ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Distorting Reality

Distorting Reality

A propos your editorial “Turning the Spotlight on the Media” (EPW, 12 November 2011), I would like to give an example of reporting that would vindicate either justice Katju’s low opinion of the intellectual capabilities of our journalists or your concern about the business-media nexus that distorts the reality.

John Krich is a well-known travel writer who visited Kalinga Institute of Social Science (KISS), Bhubaneswar, after nagging entreaties by a KISS official for over a year. He wrote of this visit under the title “Children of a Lesser God” in Time magazine (7 November 2011). He says in it, “I gave in – moved to accept by a mix of compassion, foolhardiness and unabashed flattery”. On the living condition of the inmates of KISS and those who praise KISS, he writes “it seemed more a comment on the state of the world than the school budget that luminaries would line up to praise a place with conditions at best Dickensian: squalid dorms where 30-40 share a room, meals of monotonous rice and dal taken on floor”. On the self-proclaimed founder of the institute, Achyuta Samanta, he writes, “Achyuta Samanta is calm and beatific, dressed in blue jeans and sandals, seeming to accomplish everything by doing nothing”. But he mentions that his “new aim is to educate 2,00,000 adivasis by the end of this decade”. Being overwhelmed by the warm welcome and public relations exercise by Samanta, he writes, “if Samanta is half as good at teaching as he is at warm welcomes and pr [public relations] then his ever expanding legions will turn out fine”. He finds Samanta “at great pains to show his humble lifestyle in a small rented house… despite the expanding land he has acquired for his campus”.

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