Wednesday, December 12, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

E D I T O R I A L   P A G E


EDITORIALS

End of judicial activism
I
n a landmark judgement the Supreme Court has shrunk its jurisdiction to decide only on constitutional and statutory issues. This is the implication of its judgement on the Balco case initiated by the one-year-old government of Chhatisgarh and some individuals.

A coffin scam!
T
he nature of the irregularities committed in clearing certain defence deals mentioned in the Comptroller and Auditor-General's report would fill any normal person with a sense of revulsion. How low can human beings fall? According to the CAG report, gross irregularities were committed in the purchase of coffins by the Army during the Kargil operation. 

Adieu, Dadamoni!
T
here are great artistes; and there are great human beings. Only a select few like Ashok Kumar are blessed with both qualities. The grand old man of Indian cinema is no more, after a magnificent journey of 90 years.


 

EARLIER ARTICLES

Vajpayee-Muivah talks
December 11, 2001
Opportunity in Afghanistan
December 10, 2001
Emerging trends in university administration
December 9, 2001
Chandrika voted out
December 8, 2001
UGC ban on franchise
December 7, 2001
POTO is a time bomb
December 6, 2001
Punishing Arafat not fair
December 5, 2001
Anything to win UP
December 4, 2001
Cricket short-changed
December 3, 2001
POTO controversy and its various dimensions
December 2, 2001
Enron is sinking
December 1, 2001
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
 
OPINION

Deepening crisis in Nepal
Possibilities under the circumstances
T. V. Rajeswar
N
epal is in serious crisis, and it had been in the making for a long time. There seems to be no immediate remedy for the problems facing the Himalayan kingdom. If we look back into history, Indo-Nepal relations in particular, it will be seen how Nepal went about creating problems for itself. When the British left in 1947 giving independence to Nepal, India and Nepal signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship as well as an agreement on matters of trade and commerce. 

MIDDLE

Swollen heads
I. M. Soni
F
ormer captain of Sri Lankan cricket team, Arjuna Ranatunga, was blamed for his “arrogance.” It was alleged that he was rude and curt to his team mates and treated them as his “personal servants.” He denied the charge. However, the moot point is: does success spin the head? Does it make the star a swollen head?

FOLLOW-UP

A separatist couple turns provider
Reeta Sharma
K
anwar Singh Dhami and his wife, Kulbir Kaur, had demanded a separate state of Khalistan for which they were tried in courts and the husband was held guilty under TADA. He was also accused of anti-national writings, raising of slogans and advocating secession. While his wife was acquitted of all charges, giving her the benefit of the doubt, Dhami was ordered to be jailed for 14 years.

75 YEARS AGO


Poultry industry
Shimla

The employment of a permanent poultry expert has been sanctioned by the Punjab government (Ministry of Agriculture). 

A CENTURY OF NOBELS

1945, Physiology or Medicine: FLEMING, FLOREY and CHAIN

TRENDS & POINTERS

‘You have to be totally mad to do it’
D
avid Clark docked his boat in Florida, completing a two-year round-the-world voyage that made him the oldest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe. Clark (77) ended his 57,600 km journey in the same city he set sail from on December 5, 1999, saying as he landed, “Anybody can do anything they make up their mind to.” 

  • Man’s ear becomes dog’s lunch

  • Baby dies after world’s smallest liver transplant

  • Bald men more at risk of having heart attacks

SPIRITUAL NUGGETS

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End of judicial activism

In a landmark judgement the Supreme Court has shrunk its jurisdiction to decide only on constitutional and statutory issues. This is the implication of its judgement on the Balco case initiated by the one-year-old government of Chhatisgarh and some individuals. It says economic policy lies in the realm of the government in power, and the judiciary has no role in shaping the policies or testing their validity. The right forum is Parliament. This means that the Supreme Court has drawn a clear dividing line between its area of arbitration and that of the legislature and the executive. This marks a major departure from the earlier days of exuberant judicial activism when the apex court acted as the third chamber of legislature to set down rules on air (CNG) and industrial (dispersal of thousands of units) pollution and water pollution (Yamuna). A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court has realised that making rules from the court does not always work well and complex social and economic policies are best left to political and other experts.

