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Editorial is a concept in which presently syndication of all daily-published newspapers editorial at one place. Please contact the list owner of subscription and unsubscription at: Editorial is syndication of all daily- published newspaper Editorial at one place.

The tragic incident of a wild tusker goring and trampling a year-old man to death and injuring several others right in the middle of Mysore city on Wednesday has once again underlined the urgent need for people to adopt a much more mature, intelligent and caring attitude towards elephants.

For, the root cause of human-elephant conflict, which has been on the rise across the country, lies in our inability to understand the emotional peculiarities and sociology of the pachyderms and the horrendous impact of senseless intrusion into wildlife habitats in the name of development and expansion of farming activity. We callously build dams in wildlife habitats to irrigate our farmlands; we set up hydro-electric projects in wildlife inhabited forests to meet our demand for power; we ravage lush mountains to construct highways; and, we expand our farmlands right into the middle of jungles by felling centuries-old trees and bamboo clusters that serve as jumbo fodder.

Rough estimates show that over 35 per cent of forest cover has been lost due to human greed in the past 40 years in Kerala alone. The direct result of this is that wild animals, including elephants, are forced to restrict their movement to 65 per cent of the land they had roamed over freely till recently. The situation is not much different in other parts of the country. The fringes of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, from where the two jumbos could have strayed into Mysore city, are a perfect example of the senseless extension of human activity into wildlife habitats.

Being intelligent and extremely emotional animals, elephants are affected by this shrinkage of their habitat in a very big way. They rely not just on their personal experience but also on the information etched in their memories genetically for all their activities. They migrate in search of fodder, water and cooler environs as per seasonal peculiarities through pre-determined paths known as elephant corridors, guided by experience as well as genetically transferred information.

Therefore, it is natural that elephants panic when these corridors used by several generations of pachyderms are found to be cut off in the middle by roads, farmlands and human dwellings. A sad truth of our times is that most of the significant elephant corridors have been intercepted by or have disappeared due to intrusive and mindless human activity disguised as 'development'. Another factor that has been causing enormous distress to herds of elephants in the wild is shrinking fodder availability due to deforestation.

Had the farmers of Bannur and other villages outside the Malavalli forests of Karnataka cared to coax the entire herd of elephants back into the jungles with the help of Forest Department officials instead of scaring and separating them, the two jumbos would not have entered Mysore city.

And when they strayed into the city, the response of the people was inhuman: Crowds chased the animals, throwing stones at them, while motorists honked their horns, thus further disorienting and enraging the strays. If anybody is to blame for the consequences, it is the people who behaved in such a cruel fashion, not the tuskers.

There's time yet to make amends and halt the cruelty we inflict on wildlife. Instead of enforcing our writ on animals, we should begin to learn the importance of peaceful coexistence.

A Uttar Pradesh special court's decision to award the death sentence to 10 people convicted for 'honour killing' deserves the loudest possible applause.

As it has been said several times over, there is no honour in killing one's own family member simply because one is in disagreement over the person's personal relationships.

Such killings are nothing by cold blooded murder and do not deserve the 'honour' tag. The court has rightly termed the killing in this particular incident of three persons as a 'rarest of rare' case that deserves the death penalty. It will be in order if the courts declare that every 'honour killing' incident is categorised in the 'rarest of rare' case and invites nothing but the gallows.

To that end the Supreme Court had a month or so ago made the encouraging observation that crimes relating to so-called 'honour killings' deserved nothing but the death sentence. If this becomes the rule and not the exception, one can at least hope that incidents of 'honour killings' will decrease. It would be in order to commend the investigating and the prosecution teams for the work they did in bringing the accused to justice.

They performed remarkably well to ensure that as many as 10 people were sentenced to the harshest punishment possible under the law. Unfortunately, such diligence is rarely seen across the country, and especially so in States where such killings happen with sickening regularity.

Not only are the police less sensitive to 'honour killings' but they also face pressure from community leaders and politicians to go slow against the culprits. In many instances, illegitimate associations like the khap panchayats endorse — and at times facilitate — such killings. The fact that the kangaroo court proceedings these khaps conduct are completely illegal has not dented their influence in the villages where they operate with impunity.

This is largely because few dare oppose khaps and their obnoxious rulings. While the Supreme Court has slammed these panchayats, it is for the State and the Union Governments to ensure that they are completely disbanded. Unless that is done, the khaps will continue to promote 'honour killings'.

At the ground level, there has so far been little activity that promises the end of khapi atrocities any time soon. One reason for that could be the support khaps enjoy from powerful politicians. We have seen in the recent past the case of an 'educated' Congress MP from Haryana batting for the khaps and justifying their criminal misdeeds in the name of custom and social order.

The clout enjoyed by those who promote 'honour killings' is reflected in the ease with which they have managed to stall the proposed law that was meant to fight this social menace.

We no longer hear of the state's intervention in combating this crime any more. In today's cyber age, missiles, bombs and guns will become increasingly irrelevant as nations hack into each other's computer servers to rob data.

Sometimes one can see a smile appearing behind the most serious issues. The ease with which hackers can intrude into the privacy of your e-mail accounts or hack your personal computers is one of these serious issues which make individuals and Governments extremely uncomfortable.

At times, it can also bring a smile, as it happened recently when MI6, Britain's external spy agency, and the Government Communications Headquart-ers managed to penetrate one of Al Qaeda's websites whose objective was to recruit 'lone wolf' agents. According to a report in The Daily Telegraph , "When Al Qaeda followers tried to download the page colour magazine, instead of instructions about how to 'Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom' by 'The AQ Chef' they were greeted with … cupcake recipes.

In April , an incident which lasted 18 minutes sent shivers through the Pentagon and the White House. The minute hijack affected about 15 per cent of the world's online traffic, particularly that of Nasa, the US Senate, the military and the office of the Secretary of Defence.

More recently, Google has again accused China of stealing personal passwords and breaking into sensitive e-mail boxes. The spokesperson for Google said, "We recently uncovered a campaign to collect user passwords, likely through phishing. This campaign, which appears to originate from Jinan, China, affected what seem to be the personal Gmail accounts of hundreds of users including, among others, senior US Government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries predominantly South Korea , military personnel and journalists.

Google's accusation was immediately denied by the Chinese Government. The China Daily spoke of a 'political farce': One is led to believe that Google has attempted to play a role in a political farce… Therefore, if Google has really suffered from 'Chinese hackers' attacks, it could resort to the judicial cooperation mechanism between China and the US to find solutions.

Knowing that Lockheed Martin deals with US defence hardware and software, this news would not have left the Obama Administration indifferent. What American analysts fear the most is an 'electronic Pearl Harbour'.

Our networks are scanned thousands of times an hour. Enhancing IT capacity and strengthening network security protection are important components of military training for an Army.

