India: Under the Banyan Tree

Meeting under a gaudy circus tent in the fabled pink city of Jaipur, the leaders of India's ruling Congress Party talked themselves hoarse last week in the first intensive effort to refurbish their political image since independence came in 1947. Propped on sausage-shaped bolsters under a huge portrait of Gandhi, the dhoti-clad politicians pledged "self-sacrifice" and "democratic socialism"—and at mealtimes roared off in fin-tailed limousines. Endorsing "non-alignment," party leaders warned ritualistically against "entanglement with military blocs"—even as U.S., British and Indian warplanes flew over New Delhi in joint air exercises....

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