thing...and it used to fall down for instance just before the paper had to go. So someone had to put it together and read whether everything's okay. And these wonderful men...I still remember some of their names ...were there and we were like quite thick you know. We understood their problems and they understood us, you know but that relationship got broken and I think that was also one of the functions of bringing in new unions and so on, you know because to drive a wedge between journalists and the people who actually produce the paper. 4:37 So ... so when you look at a newspaper, it's an industry that has ..... 4:48 [Achin returns...] 

Interview ends abruptly.

---On PP’s career.

---PP stayed with the Times till 1980s.

--married Achin Vanaikin 1980---move to Delhi---joined Eve’s Weekly---then Sunday Observer.

---Post-Vinod Mehta period.

---Ambnis’ tried to buy something

---joined Express in 1993 to 2007 then Women's Feature Service ---now research for ICSSR.

---Working at the Sunday Magazine with editors like Gautam Vohra.

--Discussion on the nature of media, it’s challenges and changes in journalism from technology, cross-department relations, technology.

--how technological changes affected the relations---sort of a disenchantment.

---Problems of journalists not being able to connect with subjects.

---Linotype and

Its machinations

Recording 3

0:02 [Kai] : Pamela but tell me little bit in retrospect and in terms of what had happened to the India as we know it? Today do you see the Emergency experiences as being particularly significant in transforming--not the immediate transformation and euphoria that happened then--but somehow being…led to perversely the weaknesses of...?

0:35 [PP] : Yea, I think what's happened is that journalism...journalists toady as a tribe have less are less secure and are less sure of themselves because in a sense they exist at the wish of the management and that ... that worry is constant. The fact that you can lose your job, the fact that your contract may not be renewed is a major axe over your head so that tells you exactly how you should conduct yourself, you know. So there is that ....in the earlier days there was at least the understanding that the journalists had their own, you know, space; and they could bring in stories ...stories they thought were important and there would be at least a chance that it will make it into the public domain. But now certain stories just don't figure. For instance, when did we have a serious beat reporter covering labour in a consistent way? 1:43 Even agriculture one of the reasons for agriculture being in this situation is because the eye of the media is completely removed from you know what's happening in rural India to an extent. I mean I'm saying agriculture is a sector, you know, how many people are taking it seriously although...

2:03 [Kai] : But you don't see the seeds of this downfall in that time at all, I mean if you broke it down? If I understand you right, I think you're seeing the current predicament as an outcome of early liberalisation in the 1990s but you are then seeing the immediate or the extended post-Emergency period as a golden age where everything was right?

2:29 [PP] : I think the post-Emergency period was an important seed bed...you could call it a seed-bed of activist journalism. It was allowed, it was seen as important, you know. And papers actually sold on some of their reportage that they did at that point, so it was even commercially a successful model.

2:48 [Kai] : And journalists ...I mean at least many journalists had become well not brand names but household names...people have become famous…reputations...

2:54 [PP] : Yea, yea, yea...absolutely..Arun Shourie forget everything else, he is still remembered for Antulay (Reference: expose on Maharashtra's Chief Minister, A. R. Antulay's collection of funds) although it’s not his completely (his) story. He made use of the hard work of many reporters on the ground. But he's associated with that cement exposure and likewise I mean this Ashwin Sarin... no one knew of him...he was just a nondescript reporter on the Express desk. He goes and buys this woman to show how trade in, you know, in trafficking takes place and he becomes a household name. So it was this thing, you know, some of these people were very important and they figured as heroes and icons, you know. Today we still have the iconisation of many people. We see ...we see many reporters writing wonderful stuff but it's not something that everyone can aspire to; therefore there is a, you know, there is a lack of engagements with some of the issues that are beyond the comfort level of the management wants covered. So I think the space has narrowed. 4:13 There is no doubt about it. The 'We the People' of the earlier, you know, editorial imagination has now come down…pared down to, you know, 'We the Consumer' of middle class India. So there is that transition is major and it has implications for what is put up. Of course if you bring in social media and all that, I would say that spaces have opened up precisely because mass communication now you have now what...Manuel Castell [Please Check....Manuel Castell is a theoretician and it does sounds like this] calls as self-communication. People are able to put out their own information. So for instance the response to this Dalit boy's assault ... assault on him and his subsequent suicide (Reference: Case of Rohith Vemula at University of Hyderabad, c. January 2016) can become a major story and force the establishment to rework and re-look at what they are doing. 5:10 Or at least try and see good in this. So all this, and its holding power ...it's ...it has that capacity to, you know, hold ...turn a light onto power in that sense; so I think in a sense I would argue that social media ...some of it in tandem with mainstream media can make a difference; because in a sense many of the people who are using social media are outside the system...control of managements and so on. And they are helping to push the main stream media to take cognisance of some of these issues which may be otherwise would not have been possible.5:54 So we are seeing a...many interesting trends and I wouldn't sort of look back and say- only that period was the great period. I think the experience of that period, I would say, is very important because that was when the country as a whole realised what it meant not to have a functioning credible media, you know. So I think that was a lesson from the Emergency which was very important, and which was kind of internalising the post-Emergency period.

---Discussion on the impact of Emergency on journalism and its attached transformations.

