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Home Editor's picks As Rajdeep Sardesai completes 30 illustrious years in journalism, here is a walk down...

As Rajdeep Sardesai completes 30 illustrious years in journalism, here is a walk down memory lane

A small tribute by OpIndia to India's 'Michelangelo of journalism'.

Talented spin-master and a controversial journalist Rajdeep Sardesai took to the Twitter for congratulating himself on completing 30 years in journalism.

We at OpIndia cannot stop gushing over his accomplishments, so we thought of compiling the seminal works that attested to his greatness. This is, of course, just an indicative list and his professional accomplishments go far beyond this list alone.

Starting with the most recent achievement, Rajdeep Sardesai was accused of ‘stealing’ tweets. This was brought forth by Scientist and columnist Anand Ranganathan, who is known for his epic Twitter threads, among other things.

On multiple occasions, Rajdeep Sardesai was found blatantly ‘lifting’ tweets posted by other users on Twitter just minutes ago. When confronted about the tweets theft, Rajdeep threatened to leave Twitter but we are yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel on this.

In another fascinating incident, a divine epiphany struck Rajdeep compelling him to lie about the Supreme Court’s decision regarding issuing a notice to the center with respect to the Rafale Deal. The Supreme Court had clearly refused to issue a notice to the center in the Rafale Deal.

Although, Rajdeep Sardesai promptly deleted his tweet when aware twitter denizens outed his inaccuracy, neither was it followed up with an apology nor did he post a correct version. It appears that he considers his unwitting followers to be as smart as him.

In June 2018, a doctor named Ajay Agarwal leveled serious allegations against television journalist Rajdeep Sardesai (currently with India Today group) and others of ruining his life and reputation by airing a ‘fake sting operation’ in 2006 on news channels IBN7 and CNN-IBN (both channels have now been re-branded as News18 and CNN-News18 respectively, and are currently part of the Reliance-owned Network18 group).

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJJJ7d49WuI]

For 12 long years, Dr. Agarwal fought to salvage his life and reputation but none of the journalists including Rajdeep apologised him despite numerous probes finding him not guilty.

In another case, Rajdeep Sardesai exposed his own hypocrisy when he asked others to stop politics over dead bodies. It is a bit rich coming from someone who rose to prominence in the journalism arena by politicising charred dead bodies of innocent people in a train burning incident in Godhra in 2002 and the ensuing communal-riots. Rajdeep had also written a moving piece when journalist Shujaat Bukhari was brutally murdered. What is interesting, is that when Hindu Activist Prashant Poojari was murdered, Rajdeep had written a piece trying to whitewash the crime and assert that his murder had a “political context”. 

Referring to the 2 BJP workers who were found brutally murdered and hanging from trees in Purulia district of West Bengal within a week’s time-span, Rajdeep Sardesai took to Twitter to urge everyone to ‘hold their peace’ until a thorough investigation is conducted and asked people to ‘stop playing politics over dead bodies in Bengal’.

While Rajdeep’s suggestion doesn’t sound unreasonable, but it doesn’t behoove someone who has reacted in a different manner to similar incidents in the past. After the unfortunate lynching of a Muslim youth called Junaid, the narrative of how he was lynched for “carrying beef” was meticulously spun and Rajdeep actively participated in furthering the agenda within hours after his death.

But this didn’t go down well with some Twitter users who immediately rebutted him, asking him to follow his own suggestion and exposed his bias in similar cases of murder.

Arguably, the most integral and consistent part of Rajdeep’s journalistic career is his hypocrisy. The instances of twitter threads published by Scientist Anand Ranganathan on Rajdeep’s hypocrisy is so vast that a book might be written on the whole affair. In one such instance, Ranganathan who fondly calls Rajdeep Michelangelo exposed the hypocrisy about his views on TRP.

Clearly, either the definition of the rating changes as per Rajdeep Sardesai’s mood swings or its significance changes depending upon his channel’s performance. Lesser mortals like Manak Gupta will find it hard to fathom this.

CNN IBN in 2008 commissioned a cash for vote sting operation then headed by, as called by Dr Ranganathan, the Rennaisance Man of the Indian journalism, Rajdeep Sardesai but refused to air the tapes because he thought the story was incomplete. In the press release, the channel reasoned- “A credible story is based on accuracy not speed, facts not sensationalism, reportage not allegations and assumptions. Our rigorous editorial protocol demands that even a hidden camera shoot is absolutely water-tight. In this particular story, there were many loose ends that needed to be cross-checked, corroborated and investigated further before the story could be aired.”

Instead of letting the tapes out and allowing the police to conduct an impartial investigation, Rajdeep assumed the role of an Intelligence agency head and decided against airing the supposedly scandalous tapes. Questions were raised as to why were the tapes shared with the speaker of the Lok Sabha and not with the investigative agencies and If the tapes were not conclusive enough for the telecast, what then is their validity as evidence? Knowing where his loyalties lie, it won’t be too difficult to hazard a guess what would have happened in 2009 general elections, had the tapes were released to the media.

In 2017, Rajdeep Sardesai accused the BHU VC of joining PM Modi in his political roadshow but subsequently admitted to his fault of “mistaken identity” and apologized for the same. In another instance, Rajdeep Sardesai quoted a fake news peddled by a Pro-AAP blog about Kasganj communal riots and accused that ANI had shared fake news but neither of them has issued an apology and deleted the post till date when their lies were busted by Editor of ANI, Smrita Prakash.

The great visionary Mr. Sardesai is also known for his progressive, futuristic views. So much so that he has gone to the extent of pointing out ‘caste bias‘ in the selection of the Indian cricket team. Yes, a caste-based selection process is exactly what Indian sports needs right now, as his argument suggested. He stated that the French won the world cup because they have ‘democratised’ their team selection and there have not been many Dalit Indian cricket players. When humans finally venture out to colonise other planets in future, our own Michelangelo should be in-charge of personnel selection, as he would decide exactly how many Dalits, upper castes and minorities deserve to leave the earth. Expertise and skills can take a back seat.

We all have been passed on for generations this Time-Tested Wisdom’ that, “Lies have no feet” but in some rare cases, lies don’t just have feet, they have hands, legs, ears, eyes, and mouth as well but certainly not the brains.

These were but a few instances of Rajdeep Sardesai’s illustrious journalistic career. There are countless other such instances which didn’t make the cut because of the sheer overwhelming brilliance of the man. If this didn’t dazzle you enough, you can scroll right up and type in the search bar ‘Rajdeep Sardesai’ to access his other works of excellence.

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Jinit Jain
Engineer. Writer. Learner.

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