|A Flashpoint in South Asia?|
|Pakistan and India are engaged in a war of words at the highest level. Unusually provo-cative statements have been made by the two Prime Ministers. The area of contest and conflict has been widened. The TV channels in the two countries beat the war drums every night.
Pakistan queered the pitch when it saw India failing to deal with the Kashmiris protesting against the killing of a terrorist. Pakistan's Prime Minister dedicated his nation's Independence Day to Kashmir's freedom from India! Provoked, India stooped to Pakistan's level, engaging in a tit-for-tat game.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi could hardly allow himself to be seen as a wimp. He made references to the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, to some other Pakistani territories and to the human rights violations in Balochistan.
|Playing politics over refugees|
|So how low can Donald Trump really go? Just when you think the ever engaging freak show that is this US election cannot get any more interesting, the Republican nominee comes up with something more absurd and insensitive to sustain the interest of his growing fan club.
In the latest of his antics, Trump has claimed that he had "predicted" the New York bombing this week, apparently carried out by an Afghan immigrant, and has called for police to begin immediate racial profiling of Muslims.
Accusing President Barack Obama of 'coddling' extremists, Trump has once again called for banning all Muslims. Even as Obama was committing the US and European allies to take in more refugees at the UN, Trump came up with the gem: "Refugees from Syria…they're bringing, in many cases, vicious cancer f...|
|I had given some work to my younger one a month back and found she hadn't finished the task. "Why?" I asked her.
"I can't concentrate dad," she said, "I'm worried about college admissions!"
"Are you worried so much you cannot think of anything else?" I asked and she nodded silently. I left the room and as I was rummaging through my shelf I found a magazine which carries my column and in it found a story by a fellow writer, Randy Simmons. I went through it and gave it to my daughter. "Read it," I told her and then type it out so my readers also can start letting go!"
On an early summer afternoon, I was finishing my delivery route when I saw her. She was a young whitetail doe only about 20 feet from the road with her hind foot entangled in a fence. She struggled fiercely, but unsuccessfu...|
|BETWEEN THE LINE|
|Uri, Baluchistan and Kashmir|
|Baluchistan in Pakistan is like Kashmir, an integral part but still rebellious just as Kashmir is after almost 70 years of Maharaja Hari Singh's accession to India. However, in India's case, the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, gave an undertaking to hold a plebiscite as soon as things had settled in the valley. He could not fulfill the promise.
Nehru learnt that things would be reduced to slogans such as Gita versus Koran, and people would be so driven by religious sentiments that they would not be exercising their franchise. When the acclaimed leader Sheikh Abdullah joined the Union, he conceded the point that a popular verdict had been obtained and it amounted to a plebiscite and, with it, the accession was complete.
What happened in Uri is a symptom, not the disease. The dise...|
|A reader of mine has asked me to write on love! Ah love: What a beautiful feeling isn't it? Suddenly the world changes, dark clouds become bright sky, gloomy days become joyful, and quiet men and women get swept away in a form of ecstatic madness! I have seen shy men or women with no confidence in themselves suddenly strutting around like kings and princesses! All, because someone has returned the love they've given.
But, and this is a huge but, I have seen same love turning to dislike and then hate. Very often this happens after the couple have tied the knot. It's too late to get out now, and the same sunny days become gloomy and sunshine turns to dark clouds. The reasons are many, but one of them is when we fall in love with surface beauty and not inner beauty.
Surface beauty is what ...|
|Water Wars: Inter & intra state aid vital|
|The Cauvery water dispute, lingering for decades has now taken a new ugly turn. The States of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are out in the open bickering as none are satisfied with the Supreme Court order (of September 5) directing the former to release 15,000 cusecs water every day to the latter till September 15, which has been revised (on September 12) to 12,000 cusecs a day, following agitation. Neither of the States are happy with the order. Karnataka has seen trouble brewing with violent protests from furious farmers and Kannada organizations, whereas Tamil Nadu too has retaliated with organisations and political parties calling bandhs.
Before going into the intricacies of water sharing, it needs to be pointed out that less water has been flowing down the Cauvery river for both climat...|
|Four letter words..!|
|The other day I watched a well dressed gentleman, at least I thought he was one till he opened his mouth and four letter words, filth and foul language filled the air. He thought to be macho he had to mouth swear words, that an insult became fuller when four letter word was thrown in!
The English language can be insulting without being abusive, I remember complaining to a shopkeeper in London about something. He didn't put his head up, all he said was, "There's the door!"
