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EDITORIALS

Powerless in the North
States must observe discipline
T
HE summer has yet to set in fully and the power situation has already gone from bad to critical. The acute power shortage in the rural areas of various states is hardly noticed; but now the hot days have come to the national Capital as well.

At last!
Why can’t we have a one-day poll?
T
HE Assembly elections in four states — Assam, Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu — and the Union Territory of Pondicherry have at last concluded.



EARLIER STORIES

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
Asian finances
ADB meeting ponders global trends
T
HE 39th Annual General Meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Hyderabad has highlighted the fault-lines that exist in global finance, even as the Prime Minister’s suggestion of a pan-Asian Free Trade Agreement had the ruling Congress party president speak up for the farmer in a letter to the PM.
ARTICLE

Breaking news!
TV channels badly need to grow up
by S. Nihal Singh
I
NDIA has come a long way from the days of the sole Doordarshan news channel replete with ribbon-cutting ceremonies and ministerial speeches. With the advent of private news channels, we have been treated to some vibrant reporting and programmes and a variety of fare ranging from wild life to the inevitable crime slots.

MIDDLE

Mandal memories
by Brig Kirpal Singh Grewal (retd)
T
HE reservation quota issue for the OBCs, which has been resurrected from its ashes by our honourable HRD Minister reminds me of my tenure at Hisar during 1989-90. I was commanding an Army Signals outfit and at that time we depended heavily on the P&T Department for our peacetime linkages to other military establishments in the country.

OPED

The Siachen myth
It is of no strategic value – just pull out!
by Brig (retd) A.C. Prem
T
HOUSANDS of our valiant soldiers have lost their precious lives on the Siachen Glacier, without even a fight, and four times as many wounded or maimed for life. A greater self inflicted injury than this in the history of the Indian army cannot be found.

News analysis
Chasing the upper caste vote
by Ambarish Dutta
R
JD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav`s recent remarks favouring five to 10 per cent reservations for upper castes in premier institutions in the country, seems to be a calculated move on his part. He is primarily targeting the BJP in his bid to stage a comeback after his resounding defeat in last year’s polls.

Delhi Durbar
Road blocks
T
RANSPORT ministry officials are a trifle miffed at being pulled up constantly by the Prime Minister’s Office for their poor performance, as opposed to the high praise showered on the Railways ministry.

From the pages of


 REFLECTIONS

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Powerless in the North
States must observe discipline

THE summer has yet to set in fully and the power situation has already gone from bad to critical. The acute power shortage in the rural areas of various states is hardly noticed; but now the hot days have come to the national Capital as well. That is just an indication of how bad things actually are. In such a situation of scarcity, grid discipline is the least that is expected of all states. But many of them have been overdrawing merrily, depriving others of their rightful share. This lack of concern for others can not only compound the crisis but can also lead to a grid collapse. Such breakdowns have already taken place in the past and can occur again with disastrous results. The Centre and the states have not only to desist from any profligacy but also have in place a foolproof mechanism so that any transgressor is quickly brought to book.

But enforcing discipline is only one aspect of tackling the situation. The hard fact is that there is an acute shortage of power. There is just not enough to meet the demands of even today’s population, leave alone the future needs. The demand is only going to grow exponentially as the population rises and as the country proceeds on its path of rapid industrialisation.

The gap between demand and supply is yawning and cannot be bridged soon enough. Our power generation has just not kept pace with demand. This shortfall can unplug India’s quest for reasonable economic growth which is the only way to fulfil its dream of becoming a world power. Over a decade perhaps the nuclear deal with the US can add some megawatts to the nation’s kitty but will in no way be sufficient. Infrastructure is the country’s weak point. It is for us to decide whether we limp or run in the years to come. Strange that states are still fighting bitterly over water rights and Medha Patekars of the day are vociferously opposing big dams without suggesting any viable, practical alternative. They don’t mind the nation remaining where it is.

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At last!
Why can’t we have a one-day poll?

THE Assembly elections in four states — Assam, Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu — and the Union Territory of Pondicherry have at last concluded. Some byelections were also held including the one for the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh from where Congress President Sonia Gandhi is contesting. Counting of votes will take place on May 11. On the whole, the voter turnout in all the states has been fairly impressive. In Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, people turned up in large numbers at the polling booths to exercise their franchise. This is indicative of the heightened awareness of the electorate and, more important, its keen interest to participate in the democratic process. By and large, the elections were free and fair because of the tough measures taken by the Election Commission.

