THE KARGIL FUND Set up by The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika
More than a hundred soldiers have already died in the undeclared war in Kargil. Many more are lying injured in hospitals. No assistance is compensation enough for the mother who has lost her son or the wife her husband. But we, the citizens of this country, need to help, in however small a way. The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika are setting up a fund with that modest aim in mind. The fund is being started with an intial contribution of Rs 5 Lakh from the ABP Group. If every reader of The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika donates a small sum, we can raise a huge amount for the families of the soldiers killed or injured in action. As a token of appreciation, both papers will publish the names of donors contributing Rs 500 or more. This is a time to ask yourself what can you do for the nation.   Only account payee cheques and drafts - payable to 'ABP Kargil Fund' - will be accepted. Put the cheque/draft in an envelope with your name and address. Write 'ABP Kargil Fund' and mail it to or deliver (between 10 am and 6 pm except on Sundays) at  
6 Prafulla Sarkar Street 
Calcutta 700001 
Nirad C. Chaudhuri dies at 101
Delhi waits for post-poll Pak signal
Cong double M vs BJP big Bs
Gujarat blocks Roy rally
George and Jaya on secret tour
Sangh salvo to settle name score
Calcutta Weather

Oxford, Aug. 1 
Author and scholar Nirad C. Chaudhuri died in Oxford tonight. He was 101.

Chaudhuri had suffered a stroke on July 12. He was recovering when his condition further deteriorated on Tuesday, said Padu Mylvaganam, who has been caring for Chaudhuri for the last two years. He died peacefully in his bed at the Oxford home he has had for 30 years.

Chaudhuri was most noted for his first work, The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian. He made his entry into the scene of scholarly literature with a thick memoir of his childhood in colonial India, in what is now Bangladesh. It was a lively, insightful description and commentary on Indian customs, family structures, caste, relations between Hindus and Muslims and between Indians and the British.

The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian was written with sympathy toward the 200 years of British rule. As a barefoot boy, he read Shakespeare alongside Sanskrit classics. Critics called him the last British imperialist.

Throughout his life, Chaudhuri gained reputation for eccentricity. When he lived in New Delhi, he strolled to work in a natty western suit and bowler hat. After moving to England in his 70s, he preferred the dhoti to receive guests at home.

Chaudhuri published Unknown Indian in 1951. At 90, he added a second 1,000-page tome of autobiography, Thy Hand, Great Anarch. His last book of essays, Three Horsemen of the New Apocalypse, was written when he was 99. It was an indictment of what he called India?s failed leadership and a lament for the decline of the country he adopted in his old age. After living in Oxford for 30 years, he concluded that England did not deserve itself.

Some Indians were offended by Chaudhuri?s ?praise? of the British Raj. But Chaudhuri said his back-handed criticism of the British was never understood by his countrymen. Fifty years on, he still grew angry when he spoke of ?these wretched, idiotic, uneducated Indians? who misread his famous lines.

The son of a country lawyer and illiterate mother, Chaudhuri was born in Nov. 23, 1897, in Kishorganj. He migrated to Calcutta to work as a bureaucrat, then shifted to New Delhi for a job as a broadcaster and political commentator at All India Radio in 1942. With the autobiography?s critical success, he was invited to England, where he settled in 1970.

His wife Amiya died in 1994. He is survived by three sons, Dhruva , Kirti and Prithvi.    

New Delhi, Aug. 1 
India is likely to persist with its tough anti-Pakistan stand and stall a return to the talks table even after the elections unless Islamabad shows ?positive signs? in its attitude to Delhi.

India?s decision to harden its stand stems from two reasons: global recognition that Delhi, as the initiator of the Lahore peace process, has been stabbed in the back, and a re-assessment of how it should deal with Pakistan post Kargil.

Though Islamabad has said that meaningful dialogue is possible only after elections in India are over, it has been insisting that the countries ?utilise? the next two months preparing for the talks.

But Indian foreign ministry officials said completion of polls alone would not pave way for talks. They added that whatever the outcome of the elections, there was no guarantee that the government of the day would resume talks immediately.

They said much would depend on what Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wrote in the felicitation letter to the head of the new Indian government.

?We have to see if he talks about a commitment to the Lahore dialogue process or only highlights the Kashmir issue in his letter before we can say if there is any change in thinking in the Pakistani leadership,? a South Block official said.

Since the Kargil intrusions were vacated, India has been insisting that Pakistan re-affirm its respect for the Line of Control and stop encouraging cross-border terrorism. Pakistan has been silent on both points so far.

