The wife was saying this morning: "Why is it that Mr. Girilal Jain, who has been writing so much against Mr. Rajiv Gandhi in the Times of India, not in trouble, and Mr. Vasanth Sathe, who wrote only three articles, in trouble?"
"Mr. Girilal jain is editor, he can write what he likes Mr. Sathe is a minister, he is supposed to make speeches, not write articles," I said.
"I do not understand," the wife said. "Mr. Jain also makes speeches, but that does not stop him from writing, but if Mr. Sathe does a little writing, he is in troble."
"Mr. Jain does not make speeches," I said, "unless you are referring to that small lecture that he gave in Aurangabad some time back for some Marathi journalists. That does not count. It is Mr. Sathe who makes all the big speeches, on fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, etc. But he cannot write articles."
"You journalists think only you can write articles," the wife said. Mr. Sathe can write very good articles, otherwise The Times of India would not have used them on its front page."
"I am not saying Mr. Sathe does not write nice articles, in fact, he must be writing very good articles," I said. "What I am saying is that Mr. Sathe cannot write articles because he is minister, that is all."
"You say he cannot write articles, I do not say so, even Mr. Girilal Jain does not say so, otherwise he would not have invited him to write articles in his paper," the wife said.
"I do know whether it was Mr. Girilal Jain or Mr. Arun Shourie who invited him to write," I said, "but that is another matter. What I am trying to impress on you is the point that ministers, any ministers and especially Congress-I ministers, are by tradition and their party's discipline, not supposed to write articles in newspapers. For that matter, they are not supposed to even write letters to Mr. Gandhi and then leak them out to the press."
"You are not being very fair to Mr. Sathe, shame on you," said the wife.
"I am being unfair! How am I being unfair!" I said. "I am telling you I have got nothing to do with Mr. Sathe's writing or not writing. For all I care, he can write the whole of The Times of India, every day, for one year. Only, if he gets into trouble, he should not come to me."
"Which minister has ever come to you because he has been in trouble," the wife said. "Not even Mr. Antulay, he has not come to you."
"I am not saying anybody has come to me," I said. "And, please, if Mr. Sathe wants to write. I even promise to read all the articles, even though I did not read the first three."