|Monday, January 31, 2000,
of collision dharma
|Towards controlling the numbers
by Radhakrishna Rao
RIGHTLY and thoughtfully Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has indicated that a new and comprehensive population policy would be announced soon. In fact, with Indias population touching a whopping one billion mark, the need to concentrate our efforts on controlling the population growth has become all the more pronounced.
new democratic heroes
main adviser in Delhi
January 31, 1925
Days of collision dharma
AROUND this time last year the BJP was complaining that its allies were not respecting coalition dharma. Now it is being battered by collision dharma by the same allies. In Bihar, in Haryana and in Orissa, top BJP leaders have to campaign hard with their own electoral partners to sell an agreement on seat sharing. The initial tough position, the protracted talks and the final grin-and-bear attitude, all relayed to their supporters and detractors alike through television images, showed the mistrust among the leaders. Now that a solution has been found, it is time for the ordinary workers and aspirants for party ticket to show their disagreement and anger and also threaten sabotage. All this manifests itself in the most acute form in Bihar. The patch-work formula for the first phase of the Assembly elections has come unstuck. There are 42 more candidates from the four-party alliance in the fray than there are seats. This is after the date of withdrawal, which means that in about 40 constituencies one ally will fight the other. It is a recipe for splitting anti-RJD votes. What is worse, this contagion will spread to the areas going to the polls later and in about 40 seats again, which appear to be strongholds of the alliance, and so there is fierce competition to corner a bulk of them. Like in South Bihar, there too is likely to be open sabotage of the alliance chances in a good number of places. What the unseemly wrangling has accomplished is to sap the enthusiasm of the ordinary workers to pitch in to get the candidate from other parties elected, forcing him to depend on his own devices. Not only is the advantage of a united fight lost, the inability to quickly clinch the issue has also dented the strength of the NDA.
In Haryana, the entry of
a third partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal, to fight in two
constituencies has not lifted the gloom in both the INLD
and BJP camps. The denial of tickets to and an exodus of
Ministers who defected from the HVP and the nomination of
one of them from Samalkha pose an image problem for the
Chautala-led party. The BJP is sore that it could get
only 29 seats, which seems a climbdown from its demand
for 35; a round 30 would have looked an adjustment. But
there is some consolation. The Congress is also engaged
in seat adjustment talks not with an alliance partner
it does not have any but among factional
leaders. The facade of unity has developed debilitating
cracks with each group overreaching itself. The HVP is
worse off. According to one report, it is not able to
recruit men to fight the election and Mr Bansi Lal will
not even look at the stranded defectors. Orissa presents
the worst case scenario. The BJP and the BLD are going to
war with the Congress while shooting at each other. There
is a similar internecine fighting within the Congress
too. It has dropped about 25 sitting MLAs, including
three Ministers, and inducted about 55 young workers and
this exercise has not helped the party regain what it
lost by the shoddy cyclone relief work. But it hopes to
win three times the seats it originally hoped to
from 15 to 50. For this lucky turn it has to thank the
BJD workers who have declared their intention to turn
independent and wreak havoc on the alliance. They are
long-time local leaders and are confident of succeeding
on their own. In Orissa, the battle royal will be between
a divided alliance and a divided Congress. And both claim
they want to strengthen democracy!
Thank you, juniors
A PRIMARY reason for the poor health of Indian cricket is the indifference of the administrators and sport journalists to the state of the game at the junior level. Just about everyone is lamenting the poor performance of the senior team Down Under without even bothering to look at the heart-warming performance of the junior players in the Under-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka. The day Pakistan beat the daylight out of India in the last league encounter in the tri-series in Australia the junior team whipped hosts Sri Lanka to win the Under-19 World Cup final by an emphatic margin. Yet the impressive performance of the juniors was grossly under-played by most newspapers. The Indian under-19 players on current form are as invincible as the Australian seniors. During the tournament, in which teams from Pakistan, Australia, South Africa, England and Zimbabwe participated, India was the only side which did not lose even a single game. The secret of the success of the juniors lay in the fact that they were as fleeted footed on the field as the Australian seniors. And like Steve Waugh's team the one led by Mohd Kaif in Colombo had a profusion of allround talent. Unlike the senior team picked by unthinking selectors for the difficult tour Down Under, which resembles a head without a body, the junior team had a stable head, a robust body and a powerful tail. What should be of special interest to the region is the coming of age of Reetinder Singh Sodhi of Punjab and Yuvraj Singh of Chandigarh. Reetinder was declared man of the match for his allround performance in Friday's final and Yuvraj was given the player of the series trophy. For those interested in statistics India can now claim to have won all forms of World Cup cricket tournaments. In 1983 Kapil Dev's team won the senior World Cup by beating an invincible West Indian side. In 1996 the Indian team led by Reetinder lifted the Under-16 World Cup in England. Now Mohd Kaif has given India a third World Cup.
