Thursday, October 11, 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

War impact on economy
U
NION Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha is an inveterate votary of the feel good factor. He sees a bright present and forecasts a brighter future even when indications suggest otherwise. Right now he is repeating that the war in Afghanistan will leave India unaffected though it is in the neighbourhood and can impinge on crude price and supply. 

Biological terrorism
T
HE anthrax infection of two persons working in a newspaper office at Boca-Raton (Florida) may have been accidental, but it has created fear throughout the USA. There are a large number of people who consider the deadly infection to be the handiwork of terrorists.

Thank you, Kapil
S
OMETIMES a small gesture is all that it takes for someone to show his true worth. On Tuesday Kapil Dev did just that and in the process earned the respect of the cricket-crazy nation. The great all-rounder was, perhaps, not aware of the hurt he had caused to his countless fans when he announced that he would no longer have anything to do with the game that made him into a legend.


EARLIER ARTICLES

Testing time for Musharraf
October 10
, 2001
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

The label of ‘Rogue Army’
Musharraf’s problems after American action 
G. Parthasarathy
A
number of Western newspapers like the New York Times carried announcements labelling the Pakistan army a “Rogue Army” during the Kargil conflict. These announcements noted that the Pakistan army had killed more of its own citizens in its operations against its own people in Bangladesh, Baluchistan, Sind and the Northern Areas than any other armed force in contemporary history, except perhaps that of Cambodia’s Pol Pot.

IN THE NEWS

Pitroda and telecom revolution
Satyanarayan Gangaram Pitroda, popularly known as Sam Pitroda, brought about a telecommunications revolution in the country. This happened when he was riding high during Rajiv Gandhi’s Prime Ministership. He was in India recently to receive the Lal Bahadur Shastri Award for his outstanding contribution to telecommunications and harnessing it for social and economic transformation.

  • Vijay Goel comes a long way


Birth politics in America
T
HE recent move to propagate Caesarean-section deliveries as a “safer option” for women who have already had one Caesarean-section, has had midwives in the USA up in arms.



TRENDS & POINTERS

Indian admits to fabricating kidnap
An Indian American charged with fabricating a story about his own kidnapping last July has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge.

  • Gen K.V. Krishna Rao on Bluestar

OF LIFE SUBLIME

Towards a better life
Acharya Mahaprajna
T
HANKS to our sense organs, to observe others and learn about them is one of our natural habits. Contrary to this, the main aim of meditation is self-discovery. It may be called self-management. Comparing the spiritual term self-management with the modern western concept of personal management, we find that our ancient spiritual thought is being expressed in a new context, using new phraseology.

SPIRITUAL NUGGETS



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War impact on economy

UNION Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha is an inveterate votary of the feel good factor. He sees a bright present and forecasts a brighter future even when indications suggest otherwise. Right now he is repeating that the war in Afghanistan will leave India unaffected though it is in the neighbourhood and can impinge on crude price and supply. War is a serious business and takes a heavy toll and to make light of the outcome is to lull the nation into unpardonable complacency. Mr Sinha’s soothsaying has been exposed for what it is by two unrelated surveys and analyses. A news agency (Reuters) contacted 35 companies and nearly half of them (17) saw grim days ahead. They spelt out the reasons for their pessimism and it all sounds rational. But a more comprehensive study has come from the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), a Delhi-based think tank with impeccable credentials. A short and swift military operation by the USA in Afghanistan will not have any long-term impact on the Indian economy. The damage will be short term and can be contained. But a prolonged campaign will be very hurtful. And reports have it that it will last long. In its latest monthly report the IEG predicts that a long conflict will sap the confidence of the country and produce the following results.

