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Which India Concerns Them

Which India Concerns Them? Romesh Thapar VARIOUS visiting foreigners, described in Indian English as VIPs and VVlPs, who in their persons still represent a kind of splintered viceroyalty for India

A Moment of Correction

A Moment of Correction? Romesh Thapar THERE may be divided views on the initiatives being taken to untangle the political knots in Punjab, Assam and Kashmir, but the relief is widespread that we are moving at last. What's more, Rajiv Gandhi has abandoned the old provocative posturings for wider consultation and what is being described by the coterie around him as 'open- mindedness'. All to the good when political life encourages abrasiveness and intolerance, even in Rajiv Gandhi.

Beginning to Perform

Beginning to Perform Romesh Thapar I WAS in the capital of our former colonial masters when Rajiv Gandhi moved to a bold agreement with Longowal, Our newsmen who work for the British wrote of the positive approach praising the young PM for his courageous and successful initiative. Longowal's courage was, of course, forgotten. Sitting there in London, reading skimpy reports, the thought did occur that the move had cut through bureaucratic palsy and that had this been done two years ago it would have prevented the tragic rise of violence and terrorism.

Looking at the Constitution

Looking at the Constitution Romesh Thapar DESPITE all the alarums in the newspapers, and the commentaries on this and that problem, the central thrust of all discussion in political circles is around the chaotic state of the nation and the paralysis that has overcome all governance. Parallel to this discussion is the speculation about who will rule India if the present coteries collapse

An Editors Guild Initiative

tists and technologists are always enthusia An Editors' Guild Initiative stic about the installation of hardware, but Romesh AT various retreats, here, there and everywhere, scribblers among political activists are busy drafting strategies for the new situation in order to gain relevance. The trouble with these 'documents' is that they are intended to sound impressive and sincere, but no one really bothers about implementing the sentiments embodied in them. Well, 1 think the time has come to make political parties realise that we are not the sheep they think we are.

The UN System

The UN System Romesh Thapar WHEN Indira Gandhi, as Chairperson of the Non-Aligned Movement, sent her Foreign Office emissaries to the various Capitals of the world requesting Heads of State to attend a summit meeting at the United Nations last year, the response could not have been more depressing. There was no interest because there was no agenda. Even President Mitterrand of France, who had been prevailed upon to attend by the personal appeals of the Indian PM, didn't ever decide what was the purpose of it all.

Dimensions for External Activity

Dimensions for External Activity Romesh Thapar WHEN Rajiv Gandhi suddenly makes up his mind to play at being Chairperson of the non-aligned and declares his intention to do something about the never-ending Iran-Iraq war, and his country's relations with neighbours, a lot of people in the region imagine that a bright new era is opening. Very soon, however, the whole exercise dissolves into its PR dimensions. No scenarios exist for action on the ground

Government at Siesta

Government at Siesta Romesh Thapar NOTHING really makes political sense these days. We seem to be carrying on without a coherent government. As for details about those who are supposedly involved with decision-making, rumours hold the stage. In fact, no one really knows who is concerned We keep hearing about this or that initiative. The materia lisation is zero.

Enough Is Enough

Enough Is Enough Romesh Thapar AS Rajiv Gandhi returned to his tense land and pulled on his bullet-proof jacket, the security afforded by an authoritarian structuring as in the USSR must have felt attractive It is all very depressing. We have made our very own future terribly dependent on personality cults

The Making of a Lawless Society

The Making of a Lawless Society Romesh Thapar WHEN the persons arrested for being involved in the transistor-bomb attacks were produced in a Delhi court, no newspaper had the integrity to comment on their poor physical condition. When one of the leading accused died in hospital, we were told that it was the result of injuries sustained when struggling against the police. The doctor's report was the most unsatisfactory document I have read in a long while. And, now, it appears that another of the accused is in bad shape.

Time to Play It Cool

Time to Play It Cool Romesh Thapar THERE is something terribly strange about the surprise that is expressed in official quarters when an eruption, terrorist or otherwise, takes place in some part of this rather large and difficult sub-continent. India is so garrulous and open about its prognostications and expectations that almost all possibilities have been discussed in the bazaars before the event.

Today s Congressiahs

Today's Congressiahs Romesh Thapar WHEN Rajiv Gandhi moved into his mother's office, he inherited a lumpen- ised, criminalised party and little else. All the computer antics during the parliamentary and assembly elections were not able to make much difference to the composition of this party and its election candidates. And only the other day, at the first A1CC meeting since the traumas of last year, the members mobbed their leader' in such fashion that he had to abandon his lunch and flee. No charisma was involved. Arun Singh, his political aide, had to flee too.

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