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EDITORIALS

Forces of integration
Needless controversies should be avoided
D
EFENCE Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s assertion that the armed forces would always remain “secular and apolitical” is, hopefully, the last word on the controversy about an alleged religious headcount in the forces. It is unfortunate that retired army officers of the rank of Lieut-General had to come out on the streets to protest against the headcount.

Clemenceau U-turn
Import of pollution must stop
E
nvironmentalists, particularly anti-asbestos groups, are fully justified in congratulating themselves vociferously for forcing the French Government to stop asbestos-lined decommissioned warship “Le Clemenceau” from proceeding to India for dismantling.



EARLIER STORIES
Tying the knot
February 16, 2006
Dangerous trend
February 15, 2006
Third front — a non-starter
February 14, 2006
The One-India call
February 13, 2006
The business of expelling Excellencies
February 12, 2006
Forward with
nuclear deal

February 11, 2006
Shut and open cases
February 10, 2006
Raj Babbar’s outbursts
February 9, 2006
After 10K
February 8, 2006
Left alone
February 7, 2006
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Stress-free exams
CBSE moving in the right direction
H
UNDREDS of thousands of students who are appearing for their class X and class XII CBSE examinations have a reason to feel happy at the decision of the Central Board of Secondary Education in a way allowing them more time to answer the questions.

ARTICLE

New shade of red
Bengal Left focuses on law and order
by Amulya Ganguli
T
he soundbytes coming out of West Bengal nowadays are likely to make Marx turn in his grave. Addressing the visiting executives of the Japanese multinational Mitsubishi in Kolkata recently, Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee said the company could take over one of the islands in the Bay of Bengal “to set up a Japanese township” and hold your breath ! — “play golf”. Mr Bhattacharjee even identified a site for the Japanese. It is called Meendwip, an island of fishermen.

MIDDLE

Enter your password
by Narinder Jit Kaur
I
F I had thought that now I am beyond the age when one is subjected to chiding and scolding, I was wrong. I was under the impression that I had already exhausted more than my share of scolding by mom-dad, siblings, teachers and friends since long. But there was more to come and imagine from whom!

OPED

Human Rights Diary
JP’s forgotten secretary
by Kuldip Nayar
R
emember Sachchidanand Babu, secretary to Jaya Prakash Narayan. He was called Babu as long as JP lived and his glory lingered. Then Sachchidanand was no more “Babu”; people effaced him even from their memory.

Time for lawyers to go global
by Abha Bhanot
I
ndia has a large number of lawyers — around 9,00,000 are enrolled with the various state bar associations at present. In the last few decades, Indian advocates have been concentrating on Indian laws, and assisting their clients on domestic issues. But as the world is getting smaller day by day, there is a need for specialised legal practitioners who can handle international legal affairs as well.

Delhi Durbar
Rajnath wins over Kalyan Singh
B
JP President Rajnath Singh has endeavoured to let bygones be bygones. This comes to the fore with Rajnath Singh wooing and winning over his foe, Kalyan Singh. Kalyan Singh’s hold over the Lodh community in Uttar Pradesh is not in doubt. Rajnath Singh, who was the Education Minister in Kalyan Singh’s first Cabinet in Uttar Pradesh, is keen to change the fortunes of the BJP in his home state.


From the pages of

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Forces of integration
Needless controversies should be avoided

DEFENCE Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s assertion that the armed forces would always remain “secular and apolitical” is, hopefully, the last word on the controversy about an alleged religious headcount in the forces. It is unfortunate that retired army officers of the rank of Lieut-General had to come out on the streets to protest against the headcount.

A forceful, detailed and timely clarification from the government scotching the report that a committee appointed by it had asked the three wings of the armed forces to provide it a list of their Muslim personnel and their ranks would have nipped the controversy in the bud. Because of its equivocation, political parties like the BJP got into the act to denounce the data collection. As was only to be expected, some groups found justification in the so-called survey.

The controversy has needlessly put the spotlight on the armed forces which have always symbolised national integration. India is fortunate to have one of the most professional armed forces in the world. The recruits to these forces are drawn from all regions, states, communities and castes purely on merit. While being secular, the forces also provide the soldiers facilities to follow their religious practices. Religious beliefs are considered an entirely personal matter, which has no influence on their conduct as soldiers. What is supreme for them is their loyalty to the credo of the forces and nothing detracts them from performing their duty. There have been several wars and operations since Independence in which they fought as one man and brought glory to the nation. Nobody has ever complained that the armed forces have been less secular. In fact, there is no group of people whose conduct is governed solely by the best traditions of secularism as the armed forces of the country.

