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nthis issue of SPAN, we're devoting a Special governance and have taken societies just as backSection to American investment in India, a subward, just as traditional as India's, into the front lines of nations." ject about which there are many myths. Our interview with economist S.L. Rao (next page) gives an For India to reach its potential, a good deal of overview of the subject and demolishes a few of the money will be required because a modern econmyths. There's an article on PepsiCo's agribusiomy cannot function without the capital and inness, how it's helping Indian farmers improve their yields and frastructure to support it. Given the size of the country's incomes while earning foreign exchange for India through ex- needs and the relatively small amount of investment capital porting processed foods. A story on a joint venture, Bry-Air, available within India, much of the funds will have to come shows how a small Indian company and a small U.S. firm can from foreign sources-foreign capital, foreign investments. join hands for mutual benefit. SPAN interviews Rebecca Mark The foreign investor brings more than mere money. As of Enron, a person and a company many Indians want to know columnist and Finance Ministry adviser Jairam Ramesh wrote more about. And in our concluding article, businessman in the Business Standard in March: Multinationals "are not just Vinod Chhabra focuses on the big picture-how American in- investing in this country. They are adding substantially to vestment assists India's development. India's manufacturing and technological muscle ... .Indian inOn the eve of this country's 50th anniversary, I share the dustrialists and corporate families may fear the MNCs, but belief of most Indians that this nation's long-standing com- India certainly needs more MNC investment and technology. mitment to democracy has provided a solid political founda- Over one-third of international trade is intra-company sales tion. I also agree with many Indian friends that the economic and over 75 percent of global technology payments is royalties achievements of the world's largest democracy have fallen and licence fees. We have barely begun." Most nations are aware of the benefits of luring foreign capshort of its political success. ital. In fact, most state and local officials in the United States One of India's leading economic thinkers, Swaminathan Anklesaria Aiyar, recounts how at the time India gained inde- spend considerable time and energy pursuing foreign inpendence it was one of the most developed states inAsia, with a vestors. Last year more than $60 billion was invested in the percentage of world trade higher than Japan's. But the eco- United States from overseas. Far from overwhelming local nomic system the new nation chose was generally unfriendly business, these foreign investments (frequently Japanese) to foreign business and investment. The results were 40 years have helped many communities in America survive and thrive as other businesses closed or moved away. of relatively low growth and a slow rate of poverty eradication. The competition to attract scarce foreign capital will always "For too long India has lacked both growth and social justice," Aiyar notes in his book Towards Glo-balisation. "We be sharp. Finance Minister Chidambaram has set an ambi- . tious annual tar.get of foreign direct investment for India. need to debunk the criticism that market-oriented globalisation will leave our poor and disadvantaged people high and "How do we get $10 billion?" he asks. "Not by sitting back in dry. On the contrary, nothing will help our poor more than our armchairs and hoping that it will come to India." It must be remembered, of course, that overseas investors the prosperity which globalisation will bring .... The truth is that social indicators are, by most yardsticks, far better in the have their own interests at heart. That, in fact, is why they are market economies of the West than they ever were in the interested in India. It's a country with a future. But it's a country whose future they can help at the same time they help Soviet Union." In the last few years, more and more Indian leaders have themselves. Indeed, mutual self-interest is the basis of all comcome to see the relationship between the free market and eco- mercial activity, whether it's conducted in a neighborhood nomic and social development. As Finance Minister P. market in Calcutta or the stock exchange in Mumbai. Chidambaram said in an interview with Newsweek: "There is no reason why this country should be poor.. ..All around us are countries which have absorbed fundamental lessons of

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American Investment in India

An Interview with S.L. Rao

He questions popular assumptions. He is candid to the point of bluntness. He recently told an Indian political party think tank that invited him: ((Look)I don)t agree with you chaps. Pll say things that you don)t want to hear.)) Or, as he says in this interview: ((Idetest the McDonald)s hamburger and I think the Kentucky Fried Chicken is the most horrid invention that Americans ever brought out. But I respect the right of the Indian consumer to choosewhat he wants to eat.)) His frankness has made Surendra Laxminarayan Rao a much sought-after expert on management and economic development. He is constantly on lecture tours within India as well as abroad. His views are sought by professional organizations and journals often seek interviews with him. So SPAN turned to him for the lead article of this special section on

American investment in India. Professor Rao) 60) has spent most of his time in high-level private-sector marketing positions with companies such as Hindustan Lever and 1ilil:rner Hindustan. Since 1990 he has held the prestigious position of director-general of the National Council of Applied Economic Research. He)s also on the board of several companies and three oflndia)s top management institutes and a Visiting Fellow at the Tata Energy Research Institute and the Indian Ocean Centre in Perth) Australia. In this interview with SPAN)s editor and managing editor, Rao discusses in his inimitable and often irreverent style a broad spectrum of issues related to foreign investment-from China vs. India to computer chips vs. potato chips.


orei o? SPAN: Professor Rao) this article will begin our special section on American investment in India. TfÂŁ)d like to know your views on all aspects of the subject. But let)s first go back to your student days. You did your Jlift in the mid-fifties from the Delhi School of Economics) which was then perhaps the most prestigious institution of its kind in India. Who were your favorite economists? S.L. RAO: I think it's very useful just to look at that background. I passed out in 1956. Our economics was basically Marx, Keynes, social democracy, Schumpeter and so forth. My favorite economist was Keynes. He was then the ruling god. Schumpeter, for me, was a very great economist. One, because he wrote very well, and second because what he said about technology and development, about life and death of corporations and technologies and the role of innovation, struck a chord in my mind. Then economists like Maurice Dobb who was a great socialist economist, but an economic development man. K.N. Raj was my teacher and he was for me a great Indian economist. My economics was grounded very much on observation and data, on facts. I had a good background in statistics. My degree earlier was in commerce. Within a year after finishing my master's, I started working with Hindustan Lever as a management trainee, as a marketing person, in sales management, in export management. I worked in India and the U.K.

Those were the heydays of the mixed economy) the socialistic pattern of society) in India. Nehru)s emphasis on setting up capital industries like steel and fertilizers in the public sector to lay the industrial fOundation in India)s fOrmative years was a good policy. But it seems that India hung onto this policy of relying on the public sectorfOr too long. What do you think? RAO: You're absolutely right. If we go back to the Bombay Plan, which was attributed to people like I.R.D. Tata and G.D. Birla, it did have a role for the public sector, because everybody realized that individual private companies were too smalLto raise the kind of resources required for major infrastructural investments. But the Bombay Plan and these two gentlemen in particular went on also to

say that this was an interim, that the role of the public sector would decline as'the infrastructure got built and the private sector began to build itself. That happened by the mid-1960s; India was then ready to change course. If we had done that the story ofIndia would have been a very different story than what it has been for the past many years. We went in the other direction. We began to close the economy, we began to raise tariffs further and further, our export orientation became very limited, we became more and more suspicious of foreign investment. Our technology imports became extremely limited, because we were willing to pay very small royalties, small one-time fees. The whole industrial licensing regime, along with all these barriers on imports and so on, created a situation where we created a highly protected economic system. I think we should have backtracked in the sixties. Unfortunately, we didn't.

India backtracked 30 years later-in 1991-when it initiated a series of steps toward economic reforms and liberalization. What were the main reasons for this switch? RAO: We will have to go back a little bit. In the early 1980s, if you remember, India went in for a massive IMF loan of about two-and-a-half billion dollars. The idea at that time was to begin to retract, there was an intention to relax, to open the economy. But, unfortunately, the government thought that its socialist image was going to get affected. So it returned, I think, one-and-a-half billion dollars to the IMF and we got stuck. There was some relax,ation on the definition of monopoly, so-called monopoly size and so on, but not anything much, The real change began when Rajiv Gandhi came to power in 1984. Even though Rajiv Gandhi might not have been very clear on economic matters, his instincts were rightto deregulate, to liberalize, to let free the energies of the Indian entrepreneurs and Indian people. He started, if you remember, with this broad-banded idea: If you can make bicycles, you can m~ke motorcycles; if you can make trucks, you can make motorcars, He also opened up Indian electronics because he was a computer buff. Rajiv Gandhi brought about a recognition that we needed to relax on


WHAT IS SWADESHI? WHAT IS FOREIGN? continued

allowing manufacture of consumer goods in India. That was the beginning. So it was '84 that marked a watershed in Indian economic thinking and policy. Unfortunately for him, within a year or two of his coming to power, he got bogged down in all kinds of political controversies and nothing much happened thereafter. Also, the economic management was not of very high quality. All that was achieved was because we were really importing a great deal. Not merely that, but most of the borrowing that we were doing overseas was public-sector borrowing, for the government, on short-term basis. Now in the 1950s, '60s, '70s we were getting soft, lowinterest loans from IDA, from the World Bank. This began to change in the 1980s, because China became a high priority [for international lending institutions]. India became a much lower priority. The average borrowing of India in overseas markets began to become of shorter duration and of higher expense, higher interest rates. That was the problem by the time we came to 1990. In 1990-91, of course, you had the Gulf War. Within India, there were serious problems, because of MandaI and Masjid and so on.This frightened people who lent money to India. They began to refuse to roll over their loans, and that brought about the full-fledged crisis in 1991. That was part of the problem. So suddenly because of the external [debt] crisis in 1991 we had no alternative but to push through into this opening up of our economy.

And this opening meant easier accessfor MNCs and joint ventures-fOr fOreign capital. How does fOreign capital d£:Velopa nation? Look at the United States) fOreign capital played a crucial role in the 19th century in its becoming an economicgiant. Uils it mainly British capital? RAO: Mainly British. A fair amount of German and French, but primarily British. The British had enormous investments in America in the 19th century. But once the initial investments had come in, the American resource situation was so fantastically rich that the kind of savings that were available domestically really moved the economy very much forward. But there is no doubt at all that the American economy was fueled, to start with, by foreign savings.

Looking at India) from your personal experience of working with Hindustan L£:Ver;how dofOreign investors benefit the country? Do they bring in any negative baggage? RAO: I must tell you a story. In 1993 the Deendayal Research Institute, which is the so-called think tank of the BJP and the RSS, invited me to give a talk to them about Indian economic reforms. And I said to them: "Look, I don't agree with you chaps. I'll say things that you don't want to hear." They said: "No, no. That's just what we want."

"In Indiaforeign investment is less than one percent of the total investment today. In China it is 13 percent, in Singapore it is 30 percent, in Malaysia 50 percent." -S.L. Rao

This was the time when some BJP leaders were talking of swadeshi and making appeals not to buy things like Lux toilet soap. So, in the course of my talk, I asked: "Please tell me what is Indian and what is foreign? Lux toilet soap is distributed by two million retailers in India who make money. It is manufactured by Indian workers, Indian managers, Indian directors, Indian chairman. The packaging material is made in India, the oil is bought in India, the perfume is now made in India. There is only one foreigner on the board of Hindustan Lever. Against that there are 34.Indians in top Unilever positions in the world. So what is swadeshi?" At that time Tatas and Lever were talking about merger; the Tata soap company being bought up by Lever. So I said: "Until yesterday Hamam soap, which is a Tata product, was an Indian soap and you said, 'Buy Hamam, don't buy Lux.' Tomorrow ifTata soap company is taken over by Hindustan Lever, are you going to turn around and say, 'Don't buy Hamam because it's become a foreign soap?' " I also told them the story ab_outLos Angeles. A few years ago the Los Angeles Corporation, whatever it is called, was buying some earthmoving equipment. This was the time when there was a lot of hostility toward·Japan [because of its restrictive trade practices] and the slogan was "Buy American." So, they became very patriotic and decided to buy Caterpillars. Then they got egg on their face when somebody pointed out that if you dissect the components of the


Caterpillar and the Komatsu in America, more components of bring, in the sense of machines, but the ideas they bring in, the the Caterpillar were imported than those of the Komatsu. systems they bring in. For example, in Lever we created a The point I wanted to make was that we now live in a retail distribution system that enabled manufactured products world where these distinctions are becoming meaningless; to reach the remotest villages in the country within a reasonmultinationals are beyond states. able time and to collect money from places where there are no Let me now answer your question, taking the second part banks. We created a system where goods could go by truck first-on the dangers of multinationals. Ijust finished a coninstead of rail. We moved away from wood boxes, then the ference at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute on working with multipacking material, to cardboard boxes, because wood boxes nationals. There I met politicians, economists, civil serwere too costly and heavy to be put into lorries. vants and others. One point that came up the most in All those ideas and systems came out of Lever. The Indian discussions was the dangers of multinationals. One politimanagers were doing it, but they were trained in a certain cian said: "I am against multinationals and particularly kind of way by Lever. We brought in all kinds of financial American multinationals because they are a front for the systems, we brought in brand management, we developed CIA and the American administration." Another said: "I am market research. In fact, market research in India started 60 against multinationals in consumer goods, because they years ago with Lever. bring in elitis¡t products and increase social tensions." Still At Lever, we tried to understand the consumer and develanother said: "The trouble is that any company in a country op products and design things to suit the consumer. That was lobbies for its interests, and a multinational in lobbying for a new idea, and that is technology to me. That's what the its interests will soon get enmeshed in trying to influence the multinationals bring in. Indian politics and that is the danger." Also, I think MNCs bring in a certain respect for the law. Of the three arguments the third, to me, is a much more They are, on the whole, better corporate citizens in terms of likely argument. In response I say: "Look, in India foreign environment issues, in terms of paying their taxes. Of course . investment is less than one percent of the total investment there are exceptions. Today, really large multinationals realtoday. In China it is 13 percent, in Singapore it is 30 percent, ize that they cannot be oriented toward the state of their oriin Malaysia 50 percent. Now please tell me if anybody could gin. They have to be citizens of the country they are in. If say that Mahathir Mohamad [the Malaysian Prime they are not, they don't succeed. Minister] is anybody's stooge." It all depends on your political leadership, on the confiLooking at thesepast five years) India hasn)t been able dence you have in yourself, on your media, on the transto attract as much foreign capital as it had hoped to or parency and so on. If you have that right, then I don't see any as it should have. On the other hand) China seems to be danger. One percent in any case is a long way away from 50 doing extremely well in this area. percent and we are never RAO: Of course, the going to get there because China example is differIndia's absorption capacient because the Chinese ty for foreign investment opened their economy in is hardly five billion dolthe late 1970s, much be"The important thing is not the lars a year at the moment, fore India did. Also, don't technologies MNCs bring, in the sense maybe at the most ten bilforget that almost 75 perlion. Beyond ten billion cent of the so-called forof machines, but the ideas they bring our current account eign investment in China in, the systems they bring in. " deficit would go to such a is coming from Chinese -S.L. Rao state that the economy origin sources-Taiwan, won't be able to manage going through Hong Kong, it. So, India will have to and from Hong Kong itself. depend on itself for a Also remember that China long, long time to come. has a huge foreign diasAbout the other part of pora. There are some 65 your question-what do million Chinese overseas. Chinese, by and large, are MNCs bring in?-I can tell you that from my perin trade. They have cash. sonal experience. To me, There is also a cultural the important thing is not thing; the Chinese has a the technologies MNCs


Pepsi's Partnership .,ith Farmers By KRISHAN GABRANI

Best known for its beverages, PepsiCo is engineering a revolution in Indian agribusiness greatly increasing farmers' productivity and incomes and earning India foreign exchange through exports of processed foods such as tomato and chili paste and basmati rice.

"I am not asking the city-dwellers to go and live in the villages. But I am asking them to render unto the villagers what is due to them." -Mahatma Gandhi Channo is not a village' whose name is a household word in India, or even in its home state of Punjab. It is an ordinary village. But it's a sort of place whose enterprising farmers have made Punjab the granary of India, who have sallied forth over the years to lands within India and outside-in search of fortune and fame. It's not the kind of place where many Indians, much less foreigners, go to. All that has changed. Several Indians


Opposite page: Dalbhir Singh (right)of Singhpura village in Jalandhar District shows his bumper chili crop to H.S. Sohi, Pepsi chief agricultural scientist. Top, center: An agricultural scientist examines tomato plantlets at the Pepsi greenhouse in Zahura, Hoshiarpur District. Top: Special plastic coverings protect rows of tomato seedlings from frost in Channo. Above: Surjit Singh and his son prepare their field in Kapurthala for tomato cultivation. Left above and left: Tomatoes are loaded for delivery to Pepsi tomato paste-manufacturing facility in Zahura.

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from outside Channo have come to live and work here and even foreignersAmericans-are visiting this village in Sangrur District and its environs-thanks to PepsiCo. One of America's biggest multinational companies, PepsiCo has set up in Channo a modern complex that houses a state-of-the-art potato-chip making plant and a concentrate unit for its soft drinks-part of the company's Rs. 10,000 million investment in India. Channoans seem to delight in their new acquisitions, which have put their village on the international map and brought them employment and prosperity.

More than 1,700 farmers in five Punjab districts have planted Pepsi chilies this year. Until Pepsi came into the picture, there was' almost no commercial chili farming in the state as it wasn't economically viable.

