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The Hindu Trilogy – I

Has the apple of Gandhiji’s eye, the Hindu, prostituted itself for crores of taxpayer’s money?

The Hindu

Gandhiji was not a Communist but still he liked The Hindu.

When the Governor of Bombay, Lord Willingdon, banned The Hindu from Punjab and Burma in the wake of the Rowlatt Act agitation, the Mahatma protested and wrote letters to garner support for the newspaper. (Selected Letters of Mahatma Gandhi vol. 4, Navajivan Trust, 1968)

On another occasion, speaking to journalists on a visit to The Hindu offices he said: “I have never been tired of reiterating to journalists whom I know that journalism should never be prostituted for selfish ends or for the sake of merely earning a livelihood or, worse still, for amassing money. I think we have in our midst the making of newspapers which can do so”.

http://www.mkgandhi-sarvodaya.org/

But saints and ideals have a shelf life in this country, and it wasn’t long after the saint died, that our newspapers – including that bastion of morality The Hindu – replaced ideals with one-liners and sepia-toned artwork come dry days.

There never was, never will be, a journalist of the calibre of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Sometimes he makes you wonder just how many men ’n limbs got pummelled into making him, that little emaciated fella with a toothy grin. His collected writings run into 100 volumes, and each volume is as bulky as War & Peace. Oh, and by the way he also won us our freedom.

MKG edited as many as six newspapers (or Journals as some liked to call them) during his lifetime: Indian Opinion, Young India, Harijan, Harijan Sevak, Harijan Bandu, and Navajivan. Not for him the writer’s block.

“In the very first month of Indian Opinion”, writes Bapu in The Story of My Experiments with Truth, “I realised that the sole aim of journalism should be service. For me, it became a means for the study of human nature in all its casts and shades, as I always aimed at establishing an intimate and clean bond between the editor and the readers. I was inundated with letters. They were friendly, critical or bitter. It was a fine education for me to study, digest and answer all this correspondence. It was as though the community thought audibly through this correspondence with me. It made me thoroughly understand the responsibility of a journalist.”

And this is what The Hindu advises the commentators before they prepare to, in Bapu’s words, establish an intimate and clean bond between them and the editor: Comments will be moderated. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (Example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not ‘the’, n is not ‘and’).

Granted, they aren’t Blackberry boys, but which century do they live in? Gr8, dis mst b wot dey call left-lib thnking, den.

One thing is certain: The Hindu would’ve folded in a matter of months had it practiced what Bapu preached. To cover-up the hypocrisy, it resorted quickly to what most Gandhian organisations resort to – assembled a bunch of extremely talented Left-Libs who love to yell morality and ethics from the rooftops. Rooftops of houses built on encroached land.

Bapu, the journalist, wrote: “From the very start I set my face against taking advertisements in these journals. I do not think that they have lost anything thereby. On the contrary, it is my belief that it has in no small measure helped them to maintain their independence”. (The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Navajivan Trust, 1940)

Yes, here is the father of our nation, telling us something about morality and ethics. And what do we do? We ignore ruthlessly everything he has ever uttered, as a saint or as a journalist.

Especially as a journalist.

January 1, 2012 was just another ordinary day. I woke up, found my coffee cup at my lips, and stared at the headlines of The Hindu. But even with my doped senses I knew something was amiss. There were no headlines! Instead, what greeted me was this:

Sonia-Gandhi

 

To:

Siddharth Varadarajan

Editor

The Hindu

     

Dear Mr. Varadarajan,

I write weekly columns for Newslaundry and it’d be helpful if I could get your response on a matter I am thinking of including in my forthcoming piece. The matter concerns an ad that was released and paid for by Mr H Vasanthakumar – a Chennai-based industrialist – that appeared in The Hindu on Jan 1 last year. In response to the criticism, you wrote:

“To all those who messaged me about the atrocious front page ad in The Hindu’s Delhi edition on 1 Jan, my view as editor is that this sort of crass commercialisation compromises the image and reputation of my newspaper. We are putting in place a policy to ensure the front page is not used for this sort of an ad again.”

Could I please ask you if you returned the money that you received from Mr Kumar for printing that ad, back to him, or gave it to a charity or an NGO? Considering that you were appalled by the publication of the ad, it follows that Hindu wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with Mr Kumar’s money.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Sincerely,

Anand Ranganathan

Sorry, did I tell you another thing about Gandhiji? He replied personally to each and every letter that he received.

