|Monday, January 17, 2000,
Cut in interest rates
BJPs pangs of guilt
UNENDING PAK PROXY WAR
Africa as investors paradise
Politicians, beware of sycophants
Unscientific test stands overruled
Fairs upset Delhis traffic
Cut in interest rates
YET another stink bomb this time a 1 per cent reduction in interest rate in small savings has gone off, spreading uneasiness among milllions of middle class Indians, particularly senior citizens. The sunny side of the same government action is the happy smile on the face of industrialists, big traders and stock exchange sharks. The government, which has been the beneficiary of the rising mountain of deposits in post offices and other savings systems, will save just Rs 1000 crore in a full year. That money will come entirely from the pockets of retired employees and also working men and women trying to reduce their income tax burden. The bigger beneficieries will be those who borrow big money from banks and employ it to generate super profits. Now they will pay less interest on the loans. In fact it is this prospect a lesser interest burden on easy credit and the sales pitch that the move is a powerful stimulus to faster industrial growth that have earned for the government unqualified but unsolicited support from news analysts and commentators. Several arguments are advanced to not merely justify but buttress the fairly sharp reduction in the rate of interest the government pays on these deposits. The higher rate of 12 per cent, before it has been brought down to 11 per cent, is said to have blocked the much demanded lowering of the lending rate by banks. Now, the argument goes, banks will have to charge 12 per cent from their borrowers who will invest the new surplus and in due course pass on the benefit to the consumers, who will be the same who stand to lose nearly 10 per cent of the return on their savings. There is a flaw in this argument though. Till recently Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha has been saying that the business of pushing the bank interest rate down is in the exclusive domain of the RBI and all he could do is to make a request to Governor Bimal Jalan and hope for the best. He has at last taken the initiative, impatient with the ultra conservative approach of the apex bank. Or, is it going to be a two-headed move, with the RBI also doing its bit?
Two other explanations
expose the governments growing anti-middle class
attitude. One, the various small savings schemes have all
become a tax haven, in that both a portion of the
deposits and in some cases the entire interest receipt
enjoy income tax exemption. This is distorting recent
history. The government offered these sops when it wanted
to raise resources at 13 per cent interest while the bank
lending rate was at least 3 per cent higher. It succeeded
enormously in mobilising low-interest funds. The U-turn
should not blur the fact either that these schemes pay
less than what some private companies do, but the chief
attraction is the total safety of the money. Millions
have lost their entire savings lured by the glittering
promise of very high yields by fly-by-night financial
companies. Again, government spokesmen and apologists
point to the low inflation rate and find the real
interest rate to be very high, nearly 7 per cent. Hence
the need to introduce a corrective. The world over, the
globalisation advocates chant, the real interest rate is
3 per centage points higher than the inflation rate and
accordingly, the interest rate in India should actually
be only 7 per cent! Will the rate go up if inflation
starts climbing again? Unlikely. Two other points need to
be made. If industrialists are to be pampered with
cheaper credit, income tax concession could have been
thought of; and it will have the additional advantage of
focusing relief on the intended section. Two, the
governments saving is a paltry Rs 1000 crore in a
year and it is a rather dumb way of seeking relief at the
cost of hundreds of thousands of middle class people. As
a pre-budget policy decision the reduction in the
interest has given much substance to the Prime
Ministers recent warning that the days of hard
decisions are here.
BJPs pangs of guilt
THE Bharatiya Janata Partys deliberations in Chennai have once again thrown up for public scrutiny the fact that it is indeed caught between the devil and the deep sea over its long-term political strategy. The 66 amendments introduced in the Chennai declaration before it was formally released in Delhi on Thursday reflect the party leaders unrealistic desire to distance the BJP from its immediate past. The amended version of the Chennai declaration seeks to draw a line between the BJPs political stand and that of the National Democratic Alliance on certain contentious issues. The party does not want to talk about Ayodhya, Article 370 and a common civil code as long as it is part of the NDA. However, a close reading of both the original and amended documents, spelling out the BJPs post-Chennai political approach to national issues, reflects the partys desperate desire to bury the three contentious issues forever. Yet it cannot do so because of its association with the Sangh Parivar. The party has admitted its inability, in the Chennai declaration, to win over the minorities and has identified this shortcoming as a major impediment in achieving the political goal of nationwide acceptability. The bitter truth is that the BJP would find it difficult to explain the circumstances leading to the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the resultant incidents of communal violence in Mumbai and elsewhere in the country. It is indeed true that in a multi-cultural and multi-religious country like India no political party can hope to gain nationwide acceptance on the basis of the agenda the BJP had adopted for capturing political power.
