Friday, February 9, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

E D I T O R I A L   P A G E


Police brutality
ENIOR police officers often express unhappiness over the negative projection of their image in Indian films. The more enthusiastic among them want legal protection against such projection by mass media.

Dispute, not default
AHARASHTRA has thrown up its hands and shifted the Enron problem to the Centre. It should not have since its action has provoked the Dabhol Power Company to invoke the counter-guarantee offered by the Centre. 


By Hari Jaisingh
Faulty system and poor response
Technology as a tool for disaster management
T is not the people but the system, the persons at the helm and the poor standard of governance which have invariably failed the nation. 


Privatising the government! 
February 8
, 2001
Invitation to disaster
February 7
, 2001
Fresh signals from Kashmir 
February 6
, 2001
A delayed decision
February 5
, 2001
Lessons from disaster
February 4
, 2001
Timid tremor tax
February 3
, 2001
A budget for disaster
February 2
, 2001
Disaster mismanagement
February 1
, 2001
Earthquake economics
January 31
, 2001
The world responds
January 30
, 2001



Now, what?
By D. R. Sharma
HEN I wrote to an American friend that I had retired he promptly e-mailed his congratulations. When another friend in the academia here learnt about my superannuation he too complimented me and remarked: “To retire gracefully is a blessing these days.”


Sri Lanka: ethnicity gone wild
By M.S.N. Menon
NE day a voice told Moses: “O Moses, go and free your people from bondage”. And Moses freed the Jews, his people, from their Egyptian bondage and took them to the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey. 


The rise of surf rage in Australia
AHHHHHHH. It’s like having sex; it’s incredible, you’re riding on the tip of nature’s tongue. It’s the most unbelievable feeling cruising down that wave. If you get on a big wave it’s just, ohhhhhh, just unbelievable.’’

  • Documenting the world in a Mercedes

  • Supplement helps arthritis patients




Police brutality

SENIOR police officers often express unhappiness over the negative projection of their image in Indian films. The more enthusiastic among them want legal protection against such projection by mass media. However, they themselves will have to make a serious effort to stop policemen from using third degree methods for investigating crimes. Once that happens the media will have no reason to show them in bad light. Less than a month ago a policeman and his henchmen killed a young man from Ludhiana in cold blood because he objected to their drinking session at a public place. The initial reaction of the officers was to hush up the incident. But the collective anger of the people made them change their mind. What happened in Ludhiana was horrifying, but the death of a Dalit youth in police custody in Morinda on February 6 has revived memories of the dark period in the history of Punjab when countless innocent young men were killed in false encounters, but police records turned them into ruthless terrorists. The reaction of the residents of Morinda was no different to that of the residents of Ludhiana, who had held street demonstrations to force the officers to register a case of murder against Pinki, the constable, and his associates. Irate villagers held up traffic on the Morinda-Ludhiana highway and gheraoed the police station where the youth was allegedly tortured to death. A case has been registered against a constable and four others, but the credit should go to the people for not letting the authorities brush under the carpet the crimes committed by men in uniform.

The story of the alleged torture of another resident of Ludhiana, Bhupinder Sood, by the Mohali police is equally disturbing. He was reportedly picked up from his residence in Ludhiana and brought to Mohali for investigating a case of alleged cheating. He is now being treated for injuries at the emergency ward at the PGI in Chandigarh. How should one react to the reported raid on the premises of a Mohali resident by a police party from Delhi? Officers in Chandigarh and Mohali denied knowledge of the incident, but the fact of the matter is that the police party had come all the way from Delhi in search of Ashok Sandhir, evidently involved in a case of murder. Some shots were fired in the air to make the suspect surrender. Is this standard police procedure - just barge into any one's home without even informing the local police? Most of the incidents, except for the murder of the Ludhiana youth, have occurred in Punjab within the first week of February. It should set alarm bells ringing. It is evident that the police top brass needs to be pulled up for the disturbing increase in incidents of atrocities involving Punjab policemen. The first case of police highhandedness was reported on February 1 from Malerkotla, which has the glorious history of not being touched by communal violence during Partition because it had received the blessings of Guru Gobind Singh. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had to intervene to ensure registration of cases against Mr Surjit Singh, SP, Border Range, Amritsar, and Mr Gurmail Singh, a DSP in Ludhiana, for their role in the alleged kidnapping of a primary school teacher in Malerkotla. The cases were registered on the basis of the complaint of the wife of the school teacher before the High Court in March, 1994. Delhi Police Commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma had once suggested that only graduates should be allowed to join the police force at any level. The training methods too need to be changed for making Indian policemen behave like the friendly British Bobby.