The future is rather depressing. According to The Wall Street Journal the Pentagon is ready to respond to computer sabotage with military force. But it is not an easy proposition to decide at what point computer hacking can be construed as an act of war. Apparently the Pentagon has defined some criteria, but are they reliable? Another issue is how to be sure of the origin of the attack. Further, will missiles solve hacking problems or will they just be a deterrent? Look at the situation in Libya: Despite thousands of missiles being launched, three months into the conflict Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is still going strong.

There is clearly no ready-made solutions to cyberwar. But there is another side to the issue. Kaspersky Security Lab Service recently published a fascinating interview on China's cybersecurity and the fact that China is itself extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks. A friend commented, "I'm not surprised that China is vulnerable. This is yet another example of why security is asymmetric in nature. It calls for great effort to plug all the holes defensive action as opposed to the effort required to find one hole offensive action.

This is 'active defence'. China's hackers will probably continue to attack targets abroad. However, the fact remains that China's servers are possibly not so secure.

If Beijing refuses to cooperate, it could also face serious problems with protecting official data. Different opinions were shared. France, for example, believes that if nations are able to work together and set up international security standards, national laws are enough to fight this scourge.

For India the situation is different: It sees cyberspace as a borderless world; therefore, a global legal regime is needed to deal with issue. As Mr Kapil Sibal, Minister in charge of IT and communications, says, "The nature of cyberspace is that it is borderless and anonymous and it is not subject to Government territories that have laws," adding, "There is a fundamental contradiction between Government regulation and the nature of cyberspace.

The modern day Jallianwala Bagh at Ramlila Ground shows the demonic attitude of the Government, the weak spine of the Opposition and the hypocrisy of the media. Are we living in the world's largest democracy? Or has India become a shameless, unapologetic dictatorship of sycophants? My question is, are we living in a democracy or in a shamelessly unapologetic dictatorial regime? Has the Government finally lost it totally?

Or do they believe that the people of the country are so foolish that they will quietly accept any amount of dictatorship and vote them to power again in ? Is there absolutely no learning from the DMK's huge loss in Tamil Nadu where it virtually controlled the media and yet people kicked them out?

What happened on June 5 is a blot on our democracy. There is absolutely no exaggeration when people compare the incidents of the day to the imposition of Emergency or the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. Today one doesn't need to shove people inside a well and fire at them. Descending on sleeping men, women and children, beating them up and taking the huge risk of a possible stampede and fire that could have killed thousands is Jallianwala Bagh.

And this stinks of the thought process behind the Emergency. Baba Ramdev has mostly raised very, very pertinent issues of national concern. Naturally, the Government had reasons to be scared — mighty scared, especially with civil societies around the world in a mood for rising in protest. So, to crush the mass movement that he was creating, they did what is unthinkable in a democracy and that too in the capital city of the country.

The Government's actions are now a clear indication that it has turned demonic and is losing legitimacy to run the country with every passing day.

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Minube is a network for and by those of us with two grand passions in life: As a photographer and traveler, I have to admit I fell in love with minube at first sight. I'm usually skeptical about travel sites that recommend tourist attractions, perhaps because I'm a photographer and tend to seek out places that are less-visited or "hidden. For me, it became a source of inspiration — a place where I could find recommendations about things to do in even the most out-of-the-way destinations.

I realized that minube is not a site that's just trying to sell you something, but rather a place that can help you in all stages of your trip local cuisine, restaurants, points of interest, hidden places, where to stay , regardless of your travel style. During our two year long trip around the world, minube was an excellent tool to discover new and exotic destinations and save the places we wanted to visit.

The ability to save places and see them on a map really helped us organize our trip and the ability to download your saved places to your phone is a pretty unique and helpful idea, especially compared to other travel sites. In just about every place we visited, we found the reviews and photos helpful for finding things to do as well as restaurants and hotels. Minube has redefined the way I plan my trips. After our Hurricane Katrina, gas prices went up overnight because we had the refineries on the river.

Someone mentioned about environmental. We had an oil spill down there with BP. We have tankers coming in the Mississippi River system with , barrels of oil on one ship. If that ship runs ground and puts a hole, we have another BP in the Mississippi River system. But the travesty for that is very simple: It is importing here, paying that tax, and here he could run aground and have another problem after he is paying money to come into the United States.

That is unacceptable, ladies and gentlemen. Current draft at the present time is 45 by feet. Channel width is crucial. Last year we were down to feet from We had to have one-way traffic. Fifty million a year. You know what I have to look for, and it is a shame in our great Country? I have to look for a catastrophe to put a supplemental on there to get funding.

Safety is a huge, huge factor. Chairman, you had an incident out there in California a few years ago. You know what happens when oil is dropped in the water: It happens sometimes with human error. It happens sometimes with mechanical. But it is not acceptable to have it happen when we have money coming in to keep our channels and ports open to project dimensions.

The Administration said they would like to double exports. I am just a pilot. This is a problem that can be fixed with no new taxes. The money is being collected. The United States has approximately commercial ports, 12, miles of inland and intercoastal waterways, and lock chambers which carry more than 70 percent of the U.

For this system to remain competitive, U. Therefore, the Committee should include a provision in the Water Resources Development Act requiring the total of all appropriations from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be equal to all revenues received by the Trust Fund that same year. I come at this issue with a particular history and a particular context, and particularly when I hear Mr.

Lorino and his wonderful voice and the message that he brings from the Mississippi and the Gulf Coast about the urgency of their problems, and that is that not too long ago in Congress we passed a piece of legislation that conferred an enormous multibillion dollar benefit along the Gulf Coast, and we did so as the result of an agreement that was reached that the bulk of the benefit was going to flow to the Gulf Coast, but that there would be a small portion that would accrue to the benefit of all coastal and Great Lakes States.

After the agreement that allowed that to go forward was reached, the part that went to the benefit of all coastal and Great Lakes States was stripped out. An agreement was made and an agreement was broken. I am inclined to, and I want to, support enhanced traffic on the Mississippi River.

I want to support the protection and growth of the port in Louisiana and, frankly, in Los Angeles and Alaska, and everywhere else. But the past bargain has to be honored for me to be very enthusiastic about going forward with further benefit that goes to the Gulf and to the Mississippi, and I just want to make that point. Well, we are going to make another effort.

There may be a way we can do something for the smaller ports here that really gives them an opportunity, because when you listen to Senator Whitehouse talk about his State, his State is in jeopardy right now, we know that, because of what is happening with the rising sea levels. He just needs to have some attention paid. By the way, just saying to colleagues who are here, we had a really hard time drafting this bill because there are no more earmarks, and we have to take care of our States.

So the way we did it here is to make sure that any project that had a complete Corps report which was sent down from the Corps would get funded without naming any projects or getting into all that. This could be very well the last WRDA bill that we can figure out how to do without naming projects after this one it is going to get increasingly more difficult. We need to establish some integrity before we protect it and go forward, much like the Highway Trust Fund and the Aviation Trust Fund.

