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Arvind Lavakare

After retiring from the B K Birla Group, Arvind Lavakare, the well-known sports commentator, has turned his attention to politics and national issues.

The climbdown   - December 13, 2001
'By agreeing to delete entirely the POTO provision making journalists responsible for giving any information they have on terrorists to the government, L K Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee have proved unworthy heirs to Sardar Patel -- the great man they never fail to revere.'

The P & R of Indian history   - December 4, 2001
'The time has truly come for all of us to examine afresh the very purpose of writing history. Is it to deride the past so as to create bitterness in the present? Is it to come to callous conclusions without recourse to deep and sensitive study?'

Reviving the dormant demon   - November 28, 2001
'Everything about this J&K resettlement legislation is bizarre, if not outright dangerous. Will someone please wake up? And file a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of the ghastly ghost left behind by Sheikh Abdullah?'

Tehelka, Take Three   - November 24, 2001
'We, the people of India, expect you, milord, to give us a report that reveals the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We expect you to mete out justice, infinite justice.'

Bunch of thoughts & questions   - October 30, 2001
'What's the reason for Colin Powell's sudden loss of ardour for Pakistan? Was this volte-face because of some American editorials casting suspicion on the duplicity of mush Musharraf?'

Na´ve and namby-pamby   - October 23, 2001
'America hasn't backed any Indian stand on J&K. How then, in Ram's name, can India nurture the hope that September 11 will have made America do a volte-face so long as Pakistan exists on the world map?'

Stop blinking your eyes   - October 16, 2001
'Delhi has failed miserably in effectively communicating the nation's case on J&K both internally and externally.'

No limit to 'secular' lies   - October 9, 2001
'There is the demand for a ban on Bajrang Dal. Has anyone any proof that that is indeed a criminal force? The Dal's 'Trishul Diksha' programmes are hardly the terrorist training camps of Pakistan or Al Qaeda.'

What the stars foretell   - October 3, 2001
'America may talk sweetly with us and about us, but they will never, never so much as frown on Pakistan whatever Musharraf and his likes do to us.'

Justice, jihad and all that   - September 25, 2001
'Bush has, on circumstantial evidence at best, pressurised the Taleban to deliver bin Laden, dead or alive. What kind of justice is that? When, despite piles of evidence given by India, the USA has refused to declare even the Lashkar-e-Tayiba as a terrorist outfit.'

Irony or retribution?   - September 18, 2001
'It would be utterly hypocritical not to blame American policy makers themselves for the dark day in its history.

Wretched state of our states   - September 11, 2001
'In this country everyone expects New Delhi alone to do everything for one and all -- from providing succour from drowning and starving to educating and giving jobs. The media and the public have hardly paid attention to the role of the states in the nation's socio-economic advancement.'

Tehelka: Take Two   - September 4, 2001
'Despite the absence of anything resembling the First Amendment, even the Venkataswami Commission of Inquiry seems so wary of touching tehelka.'

Vigil needed with searchlights, not candles   - August 28, 2001
'The realists millions of this nation know very well the outcome of the candlelight vigil ceremony at the Wagah border. Pakistan just refuses to stop its jehadi killings in J&K.'

Third time lucky?   - August 22, 2001
'Whatever may be held against the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, its members had the deportment and energy that rubbed off on the nation. Vajpayee is a stark contrast, as much today as he was 20 years ago.'

Stop this courting of chimeras   - August 14, 2001
'Regrettably, the PM just does not seem to think of a multi-pronged solution to the J&K situation. Getting the whole nation emotionally committed to a J&K-cum-Pakistan policy is really the need of the hour.'

'Why don't you just take sanyas, Mr Prime Minister?'   - July 31, 2001
Were you Ariel Sharon, you would have bear-hugged Yasser Arafat and let him get away with murder. That's not an image we want for our country and for our prime minister, Arvind Lavakare tells Vajpayee.

A Letter to Pervez Musharraf   - July 17, 2001
'You have indeed created history, General. Was it history to hold an arrogant and abrasive media conference on our soil without so much as our courtesy? Civilised India is not equipped to answer those questions.'

Labyrinth of indifference on J&K   - July 10, 2001
'But who cares for the ignorance, really? Whatever it is, the hype and the hoopla of D-Day are all that seem to matter to men who ought to know better. Alas and fie on that.'

