Thursday, November 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

E D I T O R I A L   P A G E


EDITORIALS

SGPC & Punjab poll
E
lections to the Punjab Assembly early next year had a lot to do with the selection of the SGPC executive, including the president, on Tuesday. The new incumbent, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, is a low-profile politician, a shadowy figure despite his powerful post as the officer on special duty to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Copter controversy
T
he controversy about a US surveillance helicopter flying over Chennai airspace has come at a time when relations between the two countries are just coming out of a downswing. Since many old suspicions remain, it is being seen as a blatant attempt to spy on the highly sensitive Kalpakkam atomic power plant that is situated nearby.

OPINION

PM and Parivar’s agenda
A study of his depressing statements
Inder Malhotra
T
here is nothing secret about the “secret” of the survival, over the last 44 months, of the fractious and depressingly ineffectual 24-party ruling coalition, grandiosely called the National Democratic Alliance.


 

EARLIER ARTICLES

Nepal’s (and India’s) crisis
November 28
, 2001
List of don’ts for MPs, MLAs
November 27
, 2001
Quickfix history
November 26
, 2001
War against terror: The public opinion conundrum
November 25
, 2001
What has Dalmiya done?
November 24
, 2001
BJP’s new stance
November 23
, 2001
Denness stumps cricket
November 22
, 2001
Call back the cricketers
November 21
, 2001
PM’s sangat darshan
November 20
, 2001
Politics of POTO
November 19
, 2001
Maharaja Ranjit Singh: Punjab’s benevolent ruler
November 18
, 2001
The Afghan endgame
November 17
, 2001
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
 

IN THE NEWS

Back to square one in Nepal
T
he recrudescence of violence perpetrated by Maoist guerrillas in Nepal that claimed the lives of over 250 people in the last four days culminating in the proclamation of emergency should be viewed in the background of the failure of successive governments to resolve the people’s problems.

  • Tibetans’ number problem

OF LIFE SUBLIME

Nam Japna is the key to peace
Onkar Singh
I
n these troubled times of a global war on terrorism and widespread destruction of life and property, the key to peace is Nam Japna or recitation of the Divine name by the hapless mortal, thereby invoking God’s mercy to curb the beastly propensity of man and stop blood-letting.


A 2000-strong jatha of Sikh pilgrims left for Pakistan by two special trains to celebrate Guru Purab.
(28k, 56k)

2,000 Sikhs in Pakistan for Gurpurb
A
t least 2,000 Sikh pilgrims have reached Pakistan to mark the 533rd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. Major-Gen (retd) Inayatullah Niazi along with Additional Secretary Izharul Haq and Pakistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee Chairman Sham Singh received the Sikhs, who arrived at the railway station at Wagah on the India-Pakistan border.


A CENTURY OF NOBELS

1930, Physics: C.V. RAMAN

TRENDS & POINTERS

Indian teenagers start it at the age of 20
I
ndian teenagers tend to protect their virginity more than other nationals and the average age for a sexual experience in India is 20.3, according to a global survey. The Durex Global Sex survey carried out in 28 countries found that the average age for the first sex experience was 16.9 for Britishers and 16 for Americans.

  • UAE erects the world’s tallest flagpole 

SPIRITUAL NUGGETS

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SGPC & Punjab poll

Elections to the Punjab Assembly early next year had a lot to do with the selection of the SGPC executive, including the president, on Tuesday. The new incumbent, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, is a low-profile politician, a shadowy figure despite his powerful post as the officer on special duty (OSD) to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. But he will have a marginal role in boosting the electoral chances of the ruling SAD early next year. He belongs to the backward castes and with the prosecution of Pyara Singh Bhaniara, the SAD hopes to contain the damage of alienation of the low castes. But there is a problem here. The new SGPC chief is not so well known as a backward castes leader even though he is close to Baba Bhaniara before the latter’s arrest on the charge of sacrilege. In fact, opposition to Mr Badungar’s candidature arose over his close association with the Baba. Also, his fierce loyalty to Mr Badal and to Akal Takht. Simply put, he is in the camp opposite former SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi and long time SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra. In this respect he has tilted the balance of power in the SGPC wholly in favour of the Chief Minister. This is what Mr Badal wanted and what he achieved.