It is difficult to get done, but we can at least reach agreement. The more difficult thing is, once you have the trust fund, how do you divvy it up, realizing that it is system-wide? Los Angeles is remarkable in the sense that you have all this high- value stuff coming in there.

Some of our other ports through no fault of their own, are in situations where there is a lot more silting; there is just a lot more need for dredging and things, and that is the difference in the East Coast and the South.

It is just the way it is. Then the other thing my ports that lead into the Mississippi River that ultimately come out and create some of this traffic, how do you do all that? Even the Port of Stockton is suffering because of lack of maintenance funding. They have shoaling that means that iron ore ships loaded in Stockton cannot leave full, they have to leave light-loaded; they go to Oakland and then they get topped off. That is extremely inefficient.

I wanted to ask you about beneficial uses of dredge material. In your testimony you raised the possibility that increased spending from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund could create additional opportunities for beneficial use of dredge materials, such as wetlands restoration, and it was mentioned by Senator Cardin. Could you elaborate on some of the beneficial uses of dredge material that might be realized if we increased investment in dredging navigation channels?

Beneficial use in the State of Louisiana is a very tough issue because of money. The State would love us to use that for beneficial use. We would love to use that for beneficial use. But we are barely keeping our channel open. To use it for beneficial use, we have to transport it further.

That would take time. There is not enough dredges to do that at the present time. So we have this conflict that is going back and forth. What I would like to see, if we could, and we are looking at a foot channel also on the Mississippi River. Someone mentioned on the East Coast about the port study to get the 50 feet. They left out the bulk port, and that is very important. The Mississippi River is a bulk port.

But if we could dredge, we could use a cutter head dredge and build the coast down in Plaquemines Parish that was devastated by Katrina. Our country has one of the best freight transportation systems in the world. It carries the products that Americans rely on, such as food, clothing, toys, things that go on store shelves. Raw materials like coal, lumber, fuel and iron required to manufacture all kinds of goods are also moved as freight. Just-in-time delivery and real-time tracking of shipments have greatly reduced the need for companies to hold huge inventories because we can count on goods being there when needed.

But our economy is threatened by the current state of the transportation infrastructure and its inability to meet future demands. Even when these bridges are repaired, our highways along with our ports and railroads will be overwhelmed.

On the rails, some trains take a day to just cross the City of Chicago. Trains and barges can reduce highway congestion and wear and tear on our roads and bridges. We need to encourage these efficiencies to the maximum extent possible. The Federal Government has to step up and play a leadership role in planning our future transportation network, one which takes these benefits into account.

One gallon of diesel can carry a ton of freight if it goes by truck miles, by rail miles, and by barge miles. A typical barge can carry 1, tons on the Mississippi and 3, tons on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. That compares with tons by rail car or 29 tons per truck. For the Columbia River, loading a typical grain ship with 55, tons of wheat for export requires four barge tows or rail cars or 1, trucks.

Since , the Federal Government has exerted control over navigation channels and channel improvements. Army Corps of Engineers. Operations and maintenance and new construction of navigation projects are funded annually in the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. In , Congress established a user fee for deep draft coastal ports and harbors, the Harbor Maintenance Tax. Despite the collection of these fees, navigation needs are not being met.

There is a significant backlog of maintenance and new construction. The Inland Waterways Trust Fund had a surplus for many years, but now, expenditures are projected to surpass collections in The Administration has proposed instituting a new inland waterway tax which would replace the fuel tax with a lockage fee for each barge. The proposal would increase the user tax approximately 4-fold for barging on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. PNWA opposes this new tax.

Despite collections far exceeding expenditures, the Administration does not propose sufficient funding to maintain the existing navigation system or to meet future needs. For decades, during both Republican and Democratic administrations, we have had to look to Congress for increases over and above the inadequate Administration budget proposals. Unfortunately, having money in a Federal trust fund does not mean that the money is actually available to be spent for its designated purpose.

User fees were instituted to meet a specific funding need. The funds collected from navigation user fees must be spent to meet navigation needs. Congress has the authority to make this happen. We urge Congress to exercise that authority.

Of those 32 navigation projects, 29 are in need of additional funding. Additional funding is needed in all categories. Here are a few examples. On the Columbia Snake River System, Congressional adds are needed to maintain authorized channel depth throughout the Columbia and Lower Willamette project. Two of our eight locks need Congressional adds for routine operations and maintenance. Five need adds for major maintenance and repairs. One needs additional funding for dredging to maintain authorized channel depth.

More funding is needed for the Elliott Bay Seawall study in Seattle. In California, Humboldt Bay needs funding to complete a long term sediment management feasibility study. Congress has responded in past years. Those hard fought increases have been important, and very much appreciated, but they have not been sufficient to prevent navigation infrastructure from further deteriorating.

PNWA supports full funding for these critical projects. These ports, home to fishing fleets, marinas and significant commercial and recreational facilities, are critical to the economic survival of their communities.

Many have small populations, and the ports provide employment for a significant proportion of community. It will be growing by approximately a billion dollars a year over the next few years. We had the same problem with the Clinton Administration. This is money that we are taking.

But the point is the inefficiencies that flow from this, the energy waste that comes from this, is a bipartisan shame and I think we ought to fix it.

We have a tax allocation problem. I wanted to ask this question generally. Some have suggested that we could reduce truck traffic on our highways by using barges and ships to move freight between two U. But a shipment from overseas that then travels between these two U. Now, might removing this tax for the domestic portion of this shipment provide incentive for these so-called short-sea shipping moves to get more trucks off the road?

First, industry does not object to a tax. We do believe that it is necessary to fund navigation. These are all Federal channels. They are all maintained by the U. They are all appropriated by Congress, and it is the user fee that should be paying for that. The user fee does have some issues. Others, we have had an issue at our north and south borders, where Seattle and Tacoma, for example, are competing with Vancouver, B. This is cargo destined to U.

So there are other issues. We do believe that we do need to take care of those kinds of movements. If a cargo is taxed once coming into the United States, that ought to be all that it is taxed. One of the issues that we have is it is the largest ports in the country that need the ability to exercise short-sea shipping because of their capacity constraints.

We have a problem through OMB and administration priorities, it is the largest ports in the country that are the top priority for getting funding for expenditure out of that Harbor Maintenance Tax. We have to come to Congress to ask for more. Their overflow opportunities go to Oxnard and Port Hueneme and elsewhere on the California coast. We have the same issues in the Pacific Northwest. Bakhtiari addresses the Australian Senate Committee.

Robinson — There are large numbers of solutions as to how we can do things better—taking your second point about how to do it better. The clearly sensible thing to do is to put up the fuel tax, which I hope we come to later.

The clearly sensible thing to do as a politician is to avoid mentioning that. The only way we can do that is to engage the community. We had petrol rationing during the war. If people understand the situation then, firstly, they will think of a lot of ways that they can lower their own oil vulnerability. They can do their own risk assessment. There will be a whole growth industry of consultants who can go around and help people go through that—and ASPO Australia is hoping to be part of that, because no-one else is.

