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Papier mâché

india Updated: Jul 30, 2009 21:37 IST

We have always prided ourselves on being a verbose nation. Now comes proof of this. India has 74,000 newspapers with Uttar Pradesh leading the way. Now you may ask if a state like Uttar Pradesh, which is not known for its shining literacy indicators, could actually be in the forefront of what we all feel is the written word. But, don’t forget that we Indians are quite capable of having a journal or two in any village, which could be read out to us by the one literate soul in that locality, over the contents of which we could fight endlessly.

The argumentative Indian is alive and well. Now this could arguably be an occupation for many. Having a newspaper or periodical means quite a bit in moffusil towns. The newspersons concerned could be the recipients of free government homes, accreditation and other accoutrements of power. Which makes us scribes in metros green with envy. But this does say something beyond our sarky comments. There is a great desire on the part of the Indian public to read and know about what goes on in the nation and abroad. This is quite a change from, say the US, where people don’t seem to want to go beyond their little hometowns.

But one fine day, we will also wake up and wonder whether we really want to know what happens in Chennai or Muzaffarnagar. It could well be that we do not. But the greater our desire to know things beyond our own restricted surroundings, the better. But then again, don’t believe everything you read, including this little piece of advice.