Thursday, November 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India






National Capital Region--Delhi

E D I T O R I A L   P A G E


EDITORIALS

Denness stumps cricket
M
ost members of the English cricket team currently in India wanted to skip the tour for security reasons. The British High Commissioner to India specially flew down to London to assure the cricket administrators and players that the developments in Afghanistan were not likely to be a source of threat to the safety of the English players during their tour of India.

Poverty of programmes
E
veryone knew that all poverty alleviation programmes are ineffective, if not a hoax, and the beneficiaries are middlemen and very junior local officials. No, says a top Planning Commission official. 

Should octroi go?
T
he Punjab and Haryana High Court, in a ruling on Monday, cleared the way for the Punjab Government to abolish octroi. But will octroi go finally? And should it go? The issue of octroi abolition is contentious and of far-reaching significance. 



EARLIER ARTICLES

Call back the cricketers
November 21
, 2001
PM’s sangat darshan
November 20
, 2001
Politics of POTO
November 19
, 2001
Maharaja Ranjit Singh: Punjab’s benevolent ruler
November 18
, 2001
The Afghan endgame
November 17
, 2001
Doha resurrects WTO
November 16
, 2001
Quieter Divali
November 14
, 2001
Bin Laden’s bluster
November 13
, 2001
India’s major gains
November 12
, 2001
POTO is a must to tackle terrorism 
November 11
, 2001
Severe blow to farmers
November 10
, 2001
Anandgarh & Sainik Farms
November 9
, 2001
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
 
OPINION

Campaign against Taliban, Al-Qaeda
Pakistan’s debacle in Afghanistan
G. Parthasarathy
S
peaking on Pakistan’s independence day on August 14 less than a month before the horrendous terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, General Pervez Musharraf proclaimed: “The Taliban are the dominant reality in Afghanistan and the international community should engage, rather than isolate them”. 

IN THE NEWS

Kapil back to his “first love”
A
fter nearly 18 months of self-imposed ‘‘sanyaas’’ from cricket, Kapil Dev, who along with Sunil Gavaskar, should be among the leading lights in international cricket of all times, has decided to return to his ‘‘first love’’. When the match-fixing scandal rocked international as well as Indian cricket, Kapil, who was then the coach of the Indian cricket squad, too had been drawn into the quagmire. 

  • Gowda’s plans go awry

OF LIFE SUBLIME

It shall be a folly to cry foul
J. L. Gupta
N
o one is perfect. No one can be always right. Everyone can err. The mortal man is not exempted from making mistakes. We know it. Still, we go on finding fault. At all times. With anyone and everyone. Even when it is not necessary to do so. Or it is, at least, avoidable. No? We are all willing critics. Not of ourselves. Or of what we do. Of only others. 

‘Romance’ and ‘Temptation’ on TV
Z
ee Telefilms is working on a “adventure reality show” titled “Romance Adventure Aap Aur Hum,” likely to go on air by December-end. “The show captures emotions of five ordinary couples by testing their physical, mental and emotional endurance against backdrop of exotic locales,” Nikhil Alva, CEO of Miditech TV, the producer for the show, told IANS.

A CENTURY OF NOBELS

1922, Peace: FRIDTJOF NANSEN

TRENDS & POINTERS

‘Fish oil can cure mental disorders’
R
emember your mother telling you: “Eat your fish. It’s good for your brain.”
She may just have been right. Scientists think they have evidence that fish oil could cure mental disorders such as depression and dyslexia — conditions increasingly common in the Western world.

