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Calcutta Diary

A M The Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill breaks fresh ground; its purpose is to universale hypocrisy. You do not necessarily have to believe in socialism, but you have to swear you are a socialist if you want a part of the fun and games which constitute the country's parliamentary democracy. Swearing has nothing to do with actual belief or what you practise.

Calcutta Diary

AM Speculation over what could have happened had Maulana Azad continued as president of the Indian National Congress for a few more months in 1946 and had statements on behalf of the party emanated from him and not from Jawaharlal Nehru would be altogether idle. And yet, what is idle is not necessarily pointless.

Calcutta Diary

A M Perestroika ordains future Vietnams as unparliamentary. If despite the injunction, Vietnams continue to recur in sheer obstinacy, sorry, those who indulge in such indiscretions would have to be on their own.

Calcutta Diary

chief minister has now discovered traces of Calcutta Diary megalomania befitting a Muhammad bin Tughlak in the person of the prime minister, A M how can he in all fairness disown the GOING by the evidence of recent weeks, governance in New Delhi is increasingly resembling the Peter Sellers-Peter Ustinov world, with perhaps an extra touch of evil. Leave aside the hash in PunjabThe roster of gaffes and whimsical decisions, even otherwise, is, of an impressive order. The imperial visits to the states, whose principal purpose has seemingly been only to hog prime television time and enlighten the Planning Commission on who is the boss. The thoughtless canonisation of Subhash Ghisingh. The spasmodic exertions to turn a zero sum game in Sri Lanka into a nonzero sum one. The roughing of the two secretaries to the government directly responsible for agriculture and rural development. The marching orders to the foreign secretary. The effective dismantling, lock, stock and barrel, of the apparatus of the Congress party, which, at least formally, had won the national elections in December 1984. The bouncing of the finance minister. The manufactured scare over a possible outbreak of hostilities with Pakistan. The mess over naming a new chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. Twisting the arm of the Election Commission so that elections in Haryana could wait for Bansilal-the-not yetready. The on-again off-again stance of aggression towards China. The smug complacency in the face of a frightening deterioration in the nation's economic circumstances.

Calcutta Diary

Calcutta Diary A M NOT that great causes are not there. But they are trivialised, as behoves a technological civilisation. Your and my emotions (do not have the chance of free play any more; they have to pass through the sieve of technology: drip, drip, drip. The drips are sanitised, their sources are quarantined. No risk is to be taken, p will not be encouraged to fraternise with q, q with r, and so on down the line. Passion, in other words, is suspect. The computers are embarrassed by passion; to programme it poses problems, why not therefore cut it out altogether? Rein in your sentiments, which have no manipulate, externally determined attribute. True, pressed hard, you can attach a parametric value to your load of emotions, but the arrangement is not satisfactory, the sensitivity of the system tends to be volatile. Why not discard them, and return to dehydrated, desiccated reason?

Calcutta Diary

Calcutta Diary A M DOES not all this seem allegorical, the goings-on in that supposedly maximum security prison on the outskirts of the nation's capital? It is open city for killers, smugglers, crooks, hasish-runners; they rule the roast; they bribe their way in, they bribe their way out; thay have proved the point, everybody and everything has a price, and everybody and everything is purchasable, no man or institution remains beyond the pale; let your logo mock at you, truth shall prevail, of course, it shall; truth, which is a compendium of facts, truth,which transcends facts, truth that this is a nation of crooks and sneaks, not excluding chief ministers, not excluding university chancellors and vice- chancellors, not excluding the officer who presides over your neighbourhood police station or marriage registration bureau.

Who Controls Resources

Who Controls Resources ? A M The Control of Resources by Partha Dasgupta; Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1982; price not stated. THE world is more complicated than Euclidean geometry. It would still be foolish to forsake Euclid, lock, stock and barrel, or to sneer at it. Its analytical rigour prepares us to cope with the more difficult topology of life. Both our intellect and our faculty of comprehension are honed by the processes of successive exploration in a linear milieu.

OBITUARY-The One Who Said Boo

1977-78, but their growth declined to 12 per cent in 1978-79 only to be marked up by 49 per cent in 1979-80 and 30 per cent in 1980-81. The zigzag nature of these movements was seen to have emanated from receipts on account of 'private transfers'

Calcutta Diary

Calcutta Diary A M A GIFT COMMISSION must not be looked in the mouth? The announcement by the Prime Minister, according to one set of opinion, represents 'a major breakthrough, it is the first dent in bar stony resistance to all demands for a reappraisal of Centre-States relations, the very fact that she has climbed down from her tenaciously- held position is itself victory of considerable proportions for those who have been consistently campaigning for a realignment in the arrangements that obtain between the Centre and the States, they should now lower their pitch, it is little use getting unduly exercised over the catty casual remark by the Prime Minister that Justice Sarkaria's recommendations will have to be 'within the present constitutional framework', or over the fact that the Commission's terms of reference are yet to be announced, and there could be many slips between the cup and the lip.

Calcutta Diary

AM WHO is fooling whom? The pre- budget "Economic Survey" puts a brave face forward. Notwithstanding the setback on the farm front and the slowing down of industrial growth, gross national product in 1982-83, it assures each and all, is likely to go up by 2 per cent, so that for the three years 1980-81 to 1982- 83, the annual rate of growth of national income would work out to around 5 per cent in real terms. Hurrah, what an economist has described as the 'speeding up' of Indian economic development in the recent period would thus seem to be more than proved; the Indian economy has, at long last, been extricated from the straight jacket of a 3 to 3.5 per cent rate of growth, which had till now threatened to go on for ever.

Calcutta Diary

 Calcutta Diary A M ASSAM continues to be a dead end. Was February's great carnage, grisly beyond description, Act III, Scene II, or not even that, merely Act I, Scene III? Nobody really knows. Each day, fresh gory incidents continue to take place; there is a grim atmosphere of confrontation; personnel of the police and the army keep pouring in from outside the state; bombs burst, open clashes occur with mobs of young people, some young lives are lost; communal and ethnic riots have emerged as a regular pattern; public employees run great hazard in the performance of their duties; they, as much as those who belong to this or that end of the political spectrum, arc victims of stray attacks; not much is left for the final, total brutalisation of life. The elections last month perhaps provided a way out of the constitutional impasse and, as far as Shrimati Gandhi is concerned, provided her an opportunity of assuring herself that, never mind what has happened in the south, her mandate has not run its course. As the revelations of what went on in the office of the Election Commission now confirm, the elections were in the nature of a charade held for the benefit exclusively of her party; the ministry that has emerged can hardly be taken at its face value.

Calcutta Diary

 Calcutta Diary A M CONTRARY to what pessimists might think, the country, the Prime Minister has assured Parliament, is not going to break up. Taken at its face value, this at least provides an indication that she would, on her part, do her best to restrain forces which encourage tendencies towards national disintegration. Is such a hortatory statement enough? Leave aside Assam for the moment; but is she, or her assortment of advisers, at all capable of comprehending what is happening at the base of the economy, happening, for instance, because of the fiscal and monetary policies that are being pursued?

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