Newspaper Watch (India) for the month of October 2008. For latest newspaper watch, view homepage

31 October 2008

Lesson of Day

Dhiraj Nayyar talks about the real lesson from global financial crisis - “….need for caution…policies are not an ends in themselves, economic growth and development are. If a small part of free market reform - capital account liberalisation - has to be put on hold for the sake of sustainable growth, so be it…”


30 October 2008

To Editor with Love

Letters to Editor make an interesting view point - at times educative and at times a source of entertainment. Take a look at the two contrasts:

…We are sorry to point out that the editorial has not looked into the documents presented along with the Supplementary Demands for Grants…. The statement that Rs 1,00,000 crore is unaccounted is a thoughtless and baseless statement. The documents presented to Parliament explain each transaction and the source of financing of the transaction. (BS Chauhan Addl. DG (M&C) Ministry of Finance.Financial Express)

….It seems as if Air India (AI) has contracted the common cold —runny nose and everything. But like a spoilt child, it refuses to eat its medicine….Politicians seem to visit Delhi with the regularity of a common man visiting a favourite neighbourhood grocer….(Sushil Siddesh. Mint)

US Presidential Elections 2008

Simon Jenkins feels that “today the outside world, much of it with direct and painful interest in American policy, wants Obama to win…The world prefers him chiefly because he is black, the latter (America) chiefly because he is not Republican. Neither reason is robust…” (Hindu). Where does India stand here? Are India’s strategic & business elite are rooting for McCain? Siddarth Viradarajan explains in the same paper- “……at least he (Bush) was good for India…In contrast, Mr.Obama is seen as less likely to treat India as a special partner..What this simplistic narrative ignores is the broad bipartisan backing that President Bush’s opening up to India enjoys…But if Mr.McCain will be worse for the world as U.S President, this does not mean an Obama presidency will not pose a specific set of challenges to New Delhi..” The writer elaborates on return of CTBT and on Pakistan front.

Whether the big corporate like Obama or not is an non-issue in democratically held Presidential Elections. Nevertheless the craze for Obama among the educated Indians India is definite. However the common man in India is too busy fighting Inflation, corruption, insecurity, non-existent health care and others. All this leave him with no time for Obama or McCain.

But Indian best wishes connects with Obama every day in a special way. Ventatesh reports in Hindustan Times that a temple in Coimbatore has been performing a special puja everyday for safety and success of Obama. It has been on since September 26 to ward evil off from Obama’s destiny. This has been done after drawing Obama’s astrological chart which predicted a ‘lot of tension’ and a rough road ahead of him in the run-up to the elections.


29 October 2008

New Mahatma Gandhi?

As the Presidential elections are nearing the grand finale, most leading commentators have already declared the verdict. Here in India, Obama is an outright winner. Take a look what Venkatesan Vembu has to say - “A week from now, it appears near-certain, Barack Obama will be elected the first president of the world. (That's right, the world.) ... In fact, Obama's political philosophy, persona and posturing draw inspiration to a larger extent from someone more familiar to us as the Mahatma. It may seem ludicrous to talk of Obama and Gandhi in the same breath....But in fact, there's far more that unites them on substantive matters: Obama has himself acknowledged this, noting that in his Senate office, there hangs a portrait of Gandhi as a reminder that transformational change can only come from the bottom up, catalysed by ordinary people coming together to do extraordinary things....It's easy to see why the prospect of an Obama presidency has given rise to a revolution of rising expectations around the world. But the risk with such messianic expectations is that they can rapidly give way to a revolution of rising frustrations...Obama too faces formidable challenges: a collapsing economy and a racially surcharged mood at home, and an America whose power influence around the world is shrinking. He may win this election by campaigning on poetry, but it will take more than moral force to govern in these difficult times. Obama shares many of Gandhi's inspirational qualities, but even he isn't infallible. In his case, the price of failure can be just as brutal”. The rest is fine, but Obama should not meet Mahatma Gandhi’s fate.

28 October 2008

Diwali wished

Today is Diwali- the festival of lights, which signifies the victory of right over wrong. Most newspapers have wished readers Happy Diwali. The editorial of Pioneer comes with the heading- " Have a happy Diwali. Let darkness be dispelled, hope be rekindled". Here there is talk about ripple effects of global financial crisis, runaway inflation and others. But not a word about the flood victims of Kosi, terror victims, weavers of Andhra Pradesh or Banaras, malnourished children.... These poor people are taken for granted here? Only an agenda item to be discussed in seminars and workshops, Right?

