3 boys dead, Israel to vote for war?

The rockets and counter air-strikes have been relentless, and wise men have been suggesting that Israel re-occupy Gaza. Now comes the news, the bodies of the three missing teenagers have been found.

The Israeli cabinet will meet @ 230 PM (Eastern Standard Time) and probably take a decision one way or the other. There will be pressure from the USA to not escalate matters, then again one of the kids is an Israeli-American.

If yet another war breaks out then whatever is left of the mid-east will be consumed in flames. These are interesting times indeed.

The bodies of three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped in the West
Bank earlier this month have been found north-west of the city of
Hebron, the Israeli Defense Forces confirmed today.

“Following extensive searches in order to retrieve the three abducted
teens … three bodies were discovered in the area north-west to Hebron,
north of the community of Telem,” the IDF said in a statement. “The
bodies are currently going through forensic identification. The families
of the abducted teens have been notified.”

An emergency cabinet meeting has been called for 2:30 p.m. ET, and an
announcement could come during or after the meeting, a source told ABC
Hamas, the Palestinian militant group accused by Israel of taking the
boys, has denied kidnapping the teens, though senior Israeli and
Palestinian officials agree that the abductors were likely tied to — or
part of — Hamas but operating without orders from the organization’s
One of the teens, 16-year-old Naftali Frenkel, had dual U.S.-Israeli
citizenship and his family is from Brooklyn, N.Y. The two others were
Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach.

Israeli forces have conducted raids in the West Bank in the search for
the teens and their kidnappers since they were abducted on June 12.
Since the search started, more than 240 Palestinians have been arrested
in the operation dubbed “Brother’s Keeper,” the army said. Knesset sessions for tonight have been cancelled, according to Israeli media reports.
There are reports that Israeli soldiers have already been deployed in
Hebron, and Israeli TV stations earlier showed pictures of soldiers
searching through rubble and military vehicles moving through the
village of Halhul, just north of Hebron.
At the end of a White House press briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest
was asked about the report of the deaths, news of which broke in the
middle of the briefing.
“We obviously condemn in the strongest possible term, violence that
takes the lives of innocent civilians,” he said. “But I don’t want to
react any further without having a chance to take a look at that report


Link: http://abcnews.go.com/International/bodies-missing-israeli-teens-found-hebron-source/story?id=24367041



Maharajah Ranjit Singh

 Today (June 30) is the 175th death anniversary of the Sher-e-Punjab.

When the Sikh sun was at peak noon, the empire was bound by Peshawar (North-West), Srinagar (North-East), Amritsar (central), and Multan (south).

When the downfall came it was at the hands of the perfidious Albion. The Sikhs did not dwell much on this humiliation and became (along with the Gurkhas) a pillar of the British Indian Army. Then came Jalian Wala Bag, the hanging of Bhagat Singh, the brutalities of Partition,...… OTOH during the dark days of 1984, it was the BBC Foreign Service (and Mark Tully) which kept the Sikhs within India and outside informed about the true extent of crimes against God and men (and women).

As we understand the (mainly expat) Sikhs still dream of restoring the lost kingdom. The only problem is a corridor to the sea. During the peak revolution days of the 1980s there was a proposal to grab Karachi unbeknownst to patron-in-chief General Zia. Another proposal was to annex Gujarat and establish a corridor via Rajasthan.

The SGPC observed his anniversary at Dewan Manji Sahib hall in the
Golden Temple complex. A religious function was held and prayers were
offered in the memory of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, often described as the
greatest Sikh ruler, whose kingdom stretched from the Sutlej river in
the east to Kabul in Afghanistan.

Besides ‘bhog’ of the ‘Akhand Path’ , ‘hazoori ragis’ of the Golden
Temple performed ‘kirtan’. The religious function was well attended by
devotees and SGPC officials. Giani Balwinder Singh, a ‘granthi’ (priest) of Harminder Sahib
threw light on the mighty Sikh ruler. He recalled the Maharaja’s secular
vision and the respect he accorded to all religions during his reign.

He also recalled the Maharaja’s contributions to the Sikh community
and his role in gold plating and beautification of the Harmandir Sahib
and building several others historic Sikh shrines dedicated to the Sikh

While Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Pakistan Sikh
Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) will observe death anniversary of
Maharaja Ranjit Singh on Sunday, monuments related to him in Amritsar –
Burj Vaniake, where the ruler used to stay and even hold his durbar, and
Pul Kanjari…, largely
remain neglected by the government.
Pul Kanjari has been preserved with
private efforts, but Burj Vaniake’s little fort-like structure is in
dilapidated condition and could cave in any day.

