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EDITORIALS

French perfume
Make it last long
F
RANCE has long pushed for a relaxation of the Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines to facilitate supply of nuclear fuel and technology to India. The latest “declaration” on nuclear cooperation by the two countries, on the occasion of French President Jacques Chirac’s visit, indicates that they continue to stay in tune.

Recalcitrant Hurriyat
The talks must continue
H
urriyat chief Mirwaiz Umer Farooq’s refusal to participate in the February 25 round-table talks is clearly an attempt to derail the efforts aimed at involving all shades of opinion in ending the Kashmir imbroglio.



EARLIER STORIES

Teachers as vultures
February 21, 2006
Firmness on Iran
February 20, 2006
US and India: Time to think
February 19, 2006
The President speaks
February 18, 2006
Forces of integration
February 17, 2006
Tying the knot
February 16, 2006
Dangerous trend
February 15, 2006
Third front — a non-starter
February 14, 2006
The One-India call
February 13, 2006
The business of expelling Excellencies
February 12, 2006
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Question of Lordship
Tossed between the Bench and the Bar
T
HE cultural complexities and plethora of linguistic nuances that flourish in this country pose innumerable questions about appropriateness of expressions, especially in the matter of addressing others. In the West, forms of address have been simply reduced to two – formal and informal.

ARTICLE

Maoists’ charm offensive
Time to break the logjam in Nepal
by S. D. Muni
D
URING the past couple of weeks, Nepal Maoist chief Prachanda has given three significant interviews. He carefully picked up three influential and understanding media channels, — Kantipur in Nepal, The Hindu in India and the BBC of London — to send a strong message across to Nepal, India and the international community respectively.

MIDDLE

Unsaid goodbyes
by Jangveer Singh
I
T was the morning paper which brought back the memories. Business Standard had Subir Roy talking about the goodbyes being made by Bob Hoekstra of Philips. The Dutchman-turned-Bangalorian had invited the newspaper staff for a farewell drink.

OPED

Battle for UN budget
Bolton scores a victory
by T.P. Sreenivasan
T
HE UN is one place where those who pay the piper do not always call the tune. The one-country-one vote formula in the General Assembly and cold-war divisions in the Security Council had enabled the weaker states to determine the agenda and even shape some of the decisions in their favour.

Health advice confuses women
by Rob Stein
F
OR women confused by the latest flurry of health advice about low-fat diets, calcium, Vitamin D and hormones, there is a good reason: The findings illustrate how unexpected pitfalls during a major scientific study can yield valuable data but few clear answers.

Wheat import: it is a bad decision
by S.S. Johl
T
HE decision of the Government of India to import half a million tonnes of wheat at this stage needs to be reviewed in the light of availability of foodgrains in the country and prospects of the next harvest.


From the pages of

 
 REFLECTIONS

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French perfume
Make it last long

FRANCE has long pushed for a relaxation of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines to facilitate supply of nuclear fuel and technology to India. The latest “declaration” on nuclear cooperation by the two countries, on the occasion of French President Jacques Chirac’s visit, indicates that they continue to stay in tune. The two countries have reaffirmed the goal of eventually concluding a bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation agreement. This goal had already been set in the September 12 Joint Statement released during Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to France. The new declaration lists out some specifics, making it clear that the idea is to cover everything from export of enriched uranium and the setting up of nuclear power plants, to joint research and development and the exchange of scientific and technical information.

The fact that such an agreement can be concluded only after the Indo-US July 18 agreement comes to fruition, is the unspoken subtext of the Chirac visit. The French President has talked about the “morality” and the environmental benefits of nuclear cooperation with India, given its burgeoning energy needs. They have also stressed non-proliferation goals. But it is the US lead that will enable lifting of the NSG curbs. Dr Singh’s statement that all future nuclear facilities set up through international cooperation will be under the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards is a given. The Indo-US agreement still hinges on the two parties coming to a mutually satisfactory separation of civil and military facilities in India, with designated civil facilities coming under international safeguards. Extensive cooperation with France, and cooperation with Russia beyond Kudankulam, thus, rest on the deal with the US.

