Saudis execute (1977) innocents

No not the Shias in the Eastern Provinces, not even the Alawaites of Syria, just a few protected (ha ha ha) birds in Balochistan. One commentator put the best spin forward when he suggested that the prince must have got confused between “endangered” and “abundant.”

Will the Riyal-khors ($1.5 Bil) now stand up against this flagrant violation of rules displayed by His Excellency? How about considering a blanket ban on “chidiya shikar?”
A Saudi prince has poached over 2,100 internationally
protected houbara bustards in 21-day hunting safari in Chagai,
Balochistan, during which the royal also indulged in illegal hunting in
protected areas, says a report.

report titled ‘Visit of Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
regarding hunting of houbara bustard’ prepared by Jaffar Baloch,
divisional forest officer of the Balochistan forest and wildlife
department, Chagai at Dalbandin, says the prince hunted for 21 days –
from Jan 11, 2014 to Jan 31– and hunted 1,977 birds, while other members
of his party hunted an additional 123 birds, bringing the total bustard
toll to 2,100, sources said.

They said that
hunting of the internationally protected bird was banned in Pakistan
also, but the federal government issued special permits to Gulf states’
royals. Permits, which are person specific and
could not be used by anyone else, allow the holders to hunt up to100
houbara bustards in 10 days in the area allocated, excluding reserved
and protected areas.

The report dated Feb 4, 2014
(No: 216-219 HB/CHI) says that during the 21-day safari the prince
hunted the birds for 15 days in the reserved and protected areas,
poached birds in other areas for six days and took rest for two days.

Giving a breakup of date-wise as well as area-wise
details of the prince’s expedition, the report says that he hunted 112
houbara bustards in the Gut game sanctuary (Arbe pat) which is a
reserved and protected area on Jan 11, 2014.

The next two days on Jan 12 and 13th he hunted 116 and 93 birds in
the Gut game sanctuary (Sai Rek) which is also a reserved and protected
area. Then for the next two days Prince Fahd, who is also governor of
Tabuk, visited Sato Gut and hunted 82 and 80 houbaras on Jan 14 and 15,
respectively. On Jan 16, he visited Gut-i-Barooth and hunted 79
houbaras. Both these areas are not protected areas, says the report.

For the next six days the Saudi royal camped in the
Koh-i-Sultan state forest, which is a reserved and protected area, and
hunted 93, 82, 94, 97, 96 and 120 houbara bustards on Jan 17, 18, 19,
20, 21 and 22, respectively.

On Jan 23 and 24, he
continued his hunting spree in the Gut game sanctuary (Dam), which is a
reserved as well as protected area, and hunted 116 and 197 houbara
bustards, respectively.

The prince carried out
hunting of the protected bird in Thalo Station and hunted 89 houbara
bustards on Jan 25 and spent the next two days hunting the birds in Pul
Choto, killing 34 and 89 birds on Jan 26 and 27, respectively. Both of
these areas are neither reserved nor protected, says the report.

The remaining four days, Prince Fahd spent in the Gut
game sanctuary, a reserved as well as protected area, and hunted 92, 94,
119 and 97 birds on Jan 28, 29, 30, and 31, respectively. The royal
guest took rest on Feb 1 and 2 at the Bar Tagzai base camp after
bringing the grand total of his trophies to 1,977.

The report
says: “123 birds were hunted by local representatives and other
labourers of the hunting party. The total bustards hunted by Prince Fahd
bin Abdul Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud are 1,977 and total bustards
hunted by local representatives and other labourers are 123 bringing the
grand total to 2100”.



Animist Army vs. Christian Crusaders

The Church had sinned by engaging in a spot of idolatry (blasphemy??) by portraying Mother Mary as a tribal lady with Baby Jesus in a sling. The Animists are not prepared to take this outrage lying down and now a (century old) fight is reaching its Waterloo phase. With the fading of the Catholic-Parsi-Brahmin First Family of India from the scene the Christians will have a tough time (post elections) in keeping their ranks united and their flanks protected.


