Girish Shahane: Misguiding about Lonely Planet India Book

One Girish Shahane (GS) asserts that the highly recommended and commonly used travel guide, Lonely Planet (LP) is islamophobic. Mr. Shahane has tried to buttress this assertion by arguments all of which turn out to be facile. GS comes up with numerous farcical arguments, which are captured below:

For starter, GS argues, LP is islamophobic because he says LP mentions Ahmad Shah Durani as a Mughal, Ala-ud-din Khilji as Pakthun.

Durrani was, of course, not a Mughal at all. But hey, these guys are all Muslims, right? Mughal, Turk, Afghan, big difference. That attitude is probably why Allaudin Khilji is wrongly labelled a Pathan.

Historian R C Majumdar refers to contemporary historian Zia-u-din Barni referring to Khiljis as non-Turks (Afghan Pathans).  There  is a contrary opinion by Major Raverty that cites Khiljis as Turks.  H A Rose and John Alfred Gray among others assert Khiljis are Ghilzai Pathans.

That said, it is indeed more than a tad rich to project minor denominational errors, even if present, as examples of deliberate islamophobia.

Girish Shahane takes objection to Padmini’s Jauhar citation in LP Travel Guide.

The great poet and mystic Amir Khusro, who chronicled Khilji’s campaign, made no mention of any Padmini. The story was dreamt up much later

If Girish Shahane intended to disprove historic persona of Padmini, he has to do better. A convincing case can not be made by arguing that Xyz did not refer to it.  The legend of Padmini in many ways is allegorical and is a manifestation of courage by virtuous Rajput Queens and valiant Rajput people. Jauhar, an outcome of muslim invasion was an ugly reality that Rajput women of those days faced. Allaudin Khilji was not only a perpetrator of serious regicide but also someone who coveted others’ wives an inexcusable crime in native Indian tradition.

Would Girish Shahane take objection to arabian fables circulated in books on Jerusalem like mohummad taking a winged horse for flight to Jerusalem or jesus coming out of dead. One would suspect he would not.

LP is a quality travel book and is duty bound to help enhance the experience of the traveler. This becomes possible when the perceptions and beliefs of locals are accurately reproduced. Now Imagine a write-up on Chittorgarh that propagates Maharana Prathap Singh and Rajputs were cowardly losers. Such a position would be not just a lie out of sync with local realities, but also a manifestation of deliberated malice. The linked piece by GS does that. Such positions might fit-in with the pretension  of travelogue created by the likes of Girish Shahane, but not enhance the travel experience of the reader.

Girish Shahane then goes further,  underplays mughal vandalism and cites  natural causes for falling of temples. Referring to Sri Kalahasthi Temple he says

Temples, even grand ones can collapse from natural causes, as evidenced by the recent fall of the 500 year old gopuram of the Srikalahasti temple.

And on Mughal King, Aurangzeb, GS asserts

Consider that Aurangzeb, who had serious iconoclastic tendencies, camped in the vicinity of Ellora for years, and toured the site at least once, and the place still looks dandy. (And then GS cites Historian Jadunath Sarkar) Jadunath Sarkar refers in his biography of the emperor to Aurangzeb’s letter about Ellora, in which the king calls the caves transcendent creations.

A more warped use, selective rendering of facts will be difficult to see. Girish Shahane expects temples to fall of natural causes. Temple towers 1000s of years old have sustained to this day. Sri Kalahasti temple fell on account of among other reasons, negligence by those responsible for maintaining the temple, secular AP government. An exception is projected by Girish Shahane to make a general islamaphobia ‘smear’ point on LP.

Even more reprehensible is his exception based defense of Aurangzeb to absolve mughals of temple destructions. Historian Jadunath Sarkar among others document temple destruction carried out in the period 1644-1680 by Aurangzeb – in Mathura, in Kathiawar, in Mewar. Presto! Serious iconoclastic actions perpetrated by Mughals become mere tendencies for Girish Shahane!

