Question Time for Quizmaster O’Brien: And Will You Walk Off In a Huff?

Derek O'Brien

Why is the affable Derek O'Brien on Bournvita Quiz show so different from when he is on news channels defending his boss?

I was watching the theatrics following the Railway Budget on Wednesday with my eight-your-old when Derek O’Brien appeared on screen. Junior, grown up idolising O’Brien (his feelings cemented when he found the GK books prescribed in his school written by India’s foremost quizmaster), was a bit taken aback as his hero left midway through a news show in a huff.

For the 10 or 15 minutes he was on the show, O’Brien showed temper at being asked presumably uncomfortable questions and tried to defend his party boss, Mamata Banerjee, with all might and vigour. And when that attempt appeared feeble, he took off his earpiece and walked out. Not the best reaction for children who know him as the affable quizmaster, which he is.

Tomorrow the kiddo may forget about the incident; his little brain has better things to think about than the ugly political drama that has been unfolding in Bengal and now in the Capital. He may again become a starry-eyed eight-year-old fan dreaming of taking part in the famous quiz show some day.

But the world is not made up of eight-year-olds, Mr O’Brien. So stop sulking like an eight-year-old and start taking some questions, as we would expect from India’s best quizmaster.

Have you begun to wonder about the quagmire you are stuck in? Haven’t you for a moment felt like the Sumans, Dinesh Trivedis and Maheshweta Devis of the Trinamool Congress — a feeling that you want to be set free?

Have you ever thought this is just a precursor of things to come? Don’t you ever think of that famous quote by Abrham Lincoln: you may fool all the people some of the time; you can fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time?

Didn’t you think of this before doing those runs and re-runs of the “maa, maati maanush” and “DNA of the party” nonsense at every news channel in support of your party’s outrageous decision on the Railway Budget on Wednesday? Have you ever watched the videos of your those interviews, Mr O’Brien? Or the fact that you looked and sounded ridiculous on them? Even the one on Times Now on the Assembly election results day on March 6 — when you came on TV after a long, long time? Don’t you think you sounded so absurd when the first lines you uttered were “I have come here to speak on TMC’s performance in Manipur and not about anything else”?

What did you think, Mr O’Brien? That if your silence (or was it a boycott of the media?) will not allow people to know about what is happening in West Bengal? That if you don’t speak on your unpredictable, volatile, image-conscious leader, people will not believe what they have witnessed for months? That they can’t see Mamata Banerjee has no respect for the sanctity of the office of the chief minister, the Budget session or even the dignity of women? That people are idiots and continue buying that maa, maati, maanush claptrap?

Derek O'Brien

Where was the country's greatest quizmaster hiding when the questions were unanswerable?

Why did you come back to the TV shows, Mr O’Brien? Where was the country’s greatest quizmaster hiding when the questions were unanswerable? Why didn’t we see you when Mamata Banerjee kept uttering unspeakables about the wronged, violated women in West Bengal? Where were you when Trinamool goons murdered leaders from your opposition party in daylight? Where were you, Mr O’Brien, when the Calcutta High Court pulled up your government for its failure to follow up those murder cases and decided to monitor the probe since it couldn’t trust the state machinery? Where were you when two upright cops were pulled up openly in the Writers’ Building in Kolkata for doing their duty — solving a rape case? Where were you when babies were dying in hospitals and your leader gave outrageous statements, like they were conceived during the CPM rule?

What do you have to say to all that?

Why is entire Kolkata being painted blue when the state is supposedly bankrupt? Where is the money coming from? Don’t you think it is a shameful waste of public money? And if there is money for beautification why aren’t state government employees being paid their salaries, Mr O’Brien?

Why didn’t we see you when some of our fellow journalists were beaten up, again in daylight, and your CM called it staged? Why then did your police accept by evening that some journalists were indeed beaten up that day? Don’t you think Mamata Banerjee should have apologised for calling it staged?

