Friday, June 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi

E D I T O R I A L   P A G E


Pyrrhic victory
aharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s victory in the confidence vote in the State Assembly on Thursday was not entirely unexpected. 

‘No’ to generation tax
he Union Power Minister, Mr Suresh Prabhu, has given a high-voltage shock to the Himachal Pradesh Government by rejecting outright its demand for the imposition of generation tax on hydel power. 


Hari Jaisingh
Understanding the ruler in Islamabad
Time for Indo-US cooperation to end terrorism
t seems we can heave a sigh of relief. The possibility of a nuclear war in the subcontinent has receded. Even the war clouds are disappearing fast. This has happened partly because of India's coercive diplomacy and partly because of pressure from America and the global community.





Time moves at its own pace
V. N. Kakar
aving completed 80 years of life, I have now entered the age of frivolity. Naturally, I keep company with the frivolous. How does that superfluous fraternity of homo-sapiens pass its time? Let me take the milkman first.


It’s now the turn of the Middle East
M.S.N. Menon
uslim fundamentalism was a reaction to zionist fundamentalism. And Muslim terrorism was a reaction to zionist terrorism. Now that we have contained the epicentre of fundamentalism and terrorism, it is time to turn our attention to the Middle East.

Warming world on thin ice: a shocking truth
ONDON: Ian McNaught-Davis has spent a long time in the mountains. Stocky and affable, the president of mountaineering’s international association, the UIAA, is not easily fazed. But when he hiked into the glaciers surrounding the world’s highest mountains on a UIAA mission funded by the United Nations Environment Programme, he was profoundly shocked.


Arthritis: try cod-liver oil with orange juice
uring the Second World War way back in the 1940s, a number of British children were given a combination of cod-liver oil and orange juice in an attempt to boost the levels of vitamin A and D in them. 

  • Russians savour spicy Indian cuisineTop



Pyrrhic victory

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s victory in the confidence vote in the State Assembly on Thursday was not entirely unexpected. Ever since the five-member Peasants’ and Workers’ Party (PWP), one of the allies of the Democratic Front Government, had decided to abstain from voting two days back, it was very much evident that the beleagured government would somehow scrape through, except for some last-minute developments. The picture became crystal-clear on Thursday morning after the disqualification of as many as seven MLAs by Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Arun Gujarathi, just a few hours before the Chief Minister sought the confidence of the House, as directed by Governor P.C.Alexander. In the 289-member Assembly (including the Speaker) the Deshmukh Government won the confidence of the House by 10 votes after 143 MLAs supported it and 133 voted against it. Clearly, the disqualification of seven MLAs (five rebel NCP members, a nominated Congress member and a Janata Dal-Secular rebel) played a decisive role in the victory of the ruling coalition. The Speaker, in particular, held the key to the survival of the government. As in earlier cases in other states, the Maharashtra Speaker too had acted in a blatantly partisan manner. By denying a fair and patient hearing to the rebel MLAs, he invited the criticism of having served the interests of the ruling party at its hour of crisis. What else would justify the hurricane speed with which he completed the hearings of the rebel MLAs in two days and passed his ruling, disqualifying them? One would, therefore, be tempted to call Mr Deshmukh’s success as a pyrrhic victory.

This, however, does not justify the menace of defections that has been corroding the Indian polity for over three decades. In fact, the horse trading witnessed in Maharashtra in the last two weeks (and in Goa a few months back) makes a fresh case for a thorough and comprehensive review of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. The anti-defection law, in its present form, is flawed for two reasons. One, it was seen as the Centre’s attempt to stifle dissent after Rajiv Gandhi’s victory in the 1984 Lok Sabha elections. And two, it failed to discourage defections in the subsequent years, with Speakers acting in a most arbitrary and partisan manner. The Law Commission has recommended that individual defections be treated on a par with bulk defections. It was also suggested that defectors were to quit their seats and contest fresh elections or not switch party loyalties till after the dissolution of the House. What is preventing the Vajpayee Government from trying to evolve a consensus among major national parties on the issue? As defections have been helping parties to either retain or come to power, there should be an explicit amendment in the Anti-Defection Act to the effect that a member would lose his seat if he\she defects from the party on whose ticket he was elected. The issue of disqualification of members under the Tenth Schedule also needs a fresh look. Defections can be curbed only if the provisions in the Act are made stringent enough to warn recalcitrant members of the serious consequences of their action. At the same time, the Speaker’s powers on disqualification should continue to be subjected to judicial review. This would not only protect members from any malafide decision by the Speaker but also serve the principles of natural justice. As the Supreme Court has firmly ruled, under Articles 122 and 212 of the Constitution, the Assembly Speaker or the Council Chairman enjoys absolutely no immunity from judicial scrutiny of their decisions while exercising their powers under the Tenth Schedule.


