Vir Sanghvi is not a Brain-dead prick

My friend sent me a link to a Vir Sanghvi column in an email with the subject line “Vir Sanghvi is a brain-dead prick.” Surely, I said, my friend exaggerates. Not brain-dead, I thought. The fact that the fellow is a major TV and newspaper journalist, I supposed that he knows how to write and talk, and therefore could not be brain-dead. But then I made a mistake. I read his column, “Setting the record straight.”

I had never read Mr Sanghvi before and now I wish that I had continued to be ignorant of his writings.

It appears to me that Vir Sanghvi has the morality of pond scum and the mentality of a cretin. You will have to read the column to see what I mean but don’t blame me if you feel nauseated. Self-righteous smugness and outrage oozes like puss out of an infected wound. He attempts to whitewash his influence peddling as routine journalistic procedures entirely above board, and fails miserably. In the end, the sole effect of his column is that it shows him to be a pathetic caricature of a journalist too far removed from reality.

My friend was wrong. Sanghvi is not brain-dead. He’s merely suffering from delusions of grandeur, as often happens when one’s senses of morality and ethics have been anesthetized by all the money that is floating around in high places.

13 thoughts on “Vir Sanghvi is not a Brain-dead prick

  1. What these journalist were doing (and are still doing) is just as corrupt as behavior of some corrupt govt officials. However no one calls the journalist’s behavior corrupt. Corruption is somehow linked to government alone. I think that is a mistake.

    The influence peddling of these journalists have far reaching effects, many times extremely negative, to the development of the country than a traffic cop asking for small amount of money in return of not issuing a traffic ticket.

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  2. He is a very talented writer.

    You might ask what good is talent on a journo who sold his soul to the devil. That’s a good question. But the fact remains he’s amongst the best columnists of India in terms of articulating a viewpoint clearly and engagingly. Another positive fact about him is that he’s among the very few ‘liberal’ journalists who espoused a consistent viewpoint on freedom of expression. For example:

    http://j.mp/h3seJQ

    Anyways: The moral of the story is that while talent may take you to the top, it cannot help you stay there if you lack character.

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  3. He is a very talented writer.

    Not so sure about that. I think the lack of intellectual life in India is also apparent in the quality of the english print media, as it is in the English literature coming out of India. The only person I can think of who wrote anything engaging was Arun Shourie and types like that are fading away fast as journalism gets ever more trashier and void of depth of perspective in India. I think this is why it was said in America in the 20’s that if you are not good at anything, try jounalism! So true for even today. I think jounalists ought to have a mastery in something other than just being able to write correct English, so they may write with a view point which has a bit more depth than “pop” thinking…I have noticed that the best journalists are always something else in addition to being journalists…

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  4. larissa,

    You appear to contradict yourself. In the first line, you say, “He is a very talented writer,” apparently agreeing with Oldtimer. Then you write that he is not. What gives?

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  5. @Atanu
    Sorry I forgot to implement your rule. I was responding to Oldtimer and that first sentence (Oldtimer’s sentence) was supposed to be in quotes, which I forgot. Sorry I know you had a small tutorial on how to quote on HTML for the likes of me!

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  6. Well, Vir Sanghvi is a good wordsmith. I do concede that he conveys his thoughts in a lucid and clear manner.

    I have known that he is a terrible journalist – one of the poodles of the Nehru family – for quite some time now. In fact, I started writing responses on his website explicitly referring to Congress as “your party”. How right I was !

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  7. What Bloomberg writes is known to all Indians but the fact it appears on international news and never on Indian news tells us something about the quality of Indian English mainstream news media where such things are never reported or given importance! Someone needs to start a paper with such issues reported daily, so they can start opening people’s eyes to what is really happening in India!

    Headline from DEC 1 bloomberg:
    One-Dollar Bribes for India Licenses Contribute to World’s Deadliest Roads
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-30/one-dollar-bribes-for-india-licenses-contribute-to-world-s-deadliest-roads.html

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  8. And so here is a comment from a Sub-Editor who worked with Vir for 7 years. This man is a genius. You guys judging him from teh outside have no idea what this man really is. We would get copies at “Sunday” Magazine (where Vir was Editor) on topics like sugar cane or Shrad Pawar or some latest tech gatget…this was a man who who would look at the raw copy and re-write (re-dictate, so he wasn’t even taking time to think) and make that copy something amazing.

    You have to work with a man like that to know what makes him tick. He was ALWAYS around for member of his staff who needed money to pay rent, or anything where Vir could help. He always sided with his journalists in any feud with the mother publishing company, so Vir really was like a father, a darling brother for us. In all my years as a senior journalist I have never had more respect for a boss than I did for our Vir. He was so cool, that he actually encouraged us to make mistakes. He said, if we did not make a mistake we would never learn what works and what doesn’t.

    There is a lot of misconception about him becoz people see him — from the outside — as a snob, an upper class person who has no touch with reality.

    You couldn’t be more wrong. Ask scores of Sunday reporter and sub-editors and you will see what a darling man he was. Always available, always supportive, but not if you were an idiot of course…

    I wish the world was populated with more bosses like Vir Sanghvi. He downplays his inter-personal relationship with his staff. But 100 per cent of people who ever worked for him will sing his praises. Whether it was a family death, family wedding, a birthday, Vir would always be there. He loaned his staff PERSONALLY when the company wouldn’t.

    How can you possibly hate a person as big as that. Funny, thing, he never thought he was big. He always though, and always was, one of us.

    It pains me when people judge this man from the outside. I have know him as a boss for 7 years and I know he is a successful man who has not lost touch with his human self and is always standing up for his staff. To me he is God. To most people who has worked for him he is God. And we are the real people who can actually judge him…

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  9. I will give you a real life example. While I was working for Vir at Sunday magazine, I was also working with a children’s charitable trust. I had to collect a certain amount of money every month. I failed. And I was upset. Vir heard about it from another sub-editor, called me to his office and said: “here is a cheque for 5,000 bucks. Do not lose your desire to aim for a great cause. I will help you as long as you need. Just be honest with yourself and do your best.”

    You guys will not believe this but he only made something like 9,000 rupees in those days from Ananda Bazar Patrika. I know because I happened to see his monthly cheque.

    Great people are not made by how much they make. It’s by how they treat their staff. I have not had anything to do with Vir since I left Sunday Magazine, after my marriage in 2006. But I always tellmy husband that if I ever need any help that ex-boss of mine will come to my aid.

    All you people who are commenting page, are doing so without knowing who Vir Sanghvi really is. He is servant of the Nehru clan. I have seen how delighted he was with Vajpayee leading India. Don’t attach labels where they do not fit.

    And do not malign one of the few free thinkers in this country by attaching an agenda to his journalistic pursuits.

    Vir Sanghvi is NEVER up for sale. Simply becoz he does not care. He is who he is — a sweetheart of a “real” person who always has time for his inferiors, who never misbehaves with the lower staff and who never behaves like he is boss.

    I have worked with 3 editors in my life and nobody was so genuine, inspirational and motivational like Vir. I invited him for Rakhi one year, and he actually came to have string tied in my house.

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