Wednesday, October 10, 2001, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
E D I T O R I A L   P A G E


EDITORIALS

Testing time for Musharraf
I
N the US-led war against terrorism, Pakistani ruler General Pervez Musharraf is fighting his battle on two major fronts. One is to remain on the right side of the fence so far as the campaign against the international scourge is concerned, and the other is to ward off the threat to his own position as the executive head of Pakistan.

Selling PSU for a song
C
ONTROVERSY dogs every government effort at disinvestment of enterprises it owns. The latest decision to hand over the management of CMC (Computer Maintenance Corporation) and HTL (Hindustan Teleprinters Limited) is no exception. A majority share (51 per cent) of CMC has been sold to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for Rs 152 crore or at the offered price of Rs 197 a share. 

Encroachments in Mohali
I
N Delhi Mr Jagmohan removed encroachments and lost his job. More recently, Municipal Commissioner Sukhbir Singh Sandhu pulled down unauthorised structures on government land in Ludhiana and was still on the job when the Punjab Chief Minister ordered him to pack up.



EARLIER ARTICLES

Air raid on Afghanistan
October 9
, 2001
Blair’s blank words
October 8
, 2001
Concerted global effort needed to combat terrorism
October 7
, 2001
Hijack drama
October 6
, 2001
Saving the Taj
October 5
, 2001
After Taliban what?
October 4
, 2001
Killing spree unabated
October 3
, 2001
Madhavrao Scindia
October 2
, 2001
UN bans terrorism
October 1
, 2001
Kairon: Punjabi dynamism, American accent, lasting legacy
September 30
, 2001
India on the sidelines
September 29
, 2001
 
OPINION

Taliban: the passing phase?
Studying tribal factor for a future regime
Parshotam Mehra
F
OR both the jittery Taliban regime and the hapless, harried Afghan people the end of another short interlude, of a little over five years, appears to be close at hand. What the future holds is a little less than clear. What is sad and tragic is the state to which the Taliban have reduced their land and their people.

MIDDLE

Nothing to wear!
Gurmeet Kanwal
E
VERY time a woman has to go out, she stares mournfully at her open wardrobe, usually fully stacked, and a primordial cry emanates from her lips: “I have nothing to wear.” Usually a man has no objection to his wife purchasing new clothes — except that her insatiable need for them bears no logical relation to the large wardrobe and several suitcases full of seldom-worn clothes in perfectly good condition already in her possession.

FOLLOW-UP

Fighting for superpower status
Reeta Sharma
T
HE very meaning of the ‘superpower’ America so proudly associates itself with is that it has the power to attack anyone, anywhere in the world. Has America used this power? Yes, umpteen times. Let’s follow up its historical record.

 
TRENDS AND POINTERS

When your heart is racing, have tea
S
EVERAL weeks on, people continue to respond to the scale of the recent catastrophe in America with disbelief and depression. Everyone I have spoken to has been stunned and shocked by what they saw, and they still feel both emotionally and physically out of sync.

75 YEARS AGO

Ban against SGPC removed

SPIRITUAL NUGGETS



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Testing time for Musharraf

IN the US-led war against terrorism, Pakistani ruler General Pervez Musharraf is fighting his battle on two major fronts. One is to remain on the right side of the fence so far as the campaign against the international scourge is concerned, and the other is to ward off the threat to his own position as the executive head of Pakistan. His success on the first front depends on his performance on the second one, and hence his concentration on safeguarding his own position even at the cost of his friends in the armed forces. The significant changes that he has introduced at the top level in the army should be seen against this background. These were bound to happen in the wake of his abandonment of the old Afghan policy of Pakistan based on questionable premises. The new policy he is trying to shape will take its own time to stabilise, depending on his capacity to neutralise resistance, particularly in the army. Since General Musharraf is not a democratically elected President, he may not be feeling as much insecure because of the country-wide demonstrations inspired by religious leaders as by his army colleagues’ reluctance to buy his line vis-a-vis Pakistan’s support to the military action against Afghanistan. And there are any number of such elements.

