|Friday, June 30, 2000,
five blindmen & the elephant
Why this missile defence plan?
crisis: a failure of leadership
AFTER the Panskura Lok Sabha seat, the Calcutta and Salt Lake municipal corporations have gone the Mamata Banerjee way, well almost. In the latter, officially called Bidhannagar after the states first Chief Minister Bidhan Chandra Roy, one undeclared seat will decide the winner between her Trinamool Congress and the Left Front. In Calcutta proper she needs a handful of seats and will get them from the 14-strong Congress group. With this victory, she has proved two things. First, hers is the real Congress which alone can mobilise and motivate the anti-Left Front votes and the Congress Party has no future in the state, at least in urban areas. Two, and this is more important, the Left Front can be challenged and defeated. Despite its dominance for more than two decades, or may be because of it, the organisational and election fighting machine has become creaky and somewhat unreliable. As Ms Banerjee has often put it, the Calcutta civic poll was a semi-final and the real test will come next year when the state elects a new Assembly. For her then it has been a great start. She will lead the attack and Mr Jyoti Basu, at the helm for nearly a quarter century, will not lead the Front since his retirement is certain. Hers is an authentic one-woman party with its plus and minus points. There cannot be any rebellion in the fledgeling party nor any collective decision-making. She has to almost singlehandedly do the campaigning and given her famed energy and mercurial temper, she obviously loves every minute at the hustings. The Front will have collective leadership which was first tried out during the Panskura byelection with a none-too-happy result. However, the two recent reverses must have provided the emerging leaders with the right input to spot the weak spots and set them right. The most worrying development is the defection of a section of the CPM cadre to the Trinamool Congress, which cannot be explained. The parent party has a compact ideology and is in power while the new one has a one-point agenda: to defeat the Left Front. How come workers long exposed to people-oriented programmes walk out to join a programme-less outfit? This is dismaying since it is happening in other places also.
Ms Banerjee is a
phenomenon and symbolises an emerging political trend.
The urban educated middle class has completely withdrawn
from active politics, immersing itself in chasing money.
The old liberal people are either sulking at the downward
spiral of political morals or have withdrawn into a
shell. Younger and idealist youth are searching for a
dot.com at the end of the rainbow. This has left the
field open to a new breed of firebrand leaders to whip up
mass passion often over non-issues and rapidly climb the
ladder only to find themselves lonely and lost at the
top. They have to fade away and they do but not before
thoroughly upsetting the existing political equations.
Nobody knows as yet how to guard against this
development, a seemingly dynamic and brand new face
taking on a set of old and tired men and women, dazzling
the unorganised masses and stirring up their shapeless
anger. In this narrow perspective, it is well that Ms
Banerjee has challenged the CPM in West Bengal. It has
the intellectual and organisational resources to fully
measure up to the problem and devise a workable solution.
She has made one thing clear. The present CPM practice of
holding endless meetings and issuing fiery statements
would not do. There is need to work among the people and
unite them to fight for their rights, now additionally
under attack by the globalisation policies.
THERE is still no light at the end of the tunnel in Fiji over a month after a failed businessman, Mr George Speight, stormed the parliament building and has since been holding Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and his Cabinet colleagues hostage. The army which stepped in to fill the political vacuum has tried all kinds of tactics to rein him in. It is evident that Mr Speight does not have the kind of support Mr Sitiveni Rabuka had for capturing power through undemocratic means. But he does seem to have enough ammunition and men for holding Mr Chaudhry and his colleagues in illegal detention. He is a rogue individual who is under no compulsion to respond to the appeal of the international community for restoring the democratically elected government in Fiji. The army commanders too have gone through the motions of first holding formal talks with the rebel leader, for ending the crisis, followed by threats of use of force to make him bend. As a lastditch effort he was given a deadline, which expired at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, to fall in line or face the consequences. At the end of the deadline the army commanders announced a two-year limit for restoring civilian rule, with or without the participation of the Fijians of Indian origin. It is a point on which there has been little progress because of the flip flop attitude of Mr Speight. The entire story is a bit complex. Mr Speight took the Prime Minister hostage not because he wanted to capture power. The reason why he did not proclaim himself as the new ruler has something to do with the fact that he does not enjoy the support of the civil administration and the army. But his nuisance value is immense. What he achieved on May 19 when he stormed the parliament building in Suva was not a coup. Yet he continues to be a factor which the army commanders, in spite of all the brave talk, cannot ignore without putting at risk the lives of the hostages. Of course, the ambivalent stand of Australia and New Zealand too is responsible for prolonging the crisis.
