Friday, March 13, 2015

Vinod Mehta

Vinod Mehta, the founder-editor of Outlook, passed away a few days ago. Many obituaries have noted his courageous journalism, one of its high points being the release of the Radia tapes which, by all accounts, caused his exit from the editorship of the magazine. Many also noted his liberalism. Quite a few noted his staunch defence of secularism. I too remember him, and admire him, for all this and more. But what I admire him most for is his light touch -- exemplified by his Delhi Diary columns, one of which ended with this:

Spare Me the Parsimony
Among the two or three abusive e-mails I receive daily, there is usually some mention of my being born out of wedlock. You Parsi b****** is how they frequently describe me. India is a free country, so everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, but errors of fact must be corrected. Hate mailwallahs please note I am a Punjabi, not a Parsi.

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Here are some links: his recent interview, his month-long Twitter stream (created to promote his second book of autobiographical memoirs, Editor Unplugged), or the obituary penned by Arundhati Roy (almost all of whose non-fiction work appeared first in Mehta's magazine).