March 17, 2012

On being misquoted in The Times of India

A week back, I was interviewed for this article in The Times of India, Crest edition. The article has misquoted me and I want to make a point of it here. It ascribes this quote to me:

The Pink Chaddi campaign talked of an issue that affected women in cities. Who has the time to march on the street?

I did NOT say “who has the time to march on the street?”. What I said was that some urban women may feel like they don’t have the time or energy to participate in on-the-ground protests and movements like the Pink Chaddi Campaign gives them ways to be involved. There is a significant different between the two statements. Frankly, I’m mortified and extremely upset to be associated with something as flaky and ridiculous as the former. It sounds like I’m dismissing or negating the work of thousands of activists across the country, which I would never intentionally do.

I wrote to the journalist who has written the article and unsurprisingly (?), there was no response.

While this may seem like a small(ish) incident, it cuts to the heart of something that is quite wrong within the system — media reportage on women, women’s issues and feminism is irresponsible and unintelligent. Quite often, it deals in cliches and pat statements. There is no effort to truly understand the situation, its nuances and complexities, how feminism exists at multiple levels in this country. Around March 8 (International Women’s Day) or other important “days”, a token article on feminism is assigned to the nearest rookie available who writes it in great haste and with minimal interest in the subject. (For this interview, the journalist contacted me a few hours before she had to file.) Newspapers like the Times have reduced women’s rights to another Hallmark event.

There’s nothing much I can do to correct what has happened. Not giving interviews seems to be the safest bet.

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About: Anindita Sengupta

Anindita Sengupta is a 2013 IRP New Media Fellow and founder-editor of Ultra Violet. Her collection of poetry, City of Water, was published by Sahitya Akademi in 2010. Her work has appeared in several journals and anthologies including The Harper Collins Book of English Poetry (Harper Collins, 2012), The Yellow Nib Modern English Poetry by Indians (Queen’s University Belfast, 2012), Writing Love (Rupa, 2010) and Not A Muse (Haven Books, 2009). She has been a recipient of the Charles Wallace Writers Fellowship (2011), the Muse India Young Writer award (2012) and the Toto Award for Creative Writing (2008).

4 comments to On being misquoted in The Times of India

  • Rheea Mukherjee

    It’s sad that not giving interviews might be a valid option. The media needs more interviews and opinions like yours, to be shared in the community.It’s really frighting to know that when one does share, they can be misquoted in such a irresponsible way. I hope you don’t shy away from interviews,but instead make sure you bring awareness to it, like you have with this post. This ensures that irresponsible journalism will not be meekly dealt with.

  • Yes Rheea, it is disturbing. I am so upset by this — !

  • Saika

    ToI is known to misquote in order to sensationalize the content. Its quite sad that this is urban India’s most popular newspaper given the dubious standards of journalism it upholds.

  • Saika

    That was ‘It’s quite sad’ in the comment above. Sorry for the mistake.

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