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EDITORIALS

Go ahead with N-deal
Flexibility in nuclear diplomacy needed
The recent talks between India’s Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns in New Delhi have raised some avoidable doubts among the sceptics about the implementation of the historic Indo-US nuclear agreement signed in July 2005.

Death as ‘tamasha’
An all-villain tragedy in Patiala
WORDS are insufficient to describe the horrendousness of what was enacted at the bus stand in Patiala on Tuesday. Gopal Krishan Kashyap, a local politician, was so aggrieved by the non-allotment of sheds to handcart-pullers that he set himself aflame. He is reported to have informed the authorities, local and national, about his self-immolation plans.


 

EARLIER STORIES

Go home, Buta
January 25, 2006
Return of Raja Bhaiya
January 24, 2006
Speaker has no
other choice

January 23, 2006
We will focus on
economic agenda,
says Muzaffar

January 22, 2006
Rein in the khaps
January 21, 2006
Tackling Musharraf
January 20, 2006
Scams and the system
January 19, 2006
No confrontation, please!
January 18, 200618
Reopen and act
January 17, 2006
Iran on a slippery path
January 16, 2006
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Crushing the law
The Aravalis are still under attack
A casual disregard for the law and callousness towards the environment is again on display in the sensitive Aravali region of Mewat in Haryana. The number of stone crushers working along public roads in several villages like Uttarwar, Gudawali and Bajida Pahri, in blatant violation of regulations, is a pointer to how apathetic the efforts to contain damage to the environment have become.

ARTICLE

Blasts in India, Afghanistan
Pakistan Army’s strategy may backfire
by G. Parthasarathy
While Pakistan’s eastern flank with India has been free of tensions ever since the ceasefire along the Line of Control came into effect in November 2003, the same cannot be said about the developments on its western borders.

MIDDLE

The leading newspaper!
by I.M. Soni
A FORMER student of mine called on me and asked, “Sir, which is the leading English language newspaper in this region?”

OPED

News analysis
Cong keen to recapture lost bases in the north
by Anita Katyal
Well before the 82nd plenary session of the Congress got underway in Hyderabad last week, it had become increasingly clear that the three-day show was going to be dominated by an unprecedented clamour for the coronation of Rahul Gandhi as the party’s future leader.

Contentious history texts
China intensifies crackdown on state media
by Philip P. Pan
China’s ruling Communist Party on Tuesday suspended one of the premier publications in Chinese journalism, escalating a campaign to rein in the state media, the government’s toughest crackdown on freedom of expression here in more than a decade.

India and China: together against Aids
by Anita Anand
In December last year, there was a quiet visit to India by a high level Chinese delegation from their Ministry of Railways, the Chinese Academy of Railway Sciences, and the Beijing Municipal Railways, along with officials from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).


From the pages of

 

 REFLECTIONS


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Go ahead with N-deal
Flexibility in nuclear diplomacy needed

The recent talks between India’s Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns in New Delhi have raised some avoidable doubts among the sceptics about the implementation of the historic Indo-US nuclear agreement signed in July 2005. Hence the time for those who have a positive view of the deal to ensure that the country does not miss new opportunities that have come its way. India should go ahead with its plans to separate civil and military nuclear facilities at the earliest to facilitate the lifting of restrictions on the supply of technology and fuel for the Tarapur nuclear reactor.

The critics of the agreement include not only the people who are ideologically opposed to any such deal with the US, but also senior scientists in the Department of Atomic Energy who are just not prepared to tolerate International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors monitoring their research facilities. The scientists’ view is that India’s nuclear programme — both military and civilian — can sustain itself without international help. But they have no clear answer to the question related to the acute shortage of nuclear fuel and the unavailability of the latest reactor technology. They should try to understand why Russia, the UK and France are willing to help India today despite its not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). These countries know that now India will have no problem in getting clearance from the US and other members of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, which is essential for any arrangement concerning the supply of nuclear fuel or technology.