This makes it obligatory for the BJP and other political parties and groups to take a conscious decision not to raise any issue that willy-nilly shows the forces in a bad light. So long as the doors of recruitment are open to all people and there is no discrimination either at the time of selection or after on the basis of religion, there is no ground to question the secular credentials of the forces. The least the political parties can do to the armed forces is to keep them above petty political controversies.

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Clemenceau U-turn
Import of pollution must stop

Environmentalists, particularly anti-asbestos groups, are fully justified in congratulating themselves vociferously for forcing the French Government to stop asbestos-lined decommissioned warship “Le Clemenceau” from proceeding to India for dismantling.

It is their protests and resultant opinion buildup in India which forced the French to take this historic decision. But there are many other factors also which precipitated the U-turn. French President Jacques Chirac was keen that this controversy should not sour his upcoming visit to India. The tour is crucial for both countries, particularly as it precedes US President George Bush’s arrival in India by just a week. This climbdown had become all the more sensible and necessary after a top administrative court suspended its transfer to the ship-breaking yard at Alang in Gujarat.

After this French decision, the appeal before the Indian Supreme Court has become redundant. But there is still need for looking into the plight of the workers engaged in this polluting industry. “Le Clemenceau” is just one ship which has been forced to go back. There are some 600 aged ships which come to Indian yards every year for dismantling. Most of these are from Europe. This does not happen because this country boasts of some special ship-breaking skills. It is just that labour is available here cheap and safety laws are as good as non-existent.

Nearly 35,000 workers are engaged in the polluting Rs 2,000-crore industry. Hundreds of them suffer from serious diseases caused by asbestos and other dangerous materials. Besides the health hazard, the industry also causes tremendous environmental pollution. It should not play with the lives of workers for the sake of a few dollars. There is need for strict enforcement of labour and environment laws and to take care of workers’ health. International rules about waste disposal too must change. What is bad for France is bad for India as well. It is high time India stopped being the destination for the foreign countries’ toxic material. Steel coming to this country as scrap has played similar havoc in cities like Mandi Gobindgarh.

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Stress-free exams
CBSE moving in the right direction

HUNDREDS of thousands of students who are appearing for their class X and class XII CBSE examinations have a reason to feel happy at the decision of the Central Board of Secondary Education in a way allowing them more time to answer the questions. The decision will give the students ample time to fill in their personal details on the answer sheet, to read the question paper properly and plan their answers, making it a bit comfortable for them.

Even a cursory visit to any examination centre will show the frenzied activity as young boys and girls struggle to cope with the demands of an examination system that has been imposing heavy burden on them. The assertion by the board’s chairman that question papers have been designed to be completed in two-and-a-half hours, for which the students will get three hours, is also welcome. The aim should always be more on examining the students’ understanding and knowledge in as congenial an atmosphere as possible than testing the speed with which he writes his answers.

There is now a welcome realisation among the educationists, and more importantly in the CBSE, of the pressure cooker environment that thwarts the growth of young minds. There have been many announcements and a few initiatives to reduce the pressure on the examinees. This includes empowering the schools to evaluate their own class X students for 20 out of 100 marks. This year, over 4.5 lakh students will sit for the class XII exams, while more than 6.4 lakh will take the class X examinations. Thus, around 11 lakh children are directly effected by the CBSE decisions. The board must continue to make improvements that ushers in an era of stress-free examinations.
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Thought for the day

Genius is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration. — Thomas Edison

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New shade of red
Bengal Left focuses on law and order
by Amulya Ganguli

The soundbytes coming out of West Bengal nowadays are likely to make Marx turn in his grave. Addressing the visiting executives of the Japanese multinational Mitsubishi in Kolkata recently, Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee said the company could take over one of the islands in the Bay of Bengal “to set up a Japanese township” and hold your breath ! — “play golf”. Mr Bhattacharjee even identified a site for the Japanese. It is called Meendwip, an island of fishermen.