Mr Talwandi earned his sack by his erratic statements often embarrassing the Chief Minister. His blunt criticism of Mr Badungar’s links with Baba Bhaniara and of Akal Takht Jathedar Vedanti was particularly sharp and damaging. But Mr Talwandi could demonstrate his anger and frustration only in a limited way. He tore up the voting slip as a symbolic gesture of rejecting the selection of the SAD nominee but will not team up with Mr Badal’s arch rival, Jathedar Tohra, for a powerful reason. His son Ranjit Singh wants to be the SAD candidate in the coming election from the Raikot constituency from where he lost in 1997. He cannot get the Congress ticket and if his father revolts openly against Mr Badal, he cannot get the SAD ticket either. This has limited the options of Talwandi and helped Mr Badal to once again demonstrate his stranglehold on the SGPC General House. But in the process the ruling SAD has lost a very good chance of trying to bring about unity of all Akali factions. There was a slim chance of unity when Akal Takht ordered all factions to come together, Mr Tohra called on Mr Badal at a Delhi hospital and Mr Badal offered to put up a common candidate like Mr Mal Singh Ghuman. But nothing came out of it and the Akalis of various factions will march into the election as a divided force.
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Copter controversy

The controversy about a US surveillance helicopter flying over Chennai airspace has come at a time when relations between the two countries are just coming out of a downswing. Since many old suspicions remain, it is being seen as a blatant attempt to spy on the highly sensitive Kalpakkam atomic power plant that is situated nearby. The Opposition has expressed its strong resentment to the extent of demanding the scuttling of the move to have any truck with the USA. However, a dispassionate appraisal of the situation makes it clear that the flight undertaken by the US helicopter from a ship preparing to berth at the Chennai port was more out of a misunderstanding than any desire to snoop on the sensitive Indian nuclear establishment. Indian officials concede that the ship had the permission to visit the Chennai port and helicopter surveillance is a regular practice during docking. Since such visits are only now starting, the helicopter pilot was perhaps not aware that he was supposed to inform the authorities about his plan. From the facts available up to the present, it appears to be an unintentional violation. For one thing, such snooping is just not necessary in this age of detailed satellite imagery. Two, no visitor coming on a friendly mission would like to sour the relations through such a provocative act. Three, there are no reports of any flight on land. The helicopter took off from a destroyer while it was 40 miles away from the port on Monday morning and on being asked to return to the decks, it promptly did so while the ship was 10 nautical miles away.

Still, India is taking up the incident with the US authorities so that there is no repetition. The USA on its part has ordered an investigation into the reported violation of the airspace. That is where the matter should end, without being over blown. What needs to be kept in mind is that the warship is here for refuelling and restocking after obtaining due permission, that too as part of the global war against terrorism. Whenever a large ship is anchored, it is routine for a surveillance helicopter to conduct a preliminary foray. Indian officials should have informed it in advance that it was mandatory to file the requisite flight plan. The incident should not be viewed with more seriousness than it deserves. 
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PM and Parivar’s agenda
A study of his depressing statements
Inder Malhotra

There is nothing secret about the “secret” of the survival, over the last 44 months, of the fractious and depressingly ineffectual 24-party ruling coalition, grandiosely called the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). It is the personal popularity and broad national acceptability of the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, based on his image as a man of decent instincts, liberal predilections, and deep understanding of the need for tolerance in a pluralist society that is as complex as it is diverse. Even those totally opposed to the BJP, therefore, have hitherto felt reasonably reassured that he would prevent the Hindutva hotheads from promoting a parochial, exclusionist or communal agenda aimed at undermining the nation’s secular, inclusive and unifying ethos.

It is both incomprehensible and disquieting, therefore, that Mr Vajpayee should have started eroding his shining image by pandering to the disastrous moves and demands of the wilder elements in the Sangh Parivar. Perhaps he feels confident that he can take risks because the Congress leadership — either because of its own inadequacies or on account of its sharp division from such opposition groups as the Samajwadi Party or for both reasons — poses no threat to his government. In fact, he gave expression to this thought when he told a BJP conclave at Amritsar that no one was asking any longer “how long will this government last”. The trouble is that even robust confidence can sometimes turn out to be dangerous complacency. But that can be allowed to pass. What needs to be watched carefully is the pattern of the Prime Minister’s regressive statements potentially destructive of the greatest asset the NDA government possesses.

The process began with his gratuitous declaration towards the end of last year, reaffirmed in his Musings from his New Year holiday resort in Kerala, that the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya was an act of “nationalism”. Coming from the one BJP leader who had made no secret of his unhappiness on the day Babri Masjid was razed to the ground, this was a surprise. But apparently Atalji had his compulsions. Later in response to the sharp reaction from not only the Muslim community but also from the country in general, he did backtrack somewhat and reiterated that his government would abide by the court’s verdict or an agreement between the two communities.