Two months before polling began in Jharkhand, Ajay Tirkey began dividing
his day between campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party in Ranchi
and attending to his real estate business. Mr. Tirkey, who heads the
Central Sarna Committee(CSC), with lakhs of animistic Sarna tribals as members in urban parts of Ranchi, Gumla and Hazaribagh,
believes that the BJP’s Narendra Modi will get the community what it
has been demanding for decades: the distinction of being a minority
religion with all attendant benefits.
“We submitted a memorandum to Modi
in December to introduce a Sarna code in the census, and [the] BJP’s
State leaders agreed,” he says.

Mr. Tirkey owns the commercial
complex we are sitting in. “This is a century-old fight. I have not let
the Christians get away with conversions since I became the head in
2000,” he says. “We broke the walls of a church in Tape in Ormanjhi
while it was being constructed. There was a case of conversion of five
families in Ghagrajala village in Ranchi; we re-converted three. Then a
few families in Gaitalsud, Angada, of whom only one member escaped
because he worked somewhere else. He has not come back since; he fears
us,” he recounts, beaming.

Mr. Tirkey, the BJP’s mayoral candidate from Ranchi in 2013, describes the “re-conversion” ceremonies as being similar to the ghar-waapsi (homecoming)
ceremonies conducted by BJP leader Dilip Singh Judeo in Chhattisgarh,
in the mid-2000s. Mr. Judeo used to wash the feet of the converted
person with holy water and declare the person Hindu again. Sarnas, Mr.
Tirkey says, besides washing feet, made the converted person taste a
drop of blood of a freshly sacrificed rooster and sprinkled water on
them. A member of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh’s Vanvasi Kalyan
Ashram (VKA) or Dharam Jagran usually accompanied CSC members for this
ceremony, he says. Sitting by Mr. Tirkey’s side, Manoj Kumar, a member
of the BJP’s Jharkhand Kisan Morcha Pradesh Samiti, nods in agreement.

In the last century, religious conversions in the Chotanagpur region
have led to tensions. The first missionaries to arrive were the German
Protestants in 1845, followed by the Catholics. The rift between
Christian and non-Christian tribals was visible in 1947-48. Concerned
with the growing influence of Christians, Sarna leaders formed a ‘Sudhar
Sabha,’ notes academic Dr. Alex Ekka in an essay on the Jharkhand

The former captain of the Indian hockey team, Jaipal Singh Munda, is
credited with getting equal rights including reservations for Christian
tribals, as a member of the Constituent Assembly. A few Sarna leaders
opposed this move then. Congress MP Kartik Oraon introduced a bill in
Parliament in 1968 to de-schedule Christian tribals, albeit

The Jan Sangh and the RSS began making inroads in the Chotanagpur region
in the 1960s, initiating developmental activities in forest villages to
counter the growing reach of Christian missionaries. While the VKA
already has a strong presence in the Gumla and Latehar districts of West
Jharkhand, more recently it has focused on increasing its influence in
Sahebganj and Pakur along the State’s border with West Bengal, close to
Bangladesh. Both districts feature in a map of areas from Uttar Pradesh
to the north-east as “Areas of high Muslim and Christian influence” in a
publication by Sankat Mochan Ashram, New Delhi.

“The church was trying to proselytize in Pakur but slowed down after we increased our presence. We recently performed ghar-waapsi
for 50 families there. Sarna groups are doing re-conversions themselves
now; we prefer it this way. We explain to them that 2000 years ago, we
worshipped trees. Sarnas are Hindu too,” says Prakash Kamat, the
Bihar-Jharkhand zonal secretary of the VKA.

Tribals constitute 26.3 per cent of Jharkhand’s population. According to
the 2001 Census, of the State’s population of 3.29 crore, 68.5 per cent
are Hindus and 13.8 per cent are Muslims. Only four per cent follow
Christianity. Though Sarnas, who worship their ancestors and nature, are
not counted separately, they make up most of the ‘Other’ category,
estimated at 11 to 13 per cent of the population. Sarna groups claim
that the actual numbers may be higher, given the absence of a separate
category for them. A common perception is that despite their small
numbers, Christian tribals have better access to higher education and
jobs. Whether due to economic disparities or the stoking of enmities by
different religious groups, the chasm between Sarna and Christian
tribals has widened.

