Sunday, November 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India

E D I T O R I A L   P A G E


India as important for peace in Asia as China
Wavell’s foresight: Nehru’s vision

by Shyam Ratna Gupta
N recent years, especially since March this year during the visit of US President Bill Clinton to India followed by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's return visit to the USA in September, India's eligibility for a Permanent Seat in the UN Security Council — the highest decision-making body in UNO — has been headlined in the news reports and comments of the world press.

A Punjabi wave in Canadian elections
The big three
by Prabhjot Singh
N November 27, when Canadians vote for the 37th time, the results are expected to generate tremendous interest in India in general, and Punjab in particular. For a record number of Indian Canadians, to be precise Punjabi Canadians, are in the fray for berths in the House of Commons.


Making CVC toothless
November 25, 2000
The opportunity in Kashmir
November 24, 2000
Court order vs disorder
November 23, 2000
Delhi’s pollution politics
November 22, 2000
Rathore must go
November 21, 2000
Forced confessions
November 20, 2000
Managing India and China
November 19, 2000
This is no reform
November 18, 2000
Sonia’s victory
November 17, 2000
Sell-off plan in mid-air
November 16, 2000
A presidential visit indeed
November 15, 2000



Man who wants ‘‘Independent Kashmir’’
by Harihar Swarup

ILITANTS, who are fighting for the so-called liberation from India, wanted the Kashmiris to get into the Pakistani cage,” and “by making liberation conditional on accession to Pakistan, Kashmiris are going for a hug with the bear”. Guess, who made this statement? The man was the focus of attention at the wedding of his daughter at Rawalpindi and the bridegroom was the son of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference leader, Abdul Ghani Lone.


Bansal not happy with new status
ORPORATION, the lone member from the Union Territory was not very happy about it. “I am not able to really appreciate this amendment”, Bansal said after the Bill to amend the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act was introduced in the House. Though Bansal was the sole beneficiary of the new Act, he said members of Parliament had a different plank to function.


Chief guest missing at Lebanese reception
by Humra Quraishi
IRST things first November 22 and I am just back from the Lebanese national day reception, hosted by the country’s Ambassador to India, Jean G. Daniel. I think it’s for the first time in the history of national day celebrations that the chief guest didn’t turn up at all.


India as important for peace in Asia as China
Wavell’s foresight: Nehru’s vision
by Shyam Ratna Gupta

IN recent years, especially since March this year during the visit of US President Bill Clinton to India followed by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's return visit to the USA in September, India's eligibility for a Permanent Seat in the UN Security Council — the highest decision-making body in UNO — has been headlined in the news reports and comments of the world press.

With the New Presidential Administration of the USA to assume power by the end of the year, India's legitimacy for a Permanent Seat in UN Security Council cannot be postponed any longer if peace has to be promoted and assured in South Asia and, indeed in Asia — the home of all great religions and the cradle of civilisation and multi-racial culture.

On several occasions recently, India, with its gospel of peace and goodwill all over the world, has been approached by contending nations in the world. It is now important that its counsel should be available continuously to the world body.

As far back as October 1945, India — still a jewel in the British Crown — was one of the 51 signatories to the UN Charter at San Francisco, USA. More than a year earlier, Field Marshal Wavell, Viceroy of India — an astute strategist for Security and Peace in Asia — stated in a letter that India should be given an equivalent status with China in "Our future World Organisation".

This historic letter — the original document is a valuable part of Indian collection in British Archives, London — has been published in the 12-volume series on Constitutional Relations Between India and Britain, 1942-47, subtitled Transfer of Power, is reproduced in facsimile below with notations and attributions for authenticity:

Lord Wavell's letter of 31 July 1944: 611

Field Marshal Viscount Wavell to Mr Amery

L/E/9/1525: f 736

Immediate New Delhi, 31 July 1944, 9.30 pm.

Secret Received: 31 July, 10.30 pm.

1481-S. Your telegram No. 165621 of 27th July and Turnbull's letter to Jenkins of 20th July. Future World Organisation and discussions in Washington. Turnbull mentions India's status and this should be taken up now. Apart from considerations of prestige, practical need for contribution by India of forces for the maintenance of security necessitates her inclusion on the same basis as the Dominions, especially if system of regional security is adopted. India is focal pint for security in Southern Asia and Indian Ocean region. India is at least as important to the peace of Asia as China and may emerge from the war a stronger power. With China included as one of the four great powers India could not be refused the same status as the Dominions.

