Newsletters on Indian politics thrive under lockdown – The Diplomat
The COVID-19 pandemic was not a “crisis opportunity” or a “mixed blessing” – it was and is a tragedy for many people and nations. And yet, for some, the upheaval of the pandemic has allowed a rearrangement of priorities and a shift in working methods. The lockdowns also appeared to coincide with a proliferation of private newsletters. Many specialists had extra time and energy to devote themselves to a new activity, an approach which requires not only knowledge but also self-discipline.
In the age of social media, in a way, we are all journalists. Private newsletters, blogs and podcasts – they give us all the chance to to be the media, whether specialized or news-oriented. This democratization and diffusion of access to the web also has its drawbacks: there is no certificate or diploma required, anyone can be an expert on anything or everything – not just at family dinners. Sunday, as before, but in the eyes of all via the internet, whatever their real expertise. But if you dive deep enough into the chaos, and know where to look, there are gems to be discovered. There are dedicated experts who have decided to share their knowledge regularly, and often do so for free.
My experience is mainly in contemporary Indian politics and this is where I would like to make some recommendations. Global interest in India has yet to match that of China, and that’s probably why the Indian political bulletin scene has not grown to the size and stature of the Chinese equivalent. Over time, however, some India-focused blogs, podcasts, or newsletters might develop to replicate the success of, say, Bill Bishop’s. sinocism.
I won’t try to judge which of the ones mentioned below has the best chance of such success just yet. The following, instead, is my own shortlist of Indian foreign and domestic policy newsletters, with a caveat that it is completely subjective and focuses on personal newsletters, not those sent out. by the media, of which there are many.
Ananth Krishnan, journalist for the Indian daily The Hindu, has followed China for several years and recently wrote a book on Indo-Chinese relations (“India’s China Challenge: A Journey through China’s Rise and What It Means for India”). It is therefore not surprising that his India-China Newsletter focuses on Sino-Indian PRC relations and affairs. It launched in January of this year and comes out daily or about every two or three days.
that of Rohan Venkataramakrishnan Political solution is different from the other newsletters listed here in that it is connected to journalist support (a portal called Scroll.in), rather than being a completely independent business (and was established some time before the pandemic). It comes out every two or three days, mainly covers Indian politics, as well as the country’s foreign policy, and also includes weekly interviews.
Aman Thakker Indelogue covers both domestic and foreign policy of India and comes out weekly. It offers a broad review of the suggested readings it contains.
that of Adil Braar Asia press release is, as the name suggests, a review of events across Asia, but India and China reign supreme here too. It comes out once a week, also includes interviews and was once called the “Tea Horse Monitor”.
And finally there is Splainer, founded by five Indian women journalists. It doesn’t just focus on India’s domestic politics, but the topic certainly dominates the content.