Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saga of a double decker train

India is not a stranger to double-decker air-conditioned luxury trains. These are running in Southern, Western, Northern and Eastern sectors, apparently, with no commercial problems. The irony for people of Bhopal, however, is that they struggled to get such a luxury train to run between their town and the commercial capital of the state, Indore, but are now staring at the prospect of losing it altogether.

A few years ago the local newspapers went mad about the train and used to frequently report the progress in manufacture at Kapurthala of its various components. After an inordinate delay the rake left Kapurthala and arrived at Bhopal. But it could not be put into operation immediately basically for the reason that the local railways had not done their home work properly.

Firstly, the route had not been surveyed so that the modifications required at several wayside stations to enable the train to run through them without any obstruction came to be noticed only when the Railways were ready for a trial run. Even the Indore station had to be modified. Secondly, the Railways found to their discomfiture that there was no maintenance staff for this supposedly special train. During the preceding year or two they had overlooked the need for the recruitment. The entire rake therefore sat idle for more than six months in the local Nishatpura Yard - a terrible waste of a productive resource.

A few weeks after the train with eleven double-decker air-conditioned cars started running it was realised that there were not enough passengers on it. The cars were running largely empty to make the train commercially unviable. One really does not know the kind of traffic surveys the Railways had carried out as despite the lapse of a few months the traffic did not pick up. The Railway Administration, therefore, started mulling its shift to some other route where it would be better utilised. Under the pressure of local people, however, the Administration continued to run the train but with reduced number of coaches.

 It transferred seven coaches to Mumbai for running them on the Konkan Railway route up to Madgaon in Goa.The remaining four coaches kept plying between Bhopal and Indore but were, again, found to be running mostly empty. The reasons now attributed for the lack of traffic are competition from road transport, availability of several trains between the two stations, unsuitable and inconvenient schedule and higher fares. All these ought to have come under reckoning before approving the introduction of the train. The Railways have now decided to withdraw the train altogether from this route and run it on a more needy and, perhaps, more profitable route of Mumbai-Madgaon.

The whole saga of this double decker train exudes a stink of utter incompetence on the part of the Railways. They apparently cannot even properly and thoroughly examine a proposal for running a new supposedly special train on a given route. In the process they have wasted precious financial, material and human resources involving enormous amount of opportunity cost.

The latest about the train is that Sumitra Mahajan, an MP from Indore and the recently elected Speaker in the Lok Sabha is reported to have been persuaded to request the railways to reconsider the matter of withdrawal of the train from the Bhopal-Indore route or to consider plying it between Indore and Surat, a route that was never in the reckoning.

Politicians, for their narrow interests of votes and goodwill, always interfere where they have no business to do so. Mahajan should leave it to the Railways to decide using the train as best as they think regardless of their goof-up in running it from Bhopal for Indore – a route that is already saturated with a number of trains, ordinary and luxury buses and taxis of all kinds.

 As is now becoming increasingly evident, politicians have actually been the problem with the Railways. They have, in fact, been so with almost every aspect of the administration. That, however, is another story and can be left to be told some other time.


 Photo: from the Internet

Saturday, June 21, 2014


View from my room
We landed not at Haneda, but at Narita airport. Narita was opened to traffic in 1978 after Haneda became overcrowded and facing problem relating to expansion. The flight from Shanghai took about an hour and a half. From the clock inside the terminal I noticed that Tokyo was an hour ahead of Shanghai. We soon headed for the city 63 kilometres away in a shiny regular-sized bus. Outside it was a contrast from China with latest Japanese cars zipping past, their bodies sparkling in the sun as if given a vigorous spit-and-polish. After some time as I looked out of the window I found the bus climbing a flyover that spiralled on to become a multi-tiered affair and I could see down below at other two levels cars speeding up and down. In front I could see a nondescript truck climbing the flyover, its tail-pipe emitting no smoke indicating its perfect combustion
Same view during the day
and engine efficiency.

We were put up at the Tokyo Grand Hotel in the area known as Shibakoen. It was perhaps a 3-star affair and each one of us was given a single room. The room was small but the management of space was to be seen to be believed. Every conceivable comfort had been provided in those 120-odd sq.ft. In that small area there was even a television set which had 8 colour channels. In 1982 we had only one B&W channel, the second coming later. The bath was small but it was neatly planned with no clutter despite a small plastic tub in which one could only stand to take a shower. Plastic was optimally used from bath tub to walls. Japan is short of space and, hence, even their houses are small with the available space optimally used. The room overlooked a wide road with a baseball ground on one of its sides.

