Can You Take It Tavleen Singh?

Tavleen Singh speaks to Madhu Trehan on Durbar, why Rajiv Gandhi was bound to make mistakes, Hindi journalism not being in good shape, Indira Gandhi’s illiterate electorate, “Lady Bountiful” a.k.a. Sonia Gandhi, the fallout from writing this book and more...

Tavleen Singh speaks to Madhu Trehan on Durbar, why Rajiv Gandhi was bound to make mistakes, Hindi journalism not being in good shape, Indira Gandhi’s illiterate electorate, “Lady Bountiful” a.k.a. Sonia Gandhi, the fallout from writing this book and more…

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  • Raghav

    Excellent interview, Great job! only Madhu could do justice to handling a tantrum queen,arrogant , pseudo celebrity like against all oddsTavleen.

    Tavleen has been a great journalist, I have followed her work right from early 80’s when she began as a reporter with Indian Express, and went on to become a TV show host,columnist,writer etc. Tavleen of today is very different from that of her “reporter” days. She has become a discreet lobbyist for big-biz, and has since moved into the upper crust of the hoi-polloi Bombay society, she is no longer that fiery Delhi girl.i

    However, I salute her for bravely choosing to bring up her son single handedly and give him a distinct identity even when the father chose to walk away and never look back. Aatish has turned out to be a fine young man, a great writer with great future.

    I am eagerly waiting to read her this latest book.The observations in the book appear to be very poignant & insightful, but she knows a lot more than what she has chosen to reveal. It’s because of her new “social”role she has chosen.

    Rajiv Gandhi had everything going for him, a massive mandate, great fan following & public support, yet he flopped. The reasons behind this massive fxxx up remain elusive, the role played by his lackeys,kitchen cabinet and close advisers in bringing him down have never been analysed or written about. Tavleen could have done that,she chose not to.Failure of Rajiv put this country behind by decades and cost us a lot.It was a great tragedy, only to be followed by another failure that of VP Singh.

    I am sure there is lot more to come from ” all knowing” people like Tavleen and Madhu etc. and hope that it will come out sooner than later

  • gaurav86

    simply an excellent interview. i halted laying my vision on what tavleen pronounce especially after her snobbish stand on anna and whole lokpal movement. but i think i ll read her and listen to what she says for the reason that she is a repository of information which award far more higher degree of relevance to common man’s agitation, angst and desire for change. i want to listen her more because her words are catalyst for my efforts to analyse the ongoing subterranean social, political and demographic awakening. i don’t know whether she understand it or not, but revelations in her book will contribute most to aforesaid awakening in india, of which anna and arvind are the faces as of now. i ll listen and read not to get an idea of her value judgments but because what she knows, will help me to have my value judgments conceived.

  • Only one way to describe Tavleen – Atta Girl !!!

  • Ashim Kar

    All that Tavleen said can be said in a more simple language .There is nothing new in what she said.The time has come for actions. MR. Kejriwal whom Tavleen despises is trying to correct the wrong what Tavleen mentions in her book.We don’t need to read Durbar to understand these basic facts.If we truly want to see that India changes we should join with all our might with Kejriwal . Else who knows some great columnist like Tavlenn will write a similar book with another name as common Indians continue to suffer.Actions speak louder than words.Time for action.Time to support Kejriwal.However I appreciate the fact that Tavlen Singh has spoken against Ms. Mystic which so many journalists can’t even dare.

    • Ankit

      Rather support Modi than leftist Kejriwal.

      • HA

        Kejriwal is not leftist you Mr Modi’s chamcha. When you will come out of dilemma ?

        • Satyam Sharma

          Pity your ignorance …

        • abhi

          buddy wake up and smell the coffee

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  • Joginder

    Finished reading Durbar last night. Some notable points:(a) Indira Gandhi was a disaster for India’s economy. (b) Rajiv Gandhi was a multiple disaster, resp. for Op. Blue Star (yes he, not his mom); resp. for Sri Lanka fiasco; arrogant; no clue about governance; blockaded Nepal because the Nepal Maharaja didn’t have breakfast with him; acted funny when Bofors blew up – Tavleen’s words, “Chor ki darhi mein tinka” ; Sonia ran things behind the scenes even then; RG acted like a petty school-boy bully with Chandrashekhar when the latter was PM, etc etc etc. (c) The epilogue, the last page of the book in fact, says things about media crooks of India which they wont like. In short, the book is worth a read but the price, Rs 599 is a bit steep for mango people.

