Monday, January 20, 2014

The Mystery of the Letter Writer Solved

I'm glad to note that the mystery of the letter writer has been solved (described in these two posts here (post #1) and here). I did indeed make a mistake and misattribute the letter to David Frith to the Indian team manager PR Man Singh; instead, as the scan below makes clear (sent separately to me by Brian Carpenter and Mr. Panwar Man Singh), it was indeed Man Singh Panwar who wrote the letter.

Here is the scan sent to me by Mr. Singh; click on the image for a larger version. (A better quality scan--sent to me by Brian Carpenter--can be viewed as a PDF file here):

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Of Editors Eating Their Own Words and Mistaken Credit - The Saga Continues

As a follow-up to the last post, here is an update in the form of new correspondence from the gentleman that wrote to me. My reply follows.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2014 07:49:12 -0500
From: Man Panwar <>
Subject: Retraction of Letter to Wisden

Dear Samir,

I sent you an email on 30 Dec with a simple request to retract your outrageous statement that some one called PR Man Singh (!) wrote that piece. You have been silent. I wanted to forget this incident, but your silence in the matter is deplorable. If you do not retract it, I may take it to the next level, which I really do not want to do. Your call.


Man Singh

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 2014 12:42:33 -0500 (EST)
From: Samir Chopra <>
To: Man Panwar <>
Subject: Re: Retraction of Letter to Wisden

Dear Mr. Panwar,

Thanks for your email. May I ask if you have a copy of the letters to the
editor section with your letter and the photo of David Frith eating his
words? If I have indeed confused you with the erstwhile manager of the
Indian cricket team PR Man Singh, a simple enough error of memory, not entirely surprising given the antiquity of that epistolary exchange, and surely not as 'outrageous' as you seem to think it is, then I welcome correction. (I did, after all, in my original version of the post, confuse David Frith with Christopher Martin-Jenkins.)

However, at this stage, I have no evidence, besides your indignant
insistence, that you are indeed the original letter writer. You will
understand that I cannot make a 'retraction' and neither can Cricinfo make a correction to their page without such evidence.

best wishes,
Samir Chopra

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Friday, January 03, 2014

Of Editors Eating Their Own Words and Mistaken Credit

A couple of weeks ago, in a post at The Cordon on ESPN-Cricinfo, I recounted a little tale of an editor (David Frith of Wisden Cricket Monthly) forced to eat his words after India's win in the 1983 World Cup. (Short version: Frith suggested India, on the basis of its dismal record in the World Cup, be forced to qualify for the next one; the Indian team manager PR Man Singh wrote in after the Cup suggesting Frith retract in the appropriate fashion; Frith complied.) In the original version of the post, I made two mistakes. I named Christopher Martin-Jenkins as the editor, and the Cricketer as the magazine.

Now, I have received a very interesting, irate and confusing email from a reader. I don't know what to make of it. Here it is:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2013 14:19:57 -0500
From: Man Panwar>
Subject: Eating Words

Dear Samir,

I am really shocked that you of all persons, who claims to be a Professor at a leading college, would publish something without first doing a little research on the matter. I refer to your article stating that some one called PR Man Singh wrote that letter to David Frith asking him to eat his words. What rot. That letter was written by me. In my office in New York once I composed it, all my colleagues liked it. I sent it off by post, there was no email those days. I also sent him the cutting from my edition of the Wisden. Once it was published we all had a big party. Where the heck do you get off giving credit to some one else ? Are you not as a Professor, expected to research your articles to ascertain the truth, before going half assed about it.

I started to follow cricket in 1946 (were you born then) when the greatest Indian cricket team under the Nawab of Pataudi, with the likes of Merchant, Hazare and Mankad sailed from our shores to take on England or the MCC as they were then called. I moved to the USA in 1970 and settled in NJ but followed Indian Cricket like a hawk. I took it as a great insult to us when David Frith suggested we withdraw from the World Cup. The rest is history. I had a further exchange of ideas with David after this. I also called him a “Limey” but was man enough to apologise to him.

Now if you are a noble man, which I am sure you are, you will also publicly apologise for this blunder. Or call me at 201-XXXX-XXX.

I myself belong to the former Royal family of Tehri Garhwal in Uttarkhand. We are Rajputs. Most Rajputs have Singh as their middle name and their clan name as the last. I just normally do not use our surname Panwar. If you are interested I will send you a link to our family tree. You will see my name under the sons of Narendra Shah the late Maharaja. My brother Balendu Shah used to captain U.P. in the Ranji Trophy.

In my anger I did send off a letter last week to Cricinfo about this, and called you a nasty name. If they did forward it to you, please accept my apology.

Best regards & a Happy New Year.

Man Singh

Man Singh Panwar

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