Sunday, July 19, 2009

Agent Provocateur: Notes from Israel - I

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    • The Rasta and the Haredi

      Kanchan Gupta
    • Israeli Arabs, full citizens of the Jewish state, are not complaining either. Any change in the status quo would cause them needless stress. In any event, most of them take a disparaging view of the situation in Gaza Strip and West Bank. Not surprisingly, they would rather live in Israel where law and order prevails than in the anarchy across the Wall.

      Between faith and democracy, the choice is clear — at least for those who have benefited from Israel’s economic boom, which has remained largely untouched by the global financial crisis. Young Israeli Arabs may be less hesitant than their parents about speaking up for Palestinian rights, but that does not necessarily reflect split loyalties or subversive tendencies. On the contrary, they are eager to fully assimilate with Israeli society as that would afford them the freedom which Fatah and Hamas deny to Palestinians under their charge.
    • The Jewish narrative is witnessing subtle changes and the shift in the Jewish worldview is apparent; victimhood is no longer the main characteristic of the Jewish identity, nor is it cloaked in aggressive religiosity or political Zionism.

      The new generation of Israelis is far more confident and aspirational than the previous generation. At the same time, young Israelis have begun to open their doors and windows to the world, absorbing and adopting ideas and accommodating those who were on the margins of a society
    • Modernity and tradition have found a new equilibrium without disturbing social harmony.
    • the Israeli Arabs are not ashamed to flaunt their Israeli identity and the Jewish settlers remain defiant; and, in the heart of Jerusalem, Israelis of various faith and cultural denomination jive to the tune of Jai Ho! and

Hindraf leader launches political party: news

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    • An ethnic Indian activist on Sunday launched a new multi-racial political party to champion the rights of marginalised sections, two months after his release from detention under Malaysia's draconian internal security law.

      P Uthayakumar, leader of the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force, who was released in May this year after spending 17 months in prison on sedition charges, would give up practicing law to concentrate on political activities.

Shades Of Saffron: Goan History : The First Hindu Uprising Against Foreign Rule

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    • You must be knowing about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's battles against Mughals and Uprising of 1857 against British Rule. You must be even thinking that these were the only battles against foreign invaders. But 425 years ago the villagers of Kumkumahalli (now Cuncolim :: source Wikipedia) village in Goa rebelled against the cruel Portuguese in Goa.
    • In June, 1575 the European missionaries in Goa held the 2nd Catholic Meet. Laws were passed by Missionaries which could easily facilitate conversion of Hindus in Goa. Laws like 'conversion of Hindu child of mentally ill parents', 'conversion of Hindu child if state of his health is critical' etc..
    • even the Catholic missionaries joined the Portuguese army. Many people were killed and many temples were destroyed. The leader of the Hindus was killed. The people decided to surrender to Portuguese King. But the flame of Hindu Unity was not vanished. The Hindus rebuilt the temples and stopped paying taxes to Church.
    • The 2nd uprising of the Hindus took place in 1577 in Sasashhti (now Salcete).

      Again in July 1583 the Hindus from Cuncolim rose against the Christen missionaries who had come to their village for converting Hindus. The Portuguese official who worked on the Raitur Fort invited 16 villagers for discussion. All the 16 villagers were prisoned. Out of which 14 were killed by the Portuguese.
      Source :
      गोवा दमण दीव स्वातंत्र्यलढ्याचा इतिहास
      1st edition, 1986
      by Manohar Hirba Sardesai

      Shame on us!

      On 15 July, 2009 the 426th anniversary of the Uprising was observed in Cuncolim. Other than school children only 35 people were present for the anniversary. The Municipal chief of Cuncolim, Mr. Filon Vaz, reporter and freedom fighter Flavian Dias and Mr. Subhash Velingkar of RSS were present for the function. Freedom fighters were felicitated in the function.

Rightwing Rumblings: his follower's rape their daughter's .

A Hindu temple where Muslims also pray

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    • Rampur (Uttar Pradesh),
    • A temple dedicated to Hindu god Shiva in a village here counts many Muslims among its devotees. Not only do they take part in some rituals but also donate for community feasts during every festival.

      The Pataleshwar temple is in Bambhrauaa village of Rampur district, some 270 km from state capital Lucknow. Muslims constitute almost 95 percent of the 3,500 residents of the village.