It is true that India cannot afford to risk its military-related nuclear programme. But, at the same time, it has to ensure sufficient energy supplies to meet the demand of a fast growing economy. The country cannot solely depend on meagre hydel resources or the hydrocarbons when the oil prices have shot up to $60-plus from $4 a barrel a few years ago. This makes the agreement with the US unavoidable. The availability of the latest nuclear technology will enable India to reduce its dependence on petrol and gas considerably without jeopardising its position as a major nuclear power. The 21st century India needs looking ahead and a flexible approach to foreign policy as well as nuclear diplomacy. 
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Death as ‘tamasha’
An all-villain tragedy in Patiala

WORDS are insufficient to describe the horrendousness of what was enacted at the bus stand in Patiala on Tuesday. Gopal Krishan Kashyap, a local politician, was so aggrieved by the non-allotment of sheds to handcart-pullers that he set himself aflame. He is reported to have informed the authorities, local and national, about his self-immolation plans. His comrades-in-arms in the Rajiv Gandhi Prontha Market Union, which he headed, were on the spot to garland him as he poured kerosene on himself and lit a matchstick. Among the mute spectators were uniformed constables of the Punjab Police but none of them made even a feeble attempt to dissuade him from staging the gory drama. All they needed to do was to use a little persuasion, a little force, or just take away the kerosene can from him to save his life.

The onlookers swung into action only when he was in flames. As a result, the hapless man received 80 per cent burn injuries and died a painful death. It is easy to blame the poor man as there is no logic in what he has done. In all likelihood, he was not in a proper state of mind and deserved sympathy, rather than contempt. But what about his fellow handcart-pullers who were present on the scene and for whose cause he was ready to sacrifice his life? Can this benefit of the doubt be given to all those who mutely watched him as he slowly climbed up a platform with a can of kerosene in his hand and a matchbox in his pocket? Photographers who clicked away to glory can, of course, claim that their job is to take pictures and not save lives. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh can take solace in the Rs 10-lakh “compensation” he has announced for the benefit of his kith and kin. Whatever be their justifications, the incident will haunt them forever, i.e., if they have a conscience.

The way some of the television channels repeated the clippings left a bitter taste in the mouth of the viewers. Many of them felt that if this was an instance of “Reality TV” brought into their drawing rooms, it would have been better if there was no such TV at all. It is a tragedy of the worst kind in which there were no heroes but only villains — from the callous onlookers to those who ignored Gopal Krishan Kashyap’s demands to those who sought to improve their viewership rating. Or, is society becoming insensitive to other people’s sufferings?
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Crushing the law
The Aravalis are still under attack

A casual disregard for the law and callousness towards the environment is again on display in the sensitive Aravali region of Mewat in Haryana. The number of stone crushers working along public roads in several villages like Uttarwar, Gudawali and Bajida Pahri, in blatant violation of regulations, is a pointer to how apathetic the efforts to contain damage to the environment have become. These crushers, reportedly well-connected, have not only not obtained the necessary permission from the Haryana Pollution Control Board but are also violating norms which demand that they maintain a certain minimum distance from the road.

The 615-kilometre-long Aravali range stretches from Southern Gujarat to Haryana via Rajasthan. They are a natural barrier against ensuring that the desert sands of the Thar do not invade the Indo-Gangetic plains. A few decades ago, they were densely forested and rich with wild-life. Greedy and extensive logging, mining and quarrying activities have destroyed the eco-system. Not only do we have less of its flora and fauna, soil fertility, quality top soil, and the water-table have all been affected. Rainfall has been reduced, river channels and reservoirs have silted up.

Regions like Mewat, socio-economically one of the most backward in Haryana, are already suffering from the effects. There is acute water scarcity in the area, with only a small percentage of its villages possessing potable water sources. Haryana has committed itself to enforcing the Supreme Court’s order on banning mining, and it must ensure that there is no laxity in this regard. Stone quarries pose other challenges as well. The unscrupulous among the quarry owners have been known to employ bonded labour at extremely low pay. There have been many deaths from serious lung disorders, and young children continue to be employed on them. The government needs to act against the prevailing cocktail of complicity, cynicism and apathy, or the region will be irretrievably ruined. 
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Thought for the day

Television has brought back murder into the home — where it belongs.

