For those who watched the oath taking ceremony in the Lok Sabha recently, there was some great learning to ponder. The lesson questions the very basis of politics of linguistic chauvinism, and in the larger perspective the hackneyed ‘unity in diversity’ argument. If one were to intently hear the oath uttered by different Members, there was no feeling of any primal difference in Hindi, Bengali, Gurumukhi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, Maithli, and the mother of all these languages Sanskrit. There were members, who opted for the Urdu language, which to the ears and sensibilities was nothing but Hindi. Urdu language acquires sectarian and communal colours only when some people insist on Arabic script as the medium of its propagation.
A section of the confidential Henderson Brooks-Bhagat Report, which has been lying with the Defence Ministry for over 50 years now, has now been put online by Australian journalist Neville Maxwell. The report was a result of the government inquiry into the humiliating defeat at the hands of China in the 1962 border war. You can read the report here.
The British National Archives recently released files related to intelligence operations during World War II. This particular set of declassified documents contain discussions about the possibility of the British Foreign Office and Security and Intelligence Services (SIS – also known as MI6) “providing a list of French and Germans who would be priorities for assassination (possibly by Special Operations Executive) at the time of Operation Overlord” (codename for the battle of Normandy).
“In these circumstances, one thing, to my mind, is quite clear; and, that is, that we cannot be friendly with China and must think in terms of defense against a determined, calculating, unscrupulous, ruthless, unprincipled and prejudiced combination of powers, of which the Chinese will be the spearhead.”
“There might be from them outward offers or protestations of friendship, but in that will be concealed an ultimate hideous design of ideological and even political conquest into their bloc. It is equally obvious to me that any friendly or appeasing approaches from us would either be mistaken for weakness or would be exploited in furtherance of their ultimate aim,” the letter states.
The Research and Analysis Wing, India’s external intelligence agency, started to organise the annual RN Kao Memorial Lecture to commemorate the legacy of its founder RN Kao.