On losing a childhood friend,'The Hindu'

Having been brought up on a staple diet of ‘The Hindu’ since primary school, I felt like fish out of water when I had to work in Mumbai in those pre-internet times. After 3 years I moved back to Chennai in 1998 and started my second tryst with The Hindu, when, all of a sudden, in 1999, the editor wrote a front page editorial welcoming the fall of the then BJP government due to Jayalalithaa’s treachery (Swamy’s included). I was so taken aback that I couldn’t digest the editorial for many days. Then, much against my family upbringing, I stopped the subscription.

Surprisingly there was an agent from The Hindu, at my gate, inquiring why I had stopped subscription. Probably many more should have stopped, I presumed. I had explained him the reason. He reminded me about the other features of the paper and encouraged me to resume subscription. I took him inside, offered coffee, and explained my family’s association with the paper and how difficult it had been for me to stop my association with the paper. I had also explained about a financial award that ‘The Hindu’ had given me for an earlier academic excellence and how The Hindu, under Narasimhan, had shaped my language and outlook during my school times.

Later I had a love-hate relationship with the paper as N.Ram had taken over as the editor. I had written many ‘Letters to the Editor’, several of them having been published, on various issues mostly criticizing the editorial stance of the paper. I continued following the paper wherever I have been working from across the globe. If there was one issue where The Hindu’s stance was, in my opinion, correct, then it was on the murderous LTTE.

In the distant past, ‘Frontline’ – The Hindu’s sister publication, though a staunch left leaning magazine, had kept me enthralled when it had R.K.Narayan’s articles while ‘The Hindu’ itself had articles by Art Buchwald, Gangadhar and a whole lot of other luminaries who had provided constant and staple fodder for me to quench my linguistic and humor appetite. Its coverage on ‘History’ and ‘Heritage’ had no parallel.

How could one forget the brilliant investigative journalism on Bofor’s Scandal by N.Ram and Chitra Subramaniam? ‘Where have those standards gone?’ has been a question I have not been able to find an answer from The Hindu.

It embarked on a novel and praiseworthy idea of a ‘Reader’s Editor’ modeled on The Guardian of the U.K. Except for the first Reader’s Editor, the other two gentlemen have left much to be desired in terms of standards and policies. Lesser said on this aspect, the better.

In the recent past, the paper has gradually deteriorated and has become a completely anti-national document, with many of its editors being chosen based on their degree of animosity towards right-wing political thought in general and India in particular. With the exit of columnists like P.Sainath and Praveen Swami, the once educative column spaces were increasingly consigned to the dustbins of left thought and rhetoric.

Today, I stand bewildered at the totally unacceptable stance of the paper on the JNU issue and earlier on the Award-Wapasi drama. The Hindu has become more virulent and acerbic than it has even been in the past.

The paper has, in my opinion, reached its nadir in editorial content and standard, the depths of hatred in terms of its views on right-wing political thought and opinion. Towards India, its stance has turned even more pungent and downright seditious.

The Hindu having thus turned despicable in every sense, I hereby consign it to the dustbins of hatred and animosity.

Unless The Hindu’s editors and ownership change, the paper is irredeemable.

I feel sorry for the paper, its nationalist founders and the friends who work there.

I feel I have lost a childhood friend, for I have narrated several instances from my growing-up years pertaining to The Hindu in my book ‘Monday is not Tuesday‘.

Jai Hind.

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21 thoughts on “On losing a childhood friend,'The Hindu'

  1. I fully agree with you. When I was studying in 8th Standard (1961- 62), my father started getting The Hindu, saying that, it will shape my English. Everyday evening, I had to read one different page and explain the content.

    In those days, people used to say that a news item will appear in the paper only if it is it is 100% correct. The paper will publish a news only after double checking. The policy of the paper then was ” our job is to present news as they happen . It is upto the Reader to form his opinion.”

    But after a left leaning person became the Editor, everything changed.

    Repeatedly the paper publish regrets for what was published; spelling mistakes are aplenty; it has become “sensational” and publish more trash news; instead of presenting news, it presents it’s opinion and want to shape readers’ views.

    Reader’s Editor is just a page filling exercise. About Editorial, I do not want to comment.

    In short the paper is going downhill.

    R.Ramaswami

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    1. Your opinion is true.
      Will wait for this year’s Holy and set both Front line and that day’s Hindu on fire ,send some ashes to N,RAM and rest of the ashes will get a holy burial in the Ganges

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  2. You have exactly shared my feelings about the newspaper. I have been a reader of this paper from early 1970s. I feel I am addicted to it in spite of its shortcomings pointed out in the post. That is because there are still some worthwhile features like Open Page, Arts and Culture, Faith column and the space and variety available in Letters to the Editor Column. As correctly told as long as Ram is in the helm of affairs the paper wildlife this.

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  3. I fully concur with the feelings and thoughts expressed by you. The same thought has been in my mind for the past several years. I’m proud to say that I have been a regular reader of the newspaper since 1977 and I think it is high time for every right thinking persons to stop reading this newspaper that has turned anti-Hindu, anti-national and ‘pro-minority’, by continuing these policies, principles and ideologies unabashed. Already, Times of India is giving a run for its money and soon, the newspaper will die a natural death which of course will be sad chapter, insofar as the long, cherished history of the newspaper during pre-Independence era and thereafter until early 1990s. As you have rightly remarked, I too have enjoyed reading the special articles/columns like ‘Slices of Life’ by Gangadhar, New Delhi news by G K Reddy, ‘Between you and me’ by K. Subrahmanyam, news item on religious discourses on the last page and ‘Letters to the Editor’ that improved our English vocabulary and enriched our general knowledge too. During the times of Seshadri and Narasimhan, the newspaper enjoyed unrivaled reputation and today, alas, to what level it has fallen? As you have rightly remarked, unless the ownership and management of the newspaper change, its slow death is inevitable.

