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Calcutta Diary

Charged with hijacking a Thai Airways plane at Bangkok airport in November 1990 to highlight the Burmese nation's struggle against the ruling junta and shuttling ever since between New Delhi, Calcutta and the second additional sessions court at Barasat, Soe Myint has scrounged a living through stray journalistic writings. A collection of these writings, Burma File: A Question of Democracy, was recently released by the venerable Lakshmi Sehgal. That is all she, and the rest of us, can do for Soe Myint for the present. Ours is a democratic country, civil liberties are respected here, but then we are also an integral part of George W Bush's war on terrorism.

Calcutta Diary

The world is a great harlotland and the Indians jolly well have to play the role of strumpets. Should they behave to the contrary, they will be guilty not only of unfriendliness to the hyperpower but of unfaithfulness to the tenets of neoclassical economics.

Calcutta Diary

The eerie early hours of May 19, 1993. Five intruders, Kalashnikovs already blazing, barge into a two-room bit in a house on the eastern fringes of Calcutta and, no questions asked, summarily shoot, several times over, a young Punjabi couple. The sequel of developments to this episode, 10 years ago, epitomises the current state of the democratic republic of India.

Calcutta Diary

While we should praise famous men, how does one know that today's notorious terrorists could not emerge as tomorrow's famous men? What is much more ominous, are we heading towards a situation where the world witnesses a mechanistic fissure along ethnic lines?

Calcutta Diary

Since the thirties of the last century, India has witnessed a good few instances of intense sincere efforts of some somebodies to disown or step out of their bourgeois class allegiance and rush towards the proletarian heaven. It is a long and impressive list. Mohit Sen, who was felled by a massive cardiac seizure in the first week of May, was a partisan belonging to this series of ideologues who wanted to be nondescript non-kings.

Calcutta Diary

The economic recession, which threatens to be long-lasting, is the product of the recession of political and cultural ethos; countrymen, we have rediscovered the bliss of colonialism, at least a new version of it, and cannot quite stop admiring it.

Calcutta Diary

The past few weeks have been a trauma, not just for the Iraqis but for thousands of men, women and children in the rest of the globe, including in the United States and Great Britain as well. What is even more important than the explosions of anger, revulsion and resentment, it is bound to persuade scholars to take another look at their approach toward analysing Stalin's role in history.

Calcutta Diary

The vocal sections of Indians have their priorities sorted out in excellent detail. The nation, the part of it that matters, lives for cricket and is prepared to die for it. Entertain no illusion, these sections do not have the slightest inclination to pledge themselves either for Iraq or for global peace.

Calcutta Diary

Are the current enthusiasts for the turnover tax at all sure that their labours will lead to an integrated national market? Should the fiscal switch-over lead to a dramatic shrinkage in the earnings of state governments, the latter would be unable to implement even the minimal tasks for assuaging the needs of the community at large. The culmination could then be large-scale civil disturbances all over the country. Instead of integration, we will then end up with disintegration on a frightening scale.

Calcutta Diary

Borders are imposed by political fiat. Social exchanges indulged in by human groups however transcend such artificial divisions. That is the great historical truth. The BJP government in New Delhi appears to be in right earnest to destroy that truth.

Calcutta Diary

Under the present dispensation in India, the operational doctrine is head-I-win-tails-you-lose; where the rich will gain an advantage, you apply the principle of fixing uniform rates; where the application of such a principle will disadvantage the rich, you wink at discriminatory practices and, further, purposely set up a structure of rates which takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

Calcutta Diary

Western civilisation, that is, if civilisation it has to be described as, has turned an interesting corner. Science and rationality would appear to have had their day. The country where western technology has reached its climacteric is no longer interested in facts. It has decided to cross over to beliefs and faith. Such total reliance on faith is a classy case of fundamentalism. Osama bin Laden is a fundamentalist. George W Bush is no less so.

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