As is customary, when I visited my grandchildren this time round, I asked them for their wish list of books. The younger one, all of nine years, said she wants nothing but Roald Dahl. She has read them all and she thinks that, that is all there is to good writing.

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‘Garibi Hatao’, a slogan that Mrs. Gandhi deployed to reap electoral dividends is still a blue-chip issue and Mr. Rahul Gandhi has discovered the magical properties of the mantra, never mind that more than fifty years (out of which Congress was in power for forty and the BJP, in its turn, was too busy catering to the ultra-rich) have elapsed between the two initiatives.

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Tulsi Das's memorable line, "Jaa Kee Rahi Bhavana Jaisee, Prabhu Moorat Dekhi Tinh Tasie" (God in his incarnate form appeared to his devotees in whichever image they wanted him to manifest), can be said to be a universal and timeless rule of perception; you see, what you want to see.

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West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee sitting on a dharna with Kolkata police chief to protest against alleged CBI highhandedness.

Several years back in an article “That Pantomime Artist Known as Police” published in Indian Express (I was fond of seeing my name in papers in those years) I wrote, “The growing ineffectiveness of state police forces in the face of powerful offenders creates a demand for CBI investigation. This occurs even in cases which are well within the professional and logistic competence of the state police. The CBI itself becomes eminently vulnerable to charges of bias once the affairs of the Central Government become the subject matter of enquiry. The state police forces are well on way to being reduced to a level where they will be good for nothing but ceremonial parades and watch and ward duties and a day may come when the CBI too may face an erosion of credibility. Who shall we turn to then? Interpol, the FBI, or Scotland Yard?"

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Randhir Verma, I.P.S (Bihar R R 1974) Superintendent of Police (SP) was martyred in an encounter with terrorists who were trying to loot a bank in Dhanbad twenty-seven years ago.

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Disclaimer: If I express my less than reverential opinion about Mr. Rahul Gandhi, it does not earn me an automatic membership to Mr. Modi’s fan club. It is not in me to be a 'bhakt', a mandarin, a camp follower, or a palanquin bearer. I am an independent citizen who struts in all seriousness, wearing his cap of sovereignty. The stance of the citizen taking himself seriously, and hanging on to the democratic premise that he is the master, is at the heart of the absurd theatre called electoral democracy: a scene from this Theatre of the Absurd.

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Italo Calvino’s memorable fable, Numbers in the Dark, contains some timeless observation on the folly of the wise. A conscientious accountant comes across an error – a small error long committed time back – by the legendry Annibale De Canis, “the master of book keeping,” in a giant Italian conglomerate.

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