RIP Mr Dileep Padgaonkar
The former Editor of the Times of India passed away at Pune due to heart attack and other organ failures. He was 72. Among the eminent journalists of his time, he famously said that he held the second most important job in the country. Second only to the Prime Minister’s job.
Cool Chilli’s Comments
It is not for Cool Chilli and the NewsTikka team to write about a journalist who would be amongst the most respected in his field. He had been erudite, a liberal and a middle of the road intellectual. One respects Mr Padgaonkar for whatever he has achieved. With all his open-mindedness, one can only say he was ‘un-biased’ to a fault.
Bias towards Un-biasedness
Maybe DP was also only toeing His Master’s (Bennet Coleman & Co’s) line. The owners since the time of the British have been more pro-establishment than otherwise. And pro-establishment more often than not, meant echoing the Congress (INC) view and its brand of secularism. In fact bashing ‘Hindutva’ elements became de rigueur during the 1992/93 riots that Mumbai saw post the Babri Masjid demolition. So common place was it at the TOI that a then young and up coming journalist was emboldened enough to write a supposedly eye-witness account of ‘Hindu’ atrocities in a Muslim dominated Mumbai locality.
It is to Padgaonkar’s credit that this journalist was asked to quit within days. It came out that the incident narrated in the article never happened. But it just goes to show that bias of any kind is inappropriate and should have no place in mainstream journalism. The Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna ‘erred’ by being rabid on the right-wing side. But the likes of The Times of India tried to project a picture of ‘un-biasedness’ and a climate of liberalism for the sake of being seen as liberal. Money makes the mare go. In journalism, The Times Of India proved that by letting itself be perceived as being more a vehicle for its Marketers.
Guess, Mr Padgaonkar cannot be faulted too much for his employer’s stand. He had all the ‘punditry’ and the panache to do in print (and much more stylishly) what Arnab Goswami has done for the Times Group on television!