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The Relationship That Was

The Relationship That Was GPD RAJIV GANDHI's trip to Moscow has an obvious significance. It is his first trip abroad as Prime Minister. At one time it looked as if the Soviets had scored a major diplomatic point by making sure that the new Prime Minister of India travels to Moscow before he goes anywhere else. Since the visit to the US was bound to be on his agenda, the Soviets could have asked for nothing better than Rajiv Gandhi agreeing to go to Moscow first. The Soviets also tried to consolidate their advantage in New Delhi by promptly and quickly responding positively to the appeal issued by the non-aligned (from New Delhi) on the question of peace and weapons and so on. Responding positively to appeals issued from New Delhi should be one of the easiest things to do. Most of them are finely worded, but of little practical significance. Even so the Soviets response mattered. In short, the stage was set for Rajiv Gandhi's successful visit to the Soviet Union. It looked as if a near- euphoric stage in Indo-Soviet relations was about to be reached.

When Soviet Union Attacks France ...

When Soviet Union Attacks France ...! GPD WE had no idea that we might have to return to the subject of films so soon after we wrote about the Radha-Krishna affair in Bangladesh. Now, however, the gem of film-making under discussion comes from Paris. It seems one Yves Montand has produced a two-hour 'semi-documentary' film for the television entitled "Confronted by War" in which a Russian army of the future is shown invading France. Those who are interested in 'form' and things like that might see many possibilities in the futuristic documentary that this film claims to be. Why the Times of London described the film as a semi- documentary, we do not know.

Memories of Bandung

Memories of Bandung GPD ON April 24, the thirtieth anniversary of the Bandung Conference of African and Asian states (and not 'Afro-Asian states'

Radha-Krishna Controversy

Radha-Krishna Controversy GPD WE cannot tell a good film from a bad one. The subcontinental cinema is either consumerism at its vulgar worst or simple boredom produced by some of our more pompous film-makers. It is therefore near impossible to tell a good film if you saw one The scene is rather bleak. Amitabh Bachchan provided the most daring and glorious escapades from this blind alley of stunted growth which our films have become. But then that is an old story. He has also given up the (celluloid) revolutionary path for a parliamentary one. One always knew how deep-seated was this nco-revisionist fascination for Parliament! What we did not bargain for was that the parliamentary path would deprive us of the one remaining point of interest in films. Come eighty-five and it is time to write the obit of the Indian/subcontinental cinema! Or so it seemed at a superficial view. It was easy to ignore our film-makers who thought that after the 'Prabhat' and the 'New Theatres' proto-history of Indian cinema, they were the ones about to begin the history of Indian cinema. It is no longer that easy, however, when cinema becomes political the way it has become, for example, in Bangladesh.

Election Season in South Asia

their system of electing their chieftain every five years. The existing political frame must be discarded, together with the economic one which cannot possibly sustain our 1,000 millions in the year 2000 AD, if we want to survive united, and in aft open society. One R K Hegde is not enough. We need many more, everywhere.

The Open House

The Open House GPD THERE is a delightful thriller called The Open House' by Michael Innes. The story apparently relates to a late night when detective Sir John Appleby stumbles into an elaborately lighted, bright and shining open house. The details of the story apart, the brightly lighted open house was, as Sir John was to discover, to be one of the most mysterious houses he had ever stepped into. Contemporary China seems to be an open house of that kind. It is Open, it's brightly lit. All the world's gaze is concentrated on it. There is no dearth of light. But that does not seem to diminish the mystery. What is China today like? Which road is it taking? Why has it become an open house? Is it socialist at all? Does the Chinese communist party own Marxism as a valid ideology? Indeed there are a host of questions which are as difficult to answer today when China is an open house as they would have been when it was a closed Or at any rate a not-so-open house seven or eight years ago.

Oxford Dons Make a Point

February 9, 1985 here or there, and the prospect of changing the old networks of patronage and profit. These parties, regional and national, have somehow to return to the commitments that have been forgotten by the dynastic power-wielders.