No’ to generation tax

The Union Power Minister, Mr Suresh Prabhu, has given a high-voltage shock to the Himachal Pradesh Government by rejecting outright its demand for the imposition of generation tax on hydel power. The demand has been raised animatedly for the past many years and gained particular earnestness when the BJP came to power at the Centre as well as in the state. The Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, had become optimistic after the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, reportedly justified the demand and even promised to plead the state’s case. But the categorical stand taken by the Power Minister has taken the wind out of his sails. Given the firm view of the ministry, it will be impractical to expect the Prime Minister to overrule the stand and go out of his way to oblige Himachal Pradesh. What has to be kept in mind is that if the demand is accepted in the case of Himachal Pradesh, it will become a precedent for every state. Besides, Mr Prabhu has forwarded several cogent arguments against generation tax. The strongest of them is that the state is already getting additional financial resource in the shape of free power as royalty. He is equally right in pointing out that the issues related with water always create disputes as riparian rights come into the picture. Hypothetically, if generation tax is indeed imposed, it will have to be decided which of the riparian states, the upper, the lower or the middle, will get the benefits. He has also pointed out that levying generation tax will further increase the cost of power. The sum total of it all is that the Union Power Ministry has all but thrown out the proposal.

But the arguments have not convinced the Chief Minister who is equally insistent that the state has every right to impose the hydel generation tax under Article 288 of the Constitution. When he says that the matter will be raised at the appropriate forum with the Centre, he perhaps also means the Prime Minister. But as said earlier, he and the state should not be too hopeful on that count. And if he is also toying with the idea of going to court, he should perish the thought because all such issues have remained hanging for decades altogether without any positive outcome. What may evoke better response is his claim about the quantum of the state’s share in various power projects. Mr Dhumal says that the state is getting only 2.12 per cent whereas it is entitled to as much as 7.19 per cent under the Punjab State Reorganisation Act.


Understanding the ruler in Islamabad
Time for Indo-US cooperation to end terrorism
Hari Jaisingh

It seems we can heave a sigh of relief. The possibility of a nuclear war in the subcontinent has receded. Even the war clouds are disappearing fast. This has happened partly because of India's coercive diplomacy and partly because of pressure from America and the global community.

Still, the basic issue of banishing terrorism from Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India remains. There are several ways by which Pakistan can keep alive the embers. This means the nation has to keep the powder dry and remain vigilant.

During the past 20 years or so, the UN has even failed to define what constitutes terrorism and cross-border terrorism. Perhaps, there was no desire for such a definition. It took Washington 15 years to get convinced that the proxy war waged by Pakistan against India was terrorism. Earlier, the ISI-sponsored militancy in Jammu and Kashmir used to be projected as a "freedom fight".

The whole scenario changed after the terrorist strikes in New York and Washington on September 11 last year. Thereafter, America's policy and attitude underwent a radical transformation. The USA now began to say that no cause whatsoever could justify a terrorist method — not even the "liberation" of a country.

The global view on terrorism actually flows directly from what the Americans think to be right or wrong. This is understandable since all US actions are generally motivated by its national interests.

American policy-makers have certainly been helpful in containing the present crisis in India-Pakistan relations. Still, it may not be advisable to have blind faith in the USA. The long mercurial record of Indo-American relations must not be lost sight of. President Jimmy Carter once confessed that the USA had been unfair to India for over half a century. That is a harsh fact.

It is no secret that China and America were behind the nuclearisation of Pakistan. Beijing played a key role in providing Islamabad the missile knowhow. Were they aware of the consequences? I wonder! America has of late taken the initiative to contain Pakistan, but the Chinese remain selectively indifferent.