  • This is a nice way to get married

SPIRITUAL NUGGETS

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Denness stumps cricket

Most members of the English cricket team currently in India wanted to skip the tour for security reasons. The British High Commissioner to India specially flew down to London to assure the cricket administrators and players that the developments in Afghanistan were not likely to be a source of threat to the safety of the English players during their tour of India. He was right. That some senior players chose to opt out of the tour in spite of the assurances of safety is a different story. However, the unprecedented action that a former England player, Mr Mike Denness, has taken against more than half the Indian team during the second cricket Test match against South Africa at Port Elizabeth may cast a dark shadow on the yet-to-commence India-England Test and one-day series. As word gets around about Mr Denness' country of birth irate cricket fans may decide to take out their anger on the English players. Although England captain Nasser Hussain was at his diplomatic best while fielding questions on the development that may put into jeopardy the very future of international circket in its present biased and partisan form. If the England team's tour of India ends on an unhappy note, Mr Denness and not the Afghan conflict would be responsible for it. The average Indian cricket fan's scale of anger and outrage at the unjustified action by Mr Denness in his capacity as international match referee for the South Africa-India series can be gauged from the reaction of the team members. They wanted to return home immediately rather than wait for the second Test to be over. There was even talk of playing the final Test with just 10 players if the unjustified one-game suspension slapped on Virendra Sehwag was not withdrawn. And why not?

The credit for restraining the angry team members from taking the extreme step goes to President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India Jagmohan Dalmiya. He told them to stay put in South Africa while he did a bit of necessary tough-talking at an emergency meeting of the BCCI. A close reading of the statement issued by him should leave no scope for doubt that the fate of the third and final Test between South Africa and India would depend on the International Cricket Council's response to the ultimatum served on it by Mr Dalmiya. The BCCI's stand is indeed tough, but apparently not tough enough to make the ICC realise the importance of revamping the entire structure of international cricket for avoiding the kind of controversy that erupted at Port Elizabeth. Removing Mr Denness as match referee may not be enough. He too should be asked to explain to the ICC the reasons that prompted him to stop short of banning half the Indian cricket team from playing in the Third Test. The umpires did not complain about the on-field conduct or misconduct of the six players against whom action has been taken. The South African players did not complain. Mr Denness, indeed, has a lot of explaining to do. He was reportedly in such a nasty mood that he even gave a dressing down to Rahul Dravid for not being a good deputy to Saurav Ganguly! International cricket may remember him as a match referee who brought avoidable disrepute to the game.
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Poverty of programmes

Everyone knew that all poverty alleviation programmes are ineffective, if not a hoax, and the beneficiaries are middlemen and very junior local officials. No, says a top Planning Commission official. Secretary N.C.Saxena traces the fault to three sources. All schemes are unfeasible, that means they cannot reach the poor and provide them help. Two, there is no administrative mechanism to deliver the benefit to the poor and, three, the states which are the implementing agencies have no funds either to build infrastructure or a delivery system. The result is alarming. The poor are getting poorer. And they are in very backward states like Orissa, Bihar, eastern UP and Rajasthan. Concentration of the economically deprived but culturally rich people in congested pockets spells risks of social unrest, if not combustion. As Mr Saxena explains, various Union Ministries spend about Rs 35,000 crore on fighting poverty. If this amount is distributed directly to the 25 crore very poor, they can buy three kilos of foodgrains daily from the open market at Rs 7.50 a kilo. If this is sustained over the 10th Five Year Plan, poverty level will come down by 10 percentage points – from the present 26 per cent to about 15 per cent. Increasing poverty in certain states in rural India cannot be fought with the present mindset. Economic growth at the national level is calculated by measuring industrial and service sectors performance. The poor in villages have no role to play in this growth and receive no benefit. The point is to involve them in economic growth and ensure that they gain from it. Mr Saxena does not say it but from the way industrialisation is going on, the rural poor have no chance of participating in it for years. With the FCI playing tricks, even a robust increase in farm output will not help them.

