Thursday, October 21, 2010

Because he is minister's brother?

If someone does something, the news item and the headline should refer to that someone. Even if the concerned is a brother of a bigwig. Facts cannot be twisted to bring the bigwig into the story's headline, which has happened in Mumbai Edition of The Hindustan Times on October 21, 2010.

It is a story about the brother of a minister filing a public interest litigation in the Bombay High Court and the headline saying Minister files case over illegal slums. The intro of the one-paragraph story starts thus: 

“The Thane guardian minister Ganesh Naik’s brother Dnyaneshwar Naik has .....”

Simple thing...say it simply and get it right. This rule of journalism has been forgotten. Had the story been written differently, saying that a politician wants all illegal slums regularised in Thane district and further mushrooming stopped, and then mention that the litigant is a minister’s brother, the headline would not have been a distortion.

But who cares, these days?
-- Mahesh Vijapurkar

Misplaced 'Too'

 Mahesh Vijapurkar has a comment on a DNA headline:

The lead headline in the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) of October 21, 2010 is Pakistan wants Obama too, ups pressure on US.
That country wants Obama to visit them when he makes a trip to India this November for otherwise it would send a wrong signal about the relationship between those two countries.  It just wants a visit and possible diplomatic gains from it.
Is the right in using this headline?
It is not, for Obama too implies that they want something else and Obama as well. That is, by using that adverb, the headline writer indicates that it is getting something or the other but wants in addition, the visit of Obama. That is, beside other things, the visit too.
What the headline writer intended and should have done was write the same headline by shuffling the words thus:
Pakistan too wants Obama, ups pressure on US. If India gets him to visit the country, then Pakistan too should be visited, making for even-handed treatment of the two countries. After all, in the game of one-upmanship, sometimes attempts are to get parity if not an upper-hand all the time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Returned back? & fell down?

Mahesh Vijapurkar has sent in the following for this post:

When a passenger received items he left behind in an autorickshaw, was it given back to him or returned back?

According to a headline in the Daily News & Analysis (edition of October 16, 2010), it was 'returned back' which, to say the least, atrocious. 

For, if the passenger had lent it to the autorickshaw driver, the in it would have been "given back". But when it was left behind, wittingly or otherwise, and the good guy traced the passenger and handed it over, it should have been "returned."

To say "returned back" is a widely used Indianism when speaking or writing English. 

"Returned" is, dictionaries say, is to go or come back from a former position or place. It is a verb, used without an object. As a noun, it is going or coming back, sending or giving back.

Another usage, to drive home the point, is it is like saying someone "fell down". A person always falls downwards, not upwards. He can fall on something. Fall is a verb. It is the action of descending under the force of gravity, to drop down suddenly etc.