I have long been toying with this idea to write on the quality of language used by my colleagues in English newspapers in India. Not to find fault, but to generate discussion on the need to write simple language for the common readers. Somehow I did not pursue this idea so far.
I felt like making a beginning today after I came across the following in the Ahmedabad Mirror dated August 19, 2009. It was in the column ‘Surabhi’s English Classes’, penned by Surabhi Pillai, a college lecturer:
In her column, she reproduced a query from reader Ashok (probably a college student) thus:
What is the meaning for the following heading given in Ahmedabad Mirror a few days back: ‘Ramu fails to recognize Dhoni; mistakes him for pesky wannabe actor and shoos him away’
Surabhi’s reply was:
Ramu (Director-producer Ram Gopal Verma) failed to recognize Dhoni who he mistook for an aspiring actor and drove him away.
I thought Ashok could be an exception; others could perhaps understand the meaning of the headline. So I asked a young man with a Master’s degree. He too was clueless.
Do we journalists have a lesson in this experience?