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So Many Political Vibrations

So Many Political Vibrations Romesh Thapar RAJIV GANDHI will soon be into a new ball game. His aides might try to concoct all kinds of superficial theories to explain away the election debacle in Kerala and Bengal

The Culture of Lies

IT doesn't make sense. Whatever persuaded Rajiv Gandhi to behave like a naughty school boy and cover himself with blatant lies and openly contradictory statements in parliament. The flouting of constitutional norms is even graver. Did he imagine that the president, like the sycophantic Con- gress(I) mob, would remain silent? Or was he about to apologise privately and got caught on the wrong foot?

Elections and Political Calculations

IF our non-functioning MPs are so distracted by the forthcoming bunch of state elections that it is difficult to round them up to establish a minimum quorum in parliament, president Giani Zail Singh, no longer a storm-trooper of the ruling clique, is taking time off to explore the possibility of a second term. In the context of elections, with a multitude of frustrated factions crystallising to project parliamentary 'candidates', what's wrong if our non-functioning opposition thinks that a major splitting of vote banks will take place around the president's second term.

The Jungles of Today

The Jungles of Today Romesh Thapar WE are on the edge of what are bound to become prolonged nuclear dialogues between India and Pakistan. Boastfully, the Pakistani, scientists, Dr Ali Khan, in his heavily guarded residence in Islamabad, has made some rather loose and provocative statements to the visiting Indian journalist, Kuldip Nayar, and has confirmed our neighbour's possession of the nuclear weapon. Why he gave the interview is already the subject of controversy. On top of it, the statements made are being denied. Kuldip Nayar was right when he said that maybe it will be reported that the interview never took place! The repercussions suggest that either the Pakistani scientist, together with editor Mushahid, who accompanied Nayar, were playing a hawkish role on their own and possibly on behalf of some military-civilian faction, or they planned to use Nayar for a subterfuge with the backing of General Zia and others, to make it look as if India had agreed to a border disengagement because of the bomb. The story got delayed by a month, and now the repercussions have taken on a new flavour. Journalists, beware of suspicious scoops! 1 hope the US State Department is going to take serious note of what has been said. It is proof that Pakistan has elbowed itself into a position where it might not be possible to receive US military aid

Our Non-Working Parliament

Our Non-Working Parliament Romesh Thapar OUR non-working parliament is in session. Non-working, because it seldom has a quorum of even ten per cent of the members in both houses. Of course, these representatives of the people draw their monthly sitting fees, their various perks and privileges including subsidised housing, with telephones and electricity seldom paid for. In this socialistic society, they should observe the disciplines of the public sector, and be clocked regularly for attendance. Hut we have two standards, two nations. That's why we are where we are.

A Banana Republic

will be persuaded to inspect better-smelling A Banana Republic? pockets of achievement Romesh NO one really knows what's going on. Speculation on the future of the Barnala government shifts from day to day, depen ding on the expressed and unexpressed sen timents of the Sikh community. Communal reaction is over-emphasised. Even intelligent Sikhs try desperately to find different and less precise adjectives to describe the killers who are blackmailing the community.

Punjab s Moment of Truth

whitewash is more brazen than is generally Punjab's Moment of Truth expected. Romesh THERE are many persons of integrity who are trying to bridge the gulfs that threaten to paralyse Punjab, but it is time that they stopped prevaricating and underlined the incontrovertible facts of the present situation. Without these truths, properly uncovered, the dialogues will not develop. They will remain repetitive, futile exercises.

Under-Developed War Games

Under-Developed War Games Romesh Thapar SO many senior officers have been 'briefing' the editors of our newspapers that our establishment nucleariser, K Subramanian, finds himself reduced to an occasional voice. The editors have become military strategists, with all kinds of borrowed perceptions about the capabilities of India and Pakistan. All this is part of the scenario of confusion in which at least the expression, 'brass tacks', the name of the Indian exercise, has become popular. But we have to go beyond all this clutter.

Confusion upon Confusion

Confusion upon Confusion IN his more confident days, the former finance minister, Vishwanatha Pratap Singh, used to say that the business community in India was a-rootless thing without any clear idea of the society to which it belonged. It was the Rajput view of the Bania, rather simplistic but broadly true of the gentlemen who flaunt their development skills.

An Unconscious Wrecker at Work

foreign scribe, had that intangible thing called a mind and had popularised and won support for the purposes of their governance, it would still be possible to forgive an occasional ill-mannered outburst. But what is happening suggests an unconscious wrecker at work, a person who imagines that he and his family are here to rule for ever over some private property. Banish the thought. His party is now looking at him askance.

Living in Wonderland

Living in Wonderland Romesh Thapar 'SHARDA KA PRASAD', that's how the vulgar describe the 60-lakh jamboree of the 'finest minds' mounted by the information aide, Y Sharda Prasad, in memory of Indira Gandhi, and launched by that mind of minds, Rajiv Gandhi, described by Mulk Raj Anand as "brilliant" It's all about "new beginnings", even as the daily papers tell their gory tale of continuing neo-colonial rule over a sub-continent, a tale of terror, counter-terror, of hate and violence, of confrontations for political power. Appropriately, Rajiv Gandhi talks of violence, but his panacea is simplistic

New Beginnings

New Beginnings Romesh Thapar IF the newspapers look dull and despairing, with their daily recital of our violence and brutality to one another, it is necessary to look beyond this reportage. Several interesting developments are in the making. Let me list them because we tend in our new-found cynicism to ignore catalytic vibrations.

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