July 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India
The farce of a resignation
Making farm loans easier
Make operations in J&K effective
Night ferry to Belfast
The magic of 13
The farce of a resignation
EVER since Mr Nitish Kumar parted company with the irrepressible Laloo Prasad Yadav he has lost his sense of fun and political wit. As a politician with a non-serious image, that he had as Laloo's sidekick in the Lok Sabha, his lighted-hearted jibes had more punch than the recent histrionics of resigning. He must have kept only himself in suspense by refusing to budge even after Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee sent him a "nothing doing" message nearly a week ago. It is almost laughable that the sharp drop in the level of passenger safety ever since he moved into Rail Bhavan did not cause him emotional hurt. Not once did he offer to step down even during the phase when accidents became a routine headline. But the sharp attack by his detractors in the faction-riven Samata Party caused him so much agony that he could not bear the thought of continuing as Rail Mantri.
It is an established political fact that no two socialists can remain in the same camp for long. Mr Nitish Kumar and Defence Minister George Fernandes still have a bit of socialist blood in them to fight clumsy political battles that only socialists can fight. When things get a bit too hot they both use the ploy of resignation to tide over the crisis. Mr Fernandes used it to good effect to blunt the Tehelka-induced attack on him. He was back in the cockpit as the most controversial Raksha Mantri after the storm generated by the Tehelka expose had died down. Mr Fernandes was forced to step down because the attack on his integrity was not rooted in political differences within the Samata Party.
Mr Nitish Kumar too had to face the ire of the rail passengers after every accident. Had he chosen to step down when Rail Bhavan began to report shortage of body bags, neither would the Prime Minister have asked him to continue nor Mr Fernandes have performed the political drama of talking a sulking Railway Minister back into the coach. Mr Nitish Kumar, after returning to office, was quoted by the media as having said that "I regret that I could not keep my emotions under control". The sight of mangled bodies of rail passengers never made him lose control over his emotion, but routine political jibes from Samata colleague Prabhunath Singh made him want to quit! If this is not an example of playing with the people and the system, what is?
THOSE who gnash their teeth at the irresponsive nature of the Indian bureaucracy can take heart. The obduracy is not directed against them personally. Nor does it have anything to do with one’s station in life. The babudom is mean and cold towards one and all, including the legendary IT czar N.R.Narayana Murthy. The soft-spoken Infosys chairman with a personal worth exceeding $1.5 billion revealed the other day that his persistent efforts to get more direct flights abroad from Bangalore had failed miserably, so much so that nobody from the Aviation Ministry had even shown the courtesy to reply to his letters. His being a self-made billionaire is less important than the fact that he is one of the most respected and accomplished entrepreneurs that the country has produced. If the system can make him raise his hands in disgust, who is there to listen to a common man? That is why when Mr Narayana Murthy was questioned about the information technology backlash in the US, he commented: “Why blame outsiders … look at our own government”. Could there be a more telling commentary on the state of affairs?
This is not the first time that the red-tape has tied a pioneer in knots. In a television interview last month, Mr Murthy had narrated an incident that took place at a board meeting of Ahmedabad’s Indian Institute of Management. The board which consisted of the virtual who’s who of Indian industry was asked by an Under Secretary to the Government of India how they had decided to write off an old Maruti van worth Rs 8,000!.
The personal experiences that Mr Murthy has recounted are played out in the life of each and every citizen day in and day out. Everyone has to fight one’s own government to get things done. Amidst all reforms and deregulation, there is a rotten core which remains unchanged. The roadblocks put up by this colonial-era mindset where anyone who does not belong to the bureaucracy-politician clique is seen as a thief on the prowl are doing the nation immense harm. Many before Mr Narayana Murthy have lost hope, but he still remains hopeful: “If despite such poor infrastructure, we have achieved so much, with a little help from the government, we can do much better.” Hearing-aid, anyone?