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      1. If I am right, controlling interest of The Hindu is already in the hands of a Swiss Investing Team, which  controlled by Rome. The team is slowly spreading its tentacles in Indian Media. Pongum Mangalam Engum Thanguga. R.Ramaswami

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  4. Yes. I agree with Sh A,Devanathan. I have been a reader of the Hindu for the past 50 years or so. Initially I was reading the SportsColumn, the brief religious discourse of eminen t scholars and the editorial . I owe my command in English(if any) to the Hindu. Since I am staying in Bangalore and The Hindu is delivered at a small cost(AnnualSubscription of Rs.499) I am still a subscriber. But I do not approrve or agree with the views expressed by the Editor or other correspondents of the paper. Its name may be rechristened as ANTI HINDU for its ANTI HINDU approach. The forefathers of the Hindu will b e turning in their grave feeling sad for the present state of affairs of the paper.

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  5. Shocking but true……

    INTERESTING ARTICLE ON OWNERSHIP OF MEDIA …..ONE MUST READ
    Who owns the media in India ?……?

    Let us see the ownership of different media agencies.

    NDTV: A very popular TV news media is funded by Gospels of Charity in Spain Supports Communism. Recently it has developed a soft corner towards Pakistan because Pakistan President has allowed only this channel to be aired in Pakistan . Indian CEO Prannoy Roy is co-brother of Prakash Karat, General Secretary of the Communist party of India . His wife and Brinda Karat are sisters.

    India Today :Which used to be the only national weekly which supported BJP is now bought by NDTV!! Since then the tone has changed drastically and turned into Hindu bashing.

    CNN-IBN: This is 100 percent funded by Southern Baptist Church with its branches in all over the world with HQ in US.. The Church annually allocates $800 million for promotion of its channel. Its Indian head is Rajdeep Sardesai and his wife Sagarika Ghosh.

    Times group list:
    Times Of India, Mid-Day, Nav-Bharth Times, Stardust, Femina, Vijay Times, Vijaya Karnataka, Times now (24- hour news channel) and many more…

    Times Group is owned by Bennet & Coleman. ‘World Christian Council’ does 80 percent of the Funding, and an Englishman and an Italian equally share balance 20 percent. The Italian Robertio Mindo is a close relative of Sonia Gandhi.

    Star TV: It is run by an Australian, who is supported by St. Peters Pontifical Church Melbourne.

    Hindustan Times: Owned by Birla Group, but hands have changed since Shobana Bhartiya took over. Presently it is working in Collaboration with Times Group.

    The Hindu: English daily, started over 125 years has been recently taken over by Joshua Society, Berne , Switzerland .. N. Ram’s wife is a Swiss national.

    Indian Express: Divided into two groups. The Indian Express and new Indian Express (southern edition) ACTS Christian Ministries have major stake in the Indian Express and latter is still with the Indian counterpart.

    Eeenadu: Still to date controlled by an Indian named Ramoji Rao. Ramoji Rao is connected with film industry and owns a huge studio in Andhra Pradesh.

    Andhra Jyothi: The Muslim party of Hyderabad known as MIM along with a Congress Minister has purchased this Telugu daily very recently.

    The Statesman: It is controlled by Communist Party of India.

    Kairali TV: It is controlled by Communist party of India (Marxist)

    Mathrubhoomi: Leaders of Muslim League and Communist leaders have major investment.

    Asian Age and Deccan Chronicle: Is owned by a Saudi Arabian Company with its chief Editor M.J. Akbar.

    Gujarat riots which took place in 2002 where Hindus were burnt alive, Rajdeep Sardesai and Bharkha Dutt working for NDTV at that time got around 5 Million Dollars from Saudi Arabia to cover only Muslim victims, which they did very faithfully…

    Not a single Hindu family was interviewed or shown on TV whose near and dear ones had been burnt alive in Godra,

    it is reported.
    Tarun Tejpal of < Tehelka.com regularly gets blank cheques from Arab countries to target BJP and Hindus only, it is said.

    The ownership explains the control of media in India by foreigners. The result is obvious.

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  6. I just happened to read your blog on The Hindu. A very well articulated one and it states the view of thousands of readers (or, ex-readers!). It is ironic that Mr. Ram, while an avowed Communist (Wikipedia used to state that he was a Card-Carrying Communist member but it is removed now), lives in the penthouse, living high and mighty, yet preaches Communistic ideals. He lives in his own world; has forgotten or refuses to see that Communism as we know it is dead.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I fully agree. The contents of The Hindu have to be treated with utter disdain. There is only one reason I still buy it – to look at the OBITUARY column. This is the only way I get to know who among my relatives have left for the next journey!

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  8. I fully agree with sentiments expressed. The Hindu has stopped being a neutral observer and editorial page is highly biased and anti establishment and projects virulent form of leftist propaganda. Articles by only JNU and Delhi university staff are published while the country has many eminent personalities from other places. It has stopped publishing letters to the editor pointing out the bias in editorials and articles. The neutral stance, objectivity and fair reporting is gone now.

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