The rupee will sink and touch a level of Rs 52 for a dollar by March next year, making imports costlier and exports attractive. But the current economic slowdown in the USA and the West is not helpful. Foreign exchange reserves will dip, forcing the RBI to hike the interest rates to prevent an alarming outflow of NRI deposits. Crude prices are likely to go up to $ 30 a barrel (from the present $ 22), upsetting the decision to dismantle the administered pricing system and stoking inflation. This will lead to a larger oil pool deficit, a lower revenue collection because of the expected industrial slowdown and a slack disinvestment plan. The growth of gross domestic product (GDP) will slide to 4.5 per cent and the fiscal deficit will soar to 7 per cent from the predicted 5.1 per cent. A low interest rate does not spur investment and hence in the present mood of gloom nothing is to be gained by tinkering with interest rates. These are serious observations and no one can ignore them. Not the least the Finance Minister of the country. But he has been indulging in his favourite pastime of whistling in the dark.

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Biological terrorism

THE anthrax infection of two persons working in a newspaper office at Boca-Raton (Florida) may have been accidental, but it has created fear throughout the USA. There are a large number of people who consider the deadly infection to be the handiwork of terrorists. The threat posed by Osama bin Laden that America won't rest easy from now on is not being taken as an empty boast. That he is capable of causing great harm has already been proved. Now that he has given an open call for "jehad", there are reasons to fear that terrorist activities would multiply. Given the high state of security throughout the USA, the fanatics might very well take recourse to biological warfare. Scientists have said repeatedly that there are daunting obstacles to making and deploying germ, chemical or radiological weapons but this has not really reassured the public. They cannot forget how easily Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese cult, attacked a Tokyo subway with sarin nerve gas in 1995, killing 12 people and injuring hundreds. Today, a terrorist bent upon biological warfare can employ far more dangerous substances, including Botulinum toxin, the deadliest poison known to science. He could also unleash anthrax or smallpox with equal ease. That would be a nightmare indeed. Ironically, the anthrax spores were made into weapons by the USA itself in the 1950s and 60s, before the programme was ended. The World Trade Center disaster has proved that incalculable harm can be done at little cost. A small group of people ready to die for a cause can pose chilling challenge.

There are reports that besides the USA, two countries that are likely to be targeted by revengeful soldiers of Bin Laden are Israel and India. It would be wrong to blame the US adventurism for the new threat with which India is now face to face. After all, our Kashmiri brethren have been dying at the hands of foreign mercenaries for more than a decade. The country must steel itself to face the grim reality. Two things must be understood. One, some terrorist attacks are inevitable. Constant vigil can minimise them, not eliminate them altogether. Two, there are ways and means to ensure that the damage is kept down to the minimum. That requires advance planning and close coordination. Unfortunately, India is ill prepared to deal with even an average exigency, let alone a full-blown crisis. Being scared won't serve any purpose. Being prepared will. The Union Health Ministry recently held a high-level meeting to take stock of the situation and finalise a plan of action. It is the nodal ministry to deal with biological warfare while the Ministry of Environment would look after preparedness against chemical weapons. All that the high-powered committee has done so far is to recommend extra beds in hospitals and storage of preventive medicines. Apparently, much more needs to be done. The general public has to fully cooperate with the government agencies in keeping an eye on suspicious people and not be scared out of their wits. A few mad men cannot hold the entire civilised world to ransom just by taking a poison bottle in hand.

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Thank you, Kapil

SOMETIMES a small gesture is all that it takes for someone to show his true worth. On Tuesday Kapil Dev did just that and in the process earned the respect of the cricket-crazy nation. The great all-rounder was, perhaps, not aware of the hurt he had caused to his countless fans when he announced that he would no longer have anything to do with the game that made him into a legend. Of course, the circumstances that prompted Kapil Dev to announce sanyas from cricket were rather unfortunate. It all began with an irresponsible piece of investigative journalism promoted by a Delhi-based weekly. The journal ignored all the established norms of fair journalism by going to town with an unsubstantiated version of involvement of some Indian circketers in fixing matches. It was based on accusations made by Manoj Prabhkar, a reasonably talented player. Why he started the controversy is not known. The initial reports did not mention players by name. However, Manoj Prabhakar and a senior cricket administrator from Punjab decided to drag in the name of Kapil Dev in the controversy. He was called a cheat and a crook. They did not care to look at the Haryana Hurricane's track record before levelling the charge of cheating against him. He is among the few players who worked on his personal fitness before the Indian cricket administration began hiring coaches for making players realise the importance of keeping fit. It would be unfair to presume that a player with that kind of commitment would want to remain fit so that he could continue to fix matches for money. It was under his captaincy that India became the first team from the sub-continent to win the World Cup by beating the mighty West Indians in a low-scoring at Lords in 1983.

