Sunday, January 12, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi

E D I T O R I A L   P A G E


Indo-Pak ties: can 2003 ring out the old?
Samuel Baid
f wishes become horses this New Year, all those who beg for normalisation of India-Pakistan relations, will ride. Sounds cynical, but alas, that reflects the reality of relations between these neighbours, who otherwise share a common history and cultural heritage.

Meghdoot: India’s pride
Harbhajan Singh
here are reports in newspapers that Indian Para Commandos were tasked to strike across the Line of Control in J&K in Jan 2002 and destroy terrorist bases.

Wings of God
Kiran Bedi
hat could our resolve for the year ahead be which benefits not only the person who is praying but humanity at large. A prayer by which peace is assured while we do our duties in a world of tension, constant strife and competition.


“Agni” on course
January 11, 2003
PIO politics and economics
January 10, 2003
The telecom revolution
January 9, 2003
The SOG controversy
January 8, 2003
Granting dual citizenship
January 7, 2003
Nuclear command, at last!
January 6, 2003
North Korea’s secret nuclear cities
January 5, 2003
Death of distance
January 4, 2003
Of educational reforms
January 3, 2003
PM's voice of sanity
January 2, 2003
Nuclear chicanery
January 1, 2003


Will apartheid spoil big cricket show?
V. Gangadhar
hen South Africa was banned from international sports for nearly 20 years because of its obnoxious racial policies, the people who regretted the isolation were the cricket enthusiasts.


Harihar Swarup
Naga leaders committed to their “cause”
ne may not agree with Isak Chisi Swu and T. Muviah’s style of functioning and their demand for sovereignty of Nagaland but the resoluteness of the two rebel Naga leaders in pursuing the “cause” has been remarkable.


Bracing up for Himachal polls
hich among the two “high-commands’’ in Delhi — the BJP and the Congress — is more powerful? Going by its cadre base and its rightist ideology, one would assume it is the BJP. But nothing in the Congress apparently moves without high command’s mulling. 

  • Match-making

  • Success story

  • Flop show

  • Cops & authors

  • Sugarcane lobby


Humra Quraishi
NRIs’ meet: of hype & artificial glamour
wo days before V.S.Naipaul's wife Nadira broke the disquiet on the circuit here, it was film maker Kamal Hasan who'd spoken out. He was here to screen his latest film ‘Anbe Sivam' (yet to be commercially released) and spoke of the divisive forces so systematically at work, or at play, in just about any quarter. 

  • B C Sanyal

Roy Jenkins: UK’s elder statesman
he death of the distinguished British elder statesman and peer Roy Jenkins at the age of 82 has struck several contrasting chords in the British media. There are those commentators — the preponderance, I think — who regard Jenkins as having been one of the most civilising influences on British public life, not least during his period as Home Secretary during the Labour administrations of 1964-70, when he was a powerful liberalising influence on legislation.Top


Indo-Pak ties: can 2003 ring out the old?
Samuel Baid

Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee shakes hands with Pakistan President
Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee shakes hands with Pakistan President General Pervez Musharaaf at the conclusion of SAARC Summit in Kathmandu.

If wishes become horses this New Year, all those who beg for normalisation of India-Pakistan relations, will ride. Sounds cynical, but alas, that reflects the reality of relations between these neighbours, who otherwise share a common history and cultural heritage. Fifty-four New Years have gone by but these wishes have remained unrealised.

What really ails their bilateral relations is their insistence on opposite pre-conditions for normalisation. In India's view bilateral problems are best resolved in an atmosphere of peace and cordiality. But Pakistan wants them resolved in a tense and conflict situation. In its view peace and cordiality would follow the resolution of the Kashmir issue. Till then it is not prepared to stop cross-border intrusions and disband training camps that have been responsible for acts of terrorism in Kashmir.

Here Pakistan is not even willing to listen to its great friend China's advice to keep difficult problems like Kashmir aside and first build up economic and bilateral relations with India. That is what China and India have been doing in their bilateral relations.

India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's proposal of a no-war pact to his Pakistani counterpart Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan in December 1949 was a gesture to create an atmosphere of mutual trust to resolve bilateral problems between the two countries. But Pakistan wanted the Kashmir issue to be resolved first although it was in the Security Council then. Here one may remind that Pakistan, too, had made such gestures, which India spurned. For example, President Ayub's proposal for a joint defence pact in April 1959, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq's proposal for a no-war pact in September 1981 and its reiteration by Mr.Nawaz Sharif in 1998. Ayub's proposal could not be acceptable to India, first, because New Delhi stood for non-alignment and opposed international military pacts and, secondly, it could see in this proposal a mischief to sow suspicion between it and China. Clearly, Ayub's proposal was prompted by the United States-led anti-China and anti-Soviet Union military pacts of which Pakistan was a loyal ally. But Ayub did not have the courage to name China when Nehru asked him against whom his proposed defence pact was aimed.