This was a period when, in the aftermath of the Mahakumbh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Bajrang Dal and other similar outfits were clamouring for the temple’s construction at the disputed site. They were demanding then, and continue to do so now, that the government should hand over to them the land acquired by it so that the construction could begin there without having to wait for the court’s judgement. Meanwhile, the “Dharam Sansad” (religious parliament) had fixed March 12, 2002, as the date on which the work on the temple must start regardless.

Even the politically illiterate could see the strategem behind this strategy. There was a remarkable coincidence between the schedule for the temple’s construction and completion of the assembly election in the key state of UP. The idea clearly was to use the temple card during the electioneering, and even go on ratcheting up the issue, but to avoid any precipitate action on the ground until after the voting that is likely to be completed well before mid-March. What can be better than eating one’s cake and having it too? Except that it began to appear that the electorate was not too enthusiastic about the temple issue.

In this context, the Prime Minister’s contribution was an announcement in his constituency of Lucknow that an “agreement” on the mandir-masjid question would be reached before March 12 next and that he was, indeed, already engaged in confidential parleys towards that end. Unfortunately, no one knows to this day who is talking to whom. On the contrary, most of those whose participation in any such dialogue is essential have publicly denied having received any message or even a feeler from or on behalf of the Vajpayee government!

Untroubled by all this, the VHP stalwarts and others of their ilk staged their infamous act of barging into the makeshift temple at the disputed site in violation of the court’s orders and with apparent acquiescence of the law enforcers on the spot. The Prime Minister’s reaction was mildly to regret the incident and to emphasise the need for “strengthening security”. More than a month later, the Union Home Minister, Mr. L.K. Advani, criticised the deliberate defiance of the law in relatively stronger terms.

This was a surprising reversal of roles between the Prime Minister and his number two whose rath yatra in 1990 had brought the Babri Masjid issue to the boil in the first place. However, on the currently burning question of POTO, the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance, yet to be endorsed by Parliament, the usual equation between the two was restored. The Home Minister has practically equated POTO’s numerous critics with supporters, if not abettors, of terrorism though the Law Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, has been using his impressive forensic and rhetorical skills to put a spin on Mr Advani’s calculatedly intemperate outburst. By contrast the Prime Minister has been moderate in the use of language. He has indeed indicated that he would like to meet the critics’ demands for safeguards more than halfway. Even so, he says enough to underscore the link between the timing and manner of promulgating the ordinance (without any prior consultation with the opposition parties whose support is necessary if POTO is to be enacted into law) and the looming UP elections.

It is on the latest and the lamentable issue of “cleansing” of Indian history that the Prime Minister’s performance has been even more disturbing. He has chosen to defend the indefensible, and propounded the strange doctrine that “if history is one-sided, it should be changed”. He should have left such arguments to the likes of Mr Murli Manohar Joshi, the Minister for Human Resource Development, who has been working overtime to saffronise the entire education system and to rewrite this country’s history in a way characteristic of tyrants and fascists through the ages.

What is one-sided about the simple and historical statement, based on ancient documents and tracts, that in the time of Rig Veda Aryans ate beef? I had first heard this assertion from, of all people, Jagjivan Ram, who was then a senior member of the Janata government in which Mr. Vajpayee was Foreign Minister and Mr Advani Minister for Information and Broadcasting. Interestingly, it now transpires that the RSS had tried hard to get deleted from history textbooks even in 1977-78 all references that have been blacked out by executive diktat now. But the then Education Minister, Prakash Chander, belonging to the Congress (O), had flatly refused to do so and made his refusal stick presumably because of support from Babu Jagjivan Ram and even the then Prime Minister, Morarji Desai.

Since then the times have evidently changed. It is not merely that perfectly unexceptional statements — such as that the Jats, having established their rule at Bharatpur, had plundered the neighbouring areas (indeed almost all principalities had done the same) have been struck off history textbooks. The horror of horrors is that the CBSE, the Central Board for Secondary Education, that has issued the directive to all schools to make the prescribed deletions has absolutely no authority to do so under its own charter or under any other law. And yet the enlightened Prime Minister has rushed in with the defence of what angry critics have called “Talibanisation” of our education. The question is why.

After all, Mr Vajpayee has had little hesitation in taking on the RSS and the Swadeshi Jagran Manch on economic reforms and even foreign policy. But he is knuckling under to the hard-liners on their core Hindutva agenda of which distortion of history and playing up the Ram mandir issue are obviously integral parts.

