Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Indian Press and a Lack of Style

This recent article in the Hindustan Times on Elections in India ( illustrates the poor sense of style displayed by the Indian media.

> With Mamata Banerjee and J Jayalalithaa set to capture power in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu respectively, India could for the first time boast of four women Chief Ministers.

Why "Mamta" Banerjee but "J" Jayalalithaa? Why is one of these ladies stuck with an unexpanded initial? What possible excuse could they have?

Prefer "..boast of as many as four.." to "..boast of four..", for one assumes that the number 4 in itself is not the source of the boast, but is meant to evoke a sense of great numbers.

> BSP supremo Mayawati has singlehandedly secured power in the largest state of Uttar Pradesh four years back and her victory at that time was seen as a defining moment in Indian politics.

Prefer "Mayawati had singlehandedly secured" to "Mayawati has singlehandedly secured", given that a past event is being referred to.

> Jayalalithaa was out in the cold for the last five years in Tamil Nadu as also at the Centre, had her sweet revenge on Karunanidhi's DMK despite setbacks in the last two Lok Sabha polls and would be ruling the state for the next five years.

A clumsy sentence, on account of omitted commas.

The very next sentence is:

> Jayalalithaa's single point campaign plank was to end the "family rule" of the DMK in the backdrop of the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

Curious that "her" is not employed, instead of the proper name, given that the preceding sentence started too with "Jayalalithaa", and no other female person was named in either sentence.

> ..Shashikala Kakodkar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party was Chief Minister of the then Union territory of Goa for most part of the seventies.

Prefer "most of the seventies" to "most part of the seventies".

> Congress' Anwara Taimur was in the top executive post of Assam for a year in early eighties

"An year", of course, and not "a year".

Prefer "in the early eighties" to "in early eighties".

The writer, in the same article employs "in the early sixties" and "in early seventies". He, or she, therefore, is neither consistent not correct.

> Since those elections in 1998, Dikshit is holding forte in Delhi.

Probably "fort" instead of "forte". Presumably, holding fort is her forte.

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