Mirror Images of Greatness

An edited version of the article below appeared in the New Indian Express today. They cut a few lines, and I prefer my own paragraph breaks, but I have to give them credit for coming up with an awesome headline. Anyhow, here’s the article in its unedited form:

The Opening Ceremony of the Olympics will be held this week. The Olympics are a great institution, and this year they are being hosted by China, and will get much attention. In the interests of balance, it would be appropriate to talk about a great Chinese institution hosted by India. So this article will be about India’s National Newspaper.

The Hindu was not always a great Chinese institution, but then neither were the Olympics. Things change. China is once again a great power. It controls oil and natural gas in Sudan, mines in Tanzania, ports around the Indian Ocean, and governments in Zimbabwe and Myanmar. It controls the weather near Beijing by shooting silver iodide shells at the clouds from anti-aircraft artillery pieces. It controls the American economy through its ownership of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities. But even this vast portfolio is incomplete without controlling an Indian newspaper. And for a nation of China’s stature, controlling any old newspaper will not do. China deserves, nay, is entitled to controlling India’s National Newspaper.

And what remarkable control it is! It is exercised with the restraint that characterizes superpowers, and achieves the results that befits them. An invitation to the Editor in Chief to visit Tibet in 2007 resulted in an editorial and magazine cover story on the benefits of Chinese rule to the primitive and underdeveloped Tibetans. Every other media outlet outside China supports the spurious cause of the Dalai Lama, but only the Hindu has the journalistic integrity to expose him as a puppet of so-called Western democracy, and the wealthy beneficiary of a superstitious and feudal system.

So pronounced is the Hindu’s courage and integrity that it maintained its criticism of the vicious and savage Tibetans when they went on a violent rampage earlier this year. It did this despite criticism from readers (those imbeciles!), its own readers editor, and a number of reactionary, pro-imperialist “human rights” organizations who were determined to malign China’s peaceful rise. India should be proud that it has a newspaper which is able to stand up for the viewpoint of a great and powerful nation.

There was a sort of historical inevitability to the coming together of the great power and the great newspaper. India’s national newspaper has long adopted a cliche-laden, word-heavy style of writing that leaves its reports and editorials as incomprehensible and ambiguous as the Chinese themselves. The fact that IAS aspirants are recommended to read the Hindu’s editorials while preparing for the competitive exam – itself a Chinese invention – may go a long way in explaining why the language of officialdom is so incomprehensible.

Another historical parallel lies in the many years in which the Hindu was isolated in Madras, facing no competition from any other English daily. This mirrors the Middle Kingdom’s isolation from and even disdain for the rest of the world, exemplified by the Hongwu emperor’s  ban on all maritime trade in 1371 CE. Finally, the most striking similarity is the frequent change of ruling dynasties. China has been ruled by the Qins, the Hans, the Tangs, the Songs, the Yuans, the Mings, and the Qings. Similarly, the ownership of the Hindu has seen dramatic changes – passing from G Subramania Aiyer to M. Veeraraghavachariar to Kasturi Ranga Iyengar. The convergence between China and the Hindu has come in the present day, when both are governed by a benevolent socialist regime. With this remarkable parallel evolution, it was inevitable that China would stand by the Hindu, and the Hindu by China.

By and large, the Indian media is commercial and small minded. Here, a newspaper places its shareholders’ wealth above all else. Elsewhere, another newspaper is beholden to the corporates which advertise in its pages. All around, we see news channels who are concerned only with TRPs. There are a few newspapers who go so far as to put their readers at the centre of things. In the middle of all this, one newspaper stands alone, and focuses single mindedly on the national greatness of Asia’s pre-eminent power. It is Chennai’s – and India’s – privilege to play host to this institution of journalistic ethics and integrity.

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25 Responses to Mirror Images of Greatness

  1. Shyam says:

    Superb Article….!!

  2. harithekid says:

    studmax. Level wonly.

  3. […] With the Beijing Olympics underway, you can expect lavish praise on its organization and grandeur from The Hindu as Aadisht writes about the China’s favorite newspaper in India. […]

  4. roswitha says:

    * laughs and laughs *

  5. axea says:


  6. Lekhni says:

    Brilliant 🙂
    I just read the Hindu headline screaming “A perfect opening with promise of best Olympics ever”. Ever, note. Yes, even the ancient Greeks could not have done what the Chinese will do.

  7. vivek says:

    innocent (and maybe) stupid ques here – was this published in the op-ed page in the new ind express? if i’m not mistaken, isnt this the first time any mainstream newspaper makes an outright attack on another one ( albeit through its op-en page)?
    on a diff note – really good article! 🙂 and gimme TOI masala anyday instead of the national newspaper’s words of wisdom, LOL!

  8. Masabi says:

    As I understand it, your primary problem with The Hindu is that it doesn’t agree with what your bloggers’ coterie believes to be true? At least The Hindu has a stance and sticks to it. Post-revolution (of the Times of India Page 3 variety), it’s practically the only broadsheet with principles left in India.

