- No Full Stops in India by Mark Tully
Viking, 352 pp, £16.99, November 1991, ISBN 0 670 81919 0
Correspondents of Western news organisations posted in India usually treat it as a soft assignment. There is much to report by way of colour, exotica and, the staple of all journalists, catastrophe. Large numbers of people are always dying in the most newsworthy ways – train accidents, floods and occasionally even gas leaks. The vast sub-continent always seems to be in the throes of a turmoil: ethnic strife, caste and religious riots and political assassinations are routine. Terrorism has become so commonplace that the Delhi-based hacks don’t even bother to fly up to Punjab any more. Then there is the lifestyle. The dollar goes a very long way here and a foreign correspondent’s salary gets him not only a large bungalow but also a retinue of servants for the memsahib. The natives speak or at least understand English and are hospitable and friendly. The infrastructure is creaky but what the hell, you can’t have everything. It’s great for a three-year stint.