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EDITORIALS

Fuel for Tarapur
Russian offer will meet immediate need
D
uring the tough negotiations for the Indo-US nuclear deal, Russia, France and the UK had all indicated that a successful agreement was desirable from their point of view as well, as it would also enable them to supply nuclear fuel and technology to India.

Pollscape pointers
Trend is seat sharing, not alliances
T
HE upcoming elections in four major states — West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam — and Pondicherry would be watched with interest mainly to see if the Congress party loses further ground or is able to retain its electoral pockets.



EARLIER STORIES

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Confusion over Bt cotton
Rampant sale of spurious seed
B
t cotton is back in the news for two reasons. One, the Punjab Government has waived the value added tax on it. The very act of imposing VAT on Bt cotton betrayed official ignorance. How could anyone treat it as an oilseed?

ARTICLE

Daughters at a disadvantage
Hindu Succession Act change doesn’t help them
by S.S. Johl
T
HE sex ratio in northern India is getting worse day by day. The child sex ratio in Punjab has fallen from793 in 2001 to 776 in 2003, and in Haryana from 820 to 807 during this period. Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Bihar are the other states where the child sex ratio is worse and declining further, according to an Outlook survey.

MIDDLE

Brown man’s burden
by Baljit Singh
R
udyard Kipling wove his stories and novels around the frailties and strengths of character of both the “Sahibs” and the rustic “natives”. Though Kipling idolised the whiteman’s burden but he mostly stopped short of placing the brown man on the same pedestal.

OPED

Prison with a difference
by Upneet Lalli
R
ecently I had an opportunity to visit prisons in Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad. I realised that prison administration that responds to challenges head on, can be changed and can contribute effectively to a better society.

China accused of locking sane dissidents in asylums
by Clifford Coonam
W
ang Wanxing was one of China’s longest-serving dissident prisoners when he was freed last August after spending 13 years in one of the country’ sankang psychiatric hospitals.

Chatterati
Sonia’s dinner for MPs
by Devi Cherian
S
onia Gandhi’s dinner for the Lok Sabha MPs went down very well as a PR exercise. She invited all MPs and their spouses and managed to spend a few minutes with each one of her guests.

  • A signature that matters

  • Fun with ‘rang’ and ‘bhang’

From the pages of

 
 REFLECTIONS

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Fuel for Tarapur
Russian offer will meet immediate need

During the tough negotiations for the Indo-US nuclear deal, Russia, France and the UK had all indicated that a successful agreement was desirable from their point of view as well, as it would also enable them to supply nuclear fuel and technology to India. Neither the US nor India sees the nuclear deal as an exclusive proposition that would prevent cooperation with other P-5 countries. And that is as it should be. The July 18, 2005, joint statement not only mentions “expeditious consideration” for fuel for Tarapur, but goes a step further to state that “the United States will encourage its partners (in the Nuclear Suppliers Group) to also consider this request expeditiously.” The supply of Russian fuel was thus anticipated.

The US State Department has expressed surprise at the “timing” and the need for prior completion of legislative changes in the US and other formalities in the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Token protests are understandable, given its difficult task ahead of getting the India-specific legislation passed in the US Congress. Russian fuel for Tarapur was always on the cards. Russia, in fact, has invoked the “safety exceptions” clause in the NSG guidelines, just as it did in 2001, when it faced severe US and NSG criticism. Though Tarapur 1 and 2 are safeguarded, current NSG guidelines prevent nuclear supplies to countries which have not signed the NPT and do not have full-scope (as against facility-specific) safeguards.

Cooperation with Russia is on a sound footing and can be expected to continue in a measured way. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov’s successful talks with Dr Manmohan Singh have even seen a nominal invoking of cooperation for the Iran pipeline project. Both countries have stressed energy cooperation, the theme of the G-8 meeting Russia will host in July, and the need to augment bilateral trade. Russia is currently building two 1000 MWe reactors at Kudankulam and India aims to have four more there, which will again be possible only in an amended NSG regime. Russia has always called for such changes. Given India’s huge energy needs, nuclear fuel and technology from the United States, as from other sources like France, are also sure to be put to good use.