Also if people understand they can look at things as people have done in wartime and other times to change the situation. We have to accept the scenario that these things might happen and we have to have a plan B. We might have something like the hurricane that hit New Orleans, and at federal, state and local levels the US was shown worldwide to be completely bloody useless. They had rows of buses sitting in a lake when there was no transport to take people out from nursing homes.

We are going down that road but if, from this Senate inquiry, we can engage the community there are all sorts of plan Bs from oil vulnerability assessments. We cannot just go back to talking about whether we do biodiesel or fish and chip shop oil. One of the concerns is that there is massive investment at the moment in the status quo. We have our transport companies investing in their production plant for 10 to 15 years out and airline companies investing 20 years out.

We know that any societal change to a new technology has very long lead times. That means that the companies and the markets that the economists are relying on to take the lead are going to play out their existing hand of cards for as long as they possibly can. I respectfully suggest that they might not want to look at a different set of cards until retail prices have doubled or tripled. You will only get a rational analysis of that from the taxpayers and the voters if they are informed.

This brings it back to the points that have already been raised about oil vulnerability maps and the level of public engagement we need. We need this like we have never needed it before. We have to be innovative. We have to not go to people with information but engage them in an intellectual way and also at an emotional level.

People have to understand the consequences. For all those reasons we cannot rely on the markets. The government does need to take a strong lead. Harries—I liken our current situation with oil to the situation we were in with electricity going back many decades. We had monopoly providers and there was very little planning. Let us build another coal-fired power station.

One of the things that have exacerbated that problem is that at the state government policy level there is actually very little in terms of transport policy. No-one owns the transport policy agenda in this state, like they do stationary energy. There is no office for sustainable transport policy. We are facing massive uncertainty. I am personally very reluctant to look at crystal balls and guess what fuel prices are going to be. I think we have to accept that we have got huge uncertainty.

We are behind the eight ball in that we have not had the planning systems in place to help us deal with that. The sensible strategy—and I have heard some of them around the table— is to start putting ourselves in a position where we can start planning. That means not just informing the public and working with groups.

It also means—and this is very dear to my heart—understanding what we are going to need to have a very flexible approach to be able to deal with that uncertainty.

That is going to go right across the board. How can we help companies develop the liquefied natural gas infrastructure they need? What training are we going to need? What skills are we going to need? What information are we going to need to be able to help us move when we need to move? My plea is that we are going to have to look at our information needs and how we can address them. As politicians you have a very unenviable task because of that uncertainty and because of the limited planning capability we have.

We need to look at what we are missing—what are the gaps. We need to do a real SWOT planning analysis of what we need to know. Are they vulnerable because they do not have access to public transport? In which case, we can start long-term strategic planning. Mr Fleay—There is some real landmark guidance as to how to go. The first thing I want to deal with is how in all of the discussion here people have come up with problems and things that need to be done.

The problem with all of those things is that they impact on all people and all businesses in different ways and on different time scales.

There is an inherent complexity in them and all sorts of feedback loops and the like, such that you cannot use a top-down management approach. The very nature of such systems is that no one person can fully understand them. This is some of the modern thinking that arises from the so-called chaos theory. That means that you need a process whereby you can engage all the stakeholders and the public in this process to deal with those things.

It was done successfully with the Network City plan, which was quite a significant effort. It has also been done on smaller scales. Basically it involves getting various stakeholders with their different viewpoints to state their case—people giving an overview of things and the like. With the Network City planning, there were tables with eight people each, each with a computer. This enabled good, close dialogue between the people on a table which could then be fed into the whole group.

All sorts of solutions emerge from that. I was also involved in a similar thing on a smaller scale at Geraldton when there was a conflict between road trains and residents. At the end of that meeting, even though there were strong differences, we looked at what it would be like if we continued the way we were and what it would be like if we went down a different pathway. It reached a point at the end where everybody, all of the 70 people involved, agreed that we could not carry on as we were and that we had to change, and there was a perspective on doing so.

This is the way forward. What governments have to do is not manage and come up with solutions but give leadership of this kind in order to get an informed population and to unleash the creativity of people to find solutions. We cannot do it any other way. It has to be a continuing process. The essence of it is, I think, that it combines in one process people cooperating and competing at the same time. The two are not mutually exclusive; they are complementary. It is finding that mix that is absolutely essential to seeing the way forward here.

We cannot move forward before that, particularly if we start bringing the peak oil into it. You have the potential in that for everybody to see that everybody is making adjustments and to see it as just and equitable. In connection with the question of trade, coming back to the theories of economists and economics the so-called law of competitive advantage, which dates back to the early 19th century, is based on the premise that rather than being self-sufficient countries should specialize on what they can do best and trade, which of course means increased transport.

That is the basis of all free trade and even interstate trade—if you think of each state in this country as being a bit like a country. Ever since the early 19th century, the cost of transport has been diminishing. Initially it was coal fired, then oil came in in the early 20th century.

Oil was significantly superior as a transport fuel, especially with the very cheap oil from the giant oil fields which dominated in that period. My view is that that period has come to an end, and therefore we have to start thinking of a focus on being more self-sufficient as a strategy into the 21st century.

The old view is losing its validity. However, that is a very complex question because of the great deal of interdependence that occurs around the world. Just to give you an indication, Japan was nearly self-sufficient in grain in , but as a consequence of its industrial development it now imports about 70 per cent of its grain.

A similar thing applies to South Korea and so on. So a huge period of readjustment has to take place, but nobody is giving much thought to that at the moment. I mention in my submission that it is something we need to start thinking about, and we need to start a dialogue with the economists about the deficiencies in their theories regarding the way they handle energy.

That must be a part of this. I also mention that it raises the question of the current dependence of food production and the whole food chain to households on fossil fuel energy—mainly petroleum. I also throw in that modern industrial agriculture has been described as a way of using land to convert petroleum into food. I deal with that in my submission.

We need to know important information about where all the embodied energy in all these steps is so that we can have a clear picture of which things are the critical ones to tackle first and so we can create a long-term strategy. My view is that the most important use for the remaining oil—the first priority—is that food supply and food chain, for obvious reasons. Bennett — I want to move on to alternative fuels. I take a particular interest in biofuels.

We recently had a conference, at which Senator Milne spoke, on bioenergy and biofuels. This is one of the moral hazards of biofuels. The fact is that the increasing demand for biofuels is now a significant hazard in the preservation of biodiversity and tropical rainforests around the world.

Similar activities are taking place in relation to tropical rainforests and sugar cane plantations. It amounts to the fact that the more we make demands on the plant kingdom of this earth in terms of both food and fuel, the more we are going to do damage to it. The situation is that one rates human food first, animal food second and fuel third.

