|View from the Gallery|
|Growing threat of Pakistan enlarging conflict in Kashmir to bring about U.N intervention|
|While experts in Delhi are debating on approach to give appropriate reply to Pakistan for its act of attacking Army Uri base in Kashmir which may include action by armed forces and a diplomatic offensive, a growing worry is that Pakistan's all powerful army may go for another adventure like the one in 1965 when thousands of infiltrators were pushed across the line of control to create insurgency in the valley or in eighties when its troops occupied heights in Kargil to cut off Indian supply route to Ladakh.
Both times Pakistan suffered loss of face and heavy loss in battle fields. In 1965 the infiltrators were able to reach Gulmarg and a small group even established a base in Srinagar colony of Batmaloo close to police lines. Both attempts failed because the mercinaries sent by Pa...|
|Don't turn us into phantoms|
|Kashmir is a place where brutality abounds, bullets kill and people undergo daily humiliation. More than 76 days have passed in utter misery under curfew, empty streets, locked shops and arrogant security forces. 86 precious lives have been lost, hundreds have been blinded and thousands injured with lethal weapons. The present situation in Kashmir is very grim and grave.
Government of India and local government instead of recognizing the realities and acknowledging them have turned Kashmir into a war zone where the rules of normal life are badly and totally suspended for decades together. They have declared war against civilians. People are being blinded, maimed, and suppressed. Instead of finding a solution to end the sufferings and miseries of the people, India sends more lethal weapo...|
|India-Pakistan: In a dialogue of sorts|
|The Uri attack is being taken as one in a series of Pakistani outrages over the recent past in J&K. The tally from the Pathankot airfield attack could have been equally grave, with even aviation assets figuring in the toll. Likewise, had the terrorists taken the other gate nearby, they might well have ended up in married accommodation in police lines in the Gurdaspur attack. This time round the terrorists got luckier, with fire doing most of the killing. Consequently, the calls for getting tough on Pakistan appear unexceptionable.
However, what if the Uri attack is seen as part of a sequence of attacks on each other that India and Pakistan are engaged in over the past few years? This requires stretching the imagination a bit in light of the persistent factoid that India clipped its off...|
|Uri Attack: Before attack, let's defend|
|There is unrelenting hype about how India can take revenge on Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri attack. Yet, there appears to be astonishingly little focus on how four heavily armed militants managed to freely cross the border into India and then get inside a major military base to cause such extensive damage.
Just earlier this year, a similar cross-border raid by Pakistansponsored militants created havoc inside a front-line airbase in Pathankot. There have been at least four such earlier attacks since the NDA government came to power. As many as three similar forays were reported last year.
It is shocking that the security and intelligence establishment did not wake up sooner to meet the mounting challenge posed by suicide squads. The inordinately large number of services personnel ...|
|India, China battling for influence in Myanmar|
|Bangladesh gains from competition|
|With China announcing a massive $9 billion long term soft loan for the development of Bangladesh Railways, India's LookEast initiative will face new tests and economic challenges.
It is not Bangladesh alone that stands to benefit from recent Chinese moves intended to enhance its regional influence. The China-sponsored Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB) is currently examining prospects of developing Myanmar's industrial infrastructure , power and other sectors. It is considering both joint ventures with local companies, as well as co-partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB), for specific projects.
There is little doubt that in the medium and long term, both Bangladesh and Myanmar will enjoy a stronger bargaining power vis-à-vis Beijing and New D...|
|Bengal sets example by returning Singur land to farmers|
|Mamata's action may have impact on other states|
|Last week, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee may have set a truly rare example by returning hundreds of acres of illegally acquired agricultural land in Singur by the previous Left Front government for Tata Motors to the farmers in a quickest possible move within days of the Supreme Court judgement, but not many states have acted in a similar fashion to right the wrong despite judicial orders. In fact, several states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh have been rampantly allowing conversion of farmland and small holdings of poor people for residential and industrial uses showing little respect for law or concern for poor farmers for the benefit of business houses and highly politically-connected individuals. In fact, M...|
|Who would ISIS vote for?|
|"Hillary Clinton's weakness while she was Secretary of State has emboldened terrorists all over the world to attack the US, even on our own soil," wrote Donald Trump on Facebook after the bombing in New York on Saturday. "They are hoping and praying that Hillary Clinton becomes president, that they can continue their savagery and murder."
Mrs. Clinton replied on Monday by branding the Republican presidential candidate a "recruiting sergeant for the terrorists." Indeed, in an interview on Israeli television this month, Mrs. Clinton said Islamic State was praying for a Trump victory. There's clearly a lot of praying going on, but whose victory are the jihadi fanatics really praying FOR?
There's no point in asking them, because they are likely to lie about it . At least half of them are sm...|
|SIGNS OF THE TIMES|
|Chaining dissenting voices undemocratic|
|Why are we hell bent on further complicating the already complicated situation in the Valley! The recent arrest and detention of human rights activist Khurram Parvez is yet another of those turns which goes on to show how undemocratic is the very functioning of the so called governance in the State.