“It is now an established practice with newspapers to depend for revenues mainly on advertisements rather than on subscriptions. The result has been deplorable. The very newspaper which writes against the drink-evil publishes advertisements in praise of drinks. In the same issue, we read of the harmful effects of tobacco as also from where to buy it.” (Journalist Gandhi, Gandhi Book Trust, 1994)

Stop it, Bapu! You’ll exhaust yourself. Has anyone ever listened to you, let alone a newspaper that espouses journalism of morality? (Journalism of Courage® catchphrase sadly no longer available.)

When I last explored the DAVP coalmine (Directorate of Advertising & Visual Publicity; davp.nic.in) for my article Journalism of Chicanery, I thought it wise to leave the rope dangling down the shaft. Hindsight’s a good thing but foresight is even better, I hear myself say as I descend gently down that blackhole one more time.

Here’s a screen-shot of what I’ve had to wade through – in all, 573 “details” had to be clicked individually and the amounts that came into view tallied and added up.

Untitled-1

Figure 1 shown below displays the money The Hindu and its sister paper, Hindu Business Line have received from the UPA II government for publishing ads celebrating the birth anniversary of Gandhiji. Forget the fact that this is our hard-earned money – or that there’s still Bapu’s death anniversary to be factored in – just remember to multiply this figure (Rs in lakh) by 20 so as to also take into account the unfathomable love and affection our state governments have for Bapu.

graph

Figure 1. Money received from the UPA government by The Hindu for Gandhiji’s birth anniversary ads, 2008-2012, in lakh rupees. Multiply Rs 55 lakh by 20 to factor in the expenditure by the many state governments on the same day, and double this amount to include Bapu’s death anniversary ads. Final amount comes to approximately 20 crore.

This, then, is the ethics and morality of an institution called The Hindu, a newspaper that promises to follow in Gandhiji’s footsteps, but abandons the trail midway just to leech some quick buck on the side. Hey (N.) Ram!

There’s more, much more, and it’s only the back-breaking labour required to mine the deliberately-left-as-raw DAVP data which prevents me from setting up a permanent shop there. Still, like Jeeves one endeavours to provide satisfaction to Newslaundry readers – and so here it is.

Figure 2 shows the money deposited in the bank accounts of Kasturi & Sons (Acc # 1197200235), the proprietors of The Hindu and Hindu Business Line, by the UPA 1 and UPA II governments. This is taxpayer’s money – Rs 54 crore just from the Central government – that The Hindu has received gratefully, through mind-boggling, forest-chopping 573 cheques, 36 of them curiously drawn multiple times for the exact same amounts and dates.

Graph-2

Figure 2. Money received from the UPA I and UPA II governments by The Hindu for publishing government ads, in crores. The total money, 2005-11, amounts to Rs 54 crore. (Source: DAVP)

“I abhor the idea of a newspaper making money out of advertisements. It is a fraud on the public.” (Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. XVI)

You don’t listen, Bapu, do you?!

“…A pronounced pro-China tilt, blacking out or downplaying any news that is less than complimentary to the Chinese Communist regime…In the recent period, editorial integrity has been severely compromised and news coverage linked directly to advertising in a way that is little different from paid news.”

Bapu, please! Oops, my apologies – that one’s by N Ravi, the ousted editor of The Hindu

For a writer, where he writes is as important as what he writes. You’ll never see an Arundhati (I talk as though her writings are paintings – a Jamini!) appearing in Samna, the Shiv Sena mouthpiece, or for that matter Ram Guha rubbing shoulders with Kanchan Gupta at Niti Central. Arundhati and the Rams write for The Hindu because they sense that it, like them, has the highest standards of morality and ethics; that it is beyond reproach.

Had these infallibles demanded of The Hindu– like I demand right now – that at least part of its ill-gotten government ad money – our money, Arundhati’s money – be given away voluntarily, this is how their causes would have benefited:

489 schools and hospitals in Bastar, Dantewada and other Naxal areas; 97 IIC-type clubs for intellectuals to meet and interact; 25,210 Dharamsala-Delhi-Beijing one-way tickets for exiled Tibetans.

I apologise if these thinkers have written already to Mr. Varadarajan on the matter, threatening they’ll no longer write for The Hindu if it refuses to uphold the principles of journalism championed by Gandhiji.

For the sake of Naxals – at least those labelled as “Gandhian with guns” (Walking with the Comrades by Arundhati Roy, Outlook, March 29, 2010) – it would’ve been just, had Bapu’s birth anniversary ad money been utilised for their artillery needs.

And the vicious cycle of ethics would’ve been complete had Arundhati also published her hard-hitting essays on the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka not in the British Guardian (This is not a war on terror. It is a racist war on all Tamils, April 1, 2009) but, instead, in The Hindu. I fail to understand why she dithered. So what if the then editor of The Hindu was a recipient of Sri Lanka’s highest civilian honour and a personal friend of President Rajapaksa.

