So, why did Raju Narisetti suddenly leave Mint, the business Berliner launched by the Hindustan Times group, in December 2008, less than two years after the newspaper’s launch, and return to the United States?
# Was it because he was opposed to staff and salary cuts as proposed by the management, as insiders claimed?
# Was it because he had carried out his mandate of launching a credible newspaper and was ready to move on, as the management claimed?
# Was it because he had a tempting offer as one of the managing editors of The Washington Post?
# Was it because his wife was finding living in India more and more difficult?
# Or was it because an pesudonymous open letter to the prime minister by a serving IAS officer published by Mint had not gone down well with the HT management (whose vice-chairman Shobhana Bharatiya is a Rajya Sabha member nominated by the Congress), as the market speculation was (which Narisetti denied)?
There has never been a clear picture, but an indication that Narisetti and HT had parted reasonably amicably came recently when his name resurfaced on the paper’s tombstone as “Founder-Editor”.
Now, Narisetti has revealed a bit more of the circumstances surrounding his exit in a New York Times story by Heather Timmons on people of Indian origin who find it difficult to work in the country of their birth and then return home to the United States:
“Some very simple practices that you often take for granted, such as being ethical in day to day situations, or believing in the rule of law in everyday behavior, are surprisingly absent in many situations,” said Narisetti, who was born in Hyderabad and returned to India in 2006 to found Mint….
“He said he left earlier than he expected because of a “troubling nexus” of business, politics and publishing that he called “draining on body and soul.”
Also read: Pseudonymous author spelt finis to Mint editor?
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The problem with this multiple choice seems to be that they are all not mutually exclusive which makes it a lot less interesting. And if a recent Time Out Delhi profile of Kim Barrington Narisetti (I believe Mr Narisetti’s wife) suggests not only she is still living in Delhi but having a blast publishing travel and childrens books so there goes that particular theory of yours…
I suppose what matters is how Mint is doing in the hands of the team that seems to have been hand-picked by Mr Narisetti and then given the reins of the the paper. The NYT story suggests it is doing very well…
As a fan of Mint, I have been amused by the contortions some media watchers have gone through as they struggled to “discover” the reasons…looks like Raju had cumulative reasons but also seems like by the time he left Mint was perhaps India’s most successful media brands of the past decade. His statement to NYT, which seems like a recap of his stint than specific reasons, says a lot about Indian media landscape and the silence about what are real issues that Raju raises now and has raised before in his blog. Instead of focusing on that, media critics in India are all about speculative reasoning about people movements than substantive issues…little wonder he left?