Once a lively
township, Pul Kanjri, about 35km from Amritsar, was built by Maharaja
Ranjit Singh and has a “baradari”, a “baoli” (bathing pool), a temple, a
gurdwara and a mosque. It also houses a tomb called Shah Sikandar ka


Legend has it that Moran….from Makhanpur,
would entertain Maharaja Ranjit Singh with her dances whenever the Sikh
ruler would stay at the “baradari”. Once on her way from Lahore, she
lost her shoe in the canal, which used to provide irrigation water to
the king’s orchards in Shalimar Bagh, Lahore. When Maharaja Ranjit Singh
came to know that his favourite….. was upset after losing her
footwear, he ordered construction of a bridge (pul) across the canal.
Since then, the place is known as Pul Kanjari.


Link: http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/amritsar/prayers-mark-maharaja-ranjit-singh-s-death-anniversary/article1-1235039.aspx



Iraqis screwed but Khilafah restored

The pious lot have done it again. After destroying Syria; a war is being waged on Iraq’s ancient heritage. Death, disease and food shortage is fast catching up with Iraq’s second biggest city-Mosul. Though as per Praveen Swami, nearby UNHRC run refugee camps in Kurd controlled regions are still better off than Delhi’s slums!    

Not satisfied with their grand territorial achievements, ISIS has taken the next step and renamed itself Islamic State (not confined to any country) and on first day of Ramadan, announced a Caliphate with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as “the caliph”- leader for
Muslims everywhere. Some believe this may cause divisions in Jihadist circles as boys with higher personal ambitions may refuse to work under the new Caliph. Nevertheless, for the time being, there seems to be lots of excitement in Jihadi circles. 

Boys closer home also seem to be excited

PS: Going by social media feeds, ISIS boys seem to be way more hiphop than their boring desi cousins-Taliban. Lots of young ‘educated’ recruits from western/globetrotter circles running the show.

PSLV defies Gravity

“…Gravity. I
am told the cost of sending an Indian rocket to space is less than the
money invested in making the Hollywood movie,” ……
Experts say the secret is India’s ability to copy and
adapt existing space technology for its own needs….

As the West evolves it will produce more and more expensive science fiction movies which attempt to show us how civilization will end if we do not mend our high carbon-footprint ways.

OTOH, poor but technically proficient nations like India should be able to show us how low cost technology can improve human lives, even that of westerners. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C23) today helped launch French, German, Canadian and Singaporean satellites. Modi has also spoken about a South Asian (SAARC) satellite. This will be an excellent confidence building measure.

At the end of the day our goal should be to leave behind a world that treats the next generation more humanely than previous ones. Technology can solve many of the problems but in our opinion we have to find new ways of conflict management at the personal, society, national and global level. The human touch is often free of cost but the most valuable. While developing technology let us not ignore the human touch.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed India’s low-cost space
technology on Monday, saying a rocket which launched four foreign
satellites into orbit had cost less to make than the Hollywood film

“India’s domestically-produced Polar Satellite
Launch Vehicle (PSLV) blasted off Monday morning from the southern
spaceport of Sriharikota, carrying satellites from France, Germany,
Canada and Singapore.

“India has the potential to be the launch
service provider of the world and must work towards this goal,” Modi
said from the site one month after coming to power at the head of a
right-wing government.

Satellite launch industry revenues totalled
$2.2 billion in 2012, according to the US Satellite Industry
Association, and India is keen to expand its modest share of this market
as a low-cost provider.

“I have heard about the film Gravity. I
am told the cost of sending an Indian rocket to space is less than the
money invested in making the Hollywood movie,” Modi added.

budget of the British-American 3D sci-fi thriller, starring Sandra
Bullock and George Clooney, was about $100 million, according to
industry website IMDb.

Last year, India launched a bid to become
the first Asian nation to reach Mars with a mission whose price tag was
the envy of space programmes world-wide.

The total cost at 4.5
billion rupees ($73 million) was less than a sixth of the $455 million
earmarked for a Mars probe launched shortly afterwards by US space
agency NASA.

Experts say the secret is India’s ability to copy and
adapt existing space technology for its own needs, and the abundance of
highly-skilled engineers who earn a fraction of their foreign
counterparts’ wages.