    • gaurav86

      not putting publicity tactics for anyone, but buy it from flipkart., its for 450 bucks there.

    • DeshiGuy

      Is this book available in kindle ?

  • Indian

    Thank you Madhu and Tavleen for a great interview and for awaking people of India and exposing collusion between Media and politicians that has caused the rot that has brought India down and continues to do so..

  • Troll0007

    Madhu, this is also one of your best interviews here. The TV Media BAR association (mostly made up of Barkha-Arnab-Rajdeep) can learn a few pointers on how to make an interview interesting & informative without sucking up or being abrasive to the interviewee. All it requires is asking relevant questions based on in-depth research & not the usual superficial stuff which floats around in most interviews.

    I didn’t think much of Tavleen Singh after she said in an earlier interview to Abhinandan Sekhri a few months back that Anna Hazare doesn’t have much of a “worldview” like Mahatma Gandhi did cos he’s “uneducated” (which may be true but the way she said it, smacked of elitism). However, your interview has shown a different side of Tavleen which I was not aware of previously.

    On the subject of 1984 riots, I remember Barkha Dutt interviewing Kamal Nath a few days back. Both are back doing what they do best, pretending as if nothing’s happened & life goes on as usual. Why not… they both have a lot going for them, considering that the 1984 sikh massacre (along with bhopal) is buried under a 28 year avalanche & the Radiagate is also moving towards the same cold storage.

    There’s as much disconnect between the Real India & Lutyens India today, as there was in 1984 when Rajiv became PM. Tavleen in her own small way has tried to ruffle the feathers of the high & mighty after Kejriwal started the process with Vadra. I have great respect for Sonia Gandhi as a person even now when comparing her with with rabid right wing leaders like Swamy & Modi. I hate to say this but sometimes I get the feeling that Antonia Maino & family are behaving like Mary Antoinette & family… hiding from their own people & making frivolous “Mango Banana” statements & offering no clarifications in return.

    This kind of apathy is not sad anymore it’s almost sadistic. I only hope that Kejriwal does not turn out to be a flash in the pan that Rajiv Gandhi was.

    • sudhir911

      Regarding 1984 riots Tavleen says “murders of Sikhs was horrible horrible”. But what about innocent hindus being killed by Khalistan Sikhs for nearly a decade prior to riots? They outnumber Sikhs many times!

  • Akshay Iyer

    This is your best interview Madhu Ma’am! I loved the way you managed to keep Ms. Singh at bay without getting too excited. The new anchors need to take a leaf from your interviewing style.

  • Paddy

    This is a very intelligent and mature interview. I dont agree with Tavleen’s views many a times, but she is one of the very few from her generation who has never shied away from speaking openly against the Gandhis. She is provides a very interesting view of her experiences vis-a-vis 80s politics.

  • Pretty Putri

    aah wonderful interview! I could listen to these two all day long. For their intelligence, their genuine insights, their sensitive and respectful tone, their no-nonsense approach, and their beautifully soothing voices.

  • Pretty Putri

    I meant, of course, the Tavleen Singh interview with Madhu. The NL “I agree with Tavleen Singh” interview with whatshisname was AWFUL! The interviewer was incredibly unprofessional! Shame on him.

  • DMC

    It would have been better if Mihir Sharma of Business Standard had done this interview with Tavleen Singh. All Madhu Trehan did was ‘haan mein haan milana’ with Singh. The amount of softsoap given to Singh was both silly and boring. Even if Trehan agrees with every word Singh has written, and even if they are good friends (which it certainly seems like), Trehan, as the editor of a news watchdog site is supposed to ask tough questions — for instance why not ask about the amount of negative press this book has received, and go over the negative reviews point by point? Or is that just too inconvenient? The hard questions were completely missing from this cloying interview, and instead it resembled a publicity stunt for Singh’s book. Some watchdog site this is. Sorry I am not impressed.

  • Veda

    Brilliant Interview. Holds a mirror to our society today, and more importantly articulates to us how “the dynasty” has clearly & determinedly killed India.

