Media: It also serves

‘India Today’ and ‘Outlook’ are the two national weekly magazines that reflect the mood of the nation. With its vernacular editions, its circulation is large enough to have impact on the people too.

Both have covered one unique topic each this week, that made me think about its impact on the minds of the people of India. ‘Outlook’ has made the 14th Anniversary Special Issue of October 19, 2009 on ‘1984- 14 EVENTS FROM THE YEAR THAT CHANGED INDIA‘. Somehow I don’t like to remember 1984, a nightmare in India’s history. I don’t know why ‘Outlook’ and its management preferred to select that issue again at this time.

Ramachandra Guha in its lead essay ‘The Axis Year’ summarizes the year so rightly: “Marked by instability and conflict, by assassination and mass murder, it was in 1984 that the Republic of India came closest to being, as it were, a non-functioning anarchy.”

Fortunately for me and many like me, ‘India Today’ compensates. ‘India Today’s special issue of October 19, 2009 is on ‘Nation Builders, 40 builders of India’s growth machine’. Vinayak Chatterjee in his opening essay, ‘The Frame Work‘ introduces the significance and achievement in the infrastructure sector of the country.

The foundation of 21st century India lies in companies like Larsen & Toubro with over 37,000 employees and an annual turnover of Rs 34,000 crore that has to its credit projects like the world’s longest LPG pipeline, or Indus Telecom, a one-lakh tower company, the result of a partnership between three independent telecom operators.

It also lies in Hyderabad’s sleek Rajiv Gandhi International Airport with its 20,000 sq m of glass conceived by the man behind the Oslo airport, in BEST that transports 45 lakh Mumbaikars in 4,300 buses every day, in BHEL that generates 73 per cent of the total power in India, in ONGC, the world’s largest oil and gas company, and in Tata Steel that produces 6.8 million tonnes of steel.

The success is also in experiments like JUSCO, a private-public partnership providing urban services in Jamshedpur, Mysore and Kolkata and HCC, that has built the 4.7-km long Bandra-Worli Sealink and the Farakka Barrage in West Bengal.

All the stories as well as the essays are informative and inspiring for the optimistic lot of the country. Indus Towers with one lakh towers is the world’s largest independent tower company. And the idea of sharing the towers by the competitors to lower the cost is a model that got India’s innovative approach to telecom expansion appreciated by many globally. And JUSCO claim that ‘Japanese drink water directly from the tap in Jamshedpur’, makes one proud and confident and so does the information that India Post is the world’s largest postal network. Unfortunately, India Today is not available for the readers on website. One must buy it, if possible.

I am one who doesn’t believe in the old journalistic axiom that bad news sells better. I shall like to be with the editor-in-chief of ‘India Today’ and take pride in what we have achieved: “India is the fifth largest producer of electricity in the world, the second largest rail network under a single management and has also the third largest number of telephone subscribers the world over.”

With memories of 62 years of post independence India, I can only rejoice with hope. I wish the news magazines to cover the stories of many other achievers in its future special issues such as the great teachers/ scientists of the Institutes of excellence, the grassroots innovators from the rural India, and many who are striving in their own way to take India ahead in the race of development.

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