|Friday, April 21, 2000,
MYTHS WE LIVE BY
for rural infrastructure development
meeting of minds
USA opposes China-Taiwan union?
April 21, 1925
MR I.S. Bindra's outburst against Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya at a Press conference in Delhi will impress only those who have not seen the stinking underbelly of Indian cricket. Instead of accusing Mr Dalmiya of being in cahoots with the mafias, Mr Bindra should have shown the courage to own moral responsibility for the part he has played in bringing unwelcome attention to the game. Even others associated with international cricket need to do what Hansie Cronje has done and pray that their act of coming clean would restore the confidence of spectators in the fairness of the contests. The nineties witnessed Mr Dalmiya and Mr Bindra at their administrative best in attracting big money to international cricket. It was their collective role in keeping the cash registers ringing which saw the control of the game pass into the hands of big business houses. On several occasions injured players were included in the team at the behest of the sponsors. The selectors, of course, denied ever having picked the team recommended to them by the sponsors. Even if the sponsors gave themselves the right to pick the team, their interference would now appear to have been a minor trespass in the light of the bribery and match-fixing skeletons tumbling out of the cupboards of most cricket boards. As for Mr Dalmiya and Mr Bindra, it was their ability to sell the game which brought them together. In a certain context like Buch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid they were meant for each other. But they lacked the ability of the famous duo to stick together in thick and thin. In a manner of speaking they completed the unfinished agenda of Kerry Packer before falling out. They thought they were merely selling cricket to even those who did not know how to hold the bat right side up. When and how the soul of the game was placed, in the process of globalising cricket, in the hands of the devil by greedy administrators and players is what the current post-Cronje enquiry should help expose. But Mr Bindra is not the only one who has found in the cricket scam investigations the opening to settle a few personal scores. The issue has given politicians an excuse to exercise their lungs in Parliament, just because Cronje has been exposed. They should have demanded a CBI enquiry when the allegations of match-fixing against Indian players first appeared three years ago.
Of course, Mr Dalmiya,
as President of the International Cricket Council, may be
found at least morally guilty of not doing enough to save
the game from the influence of fixers and bookies. But
that should happen without the unpleasantness sought to
be created by Mr Bindra. The Press conference which BCCI
President A. C. Mutthiah addressed, under the watchful
glare of Mr Dalmiya, in Calcutta, unfortunately did not
throw much light on the issues which Cronje's confession
and the Delhi Police investigations have thrown up. It
was a clumsy exercise in obfuscation. Cricket
administrators across the globe must realise that the
faith of the fans in the integrity of international
players has been shattered by the Cronje episode. It has
resulted in a racial attack by white fans on a South
African cricket administrator of Indian origin. Why?
White South Africans are seeking scapegoats among
coloured people because in the post-apartheid era cricket
and rugby are the only games which give them a sense of
belonging. All the other sport are dominated by black
Africans. The "Indian-origin" administrator was
roughed up for the success of Indian bookies in roping in
Cronje into their dirty world of match-fixing. However,
fresh evidence related to cricket's biggest scam shows
Cronje as someone who was always just a hugging distance
away from acts of wrong-doing. In 1996 during the
Mohinder Amarnath benefit match in India Cronje called a
team meeting thrice for discussing the offer of throwing
the game for Rs 2.5 crore. His team-mates are now
convinced that as captain he should have rejected the
offer instead of discussing it at team meetings. Chris
Lewis has given cricket administrators in England an
issue to ponder over by giving them the names of three
players who allegedly took money for fixing matches. But
the Australian Cricket Board is not willing to accept
responsibility of not being more strict with Shane Warne
and Mark Waugh for accepting money for giving
weather information to an Indian bookie
during a match in Sri Lanka. It is not even willing to
express regret for trying to keep the players' misdeeds a
secret. In India and Pakistan too the administrators have
done little except express cosmetic concern over reports
of rampant corruption in the once clean corridors of
international cricket. Whether Indian cricket will be
saved or allowed to self-destruct would depend on the
outcome of the meeting the Union Sports Minister has
convened later this month for discussing with the
officials, the captain and the coach of the team, the
fallout of the match-fixing issue. Kapil Dev should
repeat at the meeting the suggestion he has made about a
holiday from playing for the Indian cricket team until
the post-Cronje mess is cleared up by diffident officials
of the BCCI. The process of cleaning up the act should
begin by the ICC withdrawing permission to Sharjah,
Toronto, Singapore and other "non-cricketing"
venues to host international matches.