The fact of the matter
is that the history of Indian cricket is riddled with so
many contradictions that it becomes difficult for
objective analysts to pinpoint the factors for its usual
state of poor health. It is said that Indian cricketers
cannot perform outside the country. Yet Kapil Dev,
Reetinder Sodhi and Mohd Kaif led their teams to World
Cup victories on foreign soil. India has never had a
settled pair of openers although Pankaj Roy and Vinoo
Mankad hold the world record for the highest ever opening
partnership of 400 plus runs and Sunil Gavaskar remains
the best Test opener ever at the international level.
Kapil Dev still holds the world record for the highest
number of Test wickets and yet India, despite the
so-called pace academy in Chennai, does not produce
quality fast bowlers with the regularity with which
Pakistan keeps replenishing its fire power. There was a
time when Indian cricket's bowling strength lay in its
world class spinners. Sri Lanka and Pakistan now produce
better spinners. India is the only country to have
successfully chased a target of 400 plus runs in Test
cricket and of 300 plus in the one-day version of the
game in spite of consistently being rated as the worst
international team in the matter of chasing targets. Be
that as it may, the better option for cricket fans would
be to applaud the achievements of the junior team in Sri
Lanka rather than bemoan the abysmal decline of Indian
cricket at the senior level. At the same time, they
should not forget to pray that the boys in the process of
becoming men do not follow in the footsteps of Ajit
Agarkar who was picked to represent India because of his
impressive allround performance as an under-19 cricketer.
IF you saw the hype and hoopla at Hyderabad on January 20, with the road from Jubilee Hills to Hitec City elaborately decorated with buntings and banners, you would think that you were witness to some historic celebration involving at least a dozen heads of major states, if not the bulk of the United Nations. You would assume that the specially selected paunch-less policemen and the colourfully dressed tribals thronging the pavements had been mobilised for a truly earth-shaking cause. Alas, there was only Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong of Singapore (population 3 million) on a brief tour of Andhras capital as part of his six-day visit to India, where he was besieged by leaders begging him for investment and seeking his advice on acquiring instant Tigerhood through information technology (IT).
In reality, Hitec City, as it stands today is nothing more than one single building, which may have been considered futuristic a quarter-century ago, just about the time Apple first began selling personal computers (1977) based on microprocessors (first marketed in 1971). The potholed road that leads to it is Ambassador class. While Hyderabads clubbing with its twin city (Secunderabad) is natural, the triplet encompassing Cyberabad is grossly artificial. The citys software exports run at under $ 30 million a year, compared to the $ 300 million shipped out from Chennai, which makes no such claim.
True, Hyderabad hosts small operations of Microsoft, Bell, Dupont, Alsthom and Matsushita; it is setting up what aims to be Indias biggest IT training institute; the state is advised by Dr Raj Reddy, who is also on Mr Bill Clintons IT advisory panel; and Mr Chandrababu Naidu, with his impressive notebook computers and his success in hooking all state government offices to the Net, is undoubtedly Indias most IT-savvy political CEO. But that is a far cry from Andhras transformation into dotcom territory in which the Internet supposedly drives a new social and economic revolution. No revolution is taking place in Andhra, with its public finances in a horrible mess, its infrastructure crumbling, and its growth and employment rates stagnating.