It is disturbing to see the diversion of human and animal food into fuel. It seems to me that one of the actions that government can take is to make no more concessions and no more subsidies for the production of biofuels. Mr Rice—We have a problem with obesity—why not turn that into transport, particularly walking and cycling. Again, do not overlook those for personal transport. About half of our trips in Perth—and Perth is a very spread out city—are less than five kilometers long.

We could save a huge amount of fuel, we could have big health benefits and we could have social benefits with more eyes on the streets for a relatively little cost. We are talking about how you as politicians are going to get some of these things in place.

If we look at social changes, it is now commonplace to wear seatbelts and it is not commonplace anymore for thinking people to smoke. It may be not commonplace in the future for thinking people to drive V8s unless they absolutely have to. There is an encouragement thing. There is a health thing. There are a lot of pluses in this, particularly if you adopt that broader overall sustainability view of what government is all about. If you do not govern for sustainability, why are you governing at all?

Senator MILNE—I wanted to follow up on the issue of China, because it is very difficult to even contemplate the scale of the global impacts of China and India combined but China primarily. Lester Brown in his book Plan B basically says that at its rate of growth China will absorb virtually all the cereal and grain crops of the whole planet.

What else is anyone else going to eat? Plus, they are in the black—America is in the red—and they can afford to buy up as much food-producing land as is necessary… His conclusion is that the current economic model does not work for China and that, as it does not work for China, it does not work for the rest of the world.

It is pretty profound to try and take in the scale of the impact. On this question of liquid natural gas, I have seen all the stuff in recent times about Australia touting its liquid natural gas to the US, to China and to anyone who will buy it. I am interested in the collective view here on whether it is appropriate for Australia to be selling—and I understand the WTO rules; let us just put those aside—liquid natural gas? I think the reality is that, without the export income, these kinds of investments would not be undertaken in the first place.

The scale of investment that is required to develop these resources is very hard to get your head around. For a country like Australia, without the interest from the oil majors and their seeing this is a country that they want to develop because it has free trade and certainty in terms of taxation treatment and the like, we would not have the developments. Without the developments, we would not have the domestic access to the natural gas that I was talking about earlier that in fact now gives us a competitive advantage against imported diesel.

So I think we have to be very careful that we do not isolate ourselves. At the end of the day, it is business on a global scale that we are talking about and it is very hard to be isolated from that. Mr Head—I am going to be a bit controversial, and Gary may wish to come back on this one.

That is at current levels of use, which we know is not going to happen: If we were to translate a significant proportion of our transport task to natural gas, that duration, that window of opportunity, would reduce right back down to between 20 and 50 years, notwithstanding that the peak is going to occur somewhere halfway along that period. With the time lags for introducing new technologies and getting societies to make that transition, it will take us 20 years to get to the point where we are all using natural gas.

And then what do we do? Mr Fleay—I dealt with this question of alternative fuel in one part of my submission. I finished up with a chart showing the energy-profit ratio on a vertical axis and increasing economic effectiveness on a horizontal axis.

The energy-profit ratio is the energy content of the fuel divided by the energy used to get it. The higher that figure, the more useful the fuel. There is a difference in effectiveness. We are never going to see a coal-fired airplane, for example. It is that sort of picture. This chart gives a picture on the basis of the information I have available.

What comes out in that picture is that the petroleum products that have been taken from giant oil fields stand out above everything else. Nothing else can match them. It would be useful to look at that. But we do need a lot more information in this country. A lot of work needs to be done to find out what the energy-profit ratios of our various fuels are to update that figure. This is an important task so that we are able to sort the wheat from the chaff, know what you can and cannot do and know what can be used for a transition to help us to get to one point.

Instead, the focus should be on the 'mobilised,' i. Obviously, the common man feels that he has been cheated and the trust he had reposed in his elected representative has been completely betrayed.

It is however a matter of great concern that the Opposition did not feel it necessary to pursue the anti-corruption agenda after raising the issue in Parliament. Why did the Opposition not organise a mass agitation on this burning issue? Why did Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev have to jump in to the fray? Ideally, this fight should have been led by the Opposition which in a parliamentary democracy is the originial watchdog of public interests.

It is the Opposition's primary responsibility is to keep the Government on its toes and when necessary mobilise public opinion against acts of omission and commission indulged in by the Government.

The Opposition should have been the torch bearer of the anti-corruption agenda. With the support of civil society, they should have compelled the Government to create a strong legal framework for bringing the guilty to the book. The enactment of legislation to curb corruption or bring back Indian money stashed away in safe havens should have been on top of the Opposition agenda.

Now, if the Government was not responsive, the Opposition would have been completely within its rights to mobilise public opinion against the ruling party. But how the Opposition could hand over their legitimate role and duty to private individuals, no matter how well-meaning they are, is beyond comprehension.

This is particularly worrying because it is entirely possibly that those who are in the Opposition today may become the ruling party after the next general elections and then the new Opposition will follow the precedents set by those who held the same positions earlier. As a result, elected representatives would have handed over their political space to non-elected "eminent people" who are not accountable to either public or Parliament.

Just like by creating the National Advisory Council Ms Sonia Gandhi has established a super cabinet in the process made a laughing stock of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's cabinet, the Opposition too stands equally guilty of 'outsourcing' the its task to self appointed 'wise men'. It must also be said that Mr Singh's Government is also not without fault. Instead of constituting a Joint Committee with non-elected individuals to draft the Lokpal Bill, Mr Singh should have arranged to have in-depth consultation with the Opposition as well as other elected representatives.

After all, in every democracy issues of governance are ultimately discussed, debated and resolved by the country's elected representatives. It is a tragedy that today a democratically elected Government in India has now completely surrendered its state authority to a small group of self-appointed crusaders.

Headlines are now blaring about the mudslinging that's going on between anti-corruption activists and the government. But defence minister A K Antony - in remarks that might cause some discomfort to his colleagues in the Congress - has broached a longer-term outlook that's more positive. Renowned for his clean image - which stands out so much in today's atmosphere that some refer to him as St Antony - his current notion that the country is passing through a transparency revolution is significant.

Antony believes that the walls of secrecy are crumbling, even though many within the government and outside are not ready for the winds of change. Nonetheless, he concludes that the transparency revolution has reached critical mass and can't be stopped midway.

The scenario Antony projects is optimistic, but plausible. Even if his statements are embarrassing for his colleagues, they may well be prophetic. The main reason why the anti-corruption movement may be more successful this time than on earlier rounds - Jayaprakash Narayan and V P Singh have campaigned before on similar issues - is the rise of the middle class.

Since the liberalisation of the economy in the s, economic growth has added to middle class numbers - those who are aspirational in character and well aware of their rights. Experiences worldwide inform us that it is this segment of society that forms the backbone of a modern democracy. This also explains why the old power structures defined by feudal aristocracy and crony capitalism are increasingly under pressure to reform.