Advertisement Watch

Many advertisements too have wished their readers on the occasion of Diwali. Take a look at their punch line- " Celebrate Diwali the bright way" (Delhi Police), "May the festival of lights usher a prosperous new beginning" (BSNL), "Khadi adds to your Diwali celebrations" (Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan), "Sayani Rani wishes all consumers a very happy & prosperous Diwali" (Department of Consumer Affairs. Government of India).
An eye-catching advertisement by Delhi government features a Jalabi (Indian sweet), with punch line- Munch!!! Say no to crackers. Enjoy a cracker-free Diwali". The ad goes on - "...Celebrate Diwali minus crackers...have a pollution free day...". But will appeal have an impact on millions of Indians who will be exploding crackers on Diwali? In fact in some segments of rich, the quantity of crackers underline their affluence, so more the crackers better it is. Nevertheless, what kind of crackers are popular here? According to MetroNow, the one named after women actors- "Bolly Bombs". A shopkeeper is quoted-" Mostly young boys come to purchase crackers which have the covers of Bollywood actresses. In fact, if there is a beautiful face on the crackers box then the sale is better..boxes are priced according to the popularity of the actor." However according to Asian Age -sports stars have replaced actors on crackers. A youngster is quoted- " ...But this year, crackers with names of cricketers have become very popular". Which is more popular - bollywood or sports wood, keep guessing!


27 October 2008

Editorial of Day

The health of parliamentary democracy is not very encouraging- points the editorial of New India Express. It ends- “…As it is, parliament has suffered an erosion of its prestige because of the shouting matches, the invasion of the well of the House and, more shockingly, the display of currency notes with the allegation of bribery . It is the responsibility of all members to ensure that the dignity of the House is not impaired any further by targeting the Speaker seemingly because of the Left’s ideological grouse against him.” (New Indian Express)

Statistics of Day

Most media reports seem to suggest that the policymakers are busy with higher education. But is the primary education taken care of? DNA reports findings of a study conducted by the Delhi-based National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), which reveals that “nearly 50% schools in the state are functioning without a regular headmaster or principal. The survey conducted in September 2006 shows that out of 9,314 state board schools, only 51.51% have a principal or headmaster on regular basis”. Is anyone listening?


26 October 2008

The Big Picture

At 22,000 ft, with temperature falling below -65 degree Celsius, Siachen is the world’s highest and coldest battlefront. Indian Express was recently part of civilian expedition to Siachen glacier( 70 Km trek up the glacier, eight days), which was organized by the Indian army. The paper has devoted two full pages to photographs (by Praveen Khanna) and write up (by Manu Pubby) to the same. “ The Sunday Express presents a glimpse of the resilience and endurance of soldiers on this white line”. A must to read & view.

New York - other side

The financial capital - New York is not in best of health. However this hasn’t deterred Komal Sharma to narrate her first ‘impressive’ impression of the city and the country as a tourist. Take a taste- “Americans, I’ve concluded, are obsessed with beauty and medicines…know what you want , head straight to that section, that shelf, pick it up and run for your life. Don’t ever think about looking here and there, or they’ll get you…my vote for the sweetest thing about American culture goes to the friendliness and talkativeness of the people…”. She ends -“ This is the country or at least the city of the showman. There is selling and a performance in every little thing, on one level or another. I wonder then, what I will make of Vegas? ”. (Mid Day. Mumbai), Yeap, what to make of the origins of the global financial turmoil!


25 October 2008

Ad preference
The Indian Finance Minister appears to have come with a new rule for the government departments for giving out advertisements in media. According to the minister, the media was not interested in reporting socio-economic issues. He told the secretaries of Miniseries of labour and Social Justice“ I want the concerned department to give ads on this programme to those papers which will write about this issue today” (Hindustan Times). The paper has not offered any comments. Hey, was this direction or a mere suggestion? With elections approaching, will his direction/suggestion be taken seriously? Keep guessing!

24 October 2008

Cartoon of the Day

The destination Chandamama has left Indian cartoonists impressed. Punjab Kesai (Jhalandhar edition) has carried three interesting cartoons on the same. The front page cartoon shows two politicians in rest mode, one asking the other- “…well moon comes under which constituency?” Yes, the elections are just around the corner!


23 October 2008

Destination Chanda Mama

The front page of almost all newspapers conveyed their delight over the successful launch of Indian satellite ‘Chandrayaan’ to the moon.

Moonshot gaint step for India (Asian Age)

Up & away (Tribune)

First step towards moon (Dainik Jagran)

Moon mission launched (Hindu Business Line)

Lets go towards moon (Amar Ujala)

‘Chokori’ moves towards moon (Nai Duniya)

Chandrayaan flies off (Hindustan)

Step on moon not far (Dainik Bhaskar)

India over the moon (Pioneer)

Chandrayaan-1 bound for moon (Hindu)

India moonwalks into the elite club (MetroNow)

See you on the dark side of the moon (New Indian Express)

India towards moon (Rastriya Sahara)

Chandrayaan lifts off (Statesman)

Moon won, next target Mars (New Bright Star)

Chandrayaan-1 meet with moon on 8 Nove (Jagat Kranti)