Modi said the country must be proud of its space programme, developed in the face of “great international pressure and hurdles”.

sanctions on India after the nation staged a nuclear weapons test in
1974 gave a major thrust to the space programme because New Delhi needed
to develop its own missile technology.


Link: http://www.dawn.com/news/1116107/india-hails-rocket-cheaper-than-hollywood-film-gravity



Dragon slayer

We think islamists (both dictators as well as non-state actors) are monsters for having killed a few million kaffirs. Those numbers pale in comparison to the 40-50 million Han Chinese who were murdered by Mao. There were sons who snitched on their mothers (who were never heard of again). The Chicoms are ever-ready to roll tanks over civilians. All of this happens without the benefit of a dot of remorse or awareness. If anything they are rather proud of their omlette making skills.

Frankly speaking, everything about China/Chinese scares the shit out of the rest of us. The way the Chicoms can lay down dictates (in the next decade birth rate shall be xxx) and the way the people manage to follow such dictates is scary. The way they declared the entire China sea as their property is scary. The way they performed 400 mil abortions by force (essentially eugenics in all but name) is scary.

Just the thought that someone can beat them is a fantasy. Because in order to do so you must stop feeling scared. You must persuade yourself to NOT drop your rifle (metaphorical or not) and run away at the mere sight of the “yellow peril.”

But if you beat them just one time, beat them at their own game, it is like a tiny blob of light that shines out through the fog. Suddenly the fear is gone (even if momentarily). Well done to Sania for having done the impossible.

There is a message in this for India as well. Both Sania and now Smriti Irani (the new education minister) have noted that their families were unhappy with them being born. Just think about that. Abort the world-beaters and you will remain a third-class country for ever. Treasure the girl child and there may yet be some hope to spare. 
Saina Nehwal became the first non-Chinese shuttler to win a women’s
singles Super Series title in 2014 after clinching the Australian
Badminton Open at the State Sports Centre on Sunday.

Olympic bronze medallist defeated Spain’s Carolina Marin 21-18, 21-11 in
43 minutes to win her first Super Series crown in 20 months, after
coming out on top in the Denmark Open in October 2012.

$750,000 tournament in Australia was the eighth Super Series tournament
this year. The previous seven have all been taken by the top Chinese

World No. 3 Yihan Wang won in South Korea and
Singapore, World No. 2 Shixian Wang came out victorious at All England
and India while World No. 1 and reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui won
in Malaysia, Japan and Indonesia.

This was the Hyderabadi’s second title of the season after winning the India Grand Prix Gold in Lucknow in January.

The next Super Series on the circuit is the $500,000 Denmark Open to be held in Odense Oct 14-19.

Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal stands just a win away from clinching her
second title of the year after she stunned world number two and top seed
Chinese Shixian Wang in a gruelling three-game semifinal contest of the
$750,000 Star Australian Open Super Series here on Saturday.

Sixth-seeded Saina prevailed 21-19, 16-21, 21-15 in a marathon match, which lasted an hour and 16 minutes.

“Beat world number 2 Wang Shixian in a tough 3 game match. Through to
the final of the Australian Open super series!” tweeted the Indian after
recording her fifth overall win against the Chinese nemesis, which took
their head-to-head record to 5-3.

Saina, who had ended up on
the losing side in their previous two encounters — the most recent
being the All England Championships, showed tremendous grit to outsmart
the top-seeded Wang.

As expected, it was evenly-contested battle between the two players, who are pretty familiar with each others tactics.

In the opening game, it went neck and neck till 19-19 before Saina broke away to seal the issue in her favour.

Not the one to give up easily, Wang roared back in the second game. The
two players were even till the 16th point but Wang broke off from that
point to draw level with Saina.

However, Saina proved in the
final battle of attrition and won the deciding third game rather
comprehensively to enter the final.

Saina had earlier this year won the India Open Grand Prix Gold in Delhi.