Foreign ministry officials said a national consensus needed to be built on cross-border terrorism.

?We have to convince people what kind of a threat cross-border terrorism poses. It should also be a message... that nothing substantial can be achieved through talks unless there is a serious desire on Islamabad?s part to improve relations,? an official said.

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee yesterday said Islamabad must realise that good relations with India would be beneficial for it. But Pakistan has been sending mixed signals.

While foreign minister Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan did not want to impose any conditions for talks, foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmed maintained Kashmir will be the only topic of discussion.

Indian officials see signs of desperation in the Pakistani doublespeak. They feel Islamabad, trounced both diplomatically and militarily, is trying hard to bring back the focus on Kashmir.

?It is another miscalculation on their part to think there is any pressure on India to return to the negotiations table in a hurry,? a foreign ministry official said.    

New Delhi, Aug. 1 
After thespian Dilip Kumar, the Congress has roped in Bollywood filmstars Madhuri Dixit and Mahima Chaudhry to campaign for the party ahead of the elections.

Congress campaign managers said Madhuri will canvass in Maharashtra, where the party is involved in a three-cornered contest with the Shiv Sena-BJP combine and Sharad Pawar?s breakaway group, and the key seats of Amethi, Lucknow, Allahabad and Farukhabad in Uttar Pradesh. Mahima will confine herself to Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh.

Highly-placed sources in the Congress said party president Sonia Gandhi approached Madhuri, Mahima and Dilip Kumar to give a fillip to the party?s campaign in the politically-significant states of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Congress leaders said they were eyeing film personalities willing to ?revolt? against Shiv Sena?s stranglehold over Bollywood. They alleged that the Sena was using ?strong-arm? tactics to dissuade filmstars from coming out in support of the Congress.

Both Dilip Kumar and Madhuri have defied the Sena?s diktats. Dilip Kumar refused to return the Nishan-e-Imtiaz award, while Madhuri sided with painter M.F. Husain when the Sena launched a campaign against him for depicting a Hindu goddess in the nude.

Husain?s Gajagamini, starring Madhuri, is ready for release. The actress, who has several hits under her belt, including Tezaab, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Dil To Pagal Hai, now wants to take up issues close to her heart. Politics, it seems, is one of her passions. Before taking the leap into Bollywood, Madhuri, who has a degree in bio-technology belt, wanted to be a scientist.

It remains to be seen whether Madhuri?s legion of fans will accept her in her role as politician. Speculation is rife that Madhuri will accompany Sonia Gandhi to Amethi to take on the BJP?s big Bs ? bomb, budget, Bihar and bus ? and the big W ? the Kargil war.

Sunil Dutt is an AICC member and will extensively campaign for the party. The Congress wants him to contest from Mumbai or East Delhi.

The Congress is finding it difficult to field candidates in several seats. It has not found candidates to fight A.B. Vajpayee in Lucknow, M.M. Joshi in Allahabad, Mulayam Yadav in Sambhal and Mayavati in Akbarpur. A candidate to take on Sharad Pawar in Baramati is also wanting.    

Vadodara, Aug. 1 
Running into a ?polite? wall of state resistance in Gujarat, Narmada dam opponents participating in the ?rally for the valley, led by author Arundhati Roy, are thinking of re-routing the campaign.

The Madhya Pradesh government had requested Gujarat to let the activists pass through the state for tomorrow?s Jalsindhi rally being organised by Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar. Jalsindhi is in Madhya Pradesh, but the river route through Gujarat offers a short-cut.

However, the Gujarat government last night decided to block the river route to ?ensure the safety? of the activists. The police and the intelligence wing have been put on alert.

A meeting chaired by chief minister Keshubhai Patel concluded that it would be risky to allow the activists to cross through because the Narmada was in spate near Hapeshwar in Gujarat.

But the anti-dam activists are not convinced. Andolan spokesman Sanjay Sangvai fumed: ?They are only trying to stall the peaceful rally on the pretext of our security. We have been using the Hapeshwar passage till today. Where was the government?s concern before this??

?It is an absolutely illogical and frenzied decision,? another activist said. ?What is the point in blocking the easiest access to Jalsindhi?? he asked. If Gujarat blocks the route, the activists will walk to Jalsindhi from Maharashtra.

The government meeting also explored its options if Patkar remained adamant about committing Jalsamadhi in the Narmada.