GS then gets angry with LP take on ‘Hindu’ Vijayanagara empire and highlights that as a manifestation of islamophobia. He bilges

I have no idea where Lonely Planet got the idea that Vijayanagar was founded as a confederacy of Hindu leaders aligning on religious lines against Muslims. The story isn’t even the prevalent myth about the origins of the Vijayanagar era.

Robert Sewell’s “Rise and Fall of the Vijayanagar Empire” explains how Deccan Hindu principalities aligned and allied to defend Hindu interests in the form of Vijayanagara. R C Majumdar highlights that Vijayanagara founder, Harihara Raya and his brothers made earnest efforts to organize resistance against the advance of the muslim invaders from the north. Neelakanta Sastri mentions Vijayanagara as a Hindu Military confederacy cooperating under the leadership of biggest among them. Kannada inscription in the Fort of Penugonda (now in Andhra Pradesh) and dated in Šaka saMvat 1276 (AD 1354) describes Bukkã I of Vijayanagars as hindurãya-suratrãNa pûrva-pašchima-samudrãdhipati, that is, the Emperor among the Hindu kings, and lord of the eastern and western seas. Satyamangalam (Tamil Nadu) Copper Plate inscription of Vijayanagara Emperor dated Šaka saMvat 1346 (AD 1424) in which verse 8 says that “Through the wind (which was produced) by the flapping of the ears of the elephants on the field of battle, the Tulushka (ie Musalman) horsemen experienced the fate of cotton (ie were blown away)”. Mr. Shahane, Ignorance is not bliss.

Girish Shahane makes many other irrelevant assertions and wild allegations. It is more than likely that GS’s efforts are a manifestation of ulterior motives. Islamophobia has become a new bogeyman like racism for the left – to be used for intimidation and smear. It is an old left tactic to perpetrate & justify violence and then peddle victim-hood.

What is even more remarkable is that GS has not thought it fit to disclose his links to organizations that compete with LP. While he says that he operates as a freelancer, he seems to have intimate links to Outlook Traveller (Rajputs suck write up?) and Time Out Magazine (Communist Terrorists are cool like ‘Bhagat Singh’ propaganda?).

Prem Panicker and Yahoo India News are doing themselves and their credibility no service by allowing their platform to be used for low cunning calumny. They have allowed publishing of a slanted, loaded, factually disputable, sensationalist piece which goes against basic journalism ethics.

PS: It is refreshing to see Lonely Planet transparently address the Girish Shahane calumny.

Update (October 28, 2010)

Girish Shahane responded to the above blog post on October 27, 2010 with this exercise in deception. His post is a case of double standards and doublespeak that dubious journalists deploy to confound readers in an attempt to divert attention from their shoddy work – when credible flaws in their content have been revealed. Read on.

Girish Shahane pretends/presumes that I dont understand who a freelancer is.

A freelancer = a self-employed person, esp a writer or artist, who is not employed continuously but hired to do specific assignments.

GS writes

I’m much more loyal to Time Out; after all, I had a column in the mag for years, and think it’s kept an incredibly high standard since its inaugural issue.

Now here is someone having an association with Time Out Magazine, a column at that for years. A magazine column is a big deal. He should have declared this info in a piece that went on to make such a one-sided attack of a rival publication. That is no ethical journalism.

Girish Shahane goes on

But my Time Out loyalty doesn’t extend to guidebooks.

There is now an LP India Magazine, which competes with Time Out Magazine. From the brand angle there is definite competition. And as we can notice there is no love lost between Time Out and Lonely Planet.

I leave it to discretion of the reader to decide in the light of above facts to make up her mind on Girish Shahane’s integrity.

Girish Shahane then responds to what was pointed out: his shoddy write-up in Outlook Traveller. He says that it was all someone else’s fault and that he wishes to retract his name.

The Outlook Traveller experience, in fact, was a disaster. I wish there was some way I could remove my name from the piece on the Web. My story was changed radically and a number of new sentences added, containing factual errors. For example, the City Palace is called “a complex of beautiful buildings in granite and marble”. Anyone who has been to Udaipur knows there’s very little granite and marble in the City Palace. But there the error stays, with my name attached.

