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EDITORIALS

Telling lies
Zahira deserved the punishment
The one-year jail term handed down to Zahira Sheikh, the prime witness in the Best Bakery case, who decided to go with the accused instead, is the kind of exemplary punishment that all right-thinking people had been seeking for the witnesses who turn hostile because of pressure or inducement.

Jaya at the exit door
She ought to have known the law
On the face of it, the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify Mrs Jaya Bachchan from the Rajya Sabha membership cannot be faulted. The commission has done its duty in upholding Article 102 (i) of the Constitution that prohibits a member of Parliament from holding an office of profit at the Centre or in the state. Mrs



EARLIER STORIES

Killers on the prowl
March 9, 2006
Finances in good health
March 8, 2006
Plain-speaking in Pindi
March 7, 2006
Test of fire
March 6, 2006
My idealism is not Utopian, says Shyam Benegal
March 5, 2006
Karachi blast
March 4, 2006
Election time
March 3, 2006
Mulayam should bow out
March 2, 2006
With hope and confidence
March 1, 2006
Justice!
February 28, 2006
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Whose welfare?
Funds for Punjab MLAs
The Punjab Budget for 2006-07, the last one presented by the Amarinder Singh government before the state goes to the polls in February next year, has earmarked Rs 25 lakh for each MLA to carry out development works in his or her constituency.

ARTICLE

Born again
JIC needs urgent reforms
by Inder Malhotra
ALL of a sudden the Joint Intelligence Committee — “subsumed” in the secretariat of the National Security Council nearly seven years ago — has been revived. Some have protested that this is a “retrograde step” because it would “dilute” the NSC secretariat’s function as a “coordinator” of intelligence and duplicate the instruments for intelligence assessment and evaluation.

MIDDLE

The house on the hill
by Reena Sen
FROM a distance, the house looks unchanged…the somewhat plain façade standing on stilts, partially covered by the swirling, wispy trails of mist. I felt reassured and after more than 25 years, I made the journey up to Jalapahar, back to the “Laurels”.

OPED

Chandigarh: tale of two cities
by Ashok Kundra
Chandigarh has undergone rapid transformation during the nineties. It has expanded enormously; new sectors and new markets have come up. With a population of over a million and the increasing influx of migrants, its demographic composition is undergoing change.

Why children should learn to type
by Hilary Wilce
Students need to improve their touch-typing skills Fad fall flag flash flask. Gad gag gall gas gash glad glass. Sad sag salad sash slash shall.

Delhi Durbar
Kapil Sibal charms Bush
Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal was the minister-in-waiting for President George Bush when Dubya came calling earlier this month.

  • A diplomatic initiative

  • Coordinating comrades

  • Tug-of-war for credit

  • Bickerings in UPA


From the pages of

 
 REFLECTIONS

 

Editorial cartoon by Rajinder Puri

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Telling lies
Zahira deserved the punishment

The one-year jail term handed down to Zahira Sheikh, the prime witness in the Best Bakery case, who decided to go with the accused instead, is the kind of exemplary punishment that all right-thinking people had been seeking for the witnesses who turn hostile because of pressure or inducement. It will, hopefully, send the right signal to all of her ilk who make a mockery of the judicial system. Hers was the most shameful flip-flop of induced hostility which led to a gross miscarriage of justice in the Gujarat riots cases. Ironically, she had lost many family members in the Best Bakery carnage and had identified many of the killers. But then, things went awry and she started defending the very people accused of killing her relatives. In the process she even accused a civil rights fighter of the stature of Teesta Setalwad of pressurising her. Obviously, she had sold her soul to the devil for some pieces of gold. Stupidly, or perhaps blatantly, she had even deposited some of the unaccounted money that she had obtained in bank accounts. The court has now ordered an inquiry into the whole murky affair. It is imperative that those who allegedly gave her the money or made her change her testimony should also be tried.

She is not the only one who has thus taken the legal system for a ride. There are very many more who change their evidence drastically or turn hostile. That is exactly what has happened in the notorious Jessica Lal murder case where all the accused got acquitted thanks to the amnesia developed by many key witnesses. The precedent set in the Zahira case should be applicable to them as well.

