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A Bug In UPAs Soup

Chewing gum, in the age of sticky leaks
as our Intelligence Bureau bitten off more than it can chew? Sixteen adhesive sticks were found in finance ministry offices sometime ago, which has set tongues wagging about Pranab-da being spied on. But IB-wallahs rubbished claims that these were remnants of bugging devices. The suspicious stick-ons, they insist, were just chewing gum! Now, it must have been very special chewing gum indeed. Not only did it travel all over North Block, it also got stuck in several spots ideal for eavesdropping. Chew on that. BJPs Sushma Swaraj takes the IBs theory as just so much bubble gum. Not without reason. Havent ex-IB men written tomes about their agencys expertise in helping politicos play Spy-Versus-Spy? Why, leaving his party fuming, Congressman Digvijay Singh even calls for a probe. Rightly so. Imagine all the info we could unearth in this age of sticky leaks. Chasing prime suspects, we could find out if North Block ever had Justin Bieber-lookalike tweenage visitors. Didnt we too as young rebels listen in on adult talk and stick yucky blobs all over symbols of institutional authority? Equally, we could expose which minister has a stake in tuning in to FM. He, not taxpayers, must foot North Blocks bill for buttressed security. Wont visitors need extra screening from now on for sticky chewing gum along with stick-emup stuff like guns and RDX? Ratan Tata may be happy with the promised law against illegal bugging of private citizens. But wholl protect cabinet ministers if not a gum disposal squad? However, the probe may well disprove Janata Party prez Subramanian Swamys allegations about home minister P Chidambarams culpability. All itll take is to prove home affairs doesnt mean gathering intelligence on PCs in-house rivals. Big Business, some say couldve , also planned the sticky business. Well, who wouldnt want to keep tabs on the FM, if only to know whether the dead reforms process will revive at all in this millennium? Come to think of it, the UPA seems most in need of an adhesive, given its internal cracks. Consider the Kaun Banega Pradhan Mantri contest that appears to have broken out, with all its divisive potential. It may be mere coincidence that PM is short for Pranab Mukherjee, to the possible chagrin of PC. But is it pure chance that Diggy Rajas Rahul as PM pitch comes just when PM Manmohan Singh is in a sticky situation, with the UPA hit by accusations of graft and governance deficit? The question, of course, is whether Rahul baba wants to be glued to the hot seat at a time these charges are showing a propensity for sticking. Like chewing gum. Netas may have a taste for espionage along with vaulting ambitions. But its time they learnt that the strongest binding agent in politics has more to do with stooping than snooping to conquer. Political humility and good governance are the best adhesives: both make voters stick with those they elect to power. Chew on that, as well.

Change With The Times

International governance structures need to match new global realities
Jean-Pierre Lehmann

In the course of the last decade the world has undergone the most profound transformation in all of its millenniums of history. Between 2000 and 2010, the share of global GDP of the three leading emerging economies China, India and Brazil doubled. The remarkable developments reflect not only changes occurring within these dynamic economies, but also between them. Chinas share of global trade was 2% in 1990, less than 4% in 2000 and 11% now. Similarly, between 2000 and 2010, Brazils exports to China increased some 20-fold; from having been a very distant speck on the Brazilian trade horizon, China is now Brazils biggest trading partner, surpassing the US and the EU. The dynamism and optimism in the emerging economies contrast sharply with the moroseness and pessimism in the EU, Japan and even the US. The greatest risk to the world economy is Eurozones debt problems. Europe is in a state worse than the East Asian economies in the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis when loud western pontificating voices bemoaned Asian crony capitalism. Europes decline as an economic force seems irreversible, among other things, for demographic reasons: Europeans as a proportion of world population declined from 25% in 1900 to less than 10% of the world population today. According to IMF statistics, Europes share of global GDP (at purchasing power parity) will decrease

from 25% in 2000 to 18% in 2018. Had the proverbial Martian visited Deauville, the resort and setting of the G8 summit in May, she would hardly have been aware of these profound changes or the state of Euro-decline. Not only was the G8 held in Europe, under a European president (Sarkozy), dominated by European countries (five, including Russia, out of the eight), they also rallied round the European candidate (French finance minister Christine Lagarde) to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn, another ex-French finance minister, as IMF head. The imperative of a European head arises, Europeans argue: one, from the tradition of having a European at the IMF and an American at the World Bank and, two, on the

G8 leaders at Deauville, France: Wave goodbye to the old order

Obtaining G8s abolition and strengthening G20 would be a step in the right direction. Ending the tradition of a European heading IMF would be another
ground that 80% of IMF lending is now to Europe and there are the greatest risks in the Eurozone. This is palpable nonsense. If you follow that logic, there should have been a Mexican head of the IMF at the time of the Mexican crisis, an Asian at the time of the East Asian crisis, etc. As to tradition, traditions have to change and adapt to the times. Societies not capable of adapting their traditions or creating new ones degenerate. That was to a considerable extent Chinas history for some 200 years until the

country woke up and embraced globalisation in the late-1970s and it hasnt looked back since. The survival and development of societies depend on two prominent factors: a propensity to change and adapt, and the quality of its governance. In early 21st century governance, these factors are conspicuous by their absence. While technologies and markets have changed exponentially, changes in global governance, with very few exceptions, have simply not happened, while entrenched positions have been jealously guarded. The UN Security Councils composition reflects realities in 1945, yet the prospects of change are less than that of pigs flying. The WTO has been stagnant and unable to conclude its current round of negotiations (Doha), while the real world of trade is booming in all sorts of new directions.

The G6 was founded in 1975 (to later become G7 with Canadas addition). In 1975, the idea of the heads of the worlds major economies getting together on a problem-solving and confidence-building informal forum made sense. Following 30 glorious post-war years of growth and near full-employment, the oil crisis of 1973-74 resulted in the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. France, Italy, Germany, the UK, the US, Canada and Japan were the global economic powers at the time. China, India, Brazil and all other emerging economies as well as the communist states were not in the picture. A good idea in 1975 became an obsolete idea by 2000. In 2008 when the global recession hit, there was an element of innovation in the convening of the first ever G20 summit in Washington in November that year. This was followed by one in London in April the following year.

Both meetings did have an impact in mitigating the effects of the great recession. Arguably, it could have been much worse without the G20. This is a good example of institutional innovation and adaptation. Since then, the G20 has meandered aimlessly, rich on rhetoric and photo-ops, poor in substance, identity, credibility and legitimacy. The G20s existential problems are compounded by the persistence of the G8. The latter has reverted to seeking to project itself as the real show, while the G20 with all these parvenus including India, China, Korea, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, Saudi Arabia are the side show. In this highly interconnected world, the misalignment between new realities and obsolete governance structures is a grave concern. The global economic edifice has rebounded in many (mostly emerging economy) parts of the world quite dynamically since the recession. But the governance foundations remain weak. It is likely there will be other shocks to the global economy in the years ahead. Business leaders should worry that global governance is weak, and take an active role in making it stronger. Since so much business is moving to the developing world, obtaining G8s abolition and strengthening G20 would be a step in the right direction. Ending the tradition of a European heading the IMF would be another. The failure to adapt, modernise and strengthen global institutions and global governance could prove extremely costly. Better to act now.
The writer is professor of international political economy at IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland.

J K Rowling announces that Harry Potter novels are to go digital

Bring on the future

ot even magic is future-proof. British going the same way with the latest quarterly author J K Rowlings decision to let reports showing DVD sales dropping and a her massively popular seven-book corresponding growth for Netflix, the preseries be sold as e-books has imparted mier online movie streaming service. The additional momentum to the growth of the book industry is not immune to this dynamic. digital publishing industry. And it further It isnt hard to see why. In their purest erodes the diminishing ranks of those who form, books, like music continue to hold out against the inevitable and movies, are data. shift. That some do is regrettable but not And the advantages particularly surprising. The advent of any of liberating that data new technology renders the old one defunct. And when a global I T I M E S V I E W I industry worth unimaginable sums of money is built on that old technology, a from a physical medigreat deal of pain and therefore resistance um are immense. Pro is inevitable. But none of that can change duction costs go down, the facts: the future of publishing is digital, supply constraints are and that is as it should be. removed entirely . Its important to remember that the shift Knowledge is democrafrom physical formats to digital in the enter- tised, for with the protainment industry started only in the past per infrastructure, e-books have the potential decade. That it has become irreversible in to be far more accessible to a far greater such a short period says something about it. number of people than physical books. A far In the music industry, chain stores that had greater number of authors can make their prospered for decades have shut down all over presence felt, for the digital format enables the US, unable to compete with digital down- low-cost self-publishing in a way the existing loads. And the movie industry may well be industry does not. So, bring on the future.

No magic in digital
hat J K Rowling a member of the small tribe of high-profile authors standing up for books as we know them by refusing to authorise digital versions of her best-selling Harry Potter series has succumbed to the electronic onslaught is a pity. While e-books might be the latest fad, the writer who entranced literary content. A reader not just reads a book but forms a relationship with it. Also, books are reservoirs of stories whereas e-books are just platforms for information. The inherent tactile nature of a book helps readers associate better with the content. Reading the Bhagavad Gita or the Bible in book form is an experience that cannot be replicated by their e-book versions. When books are digitised they no longer remain books but become interactive I COUNTERVIEW I multimedia tools. It takes away from the sanctity of the Prabhat Banerjee the world with tales book itself. This is precisely what the digital of magic of a boy wiz- version of the Harry Potter books will do. ard should have been Pottermore, the website that will host the more appreciative of e-books will be a mishmash of computer the magic of paper- games, social networking and online store. backs and hard Just as the experience of watching a bounds. For, a book movie in a theatre cannot be reproduced by has a special aura and cannot be reduced DVDs and movie websites, e-books cannot to mere data. It is a treasured material capture the joys of reading a book. Scrolling possession and, in many cases, a collectors through an e-book is not the same as flipping item. The feel and sensuality of a book can through the pages of a book. The former, hardly be replaced by the cold, detached made interactive with multimedia inputs, screen of an e-book reader. diminishes the key ingredient that makes A book is much more than a medium for reading such a pleasure imagination.

National Security And The Global Commons

Kanti Bajpai

The government has announced the formation of a task force under the chairmanship of Naresh Chandra to carry out a holistic review of national security. National security usually relates to those issues that involve the use of force. Increasingly, however, national security must focus on externalities or public goods that affect national existence and welfare even if they do not necessarily involve the use of force. Key global commons issues that affect national survival and wellbeing include planetary calamities, climate change, deadly epidemics, stability of the global economy, global political stability (internal peace, transnational extremist movements, terrorism), non-proliferation, the demilitarisation of outer space, freedom of the high seas, and controlling transnational crime. Clearly the task force has a huge challenge ahead of it how to , square traditional national security concerns with these larger concerns arising from the global commons. While it will undoubtedly deal with the substance of national security policy it should also , deal with the institutional mechanisms and broad approach needed to deal with the complexities of security . For one thing, India should enlarge its capacity to think about the link between the global commons and national security This . means greater expertise and staffing in the ministry of external affairs (MEA), the ministry of defence, the National Security Council, and the ministries of finance and environment. With respect to the MEA, the government should reduce its regional desks and increase the number of functional ones cutting across geographical regions. It should also massively increase the size of the foreign service, perhaps by a factor of three. A related reform is that Indias policymaking apparatus needs better coordination. In particular, the ministries and agencies involved in global commons issues need to be included in national security discussions within the government. A third reform is for the government to involve think tanks and other non-governmental organisations in decision making related to the global commons far more than it has done in the past. Think tanks, in turn, need to be more multidisciplinary and to increase expertise and staff strength. They also need to consider how to keep the general public, national and state politicians, the media including the Indian language media, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) better informed. Fourth, India must work more closely with a range of state and non-state actors. Clearly, it must coordinate better with the US, China, the EU, Russia and Japan. It must also coordinate better with rising regional powers. The G20 is a vital forum for coordination with a range of influential states, and Indian diplomacy should be directed towards supporting it even at the risk of offending some non-members. India should work with the non-aligned movement (NAM) when it can but should not be tied to NAM positions. New Delhi should represent the interests of those who are not sufficiently heard, yet it must be prepared to look after its own interests and to be mindful of larger, more cosmopolitan goals. In addition, since the global commons increasingly involves a range of NGOs, Indian diplomacy must reach out to these entities in a way that it has traditionally not done. Indias public diplomacy must be massively increased in order to reach out to NGOs and enlist their support. Indian diplomacy should recognise that non-governmental actors are also sources of information and ideas and can enlarge policy thinking. The government has to acknowledge this reality and to use it to best advantage. Fifth, a more general change in Indias stance is the need to take the initiative in dealing with the global commons. Over the past two decades, India has been rather more reactive than creative in crafting world order. This has to change with Indias growing influence. Finally we must see that global commons challenges are often , related in vicious cycles. Dealing with one challenge successfully will therefore have positive knock-on effects and could change vicious into virtuous cycles. The government has done well to constitute the Chandra task force. It will do even better if it releases the report to the public. In a democracy it is vital to garner public support for big policies, and , national security policy is no exception.

Afghan Pullout Speeding Up Cases Dravids Defiance

resident Obama is drawing down US troops in Afghanistan faster than his generals advise, due to political pressures at home. New Delhi must tell Washington to keep plans flexible and conditional on an improving ground situation in Afghanistan. And it must beef up its own defences and diplomatic outreach, to guard against a situation where instability grows in the region due to a precipitate US withdrawal.

he move to spruce up trial court infrastructure, by infusing Rs 2,000 crore over the next five years, is welcome. But, given that India has a staggering 2.3 crore pending cases, mere allocation of funds wont solve matters on the ground. The Centre must ensure that funds are fully and efficiently utilised. Most importantly , it should encourage out-ofthe-box thinking to clear the logjam.

he reflexes arent what they used to be. The bat doesnt come down quite as straight. But Rahul Dravid can still teach the younger lot a thing or two. His matchwinning century in Kingston, Jamaica, was a welcome echo of his brilliant twin half-centuries there in 2006. When the pitch is playing tricks and the bowlers have scented blood, the Wall is still the man for the hour.

Cruise Control

The Three Fellowships

is the Spirit. The miracle of clouds transforming salty sea water into pure water reveals the ur natural environment is depleting. amazing secrets of the cycle of nature. With Rivers are drying; forest cover is shrink- admiration comes love. This is the start of a beauing; hills are disappearing. We are paying tiful bonding with nature. Then every flower, a heavy price in terms of global warming and every tree, every hill and river appears sacred. this warming is not only restricted to our Fellowship with silence generates power physical environment; another kind of warming which elevates the mind. Silence is a great that of desires, passions and greed has affected purifier. It opens doors for communication with the souls environment. the mysteries of life. Silence creates circles of Why does the soul need an environment? positive energy; it is not passive. It creates ethos we asked the Master. for performing dharma. Silence heals. Silence Just as a healthy environment is needed for gives and so you, too, learn to give. Saint Meher our well-being, so it is with the soul! To grow a Baba observed silence for 40 years. For in silence plant you need to water its roots. In the same the waters of the spirit flow! way to cultivate the soul you have to provide for Much of todays restlessness is due to absence its nourishment. The main purpose of of silence in the outer and inner environhuman birth is to evolve, and for that ment. There is clamour for activities both you have to cultivate the soul. inside and outside of the mind. In such a But the soul is ever peaceful and whirlwind lifestyle, the soul feels suffopure. Why does it need an environment cated and yearns for silence, for stillness. at all? we ask naively . Fellowship with satsang means That is because you have gone being with those who follow the path through so many births and you have of truth. It means being in the Gurus THE gathered so many karmas, which have presence along with other devotees I SPEAKING I cloaked the soul with thick layers. You and sharing knowledge of sacred need to remove that cloak of dirt, of scriptures. Satsang means group TREE evil, of undesirable karmas. kirtan, chanting or prayer. Satsang The Master would speak of three elements also means reflection on social good. It means of the environment necessary to keep the soul group activity of service. It is a means to cultivate fresh and healthy: Fellowship with Nature, the soul through seva and simran. Satsang silence and satsang. purifies and generates universal love energy . Nature with its rivers and rivulets, mountains And in that positive environment, reaching out and hills, green forests and trees is not only to people in need of help becomes effortless. These three fellowships set the stage to remove aesthetically appealing to the eye; it generates energy which brings calmness, lightness and detach- karmas that cloak the soul. ment from the gross physical. Walking through To enjoy a life of peace and harmony we need , the forest soothes the nerves, a stroll at the river not only a balanced physical environment but bank makes you reflective, watching reflections in also a rejuvenating spiritual environment. The flowing waters; sitting at a hilltop makes you still, three fellowships create just that environment. as it distances you from worries and problems. It www.speakingtree.in makes you positive towards your inner self. Rain Join the worlds first spiritual networking site and clouds are joyful reminders of the beauty that to interact directly with masters and seekers.
Aruna Jethwani


Stick to non-violence
With reference to the Times View/Counterview (June 23), Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyis candid admission of not being averse to violent confrontation indicates that her patience with Myanmars military rulers is running out. With no immediate end in sight to the struggle, she is bound to feel helpless. Her stated objective of securing democracy for the country is becoming tougher by the day. Nevertheless, adopting violent means will never help achieve nor sustain the lasting peace that she is fighting for. In renouncing non-violence, Suu Kyi will not only lose out on global support but also the support of her countrymen who look to her as a beacon of hope.
M V Krishna, VIA EMAIL



Free from expectations and from all sense of possession, with mind and body firmly controlled by the Self, they do not incur sin by the performance of physical action. Bhagavad Gita 4.19-21 He whose actions are disorganised has no happiness either in the midst of men or in a jungle in the midst of men his heart burns by social contacts, and his helplessness burns him in the forest. Chanakya The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It cant be organised or regulated. It isnt true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth. Ram Dass Organise your life around your dreams and watch them come true. Anonymous Organising is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed-up. A A Milne

Compromise formula
The editorial Break The Deadlock (June 23) rightly suggests that both sides need to show more pragmatism if the desired objective of creating an effective Lokpal within the constitutional framework has to be achieved. Instead of taking rigid stands on their proposed drafts, members of the joint drafting committee should make sincere efforts to arrive at a consensus. Such a compromise is possible only if both sides are reasonable and willing to meet each other halfway. The insistence of civil society members, under the threat of another fast, that their draft must be accepted in full is both undemocratic and unreasonable. At the same time, in its own interest, the government will do well to counter the general public perception that it doesnt want a strong Lokpal.
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com




Without a structure, new left will remain only fashionable

The CPM has been doing a lot of soul-searching post its decisive defeat in the West Bengal elections, besides its loss in Kerala. So much so, party politburo member Sitaram Yechury, 58, admits that serious mistakes were made in West Bengal that need to be corrected to win back the peoples confidence. And yet, he sees a bright future for the left globally. Yechury talks Singur the Palghat syndrome and the new left with , Akshaya Mukul. Excerpts: What is the CPMs analysis of its defeat in West Bengal? There will be more in-depth analysis. Clearly mis, takes were made at three levels: political-tactical, administrative and organizational. At the central committee meeting in Hyderabad, preliminary analysis was done. The primary thing for the party is to overcome these weaknesses and, on that basis, strengthen its links with the people. The party in West Bengal has said they will undertake more in-depth analysis during the state committee meeting in July . There has been a slew of analysis after the partys defeat in West Bengal. Many critics point out that the principle of democratic centralism is another word for tyrannical control of the leadership that often is the reason why the party fails to do course correction. Yes, there would be certain areas that need to be strengthened. But this problem has been there since Lenin. He coined the term tyranny of majority. In CPM, we are conscious of inner-party democracy . We practice it more vibrantly In no other political . party is political resolution submitted two months in advance and everyone is free to give comments. I think the election results should not be reduced to analyzing the fundamental aspects of a communist organization. If that was so, we would not have lost narrowly in Kerala. In Bengal, we still got 41% votes, more than many parties in power in many states. Dont you think drawing solace like this is an act of self-deception? Yes, there is no point in fooling ourselves and seeking to draw solace from these figures. Its good these things are there but it does not change the reality Our vote share has fallen. We also cannot take . solace that we were in Bengal for seven terms. While this might be true, it is no solace. We have to work hard to regain the confidence of the people. It is not the question of Bengal alone. We had presence in Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka that we do not have any longer. In Bengal the biggest grouse of the common man, apart from poor administration, has been the oppressive party control of all aspects of local life from acquiring a ration card to land acquisition. Do you agree? Many of these factors are functional aspects of our leaders. That is not the way a party should function and this is not the way the party won confidence of the people. In Singur, it was neither the first time nor the last time that land was acquired. It came soon after the victory in the 2006 election. The election was fought on the slogan of rapid industrialization. It was presumed the people had endorsed this plank. Therefore, the homework that the party used to do sitting with villagers and hearing their problems was not done. In Rajarhat, 1000 acres of land was acquired after months of homework. Jyoti Basu himself used to visit villages. But in Singur, not doing our homework backfired. That gave the opposition its opportunity . Apart from discontent due to land acquisition, many have also pointed out that after land reform, small and middle farmers captured the party leadership that weakened the cause of landless farmers. Do you think this contributed to the anger of the peasants? This was the experience in Kerala. We call it the Palghat syndrome. In Bengal the problem was different. For less than 1000 acres, 12,000 cheques were collected in Singur which means 12 families were living production, there will be a market. But the market is not the most rational regulator that will protect the interests of the people. If you leave it to the caprices of the market, it would lead to an irrational situation. Just see how a slight mention of a relook into the Indo-Mauritius free trade agreement led to tanking of the market. At the Delhi party congress in 2005, we had said foreign capital is inevitable but it should be mutually beneficial, not a one-way loot. Coming to the Lefts future, many old comrades have demanded merger of the CPM and CPI. Is that a good idea? There is no doubt greater unity among Left parties its a good thing. But a merger will become an agenda only if the reasons that led to the separation of the two parties are resolved. But over the years, the differences between the two have narrowed down? Yes, over the years the differences have narrowed down on political-tactical lines. More importantly , in mass movements we have been together. But the important issue is, do we get bogged down by ideological issues or forge unity . The left is under threat internationally How do . you see the future? This is a challenging time for the left but I see a good future. Wherever the communist party has come to power, it has delivered. Look at Greece. There have been 11 strikes in eight months. Left and liberals are making good advance. Look at Portugal. You see the left reasserting itself. I am not talking of Latin America where the left is doing very well. On the other hand, what is capitalism doing? It is turning corporate insolvency into sovereign insolvency by bailing out the same corporates. The burden of solvency is a government debt that is to be borne by people whose rights are being curtailed. In this situation, the left has a very good opportunity . Has the time for the new left come? We keep hearing about the new left but it is yet to crystallize into any body of theory Unless you have . an alternative body of structure, this left would only remain fashionable. Without a political structure, it cannot become an alternative to traditional left.



off one acre. Land reform led to fragmentation. It became unviable to sustain them. Their future improvement was only through future employment generation through industrialization. While many undertook this, others did not. If proper homework had been done, this would not have happened. Apart from local mistakes in West Bengal, do you think the Left needs to rethink its ideological opposition to marketing its principles. At one point, the Left opposed bourgeoisie democracy and later had a rethink. It is a complete misnomer to say the market has no place in the economy As long as there is commodity .

Unsung hero of the India story

sion disappeared. Who was the industry minister who SWAMINATHAN S ANKLESARIA AIYAR initiated these revolutionary reforms? Narasimha Rao himTwenty years ago, self ! He held the industry portfoNarasimha Rao lio too. became Prime Yet he did not want draw attenMinister and inition to himself. So he ingeniously tiated economic made the delicensing announcereforms that ment on the morning of the day transformed InManmohan Singh was presentdia. The Congress party doesnt ing his first Budget. The media want to remember him: it is based clubbed the Budget and delicensentirely on loyalty to the Gandhi ing stories together as one comfamily and Rao was not a family , posite reform story In the public . member. But the nation should remind, Manmohan Singh was member Rao as the man who seen as the liberalizer, while Rao changed India, and the world too. stayed in the background. In June 1991, India was seen Singh initiated the gradual reglobally as a bottomless pit for forduction of import duties, income eign aid. It had exhausted an IMF tax and corporate tax. Foreign inloan taken six months earlier and vestment was gradually liberalso was desperate. Nobody imagized. Imports of technology were ined that, 20 years later, India freed. Yet the overall government would be called an emerging suapproach was anything but radiperpower, backed by the US to join cally reformist. When bank staff the UN Security Council, and threatened to go on strike, Rao aspoised to overtake China as the sured them that there would be worlds fastest growing economy . no bank privatization or staff reFor three decades after Indeforms. When farmers threatened pendence, India followed inward to take to the streets, Rao assured looking socialist policies aiming them there would be no opening at public sector dominance. The licence-permit raj mandated gov- up of Indian agriculture. The IMF and World Bank beernment clearance to produce, imlieved that when a country went port or innovate. If you were bust, that was the best time for productive enough to create somepainful reforms like labour rething new or produce more from forms. However, Rao took the veexisting machinery you faced im, ry opposite line. He focused on reprisonment for the dreadful crime forms that would produce the of exceeding licensed capacity . least mass losers (such as indusSocialism reached its zenith in trial delicensing) and yet prothe garibi hatao phase of Indira duced 7.5% growth in the Gandhi (1969-77), when several inmid-1990s. These gave reforms a dustries were nationalized and ingood name, and ensured their come tax went up to 97.75%. This continuance even when Opposiproduced neither fast growth nor tion parties later came to power. social justice. GDP growth reIn the 2000s, the cumulative efmained stuck at 3.5% per year, half fect of gradual reform finally the rate in Japan and the Asian timade India an 8.5% miracle gers. Indias social indicators growth economy Rao got no glo. were dismal, often worse than in ry for this. He had lost the 1996 Africa. Poverty did not fall at all election amidst charges of buydespite three decades of indeing the support of JMM legislapendence. tors. This led to his exit as ConIn the 1980s, creeping economic gress chief. Although he was liberalization plus a governmenteventually exonerated by the spending spree saw GDP growth courts, he died a political nobody . rise to 5.5%. But the spending How unjust! He deserves a spree was based on unsustainable high place in economic history foreign borrowing, and ended in for challenging the Bank-IMF aptears in 1991. proach on painful austerity and , When Rao assumed office, the focusing instead on a few key once-admired Soviet model was changes that produced fast collapsing. Meanwhile, Deng had transformed China through mar- growth with minimum pain. The World Bank itself later changed ket-oriented reforms. Rao opted its policy and started targeting for market reforms too. He was no binding constraints (like infree market ideologue like Ronald dustrial licensing) Reagan or Margaret Thatcher: he Manmohan Singh said repeatedtalked of the middle path. His ly that he could have achieved nothmodel was Willy Brandt of GeringwithoutRaosbacking.Today 20 , many . years after the start of Indias ecoHis master stroke was to apnomic miracle, let us toast Indias point Manmohan Singh as fimost underrated Prime Minister nance minister. Rao wanted a nonNarasimha Rao. political reformer at the centre of decision-making, who could be The Swaminomics column of backed or dumped as required. He June 5 said incorrectly that Prepresented Singh as the spearhead mier Auto had gone bust. In fact of reform while he himself advothe company survived the collapse cated a middle path. Yet, ultimateand shutdown of its auto producly it was his vision that Singh exe, tion. It now has a modest presence cuted. in engineering, and is trying to reIn his first month in office, the establish auto production. rupee was devalued. There followed the virtual abolition of inMy Times, My Voice: Like this dustrial licensing and MRTP article? SMS MTMVSA <space> clearance. At one stroke, the bigYes or No to 58888. Charges applicable. Rs 3 per sms gest hurdles to industrial expan-

Slut Walk: look at the intent, not the dress



Should women in Delhi do a Slut Walk just because women in Canada did so? Before one looks for an answer to that question, here are some startling facts: ever since the first Slut Walk in Toronto on April 3 this year, similar walks have taken place in cities like Chicago, Edinburgh, Sao Paulo, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London, Sydney Brasi, lia. Not just that: Slut Walks have been planned in the near future in disparate places -- Lisbon, Wellington, Auckland, Morelia, Seoul, Curitiba, Helsinki, Munich, Dublin Michael Sanguinetti didnt know what he was starting, did he? This Toronto police officer, while speaking about womens safety said that , if women didnt want to be victimized, they should avoid dressing like sluts. This set off an immediate furore and Sanguinetti apologized, but by then the matter had gone way beyond one cops comments. In fact, the perfervid reaction all across the world was because Sanguinettis words were like many mens around the world: if a woman is raped, its her own fault. Its she who has provoked a man into sexual violence because of the way she dressed or behaved. There is an obvious reversal of responsibility here. Initially conservative patriarchal societies insisted that their women be covered in order to protect them from the hostile or prurient male gaze. Somewhere along the way the pur, dah/hijab/ghungat remained but its justifica-

tion had changed: women now had to cover themselves not for their own protection but to protect men. Protect men from their libidinous nature. Protect men from themselves. Men, in effect, had conveniently surrendered their responsibility for their own behaviour; they could be expected to behave only if temptation was removed from their paths. Luckily this isnt so across cultures or socie, ties. Many tribal women, by tradition and poverty are bare breasted and generally under dressed. , Do their men use that as an excuse to pounce on them? At the other end of the social and economic scale, you have young men and women partying without any parental control. You dont hear of too many sexual assaults in these circles, and even in the rare case that this does happen, the accused doesnt blame the woman for being provocatively dressed. But you will hear mullahs and other so-called men of God lay the blame on women and you will hear men who take vows of celibacy which they find difficult to keep because, they say of the presence of loose women. , No wonder Slut Walks have caught on. The feminist movement, which has been in a quiet phase for a while, is now saying aggressively that enough is enough, women refuse to take the blame for the criminal behaviour of men. Its about time this happened in our country because sexual violence is far too common and news of one sex crime ghastlier than the other is a daily occurrence. Since men are either incapable, or unwilling, to do anything about it, it is women who will have to fight this battle, a battle that will be long and hard. But Slut Walks? Why should this new womens movement be led by marches under this la-


bel? The Toronto demonstration and the others that have followed in the west have said that a subsidiary objective of the walks is to reclaim the word slut and get rid of its pejorative connotation. It seems like a dangerous diversionary exercise, one taking away attention from the main objective. After all, there is something like sluttish or promiscuous behaviour, which is hardly commendable. The male equivalent womaniser is equally pejorative, and after recent high-profile cases like that of the IMFs disgraced chief, no one man or woman looks upon womanising with an indulgent eye. There is also something called provocative

behaviour, or to use a less loaded word, inappropriate behaviour. You dont dress in beach wear in the main market square; you dont don party wear to the workplace; casual and minimal clothing acceptable amongst your circle of friends may not be right for a locality where the dress code is conservative. These rules, which most of us accept, apply to both men and women. So when the Slut Walking women of Toronto or London or Sydney march in their bras, it can only be an attention-grabbing device like the bare bodies in PETA ads. It cannot be a serious statement of intent that a woman can dress in any manner she wants, even if it is completely inappropriate in the context. If men must take responsibility for their behaviour, so should women. Sluttish behaviour or for that matter, womanising behaviour will draw its own responses. A general criticism of the walk to be organized in Delhi is that this does not address the main concerns of the large majority of Indian women, the rural or the urban poor: female foeticide, child marriage, dowry deaths, khap panchayats etc. This criticism ignores the obvious, which is that most movements are led by the educated elite, and are therefore bound to reflect their preoccupations. This criticism is unwarranted for another reason: if the Slut Walks draw attention to the concerns of urban women, they will be the starting point to voice the concerns of all women. But why not change the label while keeping the content intact? Why not, for example, call them the Sanguinetti Walks?
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Time to put children first on growth agenda

KARIN HULSHOF The development of the 12th Plan affords a remarkable opportunity to place equity for Indias children firmly in the governments development agenda over the next five years. Equity can be understood to have three underlying principles: one, the principle of justice recognizing that those who are most disadvantaged are so because of injustices in the social or economic or political order; second, that these are remediable, and can be addressed through appropriate corrective interventions and third, that this requires the redistribution of resources and services, to address the most disadvantaged. I would like to add that equity must be inclusive and transformative any strategy to reduce disparities must also contribute towards a more tolerant, less hierarchical and divisive society, in the long term. A childs development is a sequence of events for which there are no second chances. Once missed, the window of opportunity closes forever. We must ensure that each and every child gets the best start in life so that they will survive and thrive

and meet their fullest potential as possible. Persistent disparities along the lines of caste, tribe, geography and gender perpetuate inequality. Poverty hits children hardest, because it causes life-long and irreparable damage to their minds and bodies. Indias growth patterns over the past five years show resilience to crisis, through prudent financial management, taking advantage of a huge domestic economy and the unleashing of enterprise and opportunity and the promise of continued high growth in the coming years. India must harness the potential of its demographic dividend. This time of unprecedented prosperity provides a very positive framework within which to talk about equity. Social gains must keep pace with economic ones. In 15 years, Indias children will still number approximately 400 million equal to the population of most large countries. Of these, about 100 million belong to the poorest families. If social progress does not keep pace with economic growth, Indias medium- to long-term prospects of growth with stability will not take root. India is meeting targets for access to improved drinking water and primary education. But in the areas of poverty reduction, nutrition, infant and child mortality, maternal mortality and sanitation, the country still falls short of national and global

targets. For example, an estimated 55 million, or 43% of Indias children under five years are underweight. This figure increases to 55% for children from scheduled tribe families and 57% for children from the poorest wealth quintile. Undernutrition happens very early in life. An estimated one-third of children are already undernourished at birth because of nutrition deprivation during pregnancy. Sub-optimal feeding, care and hygiene practices in the first two years of life compound the situation. Global experience indicates a set of evidence-based interventions from conception to age two, delivered at scale with emphasis on the poorest and most excluded can prevent and treat undernutrition. To meet these challenges in the 12th Plan, we must be clear what equity means in terms of policies and interventions. There is a need to move the discourse away from seeing equity only in terms of targeting resources at specific social groups. As we move forward, we need to take stock of the situation in India today. There are over 150 centrally-sponsored schemes that address different aspects of vulnerability and deprivation. Of these, 12 national flagship schemes absorb 93% of the funds. Indias policy makers must have the courage to reconfigure the public spend

to decongest the clogged pipes of public service delivery. Openness to regular monitoring and evaluation is the hallmark of a courageous planner and manager. Where this openness exists, equity issues can be identified and addressed in a timely and responsive way. Significant silence still surrounds reproductive health education, early marriage and early pregnancy. For example, maternity benefits are denied to mothers below the age of 18 despite the reality of early marriage and maternity. Forty-three per cent of women in India between the ages of 20-24 were married before the age of 18. Schemes must address this reality. By denying these young women and their children access to much needed services, we perpetuate the intergenerational cycle of poverty. This is meant to be the Asian century. With the advent of the 12th Plan, India is standing proudly at the forefront, not of history, but of the future. Now is the time to be daring to combine the existing technical knowledge with the political will to change the lives of hundreds of millions of children in India. There can be no greater investment than that of investing in children. The writer is the Unicef India representative My Times, My Voice: Like this article? SMS MTMVCOL<space>Yes or No to 58888. Charges applicable. Rs 3 per sms

New Sush in town does her item number

time in a movie, it is important to milk it for all its worth and instantly cash in on the craze. This is when the all-important overflow takes place. ReSHOBHAA DE Shes the newly member what happened with Munni crowned hottie in B- and Sheila (but not to Jalebi)? The Town. Err B as in mega success of any Bollywood filBJP not Bollywood. She lum depends on repeat value. It is , can sing, she can dance. when audiences flock to cinema halls She shakes her booty begging for more that the trade exults with the best of them. and distributors dance in the aisle. And she has countless admirers panting Success on such a scale has to be skillfor more. Those who were lucky enough fully leveraged by everybody who has to catch her live performance at the a stake in it from the producer-diashram sthal (Rajghat) have been ooh- rector downwards. That is how a cult ing and aahing over her deft moves on is created. Sushma Swaraj has got it. She is and off the dance floor. Kya jhatkas, kya matkas. Wah, Sush, wah! Like any top ready to flaunt it. Toh, problem kya heroine, she too has been attracting her hai, bhai? As it is, the BJP sounds share of detractors mainly jealous ri- like a finely shredded cabbage salad vals who cannot keep up with her seem- (minus raisins, at that). Propping up ingly inexhaustible stamina, especially a hirsute yoga master who runs during chartbusting item numbers away from his own big bash dressed that are considered so rocking, news- in drag, is hardly the best image hungry TV channels cant get enough of builder for a headless, formless and them. With each telecast of those amaz- confused organization. Bringing in ing thumkas, her popularity soars an ageing and portly Uma Bharati doesnt sound like a particularly inalong with her unique sex appeal. This surging wave of acceptance spired marketing plan. Sure, she has and approval is causing serious heart- her unabashedly RSS credentials to burn within her own production house her credit or discredit. But she the BJP No matter. As any leading Bol- seems like an anachronism a fad. lywood producer will tell you, Boss- ed star from another zamana altopaisa vasool. If something works big gether. Not happening. Uma is pass



SEPTEMBER 25, 1971

BJP TRUMP CARD? Sushma Swaraj dancing at Rajghat recently

BRIDGE TO NOWHERE: After a prolonged and violent agitation for a Telangana state, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi made a stopgap arrangement to placate both sides

and out of it. At 52, she is still fairly jawan in political terms. But after a sixyear vanvas, nobody really remembers or cares about this firebrands track record that she had taken on and vanquished many a foe (including Digvijay Singh) to become the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh in December 2003. Uma seems strangely out of sync with todays janata, whereas Sushma Swaraj appears a totally cool person a woman on top. Since the BJP seems to favour heavyweights (literally), a singing Nitin Gadkari has not found a

mass base so far and seems to have antagonized party bosses by shooting off his mouth and speaking out of turn once too often. That leaves dear Narendra Bhai, who is the Coy Superstar, patiently waiting in the wings for the teaser trailer to release and give audiences a jhalak of the new, improved Modi (Hello! He plays golf! Must be a good chap, then!). Despite strenuous attempts to give the guy a makeover, the chattering classes continue to be suspicious of Modi, who will never ever live down Godhra, no matter what he says or does. Arun Jaitley? Umm too cerebral and brash, too Dilli, too rich, too snooty Difficult for someone as elitist to . woo the unwashed masses. That leaves Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Sanjay Joshi. Manageable, but strictly no star quality Its a little like trying to sell a . multi-star blockbuster featuring alsorans. Mogambo definitely not khush! That leaves our Sush. But before her grand elevation and re-positioning, she needs to do two things urgently lose weight, and discard those peculiar jackets she throws over her sarees. Whats with those shapeless bundis? The rest of her carefullyconstructed persona works splendidly that broad strip of sindoor in the maang, the low nape bun, the coquet-

tish air, her oratorical skills and eloquence, the seductive body language sab kuch mast hai! Sushma ki jawani (in spirit, if not in age) could be the BJPs biggest trump card. That is, if mandarins put aside petty differences and ego tussles to focus on the partys survival and future growth. There isnt much time left. Baba Ramdevs flop show has not helped matters, either. Then again, if all that the Congress party can come up with is Rahul Gandhi, wheres the hitch? In any case, the UPA government is not about to create box office records with its recent poor showing in virtually every arena. Poor Manmohan Singh is looking so thakela, one feels like borrowing all of Amitabh Bachchans snazzy props from his forthcoming movie and handing them over to the Singh who is no longer King (or even the chief courtier). Perhaps clad in that hip gear, riding a motorcycle and hiding his sad eyes behind the coolest shades, our sweetheart of a prime minister will be able to join grandpa Bachchan to belt out a duet that goes: "Buddha hoga tera baap.
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If much of your life is online rather than offline, press enter for the onset of a new condition Internet Addiction Disorder. Its a problem the world is dealing with, though India is still in sleep mode
Divya A | TNN


Do you normally stay online longer than you had intended? G Do you prefer the excitement of the internet to spending time with your family? G Do you see life without the internet as dull and boring? G Do you snap, yell or get annoyed if someone bothers you while you are online? G Do you miss sleep due to latenight surfing? G Do you identify more with your online persona than your real self ?

ica (22.3 exabytes per month). In China, they already have specialist clinics for internet addicts; in the UAE, a team of researchers has asked educators and parents to ensure that youngsters develop healthy habits when using modern technological devices; and in the Philippines, authorities are now working on measures to address online gaming addiction among children. But India is still in sleep mode. Given the highly competitive environment, many students see the internet in general and online gaming in particular as a means of improving their mental skills. Chaitanya Banerji, a Class VIII student, spends more than five hours a day online. The teachers expect us to know everything about everything. Where else will I find all the information? So I keep looking up interesting topics and read about new things and learn new words. At the same time I can play games with my friends. Since I can play while I learn, studies dont seem boring.


YOU KNOW YOU ARE AN INTERNET JUNKIE IF YOU See something funny and scream LOL, LOL G Beg your friends to get a chat account so you can hang out together G Find out divorce papers had been served on you six months ago G Get up at 2am to go to the bathroom but turn the computer on instead

ven if half your answers are in the affirmative, theres a good chance that you are becoming an internet addict. According to an estimate, 5-10% of the online population worldwide is web dependent. They are hooked to online cyber sex, pornography, multi-user online games, e-shopping, social networking and surfing and they do so at the cost of all other activities. They dont know it, but they suffer from a new clinical condition called IAD Internet Addiction Disorder. ly wired environment or have too much time on their hands are particularly at risk. Conversations with a randomly selected group of schoolchildren, teenagers and professionals reveal that most of them are online for long hours, often at the cost of their sleep. But they dont see anything wrong with it. Mansi Mehra, 27, a senior marketing executive at a real estate firm in Delhi, says her sales job is stressful and she doesnt get time to go out and meet friends. I spend three-four hours every day on social networking to stay in touch with them. I also do a lot of shopping online. So in four hours online, I manage to do what I would do in 10 hours offline. Mehra admits she cant do without this routine. I get irritated on days my internet doesnt work. Unlike drugs or alcohol abuse, people addicted to the Net may not show any symptoms in the beginning. In many cases, their Net identity becomes their primary identity and the real world around them gets hazy In South Ko. rea, alarm bells began to ring when a 41-yearold man and his 25-year-old wife were arrested last year after they left their baby daughter to starve to death at home while they played an online game on child rearing in an internet cafe. Alarm bells are ringing in different parts of Asia, which is fast emerging as the new frontier of the internet revolution. According to Ciscos annual Visual Networking Index, the worldwide internet traffic will quadruple and reach 80.5 exabytes per month (80 exabytes would fill 20 billion DVDs) by 2015. That year, for the first time, Asia will generate more traffic (24.1 exabytes per month) than North Amer-


NEUROFEEDBACK: A technique to train the brain to regulate functions of body and mind. Sensors are placed on the scalp to measure activity, with measurements displayed using video or sound. Neurofeedback is widely available in India and is used to help children with autism and learning disabilities, adults with post-trauma and also at times for drug deaddiction TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION: A method of stimulating the brain using magnets, redirecting its magnetic field to reduce major depression and symptoms of illnesses such as Parkinsons Disease or Alzheimers Disease. Neuropsychiatrists at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore, India have begun using TMS for patients with depression as a substitute for antidepressants

The west is already grappling with it. Studies are being conducted to find out the extent of the problem and its effect on the brain. Last week, it was South Koreas turn. The country which has an internet pen, etration of 80%, opened its first rehab clinic for Net addicts. What about India? Some may argue that IAD is no threat here, given that internet usage stands at just above 7%. But estimates suggest that it may go up to 20% soon with the introduction of 3G services. Considering Indias population, 20% (240 million) means a number far bigger than South Koreas 80% (total population 48 million). Experts warn that India may already have a fair number of IAD victims although the problem is not even recognized as a psycholgical ailment here. Pune-based behaviourial psychologist Neema Khurana, who counsels students in several schools and colleges in the educational hub, says that the problem may not be widespread in our country, but theres enough reason for worry I have come across serious cas. es in which teenagers dont leave the house, dont have interpersonal relationships, and are always trying to isolate themselves from everything else to sit in front of their computer screens. I was shocked when I met a 19year-old who would only speak in the language of the characters he played with on an online

Alarm bells are ringing in different parts of Asia, which is fast emerging as the new frontier of the internet revolution. By 2015, the continent will generate more online traffic than North America. China and South Korea already have rehab clinics for internet addiction. In the Philippines, authorities are working on ways to deal with online gaming addiction among children
game, she says. The problem is mostly prevalent among teens and pre-teens but no institution in India has taken it seriously enough or tried to conduct any studies or estimates on internet addiction. Psychologists say people who live in a high-

Varun Agrawal, 18, who has just completed Class XII, admits to surfing the Net till 3am every night to find out about the right courses and colleges. Hes online for 10-12 hours a day, watching movies, chatting or simply reading about cars and bikes. Varun younger brother Karan, who sleeps by his side, complains that sometimes, Varun even dozes off in front of his PC... He doesnt get up to eat and bullies me to get his food to his desk and always makes excuses when the family wants to go out. Varun may be a classic example. The typical Net addict goes so deep into the cyberworld that he loses touch with real people and situations around him. The Second Life becomes their real life. Khurana says an addict doesnt realize this. When does an addict say he is an addict, she argues. In fact, IAD itself remains a controversial diagnosis, with experts differing on whether or not its a true addiction. Dr S K Khandelwal, senior professor of psychiatry at AIIMS, refuses to call it an ailment that needs prescription. From time to time, parents bring their schoolgoing children who spend unusually large amount of time online and we counsel them and suggest measures to gradually reduce their time online and do other activities. Its just conselling, I never give them any drugs. But he admits he knows some psychiatrists who prescribe anti-depressants to young adults for Net addiction. But if its a problem that requires counselling or medication, why isnt it being taken seriously in India? Khandelwal offeres an answer: Here we are so busy with patients suffering from serious mental ailments that we have no time and resources to deal with subsidiary psychological problems. The irony is that both neurofeedback and transcranial magnetic stimulationtreatments being used in clinics abroadare available in certain Indian hospitals. But no one has bothered to apply these processes for the treatment of Net addiction. This, despite the fact that theres scientific data which suggests that too much time on the internet leads to shrinking of the human brain. With internet penetration likely to increase manifold, India may see brain drain of a different kind in the near future.

Stand-up, stand out: Not that simple

Theyve got the punchlines. But being funny before a live Indian audience is more than an art for young comedians its a laughter challenge
Aparna Bansal | TNN he lights are dim, a young performer strums songs on his guitar and the college students and twenty-somethings assembled at a South Delhi restaurant wait expectantly as they swig their beers. A thin spectacled man in jeans with hair that falls to his shoulders soon takes the stage and narrates the story of a beautiful girl in a salwaar kameez. After a brief moment of silence he looks straight into the audience and in a deadpan voice says, Then I realized, it was Baba Ramdev. Laughter. The show has begun. Papa CJ, the OxI dont do period jokes ford graduate turned international stand-up cocoz then Id be funny median, is only one of the performers that night. Cheese Monkey Mafia, an initiative by stand-up coonly once a month median Raghav Mandava, holds open mic nights every fortnight for aspiring stand-up comedians to practice their skills. Its a new concept for Indian audiences, but it has a bright future because theres a At one point, CJ pokes fun huge market for it, says Mandava. On television, at a turbaned man at the back and most comedy shows deliver slapstick and straight-to- the banter between them continues intermittently . the-punchline humour, but these live stand-up perSoon, a certain pattern emerges in these performformances are in a different language and cater to a ances. There are jokes about Punjabis and Jats, maledifferent crowd, he adds. female drivers and Indian mens sexual prowess. The While CJ, a professional, uses the open mic stage comedians swear liberally and sway their pelvises sugas a testing ground for new material and carries pages gestively Often, there are echoes of . of new jokes with him on stage, jokes by international names amateur comedians consuch as Russel Peters and sider it a first step toChris Rock, but tailored My car is so old, wards bigger shows. for the Indian audience. it uses itself... as As each comediLouis CK is my idol, fossil fuel an takes his turn, Mandava says, because it is apparent of his ability to be so disthat while their gusting and so funny at the styles are difsame time. ferent, their But stand-up comedy abroad is more jokes have an anti-establishment and caters to a wider undoubtedly audience. In India, the audiences generalIndian conly consist of the elite and comedians need Abish Mathew text. Papa CJ to understand how to play to their sensiquips about bilities, CJ says. Kingfisher AirRecently at the India Habitat Centre, the lines and the 300-seat auditorium was filled beyond capaciMallyas, 22-yearty for Abish and Friends Hit the Big Time II, a old Sayak Basu stand-up comedy show featuring radio jockey Abish refers to the reality Mathew and others. Gaurav Arora, an audience show Roadies and Manmember, later said he liked that Mathew didnt just

dava elicits laughter as he discusses Katrina Kaif s Slice advertisement. They perform in English, seamlessly slipping into Hindi at times and interacting with the audience.

Neeti Palta

make dirty sex jokes and instead poked fun at himadvance to more intelself. But a lot of jokes he heard during the show were ligent and original similar to those he might hear on the American show, material, but Whose Line Is It Anyway. Its the same thing were not at that with a few new things added, he said. stage yet. So how can Indian comedians stand apart Does the from each other and their foreign counteraudience Rajneesh parts? Cartoonist and stand-up comedian Raneed to Kapoor jneesh Kapoor says he stays away from toilet evolve as humor, sexual jokes and individual bashing well? Standcompletely. It is extremely easy to get up comedilaughs from that, he says. Instead, ans still he finds humour in daily obsometimes Facebook doesn't servations and his perstruggle to sonal life. Sanjay Rahold the atlet us work. You think joura, a Delhi-based tention of a Albert Einstein could have made comedian, says sex silent or disany discoveries if every half an hour jokes are an Ameritracted audience. Madam Curie was uploading her can import and You never know swimming pool party pictures? should only be used if whats going to tickle good stories can be debones and whats going to veloped around them. Rajoura break them, says Mathew, who tries out his lines at often uses his Jat background to get laughs. several pubs before performing at a paid show. But some comedians may be reluctant to try new Often, what works in Delhi might not get laughs in subjects. Performer Neeti Palta believes political hu- Mumbai. CJ says the worlds largest democracy is also mour is a turnoff for Indian audiences. We often the largest hypocrisy; audiences here are very conscious have to use stereotypes, such as jokes of whos watching them laughing at about Bengalis and Punjabis, what. But he says contrary to because this is what audipopular perception, Indian A castrated humanities ences like. audiences can and do laugh student was the first to get CJ says this at themselves. admission into SRCC. brand of humour We are a little afraid Apparently he met the and the heavy of being made fun of as a use of swear culture, says Mumbaicriteria of 100% cutoff words and sexubased stand-up comedian Adial innuendo ti Mittal, but that has changed. is not a reflecShe says audiences, especially in the metro tion on the aucities, are becoming more open-minded. dience, but For now, these comedians are still tryPapa CJ rather the coing to find their niche on the Indian stage. medians who Abroad, they have it in their genes they feel they can follow in the footsteps of famous internaguarantee laughs tional comedians, Mathew says. Over here, this way As come. we have to make our own path. dians acquire more Gaurav De, a stand-up comedian at the open confidence, they can mic night, began performing last year after returning from graduate school in the US. We are still trying to find our voice, he says. We just got started.




They mocked me because I didnt know who Lionel Richie was

Biting yet sensitive. Hes a study in contrasts. Just like his books. Writer Aravind Adiga won the Man Booker Prize in 2008 with his novel White Tiger. In the first interview given globally over his new book Last Man in Tower, Adiga now tells Srijana Mitra Das about being a small-town boy, falling in love with Mumbai, capturing the people and philosophies rich India overlooks, writing being his fate, generating controversy and why he might just step away now
What does writing mean to you? I Writing is my karma. It is my fate and I have to bear it. Its a colourful fate though. You trained as an academic, worked as a journalist, became a fiction writer. Why the different lines? I My mother wanted to be an academic in Chennai. Shed been thwarted in this goal because of her marriage. She was eager that at least one of her two sons should become a professor. Until my mid20s, I expected to become a lecturer in English. I studied English literature in New York, Oxford, and was admitted to the PhD programme at Princeton University when I decided I had to try somea Landmark or Crossword bookstore in Mumbai or Bangalore as I spend a large part of my day browsing through books. Their reading tastes are the same as mine. Your writing focuses on figures usually on the margins of Indian life domestic servants, criminals, the poor. Do pretty drawing rooms, arranged marriages and the diaspora bore you? I No. In fact, this is the last novel set in contemporary Indian reality I plan to write. There is too much controversy and debate each time. My next novel is going to be about arranged marriages. First Im going to have my own, and then Im going to write about it. Some took objection to the poverty, grime and crime in your first book. Did the hostile reception to White Tiger in India surprise you? I If selling 2,50,000 copies of a novel in India constitutes a hostile reception to that novel, I can only hope that the reception to Last Man in Tower will be even more hostile. People in India didnt know me well in 2008. There was confusion as to who I was and where I lived. I should have made more of an effort to explain myself through the media. I am grateful for the support I received from readers here. Which Indian writers excite you? I Many regard Professor UR Ananthamurthy as Indias greatest living novelist. If anyone has not read his novel Samskara, I urge them to do so. Ramachandra Guha writes very fine prose. I read his articles and books both for style and content. You won the Booker Prize as a young writer with a first novel. Do expectations now worry you? I Whether I had won the Booker or not, I would be doing exactly what Im doing now: waking up each day at six am to start writing. The three things that count in my life would still be my mother, my work and my mortality Thinking . of my mother reminds me of what is important in my life. My work fills my day And my . mortality reminds me time is limited and I should not waste it. Your timing with Amitav Ghosh is fine-tuned; last time, with both your books nominated for the Booker, you won. With Last Man In Tower and River of Smoke out together now, can history repeat itself? I I have read Amitav Ghoshs works for many years now. He brings great joy to people in this country and I wish his new book every success. RK Narayans shadow is visible across the setting and characters of Last Man in Tower. How important is Narayan for you? I When I was young, there were very few Indians writing in English who were worldfamous. RK Narayan was the most important one. He was not from a big city like Delhi or Mumbai. He was one of us, a man from a small town, Mysore. He never forgot his roots despite his fame. His writing was lucid but profound. I think The Guide is still the great Indian novel in English. What should people expect from Last Man In Tower? I To be challenged and entertained. I hope theyll remember this is not a novel with any obvious message and theres no clear hero in it, except for the city of Mumbai, which I love more than any other in the world.

The novel usually evolves out of something Ive seen or read. Last Man in Tower began when I read an article in The Times of India in early 2007, describing a redevelopment offer by a builder, opposed by one old man in the building. I went to the building and spoke to the residents so it evolved out of real life. I was looking for an exciting plot that would let me tell a story about Mumbai LAST MAN IN TOWER
A solitary narrator walked us through The White Tiger. In your new work, we go up and down a tower of babble. How did this expansion occur in your writing? I I spend a lot of time out on the street, walking, observing things. These experiences are particularly rich in Mumbai. I love the city and wanted to capture my experiences in exploring her in a novel. Mumbai made me a successful writer, and I will always be grateful to her and her people. The real hero of Last Man in Tower is Mumbai. Your novels are tense with the conflict between old and new India. As a child of Nehrus India, are you suspicious of liberalisation and what all that moneys doing to us? I I wish I were a child of Nehrus India! But I was born in 1974. I was a child of the harsher socialist regime imposed by Mrs Gandhi. I am not and will never be an opponent of the great economic boom initiated by Dr Manmohan Singh and Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. In fact, I think it saved India from ruin and stagnation. I remember we had to bribe people in Mangalore in the old days just to get a confirmed ticket on Indian Airlines. In 1990, I stood first in Karnataka in the annual SSLC (year 10) exams. When I came to Bangalore to collect an award from the education


Aravind Adiga | Rs 699, 432 pages, Published by | Harper Collins, India, Releasing on | June 30, 2011
economic boom going on now. My role as a novelist is only to dramatize certain conflicts taking place because of the generation of so much new wealth. In Last Man in Tower, I urge people not to regard the developer simply as the villain, but to consider his positive attributes as well. Nor is Masterji, his opponent, a spokesman for me. He has his failings. You were quoted as saying that art should be about slapping the middle class in the face. How did this con-

thing else, see more of the world. Ive changed careers twice an academic to a journalist, then a novelist. Im glad to be out of journalism but I do envy academics their career of pure intellectual work. Im a very bookish person and enjoy spending time in libraries. I also enjoy teaching. I sometimes wish I had chosen a profession that allowed me to teach. But, for better or worse, a writer is what I am now. Location is central to your stories. The White Tiger grew out of Gurgaons dust and dazzle. Last Man in Tower is a Mumbai story of trains, towers and temptations. Must books originate in places youve lived in? I The novel usually evolves out of something Ive seen or read. Last Man in Tower began when I read an article in the Times of India in early 2007, describing a redevelopment offer by a builder, opposed by one old man in the building. I went to the building and spoke to some of the residents so it evolved out of real life. I was looking for an exciting plot that would let me tell a story about Mumbai

minister, I was humiliated by the rich boys there all of whom I had beaten because I had a thick accent when I spoke English and I did not know who Lionel Richie was. The divisions between small town and big city India have been broken down by liberalisation. Im grateful for thisI do think people have a right to question how fast liberalisation is going and whether its damaging some sections of society In the short term, India might . lag China if were more introspective about our growth but in the

If selling 2,50,000 copies of White Tiger in India constitutes a hostile reception to the novel, I can only hope the reception to Last Man in Tower will be even more hostile... This is the last novel set in contemporary Indian reality I plan to write. There is too much controversy each time. My next novel is going to be about arranged marriages. First Im going to have my own, and then Im going to write about it
long term, we will surely outrun them. Those who interpret my novels as opposing liberalisation are misreading them. Theyre marked by ambivalence, not opposition, to the changes Money itself is amoral. It can liberate people as easily as it can destroy them. As I said, Im not opposed to the great viction grow? Also, is this contradictory, considering much writing like yours is read by the middle class? I I have no desire to slap anyone in the face, believe me. The liberalism and tolerance of the Indian middle class give me strength to keep writing. Many of your readers must have bumped into me in

Exclusive Excerpt | A first glance at Booker Prize winner Aravind Adigas about-to-release book Last Man In Tower

Trains, Towers & Temptations...

asterji followed the men through glass doors on to a rectangular balustrade terrace, where the sea breeze blew into his hair. An agglomeration of skyscrapers, billboards, and glowing blocks spread before the old teachers wondering eyes. He had never seen Bombay like this. A cloud of electric light enveloped the buildings like incense. Noise: a high keening pitch that was not traffic and not people talking but something else, something Masterji could not identify A huge sign . LG stood behind the main bulk of towers; beyond it, he recognized the white glow from the Haji Ali shrine. To his left was dark ocean. Breach Candy, Masterji reached for it with his finger. This used to be the dividing line between Malabar Hill and Worli Island. During high tide the water came in through there. The British called it the Great Breach of Bombay I have seen it . in old maps. Masterji knows everything. About the sun and moon, the history of Bombay, so much useful information. Ajwani turned and whispered to Shanmugham, who leaned down towards the short broker and listened. His hands on the balustrade of the terrace, Masterji looked at the towers under construction in the dark. He thought of the shining knife on the desk. Each building seemed to be illuminated by its price in rupees per square foot, glowing like a halo around it. By its brightness he located the richest building in the vista. Why have you come before us? the towers asked. Each glowing thing in the vista before him seemed like the secret of someones heart: one of them out there represented his own. An honest man? He had fooled his Society, the Pintos, even himself, but here on the open terrace he was stripped of all his lies. He had come here, frightened by the boycott, not oblivious to the possibilities of money ready , to betray the Pintos. Ready to betray the memories of his dead wife and dead daughter that were in the walls and paint and nails of Vishram Society . Construction, Shanmugham said, coming close to Masterji. Do you know how many cranes there are below us right now? The work continues all night. Dozens of buildings are coming up around us. And when all the work is finished my God. This part of the city is going to be like New York. You must have been there, sir, to New York? He shook his head.

Illustration: Ajit Ninan

Nothing, he shook off Ajwanis hand. Nothing. Just stay calm, Masterji. And breathe deeply It will . Look down, a voice said. Look at me, Masterji turned to his left and saw the swirls in the ocean, the foam that was hitting the wall along the shore of Bombay The foam . thickened. The ocean rammed into the wall of Breach Candy like a bull. Look at me, Masterji. The bull came in again and rammed into the wall of the city and back he went to gather his strength. Look at me. The oceans were full of glucose. What are you saying, Masterji? Ajwani asked. He looked at Shanmugham with a grin. Shanmugham remembered the sign on the mansion that he saw every morning on his drive up Malabar Hill. This place is dilapidated, dangerous, and unfit for human beings to be around. The Municipality should hang the same sign on old men like this. He tried to touch Masterji, who took a step back and glared at him: Did you bring me here to coerce me?

You can now, Ajwani smiled. holiA day No. Masterji leaned forward. Oh, . no, I wont go. I wont go anywhere. I wont leave Vishram Society ever again. He saw Shanmugham turning to Ajwani, who rolled his eyes. Masterji the builders assistant came close. Masterji, May I talk to you, man to man? Masterji smelled something bad from the mans mouth... Theres a term we use in the business. A sweetener. Another thousand rupees per

His hands on the balustrade of the terrace, Masterji looked at the towers under construction in the dark. He thought of the shining knife on the desk. Each building seemed to be illuminated by its price in rupees per square foot, glowing like a halo around it. By its brightness he located the richest building in the vista

square foot? We dont reward teachers enough in this country He understood . now. It was the smell of his own cowardice, blown back at him from this creatures mouth. nd what was that redevelopment projA ect you were telling me about, Ajwani where the old couple refused to take the offer, and then one day Did they fall down the stairs? Or were they pushed, or old people should take care. Its a dangerous world. Terrorism. Mafia. Criminals in charge. Oh, yes. That old couple in Sion you were talking about, they were pushed. For sure. In the light of the towers Shanmughams thought seemed to crystallize into giant letters in front of Masterji: This is how I will flatter the old man, and very subtly bully him. I will show him the king, doms of the earth and give him a hint of the instruments of torture. So they had shown him all the kingdoms of Bombay and told him: Take your pick. And he knew now what he wanted. Nothing. Masterji could see black water crashing into the ocean wall that was meant to

keep it out, rolling back and crashing again. Once before, when Purnima had been threatened by her brothers, he had been weak. Not wanting trouble at his Society he had again been weak. , nd Masterji the Pintos want you A to agree. For their sake you must say yes. Dont you speak about the Pintos. Your friend Mr Pinto is not the man you think he is, Masterji. Until two weeks ago he used to drink Royal Stag whisky The oth. er morning, a used Blenders Pride quarter-bottle carton turns up in his rubbish. He has started paying fifteen rupees more for a bottle of whisky Why? Because he . loves money more than he loves his wifes blindness. So he is examining our rubbish, Masterji thought. But a mans rubbish is not the truth about him, is it? You dont know a thing about Mr Pin. Mr Pint Mr Pint Masterji felt the floor slipping beneath his feet: It is starting again. He heard his blood sugar chuckling. His left knee swelled up in pain; his eyes dimmed. Masterji, Ajwani reached for him. Masterji, what is the matter?

And what was that redevelopment project you were telling me about, Ajwani where the old couple refused to take the offer, and then one day Did they fall down the stairs? Or were they pushed, or old people should take care. Its a dangerous world. Terrorism. Mafia. Criminals in charge.
Said in English, the force of what word, coerce, weakened both Ajwani and Shanmugham. The aroma of batter-fried food blew on to the terrace. Giri was walking towards the men with a silver tray full of just-fried pakoras sitting on paper stained with fresh grease. Hot, hot, hot, hot. Please offer the pakoras to Mr Murthy from Vishram Society, Shamugham said. Hes a teacher. Hot, hot, hot, hot Giri brought the tray over to the distinguished visitor. The old mans left hand slapped at the tray; it slipped in and out of Giris hands, then crashed to the floor. Shanmugham and Ajwani moved their feet to dodge the rolling pakoras. Giri stared with an open mouth. When the three of them looked up, they realized they were alone on the terrace.

n the morning, at the dining table with the red-and-white cloth, the Pintos heard what had happened at Malabar Hill, while in the kitchen, Nina, their maid-servant, obscured by steam, took idlis out of the pressure cooker. So you just left?' They were threatening me,' Masterji said. Of course I left. Ten thousand appointments are missed in this city because of too much traffic, and you missed Mr Shah because of too little traffic. Fate, Masterji, Mr Pinto said, as the maid tipped three idlis on to his plate. The very definition. You sound bitter, Mr Pinto. Masterji leaned back and waited for his idlis. Three for him too. nd what do we do now? ShelA ley asked. As usual, she received only two idlis. We will wait till October 3. The deadline will expire and that Shah fellow will go away He said so, dont you remem. ber? nd until then the boycott will get A worse. Theres something bigger than us involved here, Mr Pinto. Yesterday , when I was at the builders terrace I saw something in the ocean. Things are changing too fast in this city Everyone . knows this, but no one wants to take responsibility To say: Slow down. Stop. . Lets think about what is happening. Do you understand me? But that was not it, either. There was something more in the foaming white waters: a sense of power. Breaking an implicit rule never to touch another mans body while they were eating he reached over and gripped his friends shoulder. Mr Pinto almost spat out his idli. After dinner the maid poured tea into small porcelain cups. This boycott, Mr Pinto said. It is already so difficult to bear. Shelley cries every nigh in bed. How can they do it to us, after all these years of living together? We must not think badly of our neighbours. Masterji sipped his tea. Purnima would not like it. Remember what she used to tell us about man being like a goat tied to a pole? There is a radius of freedom, but the circumstance of our actions is set. People should be judgedlightly Mr Pinto, who had never . been sure how well Purnimas image squared with Catholic teaching, grunted. Masterji was cheerful. Breaking a rule not to impose on the Pintos generosity he asked Nina for a second cup , of tea. Courtesy: Harper Collins India




Digvijay Singh and other Congress leaders have been pitching Rahul Gandhis name for the top job, but the young leader doesnt seem terribly keen to become prime minister at least for now
Illustration: Neelabh

Rajeev Deshpande & Subodh Ghildiyal | TNN

he birthday wishes sounded like a family jingle. Rahul Gandhi was now 41 and mature enough to be prime minister. Last Sunday, Digvijay Singh dropped a clear hint that the top job could now return to a Gandhi scion. Seen as a leader working closely with the young Gandhi on his pet Uttar Pradesh project, Digvijays comments made a case for restoring the legacy to its rightful heir apparent who has served out the ritual of apprenticeship. Some saw it as a dig at the incumbent prime minister; others felt it was just old-fashioned, Congress-style sycophancy . When Rahul Gandhi was being wished a prime ministerial birthday, the young leader himself was nowhere in sight. Wary of unsolicited wishes and shows of support, he was far away from the scene, perhaps unaware that a storm had broken out over a headline he has firmly discouraged for years. In more normal times, the Rahul-for-PM call would hardly be unexceptional. But the timing is more than a little awry . Two years into what should have been a resurgent second term, the Congress-led UPA is listless. Warding off corruption scams, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seems besieged. Ministerial rivalries appear uncontainable. Congresss electoral health in major states is critical and UPA IIs contract with the middle class is cracking. In these trying circumstances, it is not surprisingly that murmurs in Congress are growing louder as the crucial UP assembly elections approach next year and the bigger test of the 2014 national election looms ahead. Things cant go on like this is the refrain, as the party begins to subliminally search for a winner who will deliver the goods at the hustings. Embarrassed by the suggestion that the PMs job was up for grabs, the Congress leadership swiftly put out a no-vacancy sign. Digvijay Singh scrambled to explain to the prime ministers office that he did not mean what he said. Congress said the PM will complete his full term. It is something he will decide, party Rahul has been high command will decide, people of India will decide, said party busy preparing spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan. for the UP polls, With Rahul making not the smallest concession to the hosantouring remote nas heaped on him, the PM debate areas, sleeping in has died out for now. Digvijay has moved to other issues and wellDalit homes and placed sources assert that the Manohan-Sonia equation is workspeaking on ing fine. The party does make its development and point now and again, as it did over the Baba Ramdev episode, but the his experiences trust quotient is intact. with two Indias It is, however, clear that Manmohan Singh is not going to change his measured style and while he is quite unruffled by the kaun banega PM comments, he seems a little withdrawn. However, the Cabinet reshuffle he has promised after consultations with Sonia will give him an opportunity to send out a business-like message. But the larger question still begs an answer. Whether now or later, is Rahul ready for the job his party sees him destined for? Is the rank and file of the party ready to accept his leadership? You are never ready enough, but that is not the issue, a party insider points out. The death of Indira Gandhi left Rajiv Gandhi with no choice. But those who meet Rahul regularly as part of his organizational assignment of reviving youth wings NSUI and Youth Congress dismiss any possibility of a midway takeover. He has not evinced any interest in two years of UPA II. He is focused on what he is doing, says a Congress leader. What is he focusing on? Rahul has been preparing for the UP elections, touring remote areas, sleeping in Dalit homes, campaigning in state polls, meeting small groups of students in townhall-type meetings and speaking on his focus areas like rural development and his experiences with two Indias. There is a view within the party that Rahul is keen on assuming the mantle with a clean majority which is not hobbled by demanding allies. Congresss first family is also chary of being seen to have dumped Manmohan Singh although Delhis rumour mills are busy speculating who of the two finance minister Pranab Mukherjee or home minister P Chidambaram would be the preferred stop gap, if the need arises at all. Time and again Manmohan Singh has shown he is made of sterner stuff but the inability of the government to break out of a cycle of graft cases and administrative paralysis shows it is in trouble. The rosy political landscape of 2009 has changed beyond recognition, making any mid-course changes even more improbable. Congress is heading for a tough contest in 2014 when Rahul will be the partys poster boy It will face anti-in. cumbency problems in states like Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu where it did well earlier. It is already disadvantaged in Andhra Pradesh where its been hit hard by Y S Rajashekhar Reddys demise and his son Jaganmohans open rebellion. Bihar remains out of reach and even Kerala yielded a scratchy victory in the recent elections. The partys internal troubles will not leave Rahul untouched. His own destiny is inextricably tied with Congress. His nomi-

Raja who wants to be kingmaker

nees were routed in Tamil Nadu and Bihar although they did better in the Assam and West Bengal elections. While he keeps away from UPA IIs crisis management, his involvement with the Congress organization does not seem very deep either. Rahul aides are not looking for excuses though. A party functionary says Rahul never thinks of Rahuls readiness himself as an island but works on is sometimes new ideas to revive the grand old party. Its a vision which an in- questioned as he stant analysis of a particular elec- appears to duck tion result cannot capture. Irrespective of victory or defeat, new important issues. candidates are supplanting the But his close deadwood for good, says a Youth Congress leader. aides do not see Rahuls readiness for the PMs job is sometimes questioned as he this as an appears to duck important issues. attempt to evade But his supporters do not see this as an attempt to evade responsi- responsibility bility; rather, its a sensitive way of not limiting the governments options. He made his priorities clear at a recent Congress meeting where he said that it is better to concentrate on welfare schemes than spend time on catering to yoga guru Ramdev.

Insiders insist that Rahul is firmly on course as far as providing a modern vision to both party and government is concerned. It was his pitch for UID Aadhaar that melted reservations about the unique identity system. His vocal aye for the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal turned the tide in its favour. His stand on Bhatta-Parsaul though criticized for the rape and murder allegations may now push through the long-pending Land Acquisition Amendment bill. His lobbying for the tribals of Niyamgiri in Orissa was seen as a shrewd move. As the next national election draws closer, his decisions will be scrutinized more carefully. He still maintains a degree of aloofness; that may not be easy to sustain, particularly if the governments state of crisis does not cease. It will pose hard questions for mother Sonia Gandhi who has a deep sense of family commitment to the party she heads. The inner workings of the Gandhi family that also involve Priyanka Gandhi are never open to outside scrutiny But, given the partys troubles, . its future is bound to be discussed in Congress forums. In the meantime, Rahul can be expected to stick to the path he has chosen for himself. He will continue to attack the Mayawati regime in UP. Till just a few months ago, the Bahujan Samaj Party leader seemed invincible. She looks a bit shaky now. Congress desperately needs to do well in the state. It is critical for Rahul that he swings UP for Congress in 2012. If he does well there, the cries for his coronation may get louder. So when will Rahul be PM? At the moment, the best answer to that question is: When he is good and ready .

igvijay Singh did not always exude the confidence he does nowadays. In Madhya Pradesh, the Raja of Raghopurs universe was ruled by the likes of Arjun Singh, the Shukla brothers, Madhavrao Scindia and Kamal Nath. He had to be cautious around these stalwarts. Humility was a virtue Digvijay learnt quickly as he worked his way up in the 1980s and early 1990s. The big guns were hardly subtle in reminding others of their inferior status. They had qualms about making a senior organizational functionary wait for hours in a cramped party office room. But Digvijay bore it all patiently In 1993, he got the break . he was looking for. With Arjun Singhs support, he became chief minister of MP The move split Arjun Singhs camp . as some wanted to see Subash Yadav as CM. But it was the quiet fellow Thakur who made the cut. After a phase of tentativeness, Digvijay settled down as CM. Soon, the man with the feudal-sounding yet informal nickname of Diggy Raja became a popular figure. He seemed to genuinely believe in empowering the grassroots and was seen as a strong supporter of the weaker sections. As he grew in stature, he became his own man. When Arjun Singh rebelled against then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao, he stayed out of the firing line. A day before Arjun Singh resigned from the Rao cabinet on December 24, 1994, Diggy Raja called on him. The senior Thakur revealed none of his plans to his protege. Yet, Digvijay was smart enough to figure out that the tents and chairs set out for the next days press meet were not a good omen. By the end of his 10-year tenure as CM, Digvijays aura had somewhat dissipated. Madhya Pradeshs poor development record and his illadvised partnerships with special interest groups came back to haunt him in a BJP campaign that labelled him Mr Bantadhar. His more recent resurrection as an in-house dissident attacking home minister P Chidambarams anti-naxal Just as the noise policy questioning the Batla , over his remarks House police encounter with Indian Mujahideen kingpins, on Rahul Gandhi criticizing the engagement with yoga guru Ramdev and being ready for now repeatedly raising the the PMs post Rahul-for-PM slogan is not a random act. Diggy Raja is subsided, Diggy desperately chasing success Raja was back at in next years Uttar Pradesh election. His bid to garner mi- it again nority votes often leads him to mount attacks on the saffron brigade with an eye on the headlines. Some of his partymen even feel that he is becoming a victim of the media attention he commands. Most of his comments are dismissed as the views of an individual and not the party line. He himself denies, clarifies and reiterates his statements, often within days. Just as the noise over his June 19 statement on Rahul Gandhi being ready for prime ministership subsided, he was back at it on Friday Taking care to praise Manmo. han Singh, he said Rahul would make a good prime minister too. While not attracting rebuke from the party leadership, Digvijay remains at the periphery of Congresss power politics. His acts of candour and plainspeak are too well calculated to be passed off as merely an individuals agenda. There is more than a touch of creative politicking, as a functionary put it. Devoid of spin, Digvijays recent remarks are certainly tinged with disregard for the prime minister. This may be his way of chucking a stone into a pond and waiting to see what rises to the surface. His views might sound odd now but the shrewd veteran of darbar politics certainly knows what he is doing. His record as poll manager is a mixed bag; his success in the Assam assembly poll is certainly a feather in his cap. But earlier efforts in states like Bihar and Andhra Pradesh have been less impressive. Bihar was a disaster, while the victory in Andhra was mainly due to the charisma of the late Y S Rajasekhar Reddy. His home state of Madhya Pradesh remains a challenge despite Diggy Rajas avowed antipathy towards BJP and his non-stop attacks on the saffron brigade. RD



Congress workers across the country have great expectations from the Gandhi scion


28 years Full-time politician Member, National Students Union of India

34 years Advocate Former president, Mandya district Youth Congress

30 years MBA student Youth Congress leader


84 years Farmer Party worker

52 years Full-time politician General secretary, Mumbai Congress committee

We are waiting for the day

This is Rahul Gandhis second stint as Member of Parliament and by now he has learned the ropes. Having travelled extensively across the country, Rahul now understands the core social and political issues. He has already contributed in a big way to welfare schemes like NREGS. Also, his campaign for the farmers of Bundelkhand and BhattaParsaul shows that he is picking the right issues and highlighting them properly. Rahul has now become a youth icon and the younger generation has a lot of faith in his plans, sincerity and commitment. As far as a bigger role for Rahul is concerned, the Congressmen in UP have been waiting for years to see him as prime minister. Though its entirely up to him to decide when he takes the plunge, I have a feeling it will happen very soon.

He should get to know India

There is clarity in the Congress party that Rahul Gandhi fits the bill for the prime ministers post. He has age on his side. He is charismatic. The party should project him as the prime ministerial candidate during the next Lok Sabha elections. He has demonstrated his leadership qualities in the ongoing elections for the partys youth organisations. I would advise Rahul to get to know the whole of India. He should spend time in southern states just as he is doing in Uttar Pradesh. In a party like Congress there will always be many contenders for the top post. Some people are sceptical about his maturity. The same things were said when Rajiv Gandhi took over as PM, but his new approach to issues made people accept him. It is now or never for Rahul.

Prime minister in 2014

Rahul Gandhi has the credibility to be entrusted with the top job in the country. He is young, energetic, daring and broad-minded. And he talks straight. The country requires leaders like him who can tackle problems of terrorism and corruption. He always looks at the issues from the perspective of common man. Ever since his election as AICC general secretary, the youth of the country has been seeing him as a visionary leader who could one day assume the role of PM and take our country to the next level. Over the past few years, Rahul has gained enough experience to address national issues. He could become prime minister after the next Lok Sabha elections in 2014. As prime minister I am sure he will work hard for the nation.

A welcome change
Rahul Gandhi is the only hope for the Congress party and the nation. Corruption has increased manifold in the country but Congress workers and ordinary people know that Rahul Gandhi is above board and can lead the country effectively. The nation will progress under Rahul Gandhi as prime minister as he is the only leader right now who has the courage and determination to steer the nation and the party in the right direction. Only under his leadership, we can overcome all problems. Right now, the nation needs a young, energetic and visionary prime minister who can act on his own and with complete conviction. Since he is youthful and energetic, Rahul will be a welcome change. Thats what our nation requires in this hour of crisis.

The right choice

The best thing about Rahul Gandhi is that he doesnt throw his weight around. He is refreshingly different from the typical Indian neta. He is young, but not brash or brazen. He is accessible and keeps his ear to the ground. Rahul Gandhi has seen the ups and downs of politics. The tragedies he witnessed in the family at a young age have steeled his nerves. Rahul Gandhi has the charisma and commitment to lead the Congress in the 2014 elections. For the next two years he will, I am sure, tour the country, interact with Congress workers and people of India, and gather more experience. Age is on his side. He symbolises the aspirations of the post-2000 India. Thats why he is the right choice for PM. I am sure the party will take the decision in this matter at the right time.





I am sandwiched between economists on one side and populists on the other.