This observation is based on sound judicial principles. The order says that the Chhatisgarh government has failed to prove that there was any grave constitutional or statutory violation in the valuation of the assets of Balco and the issue was debated in the Lok Sabha and decided in favour of selling 51 per cent of the shares to Sterlte for Rs 551.5 crore. Sterlite was the highest bidder and others had not raised any reasoned objection. For the state government to oppose the sale on three grounds is wrong; it was not a hush-hush deal, the price was properly valued and the highest bidder got the plant. The other objections are perfunctory and do not deserve serious consideration. The important fallout is that the Supreme Court has raised a wall of non-interference in executive power unless it is convinced of grave constitutional and statutory laws.

The impact will be dramatic in the process of disinvestment. Two cases in South India challenging the hiring out of two hotels belonging to the ITDC (Indian Tourism Development Corporation) will abate. The employees will have no right to legally question the right of the management to set the terms of hiring or the selection of the bidder. They are on strike and will have to return after the judgement. Future disinvestment plans will also benefit in a big way. 
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A coffin scam!

The nature of the irregularities committed in clearing certain defence deals mentioned in the Comptroller and Auditor-General's report would fill any normal person with a sense of revulsion. How low can human beings fall? According to the CAG report, gross irregularities were committed in the purchase of coffins by the Army during the Kargil operation. Members of a certain tantrik sect steal bodies from the cremation ground for performing obnoxious rituals. And there are those who dig up fresh Muslim and Christian graves and remove the shrouds and the caskets and make money by recycling the stolen property of the dead. In plain Hindustani these people are called "kafan chor" - shroud-thieves. How are the men involved in the deal that saw substandard coffins being purchased for the Kargil martyrs any different from the despicable tribe of "kafan chor"? The report may cause confusion among ordinary citizens who have only respect, bordering on admiration, for the members of the defence services. The confusion needs to be cleared through prompt identification of the culprits. The law does not permit extreme punishment, otherwise, such men as made illegal profit out of what was a major national tragedy should be hanged in public. Their dirty deal should make every patriotic Indian seethe with rage. The Army top brass is not usually involved in the purchase of defence material and equipment. The placement of orders is routed through civilian agencies.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government decided to go in for emergency purchase of coffins following the action in Kargil that resulted in the death of more than 500 jawans and officers. The scrutiny of records by the CAG showed that some middlemen made huge profit by supplying the coffins at highly inflated rates. Of course, the supplier on his own could not have been able to palm off substandard "imported" coffins without the help of willing insiders who must have been bribed for clearing the deal. There is another aspect that needs to be explained. India is now counted among the fastest growing economies in the world. And yet it still does not have the wherewithal to produce body bags and aluminium coffins for meeting domestic needs! It is evident that all aspects of the coffin deal need be investigated by the vigilance and other concerned agencies. And the culprits should be awarded harshest possible punishment for their role in the despicable deal.
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Adieu, Dadamoni!

There are great artistes; and there are great human beings. Only a select few like Ashok Kumar are blessed with both qualities. The grand old man of Indian cinema is no more, after a magnificent journey of 90 years. And yet there is a universal feeling that the inevitable has happened a little too soon. Through his sheer zest for life and communicative skill, Ashok Kumar won as many friends as fans. The tears being shed at his departure have no trace of glycerine, for everyone loved him not because he was a superstar but because he was a wonderful person. The young man who came to the nascent film industry, bringing with him a natural style of acting which was a far cry from the declamatory style of that era, stayed on for nearly 60 years, adding not only glamour but also respectability to the profession. If his sheer longevity was remarkable, so was the fact that he managed to steer clear of controversies. Right from “Jeevan Nayya” in the thirties to “Aankhon Mein Tum Ho” in the nineties, he remained perhaps the most recognisable face of Indian cinema, along with Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand. Generations came and generations went. Ashok Kumar went on and on. In this long innings he broke as many records as he broke conventions. Today’s generation may consider Amitabh Bachchan the original anti-hero but the oldtimers know that it was Dadamoni who broke the mould way back in 1943 through “Kismat”. That the film ran for as many as four years was an acknowledgement of his versatility.