That brings one to the question of the responsibility of the trial judges involved in such cases. Surely, they are not supposed to be mute spectators to this murder of justice. In fact, it is their duty to make sure that the witnesses are not pressurised into submission by the influential accused or their supporters. If they don’t, they will only be perpetuating the myth that justice is blind, and sometimes deaf too. 
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Jaya at the exit door
She ought to have known the law

On the face of it, the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify Mrs Jaya Bachchan from the Rajya Sabha membership cannot be faulted. The commission has done its duty in upholding Article 102 (i) of the Constitution that prohibits a member of Parliament from holding an office of profit at the Centre or in the state. Mrs Bachchan is the Chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Corporation. She holds the rank of a Cabinet Minister in the state by virtue of this position. As this is an office of profit, her continuance as MP seems untenable. Of course, the last word on the subject has not yet been said. Mrs Bachchan has appealed to President A.P. J. Abdul Kalam not to disqualify her from the Rajya Sabha as she believes she does not hold an office of profit. She has also said that her post in Uttar Pradesh is purely honorary with no remuneration. The President is seized of the issue. He has started consulting legal and constitutional experts and is expected to take a decision on his return from abroad.

Given the facts of the case, Mrs Bachchan seems to be on a weak wicket. Her arguments do not stand the test of legal scrutiny. For, a member can enjoy immunity under Article 102 (i) only if Parliament declares by law that the post she is holding is not an office of profit and that it should not disqualify her. In her case, the Election Commission was convinced that the post she is holding in Uttar Pradesh is an office of profit and hence advised the President to disqualify her.

Whatever may be President Kalam’s decision, the Centre and the states need to take Article 102 (i) more seriously. The need for promoting healthy parliamentary practices and conventions has become greater today. This is particularly important because a few more MPs like Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh are facing the same problem as that of Mrs Bachchan. There is no point in imputing political motives behind the commission’s recommendation. It will have to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law even if its decisions are inconvenient.
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Whose welfare?
Funds for Punjab MLAs

The Punjab Budget for 2006-07, the last one presented by the Amarinder Singh government before the state goes to the polls in February next year, has earmarked Rs 25 lakh for each MLA to carry out development works in his or her constituency. When the proposal was first announced by Finance Minister Surinder Singla on December 8 last year, there was vehement opposition in the media. The Tribune had opposed the ill-conceived suggestion of handing over public funds to MLAs on the pretext of development. The sum to be given to each MLA as announced by Mr Singla then was Rs 5 crore a year.

This newspaper has also sought the abolition of the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), the inspiration behind the Punjab Government’s equally ill-advised scheme. The Central scheme has a specific procedure for utilizing public money and there is monitoring at different levels. Still there are allegations of funds being misused. The scheme has been seen as a source of corruption. The much-respected fund-monitoring agency, CAG, as well as Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance have pointed out operational lapses and government failure to effectively administer the scheme. Besides, the MPLADS, experts point out, offends the letter and the spirit of the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution which had sought to create a third stratum of local government in the country.

Moreover, the process of development cannot be carried out on a piecemeal basis depending on the whims and fancies of an MP or an MLA. It has to be a planned, coordinated effort. The Punjab plan is out and out politically motivated with an eye on the coming elections and gives an undesirable edge to the existing representative over his or her opponents. It is a sheer wastage and misutilisation of scarce funds. The improved fiscal position of the state, it seems, may be temporary if such hare-brained schemes are implemented.
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Thought for the day

The best of men are but men at best. — A proverb
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ARTICLE

Born again
JIC needs urgent reforms
by Inder Malhotra

ALL of a sudden the Joint Intelligence Committee — “subsumed” in the secretariat of the National Security Council nearly seven years ago — has been revived. Some have protested that this is a “retrograde step” because it would “dilute” the NSC secretariat’s function as a “coordinator” of intelligence and duplicate the instruments for intelligence assessment and evaluation. There have even been insinuations that the United Progressive Alliance government is slowly “rolling back” everything its predecessor, the National Democratic Alliance government, had done.

There might have been some substance in this, had the elaborate paraphernalia of the NSC — established shortly after the Shakti series of nuclear tests in May 1998 and charged with taking a long view — shown something by way of long-term strategic thinking and planning, based on a thorough assessment of intelligence available from various agencies. But that is far from being the case. Otherwise, why should the Prime Minister go on lamenting the lack of long-term strategic thinking?

What the event under discussion underscores is not the propensity of almost every government in India to undo the work of its predecessor but the more lasting and deep-seated bane of decisions on vital security issues being made in an ad hoc, slapdash and even casual manner. Sadly, this is irrespective of which party or coalition is in power. The failure is national, but the main culprits are politicians and bureaucrats at the top of the heap. They seldom acquire the knowledge and intellectual acumen to discharge their duty to safeguard national security in the widest sense of the term.

