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The Security-Insecurity Syndrome

Bhabani Sen Gupta Ethnicity, Security and Separatism in India by Maya Chadda; Oxford University Press. Delhi, 1997; pp 286, Rs 475. Government Polities and Ethnic Relations in Asia and the Pacific edited by Michael E Brown and Sumit Ganguly; The MIT Press, Cambridge. Massachusetts, 1997; pp 607, price not mentioned.

They Did Not Promise a Rose Garden

They Did Not Promise a Rose Garden Bhabani Sen Gupta The time for no-war, no-peace is over. For India, keeping the Kashmir issue frozen, it will not be possible to build sturdy bridges of co-operation with Pakistan. For Pakistan keeping a warlike situation alive in Kashmir wilt mean vitiating the entire process of peace- building. In any case, the world will not wait for the subcontinent.

On Bilateral Relations in South Asia

eroded by the war) and, by doing so, conflicted directly with the demands of agro- export capitalists for a steady supply of cheap labour at harvest time. 'The policy of strengthening and reorganising the campesino sector tends to break one of the fundamental givens on which the functioning of the agro-export sector is based: the existence of a reserve labour supply whose low level of income and absence of alternative sources of employment has left them at the disposition of this sector for use during the agro-export harvests, without causing this sector additional cost during the rest of the year" (p 57).

Pakistan Towards an Understanding

Bhabani Sen Gupta Pakistan's democracy is still to find deep roots but it seems to be strong enough to disallow another military take-over. "To Pakistan with an open mind From Pakistan, with Understanding" THAT is my badge when I go to Pakistan, which I have been doing every year since 1982, at least once, sometime twice. That was my badge when I spent eight days in Pakistan in the heat and humidity of a rainless September 1991. In May of the year before I found Pakistan a melting pot, in which different social, political, cultural and psychological ingredients were slowly but unbrokenly boiling into a mixed brew. In September I found the brewing going on somewhat faster than a year before, under the pressure of international change and to the tepid warmth of Pakistan's fledgling, reluctant democracy.

India after the By-Elections

India after the By-Elections Bhabani Sen Gupta Apart from consolidating Narasimha Rao's leadership of the Congress government, the by-elections have only confirmed the deep and durable fragmentation of the electorate. No political party has been able to wean away entrenched support from any other party.

Power-Shift

Power-Shift Bhabani Sen Gupta The aftermath of the election has left all parties, except the BJP, exhausted in body and mind. The Congress(I) is ready to fade away as the leading political force between now and the next election which is probably only three years away The leaders of the Janata Dal are torn between Mandal and the middle classes. The Left too is passing through a spiritual crisis. But in great contrast to the dilemmas in the camps of the secular parties is the climate in the BJP which, after scanning the election results, has come to the conclusion that the mood of the people is with it.

People, Parties and Power

CALL it 'electionitis' or 'electionics': when a democracy is forced to go in for two elections in 18 months, it is sick; when even the second election does not promise a stable government, it is very sick. The politicians blame each other for the sickness; they are determined to disown their collective responsibility. But, as Camus once put it, in a democracy everyone is guilty of what goes grievously wrong. If our democracy has come to a pass where it cannot elect a government that works or even lasts a fairly long time, all of us have to sit down and scratch our heads to discover what really has gone wrong, and how serious is the wrong that has happened and whether it can be righted in the normal process of democratic remedies of which election is only one.

Transitional Turmoil

Transitional Turmoil The current political disarray and the social turmoil in large parts of the country are the signs and consequences of the tensions in India's multinational, multicultural political milieu within which innumerable political and social experiments are taking place.

Power, Peasantry and Poor

Power, Peasantry and Poor Bhabani Sen Gupta V P Singh's political thinking is still a great deal blurred, and there is the irresistible temptation to indulge in wayward populism, to be pleased with symbols rather than substance. He has to remember that the electorate will judge him sternly by what he has been able to deliver in concrete terms and not by what he has promised or what he has legislated for.

After the Crisis Taller or Smaller

After the Crisis: Taller or Smaller? Bhabani Sen Gupta The apocalyptic view of the July crisis and of V P Singh's 'failure' to provide leadership springs from a basic lack of understanding of how the National Front government came into being, what its major commitments to the people are, what can reasonably be expected of it and what precisely its role in India's no-longer-linear political evolution is.

The Melting Pot That s Pakistan

The 'Melting Pot' That's Pakistan Bhabani Sen Gupta It is not the army that poses the biggest threat to democracy in Pakistan; it comes from some of the long-term malevolent impact of the Afghan crisis: guns, drugs, an abundance of money that no one has earned.

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