Just weeks ago, India Today editor Aroon Purie was forced to admit that most of an Editor’s Note was plagiarized. It was another shabby footnote in the steep decline of one of India’s premier media franchises.
But will he apologize for the new low plumbed by his latest Editor’s Note – on Goa – if anything an even more egregious example of irresponsible journalism?
The plagiarism episode was followed by more allegations of the same.But this new episode conclusively demonstrates that facts don’t matter at all to this particular media baron.
All that counts is pure sensationalism, underwritten by a persistent underpinning of xenophobia. Once credible, India Today is now a bottom-feeder, and Purie a tabloid hack (at best).
Goa receives 27 lakh domestic tourists and nearly four lakh foreigners every year, many of whom just stay on.
Here’s the first “fact” thrown out by Purie, and he’s already in a hole he’s going to have difficulty crawling out of. These numbers appear to be pulled out of thin air.
3.1 million tourists per year in Goa?
That’s around twice the population of the state, and vastly inflated over any official statistic available. Who is Purie going to blame for this one? What’s the source? Of course there isn’t any! It’s been made up, plain and simple.
It has now, unfortunately, become the crime capital of India, where a confluence of sex, drugs and mafia has made an underworld industry that is growing faster than tourism.
Crime capital of India? We know from the previous disgrace that Purie almost never writes his own Editor’s Note which is written under his byline. But does he even read it?
Can anyone from Delhi – where only one recent scam (CWG) is alleged to have skimmed off 8000 crores – say this out loud without falling over laughing?
Is Purie even aware of the extreme ridiculousness of someone from Delhi – where 96% of women say they feel at risk every day – calling Goa “unsafe”? It’s beyond shameless!
And Goa’s “underworld industry” is growing faster than tourism? In whose fevered imagination? Is there some data for this? Are there any facts that can be mustered to back up this incredible assertion?
Of course there aren’t! It’s been made up, just like the rest of this shabby excuse for editorial journalism.
Ever since this incredibly skewed and irresponsible Editor’s Note came out around 24 hours ago, I have been asking the people around me in Goa whether they recognize much in it. Of course everyone is aware that lawlessness and gangsterism has become a fact of life on part of the coast, and that there is an ugly politician-criminal nexus – a widespread Indian disease – that is taking hold on state soil.
More than two years ago, I myself wrote in a Time Out Mumbai cover story that “only a huge crackdown can eliminate the drug business that pervades large pockets of the coastline.”
But there is more to this Purie editorial – and the entire scurrilous, deeply dodgy Goa cover story. There is also a persistent strain of xenophobia, underpinned by aggrieved Delhi-style feudal entitlement – as in, “why am I not being treated deferentially in Goa, in the feudal manner that I am accustomed to. How dare these foreigners feel so at home here!”
It is a common, utterly colonialist mentality, and that lack of deference is ultimately the biggest affront to Purie and his ilk.
Look at the cover picture itself – an unremarkable young caucasian woman in an unremarkable two-piece swimsuit. No Goan would even turn his head – the sight implies nothing more to us than a young woman going swimming.
But as we all know, many repressed tourists from the hinterland don’t see anything quite as simple as that. And India Today doesn’t either – it feels quite comfortable plastering the word SEX across this innocuous image, and implying prostitution as well.
This is the ugly stereotype of Indian narrow-mindedness, and here India Today emblazons it right across its front cover.
We have been wondering here at tambdimati.com, how will this girl feel when she sees the cover . Did she “ask for it” by wearing a swimsuit to the beach? Like Delhi girls “ask for it” by merely boarding a bus?
How would Purie feel if it was his daughter pictured in a bikini, with that lurid headline splayed across her legs?