Nevertheless, a case can
be made out for a more active role for India in bringing
the Fijian crisis to a happy and early end. India should
intervene not because a leader of Indian origin has been
deposed, but because the agenda which Mr Speight and his
colleagues are trying to force on the nation is flawed.
It must be remembered that India too is a multi-cultural
and multi-racial country and more diverse than Fiji. At
the height of the Ayodhya campaign Ms Uma Bharati had
given the dangerous slogan of "Babur ki aulad wapas
jao". It was the good sense of the senior leadership
which saw the slogan being killed before it could turn
into a battlecry. However, if reckless individuals like
Mr Speight are allowed to have the agenda of "Fiji
for Fijians only", India will have to come into the
picture for deciding the fate of nearly half the
country's population whose only fault is that their
forefathers were brought to the island as indentured
labour by the British. Their children have as much claim
over the land of their birth as those who are now trying
to push the dangerous and unacceptable agenda of being
more equal than the people of "Indian origin".
Yes, the Fijian crisis does warrant a more active
diplomatic initiative by India for ensuring the
restoration of democracy under the constitution which saw
Mr Chaudhry become Prime Minister of the multi-racial
country. The rhetoric being used by Mr Speight's
colleague, Major Ilisoni Ligairi, too should be the
concern of India. Whether the rebels kill the hostages or
not, in the event of the army getting tough, is entirely
the internal matter of Fiji. Even the international
community can do little except invoke the principles of
human rights for the release of the hostages. And Major
Ligairi has indeed threatened to shoot the hostages if
the army tries to rescue them. But the more disturbing
development is the unsubtle attempt to give a communal
twist to the crisis. Major Ligairi has been quoted as
having said that non-Christian hostages, including the
deposed Prime Minister, a Hindu, are being given lessons
in Christianity because "what we are fighting for is
[the establishment of] a Christian state". If the
Fijian logic and definition of nationalism are made part
of state policy by the army or whatever power structure
replaces it, the foundations of democracy across the
globe, which uphold the principles of equality, liberty
and fraternity irrespective of race, class or colour, are
bound to get loosened. India should step up diplomatic
pressure on Australia and New Zealand for an early and
fair resolution of the crisis in Fiji because if the fire
of racial, and now religious hatred, gets out of control
its heat is bound to be felt in Delhi more than in
Of five blindmen & the
PRINCIPLES and ideology once guided Indian politics. Even differences among party leaders would invariably be justified on grounds of principles or ideology. Such was the hold of ideology!
Today, we are faced with the typical case of five blindmen and the elephant. Most leaders and their parties might swear by one ideology or the other. But, for all practical purposes, they grope in the dark. They not only lack vision but also the ability to think beyond immediate and self-centred goals.
Opportunism is the name of the game. Either to grab power or to stay on in the business of power. In this free-for-all competitive politics the wielders of power and their collaborators gain at the cost of the people and the exchequer.
Political culture has changed. So have functional norms. The motivating force of leaders has come to be highly personalised. It is either class-based or caste-based. Principles hardly count in their calculations.
No wonder, they see the country's sprawling democratic bazaar as a means to further their interests. And in this market-oriented politics nothing is guaranteedneither the durability nor the standardisation of the "product". For, everything and everyone is for sale and that too at a discount!
