Tuesday, July, 16,2024

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“I have been trying to keep depression at arm’s length by keeping myself as busy as ever. Unfortunately, I am no longer in a position to indulge in my principal hobby, travelling. Reading, too is becoming difficult on account of the advent of incipient cataract. I have therefore been dictating more than ever before. Apart from gibing the finishing touches to my revised autobiography, “Many Worlds Revisited”, which is to be published by Bhavans in January 1981 and selections from my writings, to be published in Russian by Progress Publishers in Moscow. I have been writing on a variety of themes to a variety of journals. Among the subjects on which I wrote during the expiring year are Hats Off to the Electorate; Frontier Memories; Where do we Stand?; Kabul Cameos; Kampuchea’s Unending Agony; The Living legacy of Lenin; Our new Foreign Secretary; Our Man in Washington’ The First Hundred Days of Nehru; A Historic Visit (on the anniversary of Nehru’s visit to the USSR-1955); A Formative Visit (on the anniversary of Brezhnev’s visit to India in 1973); Towards the Third World War; The Indian and the Chinese; Oxford, Then and Now; Pattom, a politician who a abhorred politicking; Religion and the State; Giri the man; Old Memories of New Delhi; Viceregal Vignettes; Gandhiji’s Guru; Jawaharlal Nehru and Krishan Menon; My Hobbies; the Day I was born; Indians Overseas, some silhouettes; Children a super store house of fun; and Bless the Doctor, but beware of him.

Thinking and writing about our internal affairs and the international situation do not dispel a feeling of gloom but rather deepen it. In India, despite the return of Mrs Indira Gandhi who, events have demonstrated, is the only Indian politician with an all India stature. Politicking, however, is by no means confined to India. I am beginning to share the pessimism, or the cynicism, of Aldous Huxley who said:

‘I become more and more firmly convinced that it is completely pointless to work in the field of politics. Political action is always foredoomed to a partial, sometimes even a complete, selfstultification. The intrinsic nature of the human instruments with which, the human materials upon which, political action must be carried out, is a positive guarantee against the possibility that such action shall yield the results that were expected from it”

As for men of religion, “they who think that they can go into politics and transform the world always end by going into politics and being transformed by the world.” To Toynbee, the world historian, who holds the same view, the only exceptions are Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi. The only hope lies in the man who work on the margin of society. If these ‘men of the margin’ remains on the margin they can do something to mitigate the consequences of the play of politics.

But how few are there who are content to remain on the margin, resisting the siren call of politics, and even if they do how little can they achieve in the present socio-economic set up. It is more depressing to think of the state of the world. How can one breathe freely, with the world spending 400 billion dollars a year on arms and armaments and the nuclear bomb hanging like a Damocles sword ever the future of mankind?

During the tear all the basic conflicts in the world, conflicts between the East and West, the North and the South, the haves and the have-nots, seemed come to a head, and there were comments when it looked as if they would erupt into a third world war, which would doubtless be a nuclear war and spell the destruction of civilization. Politics livened even the realm of sport. Lord Kalinin, President of the Olympic Council, gently observed that it was for consideration whether in future it would be wise to hold the Olympics in the same year as the American Presidential elections. There is little doubt that these elections, and the militant positions adopted by all the parties in the USA, were substantially responsible for the worsening of the international situation. The elections are over, but it is idle to expect any improvement in the internal situation, especially with Reagan as President of the USA…….”

With warm regards,

Yours Sincerely
KPS Menon


K NATWAR SINGH The author is Former Minister of External Affairs of India

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