However, what cannot be endorsed is the long and tortuous process of elections. People cast their vote with tremendous enthusiasm, but they are forced to wait for weeks and months for the results. This is a sad reflection on the functioning of the system. In Assam, for instance, Assembly elections were held on April 3 and 10. Similarly, in West Bengal, polling for the first phase was held on April 17. The final phase was held on Monday last. Why should elections be staggered over several weeks like this and the voters forced to wait for results for so long?

There is no justification for the Election Commission to stagger the elections for such a long time and keep the voters in suspense till the final phase is over. The merit in favour of a one-day poll far outweighs its disadvantages. There is no dearth of security personnel, and with proper planning and foresight, they can be requisitioned for a short-duration poll. The Election Commission needs to have another look at its poll policy. Logistics apart, a one-day poll will also save a lot of money, time and energy of both the candidates and the officials.

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Asian finances
ADB meeting ponders global trends

THE 39th Annual General Meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Hyderabad has highlighted the fault-lines that exist in global finance, even as the Prime Minister’s suggestion of a pan-Asian Free Trade Agreement (FTA) had the ruling Congress party president speak up for the farmer in a letter to the PM. Dr Manmohan Singh also came out strongly in support of an increased role for international financial institutions in his address. While bodies like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are not currently enjoying a high degree of credibility and respect in many countries, and the ADB as a largely regional player has escaped some of the more stringent criticisms, but it is very much a part of the system.

All Asian countries are building up sizable reserves, with China leading the way. Persistent global imbalances do point to structural instability. It is thus important for financial institutions to stay “ahead of the curve and identify potential victims” in good time. Funding support has to come before a country’s reserves bottom out, and the Prime Minister rightly pointed out that in panic situations, sentiment matters as much as strong fundamentals. Market forces do not make a distinction at times.

The US current account deficit stands at $ 805 billion, while China, Japan and the Middle-East are all enjoying surpluses in the region of $ 164 billion to $ 196 billion. Large swathes of the world are in effect funding US spending. A sudden breakdown is bad for the entire system. Whether international bodies can help in corrections and soft landings is doubtful, given that powerful countries are no longer interested in political or economic investment in global institutions. Witness, for example, the expected missing of the deadline to take the WTO forward. These tensions were quite evident at the ADB meeting. No country is immune to the protectionist impulse. If Asia is to emerge as a joint economic powerhouse, all constituents must strive harder to strengthen intra-continental links.

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Thought for the day

State business is a cruel trade; good nature is a bungler in it.

— Lord Halifax

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Breaking news!
TV channels badly need to grow up
by S. Nihal Singh 

INDIA has come a long way from the days of the sole Doordarshan news channel replete with ribbon-cutting ceremonies and ministerial speeches. With the advent of private news channels, we have been treated to some vibrant reporting and programmes and a variety of fare ranging from wild life to the inevitable crime slots.

Yet it is time to take stock of our television fare and how far we have gone in news reporting and comments on current developments. One phenomenon that comes out loud and clear is the news television channels’ obsession with “breaking news”. It can truly be said that initially imitating CNN, our news channels have broken the back of breaking news, with one channel going to the ultimate extravagance of captioning a whole programme as breaking news.

Nothing illustrates this better than the treatment of Pramod Mahajan’s death and funeral. Did television news channels have to go overboard by repeating news bulletins on the state of his health every minute? Did we have to be treated to a queue of dignitaries visiting the hospital or to a second-by-second account of his final journey?

What were the television channels attempting by giving Mahajan the status in death he did not enjoy in life? Significant as he was as a prominent leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, did he deserve the wall-to-wall coverage the TV channels gave him? To what end?

One is reminded of the classic breaking story covered by CNN, the abortive coup staged in Moscow during the twilight days of Mikhail Gorbachev. It was riveting television as CNN led the world through the extraordinary events of that fateful day, showing the reactions of the people and the Moscow streets as Russia and the world sought to come to terms with a major event. Here was the power of television news at its most potent.

On the other hand, one is never without breaking news on every news channel, be it a gangster’s shoot-out or some other minor incident somewhere in this vast land. I asked a veteran television anchor how he explained the breaking news disease. His answer was revealing. Television channels compete against each other as much as giving news to viewers. If one channel announces breaking news, other channels hurriedly warn their stringers and start “breaking” the same story.