  • tahir

    Taveleen has given voice to the 2 musings always on my mind – (a) Barkha’s likes have sold their soul to politicians (b) how is it that Sonia-Rahul NEVER EVER speak up about any issue concerning the nation – do they have a point of view on our foreign relations ? do they have a roadmap for our economy ? do they even understand Indians or are all like the damaad says “aam aadmi”.

    Jaago re Aam Aadmi Jaago – throw the dynasty out of India to even have a chance of your survival.

  • Sunil

    Excellent interview.

  • bd

    excellent interview i hope indians watch this and remember every word told by her

  • Jai

    Good interview, but should have been under the ‘I agree with’ section rather than ‘Can you take it’ one. Madhu obviously holds more or less the same opinions as Talveen, which is fine but perhaps she should have played a bit more of the ‘devils advocate’, like she does with pro-congress journalists. A slightly more adversarial posture wold have made the interview far more riveting.

  • BHaskar

    I just cant get past Tavleen’s accent. I know better than that but just cannot help it.

  • Impi

    ??? I will not talk about Navin Patnaik or Vasu but I will talk about Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi…..Why the double standard? There are other people I can expose but won’t expose??

    At 24:10, she says if Sonia Gandhi had been a Somalian (hence not fair), she would not have been voted for. Well…..I got news for you Ms. Tavleen Singh. Indian Populace has come a full circle. People in UP react the same way to Mayawati (not your average fair princess) who travels in her helicopters, is doing exactly the same things as Indira and Sonia Gandhi.

    I have no love lost for the Congress but when Tavleen says that drawing rooms in Delhi has no idea of what was going on in the field and they should also have known what she knew by virtue of her work, she is kind of being preachy. She got bored of the mindless lifestyle, they didn’t. This is a petty attempt to settle scores but only with some individuals.

    She was a good journalist but seems too full of herself. The overwhelming feeling I had was Ughhhh

  • HA

    Excellent interview. Lot more to read through. But this should be accessible by common man, they need to get enlightened by this more than anyone else. Not only english speaking/listening crowd, but common man of different language as well.
    Thanks for nice work !!

  • Tushar M

    A very intelligent interview. But Tavleen Singh holds back more than she should tell the public as her journalistic duty.

  • RV

    Where are the difficult questions of the type Madhu put to Karan Thapar for example to justify the name and the format of the interview. A very tame affair. Mutual backslapping almost.

  • Reetz

    Awsome !loved both the ladies.

  • V.Muthuswami

    Excellent outspoken interview on our feudalistic dynastic governance under democratic wrap. My admiration of TS journalistic honesty and objective analysis has doubled. BRAVO, my friend TS.


  • ravi

    in america, your model, almost every senator and congressman has a son or daughter in politics, what to speak of the the Kennedy, Bush, and Clinton dynasties. so your looking up to america as a paragon of democracy is all wrong. also, much of the resentment and killings against the sikhs were because of how bhindranwale and his goons murdered hundreds of hindus, because of indira gandhi’s assassination by her own sikh bidyguards who she refused to remove, and by sikhs openly celebrating her killing by distributing sweets to their hindu neighbours.

  • Vamsi Krishna

    excellent interview. very insightful.

  • desh premi

    excellent interview..exposing collision between dynastic politics and slave media…i can say Nehru family has killed indian democracy..

  • Sun Sherman

    Tavleen Singh , who I thought was a matured serious journalist was contemptuous and condescending to the interviewer Abhinandan , She did get hostile when she mentioned that she could eat him for breakfast and not notice it or twice when she said what’s your name again ? I guess every one of us have weaknesses however few admit it gracefully , most do not. To have a magnified view of their own wisdom is a very common human weakness with very few exceptions..
    The interview started off very well and was fun to watch until it became ugly on one side and ended abruptly .

  • Shreyas R

    Request Madhu T to have more civilized and decent conversations such as this. Good stuff.

  • Rukmani V

    Oh for just such dialogues once a week on National Television – Interesting , scary, introspective and with real journalists!s. By the way,Tavleen’s column was never ever given the go bye those days. And how I miss her forthrightness! Glad I watched this one. Pretty much vindicates a few conclusions we had drawn. Wish Indians learn from thos for the present.. There ae dozens of RGs in India today!!