This letter is written by Asma Anjum Khan


Respected…sorry Dear…no, , Mr.Tehelka,
Hope you are doing fine….
Fine? In a jail? Sorry. Dunno know how to begin?

The media fraternity you were once part of, has already paid you homage, for the horrific crime you committed.

May be, rightly so. The man in such a high position should never have done such a thing, (Does that mean, the man in a lower position should be doing it? ) A little birdie tells me that you have been thinking of joining, take the staircase, avoid the elevators , campaign? Altogether they say you have become allergic to the word, ’lift’ and go mad whenever tried your fellow inmates try humming Adnan Sami thingy, Thori si toh lift kara de…?

This relentless media glare might have astonished you as well. Your Think-fest [or Stink-fest?] at Goa funded by the very forces you fought all these years didn’t help either. You were said to be becoming fond of money. But, as it is said, did you also sell your stories? What’s more you allegedly received a money bag from Mamata Di’s satchel and had a Congressi Kapil Sibal on board!

Sir, very wrong, how can you claim to be neutral veutral when you have, ’such’people on your Tehelka ship? [It’s another matter that this type of neutral journalist is as rare as finding a Hippopotamus munching pop corn sitting next to you,]. But our no holds barred media and Twitterati went on a rampage, tearing you apart, bit by bit. For once you left behind our Saheb of the Snoop-gate. This guy had used the whole state machinery to snoop on an architect girl he had taken a fancy upon. (Never mind, like in your case his girl too was of a daughter’s age). The moment your transgression came to light, Saheb’s snooping saga began to fade from the minds and the media rapidly. Now Twitter, Facebook, TV studios, wherever you turned, you found heated discussions on how Tejpal got malformed into Teja. All this resulted in what was wanted from your slip-up; the Saheb Snoopgate was forgotten in no time. Comparatively speaking what was more important? Using state machinery like you and your father owned it or a news portal chief’s two minutes of transgression? Perhaps it was the latter. In this country of ours sometimes we never know which wrong becomes right with some quarters or vice versa.

A rape is a rape is a rape and in the same way a rapist is a rapist, is a rapist. God.. I now understand how useful a creature the lift-wala boy, could be! A bit old fashioned, of course, but a blessing in disguise; especially when great journalists happen to ,’use’ it. Imagine if that Hyatt hotel had a lift wala boy , then today you would have been sipping chai with Shoma aunty, in your cool villa; you built by breaking the environmental laws. But you chose the elevator and went down with a thud! Aah! The alchemy of an elevator! No wonder you got the Bad Sex Award for your first novel, The Alchemy of Desire. ! I heard you also ended your Think-fest speech, at Goa with, We are here to eat and drink and sleep , with whoever you want. God, Tarun! You are incorrigible!

But to tell you the truth, I felt bad about all this happening to you. I had cherished your daredevilry when you brought out that defence scam. You were so different from those arm chair journalists /columnists who write about asparagus ,without ever eating one. You were ,the real journo. The teenager me, watched you and your adventures ,starry eyed, admiring the courage you showed. I still remember seeing those images of fluttering notes in the hands of Bangaru Laxman, former BJP chief. Since then yours truly is a fan.[of course, till you stepped into that elevator at Hyatt] It’s no surprise to see you being attacked with such vengeance. After all, it’s easy to hit someone who has already fallen on his mouth. They said you had a loose tongue, that you parked your red Pajero always in the wrong place and didn’t mind paying that five rupees bribe to the watch-man! Why, there was even a debate about how the Pajero males …….Okay, have a look at some of the headlines your lift-fest brought about.

Tarun Tejpal was trapped in a Skin Not His Own ; Mr.Moral’s Meltdown

Aah you see the whole moral fabric of India came down, with a thud, with your Lift-fest. No, I won’t ask the silliest of queries ,like that theatre guy, Alyque Padamsee as to why the hell did that woman go into that elevator with him? [To go to the ground floor, Sir!?]

When I see people going for your murder, I wonder where their conscience goes to sleep, when Riot Rapes are reported. If Gujarat 2002 seems a stale story to these guys, then there are fresh rapes to relish upon from Muzaffarnagar in UP. The issue of Riot Rapes is the most peculiar case in point. While candle light vigils are held for some, others are raped with a regular impunity. There is also a surety that the beasts of these Riot-Rapes will go unpunished. But do we see any outrage? A barrage of tweets/ media glare about them? No, a Riot Rape seems like an Open License Rape.

Tejpal Sir,

I have admiration for your pioneering investigative journalism. I know you had to pay a big price for your dare devilry acts. But no one before you had brought out such gutsy stories of corruption. You gave us gems like Aniruddha Behal and Ashish Khetan. It was because of these two guys that we see some of the worst riot criminals behind bars today. But it was your Hamartia that brought you down or else it’s rare to see a Chief Minister rushing to the victim’s help.

Hopefully you would soon be out of your hole. Now do not screw up again. That Black African leader Malcolm X , who could count the pulse of his detractors from far afar was once a big thief and got imprisoned. He had said that the reason for imprisoning him was not that he had stolen some petty goods but because he had slept with the,‘white’ girls. Those white girls were his partners at crime. It was unpardonable. The people you had exposed previously just grabbed the opportunity and killed two birds with one stone. They avenged you for your earlier ‘audacious’ journalism and also swiftly pulled out the Saheb- gate out of the public memory. The so called liberal moderates who scoff at communalism, perhaps unwittingly became the ready instrument for the purpose. You see Tejpal Sir, when you stomp upon the elephant; you must always be careful about your own tail first.


Asma Khan

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