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S. Nihal Singh, currently the editor of The Khaleej Times, the largest selling daily in the Gulf, is a distinguished political commentator. He has edited two of India's major newspapers, The Statesman and the Indian Express and has launched a new morning daily from Bombay, The Indian Post.

Journalism is ?

Many things. It is a profession. It helps you earn a living. It is interesting. It is frustrating...

Some of the "happening" places you have been to?

In professional terms, Vietnam. The war was going on.

What was your most traumatic experience?

I went to dine at a famous restaurant in Saigon- a floating restaurant. The day after I dined there, it was blown off by the Vietcong.

Journalism then and now

More like a marriage and a love affair.

You have played so many roles before you reached the top? Which one did you enjoy the most?

Being a foreign correspondent. It gives you freedom in terms of knowing a country and understanding its people. There's also so much opportunity to write.

Have you ever found yourself in a compromising situation?

We always face dilemmas. The dilemma of how truthful you can be in certain situations.

Your favourite person?

Nehru was my hero. He was a sort of philosopher king.

The story that I did not do:

None that I can recall.

Your favourite beat?

I enjoy writing features.

Tell us when you hated yourself the most?

When I was court reporting. It is degrading work. The cases are not high profile and you can't get creative.

Mention something that you miss doing ever since you have become an editor? Writing.

Your favourite author?

Many. Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen are a few.

What you dislike?

(laughing) The vanity of a journalist.

Your role model in the profession?

Frank Moraes.

Given a chance to choose a career again, which one would you choose?

Writing fiction. Maybe about passionate love.

Your greatest ambition?

To be a real writer.

How would you describe the real writer?

A genius.

You were the editor of The Statesman during the Emergency. Did you ever make it to prison?

No! I didn't really but you can say I had my toothbrush ready.

This preoccupation with lifestyle and fashion in all the magazines here. Is Dubai not ready for the serious stuff?

Look around for yourself and see what the discussion is all about. It's usually about fashion or about cosmetics. There is very little room for intelligent conversation.

What makes Dubai tick?

The liberal atmosphere and its indigenous population.

If it were up to you to do something in Dubai, what would you do?

I would build a wonderful theatre here and open a big book store.

Do you think print will succeed despite interactive medium and the audio visual?

Definitely.(picking up the newspaper on his desk) The first thing you do when you wake up.

More about Nihal Singh

He spent many years as a foreign correspondent of The Statesman in South East Asia, Pakistan and East and West Europe. He spent two years as a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for international Peace in New York to complete a book on Indo-Soviet relations, The Yogi and the Bear. He spent another two years, mostly in Paris, to undertake the present study of Unesco.

Nihal Singh's other publications are Malaysia- A commentary, From the Jhelum to the Volga, Indira's India and The Gang and 900 million.

Nihal Singh received the International Editor of the Year Award in New York in 1978 for his role as editor of The Statesman during the Emergency in 1975-77.

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