SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI
O P I N I O N S

Perspective | Oped | Reflections

Perspective

Recrafting roles for growth
by Kiran Soni Gupta
A
LL growth has been despite the government, said a panellist. Another echoed that the “corruption in government is the only factor in withholding growth”. Huge pronouncements—are they a myth, fashion or a reality?

Improving Panchayati Raj institutions
by Mahi Pal
T
HE conclusion that emerged from a workshop of elected representatives of Panchayats who belong to the Scheduled Castes, organised by HIRD, was that due to the prevailing stranglehold of the caste structure in rural society, neither respect for the office of elected representatives nor simple social values of giving equal regard to fellow human being, impels the villagers and fellow elected representatives to treat dalit women representatives as equal during the course of their functioning under the Panchayati Raj System.

On Record
Expansion will compromise quality of teachers
by Smriti Kak Ramachandran
T
HE government’s assurance that the proposed 27 percent reservation for OBCs will not usurp the seats meant for general category students is being taken with a pinch of salt.

 

 

EARLIER STORIES


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
OPED

Profile
Anti-corruption campaigner
by Harihar Swarup
H
IS full name is Velikakathu Shankaran Achuthanandan. He is 83 and popularly known as VS. The new Marxist Chief Minister of Kerala is a rare political leader the like of whom may not be found in any other party. 

No more temples of learning
by Vikram Chadha
S
agacious leaders of free India reposed an unflinching faith in the educationists and teachers for shaping the destiny of the country, and thus used such metaphors as 'temples of learning and knowledge' for universities and other academic establishments, and the term ‘nation builders’ for teachers.

Diversities — Delhi Letter
French honour for Cedric Prakash
by Humra Quraishi
P
olice high-handedness is going about unabated, with fresh reports coming from Uttar Pradesh. Even in New Delhi, the condition of the protesting students is grim. The police lathis are no longer unleashed on them, but then, the suspense continues, together with information trickling in of the toll the protest is taking on their health.


 REFLECTIONS

Top








 

Recrafting roles for growth
by Kiran Soni Gupta

ALL growth has been despite the government, said a panellist. Another echoed that the “corruption in government is the only factor in withholding growth”. Huge pronouncements—are they a myth, fashion or a reality?

The comments quoted above were made in the recent India Conference at the Harvard Business School. They set me thinking on the role of state. If it were so true, why not disband the state altogether. Will the dismantling of governmental structures take long? What are the alternatives and substitutes? If not, then how much can we factor the state in the growth process or how much it needs to be altered if it is to be effective?

The pervasive changes in the international arena due to globalisation and the inability to respond appropriately have led many to believe that the state is not only incompetent but irrelevant too. The 1970’s and 1980’s manifested a strong anti-state bias. The shift in emphasis of the international institutions like the World Bank and IMF, which nurtured the idea in the early propagation of structural reforms, have now realised that reduction in role of state and getting policies right is not sufficient. The conditionality of reducing the state, has led to reduced social provisioning which in turn has adversely impacted the vulnerable sections. Some states virtually collapsed under the burden of economic changes and some even lost their legitimacy due to political strife and parallel economies.

The changing paradigm in the World Bank’s philosophy from reduction in role of state to institution building and good governance clearly highlights that the need of government is there at every step at every quarter. Much of the initial reform was oriented towards discarding the state controls and responsibilities and to leave everything to the market. But very soon, in the late 1980’s, development specialist began to see not only the complementary and supplementary role of state but also as an important adjunct to development. Thus throughout the 1990’s the concern has been institution building for economic regulation as well as democratic accountability. Realising the need of government led them to spend huge amounts on the capacity building of the people in government at all levels with a hope and desire to make them more effective.

The Asian financial crisis gave an important lesson and to provide necessary safeguards and also to protect the poor segments and nations from the vagaries of volatile intense financial markets. The Mexico crisis of the 1994 taught that rapid capital flows can ruin the economy in a short term but with long term impacts. The new trade relations and partnerships, ease with which capital both financial and human flows across boundaries, ease of convertibility of local currencies, the increasing inequitable outcomes of globalisation coupled with growing poverty and downsizing of the governments have raised important questions on the limits and extent of liberalisation and role of private sector.

World Bank statistics project that the number of poor in developing countries would increase to 1.24 billion people by 2008. At present, it estimates that illiteracy is affecting 850 millions, malnutrition 840 million but the greatest impact of poverty is on women and children in the rural areas. Can the government or the private sector or the civil society organisations singly or together face these challenges? This has left me wondering then what is that which triggers and sustains growth. How should we redefine each other’s role?