However, the BJP can
still change its image by performing political penance
for acts and actions which have made the minorities
suspect its motives. The process of change should begin
by rejecting the agenda which caused avoidable bloodshed
and communal mayhem in the country. What the religious
and other minorities need is a comprehensive package for
pulling them out of the black hole of economic
deprivation plus educational and social backwardness. Not
only the BJP but other political parties too should
recognise the fact that even the most difficult problems
can be solved by making all sections of society,
irrespective of their gender, caste or colour, equal
partners in the project of nation building. This is,
perhaps, what the BJP leadership had in mind when it
incorporated in the Chennai declaration a sentence
stating that "the party shall thoroughly review its
existing relationship with religious minorities
consistent with its resolve to strengthen Indian
nationhood". The minorities should have no problem
in saying amen to the resolve of the BJP to give itself a
politically more acceptable "millennium look".
UNENDING Pak Proxy War
THIS is the last exclusive article written by the author on Pakistans proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir, which he had personally handed over to the Editor of The Tribune on January 14. He had great regard for the paper and often contributed his incisive write-ups to it. He was a retired Foreign Secretary and served as Indias Ambassador to the USA and the erstwhile USSR.
TO call it merely a "proxy war", in my opinion, is not adequate. It is not merely a war against India by Pakistan, not merely a war by proxy, fought with the help of foreign fanatical, Islamic elements, as well as those in POK and a small minority, inside Kashmir, but a much bigger challenge to humanism, human rights, the sovereignty of States, interference in their internal affairs, and subversion organised, aided, abetted, planned and financed by a terrorist State.
It began during the regime of President Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan through his Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) but gained momentum particularly at the end of 1989 when the then Janata government at the Centre sent Mr George Fernandes, Mr Arif Mohammed Khan and Mr I.K Gujral to persuade in fact coerce the Chief Minister of J&K, Dr Farooq Abdullah, to release five top militants for the release of the daughter of the then Home Minister, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. I recall the rejoicing of the militants and their sympathisers in Srinagar on that fateful day as it was telecast widely by Doordarshan. Since then the minorities in Kashmir, especially the Pandits, have been turned out of the State at the point of the militants gun and about 300,000 are residing as refugees in their own country, India, in torn and tattered tents and leaking one-room tenements and under sub-human conditions in the various states of India outside the valley. During the last two to three years the activities of the militants have been accelerated and since very few Pandits are left in the valley, they have started kidnapping, murdering, raping and abducting Muslim and Sikh women as well. The perpetrators of these heinous crimes include not only Pakistanis but also other foreign terrorist groups including the elements of the Taliban from Pakistan, POK, Afghanistan and a few other Muslim countries.
The reason for this increase in the activities of the terrorists who have not spared even Muslim shrines like Charar-e-Shariff, the mausoleum of the Great Sufi Saint Sheikh Noor-ud-din, (also known as Nand Rishi by the Pandits) is the weakness of the Government of India which, during the last decade or so followed a weak-kneed and reactive but not proactive policy towards the instigators of this so-called proxy war by Pakistan. Mere statements by the present government that they will adopt a proactive policy are meaningless unless they are implemented in practice.