No ready cure for this cancer   - July 4, 2001
'Today, the Indo-Pak cancer has assumed almost terminal proportions. There is no cure -- not even the non-invasive surgery at the LoC as suggested by the 'peace with Pakistan' brigade.'

Our Freudian fixation for peace with Pakistan   - June 27, 2001
'Judging by the prevailing ignorance-cum-indifference among Indians about POK, it won't be a surprise if Vajpayee escapes with a mere blink on the issue.'

The resident non-Indians' take on J&K   - June 19, 2001
'What creates rage about the LoC-as-a-border suggestion is that, without a dollar in return, it legitimises Pakistan's blatant, violent theft from India's J&K state in 1947.'

One irony and one mystery too many   - June 12, 2001
The Kashmiri Pandits found a lawmaker in distant New Jersey accessible and receptive but not their own PM. That is the mystery, if not the tragedy, of how Vajpayee has handled the J&K quicksand all along.'

Tackle Mr Hyde, not Mush Musharraf   - June 5, 2001
'There was no need for Vajpayee to have taken his bold initiative of inviting Pak for talks. However, having done that, there is no need for him to indulge in his idealistic hope of sharing peace with Pakistan.'

Jammu & Kashmir: the confusion continues   - May 29, 2001
'After Kargil, the government maintained that talks with Pakistan would be considered only after it stopped cross-border terrorism. Now, overnight, Vajpayee has made a somersault even with one repaired knee and another broken one.'

Living with Ghalib's lament   - May 22, 2001
'The foremost signal from the recent election is that ours is not one India but basically two: urban and rural, constituting a colossal mass whose psyche only God understands -- perhaps.'

Time for RSS introspection   - May 15, 2001
'If the RSS & Co doesn't introspect now, it will, sooner rather than later, only checkmate Vajpayee's government and hurl the BJP back to the Opposition benches for Ram knows how long.'

This damned non-policy   - May 8, 2001
'New Delhi's meandering non-policy on Jammu & Kashmir is transforming even the loyalists into lunatics. It is driving one crazy.'

Needed: legal enlightenment, please   - May 1, 2001
'Did Laxman or Jaitly at all agree to secure an arms contract illegally for the fake West End Co? Re-read the well-publicised transcripts of the Tehelka tapes and you are bound to say 'No'.

Don't spare the rod, Sushmaji   - April 17, 2001
'Blatant bias? Grave accusations without evidence? Insulting innuendoes? Must we accept all of that again and again from the media? Must we accept them without any redress for us and any punishment for them?'

Our media's avowed loves   - April 12, 2001
'Bangaru Laxman taking 100,000 for his party is a pan-Indian ogre; a journalist claiming to have pocketed Rs 200,000 for writing defamatory stuff against a legislator and another Rs 400,000 for promising to undo that damage is not even news. That then is our media's concept of corruption and probity, is it?'

Let the nation beware   - April 4, 2001
'Drive away Vajpayee, Fernandes & Co to oblivion, for all one cares. But anything ugly that casts the slightest shadow on the security of our 1.02 billion people -- that must be rooted out with the same passion with which America protects its citizens' freedom.'

Should they first become conjurers and criminals?   - March 24, 2001
'Gathering defamatory, but doubtful, info on those you meet, and then recycling it without allowing the affected ones to react -- is that journalism?'

Idols: filth or deities?   - March 20, 2001
'If Islam does not sanction the demolition of idols, was Prophet Mohammed being un-Islamic when, after entering Mecca, he demolished 360 idols?'

Haj subsidy is not the sole villain   - March 13, 2001
'How, in the name of Ram, can the VHP's case be strong when it is itself on a weak wicket on Haj subsidy? For, probably unknown to most in the VHP itself, the Hindus themselves receive government subsidy for their religious pilgrimage to Kailash Manasarovar. Yes, sir, they do!

Vajpayee's cease-fire is Confusion Inc   - March 6, 2001
'As Vajpayee merrily goes on speaking in chaste, Sanskritised Hindi which the bulk of our media does not understand and therefore misinterprets, the PM's press adviser lets the cease-fire issue drift nonchalantly. If this is not callousness-cum-carelessness plus confusion, what is?'