If the Western world was astir over the possibility of a nuclear war, it was out of fear of its interests getting jeopardised, not because of a sense of remorse. Of course, the Americans have done this before. In 1953, when the USA decided to arm Pakistan, President Eisenhower gave an assurance to Jawaharlal Nehru that those weapons would not be used against India. We know better than any other nation what actually happened subsequently.

Powerful nations are generally not prompted by moral considerations in the conduct of their foreign policy. Whether one likes it or not, India still lives in a world of morality and values. About the Greek civilisation, which is the basis of Western civilisation, the great historian Draper said: "Upon the whole, then, we must admit that Greek mythologies indicate a barbarian social state.... The idea of law was foreign to Homer. There was no morality."

Look at our own Ramayan! It is based on morality. But it will be risky to expect moral standards in American policies and postures.

The Western world is actually yet to properly grasp the dangerous dimensions of cross-border terrorism. It has no idea that both in the short term and long term it could be a far deadlier instrument in the hands of Bin Laden-type characters than that demonstrated through the September 11 terror strikes in the USA.

The subversive potential of terrorism is mind-boggling. It can silence generations by sheer reckless use of the gun power and destroy democratic institutions. It can also make people fear-stricken without the authorities realising that behind the gun and distorted preaching of Islam there is a dubious plan for cleansing the community of its traditional ethos and values.

The birth of the Taliban and its terrorist outfits like Al-Qaeda was not an innocent idea of Pakistani Generals and their partners in Islamic fundamentalism and global collaborators. It was a deep-rooted conspiracy to destabilise the global order, especially affecting the democratic countries like the super power and India.

India has suffered at the hands of foreign mercenaries and Pakistan-funded and trained terrorists whose sole objective was grabbing Kashmir through terror tactics and in the name of Islam. But, then, Islam does not preach terrorism.

It is a pity that the humanistic faith of Islam has been hijacked by the perverted sections of the ulema to serve their sectarian and political interests. The military rulers in Islamabad have used it conveniently for suppressing the people's democratic aspirations and perpetuating their rule at the cost of civil liberties and freedom.

It is intriguing that the Western leaders should have failed to understand Gen Pervez Musharraf's gameplan? Why have they been shedding crocodile tears when it came to Pakistan? What sort of justice is this which puts the criminal and the victim on the same platform?

True, Americans are generally comfortable with a military dispensation than with a democratic setup. This is ironic since the USA is the world's most powerful democratic nation. How can President George Bush promote the cause of democracy if he ignores democratic India's basic sensitivities and fears in crucial matters?

The Americans ought to realise that their success in Afghanistan can, at best, be superficial. Osama bin Laden is very much around. He is probably busy organising his forces. His terrorist outfits under different labels are very much active in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The choice before the USA is clear: it has to change its old mindset and see the existing subcontinental realities in a new perspective. It ought to come out boldly in favour of India's fight against cross-border terrorism. Washington's half-hearted support can hardly help wage a successful war against terrorism. This global war can lead to its logical conclusion if India is actively helped to break the backbone of cross-border terrorism right in Jammu and Kashmir.

India's military might can do it. But it has no ready answers to the duplicity and double standards of world leaders. All sources of terror in PoK have to be wiped out. The Americans know how the Musharraf regime has been harbouring hardcore terrorists not only to strike terror in Kashmir and other parts of India but also to groom them as Islamic jehadis (soldiers) to hit the democratic institutions in the West. The latest American response, meanwhile, needs to be watched closely.

After the September 11 attacks the US authorities should have realised the deeper game played in Islamabad. But by ignoring Indian susceptibilities the West is only sowing seeds of wider destruction.

Be that as it may. There is work for both the USA and India. Unless the jehadi infrastructure is plucked from its roots and thrown away, jehadism is bound to sprout again. That is why India and America must work together in a coordinated and determined manner.

America is the main beneficiary of such an approach. It all began with the gas pipeline deal finalised by certain US oil companies with the Taliban. But Osama bin Laden willed it otherwise. The September 11 onslaught on the World Trade Center changed the course of history. The Taliban regime is no more in Kabul. The USA has set up a pro-American regime there. It has already renewed the gas pipeline agreement.

