Posted by: John Elliott | February 25, 2010

Elephant hits a thousand centuries

Hi everyone – Riding the Elephant has just passed a total of a thousand centuries – 100,000 hits since I took it over from in August 2008 – the current total is in the column on the right. (Congratulations to Sachin Tendulkar for his double century yesterday!)

So thanks to all of you who followed me here from, and to everyone else who has piled in since then to read the total of nearly 200 (this is the 198th) posts (articles) I’ve written on both sites on current affairs in and around India (and occasionally the UK).

It took a year after August ’08 to clock up the first 50,000 hits (or views as they are called in the blog world), but just seven months to double the figure – which means there are lots of new and more frequent readers. Most of the posts also appear on the Financial Times website’s India page , bringing in readers.

Average views have gone from about 60 a day in August 2008 to 200-250 a day in the past three months. As you’ll see below, it’s not the most serious posts that always generate the most attention – and a mischievous headline can always help.

The busiest single day, with 650 views, was March 24 last year when I wrote a popularly unpopular post on Tata Motors’ tiny Nano car saying “let’s cool the hype”. Interest in  The gun that crippled the equipping of India’s armed forces is ‘innocent’   has led to over 800 hits so far since it went up two days ago.

The bulk of the hits – 33,872 – come to the home page , but the individual post which has attracted most consistent attention with 3,400 views is a piece on Jawaharlal Nehru period photographs. Readers are presumably partly pulled in by a mischievous headline – Nehru was lost for years in a trunk, which wasn’t of course quite true – find out why by clicking here.

Next with just over 3,000, is a promotional piece I wrote on an anthology of foreign correspondents’ articles that Penguin India published two years ago  to coincide with the Delhi-based Foreign Correspondents’ Club’s 50th anniversary. Following on with 2,700 hits is a post that went on in June 2008 on Tina Ambani, wife of Anil who runs one of India’s two warring Reliance business groups, spending a record $2.5m on a painting by F.N.Souza at a Christie’s auction in London.

So keep coming back……

There’s lots more to write about – just this week (in addition to tomorrow’s Budget) there’s been:

– A ludicrous (funny) railway budget yesterday from Mamata Banerjee, the West Bengal-centric railways (mostly-absentee) minister.

– Environment minister Jairam Ramesh’s much deserved support at a meeting yesterday called by the prime minister on banning “BT Brinjal” (genetically modified aubergine) – Ramesh is winning despite a relentless media campaign against him spearheaded, for some reason or other, by the Indian Express group.

– A probably phoney bid for peace talks from the Naxalites, which home minister P.Chidambaram is fencing with deftly – but, I hope, not too negatively.

– Today’s almost-as-phoney talks in Delhi between India’s and Pakistan’s foreign secretaries on the countries’ differences.

– and, on a different note, the launch in Delhi of a fascinating autobiography, Simply Fly- A Deccan Odyssey, by one of India’s greatest entrepreneurs – Captain Gopinath, founder of cut-price Air Deccan and of a new cargo airline Deccan 360.

All of that, and much else, should generate interest for the next lakh!


  1. Congrats John

    Though I don’t always agree with everything, it is thoughtful, sometimes provocative, and always educational.


  3. congratulations on making this milestone. your writing has a refreshing unbiased way of presenting facts and even when opining, you are never overbearing. more power! MA

  4. Congratulations on reaching a new milestone. I do keep coming back to your blog for the good reads.

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