Dispute, not default

MAHARASHTRA has thrown up its hands and shifted the Enron problem to the Centre. It should not have since its action has provoked the Dabhol Power Company (DPC) to invoke the counter-guarantee offered by the Centre. Once DPC used its ultimate weapon, there was no other option than to pay up, rather accept the unthinkable of converting a state government obligation into sovereign responsibility. This has a serious implication in international financial dealings. Credit rating agencies have promptly downgraded India’s status. Even a domestic one, Crisil, has called loans to the Maharashtra State Electricity Board as speculative, which makes recovery doubtful. This is a dubious distinction for a leading power provider in the most industrialised state. In retrospect the MSEB has been badly advised and the state government has needlessly panicked. When the power tariff from DPC went through the roof, thanks to its ill-thought out agreement, the board just refused to draw electricity and later refused to pay. It perhaps was playing for time, hoping the company would encash the letter of credit. DPC instead began shutting all doors one by one on the hapless board till the government forced the Centre to intervene. Somewhere along the way the Centre should have taken the issue in its hands and played the role of a referee instead of being a party to the dispute as is the case now. In the former eventuality it could have used its considerable clout to persuade DPC to come to a reasonable settlement. Now it has to either clear the dues amounting to Rs 95 crore relating to November last year or ask the state government to do the same. (The December bill comes to Rs 152 crore.) A counter-guarantee is enforceable and there is no escape. But the Centre meeting its financial commitment in a dispute between a state and an international company is undesirable and hence the last minute attempts to make Maharashtra clear the outstanding. From the noises emanating from the Centre and the state, it is nearly certain that DPC will be goaded into retracing its step.

Now the state has come up with a somewhat practical solution. It wants the Centre to direct either the National Thermal Power Corporation or the Power Trading Corporation to buy power from DPC and sell it to, say, Karnataka after softening the loss through cross-subsidy. But that may not exactly work out since Dabhol power costs something like Rs 5 a unit, which will have few takers. One favourable factor is that the company is prepared to sell its generation to anyone, although the MSEB is obliged to draw all of it. This way power production will be restored, which is not the case now. The Centre should renegotiate the terms for the second phase to bring about key changes. For the first phase the MSEB has taken all the risks and Enron none. Its return is assured at 16 per cent while it passes on every increase in input costs. This and the rising price of natural gas and also the dipping value of the rupee had at one time pushed up per unit rate to Rs 7 or more, triggering the MSEB protest. Economic newspapers are adding insult to injury by asking the board to set its house in order by steeply hiking tariff to the farming sector and preventing theft and non-payment of bills. The patently unfair agreement which Enron forced on an inexperienced MSEB is ignored or papered over. Union Energy Minister Suresh Prabhu is from Konkan, the site of the DPC. He covets the power but knows the unacceptable tariff level. So he is repeatedly requesting Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha to reduce the tax burden on DPC to help it reduce the tariff.


Faulty system and poor response
Technology as a tool for disaster management
By Hari Jaisingh

IT is not the people but the system, the persons at the helm and the poor standard of governance which have invariably failed the nation. This has once again been proved by the way the people, here and abroad, have responded to one of the biggest disasters ever to hit the country in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Gujarat.

