“I did not study too much, just read The Hindu newspaper word to word. I loved it.
“I read the newspaper, I wrote the exam.
“I did not shut myself in to study for hours. I continued reading the papers,” he said, adding that his mother, who also loves newspapers and reading was his main inspiration.”
Although integrity is not exactly rocketing skywards in the Indian media, declaration of assets is anathema to most journalists. The Editors Guild of India (EGI) has periodically tried to bring up the issue but in vain. So, honesty and accountability is a largely voluntary affair.
How heartwarming, therefore, that the maverick business journalist Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar should open his family books to make the point that it is not just Gujarat-based Adani alone that has benefitted most from Narendra Modi‘s rise but midcap stocks like those held by his family members, too (see graphic).
Let the record show that Aiyar’s grandfather and the grandfather of veteran Bihar Congressman Rameshwar Thakur ran a chartered accountancy firm in Karachi in the early 20th century under the masthead “Thakur, Aiyar & Associates”, which paid 97 per cent in income tax.
Infographic: courtesy The Economic Times
Read the full article: Market boom not led by Modi‘s cronies
The national gallery of modern art (NGMA) in the capital is playing host to an exhibition by the architect Raj Rewal. And among the many works on display is Rewal’s design for the residence of the former editor of The Times of India, Sham Lal in New Delhi’s Gulmohar Park area.
A true man of letters, Mr Sham Lal wrote a weekly editorial-page column titled “Life and Letters”.
When T.N. Shanbag the owner of Strand Book Stall in Bombay passed away, Namita Devidayal wrote in The Times of India:
“There was a time when the senior editors of The Times of India would go to Strand after lunch, browse and catch up with Shanbhag, and then stroll back through the arched arcades of Dadabhoy Naoroji Road, as part of their daily constitutional.
“‘Sham Lal’s wife hated me because he spent all his time and money on books,’ Mr Shanbhag used to joke about the former Times editor.
In her book on The Times, Bachi Karkaria wrote:
When Sham Lal retired, the newsroom (which he had never stepped into) gave him a farewell. It was held in the 6th floor canteen where the aam janata, not ‘invited’ to the august directors’ lunch room, ate.
Sham Lal was seldom seen in the latter, so he probably did not even known of the existence of the former. He was escorted up in the lift and into the huge hall. News editor, chief reporter, subs, peons, all sung his fulsome (sic) praises. The quiet but universally admired editor was presented ‘floral tributes’ and a salver.
Then the master of ceremonies grandly announced, ‘Now Mr Sham Lal will give a speech.’ Sham Lal slowly shuffled to his feet, cleared his throat, and as the packed hall waited in anticipation for an outpouring of enlightenment from the man who had attained intellectual nirvana, he merely said, ‘Thank you’. Then he went back to his chair and sat down….
At a party in Mumbai, Sham Lal was cornered by a large, garrulous American woman. After a 15-minute monologue, she stopped mid-flow and asked, “Am I boring you?” and Sham Lal replied with extreme and genuine courtesy, “Yes I am afraid you are.”
An epitome of an ivory-tower editor, Mr Sham Lal was once famously accosted in the ToI corridors by a studious looking young man as he stepped out.
“Who are you?” he is said to have asked the young man.
“Sir, I am your assistant editor.”
Also read: Man who educated Bombay journalists is dead
There’s more sleaze in Congress cupboard
Congress leaders are in a state of shock over revelations on Digvijay Singh‘s secret love life with a married TV journalist. They are worried that more such skeletons will tumble out of their leaders’ cupboards.
There are indications that BJP supporters may soon release sex and sleaze information about two Central ministers involved with two journalists.
As is only to be expected, a number of journalists figure in former Economic Times, Times of India and Financial Express journalist Sanjaya Baru‘s book ‘The Accidental Prime Minister‘ (Penguin), on his days as the PM’s media advisor.
In May 2005, as the UPA approached its first anniversary, reports began to appear that the PM was reviewing the performance of his ministers.