The idea of making the JIC — which has had its own chequered history of evolution — the secretariat of the NSC had originated with the government of Mr. V. P. Singh. It did not heed the expert advice to the contrary but that did not matter. For, the V.P. Singh government was short-lived and the NSC appointed by it stillborn.

A full decade later the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government appointed the NSC of its concept, once again brushing aside the advice to leave the JIC well alone. What was surprising in this case was that the Vajpayee government calmly disregarded the blueprint painstakingly prepared by a high-powered, three-man “Task Force”.

Two of the trio — Mr K.C. Pant and Mr Jaswant Singh (the third was retired Air-Commodore Jasjit Singh) — had a lot of say in the NSC’s formation and were later its members. But they did not seem to mind their recommendations being rejected. The core of their blueprint was that the NSC should be served by the National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, and he should have under him three Deputy National Security Advisers, each with a specific responsibility. One of these three was to head the “Intelligence Coordination Board”, an obvious substitute of the JIC; another was to preside over a board for long-range planning; and the third was to oversee the implementation of the decisions taken.

None of this was done, and all the functions were allocated to the NSC’s Secretary. To almost everyone’s surprise, Mr Vajpayee decided to make his Principal Secretary, Mr Brajesh Mishra, also his NSA. This arrangement served the Prime Minister very well, given his complete confidence in Mr Mishra and the latter’s commendable grasp of and grip on the government. But this was hardly conducive to institution building. Both power and knowledge got “over-concentrated” in a few hands.

Dr Manmohan Singh began by separating the posts of Principal Secretary and NSA. Since J.N. Dixit’s death, Mr M.K. Narayanan, until then Special Adviser on Internal Security, has been the NSA. Earlier, he had been a veteran former Director of the Intelligence Bureau as well as a former chairman of the JIC.

It appears that in recent months policy makers have been distressed by a persistent lack of long-range assessment and analysis of the massive and often contradictory flow of intelligence from numerous agencies in bits and pieces. This has been particularly true of the alarming increase in the depredations of the naxalites in various parts of the country as also the apparently unending violence in Assam. This might throw some light on why the JIC has been brought back to life.

All this having been said, let me hasten to add that the resurrection of the JIC, by itself, is no guarantee that the kind of appraisal of intelligence the government is looking for, and is entitled to, would indeed be available to it.

Mr Narayanan surely knows better than most people that the JIC’s record over the years has been far from brilliant. Indeed, at crucial times, such as during the traumatic border war with China in 1962, the committee has been practically dysfunctional. On several other occasions, the powers that be did not bother to even consult it.

The JIC also suffers from some grave handicaps that have to be faced squarely or else its revival would become meaningless. In the first place, there is the question of its chairmanship. Time was when it was a monopoly of the Foreign Service. Then a succession of IAS officers took over. Since the 1980’s it has been the closely guarded preserve of the Indian Police Service. This closed-shop approach has to be ended.

Secondly, almost as a rule, only those IPS officers are made chairmen of the JIC who, for some reason or another, cannot be given the top job in one of the Centre’s security forces. Much worse than this is the practice of using the post of Chairman JIC as a dump whenever, for political reasons, it becomes necessary to send away a Director of Intelligence Bureau (DIB).

One such luckless DIB was flying back from Colombo, after attending an international conference, when he was removed and appointed chairman, JIC. He learnt of his misfortune from the driver of his official car on arrival at Palam.

Thirdly, while it is understandable that the DIB and the Secretary RAW should have direct access to the Prime Minister, there is no reason why the Chairman JIC should not be told of whatever they have conveyed to the head of government. Fourthly and finally, such is the stranglehold of secrecy on officialdom that the JIC and other comparable institutions consider it beneath their dignity to make use of the ample and useful inputs from non-official sources.

Unless these serious flaws are rectified, the revival of the JIC would become yet another case of triumph of hope over experience.

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MIDDLE

The house on the hill
by Reena Sen

FROM a distance, the house looks unchanged…the somewhat plain façade standing on stilts, partially covered by the swirling, wispy trails of mist. I felt reassured and after more than 25 years, I made the journey up to Jalapahar, back to the “Laurels”.

“The Laurels” was the legacy left by my grandfather for his children and theirs. Throughout our childhood, we spent one school holiday each year in Darjeeling, in The Laurels. It was a typical “hill house” — a bungalow with an uninterrupted view of the hillsides and the Kanchenjunga. We played in the cemented patio, basked in the balmy sunshine in the pocket-sized garden full of marigolds and fuchsias and watched the old wizened “mali” so gently tending the exotic blooms in the hothouse.

