Reading 'The Hindu' for obituary

My English posts usually get only mediocre response from Tamil readers. But all of a sudden it all changed.

Hits and comments increased exponentially.

I am flabbergasted at the response to my two posts on The Hindu. Many retired professors have written to me, agreeing to all the views and emotions that I had expressed. Many elderly people, who have had more than 40 years of association with the paper, have written.

I see that these readers have visited my blog for the first time. They have got the link from their friends and colleagues who have had this deep sense of hurt at the decline and rot of the paper – especially the rot perpetrated by the communist leaning Ram and his cohorts.

I was pleasantly surprised when two emails were from ex-employees of the paper. They had praised the employee related policies of the paper but, with great similarity, expressed displeasure at the editorial policy and the general attitude of the editorial staff, with N.Ram at the helm.

A reader was so genuine in his comment that I had goosebumps. He said,’I read The Hindu nowadays just for the obituary columns to know if anyone known to me has passed away.’ This is a completely true sentiment as it has been a practice in Tambrahm families to let look out for the obit column first. I had an entire story on this in my ‘Monday is not Tuesday‘ collection.

Thank you readers. I am glad that the posts have touched some hearts across the globe.

Yes, The Hindu needs to be saved and the only way, I think, is to bombard the paper with articles refuting their ‘erudite’ articles from left leaning historians and columnists.

Sample this stupidity in yesterday’s paper: Prof.Iran Habib, a well known left-leaning historian, in a so-called scholarly article, states that ‘The concept of Bharat Mata is an European import.’ How far from truth does hatred carry this ‘intellectual’? Poet Bharati has sung in praise of Bharat Mata. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and Tagore have praised. Are they European? We give feminine names to rivers since time immemorial. Is that also European? Poet Kamban and Thiruvalluvr have equated land to patient and gentle ladies. Indian culture sees earth as Bhooma Devi, a female consort of Lord Vishnu. So, are Vedas and Puranas European too?

The paper is being molested everyday by these semi-literate, hatred spewing columnists who masquerade as historians.

The time might not be ripe for a crowd funding take over of the paper. But with such increasing write-ups opposing The Hindu’s editorial stand and general opinion articles, The Hindu will have to turn a new leaf. The other option is to suffer reader apathy.

Until then, let us continue our close scrutiny of the paper and its policies. Of course, keep looking out for obituaries in the paper, for there might be nothing else worthwhile.

Earlier articles about The Hindu are here and here.

Can we save The Hindu?

The Hindu’s financial woes, brought out by ‘Thehoot.org’, makes a sad reading. Not only has the paper become editorially stupid and hence blatantly anti-national, but also fiscally imprudent and hence financially unviable. While I would rejoice at the death of its current editorial policy, I wouldn’t be happy at the demise of the paper, for the 130 year old paper has a hoary history that dates back to pre-independence times that many others in India don’t.

It is a given that its owners and editors are virulent CPI(M) card holders by virtue of which they can’t read the market and understand its economics. The more they are blinded by ideology and hatred, the more impossible it becomes for them to understand the mood and the market. Hence the paper is more likely to die a slow death like that of the erstwhile Soviet Union.

But that needs a Ronald Reagan. Who, in the current situation, could be a Reagan? I don’t see anybody in the current Indian media situation. The Indian Express has its own woes to confront and hence does not have the financial wherewithal. The Times of India could be a contender, for it could muster some strength and initiate a take-over. But the TOI is happy to be a Tabloid than a newspaper and it would bring about the decline in standards of The Hindu that has been left un-touched by the CPI-M card holders.

Could the Hindustan Times group vie for it? That looks like a possibility, for HT does not have a base in Tamil Nadu. If another news paper does not take over The Hindu, then it would, sooner or later, pass into the hands of some non-media corporate or a foreign media group. That would, without doubt, bring the paper’s contribution to arts and culture to a quick end.

Could The Hindu not go public and raise funds? That would be a rational course of action. It could do so but its owners would not be willing to part with the legacy of the paper. They would want to kill the paper but not hand it over to the public. All tall talk on communism, joint-ownership et al are for public consumption and does not apply to private profits.

So what could the long time and erstwhile readers ( myself included ) do? Wait and watch? I don’t think so.

However far fetched it might look, I am for creating a crowd-funded private entity to initiate a takeover of the paper. But before that let the financials worsen a bit more, advertisements dry out and government ads stop. That will bring the current owners to their knees and start searching for suitors.

I am not an expert on Mergers and Acquisitions. My views could have stemmed from my long association with the paper as its reader. But doesn’t the crowd-fund approach look promising?

Are there any other options? Experts please advise.

The Hoot news item on The Hindu’s financials.