RSS-BJP Relationship vis-à-vis Poll setback | Sangh Parivar

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    • R.P. Malhotra
    • “success has many fathers; failure hasnone”
    • It may be true that Varun’s utterances were not secularin nature yet his political stature was not too towering to damage the image ofa national party like BJP. However his personal views were endorsed by the local populace by electing him Member of Parliament in his fight against a multi millionaire.  And by the way whilecriticizing one’s opponent should one be polite or assertive?
    • Poll results, come what may, has nosignificance against the foundation of ideological relationship. However thesituation is different for a party like congress, where no ideology works against Nehru-Gandhi legacy - no matter the descendent at the helm of affairsmay be remotely related a foreign national.
    • And the fact that the word Hindu belongs to a particular religion is now a universal truth. No one- not even Hindus themselves shall buy the idea that Hindu is not a religion. While filling a form one in attentively writes HINDU in the columnof religion. Then while talking of a HINDU Rashtra, even though how hard onemay try to define it as cultural Nationalism, isn’t the party alienating othercommunities from the mainstream?
    • A national political party ought to be diplomatic enough to exhibit a secular outlook-from all angles – Chaal, Charitra and Chehra. Such diplomatic lessons may well be learnt from a national levelpolitical party, which alleged to have instigated riots massacring thousands of people of a particular community has still been able to manage to maintain its secular image. And in another instance for its political gains another such like party may frequently use communal slogans such as “Teer, Taraju aurTalwar; Inko Maro Joote Chaar” and “Hathi Nahin Ganesh Hai; Brahma, Vishnu Mahesh Hai” and still claims to be a secular outfit and Messiah of downtrodden.
    • Average age of tier I leadership of BJP is 65 to 85years and that of tier II is 50-65 years. And there is a vacuum thereafter.There is a need to rejuvenate the party with young and energetic leadership with full of ideas. A comprehensive plan to involve the youth in the party’sdoctrine, on the blueprints of Shakhas but on purely modern pattern, must beformulized.
    • Party must resurrect Yuva Morchas for organizing regular sports/athletic meets in villages and towns. Declamation contests should be a regular feature in the schools and colleges shrewdly aiming at spreading party’s viewpoint and policies. Career counseling for youth and placement thereafter should be taken by a special wing of the party to win over the youth.
    • NGOs can play a vital role in broadening the party’s mass base. Like Yuva Morchas, NGO Cell of the party should be given a task on a war footing to mobilize Mandal level NGO cells. A target oriented plan should be entrusted to the Mandal units to handle social work in the society on the lines of Sewa Bharati and Bhartiya Vikas Parishad. But here too, the pattern must bear a modern touch.
    • The party must capture resident welfare bodies by planting its workers as the office bearers of RWAs. And where found difficult, parallel bodies should be floated without creating any bickering in the society. Such bodies should be diplomatically used for booth level battle. Mustering political support through social work should be the mantra.
    • Issues like fighting corruption with mass support, catering medical aid to the needy, imparting education to the poor and women empowerment by fighting against dowry like evils, organizing mass weddings of poor girls etc should be used for imbibing cohesive social fabric. Such bodies should be instructed to hold small localized functions to celebrate all festivities irrespective of any religionor faith.  
    • Development should be the exclusive plank of governance in party ruled states. Party can do MODIs in other states by adopting the development and people friendly policies.