The Bullet Train speeding away
Having checked in I had some time before the next engagement. I wanted to have the film rolls exposed in China to be processed. Taking directions from the Reception I headed to the studio which was within walking distance. Colour film rolls – for slides and negatives – were kept outside the shop in a heap in a basket. One could pick up any and leave the money nearby in a container. The same was the case with pocket-sized calculators which were very scarce in India till then. The gent behind the counters took all my details and said that the prints would be ready by evening. I was surprised as in Delhi one had to deposit the rolls at Kodak on Janpath who would send them to Bombay. The films would come processed with prints only after three weeks. Here it was enormously different. Obviously automated printing of colour-negatives had already commenced in Japan. It came to India later in mid 1980s. Those who have grown up in the digital era wouldn't know about all this.
Demonstrators passing by

The first engagement was an introductory session with the senior officials of the Ministry who informed us of the schedule and the itinerary for the fortnight that we would be spending in Japan. While we would be looking at the postal facilities and doing some sites in Tokyo we were also to visit Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. In the process we were told we would be having a ride on the Bullet Train, till then a technological marvel and at that time the fastest in the world. At the inaugural, I also saw for the first time the wireless microphones. The absence
At the totally computerised Nihonbashi Post Office
of a tangle of wires on the floor made me look around when I saw the amplifier in one corner. Japan, after all, was then the technological superpower.

Soon after returning from the Ministry of Communications I headed for the photographer. As soon as he saw me he said he had delivered the rolls at the Hotel. I asked "to whom?" He said to the Reception. I asked "payment?” He said they made it. This was incredible. Thanking him I returned to the Hotel and checked with the Reception and they gave me the fat packet and said I could pay anytime I wished. Thoroughly overwhelmed I paid for the films there and then. Things have been made incredibly smooth by evolving a work-culture that ensures conveniences for the people.

At Ginza
In Japan the emphasis was on showing their processes which happened to be different from China with more technology inducted into them. We were taken to their computer centre where we had to leave our shoes outside. The machines, dust-sensitive and huge like cupboards, were lined up against the walls. Surely, primitive in comparison to today’s progressively miniaturized versions, these were being made use of for various operations.

Nihonbashi post office was a totally computerized office with minimal manual operations. Everything, from booking of a mail piece to its sorting and bagging for destination moved on the basis of computer programmes that were guided by optical character readers (OCRs). OCRs were extensively used so much so that the Japanese authorities had even printed postal stationery amenable to
The highrises of Shinjuku
processing by them. At that time the OCRs in Japan could read hand-written digits in eight different styles. Watching the machines in operations many a time one felt that as if an invisible supernatural hand was behind the moving trays, bags in small trolleys that would travel on rails to predetermined destinations guided remotely by computers.

The OCRs were also in use at metro stations in ticket dispensers. The machines could read the currency notes shoved in and spit out a desired railway ticket and also drop the change in a tray. At the Communications Museum I saw for the first time facsimile machines. Unlike the current tiny ones, these were of the size of a smallish refrigerator, say of 150 litres. I signed on a piece of paper and it was run through the machine only to yield a copy from another one kept a few metres away.
Ginza at night

Japanese technology, particularly in the area of consumer electronics, was moving towards its peak. The country was still in manufacturing – the shift to China came much later. Soni, Sansui, National, Sharp etc. were household names in India but their products were largely unavailable. The market was starving for them and was partially fed by smuggling. And, there in Tokyo in the area called Akihabara electronic goods were stacked up in shop after shop from floor to the roof. Until then I had never seen video recorders/players, food processors and such like. It was mindboggling. That’s when one realised the differences between an industrialized rich nation and an un-developed country. Ours was a closed economy, trying to be self-reliant without much capability – and a (pseudo) socialist republic to boot.
Ginza as an open air huge cafe

Japan had already wrested leadership from Germany in the area of photographic equipment. Gone were the days when Exaktas, Leicas, Agfas, Rollies used to call the shots. The quality products from Asahi Pentax, Nikon, Minolta, Konica and so on were a rage, I dare say, even in China. Even I had acquired from my sister in the US a Minolta SLR with a 50mm lens with f stop of 1.4. The Japanese later broke the “zero barrier” making the lens incredibly powerful.

