‘Sub ka haath’: A typo in ‘The Indian Express’ that is a textbook definition of a ‘Freudian Slip’ in l’affaire M.J. Akbar

In the mid-1980s, when it still saw itself as a newspaper in the news business, The Times of India launched a annual contest for advertisements created by advertisers and agencies not for profit but in service of the public.

The shortlisted entries—on keeping families small, streets clean, etc—were published in a separate pullout, along with the winner. All very nice, except that the launch issue ran a lofty editorial on “Public Service Advertising” with the ‘l’ in public missing.

Pubic Service Advertising“.

Game, set and match editorial.

After that the paper went into the “advertising business”, as Vineet Jain proudly confessed in a profile in The New Yorker.


A similar and similarly delightful spelling malfunction occurs in The Indian Express today, while reporting court proceedings in M.J. Akbar‘s defamation case against columnist Priya Ramani.

“He has done extreme handwork and was an exacting senior…”


The hardworking Mr Akbar was, of course, felled from his political perch and ministerial post by serial allegations of sexual misconduct at the height of the #MeToo scandal, and the Express typo unwittingly rubs it in.

Doubtless, early-morning phone calls ensued and it fell upon some faceless digital sourpuss to make the necessary correction online.

Hat tip: Sanjay Sipahimalani

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.