This complex scenario is no longer swadeshi in character. For, everything has to be seen in the context of globalisation and liberalisation! Indeed, the pace for tomorrow is, again, set not by principles but by Wall Street and the combination of swadeshi and videshi market forces.
There can be no independent path in such a situation. However, the problem with our ruling elite is that they hardly tell this hometruth to the electorate.
I am, of course, all for foreign investment and technology. We need money and modern technological tools to build the infrastructure sector, and not to market potato chips and tomato ketchup. And do we understand as to how the market economy operates? And, have we given a thought to the question where the poor and the havenots (nearly 50 per cent of the population) will stand amidst the high-powered market forces?
My regret is that our rulers are not even sure of the priorities and areas of investment for the good of the people. They invariably play the game of misinformation and disinformation for their selfish ends.
It may be asked: do ideology and principles have any relevance in today's politics? A simple answer to this query is yes, but very limited.
Take, for instance, Ms Mayawati's Uttar Pradesh and Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav's Bihar. What matters in the Hindi belt, as has been noticed for the past three decades or so, is the free play of the Mayawatis, the Mulayam Singh Yadavs and the Laloos. The New Class of our leaders once used to decry the Congress for promoting dynastic rule. Now, they themselves promote dynastic succession and that too without any sense of shame or guilt.
They spend lavishly like the maharajas of feudal India, the class they used to publicly decry to enlarge their vote bank. Today, they have amassed wealth by hook or by crook and are seen as the new maharajas.
Ironically, they belong to the class which drew the maximum attention of the stalwarts of India's freedom movement. Jawaharlal Nehru and a host of other leaders passionately talked about socialism in order to ensure the equality of opportunities and justice for the country's poor and the downtrodden.
A disturbing feature of the new ethos is the new political style, which lacks both restraint and discipline. Attainment of power is one of the principal ends of all political activity today. Parochial issues are pursued with a passion and are sought to be decided by mass demonstrations and mob violence.
The new infrastructure of politics today consists not of grassroot individuals sensitive to people's needs, but of musclemen and local mafia. They are either directly paid for or are maintained by and thrive on the new, high-growth sector of the economy the combination of liquor kings, smugglers and politicians out to make a fast buck.
Looking back, the ideology of socialism did bring about a radical transformation in the thinking and action of the rulers during the first two decades of Independence. Even Indira Gandhi was very much committed to the upliftment of the poor. Though she did use the slogan of "garibi hatao" for political purposes, her basic instincts were genuine. I had an opportunity to meet her on a few occasions. She was deeply concerned about the disparities existing in the country's socio-economic set-up.
Of course, she was a great political tactician. She knew how to use principles and ideology to promote her political interests. She did this admirably well. However, I for one will never doubt her basic sincerity in this area. Alas! This cannot be said about most of the present set of leaders ruling the roost. They are neither wedded to principles nor to any ideology. All that they seem to be committed to is their own brand of personalised and self-centred politics.
Of course, the in-thing is marketing. Even "dreams" are marketed. They do arouse false hopes among the poor and the have-nots. But such packaging can hardly banish poverty and illiteracy. Television images do glitter. But all that glitters is not gold.
In any case, poverty is bad publicity for globalisation. It can neither be globalised nor marketed. This problem will have to be tackled firmly by our rulers. Are they serious about it? It doubt it. Politicians and their hangers-on have surely "removed" their poverty. The poor remain where they were.
In fact, democracy seems to have been redefined. It is no longer "of the people, by the people and for the people". Democracy today is of politicians, by politicians and for politicians and their collaborators! And party labels are just incidental.
In fact, in the great manthan that we see in the Indian political ocean, ideology has ceased to have any relevance and that is the reason why socialists and hardcore ideologues of the Marxist brand have no problem with the free-wheeling saffron politics of the BJP and other like-minded parties. Most leaders today play populist politics. How can principles fit in the circumstances?
Divisive politics has, thus, become confrontationist politics. That is the reason why there are more exchanges of fisticuff than a meaningful debate in Parliament and state assemblies these days.
