A ‘relook’ at relooking at Jyoti Basu’s Bengal?

Amid the torrent of unctuous praise raining on the communist leader Jyoti Basu, Business Standard had a sharp piece by the former Pioneer journalist Kanchan Gupta on Saturday, 16 January, on its op-ed pages.

“Had it been Jyoti Banerjee lying unattended in a filthy general ward of SSKM Hospital in Kolkata and not Jyoti Basu in the state-of-the-art ICCU of AMRI Hospital, among the swankiest and most expensive super-speciality healthcare facilities in West Bengal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would not have bothered to arrange for a video-conference for top doctors at AIIMS to compare notes with those attending to the former chief minister of West Bengal,” wrote Gupta, who did a brief spell in prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee‘s office.

“The fulsome praise that is heaped on Jyoti Basu today—he is variously described by party loyalists and those enamoured of bhadralok Marxists as a “humane administrator” and “far-sighted leader”—is entirely misleading if not undeserving…. As a Bengali, I grieve for the wasted decades but for which West Bengal, with its huge pool of talent, could have led India from the front. I feel nothing for Jyoti Basu.”

But, post Basu’s death on Sunday afternoon, the piece has disappeared off the Business Standard website. A Google cache exists.

(Update: The same piece had been published on Gupta’s blog on 9 January and by The Pioneer on 10 January.)

For the record, Business Standard is now edited by Sanjaya Baru, former media advisor to prime minister Manmohan Singh in his first term.

Screenshot: courtesy Google cache

Read the original article: Relooking West Bengal

Link via A.R. Hemant


Also read: T.J.S. George: When editor makes way for editor, gracefully

It’s all official about the return of Sanjaya Baru

Sauce for a paper ain’t sauce for a TV station?

Conflict of interest and an interest in conflict


  1. I am amused by your description of me as a “former Pioneer journalist” since I still happen to be working for The Pioneer as its Associate Editor. The article on Jyoti Basu first appeared as my regular Sunday column, Coffee Break, with the headline, ‘ Destroyer of West Bengal’, in The Pioneer on January 10. It was also posted on my blog with the notice that it appears in The Pioneer as ‘Coffee Break’ on January 10. I was surprised to see the article reproduced in the Business Standard of January 16, with the headline changed to ‘Relooking West Bengal’. I had conveyed my surprise to BS and pointed out that the reproduction was without authorisation. I would think that’s the reason it was subsequently removed from the paper’s website.
    I am sure this clarification will find mention on your website.

  2. surprise to see that journos’ still can write what they ‘feel’…and this surprise is pleasent indeed….opinions may vary but it takes courage,as Kanchan Gupta, to see the other side…thanx to this website for bringing it to our notice…kudos to The Pioneer and again to BS for reproducing this…

  3. Sanjaya Baru

    Regarding the column by Kanchan Gupta in Business Standard – it was indeed published in BS after it was earlier published in Pioneer. Due to a communication gap the author’s permission was not taken prior to publication, but subsequently Mr. Gupta was informed. BS was happy to publish a contrarion viewpoint in late Jyoti Basu’s legacy.
    The only reason the column was removed from the BS website is because it is already available on The Pioneer website and BS had only published an already published item.

  4. mysore peshva

    dear sanjaya baru:

    i do not find your “only reason” explanation to be persuasive. your own credentials may be super, but i sure hope you have not underestimated your readers’ intelligence!

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