When Sen didn't seem good sense   - February 27, 2001
'If teachers are selected on the basis of their caste or "connections", if text books contain howlers and are shoddily printed, it makes no sense for Amartya Sen to blame GoI for neglect of primary or secondary education. Or is the GoI expected to appoint an inspector of education in each taluka of each state?'

Beyond the Budget   - February 20, 2001
'The Union Budget is at best a road map for the country with several speed-breakers and pot holes to be negotiated by the states --- Delhi's partners in nation-building at the lower levels. No Union finance minister has the magic wand to fulfil, all by himself, the dream of an average Indian in the metro or the town or the village.'

The saffron flutters high, yet again   - February 13, 2001
'What was witnessed in Gujarat last fortnight was only a replay of an RSS activity. Despite its apparent conservatism and an ideology that seems so anachronistic, if not asinine, it ensures that the saffron flag flutters whenever calamity strikes.'

Vitriol from the viceregal lodge of yore   - February 6, 2001
'In invoking Ayub Khan's ghost, the first thing Narayanan forgets is that he himself is indirectly elected -- by a college of the country's state legislatures. Yes, the President who lectures to the people of India is not directly elected by those very people.'

An Assassin's Account   - January 30, 2001
'Was Gandhi's assassin a fanatic Hindu or a fierce nationalist who could not accept the 1947 Partition of undivided India?'

J&K: Need for a changed perspective   - January 23, 2001
'We must reconcile ourselves to the fact that we can get back PoK only with a nuclear war to the finish, or when Pakistan withers away as a state.'

Readying for the dunce's cap?   - January 16, 2001
'Vajpayee's body language for some time now has hardly been such as to inspire confidence in the nation's youth and the middle-aged. He is too slow and hesitant, in walk and speech. He appears too confused or too cowed down when facing international figures. The elan and exuberance that all of India has the right to expect from its prime minister are simply missing from Vajpayee's personality'

Another summit, another surrender?   - January 9, 2001
'Vajpayee seems to have indeed forgotten Kargil as he prepares to march ahead with his insaniyat which, Ram forbid, could turn out to be insanity.'

The absurd depths of 'secularism'   - January 4, 2001
'The entire secular clan of India is struck by the nasal atrophy that always overcomes them when a hard core Muslim or a Christian speaks the fundamentalist lingo.'

Ayodhya's Original Sinners: Their cowardly retreat from truth   - December 26, 2000
'Today, with even the Muslim League veteran in the Lok Sabha not daring to ask for the mosque's reconstruction, that retreat could well herald a trouncing notwithstanding of all the breast-beating of sham secularists.'

Ayodhya's Original Sinners: Part I   - December 19, 2000
'The truth is that the demolition thing would not have happened but for some obstinate, obscurant Muslim leaders who fled from the last stage of debate and the support given to them by the pink 'historians' packed in Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University.'

'Get Back POK'   - December 12, 2000
'Recovering POK should be a universal cry encompassing every Indian everywhere, here and abroad.'

The blanks beyond the Ramzan roulette   - December 5, 2000
'A ceasefire cannot cease aversions and allergies; it cannot freeze the hate and hurt of half a century. But no one it would seem wants to see into the future beyond the ceasefire.'

Is Armageddon the only solution?   - November 28, 2000
'The Speaker has already travelled about half the world giving lectures on parliamentary functioning. And Sonia Gandhi -- what is the measure of her self-respect if she cannot yet, as Leader of the Opposition, deliver an extempore speech in Parliament? Oh, what humbug does India permit to be exhibited abroad!'

A shrill cry for appeasement   - November 23, 2000
'The Muslims as a community choose to remain to themselves and their mosques, conspicuously aloof from the mainstream of India's nationhood where give-and-take can mean so much emotional bonding.'

Countering Pak 'hacktivism'   - November 14, 2000
'The national government must necessarily do everything conceivable to counter propaganda. This has to be done, not by more propaganda, but with hard facts and reasoned interpretation. With regard to J&K, every government in Delhi has failed miserably in this direction.'

Hindutva vs BJP: The Battle Ahead   - November 7, 2000
'If the BJP has no concern for its core vote base, it is idle to expect that this base should have any concern for the BJP.'