This is very much evident to thinking persons. Political parties, however, turn a blind eye to the key issues facing the polity simply because they are not ready to forego the power and pelf that the present system confers on them.
There is a saying: if the cattle break into the field, one can drive them away. But, if the fence itself begins to eat the crop, what can be done? This was probably the biggest failure of the founding fathers of the Constitution. The President is the "custodian" of the Constitution. But, for all practical purposes, he has no power to prevent the perversion of the Constitution!
Today, the reality is that nothing prevents a party from even working against the interests of the nation, howsoever unconsciously, if its own survival depends on it. We have no means either to monitor such lapses or to prevent anybody from committing them.
By now we know how the system works. Even the law enforcement agencies can go berserk. Perhaps, the system apart, the human failure explains most failures in our life. This is probably because we have not cared to follow the message of the stalwarts of value-based politics.
Mahatma Gandhi used to call for the transformation of the people. However, no concrete steps were initiated to prevent the growth of corruption and criminalisation of politics.
It is never too late. For, we can still insist that the persons who aspire to rule over us must have certain skills, principles and qualities, and be committed to the service of the people. This in itself can bring about a qualitative improvement in the polity.
Is this a tall order?
Surely not. For, I find the new generation of Indians may
be wedded to market economy but they are good human
beings. They at least have no hangup and hence tend to be
less deceptive and hypocritical. Indeed, an honest and
objective approach to the people's problems can make a
difference to the quality of governance. All that we need
is a work culture and certain values and principles which
could help us to block today's wayward traits in the
Why this missile defence plan?
WHEN a world leader with only five months left in the office propounds a controversial defence system based on imaginary fears on rogue states and enemies, he cannot convince the world. President Bill Clinton, who had all along been advocating the international community of nuclear power to sign the CTBT, proposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin the newer and more controversial version of the 1972 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty on missiles, the latter expectedly was not enthusiastic. He was certain that the move was directed against Russia and could trigger yet another missile race.
President Clinton is now globetrotting at government expense to bid farewell to his friends and world leaders. America need not grudge him that. The recent Indian visit was part of that campaign aimed at winning friends and influencing people at the time of retirement. That was why Mr Clinton was all reasonableness and friendly in India. The master charmer was successfully at work.
But the more recent visit to Russia was different. Now that Mr Boris Yeltsin, a weak and unhealthy and whimsical Russian leader, who never questioned the US authority in international affairs had retired, Mr Clinton was curious to assess the impact of his successor, Mr Putin. On the surface, the two leaders got along quite well; they reached agreements on two vital issues. But there could be no agreement on the national missile defence plan.
The first agreement signed by the two leaders stipulated the conversion of 34 tonnes each of weapons-grade plutonium capable of producing hundreds of nuclear weapons into a form unusable for nuclear warheads. This process will require huge funds, but the USA promised Russia that it would help it with the necessary funds. In fact, the USA had successfully concluded similar arrangements with nations like Ukraine (formerly part of the Soviet Union) to dismantle their nuclear pile. With Russia agreeing to such an arrangement, the stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium could also be converted to the harmless variety, thereby preventing any nuclear proliferation threat. The USA and Russia also agreed on steps to create an early warning system to detect nuclear strike threats.
So far so good. These were impressive achievements for a President who will leave White House next January. But there were too many uncovered angles to the national missile defence system proposed by Mr Clinton. The USA was prompted to take up this issue on the basis of a study which concluded that within five years the country could face nuclear missile threats from rogue nations like Iran, Iraq and North Korea. The conclusion was based on rather frivolous arguments which reflected the traditional US prejudice against these nations.