The outgoing ISI chief, Lieut-Gen Mehmood Ahmed, the man who had enabled General Musharraf to safely land at Karachi airport in October, 1999, despite strong opposition from the then Prime Minister, Mr Nawaz Sharif, had emerged as the most suspected person for the Pakistan President in his hour of crisis. In fact, General Mehmood is a prominent representative of the dangerous mindset born in the wake of the short-sighted pro-Taliban policy of Islamabad nurtured by General Musharraf. There is no way to change this mindset quickly in accordance with Pakistan’s present requirement. The former ISI chief along with the three other Generals — outgoing Deputy Chief of Army Staff Muzaffar Hussain Usmani, Lieut-Gen Muhammad Yousuf, Chief of General Staff till yesterday, Lahore Corps Commander Lieut-Gen Mohammed Aziz, now Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, having only ceremonial significance — who too have been removed from their powerful positions had expressed their disapproval of General Musharraf’s support to the international coalition’s plan against Afghanistan during a meeting of the army’s top brass last month. Their stand was understandable as they belonged to the pro-fundamentalist section in the army. Since September 11, the day terrorists struck against the USA, they had been suspect in the eyes of the ruling General as well as the superpower. The humiliating move against them was delayed perhaps because one of the non-cooperating Generals, the former ISI chief, was being used to persuade the Taliban regime to hand over terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden for trial in the USA. After his failure to accomplish the difficult task, which he was reluctant to do since the very beginning, came the revelation that General Mehmood was involved in the financing of the terrorist attack on New York and Washington. This was the right time for General Musharraf to act against the opponents of his new Afghan policy. But the move shows that there is no Punjabi officer left in the army at the top level. This may not be tolerated by the rank and file of a fighting force known for its strong Punjabi factor. The ruling General could have never expected such difficult times.
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Selling PSU for a song

CONTROVERSY dogs every government effort at disinvestment of enterprises it owns. The latest decision to hand over the management of CMC (Computer Maintenance Corporation) and HTL (Hindustan Teleprinters Limited) is no exception. A majority share (51 per cent) of CMC has been sold to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for Rs 152 crore or at the offered price of Rs 197 a share. The day when the government said yes to the TCS offer the share fetched Rs 204 after climbing to more than Rs 300 and on Monday the price was slightly more than Rs 256. What is more, TCS has to offer Rs 281 a share for the nearly 17 per cent of the company’s stocks traded in the stock exchange. The government is not selling just shares; it is transferring management. And CMC is no lethargic loss-making unit. Last year it made a profit of Rs 250 crore and has a client list that is glamorous. It set up the computer networking of the railways and the on-line trading in the Bombay Stock Exchange. It specialises in port services and has modernised two Indian harbours and several foreign ones, including a port in England and another in Germany. More, the government is guilty of two snafus. One, its own guidelines say that there should be at least three bidders for any disinvestment, but in the case of CMC there was only one, TCS, stripping it of the power to bargain and get the highest price. Two, the timing of the sale is woefully wrong. Two years ago information technology stocks were in great demand and CMC would have attracted four times the price it got now. These days the market is in a dark mood, and to sell a company like CMC now is a bad decision. The argument that the TCS offer is well above the reserved price (Rs 108) is specious. How was the price fixed so low when a more commercially minded TCS decided a much higher value? Was the government desperate to get rid of CMC?

HTL has been sold for Rs 55 crore to HFCL (Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited). Here again HTL is the biggest manufacturer of switching equipment and has a guaranteed order of at least Rs 1000 crore every year for the next four years from BSNL and MTNL. HFCL’s line is fibre optics and transmission equipment. The deal will help the buyer to double its turnover from the present Rs 1000 crore or so. Here too the company seems to have been sold for a song. Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha wants to raise Rs 12,000 crore this year from disinvestment and the score so far is Rs 207 crore. And the bonus is the likely controversy.
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Encroachments in Mohali

