Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Something or the other...

Hey, I hope everyone had a great Holi, got pissed and passed out and didn't drive on the roads, I'm thinking sobreity is a good idea for a while. Will do a quick round-up of news, it seems that M.J has headed back to ABP as Group Editorial Boss, meanwhile with him out of the way, Ram Reddy is investing heavily in new people and resources on Financial Chronicle (Arun Roy Chowdhury is going to the place, we are reliably informed) and is also beefing up Deccan Chronicle in Chennai and Hyderabad waiting for the Times Group assault. Meanwhile, at ABP itself things are a bit shaky, and we aren't just talking about the business magazine but the venerable Bengali paper which is under threat from a whole host of small start-ups across the state. The English paper on the other hand is fighting a losing battle with the Times across the eastern corridor.
Up north, of course as the unmitigated disaster continues in EchTee, some people wrote in asking what I have against the paper. Nothing, actually. HT is where I learnt my trade and I still love the place, which is why is possibly pains me to see the haphazard direction the place is taking editorially. The place needs a bootstrap editor, someone young-ish, from outside and someone who can break the cliques and cabals. What is scary is that the paper is displaying all the symptoms of 'Indian Express-itis'. Older folks might remember that paper in the eighties and early nineties, before the downward spiral began. The problem with any decline is just that, once it gathers momentum, it will nigh-high impossible to stop it.
And then there is The Hindu. Yes, we understand that you feel that the Tibet issue is as sensitive to China as the Arunachal issue is to Indians. Arunachal has always been a part of India, even though you guys find that difficult to fathom, saying anything to the contrary would be treasonous. But, most Indians, including your readers have a slight 'fear' of the Chinese. We have always supported the Tibetans, in a geopolitical sense, because we want to constantly prick the Chinese. Until a few days ago, all was good, but then you guys started quoting Xinhua like it was the gospel truth. It is like saying PTI is the gospel truth - in bad English. China has come down on the protestors with a hard hand, so the paper should say so and avoid taking an editorial line on it maybe, but still say so.
But, here is the strange thing, I doubt many Tibetan refugees, a majority of whom have been born and brought up in India would want to go 'home' now. This country has a strange way of assimilating people and while some of them would love to go home to an 'independent' Tibet, I'm rather certain that 'independence' is not going to happen, and New Delhi is wary of the chaos that would have in the North-East, which we finally quelled with the coup in Bangladesh. Autonomy on the other hand is a distinct possibility, but China is a fairly Federal nation already, so I would figure there needs to be some amount of devolution with ethnic Tibetans getting more powers, much like Russia has done in its trouble-spots. A lot of Chinese are very bugged at the West using this incident, or any incident to beat them down. And being an Indian, weirdly enough, I completely sympathise because illiterate white trash always looks for an opportunity to say how Chinese and Indians are stealing their jobs or something or the other.
However, as I mentioned in the previous post, it is rather remarkable at how information finds a way of leaking out, no matter how strict the government sieve. So, government's like ours shouldn't do stupid things like wanting to shut down Blackberry services, so that they could ostensibly monitor emails for 'security' reasons. Methinks that Madamji believes that by 'tapping' Blackberry devices she could get an idea of how Rajya Sabha seats will be decided. However, the funniest bit is that our Government admits it does not have the processing power to decrypt Blackberry messages and has asked for reduced encryption.
Anyway, back to the week and we have some interesting things from ToI coming up.

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