Last year, when the US government fired missiles into Afghanistan and Sudan against the Taliban and their agents as a reprisal against attacks on US Embassy personnel in Africa, it had been suggested to the BJP-led coalition government that this was a most suitable psychological moment when they could and should have wiped out some of the training camps of the militants at least in POK, if not in Pakistan. No one, certainly not America, could have dared to criticise us at that time. However, the government only declared that they would adopt a proactive policy and did nothing to implement it. One is reminded of the warning given by Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1965 to Pakistan that any intervention in J&K would be regarded as an aggression against India which would hit back at times and places of its own choosing not only in POK but against Pakistan itself. This warning was implemented and proved effective. Again in 1971 Indira Gandhi responded to Pakistans declaration of war by not only bringing about a signal defeat for Pakistan but also the surrender of 90,000 prisoners of war in Bangladesh and also occupied 5000 sq miles of Pakistani territory in West Pakistan. However, the gains we made were not utilised for bringing about a final solution of the Kashmir problem with Pakistan either along the Line of Control which was established under the Shimla Agreement or even a better line strategically more suited to our security and defence by taking over Haji Pir, Skardu, Muzzafrabad and other strategic spots across the then established ceasefire line by re-establishing a more reliable line of control. Nor did the central government take any measures to improve the internal situation in J&K. On the contrary, the Ministers from the ruling parties at the Centre set up their own stooges and sycophants as proxy rulers inside J&K. They went even so far as to dismiss the duly elected government of Dr Farooq Abdullah.
While Dr Abdullahs government in J&K may have its defects, it is not the worst government J&K has had after Sheikh Abdullahs passing away. It is true that Dr Abdullahs government, like that of Punjab, is almost bankrupt financially and the Centre should exercise more effective control to ensure that the funds placed at the disposal of the state government are used frugally and effectively for the purpose for which they are given, and are not squandered on hare-brained schemes or go to line the pockets of politicians and bureaucrats. At the same time the Centre must pay for the extra expenditure incurred for meeting external threats to Indias integrity and sovereignty over the state and also for safeguarding the security of its inhabitants who are Indian citizens, as has been done in the case of Punjab. However, instead of blaming Dr Farooq Abdullah and hobnobbing with anti-Indian, subversive elements like Hurriyat, the Central government could do better by strengthening Dr Abdullahs hands and taking strong action against the anti-Indian and subversive elements inside and outside Kashmir. The military and paramilitary forces in J&K must be given better arms and a freer hand.
The audacity of the ISI and the Pakistan army brass-hats was evident in the plans they had made to take possession of Indian bunkers on the Indian side of the Line of Control surreptitiously even while the Indian Prime Minister was on a bus ride to Lahore trying to make peace with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The failure of our intelligence and the failure of the Indian Air Force to go in support of the Army for 18 days from May 8 to 26 due probably to the political pressure from the government for its fears of reaction in America and elsewhere was unpardonable. We have not shown enough strength to throw out the Pakistani troops from all the occupied parts on our side of the Line of Control. We have failed to exercise the right of hot pursuit or to bomb the training camps of militants and pockets of resistance in POK and on our side of the LoC. This is not only sad but also shameful,
The latest example of the involvement of Pakistans ISI is the sabotage and hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane. The Central government has shown lack of coordination, intelligence and courage to assert our sovereign rights and make it costly and impossible for Pakistan to violate the Shimla Agreement by crossing the Line of Control with impunity. It is time the Central government woke up to the realities on the ground and adopted effective measures to make it impossible for Pakistan to violate the Line of Control and take strong action against those elements inside India which may indulge in separatist and subversive activities.
The people of J&K
are tired and fed up with militancy, and long for peace
and normalcy so that development work may be continued
and tourism revived and restored as it is the mainstay of
the majority of the people there. The presence of over
300,000 refugees from Kashmir outside the valley in the
rest of India is a disgrace to all the governments which
have ruled at the Centre for the past one decade. The
time has come when we must wake up to the realities on
the ground and take effective measures to establish our
sovereignty and the rule of law in all parts of India,
especially in J&K and the Northeast, where it is
threatened by elements from outside, especially Pakistan.