Whenever it made an appearance, we feasted our eyes on the snows of the Kanchenjunga as it changed its hues from sunrise through the day, during the pale sunset and on moonlit nights. My cousins and I — all in our early teens — stood at the edge of the balcony overlooking the winding road down from St. Paul’s school, and blushed as the boys tipped their caps at us. As we looked down from the patio, we could see the blue dome of the Burdwan Palace and the toy train steaming into Darjeeling station.

The days passed; the house was divided between my uncle and my father. Suddenly, there was a hedge and “The Laurels” became Laurels 1 and Laurels 2.

We went up to our house by the sloping driveway; my uncle and aunt used the steep steps down to the road. It made no difference to my brother and myself — we had equal access to both homes, and managed to get the best of both worlds!

The years passed, and I returned once more, but this time, my father’s portion of the house was no longer ours. My husband and I, and our baby daughter had a wonderful holiday with my aunt and uncle, Priya, her first horse ride.

Some years later after my uncle’s death, I went to stay with my aunt in ‘Laurels 2’. My daughters, Priya and Sreeya, and my friend and her two girls loved every minute of the holiday and made me promise we would return.

After more than 25 years, I made the journey up to Jalapahar back to the ‘Laurels’. I climbed up the sloping path, my heart thudding so loudly I was sure the occupants of “Laurels 1” could hear it.

A government officer’s home, it had net curtains through which I could vaguely see the neat, impersonal drawing room and the garden was reasonably well maintained.

I rang the bell with a prepared speech hammering in my head but fortunately, no one answered. So I walked into Laurels 2. No one had prepared me for the shock to my system — so physical in its intensity, that for a moment I had to hold on to the mossy balcony to steady myself. Where was the garden? Why were the windows boarded and the door sealed with a rusty lock? Where was the hot house? This was a shanty, rotting and disintegrated, not my uncle and aunt’s gracious home. I ran down the driveway hardly able to see through the tears.

This was no ordinary parting with a legacy. This was much worse — the snapping of the tenuous threads of my childhood, the final adieu to my uncle and aunt, my cousin Santanu, and the man I loved the most — my father.
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OPED

Chandigarh: tale of two cities
by Ashok Kundra

Chandigarh has undergone rapid transformation during the nineties. It has expanded enormously; new sectors and new markets have come up. With a population of over a million and the increasing influx of migrants, its demographic composition is undergoing change.

The city is a new-found attraction for the IT industry. It is no longer a laid-back city it used to be; it is a happening place. Though bursting on the seams, it is still a compact and a livable city with excellent health and social infrastructure and pollution-free environment. The planners have done well in greening the city and providing adequate parking spaces.

However, a disturbing feature of city management is the ever-widening North-South divide, giving an impression as if these were two cities. The concerns of the administration are primarily confined to old Chandigarh. Ostensibly, it is Sector 17-centric. It reflects an elitist bias while proposing to set up golf courses and malls etc. to the neglect of basic amenities.

Southern sectors have 80 per cent of the city population and are humming with business and commercial activity. But they are treated as poor cousins. Madhya Marg can be reckoned as the dividing line. The farther one moves towards South, the deterioration in quality of services becomes increasingly manifest.

However, the condition of roads in these sectors is deplorable. They are uneven, bumpy, with innumerable cracks and potholes. The number of patches runs into thousands. In a city with such high density of vehicles, roads are obviously most intensely used.

Yet their current state would put any administration to shame. Barring a few, the upper crust of most of them is worn out and uneven. These have not been repaired for years. One wonders why only Jan Marg (rather Raj Marg) is being carpeted again and again! Why cannot all roads in the city be as smooth as Jan Marg?

Work for widening some roads is in a perpetual half-finished state. A classic case is that of Sarovar Path beyond Sector 8. No one knows how long it will take, Sukhna Path is no better. The roads in the industrial area are still worse. The approach roads to the railway station from Madhya Marg and from the industrial area are worn out and bumpy.

The road between Sectors 14 and 15, which provides entrance to the university, is in a dilapidated condition. The road surface around most of the roundabouts and slip roads is rough and uneven. If the city administrator takes a round, he would realise that it no longer looks a “City Beautiful”.