IN Delhi Mr Jagmohan removed encroachments and lost his job. More recently, Municipal Commissioner Sukhbir Singh Sandhu pulled down unauthorised structures on government land in Ludhiana and was still on the job when the Punjab Chief Minister ordered him to pack up. What signal does it give? To the government functionary, it is : why stick out one’s neck and court trouble? To the encroacher, it is: go ahead if you have a political godfather. Unsurprisingly, behind most encroachments on government land can be seen the hidden hand of a politician. If one encroachment in an area is permissible, what prevents another from coming up? And thus the process starts. But now in SAS Nagar at least, the process of grabbing government land will hopefully come to a halt as the Punjab and Haryana High Court has given a wake-up call to the sleepy PUDA (Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority). To avoid any delay, the court has given clear-cut instructions and set deadlines, which the lethargic government machinery has to meet. PUDA has been asked to issue a notice in newspapers within seven days asking the residents of Mohali to remove, on their own, all encroachments within 15 days or watch them pulled down by the authorities. The credit for this initiative goes to the SAS Nagar Anti-Encroachment Committee, which filed a petition in the High Court. According to the committee, many residents, including VIPs, had occupied illegally space meant for “laying essential infrastructure like sewerage, water pipelines, electricity cables and telephone lines.” Many residents in the developing sectors have stopped raising the boundary wall to have more of open space.

Encroachments have become part of urban development, planned or otherwise, almost in every city. In towns and villages too municipal or panchayat land is grabbed with impunity. Greed for free land grows in the absence of effective judicial and executive action. The dilatory nature of litigation encourages encroachers and demoralises officials. Courts cannot be expected to intervene at every level, but speedy disposal of cases and heavy penalty can be helpful. The magnitude of work for the authorities concerned is so large that even if given a free hand, they cannot cope with the pressure. But with political interference, it becomes almost impossible to proceed against known defaulters. It is not that PUDA does not know about encroachments in Mohali or elsewhere. It also knows what had happened in Ludhiana recently. With a Chief Minister who does not have encroachments on his priority list and rather punishes officials who remove them, why expect any PUDA official to behave differently? If there are 8,000 identified cases of encroachment in Mohali alone, and this has been brought to the notice of the Chief Minister and those down the line and still no action is taken, it is then left to courts to prod them into action.
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Taliban: the passing phase?
Studying tribal factor for a future regime
Parshotam Mehra

FOR both the jittery Taliban regime and the hapless, harried Afghan people the end of another short interlude, of a little over five years, appears to be close at hand. What the future holds is a little less than clear. What is sad and tragic is the state to which the Taliban have reduced their land and their people.

The hunt by the USA and the international community for the perpetrators of the horrendous events of Black Tuesday has left the Taliban little room for manoeuvre, especially after Pakistan’s agonising decision to backtrack. And toe the US line. Not that Islamabad had much of a choice in the matter. The pressure from Washington was palpable, unremitting and almost impossible to resist. Pakistan apart, a sizeable section of the Islamic world too found it hard to say anything in the face of the death and destruction the terrorists and their sponsors had perpetrated.

For themselves the Taliban had foisted a regime that before long wore off its boast of establishing peace and harmony after the disastrous interlude of the mujahideen. And soon revealed itself as, at best, the worst representative of Islam of the early mediaeval times. In Kabul, it heralded its advent by shooting dead a dying former Afghan President, Dr Najibullah, and hanging his blood-stained body in the public square as an exhibit. Less than a year back it determined to pulverise the ageless Bamiyan Buddhas into fine dust in the face of an unprecedented public outcry. And almost universal condemnation for this sacrilege.

Nor was that all. A most regressive regime, the Taliban allowed no freedom for women, no education; in fact, hardly any life outside the confines of the home. There was a moral police that went around town and country alike enforcing the strictest adherence to the Sharia. Those that dared disobey the law were whipped in public; the fair sex not excepted. Music and dance were taboo. Small time crooks were paraded, and hanged. All men were to grow beards.