But the activists today received support from outside the state. Former Supreme Court judge and human rights activist V.R. Krishna Iyer has appealed to the President to halt the Sardar Sarovar project. About 20 scientists from the Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore, demanded that a new tribunal be formed to review the project.

International support has come in, too, with hundreds of participants at the Women?s World Conference in Norway appealing to the Prime Minister to stop the project. The plea came amid reports that public pressure is mounting on the German government to withdraw the guarantee for investors in the project.    

New Delhi, Aug. 1 
Mystery shrouds a secret visit by defence minister George Fernandes, Samata Party general secretary Jaya Jaitly and Arvind Dave ? then Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief ? to a high-security station of the country?s external intelligence agency two weeks after the detection of Pakistani incursion into Kargil.

Certain sections in the government say that Dave took Fernandes and Jaitly to Chakrata in Himachal Pradesh, a forward post of the Special Security Bureau (SSB), which is under the administrative control of RAW, on the night of May 20.

Some officials said Dave organised the visit to show Fernandes satellite images of the extent of Pakistan?s aggression and advance in Kargil. Why Dave should have taken Fernandes all the way to Chakrata to show him satellite images is, however, not known. Civilians need government permission to visit Chakrata.

Questions are being raised in the security set-up about how Jaitly, who holds no official position, could accompany the defence minister and the RAW chief to a high-security area at a time when Operation Vijay was just days away from being launched. When contacted, Jaitly said: ?I am involved in a lot of cultural activities. I went to Chakrata to attend a cultural programme organised by a school.?

Dave is learnt to have taken Fernandes and his party colleague on an aircraft belonging to the Aviation Research Centre (ARC) whose functions are supervised by RAW.

The ARC carries out clandestine electronic and air surveillance over Pakistan and other neighbours.

The Chakrata visit came at a time when Dave was about two months away from retirement after being given two extensions, a one-year and a three-month extended tenure in service. Two days after the Centre appointed a new RAW chief, Dave was made Arunachal Pradesh Governor.

This was done at the behest of a senior official in the Prime Minister?s Office (PMO) in an ?unusually short? period of time, causing speculation that the Vajpayee government was trying to ?buy his silence? on the intelligence failure in the Kargil conflict.

Officials pointed out that had Dave?s objective been to show Fernandes satellite images of the extent of Pakistani incursion into Indian territory, he could have done it in the Capital and in the presence of Prime Minister Vajpayee, home minister L.K. Advani and external affairs minister Jaswant Singh who, along with the defence minister, constitute the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

?How could an intelligence chief brief the defence minister in isolation at Chakrata? The RAW chief is directly answerable to the Prime Minister,? an official wondered, adding: ?What was Jaya Jaitly?s interest in the briefing, if there was one at all??    

Calcutta, Aug. 1 
If the name of the game is changing names, the Sangh parivar is not ready to give the CPM a walkover.

Shifting into election gear, the state units of the BJP and the RSS have initiated a move to hijack the name-game from the communists by demanding rechristening of several historical places in Bengal whose original names were ?corrupted by invaders??.

Dubbing the CPM?s move to change the names of Calcutta and West Bengal an ?electoral stunt?, the RSS-BJP combine asked the government to rename some other places.

Figuring high on the combine?s agenda is Murshidabad. ?The British changed Kolkata to Calcutta and now the government is restoring the old name. By the same logic, why shouldn?t Murshidabad?s name be changed since it was given by an invader?? asked state RSS chief Jyotirmoy Chakraborty.

In 1713, Nawab Murshidkuli Khan changed the name of Mukshadabad to Murshidabad when he shifted the capital of undivided Bengal from Dhaka.

Echoing Chakraborty, BJP state secretary Rahul Sinha said: ?We have no objection to Bangla. But in the same spirit, Murshidabad?s name should be restored. We will make this a poll issue.?

Muzaffar Khan, the BJP?s lone Muslim leader in the state, said his party would write to the Centre to rename Murshidabad.

Dismissing the demand, chief minister Jyoti Basu said: ?The renaming of Calcutta has nothing to do with the CPM?s poll prospects. This is being done on the basis of an all-party resolution.?    

Today?s forecast: One or two spells of light showers accompanied by thunder.
Temperature: Maximum 33.5?C (1?C above normal)
Minimum 27.6?C (2?C above normal)
Relative humidity: Maximum 92%
Minimum 66%
Rainfall: 1.5 mm
Sunset: 6.16 pm
Sunrise: 5.10 am    

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