THE last word has been said and it is that the Standard and Chartered (Stanchart) Bank has created bogus records and flouted RBI rules and regulations. The Supreme Court says its greed for profit provided the motive force and the securities scam of 1992 the setting. Confirming the findings of the special court, a two-Judge Bench freely admits that the observations of the Mumbai-based court are harsh, but the banks conduct justifies them. Since the apex court is the final arbiter, the bank stands condemned of serious irregularities and the RBI and other authorities like the stock exchange regulators have to initiate action. Until now everyone was happy twiddling his thumb claiming the case was before a court and that precluded any parallel enquiry. That pretext has been knocked out. But in these days of globalisation and the resultant exalted status of foreign financial institutions, it is not all that easy to dub a foreign bank a crook even if it richly deserves the derogatory appellation. There is the precedent of the Finance Ministry calling off a perfectly legal investigation by the income tax department into five foreign companies which have made money on share market but dodged paying tax. The frivolous five and their tribe revolted and used the stock market to rewrite tax laws and redo the taxmens mindset. Is it the turn of foreign banks to jointly armtwist the government to wink at Stancharts shenanigans in return for a good conduct pledge?
The possibility of leniency appears somewhat remote. For one thing the domestic banking system is strong and a few banks have attracted adverse notice in the recent past. So they will support the RBI in any punitive measure it may initiate. Conversely foreign banks have a weak presence and will take years to integrate themselves in the core economy. Then there is the RBI and its tradition of autonomy. Above all, there is the power of the public interest litigation, offering a chance to anyone keen on cleaning up the system. The special courts views, formed on the testimony of several officers of the bank, are very damaging. One of the witnesses admitted that an impending visit by an RBI inspection team set off panic. Entries were made to show that the bank had purchased Cantriple units and bonds floated by the Indian Railway Finance Corporation. These were crooked entries, meant to mislead the RBI team that hundreds of crores of missing money had in fact been invested in these papers. And Stanchart had the right man as its broker the redoubtable Hiten P Dalal. Like Big Bull Harshad Mehta, he handled money in hundreds of crores and in this case Rs 105 crore which has grown to Rs 280 crore today. He owes money to another bank and his bounced cheques have earned him a jail term for a year.
Another charge against
Stanchart is that it claimed a total loss of Rs 1253
crore, caused entirely by Mr Dalal. But the special court
found that the figure was a sharply lower Rs 280.80
crore. Out of this it has shares and other papers
properly pledged to it by Mr Dalal worth Rs 205 crore,
which it can cash to set off the loss. The apex court has
upheld this finding too. This represents a very serious
accounting malpractice and calls for stringent action. It
is true that several banks played footsie with public
money during the securities scam but Stanchart had the
dubious distinction of being the biggest foreign player.
And its scale of loss tells it all.
WE LIVE BY
HANSIE CRONJE can do no wrong. It may be asked: Why? Because he is a cricketer. Cricketers are gentlemen. And gentlemen can do no wrong. So goes the syllogism. Is it a myth?
It is a matter of time before some gentlemen players from India too get exposed. Hansie Cronje was at least honest enough to quickly own his mistake. But by habit we tend to be self-centred and specialise in operations cover-up.
