Sunil Mukhi (TIFR Mumbai) has been digging through his archives, and unearthed an example of when N Ram was pro-free-speech. Recently, of course, he has refused to provide any coverage on China's crackdown on free speech, while industriously pushing the Chinese line on Tibet.
What was that example? When my colleague T Jayaraman wrote protesting the nuclear tests in 1998, and was threatened with action by the then director of this institute. And why was that an occasion that free speech needed to be defended? Could it be, as Mukhi observes, that Jayaraman's position happened to coincide with China's?
Why do we bother with Ram? His newspaper would by now be wallowing in obscurity if the other papers weren't such utter rubbish too.
Space Bar had a recent post on "found poetry". (It is amusing that Wikipedia's article on the subject cites one of the earliest examples as occurring in a 19th century mechanics textbook.) Anyway, it occurred to me that Ram's reply to his Readers' Editor had a certain rhythm to it. As follows:
We have an arrangement with Xinhua. We
've also used Western agencies and P-
T-I. The violence reported, you see,
We confirmed it all editorially.
'Twas Tibetans done it, some hundreds of them.
The Chinese authorities, first unprepared,
Moved quickly to stop the riots and mayhem
In Lhasa and elsewhere. No effort was spared.
The violence in Lhasa, by every account,
Was done by protesters, who included monks.
No case of violence (or none that would count)
Came from the police or paramilitary bunks.
Why edit the Lama? Because he's a splittist
And tended to justify the murderous
Riots. Other than what we published,
Letters to us were not very numerous.
(Well, the meter is a bit bumpy, but one takes it as one finds it.)