— Alfred Hitchcock
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ARTICLE

Blasts in India, Afghanistan
Pakistan Army’s strategy may backfire
by G. Parthasarathy

While Pakistan’s eastern flank with India has been free of tensions ever since the ceasefire along the Line of Control came into effect in November 2003, the same cannot be said about the developments on its western borders. Even as Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammed Khan was holding talks in New Delhi on January 17-18 to commence the third round of the composite dialogue process, the situation was becoming uncomfortably hot for Gen Pervez Musharraf in Baluchistan and along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

On January 13 a “Predator” remote-controlled aircraft of the CIA let loose a hail of rockets on Damadola village located in the Bajaur tribal agency of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province. Eighteen persons died in the hail of rocket fire. This was the third attack on Pakistani territory by CIA “Predator” aircraft in recent days. The death of civilians evoked widespread outrage, with the Musharraf government being forced to mollify public opinion by summoning American Ambassador Ryan Crocker to lodge a protest.

The Americans were, however, unrepentant. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed understanding of how difficult it was for the Pakistan government to deal with the fallout of the attack. She, however, emphasised: “Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are not people who could be dealt with lightly.” Senator John McCain was even more forthright. He emphasised the need to pursue operations against Al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies relentlessly and added that he could not rule out the possibility of further attacks like that in Bajaur.

Sensing American anger, the Musharraf dispensation soon backed off. It emerged that American attacks were being launched after an exchange of information with the ISI. The Chief Administrator of the Bajaur Agency, Mr Fahim Wazir, acknowledged that at least “five foreign terrorists” were among those killed in the “Predator” attack.

General Musharraf got the ruling Muslim League (Q) to reject a parliamentary motion in the National Assembly condemning the American attack. His Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz meekly went ahead with a scheduled trip to the United States, pledging Pakistan’s loyalty to America’s “war on terrorism”.

Among those killed in the US attack were three Egyptians and one Moroccan, who was the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman Al-Zawahiri. All these persons were senior Al-Qaeda functionaries. Determined to avenge the killings of Al-Qaeda members, the Taliban retaliated on January 16 with a suicide bomb attack that killed several Afghans in the Afghan border town of Spin Boldak. Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi promptly claimed responsibility for the bombing. The next day hundreds of demonstrators, shouting “Death to Pakistan”, “Death to Al-Qaeda”, “Death to the Taliban”, marched through Kandahar.

An outraged Governor of Kandahar Assadullah Khalid proclaimed: “The suicide bombers are trained and equipped by Pakistan and sent to Afghanistan for sabotage activities. Pakistan is sheltering and allowing senior Taliban officials on its soil and in some cases senior Taliban officials have got their homes in Pakistan and used them as training camps.” Mr Khalid added that Pakistan uses not only Taliban but also its own nationals as suicide bombers. This is no surprise because suicide attacks in J&K are almost invariably undertaken by Pakistani nationals from groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Pakistan is adopting a policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds in dealing with the situation on its borders with Afghanistan. Every six months or so a senior Al-Qaeda leader is “found” and handed over to the Americans. Not a single senior Taliban leader has, however, yet been killed or captured by the Americans or the Pakistanis ever since the Taliban fled from Kabul in November 2001. The tall and easily recognisable Osama bin Laden, who requires regular dialysis for his kidney ailment, has eluded arrest. General Musharraf knows that American assistance for Pakistan will wind down once Osama is killed or captured. To please the Americans, over 80,000 Pakistani soldiers have been deployed in North and South Waziristan along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

After over 200 Pakistani soldiers were killed by the Waziri tribals and their Taliban supporters, the Pakistan Army ended active operations and began operating from secure bases. The entire tribal belt is now under the effective control of the local allies of the Taliban. The Americans believe that Osama, Al-Zawahiri, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader Tahir Yuldashev and Taliban military commander Jalaluddin Haqqani are all ensconced in this area.

While the hunt for Osama proceeds in Waziristan, the Americans evidently know that Taliban leader Mullah Omar and his close associates have slipped across the border from Spin Boldak into Baluchistan and are living comfortably in cities like Quetta and Peshawar. Now well armed with ISI assistance, the Taliban has stepped up its attacks across Afghanistan. There have been more than 40 suicide attacks on US-led forces in the past four months in Afghanistan. On January 5, 10 people were killed and 50 wounded in a suicide blast in the Central Uzurgan province during a visit by American Ambassador Robert Neumann.