The cinema world bows only to the rising sun. But his personality was so powerful that he stole the thunder even when he had switched to character roles in keeping with his advancing age. The handsome hero of the forties and fifties became an adorable dadaji with consummate ease in the seventies and eighties. Why, he was the real “hero” even when playing only the sutradhaar in that remarkable TV serial called Hum Log. And his talent was not confined to acting alone. He was a good painter, a good homoeopath and a connoisseur of cars as well. The Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award that he won in 1995 pertains to his achievements in the cinema world. He is one man who deserves such a prize in all fields of life. He had become a legend in his lifetime. Now that the legend is history, he will perhaps attract even more affection and adulation. What more can an actor — and a man — ask for! May the film world in particular and the world in general be blessed with more of such magnificent men. 
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Deepening crisis in Nepal
Possibilities under the circumstances
T. V. Rajeswar

Nepal is in serious crisis, and it had been in the making for a long time. There seems to be no immediate remedy for the problems facing the Himalayan kingdom.

If we look back into history, Indo-Nepal relations in particular, it will be seen how Nepal went about creating problems for itself. When the British left in 1947 giving independence to Nepal, India and Nepal signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship as well as an agreement on matters of trade and commerce. The treaty and the letters of exchange stipulate that both governments should inform each other of any serious friction with neighbours, and neither government should tolerate any threat to the security of the other. King Tribhuvan, who was the ruler when independence came, was more or less a prisoner in his palace as the Ranas were effectively holding the reins of power. The king sought refuge in the Indian embassy on November 6, 1950, and asked for political asylum. The Ranas attempted to depose the king and place his four-year-old grandson on the throne. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru intervened, ensuring King Tribhuvan’s return to Kathmandu and also a democratic government headed by Mr P. Koirala.

King Mahendra succeeded his father in March, 1955, and initiated a policy of distancing Nepal from India and developing close relations with China, with a treaty in September, 1956. Mahendra dismissed the Koirala Ministry in December, 1960, and more or less assumed direct rule. The setback suffered by India in the Sino-Indian conflict in 1962 made Mahendra even more assertive. The nadir in Indo-Nepal relations was reached in 1988 when, contrary to the Indo-Nepal Treaty of 1950, Kathmandu imported huge quantities of arms and ammunition, including anti-aircraft guns, from China. Prof Leo E. Rose of the University of California, Berkeley, a keen observer of Nepal affairs, commented that the “astonishing and equally amazing thing” was that soon after the anti-aircraft guns were imported the Nepalese government started complaining of air-intrusion. He added that the Nepalis should understand that for their survival China could never be an alternative to India, and in strategic terms China could never counter-balance India.

King Birendra, who succeeded Mahendra, enunciated the “Doctrine of Zone of Peace”, equi-distancing Nepal from India and China. Actually he started leaning on China more and more, without realising the vital importance of India in Nepal’s economy. The Indo-Nepal Treaty permitted citizens of both countries equal rights of trade and commerce which benefited the Nepalis considerably. Today up to 10 million Nepalis are believed to be living and working in various parts of India and their remittances to their kith and kin in Nepal play an important role in sustaining its economy. The provision of free trade was misused by a few powerful families in Kathmandu which in collaboration with some unscrupulous Indian traders, used to import huge quantities of items like stainless steel and polyster fibre, which were not wanted in Nepal at all but were diverted to India through smuggling. When Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister he stopped this and also blocked the transportation of essential goods like petrol and kerosene to Nepal. Life in Nepal, in particular Kathmandu, came to a grinding halt, with the realisation dawning on the people and the king that they could hardly afford to offend India.

After the elections in mid-1995 Manmohan Adhikari of the Nepal Communist Party became Prime Minister. He visited India in October, 1995, and raised several issues, including a proposal to revise the Indo-Nepal Treaty of 1950. This treaty has become the favourite whipping horse of many Nepalese politicians. Adhikari stated during his visit that Nepal was “India-locked”, forgetting the fact that Nepal was fully bottled up in the north by China as well.

