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Calcutta Diary

ones who worry over such trivialities. What is commitment? Within one's own narrow confines, the expression stands for weakness for one's near and dear ones, (for those who are linked either by blood, marital bond, or bridges of friendship). In a different context, such manifestations of loyalty will be described as nepotism. It is thus necessary to pick and choose, to decide, to search one's own latent conscience, for identifying commitment.

Rama Varma

it is becoming increasingly anachronistic to speak of a ruling party

Calcutta Diary

 Calcutta Diary A M CLASSICS broaden the mind. Sometimes, they also help to entertain. Take Mane's "The Eighteen Brumaira of Louis Bonaparte1', for instance. Take the following passage; " ... the general elections of December 20 and 21 ... bore the second Bona- parte up Mount Sinai, not to receive laws, but to give them.

Calcutta Diary

A M IN the by-now-much-alluded-to report of the Public Accounts Committee on the tax assessments of the National and Grindlays Bank and some of its principal employees, one comes across a reference to one Shri Kasbekar who happens to be one of the principal accountants of the bank. lt is the customs inspectors, we are told, who turn out to be the best smugglers once they quit their jobs and seek fresh pastures. In this instance, Shri Kasbekar is stated to have been, in the past, an officer of the Income-Tax Deparment. As an official tax sleuth, he was on a number of occasions' responsible for making the tax assessments of the bank, Acquaintance leads to intimacy: in 1966, he left the Department and joined the bank. The Government apparently could not cart' less, as a result of which, both Shri Kasbekar and National and Grindlays Batik found the crossing over mutually satisfactory. Pa- reto Optimally was ushered in. It is possible that the Appellate Assistant Income-Tax Commissioner

Calcutta Diary

 DON'T you read the newspapers, in this country fascism will not pass. All right-thinking people here are against fascism. A minister in West Bengal, famous for his plain-speaking, has gone to the length of admitting that, in order to save the country from fascism, he is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice; he will himself turn into a full-fledged fascist

Calcutta Diary

Calcutta Diary A M IF it is statistics one is looking for, one can have them aplenty, even though that would be a wearisome iteration of drollness, One or two bits of fact should suffice. Since 1965, industrial output in the country as a whole has moved up by 35 per cent, By most reckoning, this is not much of a progress, but waft, in West Bengal, production in organised industry has actually declined by 25 per cent over the same period. Ten years ago, West Bengal contributed roughly a quarter of the nation's entire industrial production. For the overall figure to come out right, even as this state's industries have begun to wither away, in the rest of the country industrial output must therefore havemoved up by more than 40 per cent in the course of the decade. The contrast in performance could scarcely be more dramatically put across.

Calcutta Diary

 DO we have the right to enter into the pride of it, do we dare claim a share in the glory of Vietnam? We took no part in their suffering. The sacrifice which the great people of Vietnam had to undergo left us unconcerned. Till yesterday, we were shipping railway sleepers to Saigon. We have chosen to recognise the Revolutionary Government there only after the event.

The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock

The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock A M Redistribution with Growth: Policies to Improve Income Distribution in Developing Countries in the Context of Economic Growth (A joint study by the World Bank's Development Research Centre and the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex) by Hollis Chenery, Montek S Ahluwalia, C L G Bell, John H Duloy, Richard Jolly; Oxford University Press. 1974;

Calcutta Diary

 Calcutta Diary A M ELECTRA becomes" a mourning. Ingenuity, beyond a point, ceases to be so, and shades off into its obverse. Last year, there was no lingering threat of external aggression, but the Emergency was an 'economic' one: such an animal is not defined in the Constitution, so what, it is the prerogative of a Prime Minister with a thundering majority in Parliament to improvise. This year, Indira Gandhi has been discovering India, to be more precise, the country's "geography: the Emergency has to continue because, barring Madhya Pradesh, each of the other states cither borders a foreign land Or the sea, and you never know from which direction the threat to the nation's security is going to come, or when. Since, ipso facto, it is difficult to change a country's geography, the Emergency, in terms of the argument implicit in the Prime Minister's latest speeches, has to continue for ever. Perhaps it is easier

Calcutta Diary

 Calcutta Diary A M THE roughing up of a Jayaprakash Narayan in Calcutta is, by itself, neither here nor there. Having made his reentry into politics

Calcutta Diary

Calcutta Diary A M SOME refugees are a la mode; some are not The frightened, bewildered, households in southern Vietnam's countryside, who have been hustled to take to the road following the collapse of the tinpot regime which the Americans bad set up, are much in the news. There should be, a straightforward psychological explanation for the outpourings of concern for the stranded ones down Saigon's roads. The plight of these refugees is the outcome of the waywardness of the Administration of the United StatesThe human misery of these refugees is the product of a diseased leadership in that country, For more than two decades, the Americans chose to run amuck in a land that was not theirs. They ruined a country and its people, killed men, women and children, destroyed property, poisoned food and foliage, in the pursuit of their imperial influence. Now, at the end of 60,000 American lives and $ 200 billion, they discover that they have achieved nothing. At least two million Vietnamese lives have been lost in the course of this dismal discovery.

A Swiss Diary

A Swiss Diary A M THE Swiss franc goes up and up. You hardly see the American tourists any more around Geneva's Lake front. Newspapers blare forth the succession of apocalyptic news from the distant East: the siege of Phnom Penh, the fall of Hue, the flight from Da Nang. The Swiss could not care less, and not because they are politically neutral. Going by the cultural divide, certainly this is no neutral country: the paraphernalia and accoutrements of its prosperity are all Western. If Switzerland has even-handedly provided shelter to communist revolutionaries and Arab guerillas, the reason is scarcely a felt emotion of ideological equidistance. The philosophy underlying the benign hospitality has always had a crass material base; the Swiss have rented out their hotel-rooms to whoever has managed to jingle money all the way. The American fate leaves the Swiss unaffected; despite the decline and fall of the trans-Atlantic quarter century, their hotels remain overfull, money never stops coming, the Swiss franc goes up and up, and is currently the strongest currency in the world. Does it not more or less summarise and epitomise the West European ethic? Do not let yourself be led up the ideological garden path, make money. Do not be prey to rapid emotions, learn from the plight of the Americans, keep your cool, make money. There is a latent irony in this total absorption into the money-making syndrome. The Americans raised it to the level of a 'technology'. With money

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