Thursday, March 22, 2018

Kashmir in Historical Perspective

(To elaborate the political nature of Kashmir problem, one needs to examine the historical perspective of the land and its people)

Image result for Indo-Pak border

Recently Kashmir’s Finance Minister lost his job for saying that Kashmir is not a political problem. Apart from that he had denigrated the political leadership of Kashmir standing for its total freedom. He had stated that they were barking up a wrong tree!  A fellow columnist has shown him his place in his recent article, “Idioms of Hubris”. It would be useful to recapitulate Kashmir’s history for the “Naïve” gentleman displaying total ignorance probably as alleged by some with certain ulterior motives!
Before one delves into history of Kashmir and Kashmiris, it would be interesting to understand the meaning of the words the Nation and the Nation-State. According to Oxford dictionary, a Nation is, “A large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory”. According to Wikipedia, “nation is a stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, ethnicity or psychological make-up manifested in a common culture. A nation is distinct from a people, and is more abstract, and more overtly political than an ethnic group. It is a cultural-political community that has become conscious of its autonomy, unity, and particular interests”. “It is a more precise term than "country," but of the same general meaning, being that it is an ethnic nation with its own land (thus "homeland") and government”.
Kashmir has existed as a separate independent country ruled by various kings from the earliest times. Kalhana’s Rajtarangini goes almost 5,000 years back to describe the kingdom of Kashmir from the time of Gonanda I. The most important earliest confirmation of Kashmir as an independent country is from Greek sources. It is the Ptolemy’s geography which has preserved many of the references to Kashmir. He calls the region KASPEIRA. The importance of this reference lies in the name of the territory as it is a phonetic derivative between Kasmira, the ancient Sanskrit name of Kashmir, and the present day Kashmir or Kashir.
After Greeks is the mention of Kashmir in Chinese records. The earliest reference to Kashmir dates back to A.D. 541. Kashmir is described as a country “enveloped on all sides like a precious jewel by the snowy mountains, with a valley in the south which leads up to it and serves as a gate of the Kingdom”.  Ninety years after this first mention of Kashmir in Chinese records, Hiuen Tsang visited the valley and stayed here as an honoured guest for two years. He entered Kashmir through the valley of Vitasta (present Jehlum). Kashmir which he calls Kia-shi-mi-lo described as a country surrounded on all sides by very high mountains which have very narrow and contracted passes for entry.
The next reference to Kashmir in Chinese records relates to the Annals of Tang dynasty which mentions the arrival of the first ambassador from Kashmir sent by Candrapida and then another sent by Muktapida (Lalitaditya) of the Karakot dynasty of the Rajtarangni. In fact, Muktapida had entered into a treaty of military alliance with the rulers of Tang dynasty of China against Tibet which he subsequently raided with a strong Kashmirian army. He failed to conquer it as his entire army perished in the cold and high altitude deserts of Ladakh.