Not only pro-poor schemes do not succeed but they also create fresh problems. Take, for instance, the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), under which banks distributed money to ruralites to supplement their income by buying cows and buffaloes or setting up small service centres. These ventures have collapsed for a variety of reasons and farmers are saddled with heavy debts. Instead of being of any help, the IRDP loan has added to the misery of the rural people. Some of the employment guarantee programmes have proved to be a perfect waste of money or a gift to the rural rich. For instance, in the mid-seventies the Planning Commission found the Maharashtra scheme helped rich landlords in the western part of the state to get irrigation to their fields, though the landless poor did not draw any benefit. In other states the so-called food-for-work programmes have ended up as thoroughly useless exercises or as enriching the contractors. Despite this, Mr Saxena, a committed campaigner against rural poverty, recommends the revival of the food-for-work programme in the name of the creating community assets. Sadly, there is no scope for this in the highly populated states in the Hindi hinterland. 
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Should octroi go?

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, in a ruling on Monday, cleared the way for the Punjab Government to abolish octroi. But will octroi go finally? And should it go? The issue of octroi abolition is contentious and of far-reaching significance. There is urban chaos in Punjab. Towns and cities are growing wildly. Civic amenities are woefully inadequate to meet the needs of a growing population. Infrastructure is on the verge of collapse. Roads cry out for repairs. Electricity supply is irregular. Water shortage is common. The sewerage is either non-existent or malfunctioning in most cities and towns. New colonies are coming up haphazardly. No one seems to be in charge. To clear this civic mess, municipal corporations and committees need to be strengthened. New sources of income have to be generated. If octroi, which is the chief source of their revenue, is removed, what alternative sources of income will they be left with? Quite a few municipal bodies, including the one in Mohali, have already put on hold vital development works anticipating a fall in their revenue. Who will benefit from the octroi abolition? The traders only because they are unlikely to pass on the benefit to the consumer. If traders need relief, there can be other ways of helping them like cheaper credit and better marketing facilities and regular power supply. It is true that the present method of octroi collection is a source of harassment, and octroi evasion and corruption are rampant. But these are problems which don’t defy a solution. Private collection of octroi is being tried at some places. Alternatively, it is proposed to raise existing civic taxes, but that means giving it with one hand and taking it away with the other.

So any decision on the subject has to be carefully weighed. It is doubtful whether the Punjab Government has undertaken any deep study of the implications its decision will have on the chaotic state of civic affairs. The timing of the announcement of octroi abolition has also raised eyebrows. Punjab is set to go to the polls in coming February. For a greater part of its tenure, the Badal government slept over the issue. Even the traders who are expected to benefit from octroi removal had almost forgotten it. Then suddenly one day the state government decided to revive the demand. A thoughtful ruling political leadership decided to activate its vote-bank. The announcement evoked a mixed response. Some concerned parties took the issue to the court where one of the counter-argument was that the petitioners’ apprehensions were premature since no formal decision had been taken. Does it mean the government is not serious about octroi removal, but only raising the issue for electoral gains?
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Campaign against Taliban, Al-Qaeda
Pakistan’s debacle in Afghanistan
G. Parthasarathy

Speaking on Pakistan’s independence day on August 14 less than a month before the horrendous terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, General Pervez Musharraf proclaimed: “The Taliban are the dominant reality in Afghanistan and the international community should engage, rather than isolate them”. There were good reasons why General Musharraf could then smugly make this assertion. The mutually reinforcing ISI-Taliban nexus was providing his government the “strategic depth” to promote “jihadi” violence by groups like the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Lashkar-e-Toiba. The extreme Islamist elements in his armed forces establishment protected by the likes of General Hamid Gul were delighted at their role in promoting terrorist activities worldwide in the name of religion, from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Chechnya to Algeria, Egypt, the Philippines and Indonesia. There was also good money flow for his military establishment from narcotics grown in Afghanistan.