The World Development Report clearly acknowledged that ‘governments play a vital role in development’. This has largely changed the growth prescriptions over time even making some of them less definitive. Governments are pressed and pressured to initiate action and reforms. As far as the responsibilities required of state are concerned experience all over the world shows that the state is clearly not being “hollowed out”.

The role of state is changing and rightly so needs to be redefined. These are both due to the compulsions of dynamic world and policy prescriptions too. Weak governmental structures coupled with concentric power lines and inefficiencies have led to the expansion of nongovernmental actors but increased role of private sector, NGO’s or the increasing democratisation has not dissipated the problems or led to growth. The inability of the governments to regulate the financial and economic markets often construed as cost of incompetence can put the country in the rear seat of growth and development.

The dominance of powerful industrialised nations in IMF, World Bank, WTO, G-7, G-10, G-22 etc and the marginalisation of many governments in influencing their development agendas raises the issue of constraints within which the state may have to function. The national governments are even more important to assessing whether the changes and forces of globalisation are helping or hindering them.

I feel the redefined role has to focus on collaborative approach respecting people’s right to information, transparency and participation. Much success lies in bringing together all the stakeholders together- NGO.s, large domestic firms, MNC’s, government and the consumer society itself and. I see a new growth opportunity in the partnership approach where poor masses can be actively engaged. Profits and poverty reduction has never been seen in a symbiotic relationship by any of the stake holders. I was much impressed by the changed tone and tenor of the Harvard Business school where they now teach strategies for the’ bottom of pyramid.’

The next question is what then should be the role of private sector beyond investments and return. Does putting the dirt and murk on others absolve the private sector? The answer is clear no as they are an equal partner in development as well as corruption. Donning the garb of corporate social responsibility to gain legitimacy and social acceptability is nothing but an attempt to gain respectability. What has so far prevented them to do something good for the society, to care for the people at the bottom of pyramid and to come out in big way when disaster strikes? In such moments, whom does people look up to? Though some may look towards the voluntary agencies, private sector or the NGO’s but all look toward the government to perform and act.

The private sector fails to see its potential for their own businesses from investing in social initiatives. The social issues indulgence can be a competitive force and as an operational instrument and a vehicle for advancing profitability and performance. The challenge is to see the problem of poverty as an opportunity to create new sustainable approaches to building efficiencies in the system. I think a time has come when the global teams have to come together to reckon the national and transnational issues and to weave the warp and weft of the local with the global to move the world forward.

*****

The writer is Mason Fellow, John F Kennedy School, Harvard University, Cambridge.

Top

 

Improving Panchayati Raj institutions
by Mahi Pal

THE conclusion that emerged from a workshop of elected representatives of Panchayats who belong to the Scheduled Castes, organised by HIRD, was that due to the prevailing stranglehold of the caste structure in rural society, neither respect for the office of elected representatives nor simple social values of giving equal regard to fellow human being, impels the villagers and fellow elected representatives to treat dalit women representatives as equal during the course of their functioning under the Panchayati Raj System.

The bureaucracy, which is expected to work under the guidance and supervision of the elected representatives of the panchayats, is either away from the scene or succumbs to the pressure of the village politics and power game.

The solution emerging from discussions of various forums was that, in addition to raising the economic status of the elected representatives, particularly those who hailed from marginalised groups, there is an urgent need to sensitise and re-orient the functionaries of the social and administrative systems.

In view the above situation, the role of the civil society organisations becomes critical for making people aware about the rationale, responsibilities and rights of elected Panchayat leaders in the functioning of local institutions. The role of the Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishad in strengthening Panchayati Raj in Kerala is an example par excellence in this context.

There is, indeed, both a big challenge and a big opportunity before the civil society to create an environment where everybody in the village sees a future in participating in the decentralised democratic channels opened by the 73rd Amendment Act and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act through the PRls.

The following suggestions are relevant in this context:

(i) There is need for activating various associations and organizations in the forms of Mahila Mandals, Youth Clubs, Parent-Teachers Associations, Self- Help Groups, Health Committees, Education Committees, etc.

(ii) There is need to promote social capital through networking of various associations and institutions for creating pressure on elected representatives and departmental officials for proper functioning of these bodies.

(iii) The voluntary sector should work with these institutions. If this sector does not have good rapport with the Panchayats or if the latter do not appreciate the work of voluntary sector, the elected head of the Panchayat may take a view that another head of the Panchayat is meddling or interfering in his/her work.

