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Thursday, February 23, 2023

Reading habit !! - the morning newspaper !!

Do you read daily ? – Q might sound strange but has more than a tinge of truth behind !  .. .. a couple of decades ago, for sure, we would read the Newspaper early in the morning.  An year ago, in a meeting with the HM of a renowned school in Triplicane, was aghast to hear that school children have forgotten to read Text books coming back to school after Corona !!


A newspaper is a periodical publication containing written information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background.  Miles away in UK – The Morning Post was a conservative daily newspaper published in London from 1772 to 1937, when it was acquired by The Daily Telegraph.  The paper was founded by John Bell. According to historian Robert Darnton, The Morning Post scandal sheet consisted of paragraph-long news snippets, much of it false.  Its original editor, the Reverend Sir Henry Bate Dudley, earned himself nicknames such as "Reverend Bruiser" or "The Fighting Parson", and was soon replaced by an even more vitriolic editor, Reverend William Jackson, also known as "Dr. Viper".  You can draw comparisons locally !!!   

To most South Indians, day starts early with a steaming hot filter coffee and newspaper – Indian Express was  there; the Mail; in recent times came Deccan Chronicle, Times of India – but the one that appealed most was ‘The Hindu’ – and as it became more and more anti-Hindu always ridiculing Hindutva and culture, slowly even the die-hard chose to stay away.  

In the arterial Mount Road, nearer The Hindu Office, opposite to the new Govt. Multi-speciality hospital, adjacent to P.Orr & Sons, stands the building where once another English evening newspaper, the first of its kind from Madras was published. Old Timers would recall ‘The Mail, known as The Madras Mail earlier’.   

The Madras Mail was started by two journalists Charles Lawson and Henry Cornish in Dec 1868. Lawson and Cornish had earlier served as editors in The Madras Times before resigning from editorship.  In 1921, the newspaper was purchased by European businessman John Oakshott Robinson  and later in 1945,  by the Madras business tycoon – Sri Anantharamakrishnan of Simpsons [Amalgamations Group].

The newspaper referred as ‘Mount Road Maha Vishnu’ was so authentic that people used to say that even if an accident occurs in front of their office – they would not post without verification.  In my younger days, I was so fascinated by the language and style – and would always start the paper from the penultimate page, reading Sports (to us Sports is always Cricket) – the Saturday Sports Special was much liked page.  On the day of Pongal Test against visiting Clive Lloyd, the Hindu had a series pic of Madanlal bowling action, the paper cutting of which was a prized possession of mine for decades.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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