Soon after Independence, it was presumed that a Congressman could do no wrong. Why? Because he was a disciple of Gandhiji and other stalwarts of the freedom movement. This is how the Congress built its image. Gandhiji actually wanted to dissolve the Congress because it had become corrupt and power hungry. S. Nijalingappa writes: Gandhiji asked us to come at 5 p.m. (30th January, 1948) the next day and asked Panditji, Sardar and others to meet him at 5.30 p.m. to discuss the issue on the future of the Congress party. When we reached the gates of Birla House, Gandhiji had by then been shot dead. It was a pity that Gandhiji did not live for a longer period to set right the things. Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel surely wanted to set things right. But soon they were faced with different problems that go with power games.
A state cannot be founded on lies and myths. Nor can the laws of the country be based on such fibs. And yet myth-making is a regular phenomenon in any society. Advertisers thrive on it by creating larger than life images. We live by these images and weave a world of illusions.
Myth is, of course, an important component of human thought. Perhaps without myths, life can be humdrum. Without the hope of an utopia, life may not be worth living. Take the communist utopia. It was a myth that swayed the world for two centuries. So were the promises of Indian socialists. They offered commanding heights of the economy. It was a projection that guided people for decades.
For that matter, humanity itself has often been taken in by the myth of progress. Religions promise both salvation and paradise. Politicians trade on the promise of the golden age the Ram Rajya.
This persistent blindness to myth robs man of his power to understand and analyse the present. Or, even to interpret the past. We knew what havoc has been caused by the myth of human perfectibility under socialism. It was suggested that a new man was being born. But he turned out to be more monstrous than the worst tyrants of history. That was also true of the Nazis and fascists. They too promised a golden age.
And it was being said that free enterprise and free trade would bring the age of plenty. But the freer they became, life became worse.
The frontier myth is still powerful in the USA, although there is no frontier left. But the myth survives and attracts the best brains from all over the world.
Defeat and humiliation real or imagined are the myths of minorities, as also of nations. Thus, the Chinese remember their history in terms of the injustices done to them. And Mayawati remembers only Manuvad. Freud says memory is inherently revisionist, an exercise in selective amnesia. We remember more often what has been unpleasant.
Empire builders live by the myth of their bravery or the benign raj they gave the natives, and the natives live by the memory of the cruel times, of the times they wasted.
It is a myth that a man is good by nature. Most constitutions are founded on this assumption. Laws are founded on it. For example, a man is innocent till proved guilty. The fact is: man can be equally bad by nature. It was a Marxist myth to suggest that man is essentially good by nature and that he is made bad by his environment. But Marx did not know of genes and how they were programmed. What man is, it is suggested, is more often determined by the gene he bears.
Another myth: men enter politics to serve humanity. But dont they end up serving only themselves? Politics attracts them because it is the easiest route to power and wealth. And going by todays unwritten law, there is no danger of being caught.
To say one thing and to do the opposite has become the way of life for most leaders. The Constitution is supposed to abolish the caste system. But the entire political system is based on caste. Who benefits? Only political leaders and their parties. The country suffers on account of such crude political calculations. But who cares? In this country, the political interests of parties are more paramount than the interests of the country. Which explains why so many reports are being suppressed.
It was fashionable to think and say that the state can do things better. So nationalisation became fashionable. But in due course most politicians, bureaucrats and workers became parasites on the public sector. Only when we faced bankruptcy and the choice became all too clear did we go for private enterprise. When we went for planning, we created a vast bureaucracy. Today there is not much of planning, but the bureaucracy stays.
When the state controlled the economy, the banks were naturally under the government. Today it is the market forces which control the economy. But the banks continue to be under the governments control.
Our media talks of the need to downsize the government. The Prime Minister talks of the tyranny of the bureaucracy. Yet, he adds more ministries and departments to the government.
The Prime Minister also talks of zero tolerance to terrorism. Yet the country fell too easily to the threats of terrorists. There is often much talk of swadeshi, as if it is a matter of life and death, and yet the country seems all set for a videshi embrace!