Imagine what would have happened if Mr Siddhartha Shankar Ray or some other Congress Chief Minister had made a similar request to a foreign corporate house. Or if one of the Congress ministers currently at the Centre had done so. The comrades in New Delhi would have thrown their arms up in horror, lambasting this alleged representative of the comprador bourgeoisie for selling India to the foreigners for a few dollars — or, rather, yens. The Left would have also called upon the working class to resist any move to allow a foreign township on Indian soil.

But there hasn’t been a squeak from the commissars after Mr Bhattacharjee’s statement. Even by the bold standards that the Chief Minister has been setting in altering the characteristic features of Marxism, like militant trade union tactics, his observation is quite remarkable, especially considering the opposition he has encountered from his Leftist allies in the state — apart from Ms Mamata Banerjee — in the matter of handing over agricultural land to an Indonesian company.

But, evidently, Mr Bhattacharjee now believes that he can afford to be daringly innovative since the political tide is seemingly running in his favour, especially with his approval ratings going up among the middle classes, who had earlier deserted the Left. With the rural areas still largely under the Left Front’s control and with the Opposition unable to combine against the ruling alliance, the occupants of Writers Building, the seat of governance in Kolkata, have little to fear in the forthcoming elections.

The virtually unprecedented call to the Japanese is not the only surprising development in the state in recent weeks. Equally startling was the admission by the Left Front chairman, Mr Biman Bose, who belongs to the CPM, that “there are many bogus voters in our state. We want their names to be deleted from the electoral rolls. Not only do bogus voters exist in West Bengal, there are lakhs of fake ration card holders also”. What is more, he urged the Election Commission observers “to work hard so that not a single name of fictitious voters appears in the voters’ list”.

This is the same Mr Bose who had called upon his party comrades at the time of the last assembly elections to catch the observers by their shirt collars and throw them out of the polling booths. Now, in a remarkable turnaround, Mr Jyoti Basu has been saying that “some people are expressing fears that the Election Commission is sending its observers to defeat us. Why should that be ? They are not our enemies. They are coming here to see that the elections are peaceful and transparent.”

When politicians admit what has been suspected by the public for long, it isn’t because they have suddenly developed respect for truth, but it is either because they have acquired a new sense of confidence or have come to believe that an admission of truth can prove to be politically useful. Hence Mr Bhattacharjee’s acknowledgment during local elections some time ago that the polls in the Salt Lake area had not been totally fair. Since the residents of the locality knew, anyway, how the Leftist cadres had used their customary tactics of “scientific rigging”, including jamming the booths apart from using fake lists, the CPM’s calculation presumably was that a bit of truth wouldn’t hurt at a time when the entire edifice of the nearly three decades of Marxist rule was being thoroughly overhauled.

That the comrades in New Delhi are out of sync on this score with their counterparts in Kolkata was evident in the old style observations of CPM general secretary, Mr Prakash Karat, that the Election Commission’s observers “must perform their duties within their prescribed limitation. If they go beyond limit, we will take it up”. The limitation preferred by Mr Karat apparently means turning a blind eye to fraudulent electoral rolls and to the subservience of officials. He was probably carrying on from where he left off during the Bihar elections when he accused the observers of “acting in a manner which is outside their jurisdiction by interfering in the executive and police functions.”

What the typical commissar wants is for the executive to side with the Marxist cadres and for the police to act as silent spectators to wrong-doing. If the West Bengal CPM is taking a different line, it is not only because of confidence in its chances of success based on the Chief Minister’s popularity, but also because of the emphasis that is being placed on the rule of law by the Bhattacharjee government. Evidence of this new approach was seen in a district magistrate’s order recently to mark as “absent” those government employees who reported late for duty. In an earlier period, such a step would have been impossible because of the disruptive influence exercised by the CPM-led government employees’ unions.

But, as in the case of the efforts being made by the state government to ban trade union activity in the Information Technology sector, the administration now wants to eliminate militancy and indiscipline from other sectors as well. What it seems to have realised is that the massive investments which it is seeking will not be available if there are any misgivings about the law and order situation.

The customary Leftist attitude is that the law in a “bourgeois” state favours the rich. Hence they purposefully provoke belligerent conduct by trade unions and other frontal organisations to undermine the state and acquire a revolutionary temper. As is known, such policies led to the flight of capital from West Bengal after the communists came to power. Now the Marxist juggernaut has begun to move in reverse gear to instill respect for the rule of law. Hence the offer of cooperation with the Election Commission and the invitation to Mitsubishi officials to play golf.