Ironically, one tragic fallout of these developments is that Pakistan has suffered the most. It was Islamabad's plan to let loose the Taliban and Al-Qaeda on Kashmir against India. Had this happened, it is difficult to say at this stage how India would have reacted. With Pakistan's promise to fold up its cross-border terrorism, the military regime will probably not be able to bleed India white. And Kashmir, for all practical purposes, has gone out of Pakistan's grip. It is the only meaningful link with the Islamic world, with Central Asia and the Gulf region.

There are two things that can now change the course of South Asian history — the gas pipeline and reactivated SAARC.

The Americans need President Musharraf. In today's situation, we too probably need him. However, the moot point is: do we know the man well enough?

General Musharraf is a Mohajir, a refugee. We have no idea what is going through his mind. Is he obsessed with a sense of revenge against India? Or, angry against the Punjabis for reminding him that he is an "outsider"? He is a trained commando. That is as a man ready to hazard his life — an adventurer.

When General Zia-ul-Haq wanted someone to train thousands of religious soldiers (mujahideen) to fight the Russians, he turned to General Musharraf, largely because he was a Deobandi and a committed fundamentalist, a man with the jehadi spirit.

General Musharraf is also a consummate liar. He can tell lies with a straight face. He told the world that there was no cross-border terrorism, that the mujahideen operating in Kashmir were "freedom fighters." Within two days, he agreed to stop cross-border terrorism under American pressure.

The General was the author of the Kargil adventure which he planned behind the back of the government. He calls himself a democrat! He was ready to use the nuclear bomb when the Kargil adventure flopped. Such is the character of the man. He is a pan-Islamist and thinks that Pakistan is the natural leader of the Islamic world.

India must understand the Pakistani dictator and handle him tactfully but firmly. And looking at the overall scenario, he certainly seems to be different from the earlier Pakistani military leaders.


Time moves at its own pace
V. N. Kakar

Having completed 80 years of life, I have now entered the age of frivolity. Naturally, I keep company with the frivolous. How does that superfluous fraternity of homo-sapiens pass its time? Let me take the milkman first.

Once upon a time, he was a vital component of GOI’s Think Tank in the Planning Commission in New Delhi. Now he gets bashing from his wife every morning for bringing less milk from the Delhi Milk Scheme than what she pays for.

He tries to convince her that the fellow over there cannot indulge in cheating for the mechanism for measuring milk has been installed by the government itself. She hits him by declaring that the government is a government of the cheats, by the cheats, for the cheats.

The suitcase man comes next. Not the one who had an encounter (still disputed) with Narasimha Rao, Prime Minister of yore. But the one who keeps his suitcase ever ready to be moved at short notice. He has in this suitcase an extra sleeping suit, an extra toothbrush, shaving set, comb, after shave lotion (reminder of days gone by) and all the other sundries, duly packed and locked.

Once upon a time, the gentleman used to be the director-general of a prestigious national training and research institute. He has three sons. One or the other is always on tour. Whosoever goes, he has to shift to his place temporarily as a watchman. He has to guard the family in the absence of the boy. The latter has three grown-up kids of his own but he being the grandpa is considered to be more reliable.

What happens to his own wife during this nocturnal absence? Doesn’t she feel insecure with her watchman being away? “She does,” says he, “but then I keep in touch with her on the telephone. Besides, she says that she feels more comfortable and at peace in her own little nest.”

There is the Labrador bitch fellow, a retired high court judge, no longer in demand. Once his son and daughter-in-law had to be absent from their home for two long days. They are working in two different multinationals. They have a Labrador bitch. She was in heat. To have a bitch in heat all alone in a ground floor flat is to invite trouble from all the dogs in the neighbourhood. The retired judge had to shift to their place to prevent that kind of catastrophe.

