Monday, December 22, 2014
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Peshawar Carnage-A Bitter lesson for Pakistan Army. Will it learn?
By B.L Saraf
In a horrendous terror attack on humanity, hundreds of innocent school children lost lives in the bloody alleys of APS Peshawar, Pakistan. The carnage shook international community and evoked worldwide condemnation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and people of India mourned the tragedy, no less. In an ironical sequence, a number of scholarly and well researched books, on the conduct and modus operandi of Pakistan elite and its Army, hit the stands this year: for a perceptible reader to conclude what has happened on the black day of December 16, 2014 in Peshawar, was, indeed, a "tragedy waiting to happen." Poisonous snakes reared in the backyard for the neighbours have, as prophetically noted by Hillary Clinton, raised the hoods and bitten the keeper, in Peshawar. T V Paul in his boo...
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Black money leads to black politics
By Dr Munish Kumar Raizada
Arvind Kejriwal's recent short trip to Dubai and the U.S. gave political parties like the BJP and the Congress another chance to bash the new kid on the block. Notwithstanding the Delhi High Court's dismissal of similar allegations of illegal foreign funding, the established political parties have gone ahead and played the role of the judiciary by terming the Aam Aadmi Party as 'guilty' on the counts of violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), and the Representation of People's Act. Compare this with another scenario. A report released by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) on December 9 states that 29 out of 45 recognized political parties in India had not submitted the donation report to the Election Commission of India (ECI) till the deadline of Nov. 30, 2014. ...
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Economic Highlights
Collapsing World Order
Search for a Midas touch
By Shivaji Sarkar
2014 has been the worst of the years. The world seems to collapse under the weight of totalitarianism, be it under the States or the non-State powerful terrorist organisations in Asia, and Africa. It also faces the worst intrusions by trans-national corporations (TNCs) into national sovereignties. Failing economies of Africa and the European Union are creating threats. The world economy is enmeshed in global politics of conflicts and wars. As nations meet to continue with their establishments, non-State actors tend to destroy them. In a queer turn of events, States such as Pakistan that supported non-State actors have become their victims. The year has left the world with difficult questions. Should China fight tiny Japan and Vietnam for areas which have little economic significance? ...
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The identity of a modern Kashmiri Woman
By Manisha Sobhrajani
My favourite haunt in Srinagar city is Pari Mahal, a garden palace located at the top of the Zabarwan range. It consists of six terraces and offers a panoramic view of the valley. The ruins of an observatory built by Dara Shikoh, the mystic son of the Mughal emperor Shah Jehan, the gardens were used for teaching astronomy and astrology. … I wandered around aimlessly for some time before settling at a spot. I could see a group of women having an animated conversation; they looked like Gujjar women to me, and amidst them was an extremely attractive, city-bred young woman, as was obvious from her clothes and mannerisms. I observed the group for some time, and it was clear that they were bound to each other, and the connecting thread was the young woman. I couldn't help but overhear parts of...
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Unlocking the treasures of vernacular lit
By Venkat Parsa
A few years back, Malati Mathur, a PhD scholar and Professor of English at the Indira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi, wrote: 'Writing, whether fiction, poetry, essay or drama, provides a window into society. Apart from its intrinsic worth as literature, it is a useful tool in the analysis of sociological, political and anthropological facets of culture and civilisation.' Through her brilliant English translations of works in Tamil and Hindi - notably the Thi Jaa's 'Remembering Amma' - she has opened up the rich and vibrant world of regional language literature to a wider audience giving them the opportunity to make sense of this unique legacy. Mathur has, in fact, created a niche in the world of Indian literature with her poetic writings and translations, which have won her three ...
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Post Chhattisgarh, Rural Women in Uttar Pradesh Reject Sterilisation
By Tarannum
These are tough times for Saira, 35, the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) of a small rural hamlet in the Itajuna block of Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow district. As a part of her routine work, she has to convince couples, especially women, to go in for family planning, whether short-term methods or a permanent one, like sterilisation. Whereas it was usually not that difficult for Saira to motivate women to go in for sterilisation, of late she has been turned down by at least half a dozen or more women. Their reason: they do not wish to end up like their sisters in Chhattisgarh. These days, when news travels fast and far, accounts of the deaths of 13 women in a mass sterilisation camp in Bastar district in neighbouring Chhattisgarh have reached even the remotest pockets of Uttar Pradesh...
