Saturday, November 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India






National Capital Region--Delhi

E D I T O R I A L   P A G E


EDITORIALS

What has Dalmiya done?
P
resident of the Board of Control for Cricket in India Jagmohan Dalmiya has only himself to blame for the mess he has created. Yes, international match referee, Mike Denness, appeared to have acted in haste. But the International Cricket Council rules are clear on the subject.

A collective failure
C
onsecutive cotton crop failure for the third year in Punjab and Haryana because of the American Bollworm has not moved any government in either of the states or the one at the Centre to take any remedial action, the claims of the ruling parties being farmer-friendly notwithstanding. 

Pakistan’s growing ills
P
akistan is tying itself into knots over its policy on Afghanistan. What is more, every day it becomes evident that it is taking orders from the USA, something Pakistanis, even educated liberals, do not like. The latest is the closure of the Afghan embassy in Islamabad. The timing gives away Pakistan’s compulsions.



EARLIER ARTICLES

BJP’s new stance
November 23
, 2001
Denness stumps cricket
November 22
, 2001
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
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
 
OPINION

Problems that the army faces
Revitalising logistic support
S. S. Sandhu
T
here are two main problems which armies all over the world have always faced and have never been able to find satisfactory solutions to. One, the ever-diminishing budgetary support and, two shortage of manpower. The Indian army is confronted with another problem: continued dependence on foreign sources for a large number of high-tech weapons and equipment which are not only very costly but also have a high rate of absolescence.

MIDDLE

Numbed by numbers
S. Raghunath
T
hose of you with a kindly heart, listen to my tale of woe. In the 916th draw of the Himachal Pradesh Grand Baisakhi lottery, I was chiselled out of a Nizamesque tenner by just two digits. In the Andhra Pradesh Astalakshmi lottery draw, I was done out of a Croesys-like fiver by a mere single digit. In the Nagaland Olympic lottery, my ticket wasn’t even “Also Ran’. In the Border Security Force raffle...... need I go on with my litany?

ON THE SPOT

Composite culture: then & now
Tavleen Singh
I
ndian politicians are masters at taking a fine idea and making it sound like nothing more than empty words. So last week we had Sonia Gandhi bang on about India’s “composite culture”. A fine idea reduced when seen in Congress terms to only an attempt to remind Muslim voters that here is a political party that does not think India is a Hindu country so they have no choice when it comes to choosing between the Congress and the BJP.

Nitric oxide key to high-altitude living
N
itric oxide could be a key to living in and adapting to high altitudes, scientists have said. Tibetans and Bolivians, who dwell in some of the highest places on the planet, have higher concentrations of nitric oxide in their blood than people living at lower levels.

75 YEARS AGO


Rohtak District Congress
A meeting of the Rohtak District Congress Committee was held in the Congress office on the 24th instant at 4 p.m. The report of the last meeting was read and passed and yearly accounts were put before the meeting, and passed.

A CENTURY OF NOBELS

1923, Physiology or Medicine: FREDERICK BANTING AND JOHN MACLEOD

TRENDS & POINTERS

NRI adopts historic Sanghol village
T
he historical Sanghol village has been adopted by a United Kingdom-based NRI entrepreneur, Dr Diljit Rana, to be developed into a place of learning and a model village on the lines of the garden village concept in Britain.

  • From sniffing, humans progressed to kissing

  • Looking for love after life

SPIRITUAL NUGGETS

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What has Dalmiya done?

