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Calcutta Diary

The absurd economic laws and theories that have dominated western societies have succeeded in doing so because most of these societies have an infrastructure of inequity and inequality. The pretence of perfect competition helps the expansion of monopoly in the system, for it enables the strong to confront in the market the weak, who are crushed in no time. To assuage their left-over morality the rich have also developed a second-order formulation: if a tiny fragment of the population turn out to be filthily rich, a part of their income will trickle down and take care of the problems of the poor. Nationally as well as internationally, we are at the moment helpless victims of such trivial theorisations and actions based on them.

Calcutta Diary

Indrajit Gupta had an uninterrupted parliamentary career from 1960, with a gap of two-and-a-half years from 1977. The suavity of his parliamentary performance had depth. The Lok Sabha gradually lost its lustre, it became plebianised without being proletarianised. Gupta had little illusion about the effectiveness of setting aside precious hours that could have been used for trade union work for silly parliamentary chores. He must have also realised in later years the anomaly of representing a constituency where his own party was a growing non-entity. But the gentleman in him was able to tuck in his unhappiness with a sangfroid that could not but command respect.

Calcutta Diary

What distinguishes the Gujarat cataclysm is the fact that this has been one earthquake where, along with the poor, affluent sections of society have also been substantial sufferers. Perhaps for the first time in the annals of mankind, an earthquake has shaken the confidence of oligarchs. Globalisation and liberalisation have come home to roost. The rich, who were agog at the marvels of western architecture, have had a rude awakening.

Calcutta Diary

To justify the grave improprieties it has committed, the Eleventh Finance Commission falls back on a minor entry in the Constitution which permits the commission to consider any other matter referred to it by the president in the interests of sound finance. But such issues as withholding a part of grants-in-aid to a state, the setting up of an Incentive Fund, and the formation of a monitoring agency to oversee the implementation of the so-called fiscal reforms were not a part of the original terms of reference for the commission; nor were these issues raised at all in the original report. The commission's second report has without question been written to order: the ministry ordained, the commission complied.

Calcutta Diary

The press and the electronic media in Calcutta are currently engaged to persuade the middle class to cross over to accepting as gospel truth fabrications cut out of the wholecloth. The centre of attention, as can well be imagined, is the union railway minister. Let us concentrate on a couple of instances where she has displayed her remarkable quality of pyrotechnics in the very recent period.

Calcutta Diary

India's big-brotherly dominance could be an objective reality in several of her neighbouring states, acting as a roadblock to the emergence of peace in the real sense with nations across our borders. We too will conceivably be victims of the conviction, unfounded or otherwise, that none of our neighbours appreciate our magnanimity and benevolence and that they have launched a conspiracy, jointly or severally, against us. The Hindutva stance will strengthen this belief, the defence lobby active inside the country reinforcing it further.

Calcutta Diary

It is faith which enables the mobilisation of courage without which the goal will remain as distant as ever. Even in the current Indian milieu, faith will continue to be at work despite the unfriendliness around. Who knows, those who come to scoff might yet stay to applaud.

Calcutta Diary

The government of India signed the Marrakesh Treaty and Indian agriculture is therefore supposed to be under the total discipline of the World Trade Organisation. The treaty has transferred, without the leave of the states, prerogatives pertaining to agriculture which, under the Indian Constitution, belong to the states. This is a piquant situation.

Calcutta Diary

Those in the poorer parts of the world have cause for glee. The misfortune of the better placed in any circumstances gladdens the heart of the weaker sections. Some positive effects could actually emerge from the convulsion gripping the American nation. A diminished United States of America implies a diminished western world. To expect a setback for neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism following this outcome is not a far-fetched proposition.

Calcutta Diary

Some years ago, in order to prevent the CPI(M) and its associates from continuously winning elections in West Bengal, the suggestion was mooted to import not only poll personnel and supervisory police, but voters too from other states on the eve of the poll. That proposal is no longer considered feasible. Hence an alternative proposal has been adumbrated: the mandate of the West Bengal electorate must not be honoured; it is time for arranging a constitutional amendment to that effect.

Calcutta Diary

Who are the people who will forgather to frustrate the alleged conspiracy of the intransigent Luddites, bent on blocking the telecommunications revolution in the country? One has to define 'people' in a very special manner so as to satisfy the revolutionary claims of the anti-Luddites.

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