With the Americans winding down their troop presence in Afghanistan, their NATO ally Netherlands is now having second thoughts about deploying its soldiers in Southern Afghanistan. In his message evidently recorded last month, Osama gloated over what he proclaimed was an inevitable American defeat in Afghanistan. His interest in seeing the Americans leave Afghanistan coincides with that of General Musharraf who would dearly love to see the return of a pliant Taliban-dominated regime in Afghanistan.

While tactics may change from time to time, the strategic objectives of the Pakistan Army establishment of seeking “strategic depth” in Afghanistan and “bleeding India” in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere are not likely to change. Even as it continues with the composite dialogue, New Delhi should be prepared for carefully calculated and calibrated terrorist attacks on strategic installations, in Jammu and Kashmir and in places like New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. I was amused when some very learned people recently asserted that while rogue elements in the ISI may be responsible for such activities, General Musharraf himself was probably unaware of these happenings.

The Pakistan Army is a highly disciplined force in which decisions taken by the Army Chief after consulting his Corps Commanders are not challenged, or undermined. The bomb explosions and terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and India are part of a carefully considered strategy by Pakistan’s military establishment. Past history, however, shows that such strategies invariably backfire, with disastrous consequences for Pakistan itself.

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MIDDLE

The leading newspaper!
by I.M. Soni

A FORMER student of mine called on me and asked, “Sir, which is the leading English language newspaper in this region?”

“I find it hard to answer your question as the very nature of journalism is changing.”

“Anyway?”

“The one that offers the maximum number of gifts.”

“Any other plus point?”

“Maximum pages?”

“What’s the big deal?”

“The reader gets a huge pile of raddi which offsets the payment he makes for the newspaper. He calculates the cost of gifts, and gets the newspaper free.”

“What’s the character and quality of such a newspaper?”

He ignored the amused look on my face.

“Isn’t it rich?”

“Its rich. Very rich. In fact, there is an embarrassment of rich choices!”

“Name a few for my benefit, sir,”

“He gets colour advertisements”

“Anything else?”

“There is a surfeit of pictures of little known models, jaded film actors and actresses. The big Bs (bores) dominating.”

“Sir, anything else?”

“There is a colourful jungle of semi-nudity.”

“What about the text?”

“It is cluttered as much as the mind.”

“Why?”

“Disciplined writing and editing comes from disciplined mind.”

“Any other point?”

“Leading newspaper must be an anaemic copy of a TV news talecast.”

“What about traditional values of life?”

“It must have columns on wine drinking, stimulants, what starlets eat, drink, how they spend holidays, who they are sleeping with, why marriages break, how sons of stars fare in films, who is kissing whom?”

“What about humour?”

“Have capsules set in print you can read with a magnifying glass.”
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OPED

News analysis
Cong keen to recapture lost bases in the north
by Anita Katyal

Well before the 82nd plenary session of the Congress got underway in Hyderabad last week, it had become increasingly clear that the three-day show was going to be dominated by an unprecedented clamour for the coronation of Rahul Gandhi as the party’s future leader.

Since the session was held in the backdrop of the Volcker and Quattrocchi controversies, the party’s own dismal performance in recent assembly polls and the unfolding Karnataka crisis, the Congress rank and file was clearly banking on Rahul Gandhi’s formal anointment to divert attention from its in-house problems.

It was also known that the Congress would tread a cautious path, balancing the need to preserve its government at the Centre with that of strengthening the party in states where it has been reduced to a marginal force or is locked in battle with the same parties, which are supporting it in New Delhi. Having come to power after eight years in wilderness, the Congress was keen not to send out any negative message either to its allies or its own rank and file, especially since there is a large section in the party which has yet to reconcile itself to sharing power with regional players.

As it happened, the script at the three-day deliberations remained largely unaltered. Expectedly, sycophancy scaled fresh heights as the AICC plenary was virtually hijacked by the “Rahul La, desh bachao” brigade with speaker after speaker, including seniors like Karan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee and Shivraj Patil, going out of their way to press for the inclusion of young faces in the party organisation.

The Gandhi scion made an impressive debut with his maiden speech at the plenary and though he personally declared that he is still “learning and listening” and is not yet ready for a larger role in the party organisation, it is only a matter of time before he is elevated as an AICC general secretary. Having maintained a low-profile till now the plenary was clearly an occasion to announce Rahul Gandhi’s arrival on the political centrestage

With the plenary becoming a Rahul Gandhi show, the discussions on key political, economic and international affairs were virtually relegated to the background. Nevertheless, the party’s resolutions and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s opening and closing remarks held out several important messages both for its own cadres as well as its allies and supporting partners.