May his knees become stronger   - October 17, 2000
'If, after his surgery, Vajpayee has any spunk left in him, he will tell Mamata to cool herself in Calcutta and Chandrababu to first clean up Cyberabad before lecturing to New Delhi on this or that. If the PM shows that he is willing to put his own job on the line in the national interest, the rest will fall in line.

The alternative Indians may have preferred to hear   - September 26, 2000
'It would be an understatement to say that Mr Vajpayee missed the bus to a tryst with destiny in Washington on September 14, 2000.'

It's not so strange, all in all   - September 19, 2000
'Teesta Setalvad has been combating the "saffron" army with her perennial pro-Muslim, pro-minorities stance only to show the nation how truly "secular" a Hindu she is and others should be. These "pseusecs" can be strange and deep, almost neurotic.'

It could finally be Jammu Vs Kashmir!   - September 12, 2000
'A movement for Jammu and Ladakh's separation from the Valley is now taking shape and gaining strength. Contrary to "secular" allegations, this separatist drive is not based on the Hindu-Muslim divide. Instead, it is entirely based on the economic deprivation and political despotism exercised by the Abdullah clan, kith and kin from Srinagar.'

Eureka! He's his father's son!   - September 5, 2000
'The autonomy report's attempt to sweep away that brief history -- the "pre-1953" issue -- should be caution enough to the nation that the present Abdullah should not be relied upon to bring peace or prosperity to the people of J and K under the ambit of Delhi's rule, whatever his PR and protestations be to the contrary.'

An e-mail to   - August 29, 2000
'Mr Advani, I implore you to quickly arrange a meeting at which our Chief Justice can brief the PM on all the legal and constitutional nuances of our case on J&K. Our attorney general should also be present at the meeting. (In fact, the two legal luminaries must accompany the PM to the US.)'

Skin-deep intellect on J&K autonomy II   - August 22, 2000
'Factual errors by the media, which can easily be avoided, indicate a skin deep, chalta hai attitude towards national responsibility that falls on the democracy's fourth estate.'

Skin-deep intellect on J&K autonomy   - August 14, 2000
'What is truly a marvel is the unwillingness of opinion makers on Farooq Abdullah's call for autonomy, to open books and dig deep. The reputation of being this or that seems to be license enough to just sit at the lap top and fire away at the keyboard.'

What is their anatomy of their autonomy?   - August 9, 2000
'It is all too obvious that all these CMs are merely prodding at the body and structure of autonomy without knowing what it is all about. Abdullah having led them to the body, they are all simply gazing at it -- like children at a new toy in the market showroom.'

Our financial federalism is an elaborate mosaic   - August 1, 2000
'Yes, the framers of our Constitution had indeed done their homework on federalism in practice. Today, over 50 years later, it is our state politicians who refuse to do theirs.'

A reality check on "phoren" federalism   - July 25, 2000
The men who fashioned our country's Constitution had done their homework in the matter of `phoren' federalism. They had learnt a lot from the pluses and minuses encountered in the governance of USA, Canada and Australia.

CMs must do a stint in the federal library   - July 18, 2000
'What exactly do these chief ministers want they bark for autonomy, more autonomy, regional autonomy?'

A sturdy pillar or a decrepit column?   - June 13, 2000
The time seems to have come for Indian journalists to go back to school... To learn moral science! It is time for them to intone that subject's fundamental prayer seeking god's help in never offending his holy law in thought, word or deed

Why there's 'the smell of blood still' in J&K   - June 6, 2000
Nearly 53 years after Jammu & Kashmir was legally acceded to us by that princely state's maharaja, the Indian nation is yet far away from being cleansed of the 1947 rape of the Valley by marauders from Pakistan. Truly, is there in Kashmir 'the smell of blood still'?

The nightmarish roar from Srinagar   - June 4, 2000
'Kashmir's Lion II has finally roared, forgetting ground realities, but not failing to give a heroic spin to the role of Kashmir's Lion I, his father, Sheikh Abdullah, who too had often roared from Srinagar before twice finding himself in a cage some 50 years ago'

Farooq Adbullah was indeed asking for the moon   - June 1, 2000
Can a State Assembly pass a recommendatory resolution on a subject on which that state is forever Constitutionally debarred from even introducing a legislation on its own floor? The answer is a clear "No."

