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EDITORIALS

Pay panel pill
Now, reform the bureaucracy

T
HERE was nothing much to write home about in the Prime Minister’s Press conference on Wednesday but he did endear himself to the Left and the millions of central government employees by announcing the decision to set up a pay commission for them. No timeframe has been given but the bonanza is likely to be made available soon enough, considering that the largesse has come within days of the employees threatening to go on a nationwide strike if their demand was not met.

IIMs overseas
Go global, but keep the focus on India

T
HE directors of all six Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have reason to be pleased with the assurance given by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Mr Arjun Singh, that the government would not oppose their plans to have a presence in other countries.







EARLIER STORIES

Scope for diplomacy
February2, 2006
Airport blackmail
February1, 2006
Delayed IT refunds
January 31, 2006
Cabinet Mark II
January 30, 2006
Serious journalism must remain part of democratic dharma
January 29, 2006
Crisis continues
January 28, 2006
Go ahead with N-deal
January 26, 2006
Go home, Buta
January 25, 2006
Return of Raja Bhaiya
January 24, 2006
Speaker has no other choice
January 23, 2006
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Ending leprosy
It’s too early to celebrate

H
EALTH workers can claim a pat on the back for achieving the goal of eliminating leprosy in India by the end of 2005. A prevalence rate of less than one in 10,000 qualifies as elimination, a stated goal of the National Health Policy of 2002. Total eradication, with a zero prevalence rate, is expected to take more than two decades, as the disease has long incubation periods. But given the low levels of spending on public health in India, both health officials and the numerous international and national organisations working on leprosy can allow themselves a degree of satisfaction.

ARTICLE

Assembly dissolution case
Dissenting views highlight judicial independence
by Fali S. Nariman
E
nough has already been said and written about the Bihar dissolution case. For me, the most heartening feature about the judgments handed down on January 24 is the fact that all five justices have held that the decision to dissolve the Bihar Assembly was not beyond judicial review.

MIDDLE

Unassuming Raja
by K.S. Parthasarathy
D
uring the seventies, there was only one BEST bus service connecting Dadar to Trombay where the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is located. It was less frequent. In the morning, if one missed BARC staff bus starting from Dadar, one had to wait a while to reach BARC.

OPED

Bhuj rebuilds itself
by R.K. Misra
T
he sun shines bright piercing the chill of a cold wintry morning in Bhuj district of Gujarat bordering Pakistan. The spreading warmth is symbolic as this land devastated by a massive earthquake on the Republic Day five years ago seeks to live down death and nurture life.

The Dirty Harry of Mumbai
by Justin Huggler
I
n a court room in Mumbai this week, one of the most remarkable stories in modern policing is drawing to a close. The man in the dock is no ordinary criminal. He is one of the most celebrated and idolised police officers in India, a real-life Dirty Harry who made his name by gunning down gangsters in the streets, and was part of the elite unit credited with cleaning up India’s commercial capital.

Delhi Durbar
Aiyar loses oil ministry
U
nion Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar being divested of the additional charge of Petroleum and Natural Gas was on the cards. When Aiyar was given charge of Panchayati Raj, he was gleeful as he is one of the advocates of grassroots democracy.

  • Pakistan lags in rail link

  • Kalam to visit Myanmar

  • Of dog bites and scribes

 


From the pages of

 
 REFLECTIONS

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EDITORIALS

Pay panel pill
Now, reform the bureaucracy

THERE was nothing much to write home about in the Prime Minister’s Press conference on Wednesday but he did endear himself to the Left and the millions of central government employees by announcing the decision to set up a pay commission for them. No timeframe has been given but the bonanza is likely to be made available soon enough, considering that the largesse has come within days of the employees threatening to go on a nationwide strike if their demand was not met. Most observers were expecting the government to hold out much longer, since the Finance Ministry had strongly opposed the move. The eagerness to appease the unionised employees is apparent. Rather, some analysts see in this decision the contours of an early election. But without going into the politics of it, the economics part of the decision has to be carefully vetted.

