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Published in the 16-30 Jun 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Akbar’s Trojan horse

M. J. Akbar is a senior journalist and an enterprising venture capitalist, who wishes to break new grounds in Indian journalism. His Asian Age had come on the scene in a refreshingly fresh and novel presentation of news and articles, photo-features and a brash way of pushing public causes, whether on behalf of general public or Akbar’s many backers and funders. He is naturally very besotted with the West and does not fail to smell the opportunity to team up with world’s most influential newspapers in the US and become its mouthpiece in the new ‘reformed’ India. His clever step to introduce a Saturday supplement of selected articles from the New York Times in Times’ own format, was the nearest any international newspaper had come to access India’s English readership in a direct manner. 

With suitable help and encouragement from the Sangh Parivar elders, who have vested interests in inviting US and Jewish investors to muscle in with their international resources and focused agenda and thus risking their own political future; Akbar had tried to start an edition of International Herald Tribune, through a wholly owned Indian company, ignoring the implication of his move as the first entry of the raised foot of a Trojan Horse. 

Akbar’s nearness to Sangh Parivar was exposed when he splashed ‘brand new’ evidence about Bofors at the very fag end of Lok Sabha elections. This was a very high-risk exercise and the whole journalist community could not miss its crude presentation. Without taking any stand on the crux of Bofors affair, one can safely say, its blatant introduction was a cheap and motivated effort by a known journalist to offer his services to the highest bidder in a very dubious attempt to manipulate Indian voter. Mercifully, Akbar failed miserably. 

To his readers, who admire his facility with the prose and his quick grasp of the essentials, it is a sad day, that he can become a convenient tool of America’s leading newspapers, who have been overwhelmingly instrumental in promoting President Bush’s neo-imperialist policies. 

Akbar, of all people should be well aware that media in the US and the West, has become a very important arm of state policy, even much more effective than diplomacy or defense. 

Each of Bush lies around Iraqi invasion, had been duly backed by the prestige of New York Times reportage. 

To promote New York Times and International Herald Tribune to come into India through backdoor, is like inviting Mossad to man India’s security and US fleet to takeover India’s defenses. 

This is not a straight dollar and cent business proposal. One can end up selling India itself, without its people becoming any wiser. 

Akbar’s act on behalf of vested interests in the country and/or outside, is the most unpatriotic expected of a bright perceptive thinker and writer as well as a promising politician, who is in a hurry to make his millions, by cutting corners and selling his own credibility with his own people. 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai – 

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