Studying Third World through Western Categories

Western Categories GPD China, Iran and the Persian Gulf by A H H Abidi; Radiant Publishers, rigour. This progress, in turn, has been made possible partly because it has succeeded in drawing upon the concept of equilibrium. We know, equilibrium is only a logical construct, a convenient frame of reference, with little claim as an approximation to reality. But it is a powerful instrument of enquiry. Once admitted, it allows us to raise a variety of issues such as short run and long run, stability and instability, statics and dynamics, com- parative statics and comparative dynamics. It is perhaps not possible to fully apply this type of method in, say, history, sociology, or anthropology. But it is gaining entry into areas like political science and international relations. In any case, this leads us to make the following point. Unless a line of research is built upon certain fundamental postulates about the 'behaviour' of the 'basic agents' there is a possibility that all kinds of cliches, preconceived notions and prejudices would rule the roost, for then there is no criterion or rule to weed them out. The universe of discourse in that case suffers from what may be called an 'emptiness', such that 'anything' goes'. The debate breaks into a quarrel even before it is joined. It seems to us the world systems approach, as outlined in this monograph, has the danger of falling into such a conundrum. The world-system is the unit of analysis all right; but what are the 'basic agents' that are making or breaking those commodity chains, drawing and redrawing the division of labour, and all that? Why are they doing all this? What are they trying to maximise or minimise? Or, are they mere robots? Even then, who made the robots, and for what? Unless the research proposal is laid out on such an analytical foundation, I am afraid, 'anything goes

Deng s Socialism in One Country

Deng's Socialism in One Country GPD JANUARY is the month of publications, year-end statistics, and special editorials in China, In this month was launched a new publication called China Electronics, This will be a weekly publication in Chinese. Started to propagate "government policies relating to the industry, report electronics and information news, disseminate technology and discuss foreign management". The Weekly has obviously good circulation possibilities. China's electronics industry, the NCNA states, has 2,600 enterprises and over 100 scientific research institutions with 1.4 million workers and technicians. The Chinese media do not talk of it, but with the exception of the Japanese this may well be the first weekly exclusively devoted to electronics in any Asian language. Of course, one will have to check on Korean and Chinese publications from South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. But it would not be surprising if this "national broadsheet" happens to be the first Asian language publication devoted to electronics.

Vote for Indian Nationalism

Vote for Indian Nationalism GPD TO no surprise of ordinary people including the present writer, the Congress(I) has won the battle at the hustings in a more than convincing manner. This is not to say that the ordinary people had predicted four hundred or so seats for the Congress(I). For a party like the Con- gress(I) the difference between a two- thirds majority and any other number is meaningless. It could very well be infinity. When we say to nobody's surprise, we essentially mean that the Congress(I) was poised for a big victory and that 'ordinary' people felt it. The number of seats actually won or lost is a good subject for an indoor game like betting. We ourselves won a couple of bets. (The only bet that we lost showed our poor understanding of pop cinema rather than of politics. We never thought the fading stars would win.) But the bets or for that matter all those accounts of shifts one way or the other give you some idea of the mood of the people but none whatever of the 'politics' which has made this spectacular victory possible.

American Power and the Mandarins

American Power and the Mandarins GPD NO doubt a flood of words will be written over the next few weeks over Robert Hardgrave's study for the 'State Department' which the Patriot of Delhi tells us has never been printed or published as the Department of State claimed in its clarification following the first disclosure of the Report. Hardgrave who went into the question of what would happen in India in the event of the "sudden and untimely" death of Indira Gandhi has done an exercise which speaks more of the state of Political Science in the US than the situation in India. In lndia, of course, we leave such matters to astrologers w ho, as it turns out, do not necessarily make more inaccurate predictions than Hardgrave and the like. The Department of State would have done better to have contacted the Jyotishis of Varanasi, Rameshwaram and Nasik and then fed their predictions into a computer. Probably a more sensible picture would have emerged. The nonsense that Hardgrave has written has been neither printed nor published, thank God for small mercies. It has only been replicated and a few numbered copies circulated to select top officials. As we said above, a whole lot of more of information might come out in the process. The last word on the Hardgrave affair is yet to be said.

The Third Meaning

The Third Meaning GPD IT is. too early to say the last word on Arkhipov's visit to China. Probably the time when we can say anything definitive on it might never come. The Soviets and the Chinese talk almost compulsively in an involved language about each other. Their talk seems to carry several meanings. Talking about Eisenstein's film 'Ivan the Terrible' the famous French critic Roland Barthes had talked about "the third, meaning" which several Eisenstenian frames conveyed to him. He called it the "third meaning" or the "obtuse meaning". Barthes takes recourse to geometry in his famous essay entitled "The Third Meaning". He says, "An obtuse angle is greater than a right angle: an obtuse angle is of 1000, says the dictionary; the third meaning also seems to me greater than the pure, upright, secant, legal perpendicular of the narrative, it seems to open the field of meaning totally ...". It would seem that when it comes to Sino-Soviet dialogues it is this obtuse or third meaning which is perhaps more important than the other meanings, although, we are sure, admires of Barthian criticism would be shocked at this, what must appear to them, flippant play with the master's categories.


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