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Poetry Changes Nothing

Poetry Changes Nothing GPD What appears at first sight to be an ordinary patriotic poem published in the overseas edition of the People's Daily way end up creating something of a media storm in China.

Politics of Art-Forms

Politics of Art-Forms GPD Art-forms have a politics of their own. To reject tradition altogether or to reject modernity altogether cannot lead our art-forms anywhere. This has been the experience of India and that of the Chinese opera has apparently been similar CHINESE opera is easily the best known among things Chinese after Chinese food and the Great Wall. Not so long ago there was a Chinese opera team visiting India and one of the Delhi newspapers had an Indian specialist in ethno-theatre waxing eloquent over its indisputable qualities in a way as if he were the only one in this land of Ram Bhaktas to have known anything about it. Anyway, for whatever reason, he did talk at great length on what was offered at the Siri Fort auditorium in New Delhi, What was played out there was, one viewer assured us, a typical 'export' version of the famous Beijing Opera. Just the right amount of dancing, singing, dialogue (with its written form being shown on the small screen in front) and, of course, the acrobatics. It was the usual fare, perfect to the last detail and, indeed, enjoyable as long as it lasted, no doubt prompting our 'ethno-theat re- wallahs' to see dreams of all kinds of Indian folk forms and martial arts and what have you bursting out on the international scene, Pune's Theatre Academy's Ghashiram Kotwal had already shown us the way. But obviously that is not enough, because that play does a neat reversal in using the traditional forms, makes them stand on their bead as it were. Beijing Opera, indeed the Chinese opera as a whole, showed us the right way of doing these things. At least the report in the Delhi daily would have us believe that anyway.

International Politics of Culture

International Politics of Culture GPD More than our economy, it is our culture which has been taken over. The recently defunct British literary journal Encounter facilitated this large-scale borrowing of cultural categories.

Year-End Story

Year-End Story GPD 1990 saw the fall not only of a country here or a regime there but also of words which have been with us since the Enlightenment.

People s Power in South Asia

People's Power in South Asia GPD Dictators will be replaced by democrats, the dynasties will be replaced by their cronies and the people of southern Asia will remain where they have always been

Religion on Rampage in South Asia

GPD If India is fast becoming a Hindu state it is because the intellectual heritage of and the movements built by people like Phule and Agarkar have disappeared.

From Surprise to-Suspense

The Americans have this extraordinary knack of turning even a cynical operator into a torch-bearer of anfi-imperialism and people's struggles. Saddam's cynical exercise in getting the Iraqis out on the street shouting anti-Bush slogans is anti-imperialism except that it is of the grotesque kind.

Colonial Legacy Strikes Again

Colonial Legacy Strikes Again THE inevitable has happened. Benazir Bhutto has been most unceremoniously sacked. The timing of the sacking could not have been both more opportune and more inopportune. Inopportune because within a few hours of president Ishaq's decision the Pakistani parliament was due to consider a no-confidence motion against the Bhutto government. Of course, one should not at all be certain that one can in fact talk of a Pakistani parliament in view of the fact that no member of parliament, apart from the PPP members that is, has protested against the usurpation of parliament's powers by the president. A thrice-defeated politician gets nominated to the prime ministership. An elected premier gets the sack. A duly constituted parliament gets dissolved. Not a voice is raised against these things anywhere. Benazir meekly says that the Americans would protest if the army took over, implying clearly that she did not expect the alert defenders of democracy all round the globe to make much noise about the fate of a democratically-elected Asian prime minister. Anyway, there is little doubt that Ishaq Khan could have easily waited for another 72 hours or so for things to take their own course. It would have been extremely difficult for Benazir to win the confidence of parliament which she had won the last time barely by 12 votes. Ishaq Khan who could be so unmindful of democratic proprieties as he indeed has been could have so organised things that the members of parliament could have been made to legitimately do what the presidential decree did later. But, then, in the fundamentalist ethos, considerations for secular propriety obviously do not matter. If the time is inopportune, so be it decided Ghulam Ishaq Khan. 'Ghulams' all over the world recognise only their masters. In case of this 'Ghulam' democracy and the rights of an elected prime minister were not the masters. That settled the issue.

Of Fleeing Chinese

Of Fleeing Chinese GPD The thundering and thumping of tables by the Chinese leaders notwithstanding, Fang Lizhe and his wife have left China. The Americans have forced a decision on the Chinese.

Chicken of Perestroika Coming Home to Roost

who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong". How then is Reagan different from Donald Trump who tramps his way to wealth and fame, lying and laying; or from those financial wizards of Drexel, Burnham, Lambert, Inc who not only lied to the innocent investors who entrusted to them all they had and to the employees who IT was not very long ago that Asian and African students used to find east European universities the most friendly and warm places to go to for higher learning. We remember an Indian student who had studied in Prague and whom we met in West Germany more than a decade ago. He was not particularly enthusiastic about the Czech regime but was all enthusiasm for the university and especially the warm and friendly attitude of the people. The 'socialist' world may or may not have achieved anything spectacular, but it did appear that these societies were relatively free of racist attitudes. The first indication that this might not be so came, of all places, from China. There was a near-riot situation on the campus of the Nanjing University in central-cast China. Fortunately, the CPC intervened, however belatedly, and avoided a repetition of inter-racial tension between African and Chinese students. Nanjing is also known for the China Centre, we believe, of the Johns Hopkins University. In a typical Asian way, there were no problem involving the Americans and the Chinese. There was a problem between African and Chinese students. How very representative of the Asian mind-set! In a way the notion that cast Europe was different was also a myth. There was a famous book of 'short' short stories called The Wonderful Years which came out in 1978 or thereabouts. The more regular readers of this column will recall that we had written about that book and translated a short story when Rainer Kunze, the author, was expelled from the GDR. In that book there is a story which describes how a teacher asked his class who Angela Davies was. Somebody at the back of the classroom shouted that she was a nigger! It would seem that Rainer Kunze in his Die Wunderbaren Jahre was putting his finger on the problem in the GDR, the problem of the undercurrent of racism, which is the dominant feature of the European situation as a whole. The perestroika that the new leaders^ have introduced in the German Democratic Republic seems to involve a reconstruction of the were sacked without compensation. At a time when president Havel was telling them that the salvation of the human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and in human responsibility, these personages have abdicated all the elementary values. Greed, unvarnished greed, overpowered them all

Oh, These Communists

'Oh, These Communists!' A giant of a leader of the Indian proletariat, no history of the Indian people would be complete without a place for BTR in it.

Not a Nationality Question

Not a Nationality Question The problem in Punjab and Kashmir is not a nationality problem. A retrograde religious consciousness cannot and should not be confused with nationality consciousness.


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