President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India Jagmohan Dalmiya has only himself to blame for the mess he has created. Yes, international match referee, Mike Denness, appeared to have acted in haste. But the International Cricket Council rules are clear on the subject. Neither is there any provision in the existing rules for considering a request for changing the match referee nor for putting the decisions taken by him on hold. The rules do not even allow players to appeal against what they believe to be unfair action taken against them. There is no doubt whatsoever that all the six players, including Sachin Tendulkar have received punishment from Mr Denness that they did not deserve on the basis of available evidence. However, before serving the ultimatum to the ICC, Mr Dalmiya, should have drawn up a clear plan of action. As a former President of the ICC it is difficult to imagine that he did not know about the fate of the ultimatum. The ICC had no choice but to reject the demand for changing Mr Denness as the match referee for the third and final Test at Centurion Park between South Africa and India. What he has done by pressuring the United Cricket Board of South Africa to support his stand is to create a crisis that international cricket can do without. Of course the domestic reaction and the closing of ranks in Parliament against the action of Mr Denness too complicated the issue. The South African High Commission conveyed the mood in India to the UCBSA. There is another reason why the UCBSA decided to support the BCCI. Cancellation of the Third Test would have resulted in heavy financial loss to the South African board.

However, the Indian cricket fans need to be told about the consequences of the joint action taken by the BCCI and UCBSA. The action that saw Mr Denness being replaced by another match referee from the ICC panel, Mr Dennis Lindsay, has put a question mark on the status of the decisive Test at Centurion Park that began on Friday. Mr Dalmiya's thoughtless stand has resulted in the Test series already being decided in favour of South Africa. Even if India put up a superlative performance at Centurion Park and beat South Africa the ICC record would show the home team having won the Friendship Series. Poor Virendra Sehwag. He is not aware that by not playing him at Centurion Park the Indian team management has only denied him the opportunity to iron out the shortcomings in his shot selection in the course of what is nothing but an unofficial Test. The one-match suspension against him still stands. There is no way he can be included in the playing XI for the first game of the three-Test domestic series against England. The chances of the ICC bowing to the pressure of India and South Africa and recognising the Centurion Park game as an official Test are remote.
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A collective failure

Consecutive cotton crop failure for the third year in Punjab and Haryana because of the American Bollworm has not moved any government in either of the states or the one at the Centre to take any remedial action, the claims of the ruling parties being farmer-friendly notwithstanding. Fifty per cent of the cotton planted in the Abohar area has been damaged by the worm. The growers’ protests for compensation and a check on the deadly worm, widely reported in the media, have gone unnoticed. No one seems to know what should be done to help the victims, already hit by cheaper cotton imports by millers. Given the unchecked supply of substandard and spurious pesticides, fertilisers and seeds to farmers, there seems to be a nexus at work. Farmers had to repeatedly spray their cotton crop to fight the pest attack, but often without success, losing not just the crop but also the manual and financial investment. Many chose to plough the standing crop. That the cotton growers have been so frequently driven into such a gloomy situation with no hopes of a future recovery reflects poorly not just on the managment of the ruling political leadership, but also on the working of the bureaucrats handling the various agriculture departments and scientists of Punjab Agriculture University who are supposed to guide the farmers in crisis. It is a collective failure and a collective shame!

And it is not once-in-a -year tragedy for the state farmers. Earlier, they have had to make frequent rounds of mandis for paddy payments, fight the practice of unauthorised deduction of Rs 25 from each farmer, something that did not move any political party, but led the Punjab and Haryana High Court to take up the issue on its own. It has asked for a detailed report. Wheat growing too no longer holds out any hope for the harried farmer, given the glut and procurement hassles. The Punjab Chief Minister, who has often highlighted the plight of the farmer, but gone little beyond giving them free electricity and water supply, should take personal interest to rescue the cotton grower. There is need to put pressure on the easy-going Genetic Engineering Approval Committee to take an early decision on the bollworm-resistant, genetically modified (GM) seed. Otherwise, its illegal supply and use, as it happened in Gujarat this season, will spread to other states as well. If 15 countries, including the USA, China and Australia, do not find it harmful, what are its objections? What dangerous elements has its research revealed? Academic debates with the “greens” can go on in seminar rooms. 
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Pakistan’s growing ills