But Ayub's proposal was more diabolical than what Nehru could have perceived in 1959. Fifteen years later Ayub was to reveal his true intentions behind this proposal. Just before his death in 1974, he gave a long interview to a Jamait-e-Islami journal “Zindagi”. The interviewer asked him why had he offered a joint defence pact proposal to Nehru. In his reply Ayub laughed and said it was a bait which the Pandit didn't bite. The idea behind this offer, he said, was to deploy Pakistani troops in Kashmir as part of the joint defence arrangement and “once our troops were there, we would have told Indians to hold plebiscite”.

In 1981 Gen.Zia proposed a no-war pact to India without making any reference to India's proposal of 1949. Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was hesitant to favourably react to it because, first, it was made solely with a view to paving the way for the supply of US arms including aircraft to it, and secondly, the proposal didn't carry any Pakistani promise to stop its support to terrorism in Punjab. The Pakistani Establishment then was following a policy of peace without friendship with India. Peace with India was necessary for Pakistan to carry on the war of US-led forces against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Friendship with India was to be avoided for the execution of Gen. Zia's secret future Kashmir operations. However, a section of public opinion in India strongly favoured talks with Pakistan on its no-war proposal. Mrs. Gandhi agreed to talk on it after proposing a treaty of peace and friendship so that no-war implied peace and friendship. The two countries held talks on these proposals between 1983 and 1986. During these years Pakistan did not stop its support to militancy in Punjab nor did it slow down its anti-India propaganda. These talks could not continue because the civilian Government installed by Zia in 1985 began harping on the solution of Kashmir as a pre-condition for peace and friendship between the two countries.

When Nawaz Sharif offered a no-war pact out of the blue in the course of his address to the United Nations General Assembly in 1998, he made no promise to stop cross-border terrorism. In fact, as the Pakistan invasion of Kargil in 1999 was to reveal later, jehadis/Islamic terrorists were under the control of the Army — more precisely under the control of Gen. Pervez Musharraf who used them to topple Nawaz Sharif when he was trying to normalise relations with India.

In the past 54 years, India has gone out of its way at least five times to make overtures to Pakistan for peace. Contrary to Pakistani propaganda, in none of these overtures India tried to evade issues like Kashmir. For example, see the text of the draft of the no-war proposal in 1949. It said “...They further agree that the settlement of such disputes between them shall always be sought through recognised peaceful methods such as negotiations or by resort to mediation or arbitration by special agency set up by mutual agreement for the purpose or by agreed reference to some appropriate international body recognised by both of them”.

The Shimla Accord envisions a negotiated settlement of the Kashmir problem. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee made history in February 1999 when he bussed to Lahore and made it a point to visit Minar-i-Pakistan the spot where the Muslim League, then led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, passed the two-nation theory resolution also known as Pakistan Resolution on March 23, 1940. It was a revolutionary gesture from the Indian Prime Minister as it signified that India accepted the raison d'etre of the creation of Pakistan. No Indian leader had done so before. Mr.Vajpayee again went out of his way to congratulate Gen. Musharraf on his taking over as President of Pakistan in June 2001. No other Indian leader had earlier greeted a military coup leader on becoming President.

The Shimla Accord was signed in July 1972 to help Pakistan establish democracy and political stability after 13 years of military dictatorship in that country. It was also meant to step-by-step normalise relations between the two countries. Indira Gandhi, who signed this accord with. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, later told Parliament that a strong Pakistan was in India's own interest (then US President Richard Nixon's claim that India wanted to break-up West Pakistan in 1971, was a lie perhaps for the consumption of the people of this truncated country). Informed sources in India have always maintained that at Shimla, the two leaders agreed to convert the LoC into a permanent border between the two countries so as to root out the cause of conflict. How sincere Mrs. Gandhi was about normalisation was proved by India's gesture of returning Pakistani 93,000 POWs and its territory captured during 1971 war. At Shimla, India did not treat Pakistan as a defeated country nor did it try to extract a price for the return of POWs and territory although it was in a position to do so.

