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Home > Author > Inderjit Badhwar
Inderjit Badhwar

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  Inderjit Badhwar

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Badhwar's debut novel originally entitled "SNIFFING PAPA", was later published in English as "The Chamber of Perfumes" following a French imprint "La Chambre Des Parfums" that was awarded one of France's highest literary honours-- Le Prix Litteraire which had gone to Salman Rushdie a decade earlier. Badhwar's novel now has German, Portuguese, Dutch,and Spanish editions. "An amazing piece of work..

Background Information

Badhwar was born in a dustbowl market town in Ujhani in northern India, the third child in a family of three brothers and two sisters. His father, an aristocrat, a patrician who inherited a cotton business that went to seed during his own lifetime was called to the bar at Inner Temple in London during the British Raj. His mother, a princess, was the daughter of Maharaja Sir Kishen Pershad Prime Minister of Hyderabad whose ancestors had helped the Nizam rule one of the largest of India's pre-independence princely states through several generations. The Maharaja was a Sufi poet, caligrapher, Persian scholar and administrator who traced his lineage to Raja Todar Mal, one of Emperor Akbar's "Nine Jewels" whose land revenue system still serves as the blueprint for modern India's rural administrative structure.At the age of five, Inderjit Badhwar was sent to boarding school at Welham's in Dehra Dun run by English schoolmarms. Until the age of 21 when Badhwar obtained his Masters from Delhi's St Stephen's College in History and the History of Western Political Thought from Hobbes to Laski, he remained in boarding. His pre-college years were spent at Doon School from where he passed his Senior Cambridge examination with Honors. His was an eclectic education and background -- doses of feudal sentimentality mixed with massive dollops of humanism; a totally rural background infused with a cosmopolitan, internationalist world-view; a late teen-age hankering for Marxist solutions later dampened by his reading from George Orwell who still remains a major influence in his life, particularly "Homage to Catalonia." By the time Badhwar was 12 he had read Dostoievsky's "Crime and Punishment" and Toslstoy's "War and Peace." Even though people who taught him in school and whom he encountered as a professional did influence him, books remained his real journey. In high school he went the usual route -- Shakespeare, Wodehouse, Whitman, Donne, Wordsworth, Coleridge, R.L. Stevenson, Emily Dickenson...along with compulsory courses on Indian writers and poets in Hindi. In Doon School everything was compulsory -- reading, hiking, fishing, mountaineering, carpentry, debating, elocution, boxing, swimming...But as an undergrad Badhwar began to discover books on his own. From his father's dusty shelves he retrieved Maupassant and Hugo and Thomas Mann and Spinoza. And  then he discovered Joyce and the true joys of the English language.Among modern writers he was mesmerised by Sartre and Camus and even practiced writing sentences like them. But later, they paled into insignificance when he chanced upon Henry Miller. He considers "The Colossus of Maroussi" to be Henry's greatest work. Others he considers his Great Masters who have helped his thinking evolve are Singer, Bellow, John Cowper Powys, Anais Ninn, and Erica Jong. As far as political ideas go Badhwar made a leap from Marx to Jefferson 20 years ago and nothing has happened so far in the course of world events that would make him come unglued from Jeffersonian liberal constitutionalism and the innate distrust of political determinism or a Big Brother state that disregards the citizen's right to challenge it in defense of individual freedom. .

Birth Place
ujhani,  india

Winner of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism's Henry Taylor Award (Class of '69).Senior investigative reporter for syndicated columnist Jack Anderson(1977-1985). Anderson was America’s leading investigative journalist whose column ran daily in more than 1000 newspapers. Badhwar was his senior associate and earned worldwide acclaim through his exclusive stories on fugitive financier Robert Vesco, Pentagon defence scandals, CIA goof-ups, the (dream automaker) John DeLorean trial, and government fraud and cover-ups during the FBI-run ABSCAM sting operation in which federal agents posing as Arab sheikhs lured unsuspecting Congressmen and Senators into taking bribes before hidden cameras. He was nominated for the Pulitzer by United Features Syndicate for ABSCAM coverage. Badhwar’s role as a top investigative journalist has been immortalized in Jack Anderson’s best selling biography “Peace War and Politics.” During this same period, Badhwar also worked as a top correspondent for ABC-TV’s programme “Jack Anderson Confidential", becoming the first person of Indian origin to appear on American nationwide television. One his most prominent stories-- uncovering a sex racket run by Pentagon contractors--involved sneaking a camera undetected into the Pentagon to obtain the evidence.
In the earlier seventies, Badhwar uncovered Nixon's politicization of the federal bureaucracy under the "Responsiveness Programme" during the Watergate era while serving as associate editor of Washington-based Federal Times (1973-1977). In 1976 he won the coveted National Civil Service League Award for his coverage of the American federal bureaucracy. Before that, he served as Director of Information of the National Citizens Committee for Broadcasting – a famous NGO associated with the legendary founder of the world’s consumer movement – Ralph Nader. Badhwar worked closely with Nader on several assignments. In this capacity, Badhwar helped organise community action groups to monitor deceptive advertising on television, fight against violence on chidren’s TV programming, and to challenge broadcasting licences.
After graduating from Columbia Journalism School, he worked two years with the Twentieth Century Fund in New York -- the world's largest non-profit publishing foundation . Among the books produced and edited were Lester Markel's "Public Opinion" and Adam Yarmolinsky's "Military Industrial Complex." Badhwar returned to his native India after an eventful 20 years in the US where his last professional stint was making an award-nominated documentary film on Rajiv Gandhi – “Rajiv’s India” – in 1986.