Never Again the Same -- Printout -- TIME - Friday, Nov. 30, 1962

  • Friday, Nov. 30, 1962
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    • After a series of smashing victories in the border war with India.
    • Radio Peking announced that, "on its own initiative." Red China was ordering a cease-fire on all fronts. Further, by Dec. 1, Chinese troops would retire to positions 12½ miles behind the lines they occupied on Nov. 7. 1959.
    • On closer examination, the Chinese cease-fire proved to be a lot less mysterious. It did offer India's battered armies a badly needed respite. But it left the Chinese armies in position to resume their offensive if Nehru refuses the Peking terms. And it puts on India the onus of continuing the war. Said the Hindustan Times: "The latest Chinese proposals are not a peace offer but an ultimatum."
    • Barren Rock. In New Delhi illusions are dying fast. Gone is the belief that Chinese expansionism need not be taken seriously, that, in Nehru's words, China could not really want to wage a major war for "barren rock."
    • Nehru's policy of nonalignment, which was intended to free India from any concern with the cold war between the West and Communism, was ending in disaster.
    • The 73-year-old Nehru gave the impression of being swept along by this tumult, not of leading it.
    • While the Speaker asked repeatedly for order, Nehru sat chin in hand, obviously scornful of this display of Indian excitability, his abstracted gaze fixed on nothing.
    • Nehru was coming close to admitting that he had at last discovered who were India's friends. The neutral nations, which so often looked to India for leadership in the past, were mostly embarrassingly silent or unsympathetic
    • Nehru had obviously hoped for more, and was shocked when, instead of helping India, Moscow denounced India's border claims and urged Nehru to accept the Red Chinese terms.
    • India's catastrophic unreadiness for war stems directly from the policy of nonalignment which was devised by Nehru and implemented by his close confidant Krishna Menon. Says one Indian editor: "Nonalignment is no ideology. It is an idiosyncrasy."
    • Indians like to say that it resembles the isolationism formerly practiced by the U.S.. but it has moral overtones which, Nehru claims, grow out of "Indian culture and our philosophic outlook.'' Actually, it owes as much to Nehru's rather oldfashioned, stereotyped, left-wing attitudes acquired during the '20s and '30s ("He still remembers all those New Statesmen leaders." says one bitter critic) as it does to Gandhian notions of nonviolence. Nehru has never been able to rid himself of the disastrous cliche that holds Communism to be somehow progressive and less of a threat to emergent nations than "imperialism."
    • At the 1955 Bandung conference. Nehru and China's Premier Chou En-lai embraced Panch Shila, a five-point formula for peaceful coexistence. The same Indian crowds that now shout. "Wipe out Chink stink!" then roared "Hindi Chini bhai bhai" (Indians and Chinese are brothers). India refused to sign the peace treaty with Japan because Red China was not a party to it. At home, Menon harped on the theme that Pakistan was India's only enemy. Three years ago, when Pakistan proposed a joint defense pact with India, Nehru ingenuously asked, "Joint defense against whom?" Western warnings about China's ultimate intentions were brushed aside as obvious attempts to stir up trouble between peace-loving friends.
    • Even the Chinese conquest of Tibet in 1951 had rung no alarm bells in New Delhi—and therein lie the real beginnings of the present war.
    • Initialed Map. Under the British raj, London played what Lord Curzon called "the great game." Its object was to protect India's northern borders from Russia by fostering semi-independent buffer states like Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim. In those palmy colonial days, Tibet was militarily insignificant, and China, which claims overlordship of Tibet, was usually too weak to exercise it.
    • In 1956 and 1957 the Chinese built a paved road over the caravan trail, and so lightly did Indian border police patrol the area that New Delhi did not learn about the road until two years after it was built.
    • Firing off a belated protest to Peking, India rushed troops into the endangered area, where they at once collided with Chinese outposts.
    • For the past five years, the Indian army has also been plagued by Defense Minister Krishna Menon, who was both economy-minded and socialistically determined to supply the troops from state-run arsenals, most of which exist only as blueprints. Sharing Nehru's distrust of what he calls the "arms racket," Menon was reluctant to buy weapons abroad, and refused to let private Indian firms bid on defense contracts.
    • Skyward Zigzag. Before Kaul had a chance to try and "clear out" the Chinese in NEFA, the Chinese struck first on Oct. 20. Some 20,000 burp-gun-toting infantry stormed over Thag La ridge and swept away a 5,000-man Indian brigade strung out along the Kechilang River. The surprise was complete, and dazed survivors of the Chinese attack struggled over the pathless mountains, where hundreds died of exposure. In Ladakh the Chinese scored an even bigger victory, occupying the entire 14,000 square miles that Peking claims is Chinese territory.
    • Panic spread from the mountains into the plains. Officials in Tezpur burned their files, and bank managers even set fire to stacks of banknotes. Five hundred prisoners were set free from Tezpur jail. Refugees jammed aboard ferry boats to get across the Brahmaputra River. Even policemen joined the flight.