2. Suggest you give Bajpai some background on these points and assure him that the question of India's status is being examined. Please repeat any telegram to me. (Transfer of Power Series, Volume V, Document 611, Pp. 1133-1134).

(Editor-in-Chief of The Transfer Series, Professor Nicholas Mansergh, Master of St John's Cambridge University, Editor, Sri Penderel Moon, Fellow of All Souls, Oxford University, H.M. Stationery Office, London, UK.)

With the renewal of its traditional composite culture in the current setting, Lord Wavell's realistic foresight acquires significance.

In the 1950s, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, had made valiant effort to bring India and China closer to each other. The slogan "Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai" raised during his visit to China, projected his vision of equality and parity between China and China, Lord Wavell, a bluff but honest soldier, also emphasised this fact in the above letter to S.S. Amery, Secretary of State for India in the British Government at the end of July 1944.

Today, India's pre-eminence as a peace-maker in Asia cannot be questioned. Not without good reasons, Britain, the USA and Russia — as well as many other countries — have supported India's right now to a Permanent Seat in the UN Security Council to strengthen peace initiatives in the world.

The writer is a former Chief Editor, India & Foreign Review, New Delhi, and a retired senior diplomat, reviewed all The Transfer of Power volumes in 1972-90.


A Punjabi wave in Canadian elections
by Prabhjot Singh

ON November 27, when Canadians vote for the 37th time, the results are expected to generate tremendous interest in India in general, and Punjab in particular. For a record number of Indian Canadians, to be precise Punjabi Canadians, are in the fray for berths in the House of Commons. Two of the Punjabi Canadians — Mr Herb Dhaliwal, a Federal Minister in the present Liberal Government in Ottawa, and Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi, also a Liberal, are seeking their third consecutive term in the House of Commons.

Besides Mr Gurmant Grewal, Mr Rahim Jaffer and Mr Deepak Obhrai, representing the main Opposition, Canadian Alliance, are seeking their second term.

The arrest of two community members —Mr Ripudaman Singh Malik and Mr Ajaib Singh Bagri in the Kanishka blast case —notwithstanding , Indian Canadians have been fielded by almost all major political parties with the sole exception of Bloc Quebecois, a party that favours an independent Quebec . More than 40 Indian Canadians are contesting as Liberal, NDP, PC, Canadian Alliance, Green Party and Independent candidates in the first election of the new millennium which as per initial poll surveys and snap polls favour Liberals to have their third consecutive government in Ottawa.

After election of Mr Ujjal Dosanjh as premier of British Columbia province of Canada, Indian-Canadian community has started commanding respect in political echelons of this North American country rated by UN agencies as the best country to live in.

In fact success of Mr Ujjal Dosanjh as political head of a province was the culmination of a long struggle by Indian immigrants for political assimilation in to the new country of their domicile. They had entered the political arena as far back as early 80s when some youngsters like Mr Moe Sihota made it to the British Columbia State Assembly. Mr Ujjal Dosanjh was not far behind and rose to be Attorney-General of British Columbia before his elevation as Premier. Mr Harry Lalli has been the other Punjabi Canadian to be a Minister in British Columbia.

But the entry of Indian Canadians to the House of Commons was delayed until 1993.Mr Herb Dhaliwal, Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi and Mr Jag Bhaduria all were elected as Liberal candidates in 1993. Though Mr Jag Bhaduria had to resign from the Liberal caucus following allegations of "racial discrimination and some discrepancies in his academic record, including his Law degree from a British institution" he continued to be a Member of Parliament for the remaining part of his term as an Independent. His attempt to get into the House of Commons in 1997 as Independent was unsuccessful.

In 1997 while both Mr Herb Dhaliwal and Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi were able to retain their seats , no one else from Indian community could succeed on Liberals ticket. All the three others who were declared successful fought on the then Reforms Party ticket. They were Mr Gurmant Grewal, Mr Rahim Jaffer and Mr. Deepak Ubhrai.

The Indian Canadian community can be broadly classified into three heads -- the first generation Indian Canadians; the Indian Canadians who immigrated to Canada from countries like Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, England and West Indies and the second or third generation of Indian Canadians. While Mr Herb Dhaliwal, Mr Gurbax Malhi , Mr Gurmant Grewal belong to the first category, both Mr Deepak Obhrai and Mr Rahim Jaffer belong to the second category. Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, too, belongs to the first category. So far none from the third category has achieved any major political success.