S JAIPAL REDDY, Union petroleum minister

An Old Battle Fought Again

Slutwalks have raised crucial questions about societal perceptions of women
Ratna Kapur

Go All The Way

Let market determine fuel prices, not politics

he hike in diesel, LPG and kerosene prices will narrow the gap between diesel and petrol prices, but also act as a spur to inflation. The former effect is welcome, the latter hardly so. The gap that had been widening between petrol and other fuels reflected bad policy both from socio-economic and environmental points of view. It promoted dieselisation of the economy , pollution and criminal diversion of subsidised fuel for smuggling or adulteration. But even if the closer alignment of prices is a move in the right direction, the juggling between heavy taxation imposed on fuels and subsidies to oil PSUs continually struggling with under-recoveries is irrational as is the governments reluctance to deregulate fuel prices. If consumers know the market determines fuel bills, the political backlash will be less. If price hikes pinch them on occasion, they also benefit when prices fall. This is an impersonal process. Nor would we see anomalies like static prices when global crude prices soar or costs northbound when the latter dips. When government fixes prices, oil PSUs lose out on investible resources even as private players are shooed away from retail. The result is stifled investment and competition in the sector, with its adverse fallout on prices. Besides, inflation-hit consumers need a cushion. The government seeks to provide it by reducing taxes. It has withdrawn a 5% customs duty on crude, trimmed import levy on diesel and petrol and reduced excise on diesel. This too is another move in the right direction. But to provide genuine relief, taxes must keep being lowered while we shift from ad valorem tax slapped as a value-based percentage on products to fixed duties unaffected by price changes. Its feared the dent in excise and customs duty collections will hit fiscal health. But surely reform can help generate resources, be it as funds saved by trimming unnecessary expenditure or proceeds of disinvestment accelerated under favourable market conditions. The point is, fluctuations in pump prices of fuel should reflect market dynamics, not political caprice. And central as well as state governments should be less dependent on taxing fuels as a primary source of revenue. If petroleum minister Jaipal Reddy says hes sandwiched between economists and populists, he probably hasnt figured out why Populists will use inflation . as a handle to bash it. And economists will rue the half-measure, not least because inflation control mandates a wider gamut of policy measures including fiscal consolidation through cutting wasteful subsidies. Half-measures are really what periodic price tweaks amount to. It also means impeding our transformation into a truly energy-efficient economy .

n a recent lecture to students at Osgoode Hall law school in Toronto on campus safety and self-protection, a police officer remarked that in order for women to avoid being victimised, they should avoid dressing like sluts. And in this moment, slutwalk was born. It took little time for students to demonstrate their outrage that their right to wear what they wanted should be the basis of sexual profiling. They marched. They protested on the streets. And they wore what they wanted to. Slutwalk went viral on the internet and global on the streets of major metropolitan cities. Slutwalk represents the coming of age of feminism. It marks a moment when the politics of radical feminism with its emphasis on male sexual violence and female victimisation has found its way into the language of autonomy sexual integrity , and pleasure. It explodes the idea that a womans dress is exclusively a statement about her culture and her exposed body is an invitation. If violence is produced as a result of what women wear, the fact that women in burqas, jeans, saris, salwar-kameez and spaghetti straps have all been victims of sexual violence, provokes the question: what would an antirape fashion brand look like? Lets be clear. Women are targets of sexual violence

not because they are skimpily clad. The very fact that vast numbers of young women are participating in slutwalks around the world indicates that they are deeply disturbed by the notion that dress can serve as a justification for rape. This is a global issue, not just a western quirk. But it provokes a range of uncomfortable questions. Is slutwalk feminist? It seems irrelevant if those participating in the march dont perceive themselves as feminists. What is relevant is the sense of exhaustion and frustration experienced by women in Delhi and else-

Reclaiming a word that has been turned into a weapon by men

Any sexual assault that violates ones autonomy and privacy and denies the right to bodily integrity is simply wrong and not negotiable
where from being ogled, pawed, grabbed at and groped from the moment they step into the public space. Whether they are buying vegetables, having a coffee, or simply walking in the park, their expression of autonomy is sexualised and their sexualisation becomes an invitation. Is slutwalk a middle-class indulgence, irrelevant to poor women? Perhaps. But if it makes the point that sexuality is not a negative, contami-

nating, disgusting and repulsive force, to be suppressed, subjugated, or violently erased, then it transcends being nothing more than an elite indulgence. Is the slutwalk a fundamentally individualist claim to demand that a woman has the right to wear whatever she wants? Maybe. But it still does not negate the argument that sexual expression through dress or speech is not an invitation to violence. The most controversial aspect of this event is whether slut is a term that can gain positive political traction. The fact that a cop could use the word in such a derogatory way opened up the right for women to appropriate the term and hurl it right back at such people in a way that asserts womens sexual autonomy It may be .

that slut is being used by some women simply to state that they are not sluts because of what they wear, without challenging the idea that there are women who are sluts despite what they wear. Regardless of whether the term is being embraced or not, its use has provoked a critical discussion on the deeply troubling view that a slut is asking to be raped. Neither cultural assertions about the chastity of the real Indian woman nor feminist quibbling over whether the term can ever be reclaimed, should deflect attention from the real question at stake: why society as a whole not womens dress sense has failed abysmally in addressing sexual violence. Today while the govern, ment and even womens groups haggle over whether

rape in marriage should be criminalised, slutwalk amplifies how dress does not lie at the core of why women are raped. The current discussions on where the line should be drawn on rape in law boils down to nothing more than a discussion on which women are fair game, can be raped, or are rapeable. Wives and sex workers both fall on the can be raped side of the equation; a position sanctioned by the state, a fossilised notion of Indian cultural values, as well as the conservative sexual morality on both sides of the political divide. The answer should be clear and simple no woman should be raped; no woman is rapeable; and no womans rape should be justified on the basis of spurious claims of dress, cultural morality , sexual orientation, or marital status. Any sexual assault that violates ones autonomy and privacy and denies the right to bodily integrity is simply wrong and not negotiable. As one marcher from a major city where slutwalk was held stated, Our culture needs to change teach people not to rape, not how not to be raped. Slutwalk puts womens sexuality out there in public not as something that is shameful, embarrassing or disgusting. But as something that a healthy society should embrace, respect and defend.
The writer is an author .

No Interval
India gets first release of major Hollywood movies
n a radical shift from earlier years when Indian fans of western movies had to wait for months, if not years, for the latest Hollywood film to play at the local movie theatre they will now get to watch some Hollywood releases earlier than US audiences. The upcoming Tintin movie directed by Steven Spielberg The Adventures of the Unicorn is slated to be released in India in November and in America during December. Similarly the new , James Bond thriller and the action flick, Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol starring Bollywoods Anil Kapoor alongside Tom Cruise may also be released earlier in India than elsewhere. The move factors in both a major plus and minus of the Indian cinema scene. Its a nod to the size and power of the Indian film-viewing public, passionately in love with cinema, fond of flash and spectacle, youthful and growing. Early releases celebrate a variegated audience, open to both a Salman Khan shirt-tossing laugh as well as more demanding films like Inception. Keen readers and trivia-lovers, Indian viewers are often fine-tuned into originally literary characters like Tintin and Bond. These early releases celebrate both the multiplex and bookshops, where Ian Fleming and Herges colourful creations have sold like hot samosas for decades. Alongside, the moves a shrug towards video piracy notoriously harmful to local cinema , industries and Hollywood. With early releases in India, audiences flocking to cinemas for that authentic big-picture experience, video pirates could be denied large supplies of illegal DVDs floating across local markets, their scope limited further by tough anti-piracy laws overseas. This could be the beginning to many happy ends.

In most hospitals, theres no separate department for podiatry

The Special Olympics currently underway in Athens might bring to the worlds attention a branch of medicine few know about: podiatry or the study of diseases of the foot and ankle. Dr Govind Singh Bisht, consultant podiatrist at Max Hospitals, is an expert and clinical director of Fit Feet at the Special Olympics. He spoke to Shobha John: I Why is foot care so important for special children? They are often neglected, not just by society, but by their families too. They have many requirements, be it the eyes, ears, feet, teeth or diet. While the Special Olympics was started in 1968, screenings for these children began in 1993. Foot screenings began only in 2003. These children have many foot-related problems stiffness, flattening or collapse of the foot arch, fungus infection of the nails, etc. I Why is podiatry so important for diabetic patients? Most diabetics have footrelated problems. In fact, its one of the commonest causes of hospital admission for them. India has some 50.8 million diabetics, out of which 40,000 amputations take place annually But it . neednt be so 50% of them can be avoided with good foot care. Diabetes affects the nerves of the foot, reducing blood supply . This can lead to loss of sensation and greater risk of injury Even a . small injury can lead to a nonhealing ulcer, gangrene and then, amputation. This can become a major financial and psychological burden. Unfortunately , there is a lot of ignorance even among medical practitioners regarding diabetic foot care. For most diabetologists, this is not their area of specialisation and ulcer that takes a long time to heal and is messy . I What advice would you give to diabetics about foot care? Selecting the right footwear can make all the difference to a diabetic non-healing ulcer, so make sure you are wearing the right type of shoe. Sometimes, slippers just dont work if theres an ulcer on the foot. Shoe bites can also cause ulcers. So buy shoes with extra width and depth, good cushioning and shock absorption. This can help in grip and balance. Also, buy footwear in the latter half of the day as thats when swelling in the feet is more likely . I How often should a diabetic see a podiatrist? If there are ulcers, it could be on a daily or weekly basis. I What are the common causes of ulcers among diabetics?


most dont even see the foot of the patient. In a survey based on a camp conducted by the Delhi Diabetes Centre, 1,500 respondents were asked how many times their doctor had examined their feet in the last one year. Shockingly 59% said not even , once, 23% said sometimes and only 18% said during every visit. Most doctors dont have the patience to take care of an

Corns, calluses, wrong footwear, injury from heating pads, skin infections, dry and cracked skin. I Is podiatry a branch of medicine in medical colleges? Sadly it isnt. Most podia, trists finish MBBS and then do a fellowship in podiatry abroad. I did it from Boston, for example. A comprehensive diabetic programme should be introduced in medical colleges. Whats worse is that in most hospitals in India, there is no separate department for podiatry So, diabetics are . often left floundering, going to orthopaedics or skin doctors in their attempt to heal their ulcers. Sometimes, it can take years for ulcers to heal. However, good skin dressings in the market help in healing them and protect the wound against bacterial and other contamination.

A yawning divide
What late risers can learn from early birds
Vivek Atray




Law and behold

With reference to the editorial Laws An Ass (June 24), the Congress has a tradition of coming out with social schemes. Most of these programmes have only drained the nations coffers and done little to remove poverty. Now the party wishes to up the welfare ante by enacting ill-conceived legislation like the National Food Security Bill. The government does not talk about reforms to remove supply side bottlenecks or about improving infrastructure. Foodgrain rots in ill-equipped godowns while prices spiral out of control. In many cases, foodgrain doesnt reach the poor, inviting the Supreme Courts wrath. It is evident the government will do nothing to rectify this situation as that would involve ruffling feathers. In the absence of any meaningful intervention from its side, the government is resorting to doing what it does best: passing a Bill.
Siddhartha Deb, VIA EMAIL

ome people can just never wake up early They munch their breakfast . on the way to work. They have excuses ready when they reach office late. They miss trains on a regular basis. They have never seen a sunrise or met the milkman. Until a loved one turned over a new leaf recently she was one such late , riser. Try as she might, she couldnt help pressing the snooze button a hundred times before she finally got up. She felt terrible about this tendency but there was nothing she could do about it. Come morning, she would just not be able to shrug off the desire to sleep a while more. Only when divine intervention answered her prayers recently was she able to join the early birds club. Another relative has no plans of joining this league though. She is rather unabashed about waking up past noon on a daily basis. To be fair, her husband is a media personality who typically arrives home from work past midnight. That does indeed give them sufficient justification to stay longer in slumber-land each morning. This practice does lead to certain oddities though. He goes for his morning walk at 1 pm, heatwaves and appalled onlookers notwithstanding. They once returned from a night out only to meet the neighbours son who was off on an early morning jog! Early risers clearly have the edge in life. By the time most of us wake up, theyve been through their morning rituals, enjoyed their walk, had their tea and read the daily news. Theyre also likely to have made long distance calls before dawn to those similarly inclined. Thus, by the time the sun warms up theyre likely to have discussed all varieties of men, matters, and affairs with a dozen people. The upshot of these varying tendencies is that such extreme contrasts often exist in the same household. Weeks pass before the younger lot (typically late risers) and the older lot (normally early birds) come face to face. Its almost as if they live in different time zones and different countries. All over the country things are likely to be pretty much the same in this , respect, one would think. If the man of the house, any house, decides to take a day off from work, hed probably find his son emerging from his room at about 10 am and that too in a rubbing-eyes mode. After fooling around for a while the lad would probably dash off to college in a rush whilst simultaneously zipping up his jeans and sending text messages on his phone. His father would undoubtedly be left shaking his head and burying himself deeper into his newspaper. Some lucky families have come to a perfect understanding though. My sister, a teacher, and her husband, a doctor, wake up at 4 am each day in order to be done with their daily chores and to spend quality time together before their frantic schedules begin. She cooks all the meals for the day before the sun rises and is done with all her household work by 6 am! Word has evidently gotten around about their ways. It is learnt that the garbage man turns up at their house every day at five in the morning. And when the good doctor had to undergo a small surgery himself, his operation was actually listed for 5.30 am, an unheard of hour for such an intricate activity One only hopes that the operating team had gone to bed . nice and early the previous night! One things for sure. Five oclock in the evening is probably the only time of day when one can hope to invite such contrasting creatures together for a celebration. At any other hour, one type or the other would probably be found yawning away to glory!

Graceful Living

Experiencing Enlightenment
inner joy as part and parcel of our life, and we feel its source, we can then have faith . re not national boundaries, eco- in God, the possessor of infinite joy Try , nomic disparity and religious dog- to feel your own inner joy and faith will . ma dividing us into different camps, come to you spontaneously In regard to your outer frustrations, do not try to unite them creating unspiritual environments? . National boundaries and so forth are with your inner joy Separate your inner impairing the growth of our evolving human joy from the outer happenings. Only then consciousness. But it is the clarification of will you be able to strengthen your faith the individuals mind and spirit that must in God. precede the awakening of our social institu- Are spiritual experiences absolutely tions such as places of worship and govern- necessary to realise God? No. There can be many roads leading to the ments. It is the spiritual and mental elite who can infuse others with their illumining light. same goal. One road may have many beautiful As we know, the policies of institutions and flowers on either side; another road may have nations are usually embodiments of the only a few blossoms; a third road may have none at all. If three seekers each general consciousness. These polifollow a different road according to cies can be influenced considerably their souls needs and preferences, each by enlightened individuals. of them will reach the ultimate goal. How may we strengthen our faith Of course, experiences do give you in God? additional confidence. They encourPlease try to feel from now on age you and energise you to march that there is somebody around farther. They also give enormous you who does not want anything THE delight. And while you are having from you except joy There is . somebody who wants you always I SPEAKING I the experiences you may feel the presence of an invisible guide to swim in the sea of joy and TREE within your being pushing you delight. If you can remain in joy i dont mean the outer joy of going here and towards the light of truth so that you may be there, mixing with people, buying material blessed with full realisation. But you can also have full and complete things but if you can have real joy and inner fulfilment, and then you will auto- realisation without so-called experiences. Your expanding consciousness, as you grow matically have faith in God. When we are worried, or are afraid of into God, is itself a solid experience. something, we immediately try to create a Does the law of karma apply to everybody? The law of karma applies to everyone, but kind of self-imposed faith in God. This is not true faith. When we are in danger, we one can transcend it through meditation. say God, save me. This is an escape. This The law of karma exists and yet can be , kind of faith does not last. Everything is transcended by realisation, oneness with . inside a person, both joy and fulfilments. God and the power of spirituality But who is the possessor of this inner fulfilwww.speakingtree.in ment? It is God. We are just his devoted Join the worlds first spiritual networking instruments. When we feel spontaneous site to interact directly with masters and seekers.
Interaction: Sri Chinmoy

A person who is master in the art of living makes little distinction between their work and their play , their labour and their leisure, their mind and their body their education and , their recreation, their love and their religion. Mahayana Buddhist poet You must not let your life run in the ordinary way; do something that nobody else has done, something that will dazzle the world. Paramahansa Yogananda Living is not this tawdry, mediocre, disciplined thing which we call our existence. It is abundantly rich, timelessly changing, and as long as we dont understand that eternal movement, our lives are bound to have very little meaning. J Krishnamurti O, they have realised the richness of life, whose egoism has like the ripened fruit dropped; who have found the Eternal Brahmn at home without any effort; it is they who enjoy life, they who are in love with life. B B Borkar


The editorial rightly says the prime duty of any government is to ensure effective governance. In our country, elaborate constitutional provisions exist to ensure this for citizens within a democratic framework. But, barring some exceptions, in practice anything to do with government has come to mean dubious or substandard quality. Be it in the field of education, health, food, law and order, safety of women, or the fight against corruption or terrorism, there remains plenty of room for improvement both at the Centre and in the states. If we want to keep pace with other developing countries in the 21st century, a strong focus on good governance is required rather than enactment of more laws.
Govind Singh Khimta, VIA EMAIL

Suu Kyis struggle

With reference to the Times View/Counterview (June 23), i support the view that Aung San Suu Kyi should continue with her non-violent struggle against Myanmars military junta. Its shocking to know that the Nobel laureate could be contemplating giving up non-violent methods in pursuit of democracy. Such a path would be fraught with risk. Suu Kyis struggle so far has successfully brought international attention on her nations plight. More, her release from jail and the junta agreeing to conduct elections show she may have already won half the battle. In order to win the other half, she must sustain the momentum in a non-violent movement.
Ujjwal Akshith Mondreti, VIA EMAIL
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com





When law and order fail they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.
MARTIN LUTHER KING Jr, American civil rights leader

Cut Off From College

The challenge in higher education is to increase opportunities without diluting standards
Deepak Nayyar

Clean House
Mayawati must get tough with criminal elements in UP
hile opposition political parties in Uttar Pradesh may be guilty of opportunism, it does not absolve the Mayawati government of the lawlessness that has gripped the state. Even as a spate of rape cases made headlines, the death of deputy chief medical officer Y S Sachan within the premises of Lucknow jail points to the hold of criminal elements over the states institutions. Sachan had been arrested in connection with the embezzlement of National Rural Health Mission funds and was even accused of orchestrating the murders of two previous chief medical officers. That he was found dead a day before he was supposed to depose in court is highly suspicious. Murder seems to be the logical conclusion. Several medical experts concur with this assessment even though the UP government insisted it was suicide. Though law and order had improved initially under BSP rule, the Sachan case bears testimony to a culture of crime now flourishing in the state. That Sachan was accused of embezzling government funds and plotting the murders of his superior officers would point to criminalisation of the state administration. His death in jail suggests people in positions of power want a cover-up. While a criminal-politician nexus appears strong, the case is another blot on the UP police. It appears that the latter has been infected by the virus of corruption and is subservient to its political masters. This allows people with connections to make a mockery of the law. It will be recalled that in the LakhimpurKheri case where a 14-year-old girl was found dead within the premises of a police station the needle of suspicion again pointed to the local police. Instead of upholding the law and protecting the innocent, the police themselves appear to be doing the dirty work for criminals and politicians. This was once again evident when the police in Lucknow tried to intimidate the state bureau chief of a national news channel when the latter ran a report alleging that Sachan was murdered. Clearly, the Mayawati dispensation has little patience with the freedom of the press. Instead of blaming the media and opposition political parties, Mayawati should take this opportunity to clean house. Those within the government suspected of criminal links need to be proceeded against. Police personnel guilty of subverting the law must be awarded exemplary punishment. It is only by breaking the back of the criminal-politician nexus that the state government can regain the goodwill it earned in the past in terms of improving UPs law and order situation. But this will require Mayawati to live up to her reputation as a no-nonsense chief minister.

ate June and early July are a season of anxiety in urban India. Large numbers of students who have completed their Class XII examinations, and their parents, are on tenterhooks. The only exceptions are the few who have already obtained admission into professional courses in engineering, medicine or law through entrance exams that are an almost Darwinian selection process. An overwhelming proportion of school leavers, however, seek admission to undergraduate courses in social sciences, humanities, sciences and commerce. But undergraduate colleges are mostly poor in provincial cities and simply do not have enough places in metropolitan cities. Declining academic standards, everywhere, accentuate the problem, as talented students migrate intensifying competition for places in good institutions. At the University of Delhi, for example, those with 90% marks, or even 95%, cannot be sure about getting admission to a college and subject of their choice, while those with 70% marks can be sure that it is almost impossible for them to get admission. Surprise turns into shock and anguish turns into despair. For those excluded, no consolation can suffice. Yet, it is important to understand why this is happening. It would seem that marks awarded to students in Class XII seem to increase year after year. This is simply grade inflation. For a long time, the school examination system was perceived to

be subjective and error prone. In order to address this problem, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) tried to make the examination system as objective as possible to neutralise error or bias recognising the reality that the quality, or conscientiousness, of teachers who graded scripts is so uneven. In this endeavour, CBSE did succeed. But the objective nature of questions and answers led to grade inflation. With the passage of time, students helped by their schools and private tutors mastered the art of writing CBSE examinations. Grade inflation gathered further momentum. Excellence in performance went from 75% to

Students at DU North Campus: On the outside, looking in

As marks obtained in Class XII exams, whether CBSE or state boards, have climbed, so have cut-offs. It is wrong to blame universities or their undergraduate colleges for this situation
80% through 85% to 90% and beyond to 95% plus. It is not that students got so much better or brighter. Their grades rose steadily, not only at the top but also across the board, even though the quality of the top 1% or 5% of the students has not changed. It is no surprise that cut-off points for admission to undergraduate courses rose at the same pace as grade inflation. This was a consequence rather than a cause. As marks obtained in Class XII

exams, whether CBSE or state boards, have climbed over time, so have cut-offs. And it is wrong to blame universities or their undergraduate colleges, in Delhi or elsewhere in India, for this situation. If anything, universities and colleges that adopt cut-offs in school leaving examinations as the criterion for admission are transparent and fair, accountable to both students and parents, in a system that is increasingly susceptible to intervention or manipulation. The fundamental problem is different. It has two dimensions. First, the number of school leavers seeking admission to undergraduate courses has increased at an exponential rate. The underlying demographic factor of our increasing young population is the driver. But the growing aspirations of the young also see higher education as the only access to employment possibilities

and social opportunities. Second, the number of places in undergraduate education, apart from seats in substandard private institutions, has registered little if any increase. The bottom line is that we simply do not have enough capacity in terms of seats for undergraduate education of an acceptable quality. It is obvious that we need to create far more opportunities in higher education for young people. Until that happens, the situation can only worsen. The problem of admissions is far more acute in the top 10, or 15, established undergraduate colleges, particularly at the University of Delhi, where places are limited but demand is enormous because these few institutions provide an imprimatur. Their brand equity opens up a vista of opportunities for their graduates. They draw aspiring students almost like magnets. Their attrac-

tion has become even stronger over time because of the sorry state of institutions that were in the premier league not so long ago. There has been a steady decline in these institutions outside Delhi, in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Allahabad, or even Patna. Thus, students from elsewhere in India also flock to Delhi in search of educational opportunities. It is not that the University of Delhi, or its colleges, have got better. It is just that others have got worse. What is to be done? The challenge in undergraduate education is to increase opportunities without diluting standards. This means increasing the number of places for students in our megacities. But it is neither feasible nor desirable to expand capacities by increasing the intake in existing colleges or the number of affiliated colleges in existing universities. Both are already stretched beyond limits. And governments, Centre and states alike, simply do not have the resources to finance such expansion. It is imperative that we establish a central board, as also state boards, of undergraduate education, which would set standards, curriculum and examinations. These boards would be empowered to grant affiliations to undergraduate colleges, much like CBSE does for schools. Such colleges could be established by the government, the private sector, or public-private partnerships. The time has come to think big and think long.
The writer is professor of economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and former vice-chancellor, University of Delhi.

Bollywood stars endorsement fees dwarf their film earnings

Not The End

Washington, Kabul and troop withdrawal

Good for actors, good for acting

ts churlish to condemn Bollywoods biggest stars for their capacity to transfer their versatility on the silver screen to business. Its been revealed that they make more with endorsements than what theyre famous for: films. This actually helps both themselves and the movie business. Take Aamir Khan. Analysts say he probably makes Rs 60 crore per year through advertising. Though its a sideline, its a lucrative one because its a lot more than he gets per film. This doesnt I T suggest actors are losing their mystique, but the contrary. If the actor lacked an aura they wouldnt sell products and marketing executives wouldnt be paying them huge sums. Actors are coveted by advertisers, not just because some of the more creative ads require acting talent to carry them off. Its also because advertisers hope the stars brand value will rub off on the products they endorse. In other words, its precisely their aura/charisma/performance that differentiates them from ordinary models. Which is why actors are paid more than professional ad models. The logic of the market is undeniable here. The

Overkill thats underwhelming

fghanistan and its neighbours were, no doubt, waiting with some anticipation to hear US President Barack Obamas policy outline for the withdrawal of US troops. With US elections coming up in 2012 and polls revealing a growing lack of support for both his economic policies and the war in Afghanistan, a drawdown plan of some kind was inevitable. What is of more concern than the rhetoric, however, are the reports that his own generals were critical of a drawdown apparently tailored to suit domestic expectations that might negatively impact the situation in Afghanistan. As matters stand, the rapid withdrawal of some 30,000 troops by summer 2012 may well ease the pressure on the Taliban. And its far from certain that the Afghan armed forces will be in a position to take control of their countrys security by 2014 as is currently planned. But its important to remember here that Obama has left himself wiggle room if he returns to office in 2012. There will still be 68,000-odd US troops left in Afghanistan after 2012. And its unlikely in the extreme that Washington will hand over all its bases. More likely is a continued presence beyond 2014, that at least allows it to launch drone attacks and special forces strikes of the kind that killed Osama bin Laden. Now, New Delhi must consider how to calibrate its Afghanistan policy For one, it should urge Washington to be flexible . in its continued withdrawal post-2012 instead of sticking to a rigid 2014 deadline. And the second is pushing harder for a regional approach that addresses a possible security vacuum as the Americans withdraw troops, and incorporates the concerns of all stakeholders.

same logic applies to sports stars, who too are much sought after by advertisers. And attract the same cliched complaints about earning more through endorsements than by playing their game. These fees make for happy actors. At present, im endorsing about 14 brands and getting paid

what i deserve, says Kareena Kapoor. Free of having to take on every role they get actors can pick and choose. Thats why four of the top five actors Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Ranbir Kapoor are free to do just one movie per year. They focus on quality, which in turn enhances their brand. Its a virtuous circle, sanctified by the fact that with the biggest stars occupied elsewhere, theres room very near the top for up and coming actors.

vice. Theyre loosening their brand value, shredding away at their larger-than-life appeal with every bit of underwear, hair oil or talcum powder they push. And theyre harming advertising too. Ads become memorable because of jingles, slogans or characters catching attention and travelling across time, not needing change as a star fades. Bunging a film star into a tub of foam for a soap ad or propping one up against a fridge diI COUNTERVIEW I minishes the need to work hard at a creative storyline, Srijana Mitra Das loves first blushes, lifes an enduring slogan. Placing a star in an hard-fought victories, its ad makes for lazy advertising and not devastating losses, its necessarily hugely marked-up sales. philosophical draws. Finally, Bollywoods influx into adverWhen you think of your tising ensures the death of modelling. Indifavourite film star, your an TV screens were once awash with charheart should skip a beat, acter actors energising quirky ads for tea, recalling passion, moonlight, rain, thun- towels and light bulbs. Today, as goods derous lines, anguish, joy not cement, expand, once-familiar models statuesque pickle or tooth powder. By investing atten- eye-catchers or everyday types, eccentric tion in endorsements, rather than deepen- professors, gossipy neighbours, edgy auning the vividness of films or sharpening ties are vanishing, replaced by uniformly the edges of characters, film stars are doing wonderful cricketers and film stars. Thats themselves a major commercial disser- a real pity. And frankly, a bit of a bore.

ollywood stars making more money today from endorsements over movies is cause for concern and not just aesthetic. The movie stars persona is predicated on big-picture glamour removed from daily reality. A great movie star should be able to take you repeatedly through


Down with upma

The humble dish has played a cruel trick on us
J S Raghavan

The Babas Back

Life Or Debt

Whats Up Doc?
he West Indies cricket team has requisitioned the services of renowned psychologist Rudi Webster to get it out of its present slump. Team India had Paddy Upton who played a significant part in its success. Given the demand for mental conditioning coaches, cricket seems to be a game played between the ears. So next time our batsmen have a problem dealing with the short stuff, could it be unresolved issues with their fathers?

ven before a swallow of coffee had kick-started me for the day my , neighbour Subbu darkened my room with his unsolicited presence. It was his style to drop in at odd hours as a flash news carrier. He ought to have been a carrier pigeon in his previous birth. Did you read this? he thrust a folded morning daily under my nose, looking agitated. His voice quivered in a low pitch, bushy caterpillar eyebrows coupling end-to-end above his eyes. It says here, he continued tapping the newspaper with his banana-size index finger, an Indian origin chef Floyd Cardoz has impressed the judges in an American Top Chef Masters contest with his preparation and walked away with a whopping prize of a hundred thousand dollars. Did you know what that lucky cook whipped up? Search me, i said bleary-eyed. Upma! He spewed out the word with disgust. Our lowly upma. You dont say! A hundred thousand dollars for that blasted upma? My god! Nearly 42 lakh at the current rate of exchange. Yes. Yes and yes. The plebian upma, the ultimate weapon in our ladies culinary armoury Upma, their saviour if nothing else is available in . the kitchen. Upma, the nightly food of fasting oldies, upma the horrible refreshment invented by the father of Indian fast food. I hurriedly seated the agitated complainant, empathising with him. Gravely we suspended further conversation till coffee arrived to infuse , strength into our systems. Tricky one, this upma, he began. Never finishes up right in the pan. It could turn out oily salty watery lumpy or dry and even , , , , coarse like a small pile of wet river sand. But if ever it comes out right and tasty it will obstinately squat like a boulder in the , duodenum hours after consumption. I nodded in agreement. Upma is cheeky When the mixture of suji, . onion, salt, chillies and oil is simmering in a cauldron of water, the cunning snack will send out a fetching smell to the whole neighbourhood, as if ambrosia is being put together. But wait. Such pre-launch publicity calculated to kindle the olfactory senses, activating the salivary glands, is only a ruse. The canny mess that gives out such promise of a memorable treat may well prove the culinary saying that a thing that smells good need not taste good. The worked up Subbu paused to marshal his thoughts. If given judicial powers, i would pack the scheming ladies who adamantly insist on preparing that snack off to Tihar jail without even an FIR. And there they should be fed with nothing but heaps of cold upma thrice a day with hawk-eyed guards making sure they polish off all of it. I warmed to his suggestion. I would approach Anna Hazare. As a confirmed upma hater, i would suggest that he give up his fight to eradicate corruption and take up the cause of upma eradication. I will offer my writing skills gratis to draft the much-needed snack-pal bill instead of his Lokpal Bill. Subbu wanted to do his bit. I am not a pacifist like Anna. Being a hardliner, i would hotfoot it to Delhi and suggest to Baba Ramdev to do salamba sirsasana wearing a slinky churidar and fast-unto-death till upma is banned by the Centre. I will hover in the background armed with a five-foot stick and a teargas mask. It was felt such lofty deliberations against the dreaded enemy deserved a bit of throaty slogan-shouting to give our protests body Upma! I raised . my voice and my clenched right fist. Down, down, he thundered lustily as a true comrade-in-arms.

aba Ramdevs back in action. Will his seemingly revived anti-graft crusade add to UPAs troubles? Or will he yet again distract from Team Annas movement? Either way, with Anna threatening a fast if his version of the Lokpal Bill isnt adopted, its unlikely the yoga guru will want to stay on the sidelines. Whats needed though is for government and civil society to fight corruption, not each other.

ill debt-ridden Greece accept further belt-tightening to get another bailout? As debate rages on whether more aid or debt restructuring will help it, Portugal, Ireland and Spain too face uncertainty. Europe being our top trading partner, Pranab Mukherjee rightly says we should worry. He also talks of Indias need to eschew fiscal profligacy. Its good if the lesson of Europes debt woes doesnt get lost on him.

Myth And Reality
We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything.
Kalu Rinpoche

Look At The Bright Side

The world is never what our ego and selfcentredness demands that it be. Not everyone as this ever happened to you? Your will see the greatness we see in ourselves or life seems stressful, your task list is constantly seek to affirm us. growing, work is dreadful, your relaOur reactions to situations that dont fit tionships are a challenge, and you are angry our illusion cause us to suffer. If we were and dissatisfied. Then you get a wicked cold. fired from that miserable job we might shift As it hits you with its full force, you look perspectives unconsciously and begin to back to those terrible times you were experi- mourn our loss, suddenly realising how fond encing just days earlier and they dont seem we were of our colleagues, how rewarding so bad. All you want now is for the cold to go much of the work was, and we might even recall away Just feeling normal would be a times when our boss gave us praise. Once . blessing even with all of the frustrations again, by choice, we would be suffering. Dont that seemed to overwhelm you. it always seem to go.? Singer Joni Mitchell memorialised this You might be able to review your life shifting mental process in 1970, with and see ways in which your choice of the song Big Yellow Taxi. She bereactions to life has only increased moaned the destruction of nature, your pain. You might also notice that paradise being paved over for parking much of the negative self-talk in our lots and the loss of relationship. The busy minds is based upon reactions essence of her insight was embodied to a reality that does not conform to in the verse Dont it always seem our illusory expectations. Its even to go/ That you dont know what likely that we are not seeing the THE youve got till its gone? full reality but instead viewing it , We take blessings for granted, SPEAKING through the constricted prism of as if they were our birthright, and our smaller self, or ego TREE we fixate on things that aggravate Make a list of your blessings right us. We miss out on much of the joy of daily life, now. Friends, freedom, material abundance, unaware that our aggravation is a choice and mobility, yoga classes, recreational activities, that it arises from illusion. books, spiritual pursuits and more. EveryWhat do you mean, some might exclaim thing is a blessing because it is the most indignantly, my overbearing boss is neither profound of blessings just to be here. Just to my choice nor an illusion. But our reaction to experience the miracle of being. With a constant sense of gratitude come the situation is our choice. We can choose to loathe our boss, complain to our colleagues, peace, contentment and the unfolding of a and wallow in self-pity. The result? More stress, whole new world before our eyesa world unhappiness and lack of vocational fulfilment. in which we live in awe of life. To cultivate Or we could choose to use the situation for gratitude, i invite you to say thank you to personal advancement. We can seek options, everyone and everything. For, all too soon, our such as entering into dialogue with our boss to time shall pass. find common ground, or find a new job or focus www.speakingtree.in on aspects of work that we find rewarding. Join the worlds first spiritual networking site to interact directly with masters and seekers. Take skilful action.
Bhava Ram


Checks and balances

The editorial Break The Deadlock (June 23) rightly says that the prime requirement is the creation of a constitutional authority to overlook the Lokpal itself. An office with untrammelled powers is susceptible to deviating from its objective and to abuse of power. In the impasse over the Lokpal, while both sides are recalcitrant, few of the civil society groups demands are tenable. Its idea of a Lokpal with immaculate qualities and absolute powers is utopian. Anna Hazares threat to undertake yet another fast unto death is nothing but blackmail. The government should not acquiesce to his unrealistic demands. However, at the same time it should consider bringing the office of the prime minister under the Lokpals ambit with adequate checks and balances.
Mukund Kumar, VIA EMAIL

To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality. The more you talk and think about it, the further away you wander from the truth. Stop talking and thinking and there is nothing you will not be able to know.
Hsin Hsin Ming

Long live books

With reference to the Times View/Counterview (June 25), though going digital can enhance the accessibility and readability of books, e-books will fail to weave the magic there is in storytelling. Reading a book is a journey on which the reader embarks along with the characters the writer has created. In the case of e-books, readers would hardly be able to get involved and engaged with the narrative. Thats even more the case if the book in question belongs to the Harry Potter series. Harry Potter stories are pure magic. They cannot be put on a digital screen and have the same effect on readers. So, just as TV and internet cannot replace newspapers or diminish their importance, e-books cannot be considered on par with books.
Divya J Shekhar, VIA EMAIL
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com

All spiritual practices are illusions created by illusionists to escape illusion.

Ram Dass

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge that myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than factsand love is stronger than death.
Robert Fulghum

If you can recognise illusion as illusion, it dissolves. The recognition of illusion is also its ending. Its survival depends on your mistaking it for reality.
Eckhart Tolle





It remains our endeavour to make our industry globally competitive.

ANAND SHARMA, Union minister for commerce and industry

For A South Asian Renaissance

To help the peace process, India and Pakistan must reclaim their civilisational heritage
Moonis Ahmar

Boost Manufacturing
India has the potential of catching up with China
n manufacturing competitiveness, no one beats China. A study by Deloitte and the US Council on Competitiveness revealed that last year. But it was Indias No.2 ranking among 26 nations that drew whistles. Evidently, with a vast, English-speaking workforce and engineering talent, India holds out promise as a global manufacturing hub. Concerning cost of labour, today we have an edge over China, a traditionally export-led nation now preoccupied with spurring consumption at home. Chinese manufacturing wages rose nearly 12% annually during 2000-09, and the trend continues. India compared to its neighbour is already buoyed by domestic demand and has an abundance of young, cheap labour. The question is, can we leverage this to our gain? The answer depends on how far down the reformist path were willing to go to energise manufacturing and build the skilled manpower it needs. For starters, China has the kind of world-class infrastructure were still huffing and puffing to build. Factories need power, connectivity and distribution chains. But industrialisation and infrastructure creation demand reform of archaic land acquisition rules. We need a new marketoriented policy that trims scope for government hamhandedness in land transactions and links buyers to sellers. Nor can industry grow sans a liberalised regulatory framework for conduct of business. There, too, China scores higher with investors. Moreover, UPAs proposed national manufacturing policy (NMP) can scarcely push manufacturings share in GDP to 25% from the current 16% without labour reform. We need only look at the latest government data to confirm the trend of labours casualisation. While 51% of Indias total workforce is selfemployed, 33.5% is casual labour. Only 15.6% are regular wage-earners or salaried workers. Read these statistics against the fact that a yawning gap exists between the organised and unorganised sectors vis-a-vis manufacturing jobs and output. The latter sector provides 90% employment but accounts for less than one-third of manufacturing production. Envisaging mega national investment and manufacturing zones (NIMZ), the NMP does propose rational exit mechanisms for businesses. But will intention translate into action? Factories wont multiply if their operators cant take economically rational decisions. Labour reform, which shouldnt be limited to NIMZs, will ensure employers invest in workers skills upgrade. This in turn will show up in improved productivity and more globally benchmarked products. Thats apart from giving labour market entrants job security and access to social benefits. Without mass-scale absorption of underpaid, underemployed farm labour into factories, we cant match Chinas success in poverty alleviation. Schemes like NREGA may mean well but make workers dole-dependent. Inclusive growth is delivered far more effectively via labours empowerment.

he cordial spirit of talks held last week, between Pakistani and Indian foreign secretaries in Islamabad, augurs well for relations between the two countries. When Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said to the media while travelling to Kazakhstan in April, If i can succeed in normalising relations between India and Pakistan as they should prevail between two normal states, i would consider my job well done, it meant not only optimism but also vision on his part for a better future for Pakistan and India. In the backdrop of the assassination of Osama bin Laden by the American Navy Seals in Abbottabad on May 2, one can observe a responsible handling of affairs by New Delhi and Islamabad, as hawks from the two sides tried to exploit the situation and launch a new phase of confrontation. Still, there are forces from both sides that will miss no opportunity to derail the Indo-Pak peace process. History proves that opportunities and moments of hope had also appeared in the past, but were wasted. What then is needed to ensure a peace process which can help bring a qualitative change in Indo-Pak relations? As pointed out by Harold Saunders, an American expert on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, dismantling the other walls is a major condition for establishing a constituency of peace. But more than the other

walls which impede the IndoPak normalisation process, it is the absence of a renaissance perspective which results in stand-offs, missed opportunities and the hardening of enemy images. The Indo-Pak peace process should not be confined to official rhetoric from the two sides but requires a movement at the popular level, so that a sense of ownership is created for a process which can bring enormous benefits for the poverty-stricken people of the two countries. The term renaissance is generally understood in terms of the revival and rebirth of civilisation in Europe after the medieval era. Spread over a period from the 14th to 16th centu-

Neighbouring on friendship

The Indo-Pak peace process should not be confined to official rhetoric but requires a movement at the popular level, so that a sense of ownership is created for a process bringing benefits for the people
ries, the renaissance built the foundations of modern Europe. One cannot compare the renaissance of Europe and the prevailing conditions in India and Pakistan. But as the custodians of a centuries-old civilisation, the two countries can certainly move in the direction of reviving the culture of peace and tolerance which was the hallmark of

the Indian subcontinent. The civilisation of the Indus and Ganges was a source of inspiration for people in other parts of the world. When Europe was marginal, the Indus-Ganges civilisation was at its peak. It is another story that the Indian subcontinent drifted into oblivion because of internal cleavages and colonisation, and Europe began to dominate the world after the renaissance and age of enlightenment. After decades of hostility and confrontation, it is time for India and Pakistan to think in terms of launching a renaissance so that the two, regardless of past bitterness, can cause the rebirth of a centuriesold civilisation. This will certainly help take the peace process to its logical conclusion. Three important steps are required on the part of India

and Pakistan. First, a renaissance approach would require focus on promoting better sharing of art, culture, music, history, archaeology and education. While maintaining their identities, India and Pakistan must lift restrictions which impede the revival of their cultural heritage so that the present generation of the two countries is able to understand how tolerant and peaceful their ancient past was, and why the generations following the partition of the subcontinent pursued a violent and confrontationist path. Second, in the political sphere, a renaissance approach would require reviving some of the symbols of peace and harmony which existed amidst the environment of hostility and mistrust. These symbols are the Liaquat-Nehru pact of April 1950 for establishing

communal peace, the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 which tried to resolve a water conflict, the 1972 Simla Pact which enabled New Delhi and Islamabad to move forward following the Indo-Pak war of 1971, the agreement on not attacking each others nuclear installations of December 1988, the Lahore Declaration of February 1999 and the Islamabad Declaration of January 2004 which provided a road map for the Indo-Pak peace process. Third, symbols of Indo-Pak peace initiatives under track II and III like the Neemrana dialogue, popular discourse which took place under the auspices of the Indo-Pak Peoples Forum for Peace and Democracy and other , such forums must be revitalised. What is needed in the renaissance of the Indo-Pak peace process is to provide ownership to track II and III peace initiatives and to make them more practical and useful. When the revival of tolerance, accommodation and reasoning will prevail in the IndoPak peace process, the stage will come when policy makers, including those who wield considerable power, will be persuaded to change their approach on issues which for long have acted as an impediment to Indo-Pak normalisation. Perhaps Manmohan Singhs dream will have a practical application when his hope and vision get a positive response not only in his own country but also in Pakistan.
The writer is professor, department of international relations, University of Karachi.

I urge India to set an example in openness to the region

Sarmila Bose is a senior research fellow at Oxford University and has written Dead Reckoning: Memories of the 1971 Bangladesh war. She spoke about what is proving to be a controversial book with Deep K Datta-Ray: I The 1971 war is well known so why another book on it? Actually there are hardly any dispassionate researched studies. The vast majority of material consists of personal accounts of those directly involved or partisan accounts. Some memoirs are very useful as primary data, but theyre not researched studies. Many accounts show little regard for fact checking and sometimes contain deliberate misrepresentation. The only major researched work is the book published 20 years ago by Richard Sisson and Leo Rose. Its excellent on a macro level of policy. Mine focusses on the opposite end of the spectrum, using detailed information on particular incidents. The 1971 conflict needs many more wellresearched studies. A few are on the way, but there is scope for more. I Why do we have so few good studies of what was a just war, waged by us, for Bangladeshis? What constitutes a just war can be a contested issue. India acted in its own strategic interests. The public discourse is a continuation of wartime partisan propaganda and nationalist myth-making by all sides. Thats because of India, Pakistan and Bangladeshs unwillingness to open official documents to scholars. The US meanwhile has published secret documents from that period. Indias role can only be properly assessed if official documents from 40 years ago are made public through the building blocks of chronicling and analysing the larger events and brings out the complexity of conflicts such as the 1971 war. My interviews with people from all sides of the conflict who witnessed, participated in, were the victims of or got caught up in a range of different events, shows a brutal fratricidal war. All the sides the regime, pro-regime East Pakistanis or pro-liberation Bengali nationalists treated those they perceived as the other with violence and inhumanity. All committed massacres and other serious crimes against humanity, including the side India chose to support. This was a brutal struggle for power. While there were humane individuals on all sides, no warring party is in a position to take the moral high ground in this conflict. I It sounds like you're rewriting history. How does one go about doing that? Is it just a question of new sources or also new interpretations? Actually i am writing history not rewriting. Most of , whats been written isnt history but partisan accounts. As the war is poorly documented from a dispassionate and balanced perspective, there was a great need to chronicle what actually happened in many events, as without enough and reliable data, analysis isnt possible. I have done a lot of new data gathering for my book, and hope others will do more in the coming years, though with the passage of time opportunities are disappearing. Ive also compared the new information gathered with existing personal accounts to arrive at a judgment based on all available evidence. Its important to consider the conflict with an open mind and allow the evidence to tell the story. One of the most interesting results is the picture that emerges of the Bengali nationalist side.

No More Desi Girls?

Infants sex changes highlight misogyny

eports of hundreds of baby girls turned into boys via medical surgery in Indore are shocking and must be thoroughly probed. If found correct, they are not only in serious violation of child rights but also provide painful evidence of an Indian preference for male children and the extent people can go to secure it. Against claims that sex-changing surgeries ideally performed only on consenting adults or for medical emergencies have been executed on infants, its heartening the PMO has taken note, demanding reports from concerned ministries to decide if new legal safeguards must be developed, particularly to protect girl children from operations they dont need. Tackling the larger issue of pervasive gender bias remains. Indias violent attitudes towards women are becoming notorious in appalling statistics of infanticide, rape and diverse forms of discrimination from nourishment to education, health, labour and dignity. According to a Thomson Reuters Trustlaw survey, India is the worlds fourth most dangerous country for women, sharing disgrace with Afghanistan, Congo, Pakistan and Somalia. The irony is, India has a fairly comprehensive range of laws around womens rights. The trouble lies in weak implementation, fusing with backward customs. Today, as Indian women stand upon a ledge of crisis, its imperative our laws and executive wield their combined heft. Besides, female literacy must improve while police forces must become more women-friendly. Schemes providing economic incentives for having girl children like the Ladli scheme in some states or Bihars initiative in giving bicycles to school-going girls can also significantly reduce stigmas around being female.


national archives and if covert operatives from the war put their experiences on record. I urge India to set an example in openness to the region. I Have your interviews with the bit-players of history led to your rethinking what passes for the history of the war? The testimony of participants and eyewitnesses to events on the ground forms the crucial

Let them ChiPak

India shouldnt worry about Islamabad chumming up to Beijing
Jug Suraiya


Should New Delhi be unduly worried about ChiPak? ChiPak is not a misspelling of Sunderlal Bahugunas Chipko movement; ChiPak is the telescoped term to denote growing chumminess between China and Pakistan. Teetering on the brink of being declared a failed state by an international community increasingly alarmed by its dangerous and growing instability, Pakistan desperately needs a friend wholl provide a strong and dependable shoulder to lean on. That friend used to be the US, which still remains Pakistans closest ally and biggest donor of muchneeded foreign aid to fill Islamabads empty coffers (empty largely because of a ruinously high defence budget inflated by ingrained Indo-phobia). However, after Operation Geronimo, and the elimination of Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil by raiding US Seals, Washington-Islamabad relations have shown signs of strain. There is growing anger and dismay in Pakistan not just among the army and the ISI but also in civilian circles that a foreign power could with impunity carry out what in effect was a mini invasion of their country. Bad as this slap in the face to Pakistans national sovereignty is, whats worse is that bin Ladens presence in the country buttresses the charge long made by New Delhi, and now belatedly being echoed by Washington that Islamabad is the worlds biggest sponsor of global terrorism. Islamabads support no matter how compromised and suspect to Washingtons efforts to neutralise the terrorist threat in the region remains crucial to US interests, ensuring that, despite occasional raps across the knuckles, Pakistan continues to be the beneficiary of Uncle Sams largesse. But the growing groundswell of anti-Americanism at home makes it tactically necessary for Islamabad to flaunt another friend to counter the big, bad US bully. Inevitably, that friend has to be China, whose rivalry and unresolved border disputes with India make it Pakistans natural ally. An Islamabad-Beijing connect would not only keep Washington on its toes and make it mind its manners in its increasingly high-handed dealings with Pakistan, but would also act as a curb on New Delhis ambitions of regional power status and its growing cosiness with the US. China has long helped Pakistan be as painful a thorn in Indias side as possible; without Beijings covert and overt help Islamabad would not have been New Delhis nuclear nightmare as it is today. Has talk of ChiPak made that nightmare worse? Not necessarily. An increasingly isolated and desperate Pakistan which feels impelled into a nuclear confrontation with India is a far worse threat than a Pakistan whose self-confidence and sense of security has been boosted by Beijing. On its part, China would certainly like Pakistan to remain a festering sore impeding Indias progress. That said, Beijing has its eyes firmly set on its main goal, which selfprofessedly is to overtake the US and become the worlds biggest economy in the next two decades. China is not going to let anything interfere with that singleminded objective. So a symbolic show of solidarity with Pakistan is fine. But any nuclear adventurism on Islamabads part vis-a-vis India, which could lead to a much wider confrontation and threaten to derail Beijings impetus to global economic hegemony, is in Chinas worst interests and is not an option that the Dragon would allow Pakistan to entertain. For all its issues with New Delhi, Beijing is only too aware of Indias growing economic importance not just as a huge potential market for Chinese goods but also as a stakeholder in common concerns in forums like the WTO where the long-established paramountcy of the western world is being challenged by the so-called BRICS countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Chindia is, and will be, more important to Beijing than ChiPak can ever be. So what should New Delhis reaction be? ChiPak? Chipakne doh!

Lots of people would like the prime minister to step up to the plateand speak more often. But that is the style of the person

I didnt want to die the death of a wolf

Women do love a cricketer. It's one of those things. Its like Aston Martins. They just love it

P CHIDAMBARAM, Union home minister, on the PM

BABA RAMDEV, yoga guru, on why he tried to flee the police dressed as a woman

HUGH GRANT, actor, on the secret behind what makes cricketers desirable


Love Is The Best Fuel

and irrational, good and bad, loving and hating, giving and grabbing, killing and f life is a journey and the human being is rescuing, full of hope and help, while also , the vehicle, then the best fuel for a suc- filled with hopelessness and helplessness. cessful completion of this journey is Mind is a paradox, unpredictable with its love. When we substitute some other emo- own way of functioning. It is volatile and tion and make it our central core, our fuel, restless; yet, it constantly seeks peace, the vehicle obviously cannot perform as stillness and stability . well as it should. The journey is then no To be with the mind means to live our longer smooth, but jumpy noisy bouncy , , , lives like a roller coaster ride. Up and down, uncomfortable, and prone to frequent side to side, in and out the ride goes on. The breakdowns, and constantly needing help stability and stillness that we seek in our from others to set it right. lives, the rest and relaxation that we crave Love is available in plenty; it is unlikely for, the peace and calmness that we desperto get depleted. Every human being is a ately need, are not to be found in the arena source of this fuel called love. We are of mind. If they are found, they will come capable of producing love 24 coupled with their respective oppohours a day endlessly Love is our , . sites. This is the duality of life. natural state. Duality is always of the mind. The Love works slowly as compared spirit or soul is always one. And it to its opposite emotions, namely needs only one fuel, love. fear and hate. Though love is One cannot get love without natural, hate and fear come to us first giving love. That is the law much more easily If you want to . of Nature. In existence, giving THE get a group of people together for comes before receiving, sowing I SPEAKING I a common cause and under a comes before reaping. But we are common banner, love for someunaware of this. We seek and TREE thing might take you years to hope to receive without wanting unite them. Hate and fear can work in a mat- to give. So, the first step, which is totally in ter of minutes. Hence, the natural enemies our hands, is to give love. And then we will of love are much more powerful and appeal- receive love, not as much as we want or as ing to us. Love appeals to the true being or much as we have given, but a thousand times soul, while the mind thrives on hate and more. The Universe is ready and waiting to fear, more than love. flood us with love. But it needs us only to take Why does fear predominate, when we all the first small step of giving. The Buddha know that love is the true fuel of life? This is used to say to his disciples, If you knew where the mind comes in. Our true being or what I know, about the power of giving, you spirit thrives only on love. But between would not have a single meal in your life spirit and body is another important entity , without first sharing it with someone. the mind. The control of our lives, instead vaidyanathan.pv@gmail.com of being in the hands of the spirit, has been www.speakingtree.in taken over by the mind. And the mind is Join the worlds first spiritual networking complex. It is logical and illogical, rational site to interact directly with masters and seekers.
P V Vaidyanathan


Selfless Thoughts
They are forever free who renounce all selfish desires and break away from the ego-cage of I, me, and mine in order to be united with God. Attain to this, and pass from death to immortality . Bhagavad Gita 2.71 All that we are is a result of what we have thought: we are formed and moulded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them. Gautama Buddha The most self-serving thing one can do is live life selflessly Selflessly . give your experience Selflessly give whatever it is you have to give. And the world will rise to meet you. Steve Harper To live selflessly , you must have less self. Victoria Ferguson

Dont blame the victim

With reference to the article An Old Battle Fought Again (June 27) by Ratna Kapur, the Slutwalks organised in various metropolitan cities across the world indicate that women are no longer willing to accept irrational dictates. The term slut used by the Canadian police officer is highly derogatory and must be condemned. To shift the blame for rape on the dress sense of the victims is a case of missing the wood for the trees. What is required is to ascertain the real causes of violence against women and suggest remedies. The first task should be to encourage rape victims to report the crimes. Equally important, the police should show utmost sensitivity while handling such cases. With efficient implementation of the laws, there is no reason why heinous crimes against women cannot be curbed.
Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, VIA EMAIL



Hope and fear

With reference to the article Pakistan, 50 Years Ago (June 23) by Hajrah Mumtaz, the analysis of Pakistans journey through the past to its present volatile state betrays both anxiety and concern. It raises hope that as long as such sensitivity exists, Pakistan might escape the collapse that is widely feared. As a Kashmiri, i fully empathise with the writer since the spillover effect of jihad is also visible in the Valley. The anti-India secessionist movement in the Valley has not only led to ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits, but has also pushed Kashmir into a vicious cycle of violence that continues unabated.
Lalit Ambardar, VIA EMAIL
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com

secondopinion@timesgroup.com http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/jugglebandhi/ (Jug Suraiya is away. His columns will resume on his return.)










You know, its just one small step from legacy to lame duck.


My govt described as most corrupt

PM Admits Scams Have Hit Reputation



What surprises me is not that there are corrupt civil servants but that despite all the temptations, so many of our civil servants remain honest and lead frugal lives It (graft) has caught the imagination of the people and we will deal with it. Govt is committed to pursuing whatever is feasible to deal with black money, tax evasion and corruption but it is not a one-shot operation


The general proposition that younger people should take over, is the right sentiment. Whenever the party makes up its mind I will be very happy to step down, but so long as I am here I have a job to do

Criticised by India, umpire Harper quits

Criticised by the Indian cricket team for his poor decisions in the first cricket Test against the West Indies, controversial Australian umpire Daryl Harper on Wednesday withdrew from the third match starting July 6 at Roseau.

Centre may seize property found to be benami: Under pressure to act

against corruption, the government plans to fine-tune the existing law to crack down on benami transactions. Amendments to the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988, will allow Centre to confiscate property declared benami. P 10

SC to decide OBC admission criteria tomorrow: The Supreme Court

will on Friday decide the criteria for admitting OBC students into central institutions like Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University under the 27% quota provision, a contentious issue over which there seems to be considerable confusion. P 8

HC upholds acquittal in TISS case:

The Bombay HC upheld the acquittal of six students charged with gang-raping a US national by dismissing the appeal filed by Maharashtra government challenging the earlier verdict of a trial court. A division bench of Justices N H Patil and Mridula Bhatkar, while dismissing the appeal, observed there is no evidence to prove sexual intercourse by force.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday aknowledged that his government is being described as the most corrupt ever, adding that corruption has become a big issue and has caught the popular imagination. \The stunningly frank remark about the huge image problem his government faces came during Singh's interaction with a select group of editors. in the situation that we are faced today day in , day out I think we are described as the most corrupt government, Singh told his select audience. The issue of corruption took up a huge chunk of the Prime Ministers inaugural remarks at the session with editors. It figured prominently also in the question-answer session that followed, with Singh admitting that the telecom scam and Commonwealth Games had taken a toll on his governments reputation. However, he cautioned against radical steps which could turn the country into a police state and lead to the return of the inspector raj. Indeed, one of his visitors told Singh that while his personal integrity remained untarnished, perception had grown that he had allowed

We have some points of tension but nobody wants an election

Govt will reach out to civil society but no group can insist that their views A-to-Z are the last word. We will find a way out on Lokpal and try for a consensus


I have no hesitation in bringing myself under the purview of Lokpal but many of my Cabinet colleagues feel that bringing the institution of prime minister under it will create instability
things to happen. Interpreting the question as echoing the view that he had failed to stop A Raja from perpetrating the 2G scam, Singh suggested that he was betrayed by the sacked telecom minister. He said as Prime Minister he had to trust his

minister when he had promised to abide by rules. How can I conduct a post-mortem? I am not an expert in telecom matters. As Prime Minister, it is not that I am very knowledgeable about these matters. Or, that I can spend so much of my time, to look after each and every ministry . Singh also criticized Raja for wrongly claiming that he had the PMs endorsement. When told that the government failed to take notice of newspaper reports about irregularities in the allocation of 2G licences and spectrum, Singh said he could not have gone by newspaper reports alone. There were people on both sides writing to me. If I go by the newspapers everyday I would have to refer every, thing to CBI, and the CBI would sit in judgment. And if I continued in this vein, our public sector would not be able to perform. It would greatly weaken the (entrepreneurial forces) that have unleashed, and willy-nilly install a police raj. The interaction was held against the growing perception that at a time when the government is faced with an image deficit on the issue of corruption and other challenges, the PM has not been communicating enough with his constituency In the fourth interaction he had with . media in his second term, the PM stepped out to rebut the perception that he had been reduced to a lame duck and could be asked to make room for Rahul Gandhi. He hit out at the CAG whose reports on 2G and alleged favors to oil firms had embarrassed the government for overstepping its constitutional mandate.

FinMin used secret funds to sweep Pranabs office clean

Pradeep Thakur | TNN

New Delhi: Fearing that the office of its minister was being bugged, the wary finance ministry dipped into secret funds of the Income Tax (Investigation) department to finance its debugging operation using a private agency The fi. nance ministry had instructed the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to use secret funds of the I-T (Investigation) department for the debugging operation after it was found that none of the revenue intelligence agencies under the finance minister had the wherewithal. The finance ministry has under its arm the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, I-T Investigation, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the Enforcement Directorateall, except the CEIB, having state-of-the-art equipment to intercept phone calls. But none of them have debugging equipment. The hush-hush operation thereafter even saw a complete change of cleaning staff, contrary to Pranab Mukherjees dismissal of the entire episode as bogus. A private agency was hired to do the operation in the offices of FM and his close aides. Immediately after the operation, the FMs office removed the usual cleaners and housekeeping staff responsible for changing flowerpots, fearing that the Intelligence Bureau (IB), under the home ministry might have been , using them to plant bugs in table corners or on flower vases. A former joint director of the IB, who was representing the private agency hired by the FM for debugging operation, S K Gupta, told Times Now he had identified 16 spots where bugs may have been attached with adhesives.

Maneater leopard shot dead by forest dept: A maneater leopard, which

killed three persons in Diali Gamri area of Uttarkashi district, was shot dead by Uttarakhand forest department. The 13-yearold male leopard was shot dead at Kumrara village on Tuesday when it returned to its kill, said Divisional Forest Officer of Uttarkashi, I P Singh.

Intel records of 2002 riots destroyed in 07, says govt lawyer



Smokescreen over hookah death probe

3 Days On, Cops Yet To Own Up To Palashs Death

India, Japan to implement free trade pact: India and Japan are scheduled to implement a comprehensive free trade agreement from August 1 to boost bilateral trade between the countries to $25 billion by 2015.

Rahul visits house of Lakhimpur rape victim: Taking the Uttar Pradesh
administration and police by surprise, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday met family members of the 14-yearold girl, who was allegedly raped and murdered inside a police station in Nighasan in the district.

Toyota recalls 1 lakh cars: Toyota said on Wednesday it will recall more than 110,000 hybrid vehicles in the United States, Japan and Europe because of faulty transistors in electrical power control boards. Nasa confirms July 8 for last shuttle launch: The last space shuttle launch ever is set for July 8. Nasa managers met at Kennedy Space Centre on Tuesday and confirmed Friday, July 8, as the launch date for Atlantis.

Google goes social with Facebook rival: Google, the king of Internet search,
launched its rival to Facebook on Tuesday, a social networking service, Google+. P 13

Ahmedabad: The state intelligence bureau records on the 2002 riots were destroyed in 2007. Gujarat governments counsel, SB Vakil said this on the sidelines of the proceedings at the NanavatiMehta commission on Wednesday. Vakil alleged before mediapersons that IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt filed his affidavit in the Supreme Court only after he came to know that the records of 2002, including IB control room phone records and logbooks of official vehicles, were destroyed. The advocate said that he kept questioning Bhatt about the records because if the data existed, it would have been very easy to establish whether the cop being the deputy commissioner (intelligence) was called to attend the meeting with the chief minister on February 27, 2002. Bhatt has said in his affidavit in the SC that chief minister Narendra Modi had in that meeting asked the officials to allow Hindus to express their anger against the Muslims after the Godhra carnage. In the Godhra commission, Vakil asked Bhatt whether the intelligence records existed or were destroyed in 2007. Bhatt said the 2002 riots were not an ordinary event and with setting up an inquiry commission, it was the state governments bounden

and constitutional duty to preserve all data, the plethora of then on-going police investigation and trials in order to assist the inquiry. On the first day of his deposition last month, Bhatt asserted that all the data existed in the state headquarters in Gandhinagar, but a false impression is given to people that most of the call records and other documents are missing. The cop has sought voluminous data in connection with the 2002 riots from the state IB office and from the DGP. He also requested the probe panel to direct the authorities to furnish the data so that truth about riots is revealed. Meanwhile, the government continued throwing questions to Bhatt, who refused to answer the government counsel directly and insisted that the commission should not allow the State to ask him frivolous, vexatious and irrelevant questions. He insisted that the commission protect him because he was not a witness. Bhatt and government counsel often entered into heated arguments. At one point, Bhatt told the lawyer that he was crossing his limit. To this, the advocate said, You already crossed your limit on the day you filed the affidavit in the SC. Is Bhatt witness before Godhra panel, asks HC, P 5

CREATIVE ANGLE: On February 3, 2011, TOI invited readers to send in photos, videos, cartoons and jokes that capture the spirit of India. We received over 1 lakh entries. This picture by Abhinandan Dutta, of a driver relaxing in the shade of an overloaded, tilted truck, is the winner in the amateur section for photos in the category Chaotic India. To see the other winning entries in the different categories, turn to P 5

Surat: Two years ago, a teenager was gang-raped in a moving car. The case was solved in a mere seven hours and the three accused, sons of policemen, were arrested. On Monday, Palash a 13-year-old boy Wadhwani died after falling from the fourth floor while being chased by cops raiding a hookah bar. But three days hence, the policemen responsible for his death are yet to be identified. Worse, the men operating the hookah bar seem to have gone up in smoke. In fact, till Tuesday the police were even refusing to believe that the bar was up and running. It was only after newspaper photographs showed hookahs, stoves and hot coal at the bar did they go ahead and lodge a complaint against the operators, Ghanshyam Patel and Tushar Patel. However, the police were yet to trace the Patel duo till Wednesday evening. We are putting all efforts to locate the hookah bar operators. We are also working on identifying the police personnel who visited the bar on that day. We cannot disclose all the details which are part of investigation as it will alert the accused, said joint police commissioner E Radhakrishna, who is holding

Times View

n a place like Gujarat which is starved for hang-out places, hookah bars are welcome. But the bar owners need to act more responsibly. Thirteen-year-old Palash Wadhwani did not deserve to die. Scared of the police, eye-witnesses say he was chased by plainclothed policemen and fell to his death from the terrace of an illegal hookah bar in Surat. In Palashs case, the police has still not owned up to the raid on the illegal bar. Surat police should immediately identify the culprits.

charge in the absence of the police commissioner. The family is not being disturbed as they are passing through a bad time. Once they are free from rituals we will involve them in investigation and also trace the friends who were at the bar with the deceased, he added. Ironically, the policemen who went to raid the bar were present at the spot when Palash Wadhwanis parents came and took away his body in their private car. Police records show the hookah bar was raided and sealed six months ago. The bar was allowed to get back in business despite people in the neighbourhood virtually launching a campaign against it. Earlier, nine hookah bars were running in the city but were gradually raided by police and forced to close down between 2005 and 2009.


Round figure is back

Demise of 25 paise puts paid to the savva rupiyo custom as amounts will have to end with a zero
The Times of Indias Crest edition will be delivered to your doorstep every Saturday. It is available at an introductory price of Rs. 6. SMS TOICREST TO 58888 or write to us at kiran.shanbhag@timesgroup.com or call on 079 - 26554473 (Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm)
Ashleshaa Khurana

Taliban storm top Kabul hotel, 21 die

Kabul: Nine suicide bombers penetrated several rings of security to lay siege to one of Afghanistan capitals premier hotels for six hours overnight Tuesday in a complex attack that jolted Afghans sense of security and highlighted the weakness of their police forces. At least 21 people were killed: all the attackers, two policemen, nine Afghan civilians, and one foreigner, a Spaniard. An Afghan soldier aimed his gun as he guarded the area surrounding the Intercontinental Hotel during a military operation against Taliban militants who stormed the hotel in Kabul. One witness said that the police failed to stop a man who obviously presented a threat: a man carrying weapons, dressed in a police uniform but with a white hat of the kind often favored by religious Afghans and instead urged the witness to move away from the man, calling him a bomber. Other witness accounts said that some security officers fled. The siege ended in the morning; at least five of the attackers blew themselves up, and others were shot by Afghan and Nato forces . NYT NEWS SERVICE, P 13

Stage is all set for managers-in-making

After IIM-A, IIM-Indore & Mumbais JBIMS Plan Course On Theatre
Chitra Unnithan | TNN

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he meltdown of char annas will bring an end to a very popular Gujarati custom of savva rupiyo, or 25 paise, which is considered auspicious for all occasions of religious and matrimonial ceremonies. With the RBI officially demolishing the existence of the 25 paise coin for good from Wednesday onwards, the good old char anna no longer qualifies as Indian currency . It is an age-old tradition Gujaratis have been following where 25 paise must be coupled with one rupee whether its for Ganesh Lakshmi puja or an engagement ceremony even for , chopda pujan and bill books we draw the emblem that reads rupee one with a slash that stands for 25 meaning sava. This is because instead of the amount ending with a zero, it should end in a numerical, hence 25, says pandit Radhey Maharaj of Ichhanath Temple, a senior priest at Athwalines in Surat. We Gujaratis have a saying that goes labh savva ae barqat meaning 1.25 brings profits, hence all

our ceremonies begin with it. My great grandmother, grandmother, mother, I and all my three daughters have got engaged and married with the exchange of a coconut and savva rupiyo and now I will save all the 25 paise coins for my grandchildren and great grandchildren, says Usha Kapadia, who runs a border weaving loom unit from her home within the walled city . Looks like what is of no value any longer to government is set to be an invaluable family heirloom for Gujaratis. Dhansukh Reshamwala, 72, who belongs to Surats business pioneer family in Jari business, fondly reminisces how in the 1950s char annas could get you an amazing value for money One could buy a litre of kerosene, approximately 500 grams of sugar, besan, jaggery, around five kg wheat flour, 500 gms of all vegetables, two-and-a-half kg of potatoes among others. Each of these would cost just 25 paise.

Ahmedabad: Can dealing with your stage fright make you a better manager? Some of Indias top B-schools believe so. No wonder, managers-in-making are rehearsing hard to become effective CEOs as the IIMs and other leading business schools have started using theatre techniques to hone communication skills of students. After IIM-Ahmedabad and IIM-Bangalore started an elective course on theatre recently , IIM-Indore and Mumbai-based Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies (JBIMS) are now planning to include theatre as an optional subject. Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad has a programme in Business and Arts where performing artistes in-

teract with students. Some recruiters felt they were struggling to find students who could give an engaging presentation. It was surprising to learn that communication, the most desired trait, was least effective in some students, said a professor at one of the IIMs. IIM-Indore plans to launch the course. While the course will be open to all students, we will conduct an audition of the incoming batch to find the right talent for various workshops. We try and bridge theatre from being just a stressbuster to something productive by helping bolster students confidence, said a student coordinator at the institute. Theatre is being used as a tool to prepare students see themselves objectively in a dynamic situation and realise responsibility and strategise communication. Just like an artiste has to give final form to an abstract idea within con-

straints, corporate world requires to develop strategies within constraints of a medium. So students can derive from the course, said Sriram Gopalakrishnan, director (marketing and communication) at ISB. Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon already offers a threemonth course in theatre to help students shed inhibitions and transform emotions according to the situation at work. Ashok Kapoor, faculty , MDI, said, There are students who are good at writing but do not maintain eye contact while speaking. Rajkumar Chetan, an entrepreneur and alumni of MDI who started the first organised BPO in Bihar, said, One moment you are upset with an employee and the next moment you have to deal with a client. The course has certainly helped me move from one emotion to another with ease.

Times Classifieds | P 6 & 8





The law of the land is up against a medieval mindset that accepts no change even if its ordered by the Supreme Court
Photo: Anindya Chattopadhyay

Divya A | TNN

There is nothing honourable in such killings...they are nothing but barbaric and shameful acts of murder committed by brutal, feudal-minded persons who deserve punishment. Supreme Court ruling on April 19 The Supreme Courts condemnation has rattled khap panchayats, but they are rounding on it furiously and cannily accusing it of culpability for the very crime of which theyre accused honour killings. Sunil Dahiya, the rich, 40-something secretary of one of Haryanas oldest and largest khaps, Dahiya, tells TOI that there has been a spurt in honour killings in Haryana in the last couple of years and the courts are getting it done. The businessman, whose khap counts one-crore members and is spread over 92 villages in the state, insists that Indias antiquated system of justice validates marriages between same-gotra brother and sister. This is why the victimized families have to resort to (honour) killings, he concludes triumphantly. Sunil is not alone in his defiance and ready defence of the typical mindset of the khap panchayat. The battle cry sounds loud and clear at Sisanas cowshed, where community representatives a bunch of retired men with wrinkled faces converge around a hookah every morning and evening to discuss policy matters. When this correspondent visits, the policy matter up for debate is the recent court ruling. Dr Jaikishan, who is on the khap panel as a social worker, says the khaps feel aggrieved because we are all of the view that if there are no khaps, crime rate will be 20 times what it is now. Young boys and girls will start marrying in the same gotra, they will play loud music, girls will wear skimpy clothes everything will go haywire. Court or not, says Jaikishan, ban or declare us illegal, we will continue to function the way we do in the greater interest of our community. But shouldnt khaps live by the law of the land, just like everybody else? Retired policeman Rajinder Singh, who is also on the community panel as a social worker says the law of the land has to chime with community systems that have served well for centuries. Jatland has a set of rules and laws, based on our centuriesold scientific tradition. People living here have to follow that. If they cant, they might as well leave. Sunil explains community policing cleaves to a modern outlook, even as he emphasizes his own attributes as a relatively young and educated member of the khap. Its the Supreme Court which is orthodox and regressive as they are stuck to a century-old law book that was made by the Britishers, he says. Meanwhile, Dahiya khap has been experimenting with acquiring a modern look, permitting commercial spin-offs such as its own letterhead, special T-shirts, trophies and books. Recently, it became the first khap in 1500 years to have inducted women on to the panel. But the change is admittedly cosmetic with Sunil

Clan to Klu Klux Klan? Why a ban wont work

Shobhan Saxena | TNN

BRAND BUILDING? Posters, T-shirts and letterheads are part of Dahiya khaps drive to spread the word about its activities

saying the women panelists are not meant to take decisions but convey messages. They must tell their children how disastrous it is to marry in the same gotra. It becomes the responsibility of women members to keep children away from social evils. Here, in the heart of Haryana, defence of the khap system appears to have made its members fearless. Jaikishan says they will bring the law and science into their fight to rule with an iron hand. Any ban would mean a legal appeal, he says. We will reason with them that our practice of not allowing same-gotra marriages has scientific basis. If they can consider the religious laws of Muslims, why cant they allow our traditions? And if, God forbid, that is also rejected, we will go to Jantar Mantar and protest, or do whatever it takes. Interestingly, khap members express incomprehension about extending the right to appeal to their own community. Pratap Singh Pahalwan, 70, who heads Dahiya khap, declares that khaps are for the people, by the people. They can never take a wrong or unfair decision. So there is no question of someone not obeying us. If someone does, he will have to face a complete social boycott he will be left without business, property and family.

few years ago, Maharashtras Chitpavan Brahmins organized a community meeting in Pune. Standing under a huge cut-out of Parshuram, the chief guest told the 100,000-strong gathering about the glory of the mythical sage. The chief guest was Air Marshal Bhushan Gokhale, then vice-chief of the Indian Air Force. He attended in full uniform, all the better to remind his community that one IAF unit had Parshu, or the axe, as its symbol. The air marshals presence and remarks went largely unnoticed, except for mild protest from some Dalit groups about a senior air force officer attending a blatantly casteist conference. It is a salutary story about the vice-like grip of caste on India. This is a country where people can change their religion but not their caste. Here, the surname is a social marker that reflects a mindset and lays down an unwritten code of conduct to follow. CASTE & EFFECT Manoj and Babli, a young couple in Haryana, dared to defy the code by falling in love and marrying. In the land of khaps, where same-gotra marriages are considered a sin, the couple joined the long list of young people who have been punished for their crime of passion. For years, the khaps have been wreaking havoc in the Jat belt Haryana, Rajasthan and western UP but it is only now that the Supreme Court has said these kangaroo courts are barbaric and illegal. They are not about to go away so easily Soon after the . courts order to dismantle them, 84 representatives of various khaps decided to file a review petition. They have also decided to stage an indefinite fast in Delhi during the monsoon session of Parliament. It is clearly meant to be a show of strength. Should the tussle result in banning them and effectively pushing them underground? No, say some experts, because the law cannot change

India is a country where people can change their religion but not their caste. Here, the surname is a social marker that reflects a mindset and lays down an unwritten code of conduct to follow
mindsets. Nonica Datta, author of A Social History of the Jats, says it is a joke for the state to ban the khap panchayat because the khap panchayat in its recent avatar is strengthened by the very forces that claim to ban it. Datta, who currently teaches history at the University of Toronto, asks a significant rhetorical question: What can the law do? Then she answers it herself by offering

the 1871 Criminal Tribes Act and the Sati Prohibition Act as good examples of legal instruments that were misused to oppress the weak and strengthen the powerful. Datta may have a point. In India, caste and politics have a symbiotic relationship with both needing each other to reinforce their strength. Last years hue and cry over a spate of killings ordered by various khaps had the political class rushing to their rescue. Veteran Haryana politician Om Prakash Chautala justified the khap in the name of tradition and custom and the much-younger Congress MP Navin Jindal opposed action against them. Political observers say this merely underlines a very real truth that legal weapons cannot change the mindset that allows caste-based politics. Dalit activist Chandrabhan Prasad doesnt agree. He says a ban may help but it must be across the board. All caste organizations play a negative role as they perpetuate the caste value system. Khap panchayats must be banned because they are not only deadly instruments of protecting blood purity and form the backbone of the caste order, they are also terribly feudal and anti-democratic. Often, the constitutionally valid panchayati raj institutions also act as khap panchayats. They should also be banned. But Datta insists a ban may be reductive. It may establish the rule of law, but it does not offer justice to the victims. She adds that a ban would also criminalize the entire community even as it proved unable to address the permeation of violence in the civil society in any radical way . Sociologist Shiv Visvanathan agrees. Modern democracy is not some purist concept that has to sanitize organizations. Khaps can still decide about rites of passage but must seek to operate within the constitutional framework, he says, adding that a ban might simply drive these organizations underground. Why convert a khap into a Klu Klux Klan. In defiant spirit, they seem a long way from that.

High-concept & hatke: A plot in 25 words

Parakram Rautela | TNN

hat can be summarized in a single sentence, doesnt test your brains too much and keeps you entertained for a couple of hours in a dark hall? The plot of a Bollywood masala film? More to the point, the succinct storyline of a high-concept film. The high-concept film is the latest buzzword in an industry that loves hatke terms. Its not new to the west with Steven Spielbergs Jaws considered the trendsetter. That was 36 years ago but it set the tone for a particular kind of movie, namely one with , a universal theme, a likeable hero forced to deal with a big problem and a plot that can be accurately reduced to 25 words. In the years since Jaws, the high-concept movie has got ever grander. From one man-hunting shark prowling the coast of a small town, the high-concept film evolved into Speed, which revolved around a schoolbus full of children, which cannot afford to slow down, else it will blow up. That was 1994 and four years later, there was Godzilla, in which a giant lizard runs amok in Manhattan and Armageddon, which has a meteor about to hit earth. Bollywood has borrowed the high-concept idea and as usual, thoroughly Indi-

anized it. The star has been ripped out, the budget has been stripped down, the plot is explained in 25 words, always with a hook that ensnares attention. Recent examples include DevD, Peepli Live and the Marathi-language Harishchandrachi Factory. Filmmakers say the development is at least partly a result of the 2008 economic downturn. Sidhartha Jain, producer and CEO of iRock Films, admits his upcoming Ragini MMS was conceived at a time budgets were drying up. Its about a man and a woman coupling in an abandoned house and a ghost that wants in on the action. Jain says its a clever plot to disguise the fact that we couldnt afford the stars any longer. So we had to think of movies that people would want to see even without the stars in them. Amole Gupte, who wrote the highly successful film on dyslexia Taare Zameen Par, laughingly says he has always been in recession and it is a fact of life that if you do not have the budget, then you need to make up for that with a better story idea. Ranjan Singh, a cinema marketing consultant, says high-concept films are the perfect answer to a problem particular to directors namely budgetary constraints , that prevent working with an A-list star on every movie. You make one movie with

BIG CONCEPT: A poster of Jaws (1975), regarded as a trendsetter

Akshay Kumar and the next one you make on a shoestring budget. This can help the creative process. Finally the smaller-budget movies also allow , younger directors to be more experimental. Something they might not have been able to do if they were directing a big star, Singh says. Producer Sidhartha Jain says he has a slew of high-concept films lined up. After Ragini MMS, we have Indias first zombie film, then Indias first vampire film, and finally a space adventure film. It is important to note that he explains each in just a few words. Sidhartha Roy Kapur, CEO Motion Pictures of UTV says if a high-concept film is , good, it can be very good. He counts three DevD, Peepli Live, Harishchandrachi Factory as the best UTV has made. The first two were a box office success; the third was Indias 2009 entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar award. They are very easy to market, he says. Why? Is producers attention span getting shorter? Not quite, says Sidhartha Jain, its the audiences attention span that is getting shorter. He says that now, a large part of a films marketing occurs before its release and social media plays a large part in deciding how well a film will do. A concept that can be pithily expressed goes down

well with an overwhelmingly young audience and tends to be passed along more quickly on the internet. The more popular your movie is on social media, the better it will do at the box office, says Jain. Ranjan Singh says the high-concept film is in sync with the Friday-Saturday-Sunday Syndrome, namely that todays producers need to recover expenses on the first weekend because next week there will be something else to watch. This is why youve got to get your film seen and talked about before people actually watch the movie. But will the high-concept, low-wordcount film eventually lead to dumbed-down moviemaking? Will we, like the west, go from crisp central ideas to over-the-top themes? Perhaps, say moviemakers, but technology will certainly play a bigger role and the zombie and space adventure films currently on the drawing board are part of that process. Are Indian audiences ready for films sans Bollywoods traditional masala some laughs, a few tears, an extended family drama, action, love, a happy ending? Not yet, says trade analyst Komal Nahta, not for another five to 10 years. Then, he predicts, the market will be more fragmented and a section of the audience will be ready for a narrative that travels a straight line and tells just one story .