Kapil Dev was, understandably, hurt and he made no effort to hide his emotions in the course of an interview to Karan Thapar for the BBC. He wept like a child while denying the charges levelled against by those who are themselves now being investigated for acts of wrong-doing. That is when he stunned the cricket-playing world by announcing complete sanyas from the game. However, the sportsman in him could not refuse a simple request for help from a group of young cricketers in Delhi, including Ashish Nehra, the medium pacer sidelined for the one-day series in South Africa due to injury. He was his usual affable self while offering useful tips to Nehra and others at the Kotla cricket stadium. The further good news for aspiring cricketers and Kapil Dev's fans is that the legendary all-rounder promised to help youngsters, if approached, in improving their game. Thank you Kapil for renewing your links with the game that you took to amazing new heights during your playing days. Don't snap ties with it again even under grave provocation.

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The label of ‘Rogue Army’
Musharraf’s problems after American action 
G. Parthasarathy

A number of Western newspapers like the New York Times carried announcements labelling the Pakistan army a “Rogue Army” during the Kargil conflict. These announcements noted that the Pakistan army had killed more of its own citizens in its operations against its own people in Bangladesh, Baluchistan, Sind and the Northern Areas than any other armed force in contemporary history, except perhaps that of Cambodia’s Pol Pot. It was also observed that the army’s intelligence establishment, the ISI, had developed links with terrorist groups worldwide and was working hand in glove with the Taliban in fomenting terrorism not only in Jammu and Kashmir but also in Central Asia, Chechnya, Algeria, Egypt, the Philippines and indeed across the globe. General Musharraf was outraged and blamed the Nawaz Sharif government for not doing enough to project a “correct image” of the Pakistan army. But as the American-led campaign against the Taliban gathers momentum, the skeletons in the ISI’s cupboard are now being exposed to international attention. The recent high-level changes in the Pakistan military establishment have to be seen in this light.

Coinciding with the commencement of American air strikes on Afghanistan, General Musharraf made the dramatic announcement that he was either superseding or sidelining his favourite “Three Musketeers” — Deputy Chief of Army Staff Lieut-Gen Muzaffar Hussain Usmani, ISI chief Lieut-Gen Mehmood Ahmad and Corps Commander (Lahore) Lieut-Gen Aziz Khan. But for the loyalty of these three officers, General Musharraf would perhaps have been cooling his heels in a jail in Nawabshah, as Mr Nawaz Sharif moved to dismiss him while he was on his way back to Pakistan from Colombo on October 12, 1999. If Gen Usmani arranged for General Musharraf to land safely in Karachi, General Aziz Khan ensured that the army remained solidly loyal to its chief, while troops under the command of General Mehmood Ahmad took over the television station and arrested Mr Nawaz Sharif.

In the dramatic changes announced by General Musharraf on October 7, he superseded General Usmani by promoting Chief of General Staff Mohammad Yousuf to the rank of a four-star General. General Yousuf became responsible for running the day-to-day affairs of the army as Vice Chief of Army Staff. General Mehmood was likewise superseded with the appointment of General Aziz as a four-star General. General Aziz, in turn, was effectively sidelined by being appointed to the largely ceremonial post of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. General Musharraf’s “Three Musketeers” are all known to have pro-Taliban and Islamist leanings. These changes have been effected largely to placate the USA as more and more evidence emerges of the linkages of the ISI with the hijackers of IC 814 and their connections with Mohammad Atta, who led the terrorists in their suicide missions in New York and Washington on September 11. The Americans are also none too pleased with General Mehmood’s performance in Kandahar when he accompanied a delegation of Pakistani clergymen who lauded Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden instead of asking for Osama to be handed over unconditionally.