Pakistan is tying itself into knots over its policy on Afghanistan. What is more, every day it becomes evident that it is taking orders from the USA, something Pakistanis, even educated liberals, do not like. The latest is the closure of the Afghan embassy in Islamabad. The timing gives away Pakistan’s compulsions. Until Thursday it was its refrain that the embassy was essential to allow the Taliban to air its views to the outside world. Suddenly it found that the Taliban had collapsed and it had no international legitimacy to maintain a chancery in any country. Interestingly, only a day earlier a junior US official had expressed the same opinion without openly demanding the shutting down of the embassy. Two days earlier, Pakistan had ordered the closure of the Taliban consulates in Peshawar and Quetta, saying that the Northern Alliance troops had moved to the border and hence there was no possibility of any Afghan wanting to enter Pakistan. Obviously, Pakistan is under tremendous pressure to distance itself from the fundamentalist organisation and is unable to go by international laws. Normally even if the ruling regime changes in a country, diplomatic recognition continues as is the case with the Burhanuddin-led government in the UN and several countries including India. This is the position the Taliban envoy took but Pakistan was adamant. The US reaction of delight gives the game away.

Thursday also saw two other developments, both very significant. Islamabad quietly allowed two nuclear scientists to leave the country and seek refuge in Myanmar, one of the few countries which are outside the ambit of international law. These two are wanted by the USA to ascertain the extent of their help to Bin Laden in putting together a crude radioactive bomb. Obviously Pakistan does not want the USA to investigate its role in helping Al-Qaeda to acquire a deadly weapon. It has also restricted the movement of three other nuclear scientists who are also wanted by the USA for interrogation. Reports are that Pakistan is reluctant to hand over any nuclear scientist, retired or serving, to the USA for fear of exposing its double role. But this can only be a temporary strategy. In the near future the USA will get at the truth and Pakistan may have reasons to feel highly embarrassed. This view is reinforced from the third development. It sent two air force helicopters to Kunduz to rescue two brigadiers. It is now known that at least 5000 Pakistani soldiers are trapped in that city which is encircled by the Northern Alliance. The US forces control the air space and Pakistan could have launched this desperate mission only with the knowledge and help of America. The Afghan operation is getting curiouser and curiouser. 
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Problems that the army faces
Revitalising logistic support
S. S. Sandhu

There are two main problems which armies all over the world have always faced and have never been able to find satisfactory solutions to. One, the ever-diminishing budgetary support and, two shortage of manpower. The Indian army is confronted with another problem: continued dependence on foreign sources for a large number of high-tech weapons and equipment which are not only very costly but also have a high rate of absolescence.

It seems, therefore, that the only option available is to involve the private sector which has grown in size and competence with the defence infrastructure which exists in the form of 39 ordnance factories, five defence public sector undertakings (PSUs) and a large number of laboratories controlled by the Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRSO). With proper integration of all their indigenous resources, our long-standing dependence on imports can be reduced considerably.

The Indian army is mainly dependent for the supply of its varied needs on the ordnance factories and defence PSUs. At present, the level of satisfaction is rather low and the depots are, therefore, unable to meet the growing demands of user units. Even reputable civil firms do not respond within the given lead time. It is, for this reason, suggested that a high-level study team go into the reasons leading to bottlenecks in the chain of supply and the pricing mechanism particularly in respect of stores of the Directorate General of Ordnance Factories (DGOF) and defence PSUs.

Not long ago, the Defence Minister had made a statement that only a quarter of the capital expenditure for the current financial year had been utilised, mainly because the designated authorities were “afraid” of taking timely decisions. Obviously, a lot of equipment desperately needed by the army is not cleared for procurement. Moreover, this fear has become even more deep-rooted courtesy the recent scams. To overcome this trepidation, a lot of prodding will be required at the senior level.

The scales as formulated by the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), both for maintenance and overhaul of defence equipment, have been found to be very extravagant. In the case of maintenance scales, over a period of time wastage experience overtakes and replaces them. As for as overhauling is concerned, the end-users are only EME base workshops. If they continue to demand on the basis of overhaul scales when the actual consumption on the shopfloor is only half or one-third, then surpluses are bound to occur. There are many items held with the central ordnance depots (CODs) which will not be consumed for the next 30 years. There is a suggestion to review the overhaul scales after experience of three years or so and then put in a demand based on actual wastage. It will not be out of place to mention here that there are huge surplus stocks held up in many base workshops equipment for which will not come up for overhaul several years from now. Such stores should be backloaded to CODs where they should remain until the main equipment is disposed off.

