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Calcutta Diary

A M The obituaries for Kanan Devi, nee Kananbala, the first great singing star produced by the country's film industry and the heart-throb of millions in the thirties and the forties, were brief, as brief as the funeral procession. The main story, however, remained untold. It was a case of either selective amnesia or a delicately exercised social censorship.

Calcutta Diary

A M Shankar Guha Niyogi laid stress on one apparently incidental issue which might yet turn out to be a phenomenon of major import. The battle against economic injustice and social oppression, which is at the same time the struggle for enlightenment, must have a moral basis; placing crooks and habitual boozers at the head of the procession will not do.

Calcutta Diary

A M The east Europeans had stable prices, rationed food generally in reasonable quantities, ample clothing even though somewhat unimaginative in design and quality, housing of some sort; they bad full employment, generous social security arrangements, subsidised education and health care, and music and culture organised for the millions. But the east Europeans were hustled into choosing. They chose to be free. They have chosen galloping prices, steeply declining production, unemployment for 50 per cent of the workforce and social chaos. Here, in India, the shapers of our destiny are now being asked to be inspired by the example of the east Europeans.

Calcutta Diary

We have a major stake in both Kuwait and Iraq. Apart from three-quarters of our oil imports coming from these two countries, roughly four hundred thousand of bur citizens are resident there, sending, home dose to Rs 2,000 crore worth of foreign exchange every year. Our instinctive reaction should therefore have been to raise Cain in the UN arid, acting in concert with other members of the Non-Aligned Movement, apply pressure on Foggy Bottom to reverse its decision to starve the Iraqis into submission.

Calcutta Diary

A M It is such a nice government, why insist on its words and deeds going together? There will be no negotiations with the Americans under the threat of Super 301, but no negotiations are in fact necessary, the government has already come out with a new industrial policy resolution which goes a long way toward conceding what the US administration had demanded of us.

Calcutta Diary

THE world is being made to pay a terrible price all because those in charge made a hash of things in east Europe. For some while, any outrage committed anywhere in the name of economic liberalisation and the free market will pass muster. Memories, after all, have a short life span. It is because the free market was responsible for some of the grossest im- proprieties in social relationships that the role of the state in regulating economic affairs assumed importance over time. Collec- tivist measures, such as planning, attracted attention for the same reason. In case parties who encounter one another in competitive bargaining are of unequal bargaining capabilities, the market fails to ensure equity and justice; it instead provides enormous scope for exploitation of the society's poor by the society's rich. In such circumstances, the state has to intervene.

Calcutta Diary

A M Those who had plundered the economy in the name of hustling the pace of growth and modernisation must, the mandate of the Lok Sabha election had said, be brought to book. But how? The ethos dominating the nation's capital will not permit this. This is the dilemma on which the new government is poised.

Calcutta Diary

A M The hullabaloo over the Lok Sabha election outcome from the Jadavpur constituency in Calcutta confirms the reality of the secular retreat from literacy in the state. The candidate who won from Jadavpur on the Left Front ticket represents the quintessence qf the culture Bengal was once known for. But Calcutta's newspapers could not care less. She has committed an unforgivable crime; she has defeated their candidate, their heroine, their godsister; the press, reduced to lumpendom, cannot take it, it is frothing in the mouth.

Calcutta Diary

A M The party has gone down to ignominious defeat on account of his conduct and activities, but within the Congress(I) the old order does not change, none dares to point out that, if anyone should resign any party post, it should be the party president himself, he being the fountainhead of all the wrongs that have afflicted the party in the recent period. This is frightening.

Calcutta Diary

A M The cynics are still full of Tiananmen Square. One night at Tiananmen Square, however, docs not constitute history. History takes a longer view of both heroes and traitors. Consider the case of Klaus Fuchs, who died some months ago in the GDR, full of as they say, years and honours.

Calcutta Diary

A M The innocent millions, whose formal votes have been instrumental for the sustenance of India's ruling dynasty till now, have to be weaned away from their loyalty to the concept of advaita. The first blow for Enlightenment, the necessary condition, one could say, is to dismantle the belief that the dynasty, this particular dynasty, has the divine, eternal right to rule India and that, without its benign presence, the nation is bound to collapse.

Calcutta Diary

A M The Indian prime minister has readjusted his sights. The nobility cannot be saved in Sri Lanka; it is too late for that. So he might as well use the occasion to effect a little extension of his empire, and annex the island's north-eastern beachheads.

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