The Pepsi complex, a gleaming testament to cleanliness, throbs with frenetic activity as smartly dressed workers, engineers, scientists and executives walk up and down the corridors. A tour of the potatochip manufacturing unit is a rewarding experience. What's revealing is the fact that behind the simple and lowly potato chip lies a complex process, high technology and the expertise of such specialists as agricultural scientists, nutritionists and engineers. "Our snack food has given a great fillip to potato cultivation in India," says Bhupinder Singh, head of Pepsi's snackfood plant. "Each year we buy thousands of tons of potatoes from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and from places as far away as Karnataka. Local potato varieties are good for table purpose but unfortunately not good for chip making because of their high moisture and sugar content which causes browning in chips. So we imported six processing varieties, some of the best varieties of mini-tubers, from our own Pepsi facility in the United States. We gave them to the

Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) in Shimla for testing." Why give them to CPRI? "There's a restriction on the import of potato seeds because itis a vegetatively propagated crop; ifthere's a disease in the parent, it will pass to the offspring," says H.S. Sohi, Pepsi's chief agricultural scientist. "The CPRI tests them to ensure that they carry no disease. After testing them for three years, the CPRI certified and released five varieties for trials and cultivation. They are high on solids; their sugar levels are low and they are good on color and uniform in size. "We began multiplying the seed through tissue culture at our research farm in 1995. By next year we hope to have 500 tons of seeds. We'll supply these seeds to the farmers for culti vation. Once we have these potatoes, our potato chips will be of international standards and we' 11start exporting them." Potato-chip making is only one part of Pepsi's fast -growing mosaic offood processing operations in India. In 1989, the company set up at a cost of Rs. 220 million a modern plant in Zahura, Hoshiarpur District, for manufacturing tomato paste, mostly for exports. One of the largest of its kind in Asia, it can process 30tons of the fruit in an hour. What is remarkable about this project is what it has done for the Punjabi farmer. Just about the time when PepsiCo began its tomato-processing operations, the average Indian tomato yield, according to the National Horticulture Board's 1991-92 statistics, was 10.3 tons per hectare compared with America's 57.8 tons, Greece's 50 tons and Spain's 45.2 tons. The world's average was 24 tons. Since Pepsi's entry, however, the tomato yield has shot up to three-and-a-half times and the total production has quadrupled in Punjab. "The company has brought in the latest agronomic packages and tested a large variety of hybrid seeds to ascertain suitability for increased productivity," says a study conducted a few years ago by ajoint team of the state and the central government. "The average yield of tomatoes in the area has gone up from six tons per acre [15 tons per hectare] to 20 tons per acre [50 tons per hectare]. The total production of tomatoes in Punjab has gone up from 25,000 tons to over 100,000 tons resulting in increased

The Technology of Making

Potato Chips Potatoes pass through a grader that separates the chaff-potatoes that are too big or too small for chip making. Chip-grade potatoes move on a fully enclosed conveyor system first to a hopper where they're washed with water and then to another hopper where abrasive rollers 'peel off their skin. The potatoes then surface on an open conveyor belt where workers remove any damaged potatoes or slice off the damaged portions. They are washed again, this time with chlorine water, before being sliced with special blades, which are changed every 90 minutes to ensure uniform thickness of slices. The sliced. potatoes then pass through a vacuum system that removes their moisture before they are fried in especially formulated cottonseed oil. The next step in the chain is the seasoning with different flavors and spices before fresh golden-brown chips make their journey on an open conveyor to the packing unit, which is also a totally automatized operation. In simple-looking machines, rolls of laminate turn into bags as if by sleight of hand. In the final step the bags are filled with nitrogen (which keeps potato chips fresh and crisp) then with chips before they are sealed for shipment all over the country.

returns to the farmers." The phenomenal increase in yield has led to doubling of farmers' income-to about Rs. 30,000 per hectare. Success in tomato processing is now be-

Right above: Fresh golden-brown potato chips journey on a conveyor to the packing unit where they are filled in bags (right). Far right: Pepsi, which has a rice plant in Sonepat, Haryana, exports branded basmati rice to a number of countries including the United States, Europe and the Middle East.


ing repeated in chilies. More than 1,700 farmers in about five Punjab districts have planted Pepsi chilies this year. What makes this remarkable is not the number of farmers who have planted chilies, but the fact that until Pepsi came into the picture, there was almost no commercial chili farming in Punjab as it wasn't economically viable. The average chili yield was five tons per hectare. With the Pepsi technology and varieties the yield has shot up four timesabout 20 tons per hectare. PepsiCo's success is the result of the company's strategy to experiment with tomato and chili varieties from around the

chili plantlets at our farm and supplied them to the farmers with a buy-back guarantee at a predetermined price." No less important to high yields, says Sohi, is the nurturing, the care and the attention lavished on the plants. "At the center of high yields, of course, is the farmer-his hard labor, his sweat. But from the day we plant our seedlings on the farmers' fields, our extension workers and scientists remain in constant touch with the farmers until harvest time. We provide them with the technology and implements, advise them on farm management practices, on when, how much and which fer-

world and develop from these their own varieties that work best for processing under local agroconditions. "In chilies, for example," says Sohi, ."we imported more than a hundred varieties from the United States, Korea, Holland, Indonesia, Taiwan and, of course, some from within India. We planted these on our research farm. Through tissue culture and other techniques, our scientists eventually evolved five or six varieties that have traits prized the most for paste making-yield, weight, size, solids, color, pungency, resistance to disease-traits that are best under the state's agroclimatic conditions. This year, we produced several million disease-free

tilizers to apply and pesticides to spray. We even advise them on when and how much water to give to the fields. Though Pepsi has been in agribusiness only for about six years in India, ours is one of India's largest private-sector transfers of technology at the farm level. Each day we work with thousands offarmers." While talking about fertilizers and pesticides, Sohi makes a special mention of Pepsi's concern for maintaining the most stringent quality standards. "People all over the world are becoming increasingly health conscious and no country will import processed foods if there is even the slightest trace of chemicals or other impu-

rities. The fact that we are exporting our processed foods to Europe and Japan is testimony to our quality." Sohi adds: "In fact, our chili project is a pioneering effort in this respect. We are the first in India to have our chili paste packaged asceptically, that is, we don't use any preservatives in it." isiting some of the farmers working with Pepsi and seeing their farms is a close encounter of the happy kind. There are visible signs of prosperity and modernity all around. At his house in a village in Kapurthala District, Surjit Singh (left, with his family) has a TV; a telephone, a pager and a Maruti parked right in the center of the big open central courtyard. And you're welcomed not with the traditional Punjabi tassi, but with a glass of ice-cold Pepsi, from the refrigerator in the kitchen. Singh's farm is also a pleasant experience; ripe chili crops stretch as far as the eye can see. But while you expect to see green chilies dangling from the plants, what you actually see are mostly red chilies-various hues of red-some as big as apples and some even standing on their heads. "I came in contact with Pepsi in 1989, the year they started their agribusiness operations in Punjab," says Surjit Singh. "That year itself I planted their tomato seedlings on a two-hectare plot. The results were so unbelievably good that ours is now a life-long partnership. Last year I put my entire land, almost 45 hectares, to the tomato cultivation and when Sohi Sahib talked to me sometime last year about their new chilies, he didn't need to convince me. This year I have planted chilies on a 13-hectare plot. I'm very happy with the results so far." Singh, whose two brothers live in the United States and one works as a bank manager in Kapurthala, hopes that Pepsi will enlarge its agribusiness in the state. "We want more such projects. It's good for them and it's good for us. The Punjabi farmer has a great potential." Says small-time farmer Baljinder Singh (cover photo) of Dhogri village: "I am so happy working with Pepsi that I

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wish I had gotten in touch with them sooner. Earlier I was making a little more than Rs. 14,000 per hectare from crops like wheat. From chilies, now I get a net income of about Rs. 35.,000. For a farmer like me that's a very bigjump." Baljinder Singh, who has been cultivating Pepsi chilies since last year, adds, "It's not only the plantlets that Pepsi provides. They also provide maclrinery for digging, for the bedding, even for applying the fertilizer. Their men come almost every day and examine plants. When they notice a defective nursery, they replace it without cost. It's mainly the plucking of the fruit that I do manually. As a result, my input costs have come down greatly. That also means more income." What Dalbhir Singh of Singhpura village in Jalandhar District has done is still more remarkable. He has bettered Pepsi's average of 20 tons of chilies from a hectare; he has gotten a yield of 25 tons. Behind this, he says, is "hard work, blood and sweat." But, echoing Baljinder Singh's thoughts, he concedes: "This would not have been possible without Pepsi's high-yielding chilies and the help their extension people provide each day of the year." These individuals are not the mighty corporates who make headlines; they are the anonymous village throngs. But their contribution to India's development, as the Green Revolution earlier proved it, is no less mighty. P.M. Sinha, chairman of PepsiCo India and president of Pepsi Foods Ltd., sums up his company's success in agribusiness like this: "By achieving phenomenal increases in yields, from a mere 15 tons of tomatoes a hectare to 50 tons, which is the average yield in Greece, the world's number two country in tomato yields, farmers in Punjab have proved that bumper crops in the United States or anywhere else in the West are no mystery; it's simply the development of high-yielding varieties, technology and farm management practices that work best under local conditions and transferring them to the field. We are proud of our Punjab team for this achievement." Sinha adds, "We soon hope to get into ginger paste, garlic paste

Since Pepsi's entry into tomato-processing operations in Punjab in 1989, the tomato yield in the state has shot up from a mere 15 tons per hectare to 50 tons-the second highest yield in the world. -P.M.

SINHA

and the processing of several fruits like mangoes and guava, and spread our agribusiness operations to other parts of India as well." epsiCo's operations in India are many and varied. In addition to its main beverage business, the company has a modern rice plant in Sonepat; Haryana, a joint-venture project in Tamil Nadu for manufacture of polyester chips and pre-forms used in making PET bottles, and a canning factory in Maharashtra. Pepsi's corporate philosophy in India, says Sinha, is threefold: To create an industrial base through capital and technology investment, to generate employment and to earn foreign exchange through exports. "As of now we have invested close to Rs. 10,000 million, all in foreign exchange. And in the next three-four years we plan to invest directly at least another Rs. 6,000 million and Rs. 4,000 million through our bottlers, that is, a total of additional Rs. 10,000 million. We hope to continue this expansion for years to come. We are firmly committed to India." PepsiCo's permanent staff in India is about 3,000, but directly and indirectly it provides employment to more than 35,000 people-working full time with Pepsi.

P

"And we add about 5,000 people ayearwith our expansion programs," says Sinha. On the export froot, Pepsi India hopes to earn close to $80 million-about Rs. 2,750 million-this year. "We plan to increase our exports by about 30 percent a year for years to come," Sinha adds. It is not only the processed foods like chili and tomato paste orbasmati rice, which enjoys very high acceptance in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, that Pepsi exports from India. Among its basket of exports are a diverse range of goods including concentrate for soft drinks and PET and glass bottles. "No one in the world five years ago," Sinha says, "would have believed that the concentrate our bottlers use in places like Russia and many other countries is made in India. India is one of the few countries outside the Western world where we have a concentrate unit." The company even procures trucks, paper cups and cardboard boxes locally and exports them to its overseas Pepsi operations. Says Sinha: "We are making a conscious effort to shift from other countries the manufacturing base of some of our raw materials, packaging and key ingredients into India, so that India becomes an important source for Pepsi businesses worldwide. We are in diverse businesses-in beverages, in restaurants, in snack foods-all over the world. Most of our exports from here are for what we call the 'Pepsi system worldwide.' We also buy several products locally to meet Pepsi's needs overseas. For example, we buy trucks from India for our bottlers outside the country." Summing up, Sinha says, "When you talk of foreign companies, the greatest conu-ibution they make to the host country is the capital and technology they bring in, employment they generate and the boost they give to exports. PepsiCo in India, I am proud to say, is doing all this-and more." In the context of the stupendous task of India's economic development, the contribution of anyone individual or corporation may seem small. But when the history ofIndia's development is written, perhaps one of the most exciting chapters will record how these small increments transformed the face of the nation. D


A Conversation With

Rebecca Mark When the Government of India opened its energy sector toforeign companies in 1992,few international developers were prepared to sponsor a privately developed and financed power project. Enron Development Corporation (ED C) was not only ready, but willing and able too. EDC became thefirst global energy company to implement a project in India, the 2,450-megawatt Dabhol Power Project in the Ratnagiri region south of

Mumbai in Maharashtra. At a cost of $2 billion, this project has made EDC the largest direct foreign investor in India. Enron committed its resources to India because of the country's enormous economic potential. EDC Chairman and CEO Rebecca P. Mark believes India will emerge as a leading economic power in the 21st century. It is largely due to Mark's vision and persistence that the Dabhol project

SPAN: You've been quoted as saying: "I follow my instincts. You don't always see your path until you get there." How did you happen to come upon the path that brought Enron to India? MARK: We came to India at a time when no other developers recognized the opportunity. People said there were problems with doing a project in India-that you couldn't finance it and that there were problems with the political system and bureaucracy. I was taken by the challenge. The system appeared to be changing rapidly and I felt India could leapfrog into a full-scale market economy. We had a lot of convincing to do, even inside our company. You need to understand instinctively whether a project will work or not. This one felt right.

Enron is known for building energy systems, not just power plants. What's the difference? Why build an energy system and not just a power plant? Without a reliable source of fuel, any power project could fail. Often fast-growing economies don't have sufficient indigenous fut<lsupplies. They may have not yet developed the resources they have. If fuel is available, it may not be right because of low BTU or high ash content. Chances are if a c9Untry doesn't have access to fuel to fire a power plant, it doesn't have enough fuel to service its industries. In India, much of the available natural gas is (estricted to agricultural use, mostly to produce fertilizer. That

became a reality and that it has survived many strong challenges. In this.exclusive interview with SPAN, Mark talks about what she's learned from more than three dozen trips she has made to this country and her experience with the Dabhol project. She discusses the reasons for EDC's development successes and her management style, which is distinctly her own.

is a national priority and it deserves to be so. But that means there's not much gas left for other industries to use. In the case of large markets like India, many things are needed at once. It is jmpossible to build a gas system without building infrastructure. For the Dabhol project, we're preparing to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) by tanker and we're building storage facilities and a regasification facility. It's easier for us to assume full responsibility for developing all the components we need rather than leave parts of the process open to someone else. This is not the case everywhere, and it will not always be the case in India, but it was necessary for this project.

When the Maharashtra Government canceled the first Dabhol contract, did you ever fear that the project would never be built? It was widely thought in the industry that we were trying to achieve the impossible. We enjoy the impossible. We always believed that if we could get to the table and discuss it-and everyone was willing to listen-we could put the project back together. The issue for us was never whether the project would fail, but how long it would take to get back on track. We paid particular attention to the other parties involved, such as the banks, and how they would view the delay. They have stayed with us. You can get through something like this if you believe in yourself and believe that the project has value. Otherwise, it couldn't be done.


On what basis wereyou able to reopen negotiations with the Maharashtra Government? Why w~rt;they willing to listen to you even after the contract was canceled? It was always the view of the Government of Maharashtra that some negotiations were possible. It was not in the interest of the government to dismiss a foreign investor, but to make sure they were in control of the situation. The government knew that the financial consequences were serious for the Dabhol project and also could impact India's ability to attract foreign investment. The project had become part of the political agenda. Once the government's decision was announced, it was understood that discussions could begin.

Recently Fortune magazine featured seven of the most successful women in American business. You were one of them. How did you get to the top? Through years and years of hard work in the business and trying to do the best I could to add value in every job I had along the way. l' ve been lucky enough to work in an organization like Enron, where diversity and new ideas are rewarded and people are viewed as individuals without being categorized. It is a creative environment where people are allowed to succeed.

What in your background prepared you for your current position? I grew up under ordinary circumstances. I was raised on a farm in Missouri in the Midwest of the United States. I paid my own way through college and went to Baylor University in Texas. The Texas economy is almost synonymous with the oil and gas business. I became a bank officer and then joined a company that eventually became Enron. Just as my career was taking off, I went to business school at Harvard to gain the credentials necessary for this business. That was quite a challenging time in my life-I was still working practically full-time for Enron, taking a full load at Harvard and handling the responsibilities I have as the mother of young twin boys. When I returned from Harvard to Houston in early 1990, Enron had just begun its international move in the U.K. and we saw other opportunities elsewhere. Ken Lay, the CEO of Enron Corp., and I believed in these major new opportunities in emerging markets and formed EDC. We achieved many important firsts as private energy developers, such as the first private power station built in the U.K. and the first private projects in China, Guatemala, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. We've been successful, and I am convinced our success is based not only on being the first to recognize the need for energy infrastructure in emerging markets, but also our willingness to pioneer the concept of privatization in so many countries. We've assembled a remarkable group of people at EDC who enjoy setting up these new ventures. That's our focus. As a result, we have a portfolio of projects that are being bid, developed or are operating around the world worth $19 billion.

Isn't it risky being a pioneer? We share the belief that nothing is impossible, and that is part of the corporate culture at Enron. I encourage everyone who works at EDC to always look beyond the obvious to find answers. We call it thinking outside the box. Often the answers you're looking for can't be found by looking at how things have been done in the past. That's especially true in the energy business. What works in a country such as the U.S. or the U.K. may not work in places such as India or China, where the governments and other institutions still are assembling the legal and financial support systems upon which successful privatization is so dependent. If we wait for every detail to be worked out, we won't be able to generate a kilowatt of electricity or pipe in a cubic meter of gas for years. You have to take some chances, but you have to know how to manage the risk. That's how successful projects are built.

In the Fortune profile of you, it was noted that you have "dashes of humor" that are "disarming." Have there been occasions when a dash of humor was effective, particularly in your negotiations in Maharashtra? I had to have a sense of humor throughout the process. You can't take yourself too seriously. The Indian press gave me no chance to do that, with the various editorial cartoons they ran about me and about Enron. One time the press blew up an incident in which Ken Lay and I were delayed in getting to a meeting with an important government officialwe actually were detained in an earlier meeting with another influential official. It was an embarrassing situation, an unavoidable event, but the press misrepresented us as being arrogant and rude in coming late. The reports did not help our renegotiations. When something like that occurs, you can choose between two paths. You can get frustrated and angry or you can maintain a sense of humor and retain grace under stress and work out your problems. I choose the second route.

What advice would you give to other.American businesses that want to conduct business in India? The India of 1996 is so different from the India of 1991 when economic refonns were introduced. Now there are a number of airlines operating in the market. Cellular phones are readily available and there is a proliferation of foreign cars. There are many new, locally owned companies popping up. Conversely, Indian companies are increasingly active in setting up ventures in other countries. All of these large and small changes will benefit India and help it grow as a strong, durable, free market economy. There still are some barriers to conducting business in India. Our advice to American business executives getting ready to launch a new endeavor is to be prepared to make a deep personal commitment and to make the effort to understand the system. Success in India takes time and cannot be achieved hastily. But it is worth the effort. 0


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WHAT IS SWADESHI? WHAT IS FOREIGN? continued from page 5

link with his village, the ancestral link is very important. Even if they have been out in the United States for some 50 years, they still have a link with their village. Therefore, they send money back. The Indian is not quite in the same category. There are only 20 million overseas Indians, many of them are professionals. The workers send a lot of money but that is not a great deal. The other important thing is that hardly 20 percent of the approvals for foreign investment in India have been coming in as actual investment into the country. I think part of the reason is that projects need time to develop. If I'm putting in a billion dollars, or even a million dollars, into something, I am going to be very, very careful in the staging of it. I'm not going to just throw it all in one go. It takes time. And the most important thing is that a major part of approvals in foreign investment has been in infrastructure-in power and in telecom. And what has happened in power and telecom is that the Indian Government has taken a very long time to clear its own mind. This has held up things.

There are two main routes fOrfOreign capital-direct fOreign investment and joint ventures. Some people argue that]Vs are better insofar as localpartners know local conditions and practices and so they know how to get through the maze of bureau racy) red tape) etc. RAO: There's a lot more to it than that. Many Indian businesses still feel that if you have a foreign partner and a foreign brand, it's a license to make money, you'll make a lot of money in the Indian market. They look at joint ventures to a great extent from that point of view. Since 1991, however, India has not been what it was. A foreign investor now coming into India is no longer looking at investment in India as a small foot in the door. He now sees it as a major market, as an important investment, as a possible source for supply to other parts of the world. He's looking at it as a business. Therefore, he's also looking at it from the point of view of what his Indian partner is going tq add to the JY. If he comes in with aninvestment and says he needs more money, the Indian partner has to find the money otherwise his equity goes dowrl. You can't complain about it. But many an Indian partner did not go in with the question in his head: What happens if things go wrong? Also, let's remember that for a foreign partner, if he's is coming in because of my contacts, my contacts are of use for a limited perrod. After that, he begins to wonder what is the Indian partner contributing to my company? So, if we're going into a joint venture, we need to think through very carefully: What are we in it for? What do we bring to the table? What is the partner looking for? What happens if something goes wrong? Work out a plan of action and when you are prepared, then only go in for it. There's another way of looking at it. For example, I don't

think the Tatas have gone into a collaboration with Mercedes thinking they're going to controlit. My own suspicion is that the Tatas have gone in with Mercedes because they'll have their people working in the Mercedes plant. They will be imbued with the quality virtues and production values of Mercedes and, in due course, when Tatas set up their own automotive plant, they will bring those people back.

Let)s look at fOreign capital and joint ventures from the human side of business. Apart from making money fOr themselves) do they do anything fOr the community? Have you in mind examples of MNCs orjoint ventures which are involved in good community uplift projects? RAO: I can't remember offhand; I'm sure there are. But, I've always been a critic of the argument that companies have a social responsibility. I think their primary social responsibility is to run their company well, honestly, and be good corporate citizens. Add to the wealth of the country in which they are placed. That is their task. There are many MNCs that have done very well in this respect. They have added enormously to the country's wealth. One of the arguments I have against the people who say that foreign investment should come into only core areas and not into consumer goods is that they have got the whole thing upside down. If you look at many other countries in the world, including the United States, for a long time the core industry was kept out of foreign hands. Consumer industry was what was open. If you are looking for employment, which is a major task of any government in India, that comes out of investments in garments, in toys, in shoes and leather, and so on. These consumer industries create employment both directly and indirectly-in the manufacture, in the distribution, etc. Not power plants because power plants do not employ very many people, and they shouldn't. Also, multinationals add a tremendous amount to what I call managerial know-how. If I am employed for a certain number of years in an MNC, I learn a great deal both directly and through osmosis. If I leave this company and set up my own business, I'm not starting with a clean slate. My mind is full of ideas and systems that I've picked up working in the multinational-in terms of manufacturing, quality standards, systems and so on. I know any number of companies in India which have done that. Take the pharmaceutical industry. The Indian pharmaceutical industry in the 1970s was 90 percent multinational. Today only 35 percent is owned by the multinationals; 65 percent by domestic Indian companies. These Indian companies are, by and large, created by people who have either come out ofMNCs and set up their own companies or by people who studied at Harvard or MIT, etc., and came back and started these businesses. Of course, there are


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other reasons for it. The conditions were created because of patent law, because of FERA (Foreign Exchange Regulation Act) and because multinational American pharmaceutical companies were shortsighted. I will cite another example. Take the Nagarjuna Group, which today is one of the largest groups in thrs country. The man who set it up, K.VK. Raju, was a senior executive (I think) in Union Carbide for 25 years before he set up Nagarjuna Steel, then Nagarjuna Finance, Nagarjuna Fertilizer and Chemicals, and now Nagarjuna Power. Where did he get all his managerial technology and ideas from? He got them from Union Carbide where he worked. Indians are very quick learners. Many multinationals who come in are quite taken aback to see how quickly Indians absorb. As more and more MNCs come in, we will see a tremendous boom in entrepreneurship in India.

