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Freedom for Whom

with some jawana. There were complaints of inadequacy of rations

Prophets Armed

Prophets Armed SPECIAL correspondents are a breed apart; in the rarefied atmosphere of New Delhi, where they brush shoulders with the high and mighty, they often affect the air of Oracles or seek to change with their pens history itself. They are neither commentators, nor reporters proper; lacking the former's depth and the latter

Politics Is All

Thus, confidence had begun to be restored with money-minded people and the more sophisticated public. The Deutschmark revaluation of 8.5 per cent, came along nicely to help the Finance Minister win his point and, later on, the foreign trade to balance.

Holy Cows

November 29, 1969 stepped in and bombed Fedayeen shelters at Kfra Tella, In spite of Israeli collaboration, the Lebanese forces then attacked refugee camps in northern Lebanon. The attacks on the Fedayeen camps in the south were explicable from the Lebanese point of view. These were points from which Fedayeen attacked Israeli targets. But the confrontation at camps in northern Lebanon was inexplicable. They were too far away from Israeli positions and it appeared that Boustany was really opening a new front in an attempt to draw off the Fedayeen from the major theatre of events, i e, south Lebanon.

Many Faces of Objectivity

Many Faces of Objectivity JOURNALISTS, like everyone else, have the right to political choices as between parties and personalities, and even between factions within parties. Were editors and reporters to emulate the famous simian trio, or otherwise affect a pose of godlike impartiality in all matters

Short on Facts

Short on Facts Nireekshak INTERSPERSED with reports of the Gandhi Centenary celebrations, postmortem accounts of the Ahmedabad riots made grim reading in the newspapers last week. In a two-part article "Communalism in Perspective", written after a visit to Ahmedabad, Nandan Kagal of Indian Express put much of the blame on the massive procession taken out by Muslims to protest against the burning of the Al Aqsa mosque. He absolved Balraj Madhok, the Jan Sangh leader, of the charge that his speeches in Ahmedabad and other places in Gujarat just a few days before the riots broke out had roused anti-Muslim feeling. Kagal blamed the hypersensi- tiveness of Muslims as a major cause of communal tension. In Ahmedabad, as in most communal riots in the past all over the country, it was, he pointed out, the Muslims who had been responsible for the first provocative act. Kagal had a warning for Muslims: "India is a predominantly Hindu country which has chosen to be a secular State. The element of choice needs to be emphasised . . . The pity is that far too many of India's Muslims do not realise this." Other commentators were less inclined to absolve the Hindus and the Jan Sangh of a part of the responsibility. Writing in Hindustan Times, Ajit Bhattacharjea prominently mentioned among the factors contributing to the violence the fact that "two days before the temple incident, Mr Balraj Madhok, the Jan Sangh leader, was warning Ahmedabad citizens of an 'inevitable' Pakistani attack on Gujarat while casting doubt on the loyalty of Muslim leaders". Bhattacharjea also pointed out that "the first cases of arson after the Jagannath temple incident occurred after some time in a locality some distance away in which the Jan Sangh and RSS organisation is particularly strong".

Too Clever by Half

Too Clever by Half Nireekshak "INDIA today agreed to the withdrawal of its military liaison group from Nepal and wireless operators attached to that country's northern border check-posts on the basis of an assurance given on behalf of the Government of Nepal that India's security would in no way be impaired thereby . . . India and Nepal will shortly examine what alternative arrangements might become necessary as a consequence of the withdrawal of the Indian personnel . . . Nepal has assured India that all the information that New Delhi might require about the military situation across Nepal's northern border will be furnished'" (italics added). So ran the lead story in Times of India of September 3. Here, one thought, was a scoop. The Indo-Nepal talks were still on in New Delhi but an enterprising Times correspondent had apparently ferreted out a good deal of what had been agreed to by the two countries.

For High Stakes

August 16, 1969 be larger for those industries which are large consumers of foreign exchange, rather than for those which have a large net export (that is, export value less import content) potential. The Study Group also recommends reduction of actual user licences and freer transferability of import certificates.

In Search of Plots

In Search of Plots Nireekshak IN November last Morarji Desai made a statement in Lok Sabha on the cornering of shares of Indian Iron and Steel Company by Ramnath Goenka, the newspaper magnate. Contrary to Morarji's purpose, the statement confirmed by implication the general impression created earlier that it was largely the hospitality of a couple of private sector banks and the grace of the Finance Ministry which had enabled Goenka to make deep inroads into the ownership of Indian Iron. It was not altogether surprising, therefore, that the sharpest reaction to the double blow of Morarji's 'resignation' and nationalisation of the major private banks should have come from Goenka's papers.

Faint Echoes

Faint Echoes Nireekshak FLEETING echoes of the golden age of Indian diplomacy were heard more than once in the past fortnight. "Kaul to Visit Hanoi to Pave Way for Substantive Talks in Paris on Vietnam" said a three-column, three-line heading on the front page of Hindu on the 14th. According to its Delhi correspondent, G K Reddy, Foreign Secretary T N Kaul had been invited by North Vietnam to explore how best India could help "in finding an equitable basis for substantive discussions at the Paris peace talks for an early settlement of the Vietnam conflict'', further, the report informed readers, "though India is not directly involved in the Paris peace talks, it has nevertheless been playing a helpful role behind the scenes in bridging the gulf between the American and the North Vietnamese positions on some of the more fundamental preliminaries to the actual negotiations". Reddy buttressed this impressive claim on behalf of the External Atfairs Ministry with references to the Indian Consul-General in Hanoi functioning as a "channel for communication of private clarifications between the two sides pat Paris]'*, to "recent diplomatic exchanges" between India and North Vietnam, to the US Secretary of State's anxiety, expressed during his recent visit to New Delhi, that India should use its good offices to communicate to Hanoi certain clarifications of President Nixon's eight-point plan and, finally, to Indira Gandhi's discussions with Kosygin when he came to India for Zakir Husain's funeral.

Nodding Editors

Nodding Editors Nireekshak HOW little of the development and problems of the mofussil areas one reads about in the national Press! Resuming this column after a rather long holiday, 1 cannot help reminiscing about my long road journey to Nilgiris and back. Thousands of vehicles every day cross the Bhor Ghat halfway between Bombay and Poona. It takes some courage and not a little engine- and-brake-power to go up and down this ancient Ghat. With all its claims to being the most progressive State in the country, Maharashtra has not contemplated any tunnel to avoid this Ghat which is ruinous to vehicles and human nerves alike. For that matter, roads in general are a shame in this premier State, especially when compared with those in Mysore and Tamil Nadu. The stretch between Kolhapur and Satara, which links the heartland of western Maharashtra, is particularly bad and high traffic density makes it positively hazardous.

Tribal Loyalties

If the public sector, the major repository of twenty years of economic effort by the State, provides a sample of the rewards that accrue, the next conclusion is that it would be better to leave the future and its development to the mechanisms of the market. This easy thinking, so prevalent in the offices of the ministries concerned with economic development, could become a major threat to federal cohesion and even the viability of the democratic system when jobs and opportunities run out. Apart from some isolated individuals, it is no longer popular in Delhi to raise these vital issues. For some strange reason, it is expected that growth will continue to take place in the future even if we do not plan and invest for it now.


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