The hype about Andhras information revolution is similar to the extravagant but fashionable hope that India is emerging as the worlds IT superpower a hope frequently expressed not just by the government, but even by Opposition leaders, a range of businessmen and technology buffs, and reflected in Newsweeks inclusion of Bangalore in its list of the worlds 10 hottest IT cities, the New York Timess gushing portrayal of Mr N.R. Narayana Murthy, and the now-routine description of Bangalore as our own Silicon Valley. The reality, despite the dizzying recent growth of the IT industry, is different.
Nothing qualifies India for the description IT superpower no more than winning a few tacky Miss World crowns warrants the title beauty superpower, with our Sub-Saharan indices of maternal and neonatal health. India will probably remain a relatively modest global IT player, and informatics is unlikely to transform this economy and society unless a great deal of attention is paid to the core issues of basic literacy, education and health, as well as such matters as training and identification of our IT strengths and weaknesses.
To record the positive side, our IT industry has indeed burgeoned at a rate five times higher than the growth rate of industry as a whole. Indias software market alone has zoomed from $ 150 million in 1990 to $ 3.9 billion. The hardware market has now crossed the one million units-a-year mark and is five times bigger than in 1994-95. Computers are making inroads into smaller cities at a growth rate exceeding 50 per cent. The number of Internet connections has rocked from under a lakh four years ago to about eight lakhs today. The range of IT applications is widening by the month. There is some real entrepreneurship in the IT field too. E-commerce is likely to clock over Rs 300 crore. And most important, computer-based services have tended to bypass some social inequalities. They have provided mobility to young people from underprivileged backgrounds, lacking a mastery of English.
However, the Indian software business is just about 1/70th (or less than 1.5 per cent) of the world market. Indias share is growing relatively slowly in a sector which has recorded 15 per cent-plus growth worldwide. The penetration of Indias households by PCs is under one-fifth the world average. Today, it stands at less than five machines per 1,000 people. When it comes to Internet access, India firmly remains a backwater 0.1 per cent penetration, or the same as sub-Saharan Africas, as compared to Taiwans 14 per cent, the UKs 18 per cent, or the USAs 35 per cent. A computer costs the equivalent of the average Indians income for three years, but only a months American salary. Even today, more than 90 per cent of all IT transactions in India are in English, which is spoken by 5 per cent of the population.
This IT penetration is extremely uneven, more than two-thirds of it in the West and the South, mainly in the big cities, with the Hindi belt hugely lagging behind. In the USA, five times more boys than girls use computers at home. In India, the gender disparity is likely to triple, even quadruple, in the coming years. But the upper limit is likely to be wider. The number of Internet users is likely to prove inflexible in the short run. The number of telephone lines in India is just about 30 million a drop in the one billion population ocean. Even if everyone who has a phone gets a computer, India will lag way behind most Third World countries.
Indias software exports are primarily in the low-end segment. Body shopping or low-paid professionals physically working from the USA accounts for about half such exports, a ratio that has not radically changed over two decades. (Many such people earn only a fraction of US wages. Periodically, they are harassed by immigration officials, as happened in mid-January to 40 of them.) What is growing rapidly now is data entry, medical transcription, airlines ticketing, answering services, etc.
This segment lacks strong technology links with the upper end of the market. It is part of a global division of labour based on low-paid work in the periphery, and value-added work at the centre. The high value-addition business is controlled from the North, which includes Silicon Valley NRIs. The dominance of marketing in the IT business on which predatory companies like Microsoft have unfairly thrived is one reason for Indias low status. Another is that India is losing some of its historical advantage in advanced R&D thanks to unfocused funding and lack of quality.
Leading IT researchers, who met at an international conference on high-performance computing in Calcutta in December, felt that despite possessing world-class talent, Indian computer R&D no longer has real impact in any domain. Our R&D had produced exemplary results... way back in the 60s and then again in the 70s and the 80s. But it stopped there, says the director of the Pune-based Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Dr R.K. Arora. One reason for this may be the absorption of too many researchers into industry for low-end tasks albeit at high salaries. For instance, Prof Pankaj Jalote, of the IIT, Kanpur, says: Even before a Ph.D student finishes his research, he is commissioned into a job today. Another problem is defects in and low reliability of Indian software products, despite our programmers high productivity.
