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Calcutta Diary

Climbing down from the high horse it was accustomed to ride, the IMF is now telling the poor countries that, in order to stimulate growth, they could lower lending rates; market forces may for the present be forgotten. Why, the Federal Reserve System in the US has, since beginning of the year, lowered its prime rate on as many as seven occasions. So, please do as the Americans do.

Calcutta Diary

Sailen Das, the medical man cum music buff cum political activist, refused to play the game. He refused point-blank to get rich quickly; he therefore had to be shot point-blank. Those who set themselves against the system do not deserve to live. No flowers for Salien Das.

Calcutta Diary

India, a horrendously chaotic polity, is all set for a monotonic, precipitate decline. No scope here for Hitchcockian suspense, with sudden, final-moment twists of events, culminating in some rescue act or other. India shall drown and none will save her.

Calcutta Diary

The UTI fiasco has let down the middle class. It is a politically sensitive issue and the government is bound to launch into a number of firefighting operations. But once befuddled, twice shy. There is a danger of a revolt by the middle class.

Calcutta Diary

After a hundred years of being subjected to a vacuous, remorseless neocolonialism, the Bihari psyche began to assert itself in a most forceful manner in the second half of the 20th century. And two individuals in particular articulated the fusion of legacy with the ethos nurtured by contemporary notions, concepts and ideas, Pradhan Prasad and Arvind Das, and both, by a cruel coincidence, have disappeared from the landscape in the space of the past few months.

Calcutta Diary

The ferocity of the attacks launched against the Tamil Nadu governor for having called upon Jayalalitha to form the government has transgressed the limits of fair criticism. The fault after all lies with the electorate for having elected a person who has been convicted to lead them. The malady lies with civil society as a whole, its paraphernalia having been appropriated by bigots.

Calcutta Diary

Two decades ago no official committee would have dared to suggest that in this country where roughly one-third of the population is without the minimum subsistence calories foodgrains should be dumped into the sea rather than being used to feed the poor. It is time that the government and parliamentary committees listened to the voices of the hungry which reverberated at the Anna Panchayat in Delhi recently.

Calcutta Diary

The outcome of the West Bengal assembly poll has established the basic point: what the media think is hugely irrelevant. An additional factor contributing to the demolition of Kali the Destroyer is an appraisal of comparative civilisations presented by the two alternatives. Rabindranath Tagore was successful, in the course of the 80 years he lived, in transforming a near-primitive dialect into a rich and refined language; give the lady even six months, she would drag the language down to the gutter. The electorate in West Bengal was not prepared to take the risk.

Calcutta Diary

Is it not odd that while the victims of applied free-market philosophy are overwhelmingly in the underdeveloped parts of the world, whatever resistance, token or otherwise, offered against it is taking place in streets and university campuses in North America and West Europe? The road to world revolution, it used to be thought, would be routed through Calcutta and Shanghai. Should the two place names be substituted, for example, by Quebec and Frankfurt?

Calcutta Diary

Whatever the finance minister may say in his umpteen statements on the floor of parliament and whatever alibi the RBI and the SEBI may trot out for their lotus-eaters' indolence, nothing much is likely to change in the existing circumstances. Both the RBI and the SEBI may go through the motion of framing a new set of rules to discipline the banks and share markets in order to bring the rogues to book. All this will be for the birds. As long as the fascination for the free market does not dissipate, things will be much the same in the years to come; homage to continuity.

Calcutta Diary

It is almost apologetically that one endeavours to put on record that this is Professor D R Gadgil's centenary year. Half a century ago, he was a man whose importance could not be brushed aside. He had done some service to the state. But the state does not care to remember, nor those who have for the present taken over its helmsmanship.

Calcutta Diary

Events are unfolding at an extremely fast pace. It is at this moment difficult to guess how India's ruling superstructure is going to crumble, or whether it is going to crumble at all. For there is hardly any scope for illusion. Irrespective of the particular corner of the political spectrum you decide to depend upon, the story is the same. Do we then wait for the Waiting-For-Godot principle? Rather, should not the wait be for a milieu where Godotdisbelievers have come to the fore?

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