Madhu Trehan

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Madhu Trehan
Alma mater Columbia University, New York
Occupation Journalist, writer
Known for Founding editor, India Today (1975)
Notable work(s) Tehelka as Metaphor (2009)
Spouse(s) Naresh Trehan

Madhu Purie Trehan is a veteran Indian journalist and the founding editor of the leading Indian news magazine India Today.


Trehan studied abroad, first at Harrow Technical College & School of Arts in London in 1968, learning journalistic photography, and later at Columbia University in New York, where she earned a master's degree in journalism in 1971.[1] While in New York, she worked at the United Nations in their press department, and served as an editor for a weekly newspaper, India Abroad.[1]

Trehan returned to India in 1975[1] when she founded and started the news magazine India Today, with her father V.V.Purie, owner of Thomson Press.[2][3] Trehan left the magazine to her brother's stewardship in 1977 during her pregnancy, and returned to New York to start her family.[2][4] Upon her return to India in 1986, Trehan produced and anchored Newstrack, India's first video news magazine,[5] which earned her a reputation as a pioneering investigative journalist.[1]

In 2009 Trehan published her first book, Tehelka as Metaphor: Prism Me a Lie, Tell Me a Truth, examining the 2001 Operation West End exposé and its aftermath. Operation West End was an undercover operation conducted by the Tehelka website which exposed "bribing of army officers and senior political leaders in an arms deal". After the scandal broke, the journalists and the website itself became an object of counterattack, and investors in the website were hounded out of business. Trehan's book goes beyond detailing the original scandal to discussing how corruption has become the stock in trade for all levels of Indian society.[4][6][7]

Trehan has written for leading news magazines and newspapers such as Outlook India[8] and Hindustan Times.[9] In 2000 she launched Wah India, a website and print magazine. She, along with three other colleagues, also launched a media critique website called News Laundry in February 2012.[10]


On 25 May 2001 the Delhi High Court ruled 3–2 that Trehan and four other journalists on Wah India were guilty of contempt of court for an article which they published "rating the High Court's Judges in terms of various attributes and qualities". The article purportedly interviewed 50 unnamed senior lawyers to reach its conclusions. In April, the court had ordered Delhi police to seize copies of the offending issue from newsstands and raid the magazine's Delhi office. The court also banned the media from reporting on the case, but withdrew the ban on 2 May in response to media protest. Three days after being found in contempt of court, Trehan and her colleagues apologised to the justices, and their apology was accepted.[11]

Her book 'Prism Me A Lie Tell Me A Truth: Tehelka As Metaphor' courted controversy[12] when a fellow and renowned journalist Karan Thapar[13] down-reviewed her book in the section Sunday sentiments of Hindustan times[14] titled 'Truly sorry, Madhu'. In an unprecedented approach, she replied to the review in the same newspaper by an article 'Who's afraid of Karan Thapar?'[15] describing the review as personal and motivated. Their rivalry continued on Trehan's show 'Can you take it',[16] where she lambasted Thapar for his antagonistic style of interview.


Trehan is married to Indian heart surgeon Naresh Trehan.[17] Aroon Purie founder-publisher and editor-in-chief of India Today is her brother and Koel Purie is her niece.



  1. ^ a b c d "Jury". Light of India Awards. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Bhandare, Namita (21 May 2011). "70's: The decade of innocence". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Kaminsky, Arnold P.; Long, Roger D. (2011). India Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Republic. ABC-CLIO. p. 347. ISBN 0313374627. 
  4. ^ a b "Tehelka trail". The Tribune. 21 April 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Nanda, Har Parshad (1992). The Days of My Years. Viking. p. 212. 
  6. ^ Banerjee, Sudeshna (2009). "When corruption is a daily habit". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Tripathi, Amrita (19 January 2009). "Madhu Trehan's new book on Operation West-end". IBN. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "Madhu Trehan". Outlook India. 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  9. ^ Trehan, Madhu (1 March 2009). "Who's afraid of Karan Thapar?". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Author, journalist Madhu Trehan and three other colleagues launch". India Digital Review. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  11. ^ Venkatesan, V (17–20 July 2001). "Contempt and Punishment: The Delhi High Court's verdict in the case against wah india and the magazine's response to it raise questions about the way the judiciary deals with contempt of court charges in general". Frontline 18 (14). 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Karan Thapar
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Ace of hearts: Dr Naresh Trehan". Harmony India. 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 

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