Making farm loans easier
THE Centre has taken two significant initiatives to help the beleaguered farming community. The one announced by Finance Minister Jaswant Singh on Wednesday makes crop loans of up to Rs 50,000 available at the maximum annual interest rate of 9 per cent. The second made by Agriculture Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday provides a one-time Rs 600-crore package to clear the arrears of sugarcane growers in states like Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal Pradesh.
Hitherto, farm credit was available at very high rates of interest of 16-17 per cent. Now the government has decided to amend the NABARD Act to pass on funds direct to the district cooperative banks, thus lowering the transaction costs. The government initiative, however, is limited by the fact that farm loans at 9 per cent will be available only for seasonal agricultural operations. The interest rate of 9 per cent, though lower than what it was earlier, is still higher than what is charged for housing loans, which are available now at 7.5-8 per cent.
When in need, a farmer more often turns to an arhtiya than a bank. The arhtiya, though easily accessible, charges a very high rate of interest and exploits the farmer’s crisis situation. The banks need to simplify their procedures, be more farmer-friendly and accessible to make credit available at an affordable cost. Besides, a farmer still depends on the vagaries of the weather. A drought or a flood can lead to a crop failure, which can cripple a farmer. To meet such a situation and ensure that the farmer repays his loans on time, it is imperative to introduce crop insurance. That some states, particularly Punjab and Haryana, are still dithering on this positive step is surprising, if not shocking.
Only such states will benefit from the Rs 600-crore package as have the practice of announcing two sets of sugarcane prices — one the minimum support price fixed by the Centre and the other given by the states called the state advisory price, which is usually higher than the MSP. Some state governments and sugar mills had failed to clear the dues of sugarcane growers, who had been protesting off and on. Southern states have stopped announcing their own sugarcane prices. The northern states too will have to follow suit.
Thought for the day
Hypocrisy is a tribute which vice pays to virtue.
Make operations in J&K effective
A special group of the Ministry of Home Affairs under the chairmanship of Mr A K Bhandari, Special Secretary for J and K, set up by the Deputy Prime Minister to examine the counter-insurgency scene in the state and make recommendations for changes if any, has submitted its report to the Home Secretary. While the full details of the report and the recommendations have not been made public, parts that have appeared in the press do not make an impressive reading.
The recommendations confirm our long-standing contention that all is not well with the working of various security agencies operating in J and K; the coordination of their work and cooperation amongst them. The recommendation, calling for a major redeployment of various security forces into separate and perhaps independent sectors and well-defined fields of responsibility, is an admission of the fact that the present system has simply not worked and that mutual incriminations and blame game are not doing much good to our fight against cross-border terrorism. The division and allotment of sectors to various security forces i.e. Army and the central police organisations ( CPOs ) is to be based on their individual capabilities and the security scenario. This would presumably avoid overlapping of responsibility and consequently bring in the missing accountability.
There is nothing new in the special group’s recommendation that counter insurgency operations should be tailored to deal with the terrorists as they sneak into Indian territory rather than to engage them in the hinterland. This, Mr Bhandari, is precisely what the army has been striving to do, all these years, but there are the limitations of terrain, vegetation, weather and the extent of the LoC, etc. No amount of surveillance means, night vision equipment, technology and better intelligence, even if made available, can completely prevent cross border infiltration. At the same time it would be incorrect to assume that all infiltration takes place only from across the LoC. More than one crore Bangladeshis are believed to have crossed over to India. The Nepal border is porous, smuggling and movement from Pakistan across the fully fenced ( lit at night ) international border (IB) is a well-known activity. Over 20,000 Pakistanis with valid visas have gone missing in India.
Admittedly, major cross-border movement takes place in J and K, across the IB (East of Chenab) and the LoC. For the failure to effectively combat insurgency in the hinterland, the blame is often laid at the doors of the army, for its inability to prevent infiltration from across the LoC, as the proceedings of the Unified Command in J and K would reveal. The special group of the ministry has merely echoed this refrain of the CPOs. If it was possible to altogether prevent infiltration, then some of the security forces will have nothing to do in J and K and might as well pack up and leave. It would be difficult to believe that the CPOs and more so the BSF component of it, given their own experience of borders far less problematic than the LoC in J and K, make these observations in the Unified Command, as anything other than a part of the mutual blame-game and a coverup for own failures.