GS manifested anti-Rajput bias in the referred piece alluding to Rajputs as cowardly and as losers. He has avoided directly owning up on that. And Girish Shahane then makes a factual error when he asserts there is little granite and marble in the Udaipur City Palace. Check Link 1Link 2Link 3. Actually there is more than ‘little’ granite and marble. GS’s credentials as travel writer remain seriously suspect. Lest one may think that the piece on Udaipur is an isolated case of shoddy travel writing, let us look at Girish Shahane write up on Jaisalmer, which is as much mediocre as his other travel writing.

This was the man they were looking for — tall, with piercing light eyes and a luxuriant parted beard, everything a Rajput could want to look like. In the years since that first shoot, he has posed for dozens of campaigns, posters of which are plastered on the walls of his shop. He has also won the Mr Desert competition organised by the tourist department. The catch in this story is that Laxmi Narain, for that is his name, is a Brahmin.

Girish Shahane gushes that the model for an advertisement campaign is a Brahmin by Jati. How on earth is this jati information relevant to user who has purchased travel guide for meaningful use. Non sequitur reference to Rajputs here manifests again GS’s gripe against Rajputs.

Then GS manifests great anger at his former colleagues from Outlook Traveller Guide

I was so furious with Outlook after that assignment, that I swore off writing for them, before agreeing to do a piece just fifteen days ago. None of the editorial staff responsible for shredding my Rajasthan articles are there any more, so I decided to let bygones be bygones.

GS says he swore-off to stay away from Outlook Traveller and then rationalizes his U-turn doing a recent piece with them. Its shows lack of integrity to denigrate a team one collaborates with to produce an output. Even in cut throat world of Indian journalism, professional ethics and teaming ethics can not get this low.

Winding up his blog post, GS propagates another phobia – this time his whining is about Dilli Drivers.

Meanwhile, I’m in Delhi again, trying to get a paper done for a seminar tomorrow. I’ve visited about once each month for the past six, and discovered in the process that Delhi drivers know nothing about the city. One time, I wanted to go to the India International Centre, asked the driver if he knew it, or IIC or the Habitat Centre (which the autowallas usually know). He kept shaking his head. I said finally, OK, just take me to Lodi Gardens and I’ll direct you from there. He had not heard of Lodi Gardens. Today my driver got lost looking for Kasturba Gandhi Road and then Maharani Bagh….every tourist car driver seems to have arrived in Delhi within the past six months.

So Delhi drivers are all ignorant, neophytes? Girish Shahane manifests serious wackiness – generalizing isolated experiences to pass loaded and denigrating value judgments.

Now what do we make out of the integrity of Girish Shahane? Many times, what a person choses to be ‘muted’ on tells us far more about the person than what he choses to ‘comment’ on. Girish Shahane has avoided responding to what was pointed about the canards that he peddled as History to accuse others of phobias. Once a person understands how smear works it is very easy to see through Girish Shahanes efforts here. My full sympathies are with Yahoo India News and Prem Panicker.

36 Responses to Girish Shahane: Misguiding about Lonely Planet India Book

  1. kpp1991 says:

    Girish Shahane belongs to that typical lot of historians who not only distort history, but impose it on others to believe that what they do write is true and to be believed. Just as you have corrected him here, I did go through Sandeep’s response too and found myself comparing to the distortions we were made to study during my school / college days.

    Do you think Girish would revert to you and Sandeep with the grave errors he has committed either deliberately or ignorantly?

  2. zoomindianmedia says:

    Girish Shahane seems to belong to ‘piss and scoot’ school of journalism. Despite his pretensions, he is no Historian.

    People like Girish Shahane are usually more comfortable in big-brother environment where he controls the discourse. Not in blogs like this one or Sandeep’s where there is rigor, commitment to truth and transparency.

  3. Kudos!

    It is really heartening to see that Many of you are really picking up Gauntlets and challenging these fake Historians on ‘merit and facts’. More Power to you people.Read Sandeep in morning and you now, gives me immense satisfaction and courage to continue my bit… as I feel I m not alone (though History is not my forte) in this fight against ‘Malign Hindus and Bharat’ campaign.