Pakistan and its ISI have been very active in Nepal, with Kathmandu becoming a staging post for Pakistani agents. There have been numerous instances of ISI agents from India transiting via Kathmandu and vice versa. Over 60 per cent of Pakistani diplomatic staff members in Kathmandu are suspected to be intelligence people and some of them have proved to be purveyors of counterfeit Indian currency. Among the various diabolic measures initiated by Pakistan against India is the infiltration and circulation of large quantities of counterfeit currency notes of high denominations for weakening the Indian economy. Pakistan has also heavily financed the construction of mosques along the borders of Nepal adjoining India. Pakistan has also been indulging in such activity in a covert manner in Indian territory, particularly in UP and Bihar, adjoining the Nepal border. There was a well-known Pakistani agent, a Nepalese Muslim, who managed to become a Minister in the Nepal government. He turned out to be the source of great support to ISI activities in Nepal. He was, however, gunned down by an agent of Chhota Rajan, as part of his feud with the notorious smuggler and ISI agent, Dawood Ibrahim, who now resides in Karachi.

The hijacking of IC-814 plane in December, 1999, exposed the lack of security of Indian citizens and the free run which the ISI commands in Kathmandu. After the hijacking incident security measures were tightened considerably by the Government of India followed by the suspension of flights of Indian Airlines aircraft for a few weeks. This brought the tourism industry in Nepal to a grinding halt as the visit of Indian tourists used to be a big source of revenue. The climax came when a wholesale slaughter in the royal palace in Kathmandu took place. The virtual elimination of the entire royal family resulting in the succession of Gyanendra as King and his subsequent appointment of his intemperate son, Paras, as the crown prince have alienated large sections of people in Nepal.

The Nepali communists, particularly the Maoists, are known to be in touch with their counterparts in Bihar. There is no evidence as of now that their activities are in any way influenced by China or Chinese communists. Almost the entire lot of politicians in Nepal, including those heading the Maoist movement there, had studied in India. The Nepali Maoists set in motion political turmoil with bandhs and law and order-related incidents which were temporarily suspended when Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Dueba invited them for discussions. The main demand of the Maoists is the setting up a Constituent Assembly for a new constitution leading to the eventual emergence of a republican state. The talks broke down after four months. On November 21 the Maoists declared the setting up of the United People’s Revolutionary Government with its capital at Rolpa in western Nepal. Two days later they launched attacks on several police posts and also on an army garrison, resulting in the death of about 40 people, including several jawans. The attacks on police stations were continued during the rest of the month. This has resulted in tourism getting crippled and Nepal’s economy going into a critical spiral. The Maoists claim to be running a parallel government in some regions and are in actual control of about 35 of the total 75 districts. Prime Minister Deuba has sought the help of India, and Prime Minister Vajpayee also spoke to King Gyanendra, assuring him of all the help possible from India.

Mr Pushpan Kamal Dahal, popularly known as Comrade Prachanda, who is the chief of the CP (Maoist), has declared that the Maoists are prepared to suspend their activities provided the Nepali people are given a choice to decide their own future. There is very little which India can do to help Nepal in its predicament. At best it could give it arms and ammunition and financial assistance and go easy on the trade and transit arrangements. The problem will not end there and the Nepal government, even after ordering its army to move into the western districts to tackle the armed Maoists, cannot bring back normalcy in the near future. Nepal’s undeveloped interior is very difficult for the movement of armed forces, and the terrain is ideal for guerrilla warfare. Any attempt to tackle the situation only by armed retaliation would go on for years. This will only end up in more and more miseries to the people of Nepal.

The most sensible thing is to accept the demand for a Constituent Assembly which should decide the future set-up of the polity, including the future of the royalty. The days of the king being looked upon as the reincarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu are over, and King Gyanendra, much less his son, Crown Prince Paras, can hardly expect to hold on to Nepal’s throne without the people’s support. India on its part should watch its steps carefully while extending the necessary assistance to Nepal.

The writer is a former Governor of West Bengal and Sikkim.
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Swollen heads
I. M. Soni

Former captain of Sri Lankan cricket team, Arjuna Ranatunga, was blamed for his “arrogance.” It was alleged that he was rude and curt to his team mates and treated them as his “personal servants.” He denied the charge.

However, the moot point is: does success spin the head? Does it make the star a swollen head? There is a story about a Hollywood actor who was having a hair-cut. He said to his hair-stylist, with whom he was on first-name terms: “Henry. Do not you think that my hair-line is getting thin?” “No,” replied Henry. “Your head is getting bigger with every hit film.”

