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Integration, Public and Private

Integration, Public and Private Nireekshak ON February 6, Searchlight wrote a very critical editorial on the size of the new Bihar Ministry. "The size of the new Ministry is itself the greatest critique of the new government." It noted that Bihar had broken the record created by the UF Ministry headed by Mahamaya Prasad Sinha. "What the UF Government did towards the end for its survival, the Mandal Ministry has done at the beginning . . . the nonchalant disregard for public feeling implied in the size of the Ministry is a dangerous development, which, unless checked at the beginning, might assume unmanageable proportions." Five days later Searchlight carried a news item on page 1, that Shambhunath Jha, assistant editor of Searchlight, had been sworn in on February 10 as Cabinet Minister "at a short and simple ceremony at Government House''. This was suitably illustrated with a photograph of the ex-assistant editor looking appropriately grim.

Miracle in Bihar

'Miracle' in Bihar Nireekshak THE HINDU dutifully reported the Prime Minister as saying in Trivandrum that she did not think "that the Congress Party has any plan or deliberate move" to topple non-Congress Governments. Not many agreed. Indian Express was emphatic that "the Congress did play an important part" in bringing down the non-Congress Ministries in West Bengal, Haryana, Punjab and Bihar. Times of India sharply reminded the party of "the question of standards of public life". 'The Congress Party" the paper warned "cannot go on ignoring this issue without doing irreparable damage to the future of democracy in the country''. The loudest in denouncing the Congress was the Bharatiya Kranti Dal whose Executive was reported by Hindustan Standard as condemning "the undesirable means by which the Congress Party in Bihar has toppled the popular government". The same Executive, however, authorised Ajoy Mukherjec, former United Front Chief Minister of West Bengal, "to adopt all peaceful means to topple the Congress-Progressive Democratic Front Coalition Ministry in his State'! ON TREE-TOPS The new Chief Minister of Bihar, B P Mandal, docs not seem to have endeared himself to the press. B K R Kabad writing in Times of India said that it was all reminiscent of the King in 'The Gondoliers" who Wished all men as rich as he So to the top of every tree Promoted everybody. Statesman was sharper. Bihar, said the paper, had just seen the distribution of "rewards for ratting". "What greater encouragement to unprincipled defections can there be than that the principal defectors should be rewarded with the highest offices in the State Government?" it asked. A larger part of the blame "by any fair criteria", it said, "must go to the Congress than to the non-Congress parties''. At no time, the paper pointed out, were there "more than two turncoats in the ranks of non- Congress Chief Ministers"; by contrast, the Congress had installed in just three months at least three defectors from United Front Ministries as Chief Ministers. This was not a record that the Congress or Indira Gandhi could bo proud of.

Scourges, Dead and Alive

February 10, 1968 Ramaswami Naicker's opinion on the "barbarity" of Tamil notwithstanding, Tamil is an ancient language with a wonderfully rich literature. The decision to establish an international institute for the promotion of Tamil studies is hence unexceptionable and welcome. But this was not the principal achievement of the Conference. The occasion was a powerful "booster shot" to the Tamilian ego and the hold of the ruling party.

East of Suez, East of Delhi

East of Suez, East of Delhi Nireekshak Far called, our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! IN these words, seventy years ago, Rudyard Kipling envisaged the end of the British Empire. The Pioneer quoted T S Eliot when it wrote of Wilson's plan for phased withdrawal from the Far East: "Britain's withdrawal from the east is ending not with a bang but with a whimper. It has taken Britain years to find out that she has ceased to be a world power and the illusions of grandeur have cost her dear''. Pioneer, which was once -edited by Englishmen, was in no mood to gloat over Britain's fall. "Habits" it said sternly, "die hard and there is still a considerable section in the country which gloats over the unplanned withdrawal of 'British Imperialism' from cast of Suez. Unless our policy is sensibly reoriented towards the powers that can really help us in the resultant crisis, Indians and other Asians will share the same fate which overtook the undefended countries when the Roman legions were pulled back to Rome". So far as India was concerned, said the paper, there was "need for some quick thinking on our part on the reorientation of our policy in southeast Asia".