    As each of us have own sphere of expertise /interest but still we all are Prudent Indians.

    Jai Bharat.
    Prudent Indian.

  4. S.Suriyanarayanan says:

    I am very happy twitter is emerging as an effective medium to counter pseudo seculars, false historians, etc but also to bring out the brilliance and impartiality of all those who stand for truth and India. Keep it up

  5. Dhairya says:

    Kudos to you for countering false claims of the psuedo historians; history interpretation is full of dangers; please ignore these so called historians, leftists and art critics

  6. Ajay says:

    From what I have seen of Girish Shahane’s so-called journalism, I am surprised he is published at all. The guy has zero credibility. We all know that.

  7. Rajdeep says:

    I am appalled that Yahoo would publish a piece that is so seriously questionable!! I will now be in two minds whenever reading anything on Yahoo News…what a shame, I used to be a fan of their work. Thanks for shedding light on what sounds like a very misleading writer. Mr Shahane should be blacklisted from Indian media for misleading us.

  8. Pradeep Mehra says:

    How very interesting. Thanks for picking up the worrying points in Shahanes piece. My guess is that he has used Islam as the (below belt)carrot. He is not the first to do so and won’t be the last. And no surprise, also, he has set his sights on Lonely Planet – a well respected, famous foreign publication that has a reputation for fairness. In hindsight it’s easy to see why Shahane wrote the piece – an attempt to come across as the moral warrior of Indian history by trying to scare readers with the Islamaphobia. Why can’t our Indian journalists progress? But more importantly, how did his piece get published in the first place?

  9. Arif says:

    I have commented on Lonely Planet’s site and wanted to say, as a Muslim, I am very disappointed to see Mr Girish Shahane use the religion so misleadingly. I have a copy of the LP India guidebook and it is very well written and fairly represents all religions in India. He has taken sentences out of context. It is clear to see.

    The book has promoted the culture of India and its people so well and I have many foreign friends who use it when they come here. This is how I came to know of it in the first place. I wish people like Mr Shahane would not make trouble for us by writing such bias and inflammatory articles. And I hope the people at Lonely Planet don’t pay attention to such writers who use my religion so irresponsibly.

    I am interested in reading the historical views and have to commend this site and others for sharing details of history I previously did not know about.

    Arif Khan

  10. David says:

    I came across your site via Lonely Planet and as someone who has traveled extensively around the world (including Pakistan, Iran, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Burma and India) I find it more than amusing to read an article by Grish Shane that accuses LP of Islamophobia! Hahaha!!! I reckon he wants a plum job with them so tried to look like the Indian History professor. LP is the only guidebook I use and I was especially impressed with one they wrote to Aboriginal Australia. It gives such a different view of Australian history – using the word ‘invasion’ many times, for the Anglos that tricked and killed off the indigenous Aboriginies – so there is no doubt in my mind that they are fair when it comes to history. These Mughals did a lot of damage to Indian monuments, from what I saw in India.

    But I have to say, when in India I came across some similarly ridiculous articles as Shanes. So from that point of view, his didn’t surprise me. But it’s more surprising that editors let these sorts of unethical pieces make it to print in the first place. Why so?


    • zoomindianmedia says:

      Part of the reason is the business model pioneered by some of the media houses. It is called private treaty model. Media take up equity in certain companies to provide positive coverage, advertisements at a competitive price. Also there is a nexus between media owners and politicians. Over a period of time, The editor in India has been getting further squeezed and dis-empowered.

      Other reason is the lack of competency.

  11. Prasanna says:

    Excellent Rebuttal ZIM.Way to go.You should adopt this style more

  12. Elizabeth Arnold says:


    I came across your site via Lonely Planet’s site and have to agree completely with David. I have used the Lonely Planet India guidebook and it was brilliant. Saved us from scams, showed us to some great restaurants and we found the balance to be very sensible. How on earth can someone find any trace of “Islamophobia”? I find it so very odd. The book was our ticket to seeing the best of India.