Our consultant, Pat Kearney, was a professional photograph and used to shoot regattas held in Hobart in Tasmania, his home town. While he was looking for a telescopic long lens I wanted a few accessories. I joined him in the quest for
A Tokyo temple
some photographic equipment. We had to go to Shinjuku, the commercial centre, where a reputed shop dealing in cameras and other photographic stuff was suggested to us. We took the Metro from close to our Hotel. It was my first metro ride. We in India did not have metros nor was there any in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore or China - the countries I had been to. The Shinjuku metro station was probably a junction of several lines and was therefore huge. It had seemingly another city underground with shops, restaurants, tailors, beauty parlours and what have you. People were relaxing, sipping coffee or having beer. The whole place was so well lit that one really did not miss daylight. It was just as crowded as perhaps the city over-ground. A similar atmosphere I later saw in Hibiya City where we used to change to go to Ginza. Once I even walked right through the underground passageway to Ginza from Hibiya; it was like going past an entire township.
Another view of Ginza at night

Yudobashi in Shinjuku with a crowd of tall high-rises was not a very big shop in its two or three floors yet was into retailing almost all brands of Japanese cameras. That is why the salesmen would raise a racket as soon as one entered the shop inviting the visitor to their respective shop. It was more like the meat market we had in Gwalior where one would be greeted with a chorus of shouts of invites as soon as one entered it. Yudobashi was indeed a great shop and one would find every conceivable camera, lens or accessories there.

 After buying an aperture-priority Minolta SLR body and a few accessories I came out and sat on a thoughtfully provided bench to have a smoke. Street lights had come on. Soon I noticed a salesman in his tunic of blue serge trousers, a light blue half-sleeved shirt and a peak cap came out with a broom in hand and started sweeping the area in front of the shop. It was perhaps close
Animated mannequins of Ginza
to closing time. It seems everyone in Japan sweeps clean their respective business areas – inside and outside – before closing for the day. That is why even early in the morning the city is clean and litter-free. It is so different from our non-functional methods regarding cleanliness in public places.

A swamp that was filled up way back in the 17th Century to create what later became Ginza is now an upscale commercial and business hub with department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops. Mitsukoshi, an institution then of chain stores, had its outlet there and I bought from its huge store a lovely-looking orange and black Silver Reed portable typewriter.  One would always see crowds milling in the area, particularly in the evenings and at night it is a veritable fairyland with coloured neon illuminating billboards of every well-know Japanese firm. A place ideal for window shopping, I saw animated mannequins swinging their hands holding high-end bags. There is nothing that was not available there. Perhaps on Sundays, a main thoroughfare is blocked for people to come and relax with their families. The cafeterias put their chairs and tables out on the street. It was almost like a fair.

The host administration gave us a fabulous evening at the Imperial Hotel. Located close to the Imperial Palace in the neighbourhood of Ginza, it was a
At the Imperial Hotel
luxurious place and looked every bit like that. Food was mostly Japanese with some Western stuff thrown in. What I liked best was tempura, a dish of battered sea-food and sake, the Japanese wine made out of rice. Quite curiously, it is taken warm.

 Since there were no women in our group, wives of Japanese officials were not invited. Instead they had hostesses – young girls in elaborate hair-do, wearing traditional kimonos that generally were not seen on Tokyo streets. During a conversation with one of then I was told that they were all students and had volunteered to be hostesses for the evening mostly to brush up their English. I thought it was a very good idea!