A measure of the regime’s international acceptability may be gauged from the fact that no country was prepared to accord it recognition. And this in the face of the harsh reality that the Taliban writ ran almost over 90 per cent of Afghan territory. There were three exceptions: Pakistan, whose protege the Taliban regime was in any case; the Saudis, who endorsed its call for pristine Islam with generous grants in gilt and gold. And the non-descript UAE. With the latter two now having withdrawn their recognition, the Taliban are left pretty high and dry — a virtually unwanted pariah regime under attack from the US-led coalition.

The more important question that arise is not so much the imminent demises of the Taliban as the contours of the regime that may take its place. The most significant development in this context is the understanding that has been reached between the 86-year-old former ruler, Zahir Shah, a long-time exile from his land, and the hitherto dysfunctional Northern Alliance. For what the latter lacked as a viable alternative was not only an abysmal failure to effectively challenge the Taliban but also its singular inability to attract any credible Pakhtoon representation. More important is that its constituents could, at best, be the minority non-Pakhtoons. In sum, the Alliance with its 20 per cent or so Tajiks and 10-12 per cent Uzbeks and Hazaras between them did not carry conviction. Not that his induction as Head of State or Government would be a mere cakewalk. The blue-blooded Pakhtoon, Zahir Shah, even though old and fragile, would lend the post-Taliban regime a modicum of legitimacy. And a linkage with his country’s historical past; his forebears had ruled in Kabul almost from the very birth of Afghanistan in the latter half of the 18th century.

Two other facets of the Afghan scenario need to be kept in view. One, heavily underlined among others by a reputed Pakistani author (Ahmad Rashid, “Taliban”, Yale, 2000), that the country is a pawn in big power rivalry insofar as it provides the shortest route to oil pipelines from Central Asia and the Gulf, to Europe and beyond. The new Great Game today is to gain control over the production and transportation of resources for energy security in the 21st century.

Another factor that needs emphasis is the Taliban’s close, well-nigh umbilical links with the Pakistani military establishment. For the students of Islamic theology were a brainchild, and a protege, of Pakistan’s ISI. It may be recalled that the Kabul regime of President Rabbani had repeatedly accused Islamabad of meddling in his country’s affairs. And conspiring to overthrow his government. This overt interference was largely responsible for driving Gulbuddin Hekmatyar into the arms of Rabbani and the late Tajik Commander Masood.

In the grim post-September 11 situation, Washington views Pakistan as a frontline state for the objectives it seeks to achieve in the region. For its part, the latter too fights shy of being declared a terrorism-exporting state with its concomitant political and social backlash, given the Taliban’s close links with Pakistan’s seminaries and politically active religious groups. In the meantime, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States with a substantial Muslim population — and deeply concerned over the Taliban’s fundamentalism — have fallen more or less inline with the USA. While Kazakhstan with a sizeable ethnic Russian minority, and Uzbekistan, richer and relatively better developed, vie with each other for the leadership of the region, both Tajikstan and Kyrgystan, with a weaker resource base, lean heavily on Russia for their security.

Finally, the USA has launched aerial attacks on Afghanistan after tightening its political and diplomatic noose around the Taliban’s uneasy neck through its massive manpower and firepower build-up in the region. It is inducing the defection of key field commanders — a game the Taliban themselves played five years ago. And with greater dexterity. In the event, it looks as though the campaign to “get Osama” will be transformed into “get Taliban”. For other things apart, any enlargement of the US anti-terrorist agenda will spell disaster for Pakistan with a likely spill-over into Afghanistan and beyond.

For New Delhi a retreating Taliban moving towards Pakistan Occupied Kashmir will spell a major headache for its security forces. Understandably, therefore, India will be rooting for a broad-based neutral government in Kabul with strong representation from Durrani and Ghilzai Pakhtoons as well as Tajik, Uzbek, Hazara and Turkmen minority groups. One hoped that Afghanistan’s new rulers would keep in mind the sad truth that their country had been witness to a well-nigh dozen revolutions — most of them bloody and violent — over less than 30 years since Zahir Shah was deposed in 1973. The earlier record of the mujahideen was less than inspiring. Marching into Kabul (1992) they are said to have ripped up telephone and electricity cables and stripped more than 400 textile factories off their machinery. Which, allegedly, they took to Pakistan! Nor was that all; their rule became a byword for inter-factional squabbling and chronic lawlessness in the capital — and beyond.

