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The Healing Touch

The 'Healing Touch' Romesh Thapar THE strange continuities of India are sharply etched for you even as you return via the airport. But, whatever the surface signs, on this occasion the continuities have been shattered, rudely shattered, whatever the dishonest and clumsy attempt at whitewashing in the White Paper on the horrendous Punjab events or the other papers that will be penned, tongue-in-cheek, by Governor Jag Mohan in Kashmir. After all, the rulers of this benighted land are in the throes of enacting another Punjab in Kashmir

Too Many Guns

Too Many Guns Romesh Thapar WITH developments in Punjab going the brutal way of martial law, comment will have to wait. However, there are many related matters apart from political which need immediate attention. For example, there are too many guns around.

Punjab Where Are We

Punjab: Where Are We? Romesh Thapar OUR nuclear lobby would better serve the national interest by discussing how our rifle-bearing police could be more effectively equipped as they face sten- gims in Punjab, It is certainly a more real problem than the nuclear competition. Invariably, the killers get their man, spraying him or her with bullets

Let s Also Play God

Let's Also Play God Romesh Thapar WHAT so many modern artists of little distinction did to the disciplines of their work, Indira Gandhi has done for Indian politics. Every second person is a policy maker, and why not when governance has become a pattern of whims, hunches, alarums and vibrations? How else can one describe the ambience of (he Congress (I) government over Punjab's turmoil. And however hard it tries to establish the initiating role of the foreign hand, the theorising doesn't really stick. A presence there must be, but only after our own messy handling of the situation.

Crises Feed the Crisis

Romesh Thapar I MUST say that the public indignation over the drunken escapades of a single wretched Congress(I) Minister is impressive even though somewhat amusing. Apart from the fact that so many of those in the throes of protesting are no paragons of virtue, if someone took the trouble to research the reports of Air India, the tourist offices and our Embassies we would find ourselves with a horrendous record of misbehaviour by a large number of what we call VIPs and WIPs.

Hitting and Missing

STRANGELY devious, almost mischievous, are the gambits of the ruling caucus of the Congress(I). How else can one view Indira Gandhi's prompt responses specially to the religious demands of a section of the Sikh leadership headquartered in the Golden Temple in Amritsar. It is a political play which whets the appetile of the killer squads demoralises the healthy citizenry and makes a mockery of President's Rule

More Conspiracies

More Conspiracies Romesh Thapar EVEN as the Rajya Sabha elections spark an Opposition consolidation, lessons are being drawn about the implications for the great electoral contest towards the end of this year

Game of Leaders and Collectives

Game of Leaders and Collectives Romesh Thapar I KEEP wondering what persuaded a leading national newspaper like The Times of India to delude its readers about the remarkable stabilising role that the Congress's heir apparent played in over-turning his mother's decision to put elected politicians beyond the law through an amendment to Bombay's anti-corruption act. The original decision, everyone knows, was the ruling family's. No one else can take such a decision in the Con- gress(l).

Balloons, Punctured and Otherwise

Balloons, Punctured and Otherwise Romesh Thapar THE .smiles on the faces of the ruling politicians are as hollow as their heads. The disarray is phenomenal on almost every question, be it Punjab, Kashmir. Karnataka or, for that matter, Antulay. No one is actually in command. This or that advice, usually contrary, prevails for a day or half a day. If political decision-making has become unhinged from its normal anchorages, so have the minds of those who pretend to rule this sub-continent.

A Dangerous Edge to Our Politics

A Dangerous Edge to Our Politics Romesh Thapar THERE is a new and persistent flavouring in our present-day politics of which we had better begin to take serious note. In the language of official spokesmen, only too anxious to resort to cliche, it is dressed up in the word 'extremist'. "What it covers is some terrible amalgam of unemployed, educated lumpen, motivated criminal and dacoit, armed terrorist, paid hireling, mouthing all manner of half-baked ideology to dress his acts as 'political', gathering incendiary experience to offer to 'hit squads' now mushrooming everywhere with official, semiofficial and private patronage, and briefed with 'hit lists'.

Our Todays aud Tomorrows

Our Todays aud Tomorrows Romesh Thapar I HAVE often wondered how so many informed persons literally become tongue-tied when asked to think of an alternative to Indira Gandhi. The notion that without her the Republic would crumble is now a myth of extraordinary dimensions and made so by the unuttered belief in Congress (I) circles that Rajiv Gandhi is the only possible heir apparent in this subcontinent of 700 millions. If this family, now a captive of stenographers and typists, is our symbol of rulership, then God (if he exists) had better get moving to save us.

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