|E D I T O R I A L
P A G E
Saturday, June 19, 1999
mala fide intentions clear
about the propaganda war?
the middle of ...
Choudhary Shahabuddin declared
Yet another alternative
LIKE in the case of population, there has been a sustained boom in the birth of political parties. This, in turn, leads to miniaturisation of the popular mandate. One way to artificially boost the electoral appeal is to rig up pre- and post-election alliances like the one Mr Sharad Pawar and Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav have done on Thursday.They have grandly named it the third front, despite the fact that there are already more than one third front. It will be opposed to both the Congress and the BJP and woo leaders and parties pitted against the two major parties either because of conviction or compulsion. Since a good number of small parties pass this eligibility test, the Maratha and UP leaders should normally enjoy a rich catchment area for members. But the reality is depressing. Several regional and sub-regional parties had plumped for one or the other big formation in frustration after waiting in vain for a genuine third front to emerge. Actually, the National Democratic Alliance is the BJP plus a clutch of potential third front candidates. Still there are at least two state units which may respond warmly to the new call. And that is a cause of worry for the biggies.
For the Telugu Desam party of Andhra Pradesh an anti-Congress and anti-BJP ally is what the doctor has ordered. It was born in the heat of anti-Congressism and hence incurably allergic to it. Nudging closer to the saffron party will cost it the crucial Muslim vote in its stronghold of Telengana. Parting of ways with the Left has cut down its voter appeal by about 10 per cent. Going along the new front poses no local threat but provides at least two national level leaders to campaign at the time of elections. Mr Chandrababu Naidu cannot hope to get one extra vote but can keep alive the illusion of playing a role at the national level. The second likely applicant for membership of the Pawar-Mulayam Singh front is the Trinamool Congress of Ms Mamata Banerjee. She is wary of tightly embracing the BJP for fear of losing Muslim support. If she walks into the new arrangement, there will be a real third front in West Bengal, one opposed to the Congress and the Left Front.
The Congress is deeply
worried that its hope of winning a sizeable number of Lok
Sabha seats from Maharashtra has more or less evaporated
with the revolt of Mr Pawar. But whether he will benefit
proportionately is debatable. The tie-up with the
Samajwadi Party will help in two parliamentary seats in
Mumbai and that with the local Peasants and Workers Party
in one seat, if at all. The RPI is divided and unlike in
1998, cannot deliver the Dalit vote to either Mr Pawar or
the Congress. The SP, by all accounts, is fighting to
retain its base and if Mrs Sonia Gandhi were to fight the
elections from UP, the Muslim and part of Dalit vote may
well swing the Congress way, but not enough to offset the
Maharashtra damage. If the TDP and the Trinamool go with
the new front, the BJP will have difficulty in an adverse
post-poll situation. Looked at this way, the new front
has already lived up to its primary objective: to cause
headache both in the Congress and BJP camps.
Himachal shows the way
HIMACHAL Pradesh is much smaller than Punjab and Haryana. It is also much less prosperous. Yet it has taken the lead in showing due respect to those valiant men who lay down their lives in the service of the nation. It has decided to enhance the monetary grant for the dependants of the martyrs to Rs 5 lakh. This has been done barely one week after the grant was raised from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh, bringing it on a par with its neighbours. In fact, Haryana has enhanced the ex-gratia amount to Rs 2 lakh only for the next of kin of commissioned officers, while those of the JCOs are to get Rs 1.50 lakh and those of other ranks Rs 1 lakh. The reasons for the enhancement by Himachal Pradesh are equally valid in other States. The brave sons of the country dying in the Kargil operations have left behind very young widows and children aged between one and 11 years. It is the duty of the government to see to it that the dependants lead a dignified life. That is why Himachal Pradesh has also decided to give free education to two children of each martyr up to the graduation level and a job to one member of each family. All these steps are worthy of emulation all over the country. While there is so much of profligacy in the administration everywhere, it is necessary to show adequate magnanimity when it comes to the really deserving people. One positive development is that the other demands of the soldiers are also being considered sympathetically. The one-rank-one-pension issue, which had been hanging fire for so long, is also expected to be settled soon enough.
The Indian soldier has
proved it time and again that when it comes to protecting
the country, he is least bothered about his own life. But
as is only natural, he is deeply concerned about the near
and dear ones back home. He can rise to legendary levels
only if he is certain that they would not have to suffer
hardship in case he sacrifices his life. A grant is not
compensation for an exemplary deed. It is only a
reaffirmation that the grateful nation appreciates its
value and is thankful for it. As we have pointed out
several times in the past also, due recognition and
respect are as important as monetary grant. The civil
administration, which owes its existence to the bulwark
called the Army, tends to go back to its insensitive ways
once the threat on the border is neutralised. The
announcement that those who lay down their lives will be
treated like "war heroes" has been very well
made. The gesture will become worthwhile when the
bureaucracy changes its mindset to such an extent that
instead of the families of the martyrs running after
petty officials for getting their work done, it is the
other way round. This country has suffered a lot while
bearing the burden of thousands of undeserving VIPs and
VVIPs. Let this honour now go to the genuine VVIPs.
That's what the families of the martyrs are. Let this
fact be remembered not only in this hour of crisis but
also during days of peace.
Change of guard in S. Africa
AFRICAN National Congress leader Thabo Mbeki, who took over as President of South Africa on Wednesday, cannot escape comparison with his predecessor and mentor,Mr Nelson Mandela, a living legend. But except for the popularity of the Gandhi of South Africa, which is missing in the case of Mr Mbeki, there is not much the new Head of State lacks. Five years ago when the first democratically elected government was established under the leadership of Mr Mandela after the end of the era of apartheid, South Africa had the major problem of maintaining stability through national reconciliation besides giving a proper shape to the new administration. National reconciliation is still a major item on the agenda of the government, but the task today is easier than what it was when Mr Mandela had taken over as President. This is one major advantage Mr Mbeki has. He is a great believer in national reconciliation , one of the reasons why Mr Mandela chose him as his successor. He will have to ensure that there is no let-up in this task, so essential for political stability in the country.
Mr Mbeki, 56, is known for his administrative qualities. He demonstrated his governing skill during his Vice-Presidentship, as number two in the Mandela ministry. He had full control over the administration by posting his trusted men in key positions at various levels. A communist transformed into a liberal, he has every qualification to provide a better government. But his first few years are likely to be tension-ridden as people have high expectations from him. Of course, this is no reflection on his illustrious predecessor. This is mainly because of his image as an administrator par excellence. Every inch a tough leader, he is believed to concentrate on securing equality for the blacks in the areas where it is still lacking. This is one major challenge he will have to face. He also has on his agenda the knotty problems of removing poverty and unemployment and crime prevention. These are quite difficult tasks, requiring massive investments. He may not find it difficult to secure the needed financial support from various international sources for the economic reconstruction of South Africa. He has enough right contacts besides the sympathy his country enjoys in the comity of nations.
Mr Mbeki built an
enviable reputation in diplomacy during the years he
remained outside South Africa following the directions
from the top leadership of the African National Congress
when the struggle against the system of apartheid was on.
He not only acquired educational qualifications while he
was in the UK and the then Soviet Union but also
established contacts at the personal level with those who
mattered in Western capitals. This will come handy to him
now when he controls the reins of power. He is the man
South Africa needed after the relinquishing of power by
Mr Mandela. Under Mr Mbeki's leadership South Africa is
expected to gain considerably in its international
stature. The masses, however, judge a government mainly
by the economic yardstick. He will have to launch a
multi-pronged attack on widespread poverty, specially
among the blacks. One of the major steps in this
direction can be the creation of sufficient opportunities
MUSHROOMING OF UNIVERSITIES
THE proliferation of universities during the recent past compels us to evaluate their aims, purpose and functions in the context of their present-day working. A wide gap is discerned between What is and What ought to be. Besides the variations in organisation, constitution and management, there are certain broad objectives which every university should aspire for and work for their fulfilment.
There were 19 universities with two lakh students in 1947 when India became independent. The number has risen to 179. Colleges were first established at the beginning of the 19th century i.e. the Presidency College, Calcutta (also known as Hindu College) in 1817. The universities came later. The first universities were established in 1857 in the three Presidency towns of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. The next to be established was Panjab University in 1882. Two other universities which had been established in the pre-1947 period went to Pakistan.
When the universities came to be established the colleges ceased to be independent and became affiliated units of the universities. This was the pattern in the University of London at the time the first three Presidency Universities were established in India. While the University of London abandoned the system with in a few years, the system continues here.
The universities are the schools of education and schools of research. But the primary reason for their existence is not to be found either in the mere knowledge conveyed to the students or in the mere opportunities for research afforded to the members of the faculty.
Both these functions could be performed at a cheaper rate, even without these very expensive institutions. So far as the mere imparting of information is concerned no university has had any justification for existence since the popularisation of printing in the 15th century.
The justification for a university is that it preserves the connection between knowledge and zest for life by uniting the young and old in the imaginative consideration of learning. A university imparts information but it imparts it imaginatively. A university which fails in this respect has no reason for existence. The atmosphere of excitement, arising from imaginative consideration, transforms knowledge. A fact is no longer a bare fact; it is invested with all its possibilities. It is no longer a burden on the memory. Imagination is not to be divorced from the facts, it adds luster to the facts. It works by eliciting the general principles which apply to the facts enabling men to construct an intellectual vision of a new world and it preserves the zest for life.
Youth is imaginative and if the imagination be strengthened by discipline this energy of imagination can in great measure be preserved through life. The tragedy of the world is that those who are imaginative have but slight experience and those who are experienced have feeble imagination Fools act on imagination without knowledge; pedants act on knowledge without imagination. The task of the university is to weld together imagination and experience.
In the modern complex social organism the adventure of life cannot be disjoined from intellectual adventure. In the simpler world the human relations were simpler being based on the immediate contact of man with man and an immediate conformation with all relevant material circumstances. Effective action in modern society requires discipline of character which can say yes and no to other men not by reason of blind obstinacy but with firmness derived from a conscious evaluation of relevant alternatives.
In the early medieval history the origin of universities was obscure and almost unnoticed. There was a gradual and natural growth. Even now, amid the imperfections of all things human it is sometimes difficult to understand how they succeed in their work. Of course, there is much failure in the work of the universities. But, if one takes a broad view of history their success has been remarkable and almost uniform. The universities have to prepare the students for the battle of life where they have to take up their posts.
The way in which a university should function in the preparation for such competent individuals is by promoting the imaginative consideration of the various general principles underlying various occupations. The routine then receives its meaning and also illuminates the principles which gave it that meaning. Thus the proper function of a university is the imaginative acquisition of knowledge. Apart from the importance of imagination, everybody can get to know bit by bit through practical experience. The only drawback of the method is that it gives less scope for personal initiative and imaginative thinking.
The combination of imagination and learning normally requires some leisure, freedom from restraint, freedom from a harassing variety of experiences and stimulation of other minds diverse in opinion and equipment.
For successful education, there must always be a certain freshness in the knowledge dealt with. It must either be new in itself or must be invested with some novelty of application to the new world of new times. It is the research worker that keeps knowledge ever fresh.
The university provides an opportunity and a forum where the experience of the old and enthusiastic imagination of the young are united creative activity. The old having been burdened by a series of similar experiences develop prejudices and mental gooves, so much so it becomes impossible for them to break new ground. On the other hand, the young are ever prepared to discard the beaten track and explore the uncharted seas. The combination of the two balances the shortcomings and makes for the free flow of the sparkling stream of knowledge.
The output of a university in the form of original ideas is not to be measured by printed papers and books. In every faculty one finds that some of the more brilliant teachers are not among those who publish. Their originality requires for its expression direct interaction with pupils in the form of lectures or discussions. Such men exercise immense influence and yet after the generation of students passes away, they sleep among the innumerable unthanked benefactors of humanity.
For a compromise between freedom and acceptance of authority universities should stress freedom of thinking because what is important is creation and not conformity.
It is a pity that our
universities fall far below the ideal. Freedom of
thinking, devotion to learning and zest for creation are
things altogether unknown. The tradition of learning and
scholarship has not been established so far and shall not
be established so long as our teachers and students have
to labour under the constant state of blurred, gloomy,
indistinct and undetermined future.
Ku Klux Klan in Australia
THE race question is a constant in Australia. If it is not Pauline Hansons One Nation that hogged the headlines till very recently (and still is a pernicious political force), it is now the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) with its Australian network. According to a detailed investigation in the Sydney Morning Herald, ... a major KKK group, the Imperial Clans of America, based in Kentucky, has set up branches in NSW (New South Wales), Victoria and Queensland. These three states constitute bulk of the Australian population. There are also reports of other KKK groups operating in Australia. Their ranks are said to even include serving members of the Australian Defence Force.
The Kentucky-based KKK group has appointed Peter Coleman, a Sydney man , as chief of its Australian operations. This Coleman guy obviously takes his job quite seriously. He told a journalist: I am happy to shout it from the rooftops (about my new role and position). There is nothing illegal or extraordinary about it. The only reason groups like this exist is that if you try and talk in a normal manner, you are pilloried from post to post. Just look at Pauline Hanson (Coleman has been associated with Hansons One Nation Party, and the Australian Nationalist Movement notorious for its racist violence in the eighties). You are forced to be extremist. And he added: Our aim is for a white Australia, a fair Australia.
There have been reports (particularly in north Queensland) of organised KKK attacks on the aborigines. They are still the victims of race hate, coupled with official apathy and neglect. They might no longer be hunted out like wild animals or kept in chains, but they are not like us (the whites). They represent a lurking danger by refusing to go away. There is certain paranoia about them. Otherwise, their small numbers (about 300,000 in a total population approaching 19 million) hardly represent any threat to the larger Australian community.
Indeed, now is the time to forge a partnership and bring about reconciliation as Australia approaches the centenary of its federation in the year 2001. Having virtually wiped out the aborigines, Australia surely can afford to be more generous with the rump that has somehow survived. The basis for starting such reconciliation could be the recent draft Declaration for Reconciliation, issued by the Council for Reconciliation.
The Declaration is an attempt to acknowledge aborigines as Australias original inhabitants and their unique status ... as the original owners and custodians of traditional lands and waters with their customary laws, beliefs and traditions. It also seeks to acknowledge the fact that their land (Australian continent) was colonised without the consent of its original inhabitants.
There must, therefore, be an act of apology for all the atrocities committed on them under white domination and occupation. On this point, the declaration reads: ... as one part of the nation expresses its sorrow and profoundly regrets the injustices of the past, so the other part (the aborigines) accepts the apology and forgives. On this note, a new journey might begin with a commitment to stop injustice, address disadvantage and respect the right of aboriginal people to determine their own destinies.
But John Howards government is averse to an apology, and to acknowledge aboriginal claim as original custodians of land and water. The conventional Howard argument is that you apologise for things for which you are responsible and indeed for which you carry the blame. This is a spurious argument. If President Clinton can apologise to the blacks in his country, and Prime Minister Blair can apologise to the Irish, surely John Howard should show some magnanimity towards Australias original inhabitants for their sufferings.
The apology is not for personal guilt but for historic wrongs. It would simply mean that a successor government (in this case led by Prime Minister John Howard ) has seen the light of the day and is keen on reconciliation with Australias original inhabitants. Howards refusal therefore, makes no logical sense, except for electoral reasons. He seems to believe that mainstream Australia ( he prides himself on an intuitive understanding of the mainstream) will not buy an apology. Like him, they dont feel personally responsible.
Besides, it is wrong to
judge the past by todays standards, so goes the
argument. At the same time, an apology and
acknowledgement of original aboriginal ownership of land
might lead to a litany of compensation and other claims
on the government.
the middle of ...
TO be in the middle of nowhere is like being in the middle of a newspaper both are incomprehensible and both attract attention of the people around you. Having run for nearly two kilometres and, that too, after a lovely ride in the aircraft, drenched in the pools of water and gasping for every breath, I found myself exactly in the middle of, as I have said earlier, nowhere. Everybody staring at me suspectingly, giving a questioning look and expecting an explanation for what happened during or after the flight.
But, I didnt have the foggiest of idea of what presumably went wrong with the seemingly smooth sortie I went for some 50 minutes ago. It was becoming a London Times crossword. During the training, the trainee pilots are taught to anticipate the things. But anticipation aside, even the assessment of the whole situation was becoming difficult to be made. I had just returned from a routine sortie with the chief flying instructor. Well, nothing unusual about it, anybody can go with him on a sortie.
But then, whosoever goes for a sortie in the aircraft, comes back in it too which I didnt. It was like any other sortie with the CFI sitting on the right, an easy-going person known for his cool temperament. After checking me for a few circuits, he decided to leave me solo. The control tower and I were informed of the decision. Stepping out of the aircraft, he wished me luck and signalled to go ahead. Again, no big deal a SOP or Standard Operational Procedure.
Every flyer worth his salt would tell you that the premonition of anything going wrong comes, if it comes at all, through the air. But, the air was as clear as the April breeze. No sign of anything untoward. The throttle was responding like an aspiring IAS candidate appearing for the interview, the engine was purring like a well-fed cat and she was turning like an elated seagull. Since the chief was watching me from the terra-firma, I was executing every turn with the practised precision.
Down on the earth, the chief was watching her fair lady flying like a bird. I was enjoying all this in sheer exhilaration because I was the only privileged pupil in the country to fly SWATT solo. A chosen one indeed , to undertake the first & the following flights on Indias first in-house production. It was a treat to fly this machine and I was enjoying the one on that day, unaware of the next in tow. The circuit being completed, I entered the approach for landing and made a nice one with the sweet chikoo sound.
Feeling immensely satisfied & proud of my flying skills, I managed to stop the aircraft at a thundering speed in the half of the runway near to where the chief stood. Marvelling at the abilities of the man behind the machine, I proudly opened the canopy to let the chief in for a ride back to the hangar. But, the chief who had not liked the manoeuvre, stepped in the aircraft and ordered me to step out and run after it like a good sprinter, up to the hangar.
So, the honeymoon being
over, there I was at the tarmac running short of breath
and cutting my sorry figure. Later, the chief called me
in his office and with a mischievous look in his eyes,
told me to stop treating the aircraft like a Maruti. I
offered an immediate apology which was accepted with the
condition of copying the contents of chiefs old phonebook
in the new one with immediate effect. So there I was,
sitting in the lawn with two fat phone books in my lap
and watching the sun go down. Like this piece, once
again, I was in the middle of ..........you know what.
Paks mala fide intentions clear
DELHI has started to behave like a city at war. Even the languid dinner parties that typify summer in this city, when anyone who can afford to has fled to cooler climes, buzz with dark rumours. So, last week diplomatic circles were agog with the rumour that more than 300 Indian soldiers had been killed in a single days fighting in the Kargil area and that this surely meant war. The next day, when it was possible to check the rumour out with sources in the army I discovered from an irate Brigadier that, There is absolutely no truth no truth whatsoever in this rumour. We are giving you correct figures because we arent hiding anything. It is in our interest to be completely transparent about what is going on.
And, there is indeed a daily briefing by the ministries of Defence and External Affairs but panic continues to spread and the question everyone asks is whether the situation is going to escalate into a war. Again, this is firmly denied by the Army but there is the hesitant admission that at least not from our side. The Prime Minister himself seemed to endorse this when he told a public meeting in Jammu, last week, that although we did not want war we were prepared for one if it was forced upon us.
There lies the problem. Defence and foreign policy analysts in Delhi are becoming increasingly convinced of the mala fide intentions of the Pakistan government. Its not quite a betrayal of trust, since there was never much trust between the two countries, but it certainly is recognition that Pakistan is not interested in peace with India no matter what Nawaz Sharif says and no matter how much warmth and bonhomie the bus ride to Lahore generated.
Those of us who were in Lahore to witness that brief defining moment, as our Prime Minister described it, in relations between India and Pakistan are frankly quite baffled at the speed with which things have changed. Never had there, in 50 years of enmity, been a better chance for friendship and peace.
This was said to me in Lahore by Aitzaz Absan, one of Benazir Bhuttos closest advisers and Leader of the Opposition in the Pakistani Senate. He said he based his statement on the fact that there were hawks in power in both Delhi and Islamabad so they could afford to talk peace without needing to defend their nationalist credentials. It is a view that many analysts in Delhi shared till the incursion in Kargil became public. So, why did Nawaz Sharif throw away this extraordinary chance for peace?
The traditional Indian view, expressed rather badly by our Defence Minister, is that it is not in the hands of Pakistans political leaders to bring either peace or war. This is something that has always been the territory of the Pakistani Military which, as is well known, does not need to take orders from whoever the current Prime Minister is. Transcripts of tape-recorded conversations between two of Pakistans senior military men, released in Delhi recently, confirm this but the mystery about Pakistans real motives remains.
When the trouble started in Kargil there was a consensus among defence analysts in Delhi that the motive behind the incursion was to internationalise the Kashmir problem in the hope of seeking intervention of the Kosovo kind. If this were indeed the motive then it failed hopelessly with even countries usually friendly to Pakistan, like China and the USA refusing to defend the incursion. Pakistan suffered the additional humiliation of, almost for the first time, being clearly identified as the cause of the problem. This, despite the fact that when it comes to Kashmir most Western governments have been inclined to the view that Pakistan has a case.
So, if Pakistans main motive was international intervention and it failed why does it not pull its intruders back now? In trying to answer this question analysts in Delhi have come up with a second view and this is that the Pakistani army has every intention of hanging onto the positions it has taken till September when the UN General Assembly is scheduled to meet.
If the conflict in Kargil lasts till then it will definitely be on the UN agenda for discussion and if it lasts till then we could also end up with a full scale war in the subcontinent. A war that, according to my investigations, will not be started with us for the simple reason that we do not need to cross the border (Line of Control) to take back any of the positions that are currently under occupation of the intruders. The only one that could prove slightly tricky is in Kaksar since it is apparently right on the LoC.
But, why would Pakistan want a war that it can afford even less than we can? This is a question that is virtually impossible to answer for those Indians who do not fully understand the kind of country Pakistan is? Despite us having languages, culture, Bombay cinema and a shared history in common Pakistan is now a country that is so completely different to our own that it could well be on another planet. Most Indians, including many of our policy makers, never understand this. Nor, alas, do most Indian journalists. The largest number ever to travel to that country went to witness the Prime Ministers bus ride across the Wagah border and it was quite worrying to see how many made their assessments of Pakistan on superficial similarities between us and them. Lahore looks like Delhi, they look like us, their buildings are the same, their culture is the same that kind of thing.
similarities, though, we need to remember that Pakistan
has been an Islamic military dictatorship for 40 years.
It may have elections, these days, but its institutions
are not those bred by democracy but by martial law. This
is what makes it so easy for a handful of misguided
Generals to create the sort of problem we currently face
in Kargil. In India its inconceivable that such a thing
could happen. Not only is it important for us to remember
these differences but it is even more important for us to
remind the international community about them so that if
Kashmir does become a subject for international
discussion then Pakistan is seen in much the same light
as the world currently sees Slobodan Milosevic. Nobody
says there are two sides to the Kosovo story so why
should anyone imagine that there can be two sides to
What about the propaganda war?
IT was during the 1965 war with Pakistan and I was starting off as a media analyst. Mr N.J. Nanporia, who was the editor, published edit page article by me on the coverage of the war from both sides. And I said: India is winning the ground war but losing the propaganda war. For one thing, Pakistan was feting the foreign correspondents and giving them a ring-side view from the Lahore side. India, as usual, was erring on the side of caution. I remember there was an awful stink from the Principal Information Officer of the Government, who wrote an angry letter. But Mr Nanporia, as was the heartening editorial custom in those days, rang me up and said. Dont worry, Ill handle this. And he did.
History, it seems, does repeat itself. As I was writing this column on the evening of Monday last, the BBC carried an item saying that Pakistan had accused India firing chemical shells into their territory. The denial came first-hand from their Foreign Minister, Mr Sartaj, direct to the BBC. There was no such personalised comment from the Indian side, although the item mentioned that India had denied the accusation. I daresay it will be repeated at the usual dull Press conference every evening by the government spokesman from the external Affairs Ministry. The Press conferences, carried on TV, are among the dullest items during this war. Some of the defence personnel have bad voices and speak badly. It does not help. And one must admit that whatever the wisdom, or otherwise, of releasing the tapes from the security point of view, it made very dramatic viewing and when Star News carried it in full, those heads in silhouette and the gritty voices made it all the more exciting would therefore like to repeat that India must on no account lag behind in the propaganda war this time, particularly on television and we should show more of the spunk we did during the Bangladesh campaign, which was vastly superior to Pakistans because they bad such a bad case. And they have a pretty bad case this time. It is my view that we are not making sufficient use of the foreign media either in quoting them to our benefit or feeding them. It is not so difficult and it is vital because hard facts well stated enhance the human interest stories being carried by every channel.
To more normal
programmes, I have now watched the regional editions of
Question Time India and find it interesting how the
character of each city is revealed in the questions
posed. Thus while Prannoy Roy found that Bombay audiences
expressed extreme concern about civic affairs (and
Bombays reputation as a well-run city got something
of a bashing) certainly the questions and comments from
the audience suggested that its citizens still take a
fierce pride in their city and are anxious to do
something about its problems. Calcutta, alas, was
hopelessly politicised, although it was amusing that the
recording was held up for two hours as the participants
wanted to watch India beating Pakistan in cricket. But
panelists, and Mamata Banerjee was the worst of the lot,
took every thing far too seriously and Mamata indulged in
her usual shrill diatribes, which is bad TV. The film
director Rituparna Ghosh, who was the independent
panelist simply did not speak up, and the Minister was
grim and cold. It was left to Bangalore, that charming
amiable city with an endearing sense of humour to show
pride in the city without becoming too solemn about it..
Shabash, Bangalore. But all in all, it was a good change
from the usual Delhi stars who have become very boring of
Choudhary Shahabuddin declared elected
LAHORE: A large and expectant crowd, consisting mostly of Mohamedans, assembled outside the Deputy Commissioners office today in the morning to witness the draw of lots for the office of the President of the local municipality. As the election of the President resulted in a tie on Monday last, the matter was referred to the D.C., who, under the New Municipal Act, was required to draw lots.
Accordingly, in the presence of the members of the committee, lots were drawn today by the D.C. and Choudhary Shahabuddin was declared duly elected as President.
Lots were drawn in the following manner:-
Two cards, each bearing the name of one candidate, were put in one Ghara (earthen pot) and the other two, one blank and one bearing the word President were put in the second Ghara.
A boy was blind-folded and asked to take out one card from each of the Gharas. He did so. And it was found that Maulvi Inshaullahs name and the blank card were taken out.
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