24 November, 2020

Adam's Raj Ribs

Clapham's "perspectives", enriched by Mario's inimitable caricatures, capture the enduring romance of India—and, for that matter, the old Raj.

Adam's Raj Ribs
India is well on the way to becoming the flavour of the season in the West, replacing China. The rediscovery of India is, however, a recent phenomenon. Even a decade ago, when India was either the backpacker favourite or just plain dreary news, it needed an oddball western journalist to volunteer for a Delhi posting. Compared to the exhilarating newsworthiness of war-torn Beirut, racially fractured Johannesburg and cloak-and-dagger Moscow, India was just a space-filler. Its labyrinthine politics was barely understood, its economy was a bureaucratic muddle and there were limits on how many stories you could write on the last steam engine to travel from Howrah to Kalka.

Paradoxically, this was also the time India was most welcoming to the foreign journalist, particularly from the bbc. Those accustomed to today’s fiercely competitive and cash-rich media may find it odd that bbc commanded such enormous credibility and respect throughout the country. It was, as Mark Tully writes in the foreword to his erstwhile colleague’s book, "a unique...



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