NewsX launches The Insiders with Kalyani Shankar

15 Feb,2012

By A Correspondent


NewsX has launched a brand new series – The Insiders with Kalyani Shankar to boost its programming lineup. The Insiders is a series that provides viewers with an Insider’s perspective on events and people who have shaped the discourse and direction ofIndia.


Hosted by ace political commentator, Kalyani Shankar, this series will provide groundbreaking insight into certain events of the past that shapedIndiaand changed the course of our collective histories. The ‘Insiders’ featured in this series have held key positions of power and been involved in policy and decision making processes.


The events and people they talk about during the show are not ordinary either. From Pokhran-II to the 1971 Bangladesh War; from Kargil and the IC-814 hijack to the inception of insurgency in Kashmir; from the road to economic recovery in 1991 to when democracies collided with Mrs. Gandhi taking on the might of Nixon and theUSA, the show throws light on all these incidents that shaped our nation’s history.


Commenting on the launch, Jehangir S Pocha, Co-Promoter, NewsX said: “The Insiders re-examines key events that shaped modernIndiathrough Kalyani Shankar’s free-wheeling and frank interviews with the key players involved in those events. The show brings new light to these stories and gives the nation a greater understanding of the issues and decisions behind the events that shook the nation.”


Host of the series, Kalyani Shankar, is a political commentator based inNew Delhi. During her career spanning over three decades, she was theWashingtoncorrespondent and later the political editor of the Hindustan Times. She was a Nuffield Press Fellow atWolfsonCollege,Cambridge. Presently she is a syndicated columnist writing for Hindi and English newspapers, apart from doing a weekly current affairs programme on All India Radio. She has also authored Gods of Power and two other books.


Following are synopsis of some of the episodes that have been featured on the show:


1971:India’s finest hour

In 1971, there was a brutal crackdown in, what was then,East Pakistanagainst the Bengali population. Thousands of Bengali students and intellectuals were systematically murdered in cold blood by the Pakistani Army. Millions of refugees floodedIndia’s borders and the then-Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi knew that she had to act and she did – ordering the army into action on India’s eastern borders. This campaign, once launched was swift and effective. The war ended in just 13 days, after the Indian troops closed in onDhaka. It was here that the instrument of surrender was signed and Gen. Niazi and his troops laid down their arms in what is regarded as history’s first ever public surrender of such magnitude. The episode features the story of how the 1971 Bangladesh War was won from the insider.


Under attack

In 1999,Indiacame under attack. In May, a mix of Mujahideen and Pakistani army regulars took over strategic positions in our side of the LOC in Kashmir in an attempt to block the only road to Leh fromSrinagarat the time. On Christmas Eve, an Indian Airlines plane (IC-814) was hijacked by armed Pakistani terrorists who forced it to make its way toKandaharinAfghanistan. Both situations were extremely tense and captured the imagination of the whole nation and world. The Vajpayee-led Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had to make some tough decisions. Also, it let go of three terrorists who were in jail in J&K against the wishes of the then-CM, Farooq Abdullah. This episode features interviews with Brajesh Mishra (Former National Security Advisor to the PM), Yashwant Sinha (Former Finance Minister) and  Farooq Abdullah (Former CM of J&K).


Road to reforms

In 1991, when the Chandrashekhar government took over,Indiawas perched on the edge of an economic crisis. As Finance Minister at the time, Yashwant Sinha was the man entrusted to pull us out of the crisis and keep our economy afloat. As Foreign Secretary at the time, Muchkund Dubey was involved in this effort. Hear the story of howIndiawas saved from going under and how the road to economic reforms was built, from insiders Yashwant Sinha (Former Finance Minister) and Muchkund Dubey (Former Foreign Secretary).


Democracies collide

Indo-US relations were at their all time low when Richard Nixon was the president of theUS. He had nothing but contempt for Indira Gandhi and she was no big fan of his either. Their battle of wits is legendary and evenIndia’s staunchest critics begrudgingly agree that Mrs. Gandhi outfoxed Nixon during the 1971 Bangladesh War. She not only built up public support forIndiaagainstPakistanbut also inked the Indo-Russia Friendship Treaty, which guaranteedIndiaa key ally in the Russians. Insiders MK Rasgotra, thenIndia’s Deputy Chief ofMissionin Washington and later Foreign Secretary and Natwar Singh, former Minister of External Affairs, and someone who worked closely with Mrs. Gandhi provide the flavour of those times in this episode.


Kashmir: Insurgency’s inception

On July 2, 1984, Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, Jagmohan dismissed the then-Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah. Many see this as the turning point in allowing militancy to rule the roost in the valley. Hear from both these insiders into the circumstances surrounding this action, and why peace has eluded theKashmirvalley ever since.Sparkswill fly in this episode as both Jagmohan and Farooq Abdullah take each other head on – and spin the story of the inception of insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir.


‘The Insiders with Kalyani Shankar’ will be telecast every Saturday at 2.30pm and Sunday at 6.30pm on NewsX!


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