Posts Tagged ‘Arundhati Roy’

‘Rabid, right-wing, Fox News on Acid.’ Yet 74%?

25 February 2011

A news item on the business pages of The Times of India:

Times Now most viewed during PM press conference

Mumbai: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s televised news conference last week was most watched on Times Now. According to rating agency TAM, 74% viewers among 25-plus males in big cities watched the PM on Times Now. Competitor NDTV 24X7 had 4% viewership and CNN-IBN 2% in the same segment.

***

Meanwhile, the writer-academic Amitava Kumar interviews the writer-activist Arundhati Roy for the American arts and politics magazine, Guernica.

In the introduction to the interview, Kumar writes:

We
Have to be
Very
Careful
These Days
Because…

“That is what I read on the little green, blue, and yellow stickers on the front door of Arundhati Roy’s home in south Delhi. Earlier in the evening I had received a message from Roy asking me to text her before my arrival so that she’d know that the person at her door wasn’t from Times Now. Times Now is a TV channel in India that Roy memorably described, for non-Indian readers, as “Fox News on acid.” The channel’s rabidly right-wing anchor routinely calls Roy “provocative” and “anti-national.”

“Last year, when a mob vandalized the house in which Roy was then living, the media vans, including one from Times Now, were parked outside long before the attack began. No one had informed the police. To be fair, Times Now wasn’t the only channel whose OB Van was parked in front of Roy’s house. But that too is a part of the larger point Roy has been making.

“Media outlets are not only complicit with the state, they are also indistinguishable from each other. The main anchor of a TV channel writes a column for a newspaper, the news editor has a talk show, etc. Roy told me that the monopoly of the media is like watching “an endless cocktail party where people are carrying their drinks from one room to the next.”

Then, in response to a question from Amitava Kumar on the move to arrest her on grounds of sedition for advocating azadi (freedom) for Kashmir, Arundhati Roy responds:

“Interestingly, the whole thing about charging me for sedition was not started by the Government, but by a few right-wing crazies and a few irresponsible media channels like Times Now which is a bit like Fox News on acid. Even when the Mumbai attacks happened, if you remember it was the media that began baying for war with Pakistan. This cocktail of religious fundamentalism and a crazed, irresponsible, unaccountable media is becoming a very serious problem, in India as well as Pakistan. I don’t know what the solution is. Certainly not censorship…”

Read the full article: The un-victim

Also read: Arnab Goswami edges out Barkha Dutt on power list

It happened one night on the day of the eclipse…

Times Now, Times Now, Times Now, Times Now

In its golden jubilee year, ET gets a new design

18 February 2011

Quietly, almost as if it doesn’t want anybody to notice, India’s oldest and largest business paper,The Economic Times, has undergone a redesign. On top is the front page of the launch issue of the paper in its new avatar (Monday, 14 February 2011) and below is the paper from exactly a week before.

The pagination of the paper from The Times of India stable, which turns 50 this year, remains more or less the same. There are no new pages or sections. In other words, old wine in slick new bottle is enough to ward off the design challenge posed by the Hindustan Times‘ business paper, Mint.

The key changes are in the colour of the masthead from blue to black; new headline fonts; a tighter body font taking it closer towards the body font of ToI; and plenty of icons and logos, even in headlines. Keen observers of design will notice subtle shades of inspiration from designs of The Guardian, The Observer and International Herald Tribune.

The top-secret redesign, which has been subtly introduced sans announcement, has reportedly been executed by Itu Chaudhuri Associates, which designed the original template for Open magazine and was behind some of India’s best book covers in the late 1990s, including Arundhati Roy‘s Booker Prize winning God of Small of Things.

Images: courtesy The Economic Times

Also read: Good heavens, another Mario Garcia redesign

Yet another paper redesigned by Mario Garcia

How come Mario Garcia didn’t redesign this one?

Finally, a redesign not done by Mario Garcia

Less is better for the new, redesigned rediff.com

‘Indian TV in grip of a small, incestuous clique’

8 November 2010

The Booker Prize winning author-turned-activist Arundhati Roy in an interview with The Times of India Crest edition:

Q: Does the Indian media offer sufficient space for dissenting voices?