What do you think offast-food restaurants? l* hear so many people say that the last thing India needs isfast food. Quite often the refrain is: Computer chips yes, potato chips no. RAO: This shows a complete lack of understanding of what technology is about. Just because your wife can make a certain kind of potato chips at home doesn't mean it's a simple technology. And just because you don't understand computers and computer chips doesn't mean it's a higher technology. To make standard potato chips you need the most complex form of genetic engineering, you need tremendous development in horticultural science, you need tremendous hygienic standards, you need machinery that can mash the potato and reconstitute it into the standard-sized chips and then take them to a factory for frying, you need nitrogen packing, you need laminates, etc. What you see is a potato chip that you eat. But that potato chip has very high technology behind it. When you ask me about fast food, I detest the McDonald's hamburger and I think the Kentucky Fried Chicken is the most horrid invention that the Americans ever brought out. But I respect the right of the Indian consumer to choose what he wants to eat. For too many years, the government has told the people: "You can have this, you can't have that." Let me decide for myself what I want to have. The second and very important aspect is that fast-food firms like Kentucky Fried Chicken or McDonald's bring in a certain technology and this is the ability to make and distribute high-quality, standard-quality food products in the most hygienic environment all over the country. In every restaurant of theirs, the service is the same, the product is the same and it is hygenic. To get there they have to do a lot of work in terms of sourcing, whether it is a chicken or a vegetable, oil or whatever else, in terms of training the people who work in those places and in terms of ensuring hygiene.

"I'm crazy about you, Denise, and I want to talk merger. " Drawing by Eric & Bill Š 1996 Tribune Media Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The big problem in India is that not many politicians understand what technology is. Technology, as I said earlier, is a state of mind, it is knowledge of how to do things, not mere importing of machinery. I give you an example. At one time the U.S. Government was not willing to sell India a Cray supercomputer. Abdul Kalam, one of India's most respected top scientists and now the scientific adviser to the Defence Minister, and three or four other scientists met with Rajiv Gandhi. They said to him: "Give us a few million dollars and two years, and we will give you a computer that is as fast if not faster than the Cray." And they developed what is called a parallel computing system, which today is sweeping the world markets. Cray today is a sick company. So, it can be done if you understand what technology is and how to go about it.

People say that all theseforeign things destroy Indian culture, Indian traditions, Indian values. Is Indian culture in danger from foreign investment? RAO: Culture is not a static thing. India has changed over the centuries simply by absorption, by influence. We have absorbed religions. We have absorbed all kinds of things. These are the things we'll asborb. We'll change. Who is to say which is better and which is worse? Is it better to be ossified in the past or to keep changing?


This year India attained a seven percent growth rate. Can we maintain this rate) or even better it? RAO: I've no doubt at all that we can maintain this and do better. Remember how this seven percent has come about. If you look at the GDP today, something like 27-28 percent is agriculture, industry is about 3233 percent. That's about 60 percent between the two. The remainder is services. The single biggest element in the growth in the last two years has been industrial production. Industrial production last year grew by almost 12 percent. That means it contributed something like four percent out of the seven percent of the GDP. The second was services which, if I remember rightly, grew by something like six percent and thus contributed about 40 percent of the GDP, that is another two or two-and-a-half percent has come out of services. Agriculture h~s contributed the least-it grew last year by 0.9 percent, which means its contribution to the overall GDP is 0.3 percent. So, seven is made up primarily of industry and services, very little of agriculture. If you look at services, the largest part of the growth here comes from financial services. Of course, a very substantial part of services in India comes from selfemployment, what is called the unorganized sector. It's a very big growth area. But why has the industrial growth come about? I think it has come about first, because of industrial de-licensing. We have released the energies of the Indian entrepreneurs that we had capped and kept suppressed for more than 40 years by removing industrial licenses. Secondly, we have abolished the monopoly idea. So-called big companiesfrom Rs. 1,000-2,000 million capital-were not all?wed to expand. Third, we have now enabled companies to concentrate on their core competence. Basically, it is the release of entrepreneurship. Along with that has been the capital availability. Last year the government went off the track by putting a cap on so-called GDRs and Euro issues, companies in India raising money overseas. This year, fortunately, they are opening out again. Indian companies are now going out of the country to raise money and they are being judged on their merits by foreign investors who are saying: "We want to lend you money. We want to put some money in your equity because we think you're a good company." That is a thing that will really push improvement in performance of these companies. The other thing, of course, is opening out to the foreign investment. We have opened out and that has brought in a fair amount of capital into India, much more than ever before. Then, the whole change that has taken place in the

indirect tax structure, in terms of the substantial reduction in tariffs. We have come down from the maximum of 350 percent to 50 percent. Average rate is 20 percent. There are products today where tariffs are even lower. That has helped a great deal. We have allowed capital goods imports on a free basis. We are even freer on technology imports. I think we should abolish all restrictions on technology import. Japan even today has a negative technology balance of payments. In other words, they import more technology than they export. That explains a great deal about the progress of that country. India has minuscule imported technology. Moreover, excise duty structures have come down very sharply and because of that demand has really boomed. The penetration of Indian consumption in the last ten years has gone deep into rural areas and also into the lowest levels of income. People you'd think destitute are buying bicycles, transistor radios, mono cassette recorders, toilet soaps. So consumption is becoming the engine for growth and that is a very good thing.

Do you feel then that the poor are not getting poorer? 1# hear constantly that in India) in the fI.S. t~o) the gap between the rich and poor is tncreastng. RAO: I'm sure the gap is increasing. If you take the highest levels of salaries, I'm sure, the gap is much greater today than it was. But I don't think that's important. What's important is: Are the numbers at the bottom rising faster to higher levels of income? I wrote a book called Indian Market Demographics, which proves this by data. If you divide India into five income categories, what you find is that there is a fast growth from the lowest level to the next level, and very high growth in proportions at the higher levels. However, the lowest levels are not dropping fast enough; it's a very huge number at that level. But it is nevertheless dropping. Coming back to the growth rate and the problem of poverty-with this rate of growth and the kind of population figures that we have, India will always be one of the largest economies in the world. We already are and we'll become even more so. But we'll still be very poor. The more important thing to look at is what happens to the masses: How is the wealth going to be distributed? What many of us have now begun to see is that if India can keep a seven percent real GDP growth rate for the next eight years or so, we will be able to abolish poverty in India, when people no longer have to scrub around to get a full meal but get a couple of meals a day. That, to my mind, is the most satisfying thing that can happen to India. D


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Top left: Bry-Air's engineers discuss the design of a dehumidifier ordered by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. Left: The company's state-of-the-art laboratory is one of India's best in the environmental control industry. Top right: Computer-aided design provides customized solutions and services. Above: One of Bry-Air 's popular products is the compact dehumidifier that can be used in any small area where humidity control is important. Right: "Eco-fresh heat wheels" like this one slated for export to Australia are integrated into large airconditioning systems such as those in hospitals, auditoriums and supermarkets. These wheels save energy and ensure good indoor air quality.


1--;rI?JU.~.'''~ :~~~~~~f!~'~'J~ .'J I~l American Investment in India

for Text by JOSEPH THACHIL Photogr~phs by AVINASH PASRICHA

Ajoint venture between a small Indian company and a small U.S. firm, Bry -Air is a pioneer in dehumidification and has created its own market.

"Dry world" sounds more like a blockbuster's tailpiece or an author's magnum opus. No. It is only the epilogue of a corporate success story which convincingly proved to the world that 1m innate rarified object like air can be value-added and marketed. Deepak Pahwa, president ofBry-Air (India)., the man who engineered the silent air revolution in India, says: "We have touched only the peripherals of the market in India-ours is a futuristic technology which can radicalize man's perceptions on


..A..l

American Investment in India machines, their life cycles and operational efficiency. Bry-Air technology is to machines and products what medicines are to man." Euphemistically, he tends to coin the legend, "how to keep the machines fit." Billed as the first Indo-U.S. small-scale joint venture in the high-tech field, Bry-Air (India) in Gurgaon, Haryana, about 20 kilometers from Delhi, has become synonymous with dehumidification in India. What is dehumidification? "Every cubic foot of air you breathe ~arnes a mixture of millions of tiny ann'oyances," says Pahwa, who is an engineer and first-generation entrepreneur. "In small concentrations, these particles and gas may make life miserable for you. In significant concentrations, they can make man and machines sick. By eliminating the humidity in the air, we seek to provide a continuous purification of corrosive odorous and toxic contaminants in industrial and commercial environments. By removing moisture from air using a desiccant, one can preserve materials during storage, mothball ships up to 20 years, preserve seeds and vegetables and avoid corrosion of machinery. Naturally, our clientele cuts across different segments of industry, such as pharmaceuticals, wastewater treatment facilities, food processing, electronics, medical products, defense applications, nuclear power plants, etc." Bry-Air is a typical example of a small and medium enterprise. Its success story is exciting and the supreme example as to how a corporation has to exercise patience and optimism to stay ahead of others. The company inaugurated its full capacity manufacturing plant in India in February 1983. It was the maiden alliance between a smallscale Indian company and an equally small American enterprise. "Normally, in the high-tech areas collaborations take place between the 'bigs,''' says Pahwa. "Ours was an exception, proving a point that synergy can be developed even among the 'smalls.' " Beginning with a small capital base in 1983, Bry-Air (India) has grown in steady progression and now is in the league of a global company. It exports its products (about 20 percent of its production) to such

developed markets as North America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and China. How did it tick in a relatively short time frame? "We were able to establish and consolidate our presence in the Indian industry," says Pahwa, "through education, providing customized solutions and services at the right time with state-of-the-art U.S. technology. I can say with some measure of pride, Bry-Air has been able to indigenize, improve and value-add to the U.S. technol: ogy and manufacture products suited to the local environment and needs for the neighboring markets in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal." Is Bry-Air (India) then becoming a competitor to the parent company in the U.S.? Pahwa points out that although he exports his products even to North America (he demonstrates proudly, a huge dryer decked to be shipped to a brewer in the U.S.), the relationship between the parent and joint venture company is cordial and healthy. "We supplement and complement each other," he says, "and realize that our strength lies in striking synergy between our operations on the one hand and yet creating a regional niche market which can expand the operations of Bry-Air. We share a common corporate philosophy: innovate and grow together." By expanding the Indian operations, the reach and scope of the parent company has widened. New markets,

Above: Bry-Air's President Deepak Pahwa with students of the D.A. V. School, Gurgaon. Pahwa has developed an exchange program between the Gurgaon school and the Granville Village School in Ohio. Right: Janet Voinovich, the First Lady of Ohio, visited the Gurgaon school in April 1996.

which would have been impossible to service, are now accessible. Paul Griesse, the president of the parent company, Bry-Air Inc., is not a stranger to India. He has the distinction of being the chairman of U.S.-India Joint Business Council (JBC) for the maximum number of years till he stepped down from that position only last year. In 1982 the joint venture was established in India. The Asia Pacific operations are headquartered in India. The India division has the support of a full network of representatives in the CIS countries and in the Middle East and Indian Ocean Rim countries from South Africa to Australia. The Indian operations are professionally run and controlled by a family-owned corporation employing more than 300 persons. In 1991, Bry-Air (India) set up a subsidiary plant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which is the hub for marketing to the Southeast Asian countries. A staunch votary of India's economic liberalization and a person endowed with business acumen, Pahwa feels that technol-


ogy has become a key factor in gammg competitive edge in world markets. Innovation keeps the company ticking and shapes its destiny for the future. In its Gurgaon plant, there is a well-equipped R&D lab which routinely develops products tailored to the needs of the customers. "We have facilities for simulating the conditions required for preserving products and our scientists constantly update their knowledge on each product on a day-to-day basis," he maintains. Pahwa continues, "Ours is a unique industry. It requires years to nurture the market. Industries will not easily take cognizance of the ill-effects of humid air. We have to adopt a new education process to orient the mindset. We have to relate to potential customers in a language they understand about what they stand to gain from dehumidification. Sometimes, it takes years, even decades. We widely distribute our newsletter on a regular basis to over 20,000 clients and potential clients which explains the strength and effectiveness of our technology. We respond enthusiastically to their queries and give them clarifications. " That perhaps explains why Bry-Air (India) has been consistently growing at the rate of 20-25 percent annually. The company is optimistic about the future since there is a groundswell of inquiries

from a cross-section of corporates including food processing units, power plants, tea and coffee units, seed breeders, shipping companies, large and medium-scale units where inventories have to be stored for years, manufacturers of environment control equipment, brewers, nuclear plants-even the lowly paan. Pahwa has a story to narrate about the application of the technology to the paan. Experiments by Bry-Air, in response to a' katha (paan-based product) manufacturer's inquiry, showed that the optimum conditions for drying katha is 7.2 degrees Celsius and with relative humidity around 55 percent. The Bry-Air dehumidifier made this possible. The result: A satisfied customer who could cut the cost of production and still enhance the quality of his product to the highest level. "Our biggest advertising medium is a satisfied customer who through the word of mouth spreads the efficacy of the technology boosting the image of effect for our products," he proudly reveals. As a first-generation entrepreneur, what are the challenges that you have faced? Numerous, says Pahwa, and adds that you require will power and supreme optimism to stay put in business. Initial bottlenecks are many and varied and one has to grapple with them in the right perspective. It should not be a switch-on and switch-off policy.

One has to develop a single track mind. Success and failures are two sides of a coin and one should realize that success should not make one complacent and failure frustrated. Pahwa means what he says. The fast expansion of his venture (now Pahwa has three units in Gurgaon itself manufacturing different machineries for dehumidification) in a relatively short time frame is a glaring tribute to his vision and unflinching commitment to succeed. About the social obligations of business, Pahwa has very strong views. Corporates have to deyelop synergy with local people and institutions as in the United States, he says. Citizens in the U.S. are on the board of municipal schools and their views are sought in the day-to-day working of the educational institutions, reorienting the curricula and in adding more courses and increasing the study materials. Unfortunately, in India, this linkage, he says, is absent barring a few exceptions. To do his bit, Pahwa has been instrumental in developing an exchange program between the D.A.Y. School in Gurgaon and the Granville School in Ohio, an institution nurtured by Bry-Air Inc. Because of his effort, the two schools have come together and are developing an exchange program whereby a select group of students will be visiting each other's schools. The objective, says Pahwa, is to give the students from both the countries opportunities to understand each other's culture, way of life and thought processes. As a part of the exchange program, the First Lady of Ohio, Janet Voinovich, visited the D.,A.V. School in April 1996. For Pahwa, each day is discovering a new world. As he builds nests around the world, there is a continuing quest for perfection'. A number of new products are always under development to meet the demand of global customers who are expanding day by day. He hopes that the new products his company is working on will catapult Bry-Air (India) to it preeminent position not only in India but in the global marketplace. D About the Author: Joseph editor of Skyflier economic writer.

magazine

Thachil is the and a freelance


India as a Land of Opportunity he scenario keeps repeating itself. An American manufacturer ties up with an Indian businessman. They provide training and employment and both joint-venture partners make money. It used to be Page One news. Today, Indo-U .S.joint ventures have become so commonplace that it rates a blurb in the business section. After all, the story stays the same,just the names and numbers change. But look beyond the hard, dull figures of Indo-American joint ventures, and what emerges is the real story. The ripples from the epicenter of almost every joint venture are reaching far and wide, changing not just the face and functions of corporate India, but also the dreams and aspirations of the common man toiling in the barren fields of deep, interior India. "Behind the hard facts of business, the new corporate thinking and way of doing business are directly and indirectly spreading a lot of benefits," says Mahesh Upadhaya, a Nagpur social worker. That's saying a lot, coming from a man who helped organize demonstrations against multinational manufacturers from entering India aft0f the Bhopal gas tragedy in the eighties. "I think Bhopal was the turning point not just in India but all over the world," adds Upadhaya. "Corporations realized they had responsibilities and obligations that ex-

T

tended way beyond their shareholders." Today, multinationals moving in tend to plan and start executing their "good corporate image" operations even before they start production. They are giving back to society in more tangible ways than the obvious-providing training, new job skills and employment with relatively good salaries. General Electric, for instance, has made a commitment to social organizations and charities across India. Motorola donates equipment and pays for advanced, specialized education both for their own employees and in rural areas. Recently, when Texas Instruments moved from one part of Ban galore to another, it immediately pledged to clean up, beautify and maintain an important str~tch of road whichjust about everyone had given up on. Donating medical supplies and equipment, health and literacy programs, helping beautify our b~leaguered cities, building community centers and clinics, sponsoring cultural shows .... ln America they call it "giving back to society," a concept that's beginning to take hold in India, too. That is only the beginning. Interestingly, Indo-American partnerships are having a cultural impact in high places too, gradually but surely replacing the style of the Raj which had India's upper class cocooned in the compounds, with a gimlet in one hand, the other hand snapping for a servant. Considerthe following scenario: It's 3 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon, but siesta is the farthest thing from Satish Mahajan's mind. He is hunched over a sheaf of papers on a neighborhood-improvement project. Meanwhile, wife Rupa and their two teenage sons prepare for a bake sale and a fun fair which will help raise money and community participation to turn a shabby dump into acommunity garden. A typical family weekend in community-conscious America? Nope. It's happening in Koramangala, a rapidly growing Bangalore suburb with a population of more than 100,000. As president of the residents' vigilance group, Mahajan rolls up his sleeves and donates some 40 hours a month to improve the neighborhood. "Welcome to the kinder world inspired by doing business with America," says Mahajan, managing director of Bangalorebased Garments International who also serves as secretary¡ of the Clothing Manufacturers' Association. "Just doing business with America has shaped the way I run my business, view my community, and conduct my life, hopefully all for the better," says Mahajan, 50, whose career path led from medicine to law to sinking borewells-untilI978 when he tried his hand in garments and entered the American market with 300 blouses worth $1 ,500. Today his two factories, one in an impoverished rural area neal Bangalore, and widely rega~ded as a model of cleanliness and efficiency, turn out some hundreds of thousands of women 's garments a year, almost 80 percent forthe American upmarket and the rest for Europe and Australia. Beyond these impressive figures is the widespread benefit to the community. Inspired by the American work ethic and management style, Garments International has trained and employs 500 women, most between the age of 19 and 25, who were school