Swollen heads, instead of becoming humble, begin to look upon themselves as bigger than life. They misconceive that they are the universe and the sun revolves around them.

Pride fouls their head which gets bloated from inner pressure. Like the magnet, it points to only one object — self. “Pride” says Osborn “break the angels in heaven, and spoils all the heads we find cracked here.” It is the meanest power that mortifies mortals. What fools these mortals are:

Fools fawn on them. There is no dearth of dim-wits. A fool flattering a bigger fool is common in all walks of life, more sour politics and universities — the so-called “citadels of rationality.”

The fool thinks that he is a wise man. The wise man knows that he is a fool. Diogenes lived in a tub and he was considered queer. The haughty queen who said if people do not have bread let them eat cake, was beheaded.

Pride defeats its own end by bringing the swollen-head who seeks respect into contempt.

The haughty is usually empty inside like the distended balloon. He is also craven, mean and as loud a beggar as want.

The official status of this specimen does not wash away traces of vulgarity, intemperance and sauciness from his character but, in contrast, makes his traits more conspicuous.

Albert Einstein, known for his simplicity, remained unspoilt even in dazzling success. He says: “Possessions, outward success, publicity and luxury to me have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.”

But this is not so in the real life of the saucy riff-raff. Possession and luxury, however, contemptible, are their wool and the warp. The unashamed scramble for spoils in the country is an evidence of it. Greed and grab are the two key words. Moral values are for the duds of the country.

Success which grows out of achievement, steady effort and dedication, is rare. Success that flowers within the inner reaches of the spirit is seldom the measure of a man. Now, people become great, they do not grow great.

Success of the latter kind is a heady wine which, we in this country, are now brewing at a feverish pace. It has flushed the cheeks of the undeserving and has caused their head to reel.

There is another face of success of which nobody talks because it effaces the celebrity rather than make one a huge harding made of cardboard larger than life.

Seldom can it be recognised in a throng of people. Often it is anonymous even on itself because it has not swelled the ego like a cheap balloon.

It thrived in a grey-haired woman who was part of crowd at an airport where a famous actress was alighting from an aeroplane.

In this multitude was this humble woman whose hands had been burned with countless experiments in the laboratory and were heavily bandaged. unrecognised, she too applauded the actress as she emerged from the airport. This humble woman was Madam Curie. 
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FOLLOW-UP

A separatist couple turns provider
Reeta Sharma

Kanwar Singh Dhami and his wife, Kulbir Kaur, had demanded a separate state of Khalistan for which they were tried in courts and the husband was held guilty under TADA. He was also accused of anti-national writings, raising of slogans and advocating secession. While his wife was acquitted of all charges, giving her the benefit of the doubt, Dhami was ordered to be jailed for 14 years. Eventually, Dhami underwent four-and-a-half years’ jail term from March, 1994.

Both Dhami and Kulbir Kaur were accused of having crossed over to Pakistan in 1985 and lived there for seven years because of their links with the ISI. Later, both had returned to India. Reportedly, while the police nabbed Dhami in Ahmedabad, his wife and son were arrested from Baru Sahib in Himachal Pradesh in 1993. The court had accepted the charges that Dhami had addressed a gathering at Anandpur Sahib saying that the Sikhs staying in Hindustan would never be able to get their full rights. That the Hindus should be turned out of Punjab and this alone would allow the establishment of Khalistan and that neither the Central government nor the Punjab government could be changed through the electoral process.

The couple today reiterates that the Sikhs are not free in India. "We are losing our religion. The electronic media is destroying our traditions, culture and religion by exploiting the body of woman in every perverted manner. “Raj bina nahin dharma chale hain” (no religion can prosper unless the rulers belong to the same religion).

Secondly, “Bhaiyakaran” of Punjab is in full swing. “We still want Khalistan but not in the Auranzebi style (with violence). We want our own State of Khalistan, a state-within-a-state in India. 'Azadi sada buniyadi hak hai'.”