The assembly elections this summer will, therefore, be more than a routine contest. For a start, the cleansing of the electoral process by the commission will mean that the outcome will reflect the genuine choices of the people about which the losers can have few complaints unlike in the past. If the Bhattacharjee government is encouraging probity, it is presumably to remove all doubts about its success. And it apparently wants this certificate to enable it to pursue the policy of economic reforms on which the Chief Minister has clearly set his heart. After a convincing victory, his opponents in the Delhi CPM will not be able to put up roadblocks on his path.

But there is little doubt that the Stalinists in Delhi and elsewhere will be uneasy about the success of their party because, paradoxically, the victory of the Marxists in West Bengal will accelerate the process of undermining dogmatic Marxism.

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Enter your password
by Narinder Jit Kaur

IF I had thought that now I am beyond the age when one is subjected to chiding and scolding, I was wrong. I was under the impression that I had already exhausted more than my share of scolding by mom-dad, siblings, teachers and friends since long. But there was more to come and imagine from whom!

The wonder box, computer, has always intrigued me but I took up the challenge of becoming what they call computer savvy. Moreover, there had been so much hype about its being “user friendly”. But what friendly yaar, I get so nervous by its strict commands. ‘Password’ mostly fails me and “log in” and “log out” turn me into a dead log.

When it says “Enter your password” my hand starts shaking and my mind goes blank. Imagine its guts! It laughs at me, “Forgot your password” (ha ha ha). What cheek! It doesn’t let me see my own password. “Come on guy, it’s my own secret, why you hide it in dots!” And my day is made when it beams at me with “Welcome njkaur”. Thank God. Finally!

Then this monster of a machine ATM! It doesn’t even laugh at you, man. If I falter with my PIN number, it coldly growls at me “Re-enter your PIN number”. I am so scared of it that one day it’s going to chop off my finger, “You cheat, trying to take out someone else’s money, hmm!”

There are thousands like me who, in their late middle age have to cut a sorry figure in front of their young kids because of these new-fangled devils. Every time I press a wrong button, I get a “tussi vi na… bas!” from my sons.

But it is nothing new. It happens with every one, in every age. During my childhood, when we purchased a pressure cooker, I remember the whole family had rushed out in the front lawn when the cooker gave its first whistle.

And I am sure these new-gen kids who laugh at me today will, in their middle age, make a fool of themselves at the hands of some new machines. They’ll also run out in front lawns, they’ll also be scared about their fingers and they’ll also be jeered at by their kids. I am sure they will. May I live long to see all this! Amen.

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Human Rights Diary
JP’s forgotten secretary
by Kuldip Nayar

Remember Sachchidanand Babu, secretary to Jaya Prakash Narayan. He was called Babu as long as JP lived and his glory lingered. Then Sachchidanand was no more “Babu”; people effaced him even from their memory.

His wife has written me a letter to complain: “My husband died like a beggar when India was shining under the NDA government. George Fernandes had once called him a privileged person for having had the opportunity of working so closely with JP”.

Hemlata Devi, Sachchida-nand’s widow, has further said: “My husband died for want of proper medical treatment — in one hospital he was treated for TB whereas in another hospital he was diagnosed to be suffering from pneumonia”.

Patna, where he died, has still thousands of JP’s followers. Rabri Devi, wife of Laloo Yadav who owes his

entire political career to JP, was then Bihar’s Chief Minister.

“Yet none of JP’s disciples in power could spare even 10 minutes in 10 months to see my bed-ridden husband, not to speak of making arrangements for his treatment”, Sachchida-nand’s widow has said.

I am sad to know all this because I never thought that JP’s secretary would die due to lack of medical treatment. But, I am not surprised. We, the Indians, are losing sensitivity rapidly in the dazzle of 8 per cent economic growth.

Money matters to us, not morals. Still we parade ourselves as a nation which is not after material goods. JP gave us back the light of Independence which Mrs Indira Gandhi and her son, Sanjay Gandhi, had nearly extinguished through their authoritarian and suppressive rule.

JP had in Sachchidanand a secretary who disseminated his message against dictatorship and corruption. People used to queue up to seek an appointment with Sachchidanand. He often wrote to me the difficulties he encountered after JP’s death. He had no house, no job, no bank balance. The secretaries of political leader(s) roll in wealth because their proximity to the seat of power is an opportunity for them to make money. I do not want to name anyone but they are a familiar lot.

