New Age Islam Edit Bureau
Unsafe schools: Pradyuman’s
murder in Gurugram highlights the absence of basic safety protocols
Rajnath has sent right signals
Justice is delayed… and remains
Dissent is not simply a right,
it’s fundamentally a civic virtue
An Injudicious Wrangle
Syed Badrul Ahsan
Next Door Nepal: The restless
60 Indian Nationals Being
Evacuated From St Martin
Rise up, for resilience is in
Compiled by New Age Islam Edit
Trump’s Afghan war: India must
and opinions on what to do in Afghanistan will invariably be many, and
conflicted. It is preferable, therefore, bank on plain, oft-forgotten or
ignored facts to visualise the future east of Suez and what magnet landlocked
Afghanistan holds for America. And for that matter what that tribal society has
meant for a series of empires in the past.
apparently incomparable, the “two As” (America & Afghanistan) are a study
in glaring contrast and visible contradiction. Taken together, they’re poles
apart. No common ground on history, geography, culture, economics, religion,
philosophy, anthropology, contiguity, tradition… But Afghanistan continues to
mesmerise the United States, even after almost 16 years of bloodshed since
Sunday, October 7, 2001, when the US launched a war to evict the Taliban from
Kabul in the wake of 9/11.
has fatally attracted many others in the past — troops came from the banks of
the Thames to the Jhelum; from the Syr Darya and Amu Darya to the Volga! It
never stopped. It was invaded by fighters from the Mississipi-Missouri river
valley and the Danube, Murray and Darling, and missiles hurled at it from the
sea and sky. The Afghan bug-afflicted US President, Donald Trump, now wants to
pitch tent in Kabul. He was convinced by the Pentagon, after being shown 1972
pictures of Afghan women wearing miniskirts. Mr Trump was also convinced by his
military experts that India’s proximity to Pashtuns makes it a preferred
partner to tackle the situation in Pakistan-Afghan border region of Paktika,
Helmand, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Nuristan, Khost and Kabul.
the question remains: why do people from distant lands get hooked to landlocked
Afghanistan’s 2.90 crore people — comprising 42 per cent Pashtun, 27 per cent Tajik, nine per cent Hazara,
nine per cent Uzbek, four per cent Chahar Aimak, and three per cent Turkmen?
With an area of 65,2864 sq km; a population density of 110.8 persons per square
mile; 25 per cent urban and 75 per cent rural; sex distribution of 51 per cent
male to 49 per cent female; 70 per cent of the population under 29; 99 per cent
Muslim; a total fertility rate of almost six children per woman; more than 30
per cent unemployed; 43.1 per cent male and 12.6 per cent female literacy; poor
communications; pathetic infrastructure and a terror-breeding terrain of
multiple intra- and inter-ethnic conflict, it can easily be called a land of
ceaseless violence, endless forced-migration and unending hostility. But it is
also inhabited by a warm, hospitable people who welcomes guests, friends and
non-interfering outsiders and tourists.
inner voice of war-ravaged, traditional Afghans is likely to run on these
lines: “We are Afghans. We have our own history (turbulent most of the time),
culture, tradition… We love to live on our own terms, without external
interference, in accordance with our wishes. We are a tribal and traditional,
patriarchal, male-dominated society. That is what we are, and that’s the way we
have been. Leave us alone. Live and let live. Don’t try fiddle with our system,
or try find fault with it. We hate it. Beyond a point, we don’t tolerate it,
and don’t hesitate to fight to kill, or get killed, for what we believe. You
are welcome to enjoy our hospitality and friendship as a guest. But don’t
sermonise, dictate or impose your will on us… We Afghans do know how to respect
others. Do reciprocate, and give us respect too, and maintain a healthy
distance. We appreciate, and always return, honour and respect. We love our
freedom of thought, action, belief.”
this, the US President’s decision to deploy more troops and stay on till
victory in the “Fifth Afghan War” (First Anglo-Afghan war 1839-1842; Second
Anglo-Afghan war 1878-1880; Third Anglo-Afghan war 1919; Fourth Soviet-Afghan
war 1979-1989) requires scrutiny.