The topography in J and K does not lend itself to a neat division into well-defined sectors for the purpose of counter insurgency operations, unless the entire valley is made the responsibility of the CPOs, which may be more than what they can chew.
Expertise of dealing with counter-insurgency issues and policies comes after gaining experience of these operations from micro to macro level. Else, knowledge remains theoretical and ideas fanciful. No army or any other entity in the world has the range and depth of experience in fighting insurgencies as the Indian Army. The officer cadre of the CPOs ( IPS officers) do not seek practical experience of counter-insurgency operations. Consequently, they are not known to suffer a casualty, except for a DIG in J and K, who, when his camp was raided, was shot in his dressing gown. On the other hand, every second day, an army officer is laying down his life in J and K because he is always up there where action is.
The special group of the Home Ministry has made a recommendation that, even in the event of a warlike situation or hostilities breaking out along the LoC, the army should not be allowed to pull out a Rashtriya Rifles ( RR ) battalion from its counter-insurgency grid in the depth areas, whereas in such a situation the army — nay the nation — will have to draw on every resource of the country. Needless to record that RR battalions are an integral part of the army and maintaining sanctity of the territorial integrity of the country must take precedence over any other task of the army. Why should this special group come up with such an untenable suggestion unless it is acting in an atmosphere of extreme bias against the army and to embarrass it at some point of time in the future? At the same time it recommends that no such restriction be placed for pulling out an army unit to reinforce a town, forming part of CPO’s responsibility.
For successful conduct of counter-insurgency operations, the inescapable need is to have centralised command and control, by one single headquarters with all elements, including intelligence agencies, accountable to it. The concept of centralised command has never been implemented in India and therefore, insurgencies have stayed with us; be it in the Northeast or now in J and K. Out of all the organisations in the country, it is only in the defence services, where accountability is high and the reluctance on the part of the others to operate under their control is understandable. The political leadership fights shy of enforcing the system of centralised command and control.
What had initially started as insurgency in J and K, with 80 per cent indigenous and 20 per cent external ( Pakistan’s ) content, has by now undergone a sea change. It is now 80 per cent cross-border terrorism and 20 per cent insurgency. Terrorists from across the border are obtaining 90 per cent of their support from the locals through terror tactics and 10 per cent is the result of sympathy for the cause. While in the earlier setting it was more political than a military problem, it is increasingly a military task now. Therefore, our approach to tackle this problem has to undergo a change. This new development merely highlights the need for a centralised control of operations of all security elements.
Finally, given the depth and range of experience of Indian army officers in combating insurgency, should there not be an officer from the army, with experience in counter-insurgency operations, from an infantry company to a division (preferably in J and K,) as a special secretary for that state in the Home Ministry? Police officers are often appointed Secretary to the Government of India. Then why not an Army officer, more so when there is a compelling reason to fill this post by such an officer!
Night ferry to Belfast
A sea trip from Glasgow to Belfast is quite pleasant during all seasons of the year. But that early-September day was of special significance. I had to attend a significant meeting at the main shipbuilding yard of Harland and Wolff, Belfast, regarding modernisation of the aircraft carrier Vikrant. The chairman of Govan shipbuilding yard at Govan Clyde Bank, Glasgow, was travelling by the same ferry but in a VIP saloon.
As the night ferry weighed anchor at 8 p.m. I spotted two Japanese young ladies squatting on the carpeted floor close to the reception desk huddled together with their haversacks. They appeared bright and energetic. Watching them leaning against the paneling in the foyer, I cautiously approached them and introduced myself offering any help needed. The younger of the two, miss Tori Kagawa, was more articulate and appreciated my gesture. They were spinsters and were teaching oriental studies in Kobe University and were now proceeding from Glasgow to northern Ireland for holidays. They were enchanted by scenic beauty and humility of Irish folks in the emerald Island.
