Inder Malhotra (1930-2016)


Inder Malhotra was a no-nonsense journalist with a rare lack of self-importance that so many media stalwarts assume. I got to know him in 1978 when I took over as India correspondent for the Guardian which he had to give up after becoming editor of the Times of India, Delhi. He was my senior by more than 20 years and one of the best known journalists in the country but insisted on a matey backslapping relationship with a young maverick like me. I think he quite liked and supported the surprise decision by the then Guardian South Asia bureau chief Simon Winchester to offer the much sought-after India string to a 25-year-old over the claims of far more senior contenders.

He himself leapfrogged in his 20s to covering national politics at a time when veteran journalists ruled the roost. Inder’s phenomenal people skills helped him cultivate important political figures and key bureaucrats as prized sources who provided both information and insights about the corridors of power. Many of them regarded him as a personal friend. The most notable of these was Feroze Gandhi, son-in-law of the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

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