The most stark instance of this was in 2013 when a spate of protests
erupted in Ranchi soon after the Cardinal Telesphore Toppo unveiled the
statue of a “tribal” Mary — a dark-skinned Mother Mary wearing a white
and red saree and bangles, holding an infant Jesus in a sling, as is
common among tribal women. Sarna dharamguru Bandhan Tigga,
considered more moderate than Ajay Tirkey’s group, gave the Church three
months to remove the statue, describing it as a conversion tactic. In
August, over 3,000 Sarna tribals marched to the site, a small Catholic
church in Singpur on Ranchi’s outskirts, threatening to bring it down.

The police imposed Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code in the area to
stop the protesters. Three days later, a FIR was registered against
members of Sarna groups after they threatened families in Ormanjhi, 50
km from Singpur, who had converted to Protestantism several years ago,
to re-convert to Sarna religion within a week, even breaking the gate of
the house of one of the families.

Sources close to the Cardinal claim he had not known that the statue was
that of a “tribal” Mary before he reached the parish for the
inauguration, but have chosen to stay silent, fearing that a step back
now may only weaken the church’s position. Before this, in 2008, the
church was on the back foot when Sarna groups questioned the ‘Nemha
Bible’ published by a Lutheran church in the tribal language, Kuduk,
which they said contained portions offensive to animistic worship.

In Singpur, the residents still recount last year’s protests cautiously.
“Thousands marched from Dhurva to the parish. While the march had been
called by Sarna groups, several Bajrang Dal members wearing saffron
bands marched with them. Even tribals from neighbouring Odisha,
Chhattisgarh districts reached here,” recalled a member of the
community. It was done by evoking Sarnas’ pride, say Dharam Jagran



Hindu-Jewish-Amrika axis exposed!!!

The one true Leader, despised by secularists (liberals), full of fighting spirit against Pakistan (Russia), the maestro preparing to unleash the magic of the free market on impoverished peasants, this is indeed the second coming of Ronald Wilson Reagan.

BTW Cohen is a Jewish title and he was an associate of GW Bush. By definition this makes him a neo-con who must be engaged in stitching up a Hindu-Jew-Amrika pact. Arundhati Roy will be responding shortly with an in-depth accounting of the anticipated treacheries by this axis of evil. Reihan Salam will be pleased (but what about Bangladeshis…in Bangladesh??).

Both Mr. Modi and Mr. Reagan rose from humble origins. Both were popular
and successful State leaders: Reagan was “chief minister” (governor, as
we say) of my home state of California. Mr. Modi, like Mr. Reagan, is
an unabashed proponent of free market economics: the term “Modinomics”
is of course a nod to “Reaganomics.”

A major common denominator between the two men is the nature of their
Like the U.S., India has cultural elitists who seem to
desperately crave the approval of their former colonial masters in
Europe. The Indian cultural elite despises Mr. Modi every bit as much as
the American cultural elite despised Mr. Reagan.
They look down their
noses at Mr. Modi, cringing at the thought of being led by a common chai wallah (“tea
seller,” as I translated it for my U.S. readers) who can barely speak
(I could never imagine Chinese or Russian citizens, proud of
their own heritage, being ashamed that their leaders don’t speak

The cultural elites labelled Mr. Reagan as a racist…..Mr. Modi, of course, is also labelled by his critics as a “communalist.”
I would call that roughly equivalent to the “racist” epithet that
Americans hurl at one another.
I must admit that as an outside observer, I often find the terms of
debate in India’s mainstream media to be confusing. As I understand it,
if you favor allowing citizens to be treated differently on the basis
of their religious beliefs, then you are an open-minded “secularist.”
If, on the other hand, you favour treating all citizens equally under
the law, without regard to their religion, then you are a “religious
It is comforting to learn that my country is not the only
one with a mainstream media that uses Orwellian doublespeak to support
its left-leaning agenda. (And I say that with all apologies and due
respect to this great newspaper, which has kindly offered me a forum!)

