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    +-------------------------------------------------------+ JOURNALISM ONLINE http://www.angelfire.com/nd/nirmaldasan/journalismonline NEWSLETTER, September 2002
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 28, 2002
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      NEWSLETTER, September 2002
      EDITOR: N. Watson Solomon (aka Nirmaldasan)
      EMAIL: watson@...
      Issue No: 31
      Dear subscribers,
      Time again for some self-promotion. I web-published a second,
      enlarged edition of Rocking Pegasus at
      http://www.angelfire.com/nd/nirmaldasan/pegasus.html It received a
      flattering review in terms of content and quite a bashing in terms of
      web design at the Poets India bulletin board. The review by Maan is
      quite long and comes at the end of the newsletter. Regards.

      IN THIS ISSUE...
      * thought for the month
      * editorial: investigative journalism
      * humble opinion: needed -- wisdom and maturity
      * special column: the organic grange
      * guest column: plea to rail commuters
      * creative pulse
      * book review: rocking pegasus *does have* reason
      * site update

      In 'The World As Information', Robert Abbott writes: "It is possible
      to see the world as information, but we may choose not to. There are
      other ways of seeing, other ways of being. Most importantly we need to
      rediscover the miraculous in our daily lives, and marvel at the
      strangeness of being alive, as did Dorothy Richardson. In so doing, we
      may be inspired to creativity and spirituality and to a greater love
      of the world and of life. Being alive is, for all we know, a highly
      unusual, precious and rare condition to be in, amongst the sterile
      vastnesses of space and time, and it is the strangest, most unlikely,
      most sacred, most wonderful thing that we -- or anything at all --
      should exist."

      At a time when Tehelka's extraordinary methods had damaged the
      reputation of the media, the Indian Express scoop on the petrol pump
      scam has come as a shot in the arm for investigative journalism. The
      multi-part expose does not violate the norms of media ethics and
      therefore is undoubtedly the best journalistic effort in recent
      years. The other newspapers in the country, if their editorial
      policies permit, may proudly emulate the Express example. Tehelka,
      though its ends were noble, cannot be recommended for obvious reasons.
      A couple of days after the scoop, the Express News Service in
      a self-congratulatory and yet apologetic note titled 'Sorry, Just A
      Little Pat On Our Backs' (dated Tuesday, August 6) said that the
      story was an exhaustive work of faceless journalists working as a
      team. The expose, it said, wasn't the product of the File-Snatching
      School of Investigative Journalism. And in an obvious reference to
      Tehelka, it added, "There were no sexy sound bites, no talking heads
      discussing ethics in a studio. No spy cameras, no faking identities.
      This is what they teach on Day One in the newsroom: get out, get the
      facts. It wasn't easy."
      Yes, it could not have been easy. Treading the ethical road is
      always difficult. But that is the only road to investigative
      journalism. Of course Tehelka may vociferously disagree. Its ethics
      may be made of India rubber to stretch the means to achieve the ends.
      But the end, though it may sound very cliched, can never justify the
      means. This is more so in investigative journalism because it would
      be unbecoming of the pot to call the kettle black. Moreover, Tehelka
      did not get its facts right. In an affidavit filed before the
      Venkatswami Commission, Tehelka has dropped the name of the Samata
      Party leader Jaya Jaitly from the original list that claimed she had
      received a bribe of Rs. two lakhs. However, Tehelka continues to
      insist that the money was intended for her. But where is the evidence?
      The lesson for the investigative journalist is very
      simple. "Get out, get the facts." And get them right. But how you get
      them -- the Tehelka or the Express way -- is wholly an ethical issue.
      The choice is yours. Nevertheless, Journalism Online condemns Tehelka
      and hails Express.

      Needed: Wisdom And Maturity
      By Drona Acharya

      The world has seen several tumultuous events since my last piece
      appeared. September 11, attack on J & K Assembly, fall of Taliban in
      Afghanistan, attack on Indian Parliament, Gujarat riots and so on...
      Also, there was a debate on who was the greatest Indian cricketer or
      greatest Indian in the 20th century. At present, the cricketers'
      contract issue is going on. Let me confine myself to the sports.

      The refusal of the present Indian test cricket team to adhere to
      stipulations laid down in the ICC-drawn up contract is nothing but a
      reflection of the highest form of human greed. What is reprehensible
      is the attitude of those who are considered in certain quarters the
      leading stars of Indian cricket. No one can object to X or Y or Z
      entering into commercial contracts but, when there is a conflict of
      interests, decency demands that these XYZ themselves come forward to
      resolve the issue amicably. So, they cannot question the Indian
      cricket board or the ICC, how the other party could enter into an
      agreement, which is not beneficial to the players' commercial
      interests. Moreover, those who think that it is they who shape the
      destiny of the Indian cricket seem to be ignorant of the basic law
      about law -- ignorance is no excuse.