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Multiculturalism, feminism & identity politics
By Adfer Syed
While it is true that most of the Muslim women irrespective of literate/illiterate category desire change and are fed up of Fatwas that are often more binding on them. However, simultaneously there is crisis within the so called multicultural/secular social systems where every community is conscious of its identity and prefers their own codes rather than general laws. The state also plays politics over such personal laws and keeps mum even in extreme human rights violation cases like Imrana rape case (2005, MuzzafarNagar) or Roop Kanwar tragedy (Deorla, Rajasthan).The Muslim women's movements or for that matter other women movements along with the idea of feminism receive a setback when even women instead of uniting for a cause resort to community codes rather than their own rights and em...
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Ugly spectacle of conversions in U.P
By Lalit Sethi
The converting zealots of U.P. have backed off after the Prime Mnister's warning that any deviation from the core agenda of governance and development would not be tolerated. He said the BJP had won the General Election on that plank and that was it. The Dharma Jagran Manch, which masterminded the December 8 Agra conversions of some Muslim families has called off the next programme in Aligarh on December 25. Nand Kishore Balmiki, at the centre of mischief, has been arrested a week after he was on the run. Was he working on some kind of reverse antics of the "love jihadis", luring people with money, as many others are alleged to be doing? From one faith to the other, is it their intention to crave for attention? Soon after the Agra episode, 27 villagers have turned Christian in another r...
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Let's Talk About Kashmir
By Jonah Blank
On July 31, 1988, two explosions shook the Kashmiri summer capital of Srinagar. It might have been a shot heard 'round the world: Although nobody was killed, the bombings by the previously nonviolent Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front marked the beginning of an insurgency that would soon be a focal point for global insurgency. At the time, few people outside of the region seemed to notice. By the following summer, however, Kashmir was firmly on the world's radar screen. Why? In February 1989, the last Soviet soldier withdrew from Afghanistan. The transformation of Afghan warfare from jihad to chaos in the 1990s propelled an upsurge of violence in Kashmir, where a decade's worth of fighting left upwards of 50,000 dead. When the Russians left Kabul, so did many of the foreign mujahideen, or...
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Me and My Politician
By Mir Masood Ali
I am living in a world which is democratic by nature. Being a civilized citizen of the system, I have a special place and regard for my representative. My representative represents me in the law making, administration, governance and the government. My representative is not the traditional representative of Athens or Greek who used to be simple, honest, dedicated, educated, cultured, sharp, deliberative and wise. My representative is professional, seasoned, dynastic, tactful, selfish, cunning, self-centred, hence a perfect Machiavellian politician. There is a special relationship between me and my politician. Our relationship is based on interest. Neither I nor he is selfless in this relationship. Our relationship is based on a contract signed by our forefathers to whom we owe nothing e...
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The Danish Santa
By Gwynne Dyer
Saint Nicholas (also known as Santa Claus, Kris Kringle or Father Christmas) has had to put up with a lot over the years. After the latest blow, he may not show up at all next week. First they decided that he had to reside at the North Pole, where the temperature often falls to 50 degrees below zero and there are several months of complete darkness each year just when the work-load peaks. The south coast of what is now Turkey, where St. Nick originally lived and worked, was much nicer. Then in a series of ads in the 1930s the Coca-Cola Company crystallised his image as a fat old man wearing clothes that are frankly a fashion disaster. And now, as a final indignity, they are trying to make him a Danish citizen. On Monday, Denmark submitted documents claiming the North Pole as Danish ter...
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Moments Painful, Appalling and Touching
By Humra Quraishi
The year is ending on an extremely painful strain. The killings in Peshawar have left one shaken. In fact, it is difficult to describe its impact on the psyche. I had to write this column last evening, that is on Tuesday evening, but couldn't …just couldn't. These barbaric killings of innocents, these mass murders, point at the emerging trend. Leaving one wondering the very scale of the dark and destructive strains spreading out, all around. There and here.... But before I detail the destructive strains here, I must focus on the fact that in the backdrop of this latest tragedy we ought to convey our condolences to the parents and grandparents of children killed in Peshawar; also, those civil society groups and activists who can afford to travel to Peshawar should be there in this hour ...