In accordance with the prescribed procedure, whenever a new equipment is procured, related spares based on the manufacturer’s recommended list of spares (MRLS) are also obtained. After a certain period, the initial scaling guide (ISG) is prepared by the technical authorities who are generally very liberal in order to ensure that, as far as possible no stockout occurs. The general staff also extends the life of the equipment resulting in more spares to be ordered on the basis of special stocking guide (SSG). All this while, a large number of items remain unconsumed leading to their becoming obsolete and ordnance is faced with the task of assessing surpluses for disposal. Even after all this, it usually takes several years to dispose off the equipment and related spares mainly because the drill in declaring such stores archaic is a long drawn-out affair over which the ordnance has no control.

Meanwhile, obsolete equipment and spares of security nature are required to be kept under cover while current equipment and spares are kept in the open. It would be of interest to know that SSDC (set up in May, 1971) disposed off 50,000 tonnes of spares fetching a revenue of Rs 7 crore. In addition, 4,770 tonnes of “A” vehicle spares were sold to Bharat Heavy Electronics Limited (BHEL), Bokaro Steel plant, Tamil Nadu Steel Limited and the Directorate General of Ordanance Factory (DGOGF). Another committee, which was formed in July, 1991, and wound up five years later, had realised over Rs 4000 crore from disposal of surplus stores. It might be worthwhile to investigate why unrealistic scales were formulated at various stages for at least two equipment thereby leading to unrealistic provisioning. A proper inquiry needs to be launched to know the reason why final disposal of equipment and spares, in some cases, was delayed by as much as 20 years which has meant losses worth crores of rupees.

At present there is a sizeable network of army workshops providing repair services to army units vis-a-vis vehicles and equipment supplied by the civil industry. Arrangements can be worked out with the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OBMs) to accept repairable either for repair or one-to-one replacement. This single step is guaranteed to bring about enorumous savings in manpower and overall economy in the defence budget. The CODs and other ordanance depots down the line will automatically shrink in size and, it would become possible to downsize these inventory holding establishments and do away with some repair workshops.

It is suggested that the authorities should enter into rate contracts with indigenous manufacturers and PSUs supplying vehicles and equipments and get them to accept the responsibility of carrying out periodic overhaul. This will drastically bring down the load on base workshops and the need for CODs to hold overhaul spares for issue to base workships. The existing supply chain starts from the CODs to regional depots and ends in divisional ordnance units. There is a possibility of making this chain smaller by completely eliminating regional depots in certain army deployment areas.

The quantum of stocks to be held can be reduced by reorganising certain stocking nodes and instituting faster means of transportation between the feeding depots and the receiving establishments. This will go a long way in reducing cost of procurement, stocking and distribution of stores. For example, the store sections of workshops in a division, whether in the plains or mountains, should demand their requirement from the divisional ordnance unit instead of depots located in the rear. This suggestion, if implemented, will lead to a more effective liaison between the ordnance echelons and the concerned division.

There is a school of thought that the supply chain could be reduced even further by eliminating CODs altogether. In this context, it is however pertinent to note that the CODs have a distinct role to play and cannot be dispensed with in this manner. These depots hold All-India War Wastage reserves besides acting as central points for provisioning and placing of bulk demands. By generating competition amongst suppliers these depots also play an important role in reducing the procurement costs. Moreover, imported equipment and spares have to be brought to the CODs before being distributed to the regional depots concerned. It is, therefore, apparent that CODs cannot be done away within the supply chain — at least in the short-run — but their holdings can be considerably reduced by moving stores direct from the suppliers to regional depots wherever possible.

After two decades of use of computerised application systems, a venture known as Central Inventory Control Project (CICP) is now being developed. When completed, it will enable better management of inventory through utilisation of modern management techniques. It will provide transparency of inventory at all levels making provisioning and accounting faster and more efficient. It will also reduce inventory holdings in CODs as well as intermediate depots which, in turn, will result in saving of storage space, manpower and carrying costs. It is imperative, therefore, that CICP be accorded the highest priority for completion.