I am very much touched by the splendid public response to the disaster. In splendid Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh even people of modest means have shown tremendous willingness to share the burden of the grief-stricken in Kutch and other parts of Gujarat.

We have carried a number of touching stories of ordinary folks from rural and urban areas rushing to The Tribune's office with donations in response to an appeal for help. This has surely strengthened the silken bond of oneness as stated in my column last week. The message is clear: stand up and be counted in terms of human sensitivity.

Notwithstanding this feel-good human sensitivity, human greed and the tendency to cash in on the miseries of others is also a harsh reality. This is, in a way, a poor commentary on our politico-administrative system which allows operators, manipulators and swindlers to exploit disaster situations for their gains.

During the Orissa cyclone, relief supplies meant for the victims found their way to the black market in Kolkata and beyond. Similar activities must be going on even now. This is a pity.

As a nation, we lack basic honesty, integrity and work discipline. That is the reason why the parallel economy not only thrives here, but has also become much stronger than the open economy. This is a paradoxical situation, indeed. But then it is necessary that we grasp the country's darker facets as well so that we are not carried away by superficial feelings.

As a people, we need to show right nerves, a clear perspective and the right degree of dedication. There cannot be a halfway house in managing the affairs of the nation. Harsh facts of the tragedy are before us and they must not be lost sight of.

One, the country's ruling class has not learnt much from experience. It does not know how to react to and manage a disaster situation. The Gujarat earthquake has clearly brought out this bitter truth both at the state and Central levels. It took nearly six hours before the system showed any sign of activity. Apparently, the persons who were supposed to react and manage the crisis were slow in reflexes and response.

I am also not happy with the slow response of an otherwise sensitive Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. At one stage, his misplaced priority took him to Lucknow and Chennai—that too after having visited the site of the calamity. Mercifully, better sense prevailed and he decided to cancel his scheduled visit to Japan and Malaysia. Had he persisted with his overseas visit as some of his advisers wished, it would have been politically suicidal for Mr Vajpayee.

The trouble with the government today is the inability of persons at the helm to remain in tune with grassroots-level realities. Why and how this has happened remains a mystery to me. Perhaps, they have got lost in the trappings of power. Maybe, they do not get the right feedback. Maybe, the quality of advice is faulty. Maybe, in the present state of drift, sycophancy has an upperhand in the corridors of power. It is also quite possible that several undesirable elements have become part of the system which tends to be self-centred and not people-oriented as it should be.

Two, despite numerous natural calamities in the past, a viable disaster management system is missing. There is no point in boasting about our information technology revolution. We have hardly used IT power for the service of the people.

It needs to be realised that information technology has made today's statecraft and politico-economic management virtually outdated. It is, therefore, necessary to shed the old mindset.

Three, the collapse of high-rise buildings during the earthquake shows poor quality of construction. Apparently, builders, architects and officials who cleared the plans are guilty of genocide for their failure to ensure the quality of building material and construction. Such dubious practices can be seen everywhere.

Laws are flouted. Rules are circumvented. Those in positions of authority are bribed. Honest persons are either sidelined or punished. This is how the real India often works to the disadvantage of ordinary citizens. Here, we need to recognise the battle between honesty and dishonesty, between straight talk and double-speak.

Four, there is no dearth of information about the proneness of Kutch and other regions to earthquakes. Expert reports have underlined this point time to time. Still, no one cared to initiate an action plan. As in other walks of life, we have never cared to follow up what the experts have been suggesting. This is a poor reflection on the quality of leadership at different levels of governance.

Fortunately, we live in an age of cyberspace where information and opinions can be quickly shared. But the moot point is: who cares?

In fact, we need to review the system and ask what has worked, what has not, and why. In doing so, we have to also think about the quality of politico-bureaucratic response in a disaster situation.

Certain reports suggest that the whole of India is earthquake prone. What is worse, the most dangerous zone in the world is the India-China border along the Himalayas. This is pointed out in the international map on seismicity produced by world experts and released last year. It is, therefore, necessary that we draw up the latest seismic map of India and update related information in this area.

