Journalism in Goa

About journalism and media issues in Goa... all views welcome. Everything but slander can be discussed here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sunday papers... some Goa links

While visiting Uganda, where daily newspapers are priced the equivalent of 50 US cents (about 1000 Ugandan shillings), it suddenly struck me how inexpensive and affordable Indian newspapers are. A paper here costs Rs 2-3 on a weekday (under 10 cents US) and about Rs 5 on a weekend.

But papers that are advertisement-driven can be a bit (or more) reader-unfriendly at time. One compromise is the Sunday newspapers, and most outstation weekend-editions tend to have a fair amount of interesting reading material.

My joke on myself was that the Sunday Deccan Herald used to be a very readable product... till I joined (from 1987-1994) and started writing for it ;-) Anyway, whenever the chance comes along, one does like to pick up the Sunday papers. Problem is: these editions come only to the towns (Panjim mainly, Mapusa doesn't get all) and Sunday is a day when one is seldom in town!

Yesterday's papers did have some Goa links in them...

Deccan Herald's art and culture page had this tory on the Opera House in Mumbai. It read:

The fat lady sings only in Mumbai! Its rich history and intricate architecture make the Royal Opera House in Mumbai a major tourist attraction. K D L Khan on the only opera house in India. The Opera House in Mumbai waits to regain its past glory...

One wondered: with all the talent, couldn't Goa have something even remotely like this? Never mind that the sun has set on the British Empire!

And whiele reading, a Goan link presented itself. Apparently, the (then) Bombay Opera House was constructed in the Baroque style, and was the brainchild of Maurice E Bandmann, a renowned entertainer from Calcutta and Jehangir Framji Karaka, who headed a coal brokers' firm. The article further says:

An advantageous corner site was leased at the northern end of Queen's Road in the vicinity of the Sandhurst and Kennedy bridges, and in 1908, Karaka and Bandmann drew up designs for the theatre. Bandmann's manager was responsible charge of the construction...

Almost expected it! A Goan link there. As one reads a little of history, the Parsi-Goan links and the role they played in British colonial history of India keeps coming up. Even if the Goan often seems to be a junior partner in such endeavours. Interesting that Collaco is referred to only by his surname here. Does anyone have more details?

Another article in the DH is Marianne de Nazareth's review of Manohar Malgaonkar's *Inside Goa* (published by Architecture Autonomous, pp 495, Rs 695). Year of publication is not mentioned.

She writes: "Written in a fluid and easy reading style, Malgaonkar takes every Goan back to the days when their Portuguese 'masters' converted them to Christianity forcibly -- "Let him who wants to live in the islands become Christian". The others ran away to Mangalore and remained Hindu..."

That, to me, seems a bit too simplistic. In post-colonial times, it's fashionable to claim that the Portuguese converted "forcibly". It would seem more believable that many simply saw opportunity in this switch-over. Likewise, one thought that migration further south down the coast (to Karnataka and Kerala) started in pre-Portuguese times. It might be fashionable now-a-days to blame this on colonialism alone.

Another article in the SUNDAY Times of India (the paper I love to hate... it has changed the idea of what newspapers are so drastically, but you still can't afford to miss its adverts!) has this rather convoluted article on Wendell Rodricks, about a February 10 event in Colombo but written from Mumbai.

It begins thus: "The fashion world is in a state of shock. The attack on designer Wendell Rodricks at a fashion show in Colombo on February 10 has left a bad taste in the mouths of the glad-rag brigade."

After reading two-thirds of the piece, one lears that it probably was some rivalry between designers... or something to that effect. Apparently some designers had been invited to showcase their work at a charity event coordinated by a (?) Sumita Radhakrishna from Colombo on behalf of the Rotary Club of Colombo East.

Maybe one is just missing something here!

In the Deccan Herald, there's also another profile of Satish Gujral, the brother of former Indian PM Inder Kumar Gujral. We're told his "thirst for life and creativity led him to dabble in many artistic mediums".

Wonder how many would agree that his design of the Goa University was something worth writing home about?


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