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The Complexity of the Crisis

The Complexity of the Crisis Romesh Thapar THE gloom is all-pervading. Rajiv Gandhi and his coterie are clueless about what is to be done in a politically fratricidal situation. We had earlier believed that the nervous baba-log would clutch the arms of our experienced bureaucratic babus, and survive. But, even here they feel orphaned. The latest order of the babus is to assign senior administrators handling traumatic situations as in Punjab to report at Delhi for a week's training in Commercial marketing'. Farce? Tragic farce, in fact.

Congress Thrusts and Contradictions

Congress Thrusts and Contradictions Romesh Thapar OUR future seems to be in the lap of the gods. The politicians are playing the fool with each other, talking in term of high principles about language and land and water and boundaries as if we were a multitude of hostile nations. I only hope all this clap-trap is confined to the so-called 'politicised', that tiny minority which seldom understands what the people really want. Then, maybe, we will salvage ourselves without too much damage even under our naive and inexperienced rulers.

The Problem Is Wider Than Punjab

The Problem Is Wider Than Punjab Romesh Thapar THE month of June is fated to become tension-ridden for Punjab. Soon, despite all the claims of Akali factions, the jathedars will have to decide whether they support Barnala or Badal. Much will hang on this decision because it will tell us whether the Akali Dal as a political formation is prepared to function within the existing parameters of Indian democratic practice or is determined to place itself out of bounds. The call is out for a military mop up of terrorist nests. Governor's rule is again mooted. Against this background of uncertainty and anxiety, the jathedars of the Akali Dal will give their verdict. Not for the first time has portentous decision-making come to rest on men with a rather simple and narrow vision that hardly moves beyond Sikh interests in Punjab.

The Revolution of the Crazies

The Revolution of the Crazies Romesh Thapar THE thought docs occur that all our brain- waving and political theorising is reduced to dust by the antics of the crazies of various communities. If chief minister Barnala can inspire himself with the example of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and settle down to cleaning shoes on the orders of the so-called 'priests' whom he (incidentally!) helped to return to the desecrated Golden Temple, and the Sikh community permits this farce, then the future of the state is put under the strangest questionings. Remember: No Akali has talked of punishing the Sikh terrorists, not even the revived priests.

Reshuffling in Whose Aid

Reshuffling in Whose Aid? Romesh Thapar WHOEVER thought of Buta Singh, a much condemned 'tankhiya' (whatever that might mean, but condemned nevertheless!), as Union Home Minister. How does Chief Minister Barnala deal with him? Or is it intended that he should communicate only with the man who has all his fingers in the ghee, as they say

What Are the Politicians Up To

What Are the Politicians Up To? Romesh Thapar DONT talk of ideologies or programmes, of productivity or poverty, of commitments to the people, Focus your attention on the Vote banks'. Then you will understand what is really tearing us apart

Waiting for God Knows What

Waiting for God Knows What Romesh Thapar I HOPE the action by the security forces against the militants in the Golden Temple, now calling for Khalistan, will open the way to some normalisation in Punjab, The whole country, including the Akalis, are committed to ending the extremist menace

Let s Talk about Hindu Fundamentalism

Let's Talk about Hindu 'Fundamentalism' Romesh Thapar EVERY now and then we are reminded that the press is deliberately unresponsive to the new 'ball game' that our young rulers are embarked upon. It is just as well, for the game is terribly dangerous and might well throw this country into devastating turmoil. So many isolated incidents appear innocent enough, but when studied in their interconnections they emerge as a massive stirring of Hindu fundamentalism.

From Cow-Shit to Bull-Shit

From Cow-Shit to Bull-Shit Romesh Thapar THE 'thrust' into the twenty-first century is beginning to look very much like a movement from cow-shit to bull-shit. Why is it bull-shit? Because our very young PM talks one language in private and quite something else in public. How else can one explain the antics of the baba-log playing government- government, dropping boulders here and there, creating disruptive misunderstandings.

No Integration without Integrity

No Integration without Integrity Romesh Thapar THERE is a sense of satisfaction, at least beyond the Arun Nehru sphere of influence, that Rajiv Gandhi is beginning to listen to the Opposition and consult with it. The rather outspoken interventions in the recent meeting of that jelly-like body known as the National Integration Council should have convinced our young Prime Minister that he was terribly misled when dismissing the Opposition as anti-national.

The Dinosaurs to the Rescue

The' Dinosaurs' to the Rescue Romesh Thapar WHY is it that it always needs the rumblings of an earthquake to stir our rulers into action. Once this applied only to the states of the Union. Now it applies to the federal government at the Centre. And, what's more, we are always too near the brink of disaster. Political salvage operations become a kind of poker game. Everything depends on luck.

Punjab at Stake, and More

Punjab at Stake, and More Romesh Thapar PAROCHIAL, short-sighted politicking, backed by every type of vicious violence is slowly suffocating the spirit of Punjab. Even as a confused Barnala is sought to be toppled by an ambitious Badal, with the exposed Tohra looking on, the killer squads of the extremists are given free play. The power game, as it is played in Delhi under the guidance of Arun Nehru's security apparatus, is to offer a careful mixture of advice, warnings and thrusts which do not assist Barnala to assert himself.

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