Pakistan was scrambling to find out how its intelligence machinery failed miserably to track Osama, who was living comfortably in a sprawling mansion, just a stones throw from the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul. Pakistan's envoy to the US Husain Haqqani promised a full inquiry into the intelligence failure. Intelligence failures are not unique to the ISI. We will inquire into the causes of what happened but its really important not to turn it into any allegation of complicity, he said The Taliban stepped into the picture with a statement threatening revenge for Osama's killing. A spokesperson for the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban said in an audio message that Pakistan


White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan: Certainly


will be the prime target... Now Pakistani rulers are on our hit list
Our government is in fiscal distress. To make contributions to a country that isn't going to be fully supportive is a problem for many, said US
senate intelligence committee chair Dianne Feinstein

his location there outside of the capital raises questions. We are talking to the Pakistanis about this. It's inconceivable that bin Laden did not have a support system in the country that allowed him to remain there for an extended period of time
German chancellor Angela Merkel:

Piling it on Pakistan, Afghanistan president President Hamid Karzai said the focus of terrorism remains beyond Afghan borders, adding:

The al-Qaida leaders death has exposed some gaps in antiterrorism campaign

For years we have said that the fight against terrorism is not in Afghan villages and houses. Stop bombarding Afghan villages and searching Afghan people

Republican senator Susan Collins ...Pakistan at times is playing a double game. To make contributions to a country that isnt going to be fully supportive is a problem for many Author Salman Rushdie: In the

French foreign minister Alain Juppe: I find it a little

aftermath of the raid... all the big questions need to be answered by Pakistan. The old flim-flam (Who, us? We knew nothing!) just isnt going to wash. If it does not provide those answers, perhaps the time has come to declare it a terrorist state and expel it from the comity of nations

difficult to imagine that the presence of someone like bin Laden ... in a relatively small town could go completely unnoticed. Pakistans position lacks clarity in our view
British PM David Cameron:

There will be lots of questions about what support system bin Laden had in Pakistan, and we need those questions answered


Pak scrambled jets, didnt know of mission: Zardari
Omer Farooq Khan | TNN


Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday said the CIA exploited its intelligence leads to reach Osama bin Laden taking advantage of much superior technological assets while expressing reservations about the manner in which the operation was carried out. (The) unauthorized unilateral action cannot be taken as a rule, Pakistans foreign ministry said in a statement. Such an event shall not serve as a future precedent for any state including the US. Such actions undermine cooperation and may also sometime constitute threat to international peace and security . The statement said the US president Barack Obama and the secretary of state Hillary Clinton also acknowledged Pakistans cooperation. CIA and some other friendly intelligence agencies have benefited a great deal from the intelligence provided by ISI, it said. ISIs achievements against al-Qaida and in the war on terror are more than any other intelligence agency . The statement said Abbottabad had been under intelligence focus since 2003 resulting in the arrest of high value al-Qaida target in 2004. It said the ISI has been sharing information with CIA and other friendly intelligence agen-

Zardari said although the two countries had not worked together on the operation, a decade of partnership between the US and Pakistan led up to bin Ladens elimination
cies about the target compound since 2009. The intelligence flow indicating some foreigners in the surroundings of Abbottabad continued till mid-April 2011. The statement described bin Ladens death as an important milestone in the fight against terrorism and said it has been making serious efforts to bring him to justice. It denied reports suggesting that its military or civilian leadership had any prior knowledge of the US operation. Reports about US helicopters taking off from Ghazi Airbase are absolutely false and incorrect. Neither any base

or facility inside Pakistan was used nor army provided any assistance. The statement said US helicopters entered Pakistan using blind spots in the radar coverage thanks to hilly terrain. It said Pakistan Air Force scrambled jets within minutes of receiving information. This has been corroborated by the White House Advisor John Brennan. The Pakistans military establishment continued to remain tightlipped. But president Asif Ali Zardari tried damage control. Some in the US press have suggested that Pakistan lacked vitality in its pursuit of terrorism, or worse yet that we were disingenuous and actually protected the terrorists we claimed to be pursuing. Such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesnt reflect fact, Zardari wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece. Zardari said Pakistan had never been and never will be the hotbed of fanaticism that is often described by the media. He said Pakistan had as much reason to despise al-Qaida as any nation. The war on terrorism is as much Pakistans war as it is Americas. He said Pakistan has suffered repeated terror attacks on its civilians and security services and has paid an enormous price for its stand against terrorism.

US feared Pak would leak info on mission: CIA


Activists of Jamaat-ud-Dawa pray for Osama bin Laden on a street in Karachi

Beijing upset about being kept in dark, backs Islamabad

Saibal Dasgupta | TNN

Beijing: China is upset about being kept in the dark about the raid to get Osama. It has suddenly wonders whether years of cultivating the political class and spending billions of dollars in Pakistan may have gone waste. On Tuesday, Beijing said it feared instability in Pakistan and would support the Zardari regime and even indicated it would not pressure Pakistan to hand over perpetuators of the Mumbai terrorist attack to India. Pakistan government is

firm in its resolve and strong in action in the fight against terrorism, and made important contribution to the war on terrorism, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman

Jiang Yu said. We respect, understand and support Pakistans position, she said in reply to a question on whether Beijing believed Islamabads claim that it did not know about US operation in advance. Chinese officials and experts are privately asking

why US raiders did not try to take Osama alive if they had known his whereabouts since last August. And whether there was an underhand deal involving the raiders, some elements in the Pakistani government and Osamas supporters. It would not have been possible for the US to carry out anti-terrorist operations without Pakistani government assistance. But in this particular case, I think the local government did not know about it, said Rong Ying of the state-run China Institute of International Studies.

New Delhi: The charade is over. CIA chief Leon Panetta confirmed that Pakistan was kept out of the loop on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden as US feared that the plan would be leaked to the al-Qaida leader allowing him to flee. Operational imperatives were not the only reason for the secrecy and stealth of the US action with Panetta telling Time magazine, It was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission. They might alert the targets. The candid US assessment on the reliability of its nominal south Asian ally as Time put it was matched by a Pakistani statement saying the commando operation was an unauthorized, unilateral action without its knowledge. Pakistan foreign ministry said that the US helicopters used in the operation to kill bin Laden exploited blind spots in radar. However,Islamabad kept mum whether its establishment and intelligence agencies knew about Osamas presence in Abbottabad. According to Panetta, CIA gamed the operation repeatedly and considered expanding the assault to include oth-


er countries like Pakistan but opinion was strongly ranged against such a move. The goahead was given even though Panettas aides were only 6080% confident that Osama was in the Abbottabad house as sustained satellite imagery failed to produce a single photo of the al-Qaida boss or his family . While Pakistani assistance might have provided clinching evidence, suspicion that Osama could not be living in plain sight in a city with army presence, a few hundred metres from a military academy without local assistance prompted US planners to work on their own. I think its inconceivable that bin Laden did not have a support system in the country that allowed him to remain there for an extended period of time, US deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism John Brennan told reporters in Washington.

Come out with real Osama killed Musharrafs lie nailed on TV facts: Urdu press by bodyguard? F M




New Delhi: Pakistans influential Urdu press has come down heavily on the way Islamabad was kept out of loop on the US operation that killed Osama bin Laden. It raised fears that the countrys nuclear assets could be the next target and questioned the allpowerful armys abilities to defend its sovereignty . The manner in which bin Laden was killed near a Pakistan military installation would give anti-Pakistan forces an excuse to say that could get access to the countrys nukes, wrote Azim M Mian in The Daily Jang. He said the operation would have little impact on an already weak government but could put Pakistans military leadership and public in a spot. The military should come out with the operations real facts instead of remaining silent. He cautioned that the operation could encourage Americans to carry out similar missions inside Pakistan. Mian wrote Pakistani public was confused whether the operation was carried out with


the assistance of Pakistans military and intelligence or the US did it on its own. If American can go ahead with such an operation without consulting Pakistan and disregarding its sacrifices in the war on terror, it could disregard our military and intelligence assistance and take steps for furthering interests of Afghanistan, India and the western world. In a piece titled questions... questions...questions columnist Ansar Abassi targeted Pakistan PM Yousaf Gilani in the same paper for declaring it a great victory without realizing it was the worst violation of Pakistans sovereignty.

uch like the audience it serves, the Pakistani press has been reporting the US strike with a volatile mixture of rejection of the US version, rage that a foreign power could operate on its soil and roguish acceptance it is best Americans take most of the credit. Tuesdays Dawn led the way by practically rejecting the approved American version of events in Abbottabad and headlining its report Was Osama killed by US troops or his own guard? Dawn quotes an unnamed Pakistani official to indicate bin Laden was killed by one of his own guards in line with his will to avert his capture. The official, whom Dawn describes as having visited the scene of the night assault soon after the US team left is quoted to say it doesnt look like he could have been killed at point blank range from such a close angle, while offering resistance. Dawn was said to be first off the block with its alternative theory But soon enough, .


it was followed by The Nation, which relayed an extraordinary account that included crucial aerial and ground support from Pakistan. The Nation said the US helicopters came in after four helicopters of the Pakistan Army which withdrew later. , It said Pakistan Army provided ground support. The Pakistani medias unwillingness to corroborate the American account of events extends to the death toll, the number of people captured from bin Ladens compound and their identities.

ormer Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and the chief of its army was trapped on TV by an international channel which pointed out that the dictator has repeatedly said Osama bin Laden wasnt in Pakistan. Speaking on CNNs Anderson Cooper 360 degree show, Musharraf, who is in exile in London, denied that he had ever said Osama was not in Pakistan. When the channel host insisted that the channel had telecast several interviews where Musharraf had said so, the ex-president flatly denied it. As head of

Jan 18, 2002: I think now, frankly, he is dead for the reason he is a... kidney patient. I dont know if he has been getting treatment in Afghanistan... Nov 20, 2010: On whether Pakistan will hand over Osama to the Americans after his arrest, Musharraf said the matter is sensitive and they would have to think about it

Pakistans army, Musharraf was also boss of the Inter-Services Intelligence, which is now being widely accused of hiding Osama in a safehouse, a stones throw from a mili-

tary academy . CNN: Mr President for years US officials, intelligence officials have been saying Osama bin Laden was in fact in Pakistan, you have been denying

for years now, categorically saying no, he was in Afghanistan... do you now admit you were wrong? Musharraf: No, I dont think I was ever denying, I was asked everywhere... and my first response invariably always was that I dont know, I dont know where he is. CNN: Actually sir thats not true. You said repeatedly he was in Afghanistan Musharraf: And I used to ask, what intelligence do you have? He could be in Afghanistan. But I never, I always said he could be in Pakistan or Afghanistan. I never said no, he was never in Pakistan, I never said that.

Zawahiri not in the same class as bin Laden


Pak has lost its self-esteem: Imran


New Delhi: Former cricket captain and politician Imran Khan has said that the killing of Osama bin Laden by the US forces in Abbottabad has raised questions about the countrys sovereignty . The big questions that everyone began asking, and for which no answers have been forthcoming, were: who allowed the Americans to come to Pakistan and carry out this attack? And whatever happened to the Pakistani Army and its intelligence? Khan wrote in The Independent newspaper on Tuesday . He further wrote, There is not just confusion that prevails in Pakistan, but also a national depression at the loss of national dignity and selfesteem as well as sovereignty . There is no answer to these


questions and this simply allows allegations from the West and from India to go unchallenged that Pakistan has been protecting bin Laden and other terrorists; that Pakistan knew he was here and kept

him safe. Imran, who now runs the Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said that it is time for Pakistan to get out of this war and to recognise that continuing along this path would lead to doom. Pakistan can no longer

afford the human and financial costs and must, along with the rest of the world, realise that ultimately the solutions to these problems are political and the weaker the state becomes, the less likely it will be to tackle the menace of extremism, he said. The US has won its battle against bin Laden, but the war remains open ended, he concluded. In its editorial headlined, End of bin Laden: Will it end extremism?, The Daily Star, Dhaka agreed with the view. Physical elimination of a leader is one thing, overcoming his ideological hold, however restricted that may be, is quite another. Though bin Ladens methods were violent, an element of his appeal was due to Western hypocrisy in dealing with Muslim issues, especially that of Palestine.

New Delhi: A broad consensus that Ayman al Zawahiri will succeed Osama bin Laden as al-Qaidas Amir seems matched by an equally strong convergence that the Egyptians limitations and a churn in Muslim societies pose serious hurdles to his leadership of global jihad. With his lean visage, burning eyes and a narrative of personal sacrifice and tales from the Afghanistan jihad, Osama became a fierce symbol of resistance against the US for jihadi groups driven by their vision of a harsh version of the Islamic caliphate. Zawahiri is not in the same class. Zawahiris jihadi credentials are not in doubt. He is a tough ideologue but lacks the mythic quality that made Osama an icon for his followers. Zawahiri did spent time in Egypts jails in the mid-70s and there are reports that he was tortured. While that may be true, some versions have it that he did not prove a tough nut to crack. A qualified surgeon, Zawahiri hails from a wellknown family His departure . from Egypt and an enduring partnership with Osama


should have given him the legitimacy of an anointed successor. But it is unclear whether Arab leaders will accept him, with al Qaida affiliates in north Africa, Yemen and Somalia having drifted away in recent years. He will be under pressure to avenge Osamas death with a spectacular strike, but with US in hot pursuit of alQaida leaders and the deadly shadow of drones, this will not be easy. Even sympathizers in the Pakistani establishment might not be as forthcoming as before. His influence on Osama had itself led to some resentment within al-Qaida even though he has been in the know of all major operations. Seen as a polarizing figure, he may not enjoy the

sheikh of Islam status Osama did. Some reports say Zawahiri is a disputatious figure who will not command Osamas authority . The recent revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya as well as popular unrest in Syria are questioning the relevance of al-Qaida. The upsurges do not flow from jihadist philosophy as pictures of unveiled women in Tunisia and Egypt show. This is a major challenge for the outfit as it has positioned itself as the real opposition to despotic regimes in north Africa, West Asia and central Asia. The repressive action of these regimes did provide alQaida with traction as it declared war on American puppet governments. But if emerging politics in some of these nations accommodates conservative or religious opinion, even finding space for the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaidas appeal will wane further. Without its inspirational leader, a unique beacon for those drawn in by a script dominated by grievance and a harkening to a glory past that erases all doubts with a seamless religious-political vision, al-Qaida may find Zawahiri wanting.

If Osama is martyred, we will avenge his death: Taliban

Kabul: The Afghan Taliban said on Tuesday it was premature to comment on Osama bin Ladens death in Pakistan at the hands of US military operatives, posting a statement voicing doubt over his killing. Since the Americans have not provided convincing documents to prove their claim, and sources close to Sheikh Osama bin Laden have not confirmed or denied the reports about his martyrdom yet... (we) see it as premature to issue a statement in this regard, the Taliban said in a statement on their website. The insurgents Pakistani allies across the Afghan border living in lawless Pashtundominated tribal areas have said the militia had not itself managed to confirm bin Ladens death. The Pakistani Taliban has threatened attacks on Pakistan and the United States if it is confirmed that US forces killed bin Laden in the night-time raid not far from the capital city . If he has been martyred, we will avenge his death and launch attacks against US and Pakistani security forces, their spokesman said. AFP



Osama bin Ladens death prompted a flurry of jokes on Twitter, TV shows, and Facebook. TOI presents the best and the worst of the lot
Bin Laden: Mar-10-57 - May-1-11: Provider of F-16, enabler of debt rescheduling, facilitator of coalition support fund. May he rest in peace Osama bin Laden was RIP (Resting in Pakistan) I bet bin Laden regrets allowing his iPhone app to "use his current location" They should have captured bin Laden alive and made him continually go through airport security for the rest of his life The 72 virgins all have headaches tonight At least he got to see the royal wedding before he went out So Osama Bin Laden is dead... Amazing what the Americans can do when the Playstation Network is down God will pass judgment; the US Military simply arranged the meeting! Q: "What color were Osama's eyes?" A: "Blue. One blew this way, one blew that way" It seems to me, you lived your life like a sandal in the bin BREAKING: Osama been killed by an elite killing force ... in other news Chuck Norris just returned home from his trip to Pakistan Mansion in Abbottabad available for rent. Safe place, stone's throw away from Pakistan Military Academy. Privacy guaranteed (President Asif Ali) Zardari still consulting with prime minister to decide whether to take credit or cash for the operation

It looks like President Obama has a new campaign slogan: 'Yes I Did' When he heard about it, former President Bush was furious and said, 'Wait a minute.. I could have used seals?!' Obama: "Sorry it took so long to get you a copy of my birth certificate. I was too busy killing Osama bin Laden.'' RIP Osama bin Laden, World Hide and Go Seek Champion (2001-2011)

No Joke: Hurt Locker team plans film

The filmmakers behind the war-on-terror drama The Hurt Locker are moving forward with an action thriller about the hunt for Osama bin Laden

Americans rejoice at return to hard power

Osama Killing Stops Talk Of Declinism Gripping US

Chidanand Rajghatta | TNN

Washington: Barack Obama may have a newly-minted slogan for his second shot at the White House: Yes I Did! is the recommended replacement for the Yes We Can catchphrase he used during his first presidential campaign. The joke, relayed in cyberspace, is meant to convey the image of a tough new Obama supplanting a weak president in Americas popular consciousness. It was only a few days ago that Americans were lamenting the decline of their country the waning of its status as , a sole superpower. Rising China and shambolic India were invoked as serious competition

JUSTICE AT LAST: A woman holds a candle and a photo of her uncle, who died on 9/11, in New York

although the US GDP in absolute terms in double that of the two countries combined. In internal memos, scholarly US officials had begun constructing a new national nar-

rative of declinism, defined as the periodic certainty that we are losing all the things that have made us a great nation. The new USA, according to this line of thinking, would eschew

its assertive foreign policy in favour of compromise and consensus, size down its military and depend more on soft power and smart power etc. Hold that thought. At one stroke, in one covert action that involved deep commando ingress into enemy territory (if you discard the myth of Pakistan being an ally), Obama has, momentarily at least, arrested all the talk of declinism. American machismo has leapt back to front and centre. Criticized as nave and timid, reminded that he is one of the few presidents who has not served in the military (and is in fact, a post World War, post-Vietnam and even post Cold War leader), Obama is

now being praised for the use of hard power to achieve American objectives, and urged to stay the course. What happened on Sunday cannot be described as anything but a triumph of hard power, of military intelligence, skill, precision, and courage. It was also an outstanding example of the United States going it alone, Helle Dale, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, observed, arguing that the presidents policy of increased drone attacks on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border have had far more impact on the activity of terrorists than mountains of foreign aid given to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pak schemes using US funds in disarray


Subodh Varma



New Delhi had twice tipped US on Osama lair

Sachin Parashar | TNN

India needs to brush up on special ops

Josy Joseph | TNN

I envy Pakistans win-win situation anti-jihadi dollars, pro-jihadi donors.

Obamas poker face hid worlds best kept secret

Boston: Between attending a glamorous White House correspondents dinner and meeting families of victims of the Alabama storms, US president Barack Obama successfully managed to put up a poker face for nearly 72 hours before he announced Osama bin Ladens death to the world. The President had on Friday given the go ahead for the raids by US elite forces on the compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan where bin Laden was hiding with some members of his family . Between then and till the time he announced late Sunday night that the al-Qaeda chief was dead, Obama had balanced public events with a series of private military briefings. But nothing leaked. All presidents keep secrets, but over a 72-hour span leading to bin Ladens death, Obamas capacity to keep a poker face was tested as never before, Los Angeles Times said. On Friday, after signing off on the plan to send intelligence operatives to kill bin Laden, Obama flew to Alabama where he toured areas affected by the devastating outbreak of tornadoes that killed at least 297 people. That night, Obama gave a commencement speech at Miami Dade College. He also met with the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour, whose flight was postponed. On Saturday night, he had hosted the White House Correspondents Association dinner, attended by Hollywood celebrities, top journalists and politicians. PTI

New Delhi: It now turns out that Indian agencies had twice warned their US counterparts about the presence of Osama bin Laden in an urbanized and heavily populated area not very far from Islamabad once in mid-2007 and again in early 2008 when they specifically mentioned his likely presence in a cantonment area. On both occasions, the Americans either did not take the Indian intelligence seriously or perhaps were too busy working on their own inputs about Osamas whereabouts. The first time Indian security agencies gave this information to the US authorities was in mid-2007, soon after a Taliban meeting in Peshawar which was attended by Osamas No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri. According to the information gathered by Indian intelligence operatives, this meeting was also attended by top leaders of Haqqani network and at least two ISI officials. Days after the meeting, Zawahiri visited Islamabad as per the information available with Indian authorities and this formed the basis of Indias first input to the US about Osamas hideout. The urgency with which Zawahiri visited Islamabad or the area in its vicinity suggested that he was there for some purpose. We told them about Zawahiri visiting Islamabad and we also told them that we believed Osama may not be hiding in caves but in a highly urbanized area somewhere near Islamabad. Of course, nobody had spotted him and it was a conclusion we drew on the basis of the information we got, said

Pak agencies had been tipping off Osama: Wiki

merican diplomats were told that one of the key reasons why they had failed to find Osama bin Laden for years was that Pakistans security services tipped him off whenever US troops approached, according to claims made in leaked US government documents obtained by WikiLeaks. Pakistans ISI directorate also allegedly smuggled al-Qaida terrorists through airport security to help them avoid capture and sent a unit into Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban, the WikiLeaks cables obtained by UKs Daily Telegraph show. PTI

a top intelligence official involved in processing the information. In the next six months, Indian operatives every now and then came up with information about movement of Osamas confidants in the region. The next definite input passed on to the US agencies by Indian officials was in early 2008 when there was specific mention made of his illness and his likely presence in a cantonment area. This time we specifically mentioned about his presence in a cantonment area. It was because we had definite information that his movement was restricted owing to his illness and that it would have been impossible for him to go to an ordinary hospital. We told the Americans that only in a cantonment area could he be looked after by his ISI or other Pakistani benefactors, said the official.

New Delhi: Most special operations undertaken by India have been disastrous, and it still does not have capabilities to execute the kind of operation that the US did in Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden, experts said. Several experts in Special Forces said a complete lack of political vision and shortsighted policies including unwanted expansion of the Special Forces ranks have all bogged down the Indian Special Forces. Army has the largest number of Special Forces, while Navy IAF, NSG , and RAW all have components of men trained to do operations with strategic aims. I cant think of a single operation that serves as an example of Special Forces operation at a strategic level, said Lt Gen R K Nanavatty, who has been involved in planning aspects of Indian Special Forces and has been studying the subject for years. We are not capable for many reasons. Political understanding of special operations is important. Then only you can commit money time and , technology Nanavatty said. ,

ast year, a team of top US auditors flew over to Pakistan to check out on how aid to their close ally is being used. What they found was a picture of disarray Here . is one glaring example: of the 140 laptops that were sent to Peshawar for smooth functioning of government staff, 72 laptops valued at $101,000 were missing. Enquiries showed that employees had Soldiers and residents stand over covered debris, as it was taken them home. The audit team from the moved out by military vehicles from the compound within which Office of Inspectors General Osama bin Laden was killed, in Abbottabad gave this terse order: USAIDPakistan take immediate steps According to the latest grammes had made little to confirm the existence of 72 quarterly report on the civil- progress in achieving the laptop computers. If the lap- ian assistance programme goals because of hostile envitop computers cannot be pro- prepared jointly by the de- ronment, lack of baseline data duced, the mission should is- partments of state and de- and lack of oversight. As an sue a bill of collection to the fense, and USAID, the US em- example the auditors said that contractor for $1,400 for each bassy in Islamabad had re- $767,841 worth of expenditure missing laptop. ceived $3.931 billion for the in upper FATA was questionIn October 2009, US Con- programme. But oversight of- able because of inappropriate gress passed the Enhanced ficials from these powerful accounting. Partnership with Pakistan arms of the US government After President Obama took Act, which authorizes up to were aghast at what they over, the US shifted its assis$1.5 billion a year for devel- found in Pakistan. tance strategy by trying to give opment, economic, and demOne year after the launch funds to Pakistani NGOs rather ocratic assistance to Pakistan of the civilian assistance strat- than US contractors. Over $269 for fiscal years 2010 through egy in Pakistan, USAID has million has been given to local 2014. This is civilian assis- not been able to demonstrate NGOs according to the report. tance as opposed to the huge measurable progress, the re- However, this strategy too has military assistance that Pak- ports says. run into trouble with several istan gets for fighting the TalTwo audits done during the NGOs being accused of emiban in Afghanistan. last quarter of 2010 found pro- bezzlement of funds.

Osama death wont mark end of terror


Hackers attack Osama Twitter witness site


ohaib Athar gained instant celebrity status after he livetweeted about the US military action at Abbottabad in which Osama bin Laden was killed. But the IT professional himself fell victim to hackers who compromised his personal website to leverage upon his new-found fame. Athars Twitter profile carried the address to his website and many netizens curious about the incident were quick to visit the link looking for more information. Security agency Websense Security Labs discovered that the hacked web address

instead led victims to an alternative site that carried a kit known as the Black Hole Exploit. According to Websenses Security expert Patrick

Runald the kit is a do-ityourself exploit that allows individuals to deliver many different types of malware. Hackers are infamous for immediately taking advan-

tage of notoriety and related searches in an attempt to infect massive numbers of computer users, Runald explained on the companys blog. In other concerted attacks, computer hackers used the curiosity surrounding Osama bin Ladens death to create spam email campaigns that offered news and images of the slain terrorist. Researchers have cautioned netizens to refrain from clicking on images or links in search results to unknown or suspicious domains. We want to warn everyone looking for news on bin Ladens death to be cautious when clicking new links, Runald said.

New Delhi: In a remark which reflects Indian security and intelligence agencies assessment of Osama bin Ladens killing, home minister P Chidambaram said the al-Qaidas chiefs death would not mean end of terror and India would have to be very vigilant until Pakistan dismantled terror infrastructure within its territory . This (Osamas death) does not mean the end of terror. Al-Qaida never directly threatened India, Chidambaram said. The terrorist organizations that threaten us like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) continue to threaten India and plot against India. As long as Pakistan entertains these terror outfits and does not dismantle the terror infrastructure, we will have to be very vigilant, he told a TV news channel. The remarks came after Chidambarams official statement over Osamas killing deep inside Pakistan on Monday in which he demanded Pakistan hand over wanted terrorists, including perpetrators of 26/11. He said the location of Osamas hideout confirmed Pakistan was a sanctuary for terrorists.

Notorious ISI still plays the double game


US-Pak terms of engagement could be in for overhaul

Indrani Bagchi | TNN

New Delhi: After the initial shock of watching Osama bin Laden being snatched from under their noses, the Pakistani establishment hastily covered up on their participation in the biggest top-secret operation in recent times. Pakistans envoy to the UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, boasted, It is a joint operation, secretly collaborated, professionally carried out and satisfactorily ended. But the US seems unwilling to play along. John Brennan, US deputy national security adviser, told journalists bluntly, We shared our intelligence on this bin Laden compound with no other country including Pak, istan. That was for one reason and one reason alone: We believed it was es-

sential to the securitelligence and operaty of the operation RECOVERIES FROM tions or, occasionaland our personnel. ly picked off a key alOSAMAS LAIR The new asQaida leader. Computer hard drives full sertiveness by US is It was a throwof key information unnerving to a Pakback to the Ronald istan long accusReagan years when Personal computers tomed to calling the US overlooked PakThumb drives shots in a relationship istans nuclear Electronic equipment where it was the weapons proweaker partner. Since gramme in return DVDs and documents 9/11, Pakistans forfor Pakistani coopOne official calls the eration for defeating mer president Pervez Musharraf initially USSR in Afghanishaul a motherload compromised when tan. The ask no of information US deputy secretary questions mantra of state Richard Armitage delivered worked. By 1990, Pakistan was a fullhis with-us-or-against-us ultimatum. blown nuclear weapons power and But in the ensuing decade, Pakistan the Russians had lost. played with the Taliban and al-Qaida Spoiled by its earlier Afghan exeven as it gave bases to the US for in- perience, Pakistan failed to read the

tea leaves when the US subtly changed the rules as Afghanistan sank into insurgency and US stared at defeat. Islamabad got over $20 billion from the US while the war almost brought a superpower to its knees. Yet, so long as George Bush was in office, US and Pakistan played by the Ronald Reagan rules. Obama changed the discourse by slapping Pak to the Af. US special forces started going into Pakistan dressed as diplomats, contractors and administrative staff as the fight against terrorism shifted territory. Pakistan woke up to it only when US contractor Raymond Davis was picked up. In the US, speculation has it that Davis may have been on to something big when the Pakistanis grabbed him. In light of the Osama operation, US

anxiety to pay large sums of money to get Davis out may be understandable. Hours after Davis exited Pakistan, it was hit by deadly drones, an unusual sign of US aggression. That came to a head with the death of Osama. Pakistan believes it has some unbeatable points of leverage with the US. First, its geography makes it a strategic asset, no matter how rogue it gets. Second, its ability to nurture Taliban and al-Qaida which kept the US and Afghanistan bleeding, and a role for Pakistan in resolving Afghanistan to its convenience. Meanwhile, US was reducing its Pak burden it quietly shifted over 20% of its supply chain to Afghanistan through Russia. Technology whereby , drones operated from Nevada bumped off militants in FATA, also helped.

New Delhi: The direct role of Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence in harbouring Osama bin Laden, first elsewhere and then in the cooler climes of Abbottabad where he met his maker, may never be known. But there is growing realization around the world, with some US senators on Tuesday reinforcing the charge against Pakistan security and intelligence agencies of playing a double game of staggering proportions in the so-called global war against terrorism, that it will be virtually impossible to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Islamist terror till one of its main benefactors is neutered. From the Haqqani network in Afghanistan to the Lashkare-Taiba operations in India, the shadowy ISI has long emerged as the prime clandestine sponsor and facilitator of militant Islam and transnational terrorism across the world. Just last month, for instance, it came to light that secret US files sent to interrogators in Guantanamo Bay held ISI should be ranked with extremist outfits as al-Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. ISIs two main targets, of course, have always been India and Afghanistan, with the clear agenda being to make the former bleed through a thousand cuts, while facilitating the installation of a friendly regime in the latter. ISI operates with the mindset of a semi-criminal or a mafia don, indulging in activities such as killing innocents. Its an integral part of the Pakistan army and plays a very crucial role vis-vis India and Afghanistan. ISI has been using terrorism as a state activity for long, says former Intelligence Bureau chief Ajit Doval. ISI, of course, draws its support, sustenance and strength from its big brother, the Pakistan army. It is no happenstance that Gen

ISI chief Shuja Pasha (right) with General Kayani

Kayani was the ISI chief before he took over as army chief in 2007. Or, that the present ISI chief Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha was the directorgeneral of military operations before taking charge of the intelligence agency which , even has successfully dabbled since the 1970s in controlling Pakistans domestic politics to a large extent. That the ISI has virtually no oversight in terms of civilian or political control was brought home when the new civilian government in Pakistan in 2008 tried to bring ISI under its control but had to embarrassingly backtrack within a few hours. Though it was created soon after the Indo-Pak conflict over J&K in 1947-48 to plug the gaps in intelligence sharing among the Pakistani armed forces, the ISI took some time to gain global notoriety as a state within a state. It really came into its own in the 1980s when CIA and others used it to funnel arms and money to the Mujahideen battling the Soviets in Afghanistan. From there on, there was no stopping the ISI from becoming one of the most powerful intelligence agencies in the world. Concomitant with this was the realization that it was futile to confront New Delhi in terms of conventional military strength, and therefore the need to resort to irregular warfare or proxy war to bleed India.


PEARL BAILEY, American entertainer



You never find yourself until you face the truth.

Covertly Does It
USs anti-Osama operation should inspire India to re-evaluate its security strategies
Ajai Sahni

Home Truths
Pakistan must do more to nail terror elements

sama bin Ladens killing deep inside Pakistan would appear to lend credence to those voicing scepticism about the prospect of India-Pakistan rapprochement. They could understandably point to the presence of not just al-Qaida but overtly anti-India elements on Pakistani soil. However, the event should not be allowed to derail resumption of the dialogue process announced recently. True, several outstanding issues exist between the two countries. But these cant be resolved through hostility. The Indian government has shown perseverance by initiating re-engagement with our neighbour; care must be taken to ensure there is no loss of momentum. Given the hard lessons of past conflict, both sides must know dialogue is the only way forward. Nonetheless, Pakistan must now appreciate that terrorism is a key concern for India just as it is with the US and has to be an important component of talks. Constructive bilateral relations will require that the Pakistani authorities come out of denial mode. Islamabad can no longer refute that terrorist elements of various hues have sheltered within its territory. Pakistans ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, has said that had there been intelligence about bin Ladens whereabouts, authorities in his country would have surely acted. Unfortunately, Pakistans track record in such matters hasnt inspired confidence, despite the billions in US aid received over the last decade for the war against terror. Bin Laden represented an ideology of violence that continues to inspire India-focussed terrorist outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-eMuhammed. Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed roams free in Pakistan, facing no constraints when openly making hate speeches against India. The Pakistani handlers and operational masterminds behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack continue to evade justice in Pakistani courts due to poor prosecution. Above all, Pakistan is itself a victim of terrorism, having lost countless innocent lives at the hands of these criminal organisations. Thousands more have lost their homes and had their lives disrupted. According to Pakistans own 2009-10 economic survey report, terrorism cost the country 6% of GDP that year. If the menace continues, massive amounts of development spending will have to be diverted towards security needs. Pakistan cant afford the opportunity cost. Islamabad must haul up its security establishment for not doing enough to nail terror elements. The country has enough on its plate, with the economy in poor shape and sectarian strife raising its head ever so often. Its in both Pakistans and Indias interest to use strong ties to foster growth and stability in the region. Greater synergy in trade and enhanced people-to-people contact will help in this effort. As will Pakistans demonstrated resolve in taking concerted action against violent extremism. Failure in this regard would further hurt its image, which has been hit by the US strike against bin Laden.

n the wake of the dramatic US operation at Abbottabad, which ended in Osama bin Ladens death, some fantasists here have begun to wonder whether India has the capabilities to carry out such strikes. The question can and should be quickly answered. Given the experience of 26/11 in Mumbai and the quality of responses witnessed there, as well as in a host of earlier operations, and knowledge of capacity building thereafter, it should be abundantly clear that India does not have the necessary capabilities to carry out such operations even on its own soil, leave alone deep inside hostile territory. This unfortunate circumstance is the cumulative result of a systematic neglect and weakening of Indias security apparatus, and the dismantling of covert capabilities by successive administrations over decades. This does not, of course, mean that such capabilities cannot be restored. Such an outcome would, however, require a measure of strategic acuity, resilience and determination on the part of our political leaders, which they give no evidence of possessing. It is, indeed, difficult to imagine any of Indias present crop of leaders from the Left, the Centre or the Right of the political spectrum doing what President Barack Obama did on April 29, 2011: sitting with national security advisers to evaluate intelligence and then signing, on record, an executive order authorising an operation to execute a terrorist leader on foreign soil. The Abbottabad operation,

and the very long road that led to it, should demonstrate, even to Indias blind leadership, the necessity of creating capacities for covert operations and surgical including deniable strikes in hostile territory within the , context of the long war that the country is currently engaged in with terrorists and their state sponsors. What is little noticed in the frenzied commentary on the bin Laden killing is the fact that it is the culmination of sustained efforts of three successive presidencies, and two presidents at ideological poles, one from the other; and further, that it arises out of the imperatives

Haunting, dead or alive

It is imperative for democracies to develop capacities to protect themselves against enemies who recognise no limits to violence
of a clearly stated counterterrorism policy which declares unambiguously: When terrorists wanted for violation of US law are at large overseas, their return for prosecution shall be a matter of the highest priority and shall be a continuing central issue in bilateral relations with any state that harbours or assists them...If we do not receive adequate cooperation from a state that harbours a terrorist whose extradition we are seeking, we shall take appropriate measures to induce cooperation. Return of suspects by force may be effected without the cooperation of the host government...

Billions of dollars, tremendous diplomatic arm-twisting, and a relentless commitment to their policy goals have enabled the Americans to secure this limited victory, even as Obama concedes, His death does not mark the end of our effort. Indias policy flip flops in the wake of repeated Pakistanbacked terrorist outrages; the constant swing of the pendulum between the fruitless alternatives of talks and no talks with Pakistan; New Delhis importunate appeals to the Pakistani leadership to abandon its visible support to terrorism and to other countries to do what we are unwilling or unable to do ourselves, contrast embarrassingly with American resolution in this case. Of course, US policy has its own contradictions and vulnerabilities in other areas, particularly on the broader AfPak front. It is important to note, however, that the US continues to engage with regimes in Pakistan, in full

awareness of their role in supporting anti-US terrorism, particularly in the AfPak region, without altogether abandoning its own core interests or limiting its strategic and tactical options. Bin Ladens death will have little impact on the organisational and operational capabilities of al-Qaida and its affiliates, including groups operating in India, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-eMuhammed and Harkatul Mujahiddeen, among others. Nevertheless, a complex dynamic has been unleashed by this event, and the circumstances of its occurrence. It is inevitable, given bin Ladens safe house in the heart of a garrison town and in close proximity to major military establishments, that Pakistans role in supporting and sponsoring terrorism will come under microscopic scrutiny from this point on, and this may impose even greater constraints on that countrys adventurism than currently exist. The killing,

moreover, will have an inevitably dampening effect on Islamist extremist terrorism worldwide, in the medium term. This is particularly the case since it occurs against a backdrop of a rising wave of rebellions including peaceful uprisings at once, against authoritarian rule and theocratic oppression, across wide areas of the Muslim world. There is, however, a residual and great danger. Orchestrating a major or catastrophic terrorist strike has now become a survival imperative for al-Qaida and its many affiliates. Only such an attack, or a series of such attacks, can help restore the global jihad, win back weakening support, and stem the progressive fragmentation of these groups under the onslaught of repeated reverses (crucially, bin Laden was only the most prominent and most recent of a string of al-Qaida-affiliated leaders who have been neutralised arrested or killed over the past decade). This creates an imminent threat worldwide, and certainly in India as well. Tremendous vigilance will be needed from overstretched intelligence and security forces in the coming weeks and months to ensure that such risks are not realised. More significantly, however, it is a long-term imperative for democracies to develop systems and capacities to protect themselves against ruthless enemies who recognise no limits to their violence, and to contest the ideologies of hate that are, today, vigorously propagated even within liberal cultures.
The writer is executive director, Institute for Conflict Management and South Asia Terrorism Portal.

It Takes Two
Address both demand and supply side issues
he RBI had a tough call. Inflation was at a discomfiting 9% at March-end. But expectation of a ninth round of interest rate increases also deepened concern about dampened growth. Two sets of data released on the eve of RBIs credit policy review showed good core sector and manufacturing growth. But statistical comfort here cant serve to rationalise the latest hikes of RBIs lending and borrowing rates, which are more hawkish than usual. For one thing, RBI goes by the official index of industrial production, which hit a low 3.6% in February. For another, some forecasts temper expectations on GDP growth. RBIs own peg at 8% this fiscal is less than the governments projected 9%. Why then were rates lifted sharply? Clearly, RBI wants to prevent persisting high inflation translating into prohibitive input costs and fiscal deficits from seriously choking future growth. Manageably less growth in the short run is the trade-off. Insofar as tight monetary policy sends a strong anti-inflationary signal, theres a point there. As a balance, the cash reserve ratio part of deposits banks must park with RBI is untouched to keep some liquidity in the system. Nonetheless, if the price of fuel and manufactured goods has risen, inflation hasnt just been demand-led. While generalised inflations now attracting more attention than food inflation, the latters still at a needling 8.76%, impacting the poor and exposing official apathy. Besides, food demand can only go up in fast-growing India, mandating far-sighted measures to ensure productivity keeps pace. As RBI notes, the monsoons trajectory will shape inflationary expectations ahead. We need to begin overhauling agriculture, via marketing and retail reform to ensure capital flow to farm-to-fork capacity-building, tech-aided farming thats less rain-dependent and R&D. But the governments yet to display reformist zeal about stopping supply side crises from recurring. Thats where the anti-inflation fight falls short.

Literature in English has become diverse

Salman Rushdie reveals he is leaving the chairmanship of the PEN World Voices Festival a part of the worlds oldest international literary and human rights organisation and that hes writing his memoirs in an interview with Sujeet Rajan: I What do you have to say about Siddhartha Mukherjee winning the Pulitzer (for The Emperor of all Maladies A Biography of Cancer)? Yes, you know, hes a friend of mine and i think its a wonderful book, and its completely well deserved, for a surprise. I think its very difficult to take a subject like that and you must not only be authoritative, but also be very engrossing. I think its actually an incredibly readable book apart from anything else. He has a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Hes a great guy Im very hap. py for him and proud of him. I What are your thoughts on the PEN World Voices Festival? For me, its a point of great pride. I started this festival. Its my baby and its now in its seventh year, and its got bigger and bigger every year. This year weve like 100 writers coming in from all over the world, including Nobel laureates like Wole Soyinka and so on and then, some new, young, interesting writers. The great difference this year is we have managed to get the festival a permanent home. Its based in Standard Hotel. I think that gives it a real focus and identity which it needs, so i think it would take it to the next level. For me, its also kind of a swan song. I think, ive done it come out next year. Then, ive sold an idea of a 60-minute drama series to Show Time network. Ill start work on that the moment im finished with the memoir. Meanwhile, there is a movie on Midnights Children thatll be in the theatres next year as well. Were making it right now and by the time we finish with it, itll be next year. I Are you satisfied with the writing that is coming out of India? Yes, India and Pakistan. It used to be all India and no Pakistan. And whats interesting in this generation, in the younger generation, is a number of talented Pakistani writers. And, now i kind of think that theyre giving Indians a run for their money But . you know, the thing i like about what has happened with literature in English is that it has become very diverse. On the one hand, youve very literary work: people like Amit Chaudhary and so on. And, on the other hand, youve much more popular fiction, like a whole spectrum. I think thats what healthy literature needs. It needs to have every kind of writing. I Are expatriate writers going to focus more on India now? I think that writers careers dont go in a straight line, they go in loops. You go back and forth. Ive written books about India and then not about India. Then, everybody said you stopped writing about India and then the next book was about India. Then, people said, Oh, you are going to write about India all the time, and the book after it wasnt about it. So you know writers imagination goes backward and forth and doesnt stick at one place.


and seven years is long enough. So i think after this year, ill hand over the chairmanship to somebody else. I think fresh blood is good. No one should be president for life. I What are you working on right now? Im writing my memoir, which im supposed to deliver by the end of the year, thatll

In dubious battle
Dead, Osama might prove even more of a terrorist rallying point
Jug Suraiya


One can never step into Narayana Murthys shoes. I am just stepping into a position called chair of the board

The gate to peace is openCome France, Italy, UK, America

Osama is dead. Trust Americans to steal the world's attention away from the royal wedding

Is he more dangerous dead than alive? Thats the question that looms over the celebrations at the reported death of a man billed by the US and its allies over the past 10 years as Public Enemy No.1, target of the biggest and at an estimated 1.3 trillion dollars, the costliest manhunt in history Theyve finally . got him. And its over. Or has it just begun? In the Hollywood film El Cid, named after the nationalist hero of medieval Spain, the Spanish troops despair when their leader is killed in battle. Who will now lead them to victory? The generals strap El Cids body onto his warhorse and send it galloping towards the enemy lines. Morale restored by the miracle of their dead hero leading them into battle, the Spaniards win the day The message of the climactic scene in the film is . simple: You can kill a man; you cant kill a man transformed into legend. The covert nature of the US operation that took out Osama, and some 20-odd associates, with near-surgical precision and then disposed of the bodies at sea to obviate his burial place becoming a shrine for would-be jihadis has already started the rumour mills buzzing. Like Saddam Hussein who was finally hanged Osama was said to have many body doubles, look-alikes whose role was to confuse and confound assassins. What proof sceptics are asking is there that the man killed in the raid was really Osama? It is out of such small seeds of doubt or of faith, depending on your viewpoint that imperishable myths are born. Even if its proved beyond all doubt that the worlds most wanted terrorist is really and indisputably dead hell be embalmed in martyrdom. Already the , Taliban has hailed him as a shaheed, a slain hero who inspires others to follow in his path. Political and commercial establishments with American connections all over the world have been put on high alert. While this is a necessary precaution, it remains to be seen what effect Osamas elimination will have on the functioning of his organisation, al-Qaida, and its implications for the US-led campaign against global terrorism, a scourge that has claimed innocent victims among all nationalities and creeds. Reportedly, bin Laden had long ceased being in operational charge of his terrorist network, having assumed the larger stature of an inspirational icon. Death especially a violent and mysterious death such as Osamas cannot diminish such stature but only enhance it. Many idolised images testify to this, from Che Guevara to Netaji Subhas Bose, whose diehard adherents believe that he lives on, though by now well over a hundred years old. In any case, organisations like al-Qaida dont have a centralised command structure but operate by way of autonomous cells so that even if one cell is wiped out the others remain intact. A martyred Osama is likely to prove a better recruiting agent for al-Qaida than when he was alive. President Obama who has taken personal credit for Osamas death and by doing so probably assured himself of a second term in the White House is likely to pull thousands of American troops out of Afghanistan in view of the lowered threat perception following the successful US raid in Abbottabad. But instead of taking his troops back home to America, the president might consider transferring them to Pakistan. That Osama was hiding in plain sight, virtually under Islamabads nose, shows the duplicitous role Pakistan has long played as Washingtons ally in the anti-terrorist operations, a role repeatedly questioned by New Delhi. If the Pakistani military and intelligence establishments were playing host to Osama, how many terrorist training camps are enjoying similar hospitality? Thats what the White House needs to ask itself. The emotional upheaval among his worshippers caused by their heros death can only ensure that those breeding grounds of terror are more active and productive than ever. Osama is dead. Long live Osama?

K V KAMATH, Infosys chairman-designate, on his appointment

MUAMMAR GADDAFI, Libyan leader, on the war in his country

MINISSHA LAMBA, actor, on bin Ladens death

Feel Free

Lessons From Satan

objectively and eventually we could become victims of our own failings. Such a fate can be slam lays great emphasis on learning, for avoided by effectively managing the ego. it is learning that leads to intellectual We should not only learn the art of ego and spiritual development. However, by management, but must also refrain from virtue of our limited lifespan it is well-nigh hurting the egos of others. More often than impossible for an individual to know every- not, ones ego is dormant. It is better to leave thing there is to know. Therefore, taking it in that state, for provocation of the ego can lessons from not only what one encounters in result in a breakdown. ones life but from the experiences of others It is this ability to manage potentially is crucial to ones growth. explosive situations which maintains norLearning may be acquired for its own malcy, thus leaving our peace of mind undissake, but it also causes one to lead a life that is turbed. It enables us to work towards higher meaningful and fulfilling, one that brings goals, without having our attention diverted satisfaction and peace. towards unproductive activities. The individual learns from other indiviMoreover, from this one event in the history duals. We learn from nature, as we of creation Satans refusal to bow to must. However, this is not all. We can Adam there is more to be learnt. learn lessons from Satan, too. Satan, What does it show? It reveals that according to Islam, is like one of us, Satan had become ungrateful. That that is, another of Gods creations is, he paid attention only to what he did not have and not to what he had. and Satan was created even before For example, when God created human beings were created. After Satan, He bestowed upon him having created man, God asked THE many powers, yet it was not appreSatan to bow to Adam. The Quran gives an account of I SPEAKING I ciated. Satan, therefore, not only this first encounter with Adam, failed to manage his ego, but he TREE the first man as well as the first also became ungrateful to God. He Prophet, and Satan: When we forgot that though he did not have said to the angels, Bow down before Adam, 1% of all that he wanted, he still had 99%. they all bowed except for Satan (2:34). Ingratitude is the result of an unawareIn refusing to follow Gods command, ness of the many blessings that God has Satan yielded to his ego and became arro- bestowed on us. It is only when we focus on gant. Ego, which has been at the root of most what we have not been granted that we grow problems faced by man, is considered an evil. negative and begin to complain incessantly . But we should appreciate that ego, a part of It is at such moments that we need to stop nature, is not all bad. and rediscover the blessings that have been Ego has its positive and negative points. bestowed upon us. This alone will help us to From ego comes determination, the ability to cope with lifes challenges. sadia.kh@gmail.com make decisions. And without determination www.speakingtree.in we can accomplish little. Conversely, a negative point of ego is that it can lead one to act with Join the worlds first spiritual networking arrogance. This prevents us from thinking site to interact directly with masters and seekers.
Sadia Khan


That disciplined man with joy and light within, becomes one with God and reaches the freedom that is Gods. Bhagavad Gita 5.24 Open yourself, create free space; release the bound one from his bonds! Like a newborn child, freed from the womb, be free to move on every path! Atharva Veda Life without freedom is like a body without a soul, and freedom without thought is like a confused spirit. Kahlil Gibran The sage seeks freedom from desire. He does not collect precious things. He learns not to hold on to ideas. He brings men back to what they have lost. Lao Tzu True salvation is freedom from negativity, and above all from past and future as a psychological need. Eckhart Tolle

Up in the air
With reference to the editorial Privatise It (May 2), Air Indias nationalisation was an ill-conceived move in the first place. This is a classic example of how a private airline that was once well-managed could be throttled to death. What has been exposed is the inefficiency and lackadaisical approach towards settling labour disputes that the government is notorious for. Despite opposition from the Left parties, privatising Air India may be the only sensible option. However, the question is who will come forward to take over the behemoth with its humongous liabilities? With scores of passengers facing a lot of inconvenience, civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi surely has a Herculean task ahead.
P P Sethumadhavan, VIA EMAIL




It is painful to read comments about Air India wasting public money. Agreed, the national carrier did get some relief from the government to the extent of Rs 5,000 crore to tide over the crisis it is in. The original equity of the government in Air India is only Rs 150 crore. If today Air Indias assets are sold, they will run into thousands of crores. Hence, the public will get hundred times more money than they have put in. The ongoing strike and the present condition of Air India are entirely the making of the civil aviation ministry and babus. I think measures such as declaring a partial lockout and giving a golden handshake to employees above the age of 55 are worth considering. Simultaneously, the present CMD should be removed and a fresh management should take over operations.
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The State And Its Institutions Must Be Watchful Of Elements Sympathetic To Al-Qaida And Militant Ideology
Ayesha Siddiqa


eration totally on their own? None of the two questions are easy to answer despite the statement for the ministry of foreign affairs regarding the operation totally being USs baby It is clearly a damn . if we do, damn if we dont kind of a situation. Pakistans silence and denial of any involvement in the bin Laden operation raises concerns domestically regarding the countrys security and sovereignty . If the US could come and conduct operation so easily then it doesnt give confidence to an average Pakistani. However, there is also the probability that there was cooperation between the Pakistan army and the US special forces that were stationed near Tarbela Dam for more than a year. However, if the theory about cooperation proves right then it has serious repercussion for Pakistan. The Taliban have already issued a threat to the Pakistani government. Earlier in 2006, Pakistan armys cooperation with the US in attacking Damadola had resulted in a backlash from the Taliban against several military facilities. In any case, the capture of a dead bin Laden is just an event in the history of the decade-long war on terror. It does not necessarily mean that the world has changed certainly not for Pakistan. The state and its institutions have to be watchful of the elements who are sympathetic to al-Qaida and militant ideology in general. The army as an institution and its intelligence agencies has interacted with Afghan jihad that started in the early 1980s and its later versions as well. Resultantly, the security and law enforcement organizations have people sympathetic to bin Ladens cause, not to forget the right wing media which

pril 23, 2011: Pakistans army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani stood 800 yards away from where Osama bin Laden breathed his last telling cadets of the PMA Kakuls 123rd long-course about the army finally managing to break the terrorists backbone. He had assured the audience that day of his organizations cognizance of threats to the country and its capacity to keep the country secure. The events of May 2 raise a lot of questions about these claims. People inside and outside the country continue to be in a state of shock more so because they are clueless about how much was the Pakistan army in the loop before the US conducted the operations. Did the army chief know about Osama bin Ladens presence in the area? And did the American conduct the op-

has mostly been trying to cast doubts over the recent American military operation. All political and religious rightwingers including the former army chief Pervez Musharraf have been trying to raise the issue of the US operation being a breach of Pakistans security and sovereignty, a line that was picked up by most television anchors and journalists.


In fact, the GHQ-friendly media is trying hard to stand the event on the governments head and demanding an explanation from the political government rather than the army chief or the head of the ISI. But referring to the question of what was exactly happening in the garrison city of Abbottabada also raises questions about ISIs involvement or its efficiency. If the countrys primary intelligence agency which is known for terror, izing ordinary citizen and keeping a watch over all and sundry did not know of bin Ladens presence then it raises serious questions regarding its ability to protect Pakistan. If, however, they were voluntarily hiding bin Laden then it raises question about the agencys ideological inclination. There is no doubt about the fact that ISI is not a rogue institution. Nevertheless, its insti-

tutional memory or overall objectives may increasingly be sympathetic to militancy The influence of . the pro-jihad elements such as Lt Generals (retd) Hameed Gul or Akhtar Abdur Rehman (who created the Afghan jihadis) within the institution is obvious, especially if we look at the only unofficial website of the organization. The three heads of the organization popularized on the website are Lt Generals Ahmed Shuja Pasha (current), Hameed Gul and Akhtar Abdur Rehman. The site speaks volumes of the ideological inclination of the organization (the ISI headquarters have never contradicted or distanced itself from the unofficial website).The fact of the matter is that the successful operation is likely to open a Pandoras box for Pakistan as many more questions will be asked form within the country and from outside. Many will see

Pakistan military as having lied to the world. How did bin Laden reached Abbotabad and who were involved in his transportation and keeping him there will rock Pakistan in the coming months and years. According to strategic affairs commentator Ejaz Haider, the ISI was completely stumped with such revelation. Could this now lead to an internal friction within the army is a question worth asking and exploring. The military will have to make hard choices of fighting terrorism with greater commitment as does the political dispensation in Islamabad. The author is a security analyst and author of Pakistans Arms Procurement and Military Buildup, 197999: In Search of a Policy. She has worked as a director of naval research, making her the first civilian and woman to work at that position

We have failed to use force to punish enemies

The US went to great lengths to extricate him. In our case, a former Prime Minister dehe elimination of Osama bin Laden was cided in moments of delusion to put an end to a copybook special force operation, and RAWs operations in Pakistan, and many hapit holds many lessons for India, because less operatives were also abandoned! Thirdly, special force units require the best Indian political leadership lacking knowledge about matters military has been re- possible equipment and must be trained for any eventuality The US Navys Seals are a first. luctant to use force to punish its enemies. For instance, after the attacks on Parlia- rate outfit, and though perhaps only a shade ment and on Mumbai, Indias military chiefs less lethal than Britains low-key SAS, they had suggested surgical strikes at terror camps have an edge in the equipment they use. In this attack on Osama in PoK near the Line of Control, though little is as yet known, but the government Vajpayees about what technologies were and Manmohan Singhs simply used it was certainly better lacked the nerve. than the best in the world, as we But the political establishnow know that Pakistani radars ments ignorance apart, Indias were jammed by the US during military commanders must also the operation. share the blame for not pushing Sadly Indias special forces could , their point, convincingly enough. not only do with better equipment In contrast, Mr Obama but also need better understanding though not a military man has of their capabilities. They are often been quick to learn and grasp the treated by our senior military comimportance of the use of force to ANALYSIS manders as an adjunct of our regshow that America means busiular troops (as another ghatak planess, and that he, though a civilian did connect with his troops on the ground. toon), and their CO, a Colonel, is often brow beat. And the first lesson is therefore that, a po- en by the our rank conscious hierarchy And finally, the need for continuity in litical leader must synergize the military option into his plans, and then leave it to the mil- planning operations is essential. Apparently, itary to go out and do a job that they have though the hunt for Osama began just after 9/11 ten years ago, this operation itself trained themselves for. Secondly, a military operation especial- that eliminated him, was in the making ly one as sensitive as this cannot be done for over three years. But in Indias case, our without accurate and timely intelligence. This plans change every two to three years, in is a painfully long process, and is not about keeping with the maximum tenure at a one-upmanship, where one agency tries to win post for most civil and military officials. After that, a complete turnover of staff takes brownie points over the other (as is often the place and old lessons and reports are often set case in India). Its about inputs, checks, research and analy- aside, as new strategies are adopted. And this sis. More importantly everyone must be on the is the time when a terrorist group decides to , same page. For the Americans it has always execute its next dramatic attack. In a few months, itll be three years since been country first, whereas in India, there are intelligence agencies galore with each pro- the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai. But unlike the US, weve shown that India is willing to fortecting their turfs of interest. Moreover, it is important to invest in high- give and forget. quality intelligence operatives and to protect Maroof Raza is the head of Security them if their cover is blown (as was the case Watch India with CIAs Raymond Davies).
Maroof Raza


Conspiracy theories abound on Osama killing


WHATS MAKING NEWS? A woman scans newspapers announcing Osamas death, in Washington

ow exactly did Osama bin Laden die? Barely 24 hours after the death of the al-Qaida supremo, versions other than the one offered by the US authorities have emerged. On Tuesday, Pakistans leading English newspaper, The Dawn, headlined its lead story: Was Osama killed by US troops or his own guard? US authorities had said on Monday that Osama was shot in the head following a firefight with a Navy Seals team. It said, An official indicated that the 54-year-old mastermind of the biggest and most devastating attack on US soil might have been killed by one of his own guards in line with his will to avert his capture. The unnamed official had visited the scene of the night assault soon after the departure of the US team. From the scene of the gunbattle it doesnt look like he could have been killed at point blank range from such a close angle, while offering resistance, it quoting him said. The Daily Telegraph, London, did not dispute thekilled-in-firefight story. But it put a new spin to the way Osamas last moments were enacted. A news report headlined, Osama killed cowering behind his human shield wife, said the al-Qaida leaders last act was to force his young bride to sacrifice

Dawn, Pakistan
An official indicated that the 54-year-old mastermind of the biggest and most devastating attack on US soil might have been killed by one of his own guards in line with his will to avert his capture

Daily Telegraph, London

The al-Qaida leaders last act was to force his young bride to sacrifice her life as he tried to fire back at the US Navy Seals storming the compound

her life as he tried to fire back at the US Navy Seals. It quoted John Brennan, the chief US counter-terrorism adviser, saying: She fought back when there was an opportunity to get bin Laden. She got positioned in a way that she was being used as a shield. Another report also by Daily Telegraph, contradicted the story It was headlined, Osama . was not armed and did not use wife as human shield. US officials have now conceded that Osama was not armed during the assault, did not fire back and that his wife was only injured in the assault, most likely in the crossfire, according to unnamed officials quoted by the US website Politico, the report said.

Escape artist meets his end? Not all are convinced

Washington: Knowing there would be disbelievers, the US says it used convincing means to confirm Osama bin Ladens identity during and after the firefight that killed him. But the mystique that surrounded the terrorist chieftain in life is persisting in death. Was it really him? How do we know? Where are the pictures? Already those questions are , spreading in Pakistan and surely beyond. In the absence of photos and with his body given up to the sea, many people do not want to believe that bin Laden the Great Emir to some, the fabled escape artist of the Tora Bora mountains to foe and friend alike is really dead. US officials are balancing that skepticism with the sensitivities that might be inflamed by showing images they say they have of the dead al-Qaida leader and video of his burial at sea. Still, it appeared likely that photographic evidence would be produced. We are going to do everything we can to make sure that nobody has any basis to try to deny that we got Osama, John Brennan, President Barack Obamas counter-terrorism adviser, said Monday . He said the US will share what we can because we want to make sure that not only the American people but the world understand exactly what happened. In July 2009, the US took heat but also quieted most conspiracy theorists by releasing graphic photos of the corpses of Iraqi leader Saddam Husseins two powerful sons to prove American forces had killed them. US has cited evidence that satisfied the Navy Seal force, and at least most of the world, they had the right man. AP

Hunt ends for Seal Team Six, Religious zeal injected easily in Pak but the fight far from over bloodstream will be hard to extract
Washington: Osama bin Ladens death in a rippedfrom-a-spy-thriller helicopter An introduction to the elite group that conducts top secret raid and firefight gives a sto- missions, including combat, anti-terror and rescue operations ried unit of US special operSeal Team Six formed in 1987 in the aftermath of the botched ations forces bragging rights 1980 attempt to rescue 52 Americans held hostage in the US for what has become the most embassy in Tehran famous covert operation since the 9/11 attacks launched on Unit tasked with carrying out highly secret bin Ladens orders. missions that are often officially denied by the US The unit, called Navy Seal military and government Team Six, probably won't Often referred to as black operatives or more claim the credit publicly how, simply black ops ever. US officials say units Few outside the military are sure what the from Seal Team Six dropped unit is called. The most plausible is Naval into bin Ladens high-walled Special Warfare Development Group or compound in Pakistan early just DEVGRU Monday morning, sliding down ropes in the pre-dawn Popularly known as Seal team dark. The military wont conSeals specialise in amphibious firm which unit carried out operations But as their recent the attack. actions show, they are capable of But the head of the Navy operating in any environment Seals, Rear Admiral Edward Based at the Naval Air Station Winters, sent an email conOceana in Virgina gratulating his forces and warning them to keep their Most members are fluent in mouths shut. Be extremely one or more foreign careful about operational selanguages curity he added. The fight , In Sundays operation, some team is not over. members apparently could speak Pashto Made up of only a few hundred forces based in Virginia, the elite Seal unit offi- Afghanistan. Some 4,500 elite started in Iraq, as an outgrowth cially known as Naval Special special operations forces and of the fusion of special operaWarfare Development Group, support units have been part tions forces and intelligence in or DEVGRU is part of a spe- of the surge of US forces there. the hunt for militants there. cial operations brotherhood CIA Director Leon Panetta Seals and Delta both, comthat calls itself the quiet pro- was in charge of the military manded by then-special operfessionals. team during the covert opera- ations chief Gen Stanley McSeal Team Six raided tar- tion, a US official said. While Chrystal, learned to work gets outside war zones like the president can empower the much like FBI agents, first atYemen and Somalia in the Seals and other counterter- tacking a target, killing or cappast three years, though rorism units to carry out covert turing the suspects, and then the unit operates primarily actions without CIA oversight, gathering evidence. in Afghanistan. President Barack Obamas McChrystal described it The unit is overseen by the team put the intelligence as building a network to chase Joint Special Operations Com- agency in charge, with other a network, where the special mand, which oversees the US elements of the national secu- operations forces work Armys Delta Force and other rity apparatus answering to with intelligence analysts special units. JSOCs combined them for this mission. back at a joint base. The forces have been responsible Seal Team Six actually raiders, he said, could collect for a quadrupling of countert- works so often with the intel- valuable pocket litter from errorism raids that have tar- ligence agency that its some- the scene, like documents or geted militants in record num- times called the CIAs Pretori- computers, to exploit to hunt bers over the past year in an Guard a partnership that the next target. AP


Mosharraf Zaidi

ow that Osama bin Laden is in the bag, the big question is how much the Pakistani authorities knew? About bin Ladens whereabouts, about the intelligence operation that had identified his couriers, about the surveillance that began in earnest in August of last year, and about the actual operation that took place on May 1 in the dead of the Abbottabad night. From the Pakistani and US authorities, there seems to be a well-coordinated effort to create the impression that Pakistan was kept in the dark about the operation. This suits the narrative of an unreliable Pakistani intelligence community that may have tipped off the al-Qaida chief. It also creates plausible deniability for Pakistani authorities, who have, no doubt, learnt the lesson from the real-life Shootout at Lokhandwala scenes enacted at the Red Mosque in Islamabad in 2007. The fallout from Red Mosque continues to haunt Pakistani tombs, shrines, mosques, universities, markets and street corners. Just because the exclusion of Pakistan fable suits both countries however, doesnt make it necessarily true. The symbiosis of the dysfunctional US-Pakistan relationship is one of the qualities that sustains it. That bin Laden was alive and well till May 1 because the Pakistanis were helping him, and that he is dead and buried, because the Pakistanis helped kill him

MOVING ON: A makeshift memorial at the site of the World Trade Center

both can be simultaneously true. And they probably are. Duality is something that the Pakistani state must now contend with for the better part of a generation. Much time, effort and resources were invested in building the edifice of a second-line defence or infrastructure of terror, if you will to contend with the bigger, richer, and almost routinely smarter India. It will take some doing to dismantle it. Religious zeal was easy to inject into the Pakistani bloodstream, it will be VIEW difficult to extract. The process cannot and must not be rushed. A superpower with some experience in how the world works, would understand this. It appears its the case with the US, whose topsy turvy relationship with Pakistan is not going to disintegrate suddenly . On the other hand, it appears that Indias ambitions for a regular role in world affairs beyond the showing off of IT services behemoths at the World Economic Forum require some time before


coming to fruition. India is, by size, by cultural richness and depth, and by history and anthropology fully due a glob, al leadership role. But global leaders are innovators and jump starters. They help ignite prosperity and security in their own neighborhoods --- think US with Mexico and Canada. The glee and hubris that is so palpable, at least among the Delhi policy elite unfortunately, suggests that there is plenty of partition baggage left, both from 1947 and 1971. FROM notPakistan is in a position to teach India how to conduct itself. India is a more successful economy But India has a sub. stantial number of challenges that it needs to address. While it has had tremendous success in dealing with insurgencies in cases like Punjab, it has failed miserably in others, like Kashmir. Pakistan's current dilemma is that even if all the wisdom in India, or the world, were to somehow be injected into the Pakistani elite, there is little it could do functionally that would reflect immedi-

ately on the ground. Short term steps that have visible outputs, tend to produce long term outcomes that are dangerous and often difficult to predict. So yes, some elements of Pakistan may have harbored bin Laden, and may be harboring others like him that India is interested in prosecuting. But India is not the US. It has neither the leverage over Pakistan that Uncle Sam enjoys, nor an understanding of Pakistan that would enable it to conduct a reasonable calculus of the pros and cons of a direct military action in Pakistani territory Suggestions to . take action on Pakistani soil by Indians need to be treated with the contempt that responsible people reserve for ignorant and extremist ideologues. It was a bad idea after 26/11 and it is a bad idea now. The path of slow, gradual and constructive engagement, which is the one that PM Manmohan Singh has chosen is the only option India has to gain influence and leverage in Pakistan. Luckily it also happens , to be the right choice. Mosharraf Zaidi is a political analyst based in Islamabad





The life of the common man should not be affected by any fuel price hike.
JAYANTHI NATARAJAN, Congress spokesperson

Caging Hawks Post-Osama

Indo-Pak talks, not muscle-flexing, will resolve issues like terrorism or Kashmir
Dipankar Gupta

Free It Up
Put diesel price deregulation on the agenda
he UPA government has hard choices to make next week. Indications are that if and when the ministerial panel on fuel prices meets on May 11, it will go ahead and hike petrol, diesel and cooking gas prices to ease pressure on state-run oil firms owing to rising global crude prices. But this is a half-step, addressing a symptom thats bound to recur if the underlying problem stays unaddressed. RBIs monetary policy statement has highlighted the need to go ahead with full deregulation of fuel prices with diesel next on the table. New Delhi must find the political will to carry through the process. Political instability in the Middle East had pushed the average crude price for the Indian basket to $110.4 per barrel in March 2011. Conventional wisdom holds that at a time inflation is a core issue, making fuel prices reflect global trends will exacerbate the problem. But this is a specious argument, as RBI governor D Subbarao has pointed out. In the case of diesel, if prices arent freed up, fiscal expansion through a greater subsidy burden will boost inflation in any case. And lowering subsidy allocation as the finance minister has done is a sleight of hand. Mounting under-recoveries of state-run oil companies will impact government revenues in the end. In the medium-to-long term, such a policy will drive a wedge deeper into the fiscal deficit. Oil PSUs still look to the government to allow petrol price hikes despite deregulation. As a result, domestic prices dont truly reflect international trends. Freeing up diesel prices and allowing a market-dictated passthrough of petrol prices will bring about market efficiency and appropriate demand adjustment. The crucial balancing part of the equation to avoid impacting growth negatively is to rationalise the fuel tax regime. Currently , customs duty on crude oil is 5% and on petrol and diesel 7.5%, while excise duty on petrol and diesel is Rs 14.35 and Rs 4.60 per litre respectively Cumula. tively taxes make up half the retail prices of motor fuel. , That is where the government has the most space to manoeuvre in achieving the twin objectives of completing deregulation without undercutting growth or pinching consumers. Also, those who can afford higher-priced petrol must be discouraged from making wasteful and environmentally harmful use of subsidised diesel. As for the dent in tax revenues, the shortfall for bridging the fiscal deficit which seems the finance ministers main focus can be made up elsewhere. Theres enough flab in government expenditure to be cut. Economic logic must provide the political will that is currently lacking.

ho let the Hawks out in India? The American SEALS, of course. They took wing after the Hollywood-like finish with which the American Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) forces rubbed out Osama bin Laden. This spectacular event also converted some of our defence experts into scriptwriters. If only India could send its commandos to do a sequel to the Osama episode, that would be one blockbuster. Well, what is the delay? We know that Dawood is in 30, Defence Housing Society in Karachi and Hafiz Saeed of Jamaat-ul-Dawa in 4, Lake Road, Lahore. So why doesnt India come down from the skies and turn their lights off ? They may not be in the mood for guests, but we shouldnt let that stop us. What Indian hawks miss out in their posturing is that the Kashmir problem will not be resolved by capturing or killing some unbelievably evil people in Pakistan. Terrorists have a way of breeding rapidly if they receive political patronage. Ergo, to resolve Kashmir, or terrorism in the subcontinent, there is no alternative but a state-to-state dialogue. If we must be inspired by events outside, then let us think Ireland, not America. The long years of violence between the Protestants and Catholics came to a close in Northern Ireland once the British and Irish governments decided to call it a

day It is only then that the Good . Friday Agreement of 1998 could be signed and delivered. It is this high-level goodwill and plain straight talk that finally ended the Troubles in Ireland. For years the British did to Irish Republicans what our native hawks want us to do to Pakistani jihadists. They killed, captured and maimed hundreds, but that did not bring them closer to peace. True, Bill Clinton started the process by turning off the taps that funded IRA terrorists, but that was not enough. Eventually it was the resolve of the governments of Ireland and Britain that did the trick. Even if India can pull off a

An Indian soldier in Kashmir: Guns and poses

For years the British did to Irish Republicans what our native hawks want us to do to Pakistani jihadists. Ireland teaches us peace happens only when governments want peace
forced entry into Lahore, Karachi, or wherever, this will not keep the jihadis from breeding. As long as the Pakistani government holds on to the petri-dish, terrorists will spawn like worms. Ireland teaches us that peace happens only when governments want peace. Make no mistake, the fissures in Northern Ireland ran very deep, perhaps deeper than those in Kashmir.

During the decades-long Troubles, the Catholics and Protestants were using a number of tell-tale signs to mark each other out. They not only went to separate churches, but also played different sports. Even personal names and the use of certain phrases bore an identity tag. Close attention was paid to the way alphabets a and h were pronounced. On an everyday basis people resolved to such acts of telling in order to make out friend from foe. As long as the Republic of Ireland and the British government tried to scare each other, the Troubles got worse in Northern Ireland. Over time, the resemblances between the two sides grew and so did their mutual antipathy. In India we run the same risk. Whenever Pakistan postures aggressively, we have

to reciprocate. Where is the alternative? This has had disastrous consequences for Indo-Pak relations and there is really no end in sight. For some time, there is a deceptive peace in the Valley, and then suddenly a single stone starts an avalanche. Such incidents bring out the worst in both Pakistan and India. Religious bigots, whether Hindu or Muslim, are able to raise the ante and scare the rest from calling their bluff. It is this that keeps miracles from happening. Who would have imagined, prior to the Good Friday Agreement, that the Republic of Ireland would actually change Articles 2 and 3 of its Constitution? With this single act it gave up its long-cherished claim on Northern Ulster. On the other side, Britain too reciprocated by repealing the Ireland Act of

1920. India and Pakistan need to do something that is as grand and magnanimous as this. The mood against violence is unshakably palpable in all Ireland. When a car bomb killed a rookie Catholic policeman in Northern Ireland, activists from both sides condemned the attack. Catholics and Protestants went in large numbers to the funeral. Many wore T-shirts or carried banners on which Not in my name was boldly lettered. When peace looks this good up close, it can help overcome personal tragedies. We can have such a happy ending too, but not with swooping hawks or staged melodrama. Sadly the Abbottabad incident , shows that Pakistan is unwavering in its support to jihadis. Now that it has been shamed in the open, Pakistan must quickly make up its mind: will it hit back or think about peace? One often slips up on their names, but what Obama is to Osama, Geelani of Kashmir is not to Gilani of Pakistan. The latter two get on fine and, objectively, need each other. It is this tie that needs to snap, but that will not happen till the government of Pakistan (or is it just the ISI?) wants it to. Perhaps a push from big brother might help. If Bill Clinton could do it for Ireland, President Obama should do it for us. Only then will the war on terror, in Kashmir and elsewhere, end. In the meantime, Indian hawks could lend their talents to Bollywood.
The writer is former professor, JNU.

Held Accountable
Apply right to services across the country
ice-president Hamid Ansari has said, The days of the so-called maibaap sarkar are over. Are they truly? They can be, if we empower citizens in terms of what he calls a new paradigm of right and entitlement. With issues like corruption and governance deficit in public focus, lets have laws and institutional mechanisms that eliminate the mai-baap culture characterising bureaucracy. Inordinate delays in and poor delivery of government services mar good governance and encourage graft. The way forward is to make service delivery an entitlement rather than an extension of patronage politics. Its, therefore, welcome that Delhi has joined states like Madhya Pradesh and Bihar by ratifying its own variant of a law guaranteeing right to timely services from civil servants. The Delhi Right of Citizen to Time-Bound Delivery of Services Act allows for fines on officials who delay clearance of files and service delivery within stipulated time frames. This will compel greater administrative responsiveness and help reduce corruption. People can expect greater bureaucratic alacrity in a range of services, be it delivery of ration cards or public amenities. But, as highlighted by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, an awareness campaign must also educate the masses about their rights. Further, administrative reforms like simplifying official procedures and points of contacts, besides minimising political interference especially in official postings and transfers, must complement right to services. Also, bureaucratic delay is often politically dictated, so safeguards are needed against unfair penalties. If RTI targeted red tape and official secrecy right to , service equips citizens to hold authorities accountable. The vice-president rightly said citizens now view government interventionsthrough the prism and framework of rights. Thanks to increased literacy and economic progress, people everywhere expect more from public servants. All the more reason right to services should be applied across the country .

Strengthening South-South cooperation is crucial

In the midst of the upheavals in the Arab world, Morocco is undertaking extensive constitutional reforms to strengthen democracy. Recently in New Delhi for the 4th session of the India-Morocco joint commission, Moroccan foreign trade minister Abdellatif Maazouz spoke to Rudroneel Ghosh about reforms and relations:
I How will King Mohammed VIs latest push for constitutional reforms address desires for greater political, social and economic freedoms in Morocco? The core of His Majestys programme of constitutional reforms is separation of powers between the government, the legislature and the judiciary. Greater power is envisaged for the executive headed by the prime minister. Second, there is great emphasis on the constitutionalisation of human rights by defining rules that preserve freedoms of unions, political parties, press, consumers etc. Morocco is a democratic constitutional monarchy. The present reforms will enhance the existing provisions of the Constitution and strengthen democratic institutions. The process of regionalisation that has been initiated will see greater political and economic powers being devolved to the regions. The latter will now directly elect the presidents of regional councils, which in turn will have a great degree of autonomy to manage regional affairs. All this and more will be defined in the new Constitution. I Is there a case for greater Indian engagement with North Africa? Certainly. Morocco is working for the establishment of consolidated economic cooperation that would bring about regional integration in North and subSaharan Africa. Owing to free trade agreements it has with most North African countries and its efforts to set up preferentried to establish a roadmap for bilateral trade. We have targeted some specific sectors we want to develop together. Textile is one such sector where we can compliment each other and jointly target markets in Europe and the US that have a steady demand for Moroccan goods. Another sector that has great potential for cooperation is IT. Joint ventures here, both in software and hardware, can open the door to growing markets in Africa. Trade exchanges between India and Morocco have tripled between 2005 and 2010. India is Moroccos third trading client in the world and the first at the Asian level. I What are some important decisions the commission has taken this time? We have decided to convene every three years. A sub-commission of experts will meet every 18 months. Indian and Moroccan private sectors will have task forces in the areas of textile, IT, energy and pharmaceuticals. A delegation of Indian textile businessmen is already expected in Morocco in September. Given the great potential of the two countries, their strategic geographical locations as well as the strong political will on both sides which has always pushed for bilateral cooperation, i believe that maritime routes linking the Tangiers Port in north Morocco and the different ports in India will play a substantial role in promoting commercial relations. I Along with trade, how can we enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries? The two countries have very rich cultures. Our histories stretch back millennia. Diplomatic missions in both countries should organise greater people-to-people and cultural exchanges. India is very strong in IT and perhaps we can leverage this to share our cultural heritage like writing, literature, etc. We already have one common historical figure, Ibn Battuta. Perhaps we should start there.


tial trade agreements with certain sub-Saharan countries, Morocco could be a platform for Indian investment in this region. A tripartite partnership between India, Morocco and other African countries with the aim of harnessing investment opportunities and strengthening SouthSouth cooperation is crucial. I How can, and will, the India-Morocco joint commission take bilateral relations forward? The commission this time

Crown and country

The real reason why the WillKat wedding wasnt an affair to be sneezed at
Jug Suraiya


In the event, i didnt go to the WillKat wedding. For one thing, i read somewhere that the couple were going to be serving wine and champagne at the event but no beer. Why? Because beer unlike wine and champagne is seen to be a drink of the working classes. Beer at a Windsor at-home? Good lord. Mummyji would get her tiara, not to mention other things, in a right royal twist. The other reason that i didnt go is that over the years ive developed an allergy to any form of royalty. Some people are allergic to peanuts, or prawns, or dairy products. If, by mistake, they ingest one of these things their faces swell up, or they break out in spots. In my case, my allergy to royalty causes me to break into a sneezing fit, often at the mere mention of a member of the species. It first manifested itself years ago when i knew a Calcutta family the head of which had in his youth been an ADC to a Rajasthani maharaja. Every now and then, in the course of general conversation (So hot and sticky the weather is, no?), mention would be made of the maharaja connection whereupon the entire family would apparently be seized by a collective fit of sneezing, all of them going Ziness!, Ziness!, Ziness ! Bless you, id say to them. Bless you, bless you. One day one of them asked me: Why do you keep saying bless you? Because , you keep sneezing all the time, i replied, and demonstrated how they did it: Ziness! Were not sneezing, you idiot, i was informed. Were referring to His Ziness, the Maharaja. It seemed that, in royal circles, the preferred pronunciation of Highness as in His Most Royal and Exalted Highness was Ziness with an exclamation mark at the end and an accompanying clicking together of heels. I dont know if it was that particular experience or something else, but i start sneezing when people start talking about royalty. Reason i dont play cards. Cant, what with all those kings and queens mucking about. Anyway, im glad that the WillKat nuptials went off without any glitches, or sneezes. Though it all seemed pretty tame stuff, no drama-baji like we have in Indian weddings. No last-minute dowry demands. No bhangra-ing baratis. No helicopters. No shotguns fired into the air, bringing down the stray crow or curious bystander caught in the blast. No wailing pooh-paah cars competing with the wailing of shehnais. No Bollywood starlets doing item numbers. Still, it was a nice shaadi, and i wish the couple all the best for the future. As and when Mummyji finally steps down, and Charlie-baba ascends to the throne How will they get him out of the wheelchair and onto it? Willie will be next in line to be king. Perhaps its time he began to take a few kingly lessons. True, hell be king of only a small, wet island largely inhabited by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who run balti restaurants the waiters of which are rumoured to spit in cheery contempt into the chicken tikka masala that the natives consume with obsessive dedication. But a kings a king for all that, and a little royal tutoring might well be in order. Where should Willie go to get it? Ever since the French Revolution, royalty keeps a low profile in Europe. As in the case of the midget monarch, Sarkozy I of France, who stands five-foot nothing in his elevator shoes. With the Indian takeover and the booting out of the poor Chogyal, royalty has been banished from Sikkim, as it has from Nepal following popular demand. Bhutans King Jigme Wangchuk has stepped down for his son (why wont Mummyji take a hint?) and has also announced a rollout plan for democracy. The anti-royal Jasmine Revolution is sweeping West Asia and North Africa. So where can poor Willie go to learn to be a proper monarch? Which is the only country left in the world where dynasty is destiny, and destiny is dynasty? All right Willie, pop across and well try and arrange to get you a darshan of a truly Royal Family OK, Maharani Soniaji, Yuvraj Rahulji? Ziness! (Damn, . there goes the sneezing again.)