A fundamental dilemma   - May 23, 2000
'What is one to do with the country's celebrated fabricators of falsehoods and designers of distortions? What is one to do with the likes of Khushwant Singh, the columnist, and John Dayal, national spokesman for the All India Christian Council?'

The apogee of eccentricity   - May 9, 2000
'The contrast is stark: Congress women want power for themselves to rule the country, while the BJP women seem to want it to control population, spread education and become better women.'

Two 'master' prescriptions: One is bizarre, the other is blank   - April 18, 2000
'Jammu and Kashmir's embroilment in almost a perpetual mix of misgovernance and militancy calls for a very special effort from Delhi to upgrade its people's standard of living and to develop in them a genuine affinity for the rest of India.'

Talks with the Hurriyat could be NDA's harakiri   - April 11, 2000
'Is the government being na´ve in offering talks to the Hurriyat? This is difficult to believe when Advani insists that the talks will be within the rigours of the Constitution. Since the Hurriyat doesn't recognise the Constitutional position, what in the name of Ram is Advani trying to achieve?'

Moving Indians to India   - April 4, 2000
'What needs to be done is that educated, dedicated people take to politics in a big way. And in this, our NRI community has a big role to play.'

Communicating with Clinton country   - March 28, 2000
'Despite the boorishness, cussedness and callousness that characterised a part of Clinton's visit, there is one lesson which our politicians should hopefully have learnt from it -- the magic and power that is embedded in the art-cum-science of communication.'

Kid gloves, please!   - March 21, 2000
'The elevation of an ageing film star to Parliament merely on his communal credentials while bypassing the expert whose only failing is that he does not possess that very qualification is an event which warrants criticism of the way in which Rajya Sabha memberships are being used to promote sectarian interests rather than national objectives.'

The RSS ruckus: maelstrom of mysteries   - March 14, 2000
'Has Vajpayee become so enamoured of power or has he become old as well as spineless? Has he finally lost that soul of his which once belonged to the Sangh?'

If it is really so 'basic', why fear to define secularism   - March 7, 2000
'Secularism cannot mean anti-majority. Former Chief Justice of India and Chairman of the Constitution review committee M N Venkatachaliah had said in an interview in 1994... Much obliged, your honour, much obliged.'

'Constitutional review a reality finally -- Christ notwithstanding!'   - March 2, 2000
'That the believers of the gospel are petrified by a BJP-led review of the Constitution is as understandable as a cat burglar fearing the moonlight.'

Why "Saffron" Code will get UN support   - February 22, 2000
'The last 50 has seen no single step towards the uniform civil code since our Constitution came into effect. What is more tragic is that even the mention of such a code has today become a "contentious issue", as horrifying as being HIV positive or, worse, as fatal as being afflicted with AIDS.'

Sonia Gandhi's march to history   - February 15, 2000
'Soniaji should quickly fly to New York to stage a dharna before the mighty UN for forsaking the sacred secularism of India and instead advocating our nation to embrace the uniform civil code.'

An open letter to Rashtrapati Bhavan   - February 8, 2000
'It would appear imperative that fraudulent secularism and meaningless adult franchise are two of the topmost priorities in any serious Constitutional reform exercise. As for the goal of socialism, a major step forward would be to make the right to work, shelter, education and medicare legally enforceable fundamental rights instead of leaving them as decorative, non-enforceable pieces that they are in the existing Constitution.'

The time seems ripe for India to pile on the pressure on the military dictator   - February 1, 2000
'If in 52 years since two UN Security Council Resolutions, Pakistan has not secured withdrawal of its forces and nationals from the earlier uninvaded state of J&K, and not prevented their terrorist intrusion into that part of the state held by India, what locus standi does it have today of demanding a plebiscite as per that Resolution?'

50 years is no cause for celebration   - January 25, 2000
'Power for its own sake or for personal ends has become the supreme value. They are more concerned with somehow getting to power and retaining it by hook or by crook. Those in government remain so occupied in the struggle for sheer survival that they have little time for serving the people. Populism has acquired respectability, while hypocrisy and sycophancy have attained the status of national characteristics.'

Return to Jai Srikrishna   - January 18, 2000
'The truth may well be that no DGP -- unless he is a sycophant and a dunce -- will find in the Srikrishna document any consistent and clinching evidence to convict Thackeray. What he will find, instead, is a plethora of inaccuracies and inconsistencies.'