The goal evidently is consolidation of the Hindu vote, and inextricably mixed up with this is the calculus of UP assembly elections. Everyone knows that a defeat in this poll in the most populous state could spell the unravelling of the BJP-led dispensation at the Centre too. Must expediency take precedence over the nation’s interest in preserving its unity and value system now being imperilled so callously?
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IN THE NEWS

Back to square one in Nepal

The recrudescence of violence perpetrated by Maoist guerrillas in Nepal that claimed the lives of over 250 people in the last four days culminating in the proclamation of emergency should be viewed in the background of the failure of successive governments to resolve the people’s problems.

Over the years, Nepal has been reeling under abject poverty, unemployment, economic insecurity and social deprivation. Instead of ending the persistent neglect of the cause of development, not only the panchayat regime but also the many coalitions between 1991 and 2001 played politics. If corruption, venality and factional squabbles characterise the corridors of power in Nepal today, it is because of the indulgence of successive ruling formations in self-aggrandisement and their lackadaisical attitude towards the pressing problems of the people.

All this provided combustible material for the Maoists to violate the rule of law and wield the gun to realise their goals. This is all the more unfortunate because it was only in August that Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba introduced wide-ranging changes pertaining to land reforms, poverty, untouchability, gender discrimination and hill area development. However, the optimism that accompanied the introduction of these reforms soon faded out as it was believed that there was lack of earnestness and sincerity on the part of the government to pursue reforms to their logical conclusion.

Bilateral talks between the government and the gun-toting guerrillas failed mainly because of the rigid posture adopted by both sides. While the rebels demand an interim government, a new republican constitution and the establishment of a republican state, Mr Dueba is firm that there would be “no compromise” on constitutional monarchy, multi-party parliamentary democracy and adult franchise.

The issue in question is whether the emergency, declared for the first time since 1990, is the answer to Nepal’s current problems. The government has passed an anti-terrorist law, imposed excessive curbs on the people’s movements, arrested journalists and granted untrammelled power to the police and the Army. Reports say the Army is using gunships to combat guerrillas. It is believed the government has overreacted to the situation which in turn could harden the stance of the Maoists. The attempt to find a solution with the help of the military may block the negotiation route, despite the optimism of the Prime Minister.

Mr Dueba says that doors for dialogue with the Maoists are open, the emergency notwithstanding. But will the Maoists agree to abjure violence and come to the negotiating table? In any case, Nepal is in for an uncertain future.

Tibetans’ number problem

That the Tibetan refugees in India, like any other uprooted people, yearn for going back to their homeland at the first available opportunity is well known. What has, however, remained little publicised is their strong desire for having as many children as possible. There are two specific reasons for this. One, they are culturally inclined towards a large family whereas the fertility rate among the Tibetans is one of the world's lowest —1.22. Two, a substantial increase in their numerical strength is considered necessary for intensifying their fight for a return to their homeland free from Chinese subjugation.

Some Tibetans have a different viewpoint and prefer a better quality of life to continue their struggle vigorously. But they are very few in number and their views carry little weight in the majority of the diaspora. Most of the Tibetans feel alarmed at the declining birth rate and are seeking medical help to have an increased number of babies. But success seems to be eluding them. Hardly 17,000 Tibetans have been born in India since 1959----a big period of 40 years — when 80,000 followers of the Dalai Lama fled Tibet after China moved its troops into the territory.

The Tibetan spiritual leader sought asylum in India, which was granted immediately, and established his government-in-exile with its headquarters at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. Today India is host to over 1,30,000 of the 1,50,000 Tibetan refugees living in different parts of the world. Their second biggest concentration is in Nepal (23,000) followed by North America (7,000), Europe (2,250), Bhutan (1,584), Taiwan (1000), Japan (55) and Russia (54).. In India, their largest concentration is in Karnataka — 40,000 (as the situation existed in 1998). In 1960 their number stood at merely 14,000 in the southern state, but it continued to grow mainly because of migrations, and not owing to a baby boom as desired by the Tibetans.

They may have their own reasons for what they wish, but is it not hoping against hope in a host country where population is a major problem. When India is making all efforts to reduce its birth rate from the present 3.5, how can it tolerate the Tibetans to multiply their population without any restricition on the number of children they want to have.
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OF LIFE SUBLIME

Nam Japna is the key to peace
Onkar Singh

In these troubled times of a global war on terrorism and widespread destruction of life and property, the key to peace is Nam Japna or recitation of the Divine name by the hapless mortal, thereby invoking God’s mercy to curb the beastly propensity of man and stop blood-letting.