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New found opposition unity
Lasting or temporary?
By Dr Satish Misra
Five days long deadlock over the derogatory remarks of Minister of State for Food Processing Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti in the Rajya Sabha particularly during the second week of the ongoing winter session of Parliament ended on Monday, December 8 after a compromise reached between the government and the opposition that the work should begin with an appeal from the Chairman of the upper house Hamid Ansari for "maintaining civility in the public discourse". Unity of purpose among the opposition parties, witnessed during the stalemate in Rajya Sabha particularly during the second week of the ongoing winter session of Parliament, though made a small dent in the image of the BJP-led NDA government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi but it also underscored the need for such an approach. The Minist...
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Mahabharata's last battle
Parading India as a Hindu Nation may lead to the final round of the battle of Kurukshetra
By M. Ashraf
There have been alarming reports about the reconversion of Muslims to Hinduism. It has been given the name of "home coming" for the Hindus who had supposedly accepted Islam as their religion. It has also been announced that many more reconversions will take place. 5000 conversions are allegedly scheduled for Christmas. The RSS objective is to revert India back to the ancient Bharatvarsh, the land of Hindus. Bhagvad Gita is slated to be the "National" Book of India. It is already being formally presented by the Prime Minister to various world dignitaries as such. Godse has been declared to be a patriot and Mahatma Gandhi as unpatriotic! People have been projecting the developmental side of Narendra Modi forgetting the fact that he is an RSS Parcharak! Mohan Bhagwat sometime back had said...
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Climate Change: The impossible deal
By Gwynne Dyer
For "shall", substitute "may". For example, change "countries signing this climate change treaty SHALL state how much they are going to cut their greenhouse emissions" to "countries signing this climate change treaty MAY state how much they are going to cut their emissions if they feel like it, but if they don't, hey, no problem." It's like the old Irish joke. A lost traveller comes up to a local resident and asks how to get to Dublin. "Well, sir," replies the local, "if that's where you want to get to, I wouldn't start from here." If you ask anybody involved in the climate change negotiations how to get to a global deal, you'll probably get the same answer. "If that's where you want to go, sir, you shouldn't start from here." But here is where we have to start from, like it or not. Whi...
Kashmir Times News Report
Mahabharata's last battle!
Parading India as a Hindu Nation may lead to the final round of the battle of Kurukshetra
There have been alarming reports about the reconversion of Muslims to Hinduism. It has been given the name of "home coming" for the Hindus who had supposedly accepted Islam as their religion. It has also been announced that many more reconversions will take place. 5000 conversions are allegedly scheduled for Christmas. The RSS objective is to revert India back to the ancient Bharatvarsh, the land of Hindus. Bhagvad Gita is slated to be the "National" Book of India. It is already being formally presented by the Prime Minister to various world dignitaries as such. Godse has been declared to be a patriot and Mahatma Gandhi as unpatriotic! People have been projecting the developmental side of Narendra Modi forgetting the fact that he is an RSS Parcharak! Mohan Bhagwat sometime back had said...
Kashmir Times News Report
Cooperative Federalism: Must for good governance
By Dr S Saraswathi
At the specially convened meeting of State Chief Ministers on restructuring the Planning Commission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the spirit of cooperative federalism which is an indispensable principle for the success of any federal system in a pluralist country. To foster this spirit in the interest of fast development of the country as a whole, it is necessary to eliminate the present "incremental approach" pervading federal relations. The exercise aims at creating a mechanism that "plans according to India's strengths, empowers States, and brings on board all economic activity". It is certainly a step towards uniting all States (political units), all kinds of industries and trades (economic sectors), and covering all sections of the population (social divisions). Union-St...
Kashmir Times News Report
Musings from Chicago
Giving back to the Motherland
From Hindi songs like 'Chitthi aayi hai aayi hai, chitthi aayi hai' to a movie like "Swades", Bollywood has always painted Non Resident Indians (NRIs) as people who are emotionally and psychologically attached to India and are constantly making an effort to reconnect with their Indian roots. While the examples from Cine World may have some 'masala' added to it, from my experience of more than 12 years abroad, I can safely say that a larger part of the NRI community is very passionate about giving back to the country of their birth. With close to 25 million in number, the Indian Diaspora spread across the globe is very diverse in terms of migration, places, culture and languages, but India acts as the umbilical cord to all these communities. People of Indian origin (PIO) living in countri...