The joint statement is sufficiently broad based. It lays out cooperation in various fields, from augmenting the role of small and medium enterprises in bilateral trade to fighting disease, thus ensuring that other crucial avenues are not ignored. Big ticket deals for Airbus aircraft and Scorpene submarines are now through. But the biggest of all will be the nuclear one for which all the parties concerned will have to stay the course.

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Recalcitrant Hurriyat
The talks must continue

Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umer Farooq’s refusal to participate in the February 25 round-table talks is clearly an attempt to derail the efforts aimed at involving all shades of opinion in ending the Kashmir imbroglio. His stand is no different from Syed Ali Shah Geelani of the breakaway Hurriyat Conference, JKLF leader Yaseen Malik and Mr Shabir Shah of the Democratic Freedom Party of Jammu and Kashmir, who, too, have declined to participate in the parleys. This is, no doubt, a setback to the Centre’s efforts to untie the Kashmir knot. But these leaders have exposed their true colours. They want only those political forces to be involved in the talks who fit in with their unholy designs. New Delhi cannot ignore the wishes and sentiments of the people in the state who have nothing to do with separatist politics.

The Mirwaiz’s opinion that New Delhi “should not involve people who do not challenge India’s jurisdiction over the state” gives the impression that he considers only the separatists as representatives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. This is strange logic. The Hurriyat, which has never proved its credentials as the genuine voice of the Kashmiris by contesting elections, has no right to speak like this. The Hurriyat and those who have been a part of it once are not the only people who can be allowed to speak on behalf of the people of J and K.

The separatist leadership seems to be in a state of confusion. One gets this impression from what the Mirwaiz said on February 2 after taking over as chairman of the Hurriyat for another term. He rejected autonomy as an option. What he wanted was “self-rule, demilitarisation and the United States of Kashmir”. But the whole world knows that J and K has a government elected by its own people. Demilitarisation cannot be thought of so long as terrorism remains a threat to peace and stability in the state. As regards the idea of “United States of Kashmir”, it has no meaning when India has made it clear that there can be no redrawing of the borders.

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Question of Lordship
Tossed between the Bench and the Bar

THE cultural complexities and plethora of linguistic nuances that flourish in this country pose innumerable questions about appropriateness of expressions, especially in the matter of addressing others. In the West, forms of address have been simply reduced to two – formal and informal. The Indian situation does not admit of such an easy solution. Here language, like much else, is relative; and forms of address are defined by relationship, authority, age, gender, status, hierarchy, caste et al. So, it is only to be expected that the question of whether judges in our democratic republic should be addressed as “My Lord” will remain unresolved.

The Supreme Court has refused to entertain a plea to do with the practice of addressing judges as “My Lord” and tossed the ball into the court of the Bar Council. Lawyers may like to do away with a practice that smacks of the colonial and feudal. But given their propensity to appear ever respectful of judges – if only out of fear of offending a judge when he is presiding over their case – no lawyer may pursue the matter to a conclusion. In fact, there is reported to be a Supreme Court Bar Association resolution – passed in 1972 – for replacing “My Lord” with “Mr Judge”. In the US those on the bench are addressed as “Justice” or “Judge” followed by their name.

Since lawyers as a community are unlikely to push for terminology that is in keeping with the avowed republican character of the state, eventually the Supreme Court will have to sort out this matter. Left to the Bar Council and advocates associations, the ‘lordly’ trend may never disappear given our Ji Huzoor culture where all authority is sarkar and mai-baap. Words with a republican flavour may be a good beginning to move towards republican values that the courts, more than other institutions, have upheld.

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Thought for the day

Life is a queer business at all times.

— Jawaharlal Nehru
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Maoists’ charm offensive
Time to break the logjam in Nepal
by S. D. Muni

DURING the past couple of weeks, Nepal Maoist chief Prachanda has given three significant interviews. He carefully picked up three influential and understanding media channels, — Kantipur in Nepal, The Hindu in India and the BBC of London — to send a strong message across to Nepal, India and the international community respectively. The points highlighted in these interviews broadly fall in line, saying that he is willing to seek peace in Nepal by joining competitive democratic politics under a new Constitution written by an “elected” Constituent Assembly. He has outlined a road-map to get his organisation, including his armed cadres, mainstreamed into Nepali democratic politics under international supervision and the leadership of the seven-party alliance, with which the Maoists entered into a 12-point understanding in November 2005.

