ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Hiren MukerjeeSubscribe to Hiren Mukerjee

The First Country of Socialism

history and encourage public discussion on possible ways and means of moving forward: "Gorbachev and his advisers'', writes Davies, "'did not anticipate either the scope of the debate or its impact on society. But their commitment to glasnost led them to resist attempts to halt discussion or set narrow bounds to it" [Davies 1989]. That glasnost did succeed in hastening the pace of social and political reform in eastern Europe is not in dispute. But this, like most of Gorbachev's initiatives in other domains, was an unintended consequence of an entirely well-intentioned but ill-timed campaign for economic restructuring and social renewal. The Gorbachev reforms are a good illustration of good intentions being overtaken by bad' events, i e. they illustrate the futility of translating desirable objectives without either a coherent design or adequate mechanisms to implement them. The reform experiences of Hungary and China offer an excellent alternative contrast, 7 "If we put it in Marxist terms it is very difficulty see how the economic base determines the political superstructure. Rather on occasion, it is the tail which wags the dog as it were. All in all, it is not very surprising that at times of major historical changes, public choice might be more mighty than elementary utility considerations. From the conversion rate of the Ostmark to the Hungarian legislation prohibiting foreigners to buy agricultural arable land (of all types), the predominance of extra-economic considerations is rather obvious" [Csaba 1992).

Parliamentary Avenues and Alleys

Parliamentary Procedure in India, by A R Mukherjea; Oxford University Press, Calcutta 1967; pp 497, "PARLIAMENTS are of the nature of cats", Charles I once wrote to one of his aides, Wentworth, "they ever grow cursed with age". With the parliamentary system maturing in India, one sees, these days particularly, fights almost of the 4Kil- Kenny cats' (whatever that might precisely mean) variety, so much that one recalls a British quip about the House of Lords that the best cure of an admiration for that ancient body is to go and have a look at it. Even so, parliaments are a part, quite often irritating but always indispensable, of our life in India and it is welcome that A R Mukherjea's widely acclaimed study of procedure in our legislatures now appears in a revised edition.
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