A long term strategy and investment in their capacity-building is needed. In short, there is an imperative need for adopting collective and collaborative approach by the civil society organisations for strengthening PRIs.

*****

The writer is Associate Professor, HIRD, Nilokheri.

Top

 

On Record
Expansion will compromise quality of teachers
by Smriti Kak Ramachandran

Andre Bettille
Andre Bettille

THE government’s assurance that the proposed 27 percent reservation for OBCs will not usurp the seats meant for general category students is being taken with a pinch of salt.

The ambitious plans of increasing seats and setting up new institutions and replicating the prestigious IITs and AIIMS are being received with scepticism and while students and sections of the faculty continue to protest, university administrators are faced with arduous calculations to decipher exactly how much they would need to accommodate the government’s quota plans.

The biggest challenge administrators and academics say is maintaining quality. "Today when five figure starting salaries no longer raise eyebrows, the teaching profession with its limited avenues for earning and even growth is no longer lucrative," said the head of a department at the Delhi University.

That it is increasingly becoming difficult to attract bright youngsters to the profession is a fact that the Union Minister for HRD Arjun Singh accepted recently.

In response to a question, the Minister who now envisages a multifold increase in the number of seats in higher educational institutions had admitted that the government is concerned by the long pending vacancies, some even in the top of the line institutions like the IITs and IIMs.

He had conceded that strategies and plans are being drafted to overcome the predicament. And with the proposal of recruiting more teachers to balance the student-teacher ratio in institutions in the offing, the process of recruitment will be a challenge much harder than before.

Finding a way to support the hike over 40 percent in overall intake capacity of students, which will be required to keep the general category seats unaltered after implementation of reservation for OBCs is a tough proposition claim academicians.

"As of today Central Universities, institutions of excellence like the IITs and the IIMs all complain about the declining quality of applicants. The ones who have the acumen and the talent for teaching are the ones who are in the least interested in the profession. And if the Minister has refused to implement the proposal in a staggered manner, then recruitment will be done expeditiously, which may even lead to quality compromise," said a DU official.

Appalling statistics

  • IIT, which has a sanctioned strength of 3356, has 866 positions vacant.
  • In JNU, 20 per cent of the sanctioned posts are lying vacant.
  • In IIM Calcutta, where the sanctioned strength is 87, the faculty strength is only 74.
  • In Orissa, no posts have been filled since 1988, the result of which are 3000 vacancies.
  • In Kerala there are 1000 vacancies in non-government colleges, 300 in government and 90 in self-financing colleges.
  • In Assam where there are 2000 vacant posts, teachers work on a monthly salary of Rs 500-1500.

Even IITs, where a professor's cost to company is almost a lakh a month, it is hard to wean youngsters away from multinational companies, it is pointed out.

"We will have to counter the challenge with effective and aggressive marketing. The government has not put anything before us yet, but they will have to review the existing salaries to make teaching more alluring," said a senior official at IIT Delhi.

Noted sociologist and academician, Andre Bettille, who recently resigned from the National Knowledge Commission, rues the "way in which people are deserting the universities".

Blaming the government for the state of Universities today and pointing out the discernible dip in quality, he said: "the government often says, don't think about the Chairs lying vacant, you can fill them up. Some of the Ph.D. candidates that we have today are not even capable of qualifying a good BA examination".

The government's decision to increase the seats, open more colleges and recruit more teachers has run into opposition. "Where is the money? Show me the infrastructure. It is so comforting to say we will…but the question is can they," said another faculty member from IIT.

Putting it more mildly Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi, Dr Deepak Pental said the government's proposal to increase the seats in colleges and universities to maintain a status quo vis-ŕ-vis the general category seats could be done over a period of time.

He said the Delhi University would need at least a couple of years to increase its intake of students "given the present infrastructure, we would need at least two to three years to increase the intake of students. There will be a need to open more colleges and recruit quality teachers".

He went on to add "at the moment we have 1.1 to 1.2 lakh students in all our colleges. Given the norms of teachers-pupil ratio and infrastructure, it is not possible to increase the number of seats".

A senior official at the Jawaharlal Nehru University said the financial aspect of the Central government's plan for a quick and significant increase in the total number of seats would be huge.

"Each university in that case will require an enormous amount of money for upgrading the infrastructure, the classrooms, laboratories and hostels and salaries. Today when we ask for funds, sometimes we don't even get the half of it. There is a fear that the government may not meet the required demands once the seats are increased. Because at that juncture it will be imperative to deliver," he said.

