The Hindu it seems is facing a big internal turmoil as yet another leading journalist has left the newspaper over differences with the top editorial leadership. The latest to leave is highly acclaimed Rahul Pandita, author and journalist, who resigned recently from his position as Op-Ed Editor for The Hindu, saying that it had become impossible for him to continue to work in a constricting environment.
In an strong worded email to Malini Parthasarathy, emailed on December 18, 2014, Pandita said: “An Op-ed editor, the way I see it, has to be given some broad guidelines in the beginning and then left free to run the page. But there is absolutely no freedom for the current editors to do so.” The resignation letter has been leaked on the internet.
He voiced his anger over the existing working condition and felt humiliated as an editor whose hands were tied as he said, “I had come to work with The Hindu “to steer some top-notch reportage and to strengthen the edit pages – by making it more accessible and more nuanced, but was instead bogged down with this hourly need to consult you”.
On his dramatic resignation from The Hindu, Pandita while clarifying says he didn’t leak the letter, but that it was cc’ed to other people besides just Parthasarthy. As a matter of fact Pandita who had joined The Hindu on March 1, had sent his resignation to N Ravi, the Editor-in-Chief. Malini Parthasarathy, the Editor replied to the email. Later, Rahul Pandita replied to Malini Parthasarathy’s email saying there is “absolutely no freedom for the current editors’ and that it was a waste of talent that every article that comes has to be commissioned or has to go through Malini’s approval.”
Rumblings in The Hindu started with the exit of the Editor in chief Siddharth Varadarajan, who quit on October 2013 along with the chief executive, Arun Anant, N. Ravi, who had served as editor-in-chief in the past, then returned to that role with Parthasarathy effectively running the show at the newspaper.
Later senior Rural Affairs Editor P. Sainath quit the newspaper and this was then followed up by the exit of senior editor Praveen Swami who went on to join the Indian Express in July 2013 and incidentally whose resignation letter made its way to the internet.
Clearly all is not well in The Hindu these days.
Here is the full text of Rahul Pandit’s resignation letter :
I think I made my point quite clear in my email to the editor-in-chief. In the current situation what the Op-ed page really needs is a bunch of interns who can seek instructions from you on an hourly basis and then get in touch with the authors on your behalf.
An Op-ed editor, the way I see it, has to be given some broad guidelines in the beginning and then left free to run the page.
But there is absolutely no freedom for the current editors to do so. Every article that comes to us or has to be commissioned has to go through your approval. And it really depends on what you think at that point.To tell you the truth, it is just a waste of talent, as far as I am concerned.I came to The Hindu to steer some top-notch reportage and to strengthen the edit pages – by making it more accessible and more nuanced. But I am bogged down with this hourly need to consult you, and with the practice of selecting articles on the basis of whether you’ve been addressed as “Malini” or “Ma’am” in the covering letters.I am also sick of this constant play of yours: to pitch one person against another for one week, and then reverse it in the next. One is also tired of your changing goalposts.
The Sunday Anchor has to be reportage-driven, and then suddenly it becomes policy-driven, and then suddenly, depending on what you hear or get impressed with, it has to be made reportage-driven again.I am a hardcore journalist and I came to journalism with a certain anger, with a certain cockiness. I have seen people dying in front of my eyes, their entrails in their hands. I have had guns pointed to my temple. Getting my blood pressure high in a conflict zone is a part of my life. But I do not like to get my blood pressure high while sitting in a cabin, waiting for a phone call from yours, of which I’ll not understand a word.I have resigned with immediate effect. And that is what I have conveyed to the editor-in-chief.