Kashmir also figures in records of Muslim scholars. In spite of Kashmir’s natural seclusion, the Arabic literature has very accurate and valuable account of Kashmir. This is due to the research and critical appraisal of ALBERUNI who travelled with Mahmud of Ghazni upto the borders of Kashmir at the fort of Lohkot (presently Loran in Punch). This stronghold of the Kashmiri forces brought the invasion of Mahmud to a standstill and he had to ultimately retreat from here due to the onset of winter. Though this expedition failed to reach Kashmir but it gave Alberuni ample opportunity to collect detailed information on Kashmir. He refers to the pedestrian habits of Kashmiris and mentions that the nobles were carried in palanquins on the shoulders of men. He describes Kashmiris anxiety and care to protect their country. “They are particularly anxious about the natural strength of their country, and therefore take always much care to keep a strong hold upon the entrances and roads leading to it. In consequence it is very difficult to have any commerce with them”.
Thus there is so much historical evidence for the existence of Kashmir as a separate country from the earliest times. Unfortunately, Kashmir lost its sovereignty to Mughals in sixteenth century and since that time has been enslaved by one or the other conqueror. However, in spite of all the hardships the Kashmiris have not reconciled to their external slavery and the urge to regain their lost freedom has been increasing with the passage of time. The movement to achieve this goal is quite strong. Thus, in view of this entire history, as denigratingly suggested by the former Finance Minister, the people are not barking up the wrong tree! Incidentally, in the Indian sub-continent there is at present only one country which qualifies to be called a Nation-State and that is Nepal. Kashmir could be the second one!
The million dollar question is will the Kashmiris be able to reclaim their Nationality as it existed for thousands of years and will Kashmir ever be again a Nation State? Will they be ever able to lead a life of honour and dignity? Well, keeping in view the current regional political set up it seems impossible unless these neighbours get tired of their unending mutual hostility or get decimated in a destructive war! Howsoever, it would be an ideal solution if they agree to declare Kashmir as a Nation State of the erstwhile times and make it a totally neutral zone like Switzerland remained in the two world wars. This may seem a utopian dream but sometimes such dreams happen to show the way. In the present global context, Nation States have almost ceased to exist independently due to the economic considerations. A typical example is the European Union. Even though the individual countries do maintain their cultural individuality yet in reality it has become one unit for all practical purposes. Can’t the countries of our region do the same? Make the area a composite economic unit and keep Kashmir as a Free Economic Zone with total political neutrality! Something on these lines could be worked out through dialogue among all the stakeholders including all the neighbouring countries. Ultimately, after getting exhausted by mutual bickering and fights reducing their citizens to abject poverty, the neighbouring countries may have no alternative but to do it! The other choice would be total obliteration by a destructive nuclear war! Let us hope and pray that good sense will prevail all round and Kashmiris are emancipated after centuries of oppression!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Kashmir Problem, Social or Political?