Politicians, beware of sycophants
HISTORY reveals how sycophancy had ruined many kingdoms. Still the "yes men" in politics are making hay!
A sycophant is he who flatters those in authority. He shows a feeling which is not his own but of his master. He cant act as Akbars minister Birbal would do. Though Birbal often acted as Akbars "yes man", he never misused him.
The best examples of sycophancy could be found in the cases of Napoleon, Hitler and King Lear. Austerlitz raised Napoleon to the pinnacle of glory. But his inflated pride had turned his head. His sycophants befooled him so much that he wouldnt listen to his foreign minister even. The latters advice would simply prick his pride. His sycophants made him depend more upon them than on his own sound common sense. And the result was Napoleons utter failure at Waterloo.
Hitler dismissed his wise military adviser who had rightly advised him that it was difficult to enter the gates of Moscow. However, proud Hitler promoted a clever courtier whose sycophancy had befooled him to the extent that he went on nurturing the false feeling of conquering Moscow.
King Lears sycophant daughters, Goneril and Regan who ultimately turned him mad, had robbed him of all his property. His younger sincere daughter Cordelia never indulged in false flattery. And she was deprived of her own share even. But ultimately who wins? The feed of sycophancy had completely ruined the foolish king!
Sycophancy is the root cause of leg pulling in politics. Sycophants live, develop, and progress only if there are authorities who care for them. Most of the politicians daily need a dose of sycophancy. They lose their sleep at night whenever their pet sycophants do not visit them. Spoon feeding is what they regularly need. Ultimately both the sycophant and the sycophancy-lover deceive each other, morally and ethically.
Birbal was a sincere friend and a true adviser to Akbar. He was intelligent, daring and had presence of mind. Once Birbal had shown to Akbar a copy of the Mahabharta. Out of pride, the emperor asked Birbal to manage writing a similar book in which the former be the hero and his Begum the heroine. To please the emperor, Birbal asked for money and time which the former readily sanctioned.
When three-fourths time passed, Birbal showed the emperor heaps of waste paper piled up as if a manuscript. Akbar felt flattered. Birbal respectfully asked for the Begum to be interviewed. The emperor took him to the queens chamber, and Birbal began: "Madam, in our epic, Dropadi had five husbands, may I know the names of your other four husbands?" As Birbal was not a sycophant, the emperor was convinced that copying another great man like that may not add to ones glory and grandeur.
Birbal being sincere, very often advised the emperor not to be emotional but to do justice. One early morning, the emperor had seen a jinxed face and had to spend his day in a sad mood. So he ordered that that mans head be cut. One being asked about his last wish, that man pleaded as advised by Birbal: "Your Majesty, you saw my face and had a sad day. Today, I saw your face, and am going to be beheaded. May I know whose face is more jinxed!" Thus Birbal saved the emperor from doing injustice!
Africa as investors
IT may sound paradoxical, but it is a fact that even as the continent of Africas socio-economic condition is poor it cannot pay its external debt; official foreign aid has dried up; it cannot feed itself; there is all round political instability; and there is so much of crime and corruption it is considered a foreign investors paradise.
Worthy of note is the fact that the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says pointedly that the returns on foreign direct investment by the multinationals in Africa in the last decade reached a whopping figure of 29 per cent over three times the world average. Not only that, UNCTAD also reveals that the profits earned by the African associates of the MNCs have been much higher in the last decade than those in most other parts of the world.
Desmond Devies, a leading economic journalist, tells us that during 1990-94 the average return of US direct investment in Africa was 28 per cent compared to 11 per cent in Europe, 12 per cent in Latin America and 14 per cent in Asia and the Pacific. And in 1995 and 1996, the return on the book value exceeded 30 per cent.
Thus the economic picture of the continent of Africa is not that bleak. UNCTAD feels encouraged about Africas future and so is the UN system as such. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has started a major campaign to prop up foreign direct investment in Africa. Look at what he says: "We are determined to help Africa to develop and to play its full part in the global economy.... To achieve this, it is essential to mobilise private capital flows as well as to reverse the shameful decline in official development aid.... We are particularly concerned to help promote investment domestic as well as foreign as a means of strengthening the supply side of the African economy."