As the military operations against the Taliban gain momentum, the role of the ISI-Taliban nexus in promoting terrorism in Central Asia, Chechnya and even in Algeria and Egypt is going to come more and more into sharper focus. The description of the Pakistan army as a “Rogue Army” is, therefore, increasingly being seen internationally as being more than justified. As General Musharraf is compelled to change course in his Afghanistan policy, he would like to persuade his mentors that he is indeed determined to rid the armed forces establishment of its Islamist leanings. It would, however, be naive to think that these changes would herald any shift in the Pakistan army establishment’s or General Musharraf’s compulsive hostility towards India. There has been some speculation in India about whether these developments could not lead to a takeover of the army in an Islamist-oriented middle-level coup. The Pakistan army is a disciplined, tradition-bound and hierarchical organisation and hence little scope for the emergence of a Nasser or a Gaddafi.

General Musharraf seems to have obtained the support of all mainstream political parties in Pakistan for his support for the Americans. Ms Benazir Bhutto’s PPP and Mr Nawaz Sharif’s PML have been traditionally pro-American. Mr Altaf Hussain’s Sind-based MQM sees the religious right wing parties as its main adversaries. As the religious right has chosen to support the Taliban, the cooperation of the MQM for General Musharraf’s stand in favour of the USA was only natural. In the strategic North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) bordering Afghanistan, the Awami National Party led by Badshah Khan’s grandson, Mr Asfandyar Wali Khan, has traditionally been supportive of former Afghan ruler Zahir Shah and has welcomed efforts to replace the Taliban with a broad-based government. But all these parties have to tread warily in their support for General Musharraf, as public opinion in Pakistan seems to be overwhelmingly opposed to the American-led strikes on Afghanistan. It would be highly misleading to believe that the views of the minuscule English-speaking liberal intelligentsia in Pakistan are in any way representative of mainstream public opinion. This is a mistake that many Indian analysts and journalists often make.

There have been widespread and violent demonstrations in virtually all the major cities of Pakistan following the commencement of the Anglo-American air strikes against the Taliban. Deobandi (Wahabi) religious parties like the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) led by Maulana Fazlur Rahman have spearheaded these demonstrations. These parties have been traditionally anti-American. While the Jamiat-e-Islami (JI) has also threatened to join the protests, its leader Qazi Hussain Ahmad will do so more out of respect to the sentiments of his cadres than out of conviction. The JI has endeavoured to maintain close links with the Americans, with the Qazi being a regular visitor to the USA. A similar approach has been adopted by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP), a Barelvi, Sunni party, that enjoys the most widespread political support in Pakistan. Interestingly, the Shia organisations in Pakistan like their counterparts in India have been hostile to the virulently anti-Shia Taliban and to Osama. There have been outbreaks of Shia-Sunni violence in Karachi in recent days. This could escalate, especially if the ISI chooses to exacerbate sectarian tensions to divert public attention as it has done in the days of General Zia. But even without embarking on a common platform, the religious right has been giving General Musharraf sleepless nights as their violent demonstrations force the closure of shops and schools across the country’s urban centres.

Pakistan is today going through turbulent times. While the General expectation is that the differences among the religious parties will enable General Musharraf to overcome religious opposition, things could get out of hand if the military operations against the Taliban, likely to last months, result in large-scale civilian casualties. Given the international condemnation that the October 1 attack in Srinagar provoked, the ISI-sponsored jehadi groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad are likely to lie low in the coming weeks. But the military establishment will soon give them a free hand to attack Indian security forces in J&K even as they avoid incidents that could provoke a strong international or Indian response.

In the meantime, it is important that New Delhi gets its act together by participating actively in diplomatic efforts to establish a broad-based and representative government in Afghanistan. It is a pity that despite our granaries overflowing with stocks of wheat, we have not yet even made an offer to provide emergency supplies of wheat for the long-suffering people of Afghanistan. This is surely not the response of a country that seeks to assert its role as a major regional power.

The writer is India’s former High Commissioner to Pakistan.

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IN THE NEWS

Pitroda and telecom revolution

Satyanarayan Gangaram Pitroda, popularly known as Sam Pitroda, brought about a telecommunications revolution in the country. This happened when he was riding high during Rajiv Gandhi’s Prime Ministership. He was in India recently to receive the Lal Bahadur Shastri Award for his outstanding contribution to telecommunications and harnessing it for social and economic transformation.

