Ranjona Banerji: Now Rajdeep Sardesai joins India Today and K Chandrashekhar Rao flexes some fascist muscle

12 Sep,2014

By Ranjona Banerji


Dear all,


I am pleased to welcome Rajdeep Sardesai to the India Today Group. He will join us in the capacity of Consulting Editor.


Rajdeep needs no introduction: he has been an asset to whichever team he has belonged to, including the cricketing ones. Oxford and St. Xavier’s educated, Rajdeep started his television career in 1994 and was a founding member of NDTV and, subsequently, CNN-IBN. Prior to TV, he worked with TOI for 6 years and was the city editor of its Mumbai edition. Rajdeep has served as the Editor-in-Chief of IBN18 Network, including CNN-IBN, IBN-7 and IBN-Lokmat for the last 9 years. He has just finished his first book based on the historic 2014 elections; its release is much awaited. Rajdeep has won several national and international awards for journalism, including the Padma Shri in 2008.


As a start, Rajdeep will be doing a marquee show for Headlines Today and contributing to the revamp of the Channel and its alignment with digital.


Rajdeep, welcome. Great to have you with us. I know you will hit the ball out of the park for Team India Today. All the best in your new innings.


Aroon Purie


This is the announcement which Purie sent out to his staff on September 11 and makes Rajdeep Sardesai the fourth big name in journalism to try his hand at India Today in the past two years. Sensibly, Sardesai has opted for a consultant’s designation which comes with its own inbuilt escape clause. His show on Headlines Today may however shake up the channel’s current prime time line-up and a “revamp” of the channel suggests that life will not be easy for those at the top.


The rumour mill on Thursday was rife with speculation that Rahul Kanwal and Gaurav Sawant had both fallen foul of Shekhar Gupta and were on the verge of leaving. It is will be interesting to see what happens now that Gupta is out and Sardesai is in. But then Gupta remains in an advisory capacity…TV journalists and anchors especially have even bigger egos than print journalists one hears – if such a thing is possible. So if Sardesai gets the “marquee” show, what happens to Kanwal? One can only hope that Karan Thapar stays put.


Of course, there are now slots open in NewsX although what sort of a career move that is as far as TV is concerned I would not know.




After the CBI’s investigation into the Sharada chit fund scam in Bengal has torn a few holes into the Trinamool Congress, I decided to watch Bengali news channels – ABP and 24 Ghanta. It is very odd that despite the contentious issue and the general volatile nature of the Bengali, the discourse was far more civilised and well-mannered than what appears on English news channel every night.


I have seen this on Hindi channels too, where the anchors are very firm. Some do not allow any sort of deviation in subject or behaviour at all. But I suppose when it comes to English news channels, it is the promise of melodrama and the high-pitched emotion which is the selling point?




K Chandrashekhar Rao, chief minister of the new state of Telangana, has taken his own words that he can be like Hitler, very seriously. Anything that can be faintly construed as a criticism of him or his government is now to be seen as a taint on the whole ofTelangana and the people of Telangana. His threats can be seen as ominous or ridiculous: he will break the neck of anyone who does not salute him and bury 10 km deep anyone who insults Telangana.


His rage is directed specifically at TV9 and ABN News, which he tried to get taken off the air.


That this attitude by politicians is dangerous is stating the obvious. Let the people beware of the monster they have unleashed.


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One response to “Ranjona Banerji: Now Rajdeep Sardesai joins India Today and K Chandrashekhar Rao flexes some fascist muscle”

  1. Guest says:

    One hopes Telengana does not go the Jharkhand way. The sign are ominous.

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