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New Delhi, Delhi,
ICSSR provide medical allowance to all the pensioners since 1997 as per 5th Pay Commission 's recommendations. The Cell has been provided with a computer . All the files relating to retired employees were shifted to the Pension Cell. The concerned officers... more.
Bharatiya Janata Party
SARDAR VALLABHBHAI PATEL FOUNDATION
Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs
Prof. M. L. Sondhi
Professor M.L. Sondhi
Chairman, ICSSR, New Delhi
Prof. M. L. Sondhi
About this time also, the Sondhis started publication of the monthly review Shakti, with Madhuri Sondhi as editor, judged by the Times Literary Supplement after a year of its publication as one of the twenty best journals in the Commonwealth.
Shakti's Statement of Aims were fourfold: to seek an understanding of Indian politics with reference to a higher interpretation of Indian social and political doctrines; to effectively fight dogmatism and revive 'frontier thinking'; to develop forms of communication which restore fearlessness and abjure the dependencies of the colonised mind; and to emphasise human rights and freedoms to which the Indian tradition is committed. In 1967 ML Sondhi was elected Member of Parliament from New Delhi on a Bharatiya Jana Sangha ticket, and served a term during which he earned a reputation for being a formidable and eloquent parliamentarian. He was appointed Member of the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs and was also Secretary to the BJS Parliamentary Party. Apart from energetic work for his constituency, he took special interest in external and strategic affairs and made memorable contributions to the debates on the NPT, the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and West Pakistan's aggression on its Eastern sector in 1970. In public he took up such causes as Tibet, Bangla Desh, the Frontier Gandhi, the legacy of Subhas Bose, apart from multifarious concerns relating to the citizens of Delhi. He was especially responsive to the woes of innocent victims, and could claim responsibility for the release of young Trilok Chand Gupta imprisoned in a Pakistani jail after accidentally straying across the border, opf Sukumar Bose locked up in a Polish communist prison after protesting the invasion of Prague by Warsaw troops, and nearer home, relief for internationally recognised cosmic ray scientist PS Gill who was the subject of government harassment in Chandigarh. In 1971 he published Non-Appeasement, A New Direction for Indian Foreign Policy Regrettably the School, on grounds of his membership of a right-wing party, failed to utilise his services when they ultimately, a couple of decades later, introduced Eastern Europe as part of the Soviet Studies department. So he continued teach in the Department of International Relations where he introduced highly popular courses on Peace and Conflict Studies and Super Powers and the Third World. The ISIS merged with Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1971 and Professor Sondhi continued to teach. Shakti was reborn as the Shakti Sunday Newspaper with ML Sondhi as Chairman of its Editorial board, the first Indian offset-printed Sunday broadsheet of its kind, but had to close during the Emergency. The Eighties were marked by the seminars of the Group of Eighty of which he was Convenor, which took up a range of topics relating to national, political, economic and international affairs. He was the Indian nominator for the Nobel Prize awarded to the Dalai Lama in 1989, and Member of the Nominating Panel of the Gitelson-Meyerowitz Peace Award, 1990, which went to Simone Weill. After retirement in 1995 Prof. Sondhi was appointed Distinguished Scholar in JNU till 2001. He worked in the Intellectual and Foreign Policy cells of the Bharatiya Janata Party and remained on its National Executive through the eighties and nineties. He was appointed Member of the Sardar Patel Foundation in 1999, and Chairman of the Indian Social Science Research Council in 2000. In the same year Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government, APJ Abdul Kalam appointed him member of the Consultative Group of Departments on Science & Technology. In 2002 he launched his own Institute for Asia-Pacific Security.