Likewise, Dr Guha’s probing essay on the money wasted on ads (Memories at public expense) mysteriously found a different vehicle (The Telegraph, June 5, 2010) and not the morality-beaconed Ambassador he usually travels in. Perhaps Dr Guha was bound by the hypocritical oath? Or is it that the term Left-Lib is as oxymoronic as deep down he’s shallow?

The Hindu is no longer the guiding light Gandhiji once thought it was. It is, instead, that doe-eyed little deer that leaps and skips forever in search of the Kasturi that, unbeknownst, resides inside it. Its musky scent overpowered cruelly by the stench of easy money.

For my second piece in The Hindu Trilogy, I shall endeavour to understand the workings of another Hindu Institution, one whose name I didn’t mention in this essay.

 

Contact-ranga

Image Source: [http://www.flickr.com/photos/11264282@N02/4454735771/]

 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/iamharshvasani Harsh Vasani

    Hatchet job! Completely discrediting The Hindu for what they stand for-fair journalism. In the scheme of things, it is easy to criticise. How do you suppose The Hindu get their revenue from? I would’ve understood if you had differences with their editorial ideology (which, frankly, you shouldn’t!), but you are trying to compare today’s market driven world to the Mahatma era. This is just plain sad! I realise that such crass front page advertisements does no good to The Hindu, but, making a mockery out of it does not bode well too. I don’t expect very high standards from newslaundry, considering it thrives on tongue-in-cheek humour, but I request that they show some amount to maturity and sagacity before indulging in mud slinging.

    • shabnam tripathi

      The author is absolutely right and judging from yours and some of the other comments I am amazed how gullible some of the reading public is – those who read the Hindu (BTW I get the hindu and TOI and IE daily). Has he said anywhere that all advertising should be stopped? He’s making the case for shameless govt. ad dole-outs. I find it a disgrace that while the editor of the hindu finds the sycophantic sonia Gandhi ad to be “atrocious and crass” (but still hasn’t said whether he returned the money back to the businessman), he doesn’t find anything wrong in getting crores from the govt and publishing Gandhi anniversary ads! What I find more amazing is that you as readers think nothing of this double standard. You need to read N. Ravi’s hoot.org letter linked in the piece and then make up your minds as to what the newspaper that I loved and liked has sunk to. By all means print ads, but REFUSE to print ads like that Sonia Gandhi “madam we fall at your feet” ad, and REFUSE to print any death/birth anniversary ads. REFUSE to print any govt. ads that have photos of ministers and MPs. Print only those govt. ads that want to sincerely spread information, like health-related ads. This is OUR money as this article correctly says, and what’s shocking is that so many of you don’t care what happenes to your money and how it is spent. You all must be boys and gals of rich businessmen I think – well then don’t talk of changing India, keep voting for people who’ll keep wasting your money. Really, now I am convinced that you deserve our politicians and our newspapers.

  • pv

    ” doe-eyed little deer that leaps and skips forever in search of the Kasturi that, unbeknownst, resides inside it. Its musky scent overpowered cruelly by the stench of easy money”
    Very well said AR!
    P.S: when is the next doodle coming? Eagerly waiting. Also there should be doodle unraveled column…where each of try to find the secret code hidden like in Dan Brown novels :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/kashinath.vaishampayan Kashinath Vaishampayan

    “But saints and ideals have a shelf life in this country” nice factual observation that. I am tempted to add “…and psychophancy has a very long life in this country.” Hello! When are we going to stop extolling MKG? Agreed he was a voracious reader and a prolific writer; had great contribution to journalism. But winning Freedom for India??? Why present such politically correct but factually incorect praise? And GOI’s profligacy in the name of MKG reminds one of Sarojini Naidu asking “how much moe it is going to cost the exchequer to maintain the Mahatma poor?” I think, it is costing colosal money to maintain Mahatma in false glory. That’s the conundrm called India; confused bundle of contradictions and hypocricy. And this piece is full of it.

  • Raghav

    Excellent,well researched article. Great job.

  • nitin

    excellent,Anand.India needs independent minds like you

  • http://www.facebook.com/aadith.kadambi.aiyangaar Aadith Kadambi Aiyangaar

    The (C)Hindu is a pointless newspaper.
    No wait, there is a point.
    Worship the state. That is the only point they make.

