Friday, September 22, 2017

Dear Pradyuman

We know you now keep vigil from up above. We know you have had to take matters in your own hands, going by the sorry state of affairs down below. Things seem to be falling in place only because you are now in charge of your own case. With the CBI now in the picture, we hope justice is on its way. But the larger truth continues to haunt us.

As a nation of rogues across spheres - polity, education, medicine, health care, judiciary, police, business, art, leisure, media, sport, science, technology, religion and spirituality included - and of helpless bystanders like me who can do nothing more than pay condolences, we have collectively failed you. All our progress since independence - strides in outer space, laughable IT superpower claims, rich heritage & culture ball talk have come to naught. Please forgive us. And please forgive our talk show specialists (especially school principals, educationists, columnists and tinsel town celebrities) for their politically correct media bytes, dramatic posturing and even pseudo poetry.

We were introduced to you only after your demise but it didn't take long to realize that you are very special, just like your name Pradyumna, arguably the only three-lettered Sanskrit word with all letters joint (जोडाक्षर) Please give us the strength to come to terms with the fact that you are no longer with us.

Dear Bloomberg Businessweek

On September 8, India woke up to one of its worst tragedies in recent times when seven year old Pradyman Thakur was found brutally murdered in the toilet of his school Ryan International in Gurugram. I feel Bloomberg Businessweek should do an in-depth story on this national disaster as also on the money-minting business of Education in India. No wonder, several fraudsters thrive on their nation-wide school and college chains, largely helped by scheming minds, political clout as also unsuspecting (read unmindful) parents who take the 'international' tag at way more than face value.

Your Indian coverage is extremely sketchy anyway (compared to your China bytes) and some of the reports on India's IT challenges in the Trump era and demonetization were pretty mediocre. The best Bloomberg piece on India was Ben Crair's report titled "Maniac Killers of the Bangalore IT Department." It would be great if Ben covers the Ryan episode as well.

Little Pradyuman awaits justice, what if posthumously. Falling standards of journalism, particularly in India, have made us highly cynical about our expectations from the media. Bloomberg is one sweet exception. Your reportage goes way beyond business matters and seems to trigger actionable insights, unlike many Indian publications and even a few reputed global names. A Bloomberg story could go a long way in making the world aware of Pradyuman's tragedy which is, and should be, ours in the same breath.