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Frying New Rice for a Change

Frying New Rice for a Change? The eighth round of talks between India and China has taken a few faltering steps forward in working out a bilateral framework for relations between the two countries. The leader of the Chinese delegation described the Chinese mood rather vividly by citing a Chinese proverb that people tended to fry old rice again and again. He said he did not believe in that practice.

Thinking Like a World Power

Thinking Like a World Power The section of Zhao Ziyang's political report to the Thirteenth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party dealing with the international situation makes it clear that after a long time China is a world power and thinks like one. No longer are China's international concerns dominated by the Soviet Union or the situation in the Indochinese peninsula.

All Clear on the Western Front

All Clear on the Western Front GPD Rajiv Gandhi has taken India a good deal closer to Washington than it ever has been. He made the detour to Washington on his way back from the Commonwealth summit just to make the point that the ball is now in America's court. If Reagan plays the game according to the rules, he will not find Rajiv Gandhi wanting as a partner.

The Garlic War

The Garlic War GPD The peasants of Shandong province registered their protest about the official mismanagement in marketing the bumper crop of garlic rather pungently. They hurled baskets of the produce at the municipal officers. This has triggered off a major debate in China on how to handle 'contradictions among people'.

Life and Death of (Don) Pixote

Life and Death of (Don) Pixote GPD Fernando, an out-of-work Brazilian actor, died in a bitter gang- fight this August Picked up from the streets when he was barely eight, Fernando had shot to fame in a film which portrayed the grim reality of urban poverty which turns street urchins into hardened criminals, but found that life mimics art. His life and death are a commentary on the cruelty and callousness of cultural life in the third world.

Not-so-Bright Prospects

Not-so-Bright Prospects GPD THE Philippine president, Corazon Aquino, was fairly close to losing her power and life on August 28. The devout christian turned politician Aquino made history of a kind 18 months ago when, with the help of a section of the Philippine army, she managed to bring about the overthrow of the Marcos' regime in the Philippines. Marcos would not have normally respected any electoral decision going against him. Aquino would still not have made it to the presidential palace on the basis of a considerable public support and vote. What was no less important in the process was the willingness on the part of at least a section of the armed forces to go against Marcos and throw its weight behind Aquino.

Limits to Optimism

Limits to Optimism GPD The Rajiv Gandhi-Jayewardene accord is a good thing to have happened. Only, there are as many reasons to believe that the accord will not work as there are for hoping that it will. It will require the highest degree of diplomatic skills and patience to prevent the accord from collapsing.

There Is a Border Dispute with China

gunpowder. The national groups the British had slapped together into subservience took some while to shake off the trauma caused by the imperial departure and the replacement of masters in the country's capital. The conditioned reflex worked for some while, it was the done thing to obey the diktat of New Delhi, There is also a time-lag between the awakening of consciousness and its articulation; layers of intermediate experiences have to be gone through. The time-lag is uneven for different groups of people. In the north-east, the unquiet years commenced right in the mid-fifties. In the rest of the country, disenchantment with the imperial model has been a later event, and has taken diverse forms. The awe commanded by a majestic centre will of course disappear in due course everywhere. But this course has its own rules, which vary from region to region and from linguistic group to linguistic group. There is the other fact too. The various groups come to enjoy, from time to time, slices of advantage on account of their being on the right side of those in authority at the centre. This also affects the actual pace of alienation from the imperial model. Besides, every now and then communal and sectarian forces have nor been averse to using the growing alienation for their own purposes either.

A Problem for Nakasone

Not everything is well in Sino-Japanese relations. This may owe much to Chinese dissatisfaction with the response to their economic experimentation with special economic zones and the like The new technology that they had hoped to attract is not coming fast enough and the political price demanded for it has been going up.

From Cannes with Repentance

From Cannes with Repentance? GPD Western criticism of the Soviet film 'Pokayaniye' brings out how Gorbachev has caused confusion among all intellectuals whose passport to respectability in the west was the continuation of a Stalinist system in the Soviet Union, WHAT do you do when the Cannes Jury awards the Special Grand Prize to a Georgian director Tengiz Abuladze for his film 'Pokayaniye' (Repentance) and the International Herald Tribune attacks the decision? Film critics Mark Hunter and Lise Bloch-Morhange, writing in the IHT, commented gravely that the Cannes Jury "appeared to give way to the commercial and publicity pressures of Sovexportfilm, the Soviet film marketing organisation". The distinguished film critics of the IHT thought that the excitement over the film was not altogether difficult to explain. They went on to say, "aside from the Soviet commercial effort, the answer lies in the effect of media interest in Abuladze as an avatara of the new Soviet regime. In part this interest is the fascination with hidden treasure: when Gorbachev initiated his 'glasnost' campaign, no less than 26 films

Of Neighbours and Enemies

fortitude to act according to one's convictions and willingness to stake one's life for the sake of the felt cause are the criteria, the Left continue to provide the shiniest examples of patriotism in Punjab. And yet, the battles they are waging appear to be increasingly forlorn, increasingly bereft of context. Something has obviously gone grievously wrong in the prognostications in Punjab. Bases developed by the left through struggles and sacrifices spanning over three or more generations are all but obliterated. It would be dangerous self-delusion to attribute the continuous series of setbacks to conspirators at work. Conspirators arc always at work, it would be ahistorical if they were not. Could it not be that in Punjab the ideology got compromised, and the emphasis placed on the restoration of peace through the agency of the forces of law and order was a palpable error? Let the Director- General of Police first soften up through his fire power, we will then move in and spread the message of communal harmony and united mass action against the forces of feudalism and reaction: true, this is a caricature of the adopted tactical line, scores of ideologue-activists have, in the recent period, been victims of insensate murder squad, organised by the terrorists, the courage and heroism of these activists defy description. Yet, the general impression created is that the overall Left position in effect is basically not much different from that of the governor given to quoting Rabindra- nath Tagore. How does one explain the fact that, barely a week before the Barnala government was shoved out, the highest decision-making body of the most important Leftist formation in the country thought it fit to issue a public statement taking the side of the Director-General of Police in the controversy between him and Barnala's ministers regarding how much of a free hand he, the Director-General of Police, was entitled to have? A crucial line was crossed, and the decision-makers in the Left chose to fall in with the gun-toting enforcers of lawless law against democratically elected ministers. A week later, the same decision-making body had to issue another statement condemning the dismissal of Barnala and the clamping of President's rule in Punjab. Did it have any leg to stand upon? There can of course be no compromise with terrorists in Punjab; does it however mean supporting counter-terror to the hilt?


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