Interestingly, Dhami and his wife have opened an orphanage, "Guru Asra Trust", after their release from jail to look after the children of killed militants, who were deserted, both by society as well as the state. Many militants had married at the peak of the movement. Some of these marriages were forced on girls, while many others were against the wishes of both the parents. When these militants got killed either in police encounters or in group rivalries, their widows with children had none to fall back upon for support. Post-militancy, when the state announced relief for widows and orphans, they did not qualify for it because of the rules. While society deserted them, it did not cease to exploit young widows. The children had no support structure either.

It was at this juncture that Dhami opened this "Guru Asra Trust" to provide shelter to such women and children. Kulbir Kaur runs an orphanage only for girls at Mohali and her husband monitors another one for boys at Palsora village. In all, 105 girls and 73 boys are being taken care of. While 90 per cent children are of killed militants, the rest 10 per cent include other orphans or needy. For instance, six children with their blind grandmother from Bihar, have also been taken in. Their father had killed their mother recently in Chandigarh.

It is admirable that none of these children is securing less than 60 per cent marks, especially when all of them have been enrolled in private schools of Mohali and Chandigarh. The Trust also has five computers of its own on which thee students take their turns to get acquainted with the new technology. One 1984 riot victim boy, after completion of his school, has been helped by the Trust to open a cyber café in Ludhiana. The Trust has loaned him Rs 1.35 lakh, without any interest to enable him to stand on his feet.

When asked about the funding of the Trust, Dhamis said, "We receive funds from religious institutions, NRIs, individuals and even the SGPC. However, when Bibi Jagir Kaur took over as the President of the SGPC, she stopped our monthly grant of Rs 16,000, solely on the ground that it was started by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Thankfully, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi resumed it.

Neither the Punjab government nor any Sikh leader has done anything to help these hapless children and women. “Look at these endless deras' in Punjab. All 'babas' owning these 'deras' have accumulated properties worth millions for their self-promotion. What for do they need the latest models of cars and jeeps if they are really following religious activities? None of these 'deras' have ever thought of adopting these orphans".

Many of the widows have been helped to remarry by the Trust. They have left their children under the care of the Trust. “We are apprising girls of Sikh traditions along with providing modern day hi-tech education. For instance, our girls have been trained as 'dhadhis' (bard singers). They have even gone abroad to sing. The Sikhs there were taken aback when they learnt that these 'Dhadhi' girls were simultaneously students of BCA (Bachelor of Computer Application).”

It may be recalled here that the then D-G.P, Mr K P S Gill, had presented Dhami before the media, saying that this man had neither killed anyone nor got anyone killed. Interestingly, Dhami used this statement to his benefit and quoted the Geneva Accord before the court. On the basis of which he demanded a special status for himself in jail. The court had no option but to oblige him and he was allowed to live with his wife and child.

Kanwar Singh Dhami refused to comment on Dr Sohan Singh, Dr Jagjit Singh Chauhan and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, with whom once he was closely associated. He also refused to comment on the role of Pakistan in Punjab militancy. 
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Poultry industry

Shimla
The employment of a permanent poultry expert has been sanctioned by the Punjab government (Ministry of Agriculture). The duties of this office will be to establish a poultry research station at Gurdaspur, also to instruct agricultural students and villagers in poultry science and husbandry. The Punjab, with its enormous wheat tracts, offers a wide field for the development of this potentially important industry which, in this province, is happily free from caste barriers. Mr F.R. Harrop, proprietors and business manager of the Kumlahi Farm, Simla, has been accepted for the post and will proceed shortly to Gurdaspur.
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A CENTURY OF NOBELS


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TRENDS & POINTERS

‘You have to be totally mad to do it’

David Clark docked his boat in Florida, completing a two-year round-the-world voyage that made him the oldest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe. Clark (77) ended his 57,600 km journey in the same city he set sail from on December 5, 1999, saying as he landed, “Anybody can do anything they make up their mind to.” Clark was greeted by his wife, Lynda, and several friends and relatives. White-bearded and deeply tanned, he said he craved “a juicy steak ... and a big baked potato with butter and sour cream just dripping off it.”

Clark once characterised his voyage as “a bit of rebellion” against the denigrating treatment older people often receive. The voyage was perilous. Clark set out in a 12-metre steel-hulled yacht. He sailed past the Bahamas, south through the Caribbean and across the Panama Canal, then past the Galapagos Islands, Tahiti, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Australia and Mauritius to South Africa.

