Narasimhan Ram

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Written and spoken word (criticism, documentary, journalism, lectures)
Asia, Southern and Central
created on:
July 31, 2003
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Keeps an eye on Indian media

Narasimhan Ram knows India´s media from within. Today he is involved in the development of professional media in India.
Narasimhan Ram is an editor, a political journalist and an analyst, working in the media field since 1966.

Ran´s areas of special journalistic interest include: Indian politics, India´s foreign policy and nuclear policy, external pressures on India´s economic and political sovereignty, issues of corruption and abuse of power, the challenge of communalism and fundamentalism in India, the Sri Lankan ethnic crisis and India´s interaction with it, freedom of expression issues, and the role of media in society. He led The Hindu´s investigation into the Bofors arms deal corruption scandal.

Ram´s investigative exclusives include:
1) Details of the non-transparent India;
U.S. nuclear supply negotiations in 1980-81.
2) The full text and background of the highly secret terms and conditionalities of the 5 billion SDR Extended Fund Facility deal between India and the International Monetary Fund in 1981 (at that point, the largest line of credit in the history of the Bretton Woods institutions), which put pressure on India´s economic sovereignty.
3) The direction and writing of The Hindu´s award-winning investigation - developed over three years chiefly in collaboration with the newspaper´s Geneva correspondent, Chitra Subramaniam - of the Bofors-India (U.S.) $ 50 million kickback scandal. This had a major impact on the outcome of the 1989 Indian General Election that saw the Rajiv Gandhi government voted out.

As an Editor, Narasimhan Ram has planned and published in Frontline several investigative stories done by teams of reporters on starvation deaths, cases of extreme deprivation-related distress in India, and kidney commerce.

Apart from writing and editing newspapers, Ram is also actively involved in developing more profesisonalised media in India. He is closely associated, as a Trustee of the Media Development Foundation (MDF), with the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), launched in Chennai, India, in 2000. The ACJ is a post-graduate journalism school of a new type for India and the South Asian region. It has as its Dean Lawrence Dana Pinkham, a journalism teacher of repute who has taught at the Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Author: Karin Bergquist


Narasimhan Ram was born May 4, 1945.

Higher Education:
1961-64: B.A. in History at Loyola College, University of Madras.

1964-66: M.A. in History (First Class) at Presidency College, University of

1967-68: M.S. in Comparative Journalism (with Honours) at the Graduate
School of Journalism, Columbia University, New York.

Professional Background:
Has been in journalism from 1966; reporting, editing, editorial writing, investigative journalism and magazine journalism. Between 1977 and 1990, Associate Editor of The Hindu.

Between 1980 and 1982, Washington Correspondent of The Hindu.

Currently Editor of the fortnightly news magazine, Frontline, started in late 1984; of the weekly, The Sportstar, India´s leading sports magazine; and of the business daily, Business Line, started in January 1994, all three brought out by the publishers of The Hindu.

He is the president of Harmony India, Chennai, an organisation dedicated to the promotion of communal harmony and secularism.


The Great Indian Media Bazaar

Published Written,
A 15,000-word essay, `The Great Indian Media Bazaar: Emerging Trends and Issues for the Future; has been published in India: Another Millennium? edited by Romila Thapar, Viking, Penguin India, New Delhi, 2000.

Riding the Nuclear Tiger

Exhibition / Installation,
A Signpost publication, LeftWord Books, New Delhi.

The Early Years

Published Written,
He is co-author with Susan Ram of the biography, R.K. Narayan: The Early Years, 1906-1945, Penguin India, New Delhi, 1996 (a biography of India´s greatest writer in English of the past century)

The Nuclear Dispute: An Indian Perspective

Published Written,
His research publications include studies of `The Nuclear Dispute: An Indian Perspective; and ``An Independent Press and Anti-Hunger Strategies: The Indian Experience; the latter published in a book, The Political Economy of Hunger, Volume-1: Entitlements and Well-being, ed. Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1990.


Honours and awards include the Padma Bhushan (for journalism), 1990; the Asian Investigative Journalist of the Year Award from the Press Foundation of Asia (1990); the B.D. Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism (1989); the National Citizen´s Award (1995); XLRI´s First JRD Tata Award for Business Ethics (2002); andAlumni Award from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Alumni Association (2003).


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the partner institutions.

Images of Asia

(08 August 03 - 26 September 03)