Satellite imagery can also help us interpret linear features of vulnerable areas. This calls for a fresh look at our satellite deployment with the requisite technical backup.

As already stated, there are reports of the vulnerability of the Himalayan region, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Chandigarh, as also Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and some other parts of the country in the North East. We hope right lessons will be learnt and our leaders will now be able to save the nation from further destruction by taking the correctives on a priority basis.

We can surely manage things provided we muster enough political will to face the challenges ahead. I understand that the Department of Earthquake Engineering in Roorkee University has produced low-cost earthquake resistant technology. It has even come out with a manual, which needs to be regularly updated.

The Central Building Research Institute is another organisation which has reportedly done good work in connection with earthquakes. For example, it has produced low-cost shelters to accommodate victims of cyclones and earthquakes.

However, nothing can work unless the government moves in the right direction and reforms itself by evolving community-based participatory structures and subjects itself to strict accountability. It also must overcome its various disabilities, particularly the lack of skills through networking. In this lies the seeds of hope for tomorrow. 


Now, what?
By D. R. Sharma

WHEN I wrote to an American friend that I had retired he promptly e-mailed his congratulations. When another friend in the academia here learnt about my superannuation he too complimented me and remarked: “To retire gracefully is a blessing these days.”

Just the other day I wanted to deposit a cheque and walked to the bank on the campus. On the ramp stopped somebody whom I had known rather well in my early days. He wanted to confirm what he had heard from some colleagues. Incidentally, this gentleman didn’t belong to the teaching fraternity, but to a profit-making company. I told him that what he had heard was absolutely true — that I had finally folded the textbooks and said goodbye to the classroom.

I thought he too would felicitate me on the happy ending the way my two friends had done. But he uttered no words either to classify me as a lucky man or a quiet professional who had just muddled through his operations. Instead, he looked a little concerned and asked me what I had planned for the future. More specifically he wanted to know how I would spend all my time without active teaching. It was a question that seemed to have puzzled him. Hence his long pause after confirming the news on the ramp.

Well, walking, dreaming and a little reading, not necessarily in that order, I said. And then, I added, the order was flexible —dreaming could at times precede walking, or reading could remain a mere intention and not an actual happening. Even walking could take a holiday if my mood militated against a mechanical routine. I also explained that I wanted to do things as a mood-directed being and not as an automation. Maybe, I said, I would neither read nor walk but just dream all-day long.

The last part of my declaration of independence didn’t go well with him. He could appreciate my allegiance to self-autonomy and also my right to modify the order of my intended activities, but he could not possibly comprehend my infinite capacity to dream and — just dream. He explained very logically that no normal homo sapien would waste his whole day in merely dreaming, posture aside. Just dreaming in the broad daylight, he cautioned, could be a sure invitation to some psychic disaster. And then he added that as long as one is physically trouble-free, one must be meaningfully involved in some worthwhile activity — better a socially productive activity — but day-long dreaming constituted no such activity, much less socially productive one. If dream you must, you better do that at night, he said.

As a well-wisher he equally wondered at my two other agenda-items — walking and reading. Only a lunatic, he remarked, would indulge in such a prolonged leg-affair. And reading? How many waking hours do you need for that? he asked. There must be something wrong with a person who says he spends his entire time reading — and reading, he further observed.

While sharing his beliefs I casually asked what strategy of time management he could possibly recommend to someone who wasn’t very bright. He admitted he was no strategist since he was not an MBA. He was simply a God-fearing family man who would like to work as long as he breathed. “If my system breaks down at some point of time, only then I’ll try your recipe,” he said without blinking an eyelid. The purpose of his accosting me on the ramp, he explained, was first to confirm the news and then find out what exactly I hoped to do after retirement.


