Tehelka, Leave alone Indian rock!  

Posted by Praveen in , , ,

Tehelka. One magazine that was 'different' from all the others in the Indian market. They spoke truth. They were fearless. They wrote with conviction. Their long well researched articles were a treat to read. They exposed atrocities which few others dared to talk about. They lived up to their slogan of being 'free, fair and fearless'. But, a small mistake in the structure can take down a big castle. And thats exactly what is happening to Tehelka. In the issue dated April 17th, they decided to carry a so called expose on the media's hysterical coverage of the Indian rock scene. Inder Sidhu writes a supposedly path breaking article on how the whole Indian rock scene is a sham and says that everyone is desperately trying to sell a scene that does not even exist.

The introductory lines tell us how 'well researched' the article is. Leave alone 'well researched', I doubt if he ever consulted anything other than his 9th standard geography text book while writing this classic piece. Spiced up with quotes from unheard of bands crying loud on how the Indian scene will never take off, the writer goes on to throw mud on the face of every Indian rocker and rock journalist. Starting with the most outrageous of comments where he says thus about the one and only Indian ocean- "That one of the most original bands in the country has been working within the same musical framework for 30 years is, frankly, shocking." This one sentence shows the thorough lack of knowledge of this 'journalist'. This is like saying Zakir Hussain been playing tabla all his life and never tried anything else. Only an unbelievably naive person can make such a stupid comment. And to say this about one of India's widely respected band which has given us some timeless music, takes much more than the presence of duplicate rubber balls inside one's pants and elephant dung inside one's brains.

"The vocabulary and context for rock criticism does not exist in India"-Thats another main point of the article. And this from a man who has mentioned the Rock Street Journal in the same article. I wonder if has ever read one issue of this magazine or visited any of the 100s of blogs providing in depth analysis on new releases and on the concerts happening around. He says this 'shoddy coverage' is a reflection of the shoddy music. This is exactly where the lack of research shines the most. He must've got his hands on a bootleg CD by some startup college rock band and wrote a whole article thinking that this is what Indian rock is all about. He talks about the lack of depth in lyrics and amateurishness in music, all the while keeping bollywood as a reference for the perfection of all this. He says that the homegrown rock lacks character compared to its original roots in the American 'protest music'. He paints the Indian rock musician as an upper middle class junkie, smoking weed and bankrolled by indulgent parents. Mr. Inder, if you can hear sounds with your seemingly non existent ears, do check out a band called motherjane, one of India's top most bands. Their lyrics have more depth than any music you ever heard till now, their music is truely Indian and truely international at the same time and they are all middle class Indians who stays away from weed and the like. There are many more examples like that including Junkyard groove, Indian Ocean, TAAQ and many more. And these are the guys who rule the scene, the same scene which you says 'does not exist'.

Next comes another blunder. Inder says Indian rock is concentrated in 'A-grade metros' like Delhi and Mumbai. The writer seems to be blind to Bangalore, the rock capital of India. There's only a passing mention of the north eastern states, where rock is there in every home and Bob Dylan is seen in as high esteem as Sachin Tendulkar. And while writing this article sitting in his a/c room in one of those A-grade metros, Inder seems to have also missed the rising rock revolution in small cities like Trivandrum, cochin, manipal etc. The young bands coming out of these places are so utterly creative and will surely carry the torch of Indian rock music forward. With this one article, you have mocked at all the hard work that these bands put to do what they like. You have mocked at the undying spirit and passion of an ever growing fan base. You have mocked at metal gods like iron maiden who have acknowledged the might of the Indian fan base. Just think about it, are these guys that foolish to come to our country 3 times in 2 years if we don't have a big enough fan base. And its not metal oldies alone who are flocking to our country. We had the progressive sensations 'opeth' and 'porcupine tree' coming down here last year. And this year will see one of the bands that defined this past decade in metal, 'Lamb of god' performing in Bangalore. I do wonder if you have ever heard of these names considering your knowledge in rock doesnt go beyond that stupid 'rock on' reality show in MTV.

A humble request to the media- Its ok if you don't cover Indian rock music. This movement has grown even without an iota of support from the mainstream media. And now that you've realised that this has grown much more than you ever thought it will, you are puncing on it so that you can also get a share on the big pie. Yes, even bashing can make the cash registers ring. Rather than writing such mis informed articles, you could spare us and let us live our own way. We were doing fine without you. And we will continue to be fine without you. And just like the title of your article screams-"Don't believe everything you hear". I'll think twice before I believe what 'fools without conviction' blurt out in the name of 'feature on Indian rock music scene'. You and your ilk of half baked heads may get orgasms over your careful wordplay deriding something mighty. But we just don't give a fuck for it. And it can't be said better than what was said by Thermal And A Quarter in that open letter to tehelka with that awesome quote from their own cult song 'Paper puli'- “Rock journalism is people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read.” PS- Wrote this because I was saddened at this shoddy journalism on the part of one magazine which I care for. If it was any of those trashy yellow mags, I wouldn't have cared a bit. We expect much better from tehelka. Hope they don't carry such crap in the future and live up to their old name. And, I won't stop my subscription just because you let one idiot into your pages!

Recommended reading for Inder Sidhu-Ten commandments of Rock journalism. Am sure you'll get a 0/10.

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Friday, April 16, 2010 at Friday, April 16, 2010 and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


I was laughing for a few minutes after reading that article few days back. Dude must have been given an assignment by his boss to do some side writing since Indian Ocean's movie got traction.

"That one of the most original bands in the country has been working within the same musical framework for 30 years is, frankly, shocking." - this probably takes the cake. I would be really surprised if he could name one musician who worked beyond his/her "musical framework".

9:32 AM

How stupid can some so called journals be!

11:45 AM

Great Article. Telheka are idiots.

5:30 PM

hehehe...that must be the case...he must've been forced to do this :P

this stupid!! :D

not the whole tehelka man...its a good mag. only such one off articles taint its name

9:15 PM

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I've been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!

Christian, iwspo.net

10:26 PM

hahahahahha nice 1

2:28 PM

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