dropouts and clearly a social and can size you up two minand economic burden on utes flat!" he says. "They retheir fami lies. spect a businessman who "Most would otherwise be turns down an order because condemned to a life of hardit is too large or knows he ship and menial jobs at concan't meet the deadline, not struction sites or, at best, as the guy who cheerfully says domestic servants," concurs 'No problem' and delivers Bangalore social psycholoexcuses. gist P. Satyanaryana. New "I find American buyers obemployees at Garments serve everything, and that International first undergo every little thing counts. I'm six months of paid training at not just talking about the a modern facility, and soon cleanliness of your factory or each employee averages how you dress, or handle a around Rs. 2,000 a month knife and fork, but how puncin salary, bonuses and benetual and organized you are, fits. "They have been transright down to the condition formed from a burden on of your fingernails!" "Marketing loves if. Sales loves it. Evenfinance gave its approval. I think we should pass. " their families to a benefit, As he strived for quality and the bonus is they have with personal attention to deDrawing by Eric & Bill Š 1995 Tribune Media Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved. a job skill they can use tail ("I reply to my faxes for life!" within six hours"), Mahajan Meanwhi~e, over the years and because of his "working with the says he realized the American connection started changing his life. Americans:' Mahajan concedes he has gradually metamorphosed "My office and factories run like American operations, for the from a spoiled sahib to a hands-on entrepreneur and trade and simple reason that everyone and everything is uncluttered and community leader. organized, which is the key to efficiency and to enjoying your job. I also real ized that an American may be a multimillionaire-but he's Justas surely as he and his wife operate two modem factories and continue to expand with the help of a couple of aides, instead of humble and does almost everything himself. If you can do it yourcounting on hordes of managers as is the tradition, he washes his self, don't depend on someone else. If you can't do it, learn. own cars, caulks his bathtub, fixes the toilet and mirror-polishes his "Years ago, Americans and Europeans came to India to be spiritually recharged," he says. "Each time I go to America it recharges own shoes, as assiduously as he galvanizes his otherwise cloistered, complaining neighbors to roll up their sleeves and turn me with inspiration. The old Raj and Indian systems taught you to sit back and bark orders. I've realized that life runs so much more Koramangala into a safe community of parks and well-lit, unlitsmoothly if you depend on yourselfinstead." tered roads. "It's nothing I learned consciously," he says. " It just evolved as a Other ripples generated by American corporate culture are beginning to impact life and create new possibilities in places where result of observing how and why things work in the United States." Mahajan says the first lesson he learned in America is also the you wouldn't expect it to. most lasting. "On my first visit there I met an importer, and when Forthird-generation agriculturists such as J. Gurunathan of the Nilgiri mountains in South India, growing potatoes was a staple for we went to the shopping mall in Miami he suddenly became nervous as hell and kept hiding behind me. Apparently he had sold survival until something as "simple" as the potato chip (developed barely a century ago at the behest of a hotel guest in Saratoga some shoddy merchandise to a shop there and a customer was livid because the cheap red dye ran from her skirt and ruined the white Springs, New York) finally-and recently-made it as a vacuumpacked favorite snack in India. upholstery in her new Chrysler. In the humble potato, Gurunathan sees evolution. "When it was "The storeowner refunded the money and paid for reupholstering the car, and told the importer ifhe ever saw him again he would first introduced from South America to Europe, Europeans initially rejected it and considered it as poisonous. Then this 'English' rearrange his face!" Realizing India was getting a deserved rap in America because a vegetable was introduced to India and my grandfather was reluclot of garment manufacturers were del ivering trash with no idea ot tant to grow it. But it changed our lives, and gave value to our land Americans' emphasis on quality, Mahajan knew that ifhe wanted and the succeeding generations. "Now I have changed my potato seed to grow potatoes that are to succeed in the world's largest marketplace he would have to deliver high quality, even if it meant filling small orders at a lower higher yielding and uniform in size which make them ideal forchip profit margin. manufacture without waste," he says. "As a result I find a steady market formy potatoes atan attractive price." "Americans are straightforward, savvy, uncomplicated people


Gurunathan now is preparing to take the next step. He wants to grow potatoes as well as market them as "Mr. G's Gourmet Potato Chips." "But it is not just cut-and-fry," he says. "There is so much food technology involved. Specialized machines and procedures. This is what! call high-tech at the farm level." Gurunathan expects to run a "free-enterprise processing cooperative," much like the tea estates of the N ilgiris, that will benefit other potato growers in the area. In addition, he is working with two marginal farmers who now get a pittance from their garlic fields. "Nilgiris garlic has a high oil content and a powerful but slightly sweet flavor," he says. "I want to produce garlic-flavored chips. After that, Mexican-style chips, then maybe Italian-style-just like in America!" Meanwhile, in Mumbai, Rajesh Dalal, a 25-year-old entrepreneur has his mind set, and more than Rs. 300,000 already invested, in experiments, to duplicate "The Colonel's chicken"-better known as Kentucky Fried Chicken (or KFC)-and claims he is close, at least on the "crispy" front, with a mixture of bread crumbs, cornflakes, white flour "and some other natural ingredients which I will keep secret." But is India really ready for KFC? "Absolutely," he says. "Look it's food, chicken, which Indians love. By trashing and protesting KFC (in Bangalore and Delhi) without any reason that makes sense, the protestors have only popularized it," he adds. "But I think we should stop to consider all the consequences. Tomorrow, how will we react if a group of people did the same to a Tandoor, Raga, Gaylords, or Bombay Brasserie in America, Canada, England or Australia? After all, these are restaurants owned by big India-based companies. We would scream about discrimination! "What ifpeople retaliate by attacking all Indian businesses overseas, many of which are making money there and shipping it back to India? The protests will be deafening and the economic impact on India will be devastating!" Dalal says while he was wary in the beginning, he now feels that the presence ofmuItinationals and joint ventures in India will have a widespread, beneficial impact for our country. "For starters, it pushes us up into the real world with better products and new technologies at competitive prices. Secondly, new and improved ways of time and resource utilisation. In my case, KFC has inspired me, and if! succeed I will pass on the benefits to 200 people, right down the line to the struggling farmer near Pune who wi II supply me with cabbages for the coleslaw, tomatoes for salads, and pumpkin for pie that will go with my chicken dinners! More than that, I have pledged that 5 percent of my gross sales to a program that buys agriculturalland for bonded labor and educational toys for their children. Tell me, how does anyone stand to lose?" At AIMIL, with British roots planted back in 1932, the fruits and the future are overwhelmingly Indo-American. Executive Director Ashok Swaminathan says the evolution has been a natural one. Formerly known as Associated Instruments Manufacturers (India) Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi-basedAIMILhas been amajorplayerin manufacture and distribution of advanced instrumentationcovering just about everything from boring tunnels to checking

test equipment-for 64 years. Traditionally tied to British companies with joint manufacturing ventures and distribution, it expanded to the rest of Europe, Japan and Australia. In 1990, AIMIL had no American connections. Today it represents more than a dozen, including a partnership tie-up with Texasbased National Instruments, a world leader in instruments control, and data-acquisition hardware and software products. Indeed, fully 50 percent of AIMIL's business today is with American companies, with the other half evenly split with European, Japanese and Australian companies. "The emphasis on American tie-ups has been evolutionary because that's where the future and the standards are being defined," Swaminathan explains. "Even the Europeans and Japanese are turning to them now, because technologically the Americans are far ahead in such fields as telecommunications, semiconductors, automobiles, space, research-=---you name it." As important as the products is the process, and AIMIL's corporate culture and ways of finding solutions are far more Americanoriented. "We're talking about factors like customer service, quick responses, working hard and long hours if that's what's needed, emphasis on training. The Americans are very systems-oriented. Whether it's producing a hamburger at McDonald's or a space probe, there's a specific system, certain established standards as opposed to the ad-hoc ism India is used to and has not served us well." The benefits reach beyond meeting customer's needs and being good for the Indian and American partners, AIMIL's executive director adds. "Our marketi ng and techni cal staffs frequently go to America to work with our principals, and every American principal visits us. "Just as we open our eyes to vast new possibilities and benefit from the American work ethic and the exacting standards, the Americans are beginning to appreciate that companies Iike ours are serious players, doing our best despite being shackled by an overloaded and archaic infrastructure and corporate cultural differences that we are overhauli ng." That crucial mental overhaul is prbbably the most beneficial joint-venture byproduct of all, concurs Mahajan of Garments International. "In India, we always realized we have the resources and we have the goods-which is why people have risked their lives for centuries to come to a market called India. "But we lacked the will. Like the joint ventures of yesterday, between a maharaja or a spice baron and a European buyer, both parties made money and went on their merry ways. Today's joint ventures are opening our eyes to realize that I am only as good as the garment produced for me by a poor cotton grower in Erode, Tamil Nadu, and a woman who once lived in a mud hut. If! cannot give back to them, and do not consider them as part of my team as the 0 Americans do, I will be nowhere." About the Author: Vinod Chhabra, an award-winningjollrnalist with Hearst Newspapers in New Yorkfor 23 years, is aji'eqllent contributor to SPAN. He now divides his time between Today Magazines

Group in Florida

Marketing in Bangalore.

his role as copublisher

and as president

of

of Asia America


ONTH~ LIGHTER SIDE

Drawing by Eric & Bill © 1996 Tribune Media Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Drawing by Eric & Bill © 1996 Tribune Media Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

"We're looking for the kind of bad taste that will grab-but not appall."


WHAT IS THE WEST? The author gives many answers: "The West is imaginary . the East invented the West. The metaphor of the West dissolves into foam at my feet."

Growing up in Sacramento, California, any imagination I had of the West (a landscape suggested by studio backlots in Burbank, . which was south) lay east of the Sierras. The Sierras appeared on the eastern horizon, sheer and dreadful portals from which the Donner party would never descend. In summer, the mountains were obscured by Zeusy y~llow clouds; sometimes storms of lightning-Olympian ruminations never communicated to the valley floor. Except in thewritingsofJohnMuir. In 1869,Muirspentasummerin the Sierras. He had arrived at California by ship to grasp the implications of the coastline. America, he saw, comes to an end here. A cowboy ropes a steer with his lasso in this Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph by Skeeter Hagler.


In the 1950s, California was filling ems-Wharton, James-were written with westering Americans who were as though they were westerns (westerns confident they had arrived. My parents traditionally began with an innocent arwere from Mexico. My father deriving from the East). Isabel Archer of The apparent flattery scribed California, always, as "el Albany, New York,journeys to Europe, the East Coast pays California norte. "My father's description had latwhere she achieves inexperience is that the future begins itude, allowed for more America. To amidst the etiolated foliage, the thicker have grown up with a father who spoke light, the charged conversations. here. The price Californians of California as the North, a ChicagoGo east, young woman! I think we are pay for such flattery accented neighbor who spoke of just now beginning to discern the antiis that we agree to be seen California as the West, to have grown narrative-an American detective up thinking of the West as lying east of story told from west to east, against as people lacking in experience, here, is already to have noticed that manifest destiny, against the Protestant judgment and temper. "West" is imaginary. point of view, against New York, old American myth has traditionally ivy, the Civil War, the assurances of been written east to west, New England divines. describing an elect people's manifest A florid, balding gymnopaede bellows destiny accruing from Constitution to me from an adjacent Stair-Master in Hall to St. Jo' to the Brown Palace to the Golden Gate. A classics San Francisco that he is abandoning California. "Too-" he raises professor in Oregon rebuts my assertion that California is not the fur-epauleted shoulders to portray constriction. He is moving out West. His family moved from Queens to Anaheim in the fifties. West-that is the expression he uses-to a house 30 minutes from They moved WEST. Simple. The way the East Coast has always downtown Boise where there are still trees and sky. imagined its point of view settled the nation. The Boston Brahmin who sought an aperture as her life conIn Warner Brothers' cartoons, the sun went down with a kerstricted to ice cubes and cable television didn't consider California plop and a hiss into an ocean that had to be the Pacific. Because I when she thought of retiring in the West. Of her last trip to assumed I knew where the day ended, the more interesting quesCalifornia she remembers only despair within a gold-veined mirtion was "Where does the West begin?" I grew up with my back to. ror. She settled on Santa Fe, with its ancient, reassuring patina, the sea. From high school I had been mindful of Fenimore recently applied with little sponges. She wears blue jeans, nods to Cooper's description of a lighted window on the frontier. "Howdy"; she goes to the opera, sometimes to Mass. Nowhere else in American literature does a candle burn so The apparent flattery the East Coast pays California is that the brightly. That small calix of flame was a beacon of the East-all future begins here. Hula hoops, Proposition 13, college sit-ins, the fame of it. Where the light from that candle was extinguished LSD, Malibu Buddhism, skateboards, beach boys, silicon chips. by darkness, there the West began. California, the laboratory. New York, the patent office. The price A couple of years ago, at a restaurant in the old train station in Cal ifornians pay for such flattery is that we agree to be seen as people Pittsburgh (as coal cars rumbled past our table), my host divulged lacking in experience, judgment and temper. It seems not to have an unexpected meridian: "Pittsburgh is the gateway to the West." occurred to the East that because the West has had the knowledge of The same in St. Louis, the same in Kansas City. In Texas: Dallas is the coastline, the westerner is the elder, the less innocent party in the conversation. It is no coincidence that the most elegant literawhere the East begins; Fort Worth is where the West begins. I was trained East. Louis L' Amour and Zane Grey wrote "westture cloudless Los Angeles has produced in this century is celebrated worldwide as noir. erns." Westerns sold for 25 cents to old men with wires running from their ears down to the batteries in their shirt pockets; men who Californians have been trying to tell eastern America that the country is, after all, finite. Only within the last few years-a full cenwould otherwise spend their evenings staring at the linoleum. we gotten a bite on the Josiah Royce, Nick Carraway, Damon Runyon-for those of us tury after the closing of the frontier-have who had grown up in the West, New York was finishing school. cliche: Tonight Peter Jennings asks, Is the Golden State tarnished? Eating clubs at Princeton, authority, memory-all the unA few years ago, after an earthquake in Los Angeles, a television producer from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation asked me American themes. I remember thinking nothing could be more glamorous than to be for an interview on the future ofCal ifornia. The Canadian producer the New Yorker correspondent who would hold any hinterland-be decided we would have our televised conversation at Venice it Paris, Rome, or Sacramento-up to the amused monocle of Beach, the place tourists come on Sundays to experience comic exEustace Tilley. The entire literature of the West was made up of tremity by the sea. I would sit in an Adirondack chair, the blue Pacific over my shoulder. And, by and by, there I was Oft Venice such correspondents: Harte, Muir, Twain. Coldest winter I ever Beach, wired for sound and my hair blowing east. I had become a spent was one summer in Saaaan Francisco HAW HAW HAW. correspondent. But this was Tuesday, a gray afternoon, the fog I was trained East, an inveterate reader of"easterns"-Wharton, pouring in on a gale. Black teenagers wearing Raiders jackets James, Kazin, Baldwin, Mailer. I noticed that the highest east-


stomped over cables that were lying about, kids so accustomed to TV crews they didn't pause to gander. An old guy wanted five bucks to stay out of the shot. A trio of German tourists, two men and a woman, and they all looked like Beethoven, stopped at each of the hundred and one T-shirt and counterfeit stands that lined the beach. The tarot readers set up their card tables and sat with their backs to the gray ocean, limp-haired priestesses of that huge, turgid brain. Panning the scene for something golden, we did eventually find one happy face. At the concrete muscle-beach exhibition booth, we came upon a sun-burned old salt with sagging breasts, eager to pose for the camera in his red nylon bikini, winking insanely with every revolution and flex. n the afternoon of my 50th birthday, I have come to Point Reyes, a promontory from which one can see for miles along the coast of California, north and south. The ocean, seen from this height, is tarpaul in. Just below the lighthouse warning signs have been posted by the National Park Service. There are photos of 19th-century shipwrecks. Cautions to swimmers. Undertow. Sharks. Beware, beware .... I descend to the water. Appropriate for an aging man to turn up his collar, roll his cuffs and play at the edge. The ocean, as it should be, is young-unraveling and then snatching back its grays and pinks, celadons and the occasional bonny blue. The relentless flirtation of it loses charnl. One begins to imagine pagodas and lanterns, gardens of spices that lie beyond. Adam and Eve were driven by the Angel ofthe Fiery Sword to a land east of Eden, there to assume the burden of time, which is work and death. All photosynthetic beings on Earth Iive in thrall to the movement of the sun, from east to Wt:st. Most babies are born in the early morning; most old people die at sunset, at least in novels oflarge theme. We know our chariot sun is only one of many such hissing baubles juggled about, according to immutable laws. So much for immutable laws. So much for mutability, for that matter. I have just had my face peeled. I go to the gym daily. I run. 1 swallow fistfuls of vitamin pills. I resort to scruffing lotions and toners. Anywhere else in the world I could pass for what-would-you-say. In California I look 50. Besides. The older I become, the farther J feel myselffrom death. It is the young who are dying. I remain unreconciled to the logic of an alleged nature. I am unnatural. As a boy I read Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before the Mast. What I remember was the furious storm as the ship tossed about the Horn, all Nature pitched against us. My Dana was not the Dana whom D.H. Lawrence mocked for returning to Boston, to Harvard, to a clerk's position, a clerk's hearth, a clerk's fizzing kettle. My Dana was a whitethroated, red-lipped romantic who sailed away. Around the rock where I am sitting now, seabirds gather to rotate their silly heads; zoom unblinking lenses toward my fists, patient for manna. It is the last day of July, the feast of St. Ignatius. The wind is picking up and the waves come pounding in from the gray towers of Asia. Imagine how California must have appeared to the first

O

Europeans-the Spaniards, the English, the Russians-who saw the writing of the continent in reverse, from the perspective of Asia, adjusting the view of California through a glass, silent and as predatory as these birds. By the time he returned to the East Coast, Dana was about the same age I was when I moved to Los Angeles. I was determined to throw off all clerkishness. Twenty-five years ago in Los Angeles, one could sense anxiety over some coming "change" of history. Rereading Dana, I am struck by the obvious. Dana saw California as an extension of Latin America. Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Francisco--these were Mexican ports of call. Dana would not be surprised, I think, to find Los Angeles today a Third World capital teeming with Aztecs and Mayans. He would not be surprised to see that California has become what italready was in the 1830s. From its American occupation, Los Angeles took its reflection from the sea rather than the desert; imagined itself a Riviera. Knowledge of the desert would have been akin to a confession of Original Sin-land connection to Mexico was a connection to a culture of death. In the 1960s, overcrowded Los Angeles attempted to preserve its optimism as Orange County. Ten years later, Orange County was running out of Protestant lawns for sale. Only desert remained-Riverside and San Bernardino counties. More than aridity, California fears fecundity. Perhaps as early as the 1950s film fnvasion of the Body Snatchers, nightmare images of pregnant pods and displacing aliens converge. Fecundity is death. (To manufacture life is to proliferate death.) Who's going to pay for fecundity? The question reminds us of scarcity, for we live at the edge of the sea. What is scarce is water. Metaphors Californians now summon to describe their fear of the South are, appropriately, fluid. Waves of people. Tides of immigrants. Floods of illegals. Sand, the primordial image of barrenness, uncivilization, becomes an image of unchecked ferti lity. William tells me-he's a movie guy-in a smoke-free, vegan cantina (high-ho, Silicon), that cowboy movies will shortly make a comeback-"big time." The busboy, an Indian, approaches our table balancing two possible futures: "Regular or decaf?" In the 1970s, decorators in Beverly Hills urged their clients toward realism: an aesthetic cooperation with the desert. Floorboards can be bleached, windows uncovered. The difference of Los Angeles is winter light. No chintz, no wrought-iron chaise, no snuggery. Sand, creams, taupes, apricots. Californians welcomed cactus into their houses even as Mexicans were pushing their dusty heads under the cyclone fence. The desert decor became a way, I suppose, of transforming the troubling future into something Californians might be able to live with. It occurs to me that the admission of Alaska and Hawaii into the Union further undermined the myth of the West by destroying the symmetry of the map. What happens to the notion of sovereignty when you have states outside the border? Heretofore, the United States was a literal description. Watch. In tonight's weather report, the United States of America is Jetter-box formatted to exclude Canada and Mexico. America is conceived by Americans longitudinally, excluding North and South. There is no weather in Guadalajara. There is no


Is this the \Vest-a typical scene of California's rugged Pacific Ocean coast? "In Warner Brothers' cartoons, the sun went down with a ker-plop and a hiss into an ocean that had to be the Pacific."