Permissiveness brings in votes and votes bring in power. How else can it be that every second day is a holiday for government servants? The Fifth Pay Commission asked the government to reduce the number of holidays. But no political party is willing to take up this challenge.
The Constitution is full of loopholes. Yet, the Congress has made an issue of the constitutional review. The Constitution has no solution to a hung Parliament. It has not anticipated coalition governments. There is no provision for the recall of an MP or MLA. There is no law to prevent the entry of criminals into legislatures. No provision exists against the misuse of Parliaments time and so on. Yet, the Opposition cries foul to the constitutional review because of the fear that a ban may be imposed on foreigners occupying the highest posts in the country!
True, India is a country of the greatest diversity. It was run as a centralised state. So, in 52 years federalism failed to take roots. As a result, regional parties are cropping up like mushrooms and making a mockery of central power.
Cronje may have created a case celebre. But it will die down soon and we will be back to our usual ways. Perhaps, we cannot have the luxury or even the hope of a revolution today. That myth has been, fortunately, buried deep.
As things stand, there is a wide gap between the promise and the practices. There is too much of government in India and little of efficiency; too many laws and little of justice; too many government servants and little of public service; too many controls and little of initiative; too many promises and little of practices. India today presents the picture of a country in decay, full of corruption. We pride ourselves on our democracy, but it is mobocracy which seems to prevail in most of the states.
Nani Palkhivala once said: You need years of training to attend to a boiler or to mend a machine... but to steer the lives and destinies of millions of your fellowmen, you are not required to have any education. So we have Rabri Devi as Chief Minister of the third largest state in India!
In short, the very sins
that Gandhiji once warned us against are high on the
agenda of the powers that be. Thus, we have politics
without principles, wealth without work, knowledge
without character, science without humanity, pleasure
without conscience, worship without sacrifice and
commerce without ethics.
rural infrastructure development
WITH the extension of eligibility criteria of the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) scheme of NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) to the Panchayati Raj institutions, the development of rural infrastructure will get accelerated. Earlier only the state government institutions or corporations were eligible for obtaining funds.
The step is aimed at promoting sustainable and equitable agriculture, as it would make possible the provision of effective credit support and related services for institution building and other innovative initiatives.
The RIDF was set up during 1995-96 with an initial amount of Rs 2,000 crore, but it has by now grown to Rs 13,500 crore. Money for the RIDF is received from commercial banks, and it is meant for the agriculture sector development. The commercial banks (except for the foreign banks operating in India) are required to channelise at least 18 per cent of the total lending to agriculture,and this commitment is made possible through the RIDF scheme, which is operated by NABARD.
Falling in the ambit of the scheme are the projects covering irrigation structures for agriculture, rural roads, bridges, water supply, sanitation, rural energy, education, health, communication, etc. It is believed that providing a strong, well-functioning rural infrastructure would lead to improvement in the quality of rural life and also reduce the vulnerability of the rural poor. It is hoped that infrastructure so created would generate additional employment and income as it would facilitate and improve the delivery of rural services and enhance democratic processes due to the promotion of skills among the rural poor.
NABARD was established in 1982 by an act of Parliament. It holds the status of an apex institution connected with policy planning and operation in the field of credit for agricultural and other economic activities in rural India. It prepares annual plans for rural credit for all the districts of the country, which form the basis for providing annual credit. NABARD also undertakes effective monitoring and evaluation of the projects refinanced by it.
On the contribution made available by the commercial banks to the fund received, NABARD pays interest at 11.5 per cent per annum (12 per cent in the case of RIDF-I) to the commercial banks and loans out the funds at an interest of 12 per cent per annum (13 per cent in the case of RIDF-I).
Under RIDF-I only incomplete or ongoing major, medium and minor irrigation projects were taken up. In the projects taken up priority was accorded to flood protection, watershed management and soil conservation work.
In RIDF-II, projects covering rural roads and bridges were taken which connected rural areas with urban marketing centres. Thereafter development of integrated market yards was also considered for funding. Funds were made available for the renovation of the existing irrigation works with a view to making them more effective.
