Friday, 23 December, 2005

Fixation with anglicizing native names

I was least bothered about recent controversy over change of name of Bangalore city to Bengaluru until i stumbled on a discussion in a internet forum. It made me to ponder about the mentality of some people, who oppose any such change because new official name does not sound cool and old name has historic significance since British times(only among english educated). This discussion reminds me of a event in my childhood, On my annual summer school holidays i went to my grandmother's village with my mother and brother. Villagers frequent my grandmother's house to meet my mother, since she visits her parents once in a year, on one such occasion, a person playfully asked, "what i was doing here, when my house is in Haidarabad?", another person objected to his pronunciation of Haidarabad and requested me to pronounce it for him, i proudly said its Hyderabad and instantly that person suggested to his companion, that he should utter the city's name in a way i did, otherwise people will think he is old fashioned.

This experience amused me and thought that as these people are uneducated, so don't know how to pronounce my city name. Only years later i realized my folly and our fixation with anglicizing native words. My village is in between Tirupati and Cuddapah, which is almost equidistant from Bengaluru and Chennai cities, people there and parents of my kannada friends call it by its original name: Bengaluru. Both names coexisted for all these years, Bengaluru is more popular in the country side and Bangalore among cities & english educated people, but when people say Bangalore sounds more cool, then it represents their state of mind( & perhaps lack of self esteem over ones culture) and standards which they are applying to judge, isn't compatible with the native culture and it is totally nonsensical comparison, same can be said when we apply native standards to judge foreign words.

When it comes to changing names of cities, What can i say about our state of mind, after hundreds of years of subjugation, In this secular nation still we let the city Shahada in India to retain its name, when Shahada is the central statement of Muslim faith and it means "There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his Prophet" and more to it, if you say with intent, then uttering this single word can officially make you Muslim!.

Thursday, 15 December, 2005

Wow, Flying 290Km in a second!?

I was astonished when The Tribune reported that Iran has tested surface to sea missile known as Silkworm, which has a speed of 290 kilometers per second and with a range of 110 kilometers. Only if i was not in my conscious, i would had considered it as a big news when compared to Russia's "super weapon", which is capable of both flying along ballistic trajectory at hyper-sonic speed(more than 5 times the speed of sound) and can also change both altitude and direction of its flight in the atmosphere, which analysts believe can overcome any future missile defense systems. What i'm saying is, here we have a missile developed by Iran which can reach its target in a blink of an eye, is it not amazing!?. Accepted, most of the Indian defense journalists have no clue in defense related matters as Kaushik Kapisthalam notes:

The report claimed, for instance, that the Indian Navy had to buy Israeli Barak missiles, because the naval version of the Prithvi missile was delayed. That is funny because the Barak is a Surface-to-Air missile while the Prithvi is a Surface-to-Surface missile. This was unlikely to be a one-off mistake because the report went on to call the Nag anti-tank missile a Surface to Air missile as well.

When i checked other Indian news sources (and few other foreign sources too), who had obtained Iran's missile testing news item from "Associated Press", all most all of them repeated same mistake blindly. As Kaushik states:

it is still a shame that much of the defense reporting in India is left to people who just reproduce what their 'sources' tell them, without doing any fact-checking. That their 'sources' could have an axe to grind seems to be lost with these people. And very rarely do these negative reports contain quotes from those who have an opposite point of view.

and in this case our journo/editor had proved that they don't even use their common sense before reproducing news item from their source!.

Tuesday, 13 December, 2005

Condom vending machines: Serious aberration?

In today's Deccan Edition it was reported, that on Monday women from Jamaat-e-Islami Hind held protest rally in Chennai against installing condom vending machines in public places. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind women's wing convener Fathima Jalal Said:

"The government is spreading condom culture through these vending machines under the pretext of fighting AIDS. By this our society will grow more permissive and our youth will be ruined"

People who express such ridiculous views need to take serious note of graveness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The fact that at least 5.1 million people are living in India with HIV refutes their claim, that the society will become more permissive, to the contrary, figures suggest that we are already more indulgent and its better to accept the fact & should take precautions than denying it. Since we are having world's second largest HIV infected population and considering that 20 million people had already died all around the world and 40 million are effected with HIV, we need to be much more sensible and be proactive in dealing with the crisis. Fathima goes further by announcing that:

"The rally today is just the beginning. We will not rest until all these machines are removed. We will involve all the women's organisations, not just Muslim, in our fight against this dangerous decision,"

Also Government-appointed chief qazi, Salahuddin Mohammed Ayub declares:

"Islam prohibited use of condoms. This is not a right move"

Protesters displayed placards, which states that:

Condom vending machines are a "serious aberration" and they condemn it. They also proclaimed that the only way to protect society against HIV/AIDS is "to fear God and change our lifestyle".

