Saturday, April 30, 2016
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Winds of Change in Saudi Arabia
By Aijaz Zaka Syed
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The ambitious Saudi plan preparing and positioning the Kingdom for the new realities of a post oil world is truly transformational in its nature and impact. The enthusiastic response of the regional and world markets and the popular reaction in and outside the Kingdom suggests that the Vision 2030 plan, pushing for the most audacious reforms yet may have gotten off to a good start. The chief idea of the plan, unveiled by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Deputy Crown Prince and influential son of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz this week, is to cut the country's dependence on oil and create new economic opportunities and resources. So much so, the young prince promised, by 2020 Saudi Arabia could live without oil. After long decades of excl...
Kashmir Times News Report
Sons of the Soil..!
By Robert Clements
If you want to drive a auto-rickshaw in Mumbai, they don't test you for your driving skill, or your politeness with passengers, but pass you if you know Marathi. If you want to send your child to school in the same city, parents have to produce a domicile certificate saying they belong not to this country, oh no, but to this state! Yet, when Mumbai's Taj Mahal Hotel was under attack in 2008, a young commando named Major Sandeep, daringly entered the hotel to rescue men and women kept hostages by the terrorists. Sandeep was from Bangalore, he'd studied at the Frank Anthony school over there, had even been part of the school choir. But strange, as he entered Mumbai to do a job nobody else could do, not the local police, not the local politicians nor the local political party, nobody stoppe...
Kashmir Times News Report
CJI "Beseeches"
Save Justice system from collapsing
By B.L. Saraf
Honorable Chief Justice of India, T S Thakur (CJI) while addressing conference of the Chief Justices and Chef Ministers said, in a choked voice, "It is not only in the name of a litigant or people languishing in jails but also in the name of development of the country and its progress that I beseech you to rise to the occasion and realize that it is not enough to criticize. You cannot shift the entire burden on to the judiciary." He was reflecting upon the appalling conditions of the judicial infrastructure and the huge pendency in the courts. Overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation, the CJI broke down in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. True words, indeed. Functional justice system is an authentic indicator of real socio- economic progress of a country and is reflective of na...
Kashmir Times News Report
Adjust Your Sails..!
By Robert Clements
I notice that on certain mornings I get up worried, "Worried about what?" I asked myself and realize it is just a habit and that most people get out of bed worried every morning! We are worried about ourselves, our jobs, children, health and just about everything, and a little later when we settle down to read the morning paper our worries increase even more as we hear about bomb blasts and terrorist attacks all over. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale talks about a woman he describes as "a nice lady," but "she got all tired out by eight o'clock in the morning. And she wasn't even out of her bed by then," he said. The problem was that she "lay there thinking of all the terrible things that were going to happen to her, how badly everything would turn out, how many problems she had, how many diffi...
Kashmir Times News Report
The Kohinoor story
By Kuldip Nayar
The BJP first washed its hands off the Kohinoor. But when it faced spontaneous angry comments, it went back on its original stand. Even if the Kohinoor was "offered" to the British - the BJP's first stand - the party must realise that the "offer" by the country, which was Britain's colony, meant nothing. It was not an offer of an elected government. Slave nations have no choice of their own. A party which expects everyone to wear nationalism on their sleeves made the most anti-national statement. The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) said that the Kohinoor diamond was "offered" by Dalip Singh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh's son, to Lord Dalhousie and it belongs to Britain. The angry comments following the statement made the party realise its mistake and it changed its stand abruptly. It said that th...
Kashmir Times News Report
A Central Park in Your Head..!
By Robert Clements
"How peaceful it's in here!" said a friend of mine as he sat in my living room. "Peaceful?" I asked surprised as I heard the angry shouts of neighbours yelling their tanks were overflowing, my dog barking and even the sound of a child wailing, "It's quite noisy!" My friend went to the window and opened another shutter, "Can you hear the rustling of the leaves? You are so lucky Bob, you have a peepul tree just outside and what a sound, a thousand leaves whispering in the breeze!" I could still hear the sounds of the waterman now yelling back at the neighbour who had shouted at him, my dog had stopped barking but I was ready for his next salvo, and the child had not stopped wailing. "Still yourself!" said my friend. "Cut off all the other sounds like a superior mike and listen only to th...
Kashmir Times News Report
Tall Political Promises
Don't translate in good governance
By Dhurjati Mukherjee
The Prime Minister recently announced a drought action plan to fight acute famine across the country coupled with severe water scarcity aggravating the crisis, especially in Western and Northern India More intriguing is that even as announcements and promises are being made very little has actually been accomplished at the grass-root level wherein villagers remain in deep distress. Remember, at the beginning of its tenure the NDA Government talked of bringing back black money stashed in foreign banks to the country to partly solve the resource crunch facing the economy. But no initiative in this direction has been made till date even as the Government remains silent on this matter. An example: In the mid-day meal scheme the HRD Ministry owed States Rs 560 crores for 2015-16 as the...