Top

 

Profile
Anti-corruption campaigner
by Harihar Swarup

HIS full name is Velikakathu Shankaran Achuthanandan. He is 83 and popularly known as VS. The new Marxist Chief Minister of Kerala is a rare political leader the like of whom may not be found in any other party. A high school drop out, he has no stature of an intellectual giant but, paradoxically, people wait for hours to listen to him on all issues. He has no charisma of a Namboodiripad or an E.K. Nayanar, yet people flock around him. This is for the first time that he has entered the portals of power but known to possess phenomenal organisational skill.

One can find this octogenarian leader amidst the people whenever and wherever an atrocity is committed. A humanitarian to the core, no barrier could ever stop him from his life motto: to be with the people in distress. This explains why Achuthanandan is so popular among masses.

As the octogenarian Marxist settles down in office as the 20th Chief Minister, many myths about him have been broken. It was always said sarcastically that “when the party wins, VS loses and if VS wins, the party loses”. Achuthanandan has countered that belief by winning April-May 2006 election by a whooping margin of 20,017 votes and, at the same time, ensuring a majority for his party. His career graph shows that he faced defeat in 1996 elections but the CPI-M secured the majority. Had he not been defeated, possibly, he would have been the Chief Minister. In 2001 elections, it was a thumping victory for him but the Marxists were ousted by the Congress. Defeat in 1996 was unexpected as he had never before lost an election, having represented his party in the Kerala assembly in 1967, 1970, 1991, 2001 and now in 2006.

Ironically, when the list of CPI-M candidates for 2006 election was released name of Achuthanandan was conspicuously missing. This touched off a spate of protests and an uproar throughout the state; processions and rallies were organised in support of “comrade VS”. Conceding the popular demand, the CPI-M’s politburo reversed its decision and fielded VS from Malampuzha constituency of Palghat district. He has now emerged as biggest political brand name in Kerala. Selection of VS to head the left Front government was also marked by inner party manipulation. VS’s image was projected as rustic and anti-reformist but the Marxist leadership could not dump him owing to fear of a revolt in the rank and file of the party.

Soon after taking over as the Chief Minister, VS sought to dispel his anti-reformist image by meeting members of Technopark-based US Technology Resources. He also visited the Technopark, Kerala’s showpiece in the IT sector, sending right vibes to this important sector. Visibly happy, Pradeep Gopi, head of the strategic recruitment of US Technology Resources reportedly said: “What is most satisfying is the Chief Minister’s keenness to learn all about this sector in general and know what could be done from the government’s side”. IT is an entirely new area for VS. His crusades had been mostly against sand mafia, sandalwood gangs and sex racketeers.

 Born in a Kerala village in 1925, VS was attracted to politics even while he was a school student. He gave up studies after finishing 7th standard, entered active politics through labour movement and trade union work and joined the Kerala unit of the Congress in 1938. Like many young men of his age, he became disillusioned with the policies and politics of the Congress and joined the Communist party of India in 1940. He was imprisoned for five years during the Freedom Struggle and had to go underground. VS emerged as a popular leader in 1946 Punnapra-Vayalar uprising and arrested. He was also imprisoned in 1962, 1963 and 1965 as he led the agitation to protest against what the government. He was among 32 comrades who played important role in split of the CPI and formation of the CPI-M in 1964.

 Achuthanandan held many positions in his six-decade long political career. He was the Kerala State Secretary of the CPI-M between 1980 and 1992 and became member of the Politburo since 1985. He was also active in parliamentary politics, having become member of the Kerala Assembly for six times. He was also Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly from 1992 to 1996 and from 2001 to April 2006.

He was invariably first to reach the place where the people had grievances against the government’s policies and wherever corrupt practices of officers came to light. However, some of his utterances created the impression that he was against development and believed in outdated theories.

Another charge was that he used Marxist ideology to sideline other active party workers. Now occupying powerful post of the Chief Minister, VS has been trying hard to eradicate these impressions.

Top

 

No more temples of learning
by Vikram Chadha

Sagacious leaders of free India reposed an unflinching faith in the educationists and teachers for shaping the destiny of the country, and thus used such metaphors as 'temples of learning and knowledge' for universities and other academic establishments, and the term ‘nation builders’ for teachers. They were given an exalted status in society, as they were to work inexorably on a sacred mission of instructing the human resource of the country, which in turn would determine the future growth trajectory and the techno-economic prowess of the nation.

Universities are all about universal and cosmopolitan growth of knowledge and phenomena, which is accomplished through free and secular exchange of ideas among the scholars drawn from all across the geographical expanse of the country and even abroad. The researchers and scholars in universities come from different areas, and are free to leave at will wherever they find appropriate facilities and endowments according to their research specialisation and interest. But if their movement were bound by certain rules, they would not be able to optimally perform towards the prolific proliferation of knowledge in their respective areas of work.

To cite an example, in many regional universities, their career promotion is made to depend upon their service experience in a particular university, disregarding their identical previous experience elsewhere. Such rule has apparently constrained their movement to other universities or institutes for the apprehension that their previous experience would not be reckoned towards their promotion and they would loose their seniority if they moved to a more suitable place. Similarly other scholars from outside too refrain from coming into a university for the fear of loosing seniority and career promotions in time. This rule therefore stymies free growth of knowledge through unrestrained interaction due to hindered movement of scholars.

The university campuses are perforce turned into 'localities' or 'enclaves', where in-breeding and son-of-the-soil approach to recruitment of scholars becomes the normal pattern, which thus truncates the dynamic growth of ideas. Though the UGC endorses the views of the university teachers that the total length of service experience should be accounted while promoting scholars, but the authorities and government turn a deaf ear to such a pertinent demand of the university teachers.

Research is a long drawn and time-consuming exercise with more of social outcomes, rather than personal benefits, and it is a universally acknowledged fact that research incentives are indispensable for motivating researchers and scholars to progressively undertake and indulge in research for extending the frontiers of knowledge. Monetary rewards are the most facile method of recognising the research effort of scholars to enthuse them into research. For instance, the UGC has recommended that those university teachers, who complete their Doctoral work in-service, should be rewarded with some increments in their salaries.

Universal quest for knowledge and exploration of the new phenomena in the universities warrants the campuses to be a fertile ground for research and innovation. Though universities are an inalienable part of the higher education system in the country, yet whatever specialised instructions are imparted at the higher rungs of the education system, are basically research oriented and advanced and is aimed at coaxing the pupils to endeavour to break fresh ground in their discipline.

So, whereas teaching is one of the fragments of the duties of a university teacher, like those in the IITs, yet research activity remains a major part of the work ethos in the universities, which naturally necessitates a greater part of his productive time to be expended in time-consuming research, rather than formal classroom teaching. But unfortunately since the last grade revision, most regional universities, following the recommendations of the UGC, have jacked up teaching work load of particularly the senior university faculty, gravely impairing their research time, which has obviously adversely affected the quality of their research output.

Although the university teachers are performing much the same functions as those in the IITs, yet the research grants and projects at the command of the former are too miniscule as compared with those for the latter. Similarly the salary scales of the university faculty also far trail those of the faculty of IITs despite identical dispensation of duties and research obligations.

The fate of the teachers working in the 137 odd non-government privately managed aided university affiliated colleges in Punjab is even worse.

The axe of any austerity drive by the government first always falls on the resource-starved education sector. That’s why the financial aid promised to the privately managed colleges in Punjab since the grade revision of 1976, in terms of grants covering 95 percent deficit of these colleges; and other social security and social welfare provisions for the faculty of these colleges, was indignantly and unceremoniously shelved in 1997, jeopardising the very survival of many small, particularly rural colleges in the state.

While no one can contest the outstanding contribution of these colleges towards the all round development of the state in terms of building a phenomenal human resource in the fields of art and culture, science and technology, politics and administration, and defence forces and diplomacy, such disdainful treatment of the teachers in this segment of the university education is extremely deplorable.

These and many more rankling issues continue to perturb the university faculty, distracting them to perform below par. The powers that be need to tackle and settle these for the benefit of research and the society decently and amicably. n

****

The writer is Professor of Economics, Punjab School of Economics, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar

Top

 

Diversities — Delhi Letter
French honour for Cedric Prakash
by Humra Quraishi

Police high-handedness is going about unabated, with fresh reports coming from Uttar Pradesh. Even in New Delhi, the condition of the protesting students is grim. The police lathis are no longer unleashed on them, but then, the suspense continues, together with information trickling in of the toll the protest is taking on their health.

There’s an eerie build-up of unrest, with alarming reports coming in from all over. Several support groups—traders, suppliers and shop keepers—are also jumping into the fray.

Political elements seem to be trying to decide about whether to go for or against the groups, depending on the quick thinking they are indulging in vis-ŕ-vis the vote potential their support or veto would get. I think it’s not the ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ factor alone but there’s much focus on the treatment meted out to unarmed protestors by the state machinery. And unless this stir is contained and handled, without bias or the boot, it has all the potential of spreading out.