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Pollscape pointers
Trend is seat sharing, not alliances

THE upcoming elections in four major states — West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam — and Pondicherry would be watched with interest mainly to see if the Congress party loses further ground or is able to retain its electoral pockets. In two of the bigger states — West Bengal and Tamil Nadu — the Congress does not even have to pretend that it has any prospect of winning to rule. The CPM-led Left Front is the unquestionable favourite with the Congress party unable to arrive at any understanding with Ms Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, which is unwilling to dump the BJP for a mahajot. The Congress, in alliance with seven smaller parties, may contest all the 294 seats as announced, but its success is unlikely to be as grand as this figure suggests. In fact, the Nationalist Congress Party, which is part of the UPA at the Centre, has struck a pact with the Left, not only in West Bengal, but in Kerala and Assam too.

On a closer look, the emergence of the Left as a strategic driving force behind major alliances is a common thread in these states. However, in Kerala, the CPM has shot itself in the foot by excluding stalwart V.S. Achuthanandan. It remains to be seen whether the Congress would be able to gain from the CPM’s internal problems. In any case, the Congress is wooing former Chief Minister K. Karunakaran’s DIC (K) to contest on the hand symbol.

In Tamil Nadu, the UPA constituents have fallen apart with MDMK’s defection from the DMK front to the AIADMK. One effect of this has been to make the DMK exceptionally generous: It has offered 105 of the 234 assembly seats to allies, including the Congress, the CPM and the CPI. Here, as in Assam, the BJP has little choice but to go it alone. Though the BJP shares a vote bank with the AGP in Assam, the latter has a seat-sharing pact - not an alliance — with the CPI and the CPM. With the UPA unable to act as one in the states, seat-sharing pacts, not alliances, are the order of the day, leaving the Congress on the back foot.

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Confusion over Bt cotton
Rampant sale of spurious seed

Bt cotton is back in the news for two reasons. One, the Punjab Government has waived the value added tax on it. The very act of imposing VAT on Bt cotton betrayed official ignorance. How could anyone treat it as an oilseed? Who would have thought of extracting oil from such an expensive seed? Realising the folly, as pointed out in a Tribune report the other day, the government has withdrawn the tax, thankfully without touting it as a concession to farmers. Two, the state government is reportedly taking up with the Centre the issue of reducing the price of Bt cotton. Only on March 6 Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal had announced at a Press conference in Delhi the decision of Monsanto, the company that sells Bt cotton, to cut the seed price by Rs 300 for a packet of 450 grams. This was, perhaps, in response to the case filed by the Andhra Pradesh government with the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission against Monsanto for charging a high price from farmers (Rs 1,850 for 450 grams).

The high price of Bt cotton has led unscrupulous traders to pass on ordinary seed as Bt cotton, particularly in Punjab’s cotton belt. The Bathinda district police recently seized 28 quintals of spurious seed from the godown of a Congress leader. That shows why, despite numerous reports in the media about farmers being cheated and exaggerated claims of official action, the sale of spurious seed has continued. Due to the absence of quality-checking facilities, it is difficult to distinguish the fake from the genuine seed.

Environmentalists’ concerns about its adverse fallout notwithstanding, Bt cotton has become very popular because of its being pest-resistent. The government will have to put in place an effective monitoring mechanism soon for genetically modified crops as more are in the pipeline like Bt brinjal, rice, mustard, maize, tomato and potato. Punjab should not be caught napping as it happened in the case of Bt cotton.

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Thought for the day

Love, friendship, respect do not unite people as much as common hatred for something.

— Anton Chekhov

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Daughters at a disadvantage
Hindu Succession Act change doesn’t help them
by S.S. Johl

THE sex ratio in northern India is getting worse day by day. The child sex ratio in Punjab has fallen from793 in 2001 to 776 in 2003, and in Haryana from 820 to 807 during this period. Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Bihar are the other states where the child sex ratio is worse and declining further, according to an Outlook survey.

This is happening in spite of the deterrent law that bans scanning for sex determination and foeticide. The Central government and state governments are adopting the carrot and stick policy to stamp out female foeticide and empower the girl child. Schemes like free education for girls, shaguns at the marriage, insurance at birth, etc, are the incentives provided to encourage parents not to prevent the birth of a girl child and rather bring them up gracefully.

This year’s budget has made special provisions for the welfare and empowerment of women in India. But all these programmes and efforts look pale before the amendment that has been made in the Hindu Succession Act, which would weaken the position of the girl child and increase the incidence of female foeticide.