Things changed dramatically after September 11. Faced with an American ultimatum that if he did not extend unconditional support, his country would be made bankrupt and his nuclear arsenal taken out, General Musharraf quickly fell in line and became the darling of the western world. Rulers from President Bush to Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Schroeder rushed to embrace him. The United Nations Secretary-General gave him a seat on the high table. Promises of huge economic assistance were made. Pakistan was once again given the status of a “frontline state” in promoting western strategic objectives. The hitherto isolated General started believing that he was Pakistan’s new Messiah, destined to lead his country to prosperity and a leadership role in South and Southwest Asia. All this was also so heady for the author and architect of Kargil that he even brashly asserted that India should “lay off” Afghanistan. In the process he forgot that his predecessors like Field Marshal Ayub Khan, General Yahya Khan and General Zia-ul-Haq had also traversed this road and come to grief in the past.

General Musharraf’s calculation was that American military power would quickly eliminate Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and his close associates and the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. He would then get the Americans to establish a government headed by some “moderate Taliban” leaders like Jalaluddin Haqqani (the Taliban military commander) and Foreign Minister Mutawakil. In the meantime, the ISI’s continuing contacts with the Taliban and the assistance of its jihadis to the Taliban would ensure that the Northern Alliance would be kept in check and independent-minded Pashtuns like Abdul Haq eliminated. What is surprising is that despite his Kargil misadventure General Musharraf still remained a babe in the woods in both his military and diplomatic assesssments. It should have been evident to the General that the soft and reassuring words he heard from Secretary of State Colin Powell alluding to American reservations about the Northern Alliance were meaningless once the Pentagon found that its military objectives of degrading and destroying the Taliban and Al-Qaeda could not be achieved without the support of the Alliance. And this is precisely what happened.

Backed by the might of American air power, the Alliance cut through the Taliban defences and overran resistance in crucial centres like Mazaar-e-Sharif, Kabul, Taloqan and Herat. Even in the Pashtun-dominated provinces bordering Pakistan like Nangarhar, the Taliban have been driven out and replaced not by General Musharraf’s nominees, but by local Pashtun commanders allied in the past to the Northern Alliance. Haji Qader, brother of betrayed and slain Abdul Haq, has been nominated as Governor of Nangarhar province with Jalalabad as its capital. The new Pashtun leadership in the southern provinces taking on the Taliban comprises warlords who have deeply distrusted each other in the past. All this has been accompanied by outpourings of anti-Pakistani sentiments within Afghanistan being shown daily on global television networks. Hundreds of Pakistan jihadis have been killed in American air strikes and by the Northern Alliance. Gruesome scenes of Afghans rejoicing over the bodies of slain Pakistanis have been witnessed in television programmes by ordinary Pakistanis. What must have been particularly shocking to the Pakistanis was that such contempt and hatred for their countrymen was not being manifested by the much-reviled Indians or Americans, but by fellow Muslims for whom they believed they had made many sacrifices. The Punjabi-dominated Pakistan army has massacred Bangladeshis, Baluchis, Sindhis and Muhajirs in the past. But General Musharraf’s betrayal of his erstwhile Pashtun Taliban allies will raise misgivings in the minds of Pashtuns on both sides of Durand Line.

As the America-led military operations intensify close to Pakistan’s borders, fears have grown about the influx of armed Taliban fighters and their Arab, Chechen and Pakistani associates into the tribal areas of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province. Following a meeting with the Governors and Corps Commanders of the NWFP and Baluchistan on November 16, General Musharraf has ordered the setting up of a stringent three-layered security cover on Pakistan’s borders with Afghanistan to check illegal cross-border movements. Formations of the Pakistan army have been moved to frontline positions on the Pak-Afghan border in the tribal areas, Chaman and in the Torkham belt near the Khyber Pass. They will reinforce personnel of the Frontier Force and other paramilitary formations. They include infantry, armoured personnel carriers, tanks and attack and reconnaissance helicopters. The military rulers in Rawalpindi are obviously getting jittery about the prospects of the American war against terrorism spreading into Pakistan. This is also evident from the manner in which Pakistan has unilaterally withdrawn the facilities accorded traditionally to landlocked Afghanistan for duty-free imports.

