Saturday, June 28, 2008

Edward Luce, Former Financial Times Correspondent in India, Reminds

I’ve been reading Edward Luce’s In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India, though not nearly as quickly as I’d like to—I’m easily distracted—so I’m still only two-thirds through this very accessible and illuminating book on the many aspects of that many-faceted state that is India. I’m writing this post now, though, because I came across something that is relevant to one of the common threads that run through my blog. Besides, anyone who wants an idea of what the book itself is about can look up the editorial reviews available on the hyperlink.

One intriguing if possibly unintended aspect of Mr. Luce’s book is that it allows glimpses of the delicate balancing act between professional integrity on the one hand and access to sources and personal well-being on the other to come through. The triage no doubt requires that some questions go unasked, and some things must go unwritten or, likely more often, be subjected to workarounds. Mr. Luce appears to have managed this process remarkably well. That is even more admirable when you consider that he has married into an Indian family and thus had more at stake personally than the average ex-pat correspondent in India. Still, even with the best of media reports, it is likely that the average newspaper reader will sometimes be required to grasp the irony and allusions or read between the lines to get at what the reporter believes to be the truth.

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