  • Ashwin

    surprising that u call urself a journalist without understanding how the print media works. Anand ranganathan will not pay the salaries of The Hindu employees, nor will he ensure subscribers get their copy of The Hindu for 4 Rs….Every Newspaper makes money out of ads. Regarding “vicious cycle of ethics” being completed, The Hindu exposed how Prabhakaran’s son was brutallly killed by SL army. Wonder why that doesnt seem to bother you…

    • fix

      Kindly read Anands bio on right.

  • Srini

    Devastating statistics and shameful of the Hindu to stoop down so low. Brilliant piece, a real eye opener. And why I admire the piece is because the criticism hasn’t come from the usual right – not that their criticism of the Hindu isn’t valid at times – but because this time the Hindu has been exposed by someone who admires Gandhi. The corruption, shallowness and criminality in this country has reached to such a level that I am ashamed to be born in a nation that Gandhi was born in. I am old enough to remember that Hindu shamelessly supported the emergency. Sadly all what you say mr. Anand is 100% true. I stopped reading Hindu the day they printed a raja’s interview and published his ministry’s full page ad….and if arundhati decides to continue to write for the Hindu then good luck to her.

    • Satyam Sharma

      So you think the “Right” does not admire Gandhi, and therefore anybody who does, cannot be from the “Right”?

      • shabnam tripathi

        just intrigued Mr. Sharma, can you list just 5 things about gandhi that the right admires?! This would be very informative for me and will remove any false impressions that i may have regarging what the right thinks of gandhi. thankyou

        • Satyam Sharma

          I am from the Right and I admire Gandhi for many of his actions and opinions such as: (1) social reform (efforts over three decades to bring Harijans into the social mainstream); (2) even if belatedly, but ultimately realizing that continuing to remain “loyal subjects of the Crown” (to become which, the Congress was established with Viceroy Dufferin’s blessings in 1885 in the first place) was not going to be beneficial and what was needed was complete independence; (3) rejecting the divisive offer of the British after the 1932 London Round Table Conference proposing the “Communal Award”, and even going on fast-unto-death to convince Babasaheb Ambedkar of the folly of accepting such a dirty trick meant to rip Indian society and polity apart right from its foundations (culminating in the Poona Pact); (4) guiding the vast majority of Indians to non-violently rebel against the British through civil disobedience movements — the RSS, which you will surely call Right-wing, even participated in several of Gandhi’s satyagrahas in the 30s; (5) for having the good sense to call for the disbanding of the Congress party once its job of obtaining independence was achieved; (6) for not putting up with the rampant corruption in the Congress, and even actually resigning from the Congress on more than one occasion out of pure disgust; etc.

          Remember, the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (predecessor of today’s BJP) Syama Prasad Mookerjee was himself a follower of Gandhi (and even a Congressman) till 1944.

          In fact, there are only few things for which the Right found (or finds) fault with Gandhi: for supporting the Khilafat movement in an attempt to bring the Muslim community into the freedom movement, something that boomeranged in the long run by encouraging the feeling of pan-Ummah nationalism (instead of Indian nationalism) among Indian Muslims; for the unsuccessful 1942 Quit India movement, because the Right, just like Subhas Chandra Bose, wanted to take a harder line against the British after the onset of WW2; and finally, most famously, for failing to prevent Partition. (And personally, I don’t even agree with the second criticism of Gandhi above. There was a lot of resentment among the RSS’ cadre at their own leadership for not throwing their weight behind the Quit India movement — so most swayamsevaks in various cities and villages still participated in their personal capacities.)

          In fact, some of the most “regressive” things that ignorant people normally identify with the Right today, such as the ban on cow slaughter and beef, or encouraging the study of Sanatan Dharma scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita, etc, are those that were originally Gandhi’s fervent demands and ideas. In fact, in his “Last Will and Testament” (the new post-independence constitution for the Congress that he wrote), Gandhi calls for the disbandment of the Congress, and its transformation into a “Sangh” consisting of 5 sub-Sanghs, one of which was the “Goseva Sangh” (Society for the Protection of the Cow). I know it sounds ironical and even a little too cocky, but with some probability, if Gandhi were alive today, he would have been what you call a “Sanghi Chaddi” guy instead of a lib-lefty fraud.

          • Srini

            Well mr. Sharma, after reading your comment, in all seriousness let me tell you that you are not right wing, you are actually secular (and I have spelled the word correctly)! And without being rhetorical now I want you to be brave and tell me 5 things that you don’t admire about the BJP. Can you do that?

          • Niranjan

            I am looking forward to that reply.

