Entertainment News

Rajesh and Nupur Talwar on being exonerated in the Aarushi-Hemraj murders: ‘A great miracle’

In their first interview since they were released in mid-October, the couple speaks about life inside prison and outside it.

The streaming app Hotstar has scored an exclusive interview with Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, who were acquitted after spending four years in prison for the murders of their 13-year-old daughter Aarushi and their domestic worker Hemraj Banjade in 2008. The Allahabad High Court observed in its order that the Central Bureau of Investigation, which took over the case from the local police, had “failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Talwars are guilty”, and that “The Talwars did not kill their daughter Aarushi...They must be given benefit of doubt.”

In the interview, the Talwars described their acquittal as a “miracle” and a “very emotional moment”. They learnt of their eventual freedom from other inmates at the Dasna prison, where they had been lodged since 2013. “It was like a load had been lifted off my back,” Rajesh Talwar said. “Our stand had been vindicated... (But) That’s one tragedy we will never be able to put behind us.”

Nupur Talwar added, “I found the whole thing to be unbelievable. I felt a great miracle had happened.”

Acres of newsprint have been expounded on the double murders, which took place on May 15, 2008, at the Talwar apartment in Noida near Delhi. Journalist Avirook Sen produced a non-fiction account, Aarushi, based on the investigation and the trial, while Meghna Gulzar’s movie Talvar (2015), also revisited what was widely believed to be a travesty of justice.


The Talwars address several issues during the interview – of coping with imprisonment, trying to pick up the pieces and start all over again, and dedicating the rest of their lives not just to the memory of their dead daughter, but also others like her. Nupur Talwar speaks movingly of developing a bond with a young girl who was housed along with her mother at Dasna. “Four years I survived in jail because of this girl,” she said.

The Talwars describe the first two years of their incarceration as particularly hellish, but their agony was somewhat mitigated by the sympathy they received from other inmates at Dasna. An unnamed friend counselled them through the years, while the couple, both dentists, also drew succour from the permission they received from prison authorities to practise their profession within the confines of the jail.

A trip to the Golden Temple in Amritsar after they were set free also indicated how public perception had swung from labelling the couple as child-killers to victims of a miscarriage of justice. The couple reiterated their faith in the almighty, and they invoked the ultimate judge of human actions when asked about who they thought really killed Aarushi and Hemraj. “God is the biggest judge,” Rajesh Talwar said. “We leave it to god.”

The couple deflected questions on the role of Krishna, Rajesh Talwar’s compounder, in the murders, and also avoided commenting on whether bias in the media, the police force and the lower judiciary had led to their arrest. “It’s all on paper, I don’t need to say anything, I don’t think we need to talk about it,” Rajesh Talwar simply said. “This should never happen to anybody again.”

The couple now wants to “live with Aarushi’s memories”. Losing your child is “the worst suffering any human can go through”, Rajesh Talwar pointed out. “It is difficult to go on, but you try to seek happiness by helping others… helping other girls,” he added.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.