Under RIDF-V, construction of primary school buildings, rural drinking water projects, drainage system, primary health centres, etc, were considered eligible for funding provided these were taken up by the Panchayati Raj institutions or self-help groups (SHGs) or NGOs.
The projects received by NABARD are appraised for their technical feasibility, financial viability and the likely benefits to accrue from them. The task of sanctioning is performed by the Project Sanctioning Committee, which is a sub-committee of the board of directors of NABARD. Loans are sanctioned up to 90 per cent of the project cost and depending upon the requirement of the state government, and 10 per cent advancecalled mobilisation advance is made available by NABARD for the sanctioned projects.
Of the projects received for approval, those with shorter gestation periods are given priority. The state governments are required to complete the projects within three years or so.
Up to December 31, 1999, NABARD had approved 68,625 projects costing over Rs 12,586 crore.
Procedural formalities within the state government concerned with the withdrawal of funds after sanction having been communicated, have been found to be the main cause leading to shortfall in utilisation. Some of the other factors are the delay in land acquisition and changes made in the design after it has been sanctioned. In many cases, the delay is due to the inadequate budgetary provisions made by the state governments.
Punjab has secured assistance from NABARD of over Rs 970 crore and a loan under RIDF amounts to Rs 65 crore. NABARD has invited from the state government proposals falling in the ambit of the Panchayati Raj institutions, after amendments in the Panchayati Raj Institutions Act and Rules.
Several of the Punjab schemes falling under the ambit of flood control and waterlogging cure sanctioned earlier are not in good health and need proper diagnostic analysis to put them back on the rails. These schemes, though adequately monitored by the in-house experts of NABARD, need to be looked into by independent experts (on the pattern of World Bank schemes).
In the case of shallow tubewells, for the lowering of the watertable for curing waterlogging, against 500 tubewells provided in the project report, only 320 tubewells have been installed and out of these only 140 have been energised so far. The vigilance agency too has detected the use of pipes of different grade from that provided in the project report. In the case of the Ghaggar Flood Control Works the target date for becoming operative is before the rainy season (June, 2000) but the work as yet has not made much headway.
I TRUST, illness and age after a long ordeal of consciousness, tend to produce a strange paradox: a longing for tenderness and closeness, and a search for solitude and silence. Its as though one wished to see April and December wedded in a dream of peace that passeth understanding. How else may one explain the buffoonery of emotions, the dance of days where the clock on the wall seems to be frozen and the time racing away? Such musings are now the diet of my dreams, and project perhaps the date with destiny.
What propelled me into this piece of writing is a visit by a friend once close to my pulse and thought, after a whole expanse of years, a visit that left one in a state of mind where one feels a touch of warmth even as the winter winds begin to blow more fiercely around ones head! To render that perplexity here has almost driven me into a most painful reality the reality of nostalgia in suffering.
In the years of our college days at Lahore in the early forties, two things had brought us closer even though our colleges and our disciplines were different: a passion for social justice which Marxian studies had brought to the boil in that historic moment, and an appetite for animated dialogues on anything that took our fancy from the lions and lambs and worms of Indian politics to the poetry of milk and meat and maidens! Such, such are then the memories today and such, such the pangs of the reality that burst upon me when he was lifted out of his car by two serving helpers and hoisted into a chair next to the one into which I had been eased by my wife and our house-keeper. A stricken man, a reduced local Lear, the white mane did make a flash, a grim reminder of his days of sway. The stark irony of our common disability could not but create a storm of bewildered thoughts in me, particularly after the brief visit was over.