          • Abhijit Joshi

            Dear Srini,

            That’s exactly the point. A true Rightwing Hindu is the most secular person. As to what one admires or hates about BJP, can differ from a Hindu to another Hindu. For Example, a staunch Congress supporter might favour abolishing article 360, Uniform Civil code & would want a Ram Temple at Ayodhya. You see politics is a business today & when Congress & Leftist hate everything about Hinduism, they are merely following their Business strategy. Imagine if Congress losses Power in Centre for next two decades, do you believe even 10% of current Congis will support the Congress/Left styled secularism ?

          • Rex

            What’s with the Charlie Chaplin pic?

  • Satyam Sharma

    Good article by Anand Ranganathan as usual. A lot of the points, however, were contrived and silly. One could have come up with much better factual points (so many instances come to mind, most recent one being Praveen Swami’s one-sided and foolish article — some shoddy journalism indeed — on cross-LoC violence in Kashmir) and logical arguments to expose the bias and prejudices of The Hindu.

    It is indeed a great fall for The Hindu. It always had a leftist-communist bias under N. Ram (who was national vice president of the SFI, the students’ wing of the CPM, during his youth), but the bias spilled out of the editorial pages on to the reportage only infrequently. Under Siddharth Varadarajan, sadly, it has sunk to ever-lower depths. In any case, The Hindu of today simply cannot be compared to The Hindu during Gandhi’s times, just like the TOI of Samir Jain today is miles away from the TOI of Girilal Jain, and the IE of Vivek Khaitan and Shekhar Gupta today does not even belong to the same solar system as the IE of Ramnath Goenka and Arun Shourie. Legacies have been betrayed; how drastically the standards have fallen!

    PS: “Leftist liberal” is most definitely an oxymoron. There can be NO such thing. At the risk of self-advertizing, let me quote from a rebuttal comment that I wrote on the “Binayak and Ilina Sen interview” article on this very website, that, IMO, shows up these so-called “left-liberals” for being the intellectually ignorant (yet arrogant!) frauds that they are. Self-plagiarizing here:

    “What the hell does Ilina mean that only the “liberals” (whoever they are) of India believe in the “values of the constitution”, or gender equality, or social justice? Do the “conservatives” (whoever they are) NOT believe in the values of the constitution, or gender equality, or social justice? Who is a “liberal” and who is a “conservative” in the first place? And who gave Ilina the right to call herself a “liberal”? According to me, left-libs are NOT real or true liberals. They are PSEUDO-liberals. They have absolutely NO clue about individualism and libertarianism, and no wonder ALL leftist systems (communism and its flavours like Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc) lead to the crushing of individual liberties, and the establishment of an all-powerful and fascist super-State. What the hell does Ilina mean when she says that “on the one hand, the right is digging its heels, and on the other hand, ‘us progressives and liberals’ are making the case for equality”? This statement is an absolute shocker in multiple ways and on multiple levels. The reality is that the RIGHT in India is the one which is really progressive and liberal, whereas the left is regressive and illiberal. It is the RIGHT in India that is actually fighting for equality for both genders or all communities (without appeasement and/or special treatment for anybody) whereas the left mostly panders to narrow identity politics, dynastyism, nepotism, and just wants to impose its intellectual hegemony. The LEFT is itself the biggest KHAP of India.”

    More here for those interested:
    http://www.newslaundry.com/2013/02/nl-interviews-binayak-ilina-sen/#comment-800412409

  • http://www.facebook.com/nvasistha Navneet A Vasistha

    Hi Anand,

    Your article though well researched, was found wanting as you perhaps didn’t stumble on this :
    http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2012/01/04/the-hindu-rethinks-its-ad-policy/

    Needless to say, that apology doesn’t correct the The Hindu like you quote multiple times from MK Gandhi. However, may I ask if there’s a newspaper that currently does that? If not, then picking on one paper out of the many seems to stem from a bias or a need to create controversy.
    Why even as I type, I can see the ad of a train reservation booking site on the right panel of Newslaundry. Does this not make it a case of double standards?

    • FP

      the train reservation ad is served by Google not by DAVP

  • aditya

    So you expect the hindu to be an ad less newspaper or more print the ads and donate the amount to charity! I did not know that anand ranganathan was an illiterate of the paper trade. mind you it is also trade. The Hindu is a newspaper not a pamphlet for you to distribute it free. Has this triology to do something with the hindu going all colour from today and also making significant changes in its tenor and design?

    • Rex

      You’re the illiterate one here, if you lack the brains to understand the difference between general advertising by various companies and massive full page govt. ads that are paid for with taxpayers’ money.