“Look at this,” one ancient mariner tells me, “in the morning, the professor sahib (his old colleague) went to the gurudwara for his prayers. I accompanied him since it was his birthday. Otherwise, too, we often go together. In the evening, his children arranged a grand party to celebrate his birthday. I, too, was there. His watch was not showing correct time. He had often complained about it. According to him, it was always moving backward (peechche chaldi ae). So I bought a brand new watch for him as a birthday gift. But no sooner had I come back from his birthday party than one of his sons rang me up to say that the professor sahib was no more. He had died of sudden heart attack almost immediately after the party.”

“That means the gift you had bought for him has gone waste,” I said to him sympathetically. “Of what consequence was my gift,” said he, “when the Lord has withdrawn from him the larger gift of life and life’s own watch has stopped moving?”


It’s now the turn of the Middle East
M.S.N. Menon

Muslim fundamentalism was a reaction to zionist fundamentalism. And Muslim terrorism was a reaction to zionist terrorism. Now that we have contained the epicentre of fundamentalism and terrorism, it is time to turn our attention to the Middle East.

The USA, the UN, the EU and Russia have called for a conference to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian differences. This is a new situation — the coming together of the USA and Russia in the Middle East.

There is naturally, both among Jews and Arabs, the fear that they (the four of them) may impose a Middle East peace settlement. They may well do so.

Ariel Sharon, the Israeli leader, makes much ado about Palestinian terrorism. True, terror should have no place in the political process. But were not the zionists the first to initiate terror? Remember, Winston Churchill roundly condemned Israeli terrorism as early as 1947.

Be that as it may, India has a strong aversion to terror, whatever its cause. We treat it as a mark of barbarism.

The Jews are an intelligent people. They should make a proper assessment of their future, for failure, to do so can be disastrous. Let them not forget that the Jewish state is a spec in the vast Arab ocean of 120 million. And the Arabs are growing in strength by the day.

As the Middle East will remain the largest single source of energy throughout the 21st century, Arab importance will continue. They are thus expected to become more powerful and united.

It is true, oil consumption is falling in industrial countries. But it is going up in the developing world. Most of all in China and India. The importance of India’s Arab connection need not be over-stressed.

Major users of oil have perforce to be friendly to the Arab world. Oil is a strategic item. Its price has to be kept low. While countries with small reserves are clamorous for higher prices, those with large resources are keener about their market share.

Major industrial countries are dependent on Arab oil. Which is why they remain friendly to the Arab world. Thus, Europe gets 70 per cent of its oil from Arab sources, Japan 60 per cent and the USA 50 per cent. Any threat to these supplies can cause immense damage to their economies. But they are trying to reduce their dependence. American shift to central Asia will naturally bring about a reduction in America’s dependence on the Arabs. This will have serious consequences.

The US alliance with Israel was based on three factors: One, adoption by Israel of western values and forms of government. Two, the fact that Israel was a strong military power. And three, the zionists’ influence on the American Jewry. Now that the cold war is over, the first factor is no more important, for Russia is in the western camp. As for the second, it has become a burden to America. As for the third, it is no more true that American Jews give uncritical support to Israel. They dislike extremist trends in Jewish politics. And Sharon is the worst example.

In Israel itself, there are two views about US-Israel relations: One, that their differences are temporary. And Two, that they need a new foundation. This view is held by the Labour Party of Israel.

It is felt that Israel cannot survive without US support. This dependence has grown with the growth of Israel’s war machine. Today, Israel’s defence budget is very high. The USA contributes as much as 3500 million dollars yearly to it. The Labour Party feels that Washington cannot bear this burden indefinitely. There are already indications of this sense of burden among American politicians. For example, Bush senior was definitely critical, which, some say, accounted for his defeat during the second term election.

Thus, while the Arab world continues its growth in wealth and strength, Israel is going to face uncertainties about its very financial viability. In short, it is facing a cruel dilemma; should it follow its present course of confrontation with the Palestinians and thus invite doom or should it make up with the Arab world?

Harkabi, a former Israeli intelligence chief, writes in his book “Israel’s Fateful Decision” that suppressing Palestinian nationalism and annexing the occupied territories will destroy Israeli democracy. This will lose it the sympathy and support of the world, thus forcing Israel to wither away. The other alternative is to accept the two-state solution. Harkabi says that such a course is the better option. But those who are opposed to this solution argue that there will be no end to the demand for more territories from the Palestinian side. Once the Palestinian state is conceded, the Palestinian will ask for more territory.

