How Essar Used Journalists to Plant Favourable Stories—Emails Reproduced Here

By The Caravan | 3 March 2015
The claim that corporate organisations are extremely conscious of their image is a truism, which is why managing the media is a crucial part of their operations. The emails that a whistleblower from Essar leaked to Prashant Bhushan, a lawyer and member of the Aam Aadmi Party, are telling in this respect. The content of the email explicitly lays out the manner in which the company attempted to leverage its position with the media by either directly getting in touch with journalists to plant stories, or cultivating a relationship with journalists over a long period of time through petty favours.

N Srinivasan’s Relationship of Convenience with Jagmohan Dalmiya

By RAHUL BHATIA | 2 March 2015
Yesterday, on the eve of the Board of Cricket Control’s annual meeting, Jagmohan Dalmiya was elected BCCI president. Reports have stated that both N Srinivasan and Sharad Pawar agreed to Dalmiya’s candidature, but not without some maneuvering by Pawar. Pawar is said to have wanted Dalmiya as president, since he was not close to former president, Srinivasan. However, in this excerpt from ‘Beyond the Boundary’ by Rahul Bhatia in our August 2014 issue, Bhatia explores Srinivasan’s relationship with Dalmiya, which was definitely antagonistic, but also convenient when necessary.

Re: Request for a Car—The Journalists Who Hitched a Ride with Essar

By The Caravan | 28 February 2015
Following the Indian Express report on the Essar Group’s alleged attempts to influence people in positions of power by granting them favours, which incriminated both journalists and politicians, Sandeep Bamzai—the editor of Mail Today—and Anupama Airy—the energy editor of Hindustan Times—have both resigned from their respective organisations, while Meetu Jain—the deputy news editor of Times Now—has been put on notice as the channel has initiated an inquiry against her.  

Re: Guest at Sunrays—The Emails in Which Essar Makes Arrangements for Nitin Gadkari

By The Caravan | 28 February 2015
On 26 February, the Indian Express published a report based on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) alleging that the Essar group had been granting favours to individuals in positions of power, in a bid to push its business interests. The PIL was based on the internal communications of the company that had been made public by a whistleblower. Among the cases highlighted by these documents was that of Nitin Gadkari—now union minister for road transport and highways—who spent two nights on an Essar luxury yacht, Sunrays, in July 2013, along with his wife and children. In response to the report, Gadkari has told reporters that the visit did not involve any conflict of interest because he was neither an MP nor the president of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) at that time .

What Was It About the Young Subalpur Gang-Rape Victim That So Incensed Her Fellow Villagers?

By Sonia Faliero | 28 February 2015
In January last year, a twenty-year-old woman alleged that she was gang raped by thirteen men. She claimed that she had been raped on the instructions of an unelected village council in Subalpur, West Bengal, for falling in love with a man from outside her village, and who was also a Muslim. Sonia Faleiro travelled to Subalpur to investigate the case, and in this excerpt from her book 13 Men, she discovers the underlying hostility in the village against a young woman it couldn't understand.

Modi’s Insistence on the Land Ordinance is not Good Governance, It is an Attempt to Shield Himself from His Failures in Gujarat

By HARTOSH SINGH BAL | 27 February 2015
As opposition to the land ordinance mounts within and outside the parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told his party MPs that there would be no rollback of the proposed amendments. While Modi’s unwavering supporters see this as a sign of a leader committed to reform, the facts suggest that this obduracy has more to do with his failures in Gujarat. The changes that have been made to the original Land Acquisition Act passed in 2014, and which are now being pushed through the ordinance, bear the stamp of Modi’s administrative inability in completing the work on the Narmada canal system in the state. To fully comprehend the gravity of this claim, it is necessary to understand the scope of the Sardar Sarovar Dam project on the Narmada.

Why Mohan Bhagwat’s Recent Statements are a testament to the RSS’s core ideology

By DINESH NARAYANAN | 26 February 2015
Barely a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed that every individual in India “has an undeniable right to retain or adopt” any faith on 17 February, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) supremo, Mohan Bhagwat, courted controversy by saying that Mother Teresa’s service was motivated by the incentive to convert the people she served to Christianity. While this is the latest incident in which the RSS chief has articulated his disdain for minorities in India, it is not the first. Not too long ago, on 8 February, Bhagwat had created a furore by asserting that every person in India should consider himself or herself a Hindu. In this story that was published in our May 2014 issue, Dinesh Narayanan explores how the identity of the RSS has evolved to constantly emphasise its aggressively Hindu-nationalist and anti-minority stance.

Has the Indian Media Lost Its Ability to Speak Truth to Power?

By Monobina Gupta | 25 February 2015
In an interview with Maureen Dowd, a columnist at the New York Times, in August last year, James Risen—a journalist with the New York Times himself and a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner—described Barack Obama as “the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.” About six months later, on 18 February 2015, the investigative reporter repeated that charge in a tweet, responding to a speech by US Attorney General Eric Holder in which Holder argued that press leaks were doing more damage than good to the cause of national security.

Why Military Tribunals Will Skew the Scales of Justice in Pakistan

By Saurav Datta | 24 February 2015
On 7 January this year, Pakistan heralded what many in the country believed was a watershed moment in the country’s fight against terrorism. The president, Mamnoon Hussain, had granted his assent to the 21st Constitutional Amendment Bill and the Pakistan Army Act (Amendment) Bill, both of which were passed by a thumping majority in Parliament and had the population’s overwhelming support. Together, the two ordinances seek to permanently eradicate terrorism from the country’s soil.

Two Towering Figures of Dakhani Poetry Recite Their Famous Poems

By The Caravan | 24 February 2015
Dakhani, the language of Hyderabad, with its Marathi, Kannada and Telugu loanwords and its guttural quality, has always been held to be the unsophisticated cousin of Urdu. However, the language flourished in thousands of folk songs and poems, most of which are still remembered by Dakhani speakers today. In his article on Dakhani poet Sulaiman Khateeb and the language’s literary legacy, ‘The God of Small Verse,' Gautam Pemmaraju unravels the history of Dakhani and its poets. This compilation contains two poems by Khateeb, and one by Ghouse Mohiuddin Ahmed, also known as Khamakha.