Guru Nanak, one of the great sages the world has produced, who laid the broad tenets of the Sikh Faith, incessantly preached Nam Japna (absorption in God’s Divine name) or meditation on the one and only God. By constant remembrance of God with a pure heart and living a righteous life, one can attain Mukti (liberation from the cycle of birth and death) and attain happiness in this world, proclaimed Nanak. He preached early rising, bathing and meditating on the Divine name which he described as the biggest magical word, the real jantar (amulet) and tantar (charm). He said:

Those who love Him
in their hearts
And have His name
ever on their lips,
Those who worship
Him but seek no gain
To them come birth
and death peacefully
Like birds at dusk
settling on trees
To roost for the night
Some joyous, some sorrowing,
all lost in themselves;
When dawns the day
and gone is the night
They look up at
the sky and resume their flight.
So does man fulfil his destiny.

A divine poet — philosopher, the hymns Guru Nanak sang, set to prescribed ragas, in praise of the Lord, the oneness of God, universal love and brotherhood, truthful living and equality of mankind are deeply moving. The praise and love of god that emerges from his celestial hymn, Japji Sahib, a morning prayer silently recited by the Sikhs, is itself a contemplation of truth and worship of God. Its preamble, which delineates the concept of one and the only God, and is the Mool Mantra of Sikhism, says:

There is but one God,
the Supreme Creator,
Without fear and hate,
immortal, unborn, self-existent.
You shall worship Him
with His Grace.
At the beginning of time,
the true one was,
In the course of time,
the true one is,
O Nanak, for ever the true
one shall be.

For Guru Nanak, God is the synonym of “Ek-Omkara.” Omkar is a Sanskrit word. Ek-Omkara is the transcendental Lord of all creation who, according to Nanak, “existed before the creation and who alone will survive the creation.” Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy Sikh scripture, begins with “Ik Onkar”. “Ik” or “One” is written as “I”, the figure meaning “Ek”, the symbol of the unity of God and His universe.

Nanak was so immersed in the continual meditation on God that he rapturously repeated the name of the Formless Creator. Just one hymn below shows his immeasurable faith in Nam Japna:

I live when I repeat the name,
I die when
I forget it.
It is difficult to utter
the true name...
How can He be forgotten,
my mother?
God is true, His name is true.
In another hymn, he says:
Day and night repeat
the name O’ mortal
That thine impurities
may be washed away.

The teachings and hymns of Guru Nanak were imparted to his nine holy successors, the Sikh Gurus, to whom he transferred his own light. They shared the same light and preached the same truths revealed by Guru Nanak. Their message was the same: Nam Japna, fervent faith in the one and only God and a full acceptance of life with its truly ethical practice.

The supreme object of human life, they all preached as revealed by Guru Nanak, is meditation on and worship of God and utterance of His name. Only by remembering and loving God and His name could the Supreme Truth and peace be realised. Although God’s limits and powers are unfathomable, meditation is not fruitless. As a matter of fact, it is through sincere and devoted worship that a man gains the highest status even in this world. “He who possesses the biggest treasure of Nam, is the king of kings,” says Guru Nanak. The mortal upon whom God showers His grace, comes to realise that the real object of human life is to attain union with Him.

“Having received the gift of human life, one must devote oneself to God’s praise,” says Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru. “Remember God, this is thy business, thy obligation. Part thyself from illusion and take thy refuge in the Lord. False as the world’s comforts; false are its luxuries. Thou hast not praised God’s glory. Thy life is being unavailingly wasted. Cherish Him in thy heart as the fish cherished water.”

In keeping with the spiritual message of Guru Nanak, the founder of their Faith, the devout Sikhs remember God daily, particularly in the wee hours of the morning, to glorify God, the all pervading Creator of the universe. They recite the Gurus’ Bani (sacred hymns). They call it Nam Simran or recitation of the Divine Name. It implies contemplation on the wonders of the Lord’s creation and constant reflection on His attributes of truth, beauty, perfection and compassion. This continues process of communion with God stills the wanderings of the mind which becomes tranquil and peaceful. By Nam, evil thoughts are banished, sins erased and impurities of one’s heart removed. In this state of higher consciousness, one realises the Divine presence.

The Sikhs recite “Waheguru” (The Wonderous God) or “Satnam” (God is True) to invoke the supreme reality.