Apart from this obsession with breaking news, it is time the television news channels graduated to a new level of professionalism. The cavalier treatment they give to international news is amazing. Despite their affluence, no television channel has thought it fit to send a correspondent to Iraq for the past year and more. And one channel performed the feat of mixing John Reid, until recently British Defence Secretary, with the recently demoted Mr Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary. When I suggested in an email that it was difficult to mix up the two because one was fat and bald and other lean with a full head of hair, I received no reply except for the automated electronic acknowledgement. Often stale foreign news 24 hours old is featured in the scroll.

One dedicated English language channel anchor pronounced the South Korean President’s name as Roh, as it is written, instead of Noh, as it is pronounced. Besides, Indian anchors do not know that Chinese names start with the last name. And if one were to close one’s eyes when one anchor is on, one would find it difficult to decipher whether she was, in fact, speaking in English or Hindi. There is apparently no effective in-house mechanism to take anchors, announcers and reporters through their paces.

No one expects anchors of Indian English-language channels to cultivate an Oxbridge accent. But one does expect anchors not to commit glaring errors in pronouncing common words by wrongly accenting “industry” or mispronouncing “development”. And surely reporters should be told that in reporting a death or funeral, he or she should not adopt the demeanour of a mourner but perform his or her essential task of communicating the atmosphere.

Television is, of course, a hungry medium and must be constantly fed. Television news channels do not have the luxury of repeating soap operas. News features can be repeated up to a point and newer formats in disseminating news experimented with. The news channels come into their own at election time, reporting the colour and absurdities of election campaigns and are in great demand at the time of exit polls and when official results come in.

There are other happy events and tragedies made for television even without the crutch of breaking news. The skill lies in giving discerning coverage and highlighting events of national and international importance. Simply by going after viewer ratings and competing with other channels is not the answer. Private television channels have shown that there is talent and hardiness among members of their staff that can produce excellent programmes, many of them recognised through awards.

What is required above all is to set minimum standards of legibility (some Doordarshan television reporters are incomprehensible) and a more rigorous bar in recruiting. An announcer who squints her eyes, instead of looking at the camera, is not made for television. And TV news managers must recognise that what happens in the rest of the world can be important, even apart from how it directly relates to India. I have always wondered whether “sharp news for sharp people” is meant literally or otherwise. It is hardly a flattering description of what is on offer and the attributes of the viewer.

In essence, it is time for Indian television to shape up and rank high in world ratings. Indian channels cannot immediately aspire to the spread of BBC correspondents around the world, but they should post their representatives in important centres of news, in addition to the usual watering holes of Washington and London. Talking of the BBC, its website was more up to date than NDTV’s in matches India played England in India. And while such BBC programmes as Hard Talk and other interviews are free to access, NDTV requires registration to access its special features.

CNN was the first 24-hour satellite news channel. The world has never remained the same since then. Let Indian news channels not debase the currency of breaking news to keep up with local or national competition. It is time to grow up.

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Mandal memories
by Brig Kirpal Singh Grewal (retd)

THE reservation quota issue for the OBCs, which has been resurrected from its ashes by our honourable HRD Minister reminds me of my tenure at Hisar during 1989-90. I was commanding an Army Signals outfit and at that time we depended heavily on the P&T Department for our peacetime linkages to other military establishments in the country.

Hisar cantonment is around 14 km from the town centre where the P&T complex is located. At that point of time a lot of development activity was taking place along the highways. This very often caused severe damages to the underground and overhead cables connecting civil and Army exchange. We had to react by providing a vehicle-based UHF radio link till the cables were repaired.

Just to streamline the system I had prepared an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) wherein it was laid down that whenever a breakdown of cables takes place, or is imminent, a UHF vehicle with sufficient security cover shall be placed at the P&T complex without awaiting any orders. This had clearance from my superior HQ.

Coming back to VP Singh’s announcement on implementing the Mandal report, most of the student community in Haryana was up in arms. This was possibly because at that time Yadavs and some other castes were listed as OBCs, whereas Jats were left out. The late Tau Devi Lal was the Chief Minister of Haryana and was wholeheartedly supporting the agitation against the decision of the Centre. So much so that the state government and the police turned a blind eye as long as the agitators did not damage state government property.

The students and mobs targeted railway stations, post offices and telephone exchanges but spared Haryana Roadways buses. They had ransacked and burnt such property in many towns of the state.