    I loved my 4 weeks in India and will be back soon. I’m hooked, now 🙂

    Liz (UK)

  13. Anil Kohli says:

    Nothing much can escape now since the word spread very fast.

    Any one he tries to distort fact for personal benefit will meet his match.

    If there are uneducated people in this country then there very highly qualified and knowledgeable people, who will demolish falsehood within no time.

    This should serve as a clarion call not just to Girish Shahane but also to their promoter who want to damage the idea of India.

    After reading the rebuttal by Sandeep and now this I can only say our History and Culture is secure from these demented individuals.

  14. Akshar says:

    The lonely planet is a guidebook and not a history journal hence there might be few factual errors here and there. Sahane himself pretends to be secular (whatever that means) but sees religion into everything including a travel guidebook.

    If Sahane really wants to display his scholarship over history he should ideally read up Sita Ram Goel’s work and then write a rebuttal.

  15. Janaki says:

    Even I have used LP to travel in India and it taught me, an Indian, so many new things. This Shahane is sick to attack a guidebook that is so good for the tourists and Indians alike. Never when using it did I think it is anti-Islamic! It also is so positive about India’s culture, from Muslim monuments to Hindu ones. Why this Shahane is so misleading?? He has nothing better to do? But why this man was allowed to have such a piece on yahoo? Why don’t the managers of yahoo do something to prevent such silly articles? I will no longer respect that site. Thank you for bringing this to the public’s attention.

  16. Arif says:

    Dear David,

    I agree with the answer ZIM has given. Plus some very bad journalists exist in India who have low standards.

    It makes me very sad to see Islam used for one person’s agenda. This Shahane is fool. He made big noise of nothing and I think only did it to try to get employed by the Lonely Planet which is such a famous guidebook and has best writers in the world. But I think LP will know he is second-rate writer. The answer they give him on their site is very wise one.

    David, I also have copy of LP Aboriginal Australia book. The book talks of Australia acknowledging the First Australians beyond the rhetoric of reconciliation”

    This book has map of Australia according to Aborigines, has all the History from Aboriginal perspective and if Shahane thinks LP is pro-whites/Christians he should read this Aboriginal Australia book! He makes claims about Christians that are not true. And I have copy of LP India and he is making errors in what he said.

    I hate when my religion is used like this and will speak up from now. I am disgusted by this Shahane’s article and with yahoo.

    Arif Khan

  17. Prashanth K.P. says:

    Girish Shahane’s hasty attempt to avert his name from many of the historical blunders he has evinced with flair by claiming that his story was “radically changed” is not only amateurish but also neophytic – not that I would place him anywhere close to a revered pedastal even otherwise! He needs to educate himself with Indian History first before attempting to give phrase to his own assumed version of historical events.

    Your additional clarification is an excellent retort to GS’s renewed attempt to drift away from follies.

    Wish Prem Panicker and Yahoo too realized it.

    Thanks ZIM.


  18. Sandra Jayne Mathison says:

    Thanks for the enlightening discussion. From what I’ve seen, the fellow who wrote the piece was hell-bent on feeding off LP’s name and getting a name for himself by doing so. Quite sad, really, esp after reading here that he writes for other travel publications! Conflict of interest, big time. But like David, I’m surprised it made it to any publication (even though yahoo is not a high-end or particularly well regarded one. Maybe that accounts for how it ended up there?) That’s the real issue isn’t it?

    Indian history is fascinating but so very very complicated for people like me. The thing that I really like about guidebooks is the way they make a country’s history and culture understandable (and thus accessible and of value) to people like me. I have a copy of the LP book, which was invaluable when we were there for the Commonwealth Games, and it was a lifesaver on so many counts. I read the history sections and can’t understand why the guy has this idea of it being anti-islam. I plan writing a piece about my experience of the country – it was my first time in India…..I liked India – it was hard work, admittedly, but such warm people. And our LP was like a friend traveling with us. Hope to make it back one day, this time to the south.