What's 'hard', what's 'soft'?   - January 11, 2000
'The restiveness and anger of relatives of the passengers held hostage were given extensive exposure without thought to the extreme tension it was spreading in the country. All this without knowledge of the initiatives and steps that the government was taking in what was a bizarre happening pregnant with disaster.'

Cure The Other Epilepsy Now   - January 4, 2000
'Women have demanded reservation of seats in Parliament; they have demanded the right to be pilots and shuttlers in spacecraft; they have demanded that men too should nurse the new-born and therefore be entitled to "paternity" leave, etc. etc. But they have never launched a movement for securing a uniform civil code. Why?'

A Fairy Tale Export Item   - December 28, 1999
'The immediate hope of export from our education field seems to lie in institutions offering short-term courses in ancient Indian civilisation, the study of Sanskrit and our scriptures, classical music and dancing, yoga and ayurveda. But nothing would be possible even in these areas unless these institutions and the government apply their mind and soul to the issue.'

Babri Masjid case: Vajpayee's lonely escapism   - December 21, 1999
'If Vajpayee had even a bit of the grit of Indira Gandhi, the manipulator, and Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of morality, he would have seized the Opposition's demand for ministerial resignations with both hands.'

Towards Justice: through 'fast forward', not slow motion farces   - December 14, 1999
'Vajpayee has got his priorities wrong. The PM and his law minister, last year's and this year's, have been indifferent about appointing the judges recommended by the Chief Justice's team. This indolence is reason enough to remind the PM, tending to be forgetful nowadays, of his own words...

Has Vajpayee forgotten Ayodhya?   - December 7, 1999
'He would do well to remember that pages 4, 5 and 38 of the BJP's Election Manifesto 1998 cannot forever be abandoned --- not as long as the RSS exists. And, as history has shown, men may come and men may go but the RSS goes on forever, some past bans notwithstanding.'

Our poor are ignored: true or false?   - October 20, 1999
Forget the silly season -- get down to the core   - October 12, 1999
The EC's hidden agenda   - October 5, 1999
Sifting the national from the local   - September 28, 1999
When credibility goes for a six   - September 21, 1999
Of the stuff Sonia is made   - September 16, 1999
Time to call the EC's bluff   - September 7, 1999
Our Defence Expenditure: Some home truths   - September 1, 1999
Pathological anti-BJPism   - August 24, 1999
Kashmir's accession: a Pandora's Box   - August 17, 1999
The autonomy virus   - August 11, 1999
Biting the hand that feeds   - August 4, 1999
Let us not forget history   - July 27, 1999
At the altar of the blind goddess   - May 25, 1999
Erudite angel or parasitic khalnayak?   - May 18, 1999
Them Counterfeits & Their Contentious Issues   - May 11, 1999
Venkataraman vs Narayanan: caretaker vs undertaker   - May 4, 1999
A peeved President   - April 27, 1999
The erring media   - April 20, 1999
Bhagwat may have started the distillery for fermenting defence services and politics   - April 13, 1999
Of A Grotesque Hunk & Vishnu Bhagwat's Fantasies   - April 6, 1999
Racy politics, messy economies   - March 30, 1999
Lahore Declaration: India's sellout on Kashmir   - March 3, 1999
Don't expect Sinha to come up with a path-breaking Budget   - February 23, 1999
Loss of Image, what?   - February 16, 1999
An unwilling media   - February 9, 1999
The English media's hostility towards Hindus   - February 2, 1999
It's cock and bull, all this talk of separating sports and politics   - January 27, 1999
A Gandhian Speaks Out From Dangs   - January 19, 1999
Mission: Conversion   - January 12, 1999
Cross Fire   - January 5, 1999
What is shame?   - December 30, 1998
Supercop America   - December 24, 1998
BJP's tragi-comedy of errors   - December 15, 1998
Things Vajpayee should do   - December 8, 1998
'The BJP needs to shed its groping and goofing and come down to brass tacks'   - December 2, 1998
If the Left-Congress conspiracy against the BJP is successful, India could head for a new high in the secularist-iconoclasm   - November 24, 1999
The time has come for the BJP to pledge itself to the old cricketing doctrine -- that calculated and studied attack is the best form of defence   - November 17, 1999

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