Link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/badminton/Saina-Nehwal-first-non-Chinese-to-win-Super-Series-in-2014/articleshow/37454532.cms



Kashmir: End of Militancy but not of Militarisation

A decade back, More people were dying every month in militancy-countermilitancy associated violence in J&K than there are now in entire year! Total casualties have fallen to the level when militancy began (1988-89) and  unlike the bad old days, most casualties nowadays are of the militants (and not civilians).
Security Force Personnel










*Data till June 22,
2014 (Source: South Asia Terrorism Portal) 

In an
ideal scenario, end of militant violence ought to be followed by
demilitarisation and a political settlement with the weakened militant
elements. The script has been played out in Bodoland, Nagaland and Mizoram with
decent results (though inter-ethnic/tribal violence is yet end in Nagaland and
Bodoland). There has indeed been less visible military presence in Valley’s cities. But, right now, prospects of complete demilitarisation or any significant ‘drawdown’ from Valley’s internal cities seem
dim for several reasons:
  1. Elections and a cautious
    Indian State:

    Kashmir Valley recorded the lowest regional turnout in Indian
    Parliamentary elections. Barring Kupwara district and a few Shia/Gujjar
    dominated pockets; Separatists largely succeeded in ensuring a boycott in
    Valley- at places (Srinagar’s Bemian, Sopore) through genuine sympathy for
    Hurriyat’s call; and at other places (rural South Kashmir) through
    assassination of Panches & creating a fear-psychosis. This has been a slap on the face for Indian State. Now, the State assembly elections are
    due later this year. Usually, State and Panchayat (unlike National)
    elections, record decent turnout in Valley. Given the ignominy faced in
    Parliamentary polls, Indian state would not like to do anything radical,
    that holds the potential to spoil the state elections (and discredit
    itself further).
  2. BJP in Centre: With BJP in Power, even Article 370, is no longer a holy cow. 
    Defence Minister Jaitley has already made trips to Srinagar,
    mainly to assess the Security preparedness against Terrorist
    threats. Modi will do the same in early July.  
  3. Kashmiri Pandit Repatriation:
    There have been some
    overtures by Central and State Government, for resettling Kashmiri Pandits
    in Valley. Whether these overtures materialise or not, talk for the same
    means there will have to be Central security forces in valley to reassure
    Pandit community.
  4. Af-Pak muddle next door and
    ISIL, Al-Shabab, Boko-Haram adventures in far off lands:
    Requires no further elaboration.
There is
little doubt that in past, Central Governments in Delhi have acted in a
autocratic manner (spark for insurgency itself was started by a rigged state
assembly election in 1987) and there exists a really huge and horrible laundry
list of rights violation by the security forces stationed there with virtually
no convictions. At times, Kashmiri students have also been attacked by their
hypernationalist college mates in North India.
said that, It has to be recognised that (unlike her esteemed neighbors) as of
today; Kashmir is free of polio, and (unlike Syrians, Afghans, Sri Lanka’s
Tamilians and Pakistan’s Ahmedis/Shias) Kashmiris are not jumping onto
overcrowded boats in Indian ocean or crossing over to neighboring countries for
political or religious asylum (infact many
who did cross LoC, at peak of militancy, now wish to return home
Nor do Kashmiris go around blowing themselves in mainland Indian cities. Also
despite out-migration of Valley’s Pandits and multiple attacks by separatist
militants in Jammu’s temples and pilgrims in past, by and large, Jammu region’s
communal harmony has been retained (leaving aside 1947 killings). Things could have been a lot  worse. Credit (be it
to the local culture or the Security forces) must be given, where it is due.
Or is it a case of Confirmation Bias? I am
no longer in immediate demilitarisation camp
A year
back, I would have backed complete demilitarisation of Valley and handing law
and order entirely to Local Police. But events in Iraq, Nigeria and Pakistan
have turned me into an agnostic inclined towards holding one’s ground. Given the existing popular disenchantment amongst
the Sunni Kashmiri majority and presence of significant Islamist firepower in region; there
is a very realistic chance of many a cities
falling into the hands of Islamist militants as soon as Central
military/para-military forces withdraws- assuming here that J&K State
police is no better than State Police elsewhere in India and like Iraq- if push
comes to the shove, Police may very well switch sides or simply run away
This, in my view, will
not be followed by any dawn of Azadi. Instead like Waziristan, Northern Sri Lanka, and now Tikrit; Fighter Jets and heavy artillery may end up bombing the
entire place to retake cities, causing major civilian casualties and mass
migrations. Kashmiri separatists, even with Pakistani assistance, are too small a lot to defeat India by force. How all of this will impact with Jammu’s (if not rest of India’s)
multireligious settlements is anybody’s guess. What looks certain is that, end
result could very well be far far worse than the present ground situation and
would take decades to heal. For long-lasting peace and prosperity in Kashmir Valley, A popular
political reconciliation/settlement in a hate free environment has to be the
goal; but at the moment, priority, has to be not allowing Kashmir to descend into
a Syria/Afghan level hellhole.