The traffic police may have done well in enforcing safety regulations regarding the use of belts and helmets, but traffic management remains extremely poor. The situation is becoming chaotic day by day. Traffic policemen deployed during rush hours at roundabouts stand as mute spectators.

The police dismally failed to regulate a recent rally organised by followers of Sacha Sauda, resulting in inconvenience to thousands of office-goers.

All entries to the city from the southern sectors were blocked and no alternate routes were notified. Carts, cars, bicycles and rickshaws are allowed to ply all day on the main roads. Taxis and autos operate without meters.

The menace of excessive horning and overtaking continues unabated due to lack of awareness about norms of right of way. The use of cell phones while driving is on the increase. There is need to launch a campaign to create awareness among the citizen about these matters.

The electricity supply in many pockets in southern sectors is erratic for want of the requisite upgradation of transformers. The streetlights on major roads at a given point of time have a mortality rate of 15 to 20 per cent. Encroachments have crept in on the main roads. Tea vendors, barbers, fruit sellers and panwalas are mushrooming. They are not only an eyesore, but also render the area accident-prone.

Garbage remains piled up for days together in various nooks and corners of the southern sectors. The state of sanitation in the market areas of Sectors 22 and 35 is equally poor. Dust piled during sweeping is not removed, presenting an ugly sight.

Even Sector 17, which is the darling of the administration, does not present a sleek look. Tea vendors, fruit sellers and hawkers have occupied space in the plaza and on the walkways with impunity. This is a case of complicity or laxity on the part of the enforcement staff. During summer, electricity supply in some parts of the sector is interrupted due to faulty distribution system dislocating the functioning of offices for hours. Flooring is chipped and uneven at many places. Year round there is a semblance of some work being executed at a snail’s pace The maintenance issues are critical to efficient city management.

It is a pity that a small city with a top-heavy administration and no dearth of resources is becoming increasingly unmanageable. In the absence of focus on basics, merely talking big is meaningless. The maintenance of basic infrastructure has become a casualty on account of poor micro management and is worsening day by day.

One wonders why things have come to such a pass. This may partly be due to the insensitivity and lack of vision on the part of the administration. The blame, however, equally lies with the citizens for their “care-no-less” attitude. They need to develop affinity with the city and take pride in owning it.

It is amazing that in a city with such high proportion of intelligent, articulate and educated persons, there are no protests or murmurs about bad roads, traffic hazards, poor streetlighting, encroachments and deterioration in sanitation. Why are the citizens so mute and helpless?

Amertya Sen, the Nobel laureate, rightly says that governments perform only under pressure. The citizens need to protest and demonstrate. The Chandigarh media, which is otherwise so alert, has somehow failed to put the spotlight on the general and sector specific problems of the city.
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Why children should learn to type
by Hilary Wilce

Students need to improve their touch-typing skills Fad fall flag flash flask. Gad gag gall gas gash glad glass. Sad sag salad sash slash shall.

Anyone with secretarial training will immediately recognise these exercises - learning to touch-type was once a major route into office life. Paradoxically, as computers came in, and we all started to type more and more, touch-typing fell out of favour and became an arcane skill, corralled in the world of the super-secretary and personal assistant.

The rest of us, muddling through with our two- or four-finger attacks on the keyboard, never thought to invest much effort in our typing skills and learnt to get by as best we can.

But what of today’s schoolchildren, reared from birth on computers, and as familiar with keyboards as the children of yesterday were with pen and paper? Does practice make their lives easier? Are they better typists than their sausage-fingered parents?

Not at all. While some children easily pick up speed on the keyboard, many more are stuck in a laborious hunt-and-peck routine, spending hours committing even just a few sentences of prose to print.

For less able children, this is particularly serious, widening the gap still further between them and their more able classmates. Almost every class in the country has a few poor souls tortuously typing out their opening paragraphs, while everyone else is heading towards their conclusions.

“Typing is an essential skill, but it can be painful. Some children just don’t know where the letters are,” says Susan Mitchell, head of Giles Junior School, in Stevenage. “Typing a three-page story, when they have to spend minutes hunting for every letter, can take forever. Yet we tend to assume that children can type, partly because quite a lot of us know where quite a lot of the letters are, so we assume that children do, too.”

To address the problem, her school has introduced lessons for older pupils, at which they learn to touch- type, starting with the “home keys” for left and right hands - A, S, D, F and J, K, L - and moving steadily on through a range of exercises until they end up in the tricky reaches of, “A blizzard is a storm of wind and snow”, and “My zippy trousers have nine pockets”. Pupils embarking on the programme do it every day for an initial six weeks, and then less frequently. Year Six pupils practised three times a week last term.