      Let me recall for the benefit of these XYZ an anecdote, which, I am
      sure, would be an eye-opener to them.

      In January 1950, two days prior to Rajendra Prasad taking over as the
      President of India, he sought an advice from the then Prime Minister
      and his colleague, Jawaharlal Nehru, on the question whether he could
      remain in the Congress Party, be a Trustee in various charitable
      institutions run by the Congress Party and continue his association
      with several voluntary organisations, which had nothing to do with
      political parties.

      The reply from Nehru was clear and simple. Prasad should have cut off
      all his links with the Congress Party as also the charitable
      institutions under the control of the Party. Similarly, Prasad should
      sever ties with other bodies. By doing this, he would set a healthy
      precedent. Needless to say, Prasad did what Nehru advised.

      I was not surprised when the "leading lights of Indian cricket"
      refrained from precipitating the contract issue. But, at least,
      hereafter, they can derive some wisdom and maturity.

      The Organic Grange
      by Grant Eversoll

      Greetings from the Grange. In these last two weeks I have had the
      opportunity to meet a Grandmother who is running a back yard science
      project for her Grandchildren, they are raising butterflies.

      It seemed that her Grandchildren were playing around some bushes near
      her house and found some interesting caterpillars, six in all. Being
      pleased with their discovery they showed the caterpillars to their
      Grandmother explaining how pretty these brightly colored green
      caterpillars with white and black stripes where.

      She took it upon herself to try to explain that these were more than
      just pretty caterpillars but they were also beautiful butterflies as
      well. The children did not quite grasp the idea of metamorphosis so
      Grandma decided to show them rather than tell them.

      She built a box using 1x6 pine for the top bottom and both ends, for
      the front and back she used screen wire. This gave her a box that
      stood about eight inches tall and fourteen inches wide (and six
      inches deep). On the top board she cut an opening and tacked a simple
      piece of cardboard over it for an opening.

      Inside the box she placed a twig, some leaves and grass from around
      the bushes where the caterpillars had been found and the caterpillars.

      Within days the caterpillars started to make their cocoons, some on
      the screen wire and others on the twig. Of course the children were
      amazed, but not as amazed as they were the day the butterflies
      started to emerge from their temporary home. The butterflies, still
      wet and unsure of themselves stretched their wings and set in the sun
      till dry, all the while the children watched on in amazement.

      "Grandma, how did you know this would happen?" one of her
      Grandchildren ask. "Because when I was about your age I too found
      some caterpillars and my Dad built a butterfly box just like this for

      I was amazed at the simplicity of the process of building this simple
      cage to watch butterflies be born. I told my Mother about it and she
      recalled when her Granddad had found a cocoon and brought it inside
      and placed it in the bottom of their glass fronted regulator clock so
      that she and her Brother and Sister could watch one be born. Mom is
      76 and that clock still hangs in her bedroom.

      The Indians believe if anyone desires a wish to come true they must
      capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it. Since they make no
      sound, they can't tell the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit. So by
      making the wish and releasing the butterfly it will be taken to the
      heavens and be granted.

      Many societies believe that butterflies are the souls of the dead.
      North American Indians ensured the sweet dreams of their babies by
      embroidering Butterflies on their caps, while the ancient Greeks saw
      the butterfly as an emblem of the immortal soul because of its
      passing through a kind of death in the pupa stage, and a resurrection
      in the adult.

      I searched the Internet and found that there are people who raise
      butterflies for the sole purpose of releasing them at weddings.

      Wonder never cease to amaze me. So Grandma and Granddad, next time
      your grandchildren are over for a visit, there is no need to spend a
      lot of money on them to show them a good time. Just build then a
      butterfly box and teach them about nature. Deep down inside spending
      time with you is what they want to do anyway, so enjoy them.

      [This feature was previously released in 1999. I am saddened to
      report that the Grandmother mentioned in the story has been placed in
      a nursing home due to a stroke.]

      Plea To Rail Commuters
      By A. Thirugnanasambandamoorthy

      For all the ills that we face in everyday life, we blame politicians
      and bureaucrats. This is a superficial view of things. The next cause
      we invoke for any problem is the population explosion. This is not
      only escapist but also self-deceptive.