Why did you take so much offence yesterday, Mr O’Brien, when Arnab Goswami on Times Now opened his questions to you with the word “orchestrated”? If Mamata Banerjee can use the same word against others, why can’t that word be used on her? Do you think only your party and your leader have the right to feel offended?

Why didn’t your party and your leader sack Dinesh Trivedi before he presented the Railway Budget? How can Ms Banerjee demand for a minister to be sacked and replaced by another from her party? Isn’t that the Prime Minister’s prerogative? What does all your knowledge of the Indian Constitution and our political set-up tell you, Mr O’Brien?

Why doesn’t your party quit the UPA if you don’t like what they are doing at the Centre? Why do you continue being part of it, now that Congress has delivered West Bengal to Mamata Banerjee on a platter? Is it to enjoy the spoils of power?

Mukul Roy, Trinamul Congress leader.

Mukul Roy, as the Minister of State for Railways, didn't have the decency to visit victims of the twin train accidents in Assam last year.

Did you know, Mr O’Brien, that the maximum number of railway accidents took place when Mamata Banerjee was the Railways Minister? That the number was a staggering 15 in 13 months? Why was she absent from her office in New Delhi all that time? What was she doing in Bengal all the while? Why do you think a Union minister needs to spend all her time in her native state? Why then keep an important portfolio with her? If your party and your leader care so much for the common man why should we pay with our lives while she was busy building her political future?

Did you know Mukul Roy, as the Minister of State for Railways, didn’t have the decency to visit victims of the twin train accidents in Assam last year? Did you know around 50 people were killed and 200 injured in those accidents? Why do you think, Mr O’Brien, the country deserves such a man as railways minister once again? Why do you think such a man should be elevated in the first place, when he doesn’t take his current responsibility as the MoS Shipping seriously? Why is he always seen shadowing Mamata Banerjee when he should be sitting in Delhi?

Will you take any of these questions Mr O’Brien? How long will you answer only what suits you and dodge the rest? Have you ever thought that all your life cannot be TV channel shows, where you can throw back the earpiece and walk out whenever the questions get uncomfortable?

Don’t you think after the farce that your party reduced our entire parliamentary system to on Wednesday, to borrow the pet phrase of Arnab Goswami, as you yourself said sarcastically on the show last night, the nation wants an answer from you, Quizmaster Derek O’Brien?

Images courtesy: Screen grabs of derek.in and Bournvita Quiz Contest.
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About Mom-Lady

Anusuya likes to think of herself as the Mom-Lady, the one with a "mind scrambling eyeball ray" that forces the victim, as Calvin in his Stupendous Man avatar puts it, "to do her nefarious bidding". Or she wishes she had. For, 36 hours a day she is busy raising a devil of a child who is the flesh and blood version of Bill Waterson’s creation. Rest of the time she dabbles in the boring world of markets and finances to earn her bread and butter.
22 comments
Nilanjan
Nilanjan

Never did i once say that there's anything indecent written in the blog above. One should also take the entire view of all the comments that are coming up in response to it. What i actually meant by the use of ''indecent'' language  was this : ''You may have been swooned over by his charm, but in quizzing fraternity he is known as a s.o.b.'' If u still haven't figured it out, i humbly request u to go through the comment thread below.

Anusuya Datta
Anusuya Datta moderator

@Nilanjan and Binita -- lets accept that Derek didn't walk out of the show. Let's accept that he indeed had 60 seconds. Let;'s accept that Arnab Goswami hears what he want to hear and makes us hear that too. That still doesn't absolve Derek of not answering the right questions. Or absolve supporters like you. How does it matter whether Derek indeed walked out of a certain show? The point of the article is Derek -- and all supporters of Mamata -- have been hiding every time when the questions got uncomfortable. Why don't you guys answer some of the questions mentioned in the article instead arguing on something as insignificant a point as walking out of the show? Indecent words were used by Mamata banerjee against certain rape victims, against the parents of some dead children, against farmers committing suicide, against a 24-year-old journalist who was beaten to pulp by your TMC goons in open broad day light on Kolkata streets. That is what is called indecent language. Not what is written above. Get rid of this siege mentality, Didi supporters. Criticising your party and your Didi does not amount to using indecent language. There is a fundamental difference between insult and criticism -- learn the nuances of the language first and then let's talk. Meanwhile, try answering some of the questions asked in the article. 

