Ranjona Banerji: Nidhi Razdan takes on Sambit Patra, Swati Chaturvedi takes on Mohandas Pai

02 Jun,2017

By Ranjona Banerji


Cows and beef and eating and killing: That’s what the Indian media is made of. I am not innocent in this either. But what can one do? When this is the main focus of the Government of India, then the media needs must follow.


So what did we get last night on television? A hilarious spectacle of NDTV anchor Nidhi Razdan telling BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra that he is free to leave the NDTV studio and go to other channels – and here was a mighty hit – which are “glorified versions of Doordarshan”! Patra had said that NDTV had an “agenda” and he was going to stay to “expose” NDTV.


This is a clear sign of the BJP being rattled by any searching questions and to be fair to them, almost no channel asks tough questions of BJP spokespersons so they are not used to it. They are also allowed to hog airtime, talk over other people, obfuscate the issue and take any argument off-track. Patra was not allowed to get away with it this time.


Unlike Arnab Goswami’s spectacular “never ever never ever ever” breakdown over the BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi accusing him of taking money to criticise the RSS (that was in another pre-Republic TV parallel reality, which to be honest, I loved!), Razdan kept her cool but reiterated her stand that Patra should apologise or leave.


It takes courage in this day and age to take on a ruling party spokesperson and kudos to Razdan for that.
Anyone who spends time on the internet knows that BJP fans have long had a problem with NDTV. More than other news channels, it limits the pro-government pro-BJP publicity-for-free “agenda” followed by many other channels. Surprisingly, it is CNN-News18 which comes second here. Most other news channels are almost shameless propagandists for the ruling party.


Patra took to Twitter to whine, saying he was shot down because NDTV’s “agenda” included calling a calf an ox (!). Some of his fans and BJP fans applauded him for his bravery; many others however pointed out that this is what would happen if he went to a channel like NDTV. Many reminded him that he was the one who kept appearing on that channel; more complained that in spite of NDTV having an “agenda”, Union ministers like Arun Jaitley and Kiren Rijiju often gave the channel exclusive interviews.


The internet is a tough place, even for people whom the trolls like!




The other Twitter excitement (no, not Donald Trump and his “covfefe”) was the conversation between journalist and author Swati Chaturvedi and ex-Infosys HR head and businessman Mohandas Pai. A common fixture in TV studios and a frequent tweeter, Pai has been putting out a series of tweets supporting the Union government (surprise, surprise) on its various attempts to stop cattle slaughter. Why can’t people stop eating beef, respect the sentiments of others and so on.


When Chaturvedi and others pointed out to him that his son’s restaurant in Bengaluru served beef, he was outraged. He persisted in calling Chaturvedi a “pathetic liar”. Chaturvedi then produced a menu which clearly showed that beef was on the menu. Pai’s defence was really cute. He said he was against slaughter of animals not against what people ate. And the meat served in the restaurant was from an abbatoir and therefore no animal was killed. Work out the logic on that for yourselves; I can’t.


Game, set, match Chaturvedi on this one.




Meanwhile, the frightening slowdown of the Indian economy is the perfect subject to be ignored by most TV journalists since there’s always Zakir Naik, the UPA, Kashmir and so on. The detour that was the most amusing (and horrific) was the recently retired judge from the Rajasthan High Court informing the people of India that peacocks are celibate creatures and their reproductive process involves a peahen swallowing a peacock’s tears. That these are our learned in mumbo-jumbo judges, we need to know and reflect upon, so thank you for that.




A shout out to Mirror Now, which is turning into an antithesis of Times Now, for highlighting civic issues across India.


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2 responses to “Ranjona Banerji: Nidhi Razdan takes on Sambit Patra, Swati Chaturvedi takes on Mohandas Pai”

  1. Subin Das says:

    Most strangest and shocking thing is; quite a number of educated people also swallow such dark ages mumbo-jumbos and stand fast for them. Just imagine, peahen swallowing tears of a Peacock and eggs getting fertile. First transplant of body parts were carried out when Ganesh’s head was replaced by an elephant one. Cows are moving hospital, where by using her shit, urine all kinds of medical ailments can be cured. I wonder where are we heading for, what is our agenda; is it to move ahead or go on reverse and be swallowed by dark age? In the name of Gods all kinds of products are marketed though most of them failed in purity tests, people use them at random thinking they are conduits between God and themselves.

    • Chayan Nath says:

      You all are making issue of peacocks, beef, ox, cow dung, etc. as because there are no corruption to be discussed, no pending work to be discussed, GST is on the way to be implemented, we are recognised internationally, we are giving appropriate reply to Pakistan, and on…. Criticism is best in democracy but do it for betterment of nation not on the peacock coment of judge, which may be his belief as similar to the belief of few people that Zakir Naik is good for the nation as he appears Usama bin Laden’s activity and kicked out of UK. Some people are so intelligent that they think they are the repository of all wisdom’s​ and rest of the maas are blind or do not understand the narrative of the intellect… The narrative of NDTV is glorified version of DD per 2014 and was government mouth piece, they can’t even see the big big scams​ to criticize upon. Now a days NDTV is praised by Hafid Saiyed, separatist of Kashmir and Pakistan. So what Nidhi has done is generally done by Arnab to Pakistani guest in his show.
      Be logical.