Not Among the Best, Nor the Worst

January 27, 1968 shifting its operations from market to market according to movements in prices, the state purchasing agency would be able to obtain its supplies at prices lower than those which private trade, with its relatively less wide coverage, would have to pay. Khusro further argued that it did not matter if the state purchasing agency initially made purchases at high prices since such prices would lead to higher production the next season with consequent decline in free market prices. The question raised by a subsequent speaker whether a fall in prices following the expansion in output would not in turn lead to a fall in production remained unanswered.

By Quake and Fire

December 23, 1967 into particular courses in accordance with a national plan of educational and scientific needs?
Questions of budget are of course important. New facilities involve not only buildings and equipment but the salaries of teaching personnel. At the same time there is pressure upon the Government to provide more funds for research as a fillip to in dustrial development. Students clamour for a system of scholarships or "pre-salaries" which would make it possible for young persons from poor families to study on a full-time basis. Even if money were available for ail these purposes at once, which is of course unlikely, the need to take decisions on basic matters of educational policy cannot be ignored.

Glycerine as Balm

Glycerine as Balm Nireekshak IT is not often that Nirad Chau- dhuri's commonsense matches his scholarship, as anyone who has read his "Continent of Circe" and his insulting comments on Parsis and Mangalore Christians will testify. It is difficult to take any writer seriously, when he is only concerned with effect, not content. And for the last many years Chaudhuri has been content to play the educated buffoon to the world court. All the more reason why his column 'Reflections on the Two Days' in Hindustan Standard deserves to be read carefully. For once, it would seem, Chaudhuri is hurt. Hurt as a Bengali, but hurt all the same.

What a Week

before, and reorients the research programme according to his own views. For instance, the rice specialist in Maharashtra recently became a millet specialist, to the temporary detriment of both rice and millet research.

Our Unchanging Press

The Changing Press: Chanchal Sarkar; Popular Prakashan, Bombay;
IT IS NOT often that one hears sombre, informed criticism of the Indian press; and it is rarely that someone from the inside offers constructive suggestions. There are, of course, politicians who are constantly giving unasked advice on what the Press should, or should not, do. Public sermons to the Press are not wanting, or lacking in colour. In fact, whenever the opportunity presents itself, one can hear homilies being read on the responsibilities of the Press. These, howsoever well meant (and often enough they are not so), are generally ignored; in part because those who dispense with advice are hardly in a position to do so with any kind of authority and partly because repetition takes the edge off criticism. That is why Chanchal Sarkar's "The Changing Press" is so welcome. Sarkar's credentials are impressive. He was for 10 years Assistant Editor of 'The Statesman', first in Calcutta and then in New Delhi. He has been parliamentary correspondent, leader- writer, columnist and special correspondent at home and abroad. He has been consultant to the Government of India's Committee on Information and Broadcasting Media, a member of the Judging Committee for awards of excellence in Printing and Designing, and director of the Press Institute of India since it was set up in 1963. If anyone can speak with authority on the Press in India, therefore, Chanchal Sarkar can.

Heads or Toes for Editors

have to play second fiddle to established parties like Swatantra in Orissa or the leftist parties in West Bengal. In the circumstances, the best course for BKD will be to function as a party of the centre, pro- grammatically sticking close to Congress and thereby placing itself in a position to constantly attract Congress malcontents. What could be more natural for a Congressman dissatisfied with things in his own party than to join a party which dissociates itself from all 'isms', shuns both right and left extremes and describes itself as Gandhian? Having placed itself in this strategic position, BKD can, when the opportunity presents itself, form coalitions with Congress.

Apathy and Anger

November 18, 1967 term polls, for situations like those prevailing in Bengal and Haryana. referendums for explosive conflicts between the States of the Union, are the kind of constitutional procedures we need to establish to resolve the problems spawned by a not very precise constitution. In addition we need to review parliamentary practice to minimise the waste of energy and effort. Parliament itself should be able to constitute bodies to do this vitally constructive work, bodies which could reflect the relative strength of the parties, To continue as at present is to invite ridicule for the system under which we live.


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