Reporters look as if they have been stabbed in the back, as if the world as they knew it has come to an end, when their favourite stories and hobby horses are stopped in their tracks by those godawful editors who have “never been in the field” unlike the only Indian living editor who has been a reporter.
Amit Roy, the London correspondent of The Telegraph, Calcutta, and once a reporter with the Daily Telegraph, London, recounts a similar tale of woe from a long time past—concerning Anthony Howard, a former editor of the New Statesman, who died in 2010, aged 76.
“Howard was described as “one of the most acute political commentators of his generation.”
“So he was, but on Indian politics he was not infallible, even though the Left-wing New Statesman has long boasted expertise on India.
“In 1975, when I was in Calcutta on holiday, my father persuaded me to go to Bihar and see Jayaprakash Narayan—“there’s only one story in India.”
“I managed to catch up with JP in deepest Bihar. Initially, he refused to grant an interview but then relented when someone told him I was my father’s son – the two had been close friends in their Bihar days (a card I hadn’t played).
“JP affectionately put an arm round me, told me not to be cross and gave me an interview which lasted from 10 pm till dawn. Alas, the New Statesman “spiked” my long piece because the then unknown JP and his campaign against Indira Gandhi seemed like gobbledegook to Howard.
“Sorry, I was wrong,” he was gracious enough to apologise when we met at a drinks party after the declaration of the Emergency.”
Image: courtesy India Today
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Does journalism have any power any longer?