Interestingly, the Indian Canadian community has not identified itself with a single political party. If one looks at a list of Indian Canadian candidates, almost all major political parties have given them their due. It may be a strange coincidence that maximum number of nominees are from Canadian Alliance which is making a desperate endeavour for a foothold in Ontario, a province with perhaps the second largest Indian Canadian population after British Columbia.

In British Columbia, Canadian Alliance is expected to do well. In Ontario, which has been a Liberal stronghold, Canadian Alliance may make a dent this time. In the last elections, Liberals made a clean sweep in Ontario but for one Riding-- Markham--- where its candidate Mr Gurbinder Singh Randhawa, President of the Scarborough Sikh Temple, was defeated. He was the only Liberal candidate to be defeated in the entire province. Also in fray from this Riding was Mr Jag Bhaduria, the previous MP. Mr Randhawa could not make it this time and lost the race for the party nomination.

If the results of the recently concluded Municipal elections in Ontario are any guide, the Indian Canadian candidates may find it tough to improve their showing in the Monday elections. With the sole exception of Ms Avtar Kaur Aujla,a real estate agent, none of 30-odd candidates succeeded anywhere in Greater Toronto Area Munici-pal elections Some of Indian Canadians were in race for mayoral positions as well.

Conducted simultaneously with Municipal elections were the elections to School Boards where again success of Indian Canadians was limited. Mr Sam Basra, a paralegal, was perhaps the only one to be elected.

Critics maintain that Municipal elections are no indication of strength of Indian Canadians in parliamentary elections fray, where votes are for party and their programmes.

In 1988, a number of Indian Canadians made an unsuccessful attempt to get into the House of Commons. They mainly contested from British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta provinces.

Interestingly ,One of these candidates, Mr Gurjeet Grewal, who lost in1988 in Bramlea-Malton riding from where subsequently Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi has been winning, contested the recent municipal elections and lost. In the 1988 election, Mr Grewal had polled 13,612 votes (34.42 per cent of total votes) and was a close second. Also in fray at that time was another Indian Canadian, Iqbal Sumbal, who just polled 112 votes. Mr Harry Chadwick of Progressive Conservative (PC) had won the election, polling 16,427 votes. Mr Sumbal had polled only 82 votes against Mr Gurbax Malhi in the 1993 elections.

This time this is one Riding -- constituency --- where the interest of the Indian Canadian community in general and Canadians in particular — has been focussed as five of the seven contestants here are Indian Canadians. Opposing Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi are Mr Gurdish Mangat of Canadian Alliance, Mr Vishnu Roche of NDP, Mr Danny Varaich of Progressive Conservative and Ms Gurinder Malhi, an Independent. There is a lot of speculation about who fielded Ms Malhi, a factory worker, who at one stage expressed her ignorance about her own candidature.

This riding has one of the largest population of East Indian immigrants. In 1993, Mr Malhi won by a difference of 6,000 votes and in 1997, he retained the seat with a margin of 8,000 votes.

Mr Herb Dhaliwal is locked in a 10-corner contest in defence of his Vancouver South seat. Another Indian Canadian in the fray is Mr Imtiaz Popat representing Green Party. In 1993 when Mr Dhaliwal won the seat for the first time, there was another Indian Canadian in the race. He was Jas Mangat, an Independent. But in 1997, he had no opponent from his own community.

Mr Gurmant Grewal of Canadian Alliance faces five opponents, including Comrade Harjit Daudharia in defence of his Surrey Central seat. In 1997, he was given a very tough fight by Ms Palbinder Shergill, a young amritdhari Sikh lawyer as Mr Grewal romped home with a narrow margin of just 2,000 votes. Also in the fray was Mr Charan Gill of NDP, who was far behind and finished a poor third.

In Brampton West from where Mr Hardial Sangha of Canadian Alliance is a candidate, sitting MP, Ms Colleen Beaumier is the candidate of the ruling Liberal party. In the 1997 elections, Nirmal Dhinsa of NDP was fourth and last with 4.82 per cent votes.

In Mississauga Central with a significant East Indian, Chinese and Italian population, there are two Indian Canadians in the fray -- Mr Harjit Dhaliwal of Canadian Alliance and Ms Nina Tangri of Progressive Conservatives. They face among others, the sitting MP Carolyn Parrish. In 1997, Mr Vishnu Roche of NDP and Mr Amarjit Dhillon of Canadian Marxist Leninist Party had finished fourth and fifth respectively.