While the rapid disintegration of the Taliban has shocked the supporters of these so-called brave warriors in Pakistan, what has been even more galling is the feeling that in its desire to gain international strategic importance because of its geographic location, Pakistan has sold itself cheap yet again. The unkindest cut of all amidst all this has been the growing international recognition that India has a positive and constructive role to play in the emerging scenario in Afghanistan. What Pakistan’s military establishment repeatedly fails to understand is that a country that cannot govern itself in a civilised democratic manner and requires constant injections of foreign economic assistance to avoid bankruptcy cannot aspire to play meaningful role in the international arena. Despite pledges of foreign assistance, the Pakistan economy is unlikely to grow at a rate significantly higher than the 2.6 per cent it achieved last year. Clarion calls for jihad and so-called “freedom struggles” are not exactly the tonics that will promote foreign and domestic investment and economic prosperity.

The campaign against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda has yet some way to go before one can assert that Afghanistan is no longer a breeding ground for international terrorism. The Northern Alliance may have established itself in Kabul, but has yet to prove that it can show the requisite statesmanship for genuine political accommodation or for effective governance. Pakistan and other players like Russia and Iran have conflicting priorities and interests. Thus, even as we stabilise our links with the Northern Alliance, it is important for India to reach out to those who wield influence among the Pashtuns.

It would best serve our interests to adopt a low-key and behind-the-scenes role in the efforts to establish a broad-based government in Afghanistan. At the same time, it is imperative that mechanisms are put in place to ensure that our economic and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan starts moving immediately. Apart from food and relief supplies, it is imperative that medical personnel, equipment and funds are provided to re-establish the demolished Indira Gandhi Hospital in Kabul as a premier medical centre in Afghanistan. Similar assistance can be extended in centres like Jalalabad, Herat and Mazaar-e-Sharif. Our interests are best served in Afghanistan when its people feel that we are a non-interfering, non-intrusive and helpful friend.
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IN THE NEWS

Kapil back to his “first love”

After nearly 18 months of self-imposed ‘‘sanyaas’’ from cricket, Kapil Dev, who along with Sunil Gavaskar, should be among the leading lights in international cricket of all times, has decided to return to his ‘‘first love’’.

When the match-fixing scandal rocked international as well as Indian cricket, Kapil, who was then the coach of the Indian cricket squad, too had been drawn into the quagmire. He was named as one of the ‘‘match fixers’’ and the CBI had raided his house and business premises. All this had a very profound impact on the best allrounder the game has ever produced. He quit his job as the coach, wept openly in front of TV cameras and vowed that he would have nothing to do with the game which had given him so much. Subsequently, he was cleared of all charges of match-fixing but he steadfastly struck to his stand of having ‘‘nothing to do with cricket’’.

It was on November 2, 1994, that Kapil Dev, who has played 131 Test matches and 220 one-day internationals, bid farewell to the game. In Test cricket he had scored 5,248 runs with the help of eight centuries and 27 half-centuries and had claimed 424 wickets . (When he hung up his boots Kapil was the highest wicket taker in Test cricket. This record was later overtaken by West Indian Courtney Walsh). His record in one-day was equally impressive— 3783 runs, 253 wickets. But more than the record he will always be remembered for his heroics in the 1983 World Cup when he took India to the pinnacle of glory by his own personal example. Seldom in Indian cricket has a captain done so much for the team.

His decision to renew his ties with cricket will certainly do a world of good to Indian cricket. He has volunteered his services to train the fast bowlers for the 2003 World Cup to be held in South Africa, but in the same breath he has announced that there was no question of coaching the Indian team ( so New Zealander John Wright can breath a little easy).

Indian cricket should benefit from Kapil Dev. But for this turnaround all credit should be given to the new BCCI President, Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya, who could convince him to ‘‘return to cricket’’. During his forced hibernation from cricket Kapil was turning out to become a more than average golfer. Cricket's gain could well be golf's loss!

Gowda’s plans go awry

In the last few weeks, former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda has been desparately trying to come to political limelight but without much success. He undertook a padayatra recently from Vitlehalli in Channapatna taluk in Mysore district of Karnataka where two farmers were killed in police firing in connection with the neera (farmers tap it from coconut trees) agitation while vowing to expose the “political background” which led to the firing. The 80-km-long padayatra (spread over five days with four night halts en route) from Vitlehalli to Bangalore drew good response from the villagers, especially farmers.

In fact, farmers loudly cheered Mr Deve Gowda who covered his head with a white towel, typical of Kannada farmers while grazing cattle. What took villagers by surprise was the amazing speed of the 70-year-old leader during the padayatra. While he was speeding fast without any sign of tiredness (reports say, he was speeding like a car), his partymen belonging to the Janata Dal (Secular), SPG members, rural police and others had a tough time keeping pace with him. On the way, a doctor checked his BP level, besides his heart condition.

The Congress leaders have taken serious objection to the padayatra. Karnataka Chief Minister S.M. Krishna has criticised Mr Deve Gowda for having politicised the farmers’ issue and undertaken the padayatra in protest against the police firing. Referring to Mr Deve Gowda’s criticism of his government on the issue of farmers, Mr Krishna said that nobody had a “monopoly” over protecting the interests of farmers and that Mr Deve Gowda’s concern at farmers’ welfare “may not be genuine”.

It was expected in the political circles that Mr Deve Gowda’s successful padayatra would help improve the performance of his party candidates in the recent elections to the Bangalore City Corporation (BCC). He viewed it as a “do-or-die” battle and launched a “spirited campaign” for his party candidates to gain control of the BCC (it is perhaps for the first time that a former Prime Minister had campaigned for corporation elections). However, the poor show by his partymen in the BCC elections has hit his plans to rehabilitate himself politically. The Janata Dal (S) could win only 11 of the 91 wards that it had contested. The Congress secured absolute majority by bagging 54 wards. As if this is not enough, Mr Deve Gowda has now raised the issue of land-grabbing mafia controlling Karnataka. “If I don’t prove it, I will retire from politics”, he says.Top

 
OF LIFE SUBLIME

It shall be a folly to cry foul
J. L. Gupta

No one is perfect. No one can be always right. Everyone can err. The mortal man is not exempted from making mistakes. We know it. Still, we go on finding fault. At all times. With anyone and everyone. Even when it is not necessary to do so. Or it is, at least, avoidable. No?

We are all willing critics. Not of ourselves. Or of what we do. Of only others. And the creed of critics is growing. Like cancer. Everyone is ever ready to commence the combat. In fact, digging up of dirt starts with the daybreak. And the cant of criticism is continuous. There is an unending tirade. All leading to a man made misery. At the individual as well as the collective level.

Resultantly, it is no wonder that today man is fighting with man. Everywhere. An individual against another. One nation is pitched against the other. America against Afghanistan. India against Pakistan. There are disputes at the domestic, national and international levels. Over everything. There is no effort to resolve. No negotiations. No peaceful settlement. Only through use of brute force. Violence has vitiated the entire environment.

Is this the way man should treat another man? Is it in conformity with the basic tenets of a civilised society? Can we hope to help anyone by adopting such an attitude? Or have we, as a people, decided not to innovate and improve but to divide and destroy?

It is true that no two beings are alike. There are differences. Of caste and colour. Of habits and way of living. In fact, of every kind. At all levels. Even of food and forms of government. But this is not a recent discovery. People of the world are fully aware of it. Everyone knows this truth.

Still, what do we hope to achieve by being critical of every thing? Or is everyone trying to show that he is better than the other? Is everyone wanting to be one up? Should we not learn to enjoy the heterogeneity and try to create homogeneity in the world? Is not development better than destruction? Should we not prefer peace to war?