This is a fight between credibility and opportunism. This is a fight between YSR district and Delhi

The location (where Osama was staying) is next to the place where i used to run, maybe passing in front of the house

Last few games had hamstring, knee and neck. Too much diving in the field and thinking im 19 youre 41 Shane!

JAGAN MOHAN REDDY, YSR Congress leader, on the Kadapa bypolls

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, former president of Pakistan, on Osama bin Ladens Abbottabad hideout

SHANE WARNE, Rajasthan Royals skipper, on ageing

Golden Glow

She Who Builds Cathedrals

the book. And i would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, t all began to make sense, the blank after which i could pattern my work: 1) No stares, the lack of response, the way one one can say who built the great cathedrals; we of the kids will walk into the room while have no record of their names; 2) These buildi'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the ers gave their whole lives for a work they store. Inside i'm thinking, Can't you see i'm would never see finished; 3) They made great on the phone? sacrifices and expected no credit and 4) The Obviously not; no one can see if i'm on passion of their building was fuelled by their the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, faith that the eyes of God saw everything. or even standing on my head in the corner, I read the story of a visitor who saw a because no one can see me at all. I'm the workman carving a tiny bird on the inside invisible Mom. Some days i am only a pair of of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can man, 'Why are you spending so much time you tie this? Can you open this? carving that bird into a beam that will be Some days i'm not a pair of hands; i'm not covered by the roof, No one will ever see it. even a human being. I'm a clock to And the workman replied, 'Because ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite God sees.' guide to answer, 'What number is I closed the book, feeling the the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to missing piece fall into place. It was order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' almost as if i heard God whispering Some days i'm a crystal ball; to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices 'Where's my other sock? Where's you make every day even when no , my phone?, What's for dinner?' one around you does. THE I was certain that these were No act of kindness you've I SPEAKING I the hands that once held books done, no sequin you've sewn on, and the eyes that studied history, no cupcake you've baked, no last TREE music and literature. But now, minute errand is too small for me they had disappeared into the pickle jar, to notice and smile over. You are building a never to be seen again. She's going, she's great cathedral, but you can't see right now going, and shes gone! what it will become. One night, a group of us were having As mothers, we are building great dinner, celebrating the return of a friend cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing , from England whod just gotten back from a it right. And one day it is very possible that fabulous trip. I was feeling pretty pathetic, the world will marvel, not only at what we when she turned to me with a beautifully have built, but at the beauty that has wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you been added to the world by the sacrifices of this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of invisible mothers. May 8 is Mothers Day. Europe. I wasn't sure why she'd given it to me until i read her inscription: 'With admiration www.freshbrewedlife.com for the greatness of what you are building www.speakingtree.in when no one sees.' Join the worlds first spiritual networking In the days ahead i would read no, devour site to interact directly with masters and seekers.
Nicole Johnson



Whatever is real and true lives on despite the amount of alloy mixed in or accumulated layers of dust. Would the world be just as beautiful if we had left all the impure gold or raw diamonds buried away? I must learn to value myself, an eternal spirit of divinity , and do all i can to make it glow... Brahmakumaris As gold is tested in four ways by rubbing, cutting, heating and beating so a man should be tested by these four things: his renunciation, his conduct, his qualities and his actions. Chanakya In the fire of creation, gold does not vanish; the fire brightens. Each creature God made must live in its own true nature; how could i resist my nature that lives for oneness with God? Mechthild von Magdeburg
Today is Akshaya Tritiya

Need to be fighting fit

The Second Opinion ,In dubious battle (May 4) by Jug Suraiya, rightly says a dead bin Laden might prove even more of a terrorist rallying point. A movement of this magnitude and especially those that rely on fanaticism and the mad frenzy of their followers to do or die cannot be stopped by the killing of one individual. It is because the individual ceases to exist that he bestows upon each of his followers the baton of responsibility to carry forward his mission. The post-Osama period will be the real test of all nations fighting against terrorism since the al-Qaida will be only too eager to uphold the cause of what it sees as bin Ladens martyrdom. It will try to do everything possible to keep his legend alive. The world should be more vigilant and prepare to face the threats lying ahead.
Neena Wazir, VIA EMAIL

II The editorial End Of The Road (May 3)

rightly concludes that the terror threat doesnt cease with the elimination of Osama bin Laden. However, bin Laden owes his creation and prominence to the US-sponsored anti-Soviet resistance in Afghanistan. Eventually, these Afghan mujahideen as mercenaries along with Pakistan-indoctrinated Kashmiri sepa-ratists unleashed anti-India terrorism in the Kashmir Valley. India has suffered scores of terror strikes, including the horrific 26/11 Mumbai attacks. American strategic interests are selforiented. Instead of celebrating the Abbottabad operation, India should learn to stand on its own against the threat of terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
Lalit Ambardar, NEW DELHI
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com

jug.suraiya@timesgroup.com http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/jugglebandhi/





Married To The Mobile

Who says wedlocks past its cell-by-date?

The World, Outside The Story

The grand American narrative revived by Osamas death is unlikely to survive the future
Sunil Khilnani

uickly disconnect. Dont you know the Punjab State Commission for Women thinks mobile phones are marriage wreckers? Pained at far too many newlyweds divorcing, this statutory bodys morphed into a marriage counselor. And its advisory says that in wedlocks initial two years, the wife must make the small adjustments. Such as: not chatting on the mobile with her nosey parents even if its to solicit advice on how to make a marriage work. For, hubby and in-laws can start thinking their bahus talkathons are with a paramour! Call it a suspected case of love, cell and dhoka. What a wring tone. Some mobile operators are already seeing profits dented courtesy business-expanding African safaris. Whatll happen if Indian brides now stop subscribing, fearing shaadi will turn to barbaadi? But hold the line. Certain telcos are reportedly thriving by selling off-limits numbers on the Do Not Call registry for princely sums. More to the point, if not their Mrs, husbands will remain customers. Presumably, another adjustment a wife must make is not to doubt hubby dears fidelity when he makes those roaming calls. Nor, in a fit of rage, dial M for Mummy. After all, the Indian male seems not to want to be upwardly mobile through his better half. A wellknown marriage portal reveals that 97% of the men its surveyed in a modern city like Mumbai want wives who earn less than them; only 1% wants wives to be more educated. If women happily seek partners more qualified than themselves, men go for fair plus lovely. Naturally, the more lovely the bride, the more her hotlines jammed. And the more her numbers engaged, the more marital groom and doom therell be on the in-laws suspicion that fair is foul. Does that mean marriage is past its cell-by-date? Or that relationships are best lived out in mobile homes? Well, many brides might support Hollywood actress Eva Mendess view of wedlock as very boring. Consider, after all, another marital adjustment that requires women to mostly do the housework. Recent research says if men do wash dishes or vacuum-clean, they must reclaim surrendered manliness by punching a few bags immediately after. So whats new? A 2009 survey showed that men acted deaf or feigned illness when chores came up. Or they pretended to have to make a long, crucial call! Such phony excuses dont always cell well. Talking of buying and selling, conjugal life can also be a drag thanks to yet another adjustment: gals shop alone because mall-hoppings not a guy thing. But instead of dreading spousal extravagance, men should get on the feminine bandwidth here. Havent they heard of retail therapy? Frequent shopping, a study says, can make people live longer! That means frequent shopping can also make couples communicate longer provided the shop frequented sells mobiles. If only spouses got SIM-biotically connected on cellular platforms with marital Apps. That way, handsets can become hand-holding devices. Hello, smart phone. Buy-buy happiness.

Last Sunday in Abbottabad, one of the great, awful, stories of modern times was seemingly drawn to a conclusion. In an operation that had the drama and spectacular efficacy of an action film, the grand villain of the contemporary American imagination was finally tracked down and slain. Americans had been awaiting the moment for a decade, and when it came, the word closure was very much in the air. The man who authorised the operation, Barack Obama, had entered the White House on the campaign slogan Yes we can. On the night of the killing, at Ground Zero in New York and in front of the White House, young people carried placards that declared: Yes we did. There seemed to be an end point to a narrative about the Global War on Terror. All the world over, people seek to make sense of their world by stories that have a beginning, middle and end. The impulse is both romantic and practical. But every narrative is a simplification of the individual events that are stitched together to constitute it, and in this age of Twitter and WikiLeaks, such elisions tend to come to light quickly It was only a . matter of hours after the presidents speech, which itself had been sober and scrupulous, that key elements of the story put forth by Obamas advisers were being corrected. Bin Laden was not armed,

after all. He hadnt used a woman as a human shield. President Obama had not watched the operation in real time. Other contrary details may turn up in due course. These neednt undermine the underlying significance of what happened last Sunday, but they underline a significance of a different type. Narrative always involves a degree of trickery even when its in the service of benign effects. President Obama certainly has the rhetorical powers and imaginative ability to tell rousing stories see Dreams of My Father, his narrative of his own coming of age. But what is more interesting about Obama as president is his temperamental resistance to the seductions of

Keeping an eye on the nuances

America does not have an unending future claim to historys starring role, or to being the global enforcer of justice
narrative. In fact, it was precisely his purpose to get away from overarching, framing narratives that he rightly associated with ideologically driven decisions of his predecessor. His preferred focus is domestic nuts and bolts matters like healthcare reform. Similarly in foreign policy , , Obama made clear he preferred analysis over narrative, empiricism over hardened principle, inductive logic rather than deductive reasoning. Where President Bush displayed impatience and willingness to precipitate

situations pre-emption, or the modern version of the Napoleonic you engage and, then, you see Obama self-consciously rejected that style, as he has rejected aviator jackets, speechifying, and Mission Accomplished banners when he laid a wreath at Ground Zero on Thursday . If one can speak of an Obama doctrine, it is one that aspires to a rigorous empiricism: to datadriven decision making, as opposed to the ideology-tinted Bush epic, whose adepts famously spoke of making their own reality. Instead of dispensing Manichean binaries, with or against, good or evil, Obama is a nuancer. He promises the crafting of a country-by-country policy in , opposition to, for instance, a blanket doctrine of intervention. This has left him open to charges of inconsistency and vacillation. He was leading from behind, in the

sniping assessment of an aide in a recent, much-discussed analysis in the New Yorker magazine. The bin Laden operation outflanks such assessments, providing a new story for Obamas own presidential qualities and virtues. As good as this might be for his re-election fundraising and poll ratings, there is much of value in his original position. And perhaps implicit in that position is a recognition denied, of course, in the cause of electoral politics that America does not have an unending future claim to historys starring role, or to being the global enforcer of justice. The old legends that propped up the USs claims to act legitimately on the international stage while pursuing its own interests leader and defender of the free world, for one began to crumble with the end of the Cold War. Subsequent efforts to anoint the US as

the vanguard of globalisation as Clinton tried in the 1990s and more recently, the Bush administrations story of America as the champion of democratic freedoms, have fared poorly in the electronic mall that is world opinion. And today, as the world media swarms around a desolate compound in Abbottabad, the Arab Spring continues to astonish, a potentially transformative upheaval that escapes American choreography and marginalises its closest ally, Israel. Pakistan, Americas most necessary if least willing partner, continues to sabotage its paymaster. China flexes economic, financial and now also military muscle. India has just cancelled American bids for the largest military hardware purchase in recent years. Both US ambassadors in these two Asian countries resigned last month, each publicly expressing frustration at their inability to achieve US goals. This is the world outside the main story of the week, which is to say this is the world as it is: a , multiplicity of unruly simulta, neous, often contradictory narratives, in which context a triumphal American story of Navy SEALs finishing off bin Laden seems a poignant throwback. Americans can take some comfort in that clear and simple story as they advance into an infinitely complicated future. But not too much. For that future like the Osama bin Laden narrative of this week is going to prove very difficult to control, and wont fit within the frame of a single story.
The writer is director, India Institute, Kings College, London, and an author.

England to adopt three-skipper formula

Not for all teams

he decision of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to have three captains for the three cricket formats Tests, ODIs and T20 is innovative. But the formula may not necessarily work for all teams and in all situations. The English teams decision relates to its recent experience. Having won an engaging Ashes series, it had little time to recharge its batteries for the World Cup. It was felt necessary to redistribute the burden of captaincy keeping , in mind the hectic playing schedule. In any case, Englands outgoing ODI captain Andrew Strauss wants to concentrate on his job as Test captain. The ECB wanted to groom younger players for leadership roles like Alastair Cook, appointed ODI captain, and Stuart Broad, appointed T20 captain. Nonetheless, theres no guarantee the experiment will work. England coach Andy Flower has admitted as much. A multiplicity of authorities within a single team could lead to complications. Every team has a certain playing philosophy and work ethic. The captain plays

Three is company
when Anil Kumble took over as Test skipper from Rahul Dravid while M S Dhoni captained the one-day side. Not only did Kumble win India its first home triumph against Pakistan in 27 years, his leadership was instrumental in holding the side together during the controversial series in Australia in 2007-08. Theres no reason why England cant replicate such success. Indeed, theres no reason why the formula cant become the norm among cricketI COUNTERVIEW I playing nations. Having separate captains is a way Ajay Vaishnav of the game. What is, however, to democratise leadership. At the same baffling is that many cricket time, it provides a new framework to cope pundits should take exception with the hectic schedules and strains of to the ECBs decision. international cricket. The three-skipper It is not uncommon for lead- formula will contribute to generating a ing nations to have different fresh stream of ideas for players in all forcaptains for different forms of mats of the game that require specialised the game. In the past, countries like Austra- skills. If anything, we may see an overall lia, pioneers in this regard, have success- improvement in cricketing standards. fully implemented the idea. The Australian Such an arrangement creates the time and team achieved a fair degree of success space to nurture young leaders from the under Mark Taylors Test captaincy and shortest to the highest form of cricket Steve Waughs one-day reign. India too has while ensuring a graceful and smooth exit experimented with the two-captain model for the older leaders. ollowing Andrew Strausss decision to concentrate exclusively on Test cricket, the ECB has taken the wise and bold step of announcing separate Test, oneday and Twenty20 captains. Alistair Cook, long considered Strausss natural successor, and Stuart Broad, a vital member of the team across formats, will reinvigorate Englands efforts in the shorter versions

a crucial part in providing his team direction and leading by example. Having three skippers could be a case of too many cooks. It could also make the coachs work more difficult, forcing him to juggle conflicting ideas. If such a system were the norm rather than a matter of need or choice, finding the right candidates to fill the posts


Pak Discomfiture No Solace For India

Dileep Padgaonkar

One does not have to be a flag-waving peacenik to lament the tone and tenor of many of the debates on the killing of Osama bin Laden aired on our television channels. Anchors and their hawkish guests often crossed the thin line separating a vigorous but reasoned discourse from invective when they put Pakistan on the mat for its duplicitous conduct. The outbursts of patriotic frenzy ensured that voices seeking to provide some perspective and balance to the discussions were not allowed to rise above a whisper. It wasnt a pretty sight at all to see these discussants in a state of near-hysteria when they sought to nail Pakistans lies, denounce its doublespeak and rap New Delhi on the knuckles for failing to summon the nerve to follow in the footsteps of the Americans. Even more unsettling was the smirk on their faces when they stopped speaking. It denoted, turn by turn, arrogance, superciliousness, condescension: all synonyms for terminal smugness. This much was most in evidence when they had to listen to the Pakistani guests on the programme. The latter, shamed and embarrassed by the recent developments, tried valiantly to defend the indefensible. Civility demanded that our hawkish anchors and experts treated them with a measure of circumspection. You do not kick a person who has tripped on the shin. Our votaries of a muscular patriotism did precisely that. Their smirk appeared to convey to the Pakistanis, with more than a hint of gloating, that their day of reckoning had arrived. This was the underlying narrative: for years India had cried itself hoarse about the safe havens that their defence and intelligence establishments had provided to terrorists of every stripe. And for years no one of consequence cared to listen. Pakistan was in denial; their western mentors chose to look the other way . Now, however, the chief mentor had called Pakistans bluff. No one is going to believe in its protestations of innocence any longer. It has no choice but to go before the international community in sackcloth and ashes, beg forgiveness for its past trespasses and atone for them in word and deed. The narrative, to put it bluntly, is hokum: more wishful thinking than a cool assessment of what is likely to happen next. In the weeks and months to come you can expect the Americans to leak to the media duly sanitised bits of information about whether or not the Pakistani military establishment harboured bin Laden in a safe house in the garrison town of Abbottabad. Information will also be forthcoming on whether or not America truly kept the Pakistanis in the loop when it conducted the operation leading to the death of the al-Qaidas iconic leader. It is more or less certain that Pakistan will have more egg on its face as a result of these leaks. This is bound to add to the strains and stresses in US-Pakistan ties in the short run. But these are unlikely to reach breaking point. The army establishments of the two countries have been through thick and thin for decades. Together they ousted the mighty Soviet Union from Afghanistan. Institutional cosiness of this sort forges bonds that are not easily snapped. Moreover, the strategic interests of the two countries, especially in Afghanistan, will remain intact regardless of recent and forthcoming recriminations. Once the dust raised by the bin Laden killing begins to settle, both sides can be trusted to act in unison even though it wont quite be business as usual. America is bound to exert pressure on the Pakistani military to come down hard on all terrorist outfits. They might be acting on their own but the passions and fantasies that drove bin Laden drive them as well. And Pakistan, mind you, cant do without American largesse. No amount of gloating over Pakistans pathetic predicament at present by our trumpeters of muscular nationalism will change that. There is no alternative for us but to engage with that country with due regard for its own nationalist sentiments. To argue otherwise and, worse still, to believe that we have the capacity to stage an Abbottabad-like operation to neutralise Pakistan-based criminals on our wanted list is to chase a chimera.

could also pose a problem. In recent years, the Indian cricket team has had two captains leading the charge in different formats. But current captain M S Dhoni has proved more than capable of handling all three formats. As things stand, theres no reason to impose a three-skipper formula on Team India. If it aint broke, why fix it? The future may or may not be different. Hence, a flexible approach to the leadership question is the best option.

Fly By Night
n the past year, 14 lakh individuals flew to six infamous tax havens, 1,000 of them making at least 30 trips and two as many as 60 each. Yet many of these worthies have incomes of a lakh per year, or none at all. Plus, many gave false addresses. Our taxmen, of course, made these discoveries at the Supreme Court's prompting. The question is, will it take more judicial prodding to bring these frequent fliers down to earth?

Protect Elephants

The Struggle Within

he PMO has sadly shot down a proposal for a National Elephant Conservation Authority along the lines for tigers. Recently bestowed the title of National Heritage Animal, the elephant in India continues to suffer from a lack of concerted conservation efforts. Increasing man-animal conflict has seen elephant numbers in the wild dwindle to a mere 25,000. An independent, empowered body is a must to channel resources towards elephant conservation.

ccording to a report carried in a Saudi newspaper, Osama bin Laden's deputy Ayman alZawahiri "betrayed" him to the Americans. If this is true, it hints at the tensions existing within the alQaida. The organisation is now without a central figure like bin Laden to hold it together. We may well see an internal power struggle between the outfits Egyptian and Arab leadership in the months to come.


The Revival Of Bhakti

ness. Brahmn along with these two modes formed the Tattva Traya or the threefold doctrine of guru wondered whether his student was Vishishtha Advaita philosophy that established worthy of receiving the ashtakshara an organic relationship of oneness of the unimantra that would release him from verse and individual souls along with Brahmn. earthly ills. After much deliberation, he finally Individual selves are sparks of the divine and the disclosed it, but only after wresting a promise world is no illusion. This philosophy is an intefrom him that it would not be revealed to others. gral part of Sri Vaishnavism, which says that The student pondered over the mantra and the Sriman Narayana is Paratattva, Supreme Truth. next day went atop the village temple and He is the abode of all life and is antaryamin, the , announced the mantra to a large gathering that internal controller. He is easily approachable and had collected there. The guru, furious, said that responds to his devotees loving devotion. The the worst hell awaited him. To which the student philosophy is theistic and says Brahmn is the replied, If this act of mine delivers thousands to union of Vishnu and Lakshmi (Sri), the father heaven, i do not mind going to hell. Thrilled, the and mother elements, respectively. guru hugged his disciple. The guru was Saint Ramanuja was deeply influenced by the 12 Tirukkottiyur Nambi. alwars or Vaishnavite poet-saints, who Ramanuja was born in a Vaishnava were immersed in bhakti or devotion family at Sriperambudur, near Kanchitowards Narayana. Through bhakti, puram. His own teacher, YadavapraRamanujacharya advocated saranagati kash, felt threatened by the clarity and or total surrender to God. Indeed, Krishextent of his knowledge and so decidna in the Bhagavad Gita advises ed to kill him. However, due to divine Arjuna to rise above the lesser dhargrace Ramanujacharya survived. mas or duties which keep the soul THE Ramanujacharya was against the bound to matter. He urges Arjuna to I SPEAKING I caste system. He took an illiterate but 'surrender all unto me and I shall free knowledgeable saint, Kanchipurna as you from fears, bondage and sorrows'. TREE his teacher. One night Ramanuja inThe act of surrender is termed as vited Kanchipurna to his house. After serving him saranagati, which forms the nucleus of the food, Ramanuja offered to wash his feet. Kanchi- vishistha advaita philosophy and is referred to , purna was embarrassed as Ramanuja was a Brah- as the prapatti yoga. In deference to Yamunachmin. An upset Ramanuja declared that one who aryas wishes, Ramanujacharya wrote the Sriwas devoted to God was beyond any social order. bhashya, a commentary on the Brahmasutras, Ramanuja expounded the Vishishtha Advaita Gita Bhashya, Saranagati Gadyam, among many philosophy qualified non-dualism. It talks of a other works. He travelled all over India and stanpersonal God who is one and only one (non-dual), dardised the liturgy at many temples including but vishishtha, one with unique attributes. It the Sri Venkateshwara temple at Tirupati, and says that the Supreme Being is soul of all souls. the Cheluvanarayana temple at Melkote, KarnaHe explained that there were three factors of taka, where he spent a major part of his life. Today is Ramanuja Jayanti. interplay: God or Brahmn, we or jivatmas, nature www.speakingtree.in or prakriti. He further explained that God manifests in two modes: Chit or sentient, living beings Join the worlds first spiritual networking site and achit or non-sentient, without conscious- to interact directly with masters and seekers.
Sangeeta Venkatesh


Advaita: Non-duality
The knot of ignorance in the heart is finally removed, when one comes to see one's own true non-dual nature by means of imageless Samadhi. Adi Shankara Neither gross nor subtle is my Atman; It comes not, and It goes not; Without a beginning and without an end; Neither higher nor lower is It; That Truth absolute, space-like, Immortality-giving knowledge am i. Avadhuta Gita Abide as That in which there are no concepts or anything else whatsoever, the ego ceases to exist, all desires disappear, the mind becomes extinct and all confusions come to an end and with the firm conviction that you are That, be always happy . Ribhu Gita
Tomorrow is Shankara Jayanti.

Fuelling change
With reference to the editorial Free It Up (May 6), i completely share your views on the desired deregulation of prices of diesel along with a rationalisation of taxes. At present, an excise duty of Rs 14 per litre on petrol works out to be around 70% of the ex-refinery price. Likewise, excise on diesel works out to be more than 20%. If general excise duty averages around 10% for other goods, one fails to understand why fuel prices which pertain to common utility items should be taxed so heavily. The media should take up this issue on a sustained basis. The roots of such a taxation structure lie in the old official attitudes characterising a time when indirect taxes used to form a large part of revenues. Now that direct taxes have swelled up and exceed revenues collected from indirect taxes, there should be a fundamental shift in our fuel policy.



Its everybodys war

With reference to the article Osama, Before And After (May 5) by Hamid Mir, the biggest question after the killing of Osama bin Laden is what precautions the world should take so that no more bin Ladens are produced. In this context, all democratic nations including India must extend full support to the US in the war against terrorism. While doing so, countries like Pakistan that have become safe havens for terrorists must be isolated. Instead of them being provided with generous assistance from the US, their duplicity must be exposed . Will America or even India exhibit the willpower to make the world a safer place to live in for all the innocent people who could otherwise become the targets of extremists?
V R Savarkar, PUNE
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com





Theres more to skirting an issue than meets the eye

Tim Pannell/Corbis

Origin of Darwins sickness? Being an avid globetrotter

Baltimore: The very travels that inspired Charles Darwins theory of evolution and shaped modern biology may have led to one of the illnesses that plagued the British naturalist for decades and ultimately led to his death, modern researchers say. Darwins ailments were the topic of a conference here that offers modern medical diagnoses for the mysterious illnesses and deaths of historical figures. In past years, the conference hosted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Veterans Administrations Maryland Health Care System has looked at Alexander the Great, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Booker T Washington. Guest speakers include Darwins great-great-granddaughter, poet Ruth Padel, who penned the book, Darwin: A Life in Poems. Philip A Mackowiak, the VA Maryland medical care clinical center chief and UM medical school professor who started the conference in 1995, had Darwin on his running list of possible candidates for years. Darwin, who lived from 1809 to 1882, travelled the world in his 20s cataloging and observing wildlife and later published On the Origin of Species. Throughout his life, Darwin sought help for multiple health problems, which included vomiting stomach acids after every meal when the symptoms were at their worst. He was diagnosed with dozens of condi- Darwin was beset by health problems tions including schizophrenia, appendicitis and lactose intolerance. It is particularly poignant that the scientists and physicians of his time could not provide Darwin, the father of modern life sciences, with relief from the ailments that affected so much of his life, Mackowiak said. The information used to evaluate Darwins case came from several sources, Mackowiak said, including the naturalists own letters, in which he wrote extensively about his complaints and his worries that he had passed on his illnesses to his children. Gastroenterologist Dr Sidney Cohen, Thomas Jefferson University medical college professor of medicine and research director, identified three illnesses. Cohen, who had no X-rays or blood studies to use in his assessment, said he had only the documented symptoms: an analysis of this journey of invalidism that he suffered throughout his life. It is a symptom-based specialty though now we have some , extraordinary diagnostic tools, he said. It would have been nice to have some CT scans. Cohen concluded that Darwin suffered from cyclic vomiting syndrome early in his life. His weight and nutrition remained normal since he rarely vomited food, just stomach acid and other secretions. He also believes Darwin contracted Chagas disease, a parasitic illness that can lie dormant for years, during a five-year trip around the globe on the HMS Beagle in his 20s. That illness would describe the heart disease that beset Darwin later in life and eventually caused his death, Cohen said. AP

LITTLE WONDERS: Two young models at the Bucharest Fashion Week recently

Ready for a kiss? Bite into a portable apple

n South Korea, home of kimchi and other pungent, garlicky food, having fresh breath for lifes big moments such as a kiss is a major concern. But researchers may soon have a natural, portable answer a Kiss Apple tiny enough to be stashed in a pocket or purse for quick eating prior to locking lips. We want young people to eat many apples and came up with the idea of portable apples for your bags, said Hwang Hye-sung, a researcher at South Koreas Rural Development Administration. Apples help freshen breath naturally and remove pieces of food stuck in the teeth, but the ping-pong ball-sized apple would be easier to carry around.

Washington: How can some people skirt a question without answering it, yet satisfy their listeners? A study says that people typically judge a speaker to form an opinion, which can make them susceptible to dodges. Limited attention capacity is another reason people fall for dodges, said the authors, citing a study in which people counting basketball passes failed to notice a man in a gorilla suit, the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied reports. Dodge detection greatly increased when listeners were directed to focus on the relevance of speakers answers, or if the text of the correct question was visible to the listeners as the speaker responded. The ability to recognize a dodge more than doubled, from 39% without the text to 88% with the text. Given concerns that voters are uninformed or misinformed and the many calls for increased education of voters... these results suggest that very simple interventions can dramatically help voters focus on the substance of politicians answers rather than their personal style, said study authors Todd Rogers and Michael I Norton, both of Harvard University. The researchers conducted four dif-

ferent experiments with four separate groups of people totalling 1,139 men and women with an average age of 44, according to a Harvard statement. In three of the studies, participants watched a video of a mock political debate and then responded to an online survey. In the fourth study, participants listened to excerpts of a recording of a mock political debate and then responded to questions. The results indicated that people are frequently unable to remember an initial question if a speaker answers a similar question. Moreover, listeners rated speakers who answered a similar question just as positively as those who answered the correct question. Listeners had the most negative reactions if speakers answered blatantly different questions or if they fumbled their words even while answering the correct question. But dodges arent always bad, the authors noted, such as when someone asks co-workers for their opinion on a new outfit. Still, results suggest that in many cases, dodges cause sought-after and relevant information to go unspoken, with little awareness and few consequences, the authors said. IANS

Night owls at risk of weight gain:

Staying up late can make you pile on the pounds and is fraught with other negative health consequences. Late sleepers consumed 248 more calories a day, twice as much fast food and half as many fruits and vegetables as those with earlier sleep times, according to a study by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. They also drank more fullcalorie sodas. Late sleepers consumed the extra calories during dinner and later in the evening when everyone else was asleep.

Swallow this tablet A 3-track mind?

eb tablets appear to be having a principal analyst at Gartner. a significant impact on the With the launch of the iPad 2 in amount of time many device February, more consumers either owners spend on their switched to buy Philipp Nemenz/cultura/Corbis other electronic gadgets, ing an alternative according to a Nielsen device or simply survey of tablet owners. held back from When asked to quantify buying PCs, Kitathe extent to which they gawa said. used other connected Gartner Vice devices since purchasPresident Carolina ing a tablet, 32% of the Milanesi predicted respondents who also last October that owned a desktop PC said the all-in-one nathey used their tethered ture of media computers less often and tablets would rethree percent said they sult in the cannino longer use them. balization of other Whats more, those consumer elecsurvey respondents who tronics devices also owned a notebook such as e-readers, said they either used gaming devices, their laptops less often and media players. (30%) or never (two perMini-notebooks cent) since acquiring a will suffer from the tablet. A weak demand for PCs was strongest cannibalization threat as the biggest inhibitor of computer mar- media-tablet average selling prices ket growth in the first three months drop below $300 over the next two of 2011, according to Mika Kitagawa, years, she said. AP

Food, sleep...sex

Depression too has a positive effect:

Traits likes sadness and defeatism define depression but it does have its positive side. A study by the University of Basel, Switzerland, says such individuals perform better than their normal peers in decision tasks. Both groups played a computer game in which they could earn money by hiring an applicant in a simulated job search, the Journal of Abnormal Psychology reports. Healthy participants searched through relatively few candidates before selecting an applicant, while depressed ones searched more thoroughly. For suggestions, queries and comments, mail to times.trends@timesgroup.com

London: Who says men have a one-track mind? Blokes don't just have sex on the brain -- they also think about sleep and food, says a new study . In fact, men think about all three more often than women do, according to the study carried out by Prof Terri Fisher, a psychologist at the Ohio State University in the US, the Daily Mail reported. She asked 163 students male and female to carry around a chart and mark it every time they thought about sex, food or sleep. The numbers varied widely from one student who , only recorded one sexual thought a day to a male who wrote down 388 in 24 hours. But on an average, men thought about food and sleep more often than they thought about sex. And they thought about all three more often than women did. Fisher said: "Men are more aware of need-related states such as being hungry or tired or sexually aroused, and focus on those. They are also better at detecting these states in themselves than women and more willing to express their thoughts." She added that even the student who thought about sex 388 times a day was only thinking about it every 158 seconds far fewer than the every seven seconds that myth would suggest. When people hear about some of these differences, I think sometimes they dont question it because it fits the stereotypes we have of men and women. When you stop and take a closer look at origins of some of these alleged differences, they sometimes have no empirical support, Fisher said. PTI




Acting debut at 78? Why ever not, Ill be myself

Asha Bhosle has rarely been conventional. She eloped at 16, married and then left the failing union to return to the parental home, two children in tow and pregnant with a third. She sang utt-patang songs even as her more famous sister Lata Mangeshkar was anointed Bollywoods singing queen. In 1980, she married composer R D Burman. He was talented but much younger than her At 78, Bhosle continues to surprise. Soon . enough, she will make her debut as an actress. She tells Bharati Dubeyabout what its like being Asha Bhosle. Excerpts: Why have you cut back on playback singing? I dont really like todays compositions; thats why I am keeping away from the "Munnis", and focusing on my private albums and shows. I recently performed at IIT, and was quite surprised to see the entire crowd singing along with me. It was quite endearing to see that youngsters love my songs, which I dont see happening with the songs of today Yes, I have become really . selective about the songs I sing now. There was a time when people waited for an artiste. Now if they dont find one, they go to another. They just dont value people. And at this juncture of my career, I want to be associated with all things good. Good yes, but not mainstream? Why isnt Indian music considered mainstream? It is the white skin that has always come in the way . Our colour will always be a problem. Whether its me or A R Rahman who won the Oscar, it happened only because there was a gora involved. But I hope that will change some day You are making your acting debut with "Maae". You play the title role. How important was your mother to your life? In fact, the title Maee is the reason that I was instantly attracted to the project. I used to address my mother as maee. She wanted us to continue our fathers legacy and encour, aged us all to sing. She didnt mind if we missed school, but singing was compulsory She . would always tell us that we were the most beautiful girls in the world. She even told Lata tai(Mangeshkar) that shes more beautiful than Madhubala, which helped us gain confidence. She made us feel beautiful. Was it as easy to act as to sing for the industrys leading ladies? It was at Anands (my sons) behest that I decided to do the film. He would keep telling me Mom, youve done everything, even faced the cameras. Just take the plunge. It also helped that the film had people like Padmini (Kolhapure) in it; shes family to me. But I did have one condition I should be allowed to be myself. Ill not be mouthing dialogues that dont suit my personality Even my grandchildren are excited about it. . You like taking up challenges, dont you? Every day of my life has been a challenge from singing a song that is not my type to being asked suddenly to sing a classical song with no practice. But the biggest challenge was when I decided to marry Bhosle, a man of my choice. Twelve years of my life went wanted Rs 3000. That upset him and the rest of the unit, except Shammi Kapoor. He supported me and said the song could only be sung by her and so she deserved to get that money. What was it like being Lata Mangeshkars sister? It was more of a disadvantage. There would be comparisons. People would often say Lata is better. Some other woman in my place would have given up singing, but I was very stubborn. I fought and made a place for myself. Many say that marrying Bhosle was a big mistake, but I am Asha Bhosle because of him. He pushed me into singing. He kept a tutor for me and made me sing. The reason could have been money but , Iam Asha Bhosle because he helped me become one. Is there any truth to the stories about sibling rivalry between you and Lata? Yes, there is, but its from my sisters side. She was the queen, and when I got popular it did upset her. Did she feel threatened by you? I didnt know about it the first 12 years as I was away . No one could touch a singer like her, while I was a singer known to do utt-patang songs. We never got into a scrap over our songs directly I know she got upset . with me at an awards function recently when I told , her that you are always late and never listen to my song. She was slightly rude and said that Asha ne mujhe hamesha sataya hai. I was hurt, but didnt say anything. None of your children seems interested in carrying your legacy forward. Tell me one big name whose children achieved the same success as he or she did? God makes only one piece. There will only be a one Lata, one Rafi and one Kishore Kumar. Look at the actors their children may be good-looking, but none could match their parents success. In my family my daughter Varsha , sings well, Hemant was a music director and Anand plays the tabla well, but I didnt want to encourage them as I dont trust this line iska koi bharosa nahi hain. You own a chain of restaurants across the world. What made you start them? My work would force me to be out of the house most of the time. When I used to come back, the children would be all praise about the neighbours food. After that I made sure that I cooked for them whatever they liked. I would come back from recording and go straight into the kitchen. My son told me one day , Mom lets start a restaurant, and I agreed. Today we have about 10 restaurants three in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Bahrain, Doha, Muscat and London. We are planning to open one in Manchester and Egypt also. I have learned to make various kinds of dishes from various people. Majrooh Sultanpuris wife taught me to make kebabs, which Ive named after her. A friend who was a chorus singer, Chandbala, taught me to make fish in curd. I learned to make Chandni Chowk keema from a person in Chandni Chowk and my children loved it.



into making it work. How did the family react to that? My mother was progressive in her thinking. She hugged me and said, Live your life the way you want to. The world will talk for some time and then go silent. Even my sister Lata and other members were okay with me. There were some who didnt like it, but my mother stood by me and told me to focus on my life. You were one of the few artistes who demanded a higher price to sing? During those days I used to earn about Rs 500 for a song; sometimes it would go up to Rs 800. But for the Rajkumar song, I told producer FC Mehra that I

Qaidas hate crimes need Nuremberg II

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL The chances of taking Osama bin Laden alive and to trial were always going to be laughably low. American special forces were sent into a complex, ambiguous and dangerous situation, chasing a man with a pathological hatred of kafirs, a track record of terrorist spectaculars and with a fervent desire to die waging jihad rather than of old age in an infidel prison. Somewhat like Adolf Hitler, al-Qaidas founder was always unlikely to surrender. But a second Nuremberg 65 years on would have set new standards in international law for an unquiet 21st century riven by doubt over the treatment of non-state warriors fighting without end on a borderless battlefield. Bin Ladens execution swift and described as justified self-defence in a hostile situation smacks of frontier justice. It does nothing to advance respect for international law. It merely perpetuates the cycle of violence in pursuit of political ideals a strategy bin Laden himself championed. As Angela le Blanc, a member of the September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows group, commented with evident sorrow after hearing that bin Laden had been shot dead by the Americans: There are not many things I know to be absolutely true, but one of them is that violence begets violence I and my fellow members believe justice is achieved in the courtroom, not on the battlefield. I do not seek revenge, but rather justice and these are two very different things. It was a similar yearning for justice, the triumph of manifest right not might, the end of senseless bloodshed that led to the sober, year-long, reckoning-up in Nuremberg. It was flawed. The US chief prosecutor, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, freely admitted as much. Critics of the Nuremberg trials notably included US Supreme Court Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone, who caustically called the proceedings in faraway Bavaria a high-grade lynching party before he died at their half-way point in April 1946. But Nuremberg lanced a deep boil even if it did not drain it. It is worth remembering that at the time, Britains Winston Churchill argued for the summary execution of the Nazi leadership and it was US President Truman who quoted Justice Jackson to say this would not sit easily on the American conscience or be remembered by our children with pride. Truman insisted that the victorious Allied forces determine the innocence or guilt of the accused after a hearing as dispassionate as the times will permit and upon a record that will leave our reasons and motives clear. The consequences went beyond justice for the six million who died at the hands of a vicious state apparatus and their be-

Wimpish India may lose the Great Game

SWAPAN DASGUPTA A week after 9/11, when an angry United States was planning fierce retribution against Osama bin Laden and his Taliban hosts, General Pervez Musharraf made a televised speech on the choices facing Pakistan. In a rambling address, Musharraf drew inspiration from the early history of Islam. The Prophet, he reminded viewers, had negotiated the Treaty of Hudaibiya with the Quraish of Mecca. The truce may have seemed a climb down and an admission of weakness but it offered the army of Islam the elbow room to spread the faith throughout the Arabian Peninsula. It was an invigorated Islam that finally regained Mecca. The implication was obvious: confronted by a superpower that bluntly demanded Pakistan should choose between Us and Them, Musharraf was effecting a tactical retreat. To Musharraf, the U-turn in Afghanistan didnt signal any strategic shift or emotional conversion; it suggested dissimulation based on expediencythe al taqiyya or deception that is theologically sanctioned for the larger good of the faith. With the encounter in Abbottabad ending an exhaustive manhunt, there must be functionaries in Washington DC who regret not being more attentive to the fine print of Musharraf s September 2001 speech. It is not that the US and its allies werent aware of Pakistans penchant for looking both ways and facilitating Taliban factions. But its duplicity was sought to be rationalized as wari-

reaved families. Nuremberg went beyond catharsis. It led to moves to establish a permanent international criminal court, which came into being eight years ago. It led the way to the 1948 Genocide Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And David Maxwell Fyfe, the British deputy chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, went on to draft the European Convention on Human Rights. So much quantifiable good came out of immeasurable suffering. In letters to his wife made public only in March 2009, Fyfe described the grim experience in bombed-out Nuremberg: It is worth a year of our lives to help to register forever and with practical result the reasoned horror of humanity (at the Nazis misdeeds)". One practical result might be still to come. Nuremberg could be a style, if not a template, for establishing a proper trials process for crimes of hate. Leading British lawyer and author of Crimes Against Humanity Geoffrey Robertson has pointed out that bin Laden could not have been tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC) because its jurisdiction only came into existence nine months after the 9/11 attacks. In any case, the US has refused to sign up to the ICC. But for al-Qaida, an ad hoc tribunal could be set up by the United Nations Security Council, with international judges that include, say Muslim jurists. , Such a tribunal might be expected to extend fairness and just punishment to the vanquished. Setting up a trials process for all crimes of hate beyond alQaida, across borders, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender would be a mammoth task. But Nuremberg is proof of the paradox the unprecedented has precedent. In his opening statements back in November 1945, Justice Jackson explained the logistical difficulty of bringing within the scope of a single litigation the developments of a decade, covering a whole continent, and involving a score of nations, countless individuals, and innumerable events. The trials were a response to the worlds demand for immediate action, he observed. Without a trials process, the clamour for immediate action would probably have meant an eye for an eye. But as Gandhiji sensibly warned, that would make the whole world blind. We are not sightless yet. Other alQaida leaders Ayman al-Zawahiri and further down the food chain are high-value targets on the American watchlist. One day soon, they may be found. If the focus were on capture, arrest, arraigning for trial and judging on evidence, real justice will be done and crucially for al-Qaidas constituency seen to be done.
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ness of a regime in Kabul that valued India. As the relationship with President Hamid Karzai began souring, it suited western strategists to imagine that Pakistans shenanigans were facets of a new Indo-Pak proxy war. With war weariness engulfing the public mood in both the US and Britain, pragmatism deemed that Pakistan should have a major say in determining a peace settlement that included the Talibanas distinct from the al-Qaida. In a speech in February this year, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton even deemed that laying down of arms and acceptance of the Afghan Constitution were no longer prerequisites for dialogue with the Taliban. Until the May 2 firefight spoiled the party Pakistan believed it was on the cusp of a his, toric victory With President Barack Obama . having announced a phased withdrawal of US forces from July Islamabad felt it was just a , matter of time before it regained its strategic depth in Afghanistan. Its army chief General Kayani was audacious enough to suggest to Karzai last month that his cooperation in a settlement that accommodated the Taliban could even be underwritten by Chinaa country that has acquired substantial interests in the mineral wealth of Afghanistan. Of course, it was not all smooth sailing. Pakistan was worried that the Afghan conflict and its quiet encouragement of jihad had triggered a blowback. Some of the Islamist groups nurtured by the ISI to inflict pain on India had developed autonomous agendas and had even begun targeting the Pakistan military This . threat was partially offset by an unexpected bonanza: Indias retreat from its post-26/11 position of no talks until Pakistan completely disavowed terrorism. What is now called the


Mohali spirit was also premised on the convoluted rationale that the process of normalization would bolster Pakistans fledgling democracy However, there is no evidence to . suggest that the Pakistani cantonments were worried by this wishful calculation. To them, Indias talks with useful idiots of the civilian government merely helped Pakistan look more respectable. It was also a great relief to the western powers that valued both countries: India for business and Pakistan for facilitating its exit from Afghanistan. Abbottabad has nullified this script. It was one thing for Pakistan to be harbouring Mullah Omar in Quetta, but Osama was another matter altogether. Pakistans perfidy hasnt merely made the US angry; it has been shown to be a sucker. In normal circumstances, India should have been jubilant and telling the world we told you soa sentiment echoed by the media and society Tragically the latest confirmation of Pa. , kistans habitually duplicitous conduct has left

Manmohan Singh strangely unmoved. He has instead reaffirmed his faith in Pakistans innate goodnessa gesture of monumental magnanimity that is prone to being misconstrued. Indias wimpish official response to Pakistans double-dealing isnt likely to generate oodles of gratitude. A beleaguered Pakistan has reacted to its own embarrassment with a heady cocktail of victimhood, nationalism and anti-Americanism. Such an outburst cant be delinked from that countrys pet hates. When it comes to India, Pakistan is often loath to even practice al taqiyyaso profound is its fear of Indias skills of absorption. This may explain Islamabads calculated over-reaction to notional threats of Indian special operations. For Pakistan, anti-Indianism is the national adhesive. Pakistan is still unsure of the extent of Western retribution over its sanctuary to Osama. It is banking on a temporary frostiness that will dissipate in the face of the imminent departure from Afghanistan. Pakistan has reposed faith in the two aces it has up its sleeve: its nuclear assets and its firm alliance with China. The West, it believes, will bark but wont dare bite. In the normal course, India would have been an additional pressure point on Pakistan. Having abandoned that option, India has made itself redundant in the Great Game. Singh may yet get to visit his native village in Pakistan. In craving that privilege, he may also secure Indias banishment from Afghanistan and the onward march of China in South Asia.
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Osamas death may end bloom of Arab Spring

SWAMINATHAN S ANKLESARIA AIYAR I did not celebrate Osama bin Ladens death. Killing an individual is easier than killing an idea. Osamas idea of jihad survives his death. He was the mastermind of 9/11 and the most iconic jihadi figure. Yet he had long ceased to direct jihadi movements and had run foul of some by killing Muslims opposed to al-Qaida. Nevertheless, Osama succeeded in popularizing a new version of jihad. In this, suicide attacks and civilian killingsboth crimes in traditional Islambecame glorious jihadi tactics that fulfilled Islamic goals and ensured a passport to paradise. John Brown, US anti-slavery leader, led a slave uprising in 1859, and was hanged for it. Yet his ideal of abolishing slavery triumphed. This inspired the US civil war song John Browns body lies amouldering in the grave, but his soul goes marching on. So too will Osamas. His death may encourage the US to withdraw troops quickly from Afghanistan, strike a deal with the Taliban, and play down terrorism directed at India rather than the US. Pakistan

will see this as vindication of its two-faced policy of using terrorists against India while playing footsie with the US. Such two-facedness may mean worse violence within Pakistan, with radicals gaining ground from liberal Muslims. India may suffer further 26/11-style attacks, more violence in Kashmir, and more external assistance for domestic jihadi groups. We may even suffer another Kandahar-type hijack. To scotch this, militant Hindus want to emulate the US by raiding and assassinating targets in Pakistan such as Hafeez Saeed of the Lashkare-Taiba, mastermind of 26/11. This approach will fail. Just look at the ultimate failure of many killing missions of Israel, which is global No.1 in political assassinations and much admired for it by the RSS. Ronen Bergman, Israeli military analyst, recalls that in 1992, Israel assassinated Hezbollah founder Abbas Mussawi. Far from weakening Hezbollah, this fuelled its anger and led to a retaliatory attack on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29. Mussawis replacement, Hassan Nasrallah, greatly increased Hezbollahs clout using arms supplies from Iran. This helped him wage an inconclusive war against Israel in 2006. Israel inflicted much damage on Lebanon, yet ended by withdrawing, a worse outcome than anything imaginable in Mussawis time.

In 2004, Israel assassinated Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, hoping to cripple the organization. Instead, Hamas became stronger and more aggressive. Yassin was a devout Sunni who opposed Shia Iran, but after his death, Hamas happily joined hands with Iran and was armed by it, to Israels utter dismay So, while India faces . a growing threat from jihadis, Israel shows us that assassination is no solutionit looks macho but ends up strengthening your foes. Ultimately , militant Islam will be quelled only by liberal Islam, not by outsiders, and that internal struggle is beyond our power to resolve. Whether we like it or not, we cannot impose a military solution. Optimists disagree. They claim that jihad as a philosophy has been beaten back by the Arab Spring, and that secular freedom movements in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya have displaced sectarian ones. I would love to believe this is the case, but history suggests otherwise. Many liberals (including me) hailed the 1979 Iranian revolution that overthrew the Shah. Alas, this brought not democracy but a murderous, oppressive theocracy . Liberals cheered prospects of democracy when Algeria held its first free elections in 1991. But an Islamist party won the first round. So, with US blessings, democracy was abandoned in favour of continued military rule. Elections in

Palestine brought to power Hamas, a radical Islamic party humiliating the secular PLO. , Why do Islamists so often win free elections in the Middle East? Because local dictators can neuter secular opposition groups but dare not close down the mosques. Hence mosques become natural opposition centres. When autocracy gives way to elections, Islamic parties (like the Muslim Brotherhood) are the best organized, and so best placed to win. In Egypts referendum on constitutional reform in March, opposition leader El Baradei (who wanted elections put off to help secular parties organize) was prevented from casting his vote by Islamists who pelted stones. Does this portend liberal democracy or Islamist intolerance? This must stoke fears that the Arab Spring will bring radical Islamists to power in many countries. I would love to be proved wrong. But I have a sinking feeling that we will soon say of Osama what Bertold Brecht said of Hitler. Dont rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world stood up and stopped the bastard, The bitch that bore him is in heat again.
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Bin Laden data cache gives US leverage

SHAUN GREGORY US-Pakistani relations were in crisis before the circumstances of the killing of Osama Bin Laden became known. Tired of Pakistani obfuscation on its side of the border, the Obama administration had sharply increased drone strikes in the tribal belt and significantly expanded its ground presence in Pakistan, particularly through the use of CIA operatives and contractors. These changes were beginning to pay off spectacularly both in terms of the attrition of senior and mid-ranking al-Qaida figures and in terms of the killing of important Afghan Taliban. In fact they were paying off so well they had begun to interfere with Pakistans long-term regional strategy In the . wake of the Raymond Davis affair, and buoyed by public antipathy to the US in Pakistan, an angry General Kayani had pushed the United States for a renegotiation of the base and access deal agreed in the wake of 9/11, ordered the closure of the secret CIA drone base at Shamsi in northern Balochistan, and ordered many CIA operatives and contractors out of Pakistan. Then Osama bin Laden was found and killed in Abbottabad in a large, sophisticated compound, which bears all the hallmarks of a bespoke building built to hide high-value targets over the long term. Convinced that Pakistan remains a net asset in the war on terror, and seeing no value in further destabilizing the Zardari-Gilani government, the US had publicly supported Pakistan though this has convinced few on Capitol Hill who are determined to get answers to many awkward questions. Behind the scenes, however, it is clear that the Obama administration and informed Americans are


MARCH 29, 1957


POLL WASHOUT: Congress leaders were aghast at the state election results because the opposition parties fared well

furious with Pakistan. As a military cantonment town, much of it built by the armys own construction companies, the home of the Kakul training academy and of a brigade of the Rawalpindi Corps, and as the location of an important ISI office, little goes on in Abbottabad that the army/ISI doesnt know about. Moreover, the army/ISI had at least four reasons for wanting to keep bin Laden out of harms way: to avoid their long-terms links with bin Laden being revealed (links that include a plot to kill Benazir Bhutto in the late 1980s and the difficult fact that the ISI introduced bin Laden to the Afghan Taliban in 1996) bin Laden was the golden goose who assured US military aid flowed to the Pakistan ar-

my as long as he was on the run bin Laden had links to powerful Saudi families who in turn have links to powerful figures in Pakistan, and who had reasons to want to keep bin Laden alive and out of Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan may have made deals with bin Laden as it has with many other terrorist groups to curb al-Qaidas violence within Pakistan. Beyond the historical links between the ISI and bin Laden and the circumstantial case against the Pakistan army/ISI, it is a racing certainty that the hard-drives, memory sticks and copious documents picked up by US Navy Seals at bin Ladens compound will be extremely problematic for the Pakistan army/ISI. There must be more than a few officers in the Rawalpindi GHQ sweating that the phone numbers reportedly found written on bin Ladens clothes dont include the cell numbers of Lt General Kayani and Pasha. There can be no expectation, however incriminating all this gathered material may prove, that the United States will use it to publicly humiliate and pressurize the Pakistanis. But there can be no doubt either that every shred that points to the ISI and Pakistan army will be exploited to the full as the US seeks to follow up the death of bin Laden with a decisive push to annihilate al-Qaida in Pakistan as Obama has promised. It is this unexpected opportunity for leverage, which is arguably the most salient consequence of bin Ladens death for US-Pakistan security relations. Whether this leverage exacerbates tensions or brings the Pakistan army/ISI reluctantly to heel is the critical question. Before bin Ladens death, Lt General Asad Durrani, a former DG ISI, was already being quoted as stating that the US and Pakistan were effectively at

war. A hyperbolic comment no doubt, but one that revealed the deteriorating trajectory of distrust and clashing interests between the US and the Pakistan army/ISI and a point underlined by the USs decision to leave Pakistan entirely out of the loop for the raid on bin Ladens compound. Even wiser heads, such as Georgetowns gifted Christine Fair, are predicting that things between the US and Pakistan could quickly get very very nasty. , The Pakistan army/ISI is cornered, with pressure mounting on it from within Pakistan and from without. Behind the United States, the UK, France, Germany and the rest of the EU are , queuing up with questions and each of these states will have a tough time domestically even trying to defend continued engagement with Pakistan. Once again, Pakistan is at another fork in the road with one path leading further down the cul-de-sac of violence and instability and the other offering the first few difficult steps back to normality More than ever, the Pakistan army/ . ISI has to show that the term ally of the west has meaning. India, meanwhile, must despair that its regional antagonist can ever be normalized. To the lies Pakistan has peddled about AQ Khan, about the Afghan Taliban and Mullah Omars safe havens in Pakistan, and about army/ISI support for the Lashkar-e-Taiba and for the Haqqani network, must now be added the lie that Osama bin Laden was not in Pakistan. The writer is director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit and associate dean at the University of Bradford, UK
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A bad diet, poor eating habits, a disinclination to move and a genetic propensity to obesity. Why our children are pudgy
Parakram Rautela & Saira Kurup | TNN


Children themselves are juggling school with tuition, activity classes with television and video games, so much so that have little, if any time or inclination to play Reema, Karan . mother, agrees. Hes so busy with studies as hes in class XII that he doesnt have time to play cricket or football that he played for years. Till the age of 12, he was actually thin. Patel says pudginess is also a byproduct of new urban living conditions, small flats with no space for children to run around inside their homes; outside, disproportionate urban planning does not take into account that children need space to play . The big fat problem is compounded by an ugly truth on average, Indians have a poor metabolic rate. This can have huge consequences. As Dr Shah explains: Take two children; same background, same body shape. They both eat 100 calories of food. But one of them has a higher metabolic rate, so he will turn 80 calories into energy His body then stores the leftover . 20 calories. The other child burns only 20 calories into energy and his body stores 80 calories... If the second child is unable to burn the extra calories, they will just pile up around his waist.
Illustration: Ajit Ninan

G Don't skip meals, especially breakfast G Eat at fixed times G Don't snack throughout the day G Munch fruit whenever you feel hungry G Limit your time spent watching television or

eventeen-year-old Karan Sharma admits to a daily craving a packet of chips; a bowl of Maggi noodles. He insists upon the little treat when he returns from school and will eat lunch only afterwards. Lunch can be rice or roti with dal and curry Reema, his mother, says he clearly longs for . something that gives him instant gratification and energy. Likewise, Shreyas Srivastava. The 11-year-old raids the kitchen when he returns from school. Even though Manju, his mother, has a balanced meal ready for him, Shreyas always asks what will I eat with lunch? and it normally means biscuits or namkeen or even chips on a lucky day, she says. Karan and Shreyas belong to a generation that doesnt think home-cooked tiffin is cool. For this generation, pasta from the school canteen is worth eating. Both boys mothers admit they are on the heavier side but certainly not fat. Whatever the terminology, Karan and Shreyas clearly belong to a pudgy generation addicted to empty calories. A 2009 study by the National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation (N-DOC) found that 34.5% of children in the 14-18 age group at private school in Delhi were overweight Increasing numbers of or obese. More worryingly its not , just the national capital thats losoverweight and obese ing the battle of the bulge. Dr children may also Priyali Shah of N-DOC says the increase Indias burden adolescent waistline is expanding across urban India. N-DOCs study of type 2 diabetes and covered 20,537 schoolchildren in cardiovascular diseases. six cities and found 25.3% overWe tom-tom about weight and 8.6% obese Indias demographic in both private and government dividend, that more schools. than a third of our This can be betpopulation is below 18 ter understood as follows: Every third but what would it child at a private school in mean if a significant Mumbai is overweight or proportion of this obese. This is probably segment were obese? because they are from upper middle class families and have spare cash to spend on junk food. They are also more likely to lounge for hours in front of the TV the computer or at a PlaySta, tion. Right now, girls are more likely to be overweight but boys are not far behind. A major reason for the snowballing crisis is the so-called nutrition transition underway in urban India. This means that a wide variety of affordable convenience foods, high in fat and sugar are increasingly available and there is a perceptible decline in the consumption of traditional foods that are low in fat, rich in fibre and micro nutrients. Add this change to a more sedentary lifestyle, energy-saving devices and fatter wallets and the result is an increasingly pudgy young India. So what, if anything, are parents doing about this? Manju, Shreyas mother, admits the force of childrens pester power. As a working mother she says it is difficult to monitor his lunch from my office he often eats just a little of the prepared lunch and binges on snacks but I try to enforce some discipline at dinner time. The snack binge generally means loads of saturated fats. Dr Priyali Shah points out that the label on a packet of bhujia will say one serving contains so many calories. But nobody ever eats only a serving; you eat the whole packet. A packet of bhujia contains 1,200 calories... while a 15-yearolds daily need is only 1,800 calories. Tulsi Patel, sociology professor at Delhi School of Economics, says she knows of parents who try to dissuade children from eating junk, but people are caught up so much with the outside world that shrinkage of family time with children is being experienced.

playing videogames
G Play any sport for at least 10 minutes without


G Carry home-cooked food in a lunchbox and finish it all G Avoid junk food from the school canteen and vendors outside G Don't bunk the physical education class; play vigorously G Don't overeat or skip meals during exams


G Opt for a salad as a starter G Choose water, low-fat milk, lassi, coconut etc

instead of a soda
G Opt for steamed, baked, grilled or roasted dishes

rather than fried

G Order small meals instead of large combos G Have mustard or ketchup rather than

man, says he cant enforce it because when you make something compulsory, there is automatically a lot of resistance. Unsurprisingly, there are very real worries about the implications of the obesity epidemic. The first problems that generally manifest themselves are emotional and psychological. Increasing numbers of overweight and obese children may also increase Indias burden of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. We tom-tom about Indias demographic dividend, that more than a third of our population is below 18 but what would it mean if a significant proportion of this segment were obese and prone to health problems as its slips into middle age? So what can be done? Intervention programmes have been shown to work. The good news, says clinical nutritionist Ishi Khosla is that children want to eat healthy, if theyre told how. Societys fixation with good looks is already driving more children into gyms, if not onto the playground. Ultimately, of course, there must be greater awareness about diet, not just among children but their parents because good habits start at home.


Year Country Age group Overweight% Boys Girls

2007 2008 2006/7 2007 2008 2002

sity is not alarming but cannot be ignored. Usha Ram principal of Delhis Laxman Public School, says no colas are sold in her school and there is a Mother Dairy outlet on campus instead. The children complained in the beginning but have now very happily traded in their colas for lassi, she says. But are schools doing enough? Or at least as much as they can? Abha Sehgal, principal of the national capitals Sanskriti School says a 15-year-old in her school gets about two hours of physical exercise every week. Ameeta Mulla Wattal of Springdales says her students get about one physical education period in a week. Its difficult to do more with the amount of schoolwork that needs to be covered, Wattal acknowledges. CBSE guidelines say a child should get about 40 minutes of playtime every day But Vineet Joshi, CBSE chair.

Australia England France New Zealand Germany China

2-16 5-17 3-17 5-14 4-16 7-17

25 24.8 13.1 25.5 22.6 5.9

24 28.2 14.9 17.6 17.7 4.5

Source: International Association for the Study of Obesity

England Germany France Australia China

Even so, at least one primary school teacher in south Delhi insists there arent more overweight children today than 20 years ago. Shah dismisses this briskly We tend to think . an overweight child does not have a problem untill he cant fit into his chair, she says. Fortunately, Indian schools increasingly seem to agree with Patels argument and not the sanguine primary school teacher. Most schools now say that that the problem of obe-

New Zealand

Best CEOs take private passion to product success

Shobha John | TNN

ecessity is famously the mother of invention but sometimes, as with Sonys late president, Norio Ohga, it is a private passion that spawns a successful mass market product. Ohga, who died just weeks ago, drove Sonys famously worldbeating foray into the music market. Ohga, a music connoisseur and trained opera singer, insisted the CD be designed at 12 centimeters in diameter or 75 minutes worth of music in order to store his beloved Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in its entirety The CD was . born and remains in use today . Ohgas passion neatly married with his companys drive for profit. But what of the Indian CEO? Are there any Indian Norio Ohgas out there? Not really, says Anil Gupta, founder of National Innovation Foundation. Few are willing to fund just an idea, a sapling which may or may not succeed. People only invest in success, in an idea thats proven in the market, he says.

Nambiars passion translated into PRO FX, a high-end audio venture. In the 90s, it was almost impossible to purchase a good music system in India. Thats when we realized an organized, niche retail business would work with music lovers. The company partnered with global giants and today, PRO FX with its 10 stores is into home theatres, multi-room AV Solutions, 3D projection theatres, home automation solutions and acoustics. This business is small but growing rapidly, says Nambiar.

Some of the magic tricks Kolkata-based Sam Dalal invented and exports
Jumbo change bag to transform one item to another

Kolkata-based Sam Mandal heads Funtime Innovations, suppliers of magic props globally The former pharma executive was . six when his father died. Fascinated by magic, Dalal decided to earn a few bucks doing tricks. Magic shows helped him pay his way through college. I would write for foreign magic magazines and was paid five pounds for my tricks, says Dalal. They would be marketed by others at a 95-pound mark-up. In 1975, Dalal went into business himself. Today, he has 1,500 gimmicks, props and tricks to sell and annual exports run into a few crores.

Brass matchbox penetration trick

Mumbai-based Vishal Gondal's passion for computer games started at 13, when his parents presented him with a computer. By the time he was in Class X, Gondal had started teaching programming to other children, earning about Rs 5,000. At 19, he says, at the height of the Pepsi-Coke war, I made a game where Pepsi bottles shot at Coke cans. I forced the head of Pepsi marketing to watch it. It was a hit. I love India, a Kargil game, was another hit with close to one lakh downloads within a month. Soon, venture capitalists approached him (I didnt even know what VCs were) and in 1999, Rs 3.5 crore was invested in his company Today Indiagames . , works across various platforms the internet, PC, broadband, mobile phones, consoles... Making money was never my aim; I just followed my passion, Gondal says.

Gupta may have a point but Bangalore-based Ajit Nambiar, BPL Telecom's chairman and MD, may disprove it. His interest in music began in the 1980s while watching the BBCs Top of the Pops and Neil Peart, drummer of the band RUSH. I saw him live and I said I want to do that. He did. Today he plays the percus, sion and drums. I feel music speaks to the heart and soul no matter where people live or what language they speak. MAN WITH A MISSION: Norio Ohga conducting a student orchestra

Card through coaster trick. A playing card penetrates a coaster in a jiffy A floating glass




TOI reviews one of the most coveted gadgets of our time

iPad 2
Nimish Dubey

Office in the cloud

Javed Anwer reviews five free web-based office suites that you might want to try out

everal early adopters of technology were annoyed with the amount of time it took Apple to launch its iPad in India (it was launched here 11 months after its US release). Well, no one has these complaints with the Cupertinobased company this time. The iPad 2 hit Indian stores last week a mere seven weeks after its international launch. But while the speed at which the device arrived on our shores is commendable, its arrival has thrown up myriad questions: How good is this new tablet? Does it render the just-released-in-India original iPad obsolete? Does it make sense to pick up this slate? Should one wait for the slew of similar gadgets expected to arrive later this month before making a decision?

Its got the looks, and the power

Well, I got my hands on the iPad 2 a few days ago and while it retains the eye-catching looks of the original iPad, you realise its a whole new device the moment you take it in your hands. The second iteration of the Apple slatecomplete with its sleek unibody aluminium shellis about 100gms lighter and a lot slimmer than its predecessor. In fact, at less than 9mm, the iPad 2 is thinner than most smartphones. Now, this new size is bit of a mixed blessing: Those in love with tech anorexia will adore it, but there are times when the device felt a bit too light. Truth be told, I found the weight of the older one a bit more reassuring. The iPad 2s screen has the same resolution and size as that of the original, andlike the originalis magically sensitive to touch.

Also, this slate has a dual core processor purring under its hood, and this muscle makes its presence felt when you get into more processintensive tasks: Fire up iMovie on the gadget, and before you know it, you will be editing video clips, tweaking background sounds and adding a bunch of snazzy special effects; simply by dragging your fingers across the display And while . you could do this on the previous iPad as well, on the new one, it happens without a lag. Heck, I dont remember being able to edit video as easily on some of the high-end notebooks Ive used. The same applies to messing around with music in the amazing GarageBand application: You can create beats and samples using different instruments, lay them all down in multi-tracks to create complete orchestrated compositions, and it all happens so blazingly fast and easily that I, for one, was tempted to pursue a career in music for an all-too-brief instant. And, of course, gamers are just going to love the smooth, silken manner in which the tablet handles graphic-heavy games like N.O.V .A. 2 (which did not exactly fly on the first iPad). Still, the most noticeable tech spec of the new iPad is its two cameras. The one at the front lets you make video calls over Wi-Fi using Apples FaceTime app just make sure you have a very good internet connection when you try it out. The camera on the back is capable of shooting decent high-definition video (and the fact that I could tweak it on the large screen using apps such as iMovie makes it even more handy), but I would not recommend shooting any still photos with it you are going to end up with grainy images, reminiscent

of camera-phone pictures from half a decade ago! Another new addition to the slate is a gyroscope, which lets you do things (like ducking and diving in N.O.V 2) by tilting the device yes, .A. we did get some very basic motionsensing gaming with accelerometers, but the gyroscope adds a whole new dimension in terms of sensitivity Of course, making sure . things work well is that dual core processor in the background. Connectivity options remain the same as before (you still need a Micro-SIM for data connectivity) as do the capacities, and most remarkably the ten-hour battery life. , I actually got more (ten hours and twenty minutes) out of it while browsing the interwebs on Wi-Fi. And then theres the new magnetic Smart Covers for the iPad 2 screen that attach to the device by snapping onto its side. Cover the screen and the iPad goes into sleep mode. Uncover it and the slate wakes up magically. Besides this nifty feature, the coverswhich cannot be used on the original iPadalso promise to clean the screen (though I did have to take out my trusty soft cleaning rag to wipe the display a few times).

comfortable to carry and use. As I mentioned earlier, I like the greater weight of the older iPad as it made the device feel more solid. But yes, if you are hell-bent on getting the very latest and intend to run some reallyand I mean reallyheavy-duty apps on it, the iPad 2 makes more sense.

Shailesh Warang

...and the competition?

When the original iPad was launched in the country, it had only the first Samsung Galaxy Tab and the OlivePad as serious competition. The iPad 2 faces a much bigger challenge The next few days are likely to see the BlackBerry PlayBook, the HTC Flyer, the Motorola Xoom and two tablets from the Samsung Galaxy series; while Acer just released its Iconia tablet a few days ago. On paper and in terms of pure tech specs, these tablets pose a major challenge to the iPad 2, with most of them sporting excellent processors, better cameras and as many connectivity options. The two slates from Samsung are even claiming thinner frames than the iPad 2. However, the real strength of the iPad is not its hardware but the applications that run on it. And it is in this department that the Apple devices are a runaway winner at the moment. Honeycomb, the tabletfriendly version of Android, has very few applications as of now an Achilles Heel that the BlackBerry PlayBook shares. Still, all this is likely to change in the near future as more developers flock to other platforms. But until that happens, the iPad 2 remains king. In short? As far as the competition is concerned, they need to beat the old iPad first before taking on the new one.

What about the original iPad?

Which leads to the important question: Does the iPad 2 make the original iPad obsolete? Not quite. The old iPad still holds its own as a tablet: It can run almost all the apps that the iPad 2 can (save those that need the cameras or the gyroscope); has battery life that is every bit as good; has the same size display and screen resolution; matches the new iPad in web browsing (still no support for Flash) and mail and best of all, remains very



Name Apple iPad Apple iPad 2 BlackBerry Playbook HTC Flyer Samsung Galaxy Tab Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 Samsung Galaxy Tab10.1 Acer Iconia Tab A500 Motorola Xoom Display Size & Resolution 9.7 inches, 1024 x 768 9.7 inches, 1024 x 768 7 inches, 1024 x 600 7 inches, 1024 x 600 7 inches, 1024 x 600 8.9 inches, 1280 x 800 10.1 inches, 1280 x 800 10.1 inches, 1280 x 800 10.1 inches, 1280 x 800 Proportions & Weight 242.8 x 189.7 x 13.4mm, 680 gms 241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8mm, 601 gms 194 x 130 x 10mm, 425 gms 195.4 x 122 x 13.2mm, 420 gms 199.09 x 120.45 x 11.98mm, 380 gms 230.9 x 157.8 x 8.6mm, 470 gms 256.6 x 172.9 x 8.6mm, 595 gms 260 x 177 x 13.3mm, 730 gms 249.1 x 167.8 x 12.9mm, 730 gms Processor 1GHz 1GHz dual core 1GHz dual core 1.5GHz 1GHz 1GHz dual core 1GHz dual core 1GHz dual core 1GHz dual core OS Apple iOS 4.3 Apple iOS 4.3 BlackBerry Tablet (QNX) Android 2.4 Android 2.2 (Froyo) Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) Camera: Main/ Front Facing None Not specified (capable of HD video)/VGA 5 MP/3 MP 5MP/1.3MP 3MP/1.3MP 3MP/2MP 3MP/2MP 5MP/2MP 5MP/2MP RAM 256MB 512MB 1GB 1GB 592MB 1GB 1GB 1GB 1GB Storage 16-64GB 16-64GB 16-64GB 32GB 16GB 16-32GB 16-32GB 16-32GB 32GB Price Rs 24,500 onwards Rs 29,500 onwards Rs 35,000 onwards Rs 35,000 Rs 24,500 Rs 35,000 onwards Rs 30,000 onwards Rs 27,990 onwards Rs 35,000 Release Jan 2011 May 2011 May 2011 May 2011 Nov 2010 June 2011 June 2011 May 2011 June 2011

mit Jain works on the cloud. As the head of strategic alliances at one of Indias top B2B e-commerce web sites, he has to work with several teams located across different cities. Earlier, just making sure that he carried along all relevant documents and presentations whenever he travelled was a cumbersome task. Now, he does not bother. Jain has switched to web-based software for his work. All his files are saved on the internetthe cloud, so to speakand he can access his documents from anywhere and any computer. Jain doesnt even need any software to be installed on the machines as all the applications run off the internet. Then, take the case of Prachi, Aniket, Rahul and Zarine four SYBA students from a Mumbai-based college. The teenagers were collaborators on a social studies research project. Instead of working on individual files, they all accessed the same project on the cloud. This means, whenever anyone edited any of the documents, the changes were reflected for all to see. As the 3G and Wi-Fi gets popular, and the use of smartphones and tablets more common, people are discovering programs that allow them to collaborate with others without requiring them to be in the same room. The cloud has freed me from the confines of my office, says Jain. It doesnt matter where I am all that I need is an internet connection. And the students echo his view. I dont own a computer at home, says Rahul. With the cloud, I can access my files from any cyber caf, and that made working collaboratively with my classmates so much easier. Besides, its just like working on software thats installed locally on your computer, Zarine pipes in. Indeed, cloud computing once considered a mere buzzwordis now a happening reality And increasingly offices . , and individuals are switching to web-based suites that are not only cheaperbecause they do away with software costsbut are also accessible from any place with a decent internet connection. So if youre not on the cloud already, you might want to check out options to see what youve been missing out on

their documents from any computing device that has a browser and internet connection. Recently the company also , introduced Google Docs app for smartphones and tablets. A particularly noteworthy feature of Google Docs is Cloud Connect, a plug-in that can be used with MS Office to automatically synchronize documents between a computer and the web. This means that you can work using MS Office while at home or office, and then access the files on Google Docs when on the move. In the free version, users are allotted 1GB storage space on Google servers. For most people, Google Docs is enough. But, organizations looking to move their office work on to the cloud can take a look at Google Apps. Google Docs is just one part of Google Apps with other components being Mail, Calendar and group wikis in the free version. In the commercial version, support is available for additional security on-demand sup, port and better collaborative tools. How to get it: Sign up for a Google account and you can access Google Docs for free.

How to get it: Sign up for a Live account and use that to access Office Web Apps.

Documents To Go
Unlike the first two, this is not exactly a productivity suite. Instead, its an app that allows users to read, modify create and , format documents on their smartphones and tablets. Documents To Go (DTG) does not offer any web-based storage. But, it can access documents saved on cloud-based services such as Google Docs and DropBox, which is a 2GB virtual hard drive thats available for free. DTG, which is supported iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry An, droid and Nokia phones, allows a user to edit and create Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. While its interface is decent and editing speed comparatively alright, it helps if your smartphone has some beefy hardware. As a bonus it can also read PDF files. Support for various file formats is stellar and even newer formats like .docx, .xlsx, .pptx work with the app. How to get it: Search the marketplace in your smartphone. In the free version, users cannot create or edit documents.

Increasingly, offices and individuals are switching to web-based suites that are not only cheaperbecause they do away with software costsbut are also accessible from any place with a decent internet connection Office Web Apps
Microsoft woke up to the importance of cloud computing late, but in the past one year, it has made impressive strides in putting its wildly-popular MS Office on the web. The company, in 2010, introduced Office Web Apps that allows users to create, view and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents using a web browser. A Windows Live account is all a user requires for working with the suite. The best thing about Office Web Apps is that it integrates very well with Office 2010. Users get 25GB storage on SkyDrive, Microsofts cloud-based filehosting service, where they can upload documents directly from within the program. Office Web Apps allows multiple users to collaborate on a single document. It also throws in integration with Hotmail, allowing users to directly upload documents from Hotmail to Skydrive without any need for downloading them. Just like Google expanded Docs into something bigger, Microsoft is preparing a productivity suite called Office 365. While individual users will be satisfied with Office Web Apps, companies wishing to move to cloud can take a look at this new beta service.

This is another app that can be used on virtually any smartphone. The area where ThinkFree scores over DTG is the online storage that it bundles with the paid version. It gives users an account with My Office and 1GB online storage where they can save documents. It also supports the syncing of documents between cloud, handheld devices and PCs, thus making sure that changes are reflected in all copies of the documents. ThinkFree works well as a document viewer but in the case of editing, speed is generally on the lower side. Formatting options are basic at best. How to get it: Search the marketplace in your smartphone. In the free version, users can only view or read documents.

Zoho offers more than 20 services based in the cloud, but to most netizens the most useful will probably be Docs. The suite comes with all the bells and whistles found in webbased productivity apps. There is Writer, Sheet and Show where different users can collaborate on files. The free version comes with 1GB online storage space where one can also store other file formats including images, music files, videos, zip and pdfs. While Zoho is a comprehensive suite, its support for smartphones and tablets is less than stellar. There is still no app for smartphones, though users can access its services using mobile version of the web site. How to get it: Sign up at www.zoho.com. It is free for personal use. Some features not available in free version.