Mrs. Gandhi and her team fully trusted Bhutto. But when he went back, he reportedly asked Kashmiri militants to continue their activities as he had signed the Shimla Accord in helplessness. India again felt stabbed in the back in February 1999. When Mr. Vajpayee was talking peace with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Lahore, his Army Chief General Musharraf was conspiring with jehadis to invade Kargil. And when Mr. Vajpayee surprised everybody by inviting this very man for talks in Agra, he came without any commitment to normalisation. He knew very well that talking of Kashmir alone would not take the two countries anywhere. And he did just that.

His Kashmir-centric stand and his refusal to stop cross-border terrorism despite his commitment to the US-led campaign against global terrorism had brought India and Pakistan dangerously close to another war during 2002. The General has disclosed that his country was ready for a non-conventional war. That means a nuclear war.

A dangerous fallout of Pakistan's India policy can come in the form of militant Hindu reaction. We saw a bit of it at the time of Assembly elections in Gujarat. The year 2002 had started on a bitter note as Indians were still writhing in anger against attack on the Parliament House in New Delhi on December 13, 2001. The attack was masterminded by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba. India suspended road, rail and air traffic; called back its ambassador from Islamabad and moved its forces on the border. Pakistan also moved its forces on borders with India and till June it appeared that the two countries would go on war again any time.

On January 12, one saw a flicker of hope when General Musharraf under tremendous pressure from the USA and the Western world outlawed Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba. But subsequently released their leaders and allowed these organisations to continue their terrorist activities in different names.

Thus it appears near impossible for India and Pakistan to roll back in 2003 the hostility they cultivated during 2002 and earlier.

The writer is Director, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi.


Meghdoot: India’s pride
Harbhajan Singh

There are reports in newspapers that Indian Para Commandos were tasked to strike across the Line of Control in J&K in Jan 2002 and destroy terrorist bases. However, the plans were shelved due to conciliatory statements made by Gen Musharraf, as a result of US Pressure/mobilisation of Indian Forces along Pak Border.

Some how such daring operations have not been undertaken by Indian military leadership in wars against Pakistan except during Bangladesh operations and in 1965 War by an intrepid officer Maj Megh Singh. This is the story of Meghdoot Force led by bravest of the brave Maj Megh Singh, which carried out a number of very daring and successful attacks and raids across the Cease Fire Line in Punch and Akhnoor Sectors during 1965 War.

Maj Megh Singh was serving in Headquarters Western Command, Simla in 1965 as a staff officer. He had come under a cloud as Second in Command of 3 Guards and was denied promotion. Due to this, he had put in his papers to leave the Army. Not withstanding this, on outbreak of hostilities in J&K as a result of massive armed infiltration into J&K by Pakistan in beginning Aug 1965, Maj Megh Singh sought an interview with Lt-Gen Harbaksh Singh, the then GOC-in-C. He volunteered to raise and head a small force to attack targets and carry out raids behind Pak defences in J&K as a tit for tat for their infiltration. He explained that he had taken part in similar actions during the Second World War in Burma behind Japanese lines and thus had requisite experience.

Lt -Gen Harbaksh Singh appreciated and accepted the offer of Maj Megh Singh and promised to pin the rank of Lt Col on his shoulders, once he had successfully carried out operations suggested by him. Maj Megh Singh reported to GOC XV Corps and was asked to select volunteers from infantry battalions. He was soon able to assemble a group of young, hardy and dashing daredevils and set about giving them intensive training. Within a couple of weeks he declared his group called Meghdoot Force ready for any operational task.

The Indian Army set in motion a bold operation for the capture of Haji Pir Bulge in the last week of Aug to seal the important infiltration route into Kashmir Valley. 68 Inf Bde Group from Uri-Baramula side launched the main attack. Punch Brigade was tasked to attack from the South as a pincer movement and thus open direct route between Uri and Punch. Meghdoot Force played an important role in this operation by attacking targets behind enemy lines and diverting his attention.

Some of the important tasks undertaken by Meghdoot Force are described here. A small but important bridge on Road Dwarandi-Bandigopalpur, seven miles behind the Cease Fire Line was blown up on Night ˝ Sep 1965. Two formidable Pak Picquets called Neza and Ari Dhok were captured as complementary action to main attack by the Punch Brigade on Pak main Picquets Raja and Chand Tekri, capture of which was necessary to link up with 68 Inf Bde attacking from the North ( Haji Pir Pass side). Meghdoot Force also attacked the Ammunition Dump at Kahuta, eight miles behind Pak Lines but found the Dump empty. Undaunted, Maj Megh Singh switched his Force and successfully attacked the enemy troops guarding the vital Kahuta Bridge, which helped in the Punch Haji Pir link up. Maj Megh Singh was rightly given the honour of affecting the link up between troops advancing from Haji Pir and Punch. He was also awarded Vir Chakra and Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh as per his promise, on 16 Sep slipped on the badges of Lt Col on the shoulders of Megh Singh.