Having accepted that coalitions are now a political reality, the Congress did reaffirm its commitment to the continued success of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. But the strain of leading an alliance and managing temperamental and demanding allies is also telling on the grand old party. It, therefore, did not hesitate to tell its partners that they desist from airing their grievances publicly and instead confine themselves to constructive criticism as they are equally responsible for the success of the alliance.

Having accepted the inevitability of coalitions, the Congress also made it plain that this will not hinder the party from expanding its base in the states where it is pitted against the same parties whose support is crucial for the durability of the UPA government. The West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura units were told, in no uncertain terms, that they should persist with their political battle against the Left parties in their respective states. Clarifying that there was no contradiction in opposing a party in some states and taking their support at the Centre, the Congress underlined that “national challenges demand cooperation and coordination among secular forces” at the Centre which is not necessarily the case in the states.

The Congress also acknowledged that the party, which was known for its pan-Indian presence, has virtually vanished from large parts of India. Both Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi were brutally frank when they admitted that the Congress had faded away from the northern belt, meaning the crucial states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

While declaring that the party’s next battle would be fought in the North, the Congress president also made it abundantly clear that there was no “magic wand’ for the party’s revival and that the workers should prepare themselves for a prolonged struggle ahead instead of depending on the Gandhi family alone.

Considering this session was the first to be held after the Congress-led government came to power at the Centre, it was expected that the deliberations and the political resolution would contain a sharp attack against the BJP while underlining the secular character of the United Progressive Alliance.

This is particularly so since the Congress has always maintained that the UPA has strong ideological underpinnings while the NDA was a mere opportunistic alliance. But after 20 months in power, the party is now attempting to change the tenor of political discourse by moving away from the “communal versus secular” debate to a greater focus on development.

This was evident from its political resolution which stated that the UPA was not created from a need to stall communal forces from returning to office but as a “wholesome desire to serve the nation with time-tested ideas and methods of rapid development and distributive justice”.

This is obviously based on the realisation that the Congress does not benefit from a sharp polarisation of the polity, which eventually works to the advantage of the extreme Right.
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Contentious history texts
China intensifies crackdown on state media
by Philip P. Pan

China’s ruling Communist Party on Tuesday suspended one of the premier publications in Chinese journalism, escalating a campaign to rein in the state media, the government’s toughest crackdown on freedom of expression here in more than a decade.

The decision to shut down Freezing Point, a four-page weekly feature section of the state-run China Youth Daily that often tested the censors and challenged the party line, came less than a month after the authorities replaced the top editors of another daring newspaper, the Beijing News.

The China Youth Daily is the official newspaper of the Communist Youth League, a power base for President Hu Jintao. Because any move to punish it would almost certainly require his approval, the decision to close Freezing Point was seen as further evidence of Hu’s personal support for a tightening of controls on the media that began two years ago, about a year after Hu took office.

Party officials summoned the senior editors of the China Youth Daily and ordered Freezing Point closed a day after distributing a five-page document that accused the section of “viciously attacking the socialist system” and condemned a recent article in it that criticized the history textbooks used in Chinese middle schools.

Propaganda authorities issued an order barring all media from reporting the suspension, all reporters from participating in any news conference about it and all Web sites from carrying any discussion about it, journalists said.

The chief editor of Freezing Point, Li Datong, confirmed the suspension in a message on his blog before censors deleted the page. “My colleagues and I just finished the full-page proof of tomorrow’s Freezing Point, but it looks like it can’t come out,” he wrote. “Freezing Point tenaciously survived for 11 years, and it has finally died.”

Reached by telephone, Li said it was inconvenient to discuss what happened in detail, but said he planned to write an essay to fight the decision. He said propaganda officials issued a notice criticizing him and the newspaper’s editor-in-chief by name, and ordering the section closed until it is “rectified and fully recognizes and corrects its mistakes.”

Li, a party member and veteran journalist, stunned the propaganda authorities last summer with a lengthy letter attacking a plan to award bonuses to reporters at the newspaper who had won praise from government officials while deducting pay from reporters whose articles were criticized by officials. After the letter was leaked, the newspaper scrapped the bonus plan.