---Journalists now less secure of their jobs---which leads to report-safe work ethic unlike the willingness to take risks right after the Emergency was lifted.

---disconnect in reportage in agriculture sector because of this play safe mode of working.

---was post-Emergency period a golden era of journalism?

---Post-Emergency era was important---seed-bed of activism.

---Journalists as household names.

---For example Arun Shouire and Antulay’s expose on cement scam or Ashwin Sarin’s stint for human trafficking.

---- But now there is lack of engagement with some issues that are beyond the comfort level of the management --- this is where social media steps in.

---Discussion on the nature of social media.

---Manuel Castell and idea of self-communication.

For example, Rohith Vemula case

---how social media is pushing to take up issues that they (mainstream media) is uncomfortable with.

6:29 [Kai] : I was going to say...are we back in a country where we don't have a functioning credible media or one that is less credible than ...than it used to be?

6:41 [PP] : No, I'm saying that...No, I'm saying that....I would say the '90s, if you look at the '90s, you see the increasing marketisation of the media but I think what you're seeing now is another shift in the narrative with, you know, social media coming....

6:56 [Kai] : You feel very positive about the social media?

6:58 [PP] : I feel social media has helped...helped a lot. I think many of these issues would not have come to the table if it wasn't for social media. So while I know the problems of social media and I'm not saying that social media by itself can change the things around, I think social media and mainstream media together is a power that a...that is in fact not completely explored but would be able to actually put issues that were not earlier, you know, articulated...at least not in the '90s...back on the table you know. And also the fact that self-communication means that anyone who has a grievance of some kind or who has gone through an experience of a kind can actually put it in a public domain. That's amazing, you know, thing to be able to do.

7:52 [Kai] : Sure but that's completely double edged…meaning...

7:53 [PP] : It is completely double edged but I'm talking of the good side of it...the bad side of it...there's a huge problems with the social media and also the fact that it has no fact checker ...and any information can make it to the public media is a wild thing. It can...but the point is that's why I think the mainstream and ...is an interesting thing because if you can have fact-checking and editorial you know control the point is that it can bring themes that the mainstream would not have considered. 8:25 It's been forced to do it, you know. Look at for instance how I...I... looked at it a little closely those whole leaderless, you know, movement...I don't like to use the word movement so loosely but you know this whole Anti-Delhi Gang Rape, you know, mobilisation is amazing. How it became an issue and it was, and how the mainstream had to scramble to get onto that story, you know. So here you're seeing something happening, you know which is interesting. 9:01 So I think the future is too complex to hazard a guess but I think media as an institution has both strengthened ...mainstream media as a institution, both strengthened and undermined by social media and how it will play out one can’t say but I think it's a very important...important resource that we have...social media. 9:27 And yeah I'm not talking about just of Facebook and Twitter and all that; I'm talking also of the communication new technologies that have come. The fact that you can sms your information...tell them to check it 'but this is what I've heard' you know. The very fact that information gathering has got a larger space is a major change I think.

9:51 [Kai] : But meanwhile you would agree that obviously corporate interference .... ----- [PP : ..is very much...yea yea...] ---- .... the interference of the owners and ??? is much higher than it was earlier but and you also see a return, by a different route, of political interference or government intervention or whether it's at the Central or the state level in media autonomy?

10:17 [PP] : I feel that ...I feel ...I feel...that's why I brought in social media because I think in a sense it does act as a check-in...it does introduce an element of check on the unbridled power of ...let's not, you know, discount the fact that it's corporate-management working together. Now what did Sameer Jain in one of his most interesting things was that medianet move, you know, where he ...he said - what did he say? He said - he's going to put information on...in the public domain...Advertising information which he saw as ...as credible as important as any other information. So in a sense he was breaking down the differences and the barriers between the news and ...and corporate, you know, information 11:08 So it…it's all ...it's all information that we are going to give the credibility by doing...by packaging it and bringing it to you. 

11:16 [Kai] : Content system..

11:17 [PP] : Yea, content. So...so that's ...that what happened in the '90s and if you went well into the first decade of the twenty-first century but you had a Tehelka again...communication's technology again...recordings, you know, video-graphy ...we saw the new ...news aids of the early twenty-first century, which was used by the media. 11:46 And so we got...I mean I don't this is a static space at all. But if you were to re-visit that technology change now from linotype, you go to photogravure. The shifts in the processes itself means that you sort of gentrify even the people who produce the information. So the workers who actually put the linotype and kept the linotype, it was horrible you know...lead fumes and all of it...it was all lead and you're inhaling of ...and the noise of it was just a beast, you know; but it became much more gentrified...you had...then of course everything was projected onto the computers and, you know. So everything...even the production systems changed so much.

12:40 [Kai] : Absolutely 

Interview Ends Abruptly

--on increasing marketization of media.

--- More on the nature of social media.

---Social media as both positive and negative.

---bad side of social media---no fact checker ---anyone can put up the information.

---Social media as a bridge for main stream…for example Anti-Delhi Gang Rape mobilisation

---technology and reportage.

--- On the nature of interference by owners and corporates.

---social media as a check on corporate-management nexus.

---Role of Sameer Jain in putting information in public domain.

---Another paradigm shift in journalism in the first decade of twenty-first century---Tehelka - use of new technology.

--- gentrification within the relations of production in journalism.