Google Docs
Cloud computing is where Googles strength lies. To compete with MS Office, in 2006, it launched Spreadsheet, a webbased application comparable to MS Excel. More components such as a word processor and presentation makers were gradually added. The suite came to be known as Google Docs. While earlier the features were somewhat limited, now it has evolved into a feature-rich productivity suite that allows users to create, edit and read


Stay wealthy by giving back

That is what really makes a person rich, finds financial planner Gaurav Mashruwala
also aspires to travel abroad. All these costs will be revised upwards based on inflation. WHERE ARE THEY TODAY? Cash Flow: Gross monthly inflow is Rs 23,000. The outflow is Rs 8,950, which includes Rs 3,200 set aside for savings. His lawyer father takes care of most of the family expenses, so the burden on him is minimal. Net worth: Total value of all assets put together is Rs 3.40 lakh. Of this, assets worth Rs 5,000 are in gold. There is no outstanding liability. Contingency fund: Against monthly mandatory expense of Rs 4,750, the balance in the bank and at home is Rs 10,000

ment-oriented polices. Equity allocation is good, considering most goals are more than a decade away. WAY AHEAD Contingency fund: Maintain Rs 15,000 for contingency. Keep only Rs 5,000 at home and balance in savings bank lined fixed deposit. Health & ife insurance: Health insurance is sufficient. Enhance life cover through term plans to Rs 25 lakh. This is to ensure that in case of any eventualities his desire to cover expenses of supporting his late brothers family and father in old age could be met from insurance proceeds. PLANNING FOR FINANCIAL GOALS Education: Earmark existing investment in direct equity and equity mutual fund

avindra Salunke (37) is a school teacher in Latur, Maharashtra. He lives with his father, a younger brother and the family of another brother who passed away. His father is a lawyer and runs the house. His childhood was simple. Due to his parents prudent financial habits tracking expenses disciplined saving things were aways under con-

trol. Kavindra is following the same principals. In fact he has taken a step ahead and also invests in equity. Kavindra does not plan to get married. He wants to dedicate his entire life to serving society. WHAT IS HE SAVING FOR? (1) His topmost priority is to provide for his late brothers childs higher education Rs 4 lakh after 15 years. (2) Next, he needs a corpus which can

generate about Rs 90,000 per annum at the time of retirement after 21 years. (3) He also will have to buy a home at the time of retirement after 21 years. Its current cost is Rs 12 lakh. (4) His late brothers childs marriage after 25 years, Rs 1 lakh (5) Supporting father after 13 years, Rs 1 lakh. He

about two months reserve. Health & life insurance: Sum assured for health cover is Rs 4 lakh. Over and above that, there is critical care policy of Rs 2 lakh. Life cover through ULIP is Rs 6 lakh. Saving & investment: Balance in savings bank is Rs 2,000. Cash at home is Rs 8,000. Market value of direct equity is Rs 1.50 lakh and equity based mutual fund is Rs 1 lakh. Value of EPF/PPF is Rs 50,000. Other investments are valued at Rs 25,000. FISCAL ANALYSIS: Total mandatory outflow is only 20% of gross inflow. Health cover is sufficient. Life cover is insufficient and via invest-

for fund education. Corpus for retirement and home purchase: Both these goals are occurring at the time of retirement after 21 years. Start a systematic investment plan into three funds (i) Niftybased index fund (ii) Large cap actively managed fund, which has been in existence for at least a decade (iii) international equity fund. Invest Rs 3,500 per month in each of them. About three-four years prior to requirement of funds, transfer that portion into a debt-based instrument. Marriage: Focus on this goal only after sufficient corpus for above three goals has been created. Parental responsibilities: Use funds in EPF/PPF account to support father if need arises. WILL (Estate Planning) It is important that Kavindra

he surest way to become, and remain, wealthy is to give back to the society from where we have earned. Kavindra supports needy students from his salary. He has also taken upon him to support his younger diseased brothers family. As Winston Churchill said: We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

makes a will expressing the way he wishes to bequeath his assets. While the will is a must for anyone who owns assets, in the case of Kavindra since there is no immediate family, it is important to document the same.
(To be featured in this fortnightly column, write to moneymakeover@indiatimes.com)





Obsessive love in the time of email

and steadily falling passionately in love with each other. The emails fly he epistolary novel, which con- thick and fast between them, somesists of letters exchanged be- times more than 25 a day, sometimes tween two or more people, is one not more than 15 seconds apart. One of the earliest novel forms and is suc- wonders how they manage to have a cessful for two main reasons. One, it life off their computers, and the anappeals to the voyeur in us; swer is they dont. Emmi is it is a rare person who at a supposedly happily marsome time or other hasn't ried woman with two stephad the insane urge to read children she accepts and someone elses corresponloves as her own, a circle of dence, hoping to come friends and a career as a across juicy stuff like goswebsite designer. And yet, sip, love, romance or sexuwhen she doesnt hear from ally explicit yearnings. Two, Leo for a day (during which it absolves the writer of havshes been travelling to the ing to be grammatically Tyrol to pick up and bring correct or stylistically polhome from a weekend holiLove Virtually ished; everything that is day her suddenly ill husBy Daniel written purports to be from band), she has a panic atGlattauer the pen of a character intack: You occupy my MacLehose Press stead of from the pen of the thoughts twenty-four hours Rs 399, 280 pages novelist, and so any literary a day Why wont you write . ImageZoo/Corbis flaws can be to me? Should excused by I be worried? saying, thats Although the way the Emmi is the character main driver writes. of the relaLove Virtionship, nagtually is an ging Leo to epistolary write, pursunovel that ing him with happily exher neediploits both ness, pouring these advanout her heart tages, but it is to him, teasnonetheless a ing him with novel with a erotic suggesdifference. It tions, Leo is is unusual not no slouch only because when it the letters excomes to the changed beheavy breathtween the proing: Heres a tagonists are kiss. And anemails (which other kiss. lends them And another far greater immediacy than if they kiss. And another. Whoever you are. had been pen-and-ink efforts), but I long to be closeI want to kiss also because it reverses the normal EmmiLets go to bed, Emmi. development of the hero and heroine Fascinating stuff. Pandering as it meeting, falling in love and writing does to all thats prurient in the readletters. Here, Emmi and Leo write let- er, this novel is as much a study of ters, fall in love and then make elab- two people sharing an obsessive comorate plans to meet. pulsive disorder as it is a love story . The story begins with Emmi And the suspense that takes the readRothner trying to cancel her sub- er panting to the last page is heightscription to Like magazine, but in- ened by the question thats endlessly advertently keys in Leike instead of and titillatingly raised throughout Like. Her message goes to Leo Leike, the book: Is a non-virtual, physical who responds and, well, one letter meeting of the two actually on the leads to another and the next thing cards? Will they or wont they? Does we know is that the two are speedily anybody know for sure? Guess.
Asha Bunny Suraiya

Subodh Varma | TIG

Quick takes on new titles

Unmentionables By Ralph Keyes Hachette India Rs 299, 342 pages

om Clancy rode the wave for nearly two decades with stunning success because he mastered the balancing act between the believable and the outlandish. Of course, he was the right man at the right time because pretty unbelievable things were happening all through. He simply augmented reality Quit. ting his insurance business, he wrote his first book in 1984, a Cold War thriller called Hunt for Red October. That became a bestseller after Ronald Reagan called it the perfect yarn. As the Soviet Union fell, Clancy seamlessly moved into the new order, spinning a series of novels where the heroes were American gunmen and the villains ranged from Islamic terrorists and Chinese to bizarre anti North-South unification Koreans and Colombian drug lords. He was always ahead of the curve, but only just. Six years before 9/11, in Debt of Honor, he depicted a 747 being flown into Capitol Hill by a crazy Japanese, killing the president, the cabinet, most of the Congress and nine Supreme Court justices. But finally history , is one-up on Clancy His . latest book Dead or Alive written with Grant Blackwood, an ex-Navy veteran and co-author with Clive Dead or Alive Cussler is a thinly By Tom Clancy veiled description of Penguin India the global manRs 899, 723 pages hunt for Osama bin Laden led by US gunslingers. The book had barely started getting traction when news exploded across the world of the real Osama being shot dead by US Navy SEALS in Abbottabad in Pakistan. In Dead or Alive, the arch villain called Emir is a sadistic killer setting up a series of deadly attacks in the US, including a hair-raising attempt to blow apart the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site. He heads the Umayyad Revolutionary Council, Clancys version of al-Qaida. Clancys naming is impeccable for its connotations. Emir resonates with Sheikh, as bin Laden was known among his followers. And, Umayyad refers to both the 7th century Caliphate as also to the mosque in Damascus where Saladin, the iconic hero who defeated the Crusaders in the 12th century lies buried. The action careens from the barren fastnesses of the Hindu Kush,

MISSION POSSIBLE: US soldiers in search of Osama bin Laden drive past a Black Hawk helicopter in Kandahar; (left) A US Marine patrols in Garmser in Afghanistan

Driscoll returned his attention to the sentry on the ridge. Still there. Hadnt moved at all. Driscoll brought his M4 up, settled the sights on the nape of the mans neck, and then tightened his finger on the trigger. Easy, easy...squeeze... Pop. Not much of a sound. Hard to hear at all at a range of more than fifty meters, but the bullet flew true and transited the targets head, leaving a puff of green vapor behind, and he went to see Allah, or whatever god he acknowledged; at twenty-odd years old, growing and eating and learning, and probably fighting, came to an abrupt and unwarned end. The target crumpled, folding sideways out of sight. Tough luck, Gomer, Driscoll thought. But were after bigger game than you tonight.

where Rangers are searching the caves for Emir, to Paris, Moscow, Tripoli and various parts of the homeland. The tension is unbearable because we know that Clancy is capable of cooking up anything in previous novels he has had the city of Denver nuked, biological weapons are used against the US, World War III is played out, wars between China and Russia, Russia and NATO, China and the US, and so on.

For the chase, and perhaps to give heft to flagging sales, Clancy gathers together all his successful heroes from previous books. Ex-President Jack Ryan is there, as is his son Jack Ryan Jr. Others include CIA operative John Clark and his sidekick Ding, Dominic Caruso of FBI and his twin brother and Brian Caruso, a Marine, and Mary Pat Foley from Langley They are part of a . secret organization called The Campus, tasked with smoking out bad guys. It is not a government agency (remember Blackwater?) but it has a drawerful of pre-signed presidential pardons, in case something goes wrong. Clancy presents an alternative universe in which America is able to set things right. At a time when the euphoria of the Soviet Unions demise was at its peak, Clancy brought to fiction what George W Bush was to bring to reality a muscular triumphalism based on war, the free market and, yes, Christianity. The technical details (he hopped off the CH-47 Chinook helicopter, a Delta variant) and cold-blooded Special Forces jargon (the bullet transited his head) create an illusion of power and supremacy that is intoxicating, for some. Dead or Alive, despite its plodding length and the need to integrate all the characters through nostalgic conversations, continues in this vein, meticulously creating terrifying scenarios and then resolving them through bravery planning and tech, nology Meanwhile reality as exemplified . in bin Ladens killing is playing out on a different path. Take your pick.

Im a bit under the weather; shes a lady of the night; in the circumstance of an event; private parts; unmentionables; powder room why do we have such a rich vocabulary of euphemisms and how did they come to be? This delightful book by wordsmith Ralph Keyes illuminates the way we make clear whats on our mind without using direct speech to spare oneself and others the blushes. Sample this: the journey of euphemisms used to refer to cohabitation from living in sin and without the benefit of clergy to shacking up and living together. Especially hilarious is the term used for promiscuity: distributive sex. An entertaining and informative read.
Sindhu Manjesh

The Cloud Messenger By Aamer Hussein HarperCollins Rs 250, 195 pages

Buy any book on this page at 20% off @www.books.indiatimes.com or sms WHB to 58888 or call 09910118888

The transience of relationships as seen through the eyes of restless Mehran, who spends his early years in Karachi, then London. He leaves his job in a bank to study and later, teach at university. His private life seems in turmoil imbued with the presence of the much older and vivacious Riccarda and later, Marvi, an unstable and possessive economist. The plot constantly shifts back and forth, losing focus.
Shobha John

Z Central Wool Development Board

Ministry of Textiles ,Govt. of India C-3 , Shastn Nagar , Near Shastri Circle , Jodhpur (Rajasthan) 342003 Fax No. - 0291-2439017 Telephone No. - 2433967 , 2616328 No. :- CWDB/W.Expo/2 011-12/ Date :GENERAL NOTICE FOR ORGANIZING W OOLEN EXPO The Central Wool Development Board , Ministry of Textiles , GOI , invites



BankofBaroda lndiabt m tJ a i Bank , l



In continuation of NIT 333 dated 03.02.2011 for design, manufacturing, testing, supply, erection & commissioning of 1 No. 66/11KV 4MVA Power Transformers , the due dates and scope of work against above NIT are
revised as under:


Proposals or Application from registered NGOs/TrustlCooperative Society and State & Centra l Govt . Boards/Federations/ Corporations etc. engaged in Development & Marketing of Wool & Woollen products for organizing Woollen Expo in between 15th November2011 to 31st January 2012 at different places i.e. Jammu , Deheradoon , Lucknow , Chandigarh, Kolkatta , Jaipur , Jodhpur , Bikaner , Udaipur , Banglore , Shillong (Meghalaya), Guwahati (Assam), Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) & Delhi etc under the Board scheme in 11th Plan during financial year 2011-12. For further details please visit our website www.woolboard.nic.in or contact at office as above. Interested organizations may submit their proposal in prescribed format (Can be down load for our website) along with all required information & documents duly attested to the Board latest by 2O June, 2011. (K.K. GOYAL), Executive Director

requires premises for branches on Leasehold I ownership basis at



supply of Bid Documents u) Last Date for Receipt of Bid iii) Due Date & lime for Opening of Bids (Part-I)
davp 3411 2/1 1/0004/11 12

Last Date for Receipt of Requests alongwith requisite documents for

23-05-2011 08-06-2011 upto 1330 hrs. 08-06-2011 at 1500 hrs.

LAST DATE FOR SUBMISSION OF TENDER 22.05 2011 UP 102.00 PM. For further details Visit us as: www .bankofbaroda .com /tenders

For details , visit BBMB website: www.bbmb.gov.in

SW- Dy. Chief Engineer/P&D (IS), BBMB , Chandigarh

Tel. No. :91-0522-2720652,Fax: 0522-2720779, 2720829 Website : http:/Jneda.up.nic.in,E-mail : nedaup@dataone.in Date : 07.05.2011 Tender Notice Tender No.: UPNEDAIPVSSL-LED/2011
Sealed and separate tenders are invited on rate contract basis from reputed manufacturers for the supply, installation and commissioning of

Vibhuti Khand , Gomti Nagar, Lucknow -226010

CENTRAL INSTITUTE OF MINING AND FUEL RESEARCH (CSIR , Ministry of Science & Technology. Govt. of India)
H.O. Bar a Road Can pus . Dhar, bad-826015 (Jharkhand). India


SPV Street Lighting System (White LED Based) approximate 10000 Nos in vanous Basti I Villages of different districts of
Utta r Pradesh. The last date for submission of tender shall be 30th Mayy ,

Director , CIMFR invites sealed tenders , in Two Bid SystemsSystems , for supply, installation and commissioning of (i) Pilot Plant for Coal to Liquid (ii) LOW TEMPERATURE ASHER. Item No Particulars of Item Qty 1 9le No.: 13(2)/CIMFR-DC/18/1O-11/PUR PILOT One PLANT FOR COAL TO LIQUID Complete Design , development , fabrication , installation and Unit Commissioning of the Pilot Plant for for Coal-to- Liquid Process Development. 2 File No.:- 13(2)/CIMFR-RU/56/1O-11/PUR One Unit Last Date of Submission : 06.06.2011 Time : Up to 5.00 P.M. Date of Opening (Technical) : 07.06.2011 Time : 3.00 P.M. Details of the Tender Document is available at www.cimfr .nic.in Ph : 0326-2296030 For Director

NIT No. CIMFR/PUR/14(8)201 1 Date: 06.05.2011 NOTICE INVITING TENDER


AGo vt ot lndiaunderthldng

Cross ,

General Administration Department Phone: 22267545 (Extn: 21812561257127212901 Fax 22353701

Gandhinagar , Banga lore .560 009


FOR CONSTRUCTION OF CORPORATE OFFICE BUILDING Syndicate Bank intends to construct a state of the art building for its

1. The Executive Engineer, Border Road Division . Srinagar. CPWD , Garhwal (Uttarakhand)on behalf of the President of the India, invites the bids from firms/contractors of repute ii two envelope system for i the following works : NIT no. : 01/CE/BFZ/lndo-China/UTK of 2011-12, NAME OF WORK : Construction of ITBP road to Indo-China Border from Niti to Geldung in the State of Uttarakhand. SH:- Providing and erecting Bailey Bridges at site Niti to Geldung (3 Nos.) at required RDs. Estimated Cost : 5 .03 ,24 ,442/- , Period Of Completion : 18 (Eighteen) Months including the period of non-working season also. Earnest Money Deposit 10,06 ,489/NIT no. : 03/CE/BFZ/lndo-ChinalUTK of 2011-12, NAME OF WORK : Construction of ITBP Road to Indo-Clilna Border from Sonam to PDA, PDAt0 Mendi & PDAto Sumla in the state of Uttarakhand. SH: Providing and erecting Bailey Bridges at site from Sonam to PDA (4 nos) & from PDA (T-Point) to Sumla (3 nos) at required R.Ds. Estimated Cost 9, 11 37 ,531/- , Period Of Completion : 18 (Eighteen) Months including the period of non-working season also. Earnest Money Deposit 1 , ,751/18 22 2. Contractors who fulfill the following requirements shall be eligible to apply. 2.1 ForNITno.: 01/CE/BFZ/lndo-China/UTK0f2O11-1 2 (a) Should have satisfactorily completed during last Seven years ending lastday of the month March 2011:Two similar works each costing not less than Rs. 302 Lakhs, orone similar work costing not less than Rs. 403 Lakhs. (b) Should have average annual financial turnover of Rs. 151 Lakhs on annual
construction works during the last three years ending 31st March

2011 till 12:30 PM The numbers of systems may increase or decrease. The detail can be obtained from UPNEDA, Head office from 10:00 to 17:00 hrs. of any working days from 9th to 29th May, 2011 and can be seen/downloaded from website http:/!neda.up.nic.in Director , UPNEDA reserves the right to reject any or all tenders without assigning any reason thereof. Director ,





(e- Tender Notice for the supply of Stores, No. EPSI23/2011)

COSFvVCR on behalf of the President of India invites the following advertised tenders through E procurement System. No manual/postal offers shall be entertained. Tenders can be accessed under the link www.ireps.gov.in- wcr- cos for Full description/specifications. SN. Tender No. Brief Description Qty. 1 10.11.2536 Hydraulic damper 186 Nos. 2 20.10.1452 Arcing Hon,, Condenser Bushing, Bushing 305 Nos. Double Pole, Gasket, Latern Gear Pinion, Cylinder , Insulated Beam, Latern Gear Pinion, Insulated Bar. .10.3345 RHS uncoupling gear 300 Nos. .10.1879 RepaIr Kt 212 Sets. .10. 51 Door way cross bar 1078 Nos. .10.2331 Modified roller type safety bracket 8555 Nos. 7 .10.2365 Packing plate 5969 Nos. .11.1397 Hex Head Bolt M-24 x 90 10341 Sets. .11.1407 Adjuster for brake shoe 8088 Nos. 0 .11.1409 Block Hanger for Bogle Brake 4511 Nos. .11.1837 Toothed segment 8897 Nos. 2 .11.2464 Set of pins for equalising stay 2229 Sets. 3 .09.3121 Wtliani stretcher insulation set 2000 Nos. 4 .10.4004 Channel Pin single side 200699 Nos. 15 80.11.1180 Non-Chromate , Borate nitrite 12000 Urs.


From Sr. No. 1 to 15 Tender Due Date 07-June 2011 Tender Closing Tlnie;-12.30 hr /Contro ller of Stores Serving Customers with a Smile I fI i r q iei i i .: 0761-155210

2010. (c) Should not have incurred any loss in more than two years during the lastfive years ending 31St March 2010. Corporate Office at 02 (2/A ,2/B), Manyata Promoters Layout, (d) Should have a solvency of Rs. 202 Lakhs (Not required if applicant Rachenahalli , Bangalore. Offers are invited from Architects for isa Class-I (Civil) registered contractor of CPWD). planning, designing and supervision of the Project. 2.2 Detailed Tender documents are available in our WebsiteWebsite ForNITno.: 03/CE/BFZ/lndo-China/UTK of 2011-12 (a) Should have satisfactorily completed during last Seven years www.syndicatebank.co.in ending lastday of the month March 2011:Those architectural firms having the eligibility criteria mentioned as Two similarworks each costing not lessthan Rs. 550 Lakhs, orone per the above Tender document only shall apply. similar work costing not less than Rs. 730 Lakhs. The application in sealed cov e r sha ll be s upers cri bed Sel ecti o n (b) Should have average annual financial turnover of Rs. 274 Lakhs on of Architects for construction of Corporate Office building. construction works during the last three years ending 31st March 2010. The last date for sub mIssIon of offers Is 08.06.2011 at 3.00 P.M. inthe above address. (c) Should not have incurred any loss in more than two years during the lasttive years ending 31St March 2010. Sd!- Pradeep K. Saxena General Manager (d) Should have a solvency of Rs. 365 Lakhs (Not required if applicant isa Class-I (Civil) registered contractorofCPWD). 2A. Jointventures (JV) are not allowed. (Similarworkshall mean Steel Bridgeor BailevBridpe orboth). SURAT MUNICIPAL The value of completed executed work shall be brought to current CORPORATION costing level by enhancing the actual value of work at simple rate of TENDER NOTICE 7% per annum; calculated from the date of completion to last date calculated of receipt of application for tenders. For this purpose value of work Surat Munici pal Institute of Medical Education & Research (SMIMER) shall mean gross value of the completed work including cost cost of invites sealed tender for Medical Stores on rental basis & supp ly of materials supplied by the Govt/client , butexciuding those Supplied equi pments/instruments. free of cost. This should be certified by an officer not below the rank Sr. Tender No./Descript ion Estimated Tender Tender Availability of Executive Engineer/Project Managerorequivalent. No. Cost Cost / /Tender Fee 3. Applications for issue of forms shall be received by Executive I/c Medical SMIMER JH ospital!Medical Rs. 9.70 Lac Engineer , Border Road Division, CPWD upto 4.00 PM on Suu perintendent Superintenden t/ 0l/201 1- 12 Non Refundable 13.05.2011 and tender document shall be issued upto 4.00 PM on Offi c e , SMIMER Supp ly of E qui pments ! Tender Fee 16.05.2011. Hospital , Opp. Instrument s for Department Rs. 825!Bombay Market , Application supported by prescribed Annexure and Earnest money andand of Physiology, SMIMER . tj marwada , Salira the financial bid shall be placed in separate sealed envelopes each Surat. Darwaja , marked Eligibility Documents and Earnest Money and Financial Surat-395010 2. SMIMERIH ospitaYMedical Rs. 19.66 Lac bid respectively. Both the envelopes shall be submitted together in Period of Blank Superinten dent/0 2/20 11-1 2 Non Refundable another sealed envelope. The bids will be received upto 3.00 PM on Tender Availabilit y Tender Fee Fee Dt. 09-05-li Supp l y of Equi pments ! 23.05.2011. The envelope marked Eligibility Documents and Instruments for Department Rs. 825!31-05- 1 Earnest Money shall be opened by the Executive Engineer or his of Pharmacolog y, SMIMER , Time : 10:30 arc to authorized representative in his office on same day at 3.30 P.M. The Surat. 5:00 pm time and date of opening of financial bid shall be communicated at a (all working days) 3. SMIMERIHospital!Medical Rs. 3.05 Lac later date. Last Date of Superin tendent/03/ 20 11-12 Non Refundable Subm ission of (I) Pre Bid conference shall be held in the chamber of the Chief Tender Fee Supp ly of perishable! Tender to the Chief Engineer (BFZ), CPWD , East Block-I , Lovel-lV, R.K. Puram , disposable itcms for Department Rs. 550!Accountant New Delhi -66 at 19.05.2011 PM on 3:00 P.M. to clear the doubt of Optha lmolog y. SMIMER , Dt. 08-06-11 up to of intending tenderers , if any. 5.00 pm. Surat. (ii) The department reserves the right to reject any prospective More details will be available from SMIMER Hospital and on the notice application without assigning any reason and to restrict the list of board of SMC Main Office and Municipal Website qualified contractors to any number deemed suitable by it, if too www.suratmunicipal.gov.in. many bids are received satisfying the laid down criteria. Sd!The detailed notice may also be seen at web site No. P.R.O.1761201 1-12 TIc. Medical Superintendent www.tenderhome.com. Date : 06/05/2011 SMIMER Hosp itt l a

talk of the times
The story of the week as relayed by Gen Now on their cellphones. Lol



Who is a lawnmower parent?

Lawnmower parents will constantly solve their childrens problems. The term means the parents mow a problem before giving the child a chance to sort out the issue for himself or herself. Lawnmower parents are always hovering over their children, fussing over them, and do not give them the space they need to grow up into responsible and independent adults. Sneha Sadashiv, Mumbai What is cold welding? Cold welding or contact welding was first recognized as a general materials phenomenon in the 1940s. It is a solid-state welding process in which fusion takes place without heating and there is no molten phase in the joint. It was then discovered that two flat surfaces of a similar metal would strongly adhere to each other if brought into contact in a vacuum. S K Aggarwal, Amritsar What is the Venus Project? The Venus Project aims to promote American futurist Jacque Frescos idea of a resource-based economy . The founders of the project theorize that with advances in modern technology money will soon not be neces, sary as goods and services will be , made available for free. The project, based in New York, is dedicated to the research and development of workable solutions. Aloyna Almeida, via email When were parachutes first used? The parachute was invented by Andre-Jaques Garnerin of France who made the first descent over the Parc Monceau, Paris, on October 22, 1797 when he was released from a balloon at a height of 2,230 ft. He rode in a gondola. The parachute had a diameter of 23ft, was supported by a rigid pole, and had its 32 white canvas gores folded like a closed umbrella. Since there was no vent in the parachute, Garnerin came down with the most violent oscillations, earning the added distinction of becoming the first man ever to suffer from airsickness. Anchal Sharma, Varanasi


Aries: Recent events have turned you into a new person. You now welcome out-of-the-box-thinking and encourage fresh, innovative ideas from subordinates. Rewards pour in. You are careful not to hog the limelight and are willing to share the credit. Taurus: You get peace of mind and money from several sources. You do well at work and in your relationships, and without any extra effort. You have redefined the values that govern your life and that has reduced your stress. The week is livened up by a celebratory mood. Gemini: You start a new search for true happiness. You are flamboyant in your expressions of love. Your efforts to find bliss and strengthen your love life meet with success but you could also get depressed at times and ponder esoteric issues like the purpose of life, dharma, and the inner self. Cancer: A lot depends on your perspective. Is life fulfilling? What would make you truly happy? You have to deal with both material and non-material issues; this is a time to make tough choices. A toss-up between family and work could cause a fight at home. Leo: You have been wavering between material and spiritual pursuits for the past few weeks but that ends now with circumstances compelling you to pay attention to more earthly issues. An elderly parent or relatives health problem could drain your resources. You dont grudge it but put renewed effort into your work or your business to make up for the sudden expense. Virgo: This week is all about you. You have a deep relationship with food, savouring exquisite delicacies and even cooking give you great pleasure. Wining and dining with your loved ones will take up a lot of your time. There will also be makeovers of the home, garden or even the neighbourhood. The permutations and combinations are unlimited.

Libra: Any upheaval stresses you because a stable family life is very important for Librans. The love of your spouse and children motivates you to devote stupendous energies to wealth generation. Yes, Librans are capable of building huge, even garguantan, financial empires with extremely durable roots. Scorpio: A large number of projects which require personal attention keep you busy as do offi, cial receptions, business lunches and dinners, conferences, networking meets and so on. Your inter-personal skills combined with your proficiency could make you the key person in negotiations, deals and collaborations. Sagittarius: The professional manoeuvrings of the past few weeks is over and may have led to burnout. Prayer, piety and philosophy sum up this weeks pursuits. You are very sensual but now your spiritual cravings need to be satisfied. There could be conflict between work and otherworldly pursuits. Capricorn: You have have a good run of fortune in the past and now yearn to give back to society So you involve yourself in . charitable activities. But be chary of too much involvement, it could lead to false allegations of self-interest. Children, being the way they are, will add a sparkle of freshness into your life. Aquarius: Set relationship and financial goals now. Shower your loved one with attention if you want to retain the excitement of the courtship years. Intimate and workplace relationships come to the fore, not all of it smooth sailing. Pisces: Ganesha says you need to concentrate on your career if you are seriously looking at progress and upward mobility . Upgraded machinery make you more productive; you are a veritable dynamo at work. You need to find ways to let off steam.

What is the origin of the phrase touch wood? Tamseel Fatima, via email
A man performs with a snake in Moroccos tourist city of Marrakesh. Question: What is Ophidiophobia?

Tere bin Laden

now u c him now u dont ???? a UFO passing by earth jst msgd dat dey saw osama running 4 his life across da streets of jannat ???? he was bng chased by 72 big & bearded virgins in pink nickers wid 1 word on dere lips wat word? GERONIMO!!! lucky guy must b nice 2 ... b da most wanted man werever u go dis is gud news 4 dawood & gang - finally dey get 2 move up in da rankings! da joke is dat mrs bin laden has updated her fb status 2 single mrs no. 1 2 3 4 or 5? new york post headline... Got him! US nails da b#%&@&d dis 1s better... Obama bins Laden! yuck... why cant we give ppl a gud sendoff ya da poor guy is all at sea & now uncle sam has got a new enemy angry fish! ... (Forwarded to Vandana Agarwal)

What is a histogram in photography? Arjit Sengupta, Kolkata How do 3D glasses work? Arghya Pal, via email Why is the captain of a sports team called skipper? Rhythm Nikhra, Raipur
You ask. Or you answer. Mark the envelopes Open Space and address your answers and questions to: Open Space, Sunday Times of India, II Floor, S&B Towers, 40/1, M.G. Road, Bangalore - 560 001 email: open.space@indiatimes.com

What is broken symmetry? Broken symmetry is a term used in physics. The existence of matter in the universe was explained by physicists who postulated that during the Big Bang, more matter than antimatter was created, one extra particle of matter for every 10 billion antimatter particles. Since that negates the earlier idea related to the symmetry between matter and anti-matter, it is called broken symmetry The . 2008 Nobel prize in physics was given

for research on the subject. V Venkata Rao, Ahmedabad What is a keystone species? Keystone species determine the structure of the ecosystem. They do so by controlling the number of species at each trophic level. They themselves occupy any position in the food chain. Their number in an ecosystem is usually low. Examples include lions in the Gir forest. Ashwin Tripathi, via email


Terror in the backyard

his is with reference to the edit End of the road (May 3). The US decision not to release pictures of Bin Ladens body in order to avoid violent reprisals and incite extremism has lead to questions on the veracity of the operation. However, the operation has caused major embarrassment to Pakistan. The revelation of facts that the worlds most wanted terrorist was living and operating freely in their backyard for which Pakistan feigned ignorance, is bad enough. It has raised serious doubts over Pakistan militarys capability to protect its own people from foreign aggression. Pakistan has moral obligation to absolve itself from the international community as well as its own people who are victims of the unfair scrutiny they are subjected to, by the rest of the world. Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai

is handling the issue is a shame. All they are doing is agitating for a decent rise in their paltry stipend of Rs 2,550 per month which by any standard is too low in the present day and age. Students from other faculties who were their contemporaries, meanwhile, get fat salaries after graduation whereas students who have chosen the noble profession are struggling to get a decent stipend even after putting in more efforts and gruelling studies. At this rate, few would be willing to opt for the medical course in future. Vanita Shenoy, Mumbai

standards. I strongly feel that the ECB decision is desperate. Past experience shows that having separate captains for different formats has failed totally and it is ultimately the various cricket boards that revert to the old system of a single captain for all the three formats. This helps create understanding and confidence among the players to give good and positive performance and results. It is hoped that the three-skipper formula does not prove disastrous. Bhagwan B Thadani, Mumbai

3 skippers, confusing
his is with reference to the Times View/ Counter View (May 7) on England to adopt three-skipper formula. The decision of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to appoint three captains for three cricket formats -tests, ODIs and T20 -- is wrong and will not produce positive results, as some of the team players who appeared in all the three formats have to face the different behaviour and workings of the three captains, which may create a confusing situation and affect the performance of the players as well as harm general cricketing

Teach, dont punish

Medical interns ill-treated

he manner in which medical interns are being treated by the government and the police

ith reference to Court versus Khap (Intersections, May 1), it is ludicrous that khap panchayats presume to pass edicts against couples who marry within the same gotra. If the practice really does have deleterious effects, the khaps should educate young people about them instead of persecuting and humiliating them. It is strange too that the political class is afraid of khaps. Congress MP Navin Jindal openly supported the barbarism with one eye on the elections. H P Murali, Bangalore

Phone: 080-25057842125057835/25 Fax: 80-25057843/25283188 E-mail: oucpurgpl mmd@ade.drdo in

Government of India, Minishy of Defence 4tL)\ Defence R&D Organisation ((j )jJ Aeronautical Development Establishment New Thippasandra, Bangalore 560 075 TENDER NOTICE NO. 30/2010-2011




1. Sealed tenders are invited from OEMs //Authorised Representatives ! Dealers of OEM for supply of the following item:SI. Tender No. Mo. Stores Required QLy
Earnest Last Date and Time Tender

Single Bid System

The Director,Aeronautical Development Establishment , New Thippasandra, Bangalore



behalf of the President of India, invites sealed tenders for the following:SI. Ref. No. Description of Item EMD
No. Ks.

560 075, on
Time for

Submission Opening of Tender ot Tender

Processing AA th. and u

Place of

Fee Rs.

Due Date and Opening of

Tenders 1. 481721GS/(MIS)/ Rectifiers ACSFPI11O(C)I for Tank T11-12/Rectifier 90 w h for Tanks 1-90 Trailer &

Opening of


10845/NP Generic PCM Encoder Decoder Board, 16000/- 100/22.06 2011 Qty -1 No. at 1400 Hrs. 2. Detailed Tender documents with specifications for the above can be obtained from Director,ADE , against a written request quoting tender reference number accompanied by a crossed a/c payee Demand Draft for the value mentioned above in favour of DirectorDirector ,ADE , payable at Bangalore , towards tender fee. Other than tender fee , an amount of Rs. 50/- extra has to be paid, if required by post, separately towards non-refundable tender fee. Tender Fee is not applicable for vendors reqistered with any DRDO Lab/DGS&D I any other Govt. Dept. Such vendors must enclose a copy of valid registration certificate with request for tender documents. The tender documents are not transferable. 3. Offers by Fax / / E-mail will be summarily ignored. 4. Tender Forms will be Issued from : 11.05.2011. 5. Last Date for Issue of Tender Forms 2C O6 2O1 1 6. Last Date for Submission of Tenders : 22.06.2011 upto 13.30 Hrs. 7. Due Date and Time of Opening the Tenders 22.06.2011 at 14.00 His. 8. Request for extension of due date will not be entertained under any circumstances. 9. This Advertisement & Tender Documents are also available on DRDO website (www.drdo.oralwww.drdo.com) [Click Tender Notices, Select Aeronautical Development 1

2,88 ,503.00 1100 Hrs. 1200 Hrs . GS(MIS) 27 May 2011 27 May 2011 Branch, HO
South Western

Comd. Jaipur

Establishment]. If you are downloading the tender documents fro m the website, please enclose the

, ADE , cost of Tender Documents in the form of a DD in favour of DirectorDirectorpayable at Bangalore alongwith your quotation. 10. The Director, ADE , reserves the right to accept//reject any or all tenders without assigning any reason and also will not be responsible for postal delay. Sd/N t Firms should quote only in Indian Currency. (G. NAGENDRA RAOJ SO davp 10301/11/0055/1112 For DIRECTOR

2. Tender forms can be obtained by hand from GS(MIS) Branch, Headauarters South Wester !. Branch, Headquarters South Western Command , Jaipur on payment of 500/- per form by a crossed bank draft in favour of PCDA South Western Command , Jaipur (Raj.) upto 1000 his . till the last working day before the date of opening of tender. Forms can be collected on all working days between 1000 his. and 1330 hrs. 3. For requirement of TE document by nost (a) Requirement of TE document by post can be forwarded to MIS Branch, HQ South Western Command , Military Station Jaipur (Raj.) 302 012, alongwith a crossed account payee Nationalised Bank Draft of 500/- as cost of TE form in favour of PCDA South Western Command , Jaipur and a self-addressed & stamped envelope for the document. Stamps worth 65!- should be affixed on envelope for Speed Post. (b) This HQ will not be responsible for any delay in delivery of tender document to proposed Supplier by post and consequent submission. 4. Tenders can be dropped in the Tender Box as per place, date and time given in the tender. Tenders not received by due date and time will not be considered. 5. Envelope to be enfaced I superscribed with Tender No.! Specific details as per DAVP/Advt 6. If the date of opening of the tenders happens to be holiday the tenders will be opened on the next working day at the same time and place.

Akshat Khamparia - Bukhalat Hussian Manama, Bahrain, 2009 PRAVIN THIPSAY FIDE Master Akshat Khamparia of Indian Railways, Indore, emerged the surprise winner in the prestigious Sydney Open International Chess Tournament held in Australia last month. Today we shall look at a brilliant combination from one of his games in 2009. The diagram position looks like a balanced opening position but Black has already committed decisive and fatal mistakes. Position : White : Kg1; Qd1; R-c1,f1; Bd3,f4; N-c3,f3; Pa2,b2,d4,e3,f2,g2,h3. Black : Kg8; Qd8; R-a8,e8; Bc8,e7; N-f6,f8; Pa6,b7,d5,e6,f7,g7,h7. Problem : White to play and win. Solution: White could have won brilliantly with 1.Nb5!! Threatening deadly penetration at c7 square. [In the game Akshat played 1.Na4 and won the game easily when Black was unable to find the defence 1...Bd6] The move suggested would have been much stronger and forceful. For example, 1...axb5 2.Bc7 Qd7 3.Ne5! Trapping the Black Queen! 10



davp 10619/11f0001/1112

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West leads Q against South's 5 contract and continues Hearts. How should South play PRAKASH PARANJAPE to make 11 tricks? That was the problem Bhabesh Saha of Dhampur Sugar Mills faced in the Open Room. For his 1 opening, East was likely to hold most of the outstanding picture cards, so Bhabesh planned for an elimination and endplay Accordingly Bhabesh ruffed, removed . , trumps, and ran the T to East. East was on lead in a fivecard ending holding Q98 and Q9; South holding A7377; West, J6565; and Dummy down to KT2AJ. A Club would immediately concede an extra trick whereas the lead of Q would expose Wests J to finesse. East, therefore, switched to the 8. West had to part with the J to deny a cheap trick to Dummys T. E Dealer KT2 W N E S 32 -- -- 1 2 Bhabesh won none Vul with the K, Final S2-B24 A 9 5 4 2 4 5 P P entered the Lead: Q AJ8 P Closed hand Indian Open Trials 2011 Bengaluru, Open Room with the A J654 Q98 and cashed his QT854 AK976 last trump to void 6 squeeze East 6532 KQ94 in black suits! A73 Note that J the final KQJT873 squeeze works T 7 Bhabesh Saha because South holds 7 and Wests spot cards - 654 - are unable to beat it. The preliminary endplay on East serves to extract the J from West thereby isolating the Spade guard. Strictly, South needed to remove just one round of trumps before playing the T. At the table, South cashed more trumps to see if opponent's discards gave him any clue to their holding. In the process, South ended up cashing all but one of his trumps and East ended up throwing all his Hearts to reach the holding we have discussed here.
www.demicoma.com toi@demicoma.com





He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk.
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, German philosopher

The Art Of Graft

It will take more than legalising bribe giving to reduce petty corruption
Arvind Panagariya

Up In The Air
End of pilots strike doesnt solve AIs problems
he Air India pilots' strike is over. Reinstated pilots are happy Their . derecognised union, promised re-recognition, is happy And the . Centre's happy the Maharaja's been reactivated. Not too happy are passengers: flight cancellations had them grounded or pay through their noses to rework travel plans. The 10-day agitation meant an estimated Rs 200 crore revenue loss, adding to the Rs 13,300 crore losses AI's incurred since 2007. So, taxpayers won't be happy either. They're the ones paying as the government staggers from crisis to crisis with a national carrier in perennial need of public-funded bailouts. As things stand, all the strikers have got are promises of demands being "looked into", including the pay parity issue. On its part, having initially taken the hard line, the government comes away looking soft, unable to treat the debt-strapped carrier's real malaise. Mismanaged, overstaffed, AI's made bungling use of existing resources and government dole while taking questionable decisions on acquiring assets it could scarcely afford. Numbers from an AI internal report tell the story: with a total daily expense of Rs 62 crore, AI faces a staggering daily deficit of Rs 57.5 crore. Deducting repayments from average daily earnings of Rs 22 crore from domestic operations, it's left with a paltry Rs 4.5 crore for everyday operational expenses! Yet the issue of AI's privatisation has been skirted. True, AI serves a social purpose running routes private companies would think commercially unviable. The solution is to have dedicated state-run services to remote, backward areas on a smaller, cost-effective scale. Equally, private players can be incentivised to run such flights, say, under the ambit of corporate social responsibility. Any argument that public sector behemoths like AI are "family silver" to be kept within the family is specious. Mismanagement, morally hazardous lack of financial accountability and the resultant scope for patronage politics and corruption are turning silver to scrap. A mammoth, money-draining public sector defies logic in post-reforms India. Besides being playgrounds for politicians and bureaucrats, eyesores like state-run airlines and hotels score low on quality and profitability. Consider also the strangle-held coal sector's poor productivity, increasing importdependence and hampering key sectors like power. If anything, evolution of aviation and telecom shows how crucial private enterprise is. As government monopolies, both kept services out of bounds for millions. Opened up, telecom saw phone subscribers rise from five million in early-1991 to 723 million by late-2010. And, courtesy private airlines, people across social strata access greater choice, competitive pricing and customer-friendly service. Health, education and infrastructure are the areas government should focus on. Concerning business, could it please play facilitator rather than show stopper?

orruption in India has attracted much commentary. Given the large number of members in Parliament and state legislative assemblies facing criminal charges, Bimal Jalan has proposed that candidates with pending criminal cases be subject to fast-tracking of such cases once they are elected. Jagdish Bhagwati has suggested opening up legal sources of campaign finance to curb the current reliance on illegal sources. More recently, Kaushik Basu, the chief economic adviser in the ministry of finance, has proposed that bribe givers in a particular class of bribery cases be given immunity from prosecution to encourage more whistleblowing. Given that the proposal has come under fire mostly for the wrong reasons, a more careful examination of it is required. Economists distinguish between two types of bribes: Type 1 given to (often lowlevel) bureaucrats to do what they are supposed to do and Type 2 given to (usually highlevel) public officials and politicians to do what they are not supposed to do. In the former case, the bribe giver is the victim with no loss to the state; in the latter case, he is a partner in crime and shares in the profits created by defrauding the state. Thus, when a railway official extracts a payment over and above the price of a train ticket to issue the ticket, he is taking a bribe for a service legitimately

due to the passenger. This is a Type 1 bribe. If, instead, the official takes a bribe and lets the passenger travel with no ticket issued, he and the passenger jointly benefit by defrauding the state. This is a Type 2 bribe. The 2G, Adarsh Society and Commonwealth Games scandals are the more high-profile examples in this category . The proposal by Basu would make giving (but not receiving) Type 1 bribes legal. (He calls these bribes harassment bribes, which is a misnomer since all bribes involve harassment of the citizenry vis-a-vis a smooth-functioning corruption-free state.) The rationale behind the proposal is that such

Whistleblowing in the wind

Low-level public officials are highly organised in India. If a particular official is suspended on charges of bribery, the successor officer will retaliate by denying the whistleblower the service
legalisation will free bribe givers from the fear of prosecution and lead them to massively report the corrupt officials to the appropriate authorities. Indeed, one can go a step further and argue that, anticipating the increased prospects of being reported, public officials might stop extracting bribes in the first place. But this seemingly plausible argument is flawed on three counts.

First, getting service from a government office is not a onetime affair; in most cases, a citizen must repeatedly return to the same office for the service. Therefore, a potential whistleblower must consider the impact his action will have on his ability to access the same service in the future. Two factors make it likely that he will suffer on this count. One, given the slow pace with which our administrative and judicial system moves, whistleblowing will result in either no action or very slow action. Therefore, the probability that the whistleblower will find the same official behind the desk when he returns for the service is high. Two, Type 1 cases overwhelmingly involve low-level public officials who are highly organised in India. Therefore, even if a particular official is successfully

suspended on charges of bribery the successor officer, in , solidarity with other members of his service, will retaliate by denying the whistleblower the service the next time the latter returns. Second, even assuming that whistleblowing does not impair future access to the service, the potential whistleblower must take into account the cost incurred in delivering testimony to the courts. In our legal system, officials charged with bribery can themselves use Type 2 bribes in the lower courts and in any case exploit multiple appeals to delay the decision for years. This means that the whistleblower must be prepared to spend a great deal of time and personal expense to see the case through. Add to this the non-negligible probability of the accused official sending goons to inflict

violence on him and his family and the option of paying the petty bribe each time without blowing the whistle begins to look attractive. It is presumably for these reasons that a law exempting bribe givers from prosecution in the Philippines, which has been on the books since 1975, has been rarely used. Finally there is even a , possibility that the immunity from prosecution would increase rather than decrease the incidence of bribes. Under the current system, at least someone like me is afraid to offer a bribe for fear that the official behind the desk might turn out to be honest with embarrassing consequences. But once the proposed immunity is in place, everyone will feel free to offer the bribe rather than go an extra mile to avoid it. Indeed, those able to afford it will likely openly compete with offers of ever-higher bribes to get ahead in the queue. What then can India do to combat Type 1 bribes? Three avenues come to mind. First, NGOs and the press may be mobilised to more vigorously blow the whistle on corrupt officials. Second, we must push for administrative and judicial reforms for better enforcement of laws against bribes. Finally we must continue to , expand the use of technology , which allows customers to access services electronically as, for example, is the case with respect to the sale of railway tickets.
The writer is a professor at Columbia University.

Investment is a strong story in both directions

Mark Runacres was the UK's deputy high commissioner to India till 2006 and then took a sabbatical to deepen his Indian experience. He is now quitting the service so that he can stay on in India, is the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) India adviser and also acts as an adviser and independent director for several Indian and British companies. He spoke to Deep K Datta-Ray: I Why is the quantum of India-UK business so small? Trade is a real weak point too many presumptions at both ends and while British business has not put in the effort, Indian business has not caught up with modern Britain. There was an enormous surge in trade in the 1990s, after the reforms but after that everyone rather rested on their laurels and i don't think the UK saw the Indian growth story coming. Some thought India would always be the land of "potential" rather than real opportunity. That has all changed now! Investment is a strong story and in both directions, but in particular Indian investment into the UK over recent years. This sets a firm foundation for the commercial partnership going forward. The prime ministers have set a target to double trade in the next five years and that is realistic given India's growth but it will require British firms making a concerted effort, in particular at the much-discussed small and medium enterprise level. I Is the UK in a position to help India realise its ambitions to make nuclear power a major energy source? Indeed. The UK has a very strong track record in managing the entire nuclear cycle, from construction to plant Of course and financial services. In many ways we have been unlucky that these areas of real British strength have been precisely the areas where reforms have slowed. It has been very heartening to see British firms in these fields sticking with their efforts to build relationships here, despite the inhibitions, and the good news is that we are now well-placed when the changes come and it is a matter of time. I What hobbles UK business in operational terms in India? Do you feel they know enough about India? Hobbled is a strong word all MNCs coming into India face challenges. Historically the British have tended to feel they know more than they do while in fact it is a complex and changing environment in which to do business. But British companies nowadays recognise that they need far better information

Abbottabad And After

Focus on the need to fight extremism

sama bin Laden's killing is or should be an inflection point in the global struggle against violent extremism propagated by al-Qaida and its ilk. What it mustn't be allowed to provoke is a slanging match between Pakistan and India. Last week, Pakistani foreign secretary Salman Bashir warned of catastrophic consequences if any country read India were to try to carry out a US-style operation. New Delhi's done well not to respond. For, attention should lie elsewhere. Abbottabad indicates that at least a segment of Pakistan's military-ISI combine has been supporting extremists. It's this that Islamabad, the media and the people of that country must dwell on. Abbottabad might be an embarrassment, but it's also an opportunity for course correction. Instead, assumed Indian aggression and its corollary of Pakistani 'victimisation' are becoming talking points. This risks shifting focus from what the world should really be concerned with: the shelter terrorists have found in Pakistan. Nationalistic chest-thumping in certain quarters in India hasn't helped matters. And, though made in response to a query, army chief General V K Singh's statement that Indian forces can carry out Abbottabad-type operations was avoidable. Whether or not India can claim to approach the US's military and diplomatic clout to emulate it isn't the point. An India-Pakistan dialogue process is on. Continuing to engage Islamabad is the way forward for us, even as Abbottabad is leveraged to both persuade Pakistan behind the scenes to clean house as well as to support it in any efforts to do so. Rejoicing at its predicament and trying to put the boot in will merely give sections in the Pakistani establishment a chance to obfuscate the larger issue by dragging it down to the level of a petty brawl.


management to legacy management. You will see a lot of collaboration in this field now, all the more important following the tragedy in Japan. In fact a civil nuclear mission from the UK was here in February this year and was well-pleased with the outcome of their discussions. I Do restrictions on FDI in education and multi-brand retail stymie British investment in India?

about India if they are to succeed here. One of my jobs is to make sure that CBI members have the benefit of someone in the market who can offer not just facts and figures but advice on the strategic direction of the Indian political economy and , who has seen a lot of businesses coming in over the years. I Is retroactive legislation an issue? In some cases minimum wage regulation, taxation. But probably more important is the lack of a transparent and above board "public affairs" scene here it is not always easy to feel that you have the full picture. I Why do foreigners like yourself choose to stay on in India? There are still not many , excepting the returning NRIs. The main reason? Infinite possibilities for business, friendship, travel for life!




Storys end
The best tales are often bitter-sweet
Raghu Krishnan

In the dock
With reference to the editorial End Of The Road (May 3), the US decision to not release pictures of Osama bin Ladens body in order to avoid extreme reprisals has led some to question the veracity of the Abbottabad operation. Nonetheless, the US action leading to bin Ladens killing in a garrison town has caused major embarrassment to Pakistani authorities. The revelation that the worlds most wanted terrorist was living and operating in their backyard while they feigned ignorance casts doubts on Pakistans commitment to the war against terror. The US operation also raises questions about the Pakistani militarys capacity to protect its own people from foreign aggression. Pakistan has the moral obligation to absolve itself in the eyes of both the international community and its own people.
Gregory Fernandes, MUMBAI

ver wondered why so many books, movies and songs feature the word last in their titles? Last, as in final, has a dramatic touch. Which could be why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's final book on Sherlock Holmes is titled 'His Last Bow'. The book ends with the news that World War I is about to begin, and with Holmes playing on his violin for the departing Watson the tune of Robert Burns's poem-song which begins, 'Should auld acquaintance be forgot/ And days of auld lang syne'. It's almost as if the stately Holmes of England is anticipating that the world will change and nothing will ever be the same again. And World War I began just 28 months after the `unsinkable' Titanic sank after striking an Atlantic iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on April 15, 1912. The disc containing the song 'The Last Waltz' by Gerry Dorsey better , known as Engelbert Humperdinck, was released in 1967 but could have been more appropriately played on the Titanic where the band kept performing in the first-class passenger-lounge and then on the boat-deck even when it was clear that the damaged ship was going to go down with most of the passengers since the lifeboats could only accommodate half of the 2,223 people on board. The bandmaster, Wallace Hartley was playing on a violin presented to him by , his fiance Maria Robinson and was accompanied by F W Clarke (bass), Jock Hume (first violinist), J W Woodward (cellist), G Krins (violinist), W T Brailey (pianist), Roger Bricoux (cellist) and P C Taylor, none of whom survived. The Titanic band began its last performance with Irving Berlin's 'Alexander's Ragtime Band' and Herman Finck's 'In the Shadows', moved on to Paul Lincke's 'The Wedding Dance Waltz' and Offenbach's 'Orpheus in the Underworld', and concluded with Sullivan's more spiritual 'Nearer, My God, To Thee' and Joyce's 'Songe d'Automne' (Autumn Song) even while the water was rising and the ship sinking. There were no Grammy Awards then for what was surely the most courageous live performance in the history of music. Or take the Hollywood western based on Louis L'Amour's 'Last Stand at Papagos Wells'. The blurb of the book tells you how stark the situation was: 'It was the only water for miles in a vast, sun-blasted desert. Water meant survival. So Logan Cates naturally headed for Papagos Wells. Fleeing the fiery Churupati and his Apache warriors, other travellers headed there too. And when the Apaches found them, they began a siege as relentless and unyielding as the barren land and as inescapable.' Talk of a last, life-changing experience! 'Last Stand at Papagos Wells' is pulp fiction. Which John Ruskin's book titled 'Unto This Last' is definitely not. It was first published in the form of four articles in 1860 in Cornhill Magazine, a monthly periodical. The magazine stopped publication in the face of what Ruskin called the "violent criticism" of subscribers reacting to the author's critique of the adverse impact of industrialisation on the natural world and his comments on the capitalist economists of the 18th and 19th centuries. 'Unto This Last' had a tremendous impact on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who was given a copy of the book by Henry Polak whom he first met in a vegetarian restaurant in South Africa. Inspired by the book, Gandhi started the Phoenix Settlement where everyone working on the farm was paid the same salary irrespective of function, race or nationality a trend, , setting idea in 1904 South Africa. In 1908, Gandhi translated 'Unto This Last' into Gujarati under the title 'Sarvodaya Well-being of All'. But, then, last doesn't just mean final. It also as the dictionary tells us means to remain fresh and endure. Some ideas and ideals last forever.


The Miracle Of The Word

helps you internalise the meaning of the Word. Guru Nanak believed that by repetition of Nam, uch is the importance of Nam simran in one can overcome the ego. Nama marga, the Sikhism that Guru Nanak, the founder of path of the divine Word, is the way to liberation. Nam simran can also be performed collecthe faith, proclaims, I have no miracles except the name of God. Nam japna or Nam tively in sadhsangat, when devotees sing simran is the repetitive remembrance of the together hymns of praise or the shabad in the Supreme, the Satnam, the only true Word. form of kirtan. Guru Nanak says satsangat is Nam is the Ultimate reality which manifests where the divine Nam is cherished. This is itself in the form of Creation and Nam, like where virtues are learnt, where godlike qualities are cultivated. In sangat devotees seek Nature, is all-pervasive. Nam is not name, identification or combi- unity with God through recitation of Bani nation of words to address God like Hari, Ram, as well as hearing His Word. Nam simran is Allah; it is more than that. Nam is the repre- related to hearing or listening to the Word as sentation of the Almighty, manifestation of well as becoming aware of what has been heard. Remembrance of Nam does not bind the His attributes. Nam is expression for the person to any place or time. One can whole nature of Akal Purakh, the recite it while walking, driving or timeless, infinite and all-pervasive. while performing household chores. To be linked with the divine name is It sets you free. Guru Arjan says, to grow in likeness to God being Nam is mukti, liberation, jugati, way merciful, compassionate and loving to attain liberation, fulfilment, tripati until it results in divine union. as well as bhugati, enjoyment. All Satnam is not eternal silence; it who follow the pathway of Nam extakes the form of the divine Word, THE perience vismad, the incredible Vaheguru, the divine light, dispeller of darkness. In Sikh tradition, I SPEAKING I awe and wonder of knowing the greatness of the Supreme Being the Supreme is referred to as VaheTREE vismad nad vismad ved, wondrous guru. Absorption in Nam, constant remembrance of Vaheguru, is recommended. is the sound, wondrous the wisdom. But mechanical repetition of Nam is not As the believer meditates on the Word, bondage to the world, fear and injustice is over- enough. One has to realise the Divine as a come. Nam simran has the power of freeing us reality and be in harmony with him. When we from the self-centredness that leads to endless recite gurbani or the divine Word we are in fact cycles of reincarnation. All gains, spiritual remembering the attributes of God and as a and material, flow from concentration on result the followers also try to imbibe good Nam. Nam simran, chanting of Satnam Vahe- qualities like love for all creatures, sewa, guru in congregation or in solitude is one of forgiveness, universal brotherhood, fearlessthe three cardinal principles of Sikhism, ness etc. Nam simran is the ultimate path of along with kirat karni or honest labour and bliss, of liberation. kaur .kulbir@gmail.com vand chhakna or sharing with the needy . www.speakingtree.in Nam japna can be performed at the individual level, in private meditation. It involves Join the worlds first spiritual networking the practice of repeating the sacred word which site to interact directly with masters and seekers.
Kulbir Kaur

Sayings of Gurudev
When old words die out on the tongue, new melodies break forth from the heart; and where the old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with its wonders. If our relation with the divine were all a thing of our own making, how should we rely on it as true, and how should it lend us support? Within us we have that where space and time cease to rule and where the links of evolution are merged in unity . Knowledge is partial, because our intellect is an instrument, it is only a part of us, it can give us information about things which can be divided and analysed. But Brahma is perfect, and knowledge which is partial can never be knowledge of Him. Most people believe the mind to be a mirror, accurately reflecting the world outside them, not realising that the mind is itself the principal element of creation.
Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti today.

Threes a crowd
With reference to the Times View/Counterview (May 7), the three-captain formula will do more harm than good to any cricket team. In Englands case, only time will tell whether the policy works or not. Apart from the difficulty of finding the right candidates for three different formats, it will be rather hard for any coach to be on the same wavelength with three captains. Who knows, maybe such teams will end up employing three coaches! Absence of a single leader could create factions within a team. A better approach to spreading the burden of captaincy could be by appointing two vice-captains to provide inputs to chalk out strategy on the field.
Prem K Menon, VIA EMAIL

The wages of pride

With reference to The Speaking Tree Learning From Satan (May 4) by Sadia Khan, it is not ego that made Satan disobey God and refuse to bow before Adam. In the words of the Holy Quran, it was his pride and rebellious nature that led to Satans undoing from an exalted position. He was brought down to the abyss of the cursed one till the end of the world. Several passages in the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad say that man should not succumb to Satans sophistry and temptation. Satan was, however, given one concession. After he incurred the wrath of God, he asked to be allowed to mislead and tempt humans. God gave him the permission with a challenge that righteous people with true knowledge and guidance would never fall prey to his preaching.
Nizam Lodhi, HYDERABAD
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com





Any external interference in the reintegration process would be detrimental to its success.

Its Smart Diplomacy

Combat jet decision signals the coming of age of Indias strategic planning
Rohit Viswanath

Kabul Calling
Indias Afghanistan policy requires renewed focus
he last time Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Afghanistan, it was 2005 and the country was stuck in the quagmire of the Taliban insurgency with no end in sight. This time around if he does indeed plan to visit Afghanistan this week as reported the Taliban are still in the frame, but the other variables have changed dramatically. Just how much can be judged from the haste with which this trip is being put together. Osama bin Ladens death could throw Afghanistans future into flux, and New Delhi knows it. The irony of the situation is that despite the embarrassment of bin Laden being found in Abbottabad, the Pakistani establishment may just be able to parlay it into an advantage in the medium-to-long term. With a symbolic victory of this magnitude to Washingtons credit, there is already speculation that the American withdrawal from Afghanistan may be accelerated. As things stand, the withdrawal is set to begin in July this year. But the assumption was that would merely be the beginning of a lengthy process stretching over years. This belief is being questioned now, giving New Delhi good cause for concern. India has a vested interest in Afghanistans stability not to encircle Pakistan as Rawalpindi claims, but because an unstable Afghanistan will have a ripple effect through South Asia. The best way for New Delhi to ensure its concerns remain on the table is to ramp up its already considerable economic engagement with Kabul. With $1.2 billion aid and numerous ongoing developmental projects, India has generated goodwill by making substantial contributions to creating the infrastructure of a modern Afghan state. New Delhi must build upon this, deepening and broadening the scope of its projects in a low-profile manner. The 1.8 billion tonnes Hajigak iron ore mines project is a case in point: of the 22 firms bidding for exploration rights, 15 are Indian. New Delhi must do all it can to support their efforts. In the diplomatic arena, India must, as it has before, stress the importance of a regional approach to Afghanistan involving neighbours such as Iran, Russia, China and the Central Asian republics. Creating a transparent environment for any reintegration process initiated by Kabul is critical. Having all stakeholders on board will facilitate this, while offsetting Pakistans view of Afghanistan solely as its strategic backyard and, hopefully allaying its , fears about Indian intentions. New Delhi should also bear in mind that, while it has cause to be wary of Talibans reintegration, in the end the decision is Kabuls. For Pashtun nationalism is not about to go away and to allow the Taliban to coopt it entirely would be a big mistake.

ndias recent decision against shortlisting American fighter jets in the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition has been interpreted in many ways in different quarters. Many feel had India decided upon American-made jets, the choice would have furthered US-India military ties and manufacturing collaboration. Touted as the worlds biggest international military aircraft deal in two decades, the nearly $12 billion deal being equal to over half of US exports to India last year, it would have taken bilateral trade between the two to a much higher platform. Rumour mills even have it that former US ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer, resigned because the deal did not get through. Some observers have gone further. They claim the choice to be an affront on Americas call for closer strategic partnership. This section has again begun viewing India with suspicion and through the prism of non-alignment. They cite Indias recent abstention on UNSC Resolution 1973 on Libya, its reluctance to cooperate on Iran and Myanmar and also its attempts at creating a new power bloc of BRICS nations as evidence of its commitment to the long-deceased policy. For them, the deal was a litmus test of American success in subverting Indias independent foreign policy through carrots-like acceptance of India as a de facto nuclear power by virtue of the India-US nuclear deal as also the offer of a UNSC permanent membership. They are unhappy because

they thought the deals success would have furthered Indias and Americas shared interest in containing China. While Pakistan remains a constant worry, India is also increasingly concerned by the strategic challenge posed by China. Its approval of the American bids, according to them, would have boosted joint capabilities in warfare. This they claim would serve as a deterrent to potential Chinese hostility on the subcontinent and in the Indian Ocean and also help train the armed forces to fight alongside one another should deterrence fail. On the other hand, people elated at Indian rejection of the

Being able to pick and choose

No doubt the contract represented an opportunity for US companies to gain a foothold in Indias defence market. But surely India-US relations go beyond a few chunks of military and aeronautical hardware
American bid cite the unreliability of American supply as the greatest hitch. According to them, the US is not trustworthy: it has been known to stop supply of parts if the buyer does not adhere to American whims and fancies. The other reasons include excessive restrictions placed on users and the end-user monitoring on the aircraft, which undermine sovereignty and make the Indian establishment uncomfortable. Further, the Indian gov-

ernment has recently mandated that foreign contractors invest a certain percentage of the deal for indigenous production. It envisions the deal will go beyond just procurement of 126 jets and help modernise Indias aerospace industry. American firms are said to have a history of being unwilling to honour this agreement. The US has in place stringent export control regimes that prevent American companies from transferring technology and outsourcing manufacturing of strategic equipment. Moreover, Americas move to sell the exorbitantly priced jets to India is seen as an extension of its ongoing beggerthy-neighbour policy to offset its ailing domestic economy. Bracketing Indias decision within either of the above analyses is myopic. There may have been political calculations involved, but the choice was largely determined by technical considerations. Six aircraft were bid for the

order the Swedish Saab Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon, French Dassault Rafale, Russian Mikoyan MiG-35 and the American F-16IN and F/A-18IN Super Hornet. Mikoyan and Dassault have been regular suppliers of aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the past. The IAF shortlisted Rafale and Typhoon only after putting them through an intense schedule of technical evaluations lasting over several months. The factors that appear to have favoured them are clearly the offer of an equal partnership between the vendor and the buyer, perceptible technology transfer, existing industrial linkages and, most importantly, superior performance of the jets which also conformed to most of the 643 laid down technical parameters. IAF pilots and technicians are already familiar with the earlier aircraft from those two aircraft manufacturers, and hence would need minimal The writer is a project associate retraining. Infrastructural and with ICRIER.

logistical support for maintenance and spares would also be easier for these aircraft. To alter those to suit new American jets would not only involve further complexities but also expand the already allocated mammoth budget. There is no doubt that the contract represented a prime opportunity for US companies to gain a foothold in the Indian defence market, estimated to be about $100 billion in the next 10 years. But surely India-US relations go much beyond a few chunks of military and aeronautical hardware. The Indian decision, hence, was certainly not intended to snub America. With a complex global cold war for control over resources and markets already in sight, the political calculations behind the MMRCA decision must be inferred in this context. India perceives itself to be one of the poles in a multipolar world and next only to the US and China. The countrys policy pundits are aware that in the face of an increasingly aggressive and affluent China, India needs to ensure that Europe, with its economy in doldrums right now, remains in its sphere of influence. Europe matters not just as a strategic partner but also because of its advanced technological prowess. The deal is clearly an attempt by India to woo the Europeans and ensure their continued support for New Delhis positions on critical international issues. The MMRCA conclusion is not an expression of Indias limitations or shifting strategic inclinations. It just reflects smart diplomacy .

Government launches an annual Tagore Award

Land Locked
Get moving on the Land Acquisition Bill
he UP farmers agitation highlights yet again how explosive the issue of land acquisition has become. Clashes, killing four, saw state police battling farmers demanding better compensation for land acquired by UP authorities for the Yamuna Expressway project. This is just another reminder of the urgent need to push through the Land Acquisition Bill, which proposes to restrict governments role in land acquisition while mandating private companies buy at least 70% of land for projects at market prices. The reforms been hanging fire because the Trinamool Congress, a key UPA ally wants the states role scrapped altogether. , True, its desirable that the new framework be made as market-oriented as possible. However, the reworked Bill as it stands is an improvement on the present situation, besides allowing the state a limited but possibly useful role should last mile problems a few holding out against private buyers to get ever-higher prices for their land threaten projects. Besides hitting development, land-related strife is also spooking investors. Though Posco received environmental clearances only recently it still , might come unstuck: Orissas authorities having to deploy security personnel to prevent land-related strife isnt very good PR. Agitations are threatening industrialisation and infrastructure-building everywhere. Projects as diverse as power plants and expressways, in locations as disparate as Maharashtra and Meghalaya, are being delayed. This, despite the fact that Indias land needs for mining, industry and urban development combined over the next two decades are estimated to amount to just 2% of its total land mass. A market-based land acquisition template is imperative to give a sense of agency to those relinquishing land. Dealing directly with buyers, theyll have less reason to feel shortchanged on compensation or relief. Therefore, rather than make every land-related clash an excuse for political point-scoring, the political class should focus on getting the Bill through Parliament.

Go beyond symbolism
he government has decided to institute a Rabindranath Tagore Award on the 150th birth anniversary of Asias first Nobel laureate. This will achieve little, going by past experience. Comprising a cash prize worth Rs 1 crore and meant to recognise contributions towards promotion of international brotherhood and fraternity, the award seems destined to go the way of some of our other international honours. Since 2007, the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Under- I T standing hasnt been awarded. Similarly, the International Gandhi Peace Prize hasnt surfaced since 2005. If the aim is to pay tribute to Tagores legacy, there are better ways of going about it. An award can only be a weak sarkari substitute for the genuine effort needed to popularise Tagores works and ideals for a larger audience. The main challenge facing Tagore scholars is how to make him relevant for todays generation. Even within India, Tagore continues to be an enigma for large sections outside Bengal. There is a dearth of translation of his works in vernacular languages. The cash prize associated with the award will be

A fitting tribute

better utilised funding and rewarding translation projects. Tagore was an internationalist; sadly, his works remain limited in global reach. Encouraging efforts to popularise his works in China, Southeast Asia and beyond will be more in keeping with his universalist vision. People wont appreciate Tagores significance just

because some individual or other is honoured in his name. Often, choice of candidates for awards is unimaginative at best and political at worst. Promoting greater understanding of Tagore requires us to instead make his works accessible to greater numbers of people here and abroad, be it through translations, better digitisation of his works, tourism projects, scholarship and cultural exchange programmes, etc. Lets go beyond symbolism in paying homage to the icon.

ical protesters martyred in Punjab. He felt for women trapped in homesteads and men, pummelled by the world beyond. He criticised imperialism while drawing from international cultures. This award recognises these qualities. Critics may say not enough is being done to translate Tagore, popularise his works and ensure his relevance remains contemporary. This award does that and more. Translating Tagore I COUNTERVIEW I cannot be limited simply to print and verbiage; Srijana Mitra Das mustard fish to the Tagores ideas must be felt. Compassion pangs of hunger, the was as important to him as rhyme and mewarmth of community ter, pen and paintbrush. By awarding conand the courage of soli- tributions to fraternity, the government tude, the beauties of has hit on a wonderful way to keep Tatradition along with its gores legacy fresh. At a time when a clash oppressiveness. of civilisations is discussed, its imporTagore had tremendous sensitivity tant to remember an icon who was firmly towards the human condition. Despite rooted, yet emphasised that no walls sepabeing a privileged Bengali male, his rated human souls. This award rewards vision of humanity was unfettered by similar efforts by others, keeping a vital caste, class and gender divides. He em- part of Tagores legacy alive. Its a fitting pathised with Bengals peasants, bat- way to remember an extraordinary inditered by floods and famines, as with polit- vidual, artist, litterateur and much more.

he government award in the name of Tagore, honouring contributions to international brotherhood, is deeply welcome on his 150th birth anniversary. Tagore was a genius with the ability to capture in words, images and music diverse experiences, from the flavours of

Dye Another Day
ideos of Osama found by US forces in Abbottabad showed him hiding but in no mood to retire. But whod have guessed he spent time narcissistically watching TV clips of himself ? Or fumbled lines rehearsing for recordings promising USs destruction? Imageconscious, he also dyed his beard! Clearly, being remote helped the now-deceased terror mastermind instil fear. Up close, it wouldnt have been that easy.

Air Pocket
n airline botched a Gujarati NRIs travel plans in 2008. So, he went and bought the worlds first commercial flying car from a US firm! Only, on delivery, hell need a nod from Indias aviation and security agencies to park his winged twoseater at his Ahmedabad farmhouse. Given it takes eons to get official clearances in India, his incredible flying machine seems headed for turbulence.

Virtual Aid

Hats off to the Brits

They are willing to turn into mad hatters for styles sake
George N Netto

part from the impressive pomp and pageantry of the recent WilliamKate wedding, what a sartorial feast it turned out to be for countless viewers across the world! In particular, what intrigued me most was the bewildering variety of millinery sported by the ladies, some of whom appeared to be vying for honours with a Native American chief s elaborately feathered head-dress. Every conceivable form of feminine headgear was on display from the ridiculous to the quaint and from the flamboyant to the dignified. Sizes and dimensions varied but all the ladies hats had one common feature: they were unavoidably eye-catching. Indeed, for the benefit of viewers, BBCs TV cameras pointedly zeroed in on the elegantly dressed invitees sporting unusual headgear. One looked as if she had a perky hornbill perched on her head. Another appeared to be weighed down by a tortoise on her skull, or at least its shell, while yet another seemed to be skilfully balancing an empty basket of sorts on her cranium. Then, believe it or not, one socialite flaunted a truly unique hat an array of horns sticking unnaturally out of her head! Yet another appeared to have hijacked a beehive as a fashion accessory wearing it as nonchalantly as she did her earrings. , One lady wore with elan what looked like a cowboys floppy sombrero while another, with a statuesque figure, had donned what appeared to be a London bobbys helmet! In keeping with her dignity Queen Elizabeth herself wore a , simple yellow hat to match her similar-coloured attire. Thanks to the royal wedding, milliners undoubtedly must have made a killing, designing these bizarre creations for their finicky and well-heeled customers. That such weird, if not ludicrous, headgear finds favour in British society amused me no end. Quite frankly , some of those oddly hatted ladies left me admittedly a philistine tittering and im sure their milliners must have guffawed all the way to the bank, having turned millionaires with their crazy creations. Irked by my ribbing, my indignant better half gallantly rallied to the defence of her gender. Like beauty she asserted, elegance in dress lies in the , eye of not only the beholder but also the wearer. And such finesse, she icily concluded, was beyond a fashion ignoramus like me. The ladies in question were making profound fashion statements, she added, quite scornful of my ignorance, and the varied headgear they displayed was the skilled creation of eminent milliners of international repute. She went on to tutor me that ladies in the higher echelons of British society never go hatless on such formal occasions as a royal wedding. Indeed, a fashionable hat is an integral and vital part of their attire. In the interests of domestic peace, i refrained from pointing out that to me, far from being fashion statements, those outlandish apologies for hats resembled grotesque growths on otherwise elegant-looking patrician pates, exposing the wearers to the risk of being mistaken for aliens from outer space. Instead, to placate the lady of the house, i conceded that some British men, too, are eccentric about headwear. I mentioned the legendary Sherlock Holmes who was addicted to wearing a deerstalker even though he stalked criminals rather than deer. Then, nearer home, theres the High Range Club in Munnar where, way back in 1926, sentimental British planters started hanging up their hats on retirement a ritual that has built up a vintage and varied collection of mouldy lids still on display That soothed her hackles. . However, im convinced that the grossly weird handiwork of present-day milliners lends credence to the phrase as mad as a hatter. The recent royal wedding threw up some truly heady wear indeed!

cientists introduced virtual schizophrenia in computers, to study the human ailment better. By over-simulating systems, they hypothesise that excessive dopamine similarly causes the mind to read signals from too many stimuli, making over-complicated connections. Computers make life easier in myriad ways. If it helps make mental illness easier to understand, itll also make medical history.

Beyond Ritual

Spiritual Intelligence
to be victims of pride and egoism that comes from reading and writing as it happens with onventional intelligence is linked to the some. Spiritual scientist Albert Einstein capability of an individual to assimilate states that the main purpose of education and convey facts as well as manage chal- should be to bring morality in actions and sublenging situations. Intelligence Quotient, IQ, due ones ego. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa measures the brains ability to grasp, retain and was hardly educated. Yet the most erudite and recall factual knowledge. Emotional Intelli- scholarly felt humbled in his presence. Many a gence, EQ, measures the ability to understand time we tend to ignore simple solutions to lifes and maturely manage people and challenges. challenges. Warren Buffett, the celebrated Spiritual Intelligence, SI, expands the horizon businessman, captures the significance of beyond the ego. It attunes one to a larger circle of simplicity when he says, There seems to be a awareness and influence. Spiritually evolved perverse human characteristic that likes to people remain connected with a sense of uni- make easy things difficult! Einstein said, versal oneness. This enables them to respond to Not all that counts in life can be counted and trying situations and issues in a renot all that can be counted counts, markably composed manner. which aptly captures this truth. The first-hand experience of Abiding by the philosophy of M K Gandhi of the social injustice simple living and high thinking can prevalent under the racial regime of help us tap and deploy the innate apartheid is a case in point. Louis resource of spiritual intelligence Fischer in his biography of Gandwithin. Responding to the demands hi, recounts what Gandhi thought of life using spiritual intelligence THE was the most creative experience of paves the way for a deeper awarehis life as the night that he spent SPEAKING ness of the cosmic consciousness crouched and shivering in the cold linking all of humanity. To energise TREE at the Maritzburg rail station in this intelligence, it is important that Natal, South Africa, unable to even reach for his we cajole the mind to go within instead of its own overcoat while empathising with a poor habitual tendency to focus outwards. black family who were thrown out of a train. Connecting intuitively to the core of our This incident transformed Gandhis level being promotes the expression of our spirit. of awareness, attuning him to a larger pur- Intuitive wisdom can provide remarkably pose in life. Spiritual intelligence transcends simple solutions to many complex challenges the realm of objective knowledge and ones of life. It makes us more receptive to the power own identity. It invokes a sense of oneness of wisdom that is always available within and across all forms of life. However, success in around us. Steadily but surely we can then , , higher learning and knowledge assimilation abide by the wise counsel for peaceful and runs the risk of promoting ones sense of happy living, Let sincerity and not seriousimportance and superiority This can only be ness be the guiding basis for all our actions . avoided if we acknowledge the existence of a and responses in life. higher power. www.speakingtree.in Ramana Maharshi regarded the illiterate Join the worlds first spiritual networking as being more fortunate as they are less likely site to interact directly with masters and seekers.
Vijay Vancheswar


Carrot and stick

With reference to the article Pak Discomfiture No Solace For India (May 7) by Dileep Padgaonkar, it may help if we control hawkish voices in the country. As suggested by the writer, continuous engagement with Pakistan is a better option to resolve issues that affect peace and stability. Escalating tensions will mar the long-term prospects of both nations. However, Indias difficulty lies in identifying the real authority to engage with. Pakistan is in flux and there are several power centres in the country. Therefore, if India can make the impression that it can also go the US way, it will create psychological pressure on all power centres in Pakistan. That may force them to collectively decide in favour of engagement. Only then can the dialogue process be fruitful. The situation thus demands that strong views in certain segments be balanced by our conciliatory approach in diplomacy. We should encourage both views.
Surendra B Singh, MUMBAI

The prayer God hears is the prayer of the heart, that raising of the heart, that suffering of the heart is what God pays attention to; certainly it is foolish to rely upon the usual religious practices and ritual. What matters is your heart, the prayer that arises from your heart that is the prayer that Baba hears, that God hears. Meher Baba Not by sacred water is one pure, although many folk bathe in it. In whom is truth and dhamma, he is pure; he is a Brahmin. Udana 6 A man who is not humane, what can he have to do with ritual? Analects 3.3 Burn the prayer-mat, break the jug,/ Discard the rosary cup and staff,/ , Loves kingdom requires them not Bulhe Shah With rosaries and sandal marks/ I have nothing to do;/ The One alone dwells in my heart. Dadu Dayal

Bribes head revisited

With reference to the article The Art Of Graft (May 9) by Arvind Panagariya, administrative and judicial reforms are imperative to give teeth to many laws for preventing both Type I and Type II corruption in India. However, two big-ticket causes of all kinds of corruption in the country also require due attention at the earliest. These include opaque electoral funding with minimal disclosure by both political parties and candidates, and the absence of an independent police force that is not subservient to politicians. Reforms in these two spheres are essential in any fight against corruption. Also, as individuals, we should use our time to serve others selflessly.
Bharat Wakhlu, NEW DELHI
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com





Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.
BOB PACKWOOD, American politician

Power With Responsibility

If she wins Bengal, Mamata will have to jettison partisan politics to bring about true change
Diptosh Majumdar

Significant Stay
SC provides a judicial corrective in Ayodhya case
hough it is just an interim order, the Supreme Courts decision to stay the Allahabad high courts verdict on the Ayodhya title suits is profoundly significant. All the more so because of the apex courts accompanying observation that the high courts decision of September 30, 2010 stipulating partition of the land where the Babri masjid stood between the two communities on the basis of the title dispute was strange and surprising. These are strong words for the partition idea that had been erroneously hailed by a section of civil society as pragmatic or conciliatory. The Supreme Court intervention comes as a much-needed corrective to signal Indias commitment to secularism and the rule of law. The partition scheme under which two parts of the Ram JanmabhoomiBabri masjid complex were given to Hindu parties and one part to a Muslim party had placed faith above law and, seemingly expediency over legal , principle. Though the title suits had originated from the surreptitious installation of idols in the medieval mosque in 1949, the high court glossed over the fact that nothing said about the history of the Hindu belief prior to that year would have detracted from this dubious cause of action. Instead, it ended up conferring legitimacy on the 1949 act by accepting the claim that Lord Ram was born exactly where the central dome of the Babri masjid once stood. While not condoning it in any way the high court verdict , running into thousands of pages seemed equally unmindful of the 1992 demolition, though the latter was a violent interference with the subject matter of the title suits. It is just as well that this partition scheme did not satisfy even the Hindu parties to the title suits. The appeals filed by all the parties concerned has provided an opportunity to the Supreme Court to undo the error of the high court in not letting, among other things, the illegality of the 1949 and 1992 events have a bearing on the title suits. Having stayed the high court verdict, the Supreme Court should reconsider all its postulates and premises, whether they had been derived from religious scriptures or legal tomes. The Ayodhya title suits, in any event, are but a part of the larger backlog of justice related to the chain of events triggered by the Babri masjid demolition. Criminal proceedings are still pending and the political leaders accused in the case have all been let off the conspiracy charge. There can be no closure to this long-vexed problem unless the Supreme Court verdict, besides being a robust affirmation of the rule of law, is forward-looking and sets a salutary precedent for resolving inter-community differences.

est Bengal looks finally determined to vote out a government which has been in power for 34 continuous years. Mamata Banerjees tenacity and perseverance may dislodge the Left from Writers Buildings once the results are counted on Friday. But for the feisty Trinamool Congress chief, it is hardly going to be all smooth sailing if she wins. Once the electronic voting machines have revealed her fate, she will have to abandon her partisan politics and start behaving like the impartial chief minister. Her first and immediate task will be to prevent possible violent reprisals and backlashes. She has to realise that real change would not come to West Bengal if, goaded on by her jubilant cadres, she chooses the predictable path of vindictive politics. For once, there should not be any unstated arrangement between the new ruling party and the police machinery. Theres no denying that it was the CPM which had carefully constructed the party society a system of benefiting only that section of the polarised, committed electorate which swore by the Left. But Mamata cannot persist with the prevailing culture of rewarding supporters and alienating detractors and opponents. It does not require administrative experience to gauge the extent of injustice a ruling party might have done when it was the beneficiary of unabashed state protection for more than three decades. In places like Keshpur,

Nandigram, and parts of Jangalmahal, there are families of victims of state-sponsored violence who are eagerly waiting for power to change hands so that they can avenge themselves. Mamata will have to walk the tightrope, preventing her followers from taking the law into their own hands and guaranteeing the security of all, irrespective of party affiliation. Given her track record in overaligning herself with the Trinamool cause, she will first have to win a battle against herself. Her manifesto mentions that she is sworn to the politics of badal (change) and not the politics of badla (revenge). She must remember that pledge.

