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Opinion
Chandrahas Choudhury

India's Top Newspapers Battle for Readers' Hearts and Souls: Choudhury

The Times of India and The Hindu are the two best-known English newspapers in India. Both are well over 100 years old, and are family-owned. Over the decades their gaze on Indian society and politics has made readers impute to each of them a kind of human aura, identified with the cities from which they are published.

The Times is often called "The Old Lady of Boribunder," a nod to the district in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) where the newspaper has its offices. The Hindu is known as "the Mahavishnu of Mount Road," after an Indian god, suggesting not just the site in the south Indian metropolis of Chennai (formerly Madras) where it is published, but also an Olympian gaze and detachment. The Times dominates the west and the north of the country; The Hindu's stronghold is the south. Their cumulative impact on the public sphere is vast. Between them they sell close to 5 million copies daily, in one of the few markets in the world where the audience for printed newspapers is growing.