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Sreeram Sundar Chaulia
Times of India reporter and author, Chidanand Rajghatta, wrote after last
month’s American Airlines plane crash that New York was “the most
endangered city on the planet.” I beg to differ.
York has borne the brunt of one major terrorist strike, a few minor/aborted
bomb blasts and some cases of alleged suicide attack attempts. The plane
crash was due to mechanical failure. Hillary Clinton may be right in
claiming, “New York is America”, and Mr. Rajghatta may be given the
allowance of the fact that he is stationed specially in America to cover
news and allowed the surroundings to get the better of his judgement.
in verity, with all due respect to American ethnocentrism, the city that has
suffered the maximum brushes with death, militancy and lethal terrorism for
nearly one decade is New Delhi.
city where maximum number of plots of blowing up national monuments, crowded
traffic, busy bazaars and places of
worship have been conjured and implemented is New Delhi. The city where the
ashen shadow of lurching cataclysm and the gory imagery of numbing
explosions haunt citizens whenever they step out of their dwellings into
public space is New Delhi. The city where one perpetually watches over the
shoulder for ‘suspicious-looking characters’ and ‘unidentified
objects’ is New Delhi. The city where paranoia, tension and vulnerability
to the world’s biggest multinational enterprise, jihad,
reign supreme, more than Jerusalem and certainly more than New York, is
India’s besieged capital.
latest diabolical raid on the most sacred structure of post-independence
India and the pride of Lutyens’ Delhi, Parliament House, comes on the
heels of several hundred major and minor incidents that have set upon this
once peaceful city like a black plague. A selected litany of murderous
terrorist acts in the last three years attests my argument:
· Jan. 9, 1998 - Explosion near intersection where income tax office and police station are located, kills one, injures 55
June 27, 1998 – Terrorists
fighting for Kashmir’s secession from India throw bomb from a jeep
outside a club in Greater Kailash area in south Delhi, injuring two.
July 26, 1998 - High intensity
explosive in bus parked at Kashmiri Gate, Interstate Bus Terminal, kills
two, injures three.
Aug. 31, 1998 - Bomb at crowded
Turkman Gate kills one, injures 17.
Dec. 19, 1998 - Crude bomb
explodes in Bhajanpura Hindu temple at night, injuring many.
April 16, 1999 - Powerful bomb in train at Holambi Kalan railway station
Jun 3, 1999 - Explosion near Fountain Chowk in the Chandni Chowk
area in front of Red Fort, injures 27.
Jan. 6, 2000 - Bomb in passenger train car at Old Delhi railway
station injures 20.
Feb. 27, 2000 - High intensity
bomb explodes in guesthouse in Paharganj bazaar area, opposite New Delhi
station, injuring eight.
March 16, 2000 - Three days before
arrival of U.S. President Bill Clinton, low intensity bomb injures seven
at Sadar Bazar market, crowded with people shopping for major
Muslim and Hindu festivals.
June 18, 2000 - Bomb near bus
terminal and open-air market opposite Red Fort kills two, injures 11.
June 18, 2000 - Second bomb five
minutes later, placed under hawker stall at parade ground near first
explosion site, injures two.
December 22, 2000- Fidayeen
sneak into historic Red Fort premises. 3 killed
May 19, 2001- Twin blasts near Army Headquarters and Dalhousie
Road. 2 killed.
August 10-15, 2001- Low intensity bombs all over the city on the
eve of Independence Day. Several dozen injured.
December 13, 2001- Daredevil blasts and suicide attacks on
Parliament. 7 killed, 25 injured
snippets do not include infinite foiled
attacks or successful terrorist activity before 1998 and are meant to
just educe an imagery of the dance of death that has overtaken Delhi. Poet
Javed Akhtar’s line- maut chhupi jhaadi jhaadi re (death hiding behind
every cranny) - fits contemporary New Delhi’s description to a T.
A common thread, binding all these aforementioned foul deeds, is the provenance of the attackers: Pakistan and POK. Syed Salahuddin, Masood Azhar, Majid Dar, Farooq Khalil, Mast Gul, Mohammad Salah, Dawood Ibrahim, Memon Brothers, Osama bin Laden and the rest of the rogue’s gallery have all, at one point or the other, armed, operated and sheltered across the border and pursued the obnoxious cabal of ‘planting the Islamic flag in New Delhi.’ The result of their demonic “freedom struggle”, abetted by Pakistani intelligence, is the human and emotional toll being absorbed everyday by residents of Delhi, not to mention the daily bloodbath in Kashmir to which the eyes of Indian politicians have become shamelessly inured.