United States is indisputably the world’s only superpower today, despite
troubling developments at home. With a GDP $16 trillion-plus, over 50 overseas
bases, a fleet of 11 aircraft-carriers, a population of 330 million, a mega
military-industrial complex and a real-time global intelligence-gathering
system from space and sea, the US presence in Afghanistan is like a “Gulliver
in the land of little people”. But the question that still needs to be asked,
though no answers may be forthcoming, is this: Why is fighting against Afghan
tribals such a fatal attraction? Is it owing to location or position? Untapped
raw material? To nip terror havens in the bud? To keep track of Russia, China,
Iran, Pakistan, India and landlocked Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan? Or
to experiment new war incendiaries in a remote, barren terrain? To control the
drugs of southeast Afghanistan’s Helmand? To teach lessons to the warlords and
drug lords of Kabul?
are no answers from Washington. But the issue has acquired some importance in
India as Mr Trump wants New Delhi to play a bigger role in Kabul to help the
United States. Does this imply a changed role for India internationally, or is
it a restoration of the old hyphenation of Afghanistan-Pakistan-India — as done
by previous US Presidents?
issue may not be as simple as it looks. Landlocked Afghanistan is like a
playing field for the Pakistan Army and the ISI – spanning polity to economics,
coups to assassinations, drugging foreign soldiers from Moscow and Washington
to make profit for its officers. In juxtaposition, it is the bewildering maze
of Afghanistan’s eternal “conflict situation”. First, the intra-tribe
individual conflict (cousin versus cousin being the most prominent). Second,
intra-tribal feud between Durrani Popalzai (to which former President Hamid
Karzai belongs) and Durrani Barakzai, which fought for power in the 19th
century. Third, the inter-tribal fight between tribes of same ethnic group —
Durrani versus Ghilzai. Fourth, inter-tribe fight involving two tribes of
different ethnic groups — Hazara versus Pashtun. And fifth, the familiar
Afghanistan, as seen even now — the perennial conflict between one or more
tribes versus whosoever is in power in Kabul.
can India really help —beyond the significant role it is already playing in the
development of Afghanistan, where its neighbours like Pakistan and increasingly
China are operating more stealthily. India can certainly play a bigger part in
the Afghan economy, and offer more assistance, but what it must never — ever —
do is to send troops to fight on Afghan soil or to militarily support any other
power that does so. Every foreigner who
fights Afghans on Afghan soil becomes a permanent enemy of the Afghan people,
and history has shown how hostile they can be.
earlier centuries, they have even ruled over India. Sher Shah, the Lodhis,
Nadir Shah, Ahmad Shah Abdali — all have ruled over and looted India. Both
Soviet and American troops, in different decades, were drugged to decimation by
cunning Sino-Pakistani shadow operators. That is why India shouldn’t fall into
the same trap of direct intervention. There are already too many “live fronts”
on our borders; opening up another one is a prelude to disaster.
Times of India
brutal killing of seven-year-old Pradyuman inside the bathroom of Ryan International
School in Gurugram last Friday has led to widespread protests, against gross
negligence by school authorities. Police have arrested bus conductor Ashok
Kumar who confessed to trying to molest the student and then stabbing him.
Haryana’s education minister Ram Bilas Sharma has said the school could lose
its No Objection Certificate if the departmental probe finds it guilty of
negligence. This is a wake-up call for all governments to implement uniform
security norms, especially where school managements remain indifferent towards
the many security breaches reported from the Gurugram school. No housekeeping
staff was assigned to assist young children in the bathrooms. Non-teaching
staff was allowed in these bathrooms, leaving children at the mercy of sexual
predators. And a killer had no difficulty entering the school premises with a
knife. A Delhi branch of this school made headlines last year when a
six-year-old student drowned in its water tank. The National Commission for
Protection of Child Rights also found that the school did not undertake
police-verification of its staff. Unfortunately such irregularity is all too
common at schools across the country.
is also a misconception that only girl children are unsafe in ill-secured
schools. Indeed reports of sexual abuse of girl students have been coming
regularly from cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai. But the Gurguram case has
chillingly highlighted that the boy child is also in crying need of school
security protocols. Haryana government must now ensure fair and speedy probe as
well as punishment for all those responsible for Pradyuman’s murder. But all
governments need to learn lessons from it, and ensure students are safe in
Free Press Journal
Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir at a time
when militant attacks in the State are in full cry and hardline Hurriyat
leaders are under close watch for receiving terror funding is doubtlessly an
act of courage. That the Home Minister has even gone to the interior in South
Kashmir sends out a message that the government in New Delhi is prepared to
stick out in the face of sinister forces that are out to disturb peace.