Sri Lanka: ethnicity gone wild
By M.S.N. Menon

ONE day a voice told Moses: “O Moses, go and free your people from bondage”. And Moses freed the Jews, his people, from their Egyptian bondage and took them to the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey. But, on their way through the desert of Sinai, they were lost, and Moses was nowhere to be found.

There will always be some Moses or the other in the world ready to take mankind to the land of peace and plenty. They may be in earnest. But men are men, not gods. The future is not in their keep.

Lenin was a good man. So was perhaps Stalin. They wanted to do good to the people. But see what happened! Millions perished in pogroms. And more millions died in the war. And the “Evil Empire” was finally brought to naught by a process of attrition. The Russian dream turned into a nightmare.

I have often wondered whether the Russians could not have achieved what they achieved without a revolution. They are an enterprising people, hardworking and highly intelligent. They are capable of great sacrifices and great achievements. Remember, they have unlimited resources. They could have even produced a more humane society for better than what the German or Scandinavians have been able to achieve. All under some form of capitalism.

Coming closer home, we had the case of Mohammed Ali Jinnah. He said that the Muslims were a separate nation, that they could never prosper in a Hindu society, and that a Muslim could get salvation only in an Islamic society. See what happened! Those who believed him, those who followed him, now say that partition was the greatest blunder of history.

The point I want to make is this: there will always be men to make promises. They may be honest men. But more often, they are frauds. What is worse, they impose their whims, their law, and deny others the right to think. They condemn generations to be zombies. This is the worst form of tyranny — to tie men to false dogmas, to false hopes.

We have had our quota of such misguided men, who set out to lead us to utopia — men like Lohia and Jayaprakash Narayan. In hindsight, we can only laugh at them. Now, we have even smaller men — Mulayam Singh, Paswan, Mayawati and our joker in the pack — Laloo Yadav. All wanting to be treated as saviours. See how cockishly they walk!

But to come back to the subject I want to write on. The Tamil renaissance began with Periyar (Ramaswamy Naicker). He thought that the Dravidians were still being treated like the dasyus of the Vedic age. That was, of course, not his fault. He didn’t know his history. Our history was being written then. So, he couldn’t have read it. Nor was he acquainted with the world outside India. There was little communication. He saw the Brahmins of his gramam lording it over the non-Brahmins. That was, of course, true. So, he concluded that the Tamils should seek their independence.

The Tamils in Sri Lanka were naturally influenced by the Naicker movement. They thought that they too should seek a separate homeland. Perhaps they had some justification, for the Sinhalese were a proud people and wanted to dominate over the Tamil people.

Today, we know the history of the Sinhalese and Tamils in greater detail and there is no case to believe that the Sinhalese are any superior to the Tamils. Perhaps, as a race, the Tamils have a far more glorious past.

Be that as it may, it was extremism which won the day. It always does in such situations. And much blood has been shed in the name of Tamil Eelam.

Prabhakaran is the new Moses. He has promised an utopia to the Tamils. But there will be no utopia, and no land of milk and honey, either only a devastated “homeland” (if he is able to achieve it), which will take decades to recuperate if the war continues. It will be a century lost to the Tamils. Much could have been achieved in a century in a peaceful way.

The Sri Lankans (both Tamils and Sinhalese) have already lost five precious decades. If only they had worked together, they could have been the most advanced people in the South Asian region. But that was not to be.

The Sinhalese and Tamils are now weary of war. Perhaps they want to see the end of it. Perhaps they have seen the world change in these over 50 years. More and more mixed societies are coming up in the West. International migration is at its peak. The Sri Lankans themselves are uninvited guests in many parts of the world. And America continues to be the “melting pot” of the world.

Live and let live — this is the only option open to men. They must learn to live together and love one another. There is no other way.

Mrs Kumaratunga has made it clear that there will be no division of the country. We cannot cavil over it, for that is India’s stand too. She is ready to share power with the Tamils and give the country a new constitution with greater powers to the Tamils. But the Sri Lankan Opposition is opposed to this course. And yet she is hopeful of a solution with the mediation of Norway.