The interviews clearly mark a basic shift in the Maoist position from the goal of fighting for communist order under “New Peoples Democracy” to the initiative for a “multi-party democratic republic”. Prachanda’s message seems to be aimed at exploiting the serious erosion in the King’s credibility after one year of his disastrous direct rule and the sham of local bodies elections in February 2006, universally disapproved by the international community. The interviews clearly underline the fact that the King is the real part of the main problem in Nepal. This message is also aimed at the political parties and the international community which continues to be skeptical of the Maoists’ real motives. These interviews bring out the political thrust of the Maoist rebellion and try to underline their seriousness in seeking a viable exit from the persisting conflict.

Prachanda admitted in these interviews that he has been working on this line for the past three years and it is only after building an internal consensus within his group, reflected in the resolutions of the Maoists’ plenum meeting in August 2005, that a public articulation of the shift has been undertaken.

Behind this shift is also the realisation among the Maoists of the hard ground reality in Nepal where the middle classes are not ready to move towards the establishment of a communist order directly from the feudal aristocracy and the international community will not let the Maoists achieve a military victory to do so, notwithstanding the incapacity of the Royal Nepal Army to militarily eliminate the Maoists.

Admitting this, Prachanda in his Kantipur interview said: “Given the international power balance and the overall economic, political and social realities of the country, we can’t attain those goals (of communism) at the moment.” This point has been repeated and elaborated in other interviews as well. Therefore, the Maoists’ shift may sound to be tactical, but it is a basic shift because these internal and international conditions are not going to change overnight. That is why Prachanda has also spoken at length on the integration of his armed cadres into the democratically controlled Nepalese Army after, and only after, the Maoists’ have been accorded a deserving place in Nepal’s new political order.

Prachanda has assured that his party would accept the outcome of an independent poll for the Constituent Assembly even if the Maoists are defeated at such polls, and would accept the new constitution drafted by such a representative body even if it restores some form of constitutional or absolute monarchy.

Prachanda’s charm offensive has put the King on the defensive. The mellowed tone of the King’s address on Democracy Day (February 19) is indicative of that, but the King is in no mood to shift from his basic position that the political parties should follow his road-map to democracy by participating in the elections ordered by him, and the Maoists should surrender arms to enter mainstream politics under his overall guidance and supremacy. The King cannot and will not accept the Maoist proposal of the Constituent Assembly because that would amount to be a kiss of political death for the monarchy.

He could consider revival of Parliament as demanded by the political parties as a tactical move to distance the parties from the Maoist demand of the Constituent Assembly but such a move may not work as Prachanda in his interviews has already prepared himself to deal with this contingency. Moreover, the revived Parliament may also either declare elections for a Constituent Assembly or at least endorse the parties’ 12-point agreement with the Maoists and ask for a drastic curtailment of the King’s role in the emerging new political order of Nepal. In any negotiated political settlement, it is the King who has to lose the face and most of his presently grabbed powers.

The King will most likely continue to do what he has been doing to perpetuate his seizer of the Nepali state. He seems to have a three-pronged strategy: one, to militarily control the Kathmandu valley by use of force and repression with the help of the Royal Nepal Army. In his calculations, mayhem and anarchy in Nepal’s country-side does not matter so long as he has the control of the Kathmandu valley. Two, the King will keep investing his efforts and resources on dividing the political parties and sabotaging the seven-party alliance and its understanding with the Maoists. The questions raised by some members of the alliance on the 12-point understanding with the Maoists and their reluctance to mobilise anti-King demonstrations indicate in this direction. He may even consider installing a new government with the help of pliable political leaders, though it will not help.

Thirdly, the King is feeding into the dilemmas of international community which is scared of the prospects of the Maoists filling in the vacuum created by the collapse of the monarchy. The American position is particularly hard on any joint front of the Maoists and the political parties against the King. The problem of the US and India is that the King is refusing to take any initiative towards accommodating genuine democratic aspirations of the Nepalese people.

To break the logjam into which the King has trapped Nepal’s peace, stability and democratic order, only the international community can and must move. It should take Prachanda on the face value, even if to call his bluff on peaceful transition to the multi-party democracy through an elected Constituent Assembly route. The international community’s self-confidence and firm resolve to deal with a republican Nepal, if that has to emerge eventually, will help the wavering political party leaders to assert themselves and build a popular, peaceful resistance to the King’s obduracy. India ought to play the lead in this respect because the chaos and anarchy in Nepal will affect it most adversely.

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Unsaid goodbyes
by Jangveer Singh

IT was the morning paper which brought back the memories. Business Standard had Subir Roy talking about the goodbyes being made by Bob Hoekstra of Philips. The Dutchman-turned-Bangalorian had invited the newspaper staff for a farewell drink. Subir wondered whether Hoekstra would even say goodbye to the lady who served him his raw coconut whenever he took off for Nandi Hills on his mobike. This reminded me of the goodbyes I could never say during my stint in Patiala.

However, there was one farewell my wife, Minnie, was keen on. The relationship had begun in a hospital. I was admitted there with a slightly cracked skull after banging my mobike against a mound of gravel. On my road to recovery Minnie told me about the help she was extending to a 23-year-old fellow patient. An axe had hacked part of his skull after he got into a fight with a neighbour. He was the second son of an old widow who sold “karas’’ and “gutkas” in front of Gurdwara Dukhniwaran. The first, aged 20, had been born both mentally and physically handicapped.

This chance acquaintance established a bond which grew even after the boy returned back to sitting on the gurdwara pavement with his mother. The boy had, however, lost most of his memory and had become partially paralysed. So when a friend Ritika said she wanted to donate money for a cause but did not know how to go about it, Minnie roped her in to help the needy family.

All this went on without the old lady even knowing our names, address or our professions. She never glanced at the money Minnie pushed into her hands nor asked for further help. She would always bless us heartily with a beatific smile on her face and tell us not to worry. For us every time we passed the gurdwara the sight of the mother-son duo almost translated into a feeling of all is well with the world. We prayed God would keep the woman alive for the sake of her sons.

We put off meeting the family to the very last. On the way to the gurdwara during one such passing I knew it had to be now or never. Minnie knew that also. I slowed down the car when the pavement of the gurdwara approached. However, before I could apply the brakes, Minnie said “I can’t do it” with tears in her eyes. Misty eyed, I took a U-turn to head home, clearly understanding that part of ourselves would remain on the pavement of the gurdwara forever and that we could not ever bid goodbye to the feeling of hope that emanated from the old lady’s indomitable spirit. We hope she will be waiting for us when we visit Patiala this summer.

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Battle for UN budget
Bolton scores a victory
by T.P. Sreenivasan

THE UN is one place where those who pay the piper do not always call the tune. The one-country-one vote formula in the General Assembly and cold-war divisions in the Security Council had enabled the weaker states to determine the agenda and even shape some of the decisions in their favour.

These decisions were honoured only in the breach by the wealthy countries, but they still remained in the books as a constant embarrassment to them.

In more recent years, the rich countries have resorted to tactics by which no unpalatable resolutions are even put to a vote, much less adopted.

In a striking demonstration of the new approach, the General Assembly was made to recant a resolution it had adopted earlier, equating Zionism with racism. Now, majority of the decisions are taken by consensus, which means that delegations have a veto even in the General Assembly, particularly the Budget and Finance Committee.

The budget battle lasts till the very end of the year after the political bodies have completed their work. Every resolution, which has financial implications, needs to go through the Budget committee.

In budget years like this one, the Fifth Committee deliberates on the quantum of the biennial budget to enable the UN to advise member states on their share. The US had withheld its contributions in the past to discipline the expenditure of the UN, but this year it linked the finalisation of the budget itself to the conditionality of finalising the reform process.

Even the Western countries and Japan found the idea abhorrent, but Ambassador John Bolton persisted with it and pushed the UN to the brink of a budget crisis. His helpful suggestion that an interim budget for a few months could be approved as a stop-gap arrangement would have meant no budget at all as the time for collection of contributions would have exceeded the budget period. The best that the negotiators expected was a budget for one year.

As it happens often at the UN, a magic formula cropped up at the last minute by which the UN would have a biennial budget of $ 3.8 billion with a spending cap of $ 950 million in 2006 unless the reform proposals were approved by June, 2006.

Developing countries, including India, which had strongly objected to any link between the budget and UN reform, acquiesced in the agreement, though their spokesman severely criticised the outcome.

Once the idea of the cap was conceded, they tried to get a higher cap to enable the UN to fulfil its development mandate. Bolton declared victory as he accomplished the link he was seeking between reform and the budget process for the first time.

The cap on the budget will remain a Damocles’ Sword over the head of the UN and pressurise it to accept the US proposals for reform. The Secretary General, already weakened by the Volcker Report, will become more vulnerable with this arrangement. His recent uncharacteristic outburst at a veteran journalist was symptomatic of this new vulnerability.

Some of the reform proposals the US is advocating today had already crept into his report and assumed legitimacy. As he comes to an expenditure figure of US$ 950 million in 2006, he will use his personal influence among the developing countries to get the reform measures adopted for the sheer survival of the UN.

The continuous efforts of the wealthy nations to change the UN have already resulted in a lopsided agenda that takes the UN away from its original moorings.

The link between reform and the budget, which has now been established, will exacerbate the situation even more. Time will not be long before Bolton’s revolutionary idea of a “menu approach” gains currency.

Members will be able to pick and choose those activities that appeal to them and starve the UN out of the rest of its agenda. Such a practice already exists in the case of extra-budgetary resources, which are provided for funding favourite activities.

In the IAEA, for instance, there is never any dearth of funds for safeguards, while the technical co-operation fund, a voluntary fund, does not get increases even to cover inflation costs. To apply this principle to the main budget is to question the essence of multilateralism based on the capacity to pay.

The reform of the Security Council, which is the crux of the issue for a majority of member states, is not even a part of the reform agenda which is linked to the budget. Japan and Germany do have the financial clout to seek to apply the new principle to Security Council reform. Many others with smaller contributions can also join the battle.

Such thoughts may have occurred to the champions of reform, but the absence of a unified position on the Security Council is a lacuna in such a strategy. If the supporters of the G-4 agree to a formula and threaten not to approve the budget without an agreement on an expansion of the Security Council, the United States will get a bout of its own medicine. But it is far from clear whether such overdose of medicines will cure the UN of its ills.

The writer is a former Ambassador of India to the UN

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Health advice confuses women
by Rob Stein

FOR women confused by the latest flurry of health advice about low-fat diets, calcium, Vitamin D and hormones, there is a good reason: The findings illustrate how unexpected pitfalls during a major scientific study can yield valuable data but few clear answers.

Research frequently moves in unexpected fits, starts and sometimes puzzling increments. In the case of long, complex projects such as the Women’s Health Initiative, the 15-year, $725 million federally funded project that produced the latest results, questionable assumptions and design decisions and unexpected developments can conspire to generate perplexing results.

“We scientists are scratching our heads over some of these results,” said Tim Byers of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. “So I’m sure the general public is doing so as well. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to wrap things up in a nice bow and say, `This is the answer.”’

Findings announced over the past two weeks have seemed to overturn long-held medical dictums: Low-fat diets do not clearly reduce the risk for heart disease, breast cancer or colon cancer; hormone therapy is not dangerous for the hearts of younger menopausal women and may actually be protective; and calcium and Vitamin D supplements do not appear to offer the strong protection against broken bones and colon cancer that had been thought. Yet no one is saying fat does not matter, hormones are necessarily safe and supplements are useless.

“I can see how a lot of women might be confused,” said Jacques Rossouw, who runs the Women’s Health Initiative. “People would like very clear results with a very clear health message, and, unfortunately, these results are not very clear.”

Seeking to explain the results, Rossouw and others cited a host of bedeviling factors: Some of the hypotheses used to design the project may have been flawed or became outdated while the project was underway. It turned out to be much harder than anticipated to get participants to take their pills or stick to their diets. Americans started eating differently and taking new medications, perhaps weakening the findings. The project may have been too short, or studied women who were too old, or just too healthy.

Because of the weakness of many of the findings, the results have produced conflicting interpretations, with competing camps seizing on subsets of data that support their views. And subtle but important nuances may have been lost when trying to communicate the results quickly to the public.

Many researchers emphasized that in many ways the project was very well conceived, designed and executed, and has produced a wealth of valuable information—most important warning older women about the dangers of long-term hormone therapy.

But many scientists worry that the recent findings will leave the public apathetic about their diet and other lifestyle choices, and the government hesitant to fund such research.

One of the biggest problems in this kind of research is deciding exactly what to test. When the initiative was being planned, for example, studies that looked at what people in different countries ate indicated that the total amount of fat consumed appeared to have a major effect on the risk of certain cancers, especially breast and colon cancers. So the project set out to test that idea by studying more than 36,000 women, working intensively to get half of them to eat less fat and more fruits and vegetables.

— LA Times-Washington Post

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Wheat import: it is a bad decision
by S.S. Johl

THE decision of the Government of India to import half a million tonnes of wheat at this stage needs to be reviewed in the light of availability of foodgrains in the country and prospects of the next harvest.

This decision has also to be viewed against the background of how the food stocks have been managed or mismanaged over the last about five years.

The fact remains that the supply of foodgrain exceeds the demand for it in the country. This is borne out by the fact that the country exported over 34.85 million tonnes of cereals valued over Rs 30,313 crore from 2000-01 to July, 2005.

Of these, wheat and rice were the main exports.

Over 13.78 million tonnes of wheat and 18.85 million tonnes of rice were exported in five and a half years. This amounts to exporting of about 6.5 million tonnes of foodgrain annually.

These 32.63 million tonnes of wheat and rice were exported below the PBL prices in most of the years. Ironically, these exports were termed as “structural corrections in food stocks” by the Ministry of Agriculture.

It was keeping in mind these exports at a huge loss that the Government of Punjab proposed the diversification scheme through which the state could divert one million hectare of land from under paddy to the production of oilseeds and pulses that are imported worth over Rs 14,000 crore annually.

By advancing Rs 1,280 crore annually to the state for this diversification for the period the excess stocks existed, the central government could save more than Rs 3000 crore annually on these losses and Punjab state could save its water, land and agricultural ecology on a sustainable basis and to keep the country afloat on the food front.

It is not that the supply of foodgrains in the country satiates the nutritional needs of society. Demand remains muted because of the lack of purchasing power with large sections of the poor population.

Thus, while a large proportion of the population does not have adequate access to food, the country preferred to export grains at huge losses for the so-called structural corrections in food stocks.

Still on December 31, 2005, the country had more than 7.6 million tonnes of wheat and 11.13 million tonnes of rice. The stocks of cereals in the country were only 2.15 million tonnes less on December 31 last year compared to the stocks on the corresponding date during the previous year.

By the last week of March, wheat will start flowing into the markets of the country. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates 10 per cent higher production of wheat this year. There is, therefore, no cause for crying shortage of foodgrains in the country. What is lacking is the proper management of food stocks.

In 1989 in the month of February wheat stocks had declined to the level of one million tonnes only. Still the proposal of the Ministry of Food to import four million tonnes of wheat was turned down by the then Prime Minister of India because a bumper wheat crop was ready to be harvested after one month.

It seems the central ministries concerned are more interested in exports and imports rather than managing the stocks properly.

A surprising aspect is that the Ministry of Agriculture, which normally does not favour imports of foodgrain, is supporting the imports at this juncture when the harvesting of wheat crop will start after one month and the imports of wheat will materialise when the markets will be flush with wheat arrivals. One wonders if there is something below the surface which is not quite visible to the naked eye!

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From the pages of

November 1, 1928

Malaviya & Lajpat Rai

WE cannot too strongly condemn the action of the District Magistrate of Lahore in prohibiting processions within the limits of the Lahore Municipality and public assemblies within the precincts of the Lahore Railway Station and on Empress and Egerton Roads and roads adjacent thereto on the 30th October. That the original order was unjustifiable was practically admitted by the Magistrate himself, for he modified it within a few hours after it was issued. But even the second order was as arbitrary, uncalled for and indefensible as the first.

Even if the boycott movement had not been a perfectly peaceful and non-violent movement everywhere, the very fact that at Lahore it was being led by such men as Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and Lala Lajpat Rai was a sure guarantee of its peaceful and law-abiding character. To forcibly interfere with such a movement was an act of monumental folly, for which those responsible must receive the severest condemnation.

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Let universal classfellowship (i.e. brotherhood) be the highest aspiration of your religious order. Let all mankind be your sect. (viz. Aaee Panth)

— Guru Nanak

Man should shun idle gossip, as it is useless and instead engage in good deeds which will lead him ultimately to his goal.

— Kabir

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