With the successful completion of Punch-Haji Pir link up, attention of Meghdoot Force shifted to Chhamb Sector, where Pak had attacked in strength on 1st Sep and made considerable gains. The Force carried out a number of harassing raids spreading chaos and confusion amongst enemy ranks. On 19 Sep elements of Meghdoot Force quietly slipped through forward lines and attacked Thil 4 Km in depth in Kalidhar Sector, inflicting severe casualties. Three days later, at 0200 Meghdoot Force struck again at enemy logistics base at Nathal. Pak troops were completely surprised and suffered heavy casualties and the Dump was completely destroyed. On the way back, Megh’s daredevils attacked Enemy Post at Thuggi. Hand to hand fight took place and Pak troops were severely mauled. Lt Col Megh Singh was, however, wounded in this encounter.

Meghdoot Force proved that Indian Army was and is capable of successfully operating and attacking targets well behind enemy forward defences. All that is required is bold leadership, training, planning and execution. The bold spirit of Indian Army has, however, been curbed and blunted over the years by chair borne politicians and bureaucrats in Delhi. Senior military leadership also cannot be absolved of blame for caving in to civilian dictates on operational matters and not undertaking such operations. They have played too safe in ordering offensive actions across the Line of Control and looking over the shoulder to their superiors for a nod. This attitude no doubt has emboldened Pak Army and ISI resulting in repeated terrorist attacks on Army camps in J&K and deep inside our country. It is absolutely essential to pay them back in the same coin and in the language they understand.

The writer, a retired Lieutenant-General, was the Signal Officer-in-Chief of the Indian Army.


Wings of God
Kiran Bedi

What could our resolve for the year ahead be which benefits not only the person who is praying but humanity at large. A prayer by which peace is assured while we do our duties in a world of tension, constant strife and competition. Here is an attempt to say a prayer in action as a New Year Resolve.

We pray that we:

* Be blessed with good and sound physical health.

* May our families too be safe and healthy.

* May all our actions, thought, word or deed be tuned towards correct behaviour.

* May we in exercise of our rights not deprive others of their peace and tranquility.

* May we in performance of our duties not deprive others of their full rights.

* May our energy and our efforts be towards promoting peace and harmony in our immediate work/living place and around.

* May whoever comes in our contact receive happiness and goodwill.

* May we grow each day for larger good.

* May our time be well spent and well invested for not only our personal benefit but for the good of society and our country.

* May the place of work in we live may become ‘missions’ to be fulfilled rather than jobs to be done, or time to be passed.

* May our parents/elders consider us worthy of their inheritance.

* May we have the large-heartedness to share whatever we treasure for the needy and deserving.

* May we develop a sense of gratitude for all that we have and acquire only that what we need and not our greed.

* May we have the willingness to share our surplus with the deserving.

* May we work towards reducing our problems — be it like tennis players who do not take the approaching balls as threats but as opportunities to play the best.

* May we realise our potential to be a butterfly from a caterpillar.

* May we be aware that we too can become a Buddha i.e. enlightened beings.

* May we not only work to live but may live to work akin to a mystic who works on himself/ herself as well.

* May we operate from love which comes from our higher self — and live life as is it comes.

* May our life ride on the waves of love, and peace also called as Wings of God by Swami Subbobodhanada.

* Happy New Year. Jai Hind. 


Will apartheid spoil big cricket show?
V. Gangadhar

When South Africa was banned from international sports for nearly 20 years because of its obnoxious racial policies, the people who regretted the isolation were the cricket enthusiasts.

The South African cricket team of the 1970's which consisted of champion players like the Pollock brothers, Eddie Barlow, Barry Richards, Mike Procter and Dennis Lindsay had thrashed even the mighty Australians led by Bill Lawry and would have challenged Clive Lloyd's invincible West Indians of that era. Because of the ban, such a contest was not possible and the outstanding players of South Africa had to be content playing county cricket in England.

Apartheid was a dirty word and South Africa paid dearly for its racist policies. When Nelson Mandela came to power after the dramatic end of the apartheid era, he was keen to restore sporting links with other nations and the South African cricket team visited India first to be greeted ecstatically. Since then, the country had been in the forefront of several sporting activities. Its bid to hold the next Soccer World Cup was thwarted narrowly, but the Cricket World Cup could not be denied. But with just a month left for the great sporting event, unexpected problems had cropped up.