While there is no doubt that it has been a decade since the last pay commission report was implemented, the recommendations of the fifth commission to merge the dearness allowance with the basic salary once it crossed the 50-per cent level had already been implemented two years ago. That puts a question mark on the advisability of the announcement. In May last year, a committee headed by Cabinet Secretary B K Chaturvedi had turned down the demand. It remains to be seen how the government squares this liberal gift with the commitment to eliminate revenue deficit by 2008-09 and reduce fiscal deficit to 3 per cent from the budgeted level of 4.3 per cent this year. The expected pay hike will lead to a chorus of similar demands in states as well.

The fifth pay commission had made certain reforms an integral part of the pay increase. A major component was a reduction in the workforce. Ironically, while the salaries were increased, the number of posts was never pared to the desired level. Now that the government has decided to go ahead with a new pay commission, it should at least make sure that the much-needed administrative reforms do not lag behind. In any case, nobody will mind the employees getting a better salary if the government is able to extract work commensurate with the pay packet.
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IIMs overseas
Go global, but keep the focus on India

THE directors of all six Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have reason to be pleased with the assurance given by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Mr Arjun Singh, that the government would not oppose their plans to have a presence in other countries. As expected, the minister wants the IIMs to amend their memoranda of association and find ways to cater to more Indian students.

The reputation that the IIMs enjoy internationally is, indeed, enviable and every effort must be made to ensure that the high standards they have achieved are maintained. Their autonomy should not be impinged. However, six IIMs are not enough. There is need for more such institutions in the country. A fast-growing economy like that of India needs a large number of management personnel as is borne out by the great demand for those who pass out from the IIMs in the job market. The region north of Delhi, comprising Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, does not have even a single IIM. The region needs at least one, if not more, as does the Northeastern part of the country, where one IIM has been announced. The mere increasing of seats, as announced by the directors, is not enough.

It is good that the uncertainty over the opening of IIM, Singapore, is now over. The overseas campuses are expected to earn substantial profits. It has not been spelt out how this money will be spent. No one would grudge higher wages for the faculty but a major share of the profits should be ploughed back into the institutions. While IIMs go abroad, the question arises about why students from abroad do not come to India for studies. Why are campuses in India not made attractive to foreign students who would pay non-subsidised fees? Attention should also be paid to the fact that thousands of Indian students go abroad for education and pay through their nose for the privilege. As institutions of higher education get a global presence, they have to evolve. However, the core of their charter should always be serving the local students.
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Ending leprosy
It’s too early to celebrate

HEALTH workers can claim a pat on the back for achieving the goal of eliminating leprosy in India by the end of 2005. A prevalence rate of less than one in 10,000 qualifies as elimination, a stated goal of the National Health Policy of 2002. Total eradication, with a zero prevalence rate, is expected to take more than two decades, as the disease has long incubation periods. But given the low levels of spending on public health in India, both health officials and the numerous international and national organisations working on leprosy can allow themselves a degree of satisfaction.

Given the physical deformities that the disease is capable of engendering if left unattended, civilisations and societies around the world have tended to stigmatise it, seeing everything from divine retribution to witchcraft in its occurrence. This continued even after the bacillus causing leprosy was first identified as long ago as 1873. Even as recently as in August last year, the United Nations found it necessary to pass a resolution on leprosy, calling upon governments to treat victims and their families without discrimination and provide free and prompt treatment, and to ban forced institutionalisation. Underprivileged and marginalised sections of the populace were particularly vulnerable, both to the disease and to social ostracism. The campaigns that were conducted in India during the decades after Independence, stressing that leprosy was no sin, and was completely curable, have indeed borne fruit.