(As Shakespeare has said, “A rose is a rose by whatever name you call it” Similarly, Kashmir is a serious problem whether you name it Social or Political that is presently irrelevant!)
Image result for un hq in srinagar

Haseeb Drabu, lost his job by merely stating that Kashmir is a Social Issue and not a Political Issue. Incidentally, he is one of the architects of the Agenda of alliance between BJP and PDP which forms the basis of the coalition government notwithstanding the fact that the implementation of the agenda is nowhere in sight! Speaking at an event in New Delhi themed as “Kashmir, the way forward”, the former J & K Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu had said “Kashmir shouldn't be seen as a conflict state or a political problem, but as a society with social issues”. The most appropriate comment for such a declaration can only be “the height of naivety!” He had been truly naïve! The definition of naïve in dictionary is, “A person who despite overwhelming blatant evidence is oblivious to what’s going on in his/her surroundings”! People are often naive because they are young and/or have not had much experience of life. However, one could not say this about a stalwart like Drabu Sahib. He has been a top economist, journalist and a banker. The best rebuttal to this declaration can be a quote from the interview that the former vice-President Hamid Ansari gave to Karan Thapar last August which was published in the Hindu newspaper. When asked whether Kashmir was a political problem, he said, “The problem is and has always been primarily a political problem. And it has to be addressed politically.”
One cannot close eyes to the history of last 70 years, the period for which Kashmir has been a lingering political problem internationally recognised by the United Nations Security Council on the agenda of which it continues to figure. The stark and living proof of that is the United Nations Military Observer Group Headquarter in Srinagar. The observers from various European and other countries are not enjoying a holiday in Kashmir but are supposed to be monitoring the Ceasefire Line now called the Line of Actual Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan. It is a different matter that they are not now allowed to conduct their work on the Indian side! Apart from this, one often hears sermons from world leaders and various super powers addressed to Indian and Pakistani leaders for solving Kashmir problem bi-laterally. In fact, in Shimla agreement signed after the 1971 war, both countries declared Kashmir to be a political problem to be solved bi-laterally.
The number of books, articles and various documents written and published about the political problem of Kashmir can fill an entire library! Even in recent times dozens of books have been written on the various aspects of the subject. Unfortunately denial about something which is a stark reality does not make it go away. If one closes all windows and doors of a house and says there is no light outside the house that does not make the light disappear. One is only deceiving one’s own self! On the ground itself, why is Kashmir known all over the world as the most militarised place on Earth? Almost one third of the third largest Army in the world is in Kashmir. There has been continuous shelling and firing going across the Line of Control for quite some time. Are these two forces playing some sort of friendly matches with their heavy fire power? According to government figures over 50,000 people were killed during the uprising of the nineties of the last century. Still over 10, 000 people are missing without any trace.
At the moment over a 1000 persons are detained under the Public Safety Act. Most of the leaders of a popular movement are either detained from time to time or are under continuous house arrest. Almost all the so called mainstream leaders whether presently ruling or out of power have the highest security cover. Every second day Srinagar’s main town, the old city is placed under an undeclared curfew locally given the name of “Restrictions”.  Freedom of expression guaranteed under the constitution has ceased to exist in Kashmir. There have been scores of clashes between Army and militants and a large number of local youth who had joined militancy have been killed. Again are these people playing friendly matches or there is a simmering political problem which has given rise to local militancy?
Regarding “Social Issues”, of course there are umpteen social problems but these have all risen because of the basic political problem which the rulers are trying to run away from. The first social problem is that every Kashmiri Muslim is a suspect all over India. He is being labelled as a Pakistani terrorist! The worst social problem within Kashmir which the continuous political uncertainty has given rise to is the total lack of accountability. Nobody seems to be answerable to nobody. Each one is for himself to make hay as long as the Sun of uncertainty shines. The government is virtually on an “Auto-Pilot”! The recent episode of the rape and murder of a Bakerwal girl whose perpetrators are being eulogised by the members of one of the ruling parties speaks volumes regarding the writ of the government. In fact, the fanatic followers of one of the ruling parties consider “Ghar Wapsi” of Kashmiri Muslims as their most important agenda item!
The most unfortunate part of this episode is that the present PDP leaders have totally betrayed the legacy of their founder Mufti Mohammad Sayed who stood for the “Healing Touch” and the “Self-rule”! Healing touch has become the killing touch and the blinding touch while as the self-rule has been reduced to the “Proxy-rule” by Delhi! Thus, if Drabu Sahab’s naivety is not to cost PDP dearly even though he has been fired, they should advise Delhi to accept the basic fact of Kashmir being a political problem and immediately initiate a dialogue with all stakeholders within the country and across the border. Otherwise the religious frenzy being generated against Muslims all over the country and the continuous heavy firing on the border increasing in scale with each passing day may end up in an Armageddon for the whole sub-continent!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Preparing for Mahabharata’s Last Battle!

(The continuous firing on the Line of Control and the Indo-Pak border looks ominous and could spiral out of control with disastrous consequences!)

Image result for nuclear mushroom

Recently, there have been numerous statements from leaders as well as defence services officers of the two neighbouring countries in the Indian sub-continent about the escalating situation on the border. Saner people have been repeatedly emphasizing that the spiraling situation on the border could blow up into a full-fledged war which would mean virtual annihilation of the sub-continent. A real Armageddon! Surely the enmity has not reached such a level that it should blow out the entire sub-continent. Hopefully, there are still saner people on the two sides? Politicians on both the sides seem to be deriving political mileage for elections and control of opposition in the two countries. The BJP from the very start has been going on the religious turf. From the first day after taking over the government in Delhi they have mounted a sustained campaign for converting India into a Hindu Rashtra. Even though their election campaign spoke more of development (Vikas) yet on taking over they forgot about it. In fact, they have miserably failed to keep their promises to the teeming millions starving under the poverty line.
Having totally failed on the economic front, they are now once again reverting to religious fanaticism. They are in a way creating a religious frenzy to virtually fight the next election. Vikas does not sell now! They can as usual use the religion as the opium of the poor! However, by doing so, inadvertently they may be preparing for the last battle of Mahabharata at Kurukshetra!  Mahabharata is one of the two famous Indian National epics. It was written from 540 to 300 B.C. by Sage Vyasa. It relates the legends of the Bharatas, a Vedic Aryan group.
Bharat Bhushan, a senior Delhi based journalist has written an article in Asian Age, “Modi playing with fire, driving J & K to despair”. According to him, “… having failed to deliver on the economic front, given the mess created by demonetisation and the hasty implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, increasing agrarian distress and rising unemployment, Mr Modi needed to rejig the nationalist narrative to maintain and expand the structure of his communalised politics. One of the tropes in this reinvented nationalism is to paint Pakistan as the source of all Indian woes in the Kashmir Valley. A supine mainstream media played the cheerleader in creating a nationalist paranoia to suit Mr Modi’s political ends”.
The ethos of the real India of ancient times as perceived by Guru Dev Tagore and Dr. Iqbal cannot be brought back by physically merging the broken away parts again into Akhand Bharat. The India of the ancient times can be redeemed only by making the artificial borders separating these countries irrelevant. If this Hindu-Muslim divide had not taken place and India had remained as one united country, it would not only have been a real super power but would have been one of the best welfare states for its citizens. They can still remain united by adopting the European Union model. If, after the most destructive world war, Europe can virtually unite as one country, why cannot India, Pakistan and Bangladesh do the same?
One is reminded of the battle of Kurukshetra in Mahabharata. It would be interesting to recapitulate what some people say about the Mahabharata’s last battle. Mathilda’s Weird Web Blog has translations of some of the verses which look scary because of some resemblance to a few modern weapons like the nukes, rockets and the lasers! “Gurkha, flying a swift and powerful vimana [fast aircraft], hurled a single projectile [rocket] charged with the power of the Universe [nuclear device]. An incandescent column of smoke and flame, as bright as ten thousand suns, rose with all its splendour. It was an unknown weapon, an iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death, which reduced to ashes the entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas”. “The corpses were so burned as to be unrecognizable. Hair and nails fell out; Pottery broke without apparent cause, and the birds turned white.…After a few hours all foodstuffs were infected……to escape from this fire the soldiers threw themselves in streams to wash themselves and their equipment”
Kongari Mahalakshami a computer scientist writes in Quora on the subject. She is debating whether nuclear weapons were really used in the Mahabharata War. “The concept of Astra (Missile) and Dhanush (Launchers) emerged from there. Astra was a super-natural hand-carried weapon blessed by a specific deity. Astras like Brahmashira, Brahmasthra, Pasupatasthra, Vaishnavasthra, Narayana Astra, Agneyasthra, Vayavasthra, Nagasthra, Vajrasthra, Varunasthra etc. were used in Mahabharata along with positive indications of the use of Nuclear weapons (atom bomb) , otherwise how could the war cause the death of around 1.5 billion people in a matter of 18 days”.
Even Oppenheimer, the father of the modern Atom Bomb has said about the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons mentioned in Mahabharata. “No, I’m not totally mad”. Oppenheimer thought it may have happened. He was very familiar with the ancient Hindu texts. When asked if his was the first ever detonation of a nuclear bomb, he said. ‘Yes, in modern times’. Keeping in view all these references one feels scary that the Hindutva frenzy being raised for a war with Pakistan, a Dharam Yudh may be a repeat of the war in the ancient times which had resulted in total destruction.
If both the countries fail to check the religious extremists from taking over, one never knows these western powers may even encourage and allow a small nuclear exchange as a lesson for other similarly disposed countries! Recently a columnist had warned about the possibility of the western countries preparing for a nuclear exchange somewhere in Central Asia. Another possibility could be the Indian sub-continent. Mahabharata mentions Kal Yug, which is already here. India and Pakistan have become Pandvas and Korvas and Kashmir is the Drupadi who has been disrobed umpteen times! Ultimately, this tussle may end in a nuclear exchange which would definitely be the last battle of Kurukshetra thereby ending the whole epic of Mahabharata of the present times! Incidentally, the Kurukshetra of ancient times is the Haryana and Rajasthan of these days which has been usually the main battle ground for recent Indo-Pak wars!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Flood prevention Hakeem Suyya way!

(In view of the failure of the government to implement various flood prevention measures especially dredging and strengthening of river banks, someone has to become a Hakeem Suyya to save Srinagar!)
Image result for dredging in jhelum

The popular minister of the famous Kashmiri King Avanti Varman, Hakeem Suyya, is still remembered everywhere as a Messiah who saved Kashmir from the ravages of flooded Jhelum and prevented famines. His story used to be in the history books prescribed in Schools in forties and fifties. One does not know if the feat of this famous and popular man is still in the present school text books. However, there is an everlasting tribute to him in the name of the town Sopore which is a later version of the original Suyya Pur, town established by the able minister.
The story about Suyya in Kashmiri Pandit Network website is given as, “Once the country was in the cruel clutches of a great monster-famine. Everybody was grieved. The king was helpless and no plan could be devised to mitigate the suffering. But then God sent an angel in the form of a man Suyya. His birth was unknown. When a baby he had been left in an earthen pot covered with a lid which a Candala woman picked up while sweeping. Her name was Suyya. She gave it to a Sudra for rearing up. The baby grew up into an intelligent boy and acquired some education. He became a teacher. He was generally surrounded by a crowd of sensible men. When the people complained of Famine, he told them that he could get rid of this monster provided he had the means. The king summoned him but he didn't reveal his scheme. The people thought him mad but the king kept the treasury at his disposal. Suyya took many pots, full of money, in a boat and went towards Madavarajya, the southern district of the valley. He threw some of money at a village called Nandaka (Nandi on the Veshan river), meaning `the place of money', which was submerged with flood water and then quickly came back. Then he went to Yakshadara (Dyara-gul, meaning `the place of money', near Khadanyar below Baramulla) and threw lot of money into the river. Everyone except the king thought that he had gone crazy. But the famished people who had watched Suyya throwing money in the water, immediately jumped into the river to find the coins and thereby clear the bed of rocks which had rolled down from the hill side and blocked the river. Consequently the water flowed down.Previously the Jhelum and the Sindh met near Trigam turning large areas into a swamp. But Suyya regulated the course of the river so that the water flowed right into the Wular Lake. The tributaries also were directed usefully. Suyya had many villages reclaimed by having circular embankments raised all round them to keep out the water so that they looked like round bowls (kunda). As a result of these projects hundreds of villages were reclaimed and crop grew unprecedentedly. One kharwar of paddy which used to sell for 200 dinars in prosperous times-now was sold for 36 dinars. Suyya built the present town of Sopur on the bank of the river Jhelum in his name. He prohibited killing of fish and water-fowl in the Wular Lake. He granted the village Suyya a Kundala to the Brahmins in honour of his mother Suyya and constructed the bund Suyya-setir after her name”.
Well, we may not find a Suyya in present times but one could follow his example to save the population from the ravages of the flood. One does not have to go with bagful of gold coins and throw in the River to dredge it. There are more sophisticated means available now which could be bought against the present gold coins! Unfortunately, the expenders of the gold coins want to keep some for themselves which slows down dredging and strengthening of embankments. There is a way to follow Suyya’s example! People need lot of sand and earth for construction which is going at a breakneck speed all over the valley. The government has only to announce that people in need of sand and earth can take it free on their own from the River and the flood channel. Only areas and depths to which they can go have to be demarcated. Dredging and removal of sand will take place at break-neck speed.
However, the embankments would need to be strengthened. Even this work can be done by the people on their own. One wonders why the leaders of the “Popular Movement” are not stepping in and starting something like Mahatma Gandhi’s Salt and Khadi movement. They could motivate people to work out wonders on the environmental front including the salvaging of fast disappearing water bodies. If the people start such works on their own the government would have no justification to stop these and would rather be put in an embarrassing situation. This may force them to take to initiate all requisite technical steps at an accelerated pace. In any case, there are no two opinions that unless fool-proof flood prevention measures are taken on a war footing, Kashmir may be in for another disaster soon. Even God Almighty may not help us at that time because of our refusal to learn from our past mistakes!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Srinagar, the “SMART” Prison!

(Instead of making Srinagar, the city of the Sun into a “Smart” city, it has been turned into a virtual prison!)
Srinagar, the “SMART” Prison!

Sometime back there was talk of declaring some cities all over the country as “Smart” cities for proper development on modern lines. Srinagar was also included in the list of these cities. Incidentally, Srinagar, the City of the Sun is probably one of the oldest cities in the world. The 2000 year old city is something one should have been proud of. Only few decades back Srinagar used to be the capital of “Paradise on Earth” but not now. Description of Srinagar especially its gardens, popular avenues, chinars, the Bund walkway, and the shimmering waters of Dal Lake given in some of the earlier travelogues seems like a dream. A dream now gone sour! It was not a proud moment for a Kashmiri when his capital city, probably one of the oldest in the world was rated as the 4th dirtiest city in India sometime back. Anybody visiting Srinagar at present would definitely ask what is “Smart” about the city.
Dilapidated roads, worst traffic jams, foot paths usurped by vendors, garbage scattered everywhere and mad constructions going at break-neck speed everywhere! The people responsible for orderly development, the Srinagar Development Authority have their office building in the flood basin of the River Jhelum. So, how can they stop constructions going on all over without observation of land use, building bye-laws and so on? The worst ever flood in a century in 2014 instead of teaching any lessons to the people and the rulers have instead made them go haywire in every respect. They say there is a “price” for every violation! How a city can be smart if the people responsible for its upkeep are keener on saving dogs than human beings?
If one wants to write about everything that is wrong in Srinagar from the development side, it will take half a dozen articles. No doubt the city has grown immensely from a population of a couple of hundred thousand people in 1947 to more than a million and a half now but the growth has been haphazard eating away all the open and free areas with trees which were supposed to be the lungs of the city! The water bodies have turned into marshes and the channel which had made outside travellers give it the name of the Venice of the East has been converted into a road! One of the most important contributions to the city in recent times has been the stray dogs! In fact, Kashmir especially Srinagar, in contrast to Kerala known popularly as “God’s Own Country” can be called “Dog’s Own Country”!
In fact, the real Srinagar is what is these days called as the “down town” or Sher-i-Khas. The new areas known as the “Civil Lines” is the area developed by various rulers from time to time to remain undisturbed from the upheavals of the real Srinagar! However, it has been demonstrated by the last flood that the entire civil lines area is dangerously flood prone. All these posh localities of the city were badly ravaged by the last flood. However, the planners and developers of the “new” city have learnt no lessons and have not even honestly carried out any flood prevention measures.
An important development of the City beyond the Urban Development angle has been its conversion into a “Smart” prison by the “Guardians” of law and order! In fact, the original historical city, called the Sher-i-Khas or down town is these days most of the time, a real prison!  The people residing there, the real and original inhabitants of the city of the Sun are at present most of the time leading the life of prisoners. They are facing a double jeopardy from the two contestants! One gives continuous calls for “Shut Downs” while the other imposes “Restrictions” from time to time. “Restrictions” on almost all Fridays is a foregone conclusion. Sometimes people are not able to pray on Fridays in the Srinagar’s Grand Mosque for weeks on end! All movements are restricted; shops, business houses, schools and other commercial and non-commercial institutions remain shut. All business comes to a standstill on both occasions which have caused huge losses to the people. The worst sufferers are sick people who are scared to venture out and cannot go for treatment. 
The entire city is dotted with pill boxes surrounded by concertina wire rolls which are placed on all important intersections on the day of “Restrictions”. In many places one can see the armoured vehicles of the paramilitary forces. In fact, there are many paramilitary camps in hired private houses, some school buildings, cinema halls and other places throughout the city. One fails to understand why are the authorities interested in driving people to a corner? The alienation from the mainland India is now becoming irreversible! This is especially so because of the treatment meted out to Kashmiris all over India especially in the “Cow Belt” of the North. Ironically, the authorities are asking people to “Give” Peace and they will solve all problems! However, the moot point is what is meant by the word “Peace”? Is it the peace of a graveyard or the peace of living and vibrant society? Who is disturbing “Peace”? A handful of “militants” and the stone pelting unarmed civilians prevented from expressing their feelings or the trigger happy troops of the second largest army in the world backed up by umpteen paramilitary and other forces and agencies going totally berserk many times? The authorities themselves have to give “Peace” a chance and not ask the “Prisoners” of the City of the Sun to do it!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Possibility of Indo-Pak War?

(The fast deteriorating security situation between India and Pakistan has created a sinister possibility of a destructive conflict unless big powers step in to diffuse the situation)
Diffuse the tension
The recent attack on Sujwan Army camp in Jammu coupled with the shelling and firing on the border is an indicator of a fast deteriorating security situation between India and Pakistan. In fact, Tapan Bose, an independent peace activist and an author has written an article in Counter Currents. Org titled, “India Pakistan: The Coming War”. Describing the deteriorating security situation across the line of control and international border in Jammu he feels that the possibility of another destructive war in the sub-continent is real. “The fear that under the BJP rule, India will be increasingly drawn into US imperialism’s game plan for extending its hegemony over this region to counter China’s growing economic and military power is real. The USA has always fought their wars in other people’s territories bringing utter devastation to the people and the economy. That continuous localized military clashes, can lead to large-scale war is an established historic fact. We have become so used to this perpetual cycle of instability and constant confrontations, along the Indo-Pakistan border that we have lost sight of the inherent danger that these confrontations pose to peace in South Asia. As a result, despite our best efforts, the next big war in the Asia-Pacific, like most military conflicts, may come as an apparent surprise when we least expect it. For what is clear is that the current instability in the Asia-Pacific cannot endure indefinitely.”
Last year Arindam De had written an article in, “India-Pakistan nuclear war in the near future is possible”. According to him, the two nuclear armed countries have about 120 to 130 warheads each and enough delivery systems to deploy these warheads. Recently Indian Army Chief spoke about the plan for a fast, localised conventional invasion of parts of Pakistan. He may be thinking of not getting a nuclear strike with a limited operation. However, there is no guarantee that Pakistan will not respond with a nuclear strike against such a limited operation. According to Arindam De, Islamabad could use tactical nuclear weapons in advance or in anticipation of an Indian action. According to him, US may not broker peace as it is using India against China’s expansion in Pakistan.
Arindam says, “Guided by simple logic, if Pakistan must have any chance of winning a war against India, it will use its nuclear weapons — almost all of it. If India wishes to counter it in any way, it has got to be pre-emptive, simply because any n-tipped missile in the subcontinental theatre would take barely 10 minutes to start hitting the targets, irrespective of who launches them. So no side can technically afford to go second. A very scary scenario! Even a limited nuclear exchange between the neighbours would affect some 50 lakh people and kill close to 20 lakh directly and in the famines that may follow”.
However, the estimates of destruction given by other sources during a nuclear exchange between two neighbours put the casualties at more than ten million. The destruction would be so immense that it will take two countries like Hiroshima, more than 40 years or so to recover back to a semblance of normal situation! It would in real sense be an Armageddon for the sub-continent and may also involve other neighbouring countries because of radiation fall out!
Interestingly, such a war has an astrological background also. Mr. Sachin Malhotra, a passionate astrologer and a writer had written an article in August, 2016 in “” about India-Pakistan sliding towards a big war. According to him the conjunctions of Saturn-Mars in Scorpio in 2016 and Saturn-Jupiter in Capricorn in 2020 are dangerous astrological combinations and could bring war in South Asia. According to Sachin the eruption of unrest in Kashmir in July, 2016 had a good possibility of resulting in an Indo-Pak conflict. Sachin has described in detail the foundation charts of India and Pakistan. According to him, various events in the sub-continent may set a stage for a dangerous India-Pakistan war in 2020 when transiting Saturn and Jupiter will be in conjunction in “Makar” Rashi. Sachin says that China will support Pakistan in its war against India. Interestingly, Sachin has also given in detail the Horoscopes of the top BJP leadership. According to him, in their charts the maximum numbers of planets are connected with the 7th house which is the lord of war! Later from October, 2018 to June 2020 the top leadership will be under Moon-Venus combination which indicates danger of war under their leadership. This may suit them for the next election which they plan to hold in 2018 itself. For the new election there can be no better way to generate a wave of religious frenzy than a war with Pakistan. It would be a Dharam Yudh!
Thus, by all indications, the sub-continent has clouds of war hovering around. The only way to defuse this earthly and heavenly shadow of darkness and horror is to defuse the deteriorating security situation through dialogue. In fact, some prominent citizens on the two sides of the border have started a joint petition asking the Prime Ministers of the two countries to direct their armies to stop shelling and firing on the Line of Control and start a dialogue to resolve these ongoing tensions once and for all. Let us pray and hope the plea is taken seriously by the two leaders!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Demonizing Kashmiris!

(The greatest achievement of the present central government has been demonizing of Kashmiris throughout India!)
Demonizing Kashmiris!
  1. The incidents of beating Kashmiri students in different institutions in India have been spreading like an epidemic. Every second day or so one hears about the students being roughed up in one or the other institution, in buses, in trains and so on. In fact, even some elder people returning in their own vehicles with their families through Punjab and Haryana have been manhandled by the local Police. In recent years, the Hindutva vigilante outfits have been regularly targeting Muslims all over India. The anti-Muslim wave started with the so called cow protection forays when even people just transporting cows were not spared. People were lynched on the mere suspicion of having beef in their refrigerators. The instant case being of Ikhlaq Ahmad, the father of an Indian Air Force officer who was killed on the mere suspicion of having beef in his house. The attacks became widespread in Utter Pradesh after the BJP government took office there. The vigilantes not only got government patronage but were even supported by the law and order machinery!

  2. However, in this widespread terrorizing of people, thanks to some biased media channels, Kashmiris were turned into real “demons”! They were first labelled paid “Stone Pelters” and subsequently labelled “Stone Pelting Pakistani Terrorists”! Every stone pelter in Kashmir was made out to be a paid Pakistani terrorist. Stone pelting became a new form of terrorism. The world’s second largest Army was given the task of eliminating these “Stone Pelting Terrorists” and they have been doing an excellent job. They are now shooting these so called “terrorists” like pigeons and ducks! There is not a single day when one or the other young stone pelter is killed in cold blood. Kashmir has been practically bleeding! The depth of the anti-Kashmiri feeling can be judged from the statements of the Army Chief. He wishes the stone pelters had guns in their hands so that he could deal with them in a way he prefers! As if presently they are dealing with them very leniently! In contrast, General Hooda and General Panang have always been giving very constructive suggestions for solving the problem in Kashmir! Incidentally, there is no history of any stone pelting mob being dealt in a way Kashmiris are being dealt in any other part of the country. In fact, some of the mobs in Haryana and Utter Pradesh have indulged in the worst type of violence yet no one has opened fire on them!

  3. This demonizing of Kashmiris with a Pakistani touch suits the promoters of Hindutva ideology perfectly and it would be a great help in ushering in the Hindu Rashtra, which has been Sadasihiv Golwalkar’s dream! However, the realization of that dream may be far off but there is an urgent task which needs to be finalized at all costs. That is the creation of Hindutva frenzy for the next Parliament election which may even be preponed? The last election was won by showing the utopian dream of “Vikas” (Development) which has miserably failed. All those big slogans of “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas” seem to have evaporated. Economy is in doldrums. On the day of the presentation of the budget in the Parliament, most of the markets crashed. Demonetization dealt a body blow to the poor people. It was topped up by GST and the digitization of the entire existence through the Aadhaar Card managed by the Silicon Valley in USA! In view of this, the development slogans are not going to sell now. The only alternative is Karl Marx’s “Opium of the poor!” That is precisely the reason for the new Hindutva wave starting in Kasganj and many other places. The real show will begin with the starting of the construction of the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya! In a recent video, even a DG of the Police was shown swearing that he will take part in the construction of the temple regardless of the fact that the case is still pending before the Supreme Court of India. The additional boost will be clashes across the Line of Control in Kashmir. The so called imaginary “Surgical Strikes” which may go beyond the surgical form. Unfortunately, the country seems to be in for some catastrophe!

  4. Colonel Noel Elli wrote an article in the Citizen, titled, “May Day May Day, India Adrift”.  The excerpts from the article sum up everything, “I am not a sailor but when I peep out of the Porthole, all I see is beti jalao not bachao, bus jalao not chalao, dukan aur makan jalao not banao, if nothing else is left then burn tyres and effigies of all and sundry. Nothing seems to be hunky dory on this voyage on a ship called India”. “Which way is India going? We can cause mayhem and destruction for a movie or a baba. Hold a city to ransom for reservations. Ignite communal violence for beef, throw petrol bombs on trains and blame it on hurting public sentiment. If I put it the other way around, are we not hurting the national sentiment? It is time for an SOS!”

  5. Well, coming to our State the irony is that it is the Kashmir based part of the BJP coalition government which has been made totally impotent by the bear hug of the 56 inch chest! At least they could protest vehemently for all these excesses! Forget healing, they are virtually giving a bleeding wound every day. They should have thrown their hat in the ring long time back. Probably, they feel they have crossed the “Ghar Wapsi” threshold! In that case, God help them!