South African isolation in international cricket began when it refused to accept coloured cricketer, Basil D'Oliviera as part of the English team which was set to tour the country. An outraged cricketing world was solidly behind the English cricketer and demanded the ouster of South Africa. There was bitterness and name calling, but South Africa had few supporters and had to leave the international sporting arena.

England, then, was the aggrieved party and it is ironical that it is the same England which is causing problems for the 2003 World Cup. The problem, of course, lay not with the cricketers but the British government which did not want their team to play in Zimbabwe which is to host some of the World Cup matches. The English stand has been supported by the Australian government and Prime Minister John Howard had asked the national team not to play in Harare.

Such boycotts sully the spirit of the World Cup. Fearing terrorist attacks, Australia and the West Indies refused to play in Sri Lanka which co-hosted the 1996 World Cup along with India and Pakistan. It was true that Sri Lanka was in the grip of terrorist attacks from the LTTE, which, however, never interfered with any sporting activities. Citing terrorist presence, Australia and the West Indies, chose to forfeit points than playing in Sri Lanka. Their attitude left a bad taste in the mouth because other nations did play in the island without problems.

The current crisis had been engineered not because of any terrorist threats but because of the growing British impatience and anger with the President of Zimbabwe, Sir Robert Mugabe. Britain and a section of the Western world had accused him of violation of human rights, destabilising democracy and holding an election where the Opposition was not allowed to campaign freely. The Western Press highlighted the autocratic, anti-democratic actions of the President.

What angered Britain most was the forcible seizure of land and farms, by militant black groups from British farmers who had spent a lifetime developing them. The black groups often resorted to violence and dozens of British farmers had been killed in the resultant clashes. Zimbabwe, a British colony, had been a haven for British citizens, particularly farmers, who for generations had invested heavily and hoped to live and die in that land. The seizure moves came as a shock to many of them.

Robert Mugabe had condoned the forcible seizure of the farms, in fact encouraged them. He and other leaders of his party had pointed out that with the declaration of independence, all land in the country belonged to the local people and the White men could not hold on to them for ever. This was, no doubt, an extreme attitude but the fact was that millions of black citizens were frustrated because almost all the arable land in the country was owned by the British farmers. A predominantly agricultural country, Zimbabwe, had no land for its people to work on.

The President who had in power unchallenged since independence can be faulted for not entering into negotiations with the farmers for the take over of their land, after a decent compensation had been paid. The farmers, can be accused of living in a fool's paradise for dreaming they could hold on to their farms for ever. The public sentiment was strongly in favour of the seizure of the farms, with or without compensation. Whether such seizures amounted to human rights violations was a debatable point because the people were only asking for something which belonged to them.

Britain had also been condemning the one-man rule of President Mugabe and charged that the elections held by him were rigged. There had been some violence in the country but absolutely no terrorist attacks of any kind. Religious fanaticism had not touched Zimbabwe and the World Cup matches could have acted as some kind of a balm to soothe the tension. Only recently the English team played a test and one-day series against Zimbabwe which went off without any incident. The players’ safety was ensured. The country's cricket team was a blend of blacks and whites who got along pretty well.

That was why it is absurd for the British government to ask the national team not to play in Harare. The move defied logic. So far, the only reason for calling off proposed tours was on the issue of players' safety because of troubled local conditions caused by terrorist activities.. Pakistan had suffered because of this. But there had been absolutely no incidents of violence in Zimbabwe to disturb international sporting contests.

Mugabe's concept of democracy may not be to the liking of Tony Blair, but that could not be a cause for the withdrawal of cricket matches in the World Cup. These had been planned years in advance and millions of dollars had been invested for the event. Last minute changes of venues due to petty causes can create hardships for the organisers. Zimbabwe and a host of African nations had opposed the stand taken by Britain and Australia, terming it 'racist'. In the days to come, the African nations may decide not to participate in cricket World Cup tournaments hosted by England, Australia or New Zealand. And that could be the death of Cricket World Cup.

While Britain may have some legitimate grievances against Zimbabwe, it is hard to understand the attitude of the Australian government in joining the call for a boycott. Prime Minister John Howard had proved to be an arch conservative right winger who saw nothing wrong in treating the Aborigines as dirt. Recently Australia had attained notoriety for its treatment of illegal immigrants in detention camps which can be compared to the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The country's immigration policy is clearly biased towards the Whites who enjoyed all facilities. It was hard to understand why Australia had to emulate the former regimes of South Africa in practising apartheid.

Both Australia and England will find that the call for boycott for avenues in Zimbabwe may boomerang. Africa is no longer a sleeping giant, it is a continent ready to play its role in a modern world and will certainly resist attempts to revive apartheid particularly in sporting events. Sport had united blacks and whites both in South Africa and Zimbabwe and it is churlish for England and Australia to rake up non-issues which smack of racism.