A: Much of the mainstream media has been captured by a small clique of columnists, editors and TV anchors, an incestuous little coterie with shows on each others’ channels and interviews in each others’ newspapers. Even the guests on the TV shows are the same old people.

Day in and day out, they chatter away, saying things that comfort each other even when they appear to be shouting at one another. It’s amusing and grim at the same time. Sometimes, it’s like watching an interminable cocktail party. But all is not lost. There are good editors, good journalists, people who are very comfortable with what’s going on.”

Penguin sacks ex-Gentleman, David Davidar

12 June 2010

David Davidar, the former magazine journalist who rose to become publisher of such stellar Indian literary names as Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth, Salman Rushdie, Khushwant Singh and Shobha De, has been sacked from Penguin Canada following charges of sexual harassment.

Davidar, 52, part of the team at the now defunct monthly, Gentleman launched by Minhaz Merchant, has been “asked to leave” the firm after a former rights and contracts director at the company, Lisa Rundle,  “brought an action” against him, Penguin Canada said in Toronto on Friday.

The new statement was in marked contrast to an earlier release on June 8 that suggested Davidar had left the company on his own to return to India to pursue his writing projects and other endeavours. Davidar is the author of two novels, The House of Blue Mangoes and The Emperor of Solitudes.

“I just felt I wanted to see if I could do something other than managing a company,” Davidar, had said in a boiler-plate exit interview. He said he and his wife were planning to return to India to live.

In a new interview, Davidar confirms he had a “friendship with my colleague” that went on for three years but says he is “dismayed Penguin Canada chose to respond to the charges by directing me to leave Penguin”:

“Earlier this week it was announced that I would be leaving Penguin Canada.  At Penguin’s request, I agreed to publicly state that my departure was voluntary.  The truth is that a former colleague accused me of sexual harassment and Penguin terminated my employment.”

Saturday’s Globe and Mail has further details of the scale of the alleged harassment as detailed by Lisa Rundle in her complaint before the Ontario superior court of justice on June 9. It suggests that Rundle was sexually harassed repeatedly over three years culminating in “outright assault” at the Frankfurt book fair last fall.

The accusations are accompanied by quotations from several e-mail messages Davidar allegedly sent to Rundle, whom he described as “utterly gorgeous,” “a vision in pink sipping a champagne cocktail.”

The court statement says:

“At the Frankfurt book fair last October Davidar appeared at Rundle’s hotel room door, ‘wearing excessive cologne, with buttons on his shirt undone down his waist’.

“Lisa stood in her hotel room into which Davidar had bullied his way, with her arms crossed, still near the door, and asked what he needed to discuss. He told her to relax and just let him come in. She refused and said she wanted to go to sleep.

“Rundle claims she climbed on a windowsill to avoid her boss and again asked him to leave. ‘He forcibly pulled her off the ledge and grabbed her by the wrists, forcing his tongue into her mouth’.”

David Davidar, who launched the Indian imprint of Penguin for the Anand Bazaar Patrika (ABP) group, moved to Canada in 2003 as head of Penguin Canada. August 15 is to be his last day at work.

Photograph: courtesy The Globe and Mail, Toronto

***
Read more here:

Toronto Globe & Mail: Davidar forced out

The Star: Davidar was forced to leave Penguin

The National Post: Davidar was asked to leave

Straight.com: Sexual lawsuit filed

Akhand of Swot: David Davidar‘s exit

The media, the message, and the messengers

7 April 2010

The Booker Prize winning author Arundhati Roy‘s 31-page, 19,556-word essay “Walking with the comrades” in Outlook magazine*, has produced a fast and succinct response from the journalistic Twitterati after Tuesday’s dastardly ambush of paramilitary forces by said comrades.

From top, NDTV English group editor Barkha Dutt, Pioneer senior editor Kanchan Gupta, Indian Express columnist Tavleen Singh, former Stardust editor Shobhaa De, and London based freelance writer, Salil Tripathi.  Tripathi also has a finely argued critique of Roy’s piece in The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, the adman turned magazine editor turned columnist Anil Thakraney offers this take on his Facebook status update.