Khurram is one of those activists who has been documenting and writing about the ground realities in and around the Valley, and doing so for the last several years, so why this sudden detention.
What relays is the establishment trying get across to the masses? Nothing short of telling each one of the aggrieved to keep shut about the ongoing atrocities, otherwise there'd be many more detentions and arrests of those who dare speak out or write or document. Perhaps, the establishment wants to r...|
|The Uri challenge|
|The gruesome death of 18 jawans in Uri is, arguably, a defining moment for PM Modi's foreign policy. But India's larger enduring strategic conundrum remains the same. How do you deal with a nuclear state that uses terror as an instrument and which is still bankrolled by major powers? How do you deal with a state where the army has incentives to maintain its centrality, whose identity is marked by resentment? There are no easy or comforting answers. India is well within its rights to take any action that it thinks appropriate. But this will be a game of many moves. There are not too many new ideas on the table. It bears repeating that whatever one may think of strategic restraint, it was not a doctrine of defeatism. It makes realistic assumptions about the nature of the Pakistani state. Re...|
|Farmers distress likely to continue as they are hit by mounting debts|
|This is no country for farmers. In a land where they are called 'annadevtas', farmers often go hungry themselves. Many are forced to commit suicide, hit by farm distress and mounting debt. Their plight is often ignored, and their existence is acknowledged only during election time when political parties make all out efforts to woo them in a bid to encash this huge chunk of vote bank.
For Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, farmers have become a special tool to target his opponents, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi. With Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections round the corner, Rahul has embarked on a month-long 'kisan yatra' from eastern UP district of Deoria, covering 2,500 km across 233 Assembly constituencies to connect with the masses
That his main opponent and obsession is Modi ...|
|The blinding spiral in Kashmir|
|THE murderous attack on Indian soldiers in Uri offers one more sample of the bloodthirst infusing India-Pakistan rivalry over Kashmir. No one seems to want the simpler, obvious ways to tackle the tendency. There were resolutions between the two sides, at the highest level, no less, that aimed to undermine terrorism completely.
Was it Manmohan Singh and Musharraf, or was it Vajpayee, who signed the pact to not let terrorism stall the dialogue between the two countries? Both sides opted out of that resolve and now the terrorists who are setting the agenda are leading both. And terrorists traditionally pander to an old structural malaise stalking us from the beginning of society.
Far from being nonviolent, our early ancestors, in all probability were cannibals. Our language too, as Prof K...|
|Attack on the Uri Army camp|
|The attack on 18th September on the army's Uri camp by Pakistan-trained militants resulted in 17 troops killed and 30 more wounded. The fact that attackers were four in number, has attracted the attention of the media, which labels them as terrorists, while politicians term the attack as cowardly.
There are some issues which need consideration. First, army troops who operate are doing their duty, and in the face of ever-present threat of attack with attacker's identity, direction, mode and time all unknown, this undoubtedly calls for courage and fortitude. But it also calls for training and leadership-on-the-ground, and very importantly, for the individual soldier's confidence that in case of death or permanent disability, the country will look after them. Without doubt, our troops are w...|
|Our Feudal Lords: Democracy? You joking?|
|Come to Ulta Pulta Pradesh, the place where politics is parivar business. Indeed this could well be the slogan of the ruling Samajwadi Party wherein the family reins supreme. However over the last week the veneer of Hum Sath Sath Hain was shredded to bits in a no-holds-barred dehati gharelu nanutanki which surpassed Comedy Nights with Kapil between nephew Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and uncle Minister-State Party Chief Shivpal Yadav with patriach Netaji Mulayam playing referee. No matter it showcased a fool-proof way for India's polity to go to the dogs!
First Akhilesh donned the Superman cape and sacked his Chief Secretary and two "corrupt" Ministers. His livid father in a Batman knock replaced his ladla with bhai Shivpal as State Party head. In a time-comes-when-one-has-to-take-own-d...|
|"Vikas And Vishwas": Mantras for Kashmir unrest|
|Lately the prime minister of India Modi had come up with two mantras, in his TV interview on September 2 to handle and control the unrest through which the state is going on since elimination of Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016 and to control the agitating population of the state of Jammu & Kashmir and bring normalcy back in the area.
It is the die-hard habit of the prime minister to react to a situation much after it goes out of control. Many incidences in the recent past are open testimony to it and hardly need repetition. It is irony of fate that all the governments- central or the state- that have ruled over the years had denied to recognize the real cause of the problem. Instead of diagnosing the real disease that is spreading and engulfing the state they are simply repeating the off-r...|
|Indian prime time news saga|
|On most Indian news channels at prime time, one may find comedy, drama, action, political propaganda, advertisements, war rhetoric and what not. Be it 'Comedy Nights With Kapil', dramas of Star Plus or Colours, dance shows like 'Nacch Baliye' etc, Bollywood gossip, funny news like presence of ghosts or treasures somewhere, noise of pseudo analysts, furious debates (where most anchors are not ready to listen for more than 15 seconds) etc, all such stuff is news for Indian electronic media but not the plight of Kashmiris.
