Jaswin Jassi
Jaswin Jassi

Can you sell ice to Eskimos? If your answer is negative, you must read ‘Have Guts…!!’ and meet its author Jaswin Jassi. I’m sure if you put this question to him, he’d quip: Why sell ice to Eskimos when you can sell life jackets to drowning men! He comes up with immediate solutions man, he gives instant responses, he drives you to a new thought process.

He’s one who converts a negative into a positive, he’s one who makes impossible possible and he’s one who turns dreams into realities.

‘Have Guts…!!’, published both in UK and India, focusses on the life and times of a Delhi boy – his failures and successes, his grief and joy, his dreams and realities, his irritations and calmness, as also his edginess and pushiness. The straight-from-the-heart real stories written with very simple style and admirable honesty portray the variety and colour of Indian life, so much so that one can associate with the boy in the book.

The boy, who progresses to become a man, could be living anywhere in the world. Reading about him is sure to bring back lot of old memories. There are unforgettable stories for everyone in the just-out book. “If I manage to connect with even one of my readers, if I manage to guide some to a life less ordinary or make them realise that all’s never lost, all the effort will be worth it,” says Jassi. Why not, when for most of us, failure often brings shame, a feeling of inadequacy, and even rejection. Failure is one of the topics we don’t like to think about much less talk about. Most people also do not take any risks for fear of failure. “But,” he says, “where would we be if everyone who feared failure refused to take risks?”

True, history is full of people who failed but their failures often led them to even greater successes. In ‘Have Guts…!!’, the protagonist grows up to face the storm in the eye and paves his own path. Despite being treated as a misfit by his parents and siblings, he doesn’t lose hope and stares adversity in the eye, taking up every challenge circumstances throws at him. He fails some of course, but with each failure he learns. Athletes fail, but the truly great ones strive harder to win the next time. Buildings and bridges that collapse under stress are redesigned to newer and better standards. Scientists spend much time documenting failure after failure before discovering the cure that will save many lives and ‘Have Guts…!!’ teaches how to cash in on  failure, how to turn failure into an opportunity for success.

Probably, Jassi is the first Indian author to write a book without having read one. “I’ve never read a book my entire life, so writing one was completely out of question. Or so I thought. It so happened that an ordinary lunch meeting with friends turned into an extraordinary affair. To kill time, I decided to let them in on a few incidents that happened in my life. Kind of like a story telling session, just that the stories they were hearing, were all true. I was talking about my life after all,” his foreword reads. Oh! Jassi may not have intended to make a full-fledged career out of writing books, but the success of ‘Have Guts…!!’ is sure to make him think twice.

Jassi lives in New Delhi, India. His email is jaswinjassi@gmail.com and he can be reached at 9811162061. SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


  1. News Agecny IANS has the following on Jaswin Jassi:

    From a street urchin to India’s fastest filmmaker

    New Delhi (IANS): From selling safety razors and combs on the pavements of the walled city in Delhi as a child worker in the early 1950s, Jaswin Jassi went on to become the “fastest Indian filmmaker”, a prime time TV news anchor and a commercially successful jingle producer.

    However, the journey was not without ups and downs. Now Jassi has bared it all in his recently released autobiography: “Have Guts: The untiring truth”.

    “I was old enough, though still a 12-year-old kid, to understand the finer nuances of business. I stood in a corner of Sadar Bazar (a wholesale market in Delhi), taking out two dozens of assorted coloured combs, holding them in my left hand, putting tem together in the shape of a hand fan and shouting in a child’s loud voice,” Jassi recounts.

    In his autobiography, he recalls the many nights he slept on an empty stomach, the many days he toiled hard before and after school and then college.

    “I was determined to leave the pavements of Delhi and achieve something in life,” Jassi told IANS in an interview.

    “I did theatre and continued to work as a salesman selling torches, safety razors and combs in Delhi and other cities till I got a break in All India Radio.”

