Leading investigative journalist wins India’s “Booker Prize”
By Matters India Reporter
Mumbai: Josy Joseph, a leading investigative journalist, was among the winners of this year’s Crossword Book Awards, an Indian version of international literary wards.
The Crossword Book Awards are considered as the Indian version of the Man Booker Prize and Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. It is currently in its 15th edition.
This year the winners of both jury and popular choice awards for 10 categories were announced on January 18 at the Royal Opera House in Mumbai.
Other awardees included playwright Sujit Saraf, Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar, and Indian yogi and mystic Sadhguru.
Joseph, currently the National Security Editor with The Hindu newspaper, won the jury award in the Non-Fiction category for “A Feast of Vultures,” an investigative book about the collusion between politicians, bureaucrats and corporate India.
The book is “about the truth about our nation,” the jury said while announcing the prize. “It confirms what we already suspect and shocks us further by unraveling the workings of the Indian system.”
Johar won the popular choice award for his book An Unsuitable Boy, written with Poonam Saxena, while Sadhguru won in both the health and fitness and non-fiction categories.
The jury chose Sujit Saraf’s novel about the Marwari experience Harilal and Sons as the best fiction title for its “smooth and unhurried narrative”, “vivid and credible” characters. They called it “the Marwari novel in English that everybody was waiting for.”
The award for the evening for lifetime achievement was given to Sudha Murthy, a Padma Shri-winning writer who has authored 28 books that have sold over 400,000 copies. “This is something independent of Infosys and Narayan Murthy, my own writing,” she said while accepting the award.
Other popular choice awardees were Durjoy Datta for Our Impossible Love (fiction), Shantanu Guha Ray for The Target (Business and management), Isha Foundation for A Taste of Well-Being (Health and fitness) Archita Mishra for The Storm Bringer (Children’s writing)
Jury awardees included Anita Nair for Muezza and Baby Jaan (Children’s writing) and Fathima EV for (Translations). She translated Subash Chandran’s A Preface to Man from Malayalam into English.
The winners in jury award category are given 300,000 rupees and those in the popular choice category 100,000 rupees.
Joseph’s book clinically examines and irrefutably documents the crisis gripping India, the world’s largest democracy. Through a detailed investigation, Josy reveals how evidence exists that some of the most successful of India’s new generation entrepreneurs have thrived through bribes, manipulation, and possibly even murder.
Joseph also writes about the real beneficiaries of this corrupt and crumbling system. Many of India’s elite are lawmakers and lawbreakers – who use their financial and political clout to steer policymaking and legislation to benefit their business empires – and keep competitors at bay.
Joseph, who will turn 44 on May 6, was previously Editor-Special Projects for the Times of India and an Associate Editor with the DNA newspaper. He began his journalism career with Mid-Day. He has also worked with Rediff.com, The Asian Age, Mid Day and the Blitz.
Joseph’s stories have triggered greater public debate and have contributed to significant policy and systemic changes. His reporting has resulted in several high-profile officials being forced out of office, triggering the arrest of many others as well as federal criminal and military investigations.
His high-profile investigations have included the Mumbai Adarsh Housing scam and the many misdeeds in the run-up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, both of which contributed significantly to the anti-corruption movement of recent times.
His articles have featured in many publications both in India and internationally.
Born in Karondukadavil family in Kerala’s Cherthala, Joseph completed his schooling from the Sainik School, Kazhakootam in 1991. He graduated from NSS College, Cherthala, under the University of Kerala, and Masters in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, United States.
He was also a fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Singapore, and is an alumnus of the Colombo-based Regional Centre for Strategic Studies.
He is married to Priya Solomon, a journalist-entrepreneur, and their daughter is Supriya Ann Joseph.