Israelis have no desire to be part of the Arab world. They want to remain an outpost of the West. The Arabs resent this, although they admit that the Israelis can live anyway they want. But they think that the West has been very unfair to them by planting an alien entity amongst them.

The Arabs feel that, as a bloc, they carry less weight in the world considering their vast resources and strategic location. They suggest two solutions to this problem: One, they call for a return to the pristine way of life of their ancestors. They do not want to follow Western goals. In fact, they consider the Western civilisation decadent. Arab union, once an ideal with Pan Arabists is no more an objective. They say smaller unions are more effective. And two, Arab intellectuals believe that what the Arab world needs urgently is democracy, wider political participation and greater respect for human rights. This feeling is widespread among the educated middle class. As a result, these young men prefer to work abroad and they have established the best Arabic press there. As a first step, they want the establishment of a civil society. The Arab States have legality, but not legitimacy, they say. There is no rule of law, press freedom or freedom of enterprise in any Arab State. Which is why the Arabs are in such poor esteem in the world.

It is true some states are trying to modernise themselves. For example, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and so on. Against this is the growth of fundamentalism, which tries to take Muslims to their bedouin roots. Obviously, they have the support of a substantial minority. But loss of faith in fundamentalism among the Iranian youth is causing some worry.

Not this alone. It was fundamentalism which led to the September 11 events. It turned the world against Islam and Muslims. Jehadism does not work. Its price is too high.



Warming world on thin ice: a shocking truth

LONDON: Ian McNaught-Davis has spent a long time in the mountains. Stocky and affable, the president of mountaineering’s international association, the UIAA, is not easily fazed. But when he hiked into the glaciers surrounding the world’s highest mountains on a UIAA mission funded by the United Nations Environment Programme, he was profoundly shocked.

For generations of explorers, environmentalists and local people, these cold Himalayan valleys, with glaciers that stretch for miles, seemed to symbolise a kind of cold, brutal permanence.

After hiking through zero visibility and atrocious weather for five days, McNaught-Davis emerged into a sherpa village surrounded by breathtaking scenery. There he was confronted with a shocking truth: the glaciers on Everest were melting alarmingly quickly.

McNaught-Davis listened as kinsmen of Nepalese sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who conquered Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, reported a rapid retreat of the Khumbu glacier from which the two pioneers set out. Sherpas and Buddhist lamas told him the glacier no longer reached to where Hillary’s base camp tents were pitched: it had melted three miles up the valley.

To check their accounts, McNaught-Davis climbed up to a glacial meltpool at 5,000 metres that 20 years ago was marked on maps as a series of small ponds. He found that the ponds had merged into a vast lake more than a mile long. ‘It was huge. I was completely amazed,’ he said. ‘Further up the glacier you can see more ponds forming’.

And it is happening so quickly that map makers cannot keep up. Locally, the prospect of these glacial lakes bursting their banks and obliterating whole villages is frightening. Globally, McNaught-Davis believes what mountaineers are seeing first is a bellwether for the climate change affecting us all. ‘It is a harbinger, a clue that something terrible is happening. Some scientists say “It must be other factors’’, but when you talk to people who have lived and climbed in these mountains for 60 years they say it is getting warmer, and the glaciers are shrinking at a sprint.’

In Europe’s Alps mountaineers report that rock pillars held on to their crags by ice for thousands of years are simply crumbling away as the ice melts. The climbing and skiing resort of Chamonix is under threat in the longterm, as the peaks around Mont Blanc begin to lose their ice and become more prone to avalanches.

McNaught-Davis said a recent visit to the Eiger in Switzerland was a shock too. ‘The north face used to have three massive ice fields. The last time I was there, there was one left, and it was almost gone.’

Glaciers on the African peaks of Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya are receding rapidly, and the same is happening in the South American Andes. It is not only the mountain glaciers that are melting. American Nasa scientists say the rate at which the huge Greenland ice sheet is melting has increased by a fifth in the last two decades.