Kashmir Times News Report
Santa Banta and Trump..!
By Robert Clements
It is with a sense of sadness I write today's column: Can't we crack jokes without making fun of a community? Many years back as I grew up, I used to hear a number of 'Pat' jokes. Pat I remember was a fictitious Irish boy, who supposedly did stupid things and so jokes were made up about him. For many years because of those jokes I thought the Irish were stupid people till I met many Irishmen and discovered they were anything but stupid. But the jokes made them out to be stupid, obviously made up by their seemingly dignified and seemingly intelligent English neighbours! The Englishman made the same jokes about his Scottish neighbours too, jokes about how stingy they were; cruel jokes that had everybody but the Scot in the room laughing. I also thought they were stingy till I met Scotsmen ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Does the caste system really not exist in Bengal?
By Sarbani Bandyopadhyay
The recent 'suicide' of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit student of Hyderabad Central University, brought to focus the naked face of caste discrimination in higher education in many regions of India. However, the pervasiveness of caste is no less significant in Bengal. The politics of repression has allowed caste to be insidiously reproduced in both public and private domains with little resistance. Bengali middle class society is seen as casteless because caste violence lacks visibility. One woman's story of working as a teacher shows how caste intersects with gender to reproduce discriminatory practices. Bengal was the first region of British India to be colonised and modernised. The opportunities colonial rule opened up were taken advantage of by the bhadralok (gentlefolk) who wer...
Kashmir Times News Report
Drinkers Reservation Quota..!
By Robert Clements
With more and more state government going in for elections promising prohibition of liquor, drinkers have started feeling a little insecure! "We are forming a national political party!" said the town drunk, as he stood at my doorstep and handed me a leaflet, "and we would like you to attend!" "Who told you I drink?" I asked nervously looking back to see if my wife was listening. "Nobody!" said the town drunk, "But we can make out a drinker just by looking at one! Will you come?" "Okay!" I whispered looking back again, "But only because I am a writer!" "It is time you drinkers came out of the closet," said the town drunk, "and stopped hiding behind your steel tumblers!" It was a noisy scene at the first meeting of the Drinkers Party. I realised they had already elected a chairman, "He...
Kashmir Times News Report
Amiry gives a peek into her damascus
Palestinian writer and architect, Suad Amiry, was born in an old neighbourhood of Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world that has been ravaged in the Syrian civil war, an ongoing multi-sided armed conflict. In her latest book, My Damascus, published by Women Unlimited, she takes her reader by hand through not only the narrow alleys and lively souqs adjacent to the grand Umayyad mosque, but also into the intimate spaces of her rich merchant grandfather's Baroudi mansion. Through a web of interwoven personal stories and an intricate mix of characters, including the Baroudi women, Amiry travels across space and time, spanning three generations of family history. In the end, her Damascus becomes a metaphor for a dispersed family and a lost past, as well as an elegy for ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Canada, Sikhs and Apologies
An apology may not put back the clock but it can help in administering a healing touch
By Aijaz Zaka Syed
Without acknowledgement of guilt, there's no reconciliation. There's no moving forward. And mind you, as Tutu warns, spurious reconciliation only leads to spurious healing. The Canadians are a strange lot. Who in their right mind would offer apologies with folded hands for something that happened more than a century ago? Justin Trudeau, Canada's young prime minister, has decided to tender a formal apology next month before Parliament for what is known as the Komagata Maru incident of 1914. What happened in 1914? Komagata Maru was a Japanese ship that sailed from Hong Kong carrying 376 Indians -- 340 of them Sikhs -- to Canada. But when the ship finally arrived in Vancouver after a long and arduous journey, the Canadian government refused to let the passengers come ashore. Kom...
Kashmir Times News Report
Make the Unknown, Known Today..!
By Robert Clements
I was at a dinner the other day when the speaker a small dapper billionaire, who had built up an empire, spoke at length about his humble leggings. "I owe my success," he said to my mother, who was just a municipal teacher. But she though widowed in her early years, taught me courage, and instilled in me values that made me ail for the stars! I wish that mother had been there to hear those words. So often, I have heard women tell me how frustrated they are, because they could not continue in there careers. "I would have been a brilliant cardiac surgeon," said one, "but with my small children, I have to give less time to my career." "I would have been a research scientists," said another, "but had to settle for a teacher's post, to be able to be at home before my child returned from sch...
Kashmir Times News Report
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