Mr. Modi, of course, promises to take a tough stand against
Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. In this regard, I reminded my American
readers that Islamic extremists are not fighting against the “West.”
Islamist extremists are fighting against all non-Islamic societies,
including Buddhists in Thailand; Christians in Nigeria, the Philippines,
Chechnya, Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan and
Timor-Leste; Jews in Israel; minority communities throughout the Muslim
world — and, quite prominently, Hindus in India.
India is very much on
the front lines of what we Americans used to call the War on Terror,
before our leaders lost the nerve to name it. Mr. Modi — his assertive
posture against Pakistan reminiscent of Mr. Reagan’s stance against the
Soviet Union — should be a valuable natural ally for the U.S.

As one who lived through Reaganomics, I believe that Modinomics can be
the perfect antidote to the kleptocratic crony socialism that has kept
India from realising her vast economic potential.
If India’s natural
entrepreneurial dynamism is ever fully unleashed, the sky will be the
limit. I am persuaded by the evidence (hotly debated in an election
season, of course) that shows that economic growth in Gujarat under Mr.
Modi has been a boon to all segments of society, especially the poor. I
am just sharing my view as an observer, and of course respect that it is
for the people of India to decide what is best for them.

(David B. Cohen served in the administration of President George W.
Bush as U.S. Representative to the Pacific Community, as Deputy
Assistant Secretary of the Interior, and as a member of the President’s
Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.)



We murder our brothers (because we hate others)

This is the essential logic of Hizbul Mujahidin and the other freedom fighters (in Kashmir and elsewhere). Power flows out of the barrel of a gun etc.

Thing is, this can (will) go on forever. We do not envisage the Valley people ever reconciling with Indians in Jammu and elsewhere. Too much blood has already been spilled.

If we include Kashmir in the MENA sphere it seems to be the fate of the Ummah to face down this daily ugliness in their lives with no end in sight. The health problems (physical as well as mental) of staying in a war zone are well documented. It seems the best place for a muslim (except for a few city states) is to be as far away as possible from the muslim heartlands.
Militants killed two local officials and another man in Indian Kashmir before issuing a warning to Kashmiris against voting this week in the country’s election, according to police and residents.
militants targeted two village council chiefs in separate attacks late
on Monday in Pulwana district, south of the main city of Srinagar, a
senior police officer said.

“Three people including two village
heads were killed by local militants active in the area and the attack
is aimed to keep the voters away from polling,” AG Mir, the inspector
general of police, said.

“The attackers belong to the local
militant organisation Hizbul Mujahideen, they were two in number and we
have identified them,” Mir said.

Police were hunting for the
attackers, who entered the home of one village head and shot him dead in
the Tral area of Pulwana district. They killed another senior village
official and his 24-year-old son about an hour later in the same area.

have called for a boycott of the general election, which ends next
month. Hardline Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi and his party are
expected to take power after a decade of Congress party rule.

warning residents of punishment if they went to the polls appeared
early on Tuesday morning in the Tral area where the attacks happened,
according to residents.

Voting in India’s
only Muslim-majority state of Kashmir and Jammu is being staggered
because of tight security. The Kashmir constituency, which includes
Pulwana district, votes on Thursday.

The warnings, which say they
are from the region’s biggest rebel group, the Hizbul Mujahideen, were
posted outside mosques and in the main bazaar of Tral town. “Be warned,
voting for tyrants will entail punishment,” the posters say.

rebels say in the posters that they have been compelled to change their
“freedom movement” strategy from “defensive” to “offensive” mode.

local resident, who did not want to give his name, told AFP that “about
four armed rebels appeared on Sunday in the main bazaar of Tral
threatening people to dissociate themselves from those fighting (in) the

In a similar attack on 17 April, a village council
head was shot dead elsewhere in the Himalayan region, which is disputed
between India and Pakistan.

At least a dozen council members have been killed by suspected rebels since elections were held in 2010 for the region’s panchayat or village councils.

heads have demanded the government provide security for the more than
30,000 local council members in the wake of Monday night’s attacks.



Nirvana-stan welcomes you (arrive, inspect, deport)

The scriptures famously refer to the soul-awakening impact of sickness, old age, and death on the young, impressionable prince Siddhartha Gautama. There is no command that we know of which forbids graven images of the Lord. The tattoo (below) does not look disrespectful, but we defer to the faithful on that account.