Rajnath Singh visited Anantnag on Sunday and paid respects to a policeman who
was martyred in a terror attack in the south Kashmir town the previous day
should serve to reassure the Kashmiris that they have not been abandoned to the
wolves. His address to personnel from the J & K police at the Anantnag police
lines where he said that “it is unfortunate that people still don’t understand
the value of your (security forces’) martyrdom.
not ordinary but supreme sacrifice” was apt and morale-boosting. There is no
mistaking the fact that South Kashmir, where Anantnag is located, has seen more
than 100 home grown terrorists in the past one year and has become the most
terror attack prone area in recent times.
June 16 last, six police personnel, including SHO Feroz Ahmad, were killed in
an attack in Achabal area. The slain SHO had requisitioned a bullet-proof
vehicle in view of the danger posed by militants in south Kashmir, but was not
provided one. During his visit, Rajnath Singh announced that the Centre has
allocated funds for the purchase of bullet-proof vehicles for Jammu and Kashmir
Home Minister has been meeting a cross section of community leaders and it is
unfortunate that instead of lauding his initiative National Conference chief
Farooq Abdullah has mocked at his effort and already proclaimed that his visit
will serve no purpose. Earlier, Farooq had criticized the arrest/detention of
Hurriyat leaders which was indeed overdue.
is no getting away from a carrot and stick policy and traitors like the
Hurriyat leaders need to be dealt with sternly and strongly to send out a clear
message that the Indian government would not tolerate the nefarious activities
of those who are playing into the hands of subversives and their henchmen.
By Bharat Raut
11, 2017 07:21 am
delayed is justice denied, it is said. In case of the most infamous Mumbai
Serial Bomb Blasts Case of 1993, the justice is not only delayed but it still
remains incomplete as two main accused, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon are
still at large and till the time those main accused of the worst atrocity that was perpetuated on Mumbai are
booked and brought to justice the process would remain incomplete.
a quarter of a century and an execution (of Yakub Memon in 2015) later, it is
the noose again for two convicted in the March 12, 1993 Mumbai serial blasts
case. A special judge presiding over the second trial in the case on Thursday
pronounced death by hanging for Taher Merchant (55) and Feroz Khan (47), both
of whom were absconding till 2010, for having conspired to cause the RDX blasts
that killed 257 and injured 713. The court sentenced five of the seven accused
on trial (one was acquitted in June and one died after conviction). Extradited
gangster Abu Salem (48) and Karimullah Khan (55) were spared the noose-Salem by
virtue of a Lisbon court order saying he could not be given death and Khan by
Tada court judge G A Sanap. The fifth convict, Riyaz Siddiqui (67), guilty of
the lesser charge of abetment, was handed a 10-year sentence. He has already
been in jail for 11years since his arrest in 2006.
this one of the chapters of the long-drawn episode of terrorism seem to have
come to an end. The blasts, which turned a Friday afternoon into a tragic
weekend, had targeted prominent landmarks including the Air India building and
Bombay Stock Exchange. The bombs were assembled in the garage at prime
absconding accused Tiger Memon’s Mahim house and packed into cars and scooters,
which were then parked at various spots by planters. The Supreme Court in 2013
commuted the death sentence given to 10 of the planters, calling them “bows“
and the blast conspirators “the archers“.
long and most eagerly awaited judgement took place in the TADA Court on
Thursday. The court first called out Karimullah Khan. His relief was palpable
when he heard “life imprisonment” and a fine of a few Lakhs. Salem was next and
then Siddiqui. The two big punishments were pronounced last. Taher Merchant and
Feroz Khan were given the death sentence for having conspired to cause the
co-ordinated 1993 Mumbai blasts, while Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan were given
life terms. Riyaz Siddiqui got a 10-year sentence. CBI special counsel Deepak
Salvi had sought death for four, including Karimullah Khan and Mustafa Dossa,
brother of prime absconding accused Mohammed Dossa, held guilty of plotting the
blasts. But Dossa died in custody on June 28 before the sentencing and the
trial against him stood abated.
