The 100th birth anniversary of former prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral is on December 4. His son Naresh Gujral and the rest of his family will have a function at the India International Centre, New Delhi. Naresh Gujral is a Rajya Sabha
member of the Shiromani Akali Dal
(SAD), an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Gujral senior, who passed away in 2012, was in the Congress and then in the Janata Dal.
For the function, those invited to speak are former president Pranab Mukherjee, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former vice-president M Hamid Ansari, and Congress leader Karan Singh. Given Gujral senior’s interest in diplomacy and his stints as India’s ambassador to Moscow and as the country’s external affairs minister, there will be a discussion on India’s foreign policy titled “Continuity and Change”. Four former foreign secretaries Shivshankar Menon, K Raghunath, Kanwal Sibal, and Shyam Saran will participate in the discussion.
Computer Baba, self-proclaimed godman and chairman of the river trust for the Narmada-Kshipra and the Mandakini, surprised many when he announced that he would deploy some 2,000 sadhus (monks) on the banks of rivers in Madhya Pradesh to stop illegal mining. He said: “We will surprise the sand mafia.” The plan was to deploy four to eight groups of 250 to 300 sadhus each on the banks of the state’s many rivers. His scheme was shot down by the government. Mining Minister Pradeep Jaiswal jettisoned the plan, saying, “Computer Baba is a religious figure and chairman of a trust but he has nothing to do with mines and the minerals department.” Jaiswal said he should stick to “babagiri” and refrain from getting involved in the operations of government departments.