      Till sometime ago there was a column in the Sunday issue of The
      Indian Express called Small Things That Matter. It was educative and
      deeply thought-provoking. In the following lines I am going to try to
      touch the reader's heart about what commuters by Suburban trains
      experience. Some of the irritants that we have to bear with everyday
      are of our making.

      I am 56 plus. But for a five-year break (1967-72), I have been
      commuting by train between Chengalpattu and Chennai since 1961. I
      agree in those days the population was so very much less that travel
      by train was a pleasure. But what made it comfortable and enduring
      memory was the attitude of the fellow-passengers. Till at least the
      early 1980s it was an unwritten rule that a younger person must make
      way for an elder, a woman irrespective of age, disabled and the
      infirm. Everyone was content if s/he was able to stand the length of
      his/her journey without jostling or pushing. Even when the opposite
      seats were empty nobody, I repeat NOBODY, ever longed for the
      fleeting pleasure of resting her/his feet on the seat.

      As the population's rise is indescribable so was the depths to which
      commuters' attitude has sunk. Two-seaters were forced to become three-
      seaters. The third person always knew he was making himself and the
      two others very uncomfortable. Yet invariably commuters started
      preferring this discomfort to standing in comfort. Many did not ever
      bother to budge from their seats even when a pregnant woman, woman
      with an infant and the sick and the infirm. Now comes the most
      irritating and abominable habit that one finds in most of the
      commuters irrespective of gender and age. If there is a little space
      in front of them, girl, boy, woman, man, gleefully rest their weary
      feet on the seats meant for fellow-passengers. What makes it more
      galling is the fact that they do it with their footwear on. On many
      occasions, I have been horrified to see commuters dripping wet trying
      to rid their footwear of the dirt by vigorously rubbing them on the
      opposite seats. It may sound incredible but it is true that most of
      them who do it are not conscious of the harm they are causing to the
      surroundings and fellow passengers. A much lesser irritant is
      passengers disdainfully spitting while the train is on the move and
      leaving wherever they are peals of groundnut and fruits knowing these
      will remain there for hours and hours.

      It is common knowledge that our politicians are not examples. But who
      among them can you hold responsible for this reprehensible behaviour
      you find in many of these commuters? Nobody teaches, advocates,
      propagates this obnoxious behaviour.

      In humility I ask my fellow-commuters to spare a thought for what
      this small essay contains and act on it straight away. I am sure when
      that comes about of which I am optimistic suburban train journey will
      at the worst be tolerable.

      1. A Rainbow Trailing Me
      by Mabel Chacko

      Zig-zagging two thousand feet and more,
      Down a craggy, dusty,slippery trail,
      From where I did stand
      Saw I a spectacular broad-band...
      Of plunging, crashing waters
      All in radiant hues
      Breezy blues between
      The deepest purple showers, and
      In misty greens and yellows.

      All seemed like in another place,
      All seemed in another time,
      Ah! she was there,
      And she was mine.
      As I trekked down,
      Around I turned to see...
      A rainbow trailing me.

      Saw I more
      Heart rendering hues than before.
      This time I saw a passionate green gleaming
      Right at me!

      I carried my enchanting rainbow
      As long as I could upon my back...
      So would I, not again need to turn back
      To see a rare beauty following --
      A rainbow trailing me.

      2. Go To Hell!
      by W.S. Andrew Veda
      and Nirmaldasan

      VOICE: I am in heaven.
      ECHO: When?
      VOICE: Now.
      ECHO: How?
      VOICE: I don't know.
      ECHO: Know.
      VOICE: Please let me know.
      ECHO: No.
      VOICE: Bad Echo!
      ECHO: Go!
      VOICE: Where can I go?
      ECHO: Go!
      VOICE: But where? Quickly tell!
      ECHO: Hell.

      (from Rocking Pegasus,
      http://www.angelfire.com/nd/nirmaldasan/pegasus.html )

      Rocking Pegasus *Does Have* Reason
      Posted by Maan on July 28, 2002 at 11:43:44: at the Poets India
      bulletin board
      In Reply to: ROCKING PEGASUS posted by NIRMALDASAN on July 28, 2002 at

      Greetings, Nirmaldasan.

      Now this is a whole feast: enjoyable reading throughout, twists the
      brain at some, touches the heart at other. A good collection to
      savour, at par with what is going on in world poetry.(I have some
      comments on the web design since this has been presented in the *web*
      but coming to that later.)