Some MNCs and Western banks have done remarkably well through investments in Africa. And some front-runner countries like Uganda, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Equitorial Guinea have shown excellent performance. Notably, investments are not only in the traditional sectors such as mining and petroleum but also in manufacturing and service sectors.
Let us look at some MNCs and their performance in Africa. The Coca-Cola Company Africa presents huge prospects for business in Africa. "We see great opportunities to market our products to sub-Saharan Africas 600 million consumers," says Carl Ware, President of Coca-Cola Africa. "We have also invested heavily in Africa, forming several joint venture partnerships to further strengthen our system."
Desmond Devies reminds us that for the Royal Dutch/Shell Group partnership, economic investment and long-term commitment lie at the heart of its approach to business in Africa. Shell companies operate in 33 African countries, employ 15,000 African staff and have some $ 3.8 billion invested in the continent. They pay an estimated $ 1.5 billion in direct and indirect taxes to African countries.
Royal Dutch and Shell Group are responsible for about a fifth of African oil production involving major investments such as Shell Nigerias proposed $ 8.5 billion integrated investment plan for oil and gas fields in Nigeria.
It is no surprise that Japanese companies like the Marubeni Corporation have done much better in Africa than elsewhere, returning 6 per cent on FDI in 1995 as against a 2 per cent world average. Yuchi Ishimaru, Chief Executive of Marubeni for Europe and Africa, says of Africa: "Each country brings its own challenges, but whether it be in commodity trading, infrastructure, agriculture-related projects or in business, we believe our long-term perspective and sustained effort will pay dividends."
Among the banks, the best performance has been shown by Citibank and Barclays Africa. Citibank reopened in South Africa after the anti-apartheid sanctions were lifted there and it opened branches in Tanzania, Cameroon and Uganda. Says Anjum Iqbal, Africa Division Executive: "We are seeing a gradual improvement in the economies around the region and accordingly we are expanding our business in countries where we are already present as well as opening up in new countries."
African companies themselves have become MNCs thereby
showing that they are internationally competitive, not
only in terms of trade but also in terms of international
production. Ghanas Ashanti Goldfields and South
African Breweries are two such companies, both of them
listed on the London and New York Stock Exchanges. The
South African company has invested in some 11 African
countries, is making huge profits and expanding in Africa
in the post-apartheid era.
Unscientific test stands overruled
THE lie about lie detection tests has finally been nailed. In a brilliant opinion, the first of its kind in the country, Indias premier human rights body, the National Human Rights Commission, has declared lie detection tests unconstitutional and illegal.
Absent any law or guidelines on the subject, says the NHRC, the lie detector test "tends to become an instrument to compel the accused to be a witness against himself, violating the constitutional immunity from testimonial compulsion."
That is an immunity granted by Article 20, Clause (3) of the Constitution, rooted in English common law and embodying one of the most cherished principles of criminal justice. "No person accused of any offence," reads the Clause, "shall be compelled to be a witness against himself."
This immunity against testimonial compulsion or self-incrimination, says the NHRC, must be read together with the constitutional "immunity from invasiveness" in Article 21 (which prohibits deprivation of personal liberty except by fair, just and reasonable procedure established by law).
So read, it is clear (it holds) "that the lie detector test is much too invasive to admit of the argument that the authority for lie detector tests comes from the general power to interrogate" vested in the police under the Criminal Procedure Code.
Inasmuch as this invasive test is not authorised by law, holds the NHRC, "it must perforce be regarded as unconstitutional and illegal unless it is voluntarily undertaken under non-coercive circumstances."
Whether or not a lie detector test should be held, it adds (reiterating its perspective of "constitutional invasiveness" and "evidentiary impermissiveness"), is a "prerogative of the individual, not an empowerment of the police."