In a tête-à-tête with old friends in the media, Sam emphasised that accessibility and not density should be the focus of implementing the telecommunications policy. By providing access to large sections of the public, Sam Pitroda revolutionised telecommunications in the country.

Born in remote Titaligarh village in Orissa which had no electricity, Sam spent his childhood without knowing how to use a telephone set.

The telecommunications wizard, born to Gujarati parents, left for the USA in 1964 with less than $ 400 in his pocket. He cherished a dream and returned to India in 1984 to realise it as a multi-millionaire with over 50 patents.

Sam believes that the railways can earn several hundred crores of rupees if it used its resources efficiently for generating revenue. He had no doubt that information technology holds the key as far as the Indian Railways is concerned for harnessing human resources, increasing productivity and efficiency as well as providing value-added services. Is anyone in the Railway Ministry listening?

Vijay Goel comes a long way

As the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Vijay Goel has come a long way. It was barely a decade ago when he came into big-time politics and got the BJP ticket for the Delhi Sadar Lok Sabha constituency. He emerged a giant killer, defeating Congress heavyweight and former Union Minister Jagdish Tytler.

In the next general election, Mr Vijay Goel was made to contest from Chandni Chowk — A tough constituency for a BJP aspirant as it has a large number of Muslim voters. He, however, triumphed. Despite all the heroics, most BJP insiders viewed his chances of being in the Atal Behari Vajpayee Council of Ministers as non-existent. This was particularly so because of a number of senior BJP leaders from Delhi like Mr Madan Lal Khurana, Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Mr Sahib Singh Verma waiting hawkishly for a ministerial berth at the Centre. Mr Goel proved political pundits wrong when the Prime Minister inducted him in his jumbo Council of Ministers on September 1. The humiliation of the sulking trio — Mr Khurana, Mr Malhotra and Mr Verma — was complete. And to make matters worse, Mr Goel got the prestigious job of working as Mr Vajpayee’s junior in the PMO.

Needless to say, Mr Goel is on cloud nine. In the allocation of work, the Prime Minister has assigned him coordination of parliamentary work, overseeing the Lucknow constituency, corresponding with the states and handling the flood of letters pertaining to public grievances. The Prime Minister seems to have a soft corner for this erstwhile Delhi University Students Union president.

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Birth politics in America

THE recent move to propagate Caesarean-section deliveries as a “safer option” for women who have already had one Caesarean-section, has had midwives in the USA up in arms.

They allege that this is healthcare politics at play, that what is more harmful for a woman is a previous Caesarean — how it was performed and the administering of synthetic labour-inducing hormones — rather than a normal delivery after a Caesarean.

An increasing number of women want less routine technological intervention, more cost-effective, family-oriented births and the affirmation that birth is a normal life event, not a medical emergency. WFS

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TRENDS & POINTERS

Indian admits to fabricating kidnap

An Indian American charged with fabricating a story about his own kidnapping last July has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge.

Karan Kumar, (44), a businessman based in Long Island, New York, pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct and also agreed to pay the police the $17,255 it cost to investigate the case. The New York Times reported.

Last summer, Kumar — a prominent figure in Indian American and Republican circles — mysteriously disappeared for 48 hours. His family called the police and reported him missing. Two days later, he telephoned his wife from a park in Valley Stream to say he had been abducted.

Kumar later told the police he had been kidnapped from the parking lot of a diner in Syosset, where he was at a business meeting. He said three men had ambushed him, put a vinyl bag over his head and held him in a musty room for two days, before dropping him off at the park.

While the police began investigating the case immediately, they said they had several problems with Kumar’s story. For example, he could not tell them why he had been abducted or let go.

Later, a cab driver told the police that Kumar had flagged him down in Flushing, Queens and asked for a ride to the Valley Stream park.

Approximately three weeks later, Kumar was charged with making a false written statement, which carries a penalty of up to a year in jail.

The police said Kumar admitted that he had staged the kidnapping, hoping it would prompt them to investigate who was behind several fliers and articles in Indian American newspapers that had claimed Kumar was involved in crime.