Benchmarking in modern management means finding out the best possible practices in other organisations and adapting them to suit one’s own system and organisation. The armed forces of the UK, because of budgetary and manpower constraints, have modified their logistic system of supply to suit their operational plans. The size of the country, its membership of NATO and heavy dependence on USA regarding military matters does not make it an ideal benchmark model for India. The US model, with its global commitments, will also not be a proper one to adopt; we have no plans to send “expeditionary” forces abroad. However, there are surely some useful points in their systems which could be studied and, if found suitable, adopted.

It must be borne in mind that ours is the fourth largest army in the world whose personnel are deployed in different kinds of terrains and climatic conditions with more than one enemy to fight. Therefore, whichever logistic system is finally decided upon should be adopted only after proper trials.

There is a thinking in some quarters that by making their repair agency also responsible for procurement of spares, it would be possible to achieve better efficiency and economy via adoption of a “single window” concept. However, it is plain commonsense that these two functions should never be vested with a single agency for obvious reasons. Radical changes without giving adequate thought and evaluation can be not only counter-productive but also cause irreparable damage at the national level.

In conclusion, provision of effective logistic support is not the responsibility of the Army Ordnance Corps alone nor for that matter of any agency. Army Headquarters, particularly the General Staff Branch, and the Ministry of Defence have a big role to play in this. Certain vital imputs are required to be provided by them to the Directorate General of Ordnance Services before directions can be issued to the Store Section at Army HQ and the CODs to initiate procurement action. Delay caused by one link will have a cascading effect on the entire chain of supply. It is suggested that a joint team consisting of representatives of the DGOS, DGEME, General Staff, Department of Defence Production and Supplies and Ministry of Defence (Finance) meet periodically to monitor the progress of the entire procurement process and take corrective measures wherever necessary.

The writer is a retired Lieut-General.
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Numbed by numbers
S. Raghunath

Those of you with a kindly heart, listen to my tale of woe. In the 916th draw of the Himachal Pradesh Grand Baisakhi lottery, I was chiselled out of a Nizamesque tenner by just two digits. In the Andhra Pradesh Astalakshmi lottery draw, I was done out of a Croesys-like fiver by a mere single digit. In the Nagaland Olympic lottery, my ticket wasn’t even “Also Ran’. In the Border Security Force raffle...... need I go on with my litany?

My drooping spirits were miraculously revived when I read in a vernacular magazine that a numerologist in Chennai had perfected a foolproof method of unerringly predicting winning lottery numbers and the same afternoon found me travelling, pucca Janata style, in the unreserved general compartment of the crack Brindavan Express to Chennai.

A few discreet enquiries and I was able to locate the numerologist’s address and I lost no time in making an appointment.

The next morning found me closeted in a cosy tete-a-tete with the numerologist. He sat surrounded by mathematical tomes, a logarithmic tables, a smuggled calculator and curiously enough, an ancient abacus.

The consultations got underway.

“What’s your great grand father’s date of birth?” the numerologist asked.

“Circa 19-3-1889.” I said.

“Right,” the numerologist said and started to energetically punch the buttons on his calculator and soliliquizing to himself: “18 and 3 are imperfect numbers and raising them to the power of 3 and adding to them the total number of political opportunists in the country, I get a Poisson’s ratio of 7 and I think I should subtract from it the number of dissident factions in AICC (I) and I get a diviser of 2. Right, what’s the length of your dog’s tail?”

“I beg your pardon,” I stammered.

The consultation was taking a queer turn.

“I just want to know how long your dog’s tail is,” explained the numerologist patiently.

“Oh, It’s about 11 inches,” I said.

“11 is the anti-log of the square cube of 3 and applying the Euclidean theory of uneven numbers and dividing it by the total amount involved in the Bihar fodder scam, I get a residual number 4 and adding to it the number of hack parties taking part in BJP-led coalition govt, I get a figure of 12. Right, what’s your blood pressure?”

“120 by 80,” I said.

