Archive for June 30th, 2005

Newsweek carries Ratan Tata on its cover; does Indians proud

June 30, 2005

For decades, Western news magazines and newspapers had carried either no news or bad news only about India.

Only in the recent past, particularly after India’s small success in IT services, R & D and Science and Technology, they have started positive coverage. While no one wants undue positive attitude (often exhibited towards ASEAN countries during 80’s and on China in the recent past), Indians do expect a balanced coverage (even echoed by BusinessWeek Senior Editor Pete Engardio in Bangalore recently).

It is heartening to see NewsWeek (July 4, 2005 issue) carrying a lead-story “Tata’s Triumph” with a picture of Ratan Tata, Chairman Tata Sons on its cover-page.

With companies such as TCS (the largest IT Services company in India with more than $ 2 Billion annual revenue), Tata Steel (rated as the “lowest cost” steel producer in the world), Tetley Tea (the largest tea brand in the world), Taj Hotels (one of the premium brands in hospitality), Tata Motors (with its Indica at $ 4,000, one of the lowest cost passenger car with sales of half a million already, and its plan to make $ 2,000 car), in its fold, Tata Sons is a company that is unique. By featuring it on its cover NewsWeek has done us proud.

It is interesting to see my last year’s blog entry as a background

Great news – Print media reporting becomes positive about India
Feb 10, 2004

After years, if not decades, there is a perceptible change in the attitude of
the media, notably print media, in the way India news is getting reported. For
once there is positivism, confidence and a dose of encouragement, pride and a
sense of “we are second to none”. It is a welcome development and shows the
first sign of a confident nation marching towards progress. It is indeed such
a contrast that for regular readers of print media for decades (like me), who
got nauseated through the cynicism brought forward by giving undue coverage to every little negative thing in India – ac accident here, a murder there, a case of bribery in a State or a show of un-friendliness to a customer
somewhere. By no means such negative things are denied – they must be reported so that they go away, but often glorification of such events led people to think that that is all India is about, which by no means is true.

We are a vibrant nation, full of energy and still the average Indian even in the much maligned state exhibits extra-ordinary attitude of help and co-operation to fellow Indians and even foreigners. There are aberrations, but the print media made it appear for years that nothing is possible in this country full of
corrupt politicians, rude officials and helpless citizens; there are fine
politicians too, selfless officials too and dreaming citizens, who are out to
create a new India, an emerging India and an India that is a better place to
live, at least for the next generation.

We IT professionals feel good that possibly the success at the global scale
that Indians (like Narayana Murthy & Azim Premji), Indian companies (Infosys & Wipro), and Indian products (i-Flex Flexicube) created the first signs of such a change. I should quickly add that we have to be ever careful and watchful that this “feel good” factor does not lead to complacency of any kind. We have miles to go; we are still a country of 100 Million illiterates, if not more; the largest number of blind people live in India; we house the largest number of house-less citizens without even access to good drinking water. However, we need to walk the long miles with the confidence that we will solve these problems, by ourselves and without World Bank Aid!

I fondly remember the words of Jaswant Singh, our Finance Minister who gave the following message to our graduating students in his Convocation Address 2003 “remember the subtle difference between atma viswas (self confidence) & ahamkar
(arrogance); you should be self confident without being arrogant; stop talking India down

Interestingly, the foreign media too has changed its tone; majority of
the 69 articles in the Economist were positive, 18 of the 31 articles in
BusinessWeek were positive about India in the year 2003!