    In the 1970s he became a prominent voice on national broadcaster All India Radio. Then, within a decade, he had established himself as an independent documentary filmmaker and a well-known prime time news anchor on state-run TV channel Doordarshan.

    As an independent filmmaker in the early 1990s, he shot a short film for India’s petroleum ministry in 10 Indian languages, taking three hours for the entire process. This feat got his name into the Limca Book of Records as the fastest Indian filmmaker.

    “Even the officials didn’t believe it when I presented bills for making this film within 24 hours of getting the contract; they thought I was asking for an advance,” he chuckles. The book has a vivid account of how this film was shot in such a short time.

    “Even the first ever documentary film produced by Directorate of Audio-Visual Publicity (DAVP, a department that handles the Indian government’s publicity) entitled ‘A touch of glory’ for Indian Air Force was made by me,” he says in the book.

    Jassi was one of the prominent prime time news anchors on Doordarshan in the 1980s and 1990s, before the era of private news channels in India.

    Asked why he wrote an autobiography, Jassi told IANS: “I wanted to share my struggle with common people, many of whom face adversities similar to what I faced. May be this book would provide a ray of hope to them.”

    The autobiography has been published by Diamond Books.


  2. The Pioneer has this on Have Guts:

    A successful media personality, an activist and now an author, Jaswin Jassi is a man of myriad emotion and passion. Witty in approach at whatever he does, Jassi or ‘Just-win-Just See’ as he calls self, says that no one connects a common man better than a commoner. His book, titled Have Guts, the untiring truth, chronicles the life of a commoner, who amidst all odds attain success.

    He says, “Of course, I failed at times but failure was as a lesson in disguise.” By writing of his own life he has not only dared to substantiate his interesting claims but he says, “also motivates to inspire the lives of the less ordinary.” The articulate intricacies that sustain the narrative interests those who are interested in knowing a man who has avoided being an upstart and has had trysts with destiny.


  3. The Hindu has the following on ‘Have Guts’.

    Not for nothing is this impression increasingly finding weight that we all have at least one book in us. Look around yourself and you will find its proof in so many first-time authors, many of whom have poured their life stories on to the pages. Some, quite amusingly, don’t quite know whether they will write a second book ever.

    Media person Jaswin Jassi fits this category perfectly. He “might write a sequel” to his just published first book, “Have Guts…!! The Untiring Truth”, but adds, “It is a distant possibility.” In fact, the first book, he says, was born out of an impulse “to give it a shot” after friends told him that he is a good storyteller. “I have never read any book in my life, I never thought of writing one till of course, one day when I was alone at home and had an impulse to try my hand at it.” With a wide grin he adds, “I didn’t have any blank sheets at home that day and my first draft was written on the back of my old bank statements.” He says, “I used to tell endless stories to my friends. They would love them but never knew that they were actually slices of my life till one day I told someone the truth. He told me, ‘you must put it all down in a book’. And so the journey began.”
    A positive book

    Jassi, born in a Khari Bauli haveli in Old Delhi many summers ago, is a well-known face on Doordarshan for over two decades. He also features in the Limca Book of Records as “the fastest filmmaker in India”. These facets plus his production company Arohi Cinematics find space in his book, based on his life, but “Have Guts…!!” is much more than that. It is a vindication of a life of endless struggle to remain afloat and “be somebody.” From selling combs and cosmetics to flashbulbs, he did sundry jobs to keep the kitchen fire going when his father’s business failed. As he grew up, many more challenges came his way. But what Jassi has aimed at is to produce a positive book, “a book which can tell its readers that taming the odds of life, not getting cowed down by it, is the right way of leading it.” He calls his effort “a common man to common man connect.”

    Jassi doesn’t call it an autobiography “because if I had attempted one then some 15 to 20 people who came to my life would have got neglected.” His son Aditya Jassi, an upcoming playback singer in Bollywood, “gave a facelift to the book” and Jassi is happy that “he didn’t twist my language like many publishers wanted to do.”