He had come, he told me, truthful as ever, for a personal little favour. He had a forbiddingly heavy typescript to be subjected to a close scrutiny before its publication, a travelogue which, between bouts of illness, occupied him for some 14 years, and now somewhat still unfinished, but ready, nonetheless, for the light of day. The coming night of cease when time must have a stop, to recall a Shakespearian line, undoubtedly had at last prodded him into an agonised awareness of his situation. He had, as he put it, to see things through, pain abounding. And this is precisely that point which lies like a heavy lead on my heart the question of publishing my own long but stalled autobiography (some parts having appeared in The Tribune and in a couple of other papers), not to speak of half a dozen volumes on a variety of subjects out of scores and scores of published articles and essays and critical studies .... My own agonising despair in the face of continuing helplessness for years then created yet another link... I had to do something for that old pal, a brief Foreword, as he finally managed to put it.
Yes, this was a strange, cruel fate that had brought us together on a common wavelength, and we had become in that moment brothers in thought and mind, in fortune and fate! For me personally, the visit had almost pushed me to the outposts of my being. But it had curiously enough, taken me out of my own prison for a vaster view of the aged and the afflicted around. There was, to be sure, no catharsis, for one pain does not diminish the intensity of another pain. It helps, though, at least to carry the cross with a little more dignity.
P.S: Alas that brave and
committed mate has gone since then, bringing the story of
his humanist concerns full circle. A Marxian
visionary till the end, he kept himself in a state of
readiness. And the book now remains to affirm
the integrity of his being and becoming.
opposes China-Taiwan union?
HOW is one to explain American opposition to the reunion of China and Taiwan when it is keen to reunite the Koreas?
There is, of course, the prosaic explanation that the Taiwanese are opposed to any reunion. The Koreans are not. The entire native population of Taiwan, backed by Japan, is against it. As for the Chinese (immigrants), a recent poll revealed that only 17 per cent of them were in favour of merger with China. The rest were ready to merge only if China became a democracy.
But that is unlikely. The Chinese President Jiang Zemin once said: The more we pursue (economic) reform and the open-door policy, the more we must uphold the dictatorship of the proletariat. There must be no weakening of it at all.
Naturally, Taiwan remains unimpressed by the Chinese motto of One China, two systems. In fact, Taiwan insists that China should adopt democracy and the free market as a precondition for merger with the mainland. It has no faith in the words of the Communists.
It must, however, be pointed out that Taiwan is the single largest investor in mainland China. The private stakes are, indeed, high. Any Chinese action will affect the flow of funds adversely.
So, will China risk a war with Taiwan? Certainly not. China is playing an elaborate game, first of all to divide the Taiwanese. So, all this sabre-rattling by China is nothing but theatrics in the hope that the island people will be frightened into submission.
China says it will intervene with force if Taiwan goes for independence. Any such intervention will provoke a reaction from the USA, which cannot and will not remain neutral in such a conflict. Remember, it was ready to use nuclear bombs in 1958 when China threatened Taiwan.
Why? Because America cannot welcome the emergence of China as a rival world power. (For that matter, neither can we). Already, with the merger of Hong Kong and Macau, China has added considerable strength to its sinews. But Taiwan is a different matter: it is far bigger. A merger of Taiwan with the mainland will make China equal to the USA in a matter of a decade or so, and it will make Chinas hegemony of Asia complete. This explains why the USA is determined to maintain the status quo.
Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are milch cows. They have fed China all these 50 years. And their loyalty to China cannot be suspect. All that they want is to be left alone to prosper. And all that China wants from Taiwan is a mere commitment to the One China doctrine.
So, what is all this crisis about? Because China has a genuine fear that America is arming Taiwan with powerful weapons and forcing the pace of the independence movement in Taiwan. China feels that America wants to create a fait accompli. It happens that this suits the affluent Taiwanese.
Although this is a game of make-believe at present, both are preparing themselves for a final showdown, if need be. China is going ahead with its programmes to develop ICBMs and a blue-water navy. And America is promoting a cordon sanitaire around China, with Japan as the northern anchor and Australia as the southern. And the strategic partnership between the USA and India is also part of Americas containment policy. You have to anticipate that (Chinas) ability will grow in the coming years, warns William Perry, former US Defence Secretary. It is to prevent this that America has threatened to go for an anti-missile defence system, both at home and in East Asia. This will make Chinas missiles ineffective even against Taiwan. China has threatened to review all its past commitments to arms control if the USA goes ahead with this programme.