Judge was very categorical about the accused’s knowledge of their crime, the
judgment said, “RDX cannot be used as a powder to kill mosquitoes and flies,
and it cannot be assumed that AK-56 rifles were being distributed in schools in
Mumbai as toys. The accused had knowledge about the offence.” This observation
demolished the defense argument that the accused were not fully aware of the
seriousness of using RDX and highly modernized lethal weapons; those were used
in the crime.
moot question that has been raised before and after the trial was that of
punishment awarded to Abu Salem. The conspiracy charge against Salem could have
attracted the maximum punishment but for the Portugal court order. Salem has
argued he cannot be jailed for more than 25 years, as assured by Indian
government. Many arguments came forth in this regard. Yes, Salem surrendered to
the Indian Police in Lisbon, Portugal.
Though the crimes behind his name did attract such sections of Indian
Penal Code, those deserve punishment of hanging, However, the Public Prosecutor
who fought the case on behalf of the Government, had to go soft on Salem and
plead sentence of only 25 years, as that was one of the major terms of the
understanding that had reached with the Portuguese Government. Salem must be
grateful to his God and the Portuguese Constitution that does not permit death
many legal and political luminaries are asking now is has the then Government
failed in its negotiations with the Portuguese Government? Another more
relevant question is, are we lowering the prestige of Indian Sovereignty to
save the life of a criminal? While respecting the articles of Portuguese
Constitution, are we not disregarding the Judicial System of India that is
considered in highest regard all over the world?
even after considering for the sake of argument that India was compelled to
accept terms put by Portugal ten years ago, as bringing Salem back to India was
then the top priority, why Indian diplomacy could not alter the terms of
extradition later? Particularly when our Prime Minister Narendra Modi had
received rousing welcome in Lisbon? Was it just an oversight? or is it that the
Indian government never wanted Salem to hang? Anyway, now that Salem has
already spent over ten years in jail since he was arrested, he would be serving
the jail term for the next 15 years. Then he will be again a free citizen.
question of the top-most international criminal Dawood Ibrahim and his close
ally Tiger Memon is still haunting the Indian Police and other Security Forces.
a couple of times, red corner notices have been issued against them by Interpol
as both of them are wanted by many nations for various crimes. However, they
still remain out of the clutches of the law as the Pakistani Government has
provided them shelter; it is an open secret now. Now the least the Indian
Government can and should do is to get hold of Dawood and Tiger by using any
means and force. Remember, the US Forces had tracked down Al Qaeda Leader Osama
Bin Laden from his hide-out in a remote village in interior Pakistan and
finished him without even the knowledge of the local government. If USA can do
it from 25 thousand km distance, surely Indian forces can do it from a stone
activists, scholars, students and protesters shouldn’t have to fear being
physically attacked or killed for their views
Sep 10, 2017 18:56 IST
years ago, a 17-year-old student called Ogun Samast walked up to journalist
Hrant Dink outside the offices of his newspaper in Istanbul. Samast shot Dink
in the back of the head three times. Dink was a member of Turkey’s small but
resilient Armenian community, and he had been outspoken about the country’s
failure to acknowledge the genocide of Armenians during World War I. His
writing and activism had landed him in legal hot water. When he was killed, he
was on trial for violating an article of the Turkish penal code, the supposed
crime of “denigrating Turkishness”.
recall the furore and tragedy surrounding Dink’s death quite vividly because he
was also a contributor to (and friend of) the London-based international
affairs magazine where I was working. The furniture of our little office had to
be moved aside for a procession of TV crews to record our reactions to his
death. Coming just months after the murder in Russia of Anna Politkovskaya — a
journalist, human rights activist, and trenchant critic of Vladimir Putin —
Dink’s assassination was strongly felt.
editors were outraged that despite receiving waves of death threats, Dink had
had not been extended the necessary protection. (In 2010, the European Court of
Human Rights would rule that Turkey failed to guard Dink even though the
government knew of plots against him.) The crime of his killing belonged not
just to the murderer (a young far-Right ultra-nationalist), but to a society
that condoned the intimidation of journalists and critics, the bullying and
prosecution of dissent.