  • Ashok Jahnavi Prasad

    Not for no reason is Anand the most eagerly awaited columnist here!! Felicitations!! And am unsure what the familiar demarkation of left and right has to do with this particular exposure! It is a clear case of journalistic malpractice and I do not think it is even worth pretending that this is an attribute which is monopolized by a specific political spectrum. Crticism of this practice is valid but let us not pretend that any political spectrum is free of it! I also notice criticism of dynastism! Indeed that is valid and no effort should be spared to counter this anti-democratic measure. But it has also to be remembered that those who are most vocal about this in Congress (I) chose to remain silent when it happens within their own formation! Have never heard a single word of criticism of this practice within the NDA by the NDA allies! After all what is Shiv Sena! And their recent ally BJD is yet another example! Yes Congress I) introduced this but this venom has now vitiated the entire political spectrum and the criticism of dynastism would only carry weight if it is not so horribly selective! Ironical when hear the Shiv Sena man criticise dynastism on the TV! But that again is not even obliquely related to the issue here! Kudos to Anand!!

  • Aditya Pranav

    Well, while a lot can be debated, I feel that this article is nothing less than commendable. A very well researched and hard-hitting. No body can deny the fact that there has been a very steep decline in the standards of journalism be it print media or electronic media. They don’t mind trading their integrity with these mindless ads. However, to target just one paper would a little unfair. But then, all of us assume that “The Hindu” is perhaps most serious of them all as far as journalism is concerned which is dangerous because the percentage of the households that it reaches would be tiny as compared to all the others combined. And they all make an impact. Needless to mention how others are faring in this area and what would be the impact, if things were to continue this way. Caveats have to be issued and this piece serves the purpose very well. A very good one Mr. Ranganathan!!

  • John LeGrasse

    Very impressive effort, especially the digging up of numbers. But I have a tiny bone to pick –

    The Left-Right divide in India is crude, unimaginative, but works in curious ways. The Left does not acknowledge that it is deeply Marxist in its outlook and surreptitiously plays mischief from pressrooms and news studios – fudging facts, figures and editorial ethics to assault the Right and brainwash the unsuspecting common man, while pretending to be standing on the median. The mainstream media is firmly under their thumb; be it Prannoy Roy’s NDTV (Prannoy is a close kin of Arundhati Roy as well as Brinda Karat and unmistakably carries the leftist strain), Tarun Tejpal’s Tehelka, or S.Varadarajan’s The Hindu. The education system too is a Leftist bastion – Romila Thapar, Sumit Sarkar and other grizzly comrades have been painting the history books red for decades with gay abandon and now Amartya Sen and friends are in the driving seat when it comes to the economics discourse. The BJP hardly counts as ‘Right-wing’ except that they whistle the Ayodhya tune when the mood strikes. On the rare occassion when the Sitaram Goels, Arun Shouries, or Dr. N S Rajaram raise a voice and point fingers at the Left’s chicanery, they are either vehemently drowned out or refused media coverage altogether. So the Left frames the rules of the game and invites the Right when it is sure to hammer the Right into oblivion – e.g., when a misquotation of the RSS Sarsanghachalak is doing the rounds. On other days, the Right is simply left out of the party.

    This being the case, I’m a little worried by what the writer means when he says, “You’ll never see an Arundhati (I talk as though her writings are paintings – a Jamini!) appearing in Samna, the Shiv Sena mouthpiece, or for that matter Ram Guha rubbing shoulders with Kanchan Gupta at Niti Central. Arundhati and the Rams write for The Hindu because they sense that it, like them, has the highest standards of morality and ethics; that it is beyond reproach.”

    Ram Guha is a Leftist wolf in centrist-sheep clothing and Arundhati is an intellectual Naxalite who wields the pen instead of the gun (at least no gun is visible when she appears on TV), to put it mildly. So this ascribing of morality or ethics to them is puzzling.

    As an aside, the best part was when they went for each other’s throats: Ram Guha called A. Roy ‘Arun Shourie of the Left’ and Arundhati in her interview to Frontline put Ram on the mat, then buried him six feet under and did a gravedance on top of it: http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl1801/18010040.htm – a must read!

    • http://desicontrarian.wordpress.com/ Contrarian

      Fantastic interview. One finger points at Guha, and 3 point at her loathsome, narcissistic self :-).

      BTW, Kudos to Anand Ranganathan, a witty and diligent writer. “deep down he’s shallow”, “in search of the Kasturi…”, wow, Gr8 lines, Ustad!

  • http://twitter.com/rajeshdipti Rajesh thakkar

    Politics and Journalism make enticing Bed fellows..”Jpurnalism should never be Prostituted for selfish end”

  • Kunal Angrish

    Appreciate the research u put in the article, n that is wat saved it in d end because the way u started with comparisons of Mahatma’s journalism and journalism in present times, it was’nt making much sense..no advertising is not a possibility today..do you think the Tata’s and Birla’s of today will emulate their ancestors and provide donations n facilities for publication in order to keep the poor and common informed at reasonable prices..evn if they do that, how do u rule out that there is no scam there..