There is dwindling patience for politicians and babus who use corruption as a tool for personal aggrandisement. Scams such as those involving the sale of 2G spectrum or contracts for the Commonwealth Games are seen as loot of national wealth, rather than just an issue of impropriety.

In that sense, the UPA has sadly misjudged the political moment. In continuing with old-style politics focussed on entitlement, identity and patronage it has invited the ire of the people.

Civil society is no longer willing to be taken for granted or have the wool pulled over their eyes. Nevertheless, as Antony has pointed out, the political class has also played its role in ushering in greater transparency. As the electorate grows more aware and 24x7 media does its bit, politicians will be under greater pressure to perform.

In the end, the battle against corruption will be fought and won in Parliament, not outside. But it is only by heeding the demand of civil society for greater probity that the government can redeem itself. This, more than any other adjective, came to describe M F Husain's art.

Husain was no stranger to notoriety. His depiction of Indira Gandhi as Durga raised eyebrows across s India. However, in the s, his art raised more than comment. It was struck by violence, ultimately claiming the artist's freedom to live in India. Husain's life reflects India's changing colours. Born in , he became an artist of repute, joining the Progressive Artists Group in He accepted influences from around the world; Pablo Picasso , Prague's architecture, African poetry, all were welcome.

He reflected the excitement of India itself, open to the world's art as it evolved its own style. Husain painted freely and frankly - nude goddesses, dark monks, rib-lined horses, elephants playing veenas, nations in distress - in canvases executed with style and showmanship, spreading artistic excitement across society. In the s, this vibrant space was attacked and Husain became a victim. In , the Hindu right questioned Husain's prerogative as 'a Muslim painter' to depict nude Hindu deities. The artist's house was attacked, works vandalised and multiple legal cases registered against a man aged above 80 over 'hurting a community's sentiments'.

Ironically, he also faced anger from the Muslim right, outraged over a song in his directorial venture, Meenaxi, allegedly featuring Quranic excerpts. The uproar was powerful enough for Husain to pull the film out of theatres.

The cases around him finally made him pull out of India too. In , against a non-bailable warrant and a non-committal government in India, he accepted Qatari citizenship.

It's to India's shame that one of its greatest contemporary artists had to die in exile. Amidst the sound and fury of the civic agitation against corruption which hopefully will signify something , public opinion has emerged as possibly the fifth 'estate' of governance. This is an affirmation of both the strength and the weakness of our polity.

On the one hand, it reinforces the message that public opinion is the essential domino. When mobilised our elected representatives respond with alacrity - as should be expected in a robust democracy.

On the other hand, it suggests that the three estates of the legislature, judiciary and executive that function with an eye cocked on the fourth - the media - do not reflect or respond to public opinion. The public has had to after all come out onto the streets for the leaders to act. It points to the fact that our democracy is more a process than a lightning rod - an electoral process that allows the public to manifest its opinion every five years or so, but in the intervening period gives the elected representatives free rein to interpret public opinion through the prism of their narrow and risk-averse self-interest.

The malaise is deep-rooted and it is not obvious that their demands and methods offer a pragmatic and systemic prescription. That said, it cannot be denied that their leadership has underlined the potential of the 'soft power' of public opinion. It has raised the possibility that the government can constructively engage with public opinion to help resolve the conundrum of democratic politics - the impasse between good economics and good politics.

One example of this possibility is the challenge of fuel prices. The government is once again struggling with this challenge.

It knows that economic logic and common sense warrant that the price of petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene be raised. And that otherwise, public sector oil companies will be driven into a financial abyss and the government will face an unmanageable subsidy burden. They also know that such a hike, especially at a time of commodity and food inflation, will trigger a political backlash and might threaten their individual political futures. This is not the first time that they have faced this challenge.

It has been on their agenda ever since petroleum product prices were deregulated in April and oil companies were given the de jure freedom to set prices in accordance with market principles.

Most times, however, the government has restrained the oil companies from exercising this right. As a result, the companies, and indeed the government as their principal shareholder , have run up enormous costs.

In financial year for instance, the companies collectively 'underrecovered' a euphemism for 'lost' approximately Rs 70, crore. In , and assuming the current gap between their domestic selling price and the international cost price will not narrow, the loss could exceed Rs 1,00, crore.

And the dilution of competitiveness in the international arena. The longer-term impact will be enhanced energy insecurity and environmental degradation - costs and debts that future generations will be asked to redeem. The government is, of course, aware of these costs. Almost every senior minister has stated in public that the current policy should be altered and that its continuation is detrimental to sustainable development.

But their party headquarters have not allowed them to bite the bullet of their conviction. The companies' de jure rights remain superseded by the government's de facto fiat. This logjam could be broken by the soft power of public opinion. This will not be easy but what the current agitation has brought home is that public preferences are not set in concrete and that in the face of new information and experience, people are prepared to accept some short-term pain for longer term gain.

It has shown that the public does respond to logic and matters of broader concern. On the issue of fuel prices, therefore, it is not a given that it will always object to higher prices. With full information about the consequences of a burgeoning subsidy burden on economic development and energy security - and the adverse implications on the environment of product adulteration and resource misallocation problems that occur because of price distortions - the public's position on a price hike might well be different than what the politicians have always assumed.

The same could be said about the second generation economic reforms like labour and retail that have been put on the backburner because of expected political backlash. Here too, the effort to inform and educate the public might pay unexpected dividends.

It is well known that in a democracy, good economics and good politics make for uneasy bedfellows. And that when push comes to shove, economics is almost always given short shrift.

But there is a limit to how far economic logic can be defied. The soft power of public opinion transformed into smart power through information and technology can help find space for both on the same mattress and enable statesmanship. The writer is chairman, Shell Companies in India.

Ben Mourad Cheikh , Tunisian filmmaker, and his friends hit the streets of Tunis as soon as the protests against the Ben Ali regime began last year. Cheikh made a minute documentary on the Tunisian revolution, in which he was both a participant and a viewer. Cheikh spoke to Faizal Khan: Tunisia was known to the rest of the world as a peaceful country, not very poor and a tourist destination favoured by rich Europeans.

The people of Tunisia had been living under pressure for a very long time. A point came when they couldn't stand it anymore and they exploded. It was a question of dignity.

The Tunisian people wanted the same rights as everyone else in the world. The government in place had been using the tool of oppression for a long time to block Tunisians from speaking out. In December, Tunisians broke the cycle of fear. The protests started in the south, which is a poorer region, far away from the capital in the richer coastal north.

Slowly, the protests spread to the capital. By January 14, everyone was on the streets, the rich and the poor, from all political backgrounds. The protesters were asking for their basic rights - work, dignity and liberty. What was the role of the youth in the revolution? Pre-revolution, there was a minority who would stand up against the government of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. But they couldn't reach the rest of Tunisia. The youth use new tools such as the web and were able to reach others.

