Re. the passing of Asian Affairs’ editor, David Watts. My regret is that I never met David. We did not even exchange messages. I would send my piece to the Asian Affairs team in Delhi, who then passed it on. That David meticulously went through the piece was clear from the editing he had done. Whenever he used his blue pencil extensively, he would send back the piece to find out whether I agreed with the changes he had made. This was the respect he showed to a contributor.
An advocate of the old-fashioned type of journalism, I could see the attention David paid to contributors, whether young or old. Such gestures are lacking in today’s journalism. True, the writing has become more sophisticated but this shows craftsmanship, not spontaneity.
David will be specially missed for his efforts to keep the Asian Affairs flock together. Not only that, every contributor felt as if s/he was being paid individual attention. David was an editor who not only understood a contributor but also guided him or her. I will feel his absence all the more because, although we never met, we were on the same page. I felt that I had sat with him and discussed things across a table. If I could reach him I would tell him that he has left behind admirers who wish they could follow in his footsteps.
I came to know about David Watts’ sad demise through Asian Affairs (Obituary, ‘A fond farewell’, June 2016). As a regular reader I will miss his analytical and thought-provoking editorials and articles. No doubt Asian Affairs would not have been what it is today without his able editorship. His death has left a void in the field of journalism and I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family, Singh Sahab and all the team at Asian Affairs.
I read your kind obituary for David Watts in the magazine (June issue). I did not know of his illness and when I last saw him last summer he seemed so vital. Please accept my condolences and I am sorry for the loss of your esteemed editor and friend. I know he did so much to make the magazine what it is today. Please extend my sympathies to his family and colleagues at the magazine. He will be missed.
Terrific editorial in the June issue of Asian Affairs and also a very good piece by Raymond Whitaker. I’d say it is the best coverage of the EU ‘In or Our’ muddle I’ve read so far… anywhere. Great stuff and the magazine is so interesting.
Call to account
Thank you, Asian Affairs, for your incisive article by Rahimullah Yusufzai on the trials faced by Pakistan’s beleaguered PM Nawaz Sharif over the Panama Papers revelations (‘Can Sharif weather the storm?’). Sharif’s position is looking increasingly untenable, which, like him or loathe him, is a pity. With the completion of two years of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and his cordial relationship with Indian PM Narendra Modi, he should be well placed to bring some kind of stability to the country and develop a dialogue with India.
But some people within Pakistan want to scupper any potential friendship between the two neighbours. They, as much as the corrupt politicians and officials, must be brought to account by Pakistan. Until the vested interests of the Pakistan army and the ISI continue to contaminate the environment and the elected government fails to take real power, nothing is going to change.