Friday, December 19, 2008

Module 1: Vir Sanghvi's Article on Ratan Tata

For those of you who haven't heard the names of Vir Sanghvi and Ratan Tata, they might seem like foreign names to you. Vir Sanghvi has been India's most prominent journalist and Ratan Tata has been a great capitalist. You will find below extracts from an article (a profile) that Vir Sanghvi wrote on Ratan Tata. This was published in a leading national English newspaper called Hindustan Times and this article was published on January 12, 2008, in both the print edition as well the web edition of the newspaper. This text is fully under the public domain.

The online link to the article is here:

This is an excellent article in terms of its language and the use of rhetorical devices. Look at the title and the first two paragraphs. See the way the article starts:

Ratan Tata: Then And Now

Nobody disputes that, during his lifetime, JRD Tata was the most respected — and probably the most admired — businessman in India. On Thursday, as I watched the TV coverage of Ratan Tata unveiling the Tata Nano in New Delhi, I was struck by a sudden thought: Ratan has finally inherited JRD’s title. He is clearly the most respected and admired businessman in India today.

And then, I thought back to that phase, 10 years ago, when the Tatas struggled to reinvent themselves in the post-JRD era. I thought of how Ratan was perceived then: awkward, untalented, unworthy of the job, out of his depth and full of vindictive anger against many of the satraps of the JRD regime.

The title itself reveals the positive and the eulogistic nature of the article. This article was written in the context of the unveiling of the Tata Nano, the world's cheapest car, in New Delhi. In the third sentence of the first paragraph, Sanghvi states that Ratan Tata is India's most admired businessman. In the second paragraph, he charts Tata's growth. Sanghvi also uses an informal style of language. Please note that he calls Ratan Tata as 'Ratan' and not as Tata, which is the formal mode of address in English. To bring out the great achievement of Tata, Sanghvi juxtaposes the adjectives 'awkward', 'untalented' and 'unworthy' with the phrase 'the most admired businessman'. This is a strategy that successful writers would use to emphasize the impact of something.

I would continue discussing this article in my next post. Hope you enjoyed reading the article and hope you liked this e-learning module.