|These brave Kashmiri doctors risked their all to save young mothers|
|It's been a few weeks since Dr Shahnaaz Teing, who works at Lal Ded, the lone maternity hospital in Kashmir, was rescued from the floods in Srinagar, yet she breaks down every time she talks about the desperation she witnessed for the four days she kept the critical medical facility going in the absence of electricity, medical supplies and food.
On the morning of September 6, 2014, when Kashmir woke up to the biggest flood of the century, Dr Teing found herself stuck with hundreds of patients and their attendants at Lal Ded. The water level that was already 15 feet high had submerged the ground floor leaving the canteen, electricity supply room and blood bank defunct. With the entire hospital plunged in darkness, there was mayhem everywhere.
Dr Teing, who heads the Department of Gynaec...|
|The European Union's decision-making processes lend new depth to the word "incoherent", and the current British government's default mode is nastiness, but they have both outdone themselves this time. The subject at hand is the Italian Navy's "Mare Nostrum" operation, which has rescued 150,000 refugees and migrants from leaky, overloaded boats in the Mediterranean since it was launched a year ago.
An estimated 3,000 others have drowned since January: you can't save them all. But the Italian Navy has done an excellent job, with no help at all from other EU countries - which was very unfair, since Italy is simply the nearest part of the European Union to the North African coast that the boats start out from.
Finally, after endless pleas from Italy, the other EU members gathered in Brussel...|
|Another massacre of indigenous people in Guatemala|
|This triggered a cycle of violence and further conflicts.|
|By Coordinator for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Corporations, Conflicts, and States of Exception
The Indigenous people of Guatemala have just lived through another massacre in their territories, which has led to the declaration of another state of emergency by the government of Otto Pérez Molina.
The acts of violence started on the evening of 19 September, when, according to the communities, armed actors entered their territories and identified themselves as workers with Cementos Progreso, they opened fire and killed a member of the community delegation that was in the area, killing him. That began a cycle of violence that has, up until now, caused eleven deaths and injured various people, and which has dramatically aggravated the conflicts that exist in the region.
The cement com...|
|My escape from the fury - III|
|IN FIRST PERSON: Caught in the floods, a teenager's bird eye view |
|Hopes afloat on rafts
Finally, at 5:30, when the sun shone vibrantly on the sludge crammed water, we saw a raft. The most pleasant thing you could see during a flood. They were our kith and kin. I saw a ray of hope in the sun. The raft rushed to the other side, got our cousins, uncles and aunts, and waited near a window downstairs. He was the Uncle of my cousins, and he cried out to my Father "Hey! Get your children out, Let's Go!!"
I couldn't hold on any further. I didn't think of putting on my shoes. My father grabbed me by my hand, "you and grandma go!" He took me by the stairs, they were all slippery, and the water had a tremendously rapid flow. We were fully downstairs, in the 2nd storey, all covered in water up to our necks. The water was cold, it was freezing. My father held me...|
|From elitism to 'pro-poor' Modi government|
|Narendra Modi is now taking pains to project a pro-poor image of his five month old government as word has gone round that the official policy is primarily to attract foreign investment in a big way and give Indian industrialists all the facilities by cutting red tape. The Government is trying to correct the impression of being elitist by insisting that it is concerned with the welfare of the poor all over India, be they in urban or rural areas even as it is business friendly.
During his election campaign in rural constituencies of Maharashtra, the Prime Minister told the people that it was the duty of his government to uplift the poor. He spoke of the clutches of money lenders the poor farmers fell into and were forced to sell their land, home or even utensils and yet not pay off the de...|
|(Dedicated to my family, and all the flood victims of Jammu & Kashmir)|
|My escape from the fury - II|
|IN FIRST PERSON: Caught in the floods, a teenager's bird eye view |
When science doesn't work, prayers do. I bowed my head before Him who sent his wrath upon us. I knew he wanted to remind us to remember him and stray from wrong. The people were blindfolded by gluttony, abhorrence, and vice. They lived in their virtual worlds full of pleasure. They craved for what was appealing. Their deeds of transgression were callous. As I bowed before Almighty Allah, I asked him to forgive us, his creation, our sins, our cruel, insensitive, unsympathetic, despicable, cold and hard hearts. Mankind has let down the face of the earth. I thought it was the day, it will all end. I couldn't think of no words, no face, I could ask him for forgiveness. I was disappointed in myself and all others. He showed us a fraction of what he can do to mankind, just like ...|
|SIGNS OF THE TIMES|
|Hounded minorities: From Muzaffarabad to Trilokpuri|
|There has been no recent history of any major communal violence in and around Delhi. Yes, with just about one exception - during the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition, several Muslim dominated areas such as Seelampuri and adjoining areas were affected with a large number of Muslim youth rounded up by the police. I was there that particular afternoon in Seelampuri to write /report on the situation and saw for myself dozens of Muslims arrested. Why? Because they were protesting against the demolition of the Babri mosque and the local political goons were attacking them.
Thereafter, there has been no major communal clash. No, I would not credit good or fair or just governance for this. No, certainly not. There are three significant factors why Delhi has not witnessed communal clashe...|
|Bhagalpur riots: 25 years on - II|
|The 25th anniversary of Bhagalpur communal riot has arrived at a time of triumph for the very same communal fascist forces who have engineered large-scale political riots in pre as well post-independence India and have now installed themselves in political power at the centre as well as many of the Indian States through the very process of parliamentary democracy that the secularists have always lauded as the most fair and just in the entire world. The so-called secular forces have been thoroughly defeated and decimated in the recent Indian Elections.
These so-called secular forces are not likely to learn any lessons from this defeat and are likely to continue with the same discredited politics of status quo.