* Disclosures apply

Screenshots: courtesy Twitter

Media’s gravest internal threat is turgid prose

2 April 2010

Arundhati Roy‘s 31-page essay Walking with the comrades in Outlook* has attracted several well-argued and well-deserved critiques (Kafila, Mint, Outlook). But this one by a former newspaper and magazine sub-editor*, in Radical Notes, takes the cake and the bakery for what it does to the English language.

Sample paragraph one:

“There is no doubt the Indian Maoist movement – which has erupted in the sense of pure socio-occupational and physical geography in the agrarian-tribal location – has rendered the externalised imposition of a given Marxological/communistological historiography to define (in discourse) and articulate (in the materiality of lived practice) its struggle uniquely determinate to the specificity of its historico-geographic location redundant. But to assert that it has done so by claiming something that is purely autonomous tribal aspiration and struggle would be equally fallacious. For, tribal identities as they exist and pose themselves in and through struggles – both in areas of Maoist influence as also in sangh parivar-infested tribal areas of especially Orissa and Madhya Pradesh – are formed by being inscribed within the determinate, if not discursive, mode of capital. Those identities and their movements are thus either articulated by the specific configuration of dualised and hierarchised capitalist power, or are responses to the respective historico-geographic specifications of such a general configuration of power.”

Read the full articleOn the Kafila debate

*Disclosures apply

Also read: George Orwell’s six rules for better writing

Sir V.S. Naipaul’s seven rules for writers

William Safire: 18 steps to better writing

Strunk & White: Elements of style

William Zinsser: clarity, brevity, simplicity, humanity

What Kerala journos do at Arundhati Roy presser

20 January 2010

“God’s Own Country”—copywriters’ Kerala—has become out of bounds for lovers at the hands of stentorian moral policemen. Rightwing mobs prevent (adult) Hindu women from going out with (adult) Muslim men. Leftwing mobs pull out (adult) Congress men having a good time with (adult) women.

Paul Zacharia who has written and spoken against those he considers communal, regressive or reactionary was recently attacked by activists of the communist Democratic Youth Federation of India. In an interview with Shobha Warrier of rediff.com, Zacharia holds the troika of Hindu feudalism, sinful Christianity, and Left conservatism for the love jihad.

That, and the media.

Do you consider the media also as intellectual dwarfs?

The media is mediocrity! The best example for mediocrity is the media in Kerala now. It is the media that promoted this new conservatism that is based on sexual jealousy, as if it is the right thing to do. This is what is happening in the last 25-30 years. Most of the newspapers grew in circulation by blowing up the sex stories of many men and women, out of proportion. It was all because of the segregation and sex starvation in society.

On the one side, the media constantly showcased man-woman relationship as prostitution and now, the pseudo-morality of the media is being shared by Left youth organisations like the DYFI, Kerala Students Union… by everybody in Kerala. I am not exaggerating. It is the media that made people look at man-woman relationship with jealousy and perversion.

It was written in a Malayalam magazine that when Arundhati Roy [ Images ] came to Kerala, she refused to attend a press conference. It seems she said, ‘The journalists don’t look at my face but look at my breasts…’

It is very true. She expressed the truth very bluntly. The Kerala society has become very unhealthy in this matter. I don’t know when the people of this state will get sexual maturity.

Read the full interview: ‘There’s a lot of sex starvation in Kerala’

The sad and pathetic decline of Arun Shourie

16 February 2009

SHARANYA KANVILKAR writes from Bombay: Arun Shourie is one of the strangest cases on the Indian intellectual landscape if not its most disappointing. A living, walking, moving advertisement of how rabid ideology can addle even the most riveting of minds, stripping it of all its nuance and pretence; its very soul and humanity.

***

Once a fiery critic of Reliance Industries as editor of the Indian Express, he was happy to deliver a eulogy at Dhirubhai Ambani‘s first death anniversary; even changing the law as minister to benefit Reliance Industries, as alleged by the son of Girilal Jain, the former Times of India editor who held shares in the company, no less.

