This is the full text of Nirmala Lakshman‘s July 20 letter to the board of directors of Kasturi & Sons, the holding company of The Hindu, on why she can no longer continue as the joint editor of the paper, following the elevation of Delhi bureau chief Siddharth Varadarajan as the next editor of the paper.
Unlike her cousin N. Ravi and her sister Malini Parthasarathy, who have consistently opposed the decisions of N. Ram & Co, Nirmala went along with last year’s”demotion” of N. Murali, which entailed the controversial appointment of her son Narayan Lakshman as the paper’s Washington D.C. correspondent.
The nearly identical tone of the resignation letters of Ravi, Malini and Nirmala give the indication that it is part of a strategy as the company law board prepares to hear The Hindu on a daily basis, as directed by the Supreme Court. They are also, in a sense, a hint that it will not be all smooth sailing for the professionals.
It is with a deep sense of disappointment and sadness that I write this letter. The present board of directors has used a tenuous majority to force me out of my position as joint editor of The Hindu. With the appointment of Siddharth Varadarajan as editor it has become untenable for me to continue as joint editor of The Hindu.
I would like to state for the record that I strongly protest this manner of trying to reorganize the company; with little foresight, complete insensitivity, and a lack of grace and decency. Opportunistic factionalism has taken precedence over concern for the institution’s welfare and progress as demonstrated in recent months.
Under the guise of professionalizing, experienced and professionally trained family members who have worked conscientiously and tirelessly for this institution for decades have been jettisoned to serve the self interest, the misguided perceptions and the personal agenda of a few.
With competitors making alarming inroads into our territory, functioning in this cavalier manner and playing the numbers game does not bode well for the future of The Hindu.
I would like to also reiterate that I am not “stepping down” as per the majority propelled board diktat but resigning of my own accord as joint editor. I will however continue as whole time director of the company.
Please take this letter on record.
Also read: Why N.Ravi quit Hindu after 20 years as editor
Malini Parthasarathy quits as Hindu exec editor
Malini Parthasarathy: Why I quit Hindu as executive editor
Why does N. Ram command a majority on the board when his performance has been so consistently sub-par? It is tempting to speculate — based on his recent over-wrought presentation of Wikileaks major domo Julian Assange — that it is foreign money bags. The jetissoned family members might be well advised to investigate if the directors backing N. Ram have disproportionate assets.
Poor Siddharth Varadarajan. I pity him for the predicament that he is in.
He has become a pawn in the game that larger players are playing to caputure The Hindu empire.
There is no way he is going to last at the post of editor for more than a year….
In a year there will not be any The Hindu left for the family members to squabble over.
It is high time both groups in KASTURI @ SONS LTD ,stop throwing dirty linen in public and come to some sort of mutual agreement in the presence of some retired judge or well wisher of both the groups . After so much of mud slings , there is no way they can hang on together any more . It is high time the minority directors come out of the news paper taking their share and start their own newspaper . Under some mutual agreement , they seek permission from majority share holders to print copies of new papers in various printing centres of the Hindu – say for 5 or 6 years . It may also be pointed out , that under N.RAM , THE HINDU got much more publicity . There is no denying the fact that N.RAM has charisma – much much more than all these dessenting directors put together .N.Ravi was sitting in IVORY tower while he was editor . The Hindu had grown during his tenure not due to N.Ravi , the editor but inspite of him . N, Murali was a dumb MD. He was very very slow as a spokes person for the Hindu when TOI , DC launched editions in TN . Any other MD would have counter attached Mumbai , the bastion of TOI WITH AN EDITION of the HINDU .