One book at a time
>> We are riveted by Malala. We have been watching her UN speech with wonder and fascination. Could such a shining light, a young girl of 16 possess such extraordinary qualities of courage, eloquence and inspiration? It’s Malala week here as the young victim of the Taliban, and now a world-renowned voice for peace, education and the emancipation of women visits the US.
The city is agog with Malala stories and next week when we meet our dear friend Marie Brenner whose seminal piece in Vanity Fair brought her story to even more hearts and homes internationally we will be able to ask her all we want to know about this extraordinary woman and how she will change the world one book at a time!
The Bose phenomenon
>> Goodbye and goodnight Dr Amar Gopal Bose (November 2, 1929 – July 12, 2013). You not only gave us a sound system that made listening to music such unadulterated pleasure but you taught us by shining example how if we worked hard and maintained passion and integrity we too could achieve excellence and reward in the world’s arena. Goodbye Dr Amar Bose, more than the billionaires, the politicians, the film stars, you brought our nation respectability and dignity.
You showed us how an Indian could be an academic and an entrepreneur, an engineer, and a billionaire, a man of the arts and the sciences. And you did so with so much quiet refinement and with such little hype and hoopla. Goodbye Dr Bose, with your unpublicised and generous donation of your company’s shares to your alma mater MIT, the cause of research and scientific advancement was well served and more than that you proved that without the fanfare of CSR policies and away from the flashbulbs a man could do so much to give back. Goodbye Dr Bose, there are not many like you and we rue the fact that we never met you. Goodbye, goodnight and yes, thank you for the music!
Mangoes and apples
>> Sitting in NYC we find ourselves thinking about the differences between the big apple and the big mango. Following the announcement last evening of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the murder of Afro-American teen Trayvon Martin on the charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter we expected to see the city tense and fearful. After all, the case had captured the nation’s attention and created a raging debate over the issues of racial profiling, state gun laws and what can pass as self-defence.
It had galvanised people on both sides of America’s racial divide and seen much impassioned argument. The case had electrified the country ever since the shooting took place on Feb 26, 2012. What had angered public sentiment was the fact that Zimmerman had not been charged with a crime by cops due to Florida’s ‘stand-your-ground’ law, which allows someone who believes they are in imminent danger to take whatever steps are necessary to protect themselves. Supporters of Trayvon had staged protests in many cities.
Many protesters believed that Trayvon was killed for racial reasons. Trayvon (17) was black and Zimmerman is Hispanic. Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the parents of Trayvon is reported to have said, “You have a little black boy who was killed. It’s going to be reported in history books and 50 years from now, our children will talk about Trayvon Martin’s case like we talk about Emmett Till,” — invoking the name of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy who had been tortured, maimed and murdered in 1955 in Mississippi.
With public sentiment running so high and the case reopening racial wounds, a verdict that let Zimmerman off so lightly would naturally be expected to have repercussions for a long time. But standing near our window in Brooklyn, we see cars going past, people strolling in parks and kids playing. Just another Sunday in NYC — how different from what would have happened in Mumbai had the same situation occurred involving members of two religious communities!
Trouble in paradise
>> Things haven’t settled down within the Mumbai-based media group that witnessed a series of tremors after one of its high profile and long standing editor quit its flagship title — if sources are to believed. In the last six months, the associate editor, art director, two sub-editors and editorial manager have all left or are in the process of leaving the group’s other glossy.
What’s more, with its high flying and glam publisher supposed to be getting married in September — more instability is expected. What on earth is going on? Could the recent formulation of an innovative foray into an entrepreneurial adventure involving a few top journos along with the management be the cause of the trouble? And why has the new editor of the flagship title already fallen foul of some important colleagues?
That things fall apart is a given — but cannot the centre hold?