“120 and 80 add up to 200 and I think I should divide it by the number of corruption charges filed against Jayalalitha and raising it to the factor of 6 against the antilog of 1, I get a subtractional figure of 9.”

More energetic punching of the calculator and more convoluted jottings on slips of paper and the numerologist beamed:” I think you ought to buy a Mizoram lottery ticket with the distinct number 0947386 and let me be the first to congratulate you. Why, you’re as good as a crorepati already.”

Rs 500 — being the consultation fee — changed hands. Shucks, Rs 500 was a bagatelle when, before the weekend, I would be receiving a cheque for Rs 1 crore from distant Aizawl in Mizoram.

As I was taking leave, I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks: “If you’re able to predict winning lottery numbers, how come you’re not a crorepati yourself?” I asked puzzled.

The numerologist looked at me coldly. “Do you think I’m stupid enough to buy lottery tickets?” he asked.Top

 
ON THE SPOT

Composite culture: then & now
Tavleen Singh

Indian politicians are masters at taking a fine idea and making it sound like nothing more than empty words. So last week we had Sonia Gandhi bang on about India’s “composite culture”. A fine idea reduced when seen in Congress terms to only an attempt to remind Muslim voters that here is a political party that does not think India is a Hindu country so they have no choice when it comes to choosing between the Congress and the BJP. Never mind that at about this time of year in 1984 it was Congress workers running amok in the streets of Delhi in the company of mobs with an insatiable need for Sikh blood. Not exactly the best example of a political party that flaunts its secularism on its sleeve but that is another story.

On the very day, ironically, that Sonia was banging on about our “composite culture” an event occurred in Delhi that was truly the most composite I have attended in recent times. The event was the commemoration of the death anniversary of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. His daughter and son-in-law, Saleema and Shoaib Hashmi, came for it from Lahore, Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi from Mumbai and in a hall filled with a “composite” of Muslims and Hindus we remembered a poet who, despite Partition, remains as much ours as theirs. Two of his old students from Government College Lahore, Inder Gujral and Bhishma Sahani, were among those who recounted their memories of Faiz and the most learned analysis of his poetry came from a Hindu scholar.

The event was memorable not just for its composite quality but because it came as an important reminder of an older, more civilised time when politicians did not need to remind us of our “composite culture” because we lived and breathed it every day without even knowing that we did. Delhi, in those days, was a composite city whose culture was as much Muslim as it was Hindu and none of the ugliness of lunatic Hindutva or insane Islamism had crept in then to the warp and weft of our lives. When the speakers that evening told their stories of Faiz, they recreated with their words the life of a poet who used the lyricism of Urdu poetry to speak of the misery and repression of the lives of ordinary people.

Urdu, born as it is from Sanskrit, Persian and the dialects of a language we once called Hindustani, is the most composite of India’s languages. And, despite the fond stories of Faiz that everyone told a lingering sadness hung over the evening because it brought memories of how much the culture of the sub-continent has lost by not remembering a man like Faiz enough. Indians chose to forget Urdu and Urdu poets because somehow they got identified with Pakistan and in Pakistan they put Faiz in jail for many years because he was really not Pakistani enough. He dared to keep reminding the rulers of his country that although the British were long gone the lives of ordinary people remained as miserable as ever. He compounded his problems by remaining staunchly Marxist in a country that had become avowedly Islamic.

It was in a jail cell that he wrote some of his finest poetry and his daughter told of the little gardens of roses and sweet peas he planted outside his cell window. She talked of the universality of his ideas, the pain he felt for Africa and Palestine but reminded us of a poem he wrote about the sense of loss he felt when he was away from this sub-continent. He never felt as alone in jail, she said, as he did when he was away from home. Having had the privilege of meeting Faiz a few times, in the last years of his life, I have often wondered what it was about him that made Indians and Pakistanis love him equally. It was not just that he was the greatest poet that either country has produced since Allama Iqbal but because as a human being he seemed able to rise above the religious divide that broke India up.