The Japanese are very traditional and polite people. Bowing, for instance is
A side street behind the Tokyo Grand Hotel
very important and the deeper the bow the greater is the respect shown. At a shop the lady gave me a deep bow and I too had to bow not once but twice to enable her to straighten up. Likewise, “arigato” is a much used word. The word conveys thanks and it is used far too frequently. Japanese people have become westernised in many ways but the hold of their culture and traditions continue to be very strong.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Greening along the roads

Sher Shah Suri
Nitin Gadkari, the new minister for highways has decided to walk the same road as Sher Shah Suri, the Pushtoon who wrested the Indian empire from the Moguls more than six centuries ago. Sher Shah is known to have built the Grand Trunk Road from Patna to Delhi and had planted trees all along it for the benefit of the travelers. Gadkari, likewise, has taken a decision to plant 2 billion trees along the hundreds of thousands of kilometers of highways in the country. This, he perhaps rightly claims, would be of help in improving the environment, provide shade to travellers along barren stretches and afford employment to villagers. Gadkari has proposed to entrust the job of planting and taking care of the saplings to the nearby village women’s self help groups. The plan is to plant useful trees that also yield some income to the villagers. If the project materialises it would be a win-win situation for all concerned, more particularly for the villagers who have a highway passing close by.

One would like to wish Gadkari success in his endeavour. He, incidentally, is the person who, as a minister in Maharashtra, had the the Bombay-Pune expressway completed in record time.

Nitin Gadkari
This should be of interest to us as well in Bhopal. Whereas the Centre is contemplating greening of the country's highway system here in Bhopal the local municipality has denuded the city of thousands of trees for creating the BRTS corridor. Having accomplished that, it refuses to re-green the city's roadsides just because it claims to have done compensatory plantation far away out of the town on a hill. Its authorities have completely missed out on the concept of developing roadside greenery, especially in a hot country like ours. Bhopal consistently saw this summer temperatures of above 45 degrees Celsius for days together – a very unusual occurrence for a city known once for its salubrious climate.

I might add that the BRTS corridor is the single most important factor for this unusual occurrence. What is more, the corridor has ceased to be meant for rapid transit of BRTS buses as it has been disrupted in the New Market area for the sake of ensuring adequate returns for the businesses being plied from there. As if that is not enough, the corridor ceases to exist in the Main (Link) Road No 1 whenever the politicians decide to have a bash at their residences located along the road. The corridor becomes the parking lot on such occasions for guests of the ministers.

One therefore tends to ask whether sacrifice of so many old, mature and fully grown trees was worth it. Perhaps better traffic management would have obviated that necessity. In any case, the Traffic Police have suddenly become active in abolishing the corridor in the New Market, reportedly, on the instructions of its political bosses. But, even if felling so many trees was necessary, the municipality should see its way through to bring back the lost greenery along the BRTS route as soon as possible.

Perhaps the municipality will make amends and commence re-greening of the sides of the arterial roads.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Indo-Pak gridlock

At the formal launch of her book “Fighting to the End. Pakistan Army’s Way in War” C Christine Fair, a noted American scholar on South Asia, told her Washington audience the Pakistan Army does not want resolution of the Kashmir problem as for them it would mean committing hara-kiri. She went on to say, “They (Pakistan Army) are not going to do a settlement on Kashmir. Why would the Army allow a process to go forward that would obviate its own politics?” She added “I really do not expect much out of it (Modi-Sahrif peace initiative). The Army would undercut him (Sharif). All they have to do is to have a Laskar-e- Toiba attack opportunity for spoilers” She further said, “The attack on the Indian Consulate in Herat, which was very likely done by Lashkar-e-Toiba or the Haqqani network, is really a good testing of these waters”.

Ms. Fair has suggested that the best that India can hope for is some version of status quo. She has reasons for that as she asserts “Nawaz Sharif genuinely wants an opening of economic relationship with India. But does he really want to take on the business of shutting down the jihadi groups, there is no sign thereof so far.” She goes on to say that Pakistan’s problems with India are much more “capacious” than the territorial conflict over Kashmir. “Pakistan’s revisionism persists in regard to its efforts not only to undermine the territorial status quo in Kashmir, but also to undermine India’s position in the region and beyond. Pakistan will suffer any number of military defeats in its efforts to do so.”