Many a time actions do not measure up to the intentions behind them. This is exactly what has happened is respect of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005. The intention of the amendment is to empower the women and provide security to the girl child, but this enactment may result in exactly the opposite whereby the girls will be put on a weak wicket. Society is fighting hard against foeticide, discrimination against the girl child, atrocities on brides and suicides, divorces, etc. Murders by dowry-seekers are reported daily.

Amusingly, with this amendment, dowry has been made obligatory under the provisions of the law. What is going to happen is that people having property, specially the land-owning classes, will become more prone to committing foeticide of the girl child in order to save their properties and land from sub-division and going to the girl’s in-laws. There will be more pressure from the in-laws of the girls to sell their shares of parental properties and bring that money to their in-laws. This will lead to cruelty on unwilling brides and increase the incidence of killing of the brides by greedy in-laws and suicides by frustrated brides, who may refuse to ask for a division of parental properties out of strong bonds of love with parents and brothers.

If the bride agrees to get her share of ancestral property, this can be usurped by the in-laws and the bride is liable to be divorced afterwards out of greed for another dowry. If the girl gets the ancestral property divided and takes away her share, brother-sister bonds will be shattered, and in times of difficulty or trouble created by the in-laws, the brothers and even parents may not come to the rescue of the girl.

Economically, it is a disastrous amendment. If the law operates in letter and spirit, every land-holding will get subdivided and fragmented with the passing of one generation and more importantly will be located in two villages. With the passing of another generation, every land-holding will get further fragmented in four villages, because in our society, the girls are not married in the same village. This will shatter the economy of the farm sector, and operational efficiency will be lost completely.

One wonders why our society places the in-laws of the girls in such a superior position. It is the hang-over of the past when girls were kept illiterate and had to depend on their husband and in-laws for their wherewithal and survival. Parents these days not only bring up the girl child until her maturity, but also educate her to the best of their ability and make her capable of handling the household affairs. These days, girls are educated to handle gainful employment with equal, if not better, competence. People spend as much as they can on their daughters’ marriage and even give her dowry, often going beyond their resources. Many parents fall in debt due to such marriages.

With all this personal and financial input and dowry, the girl goes to the house of the in-laws. The in-laws are the recipients throughout. They do not give anything at any stage to the parents of the girl. Whatever they give to the girl also remains with their own family. Why then and with what right do the in-laws of the girl consider themselves superior, or society places them in a superior position, and why do they dominate? They do no favour or do any favour to the parents of the bride. One wonders, why the beggars here should be calling the tunes all the time. Our society has to change its value system in this respect.

The right amendment should have been that as soon as a girl is married, she should automatically become an equal partner in the property and wealth of her in-laws, as may be her husband. If they ever think of divorce, the bride should have the right to get the property of the in-laws divided and get her share. From this angle we need to learn from the system of “Mehar” in Muslim marriages and of “Reet” in some tribal societies.

We need to put some substance in our slogans like “Dulhan hi dahej hai”. Otherwise, these are meaningless and empty words and reflect hypocrisy, because we have made dowry a statutory obligation on the part of the parents of girls through this amendment. The vow of the girls and boys not to accept or give dowry sounds hollow in the presence of this amendment. Will the powers that be think about it and save our society and its daughters from the depredations of this amendment, which weakens the position of the women rather than empowering them.

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Brown man’s burden
by Baljit Singh

Rudyard Kipling wove his stories and novels around the frailties and strengths of character of both the “Sahibs” and the rustic “natives”. Though Kipling idolised the whiteman’s burden but he mostly stopped short of placing the brown man on the same pedestal.

This prejudice notwithstanding, there are endless episodes from the Raj era which amply illustrate the ethos of the Brown man’s burden. And its manifestation shows up best perhaps by way of the unspoken oath of uncompromising loyalty of the native domestics to their sahibs, their children and even their household pets. Some incidents make fascinating reading.

Alien language and its phonetics often created a crisis of conflict for the domestics to choose between fulfilment of duty and dictates of loyalty. I am unable to recall the title of the book but one incident and its setting are fresh in my memory. It occurred sometimes after 1900 when Lord Curzon created the N W Frontier Province by partitioning the Punjab. For, Curzon had found these N W tribesmen a breed apart: “magnificent Samsons, brave as lions, wild as cats, docile as children.....(imbued) with loyalty....”

So Curzon created for the new province a cadre of administrators, handpicked from those known for daring, of frugal habits and above all with proven empathy for the natives.