This event should be viewed as part and parcel of the learning process for faith-led communities around the world  as they scramble to secure their own pure (infidel-free) fiefdoms. The initial spark (usually lit by Islam envy) eventually becomes a raging fire that consumes the believer, non-believer and the dis-believer alike. Blasphemy and apostasy are used by opportunists to terrorize the innocent. The road to Hell is indeed paved with good sentiments (hurting others’ religious feelings).

A British tourist is to be deported from Sri Lanka because of a tattoo of Buddha on her arm.

Lankan police said Naomi Coleman, 37, was arrested at Bandaranaike
international airport in the capital, Colombo, after she arrived from

A police spokesman said she was arrested for “hurting
others’ religious feelings” after the tattoo of Buddha seated on a lotus
flower was spotted on her right arm.

Buddhism is the religion of the country’s majority ethnic Sinhalese, and Buddhist tattoos are seen as culturally insensitive.

appeared before a magistrate who ordered her deportation. The spokesman
said she was being held at an immigration detention centre and would be
removed “very soon – it could be tomorrow or the day after tomorrow”.

In March last year another Briton, Antony Ratcliffe, was reportedly deported for sporting a Buddha tattoo on his arm.


“Muslims ought to be more communal”

This is the true face of secularism as practiced in India. If the majority community gets its constituent groups working together for a common purpose (the spirit of Hindutva so to speak) it is ipso facto bad. If the minorities do the same thing, this is an unqualified good.  

There is no sense of striving for a common bond of citizenship which rises above these petty differences for fighting against the evils of poverty, corruption, malnutrition,….

The most disappointing thing about this is the Aam Aadmi Party was supposed to be a party with a difference (also Shazia Ilmi is a highly qualified woman who should know better than to spout nonsense). If you tarnish your brand in this manner, why should the common citizen vote for you?

Days before the crucial fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections, Aam Aadmi
Party (AAP) leader Shazia Ilmi has landed into a controversy because of
her alleged “Muslims ought to be communal this time” remark.

The party distanced itself from her remark and said she should not have said it.

“Muslims are very secular. Muslims ought to be more communal. (They) do not vote for their own. (AAP leader) Arvind Kejriwal
is your own. I say, it is enough of secularism,” Ilmi, who contested
the Lok Sabha polls from Ghaziabad earlier in the month, is seen saying
in the video.

“Here helping the Congress win, there someone
else. Please do not be so secular. Muslims are secular. They will
continue to vote for others. Other parties don’t do such things?” she

It is a short 1.19 minute video clip, apparently a sting
operation, where Ilmi is seen talking to Muslims. The video, believed to
be shot in Mumbai, where she had gone for campaigning for AAP’s South
Mumbai candidate Mira Sanyal, shows Ilmi talking with her head covered
with a dupatta. Mumbai goes to polls on April 24.

Ilmi, a member
of AAP’s national executive, is seen further saying “agree, this is
controversial, but this is important” in reaction to a person sitting
next to her who said “we are afraid, we have to vote”.  

The clip ends with Ilmi saying, “Kaam badal dijiye … lado aur jito (change the work. Fight and win).”


Chowkidar, a short story by Ahmed Asif

Dr Asif wrote this a couple of years ago and it was published earlier in OK, the family was never that cheerful and happy and most of the house was pretty much a hovel even in the good old days, but hey, its a story…

Our story is heartbreaking, but worth listening to, if you have time, sir. You see us in rags, fearful of rats, and disheveled living in this dungeon, the dingy basement of our own house, and you may think that we were always like this. But that’s not the case, sir. Ours used to be a house, bright and airy, with sprawling lawns, old trees, exotic plants, and vines climbing over the marble pillars of our front porch that overlooked a fountain and a pond filled with colorful fish. At midday when the sun was high, a rainbow appeared on the sheath of mist by the fountain.
The house had many sections, each lived-in by a distinct family having a unique trait, yet the living was harmonious and filled with laughter: Children running about playing hide and seek among the evergreens; birds chirping in the foliage of the fruit laden trees, and peacocks dancing with their plumes open, like bouquets placed over a carpet of green, the pasture–crisscrossed by a bubbly stream, carrying water pure and sweet; and on the horizon towered a mountain chain, their snowy peaks glimmered like gold in the rays of the setting sun.

An old banyan tree stood at the entrance of the house, and from its branches hung, like a woman’s curls, twirly threads–their tips touching the ground; and it was around its trunk where all the family members used to get together from time to time. We used to have guests from all over the world; and some would like our place so much, they would choose to stay and become permanent residents of our home. The food was plenty, the fields were fertile, and we thought things would go on forever in the same way. But as you know, sir: Nothing remains the same.
Some dispute arose among the family members: nothing so great which couldn’t have been solved if we’d all wanted to–after all we’d lived together for centuries. Needless to say, the family quarrel got out of hand; and lets not get into details, sir, for they are messy details, really messy. To cut it short: The house was divided. We got to keep the east and the west flank of the house, and our cousins got the center with the banyan tree in the middle. We were not used to this kind of fragmented existence, but we knew there was no chance of ever going back to live like one unified family again. We felt insecure in our new living arrangement, and so we hired a Chowkidar.
This nice looking fellow with resolute eyes, a rifle on his shoulder, and a smile under his stiff mustache–for us was hard to tell if it was a genuine or a fake one–reassured us about our security, and we gave him a generous sized quarter, one in each flank of the house, to lodge. We fed him the best of foods, clothed him in an expensive uniform, and gave him the top salary. But sir, there was something about him which always made us uncomfortable and doubtful about his intentions. We began to feel that he may not do much to protect us in the time of need. We were right, sir: He got fat and lazy, and many a times we found him snoring at night when he should have been up keeping a watch. In the end, it’s all our mistake, sir. We let the matter go unnoticed for a long time. Of course, in due time we found out that the chowkidar had been planning to control all the affairs of the house right from the beginning, from the very time we hired him. It was too late by then.
To keep his grip on the house, he started inventing all kinds of stories. For example, he threatened us by telling us how the neighbors, the ones with the banyan tree, had been planning to attack us and take over our house. Sir, in reality, the neighbors had been busy dealing with their own problems. They had no interest in taking over our crumbling building, which over time needed some serious maintenance work. One day, during the monsoon, the east flank was flooded after a heavy downpour, and the chowkidar, instead of saving our family members, actually killed the ones trying to swim to safety. We were all told to shut up and mind our own business, sir. Scared to death, we knew at the time that things would only get worse.
It was then that a realization hit us: We had lost our say in matters pertaining to the upkeep of our house. The Chowkidar meanwhile devised all kinds of schemes to make sure he’d continue to keep us hostage to his way of looking at things: to see our existence as an ongoing fight against the neighbors; and he convinced us to see this fight as a Jihad.
In the absence of any alternative, many of the hostage owners, that is us, sir, got brainwashed over time. We forgot our identity; and now sir, we live in this dark and damp basement of our own house, infested with cockroaches, rats, ticks, dust mites and molds of all kinds. Our chowkidar has confiscated all the rooms of the house in the upper stories. They are beautiful rooms, sir, with large windows that open into the surrounding lawns, with views of snowy peaks and lush valleys.
You will agree, sir, thinking requires plenty of fresh air and oxygen; and due to lack of both, we the owners have stopped thinking a long time ago. To tell you the truth, sir, most of us now just simply believe whatever comes out of the lips of the chowkidar. The sad part is, sir, that we fully well know that the air we live and breath has been deteriorating for a long time. Many of us feel the pressure on our chests; we feel suffocated, choked. When we complain about this to our master, the chowkidar, telling him that our lives have been getting more and more difficult with each passing day, we are told: “You people are destined for a very big role in this world; and this has been divinely ordained and foretold; your reward is in the next world.”
When we tell him that before we fulfill that divine role, we need simple stuff, such as clean water, electricity, basic repairs, oil in the creaky door-hinges, pest control and an inlet for fresh air, he tells us: “The house–which is now his, for we, the real owners, live within its basement–is a Fortress.”
Lounging on a luxurious sofa, which once belonged to our great grandfather, and smoking a pipe which smells of expensive, imported tobacco, he says: “Get up, fight and be prepared to give your life for the noble cause of defending your house. He says: “Great people die for glory; they make the ultimate sacrifice; they don’t care if they are annihilated for a noble cause—Let us protect this Fortress.” And then taking a puff and blowing all the smoke on our faces he narrows his eyes, twirls his mustache and says: “You complain of bad air, lack of clean water and fresh food and electricity, and pests roaming all around–these are all part of a Test–a divine Test!”
Sir, for how long this test will last?

Just for a change of pace, here is what our Japanese friends are in to these days…


Indian Navy hit by stiff waves

First the submarine (Sindhurakhshak) exploded killing 18 sailors. Next another sub (Sindhuratna) caught fire and two more sailors were lost. Admiral DK Joshi assumed moral responsibility and resigned. Now the ripples have extended to appointment of the new admiral as well.

Vice Admiral
Shekhar Sinha has resigned as Robin Dhowan has been promoted ahead of him. Such
events fall in the rarest of rare category-
General AS Vaidya became Army chief in 1983 ahead
of  Lieutenant
general SK Sinha, and Air Chief Marshal SK Mehra became IAF chief by
superseding Air Marshal MM Singh

government, on Monday, approved the “voluntary retirement” of Vice
Admiral Shekhar Sinha, who had put in his papers after Admiral Robin
Dhowan superseded him to become Navy chief last week, even as the Army
commanders’ conference kicked off amid uncertainty over its own line of

The Navy is now headed for a reshuffle in its top brass, with the two
crucial posts of vice-chief and WNC (Western Naval Command) chief becoming vacant. The force’s
line of succession, of course, has also gone for a complete toss, with
present National Defence College commandant Vice Admiral Sunil Lamba now
slated to succeed Admiral Dhowan as the Navy chief in May 2016.

The defence ministry felt that Vice Admiral Sinha had to take his share
of the blame for the recent string of warship mishaps under the WNC.

This came after Admiral D K Joshi owned “moral responsibility”for the
accidents and quit as the Navy chief on February 26 — a resignation
which was accepted by the MoD with unseemly haste.

But the
MOD’s junking of the seniority principle has sparked some concern in
military circles because successive governments have almost always stuck
to it in appointing service chiefs. The chain of seniority in Indian
military is considered virtually sacrosanct, with supersession being
exceptionally rare.



Happy days for (Iranian) Bahais!!!

Message of peace: Baha’u’llah, the 19th-century founder of the Baha’i faith-
“Consort with all religions with amity and concord, that they may inhale
from you the sweet fragrance of God,” reads the inscription. “Beware
lest amidst men the flame of foolish ignorance overpowers you.” 

Messenger of peace: Did an Ayatollah actually call for peaceful co-existence with the Bahais in Iran? We are a bit confused about the indirect messaging (Bahai World News Service mentions the Church of England leaders praising Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani for his courage).

If true, this can be a small but significant step towards the launching of a powerful (non-violent) revolution in the Middle East and North Africa. Peaceful co-existence can also be a good principle for the South Asians to follow.

News from Iran has given me tremendous hope and optimism for peace
between Iranians, regardless of faith and ethnicity. Ayatollah
Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani, a prominent imam and scholar, has taken a stand for coexistence
with the country’s Baha’i minority.
He has reminded us that Islam is a
religion of peace that recognises diversity of every kind as part of
God’s design for his creation. And it all came in the form of a gift –
one which I am proud to endorse.

For many, Iran is synonymous with persecution and oppression.
Iran’s authorities routinely target ethnic and religious minorities,
human rights activists, journalists and intellectuals. And the case of
the Baha’is is emblematic of these broader violations.

The Baha’is
are Iran’s largest religious minority with 300,000 followers. For
decades they have been arbitrarily detained, denied education and
livelihood, harassed, vilified in the media, and executed. Hundreds were
killed after the 1979 revolution. More than 130 Baha’is are currently
in prison on false charges. Seven former leaders are serving 20-year jail terms,
just for tending to the basic needs of their community. Baha’is have no
legal protection as a minority because their faith is not recognised
under the constitution.

Such a violent backdrop makes Ayatollah Masoumi-Tehrani’s gift all
the more remarkable. A trained calligrapher and painter, the ayatollah
has produced a large illuminated work of art featuring passages from the
writings of Baha’u’llah, the 19th-century founder of the Baha’i faith. 

I believe Islam is the religion chosen by God, I cannot reject such

The ayatollah offered his gift as a “symbolic action to
serve as a reminder of the importance of valuing human beings, of
peaceful coexistence, of cooperation and mutual support, and avoidance
of hatred, enmity and blind religious prejudice”. He has a long history
of supporting peaceful coexistence between Muslims, Christians and Jews,
including with illuminated calligraphic versions of the Qur’an, the
Torah, the psalms, the New Testament, and the Book of Ezra.

Masoumi-Tehrani has been repeatedly jailed for his efforts. Speaking
directly to the Baha’is of Iran, he said, in giving his gift, that it is
“an expression of sympathy and care from me and on behalf of all my
open-minded fellow citizens”, to a community that has “suffered in
manifold ways” the consequences of “blind religious prejudice”.



“Amriki jasoosi (American spy)” must die

Issori, North Waziristan (for detailed map of disturbed territories see below). A breathtakingly beautiful land being polluted by actions of ugly foreigners (and foolish locals).


Death comes via drones or bullets: “We have been caught between the earth and the skies,” says Sadat, who
has rented a house for his grandparents in Bannu and struggles to set up
a transport business there. “The Americans kill us by firing from the
skies and men with ugly faces (militants) have made our lives miserable
on the ground.”

Aam aadmi at the mercy of ruthless beasts:  Young Taliban militants pulled him out of his
shop and dragged him across the road. “Amriki jasoosi, Ameriki Jasoosi
(American spy, American spy),” Sadat remembers the militants shouting as
they dragged his friend. “Two of them held his arms and the other two
his legs, and tied explosives around the whole body while my friend was
screaming.” The tribesmen, including Deen Wali’s family members,
gathered around but nobody dared to stop the Taliban militants.
militants walked backwards, moving away from Deen Wali, and pushed the
remote button. The explosives detonated, shredding him. His flesh and
body parts flew everywhere.” The militants left the scene in a convoy of
vehicles leaving behind the clouds of dust, despair and helplessness.

The temperature of hell is this warm: The tribesmen relate that every Waziristani keeps anti-depressant
tablets in their pockets. Sadat takes his grandmother Bi Jan for
psychiatric treatment every week.


The local clerics, whose influence has steadily grown over the years,
played on the religious sentiments of the tribesmen, calling on them to
host these “mujahideen” out of a sense of brotherhood. Others, who were
less idealistic, were lured with money. So the tribesmen welcomed these
war-battered and defeated warriors and offered them shelter, believing
that they would soon disappear back into the war-torn land of
Afghanistan. But the hordes kept coming, first a trickle, then a flood.

there was a fresh convoy of militants of different castes, creeds and
colour. Low key and ‘quiet’, tall and athletic, Al Qaeda militants of
Morrocan, Egyptian, Algerian and Sudanese origin. The round-faced,
flat-nosed and ruthless Uzbeks; the fair-skinned Chechens. The short
Uighur Chinese with their thin scraggly beards. Muslim converts from
America, Germany and France known collectively as the ‘Gora Taliban’.
Thousands of local jihadis joined their ranks, distinct because of their
appearance and inability to speak Pushto, these were the long-haired
and short-tempered Punjabi Taliban. 

The temporary shelters the
militants sought soon turned into entrenched sanctuaries as they allied
with local commanders Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Siraj Uddin Haqqani. After
forming the Tehrik-i- Taliban, thousands of fighters turned this tribal
belt into the world’s most dangerous labyrinth, threatening peace inside
Pakistan with suicide attacks and in Afghanistan by fighting US and
Nato forces. 

“It’s an international war
which has engulfed us,” says North Waziristan’s influential tribal
elder, Malik Shad Ameen Wazir. “The volcano is in Afghanistan but it
erupts in our tribal areas.”