Posterity will one day pronounce its judgment on those who nearly destroyed the country during the Emergency (1975-77) and those who went on unpunished. Some of the guilty occupy today ministerial berths. I am confident that the country would one day recall the services of persons like Sachchidan, whose passion was to serve JP and whose occupation was to spread his teachings of power to people.

A personal secretary has no job because he has no official recognition. He is a link, a conduit, a via media. His importance, so it seems, remains as long as his political boss is there, not afterwards.

Trust for journalists

I do not want journalists to die without medical treatment. I have created a trust for their welfare. This has five lakh rupees which I received as an award from the UP government this month in recognition of my contribution to journalism.

Chief Minister Mulayam Singh announced at the award ceremony itself that he would give me another Rs 11 lakh for the trust. I am sure I shall soon have 20 lakh in the Trust’s kitty.

From a trust for journalists’ welfare to custodial deaths in Kashmir and the Northeast may be a far cry. But it is a cry, indeed. In its latest report on India, the Amnesty International has highlighted the excesses that the security forces have committed in Kashmir and the Northeast.

Despite the government’s assurances, very little has changed. The Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958, and similar versions of the law have been in operation for decades. A democratic government like India’s has no remedial machinery worth the name. Custodial deaths in Kashmir have been rattling the nation for years. Many human rights activists have produced reports to pinpoint the excesses. But the methods of security forces have not changed.

General J.J.Singh, Chief of Army Staff, has reportedly told his field commanders involved in counter-insurgency that he will not tolerate any custodial death incident. But this is not the first time that field commanders have been given instructions to this effect.

Even now people are picked up for questioning both in Kashmir and the Northeast. Some never return home. A few bodies with wounds testify their death through torture. Custodial deaths are a form of state terrorism. The Supreme Court has done well to list do’s and don’ts to make the security forces follow a code of honour. But this may be only wishful thinking. On the ground, it is the usual elimination of the enemy.

Frankly speaking, the Union Home Ministry should ensure that no person, detained, imprisoned or arraigned before the court is subjected to third- degree methods which lead to custodial deaths. But the Home Ministry’s explanation is that it can do little because law and order is a state subject.

This is true. The planned massacre in Gujarat proves the point. The ministry is helpless over what Chief Minister Narendra Modi does or does not do. If it had the courage, it could do a lot.

Examples of security forces going amuck are not fewer in Northeast. Manipur is an example. There was a demand for the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. Thousands of students and others took part in the march last year. The Home Ministry constituted a committee to review the Act which gives same powers to the security forces which Hitler’s special squad had during the Nazi regime.

Where Amnesty Interna-tional is not convincing is in its efforts to get redress for victims of the Bhopal Gas tragedy. No doubt, it continues to call for justice but the pressure is lacking. America may be the super power. That does not mean that one of its production centres should get away cheaply. Amnesty International’s credibility depends on how much it can exert pressure on it to give the victims their due.

My impression is that when it comes to the West, Amnesty International is soft. Does it reflect its weakness or the strength of Western powers? In both cases, Amnesty International does not come out well.


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Time for lawyers to go global
by Abha Bhanot

India has a large number of lawyers — around 9,00,000 are enrolled with the various state bar associations at present. In the last few decades, Indian advocates have been concentrating on Indian laws, and assisting their clients on domestic issues. But as the world is getting smaller day by day, there is a need for specialised legal practitioners who can handle international legal affairs as well.

The merger of international law firms and development of global partnerships and collaborations between law firms, obligate all law firms to ensure that they have legal experts and lawyers who are familiar with other jurisdictional systems as well.

By getting such qualifications an Indian advocate will not only enhance his own marketability in the latest international scenario, but will also handle international cases of his clients.The legal market place in India is extremely competitive not only for the newly qualified law graduates who are going to start their career but also for established lawyers.

All advocates have to compete with national and international law firms. After enrolling with legal fora throughout the world Indian advocates and firms can handle international cases by themselves rather than hiring foreign firms. It would also be helpful in increasing clients of their firms as clients could refer them to handle cross-border matters.

Advocates can also open their own law firms and start international legal practice in other countries as solicitors, attorneys or barristers. They may opt to practise as an attorney in New York or California after qualifying at the New York Bar review programme “BarBri”.

