Those who live by the media shall die by it, was not what the editor-in-chief of the Harijan said. But he would well have had he been around in the era of Suhel Seth. The adman cum image consultant cum lobbyist cum columnist cum TV regular, who counts media bigwigs and gasbags among his many admirers, has known nothing but a fawning press.
But a scalding review of the balding Seth’s book Get to the Top by the Indian Express journalist turned Business Standard journalist, Mihir S. Sharma, in the latest issue of the monthly magazine Caravan, has seen the boarding school-boy from St. Paul’s school, Darjeeling, lose his shirt and civility—and on Twitter.
Seth called Caravan a magazine no one reads and the Harvard-educated Sharma an unemployed economist sacked from every job he has held. As blogosphere heated up, Seth, who was recently sued by tobacco major ITC for Rs 200 crore for a set of similarly senseless tweets, got the message and pulled out the tweets.
Thankfully, Caravan senior editor Jonathan Shainin has captured the exchanges between author and critic for posterity.
Screenshots: courtesy Jonathan Shainin/ Caravan
Read the review: The Age of Seth
Journalistic tongues in Delhi have wagged unabashedly after finding the voices of Vir Sanghvi, Barkha Dutt and Prabhu Chawla in the Niira Radia tapes in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, but the first big piece of action seems to have come from Tamil Nadu in the deep south.
The residence of A. Kamaraj, the associate editor of the Tamil bi-weekly Nakkheeran that shot to fame during the reign of the forest brigand Veerappan, has been raided in Madras’s tony Besant Nagar locality.
Kamaraj is said to be a close friend of A. Raja, the disgraced telecom minister who is alleged to be at the centre of the Rs 173,000 crore scam.
Kamaraj first hit the headlines in 1993 after he accused the English newsweekly India Today of infringing on its copyright, by carrying an interview with Veerappan, which had actually been conducted by its correspondent Shiva Subramaniam. That interview appeared in IT with the joint byline of Raj Chengappa, now editor of The Tribune in Chandigarh.
Kamaraj has often found himself in the middle of defamation cases.
In 2003, his house raided was in a prevention of terrorism act (POTA) case for supporting banned pro-LTTE groups.
Ironically, last year, Kamraj, along with his editor R.R. Gopal, had been sentenced to two years in jail in a defamation case involving then Union minister A. Raja.
The renewed violence on the streets of Kashmir—against the presence of armed forces, the stifling of free movement and speech, the alienation of the State and the humiliation of the people—is not sparing journalists on the job, too.
Samar Halarnkar of the Hindustan Times reports in today’s paper that…
“A friend’s husband, the chief of bureau of a national television channel, was recently made to get out of his car and sweep the streets — this on a day there was no curfew.”
Elsewhere in the same paper, correspondent Taufiq Rashid writes in a New Delhi datelined story:
Asif Qureshi, bureau chief of Star News, was recently made to clear stones on the roadside by the CRPF. “All Kashmiris represent stone-pelters for securitymen,” he said. “They asked me to clear the road, telling me my brethren had thrown them.”
And to think that Star News belongs to the world’s biggest media baron, Rupert Murdoch.
Photograph: via Facebook
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 article: On the Kafila debate
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