    I’ve passed on your blog to colleagues of mine with an interest in India. Thanks again for the informative insights.


    • Prashanth K.P. says:

      Maam, that was mighty kind of you to understand the satan from the saint. Yes, distortions do confuse visitors and students of Indian History alike when facts are bent to suit a particular publication or worse, a community. LP was brilliant in checking Girish Shahane’s onslaught of distortions augmented by the timely intervention of Sandeep & Zoomindianmedia.

      Please do not hesitate to post your experiences here for the Tweeters to see.

      Plenty of thanks

    • zoomindianmedia says:


      Thank you for your comment.

      Indian History is complicated because it has been made complicated.

      You may like to recommend to your friend – Paul Brunton’s Search in Secret India. It is possible s/he may be interested.

      I am not an active blogger. Ended up blogging here because of the chutzpah of Girish Shahane/Yahoo India to openly defame LP. In native Indian tradition, truth has to be defended from slander.

  19. Alexis Mitchell says:

    Thank goodness for intelligent sites such as this that help make sense of nonsense!

    I find it absurd and more than a little disconcerting that anyone would publish a piece that was so incredibly flawed. As a fan of Lonely Planet books (including the excellent India), I am disappointed that someone would manufacture such a sensationalist story, for their own glory. This blog was far more interesting and credible to read. And not an ounce of hysteria/fear, unlike that of Grish Shahane’s. That, in itself, was a giveaway, for me in terms of assessing the merit of his article.

    I’ve read elsewhere that given how mis-used the term ‘Islamophobia’ has been in some media,it may be ‘black-listed’. I can understand why. It is a loaded weapon word – but then and again, doesn’t that perfectly suit the writer’s agenda, given his blog is called “Shoot First…”


  20. Prashanth K.P. says:


    The main motive behind self proclaimed historians like Girish Shahane is to stain and distort facts for the sake of petty personal benefits. While doing so what these guys forget is that they are bending historical facts that have thousand references available in libraries around the world for cross-examination.

    Indians ended up victims of islamist imperialism. But islamists in cahoots with left end up turning the realities completely on head, crying wolf and projecting islamists as victims through plethora of canards. Unfortunately church too in order to further its evangelical objectives in Asia has collaborated in these games of history subversion.

    Thanks for observing the plot.

  21. Alexis Mitchell says:

    Thanks for your reply. Well, if there is one thing this has shown it is that there is need for a reputable guidebook! I just find it rather discomforting that travellers who read Indian media when there may be getting dangerous misinformation. So, how do travellers know which media in India to believe and which not to? Obviously Yahoo is out now. Any advice?

    • zoomindianmedia says:

      Good question Alexis

      If you are looking for news on political/social issues, US has its Rupert Murdoch, WSJ & Fox News to ensure that there is balance and calibration. In India there is no such luck. Left has commanding positions.

      Political, business interests end up seriously skewing what one reads/watches, much more than what happens in US. So caveat emptor holds when you read/watch Indian news.

  22. Steve says:

    After reading everything about this issue and seeing this Shahane character’s responses it is very clear to me how unethical he is. Any journalist who makes personal and aggressive attacks instantly loses credibility in my eyes it is no surprise to see how much of his data was flawed. It is also great to see blogs such as this one shed light on the truth. I just hope Lonely Planet is aware of how wrong he was.

    He needs to take a chill pill because he clearly doesn’t understand what guidebooks are meant to do – inspire people to travel!!


  23. Alexis Mitchell says:

    Thanks for your reply which was really interesting to read. I never realised how bad the situation was in India! After having read Shahane’s piece, however, I can see that India’s media is bias and has a long way to go on ethics. I also see he attacks an inspiraional piece (which I loved) about the author – this is what makes Lonely Planet such a wonderful book; the way it inspires and has real travellers writing for other real travelers. I think perhaps Shahane takes himself far too seriously and needs to understand that travel guidebooks are a blend of fact and inspiration gleaned by travel experts. I’d find a guidebook that read sas encyclopedia very mundane indeed.