Laura Penrose, the school’s IT co-ordinator who runs the programme, says that both pupils and teachers love it, the pupils because they enjoy mastering a straightforward skill and seeing their progress, and the teachers “because they can see how much it increases the pupils’ skills and confidence”.

There are numerous online “learn to type” packages available, but at Giles Junior School, a low-tech scheme was chosen: Read and Type: A Gift for Life, devised and written by Patricia Mayhew, which uses simple ring-bound exercises that children can work on at their own pace. “Not everything has to beep and whiz,” says Susan Mitchell. “With this course, they can’t go wrong - they can just get on with.”

According to Penrose, the children love it because they are successful from the start. “It’s so good for them to see progress,” she says. “Parents are saying, ‘They’re much better than me at typing now!’.” Indeed, it is interesting to see just how much the children seem to enjoy this quiet, rote-learning, and are even willing to give up their free time to keep up.

— The Independent
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Delhi Durbar
Kapil Sibal charms Bush

Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal was the minister-in-waiting for President George Bush when Dubya came calling earlier this month.

The suave Sibal did have his fleeting moments of interaction with Bush who expressed happiness that the minister-in-waiting was overseeing the Science and Technology portfolio. Bush commended India for doing a great job and stressed technology would drive the future.

What really amazed Bush was when Sibal expressed the hope that the Texas Rangers baseball team would do well. It brought a wide smile on the face of Bush, who is a Texan himself, besides being a huge baseball fan and a staunch 
supporter of the Texas Rangers.

A diplomatic initiative

In the ongoing efforts to normalise relations between India and Pakistan, a group of IFS probationers are on a week’s visit to Pakistan. Under the “Mission Orientation,” the probationers will go round the Pakistan Foreign Service Academy and exchange views with experts from the Institute of Strategic Studies and the Institute of Policy Studies.

The probationers will also visit the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to understand its functioning. This programme on a reciprocal basis was finalised during former External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh’s visit to Pakistan in October last year.

Coordinating comrades

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and Finance Minister P Chidambaram are fast becoming comrades-in-arms. Lalu has time and again submitted that he will knock at the door of Chidambaram for more resources.

On his part, Chidambaram was seen trying to do his bit in guiding Lalu on the finer nuances of parliamentary procedures and rules when he was presenting the Railway Budget for 2006-07 and while moving other legislative measures in Parliament.

Tug-of-war for credit

Peeved at attempts by some non-Congress state governments to take credit for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the Congress has activated its youth wing to keep watch and spread the message that the amibitious programme is the realisation of the dream of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The IYC convened a meeting of its district presidents from 200 backward districts, where the programme is being implemented in the first phase, to tell them how to communicate effectively with villagers about the Act.

Bickerings in UPA

With bickerings in the UPA government growing over the Iran and Indo-US nuclear issues, the BJP, sees it as a development that might lead to the collapse of the Manmohan Singh government sooner than later.

The hunch of the party was articulated in a lighter vein by one of its top leaders, who said the alliance has already lost its “United” face and when there is no unity then it can’t be “Progressive”. Without being “United and Progressive”, the “Alliance” is bound to collapse.

Contributed by R Suryamurthy, Prashant Sood and S Satyanarayanan.
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From the pages of

September 8, 1931

The Daska “Morcha”

Sardar Mangal Singh deserves to be congratulated on the statesmanlike and courageous statement which he has issued about the Akali dispute. The dispute, he rightly points out, “is like a domestic jhagra (quarrel) between two brothers over the division of a common ancestral property. In the good old days before the Singh Sabha and the Arya Samaj movements, when there was no Hindu-Sikh question, the Dharmshalas were built jointly; but after the aforesaid reform movements, and more especially with the inception of the Gurudwara reform, the question of the use and control of such Dharmshalas and the mode of worship therein arose in this present form. Daska is not the first nor the only case in this respect. In the north-western part of the Punjab, practically similar questions have already arisen in several places”. We have no doubt the saner sections of both the communities take this view of the dispute.
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Could there be a greater proof of our cowardice than fighting amongst ourselves?

— Mahatma Gandhi

What power has caste? It is the righteousness that it tested. Whosoever tastes poison will die, no matter what his caste is.

— Guru Nanak

What’s the way to end sorrow? Remember, it’s in greed that old age and death crowd close.

— Kabir
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