The Tamils should understand that the world is not in favour of ethnic bushfires around the world. It has problems enough. And the world is not convinced that ethnic leaders are any different from other leaders, for when in power they are all the same. Power goes into their heads. In any case, there is no reason to believe that they would be different from their cousins on this side of the Palk Strait. Here, too, the Tamils had their grievances. They even thought of an independent Tamil Nadu. But look at the preformance of the leaders of Tamil Nadu! Can Prabhakaran be different? I do not think so. He can be worse.

The Sinhalese should realise that any further recalcitrance on their part will only drive the Tamils of Indian origin in the plantations to throw their lot with Prabhakaran. These Tamils have already lost faith in the Ceylon Workers’ Congress, an organisation of moderates, which had been in favour of being friendly with the majority community in order to get whatever concessions it could through peaceful means.

But the young Tamils are becoming increasingly restive. They are no more impressed by moderates. They think that their future lies with the LTTE. And they are not without reason. There had been senseless killings of the plantation Tamils by Sinhala extremists. If these young Tamils are not assuaged of their fears, Colombo will soon have to fight on another front. And we can never be sure how the Tamils in India will react.

It is true, extremism is on the wane. The JVP, a Sinhala extremist organisation, has joined the mainstream. So have some extremist Tamil groups — thanks to the policy of Mrs Kumaratunga to win them over.

Is there anything India can do? Yes. I believe that the NDA government must organise the Asian world, particularly the Buddhist world, to bring about a reconciliation between the Buddhists and Tamils. (This can be Track-II diplomacy). And the Tamils must be assured that the Indian presence will enable them to secure an honourable settlement.


The rise of surf rage in Australia

AHHHHHHH. It’s like having sex; it’s incredible, you’re riding on the tip of nature’s tongue. It’s the most unbelievable feeling cruising down that wave. If you get on a big wave it’s just, ohhhhhh, just unbelievable.’’

Neil Lazarow is a normal Australian, with an average degree of enthusiasm for surfing. Powerful waves from the Indian and Pacific oceans pound the country’s 7,000 beaches, creating perfect surfing conditions all year round. And people are flocking to the surf in ever-greater numbers. Even on a cool, grey weekday at Tamarama beach, a favoured haunt of Sydney’s surfing crowd, the dark shapes of wetsuited surfers line up nose-to-tail on modest breakers.

But for many, the increasingly congested summer beaches trigger not euphoria, but anger. In the past 18 months, Australia has witnessed a catalogue of violent incidents of surf rage, in which victims have been battered with fists or the sharp end of a surfboard.

In one of the most high-profile assaults, former world champion and all-round Australian legend Nat Young was viciously beaten up by a surfer he had known for years on his local beach in New South Wales. He needed extensive reconstructive surgery — including a titanium mesh to hold up his shattered cheekbones and eye sockets. The beating left the surfing fraternity facing accusations that they were out of control, and could no longer regulate themselves.

An adrenaline-flooded sport traditionally practised by bronzed dudes, surfing has always had a dark side. Ever since it spread from the Pacific Islands via California to Australia in the middle of the last century, there has always been violence, say old surfers. It used to be rivalry between advocates of short-boards and long-boards; and surf journalists got assaulted if they gave away the location of much-prized ``secret spots’’. Possessive locals would pursue an ideology of ``localism’’, vandalising the conspicuous VW Combis of travelling surfers who stumbled on to ``their’’ beach. (Guardian)

Documenting the world in a Mercedes

One thing Jim Rogers wanted to do as a six-year-old growing up in a small town in the USA was to trot around the globe. And what better time could there be than the turn of the millennium to document the world.

So he and Paige Parker — the couple married while on this trip — parked themselves and their bags in a bright yellow Mercedes convertible to zoom across the globe.

Having clocked 140,000 km through 85 countries in the past two years, the couple has “survived blizzards in Iceland, wars through the Congo, had a narrow escape with a bomb that burst 30 metres away in Moscow, had a run-in with the mafia in Pakistan.”