    I have paseed on this blog to another travel writer friend of mine as I think it is an excellent resource. Thank you for taking the time to respond – I really appreciate it.

    With Warmest Wishes,

  24. Alexis Mitchell says:

    P.S I think it is highly irresponsible for journalists to use terms such as Islamophobia so out of context. I wonder if this is why India has such problems with its communcal divide? Are journalists in India largely to blame for propogating misinformation driven by religious agendas? My full sympathies are with Lonely Planet who quite clearly got unfairly attacked by a questionable writer – Shahane. I wonder if he realises the negative impact his piece had and that it only served to bolster Lonely Planet’s credibility, given how well they handled it and how personal his bizarre attack was?

    • zoomindianmedia says:


      Outstanding insight from you.

      Indian media is definitely part of the problem in enhancing communal divide. This has been repeatedly noticed.

      Media incites muslims to violence by hustling victim-hood positions and then cry hoarse when violence happens. It is a diabolical and mutually reinforcing game. This discourse also makes muslims politically mobilise for the benefit of certain political parties. And this discourse also provides leverage to some foreign powers.

  25. Alexis Mitchell says:

    Goodness, that is alarming to hear. I know media around the world has issues but after reading that Islamophobia beat-up, I did do some further reading and it does seem the Indian media has a long way to go. But while it is evident to see the writer of that particular piece had some sort of hidden agenda, hence the sensationalism and twisting out of context, I think it is the responsibility of publishers to clamp down on it. I can’t understand how that piece cleared any publisher’s desk given it was such an outright rant. The great thing about Twitter is that it quickly pointed me to blogs such as this one, which enabled me to read more and make an informed decision about the validity of his piece.

  26. Prashanth K.P. says:


    India Media, as Zim hinted to you, plays a significantly distorting role. It is indeed sad that the Print & Visual Media adhere to verbal vandalism. There must be a measure of accountability whereby media does not become the god-player. Partisan media reporting is absolutely unethical and if there are no laws to confine obscene media pounding, the morality of NEWS becomes insignificant.

    Yes, Twitter has been a blessing in disguise and a direct challenge to the parochial and partisan media segment. A whole lot of controversial subjects have been put straight by this wonderful platform directly questioning the veracity of Media News.

    Minority politics plays havoc in India. Political parties shed morality to attain a 13 to 15% vote bank. Media has done significant damage to the fabric of India. Only recourse is mass awareness and this is where Twitter abundantly contributes.

    Thanks anyway, for your understanding and engaging in Q&A.

  27. Alexis Mitchell says:

    Thanks for that interesting information, Prashanth and Zoom India. This has been really fascinating and I have learnt a lot via this robust discussion. I have a friend who works in national public policy and I’ve passed on this blog link and the other one I found on LP to him – one of his portfolios is Islamic issues and I think he will find this discussion of value. He has also been involved in monitoring provocative words (such as Islamophobia, I’m sure) bandied about in the media, specifically – I think he’ll find it terribly surprising that a journalist in India associated a reputable guidebook to it! In light of what I’ve read on this site and others, the manner in which the words was used to slyly ignite controversy (but which ultimately ended up shooting the shooter in the foot; oops) was actually insidious, if left undisputed. I think it is so very important to shine light on such misleading pieces, as you have done here.

    Thanks again.

  28. Samuel says:

    I wonder if this Shahane dude will rename his blog:

    “Shoot (myself) first, crumble/fumble later”

    The man needs to go back to Journalism 101. And for that matter, Yahoo needs to as well. What jocks!

  29. Meghana says:

    Dear ZoomIndianMedia,

    This is my first visit to the blog. Great Post. And a good effort exposing Girish Shahane.


  30. Samuel says:

    P.S Thank god Lonely Planet doesn’t hire authors like Sir Shahane! Having read all the comments I have come to the conclusion that he just doesn’t understand travel writing nor the joys of travel…..and takes himself (and probably the world) way too seriously. The dude needs to let his hair down….or swallow a chill pill or five. And definitley never try his hand at travel writing! Please! I can only imagine how mundane and self-righteous his tone would be – Booooring.

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