In York West, also a part of Greater Toronto Area, Mr Munish Chandra of Canadian Alliance besides facing the sitting MP Judy Sgro, is also pitted against Mr Amarjit Dhillon of Marxist-Leninist Party. Canada's former Immigration Minister, Mr Sargio Marchi, an Italian by origin, had held this seat in 1988, 1993 and 1997 before he decided to quit last year and Judy Sgro was elected in the byelection.

The only Indian Canadian put up by Liberals other than Mr Herb Dhaliwal and Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi is Mr Shinder Purewal from Surrey North in British Columbia where he is locked in a seven-cornered contest, including the sitting MP, Mr Chuck Cadman.

In 1988, Mr Harbhajan Cheema of NA had contested from here but finished a poor ninth and last with 103 votes. In 1993, Indian Canadians improved their position here when they put up Mr Prem Vinning who put up a stellar fight against Margaret Bridgman of Reform Party and lost by 6,500

votes after polling nearly 16,000 votes. In 1997, there was no Indian Canadian in the race from this Riding.

Mr Rahim Jaffer, sitting MP, faces six other candidates in defence of his Edmonton South seat where his main rival will be Mr Jonathan Dai of Liberals.

From Calgary East, Mr Deepak Obhrai faces six rivals, including Mr Neeraj Varma, an Indian Canadian of Natural Law Party. He had won the 1997 elections with a comfortable margin.

In the Quebec province, which is known for its referendums for secession from Canada, the only Indian Canadian in fray is Mr Deepak Massandh of Progressive Conservatives from Lasalle riding. He may perhaps be the first from his community to contest in French dominated Quebec state.

The elections in Canada this time promise some fierce contests.

Looking at the fiasco of the U.S. election -- the deadlock, the excruciating recount and the inevitable legal reviews of the vote -- it is possible to appreciate the complexities of a parliamentary system.

While comparing elections --- of the President in the US and parliamentary in Canada, a columnist of National Post, a major English daily of Canada, wrote :" In American democracy, the leader, however flawed, serves the people. In Canada, in the year 2000, it is incumbent on the people to serve the leader, however grudgingly.

So Canadians had mind-numbing weeks of Jean (Chretien), Stockwell, Gilles, Joe and Alexa, overstating their cases without shame. For the Tories and the NDP it had been, a waste of time, as neither party has a chance of forming a government. In fact, sadly, the Tories and NDP qualify as endangered species, both bound to lose their official party status on the day Canadians trudge through the bitter cold to vote.

The campaign had hardly begun when Chrétien was accused of suffering from his chronic foot-in-the-mouth problem for appearing to suggest that factory workers were second-class citizens.

Bragging about his $2.5-billion Millennium Scholarship Fund during a campaign stop in Ontario, Chrétien reminisced about childhood friends who had been left behind in factories: "I know that if this [scholarship] had existed at that time friends who never went to school but went into factories at 16 would have been great citizens. If they had the occasion to go to university, they would have been fabulous but they could not afford it."

Good grief, does anybody out there believe that men choose to work on factory floors in order to support their families, and wouldn't be happier if they qualified for more agreeable, better-paid jobs that spared them from a hand-to-mouth second-class life?, the newspaper report said.

Indian-Canadians seeking re-election

Name of the candidate     Party                           Province                      Term

Mr Herb Dhaliwal               Liberal                     British Columbia          3rd

Mr Gurbax Malhi                Liberal                     Ontario                     3rd

Mr Gurmant Grewal            Canadian Alliance      British Columbia          2nd

Mr Rahim Jaffer                 Canadian Alliance      Alberta                     2nd

Mr Deepak Obhrai              Canadian Alliance      Alberta                     2nd


