THE SOUL OF THE BUSINESS
By Tarun J Tejpal
This is the perfect moment to say it.Tehelka is at the end of a long and
difficult road, but at the beginning of an even longer and more difficult
one. For two years after we broke the big story our resolve was: we will
not be killed. For the last one year it has been: we will come back. And
now, as we hustle to design and write up the pages of the first issue,
it is slowly becoming: we must create enduring success.
more of what we first set out to do.
it with greater refinement, moral clarity, and responsibility.
its history, and its declared intent, Tehelka has been yoked to a high
mandate. These are the things we said as we went out to harness support
to recreate ourselves:
will not be affiliated to any political party or business house.
will see things through the prism of public interest.
will be transparent and ethical in all our processes.
heart of the paper will consist of crusading and constructive journalism.
will be unembarrassed to display a moral centre.
the same time we have no intention to be joyless. Among the endless lessons
of the last three years has been a crucial one on the lightness of being.
Burdens are light when borne by laughter. The paper must then reflect
all aspects of our lives, serious and trivial, high-brow and low-brow:
it must attempt to be what each one of us is, all things in ourselves.
Of course it must be all ordered, for it is in the ordering of our values
that we proclaim our true selves. And it is here we have to prepare to
be tested every week.
we must not lose, as we acquire refinements and flourishes, is our ability
to dirty our hands. To do the messy story, the difficult story. We have
become a people who sanitise ourselves out of all visceral and gritty
engagement. Tehelka must guard against the easy charm of this drift.
may have our heart in the right place, but there is still the art of the
business and the business of the business. The art of the business is
to ensure that our stories not only stand for the right things but are
also read. Unread stories are dead stories; a failure of the storyteller,
the reporter, the editor. In mass media their purity counts for little.
So we must be engaging. As for the business of the business: how do you
marry a journalism of integrity with commercial well-being, if not success?
I believe it can be done. This too will be tested as the months unfurl.
The last few years have taught us many things about private beliefs and
public cowardice. It is in this chasm of hypocrisy that good societies
sink. The hole in the paper that is a hole in the soul. May Tehelka have
the chords to speak in a single voice.
And in this overloaded journey what will be our talismanic guide? There
is the conscience, always, but Indians are also blessed with another peerless
map. The Constitution, a soaring public document, capsuling the finest
in the human spirit. Tolerant, liberal, noble, wise. Enough to illuminate
the darkest road. Enough to steer a nation, or a man.