NEW DELHI: Samir Jain, the Vice Chairman and Managing Director (VCMD) of the Times Group, on Saturday said the role of media should be of a ‘watchgod’ and not just a watchdog.
Speaking at the 7th edition of the Times Literature Festival in New Delhi, Samir Jain said it’s a good thing if people believe that dog is a man’s best friend.
“But we do not have to be a barking dog, we should not always speak in a critical tone. People should feel happy and joyful after reading newspapers,” Samir Jain said at the event in the presence of Union minister of railways, communications and electronics & IT Ashwini Vaishnaw, who is the chief guest at the event.
Addressing students at the event, Samir Jain said that TOI is trying to make literature reach out to as many readers as possible through newspapers.
“Since not everybody can read books, TOI is trying to provide summaries of the books through newspaper to everyone,” he said.
Talking about the literature festival, the Times Group VC said: “I saw the schedule of the event, and I see many programs of mythology and history. And I remembered a British historian who once said that – ‘If you read the Mahabharata and Ramayana as history, you’ll find it’s full of mythology, and if you read it as mythology, you’ll find it’s full of history.’ In a similar vein, for me, the line between literature and spirituality is always a blur.”
Samir Jain said that Indian literature is indistinguishable from spirituality and philosophy, and it is not limited to any one language.
“The works of Raskhan, Guru Nanak Ji’s teachings, Kabir’s dohas, and many others have been passed down through generations and continue to inspire people even today,” he said.
‘Children should be introduced to spiritual texts as literature’
Drawing from his own teachings, the Times Group VC said that throughout his school and even college, he studied these works as literature, not as spiritual texts.
“Raskhan, for example, is one of the finest examples of alliteration or ‘anupras’. While earlier we were taught to appreciate the beauty of literature, today, I realize the inherent beauty of spirituality in this literature,” he said.
He said that it is not just about religion while acknowledging that many in the audience could be embracing atheism (one of the fastest growing religions). But he added that the idea is that everyone can enjoy these spiritual texts as literature.
Samir Jain said that the works of many great writers pale in comparison to these spiritual texts.
“We studied Macbeth for many years, in school and college, and I remember we inadvertently memorized many of the darker passages of that play. Which is in stark contrast to what spiritual texts are, of course … But since I learned these passages as a teenager, it’s rather difficult to get it out of one’s mind,” he said.
He added that much of the literature read by children and young adults these days are marked by compelling descriptions of the darker impulses of humans.
“There is nothing wrong with that. But my submission is that were children and young adults to be introduced to these spiritual texts as literature, their fertile minds will encounter something beautifully different, interesting, and ultimately uplifting,” he said.



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