Indian Navy on watch at the Gates of Hell

The old man implores comrades to repent…”Look at me, I am digging my own grave…”. The video ends abruptly with what
looks like the swish of a blade falling upon the victim and a
one-word caption: “slaughtered”.

It is starting to look like a real Grapes of Wrath scenario. Indian warships have now moved to the Persian Gulf and emergency evacuations may be ordered. Last time such mass scale evacuations happened were the Libyan war in 2011 and the Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006 (when 2,500 Indians, Sri Lankans and Nepalese migrants were evacuated from Lebanon).

Our heart goes out to the hundreds of men (also women) who must be in mortal danger from these all-out loonies. A serious suggestion for people who are in touch- please request the captives to convert to Islam. It may mean the difference between life and death. Nothing matters apart from survival- you do not want to be digging your own grave.

An Indian naval warship reached the
Persian Gulf on Saturday as part of New Delhi’s contingency plans for a possible
evacuation of Indians stranded in Iraq.
The navy has deployed INS Mysore, a
6,900-tonne guided missile destroyer, in the Persian Gulf to cut down on
reaction time if orders for evacuation are given.
A navy source said there was no
official word on a possible evacuation but the warship had been put on standby.
“We have assets deployed in the western Arabian Sea and these could be
used to bring back Indian nationals if required,” he added.
INS Mysore was among the warships
involved in evacuating Indian nationals from Libya more than three years ago.
warship, INS Tarkash, is in the Gulf of Aden. Though INS Tarkash is
there for anti-piracy operations, it is ready to take on any new task,
sources said.

The navy had evacuated more than
2,500 Indians and foreign nationals from Lebanon in July 2006 following the war
between Israel and the Hezbollah.

As jihadists storm through the
Sunni heartlands of Iraq towards Baghdad, where a Shi’ite
government they regard as heretic clings on, they have lifted
the veil on deep sectarianism which has also stoked the fires of
Syria’s civil war and is spilling over into vulnerable mosaic
societies such as Lebanon.

The sectarian genie is now well out of the bottle, eclipsing
traditional inter-state rivalries that plague the Middle East –
even if these still play a part in the drama.

“There is no sense of common identity and therefore wherever
there is a division of power like in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and
Bahrain they end up fighting over who wins. It has become a
winner take all situation,” said Middle East academic and former
State Department official Vali Nasr, also a Senior Fellow at
Brookings Institution.
“This is being driven from both top down and bottom up.”

Glimpses of the savagery of this sectarianism have
multiplied as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),
an al Qaeda splinter group which aims to carve out a Caliphate
in the heart of the Middle East, captured a string of north and
central Iraqi cities in June.

One video posted by ISIL shows its fighters storming the
house of an old man and accusing him and his two young sons of
fighting in the Iraqi army under Nuri al-Maliki, the Shi’ite
Islamist prime minister.

As the captives dig their own graves, a fighter taunts them,
“You’re tired, Yes? Dig, dig more, where is Maliki to come and
save you? Why did you join Maliki’s army?”

The old man implores comrades to repent and break ranks with
the army, saying: “Look at me, I am digging my own grave, they
came to my home and took me”. The video ends abruptly with what
looks like the swish of a blade falling upon the victim and a
one-word caption: “slaughtered”.

An ISIL leader reached by Reuters via Skype makes clear this
brutality is a considered policy as his movement builds its
cross-border Islamic State.

“We will deal with Maliki’s followers and his filthy state
according to righteous Islamic law”, he says. “Whoever comes to
us repentant before we have the upper hand upon him, will be one
of us; but the one who insists in fighting us and on his
infidelity and apostasy, he’ll have to face the consequences”.

Disowned even by al-Qaeda, ISIL has taken hate speech to a
new level in Iraq, denouncing Shi’ites as “dogs of Maliki”, or
as “reviled and impure rejectionists (rafadah)”.

They proclaim that “death is the only language the Shi’ite
Marjaiyah (clerical leaders) and their rotten gangs understand”.

The Shi’ite side has responded in kind, posting videos of
Sunnis being executed. In one, groups of men shot randomly, some
in the head, lie next to each other in what appears to be a room
with blood splashed on the wall and bullet holes everywhere.

