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Calcutta Diary

The poll results are a slap in the face of the conspirators who thought they could walk away with the country. A great disorder awaits India. Is that not a lovely prospect?

Calcutta Diary

Between the Congress and the BJP there is really not much of a variation in the theme. Scarcely anything distinguishes, in terms of class lineage, leaders of the one lot from those of the other. The convergence of interests between the two parties is an unending affair. They share identical views on economic policy. It is all very gentlemanly. It is only those anxious to stress a sharp ideological cleavage between the two principal political parties who are having a trying time.

Calcutta Diary

Forget Kargil, forget even Jammu and Baramula. The menace of militancy so-described is casting a shadow over the entire north-east, Assam not ecluding. Assigning the credit for the disturbed state of affairs to over-activism on the part of Pakistan's ISI is laziness par excellence: the real danger lies in the possibility that we might actually come to half-believe some of the fictions we make up.

Calcutta Diary

Have your choice. Treat this as a status report; alternatively, as the point of exit. IT all depends on which turf you choose for yourself. The chief election commissioner can be invested with accolade for being the Great Saviour, engaged in a last- ditch effort to salvage whatever remains of parliamentary democracy in the country. Or he may, with legitimacy, be regarded as a top secret agent working on behalf of, first, the Liberation Tigers of "Runil Eelam, and second, all who would like to make a comprehensive bonfire of the Indian republic The rest of the country can have elections, Tamil Nadu does not quite belong; if Christ stopped at Eboli, the ambit of the Representation of the People's Act, the nation is being confidentially informed, is assumed to stop at about where North Arcot perhaps begins. There is of course scope for differing with this formulation. When the chips are down, every Tamil citizen, it could be maintained, will turn into a desiccated calculating machine; the external economies of being a part of the great spoils system which is India are not to be scoffed at. Does not such an argument however sound excessively elitist? Has not the romantic imagination spawned by Gemini Studios succeeded in convincing the faithful masses to steer clear of self- serving pragmatism? The millions enchained by this imagination might behave much like the young men and women in the north-cast are currently behaving. Or like the young men and women

Calcutta Diary

AM Others abide the question, the Punjab director-general of police is free. The Punjab chief minister is equally free. This freedom the chief minister has now decided to extend to the fiscal arena: Punjab, he has declared, will not pay back a penny of its accumulated debt to the centre. The Punjab chief minister is not fooling. He is speaking from a position of enormous strength.

Calcutta Diary

AM Poor P C Mahalanobis. The Professor, whose centenary is currently being celebrated with much demureness, had lost his way. He read his people wrong and constructed an autarkic model which made no reference to the foreign sector. It was therefore bound to come a cropper. It duly did There was, for some subsequent time, much confusion, but all is well that ends well, we now belong, inalienably, to an international economic system. How does it matter if we are one hundred thirty-fourth in a class of one hundred seventy-three?

Calcutta Diary

AM The Arabs, after Ayodhya, hate us, we therefore hate the Arabs and cross over to the Israelis. The latter however go calling on the Bharatiya Janata Party The Israelis have declared their abhorrence of terrorism and fundamentalism and endorsed all the way our stand on Kashmir; but you never know, they may go even further and endorse the BJP proposition on Article 370 too.

Calcutta Diary

These are obviously revolutionary times. Connotations of corruption and moral turpitude are undergoing a swift sea-change. The fervid debate in the Lok Sabha on the motion of impeachment of the judge adorning the nation's highest judiciary, who has given a new interpretation to the concept of carpet-bagging, bears this out.

Calcutta Diary

AM The Bengalis in West Bengal cannot quite envisage what the future holds for them; they have also lost the confidence to proffer that they will build their own future. They, therefore, either take recourse to exercises in nostalgia, such as were witnessed a couple of years ago centring around the tricentenary celebrations of Job Charnock's Calcutta, or indulge in frivolities such as over the Bengali calendar entering a new century or West Bengal being given a new name. All such indulgences are escapes from reality.

Calcutta Diary

AM The plight overtaking Tomco and Godrej Soaps heralds the first steps in the country's march toward a comprador future. Other facets of globalisation will also, by and by, reveal themselves

Calcutta Diary

AM Partial or segmented globalisation is a contradiction in terms and to denigrate the foreign hand is to go against the ethos of liberalisation. Foreign hands provide us with our daily grub; they jolly well will provide us with our daily detonators. Where does the nation go from here?

Calcutta Diary

AM Deny the common people their basic food, export rice, earn foreign exchange for purchasing from western countries double- door refrigerators, colour television sets and computers in c k d condition. The poor would die even as the affluent settle down to enjoy their high living. At that stage the finance minister might even interject: the poor need not die, they should wrap their hunger with jamdani saris.

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