Tasks before the secular and democratic forces
However, for the genuine secul...|
|Count-down to Indian Army landing in Kashmir|
|Whatever might have been Hari Singh's earlier inclination regarding future dispensation of Kashmir, there is now abundant & credible evidence to suggest that following Gandhi's personal visit to Kashmir and Poonch agrarian uprising on oppressive Tax system , he decided by the end of August 1947 to join India and was waiting only for an auspicious occasion to do so. Inspite of a Stand-still agreement with Pakistan in force, Mehr Chand Mahajan, then Kashmir's Prime-Minster designate met Nehru in Delhi in mid September to discuss the modalities of joining. As he writes in his Autobiography -Looking Back (p 126), " I told Nehru the terms on which the Maharaja wanted me to negotiate with India. Maharaja is also ready to introduce necessary reforms in the administration of the State and relea...|
|"Bananas" followed by "Peanuts"|
|After Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was caught on TV throwing bananas to the people marooned in the worst flood in Kashmir's recent history, the Prime Minister has gone a step ahead and has virtually thrown peanuts to the flood ravaged people of Kashmir if one considers the amount of aid offered compared to the extent of damage suffered. There is a Kashmiri proverb, "Wanji daedis rohne tsuet", which means administering Garlic sauce to a person suffering from heartache! Prime minister's assurances amounts to taking sadistic pleasure from the discomfiture of the flood affected people.
In spite of the independent reports about the extent of the damage and the enormity of the effort required for the restoration of the damaged/destroyed infrastructure and rehabilitation of the displaced perso...|
|A poet's perspective|
|The deluge of 2014|
|It was third of September when the rain started,
But all the people of Kashmir slept light-hearted:
On the fourth of September the rivers began to spill
With water that descended from every brook and hill:
On the fifth of September the water level rose huge
And the South Kashmir got submerged in the deluge:
It washed away crops, shops, trees, bridges and houses,
And people evacuated their animals, children and spouses:
It was Friday evening when rain took a criminal break,
But till then the South Kashmir was converted into a lake:
The elders remarked that they never saw such flood,
The youth claimed that it froze their very blood:
Vaishu, Lidder and Jehlem had come into action,
To cause to people a large-scale destruction:
Now the flood subsided everybody assumed,
But on Fr...|
|She is Malala: A brush with myriad realities of girl children|
|Listening to more than ten back to back scientific lectures had exhausted me into a state of mental numbness. I left the auditorium from the rear exit and switched on my cell phone to call Abrar. Walking towards the porch, I could see the drizzle through the majestic French windows of the lobby. Winter rains in Mumbai bring an unusual chill and breeze with its salty aroma. I should have carried a light jacket if not an umbrella in my back pack. From a distance through the wipers of the cream and blue cab I noticed a smiling Abrar driving towards the porch gate. It was 6 pm and two hours to go before the banquet dinner. Going back to my hotel in the evening traffic of Mumbai would be time consuming and risky. Why not drive over then to Worli sea link to my favourite Mumbai suburb Bandra an...|
|REVIEW: A History of the World by Andrew Marr|
|CONDENSING all known global history in a single book is an ambitious as well as a monumental task. British historian Andrew Marr has undertaken this endeavor in his book, A History of the World and a documentary series based upon this book. The interplay of written and visual medium has given the author an advantage that is clearly visible in the narrative.
In history, the important points are the dynamic events that changed the socio-cultural patterns for a long time to come. Marr has, quite painstakingly, identified such turning points and analysed them. Most of the times, these turning points in history are linked to some charismatic and overly-ambitious leader. Therefore, in some ways, his is an elitist history. This is in contrast to the recent trends in history writing that focus o...|
|Kashmir's unneeded ISIS apprehensions: A security myth|
|If we want to understand Kashmir, we need to understand the rumour mills and the media games, says my teacher. It is said that ISIS flags appeared in Kashmir thrice in the recent past raising alarm in the security circles. While the State Chief Minister correctly dismissed it as an "act of some young idiots" elaborating that the appearance of ISIS flags in the city cannot be construed as emergence of ISIS. He further went on to say that while some arrests have been made, there were no groups seen alongside the flags, which reflects a routine protest nature in the valley. I believe we need to see it from a dissent angle rather than painting even normal protests as ISIS emergence in the valley.
Army, while explaining the reasons, turned over-apprehensive and maintained that "appearance of ...|
|My vote --- to whom and why?|
|Folks, state election is coming. With it comes a breeze which, some believe in the fond hope, will overcome the stench emitted by the human bodies and animal carcasses, littered over the state due to the September floods. Will it enliven sagging spirits of the sufferers and salvage a bit of life for them is to be seen; but certainly we do spot migratory birds and six year long hibernated animals of the political genre, flexing wings to sail through the turbulent electoral winds. Every one - adolescent, adult or aged is girding up loins to jump into the election fray, ready, once again, to take me ( the voter ) on a ride to the world of fantasy.
We have come a long way from the 2014 Lok ...|
|Can BJP's growth bring opposition together?|
|Clear popular mandate for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha earlier and now in Haryana and Maharashtra has turned the country's polity from multi-polar to unipolar or at best bi-polar. It is now and for near future a battle between the BJP and the rest or Prime Minister Narendra Modi versus the rest. An objective analysis of the prevailing political realities in the country points out that the BJP is growing even in those areas where its presence was limited or non-existent.
In other words, the saffron party is slowly but surely spreading its political sway over states where it was a junior partner like it has been proved in the assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra whose results were declared on October 19. The BJP used to run after regional parties like the Haryana Ja...|