Saturday, December 31, 2005

An Ode to The Hindu

When I was growing up, one habit that my father insisted that I pick up was to read the "The Hindu" everyday. He told me this (apocryphal?) story that NV Krishna Warrier (sorry, no introductory links. NV as Mals. call him was a litterateur of some standing and was the director of the Kerala BhashaInstitute in Thiruvananthapuram) learnt the English language with just two tools - The Hindu and the Oxford English dictionary.

I used to resent that I had to read it everyday. My father taught me how to prioritise news items ("ok, if you are not interested in sports, I won't insist you read it carefully") and skim read the the less important ones ("but you have to know who Sergei Bubka is").

As with so many habits that are resented initially only to be enjoyed later on, this is one habit I am so glad has stayed with me even after so many years. Hindu's political orientation is right up my alley and its analysis has always been sharp. I used to be struck by the paper's geographical coverage (they had an east Asia correspondent back in the '80s, so they did not rely entirely on agency reports). I still remember the day I came back from the summer madrasa when my father showed me Chitra Subramaniam's story on l'affaire Bofors.

When we were in Delhi in the early '90s, I was a bit surprised to see the aggressive advertising campaign run by the Times of India and the Hindustan Times. Were the newspapers not being offered for 90 paisa per copy or some such really low price? My father proudly told me that Hindu would never resort to such "games". I can tell you with some confidence that Hindu will never have a page 3 unlike some other Indian newspapers.

So heres to The Hindu. May you grow from strength to strength.

No comments: