Sunanda K. Datta-Ray

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Sunanda K. Datta-Ray
Born Calcutta, India
Occupation editor; Journalist; Academic; Historian
Notable credit(s) editor, The Statesman
editor-in-Residence, East-West Center
Supernumery Fellow, Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Senior Visiting Fellow, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore
Columnist in other journals.
Title Mr.
Religion Hindu
Spouse(s) Married (once)
Children Deep K. Datta-Ray

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray has been a leading Indian newspaperman and journalist for half a century. He has been editor of The Statesman (Calcutta and New Delhi) and has also written for the International Herald Tribune and Time.[1] He was editor-in-Residence at the East-West Center in Honolulu.[2][3][4] He was editorial consultant[5] to Singapore's The Straits Times newspaper. Datta-Ray also worked in Singapore in the mid-1970s with S.R. Nathan. After the Straits Times, Datta-Ray was a supernumerary fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.[6]

Datta-Ray returned to Singapore in 2007 to work on book with Lee Kuan Yew at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies[7] based on a series of one-on-one conversations and a host of classified documents.[8] The book was published in 2009 as Looking East to Look West: Lee Kuan Yew's Mission India and won that year's Vodafone Crossword Book Award.

Personal history[edit]

Datta Ray was born 13 December 1937 in Calcuta, and educated at La Martiniere for Boys School, Calcutta. After graduating in English from the University of Calcutta, Datta-Ray trained as a chartered accountant in England.

In 1958 he was with the Stockport Advertiser, and in 1959 with the Northern Echo. In 1960 he joined The Statesman as junior London correspondent. In 1960–62 he was The Statesman's roving features editor, and 1962–68 the Sunday Magazine editor. In 1980–1986 he rose to be Deputy editor and became editor in 1986.

A Hindu – though his mother is of the Brahmo Samaj — Datta-Ray had a catholic wedding in Australia to a Bengali woman whom he met in Sydney.

Datta-Ray sees himself as the product of the intermeshing of high-caste Bengali society and upper-class English society throughout the 18th and 19th centuries which, writes Datta-Ray, has now 'vanished'.[9] Known as the Ingabanga, Datta-Ray defined his society thus:

It meant "England-worshipping Bengali" for Rabindranath Tagore. Krishna Dutta and W. Andrew Robinson translated it as "Anglomaniacs". It was always an outsider's description, never used by anglicised Bengalis themselves. Born in the heartland of that world, my grandmother spoke always of "the set".[10]

Datta-Ray is a direct descendant of B.L.Gupta who was one of three Indians (the others were Surendranath Banerjea and Romesh Chunder Dutt) who in 1869 broke through the colour bar and became the first native (Indian) civilian in the Indian Civil Service. B.L. Gupta was educated at University College London. Datta-Ray's grandfather, K.P. Basu, went to Downing College, Cambridge and Basu's sister is the mother of India's former Chief of Army Staff Shankar Roychowdhury. Another ancestor is Jatin Sen Gupta and his wife the English woman Nellie Sengupta who was the first woman President of the Indian National Congress.[11] Datta-Ray's father was a student at the London School of Economics.

Datta-Ray's is a member of the India International Centre and London's Travellers Club.[12] He is also a member of the Bengal Club and the Calcutta Club. He resigned from the National Liberal Club (London).

Monographs[edit]

Datta-Ray has been published in Asia, Europe and the United States for over 40 years. He was asked to contribute to Penguin's book of 'new' Indian writing in 2005.[13] In addition to this Datta-Ray has penned four monographs and edited one. His "Didima: The Last Ingabanga" appears in the Penguin anthology First Proof: The Penguin Book of New Writing from India, vol. I.[14]

Datta-Ray's monograph Looking East to Look West: Lee Kuan Yew's Mission India (2009) charts aspects of Indian foreign policy with Singapore.[15] Completely overlooked by academics, Singapore was also ignored by successive Indian prime ministers. Yet, Singapore is today the conduit for the bulk of foreign investment into India.[16] Based on unique access to key decision makers including Lee Kuan Yew, Datta-Ray, for the first time, illuminates an essential aspect of Indian foreign relations on which hinges not only India's renewal but also the future of India's major foreign policy innovation since Non-Alignment—the 'Look East' policy.[17]

He wrote the monograph Waiting For America[18] about which the Doon School headmaster Kanti Bajpai wrote:

[A] huge book ... Datta-Ray is one of India's most respected journalists. An elegant writer with an eye for story-telling and a no–nonsense analytical pen, he traces the course of Indo-US ties from the time Indira Gandhi opened them in 1982. We in India lack contemporary history of the digestible, Datta-Ray kind. This book will sit well on our shelves. We would do well to ponder the implications of Datta-Ray's analysis: Indo-US ties will be stilted as long as Americans see Pakistan as a strategic asset; India's strongest asset is its economy, hobbled by its domestic politics.[19]

Earlier Datta-Ray published Bihar Shows the Way, a caustic take on India[20] and edited Issues and Challenges in Asian Journalism[21]

Smash And Grab: The Annexation of Sikkim (1984)[22] is based on his personal friendships with the King of Sikkim and Indian decision makers.[23] Describing the process of the annexation of the Buddhist kingdom of Sikkim by the Indian government of Indira Gandhi in 1975, it was banned in India.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sunanda Datta-Ray (4 June 1999). "Asia in a state of Confucian". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 23 January 2009. 
  2. ^ "Author: Sunanda K Datta-Ray". indiaclub.com. Retrieved 23 January 2009. 
  3. ^ "Meanwhile". International Herald Tribune. 7 April 1992. Retrieved 23 January 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Coming up in January 2002". East West Center. 21 December 2001. Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  5. ^ "Seminars and Lectures at the Centre". Newsletter: Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge. Spring 2002. p. 10. 
  6. ^ "Colleges, Halls, and Societies". Oxford University Gazette. 2 March 2000. Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  7. ^ Sunanda K. Datta-Ray. Opinion Asia http://www.opinionasia.org/contributor/126 |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 24 January 2009. [dead link]
  8. ^ "ISEAS Conferences and Seminar Activities". Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  9. ^ Sean Auckland (6 August 2008). "Vanished Worlds – Sunanda K. Datta-Ray". The Official Anglo Indian Blog Page. Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  10. ^ Datta-Ray, Sunanda K. "The New Tournament". Telegraph India. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  11. ^ Datta-Ray, Sunanda K. (18 May 2004). "MEANWHILE : Sonia Gandhi and my great-aunt Nellie". Retrieved 30 January 2009. [dead link]
  12. ^ http://www.thetravellersclub.org.uk/
  13. ^ Heralding a `new generation' of Indian authors The Hindu - May 20, 2005
  14. ^ Datta-Ray, Sunanda K (2005). "Didima: The Last Ingabanga". First Proof: The Penguin Book of New Writing from India 1. Penguin Global. ISBN 0-14-303244-5. 
  15. ^ Datta-Ray, Deep K. (23 June 2007). "India renews its affair with South-east Asia". The Straits Times. Retrieved 8 February 2009. 
  16. ^ Datta-Ray, Deep K. (15 October 2007). "Securing India's Security". Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  17. ^ http://www.asiaone.com/News/Education/Story/A1Story20080225-51257.html
  18. ^ Datta-Ray, Sunanda K. (2002). Waiting for America: India and the US in the New Millennium. HarperCollins India. p. 471. ISBN 81-7223-441-4. 
  19. ^ http://www.outlookindia.com/archivecontents.asp?fnt=20021125
  20. ^ http://bullcrossing.wordpress.com/2007/08/14/on-new-nalanda/
  21. ^ http://www.selectbooks.com.sg/getTitle.cfm?SBNum=39352
  22. ^ Datta-Ray, Sunanda K. (1984). Smash and grab: Annexation of Sikkim. Vikas. p. 338. ISBN 0-7069-2509-2. 
  23. ^ http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storyCode=166151&sectioncode=22
  24. ^ "Publish and be banned". The Telegraph (Calcutta) (India). July 18, 2010. Retrieved September 23, 2012.