Ultimately, disease elimination goals are targets to work towards on the ground, not numbers to put out in government reports. There can be no complacency, and it is important to ensure the gains are lasting and irreversible. While health expenditure does have to go up as a percentage of GDP, health is also a function of everything from environment to education to availability of clean drinking water and sanitation. Mahatma Gandhi is reported to have said that it was no big deal to open leprosy hospitals, and he wanted to go for a closure of one. Hopefully, the hospitals’ days are numbered.
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Thought for the day

A man with God is always in the majority. — John Knox
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ARTICLE

Assembly dissolution case
Dissenting views highlight judicial independence
by Fali S. Nariman

Enough has already been said and written about the Bihar dissolution case. For me, the most heartening feature about the judgments handed down on January 24 is the fact that all five justices have held that the decision to dissolve the Bihar Assembly was not beyond judicial review. It is on the parameters of such judicial review (strict according to the minority and not-so-strict according to the majority) and on the conclusions to be drawn from the facts brought on record that the verdict is divided (3:2): as to why the majority did not also fault the chain of command at the higher-level, viz. the Council of Ministers, whose decision it was to dissolve, is not explained. This is the least heartening aspect of the majority judgment. One can only surmise that it was perhaps because no unanimity could be reached by the Bench about Governor Buta Singh’s reports/recommendations to the Centre.

One striking aspect of “judicial governance” (some say we have too much of it, others say that we should have even more!) is this lack of unanimity among judges. The Supreme Court consists of 25 justices who don’t think alike, and are not averse to saying so. This is also reflected when they sit in the Constitution Benches of five, as they did in the Bihar dissolution case.

Emerson once said: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Even the fiercest critics of our highest court cannot accuse its incumbents of having “little minds”. And that’s where the problem begins. How can five judges sitting together, drawn from different parts of the country and with different backgrounds — thinking differently — be expected to be consistent with one another? The problem of diversity of judicial opinion is a human one like the judicial process itself: which has been appropriately described as “an educated reflex to facts.”

But, then, the great question: how is it (people keep asking) that when the Bihar dissolution case concerned itself with facts as brought on the record of the court, two learned justices concluded that the report/recommendation of the Governor was not mala fide and, accordingly, the decision of the Central Government to dissolve the Bihar Assembly was valid and constitutional, and three other justices (equally learned) on the same set of facts reached the precisely opposite conclusion, viz. that the recommendation of the Governor was mala fide and that consequently the premature dissolution of the Bihar Assembly was unconstitutional? How does one explain this?

The answer is difficult, though (in a somewhat similar situation) it was attempted a few years ago by England’s senior-most judge, Lord Goff (who came to India to deliver the GS Pathak Memorial Lectures), who said that it was his experience that when a judge approached a particular case before him he had an instinctive feel for the result in that case. This is not a mere hunch (he said); “it is the fruit of an amalgam — an amalgam of his knowledge of legal principle, his experience as a lawyer, his understanding of the subtle restraints with which all judges should work, his developed sense of justice and his innate sense of humanity, and his common sense. A combination of these factors provides experienced judges with a strong instinct for the appropriate legal result in any particular case.” It could not be expressed better.

Perceptions differ and the perception of judges (who are human beings, after all) must include the inherent, built-in attitudes which are well-honed over time from extensive judicial experience: every judge (as has been rightly said) carries in his knapsack his own “can’t-helps”! And attitudes of judges also change over time. Take the case of a distinguished former chief justice of India whose birth centenary ought to have been (but was not) celebrated last month.

Sitting as a judge in the Bombay High Court, justice J.C. Shah accepted the view, propounded in the Indian Evidence Act 1872, that courts should presume that “official acts are regularly performed”. He was what Bombay lawyers then used to call a “Pro-Establishment Judge”. After he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1959 he formed a diametrically opposite view — that acts of officials are generally suspect, and the statutory presumption was misplaced. This was not because he had any particular antipathy to state officialdom (which included ministers) but because of the Judge’s increased judicial familiarity with their actions.

