Forty Years Ago: January 25, 1981

Islamic Summit

The foreign ministers of 38 Islamic nations went into session in Tayef in Saudi Arabia to hear the report of a five-member delegation they had sent to Iran to persuade the country to attend the Islamic Summit opening on January 25. The delegation did not meet with success. The Iranian leaders, it appears, did not want to meet the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, at the summit. The Iranian position appears to be that the Islamic countries should first condemn the Iraqi aggression against their country before Tehran can accept their mediation in the Iran-Iraq conflict. Libya is also boycotting the summit over a dispute with Saudi Arabia over a passage to US planes during the Gulf War. Egypt, which has signed a peace treaty with Israel and Afghanistan, is banned from the summit.

All Want Socialism

It’s almost certain that a new political party will take shape at the conclusion of the three-day All India Democratic Socialist Convention in Bombay. The chief of the convention, H N Bahuguna, indicated that the final decision will be taken on January 25. Speakers at the convention agreed that all people wanted socialism and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) “had deceived the people by putting up its own brand of socialism”.

K Raghunandan Reddy, former Union labour minister, said the BJP’s Gandhian socialism was nothing but a form of “corporate socialism”.

Saturday, A Holiday

Millions of Poles defied their country’s socialist regime and stayed home on January 24, a Saturday, to press for a five-day week. Production was down to a trickle and the huge Huta steel mill at Warsaw and other major factories in the Polish capital and elsewhere. The Baltic port of Gladsk, the flashpoint of last year’s workers’ strike, was reported at a standstill with the exception of food shops and hospitals.

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