Kumar lives in Syosset with his wife and five children. IANS

Gen K.V. Krishna Rao on Bluestar

Gen K.V. Krishna Rao (retd) has come out with a book “In the Service of the Nation: Reminiscences” which takes a searching look at issues related to national security requirements, governance and qualities of leadership.

Particularly interesting are General Krishna Rao’s views on Operation Bluestar. He writes:

“...The Prime Minister (Mrs. Indira Gandhi) was feeling sad that so many lives had been lost and that so much devastation had occurred. She said she has never imagined that things would turn out this way. When I asked her whether she had a thorough briefing from the Army commander concerned and the chief before the operation, she said that after my advice to her, she did get one. However, when I asked her if the possibility of using tanks and guns was visualised and brought out, she said that the briefing did not include, such a contingency. I told her that I advised a prior briefing only for the purpose of discussing the various contingencies that could arise and as to how they would be dealt with, so that if some action by the Army was not politically acceptable, she could direct so. The Army would then consider alternative methods.

“This shows how important it is that the political leadership should be fully apprised of the situations that can arise while carrying out such complex security operations, so that the choice is left to them to decide whether to go through with the operation or find other courses of action. Since the damage had already been done, I suggested to her certain measures for assuaging feelings and normalising the situation as early as possible, which she appreciated....” TNS

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OF LIFE SUBLIME

Towards a better life
Acharya Mahaprajna

THANKS to our sense organs, to observe others and learn about them is one of our natural habits. Contrary to this, the main aim of meditation is self-discovery. It may be called self-management. Comparing the spiritual term self-management with the modern western concept of personal management, we find that our ancient spiritual thought is being expressed in a new context, using new phraseology.

The first topic in self-management concerns the drawing of one’s life map. Its underlying principle is, ‘who am I?’ Maharishi Ramana used to repeat it very often. It reminds us of the first lesson of Mahavira’s Achaang Sutra — who am I? Where have I come from and in which state am I at present? Where do I have to go from here? The same truth has been expressed differently in a different context. No thinking is possible by keeping oneself out altogether. Self-observation is imperative. Behind all success, industrial, political, religious, lies self-observation.

The second principle of self-management is studying one’s decisions. Man conducts himself on the basis of his beliefs. He believes and decides that one thing is good while another is bad and acts accordingly. Judging the person facing us is not easy. But as one has formed an opinion either about oneself or others, all behaviour will be guided by that opinion. Opinion or belief becomes the criterion for viewing ourselves and others.

The third principle of self-management is viewing through others’ beliefs. It is a difficult task. Going by others’ opinion, an individual either boosts his ego or feels condemned, depending on whether he receives praise or criticism.

A very important principle of self-management is developing one’s competence. See all that there is in you — strong as well as weak points. Do not regard yourself either inferior or superior. Make a correct appraisal of facts and then develop your competence, will-power, imagination, cognition, memory and insight. All these are related to prekshadhyan.

According to prekshadhyan, one should develop imagination, but should not abuse it. Power is certainly developed, but if it is wasted, its development is neutralised. Choose the right time for the right work. If imagination intrudes into cogitation, the latter will become useless. If imagination intrudes into eating, both will lose their quality. Thanam Sutra says let the mind concentrate on only one thing at a time. The skill to plan and manage things in this manner is best acquired through meditation. Practice to do one and only one thing at a time.

One of the problems of today is the weakening of memory. We know of young students with memory worse than that of some octogenarians. The reason lies in obstructions to remembering things, which weaken and impair our memory. If the emphasis on ‘only’ in the preceding paragraph is fully understood, the problem of poor memory will disappear.

One of the principles of management is self-planning or living an orderly and a systematic life. Lord Mahavira laid down a code of conduct comprising 12 vows for the householder. This is in reality a code of self-planning. One element of self-management is ‘managing your needs’. It was on this basis that Mahavira gave his code. Acquiring wealth is essential. So are food, water, clothing and shelter. But along with these, proper ordering of one’s needs is also essential. We mistake all our needs as necessities. After all, what is the criterion for defining our necessities? A little reflection will severely limit our needs. If a man has the competence, he should be able to limit his needs.

