ibnlive » Chat

12 noon Nov 26, 2012

On her new book 'Durbar'

Tavleen Singh's Durbar is revealing account of our political past that holds crucial lessons for today's India. Describing the Nehruvian era of her childhood, the Emergency of her youth and the political shifts that followed, Tavleen writes of the birth and evolution of insurgencies in Punjab and Kashmir, the blood spilt in assassinations and massacres, of crises internal and external and the clumsy attempts to set things right. A remarkable memoir, vivid with the colour of election campaigns and society dinners, low conspiracies and high corruption, Durbar rewards us with this truth: that if India is to achieve a better future the past can no longer be ignored or forgotten.
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21 questions answered | 3 questions pending
  • Tavleen Singh- An excellent analyser, fantastic journalist and a great human being. Look forward to read your compelling book as have been for the last 20 odd years (I am at 34!) Asked by: SBH
  • Tavleen Singh Thank you.
  • What should the govt needs to do to prevent a repeat of 26/11 attacks? Asked by: Neha
  • Tavleen Singh It must first acknowledge that this is war by another name. Then, it must train ordinary policemen to understand the problem of jihadi terrorism because without them there can be no intelligence gathering and then it must provide them with better facilities and better equipment.
  • Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had claimed that seven out of 10 youths in Punjab have a drug problem. Your views on Rahul Gandhi's comments & current state of affairs of Punjab. Asked by: Anurag
  • Tavleen Singh I think Rahul got it wrong on drug addiction in Punjab. And, it saddens me to see how much potential Punjab has and how it is wasted because yet again we have an elected dynasty in charge.
  • Which is your favourite chapter from the book and why? Asked by: Smita
  • Tavleen Singh I have not thought about favorite chapters in Durbar so I cannot answer that.
  • Today is 4th anniversary of Mumbai attacks. Kasab has been convicted. Has the govt done enough? Asked by: Monty
  • Tavleen Singh No the government has not done enough to prevent another 26/11 type attack. It is a new form of war on India and possibly the only one we will see in the future so the army and the police need to share intelligence and work. This has not happened.
  • Do you have an idea about the 'division of state' issue in the Hyderabad region? What do you see for Hyderabad in the near future? Asked by: Sandeep Rao
  • Tavleen Singh I have not followed the Hyderabad story closely but I think smaller states are better administered.
  • Ram Chandra Guha has argued that Nehru Gandhi dynasty was not promoted by Nehru but it was Indira who brought dynastic politics in India? Do you agree? Asked by: Akshat Shankar
  • Tavleen Singh I agree. But, Nehru was not totally averse to his daughter becoming a general secretary of the Congress Party and that was the beginning of her career.
  • Dear Tavleenji, Am a big fan of your's, your bold articulation of what you stand for. Interested to know whether you faced pressure from politicos to kill a story. Haven't read you book till now, I must confess. Asked by: Rama
  • Tavleen Singh Please read the book and you will see that if I have managed to publish a book as brutally frank as Durbar the pressure was not there. But, I have to say here that our political leaders use their power to harrass people close to journalists in various, evil ways like tax raids.
  • What was your motivation behind writing this book? Asked by: Madhu
  • Tavleen Singh I just answered that question.
  • Was Atal Bihari Vajpayee the best PM India had in the last 60 years? Asked by: Mansi Goel
  • Tavleen Singh He was a good prime minister but the one who changed India more dramatically than any other was P.V. Narasimha Rao.
  • What book do you plan next? Asked by: Anu
  • Tavleen Singh First, I want to see how Durbar has received then I will think of the next book.
  • Do you think that there is some truth in the personal allegations Subrahmanian Swamy has made against the Gandhi family? Asked by: Akshat Shankar
  • Tavleen Singh I cannot comment on what someone else says.
  • I would like to know your intention of writing 'Durbar' Asked by: Sunil
  • Tavleen Singh My intention was to show how disconnected the rulers in Delhi have become from India. And, how my generation has been more colonized than any other and how Rajiv Gandhi as the prime minister of my generation let India down when there was so much he could have done had he been more connected to India and her problems.
  • Your favourite authors/books? Asked by: Himanshu
  • Tavleen Singh Pushkin, Maupassant, Manto. Poets: Ghalib, Faiz, Mir. I have too many favorite books to talk about here but love almost all of Pushkin's work and think Anna Karenina is truly a book you can read over and over again.
  • Do you think that the Indian media is biased against conservatism? Asked by: Mansi Goel
  • Tavleen Singh Most journalists all over the world are inclined to lean towards the left.
  • Any suggestions for the aspiring writers? Asked by: Monty
  • Tavleen Singh If you are a writer follow your dreams. If you are a journalist remember that the most important thing is to go out into the world and do some reporting and never lose your curiosity or your courage.
  • I mean to request you,if you are willing, to share with us the one incident where enormous pressure was put on you by politicians or newspaper barons to kill a story. Do you think today's journalists have been seduced by the power and the moolah to refrain from serious investigative or bold journalism that you've practiced. Also please comment the impact of TV on the print media journos. Asked by: Rama
  • Tavleen Singh I have never had such pressure. If you read Durbar you will see that I make it clear that the media is complicit with the political establishment and this in my view is a bad thing. Television has been an enormous agent of change in rural India - as has the cell phone - but it saddens me that there is almost no effort at real investigative journalism. All that senior television journalists seem to want is to sit in a studio every evening chatting to people.
  • What is your opinion about Rahul Gandhi as the future PM? Asked by: Manuj Goel
  • Tavleen Singh I am against dynastic succession. Period.
  • Do you think that there was any politician in the last 65 years who did not have any 'skeletons in his cupboard'? Asked by: Akshat Shankar
  • Tavleen Singh Maybe not. But, some have more than others.
  • Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi or Arvind Kejriwal. Whom would you choose in the next election and why? Asked by: Mansi Goel
  • Tavleen Singh Voting is by secret ballot in India. I like to keep it that way. But, I will say that of the three Narendra Modi has articulated the clearest vision for the future of India.
  • Do you think Lal Bahadur Shastri's death was a conspiracy. Who all could have benefited from that? Asked by: Akshat Shankar
  • Tavleen Singh I do not believe it was a conspiracy.

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Tavleen Singh
Author & columnist

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Tavleen Singh
Author & columnist

On her new book 'Durbar'