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Making News

of operations. In spite of a rise in costs M and M has produced good results for the year to October 1971, with higher sales and gross profits. The dividend is unchanged at 11 per cent.

Strained Relations

Strained Relations Nireekshak WHAT with the spectre of diffusion of ownership still haunting the boardrooms of most metropolitan newspapers, regulation of sale prices and the peremptory restriction of the maximum size of dajlies to ten pages relations between the government and the press barons have taken a steep plunge. The latest unofficial message from Delhi is that a full fledged price-page schedule is on the way and will replace the hurriedly improvised price regulation measure in the not too distant future. It is perhaps a measure of the growing nervousness in the more opulent boardrooms at government's seeming determination to reshape the existing structure of the press that even a newspaper like Statesman, which had lapsed into a sullen silence over press affairs after the mid-term parliamentary poll, has suddenly found its voice. And the voice, instead of being arrogant and self-righteous as it was prone to be until March last" year, has also become noticeably low-pitched and conciliatory.

The Other War

The Other War Nireekshak NO sooner had the guns fallen silent in the Indian subcontinent than the other war erupted with renewed force. Some astrologers, so favoured by the editors of our Sunday editions, must have burped with delight at the turn of events. With Saturn coursing retrograde through Taurus (or was it Aquarius?) and Mars casting its most warlike glance at Saturn from its position 20 degrees sextile to Pluto (or was it Jupiter?) they had already predicted the liberation of Bangla Desh, However, the Heavens were full of other portents; they had warned, indicating continued strife in the general area under the influence of Indira Gandhi's Ruling Sign which, whatever it was, was in the ascendant. Of course, since astrologers are not usually consulted by editorial writers before arriving at their own assessments of international developments, none of these prophesies and prognostications figured in the editorial comments on the resumption of American bombing of North Vietnam, THE CONNECTION On the contrary, Free Press Journal actually said that "the latest show of American might in Vietnam" may have some connection with Pakistan's defeat in Bangla Desh. "It can only be the result of a calculated decision, designed presumably to give comfort to America's surviving allies that they have nothing to fear from recent developments, and particularly General Yahya Khan's fate", it said. "An American Administration that intended seriously and speedily to extricate itself from embroilment in Vietnam would hardly have ordered the Seventh Fleet to the Bay of Bengal to stoke the fires of another war which America's principal ally in South Asia had unleashed there... The message of the bombing seems to be that, contrary to appearances, what Washington is looking forward to is not withdrawal from South- East Asia but only limited adjustments dictated by domestic economic and political circumstances!" Few others saw any real connection between the American diplomatic debacle in South Asia and the resumption of the bombing of North Vietnam. However everyone, bar one, condemned the bombing as another outrage. The newspaper which reacted quite blandly, as though what had happened was not much unlike a seasonal fluctuation in fish prices in the local market, was Hindu. "The purpose of the new American air offensive", it declared, even as a press release from the Pentagon might have, "is to neutralise the antiaircraft batteries and missile-launching sites that have evidently been recently built up in North Vietnam by the Russians." The North Vietnamese had been "making a renewed effort against the south .. . [and the Americans had been] "steadily bombing the Ho Chi Minh supply route and had also tried to support the Cambodian troops". Where the comment differed in approach from a Pentagon press release was in the paper's statement that "both Hanoi and Washington accuse each other of having violated the 1968 truce. There is not much point", it added, "in seeking to fix the blame when each side is determined to get ahead of the other"! TESTING OUT CHINA However, as Hindustan Times estimated the situation, it was a question of "Moscow aid [ing] Hanoi as Peking woos US''. There will be "revulsion and horror", it said, "at reports that Indo-China has become a 'weapons lab for the Pentagon and that terrible new- type bombs with vast destructive capabilities are being unloaded there .,. The US bombing seems also to have had the straightforward though significant political objective of testing out which of North Vietnam's two supporters

Victors Can Be Generous...

Victors Can Be Generous...
Nireekshak "'THE guns are silent", wrote Hindus' tan Time' on the morrow of Pakistan's acceptance of India's cease-fire offer in tin' west. "But the cease-fire should not he allowed to remain a desultory armed prate." Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had not yet been sworn in as the new President of Pakistan. When he was, his radio broadcast, as well the measures of reform he announced soon after, were to Income subjects of animated discussion in newspapers. Some newspapers regarded the cease-fire itself as the ap- propriate point at which to turn attention to Pakistan's internal problems. During the war, Pakistan was very simply the 'enemy' and the press was mainly interested in playing its part to ensure the victory of Indian arms. With victory won in Bangla Desh and a cease-fire agreed upon in the west, attention began to be focused on some of the problems that war and victory had brought in their train. These problems

New Expertise

New Expertise Nireekshak PERHAPS the only topic of newspaper comment in the last few days which did not have any bearing on the war was the devaluation of the US dollar

Editors Agree

Editors Agree Nireekshak JUDGED by the resentment, bordering not unoften on revulsion, that has been expressed by newspapers against the American stand on the war in the subcontinent, the greatest casualty of the war

Democratic, Secular Hawks All

'Democratic, Secular' Hawks All Nireekshak 'lTs war", screamed Statesman across eight colums of its front page, on December 4. In the general scramble among newspapers for the boldest headline types and space to squeeze them into, following Pakistan's air-strikes in the west and Indira Gandhi's midnight broadcast, Statesman was an easy winner; its simple headline stood out as the best of all' Since that fateful Saturday, sub-editors have been having the time of their lives and, beginning with the front page, the main news pages of all major newspapers have had an eye-catching appearance. National. Herald has added

The Lines Are Drawn

The Lines Are Drawn Nireekshak HAVE newspapers last interest in themselves? From the way some of them have hiked up their sale prices

More Vinegar than Sugar

More Vinegar than Sugar Nireekshak DURING a parliamentary session, news- papers generally do not have to Search hard for interesting topics of comment, Debates, bills, reports and even questions provide much food for thought, and not unoften there are controversies to enliven the news pages as well as to irritate or gladden leader writers. However, with the Government and MPs thoroughly preoccupied with the Bangla Desh crisis, the current parliamentary session is yielding far less than the usual crop of talking points for newspapers; Bangla Desh, moreover, being very nearly an all-party or non-party issue, is non-controversial. The result is that there is very little journalistic attention being paid to anything other than the fighting in Bangla Desh, he confrontation with Pakistan and the diplomatic Jail-out in the world capitals of this confrontation.

To Flog a Dead Horse

To Flog a Dead Horse Nireekshak THE fight for possession of the yoked bullocks

Attitudinising Galore

Nireekshak INDIRA Gandhi's tour of Europe and the United States was probably the best publicised of all such journeys undertaken so far by any Indian Prime Minister or President. The pros party which accompanied her from Delhi seems to have been a small one, consisting of a special correspondent of All India Radio and another of Amrita Bazar Patrika

In the News-Maker s Absence

In the News-Maker's Absence Nireekshak WITH the Prime Minister away, the focus of political and journalistic attention was bound to shift, as it has done, to points in Europe and America. For a brief moment it appeared as though New Delhi had not much grist to provide for the mills of its special correspondents. This may have been an in- convenicme in normal times, though never much more than that, as the native ingenuity of the special correspondents is known to have survived greater obstacles. But these are not normal times. And in any case, before any inconvenience could be felt by anyone, there came some windfalls which newspapers avidly picked up. The windfalls came in the form, first, of the new tax levies and, second, the Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister's visit to the capital. China's admission to the United Nations, again, found the correspondents busy. There has been much animated editorial discussion also.


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