The lawyers of the Supreme Court then called him a “Citizen’s Judge”! Both labels were erroneous. The truth is that everyone in every station in life grows, but in which direction and with what propensity is determined by a whole range of factors too difficult to enumerate, impossible to analyse.

Each one of the justices in the Bihar dissolution case are judges having considerable judicial experience. Literally, thousands of cases that have come up before them for decision have contributed to an accumulated reservoir of knowledge (legal and non-legal) that has helped shape each of the individual justice’s minds and has conditioned their diverse responses to the facts of the cases brought before them.

On the last day of his 16-year tenure, that most remembered American judge of the 20th century, Chief Justice Earl Warren of the United States, made a public statement in which he said: “We do not always agree on the Bench. I hope the court will never agree on all things. I am sure that its virility will then have been sapped — because it is composed of independent judges who have no one to be responsible to except their own conscience.”

I believe that the awful majesty of the law necessarily takes in its sweep the imponderable uncertainty of the law: the fact that there were strong dissenting opinions alongside an equally robust majority judgment in the Bihar Assembly dissolution case speaks well for the independence of our highest judiciary. I believe the Supreme Court is in extremely good health — and I thank God for it.n

The writer is a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India.

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MIDDLE

Unassuming Raja
by K.S. Parthasarathy

During the seventies, there was only one BEST bus service connecting Dadar to Trombay where the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is located. It was less frequent. In the morning, if one missed BARC staff bus starting from Dadar, one had to wait a while to reach BARC.

Mr Puri (name changed) missed the bus that day. He had just joined BARC as a Scientific Assistant. He wanted to go to Trombay urgently. Taxi service was too expensive. Also, he did not have enough cash with him that day. He eagerly waited at the main junction, hoping to get a lift.

Shortly, he saw a car with the BARC name plate coming from a distance. He frantically waved his hand, virtually jumping before it. The driver ignored him. But after a few yards the vehicle stopped. A bespectacled gentleman seated behind beckoned him.

Mr Puri ran fast and got in to the front seat. He cursed BEST loudly. BARC laboratories should have been somewhere in the city and not in far away Trombay, he grumbled. His co-passenger was busy reading some book. Puri, who was at his ebullient best, interrupted him a few times. Puri visibly annoyed the driver. He didn’t care. His co-passenger wore an amused look.

As the car approached the BARC gate, his co-passenger tapped Puri’s shoulder from behind. “Where do you want to get down”? “Is it Ok, if I drop you at the next junction”? “That is OK, gentleman” Puri responded. He had his own mannerisms.

Puri forgot the episode. He made friends with everyone. Head held high, he was over 6ft; he was an imposing figure and he knew it. He thought he was a born leader and was always in the front for every activity.

Two weeks later, the staff assembled near the Central Complex Building. It was Dr Bhabha’s birthday; the Founder’s day was the day of stock-taking for the staff.

Puri and his boisterous friends arrived well in advance. They occupied the front row. The function started on time. As the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) stood up to speak, Puri felt that the face was vaguely familiar; he hastily ran back to be out of sight! He suffered from the mother of all shocks. He realised that the gentleman who gave him a lift two weeks ago, was Dr Raja Ramanna, the then Chairman of the AEC.
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OPED

Bhuj rebuilds itself
by R.K. Misra

The sun shines bright piercing the chill of a cold wintry morning in Bhuj district of Gujarat bordering Pakistan. The spreading warmth is symbolic as this land devastated by a massive earthquake on the Republic Day five years ago seeks to live down death and nurture life.

“Why can’t you newshounds stop reminding us of that fateful day. There is nothing but the gloom of loved ones lost and aches and pain in these grim reminders”, says salt-bearded and pepper-haired Rasik Thacker.

The man who began life as a peon in the Information Department and rose to become Mayor of Bhuj town, the district headquarter of Kutch, should know. The day the earth shook hurtling thousands to their doom, Rasik sat in the crematorium supervising the last journey of crushed bodies being brought in by devastated souls.