None of these problems is likely to be redressed by the new Rs 100 crore IT venture capital fund, or by the governments reiteration, under the goading of US-based NRIs, of its resolve to take all measures to replicate a Silicon Valley here. These problems will persist even if all duties on IT products are abolished. What we need to do is develop low-cost IT access (by replacing powerful but costly PCs with cheap network computers), and promote Indian-language interfaces and low-cost Internet-based educational material which ordinary schools can afford. But this means the focus must return from Hitec City to village schools (many of them without blackboards) to determinedly promoting literacy, basic health care and other modest goals.
Regrettably, the runaway market success of some leading IT companies has served to divert attention from these priorities. Todays IT bubble has more to do with speculation on the stock exchange where the IT companies market capitalisation can be 30 times its normal ratio to profits than with real understanding of Indias growth potential. This export-oriented IT sector could thrive without seriously affecting the rest of the economy, and without changing the information content of Indian industry or services.
That would be yet
another instance of enclave development
not a sign of the balanced growth of an IT
superpower. What we need is less an emphasis on, or
obsession with, superpower status, and more
purposive, imaginative, schemes to harness IT to our
basic social priorities not for their dazzle
effect, but for their contribution to empowering our
Towards controlling the numbers
RIGHTLY and thoughtfully Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has indicated that a new and comprehensive population policy would be announced soon. In fact, with Indias population touching a whopping one billion mark, the need to concentrate our efforts on controlling the population growth has become all the more pronounced.
The fact that today every sixth person in the world is an Indian should be the turning point to bring about a drastic reduction in the population growth rate. As it is, India cannot afford to view population control in isolation from the wider issues of female literacy, child health, gender equity and environmental health.
According to Nafis Sadiq, internationally renowned population control expert, education is key to population control in the Third World. Of course, a section on family welfare in the ninth Five-Year Plan document says that the efforts will be intensified to enhance the quality and coverage of family welfare services through the involvement of Panchayati Raj institutions for ensuring inter-sectoral coordination and community participation in planning.
On the other hand, the document prepared for the International Conference on Population and Development has recognised in its programme of action that the main message for improving individual well-being comprises two elements: to provide contraceptive methods within the broader reproductive health services and to advance womens equal participation in education, health and economic opportunities.
That a radical shift in population control can be brought about even in conditions of a low per capita income has been proved by the shining success of Tamil Nadu in curbing its population. Today Tamil Nadu is a new star in the firmament of demographic revolution in India. Interestingly, till the 1980s Tamil Nadu was like the rest of the pack with a crude birth rate of 28 per 1,000. By 1991, it was down to 20 as against the national average of 30. And today Tamil Nadu is on the threshold of achieving a zero population growth rate.
Experts feel that a fall in infant mortality rate, improvement in womens health care along with a steady rise in female literacy were the major factors responsible for Tamil Nadus astounding success on the population control front. In fact, both administrators and the people at large in Tamil Nadu have realised that a stable population is the key to fast track growth on the socio-economic front.
But at the national level everything is not hunky-dory. For instance, a report from Parliaments Standing Committee on Human Resources Development paints a grim demographic picture of the Hindi-speaking BIMARU states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) which have high mortality and female illiteracy rates. The committee said that it found no noticeable improvement during the last three years in these states.
The committee felt that a greater thrust on family welfare measures backed by motivated bureaucrats and committed politicians is essential to check the current high population growth in the Hindi-speaking belt of the country. In the ultimate analysis, the committee came to the conclusion that for the population to stabilise, contraceptive coverage needs to be increased many times in the next few months with a focus on uncovered areas.
Indias population is currently increasing at about 1.75 per cent per annum a drastic decline from 2.4 per cent per annum in the 1960s. But then even at this substantially reduced growth rate, population will continue to increase for the simple reason that the built-in momentum for future growth created by the young age structure is still dynamic.
It is a tribute to the success of Indias drive for small family that the countrys birth rate came down from 40.8 in 1951 to 27.1 in 1997 during which period the fertility rate fell from six to three. This success has been attributed to the wider use of condoms and adoption of spacing techniques besides sterilisation campaigns.