Once a symbol of middle-class integrity and probity for various scams unearthed his watch, his stint as disinvestment minister was pockmarked with allegation after allegation (although an unattributed Wikipedia entry claims he was ranked “the most outstanding minister of the Atal Behari Vajpayee government” by 100 CEOs).

A slow, scholarly, Chaplinesque demeanour hides a cold, clinical mind that piles the rhetoric and the stereotypes on the poor, the marginalised and the disenfranchised while taking up high faluting positions on terrorism, governance, internal security and such like, through long, meandering essays whose opacity could put cub journalists to shame.

And, as always, selectively twisting and turning the facts to fit his preconceived conclusion, and hoping no one will notice.

To paraphrase Ramachandra Guha, Shourie has become the Arundhati Roy of the right:

“The super-patriot and the anti-patriot use much the same methods. Both think exclusively in black and white. Both choose to use a 100 words when 10 will do. Both arrogate to themselves the right to hand out moral certificates. Those who criticise Shourie are characterised as anti-national, those who dare take on Roy are made out to be agents of the State. In either case, an excess of emotion and indignation drowns out the facts.”

But what should disappoint even his most ardent fans, and there are many young journalists, is how easily and effortlessly a pacifist penman has regressed from “a concerned citizen employing his pen as an effective adversary of corruption, inequality and injustice” (as his Magsaysay Award citation read) to a hate-spewing ideological warrior with fire blazing through his nostrils.

A son of a Gandhian who now openly advocates “two eyes for an eye and a whole jaw for one tooth” with barely any qualms.

***

At a series of lectures in Ahmedabad on Saturday, Shourie bared his fangs some more:

“India is still a passive country when it comes to taking a stand against terrorism….

It should, in fact, take an extremist stance and must prove that it can also create a Kashmir-like situation in Pakistan.

There are many places like Baluchistan, where a Kashmir-like situation can be created but, “hum abhi bhi Panchsheel ke pujari hain (We still worship the tenets of Panchsheel)”….

“Pakistan has been successfully carrying out destruction in India for the last two decades and has still managed to escape problems, while India on every occasion has failed to present a unified response to terrorism and has suffered as a consequence….”

Really?

An eye for an eye? Two eyes for an eye? A jaw for a tooth?

In the name of Vivekananda, should India do unto Pakistan what Pakistan has done to us? Is this a sign of vision on the part of a man who some believe should be the next prime minister, or tunnel vision?

Is such barely disguised hatred and vengeance, hiding behind vedas and upanishads, going to make the subcontinent a better place to live in? Should the people of Pakistan, the poor, the marginalised, the disenfranchised, pay the price for the sins of the generals?

Should a great, ancient civilisation become a cheap, third-rate, neighbourhood bully?

Has Arun Shourie lost more than his soul and humanity?

Has Arun Shourie just lost it?

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu Business Line

Also read: How Shilpa Shetty halted the Chinese incursions

Crossposted on churumuri

‘Azadi advocates should be tried for treason’

24 August 2008

Chandan Mitra, editor-in-chief of The Pioneer and a Rajya Sabha member nominated by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP):

“Last weekend two prominent newspaper columnists [Swaminathan Aiyar in The Sunday Times, and Vir Sanghvi in The Hindustan Times] wrote about the need to think out-of-the-box urging us to seriously consider if it is morally right to hold “unwilling” Kashmiris back in this country.

“I agree with them…. But under no circumstances can Indian citizens be allowed to promote secession.

“Advocating the right of Kashmiris to secede, as a professional female agitator [Arundhati Roy] (who believes the Vajpayee Government staged the December 13, 2001 attack on Parliament) reportedly did in Srinagar, is tantamount to treason and must invite provisions contained in the law relating to waging war against the State.

“Personally, I feel that even publicising such treasonable views, leave alone using dedicated columns to indulge in secessionist propaganda, should invite the charge of promoting terrorism and anti-national activity.”

Read the full column: Better Mush than traitors

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