One has always felt that even if Kashmir is offered to Pakistan on a platter it would not solve its problems with India. Fair’s is one of the more accurate assessments by an American of Pakistan and its Army’s attitude towards their neighbour. That the Pakistan Army calls the shots in most of the issues, more so in respect of those that relate to Kashmir and India, is an open secret. Kashmir is something which they just cannot give up as it is the very basis of their existence – one might even say, their livelihood. Any peace initiative between the two countries, therefore, makes the Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) sit up and take steps to shoot it down mostly with the help of their proxies, the assorted jihadists. One can recall at least three major instances from among several others where efforts were made to sabotage the emerging peace initiatives. One, of course, is “Kargil” that happened even as Prime Minister Vajpayee travelled to Lahore in a “Friendship” bus, the second major incident was the burning down of the Tourist Reception Centre of Srinagar on the eve of flagging-off of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and now “Herat” as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif travelled to New Delhi for Narendra Modi’s swearing-in. News has just come in that “Herat” was a Lashkar-e-Toiba event confirming the hunch of Ms. Fair.

While the Pakistani establishment has often termed these acts as the enterprises of “non-State” actors, these, in fact, are orchestrated by well-entrenched state actors in the Army. The Army and its ISI have in the jihadists some valuable expendable assets that can occasionally be let loose to inflict wounds on India. They have the “Mullahs” with them who run an assembly line to produce endless numbers of “fidayeens”, extremist, thoroughly radicalised militants who at short notice can head across the country’s eastern borders on suicide missions against the “kafirs”. It is difficult to believe that the civil authority in Pakistan is not aware of these shenanigans of the Army that is theoretically under its control. Nawaz Sharif unsuccessfully did profess ignorance about Kargil. But, was he unaware of “Herat”? One cannot be very sure.

That the Army would not like any softening of attitude towards India became clear soon after Modi’s swearing-in. While political analysts, the media and a significant segment of people across the borders were appreciative of Modi’s invitation to Nawaz Sharif the army men – even the superannuated ones –were not very happy. Invited by Indian news channels, they entered into acrimonious arguments insisting on continuance of the broken-down composite dialogue forgetting the past and not hinging it on to action on conspirators of 26/11 or even continued terror. On the Indian contention that terror and talks could not go together, they claimed they too were victims of terrorism. When reminded that “terror” was their own brain-child they promptly passed on the blame to “a superpower” – an argument that was “no-brainer”.

While the Army, thoroughly radicalised over generations since Zia-ul Haq’s tenure, would always be inimical to India, the civil society in Pakistan too is not well disposed towards their neighbour. One does not know how Sharat Sabharwal, a former High Commissioner to Pakistan, recently said that there is a “growing segment of opinion in Pakistan ...(that is) conscious of the need to build a stable relationship with India for a better future for themselves”. One, however, feels that it is the trade and industry (Inclusive of businessman Sharif) which is more in favour of a harmonious relationship basically for self-enrichment. The PEW Research reported last year that only 22% people in Pakistan are favourably disposed towards India. Years of relentless hostility, false propaganda, doctored history taught in schools and colleges and religious chauvinism inflicted on generations of Pakistanis had to take their toll. Hostility and hatred for the eastern neighbour are overwhelming, with dispassionate and objective voices being few and far between and, in any case, awfully faint to be drowned in the boom of the guns of ISI’s proxies.

Pakistan’s is a progressively regressing society and the country seems to be travelling back in time to the medieval ages. Life is cheap and easily dispensable and killing comes so naturally to those who are thoroughly indoctrinated. Killings for blasphemy are rising – even of those who have the guts and courage to defend an accused. Similar is the case with honour killings and sectarian violence against shias is mounting up. There are occasional voices from within helplessly screaming that the country is a failed state where life, property and honour are not safe. It is only the guns that rule.

The question would, therefore, be whether Modi would be able to break the gridlock with such a violent and intractable country. Even if he is able to arrive at a settlement it was likely to remain unsustainable. Christine Fair is right; stakes are too high for the Pakistan Army and its proxies. It is they who have the guns and the inclination to use them to make the civil authority fall in line. For India, the best bet would, therefore, seem to be to let the sleeping dogs lie till an opportune moment presents itself to break the deadlock.
 Photo: From the Internet

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Gwalior Fort
Gwalior is where I was born and brought up. It was a small town then – of about a lakh and a half. Climatically, it was cold in winters and very hot in summers with temperatures touching 45 to 46 degrees Celsius. The town was seemingly situated in a bowl with hills all around that had only scrub forests that hosted small game and an occasional big cat. These used to radiate heat of the sun that would relentlessly beat down on these rocky hills with sparse vegetation. With the thrust on urban expansion most of these hills have since been colonised.