What is important is that it was not done in the name of politics. The youth took simple ideas, like the demand for liberty and dignity for all, which everyone agreed with. It was not easy, but it became possible. What is the future for Tunisia? The future is to be built. It can only be better. I don't know how it will be built, but i am confident that we will do it by accommodating different political thinking. It is for the first time since independence in that Tunisians know who they are.

On July 24, Tunisians will elect a constitutional assembly, which will rewrite the Constitution. Later, a presidential election will be held under this Constitution.

The challenge is to establish a real democracy in Tunisia and to show the world that an Arab country, a Muslim country, can be a democracy. What is your film about? The film is a kind of participation in the revolution. We began shooting without any intention of making a documentary. It is the first feature length documentary about the Tunisian revolution. There are three main characters in my film. One is a lawyer and human rights activist who suffered under the Ben Ali dictatorship.

The second is a blogger, a young girl, who was the first to show to Tunisia and the rest of the world what was happening in the southern town of Sidi Buzid and how the government was putting down protests when none of the newspapers was talking about it. The third is a journalist, who exchanged his pen for a baton to protect his neighbours in a Tunis suburb. These characters do not know each other. The common point in the film is fear, the fear to speak and to criticise.

But there is no more fear today in Tunisia. Reader Shireen Bharucha wrote in with a suggestion regarding Indian banknotes which currently bear the image of Mahatma Gandhi. Shireen suggested that as most of our currency seems to end up in the pockets suitcases? Instead, she asked, why didn't the sarkar portray on our currency notes the mug shots of scamsters? In the meantime, Baba Ramdev has his own ideas about currency reform, his recommendation being that we should get rid of all our Rs and Rs 1, notes.

In these inflationary times, Ramdev's suggestion might sound impractical. Indians shopping at the nearest kirana store for dal and chawal and atta have yet to employ wheelbarrows to cart along the money required to pay for these essentials, as people had to do in the Germany of the late s. But the main reason that we don't use wheelbarrows to transport cash for our daily hisaab is that the price of dal-bhaat being what it is, who the hell can afford a set of wheels let alone a damn barrow to go with them.

This being the case, one would have thought that Rs and Rs 1, notes should be treated as labour-saving devices, ensuring that we don't all end up with stress-caused hernias through lugging about huge loads of lower-denomination notes which thanks to inflation are barely worth the paper they're printed on.

So what the heck is Ramdev doing, telling us to junk our buck and 1,buck notes? Has too much yoga affected his mental equilibrium so that he can no longer tell his aasan from his elbow? A moment's consideration, however, dispels such misplaced scepticism.

And what helps to do the dispelling is the balance sheet of the yoga guru's worldwide organisation. According to reports, the annual turnover of just two of Ramdev's trusts is some Rs 1, crore. The yoga guru's commercial empire is said to include some 34 companies in India alone. Besides which, Ramdev's domain includes a Scottish island worth two million pounds, believed to have been gifted to him by a UK-based couple. From all this it would seem that apart from teaching people to stand on their heads and adopt a variety of contorted yogic postures, the saffron-clad super-guru can do much the same thing with numbers, when those numbers pertain to moolah tucked away in global bank accounts.

Even as the self-appointed civil society leader exhorts the sarkar to bring back into India the black money stashed abroad by his fellow countrymen, various investigative agencies looking into Ramdev's own account books might marvel at the uber-yogic's uncanny ability to make numbers do his acrobatic bidding, turning cartwheels, executing sirshasans, so that sixes become nines, and nines become sixes, and so on, and, in some instances, doing a disappearing act and vanishing out of sight altogether.

Never mind breath control. This is pure wealth control. Now you see it, and now you don't. His obsession with money - particularly other people's money - shows that the Baba is a financial wiz. As such it would be dumb to dismiss his suggestions regarding financial and economic matters.

So when he tells us that we must scrap our Rs and Rs 1, notes we should take his advice at face value, quite literally. Obviously what he means is that we must replace Rs and Rs 1, notes with Rs 5, and Rs 10, notes. So much easier to stack in these itsy-bitsy Swiss bank vaults. And whose face should appear on the new notes? That of the guru with the golden touch, of course.

And while we're at it, how about a new name for the rupee as well. In achieving aesthetic and commercial success, MF Husain set new benchmarks for Indian artists. In the small hours of Thursday, the celebrated artist Maqbool Fida Husain breathed his last in a London hospital. He died far away from India, the land of his birth, whose myths and peoples he brought alive in the thousands of canvases painted in the course of a prolific career.

The 'Picasso of India' also died a Qatari national, a citizenship that he had acquired in , after years of raging controversies surrounding his work, whose depiction of Hindu goddesses offended religious groups. The bruised sentiments did not remain limited to angry debates: In , Husain left the country for good, but his legacy on the life and work of Indian artists would remain indelible. The most endearing legend about Husain's early life would be of the time when he painted billboards to make a living, before breaking into the Bombay art world and joining the Progressive Artists' Group on an invitation from FN Souza in His breakthrough, however, did not imply a retreat into a select, rarefied world of high art.

Husain's work was not a personal, tortuous struggle between the artistic consciousness and its expression being enacted within the confines of a garret. He was of the world, responding to the everyday: He reveled in life, in all its sheer enervating power and passion.

He was its chronicler. No surprise then that he embraced Mammon, with his canvases fetching millions of dollars in the fiercely competitive global art markets, setting benchmarks that Indian artists before him could not even dream of.

Perhaps, it was Husain's penchant for performance that was most misunderstood. Whether in his preference to walk barefoot or his insistence on his portrayal of Hindu goddesses, he wanted to shock and provoke people into thought and introspection.

He resurrected the ancient myths, his celebrated Mahabharata paintings for example, not just because they dominated the national consciousness but also to assess the relevance of the wisdom they imparted.

Defenders of the injured ego of Hindu faith could, however, barely be expected to appreciate how Husain was reveling in the formlessness of the figure, conflating classical and modern traditions or expertly combining anatomical details while imbuing the figures with a spirit of humanity. Without art, George Bernard Shaw once remarked, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.

In reactions to his work, Husain held up a mirror to that unbearable, degrading reality of contemporary India, shorn of its pretensions, a land of free-flowing information but not much free thought. The stage is set, the actors are ready. All we now need is the government to lift the curtains on the greatest midsummer's show since it ran to a packed globe.

New Delhi's Boat Club lawns are no longer off limits, say the courts. Baba Ramdev is chaffing to unleash hordes of yogis on them. Let's hope the government sees the merit in this naked display of power. A sea of well-preserved Hindu flesh going through the paces on a June afternoon is by far a greater show of India's might than any Republic Day parade of creaky tanks.

As for the intrepid Baba, he seems to be on the ball about graft. Humanity's first recorded bribe was paid by an Indian — Indra was easily the most corrupt king the gods ever had or will. The cure for a malaise as old as the Vedas must also be sought in them. It takes the genius of a Ramdev to unleash the power of yoga on sleaze. Those of us who have neither had our palms greased nor twisted our bodies into crazy pretzels will, of course, watch the triumph of good over evil and cheer at the right time.

