Eashwar KP, a loyal reader of The Hindu newspaper is upset and angry with the story on the Ministry of Defence note written by its former editor N Ram appeared in the paper recently. Ram’s story has triggered a debate and raised many questions on the journalistic ethics and credibility of the paper.
We are reproducing Eashwar’s Facebook post (though without his permission) with the hope that his larger purpose of reaching out to N Ram is served. — Indus Scrolls Bureau
Dear Mr N Ram,
I have deliberately dropped the word ‘Sir’ after learning about the full story on the MoD’s note. Till this date, I have had great regard for you as one of the most respected journalists, heading one of the most respected newspapers.
You know, many young journalists and journalism students have always looked up to you for the kind of stories you and your newspaper have done over the years. You have let them down, BIG TIME.
An admission first. I do not subscribe to the ideology or idelogies that you have been propounding through your stories over the years. But I have always made it a point to read ‘The Hindu’, almost everyday for the past 35 years or so. I am 50 years old.
The reasons for continuing to read the Hindu despite me not subscibing to your political views are many. One, I do like the ‘balanced’ stories that the newspaper publishes despite the stories leaning towards the left and left of centre. Two, I do like the way The Hindu covers sports in the country. Three, editorial errors are very minimal in terms of language, grammar, spelling, and facts too.
However, from tomorrow onwards, I will pick up The Hindu from my balcony like I pick up a piece of paper with no value. You have brought it down to the level of any other newspaper or even below.
When I read the story in the most comfortable place (toilet) as a matter of habit and routine, I believed every word of what you had written. All these days, I have been reading and listening to the debates on Rafale, including the allegations of a scam in the deal.
As a person who had voted for Modi in the previous election, I was very keen to know if there was any truth in the allegations made by Rahul Gandhi. I also wanted the truth be out so that i can decide on the votes of mine, family members, and a few of my friends whom i can influence a bit, whichever way the truth goes.
As a law-abiding citizen and one who respect the judgement of the courts, the matter was settled for me when the highest court cleared the Rafale deal. But not for Rahul Gandhi, the congress party, a few ‘motivated’ journalists in the capital, a few media channels and newspapers, et al. I read, listen, and watch all of it and ignore because most of us work for a ‘living’.
Despite my ‘settled’ view on the matter, your story did have a shocking impact on me. With the credibility that you enjoyed in my conscience, I believed it to be true and admired your journalistic skills and investigation. And I was getting mentally ready to undo my ‘BJP’-favoured thinking, if you are proved right.
As the story unfolded during the day, I just could not digest and believe that N Ram could do such a ‘dishonest’ job. And in your TV interview, you said, “It’s a developing story” with a sheepish smile. Agree. If it’s a developing story, will you publish the rest of the MoD note on the same page and say ‘Sorry’ to people for indulging in ‘yellow journalism’? YOU WILL NOT, BECAUSE YOUR agenda is different as now the people of India have figured it out.
Remember, your paper is read by the educated segment of the society. And they can see through your game, except for some die-hard fans of the Gandhi family.
I can understand the mindless uttering of Rahul Gandhi on this issue. He is justified in his own way as he is fighting a big battle for his family’s survival in Indian politics. As every lie of his is getting caught before sunset, I leave it to the people of this country to decide on his fate.
But in all this, YOU STAND EXPOSED TODAY IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS POLITICAL WAR. With nowhere to go.
May the journalist in you rest in peace!
PS: I wanted to write more about this as a ‘Letter to the Editor’. But then you will not publish it. Hence this FB post. Hope you get to read this post.
Rest assured, I will continue to read your paper for its sports content. Rest of it will be treated like trash.