In endeavouring to conceal the truth, scholar Fred E. Inbau wrote half a century ago, expounding the rationale of lie detection, "have we not on occasions felt a thudding increase of the heart beat, or the rush of blood to the face, or an uncontrollable impulse to swallow, or other such phenomenon resulting from fear over the possibility that the lie will be detected?"
Briefly, opined leading CBI experts H.L. Bami and A.K. Ganguly, writing in the agencys journal in the mid-seventies, the lie detector (or polygraph) "operates on the presumption that a liar betrays his guilt through perceptible physiological reactions." The use of the lie detector, they said, quoting D. T. Lykken, assumes that there is a distinctive pattern of physiological response which accompanies lying and which can be distinguished from that which accompanies truth telling.
Most polygraphs measure changes in blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate and depth, and the resistance of the skin to the flow of a small electric current (the galvanic skin response, or GSR).
A corrugated rubber tube (pneumograph) tied around the chest or rib cage measures rate of breathing, an inflated cuff wrapped round the upper arm of the subject measures the blood pressure and heart rate, and finger electrodes measure GSR as questions, both relevant and irrelevant, are asked by the examiner or polygraph operator. The subject, the person undergoing the test, sits in a chair, while the machine itself is kept on a table.
"Just how good is the polygraph at detecting liars?" asks a leading American textbook on psychology, whose first edition was authored by the late Prof Clifford Morgan and his colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University in 1956. The seventh edition brought out in 1986, the one I have consulted, has been written by Professors Richard King, John Weisz and John Schopler of the University of North Carolina.
"Controversy abounds," say the learned authors, answering their own question, "especially between those psychologists who are skeptical about the accuracy or validity of lie detector tests, and those whose business it is to give such tests."
A number of studies indicate, they say, that properly administered tests correctly identify some 70 to 80 per cent of deceivers. However, a "very important problem is the large number of false positives truthful people who are judged by the polygraph to be lying."
One does not have to be a lawyer or a judge to appreciate that that is not only a very important but a very disturbing problem as well.
Studies differ (says Morgans work) as to the number of such false-positive cases. According to one enlightened estimate, however that by Benjamin Kleinmuntz and Julian Szucko writing for the American Psychologist in 1984 lie detector reports "may label more than 50 per cent of the innocent subjects as guilty."
The implications of this figure, the work adds, are enormous and can be a life-or-death matter in murder trials.
The NHRCs five-page opinion does not advert to any scientific data or debate. There can be no manner of doubt, nonetheless, that its opinion is eminently correct.
Fairs upset Delhis
FIRST things first. If the traffic situation on Delhis roads remains as bad as it is at present, then Im hardly sure how far we can go without the numbers of those dropping dead with heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure rising dramatically. Imagine, a single successful fair at the Pragati Maidan is enough to upset the fragile traffic wagon. And this time its the ongoing automobile fair Auto Expo 2000 at the Pragati Maidan that is to blame. Swelling crowds throng not only to see the latest cars but also to ogle at the models parading at the fashion shows put up every single evening, where Shefali Talwar, Roshan Abbas and Pooja Bhatt are the main movers and shakers. An IITF source pointed out that each one of these fashion shows draws packed audiences in the evenings. In the mornings of course the crowds throng not only to see the leaps taken by our automobile industry but also by the fashion world, for the girl guides at this fair are better dressed than Bollywoods padded beauties.
For instance, at the Hero Puch pavilion most couldnt help staring at the minis (rather at the exposed legs) worn by the girl guides. I really dont know whether these distractions should be allowed when a serious exhibition is on. What surprised me was that the majority of the visitors to Auto 2000 seemed from the lower middle class. I wonder why arent the women activists crying hoarse this time, for girls are definitely being used to pull crowds.
President of Nigeria
So packed roads, packed auditoriums and in this scenario lets also add the surcharged atmosphere around Rajpath. Preparations are in full swing for the coming Republic Day celebrations. The chief guest will be the President of Nigeria, General O. Obasanjo, who will be arriving in New Delhi, on January 24 with a big delegation, which will include several ministers of his cabinet. General Obasanjos links with India go back to the 60s when he received his training at the Wellington Staff College and I am told that even last year, around April, he visited New Delhi as President-elect of Nigeria. In fact he is considered a symbol of the new democracy of Nigeria, for after years of authoritarian civil rule he emerged as the democratically elected President of the country.