Though some publications ordered to undergo “rectification” by the party resume operations within weeks, others never publish again. Li said he planned to meet with his colleagues before deciding how to proceed, but he indicated that he did not believe Freezing Point had erred in publishing the article about the history textbooks.

— LA Times-Washington Post
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India and China: together against Aids
by Anita Anand

In December last year, there was a quiet visit to India by a high level Chinese delegation from their Ministry of Railways, the Chinese Academy of Railway Sciences, and the Beijing Municipal Railways, along with officials from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

They objective was to study first hand, the joint project of the Indian Railways and UNIFEM — Equalizing Gender Relationships in the Context of HIV/AIDS – being implemented by the Railway Women’s Empowerment and AIDS Prevention Society (REAPS).

India and China have a great deal in common when it comes to HIV/AIDS and the Railways. Both countries, with large populations, took a while to acknowledge and act on the epidemic. Both railways are large employers — India has 1.8 million employees, and China 2.16 million. Passengers of both countries are mostly migrant populations, men and women traveling alone, mainly for work. In addition, many of the railway staff are away from home, and are exposed to, and indulge in, casual sexual encounters.

In both societies matters of sex and sexuality are discussed in low tones, if at all. HIV/AIDS has been a major trigger in bringing these issues out into the open. In both countries, the epidemic has moved from the high risk groups (migrants, sex workers and drug users) to the general public.

Both countries are in stages of development where there is a fair amount of movement — of people and capital — within the country. In such a situation of fluidity and change, the data suggests there is a high level of unsafe and protected sexual activity.

The Chinese delegation aims to study how the South Central Region of the Indian Railways was implementing an out-of-the box project is dealing with the high levels of incidence of HIV/AIDS in Vijayawada and surrounding areas in Andhra Pradesh. The focus of the project is women’s empowerment — through information and opportunities, so they could have better negotiating power with their spouses.

The five-day trip covered Railway schools, hospitals, on-site visits to railways stations and coach depots, meetings with trade union representatives, and most important — interaction with people living with HIV/AIDS and the peer counselors who are the backbone of the project. The peer counselors, who originate from the railways community, and are mostly women, are contracted to be at all these sites, giving information on HIV/AIDS, counseling people, and referring them to the railway hospital testing centres.

While information on HIV/AIDS is and can be given, the tedious work of changing hearts and minds – not to mention habits — when it comes to sexuality, is more difficult.

Two decades ago, India and China both created national AIDS committees to formulate a strategy and plan for prevention and control of HIV/AIDS. And, while a great deal of progress has been made, a more radical approach is necessary. For example, more voluntary testing must be pro-actively encouraged in both countries.

Given the large populations of both countries, and the nature of the epidemic, it is perhaps the single most urgent issue of development. 2006 has been designated the ‘year of friendship’ between India and China. A series of cultural activities have been planned, and hopefully the year will bring together leaders and policy makers to attend to health and societal issues like AIDS as well.
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From the pages of

January 17, 1925

Ply the “Charkha”

I very much fear”, says Mahatma Gandhi in the latest issue of Young India, “that all the cogent arguments that are being advanced by Indian publicists, although they are almost unanimous in their condemnation of Lord Lytton’s policy, will be lost upon the Government, which has become habituated to treat public opinion with contempt.

Hence it is that I say that if they would add force to their argument, they must ply the charkha.” The first part of the observation will command general assent. As regards the second, the Mahatma would be on firmer as well as surer ground if, instead of the words “ply the charkha”, he uses the words “boycott British cloth and such other British goods as can be boycotted without inflicting any serious injury upon India.” The difference is substantial, because the mere plying of charkha is not, and cannot be, synonymous with the boycott of British cloth, and by itself would take an infinity of time to bring that pressure to bear upon England which Mahatma Gandhi has obviously in view.
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Never kneel to a person who proclaims himself guru or pir but goes around begging.

— Guru Nanak

God lives in the cave of our mind. Let the lamp of love illumine the cave.

— The Upanishads

What is found now is found then. If you find nothing now you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death. 

— Kabir

I will give up twenty thousand such bodies to help one man. It is glorious to help even one man.

— Ramakrishna

Beauty does not still one’s desire. The more one sees it, the more one desires it.

— Guru Nanak
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