|Saturday, March 4, 2000||
INDIA has reason to be proud of
Dosanjh. He is the first India-born to become Premier of
British Columbia, the most beautiful state of Canada.
Punjabis can take pride in the fact that both he and his
wife Ravinder Kaur are children of the Punjabi soil.
Sikhs can puff their chests with pride because
|In the first telephone interview that
Dosanjh gave to Indian pressmen, he said: "My
victory is a tribute to the freedom fighters of Kamagata
Maru." I dont think many of the present
generation would know anything about this Japanese ship
carrying immigrants to Canada which triggered off
violence in Vancouver on its arrival and on its return to
Budge Budge harbour near Calcutta. The voyage was an
important episode in the Blood-stained short history of
the Ghadr Party. We have much to learn from the Ghadr
Party. It was the first attempt at armed revolution which
was totally above communal considerations: Till then the
Anusilan Samitis of Bengal and terrorist groups in
Maharashtra were confined to Hindus and strictly excluded
Muslims from their fold. Not the Ghadr Party. In its
clarion call issued on November 1, 1913, it proclaimed:
"Today this begins in foreign lands but in the
countrys language, it is a war against British Raj.
What is its name? Ghadr. Whats our work? ghadr.
Where will ghadr break out?
In India. The time will soon come when rifles and blood will take the place of pen and ink."
I had the opportunity of examining some issues of Ghadr, published in Punjabi and Urdu. I reproduce some in English translation:
No pundits or mullahs
do we need,
On May 13, 1914, the Kamagata Maru arrived in Vancouver. It was berthed at a distance from the docks and no passenger was allowed to disembark. After a futile wait of many days the ship was forced to return to India. When it docked at Budge Budge harbour, British-Indian police tried to force its passengers in a train bound for the Punjab. The passengers resistance was put down by gunfire. There were many casualties. When the remaining were taken to the Punjab they broke loose and jumped off the train carrying them. They tried to foment revolution in Punjab and elsewhere. But the country did not respond to their call. Many Ghadrites ended their lives on scaffold in the Andamans.
As a footnote, let me add for the benefit of Messrs Sharad Pawar, Sangma, Anwar and their ilk who oppose Sonia Gandhis aspirations to become Prime Minister of India because she was born in a foreign land, Dosanjh was born in India not in Canada and is today Premier of a Canadian province.
Art of good eating
We have our regional cuisines with delicacies of their own. Even vegetarian food well-chosen and well-cooked can tickle the palate. But a westernised sophisticated gourmets notion of great food is different. He will spurn fast food as the lowest form of eating, he will frown upon buffet meals where there is a choice of a dozen items all spread over on a long table in metal containers with spirit lamps burning under them to keep them warm. His demands are exacting: the atmosphere should be congenial, fellow-eaters should be properly attired; crockery, cutlery and wine glasses must be classy; wines must be of vintage quality to match the food, desserts must be European (not rasgullas gulab jamuns, halva or ice-cream), liquors should be served with black coffee and to end the feast there must be a Havana cigar. A gourmet feast is a leisurely affair spread over a couple of hours: It is a ritual, a kind of meditation focused on the tongue.
A European gourmets notion of a memorable meal is usually meat, fish or crustacean-based. He will begin with avocado, peer, artichoke or some other such vegetable delicacy. He will go on to the main dish probably beef or chicken cooked in wine with appropriate sauce Crustacean (lobsters or prawns) should be served with garlic sauce he will have a side-dish of salad with dressing. He does not much care what the dessert is but if strawberries are in season he will deign to have them smothered in ice-cream.
Is there a future for this kind of gourmet eating in India? The answer is positively yes. Despite kill-joys who periodically force Prohibition on us, we have begun producing excellent vintage wines and champagne from French grapes grown in Karnataka and Maharashtra. In all our metropolitan cities, our five-star hotels have gourmet restaurants vying with each other to offer-their patrons lunch and dinners which will linger in their memories for years to come. The cost of such memorable feasts may range between Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per head. They are strictly for the upper-most crest of Indian society with cultivated taste and plenty of cash.
The next best thing to savouring a gourmet feast is to read about it. Fortunately we have for the first time a magazine exclusively devoted to good food, wine, crockery, cutlery and where to look for them in your city: It is aptly named Upper Crust: Indias Food Wine and Style edited by Behram (Busy Bee) Contractors wife Farzana. It is the most lavishly produced magazine I have seen in India. It costs a fraction of what it would cost you to eat a meal recommended by it.
China is mortally afraid
(Contributed by Kuldip Salil, Delhi)