The week before I had travelled in Rajasthan to Muslim villages filled with the new Islamism that lays so much emphasis on dress codes and the length of beards and the need for children to concentrate on learning the Koran by heart rather than understanding its message. It is the sort of Islam that raises Hindu hackles and tears apart the ‘composite’ culture.

Liberals like to believe that in India this kind of Islam is the direct result of the demolition of the Babri Masjid by a Hindu mob. Possibly. But, we need also to remember that the mobs may not have gone to Ayodhya at all if an Indian Prime Minister had not decided that Muslims needed a separate personal law. So, it has gone on since then in an ugly spiral of hatred and violence that has created fanatics on both sides and made us forget that the problems of the Indian subcontinent are to do with roti, kapda, makan and not with religion. We have more religion, religiosity, mosques, temples and priests than we need but we still do not have the ability to provide either Hindus or Muslims with enough to eat, a roof over their heads, a school to send their children to or even clean drinking water. People who live without these things do not understand such things as culture or bother to ponder over whether it is composite or not. They cannot afford the luxury of it.

They also remain voiceless and it was this voice of the voiceless that you hear loudest in the poems Faiz wrote.

Bhishma Sahani remembered that when he first met Faiz as a student in Lahore he had already become famous for writing ‘Mujhse pehli si mohabbat meri mehboob na maang’. The poem, Sahani said, became instantly popular because everyone recognised that they were hearing a dramatically new voice. In the language of a love poem Faiz managed to talk of the pain and suffering of lives ground down under the heel of poverty and repression and of that pain woven into the threads of brocade and silk that the rich wore.

This poem was written in the thirties and so little has changed in either India or Pakistan. That is our tragedy. In India, in a sense, we are worse off because we cannot blame the indignity of the average Indian’s life on martial law or the absence of democracy.
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Nitric oxide key to high-altitude living

Nitric oxide could be a key to living in and adapting to high altitudes, scientists have said. Tibetans and Bolivians, who dwell in some of the highest places on the planet, have higher concentrations of nitric oxide in their blood than people living at lower levels.

It increases blood flow in their lungs, and possibly to other tissue, enabling them to function well where atmospheric oxygen is in short supply. “We found that natives (of high altitudes) have lots of nitric oxide in their lungs, more than twice what we do,” said Cynthia Beall, an anthropologist at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Although Tibetans and Bolivians are two distinct populations from different parts of the world, Beall and her colleagues found that their adaptation to high altitudes was similar. The research, which is reported in the science journal Nature, may help to explain why some people living at sea level develop potentially deadly high altitude sickness when they increase altitude too rapidly, and help treat it.

High altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) causes listlessness, difficulty in walking and sleeping, and fluid retention in the lungs. People with the condition are advised to go to a lower altitude as quickly as possible.

“It (the finding) is consistent with other earlier studies which used inhaled nitric oxide therapeutically to treat people with high altitude sickness,” Beall explained in a telephone interview.

Nitric oxide allows more blood to flow through the lungs and has been used at high altitudes to relieve the symptoms of HAPE.

The scientists suspect that the high concentrations of nitric oxide in the lungs of Tibetans and Bolivians enables them to take up more oxygen, allowing them to make maximum use of what there is available.

Beall and her colleagues measured concentrations of nitric oxide exhaled by Tibetans and Bolivians living at 4,200 metres (13,800 ft) and 3,900 metres (12,800 ft).

They are planning further studies to determine what allows the two populations to produce high levels of nitric oxide to maximise the oxygen levels in their mountain homes. Reuters 
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Rohtak District Congress

A meeting of the Rohtak District Congress Committee was held in the Congress office on the 24th instant at 4 p.m. The report of the last meeting was read and passed and yearly accounts were put before the meeting, and passed. The following gentlemen were elected office bearers:-

President. S Trilok Singh; Vice-presidents — B. Shamlal Advocate and Ch. Harkishen; Secretary, P. Ramphul Singh; B.A; Treasurer — L. Narayan Singh Mehta; Provincial representatives — L. Daulat Ram Puri, L. Sanam Rai, M.A., Dr Khan Chand Deva. MD.
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A CENTURY OF NOBELS

 
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TRENDS & POINTERS

NRI adopts historic Sanghol village

The historical Sanghol village has been adopted by a United Kingdom-based NRI entrepreneur, Dr Diljit Rana, to be developed into a place of learning and a model village on the lines of the garden village concept in Britain.