For instance, Iran is now almost back on a moderate course, keen to improve relations with the West. President Khattami and his moderate group had come to power because Iranians voted for a more moderate approach to both national and international problems. Iraq, particularly its mercurial President, since the time of the 1990 Gulf war, has been the arch villain. Despite all kinds of UN probes and inspection teams riddled with US spies, it has not been able to prove that Iraq was hiding nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. On the contrary, Iraq has been brought to its knees by the UN sanctions and the fear that it would launch missile attacks on the USA. This can only be termed fantasy. The North Koreans, another favourite US bugbear, are all set to hold talks with the South Koreans and end their isolation. Why should they spoil the process by going ahead, building nuclear missiles aimed at the USA?
The rogue states scenario did not hold any water. The US study also stated that such missile attacks could be launched by criminal gangs or terrorists. But the missile systems are so intricate and expensive that even independent nations do not have the budget or expertise to go ahead with them. It will be highly improbable for any individual terrorist group, however, powerful it is to think in terms of launching a missile attack.
Why then is the USA so keen to introduce the national missile defence system? It is clear that America still does not trust Russia and China and wants further safeguards against any possible nuclear strikes from these two. The entire range of operation of such a system, which would cost the USA a staggering $ 250 billion, is clearly meant against sophisticated and expensive nuclear missile attacks which only strong, nuclear-armed nations can launch. Russia and China fall under this category.
Once it has the NMD in operation, the USA can instal nuclear weapons in Taiwan, without fear of any retaliation from China. The same can happen in Europe under NATO control. Russia already fears that the expansion of NATO is meant to encircle it with hostile European powers, particularly its former satellites in Eastern Europe. If the USA had the NMD going, it could provide the NATO nations bordering Russia with nuclear weapons because Russia would not be in a position to retaliate because of the protection offered by the NMD.
Thus it did not come as a surprise that the Russian President was not enthusiastic about the entire project. Initially, he even offered to collaborate with the USA in the project. But with Russia as the primary, though unmentioned, target, the USA could not really offer to share all the technological secrets. Such collaboration will not receive any support from the European allies of the USA.
Defence experts who are keen to reduce tension all over the world are of the view that it made no sense to deviate from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which in a way paved the way for a nuclear detente. For nearly 28 years the treaty has worked well and the world has been spared of any confrontation like the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Since the USA is no longer confronted with the communist bogey or a powerful, conflicting ideology, it makes no sense to go for a system which is frighteningly expensive.
But the national missile defence system is certain to figure in the forthcoming US presidential polls. The Republican candidates, particularly Mr George Bush (Jr), have already stated that he will push aggressively forward with such a defence system. The military-engineering complex in the USA has enough hotheads who would welcome such a stand because it would enable the USA to receive huge slices from the missile cake. We do not know how the Democratic presidential candidate, Mr Al Gore, will approach the issue. The general feeling in US politics is that downgrading any expensive defence system is a sign of weakness. So Mr Gore too may come out with shrill appeals for the NMD.
The USA, particularly
President Clinton, must know that it has to deal with a
tough, shrewd Russian leader in Mr Putin. As a former
head of the powerful KGB, Mr Putin knows to play all the
cards in the power game. Within a short time of taking
over, he has restored order in Russia. The people are
happy that at last, since the days of Mr Gorbachev, the
nation is ruled by a tough, sensible and pragmatic
President. Mr Putin, while professing no enthusiasm for
the NMD, is certain to expose the hollow claims that the
free world needs these systems against
rogue states, terrorists and criminal gangs.
a failure of leadership
NEGROES yoked to ploughs in American plantations! Negroes exhibited in cages in the Berlin zoo!
Why do I recall these historical episodes? Because I am trying to find the answers to the crisis of leadership in Africa. Are African leaders aware of their history? Does history play a role in shaping their responses to modern events? Sierra Leone is only a very small event of their history. Surely, what provoked Mandela to cry Shoot the leaders? must have come from a deeper angst.
Africa is the most oppressed continent. The oppression began long ago with the destruction of Carthage by the Romans, followed, later, by the slave trade, colonialism, neo-colonialism and, now, by Africas re-colonisation all at the hands of Europe. It has been a case of domination, exploitation and oppression.