weather today in Montreal. Alaska is an isle of Lapan to hovering above the continent. Hawaii is a sidebar, somewhere to the left of the Arizona desert. Both states seem to be held in reserveAlaska for the future, Hawaii for a blue Christmas. One Sunday in December 1941, Hawaii became the point on the map most Americans would thereafter remember as our vulnerability to Asia. Afterthe war, Hawaii became our boast: the Pacific is ours. But the reverse would also become true. We had waded out too far, we had been lured into complicated Asian waters. We have always resisted the Asian prospect. Coolie labor built much of the American West in the 19th century. Nevertheless, the Asian was persecuted by California for coming at the continent from the fishy side. Celestials, we called them, had a devilish language of crossed sticks and broken banjo strings. The custody they exercised over their eyes implied they had discovered evil here but were keeping the knowledge to themselves. Inscrutable, we said at the time. Now we say Asians work inhumanly hard. "Asians work too hard," says a friend of mine who has been towing a boat behind him for years. Asians are America's fastest-growing minority. Hispanics will soon be California's majority. Everyone knows Mexicans are fat maiianamen (even Karl Marx thought it better that the United States took California, because Americans would make more of it). But now it's Hawaiian-shirt time for America's Can-do-know-how-thumbs-up-Charlie-jig-jig of World War II fame. Jose Manuel Santo de Dios takes overthe maintenance of the California landscape. When he's not washing dishes. Or flipping hotcakes. And Mae Wah Wong exemplifies work habits we used to approve as northern European. Jose What's-His-Name is up at dawn and drives 150 kilometers to work. Mae's 107 grandchildren have taken all the slots at Berkeley, the Athens of the West. Western canon go boom-boom. Shots not heard in'Hawaii, I think Karl Marx was not thinking of Keanu Reeves, but it was Marx, scribbling away through the winter of the British Museum, who believed the California Gold Rush was a more significant event than the discovery of the Americas by Columbus. After the Gold Rush, the Pacific would replace the Atlantic as the economic theater of the world. San Francisco is only now becoming the first mainland Honolulu, a breeding ground for Asian-Caucasian mixtures, with the additional complexity of Africa and Latin America. California's is one of the richest economies in the world. Marx would be interested. The United States never had a true North until now. The American Civil War divided the nation; impressed upon the Union the distinctiveness of the regional South. But the North was never more than a political idea and a recipe for clam chowder. Economics prompted diplomats to sign the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). For the United States, NAFTA represents a revolutionary recalibration to north and south. Mexico and Canada, so different from each other, are similarly north/south countries-neither has a myth of the West. In Canada, the North represents continuity, the unchanging character of the nation. Canadians, in autumn, still speak of the approaching North, relishing in that phrase the renewal of isolation. Whereas the Canadian South is little distinct from


the United States. Mexico is the same in reverse: in Mexico, the great stone civilizations weighed upon the South. The North was a province of nomads and revolutionaries and, later, American confluence. Coming upon the continent from the Atlantic, English Protestants imagined the land as prehistoric; themselves cast onto Eden. The American Indian they named Savage rather than Innocent. The Atlantic myth of wilderness worked so powerfully on the first American imagination that future generations retained an assumption of innocence-a remarkably resilient psychic cherry. Every generation of Americans since has had to re-enactthe loss of its innocence. Vietnam was the loss of our innocence. Gettysburg was the loss of our innocence. Oklahoma City was the loss of our innocence. Ingrid Bergman's out-of-wedlock baby. Watergate. World War II. Other countries take cynicism with mothers' milk. America has preferred the child's game of "discovering" evil-Europe's or JXsia's or her own or grandfather's. (Every generation of Americans likes to imagine that the generation preceding lived in the 1950s and that its own decade, the 1960s, is postlapsarian.) The east-west dialectic in American history was the story of man's license to dominate Nature. Railroad tracks binding the continent are vestigial stitches of the smoke-belching Judeo-Christian engine, Primacy 0' Man. Having achieved the Pacific Coast, settlers could turn to regret the loss of Nature. (Though eastern America once named itself New Eden-New England, New York, New Canaan, New Bedford, new everything-in the California gazetteer there is nothing new.) Twice a year, along the Pacific coast, people gather to watch the great migration of whales, north to south, south to north. The route of the whale has great allure for postmodern Californians because it is prehistoric, therefore antihistorical. The Pacific totem pole might be an emblem for a New Age, marking the primacy of Nature over man-a new animistic north-south dialectic that follows a biological, solstitial, rather than a historical imperative. The old east-west dialectic moved between city and country, the settled and the unsettled. The plaid-suited city slicker disembarked at the western terminus of the 19th century to find himself an innocent amidst the etiolated foliage, the brighter light, the conversations in Spanish. Today's children of the suburbs hitch between tundra and desert, Idaho and Baja, cold and hotversions of wilderness beyond which unpolluted Nature lies or oblivionorGod. The liturgy of the Mass still gathers a people "from age to age ... so that from east to west a perfect offering may be made." But the future of Christianity attaches to a new, ecliptic north-south axis. Africa embraces the Catholicism disused by secular Europe; U.S. Protestantism has cajoled the penitential Latin American centuries to tambourines. Or consider America's cowboy religion: Mormons followed prophecy from east to west, away from persecution, into the desert. By 2012, the Mormon majority will be Spanish-speaking. Meanwhile, Native-American animism (Father Whale, Mother Panda) thrives among the great-grandchildren of American pioneers. The sole orthodoxy pern1itted in our public

schools is the separation of paper from plastic. In something like the way the East Coast invented the West, California today is inventing a rectified North. From the perspective of California, Oregon is a northern state and Seattle is a northern city. Vancouver becomes a part of the continuum without regard to international borders. Several states now seem to cluster under the white belly of Alaska: Washington, Idaho, northern sections of Utah and Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon and Montana, famous for secessionists. I believe the journey to Alaska is a death wish, insofar as it is a wish to escape civilization rather than extend it. In the late 1950s (at the same time that California became the most populous state), Alaska became the horizon-an albino hope, a gray-rolled cumulus, a glacial obsession-like Melville's great whale. Alaska absorbed all the nouns that lay ble~ching along the Oregon Trail. Solitude. Vacancy. Wilderness. Alaska became the destination for the footloose and the loner' and the seeker of silence. Americans decided Alaska would be governed as a pagan reserve-Nature sacrosanct. Wisdom and a necessary humility inform the environmental movement, but there is an arrogant self-hatred too: the idea that we can create landscapes vacant of human will when, in fact, protection is human intrusion. The ultimate domestication .of Nature is the modern ability to say of Nature: Rage on here, but not elsewhere. Seattle rises as the capi tal of the new North, as Los A ngeles is abandoned to the Third World. Seattle is proudest of its internationalism-Boeing, Microsoft. But for many Californians, Seattle offers a refuge from cosmopolitanism. Those who abandon Los Angeles for Seattle abandon civilization for civility, perhaps for one of those sanitary, bright book-cafes where fed-up white people can sit alone, savoring the black bitter draughts of the South: Mexico, Colombia, Sumatra. From the perspective of Mexico City, Los Angeles is a pale, comic city. From the perspective of Seattle, paint-peeling Los Angeles is the tragic antipode of the coast. Los Angeles assumes most of California, large portions of Texas, Nevada, the bottom halves of Utah and Colorado, all of New Mexico, Arizona and stray Dade County, Florida. I live within the precinct of Los Angeles, I suppose. Although it's true I drink bottled water, I am connected to the South, to desert, to death. True as well that as a citizen of this coast, I feel my future more closely aligned to British Columbia than to Massachusetts. I have become accustomed to the odd orientation within a nexus that occurs at the end of any epic historical route or at the beginning. The most important highway in California is Interstate 5, the northern route, connecting desire and fear. The skinhead crosses into Oregon to get away from the Guatemalan who is heading for California. America begins overhead: that jet is coming in from Asia. America comes to an end here. See how the metaphorofthe West dissolves into foam at my feet. 0 About the Author: Richard Rodriguez is all editor al Pacific News Service in San Francisco and a conlribuling edilor of Harper 's magazine.


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A MEDITATION ON THE UNITED STATES The American prairies, as indeed much ofthe U.S.A., "make an impact upon the Indian mind that can only be called spiritual," says the author in this almost mystical memoir of his 15 years in that country. "The light gleaming in an eerie nidiance" on the prairies' infinite expanse" is an experience that Sanskrit tries through resonance to create in the Upanishads."


is teasy for an Indian visiting or living in the United States of America, no matter how long he may have lived in the country, to mistake it wholesale, lock, stock and barrel. This is largely because of the Indian conditioning. The stereotype among other things, for example, that the United States represents to the Indian the leading edge of materialism in the world. And materialism according to the Indian conditioning is self-limiting and over time debases human texture and interferes with those fated primordial purposes for which the human being was apparently created. These are deeply ingrained reflexes. Finally, the fact that between the U.S. citizen and the Indian', both victims each of his own distinct conditioning, there is very little to choose, is a later realization and takes time to dawn and a lotof growing up to reach. However, there is something else that is revealed in knowing the United States of America at firsthand, without the help of the media at close quarters and this is a profound learning experience of the highest quality and meaning, almost equal to what can be sometime understood as a spiritual experience at its furthest reaches. I got this opportunity first in the realm of business and later in academics. I found to my surprise that even the word freedom on which my generation was raised, and took for granted, had a very unique U.S.

I

Superimposed on this eerie photo of the Kansas prairies is a painting by C.R. Santosh. "A drive through Kansas, " writes author Menon, "is enough to set many questions about life in a new perspective."

connotation. The Indian use of this word had a wholly different meaning. Gandhi had used this word subtly enough and it was easier for Indians to believe that when he used the word freedom he was meaning freedom from British rule. I have always doubted this view. Gandhi was too canny to believe that freedom was as simple as making the British leave the country. That the meaning of freedom was a matter of a very special, unique and contrasting inheritance in each of these countries was to me an unexpected discovery. In this sense the only country that has had no problem with inheritance, I realized, could only have been the United States for at no stage in its history could it have been anything but free. This is because the people who first made the United States and went across in The Mayflower and The Speedwell were in a certain sense the first free men and women on the American continent. The American Indians were there, of course, much before them in time and space. It was, however, the immigrants who were the first free people on PlymQuth Rock. The American Indians had history, tra-


ditions and many other things. The immigrants, on the other hand, had nothing. They had turned their backs on their history, their traditions and continuity and so had no past except what they chose to preserve. The settlers took the land from the Indians 'sometimes by force and sometimes by cunning but they did not touch the native culture nor its traditions. By choosing to keep off the native culture the pilgrims remained free. Having none of their own and not taking any. That is why, I realized, the way the Americans use the word freedom is not anything anyone else knows about, not even the French. It is a new word. When others use the word freedom they mean something else that only spells and sounds the same. Since most of what we call our tradition is a complex of symbols, memory and inherited practice we are not able to give them up and start on a clean slate for that kind of giving up is more easily said than done. Physically, it can only be achieved by uprooting from wherever you are and walking away into emptiness. We cannot do this by uprooting and walking into a Green Card. Because we will soon find that the Green Card is only giving up one kind of entanglement for another kind. It is not emptiness. Plymouth Rock was truly empty at landfall from the prow of the two ships. Physically, in the Plymouth Rock sense, there is no future for freedom anymore. At least no place left on the globe toward which we can uproot and get an opportunity to begin all over again. Freedom in that sense is dead. Indians always knew this in an oblique sense. Even the Himalayas and its boundless forests could not make Indians free. Almost all true yogis in the Indian tradition can testify to this paradox, that the freedom which we want so much to possess is not linear but lies at right angles to our lives. That is why some of these men did not go out to look for freedom in a new land but looked for it right there where they sat. This understanding about India comes best if you live in the United States. I had merely chased my reading when I first landed in the U.S. For I believe a country about which you have not read about does not truly exist. It only exists in the realm of geography, facts and statistics. I had plenty of reading to chase in the U.S. before I cared to look at its technological wonders, its shops, its structure and its shape and its many conveniences. The West Coast came typically from Steinbeck and no one loved a piece of God's earth more than he did. The shallow tide-pools of the beach at Monterey and a glimpse of the Salinas gleaming in the sun. Then there was Mark Twain, Faulkner, Caldwell and Saroyan, and from Susan Coolidge and Margaret Mitchell to Runyan, Irwin Shaw, Huxley and Mann and so many others. And there was the whole world of motion pictures from the thirties when the U.S. cinema was savaging the world with its vitality and its sense of abject wonder at itself. The invention of cinematography was perhaps among the most significant technological discoveries of the 19th century which showed the U.S. to the world. It is not unusual to say that motion pictures are not the best way to get a clue to the complex processes that go to make a people. This is not the whole truth. The United States did not quite exist for the rest of the world in the last century except as a political or a national entity, which in a certain sense is not to exist at all. As a nation, a country exists to the same extent that a menu represents a dinner. When the motion pictures arrived,

the impact of the United States on the rest of the world must have been similar to the feelings of the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son who saw his son from afar and recognized his features, and saw the lineaments of a man who had at last experienced the truth of himself and quickly went to fetch the fatted calf. The films upon which I grew up in India were perhaps among the best that any American boy would have seen in his growing years at that time. Those films were probably not ideal but were always true to feeling, although they may not have been always true to fact. The genre of the Western is a case in point. There was always plenty of landscape, not the cardboard set of landscape but the real shimmering elusive thing that plays with your mind and spirit even as you watch a story unfold. I used to often think of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata in the context of these films, of how inte~nsely the Indian psyche over the centuries absorbed the moral and ethical basis oflife from them so that right up to the forties Gandhi had hoped for an India his best measure of an ideal world-a Ram Rajya--':'the Kingdom ofRama. Whether it was High Noon or Gunfight at the O.K. Corral or The Sheepman where Glenn Ford who could kill in cold blood did not, or that searing scene from The Duel in the Sun, where a wounded Kirk Douglas on a cliff top calls out to Gregory Peck below who had stalked Douglas through 120 minutes of film and finally shot him, asking him from his final perch what Peck was planning to do now that he will die. A sudden awareness passes like a cloud across Peck's leathery, sun-dried face as he looks at a frightening future of an empty time in which he will have no enemy to hate. No Sunday school tract nor any scene in the Indian epics can stop you in your tracks the way this scene made those far-off Sundays disturbing to a growing child. The wagon trains rolling westward is history but becomes life on the screen and all those things that transpired during that interminable journey to that other ocean is also history, coming alive in specific instances of tragedy and bliss. Whether the real General A~mstrong Custer looked like Errol Flynn or whether Jesse James had any likeness to Tyrone Power or whether Carson City was indeed where the real outlaw hung out is a matter of detail, which-watching the film did nothing to thwart. But Buffalo Bill and the Songs of the Range have a reality larger than mere verisimilitude, a candor and a directness which even ifit is being acted before a camera lens was a total experience. Then there was another thing I discovered. It was the American landscape. The magnificence and variety of the American landscape is an aspect of the United States that produces a disquieting impacton the Indian mind. India is a large enough country. Nobody will call it cramped. His supposed to be as large as Europe and some more. In psychological terms, of course, it is perhaps even larger, taking into account the timeless myths and traditions of which it is made, a country allof5,000years in memory. The U.S., on the other hand, is nearly three times the size ofIndia. But itis not the physical size that creates this impression. It is something else. It is the way the landscape is laid out, its composition and arrangement. Take the prairies as an example. It makes an impact upon the Indian mind that can only be called spiritual, because it is so unexpected, so strange. Its sheer immensity, the boundlessness free from a single


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rise of tree, only the wind and the emptiness of grass to the end of time and space. It is difficult to describe this sensation of unrelatedness beyond all scale and measure. It must be, I have believed, analogous to the emptiness which yoga urges the mind to adopt in meditation. The emptiness of the ocean is nowhere near as subtle nor as disturbing as the sight of the prairies. The substance of the ocean is another medium while land is our own. A drive through Kansas is enough to set many questions about life in a new perspective. Stopping the car once every few hours and looking at the grass on all sides and the light gleaming in an eerie radiance on its infinite expanse-this is the kind of experience that Sanskrit tries through resonance to create in the Upanishads ofIndian antiquity. It is the same with the lands around the lakes. I can recall a snowfall in upstate New York where the temperatures in winter are the same as those of continental Russia. The first snowfall in these latitudes throws such a pall of sheer unmitigated silence on all creation that a walk through the first layer of snow with the flakes fluttering and silvering the trees can be transforming. At that time it would seem

When Ravi Shankar went West he was only taking his music with him, but the children of that generation heard a message in its sound. as though sound itself had yet to be created. This quality of silence which the snow provides to Americans has to be cultivated with the utmost labor and sacrifice in India through yoga and other spiritual disciplines, and yoga even in its simplest level of posture is rarely fully understood. The Indian latitudes are abuzz and burdened with the stir and rustle of myriad lives that never pause for an instant across the year. The birds and the cicadas-the whirring murmuring tropical insect life that multiply furiously every minute of the night and day-constitute at least one among the many elements that make for those aspects of the Indian worldview which developed spiritual disciplines directed at inner silence, and its cultivation as a principal constituent of spiritual life. And then when in the sixties, through the tragic years of Vietnam, American youth began to look toward India in the hope that this culture possessed an answer to the essential meaninglessness of life which war produces within the groping human mind, there was little use telling a young man pushing his 18th year that there was no need to go to India .. That the solace he was seeking could be had right at home in his own backyard. It only needed looking. How hard itis to tell the young that the spiritual life and the opportunity to identify it and pursue it is perhaps the most democratically distributed largesse in the Creator's bag of tricks and no one ever gets cheated of an opportunity to turn to it and then quickly, in a panic reaction, retreat from its implications in his own life. It was because of Ravi Shankar and his sitar, a man and a sound, that this happened in quite the remembered form in the age of the

hippies. For the music of the raga subverts the Indian from his customary sloth as it would any human being anywhere. This is one of the reasons why this music has, unlike the traditional music of other cultures, grown and developed in recent decades as never before in its long 3,000 years of history. To the naturally wandering and dissipated human mind the raga tries to give a toehold and a point of rest. It goes along with the well-worn argument that the world is a product of the mind. So if you don't like the world don't change the world because you won't succeed, but change the mind, the thing that makes the world seem the way it is. When Ravi Shankar went Westhe was only taking his music with him but the children of that generation heard a message in its sound. The Beatles came and George Harrison learned to play the sitar and that strange odyssey of Indian music began until, gently through the strumming of his strings, Ravi Shankar suggested that his listeners should perhaps give up drugs and listen to the saving sound of the raga rather than go into a trance. In a few decades the raga had inveigled itself into the fringes of the U.S. consciousness. The raga in actual fact does not need too much space. It needs a minimum investment. The problem is that it needs a special kind of man ready to complete and turn around within himself. This has never been easy, even in the Indian culture where it is nati ve and where the raga does not naturally enjoy any excessive space. It has to be passionately claimed. Most people keep clear of it because of its stern demands of personal commitment and dedication of an unfamiliar sort. And anything that needs too much effort and cannot be mastered in five easy lessons becomes elitist by definition. In these circumstances the raga, which is a brazenly interior art, cannot be glamorized beyond a certain point nor espoused too heartily until it is fully assimilated. And when an American student would ask to know the inner side of India, the quiet shadowy world of the spirit which it has cultivated over the centuries, it is difficult to tell the young man or woman to stay home in his own culture and don't move. Go to the Adironkacks, son, up in the clear air or drive to Wichita, or sit, if you must, in the lotus pose in the middle of the Wyoming prairies when the wind is not too sharp and look west where the Rockies suddenly lift straight out of the grass, their crown gleaming with snow. The answer, if-he finds any, will be no different in an Indian ashram, nor will it be easier by learning the sitar on the riverside .in Varanasi with a guru by his side. But of course I did not say this in so many words as I went on to describe places and retreats. I was nowhere quite as near that understanding myself. Finally, itdoes not take long to learn. A few years of watching and looking brings the trl!th nearer, and at last when we know it, there is nothing left to say. The best way to understand India, I found, was to go to the United States and look for those things that are nethermost in the mind of its people, and all the answers that you get are the same whether you find them in Boulder, Colorado, in San Antonio, Texas, in the ashrams in the Himalayas or in the suburbs ofIndia's sacred cities. 0 About the Author: Raghava R. Menon is a noted musicologist, author and Sanskrit scholar. He lived in the U.S. for almost 15 years where he taught mathematics at various universities. He is the author of The Penguin Dictionary of Music, The Life of Amjad Ali Khan and Journey Into Raga.