India on moon voyage (Dainik Tribune)

Moonstruck! (Free Press Journal)

And the start of India’s race in space (Navbharat Times)

Chandrayaan-I propels India closer to moon visitors' club (DNA)

Chandrayaan goes near moon (Punjab Kesari)

Chandrayaan goes towards moon (Jansatta)

India’s first step towards moon mama (maternal uncle) (Nav Akash)

Over the moon (Times of India)

‘Our baby’s on its way!’(Indian Express)

Moon Ahoy! (Mail Today)

Amist the moonly euphoria, the editorial of Hindu Business Line has focused on the segment of population, which most likely won’t join in the moony celebrations- ‘In a highly disturbing, it unsurprising finding, India is home to world’s largest food insecure population…..Food is unaffordable for a large number of the poor…The government must create social safety nets before Hungry India turns angry India‘. Hang on, the government must create social safety nets only because of the danger that Hungry India might turn to Angry India? Is there no other valid reason apart from this? Recall any development economics lecture, if attended! Take a clue from the cartoon in DNA which shows moonite running saying -” Indians are coming. Indians are coming”. And he has read newspaper full India news of violence, arson and vandalism.
This reminds of a Hindi satire - ‘Matadin Chand Per’ (Matadin on moon) by Harishakar Parsai. Matadin, an India reaches the moon and so does the ‘dark side’ of human nature! God, protect the moon! A must to read.

Job & contacts

Is Networking (read contacts) important for any ‘Head’? Last September, a company placed an advertisement for a “Head-Legal” and for that the candidate must be LLB,LLM or a retired judge with contacts with the judiciary”. Now this ad has made Delhi High Court angry as the company wanting to hire ‘retired judges with contacts’. The court slapped a fine of Rs. 100,000 (Indian Express. Front page). Is this ad an exception? Nope, many such advertisements have appeared -‘with contacts’! But have gone unnoticed, lucky ads!

What’s in the name

Indian Express reports that according to the Finance minister the government has plans to capitalise about seven public sector banks that have a credit to risk-to-asset ratio (CRAR) of less than 10 percent. The write up ends with- ‘However, Chidambaram did not mention the names of the PSU banks which will benefit”. But the names of these seven banks have been mentioned by Prashant Sahu in Business Standard on its front page.

reports that according to the Finance minister the government has plans to capitalise about seven public sector banks that have a credit to risk-to-asset ratio (CRAR) of less than 10 percent. The write up ends with- ‘However, Chidambaram did not mention the names of the PSU banks which will benefit”. But the names of these seven banks have been mentioned by Prashant Sahu in on its front page.


22 October 2008

reports that according to the Finance minister the government has plans to capitalise about seven public sector banks that have a credit to risk-to-asset ratio (CRAR) of less than 10 percent. The write up ends with- ‘However, Chidambaram did not mention the names of the PSU banks which will benefit”. But the names of these seven banks have been mentioned by Prashant Sahu in on its front page.

Quest for moon

Is our earth not enough to explore, solve problems (read mysteries) and spread happiness? Nope. ‘India reaches for the moon’ - shouts the headline of Mid-Day. The New Indian Express tells us- ‘the time you read this, the rocket carrying Chandrayaan-1, the first satellite of India’s moon mission, will probably be in space, starting its journey from Sriharikota. Recent showers — even if they did not worry the scientists, engineers and technicians — have brought cheer to the people in the hamlets between Sulurpetta and Sriharikota. Just a few kilometers away, people still use the bullock cart as a mode of transport“. Will this moon adventure make any difference to their lives? Will Chandrayan bring food to millions of malnourished children, provide quality education and safe future? The answer is not a mystery. What next- 'Chandrayaan could spark lunar land grab' (Mid Day). After SEZ its time to reach out for the moon? Take a clue from the cartoon that has appeared in DNA. Against the background Chandrayan ready to take off, one man tells to another - “ It would have been a great service to the nation had you sent some of our politicians on this journey”.

Fiscal discipline Bye-Bye

The government is trying all it can to avoid any dramatic slowdown in the growth rate. Even at the cost of saying bye bye to fiscal discipline. The Editorial of New Indian Express has focused on the same- “….On Monday, hours after the country’s central bank and apex monetary authority, the Reserve Bank of India, signaled another round of measures to increase the liquidity of banks in the hope that interest rates would soften, the government asked Parliament to approve additional expenditure to the tune of a huge Rs 1,05,000 crore (Rs. 1050 billion). This amount is equal to over three-quarters of the total annual fiscal deficit budgeted for the current financial year that would end on March 31 next year…..”. Any discussion in the parliament on this huge deficit? This year’s report card of Indian parliament has not been too encouraging. Yesterday, the front page of Times of India reported that parliament has met for only 32 days this year- lowest in history. The view of Times of India also appeared - “…a shockingly low figure. The exchequer is estimated to spend Rs. 440 crore (Rs. 4 .4 billion) on parliament …quality of many laws are poor, many of them antiquated. Parliament must take these issues…” .