I suggested to them that they should spend their next holidays near Gangotri in Uttarakhand which is known as the cradle of ancient Indian culture. They responded with smiles and nods and confirmed that they had a high appreciation of dramas of Kalidas and Bhavbhooti as well as for the mathematicians of India who invented zero and the astronomers who for the first time perceived our universe in the present form. They had intimate knowledge of Pali and Prakrit and actually recited a couplet in Pali invoking blessings of Lord Budha. They quoted yogic exercises in support of oriental healing practices. Their ready knowledge of indology impressed me as well as to the Chief Executive of Govan shipyard who invited them to feel free to use the saloon lounge.
He too confirmed my views that on some future day, they should explore the higher northern reaches of the Ganges valley where they could find the real fertile ground for their ethos. The ladies again smiled but remained uncommitted and mum.
The teachers were scheduled to stay in the hostel of Queens University in Belfast. Just before disembarking I again asked Miss Kagawa to reveal why despite their profound regard for Indian heritage they were reluctant to come to India. This time she laughed heartily and spoke out. “Three years ago we both stayed in an ashram outside Hardwar. People came from all sides and listened to prayers and bhajans. However, every morning villagers and even inmates of ashram huts cleared their throats with shrieking sounds and spitting loudly in a routine ritual lasting a number of minutes. This was widespread and appeared repulsive. Since then we decided to avoid staying in India but continued admiring India through books and media.” I was deeply dismayed.
Next day I also met Dr E. Rebeck, Chairman and Managing Director of Harland & Wolff. The chairman was much amused and very wisely invited the Japanese ladies as well as the Vice-Chancellor of Queens University for evening tea. I was also there.
The ladies were very excited to learn that the famous ship Titatnic was built in this yard in 1912 and their host (Dr Rebeck) had himself worked on board the Titanic as an apprentice. After shamrock tea and Scottish short bread was served to the invitees Dr Rebeck presented a 1’x6” scale model of the Titanic to the Japanese teachers. They said it would be a fond memory for them. I wish India had left a similar impression on
Why Himachal is prone to cloudbursts
WEDNESDAY’S cloudburst in the Kulu valley has raised the question: what are cloudbursts and what causes them? Meteorological experts say that cloudbursts are devastating weather phenomena representing highly concentrated rainfall over a small area lasting a short time. They lead to flash floods, landslides, house collapses, dislocation of traffic and human casualties on a large scale over the area.
Though the exact mechanism of these systems is not yet perfectly understood, research suggests that they are a manifestation of intense vortices on a small scale. These vortices generate strong convective currents which lift the moisture-laden air rapidly to form cumulonimbus clouds, which shed their water load with ferocity.
The north-westward moving monsoon systems (low pressure area/cyclonic circulation) after recurving over Rajasthan/ north-west Madhya Pradesh and passing over Himachal Pradesh, are found to cause these cloudbursts. The topography of the state enhances the devastation caused by cloudbursts as the water flowing down the steep slopes brings debris, boulders and uprooted trees with great velocity damaging any structure which comes in the way, leading to a significant loss of life and property. Their interaction with eastward moving troughs in upper air westerlies which some times penetrate the Indian latitudes during the south-west monsoon season are found to greatly enhance the occurrences of cloudbursts over HP.
A recent study conducted by the Indian Meteorological Department has revealed that a total of 36 cloudbursts took place in Himachal from 1990 to 2001 — about three per year with a maximum of seven in year 2000 and none in year 1996. Out of the 36 cloudbursts, 15 were reported in Kulu, six in Shimla, four in Kinnaur, three in Mandi, two each in Kangra and Chamba, and one each in Solan, Sirmaur, Lahaul and Spiti and Hamirpur districts. This indicates that Kulu, Shimla, Kinnaur and Mandi districts are more prone to cloudbursts than other areas.
