ACCESS: AJC's new generation

...engaging today’s critical domestic and international issues.

Working at the nexus between the Jewish community and the world, ACCESS reaches out to diplomats, policy makers and young leaders of diverse religious and ethnic communities.


Visit to the Times of India
Tuesday, March 2

Unlike most of the rest of the world, India is enjoying a boon in the popularity and power of its print media. This trend was on relatively full display to our group as on Tuesday, March 2, we were treated to a mini tour of and information gathering session at the Times of India, coordinated by Victor Sassoon, a General Manager and International Media Representation Editor of the paper, with Iraqi-Jewish roots.

As testament to the esteem in which daily newspapers are held, the building we entered looked more like a Parliament house than a media outlet. Aside from the security check, we were led through a labyrinth-like passage around different sectors of the newspaper, culminating in a stop in a small conference room. Here we were treated to coffee and tea and were given the chance to conduct a substantive, free-form Q @ A with two journalists who write for the equivalent of Mumbai’s metro section, focusing on local stories, issues and events.

The main speaker, Nauzer Bharuch was the Assistant Metro Editor and an extremely forthright journalist, chock full of heartfelt comments about the nature of Indian affairs, its local populous and the state of India’s major institutions. It became evident from his remarks that both the local and national governments seem to be failing the country in terms of national security. His position is that the terrorist attacks of November 26, 2008 have been dealt with in a lackluster manner, leaving India, at least Mumbai vulnerable to future threats. Both were adamant that the government must go beyond their present approach of mere lip service to addressing vital security issues.

However, in typical journalist’s fashion, the spotlight was immediately transferred to our group and what ensued was a spirited and unexpected dialogue on both the origins and current perceptions of the Holocaust. Without getting into too many specifics, our speakers were curious as to how we feel about the event now that we are several generations removed from its occurrence as well as how we were taught about that deplorable period in Jewish history. Their comments and questions seemed to be based on their perception that the Holocaust is not really taught as a subject in Indian schools, either historically or philosophically, and was curious how the Shoah is treated in a country where Jews constitute a much greater percentage of the population and the educational world.

All in all, this tour of the Times of India, though brief, proved to be a fascinating give and take opportunity and hopefully enlightened both parties on issues pertaining to Indian daily affairs, Jewish history and the power of the print media.
Mark Elman

No comments:

Post a Comment