This has implications for India, for it was US arms supplies to Taiwan which provoked China to start supplies of arms indiscriminately, first of all to Pakistan. China may go for another bout of proliferation to compel America to change its Taiwan policy. In the process, India may be caught in the middle.
President Clinton tried to buy peace with China by accepting it as an Asian giant and giving it a supervisory role over South Asia. Because of its history with both countries (India and Pakistan), says Clinton, China must be a part of any ultimate resolution of this matter (Kashmir).
Does he hold on to this belief today? India exploded the bomb after this statement to send across the message to Washington that India is under no ones sphere of influence. One hopes that Washington will be more circumspect in the future about its Taiwan policies.
China has no desire to have a confrontation with the USA at present, nor is it prepared to give up the present trade and technology advantages. China exports goods worth over $ 150 billion to OECD countries. (This is five times more than what India exports). Washington can choke the jugular, if it wants to.
The present discord is thus deceptive. China knows that the world is going to be bipolar sooner or later with the USA and China in the lead - far ahead of others - though not necessarily in an adversarial role. China can wait. America knows this, which is why it has not responded to Beijings sabre-rattling. In the meantime, it is Chinas hope, that its threats will force the Taiwanese, who have a stake in China, to force their government to give the commitment China seeks.
Of course, one has doubts about China coming up as a world leader. With what happened to the USSR still live in memory, we cannot be too hopeful of Chinas chances. In any case, there is the question to answer: will humanity accept Chinese leadership of the world? The answer is a big no. China is still inscrutable. it is deeply suspect in the eyes of most peoples. No one knows its mind. A Chinese General has said : We must nurse our sense of vengeance, conceal our abilities and bide our time. That is the typical Chinese way of thinking: they conceal their intentions.
China is an untried entity. Its role in the past 50 years has been negative. It has made little contribution to the UN process. And, above all, it was principally responsible for dividing the Communist movement and bringing down Russia to its present plight - all for advancing its own interests. Such a country will hardly find any supporters in the world community. No, China cannot be welcomed as No 1, whatever its economic achievements. Its neighbours, every one of them, are afraid of it. And they want the USA to stay on in Asia to counter the Chinese threat and maintain Asias stability. Even India has come round to accept this inevitability.
As against this, the USA is a democracy. Its good and bad points are known and transparent. It is ruled by law. Its human rights record is not worse than that of many other nations. And it has no recent record of brutality, either in war or in peace. (The leadership of Germany and Japan is ruled out because of their record of brutality) Thus, if the world is to choose between America and China, the choice must be obvious: the world will choose America.
The USA has, of course, no desire to wage a war against China. That much is clear by now. It wants an understanding with China . A Pentagon study said by 2030 China might challenge US hegemony in the world. Russia, too, might emerge as a rival.
The US State Departments response was interesting: the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright states that the USA would offer strategic partnership to China. This is reflected in the East Asia strategy report, in which the USA envisaged Chinese involvement in Asian security. US defence officials have said that China is central to Washingtons long-term view of Asian security. The USA takes the view that only constructive engagement of China can bring about the democratisation of China.
AS was to be expected, the Hindu Mahasabha at its recent session in Calcutta passed a resolution strongly and unequivocally condemning communal representation.
The resolution it recorded on the subject pointed out that in the past communal representation had proved dangerous to the nation, and expressed the firm belief of the Mahasabha that for the establishment of peace and tranquillity as well as for Swaraj common nationality was of vital importance.
This expression of
opinion on the part of so responsible and so
authoritative an organ of Hindu opinion as the Mahasabha
is a conclusive proof of the utter falsity of the
assertion that the Hindus as a community are now as much
in favour of communal representation as the Muslims.
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