When pointing fingers wont be enough

Mamata will first have to win a battle against herself. Her manifesto mentions she is sworn to the politics of badal (change) and not the politics of badla (revenge). She must remember that pledge
Undoubtedly, another of her priorities will be to cleanse the administration or, as some would assert, de-politicise governance but she must go about her business carefully and gradually. Mamata has promised a government with an improved work culture but eradicating the entrenched CPM party structure in the administration with one or two quick, successive blows

will be an imprudent step. She should wait and see if the CPMs enormous influence in the existing set-up wanes within the first two months before initiating strong action against zealots who will never embrace the rules laid down by a new dispensation. Apart from a neutral administration, Mamata needs to help evolve an apolitical police force. For long, the police have been used to taking orders from the CPM leadership at various levels. While the state party leadership at Alimuddin Street expects the top brass to be deferential and obedient, even the local committee functionaries have a significant say in the routine activities of the police stations, often insisting that people of a particular political background cannot be apprehended. Mamata cannot demoralise the already disempowered police force by

taking unpleasant decisions in a hurry. She must understand that she will have to be patient; she cannot dismantle a threedecade-old system in a fortnight. The result will be lawlessness, anarchic confusion, definitely not the kind of hopeful atmosphere her voters are looking forward to. The states economy is in a shambles; it is hardly a legacy worth inheriting. Senior Trinamool ideologues may be exaggerating when they allege that the states total debt has surpassed nearly a staggering Rs 2 lakh crore. West Bengal spends most of its money on paying salary and pension to present and former government employees. Its Plan expenditure is unremarkable; it lacks the financial clout to invest in health and education. Whoever Mamata chooses to be her finance minister has the

unenviable task of reviving an economy which is badly looking for a fresh injection of funds. To make this possible, Mamata will have to change the nature of her relationship with the UPA leadership in New Delhi. She must learn to extract more for the state she hopes to govern much in the way N Chandrababu Naidu achieved for Andhra Pradesh during a greater part of the Vajpayee era. Within the first 100 days itself, Mamata will be expected to spell out separate rural, urban and minority-related policies. She will have to conceive development projects in the rural hinterland without falling back on rapid industrialisation. West Bengals shabby towns need a well-thought-out urban development model. Mamata has been able to win over the Muslims by convincing them that they were excluded from the Lefts development agenda. She must devise a separate plan for the minority community. It will be interesting to watch how Mamata crosses her first hurdle of choosing a cabinet without upsetting too many of her trusted lieutenants. Till now, she has controlled indiscipline with an iron hand, knowing that the non-Left forces will be under compulsion to gravitate towards her. But the widespread desire to taste power after 34 years in the wilderness is not easy to deal with. Her victory may demand a change of her very personality a change , of what she has been all these years. The question is if a calm, composed and less impulsive Mamata is possible.

Dont Worry, Be Happy

Thank your lucky genes for happiness
hose of us whore naturally cheery may have more than one reason to clap our hands. According to London School of Economics researchers, happiness lies in the genes. In fact, its been discovered that joviality and sense of satisfaction all really depend on which form of the gene 5-HTT the happiness gene which distributes serotinin across nerve cells people inherit from their parents. For some, theres a double bonanza: those getting two sets of the happy gene, one long strand from mommy the other from daddy are likely to be twice as joyful! The least , , happy are those with two variants of the short gene. Parental guidance just acquired a new meaning. Now you know why they say it all goes back to mommyand daddy Forget . all those homilies about discovering and spreading your own happiness. It turns out that if life sucks, parents can be blamed for not being more generous with their genetic bequest. And if youre feeling on top of the world, clearly its not because you aced appraisals or weigh 50 kilos despite six helpings of kheer. Put it down to genetically triggered happy chemicals partying in your brain. Clearly theres no business like biological determinism where , everything can be traced back to the forebears. Were it not for your genes, youd never have that adorable twice-a-day sulk. Or smash fewer vases on seeing red. Ah well. Just when you thought that at least being satisfied or making others feel good was your own doing, you find that its a genetic accident. Maybe thats why the scientists also say that, with greater insight into happiness genes, would-be parents could very well create a child whos more content! Wow. The pursuit of happiness may be taken out of our hands entirely becoming a matter of prenatal design. So, dont worry be happy , , .

Teachers are respected in our society

Educators and parliamentarians from across the world go to Finland to learn about a miracle in school education: few hours of study but excellent results. Patrik Scheinin, the dean of the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences at the University of Helsinki, looks after research in teacher education. He spoke to Faizal Khan about Finnish lessons for India: I Finnish students start school late, spend few hours in school, do almost no homework and have no private tuition, but are still among the best in the world. How? In the Programme for International Student Assessment, jointly prepared by the OECDs participating countries, Finnish students are consistently among the best in the world. They start at the age of seven, with one year of pre-school. Every subject is taught well and everybody is taught irrespective of their home background in every school while making every hour count. This has to do with a national curriculum, and a teacher education in sync with it. Finland holds the world record for the smallest variation between performances of schools. Another reason is the breadth and quality of educational research. I What is the role of the teacher in this success story? It is a strong contributing factor. Education in general and teachers in particular are highly respected by our society. All our schoolteachers have masters degrees. For teachers for Grade I-VI, their masters is in education, from Grade VII-IX, its in the subjects they teach. I do think that we were lucky in arguments on research findings. Its prestige has also improved the quality as well as increased the number of applicants to teacher training. I How important is the selection process of teachers? It is very important. Academic skills and learning potential are measured using a national test based on educational research published for that purpose. This gives everybody the same time one month to prepare. Based on the test results, a relatively small group is invited to the interview. The criteria interviewers look for are motivation, how well-equipped the applicant is to work as a teacher, interaction and communication skills, as well as the ability to argue convincingly based on our research findings. This last part is naturally subjective by nature, but we find it tends to give us students to whom teaching comes more naturally . I What are the lessons India could learn from the Finnish model to bring down the huge gap between students and between schools? Im afraid the obvious answer is: make sure children cross the threshold and come to the school in the first place, and are neither sick nor too hungry to learn. Finland has built up a welfare state, as well as taught the previous generations (that have taught the teachers of today) as best as we knew how to. We have also integrated special education (for anybody with temporary or long-term learning difficulties) into the ordinary classes and schools with special material and specialists available when needed. Children are not willingly left behind and dropout rates are very low. The goal is this: no child is left behind.


moving teacher training into universities and raising it to the masters level. This has made research a normal part of teacher qualifications. The amount of educational research is huge in Finland and the share of it done by the teachers is very big. It has also made the teachers more self-sufficient in their planning as they now base their

Agonised question
Is the use of torture justifiable to counter terrorism?
Jug Suraiya


Those who try to put reports of constitutional committees in the dustbin will be given the same treatment by the people

I dont hold myself to a standard of perfection or id have committed suicide a long time ago

Next season i'll need a bullet-proof chest pad as Chris Gayle is hitting them like a rocket

Would you sanction the use of torture to make the subject give information, which could end up saving hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent lives in the future? Would you subject the suspects children to torture to get the life-saving information? These are some of the questions that ethicists in the US and elsewhere are once again raising following Operation Geronimo. It is possible that President Obama may have sanctioned the use of intensive interrogation a euphemism for torture to extract information from detainees in Guantanamo about Osamas whereabouts. If such reports are true, it would imply an about-turn in the Obama administrations policy on the use of torture or extraordinary rendition, to use another euphemism as an instrument in the campaign against terror. While George W Bush is said to have given the nod to extreme methods in interrogation particularly in Guantanamo Obama had publicly opposed such measures as being fundamentally incompatible with the self-styled global guardian of democracy and democratic values. Torture is widely judged to be the ultimate violation of human rights. Can any democracy or free society legitimise such a violation and still call itself a democracy? But if torture is a violation of human rights, isnt terrorism an even greater violation, in that its targets are largely completely innocent men, women and children, unlike the subjects of torture who are at least suspected of having terrorist or other criminal links? Torture is a moral outrage. But so is terrorism. Can one outrage cancel out another? Can one poison be used to combat another poison? Toxin-anti-toxin poison to fight poison is a tried and tested formula in the world of medicine. Can such an equation be equally valid in the moral realm? All those who believe in Gandhian ahimsa, and in the principle that the means must justify the end, would answer that question in the negative. But as advocates of realpolitik have pointed out, Gandhian ahimsa would be suicidal in the face of inhuman aggression, as represented by Nazism or modern-day terror. Those who oppose the use of torture, and other forms of cruel and unnatural punishment, argue that the sanctioned use of such methods inevitably dehumanises and brutalises any society which has recourse to them. The stoning to death of women accused of adultery in Talibanised societies is a case in point. In such a situation, would you be the first to cast a stone at the offender? And if you were, what effect would it have on you? In India, the use of torture or to use yet another euphemism, third degree methods is commonplace among the police, military and paramilitary forces deployed in disturbed areas like the northeast, Kashmir and the badlands of Naxalism. Barring a few human rights activists, civil society by and large averts its gaze from such radical some would say unconscionable means of preserving what we like to think of as law and order. The question that arises is: what price law and order which must be preserved through the use of that most lawless and soul-destroying of disorders called torture that dehumanises both its victims and those who inflict it? In The Brothers Karamazov, the Devil poses a question to Ivan Karamazov: Suppose you could put an end to all human suffering forever, but in order to do so you would have to torture just one child; would you do it? Ivan says No in reply How would we reply to the devil of inner temptation that asked a similar . question of us?

MURLI MANOHAR JOSHI, PAC chairman, on attempts to reject the committee report on the 2G scam

WARREN BUFFETT, American investor, on perfection

TILLAKARATNE DILSHAN, Sri Lankan cricketer, on his Royal Challengers Bangalore batting partner


The Anthropic Principle

Logically, for any event to take place, there are so many factors out of our control that hat if i had not married this part- must complexly interact to yield the expected ner? What if i had studied law output. At an individual level, what makes instead of medicine? These are the one think and then work in a specific direcquestions our imagination raises while mull- tion? The so-called free will may just be an ing over decisions weve taken. There is illusion when in reality, thoughts and actions apparently no limit to this rather futile extra- gravitate towards a pre-fixed path. This line polation into the past. It would lead to the of thought surely deals a body blow to our ego. most bizarre point of What if my parents When viewed dispassionately, one cannot were not to have met at all? The rational con- help but realise that even being alive tomorclusion after such deliberations is that there row is a presumption. Free will, therefore, is surely is some deterministic programme also based on certain assumptions and condithat affects our existence and what follows. tions. So, unconditional free will may not If one were to keep extending the what exist. The free will that we take pride in is if thought process, the creation of the restricted to making a choice within the universe, too, would also be just one of limit- framework and circumstances that are tossed less possibilities. The conditions reup by factors beyond our control. quired for creation of the universe All our thoughts, actions and deciare so specific and exacting, like sions are based on the identity that we the mass of the proton, the value of have generated as we course through gravity, and all critical values of life. The destiny that we talk about is various forces. This line of thought of this identity. The desire to know inspired the now famous anthrowhat is in store tomorrow stems pic principle in 1973. largely from a deep sense of inseTHE The Participatory Anthropic curity that is fuelled by the ego. Is Principle states not only that the I SPEAKING I the identity that is purely a subject universe had to spawn humanity of perception, our true self ? The TREE or some intelligent, informationtrue nature of our self is merely gathering life form but that we are necessary consciousness that observes. Time and space for its existence, as it takes an intelligent are apparitions necessary for the unmanifest observer to collapse the universes waves consciousness to become manifest. and probabilities from superposition into Past, present and future are correlates of relatively concrete reality . time. They are imaginary compartments This principle shifts the focus to a pro- that help establish a chronology They are as . gramme that deliberately effects creation. If much a figment of the imagination as time this determinism was vital to creation itself itself. Free will remains the free will of an and also to the past like our parents meeting imaginary entity and its ego. Whether the inevitably then it stands to reason that it future is scripted or not becomes a moot issue must also play a critical role in unfolding the if the true nature of the self becomes clear a future. This brings us to the oft-debated issue speck of the unqualified consciousness that of free will. Do we truly exercise free will in exists beyond time and space. The writer is a consultant neurosurgeon. our lives? Is the future predetermined, too?
Deepak M Ranade


A person is what his deep desire is. It is our deepest desire in this life that shapes the life to come. So let us direct our deepest desires to realise the Self. Chandogya Upanishad Life has the nobler goal of self-illumination, of lighting the lamp of love inside oneself and sharing that lamp with all around us. Sri Sathya Sai Baba The light of self-knowledge alone illumines all experiences. It shines by its own light. This inner light appears to be outside and to illumine external objects. Sage Vasishtha Self-knowledge has always been the theme of the Illumined, who know and teach God and the Self to be One. As long as one believes himself to be separate from God, he will remain mortal to himself. Lillian DeWaters

All eyes on Islamabad

With reference to the editorial Abbottabad And After (May 9), it is more than evident now that there are certain factions within the Pakistani military and the ISI that are aiding extremists. Pakistan cannot sweep this fact under the carpet and play the role of being a victim of terror. The entire world is now watching that country and what it does in the aftermath of Osama bin Ladens death on its soil. A strong positive step from Islamabad will help it stave off further embarrassment, whether it is by expediting action against the 26/11 perpetrators or helping the Interpol track down Dawood Ibrahim. The editorial is right that nationalistic chest-thumping in India wont help as it will only incite Islamabad to retaliate, as it has already done.
Ujwala Borkar, VIA EMAIL



Maharajas malaise
With reference to the editorial Up In The Air (May 9), now that the Air India pilots agitation is over, all the fired and suspended pilots have been reinstated. Their demands will be sympathetically dealt with and everything will once again be hunky dory as far as the venerable Maharaja is concerned. But what about the inconvenience caused to many passengers who were forced to take private flights at inflated costs? What is the guarantee that Air India pilots wont use such tactics again if allowed to go without a price to pay? It is time to either pull down the shutters of this shop for good or privatise it.
Mukund Kumar, MUMBAI
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secondopinion@timesgroup.com http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/jugglebandhi/


SALMAN KHURSHID, Union minority affairs minister



He (Rahul) has every right to express his concerns for the farmers.

Where Does Power Reside?

Reinvigorating institutions is the way to meet the challenge of corruption
Vikram Singh Mehta

UP The Ante
Politicians trade charges over land-related strife
ive assembly polls over, the Congress was always going to shift sights to UP, poll-bound in 2012. As if on cue, the states seen high drama, Rahul Gandhi playing pro-farmers protagonist. He couldnt have asked for a bigger favour from jittery chief minister Mayawati than to get arrested for joining farmers in a land acquisition-related protest. In the subsequent free-for-all, the Congress staged anti-Maya demonstrations, while some senior BJP leaders tried to ensure their party wasnt outdone in the championship of the kisan by also courting trouble. If land-related strife everywhere is giving politicians scope for photo ops, theres blame to go around in all directions. Mayawati had a point in lobbing the land acquisition ball back into the Centres court. That doesnt mean her use of sledgehammer tactics against opponents isnt condemnably out of sync with democratic functioning. Whether Congress biggies are genuinely friends of farmers, tribals, Dalits, et al, or are staging stunts with an eye on elections isnt the point. In a democracy, they can take up any political activity they choose, and Mayawati will just have to accept that the Gandhis have huge political stakes in a state she happens to rule. Strong-arm methods like hampering the movements of political rivals, banning their rallies, scuttling their projects and even resorting to arrests under the pretext of keeping law and order will only make her opponents look good for being martyred. On its part, the Congress must ask itself if parachute-dropping Rahul into trouble spots every other day to back readymade causes is good or even convincing policy. People would rather hear what the youth leader has to say on finding effective institutional solutions to land acquisition-linked turmoil. That counts far more than a random visit to Orissas Niyamgiri to pledge support to tribals one day, and slipping into UPs Bhatta Parsaul village to back farmers on another. It is just as well that the home minister has now announced that the Land Acquisition Bill will be introduced in Parliament soon. Ultimately, theres no skirting the need for policy revamp. Not just in UP, people everywhere are demanding market-linked prices for land. Old forms of acquisition by government are increasingly being seen as land grabs and resource theft, and generating resistance. Yet the new market-oriented blueprint making ample room for direct seller-buyer negotiations has gathered dust courtesy the UPAs political compulsions. Industry, mining, rural and urban development all of this is being blocked, scaring off investors. Eventually, the Congress-led UPA would have to answer for not delivering quick industrial and infrastructural growth and its concomitant of economic opportunities across the social board. Do our politicians want to do a Singur everywhere to serve their own ends? Or will they push reform thatll actually help wrest fair recompense/relief for land even while projects get off the ground? Thats the real question.

eflecting on the reports of various committees, public demonstrations and media commentary on corruption over the past months, several contradictory thoughts course through my head and i wonder about the nature of our representative democracy . Public opinion does matter but media can quickly convert the grain of a systemic movement into the chaff of petty politics and individual one-upmanship. Formal power does flow from the institutions, organisations, rules and laws defined by the Constitution. But actual power resides in the hands of powerful individuals and shifts amongst them as political context and particular circumstance alter. The narrative of policy is all about the transparency of governance and public interest but the substance appears to be to protect the few and powerful. There is no doubt that the crowds that gathered sometime ago at Jantar Mantar and across the country in spontaneous response to Anna Hazare's call for action persuaded the government to dust off the files on the Lokpal Bill. Public pressure is what broke a multi-year logjam. But in the weeks since Anna broke his fast and media attention riveted on the CD containing information about property transactions of the Bhushans; who leaked it and why; the criteria for the composition of the Lokpal committee; the din over the draft PAC report etc, conversations shifted from what mat-

ters most to tackle corruption to how to settle individual agendas and score political points. This is not surprising. It is never easy to sustain interest on public issues especially when our 'Gotcha' journalists are focussed on uncovering the personal misdemeanours and political gaffes of public figures. But it is revealing to see how easily through the medium of the media a wedge can be driven between public sentiment and public action. Media does not of course cause the wedge. That is the result of a shift in the balance of power between institutions and individuals. Formally power re, sides in the institutions of the

An anti-corruption crusader: Honesty is such a lonely word

Power resides in legislature, judiciary and executive, checks and balances that protect the citizen. But in reality power is located in the hands of powerful individuals with constitutional authority or without
legislature, judiciary and executive. The Constitution has set out the checks and balances that protect the citizen from capricious governance. But in reality power is located in the hands of powerful individuals some with constitutional authority and others without. There are several reasons for this shift. First, the institutions of governance have been severely hol-

lowed. Who can, for instance, forget the sight of MPs waving wads of cash in the Lok Sabha? Who cannot but be dismayed by the allegations of corruption against chief justices and the suggestion that the judiciary is not above the temptations of monetary inducement? Who can deny that the steel frame of the bureaucracy has not acquired some rust and that an increasing proportion of civil servants have abdicated their responsibility to proffer objective advice to their political masters? The fact is that, just as nature abhors a vacuum, the hollowing out of these institutions has created space for individuals to step in and this the ambitious have done. Second, it is becoming increasingly difficult to disentangle public policy from election campaigns. The latter is now an

almost permanent feature of the political landscape. Public policy decisions are, therefore, all too often taken with an eye on their electoral impact. One would not be surprised if, for instance, the drivers behind the cabinet decision to accept Hazares demands had more to do with the elections in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala than any great desire to engage in a dialogue with the civil society activists. In such a political context and given the compulsions of coalition governance, there is an inevitable shift of power from the institutions formally vested with authority towards those few in control of the political organisation and funds. There is finally the burgeoning influence of money. In the not too distant past, business leaders were supplicants of officialdom. Now many are partners in the

formulation of policy. This is not an inevitably unhealthy trend. In fact, it is good that businesses are part of the public policy dialogue. But as the revelations of the 2G scam have highlighted, this access has been misused. Business has exploited the weakness of our institutions and the fact that politicians are continually in an election mode to manipulate the rules to acquire extra constitutional authority for their private gain. Corruption is a systemic malaise. It cannot be removed by simply jailing miscreants or reshuffling the cabinet. What the past months have revealed is that the power to effect change is now centred on individuals and not institutions. These could be elected representatives, journalists, businessmen or civil society activists. Some may be motivated to use this power for promoting the public interest, others for pushing their private agendas. It is clear that a fundamental principle of representative democracy that all citizens are equal and that governance will be open and transparent appears to have got eroded. To restore faith in this principle, the priority of the anticorruption movement should be to restore the loci of power in the institutions within whose interstices the Constitution had vested formal authority. It is by reinvigorating them that the average citizen will regain the confidence that governance has been placed firmly back onto the rails of propriety and integrity.
The writer is chairman, Shell Companies in India. Views are personal.

Pushing Limits
Adventure sports and modern society

Children have helped us nab potential traffickers

Dola Mohapatra is the executive director of the NGO ChildFund India International, a part of the larger global agency ChildFund Alliance. He has been entrusted with the responsibility of ChildFund India, which recently completed 60 years. He spoke to Kim Arora about the challenges faced today by children in India and more: I How have childrens problems changed over the 18 years youve been in the voluntary sector? Trafficking wasnt rampant, but did exist under the shadow of extended family care. There used to be little or no access to vaccination, the reach of which has greatly increased. On health, theres been great progress. But weve suffered on the education front. More children are out of school. The quality of education has deteriorated. Once when our team was in Karnataka, we found that in smaller schools in the interiors, fifth standard children did not even have the literacy level of children from the third standard. I What would you attribute that to? There is a desire amongst children to go to school, but the schools often lack teachers or have absentee teachers. According to RTE norms of the teacherstudent ratio, we need about four lakh primary teachers. A lot of teachers have side jobs they prefer attending to, or dont wish to travel long or difficult distances. Because there arent enough teachers, they end up holding multiple classes together. Quality of education suffers because of this. I Do you think the Right to Education Act has been implemented properly? I wouldnt criticise the RTE. I Along the Bihar-UP and Nepal border and also in Rajasthan and Gujarat where they are trafficked for picking Bt cotton. This requires nimble fingers and hence young children are picked up. They end up as slaves and are often sexually abused. Whats problematic is that parents send them away , thinking theyll be able to earn better but, more often than not, thats not the case. To weed this out, one has to work both at the source and the demand point. From our fieldwork we have seen that peer awareness helps. We have young children, often those who have been through all this, who tell other children how the grass on the other side is not as green as it seems. These kids have also helped us nab potential traffickers. I What support do children in disaster-struck areas need? Often, children are not the priority. Its important to create safe places where children have an adult to talk to at all times, and where basic necessities are taken care of. Its important to get them into some sort of routine as soon as possible, to help them remain psychologically stable. I How has your experience been in other countries? The community in Afghanistan is very amenable and resilient. Parents participate in childrens welfare programmes. In Kosovo, even the warring factions respect childrens issues. The childrens sector is very developed in the Philippines. In fact, they have a 14-year-old representative in the cabinet. I What are your future plans with ChildFund India? Weve functioned in a very silent manner so far. Now we want to participate in a larger civil society movement, and promote local volunteering so that our programmes are locally sustainable.

heres been good news for adventure sports aficionados. Take Tina Mene whos become the first woman from the northeast to scale Mount Everest on half a plate of noodles at that, and after her tent had been blown away by howling winds. On the other side of the world, Swiss Jetman Yves Rossy completed a trifecta of pants-wettingly terrifying feats from jumping out of a helicopter over Arizonas Grand Canyon to flying across it using a jetpack and finally deploying a parachute to float down to the canyon floor. Of course, theres also Rahul Gandhi with his latest exploit on the back of a motorbike en route to UP, carrying on the fine tradition upheld by daredevil Indian politicians from George Fernandes and Mulayam Singh traipsing across Siachen to Pratibha Patil strapping herself into a Sukhoi 30-MkI. Why do otherwise sane men and women subject themselves to danger for fun? Theres the immediate adrenaline rush, for one something increasingly difficult to come by in a tamed world where desk-jockeying from nine to five is the preferred sport. Or maybe its to do with rites of passage. Many societies down history have had such rituals, markers on the path to adulthood. A boy would undergo a test and come out a man in the eyes of his society, propelled to adult status by the ordeal. Perhaps atavistic tendencies still linger beneath our civilised veneers. Buried impulses meet slick marketing which, in turn, meets reality TV and voila! A sporting industry is born. As modern society creates cocoons of home and hearth for people, therell always be those wholl pay to risk it all, including life and limb. Its less about living dangerously than pushing limits, breaking boundaries, defying gravity. Evel Knievel, iconic daredevil biker, wouldve probably said: Its the thrill, stupid.


think its important that the government has guaranteed education. We have to figure out how to make it work. Its not an issue of resources but that of prioritisation and of political will. If we can give away crores to our cricketers, we can surely deploy some resources for education. I Where is the problem of trafficking most rampant in India?

Man of the movement

Anna and Calcutta GP Pratapbabu might have more in common than one imagined
Jug Suraiya


Movements are the buzzword today Is Anna Hazares Lokpal . movement a valid adjunct to democracy or is such ethical , vigilantism a danger to democracy in that it subverts the role of the elected representatives of the people? What about other famous movements, like Gandhis Quit India movement during the British raj, Jayaprakash Narayans anti-Indira movement in the 1970s, Vinobha Bhaves bhoodan movement, and Sunder Lal Bahugunas tree-hugging chipko movement? Did they have anything at all in common? Among all this talk of movements, im reminded of my childhood in the Calcutta of the 1950s. As i recall, there was a lot of talk of movements then too, not only in my own family but in virtually all the families we knew. It wasnt that we were a particularly politically aware or socially committed lot, in the sense that the participants in Annas movement are today No, the movements . that so preoccupied us were of a different kind. In those days in Calcutta, my family and all the other families that we knew had a family GP, a general practitioner who paid regular home visits for a monthly retainer. Our GP was Dr Pratapbabu, a tall, distinguished-looking man with a rich and resonant voice which he used to excellent effect imitating the dialogues of Utpal Dutt and other famous stage actors of Bengal. Pratapbabu would visit our home every Sunday morning. After hed been offered a cup of tea the better to lubricate his voice so as to render Shah Jahans famous speech, Jahanara, shontan chai na! he would enquire after the health of all the family members. Had anyone been feeling poorly over the course of the past week? Any colds and coughs? Fever? Headaches? Tummy aches? Like most children of that age, i was susceptible to minor maladies sniffles, a slight temperature caused by running around in the summer sun all day, a grazed knee and was the most frequent subject of Pratapbabus ministrations. Having listened to my complaint with grave attention, he would open the small black leather bag he always carried and from it take out the tools of his profession: a metal spatula, a thermometer and a stethoscope. Say Ah!, Pratapbabu would say. Id say Ah! And hed use the spatula to depress my tongue to see if the back of it was clean or coated with telltale fuzz. Then the thermometer would be administered and its recording solemnly scrutinised. After that the stethoscope would be applied to chest and back, its metal disc icy against the skin. But all these were just preliminaries to the most important of all diagnostic examinations. All that guff with the spatula, and the thermometer and stethoscope was like a conjurer waving his wand about to get his audiences attention before he gets to his star act and saws the lady in the box in half. How are your movements? Pratapbabu would ask me. In those days in Cal we didnt have CAT scans or MRI machines to figure out what was wrong with us. We didnt need them. All that we needed was information about our movements, the more accurate and intimate the better. It didnt matter if what you had was measles, a sprained ankle or a stuffed nose. What Pratapbabu what all Cal doctors wanted to know about were your movements: the regularity of their occurrence, the frequency with which they took place, and any other pertinent details regarding them that you could supply . As Hamlet might have said: movements are all; the rest is silence. Yup, movements were an important topic of conversation during my childhood. Of course, as ive said, they were a very different kind of movements from todays. Or, come to think of it, were they? Todays movements are political. Yesteryears movements were physiological. But they had one end in common: to purge ourselves of the shit within.

If i were Rahul id commission a statue of Mayawati and garland it every year on the 11th of May for this huge political favour shes done
OMAR ABDULLAH, J&K chief minister, on Rahul Gandhis arrest in UP

Hes come of age i think, and i have just aged. I have never been hit on my head before

Yes, i am in lovebut with solitaires and big rings!

ADAM GILCHRIST, Kings XI Punjab skipper, on being hit by a Lasith Malinga bouncer

PRIYANKA CHOPRA, actor, on love

Eternal Joy

Stay Free Of Attachment

lead an ethical life. The Buddha said: Whatever people do, ne day a rich man came to Gautama either in the world or as a recluse, they should Buddha and said, I see that you are put their whole heart into it. People should the Awakened One. I am coming to be committed to whatever they do but full of you for some advice. energy If they face struggles, they should do . The Buddha asked him to share what was so without hatred or envy People should live . on his mind. a life not of ego, but of truth, and then bliss The rich man continued, My life is will fill their soul. focussed on my work. Although i have made Non-attachment does not mean we have to a lot of money, i am preoccupied with worry. give up our homes, wealth, families and what Many people work for me and i am responsible we have received in life. It only requires that for them. They depend on me for their we give up attachment to these things. Whatsuccess. Yet, i enjoy my work and enjoy work- ever situation in which we find ourselves has ing hard. When i met your followers they come to us due to our karma. Our attachment spoke of the importance of living the life of a should be with God. Our attention should be recluse. I also notice that you youron making sure our soul attains self were the son of a king, living in communion with God. wealth and splendour, but you gave it Those who are blessed with up to wander as a homeless recluse wealth should make the best use looking for enlightenment. I want to of it by taking care of their family know if i should do the same thing responsibilities and then sharing and give up my wealth. I want to do with others. We need not give up the right thing and be a blessing to everything. We can live in the THE my people. Should i also give up world and do the best we can, but I SPEAKING I everything i have to find truth? keep our focus and attention on The compassionate Buddha finding God. Our hearts can TREE told him, Anyone can receive the develop purity and an attitude of bliss of finding truth as long as he follows the selfless service and sharing with others. path of unselfishness. If you are going to We need not be attached to our outer situacling to your wealth, then it is better to throw tion. We can work to make a living while also it away than let it poison your heart. But if working to develop spiritually If we are . you do not cling to it, and use it wisely then blessed with wealth, we need not throw it , you will be a blessing to people. It is not away but we should use it to help others, and , wealth and power that make people slaves, to benefit from having more free time to but clinging to them. meditate and do selfless service. The Buddha explained to him that his The key is to live in the world, but not teaching did not require anyone to become be attached to it. Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission, contact: homeless or give up the world unless he wants to. But it did require people to free +91-11-2722 3333, skrm.sos.org, www.sos.org www.speakingtree.in themselves from the illusion that the body and world are their permanent and true Join the worlds first spiritual networking home. He said his teaching required people to site to interact directly with masters and seekers.
Sant Rajinder Singh


The impermanent objects of the senses have no reality; reality lies in the eternal. Bhagavad Gita 2.16-17 Our theories of the eternal are as valuable as are those which a chick which has not broken its way through its shell might form of the outside world. Gautama Buddha He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. Bible12.25 In primal time, in all time, was the Creator/ Nothing is real but the Eternal./ Nothing shall last but the Eternal. Adi Granth In our desire for eternal life we pray for an eternity of our habit and comfort, forgetting that immortality is in repeatedly transcending the definite forms of life in order to pursue the infinite truth of life. Rabindranath Tagore

Can Mamata deliver?

With reference to the article Power With Responsibility (May 11) by Diptosh Majumdar, with most exit polls and trends indicating a Mamata wave in West Bengal, the writer aptly says that power will bring huge responsibilities on the Trinamool chiefs shoulders. That the Left might be dethroned after a gap of 34 years points to the faith people have reposed in Mamata. She has many positives to her credit in the fight against Bengals Left Front government. Yet her track record as railway minister is far from inspiring. It is far easier to sit in the opposition and criticise the government than to wield power. Mamatas real challenge will lie in running the government in a non-partisan manner. It would be better if she starts with a clean slate without giving in to vendetta politics. An inclusive development agenda must be her first priority.
Bal Govind, NOIDA


Expect no miracle
With reference to the editorial Up In The Air (May 9th), during the Air India pilots strike the government sounded tough initially but ended up giving in as it usually does. It is frustrating that huge amounts of taxpayers money should keep being pumped in to resuscitate the ailing airline without any sign of real improvement. Crises concerning the national carrier have become cyclical in nature, with remedial measures that could go a long way in addressing thorny issues remaining elusive for want of solid government action. It is time the authorities initiated appropriate steps to privatise the airline instead of hoping for miracles.
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com

jug.suraiya@timesgroup.com http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/jugglebandhi





Ring Out The Old

Message from Indian voter: he will no longer be taken for granted
he assembly poll results in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam not only mark important developments for those states, but also represent vital trends for national politics. The most significant of these has to be Bengal. That the 34-year-old Left Front government was decimated by a Trinamool tsunami is reflective of the popular craving for change in the state. The massive mandate handed to the Trinamool-Congress alliance is a strong comment on leftist politics in Bengal, based on a bhadralok gentry that claims to represent the poor and underprivileged. The culture of patronage stifling the states public institutions and economy also ate into the Lefts elaborately constructed support base. In the end it was toppled by a woman clad in crumpled sari and chappals for whom the states patrician elite were used to expressing barely concealed contempt. The underlying message? The underprivileged wont be satisfied with commiseration for their lot anymore, instead they want a hand up. With concerns of post-poll violence, maintaining law and order will be Mamatas first test. The next five years may be her lifes biggest challenge. Equally significant is Tamil Nadu, where the voter handed a massive sweep to J Jayalalithaas AIADMK. The clear message is that old-style politics where nepotism and corruption can be covered up by appealing to caste and community interest or by handing out freebies come election time no longer appeals to todays voter. If the DMK and its ally Congress have been reduced to a mere 30-odd seats in a 234-seat assembly, thats because corruption was a major issue with voters in the backdrop of the 2G scam embroiling the DMK first family. That anti-incumbency cannot be trotted out as a rote formula to explain the Tamil Nadu results is demonstrated by Assam, where Tarun Gogoi is all set to commence his third stint as chief minister. Instead of playing to sectional interests Gogoi has worked on an agenda of development and embarked on peace talks with insurgent groups such as the Ulfa. The twin strategy has paid handsome dividends for him and the Congress. In contrast to other states, the battle for Kerala was close. But in the end the opposition Congress-led UDF coalition was able to clinch a wafer-thin majority edging out the LDF. , V S Achuthanandans clean image and personal crusade against corruption did resonate with a significant section of the electorate, but the message was muddied by infighting within the CPM leadership. The loss of both Kerala and Bengal bastions should make the Left reconsider obsolete ideological formulae, on pain of extinction. Nor is there cause for complacency on the part of either the Congress or the BJP. Both parties need to pay attention to what voters want, not simply assume that cynical political fixers have all the answers on how to win elections.

The Mighty Are Fallen

The lesson of the assembly elections is that arrogance of power paves the way for change
Mahesh Rangarajan

How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle/ O Jonathan thou wast slain in thine high places. The biblical adage was especially apt as two of Indias most populous states saw electoral waves that did more than unseat incumbent governments. They brushed aside the Left Front in West Bengal and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu, reducing their dreams to dust. One has to rethink the fundamentals of its ideology , the other ponder the perils of putting kin and clan in charge of party . In a sense, it is these two states that will hold the key to the Big Picture of Indian politics and how it might or might not change in the weeks and months up ahead. Kerala was true to form, turning out the alliance in power though by the most slender of margins. Assam saw the Congress win a third term in office, a rare achievement in an age when anti-incumbency is part of the political lexicon. Each matters but for highly specific local factors, the minutae of community and region helping the Congress-led alliance and the fragmented opposition a godsend to Tarun Gogoi. But West Bengal matters. Partly for reason of its history . Long a fertile seed bed for radical ideas about society and culture

as much as economics or politics. But more than any attribute of its history it has, since 1977, been the , bedrock of the Left parties in Indian politics. First under Jyoti Basu and Promode Dasgupta and then Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Anil Biswas, the mix of government and party kept the Left Front in power for just short of three and a half decades. Yet, for a party that was a critic of economic reform, it is ironical that it was Nandigram and Singur that proved its undoing. More than the specific violence at either site, they became a symbol taken over, after some initial hesitation, by Mamata. Her slogan of Maa, Maati, Manush or mother, land and people, had

V for voters victory

Voters brushed aside the Left Front in Bengal and DMK in Tamil Nadu. One has to rethink the fundamentals of its ideology, the other ponder the perils of putting kin and clan in charge of party
echoes of the left-wing politics of the Sixties. But she found fresh appeal among underclass groups who had not looked beyond the hammer and sickle since 1977. The numbers tell it all. In 2009, the gap in votes between the alliances was 1%, but Mamata and Congress were in the lead. The Left led in barely 99 assembly segments. The CPM is now reduced to the 40-seat mark,

while the Trinamool has 180-plus seats on its own. This will call for serious introspection on the part of the CPM, a task easier said than done. Its greatest asset has been that it exited power just as it came to it: via the ballot box. Yet, its outlook and programme are yet to grapple with the post-Cold War world. It remains a rare party in a democracy that lionises Stalin, and welcomed the military coup against Gorbachev. While it was the fashion to label Buddhadeb as Bengals answer to the reformist Deng Xiaoping, the fact is it has not undergone a deeper process of introspection and debate about the new issues of the present milieu. Nowhere was this as evident as in the constant reference to Singur as a mistake, for it was

surely far more than just that. If ideological rethinking may be the order of the day after the West Bengal results, the turnaround in Tamil Nadu was no less stunning. Since 1989, voters have given ruling parties the thumbs down. But not even in the wave after Rajiv Gandhi's tragic assassination in 1991 was the DMK in the doldrums the way it is today . It has been quite a fall for a chief minister who first held office in 1969, when Nixon was president of the US, Mao chairman of the Communist Party of China and a young premier Indira Gandhi was grappling with the Syndicate. But Karunanidhis party is now reduced to only 23 MLAs in an assembly of 234, falling to third spot behind Vijaykanths new party the ,

DMDK. Karunanidhi has been CM on five occasions but time seems to be running out not only for him but his party as well. Revival looks difficult given the multiple divisions within his own family and clan. The seeds of decline were probably sown in 2009 when key family members were given even more prominent positions in the party than before. His daughter Kanimozhi as Rajya Sabha MP and son MK Azhagiri as Lok Sabha MP and Union Minister joined his son and heir apparent MK Stalin as key decisionmakers. The 2G scam has rocked the country over the last many months but for voters back in Tamil Nadu, it was only the tip of the iceberg as the familys writ extended over large sectors of public life. No wonder J Jayalalithaa made it a choice not only between lineage and democracy but between rule for one family and rule by and of the people of the state. Her call for a struggle to save Tamil Nadu struck a chord. Not only was the turnout an impressive and unprecedented 78%, the number of women who actually voted was more than the men who did so. The rest is history Both . in Kolkata and Chennai the voters punished the rulers. Arrogance of power paved the way for change. The new rulers should take note. The ballot that empowers today can disempower tomorrow.
The writer is an historian and a political commentator.

British MPs propose turning House of Commons into tourist spot

It will ease the taxpayers burden

ngland is not only a country of tradi- soon. In such circumstances, the governtions, it also knows how to cash in ment must be seen to lead the way in econoon them entrepreneurially. British mising as well as creative financial manageroyalty, for example, is a magnet for ment. This would be a prime example of tourism. If Britains monarchy can be used exactly that, utilising its assets of real estate to entice tourists, why not its democracy as and historical importance to generate revewell? Few places sum up the British sense nue. And crucially, this of tradition better than its lower house of revenue would help parliament, the House of Commons from the legislature pay for its corridors of power to the 11th century itself, halving the 5.7 Westminster Hall, part of the royal Palace of Westminster. Now, a sug- I T I M E S V I E W I gestion by the House of Commons administration committee aims to leverage million annual public that tradition by doing something distinctly subsidy that is needed entrepreneurial opening up the House to just to keep the Comtourists when it is not in session, setting up mons catering and resouvenir shops on the estate, allowing grea- tail services running. ter access to journalists and their guests Easing the taxpayers and hiring out Westminster Hall for wed- burden can only be to the good. dings and corporate events. The suggestion As for those who cavil about tradition and is likely to cause heartburn among those of dignity, governments have a propensity to a conservative bent, of course. But viewed take themselves far too seriously. They are objectively, it makes eminent sense. representatives of the people, no more. If Britain, like much of Europe, is in dire such a move demystifies government and refinancial straits at the moment. It is a situa- duces the distance between the people and tion that is unlikely to improve any time their representatives, so much the better.

Mother of parliaments not a theme park

he proposal to hire out the mother of parliaments stands on the twin pillars of generating revenue and widening public access. But it takes no account of the costs in terms of tradition and undermines a finely-tuned balance between it and revenue generation. Combined, it makes for recommendations that are fundamentally misconceived. ignorant of tourisms potential. Tourists flock to parliament because of a careful balancing act. Not only are the buildings majestic but they pulse with history. The palace is the oldest parliament in the world and todays buildings stand on the site where Edward the Confessor built the original in the 11th century. This illustrious history makes for prestige and its precisely this intangible quality which is threatened by the call to open the palace to glitzy fat-cat wedI COUNTERVIEW I dings and corporate jamborees. These unbalanced propoDeep K Datta-Ray Its not that the sals include sandwich bars, coffee points and Palace of Westminster souvenir shops. The justification is that cateris cloistered, cut off ing costs too much, but it could be outsourced from the public. The to a private company. In any case, there buildings are one of already are coffee points and a souvenir shop Londons top tourist and so the proposed changes amount to no attractions. Not only are visitors welcomed more than converting what is probably the inside, but they can see the legislative process most important workplace in the land into a in action from the Strangers Gallery in the Disneyland. In doing so, those calling for House of Commons. Parliament therefore change are undermining the qualities unique already is accessible and not just to tourists. to parliament, which also make it a tourist atPrivate people have long been getting mar- traction. People pay to enter because it isnt a ried there. Of course, none of this is for free, theme park. Turning it into one wont attract which undermines the notion parliament is more people, but drive them to the real thing.

Asian Power Play, Post-Osama

Nayan Chanda

The early morning American raid on Abbottabad on May 2 that killed Osama bin Laden may also herald the rise of China as a South-West Asian power. With US-Pakistan relations on a knifes edge and Afghanistan facing the impending withdrawal of US forces, doors have opened for a rich and powerful China to step up its presence as a regional hegemon. The latest developments follow a historical pattern in Asia, in which rising tensions between the West and an Asian nation offer China new opportunities to advance its influence. While some angry voices in the West are calling for a suspension of US aid to Pakistan, the first and so far only public support for Islamabad has come from Beijing. After first expressing satisfaction at bin Ladens demise, China pivoted swiftly to laud Pakistan for its vigorous efforts to fight terrorism as if Osamas seven years presence just outside Islamabad was inconsequential. In a striking formulation, the Chinese foreign ministry even praised Pakistans ambiguous record of fighting some and fostering other terrorist groups. China hailed Pakistans anti-terror strategies based on its own domestic situation. Translation: it is understandable if Islamabad turns a blind eye or even supports anti-India militant groups for domestic political reasons. (Although unstated, China also appreciates how discriminating Pakistan has been in its support for foreign jihadis flocked to Pakistan for training and Islamic education. In the 1990s, Pakistan ruthlessly suppressed dissident Uighurs of Chinas troubled Xinjiang province, who enrolled for training by the Taliban.) As the clamour rises in Washington to punish Islamabad for its seeming act of betrayal, Pakistani leaders are getting ready to visit China, where they are sure to receive unqualified support. Pakistans prime minister, who has called China an inspiration for his country , has extolled Chinas friendship as being taller than the Himalayas and deeper than the oceans. The Pakistani visit repeats a past pattern in which China has played the role of a steadfast big brother to a younger brother in distress. With nearly $3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves and a burgeoning armed forces, China presents a reliable counterweight to the intensified pressure from an angry US. Even if Washington papers over the current rift, which seems likely the latest episode , will surely deepen Chinas presence and influence in the region as the US starts to draw down from Afghanistan in 2012. Indeed, two weeks before the bin Laden raid, Pakistani leaders visited Kabul to give Afghan President Hamid Karzai advice on the coming new era. Abandon the untrustworthy Americans, they said, urging Afghanistan to embrace China as the economic powerhouse and reliable regional military power. Afghan officials told New Delhi how stunned they were by this unsolicited advice. Whether Karzai, who was recently given a lavish reception in Beijing, heeds Pakistans suggestion remains to be seen. But the deep chasm with the US created by the killing of Osama on Pakistani soil opens up a new chapter of Sino-Pakistani relations. Chinas rise in Asia has in fact faithfully tracked the eruption of tensions between the US (and even the Soviet Union) and its erstwhile partners. China has long claimed islands of the South China Sea, but only launched its first attack to capture the Paracels from South Vietnam in 1974 when Washington signalled its disinterest in defending its ally The next attack on the communist Vietnam. occupied Spratly Islands came when a weak Soviet Union was unwilling to come to its treaty allys defence. The violent suppression of pro-democracy forces in Burma in 1988 and the subsequent isolation of the country opened the door for China to emerge as the juntas most influential backer. China made further advances in the South China Sea when it took over the Philippines-claimed Mischief Reef in 1995 three years after Manila stopped hosting US military bases in the country The 1997 . coup in Phnom Penh, which brought condemnation of the Hun Sen regime, saw China once again step in with economic and military aid. As a result, it now counts Cambodia as a close ally . The growing rift between Pakistan and the US appears to mark the latest in a succession of zero-sum Asian power plays, in which China gains influence when the West loses interest.

Statistical Cheer The Offending Blog
he Mumbai Indians sacking of South African IPL cheerleader Gabrielle Pasqualotto reeks of high-handedness. Her blog entries about the flirtatious attitudes of a few cricketers as well as how cheerleaders are widely perceived arent something people dont already know or suspect. There is a whiff of hypocrisy about the entire affair, a display of the kind of strong-arm tactics that Indian cricket management is becoming notorious for.

Different Strokes

eek ended April 30, food inflation slipped to an 18-month low of 7.7%. And, buoyed by manufacturing output, industrial production grew by 7.3% in March, following four months of sluggishness. The data will lift spirits, but only to some extent. Given generalised inflation, tight monetary policy should continue to impact borrowing costs, trimming demand. However, since weve been doing well on growth, moderating expectations a bit wont hurt.

o sure was Mamata about her historic Bengal triumph that the day before votecounting she calmly produced two paintings, listened to Rabindrasangeet and hummed along herself. Beating the Left politically, will Didi repeat the feat in matters cultural? If he cant emulate Mamatas deft brush strokes, CPMs outgoing CM Buddha once a playwright can surely pen a tragedy. Hasnt the Lefts threedecade-long hubris turned out to be its tragic flaw?

Of Heartbreaks

Search For Perfect Master

Our identity is defined by society. For example, if i am considered a good speaker, who has ost of us are caught up searching for the given me this title? So our identity is defined by perfect master. But the question one has society and hence we are so dependent on society . to ask is: Am i the right student? If not, The remote control of our life is with society . then one can never learn from the perfect mas- This keeps us in bondage. In most cases society ter. controls and dominates our lives. Thus a social What shall i do in order to be enlightened, self in us is born. asked the student. If one is spiritual, then this conflict is a spiriAs much as you can do to make the sun rise tual problem. If we search within, we find that or set, replied the master. there is an essential self. This essential self is who Then what is the use of all the spiritual we are and not what others want of us. If one can practices, asked the student. recognise this distinction and go little deeper, one Only to make sure you are awake when the operates from the essential self and keep the sosun rises and the sun sets, replied the master. cial self on the peripheral. To be inwardly awake is the quality of wise The essential self has energy which unites, living. To search for being the right stulike love, gratitude, which keep us in ordent is the right step to be wise. der and harmony Anger and jealousy . There are three types of impacts: create disorder and hence are not essenenvironmental, experiential and edutial. cational. Most of us are controlled and Keeping the essential as ones cenbullied by the environment and expetre, one has to deal with earth, the situarience. But if we can bring in the tions of life. So often the situations of quality of education in our experilife are disturbing. One has to learn THE ences, then we will not be a doornew ways to love, new ways to learn, mat. I SPEAKING I and new ways to enjoy those situaWith the power of spiritual edutions. By doing so one logs on to powTREE cation, we can grow and learn from erful self which will be supportive environment and experience. In orand not destructive. dinary situations with the power of spiritual A self which learns to love, learn and enjoy is education we can have extraordinary insights. supportive. Ego which reacts to situations, does When you face a situation or look at the not learn and enjoy the challenges of the situaEarth, are you responding out of love, silence or tions lives life as a nuisance. To discard the ego are you reacting out of anger and disappoint- which is a nuisance value and to install the self ment? To be reflective on ones state of being that is essential is a part of wise living. when one meets the Earth or situations of life is So dont get lost in search for the perfect masbeing a right student. Or in other words are you ter. But instead be a right student. Follow Swami Sukhabodhananda on our website. reacting or responding to the situation and www.speakingtree.in learning to respond is a part of wise studentship. As you become aware of how you are dealing Managing Life Creatively: Two-day session by with the situations of life, you have to look little more deeply and discover that there is a distinc- Swamiji, June 4-5. Contact: 9821555134, 9987556177, 25684667 (0). www.prasannatrust.org tion between the social self and essential self.
Talk: Swami Sukhabodhananda



More than a legal tangle

With reference to the editorial Significant Stay (May 12), it is true that expediency took precedence in the Allahabad high courts verdict on Ayodhya. But the majority verdict that the 2.77 acres of land at the disputed site be divided into three parts came out with an unexpected legal resolution to a vexed issue that has the potential to divide the nation yet again. The apex court may opt for a robust affirmation of the rule of law. But this might not serve as a salutary precedent for resolving inter-faith disputes. Also, it is worthwhile to recall that, in the aftermath of the high courts verdict, the aggrieved parties conceded that this judgment was an important step towards a resolution of the long-pending dispute. Therefore, the majority verdict should not be read in isolation, merely as an issue of a title suit.
Bichu Muttathara, PUNE


The knot of his heart is broken asunder, all his doubts are solved and his past actions are neutralised when He who is high and low (cause and effect) has been realised. Vedantasara Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. Bible Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love. This is the eternal rule. Gautama Buddha God is closest to those with broken hearts. Jewish Saying When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Kahlil Gibran Hearts live by being wounded. Oscar Wilde Sadness flies away on the wings of time. Jean de La Fontaine

Marriage, interrupted
The editorial Girls, Interrupted (May 12) is thought-provoking. It is a cause for concern that rising literacy levels in the country have not helped much in preventing the early marriage of girls who have not attained the legally permissible marriageable age of 18. Clearly, the governments awareness campaign has failed to stop families from pushing girls into early domesticity. Therefore, to counter this social evil, a community-oriented approach that combines both persuasion and legal methods is required. For instance, anyone who gets to know that such a marriage is taking place in the neighbourhood must inform local community members who should try and persuade the families to stop it or face legal action. This will not only enhance general awareness but also arouse fear of the law.
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com




We want our land returned to us and Tata back in Singur

On May 18, 2006, the day Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was sworn in as West Bengal CM, Ratan Tata announced that Singur, 40 km from Kolkata, would be the home of the world's cheapest car. It was here that Tata would build the Nano. It was not to be. Within months, Singur was at the centre of widespread violence by alleged CPM cadres. They were said to be targeting Singurs farmers, who were protesting against the forcible acquisition of 400 acres of fertile agricultural land by the Left Front government. The car factory eventually relocated to Gujarat. Singur didnt forgive or forget. It voted out the Left Front government and rallied behind the Trinamool Congress in the recent assembly elections. Singur farmer Krishna Ghosh, 45, tells Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey about how his land was appropriated for the Nano factory, his long wait for justice and his hopes of the new Mamata Banerjee government. Excerpts: You gave land to the Nano factory didnt you? Why did you do that? I grew up hearing that the CPM is infallible and that red is the only colour in West Bengal. Since the CPM never lost elections in the last 34 years, I kind of started believing in it. Hence, six of us brothers gave up our land to the Tata factory. It was fertile land and we grew several crops here, but we thought we had no choice. How much land did you give? We gave up 65 bighas of land for the Tata project. But then you changed your mind and started to protest against the factory? Why was that? Farmers started agitating against the Tatas realizing that they had been short-changed. That was when we too joined the movement. After giving up 65 bighas, we were left with just 1.5 bighas between the six of us. Were you paid for the land you gave? We did not accept the cheque till the end of 2007, thinking that the Trinamool Congress movement against the Tatas would succeed and that we would get a better price. But that did not happen. Have you encashed the cheque? Our hopes were dashed when the Tatas finally retracted. I was given a supervisor's job at the Nano factory and was quite enjoying it. With the closing down of the factory, I lost that job too. Naturally, I was left with no choice but to accept the cheque against my portion of the lost land. better for the Tata Nano factory to be in Singur? Do you want them back? I earnestly want the Tatas to come back and wish Mamata Banerjee would do something about the project when she comes to power. You sound like you feel cheated by politicians. Do you? Why? I did not like the way CPM workers sided with the police to arm-twist unwilling land owners. They even tried to say that I have marshy land but the whole of Singur knows that I grew several crops here. I also disliked the way the then industries minister Nirupam Sen held a closed door meeting without consulting us and then declared to the media that "Singur was won!" What do other people in Singur say about these events? A large number of those who gave their land unwillingly, whose land come within the "disputed" 400 acres, have still not accepted cheques that are due to them from the state. Therefore, they continue their movement. But they too wish that the Tata factory would return to Singur. However, they want it back only after the "fertile" 400 acres are returned. They want Mamata to return to Singur after becoming chief minister, and they want her to arrange for the return of these 400 acres and also bring back the Tatas. Its a tough job, but we are sure that she will do it.



What did you do with the money? With that money I bought land, which I now till. I have also built a house. So you still own land? Yes. I bought it. With hindsight do you now think it would be

Women must seek poribartan now

Namaskaram Amma. Nomoshkaar Didi. Congratulations ladies! Bhalo khobor! Youve done it and deserve the applause. To borrow Mayawatis words, the time for dramabaazi is over. You have won. The people of your respective states have given the verdict. Jai ho, and all that. Your time begins now. Showing the door to rivals is the easy part. Both of you can confidently take the oath, look and feel smug and if you so wish, dance in the streets or on the posters of your vanquished opponents. No doubt your myriad followers will join you with abundant joy . Gloat away! But this is about your future agendas especially those involving your own gender. What specific policies will you be working on that will benefit the women of your state, and maybe even, women across India? Come on, you two. You can do it! Mamata has spoken eloquently about the appalling conditions faced by rural women in West Bengal. She has said she wants to create infrastructure for underprivileged pregnant women, who are forced to walk up to 15 km to deliver babies. Well, action it, Didi. Get those clinics to happen, taara-taari. It cannot be a significantly better scenario in Tamil Nadu. We are also aware of the corporate bladder syndrome (no loos for working women in urban India), but for how many more years will our village women have to wait for the protective cover of darkness before they can go? These may look like chhota-mota issues to powerful politicians in search of bigger issues to tom- tom like attracting instant foreign investment. But please dont take womens bladders and wombs for granted! We need clean facilities. Period. Whether its maternity wards in which to deliver babies, or conveniently located latrines that are safe for use, day and night. This is not a tall order, but it is an urgent one. If this initiative can be announced and undertaken on a priority basis by both of you, you will win the whole-hearted support of countless deprived women who have put up with painful urinary tract infections, botched births by the roadside and other related horror stories for decadesno, centuries. The women of India have waited long enough. Too long. So far, their voices, their expectations, their anxieties were of zero consequence to successive governments. Much was expected from Pratibha Patil as president. Much more was hoped for from Sonia Gandhi. No miracles. No waving of magic wands. Just simple plans and projects that would have made it easier for women to hang in there and be counted. Nothing of any consequence was announced by either one of them unfortunately , and women meekly went back to the starting post to patiently begin their vigil all over again. Perhaps its not such a good thing that our women are passive. We let off our netas a bit too easily We make far too many . concessions.

India needs Taliban talks to stay relevant

RAHUL ROY-CHAUDHURY Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs visit to Kabul after six years underscores Indias strong interest and concerns over the unfolding end game in Afghanistan. By committing an additional $500 million aid and supporting Afghan President Hamid Karzais peace efforts with Taliban insurgents, Singh sent a powerful message that India has no exit strategy from Afghanistan. Yet, Osama bin Ladens killing in Pakistan could hasten a peace deal facilitated by Islamabad between the Karzai government and the Taliban with challenging implications for India. Even though Singh was welcomed to his second home, Karzai has often described Pakistan as a conjoined twin. Natos ISAF combat troops enable Indias meaningful reconstruction and development activities in Afghanistan. Ranging from toilets to transmission lines, as the Afghan intelligence chief pointed out to me two years ago in Kabul, these projects have generated considerable goodwill for India. But, due to decreasing public support in the west for the war in Afghanistan, the drawdown of US and Nato forces is starting in two months with transition to full Afghan security responsibility and leadership by the end of 2014. Although this timeline is to be conditions-based, not calendar-driven, the quest for a political settlement with the Taliban in an attempt to end the ongoing in-

Mamatas win was largely based on poribartan (change). But there was little mention in her manifesto of gender-specific policies that would be beneficial to women. As the railways minister, her track record was disappointing at a time when women travellers cried out for safety on trains. Mamatas perceived indifference to the woes of women commuters was seen as being callous and shortsighted. Ditto for Jayalalithaa, whose past record isnt exactly impressive with regards to womens issues. If anything, Amma remained aloof and indifferent when confronted. This time, she didnt bother wooing women or men, for that matter. In fact, she didnt woo anybody! She didnt have to. Her old foes (the DMK gang led by the old war horse Karunanidhi)

Its time to ask a few uncomfortable questions of these chaar deviyaan. Starting with Sheila Dikshit and Mayawati, who have been around long enough to have got things moving
obliged Amma by committing hara-kiri while she romped home, without lifting a finger. Our female politicians are street smart and canny They . have been told by their minders that raising womens issues during elections is not politically wise. It alienates men! And political pundits have consistently insisted its men who are the real game changers in any election. The big numbers are driven by men. Why bother courting women? Today we are , crowing about four important women leading four important states of India. Forget, the most important woman in the country (you-know-who). Its time to ask a few uncomfortable questions of these chaar deviyaan. Starting with Sheila Dikshit and Mayawati, who have been around long enough to have got things moving. But their mahila gaadis stalled a long time ago and refused to change gear, as these two steamrolled their way past other, more criticalto-survival obstacles, conveniently forgetting all about their less-privileged sisters. Its a terrible fact of life, but the bitter truth is that women in politics have not leveraged their position to do anything substantial for other women. Perhaps, those vintage Ekta Kapoor serials had a point -which is why they worked. But even Ekta has moved on and away from those dreary subjects to sexier ones. Why cant our female politicians do the same? This is their chance to win the loyalty of what is, in reality, their core constituency women. Woo us with policies that transform lives and youll never have to worry about your warm kursi going to someone else. Neglect us now and watch! Just you watch! Well show you! Remember, there is no next time in politics. Mind it! My Times, My Voice: Like this article? SMS MTMVSD <space> Yes or No to 58888. Charges applicable. Rs 3 per sms

surgency is gaining momentum. A significant shift in US policy took place three months ago when secretary of state Hillary Clinton stated that the red lines for Afghanistans reconciliation efforts with the Taliban renunciation of violence, abandonment of an alliance with al-Qaida, and abiding by the Afghan Constitution were necessary outcomes of any negotiation, not preconditions for talks. With Osamas death, the Pashtun-dominated Taliban will now be further encouraged to jettison its links with al-Qaida. But the Taliban is not yet willing to talk to the Karzai government; nor are the influential minority Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara tribal leaders expected to support such a peace deal. Yet, this provides Pakistan, widely believed to have long provided sanctuary and support to elements of the Afghan Taliban including the Quetta shura, the Haqqani network and the Gulbuddin Hekmatyar faction, the ability to be a broker or spoiler. Last month, a prime ministerial-led Pakistani delegation to Kabul resulted in the formation of a two-tiered joint commission reportedly giving the Pakistan army a formal role in facilitating reconciliation between Kabul and the Taliban, despite their trust deficit. Although Osamas secret hideouts in Pakistan for several years and suspicion over the complicity of elements of its security establishment in this regard have strained relations with the US, Pakistan will continue to play a pivotal role in Afghanistans reconciliation process. But more forceful US pressure can now be expected to impact on Islamabad on identifying suitable elements of the Afghan Taliban for such talks. Last

WELCOME TO YOUR SECOND HOME: Hamid Karzai to Manmohan Singh

month, Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, bluntly accused Pakistans Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) of maintaining ties with the hardline Haqqani terror network. On May 11, the US imposed sanctions on the Haqqani network and its commander Badruddin Haqqani; his two brothers Nasiruddin and Sirajuddin are already designated as global terrorists under US laws. As a proximate neighbour, Indias stakes in the stability of Afghanistan rose sharply with the suicide car bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul on July 8, 2008, the first terror attack on an Indian diplomatic mission worldwide, which killed 54 people including two senior Indian diplomats and two Indian security personnel. This was followed by another attack on October 8, 2009. India holds the Haqqani network responsible for carrying out these attacks and the ISI for planning them. Yet, the drawdown of US and Nato forces, in the absence of sufficiently trained and capable Afghan

security forces, will adversely impact Indian projects and personnel in Afghanistan. Pakistans facilitation of a political end game between hardline elements of the Taliban and the Afghan government, along with the possible destabilization of existing Afghan governance structures, is of concern to India. But the worst-case scenario for New Delhi is the seizure of power by the Taliban, which permits safe havens for terror attacks and the spread of jihadi violence against India, alongside the resumption of a 1990s-style civil war in Afghanistan. To mitigate such developments, India needs to reach out to the Taliban. Indias policy towards the reintegration of lower-level Afghan Taliban fighters into the Afghan mainstream has undergone a significant shift in the past year in line with the international community But it re. fuses to deal with the Taliban for tolerating terror camps in Khost during its 1996-2001 rule, aimed at fighting in Jammu & Kashmir and the rest of India, as well as for facili-

tating the Pakistani hijackers of Indian airlines flight IC-814 in Kandahar in December 1999. It also opposes accommodating the Taliban and its associates, or at least their influential hardline leadership, in the governing structures in Kabul. The possibility of future Taliban rule with links to the al-Qaidalinked Pakistan-based Lashkar-eTaiba (LeT) terror group, responsible for 26/11, also poses a serious problem to India and increasingly to western interests. But, if India is not to be left in isolation over a prospective political deal which may not be to its liking, or once again be forced to withdraw from Afghanistan if the Taliban were to seize power, it needs to quietly reach out itself to the Talibans Gulbuddin Hekmatyar faction and/or the Quetta Shura, to assess their views towards India. India quickly needs to ascertain whether there is any scope for setting preconditions for its own future engagement with elements of the Taliban. These preconditions would essentially focus on ensuring, along with western powers, that the Taliban cut off all ties with Haqqani network, the LeT, and terrorists like Ilyas Kashmiri, commander of the terror organization Harakat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI), and ensure that no terror training camps targeting India are set up in Afghanistan. Such a responsible political settlement between the Karzai government and the Taliban would truly be in Indias interest. The writer is senior fellow for South Asia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London
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Debunking six myths about Narendra Modi

vilians. Only the state police reports to the CM. However, if the police disobeys the CMs orders, theres not much the CM can do. He can definitely not order an execution like Hitler could. The police officer who claimed that the CM asked him to turn a blind eye, could be asked, why did he turn a blind eye? The CM couldnt have killed him; he couldnt even have fired him. At worst, he could have had him transferred or prevented a promotion. Thus, to avoid a dent on his career, the police officer decided to let the killing of innocents happen? Was he complicit too? These are tough questions that the court will decide. The ugly reality of the riots is that there were more people complicit in the riots than one dictator. CM Modi may have been a political opportunist, and that is wrong in itself, but he wasnt, and isnt, a dictator. The second anti-Modi myth is that he is deeply communal, and given half a chance he would destroy the countrys secular fabric. But the fact is, no politician is ever deeply anything. Politicians react to opportunities. Whatever people want, is the way the politicians behave. The same government that was silent on corruption now speaks about the cleanup required in politics, after the scare of the Anna movement. In 2002, the mood of the nation was completely different. Imagine late 2001. The 9/11 attacks, followed by a major Kashmir bomb attack in October, the Parliament attack in December, and the burning of kar sevaks in Gujarat in February 2002 -- all of these were linked to Islamist groups. There was fear in the minds of people and opportunistic politicians exploited it. Today things , are different. Non-secular politicians cannot survive, at least at the national level. Smart politicians understand this. With such intense scrutiny on Modi it is unlikely he will make even so much as a communal comment anytime soon. The third anti-Modi myth is that his development work in Gujarat does not matter. It does, especially now, as the middle class cares more about corruption and good governance than ever before. Coming to the pro-Modi myths, the first is that he did no wrong. While criminal charges are for the courts to provide and decide upon, morally wrongs did occur. The head of the state should , have attempted to contain the damage and heal the wounds in the aftermath. If done right, it could be a political career-plus for the CM to accept the moral wrongs that occurred, and come clean on what he could have done better. The second pro-Modi myth is that he needs to do nothing about the criticism, or for the Muslims. Far from it, Modi needs to take active steps to help the Muslim community and give them a feeling of secu, rity under his regime. Muslims in Gujarat have been largely safe ever since. However the CM has , not actively come out and affirmed his commitment to protect everyone in his state. Many Muslims are upset with the seeming smugness of Modi and his supporters. Modi needs a strategy to bring back to , neutral, if not win, Muslim trust again. It isnt easy , but not impossible. The third pro-Modi myth is that Gujarat is Indias development heaven. Yes, Gujarat is doing well, but others are doing well too. The southern states are ahead in many parameters, such as literacy and mortality Also, a lot of Guja. rats wealth creation comes from the Gujarati communitys entrepreneurial culture. All of the above myths can never be fully dispelled. A section of people will never change their opinion about Modi. But, the more openminded amongst us will probably see the full picture and make an informed judgment on whether he has a place in Indias future. Modi himself will need his own strategy if he wishes to become a real player on the national stage, which many think he has the potential for. Or, he could be happy with what he has and remain the most controversial politician in Indias history .
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CHETAN BHAGAT Afew weeks ago, i wrote on Gujarat and Narendra Modi. It attracted more comments than any of my columns in two years. In the thousand-odd comments, there was a high degree of misconception, exaggeration and misunderstanding. I have no reason to keep writing on Modi. But considering he is such a touchy issue in Indian politics, id like to bust the six Modi myths floating around. The anti-Modi myth number one is that he is akin to Hitler. Comparing the CM to possibly one of the most evil leaders on earth makes sensational copy but is not factually correct. Yes, , the post-Godhra riots targeted a particular religion. However, the scale, its organized and unprovoked nature, the extent and time period of the holocaust were at an entirely different level. Most importantly Hitler was dictator of Ger, many at that point. He had dissolved democracy and controlled the army Not obeying his orders . could mean execution. The Gujarat CM, or any CM in India, doesnt have a fraction of Hitlers powers. Our CMs cannot order the army or central forces to shoot ci-

As public anger increases, corruption falls

SWAMINATHAN S ANKLESARIA AIYAR The electoral debacle of the DMK-Congress in Tamil Nadu highlights public disgust with corruption, and underpins the Anna Hazare anti-graft crusade. But is corruption really worsening, or is the public simply angrier about it? Most survey data suggest, surprisingly that corruption has been declin, ing. Crooked politicians look enormously richer than ever before. Corruption has surely skyrocketed in real estate, natural resources and government contracts. But it has disappeared in deregulated areas like industrial and import licensing and foreign exchange. Falling import duties have almost killed smuggling. The annual corruption perception index of Transparency International (TI) gives country scores for corruption on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being most corrupt and 10 being least corrupt. India has gradually improved its score, from 2.78 in 1995 to 2.8 in 2000, 2.9 in 2005 and 3.3 in 2010. This is modest improvement. In 1995, India was ranked 34th of 41 countries surveyed, near the bottom. But subsequent surveys covered many more countries, most of whom were far more corrupt than India. In 2010, India came


NOVEMBER 29, 1971


STATE OF DISARRAY: Under General Yahya Khan, Pakistan was riven by conflict between different ethnic groups and provinces

87th of 178 countries, halfway down the list. This is no cause for rejoicing: a score of 3.3 is pathetic when the best countries score 9. But its a small mercy if things are getting a bit better . In 2010, China (3.5) scored marginally more than India. Much worse were Vietnam (2.7), Pakistan (2.3) and Russia (2.1). TI has a separate bribe payers index (BPI), measuring the willingness of a countrys businesses to pay bribes abroad. The latest list for 2008 list covers only 22 countries. The most willing to bribe abroad is Russia (5.9) followed by China (6.5), Mexico (6.6) and India (6.8). So, India is pretty bad, but not the worst. Its

score has improved from 4.2 in 2006 to 6.8 in 2008, and it has overtaken China, Mexico and Russia in the process. Ordinary Indians worry most about the small local-level corruption that extracts money directly from their pockets for services that should be free. TI surveys show that people perceive corruption to be rising in the vast majority of countries, even the most honest Scandinavian countries, and its unclear whether such perception is mostly emotional or factual. More reliable than perceptions are data on the proportion of households who actually paid a bribe in the last year. TI brings out a Global Corruption

Barometer. This suggests that bribes paid by ordinary Indians for access to government services have shot up from 16% of households in 2003 to 54% in 2010. That sounds absolutely calamitous. But the very opposite is suggested by surveys conducted by CMS, a wellrespected survey organization. CMS suggests that the proportion of Indians saying they paid a bribe in the 12 months literally halved from 56% to 28% between 2005 and 2010. This looks like a fabulous outcome. Ironically , the CMS report was released by the local head of Transparency International, with no sense of the glaring contradiction between the two reports. The TI surveys have a small sample size of around 1,000 people. CMS, on the other hand, surveyed almost 9,000 people in 2005 and 10,000 in 2010, and therefore boasts a more robust statistical base. The CMS also has a more rural focus. The CMS survey asked about bribes in relation to four government services the public distribution system for food, education, water supply and health. The TI survey covered nine areas, including the police, courts and registry officials. Can this explain the difference in outcome of the two surveys? Not really it is implausible that the four ar, eas surveyed by CMS could have im-

proved dramatically while the others surveyed by TI worsened dramatically: quality trends in administration tend to be similar across sectors. Surveys can be contradictory We . cannot ignore the Barometers survey Yet the positive trends of the . CMS survey are more in line with TIs corruption perception index and bribe payers index, both of which show corruption decreasing. CMS gives several possible reasons for declining bribes, such as improved technology and media activism. Nonsense, say sceptics, politicians are making unprecedented billions today The debate will con. tinue. Whatever the truth, we can celebrate the CMS finding that media and TV coverage of corruption has risen fourfold in five years! This suggests a social revolution. Fast GDP growth has created a rising middle class that refuses to sit back and accept corruption as chalta hai. TV is amplifying this middle class anger into political change, first in Anna Hazares coup and now in the DMK defeat. Hurrah! Lets build on this anger: we have a long way to go.
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One doesnt listen to poor souls when they warnit is only later that these words are given importance.

Reaping The Change

Mamatas moment has finally come, thanks to a clueless Left Front but what will she make of it?
Ronojoy Sen

Independence Day
Bengal looks to break free from the shackles of the past

nding 34 years of uninterrupted Left Front rule, Mamata Banerjee described her partys historic win in West Bengal as a second independence day. The statement found resonance not just with Trinamool supporters who have swept Mamata into Writers Building but also ordinary people in Bengal as well as the thousands that make up its diaspora. Thanks to years of industrial neglect and politicisation of the state machinery an entire , generation of Bengals educated youth had to leave behind their home state for greener pastures. From educational institutions to local community clubs, the CPMs culture of patronage politics spared few. Through its cadre it blurred the distinction between party and government, rewarding nepotism and punishing dissent. In 1977, the Left had come to power in Bengal on the promise of land reforms. Operation Barga, while protecting rights of sharecroppers, perpetuated the romantic leftist notion of a peasantry wedded to the land. Industry was the natural victim. Subsequently through unions and peasant organisa, tions, the Bengal countryside was consolidated as the Lefts political bastion. Those from the urban middle class who demanded employment opportunities and better government services were looked down upon as products of a deplorable petit bourgeois order. However, after being stuck in a time warp for the better part of three and a half decades, the Left belatedly realised the folly of keeping industry out. To make investment attractive, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjees government did a complete U-turn and tried to acquire land cheaply . This time the old tools of the Left political machinery coercive cadre, subservient police and bureaucracy were used to force farmers to part with their land, attracting the charge of crony capitalism. The Left was caught in its own trap. The result was Nandigram and Singur, which gave the Trinamool a handle to breach the Lefts rural bastion. That was the beginning of the end. Mamatas emphatic electoral success bears testimony to the frustration of the people at the Lefts arrogance of power. Patronage politics has reached a point of diminishing returns. The days of one-party hegemony are over. Fuelled by the successes of its diaspora, the genuine aspirations of the people of Bengal demand to be taken seriously . The lesson in Trinamools victory is that Bengal cannot be isolated from the rest of India. The Left leadership tried to keep the state in an artificial bubble and paid a heavy price. The days ahead will require Mamata to make the transition from street agitator to astute administrator. Land and its concomitant politics are bound to occupy her efforts. But with the support of a good team, she could script a bright new chapter in the history of Bengal.

he Trinamool Congresss sweep of West Bengal, with due apologies to Jayalalithaa and Tarun Gogoi, is the biggest story of the assembly elections. Beginning with the 2008 panchayat polls followed by the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the groundswell in favour of the Trinamool had been steadily building up. But Friday's result confirmed a tectonic shift in Bengal politics, which ended the 34-year record run of the Left Front. For a generation which grew up with the CPM-led Left Front as a permanent fixture in Writers' Building, a change seemed almost beyond the realm of possibility. But the unthinkable has been single-handedly made possible by Mamata Banerjee. In the run-up to the polls, Mamata was the face of Trinamool's felicitous slogan 'poriborton' or change that so charged up Bengal. Addressing up to five election meetings a day she took her party's campaign to every corner of the state. Having attended a few of her public meetings, it was obvious that the party candidates on stage were just props. People came in thousands only for a darshan of Mamata and her connect with the crowd was electrifying. Of course, the ground was fertile for Mamata's message of change. By every possible indicator, West Bengal is a laggard. The flight of industry from the state is a familiar story. By 200708, the share of manufacturing in the state's net domestic product had fallen to 7.4% compared to 13.6% in neighbouring Orissa. Along with the exit of capital, Bengal's best and brightest left

in droves. The Left Front did not help matters by doing away with English for several years in government primary schools. But what is most shocking is the state of health and education, the two areas where a communist government was expected to have the most impact. The number of hospital beds per one lakh people in rural Bengal is 3.8 compared to an all-India average of 17.5. In education, the dropout rate of students is over 75% compared to an all-India average of 60%. More worryingly, the education system has been completely taken over by party apparatchiks. One could go on. The status quo might still have been in place had it not been

Portrait of the lady as the victor

A victory for Mamata was a foregone conclusion though the margin has come as a surprise to many. Now comes the even harder task of reviving a stagnant Bengal
for the Left alienating its traditional rural support base by planning industrial projects on agricultural land without working out adequate compensation. Singur and Nandigram have now become bywords for the Left Front's failure, a supreme irony considering its signal success was redistribution of land among the rural peasantry. This had the additional effect of swinging the left-leaning intelligentsia towards Mamata, giving her the much-needed intellectual heft that she lacked as a street fighter backed mainly

by the urban underclass. Subsequent violence unleashed by the CPM cadre added to Mamata's arsenal. Indeed, there is an entire geography of violence in the state places like Lalgarh, Keshpur, Garbeta and Netai that figured prominently in Mamata's campaign. Add to that the switch of Muslims nearly a quarter of Bengal's population who felt hard done by in Nandigram and the Left's failure to improve their lot, to Trinamool. The high turnout, helped by a clinically-run election that allowed many citizens who hadn't voted in earlier elections out of fear of reprisals to vote this time around, also worked to Mamata's advantage. Finally, the ostrich-like attitude of the Left contributed in no small measure to Mamata's success. During the campaigning, several CPM leaders insisted that their party had recovered from the reverses of the past two years. Even a day before the results were

announced, a party assessment predicted that the Left Front would narrowly return to power. Clearly the CPM which won a mere 40 seats and saw most of its tall leaders biting the dust had lost touch with reality. It needs a thorough reinvention to stay relevant in Bengal and elsewhere. A victory for Mamata in the assembly polls was thus a foregone conclusion though the margin 184 seats for Trinamool alone reducing the bickering Congress to a sideshow has come as a surprise to many. Now comes the even harder task of reviving a stagnant Bengal. The vision document of the Trinamool published before the election has set plenty of targets, initially for the first 200 days and then for the next 1,000. How much of this like setting up 17 clusters of small and medium enterprises or converting Digha into the Goa of the east is attainable in such a short period in a severely cash-

strapped state is a moot question. Other longer-term goals, such as attracting large private investment in the state or creating 10 lakh jobs, are not going to be easy given the lack of confidence of investors in Bengal, for which Mamata herself is partly to blame. Similarly, turning around the agricultural sector, where subsistence farming is the norm, is a difficult task. Revamping the education system too will provide its own set of challenges. There is also a real threat that political violence could cripple the state. Mamata had repeatedly said during her campaign that she wants 'badal' (change) and not want 'badla' (revenge). Only time will tell whether the CPM cadre and Trinamool workers can be reined in. The real test will be whether Mamata, who has spent most of her life as a scrapping opposition politician, can transform herself to a capable administrator. She has gathered a competent bunch of individuals around her, but in the end hers is the final word in the Trinamool. With high expectations from the people of Bengal, in the next five years she will have to jettison her populism for governance. During her campaign, Mamata often repeated her ambition of restoring Bengal to the position encapsulated by that outdated saying: What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow. Sadly, Bengal is decidedly yesterday's story. If Mamata and her team can make Bengal relevant in today's India that itself would be no mean achievement. She definitely has the mandate to do so.
The writer is a visiting research fellow at ISAS, National University of Singapore.