There is now growing realisation that excessive dependence on women for ensuring successful family planning is not a healthy trend. As such, efforts are on to bring in an increasing number of men in the endeavour towards reducing the family size.
However, the population growth trend in the country as a whole presents a zig-zag pattern. A survey carried out in the early 1990s had revealed that the family size varied from state to state. Kerala and Goa, which have already reached the replacement level of population increase, are all set to head towards a negative growth. Meanwhile, demographers hope that Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh may soon emulate the example of their southern neighbours.
In the Hindi speaking area, Rajasthan shows the potential to come out of the grip of the BIMARU syndrome. For, here primary health care and the adult education system are far more responsive in compassion to the other Hindi-speaking states.
A target free approach
has now become a part of the population control drive. To
what extent this approach will contribute to the success
of population control, no one is sure as yet.
Sociologists, however, are clear in their perception that
when literacy, health, hygiene and economic improvements
get high priority, family planning stands a better chance
The Zero Year
WE stand at the end of the twentieth century and a new millennium has not yet begun. Many strange things are happening in this zero year. According to a news report, a woman flying in the business class of an airline found a rat sitting in her lap. The rat was sighted by the crew but their attempts to catch it failed when it ran to the rear of the aircraft. An airline spokesman said that she would be compensated.
Our Prime Minister has
been nominated for his poetry as the best lyricist of
1999 in non-film music section of the Screen-Videocon
awards. And now comes another holiday on account of Guru
Gobind Singh Jis birthday which was celebrated a
few days back. This announcement took me to the back
pages of time to renew my memory. It was during our
school days in 1940 when there were twin brothers
studying with me in the same class. They wore similar
dress and looked absolutely alike. It was difficult to
differentiate or distinguish between them. Sometime, even
we would be taken for a ride by the elder one (he was
born five minutes earlier). He was sharp, talkative,
mischievous but lacked in studies. His brother was quite
the opposite. While the elder one would create all kinds
of problems in the class, his younger brother would be
held responsible and reprimanded. Spare the rod
& spoil the child was the principle then. At
times, in the midst of the gathering of the entire
school, the headmaster would pat the wrong brother and
punish the other. This had created problem for the
teachers as well who would be scared to take disciplinary
action. Once the smarter, one pretended that he was
suffering from severe pain and managed to send his
brother to his doctor who gave him an injection to
relieve pain. When we, his friends, became victims of his
mischief, it was the talk of the school. He would be
miserable but try to sneak from the school unnoticed. Now
comes news that our cricket heroes have become zeroes in
Paks new democratic heroes
THE struggle for the independence of the judiciary, said Justice Dorab Patel of Pakistan in December, 1995, has become a part of the struggle for rebuilding tolerant societies in South Asia.... In the long run, an independent judiciary can survive only in a free society.
A judge of the Supreme Court from 1976 to 1981, Patel was delivering the Third Cornelius Memorial Lecture in memory of one of the greatest judges of Pakistan Justice A.R. Cornelius. A lecture he was eminently eligible to deliver. One of the three dissenters in the murder case of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Patel refused in 1981 to take a new oath of office as demanded by General Zia-ul-Haq and chose to relinquish his position on the Supreme Court rather than submit to the humiliation of martial law. And earned thereby a renown of heroic stature.
Nineteen years later, at the dawn of the new millennium, history repeated itself in Pakistan last week.
Rattled by the prospect of the Supreme Court hearing petitions challenging his take-over and casting aside the last fig leaf of legality, General Pervez Musharraf ordered all Supreme Court and High Court Judges to take a fresh oath of office under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) promulgated by him last year on October 15. Exactly the same stratagem as was adopted by Zia-ul-Haq.
But with much graver consequences. Marching out and joining the gallery of heroes this time were six of the 13 Supreme Court Judges in office, led by Chief Justice Saiduzzaman Siddiqui. The popular effect of half of the nations apex court defying the Chief Executive should not be underestimated, even for a people so accustomed to military dictators.