They can also begin their career as a solicitor of England & Wales by clearing the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT).

It is a conversion test that enables Indian lawyers to practise in the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

FLE Legal Education holds the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT) in India three times in a year in Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. This programme has been brought for the convenience and ease of Indian lawyers.

It would be a great opportunity for Indian lawyers to take this test and start practising at the international level.

Sir Michael Arthur, the British High Commissioner, said on the launching ceremony of this programme in India: “This is a positive development that demonstrates the growing practical cooperation between India and the UK, not just in the legal sector but also in many areas. The launching of the test in India shows the strong regard the UK has for Indian lawyers. They are very welcome in the UK”.

Globalisation is creating a great demand for qualified lawyers, especially in the corporate fields of project finance, capital markets, banking and security.

Advocates often find that they must get qualified across several jurisdictions to enhance their own practice and their international marketability for increasing their career potential.

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Delhi Durbar
Rajnath wins over Kalyan Singh

BJP President Rajnath Singh has endeavoured to let bygones be bygones. This comes to the fore with Rajnath Singh wooing and winning over his foe, Kalyan Singh. Kalyan Singh’s hold over the Lodh community in Uttar Pradesh is not in doubt. Rajnath Singh, who was the Education Minister in Kalyan Singh’s first Cabinet in Uttar Pradesh, is keen to change the fortunes of the BJP in his home state.

Kalyan Singh’s boycott of Rajnath Singh’s take-over ceremony has not come in the way of a patchup.

Rajnath Singh is believed to have assured Kalyan Singh of non-interference in the party’s affairs in UP.

Lalu’s daughter to join politics

RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav wants the generation next to take over his party. Considering that he runs the party as his fiefdom, the GenNext that his loyalists are talking about revolves around Lalu Prasad Yadav’s children.

After having ruled Bihar for 15 years and Rabri Devi also having occupied the Chief Minister’s kursi, attention is now turning to eldest daughter, Misa Bharati, and bringing her to the Rajya Sabha.

Misa has expressed her keen interest in politics and those having the ear of Lalu Prasad Yadav insist that Misa is best suited to carry forward the family tradition. She has the ideal mix of tradition and modernity, the traits direly needed in backward Bihar.

Mughal Gardens open to public

The Mughal Gardens in Rashtrapati Bhavan opened to the public on Tuesday. President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has added his inimitable touch to the garden. The Mughal Gardens now includes the Musical Garden, the Spiritual Garden, the Herbal Garden and the Biodiversity Park.

The Circular or Sunken Garden on the eastern edge has a bubble fountain in the middle enhancing the grandeur of the place. Special care has been taken to facilitate the physically challenged using wheelchairs to go round the Mughal Gardens. School-children below the age of 10 can also visit the Mughal Gardens by informing Rashtrapati Bhavan two days in advance so that their entry can be arranged on a priority basis.

RSS diktat on children

There are quite a large number of jokes doing the rounds after the RSS sarsanghchalak K.S. Sudershan advised all Hindus to have at least three children.

Sources say whenever he attends a wedding at a Swayamsevak or BJP worker’s home, he does not waver from doling out the unsolicited advice.

This in great part is motivated by the Hindu need to match the alleged Muslim rate of growth causing avoidable embarrassment in the saffron brigade.

Contributed by S. Satyanarayanan, Prashant Sood, R. Suryamurthy and Vibha Sharma 

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From the pages of

December 9, 1927

Lajpat Rai’s reply to Miss Mayo

We are glad that Lala Lajpat Rai gave a slashing reply to Miss Mayo’s filthy book in the course of a public lecture delivered by him at a crowded meeting of the students of Lahore on Tuesday evening. Miss Mayo, he said, “is not guilty of a mere over-statement of facts. The book s a string of lies from cover to cover and I have no doubt that it has been written with a wicked motive.”

This was no mere general statement, but was conclusively proved by a categorical refutation of some of the principal lies told in the book. What lent particular value to Lala Lajpat Rai’s observations was his intimate knowledge of life in the West, and particularly in the writer’s own country. When he said, for instance, that from what he had himself observed during his travels in America, England, France, Japan and other foreign countries, he could say without fear of contradiction that he had come across no class of women who were purer, nobler or more unselfish than Indian widows, whom the author had shamefully and disgracefully libelled, who could challenge his authority?

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