Archive for May 9th, 2008

On the state of English Press in India

May 9, 2008

Ram Guha has some pointers and some thoughts of his own to offer:

There remain some honest editors and many good reporters. But I think it fair to say that within the English press in India there is much room for improvement. Let me offer an illustration of the kind of story we should but do not often see. For the last year and more, Sharad Pawar has simultaneously served both as the Union minister of agriculture and the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. That is to say, Pawar is in charge of the destiny of India’s most numerous social class as well of India’s greatest popular passion. He has held these posts at a time of a serious agrarian crisis on the one hand, and a massive reshaping of the cricket world on the other. How does he do these two jobs at the same time? What is his daily or weekly or monthly schedule of meetings and journeys? My own suspicion is that one sector under his watch must surely be suffering, and I think I can guess which one. But this (possibly widely-shared) suspicion awaits testing against the hard evidence of reportage. However, the sectors are each so important that a man who presumes to take charge of both surely needs to be subjected to far greater scrutiny that he has thus far been.

By the way, is the following reference to The Hindu and P Sainath?

To be sure, there are dissenters. But these often write in a sanctimonious and self-righteous tone, setting themselves up as the lonely voice of conscience amidst a horde of unthinking cheerleaders for globalization and liberalization. They are also noticeably partisan, focusing on poverty and suffering in states (or nations) ruled by parties other than the communists.

Though Guha does not name names here, it sounds very much like Sainath to me.

The tales that names tell

May 9, 2008

Remember the Reith Lectures of V S Ramachandran, in which, 98% of his audience thought that a jagged figure that Ramachandran showed to be the Martian alphabet for kiki and a more rounded one bubba? Jo Walton seems to recommend a similar strategy here (link via Brad DeLong):

Also, if you want to have two fantasy countries that are different from each other, make all the different choices for the other language. (Excluded vowel becomes favoured vowel, etc.) That way their names and words sound different from each other, even if the reader can’t tell exactly how, but the patterns will be consistent for each one.

The Gonovians and the Camavese really will seem like different people.

A very interesting piece indeed!