Dr Rana has donated Rs 5 crore for the purpose. This village was the site of a development town of the Indus Valley civilisation dating back to at least 3,000 B.C.

Recently, “stupas” and relics of the Buddhist era were also excavated in Sanghol village on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana highway.

Dr Rana told reporters that the aim of the project was to provide better education, alleviate poverty and create employment opportunities.

The project was initiated with the beginning of the construction of a women’s college, marked by the “Bhoomi Pujan” ceremony.

The college, with international level faculty will have its first batch of students in 2003. It will provide residential facilities to its students and staff.

The aim is to blend modern education and research with the Vedic sciences.

Dr Rana said the project would be completed by the Jwala Devi Trust, with active involvement of Dr Rana’s New Delhi-based Sharadhanjali Charitable Trust. Residents of Sanghol village have contributed 11 acres for the project, which also has the blessings of the Chief Minister. UNI

From sniffing, humans progressed to kissing

A German academic claims kissing originates from animals sniffing each other. She says when humans adopted an upright posture they turned their attention to higher regions of the body.

Ingelore Ebberfeld makes her claims in a study entitled A History of Passionate Kisses. Ebberfeld disagrees with other thinkers on the subject including Freud. She says traditional theories don’t explain the variety of kisses in society and even refers to French kissing as “nothing less than symbolic sexual intercourse.”

She says kissing somebody’s hand, or the Inuit habit of bringing noses together in a ‘kiss’ all derive from the same pattern of behaviour.

Looking for love after life

A man is determined to marry a woman with the same name as his dead wife.

The Romanian man has been searching for five years, since his wife Lorelei died of a stroke, at the age of just 22. They had only been married for 2 days, and he is desperate to keep her spirit alive.

The man known only as Codrut, is a 36-year-old businessman from Focsani. He said: “The woman with whom I am going to spend the rest of my life will be called Lorelei. And this is because I want to remember my first love and all that was beautiful in my life.

“I feel this would be the only way for my heart to find peace.”

The name Lorelei is not a common one in Romania. Reuters
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Smile with the flower and the green grass. Play with the butterflies, birds and deer. Shake hands with the shrubs, farms and twigs of trees. Talk to the rainbow, wind, stars, and the sun. Converse with the running brooks and the waves of the sea. Speak with the walking stick. Develop friendship with all your neighbours, dogs, cats, cows, human beings, trees, flowers, etc. Then you will have a wide, perfect, rich, full life.

— Swami Shivananda, Bliss Divine, Chapter 36

* * *

No one shows consideration to the poor... if the poor man goes to a rich man, he turns his back upon him. But if a rich person goes to the poor one, he is called in with great respect. The rich and poor are both brothers...

— Sant Kabir, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, page 1159

* * *

In truth man was created greedy. Whenever an affliction should befall him, he will cry out; but whenever he is in a state of prosperity and joy he refrains from remembrance and sharing.

That which brings death to man, is shunning the truth. Therefore, man's intention is directed towards desires and gluttony.

Greed has deceived you, until it shall place you each in different graves.

— The Holy Quan, Sura 70: 19-21; Sura 80:17, 24; 102:1,2.

* * *

Destroy the voracious instinct of greed!

For, verily it is a wolf.

— Rig Veda, 6.51.4

* * *

Greed is the seedbed of grief.

— From the discourses of Sathya Sai Baba

* * *

Indulge in no excessive greed

(A little helps in time of need)

A greedy fellow in the world

Found on his head a wheel that whirled.

— The Panchatantra, Book V

* * *

Do not seek the fortune that greed gathers for its fruit is bitter on the day of judgement.

He alone is trustworthy who fully possesses these four — kindness, intelligence, assurance and freedom from greed.

— The Tirukural, 177, 513.
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