On 9 May, when he was in Moscow, NDTV ran a story that external affairs minister Natwar Singh had secured a ‘low’ score on the PM’s ‘report card’ and was likely to be dropped from the Cabinet.
Natwar was most unhappy and took the day off on ‘health grounds’.
This news reached the PM in Moscow when he was in the midst of a briefing at his hotel. He asked me to find out what exactly NDTV had reported.
When I brief him he burst out angrily, ‘Tell Prannoy to stop reporting these lies.’
I called Prannoy Roy and had just begun speaking to him when the PM asked for my mobile phone and spoke to Prannoy himself, scolding him like he was chiding a student who had erred, saying, ‘This is not correct. You cannot report like this.’
Indeed, the relationship between him and Pranny was not that of a PM and senior media editor but more like that of a former boss and a one-time junior,. This was because Prannoy had worked as an economic adviser in the miistry of finance under Dr Singh.
After a few minutes, Prannoy called me back.
‘Are you still with him?’ he asked
I stepped out of the room and told him that I was now alone.
‘Boy, I have not been scolded like that since school! He sounded like a headmaster, not a prime minister,’ complained Prannoy.
Rupert Muroch (of Star TV and News Corp) tried a trick to secure an appointment (with the PM).
Having failed on one occasion to meet Dr Singh, he made a second attempt by letting it be known that he was not interested in talking about his media business. Rather, he wanted to talk about China.
The PM was amused and granted him an appointment. Murdoch did duscuss China and explained where he saw China going. But, as he got up to leave, he expressed the hope that the Indian government would be more receptive to his media plan than China had been.
Within the PMO, (former national security advisor) Mani Dixit’s imperious style inevitably came into conflict with my own more freewheeling and irreverent style of functioning.
Our first disagreement was on who could travel with the PM on his official plane.
Seeing the name of Times of India journalist Siddharth Varadarajan, who later served as editor of The Hindu, on the media list, Mani sent me a note informing me that Siddharth was not an Indian national but an American citizen and, as a foreign national, was not entitled to travel on the PM’s plane.
I was aware of Siddharth’s citizenship, since this matter had come up when I had hired him as an assistant editor of the Times of India.
I chose not to make an issue of it then and Samir Jain, vice chairman of Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd, the publishers of The Times of India, who took particular interest in the hiring of editorial writers, did not object either. Now the matter had surfaced again.
I arranged a series of breakfast meetings with important editors, publishers and TV anchors. As an early riser Dr Singh would schedule his breakfast meetings for half past eight being late to bed and late to rise, editors and TV anchors would protest but turn up on time.
When I invited a group of publishers, the only ones to arrive late were Shobhana Bhartia of Hindustan Times because, as she tole me, she took a long time to dry her hair and Indu Jain, chairperson of the Times of India, because she had to finish her morning puja.
Also read: Kuldip Nayar on Shekhar Gupta, N. Ram & Co
The BJP’s “prime ministerial candidate” Narendra Modi has, at best, enjoyed a tenuous relationship with the media and media professionals.
Although media houses which he spurned are now eating out of his hands, the Gujarat chief minister continues to be generally more comfortable with owners, whom he gives helicopter rides or calls on personally while visiting their cities.
Simha, who created a stir with his blazing Saturday columns at the Rajeev Chandrasekhar–owned Kannada Prabha and previously at the Times of India–owned Vijaya Karnataka, was the alleged target of a “terror” plot in 2012, in which a journalist was named. The police claim, however, fell flat.
Let the record show that a journalist who had never seen the sun rise, now begins his day at 6 am.
Let the record also show that at extreme left is the former Karnataka minister S.A. Ramadas, whose threat to commit suicide was caught on live television.
Photograph: Karnataka Photo News
Mainstream Indian (print) editors today are usually at their nattiest best, wearing carefully chosen Fab India kurtas if not designer clothes, trendy watches and slick spectacles, with not a strand out of place on their mane.
Guess who this newspaper editor is?