Kulu district is quite vulnerable to weather extremes. The region from Bhuntar to Manikaran along the Parbati, a small tributary of the Beas, and Kulu to Manali along the banks of the Beas, are more prone compared to the remaining parts of the district as 11 out of the 15 incidents have been reported in this region during the past 12 years, says the study.
How to predict a cloudburst There are no satisfactory techniques for anticipating the occurrence of a cloudburst because of their small scale. A very fine network of radars is required to be able to detect the likelihood of a cloudburst and this would be prohibitively expensive. Only the areas likely to receive heavy rainfall can be identified on a short-range scale.
There are no satisfactory techniques for anticipating the occurrence of a cloudburst because of their small scale. A very fine network of radars is required to be able to detect the likelihood of a cloudburst and this would be prohibitively expensive. Only the areas likely to receive heavy rainfall can be identified on a short-range scale.
Increasing urbanisation responsible
WHILE cloudbursts and flash floods have in recent years become a regular feature in the hill state, the heavy loss of life caused by such calamities can be mainly attributed to the increasing human activity in the interior areas, particularly along the rivers and nullahs.
Paradoxically, the frequency of flash floods has been increasing even though the overall precipitation in the state has been decreasing. The snow is becoming increasingly scarce. Even places like Dharamsala hardly receives around 70 inches of rainfall these days as against about 130 inches five decades back.
The reasons are not far to find. The indiscriminate and large-scale deforestation and haphazard urbanisation of the hills are the main factors responsible for the present situation. Vast tracts of the once lush green hills have been transformed into barren land due to the reckless felling of trees making them extremely prone to erosion.
Further, not only the towns but also villages are turning into concrete jungles because of rapid urbanisation. For instance about 500 hotels have come in about five square kilometre area in the tourist town of Manali. In such a situation even a drizzle is enough to cause the water level to rise in the river Beas.
With the hills shorn of the green cover, the run off is much more despite low precipitation. The construction of big hydel projects and roads and large scale mining, which generate million of tonnes of debris, are the man-made factor that increase the magnitude of the calamity.
The debris, which is carelessly dumped on the hill slopes, eventually finds its way into nullahs and rivers, raising their bed level. Their carrying capacity is reduced and during heavy rain they often change their course, causing widespread destruction. It is not surprising that most of the damage is caused in the Sutlej and Beas basin where most of the projects are coming up.
Although an environment impact assessment is carried out for every project and environment management plans are duly prepared but they are implemented only on paper. Crores are being spent on catchment area treatment plans, but not much is visible on the ground. Similarly, sites are duly designated for dumping the debris. But contractors, in a bid to save money on its carriage, conveniently throw it on the slopes in connivance with the supervisory staff.
Recently the government has decided to charge the projects for the loss of environmental value due to the diversion of forest land at the rate of Rs 8 lakh per hectare for areas with tree density in excess of 10 per cent. This would certainly make available in future more funds for the rehabilitation of catchment areas. What about the project already under construction?
The environment impact assessment statement is prepared by the Science and Technology Department. The Forest Department, which is mainly concerned with the rehabilitation of the catchment areas, is not associated with it at all.
The tendency of the people to settle down along the banks makes things worse as during flash floods the water loaded with debris moves down at a terrific speed, destroying everything which comes in the way. The victims are mostly migrant labourers who live in make-shift hutments along the rivers and nullahs on which projects are set up. Laxity on the part of the Labour Department to enforce the law and ensure that the contractors properly maintain the record of the manpower deployed adds to the problem. Every time an incident of this kind takes place there is a dispute over the death toll and the accurate figure is never known.
Over the past 15 years some 1,000 people have been killed in flash floods. The maximum loss of life and property has been recorded in hydel projects. The 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Project suffered widespread damage on as many as three occasion. In 1993 when the work has just started a huge landslide blocked the Sutlej river, creating a big lake at the dam site.
