Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hindu Chini Bhai Bhai

The Beijing correspondent of The Hindu - Ananth Krishnan in his article Does Beijing Really Want To break Up India? has questioned the credibility of the article titled 'China Should Break Up The Indian Union', written by D.S.Rajan, of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. A detailed retort to Ananth Krishnan’s article was published by B. Raman in his article Not Lost In Translation. Interestingly, Ananth Krishnan has taken issue with Ramans retort and has said its libellous & irresponsible. You can read Ananth Krishnan’s justifications here

For the unaware, D.S.Rajan was part of team trained and developed by Government of India after 1962 chinese debacle and has spend more than 35 years monitoring writings in the Chinese language media. While, Ananth Krishnan belongs to Kasturi Ranga Iyengar family who owns “The Hindu” (just like N. Ram, his predecessor N. Ravi etc) and is the first member of the youngest generation of the family to join the business. Ananth Krishnan took over as Beijing correspondent of The Hindu after Pallavi Aiyar moved on as Brussels correspondent of Business Standard.

One should not be surprised by this coming from The Hindu whom World Press Review ( lists  as a left-leaning independent newspaper. This political polarization towards left ideology is supposed to have taken place since N. Ram took over as editor-in-chief after N. Ravi and Malini Parthasarathy were removed as editor and executive editor of the paper in an overnight bloodless coup in 2003.

N Ram is a well known CPI(M) and Marxist sympathizer. He had served as the vice president of the Students Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of CPI(M). Ram's first wife Susan was an Irish woman who was for many years in charge of Oxford University press publications in India. After separating from Susan, he is now married to Mariam (Mariam Chandy), a Kerala Syrian Christian.

This is not first time when The Hindu has went against popular sentiment (& intelligence) to project and protect Leftist Ideology and China by extension. Even Hindus Readers' Editor K. Narayanan found fault with the Hindu’s coverage of Nandigram and Tibet. In a stinging analysis he reported

I compared the reporting of the events in other Indian newspapers (English) and also The Guardian and the New York Times with that in The Hindu from March 15 to 19 and could not but note the wide gap which led to the readers’ protests. (The angles given to the stories and their display are not to be questioned; that is editorial privilege). Overall, these points struck me as noteworthy:

1. Reliance on Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency. Its reports should have been balanced by inputs from other news agencies, but their use was scanty and selective. No doubt they too would have had their angles and biases but that would have been another side of the picture. Why was The Guardian, otherwise used extensively, ignored (except for an eyewitness account which was not very informative)?

2. The Hindu’s perceptive correspondent in Beijing, Pallavi Aiyar, made no contribution, except to report Prime Minister Wen’s press conference.

3. The statements of the Chinese Prime Minister and the Chinese envoy in Delhi were fully reported. The Dalai Lama’s were truncated versions. Many readers noted that his remark on “cultural genocide” was edited out.

4. The most surprising feature was the total absence of Tibet in the “Letters to the Editor column” — in which otherwise comments appear even as events are unfolding and continue for days. A few letters appeared after an article and an editorial were published and ceased abruptly.

The Hindu uses Xinhua news agency owned by the Government of China, and a mouthpiece of the Chinese government to fetch China related stories. Also, according to Friends of Tibet, N Ram is also the mastermind behind 'India-China Association of Journalists', an embassy-sponsored organisation specializing in arranging pleasure trips for Indian journalists. After one of his trips to Tibet, The cover story in  Frontline, written by N.  Ram, provided an extended and lavishly illustrated brief for the Chinese occupation of Tibet.  The Chinese, claims Ram, have brought hospitals, roads and schools to a previously deprived land.  He minimizes the attacks on Tibetan cultural institutions and religious beliefs that the Chinese have so demonstrably carried out. , he wrote with baited breath

Unprecedented economic growth, rises in living standards, education, infrastructure development, job creation, central government subsidies, and political policies implementing the autonomy mandated in the Chinese Constitution are transforming life, work, and mindsets, especially of the young, in sparsely populated Tibet. And the railway is making a big difference.

It is sad that “The Mahavishnu of Mount Road” has now become  “People’s Daily of China” or “Beijing’s Mouthpiece” depending upon you follow B. Raman or  Nitin Pai.

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