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Calcutta Diary

Having preached for so long the mantra of Kashmir being an integral and inalienable part of India and international meddling in the matter was not on, to agree to the American proposal is going to be a bitter pill to swallow. It might well have serious electoral implications in view of the BJP's dismal performance in the recent series of elections.

Calcutta Diary

Immigration of ordinary labour from the poor to rich countries fouls up the ethnic mix; but some kinds of immigrants, scientists, and such others even of poor countries are allowed in. James Tobin has suggested the payment of a tax to the poor country for every such person. If the principle is conceded, why not then concede the legitimacy of the demand for the liberal movement of all labour from the poor to rich countries?

Calcutta Diary

It is not any extraordinary development that the US government has of late decided to go public with its choice of heads of states and prime ministers of countries located in different continents. The Palestinians have been told in no uncertain terms that, no fooling, should they want a state of their own, they must ditch Yasser Arafat as their leader and choose one more to the liking of the United States.

Calcutta Diary

A nation, a substantial section of whom holds in great deference Puranic tracts, will be easily enchanted with mythology, any mythology, even that of a small-time defence bureaucrat suddenly catapulting to the status of a saint with the beatific smile. It does not matter if we have zeroed in on a Don Quixote or a Sancho Panza; he is the National Consensus, spelled in capital letters.

Calcutta Diary

Between the two World Wars, literature buffs were wont to spend an enormous amount of energy and talent to discuss the pros and cons of art for art's sake in creative pursuits. We appear to have run into a similar situation with the controversy on the role of foreign exchange holdings in accelerating national development. A theology is threatening to take over: foreign exchange holdings are for the sake of holding foreign exchange and we better desist from exploring other facades of the phenomenon.

Calcutta Diary

Where war hysteria is concerned, a military dictatorship and a competitive democracy are equally advantaged or disadvantaged. It is the my-patriotism-is-superior-to-yours syndrome on both sides of the divide.

Calcutta Diary

To name the airport at Port Blair in the Andaman Islands after V D Savarkar, at least some people would conclude, is a deliberate affront to India's war of independence. But, please, hold your horses, there is little scope for any sense of outrage. Was not 'Roshomon' a much hailed film, and accepted as a trendsetter? The same datum, the datum of a murder, is interpreted in several ways, and you are welcome to take your pick: all that is needed is cultivation of an appropriately cynical frame of mind; things will then fall in their respective places.

Calcutta Diary

The parallel with the likes of Silvio Berlusconi is breathtaking: non-Christians, according to the Berlusconis, do not belong to civilisation; the non-Hindus, according to the 'parivar' and its cohorts, are no part of civilisation. In both instances, the uncivilised ones qualify for liquidation. The domestic cognoscenti, however, are one-eyed Jacks. To all appearances they have their hearts in the right place; they have protested against the atrocities perpetrated and being perpetrated in Gujarat. But Gujarat has blotted out Palestine; it has blotted out Venezuela as well.

Calcutta Diary

We cannot both applaud the defence minister's wish to get friendly with the Chinese and at the same time join the Nepal government forces to suppress the Maoists there. Either the defence minister should go back on his revisionism or he must cajole his prime minister to desist from lending active support to the Nepal government for liquidating home-bred Maoists over there.

Calcutta Diary

Let us be honest, the Gujarat citizens are being honest to the Gandhi legacy, just as the BJP and its 'parivar' have drawn conclusions which are to their own advantage from the examples set by the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Who can deny that it is 'karma' at work? We will be a divided nation and the polity will head towards total collapse because our founding fathers, and the political party which claims monopoly rights of the nation's freedom struggle, wrote a Hindu script for the nation.

Calcutta Diary

Civilisation obviously has many facets. Even as the two self-appointed leaders of Christian West are embarked on their killing spree, the law of dialectics too has set at work. Dissent and protests are overrunning Europe, the Americas, Australia and considerable segments of Asia. Even the snooty Oscar awards ceremony has been spoiled. But Indians as a people are made of different stuff. They live for cricket, and they die for cricket. The rest of the world marched against war and for peace; Indians glued their eyes to television sets. The architects of destiny did some clever conspiring, India was mercilessly cut down in the final encounter. Perhaps that was humanity's revenge.

Calcutta Diary

The democratic pretensions of the polity lie in ruins. Nobody minds the Constitution any more. Why be unhappy though? The holy task of demolition of the Constitution started quite some time ago. Several instances of the perpetration of grave constitutional improprieties can be quoted from contemporary annals and from other spheres.

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