took the streets of Istanbul afterwards with placards proclaiming, ‘We are
Hrant Dink’. I remember being moved by that display, and chilled by its
corollary. In Trabzon, the Black Sea town where Samast came from, fans of the
local football team chanted the killer’s name: “We are Ogun Samast.”
killing of Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru reminded me in a number of ways of Dink’s
death. Both Lankesh and Dink voiced unpopular opinions. Both ran small, fairly
marginal publications whose impact outweighed their size. Both saw it as their
mission to ruffle the feathers of the status quo. For their pains, both had
legal proceedings brought against them. And though many political parties and
sectors of civil society condemned their killings, both their deaths were
greeted in some quarters with an awful glee.
minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has correctly denounced the messages circulating
among the ‘digital Right’ — the Internet mob of Hindu nationalists —
celebrating Lankesh’s killing. This rebuke is, of course, the bare minimum of
decency we should expect from our leaders. Journalists, activists, scholars,
students and protesters shouldn’t have to fear being physically attacked or
killed for their views. Their dissent is not simply a right; it is fundamentally
a civic virtue.
death, Dink and Lankesh achieved a tragic global fame that they didn’t have in
life. But treating them like ‘martyrs’ doesn’t really help anybody. Repression
works. Turkey and India were robbed of their writing, their attacks on conventional
wisdom. Killings of journalists and dissidents have a terrible chilling effect
on a society. Months after Dink was murdered, I visited Istanbul. I spent an
afternoon with a grizzled Turkish writer allied to Dink. Throughout our meeting
in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, he looked over his shoulder, checking to see if
the bodyguard he now felt obliged to keep was still in position. He was
presciently gloomy about the future of free speech in Turkey. At the time, he
preferred the Centre-Right government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the
nationalist far-Right. In recent years, however, Erdogan has cracked down hard
against the press, shuttering publications and arresting reporters. Turkey is
now one of the most difficult places to be a journalist and a dissident.
was accused of “denigrating Turkishness” for speaking out against the Turkish
State. Dissenters in India increasingly find themselves labelled
“anti-national”, beyond the pale of not just our attention or respect, but our
tolerance. That language ostracises and dehumanises, and it fosters the climate
of hate that leads to these killings.
may harbour extremely critical views of the State and the nation. The
powers-that-be may see them not only as intellectual opponents, but as moral,
existential enemies. But when you shut down their speech with violence, you
only confirm your own intellectual and moral bankruptcy.
By Syed Badrul Ahsan
manner in which the ruling Awami League and its supporters in Bangladesh have
pounced on the Chief Justice (CJ), Surendra Kumar Sinha, clearly militates
against the essence of democracy or even a fledgeling democracy. The conflict
which has pitted the ruling party against the Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court has its origins in the judgment on the 16th amendment to the
constitution. The amendment, which would empower members of parliament to
impeach judges of the high court and supreme court, was struck down, first by
the former and then by the latter.
the course of announcing the judgment, following hearings in the appellate
division of the high court, Justice Sinha made certain observations in relation
to the history of the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971. He paid full tribute to
the leadership of the country’s founding father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur
Rahman, in the movement for freedom, noting that an entire nation took part in
the struggle. Rather than being the contribution of a single individual, stated
the Chief Justice, it was a collective experience for Bangladesh.
CJ’s observations, taken out of context, swiftly landed him in troubled waters.
The ruling circles were incensed that he had undermined and belittled, in their
view, the contributions of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the creation of Bangladesh.
Late last month, it was the turn of a former judge of the appellate division,
none too well-disposed towards the chief justice, to jump into the fray.
Justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury, who retired last year and has had a public spat
with Justice Sinha on the issue of delivery of judgments in time, has launched
a broadside against Sinha. He joins that disturbingly growing band of people
who have seemingly decided that the chief justice has committed a grievous
wrong and must now pay the price.
his assault on the CJ, Justice Chowdhury has questioned whether Justice Sinha
himself wrote, in the space of 25 days, all 400 pages of the observations
relating to the appellate division’s verdict on the 16th amendment. He thinks
it is humanly impossible for an individual to write that long a manuscript in
that brief a period.
point here is not that Justice Sinha finished writing those pages in 25 days.
It is why Justice Chowdhury has now thought it necessary to raise his question.
