Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Leela Samson's response

Following up on my recent post on our friendly neighbourhood fascists harassing Leela Samson for her work at Kalakshetra, here (from the Prakriti Foundation) is Ms Samson's response. In case you have received the RSS allegations by email, please do circulate this rejoinder. Not that it will help, any more than any amount of good sense helps dispel the myth (that I previously mentioned here) that Tagore wrote the song that became our national anthem in praise of the English king. Ms Samson's name is probably besmirched for all time.

Now, a curious observation: in my previous post on this, I linked to this article by Sushila Ravindranath, in the New Sunday Express, that paints a clear picture. Ms Ravindranath's article observes:
Leela, understandably hurt, is maintaining a dignified silence. But we did do our research and found that there is an orchestrated campaign, for whatever reason, to discredit her.

and continues with text that is almost word-for-word identical to that in Ms Samson's mail, linked above.

I should admit that, when I made my previous post, I had seen Ms Samson's response on a forwarded email. But I did not comment on the similarity because, first, I wasn't sure who copied from whom (it certainly looked like Ms Ravindranath copied from Ms Samson, but the mail from Ms Samson had the date stripped, as it is on the webpage linked above); and second, it was in a good cause and I supposed Ms Samson wouldn't object to any "plagiarism".

But this page seems to settle the issue: Ms Ravindranath's article is dated May 11, while Ms Samson's mail was written on or before May 6.

Even if you're writing in support of someone who you know will not object, why should a self-respecting journalist claim another's words as her own? Is it really that hard to rewrite a few lines in your own words?

Gautaman Bhaskaran of the Hindu did it. Subhash K. Jha of the Times of India did it. Many others have done it. Apparently their bosses don't care. But in this case, Ms Ravindranath is the boss -- she's the editor of the New Sunday Express. Is this now officially sanctioned practice in Indian journalism?

Or was my initial gut reaction -- "it's in a good cause" -- correct?

1 comment:

km said...

Now why would you expect a journalist to write his or her own piece?


("RSS allegations" is not what I'm thinking it is, is it? :))