Daily Archives: 14 April 2008

Muh mein Ram, Ram. Bagal mein R.K. Laxman?!

On the day The Times of India launched in Madras, Bellur Ramakrishna steps across the ‘Laxman rekha‘ to see what the “prim, proper, orthodox, conservative, enlightened” reader of The Hindu is peering at.

Also read: The right paper—no political pun intended


‘The right paper—no political pun intended’

The Times of India has launched in Madras with a 56-page edition (priced at Rs 2) comprising a 24-page main edition, and a 16-page city tabloid, Chennai Times. (The Hindu, which disdainfully refused to get into the price war when Deccan Chronicle launched with a one-rupee edition, has dropped its weekday coverprice to Rs 2.50.)

The paper’s executive editor Jaideep Bose writes in the wraparound “Good Morning Chennai, It’s an honour to be here”:

We will be completely honest and sincere in our effort to measure up to your expectations. When we make a mistake, we will not shy away from owning up to it. We have not come to Chennai for quick gains. We are here to stay, through good times and bad….

“We are a paper that is constantly at the cutting edge of change but also fiercely proud of our 170-year-old heritage. For although The Times of India has transformed itself in line with the changing needs of our readers, our core values remain constant. Our cornerstone: to serve our readers. We have no political agenda, no political ideology and no political masters. We hope to be the right paper for you, no political pun intended. We seek to be respected for our journalistic excellence, and over time, loved as a friend who has your best interests at heart.”

Also read: The greatgrandmother of all newspaper battles

Rest in peace: Jyoti Sanyal

Sans Serif records with regret the passing away of editor, teacher, writer and language terrorist, Jyoti Sanyal, in Calcutta on Saturday, 12 April 2008.

A former assistant editor with The Statesman, whose stylebook he wrote, Sanyal spent 30 years in the Calcutta newspaper, where he gained a well-earned reputation, in his own words, of being “hot-headed, choleric and impatient.”

As the paper’s editor Ravindra Kumar writes:

“Mercurial and acerbic, Jyoti favoured a personal style that rubbed many people the wrong way. It wasn’t enough to correct someone who, in his view, was talking nonsense; he did so with a raised eyebrow and a sneer that was intended to leave his victim in tatters.”

Over the last decade, he left a lasting imprint on the minds of hundreds of journalism students and student journalists. In 1997, he played a key role in the setting up of the Asian College of Journalism in Bangalore, of which he became dean. He later set up the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, also in Bangalore.

In recent times, Sanyal had made it his life’s mission to encourage people “to use good contemporary English instead of Raj-day commercialese”. In 2006, he wrote Indlish, a 418-page book on the hotpotch of languages, expressions, meaningless fads “we, 80 millions” like to think is English.

Read the Mid Day obituary here: Enemy of the cliche

The Statesman tribute: A man of style, and great substance

Interview: David Juman in conversation

Tribute: Viju Hegde on her teacher

Visit Jyoti Sanyal’s blog: Plainly Speaking

Photograph: Sanyal (middle) with two titans of Indian journalism, M.J. Akbar (left) and T.J.S. George (courtesy Mid Day)