The writer, a retired professor of history, Panjab University, specialises in Central Asian affairs.
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Nothing to wear!
Gurmeet Kanwal

EVERY time a woman has to go out, she stares mournfully at her open wardrobe, usually fully stacked, and a primordial cry emanates from her lips: “I have nothing to wear.” Usually a man has no objection to his wife purchasing new clothes — except that her insatiable need for them bears no logical relation to the large wardrobe and several suitcases full of seldom-worn clothes in perfectly good condition already in her possession.

Saris are most Indian women’s magnificent obsession. “I’ve GOT to have a new chiffon sari,” a woman will say, a note of desperation in her voice. Meekly, the man replies: “But you already have many chiffon saris.” “Yes,” agrees his wife, “But I don’t have one to go with my new Bandhani blouse.” It occurs to the man to ask why in blazes did she not buy a new Bandhani blouse to go with one of her many chiffon saris, but he checks himself for he knows the futility of attempting to counter female logic. Buying one article of clothing in order to require another article of clothing is a gambit passed on from mother to daughter, generation after generation.

It is generally of little consequence to women whether their clothes indicate good taste in colour or pattern, or even whether they fit. I’ve seen a woman wearing a shocking pink silk sari in bright sunlight. She ruined my day. The paramount considerations is that the clothes be of this year’s style, or better still, this month’s. Asked to wear an out-of-fashion dress because it is nice looking and has been worn only a few times before, women have been heard to say: “I’d rather die.” They would too!

The latest in fashion is, however, only one reason for buying new clothes. Another is: “Sonia has one.” Or, spoken in a tone of mingled irritation and condescension, calculated to reduce a husband to quivering helplessness: “EVERYBODY has one.” What do you do in such cases? If you try suggesting that Sonia’s husband is man of better means, it will elicit such comments as: “Then why don’t you earn more? Aren’t you as smart as he is?” You could suggest buying something cheaper that everyone else also has. This will almost certainly be rejected but it just might set her thinking. There is always the possibility that the doorbell will ring or the lid will be blown off the pressure cooker and the whole thing will be forgotten, though not for long.

The best way, of course, is to give in and buy such clothing as your wife demands. Think how happy this will make not only your wife but also the local shopkeepers. If more husbands similarly give in, it might even stimulate the flagging economy and reduce the national debt, even as your own debt increases. The chambers of commerce may even name you the “Husband of the Year”.

By the way, have you heard about the husband who was hospitalised for shell shock? He suggested to his wife that she could buy as many clothes as she wanted by selling some of her seldom-used jewellery. She exploded.

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Fighting for superpower status
Reeta Sharma

THE very meaning of the ‘superpower’ America so proudly associates itself with is that it has the power to attack anyone, anywhere in the world. Has America used this power? Yes, umpteen times. Let’s follow up its historical record.

It was in 1823 that America’s then President, Maneroe had asserted its supremacy over South America — Mexico, Columbia etc. Similarly, when Spanish migrants in America had tried to assert their own power on the strength of their huge numbers, the then President, Teddy Roosevelt, had invaded the Spanish majority area in America through the might of its weaponry.

During the two World Wars, America tried to assert its supremacy by becoming the largest money-lender to European countries. Through this position it had very calculatedly tried to capture the market. And the 1950s onwards America’s wrapped desire to become the only ‘superpower’ of the world was being increasingly undermined by the USSR. Inevitably, the USSR had become an eye-sore for America and it did not react till it succeeded in disintegrating the former.

Driven by the tag of ‘superpower’, America’s arrogance and exaggerated sense of supremacy created a very distinct line between the American State and the American people. It was the American State that did not hesitate to sacrifice its own soldiers in the un-winnable Vietnam war. It continued to bomb Vietnam, killing not only Vietnamese but also its own soldiers just to assert its inflated ego of supremacy.

