ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Calcutta Diary

September 30, 1972 Calcutta Diary A M THE World Peace Council was in town last week. Or was it the Afro-Asian Solidarity Conference? Does it really matter whether it was the one or the other? The composition of the two bodies must be almost identical. They pass the same resolutions, they display the .same portfolio of cliches. Their source of funds, one conjectures, cannot but be the same. The predictable array of shop-worn faces, the predictable array of set reactions to issues. The fire has gone out: these are the burnt-out cases. Do not remind them of Julius Fuchik; do not ask them if they still remember who the Rosenbergs were; why embarrass them by inquiring, a little too deeply, what, according to them, is the content of peace, or of solidarity among the struggling peoples around the world? By and large, these are smug, intensely self-satisfied people. The Soviet Union has prospered in the course of the past twenty years; so have they. These front organisations, which behave as if peace and international brotherhood are categories copyrighted by them, are flush with funds; they have their affiliating units nearly everywhere; seminars and conferences are their familiar stock-in-trade; people meet, people travel in delegations, people sing paeans of praise for the Soviet Union and whoever is or arc currently politically chummy with that country: the Soviet Union is-in Heaven, and all is right with the world. For the Indian functionaries of these bodies, this year there is a particular after-glow. The Indo-Soviet Treaty is talked of in hushed tones: it is such a pristinely glorious thing, it is that most Utopian of dreams suddenly come true; India, their own country India, is now a bonded, treaty- bound friend of the great Soviet Union. The sincerest of tears well up in their eyes.

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