21 October 2008

Dehra Edition

Dehradun Edition of Tribune is the new kid on the block. While launching this paper in Dehradun, the Chief Minister of Uttaranchal (whose capital is Dehradun) remarked - “ The Tribune has upheld the high standard of journalism. One feels good while reading The Tribune, which is not the case with many newspapers…”. Why is Tribune different from the rest? Take a clue from a Trustee of the paper who stated that the very basis of setting up of the Tribune was that it kept no business proposition or commercial interests in mind …And the paper fiercely adhered to the principle of journalistic freedom. “ Starting from a 12-page weekly on February 2, 1881, at a cost of four annas a copy. The Tribune went on to become a daily in 1906”. The Editor-in-chief of the paper in his welcome speech minced no words about the decline in human values and made a strong assertion “ people think that parliament no more represented people’s aspirations. The levels of corruption have disillusioned the people. People now go to media as the last court of appeal and the ‘kachehri’ (court) no more stood as the last court of appeal”. Now that speaks a lot about the importance of free & responsible media in India.


20 October 2008

Diwali Magazine

Surendra Gagan in DNA reports of a ‘deep rooted’ positive ‘tradition’ (a hundred years old) in the State of Maharashtra that continues to thrive inspite of severe financial constraints. And that noteworthy tradition is - Special Maganizes on the occasion of Diwali- the festival of light. Every year nearly 400 Marathi magazines hit the stand and the total turnover of the business is about Rs. 220 million in a month. Now it’s centenary is being celebrated by organizing various activities across the State.

Best Positive Report

Dinesh Khan & Raju Shide reports about Ravindra Patil, a constable who celebrated his birthday in the best way. He convinced 200 people to pledge to donate their eyes. According to him -“ My usual birthday celebrations would mean party…after the party and greetings , the birthday will be over. But this time, I wanted to make my birthday more productive”. On Sunday morning, over 30 policemen, eight families, several friends and their acquaintances, totaling 200 pledged their eyes at Patil’s residence (Mumbai Mirror)


19 October 2008

Eyes off the Main Street.

“The global Hunger Index reported last week that more than 200 million Indians live in hunger and that 47 per cent of Indian children are malnourished…..…Indian newspapers hate poverty so the report was virtually ignored here…The report is a shameful reminder of our failures in war against poverty…Personally, after reading that 200 million Indians live in a state of permanent, unrelenting hunger, I found the pictures of fashion designers and socialites swilling champagne at fashion parties revolting…” (Tavleen Singh. Indian Express).

The notion of sustainable is gone for a toss. Yes, poverty and hunger are not glamorous vis-à-vis page three parties/socialites. But what about social responsibility? Why do we need a global report to open our eyes about hunger and poverty in the our country? But anyone who has gone through the Arjun Sengupta Report on ‘Conditions of Work and Promotion of Livelihoods in the Unorganised Sector’ would be surprised why global Hunger Index has indicated ‘200 million Indians live in a state of permanent, unrelenting hunger’. Why? Because according to Arjun Sengupta Report, 77 per cent of Indian population or 836 million are poor & vulnerable. And the poor and vulnerable cannot be classified as ‘well fed’. Major part of their consumption expenditure is being spend on food items. Not to forget the rampant bribery, which makes them even more poor & vulnerable. And not to forget food prices have hit the roof. It appears that figure could probably rise not fall. Nevertheless, even if 200 million Indians are hungry, does anyone really care apart from statistics? Yes, one does care, five day conference on Poverty & Hunger in swanky Five Star, right?


18 October 2008

Advertisement of Day

An advertisement has appeared in Hindustan Times with coloured photograph of a aircraft - “ Aircraft for Sale” .This is probably the first advertisement of its kind in India. It goes on like any other advertisement of a car “ …mfg 1988, having Indian origin, in excellent cond, painted recently…available for sale”. However the ad did not reveal the details of the ownership of the plane! Any doubts about the health of the Indian aviation sector?


17 October 2008

Editorial of Day

“The Supreme Court's granting of three weeks to the Centre in which it must explain the status of the proposed Broadcast Bill should send alarm bells ringing all over the media world. The court has responded to a petition filed by an NGO seeking to regulate violence and obscenity on television…. sadly, Indian television channels, in their bid to appeal to the lowest common denominator and earn the maximum amount of money, can tend to be vulgar…The problem is in the extreme sensationalism and lack of professionalism which the news channels seem to revel in and here lies the even greater danger. The government has to be kept out of the news media at all cost…. A free and impartial press is essential to the correct functioning of democracy. We cannot sacrifice that because of the irresponsibility of a few television news channels.….The message to professionals in the business is clear: clean up your act before the government steps in to clean it up for you….A self-regulation code which is honoured by the industry may be the best way forward (DNA).
Point to ponder- Does self regulation really work?