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Are we all Malala?
By Kamal Siddiqi
It was a proud moment for Pakistan when 17-year old Malala Yousafzai received the Nobel peace prize along with 60 year old Kailash Satyarthi, a human rights campaigner from India. More inspiring was the speech Malala made while accepting her award, when she talked about education instead of war. The speech was particularly significant because of the fact that her co-recipient was an Indian. Malala has talked about girl education. She has made it a point to focus on this issue in every speech she makes. She went to Nigeria to show solidarity with those girl students who had been kidnapped by the Boko Haram. Unlike India, where the awardee was universally welcomed and acknowledged, some people in Pakistan termed the struggle that Malala has made so far to be a western conspiracy to show Mu...
Kashmir Times News Report
Season of political vendors
Election is the harvesting season for those parties who have ruled. During this season different political parties offer their promises in the form of election manifesto. It has remained a basic feature of Indian polity that new promises are made by burying the old one. In every election somewhere we find new turncoats deserters others we find pre-poll alliance which is nothing but a match fixing in the political battle. During this period they pretend to be a public sympathiser and after election get busy in looting the financial exchequer of government by turning the house of people into a house of white elephants. The extent of degradation is that winning of election is not dependent upon the promises which are realistic and can win the confidence of all the people irrespective of re...
Kashmir Times News Report
State Youth Policy: Need of the hour
By Nusrat Habib
Over the past two decades, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing a constant political turmoil that resulted in a number of disturbed conditions affecting the socio-cultural, political, economical fabric of our society. If we analyse the situation very closely it would not be wrong to say that the youth of our state are the worst victims of this turmoil. Three generations of youth who were born and brought up during this period could not even enjoy a peaceful atmosphere free from bloodshed and shadow of gun. This is the most unfortunate apathy of this turmoil. So far the youth of the state have seen mass killings, enforced disappearances, alarming widowhood, mass rapes, custodial killings and draconic laws like PSA and AFSPA. But now the time demands that youth of the state s...
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The genie is out
By Colin Todhunter
The GM Contamination Register database has been run by Genewatch and Greenpeace for about ten years and contains cases dating from 1997 to the end of 2013 [1]. The authors of a new paper, published in the International Journal of Food Contamination, analysed the 400 or so cases in the database by crop and country [2]. GM rice accounts for about a third of contamination cases, despite the fact there is officially no GM rice grown anywhere in the world. The authors suggest this high level might be related to the routine testing of imports of GM rice at national borders. The highest rates of contamination are in imported foodstuffs to Germany, but this is probably because that country does a lot of testing. They also focused on cases of contamination arising from unauthorised GM crops: tho...
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Polarisation on communal lines: Minorities feel unsafe
By Brij Bhardwaj
The minorities are feeling increasingly marginalised and threatened as attempts to polarise voters on communal lines by constituents of Sangh Parivar continue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speeches speaks about development of all irrespective of religion or other considerations, but the other constituents of Saffron brigade like Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and others are pursuing an agenda aimed at polarising voters on communal lines. "Love jihad", hate speeches by leaders including members of Parliament belonging to BJP, safronisation of education system by talk about making the study of Sanskrit compulsory in schools, rewriting of history and conversion of men belonging to minorities by seeking their return to Hinduism by offering inducements is creating religious tension...
Kashmir Times News Report
Economic Highlights
Raise Interest Rate Save common man & banks
By Shivaji Sarkar
It is time for the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates, particularly on deposits, to save the investors. Industry, which has misled the Government in 2008 and subsequent years, has no case for demanding another "incentive" - subsidy - at the cost of the common man. It has benefitted tremendously during the so-called slowdown and it does not deserve any more. The companies have learnt from the bad economics of the West, the poor corporate governance, to increase their profits. The western world was afflicted because of deliberate bad management of the finances. Now innumerable Satyams are likely to rob the Indians. On an average the Indian industry during the past five years has earned tremendous profit by fleecing the common man. The accumulated profit, during the past five years, of m...
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