A LETTER TO THE EDITOR:FROM: Amaresh Misra TO: Mr. Arun Poorie, Editor-in-Chief, India Today

April 17, 2008
TO: Mr. Arun Poorie, Editor-in-Chief, India Today
FROM: Amaresh Misra
(Circulated with author’s permission)





  Mr. Arun Poorie


  India Today



  Dear Mr. Arun Poorie,


 Hope you are fine. I am   writing to you as the author of `War of Civilisations: India 1857 AD’,  the 2,000 page, two volume book, published by Rupa in January 2008.


Despite Mr. Mehra the publisher, sending two sets of copies to Mr.Prasannarajan in India Today, the magazine has till date ignored the book. I spoke to Mr. Prasannarajan and he was gracious enough to say that `we will do something’. This for a book on the launch of which (7th March 2008) Mr. Hamid Ansari, the Vice-President of India said   that this `work will define the way Indians look at themselves’.


Clearly just `doing something’ is not enough–the book details how the British killed 10 million Indians during the 1857 wars. This was the world’s first holocaust, bigger than the one perpetrated by Hitler on Jews. 7% Indians lost their lives. The proportionate percentage is higher than Second World War in which 2.5% of the world’s population was killed. It should have made for a cover Story. But of course, why should you be bothered about OBC, Dalit, Muslim and other poor upper caste peasant Indians getting killed and wiped out from the pages of history.. Time for some plain talk–do you think you are above the nation? India Today exists because of India; India does not exist because of India Today. Mine is the only comprehensive, detailed work written by an Indian on 1857 to have appeared during the 150th year of the event. It is comparable in scale and size to the 19th century British grand historical narratives.


You pseudo-intellectuals of Delhi think that you live in an `English speaking’ cocoon of yours; you look down upon `vernacular’ Hindi and Urdu journalism; you insult Hindi and Urdu writers and journalists.


You guys give William Dalrymple type works a fawning coverage–why? Only because they are written by white skins–am I being ostracized in free India  because of the dark color of my skin? Despite your arrogance and ignorance, you must have seen reviews of my book in Indian Express, The Hindu and other newspapers and magazines. The Indian Express review, done by an eminent economist like Bibek Debroy, called the book `near seminal’. An article on my book has appeared in the London Guardian; yet it has not in India Today.


You metro-intellectuals seem anti-1857 because it represents a brand of peasant-small town nationalism, which got us freedom but which you all resent as it goes against the `Shining India’, pseudo-corporate image you are trying to build through your magazine. All your cushy dealings with foreign capital stand threatened; I accuse you of plotting against the book at the instruction of the British and the  American embassy and the RSS, which has a fair amount of representation in your magazine, courtesy Prabhu Chawla. The entire media world is aware of the `back-hand’ influence exercised by Prabhu Chawla in India Today; Mr. Poorie you, a liberal, carry a fascist in your pocket–are you not ashamed? You should watch Bertolucci’s `1900′, the seminal Italian film on fascism. Prabhu Chawla has tried ruining the lives of several talented journalists, the one case in point being that of Zafar Agha, the English/Urdu writer whom you used and then dumped on RSS’ instructions. Chawla is under the scanner; he is an uncouth, illiterate/shady man. I have evidence that the British Government plotted against India celebrating the 100 years of 1857 in 1957; it would come as no surprise that they did something similar along with their American allies in 2007-08.


But even the RSS was gracious enough to publish a review of the book in `Organizer’, their mouthpiece. But you of course have no interest in any national aspect. I am writing to you as a citizen of India–it is my right to demand an explanation for the treatment meted out to my book. My earlier works on Lucknow and Mangal Pandey, which were nothing in scale compared to the 1857 book, were reviewed in your magazine by writers like  Iqbal Masud and Chandan Mitra.


An OBC-Dalit-peasant/nationalist backlash is building against you all; you want to erode India’s sovereignty and take the country back to East India Company days when a corporate power ruled India. Remember peasant sepoys of UP and Bihar ended the western dream of creating and sustaining the world’s first corporate state.


Mend your ways or face the music. It is as simple as that.





  Amaresh Misra



  Aishwarya Building,

  SVP Nagar


  Near Versova Telephone Exchange

  Andheri (west)






  Amaresh Misra