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Arun Shourie on Economics

 

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"When Dabholkar comes to Delhi next, I must get the two of you together," Dr. J.P. Naik, would say. When I was to go to Bombay for some work, he would urge, "Take two days off, go to Kolhapur and meet Dabholkar." Years passed, Dr. J.P. Naik passed away, I never got to meet his friend, Dr. Shripad Dabholkar. And then I saw a little snippet in a video magazine of the Plus Channel. It was about an agronomist in Bombay, Dr. R.T. Doshi. The programme showed his roof farm -- on his roof in the middle of Bombay, he was cultivating grapes, vegetables, fruit, even six foot high sugarcane. I went to visit him the next time I got to Bombay. The second time I was able to take Anita, my wife along. I am just following the methods of Dr. Dabholkar, Dr. Doshi told us. Therefore, when the Pudhari group of newspapers asked me to deliver a memorial lecture in Kolhapur, I agreed at once to do so... more

 

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These days when those guardians of secularism, our newspapers, refer to the Secular Front, they put the label -- "Secular" -- as well as the excuse -- "to combat communal forces" -- within inverted commas ! Those who used to preface their remarks about Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee with, "The right man in the wrong party", suddenly emphasize only "The right man" part ! "Things are all going right," says a person who has feasted off secular governments for ten years, as I run into him -- I don't immediately get what he thinks is going right, so out of touch have I been with him. "I mean, we are not going to get just a stable government, we are going to get a BJP government," he says enthusiastically... more

 

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We are so dazzled by reports of the strides China has made in enlarging its economy that we do not notice that one of the principal uses to which it is putting its new wealth is to multiply its military strength. Pick up any book or analysis about security developments in the Pacific region or in Asia, and the facts it sets out about China are bound to startle... more

 

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"You have said that this is a historic visit, that this is a defining moment in the history of South Asia, but what is the substance in these declarations?," asked the correspondent at the joint press conference of the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers in Lahore -- the usual European or American correspondent, with the usual condescension and derision... more

 

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Throughout last week one thing seemed completely uncertain: whether the Government at the Centre would survive. Throughout last week one thing seemed just as certain: that in Bihar, Laloo Yadav's Government would return. I think it inadvisable to peg the dismissal of a Government on a single massacre: when things have reached the condition they have in Bihar, in many other parts of the country, a few score can be killed at any time, anywhere. The test ought to be the general condition... more

 

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Even so deplorable and uncalled-for a crisis has yielded some good. At long last, the real Sonia Gandhi has stepped forth: and shown that she is just another politician, that the image which had been so assiduously projected -- the shy, reticent lady, concerned only with the security of her children, a lady who hates politics, who shuns power -- was just nail-polish. Her ambition, her readiness to use all means for acquiring office, her willingness to twist and turn -- "A minority government of the Congress, take it or leave it" one day, the magnanimous openness to a coalition the next, and the Papal, "No, we are not ready to pardon," the third -- were all put on display... more

 

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The day I entered Indiraji's household I became an Indian, the rest is just technical -- that is Sonia Gandhi's latest explanation for not having acquired Indian citizenship till fourteen years after her marriage to Rajiv Gandhi. Sonia married Rajiv on 25 February, 1968. Under section 5(c) of the Indian Citizenship Act she became eligible to register herself as a citizen of India on 25 February, 1973. She chose to continue as a citizen of Italy. She applied for Indian citizenship only ten years later, on 7 April, 1983... more

 

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That an area as large as Bihar should sink into quicksand is alarming enough by itself. But one of our problems is that collapse in Bihar no longer shakes us: "O, that is Bihar," we shrug... more

 

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You couldn't have asked me to deliver this lecture because of my experience in Disinvestment! And I have no access to classified information on security affairs. Therefore, for myself alone, and based solely on my own study-much of it of the writings of experts like you! And I do hope that what I say will not now trigger some more ''Diary Items''-that it is because the Defence Minister is speaking on Disinvestment that the Disinvestment Minister has chosen to speak on Defence... more

 

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Every country works solely for its own interests. There's little use in invoking justice, morality or law: indeed, doing so can be counter-productive-by sticking to ideals, so to say, we cleared the way for China in Myanmar. If I could I would burn into the consciousness of every policy-maker in India the conversations between Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon, Chou En-lai, Huang Hua. Every country works solely for its own interests as perceived by it at that time: this may not accord with our interests, or with our perception of what is in the interest of even that country itself. for eg: US aid to Pakistan in the wake of 9/11... more

 

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The US campaign of bombing erstwhile Taliban positions in Afghanistan had not been on for 10 days, and our experts began pronouncing it a failure: "Osama bin Laden is still at large, the Taliban have just dispersed into the hills, the Northern Alliance is stuck where it was, Bush's Grand Alliance is coming apart... The winter is about to set in," they said. "The Afghan is a hardy fighter, they said. He will just tie an onion and a roti (bread), fling his blanket over his shoulder, and disappear into the nearest mountain; and these American GIs - they cannot fight without their Coca Colas, their hot meals... Just look at them on TV - they are loaded with so much equipment, they have difficulty just walking. These jokers are going to fight the Taliban? Secure on the mountaintop, the Taliban Jehadi will pick them one by one as they try to clamber up the mountain. Remember Kargil? These slopes in the Afghan mountains are even steeper than the ones our soldiers had to scale."... more


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