    Having said that, complete first page ads are deplorable and ads with “we are at your feet” shud be given what they ask for i.e. a kick..i hope The hindu’l takes notice of these things n explain its stand on advertisements of political nature.

    Regardless of this “expose”, i can’t help but compare The hindu with its contemporaries, n give it a chance..i hope it’l carry the weight of expectations (n shed the weight of money).

  • Saurabh jha

    Was a matter of time when someone was going to come up with something like this against the Hindu. I was a great admirer of it till some time ago, but could not fail to notice the slant it started showing in its publications. I couIdn’t miss the amusement when it started off an ad war posting videos on its web-site, but at the same time was indulging in the very same tactics which it was accusing its competitor to be guilty of.
    I was begining to wonder if its editorial policy envisages to deliver ‘bash Modi’ article per week with assembly line precision. Finally i get to read this and then i realised its self-proclaimed lofty editorial standards go only this far!

  • Gautham J

    It is a well known fact that other mainstream newspapers like TOI, Hindustan Times etc have a bias towards the governnment. However, the Hindu still has some credibility left in it’s name. Therefore, unearthing the (mis)deeds of the Hindu is a big blow to the credibility of MSM as a whole.

    Regarding your other comment, IMO, Ads are an integral part of any media publication and therefore, no publication should be judged purely on this basis. The problem is in “paid news” with doles coming from the government in the form of Ads. It is no secret that the current government exercises complete control over much of the content published in MSM. The Hindu is particularly guilty of a religious propaganda against Hinduism & surreptitious support for communist causes, as well as crossing all journalistic ethical norms.

    A few instances that I can think of-
    1. During the Kargil war, the Hindu was the only newspaper to interview Musharraf before interviewing the then-PM
    Vajpayee. Talk about being an Indian publication!
    2. When all of MSM reported about A.Raja’s arrest in the 2G scam case, the Hindu was the only newspaper to carry a full-
    fledged interview in front page. Talk about journalistic ethics!
    3. Before the 150th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, a malicious propaganda against the Swami was published in the form of 2 articles. The Frontline later carried out a full-page article glorifying Swami Vivekananda after much criticism from readers. Talk about being called “The Hindu”!

    4. N.Ram, the editor of The Hindu, is reportedly facing a land-grab case in the courts. No reporting/clarification from The Hindu!

  • avinash

    A really good article. Something that we will never get in print media.

  • goldenhorde

    The Hindu is still milestones ahead of Hindustan times and Tabloid of India in terms of quality

  • abhi

    good read.

  • Ashok Jahnavi Prasad

    Another observation Anand! It would be simpler to comprehend the phenomenon if we were to accept the reality ie Indian polity operates without any ideology-and the Fourth Estate has become an extension of the Indian polity for a number of reasons that do call for closer examination. John Le Grasse has hit the nail on the head! There is nothing like the ‘left’ and ‘right’ here in India as it is understood in orthodox terms. Politicians of all shades are all there to seek power through all means and in this regard they are more reminiscent of Machiavelli! How else would you explain the exodus into the Congress of the torchbearers of the ‘right’ like Vaghela into the Congress(I) ! And more recently how else would you explain the open arm welcome accorded to the ‘secular’ guntoting Congress (I) hood into the BJP by Modi of all people!! I am not even mentioning the former Shiv Sena goons who have been accepted by the Congress (I) and hold important positions there. Politics in the Gandhian era was qualitatively different! There is nothing like the ‘right’ and ‘left’ for all intent and purposes any more.

    Gone are the days when even a non-communist like myself used to wait for Nikhil Chakrvarty’s wisdom-his Communist sympathies were well known but his commitment to fair journalism always superceded that!

    And yes Gandhi did make several errors of judgement-but the first person to appreciate that was he himself never making any secret of his human failings and limitations. The classic example was his stance following Chauri Chaura! He was not directly involved-and there was more than enough provocation -but he was so consumed with guilt that he took the moral responsibility himself -and gave the country a new direction! Contrast this with the stance taken by the presnt day politicians who refuse to take any moral responsibility no matter how intense the atrocity.

    Gandhi’s other remarkable attribute was his ability to regard every human failing as redeemable-and we all would do well to recall his positions on various issues.