Why Make the Journey into Cyberspace? Whether your impression of the Internet is that it's the most profound invention since the printing press, a helpful research tool, a few hours' entertainment or a complete waste oftime, you can't fight the numbers. Somewhere between 20 and 30 million people around the globe use the Net more or less regularly. The graphical portion called the World Wide Web is stocked with more than 22 million "pages" of content, with over one million more pages added each month, says Dataquest, a research house. Even the Internet's biggest fans worry about chaos and breakdowns. Indeed, as users crowd aboard the virtual bandwagon, busy signals and broken connections when dialing the big computers that make up the Internet have become an annoyance. Yet the democratization of the Net has also unleashed forces that have made finding your way around the Web and getting what you want out of it far easier than just a year ago. Thousands of self-appointed Web masters, many of them volunteers and hobbyists and other dollar-eyed entrepreneurs, have helped tame the sprawling beast. Cheap or free software "search engines" make it simple to track down sites where

you can find a topic of interest. You type in the subject or a key word, and these tools generate a list of sites. Many navigational Web tools like Yahoo! sprang from the minds of university whiz kids, some of whom have gone on to found successful companies that have earned the admiration of Wall Street and millions of dollars in initial stock offerings for their founders. But some of the newfound ease of use comes from the giant establishment online services like America Online (AOL), CompuServe, Prodigy and the Microsoft Network (MSN). Originally positioned as civilized alternatives to the disorganized, freewheeling Net, these services have been retooled to allow easy access to the Internet, even offering site recommendations. The evolution of personal computers also has accelerated the trip into cyberspace. Nearly every computer sold in the past couple of years has been online-ready. For the past six to 12 months, many have come equipped with relatively speedy 28.8 kilobit-per-second modems, which have made the Internet experience far less frustrating by reducing the time waiting for pages to appear. With the obstacles to getting there and finding your way around diminished, the

question is: So what? Why should Cousin Jeremy, who finds the microwave daunting, make the journey into cyberspace? See ifany of these answers work for him-and for you: • It's full of little surprises. Cruising the Internet is like browsing through a usedbook store, where rewards are serendipitous. A lotofjunkon the Net? Sure-and plenty of gems. When you turn one up, you can mark it. Over time you will develop a custom table of Web contents. Then you don't have to cruise aimlessly unless you want to. • You can get practical information. With home pages published by thousands of companies, universities, government agencies, museums and municipalities, the Internet can be an invaluable resource. Spending next weekend in Brattleboro, Vermont? Log onto the Web, plug "Brattleboro" into a search engine and you'll find a site with local restaurant menus, weather forecasts and movie listings-even sound snippets from a local rock band (http://www.brattleboro.com). • You'll meet kindred spirits. Check out the thousands of "newsgroups," where cybersurfers post public messages on common interests. You'll find whole communities of people who share passions for Mozart, sunflowers, old radios-you name it. • It's a unique experience. The truth is that metaphors about bookstores go only so far. Like some distant, exotic land, you can't comprehend the Internet fully until you've lived in it. Then you'll know why tens of millions of others take repeattrips. 0 About the Author: Mary Kathleen Flynn is aformer senior editor of U.S. News & World Report.


Ready, Set, Search Not so long ago, an encounter with the Internet resembled a visitto a labyrinthine library without a card catalog. It was no trick to get pleasantly lost browsing in the stacks, but finding something you were looking for was maddeningly hit or miss. The motto today: Search and you shall find. New "search engines" have eased the job of culling information from Web pages and Usenet newsgroups, respectively the graphical and text-based parts of the Net. Web-based engines like Lycos (http://www.lycos.com). Infoseek Guide (http://www2.infoseek.com). Excite (http://www.excite.com) and Alta Vista (http://www.altavista.digital.com) send out software agents, or "spiders," that crawl the nooks and crannies of the vast global information network, building indexes that can be scanned in seconds. Complementing these databases are all kinds of searchable "directories" like Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com). Magellan (http://www.mckinleycom) and PointCom (http://www.pointcom.com). Directories are good jumping-off spots if you're browsing rather than looking for one special needle-in the haystack. Broad subject areas like sports or food or health are winnowed into subcategories. But the differences between engines and directories are narrowing as each absorbs attributes of the other. The most popular search engines and directories can be reached at their Web sites and from the home pages of the two most popular browsers, Netscape Navigator and Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Nearly all are accessed for free. With a little practice, even new users can skim the Internet's millions of Web pages and thousands of Usenet newsgroups, not only for topics of general interest butto home in on precise bits of data. A caveat: Contrary to popular belief, everything is not on the Internet-it's a work in progress, and so are these search engines. While increasingly sophisticated and speedy, they still hit a lot of dead ends. But when they

the most powerful or complex optionyou're likely to be overwhelmed. • Search Usenet as well as the Web; the scads of news groups can be a trove ofuseful work, search engines and directories can information and opinion on everything from make surfing the Internettruly rewarding. the latest Toshiba laptop to the new Tori Amos CD. Anatomy of a search. A query consisting of one or more key words-a company name, If anything rivals the growth of the Net, or a topic likely to appear in the title or body it's the mushrooming of Web-based search of a Web page-is typed in. Most search proservices. An excellent way to keep up with grams employ Boolean logic, expanding or the explosion and benefit from the plenilimiting a search by including and, but and or. tude is search.com (http://www.search. The more precise the query, the better. If com), a kind of one-stop shop for search enyou're interested in tea roses, typing in "tea gines. A new site from clnet, a news and inand rose" instead of just "rose" will tell you formation service (http://www.cnet.com). where to find information on these antique provides access to 250 search sites and diEnglish roses (though you'll also get sites for rectories, alphabetized and divided into tea companies). A click of the mouse starts subject categories. There are well-known, the search; within seconds, a list of matches is broad-based engines, and scalpel-like tools produced, usually in batches often, with de- like West's Legal Directory (http://www. scriptions and addresses. A further click on wid. com). Better yet, you can customize one of the matches gets you to that page or your own search page, selectingupto 20 enUsenetgroup. tries. Another search central site is All-InMost engines work in a similar way but ane (http://www.albanynet/aUinone). rarely come up with the same results. Alta To cut down on connect time, new Web reVista, which debuted at the end of last year, trieval services like FreeLoader (http: has swiftly moved to the head of the class for //wwwjreeloader.net) automatically downsearch aficionados because of its speed and load and update information from designated scope. It scans the full contents of Web pages Web sites that can be perused later off-line. and Usenet groups, thus yielding the most And new search engines go beyond the detailed and minute citations. The downside Internet, seeking out information in propri~ is a certain randomness in presentation. The etary databases. The most ambitious is top site may be way down the list. Infoseek IBM's info-Market (http://www.infomkt. Guide, on the other hand, searches less comibm.com) a metasearch adaptation of an enprehensively but often delivers results more gine developed for NATO. "Right now all the likely to satisfy. engines are basically crawling over the same To deal with such anomalies, a group of public domain information," says Jeffrey "metasearch" engines has popped up, Crigler, vice president for the new service. launching multiple searches. One of the best "We'll also be able to provide access to valuis MetaCrawler {(lttp://www.metacrawler.com) able private information like Dun & which loads simultaneous queries into nine Bradstreet business credit reports." I~ tanleading engines and returns nicely configdem with IBM's "cryptolope" (for encrypted ured results. For beginners, here are some envelope) such value-added data will be sent ways to make a search more effective: over the Internetto users who pay a fee. The real problem is that the Internet is dou• TrJ! several of the more popular search engines and directories to see which work bling in size every three months. Alta Vista, best for you. You're likely to find a couple the fastest search engine around, takes six you'll use most often. days to sweep the Net once. Staying up to • Play with key words and combinations as date with the Web's growth, let alone shriking a way to refine your searches. Helpful hints the time frame, will be quite a challenge. 0 on narrowing searches are supplied at most engines' Web sites. About the Author: Jack Egan is a senior editor • Resist the urge to begin every search with with U.S. News& World Report.


It's a Jungle Out There By MARGARET

MANNIX

Student Loses Scholarship After Lampooning School on World Wide Web...Lawyeljor Wife Says E-Mdil Messages Are Not Adultery ...Jnternet Message A lieges Mother Mis treated Girl ... Perhaps it's because opinions posted in cyberspace are merely characters on a glowing screen that don't seem quite real. Perhaps it's the immediacy of the medium, which encourages fingers to move without alerting the part of the brain that warns of bad judgment. Perhaps the ego goes into overdrive at the idea of pressing a key and flinging one's words across the virtual universe. Whatever the reason, some people behave like jerks online. They mouth off pointedly, offensively, suggestively. But if they think that it doesn't matter because cyberspace is somehow different, they'd better read the recent headlines. "There is nothing about the Internet that says you have a total pass on anything that you say," says Mike Godwin, staff counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit civil liberties organization based in San Francisco. "If you say something negligently or knowingly false and defame someone, you could be held responsible." And as increasing numbers of people flock to the Internet, some online users are finding that their words are being scrutinized with a new intensity. Friendly warning. A little common sense and forethought usually ward off trouble. Expressing opinions is fine, but be prepared to stand by anything you say; you never know when you might get caHed on it. Nasty comments fly across the Net. When companies catch a criticism posted online-and more will be watching as Internet usage takes off-the usual response is to contact the sender via E-mail. Some will try to rectify the situation if a consumer had a problem with a product or a service. Or the company might ask that the bad-mouthing stop, with the consequences for ignoring

the request left unstated. Not everybody takes the hint. A Caribbean resort owner last year tried to reason via Email with an America Online memberoperating under an alias, as many online users do--who in forum messages had accused one ofthe resort's scuba instructors of a criminal act. When the member refused to back down, the resort owner successfully subpoenaed AOL to get his real name. The anonymous user turned out to be a former resort employee, who has since retracted his comments and apologized. Need it be said that crossing the lines of obscenity, fraud and harassment online is subject to punishment? Apparently so. Setting out to defraud someone-whether through the telephone, the Internet or a letter-may subject you to criminal penalties, says Daniel Weitzner, deputy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit, public interest group in Washington, D.C. Luring a minor into a sexual situation may also be grounds for prosecution. Weitzner's rule of thumb: "If you are not worried about doing it offline: you shouldn't be worrierl about doing it online." And vice versa. The sheer reach and power of this relatively new mass medium trip up many. "People who haven't acted on the national or world stage are not used to having an effect on things," says Lance Rose, an attorney with the Phoenix firm of Lewis & Roca and author of NetLaw: Your Rights in the Online World (Osborne McGraw-Hill, 1995, $19.95). "They don't realize they are in public when they are sitting in a dark room all by themselves with a computer." Many Internet users have adopted another credo: Don't write what you wouldn't want to see in the paper the next day-or your spouse, boss or kids to know. Once you hit the send key, you relinquish possession. It could end up anywhere, bounced from mailbox to mailbox. Instant recall. This huge town square also has a memory. Many memories, actu-

ally. "A comment you made three months ago may be stored and recorded in lots of different places," says Weitzner. Something you wrote in the heat of the moment about, say, another person could come back to haunt you. And with new search engines like Deja News, which archives almost 14,000 Usenet newsgroups (online discussion groups devoted to a particular topic), people can plug in, say, a person's E-mail address and postings from that individual for the past 13 months will pop up. (The service plans to archive back to the debut of news groups in 1979.) The service was created as a research tool, much like a library card catalog or news clipping service. But online users have discovered it can also be used to create profiles of individuals-their likes and dislikes, their online correspondents. Some cyberspace addicts believe this is an invasion of privacy. Deja News rejects that argument. "Anything that you post to Usenet, whether or not we archive it, is incredibly public," says company spokesman George Nickas. And anyone who doesn't want to leave a digital footprint can opt out of archiving by including specific coding at the top of messages. How to do that is explained at http://www.dejanews.com. Online users who want to send E-mail anonymously can use an "anonymous remailer." This service takes your message out of its envelope, so to speak, puts it in one without your return address and sends it off. Finding an anonymous remailer is easy. Type anonymous remailer into a search engine and take your pick. Hiding your identity while surfing the Internet, in contrast, can be tricky. Most sites these days keep track of visitors. The type of browser, the Internet service provider, whether a commercial online service is used-all can affect privacy. To help online users understand their privacy rights, the Center for Democracy and Technology will soon begin posting the texts, with analysis, of the privacy policies


of major Internet service providers~ Internet ofunpublished writings offounder beginning with AOL, CompuServe, L. Ron Hubbard. What about the words you Microsoft Network and Prodigy~on its author in, say, a newsgroup posting? To Web site athttp://www.cdt.org. whom do they belong? "People's comPermissible-conduct rules among the onments are generally copyrighted and owned line services and the thousands of newsby the people who make them," says attorgroups, listservs (mailing lists) and bulletin ney Rose, with one caveat: Private systems, boards on the Internet range from freesuch as CompuServe and bulletin boards, typically own the content. wheeling to tightly controlled. Guidelines are regularly posted. AOL's "Rules of the Online users must also practice the art of Road," for example, state that members "netiquette," the code of manners that may not post or use AOL to "harass, guides appropriate online behavior. "If you threaten, embarrass or cause distress, un- find a forum that is interesting to you, you wanted attention or discomfort upon an- should lurk or hang back for a month before other Member or user of AOL or other you say anything," says Kevin Savetz, a person or entity." The bulletin board "The journalist who writes about the Internet. Well," on the other hand, is a favorite of Each newsgroup, bulletin board, chat room free-speech advocates. Even individual in- or forum is, ina sense, its own littlecommustitutions and companies with hookups to nity. "You are certainly welcome to join, but you are expected to follow the rules," he the Net may have their own rules. College students, for instance, have to be aware of .says. Vulgar language, for example, isn't "acceptable use" policies. Virginia Tech in welcome in many places. But if you hang Blacksburg, Virginia, prohibits students out on the news:alt.flame newsgroup, it's from using mail or message services to "hapractically required, says Virginia Shea, rass or intimidate another person." author of Netiquette (Albion Books, 1994, Home pages are no haven. Last year, Paul $19.95). Although most Internet users welKim, then a high school senior in Bellevue, cOlJle newbies, others like to sock it to newWashington, created a fake school Web page comers with taunts about their lack of as a joke and included links to sites like Internet prowess. Playboy. Kim's principal yanked recommenSuch obnoxiousness could become dated as the rules, laws and netiquette of cyberdations she had written to several universities. She also rescinded her support of Kim's space evolve. "This is still a relatively new status as a National Merit Scholarship finaltechnology, and a lot of things haven't been ist, and that led to a lost opportunity to win a hashed out yet," says Savetz. Indeed, the merit scholarship. The principal "didn't Communications Decency Act, part of the think that was the behavior of someone who U.S. Telecommunications Act of 1996 that was worthy of a recommendation from her," was signed into law February 8, is currently says Ann Oxrieder, spokesperson for the being challenged in a federal district court Bellevue School District. in Philadelphia. Moreover, about 15 states Kim was taken aback. "I certainly didn't have recently passed laws restricting expect anyone to take it seriously ifthey did Internet speech, though they are relatively find out about it," he says. With the help of untested at this point. "It's possible that you the American Civil Liberties Union, the could be prosecuted or fined for your school district apologized, Kim got $2,000 speech if it is downloaded in any state for the scholarship he might have won and where there is a law that says it is illegal," his status as a National Merit finalist was says Ann Beeson, staff attorney at the eventually reinstated. American Civil Liberties Union. OK in Plagiarists beware. The Internet isn't State A, against the law in State B? It's free of copyright and trademark squabbles, safest to be careful. 0 either. In January, a federal court in Virginia ruled for the Church of Scientology in a About the Author: Margaret Mannix is a senior lawsuit involving the posting on the editor with U.S. News& World Report.


Saul Bellow I began to prepare for my interview with Saul Bellow from the moment my postdoctoral project to study Bellow literary manuscripts in the Joseph Regenstein library at the University of Chicago landed me with a senior Fulbright Fellowship for the year 1994-95. I reached Chicago on August 31,1994. I was told by Mark Krupnick, my faculty associate, that Bellow had decamped to Boston with his wife. Krupnick suggested that I contact Alice Schreyer, curator of the Special Collections, for Bellow telephone number in Boston University where he currently lectured on creative writing. Schreyer told me that she had Bellow mailing address and I could communicate with him through her. I wrote a request to Bellow for permission to consult his restricted manuscripts and to meet himfor an interview. One jine morning Schreyer informed me that Bellow had agreed to show me the restricted manuscripts of Herzog and to meet me in April next year (1995). She explainedfurther that Bellow had also allowed me to photocopy portions of his manuscripts. But Bellow still did not permit me to consult his personal correspondence which was lying in the Regenstein untouched by all others except Ruth Miller, his literary biographer, and James Atlas, his official biographer. Schreyer advised me to take it up again with Bellow during my meeting with him. I did exactly the same and ultimately succeeded in securing Bellow consent for reading his correspondence also. I felt that my trip was made-by Bellow. My meeting with the Nobel laureate took place on April 20, 1995, at his apartment in Boston. As I pressed the buzzer ofhis residence at 5p.m. sharp, the main gate opened with a whirring sound and I immediately heard an authoritative male voice speaking out loudly: "Come over to the left, please. " As I entered the gate and turned to the left, I found myself face toface with a man of medium height, immaculately dressed in gray suit and tie, with a serious look in his glittering eyes. He came forward smiling pleasantly to introduce himself: "Saul Bellow. " He very affectionately shookmy hand and showed me in. lfelt as if a dream had come true. As we both entered thejirstjloor ofhis apartment, I said: "Mr. Bellow, lam really very grateful to you for giving me this wonderful opportunity of meeting with you. " And he immediately replied: "Why not? You are such a nice person! Shall we now begin the interview?"

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SUKHBIR SINGH: What inspired you to become a writer? SAUL BELLOW: I was sick for a long time in my childhood. And I spent a lot oftime in the hospital reading books. So, then, naturally my min.d turned to writing books. Do you have any prior idea about the shape of your novel depending upon the nature of the subject matter? Or, does your novel slowly acquire aform asyou write it down? Yes and no. I know somehow in my head how it is going to go. And my novel does acquire a form as I am writing it down. I discover all kinds of things as I am writing it down. Howfar has your education in anthropology influenced your development as a fiction writer-the themes, characters, narrative structures, view of life and critique of contemporary culture inyour novels? I don 'tthink my education in anthropology had much influence on my development as a novelist. Perhaps in the early years, but later on it was almost nil, of no importance to me. I find your characters very authentic and real. They cannot be wholly imaginary creatures. Do you choose people known to you as models for your characters-Joseph, Leventhal, Cantabile and Fonstein? Yes, I knew people like Cantabile and so forth, butthey are not the same in the novel as they are in natural life. It is there something happens that transforms them. You write both short stories as well as novels. An;your short stories an offshoot ofyour novels, or do you conceive them separately? What essential difference doyou find between the two genres? My short stories are not offshoots of my novels, and I do conceive them separately. And as time goes on I think that I care more about short stories than I did formerly. That's a very complicated question. Really. I do think that readers used to be elephants, but now they are birds. They flyaway before you can shoot them. [Both laugh loudly].