This is because more meltwater is trickling down from the surface of the sheet to the bedrock 1,200 metres below. The water ‘lubricates’ the path of the whole sheet, causing it to slip faster towards the sea. Team member Jay Zwally said such a process had never before been detected in large ice sheets. Observer News ServiceTop


Arthritis: try cod-liver oil with orange juice

During the Second World War way back in the 1940s, a number of British children were given a combination of cod-liver oil and orange juice in an attempt to boost the levels of vitamin A and D in them. Now, scientists at Cardiff University in Wales have confirmed that cod-liver oil could also benefit those suffering from arthritis. In fact, doctors have started recommending not just cod liver oil, but a combination of cod- liver oil and orange juice, reports BBC.

“Cold orange juice is favoured often by people in Wales for some reason and cold milk by people in England to remove the unpleasant taste from the liquid cod-liver oil,” says Professor Bruce Caterson, Cardiff University co-researcher into cod-liver oil studies. Although capsules are more popular to cut down on the fishy taste, the liquid form is still recommended as more can be taken on a daily basis.

The research is due to be published in the June issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism and in August in the Proceedings of the British Nutrition Society this year. According to Professor John Harwood, another researcher into cod-liver oils, the vitamins in the oil are not the main benefit. “Rather it’s the omega-3 fatty acids that reduce cartilage degradation and inflammation in arthritic disease. Omega-3 fatty acid is the major component of cod-liver oil,” he says.

The researchers are currently conducting trials into the efficacy of ingesting fish oil and how fish oils work at a molecular level in the body to treat arthritis. ANI

Russians savour spicy Indian cuisine

Large crowds of Russians thronged an Indian food festival here as Muscovites got a rare chance to savour the best and spiciest of Indian cuisine. Master chefs from India have been flown in especially to cook up a storm, and they are quite popular with visitors. Russians are enthralled by the rich variety of Indian food and recipes that are on display.

Indian music and dance adds an ethnic touch to the merrymaking. “Dishes like chicken tikka, fish amritsari and rasmalai are huge hits with the crowds,” said Ramesh Chandra, one of the chefs at the event. Eminent Indologist Yuri Pavlov tagged his whole family along to the food carnival. “Going by the unprecedented response, it looks Indian curry would (soon) be as popular as Indian films here at onetime,” he quipped. “The festival was aimed at creating awareness about Indian food among Russians, and has been a huge big success,” said Pavlov. The opening day reportedly saw around 1,000 top Russian officials and friends of India from different fields congregate at the hotel.

“This is a unique occasion to get acquainted with the rich Indian cuisine, which is why we are here,” said Tatyana, a student from Moscow’s state university. “I had gone to see the year-long Indian festival in 1987 with my parents, when I was barely seven-years-old, but memories of that great, colourful event are still fresh. IANS


Disease springs from a wilful or ignorant breach of the laws of nature. It follows, therefore, that timely return to those laws should mean restoration.



I cling to nature cure in spite of its great limitations and in spite of the lazy pretensions of nature curists.



I am.

We are.

All is.

On behalf of the seas, the mountains, the trees, the flowers, the animals, the birds, the cloud, the storm, the earthquake — the human voice sings:

"I am, Thou art, It is.....


I am.

I know I am — Self-conscious.

That is how it is for man — as distinct from the wind, the birds,

the grass and the lightening.

I am created, born of Spirit and Matter, the the real "father" and "mother" of man, who may realise himself to be the "son"...

In the maturing child, who does not consciously know "I am" except in rare moments, the Self identifies with the senses and comes to associate with the body.

He or she learns to believe "I am this body"...

I am well; I am ill.

I am successful; I am a failure.

I am a winner; I am a loser.

I am clever; I am stupid.

I am happy; I am sad.

I am a believer; I am an atheist.

I am a Hindu; I am a Christian...

Are these things that I think I am, truly what I am?

How do I come to be these things?

Because, having entertained the idea as a thought, I believed — I "leased my being" to it...

The power of belief resides in the fact that once a belief is adopted and maintained, Buddhi "sees" it as "truth".

"I am hungry..... Of course, I am hungry! That is undeniably true!"

"I am ill... Of course I am ill! That is undeniably true!"

And yet... is it not the body that is hungry or ill?

—Extracted from William Corlett and John Moore, The Hindu Sound.

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