Lata Mangeshkar a 'so-called singer': Doesn't 'New York Times' check its so-called facts?

Bikram Vohra

Jun 01, 2016 15:04:46 IST

Some of the stuff that has been quoted as Tanmay Bhat’s humour following his sorties against Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar makes one hesitant to back his right to express opinion under the guise of comedy.

 Lata Mangeshkar a so-called singer: Doesnt New York Times check its so-called facts?

Lata Mangeshkar. Image from News18

The one crack in which this man babbles on about little children enjoying being raped comes off as unspeakable encouragement to paedophiles, deserves the severest of condemnation and transcends all bounds of decency. People like him clearly don’t know when to stop. And any modicum of support some of us might have exhibited for his roasts has evaporated after the media pulled out his other stuff. If you can find humour in paedophiles then there is something terribly wrong with you and one can only feel bad about oneself that you were given the benefit of doubt for a while.

But rank stupidity and ignorance does not seem to be the prerogative of this man alone. The New York Times, which one would imagine aspires to a higher standard, calls Lata Mangeshkar a ‘so-called playback singer’. Seeing as that one sentence washes out a seven decade career and mocks one of the most famous names in global music and is a cheap shot and totally in bade taste, makes one wonder what their point is.

Sure, no one gives a damn in India about the NYT but you suspect when such publications display total lack of knowledge whether they are worse perpetrators because they have managed to achieve a certain credibility.

Okay, Bhat is just a guy looking to shock and unworthy of much attention. The NYT, on the other hand has pretensions to great writing, authentic research and places itself as the spearhead of the international fourth estate.

Yet, it cannot get a simple fact right. Furthermore, it editorialises in its story by adding the ‘so-called’ when there was no call for doing that. Why would you go out of your way to qualify a person’s career or talent when there was no relevance to the story — and when it was patently wrong.

Saying Lata is a so-called singer is like saying Babe Ruth was a kind of baseball player or Jesse Owens used to run a bit.

Unless you are being deliberately crass and mean-spirited in the way you want to ‘colour’ your story how long does it take in the age of search engines to get your ducks in a row ?


You get 64,000 instant results. Does that sound ‘so called’ to you at NYT, people?

Wikipedia states that she has sung in a thousand movies (a world record) and covered 37 languages.

So-called, did you say?

Some estimates say she has recorded over 50,000 songs. Wiki has over 3,000 so called words listing her so called accomplishments.

Herein lies the mystery: Why would the NYT make such a cheap crack? Is it envy because no American has even come close? Is it arrogance in that oh, India, who cares? Is it western hubris over natives?

Whatever the motive, while one hastens to register the fact that the NYT is not the measure for India and what it says is of little consequence in the greater scheme of things, by virtue of its standing in the world of journalism it seems to be as much of an offender for us as that silly little man…if not more.

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Updated Date: Jun 01, 2016 15:43:36 IST