How doyou look atyour earlier works vis-a-vis the later ones which broughtyou the NobelPrize? I don't like my earlier books. I never like to go back and look at them. I don't even understand the person who wrote those books. I have very little feeling about him. Theprotagonist in Dangling Man says that he has lost his sense of time. He does not even know what day of the week it is. But he is still able to organize his thoughts coherently and his diary entries chronologically. Is this not inconsistent? I don't think that knowing what time it is has much to do with organizing your thoughts coherently. In fact, I am sure that Einstein never knew what day of the week it was. He was too busy thinking a lot of things. I find The Victim coherent, but thematically complex. Here you seem to imply that both Jews and Gentiles have failed to understand each other in human terms. AmI right? I think that al most always Jews knew more about Gentiles than Gentiles knew about Jews. The reason why that is should not be difficult to find. When the Jews live a secular life, they know the Jewish side of things as well. The Gentiles never know the Jewish side of things because it is a mystery to them. It is not the common life. But the Jews know what the common life is and they have a sort of this privileged perspective on non-Jews because they live so much in their culture. It's a very odd thing really. Just as Dr. Chaudhuri [Nirad C. Chaudhuri] in India knew more about Victorian England than most Englishmen did. You might say, of course, that he understood them far better than they understood him. And I don't think that Malamud's "Every man is a Jew though he may not know it" is a philosophy of assimilation. I don't think so at all. I think it is a humorous remark and I don't think that he meant itto be taken seriously. You became a novelist of renown with the publication of The Adventures of Augie March. Were you prompted by the success of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to write your American picaresque novels? Of course, everybody who writes in America was influenced by Huckleberry Finn, but not by Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. In fact, I don't think Sherlock


Finn, but not by Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. In fact, I don't think Sherlock Holmes was a picaresque novel at all. Picaresque is a sort of rogue. If you know rogues, inSherlockHolmes, exceptthe criminals, they are not picaresque. Youwrote Henderson the Rain King around the civil rights movement in America. And I think you responded to the black problem in a fairly constructive manner projecting the black men and women as remarkably brave, beautiful and dignified. They represent the core of being that is deeply embedded in all of us. Hence the relationship between the blacks and the whites (Dahfu and Henderson) is innate, inevitable andpsychologically undeniable. Wouldyou like to elaborate upon itfurther? I date the civil rights movement from the appearance of Martin Luther King and that was in the sixties. Henderson the Rain King was written toward the end of the fifties. Well, I don't think the race question enters into Henderson the Rain King at all. I think that it is too much a comic fantasy to be thought of as having any serious social importance. I do think that in a funny way-we could put it differently-I was really making fun of President Truman's "Point Four" program about going out to Asia and Africa, to be helpful and teach American ways. So when Henderson blows up the frog pond, that's my comment on the helplessness of Americans to the Third World. Youportrayed the black men and women as brave, beautiful and endearing in Henderson the Rain King probably in support of the civil rights movement. But in Mr. Sammler's Planet you present the black man as apickpocket and a hooligan. Does itshow your dismay over the ultimate consequences of the civil rights movement? 1 mean, your resentment over the subsequent rise of a black mafia and black anti-Semitism? I don't portray the pickpocket as a hooligan. I don't at all. I portray him: as an American black with criminal tendencies. I am not dismayed over the ultimate consequences of the civil rights movement. At least not in this sense. I do not consider myself a racist, and I think the people who call me a racist are very wrong. It's just an invective; it's not based on analysis or study of facts. Idon'tthink it has very much to do with the black mafia. Besides, the civil rights

movement had not started when I wrote Henderson the Rain King. The civil rights movement did not properly start until the early sixties and Henderson the Rain King was published before that. Henderson was published in the late fifties. So I couldn't have been influenced by the civil rights movement at all. Besides, when that crippled Israeli, Eisen, in Mr. Sammler s Planet strikes the pickpocket on his head with his sack, Sammler is appalled when he sees this man's blood flowing. It doesn't mean that at all. Not what the man means by it. If anything, it shows how distorted the Jews became in World War II-through the Holocaust and the war. And they have lost their bearings, too. It's really a crazy act. It's not the sign of sanity at all to hit this man with the sack full of iron. But it seems the civil rights movement started in the late 19th century. And some times it was there, and some times not. That kind of thing. Well, it certainly didn't become what it is today until the sixties. Of course, it's a struggle going on and nobody knew that better than the Jews who supported the civil rights movement not only with money but at the risk of their lives, a fact which is not very well remembered by anybody these days. When William Styron wrote Sophie's Choice about a Gentile survivor of the Holocaust, American Jewish intellectuals such as Alviti Rosenfeld and Elie Wiesel reacted sharply against it saying that the Holocaust happened only to the Jews, and not to the Gentiles who were solely responsible for it. Unlike the Jewish writers,Styron attempts toshow that neither history nor social circumstances are responsible for man's victimization. He believes that the innate evil in mtm (be he a Jew or a Gentile) is actually responsible for all kinds of holocausts. Hence it is a universal condition, not exclusively aJewishfate. Doyou agree with him? I don't know what Alvin Rosenfeld and Elie Wiesel said about Styron. I never read it myself. The Holocaust didn't happen only to the Jews. Many Poles and others died in the death camps. But I don't think that Styron knows very much about this either. I don't know what innate evil in man means, if you mean that man by nature is both good and also wicked. But I think that that event has nothing to do-rather, I wouldn't say nothing to do but less to do-with whatever

wickedness there is in man than it has to do with the history ofthis century, which I think should be mentioned in this discussion. That it was a result of modern life. The idea of industrializing the mass murders on a sort of factory plan is a modern idea. So I think it's modern history you want to examine when you discuss this question. In Delmore Schwartz: The Life of an American Poet, James Atlas says that you have basedyour novelHumboldt's Gift onyour relationship with Delmore Sch wartz.And hefurther observes thatSchwartz's prediction about his return after death has come true in Humboldt's Gift. Did ypu actually model Humboldt after Schwartz with the intention of writing afictional elegy in memory ofyour latefriend? It's true that Humboldts Gift was in part based on my relationship with Delmore Schwartz. But it was elaborated so far beyond the facts of this relationship, in a direction so very different from my purposes, that really all you can say is that the "original" was the relationship with Delmore Schwartz. But the elaboration of that relationship into the novel is something entirely different. Not only are people seldom twice the same on two days of the week, but they certainly do not remain the same in novels. They can't; it's impossible. That's because the novel has laws of its own. And what you are dealing with is an object which has been transformed by the imagination. If you look at Monet's Garden paintings and you go back to the gardens, you see them differently. You see that they bear no resemblance, or very little resemblance, to what Monet painted. Then you understand this better, because these things pass through the soul of the writer or the painter and they are different after they have passed through the soul. Different from anything that could have been in actual fact. So you must not get confused by actual facts. It's true that Proust based many of his â&#x201A;Źharacters on people whom he knew in Paris and elsewhere in his time. And he would ask their permission to mention them because it was like putting many points on a piece of paper and then making a drawing that passes through all these points. But there are many thousands of ways to pass through those points. IfindThe Dean's December apolitical novel


which offers an interesting comparative view of Amerkan democracy and Soviet communism pointing to the essential advantages and innate weaknesses of the two systems. It sounds quite ironical that the American democracy, which should encourage genuine human love among people, is caught in a wave of racial hatred and random violence. And people under the Romanian communism (Soviet style) are capable of showing human warmth toward each other but unable to express itfreely. Now that the Soviet Union has crumbled, what in your view could be the fate oj American democracy with the growing mutual indifference and what you call in To Jerusalem and Back "spiritual vacancy" in Americans? However much American democracy may be caught in a wave of racial hatred and random violence, it's still nothing compared to the destruction of perhaps a hundred million people or more in Soviet communism. What do you think I meant by "spiritual vacancy?" Actually, you use this expression in To Jerusalem and Back, which I guess means individualism, mutual indifference and materialism-more preference for the material values than the spiritual concerns. Well, that may be true. I don't think that anybody in the Soviet Union was prevented by law from showing human warmth toward each other. But you know these are just words that people use as signals when they speak, make signals to each other. But they don't often have real content. American democracy should encourage human love? There is nothing in the American Constitution that says that people should love each other. That is something that belongs to the social life of the country, the community life of the country and so on. There is quite a big hatred now, random hatred in the country-just hatred in general, hatred on principle. And it's all blamed upon the democratic political system. I don't think they even check on the democratic political system. Actually, when I was growing up during the Depression, there was much more poverty than there is now. Everybody was poor. But there was none of this violence. How would you explain the random hatred and crime? There should have been as much crime ifnot more during the Depression when everybody was very poor. In The Bellarosa Connection, you seem to

dismay over what success has done to the Jews in America. They have prospered and progressed in the New World,but at the cost of their human warmth, Old World values and closefamily ties. I think it would have been rather difficultfor the Jews to live conveniently in a success-oriented society in America without improving their ecanomic condition. Whatdoyousay? Well, that's not really what I meant. Whatl meant is that everybody has been affected by the transformation of society in this newest way with the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution beginning in the 18th century changed the world more than anything changed many, many, many centuries before. It became an urban civilization and a factory civilization, and all the rest of that. But I think that the transformation of the modem world by high technology is a thousand times more intense and more widespread than the transformation brought about by the Industrial Revolution. And now we understand or we should understand that a different kind of life for human beings all over the world is possible, in parts of the world where nobody even dreamed only a generation ago that it would have been possible, that mankind now has the means to feed, clothe, house and entertain hundreds ofmillions of people cheaply. And this has created an entirely different America, an entirely different Europe and an entirely different AsiaandAfrica. The Jews too have been as much affected by this as anybody. In fact, I think it's too much to say that the fairy tales of all the peoples of the Earth have come to reality in our time-the way they now fly through the air, they hear voices from far away, they see the pictures of things that happened immediately. They all have these television instruments in their houses. They are exposed to the whole world fully and on a day-to-day basis. Of course, the Jews have been affected by this as everybody else has been affected. You see people marching on Washington for this, that and the other things and picketing and holding meetings and so on. And you ask yourself: "Where did they get the means to do all this?" They can all fly in, they all have places to stay in, they have money in their pockets. They are a political class that didn't exist before because before people were employed continually 24 hours a day, seven

days a week in making a livelihood. Now that is no longer necessary. Well, I'm trying to answer your question. I believe you are very fond of W.B. Yeats. Some of your views about the function of art are identical with those of Yeats. Did Yeatsever influence you in the development of your ideas about the role of art as the savior of mankind? I am very fond of Yeats. Things have changed. Literature used to be about great men and women, about heroic figures. Many of the plays of Shakespeare come from Plutarch or Holinshed (the English historian). He was influenced obviously by Ovid's M~lamorphosis-their gods and goddesses, heroes and heroines, great leaders like Caesar and kings like Macbeth and Hamlet, and so on. But I suppose the influence of Plutarch died out in the 18th and 19th centuries. In modem times, people do not read that stuff anymore. They are not thri lied with the ideas of grandeur about the great actors and the great characters of history. I think that in the 20th century very often the artist has tried to make his art itself, create in his art itself that importance which formerly belonged to Julius Caesar or Macbeth. It was an aristocratic society and only art now and perhaps some branches ofsociety are left for that kind of higher developing. That's what Yeats is talking about. Yeats is always talking about Plato, and I don't think I ever mentioned Plato. Youhave been writingyour novels in the realistic mode rightfrom the beginning. But of late the intellectual climate in America has undergone a considerable change. With the rise of the deconstructionists (Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, Barthes, Iser and Miller), feminists, multiculturists, postmodernists and PCs, the whole enterprise of writing, reading, critiquing and discoursing has' become a very complex¡ and risky (even dangerous at times) affair. How do youfeel as a writer under such circumstances? Well, I have nothing to do with Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, Barthes, multiculturists, feminists, postmodemists and politically correctionists. I feel that these people are really trying to destroy literature. That's something new. That's as ifthe priests of a church get together and plan the destruction of the church to which they belong. Professors ofliterature in the university are supposed to be the pre(Continued on page 60)


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LAWYIERS AS

CRUSADERS Some of the most dedicated civil rights activists in this century have been lawyers such as Jack Greenberg and Thurgood Marshall. Greenberg's memoirs, Crusaders in the Courts, "provides a primer to civil libertarians, especially to lawyers who are committed to the protection of human rights," says the author in this review of the book. was t the Founding Fathers of the United States who inspired Edmund Burke to deliver his famous panegyric to lawyers. During his magnificent speech on conciliation with rebellious America, in the House of Commons on March 22, 1775, Burke said: "In no country perhaps in the world is the law so general a study. The profession itselfis numerous and powerful, and in most provinces it takes the lead. The greater num ber ofthe deputies sent to Congress were lawyers. "This study [of law] renders men acute, inquisitive, dexterous, prompt in attack, ready in defense, full of resources. In other countries, the people, more simple and of a less mercurial cast, judge of an ill principle in government only by an actual grievance. Here, they anticipate the evil, and judge of the presence of the grievance by the badness of the principle. They augur misgovernment at a distance, and sniff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze." It is a remarkable coincidence that most of the great leaders of India's freedom movement were lawyers by training-Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabhbhai Patel-as were the constitutionalists, the liberals, who preceded them. They admired the American federation and the Bill of Rights. They admired also the civil liberties movement in the United States. In 1936 Jawaharlal Nehru founded the Indian Civil Liberties Union. Rabindranath Tagore gladly accorded his consent "to be the honorary president of the Civil Liberties Union." Toward the end of the year the foreign department of the All India Congress Committee published an ex-

I

tremely well-informed booklet entitled The StruggleforCivilLiberties. It was written by Ram Manohar Lohia and carried a foreword by Nehru. The pamphlet, now a collector's prize, had an entire chapter on "Civil Liberties in America." Lohia was as unsparing in his criticism of violation of civil Iiberties, especially of the rights of the blacks, as he was unstinted in his praise of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He wrote: "Let us remember the exalted conception of civil rights held by eminent Americans in the past as also now. This conception is also enshrined in the following articles of the Bill of Rights of the Federal Constitution." After summarizing the guarantees of human rights, Lohia added: "No one can, however, accuse the American Civil Liberties Union of inactivity or lack of vigilance. In its annual story of the fight for civil liberty, which is a precious document of far-reaching importance, it gives a close-up survey of all manners of suppression and of the forces ranged on the two sides." Now, 60 years later, we have a document far more inspiring to civil libertarians than any annual report of the ACLU could possibly be. It is Jack Greenberg's memoirs recording his 35 years in the legal outfit of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). That is perhaps a misnomer. Forthe NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) has a separate corporate status and has ever functioned independently, to the chagrin ofthe NAACP. Crusaders in the Courts is more than a story of "how a dedicated band of lawyers

fought forthe civil rights revolution" which is its subtitle. It provides a primer to civil libertarians, especially to lawyers who are committed to the cause of protection ofhuman rights. The book makes a timely appearance. The civil liberties movement in India has made impressive strides in the last two decades. The process has been matched by the Supreme Court ofIndia's resourceful and purposeful evolution of the law of public-interest litigation. The old rule of locus standi-one must be personally aggrieved in order to petition the courts for the enforcement of the fundamental rights embodied in the Constitution of India-has been abandoned. Any citizen can move the courts to secure the rights of the underprivileged orthe public at large. It is in this spirit that the LDF has worked in the United States ever since it was established in 1939. But it was a band of dedicated lawyers, led by the legendary Thurgood Marshall, who shaped the LDF into the formidable instrument that it became. Dedication was not all. It was coupled with consummate discretion and legal competence of the highest order. Jack Greenberg, a white Jew from New York, joined the LDF in 1949 when he wasjust out of law school at the age of 24. He was groomed by Thurgood Marshall as his successor and succeeded him as director-counsel in 1961. They worked together, along with colleagues, in historic cases before the U.S. Supreme Court on school integration, equal employment, fair housing, voter registration and like issues. Greenberg represented Martin Luther King, Jr., in Birmingham and, as his counsel, secured for


Martin Luther King, Jr., leads the famous fiveday march from Selma to MontgomelY, Alabama, in March 1965. Jack Greenberg, author of the book reviewed in this article, was King s lawyer at that time.

him the right to march from Selma to Montgomery. He led the LDF in the battle to secure James Meredith's admission in the University of Alabama to which Governor George Wallace was stoutly opposed. Both the NAACP and the LDF were interracial. Whites as well as blacks comprised their membership. The NAACP was set up in 1909 in reaction to a lynching in Springfield, Illinois, the home of Abraham Lincoln. Its object was to seek "equal rights and opportunities for all." Among its founders were William English Walling, a white southerner, and W.E.B. Du Bois, the great black scholar. It was a political action organization. A little known lawyer from the NAACP, Thurgood Marshall, wrote out the LDF's charter on a yellow pad. It had a specific remit: "(a) To render legal aid gratuitously to such Negroes as may appear to be worthy thereof, who are suffering legal injustices by reason of race or color ...and (b) to seek and promote the educational facilities for Negroes who are denied the same by reason of race or color." Marshall is well known in India as the foremost lawyer in the civil rights campaign, as solicitor general of the United States and as a distinguished justice of the Supreme Court. Little is known of his

colleague, Charles Hamilton Houston. He was a great teacher and a lawyer of erudition. He became special counsel of the NAACP in 1935, combining law practice with journalism. "As a journalist, his aim was to educate the white populace about the injustice of racial segregation and to arouse the black populace to oppose it. He conceived of the notion of the litigation campaign. Using it first to launch a broad-based attack on discrimination in the selection of juries, he drafted legal papers that could be used as a model by black lawyers preparing attacks on such discrimination all overthe South." Houston brought Marshall, one of his best pupils at Howard University, to work with him in 1936. Houston died at an early age in 1950. Greenberg recalls that "for many of their earlier years in the conflict, Thurgood Marshall and Charles Houston were lonely warriors." eople had to be made conscious of their rights so that they could fight for them. The NAACP did yeoman work in this regard for years. The blacks had no votes in the South, the areas where they mostly lived. Since the Civil War, the South was in the grip of the Democrats. Democratic primaries excluded blacks. The Democratic candidates, so chosen, were assured of election to the U.S. House of Representatives and to the Senate. Their continuity guaranteed, members from the South acquired seniority on committees and the power that went with it. The South dominated Congress. Donations to the NAACP did not qualify for tax exemption as it was engaged in politics. On March 20, 1940, it created the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. Advocacy associations working in courts, as distinct from firms of lawyers,

P

were unheard of then. They are just making their presence felt in India. The NAACP wielded considerable influence on the LDF because of the interlinking membership of their boards of directors. Memories of this phase were to be eclipsed in later years by those of differences between the two organizations. When Greenberg joined the LDF in September 1949, Marshall was at the helm. Greenbergprovides a fascinating pen portrait of the man who became a legend in his own lifetime. Marshall inspired respect and trust from all. There was good reason for this and it is very instructive for all who work in the same sphere. Marshall was scrupulously fair and innately cautious. "Thurgood's skepticism contributed to a fundamental caution. While he was committed completely to the distant, ideal goal of ending segregation, he was not always too sure about particular steps or cases on the road to getting there .... Often he preferred a tentative, brief advance to 'going for the gold' all at once. This generated conflict and grumbling about how much caution could be accommodated within a proper commitment." Tersely put, he did not allow zeal to affect professional values. In this he found a soul mate in Greenberg. His integrity is reflected in the memoirs even as it governed his work. The law was in a dismal state as the LDF began its work in earnest in the early fifties. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, enacted in 1868, enjoined that "no state shall...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." In 1896 the Supreme Court stripped the 14th Amendment of its vitality by holding in Plessy v. Ferguson that "separate but equal" treatment of the wllites and blacks did not violate the guarantee of equality. Homer Plessy bought a first-class ticket on the East Louisiana Railway for a trip from New Orleans to Covington, entirely within Louisiana. But no sooner did he take a seat in a first-class car reserved for white passengers than he was asked by the conductor to move to a car marked "colored." He refused and was arrested. None of the people involved in this drama on June 7, 1892, realized that they were helping to shape a judicial error which would last for six long