Religion, many analysts say, is being deployed as a weapon
to galvanise rival interests, but is taking on a virulent
sectarian life of its own, sometimes escaping the control of
those wielding the weapon.

“National identities in these countries are eroding and
sectarian identities are becoming more prominent,” Nasr said.

In Iraq, says Professor Charles Tripp at London University’s
School of Oriental and African Studies, the process began in the
1990s when Saddam Hussein, the dictator toppled in 2003, started
a “piety campaign” to solidify support for his otherwise secular
regime in the face of crippling international sanctions.

This indiscriminate encouragement of Sunni Salafism and
Shi’ism encouraged “sectarian entrepreneurs who found it very
profitable to mobilise people around religion or sect”.

In a process which continued under Maliki, the poison of
sectarian prejudice hardened into bigotry, exploited by leaders
who fell into “an awful bidding war” to claim religious
legitimacy, Tripp says. Regional players also cloaked their
pursuit of geopolitical advantage in religion, he adds.

While enmity between Islam’s two competing sects has often
been fierce and bloody, it now spreads over huge swathes of
territory from the eastern Mediterranean to Iraq, the Gulf and

“It is neither solely religious nor purely political; the
two mix and feed upon each other, with personal interests and
geopolitical confrontations pouring petrol on the flames,” said
Tarek Osman, author of the “Perilous Scenario in the Eastern

Sectarian wars, Osman says, are also occurring at a time
when Arab societies are undergoing a transformation from the old
political order following the ousting of autocratic leaders, who
have ruled for decades to a new, as yet undefined, order.

And for the first time in the last 150 years, the region is
witnessing the emergence of highly assertive, well-armed,
jihadist groups that are dominating the plains from eastern
Syria to western Iraq, and gradually carving for themselves
quasi-statelets that they aim to have as permanent entities.

“If that happens, it will not only be a peril to all
sovereign states in this part of the world, not only to
religious minorities, but to all of the societies,” Osman said.

On the ground, it is hard to imagine Maliki regaining Sunni
provinces he lost to ISIL with Iraq’s army, a force which exists
more on paper than on the ground. But regaining it with
Iranian-trained Shi’ite militias such as Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq is
also a recipe for sectarian slaughter, experts say.

Many predict the fighting will go on until all sects – from
Syria to Iraq – Shi’ites, Sunnis, Kurds and Alawites carve up
their own fiefdoms even if they stay within the same
international borders.

The clearest emerging enclave is the northern Kurdish
autonomous region, which has been more than 20 years in the
making and which experts say could be permanent.


Link (1): – http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/iraqonthebrink/indian-navy-deploys-warship-in-persian-gulf/article

Link (2): http://in.reuters.com/


Animal carers, please beware!!!

The first lesson of driving that we remember is what to do when you encounter a deer on the road (upstate New York is full of deers and too many related accidents).

Now we have a duck(ling) lover who parks her car recklessly and goes looking for the mother of the little ones…as a result a father and daughter will never come back home….now the animal lover gets a life sentence….so many wrongs will never add up to make a right. 

Canadian woman who parked her car on a highway to help a group of
ducklings on the side of the road was found guilty of causing the deaths
of a motorcyclist and his passenger daughter who slammed into her car.

Emma Czornobaj was convicted by a jury on two counts of criminal
negligence causing death, a charge that carries a maximum life sentence,
and two counts of dangerous driving causing death, which comes with a
maximum of 14 years in jail.

The 25-year-old was charged with the deaths of Andre Roy, 50, and his
daughter Jessie, 16. She wiped away tears when the verdict was
delivered to a packed courtroom in Montreal.  

Quebec Superior Court
Justice Eliane Perreault said the 12 jurors voted unanimously.

Roy’s motorcycle slammed into Czornobaj’s car, which was stopped in
the left lane of a highway south of Montreal in 2010. Czornobaj, a
self-professed animal-lover, told the court that she did not see the
ducklings’ mother anywhere and planned to capture them and take them

Defence lawyer Marc Labelle said his client was stunned by the jury’s decision.

“The fact that she was involved in the accident in the first place
was a hard experience for her,” he said. “The fact that she had to go
through a trial with a lot of publicity was tough and to be confirmed by
12 citizens, the jury, that the conduct was criminal is a hard blow.”

Pauline Volikakis, whose husband and daughter were killed in the
collision, briefly fought back tears when she left the courtroom. “I
don’t wish misfortune on anyone,” Volikakis said. “It’s time that we go
on. This will not bring (back) my loved ones.”

Prosecutor Annie-Claude Chasse had a warning for motorists: “What we
hope is that a clear message is sent to society that we do not stop on
the highway for animals. It’s not worth it.”


Link: http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1537916/canadian-woman-guilty-causing-deaths-after-parking-car-help-ducks



“I felt shocked, surprised, dazed”

“You ..will lose all of us. We may never
associate ourselves with you again. Please cancel this event. We will
all stick together.” 

The cultural Left was probably stronger (and more ruthless) when it was dominated by upper-class (super-caste) marxists.  However with their political fortunes evaporating marxists are losing out in the cultural stock market as well.

The Lenin-Mao devotees are now being supplanted by Ambedkar worshipers, with upper-class neo-dalits such as S Anand in leadership roles (somethings will never change). Such an organic (and indigenous) movement will hopefully be more resilient against the forthcoming right-wing onslaught.

Dear Ranvir Shah and friends at Prakriti Foundation, Chennai

Recently (19 June 2014), when I received the latest email invitation
from Prakriti for a book launch, I almost did not register what I was
seeing. Then I asked myself “who is this poet Ravi Mantha and why does
he look like Modi?” It took me a minute to figure out he was actually
the translator of Modi’s so-called poems, published as A Journey by Rupa. I felt shocked, surprised, dazed.

Modi and poetry? And Ranvir Shah/Prakriti launching this? Does
Ranvir believe there’s any merit in Modi’s verse—described as “poems on
love and longing, devotion to god and nature”—as translated by Ravi

Since Prakriti has hosted themed documentary festivals (one of which I had curated in 2007) and since Prakriti has curated an annual poetry festival
in which scores of young and old poets, men and women, of all castes
and religions, of all languages and regions, of all sexual
orientations, artists of varying talents and factions, of different
races and nations, have read their work, I find your promotion of
Modi’s book of poems deeply disturbing. 

Especially since you said in an
“My own inspiration has come from celebrated names in poetry,
including Walt Whitman, A.K. Ramanujan and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, who
have moved me immensely.” Do we need to remind you what happened to
Ramanujan’s book in Delhi University, and the forces that were behind it?

Since I have known you personally, and since you have supported
Navayana’s work earlier, I thought I should keep an open mind and talk
to you. Did you really see merit in this book? And that’s why I called
you. I just wanted to ask you why you were doing this.  I am sure you
had thought this through, but I still wanted to hear you out. 

defence shocked me more. You said, this was just a “marketing tactic”
and you said you were doing this so that more people come to your Amdavadi Snack House
in Chennai, and eat your dhoklas and theplas. “If Modi’s poetry will
bring them in, so be it.” I could not believe this. I felt angry and
even betrayed.

I kept asking whether you saw any merit in Modi’s poetry.
You never answered that question. After my call, you said you
understood my concerns and anxieties and said you will write a mail to
me. That mail has not come, despite reminders; it may never be written. 

So I am asking you now, in public, through this open letter to you,
especially since I feel I can speak for the many poets
whose work I love and respect (some of whom Navayana has
published)—Ranjit Hoskote, Meena Kandasamy, Sukirtharani, N.D.
Rajkumar, Shaikh Yakoob, Prabodh Parekh,Cheran, the late Dilip Chitre,
Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih, Kutti Revathi, Michael Creighton, K.
Satchidanandan, Jerry Pinto, Karthika Nair, Tenzin Tsundue, Vivek
Narayanan, Nirupama Dutt, Nabina Das, Danish Hussain, etc.—poets who
have read their works at your poetry festival, poets who have read the
works of dead and living poets that they have taken the pains to bring
alive through translations. Poets, artists, academicians, filmmakers and
many citizens who have not participated in or attended any Prakriti
event will also wonder why.

I told you, “You may get people who think Modi can write poetry to
visit your snack house. But you will lose all of us. We may never
associate ourselves with you again. Please cancel this event. We will
all stick together.” You of course made it clear you will not do that. I
am also not sure if I can speak for others who may continue to attend
your festivals, learn to move on, etc. 

Much earlier, Chandrahas Choudhury, the fiction and poetry editor at Caravan
magazine, wrote about “the surprising poignancy of Narendra Modi’s
poetry”. That was an individual writing in a public blog, and this
largely went unnoticed, though I meekly expressed my amusement.
The translator, now your guest, even thanked Choudhury for “looking at
these poems largely through literary eyes”. I suppose such
ground-clearing exercises have led us to this moment of reckoning.

Believe me, I—and many like me—would have been as upset had you
organised a launch for Kapil Sibal’s poems. But perhaps, yes, we would
have been also a little amused. But with Modi, not so much. One of the
things you told me on the phone was: “Anand, I am not political.”But as I
said, the very act of hosting a launch for Modi’s book of poems is
political; and I reminded you that Navayana and the work I do are indeed
intensely political. Neutrality is the most vulgar political position,
especially when the most bigoted partisans are calling the shots and you
want to play along, and even host them.

You are helping the launch of a book whose author has a missionary friend called Dinanath Batra, who has been targeting one book after another and seems to have a huge list. (Megha Kumar’s ‘withdrawn’ book is about Ahmedabad
—will you help her launch it at your Amdavadi if someone finally
manages to publish it?) His other friends at the RSS, one of India’s biggest NGOs , have been trying to smuggle in their bigoted version of history into textbooks . 

And as I write this, yet another Shubha Mudgal concert has been cancelled, in Banaglore this time. She was also bullied recently by a ‘Modi fan’. And academicians are being denied visas to India, NGOs and civil society groups are being targeted.

And now you say you just want to just sell dhokla through what passes for poetry. I hope we can induce you to rethink.


Link: http://www.outlookindia.com/printarticle.aspx?291154



Sarees are beautiful (but no forcing)

The ruling is quite correct in our opinion, even if we do happen to love sarees- a thumbs down for the patriarchy, howsoever insignificant is always welcome. A kurta-jeans combination probably works best for both working men and women.

Speaking of sarees it would be nice if the elite class – the one which moves from air-conditioned house to a/c car to a/c shop to a/c workplace – patronizes the dress a bit more. The working class really cant afford that simple looking but elegant cotton saree @ 5,000 rupees. Such patronage will help keep the small-scale saree weavers solvent. Certainly the ladies can afford to do a bit for the artisan class, no?

Objecting to wife wearing Kurta and
Jeans and forcing her to wear saree amounts to cruelty inflicted by
husband and can be a ground to seek divorce, a family court here has

The wife pleaded that after marriage in December 2010, her husband did
not buy her any clothes and therefore she had purchased Kurta and Jeans
from her salary earnings. However, the husband did not allow her to wear
them, saying she should wear only sarees.

In her order was passed on June 24, Principal Judge of Family Court, Dr
Laxmi Rao, granted divorce to the wife on the ground of cruelty as
defined under section 27(1)(d) of Special Marriage Act, 1954.

“In view of the averments made in the petition which have gone
unchallenged, it can be said that the petitioner has proved her case,
hence, she can be granted divorce as prayed by her. Her plea that she
was restrained from wearing jeans and Kurta amounts to cruelty as
defined under the Act,” the judge held.

The wife further alleged that her husband and in-laws had asked her to
bring Rs one lakh from her house or face dire consequences. They also
asked her to quit her job but she had refused to toe their line.

The wife alleged that she was tortured and humiliated as a result of
which she suffered mental depression and her life became miserable. She
also alleged that her in-laws harassed her on one pretext or the other
and warned that if she failed to bring dowry she would face dire

The wife told the court that on March 15, 2011, she was thrown out of
her matrimonial house as she failed to bring the money. Since then till
date she is compelled to stay at her parents house at their mercy as she
is now jobless.

The petitioner said that her husband had never made attempts to bring
her back home in Ambarnath town of Thane district where the couple
lived. On the contrary, he sent vulgar SMS messages to her and her
parents on their mobile phones in a bid to harass them and damage their

The wife said she had lodged a police complaint against her husband who
worked in a BPO in suburban Malad and earned Rs 28,000 per month. 

“I find that she has made out a case for divorce as contemplated
under section 27(1)(d) of Special Marriage Act, which contemplates that a
divorce can be granted if respondent has treated the petitioner with
cruelty,” the Judge observed.

However, the court, while granting divorce, rejected the wife’s plea for
permanent alimony of Rs 10,000 because her application for maintenance
is pending in the court. The Judge also asked the husband to pay Rs
5,000 to wife towards cost of litigation.


Link: http://www.outlookindia.com/news/printitem.aspx?847068



Brown Pundits