His boat sank in a storm off the southern tip of Africa in February 2001, drowning his pet highland terrier, Mickey. Clark was rescued by the crew of a cargo ship, who put him on a life raft and dropped him in Cape Town. He initially vowed to abandon his quest, saying, “You have to be totally mad to do it.”

But with the help of friends and sponsors, he bought a 10.3-metre sailboat that he named Mickey and left Cape Town to cross the Atlantic in April. He begin the final leg of his journey after sitting out the late-summer hurricane season in Trinidad. Clark, a Second World War veteran, ski instructor and musician, funded his trip with social security checks and the money he earned by playing his clarinet at each port of call. Reuters

Man’s ear becomes dog’s lunch

A man in southern Sweden scared his neighbour’s dog, which then tore off his ear and swallowed it, the Swedish daily newspaper Expressen reported on Tuesday. The man was taken to hospital and the dog to the vet, who gave it an emetic to retrieve the neighbour’s ear, but to no avail.

The dog’s owner then agreed to let the vet perform stomach surgery. The dog survived, but the ear didn’t.

When it finally reached the hospital four hours after being chewed off, it was no longer in any condition to be stitched back on. Doctors said the dog’s stomach acids had dissolved too much of it. Reuters

Baby dies after world’s smallest liver transplant

The smallest child in the world ever to receive a liver transplant died on Monday, about five months after the surgery.

Hunter Dorsey was born June 5 with neonatal hemochromatosis, a usually lethal iron disorder that causes liver failure.

He received a new liver at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta on July 2. At the time of the operation, Hunter weighed 1.8 kg. The liver — which came from an unidentified 10-month-old child — was about 3 cm across.

The cause of death is unknown and could be unrelated to the liver transplant, hospital spokeswoman Trudy Baker said. AP

Bald men more at risk of having heart attacks

Bald men may be at more risk of suffering from heart disease and diabetes, a German magazine Medizin heute (Medicine Now) reports.

Doctors in Finland believe that the baldness which occurs in men before they have reached 35 can often be attributable to a so-called insulin resistance phenomenon which can lead to diabetes.

It is more common among bald men than those with normal hair growth. Insulin resistance means the body does not respond properly to insulin, a deficiency which is one of the causes of type-2 diabetes.

This limited insulin sensibility is often linked to heart and circulatory problems such as heart attacks and high blood pressure. DPA
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You alone have to bear and enjoy the results of actions done by yourself previously; the others do not ever help you in the matter of happiness and misery.

— Somadeva Paddhati

***

Man’s work is the cause of his good and bad luck.

— Shukra Niti, 1.37

***

It is wrong to think that misfortunes come from the east or the west; they originate within one’s own mind. Therefore, it is foolish to guard against misfortunes from the external world and leave the inner mind uncontrolled.

***

We are to pay respect to the six directions of Truth and we are to behave wisely and virtuously... To guard the gates in these six directions, people are to remove the defilement of the “four deeds”, control the “four evil minds” and plug the “six holes” which cause the loss of wealth.

By the “four deeds” is meant killing, stealing, committing adultery and false good. The four “evil minds” are greed, anger, foolishness and fear. The “six holes” which cause the loss of wealth are: desire for intoxicating drinks and behaving foolishly; staying up late at night and losing the mind in frivolity; indulging in musical and theatre entertainments; gambling, associating with evil companions and neglecting one’s duties.

— Digha Nikaya, 31, Singlovada — sutta

***

Never speak ill of others. It is a great sin. There may be some pleasure or enjoyment in other sins, but tell me what pleasure there is in slander? ....All the good deeds of one who talks ill of another are credited to the account of the slandered one. The slanderer washes away our sins without charging us anything.

Sardar Bahadur Maharaj Jagat Singh, The Science of the Soul

***

Evil deeds committed for the purpose of obtaining temporary pleasures ultimately result in great misery. Hence, sinful acts must be dreaded more than scorching fire.

— The Tirukkural, 202

***

Protect both our species,

two-legged and four-legged.

Both food and water for their needs supply.

May they with us increase

in stature and strength.

Save us from hurt all our days,

O Powers!

— RigVeda, 10.37.11
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