    It is pointless to comment on Gandhis supposed affiliation for any particular religion and religious orthodoxies! Gandhi in Johannesberg, a brilliant book makes it very clear that Gandhi soon realised and believed firmly throughout his life that each religion had something unique to offer and no religion was superior to the other . His Hindu identity remained intact but his philosophical bent refused to accept the moral or spiritual superiority of one religion over the other-and this put him in a diffferent league altogether as compared to those who believed in the moral superiority of one religion over the other whether it be mullahs or pundits!!He was always willing to learn something from every religion.

    He doubtless wanted Congress to be disbanded-and disbanded it is for what we have now is Congress (I) according to EC rolls and not Congress! But I shall not even deign to comment at the implication that he may have even the remote commonality with the likes of Togadia or Owaisi had he been around today!!

  • Niranjan

    97 IIC-type clubs for intellectuals to meet and interact ? Really ?

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  • Nitin

    1.I haven’t come across any bias in reporting in the Hindu recently.I find it more centrist(!) under Vardarajan than in N Ram;s times. What other model has worked in India? The article hasn’t discussed any alternative sources for funding. How does Newslaundry run its affairs. Do they not take money from corporates and others. That is ALSO taxpayer money!

    (‘Taxpayer money ‘is such a MALIGNED phrase No wonder our great middle class refuses to pay taxes! South Delhi homes might just have more black money than Swiss banks)

    2. Somebody please explain WHY is it wrong to take ads from govt? Because the article has completely failed to throw light on the subject. I have no problem with the Hindu taking advertisements from the govt.

    3. The article is extremely poorly written. Such unreadable prose and disjointed sentences! Such sycophantic uncritical praise
    of Gandhiji is a disservice to the great man.

    [P.S. : Siddarth Vardarajan has admitted that he was wrong to let the Chennai guy's ad on its front page. The mistake hasn't happened again.]

  • glad hunter

    sir i have developed an addiction for your articles, you stand out of your ilk. i admire the way you caught these self righteous, self cogratulatory ‘torch bearers’ of ‘ethical journalism’ hahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!! and not to forget 2 ‘intellectual clowns’ who have liking for being frustrated.
    this news laundry (hey! pl publish it, as i presume it doesnt publish from 10 janpath premises) has gone too boring, it has been shying away from issues rather catching on to some irrelevant ones, most of the times they try to craft a celebrity out of little known (better we dont know much about such self seeking bunch of semi-politician/sycophants) jurnos, we dont want to know who they are? what drivel are they going to role out next?
    i come here only to read your articles….why dont you start your own something of the league of MEDIA CROOKS??? main stream media has stooped so low that there is enough space for more such endeavors. thanks asnd regards!

  • peerlesspundit

    Neat little hit-job on the Hindu there. So who you think sheeple must look towards for moral guidance…Aroon “Plagiarism” Purie and India Today. Oh newslaundry, by Juve you guys are a smug snarky bunch executing hit-jobs on left-liberals. Gandhii was a reactionary of the first order and to attribute India’s freedom to his silly fasts is to ignore the hammer-blows the Japs struck to the Brits in the NE. That you subsribe to the NCERT fed version is in itself a testament to the vaccuum inside your head. Hey but nice effort. If 2014 is Modified, by 2019 you might land yourself a neat little Padma!!

  • Nihar

    I fail to understand why “The Hindu” should be to blame. Shouldn’t a newspaper be sustainable? In an age where newspapers can be subscribed for a paltry Rs.200 for 2 years, aren’t advertisements a major source of revenue?

    I don’t think “The Hindu” should be returning the ad money, after all the person paying for the ad is buying the space. Are all corporates paying for ads ethical companies? Don’t we see ads for sleazy massage parlors in the newspapers? I do not think it the purview of “The Hindu” to check the antecedents of the advertiser.

    If anything the ad shows the moral poverty and lack of self respect of the person paying for the ad. The only issue I feel is it might have chosen not to run full front page ads as it harms the reading experience of the reader.

  • yamini

    Silly article. At the end of the day the news paper has to survive and pay its journalists. If you remain an idealist doesn’t mean the world will stop. Look around and see where the world has moved, in fact the efforts of The Hindu to stick to its editorial policy without compromising are very commendable. Just look around to see how we get ad pamphlets in the name of news paper and you will realize what The Hindu stands for!

  • Rex

    Newsflash: India didn’t ‘win’ squat, with regard to becoming independent. Thank Hitler for starting WW2, which terminally weakened Europe and any justification for colonialism, and the Royal Indian Navy mutiny in 1946. Which was criticized by the great MKG for having acted without his ‘guidance’. The British left on their own terms, and they left because they no longer had the backing of Indian troops to enforce their rule.