The false sense of supremacy of the American State was even reflected in majority of the American films made on the Vietnam issue. In most of these Rambo film series Asians were projected as fools who were totally expendable without any sense of guilt or ethics.

The American State did not hesitate to tell lies to the Americans when they questioned the ethics of their own soldiers and innocent civilians of Vietnam. This fact got substantiated when Robert MacNamara, chief of the World Bank for 15 years, went on record after his retirement from the charge of American war in Vietnam. He had recorded, “It was my suggestion to the American State not to reveal the real figures of casualty of soldiers in Vietnam”.

The American State has never hesitated from killing Asians, Africans, Slovakians and even Europeans in the last 50 years, glorifying their own justification. For instance, in Somalia, the American Special Forces had killed 500 innocent Somalians in six months when they were trying to capture or kill just one General Ideed. It was only when the American soldiers had begun to rebel along with the American people that the American State withdrew from Somalia and used the Indian forces to intervene. Ironically, it never succeeded in catching or killing the General. Today, in the similar fashion, the American State is threatening to capture or kill Osama bin Laden to attack the entire Afghan.

It is an open secret today that the creation and continuation of the Gulf War was entirely the brainchild of the American State because its economy was so heavily dependent in the production and sale of its arms. The American State did not hesitate to use the depleted uranium bullets on the Iraqi population, wiping out 20 per cent of it and creating genetic disorders amongst the rest. They repeated the exercise in the Kosovo region. In Sudan, the only pharmaceutical factory was bombed by the American State claiming it to be engaged in manufacturing arms. However, in the face of evidence, the American State eventually had no option but to admit the truth.

Besides this historical record, lets have a look at contemporary America. The so-called superpower’s blinkered view of its own security against the rest of the ‘meek and weak’ world crumbled into dust on September 11. However, what the American state does not acknowledge even today is its fragility vis-à-vis terrorism. This enemy inside America itself is none other than religious fanaticism. Speaking on a religious television programme Rev. Jerry Falwell, a Chancellor of Liberty University and pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Virginia, said, “ The American secular group had so angered God that God lifted the curtain of protection over America and allowed terrorists to strike. The terrorist attack reflected God’s wrath at the American Civil Liberties Union, advocates of abortion, gay rights supporters and federal judges who banned school prayers”.

Yet another rather popular person, Robertson an ordained pastor and a known leader of an extremist Christian coalition, also aired similar views and supported the statement of Falwell.

America today is ridden with a growing number of hate groups and innumerable extremist religious cults that advocate destruction and even pronounce death on behalf of God. These militias have war veterans on their roll and are fully armed. As per record, in over 40 American states their number is more than 15,000, consisting of mainly White militia groups, nurturing pathological hatred for the American State. Most of these groups are so well organised and resourceful that their racist and religious fanaticism has led them to practise even wars in anticipation of a confrontation with the American State.

On June 15, 1995, during a hearing against Normal Olson, head of a large Michigan militia group, and Robert Fletcher, another leader of a militia group from Montana, they had openly spoken against the American State and tried to justify their existence. The language of these extremist Christian coalitions is as terrorising as the attack on September 11. They used both race and ethnicity to indulge in religious violence.

Rev. Michael Bray, a Lutherian pastor, who has been convicted of a series of fatal attacks on abortion clinics in Maryland, Virginia and Columbia had shouted in the court, “Kill those who indulge in the business of butchering babies”.

The American leaders themselves have patronised this kind of growing militant religiosity, which is a direct offshoot of far right Christianity in contemporary America. Since the mid-1970s, when Jimmy Carter had declared himself “a born again Christian” to Ronald Reagan, Pat Robertson, Rev. Jesse Jackson and even George Bush Jr. have been promoting religious fanaticism solely with their eyes on the vote bank. The present President has even opened a White House office to distribute billions of dollars to these organisations.