Sir James Abbot was appointed to head Hazara district. Elizabeth, his wife, while returning from England brought a bottle of Chartreuse. After a formal dinner when the guest moved to the drawing room, Elizabeth called out to the butler, “Abdur, please show the Chartreuse”. This liqueure name was new to Abdur and through the din of convivial conversation the command that Abdur had heard, he did not deem fit to obey. When Elizabeth persisted, much to his anguish and shame, what Abdur brought on a silver salver was a pair of her “short-drawers”!

Another matchless episode comes from David Gilmour’s book “The Ruling Caste” published in 2005. At the dawn of the last century even though there was peace and tranquility in the NE, yet not many volunteered to serve in Nagaland and Manipur because of prevalence of malaria and the mercurial temperament of the tribals. But there were the kind of Frank Grimwood who would put up with any odds to be living in the birthplace of the Polo Club. While Frank had his polo, Ethel busied with her pets, her garden and nine Naga malis. As was their wont, the Nagas gardened in the nude, sans even the token fig leaf. To get over her embarrassment, Ethel gifted a pair of bathing-drawers to each mali.

The Nagas must have gone into a war-council huddle to unravel the mystery of their gift. When they entered the garden next morning, Ethel found that the garment had been suitably unstitched and wraped on their heads as a smart turban!

Such was the pure-hearted innocence of the Brown man’s burden.

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Prison with a difference
by Upneet Lalli

Recently I had an opportunity to visit prisons in Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad. I realised that prison administration that responds to challenges head on, can be changed and can contribute effectively to a better society.

It is wrongfully assumed by some that decent and humane conditions in prisons will encourage more people to commit crime. Prisoners are definitely conscious of the deprivation of liberty.

I had heard a lot about the Central prison Cherlapalli of Hyderabad but nothing had prepared me for the surprise that awaited me. From the outside, the building looks like a school/college/I.T. campus.

The prison was inaugurated in June, 2000, and has been constructed in an area of about 120 acres of land. This is one prison in India where living accommodation for prisoners has been constructed as per the specifications of the All India Prison Reforms Committee and also incorporating the United Nations Minimum Standard Rules for Prisoners.

The authorised accommodation of this prison is for 1,500. As I stepped towards the prison complex, the well manicured lawns and the layout made me wonder whether this was an Indian prison! There are four areas of this prison — the Administrative Block, the open space consisting of lawns and central tower; the living accommodation consisting of prisoners barracks, kitchens and hospital and factories area.

Food is a basic requirement of all human beings. However, the way it is cooked and served in prisons indicates a lot about the way prisons are managed. There are two big kitchens in this prison. These kitchens are equipped with a modern cooking system. There is a separate dining hall where steam-cooked food is served in movable trolleys.

Copper bottom stainless steel utensils are used and food is served in a hygienic way. In Andhra Pradesh, non-vegetarian food is served once in a week and curd is served daily. Unlike Punjab and Haryana, inmates are not allowed to keep small chullas to heat the food and eat at their own convenience. This is certainly a positive way of maintaining discipline.

The greenery of this prison will put any campus to shame. There is a well developed garden with papayas grown by the inmates. The gardening activities include growing vegetables in about five acres of open land. In the garden, there is a nursery which supplies plants to the Municipal Corporation.

There are about 300 prisoners who are employed in gardening activities. The well-maintained lawns are a balm to the eyes and the soul. No dark dungeons or any suffering atmosphere that ordinarily people associated with prisons exists in this spectacularly planned prison.

Effectively managing the time of prison inmates remains the key to good prison management. There is provision for providing constructive regime inside the prison. Beautiful daris, bed sheets have been woven by inmates.

Another impressive feature of this prison is a huge amphitheatre with a capacity to sit, 2,000 prisoners. This is constructed right in the centre of the prison for cultural activities. It is a so impressive that it has been used for a film shooting as well.

There is a big hall for conducting yoga and meditation classes for prisoners. The prison library is also equipped with about 2,000 books. Everybody who has visited this prison is in praise of the way that the prison is managed.

Justice has to be combined with respect for the individual if we are to bring any positive change. However, I was a little disappointed with the visitors room. This is one area which is most crucial and yet the same thinking is applied i.e. meeting behind the bars where close face-to-face interaction is really lost.

Moving out of this prison, I was escorted by Mr M.R. Ahmed, DIG Prisons, Hyderabad, to the open prison. This is the first open prison to be made on a permanent basis in 1954.

Earlier, other open prisons had been established on a temporary basis.

This open prison originally had an area of 294 acres, of which 100 acres were given for the construction of a new prison at Cherlapalli. It has an authorised capacity of 150 inmates, but around 100-120 inmates are staying in this open prison.

As I enter the premises of this wall-less prison, there was a most unusual colourful scene awaiting me. Santa Clause moving around the inmates while ringing his bell and dancing with inmates. An NGO had come to distribute X-mass gifts like mosquito nets and eatable to the inmates.

The music and dance transformed everyone. Is this for real? I thought. The Santa Clause turned out to be a school girl who had come to share her time with these inmates.

In this prison, agriculture work is undertaken in a scientific manner. Dairy, poultry, sheep-rearing and farm activities are undertaken by the inmates. There is also a green house where indoor plants and vegetables are grown.

Recycled water is used for agricultural work and the inmates remain busy and look forward to seeing their produce. Fresh vegetables produced by them are sold on the outside gate and there are a number of visitors from the city who come to look at this agricultural prison.

The inmates selected for the open prisons are life convicts who have been screened after observation on the basis of their good behaviour inside the prisons in Andhra Pradesh.

In Hyderabad children from schools and colleges are permitted to visit the prison, to see and be a part of the rehabilitation and reintegration process of prisoners.

This is a step that comes closer to rehabilitating them in society. Interacting with the inmates, I could feel a sense of hope at their successful reintegration when they would go back as law-abiding citizens.

It is only when we believe that someone can be better that the person will rise to that expectation; if we expect the worst, we get the worst and turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The writer is a member of the National Prisons Committee

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China accused of locking sane dissidents in asylums
by Clifford Coonam

Wang Wanxing was one of China’s longest-serving dissident prisoners when he was freed last August after spending 13 years in one of the country’ sankang psychiatric hospitals.

Mr Wang is one of more than 3,000 political dissidents, trade unionists and members of the Falun Gong sect whom the campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW) believes have been locked up in the hospitals — run by police — since the early 1980s. The word ankang means “peace and health”.

Despite Chinese government claims that Mr Wang was paranoid and delusional, Dutch psychiatrists released a report showing that the 56-year-old dissident was mentally sound. “There was no reason Mr Wang had to be locked up in a special forensic psychiatric hospital or to be admitted to any psychiatric facility,” the Global Initiative on Psychiatry and HRW said.

Declared criminally insane after he staged a one-man demonstration in Tiananmen Square in 1992, Mr Wang was held on a ward for violent criminals and forced to watch fellow inmates having electric shock treatment. He saw two deaths, one from a heart attack during treatment and one during force-feeding. He himself was forced to take anti-psychotic drugs.

In January this year, five months after he was released, partly as a result of German government pressure, he was examined in Germany by a team of Dutch doctors.

“It clearly proves that there were no psychiatric grounds for my 13 years in the Beijing ankang,” Mr Wang said from Frankfurt, where he now lives with his wife and daughter. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. It’s justice at last — a great success.”

Mr Wang was involved in the Beijing protests in 1989 that led to the Tiananmen Square massacre and was jailed after he tried to unfurl a protest banner on the third anniversary. Diagnosed as “suffering from paranoia”, the Chinese government insists he is still mentally ill and needs “strict guardianship”.

The Dutch medical report brings a spotlight to bear on Beijing’s human rights policies ahead of President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington next month. China freed a New York Times researcher yesterday and several other prominent dissidents in a move that human rights groups say is an effort to smooth a path for the visit.

China unexpectedly dropped charges of revealing state secrets against the reporter Zhao Yan. His lawyer expected him to be released within days, although it remained unclear whether Mr Zhao would be sent abroad afterwards. He was detained after a story before the National People’s Congress last year detailing a row between the former leader Jiang Zemin and his successor, Mr Hu.

Security officials accused Mr Zhao, already well-known as a campaigning journalist before he started working for The New York Times in 2004, of leaking details of the rivalry, and he faced 10 years in jail.

Also this week, a Tibetan Buddhist nun, Phuntsog Nyidron, who served 15 years in prison on political charges, was allowed to leave China. She has flown to the United States.

President Hu’s trip is vital to foster growing trade links and smooth relations which have been strained over what Washington says is China’s refusal to allow its currency to float more freely.

— The Independent

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Chatterati
Sonia’s dinner for MPs
by Devi Cherian

Sonia Gandhi’s dinner for the Lok Sabha MPs went down very well as a PR exercise. She invited all MPs and their spouses and managed to spend a few minutes with each one of her guests.

The dinner was out on the back lawns of 10 Janpath, the tables were laid out in black table clothes and the atmosphere was relaxed.

Priya Dutt discussed her newborn baby’s teething problems, while Sonia discussed diabetes with the doctor spouse of Madhu Gowd Yakshi, the first-time MP from Andhra.

She freely mingled with the MPs, relaxed and smiling. And then there were the three bachelors who came alone: Rahul Gandhi, Milind Deora and Jitin Prasada.

Sonia is a perfect hostess with an impeccable taste for food. Well! Now coming to the other first lady, obviously, they are charmers and have their special ways.

A signature that matters

All those who met Laura Bush did not go away disappointed, for she came bearing a quaint gift wrapped in gold paper with the words “White House” printed on it.

Inside was a small crystal ball with a lithograph of the White House with the signature Laura Bush embossed underneath. After all, it’s a signature that matters.

Interestingly, in a strange mix of domestic and international politics, both Natwar Singh and Mani Shankar Aiyar were absent from the official banquets hosted for the visiting US President.

This was an indication of sorts for all who know the cold shoulder bit of the Congress top guys. It was Dr Karan Singh and the new sauve M.O.S Anand Sharma, who now move around with visiting foreign dignitaries.

Fun with ‘rang’ and ‘bhang’

Even though most politicians this year said no to Holi keeping in mind the Varanasi tragedy, it did not dampen the spirit of Holi. “Rang” and “bhang”, as usual, went hand in hand for many as they made their way to dance floors.

Delhi-ites had a field day with the new range of herbal and sandalwood-based colours. No one had to worry about the adverse effects that chemical colours have on your skin or how difficult it is to wash that colour off.

Delhi’s shakers and movers gathered at Vineet Jain’s place to jive on the dance floor which had sprinklers on top so it turned out to be a rain dance with DJ Garav’s hep music. The tubs full of coloured water to dip anyone in was a hit.

Designers Rohit Bal and Ashish Soni, best forgotten cricketer Manoj Prabhakar, Rajesh Shah from Mumbai, Priti and Priya Paul, Dilip Padgaonkar, Bharat Kapoor of First City and the rarely seen Onkar Kanwar of Apollo Tyres with his whole family in tow were all there.

This lavish sprawling party was a show of rang, bhang, pichkaris, lots of masti, maza and bheegi chunariyas. Drinks and an array of delightful appetisers, food and sweets — hopefully, Vineet will carry on this ritual every year so that the stiff Delhi-ites can let loose at least one day in a year.

The other Holi bash of firang belly dancers and authentic old Delhi chaat stall was as interesting as every year at Ravi Jaipuria’s. These two parties had a lot of Delhi’s who’s who as common guests who drifted from one party to the other laughing, wet and plastered with lovely colours.
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From the pages of

November 26, 1933

Babu Rajendra Prasad

OUR Allahabad correspondent makes out an unanswerable case for the immediate release of Babu Rajendra Prasad. It is quite clear that the new restrictions that have been put on the number of visitors that can see him in hospital are as unnecessary as they are irksome and are bound to retard his recovery. We are told that while on the previous occasion he was in the paying ward and there was no restriction as to visitors, now even his brother can see him only once a week. This restriction, in the case of a person who has always been known as the soul of honour and who never abused the privilege that was accorded to him and scrupulously confined himself to non-political subjects in his conversations with visitors, is, on the face of it, unjustifiable.
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Cowardice is no sign of belief in God.

—Mahatma Gandhi

All castes and garbs are irrelvancies.

—Guru Nanak

Fee ye the presence of the spirit within yourself. And taste the amrit.

—The Upanishads

To be proud of caste of glory in status is futile; for each of us shelters under one and the same Master (i.e. God).

—Guru Nanak

Great is the hero who does not forget his humble origins. Though his forehead be glistening with the anointiments of honour, he does not hesitate to bend it to the dusty feet of his poor father. His father’s blessings are more important to him than than the jeers of his nobly born enemies.

—The Mahabharata

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