      Witty, rhythmy self-portrait. There could have been some literary
      comments but what naturally comes out from within is "Cool, man -


      And none to judge our case, would be wasting our breath.

      How about bringing the words in the same line like
      ##And none to judge our case, would be wasting our breath.##
      Same about the last 2 lines - may be can come in one line.

      Can the 2 stanzas each be condensed into classical limerick of 5
      lines? Or may be it was wanted in the way it is?

      A HAIKU

      As they say haiku is the division of 17 syllables into three groups
      of 5, 7, and 5 syllables and the inclusion of a seasonal theme....
      Masaoka Shiki's reform...each haiku should have a kigo, a season
      word, indicating in which season the haiku is set. Eg : cherry
      blossoms ==> spring, sweat===> summer ( in India, oc) but Kawahigashi
      Hekigoto said haiku would be truer to reality if there were no center
      of interest at all.

      Don't understand that much:( but your Haiku is fine. Why just one?
      You sure must have more in stock.)

      It will be also very *interesting* if you include our very own answer
      to haiku that is "Mahiya" and "Boli"

      Mahiya = triplet where the first line with/without any meaning
      carries the rhythm leaving the other two lines into the subject.

      Boli = small couplets but beauty and brains in brevity
      Hasdi ne phul mangia
      Assain bagh havale Kita
      {She asked for a single flower with a smile
      I made over the whole garden}

      I spend so many words as most poets here are ignoring "miniature"
      poems. Thanks again for presenting haiku.

      ["Mahiya" and "Boli" and other such "oral poems" ( oral means they
      are not in written form) are from Northern India.]


      Suspense - poetic suspense. Btw - what are the answers;)?


      Great - natural calls and sounds blending finely with words and a
      *very* apt title


      The acrostic is nice, albeit personal, but after reading it Padini
      becomes sweetest in our hearts too.


      Stunning dramatic end but the theme little bit leaves us craving to
      know in a few more lines/words why she breathes no more or what
      happened to her? Agreed its description of a particular moment but


      ...But a new born smiles also.


      Good one.
      "With five wounds In the flesh And a sixth In the heart" - piercing
      words. And powerful too.


      How about making some limerickal, poetical bending of names - it's
      being done in international poetry - instead of Prasad Laloo - if we
      make it Laloo Prishuu - people know who we are talking about as well
      as the fun of poetic absurdity reaches a new height.




      Since it's already a prize winner at Hindu contest....


      These should have won more prizes.

      GO TO HELL!

      FaNtAsTic! Wish there were a few more like this one in this
      collection. Praise and only praise for this.
      Just curious to know the % /ratio of contributions of Andrew Veda and
      Nirmaldasan ( may be a *pie* chart ) [ Pokes he his nose into many a
      *pie* ;) ]




      Very nice indeed. You can link a .mid or better still .ram file
      of the music if you have.


      Boy! Anagrams and acrostics were long being missed.
      We want MORE.


      Feel like stealing this one and publish under my name.

      The merman cannot understand
      Amphigouri for good or worse.
      For she's not really a pretty lass
      But in fact a kind of verse.


      Good one.


      ummm... cool and n i c e.


      ummm... ok :)


      ha ha! hi hi hi...larious!

      Really "Tamil miss who now is mine."?? Must be lucky to get you:)



      SON OF JOB

      Repeat Good.


      Boy! so it's not a lost art! We used to do that with Tagore poems.


      Ha ha! RTFL -->

      2. 'My heart leaps up when I behold' (Wordsworth)
      A mermaiden with breasts of gold.

      Excellent punchs.






      Extremely well crafted # macaronic verse #

      Kan are your two little eyes
      That make you see and become wise:
      Ennum ezhuthum kannena thagum.

      Thagum is that neat equation
      Between kan, ezhuthu and en:
      Ennum ezhuthum kannena thagum.


      Excellent. It would be nice if these few lines are put in quotes in a
      smaller font size in the intro. (such style is a well known one,

      ""Whan Phebus dwelled heere in this world adoun,
      As olde bookes maken mencioun,
      He was the mooste lusty bachiler
      In al this world, and eek the beste archer.
      He slow Phitoun the serpent, as he lay
      Slepynge agayn the sonne upon a day;
      And many another noble worthy dede
      He with his bowe wroghte, as men may rede....""
      May be a few less lines or one or two more lines.


      "Translated to prose" but sublimates again to fine poetry:)

      (incomplete comments...)

