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Courtesy Calls

November 11, 1967 the heirarchy of power in town and village. Some such pattern, with local variations, is visible in Bihar too. Madhya Pradesh, the most recent of the so-called non-Congress coalitions to come to power, is uneasy what with the Rajmata acting as an autocratic chieftain behind the scenes. Any Congress-backed coalition, if it wants to survive, will have to be more principled in its system of alliances.

Questions, Questions, Questions

October 28, 1967 blems and has no clear ideas as to how they should be tackled. Meanwhile, the wheels of government continue to move slowly, too slowly. A one-man investigation commission for Kashmir is about to be launched, and the hope is that it will not be another cumbersome, drawn-out affair. The situation in the Valley is ugly, to say the least, and will demand rather unorthodox treatment. However, we continue to wonder at the silence over the killings in Ranchi and elsewhere in Bihar. As far as we are aware, not a single arrest has been ordered. Surely, the communal conspiracy requires wider attention. Belatedly, some prominent leftists, have met to demand stern measures; but the irony is that their parties are members of the governments which permit such heinous crimes and only some two to three mohths ago some of their spokesmen were beating the drums for an alliance with the Jan Sangh.

The Press in Asia

Emerging Estate (Press Institute of India); Orient Longmans, SEMINARS can just be so much talk, as many people rightly think. Not that we need turn up our noses at talk, when it is either entertaining or enlightening; on the contrary, we ought to sit up and take note of it, especially when it is both. There is nothing, as Chanchal Sar- kar reminds us in his preface to this book, more stimulating than good conversation; and this is what "Emerging Estate" provides. We must be thankful to the Press Institute of India for putting between hard covers, the many papers from seminars held by it and the International Press Institute in recent times.

Prize Carrots

October 21, 1967 nels in the deficit States will not rise, since the maximum procurement price of Rs 56.50 fixed for these States is, except in Bihar, higher than the prices that prevailed last year.

From Obscenity to Gherao

From Obscenity to Gherao Nireekshak THE GRIMMEST story in recent weeks, recounted in Weekend Review (September 30). is on the press itself. It is as follows: On December 24. 1966, cartoonist Kerala Verma, who draws for Eastern Economist and Thought among other papers, was arrested and put into prison by the Delhi police for allegedly being the author of two 'obscene' posters aimed at the Prime Minister which appeared in August last year. He spent three gruesome days in Tihar Jail, in which (in the words of Weekend Review) "he was slowly stripped of all those attributes of personality and human dig. nity which distinguish one individual from another". The full story of what happened to him has been recounted by Kerala Verma himself. Verma was released on bail on the evening of December 27, 1966, after suffering various indignities. In a footnote to the story. Weekend Review significantly mentions that, on July 4, 1967, the police petitioned the Magistrate to permit them to withdraw their charges. Till then, obviously, the report Was sub judice. Now it has been recounted.

Some Change, Some Courage

October 7, 1967 sales. Bookselling is a low-turnover occupation, returns on capital materialise slowly even when they are assured and the bookseller's capacity to absorb losses is more severely restricted than that of traders in most other fields.

War, Water and Wine

War, Water and Wine Nireekshak AFTER THE STORM, the lull. First we had Chinese troops firing across the barbed wire fence at Nathu La (nobody in official circles has yet answered Ram Manohar Lohia's angry question as to whether the wire fence is still intact); then we had the Nanak Sagar dam disaster, which has been described by the National Herald (and very rightly so) as the greatest disaster in recent times. The cost of that disaster has not yet been computed; one estimate is in the vicinity of Rs 40 crores; it could possibly be more. The cost in terms of human misery surely cannot be calculated; in this country misery is seldom taken into account. It is, like air, water and God, taken for granted. The National Herald has been pressing for an official inquiry; there seems to be some hesitation in government circles. The inquiry, no doubt, will finally be instituted, when much of the evidence has been erased and the people's anger softened.

News and Non-News

News and Non-News Nireekshak WHAT is news to 'Hindustan Stan- ward' is not necessarily news to the 'Hindu', and what interests the 'National Herald' may not make the grade with 'Malayala Manorama'. Take, for example, the newspapers of September 12. The lead story in the 'National Herald' was the breach in Nanak Sagar Dam. 'Nanak Sagar Dam Breach Claims 1000 Lives: Worst National Calamity, Says Union Minister' went the treble- decker front page headline. No other paper seemed interested in the fact that the nation's worst calamity had taken 1,000 lives. The head count, of course, was not fully confirmed. Were exactly 1,000 lives lost? No one was sure. In India, lives of ordinary citizens do not count. The 'Herald' had some frightful pictures of the havoc caused when the dam burst. Its coverage of the calamity was extensive, as it should be.

Much Excitement, No Lament

Much Excitement, No Lament Nireekshak I DO NOT REGRET having said that not a single Indian paper did an "inside" job on Kashmir till the Pandit agitation blew up in the face of a surprised government. Since then our dailies have woken up and sent some of their senior correspondents to Srinagar to find out what is what Between them they have come up with some surprising facts "The Indian Express" sent A N Dar, himself a Kashmiri, to report on conditions in the Valley. "If the Pandit's agitation has proved anything4' was his finding, "it is that in Kashmir nothing tan be left simmering

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