Family Drama
DMK pays for equating party with dynasty
f CPMs running of Bengal as a party monopoly finally backfired, in Tamil Nadu dynasty has been laid low. Two Stalins stand humbled, one whose portrait adorns Bengals communist party offices, the other a chief ministers son whod been pitched as TNs great white hope. Indian voters have never been judgmental about family-run politics if its perceived as motivated by public good. As once happened to the Lalu clan in Bihar, this perception no longer holds good for TNs first family By all indications, the . DMK clan is now viewed as presided over by an ageing, ineffectual patriarch and torn apart by the personal ambitions of kith and kin vying for control over party affairs. Grave corruption charges have compounded matters. The DMK-Congress alliances arrogance in not even proffering any convincing counter-argument couldnt have impressed the electorate. Above all, uncertainties about a post-Karunanidhi DMK wouldve driven voters to AIADMK. Unlike Bengal, TN wasnt badly governed, nor was its economy in a hole. An investment hotspot, with vibrant industry the state is Indias largest auto-manufacturing hub and traditionally big on welfare, TNs economy is generally thought to chug along irrespective of which of two Dravidian outfits thrives politically But, this time around, there were . concerns about dynastic wars and resource grabs translating into misgovernance and law and order issues. The signs were already there, in declining growth, power shortage, price rise and labour restiveness. Backing regime change, TN however needs Jayalalithaa to focus on governance. Can she eschew vendetta politics? As for DMK, it must introspect even to play the role of an effective opposition. The more party is equated with clan with Mahabharata-style family wars played out in public, the more DMK will be out of sync with 21st century Indias voter expectations.

Regional films hold the clue to Indian ethos

Apurba Kishore Bir, popularly known as A K Bir is an award, winning cinematographer-director from Orissa. As director, he won plaudits for his evocatively photographed film, Adi Mimansa. His film Lavanya Preeti claimed the Best Asian Film award at the Osaka international film festival. His Hindi film Baaja won the National Award for the Best Childrens film in 2003. Bir also handled the second camera in the first unit of Richard Attenboroughs Oscar-winning film Gandhi. A graduate of FTII Pune, Bir was recently in the capital for the platinum jubilee celebrations of Oriya cinema. He spoke to Meenakshi Sinha: I The first Oriya film, Sita Bibah, was made in 1936. It has been a long journey since. What subjects and inspiration form the core of Oriya films? Subjects come from a thought process thats a result of certain concerns as a human being. Subjects such as poverty have come from the reality one has witnessed in the society . Poverty is not just a reality but a phenomenon in Oriya culture. I Theres also the influence of Hindi cinema? Most Oriya films are imitations of Bollywood films and are made with only commercial interests. They are made simply to appease the audience. I So how do you see this influence considering your strong association with the growth of parallel regional cinema of the 1990s? Unfortunately regional cinema is blocked somewhere. Younger film-makers have not taken to the continuity of tradition and culture and hence have entertaining the audience in this passive mode. A film-maker has to see how he can activate the audiences mental calibre into a more energetic form. Only then will they find a form of entertainment thats meant for the audiences growth. If as a film-maker, you are yourself passive, then its being extremely disrespectful towards your service to mankind. I From two-three films to 20 films a year, how has the growth of Oriya films fared? Thereve been glorious moments during the 1970s and 80s. Many films that depicted a film-makers social responsibility came about during this time. But gradually people started , getting severed from their original self, culture and tradition. The result was predictable they came to be overpowered by other forces. That was bound to happen. Any creative man, once


no clue. These young film-makers have lost contact with the original thought and culture of Oriya films. What they are showing today has no connection with thousands of years of traditional culture of Orissa. I So doesnt the audience define their tastes in cinema? The audience has mostly acted in a passive manner and i blame the film-makers for

he loses his creativity, spirit of adventure and thought, is overtaken by commercial elements. Forces like dependence on technology economics and market , begin to dictate his creativity. I So is all this at the cost of regional identity? Yes absolutely Ive always . maintained that regional films still hold the clue to the merit of Indian ethos and knowledge. I Whats the Oriya film industry worth today? There are several films being made today, and though ive not been actively involved in the Oriya film industry per se, my main concern has been to make Oriya films accessible to every part of the country and the world. Other than that, the industrys main concern has been to generate funds to make it more productive in terms of moneymaking so as to survive without compromising its basic values.




Fashion fury
Deified swimsuits dont happen by divine design
Vinita Dawra Nangia

Freebies subvert democracy

With reference to the article The Voter As Consumer (May 12) by Amrith Lal, the freebies culture has not only undermined democracy but also destroyed the social fabric of Tamil Nadu. In their greed for power, politicians of all shades have promoted freebies culture to score over their opponents. However, part of the blame rests with the people who encourage the political class to dole out freebies rather than demanding their rights and opportunities to earn their livelihood and improve their standard of living. Also, freebies are bribes and subvert the democratic process. It is time election laws are amended to put an end to them.

t may be desirable to hold Goddess Lakshmi in the deepest recesses of your heart, but wear her on your sleeve at your peril! And, while you may cover your body with a robe that proclaims your religious allegiance, try holding the image of a deity any closer to your heart and all hell breaks loose! Whereas it is okay to wear a shirt or a stole with gods emblazoned on it, or even don jewellery with religious symbols, beware - underwear, slippers or toilet seats are a no-no for pictures of deities or other religious imagery. Even priests, who may use a stole with religious symbols, aren't allowed to use the same stole as an asana. So, it is important to understand that though designer Lisa Burke's bikini top would have passed muster, it was the bottom that blew the top off the lid! Lisa scrapped her swimwear line for Australia Fashion Week after a whiplash of fury unleashed by Hindu groups at her use of images of the goddess on bikini bottoms. She apologised and halted production of the bikini line. Not a single one of the deified swimsuits that defied the goddess will hit the racks! A statement issued by the designer's company Lisa Blue claimed that usage of the goddess's image was "an attempt to celebrate different cultures". Now, try convincing us that the face of one of our most venerated deities adorning a derriere, however pert and sexy, is a celebration of our culture! Italian designer Roberto Cavalli singed his fashionable fingertips similarly seven years ago when he had to hastily withdraw his spa line amid an eruption of Hindu sentiment the world over. Images of Lord Ram, Vishnu and Goddess Saraswati on intimate wear for women frazzled the Hindu Human Rights body enough to raise the flag. French shoe brand Minelli withdrew their shoes with religious images after protests. Heidi Klum used Kali as a Halloween outfit, and popular brand Guess sparked protests with tank tops that sported Ganesha images and the words "Handsome elephant!" It is indeed surprising that leading international designers and brands who turn their gaze to the richness of Hindu iconography with its exotic symbols fail to do their homework well, thus risking bad publicity as well as incurring financial losses! Unless there is a design to the entire fracas? Was Lisa totally unaware of these other blasphemous instances that preceded her collection? Or did the designer see it as a wild card entry to international fame? What offended Hindu sentiment in the case of Lisa, Roberto or Minelli was that the image of the deities adorned underwear, bikinis and footwear. The same images emblazoned on shirts or scarves may not have aroused a protest. Similar protests had erupted earlier when shoes or even toilet seat covers have used images of Hindu deities. If it is okay to carry your God on or in your handbag or flaunt him around your neck, one may well question how a fabric gets defiled the moment it touches your bosom or bottom? It would be very easy to attribute this to the rigidity and fragility of an inflexible mindset, not conducive to sharing the fruits of a decidedly rich culture. However that is not the case. No religion in the world really allows you to wear its symbols below the waist as the reproductive and excretory organs are located there, explains an astrologer! These are the subtleties that the western mind needs to understand if indeed all these instances have been innocent mistakes, as they would have us believe. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, when asked about the use of religious symbols on clothes, says, "Instead of Mickey Mouse, they use Ganesha. But the problem is that we spend too much time trying to understand and fight for symbols rather than life itself !"

Live Life

The Fundamental Principles

The fifth is samyak vyayama. Many of us perform regular physical exercises to keep the n each sphere of life we should follow a code body strong and supple. A human entity, of discipline. Knowing or adhering to the however, is not only physical but also mental code of discipline would ensure 60 per cent and spiritual. The sixth one is samyak success. For proper movement, an aspirant karmanta. When you start a task, you should , . should follow certain rules and know certain finish the work properly and in a nice way Dont leave the work in a half-finished condiimportant factors. In this connection, Gautama Buddha said tion. The finish should always be good. The seventh advice is samyak smriti. In that there are eight codes. The first is samyak . or proper darshana. Darshana means to Sanskrit, smriti means memory What is see, and in philosophical language, it means memory? Whenever you see, or you hear, or seeing with the spirit of a scholar, an aspirant. you smell something with the help of your Darshana means guiding philosophy So, efferent or afferent organs, what happens? . every one of us ought to have a philosophy Your mind gets compartmentalised. One portion of the mind takes the subjective form, of life that will help us to progress. and another portion takes the objecThe second important factor is tive form. You are seeing a tiger. One samyak samkalpa. Samyak means portion of your mind becomes the proper. Samkalpa means determinaseer and another portion of your tion. I will do it. I must do it. The mind takes the form of the tiger; then third is samyak vak. In ordinary you think that you are seeing a tiger. terms vak is expression of vocal This recreation of a tiger in your chords, but in philosophical lanmind is called smriti or memory . guage, vak means all the expresTHE The last is samyak samadhi sions of efferent nerves. Whatever we see, touch and speak, all these I SPEAKING I proper suspension of mind. When you are hearing an excellent expressions are found within the TREE expression of music, your mental scope of vak. Therefore, a man while expressing himself in any stratum of object is that music, and while hearing, your life, must have proper control over himself; subjective mind gets suspended in that he must have proper control over his sensory objective portion. It is suspension of mind in hearing. Similarly while meditating on the , and motor nerves. This is samyak vak. , The fourth instruction is samyak ajiva. Supreme Entity the Parama Purusha, your One can earn money by many unfair means mind gets suspended in Him. It is proper such as stealing, selling intoxicants and money- samadhi; it is proper suspension of mind. These are the eightfold codes of discipline, lending. There are so many bad things one can do. A good man should have a clean occupation; an indispensable part of an aspirants life. You he must not be engaged in unclean means of should always remember that for proper suclivelihood. Not only his physical occupation cess, to attain the Supreme Bliss, adherence to but also his mental occupation should be these eightfold codes of discipline is a must. www.speakingtree.in neat, clean and pure. His objects of thought should be in good taste, and he should not try Join the worlds first spiritual networking site to interact directly with masters and seekers. to do anything bad to another good man.
Shri Shri Anandamurti

Turn the mind inward and cease thinking of yourself as the body; thereby you will come to know that the self is ever happy . Neither grief nor misery is experienced in this state. Ramana Maharshi You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life Surely life is not merely , a job, an occupation; life is something extraordinarily wide and profound, it is a great mystery a , vast realm in which we function as human beings. J Krishnamurti Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day in all the thousand , small uncaring ways. Stephen V Benet

Chinese surge in the region

With reference to the article Asian Power Play, Post-Osama (May 14) by Nayan Chanda, China increasingly getting its foothold in the Asian region is a cause for concern. It has more than often shown that it can both engage countries to further its interests (Pakistan) and at times bully them (in Japans case). The widening rift in the US-Pakistan relations is bound to push Islamabad towards China. On its part, Beijing has already heavily invested in ambitious infrastructure projects in Pakistan. After the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, China would like to extend its presence there with the help of Islamabad. India must calibrate its foreign policy keeping in mind the changing geopolitics of the region while being optimistically cautious.
Manthan N Akhani, VIA EMAIL

Scrabbles waning charm

With reference to the Times View/Counterview (May 12), there was a time when Scrabble was regarded as the word game. It had no parallel simply for the reason that it augmented English vocabulary in the real sense of the term. Exercise of the grey cells was needed. Besides, it made for a pleasurable pastime. The rules used to be so strict that only words found in a standard lexicon could be used. However, over a period of time, the game has degenerated resulting in a steep slide in its popularity. Today, parents shy away from it. Adopting new words just to win points is nothing but the murder of real Scrabble by philistine.
Mukund Kumar, VIA EMAIL
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The people have voted for a change and we will not let down their aspirations.
OOMMEN CHANDY, leader of Congress legislature party in Kerala

Regional, The New National

Much depends on how Congress and BJP face the big challenge posed by state outfits
Tuhin A Sinha

Bitter Sweet
Following assembly election results, Congress will need to get its act together
f the Congress had high expectations from the recent round of assembly elections, they have clearly been dashed. The only real joy for the principal party in the UPA coalition came from Assam, where it exceeded expectations by scooping up 78 of the 126 assembly seats. Not even the staunchest Congress supporter would deny that the partys 42 seats in West Bengal and a probable stake in the next state government were courtesy the Trinamool wave. In Kerala, a state where the electorate is not known to be sympathetic to the incumbent regime, the Congress-led UDF formulation barely scraped through with a majority of two seats. As for the Tamil Nadu polls, they were a downright disaster for the Congress. While its ally the DMK was decimated and ended up with a paltry 23 seats out of 234, the Congress fared even worse with just five seats down from 48 in 2006. This despite the fact that the latter was contesting more seats than five years ago. Tamil Nadu is crucial for the Congress. The Congress-DMK combine in the state provides 26 MPs to the UPA at the Centre. Notwithstanding the fact that the DMK has been a demanding ally as well as an embarrassing one given alleged involvement of the DMK first family in the 2G spectrum scam the Congress needs the numbers come Lok Sabha elections in 2014. It is in this context that rumoured Congress overtures towards the AIADMK need to be seen. Though speculation is rife of a possible tie-up in the wake of Sonia Gandhis personal congratulations to J Jayalalithaa for her victory it may well be nothing , more than a courtesy call. The AIADMK supremo simply cant make up the DMK numbers at the Centre. In the short term, sticking with the DMK will be the Congresss best bet. It could perhaps take comfort in the fact that the DMK is likely to be a less cumbersome ally from here on. This should, in theory offset Mamata Banerjees expected increase in , demands, thanks to her strengthened hand in Bengal. In practice, Mamata too may have her compulsions as she will have to rely on central aid if she is to turn West Bengal around. Another source of concern is the rumblings in Andhra Pradesh where Jaganmohan Reddy has openly challenged the Congress leadership. His emphatic victory in the Kadapa Lok Sabha by-poll is ominous. Taken together, it is clear that Congress suffers from a dearth of effective local leaders as well as effective policies at the national level. It needs to get its act together, fast.

ssam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala states where assembly election results have just been announced account for 115 of Indias 543 Lok Sabha seats. Add Bihar, where elections took place just six months ago, to this list and the total number of Lok Sabha seats thus covered goes up to 155, a bit less than 30% of the total seats. These elections carry some interesting trends, which any party aiming to succeed in the UP assembly elections of 2012 or the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 can ill afford to ignore. First of all, the results reiterate what is now a growing perception: Indian voters have become discerning and cannot be easily swayed or fooled like, say 10 years ago. Moreover, the , mandate underlines the nations angst against the corrupt. The best example of this is Tamil Nadu. Political parties have often used the faith reposed by election verdicts to wash away their sins. The DMK had hoped to do the same in Tamil Nadu. Thus, despite charges of the complicity of DMK bosses in the 2G scam, one was shocked by the cocksureness displayed by the party during the polls. The party it appeared, some, how believed it would redeem itself by distributing the loot among the voters. Such was the DMKs confidence that even veteran observers didnt write it off. Had the DMK won, it would

have set an ugly precedent. Parties could orchestrate even bigger scams and then use the money to buy out voters. The election results seem a mandate against the corrupt. Thus, in neighbouring Kerala, where it was sure of a landslide win until six months ago, the Congress-led UDF barely had the luck to remain ahead of the LDF. The message was once again amply clear: we might as well choose the mediocre over the corrupt. Secondly its pretty much , evident now that, if you want to win a state, you empower state leaders instead of depending on national leaders. With the win

Mamata Banerjee with BJPs Rajnath Singh: Who will call the shots?

These state elections carry some interesting trends, which any party aiming to succeed in the UP polls of 2012 or the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 can ill afford to ignore
in Assam, Tarun Gogoi has joined the illustrious list of empowered chief ministers who have been re-elected more than once. Had the CPM shown greater faith in the octogenarian Achuthanandan, the LDF would perhaps have won Kerala with ease. Mamata Banerjee, on her part, has proved how individual charisma can uproot a regime of 34 years. Meanwhile, Jaganmohan Reddy looks set to

single-handedly decimate the Congress in Andhra Pradesh. On a slightly smaller scale, Babulal Marandis Jharkhand Vikas Morcha is likely to become a force to reckon with in Jharkhand in future. The situation throws up an interesting challenge for both the Congress and the BJP for the UP elections: they have to each identify a state leader who can unseat Mayawati. Neither Rahul Gandhi nor Narendra Modi will have any impact on the UP results, other than generating sound bytes. Can Rajnath Singh or Rita Bahuguna instead effectively take on Mayawati? Well, the latter does not have the political persona the reason why Rahul has had to work extra hard. So far as Rajnath Singh is concerned, he can. But for that, he will have to

dump the comfort of national politics and reclaim the old zest that had him outsmart both Mayawati and Mulayam Singh in state politics in the late 1990s. Thirdly these election re, sults open up the possibility of a political realignment of forces ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. With the CPM in absolute doldrums, perennial talk of the oft-invisible Third Front is likely to become history . Thus, the situation seems to be gearing up towards a bipolar contest. With the 80 seats of UP unlikely to throw up a clear winner, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh which together account for as many seats might well decide the outcome of the next Lok Sabha polls. What is particularly interesting are Jagan Reddys recent The writer is an author script, feelers to the BJP. Of course, writer and columnist.

theres a precondition attached: committing to 10% reservations for Muslims, which even the Congress hasnt espoused thus far. That apart, in a bipolar situation and given his animosity towards the Congress, it is not difficult to predict which side Jagan will be on. Jayalalithaas case is different. All said and done, one cant conclusively rule out her realigning with the Congress in future, an idea she was open to as recently as six months ago. Finally the biggest lesson , is that the regional is indeed the new national. With large alliances likely on both sides, the individual fate of the bigger regional coalition partners will directly impact the coalitions ability to form the government at the Centre. At the same time, the ever-growing clout of regional parties is bound to shrink the two national parties, leaving them in a catch-22 situation. The BJPs hopes of leading the next government at the Centre are contingent upon two factors. One, putting up a tough fight in the UP elections so that the BSP and the Samajwadi Party stop taking the state for granted. Two, it will quickly have to identify a leader with the least baggage and the best networking skills to lead it into the 2014 elections. In the present situation, the party will have to look beyond Modi, for sure.

Bollywood sends a large entourage to Cannes

Think Decontrol
Fuel pricing can do without political meddling

The festival offers serious business

ocated in a seafront town in southern France, the annual Cannes Film Festivals attracting numerous Bollywood personalities. From Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to Shekhar Kapur, Saif Ali Khan and Mallika Sherawat, Cannes is proving a magnet for a rainbow of Bollywood talent. While critics may sneer that most Bollywood stars do little at Cannes except display gowns and party in yachts, the fact is, their presence there gives ITI Hindi cinema a powerful boost. Cannes is about frocks, photographers and glamour, but thats just part of its fun. It brings together the worlds most serious and intense cinematic talent. In addition, its also one of the worlds largest film hubs, a great cinema bazaar where filmmakers come into direct contact with buyers from around the globe. At Cannes, Hindi filmmakers get access to distributors and exhibitors from remote Uzbekistan, urban Kinshasa or urbane Berlin. A platform like Cannes helped the producers of Lagaan make contact with exhibitors around the world. Similarly, after Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Sanjay Leela Bhansali screened Devdas at Cannes,

No relevance for Indian cinema

nother year, another grand show in sunny Cannes for our Bollywood stars. And yet again, its a pointless exercise. If the Oscars are about mass appeal and popular entertainment, the Cannes Film Festival is the acme of thoughtful filmmaking. Its a celebration of creativity rather than box the festivals most prestigious, with top films chosen from across the world not a single one is Indian. This is not an anomaly The last time an Indian film . featured in the competition was two decades ago when the likes of Mrinal Sen were still active and regularly featured a sad comedown for a country that won the best film award with Chetan Anands Neecha Nagar at the festivals first edition in 1946. I COUNTERVIEW I The reality of this is made clear by Indian Anil Thakkar office numbers. And actors and filmmakers themselves. Saif that means, of course, Ali Khan, for instance, has made no bones that it is quite anti- about the fact that Bollywood films are thetical to the vast not meant for Cannes. Likewise, Rakeysh majority of Bolly- Omprakash Mehra, whose documentary wood films as they are will be filmed at Cannes this year, says that now. And so when our this is a lean patch for Indian films at the stars go there year after year, it has little festival. Damning indictments from those to do with their profession. They are who would know best. Which begs the there as little more than mannequins, question what exactly are our stars there walking the red carpet because the for? Hobnobbing with the Hollywood elite brands with which they have tie-ups have and showing off risque designerwear, as finagled a place on it for them. Mallika Sherawat did? In the larger Consider that of the 20 films that are scheme of things, the festival, sadly, has no in competition for the Palme dOr award relevance or meaning for Indian cinema.

etrol price deregulation is clearly no insulation against political meddling. That state-owned oil marketing companies okayed a Rs 5 per litre hike immediately after the announcement of the assembly poll results is proof. Evidently the UPAs electoral considerations had , tied their hands during the poll process. As a result, we have the anomaly of prices heading north even as international crude prices are southbound. Flanked by opposition parties professing to be their champions, ordinary people protest fuel price hikes precisely owing to such political manipulation. If fuel prices were allowed to truly reflect global trends, oil marketing firms would not have reason to whine about losses. Nor would people resent markups in fuel costs, seeing them instead as part of an impersonal process of market-linked price adjustment. Said to be coming up next, diesel, LPG and kerosene price increases will further reflect governments penchant for price tinkering. What diesel and kerosene prices need is freeing up, not least because artificially suppressed prices benefit aam admi less than a thriving crime syndicate comprising adulterators and black marketers. Price differences also encourage the rich to buy cheaper diesel despite being able to afford petrol. Wasteful diesel use results, to the detriment of the less privileged as well as the environment. Its equally myopic to hype deregulations feared fallout on inflation. Minus diesel price decontrol, greater fiscal strain and deficits owing to heavier fuel subsidy will have an inflationary effect anyway Besides, if inflation is the headache, shouldnt we let market. indexed prices curb demand? Instead of fiddling with prices, government should trim their tax component, which customs and excise combined totals half the shop price of motor fuel. Finally a decontrolled fuel sector , will attract private retailers. As telecom and aviation have shown, the best way to keep prices consumer-friendly is to push competition.

even travelling down its famed waterfront in a horse-drawn chariot, world audiences could see the heady melodrama of an Indian man caught between changing times and two beautiful women. For the worlds largest producer of films, this is a unique and vital event. It isnt just bigbudget blockbusters though that grab atten-

tion at Cannes. In recent years, smaller independent movies, such as Udaan, have generated enthusiastic support from an audience accustomed to polished cinema. For those who insist Cannes favours the old song-and-dance stereotypes of Indian cinema, its worth remembering that Satyajit Ray won the Grand Prix for Pather Panchali right here in 1956. Critics may question Bollywood personalities stepping onto that historic red carpet today but the fact is, their doing so makes a difference.

What You Kahnt Do Detailing Climate Change
study under Isros aegis, using satellites and human visits, shows 75% of Himalayan glaciers have retreated and 17% stayed stable over 15 years. Commissioned by the environment ministry, the study is different from an IPCC report claiming, without sufficient evidence, that the glaciers would vanish by 2035. It should add credibility to an issue subject to polarising debate and help build a consensus on a clear and present threat.

he Lefts fall from national and, now, statelevel grace has been under CPM general secretary Prakash Karats watch. So youd think his idea of fixed tenures for all party functionaries suggests his desire to atone by bowing out. Only, he says the cap on a general secretarys stint can be at two or three or four terms! It seems electoral humbling hasnt given the big chief any intimations of political mortality.

The fuss about cuss

Language needs a censor board rating nowadays
Vivek Atray

mong the varied forms of entertainment that human interaction provides to interested onlookers, an important component is the spicy shock-value of swear words. The same sort of language could, of course, be sacrilegious for most of us. One could be watching a film with the family or dining at a restaurant , with friends, or even working in ones office with the window open cuss words are liable to drift to our ears any time, unannounced and uninvited. Boys will be boys of course, and they are more likely to use and hear f-words, b-words, c-words and even z-words more often than humans of other categories. But it is clear that each one of us has to accept the entry of one or more of such intrusive words into our sphere of cognisance at times. What really shocked me as a boy though was when i heard a venerable old relative, one whom i really admired, mouthing a typical Hindi swear word when upset with a few neighbourhood boys who had trespassed into his garden. I was an impressionable tween at the time, and it was quite a jolt for me to hear him use a word that only the naughtiest boys would at school. More recently a young man and his date went out for their first dinner to, gether and started off by making polite conversation. A friend and i were at an adjacent table and we noticed that the couple appeared to be the innocent type. Their composure, and ours, was shattered rudely by a youngster seated across the hall who shouted aloud a really filthy word. He was evidently excited by some breaking news that a classmate had just delivered to him. The effect that that particular expletive had upon the occupants of the hall was quite palpable. Most people blushed. Some even covered their faces. The above-mentioned young man on his first date glared at the perpetrator of verbal violence who in turn glared back and told him to buzz off. It could have ended at this point but the foul-mouthed boy decided to use an even worse adjective for the lover boy to round off his , response to the glare. The character of men does change dramatically at times, but what followed in this case was total transformation. Disregarding the presence of his pretty girlfriend, and of course ours as well, the young suitor reeled off a barrage of Punjabi swear words in retaliation. Needless to say utter mayhem , broke out at the place and most people fled. The young girl was totally inconsolable and utterly annoyed with her chameleon-like guy friend. The fact that my friend and i had to drop her home was just a side effect. That todays youngsters tend to pick up cuss words at school or college is well documented. What is less known is the influence that modern-day heroes have upon them. Our champion cricketers, for example some of them use expletives each time they get hit for boundaries. What is worse is that they repeat them when they pick up wickets! Young boys watching them obviously feel that it is the done thing to swear all the time, if national heroes can do it live on TV . Our filmy heroes are even more skilled at the use of cuss words. These days the heroines have also joined them. The censor board tends to be lenient nowadays and many a new film offers to the public the full repertoire of foul words that the Hindi language possesses. Fortunately enough, dinner table conversation at most homes is still decent and does not involve such profanities. One can only hope that things stay that way for eating ones meal is not an enjoyable experience when , graphically meaningful cuss words are floating around!

ominique StraussKahns made news in New York for the wrong reasons. The IMF chief was arrested following charges of sexual assault on a maid. The repercussions will extend beyond him. His arrest may remove a strong Socialist challenger to Sarkozy in the French presidential elections. Also, Montek Singh Ahluwalias chances of bagging the IMFs top job are said to be strengthened with Strauss-Kahns exit.

Dont Follow Me

Doctrine Of The Golden Mean

on their cause, they cease to be when the cause is extinguished. That is how pratitya efore attaining Buddhahood Prince samutpada gives rise to Buddhas doctrine of Siddhartha, says the Samyutta Nikaya, kshanbhangur vada or momentariness. thought about the given existential state Pratitya samutpada, in upholding that all of human beings, thus: In what miserable phenomenal things are not Beings but in the condition are the people! They are born, they process of Becoming, leads Buddha to his decay they die, pass away and are born again; theory of the middle path or doctrine of the , and they do not know the path of escape from golden mean. The moment it comes into being, this decay death and misery. Concerned with the existence of every object is absolute. How, the suffering of human beings, he reflected on ever, as things are perennially changing, their its causes and on ways of alleviating them. existence is relative. It is not eternal. So, every What transformed the prince into the en- phenomenal thing hangs between reality and lightened Buddha? The credit goes to pratitya nothingness. It avoids the two extremes. samutpada, the doctrine of dependent origiThe existential fact of suffering is because nation, that came to him when he sat of birth. Birth or rather rebirth is the meditating under the Bodhi tree in outcome of the will to be born. The will Gaya. It literally means arising of to be born is the result of the clinging things dependent on causes. Other to objects of sense or mental pleasure terms that could describe it are in the previous existence. The clingconditioned genesis, co-dependent ing is dependent upon the desire for origination and mutual causality. enjoyment experienced by us earlier. A formulation of the doctrine Because of sense experience, there THE is: this arising that arises; this is desire, which in turn is the result ceasing to be that ceases to be. SPEAKING of sense-object contact. The six Another is: if this is that comes to sense organs including the mind TREE be; from the arising of this that are responsible for contact with arises; if this is not that does not come to objects. Because of our psychophysical orgabe; from the stopping of this that is stopped. nism, we are endowed with senses. Without Simply it is the principle of causality It initial consciousness, the sense organs are , . upholds that everything, every phenomenon, futile. Karma, which is the outcome of ignois caused and is the outcome of the pheno- rance, is the cause of initial consciousness. menon which causes it. After giving rise to Ignorance leads to suffering and bondage; the effect, the cause is completely destroyed knowledge to liberation. Life, according to without remainder. the Buddha, originates not from a blind play It implies that nothing exists uncondi- of mechanical forces, but is the outcome of tionally and absolutely; everything is depen- internal urge, the life force, the will to be dent upon something other than itself . born. Once the will, the desire, is removed, we Things are continuously undergoing change achieve nirvana or emancipation. and transformation. Therefore, everything is The writer teaches philosophy at Delhi University. www.speakingtree.in impermanent and necessarily relative, conditional, finite, dependent and subject to birth, Join the worlds first spiritual networking death and decay Since things are dependent site to interact directly with masters and seekers. .
Ashok Vohra


Democracy wins
With reference to the editorial Ring Out The Old (May 14), earlier in Bihar and now in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam, voters have unambiguously expressed their intolerance towards corruption and the inefficiency and arrogance of those in power. The message to political parties is that the electorate can neither be taken for granted nor wooed through the politics of identity or freebies. It only reflects the maturity of Indian democracy that performers are being rewarded while those abusing power are being shown the door. The landslide victories of Mamata Banerjee in Bengal and J Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu also mark the rise of woman power in Indian politics. However, both face tough tasks ahead in relation to cleansing the system, putting their states on a fast economic growth trajectory and providing transparent governance and inclusive development.

The follower destroys the master as the master destroys the follower. The guru destroys the pupil as the pupil destroys the guru. Through authority you will never find anything. You must be free of authority to find reality . J Krishnamurti I have no teaching. There is nothing to preserve. Teaching implies something that can be used to bring about change. Sorry, there is no teaching here, just disjointed, disconnected sentences. What is there is only your interpretation, nothing else. For this reason there is not now nor will there ever be any kind of copyright for whatever i am saying. I have no claims. U G Krishnamurti A leader is best when people barely know he existsHe acts without unnecessary speech, and when the work is done the people say: We did it ourselves. Lao Tzu

Word play
With reference to the Times View/Counterview (May 12), while the inclusion of words like keema and gobi in Scrabble may have come as a shock to language purists, they should not press the panic button. Language is like a flowing river that collects other streams on its way. Our English newspapers are full of such words and this has only enlivened the language. Not only that, we have changed language use with the way we SMS and adopted the HobsonJobson Dictionary. The Scrabble lexicon will add to the linguistic sharpness of players. Samuel Johnson wouldve been happy to welcome aloo in the English dictionary.
K R Deshpande, BANGALORE
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com





Our age knows nothing but reaction, and leaps from one extreme to another.
REINHOLD NIEBUHR, American philosopher

A Question Of Authority
Post-Abbottabad, a major rebalancing of Pakistans civil-military relations is in order
Ramesh Thakur

Missing The Point

Karnataka governor should quit making fatuous demands and focus on his job
hief minister B S Yeddyurappas parading 114 of his MLAs with more letters of support in Delhi was a show of strength which gave the lie to Karnataka governor Hans Raj Bhardwajs call for Presidents rule. Bhardwajs recommendation just doesnt add up, despite his relying on numbers in the assembly and a Supreme Court ruling. Neither leads to the governors conclusions which not only devalue his judgment but also raise suspicions about his ability to act in the non-partisan manner expected of a governor. Unfortunately real problems of governance which threaten the future of the state have been ignored thanks to Bhardwajs fatuous and repeated insistence on imposing Presidents rule. He did so last year but this time around his recommendations been prompted by the Supreme Court reversing the Karnataka high courts decision last year to disqualify 11 rebel BJP MLAs and five in dependents. The rebellion reduced Yeddyurappas government to a minority in the 225-member assembly, but simultaneously the rebel MLAs were also disqualified. Hence, though Bhardwaj ordered a floor test, Yeddyurappa won it with 106 votes for and 100 against. Now that the rebel MLAs have been reinstated, Bhardwaj claims theyre not BJP. Hence the assertion Yeddyurappas running a minority government. But thats ignoring the facts. Ten of the rebels have returned to the fold and the BJP still maintains the lead. Corruption, nepotism and abuse of power are rampant in Karnataka under Yeddyurappas administration. But these do not amount to the sort of constitutional breakdown that would justify Presidents rule. India is a federal country , which has served it in good stead. It is best kept this way Justice R S Sarkarias . 1987 report noted the vague wording of Article 356 which allows the president to dismiss a state government and recommended it be used as a last measure, when all available alternatives had failed to rectify or prevent the breakdown of the states constitutional machinery . Besides, the Centre could embarrass itself severely in legal and constitutional terms if it moves ahead on Bhardwajs recommendations. Any dismissal of the Karnataka government is likely to get shot down in a court of law. The Supreme Court judgment in the Bommai case stated that a governments strength must be tested on the floor of the House before a governor can recommend dismissal. It isnt befitting for the governor to play politics with Karnatakas future. Doing so, in fact, helps obscure the corruption issue and make Yeddyurappa seem like a victim, from which the BJP is trying to reap maximum advantage.

akistan is effectively under the thumb of a highly Islamicised military-intelligence complex. Aatish Taseer, son of the slain governor of Punjab, writes that following Osama bin Ladens killing, we now have the clearest view of our enemys other face. And it is not that of a bearded jihadi but of a serving officer in the Pakistani army. In Pakistan, the military owns the state. Bin Ladens death opens a window of opportunity to make this a transformative moment for normalising Pakistan with a reduced army under firm civilian control. The fate of South and Southwest Asia may hinge on success in this agenda. More, international terrorism will not be defeated without a major rebalancing of Pakistans civil-military relations as the key to demilitarising and deradicalising the country This requires a divest. ment of western aid and attention from the military establishment towards robust civilian institutions. This will not be easy Pakis. tan may be a weak and failing country but its capacity to resist , US pressure is surprisingly strong, not the least by threatening to put a nuclear-tipped gun to its own head. When US President Barack Obama insisted that bin Laden must have had a support network inside Pakistan and demanded an investigation into possible state complicity , Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza

Gilani told parliament that allegations of complicity and incompetence were absurd. But an investigation will be conducted. Unease at his extrajudicial killing notwithstanding, bin Ladens death is a blessed relief on multiple counts. I have little difficulty in containing my disappointment at the failure to capture and put him on trial. Objectively he was long past , constituting a grave security threat to anyone and, with the Arab spring in full bloom, history was already passing him by even in the Arab and Islamic world. In Brendan ONeills metaphor, for many years now bin Laden has been the radical

Kayani supporters in Karachi: Not democracys poster boy

The long-term solution is to break the stranglehold of the military-intelligence complex on Pakistani politics, economy and society by consolidating the institutions of democracy and good governance
Islamist equivalent of an ageing rock star living off past hits and releasing the occasional crap audio recording to satisfy his fans. Yet there is no denying the cathartic impact of his death on the hitherto unsated thirst for vengeance and the need for emotional closure by the Americans. And without that, in turn, the world had no prospect whatsoever of

returning to any semblance of normalcy . Another beneficial consequence may be that it will drive a stake through the heart of Pakistans double dealings, deceit and betrayals. It is inconceivable that, given the location, size, boundary walls, videosurveillance equipment and the like, Pakistans security authorities did not know that bin Laden was living in the Abbottabad mansion. On the balance of probability he was more likely , under their protection in an ISI safe house. It is just as inconceivable that, for all their operational brilliance and technical wizardry, the Americans would have risked, or could have carried out, that long an operation so deep inside Pakistan, in close proximity to sensitive military institutions, without the

advance knowledge of key Pakistani authorities. On the other hand, it is entirely credible that the civilian government including the president and prime minister would have been kept out of the loop on both the first and second counts. The third inconceivable conjecture is that, given the known sympathies and ties of the Pakistani security services to the jihadists, the Americans would have risked giving out any information that could compromise their mission. The truth thus lies somewhere between this triangulating set of inconceivable propositions being peddled by Pakistan and the US in order to avoid pointing the finger of criminality at Washingtons chief partner in the AfPak battle space. This way, in public, bin Ladens blood is on US hands, and only theirs. That

is, in effect bin Laden was betrayed by his protectors but, to avoid a terrorist and public backlash, Washington and Islamabad will cooperate in purveying the fiction that this was a unilateral US operation. The fleeting humiliation is a lesser cost than admitting to an act of treachery towards a protected guest of the highest value. But why would Washington play along with such a charade? First, because the war on terror in general and the war in Afghanistan in particular will be won or lost not in the rugged mountains and scenic valleys of Afghanistan but in the teeming streets and bazaars and military cantonments of Pakistan. And, second, because Pakistan is the only country where the highend risks of terrorism, jihadism and nuclear weapons come together in a terrifying cocktail. But in privileging shortterm expediency in tackling this threat, the US has mostly fed the very monster that is the root of the pathology The . crux of the problem is the nature of the Pakistani state. Its capture by the military-intelligence complex is the cause of Pakistans dysfunctionality . The best and only long-term solution is to break the stranglehold of the military-intelligence complex on Pakistani politics, economy and society by establishing civilian control over the military and consolidating the institutions of democracy and good governance.
The writer is professor of international relations, Australian National University.

Celebs Beware
Sharing doesnt always mean caring
espite its cheery facade facilitating exchanges about peoples news, views and shoes, the world of Twitter has a dark side too for its celebrity adherents. A recent study finds too much tweeting by Hollywood icons and rock stars leads to them losing their sex appeal. Inundated by information regarding their breakfast cereal, pop-philosophy or looks take for instance Demi Moore musing online about her hairstyle (Digging soft curls with a side part. A good change from straight with a middle part?) fans get turned off by some of the most attractive people in the real and virtual worlds. Axing your sex appeal with TMI (Too Much Information) isnt the only upsetting thing about baring it all in public. As Bollywood superstar Salman Khan recently found, familiarity breeds contempt. A cheeky chapter of the stars fans tweeted hints he might have become a tad fat. Responding with alacrity, Indias riposte to Sly Stallone posted pictures looking like the Incredible Hulk. The shot clearly hit home though and the star signed off saying, Chup. From hulks to sulks is a short leap. Battling sarcasm about the time he spends tweeting (mentioning long drives, memorable meals and friendly TV anchors), Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah first got pouty, disappeared briefly from online conversations, then reappeared saying, I just got fed up of hearing that because i make time to tweet im not working. He added, though, Im not planning to disappear. Clearly neither Abdullah nor Sushma Swaraj, who recently posted As a family we never even touch egg. Thats our family tradition, has heard of that study we mentioned. Maybe it isnt big enough online yet.

We sought equality and realised its good for the economy too
Norways deputy foreign minister Espen Barth Eide visited New Delhi recently and spoke with Deep K Datta-Ray: I Why is a country on the edge of Europe interested in developing a strategic dialogue with India? Indias a growing player and shares our vision and values. These are universal values which is why theyre in place here and in demand in the Middle East. Theyre rebelling, not for what al-Qaida hoped, but against authoritarian capitalism and for values we believe in. To reinforce these is why we want dialogue with you on global issues because whats at stake is the future architecture of the world. Weve both got strong and shared commitments the United Nations and managing the global commons are two. On the UN, India is showing a remarkable shift towards a multilateral framework. Resolution 1970 referred Gaddafi to the International Criminal Court. This is significant because India did not sign up for the ICC. Its a sign of your broadening commitment to an international regulatory system. Meanwhile, Indias abstaining on resolution 1973 should be interpreted as seeking the middle ground. I Do you agree with the commonplace argument that India lacks strategic thought? Not at all. Its there, which is why India acts how it does but its not written. Were interested in the thinking behind Indian actions, which is why were fostering a strategic dialogue with the relevant ministries and wider society. Were interested in how India handles and responds to the global changes taking place. The US doesnt organise the international system. This has also meant that the comfort of building a strong state. The focus on realising this is welcome, but simultaneously engaging internationally and beyond NAM would help maintain order and help get the India project right too. In Europe, for instance, we built strong multilateral forums while growing economically. Economic growth cannot be sustained without regional institutional mechanisms. Theyre absent here. I Is Europe, and Norway particularly really an exam, ple for India? After all, youre not in the EU, and isnt your economic growth thanks to your oil? No one can really stay out of the European integration project, being a full member or a close partner of the EU is only a question of degree. Were in the Schengen area, in the common market, in other agreements and nearly in others. Adopting a wider view, a 100 years ago we were poor. The change economically and in social terms we have unprecedented equality was due to social democracy not , oil. Of all the Nordic social democracies, only we have oil, but were all similar economically and socially Our model . emphasised the pooling of all resources since the 1930s to manage external shocks. Within our society we sought equal rights as an end, but realised they also free labour and are very good macro economically . This could be an analogy for the EU. The various states pool together to realise social and economic goals. Its also a very flexible and adaptable model, robust to change because underpinning it are the twin ideas of tolerance and accommodation. They help build resilience and need not only be limited to within a country but also between countries at a regional level to start with.


old alignments has dissolved. NAM isnt meaningful anymore. I Wasnt NAM simply a function of India creating a strategic space for itself, something India continues to do today? Yes. The point is that NAM is less relevant today than it was in a bipolar world. The question is, whats key to the India project? Theyre inclusive growth and

Didi and Goliath

After beating the giant Left, Mamata might face the even bigger foe of hope belied
Jug Suraiya


People have given me good rest

Hope Mamata Banerjee will not prevent me from entering West Bengal. Im not a factor in elections. The CPMs defeat has proved it
TASLIMA NASREEN, writer, on the Trinamool victory in West Bengal

The macho hero seems to have vanishedI am consciously trying to get macho men back

What did David do after he beat Goliath and became king? Few seem to know, or care. Thats the thing with giant-killers: their sole job is giant-killing; having killed their giant, pretty much everything else they do will seem like an anti-climax. Will this be the fate of Mamata Banerjee, who felled the seemingly invincible Goliath of the Left? Trinamool spokesperson Derek OBrien came up with a catchy quote soon after his party won: A traffic light which has been on red for 34 years has now changed to green. Green is Trinamools colour; it is also the colour of the Go sign on traffic lights and the colour of progress. Bengal badly needs progress. It reportedly has a crushing debt of some . 1.92 ` lakh crore. Leave alone undertake any badly-needed and employment-generating public works projects, the state is barely in a position to pay its employees wages. How is Bengal to be revived? Thats the sobering question facing Team Mamata and all those who voted for poribartan, for change. So great was the disillusionment with the Left, particularly after the tragic farce of Singur and Nandigram where the one-time architects of Operation Barga, arguably independent Indias most effective land reform movement, became dishonest brokers favouring land-hungry industry at the expense of farmers that Bengals vote was largely a negative vote: anti-communist, rather than pro-Mamata. This is not to detract from Didis enormous popular appeal, with her promise of poribartan and her slogan of Maa, maati, manush, Motherhood, land, humanity. Like the Trinamools election symbol of budding plants, the slogan is a poetic evocation of hope, of new beginnings. It has a great deal of EQ, or emotional quotient, but little, if anything, of what might be called PQ, or practical quotient. How is the social and economic fabric of Bengal, tattered almost beyond salvage by the Lefts misadventurism, to be rewoven and made whole again? In an interview with the TOI, shortly after her victorious election, Mamata underscored Bengals urgent need for large-scale industrial investment and denied a conflict between the interests of farmers and the priorities of industry. What needs to be done, she emphasised, as many others have, is to ensure that agriculturists who give over their land receive a fair deal, not just in terms of cash compensation but also, and equally importantly , are assured of alternative and acceptable forms of future livelihood. Indeed, the proposed land acquisition law currently being worked out in New Delhi seeks to address similar issues. Practical issues, which need the patience and the perseverance to deal with practical details. Mamatas appeal, at least so far, has been based on the immediacy of the emotional. Like Barack Obamas Yes, we can! her poribartan has proved to be a rousing war cry leading to the defeat of an oppressive adversary But as Obama and his follow. ers have seen, the euphoria of victory on the emotional promise of change is short-lived. Till he got a bonus boost with the elimination of Osama bin Laden, Obamas ratings had dropped to a dismal low on popular disaffection fuelled by the persistent unemployment figures in the US and the continuing entanglement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes, we can! and poribartan evoke an irresistible emotional response. But the adrenalin high of that same emotional response is susceptible of turning into its opposite, which is bitter disappointment. The higher the hopes raised, the deeper can be the disappointment when these hopes are not swiftly realised. The most formidable foe of giant-killers is not Goliath; its the even bigger giant of belied hopes that they could face after theyve beaten Goliath. Fingers crossed that thats a return bout Didi doesnt have to fight.

M KARUNANIDHI, DMK president, after his partys defeat in the Tamil Nadu polls

SALMAN KHAN, actor, on heroes in Bollywood films

What You Speak

Of Loneliness And Conflicts

physics, a force is both a photon particle and a light wave; an atomic particle is in two places was rejected as a child. I want to feel at the same time. There are only continua or loved but i do not know how to find love continuums, only complementary forces. and end my loneliness. Or, I am torn What is the time? I ask: Where? Right now, between two opposites and do not know who is it night or day? The answer is: It is both. to turn to or what to do. Here it is day in America it is night, or vice , On loneliness: There are those who have set versa. A philosopher cannot be partial to one an example with their lives; they had felt re- hemisphere (of the earth or of the brain). jected, lonely, unloved, and are today the most That is how you have it both ways. widely loved individuals with tremendous Yoga masters often present disciples with satisfaction in their lives. How did they do it? contradictory choices in practical life and Learn to give love, instead of asking for it. the disciple has to develop the spiritual Stop being self-centred; cry no longer words skill to resolve apparent contradictions, and such as I was rejected, I am unloved, I reach samadhana, a resolving, bringing am lonely. When you do this, you are re- together the apparent conflicting factors enforcing these thoughts. People see and parts, and thereby arrive at a you and move away because they are holistic reality . afraid of what you might demand. Find the positive concealed in Have no fear in giving; trust in the negative, free the mind of being yourself. Ask when was the last time in conflict. By learning to resolve you were at a potluck party and conflicts, decondition the mind of filled a plate for someone? Or, its conditioning. Lift it from habit stood in line and volunteered patterns, free it from running in THE your spot to another? Or, saw set grooves, and thereby develop I SPEAKING I someone feeling cold and put fresh insights of positive nature your shawl around her? Or, saw into relationships, communicaTREE someone feeling lonely and gave tion and events as well as philoher a truly undemanding smile? Or, knowing sophical realities and truths. Liberate the that someone is sick but alone, offered to look mind and consciousness from what Vedanta after him, without expecting thanks? calls upadhis. Loving and not expecting something is The riddles in the Vedas, ulat-baansiyaan the secret of being loved. But, avoid clinging of Kabir, are part of the same liberating and resist the temptation of wanting to pour systems. So also is the vast repertoire of koans. out your own story Think of similar selfless A koan forces one to come out of set grooves, . ways of loving, without fear of rejection. mental habits and dichotomous conditionEven before you begin to feel that you are ings. For example, the well-known koan: What is the sound of one hand clapping? being loved, you will begin to feel a sense of Between two opposites there is a third satisfaction because you have been selfless. On conflicts: When faced with two oppo- option lurking, much like the way Hegels sites, have both; you will become a bipolar thesis and antithesis produce a synthesis. Do magnet. There are no conflicting forces in the not suffer loneliness; enjoy solitude and learn universe. All is complementary. In quantum to decondition your mind.
Talk: Swami Veda Bharati




Words can confer strength; they can drain it off. Words can help gain friends; they can turn them into enemies. Words can elevate or lower the individual. One must learn the habit of making ones words sweet, soft, and pleasant. Atharva Veda Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanityWords have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world. Gautama Buddha Speak soft and sweet; sympathise with suffering and loss and ignorance, try your best to apply the salve of soothing words and timely succour. Sri Sathya Sai Baba Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. Mother Teresa

Adding fuel to ire

With reference to the editorial Think Decontrol (May 17), the finance minister ascribing the significant petrol price hike to the decision of oil marketing companies is too facile to convince even a schoolchild. Lamentably, hes still on election-speak. Left to the state-owned oil companies, they would have surely raised prices earlier. As for fuel subsidy, is the governments will, rather whim, enough to denude the taxpayers pocket? The truth concerns not financial losses but loss of votes. Looming large is another escalation in cooking gas, diesel and kerosene prices to adversely affect everybody. Not to reduce petrol prices before and during elections amounts to insider trading, that too with the ultimate currency peoples votes.
Tapan Chatterjee, VIA EMAIL

It has been observed that a large part of petrol price (approximately 40% to 50%) comprises excise duty and other taxes. Why cant the government reduce these taxes? It can let go of a certain portion of the revenue that supposedly comes from tax collections for the benefit of the common man. If proceeds are used sincerely, the government can accomplish a lot of developmental work even with reduced revenues. Besides, if the UPA regime could splurge crores of rupees on the Commonwealth Games, where funds were grossly misused, and if it could turn a blind eye to the underpriced sale of 2G spectrum, why cant it reduce taxes on petrol and diesel?
Amit Kuryan, VIA EMAIL
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D SUBBARAO, RBI governor



You cannot get high growth by tolerating high inflation.

No Citizen Is Safe
The governments penchant for wiretapping is undermining Indias democratic values
Richard Evans

Fighting Fit
Battling inflation means more reform, not less
espite growth pegged at over 8%, Indias economy needs as much careful handling now as during the post-2008 slowdown. Curbing headline inflation must be top priority mandating a multi-pronged strategy The , . UPA must stop pussyfooting, not least because price rise has joined corruption in the list of major public grievances against it. True, inflation moderated in April to 8.66%, but thats far above RBIs 4.5% medium-term target. More, the figure may hit double-digits when petrol price increase and an expected diesel price hike make commodities, transport and inputs for industry dearer. RBIs recent interest rate hikes, though hawkish, didnt provoke many howls. Theres growing realisation that battling price rise isnt at the cost of economic expansion. Rather, protracted high inflation is itself menacing growth. In fighting inflation, conventional wisdom advocates price-fixing for fuel. But global trends mandate decontrol despite a near-term inflationary impact, which too can be managed by cutting taxes on fuel. Price-fixing simply means deferring the shock for later, at which point it is bound to hit harder. All of this mandates more, not less, reform. Inflation being both demand and supply driven, governments action is as crucial as RBIs. Fuel price deregulation must go on, the eventual aim being to push private retail as a means of lowering prices via competition. More immediately, theres no arguing against trimming heavy taxes on fuel to contain the inflationary impact of rising prices. More so, since decontrol means fiscal relief, reducing a subsidy threatening to jump the earmarked sum for the fiscal year by almost four times. Instead of relying on taxing fuel, revenues should be mobilised with accelerated disinvestment and sector-specific reform attracting private funds. Unnecessary government expenditure too can be trimmed for the sake of fiscal rectitude. The RBI sees food inflation as acquiring a systemic nature. With Indias growing food needs, rural skills, farm productivity and choice-based delivery systems must match up. Massive overhaul of agriculture and wasteful, corruption-ridden distribution networks is needed to avoid recurring food crises. While boosting investment, retail and marketing reform will help eradicate the costs and inefficiencies of having a plethora of intermediaries and traders in the commodities market, with their baneful fallout on denuded farmers incomes and high shop prices. Funds are required for crucial tasks such as making agriculture technology-based, building farm-to-fork infrastructure, boosting irrigation-linked innovation or promoting research in genetically modified foods. As industry voices point out, structural reforms geared to dismantling supply-side impediments must accompany monetary tightening aimed at raising borrowing costs. Else, all well do is tranquillise growth without beating inflation, bringing Indias growth story to an end. Is that what the government wants, and does the UPA think it can fetch votes this way?

aving recently visited New Delhi after some years away i was be, mused to witness the storm of controversy surrounding the leaking of taped telephone conversations at the centre of the Cablegate or Radiagate affair. It was everywhere on television, in the papers and it dominated conversations in restaurants and cafes. Journalists and business people alike spoke of their fear of wiretapping. They said they no longer discuss important matters on the telephone. They talk in code and arrange private meetings at undisclosed locations. Many dont even trust email. There is talk of secret email accounts, techniques for evading detection and even writing important messages in French or Chinese. The leaking of telephone conversations between Niira Radia and others embarrassed industrialists, politicians and journalists. Everyone zoomed in on who said what to whom and when. But these issues appear largely irrelevant. What is most worrying is that government ministers can authorise wiretaps and prolonged surveillance in India without any real evidence, a court order or even a signed scrap of paper from a judge. This threatens the privacy and free speech of everyone in India. The original pretext for authorising the wiretaps appears

absurd: that Radia acted as an agent of a foreign government or she was trying to cheat the taxman. Nearly three years into this sorry saga, no foreign agents have been caught and no tax cheats charged or convicted. Theres a legal term for when authorities listen to phone conversations to catch private citizens at something for which there is no prima facie evidence. Its called entrapment, and it is unlawful in any democracy worthy of the name. Weve seen this kind of thing before. Remember Watergate? Or President Bushs insistence that the US Congress pass laws known as the Patriot Act which

Just who is listening in?

What kind of country does India want to become? A capitalist oligarchy that spies on its citizens? Or something far better?
allowed the FBI to follow or wiretap anyone they wanted following the 9/11 attacks? This kind of dark crusade is always about justifying the loss of civil liberties in order to catch wrongdoers. Its never worth it. I remember my first trip to New Delhi back in the terrible autumn of 1984, when i covered the chaotic aftermath of Indira Gandhis assassination. Right away there was evidence that , hundreds, perhaps thousands

of Sikhs, were being murdered in revenge attacks, despite police assurances that the numbers were far lower. With the country in a virtual state of emergency i set up shop in the Imperial Hotel and the Press Club of India and sent my dispatches down open phone lines to London. To my knowledge, my phones were never tapped. I was never followed or harassed, even though what i broadcast and wrote was deeply critical of the authorities. My work was never interfered with. I felt completely free to work as a journalist in India and it impressed me deeply . A few years later, in Pakistan, i experienced the exact opposite. Then covering the Afghan-Soviet war for the BBC, i sat in my hotel room in Peshawar talking on the telephone

with a mujahideen commander whom i was planning to travel with into Afghanistan. There were so many ISI spies listening and talking in the background that i couldnt make out what my mujahideen contact was saying. It was a surreal experience, both frightening and farcical. The essential question is: what kind of country does India want to become? A capitalist oligarchy that spies on its citizens? Or something far better? We do live in a dangerous age when covert surveillance is needed to thwart terrorist plots and to bring fanatics, gangsters, drug dealers and arms smugglers to justice. These are existential threats to the state. But to spy on citizens or businesses with no record of criminal behaviour? Ridiculous. This behaviour is not

tolerated in most democracies, at least not for long. Nixon was driven from office because of Watergate and Bush became the most unpopular president in a century More recently when . , Britains News of the World was caught wiretapping public figures, two journalists went to jail, one lost his job at Number 10 Downing Street and the newspaper has already paid out 1.7 million to settle lawsuits. Yet in India, the police, government, opposition parties and the courts all stood idly by while the Radia tapes were unlawfully leaked and disseminated. Seven or eight agencies in India appear to have the authority to conduct covert investigations without judicial oversight. Ministers promise to rein them in and introduce reforms, but that is difficult to believe. The very way in which these tapes were leaked shows that money was changing hands and that no one can be trusted with such explosive material. Allegations are almost impossible to refute once lodged. The accused are convicted by public opinion before they ever enter a courtroom. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a man who has known firsthand the pain of injustice. A long-time champion of reform, he has the moral authority to act decisively and end the Stasilike tactics that violate every citizens rights. Its time for him to lead the way .
The writer is a journalist.

Muslim parties make significant inroads in Kerala and Assam

UPs Land Wars

Land Acquisition Bill need of the hour
potlighted by Rahul Gandhis high-profile visit, the agitation against land acquisition in Bhatta and Parsaul villages of Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, is symptomatic of a pan-India problem. From Niyamgiri in Orissa to Raigad in Maharashtra, state governments spanning the political spectrum are involved in controversial land acquisitions. At the heart of the problem is the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Section 17(1) or the urgency clause of the law allows the government to acquire land for a variety of public purposes such as building public infrastructure, rural and urban planning etc. Invoking the clause suspends Section 5-A of the law, which allows landowners to express their objections against the acquisition. It is this loophole that is being exploited by various state governments to acquire land without obtaining consent of land holders. Controversial land acquisitions are also being exploited by politicians of various hues, as they home in looking for an issue. Rahul Gandhis accusations of mass murder and rape in UP appear to have been exaggerated, with pending assembly elections in the state accounting for the shrill pitch. Nevertheless, charges of police atrocities against hapless villagers resisting land acquisition deserve to be investigated seriously. And the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill that would overturn the 1894 Act and provide, instead, a market-linked mechanism for such acquisition, may be the single most important piece of legislation thats hanging fire in Parliament. It needs to be passed without further delay. Land-related woes severely impact the investment and growth climate. Instead of trying to score political points ahead of the UP assembly elections, a transparent and fair mechanism for land acquisition needs to be the agenda.

Just part of electoral dynamics

ccording to reports, the drift by the Muslim community towards religious outfits in some states Badruddin Ajmals All India United Democratic Front in Assam and the Muslim League in Kerala was so comprehensive that both parties have become important players in their respective state assemblies. Given the sensitivity of any issue to do with the nexus of religion and politics, it isnt surprising that this development is being viewed I T I with some concern. Abusaleh Shariff, one of the authors of the Sachar committee report, has sounded the alarm over this trend. But at the end of the day , too much is being read into it. Bear in mind that an election is, essentially a marketplace. The rules of supply , and demand apply If you do not offer the . product that the customer wants or if you offer a product that is known to be defective he will look elsewhere. If ethnic groups do not find enough representation within mainstream parties, ethnic parties might come up promising to cater to their demands. But eventually ethnic parties will have to form coalitions with

Its an alarming trend

mbedded in the electoral success of outfits like Badruddin Ajmals AIUDF in Assam and the Muslim League in Kerala is the dangerous trend of communalism raising its head again in Indian politics. It is too simplistic to dismiss the rise of these narrow religion-based parties as part and parcel of Indias demonority population was concentrated. The present trend is on similar lines, as these fringe parties have done well in regions where minority populations are concentrated. A party like AIUDF, which made its debut in the 2006 assembly elections with 10 seats, has increased its tally to 18 this time, catapulting it into the position of the second largest party in Assam. Its success is based on a narrow agenda of the welfare of I COUNTERVIEW I immigrant Muslim settlers. Likewise, in Kerala, Ajay Vaishnav cratic process. On the the Muslim League won 20 out of 24 seats contrary, their success in minority-dominated constituencies. doesnt augur well for The rise of Muslims-for-Muslimthe Union. It may lead parties will polarise the polity and to increased fissipa- vitiate the atmosphere. At this stage, rous tendencies. when India is poised for fast economic Lets not forget that growth, the country cannot afford the communal politics has tormented India growth of communal parties with their on numerous occasions. In the past, it cre- narrow self-serving agendas. The point ated havoc in the form of partition of the can be broadened to state that identity subcontinent on religious lines. India had politics of any kind is pernicious. India to be partitioned because of fears planted has a secular Constitution, and only in the minds of the minority community secular parties should be permitted to by the Muslim League. Moreover, the operate. Thats the best way for India to League succeeded in areas where the mi- keep the scourge of communalism at bay .

bigger parties and/or accommodate their interests if they are to grow. Likewise, mainstream parties will also realise theres an unmet constituency and try to cater to its interests. This is not very much different from what is happening in other parts of the country . Mayawatis power base, for instance, is the UP

dalit community just , as there are politicians banking on the Jat or Yadav or any of a hundred other vote banks. And mainstream politicians like Nitish Kumar or Mamata Banerjee have shown that by offering a quality product, it is perfectly possible to win over voters who may have otherwise chosen community leaders. The so-called polarisation in Assam and Kerala will last precisely until the mainstream parties there take a leaf from Nitishs book.

Googly on the Hooghly

Must Didi clean bowl the past to turn Oh Kolkata into Ah Kolkata?
Bachi Karkaria

Rule Of Law
he sentencing of BSP MLA and former minister Anand Sen to life, for kidnapping and killing a dalit woman, does credit to Mayawati. Her enforcing the rule of law in this case bodes well for the state. Nor is this an aberration. Shekhar Tiwari is behind bars as is Amarmani Tripathi both of whom are, or were, BSP men who committed heinous crimes.

Shopaholics, Confess

Calling ET
rench scientists could have found a planet outside our solar system able to support earth-like life. Gliese 581d revolves around a dwarf star, Gliese 581, orbiting in its Goldilocks zone where conditions are just right for water to exist in liquid form. The downside a spaceship travelling at lights speed would take 20 years to get there. But, hey, a couple of centuries later we might have the technology.

Were still waiting to exhale. Kolkatas traffic lights turned from red to green with dramatic force, but everyone still waits with bated breath. Will Didis promised Poriborton bring the city up to speed, or will it still be stuck in the same snarl? Whats her new revolutionary road? Raj Calcutta was as different from Marxist Kolkata as a sandesh is from cheese-cake. You can be sure that both will be changed ruthlessly by La Belle Dame Sans Mamata. The new CM has to stand for both common man and corporate manna, as mutually exclusive as land for tillers and land for Tatas. Truly i dont know , which is worse, Kolkata finding its feet but losing its elevated soul, or Kolkata remaining down at heel but declaiming, debating and quoting Descartes as it descends completely into a civic hell. What i do know is that Kolkata III will be different from its previous avatars. Both had to go, but both had their glories while they lasted, and together they created a breed of natives who looked down on everyone else. With good reason. The contrasting two strands of their DNA have made the Bengalis unique. And this also accounts for the large number of Hon Bongs elbowing our wannabe way into this Unique Intellectual Identity . John Companys sun had shone here with greater intensity and the stars , of its night life sparkled more brightly in White Town and in the palaces of , Brown princes alike. So naturally Calcutta relinquished the ghosts of the Raj more reluctantly and later than elsewhere. Right till the early 60s, they continued to stride through the central business district, sip sundowners in the clubs, and, dressed like wolves in sharkskin suits, they shimmied in a mean quickstep at Princes in the Grand Hotel. Their children were initiated into Park Streets successive rites of passage: the Sylvania birthday party cake from Flurys, the tennis or elocution trophy celebration at Skyroom, the teenaged jam sessions at a Trincas set on fire by Usha still Iyer, and the first serious cheek-to-cheek slow dance at Blue Fox abetted by Pam Crain in her sequined sheath oozing sex appeal into the mike. Bombay had been merely Urbs Primus in Indis and Delhi was little more than the graveyard of dynasties, but Calcutta was Second City of Empire, preceded only by London itself. No wonder then, that nostalgia remained the only surviving industry when the flight of capital and load-shedding turned it into the City of Dreadful Night. When Raj-relic Cal was finally and violently driven out in 1967, the explod, , ing revolution brought its own white-knuckled exhilaration. The Black Marias hurtling down curfew-emptied streets and the crack of gunfire splitting the silence of our exam-swotting nights as the first United Front government got its bloodied birthing in 1967. Naxalbari stamped our psyche with Chairman Mao and then was stamped out as brutally as it stomped in. After 1977, we fell under the spell of Comrade Basu. The combination of revolutionary fire and iced lemonade on indolent club verandahs gave a distinctive aura to those of us baptised by a Calcutta always shortened to Cal and a Kolkata which always had to be marched through its full length. When i went to live in Bombay i yearned as much for the roar of , slogans on the street as for the chocolate cornet at Flurys. Flurys stopped making this decadent confection a while ago, and now the lal has been stripped of its salaam. Didi may have little use for either of these, but all of us who were weaned on both these indulgences fervently hope that Kolkata III wont entirely jettison its uniquely dual legacy . * ** Alec Smart said: The IMF chief must now handle his biggest meltdown. It was caused by his own runaway inflation.

or men out there who cant stop complaining about how much women shop, heres food for thought. A recent survey finds that on average, men spend more than women over purchases. Whats more, men go for fairly low-end goodies food, beer and DVDs topping their shopping lists while women seek higher-brow items, like books, magazines and clothes. Clearly, all that groaning about going shopping is just so much drama.


To Persevere And Let Go

They could meet with limited success, often hitting roadblocks which seem insurmountable erseverance and letting go are both or which drain away tremendous amounts of positive qualities that we all possess. time, energy and money. The human mind and However, despite their being life-enhanc- the ego are such that giving credit does not ing qualities, these are often complementary come easily. This is not only true where other and even antagonistic to each other, and need people are concerned, but our mind and ego to be employed in sequence, and at the right often do not even want to acknowledge the time, rather than in isolation for us to achieve Power that runs the universe, day in and day success, peace and harmony . out, without exception. Not wanting to give Try, try till you succeed is something weve credit to God, destiny or fate, and wanting to all been taught in school. Success is 99% perspi- corner all the praise is one reason why people ration and 1% inspiration, were told, to high- find it difficult to let go and trust. light the importance of hard work. And work we Hard work and perseverance are absolutely must, for that is the very nature of life. Karma necessary, doubtless. But somewhere along the Yoga, as outlined in the Bhagavad Gita course, after having exhausted all by Krishna speaks highly of work as a human possibilities, one must learn to form of worship. Swami Vivekananda sit back, be detached from the outcome persuaded his followers to work ceaseof our efforts, and hand over our lessly till the goal is reached. endeavours to a higher power. How and when to do this is purely an intuitive or Success is determined by a combiinstinctive phenomenon. When we nation of factors. Hard work is only sincerely let go, not out of laziness, one of them. Besides hard work, we THE complacency and lethargy but after also need talent, inspiration, creativity, luck and destiny. While most of SPEAKING having done our very best, it is then that the process of life shifts to us work hard, true success and joy TREE another plane, with the unseen hand come only to some, while most others have to remain content with whatever they get. coming into play. And the power or destiny This brings us to the relationship between works in myriad ways. A chance meeting, someperseverance and letting go. Perseverance is thing overheard or read in the newspapers, the quality of sticking to ones job and to ones the stirring of a memory, a different thought goals, come what may Letting go, on the other process, sudden release of funds that had dried . hand, is exactly the opposite. It consists of put- up something is likely to happen, which would ting ones faith and trust in a higher power, put our work and project back on track. When success becomes palpable, it is whether we call it God or destiny waiting , patiently for results. While these two qualities important to remember and acknowledge may seem to be opposites they are, in fact, not and give thanks to existence, without proudly proclaiming that everything was achieved so; they are complementary to each other. Every venture, dream and project needs only by our own perseverance. vaidyanathan.pv@gmail.com divine grace for its successful completion. www.speakingtree.in Those who decline to believe in the power of the unknown are likely to continue struggling and Join the worlds first spiritual networking will have to depend solely on their own efforts. site to interact directly with masters and seekers.
P V Vaidyanathan


Live In The Present

Do not dwell in the past, do not dwell in the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. Gautama Buddha There is neither past nor future. There is only the present. Yesterday was the present to you when you experienced it, and tomorrow will be also the present when you experience it. Ramana Maharshi We should not fret for what is past, nor should we be anxious about the future; men of discernment deal only with the present moment. Chanakya We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. If what we are now has been the result of our own past actions, it certainly follows that whatever we wish to be in future can be produced by our present actions; so we have to know how to act. Swami Vivekananda

Eye on Kabul
With reference to the editorial Kabul Calling (May 10), the war against the Taliban-led insurgency is far from over, even if Osama bin Laden is no more. In any case, the war against terrorism has now entered a decisive phase. The objective for Kabul should be to prepare the Afghan national army to assume greater responsibility. To allow Pakistan to gain a strategic foothold in Afghanistan would be detrimental to Indias security. It could allow Islamabad to exert more pressure related to the Kashmir issue. Besides helping Afghanistan with infrastructure projects, India must do its best to train the Afghan army and police personnel. Ultimately, they will be the custodians of the country after Natos exit.
Gregory Fernandes, MUMBAI


DMKs downfall
With reference to the editorial Family Drama (May 16), the defeat of the DMK-Congress combine in the Tamil Nadu assembly polls was a forgone conclusion. But its total decimation came as a surprise to many. This ignominious defeat shows the anger of the people against the DMK regime and its ally, both perceived as corrupt. Peoples desire to free themselves from the stranglehold of M Karunanidhis family was the main driving force behind the AIADMKs landslide victory. Though Jayalalithaa should get the honours for the incumbent partys rout, equally commendable are the efforts of the Election Commission which made it impossible for DMK leaders like Azhagiri to use money and muscle power to rig the elections. On its part, the Congress extended its patronage to the DMK regime by turning a blind eye to its misdeeds.
V Venkatasubramanian, VIA EMAIL
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The control of the intelligence agencies must be in the hands of the elected government.
NAWAZ SHARIF, Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader

Towards An Effective Lokpal

Anti-corruption ombudsman must strengthen, not weaken, the democratic system
N K Singh

Opportunity Knocks
Abbottabad can be an occasion for Pakistani democracy to assert itself

wo statements coming out of Pakistan have made the fault line running through the country abundantly clear. On the one hand Nawaz Sharif, the countrys most important civilian leader outside the government, said it was imperative for his country to stop viewing India as its biggest enemy if it is to pull itself out of its current morass. On the other, army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani told a group of journalists that the army would not give up control of the intelligence agencies or of the countrys foreign policy, particularly with regard to India, the US and Afghanistan. For all the angry talk of Pakistani duplicity in the war on terror coming from Congress and opinion-makers in Washington, Abbottabads real fallout is domestic. The mood among political circles is one of embarrassment and humiliation, leading to anti-military rumblings. In response, the army no doubt will and has already started to reach into its old bag of tricks. Thus, the attempts to shift the conversation from bin Ladens presence to Americas violation of Pakistani sovereignty, provoking a nationalistic backlash the perfect environment for the army to reassert itself as the only viable bulwark against such intrusions. It is a strategy that has worked well in the past to maintain an oppressive control over civilian institutions as well as to fire a warning shot across the USs bows. So when Kayani says this time around that there should be more balance between foreign policy and public opinion and that this means a less proUS stance, the message he is sending to Washington is clear. But this time, matters cannot be allowed to take the same course. Abbottabad has given Pakistans elected government and civil society an opportunity to rein in the military. The US must back any such play It has poured $20 billion into Pakistan over the past decade, but . routed it through the military Its time to let Pakistans elected government . control the purse strings. Theres no reason for the international community to fight shy of encouraging an Arab spring when it comes to Pakistan. As for New Delhi, it must stay out of the entire affair. Any chest-thumping would only be to the Pakistani armys benefit, reinforcing threat perceptions from India. It must also hunker down for a hot summer in Kashmir, as the Pakistani military may be inclined to step up infiltration and aid to separatists as another distraction tactic. New Delhi should be able to leverage the loss of Pakistans soft power and attractiveness as an alternative model in the Valley given the chaos into which the country has been , sunk by its militarys dysfunctional policies.

ll eyes are on the outcome of the meetings of the joint drafting committee on the Lokpal Bill, one scheduled next week. The overall aim is to finalise the legislation so that an effective institution can be put in place to deal with corruption in high places. Where the Lokpals jurisdiction is concerned, the government Bill, 2010, is unacceptable for two crucial reasons. First, though it brings the prime minister under the Lokpals ambit, the Bill confines its jurisdiction only to complaints referred to it by the presiding officers of both houses of Parliament. Second, the Lokpals recommendations would be merely advisory, making the body toothless. Once the Lokpal enquires into an allegation, its recommendations should be binding. In a disturbing development, a round table deliberation organised on April 24 saw two distinguished former chief justices of India express the view that the judiciary and the prime minister be kept out of the Lokpals ambit. While the former may be debatable, keeping the latter out would be a retrograde step. Under the Jan Lokpal Bill, the Lokpal will have a vast jurisdiction covering besides the prime minister, ministers and MPs the higher judiciary and the entire administration and bureaucracy including , local bodies, corporations, etc. The point here is whether a Lokpal alone would be able to effectively deal with corruption

over such a vast area comprising politicians, judiciary bureau, cracy corporations, etc. Or will , it turn out to be a case of missing the trees (corruption in high places) for the wood (the entire vast administration)? Again, the Jan Lokpal Bill proposes to dismantle the Central Vigilance Commission, now a three-member body All its . posts would stand abolished and transferred to the Lokpal. The CVC Act passed by Parliament only in 2003 to give effect to welldeliberated Supreme Court directions of December 18, 1997 in the Vineet Narain case would stand repealed. The CVC was created in 1964 by Lal Bahadur Shastri on the basis of the

Of big crusades and supercops

Unfortunately, the civil society Bill seems based on distrust of our constitutional system, parliamentary and democratic processes and the political class as a whole
recommendations of the K Santhanam-headed Committee on Prevention of Corruption. It was to deal with corruption among central government employees. Like many other institutions, it has not succeeded in doing so effectively and does need further reform and empowerment. But the CVC has a history of 47 years. So, why not let the Lokpal deal with corruption in high places higher judiciary top , political functionaries and top

bureaucracy such as, say, secretaries to the government and heads of departments? The rest could be left to a further empowered CVC, with a network of vigilance officers in the ministries. And what kind of monster body is the Jan Lokpal Bill proposing to create? Under it, the Lokpal would be unwieldy with 11 members and have powers to cancel licences, blacklist firms, order search, seizure and confiscation, etc, take suo motu notice of cases, investigate them and launch prosecutions. Besides having quasi-judicial powers, which it ought to possess, it would be vested with police powers and authority to award punishment, etc. This wide ambit has led to dissensions, with one panel member rightly calling the proposed body a supercop. There is now also a proposal to give the Lokpal phone-tapping authority.

Unfortunately the civil so, ciety Bill seems based on distrust of our constitutional system, parliamentary and democratic processes and the political class as a whole. It is true that people are fed up with corruption. As during the fast undertaken by Anna Hazare, they are ready to take to the streets. We must wake up to these alarm bells. But all reforms, including the creation of the Lokpal, must aim at strengthening rather than weakening the democratic system. The Jan Lokpal Bill also proposes transferring the Special Police Establishment division of the CBI to the Lokpal, effectively making the rest of the investigative agency a defunct organisation. We all want an apolitical CBI and no political interference in its investigation of cases. The law of the land lays

down as much. But the CBI is an investigative agency after all, and should not be completely separated from mainstream governance. In its work, it needs the cooperation of state governments, income tax authorities and, very often, foreign authorities. The round table attended by former chief justices M N Venkatachaliah and J S Verma was clearly of the view that the identity of the CVC and the CBI as separate organisations must be maintained. Powers to be bestowed to the Lokpal need to be rationalised, to achieve the right proportion. The legislation may provide that cases taken up by the CBI, on the basis of the findings of the Lokpal, will be monitored and controlled by it, in the manner the Supreme Court has been doing in select cases including the 2G spectrum matter. As also that the government will have nothing to do with the investigation of such cases. The CBI will perhaps need further safeguards against political interference in its investigations. The proposal in the Jan Lokpal Bill to do away with the single directive in the CVC Act, and to entrust the power to the Lokpal of sanction for prosecution, must be accepted. In view of its enlarged jurisdiction, covering politicians, the judiciary as well as the top bureaucracy the Lokpal ought , to be a body of five instead of three members (as proposed in the government Bill), one of whom should be from outside the judiciary.
The writer is a former joint director, CBI.

