|Yemen: Unintended Consequences|
|The Sunni Arab countries that started bombing Yemen on Wednesday night seem to think they are fighting an Iranian-backed plot to expand Shia power and influence in the Arab world. Most other countries find that hard to believe, but even if the Sunni countries are right, wars often have unintended consequences. This military intervention is likely to have results that Saudi Arabia and its friends don't like one bit.
They've all shown up for this war. Saudi Arabia and the other monarchies of the Arab world (Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and even Morocco) have all committed aircraft to bombing Yemen. Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Pakistan have offered to send ground troops. And the United States (which just pulled the last American troops out of Yemen) promises to prov...|
|This Sunday is Palm Sunday; when many years ago, men and women lined the streets of Jerusalem, waving palm leaves and shouting 'hosanna', as Jesus rode in on a donkey. It was a week before he would be crucified on the cross; a week before he would stare down at the people around the cross, and maybe think, "Wasn't that man waving a palm leaf gladly at me, last week?" or, "Wasn't that the man I healed from leprosy?"
I wonder how in one week, a mob that shouted in ecstasy as he entered Jerusalem, stood silent as he was humiliated by the priests, wounded by the soldiers and finally killed?
How could hundreds who had received his healing touch, now turn silent?
Isn't that a thought many of us have?
"I spent my whole life looking after my children, and now look at the way they speak to me!...|
|Is secularism in danger in India|
|Is secularism in danger is a question which is being asked as minorities including Muslims and Christians raise issues like attacks on churches, places of worship which are being played up in foreign media also. Even leaders friendly to India like President Obama are advising that India can progress only by giving full space to all religions instead of being exclusive.
Cries like India is a "Hindu nation, Love Jihad, Ghar Wapisi" and provocative statements by some members of the ruling party have created doubts in the mind of many. This is despite the fact that India is a democracy, there is no one party rule and Indian Constitution offers full protection to religious minorities. Indian judiciary remains active and enforces all provisions of Constitution and media is equally free a...|
|While driving, I see alongside my car, the jazziest, snazziest sets of wheels that ever adorned the roads of this country. Gone are the old rickety rackety Ambassadors and Fiats. Instead varoom, boom, zoom and with a squeal of new rubber, flashes of metalic colour, travelling almost faster than sound, zip past.
A friend of mine who works for a foreign bank told me that most of these cars are mortgaged to banks. "People," he said, "are so enamoured by showy car and flashy flats with swimming pool and club house that they take staggering, backbreaking loans to live fancy life style."
With no money in wallet but with a piece of plastic in hand they move from shop to shop and buy more than they can afford.
That car and dream house shines out for all to see.
On a hot sunny day in the city ...|
|Hushing up Hashimpura|
|There is something surreal about those black-and-white, grainy photographs. Dazed, listless people being herded around and transported like cattle on trucks and trains to their imminent end as if in a trance. Watching those striking, searing images of a condemned people--fear and despair writ large on their faces--from the last century, I often wonder: How did the world let it happen?
An entire community is singled out and consigned to gas chambers, or worse, for the cardinal sin of being born as Jews. And the civilized world with its fine institutions could do little to stop one of the worst instances of mass extermination taking place right before its eyes. Not only did the world allow the Jewish Holocaust in all its horror to go on for years, it stood and stared when yesterday's vict...|
|Winners and Losers..!|
|As I, along with a billion others watch India crumble in the World Cup semi-finals, I think of all the victories the cricket team won to cruise to these semis. Each time I watched their matches they were making records. It was either reported as a first wicket record or a sixth wicket record or the first time India did this or the team did that. They never tasted a single defeat and yet when they came to the final all those who had created records crashed and fell like Humpty Dumpty and his colleagues.
It's so much like many of us.
I remember many in school who excelled in their studies; first in class, first in sports, first in every thing and at the class reunion you ask, "What happened to him?"
"Down and out!" say my classmates.
He won all the small matches and lost the f...|
|Yemen: Another Civil War|
|The last American troops are being pulled out of Yemen after al-Qaeda fighters stormed a city near their base on Friday. Houthi rebels who have already overrun most of the country are closing in on Aden, the last stronghold of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. And on Sunday ISIS (Islamic State) sent suicide bombers into two big mosques in the capital, Sanaa, killing 137 people.
The US State Department spokesman put the best possible face on it, saying that "due to the deteriorating security situation in Yemen, the US government has temporarily relocated its remaining personnel out of Yemen." He even said that the US continued to support the "political transition" in Yemen. But there is no "political transition." There is a four-sided civil war.