And yet Africa carries no historical sense of grievance against its former oppressors. For much less offence, China speaks in wrath of the injuries it has suffered at the hands of the West. It never misses an opportunity.
I am not saying that Africa should go out and kill the white men. The Jews did not. They have remained the most pacific people. But their trauma transformed them into superior human beings, in any way superior to the white men. I see no such urge in the African leaders to prove their worth, to show that they are better than their oppressors. Remember, it was the mad act of a white man in throwing Gandhi out of a train, which made him the man of the millennium, a saint, and finally the nemesis of white mens empires.
It is true that a few among the African leaders Nkrumah, Lumumba, Mandela, even Kenyatta were men of outstanding qualities and abilities. But how can one explain such monsters like Duvalier, Idi Amin, Mobutu and others, who took over from the colonial masters, sacked the opposition, set up brutal and arbitrary one-party rule, looted the treasuries and transferred the wealth of Africa to Europe and America? How can one explain the frequent tribal warfares and genocides? Did these people know their history?
The conflict in Sierra Leone is not over good governance. It is over who should possess the diamond mines. The existing regime in Sierra Leone is supported by Nigeria, the regional power, which, in turn, is supported by Britain, the former rulers of both Nigeria and Sierra Leone, and still owners of the diamond mines. As for the rebels they also want to become the rulers of Sierra they are backed by the powerful diamond smugglers and their patron, Liberia, which has an eye on the rich diamond mines in Sierra Leone along its borders.
Unlike in Asia, the European masters have not really left Africa. Their presence is very much there in politics, economic and, above all, in the military. And they play the old game of divide and rule. They still set one tribe against another. African leaders cannot be unaware of this game. They were perhaps helpless before. But such an excuse is no more possible, now that they are free.
It was tribalism which allowed the easy conquest of Africa by Europe. It is Africas weakest link. And yet by introducing pluralism without a deeper thought, tribalism has come back in the most virulent forms. With what result? The horrendous genocide of Rwanda. Did it teach the African leaders anything? Not anything that I can see.
Of course, the intertribal warfare suits the former colonial masters, for they can continue to rule over the continent through proxies. Of the 54 countries in Africa, over 35 have border problems. It is now too late in the day to redraw the borders. We know from Indias experience that it cannot be done. The African borders are perhaps the most irrational. They follow no principles. They were drawn up by drunken colonialists.
The crisis in Africa has also much to do with its extreme poverty. It is a classic case of political freedom and economic dependence. The African nations remain loyal to the mother countries. Some with utmost filial piety. And the mother countries have tied them to Europe through various conventions. Africa produces what it does not consume and consumes what it does not produce. And the price is dictated in both cases by the mother countries.
Africa is one of the richest countries. It is highly fertile. But it is never free from famines. This is because the mother countries (that is their MNCs) insist on producing only cocoa, groundnut, tea, cotton, rubber etc and not foodgrain or industrial products. What is worse, by getting Africa into a debt trap, the European masters are able to dictate terms to the African countries.
The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was formed in 1963. It was supposed to provide leadership to Africa. But that is precisely what it failed to provide. It crippled itself from the very outset by refusing to have any interventionist role in the domestic affairs of African countries. But it was reconciled to any number of interventions by the UN. Local initiative no; foreign interventions yes. Surely a highly illogical stand?
Of late, some of the major African states are taking part in peacekeeping operations. For example, apart from Nigeria, a number of West African states are involved in Sierra Leone. But this has only led to a politics of peacekeeping. Nigeria wants a larger share of the pie, and leadership too. Which explains why there is a move to out the Indian commander, Maj-Gen Jetley. And this in spite of the fact that before the UN forces took up the work on Sierra Leone, Nigeria tried to disarm the rebels, but failed abjectly.
Most of the African states are under mafia rule today. Law and order has broken down. The state itself has become irrelevant in these circumstances. Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, says that African leaders stay too long in power and to do so they are even ready to risk a civil war.
