A Weekly in 13 Languages: A Unique Happening in the World of Global Media. An Arindam Chauddhuri Initiative

By Philip Verghese Ariel
The Sunday Indian news weekly. A unique one in its splendor. A weekly stand apart from its counterparts in its vision and style of reporting. An Arindam Choudhury (An IIPM Professor and a Management Guru) initiative started this weekly on 2nd October 2006 with five language editions-English, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Gujarti. Just after completing one year of publication it launched out another 8 Indian language editions namely Malayalam, Urdu, Telugu, Kannada Assamese, Marathi, Oriya and Punjabi.

By the publication of 13 different languages this media group obtained a distinctive position of the world's first publication comes out every week in 13 different languages.

I have been a regular reader of The Sunday Indian (TSI) since its inception. Also a regular contributor to (in English and Malayalam) its letters to the editor column-they call it "DEAR EDITOR". Apart from the editorial, the in-depth columns like 'Musings' by its Economic Affairs editor Prasoon Majumdar, 'Typos' column by the Features Editor Prashanto Banerji and cover features are gems that keep them above all its counterparts. The style of editing and telling the story in the bare minimum space is worth mentioning. In this busy world this is the kind of coverage that readers generally opt for. TSI has achieved a lot in the field of Indian journalism in a short span of time.

The editorial of this weekly is much talked about subject in the Indian media from the week one. The Chief Editor Arindam Choudhury wrote different edits which drew the attention of the Indian administration. The dare devil attitude in his writing is really praiseworthy. With plain and simple words he brought out many of the injustice meted out to the general public, the middle class and the downtrodden of India.

They entered in the arena where most of the Indian media dare to drive in. With much concern and zeal his team brought out many chilling and shocking stories over the months. With plain but strong words they criticized the politicians, administrators and even the judiciary.

Let me quote here some of his editorial titles, "It's Not Democracy Sir, It Is Demonocracy All Around. Hope The New Year Ushers In A Real Change" is an editorial written in response to the Prime Minister's statement: "Despite tremendous diversities, we have emerged as a successful functioning democracy". Another title goes like this: All We Have Successfully Created Is A Spineless Police Force" this is written on the inaction of the police force in many cases, He says, I quote, " Though every time all the fingers point at the khaki (Police Uniform) but the real villains of peace have been the politicians and State governments who have always treated the police force as their personal fiefdom for their self serving interests. "... It is most unfortunate that a profession, which is looked upon with respect in other parts of the world, has been made to become the most vulnerable and disrespected in our country".

Another important edits headline read, "To make India Democratic & Politics De-criminalized, Allow Election Voting Through SMS". This is one of the editorials which received tremendous responses from the readers. The reader's reaction to this piece continued in the following issues. Apart from the usual letter page they published a four page column of letters from the readers.

Few more title on this line are:

1. Mafia Political Parties Have Completely Robbed Indian Democracy of Everything, Including Its Moral Legitimacy!!"

2. "Even After Sixty Years, An Indian Remains Alien In His Own Country!!".

3. "Honorable Minister For Agriculture - Sir, Rather Than Cutting The Subsides From The Midday Meal Scheme, Please Arrest The Existing Corruption In The Public Distribution System!" These Editorial pages can be read online: www.thesundayindian.com click the button below: Arindam Chaudhuri and then click "His article and thoughts"

While launching out the new 8 editions he wrote in its editorial.

"The big issue about this expansion is not the satisfaction with the numbers, in case you are mistaken. I have no fascination with extra editions just for the heck of being different. When we started Business & Economy, we wanted to pick up issues of burning importance, which are marginalized and ignored by mainstream media; issues like the dysfunctional judiciary of India, issues relating to human development in India, issues like the true extent of poverty in India (talking about which is boring and non glamorous in today's media). We wanted to take such issues to the masses in a sharp and incisive manner with pertinent solutions... solutions being our forte, thanks to the intellectual bent of our core group due to its academic association with The Indian Institute of Planning and Management and its Think Tank. As we succeeded in doing that, we also realized that it would be a far bigger challenge to take the same issues in a more easy-to-understand manner to the general masses, instead of just to the Economist reading business community.

The challenge always is in de-intellectualizing matters of public concern and taking them to the public and making them realize the truth in a manner that they feel compelled and motivated to become a part of the process of change themselves. That's why we started The Sunday Indian and it's the same reason we are now in 13 different editions - because we want to reach out to all Indians, regardless of their education, language, caste or level of income. We believe every Indian has the right to a new way of thinking. And that is our mission!". www.thesundayindian.com Editorial head- Lucky 13! It's never happened before in the world of global media " [24/06/2007]

Over the months they carried out this vision through their weekly editions, and they stick to their words by reducing its price to a minimum of Rs.10. which is very much affordable to an average Indian reader. By keeping the minimum price rate they fulfilled the vision reaching out to all level of people in spite of their level of income.

Another important thing to say about this unique publication is that, they respect its reader's views and gives them a prominent place in its pages and three pages are allotted to the readers to air their views. Generally publications give one or maximum two pages to its readers. In most publications this space will be given after the editorial, and some keep them in to the last page or some other corner of the publication, but here in this weekly we can notice a special thing that the readers are given the first priority and are given them the first place and editor took his seat next to them that is a second place.

There is a general tendency in journalism, especially in the print media that the editors always take the First seat (or the Mukhyasanam) and give the readers a second seat (or the ardhasam (A Half Seat). Another interest thing is that every week they publish a special column with a special format and font; this is called "History to go. They must re think and give one there are still miles more page to its readers to air their view in a more elaborate way. By shifting the history mail to some other page, that space can accommodate some more readers views. Also the size of the cartoon strip should be increased to one forth of the page as the writings in the strips are very difficult to read.

The only thing I don't like in this weekly is the Astrology column; it's of no importance in this age. I wish this unique weekly a wonderful and revealing reporting ahead. END

Source: www.thesundayindian.com
Chief Editor. Arindam Chaudhury
Editor: A Sandeep

(The writer can be reached at: pvariel@gmail.com)
Philip Verghese Ariel Founder and CEO at Philipscom

A freelance writer, editor and a blogger from Kerala. Now based at Secunderabad, Telangana, India. Can reach at: pvariel(@)Gmail [.] Com
Tel: 09700882768