These machines are placed in public places for easy accessibility and to encourage their use. These religious fanatics have no business demanding anything in our secular, free & pluralistic society. Importantly, none are alluring these religious people to use them!, they can die their own death when contracted with AIDS but they cannot take away others right to have easy access to condoms, so they can safeguard against this epidemic!.

Miracles do happen in this world!

When residents of Kamsar refugee camp in POK were digging in search of missing bodies of quake victims, they found Naqsha Bibi, who was buried alive for 63 days in the rubble. Dr Abdul Hamid said that she was admitted in ICU and she weighed only 25kgs and when asked whether anyone could survive for such a long without food and water he said:

“Medical science will hardly accept it, but you know miracles do happen in this world.”

Yes they do!. In fact she is very lucky, just when residents of the camp were unable to feed her, German Team visited the camp right on time to handover vaccinations to Pakistan Islamic Medical Association officials and the residents referred Naqsha Bibi to the German Team.

These kind of unbelievable survival stories from disasters, be it quake or tsunami they indicate us untapped potential of human body and the mind.

Monday, 12 December, 2005

Operation Duryodhana

In Aaj Tak news channel 11 Members of Parliament belonging to different parties (BJP, Congress, RJD, BSP) were shown accepting bribes to ask specific questions in the parliament and this sting operation which was named as "Operation Duryodhana" was carried by Aaj Tak along with internet portal Repercussions of this revelation was swift, Lok Sabha secretariat has sent Show Cause notices to these MPs and in Rajya Sabha matter was referred to Ethics Committee. All parties had suspended their respective MPs without raising any questions on authenticity of those tapes or without indicating any conspiracy theory to defame them, which was not the case when Tehelka exposed way defense deals were done during NDA government or when Ajit jogi of Congress caught trying to induced MLAs with monetary benefits to form government. Since issue involves MPs from more than one party and none were prominent politicians at national or state level, therefore it was easy for political parties to take action against them.

At the end of the day, every politician is a gentleman & sincere towards serving people unless caught red-handed, err.. as long as he/she enjoys support of the public irrespective of his/her guilt!.

Sunday, 11 December, 2005

Exploitation of kashmiri people by pakistan's government

It has become ritual for Pakistan government to raise Jammu & Kashmir issue in their visit to every foreign country or in international forums, in which they participate and seek their assistance in any possible form, be it in expressing their support for so-called "cause" or drafting favorable resolution on J&K or petitioning them to get involved in facilitating dialog with India(but this point has been dropped since the commencement of peace process). On their return, in front of their people they victoriously emphasize their success in highlighting the issue before international community and reiterate that they are always committed to the kashmiri people. Recently, they have started equating Palestine issue with J&K and with a straight face, state that they condemn all forms of "terrorism" and on other hand they express their support for so-called "freedom movement" in J&K.

Recent summit of Organization of Islamic Conference(OIC) was no different for above reasons, despite OIC stating in the past, that the issue was bilateral, pakistan has repeatedly raised the issue in every summit. For this summit All Parties Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was a special invitee. Indian government has maintained that OIC or anyone else for that matter has no locus standi on matters relating to India's internal affairs and in the past, they refused to allow OIC's Kashmir Contact Group to visit J&K. OIC has showed their islamic solidarity towards pakistan in form of declaration (though nothing new there):

Toeing the Pakistani line, the 57-member Organization of Islamic countries has "extended" its support to the "inalienable right" of people of Jammu and Kashmir for "self-determination" in accordance with UN resolutions.

As i have pointed in my previous post, that it is the Pakistan who denied to implement UN resolution because of fear of loosing it and after decades of Pakistani sponsored terrorism, infiltration and ethnical cleansing of kashmiri Hindus from the state, UN resolution hold no relevance in the present context, importantly Kashmiri people have exercised their "inalienable right" by participating in free election and elected their representatives. According to UN and other international human right groups they were more free and legitimate than that of presidential election held in Pakistan. In 2002, on behalf of human right groups British market and public opinion research agency MORI had conducted polls in Indian Jammu & Kashmir state and it found that:

On the issue of citizenship, overall, 61% said they felt they would be better off politically and economically as an Indian citizen and only 6% as a Pakistani citizen, but 33% said they did not know.