How I came to be involved was when Hisar telephone exchange was threatened by a mob. Divisional Engineer, one Mr Goel, of the P&T department made frantic calls to the DC and the SP for help. Their response, as per him, was lukewarm and inadequate.

An extremely worried Mr Goel contacted me on the phone and requested for Army’s help to save the complex from the mob fury. Considering the likely impact on the Army communication linkages I asked the local formation if anything could be done to save the situation. They said nothing can be done unless a specific request is made by the civil administration. They had similar instructions from higher headquarters. There was no way I could help Mr Goel directly. It was matter of time before Hisar exchange meets the fate of exchanges at Kurukshetra or Narwana had met.

Finally I decided to use my trump card. I asked Mr Goel to snap the cable links to the Army exchange temporarily. That he did with alacrity. As per the SOP my regiment sent a UHF communication vehicle with four armed escorts to the P&T complex within an hour’s time. The vehicle was parked at the entrance of the complex and an antenna was perched on top of the multi-storied building. Armed guards stood at the gate, ostensibly to guard the vehicle.

A quiet message went around the town that the Army has moved in to guard the exchange. The slogan shouting mobs left the P&T complex alone. Mr Goel and I heaved a sigh of relief. I do not know where Mr Goel is now posted. But I can understand the contents of his prayers during revisit of Mr Mandal.

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The Siachen myth
It is of no strategic value – just pull out!
by Brig (retd) A.C. Prem

THOUSANDS of our valiant soldiers have lost their precious lives on the Siachen Glacier, without even a fight, and four times as many wounded or maimed for life. A greater self inflicted injury than this in the history of the Indian army cannot be found.

Our High Altitude and Mountain Warfare School at Gulmarg in Kashmir routinely used to send training expeditions to various high altitude areas or to specific peaks. No military significance was attached to these expeditions. Around 1970, after a successful training expedition to the Siachen Glacier, the Commandant submitted a report highlighting the discovery of litter left behind on the glacier by European expeditions launched from Pakistan occupied Kashmir, under the supervision of Pakistani authorities.

The report went on to suggest a military threat; even indicating a likely avenue for funneling tanks into Ladakh through this sector. He recommended another expedition to the Siachen Glacier, which should have adequate infantry elements in it, thus implicitly suggesting Indian army presence at the Glacier.

Indian intelligence agencies, both civil and military, were constantly monitoring the evolving political and military situation in Pakistan. Around this time Gen Zia-ul-Haq was busy consolidating his hold over the civil administration and had introduced religious fundamentalism into politics. In this the ISI had been given a dominant role and it managed to split the MQM and checkmated the youth wing of the PPP.

On the external front Gen Zia was vigorously maneuvering to create strategic depth by physically controlling the Kandahar-Kabul line in Afghanistan. His hands were thus more than full and the visit of General Moshe Deyan from Israel to India during Morarji Desai’s prime ministership was of no comfort to him, knowing fully well that the Israelis were seeking staging facilities to bomb Kahuta, the centre for Pakistan’s ongoing nuclear programme which would soon fructify into the beginning of a nuclear arsenal. Luckily for him, India denied the request.

A high altitude glacier, in undemarcated icy waste lands, bordering Ladakh, was far from his thinking because it offered no political gain, economic goals or military edge over India. Would therefore, Pakistan be foolish enough to occupy Siachen knowing fully well that this could easily escalate into war with India?

The threat perceptions as indicated in the 1979 Training Expedition report appeared to be over stated. Also, occupation of the Siachen Glacier was not considered cost-effective is terms of likely human causalities, which could be caused by heavy weather, climate and effects of high altitude. Logistics required maintaining a force on Siachen was considered prohibitive. Creation of a high altitude battle ground at Siachen was viewed as a likely self-invented trap, which if laid would trap the Indian Army into progressively committing more and more troops. It was felt that there was no cheap way to occupy it and once militarily committed, there would be no question of partial deployment. Disengagement and pullout was bound to become a prestige issue, both militarily and politically. The report was given a deserved quiet burial.

After nearly four years, in 1984, the powers that be sent another expedition to Siachen, which was accompanied by an elite infantry rifle company from the Regiment to which the Commandant High Altitude and Warfare School had belonged. Was this ‘Expedition’ mounted to add another feather in the cap of an illustrious regiment, or was it based on intelligence inputs? The fact remains that there was a conscious effort to exaggerate the military importance given to Siachen by creating non-existent military threats, which are not borne out both by time and ground realities.