Indian-Canadians in fray for Election 2000


Canadian Alliance

Progressive Conservative

Mr Herb Dhaliwal

Mr Deepak Obhrai

Mrs Neena Tangri

Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi

Mr Tim Uppal

Mr Gul Nawaz

Mr Shinder Purewal

Mr Rahim Jaffer

Mr Danny Varaich


Mr Harry Dhaliwal

Mr Raj Venugopal


Mr Gurmant Grewal

Mr Deepak Massandh


Mr Prabhat Kapur



Mr Salim Mansur



Mr Gurdish Mangat



Mr Hardial Sangha



Mr Munish Chandra






Communist Party of  Canada


Mr Joginder Kandola

Mr Harjit Daudharia

Mr Amarjit Dhillon

Mr Vishnu Roche

Mr Mick Panesar


Mr Ali Abbas Naqvi


Helene Narayana





Natural Law Party

Green Party


Mr Neeraj Verma

Mr Imtiaz Popat

Ms Gurinder Malhi


Indian-Canadians in House of Common



Mr Herb Dhaliwal

Mr Herb Dhaliwal

Mr Gurbax Malhi

Mr Gurbax Malhi

Mr Jagdish Bhaduria

Mr Gurmant Grewal


Mr Rahim Jaffer


Mr Deepak Obhrai


The big three

Mr Gurmeet Grewal, Official Opposition Deputy Critic for Foreign Affairs and Chief Critic for CIDA, also the Co-Chair, Scrutiny of Regulations, Joint Standing Committee (House & Senate) and Member, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade , is a product of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, from where did his Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in 1981 and B. Sc. Agriculture (Honours) in 1979. He belongs to Ludhiana district.

It was he who brought the Leader of Opposition, Mr Preston Mannings, and three other MPs of his party to India and Punjab after the Liberal Government in Canada imposed economic sanctions against India following Pokhran nuclear tests.

In fact Gurmant Grewal took the shortest time to get into House of Commons after landing in Canada. His elevation in politics in general and erstwhile Reform Party and now in Canadian Alliance has been astronomical.

Mr Gurbax Malhi, the first turbaned man to enter House of Commons in Canada in 1993, belongs to the first group of Indian-Canadian MPs of Canada. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1993 and re-elected to a second term in 1997. Prior to this election, he was a member of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry. He has also served as Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee for the Library of Parliament, as well as a member of a number of committees: Scrutiny of Regulations Committee; Justice; Legal Affairs and Human Rights; Government Operations; Procedure and House Affairs; the Special Committee on Code of Conduct for MPs and Senators; the sub-Committee on the Business of Supply; the Pearson Airport sub-Committee and the Limousine sub-Committee. Mr. Malhi also served as Chair of the Canada-South Asia Parliamentary Friendship Group.

He is a member of the Toronto Real Estate Board. He has been an active member of the community and has acted as a Director of Malton Neighbourhood Services (formerly the Malton Community Council). He was Founding Director of the Canadian-Sikh Cultural and Sports Centre and has been a volunteer member of the Peel Police Ethnic Race Relations Committee. He has also been a volunteer member of the Parent's Advisory Council of Marvin Heights Public School in Mississauga.

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, English and History. He and his wife, Devinder, have two children.

Mr Herb Dhaliwal: On June 11, 1997, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced the appointment of Mr Herb Dhaliwal as Minister of National Revenue. On August 3, 1999, he was appointed Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. First elected to the House of Commons in 1993, representing the federal Riding of Vancouver South, Herb Dhaliwal has been an effective representative of British Columbia's interests. He was re-elected in 1997, representing the newly-redistributed Riding of Vancouver South-Burnaby.

As a member of Parliament, Mr. Dhaliwal was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans from 1993 to 1996, and participated in the government's defence of straddling fish stocks against European over-fishing and its efforts to ensure the sustainability of fisheries on both coasts. He has served on the Steering Committees of both Finance and Fisheries and Oceans, as well as serving as vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Health and the Task Force on Aquaculture. Mr. Dhaliwal has also been the chair of the British Columbia Liberal Caucus and the Northern and Western Liberal Caucus.

He was an active member of the Prime Minister's Team Canada Trade Mission to India, (January 1997), and also led the Canadian observer presence for presidential elections to the Dominican Republic. Mr. Dhaliwal has taken part in parliamentary delegations to Cuba, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Oraganization in New York City, and the International Parliamentary Union Conference in Beijing, China.

Mr. Dhaliwal has played an active role in a number of non-governmental organizations such as the United Way, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the Orientation Adjustment Services for Immigrants Society, the International Dragon Boat Race Society and the India Cultural Centre of Canada - which he founded. He has also received special recognition from the Khalsa Diwan Society and the South Asian Lawyers Association, and was honoured with a citation from the Canadian Red Cross Society for his work in assisting Kurdish refugees.

Prior to entering federal politics, Mr. Dhaliwal was a businessman, specializing in transportation, maintenance, and real estate development. Mr. Dhaliwal obtained his Bachelor of Commerce from the University of British Columbia. Born in 1952 in the Northern Punjab, India, Mr. Dhaliwal arrived in Canada in 1957. He and his wife, Amrit, have three children: Andrea, Justin and Jessica.