The other half led by the new Chief Justice Irshad Hasan Khan proved, in their own shameful, subservient way, another observation made by Dorab Patel in the same lecture.
(I)t is the character of judges (he said) which, in the long run, preserves the independence of a countrys judiciary.
Forty years before him, the man in whose honour he gave that lecture had handed down the first politically significant dissenting opinion in the history of Pakistans apex judiciary. In the very first of Pakistans celebrated constitutional trials, Federation of Pakistan and another vs Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan.
The opinion started with words which deserve to be quoted in full and which must be read by every Judge in every country:
The resolution of a question (said Justice Cornelius) affecting the interpretation of important provisions of the interim Constitution of Pakistan in relation to the very high matters which are involved, entails a responsibility going directly to the oath of office which the Constitution requires of a Judge, namely, to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of Pakistan as by law established and faithfully to perform the duties of the office to the best of the incumbents ability, knowledge and judgement.
Triggered off by the forcible dissolution of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in 1954, marking the beginning of the end of the countrys brief experiment with democracy, the Tamizuddin case saw the emergence of the notorious judicial doctrine of necessity. Used then and repeatedly ever since to justify and condone all extra-constitutional coups detat in Pakistan, the doctrine was created by the rest of the court speaking through the formidable and ambitious Muhammad Munir, Corneliuss senior and the first Chief Justice of Pakistan.
Well, Cornelius, have you considered your decision? Munir, who was hoping the court would be unanimous and had planned a press release to announce the verdict, asked his colleague.
I have tried to persuade myself, Cornelius replied, as later disclosed by a court official present on the spot to US scholar, Allen McGrath, but have failed to persuade myself to find with the opinion of Your Lordship.
If the conflict between Justices Munir and Cornelius can be crystallised, writes Paula Newberg, another keen student of Pak affairs, it is in their contrasting perceptions of justice and politics.
The Chief Justices concept of political order demanded that courts not pass judgements that could not be enforced. This (she says) was an understandable interpretation of judicial self-interest: if a sergeant can interrupt judicial proceedings or remove a judge, as the political climate surrounding the Karachi trial suggested, then judges should choose their legal weaponry with care.
Later, it might be difficult for participants or observers to differentiate between caution in the service of the good, on the one hand, and complicity with government objectives on the other.
Justice Cornelius, however (Newberg continues), viewed justice as an instrument to be applied from a distance, regardless of its political consequences. His idealistic, possibly purist, position was in striking contrast to the realism with which Munir endowed the court.
Four and a half decades
later, as the last week has shown, that contrast between
the idealism that flows from independence and the
realism that marks its absence, continues to
dog the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
adviser in Delhi
THERE was unprecedented security arrangement in most parts of the Capital a few days prior to Republic Day. And almost coinciding with those bandobasts the international conference on Asian security in the 21st century took place here. And at a reception hosted by the Iraqi envoy I met the Iraqi delegate, Mr Hamed Yousuf Hummadi, who had come down especially to attend it. And since Hummadi is not just Iraqs former information minister but the main adviser to President Saddam Hussein, one was almost certain that some offbeat news would emerge. However, the man was tight-lipped to the extent of sheer disappointment. No, he didnt want to talk about the advice he gives President Saddam Hussein nor talk about Iraqs future course of action, nor comment on Indias security vis-a-vis the neighbouring countries, or speak about the discussions he held with Defence Minister George Fernandes. I will only answer queries pertaining to the sanctions imposed on our country and also about the UN role and thats about all...I know you want news but for that you will have to come to Iraq....
Obviously I didnt travel to Iraq, so there is nothing offbeat to report, except that he feels that the sanctions would continue, on some pretext or the other. The sanctions will be prolonged for many reasons. Not only are false reports given to the Security Council, but the state of the Security Council can best be judged by this remark of the Chinese Foreign Minister: The Security Council is treated by the USA as a pair of shoes, used when needed otherwise kept aside. And to this when I asked about Iraqs survival strategies in case the sanctions are not lifted in the near future, he picked up his prayer beads and after rolling them in his hands said: We will continue to live, like we have done in the last decade but I will not be able to tell you any details of it....
Kashmir some explanations?