But the show we must see. We've paid the cover charge many times over. Yet the yogi will not exult over his victory. For he knows that the battle of the righteous is never done. The mighty warrior Krishna has promised to return every time dharma is beleaguered. Sometimes as pig, sometimes as turtle. Why not as an army of sadhus? Maqbool Fida Husain died in London on Thursday.

Nice, tame headline, this. But who was he really? Was he the artist who courted controversy because he had painted Hindu deities in the nude in the s and was hounded out of his home, hearth and country over 20 years later by bigots who claimed allegiance to the Hindu faith when their government came briefly and ignominiously to power?

Or was he a conjurer of images, especially from his most fecund period in the 60s, 70s and 80s that stayed in the memory?

Was he the great lover whom the narrow-minded shunned but secretly envied, even more so because he was also a loving patriarch? Husain was a mass of endearing contradictions. The trouble was that far too many people wanted to be like him; to have his flowing sense of draughtsmanship and apt sense of colour, his nonchalant manner, haunting good looks, and, of course, his generosity at work and play.

Everything was play for him. His colleagues in India — the raffish, gifted Francis Newton Souza, excepted — were staid middle-class folk with social values to match. They talked about creativity but it was Husain who was creative. There was no dichotomy between his work and life. If he walked about barefoot, rest assured, there was a sound reason for it — apart from comfort.

He used to say that since all the nerve ends found their way to the soles of the feet, it was necessary to keep them active through making constant contact with the earth. It was not only his outward manner that caused a lot of trouble for him, but his quiet acceptance of worldly success that rattled his rivals.

He was, in today's parlance, the 'ultimate cool cat'. It was fashionable in the 70s, when one was growing up as an impressionable young man among artists in Delhi, to find fault with Husain, his persona and his work. It took quite some time to realise that people less talented and with less equipoise resented him because they wanted to be like him and couldn't. His restlessness led him to indulge in what appeared to be gimmicks. His Fiat car had horses painted on it — on either door.

The superb blend of line and colour in the image was conveniently ignored and his critics called him an exhibitionist. He was after a fashion but he really had child-like fun being one. He went ahead and painted Bhimsen Joshi, the famous Hindustani music exponent, as he sang on stage. He, being a child of the movies, having painted huge hoardings advertising Hindi films during his years of struggle, was perhaps subconsciously trying to do in his own medium what Alfred Hitchcock did with Rope — make a film in real time.

If he had a few blind spots, the Nehru family was one of them. Jawaharlal Nehru gave him his first major break and even posed for some striking, unconventional portraits for Husain. His gratitude carried over to Indira Gandhi. He took the brickbats with equanimity and carried on with his work. Husain had struggled hard in life. The son of a humble time-keeper in a small mill in Indore, he had received some formal instruction from VD Devlalikar, a respected painter in the traditional Indian style, who ran an art school in the city.

He wanted to become an actor but ended up painting huge film banners that gave his line in later years great power and clarity. He also learnt to keep his central theme in sharp focus by painting expendable advertisements for films.

He did not stay there long. The compulsions of earning a living and raising a family were too strong. Very soon, Husain was striking out on his own.

His success was hard-earned. His paintings began to fetch high prices abroad. He had a large family to support but with regular success, the money kept rolling in.

It was then that the tides of history went against him. Suddenly the 'anti-Hindu' paintings were dug up and hundreds of false cases were slapped against Husain in various parts of the country for allegedly showing disrespect to the Hindu religion, or rather a monolithic version of it.

A campaign of calumny had begun and it rapidly gained momentum till Husain was forced to go into exile. But the most shameful act of all was the cowardice of the Congress-led UPA government, which could not bring him back to the land of his birth and ensure that he spent his last years in peace and dignity. Husain remained the nattily dressed, elegant man who had triumphed over adverse fate and continued to create lovely images. He even received a very lucrative commission to do huge glass sculptures and went to Italy to discuss details with expert glass workers.

He wanted to give back to art the pleasure it had given him. Partha Chatterjee is a critic and filmmaker. The views expressed by the author are personal. As a TV journalist, I've covered art for little more than a decade. That certainly doesn't make me a veteran. But it has made me a lucky person in getting to meet a legend like MF Husain plenty of times. In fact, the first time I ever interviewed him, I ended up asking him a factually incorrect question, much to my embarrassment.

But he had the reaction of a grand old sage, "You are so young. You just don't know enough about me! Here's a man who has seen success from the time he got his Padma Shri award in , the Padma Bhushan in and finally, the Padma Vibhushan in He had been nominated to the Rajya Sabha in , and already had an auction record to his credit in , where his portrait of Mother Teresa was hammered at Rs 5 lakh by Christie's.

But that's not how Husain made you feel. He was never intimidating. Instead, he was always approachable and childlike in his curiosity; eager to know more about you than talk about himself. There was a funny moment in one of the special shoots I did with Husain in Dubai. Husain started talking about his 'young' days that had us fervently looking for his pictures of youth so that we could match the visuals with his comments. Art books didn't help.

Well, whoever remembers seeing a young Husain? The hunt finally ended at his son Shamshad's personal album. What struck me most about his personality was his zest for life. For someone who reached the zenith of his career decades ago, Husain never cared about resting on his laurels. He was always busy with his next big project.

Even as we mourn his tragic death, we must remember that a number of projects taken up by the master remain unfinished. The most ambitious among them was the one on Arab civilisation, which was the main reason Husain had decided to shift base to Qatar, take up citizenship and work in peace with a target of two years to finish it. It is sad that he will go on record as a Qatari national of Indian origin. But I can assure you that he has remained a source of inspiration for almost every artist that this country has produced.

A layman on the street who knows nothing about art will still be aware of Husain's name. His name will remain a symbol of Indian art. As his brush made brilliant strokes on canvas, his mind worked as brilliantly on establishing Indian art as a valid entity. A work by Husain is a prized possession, even if it's just a doodle on a napkin or a page off his diary.

In , he sealed a deal with a leading businessman to paint a canvases for R1 billion. For me, Husain will best be remembered as a true karma yogi, who worked till the end of his life and took life as it came.

I fondly remember him telling me, "My life is like my red Ferrari! Sahar Zaman is a Delhi-based independent arts journalist and art curator. Coming from someone who played a significant role in the PC's development about 30 years ago, the news was quite a revelation. But it wasn't unknown that Jobs was working on a post-PC era concept.

He announced the iCloud, the new cloud computing CC services from Apple, which will be available later this year. The iCloud is a set of free new cloud services that will work seamlessly with applications on iPhones, iPads, iPods, Macs and PCs to automatically and wirelessly store content on iCloud by pushing the data to all the devices when logged in.

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