Usually the underdeveloped people have an over developed arrogance and ego. Thus, the tendency to blow one’s own trumpet. To look down upon everyone who acts, eats, talks, thinks or works differently. Or runs his affairs in another way. But it is not a sign of civility. Nor a helpful trend. Nor the right way to resolve conflicts.

We need to realise that no one is perfect. There is some evil in everyone. In each one of us. Equally, there is bound to be some good in everyone. Thus, it is not proper for any one of us to talk ill of the other. We do not need to censor, complain and criticise. Or decry, detract and disparage. We do not have to hunt for blemishes or look for faults. Envy can only fill the mind with evil. Malice always makes a man dumb and mute. We must learn to praise our fellow beings. Learn to pay them the wage for their virtue. We must commend. Not condemn. If we continue to deprecate, we shall only destroy the thin thread that holds the people together for some degree of mutual good.

Sometimes situations can be simply slippery. A little effort can avoid a catastrophe. A congenial atmosphere can prove conclusive. A harsh word can lead to hard feelings. It can do a lot of avoidable damage. Discreet silence can do good. A smile can say more than a million words. It can create and convey genuine goodwill. When there is tension, it would be advisable to hold back our tongues and not ventilate our anger.

Time is a great teacher. Individuals learn from experience. People change with the passage of time. But it takes decades to develop. To grow. Nations like individuals take time to mature. Slowly the states grow. Pass through a lot of pain before making their presence felt in the comity of nations. In the process, people forge their own fetters to meet different situations.

One of the commandments that govern man is that he who accuses another must look within. When I point a finger at someone, there are four pointing towards me. He that wants to govern others should be able to rule himself. This rule is universal.

All people have problems. Everyone has his own share. Probably, more than that of many others. But nobody likes to be criticised. To be found at fault. Or to be told as to what he ought to do. Sensitivity to criticism is human. One man can react more sharply than the other. Everyone can take offence. Thus, we must not be always critical. We must also learn to praise. Not to only pull down.

It is true that every man has the freedom of expression and speech. Also the freedom of conscience. Guaranteed as basic human rights. Human society is like ‘an old woman’. Some would always ‘maunder and mumble.’ Yet wisdom demands that we exercise more restrains than the right.

Guns and war never solve any problem. India has already fought four wars with Pakistan. The last century saw two world wars. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are living scars on the human face. Korea and Vietnam have still not recovered. Every time, the people have paid a price. For violation of peace. In the form of men, money and materials. It is a terrible price. It must end.

Let us remember the words of Pope — “For forms of government, let fools contest. Whatever is best administered is the best.” Let us not be the fools. Let us not worry about the forms of government. Let us learn to coexist. Let us look for peace. Set the goal. Train our sights on the target. We shall succeed.

We must shed the critic’s cloak. We should create a friendly atmosphere. First in the family. Then amongst the friends. In the country. Then in the world. Things shall begin to resolve on their own.

Someone or the other shall commit a folly. Make one or the other mistake. All the time. Sometime the mistake can be serious. Still, it shall be a folly to cry foul. We must stop it. For our own good. For the good of man and his kind. For peace on the planet.
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Romance’ and ‘Temptation’ on TV

Zee Telefilms is working on a “adventure reality show” titled “Romance Adventure Aap Aur Hum,” likely to go on air by December-end.

“The show captures emotions of five ordinary couples by testing their physical, mental and emotional endurance against backdrop of exotic locales,” Nikhil Alva, CEO of Miditech TV, the producer for the show, told IANS.

“It’s going to be the first reality show on Indian television. We have produced a totally new format and not an Indian version of any Western reality shows. With such a show there is always a great degree of unpredictability, since there is no telling how real people will react in a given situation. We will transmit real excitement, adventure and romance onto the screen.”

The Zee show is a take-off on Fox channel’s much-hyped steamy reality show “Temptation Island.”

STAR TV is also set to measure the maturity of viewers by beaming the Indian version of Temptation Island from November 22 on STAR World.