God, according to Guru Teg Bahadur, responds to loving devotion. Man earns the Lord’s grace and compassion. One need not go out anywhere seeking Him. “He resideth within you as fragrance resideth in the flower or reflection in the mirror.”

Since God responds to loving devotion, the most we can do is trust that our prayers for ending human suffering made with a pure heart will not go unanswered and that, by His grace, an era of peace and harmony will be ushered in.
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2,000 Sikhs in Pakistan for Gurpurb

At least 2,000 Sikh pilgrims have reached Pakistan to mark the 533rd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. Major-Gen (retd) Inayatullah Niazi along with Additional Secretary Izharul Haq and Pakistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee Chairman Sham Singh received the Sikhs, who arrived at the railway station at Wagah on the India-Pakistan border.

Poonam Singh, one of the Sikh devotees who arrived at Wagah, told Online news agency he felt Pakistan was like “our sweet home.”

Another youngster, Nanak Singh, who along with the others advanced towards the Nankana Sahib gurdwara to join in the birth anniversary celebrations, said: “My happiness knows no bounds to be here for the first time.” IANS
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A CENTURY OF NOBELS

 
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TRENDS & POINTERS

Indian teenagers start it at the age of 20

Indian teenagers tend to protect their virginity more than other nationals and the average age for a sexual experience in India is 20.3, according to a global survey.

The Durex Global Sex survey carried out in 28 countries found that the average age for the first sex experience was 16.9 for Britishers and 16 for Americans.

The survey in India conducted in the four metros found that 77 per cent of India’s adults have had only one sexual partner, compared to 11 per cent in the case of Americans and 13 per cent in the case of Britishers.

The findings of the survey were announced to the media by Mr T.T. Raghunathan, Executive Vice-President, TTK LIG Limited, makers of Durex and other brands of condoms marketed in India and over 40 countries.

The survey found that on an average, Indians make love 76 times a year, more than those in Hong Kong (63 times) and China (72) but less than those in the USA (124) and Britain (107).

Mr Raghunathan said almost seven out of 10 Indians were concerned about contracting the Human Immuno Virus (HIV) deficiency or other sexaully transmitted diseases, but many were not protecting themselves.

A quarter of Indians (27 per cent) were taking no steps to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by safe sex (use of condoms).

Of those who do, just 15 per cent insist on using a condom for casual sex and only 10 per cent ask their partner about their sexual history, the survey revealed. UNI

UAE erects the world’s tallest flagpole 

The United Arab Emirates is heading for a Guinness World Record with the tallest flagpole in the world.

A gigantic UAE national flag will be hoisted on the 122-metre-tall pole next month as part of the country’s 30th national day celebrations.

Documentation about the mast has been sent to the Guinness Book of World Records for a mention, according to newspaper reports.

The present tallest pole listed is in Mexico and is 110 metres high.

The Abu Dhabi flagpole was erected on July 22 and awaits commissioning on December 2, when a 20-by-40-metre UAE flag will be hoisted on it.

The 95-tonne steel structure has been designed to stand free of any kind of external support. The pole was prefabricated in pieces in Texas and shipped to Abu Dhabi for assembly. DPA
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I cared not to know your essence,

O Lord!

Having wasted my youth,

I now repent.

— Sheikh Farid, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 794

* * *

Your youth is false,

for in it you have not loved the Lord.

You will not get this colourful set of bracelets (the body) to wear again,

nor will you get this rare time of youth for enjoyment.

This is the time for ecstasy in union with the Beloved.

For in the end your body will be covered by dust, and dust it will become.

— From Hussain Rachanavali

* * *

There are many levels of peace. There is one that you can produce just by feeling it, just by giving yourself a deep suggestion that you are peaceful; that is the first layer.

The second layer is that of which you suddenly become aware. You do not create it. But the second happens only if the first is there; otherwise it never happens.

— Osho

* * *

If we could establish a deep relationship with nature we would never kill an animal for our appetite, we would never harm, vivisect a monkey, a dog, a guinea pig for our benefit. We would find other ways to heal our wounds, heal our bodies. But the healing of the mind is something totally different. That healing gradually takes place if you are with nature, with that orange on the tree, and the blade of grass that pushes through the cement, and the hills covered, hidden, by the clouds.

— From Beyond Violence, Krishnamurti’s journal, October 10, 1973, October 17, 1973; Krishnamurti to Himself, April 26, 1983

* * *

The body remains only till it is in bloom and you breathe; without merit it will all be in vain.

— Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Sri Rag M 1, page 20
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