Why would anybody be surprised? There has ...|
|Teach Your Children Well..!|
|In a landmark judgement, our right towards freedom of speech was upheld and the draconian IT law 66A was struck down by the Supreme Court. This PIL was filed by a young girl, a law student, who's mother encouraged her to do so! Even as we congratulate this young lady for what she has done for the country, let us also congratulate parents who teach their children to stand for justice!
Teach your children well, was a song that used to be sung in the eighties, or was it the seventies.
Yes, teach your children to fight for their rights, not to be cowed down by bullies, but to learn how to fight them.
Very often I hear growls and shouts of anger from the youth, but they hardly sustain! It is bound to happen that youngsters will rebel against authority, that is how it is meant to be, and tha...|
|Our neighbouring countries are getting curiouser and curiouser. Pakistan is determined to free Zia-ur Rahman Lakhvi who had masterminded the Mumbai attack in 2008 when some 165 people were killed at Hotel Taj through the sea, near the Gateway of India. The court has released him due to lack of evidence. This is despite the clinching proof that India has provided against him.
Either Pakistan is whetting the evidence that New Delhi provides or the judge hearing the case has been under pressure. Whatever the fact, the ends of justice are not being served. So far India's uproar on the freeing of Lakhvi has forced Islamabad to keep him inside the prison. But how long can the government do so? When there is no evidence against him he is bound to come out of the jail.
Islamabad does not seem ...|
|It Was No Miracle..!|
|Susan was driving down the street in a sweat because she had an important meeting and couldn't find a parking place.
Looking up toward heaven, she cried, 'Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking place I'll go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life and always be grateful to you!'
Miraculously, a parking place appeared.
She looked up again and said, 'Never mind Lord. I found one..!'
And after you've smiled at the little incident; isn't she just like any one of us? We do take everything to God in prayer, then, when He's worked a miracle for us, we just can't believe its God who's done it!
I still remember years ago recovering, after many months from a serious bout of Hepatitis B. It had been touch and go and I'd spent many weeks in bed and wondered whether I'd get out of...|
|Attacks on Churches|
|Smash caste inequities instead|
|The other day in the newspapers one found an essential difference between India and Pakistan had been obliterated by the events in the two countries. While two of the Lahore churches were subjected to suicide bombing, killing as many as 70 church-goers and injuring a like number (some of them critically), an up and coming church in Hissar district of Haryana was demolished.
While the Pakistani attacks on the churches were clear cases of terrorist attacks and were even owned by such an outfit, the one in India was the act of rabid Hindus who not only seemed to have razed the under-construction church but also vandalised it, hoisting a flag at the site with "Shri Ram" written on it. This was a clear indication of the reprehensible handiwork of fringe elements of certain Hindu groups.
|Most of us never take responsibility for our actions, we tend to blame others. "I mixed with wrong company, so my life is ruined!" we say, or, "My parents never gave me an education, so that's why I still am where I am!"
And the list of blame goes on!
I once heard a story of a 40-year-old woman who was jogging in a U. S. state park when she was attacked and killed by a mountain lion. Her family immediately filed suit against the state because of its failure to manage the mountain lions.
But an interesting thing happened. Her distraught husband felt it was wrong to blame the state or anyone else for his wife's death, even though he stood to possibly win a small fortune. Against her family's wishes, he dropped the law suit. "My wife and I have always taken responsibility for our own act...|
|Modern Mongols of Iraq|
|History is Repeating Itself As ISIS Goes About Destroying Iraq's Prized Heritage|
|Marx said history repeats itself first as tragedy and then as farce. In its long history, Iraq, the cradle of civilization, has seen enough of both. It is said that when the Mongols ransacked Baghdad, the seat of Islamic caliphate and a great center of learning and civilization, the city's fabled rivers turned dark.
It was not just the blood of Baghdad's residents butchered en masse by the invaders that had changed the color of water. The books from the city's libraries were thrown into the river Tigris in such quantities that the river ran black with the ink from the books. The world will never truly know the extent of what knowledge was lost forever when those books were thrown into the river or burned.
Established by Caliph Al Mansur in 762, Baghdad had not just been the capital of ...|
|This could be mere speculation on my part, a fantasy I weave, maybe just a creation of my imagination, however, knowing the tradition of my great motherland, it's inherent need to hold onto the guru- disciple concept, I am sure this meeting could have taken place between former prime minister Manmohan and the just to be installed prime minister a few months ago, before he took over.
"Oh great Manmohanji, as you get ready to leave after your debacle in trying to win against me, what words of advice can you offer?"
The former PM, stoic, serious, stonefaced, looks impassive as with turbaned head he stares ahead. No expression on the emotionless chiseled face.
"Oh great Manmohanji, you seem not to have heard. As you get ready to leave after your debacle, what words of advice can you offe...|