A thank you note to the editor of The Hindu

By March 25, 2016Personal
Dear Editor,
The Hindu.
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I had moved to your daily after realising the likes of Times of India did not make any sense. Had high regard for you until this morning. You had the likes of Siddharth Varadarajan, a journalist still making sense in national channel debates, working with you. 
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But this morning my faith was broken. You have carried the report of an accident that took place yesterday. I have no problem with the fact that such an incident is being reported. But the utter disregard for details leaves me upset. Worse, you are the only newspaper carrying a photo of the victim in her grievously injured condition. Even if I mention her name, you wouldn’t know it, as you have got that detail wrong too. 
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Do you know the victim has parents, a younger sister who’s anxiously flying across the seas as I type this, to come and grieve with her family, her family and friends have who’ve not yet come to terms with the fact that she’s no more?
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Menaka Gulvady is known for her smile, her grace, her love for everything fun. Here, this is how we know her.
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The Time of India very surprisingly published one such happy picture.
Some of us at the mortuary refused to see her face because we don’t want her last memory to be that bloody face. And you, you have the callous insensitive attitude of publishing her face after the accident. I just hope her parents don’t see this. I just hope we can go on with making arrangements for her funeral, I just hope one day media houses like you realise that you have no right to play with the emotions of grieving family and friends of victims. I am not sure if there is a law for governing the news reporting of those who die in accidents, like there is for victims of abuse. But surely media folks can be more sensitive in covering such incidents. Better still, replace that face with one of your own and tell me if you will be able to sleep well at night.
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paper
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Thank you, from all those who did not want to see her face yesterday. Thank you making a difficult phase even worse.
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I have a huge urge to file a petition against you, but don’t think what you did will be undone and right now, I somehow need to ensure Menaka’s parents and family don’t see this. 
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And Mr Imran Gowhar, you have an apt surname my friend.
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Nanu

About Nanu

Communication specialist, wannabe stand-up comedian, sports maniac, music freak, gadget aficionado, movie enthusiast, biriyani addict (If it wasn’t for this 5 letter domain, mostly would've gone with deathbybiriyani.com).

14 Comments

  • Satyak says:

    Hi.
    Well written. My heart goes out to the family and friends.
    Satyak

  • Alok says:

    Unfortunately Menaka’s friends and family have seen the article and are appalled. I’ve left a note for Mr. Gowhar but I reckon with his sensibilities and lack thereof, he is unlikely to respond.

    Whither dignity?

  • Mukund Padmanabhan says:

    Dear Nanu,
    I fully agree with you that publishing the photograph was in extremely bad taste and that the editorial leadership in Bangalore exercised very poor judgment in publishing this.
    I know this will do little to assuage the feelings of Menaka’s family and friends but we are going to publish an unqualified apology for what we have done prominently in tomorrows paper. On a personal note, I am extremely sorry and deeply regretful about what was done.
    Mukund Padmanabhan
    Editor
    The Hindu
    PS: Pl do share this message on any other social media forum where your blog may have been posted if you feel it deserves to be shared.

    • Nanu says:

      Thank you Mukund.

      You delivered as promised. Appreciate it. While this won’t really help us as such since the damage was already done, I do sincerely hope that reporters use their judgement better.

      Nanu.

  • Asma says:

    I read the piece and was with the writer, till I came to the last sentence. Why pick on the reporter? It is not his fault that the photograph appeared. He may not even have seen the photograph.
    And what he said to the reporter was in just as much bad taste as the photograph being printed.

    • Nanu says:

      I have a thank you note for you too Asma. If that’s the only line that caught your attention, thank you for celebrating mediocrity and allowing guys like Imran keep his job. He got so many details wrong. Obviosly that doesn’t bother you. And thank you again for comparing me to him. You should know better.

    • Nilisha says:

      Asma,

      Though, as a response to this blog, another journalist has asked the same question as you have, I am disappointed by that fact that inspite of being ‘with the writer’, you’ve probably not gauged the gravity of this situation. The picture is not in bad taste. Instead, its a violation at so many levels, that its incomprehensible. Add to that the reporter’s failure in verifying basic details. Hence, the writer’s sentiments and the how strongly he chooses to express his stance on this cause, matches the intensity of the impact this report has had on Menaka’s family and friends.

      I’d like to invite you to decide what you stand for. Irresponsibility or sensitivity.

  • RAFI AHMED says:

    Even an layman knows that capturing the picture of the victim at the mishap spot and carrying it the paper is against the ethics of a paper. But how The Hindu stooped to such a low level to publish it raises many issues in the functioning of the editorial. How come this happened. This clearly shows that the news editor who is responsible for this hasn’t seen this before being cleared for carrying it in the paper. Print is slowly losing its sheen following net papers and electronic media. No meaning in tendering an apology. Better to pull up those responsible for this Mr Mukund.

  • Neeraja says:

    Thanks Nanu, one of my friend shared the above article and I was appalled by the newspaper’s insensitive attitude. I never wanted to see Meneka like this… She is such an amazing person and we all are heartbroken with what happened with her. Thanks for taking up the issue with Hindu and making them render an apology!

  • Sidarth says:

    Hi. I’m a journalist with a daily in Chennai.
    I’m sorry for your loss. Publishing the photo was very wrong and your blog highlights many issues.
    However I strongly feel it is unfair to blame the reporter for the published photograph. You have gone a step further and lashed out, albeit politely compared to shrill Twitter users, at him.
    I dunno if he was responsible for providing the photograph but I think it I wrong to blame him for publishing. He is just a guy doing his job for a salary. Would you blame a sales executive of a soft drink major if pesticides are found in the drink?
    The decision to publish the photograph would have been taken by a different team. Maybe without consulting the reporter.

    Would like to know your response too.

    • Lakshmi Rammohan says:

      The “reporter” GOT HER NAME WRONG. She is Menaka GULVADY, not GULATI. She was on her daily ride NOT to work – WHERE did he even get that piece of information from?

      He was definitely doing his “job” if it entailed misrepresentation & bullshitting.

  • PJ Cherian says:

    The dignity and intellectual sensitivity of the Hindu makes this news paper widely appreciated. Even my friends outside commented once on the reports on a marginalised domain like archaeology; ” you should be thankful. You have a newspaper like the Hindu”
    This is quite unfortunate.
    The Green Archaeology bicycle team of Pattanam site are extremely pained on this tragedy to Ms Menaka while she was riding a bike. We wish her family and friends wisdom and courage to face the situation
    c

  • Bhuvana says:

    Glad you brought this to the attention of The Hindu. In Hindsight i hope no more Menaka’s succumb to rash, senseless driving.

  • It was very unfortunate that the enterprising lady employee of British Airways who goes to office by cycle, met with the fatal accident. I hereby convey my pranams to the departed soul.

    It was really decorous on the part of Mukund Padmanabhan, editor, The Hindu to instantly repent for the slip-up for publishing the grievously injured face of the victim in the news report . Let us hope that The Hindu will give an apology regretting the mishap happened at their end as consented by him. This incident must an eye-opener to all newspapers including Dailies in vernacular languages.

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