Nilanjan
Nilanjan

I wonder where decency's gone? Before making such strong statements against somebody one should not forget that this sort of indecent language on an open forum is absolutely unacceptable. Secondly, its crystal clear from the program that Derek did not escape, he had a prior  appointment at some other place. The first thing he told before saying any further was that he had only 60 seconds in his hand for the program. So i wonder how can he be accused of shying away from questions.If one has the right to speak, one also has the right to reticence. However, such rights as these are alien concepts to an Arnab Goswami who chooses to hear exactly that which he wants to hear!

Binita
Binita

To begin with, the very core of this moot article is baseless and rather questionable. To state that Mr. Derek O'Brien dodged questions and "walked off in a huff" is factually incorrect, and if anything, proves that this article has been drafted by a patient of selective blindness. For someone who claims to have watched the Times Now program in mention, Mom-Lady (as she prefers to call herself) sure missed a major portion of the discussion - and (wait, this is the hilarious part) decides to base her article on THAT very portion. When Mr. Derek O'Brien more than enthusiastically opted to answer Arnab's question, he clearly stated that he had to excuse himself within the minute, owing to a tight schedule. Now, it is all very poetic and convenient to shoot off false allegations that he threw back the earpiece and walked out when the questions got uncomfortable, however nothing is further removed from the truth. I humbly suggest that this Mom-Lady do her requisite homework before conducting such public embarrassments of self as this. So here goes, dear Mom-Lady http://youtu.be/pBS0w9ndFAk ... Don't be shy, have a gander!

Sonali
Sonali

Reminded me too of Derek as a fantastic quizmaster but never thought this master will turn into a politician and shy away from questions like this....

Sottto voce
Sottto voce

Madam, I read your article with more than a passing interest. Having known Derek O'brien for nearly 20 years now, I am not at all surprised that he is sticking to his party supremo Ms Mamta Banerjee. In fact, Derek is a shrewd business man. He had invested huge amounts in TMC to ensure his ticket to RS. In fact, the amounts he had spent on Jago Bangla, TMC mouthpiece was astronomical. His calculation was that TMC was coming to power in 2006, went awry. He was thoroughly disillusioned. In fact, his decision to join hands with TMC was not liked in his family, a well known Christian family of the city. However, he stayed invested. Now he is reaping the returns with a RS berth. I am convinced that he has been busy gathering the amount invested. You may have been swooned over by his charm, but in quizzing fraternity he is known as a s.o.b.Very few people really like him. No wonder, he fled from the interview, I ws also watching the show, I had stitches in my sides seeing him flee. That's typical Derek, yellow inside...

TamalRoy
TamalRoy

From my home to office and vice versa -it is a common train route.... most of the passengers are common ,and hawkers too. One dada sells handkerchief - today he quotes ' notun montri , notun rumal' !

Unfortunately our IAS officers have to work directly under the worst politicians (not all). But it is surprising that qualified persons who have their self distinguishing identity, like Mr. Derek ,shamelessly support those freckle minded ,uncultured , ill-tempered politicians ! And defend their illegitimate activities.

What a joke. Our ill-fated country.

Manan Mitra
Manan Mitra

Howzzit seems to be having an uncanny knack of throwing question to Derek which causes severe discomfiture to the poor fellow. But its also quite amusing to see a Quiz Master being quizzed & bowled.