Naga leaders committed to their “cause”
Harihar Swarup

One may not agree with Isak Chisi Swu and T. Muviah’s style of functioning and their demand for sovereignty of Nagaland but the resoluteness of the two rebel Naga leaders in pursuing the “cause” has been remarkable. Having spent a life-time in the longest underground movement in Asia, spanning over half a century, they had undergone a grueling time; living and fighting in dense forests, surviving attacks on their lives and, in turn, making similar attacks on rivals and living through detention. In between they could slip to foreign countries, even hostile to India, to seek support in their struggle. They could open channel with China and Pakistan in their efforts to get arms and ammunitions and also training for their cadres — a treacherous act indeed. Muviah, in fact, led the first 100 Naga fighters to Yunan province in China for training. Naga rebels likened this to China’s legendary “Long March”.

Muviah has been an assertive spokesman of Naga rebels and impressed the late Chinese Premier, Zhou en lai, by his tenacity to the cause. Those were the days when India-China relations were at the lowest ebb and Zhou used the Naga insurgent for fanning trouble in North- East. When

New Delhi signed the Shillong Accord with moderate Naga leaders in November 1975, both Isak and Muiah were in China, planning armed struggle with a view to seceding from the Indian Union. They summarily rejected the accord and declared that their aim was to establish a People’s Republic on Mao’s ideology. They also armed and trained insurgents from Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Manipur.

Encouraged by China and Pakistan Swu, Muviah and another leader of equal seniority, S S Khaplang formed in January 1980 their own outfit — National Socialist Council of Nagaland — with the objective of carrying on armed struggle against India and establishment of the Republic of Nagaland. Swu became the NSCN’s Chairman and Muviah the General Secretary. Soon the organisation plunged into bitter infighting and culminated in an abortive attempt to assassinate Muviah. He escaped rather miraculously but several of NSCA’s cadres were killed .That was the month of April, 1988. Muviah suspected Khaplang’s hand in the “dastardly” attack and this led to split of the organisation and two rival bodies — NSCA (Isak-Muviah) and NSCA (Khaplang) — came into being.

Being the dominant group NSCA (I-M) took to violence and in 1994 massacred 16 people in a Church and its guerrillas in December, 1996, boarded a bus in Guwahati and killed 30. A ceasefire was agreed between the NSCA (I-M) and New Delhi in 1997 but did not make much headway as the guerrillas killed eight soldiers. The worst came in November, 1999 when an assassination attempt was made on the life of Nagaland Chief Minister S.C. Jamir, who it was believed, was sympathetic to the Khaplang faction. Difficult time was ahead for the NSCA (I-M) as Muivah was arrested in January 2000 in Thailand while travelling on a forged South Korean passport. That was the time when peace talks had again started between Naga rebels and New Delhi.

Even after the peace talks had began, Muviah kept travelling to the countries hostile to India. He had visited Karachi amidst suspicious circumstances on a forged South Korean passport and false identity. The name mentioned in the passport was that of a Korean-Hwan Soochin. When he landed in Bangkok, he was caught by Thai customs authorities and immediately sent to prison. Later, he was granted bail by a local court but told not to leave the country. He was lodged at a hotel, near the Bangkok International airport and two security guards were detailed to watch his movements. Muviah, in a clever move, pretended to be ill and went to a hospital from where he managed to flee. He travelled to Hatyai, an airport in South Thailand, and carried another forged passport but he was nabbed again and sentenced to one-year prison term.

Personality-wise both Swu and Muviah are different and so is their approach to issues. While Swu is 72, Muviah is six years younger to him. Swu has been a veteran in the underground politics of Nagaland; he was a member of the negotiating team when it held talks with Prime Minister

Indira Gandhi in 1966-67. A deeply religious man, Swu has not known other facets of life than underground struggle for last 40 years. Muviah has, however, been moving in and out of the country but he too, like Swu, is a deeply religious and a staunch Christian. Muviah presently lives in Amsterdam but his living style is spartan. He cooks his own food and washes his own clothes.

Both Swu and Muviah appeared to have much mellowed when they visited Delhi last week for peace talks and, possibly, realised the futility of their dream of an independent, sovereign republic of Nagaland. Coming barely a month before the assembly elections in Nagaland, their Delhi visit may have a bearing on the poll. Though NSCA is not participating in the coming elections, it may back the opposition parties candidates. Swu and Muviah failed in their attempt to bump off S.C. Jamir but may take him on in the hustings.