“In keeping with the quaint caste configuration, only Lohana and Brahmins are cremated in our crematoriums but the quaking earth levelled everything as the surge of bodies forced mass cremations for want of wood on the first day”, reminisces Rasik.

As many as 2,370 people perished while about 4,000 were injured, 11,000 houses were flattened and 28,000 suffered partial damage. “Please forget the bad and ugly. Let’s remember the good “, he adds.

Life is brutal when it takes, but benevolent when it gives. Overpowering the stench of death and bereavement, the seedling of hope is spawning strong branches. A spanking new city is now filling the void left by the mass of debris.

“The town has expanded.The old walled town had a radius of 5 km, the new one is spread over 55km”, says K.B. Thanki, CEO of the Bhuj Area Development Authority (BHADA), spearheading the reconstruction of the town.

The emerging contours of the new Bhuj holds everyone, including the residents of the town, in thrall. “A 56km four-lane, 36 metre wide ring road, 36-km radial roads and a maze of linkers have replaced the serpentine lanes and densely telescoped age-old buildings of yore.The town incorporates the latest in urban planning, new town hall, gardens, cafeterias, water supply, sewerage, power planning, schools, colleges and even a new university”, says Thanki.

Kutch has paid heavily in death and destruction but has been fairly compensated in a new life. “Life is the best teacher. The children of Kutch who faced the trauma learnt more in a minute than what would have taken scores of teachers countless hours to teach”, says Vijayaben Parmar, a teacher at St. Xaviers School.

She should know for her class has two children who are manfully grappling with the ravages of a cruel nature. One-year-old Sejal had come visiting her uncle from Mumbai along with her parents and brother. Her mother and brother were killed while she lost her leg in the agonising hours that she spent buried under the debris.

Her uncle Ramesh Rajgor, who was a cook, lost all his three children while his wife Damayantiben received serious injuries and underwent hospitalisation for months.

“I watched my 17-year-old son Prakash trapped under pillars and buried upto his neck die a slow and painful death before my eyes. In fact, it was he who was cheering me up right up to the end, asking me not to worry while I kept fainting and crying,” remembers Ramesh.

Similar was the case with his 15-year-old daughter, Dipali. We could hear her for two days until her calling stopped and the body was pulled out days later. His 8-year-old son, Ankit’s body was recovered after eight days. Ramesh has since adopted his niece Sejal, now six.

“She is a very brave, brilliant and determined girl”, says teacher Vijayaben. Consistently an A grader, she takes initiative in both work and play and wants to be a teacher. For Ramesh, who now drives an auto-rickshaw, his entire life revolves round this girl whom he is taking pains to educate in a convent school.

Her classmate Murtaza Ali,nicknamed Lucky Ali still carries the scars of his ordeal in the shape of a mark on his face and on the back of his head. Murtaza was 10 months old when he lost his parents in the earthquake when their three-storeyed building collapsed.

Dug out 102 hours later from the debris, he was tightly clasped and shielded in the arms of his father, Mafatlal Vedlani even as the lifeless body of his mother Zainabibi lay nearby. Mafatlal owned a hardware business which is now being looked after by his uncle Zahidbhai along with Murtaza.

Immediately after being extricated by the Army, Murtaza, nicknamed Lucky for being the only survivor, was rushed to Mumbai where he was treated at the Lilavati Hospital.

“The bill came to Rs 3.89 lakh and who paid it still remains a mystery. We tried to find out but were told by the hospital authorities that the donor had given strict instructions that the name was not to be revealed. We just thank him and the Almighty always”, says Zahid.

Life has moved on for Kremali Joshi. She was 17 when the earthquake struck. Kremali was the subject of headlines and also figured in the Readers Digest for her feat of saving 22 people, including an eight month pregnant woman. She lost an uncle, an aunt and a cousin in the collapse.