When we talk about rights of people of Indian J&K state, then they enjoy more freedom and have more rights than entire state of Pakistan. This was revealed in Freedom in the World 2005 report, Pakistan & POK are classified as "Not Free" and where as Indian controlled J&K was classified as "Partly Free". To start with, people of POK don't have basic civil and political rights and all civil & police administrative posts are filled by Pakistani cadre who come on deputation. Free elections are not held in so-called Azad Kashmir and candidates who are in favor of Islamabad are rigged into office and As per Section 56 of constitution, Pakistan can dismiss any elected government in Pakistan controlled Kashmir irrespective of support it enjoys in the assembly. So-called Azad Kashmir government is completely depended on Pakistan government for its finances. Pakistani security agencies hound kashmiri people who demand their rights or independence or express their opposition to Pakistani policies in POK:

She said "life in PoK is worse than death and there is continued repression of people living here. We are hounded by agency people [ISI], especially as we have a consistent stand of independent Kashmir."

Mangla Dam in POK supply 65% of electricity needs of entire Pakistan state and Pakistan's Water and Power Development Agency(WAPDA) earns revenue of Rs 50 crores on electricity produced without paying much royalty to POK government. When we consider Pakistan's budgetary allocations of Rs 10 Cores to Kashmir government in Pakistan controlled areas then it is nothing when compared to revenues earned by WAPDA. Pakistan had ceded large portions of territory from Gilgit and Baltistan to China in 1963 without any mandate from Kashmiri people.

We should highlight grievances of POK people and rise of freedom struggle in Northern Areas. Exploitation of kashmiri people and violation of their basic human rights by Pakistan government should be consistently exposed in all possible forums and disclose their true nature of love for kashmiris.

Saturday, 10 December, 2005

Pakistan's Army sells quake relief material!

Rediff reported that:

UNHCR [the UN refugee agency] gave the Pakistan Army more than 2,000 winterised tents for distribution among the most deserving quake victims living at an altitude of 5,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level, the official says.

The army officers sold them in Islamabad's markets.

A farmer named Nizamuddin bought one such tent for one of his relatives living in PoK. The UNHCR checked the local markets and it was confirmed that its tents had been sold.

What is astonishing is:

"I would chase every helicopter hovering over the Neelam Valley hoping that it might drop a tent. I waited for two weeks and finally decided to come to Muzaffarabad. I hoped to get a tent from the army relief camps. I literally begged for a tent but no one took pity on me. I went to the mujahideen [jihadis] of Jamatud Dawa who provided me a tent immediately," says Ali ur Rehman, a Neelam Valley villager.

I wonder whether terrorists are well stocked than Pakistani Army, Specially when Pakistani army is responsible for relief work in the quake hit areas and providing information to international relief agencies?. Importantly does morality of Pakistan's National Army is lesser than that of jihadis(terrorists)?

Thursday, 1 December, 2005

Money which pakistan owes to india!

Today, Anil who i had met over internet sometime back, had forwarded me a link, which discloses, that since 1948 Pakistan owes Rs 300 crores to India on account of share of pre-partition debt. It also states that:

On an average rate of 8 percent interest, this Rs 300 crore would be over Rs 20,000 crore (Rs 200 billion) by now. But even now in the 2004-05 Budget this is shown as only Rs 300 crore.

Rs 300 crore was a lot of money in 1948. In 1950-51, our external debt was only Rs 32 crore (Rs 320 million) and had we realised this Rs 300 crore then, there would have been no external debt.

In the 2004-05 Budget our external debt is shown as over Rs 55,000 crore. Even this would come down by half if we can realise the Rs 20,000 crore now.

After partition Pakistan has attacked Jammu & Kashmir with tribal forces backed by Pakistani army, Therefore Indian government decided to deny Rs 55 crores, which was to be given to Pakistan as per pre-agreement made by the Partition Council. Gandhi went on hunger strike to extort Indian government to release the amount, many people like Sardar Patel had cautioned that this money would be eventually used by the Pakistan to finance war against India but Gandhi didn't listened to this reasoning and finally Indian government was made to release this amount. Thing which has to be noted is, then Indian government did not take India's interest seriously, they could have waited till they have balanced credits and debts of partition before releasing the amount. They succumbed to grandeur of a individual. It is sad to see that no political party has made any effort to recover this amount, which would certainly had made difference to Indian economy!.