Man who wants ‘‘Independent Kashmir’’
Harihar Swarup

“MILITANTS, who are fighting for the so-called liberation from India, wanted the Kashmiris to get into the Pakistani cage,” and “by making liberation conditional on accession to Pakistan, Kashmiris are going for a hug with the bear”. Guess, who made this statement? The man was the focus of attention at the wedding of his daughter at Rawalpindi and the bridegroom was the son of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference leader, Abdul Ghani Lone. The JKLF chief, Amanullah Khan, and Ghani Lone were the focus of attention at the wedding of their kith from either side of the Line of Control (LoC) and not the newly married couple. The nuptial rostrum turned into a platform for bashing Islamabad on the soil of Pakistan and, evidently, India too was the target of the fury.

Amanullah Khan has not been subdued since his abortive attempt to cross the LoC en masse in 1992 and in 1999 even though his movement for unification and “liberation” of Kashmir has slackened and has been taken over by trigger-happy Pakistan-backed militants. As he has himself has conceded, the liberation movement has “faded”. His charge against the militants since 1998 has been that they want to force “Kashmiris to get into the Pakistani cage”.

Gilgit-born Amanullah lives in Pakistan, is despised by the military rulers and may be is on the hit-list of militants. Having toed his line, Ghani Lone too has earned the ire of the militants and his well-wishers say he should better watch out. The commander-in-chief of a militant outfit, present on the solemn occasion, reportedly remarked: “The mujahideen will meet and decide (the fate of Lone)”.

According to the Asia Defence News International, Pakistan was hoping that an Indian bullet would take care of Amanullah as Pakistan had decided in 1999 not to stop the breach of the LoC by JKLF activists led by him. In its attempt to project the march across the LoC as an “indigenous uprising”, the rulers of Pakistan were nursing “a secret wish” that Amanullah would be “put paid by an Indian bullet” because he preferred an “independent Kashmir” rather than an union with Pakistan. Islamabad’s pronouncement — let the Indian Army take care of JKLF activists — was “a Freudian slip”, reported ADNI. Pakistan developed cold feet at the last moment and the police arrested Amanullah at Hajira, 8 km from the LoC. Reports said that he was beaten up and dragged to a police vehicle.

His outburst in the aftermath of Pakistan’s Kargil adventure was: “I am from Gilgit and I know what you have done to the Gilgit people in Kargil in the guise of the so-called Jehad”. It were Pakistani regulars who were involved in the invasion of Kashmir in 1947 but Pakistan kept on denying it. Again in 1965, Pakistan infiltrated its regular soldiers into Kashmir and claimed to the world they were “Kashmiri mujahideen ”. Pakistan was now telling the same lies about its infiltration in Kargil,’’ the JKLF chief says without mincing words.

Amanullah is convinced that Kashmiris have been changing their attitude towards Pakistan because of the activities of the pro-Pakistan elements. His charge is that successive Pakistani Governments have not allowed the indigenous Kashmir movement to develop since 1947.

The JKLF leader hit the world headlines in 1992 when he made a bid, along with thousands of his cadres, to march across the LoC embarrassing the Nawaz Sharif Government which gave an assurance to the Security Council that Amanullah would not be allowed to cross the international border. The former Prime Minister of Pakistan lived up to his promise, deployed security forces in full strength, caused artificial landslides and blew up a bridge to prevent the JKLF activists from reaching the LoC. Amanullah reacted sharply, denouncing Pakistan “as much an enemy of Kashmiri as India is” and told the BBC: “I don’t think there is any difference between Governor Saxena (Garry Saxena was Governor of Jammu and Kashmir at that time) and Sardar Qayyum Khan (Governor of occupied Kashmir) or between Narasimha Rao and Nawaz Sharif”.

The JKLF march and the stubbornness of Amanullah had placed both the governments of India and Pakistan in a dilemma. For the first time since the Partition of the sub-continent, Indian and Pakistani forces launched a joint operation, forgetting years of confrontation and this “solid outcome” was attributed to the meeting between Narasimha Rao and Nawaz Sharif at Davos in Switzerland.

The JKLF was formed in distant Birmingham on May 29, 1977, and never had much clout in Kashmir. Though Amanullah was born in Gilgit, Kashmiri leaders say he is not a real Kashmiri nor can he speak the language. His dream of a unified and independent Kashmir may never be fulfilled as both India and Pakistan do not favour such a proposition.


Bansal not happy with new status

CORPORATION, the lone member from the Union Territory was not very happy about it. “I am not able to really appreciate this amendment”, Bansal said after the Bill to amend the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act was introduced in the House. Though Bansal was the sole beneficiary of the new Act, he said members of Parliament had a different plank to function. It was not necessary for them to become members of panchayats, Zila parishads and municipal corporations. He said there were several shortcomings in the functioning of the Municipal Corporation and the Government should make amendments to resolve the problems.