“Temptation Island” features four unmarried “but seriously committed” couples and 26 attractive singles “with no restrictions.” The couples are then separated for two weeks during which time they either resist temptation or succumb to it. And all this while the camera rolls on.

A STAR spokesperson said: “We have produced seven-part series of the show that will go on air from November 22.

And even as the show is beamed, we will conduct an audience poll to find out if an Indian version of ‘Temptation Island’ would be acceptable by local sensibilities.

Doordarshan will also launch a programme based on an ancient Indian tradition — Swayamvar — that allowed a woman to choose her groom from a clutch of suitors. IANS
Top

 
A CENTURY OF NOBELS

 
Top


 
TRENDS & POINTERS

‘Fish oil can cure mental disorders’

Remember your mother telling you: “Eat your fish. It’s good for your brain.”
She may just have been right. Scientists think they have evidence that fish oil could cure mental disorders such as depression and dyslexia — conditions increasingly common in the Western world. “This really does represent a breakthrough in the managing of individual depressions”, Alexandra Richardson, Senior Neuroscience Research Fellow at Britain’s University of Oxford, told a seminar about depression in Stockholm.

“If the brain does not have the right fats, it will not be working right”. The right fats to beat the blues are large amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel.

Richardson’s research found that the lack of these fats — which are needed for the normal development and functioning of brain cells — causes depression, autism dyslexia and ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) in some people.

She believes there is a link between the dramatic increase of depression and changing eating patterns.

In countries where people eat less fish the increase in the incidence of depression is higher than in, for instance, Japan where fish consumption remains high, Richardson said. She said everyone could benefit from increasing their intake of Omega-3 fatty acids.

“There is little to lose. There are hardly any negative side-effects, only nice cosmetic ones such as nice shiny hair, strong nails and healthy looking skin”. Reuters

This is a nice way to get married

The priest chanted a string of hymns around a small fire that crackled merrily and looking on were nine bashful men and women entering wedlock together — in one beautiful Hindu religious ceremony.

Heads covered in red scarves, their hands and foreheads painted with decorative designs the brides sat demurely next to their grooms all in white shirts and equally shy.

Mothers accompanied their daughters to give them away in marriage while the father or a brother of the groom was present with him.

The priest looked up from his hymns from time to time to give bits of advice. “A wife must be treated like the goddess of wealth.

Like money is treasured safely at home so should be wife as she brings happiness,” he told the grooms.

Usha (22), tying the knot with Jaichand, says: “This is a nice way to get married. These people make good arrangements and our parents would not have been able to get us married like this.” IANS
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Gossip about God... Gossip about Truth, gossip about beauty, gossip about grace, grandeur, gossip about this wonder that surrounds you. Gossip about the unknown.

.... People gossip only as a means to destroy others, to hurt others. Do not be aggressive; then nothing is wrong in gossiping... All beautiful poetry is gossiping. All beautiful story-telling is gossiping. Tell beautiful stories, invent beautiful stories, be a little creative. And that very thing will change your relationship with others. Your relationship will not be just formality.

— Osho, The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol. II

* * *

Observation, when perceptively performed is cultivated by abstinence form excessive talk. Then dissipates the energies of the aura and of the vital body of man.

— Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, Merging With Shiva

* * *

Only the one who gives or shares food with others,

whether he be an intellectual saint, a poor beggar

or a cripple, eats sacred food. These magnanimous

benefactors will always be blessed by God. He can make even his enemies his friends.

— Rig Veda, 10.117.3

* * *

Try first thyself and after call in God;

For to the worker God himself lends aid.

Euripides, Hippolytus

* * *

Wasteful gossip spreads peacelessness as anger. Peacelessness initially begins with a few angry, forceful thoughts which are then expressed in words and in some instances escalate into uncontrolled proportions of violence.

— Living Values, Guidebook, section I, "Peace"

* * *

Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.

— A Spanish proverb
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