Ranjona Banerji: Hindu, the newspaper, at it again!

08 Feb,2019

By Ranjona Banerji


As most news channels tiptoe around the Rafale deal, Narendra Modi and Anil Ambani and concentrate on fomenting communal disharmony or Robert Vadra or irrelevant opinion polls before election dates are announced, The Hindu and N Ram continue with their exposes into Modi’s “special” Rafale deal. These latest revelations are nothing short of explosive – the tussle for negotiating rights between the PMO and the Defence Ministry.

The Hindu and N Ram were at the forefront of the investigation into the Bofors deal. That expertise has now been turned to Rafale. Who will take this further? Does anyone have the courage, apart from those already slapped with defamation suits by Anil Ambani? Do we watch this space or continue to hyperventilate about Ajay Singh Bisht’s helicopter not being to allowed in Bengal?




Meanwhile, the TV has remained off in our household, since I wrote on Tuesday. Anyway, there was a constant rain last night and I hear from neighbours that no satellite television services – regardless of service provider – worked anyway. The phone of course did work, and therefore news was available at all times: Internet 1, Broadcast 0.

This morning, I see that most of the photographs and experiences of Noida’s massive hailstorm on Thursday evening came from Twitter and Facebook anyway. Journalists picked up the info from there and used it. In the olden days, all would have rushed to Noida, ah well. Now they rush to social media. Am I being unfair? Am sure some of them rushed to the actual hail site, right? Internet 1, Mainstream Media 0.

I get it. Sources are sources and social media is a source. The flop side is that when you do get to the carefully created and packaged mainstream news, it can be a dead bore. Like the whole drama between Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Centre, the CBI, Narendra Modi and so on. Sunday night was full of excitement. By the time you got to the newspapers on Monday morning, well, bleah. Nothing further and all a bit lacklustre. Strangely, news websites manage to find that zing.


It’s ranting day, I find. Spent a lot of time on Sunday and Monday reading the Sunday features sections. Apart from gems like Mathrubootham’s column in the Hindu, Berty Ashley’s Sunday quiz also in The Hindu, Ranjit Lal’s musings on Nature in the Indian Express, much of the travel and food writing I found pedestrian. Is that just me? Tired ideas or pretentious junkets, the zing was missing.

It could of course be that I am old and I suffer from “everything was better in my time it is”.

That must be it.

But you know, BORING!


This ad below was a “jacket” for Thursday’s papers. Read the headline carefully: ‘Flat 50 % off at 6000+ restaurants’. Wow, you think. Wow! And then you look again; ‘50% cashback on booking fee via HDFC debit and credit cards’.

How stupid are you that you pay a “booking fee”? How many eateries charge that? And how much would 50 % of a booking fee be anyway? Is there any saving?

As a long-standing HDFC customer, I feel this ad was a waste of money. Unless someone can educate me otherwise.

Anyway, now I have a list of eateries not to go to because they might charge a “booking fee”!


Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She is also Consulting Editor, MxMIndia. The views here are personal


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