Misleading arguments are given in favour of acquiring wealth. It is said that a factory-owner has to do it, else how will he give employment to the workers? However, this is a specious argument. And this idea has lured people and also misguided them. In reality, every individual has his own task to perform. Our Prime Minister gave a new direction to the Panchsheel programme. The five-point programme of Panchsheel has been freshly defined. The main thrust is on rural development. Gandhiji said that every person must have his own work to do. Spinning was not an absolutely new discovery. But the most important point was that every person must have the means to earn his livelihood or satisfy his basic needs.

Gandhiji made the spinning wheel the symbol of individual labour and self-employment. Unfortunately, the lesson has not been understood. The plain fact is that if the motive behind opening large factories was to provide a living to a large number of people, why are mechanisation and nationalisation, including computerisation and the use of robots being increasingly introduced, for they do just the opposite of the proclaimed aim. They result in large-scale redundancies and retrenchment. All these things are done for self-aggrandisement and personal glory.

Another element of self-management is planning and organisation of communication. Reaching out to others is an art. The quality of a man’s communication is reflected in his behaviour.

All this leads to one conclusion. Roads may be different, the destination is the same, viz, the soul. One who has succeeded in understanding spirituality will automatically learn the art of self-management. In the absence of such understanding, one will have to resort to a roundabout way (Dravidi Pranayam).

Timely thinking and taking a decision is very difficult. Taking a decision is possible only by looking inwards. The main principle of prekshadhyan has been the development of insight. The same is the case with the development of imagination. Both thinking and imagining need controlling. Our ultimate aim is to reach a state of mind free from all cogitation. The practitioner of dhyan has also to organise himself to get success. Dhyan result in failure in the absence of self-organisation or control.

Western scholars have not talked of self-management in the context of spirituality. Self-management came into being to help people earn success in organising industries. But self-management is in reality the means of achieving a distant goal. Therefore, people undertaking dhyan should simultaneously understand the principle of self-management. They should learn how to organise all the energy they have and also the different stages of life.

Childhood, youth, middle age and old age are four stages of life. The fifth stage is death. There has to be proper planning for all these stages. The experiences of childhood should be made use of at 20. Those of youth should be made use of at 50. Young people have enough strength to sit down and meditate for two hours at a stretch. Maybe it is not possible at 70. Therefore, planning for the seventies and beyond should be done while one is young. Yoga calls for developing a few powers — Tratak (gazing fixedly at an object) and Kundalini (divine cosmic energy) etc. These are best developed during youth, because in old age, cells degenerate and the vital energy diminishes. Therefore, we derive an important principle of self-management — Do proper planning of your health and vital energy.

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Life is a journey in the darkness of the night.

***

What is human life?

A bubble on a torrent produced by the rain, which dances and balances itself gaily on the waves, full of new life. And suddenly it bursts and disappears leaving no trace to mark hereafter the place that for a few moments it had occupied.

***

Dew drops fall on the large leaves of a lotus they remain there trembling for a brief moment and then glide one this way and one another way and disappear. Such is life.

***

Life is no more than a drop of water which shines upon a flower and even as it sparkles, glides away and disappears, and all our actions are no more than clouds reflected in a dew drop; they are dreams that pass and disappear with the dreamer.

***

The world is dream and resembles a flower in bloom which shakes out to all its sides its pollen and then no longer is.

***

Men direct their gaze upon fugitive appearances and the transitory brilliance of this world of the senses and they lend no attention to the immutable Reality which remains unknown to them.

***

Space exists only in relation to our particularisation and has no real self existence.

***

The body is like a bubbling on the surface of water; sensation is like its form; perception resembles a mirage; consciousness is like a hallucination.

***

He who has overcome attachment both to sense objects and to actions, and who is free from ego-instigated plannings - that man is said to have attained firm union of soul with Spirit.

— The Bhagavat Gita, VI: 4

***

The glutton digs his grave with his teeth.

—An English proverb

***

A good meal ought to be preceded by hunger

—A French proverb

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