What causes a cloudburst
MOST air mass thunderstorms consist of agglomerations of several thunderstorm clouds. Assuming that the rising motion and condensations are achieved, the initial stage, called the cumulus stage, of a thunderstorm cloud consists of an updraft throughout the cell. The air of the cloud is buoyant, rising as a plume of air slightly warmer than its surroundings. At elevations above the freezing level, a mixture of ice crystals and water droplets exists. This leads to the initiation of ice crystal process of precipitation formation. Although fully developed precipitation elements form in the upper portion of the cloud, the updraft is strong enough to prevent them from falling. In fact, they are swept upward in the rising air.
As the load of precipitation increases, the updraft is no longer able to support it, and it begins to fall. As it falls, the precipitation drags along some of the adjacent air, so that in the mature stage, a downdraft forms within the cloud. It is during this stage that heavy rain commences at the surface. Unsaturated air from outside the cloud may be drawn into the downdraft, causing some of the rain to evaporate. This cools the downdraft, thereby increasing the density of its air and further adding to its downward motion.
In its final or dissipating stage, the cloud is characterised by sinking motion throughout, with only light rain at the surface. The success of the cloud in producing precipitation is responsible for its demise, for as more and more precipitation forms, the downdraft spreads throughout the cloud. In a sense, the cloud collapses on itself, leading to a cloudburst.
The magic of 13
THE number 13 has come to be identified closely with the BJP. The party does not believe that the number is unlucky and feels that such a superstition is only a Western fad. Vedic astrology also does not find the number 13 unlucky. As the monsoon session of Parliament begins on Monday, speculation is rife whether the BJP would like to derive some numerological advantage from the number 13. Political circles are agog with reports that the BJP is toying with the idea of testing its magic at the hustings again as the13th session of the 13th Lok Sabha commences on Monday. Some top leaders of the party are keen to end the life of the Lok Sabha so that Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee may have another term. After all, the party’s first brush with power lasted only 13 days and the second 13 months. This gave rise to numerologically-inclined BJP die-hards to believe that now the BJP would rule for 13 years. Any takers?
Political circles are agog with reports that the BJP is toying with the idea of testing its magic at the hustings again as the13th session of the 13th Lok Sabha commences on Monday. Some top leaders of the party are keen to end the life of the Lok Sabha so that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee may have another term. After all, the party’s first brush with power lasted only 13 days and the second 13 months. This gave rise to numerologically-inclined BJP die-hards to believe that now the BJP would rule for 13 years. Any takers?
Statue politics A time may come soon when the hallowed precincts of Parliament would no longer be able to
accommodate any more statues. The reason why Parliament corridors are abuzz with such exclamations is that as many as 13 more statues/portraits of “national leaders and parliamentarians” are to come up in the PH complex. This was approved by the Joint Committee on the installation of portraits/statues of national leaders and parliamentarians. Yes, there is a committee like that! The latest entrants to the Parliament House, albeit after death, include such prominent personalities as Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Comrade S A Dange. Most of the statues are ready for installation and will be unveiled soon.
A time may come soon when the hallowed precincts of Parliament would no longer be able to accommodate any more statues. The reason why Parliament corridors are abuzz with such exclamations is that as many as 13 more statues/portraits of “national leaders and parliamentarians” are to come up in the PH complex. This was approved by the Joint Committee on the installation of portraits/statues of national leaders and parliamentarians.
Yes, there is a committee like that! The latest entrants to the Parliament House, albeit after death, include such prominent personalities as Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Comrade S A Dange. Most of the statues are ready for installation and will be unveiled soon.
