Linking Down

An Indian Memory Lane

In Search of India's Glory


      • "The free and contentious Indian publications of today owe much not only to their courageous editors and reporters, but also to their enterprising men and women who built their advertising revenues and set them on commercially viable tracks."

      • "India's glory is that it produces followers of different faiths--individuals like A. C. Daniels--and allows them to flourish and mentor others."

By Michael Chacko Daniels

Please join me in a journey down an Indian Memory Lane to discover India's glory :

A. C. Daniels, my father, was a respected leader of a generation of newspaper ad men and women who taught both the newspaper pundit classes and the commercial/business classes how important they were to each other and helped put India's communication system on a firm business footing.

I can still see him sitting at the dining table under the ceiling fan, wearing only a singlet and lungi in the sticky Bombay heat, imbibing one of his many cups of tea--brewed to perfection by my mother, periodically clearing his chronically congested throat with unrestrained vigor, and intensely reading the Times of India [http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/] in his daily absorption of the minutiae of India’s political, social, and business development.

The Times of India was his most trusted guide to what had happened while he worked and slept. For the government’s official interpretation he listened to All India Radio [http://www.allindiaradio.org/] when the old radio worked.

As a long-time newspaperman, he knew the dangers of depending on only one source of information, so every morning he read the Indian Express [http://www.indianexpress.com/], to catch any news items the Times had missed, or to catch the Express’ particular slant on what was happening.

As a very competitive newspaper advertising representative, he would track each newspaper’s advertising lineage, especially that of the Express because it competed with Karnataka’s Deccan Herald [http://www.deccanherald.com/] and Prajavani [http://www.prajavani.net/] and Kerala’s Malayalam Manorama [http://www.manoramaonline.com/], for which he provided representation in Bombay, the country’s commercial capital.

All three newspapers have had some of India's best editors and reporters, the greatest perhaps the Herald 's first editor, Pothan Joseph. According to Arjun Dev, Karnataka Press Academy's chairperson, Editor Joseph's daily column, which was sprinkled with biblical and Dickensian quotes, 'was a rage among the readers of the times.'

The newspapers from Karnataka and Kerala arrived daily via Indian Postal Service and were my father's staple afternoon, evening, and night reading. The Manorama was the only non-English language paper that he could read, though over the years he represented Hindi, Marathi, and Gujarati language newspapers.

Once a month he also read the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s monthly Journal [http://www.bhavans.info/Journal/vjournal.asp], one of the few Bombay-headquartered publications that he worked for.

The Bhavan’s Journal is an Indian publishing phenomenon. As its publishers proudly state: “T he periodical that outsells most others with a record 7,25,000 readers every month observes none of the formulae editors and publishers recommend for a mass-circulated magazine. It has no sex, no obscene pictures on the editorial or advertisement pages, no tantalising covers, no scandal, no reports, no ‘negative journalism’ and a total blackout of bad news.

“ ‘T he periodical sells because it prints only good thoughts,’ said a reader, unraveling the mystery of ‘Bhavan's Journal's’ enormous success. Even the covers are prosaic, the annual number released in Bombay last week bearing the portraits of Gandhi, Tagore and Swami Vivekananda. ‘Let alone printing all the three portraits, it will be difficult to find another magazine with even one of them on the cover,’ the reader said.”

Several English and non-English language newspapers and magazines owed their commercial success to A. C. Daniels' skills in connecting them to advertisers in India's commercial capital, Bombay.

The free and contentious Indian publications of today owe much not only to their courageous editors and reporters, but also to their enterprising men and women who built their advertising revenues and set them on commercially viable tracks.

In practically every little flat we lived in, my father converted a part of the drawing room into his office, where, as a fierce typist, his typewriter ruled, as it still does now in my mind as I pound this Compaq keyboard.


Father, at the comfortable

ancient manual Remington in Bombay,

unleashes with unrestrained glee

Old Victoria’s



Short hands hover,

fat fingers drum

a pace that still sets

his child’s speed

years into an American future,

repulsing slowness

of cold body,

sluggish brains,

winter strains.

And I remember my father

in the sun.

I remember, you, Father,

in your father’s house,

sweat on your brow,

tears in your eyes

adazzle in the sun’s glow

on your black face.

A warmth I know

not only in my mind

but every membrane.

But, oh, how I

marvel at your hands hovering,

fingers darting,

drumming in my brain.

You, Father, now forever

flowing out of that powerful,

quotable, manual Remington,

just as you once did

out your great, thick lips.

Poem from: Split in Two.

[Copyright 2005, Michael Chacko Daniels. All rights reserved. ]

Look for Split in Two on Amazon.com in May 2005.

Based on his faith and his commitment to a resurgent India, A. C. Daniels was a firm believer in giving back.

From 1960 till his death in 1975, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Bombay Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).

He was the Vice President of the YMCA in 1970, Chairman of the Religious Emphasis Committee, and member of the Boy's Home Committee and the Funds Raising Committee.

He was a member of the Press Guild of India, Honorary Director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, member of the Advisory Council of Rajendraprasad College, Honorary Secretary and Treasurer and Managing Trustee of the Bombay Baptist Church, and Honorary Treasurer of the Bible Society of India and a member of its Central Executive and Working Committee.

As a young man, I often questioned my father's work, his community involvements, and his network of relationships. In the course of my three decades of community work, I have learned that no community and no country can be developed and sustained without such individuals. India's glory is that it produces followers of different faiths--individuals like A. C. Daniels--and allows them to flourish and mentor others.

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And the following

Popular History Pages


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A Grand Rapids Popular History


Pages from New River Free Press, 1973 to 1977


Your Friendly Guide to Urban Survival & Improvement:




Signed, Limited Editions

An avid reader's comment about

Michael Chacko Daniels'

handcrafted books:

"The books are beautiful,

they look like little treasures."

--Brenda Coleman

Each copy is

a work of art in itself.

Click here to read more about
 Michael Chacko Daniels' books.

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Anything Out of Place Is Dirt
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Split in Two
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