Even after the September 11 attack has left America humiliated and its inflated ego wounded, the American State still doesn’t realise that once again it is letting history repeat itself.

All those countries that had faced American State’s destruction are today openly saying that America has met with poetic justice. America has willingly and selectively accepted the terms of ‘freedom fighters’ and ‘terrorists’ depending upon its own political convenience. But today it is crying hoarse that the Taliban are terrorists and wants the world to nod. However, majority of the Islamic world would like the world to address the Taliban as the ‘freedom fighters’. Will America ever learn the basics of truth and non-violent ways of life?
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When your heart is racing, have tea

SEVERAL weeks on, people continue to respond to the scale of the recent catastrophe in America with disbelief and depression. Everyone I have spoken to has been stunned and shocked by what they saw, and they still feel both emotionally and physically out of sync.

Whenever the body experiences any sort of shock, a common reaction is the loss of one’s appetite. Yet not bothering to eat is the worst thing that we can do. Indeed, when huge volumes of adrenaline — the fight-or-flight hormone — are released into our systems, our besieged bodies immediately start to mobilise their nutrient troops by breaking down muscle to obtain amino acids, and beginning to eat into their vitamin and mineral reserves as if there’s no tomorrow. And if you fail to replace the nutrients that the adrenaline rush has prompted your body to use up, you will quickly end up feeling exhausted.

So, while I’m not suggesting that you force yourself to eat when feeling acutely shocked, having a morsel of something — perhaps a biscuit and a milky drink or a good old British cuppa (but not made too strong) and a slice of cake — is better than nothing at all. If you don’t eat, your blood-sugar level can drop very quickly, too, making you feel as weak as a kitten, which is why eating something sweet is a good initial remedy for shock.

Whenever a lot of adrenaline is racing around your system, your gut rapidly starts to rid itself of food (which is why you may have to rush to the bathroom repeatedly), making the consumption of foods that are hard to digest a pointless waste of nutrients: you’ll find yourself sitting on the loo almost as soon as you have eaten them because your body simply won’t bother trying to digest them. The foods to avoid are typically spicy and fatty foods, raw vegetables (cooked vegetables are much gentler on the system) and large amounts of fruit.

As long as you don’t smother it in an overly rich filling, you’re better off opting for a classic comfort food, such as pasta, risotto or a jacket potato — even a bowl of nourishing soup with some fresh bread will give your body a little valuable support. Remember, too, that the sight of a large quantity of food plonked on a plate can be off-putting, so serve yourself small portions.

If you’re looking after someone who’s feeling shocked (but not in clinical shock or injured, in which case they’ll need urgent medical treatment and shouldn’t drink or eat anything unless medically sanctioned), try to coax them to eat a little something rather than gulping down a cup of strong coffee or tea that you could stand your spoon up in. Caffeine increases the adrenaline response, making the situation worse. The Observer
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Ban against SGPC removed

THE following notifications dated the 13th instant appears in the current issue of Punjab Gazette: The Governor of the Punjab in Council is hereby pleased to declare that notification No 23772, dated the 12th October 1923, declaring the association known as the "Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee" and all jethas organised by or affiliated to that body to be unlawful association, shall cease to have effect from this date.
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Every thought I have imprisoned in expression I must free by my deeds.

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Even the hands that make crowns of thorns are better than idle hands.

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Our most sacred tears never seek our eyes.

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There must be something strangely sacred in salt. It is in our tears and in the sea.

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Our God in His gracious thirst will drink us all, the dew drop and the tear.

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The most talkative is the least intelligent, and there is hardly a difference between an orator and an auctioneer.

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Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.

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He who would share your pleasure but not your pain shall lose the key to one of the seven gates of paradise.

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Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.

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He who listens to truth is not less than he who utters truth.

— Khalil Gibran, Sand and Foam

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Untruth corrodes the soul, truth nourishes it.

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If someone says, "Go straight along this road", and if a man follows the given direction, he is sure to reach his destination. Such a road is truth. Going along that road, a man reaches his goal in the shortest possible time.

—The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. eighty
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