Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Hindu Op-Ed Page

Ever since The Hindu revamped its newspaper structure, the one great positive and prominent feature has been its new Opinion-Editorial Page. Besides the Lead editorials and lead opinion, alongwith the cartoon of the day, the Hindu has added extra features such as opinions from leading correspondents working in the Guardian and in the New York Times. Included are strategic affairs articles by Siddharth Varadarajan, regular articles by Thomas Friedman (of the World is Flat fame), George Monbiot (of the Anti-globalization fame) and Paul Krugman, Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer's judicial activist articles, and of course regular op-ed pieces by The Hindu's own correspondents such as P.Sainath (who is a JNU Alumnus, btw). If P.Sainath's recent series of articles on the impoverished situation of Vidharbha was heart-rending, Praveen Swami's well researched articles on Kashmir were thought-provoking and so were other features.

This blog owes a million thanks to the Hindu's editorial team for bulking up it's Op-Ed Pages by a significant extent. With the dearth of people-oriented (for want of a better word) Op-Ed Pieces in mainstream Indian newspapers, The Hindu shows why it is way ahead of all its contemporary Indian English Newspapers in this regard.

Three cheers to The Hindu's left-of-centre Editorial-Opinion Policy.

In contrast, you have the Indian Express, which clearly has forgotten to distinguish between reporting and opinionating. Reporters transcend their limits of "unbiased" coverage very easily and you can always find opinion masquerading as reports, particularly damning when it comes to publish reports on/related to the Left. The danger of such opinionated reporting was addressed by none other than The Hindu Editor-in-chief N.Ram himself, who wrote this piece on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of India's leading "nationalist" newspaper. Hindu Right wing radicals might disagree with the appellation of "nationalist" being provided to The Hindu, but there is a whole lot of truth in the "moniker". The Hindu, was anti-establishment virulently (apparently it was started by an avowed anti-Colonialist G.Subramania Iyer in the late 1880s) and continued its anti-British stance even after going through a process of ownership change. The Hindu had strong links with the Indian National Congress during the freedom struggle and this attitude of the paper was in sharp contrast to the colonialist attitudes of The Statesman and The Times of India. These days, in trying to keep intact the socialist and pro-people character of the Indian state, The Hindu is no less nationalist than its earlier pre-independence avatar, IMO.
My Leftist friends tell me that The Times of India has for long been a paper which was always pro-establishment (whoever that establishment was at that point of time). The Hindu with its strong independent liberal and left-of-centre orientation in this current phase has continued hence its anti-establishment policies. N.Ram's stewardship of the daily is bound to take the newspaper to new heights of qualitative reporting, pro-people approach and news analysis. Among the deteriorating Yellow Page loaded print media and the sensationalist and unprofessional mass media, The Hindu stands tall as a publication par excellence.
I guess, I shall have to devote a separate blog to provide proofs to the above argument.

1 comment:

Subhanil said...

good piece. but try to post something on the problems in front of the student community.