George’s missile It was a missile from the Defence Minister that television journalists and camera crew were not prepared for. George Fernandes disappointed and embarrassed many television journalists a few days ago when he declared that he did not watch TV. Fernandes, who is also the Samata Party President and the NDA convener, candidly admitted to scribes that when a friend called him up quoting a television bulletin report on the Railway Minister’s resignation, he thought the channel was referring to Nitish Kumar’s statement on resignation at the end of the National Council meeting earlier in the evening. Fernandes said he did not take the news seriously as he had categoricaly stated at the meeting that the party was not in agreement with Nitish Kumar on the issue of resignation. The NDA convener expressed his disbelief in equal measure when he got a call from the Prime Minister. Fernanades said he asked the Prime Minister if he had heard the news on TV or had actually received a resignation letter from the Railway Minister. Vajpayee replied that he had actually received the resignation letter. The Fernandes-speak has obviously given food for thought for the visual media which must do a reality check on its credibility in political circles and corridors of power.
It was a missile from the Defence Minister that television journalists and camera crew were not prepared for. George Fernandes disappointed and embarrassed many television journalists a few days ago when he declared that he did not watch TV.
Fernandes, who is also the Samata Party President and the NDA convener, candidly admitted to scribes that when a friend called him up quoting a television bulletin report on the Railway Minister’s resignation, he thought the channel was referring to Nitish Kumar’s statement on resignation at the end of the National Council meeting earlier in the evening.
Fernandes said he did not take the news seriously as he had categoricaly stated at the meeting that the party was not in agreement with Nitish Kumar on the issue of resignation.
The NDA convener expressed his disbelief in equal measure when he got a call from the Prime Minister. Fernanades said he asked the Prime Minister if he had heard the news on TV or had actually received a resignation letter from the Railway Minister. Vajpayee replied that he had actually received the resignation letter. The Fernandes-speak has obviously given food for thought for the visual media which must do a reality check on its credibility in political circles and corridors of power.
Culinary metaphors Quite often diplomats have to resort to carefully crafted phrases to convey messages in delicate circumstances. The outgoing US Ambassador to India, Mr Robert D Blackwill, is surely adept at this. When he took over in 2001, he set in motion a series of culinary metaphors to describe Indo-US strategic relations. He had then described Indo-US relations being “as flat as a chapatti”. Two years hence, the relationship between the two countries have grown by leaps and bounds. Little wonder then, that the flat chapatti characterisation was taken as the starting point by a leading industrialist to introduce Blackwill before the envoy delivered his final policy speech at a CII meeting on Thursday. And he ( the industrialist) said if two years ago the relationship was a flat chapatti, today Bob, it was a mouthwatering Big Mac. Amen! Contributed by Satish Misra, Tripti Nath, Prashant Sood & Gaurav Choudhury
Quite often diplomats have to resort to carefully crafted phrases to convey messages in delicate circumstances. The outgoing US Ambassador to India, Mr Robert D Blackwill, is surely adept at this. When he took over in 2001, he set in motion a series of culinary metaphors to describe Indo-US strategic relations. He had then described Indo-US relations being “as flat as a chapatti”.
Two years hence, the relationship between the two countries have grown by leaps and bounds. Little wonder then, that the flat chapatti characterisation was taken as the starting point by a leading industrialist to introduce Blackwill before the envoy delivered his final policy speech at a CII meeting on Thursday. And he ( the industrialist) said if two years ago the relationship was a flat chapatti, today Bob, it was a mouthwatering Big Mac. Amen!
Contributed by Satish Misra, Tripti Nath, Prashant Sood & Gaurav Choudhury
It is devotion that makes the invisible visible
and the unknown known. Allow your devotion to be so strong that God cannot hide His face from you.
At every stage of spiritual life, devotion is so crucial: first to attract grace;
then to hold grace and deepen your awareness of its presence; and finally to guide
you to union with the Absolute, the source of grace. Even one drop of devotion
inspires amazing experiences of the Supreme Self. — Swami Chidvilasananda, Gems from the Magic
of the Heart We are engrossed in sins, savours and self-esteem. These are our doings, O God! —
Guru Nanak, Siri, 15
— Swami Chidvilasananda, Gems from the Magic of the Heart
We are engrossed in sins, savours and self-esteem. These are our doings, O God!
Guru Nanak, Siri, 15
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