Anusuya Datta
Anusuya Datta moderator

I loved Derek. In fact it was my kind-of hero worship that junior has inherited. I was so heartbroken when he joined TMC. But then a host of others also did... like Mahashweta Devi or Suman, Amit Mitra -- given the anger, disenchantment against the Left. What makes it worse in case of Derek is he stays on, he makes it look as if he cares passionately for the cause, he defends the indefensible... just like the Diggy Rajas of this world! why then Derek, and why not Digvijay Singhs :)

 

Kausik
Kausik

"Don't speak you loser! The common man has already rejected you!" One TMC MP shouted at a CPM person at a talk show. The arrogance of their leader is now showing on each and every member. This attitude has become their party badge. But Derek. I loved you. I never thought I will see You here. 

Why only Derek, Joy Goswami, I thought I would touch your feet if I ever meet you in person. But now.. please excuse me Sir....

madcap_loon
madcap_loon moderator

 @Nilanjan In that case you should be more clear, and reply to the correct person by starting a new thread in this commenting application (there's a reply button). The content matter and copyright of what's been said in a commenting system belongs to the person who commented -- not howzzit. This is the norm for websites around the globe.

Anusuya Datta
Anusuya Datta moderator

 @Nilanjan That's better! But a writer is not responsible for the comments coming in. It's a free country -- for people to comment, just as it is free country for Mamata Banerjee and her partymen to throw their tantrums and use unpardonable language against people... can't really help, can we? But still that doesn't answer my questions to Derek :)

madcap_loon
madcap_loon moderator

 @Nilanjan Dude, Nilanjan, check the upload time/date of the video which is posted by Derek himself, and check the reference to another show in this blog. Don't be such blind nooby followers. And unless you and Binita come from some other planet, there is no "indecent language" used in the blog above.

Anusuya Datta
Anusuya Datta moderator

 @Binita my article is not based on THAtT very portion. If your English is any better than your beloved Didi's, you'd surely see the article is purely based on some questions to Derek -- which he and no one from the TMC -- wants to answer. I have also clearly mentioned that "the 10-15 minutes he was on the show..." he threw a temper at being asked uncomfortable questions. But that is if you guys care to read full things. Instead of jumping into defend Mamata and her antics like blind supporters!!

madcap_loon
madcap_loon moderator

 @Binita  You linked to a YouTube video that was "Uploaded by quizderek on 11 Mar 2012", while this one talks about a show aired on March 14, 2012. Get your facts right, first, before coming to defend your beloved (Mr.) Derek O'Brien.

Binita
Binita

 @Anusuya Datta 

 

Clearly, your comprehension of the language used in the discussion is warped - to put it mildly, because what was in fact reaction to Arnab's accusations of "get your facts right", when he had not stated any facts as of yet, you choose to conveniently term "temper". Drama, much?!

Binita
Binita

 @madcap_loon 

 

Dear madcap_loon, while your providing facts that the parent article failed at doing is appreciated, these video links provided by you only make the allegations of the article weaker, and the points I have already made stronger!

Anusuya Datta
Anusuya Datta moderator

 @Binita We are not talking about Arnab, are we? We are talking about some questions I have asked Derek. He is a public personality and I have every right to ask him questions. So either he answers, which he wont, or his supporters like you guys do. Which you guys also wont. So let's stop walking the talk here. Coz as I said if your understanding of the English language is any better than your DIdi's, you would have got it that my writeup was based on the facts Derek and TMC Inc had been avoiding. It had nothing to do with Arnab or Times Now.  So answer some of the questions and then let's talk.

madcap_loon
madcap_loon moderator

 @Anusuya Datta  I wonder why their dear old Derek so proudly posted the link of his participation on the UP election results panel, and not the rail budget one. :-)  

madcap_loon
madcap_loon moderator

 @Binita Oh wow! You actually made some "points" in there? My pea brain must have missed it as usual. Geez... get a life.

Anusuya Datta
Anusuya Datta moderator

 @Binita  @madcap_loon Pray which point Binita? what about the points I have raised below and above? Why do you Didi supporters always avoid uncomfortable questions? Become a habit, isn't it? :)

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