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United Front for Censorship

We had thought that demands for censorship came essentially from fundamentalists and chauvinists. We were wrong. An unwitting 'united front' in favour of censorship seems to be emerging.

Rabindric Fundamentalism

Rabindric Fundamentalism GPD We will condemn even a remotely disapproving remark about Rabindranath Tagore as blasphemous while merrily naming chairs in our universities after foreign prime ministers. Surely, Calcutta could have done better than that.

American Civilisation-Mongers

Right from the days of Dulles and McCarthy, American discourse on foreign policy has been dominated by a degree of self-righteousness and a certain contempt for others. The recent pronouncements of Senator Jesse Helms, chairman of the foreign relations committee of the US Congress, on India and China continue this tradition.

Lonely Hunter

Lonely Hunter? GPD We live in post-modernist and post-structuralist times. Nationalism and national sovereignty have become bad words. To western statesmen, especially American ones, these words sound particularly distasteful when they are mouthed by third world spokespersons. But unlike other Asians, South Asians for example, the Chinese do not give in to the western view that infighting and perpetual division in the third world are highly desirable.

Victory on a Platter

Victory on a Platter GPD It is not aggressive Hinduism which worked in the assembly elections in Maharashtra, but the coalition of castes; Hindutva merely provided the overarching slogan.

Amusing Times for Once

Amusing Times for Once? GPD Zhirinovsky's three-day visit was one amusing international event to have taken place in India after a long time, providing some relief in the dismal times we are required to live in, courtesy our new economic policies. However, it would be to underestimate this country to suggest that amusement in our public life was limited to the doings of Zhirinovsky or T N Seshan.

Marx Is Dead, Long Live McCarthy

Marx Is Dead, Long Live McCarthy How does a marxist poet/writer in India and Asia become 'entrapped' because the Stalinist systems collapsed in eastern and central Europe?

Old Hands at an Old Game

THERE have been three-and-a-half wars (the little skirmish in the Rann of Kutch counting as half a war) between them (the Pakistanis) and us. Add to that the holocaust of the partition. One would think that this experience would make the people (who matter) in New Delhi and Islamabad pause and think before they turn relations between them into a theatre of the (cruel) absurd. Obviously, that is not the case. The subcontinental politicians and statespersons are a special and unique breed. It was in December 1989 that George Fernandes, then railway minister, came out with a statement on Tibet, In no other cabinet system would a railway minister issue a statement which has a bearing on foreign policy. Nawaz Sharief, the former prime minister of Pakistan, has announced that Pakistan is a nuclear power. Issues of defence, security and foreign policy would not be talked about so lightly and irresponsibly in other democracies. But South Asian culture or the essential unity of erstwhile India is demonstrated usually through such acts of irresponsibility. Fernandes provided an example; Nawaz Sharief has provided another; and Benazir Bhutto's proposed and now frustrated trip to the Gaza Strip is yet one more.

Deng Xiaoping A Senile Ninety

Deng Xiaoping: A Senile Ninety? GPD With all his faults, Deng Xiaoping and, because of him, the other leaders of China are the only people in the developing world who are able to hold their own against the ' hegemonism' and big power chauvinism that have come to mark the post-Soviet world.

A Language Problem

A 'Language' Problem GPD The issue raised by Taslima Nasreen's Lajja is, in the last analysis, one of language and not theology. People for whom modernity is essentially a west-of-Khyber phenomenon will find it difficult to understand this.

Narasimha Rao Visits Jurassic Park

More than the prime minister and the ruling party, it was the media which were determined to present Narasimha Rao

Mahaan Sa Nripatih

Mahaan Sa Nripatih GPD India's foreign minister thinks that foreign policy has to do with economics. There are others who believe that all politics has to be pedagogy. There are some people in need of being taught a lesson and some others ready to teach the lesson.

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