Thursday, 5 March 2015

An apostle...?

The Hoot story ( ) given linked to my previous post 'whistleblower' has, as of this morning, elicited 18 comments, of which a few are about me. Those who have read Vaikom Mohammed Basheer's story 'Viswavikhyathamaya Mookku' (The World Renowned Nose) can understand my condition at this moment when I confess I feel very much like the protagonist of the story. A man in deep penury, he finds one fine morning his nose had overnight grown an inch longer. It keeps growing and, within a few days, is dangling down four feet to touch his knees. The news spreads like wildfire and people make a beeline to his small abode in the village to see his wonder nose. He becomes famous. The media is all the time after him, seeking tidbits about his daily routines. They want his reaction to all major developments in the world. The Prime Minister resigns. The story is incomplete without Mookkan's reaction. "What does Mookkan say about it," they all ask. There are also others who are Mookkan's critics. They spread the scandalous story that Mookkan's nose is "rubber nose," a fake one.

I give below a comment to The Hoot story by one Mr. K. Balakrishnan Nambiar putting forth the rubber nose theory. Mokkan's reaction to the allegation follows.

'A rubber nose,' says Nambiar

Call it collective or selective amnesia, but however much Mr.Roy Mathew and Mr.Sunil Nair feign ignorance, it is evident they are trying to cover up the track record of a person like Venugopal who was twice removed from his beat in TheHindu for his slanted reports, the first time on V.S.Achuthananthan and the second time in connection with a land grab case involving his soninlaw's family. It does not take an investigative journalist to unearth this fact, it is a fact known to everyone in the media fraternity in TVM. It is a shame to uphold this person as an apostle of journalistic ethics.
-- K.Balakrishnan Nambiar
                     Date - Tuesday, 03 Mar 2015, 22:52:32

Mookkan refutes allegation:
Referring to K. Balakrishnan Nambiar's comment, it has become necessary for me to clarify the following points. I was never removed from covering any 'beat' I was assigned to cover while I was working with The Hindu. I was not covering Left politics. So the question of my being removed from a 'beat' for my "slanted reports on Achuthanandan", former Chief Minister and CPI(M) leader, does not arise. It is very easy to check whether I had written even a single "slanted report" for his political benefit by googling the words 'The Hindu', 'Venugopal' and 'Achuthanandan'. Relating to the "land grab" issue, it is a case now before the Supreme Court of India. It was doing the rounds in the High Court of Kerala at the time of my daughter's marriage to Sajo Joseph, an architect, in 2008. The proprietors of the estate involved in the litigation won the case both before a Single Bench and Division Bench of the High Court and the officials involved have also been found guilty of contempt of court. The officials are defending the contempt of court charge against them in the Supreme Court. As a matter of professional propriety, I kept myself off the environment beat during the time the case was being heard by the High Court. I resumed covering forests and environment only after the verdict came from Division Bench of the High Court in March, 2012, unequivocally finding that the land involved in the case is not forest encroachment. Any reader can google the words 'The Hindu', 'Venugopal' and 'forests' to check whether I have ever violated the chastity of this 137-year-old paper for the benefit of land grabbers, or anyone else, during my 36-year career in The Hindu. My Nambiar, with the assistance of those in the newspaper wanting to cast aspersions on my conduct as a journalist, can do a thorough research to come out with even a single report under my byline favouring land grabbers. In fact, they will come across several reports in which I had exposed land grabbers. This controversy is not my creation. I quietly chose to go out because the kind of stories I used to break until three years ago are not possible now. An the bad working environment was affecting my health. I am peacefully baby-sitting at home now, looking after two grandchildren. I had tried to intimate the editor about the bad tendencies now in the newspaper and how difficult it has now become to work with dignity, but the systems that used to exist in the paper earlier for correction are no longer working. Good stories are being killed in the womb due to mysterious reasons. One cannot even discuss a story idea at the Bureau meeting. The Hoot, if they think it proper, can publish the two letters I had written, the first one to Mr. Varadarajan and the second to Ms. Malini Parthasarathy and Mr. Ravi. These letters are about far more serious issues than the issue brought up by the government report mentioned in this report. I have no axe to grind. I will be happy if the editor initiates a thorough inquiry into what is happening--and the Managing Editor named in my letters should not be entrusted with the inquiry, if at all the editor wants to have the truth.
-- P. Venugopal
Date - Wednesday, 04 Mar 2015, 13:22:58




Meera's World said...

I can't even think about what kind of stressful job you have/had. Imagining what one person might be thinking about me,what if they think wrongly about me itself gives me days of non stop stress. If I hear someone said something bad, the bad feel stays for days. I can't imagine how people like you who are exposed to the world takes on things that comes against you,hurting you ,or even piercing you.. great job

P. Venugopal said...

one has gone in and come out of it, dear friend. in the process comes the realization that no one knows another person, let alone oneself. each person is the image others make of him/her, or the image one projects for himself/herself. we are all caught in images, shadows. we brand each person. once we get out of the trap of this branding process, we are free. i am free if it does not bother me what others speak of me. it should not go to mookkan's head when some people call him an apostle...and also when some others say it is a rubber nose...the fact is neither. the nose itself is an illusion!