Prof. M. L. Sondhi
Listening to Professor Sondhi in Lahore
A visiting Indian intellectual, Professor M.L. Sondhi, was invited to a session of the Pakistan National Forum on 8 July 2003 to speak on The Future of India-Paksitan Relations at Punjab Civil Officers Mess, GOR-1, Lahore. Mrs. M.L. Sondhi turned out to be from a Madrasi family whose father represented Congress in Lahore and was close to Lala Lajpat Rai and ran the life insurance company at Lakshami Chowk with which Lalaji's Arya Samaj social work had become associated. A rightwing view of India : The substance of Prof. Sondhi's talk was intellectually competent. He wanted India and Pakistan to think strategic. He had much to say in criticism of Indian leaders and their policies. He was carefully muffled about Pakistan, the only mild criticism he offered was about Pakistan being too 'tactical' in its thinking. The thrust of his speech was that Vajpayee was a great statesman who wanted sincerely to solve India's problems with Pakistan 'irreversibly' despite all sorts of impediments within his own party and the opposition. He thought India was made to think anti-Pakistan and devise anti-Pakistan policies by the Soviet Union. He condemned Nehru's socialism and held him (and Mountbatten) responsible for creating a moth-eaten Pakistan ('why did you accept that?') and the Kashmir problem. 'Chacha' Nehru was not loved by children; they in fact ran away when they saw him; Gandhi was actually loved by children. He mourned the rejection of the great free-market economist Shenoy and claimed that he was personally responsible for bringing him back when India finally gave up its socialism and turned to free market and a high growth rate. He said strategically speaking India needed high growth rates to feed its large population and it could only achieve these rates if it reached accommodation with Pakistan. He held that poverty was more of a crisis in India than in Pakistan. Emphasis on new strategy : He said Vajpayee would deliver real and permanent peace on the basis of the perceived national interests of both sides, whereas the Gujral Doctrine sought to isolate and sideline Pakistan as the small state next to India. On the other hand, Vajpayee was willing to break the mould and embark on a new course as he had done this. With Vajpayee the two countries would have to first arrive at their separate strategies. From the booklet he distributed to the audience, his idea of 'strategy' was what the 'leaders of Germany, USA, China, Egypt, Israel, North and South Korea have done in changing radically their conflicted relationships into one of confidence-building and conflict resolution'. The central point in this 'strategic thinking' is security in all its manifestations, economic, social and military. The booklet was a part of a larger publication that emerged out of a two-day India-Pakistan seminar that he had held in July 2001 as Chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) from which he was ousted by the BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi who thought the seminar had given away too much to Pakistan on the eve of the Agra Summit. Prof. Sondhi hinted that he had helped create new thinking about Israel in India. He said it was up to Pakistan to respond strategically to India's new policy towards Israel. Once again he wisely played down the true contours of his Israel policy, even to the extent of running down the Jews a little in deference to the audience. Back in September 2000, Prof. Sondhi had made a presentation at the Brookings Institution in Washington titled Democratic Peace: US-Indo-Israeli Strategic Cooperation on how the US could broker an Indian-Israel deal to confront Islamic fundamentalism and dictatorship. The gist of his advocacy went like this. Lahore responds to Sondhi: The audience at GOR Lahore was top-of-the-line: generals, journalists and politicians of proven credentials. Prof. Sondhi was shown due respect and there was some appreciation of his ability to speak freely about the foibles of Indian politicians and their policies towards Pakistan. One can perfectly understand as valid the technique employed by him to draw the Pakistani side out even if that meant muffling some of his well known views expressed elsewhere, including the booklet he handed around before the talk. However, Mr. Majeed Nizami, who entered the room after Prof. Sondhi had spoken, chose 'not to be taken in', a right no one could contest. Mr. Nizami started addressing Prof. Sondhi as masharaj, which somehow the latter did not register. Col Ikram Ullah Khan was in the process of 'conveying' Mr. Nizami's message to Prof. Sondhi in his characteristic unctuous style when Mr. Nizami called out: iss kay agay lait hi jayain (why don't you grovel in front of him?). Prof. Sondhi seemed miraculously hard of hearing, even when Mr. Nizami remarked to the photographers busy snapping the Indian guest: aapfilm zaya kar rahay hiam (you are wasting film on him). When Prof. Sondhi appreciated General Musharraf's tactful diplomacy in the United States, Mr. Nizami muttered that General Musharraf too was from the soil of Delhi! Prof. Sondhi kept asking for a 'psychological assessment' of the Indo-Pak relationship. He was himself practising a valid psychological technique on an audience in Lahore that he probably knew would be very hardline. Although long-term strategic thinking doesn't go in favour of Pakistan's revisionist posture, there is no doubt that sooner or later it has to formulate its strategy vis-à-vis India to handle the problem of a 50-year epochal bilateral war tied like a steel-ball to its economy. Prof. Sondhi was offered 'tactical' reactions while most who could talk 'strategically' held their peace because that would have meant breaking new ground and, in some quarters, heresy.
'An alliance of opportunist forces'
But I don't find any pragmatic element in the BJP so far as education is concerned, except M.L. Sondhi, former Chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research who has been saying that he is opposed to the attempt which is going on.
But he, in spite of being a BJP person, has been driven out from the ICSSR.
CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS, 2001
Contact: Prof. M.L. Sondhi, Chairman, ICSSR, 35, Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi-1.Phone: 91-11-338 5959, Fax: 91-11-338 1571, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org