Bracing up for Himachal polls

Which among the two “high-commands’’ in Delhi — the BJP and the Congress — is more powerful? Going by its cadre base and its rightist ideology, one would assume it is the BJP. But nothing in the Congress apparently moves without high command’s mulling. So while the BJP leaders in Himachal Pradesh are out on the streets campaigning, the Congress leadership of the state is making rounds of the AICC to sort out issues. The pending issues include those of leadership, ticket distribution and campaigning. Apart from meeting Sonia Gandhi and AICC general secretaries, state leaders are also keen to have a word with CWC members to push their cases. Quite a few also meet Vincent George, an old Congress hand who sends his inputs to 10, Janpath. While the Congress tickets for Himachal Pradesh will be decided in Delhi, the BJP is likely to finalise most of its tickets in Shimla before sending them for approval to its central leadership in Delhi. In the recently concluded Gujarat elections, the BJP’s state unit had sent single names to central leadership in about 176 out of 182 seats, leaving little scope for discussion, ambiguity and delay.

The BJP, it seems, is showing some federalism while the Congress remains very much a “central” party. In Gujarat, the state BJP had sent 176 single names to the central leadership.


The Pravasi Divas is more than a congregation. It has thrown open opportunities for fixing marriages. After the warm hugs and pleasantries exchanged, two long-lost friends of the Diaspora got down to talking about generation next. One said his son has settled down in New York, the other said that his daughter was working with the UNFPA, in New York. Both of marriageable age and soon the propestive co-parents got into serious talking and departed from the session hall with arms around each other. Little is heard of them after that. But if the marriage between the children is solemnised, the Vajpayee government take a part of the credit.

Success story

It was sheer determination and thorough involvement in his work which made a class four drop-out invent a machine for separating the cotton seed from the thread. The machine also separated the inventor villager from poverty on a permanent basis. This success story was recounted by Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi before the NRI gathering at the just-concluded Pravasi Bhartiya Divas. This villager, who came across hazzles involved in separating cotton seed from the bale, ended upinventing such machine which is widely used for the purpose now.

The inventor earned as much as Rs 25 lakh within a year.

Flop show

The session on entertainment, ethnic media and Diasporic identity on the second day of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas turned into a marathon session as speakers failed to adhere to the time-limit. Though Information and Broadcasting Minister Sushma Swaraj sat patiently throughout the session, the organisers appeared nervous when they looked at their watches. I&B Secretary Pawan Chopra declared that it was already 5.30 pm and six of the 18 speakers were yet to get a chance to speak. He looked at the audience for a suggestion and then decided to ask the remaining four speakers to summarise their views. The hapless four were: Fakir Hasssen, a freelance journalist from South Africa, Rudd Chander, Director, OHM, The Netherlands, Shakuntala Hawoldar from Mauritius and Hasmukh Patel, President, US-India, Enterprises, the USA. The question-answer session was skipped, but an officer from the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs who wanted to sing her composition to welcome the NRIs, was welcomed. The bad management disappointed the audience, including film-maker Yash Chopra who said that the session could have been more enjoyable with an interactive session.

Cops & authors

More and more police officers are taking to writing after retirement. Trinath Mishra is the latest addition to this list of policemen authors. Mishra, who retired last month as Director-General of Central Reserve Police Force, is planning to write a book on the experiences he had in the past four decades, especially during his career in various central and state government police organisations.

A prolific Hindi writer, Mishra has also written a book in English, titled “Unnatural deaths: Investigations” which is under publication. However, he would prefer Hindi when he starts writing his magnum opus: his biography.

Sugarcane lobby

The sugarcane growers are up in arms over their demands. Congress leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Balram Jakhar, who is the Chairman of the AICC Kisan Khet Majdoor department, led a delegation of sugarcane farmers to Congress President Sonia Gandhi who reportedly assured that the sugarcane farmers will not suffer more. Sweet words, but it remains to be seen whether the action is equally sweet or not. Watch this space.

Tailpiece: A prominent BJP leader from a western state heard saying at a luncheon: “Sonia Gandhi is moving around as if she were the Prime Minister of 14 states. (Chief Election Commissioner) J M Lyngdoh is behaving as if he were the Congress President.”

Contributed by Prashant Sood, T V Lakshminarayan, Satish Misra, Gaurav Chaudhary, Shveta Pathak, S. Satyanarayanan, Tripti Nath and Rajeev Sharma.


