Lexicon of Indian Journalese


Conceived by Nikhil Rao and Shekhar Krishnan


For a while now, we have been engaged in a great philological project, our very own 21st century Hobson Jobson, as it were: that of compiling a lexicon of the marvellous cliches, truisms, banalities, and other little idiosyncrasies that litter the pages of our Great Indian Newspapers.

While these assault one’s sensibilities on a sustained basis during the act of reading, leading to a sensation not unlike receiving minor but unpleasant electric shocks while trying to enjoy one’s paper with one’s morning coffee, we would like to advance the argument that it is these very cliches that impart to Indian newspapers their own inimitable character. And in the spirit of our great democracy, which we celebrated and revivified only three days ago, we thought that we should make this project of compiling the lexicon a public one.

What more fitting public project could there be? Who among us has not winced upon hearing, for the two thousandth time, that the Mumbai police force is “second only to Scotland Yard”? Here is a way for all of us to vent our frustrations while at the same time productively harnessing that energy to compile a document which, I believe, will endure for posterity. I want all of you to “pitch in”, to “leap into the fray”, to “throw in your two pence worth”. Let us celebrate the magnificent and underappreciated art of cliche.

The Lexicon

All text for all news in the English print media in India is essentially generated out of these words. Feel free to add, append, and modify the lexicon and the master paragraph below. Continue reading Lexicon of Indian Journalese