Another member from the Treasury Benches, Raja Singh Rawat, however, said there was more to it than meets the eye in Bansal’s statement. He said the reason for Bansal not being able to appreciate the amendment Bill was perhaps the composition of the Municipal Corporation itself. He felt an Opposition group was perhaps ruling the roost in the Corporation and Bansal was not happy about it. The Chandigarh MP just brushed aside the comments and said Rawat was far from the truth.

Swamy at his game again

The maverick politician, Dr Subramanian Swamy, is at his game again. The man responsible for bringing down the Vajpayee Government with the help of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha has once again started his pinpricks against the administration.

His first allegation related to the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Governments paying Rs 30 crore as ransom to secure the release of matinee idol Raj Kumar. He demanded that the leadership in these two States account for the same. Unfortunately for Dr Swamy, nobody took much notice of his statements.

His latest missile is to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on his Kashmir initiative. Vajpayee’s decision to unilaterally declare a ceasefire in Kashmir and his declaration that he would not withdraw that decision was “doubly foolish”, the former Union Minister said.

He felt it would be more prudent to interact with the masters of these secessionists and extremists, namely, with Pakistan directly rather than waste time in such “cheap” gimmicks as a ceasefire without preconditions.

New avataar of Sonia

After her victory in the Congress presidential election, Mrs Sonia Gandhi seems to be changing a few things of the past. One, she is more open to the media, and second, she wants the Congress to be seen as more assertive in its role as the main Opposition party. Though she did not address a formal press conference after her victory, Mrs Gandhi did talk to mediapersons at her residence and took all questions in her stride. The difficult questions, like the ones on coterie, were handled with a dose of humour. And when, on Tuesday, she was prevented from moving an adjournment motion in Parliament by angry Samajwadi Party members, Mrs Gandhi again talked to mediapersons to present her point.

While there was satisfaction at Mrs Gandhi becoming more accessible to the media, there were complaints over the manner in which the interactions were held. At her residence, the barricade was so arranged that scribes could talk to her only in separate groups and in Parliament Mrs Gandhi arrived from an unannounced route, leading to sudden rush of TV cameras and momentary chaos.

Sulking Aiyar

The diplomat-turned-Congress politician, Mani Shanker Aiyar, is sulking these days. The reason: ever since he reportedly made loose talk to the Samajwadi Party General Secretary, Amar Singh, and got manhandled in the process he has been avoiding meeting people, especially media personnel.

His worry, however, is not what the media thinks about him. His concern is about what the newly elected party President, Sonia Gandhi, thinks about him. After all the Samajwadi Party has gone to town saying they refused to allow Sonia Gandhi to speak on the agriculture issue in Parliament as a reaction to Aiyer’s utterings. Reports that he had one too many on the night the incident took place has added to his woes.

Railway Minister of Bengal

The temperamental Trinamool Congress leader and Railway Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee’s sole aim is to displace the Left Government in the State. And, she makes no bones about it. That is the reason that even as a Central Minister she spends most of her time and energy in West Bengal. So much so that a daily there called her the “Railway Minister of West Bengal”.

When this question was put to her by a fellow MP in the Rajya Sabha, Ms Banerjee had no qualms in admitting her special interest for the State. Her statement said: “During the last one year, the Minister of Railways laid foundation stones of 18 railway projects (four doubling of lines, two each of construction of new lines, extension of lines, electrification and construction of bridge, one each of electric car shed, swimming pool, stadium, development of railway station, gauge conversion and sub way); inaugurated 17 services (five computerised passenger reservation, six train services, one each of extension of lines, commissioning of electric traction, diesel locomotive, gauge conversion, on board service of free mineral water, new passenger amenities at station); flagged off six trains; unveiled a photo gallery and a mural and presided over a function for leasing of land. Is that enough?

Taxing the Tax Department

Indians are known for their ingenious mind when it comes to making money. The latest in the ‘‘one-two ka four’’ market is the realisation among financial wizards that the Income Tax Department is a sitting duck for making some quick money. The modus operandi is simple. Just pay all your savings as advance tax to the IT Department and later claim a refund. The existing rate of interest on refunds is 12 per cent, which is more than what any bank or for that matter any fixed deposit scheme offers. The dark side of the scheme however, is the delay by the department in making the refund. They return the money at their own sweet will and at times it takes more than a year.

(Contributed by T.V.Lakshminarayan, Prashant Sood and P.N.Andley).