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decades-till 1954-and inflict enormous harm on race relations. Plessy brought a case but Judge Ferguson was not impressed and neither was the Supreme Court of Louisiana. In 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld both. Justice John Marshall's dissent in the case proved prophetic: "In view of the Constitution, in the eye ofthe law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens ... .In my opinion, the judgment this day rendered will, in time, prove to be quite as pernicious as the decision made by this tribunal in the Dred Scott case ...." (In the 1857 Dred Scott case the Court ruled that blacks were not included under the word "citizen" in the Constitution.) "Sixty millions of whites are in no danger from the presence here of eight millions of blacks," Marshall wrote. "The destinies of the two races in this country are indissolubly linked together, and the interests of both require that the common government of all shall not permit the seeds of race hate to be planted under the sanction oflaw." It took the Supreme Court nearly a century to undo the wrong. Some of the most gripping parts of the book are those devoted to describing how this famous ruling came to be delivered by a unanimous Court headed by a new Chief Justice, Earl Warren. It was not a sudden assault. The ground had been prepared by some retreats from Plessys case by the Court. In Sweatt v. Painter, a unanimous Supreme Court ordered the admission of a black student to the University to Texas Law School because it was almost impossible for the state to provide equal facilities elsewhere. Encouraged, LDF and other organizations resolved to bring matters to a head. A group of public (local government) school segregation cases were brought up before the Court. John W. Davis, the ablest advocate of his time, defended segregation. The attack was led by Thurgood Marshall. He pleaded: "I know in the South, where I spent most of my time, you will see white and colored kids going down the road together to school. They separate and go to different schools, and they come out and play together. I do not see why there would necessarily be any trouble if they wentto school together." The cases were collectively known as

Brown v. Board of Education. On May 17,1954, the Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited and historic ruling unanimously through Chief Justice Earl Warren. He said: "In approaching this problem we cannot turn the clock back to 1868 when the amendment was adopted or even to 1896 when Plessy v. Ferguson was written. We must consider public education in the light of its full development and its present place in American life throughout the nation. "In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life ifhe is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms ....We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." Greenberg, then barely 28, argued¡ the Delaware group in the Brown cluster of cases. Importal1t as the ruling was in itself, its impact far transcended the immediate issue. It proved the enormous educative value ofjudicial decisions. he LDF was not deflected from its concerns in other fie-Ids. It had won significant victories in the white primary cases and in cases concerning covenants in conveyances discriminating against blacks. But each victory in the courts created work as a follow-up. Brown created the most. It is one thing to pronounce segregated schools as unconstitutional. But how was the ruling to be enforced in the South? On May 31, 1955, the Supreme Court enjoined federal district courts to enforce desegregation in public schools "with all deliberate speed." How long was this process to last was not made clear-advisedly. In this clime was enacted the Civil Rights Act, 1957, which created the Civil Rights Commission and the Civil Rights Division in the Justice Department. President Eisenhower's decision to enforce the law at Little Rock, Arkansas, by stationing federal

T

Thurgood Marshall in 1974, as ajustice of the U.S Supreme Court. Marshall was, in the words of the author, "a legend in his own lifetime. "

troops from September 24, 1957, to May 8, 1958, gave an impetus not only to the process of enforcement but to the en.tire movement against racialism. It settled the issue decisively. In 1969 the Supreme Court ruled that" 'all deliberate speed' is no longer constitutionally permissible." It was a personal victory for Greenberg who argued the case for LD F. In retrospect, Brown marked a defining moment. "Although none Ofus knew it at the time, Brown marked the end of that phase of the civil rights struggle where all our important victories were won in¡court. By 1960, six years after Brown, the 'spirit of revolt' ...was a nationwide phenomenon ...a new spirit was now taken up and widely shared by an army of young people who were formerly not active in civil rights. This new spirit led to the sit-ins; spread to the Freedom Rides; gave birth to the demand for full equality in all aspects of American life that in its nonviolent expression was personified by Martin Luther King, Jr., and made inevitable the historic civil rights legislation ofl964 and beyond." New organizations appeared on the scene to impart new directions to the movement. They were Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) local groups like the Albany (Georgia) Movement and the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) in Mississippi; and paramilitary


organizations like the BlackPanthers. But these bodies were to have an unfortunate impact on the NAACP and on its relationship with the LOF. "The new associations did not at first think of courts and laws forredress oftheir grievances. They focused on direct nonviolent action taking, in the case of SCLC and CORE, Mahatma Gandhi's nonviolent resistance as their guide, and in the case ofSNCC, even incorporating the message of nonviolence in their name. The Panthers, of course, rejected the nonviolent approach. In many cases the new groups took leadership away from the NAACP, or competed with it, and the Association sometimes resented them. But all of the groups usually turned to LOF for legal assistance, which we gave readily." The new situation affected the LOF's work, no less, and this is relevant to all such organizations no matter where situated. "Where previously we had taken the initiative, carefully choosing the issues and arenas we considered propitious, now we had-to respond to situations the demonstrators had created. They made demands of society and when these demands went unmet, they invented and carried out forms of protest without much regard to whether or not their actions were defensible within the current state of the law, often conducting themselves in ways the law had never before addressed." Sit-ins became common. In 1959 in Nashville, James Lawson, a black theology student at Vanderbilt University, who had been to India and studied Gandhi's nonviolent movement and who had been a conscientious objector in the Korean War, began conducting a series of workshops on nonviolent protest against segregation in downtown restaurants. Marshall, after initial hesitation, agreed that the LOF should defend the students. He crafted the fundamental defenses-the students were peaceful; segregation was invalid; its enforcement was impermissible in law. In the last case Marshall argued in the Supreme Court for LOF, Boynton v. Virginia (1960), the Court ruled that "whoever may have had technical title or immediate control...(passengers) had a right to expect that this essential transportation food service voluntarily provided for them under such

circumstances wuuld be rendered without discrimination ....Therefore, petitioner had a federal right to remain in the white portion of the (estaurant." John F. Kennedy had won the election with black support and was committed to remove racial discrimination. The year 1961 was a year of change. Kennedy was sworn in as President. Marshall became ajudge on the Court of Appeals and Greenberg succeeded him as LOF's director-counsel. It was, however, Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, who not only made Marshall solicitor general and justice of the Supreme Court in 1967, but pushed through Congress significant civil rights legislation. It is doubtful whether Kennedy would have been as successful. The Civil Rights Act, 1964, prohibited discrimination in public ac-

Greenberg's approach was one Gandhi would have approved-if you break an immoral law you must cheerfully suffer for it. commodations that "affected" interstate commerce, including, for all practical purposes, all restaurants, theaters, hotels and establishments that offered services to the general public. It also prohibited employment discrimination including that against women. In addition, it prohibited discrimination in any facility that receives federal funding, essentially subjecting all hospitals, school systems and universities to federal administrative enforcement of anti-discrimination laws. The Voting Rights Act, 1965, banned racial discrimination in voting. The Fair Housing Act, 1968, prohibited discrimination in sale and rental of housing. Meanwhile, tempers were rising fast. The new generation of protestors had a different style. Black anger erupted in violence in many cities and posed agonizing questions forcivil libertarians. Their bottom line was that the rioters were entitled to a fair trial. In October 1964, Greenberg presented to the LOF board a set of principles to govern selection of cases. Violating an uncon"

stitutional law "is not civilly disobedient .... Oemonstrators who have acted for moral ends and nonviolently deserve representation in test cases." But where there is no ambiguity about the law and the protestor sought to break and undermine a law he regarded as immoral, different considerations applied. Greenberg's approach was a sophisticated one. But it was one Gandhi would have approved-if you break an immoral law you must cheerfully suffer for it. 00 not squeal. "Each of us can only make our own moral evaluation. Its moral validity must, however, be measured not only against the evil it attacks, but against alternative means ...and against opposition which it may stimulate, that may even further imbed the wrong ....We would be extremely reluctantto defend civilly disobedient demonstrators ....We cannot in good conscience argue to a court oflaw that actions we cannot responsibly defend legally are valid under the law. Indeed, participants in civil disobedience would not want us to." Over the years the LOF prospered. Funds flowed in as its prestige soared. A striking feature about its advocacy and advocates was that they defied Burke's other and less flattering dictum about lawyers-"The law sharpens the mind by narrowing it." The LOF was concerned with the law because of a deeper commitment with the people it governed. In every case the briefs it filed ranged wide over the social and economic conditions in which the law was enacted and enforced. The Angela Davis case reflected the change in the climate. A black, beautiful, 26-year-old acting assistant professor of English at the University of California in Los Angeles and a member of the Communist Party, Oavis was suspected to be involved in a case of hostage-taking compounded with a shoot-out in which two hostages were wounded. She disappeared thereafter. Greenberg was against the LDF taking such a case. The LDF staff was for it. "But the staff and I differed on a key aspect of the Angela Oavis issue: They wanted to be seen as allies of the Black Panthers, students who tore campuses apart and paraded with rifles, draft resisters and prisoners who fought jailers. While they were attracted and fascinated by Panthers and similar groups, I wasn't. (Continued on page 60)


CRUSADER FOR

KNTEGRKTY

medical f science knew how to perform integrity transplants, voters might well demand that the U.S. presidential nominating machinery be halted for 48 hours and the candidates of both parties rushed to the emergency room for elective surgery. Until such miracles are possible, politicians could do worse than to ingest a new book entitled Integrity and check the strength of their spines in the morning. The doctor doing the prescribing is Stephen Carter (right), a 41-year-old professor at Yale Law School with a growing reputation as a gadfly on the national conscience. Like three other books he has published in the past five years, Integrity is graceful and provocative and guaranteed to find an audience well beyond the halls of ivy. An "integrity crisis" afflicts U.S. society, Carter argues. Surveying the moral landscape, he finds school administrators who distort their educational mission to win in sports, cops who hide police corruption behind a "blue

I

In his new book, Integrity, a Yale law professor voices his fellow Americans' concerns about declining moral standards and offers eight principles for reconstituting a "politics ofintegrity."

wall of silence," journalists who decide what the story is before they have the facts, teachers who inflate grades to avoid hassles, politicians, lawyers and advertising copywriters who are the modem equivalent ofthe

royal forgers of Ravenna, concerned not with veracity but with verisimilitude. "In everyday life, our level of integrity is really shamefully low," Carter tells a visitor to his Yale Law School office. "We should be embarrassed by our national celebration of the notion that what matters is winning," not playing by the rules. But is there really more sin today? Just when was integrity's golden age? He grants the point but argues that misdeeds are now more openly acknowledged: "Whether we cheated as much in the past, we don't seem to be ashamed of it anymore." What worries Carter most is the electorate's alienation from government, the growing view that "government doesn't care about people like them and that politics can't change anything." The Yale professor's book offers eight principles for reconstituting a "politics of integrity": 1. The nation exists for its people. It is time, he says, to get rid of the "elite mentality" on both the right and the left, the conceit


that "we" have the answers if only the "pigheaded" voters will go along. 2. Some things are more importam than others. Politicians must give up the "selfserving lie" that interest groups can have everything they want. 3. Consistency matters. "A principle is not a principle if we bend it to help our friends." 4. Everybody gets to play. Secularists must stop trying to exclude those who make religion-based arguments from policy debates on grounds that they are kooks. 5. We must be willing to talk about right and wrong without mentioning the Constitution. Conservatives should stop trying to use constitutional amendments to wall off their policies from democracy, and liberals should stop trying to enshrine their goals through the courts. 6. Our politics must call us to our higher selves. "Most Americans seem to think an honest politician is one who will buy our votes with promises of wealth and then go on to complete the purchase." 7. We must listen to one another. And really listen. 8. Sometimes the other side wins. To live an "integral life," Carter says, a person must strive to discern right from wrong, act on what he discerns "even at personal cost" and then say that he is doing right. And in a democracy, people must not only have the courage of their own convictions they must respect the convictions of others. Each of Carter's earlier books also championed the striving of individuals toward the light of reason and morality. In Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby (1991), he urged the black elite to stop treating blacks who dissent from majotity black views like traitors to their race. In The Culture of Disbelief (1993), he chastised the political and intellectual establishment for trivializing religious beliefs and seeking to exclude them as a basis for political action. In The Confirmation Mess (1994), he proposed reforms in Senate procedures for confirming federal appointees that would damp down politically motivated character assassination. After Integrity, Carter will write a book on civility, then one on decency.

Carter's own psychological wellsprings are not far to seek. He was reared in relative privilege, the second of five children of Lisle Carter, a lawyer and teacher who served in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Yet affluence could not entirely cushion the experience of being black. As a young teenager, he blushed when called "Brillo" by classmates in Washington, D.C. He lived in upper-middle-class Cleveland Park, then virtually all white. Later, as a Cornell University "faculty brat," he excelled at a largely white high school in Ithaca, New York. At Stanford University, he spent more time working for the Stanford Daily than going to class. Harvard Law School rejected his application, then accepted it when it learned he was black. One official said: "We assumed from your record that you were white." Carter entered Yale Law School instead. Certain Yale, too, had admitted him because he was black, he felt guilty about "unfairly" denying a place to someone else. Carter did not see himself as a victim of societal oppression. Yet he resented then and resents now the all-too-common assumption that the most significant thing about a black person is his blackness. He has worried that he and other successful blacks will always be judged by an insulting yardstick as the "best black" or "the first black" (in 1985 he was hailed as "the first black" professor tenured at Yale Law). His hatred of stereotypes carries over to ideological labels, which also deny people the right "to be understood as a full person." He has been called a conservative, a neoconservative, a black conservative, a liberal and an honest liberal. His policy stands are eclectic. Clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall from 1980 t~ 1981, Carter experienced a spiritual epiphany. Marshall had seen the ugliness of racism up close, at the risk of his own life, and yet he believed in the basic goodness of people. The justice spoke of John W. Davis, his old litigation foe during the Brown v. Board of Education case, as "a great man, a wonderful man. He just believed in segregation." Marshall's generosity of spirit toward opponents left an indelible imprint on his young clerk. Christianity left another. As Carter was growing up, he felt a faint religious tug even

though he and his family almost never went to church. The tug strengthened when he boarded for a time with a Jewish family and envied their religion-permeated household. After he married Enola Aird, a Yale Law School classmate, in 1981, Carter achieved a goal to have his own such household. Today, the Carters and their two polite, precocious children are regulars at Episcopal services, and religious notions are often discussed at home. On a recent afternoon, the discussion subject was his seven-year-old son Andrew's request to be called "Andy." You can ask your pals to call you that, his father told him, but "I'm going to call you by the name we gave you." Daughter Leah, ten, uncorked a lawyerly riposte: "Possession is nine-tenths of the law. He does possess his name." Whether the issue is his son's name or the fate of civilization, dialogue is Stephen Carter's lifeblood. A tougher-than-average grader, he is kindly but persistent in the classroom, punctuating each point with an index finger or fist. When the dialectical process flags, he stokes it with provocative questions: Suppose a presidential candidate proposed to put TV cameras in every home to prevent domestic abuse. "What's wrong with that?" Carter asks. "Anybody object? How many think it's a good idea?" No hands go up. "How many think it's a bad idea?" Several hands go up. Now he's got them. They have to explain their votes. Dialogue is more than a way to teach. It is a way to learn. Carter tests his ideas not only with his colleagues but with his students. "If someone has a better argument, I'll change my mind," he says. Arguingjust to win and gratify the ego is "listening with your mouth, not your ears." It wastes an opportunity to refine your own thinking, something he is always doing. Some of the judgments in his earlier books he views today as too harsh, and even in Integrity there are things he would change if the book were not already in stores. For Stephen <;:arter,to pursue truth is to "struggle to know God's will." Truth, like integrity, is ajourney as much as a destination. 0 About the Author: Gerald Parshall is a senior writer with U.S. News & World Report.


LAWlYEIRS A .. CRUSADERS "i

continuedfrom

page 57

But amidst all this an old sore became virulent. The NAACP demanded that its initials be removed from the LDF's name. It was restive because other groups competed for attention and funds, and it resented the LDF's success in winning both. It took the LDF to court over the initials and lost. Sadly, a time came when, in 1982, black students at Harvard declared a boycott of a course in civil rights law which Greenberg was to teach together with a colleague on the ground that he was not a black. Some demanded that he relinquish directorship of the LDF to a black attorney. Greenberg continued to teach and to guide LDF, as before, undeterred. But when an invitation to teach at Columbia came his way unsolicited, he accepted it and in 1984 Greenberg joined the faculty of Columbia Law School. He served as dean of Columbia College from 1989 to 1993 and then returned to the Law School. He has, however, remained a memberofthe LDF's board. Crusaders in the Courts is excellently researched. The end notes testify to the enormous labor which has gone into its writ"George,I'm here as afriend-I'm only charging ing. This makes one vital omisyou as an attorney." sion hard to forgive. Greenberg Drawingby Eric and Bill. Š 1996 Tribune Media Services, Inc. mentions how at one time his wife All Rights Reserved. Debby, herselfa lawyer, had to be out of town regularly on professional our society are called for in orderto elimiwork. He had to look after the nate segregation and discrimination and kids, prepare dinner "and developed to achieve justice for all our citizens, but into a fair cook." that these changes should be brought The exercise did not end there. James about through nonviolent means .... LDF Vorenberg, dean of Harvard Law abhors violence and threats of violence School, and Greenberg tried out many a and also those who would subvert or unrecipe together. The results are in print dermine the law courts and the legal system, or seek changes thereto by violent or in Dean Cuisine: The Liberated Man s Guide to Fine Cooking. That it has some destructive means." recipes is not surprising. The LDF was involved in the war on Indian poverty, in the struggle for the rights of Greenberg lectured in India on public0 the indigent, in prisoners' rights and in interest law in the early eighties. the campaign against the death penalty. Other groups sought its support-Mexican About the Author: A. G. Noorani is a constiAmericans, Native Americans, Puerto tutional lawyer concerned with civil libRicans, women, gays and lesbians, and erties. He contributes regularly to the Statesman, Frontline and various Indian laneven persons denied human rights abroad guage newspapers. -in South Africa and the Philippines.

Their activities would harm not only their victims, I thought, but lead to self-destructions, as it did. I reminded them of the injunction that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword, but received blank stares. Myviews weren't just personal; they had been the traditional views ofLDF and were shared by the board." It was that tradition that was under attack. Greenberg was not averse to defending Black Panthers in cases that fell within traditional guidelines. In the LDF the director-counsel took the final decision after staff discussion. He shot down a proposal to allow individual members to decide. The LDF resolved not to defend Davis. That was in 1970. A special board committee drafted criteria for selection. "LDF. ..believes that drastic changes In

servers, the teachers ofthetradition and represent its spirit. Instead, we are now shown how narrative whether in poetry or in prose has fallen under the influence, always been under the influence, of imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, bourgeois civilization, antifeminism, racism, etc. To my mind, that's a worthless enterprise. It's absolutely nothing. Except that it expresses the animosity the people feel who are trained in these subjects, who didn't Iike to have anything except hostility. After the interview was over, Saul Bellow began informally chatting with me about my postdoctoral project and my present preoccupation in Chicago. He told me that he had always been wanting to come to India, but somehow it never materialized. I requested him to sign afew copies ofhis novels and to pose with me for a photograph. He told me that there was nobody else in the house. I was rather disappointed for a moment. But then he proposed that we get out on the road and request some passerby to shoot itfor us. Just as Bellow was signing the copies ofhis novels for me, I heard a lady speaking loudly from the entrance: "Honey! Where are you?" Bellow quickly said, "Come on! I am here. " She walked briskly and energetically toward us. Bellow introduced me to her. She was Janice-his wife. He requested her to take a photograph for us. She clicked one shot but immediately asked Bellow why he did not smile. "Please smile this time. " We both laughed looking at each other and she pressedthe shutter once again. Bellow came downstairs to see me off Before taking leave, I thanked him and wished him good health and a long life. While closing the door behind . me, he peeped out smiling sweetly and said, waving his hand: "Pray for me!" I said, "Sure, sure! I will. " I then walked out on the road totally overwhelmed by his generosity and goodwill. I was blessed, and I felt like blessing. Long live Bellow. 0 Sukhbir Singh is an associate professor of English at Osmania University, Hyderabad. He has authored one book, The Survivor in Contemporary About the Interviewer:

American Malamud,

Fiction: Saul Bellow, Bernard John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1991), and edited another, Conversations With Saul Bellow (1993).


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