Letter from the Editor
For Indians who travel abroad, it is somewhat disappointing to find that India hardly figures in the media abroad. If it does, it is usually in the form of stories of natural disasters, poverty, violent clashes, alleged violation of human rights etc. News of political developments - much less of the achievements of the country - hardly ever percolates into the international media.
All this makes for a generally unsatisfactory image of the country, despite official publicity which, is largely reactive – and therefore defensive in nature – and often perceived as propagandist. Above all, there is hardly any attempt to build up the image of India on a long-term basis.
It was to fill this lacuna, and project modern India in some kind of perspective, that NEW INDIA DIGEST was launched in mid-1987. The objectives were to
· increase awareness of the positive evolution of contemporary India since independence in 1947
· highlight the achievements of outstanding Indians, to serve as role models for the younger generation in India.
The overall thrust was to demonstrate how a country with an ancient civilisation and culture has been trying to meet the aspirations of its people and keep abreast of the demands of a fast-changing world. Such information would help Indians abroad better interpret their country to their foreign friends, making for greater mutual understanding, that would lay a solid foundation for friendship at official levels.
A distinguished array of writers contributed exclusively to the pages of the DIGEST. To mention only a few: Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, the Secretary-Generals of the O. A. U. and the Commonwealth, the Chief Justice and the Chief Election Commissioner of India and other eminent dignitaries. The journal was warmly welcomed by people in different walks of life and its circulation ranged all over India and to over 90 countries.
On the occasion of its tenth anniversary, NEW INDIA DIGEST received messages of greeting from four heads of government and a host of other distinguished leaders. It also carried a survey of the views of over fifty well-known Indians on the strengths and weaknesses of India since it became independent.
However, during 2001, the economic slow-down worldwide, that also affected India, had its impact on NEW INDIA DIGEST. Efforts to obtain financial resources to meet the ever-growing rise in costs of production and postage were not successful and the journal had to close down in 2002 after fifteen years of uninterrupted publication.
We are trying to see whether it will be possible to continue the journal on-line and if this proves successful, this will be suitably announced.
Placido P. D'Souza,
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