The library has become an endangered section in Indian media houses in the age of the internet—and in a business culture populated by philistines that frowns upon the concept of a “newspaper of record”.
But India’s original newspaper of record, The Hindu, has just shown the invaluable role a well-maintained archive can play in shaping (and reshaping) a country’s discourse.
A specially constituted group of ministers recently cited “contemporary news reports” (of The Hindu‘s legendary political correspondent, G.K. Reddy) to exonerate former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi‘s role in release of Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson in the aftermath of the Bhopal gas disaster.
The readers’ editor of The Hindu, S. Vishwanathan, had only the previous day dredged up old files to reveal G.K. Reddy’s reporting from 1984 on the story.
Now, The Hindu has pulled out its issues of December 8 and 9, 1984 to show that the GOM’s conclusions is “either a careless misreading of the reports or, more likely, a clumsy attempt at a cover-up.”
The paper’s report shows that Anderson was taken into protective custody after the central government’s intervention; that although Rajiv Gandhi was not consulted, he was “informed” of the release; and that the group of minister’s claim that there were no records of who Anderson met, was a big lie.
Read the full story: Bhopal: sloppiness or coverup?
Image: courtesy The Hindu