If you think that would be a deterrent, this is what Rogers tells you: “The more you see, the more you want to see.” Parker adds, “I don’t want to miss a thing.”

Rogers, a Wall Street investor, discussed his plans to tour the world on road on his first date with Parker. “When we spoke about it on our first date, I just said, ‘Yeah, whatever’, obviously thinking it was a joke,” she recalls. “But when he came up to me in 1998 and told me he was considering making a trip, I was surprised at first. But after that I just jumped in and said ‘I’m going out with you’.”

She has put her career in business development on hold to join Rogers on this trip. The couple stopped over in Pune at the Mercedes Benz India Ltd. plant at Chikli.

While it is the first sojourn for Parker, Rogers is already a veteran of sorts, having travelled 100,000 km on a motorcycle from 1990 to 1992 across six continents. And the 58-year-old travel freak wound his way into the Guinness Book of World Records as well.

In 1998, Rogers, who won a scholarship to Yale University and went on to study at Oxford, was writing on world economy for publications including Forbes, The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal when he decided to take this trip. This one, however, was going to be in a car. Obviously it wasn’t going be an easy ride. Planning for the journey began in April 1998 with looking for a suitable car. (IANS)

Supplement helps arthritis patients

An over-the-counter dietary supplement touted as an arthritis treatment may indeed provide relief to millions of people who suffer from osteoarthritis, the type of arthritis that occurs with aging, a team of researchers concludes.

Their study found that after three years, glucosamine sulphate reduced cartilage damage and improved osteoarthritis symptoms up to 25% in patients taking the supplement, compared with those taking a placebo, or inactive treatment.

Osteoarthritis is caused by a gradual breakdown in cartilage and bone, and can lead to pain and limit daily functioning, especially in the elderly. While many of these patients rely on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen to ease pain and symptoms, an increasing number are turning to “natural” remedies such as glucosamine.

The study included 212 patients with knee osteoarthritis who took either 1,500 milligrams (mg) oral glucosamine sulphate or a placebo once a day. Patients on the placebo experienced significantly more cartilage degeneration than did patients taking glucosamine sulphate, the authors report in the January 27th issue of The Lancet.

There were no serious side effects to glucosamine, the researchers note.

Symptoms worsened slightly in patients on placebo compared with the improvement observed after treatment with glucosamine sulphate,’’ according to Dr Jean Yves Reginster, from the University of Liege in Belgium, and colleagues.

In an interview with Reuters Health, Dr Lucio C. Rovati, a co-author, noted that the supplement is a prescription drug in over 40 countries including most countries in Europe. In countries where it is available without a prescription, such as the USA doctors who recommend glucosamine should make sure they are prescribing quality products, he added. (Reuters)



Causation says that every fact has a cause, and nothing can happen without it. Science, however, applies this principle only to the material world. ...The Indian seers and sages have extended this principle to cover also the moral and spiritual life of man. And it is extended to cover lives other than the present. Our actions or the past life determine out state in the present life. And our present actions will determine the condition of our future life.

— J.R. Puri and T.R. Shangari, Bulleh Shah, Section two


Wilful misconduct,

ignorant and evil action,

actions in a disturbed state of mind,

and jealousy —

these are the roots of

Prajna aparadha (perverse actions done through the mind).

— Chakrapanidatta's commentary. Charaka Samhita, 1.7.51


What is destined to happen will surely come to pass;

That is the definite law of Karma (destiny)

— Vallabhadeva, Subhashitavali


Karmas follow their doer everywhere. They follow him like a good servant who moves after a master if he goes and is in front if he stands. The bonds of karma support and destroy the beings.

— Kashemendra, Bodhisattvavadanakalpalata, 57.31


Karmas do not perish even after the elapse of a million years. They fructify without fail when time and environment are suitable.

— The Buddha. Vide Chandrakirti, PrasannapadaTop

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |