[MJR] Noosemakers: The life and letters of Dr Vijay Mallya

28 Feb,2012

By Ranjona Banerji


“The Indian media and the ‘paid’ media that even the Prime Minister referred to are unscrupulous and they will do whatever it takes, part fact or fiction, true or untrue to achieve their sensationalist objectives.”


These lines are from the opening paragraphs of Vijay Mallya’s letter to the employees of Kingfisher Airlines, promising them that he is making arrangements to pay their salaries. He also says that he intends to pay his taxes.


It is heartening, however, to note that the media, paid and not paid (unpaid would refer to a Kingfisher staffer) have not been responsible for denying Kingfisher employees their salaries. Or indeed, that it is because of the media that Kingfisher could not pay so many taxes.


The media has, therefore, just “sensationalised” the whole issue of Kingfisher’s troubles, we are to glean from Mallya’s letter and concentrated on one airline when the whole aviation sector is in trouble. (Again, thankfully, the media is not responsible here for the woes of civil aviation (at least I think not), just for talking about it.


Except, he points out, the one airline which is not in trouble but even that could be true or untrue according to Mallya. I am not sure the media had any role to play here… does the media have the power to make just one airline in a sick industry successful?Indiawants to know.


I don’t want to point fingers at anyone here, but I think Mallya should also blame passengers, especially his “guests” who paid but were then un-boarded and un-flown. These guests kept blabbing to the media about how they had been inconvenienced by Kingfisher Airlines. I think Mallya should have blamed them too.


And all the pilots who upped and left to work for that one airline “that defies the odds and claims to be profitable, however unlikely that may be”. I’m guessing that they were paid rather than unpaid by that other airline with its bizarre claims.


Many years ago, a person kept calling newspapers (there was not much TV those days, it was that long ago) and claimed to be Vijay Mallya’s PR person. She would talk about his latest horse or yacht or holiday destination. We could never determine if she was paid or unpaid, part fact or fiction, true or untrue. Somehow I feel that Mallya needs someone like her all over again. Might be better if he pays her this time and I know Niira Radia’s out of a job but maybe not her…?


Here’s the text of the letter:



Photograph: Fotocorp

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