      Indian army headquarters was hastily moved from Tezpur to Gauhati, 100 miles to the southwest. Officers and men who had escaped from the fighting referred dazedly to the Chinese as swarming everywhere "like red ants." An Indian colonel admitted, "We just haven't been taught this kind of warfare."

    • Needed Intellect. Though India—like the U.S. after Pearl Harbor—could not yet afford scapegoats and recrimination, Defense Minister Krishna Menon was almost universally blamed for the inadequacy of Indian arms, the lack of equipment and even winter clothing.
    • The Prime Minister had tried to pacify critics by taking over the Defense Ministry and downgrading Menon to Minister of Defense Production, but Nehru's own supporters demanded Menon's complete dismissal.
    • Nehru was beaten and Menon thrown out of the Cabinet.
    • The Defense Department at once, but belatedly, got a new look and a firmer tone. Impatient of turgid oratory and military fumbling, all India turned with relief to the new Defense Minister, Y. B. Chavan.
    • Though a socialist and a onetime disciple of Nehru, Chavan is cast in a different mold. Once a terrorist against the British and a proud member of the Kshra-triya warrior caste, Chavan says: "There can be no negotiations with an aggressor." Unlike Nehru, who still maintains that China's attack is not necessarily connected with Communism, Chavan declared: "The first casualties of the unashamed aggression of the Chinese on India are Marxism and Leninism."
    • There has been some grumbling that Nehru is no wartime leader. At 73, he often seems physically and mentally spent.
    • One theory held by some leading Indian military men is that the Reds want eventually to drive as far as Calcutta, thereby outflanking all of Southeast Asia.
    • The prevailing theory now is that the Chinese had less ambitious aims to begin with: to take the high ground and the key military passes away from the Indians, and to finally establish, once and for all, Chinese control of the Aksai Chin plateau in Ladakh, so as to safeguard the vital military roads to Sinkiang province. The Chinese may have been unprepared to exploit the almost total collapse of India's armed forces and may even have been surprised by their swift success.
    • Viewed from Peking, the difficulties of supply through the Himalayas in dead of winter might make the Communists hesitate to try to occupy Assam, especially since India's determined show of national unity, and the West's evident willingness to support India to the hilt.
    • India's angry millions, armed, trained and aided by the U.S., must be a prospect that not even Mao Tse-tung relishes facing. Instead, by in effect quitting while they are ahead, the Chinese can play the peacemakers in the short-sighted eyes of the neutral nations, while having dramatically demonstrated their military superiority over India and without having to abandon the long-range threat.
    • To Americans it may sound like a peculiar way to win a war. But though India moves at a different pace and speaks with a different voice few could doubt last week the Indian determination to see that the Himalayan defeats were avenged, however long it may take.

It's not just the eclipse that's drawing interest: news

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    • Centuries ago, Indian astronomer-mathematician Aryabhatta studied planetary movements and stars from Taregna village in Bihar. Today, hundreds of scientists and eclipse chasers from across the world are arriving in this non-descript village to witness the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century on July 22.
    • Call it sheer coincidence but it was at this very village, about 35 km from Patna, where the sixth-century Indian scientist used to spend a lot of his time. Amitabh Ghosh, director of Bihar council on science and technology, told that it was here that Aryabhatta first revealed that the earth revolves around the sun and developed the concept of zero.
    • Local people believe that their village's name was derived from Tare (stars) and Ginna (counting) in Hindi. The village was one of the two main study centres of Aryabhatta; the other being Khagaul near Patna. It was in Khagaul that the word khagolshashtra (astronomy) was coined.
    • In a bid to revive Taregna, an ancient seat of astronomical science, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is keen to making the best use of the celestial spectacle. Kumar has directed to make arrangement for scientists and others to watch the event.

Crematorium used to dump PMC waste - Goa - City - NEWS - The Times of India

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    • PONDA
    • Ponda's civic authorities have found a rather callous solution to the waste issue in the temple townthe Hindu crematorium Muktidham' near the Maruti temple.
    • Since the last two months, garbage is allegedly being disposed of in pits inside the crematorium, in the same place where unclaimed bodies and those that cannot be consigned to flames (for instance, very young children) are buried. Once dumped, a JCB excavator covers the garbage in the pits with a layer of mud. With the monsoon on, water from the pits has started to accumulate leading to a stinking, unhealthy environ.