Feature Article

Coup in The Hindu means more than a family feud

[TamilNet, Friday, 26 March 2010, 19:35 GMT]
Battle for control breaks out in The Hindu, very divided family, reported Indian Express Thursday. At the heart of this battle is the proposed retirement of publisher and the group Editor-in-Chief N Ram and his decision to dig his heels in. According to people close to the developments, the board is split, one group supporting Ram and the other seeking his retirement, Indian Express reported further. In the corporate dictated scenario of polity in India, the coup means more than a family feud – a panic in the Indian corporate world over a failed course and scurried attempts to revise it, political observers said. Similar tensions are noticed in recent times in India’s External Affairs and Home establishments too, the observers further said.

Meanwhile, The Hindu in a statement in its website said that Mr. Ram will file a ‘criminal and civil’ defamation suit against The Indian Express and the Financial Express for the publication of the highly defamatory material.

But the Express Group stood by its report and published the full text of a correspondence it had with Mr. Ram on the issue.

N. Ram, awarded ‘Sri Lanka Ratna’ by Chandrika government is known for his anti Eezham Tamil independence stand and for his support to Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. He dragged The Hindu into this line for well over a decade, Tamil Nadu media circles said.

Ram’s Hindu played a major role in translating the desertion of Karuna from the LTTE into a politico-military machination beneficial to Colombo and New Delhi.

Even after the war ended in Vanni, Ram’s continued support to genocidal Colombo and opposition to Tamil independence signify larger agenda, commented academic circles in Chennai. Some academics have now stopped writing in The Hindu.

Mr. Ram was also accused of playing China’s agent in India by Tibetan organizations.

Even though many conservative sections in India believe that Ram is an anti-Hindu leftist spoiled The Hindu, there are others who view him a pseudo Marxist of corporate interests.

According to Indian Express citing insiders, The Hindu’s board had decided to set 65 as the retirement age for the board members and Ram was identified as the first member to step down this May.

It was also decided that after Ram’s retirement, Ravi would take over as Editor-in-Chief of the group while Malini Parthasarathy would be appointed the editor of The Hindu and Venugopal the editor of The Hindu Business Line, but Ram is said to have declined to give up the positions he holds across the company, including the board membership, Indian Express said, citing inside sources.

Ram responded saying, “No retirement age has been stipulated for directors or the editor-in-chief or editor etc. No retirement age is stipulated in the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Company.”

In February Ram recruited two of his family members, his daughter Vidya Ram as European correspondent of The Hindu Business Line and Dr. Narayan Lakshman as Washington correspondent of The Hindu.

The 132 years old The Hindu is published by Kasturi & Sons Ltd, the board of directors of which has 12 members, descending from four cousins — G Narasimhan (father of N Ram, N Ravi, N Murali); S Parthasarathy (father of Malini Parthasarathy, Nirmala Lakshman and Nalini Krishnan); S Rangarajan (father of Ramesh Rangarajan, Vijaya Arun and Akila Iyengar) and G Kasturi (father of K Balaji, K Venugopal and Lakshmi Srinath).

 

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