One is only too aware of the public position he took in his last skirmish with
the CJ, a position he ought not to have taken. Now that he has found a new
reason to launch a verbal assault on Justice Sinha, there is a strong whiff of
prejudice. The former judge makes things worse when he accuses the CJ of having
had his observations written by Pakistan’s infamous ISI.
CJ, Chowdhury has warned, will have to leave the country if he does not
recognise Mujib’s leadership in Bangladesh’s independence movement. And now,
Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury has waded into the issue. She has asked
the CJ to leave the country or be treated for mental illness. In all these
weeks, Sinha has had arrows flying at him from all directions. He is, say his
detractors, guilty of undermining the historical role of the Father of the
Chowdhury has warned Justice Sinha that the latter will not only have to resign
but also be compelled to leave the country in light of his legal observations.
Minister Matia Chowdhury has echoed him.
is always nerve-wracking for citizens to have to confront the spectacle of the
executive and judicial branches of government trading fisticuffs. In these past
few days, ministers have gone after the chief justice over his observations.
All of this has created a bad precedent: In the future, functionaries of
governments to come might well take recourse to similar moves, leading to a
further fraying of the fabric of governance.
justices and former chief justices do not, as part of a time-honoured
tradition, make public their views on the work or judicial decisions of their
successors. That tradition has now been severely damaged. The systematic way in
which CJ Sinha is being berated by individuals in the ruling dispensation does
not bode well for Bangladesh.
is a sad situation, made grim by the unhealthy and growing feeling that reason
has been giving way to intimidation, that values are getting mauled in the
brickbats flying around the person and office of the Chief Justice of
Bangladesh’s Supreme Court.
By Yubaraj Ghimire
week, an enthusiastic minister from the CPN-Maoist Centre led a team of
officials from the Ministry of Civil Supplies and sealed the showrooms of four
branded companies on Durbar Marg in Kathmandu. He accused them of selling the
goods at exorbitantly high prices. The minister’s team, curiously, instructed
the proprietors to “come to the Civil Supplies Ministry with relevant
documents”. Within 48 hours, the traders revolted against the “raids” with a
protest shutdown. Ministers engaging in such “populist” acts is not a new thing
in Nepal, but public fury against corruption by the political class is now
taking an organised form as parties and successive governments are seen as promoters
arguably, has a very powerful anti-corruption body, the Commission of Inquiry
into Abuse of Authority (CIAA), but its autonomy was cramped by the eight
political parties that came to power in April 2006. The G.P. Koirala ministry,
which took office after the tumultuous political changes that swept the
country, decided that no decision taken by the cabinet, irrespective of whether
it is arbitrary, illegal or facilitating corruption, could be investigated by
the CIAA. Thus, the CIAA’s task was reduced to investigating and framing cases
against petty government officials. Moreover, as it has happened with all the
constitutional bodies, the CIAA chief and other commissioners, are now
appointed by the big political parties on a party-quota basis, compromising the
fairness and impartiality expected of the institution.
the open corruption, the prolonged transition to a democratic republic, the
prevailing uncertainty and the absence of accountability in governance seem to
be testing the patience of the people. On Wednesday, Nepal’s major media houses
declared that they would be adopting a zero tolerance policy towards corruption
henceforth. The Nepal Media Society, a formal body of six big electronic and
print media groups, accused political parties of failing to speak out and act
against organised and open corruption in the country.
the ministers as members of the cabinet enjoy total immunity from being
investigated for corruption charges, the judiciary, especially the apex court,
is guilty of disposing many cases in a questionable manner in the recent past.
The appointment of Khilraj Regmi, the sitting chief justice of the Supreme
Court, as prime minister of a four-party coalition government in early 2012,
brought the judiciary and the political parties together in sharing the
benefits of office. Proximity between political parties and the Supreme Court
and the recruitment of judges on “political quota” has since become a regular
practice. How fair can the Supreme Court be in judging corruption cases,
especially those involving the people in power and politics? The current mass fury
against corruption is the cumulative outcome of overpoliticisation of all the
instruments of the state including the judiciary, and their perceived image
among the public of being “biased” and “unfair”.
media and civil society are no less controversial. Both have maintained dual
standards on issues of corruption and human rights violation by the state,
especially in the post-2006 phase when they turned activists for political
change. Their partnership with international donors on internal political issues,
the reluctance to criticise political parties when the latter bypass due
process, and the silent endorsement of the decision to appoint the CJ as prime
minister have cost them their credibility. The decision to hold political
parties accountable for acts of corruption 11 years after the slide started is
seen more as a response to a public outcry, which targeted the media as well,
and not as an act of collective self-introspection.
fact is political parties, those in the government and the opposition, are
perceived by the public as a part of the oligarchy that wants to pursue its self-interest
instead of promoting constitutional norms and a culture of accountability.