    The book, a Diamond Books publication, has recently been released in New Delhi’s India Habitat Centre.


  4. Here’s the Book Review in The Tribune by Randeep Wadehra.

    Have Guts: The story of Punjabi chutzpah

    THE saga of Punjabi refugees from Pakistan – peppered with rags-to-riches tales – has become a genre in its own right. What fascinates one is that the tales invariably shut out the bloodstained past and tackle the here and now. This volume, too, narrates the true story of a refugee kid who started off as a pavement seller and is now, apart from being a familiar face on Doordarshan, the owner of a successful media production house. But before he reached this comfortable perch Jassi had to go through a rather long period of struggles and waywardness not to mention problems and discords within the family – especially with his elder brother. Although he completed graduation, Jassi is candid enough to confess that he had cheated during the exams. At college he had earned notoriety as a gambler, drinker and a lothario. However, his wife appears to have been a stabilising influence on him.

    It is an interesting read but would have been better off without the overdose of miscued American slangs and mixed metaphors. More diligent editing could have made great difference to the quality and flow of this narrative.


  5. Jassi’s Have Guts, penning his experiments with the rough and tumble of his life from age 10 to 55 is just marvellous. It is also appropriately titled.

    Jassi has a photographic memory of people and events in his life and it is indeed incredible how did he turn the challenges in his life into opportunities to excel in difficult situations.

    I have gone through the book from A to Z and had mixed feelings of pain (and some of events in his early life made my eyes moist, particularly the way Jassi persisted to sell three pieces of razor to a Sardarji in Ambala) and pleasure and laughter too while going through the episodes in his life and a salesman of razors and tv anchor and successful producer, pursuiing hard-nut bureaucrats in the DAVP, culminating in the well-deserved place in the Limca Book
    of Records.

    I have picked up some anecdotes from the book: say like: No Dearth. But None Worth, which sums up life around us like “water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink”. The list can go on.

    I could not believe that I have been meeting a great person and an admirable author in Jassi as a jovial co-member in the Press Club crowd. His vocabulary is so rich and ideas so lofty. I wish him continuous success in life.


  6. Hmmm… now I am really curious.

    But I think first I should read this book and then meet him .. don’t you think that’s the right way?


  7. A kind-hearted and very professional person that he is, Jaswin Jassi can be approached anytime.

    His office is at a prime location near Mandi House, New Delhi.

    He has also featured in Limca Book of Records.


  8. I don’t know if it’s true or false, but to the extent this book made me cry, it made me laugh also.

    It brings emotion of both anger and love. First of all, it was a shock for me that my dear buddy Jassi has written a book, that too in English.

    First, I had a hearty laugh and assumed it to be another of Jassi’s habitual joke. But when Jassi gifted me this book for reviewing purpose, I just couldn’t believe my eyes and I kept ogling at the book.

    No doubt, this book made me proud of Jassi.

    Jassi’s life story reminded me of hit book Godfather – 2 of 80s, in which Don Veto Corleone surged ahead in life and prepared a path for himself just the same way Jassi did, by portraying display of his guts.

    It’s not a joke to tot up a book about your existence. Jassi has done that and its only Jassi who could have done it.

    On page number 87 of this book, Jassi has pointed out buying a scooter from me. Today I want to catch this opportunity to let him know that I bought that scooter for Rs.2000/- and sold it to Jassi for
    Rs.1000/-, nevertheless since now its all in open, I anticipate Jassi would return me that money. LOL.

    I wont waver even a bit whilst I say whatever Jassi is today and wherever he has reached, it has immense involvement and love of his dear wife Kiran.

    Now Aditya and Pallavi too have emerged as his two sturdy arms.

    I whole-heartedly suggest the youth to go through this book to genuinely know what being self-made is.

    I yearn that in time, Jassi touches more height and reaches for nothing less than the sky.

    Rajesh Chopra
    Editor in Chief : LiveIndia.com


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