In its 1989 report the World Bank said that Africa was worse than what it was at the time of the independence of African nations, that is about the sixties. Strange! Africa has lost all economic credibility. With a huge debt burden of $ 300 billion, no investor is willing to take the risk in Africa. For this, who is to be blamed except the African leaders?
Is there light at the end of this long tunnel? They say, yes. The new generation is disillusioned with the present leadership. The students are astir, we are told. The talk is about pan-Africanism. Pan-Africanism was once preached by Nkrumah. But it had little support among the ambitious leaders. Each one wanted his little empire.
Africa for Africans) is the only solution to
Africas continuing crisis. And the students must
lead this movement. Africa must go for a union like the
European Union without borders, with freedom for its
people to move. And Africa must enter into a new type of
relations with its former masters.
UN warns Taliban of more sanctions
ISLAMABAD, (IANS) The United Nations Security Council might impose further sanctions on the Taliban if it launches more offensives against its opponents, the UN Secretary-Generals special envoy on Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell, has said.
I have told Taliban that in the case of a major offensive, the Security Council might decide to impose further sanctions on them, Vendrell said in an interview with IRNA. The UN official said there were signals that more offensives might be launched by the warring sides in Afghanistan.
Vendrell said little would be gained by either side through fresh offensives. I certainly do not believe that a military offensive can succeed in resolving the problem in Afghanistan, he said. Vendrell said any new sanctions would also have an impact on some of the neighbouring countries in terms of obligations that they might be imposed upon them.
Asked to provide details about the shape these new sanctions might take, Vendrell said: There are rumours that arms embargo, freeze of bank accounts of Taliban leaders and ban on entry visas to Taliban leadership may be imposed.
Vendrell said he had raised the issue of Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden during his discussions with the Taliban leaders. Sanctions will remain on Taliban until the Osama issue is satisfactorily settled. I encouraged Taliban to meet Security Councils demands so that the sanctions are lifted, he said.
The UN official cautioned against foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, and said: After 20 years of intervention by a series of countries in Afghanistan, not only are the Afghans worse off, but they themselves are not better off.
Those countries which have intervened so heavily in Afghanistan, starting with the Soviet Union, have gained nothing from interference in Afghanistan, he said.
It is about time they realise (it is better) to coordinate their approach, sit down and tell each other what are their interests in Afghanistan, which are acceptable to others and which are not, he said without naming any of the regional countries.
If they do that, they may probably find a solution to the problems of terrorism, drugs and refugees which they are facing, Vendrell said.
Asked if the UN had
evolved some mechanism for peace in Afghanistan, Vendrell
said: I am in the process of developing some ideas
of my own after having talks with Afghan factions,
individual Afghans and member countries of the Six
If the mind is unclean,
all else is unclean;
Guru Amar Das, Guru Granth Sahib, p558.
O Lord of material and
Rig Veda, 4.41.7
Not treasure or
righteousness, pleasure or freedom
Ramacharitamanasa, Ayodhya Kanda, Doha 197
May there never appear any sinful ideas in my mind which while in wakeful state runs here, there and everywhere and while in slumber becomes calm and quiet as usual which is known as Daiva because it is the only means to apprehend self luminous Atma; which is capable of grasping past, present and future, a distant object and an object intervened by an obstruction; which is illumining agency to all luminous bodies; let that mind of mine be always full of good and auspicious ideas.
Shukla Yajur Veda, XXXIV.1
The three types of evil deeds done through the mind are: thinking about illegal possessions of others property; nurturing ill-will for others and unjustified stubbornness.
The evil deeds done through the speech are of four types: uttering harsh words, telling lies, backbiting of all sorts and speaking incoherent things.
The evil actions done through the body are of three types: taking possession forcibly of something which is not ones own, violence and sexual indulgence with others wife.
One has to reap the consequences of mental sins through the mind alone.
The consequences of sin committed through speech are reaped through the speech and that of bodily sins through the body and so is the case with good deeds.
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