Leaky Bucket
Social security schemes need a shaking up

Trinamool Congress is not against industry

As the Mamata Banerjee-led coalition prepares to take over in West Bengal after 34 years of Left rule, Partha Chatterjee, the newly-elected deputy leader of the House, spoke to Saugata Roy: I How will the new government pursue industrialisation and address farmers concerns? Mamata Banerjee has made it clear that our party is not against industry. Industrial rejuvenation forms a major part of the Trinamool Congress manifesto. The problem earlier wasnt with setting up industry but with the way the Left Front government forcibly acquired land from farmers. Some of it was multicrop land that the Left regime wasnt even aware of. A survey on the character of land by the land and land reforms department is pending since the 1960s. The Santragachhi jheel (water body) that you see in Howrah now is still a sali (dry) land in government records. The first thing we will do after taking charge is to undertake a comprehensive land survey. The next step is to publish a white paper on government-acquired land for industry lying vacant for more than three years. This is what has annoyed farmers. Bringing out a land map is among the new governments priorities. Many industries can be accommodated in clusters, as experts have said. I What will happen to the 400 acres of land in Singur that Mamata had promised to return to farmers unwilling to part with land? I am confident Mamata will find a way out. When she went on an indefinite fast against the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, there werent too many who backed her. Rehabilitation of land losers and other stakeholders, improve transportation and revamp the storage and delivery mechanism. Look at the plight of the potato growers who entered into an agreement with Frito-Lay. They are being paid a pittance Rs 1.50 a kg. Farmers have little choice because they cant store potatoes on their own. These are the areas the new government wants to concentrate on, like setting up storage facilities on the public-private partnership model. I How does the coalition plan to tackle the problem of a party society and a partisan administration in all spheres including education? We are determined to end it. I can assure you vice-chancellors of the state universities wont have to come to Trinamool Bhavan. This is one step to liberate education from the party hegemony. Other things will automatically follow because there is no dearth of talent in colleges and universities. We honour institutions. Our aim is to restore lost glory to the states education institutions. The new government wants state employees to work for the people righteously and independently. We wont tolerate party politics within working hours. Our party doesnt endorse the ruckus over taking control of unions, like the one that happened in the police HQ recently. I asked the administration to take action, and a person was arrested even though he swore by poribartan. The new government will also take stock of pending arrest warrants and ask the administration to work without political bias. We will also consider release of undertrials booked with a political motive. Our view is the same in the health sector. We need to set up community health centres. Private parties are welcome on the condition that they keep the outdoor patient department open to the poor for treatment at subsidised rates.

ajiv Gandhi had famously remarked that for every rupee spent by the government on poverty alleviation, only 17 paise reached the intended beneficiaries. The recent World Bank review of 11 centrally-sponsored social security schemes in India is evidence that things have changed little. Confirming vast leakages and structural inefficiencies in delivery mechanisms, the review found only 40% of the targeted poor benefiting from the schemes. Ironically those schemes that do not specifically seek to identify the poor, such as NREGS and the widow pension scheme, have better success in covering them. For far too long our welfare schemes have been coloured by politics and stifled by corruption. The public distribution system accounting for 1% of the GDP leaks almost 60% of the foodgrains meant for the poor. This accounts for why India is home to a third of the worlds malnourished children under the age of five, and ranks below China and Pakistan in the International Food Policy Research Institutes global hunger index. A fresh approach to poverty alleviation is the need of the hour. In the medium term, pursuing self-selecting schemes along the lines of NREGS that disincentivise non-target groups from pilfering resources is a good idea. However, long-term reforms demand better identification of the poor and strengthening delivery mechanisms. Both can be achieved through greater integration of technology For example, combining the Unique Identification . (UID) or Aadhaar project with mobile banking could provide a stable platform for direct cash transfers to the poor. Similarly mating UID with food coupons , could improve access to foodgrains. The status quo must be challenged. Out-of-the-box thinking is the way forward.


giving them prospective benefits and redefining the public purpose clause were out of question under the Act. Now, the country is thinking along Mamatas lines. She will make necessary amendments to the Act and live up to her promise. The new government wont forcibly acquire land. Instead, it will upgrade infrastructure,

Thank you, comrades

People like me owe a debt of gratitude to Bengals Marxists
Jug Suraiya


Yeddyurappa and i are friends

Warnie, to me, was the tortured romantic, a Van Gogh-like figure almost, or the Guru Dutt of Kaagaz Ke Phool

I think men evolved into apes and the apes decided to remain apes so that men can be free to become apes

Mamatas electoral broom has swept them out of the state they ruled for 34 years, but i and many others like me owe a vote of thanks to Bengals commies. Because if it hadnt been for them, a lot of people would never have left what was then Calcutta to go far and wide to seek pastures new. And, in the process perhaps, rediscover themselves anew. They say that if you put a crab into a pot of cold water which is gradually heated the crab will be lulled into sleep by the slow rise in temperature and not feel a thing until its been well and truly cooked. Calcuttans liked crabs. The irony of it was that few of us realised how like those crabs wed become: complacent about our surroundings, secure in an illusory sense of well-being. The Calcutta the Left inherited in the 1970s may have been a faded shadow of its former self when it had been the vaunted Second City of the Empire, second in pride of place only to London. Though increasingly beset by labour problems, it was still the most important industrial hub in the country, with its jute mills and heavy engineering plants and its flourishing tea trade. It had the most cosmopolitan mix of any Indian city and was proud of it: Anglo-Indians, , Jews, Armenians, Chinese, Tibetans, Kabuliwalas from Afghanistan, the odd, elderly Brits who like forgetful guests had lingered on long after all the rest of their people had gone back to a small, rainy island they called Home. Home? Home was right here, in Calcutta, for all these people, and many more. The Howrah bridge, spanning the Hooghly river, was the symbol of a Calcutta that linked different lives, different currents, and made them one. What exactly it was that changed, and why, and when, is a matter of opinion. But slowly, imperceptibly like the heating water in a pot of crabs a crucial change came over the character of the city: from being a bustling, outward-looking metropolis, open to new horizons, it began to adopt the indrawn parochialism of a mofussil town, smug in its own self-satisfaction. The change may have started earlier, but it was the Left which, through malign neglect, ensured Calcuttas transformation from thriving city to stagnant backwater. Concentrating on the rural hinterland where, even as critics acknowledge, they carried out an impressive programme of land reforms, at least in the early years the communists abandoned the city to its fate, much like the dying destitutes that Mother Teresa controversial icon of a forsaken city salvaged from the pavements. The communists blamed Calcuttas decline on the stepmotherly treatment of the Centre; no stepmother of misogynist myth could have been more cruel than the Left itself was to the city. The inevitable flight of capital took place, as industry and commerce moved away But perhaps more than the flight of capital it was the flight of . ideas that afflicted the city. The hidebound, time-warped ideology of the Left turned the city into a mental prison that stifled thought. The Left had reinvented the legendary Black Hole of Calcutta. And we, who were living in it, didnt realise it had happened. For a long while a lot of us who still consider Calcutta if not todays Kolkata as our home were in a state of denial, crabs in heating water. We were fine, our city was fine, everything was fine. But it wasnt. And when opportunity presented itself, when the door we tried to keep shut opened despite our efforts to keep it closed, we took the escape it offered. In media alone, Calcuttas list of refugees includes Gautam Adhikari, Bachi Karkaria, M J Akbar, Chandan Mitra, Swapan Dasgupta, Dilip Bobb, Pritish Nandy, Mukul Sharma, to name just a few. Indian media has much to thank Bengals Left for. However, all silver linings have a dark cloud, which in this case is me. If it hadnt been for the comrades, i wouldnt have been in Delhi, or in the TOI. And you wouldnt be reading this. Another damn thing to blame the bloody commies for.

H R BHARDWAJ, Karnataka governor, on his embattled relationship with the chief minister

SANJAY DIXIT, Rajasthan Cricket Association honorary secretary, on Shane Warne

RAM GOPAL VARMA, filmmaker, on his theory of evolution

Poetry of Life

What Words Cannot Express

is absolutely quiet. Self-realisation as a crude comparison is equivalent to this state of mind. great deal has been said about realisa- However, you need to experience this when tion and enlightenment. But what is it? you are awake. Otherwise it is as if you have Perhaps this is one thing which can been carried over to London and brought back never be expressed in words. When we are sad to your residence when you were asleep and or happy we say so and the other person can thus you remember nothing. follow because these are common feelings. One cannot stay in that state of mind for a Realisation, however, is something most are long time. As Ramakrishna says, the salt doll quite unaware of. Besides, as Hermann Hesse goes to measure the depth of the ocean and in says, whenever you try to express anything it the process it dissolves. Not many have the is only half-said and from the listeners point capacity to come back to the material world of view it is only half-understood. Naturally, after experiencing the ultimate. then, for uncommon experiences, both our When it comes to enlightenment, we need expressions and understanding are limited. to travel to the ocean to experience it. Nor can Only a few symptoms observed during the we simply experience it through imagination. process can perhaps be expressed in With desire for material pleasure or words. For example, that it is as if a wealth, that experience can never be mild electric current flows across realised. We need to rationalise the vital parts of the body neither always and slowly withdraw from any worldly happiness nor misery what is transient. We have to give up remains dominant at that point of the sense of possession. As memtime. Some sensation is felt along bers of society we have to perform the spine and the brain. Even the certain things because we need to THE Buddha who experienced it so do them. But we dont have to get I SPEAKING I intensely remained quiet about involved in them. Sincerity withthis state though there are out attachment has to be pursued. TREE instructions for attaining it. It is Many people say sincerity something that can only be known from without attachment is not possible. Why not? first-hand experience. You plant a tree. You water the plant daily Maugham in The Razors Edge creates the and make space for sunlight to fall. If it does background with great artistic skill: Light not survive, you need to accept that without began to filter through the darkness, slowly , getting upset. like a mysterious figure slinking between Rationalisation and detachment, persistent the treesa tingling that arose in my feet efforts, devotion and dedication can lead to enand travelled up to my headknowledge lightenment that brings about transformation, more than human possessed me. Despite disconnection from the past and the feeling of Maughams sincere attempt to capture it in oneness in all, a moment of eternity that words, he is silent when it comes to the actual words can never really describe with accuracy. experience. How can i tell you what i felt? No arup@iegindia.org words can tell the ecstasy of my bliss. www.speakingtree.in A monk once told me: When you are in Join the worlds first spiritual networking deep sleep you dont see any dream; the mind site to interact directly with masters and seekers.
Arup Mitra



The little space within the heart is as great as the vast universe. The heavens and the earth are there, and the sun and the moon and the stars. Fire and lightning and winds are there, and all that now is and all that is not. Upanishads Do not say It is , morning, and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name. Rabindranath Tagore Sit quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself. Zen Saying And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. Kahlil Gibran A poets work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep. Salman Rushdie

Recall Bhardwaj
With reference to the editorial Missing The Point (May 18), from the day Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj assumed office, he has been working against the BJP government. His public missives against the government and its ministers have lowered his stature. A governor should develop a cordial relationship with the state government concerned. He should step in only if there is instability or the ruling dispensation fails to maintain law and order. Politicking by any governor shows his constitutional post in poor light. When relations between the government and the governor sour beyond repair, as has happened in Karnataka, it is prudent on the part of the Centre to recall him. Isnt it time we remembered the recommendation of the Sarkaria commission that a governor should detach himself from his erstwhile party affiliations to function as a constitutional head?


H R Bhardwaj needs to be reminded that under Article 159 of the Constitution, he has taken an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law. As governor, Bhardwaj owes allegiance only to the Constitution and not to any political party. One, therefore, wonders why the Congress is taking such pains to defend his actions. Moreover, in light of the latest political developments in Karnataka, where rebel MLAs have pledged their support to the Yeddyurappa government, Bhardwajs hasty recommendation of imposition of Presidents rule appears blatantly partisan. His actions go against our democratic traditions and deserve to be condemned.
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com

jug.suraiya@timesgroup.com http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/jugglebandhi/





Hawking On Heavens Door

Imagine theres a heaven and its on earth
magine theres no heaven, exhorted John Lennon. Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking doesnt imagine it. He believes it. He says when the end comes, well just be defunct brains, broken down computers with no afterlife. A cloudless realm where angels play harps and humans sing hosannas? That, suggests Hawking, is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark. Bah. And here we thought everybody gets to take that post-life vacation in the ultimate tourist spot. Now, Hawkings a star in todays scientific firmament. But in this freewheeling debate hes started, firm believers in the Beyond arent his sole challengers. There are fence-sitters too. Ask the open-minded if poet Dante was right about souls ascending to Paradise and theyll say, Heaven knows. Some may even back humorist Mark Twains hedging of bets on the divine comedy: I dont like to commit myself about heaven and hell you see, i have friends in both places. Sure, who doesnt? Now, in wedlock or political gridlock, heaven or hell, for that matter seems an indeterminate place. For instance, marriages are made in heaven and often become hell on earth. As a new book claims, those living out the long happily-ever-after get a psychic benefit akin to earning $1,00,000 a year! But, despite more material benefits, consider the less blissful state of old political spouses DMK-Congress. In politics, heaven can wait when electoral hell freezes over. This isnt to say netas dont foster faith in manna from the heavens. Legislators assets, its said, grow more with their re-contesting polls than by investing in gold or mutual funds! Who needs fixed deposits? Poll candidates turned crorepatis can buy that stairway to heaven. Meantime, the Lefts been on its Marx decrying religions opiate pearly gates, transcendental immaterialism and all that consolatory jazz. So they created communist heaven on earth: Bengals clogged roads, blocked universities and padlocked factories. But neither Mamata as Bengals new guardian angel nor Achuthanandan as Keralas octogenarian fallen angel has made Prakash Karat contemplate political afterlife. It seems not everybody realises that the Great Yonder is more about seeing the light and dreaming the dream than fear of the dark. Poet Blake saw the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower. Pop artiste Belinda Carlisle sang of uplifting love thanks to which heaven is a place on earth. And Oprah Winfrey whos to retire from talkshow hosting reportedly said heavens a big baked potato and someone to share it with. Wow. Room service at Hotel Paradiso. Imagining such bliss recalls Lennon who penned Imagine. One critic of Hawkings views says theres a difference between the scientist and the songwriter. Lennon, he argues, hadnt attacked peoples belief in heaven; hed only perceived clashing notions of it as reflecting human divides, which a world living as one needed to bridge. Point. The more folks celebrate shared humanity, with nothing to kill or die for, the more theyll be in seventh heaven here on earth. Imagine.

Return Of The Brash Politician

Voters no longer want leaders who believe that silence is a political virtue
Chetan Bhagat

Experts have analysed the results of five assembly elections. In West Bengal or Tamil Nadu, the government has fallen, and the opponent has emerged in the former case with a resounding majority Whether it . was the 2G scam in Tamil Nadu or that the free grinders sop didnt work well, we will never know the exact reasons for the DMK debacle. Similarly , whether it was Singur, the Lefts general mismanagement or simply a need for change the exact cause for the Trinamool sweep cannot be pinpointed. However, one trend is becoming clearer with time. That is the rise of the assertive and aggressive politician. Most of Indias high-profile chief ministers Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar, Jayalalithaa, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Sheila Dikshit who have had spectacular victories are vocal, opinionated and seem to have the lets get on with it attitude. This is in stark contrast to the stereotypical Indian leader who keeps quiet or, when forced to talk, is diplomatic to the point of avoiding the issue altogether. This stereotype emerged from the Congress party which successfully used the silent mystique strategy particularly in , the last 20 years. However, it may be time for such leaders to reconsider it, especially if they

want to have a few rockstar chief ministers of their own and be more in sync with what the Indian voter wants. Because, quite frankly brash is back! , The classic example of the silent leader is P V Narasimha Rao, who was rarely heard in his five-year prime ministerial tenure. It wasnt like he led India in boring times. Indias near bankruptcy economic liberali, sation, the Babri masjid demolition and, of course, corruption scandals, were just a few of the big moments in his tenure. Yet, ask anyone who was around then do they even remember his voice? After him, Sonia Gandhi almost acquired a sphinx-like stature with her

When she talks, they listen

Most of Indias high-profile chief ministers who have had spectacular victories are vocal, opinionated and seem to have the lets get on with it attitude
silences and her demure refusal to take up the prime ministers job. Apart from in the last year or so, Rahul Gandhi rarely spoke too either in Parliament or in public. And, of course, our prime minister for the last eight years is hardly known for his aggression or oratory Dont . talk, dont react, dont explain, dont take any opinionated stance all this seemed to work extraordinarily well. Except, it

doesnt seem so effective now. In Andhra Pradesh, Jagan Reddy while not a chief minis, ter yet, won his byelection with historic margins. Upon his victory he was bold enough to , come on TV and say It is a slap , on the face of the Congress and TDP. Thats it, no diplomacy , no mincing words, no sugarcoating. People like that now, especially the younger generation. I think it is safe to predict that Jagans star is on the rise. Mamata called her victory Bengals second independence. Jayalalithaa, upon winning, said that the DMK had completely ruined Tamil Nadu. And, of course, Annas direct, firm no politicians on my dais message won him millions of fans. This is India 2011. Where

silence is no longer equated with dignity poise or high , stature. So low is the credibility of politicians today that silence is seen as smugness, inefficiency and avoiding the issues. This is a cultural shift, brought about by the frustration people have felt with unaccountable governments. From once revered silent leaders, people have started to prefer brash assertiveness, even a bit of cocky confidence. Such shifts in preferences do happen. In the US, it is said that George Bush, often ridiculed as a less sharp president, was a reaction to the extra-clever and glib Clinton. Americans were happy with someone less smart as long as he didnt get into scandals like his predecessor. Similarly , Indians today are more likely to

give a brash politician who will speak a chance, rather than someone dignified who wont talk to the people. There are lessons in this for all political parties. What worked in the past may not work so well in the coming few years. Whoever is positioned as a leader needs to have an agenda, a point of view, drive and, most importantly a willingness to , talk to people about issues. One doesnt have to react to every baseless allegation or news story However, one must be . willing to talk proactively on issues that are relevant to the people. Speaking in platitudes or government officialese doesnt count. Statements like We are examining the matter and in due course we will take a suitable course of action are nonsensical. Be a straight shooter, come to the point, be honest about what you can and cannot do and dont be afraid to have opinions. Whether it was the 2G scam, anti-incumbency anti-commu, nism, developmental issues, freebies or caste/religion equations that determined the outcome of the recent elections can never be affirmed. What is clear is Indians have had enough of posturing and need aggressive leaders. Political parties should ensure that the candidates they select have the required traits to suit changing voter preferences. Better start talking before people stop talking about you forever.
The writer is a best-selling novelist.

Former English cricketer Tony Greig says India is dominating ICC

Natural evolution of cricket

ormer England skipper Tony Greigs cricitism of Indian domination of the International Cricket Council (ICC) cuts little ice. True, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) enjoys a prominent position in the ICC. But this has come about organically and over a period of time. Thanks to massive viewership in India, where the sport is often compared to a religion, the BCCI represents the aspirations of a vast section of global cricket fans. I T Accusing the Indian cricket board of monopolising tendencies and calling for corrective action is unjustified. In earlier days, the English and Australian cricket boards were the heavyweights in the ICC. Few saw this as a problem. So, why single out BCCI when the power centre of world cricket has shifted to the subcontinent? Every sport has its own process of evolution. Hockey for example, was once , dominated by India and Pakistan. Today , teams such as Australia, the Netherlands and Germany are at the forefront of world hockey If successful new cricket . formats such as the IPL have turned out

Not a sporting attitude

to be huge money-spinners attracting international talent, the credit goes to the BCCI for thinking out of the box. That cricket fans even outside the subcontinent look forward to tournaments involving Team India is proof of how crucial Indian cricket is to promoting the game. Several cricket boards profit handsomely from

f Tony Greig is calling for ending Indias domination of the ICC, blame it squarely on the BCCIs hegemonic attitude. The rise of the Indian cricket board as the sports financial powerhouse over the last two decades has relegated the ICC to playing second fiddle. It is routine for the BCCI to object to any and every decision of the ICC,

their engagements with the BCCI. It is only natural for them to be accommodative of the BCCIs concerns. Over the last decade and a half, Indian cricket and the BCCI have injected flair into the gentlemans game. If cricket today has the commercial potential to chart new territories, it is because India is successfully playing its role as the engine of the ICC. Though the dynamics might change tomorrow, yet cricket is far richer for it today .

Ajay Vaishnav

Anyone For Jasmine Tea In Pakistan?

Gautam Adhikari

be it about tour scheduling, player suspensions or appointments. In that sense, Greigs frank comment echoes the feelings of many cricket fans and nations that feel that the BCCI has been unnecessarily arm-twisting the ICC and other boards into toeing its line. Not so long ago, the Indian cricket board was at loggerheads with the ICC on issues like the Future Tours programme or the whereabouts clause of the World AntiDoping Agency (Wada). Due to the BCCIs

refusal to be Wada-compliant, the ICC, which always tries not to displease the Indian board, had to adopt a new cricketspecific anti-doping code. In the process, it overlooked the fact that several other boards had agreed to Wada. Likewise, the BCCI has formed unilateral arrangements to allow more series between a few select nations like Australia and England. Such arrangements work against the mandate of the ICC, which must focus on expansion of cricket E W I across the world. The BCCIs behaviour has merely damaged its reputation. Lets not forget that India had fought for democratising the ICCs decision-making process. Ironically that spirit is missing in its own , dealings with the ICC and its treatment of other boards. Crickets future cannot be reduced to one countrys or regions sporting dominance. This will eventually widen the fault lines that exist within the cricketing world. Besides, there is a limit to which the BCCI can flex its financial muscle. Both inclusion and expansion must be the authorities mantra if cricket is to become a truly global sport.

London: Here for a week to attend a conference in the south of England, my most interesting exchanges on events in our region have been with experts on what is now commonly called the social media. Many of them wonder: If mobile texts and tweets can ignite a Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and Egypt, why cant it happen in Pakistan? Well, can it? The gloomy suspicion of experts here is it probably wont. Not just the media specialists, many people of South Asian origin and those with experience of the region ask the question in this town. Serious people in London, or Londonistan as wits call it, worry a lot about how to normalise Pakistan. In recent days, after news broke of the late Osama bin Laden living for five years under the nose of the army in Abbottabad, that worry seems to have deepened everywhere. The question, tinged as it is with hope as much as despair, is based on somewhat overblown premises. It may be far too early to call the regime changes in Tunisia and Egypt the Jasmine Revolution. I have no problem with the fragrance or hue of jasmine, which reportedly is as much a national flower in Tunisia as it is in Pakistan. My difficulty is in calling the changes in the Arab world a revolution. For one, the army remains in charge of Tunisia and Egypt. The generals in both countries calculated the odds of continuing to prop up Zine-el-Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak against siding with the aspiring revolutionaries. They opted for dumping the dictators. But the military continues to hold the reins of power even as it promises democracy amidst spreading ethnic and social tensions. Their careful calculation surely included the need to ward off threats to their own economic interests, much as such interests, enormous as they are, influence Pakistans army. Besides, tweeting and texting have so far failed to produce revolutionary results in the rest of the Arab world. In Syria and Yemen, the authorities have responded brutally. Libya is in a bloody mess. In Bahrain, the ruling family called in the Saudi army to kill protesters and restore order. And, of course, no one, not the British nor the Americans and certainly not the Indians, has the gumption to raise a tweet against the medieval Saudi monarchy given the grip it has on the worlds oil tap. One problem lies in imagining that blogs, tweets, texts and mobile phone cameras are anything more than evolutionary advances in media technology In fact, they are not agents of revolutionary . change. They can be new and important tools in the hands equally of those who want a revolution and those who want to repress one. Texting and tweeting enhance the performance of the media as a whole. They strengthen its watchdog role; they often are the primary sources these days of breaking news; and, unlike the traditional media, can be good for mass mobilisation. But they are not that effective against imaginative counter-mobilisation by rulers who use the same tools, as in the cases of authoritarian regimes in Iran and China. As for Pakistan, it is neither Tunisia nor Egypt, which have linguistic and cultural homogeneity. Both are also reasonably literate, which is an important factor to aid any social media-driven mobilisation effort. Pakistan, on the other hand, is an ethnically diverse and poorly literate nation cobbled together under an Islamic banner that is still flown by its real rulers, i.e. the military, as a binding symbol that can violently intimidate aspirations for genuine democracy. Add in the salt of fierce nationalism based on a concocted existential threat from India, and the army has a potent brew to serve the people so that it can go on exerting unchallenged authority. In his new book, Pakistan: A Hard Country, the British writer Anatol Lieven gives a detailed account of how the charade works. He also cites, in a cover story for New Statesman, an army-friendly Pakistani journalist who speaks of the ISIs readiness to bleed India to a future breaking point. Lieven calls the conversation horrifying. Indeed. No amount of tweeting or texting is likely to change that reality as long as this deadly intelligence outfit continues to call the shots in our neighbourhood.

2G Impact
n rejecting the bail plea and ordering the arrest of DMK MP Kanimozhi, the CBI special court raises hopes that a fair trial in the 2G spectrum case wont be derailed by politics. That the development follows in the aftermath of the CongressDMK debacle in the Tamil Nadu polls may impact the UPA. But with corruption scandals dogging the coalition government, probing and nailing those responsible must be top priority.

Oops, They Did It Again

Tennis Racket
omdev Devvarman is one lucky chap. Having his bank account hacked could have meant real bad news, especially since he happens to be the countrys topranked singles tennis player with over $500,000 as career earnings. But the hackers turned out to be very considerate. All they wanted, it seems, was doughnuts and some liquor! Total cost? $286.87. Either theres honour among these thieves. Or theyre tennis fans.

nother supposed fugitive, Feroz Abdul Rashid Khan, on Indias list of mostwanted terrorists presented to Pakistan has been discovered, this time in Mumbais Arthur Road jail! The home ministrys second goof-up is more than just embarrassing. A grave disservice has been done to the legitimate case that terrorists have found shelter in Pakistan. Indias error will give its neighbour the handle to question the authenticity of the entire list.


Turn Traffic Jams Around

are laughing, crying, bored or suffering, but your internal world is always in your hands. Make it e are moving along with the current of beautiful and extraordinary . our desires, our own goals, aims and When you enjoy every circumstance as agendas. We are constantly thinking of extraordinary the unpleasant elements of , negative things, having a sense of fear unneces- stress, strain and tension that torment each day sarily and constantly expecting the worst to of your present existence disappear completely . happen. Negativity and adversities are attracted Never waste a single moment of your life in by our negative state of being and they come and boredom and depression. These negative factors settle in us, making our mind a garbage bin. slowly choke off the bliss of your soul along with Many a time we feel that everybody is victi- peace, contentment and creativity. Even if you mising us for no fault of ours, making us feel very are caught in a traffic jam, relax and enjoy the pathetic and ordinary Instead, when we dont respite from driving. Resolve that I will now . unnecessarily assume and presume the above, convert this traumatic situation into a blissful we value and feel that life is precious, auspicious, one. Then, evolve by chanting a mantra, singing esteemed and extraordinary Medita. a bhajan or praying for someone tion brings about this awareness to whom you think is suffering. Then, you make our life extraordinary . convert an ordinary moment into an When you firmly value the practice of extraordinary moment of presence of meditation as extraordinary, then faith, mind and wisdom. trust, belief and willpower empower you So, rejuvenate and refresh your soul. to lead an extraordinary life. These actiDont worry about the traffic ahead or vate and expand the bandwidth of behind. Till the traffic moves, you your free will and wisdom and further cannot move, anyway! So, just relax THE infuse you with inspiration and and use this time to touch your inner enthusiasm. Now you will start trans- I SPEAKING I core; accept the traffic jam as being forming mundane circumstances inevitable. However, if you have the TREE into extraordinary occasions. habit of losing your cool in traffic Savour every moment of your life, even when jams, sorrow becomes your constant companion. it brings unexpected challenges to you, by treat- Even if the delay means that you will miss an ing them not as problems that obstruct your important appointment, dont allow this to stress progress, but as opportunities that foster your you because it saps your enthusiasm and power growth. Let us say that you are cooking a dish and to overcome obstacles. it gets completely spoilt. Dont worry. Cook it once A truly extraordinary life is touching base more if you can or cater it from outside. Dont with our soul through meditation and maintainbrood over it and invite tension. Remember, for an ing silence daily This expands the inner self and . extraordinary mind, the solutions are always makes it blossom to attain emancipation and striking and simple. When there is no interest, liberation from an ordinary apprehensive life to , life remains mechanical and ordinary but when an extraordinary valuable, blissful life. , Follow Shri Nimishananda on our website. you are deeply interested in everything you do, www.speakingtree.in every situation becomes a doorway to expansion. Your life becomes extraordinarily joyful. Join the worlds first spiritual networking site The external world hardly cares whether you to interact directly with masters and seekers.
Shri Nimishananda


Right Perspective
The end of an era, and the beginning of a new one, is literally forcing us to find a new context, a new way to orient ourselves to the experience of being alive. And unless we are each willing to make the effort to become clear about what our fundamental spiritual and philosophical position is, in relationship to what it means to be a conscious human being in an evolving universewe will find ourselves tossed all over the place, swept here and there by the fast-moving tides of exponential change Andrew Cohen We are Spirit first and human, second. We are Spirits with a body not bodies , with a Spirit. The Spirit is eternal, the body , a temporary home. Aboriginal Saying If you do not raise your eyes you will think that you are the highest point. Antonio Porchia

A time to redeem
With reference to the editorial Ring Out The Old (May 14), except in the case of Assam and to a lesser extent West Bengal, the choice for the electorate was between the devil and the deep blue sea. AIADMK chief Jayalalithaas record is not very clean. But she doesnt carry the stigma of nepotism. Mamata Banerjees case is also problematic, though in a different sense. Though charismatic, she has been controversial and allegedly hobnobbed with the Naxalites. Tarun Gogoi was the only exception. Despite the abysmal depths that the Congress has plunged to in recent months, Gogoi managed to keep his ship afloat. This is a reflection of his positive performance. The winning parties must realise that their victories should serve as an opportunity to redeem themselves and revive transparent politics.
Anjum M Samel, MUMBAI



An encouraging sign
With reference to the Times View/Counterview (May 19), even at the international level, absence of democracy in Islamic nations is considered one of the reasons for extremist violence and religious fanaticism. In that sense, Kerala is fortunate to have a Muslim party that has contributed immensely to the political and social growth of the state. The state has had many Muslim ministers handling important portfolios such as education. In the context of coalition politics, the Muslim League has played a significant role in supporting candidates of other parties who do not belong to the minority community. This is an indication that Muslims have outgrown narrow viewpoints, which is a good sign and should be encouraged. The alternative course of isolation will only harm the polity.
Ravindranthan P V, BANGALORE
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com




If my son enters politics, he cant expect help from me

Kerala House in the national capital wore a festive look just days ago as it welcomed the states new chief minister Oommen Chandy. It was Thursday and Day 2 for Keralas 21st CM. It ended late at night as Chandy made time to meet everyone a seven-yearold wide-eyed boy from Kerala; a member of the Union cabinet and Shobha John. Excerpts: The Congress-led UDF won the assembly elections by a slim majority72 against the LDFs 68. Its almost a sign of failure isnt it considering Kerala has always had a sizeable anti-incumbency vote? In a democratic set-up, success is success. The number is not very important. We won the Lok Sabha and local body elections by a big margin. We thought this trend would continue in the assembly elections too. Nonetheless, we got 30 seats more than the last assembly elections. But we will examine the results. Will you be able to function efficiently in the House with such a slim majority? It wont be easy but we are confident that we will be able to complete five years. We have to gird up politically and administratively In 1970, the C Achutha . Menon ministry had only three MLAs more than the opposition but it still completed five years. At the same time, after the 1977 elections, the UDF won by a huge majority of 111 seats in the 140-member assembly but lasted only three years. So numbers dont really matter finally We know the opposition . is strong but we are not afraid of it. Itll be good for me too the opposition will agitate and we will take more care to serve the people well. You have announced financial aid of Rs 1 lakh for the families of those who died due to endosulfan. You have also lowered the petrol price in Kerala by Rs 1.22 per litre. And youve promised rice at Re 1 per kg for families below the poverty line and at Rs 2 for those above the poverty line. It seems like cheap populism, expensive to the exchequer? No, not at all. Giving relief to endosulfan victims is a moral obligation of the government. The National Human Rights Commission gave its recommendations and we accepted it in principle. I also met the PM and asked for Rs 375 crore aid for the victims. Reducing the cost of petrol was my first decision as CM and the tax loss to the state per year will be Rs 131 crore. As for rice, we can afford this subsidy because the Centre has given us subsidy I have . already requested food and consumer affairs minister K V Thomas regarding this. Kerala lags behind many Indian states in terms of development. Why? Kerala has not been able to utilize its opportunities. It has good climate, among the best manpower and plenty of natural resources. Even then, we havent gained what we deserve. The negative approach of the Left is the main reason for this. They arent practical at all. Anyone can raise good slogans but its of no use as it has no result or effect except disruption of normal life. The UDF has a practical approach to achieving all its targets. opment and care. We will make both come true. Do you propose to take forward the central government's pet projects? The implementation of flagship projects of the UPA -- rural employment guarantee scheme, Food Security Act and the Right to Education -- was very poor under the LDF government. It is our challenge to implement them within a time-bound schedule and we will do it. You have an enviable track record as legislator -you have been elected from Puthuppally in Kottayam district uninterrupted since 1970. How did you manage that? Right from my school days, I have been active in student politics. I am happy to move with the people thats my strength. My relationship with my constituency is like my home. I treat them like family members. My home and office are always open for anyone. I even had a webcam in my office during my last tenure as CM. Your son studies law in Delhi and was fairly active during these elections. Will he follow in your footsteps? My son can select any profession he wants, I wont stop him. But if he takes up politics, he cant expect any support from me as he will have to prove his mettle. Anyway he was president of the St Stephen's , College union when he studied there. As an Indian politician, surely you too must acknowledge the incentive to make money? What is money it is nothing to me. If I am immensely rich but the people have no confidence in me, what use is that money? If I get the love and affection of my people, I am the richest man. Are you a regular church-goer? I have a firm belief in God. More than that, I am afraid of God. I am afraid to do bad things in case God punishes me. I am not a great orator. Yet, I get all my experience, knowledge and strength from my people. In fact, I make it a point to read all the letters I get from people.


OOMMEN CHANDY Kerala was supposed to get a Rs 1,500-crore Smart City IT project in Kochi. It hasn't taken off five years later. Do you propose to revive it? Smart City is the baby of the UDF In my earlier . stint as CM in 2004, the MoU for it was signed. But after the LDF came to power, they didnt do anything except create confusion. I will make sure this project is completed in my term and is a source of ample employment.

How different was the situation when you served as CM in 2004? In 2004, the situation was different as I took over from A K Antony when he moved to Delhi and my tenure lasted till 2006. This time, I have come after winning an election and therefore I have to fulfill the promises I made. My manifestos slogan was devel-

Social democracy, Indias sense of urgency on Africa welcome not communism



As we approach the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union and its red empire, one minor principality of that empire, West Bengal, has also fallen. A post-election analysis by Brinda Karat shows how blind the CPM is to why first the Soviet Union and now West Bengal have fallen. British imperialists claimed they were civilizing lesser breeds. Red imperialists also claimed to be uplifting those lacking revolutionary consciousness. Alas, the lesser breeds rebelled against imperial rule, first in the British colonies and, in 1989, in the Soviet colonies. Earlier, the Brezhnev doctrine said the Soviets would never retreat from any territory they controlled. This doctrine died in the badlands of Afghanistan. Brezhnevs successor, Gorbachev, inherited a sinking economy unable to finance imperial adventures, rather like Britain earlier. He told Eastern European communist leaders that they could not depend on Soviet intervention for survival. Within six months of that message, the red empire in Eastern Europe collapsed, followed soon by the imperial masters collapse. European Marxists stood exposed as autocratic oppressors, and shamefacedly became social democrats. Eastern Europe proved that the supposed blessings of communism were as phony as the Blessings of the British Empire injected by the Raj into Indian school textbooks. But Karat and the CPM still swear by red imperialism as the epitome of civilization. What ordinary folk call democracy is for Karat a bourgeois fraud. True democracy in the , Marxist view, consists of a politburo taking decisions on behalf of the unwashed masses that have not yet developed revolutionary consciousness and so vote for Mamata Banerjee. Karat claims that issues are debated openly and decided in CPM forums, a unique democratic process. This would surprise communists like Saifuddin Chowdhury and Somnath Chatterjee who were expelled for speaking their minds. Yet their punishment was nothing compared with Stalins purges of dissenters. For all his bloodiness, Stalin industrialized a backward country and enabled it to beat Hitler. As long as he shifted people out of agriculture into industry eco, nomic productivity rose, since industry is far more productive than farming. But once this process was largely completed by the 1960s, the fundamental inefficiency of the Soviet model became apparent. It could produce missiles and nuclear bombs galore, but could not produce a faucet or shirt of

world class. Its agriculture refused to respond to ever larger doses of investment, and it became pathetically dependent on its mortal enemiesthe US and Europefor grain, meat and dairy products. Gorbachev hoped perestroika and glasnost would rescue the model. Instead the red empire collapsed. The CPM chafes at being a revolutionary party temporizing in a capitalist democracy It . cannot see that the very curbs democracy has imposed account for most CPM successes. In India, it could not create communes or starve millions of farmers to death, as Stalin did in Ukraine. It had to make do with mild land reforms of the sort the World Bank advocated. A capitalist-farmer strategy financed by the World Bank had earlier produced a green revolution in Punjab, and the CPM brought the same green revolution to West Bengal. Soviet agriculture never achieved anything as good. Yet the CPM remains ashamed of bypassing true communism, unable to see that Bengali farmers responded better to green revolution incentives than Soviet communes ever did. Agriculture helped make West Bengal national champion in poverty reduction, and Karat cites the World Bank to this effect. The greatest failing of the CPM was in ruining the states industries through militant trade unionism. Once Indias top commercial centre, the state is now a backwater. Failure to progress from buoyant agriculture to buoyant industry helps explain why the CPM has been trashed by disillusioned voters with rising aspirations. The only jobs created were government and panchayat jobs, distributed almost entirely to party cadres. Nevertheless, the very fact that the CPM won seven Assembly elections in a row (at a time when most incumbents lost elections) highlights its success in social democracy Karat . rightly says it is no disgrace to lose after 34 years in office. This surely shows that the CPMs future lies in converting itself to a social democratic party junking its ideological com, mitment to Lenin, Stalin and Brezhnev. This is what Marxists in Eastern Europe did. Instead, the CPM condemns European Marxists for selling out. It cannot see that the constraints of Indian democracy have actually been a blessing that has given Marxists a better name in West Bengal than in Eastern Europe or the former USSR. The sooner it realizes this, the greater will be its chances of coming back to power.
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The Indian governments determined effort to evolve strong economic and trade relations with Africa is obvious in its initiatives. In 2008, India held its First India-Africa summit. Thereafter, various conclaves and meetings indicated that both sides were eager to establish and nurture a strong relationship. Africa is well positioned in the global scenario. It is a reservoir of energy resources, it is near-virgin land suitable for economic and trade opportunities and it is a continent that can side with emerging economies to offset the long dominance of the North. Unsurprisingly emerg, ing industrializing economies such as India and China are looking at Africa for growth and survival. To that end, Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs decision to attend the second Africa-India summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is an indication of the governments sense of urgency on Africa. First, to trade. India-Africa economic and trade relations have witnessed a surge. Currently pegged at $39 billion, its poised to rise further, as is clear from the fact that the first two quarters of this financial year have already registered more than $24 billion in bilateral trade. Indias

major African export destinations are South Africa, Mauritius, Nigeria, Egypt, Tanzania etc and its major importing partners are Nigeria, South Africa, Congo and Tanzania. Of late, the basket of exports has diversified. Africa has exported mineral fuels, mineral oils and products, copper ore, natural or cultured pearls, precious and semi precious stones, coffee, coconut, edible fruit and nuts etc. India, the worlds largest importer of rough diamonds, sources most of what it requires from Africa. Similarly Indias exports constitute a wide variety of products, including cotton, iron, steel, nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery mechanical appliances, , frozen bovine meat etc. The growing trade relationship has generated keen interest in the Indian government, as was clear when Commerce and Industry minister Anand Sharma said India had set a target of $70 billion by 2015. As part of measures to promote bilateral trade, India has committed itself to a duty-free preferential tariff scheme for 49 least-developed-countries. Of these, 33 are in Africa. Indias efforts to attain developmental goals through the Doha round for all developing and least-developed-countries is largely supported by African countries in forming G-20, G-33 blocs. It is promoting South-South cooperation to counter the North. The government has identified certain potential

WIN-WIN FOR BOTH: Manmohan Singh with South African president Jacob Zuma

areas of co-operation between the two regions. These include information technology telecom, agriculture, , agro-processing, irrigation, mining, power, pharmaceuticals etc. Second, overseas investment is becoming an instrument of global integration. This is the context in which to read the impact of Indias drive to invest in Africa. More than $25 billion of investment has gone into Africa. The energy sector has received a large chunk of this and so have the manufacturing and services sectors. Rapidly industrializing Indias quest

for resources as a means of energy self-sufficiency has been an important reason for investing in Africa. In terms of African manufacturing, Indian has investment has gone into apparel, agro-processing, power generation, road construction and the growing services sector. This last includes like e-education and telecommunications. Indian businesses have found Africa to be familiar ground in that it is similar to other emerging markets and also easy to compete in, unlike industrialized countries. Major investors include

ONGC, Essar, Tata, Bharti Airtel, Zydus, Ranbaxy TCS and Infosys among , others. This investment has produced many positive results. It has contributed to the welfare of African nations. Leading pharma companies like Ranbaxy and Zydus have provided low cost generic drugs; TCS and Infosys have delivered at low rates; sourcing of raw material for Indian companies has put pressure on price levels because of competition from China and this. in turn, has benefited Africans. Many Indian companies have gone into the extraction sector and this has provided employment to many Africans. Besides, Indian operations in Africa have helped African countries to integrate with the global market. In the background of this, the Indian prime ministers visit to Addis Ababa promises to deepen further engagement with Africa. Both sides are poised to benefit. Indian industrys confidence has risen enormously despite law and order problems and the non-transparency that still prevails, to some extent, in the legal and administrative structure. It could be a win-win situation for both sides. The author is with the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi
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The overblown myth of green energy security

BJRN LOMBORG Turmoil across the Middle East and Northern Africa has refocused attention on the impact that political tensions or interference can have on the price and availability of energy imports. Against consumer fears of gas-price hikes, energy security ranks high on many Western governments policy agendas. Of course, this is hardly a new phenomenon. Europe started trying to build up its energy reserves back in the 1960s. Likewise, every American president since Richard Nixon in the early 1970s has tried, and failed, to reduce dependence on foreign oil. A new trend, though, is that policies that just afew years ago were being touted to fight climate change are being presented as a necessary way to increase energy security Against the back. drop of the financial crisis, and as public support for climate-change policies scrapes new lows in many developed countries, we hear less from leaders about the threat of global warming, and more about the supposed economic benefits of climate policies. This shift is hardly surprising, given the increasing number of analyses that demonstrate that current unilateral climate policies will have virtually no impact on the rise in global temperature. The European Union offers a classic illustra-

tion of this point. Its 20-20-20 climate plan by far the most comprehensive climate-change policy in effect anywhere aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020, ensure that renewable energy delivers 20% of energy consumption, and cut primary energy use by 20%. An analysis of the costs and benefits of the policy in 2010 by climate economist Richard Tol showed that the annual price tag would be around 210 billion. Running the policy through the RICE climate-economic model reveals that by the end of this century it will reduce temper, ature rises by just 0.05C. Undaunted by the policys utterly feeble impact on global warming, politicians have declared that the policy will at least enhance the EUs energy security So the Copenhagen Con. sensus Centre asked Professor Christoph Bhringer and Andreas Keller of the University of Oldenburg to test this claim. Of course, the notion of energy security is fuzzy In their research paper, Energy Security: . An Impact Assessment of the EU Climate and Energy Package, Bhringer and Keller note that the EU has never set itself a clear metric for energy security . Despite or because of this lack of definition and measurability policymakers, write , Bhringer and Keller, exploit the energy security argument to justify a myriad of measures. Such measures even include bans on light bulbs

and patio heaters, tax breaks for bicycle owners, standards for tyre pressure, and tests for fuel-efficient driving none of which would appear to have much impact on the level of Russian or Middle Eastern oil imports. What is clear, according to Bhringer and Keller, is that the EU Climate and Energy Package violates basic principles of cost-effectiveness, if the sole objective is emission reduction. It stands out for its tangle of instruments and thus the risk of counterproductive, overlapping regulation, which will substantially increase costs compared to an effective climate policy . The researchers measure the impact of the 20-20-20 package through independent energy-security indices. Without implementation of the package, slightly more than half of Europes energy needs would be met by imported fossil fuel by 2020, compared to 50% today If the EU is suc. cessful in reducing CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020, Bhringer and Keller find that its reliance on imported fossil fuel would be reduced by just two percentage points. This is an awfully long way from self-reliance. Of course, the EU 20-20-20 plan aims to do more than just reduce emissions; it also attempts to increase renewable-energy use and cut overall energy consumption. The researchers find that the full 20-20-20 plan would actually mean increased energy imports as well as increased price risks mainly because the tax imposed on electricity to achieve the efficiency target of the

20-20-20 plan will affect nuclear power the most. In other words, the very policy that was supposed to achieve greater energy security is in fact likely to hike prices and lead to greater reliance on foreign energy imports. It is worth noting that these outcomes are based on the optimistic reference scenario used in the US Department of Energys International Energy Outlook, under which renewable-energy use will grow at a higher rate than in the past. Without this expectation, the EUs policy would likely be even more costly . In many Western countries, policies are increasingly being wrapped in promises of greater energy security rather than in threats of climate catastrophes. But, because energy security is such a vague concept, these policies are seldom subjected to rigorous scrutiny to determine whether they will live up to politicians claims. As the new research shows, we should be especially cautious about the claims of politicians who use current events to justify the old, ineffective climate-change policies on the new and equally problematic basis of energy security . Bjorn Lomborg is the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist
Project Syndicate

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The puritanism of Marxists is intriguing



APRIL 4, 1958

MONUMENTAL MEASURES: Followers of socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia took up a series of populist issues to gain power, including one against building monuments

It is remarkable that confronted by an electoral uprising against 34 years of uninterrupted rule in West Bengal, the Communists have reacted with the same self-righteous indignation as Puritans faced with the frivolity of reprobates. Politburo member Brinda Karat has reminded those writing the CPMs obituary that the party was born out of the class struggle in West Bengal. She avers the party will draw the lessons from a defeat in the electoral arenaalways a sideshow in the Communist scheme of thingsbut it wont be the same one the revisionists, the faint-hearted and other class traitors are anxious to impart. Ms Karat has implicitly reaffirmed her unbending faith in revolutionary intransigence. In time, other Comrades will complement her logic with copious quotations from Marx or Lenin himself. It is intriguing why Communists invariably suffix the names of their gods with the term himself. Its never Marx said but always Marx himself said. Himself is perhaps the force multiplier that theologians need. The idea is not to impress non-believers but to baffle possi-

ANY LESSONS FROM DEFEAT? Brinda Karat with party workers at a rally

ble heretics and potential revisionists. It is, in fact, quite inexplicable why a movement that flaunts its scientific credentials is so fearful of revisionism. Since scientific socialism has deemed that the victory of socialism is not merely desirable but also inevitable, todays Communists should be as smug as the nut next door who claims to have calculated the precise date on which the world will end. If history is indeed on our side, as the flamboyant Fidel Castro once said, why should Commies be obsessive about textual citations from the Collected Works? In ordinary parlance, revisionism involves the ability to think, re-think, fine-tune, question and even challenge

existing beliefs and assumptions. Its because Galileo was a revisionist that the Flat Earth Society is close to extinction. Yet, 500 years ago, the fear of falling off the edge of the earth haunted explorers and even became a deterrent to commerce in some societies. To Communists, however, revisionism is about as abhorrent as popery was to Anglicans in 17th century England. The analogy with the abstruse sectarianism that gripped Christian Europe after the Reformation is appropriate. For the fiercely God-fearing Puritans the good life meant rediscovering Biblical fundamentals. More than a century ago, Lenin himself wrote an article whose con-

tents are no longer worth recalling. But it had a very catchy heading that summed up his sectarian conceit: Better fewer, but better Whereas . most bourgeois parties engaged in the thankless task of contesting elections and satisfying individual ambition, the Leninist party aspired to be a version of the old ICSan elite group of the highly motivated with the moral backbone to carry an entire Empire, preferably on its sola topi but if need be, on a majestic Red Flag and to the robust notes of Internationale. Just as the ICS sahibs were presumed to know what was good for the real India, the vanguard Leninist party was meant to epitomize the most advanced sections of the struggling masses. The people were mute; the party spoke for them. Not unnaturally the people occa, sionally got a little excitable, demanding the impossible. These resulted, as Bertolt Brecht once rued, in the party having to abolish the people (counterrevolutionaries) and having to elect a new one. In November 1989, the collapse of the Berlin Wall triggered a chain of events that culminated in the collapse of the Soviet Union. Throughout Eastern Europe, popular fury was directed at a self-serving party bureaucracy that combined tyranny with monumental socialist inefficiency .

The grim inheritance of Lenin and Stalin were brushed aside as people chose personal freedom over regimentation and shortages. What is interesting is the different ways in which Communists reacted to the Soviet collapse. In Europe, it resulted in Communist parties either going into voluntary liquidation or becoming virtually indistinguishable from the Left-wing of social democratic parties. As a political movement, Communism in Europe died with the 20th century In India, however, the rejection of . the Red Flag in Moscow and the erstwhile socialist bloc was interpreted with dogmatic eccentricity . The socialist experiment faltered, it was argued, because the party was injected with revisionism and had had deviated from Communist principles. For many who learnt their Marxism in parties like the CPM, the key to the future doesnt lie in less Leninism (as the Europeans imagined) but even more of it. For the CPM, the God didnt fail the people were unworthy and the Comrades didnt pray hard enough. On such profound certitudes are politics in India based.
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KAPIL SIBAL, Union HRD minister



Is even one of our institutions world class? If it is world class, it must be in the top 100, 150 institutions in the world. That is not evident.

Leave It To The Market

Government should stay out of land acquisition for private investment
Dilip Modi

Aim For World Class

More autonomy and competition needed to unleash dynamism in higher education
ndias IITs and IIMs produce quality graduates, but why do they not give rise to quality research and raise the countrys innovation quotient? Environment minister Jairam Ramesh isnt the first person to raise this question. His statement that research and faculty at IITs and IIMs are not world-class has stirred controversy. But it is telling that not a single Indian university figures among the top hundred in the 2010 QS World University Rankings. Neither do the IITs and IIMs make it to the top ranks in similar international surveys of research institutions. The essential reason for this is the lack of quality research facilities and guidance even in some of our best institutes of higher learning. Apart from the skills gap that must be plugged to generate quality jobs for our youth, this is one more reason to remove the bottlenecks in the higher education sector. But our state of readiness for needed innovation is evident from Delhi University teachers striking work against the semester system! The focus needs to shift from churning out degree holders to creating knowledge hubs, or clusters of universities which conduct world-class research and impart high-grade skills to students. Among neighbours, Singapore and Malaysia are creating hubs of this kind. In India the primary problem is excessive bureaucratic control in higher education, surpassing that of authoritarian China which has dramatically improved the quantity and quality of its research output. A statist compulsion to micro-manage administrative processes, under the garb of socialising education, has led to loss of operational freedom and diminished the incentive to innovate in Indian institutions. A centralised process of faculty recruitment combined with fixed salaries has entrenched complacency With little initiative to pilot high. end research, industry too misses out on leveraging university research to solve practical problems. That there is a strong demand for quality universities is evident from the massive annual outflow of foreign exchange to the tune of $10 billion due to students going abroad for higher studies. Systemic reforms are in order if this brain drain is to be reversed. Quickly passing into law the Foreign Educational Institutions (Regulation of Entry and Operations) Bill, 2010, will be a step in the right direction, despite restrictive provisions in the Bill. It is extremely important for educational institutes to cater to market needs. This doesnt mean that the government should not have any stake in education. There is no reason to see the public and private sectors in education as antithetical to each other. What is required is a tweaking of government policies to provide more autonomy to institutions, a conducive environment for private investment in education, and more synergy between aided and unaided institutions.

and acquisitions in India are invariably marked by violent protests. Is politics responsible for stirring up passions? Is it loss of a means of livelihood that landowners resent? Or is there a fundamental problem with the way acquisition is done that stirs up a hornets nest? Look at the last issue first. There are two fundamental problems with the present system of land acquisition: the process of acquisition, and the compensation issue. In India, mostly land is fragmented into small parcels (excepting forested areas). Acquisition of a few hundred acres, necessary for an industrial or infrastructure project, requires dealing with several landowners. Also, not everyone wishes to sell. This makes the process cumbersome and increases the transaction cost of acquiring land. However, the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, gives sweeping legal powers to the government or its authorised agencies to acquire almost any private land or property provided such acquisition is for public purpose. Invariably this route is adopted. This is also known as eminent domain, regarded as an inherent right of the state to take private property for public use. It is legal in many countries, including the US, UK and France. The problem lies in interpretation of the term public purpose. Unfortunately the Act does not define the term. So interpretation was left to the courts. The Supreme Court in 1971 took a very wide view of the term in the case Jage Ram vs the

State of Haryana. Yet it did not provide any definition and left it to the state governments to define and thus (mis)interpret the term. Strangely the judgment was delivered when right to private property was still a fundamental right. Subsequent apex court judgments further widened the scope of interpretation. The economics behind eminent domain and thus the interpretation of the term public purpose assume that the state would always act in the public interest and, therefore, any taking of private property would be to provide certain public goods that otherwise would not be provided by the markets. Lighthouses or clean air are

Protests at Greater Noida: Whose land is it anyway

A new Land Acquisition Act should define public purpose, restrict such acquisition only for public goods, and address the issue that land markets in India are not free
typical examples. One or several ships can use the light at the same moment. Yet no single ship owner would build the lighthouse. The government needs to build it in other words, provide public goods as the market will not provide them automatically . This clearly implies the Acts provisions should only be used when the government itself is to provide infrastructure facilities (public good). They should not be used for land acquisition for private investments, whatever

the benefits. For such transactions, the market must play out. The government should not undermine market processes. Yet the very opposite has been the bane of land acquisition in India. Private parties tend to pass off the high transaction costs of negotiating with individual landholders onto state governments. The latter have been more than willing to oblige, taking advantage of the sweeping powers to acquire land and justify investments in it. When markets are not allowed to play out, and sweeping powers are used by the state, compensation is invariably low and not just. The question of compensation needs to be based on value of the land sought to be acquired. This can be done on the basis of prices prevailing in the past or the expected future value of land. Typically investment in industrial activities or

building of infrastructure leads to creation of positive externalities that ends up as increased land value, benefiting primarily landowners, who are passive recipients of this windfall. When farmers whose land gets acquired are compensated based on past prices, they do forgo potential benefits from urbanisation. This is a loss of opportunity cost in terms of forgone benefits, which in reality far exceeds the compensation received, in the long run. There are also substantial income redistribution effects between farmers whose land is acquired compulsorily and farmers who still possess their land. The latter can sell in the market at an appropriate time when urbanisation reaches them. This indirect redistribution invariably causes tension between governments and farmers. When acquisition is not purely for public

cause, tensions mount further. Asset pricing should always be based on the future. The present system that defines compensation based on past transactions is not just or justified. We need a new Land Acquisition Act to replace the outdated Act of 1894. The new Act should define public purpose, restrict such acquisition only for public goods, and address the issue that land markets in India are not free. Farmers are not allowed to sell their land for non-agricultural purposes. This has prevented industrial development in rural areas as well as direct negotiation by private enterprises vis-a-vis acquisition of land for, say an SEZ. , We also need to understand that landowners lose out on a means of livelihood. So states need to frame proper resettlement and rehabilitation policies taking care of resettlement and providing alternative livelihood means. There are emotional pangs in parting with land. But it is also true that farmers can never improve their economic positions substantially by cultivation and by selling, say potatoes. , At least they have not been able to in the past. What they need is ample compensation and financial inclusion that will guarantee substantial and safe returns on their received compensation, enabling them to dream of sending their children to good educational institutions and not to plough land to produce potatoes. Or is my argument not selfish enough? After all, the more potatoes they produce, supply increases and prices of potatoes remain low.
The writer is president, Assocham.

My sexual orientation doesnt determine my films

Filmmaker Onir is best known for My Brother ...Nikhil. He spoke about making groundbreaking movies and controversial subjects with Subhash K Jha: I Is it difficult being a gay filmmaker in Bollywood? Id like to be considered an indie filmmaker, who eschews formulaic Bollywood storytelling. My sexual orientation doesnt determine my films, though it does make me more sensitive to issues concerning the community. My film, I Am, talks about various people in search of their space and identity, and its not necessarily sexual identity. I dont think my sexuality has ever come in the way of my work in Bollywood. I Rituparno Ghosh and you have not hidden your sexuality. Do you feel creativity is encumbered if filmmakers hide in the closet? This is a matter of personal choice and we should respect that. Its not easy to come out in a homophobic society. I dont think it encumbers their creativity. Theyd still make the same films whether they came out or remain closeted. The economics remain the same. Some of them have made beautiful films and one cannot take it away from them. Just because one is gay does not mean that one only wants to tell gay stories. I Do you think homosexuals are persecuted here? They are. Theres fear of persecution and ridicule. Until and unless the law is changed, and all over the country, the community will be vulnerable. A country that once celebrated all kinds of sexuality now enslaves its own people through regressive colonial laws. More than changing characters to you? Each of the stories has a bit of me, you and everyone around us. I think in a society that loves children the first step is to accept that abuse exists and to talk about it to our children, so that they feel if something happens its not they who should be ashamed. My film asks you to love your child enough to protect them. The film is about you and me because 53% of our children face some form of sexual abuse. My character Abhimanyu may be sitting next to you. Another character is Megha whos a displaced person, and a third of the world population is displaced. I know what its like to suddenly lose home, as Megha does. Afias story is about a womans choices regarding having a child and how she should not be dependent on a man. Omar talks about the right to be able to love freely without fear of your orientation. Omar could be a man and a woman caught in a similar situation and prosecuted by law for an act of love because our culture does not allow love, yet we can publicly shit and pee and abuse each other. I What did you learn from the incident where an aspiring actor accused you of molestation? If you have one car accident because someone else broke the traffic rules you dont stop driving. I realised that i cant let one bad thing negate all the good things that happened to me. Its been traumatic. But i am a lover of Tagores line Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high. I have learned that by being honest and being myself. I have found so much love that now i am ready to take on anything.

Talking Terms
New Delhis chance to engage Kashmiri separatists

urriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooqs recent trip to Europe and subsequent public comments hint at intriguing possibilities. In Brussels to attend a conference on Kashmir, Mirwaiz met a number of Pakistani politicians and separatist elements from the Kashmiri diaspora; par for the course. But thats where the twist comes in. There have been a number of reports alleging that he met ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha as well in secret. Predictably Umar Farooq has denied this, but his , credibility is suspect since his links with Rawalpindi are well known. In this context, his saying a few days after his return that the Hurriyat is willing to engage New Delhi for a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Kashmir issue gains significance. The Mirwaiz wishes any engagement to be at the highest level rather than via interlocutors. But he is in no position to dictate terms. Much as he might claim otherwise, he is but one of the stakeholders, sharing political space with mainstream Kashmiri politicians rather than standing as the sole representative of Kashmiri public sentiment. It is not for him to decide the terms of engagement. Nevertheless, these are details that can be worked out via back channels. What matters is that there is a window of opportunity likely with , Rawalpindis approval. New Delhi should respond positively since the , Mirwaiz no longer insists on preconditions for the dialogue. Once it gets going, it would soon be obvious if he is willing to seek a political settlement in the state without the trappings of secessionism.


street names we need to change these laws. Also its important to realise that Article 377 is not only about the LGBT community, it allows the state to rule over your body and say what you should do with it and not do with it. Its extremely alarming. I Your latest film, I Am, tells four stories of segregation in India. How close are the

NaMo vs Manmohan
Modi and the PM reflect polar opposite choices for India
Jug Suraiya


The arrest is a vendetta against DMK and my family ranging from Kanyakumari to Himalayas

What an interesting question, but clearly premature. Its for others to decide, my dear

Rajinikanth is a human and he has a normal body

Both in terms of the political parties they respectively belong to, and in the public personas they project, Narendra Modi and Manmohan Singh could be said to be the North and the South poles of Indian politics. The Gujarat CM is arguably by far the most controversial politician in India: people either hate him or they love him; no one is indifferent to him. Among his many admirers he enjoys a devotional status generally accorded to miracle-working godmen. He is hailed as NaMo, the redoubtable champion of Gujarati asmita, jeopardised since the sacking of the Somnath temple by Mahmud Ghazni in 1024, and the dynamic architect of the Vibrant Gujarat global meets which have reportedly generated investment pledges to the tune of `15 lakh crore. . To his detractors the Gujarat CM is the infamous perpetrator of the postGodhra riots who has single-handedly undermined Indias credentials of being a secular and tolerant society more than anyone or anything else has done since the destruction of the Babri masjid. As for Vibrant Gujarat, critics dismiss it as PR hype with little connect to ground reality: only a small fraction of the promised crores translate into actual investments. So divided are the views on Modi that a reported reference by Anna Hazare praising the Gujarat CM for his developmental efforts almost resulted in a split in the Lokpal movement, with liberals like Mallika Sarabhai seeking to distance themselves from Hazare. In the eyes of liberal India or what Modi bhakts would call psuedo-secular India giving NaMo a clean chit is like endorsing the Ku Klux Klan or wanting to bring back apartheid to South Africa. Singh whos completed seven years as PM is the antithesis of the Gujarat CM. While Modi is widely seen as the quintessential strong man of Indian politics a spiritual clone of Sardar Patel, no less, as Modifiers proudly proclaim the PM is equally widely perceived to be a decent but essentially weak and ineffectual individual, tied to Sonia Gandhis apron strings. While Modi has demonstrated the formidable grassroots support he enjoys in his own state, if nowhere else, by his triumphal re-election after the Gujarat riots, Singh is a Congress appointee who has never proved his political clout in an election. The disclosures relating to the 2G spectrum scam by the Public Accounts Committee compromised the PMs Mr Clean reputation and showed him to be at best a helpless bystander, and at worst an accomplice, in one of the biggest financial scandals ever to rock the country The compulsions of so-called . coalition dharma cant justify the PMs averting scrutiny of blatant wrongdoing on the part of DMKs A Raja. When the proposed Indo-US nuclear deal was failing to get off the ground, largely because of opposition from the Left, the PM had shown uncharacteristic firmness by offering to resign if the pact with Washington wasnt signed, sealed and delivered. The moral fibre then displayed by Singh is noticeable by its absence in the current situation. Modi and Manmohan: the one a strong, but allegedly ruthless demagogue; the other a possibly well-meaning but largely powerless figurehead. The two represent not just two very different political personalities but also two very different visions of India. Those who would like to see a strong, homogenised India no matter what the cost in terms of the loss of our much-vaunted pluralism would side with Modi. Those who cherish the ideal an increasingly threatened ideal of Indias often maddening diversity would prefer an ineffectual rubber-stamp to a crypto-fascist whod make the country march in unison in jack-booted stride, never mind needless diversions like democracy and a multicultural society . Two men, two ideas of India. Which one would you choose?

M KARUNANIDHI, DMK president, on his daughter Kanimozhis arrest

CHRISTINE LAGARDE, French finance minister, on a possible offer for the top job at the IMF

LATHA, Rajinikanths wife, on the Tamil superstars recent health woes


Instruments Of Peace

Failure & Success

Perform all thy actions with mind concentrated on the Divine, renouncing attachment and looking upon success and failure with an equal eye. Spirituality implies equanimity. Bhagavad Gita 2.47-48 On the divine path, there is no chance of failure; it is the path of love. Sri Sathya Sai Baba Dont be discouraged by a failure. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid. John Keats Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising up every time we fail. Ralph W Emerson Many of lifes failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up. Thomas A Edison



secondopinion@timesgroup.com http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/jugglebandhi/

up inside of me. In this state i know every soul to be my friend. I am my own friend. I am n my early morning meditations, i can deeply quiet. I am silent and utterly at peace. hear the call of the world for peace not This deep well of peace is the original just for an end to conflict, but for a deep, state of the soul. When i am in this state, i feel inner stillness and calm, which we remem- the flow of love for humanity and i feel a state ber as our original state. more elevated than what i would normally To find peace, first we must teach our- call happiness, a state of bliss. It is when i selves to become quiet; only then we can attain this state that something truly miracubecome peaceful. Becoming peaceful means lous can happen. When i am in this state of to seize the reins of mind and bring runaway complete soul-conscious rest, i become aware thoughts to a halt. Once we have the minds that energy is beginning to flow into me. I feel attention, we can begin to coax it to take us strength and a power so expansive, that in into silence, a true silence; not the place this moment i know there is nothing i cannot without sound, but the place in which we do, nowhere i cannot reach. experience a deep sense of peace and a pervaWhen this happens, i am experiencing the sive awareness of our well-being. connection with the divine energy To move into this state of proand the flow of Gods power into found silence, we must train the inmy inner being. If i stay focussed tellect to create pure, good thoughts inwards, connected with this stream and to concentrate. Our wasteful of divine power, even the way i use thoughts burden us. Our habits of the physical senses will be differcreating too many thoughts and ent. When i look at the world, i will words exhaust the intellect. We see through my original nature THE must ask, How can i cultivate the of benevolence and experience I SPEAKING I habit of pure thought? compassion for the world. Who is it that yearns to go into It is this power that transforms TREE silence? It is i, the inner being, the me inside, making me pure and soul. As i detach from my body and from powerful. When the soul and God are linked tobodily things, and turn away from the dis- gether, there is a power that reaches me and tractions of the world, i can face inwards to invisibly across to others, bringing about transthe inner being. Like a perfectly calm lake formation in them, in nature, and in the world. when all whispers of wind have stopped, the The secret of this power of silence is that i inner being shimmers, quietly reflecting the dont have to do the work of transformation. intrinsic qualities of the soul. Feelings of Divine power automatically transforms. Let peace and well-being steal across my mind me do the inner work. Let me go deeply into and, with them, thoughts of benevolence. that experience of the original state of the I let go of all thoughts of discontentment self, and let there be silence so that God is able and am reminded of my oldest, most intrinsic to do His work through me, His instrument. Follow Dadi Janki on our website. state of being. I remember this inner calm. www.speakingtree.in Though i have not been here recently, i remember it as my most fundamental awareness, and Join the worlds first spiritual networking a feeling of happiness and contentment wells site to interact directly with masters and seekers.
Dadi Janki


Intelligence quotient
With reference to the editorial Gathering Cobwebs (May 23), there is little doubt that recent intelligence goof-ups show our security agencies in a poor light. With this kind of intelligence set-up, we are not likely to wage a successful war against terrorism. The plethora of paramilitary forces and the state police often seem to work in complete isolation from each other. Hence, there is an urgent need to create a common intelligence database that allows instant exchange of information among agencies in a professional, coordinated manner, as in the US. More important, our political leaders must consider involving senior commanders of the armed forces for taking bold decisions like the US president did with Operation Geronimo.
Govind Singh Khimta, VIA EMAIL

Bengal to Kashmir
The Jugular Vein Thank you, comrades (May 20) by Jug Suraiya targets the Left Front for deplorable conditions in Calcutta and holds it responsible for the flight of members of the younger generation from the city. While sharing the writers sentiments, i believe that every state in India has its own narrative. I was born in Kashmir and had to leave the state during the 1990s due to terrorism. There was no support from the government. But after a long struggle, things have improved for Kashmiri Pandits who had to flee for their lives and become refugees in their own country. They are doing well now. At this point, should we too thank the then J&K government for not helping Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley or just accept it as part of destiny?
Deepa Bhan, VIA EMAIL
We want your views and comments. Please write to us at speakoutedit@timesgroup.com





One day the last portrait of Rembrandt will have ceased to be because the last eye accessible to its message will have gone.
OSWALD SPENGLER, German historian

The Tangled Web They Weave

Ignored by the US and backed by ISI elements, Lashkar-e-Taiba has become a global threat
S K Sharma

Losing Caste
The West neednt be so nervous about the success of its ideals
oes the rise of India and China threaten the West? President Obama reassured his British hosts this wasnt the case during his recent visit to the UK, but also reminded them that the days were over when Roosevelt and Churchill could sit in a room and sort out the worlds problems between themselves. If the 1990s were marked by the fall of communism and the triumph of western democracies, todays keynote seems to be the arrival of the new kids on the block: India, China, Brazil, Indonesia and other emerging economies. And the status anxiety that this has given rise to in the West has all but eclipsed the triumphal note of the 1990s. Of course, a cosy club of rich industrial nations not being able to resolve the worlds problems among themselves does pose some problems for world order. Obama has invoked the indispensability of European and American leadership precisely at the point when it is failing. The last successfully concluded global trade negotiation was the Marrakesh agreement of 1994. The current round of WTO negotiations, launched as far back as 2001 at Doha, looks interminable as theres still no agreement in sight. Similarly, climate negotiations have stalled and the Kyoto Protocol is moribund. The solution must be to bring others into the club as well and listen to what they have to say , not simply to wallow in thoughts of the Wests inevitable decline. The UN Security Council, whose permanent members are still the victors of World War II, is a good example of the obsolescence of global institutions. The public mood in many western industrial nations is currently marked by anxiety , despondency truculence and defensiveness. But then, as Obama pointed out , in his speech, the very success of free enterprise has spurred imitators across the world. Asian and Latin American nations are discovering the secrets of prosperity and soon African nations may join them. , Rising prosperity in the rest of the world is in the interest of western nations, as they will have bigger markets to sell to. Petty harassment, such as asking Indian IT firms to pay for erecting border defences that will keep Mexicans out of the US, is mean-spirited and wont save American jobs. Meanwhile, the Arab spring demonstrates that ideas of democratic freedom are not a western monopoly Its not so much that the West is in decline as that . its getting more provincial. Rather than being mired in despondency it , should celebrate the arrival of a global civilisation with shared values. The West mustnt be afraid to lose caste were all the same.

he US and its allies have hailed the killing of alQaida chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad as a significant victory Analysts believe . that bin Ladens killing might not necessarily sound the death knell for al-Qaida but will definitely weaken the terror outfit and its network worldwide. However, the fight against terrorism has not become any easier with networks like the Lashkar-eTaiba (LeT) spreading their tentacles across the globe. In a recent statement Admiral Robert F Willard, commander of US Pacific forces, expressed concern to the US Congress about the LeTs reach, warning that it is no longer focussed only on India and South Asia, and that the US had evidence of LeTs presence in Europe and the broader Asia-Pacific region. He also noted that the group has declared holy war against the US and its forces in Afghanistan. The serious threat that the LeT poses to the US can be gauged from the involvement of David Coleman Headley in the Mumbai terror attacks and the series of LeT sleeper cells that were busted in the US since 2001. LeT poses a far graver threat to peace and stability than al-Qaida. The group has been campaigning for more rigorous implementation of blasphemy laws in Pakistan and inciting people to adopt the way of jihad to overthrow the government. Considered a strategic asset by the ISI and Pakistani army the ,

outfit has no fear of prosecution by the state. LeT chief, Hafiz Saeed, on February 5, Kashmir Solidarity Day said if India refused to part , with Kashmir, Pakistan must launch a jihad to free Kashmir. He recently told his supporters that their journey of defence, progress and survival goes through Kashmir and jihad for Kashmir will not only result in the freedom of Kashmir but also supremacy of Islam. By all accounts, LeT, perhaps next to Jamaat-e-Islami, has the most organised and expansive network of supporters and offices in Pakistan. It runs over 180 schools, 80 madrassas, several charitable organisations and

Hafiz Saeed in Lahore: Are they his captors or a guard of honour?

LeT poses a far graver threat to peace and stability than al-Qaida. Considered a strategic asset by the ISI and Pakistani army, it has no fear of prosecution by the state
technical colleges besides publishing houses and farms and training campuses in several parts of Pakistan. It also has an annual training budget of $5 million generated from private donations, NGOs, madrassas and businesses spread throughout South Asia, the Middle East and Europe. LeT is also perhaps the only terrorist group in the world which gets grants from the government.

Last year, the Punjab government gave a grant of close to $1 million to LeTs parent body Ja, maat-ud-Dawa. LeTs deep and abiding relationship with the Pakistani army and ISI was underscored by the spate of confidential documents from the US State Department made public by WikiLeaks. The diplomatic cables reveal the proximity the terrorist group enjoys with the Pakistani military establishment. These documents show the power and influence of the LeT in Pakistan and its value to the military in achieving various strategic objectives. Until the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the group had kept a low profile, thereby managing to strengthen its resource base, public support and political linkages. This was a deliberate plan, helped by the army which

wanted a jihadi asset which can be trusted, used and kept as a secret weapon against India. Following the Mumbai attacks, the army has reluctantly asked LeT to go underground again. The LeT has also amassed popular support in Pakistan and millions of dollars in donations by engaging in charity and relief work an area where the feeble administration has not been able to deliver. Moreover, Saeed enjoys both religious and political clout in Lahore and elsewhere. In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, he was allowed to remain in a guesthouse and, as expected, charges were not pressed against him in court. This allowed him to be set free within a few months of an attack that shook the world. Despite the global uproar over the Mumbai attacks, the US

has been seemingly hesitant in taking direct action against the LeT, not because of lack of information or understanding of the threat it poses, but for shortterm interests and the fear of losing strategic space to China in Pakistan. For the US, Pakistan remains the key in untangling itself from Afghanistan; therefore, it is not willing to push the Pakistani military leadership beyond a point. Till some Americans were killed in the Mumbai attack, the US had viewed LeT as a regional threat and not as a global one. This has proved to be a grave miscalculation on the part of successive US administrations. This dimension of LeTs current activities and the successful elimination of the al-Qaida chief have raised the possibility of the US, at some point in the near future, leaning on Pakistan to take decisive and visible action against the LeT leadership and its terrorist infrastructure. However, history proves that when the heat gets turned on the Pakistani army its intel, ligence wing cleverly manufactures a new group or new terror leadership to protect its longterm strategic assets like LeT. It is becoming clear that the US and other western nations have failed to rein in one of the most resourceful and powerful terrorist groups in the world. The group has not only remained intact after the Mumbai attack but has grown manifold in the years since then.
The writer is a columnist on South Asian affairs.

Sarkari Scourge
Drop outdated mai-baap culture

Indias foreign policy approach may suit its interests

David Malone was Canadas high commissioner to India and now heads Canadas International Development Research Centre (IDRC). He has also just published a book on contemporary Indian foreign policy titled Does the Elephant Dance? He spoke to Deep K Datta-Ray: I Your book on Indian foreign policy relies on categories such as soft power, realism and idealism but can these concepts, developed by AngloSaxons to describe western international politics, be used to describe what we do? The term soft power was coined by an American scholarpractitioner. It could readily be dismissed as a facile slogan in India. But look at Indias actions. Delhi developed a soft power capacity, hingeing on the strong pull of India in terms of its history, culture and even landscapes through the incredibly successful Incredible India campaign. If that isnt iconic of a soft power approach then what is? India can build on this approach by also showcasing its democracy, without seeking to export it, and the countrys admirable struggle for human rights. As for realism and idealism, Nehru was influenced by both, and so are todays politicians, although Indias possibilities in foreign policy are vastly expanded now. I In your book do you recount history or advance an analytical argument? Both, actually. I believe its impossible to understand contemporary policy without knowing where it came from. For instance, Nehrus strategic thinking, much debated, is being reassessed currently, generally in a positive light and it reflects on Indias international relations today. Beyond an antiimperialist strand, Nehru saw India, well before Independence, as primarily an Asian power. less excitable than commentators seeking to impress with bold claims. Overall, being a practitioner makes me more empathetic to the challenges faced by Indian policymakers but theres a risk too in my approach that of getting stuck in the weeds and failing to outline the trees and to identify a forest. I I have to ask the Tanham question. Do we possess a strategic culture? There is strong strategic sense at any given time among several Indians shaping foreign and security policy, sometimes retired, as was the late, great K Subrahmanyam when at his most influential. Their disposition is generally prudent, but they see further than the rest of us, and are less likely to be waylaid by the lure of sentimentality or ideology than us. India has never for long locked itself into foreign policy or national security frameworks. These generally just keep on failing elsewhere. Hence Indias approach, while often reactive, may suit the countrys interests better, given an Indian genius for improvisation, however late in the day it sometimes occurs! I Finally, what is IDRC and how does it engage us? We specialise in helping developing countries to generate evidence-based policy through their own research communities. Our annual budget is $270 million, mostly provided by the Canadian Parliament. About $50 million is currently funding about 150 projects in India ranging from core support for think tanks to project funding for other institutions and individuals. We also fund work on economic and social challenges in a range of areas from agriculture to gender issues. We often work with partners such as the Gates Foundation, Canadas aid programme and the UK governments international development department.

he story would be amusing if it werent emblematic of the sarkari attitudes permeating our public sector. Recently, an employee of state-owned Indian Bank faced flak for apparently failing to extend basic courtesies to his superior. He had locked in his car keys while loading the luggage of his boss, who was kept waiting at the airport. For this lapse, the bank chairman and managing director reportedly had Banabihari Panda, an executive of 34 years experience, suspended. The latter wrote to apologise, explaining what shouldve been obvious: it was a mistake. He also delivered the luggage, if belatedly. For his pains, the Mumbai zonal managers been reinstated, but not without a transfer to Chennai. Plus, the incident is now under investigation! It beggars belief that a major public sector bank can squander time and energy on a minor incident, even wasting money probing it. This would suggest the bank staffer was expected to be subservient to the point of being resigned to his humiliation. Blame it on the culture of servility that pervades babudom and politics. Recall the police officer who instinctively bent down to wipe Mayawatis sandals with his handkerchief. UPs chief minister, known to transfer cops at whim, hadnt exactly stopped him. Democracys representatives are expected to combat outdated ideas of domination and subservience, yet these have been institutionalised. Consider the sahayak, essentially an army officers helper. We got the idea from colonial rulers, but the British abolished the post after World War II. All weve done is try to ensure sahayaks arent treated as household servants, without great success. Civil society must decry practices attacking human dignity and laws be framed wherever possible to eradicate , institutional servility Lets start by passing the Civil Services Bill, which . would free civil servants from being beholden to politicians for plum posts.


This vision is only being realised now. In 1947, Nehru had very few international cards to play, but he played them well. Today, India has more options and makes more choices. I Does being a practitioner make your writing about our foreign policy distinctive? Having been part of the foreign policy development process in Canada and a delegate at the UN often seeking to forge compromise perhaps makes me

Status quotient
The `20 crore car is worth 20 crore only . because its price tag says it cost 20 crore
Jug Suraiya


Reading a news report recently i tut-tutted over the falling standards of journalism when i spotted an obvious misprint. What were newspapers coming to these days. Or rather, where were they going to. Look at this howler, for instance. How could any sub-editor worth their printing ink have allowed such an obvious bloomer to pass? A car, priced at `2 crore. What nonsense. Then i . looked closer. And i saw that there was indeed an error. But the error was not on the part of the newspaper, but on mine. Id miscounted all the zeroes that came after the 2. There werent seven zeroes as id thought, but eight of the sneaky devils. Eight zeroes? What did eight zeroes coming after a 2 add up to, apart from my total confusion? And the answer when id finally worked it out was 20 crore. And that was the price of a car. One car. Not a fleet of cars, one for each day of the week. Not even a couple of His and Her cars, blue for Him, pink for Her. Made by someone called Aston and a buddy of his called Martin. The same two guys, if i recalled right, whod made the car James Bond drives. But 20 crore? Even Bond would have to think 007 times or maybe even 00007 times before whacking out 20 large Cs for a set of wheels, no matter how ritzy they were. How could a car cost 20 crore? i asked myself. What did it have that could justify a price that would get you a whole parking lot full of Nanos if instead of Messrs Aston and Martin you plonked for apro Ratan instead? What special accessories did a 20-crore car come with? A platinum engine? Solid gold hubcaps? Diamondstudded headlights? Narain Karthikeyan as chauffeur for life? Then it struck me what it was that made a 20-crore car worth 20 crore. It was the 20-crore price tag itself, nothing more or less. For the 20-crore tag didnt just spell out 20 crore. It spelt out much more than that. It spelt out Status with an S that was not just a capital S but a positively capitalist S. Never mind what else it had. What was important, what made the 20-crore car a 20-crore car, was the Status Quotient, or SQ, it bestowed on the person who could afford to buy it. Of all the ingenious things devised by marketing experts by far the most ingenious is the function of price as a provider of SQ. Suppose someone comes up with a totally useless product, something for which literally no practical, or even impractical use, can possibly be found. A square wheel, for example. Now if the inventor of the square wheel were smart a doubtful proposition, considering hed gone and invented a square wheel in the first place instead of tossing his invention into the rubbish bin and going back to the drawing board to try his hand at something else Hey! What about a perpetual motion machine? hed go to a team of marketing experts and get the experts to turn his square wheel into a moneyspinning best-seller. How? By putting not just a huge but an extra-extra-huge price tag on the square wheel. And thanks to that e-e-huge tag, people with more money than SQ would get into a push-and-shove contest to be the first to buy it before someone else did. I was first in line! Werent too, i was! Why would people pay a humongous amount of money for something that obviously wasnt worth all that much, in fact wasnt worth anything at all, like a square wheel, say? Because by doing so theyd show everyone, including themselves, that they could afford to spend that kind of money on something of little or no intrinsic value. What they were buying was not a product a square wheel, for instance but the SQ given to the product by the XXL price tag. Thats what those smart guys, Mr Aston and Mr Martin, were doing. They were getting people to buy not their car heck, anyone could buy a car; ask Ratan but the price tag the car came with. Smart move, fellas. But a smarter move would be for someone to bypass Aston-bhai and Martin-bhai and go to a local print shop and pay 20 bucks to get a 20-crore tag printed to stick on the back of his bargain-basement jalopy. Status Quotient doesnt stand a chance when it meets up with Suraiya Quotient. Aston-bhaiya, Martin-bhaiya, please excuse.

Before Jairam Ramesh talks about IIT/IIM faculty being world-class, he should comment if our politicians are world-class
CHETAN BHAGAT, writer, on politicians

I wonder how the government performed from here for the past 34 years. My office is bare save for a table and a couple of chairs. Even the telephones dont work
MAMATA BANERJEE, West Bengal chief minister, on the lack of facilities at Writers Buildings

Sometimes i feel IPL matches are like Chinese proverbs. Few words, lot of wisdom

JAVED AKHTAR, lyricist, on the marquee cricket