Delhi has a new paper from Saturday, The Pioneer edited by Vinod Mehta (the same). Half the people, who have seen the paper, have compared it to The Independent, the other half to The Indian Post. I personally think it looks more like The Patriot, possibly because it is being edited and printed at the Patriot offices and press.
I do not know if the Patriot is still coming out. The last I had heard was that it had closed down or was about to close down. It was a non-starter from the first day. Edatata Narayan, a simple and uncomplicated communists was its first editor. Before he joined it, he was my editor at the Free Press. He wanted to make some changes in the paper and the rest of the editorial staff did not agree with the changes. So he called the staff together, made a small speech - "I belong to that school of journalism where an editor's view is final" - and walked out.
Some prayers you know from the first day that they will succeed, others you know won't. The Indian Post, I knew from the first issue, would not. It was too fancy and it was not a newspaper. On weekday mornings at least, people want to read a newspaper, not see Hoshi Jal's blow-ups of trumpet players, though they very, very good, indeed.
The Independent also, I knew from the first issue it would not succeed. Not only did it have the two indentical faults of the Post, but also because it was trying to compete with the Times. Which was as eccentric as the Jains could get to be.
I expected the Economic Times to succeed even before it came out, but not the Financial Express. And editors have got nothing to do with this. Swaminathan Ankleshwar Aiyar has more or less been editor of both, without making the slighest difference to their predestined success or failure. As for the newest (though now not so new) and third business paper, its proprietors have enough money and more to spend, so it does not matter whether I think it will succeed or fail.
There is another rule: It is very difficult to make a paper which has failed to turn the corner and become a success. It is virtually impossible and I do nto know of a single case where this has happened. It is also equally difficult, if not more, for a paper which has been a success to make it fail. Consider the Hindustan Times, there is not worse paper than that in the country, but its success continues. The only notable exceptions to this rule are the Free Press Journal and the Sunday Observer, two highly successful papers in their days which have fallen badly.
Finally, the only paper that suceeded from the day if came out has been Mid-Day. There were of course, a combination of unusual circumstance. The Evening News was closed because of a strike: the Free Press Bulletin was closed because of fire. Since thre was also no Times Of India and the Indian Express could not cope with the demand. Mid-Day supplied the needs of the deprived morning paper readers also. It was also a period of major stories. Finally, Mid-Day was a good product, at that time.