Actually Hummadis reaction was not very different from our typical government officials. The immediate provocation to bring this in, is because in spite of several attempts over the past several days to get in touch with the Kashmir channel incharge, Anurag Misra, the man just ducked. He is somewhere in Mandi House but cannot be contacted, was the patent sentence mouthed by his secretary, the whole of last week. Thankfully, the DG, Channel Development, Mr Harish Awasthi, made up for this and was available for his comments to these queries. How can the people of J&K be expected to view programmes on this new channel Kashmir when the power supply is not even five to six hours per day in most parts of this state? I know this, and thats one area where Doordarshan is non-functional. But our minister has taken up this matter with the Chief Minister of the state. Also, it has been pointed that there are only entertainment programmes on this channel whereas education and health and healthcare ought to be focused on. An ordinary Kashmiri is starved of entertainment because the cinema houses are shut and there is no other source of entertainment but let me add that there will be programmes on healthcare, career counselling etc but the exact format will be worked out in about a month and a half. How much of government interference will this channel be laced with? None. But DD is definitely controlled by governments views and projections? But this is no propaganda channel .... Are the programmes for this particular channel decided by DDs Delhi bosses? For months we have been assessing the programme requirements of the locals (people of J&K) and have gone by it whilst deciding on the programming etc.
Here let me add that reliable sources point out a telling fact. Last week when the DD officials flew down to Srinagar for this channel launch it was impossible for them to have gauged public response, for, because of security reasons where was the chance to interact with the poor public? Also, with a bleak power situation prevailing in that state, entertainment is an ambiguous word. Almost as though it was jeering at them.
Chand Joshi passes away
Journalist Chand Joshi who passed away on January 25 needs no introduction. Secretary-general of the Press Club of India for two terms, he was also President of the Newspaper Employees Union for several years, Special Correspondent of The Hindustan Times, but above all this the man had such a personality, a certain charisma. Also, as Gargi Parsai said in the condolence meet He was a ladies man, a harmless flirt.... Yes he knew exactly what to talk and how much, without ever bordering on vulgarity. Whenever I visited the Press Club we met and chatted. Very afew Indian men know how to talk to a woman either they dont talk at all or they behave in such a presumptuous manner. I wish Chand had given them a few lessons on how to talk and behave with a woman. For he was friendly without being overbearing, a good listener without being patronising, honest in his opinion without being a bully. At times in the Press Club, seeing me order vegetarian fare he would promptly order a non-veg dish for my two children who invariably accompanied me, adding why torture them with vegetarian stuff? No, he wouldnt even touch a morsel himself. Clutching a glass of beer he would discuss politics and philosophy.
And seeing the crowds at
his cremation and at the condolence meet one could gauge
the immense popularity he enjoyed. He was one of those
who had the courage to live a life sans hypocrisy and
sans masks. And though he had impressive parentage to
boast of son of freedom fighter Kalpana Joshi and
PC Joshi, secretary general of the Communist Party of
India he was too much of a gentleman to talk
about, or use those connections.
ALTHOUGH we were not able, for the reasons we publicly stated, to support the candidature of Mr Casson for election as President of the Punjab Council, it is clear, from the tributes paid to him by successive speakers at Fridays meeting of the Council that Mr Cassons work as nominated President was appreciated by all sections of the House.
The very terms of many of the speeches show that the appreciation was more than merely formal. It is interesting to note from the speech made by him while relinquishing his office, that Mr Casson himself fully reciprocated the kindly sentiments entertained in regard to him by the House.
He had noticed throughout the period he had been connected with the Council, he said, a steady growth of sympathy and understanding between members of different parties and particularly between non-officials and officials. I think those of you who were members of the last Council, he added, will recall a certain element of bitterness in our very early debates. Such bitterness, however, quickly diminished and has now disappeared, I hope, for ever.
This disappearance of
bitterness is undoubtedly a highly gratifying thing. It
would be still more gratifying if it were recognised by
all concerned that a strong and energetic expression of
disapproval of an official policy which does not commend
itself to ones judgement is not the same thing as
bitterness; and that while we cannot have too little of
the second we cannot have too much of the first.
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