Boria’s journalism carries the DNA of getting up, close and personal with people and not bowing under pressure.

Left: Boria Majumdar, Right: Jayanta Ghosal

-Jayanta Ghosal

Mr Boria Majumdar is much younger than me. I am 61, Boria is 48. But he had to face the wrath of an established cricketer for allegedly ‘attacking’ him with a series of messages. So far the script seems simple. Many of us who ply their trade as journalists have had such an unpleasant experience. But then what happened in Boria’s life, I don’t know how many of us faced that. 

Boria faced ugly social media trolling that looked planned. Even his parents were dragged through the mire. He became a victim of ugly politics in the cricket world. The BCCI banned him for two years in 2022 for allegedly “bullying” a national team cricketer. His livelihood, journalism, was taken away from him. 

Again, Boria is 48 and I am 61. But I didn’t know fully (before reading his book) how much bitterness he had to face. Mental health, anyone! Boria is a good orator and a writer. So he wrote a book to tell his side of the story, what he had gone through. 

Boria has always been a good student. He studied history at Presidency College. He is a Rhodes Scholar, from Oxford University, and a DPhil in the social history of Indian cricket. He is true-blue north Kolkatan, who comes from a reputed family. He has a doctorate in sports history. The history of Indian cricket was his area of research.
Boria is the co-author of Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography. I know him but I do not claim to be close to him. Besides, I am also an outsider in the sports world. But his presentation and the intensity of enthusiasm attracted me. He is always trying to innovate something. 

Image: Joy Sengupta

He fought tooth and nail and recorded it in his newly-published book, Banned: A Social Media Trial. I get to know that the title was suggested by Arinjoy Bose, the young leader of the Pratidin newspaper group. Boria’s journalism carries the DNA of getting up, close and personal with people and not bowing under pressure. This will inspire the next generation reporters. 

I have been into political reporting for 40 years. And yet, after reading every chapter of the book, I felt that I couldn’t have shown such courage in that situation. I would have cracked. I probably would have gone into withdrawal mode. Boria documents the support of Sachin, Sourav (Ganguly), Srinjoy Bose and Sanjiv Goenka; how they stood by him when the going got tough. Sanjiv is always supportive of newspersons. He has foresight. 

One of the important chapters of the book is ‘Guilty Till Proven Innocent: How the Issue Unfolded.’ Then there are ‘The Cricketer and Me’ and ‘Media Matters’. At the end, in the ‘Vindication of Faith’ chapter, Boria wrote about his hurt, the ban on him as India hosted a World Cup in 2023. Sourav’s interview in this chapter is very interesting. It speaks volumes for Sourav as a person as well. 

It’s a matter of pride that the publisher of the book is Simon & Schuster. But I must mention how Boria wrote about his wife Sharmistha Gooptu, without whom he wouldn’t have gotten over that painful period. I don’t know Sharmistha personally, but I read a fantastic novel written by her and got a glimpse of her inner mind. 

I wasn’t invited to the book launch. I bought the book for Rs 699 from the Oxford Bookstore in Park Street. Read it and gave here an unfettered account of what I felt. The 205-page book is a not only a good read, it presents a moving documentary of courage and sorrow that can be played on OTT platforms.

(The writer is an eminent columnist and a political commentator)

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