However, the belated public display of outrage by the media may influence the
international opinion to rethink the blind support to key political actors and
their radical agenda.
11 September 2017
60 Indian nationals are being evacuated from the vacation island of St Martin
in the Caribbean, which has been devastated by Hurricane Irma, an extremely
powerful storm that wreaked havoc in the region. Most of the Indian nationals
have a transit visa, a temporary short period visa, to the US. For those who do
not have a transit visa, Indian Embassy here is working with the State
Department and the Department of Homeland Security for getting them one, so that
they can take the first available flight to the US and then travel back home.
State Department yesterday said it has evacuated some 1,200 of US citizens from
the Caribbean island St Martin. An estimated 5,000 Americans are still trapped
on this small island that is jointly administered by France and the
Netherlands. More than 1,100 police, military officials and others were
deployed to St Martin and the nearby French Caribbean territory of St Barts,
where they used helicopters to identify the cars of people looting stores and
11, 2017, 2:00 AM IST
Patton Jr said, “I don’t measure man’s success by how high he climbs, but how
high he bounces back when he hits the bottom.” Emotional and physical setbacks
often overwhelm us. Stages of life are soaked with such experiences. As a
child, we were frustrated by not getting things that we wanted dearly. In youth
we may have been bullied and rejected. And so the story goes on in our working
and home lives, as we grow older.
each time, we manage to recover, after a few gaps of silent suffering. During
these gaps we intentionally or unintentionally, disconnect and withdraw
ourselves from outward happenings, silently submitting and somehow connecting
with something deeper and mysterious that overtakes us, and finally gathering
the strength to bounce back. This mysterious power is what drove us to rise
above all challenges and carry on with life to the best of our abilities.
power is fundamental to the universe. Evolution, for example, is inherently
driven by an invisible force that is highly creative and intelligent. Species
evolve, adapt and survive because of this force. The entire universe is
self-evolving because of this. Scientists now postulate that, at deeper levels,
the universe is non-local and discontinuous – that is, it’s rapidly pulsating
with an on-and-off movement.
to enormous speed, “on” phase appears linear and continuous from where we
derive and associate our everyday experiences. However, we are unable to grasp
the non-locality or discontinuity from where the matter and energy get
projected. The invisible off-phase is the unified field of possibilities and
potential, wherein resides the impulse of creation. This impulse is the
vibrating life-force. An intelligent, creative and dynamic force that
manifests, sustains, renews, harmonises and maintains balance and order in the
cosmos. Since life-force is universal, it bequeaths resilience to everything
that exists in nature. Thus, withstanding all mishaps, nature continues to
is an extension of this deeper non-local reality and profoundly influences our
actions. Originally it’s pure, unconditioned and resilient. However, the mind
gradually loses its resilience to acquired knowledge and conditioning and
becomes finite and localised. Consequently, we get anchored and habituated to
our own comfort zones, secured positions, stability, conformities, familiar
situations, relationships and patterns of behaviour. We even adapt to our inner
negativities and comfortably brood over the past, blame people and situations
for our miseries and failures. On facing new situations, changes or a challenge
we perceive them as threats to ourselves. Only a clear, supple mind, free from
rigid thoughts, beliefs and fears, is capable of resilience and is a powerful
source of imagination and creativity.
restore resilience of mind, take breaks and retreat into silence with complete
faith, and surrender in the life-force and simultaneously, maintain an attitude
of patience, perseverance, tolerance and optimism.
traits serve as powerful enablers in developing inner strength, will and
clarity that prevent negativity from overpowering us. Practising them mindfully
helps in maintaining a mind-body sync and as we experience inner peace the mind
is able to regain its original purity. Once this is attained, the mind
inevitably connects with the universal life-force and becomes resilient enough
to pick new clues and signals and we bounce back. “Defeat is in our mind;
resilience is in our soul.”