Therefore, without any threat to or via Siachen, did the Indian Army consider the cost effectiveness in terms of lives and logistics required to infructuously occupy Siachen, unless it was to provoke Pakistan into a rash response? Lt Gen M.L. Chibber, the then Army Commander of Northern Command who initiated the Indian presence on the Glacier, had this to say: “The strategic importance of the area was not a major consideration, nor was our purpose to capture any territory. It was simply to ensure that we were not presented with a fait accompli like that in Aksai Chin in the early fifties.” Leadership in the Army is not the subject of this article, but in it lies the root cause of flawed decisions such as the one which caused the occupation of Siachen Glacier. Given the figure of casualties and the costs incurred, it will go down in military history as one of the biggest blunder.

Siachen is the only place in the world where troops fight at heights ranging from 17,000 to 20,000 feet in icy weather and sub zero temperatures, where lesser humans would not dare venture. The fact remains, whether decorated or not, every soldier who has served at Siachen, is a hero. The costs are stupendous. Siachen costs India over Rs 1,000 crores per year and more importantly thousands dead and maimed for life.

Over the years, the strategic importance of Siachen appears to have been ingrained into the mindset of higher commanders and is repeated by rote. The armour threat perception primarily centres through the Shyok Valley. With precipitous mountain sides, this narrow valley gives maximum deployability of one or two tanks up at any one time. A veritable death trap for armour given the versatility of attack helicopters. Coming to the infantry threat, due to the proximity of road communications to Siachen from the Pakistan side, it is comparatively easier for them to occupy their side of the glacier at lower heights. However, beyond that it would be a veritable nightmare to traverse across this terrain due to natural calamities, bad weather and prohibitive logistic support, and not to forget the limit of endurance that a human body can bear. Here once again, out in the open, it would be nothing short of slaughter from air strikes.

Military thinking and the recent political outbursts against the pull out, remind me of angling; wherein you have a fly at one end and a fool at the other. Just pull out and give copies of the existing layout of our troop positions to Pakistan. If they dare to occupy our positions, let them be warned; we shall strike at a time and place of our choosing, like in 1965. And that will hurt!

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News analysis
Chasing the upper caste vote
by Ambarish Dutta

RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav`s recent remarks favouring five to 10 per cent reservations for upper castes in premier institutions in the country, seems to be a calculated move on his part. He is primarily targeting the BJP in his bid to stage a comeback after his resounding defeat in last year’s polls.

More known as a champion of the OBCs, Mr. Prasad may well have been influenced by BSP supremo Mayawati. The UP leader, besides thriving by espousing the dalit cause, of late has also been wooing the upper castes into her party fold.

The recent proposed reservation for OBCs in elite institutions by the HRD minister Arjun Singh has already met with strong protests from students and academicians in the country.

The RJD supremo has understood that the upper castes, who play a lead role in shaping up the fortunes of political parties particularly in the Hindi heartland of Bihar and UP, were feeling left out. Being an astute politician, Mr. Lalu Prasad could comprehend that the BJP, now in desperate search of an issue, could try to capitalise on the palpable neglect of upper castes.

He is aware how upper castes and OBCs could be a formidable combination following the October-November polls in Bihar which saw the victory of Mr. Nitish Kumar.

With his own shrinking vote-bank among the Yadavs and Muslims, it was quite natural for Mr. Lalu Prasad to try to espouse the cause of the upper castes with the primary objective of getting rid of the anti-upper caste image attached to him.

The Bihar leader is also worried about the way his rival, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, was espousing the cause of the Pasmanda Muslim Mahaj (backward class Muslims) to divide his minority vote-bank, which was evident from the nomination given to Ali Anwar for the Rajya Sabha polls from Bihar recently as JD(U) candidate.

Lalu has also taken note of the remarks by the JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav who openly came out in support of reservations for OBCs, after HRD minister Arjun Singh stirred a hornet’s nest by raking up the issue,. The JD(U) leader was obviously aiming to further marginalise the RJD in state politics by targeting Lalu’s OBC vote bank.

While both Mr. Nitish Kumar and Mr. Lalu Prasad came into prominence in the post-Mandal era, the former was in a relative advantageous position in both February and the October-November polls in Bihar last year, because of the backing of the major section of upper castes who were inclined towards the BJP.

One can recall the slogan made popular by Lalu Prasad after he had first assumed power in Bihar: “Bhurabal saf koro”.