NRIs’ meet: of hype & artificial glamour
Humra Quraishi

Two days before V.S.Naipaul's wife Nadira broke the disquiet on the circuit here, it was film maker Kamal Hasan who'd spoken out. He was here to screen his latest film ‘Anbe Sivam' (yet to be commercially released) and spoke of the divisive forces so systematically at work, or at play, in just about any quarter. Hasan's words got a backseat because he happens to be none of those NRIs on an officially conducted tour /trip/ holiday here. He was unofficially talking about so many officially conducted events, for instance, the Gujarat riots.

The official doer of those riots is not just moving about scot-free but even addressing rallies. And its here that we the middle class can question ourselves. The film may have the potential to make you get over all that lethargy, rise and question yourself and others.

Getting back to the NRI lot. On Friday, day two of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, I went to the main venue, Pragati Maidan. Not once. Twice. But I missed out on the session where Nadira is said to have asked the pertinent question on the safety of the minorities. Having met her on earlier occasions — twice at Khuswant Singh's home — I could quite well imagine her to be moving away from the set format, for the lady is not just outspoken but aggressive and not the one to be sitting all quiet.

Whilst Naipaul sits quiet, Nadira talks non-stop, making you see the wisdom in the cliche — opposites attract. Anyway, getting back to the NRIs’ meet, I found it disappointing. The hype, the artificial glamour seemed suffocating. Everybody seemed in some tearing hurry and the manner in which people spoke was all centred around sheer business. Got a fair amount of inkling what lay in store after a young man thrust right on my face a paper reeking of business opportunities available. Whilst talking to a young man from the USA, it became clear that he was here not to see the country of his origin but to conduct some business and make contacts as he rather blatantly put across in that typically nasalish accent. Many, like this woman delegate from Martinique, Sacarabany Lucienne, did not have a clue to the happenings here. She shrugged each time I asked her about this or that and in the end made it clear that the country she comes from there is no news of India or about India.

I am not too sure what impressions they 'd carry back, could be away from the realities, for even the lunch boasted of such fare, the lavish spread and a variety that many an NRI couldn't really digest. A woman delegate told me that she had never really seen so much of food before in her life. I told her exactly the same. Even I had never seen so much of food before. Must tell you all this one too — whilst trying to figure out to go towards the stall with the Kashmiri cuisine displayed or towards the one with Gujarati food on display, I opted for the Kashmiri one. Almost short of a wazwaan. And standing close to the spread was a fair looking young man adorned with the typically Kashmiri topi ( headgear ) and a phiran to boot.

Casually I asked him whether he was from Jammu or Kashmir. He looked blank. Completely blank. Thinking I'd committed some blunder, I asked him again, this time adding Ladakh in the list. And this time he smiled rather sheepishly and said: “No, no I'm from Himachal. My name is Sunil Rana...” Then why this Kashmiri attire? “Our organiser, our food company, dresses us up...” I don't know whether he will get some dressing down after this or will there be some degree of authenticity introduced at some the food level.

B C Sanyal

Last fortnight I wrote about the passing away of Justice Raja Jaswant Singh. And this week saw the departure of yet another gentleman from the scene — artist B C Sanyal. He was a figure never to be missed. There was something about his personality that made him stand out. I think I first saw him about 20 years back and the man's looks left an immediate impact.



Roy Jenkins: UK’s elder statesman

The death of the distinguished British elder statesman and peer Roy Jenkins at the age of 82 has struck several contrasting chords in the British media. There are those commentators — the preponderance, I think — who regard Jenkins as having been one of the most civilising influences on British public life, not least during his period as Home Secretary during the Labour administrations of 1964-70, when he was a powerful liberalising influence on legislation.

For his die-hard opponents, he was the father of “the permissive society”, which the great man himself preferred to refer to as “the civilised society”.

Though only finance minister for a brief period from November 1967 to spring 1970, he went down as one of the great holders of that office in the 20th century. His job was to make the much postponed devaluation of the pound sterling 'work', by introducing stringent measures to ensure British consumers were kept under control, while more resources were channelled to exports and investment.

In fact, he succeeded handsomely, and although his stringency has often been blamed for Labour's loss of the general election of 1970, the party had improved in the opinion polls after his last budget. What ruined it though was a freak set of adverse overseas trade figures, which went against the improving trend.

Jenkins then proceeded to fall out with the mainstream Labour party over European policy; he strongly supported the UK Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath's successful application to join the European Union. Only recently, Jenkins described himself as 'godfather' to the Euro.

Jenkins wanted the class system to fade without being replaced either by an aggressive and intolerant proletarianism or by the dominance of the brash and selfish values of a 'get rich quick' society”. Many people today feel this is precisely the way British popular culture has evolved since 1979. Courtesy: Guardian.


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