There is the need to urgently re-think the way we seem to have given some sort of free and uncontrolled leash to the policemen to strike and hit out at the slightest pretext, failing which, to come up with a pretext.

Who are there to counter such moves of the police or even those of politicians? Bollywood’s Amir Khan has taken a stand in recent days .But much before him there was Ahmedabad-based Jesuit activist Fr Cedric Prakash, who took on the Modi government, in spite of threats to life and work .And last week came in the news that the French government is honouring Prakash for his crusade, with the French President Jacques Chirac conferring the Chevalier de la legion d’ Honneur (Knight of the League of Honour) award on him. In fact, the Legion d’ Honneur is France’s highest title given to those who distinguish themselves through military or civilian services

Initiated by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, it is mainly awarded to French nationals and exceptionally to foreigners. I had met this Jesuit activist twice, the first time about three years ago and his humility and modesty left a lasting impression, as did the outreach programme that he’s providing for all needy persons, , irrespective of the political problems. In fact, if the establishment is really sincere in trying to help out the rebels or the reactionaries then it should take the assistance of men like Cedric Prakash. No, he does not use a lathi and nor the boot. Such tactics never really help in any situation. He uses reason and uncomplicated words and is simply and sincerely apolitical. With that formula he’s reached out.

The French government has recognized his services. We, of course, stand struck by the political virus.

Not feeling the heat

While on the French, its simply amazing that in the midst of this May heat, a 30-member delegation, comprising members of the French National Assembly, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs and are presently touring our land, taking active part in seminars, as part of an annual training session. As the French embassy officials detail that rationale behind this tour “to acquire a better overall vision of international issues and to understand better, problems related to foreign actions of France and to issues related to current affairs, having a European or international dimension in a holistic perspective.”

Why doesn’t the establishment here send off their men to far flung lands when the weather is harsh and trying? Why to Europe and cooler climbs! And why not the deserts of Africa and Saudi Arabia!

Last week there came calling a delegation of Muslims from the UK, led by Lord Adam Patel —a Muslim of Gujarati origin. The purpose of their visit was to interact with the Muslims of the country, supported by the British High Commission, together with another forum of South Asia. The Muslim audience didn’t seem enthusiastic about this sudden calling on. Not only was the hall half empty (half-full, if you’re the optimistic type) but there was open criticism and doubt about the sincerity of this mission. As intrusive as the UK-USA led intrusion into Iraq, quipped one from the half-empty hall.

With the French and British there, can the Australians be far away. Sydney-based author-photographer Joanne Taylor’s book, The Forgotten Palaces of Calcutta, will be released here by the Australian High Commissioner John McCarthy. Till about the last decade, most foreign diplomats would be here much during this time of the year, but now, it’s Indians who are complaining more about the weather conditions.

Two new books

I’ve before me these two books, a volume titled Marshal Plan for Banishing Poverty by a retired chief engineer, 
R. N. Malik. Before going further, anything I just can’t hold myself back from commenting about why is it that civil servants take to writing “wisdom-laden” books once they retire. Now that housemaids have also begun to write in their youth, the servants of the establishment ought not to waste their youth in simply signing files, but should actually write what they wish to while still serving. Anyway, this volume is an expansion of its title.

From here we move to Telugu fare. This week end there’s to be the release of the book Cooking at Home with Pedatha (Badi Bua). Authored by Jigvasa Giri and Pratibha Jain, it is to be released by the Prime Minister’s wife, Mrs Gursharan Kaur, in the presence of the who’s who of the city — Ambika Soni (Minister for Tourism) Renuka Choudhary (Minister for Women and Child), Bhicoo Manekshaw (of the Cordon Bleu, London) and Mohini Giri (activist and head of the Guild of Service) It is said to be a book focusing on the Telugu cuisine so a large number of those from the Andhra belt ought to be spotted at the event.

Top

 

Because some has made up the word ‘wave’ do I have to distinguish it from ‘water’?

— Kabir

If therefore there is no sincerity in the deed, alms are of no effect, being a mere show.

— The Koran

We shall be rewarded according to the service we render.

— Guru Nanak

Nobody can confound a preacher who teaches people after having received the command of God.

— Ramakrishna

Those who wish to realize the purpose of life but do not know the path should search for a preceptor. The preceptor is one who has experienced the supreme truth and is ripe with wisdom. He shares his knowledge with others to guide them on the same path.

— The Bhagvad Gita

Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |