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Editorials | Article | Middle | Oped | Reflections

EDITORIALS

Isle of terror
LTTE back to its violent ways
M
onday’s assassination of a top Sri Lankan General by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is confirmation, if it were needed, that the separatist rebels are determined to revive military confrontation. 

Poll sops
End of octroi was long overdue
N
o tears are going to be shed at the much-delayed burial of octroi in Punjab. This ancient tax had become a source of corruption and harassment of traders. Not only that, it led to the slowing down of smooth movement of goods.



EARLIER STORIES
Planned, not sporadic
June 27, 2006
Secrets on sale
June 26, 2006
Bane of reservations
June 25, 2006
Fatal debts
June 24, 2006
Belated wisdom
June 23, 2006
Courage under fire
June 22, 2006
Nathu La calling
June 21, 2006
“Aaj ka MLA”
June 20, 2006
Maoists in the mainstream
June 19, 2006
Reform school education
June 18, 2006


Mark down
CBSE’s marking system has gone haywire
A
NITA got 100 per cent marks for mathematics in the CBSE +2 examination, while scoring an aggregate of over 90 per cent. Yet, she did not get admission to the B.Sc. mathematics course in the college she wanted.

ARTICLE

The larger vision
Use Sardar Sarovar money to help oustees
by B.G. Verghese
T
he Sardar Sarovar dam is a reality. The Supreme Court will on July10 hear from the Prime Minister the findings of the NSS-assisted Shunglu committee on the progress of R&R in the 111-112 metre reach currently under construction.

MIDDLE

Addressing relationships
by M.G. Kapahy
I
n English there are only eight clear-cut and unambiguous modes of addressing relationships — father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband and wife. A grandmother may be one’s mother’s mother or father’s mother. Though distinction is made by introducing cumbersome words maternal and paternal but there is nothing like easily pronounceable words nani and dadi.

OPED

JP’s Kashmir policy
He was ethical and humanitarian in approach
by Balraj Puri
O
ut of all leading personalities of the country, Jayaprakash Narayan paid maximum attention to the Kashmir problem. As the tallest Indian, next perhaps only to Jawaharlal Nehru, and as a most authentic Gandhian, every word spoken and written by him was noticed, influenced public opinion, shook the conscience of the people or provoked angry reactions. But his voice could not be ignored.

Make wheat an essential commodity
by J. George
T
he wheat import controversy is an unnecessary evil that has been created by a few unscrupulous elements hell bent upon reaping speculative gains. The wheat import game plan is simple and based on the developed countries prescriptions on competition theory.

Entering a golden age of philanthropy
by Rupert Cornwell
A
merica has had many legendary philanthropists like Andrew Carnegie, but they have been eclipsed by the man whose knack for spotting a good investment has made him the second richest individual in the world.


Editorial cartoon by Rajinder Puri


From the pages of

 
 REFLECTIONS

 

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Isle of terror
LTTE back to its violent ways

Monday’s assassination of a top Sri Lankan General by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is confirmation, if it were needed, that the separatist rebels are determined to revive military confrontation. For all the talk about peace, it should be now evident that no matter how much the Government of Sri Lanka under President Mahinda Rajapakse bends, the Tamil Tigers are not interested in a negotiated resolution of the Tamil-Sinhala conflict. They are set on a course of unrelenting violence, on which they may persist to sharpen the ethnic polarisation and provoke a war. It may be time for the international community, especially, peace-broker Norway, to take off the blinkers and see the Tigers in their true stripes.

In spite, or because, of presumptions that after his election President Rajapakse would not sue for peace, he has been demonstrably making every effort to pick up the threads of the process which broke down three years ago. Most demands of the LTTE, including some unreasonable ones, were conceded in the interest of getting them to the negotiating table. When the two parties did arrive at the venue of the LTTE’s choice — Oslo — the rebels refused to turn up for talks. Soon after their return from Norway, they went on another killing spree, thus justifying the European Union’s much-delayed proscription of the LTTE as a terrorist outfit. Then they wanted the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission to be purged of Scandinavian countries that belonged to the EU. That would leave Norway alone as a major presence.

Instead of seeing and treating the LTTE for what it is — a terrorist, militarist outfit — after every armed attack by the LTTE, there is an appeal to “both sides” to desist from violence. This equating of the Sri Lankan state and government with the LTTE has gone on for too long and is skillfully exploited by the Tigers, who have now responded to President Rajapakse’s offer of a two-week ceasefire by killing Major-General Parami Kulatunga. Over 700 have died in violence this year, and that includes two other Major-Generals who were killed. Then, two months ago, there was the aborted attempt on the Army Chief Sarath Fonseka. It is time the international community, especially Norway, isolated the LTTE as the terrorist organisation deserves to be and threw its full weight behind the elected government. 

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Poll sops
End of octroi was long overdue

No tears are going to be shed at the much-delayed burial of octroi in Punjab. This ancient tax had become a source of corruption and harassment of traders. Not only that, it led to the slowing down of smooth movement of goods.

It had become all the more untenable after the introduction of value added tax. The Finance Department wanted it to be replaced by a local area development tax. But the Cabinet has said no to the proposal. Instead, the municipal bodies are going to be compensated for the financial loss by setting aside a part of the collections made from VAT into a municipal development fund. With the decision, 500-odd octroi posts will become redundant fulfilling a long-standing demand of traders. The persons manning these have nothing to worry, because the government has announced that there will be no retrenchment and they will be deployed in the excise and taxation department.

Ending octroi was one of the election promises of the Congress party. Fulfilling it when the new elections are round the corner is an apparent sop to win over the voters. But the move has come far too late to be able to really sway the voters, who have become pretty clever in such matters. The government has made things all the more difficult for itself by deciding to implement the decision not with immediate effect but only from September.

This is not the only voter-friendly decision to be taken. The Council of Ministers has approved exemption of state taxes on increased prices of petrol and diesel. That will cut down their prices by 93 and 21 paise, respectively. It has also announced abolition of water and sewerage charges and arrears for owners of houses of five marla and less in municipal towns. By the Chief Minister’s own admission, he has given away Rs 700 crore of relief. How much “relief” the voters provide to his party in return will be known when they trek to the polling booths in a few months. 

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Mark down
CBSE’s marking system has gone haywire

ANITA got 100 per cent marks for mathematics in the CBSE +2 examination, while scoring an aggregate of over 90 per cent. Yet, she did not get admission to the B.Sc. mathematics course in the college she wanted. The college authorities could not be blamed as there were more candidates with 100 marks in mathematics than they could admit. Anita has two options: abandon her ambition to study mathematics in the college of her choice or take admission in an upcountry college where admission is possible. Hers is not a solitary case. In Delhi University, there is no guarantee that 90 per cent marks will fetch admission to a college in the north campus.

This peculiar problem has arisen primarily because of the liberal marking system the CBSE has been following for the last few years. Question papers have been set in such a way that a student who has “practiced” such papers well could score 100 per cent. Whoever had thought of students getting 100 per cent marks in English and social studies? This year many have accomplished this feat much to the shock of their parents in whose time 70 per cent marks for these subjects was considered an achievement. If anything, this suggests that the high-scorers have mastered the art of answering objective-type questions. In other words, marks may not denote brilliance. The examination system has been contrived so much that many of those who score well are unable to articulate their thoughts in a precise and concise manner.

The liberal marking by the CBSE has created other practical problems as highlighted by a report in this paper. As against hundreds of CBSE students from Chandigarh and nearby areas who have scored over 90 per cent, there are only four students who have scored similar marks in the Punjab board examination. As a result, seats in the colleges in Chandigarh would be filled only with the CBSE students. This anomalous situation could have been averted if all such boards follow a similar kind of examination as the CBSE does. Even so, problems of students like Anita, who can’t study mathematics despite getting 100 per cent marks in the subject, will remain. Educationists need to pool their ideas to sort out such problems which do not show the examination system in a good light.

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Thought for the day

Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them. — Brendan Francis

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The larger vision
Use Sardar Sarovar money to help oustees
by B.G. Verghese

The Sardar Sarovar dam is a reality. The Supreme Court will on July10 hear from the Prime Minister the findings of the NSS-assisted Shunglu committee on the progress of R&R in the 111-112 metre reach currently under construction.

It is likely that the dam wall will not rise above 119 metre this season. Thereafter, it will take three years to complete concreting, erect the gates and lay a bridge over it. Meanwhile, the last turbine should be synchronised by the end of July to complete installation of the full 1450 MW capacity in the riverbed and canal-head power houses.

The Project authorities expect that 11 of the 33 branches and their distributaries and minors down to the Village Service Area level will be fully operational in time for rabi irrigation in October 2007. This is encouraging. But the 1100 or so of the 3300 planned water user associations reportedly established thus far will need to be activated and properly organised and the remainder brought into being to ensure farm-gate preparedness.

The SSP’s water supply and sanitation component represents a huge welfare programme that aims to supply drinking water to some 9000 villages and 130 towns, with a rural water supply allowance of 70 litres per capita per day for both human and livestock consumption. Since constructing the Narmada dam to its full height has been an all-consuming priority, perhaps understandably so in the given circumstances, the canal water supply delivery system to Saurashtra and Kutch has been changed to a Narmada pipeline project.

However, this should not displace or replace the harnessing and utilisation of local water resources through rainwater and rooftop harvesting, ponds and small check dams. A hybrid system could add to a sense of ownership and participation and would augment Narmada supplies and lower overall costs and thereby promote greater equity. A proper pricing policy, metering, maintenance and other systems will also have to be operationalised.

The water supply programme can make a tremendous contribution to health, welfare and gender justice and change the life of the girl child in particular within the overall transformation that the SSP promises. Laxman Bhai, a Bhil, was resettled in Gola Gamadi in Dabhoi district when his village, Vadgam, in Gujarat went under water. Earlier he, his brothers and major sons, making up a total of nine persons eligible for compensation, used to farm 3.5 acres against which they now own 45 acres. Each has five acres (2 ha) together with a 500 sq yard homestead plot. They are no longer subsistence farmers, having to migrate and look for work during bad seasons, but have a surplus to market. Life is better with electricity, water, schooling, health facilities, bus services and so on.

Laxman Bhai’s 15-year old daughter, Jyotibehn, reads in Class 8 in the Gola Gamadi school. She dreams of pursuing further studies like other youth in the village who now go out to improve their prospects. Her mother and other women in the family would spend between 90 minutes and two hours daily to fetch water at Vadgam. That time is now saved. Farm residues provide fodder and fuel can be purchased. The girl child need no more grow old walking like a drudge day after day through the years to fetch water, fuel and fodder.

However, it is not enough to compensate the PAFs, howsoever handsomely. The population in the larger project influence area must also have a stake and sense of ownership in the project. This is where R&R, catchment area treatment in the case of dams, and official poverty alleviation programmes under a large variety of headings can be brought together to ensure comprehensive area development in keeping with stated national goals and priorities.

A generous compensation package has been handed out to PAFs above the dam. But should life for the remaining Bhil population in the SSP catchment continue to be as difficult as it has been for the past hundreds of years? A small betterment levy on the beneficiaries of irrigation, industry and power below the dam could fund the social and economic development of this deprived community. In the Upper Volta Project in Ghana, a small percentage of the Project’s earnings from electricity and other heads is annually returned to a community development fund for the project affected area. Could a small part of the electricity generated at the SSP canal-head and riverbed power stations also be earmarked for the upper catchment?

Again, there are numbers of tribals in the SSP command over and beyond the PAFs resettled therein. Are these simple people, some of whom have hitherto practiced subsistence agriculture, equipped to maximise their gains from the new opportunities for irrigated agriculture now open to them? They may need special extension, credit and other on-farm and post-harvest support services to speed them on their way.

Education is the key to empowerment, dignity and development. Once the Narmada dam is complete, much of the construction colony at Kevadia could be converted into a Sardar Sarovar Bhil Academy for the education and training of tribal and non-tribal youth at the tri-junction of the tribal belt that runs through Gujarat, Maharashtra and Western Madhya Pradesh. A Kevadia Tribal University — possibly named after Thakkar Bapa or some other great visionary or Bhil hero — would be a fitting legacy of the Sardar Sarovar Project.

The Sardar Sarovar dam is only the triggering mechanism to realise the larger vision of a New Gujarat. This is the greater promise beyond the dam.

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Addressing relationships
by M.G. Kapahy

In English there are only eight clear-cut and unambiguous modes of addressing relationships — father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband and wife. A grandmother may be one’s mother’s mother or father’s mother. Though distinction is made by introducing cumbersome words maternal and paternal but there is nothing like easily pronounceable words nani and dadi.

Also, an uncle may be one’s father’s brother —younger or elder, brother’s brother, mother’s sister’s husband or father’s sister’s husband.

In Hindi and Punjabi there are clear-cut words for these relationships Chacha, taya, mama, Mausa (masad) and phoopha or phuphad. There are equivalent words for their wives: chachi, tai, mami, mausi and phoophi or bhua. All these relations have Ji attached to them as chachaji and taiji. But in cities and towns the trend now is to replace “a” with “u”. In that case no Ji is required as chachu, tau, mamu, mausu, dadu and nanu. Phoophu is generally not used due to its queer pronunciation.

Other relationships are formed by adding in-law to the first six relations. Thank God there are no relations as wife-in-law or husband-in-law. No “law” in human relations implies legal implications which nobody likes. This apart, the relationship so obtained are again ambiguous. For example, brother-in-law may be a man’s wife’s brother, a woman’s husband’s brother — younger or elder, her husband’s sister’s husband and a man’s wife’s sister’s husband for which there are straight forward Hindi and Punjabi words sala, devar, jaith, behanoi, saddhu. Interestingly, the saddhu in Urdu is called hum-zulf which means sharer of locks (of the two sisters). What a romantic relationship!

Their corresponding words in women are sali, devrani, jaithani and nanad. We even have the relations in the second or third generation like chachia sasur, mamia saas and dadia sasur.

The difference in addressing relationship is due to difference in family ties, which in the West are not as strong as in India. In India relations generally attend marriages and other functions of one another. This is more so in the case of ceremonies connected with deaths like chautha and uthala. In the west a member of one generation may address the members of a senior generations as Mr & Mrs so and so which is a taboo in India.

The relations devar-bhabhi and jeeja-sali have a special significance as they have a slightly amorous tinge which is especially exhibited in marriages and festivals like Holi and within limits it is enjoyed by all, including the spouses of the two persons.

Then we have what can be called “floating” relations of neighbours, acquaintances, persons in parks and buses. They are uncle, better uncleji and aunty and auntyji. They are used irrespective of the difference of age. However, if a younger boy or girl addresses an old person uncleji or auntyji the latter feels young and pleased. The opposite is the case when a person of your age or elder to you addresses you as such. In neighbourhood we use terms like ‘teen number wali aunti’, ‘sardaron wala bada uncle’, ‘smiling aunty’ and so on to pinpoint them.

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JP’s Kashmir policy
He was ethical and humanitarian in approach
by Balraj Puri

Out of all leading personalities of the country, Jayaprakash Narayan paid maximum attention to the Kashmir problem. As the tallest Indian, next perhaps only to Jawaharlal Nehru, and as a most authentic Gandhian, every word spoken and written by him was noticed, influenced public opinion, shook the conscience of the people or provoked angry reactions. But his voice could not be ignored.

After Nehru’s estrangement with Kashmir’s most popular leader Sheikh Abdullah in 1953, JP remained a major emotional link between the people of Kashmir and those in the rest of India. JP first visited the state in 1946 to lend his support to the Quit Kashmir movement launched by the National Conference. He addressed a public meeting at R.S. Pura, a town on Jammu-Sialkote railway-road link.

The Congress, though formally committed to support the movement for responsible government in princely states, did not approve of any demand for the end of the princely system altogether which the Quit Kashmir slogan implied.

Jawaharlal Nehru, tried to reconcile the Congress stand and the objective of the Quit Kashmir movement by saying that it was not addressed to the person of the Maharaja but to the system and hence amounted to no more than the responsible government. In any case, the Quit Kashmir movement did not challenge the basic spirit of the Congress stand and at the most could have exceeded it, according to him.

JP wanted the complete end of the monarchical system. He took strong exception to Sheikh Abdullah’s campaign in favour of the Congress in the first general election in 1952. In a telegramme to Abdullah, he advised him “to desist from identifying with a single party” and warned him that he would “be doing incalculable harm to Kashmir.”

He opposed the agitation launched by the Jammu Praja Parishad, supported by Bharatiya Jana Sangh, for abrogation of Article 370 of the constitution and special status of the state within Indian union.

But his opposition to the Jan Sangh did not prevent him from criticizing the Abdullah Government for its “criminal negligence” in treating a leader of the stature of Dr. Shyamaprassad Mukherjee, who died in a Kashmir jail. Sheikh Abdullah retorted angrily and described him as a Hindu leader who “has no right to interfere in the affairs of our state.”

The relations between the two leaders were thus strained in 1953. But JP was one of the few national leaders who condemned the arrest of Sheikh Abdullah in August 1953, unreservedly. He criticized the Government of India for arresting him without a trial.

From 1953 up to 1977 he continued his campaign for a settlement of the Kashmir issue through negotiations between the Government of India and Sheikh Abdullah, as also with Pakistan. During this period he was condemned by Indian chauvinists as a traitor and many of his public meetings were sought to be disturbed with slogans like “Hang JP the traitor.”

JP wanted India to honour her commitment regarding deciding the fate of Kashmir according to the wishes of the people.In 1965, after infiltration of Pakistani guerillas into Kashmir and the Indo-Pakistan war that followed, JP modified his political stand on Kashmir. By attempting to annex Kashmir by force, JP said, Pakistan had lost its position as a party to the Kashmir dispute. But he still acknowledged the right of the people of Kashmir to decide their future within the framework of the Indian Union.

In 1968, Sheikh Abdullah invited him to inaugurate what was called the Jammu and Kashmir State People’s Convention. He bluntly told a big audience in Hazoori Bagh, Srinagar, that even if he were the Prime Minister of India he would not be able to get Kashmir secede from India. The only solution possible for the State was to seek appropriate status for it within the framework of the Indian Union. The Sheikh retorted sharply and questioned his Gandhian bona fides. For according to him he had deviated from his stand that the people alone were masters of their fate and could take any decision including a decision to secede from India.

Throughout this period, JP continued these efforts for a dialogue between Sheikh Abdullah and the Government of India. In 1964 he had blessed the idea of a confederation between India, Pakistan and Kashmir. It was this proposal that Sheikh Abdullah and his colleagues took along with them when they went to Pakistan in 1964 to discuss it with Pakistan’s leaders. General Ayub Khan, the then President of Pakistan, dismissed these proposals straightaway.

In the final phase of the parleys in 1975 between the Sheikh and the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, JP was not associated on account of his own confrontation with the Government of India. The talks were more or less on the lines JP had advocated. He was, therefore, first to extend wholehearted support to the accord which was arrived at between them.

JP’s main contribution lies in winning back the people of Kashmir for India who had been alienated and offended by the actions of the Governments in state and at the centre after 1953. Whatever be the modifications in the political philosophy of JP from time to time, it was basically ethical and humanitarian, on account of which he endeared himself with the people of Kashmir.

It is important to note that while supporting Kashmiri aspirations, JP was not oblivious of or indifferent to the aspirations of the people of Jammu. In a seminar on the Kashmir Problem which he convened at Delhi in 1966, he lent his unequivocal support to the idea of regional autonomy so that the apprehensions of the people of the Jammu were allayed.

Above all, JP had demonstrated that national interest, democracy and morality are not mutually contradictory. That the Kashmir problem revived in a violent form in 1990 was mainly due to the undemocratic and immoral policy of the Government of India in the eighties. And in finding a solution, JP’s approach may still be relevant. The writer is Director, Institute of Jammu and Kashmir affairs, Jammu

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Make wheat an essential commodity
by J. George

The wheat import controversy is an unnecessary evil that has been created by a few unscrupulous elements hell bent upon reaping speculative gains. The wheat import game plan is simple and based on the developed countries prescriptions on competition theory.

An executive order GSR 104(E) dated 15.02.2002 under the Essential Commodities Act 1955 was made applicable. At the same time all delegated powers to the state governments to make food security meaningful and operational were withdrawn.

The 15th February 2002 order was revised vide GSR 490(E) dated 16 June 2003. Five significant issues in this revised order must be highlighted. First, the power to order rice procurement was restored to the states concerned. Secondly, the definition of “dealers” was further expanded to include exporters as well as importers of food products. Thirdly, ‘sugar’ as a commodity was kept out of the 15th February 2002 order. This effectively meant that Rice and Sugar continued to be essential commodities while wheat was not.

Fourthly, the free and level playing field was made unfair and uneven for the public agencies by the ABUSED & DITCH order dated 15th February 2002. The expansion is as follows: A-acquire, B-buy, U-use, S-sell, E-exporter, D-dispose; and D-distribute, I-importer, T-transport, C-consume and H-hire godown for storage purposes. Fifth, no market fees or any other charges are payable by the private dealers procuring wheat directly from the farmers.

The refrain, ever since the wheat import saga unfurled itself, has been the need for a competitive wheat market. The private and MNC traders were expected to be the key triggers to usher in this competitive environment. Did they succeed in their goal? No matter which perspective one takes the leadership role of the Food Corporation of India has been reduced to that of a laggard in this ‘wheat saga’.

ABUSED & DITCH are the passwords for a free and fair wheat trade. The moot point here is how the private traders financed the entire operation of procuring about 60 lakh tonnes wheat against the huge (162 lakh tonnes) buffer stock requirement of the public agency. The public domain has been fed with the fact that grain storage capacity is utterly inadequate both in public and private players.

In comparison to the buffer stock requirement, the meagre procurement of wheat by the public agencies is a direct consequence of the flawed food management policy and ABUSED executive order issues in “public interest”.

What can be done to redeem the wheat market? A few immediate steps are required. The ABUSED order needs immediate amendment and wheat must be brought back as the essential commodity. The financing and storage practices adopted by the private and MNC-appointed dealers must be probed for adopting anti-competitive practices.

The state agencies need to be given more space to maintain their leadership position in the wheat market. Forward trading using the ‘warehouse receipts’ has been reported to be the new instrument being used by the private operators. The private traders, to keep the public agencies out of the futures commodity market, have mounted a strong campaign. This smear crusade is not to be permitted. The public agencies must be well equipped with the nuances of the futures commodity market.

Prof. J. George is Chair, Faculty of Economics and Development Planning, HIPA, Gurgaon. Views and analyses are personal

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Entering a golden age of philanthropy
by Rupert Cornwell

America has had many legendary philanthropists like Andrew Carnegie, but they have been eclipsed by the man whose knack for spotting a good investment has made him the second richest individual in the world.

Warren Buffet has decided to make over roughly two-thirds of his fortune to the charitable foundation administered by the one man on earth richer than he – Bill Gates.

Until now the assets of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation totalled $30 billion. That figure will now double. Bill Gates, the Microsoft chairman who last week announced that from 2008 he would move to a part-time role with his company to devote his energies to philanthropy, will preside with his wife over an entity that has the potential to be the world’s single most powerful force for improving health and education.

Its assets of $60 billion are six times larger than the total annual budget of the United Nations, and will rival the gross national product of Algeria.

By way of comparison, the annual budget of UNESCO, the educational, cultural and scientific arm of the United Nations, is just $610 million.

For social, historical and economic reasons, charity plays a role in the US unmatched anywhere else. According to an authoritative study, Americans last year made total charitable contributions of $260 billion. That represents 2.5 per cent of the entire US GDP. And so it has long been.

Secular Europe, with its traditions of social democracy and higher taxation, looks to what Americans disdainfully refer to as Big Government to redistribute wealth and look to the basic needs of the less fortunate.

The US, with its religious convictions, its ingrained suspicion of government intervention and its help-thy-neighbour ethos, could hardly be more different.

Live there only a short while, and you realise the importance of community, represented by interest groups devoted to furthering or protecting a specific cause. Schools, churches, organisations of every hue, advertise themselves as “communities”. Should you join them, whether as congregation member, class parent or even newly arrived resident on your street, you are expected to contribute.

Even so, Warren Buffett’s gift suggests we may be entering another golden age of philanthropy. Carnegie lived in an age of rampant, unregulated capitalism. The accumulation of wealth was Darwinian, he believed, a mechanism of natural selection operated by the forces of competition. But great fortunes carried great responsibilities: the rich had both a moral and a practical obligation to use their wealth to improve the general lot.

But self-interest applied as well; better to keep government at bay by giving voluntarily than invite radical reform, even social upheaval that might destroy the very system that made you wealthy in the first place. For Carnegie, it was a matter of providing “ladders upon which the aspiring can rise”. The divide between rich and poor is increasing, and social mobility decreasing, not least because of tax cuts mainly benefiting the already wealthy.

Implicit in the philanthropy of Gates and Buffett is the awareness that a globally connected world in which opportunity is so unfairly divided between the rich and the poor is a cauldron waiting to explode. It is a world too, they believe, whose ills are much more likely to be tackled if private-sector initiative works alongside well-meaning, but inevitably cumbersome international institutions.

— By arrangement with The Independent

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From the pages of

February 18, 1961

Ayub’s jaundiced vision

President Ayub Khan of Pakistan who, at one time, expressed a sincere desire to work for improving Indo-Pak relations, has developed a queer mentality. He always tries to have a dig at India. Immediately after the Nehru-Ayub confabulations, he made a wanton attack on India while making a speech in Azad Kashmir, and that provocative utterance was responsible for nullifying the good effect produced by the meeting between him and the Indian Prime Minister a few days earlier. A person in his position must be remained of the state of terrorism in which the minorities are living in Pakistan, particularly in its eastern part. They have no political rights, they are considered second class citizens and if they dare criticise the Authority they are dubbed as traitors. He must first set an example of religious tolerance and justice in Pakistan before he can speak on the treatment of the minorities in India.

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The path of knowledge is very difficult but being impartial towards all helps one on this path. It means not having any loved ones or any hated ones. Everyone must be treated equally irrespective of relationships. Sages spend life times searching for this balance.
—The Bhagavadgita


When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murders and for a time they seen invincible, but in the end, they always think of it, always.
—Mahatma Gandhi


If you must have a tangible symbol of the vast immanate, look to Om.
— The Upanishadas

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