Letter from the Editor

first_imgWhile Karl Marx may have discounted the role of the individual in the making of history – preferring, instead, to analyse historical forces in terms of classes and class struggles – there is no doubt that ultimately most of what constitutes news, and the bread and butter of the media, boils down to people.Most political stories have to do with individuals, the leaders and on the other end the led. Economic stories ultimately strike home largely through the activities of businessmen and industrialists and traders or when they make an impact on the housewife, the unemployed worker or the peasant sweating it out on the farm. The human element, which is so often missing from routine reporting, does not simply underscore this basic fact; more than anything else it brings home to the reader what news is all about.Thus some of India Today’s most interesting stories have been about people, and it explains why the magazine gives so much importance to writing about individuals, from politicians and artists to sportsmen and authors. This fortnight, India Today also focusses on a range of individuals, each of whom has been in the forefront of the news.In Washington, Correspondent Inderjit Badhwar tracked down the controversial expatriate Sikh leader, Ganga Singh Dhillon, who has been linked with the Khalistan movement. Over two separate sittings last fortnight, Dhillon, who has fought shy of giving interviews after the beating he’s taken in the media, gave Badhwar a rare two-sitting session which is the basis of this fortnight’s Letter from Washington. “I frankly think the Indian Government has over-reacted to this guy,” said Badhwar who, while not agreeing with his views, found Dhillon afar cry from his media image.In Delhi, Correspondent Sunil Sethi met the peripatetic philosopher J. Krishnamurti who was in town in the course of his endless global wanderings. Sethi sat in on two seminars and a public meeting before joining Executive Editor Rasheed Talib and Picture editor Raghu Rai to spend more than two hours talking with Krishnamurti. Rai’s portraits and Sethi’s profile together make up one of the more unusual features ever carried in India Today.Other people were making news in different ways last fortnight. In Bangalore, badminton star Prakash Padukone took time off from his tight schedule to discuss his game with Correspondent Raj Chengappa. In Bombay, newly named cricket skipper Sunil Gavaskar spoke to Correspondent Chander Uday Singh on the eve of the controversial MCC tour of India. Together with an earlier interview with vice captain Keith Fletcher done for India Today in London by sports writer Mihir Bose, this provides contrasting views of the upcoming cricket season this winter.IN an entirely different vein, this fortnight’s cover story looks at a phenomenon which has ubiquitously penetrated virtually every corner of the country and spawned its own underworld: smuggling. It is a subject which has so jar been dealt with only in the most general terms, thanks to libel laws and the need for secrecy.To give depth to the story. Senior Writer Dilip Bobb travelled to Bombay, the country’s primary market for smuggled goods, while Correspondents Asoka Raina or farzand ahmed touched the north-east belt and the Nepal border, and Sreedhar Pillai travelled up to the sensitive Malabar coast. Said Bobb, who put the report together: “The way smuggling operations are going, pretty soon you should be able to pick up a Bloomingdales’ catalogue, place your orders with your friendly neighbourhood smuggler on the phone, and have it delivered to your doorstep before you can say Seiko.”last_img