Delhi is to survive and see saner times and Kashmir is to return to
normalcy, armchair hectoring about ‘pro-active’ policies and ‘hot
pursuit’ will have to give way to forthright and courageous ripostes to
state-sponsored terrorism and barbarism.
today is a far cry from what a genius from the walled city wrote in the
asked my soul, ‘What is Delhi? It replied: “The world is the body, Delhi
is its soul”
a Delhiite and a historian, is my yearning for a return to this idyllic
condition asking for too much? Can India and the world not fight for the
safety and serenity of their ‘soul’?
Sundar Chaulia studied History at St.Stephen’s College, Delhi, and
took a Second BA in Modern History at University College, Oxford. He
researched the BJP’s foreign policy at the London School of Economics
and is currently analyzing the impact of conflict on Afghan refugees at
the Maxwell School of Citizenship, Syracuse, NY.]
is my belief that interest rate cuts are doing more harm to the present
day economy rather than helping to bring us out of the recession.
any industry grows too fast, faster than the demand, it is doomed to be in
trouble. In the late seventies rapid growth of housing construction and
speculative investments in housing resulted in over supply of housing in
Canada and particularly in Metropolitan Toronto. Consequently, the housing
prices tumbled and it badly affected other ancillary industries. Thanks to
the large number of immigrants from Hongkong and other parts of the world
who created some housing demand the blow was softened. As a result, the
housing market recovered somewhat faster than expected.
the past few years hi-tech industries experienced rapid growth which could
not be sustained because of diminishing demand. For example, the
expectation of replacing not so old computers and its supporting hardware
with high-tech new ones every one or two years could not be accomplished
as the consumers could not cope with learning the new technical upgrades
fast enough and were not willing to discard their existing computers,
because of the financial investments, with new ones. This brought a major
slump to the hi-tech industries. Consequently industrial production was
sharply reduced resulting in thousands employees being laid off.
other instances, when any particular industry was doing well, more
industries sprung up with an objective of making quick profits. Stock
prices of these industries soared dramatically and when the supply of
these industrial goods outstripped the demand, these industries got into
serious trouble and the stock prices tumbled.
the past, a large segment of the population, consisting of retirees and
the middle-age people preferred to invest the greater portion of their
savings in guaranteed income certificates (GICs) issued by banks and other
safe investments to enable them have a reasonably happy and healthy
lifestyle from the income earned from their investments supplemented by
their pension income.
In recent years, lower interest rates induced people to invest in stocks and mutual funds yielding higher returns instead of GICs. However, the rapid slump in demand for industrial products brought down the stock values and lower interest rates left no suitable option for investments for this large segment of population. With relatively little or no income from their savings to supplement their pension income, the retirees now face a major financial squeeze. Their purchasing power has been considerably reduced, and accordingly the demand for consumer goods has been substantially reduced.
is a false belief that lowering interest rate dramatically low would
stimulate the present economy, making borrowing cheaper for industrial
investments and for others to buy housing and other goods.
should industries borrow money for any expansion when there is little
demand for their goods and, why should consumers borrow money to buy
housing or other goods when their income is restricted and therefore
unable carry their debt payments. Therefore, it is absurd for the
government and economists to say people to spend more money buying
consumer good to stimulate economy when a large segment of population’s
disposable income is considerably reduced by lower interest rates, and in
turn makes it difficult for them to buy even bare necessities.
my opinion, investment rates for GIC should be around 7 to 8% if not more,
in order to provide enough income to the above group so they may spend
more of their disposable income and thus stimulates economy. One should
not ignore the above group, which is very large, which substantially
contributes to our economy through their disposable income. Along with
other measures, such as reduction in taxes, providing supplement funds to
low income and low interest loan to some industries will help to bring us
out faster from the current sluggish economy.
(Bhupatrai Bhuta, an architect by profession, was Director of Planning at the City of Toronto Planning Board. He moved on to establish his own financing business. Presently, he is retired, devoting his time to arts and culture, writing and social work.)