73 URLs critical of IIPM blocked
BV Rao | February 16, 2013
The government, through a court order procured by Arindam Chaudhari of IIPM, has blocked 73 links that have negative references to the latter. While there is outrage at how Arindam has gamed the media, as well there should be, the below article, written in 2009 and first posted on www.thevigil.in, talks about how Arindam has other very good means of silencing the media (which unfortunately, do not evoke the same disgust because it is profitable for the media in this case). Read this quickly. Before it becomes link no 74 to be blocked.
I was always worried I would die without knowing enough about Arindam Chaudhuri. But last week, The Hindu and Tehelka put me at ease. Thanks to these two highly respected publications, I will leave this world armed with better information about the management mogul, his life and his works.
Arindam, the management guru turned academic turned author turned editor turned film producer has a way of staying in the news. The latest is a 110-page “success book” titled “Discover the Diamond In You” that he wrote in five days flat on his mobile! That was provocation enough for these two publications to do lengthy articles followed, a few pages later, by paid advertisements from Arindam’s IIPM. (That’s another way of staying in the news.)
At 48, it’s a bit late for me to try to succeed at anything based on the wisdom of a book written in five days on SMS and, anyway, Arindam says he has written it for the young, in their language and idiom. If the diamond in me is destined to go to the grave without being discovered, so be it.
At least, I’m getting some serious insights into the life of a “discovered” diamond (more about that in a while). The Hindu wrote a glowing piece and aptly titled it “This gem’s aglow” (Metro Plus, Dec 10). “Anyone seen Arindam Chaudhuri without an impish grin on his face? Anyone? Well, chances are pretty bleak considering the man believes in turning every calamity into an opportunity,” the article began. The calamity in reference is the economic slowdown and the opportunity is the five days’ time that Arindam could afford as a result to tip-tap the book on his mobile (because he can’t still handle the desktop).
I quote him from the article: “I took five days for the book. Two days just to jot down the things I wanted in the book. Then I typed out the contents on my mobile for the next three days. I SMSed it to my designer. Mobile is such an uncomplicated way of communication that I am not used to a computer even now. I prefer to speak the language of 140 characters than long mails.” (I can’t figure out why writing 110 pages of a book on the mobile is not the same as writing long mails…it takes a diamond to understand a diamond and I’m not one as I told you at the outset.)
The reporter now poses a profound question: Writing a book in times of economic recession makes perfect sense… but when did he (Arindam) realise he had the diamond in him? “The process of discovering the diamond in me started when I was a student. I aspired to be a teacher seeing a couple of my teachers. Then that unpolished diamond got exposed to good light and the urge to emulate only got stronger.” (Those damned 40W bulbs during my childhood… they destroyed the diamond in me. Philips will pay for this!)
The reporter is not done yet. Another profound question follows. With this quick read, is he (Arindam) not treading on the territory marked as his own by Chetan Bhagat who too speaks in the language of the young? Arindam is accommodative: “I have heard of that comparison but I have not read Chetan’s book.” (Chetan’s loss entirely.)
This glowing piece on Arindam appears as the cover story of Metro Plus and on the back page is a half-page ad of Arindam’s IIPM. The ad has nothing to do with the launch of the book, but it helps you understand the article better, if you know what I mean.
Luckily for people like me who strongly feel the media just doesn’t give us enough of Arindam, Tehelka also tried to address the need gap. On its Society and Lifestyle pages (Dec. 12 issue), it ran a two-page interview of Arindam with the launch of the book as the news peg. But Tehelka’s literary correspondent who did the piece — rather half-heartedly, I suspect — obviously did not think much of Arindam’s literary prowess.
The book is just one passing question in the two-page interview-biography that gives us critical, “you-can’t-die-without-knowing-this” kind of information about the author such as that Arindam:
--Lectures at IIPM campuses
--Writes the editorial for and oversees the cover story of “The Sunday Indian”
--Writes his books and reads potential scripts for films
--Gets his news primarily from print
--Doesn’t watch television except for the odd spurt of breaking news
--Is frank about his fear of addiction, particularly of the Internet
--A staffer operates his blog since he doesn’t know how to upload content
--Occasionally uses Facebook to interact with students but barely touches email
--Instead, claims to write mostly on SMS, including all of his latest book
Twelve pages later, on the inside back cover, is a full page IIPM ad. As with The Hindu, the ad has nothing to do with the book but helps us understand the report in better light.
It is quite possible that the editorial in both the publications did not know that the ad would appear in the same edition but the tone and tenor of the write-ups make one suspicious. While The Hindu is completely in awe of Arindam without once suggesting it has read the book (so forget about critiquing it), from the Tehelka piece it is clear that their literary correspondent did not even think it was worth commenting upon the book. Yet, there it is, the two-page piece.
There are two reasons to worry here. One, The Hindu and Tehelka (especially the latter) are two institutions that still revere honest journalism. So this kind of surrogate advertising (or is it surrogate editorial?) appearing in them is not good news for news.
Two, Arindam has just about started on his 22-city publicity binge for the book so you know there’s a lot more to come in the near future…
The Hindu is right. It’s hard to find Arindam without his impish grin. If you had the nation’s media eating out of your hands, you would grin too.
This was published in Dec 2009
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