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

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Polluted Perspectives

Polluted Perspectives Romesh Thapar I AM not going to write about the killing of the unfortunate Mhatre in Birmingham by some politicised hoodlums or the sudden decision of the Government of India to hang the terrorist and convicted murderer, Maqbool Butt, without permitting any relation to meet him, or the Congress(I) charge that Chief Minister Abdullah was connected with the killing in Britain or the extraordinary lack of concern and ability in our High Commission in London or the disgraceful manner in which our politicians try to make political capital out of these happenings. What can one expect of a Foreign Office headed by a bunch of warring Secretaries, one of whom has been given the priority task of supervising the clean-up of the kitchens of a local club! Under the present dispensation of power and patronage, we are helpless in more ways than one. The killings in Punjab, even as a belated but crucial meeting to settle problems convenes, have at las: brought home to us the horrendous mismanagement of a whole State. Willy nilly, we have been placed at the merry of killers talking the most incredible piffle in he name of religion.

The Opposition and Its Failures

Romesh Thapar WITH all the signals suggesting that the Congress(I) is in electoral trouble, it is time for the Opposition to take a good look at itself. The comments one gathers from far and near are not complimentary. In fact, the point that is repeatedly made is that, despite their professed understanding of Indira Gandhi's role as a disruptor of democratic institutions and functioning, the Opposition leaders are largely men of straw waiting for a chance to make a deal with the lady.

A May Election, May Be

A May Election, May Be Romesh Thapar WE are back in the election whirlpool. Apparently, the vibrations from the activities of our obsessively manipulative Prime Minister and her obedient son suggest that the coterie of the slow-witted around the ruling family have at last adjusted to the idea that a clear-cut victory at the polls is no longer possible

The Coupists

The Coupists Romesh Thapar THE other day, the annual elections to the executive committee of the Gymkhana Club in New Delhi became the focus of alarums and tensions, and also interventions by the ruling family in favour of Foreign Secretary Natwar Singh and his bunch of friends. Orders were issued to civil and military officers, who are members of the Club, to turn up to cast their votes for the 'approved' list.

Opposition Conclaving

Opposition Conclaving Romesh Thapar THERE is no denying that the country is beginning to take note of the conclaving by Opposition parties even though the BJP and Lok Dal remain outside the present orbit. The exercises are being noticed because the impression bus been created that programmes and policies are being worked out, and it is felt that these might yield the atternative thrust that the people at large are looking for.

The Goings-on, and the Silence

The Goings-on, and the Silence Romesh Thapar FOURTEEN kids are kidnapped and slaughtered in a village in Bihar, We are told it is 'a caste vendetta' and that the police should have taken note of the tension. There are two 'bride- burnings' a day in Delhi, or what look very much like planned burnings. We are told the police are reluctant to register cases, particularly after a con- viction for such a murder in a lower court led to an acquittal in an appeal to a higher court. Almost every day, what is called an 'extremist' is either staging a dacoity or a manhunt or being liquidated in an 'encounter'. We are told the police are in cahoots with these criminals, and have allowed some of the bearded and turbaned ones to move in and out of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. A politician or political activist or energetic journalist is mugged, battered and even left for dead. The police drag their feet. Shopkeepers live under the terror and tension imposed by local toughs and bullies living off earnings from the street. The police do not stir. Homes are entered and the inmates are robbed and brutally assaulted. The police can do nothing. Every now and then military personnel join the spree. The police prefer to remain powerless.

Patriotic Fronting

and left sympathisers are reacting to the 'progressivism' of the Congress(I) plenary session in Calcutta, and linking it to 'the threat from the rightists' and the 'conspiracies' of the Reaganites in the USA. It would be instructive for our more intelligent politicians to remember that whenever Indira Gandhi is uncertain about her support in the sub-continent she begins a flirtation with the confused communists and those who are influenced by them.

Voters and Voting

Voters and Voting Romesh Thapar We seem to be growing up politically. Or So it seems from the by-electdons which have been held in the northern States, partculary the heartlands'.

Disarray, and What It Means

Disarray, and What It Means Romesh Thapar PEOPLE who circumambulate around the centres of political and economic power are getting rather disturbed by the disarray so visible in the Prime Minister's thinking. I am not referring to the prepared interventions of her speech writers (which are remarkable for all the things they say should be done, but which are never intended for implementation!). The concern is with extempore performances and unprepared comments.

A Farce of a Centenary

A Farce of a Centenary Romesh Thapar DON a white khadi kurta and pyjama, which you can still pick up readymade for some Rs 30 to 35 a pair, and get a feeling of leadership walking through any mohalla of your choosing. You will be the focus of scrutiny by thousands of eyes. The white-shirts are a power, and only when it is realised that you are not one of those

The Commonwealth Clouds

The Commonwealth Clouds Romesh Thapar I DONT blame the citizens of Delhi for being rather bored by the artificial tititlation over the gathering of Queen, her Consort and the Heads of the Commonwealth. The tamashas have no meaning and no perspective. Too much money is .spent on them. And, what's more, the hold of the security system is so sight for the very mundane 'leaders' who gather that the place takes on the trappings of a banana republic. Even the Establishment, and its hangers on, are no longer thrilling all over. That's an emotion now exclusive to the idiot fringe.

CHOGMing and CHOGMists

CHOGMing and CHOGMists Romesh Thapar IT will take some time to recover from the festival known as

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