Said George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill, "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend....if you have one!" And Winston Churchill unlike our great politicians who would take offense and put the man in jail replied, ""Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... if the...|
|Syria: Another ceasefire bites the dust?|
|As the Syrian ceasefire arranged by the United States and Russia teeters on the brink of collapse, it's clear that the main problem lies in Washington. Moscow's goal has never been in doubt: it wants the regime of Bashar al-Assad to survive. The Obama administration has been reluctantly moving towards the same conclusion, but it simply can't admit it, even to itself.
The Russian government bitterly condemned the American air strike that killed sixty to eighty Syrian army personnel on Saturday, but everybody knows that air strikes sometimes hit the wrong people. It was a mistake, that's all, and the Russians really understand that - but it was a mistake that tells us a lot about how far the US has moved.
Until recently the United States, still formally pledged to overthrow the Assad regi...|
|Fly, Don't Walk..!|
|"Sir," said the employee to his boss, many years ago, "You don't need to take a two week voyage by ship to reach England, "The plane will take you there much faster!"
"But I am afraid to fly!" said his boss.
"Imagine the amount of business you can do in the time you save sir! Just get rid of your fear!" said the employee firmly.
These words should be repeated to all of us, who refuse to move ahead with the latest technology; just get rid of your fear and move ahead!
Today you can speak to anyone you want, see their faces and chat all at the same time. Gone are the days of the letter, where people laboriously wrote long mails, posted it, and then waited for a reply. Gone are the days when you realized you hadn't seen a son or daughter for years today you can sit in front of the compute...|
|Talks about talks in Kashmir |
|There is a silver-lining in the dark cloud of uncertainty looming over Jammu and Kashmir. An all-party delegation that recently visited the Kashmir Valley has called for talks with all stakeholders which may include the "separatist" All Parties Hurriyet Conference as well. Will the Modi Government find such an extraordinary idea agreeable? Anyway, the federal government needs an out-of-the-box approach to resolve the Kashmir tangle.
A high-profile visit by the Indian Army Chief, General Dalbir Singh, to the Kashmir Valley on Friday (September 9), the fourth in a row in seven weeks, highlights the gravity of the security situation in that region. The Kashmir Valley has been in turmoil for two months following the killing by the security forces of a charismatic commander of the separatist ...|
|Only giving from our excess..!|
|The man who appeared dying fell down in front of a hut. A woman stepped out and seeing the fallen man rushed to him, "Here," she said, "Eat this, you will get strength to get up and live!"
"Water!" cried the fallen man, "I am thirsty, give me water!"
"Eat!" said the woman, "There is more at home to spare!"
"Water!" cried the dying man, "Water!"
"I have only a bucket of water!" said the woman sternly, "It is for our drinking, washing and my husband's evening bath!"
"I am dying!" cried the man.
"Eat!" said the woman, "There is plenty!"
"Water!" gasped the dying man.
"Can't share that with you!" said the woman as she sighed and went back into her hut.
The recent riots about water in Karnataka, the sad burning of buses and cars, even injuries and a tragic killing in Bengeluru and her...|
|IT would be most unfortunate if Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were not to go to New York to attend the General Assembly session and miss the opportunity of meeting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to pave the way for a resolution to the Pak-India impasse.
The prime ministers met in New Delhi in May 2014 when Nawaz Sharif attended Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony. They agreed to instruct their respective foreign secretaries to meet. From then onwards ties took a baffling turn. Can one draw lessons from the last two years with a view to avoiding the setbacks that mar the record?
On August 19, 2014, however, India called off the foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan because its high commissioner met the Hurriyat leader Shabir Shah that day. Two of his colleagues were to meet him...|
|Just Choosing An Umbrella..!|
|With the rains expected I decided to go over to the umbrella store and chose a good sturdy one to beat the monsoons. I was a little surprised to see a much wider range than they had the year before.
"Are you a student sir?" asked the pleasant looking salesman inside the store.
"What difference would that make?" I asked equally pleasantly.
"The student kind have extra strong steel ribs inside that are able to with stand a lathi charge," he said without a change in his pleasant face, "and instead of cloth we use tarpaulin to withstand water cannons during a morcha or bandh!"
I told him I wasn't a student and we moved into the interiors of the shop, "Would sir want a transparent one or one which will safeguard his privacy?"
"I wonder what privacy there is to safe guard in the rains!...|