Chief guest missing at Lebanese reception
by Humra Quraishi

FIRST things first November 22 and I am just back from the Lebanese national day reception, hosted by the country’s Ambassador to India, Jean G. Daniel. I think it’s for the first time in the history of national day celebrations that the chief guest didn’t turn up at all.

Probings revealed that the missing chief guest was the Vice-President of India, Mr Krishna Kant, who couldn’t make it at the last moment and passed on the responsibility to Mr Ajit Panja. But it seems Mr Panja didn’t take the delegation of duty too seriously and he too didn’t turn up! One heard many a guest comment on whether the chief guest (s) would have behaved in this irresponsible way if the country was one of the European ones or the US. Perhaps not. And coming in the wake of the lukewarm policy vis-a-vis the Middle East this seemed a rather unwarranted element of negligence. Anyway, lets wait and see what the Foreign Office says on November 29 — the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

Food for thought

Recently the Canada-based nutrition expert Louise Lambert Lagace, was here for the release of her book - The Nutrition Challenge For Women (Penguin). Quite obviously food has had a role to play in her life too, for this 59-year-old expert-cum-author of ten books looked atleast 10 years younger than her actual years. And why this book especially for women? “Men have a definite advantage over women. They have a simpler physiological life ..No pregnancy, no premenstrual symptoms, no menopause -” She also lays stress on the fact that women have an emotional relationship with food. “Many women today juggle roles inside and outside their homes but have no idea how to prevent chronic fatigue and complete exhaustion......more and more women have jeopardised their health and vitality by following radical fad diets which may be badly interpreted or even wrong for particular individuals. These women who need energy so desperately often weaken their resistance instead...” The book is very comprehensive and thankfully written in a readable style where Louise also webs in her own relationship with food. And like with every relationship, she’s worked on this one as well. Louise says that her concept of health has evolved over the years -”today the definition that I accept doesn’t have much to do with `absence of disease’. Rather it is the ability to smile at life and to be vibrant, attuned and open minded with no self-imposed limits. Good health is an attitude rather than a condition. I try to be healthy in my body, in my mind and in my heart.” Read the book to know how to go about achieving this! Believe me it isn’t very difficult.

Vedic forests

An entire range bringing forth glimpses from Vedic forests can be viewed at Art Today gallery. Bulbul Sharma has been working on these paintings for over a year and they really stand out — not only in terms of the theme but there is that interplay between form and hue and the colours she’s used. In fact, there’s something about Bulbul herself that makes her stand apart. I have known Bulbul for nearly ten years and very often I marvel at her prowess. She has authored several books, has held several exhibitions and then. She’s always been there to help out the disadvantaged child.

This is Radio Germany!

And in town were the top brass from the German Broadcasting Service - Deutsche Welle. As you are aware the Festival of Germany in India is on, so emphasis on just about everything from that country is the leitmotiv. It might help in removing some of the images of Hitler’s famous khaki knickers and together with them those horrifying misdeeds so deeply imbedded in our psyches. Anyway, back to Deutsche Welle and it did come as a surprise to know that their radio broadcasts to South Asia even has a Sanskrit ‘window’. In fact, the D -G of Deutsche Welle, Dieter Weirich, told me that their radio programmes for South Asia are so well received that they get over 70,000 letters from listeners in India. And unlike our politicians and civil servants (I’m putting them into one slot for there isn’t much difference between the two) Weirich was forthright enough to say that he has had conflicts with his Minister (the German Minister of Culture) because of the ongoing cuts. He added that these cuts were the reason for the inability to extend their television services in this region. And again unlike our hand-in-glove lot ( the politicians and bureaucrats ) who brag that there is no one to counter them, he was frank enough to admit that they are not in a position to check the outreach and influence of CNN and BBC.

Uma’s birthday bash

And finally partying needs just any old excuse here. Last week kathak dancer Uma Sharma hosted her birthday party. A very nice (for me nice implies a relaxed atmosphere) evening and thankfully dinner was served in time. No, I didn’t ask Uma how young or old she was for she looked at peace and content with herself and that’s what really matters. A long guest list — Vasant Sathe, Uma and Aruna Vasudev, Satish Chibba, Anita Singh, Geeta and Rajiv Chandran, Bhaichand Patel, Raja and Kaushalya Reddy, Shanta Serbjeet Singh and others.

And, yes, Odissi dancer Ranjana Gauhar who also makes films on “art and heritage and dance” and she has just got the Pryadarshini Award.

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