    You hope barely anybody agrees with everything the newspaper says, and yet they say so many things that most people are afraid to. The Dalai Lama as a person is no puppet, but the western governments that dance self-righteously around him unquestionably *do* puppetize what he stands for. The Zimbabwe crisis isn’t really China’s fault, is it? Or did I miss Conspiracy Theories 101 somewhere?

    Fighting FUD with FUD is so… easy.

    Actually, I don’t think arguing this in a comment on your blog really works. I’ll perhaps blog a response if I get some ED this weekend.

  9. […] Aadisht has published the whole thing on his blog. Permalink | « In case of fire, head for the […]

  10. Hawkeye says:

    I am pretty sure you will get emails trashing you for being a The Hindu supporter and a Commie Sympathiser. Many indians who can’t place tibet on the map will send angry mails to you about being a anti-dalai lama guy.

    Can you please post those emails here in the comment section.

  11. B Shantanu says:

    Aadisht: If you have not already come across this site, it is worth a look:


  12. sandeip says:

    i read about this article…and then i read this.pleasure.but as i am sure others have already commented,do you think they will see the satire?

  13. Rockus says:

    Great piece! It was high time someone highlighted the Hindu bigotry. I really don’t think they would get this though!

  14. Raag says:

    Brilliant! Actually, as a Bangalorean, I would say that the Deccan Herald is quite close to the Hindu in terms of ambiguous, fence-sitting, motherhood-and-apple-pie positions (after all, what can you expect from a paper that has eminents like Nilotpal Basus and Kancha Ilaihs as regular contributors). So, despite all the TOI-bashing, there isn’t much alternatives available to us Bangaloreans.

  15. Vamsi says:

    I actually am a loyal reader of Hindu and I think I would be for a long time as this is the only mainstream newspaper in Hyderabad which actually writes something relevant. However I and some of our friends have noticed this trend of Hindu pro actively supporting China. Many articles over the past in editorial have been praising Hindu, which I find hard to believe. They are known to take different and complete picture of each topic, but with China they seem to be unilateral. I hope this article changes somethings at Hindu

  16. raj says:

    For all its faults, the alternatives make us puke – Times of India, anyone? yeah, right – probably the only thing they have going for them is that they ‘aren’t China’s official mouthpiece in india’. If you learnt to filter out the China propoganda, Hindu is probably still India’s best newspaper. Is it a fault to maintain high-standard prose(to be fair, they are slipping too but not the Toilet Paper levels)?

  17. Sri says:

    err.. so what exactly is Hindu’s fault? That they have a view and consistently and openly write about it? When did newspapers editorial become a election contest where the public and readers are supposed to dictate the content. I suppose that’s the new spirit in the web world, called stupidity of the crowds.

    God forbid that they have a writing style which is bit uinque, better dumb it down to aam adami style mediocrity of blogs and Times of India.

    I still read The Hindu, I don’t agree with every opinion of theirs (including Tibet), but that doesn’t make them mouthpiece of China.

    I supposed words like journalistic integrity, nuances are not familiar to the author of this blog.

  18. Vaibhav says:

    Now that Mr. Bindra has beaten the 2004 gold medallist shooter to the Gold this time, who, fortunately or otherwise, happens to be Chinese, one wonders what will Hindu say to this? Maybe, it is just a fluke. After all, Mr. Bindra does not shoot 10.8 on a regular basis. Maybe it is karma, brought about by buddha-knows-doing-what-not Tibetan monks, who are being reformed by Chinese police in Chinese prsions. Or was it the defective headphones used by the Chinese shooter, that could not keep out the noise made by the Indian contingent. After all, cheap electronics from China is revolutionising the world, including the Chinese shooting squad. Or, is it, simply, the time-tested conspiracy of the West to promote India as a counter-weight to China, in process, blocking out genuine Chinese talent?

  19. Vaibhav says:

    Vaibhav, your intention to be extremely funny deserves due recognition.

  20. Nilu says:

    Errr, I am not even known to give others due credit.

  21. It seems these days it is no more uncommon for one publication carrying articles criticizing the other. Good for the consumers. Sometime back ToI too carried a funny article like this.


  22. […] For full fundaes on The Hindu, read Aadisht Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Pakistan’s Kashmir obsessionThe Mumbai […]

  23. […] Whale was apparently brought to the good folk of Chennai by the American Consulate. I could understand if this play had been brought to us by the Chinese Consulate.  But the Americans? Dammit, I […]

  24. […] Abusing The Hindu in The New Indian Express is one thing. Expressing pro-Tibet opinions on a Hindu owned media outlet is one of the greatest hacks I’ve ever pulled. Now, as with the Landmark Quiz, it’s time to raise the game – the new goals are to win the national Landmark, and to somehow write an anti-China or anti-CPM oped in The Hindu itself. […]

  25. Harsha says:

    If you take a look at most other papers, especially the Times,or the Deccan Chronicle try and notice the number of space-filling, vacuous, New Agey articles. from tarot, to astrology, to feng shui, God and I, and a bunch of other pointless sections. Just Garbage.

    I like the Hindu precisely because it is almost ALWAYS bland and doesn’t take a stance, it lets the reader decide, based on the facts that it supplies. Gives you a wider leeway to think in.

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