Off the record

Off the record

Flying fast and furious

Once that became evident, a top Boeing executive simply switched over to a new job. But the battle-hardened US military-industry lobby was not ready to give up so easily.

A plan was devised with active involvement of top Indian foreign service officials. The idea was to bring more pressure on defence minister A K Antony through the US government by organising an Indo-US strategic meeting, which could be used as the cover for the official lobbying.

However, Antony saw through the game plan and conveyed his displeasure strongly to the officials in the ministry of external affairs. The effect of the drubbing from the calm and sombre Antony was such that the top MEA officials had to rush to the South Block the very next day to appease him.

The diminutive defence minister, however, not only made it absolutely clear to the MEA officials that he is the boss, but he also has enough intelligence to see through the smoke screen. A red-faced MEA had to retreat.

Kalyan Ray,
New Delhi

Unexpected rescuer

Facing attacks from his political rivals on the issue of the errors on India’s ‘most wanted’ list, home minister P Chidambaram has chosen a different course now. He has dismissed the very necessity of exchanging lists between India and Pakistan.

He says the exercise is futile because for the past seven to eight years the names of India’s most wanted criminals or terrorists were being given to Pakistan only to be ignored. He now informs how Pakistan gives names of its own most wanted — those creating trouble in Baluchistan and other parts of that country.

“We do not have any option other than to reject them,” Chidambaram says. So, the home minister feels that the blunders by Indian agencies will not affect Indo-Pak relationship, and that his counter part in Pakistan has proven him right.

Pakistan interior minister Rehman Malik has said that the errors should not be made a ‘big issue’. Malik’s dismissal of the issue has certainly disappointed Chidambaram’s rivals.

He might have not anticipated such sensibility from his counterpart, so the home minister must thank his unexpected rescuer!

Anil Sinha,
New Delhi

Tribute to Tagore

After Abhishek Bachchan, Rohan Sippy, Rana Daggubatti (of ‘Dum Maro Dum’), and singer Abhijeet, it was Shubhash Ghai to descend here in the last fortnight. But what was the ace producer-director, who gave hits like ‘Kalicharan’, ‘Karma’, ‘Saudagar’, ‘Ram Lakhan’ and ‘Taal’ doing in a place like Patna?

Actually, Ghai has turned Rabindranath Tagore’s classic ‘Nauka Dubi’ into a feature film as a tribute to Kabiguru on his 150th birth anniversary. He was here during the release of the Bengali version of the movie.

“I love Tagore’s stories and wanted to dedicate my creativity to the great poet on the occasion,” said the film-maker. “I planned the movie in Bengali and asked Rituparno Ghosh to direct it. But when Gulzar watched the film, he said it was a piece of art, and that the Hindi audience should not be deprived of it. It was then that I dubbed the movie in Hindi and requested him to write the songs in Hindi to fit Rabindra Sangeet,” said Ghai, and added that the Hindi version of the movie ‘Kashmakash’ will be released next week.
The show, as they say, must go on.

Abhay Kumar,