Although Mr. Lalu Prasad claimed that by “Bhurabal” he meant the “deadwood”, the projection was that he wanted to socio-politically marginalise the upper castes as “Bhurabal” was interpreted as standing for “Bhumihar, Rajput, Brahmin and Lala”. These groups dominated the Hindi heartland politics in the pre-mandalisation era since independence and was the target of many movements post Mandal.

After all, even Mr. Nitish Kumar could not deny the positive gains made by him following his association with the BJP in Bihar, particularly from the upper castes.

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Delhi Durbar
Road blocks

TRANSPORT ministry officials are a trifle miffed at being pulled up constantly by the Prime Minister’s Office for their poor performance, as opposed to the high praise showered on the Railways ministry. Despondent officials say nobody realises the kind of hurdles they face in the implementation of the national highways project, the ministry’s flagship programme. The reasons for the delays vary from state governments’ indifference to problems in land acquisition.

Then, they also have to deal with foreign construction companies from Russia and China, whose contractors are completely at sea when they find themselves virtually stranded in the Indian rural hinterland. Officials recall how the NDA government’s transport minister B.C.Khanduri gave a earful to a Chinese contractor for not keeping to his deadline, only to get a reply in Mandarin.

Tongue-tied

After his election to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra, Congress spokesperson Rajiv Shukla has been inundated with letters in Marathi, and innumerable people telephone him and rattle off in Marathi. Their assumption that he knows the language is wrong.

They can’t be blamed for this mistake since Shukla, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, took his oath in Marathi while NCP’s Praful Patel and Shiv Sena’s Manohar Joshi from Maharashtra opted for English and Sanskrit, respectively. Having taken the first step, Shukla is now desperately looking for a Marathi teacher, who can also help him sift through the correspondence he is receiving

Moving blues

It is now over two months since tourism and culture minister Ambika Soni was allotted a ministerial bungalow on Akbar Road. But she is still waiting to move. The previous occupant, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, is showing no signs of vacating the place. Mrs. Soni’s staff has made innumerable calls to the chief minister’s office but has failed to get any clear-cut answer. Mr. Nitish Kumar’s reluctance to hand over the bungalow has surprised many in the Capital, especially since he made quite an issue when his predecessor Mrs Rabri Devi took her own time in moving out of the chief ministerial bungalow in Patna.

National symbols

Ever since Raj Babbar was expelled by the Samajwadi Party, he has not lost a single opportunity to slam his bete noire, SP leader Amar Singh. After the actor-turned-politician teamed up with former Prime Minister V.P. Singh to form Jan Morcha, the frequency of public meetings has further picked up while the tone of his speeches has become increasingly strident.

Each of these rallies ends with Raj Babbar asking the crowds to respond to three questions. “Who is the rashtriya pita?” he asks and promptly comes the reply, “Mahatma Gandhi. “What is the rashtriya pakshi” he asks next to which the answer is “Peacock”. And finally he roars, “Who is the rashtriya dalal”. No prizes for guessing the crowd’s answer.

*****

Contributed by Anita Katyal, Prashant Sood, S. Satyanaryanan and Tripti Nath

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From the pages of

August 16, 1946

Petrol puzzle

Though a doubling of the petrol ration for private cars and some increase in that for public vehicles from August 1 was announced officially, and though August has half run out, no fresh coupons have been issued out so far, nor the value of those already issued increased. The postal strike was blamed for holding up things; though it was rather hard to see any point in this when the Government telegraph lines were working all through and when for certain purposes other means of communications, including wireless, were available. Anyway the strike ended many days ago, and neither additional petrol seems to be coming forth nor any explanation plausible or otherwise. The last thing that the expectant consumer heard was that the Central authorities had asked the provincial authorities to wait a while. The Central authorities have created a confusing situation and they might at least take the public into their confidence as to whether they are again hesitating because of the Abadan strike.

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In the creation, which is the union of matter and spirit, I see the creator pervading everywhere.

— Guru Nanak

To each others one must have a badge of authority; otherwise teaching becomes a mockery.

— Ramakrishna

The mind is restless and very difficult to control, but it can be subdued by sincere spiritual practice and by detachment.

— The Bhagvad Gita

Marriage is not an act of service. It is a comfort man or a woman seeks for himself or herself.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Coveting another’s woman, wealth and beauty amounts to the impute of eyes.

— Guru Nanak

From the True Lord came air, from air came water and from water he created the three worlds Then he infused into every heart his own light.

— Guru Nanak

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