Happily married to a sales executive, 22-year-old Kremali Gor now lives in one of the relocation sites where the Swaminarayan faith has constructed an entire Pramukhswaminagar. Constructed in memory of the late Mohanlal Rugnath Kanani, Warrington, Cheshire, UK, reads the plaque on the house.

Parth Joshi, appearing for his higher secondary examinations, had lost his leg after being 93 hours under the debris. Rescued by the RAPID of the UK, he was subsequently adopted by them and goes to the UK every year for replacement of his artificial leg. He has been the focus of international attention and his stories have appeared in prominent dailies there.

“I want to be an engineer.I want to move on”, he says. He was recently invited to Mumbai and feted by film actress Sushmita Sen.

Not only individuals but Kutch as a whole is moving on. A massive Rs 30,000 crore industrial investment is on the anvil of which Rs 14,000 crore has already come in as units set up post-earthquake have gone into production.

The tragedy five years ago is gradually but surely fading being replaced by a new hope for the future. Kutch has buried the past and gained a paradise.
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The Dirty Harry of Mumbai
by Justin Huggler

In a court room in Mumbai this week, one of the most remarkable stories in modern policing is drawing to a close. The man in the dock is no ordinary criminal. He is one of the most celebrated and idolised police officers in India, a real-life Dirty Harry who made his name by gunning down gangsters in the streets, and was part of the elite unit credited with cleaning up India’s commercial capital.

Sub-inspector Daya Nayak killed 83 men in just four years. He doesn’t just admit to it, he boasts about it. In 1997, thousands watched as he ambushed a famous gangster in the streets during rush hour. In the ensuing gun battle, Nayak was badly wounded and ended up spending 27 days in hospital. The gangster was killed.

It is a career that has turned Nayak into a hero for the ordinary working men of Mumbai — not least because he started out as a child labourer, working as a waiter in a spit-and-sawdust restaurant at the age of nine. He’s the stuff of movies — and Bollywood has made no fewer than four based on his life.

The inspector has been accused of accepting bribes to let arrested gangsters off the hook — and of taking money from mafia leaders to kill their rivals under the guise of police operations.

An investigation by the anti-corruption bureau found he had amassed wealth worth more than twice his total legitimate earnings. Although he continues to live in a crumbling apartment block in official police accommodation, Indian newspapers have reported that the investigation found he also owned a flat in Switzerland, a fleet of tourist buses and “probably” owns two hotels at a holiday resort in Goa. They also reported suspicions he was financing a Bollywood film.

But Nayak insists that he is innocent, and says he is “not even 1 per cent” worried about the allegations. He has said the accusations are an attempt by underworld leaders to put him out of action.

It was in Mumbai that Nayak turned up as a nine-year-old boy in 1979, after being sent here by his family from their village in Karnataka, in the south. “Our family’s financial condition was very bad. So my mother told me to go to Bombay to earn some money to help the family,” he has said.

He started out working as a waiter in a cheap restaurant. At nights, he slept in the porch. But he was lucky: the restaurant owner took an interest in him and insisted that he go to school, and he left with a full education.

After he left he joined the police. It was no easy job. In the early nineties, Mumbai was a city dominated by organised crime. There were more than 100 shootings a year. Businessmen and real estate developers got regular threats from the mafia. Those that did not pay up were assassinated as an example to the others.

It was into this criminal underworld that lurked behind the glamour of Bollywood that Nayak entered. On New Year’s Eve in 1996, he was sent to monitor the area near Juhu beach, where crowds of Bombayites gather to cool off at sunset and young lovers slip into the shadows as darkness falls.

He received a tip-off that two members of a well-known gang were going to be in the area, and went to intercept them.

“I went there to arrest them, but they fired on us,” he has said. “In retaliation I shot them dead. I was new so I became worried after the encounter. I had fired at them because they fired on me. I was worried because they were big gangsters. But the police department appreciated my work.”

— The Independent
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Delhi Durbar
Aiyar loses oil ministry

Union Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar being divested of the additional charge of Petroleum and Natural Gas was on the cards. When Aiyar was given charge of Panchayati Raj, he was gleeful as he is one of the advocates of grassroots democracy.

As Petroleum Minister, Aiyar assumed a high-profile role and appeared to have a running battle with some of the PSU chiefs like ONGC’s Subir Raha. When serious differences arose, a committee was constituted to settle the issues. In most of these instances, the committee favoured Raha’s line of action.

Aiyar had also roped in the services of a senior career diplomat to facilitate oil diplomacy with West Asia in particular. It remains to be seen if this career diplomat stays put in the ministry under Murli Deora.

Pakistan lags in rail link

One reason that Pakistan is lagging behind in developing infrastructure for restoring the much-awaited rail link between Munabao in Rajasthan with Khokrapar in Pakistan is that it has a lot more on its hands pertaining to gauge conversion.

Intense monitoring, periodic meetings and the advantage of a previously converted metre gauge to broad gauge between Barmer and Munabao have enabled India outpace Pakistan in meeting the deadline for the project.

This is despite the fact that Pakistan is reported to have outsourced help from China for civil construction and gauge conversion of the railway line linking Mirpur Khas and Khokrapar in Sindh. It is understood that workers and contractors of Chinese companies are overseeing earthwork, construction of bridges and gauge conversion.

Kalam to visit Myanmar

That India accords importance to its relationship with Myanmar is no secret. New Delhi has actively engaged Myanmar while maintaining its support to restoring democracy in that country.

It is learnt President A P J Abdul Kalam is scheduled to pay a visit to Myanmar in March after US President George Bush comes calling. Kalam’s trip is being finalised in a manner so that he is not abroad during the visit of Mr Bush to this country.

Of dog bites and scribes

Splitting hair on what makes news at a seminar in the Capital, a mediaperson said that “dog bites man” doesn’t make news anymore unless the man happens to be the President, the Prime Minister or the Chief Justice of India.

Retorting to this quip, a senior member of the judiciary had this to say: “I have been a victim of a dog bite...only I didn’t realise the bite.”

He then proceeded to narrate his harrowing tale: “I was taking a morning walk when a dog almost barged into me...whether the dog bit me or not is not clear but the journalist who reported it said it did. And after reading the report, I began getting phone calls from doctors urging me to go in for 14 injections in my stomach. I told them I don’t need them but please give the injections to the journalist who reported it.”

Contributed by R Suryamurthy, Tripti Nath, S Satyanarayanan, Smriti Kak Ramachandran.
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From the pages of

October 3, 1924

Cow Slaughter issue

The resolution on cow slaughter which was adopted by the subjects committee of the Unity Conference after a discussion lasting over two days and numerous consultations is essentially in the nature of a compromise. It could not possibly have been anything else. It will not please either those who wanted the slaughter of cows to be absolutely and compulsorily stopped or those who wanted that the right of Muslims to slaughter cows should be unfettered by any regard for Hindu feelings. Of both classes there are unhappily so many in the country that it is difficult to say whether the resolution will please or displease the majority even among those who will consider any decision arrived at by the Conference on such a subject as binding upon them. What can safely be said, however, is that it will satisfy the overwhelming majority of thoughtful, reasonable and fair-minded persons.
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God’s is the ultimate power, and the final chastisement of God is an experience of an order beyond anything that any human mind can conceive.

— Islam

The guru instructs the disciple to perform certain works and refrain from others. He advises the pupil to perform action without desiring the result.

— Ramakrishna

Even if the most sinful person resolves to worship him with single-minded loving devotion, such a person must be regarded as a saint because of making the right resolution. His devotee shall never perish or fall down.

— Bhagavadgita

Love for God should be pure and devoid of any selfish desire. Love attached to some condition is not love at all, but a form of self gratification. True love is unconditional.

— Sanatana Dharma

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