      Well brewed, classical flavour and makes for a solid,lavish reading
      (... incomplete comments ... as I have made this post already too

      A vast and wide range of themes, more importantly experiments (with
      super successful outcomes) with the various forms of poetry should be
      an inspiration to all aspiring poets. Poetry has many forms, can take
      any shape and yet be distortions converted in beauty. Kudos to
      Nirmaldasan - he has done it with great ease, grace and depth.

      ===========================================X=cut below this line=====

      Comments on web presentation :

      This part is really not essential particularly if the above is meant
      to be read only as printed publication.
      [so you can preserve it or *tear it off* along the dotted lines and
      dump it into the bin or use as tissue;)]
      However since the matter has been web-presented, here are my comments:
      my apologies if I sound too loud:


      # Colour of the page: no not this - what about plain white? or
      something else taken from the websafe palette.
      body bgcolor="#F4E9C4" or something in that range or just
      "floralwhite" font color="#804000" size="2" face="Verdana" strong
      It will look r e a l l y nice

      #Make an index of the poems in the very beginnning of the page with
      tags plus a "back to top" link beside each poem - please do this!
      (that is links scrolling to the same page)

      # Insert tags inside - believe me this will *help* a lot.

      All the above can be done without increasing the kilobytes. If you
      agree to add little more kbs some more suggestion can follow.


      Your newsgroup has an awesome membership of 300 + , and host of good
      But this Yahoo stuff is sort of scattery - lay out and all. I *don't*
      like. Plus to be greeted by a bikini ad is not what I was expecting
      in a literary zone.(that ad is what my luck met as the ad rotator
      script was doing its round)
      Nowadays it is more of a trend to use non-threaded simple message
      boards - and literary forums are going more for "open" type - that is,
      though it is meant for a classified audience (in this case
      journalism media students) the trend is not to limit your audience -
      a journalism media student may be hidden in the mind of a 42 year
      African female beautician too in this vast vast ww web. Forums
      needing registration actually (in my opinion) puts off visitors who
      have already their bag full with so many passwords. If you believe in
      non-threaded open forums there are lots of php scripts which can be
      run even from a free host.I mention php becoz perl is a system hogger
      and may not be allowed by free hosts and even sometimes cause probs
      in paid hosts.

      That's all I hope. Did not I keep it short?

      Thanks for the great work and giving us an opportunity to have a peek
      Keep us updated as you add more.

      Dr. I. Arul Aram (arulram@...)writes on the Barcelona Conference
      Proceedings at
      Here follows just the opening paragraphs:

      The 23rd conference of the International Association for Media
      and Communication Research (IAMCR) was held in Barcelona from July 21
      to 26, 2002, under the auspices of the Universitat Autònoma de
      Barcelona. The special theme was `intercultural communication'.
      Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a culturally-rich region in
      Spain. The conference forms part of the programme of preparatory
      activities for the Universal Forum of Cultures to be held in
      Barcelona in the year 2004. The conference symbol represents a porró
      full of letters. The porró is a piece of craftsmanship, expressing
      the cultural forms of everyday life, always made of glass, that has
      been used for centuries in Catalonia to drink wine. In the design of
      this symbol, the inside of the porró is full of letters from
      different languages, with the sentence `intercultural communication',
      and it represents the objective of the conference of investigating
      the co-existence of universal and local cultural forms. In fact,
      communication is viewed as fundamental in fostering relationship
      among cultures.

      The official languages of the conference were English, Spanish and
      French, and Catalan as the language proper to Catalonia. Simultaneous
      translations were offered for the general assembly and plenary
      sessions. The remaining sessions were mostly in English. Around 800
      academics from various parts of the world took part. Sections and
      working groups organised include audience & reception studies,
      community communication, communication technology policy, gender &
      communication, international communication, junior scholars network,
      political communication and professional education. This article
      discusses the findings of a few papers presented at the conference.

      The political crisis is a fundamental phenomenon in the political
      life of contemporary societies. Andreu Casero Ripollés (University
      Pompeu Fabra, Spain) explores the communicative dimensions of the
      crises that affect the actors of the political system, mainly
      governments, state institutions and political parties. These periods
      are key moments in the interaction that settles between journalists
      and politicians, and, for this reason, they constitute one of the
      nuclei of political communication. So the analysis of this matter
      offers one of the best opportunities to examine the relationship
      between politics and communication. Thus, starting from the general
      notion of political crisis as a process that evolves in the political
      sphere, the text describes the mediatic political crisis. Political
      communication takes place in the mediatic sphere, and the media
      and the political actors jointly define it.

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