However, happy tidings have since come from the town. Yesterday a news report said that the collectors of the district - past and present - planted 5 lakh trees over the last four or five years ushering a 'green revolution' in the city and the district. Of the 5 lakh saplings that were planted more than 4 lakh have survived and most of them have become young trees. The success that the bureaucrats got in ensuring a relatively much higher survival-rate of the saplings was because of the detailed plans drawn up for their care and their meticulous execution. They seem to have avoided monoculture and have planted saplings of a variety of trees like neem, sheesham and gooseberry, etc. These are big trees, though not fast growing but of immense value.

The successive collectors solicited and received unqualified support from several NGOs, other informal organisations and people in general. The report says that while the 'green revolution' has touched the villages around Gwalior, the city itself has been brought within its sweep. The hills in and around the city are reported to be sporting a green appearance. The greening has
Scrub forest
inevitably brought down the temperature by at least one degree Celsius and, the reports say, precipitation in the town has also increased. Encouraged by the success, the officials have taken up the work of greening the roadsides in the town. Unlike the Bhopal Municipal Commissioner, they seem to be oriented differently and are believers in the concept of developing roadside greenery

No wonder their efforts have brought recognition and rewards for the city and the district. The entire project and its implementation has been called for by the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussourie, and is going to be included as a case study in its curriculum on the subject of Environment to orient the probationers towards this important aspect of administration.

There seems to be still some hope for the country.

 Photos: From the Internet


None of the utilities in the town is efficient and are functioning much, much below par. Take for instance power. Despite claims of uninterrupted supply there are at least half a dozen instances of outages for varying periods every day. We are told that the state is surplus in power and is out to sell it to other states, yet in its capital there are disruptions galore.

A week or so ago announcements in newspapers were being made about power disruptions for around six hours every day in almost 60 to 70% areas of the town. The reason given was maintenance. One doesn't know the kind of maintenance that was done but disruptions continue. Worse, the power supplied is not stable, the voltage fluctuates and on one occasion it went down to 50. The compressor of our fridge was knocked out. One of these days the compressor of
the air- conditioner may also conk out. At night the voltage keeps going up and down. Newspapers report that in One Tree Hill area people, apart from getting sleepless nights because of sharply dipping voltage, are up against the problem of knocked out fridges and air conditioners.

The question that arises is, are we really technically way up in the scale? That prowess is not visible in any sphere. For the last so many years our electrical engineers have been unable to fix the problems of uninterrupted and unstable power. It is not enough to supply power; what is important is its quality. A few years ago even farmers had demanded good quality power and had said that they wouldn't mind paying for it instead getting it free – which, in any case is unstable and erratic.

Almost similar is the case of our telecom system. The local telecom authorities are running a rotten broadband service; it is as unstable as power. Intermittently the connections are snapped and one has to wait for it to make a reappearance. In the evenings  both, broadband and GPRS become mostly unavailable. The much touted 3 G is as bad. Connections are frequently snapped and on many occasions the service remains unavailable for long lengths of time. It is expensive but is inefficient. One wonders whether the army of telecom officers that we have using 3G face the same problems and, if so, why cannot they set it right?

The third utility is the municipal corporation which takes care of water supply to the city. One wonders what kind of people look after this vital aspect of public activity as millions of litres of water are lost every year because of leaks – major or minor. Somehow or other the municipal engineers have not been able to come up with any satisfactory measures to prevent major leaks where enormous quantities of precious water gush out with tremendous force and flow into drains.

I have personal knowledge of a valve near the Idgah that has been leaking for the last ten years or so despite repeated efforts of the municipality. The surrounding roads are repeatedly done up as the leaks ruin them. Maintaining leak-proof water supply lines seems to be rocket science for the municipality. Or perhaps solving a problem permanently cuts the recurring extra income that the people concerned have got used to. And so the leaks continue – to hell with water conservation

The city cannot go forward with such constraints. While because of the electricity outages and erratic broadband service millions of productive man-hours are lost every year, because of water leakages we are allowing wastage of a precious resource in millions of litres when hundreds of thousands struggle to get a pail of it every day

DISAPPEARING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION Rama Chandra Guha, free-thinker, author and historian Ram Chandra Guha, a free-thinker, author and...