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B G Verghese on his book First Draft...

With five decades of journalistic past behind him, Verghese remains a man of few words. At the launch of his latest book - First Draft: Witness To The making Of Modern India, the usually shy wordsmith opened up about his book in a tête-à-tête with Sonakshi Babbar.

books Updated: May 21, 2012 15:17 IST
Sonakshi Babbar

Veteran journalist B G Verghese released his latest book First Draft: Witness to Making of Modern India at the lawns of the India International Centre in New Delhi on Wednesday.

A man of great integrity, he has presented neither a rosy nor a cynical picture of India. "The book presents an honest picture as I saw it evolving, it's not written from my current point of view, in fact it reflects my contemporary feeling then," he asserts.

Regarded as the man who invented developmental journalism by writing dedicatedly about developmental projects in the country, his optimism reflects in his words, "Amidst all the muddles and confusions there might be, I'm optimistic that things are changing and India is moving forward," he says.

Verghese, who has worked with leading newspapers of the country, has reported about great historic moments of modern India. On being asked about his experience of putting it all together in a book he said, "I have culled out the information from my personal records. The book is not a collection of articles but a narrative where I have reproduced what I wrote at that time - 50's, 60s, and 70s. So it's a contemporary record of events as I saw it evolve - it's an unfolding."

Even-though the book is historical in nature, it offers insight into unrecorded events. "I hope young people read it and draw benefits because much of it doesn't form part of any history, and it will fill many blanks in their minds. There are books about specific events, but this is a first interconnected attempt at history", says the man who was once an advisor to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

"The book tackles burning issues of history and also the ones which mattered but went unnoticed. Some issues were resolved but some have continued like Kashmir," he adds.

BG VergheseFirst Draft is not just another history book. The author clarifies that the book isn't a narrative. "It's not a flashback with a perspective but a look at day-to-day events as they occurred at that time. He calls the book "a worm's eye-view of history as an individual saw it".

Referring to the changing face of journalism and advent of democratic platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, Verghese said, "Internet has transformed things as now you have personal communication platforms like like Twitter and Youtube which younger people take to more easily but the newspaper, TV and radio will not cease to exist, they will be influenced by the new mediums as they grow and develop but these (especially print) will remain as the medium of deeper reflection."