Here on the front lines of competing
faiths, Father Joseph D'Mello is a lonely man battling for souls against
the myriad beliefs that make up Hinduism. The Catholic priest senses the
undercurrent of hostility in this mainly Hindu village with each whiff
of raw sewage and rotting trash from the garbage dump next to his small
red-and-white church. Monsoon rains pound the corrugated iron roof like
a drum. .....
Dr BR Ambedkar, whose birth anniversary
was celebrated on April 14, is remembered for his commendable work for
the uplift of Dalits. What, however, is not known, is that he had made
an analysis of the Muslim League's demand for Pakistan at the 1940 Lahore
Even after the breakup of Pakistan
in 1971, Pakistani rulers, especially the Army, have not learnt any lesson
and as a result there is great unrest in its Sindh and Balochistan provinces.
In the ongoing 61st session of UNCHR at Geneva, a number of Kashmiri nationalists
and Human Rights organisations drew the attention of the chairperson of
Human Rights Commission to the plight of the suffering masses in Sindh,
Balochistan, POK and Gilgit-Baltistan. .....
The bus between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad
may have been welcomed by Kashmiris on both sides, when it took off on
April 7 and 21 respectively, but for some of them going to Muzaffarabad,
the journey turned out to be a nightmare. .....
Though the majority of science-and-religion
books are Judeo-Christian in nature, there has been a recent surge of spokespeople
from other traditions - namely, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism - publishing
about the harmony of their beliefs with modern science. .....
The man hailed as an "Asian hero"
by Time and the darling of partisan activists masquerading as journalists
now increasingly appears to be nothing more than a swash-buckling carpetbagger.
Worse, he is likely to have indulged in profiteering of the most criminal
variety by exploiting the hunger, pain and misery of thousands of families
that lost their wherewithal in last year's floods in Bihar. .....
The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh,
has set up a high-level committee to prepare a comprehensive report on
the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community in
India. The seven-member committee - headed by the former Chief Justice
of the Delhi High Court, Rajindar Sachar - has been asked to submit its
report by June 2006. .....
Dr Hussain Malik, President of
the American-Pakistanis Physicians of North America (APPNA), who was earlier
criticised for presenting an award to BJP president and former Deputy Prime
Minister LK Advani, has now been asked to resign from his post. .....
The sun goes down early in Agartala.
By about 5 pm, the trees begin to sway in the light breeze. Jeevan Kumar
would wait for this time everyday to get into his sports gear and play
volleyball with the jawans. .....
Every house is painted pale pink.
There are pink benches under banana and almond trees for community reading.
Once your eyes adjust to all that pink in the belly of the Sahyadri mountains,
you notice that the door to every homestead bears the name of a woman,
not the man of the house. .....
In the history of revolutionaries
of India, the martyrdom of Chapekar Brothers is a golden page. The fatal
disease plague had played havoc in Pune in 1898. The Collector of Pune
'Rand' had made the life of the citizens simply unbearable by entering
the homes of people. He had terribly insulted the people. To take revenge
of this social and national insult, a young man, Damodar Hari Chapekar
had shot him dead. .....
Recently deceased Pope John Paul
II commented that it was not capitalism or communalism but secularism
which was the real threat to mankind. He used the dictionary meaning
of secularism, meaning non-religious, non-spiritual. However, in
our constitution secularism does not mean irreligion. It means that
there is no state recognised charts or religion. .....
It is a sign of disarray in the
BJP that the latest controversy triggered by remarks of RSS Chief K. S.
Sudharshan has sown further seeds of confusion and discord in the party.
Like a headless chicken, the top leadership of the party seems to be moving
in circles without knowing how to settle the issue. On the face of it,
what the RSS chief said in a television interview was wholly unexceptionable.
On April 24th, the living Armenians
will gather to pay their respects to the million plus Armenians who were
killed during WWI. Who cares about a century old genocide event other than
the afflicted party, eh? Nobody much, I am afraid. Nobody cared about the
genocide in Bangladesh 30 years ago with those genocidal maniacs now freely
enjoying their lives, visiting the west and even having political power.
Warned by New Delhi, Dhaka has
promised to probe the killing last Saturday of BSF assistant commandant
Jiwan Kumar at Lankamura on Tripura's border with Bangladesh. But in the
village of Lankamura and in the BSF camp, they are convinced that there's
very little to probe. .....
Fed up with the "ill-treatment"
meted out by the ruling Congress, the minority organisations of Assam
have decided to rally behind the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, which is giving
a serious thought to the idea of floating a new political platform
before the Assembly elections in Assam. .....