Back in India Badhwar became executive editor of India Today, India's most prominent and powerful weekly news magazine where he served 10 years as India churned with formidable social and political convulsions--the revival of the right-wing Hindutva movement; the riots and backlashes; Rajiv Gandhi's assassination; the bloody and savage war between Indian forces and the LTTE in Sri Lanka; the multi-million-dollar Bofors defence contract scandal in which India Today, under Badhwar’s editorship, produced the smoking gun that led the the defeat of the Rajiv Gandhi government; caste riots; terrorism; the coming apart of the peace in Kashmir. In fact, as early as in 1987, when Badhwar was covering Kashmir, he warned in several major articles that the Indian government had allowed elections to be rigged and that the consequence would be the loss of Kashmir and the rise of terrorism.
During his tenure with the India Today Group, Badhwar also served as Executive Producer of TV Today and anchored the popular weekly newsmagazine show NEWSTRACK. He was also anchor of Face The Press on Home TV, and later head of News and Current Affairs launched by Sahara-TV. In 2000 he went as Editor-in-Chief of Media Transasia which produced magazines like SWAGAT and DISCOVER INDIA. He was also founding editor of National Review, a political monthly that came out of the Media Transasia stable.
Badhwar's one-on-one interviews in print and on TV include many of India's Prime Ministers -- Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, V.P. Singh, Chandrashekhar, Deve Gowda.

Additional Information

Badhwar's first Novel "SNIFFING PAPA" was billed as the dark horse of Indian entries in the world of English fiction, mostly because it had been brought out by a smaller publisher--India Reserach Press--who had earlier concentrated on serious academic books such as Noam Chomsky's "Rogue States." But since its launch it has received a blaze of publicity despite the fact that it came out almost simultaneously with David Davidar's "House of Blue Mangos" and Khushwant Singh's autobiography. "SNIFFING PAPA" was released by Naseeruddin Shah, star of "Monsoon Wedding" and India's greatest Shakespearean actor, who during a public reading from the book broke down because he was so moved by a chapter. The Indian Express immediately proclaimed: "Badhwar's debut novel has the literatti buzzing." The Hindu called it, "Joycean and delightful...the making of a best seller." The Asian Age devoted the entire front page of its book section to "SNIFFING PAPA": "Along with his wealth of experience Badhwar has drawn consciously upon his exceptionally powerful imagination and subconsciously on his breadth of reading." Tehelka featured an interview with the author on "Words and the Man." And THE WEEK said: "Those who have read the book call it moving, vivid, funny, ribald, reflective and profound." SUN MAGAZINE: "The character of Papa in Badhwar’s novel is a tremendous creation because it is the affirmation of a social reality of our times." OUTLOOK MAGAZINE: "An evocative novel...that is saying a lot in these sad times when all you want is to cover your face and call the fake-famous names." In 2005, the book's title was changed to "La Chambre Des Parfums" when it was published in French by Le Cherche Midi in Paris and was critically acclaimed by the French Press. Le Monde called it “a grand novel.." The English version was renamed "The Chamber of Perfumes." That year, the book won France's prestigious "Le Prix Literraire" as the best foreign debut novel.This was the same award that went to Salman Rushdie for his novel “Shame” a decade earlier In 2006 the novel was published in Dutch (by Bzztoh)and Portuguese. It is now continuing its literary journey in German. The book was published by Fischer, and the German version, entitled "Der Shikari" was featured as the main fiction attraction at the Fischer pavilion at the October 2006 Frankfurt Book Fair. Spanish publishers bought rights to the book in 2007. The book is available on Amazon as well as other major internet book sites. Non-fiction books authored and edited by Badhwar in 2005-2006 include: "Indira Gandhi--A Living Legacy",(photographs by world-renowned photographer Raghu Rai) published as a coffee table by Timeless Books; "Looking Beyond" -- a collection of essays on corporate and creative management featuring India's major thought leaders(Excel Books); "Superbrands" -- featuring profiles of the leading world corporates doing business out of India; "India Chic" -- a destination travelogue published by Bolding Books. Apart from working on a new novel, Badhwar continues to write occasional columns for leading newspapers and magazines, runs a strategic resource and knowledge centre for Lexicon-PR, and now edits a new monthly magazine “G-Files”, India's only publication that focuses exclusively on governance and the civil services. He is married to Shama and has three children – Arjun, Ayesha and Samira.

Contact Information
media centre
30 National Media Center, 
Gurgaon  110022   india
Contact Author: Inderjit Badhwar

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