Former Ambassador to the US and former district Collector Abid Hussain while recounting his experiences paid a great tribute to former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. The district administration had collected contributions from people to the ‘Jai Jawan-Jai Kisan’ campaign to present it during his visit. When some citizens complained that some officials were resorting to threats (of cutting water supply etc) to raise the money, it was decided that contributions would be collected at the rate of Re.1 each from common people.

On the morning of his departure, Shastri asked Dr. Hussain why he was looking unhappy. Displaying his famous sense of humour, he said: one because Shastri was leaving and another because his secretary refused to give receipt for the money contributed. Shastri immediately ordered that his flight be cancelled and did not leave until the accounts were settled. That speaks for the forthrightness of Dr. Hussain as well.

Love for Vizag

Wit and wisdom, humour and humility would be the hall marks at meetings where intellectuals of the calibre of Abid Hussain, A. Prasanna Kumar, former Rector of AU, and Beela Satyanarayana, Vice Chancellor, AU are on the dais. The occasion was the Dr .Maddi Gopalakrishna Reddy’s memorial lecture meeting and the topic was ‘Being Indian’. As usual it started with Prof. Prasnna Kumar, who referred to the humour aspect in Abid Hussain’s personality and said that he preferred ‘brain-drain’ to ‘brains in drain’.

“Is it a fact that Muslims are ill-treated in India,” a Muslim King wanted to know from Dr. Hussain, when the latter, along with Indira Gandhi, visited the Monarch’s country and pat came the reply “Hindus are also ill-treated in India”. Engineers found it easy to inaugurate bridges rather than build them, was another punch line. Then came the turn of the octogenarian Abid Hussain. He had referred to the good things said about him by the earlier speakers and said he had a grouse against the Vice-Chancellor for not inviting his (Hussain’s) wife to the meeting. Because any wife would like to know that she married a good man. Dr. Hussain has a special love for Visakhapatnam. His daughter was born while he was working as a collector here and he named her ‘Vaisakhi’.

Yearning for way out

Over 12,000 employees of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant are set to go on strike on November 4 demanding wage revision due for past 34 months. The strike would cause a production loss of at least Rs.30 crores and Rs.20 crores for restoration. The management stoutly rejected their demand as a result of which the stand-off continues whereas the unions including INTUC have declared their intention to stall the production. Many wonder is there any way out for a negotiated settlement at a time when the industries are hit by recession.

(G.V. Prasada Sarma, R.Jagadeeswara Rao and Santosh Patnaik)