A dream realised?
Yes, its an important and interesting exhibition on the architectural works of Le Corbusier and his cousin and partner Pierre Jeanneret. Jointly put up by the Embassy of Switzerland in India and the Swiss Arts Council in association with Schindler at the National Gallery, this exhibition will be on view here in New Delhi till January 23. Thereafter it will move to Calcutta, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and end with Le Corbusiers master-plan city, Chandigarh. In Chandigarh it can be viewed from April 12 to 16, at the City Museum.
In fact, I am just back from the National Gallery where in his inaugural speech the Swiss Ambassador to India Walter Gyger had this to say "In Switzerland we have a saying the prophet is not recognised in his own land. In a way this is their (Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret) story. Both of them emigrated because they felt their work was not understood in Switzerland... I am therefore thankful to India that she invited the two architects for an endeavour which is, at our time, quite unusual to build a completely new city. In 1997 the Swiss have honoured both India and Corbusier the Secretariat building of Chandigarh and Corbusiers portrait are both on the new 10-franc bill..."
And to this Secretary, Culture (GOI) R.V. Vaidyanatha Ayyar added the Bollywood bit about how Switzerland is the ideal locale for so many of our films. In fact he even mentioned Karishma Kapoor and several of her films being shot there. Not bad for a bureaucrat to include such different and `interesting ingredients in a speech.
And going through the details on these two architects it is indeed interesting to note that Pierre Jeannerets ashes, in deference to his last wish, were immersed in the Sukhna lake in Chandigarh. This man played a major role in designing the Panjab University campus, and he had also worked on the townships of Sundernagar, Pandoh and Slapper in H.P. and Talwara in Punjab. To all this let me add that when I spotted the most stylish chairs I have ever seen at Mulk Raj Anands Delhi home, the first enquiry was obviously about their designer. And it turned out to be Pierre Jeanneret himself!
Le Corbusier, of course, is the better known of the two, and as an architectural advisEr for the Chandigarh Capital Project he created the master plan and also designed the Capital Complex, the Commercial Complex and the Cultural Complex. He was also commissioned to design Sanskar Kendra, Millowners Building and a couple of private residences at Ahmedabad. And at Bhakra he was an architectural consultant to the project and designed several buildings like the Power Plant and The Switch Yard.
And just after the inauguration of this exhibition, the Swiss Ambassador hosted a well attended reception in the Embassy confines. To be spotted were the Vasudev sisters Uma and Aruna, Sushma Bahl of the British Council, Anjali Sen, Santo Dutta, Jeet Malhotra, Geeti Sen, Anita Pratap, Anurag Mathur and several writers, art critics and socialites.
Murder or suicide
Still to be ascertained
whether Anju Illaysi, wife of Suhaib Illaysi, killed
herself or was murdered. But the only aspect noteworthy
is that thankfully till date there has been no communal
twist given to the whole case. Suhaib Illaysis
father, Jameel Illaysi, is the head of the All India Imam
Association. And one must give credit to both the
families for the maturity shown in not dragging in the
IS it a fact that in his speech at the recent meeting of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema at Moradabad, Mr Mahomed Ali stated that the account of the Khilafat Fund was to be rendered in Heaven? If so, it would be interesting to know what precisely he meant.
Did he only mean that since they were accountable to God, those connected with the administration of the fund were bound to be particularly careful as to how they acted? Or did he mean that no such account was to be rendered to any one on this side of the grave?
If the second, we
entirely agree with The Leader that "his breezy
assurance defies comment". We would like to know
what those who actually contributed the money have to
say. It cannot surely be comforting to them to learn that
their only duty was to pay the piper, and that they were
to have no voice whatever in calling the tune.
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