Cartoon of the Day

Toon features fake currency telling the Indian Finance Minister- “ Liquidity crunch? We can provide all the cash you want” (Free Press Journal). Spot on. The menace of fake currency has not been tackled by the much acclaimed Reserve Bank of India. True, RBI was quick to respond to the global meltdown but serious effort is lacking here. RBI seems to be obsessed with liquidity and assisting the mutual funds. The free market has gone for a toss. The honest person is at loss due to this parrel economy.

Look deeper, fake currency being found in the chest of largest Public sector bank is not a joke. And if bank officials are to be believed most fake currency cannot be detected without UV light. So should every person carry a UV light and check every note he/she exchanges/gives? Nope, this is no solution.Why not catch people who distribute fake currency. Their identification is not difficult, if only the common man is taken into confidence. These agents (with cars for distribution) must have turned overnight rich and this cannot escape neighbour’s eye. Hello, is anyone listening?


16 October 2008

Crucially yours

“Finance minister P Chidambaram is fond of saying that the fundamentals of the Indian economy are sound….One needs to challenge this hypothesis…The Central government’s fiscal deficit (government expenditure minus income before borrowings) is a piece of fiction. Despite four or five years of spectacular revenue growth, the UPA government has had to cook its books to hide the warts. The government has been living well beyond its means by spending profligately even while refusing to pass on the real cost of oil to consumers“(DNA).

Point to ponder- How many editorials have been critical of unproductive expenditure like the recent steep hike to government employees via Pay Commission. This Commission has blatantly ignored the basic principles of human resource management.

Concern of Day

The Supreme Court has expressed its concern over the increasing obscenity and violence being telecast on various channels and remarked that watching television with the family has now become virtually impossible…."Today, television in the most powerful instrument in the world, capable of influencing the minds of the people," the court remarked. …In another instance, the court said, a man threatened to commit suicide in Hyderabad and the TV channels chose to telecast the gory incident right from the moment he climbed to the fifth floor of an apartment till he jumped to his death". Point to ponder- how would the advocates of free market competition respond?


15 October 2008

Blame Game

The front page of Free Press Journal highlights- “ Dow Wow! champagn again flows on Wall Street as Dow records biggest rally in 75 years”, however how are things back home? Take a clue from editorial of the same paper-. “The problem in our case is largely government-made. It does not seem to be able to contain runaway fiscal deficit. And seems to be clueless as to what should get priority: fighting inflation or fighting liquidity crunch. Finance Minister P Chidambaram, contrary to the image he exudes on various television channels, has not been a good keeper of the nation’s purse….”.

Point to Ponder- ‘runaway fiscal deficit’ has not suddenly appeared on the scene. Why prior to this global meltdown, this criticism didn’t arise from the leading economists? Even today, it’s rare to find articles focused on the trade off between fighting inflation and fighting liquidity crunch. All trying to save the trillion dollar economy. Sustainable development is nowhere to be heard. Malnourished children, starvation, poverty ….? Anyone for Main Street, please raise your hand!


14 October 2008

Advertisement of Day

The ad of the day has appeared in DNA on front page which features a toon cow, in the background of snowy mountains, train & cheese. The punch line is - “ Who mooed by cheese”. It goes on - “From cheese to chocolates…..experience Swiss Magic…Holidays”. Point to ponder- During the global meltdown with recession looming large, experience magic, that too in Switzerland?


13 October 2008


The English magazine market is now buzzing with action after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) eased the norms for foreign news magazines. Therefore, it is not surprising that foreign magazines in both the news and non-news genre are making a beeline to enter the Indian market next year. These include Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Inc, Technology Review, Playboy, and Business Week, among others.(Business Standard)

Version of Caricature

Take a look what M J Akbar has to say about the present global fiasco- “..Capitalism is in trouble because reality became a version of caricature. Growth became a cloak for venality. Everyone placed on the watch went to sleep. American commentators now admit that warning flags went up 18 months ago, and action should have been taken a year ago at the very latest. But who wants to be the pinprick inside a bubble?( Deccan Herald)

Cartoon of Day

While standing in front of white house son is asking his father -” Paaji, if Obama wins, will it still be called the white house?” (Time of India).Both are Sikh Sardarji. A toon not in tune?

Advertisement of Day

Yes, foreign Airline is also realizing the Indian potential. Take a look - “ Personalised services…films in Hindi & in Tamil , Indian newspapers & magazines…making the sky the best place on earth”. (Times of India)


12 October 2008

Cartoon Watch

The effect of global meltdown is obvious in Indian cartoons. Navbahart Times has carried Bushy as statue of liberty with taking out last penny from piggy bank with caption- “ The statue of controlled financial liberty”. While Jansatta has carried the cartoon showing rocket of “American financial slowdown” hitting the globe. Two cartoons in Asian Age are also noteworthy. The front page small sizes cartoon fearures- “great offer - Buy one get ten free” and what’s that?”. No, not a festival offer. It’s for shares in the stock market!. While the inner page of same paper shows Indian finance minister and prime minister running for cover as rockets of Dow Jones, Nikkei, Hang Seng & Sensex following them. But why exclusively target the the Indian PM & FM, while leaving the rest?

No Names

The front page of Danik Jagran is carrying report- “ATM are resulting disaster”. The report informs us about banks where customer are facing various problems in withdrawing money thought ATM. However the newspaper refrains from naming these notorious banks. Wonder why?


11 October 2008

Publicized Liquor

Who says liquor cannot be publicized in Indian newspapers? It seems surrogate advertising has taken a back seat. To know why, take a look at the front page of Mint Lounge which features photograph of “fresh beer from India’s first brewpub in Gurgaon” along with “ …get set to be flooded by pint-sizes experiments…Every beer drinker’s favourite destination…”


10 October 2008

Advertisment of Day

Full page advertisement has appeared in many leading newspapers with punch line- “It’s Back with a Bang”. At first glance, it appears to be a normal front page with features and definitely not an advertisment. Only when you search for that word at the end of the page, you find - “ADVT” in small prints!


9 October 2008

Cartoon of the Day

Most newspapers have wished their readers a ‘happy and prosperous Dussehra’. This day signifies the victory of Lord Ram over ‘Evil’ Ravana- victory of ‘right’ over ‘wrong’. Guess, who is 'evil' Ravana today- inflation, poverty, corruption…Nope! Take a clue from the cartoon in Hindustan Times that features Global Meltdown as Ravana, while the Finance Minister is seen sweating, while trying to target him with ‘teer’. But still he manages to says- “don’t panic!” His success chant - “Jai Shre Liquidity!”. Will he succeed, and if yes at what cost? Just to remind- Till date, Indian banks (even public sector banks) have not come clean on their losses on account of global meltdown. Are people on main street not mature enough to scrutinize the white paper? Give us a break!


8 October 2008

Cartoon of the Day

The reason behind retirement of former captain of Indian Cricket Team- Saurav Ganguli is clearly visible here. The empire- “ I heard, in your match you retired hurt! What’s it? Your age old knee problem again? Indian Player- “ Na re! My knee’s fine. I was forced to retire! I am mentally hurt!

Point to ponder- why humilate and in a way force a successful captain of team India to announce his retirement plans ? Surely, he has been playing better than many others in the team. Why no transparent performance appraisal of the players is in place? Surely the need of the hour is - transformation reform’. Why not start with the selection committee, here many have never played cricket themselves! What do they know of cricket anyway? Money matters?

Inflation on Backburner

“ RBI erred in rising rate and clamping down on liquidity in an ill-thought out move to contain inflation. As these columns have repeated argues, inflation is imported commodities based phenomenon this time around. Interest rate hikes were the wrong medicines. Now, with oil down the $90 a barrel and commodities prices crashing worldwide, inflationary expectations in India have been lowered, without any assistance from domestic monetary policy….”(Editorial. Financial Express)

Point to ponder- Has inflation really lowered in India? Nope, ask the Indian common man on the Main Street for details. The euphoria of trillion dollar economy is gone but still no serious action for the Main Street.

Newspaper & Puja

Are newspapers really a part of our lives? Yeap, they have even made an appearance in Puja Pandal in Delhi. The pandal displayed the history of Indian newspapers as well acknowledged the significance of newspapers in other countries. (Times of India). It is not surprising, many journalists reside in this particular locality in Delhi!


7 October 2008

Concern of the Day

A relatively small news item in Hindu informs- “ Veteran freedom fighter Laxmi Panda passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here on Monday after a prolonged illness….” Is this news just ‘another news’ that one often flips over? No, look deeper.

After Indian independence, Laxmi Panda was denied freedom fighter’s pension and this helpless woman was forced to survive by working as domestic help. Reason for denial of pension- no jail records that she went to jail! Is going to jail the only proof of her being freedom fighter ? Laxmi Panda was enlisted in the Rani Jhansi Regiment of INA and was given the name “Indira” by Subhas Chandra Bose himself.. Is this not an adequate proof? It’s certainly a national disgrace that rigid inflexible maze made a mockery of the contribution of a Veteran freedom fighter. True, the present President of India did intervene but it was too late, Laxmi Panda was already in hospital and now she is no more.

Point to ponder- Is this the way an Independent country honours its freedom fighters?

Advertisement of Day

Yes, Precautions against terror is better and advertisements in leading newspapers are the best medium to educate the public. Yes, take a clue from two advertisement by Delhi Police that have come up with the punch line- “Guidelines for safe and secure Ramlilas” & “Do not touch unclaimed objects”.


6 October 2008

Concern of the Day

Mangho Phagunmal Hira, a seventy three year old owner of the State’s oldest & only Sindhi press, says that the government is refusing to pay his dues of Rs. 2,00,000- despite several orders by the President and Prime Minister of India. He has spend most of his life making official complaints. Imagine his agony -” Now I do not want the cash. I want the corrupt to be punished. If they pay cash, I will distribute it among the poor”. A must to read - “Even Prez,PM couldn’t get his dues clear by state government. Mumbai Mirror. Page 9). Incidentally, this news has been penned down by -“Akela” (Hindi word that means Alone).

Free Market Distortions

“ …To conclude, all institutions that have raised money from public, directly or indirectly, should be properly controlled by the central bank of the country and fascination for the big private banks is not fully justified.” (R. Viswanathan. Hindu BusinessLine)

“…George Bush & Co. has created a chimera of wealth. Naturally, they are doomed to failure since they fail to create wealth. Naturally, they are doomed to failure since they fail to understand that the butcher, baker and brewer are the real producers of wealth. Not Lehman brothers of this world/ (Mohan Murti. Hindu BusinessLine).

“…If India keeps these lessons in mind while continuing to liberalise its financial system, we can reap the benefits and minimize the risks and costs. Hank Paulson and his team can lead is a helping hand by doing a good job of the bailout” (Financial Express.)

Advertisement of Day

The West Bengal Pollution Control Board has published an advertisement with the punch line - “ Let Durga Puja be pollution -free”. How? List includes- dropping puja offering like flowers and leaves in separate container or in pits, restrict use of plastic carry bags. (Statesman. Calcutta Edition). However the advertisement failed to promote eco friendly idol of Goddess Durga & pandal, sans all that non biodegradable chemical paints. Wonder why?

Wisdom of Day

Journalist asked the FM- “ Sir! Do you think inflation will continue to decline next year? The FM replied -” Do not count your chickens before they are hatched. Keep your fingers crosses like I do. I keep my fingers crossed” (Deccan Herald). Not surprising the accompanying cartoon shows the smiling FM with fingers crossed riding inflation on uphill!


5 October 2008

Media control

If the following opinion on the Indian media are taken seriously, not all is well with this unregulated sector. Take a look-

“…While the government pressure on the press has lessened, the pressure of financers, political parties and others has increased. This has affected the media’s credibility adversely…” (Kuldeep Nayar, Veteran Journalist. Hindu)

“…Media controls the people, but who controls the media?…We do not know which channel is financed and controlled by whom…Media is, at times, anti-social, anti-society, anti-women. There is no self regulation of the Indian media…media’s role confuses one whether the moneybags commanding the channels are just slaves & walking against the interest of the country…” (Dina Nath Mishra. Pioneer)

“…Regrettably there are occasions when it is hard to tell the difference between some established news channels and those that flaunt their yellow journalism….now the news broadcaster association - which represents 30 channels run by 14 broadcasters - has on its own come forward to create a News Broadcasting Standards (Dispute Redressal) Authority for purpose of self regulation..welcome step…TV broadcasters just need to remember that it might be best for them to tone down a shade in order to remain credible.( Editorial. Asian Age)

Cartoon of the Day

Manmohan Singh, dressed as school boy, is asking Condoleezza Rice for her autograph on a paper which reads - ‘123’ (Asian Age). But hang on, newspaper reports suggest that India is insisting that George Bush should put his signature on 123 before Union External Minister signs the same with Condoleezza Rice? But this cartoon depicts the opposite! Would someone clarify!


4 October 2008

Street Smart

Are Indian regulators shortsighted? Judge for yourself- The regulators see minimal impact of global turmoil in India (‘All is well in India’ Hindustan Times) but the editorial of Hindustan Times has another view- “…The biggest impact on us will be coping with the rigors of a global recession. This will affect our ability to grow as fast as we have of late. The disruption in financial flows, will, in turn, affect our ability to finance development.”

But hang, did you mean ‘growth’ witnessed by the trillion dollar economy? What happened to Gini coefficient? Even in United States, it has been widely accepted that people on the ‘Main Street’ were ignored, while the ones in the ‘Wall Street’ benefited before the crash. But here in Indian newspapers there is no substantial debate on this issue. Hey, where are the advocates of full capital convertibility?

Advertisement of the Day

The opposition to the Commonwealth Games Village on environmental grounds has disappeared in thin air. How and why - can’t really tell! Nevertheless, a Full page advertisement has appeared in Hindustan Times announcing the opening of the booking of apartments in Commonwealth Village 2010 with the punch line- “the finest address in the heart of Delhi”. What is interesting is - “visit to the Games village sample apartment is by invitation only”. It seems for obvious reasons, only genuine buyers are invited to view the sample apartment! But hang on, given high interest rates on home loan, how many ’interested’ buyers are actually ‘genuine’ buyers? Keep guessing!

Cartoon of the Day

Manmohan Singh is turning out to be favourite of the Indian cartoonist! This cartoon shows a pirate ship at sea shouting to Manmohan Singh (at the shore)- “ Hey nuclear power- what can you do”. And not surprising, Manmohan is not smiling and Bush is not in the frame!


3 October 2008

Self Regulation

TV broadcasters have set up News Broadcasting Standards (Dispute Redressal) Authority, which would accept complaints against members of TV channels. However the catch is that one has to deposit Rs. 1000 per complaint. Can a poor viewer, rattled with high inflation, afford this amount with ease? Further, take a look what is their take on sting operation- “last resort”. In a corruption ridden country, where nothing seems to work in stopping the ever increasing corruption, sting operations are a must to expose the corrupt in larger public interest. Why few sting operations here?

The Day After

What is the relevance of the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi? Take a clue from the liquor advertisement which has appeared on the front page of Assam Tribune with all explicit name of the brand and the punch line- “ It doesn’t get any better than this”. Hang on, is the advertising revenue dominant over editorial discretion (read self regulation)?

Cartoon of the Day

The Indo-US Nuclear Deal is almost done but this hasn’t deterred the cartoonist in raising one apprehension about the deal. Bush, holding a paper of N-Deal, is telling small Manmohan who is holding a bomb (Nuclear Test)-” you celebrate Diwali but don’t blow crackers. OK?”. This cartoon has come up in the newly launched edition of Nai Duniya in the National Capital Region.


The imperial rulers left India around sixty years ago but the hangover continues. Take a clue from an advertisement of 5 bedroom air-conditioned apartments which declares- “For an imperial lifestyle”. Another advertisement has come up with the punch line- “In magical Venice, shop and sail Experience the Grand Venezia fairyfail…”. And not to forget- “Gondola rides inside the Mall” (Hindustan Times). Hang on, this is no Venice, but Greater Noida (near Delhi, in the state of Uttar Pradesh), where law & order is far from satisfactory! Run for cover?


2 October 2008

A ritual

Today is Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and a national holiday. The streets of Delhi and Gurgaon wore a deserted look with most people deciding to stay indoors. Yes, the violence of terror attacks has caste a shadow over international Day of Non Violence. Nevertheless, plethora of governmental advertisements have appeared with prominence in all leading newspapers. But thereafter? Any guess- how many follow Mahatma Gandhi’s principles? Just take one yardstick for checking it out- how many carry out their household chores by their own hands, sans servants? Hey- ‘Labour with dignity’ is topic of my next lecture series, I have only two servants, but look she has four, excluding a driver!


1 October 2008

Any Crisis here?

Is India unaffected the ongoing global financial crisis? Yes, if one takes on an advertisement by a European country on its face value. This advertisement in Financial Express comes with a punch line- “Since 1228, kings, queens,presidents and movie stars have flocked to Ashford castle (But the one we’re really waiting for is you). Really! Is the Indian economy so sound? For details read the interview of the Prime Minister of India (a scholarly economist), to Le Figaro where he has stated the obvious fact that India cannot remain “ untouched by the financial turmoil in the US”. If pressed for time, view the cartoon in MetroNow. Ooooch…!

How many?

Jodhpur stampede kills 150 (Tribune)

187 die in stampede (Pioneer)

147 die in stampede (Asian Age)

Stampede at Chamunda devi temple, 150 dead (Economic Times)

147 perish in another temple stampede (MetroNow)

147 died due to stampede in a temple in Jodhpur (Navbharat Times)

..200 dies in stampede (Rastriya Sahara)

Stampede in temple, 200 dead (Hindustan)

Again mourning in temple (Dainik Jagarn)

Death at mother’s door …150 dead (Amar Ujala)

Stampede of death in temple… 183 dead (Dainik Bhaskar)

147 die in temple stampede (Hindu)

Laxity leads to stampede…150 dead (Mail Today)

Tragedy at Jodhpur temple.150 dead…(Hindustan Times)

Stampede at Jodhpur temple.147 killed…(Indian Express)

Festivities turn tragic: 147 dies in Jodhpur stampede (Times of India)

Cartoon of Day

“ After 34 yrs, India to buy first N-reactors, from France” (Hindustan Times). But literally speaking, how did Sarkozy managed to show French Nuclear reactor models to Manmohan Singh? Take a clue from the cartoon of the Day that shows Sarkozy showing Manmohan- “ N-Reactor model personally approved by me!” Hey which ‘model’? Check out the cartoon in Tribune for details of the ‘model‘!

October 2008 Newspaper Watch

Sarcajc Research in Journalism Advertisement & Cartoon