"52 days long continuous curfew, 72 days continuous protests, extreme suppression, 86 deaths, around 13000 injured, around 800 hit in eyes, thousands jailed, political choking, night raids, deserted days, wailing mothers, worried fathers, angry brothers, fearful sisters...|
|Failures of Home Minister in addressing Kashmir|
|It is really a matter of ample concern and dismay for the country that her Home Minister has failed twice in a month to engage with the Hurriyat leaders and bring them to the dialogue table for the necessary resolution of the issue pending since long. It is also considerably embarrassing for the Indian Parliament that some of the members of the delegation, who tried to meet the Hurriyat leaders, in their personal capacity, also failed to have an access to them, even though for an informal chat, only.
Kashmiris are widely known for their hospitality. What made them so discourteous that instead of welcoming them with open arms they bluntly refused to meet or talk to them. Particularly, the Hurriyat hawk, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who not only did not agree to meet them but did not even open t...|
|BSP, Congress may gain from SP feud|
|Mulayam desperate to limit its impact on poll|
|With assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh knocking at the door, Samajwadi party has destroyed whatever image it has in the people. In a volte face, SP supremo Mulayam Singh, reversed decisions taken by his son and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. It means Shivpal Yadav gets back the portfolios he was divested. Also other sacked ministers too will get back the portfolios they had been deprived of. Shivpal will, however, continue as President of UP unit of SP. This post was given to him by Mulayam Singh after replacing Akhilesh who was state unit's president.
Doubtless, if SP goes to people with this image, the party is bound to get setback. Mulayam Singh on Friday came out with a four-point peace formula to resolve the crisis. The peace formula seems to be tilted in favour of S...|
|Left in Bengal still confused over strategy|
|CPI(M) clueless on next course of action|
|Confusion among Left parties in West Bengal has been further confounded, as feared, by the recent Supreme Court verdict on the Singur land Acquisition dispute. The apex Court declared that the Left Front Government's acquisition of nearly 1000 acres of land for the proposed Tata Nano car project had violated provisions of the 1894 Land acquisition Act.
As the undisputed leader and the mainstay of the Left Front in Bengal, the CPI(M)is the natural target of sharp criticism from its Front allies like the CPI, the Forward Bloc(FB) and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP). Interestingly, the CPIM)"s Central leadership has been more critical than the State party in its reaction to the SC's verdict. It admitted that the political and administrative lapses of the party and the administration...|
|A hundred Anne Franks|
|Breaking new ground in Russian war literature, the book under review brings to light hundreds of newly discovered Anne Franks, whose diaries give us a disturbing account of the horrors of wartime life. Few will perhaps remain unmoved by the trauma these Soviet children recorded while reeling from cold and hunger as bombs crashed around them and their parents died. Scribbled by little fingers - some as 'old' as six or 12 - these diaries make you wonder whether some Iraqi or Syrian children are recording the horror of the torture they are being subjected to.
War is a phenomenon of which the military part is perhaps a quarter, the ultimate losers being non-combatants. Whether it is Alexander's whirlwind march from Macedonia to Punjab, or Tamerlane's conquests from Moscow to Delhi, or the A...|
|Struggles and lives of two peace stalwarts |
|Name of the Book: The Two Gandhis-Non-Violent Soldiers: The Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Mahatma Gandhi
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House, Mumbai
Pages: 217 Price: Rs. 350, ISBN: 978-81-8495-041-0
It might seem incredible given how endemic violence seems to be among the Pathans of Pakistan's north-western frontier and neighbouring Afghanistan but there was a time not very long ago when a completely non-violent movement for personal, social and political transformation gained mass popularity among these very people, led by one of their own. In this book, noted spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran (d.1999) provides a fascinating account of that amazing man-Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890-1988), also remembered as 'Frontier Gandhi' and 'Badshah Khan' ('King of the Khans'). Th...|
|Hitler: Inside the Reich's rise |
|BookPage review by Keith Herrell|
|When it comes to book titles, it's hard to think of one more ominous than Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939. The first of a two-volume project by German historian and journalist Volker Ullrich, this is a sprawling and ambitious attempt to explain how a man from humble beginnings with few accomplishments well into adulthood could morph into a ruthless dictator whose name has become a universal insult.
With the millions of words that have been written about Hitler, why another biography? In his introduction, Ullrich notes that more than 15 years have passed since the last important work on Hitler, with much research occurring in the meantime on him and surrounding figures. Moreover, Ullrich contends, a wealth of new material has appeared, including newly public notes and speeches. And finally, Ull...|