Between board meetings and trysts
with spread-sheets, I am suddenly blessed. Sitting in the corner next to
the TV, I discover a gem that I had read a while ago. It was time to revisit
Yaksha's pool and drink from its enigmatic waters - waters that hurt, heal
and reveal in succession. The book in question is The Wisdom of Poets:
Studies in Tamil, Telugu, and Sanskrit by David Shulman. .....
It is hardly surprising that the
issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh featured prominently at the
conference of Chief Ministers on internal security last Friday. As many
as seven Chief Ministers-those of West Bengal, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya,
Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Maharashtra-urged upon the Centre to take
strong steps to curb the influx which posed a grave threat to national
Bangladesh border guards abducted
a BSF officer from a flag meeting, beat him up and hit him with an axe
before shooting him dead at point blank range at a border town near Agartala
in Tripura, BSF officials said. Two other BSF personnel were also injured
in the violence on Saturday. .....
In December of 2003 a few of us
from the Vedic Friends Association traveled through Assam, Arunachala
Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and later Sikhim on a spiritual journey.
Unfortunately, the trip wasn't all love and light. The local tribesmen
in that part of India face a major threat from sometimes violent Christian
insurgents whose conversion efforts too often result in murder and
Sarsanghchalaks of the Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are normally content to remain in the political
shadows, patriarchs of cultural and nationalist ideology rather than commentators
on day-to-day politics. Yet Kuppahalli Sitaramayya Sudarshan, who became
head of the RSS in 2000, has presided over the organisation at a time of
dramatic shifts in the RSS-BJP relationship, and is known for speaking
his mind. .....
As if reinforcing Chief Minister
Tarun Gogoi's latest acknowledgement, that pan-Islamic jehadi groups like
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and Harkat-ul-Jehadi-al-Islam (HuJI) are trying
to expand their network in Assam, there are reports that notorious Bangladeshi
fanatic Bangla Bhai has entered neighbouring West Bengal and is planning
to cross over to Assam soon. .....
Now that everyone is talking about
Europe's demographic death, it is time to point out that there exists a
way out: convert European Muslims to Christianity. The reported front-runner
at the Vatican conclave that began on Monday, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger,
is one of the few Church leaders unafraid to raise the subject. .....
Noted social activist Deven Dutta
today criticised Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for failing to attend a joint
press conference of North East Chief Ministers in New Delhi following their
meeting with the Prime Minister last week. .....
The incident last Saturday, in
which men of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) brutally tortured and killed an
Assistant Commandant-and seriously injured two jawans-of the Border Security
Force, provided yet another example of the criminal acts that have become
almost routine with Bangladesh's paramilitary border force. .....
Under the firm leadership of Tony
Blair, Britain, once a country notable for the honesty of its inhabitants
and the uprightness of its public administration, is fast descending into
banana-republic status. .....
There is clear evidence which confirms
that some international Christian organisations are backing terrorism and
separatist movements in the north-east. These church backed organisations
are providing funds, arms and ammunitions with the aim of creating a separate
Christian state. .....
On October 26,1947 Hari Singh,
the Maharaja of Kashmir, signed the Instrument of Accession of Kashmir
to the Dominion of India. Under this Instrument, he surrendered the jurisdiction
of three subjects - Defence, External Affairs and Communications to the
Central Government. .....
President A P J Abdul Kalam today
presented gallantry and distinguished service awards to 63 servicemen in
a simple and poignant ceremony in the glittering Ashoka Hall of the Rashtrapati
Bhawan here. .....
On Saturday, the 16th April I finally
got to see the much-talked about, much debated 'Walk the talk' episode
which featured the RSS Sarsanghachalak; and truth to tell, Shri Sudarshan
was his natural self - blunt, transparently honest and without a malicious
or self-serving bone in his body. .....
A few days ago, former Karnataka
Chief Minister and current Maharashtra Governor SM Krishna was slated
to attend a function in Mysore. But he cancelled his visit at the
last moment when he learnt that the chief guest was NDA heavyweight
George Fernandes. .....
This book by a radical Hindu thinker,
analyst and journalist is a painstaking effort on the quiet but dedicated
and multidimensional work of the voluntary organisation, called the
Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, for the uplift of the tribals
or the Vanvasis of the country. .....
The Supreme Court on Wednesday
declined to entertain an application from Zahira Sheikh, key witness in
the Best Bakery case questioning the procedure adopted by the high-power
committee probing the veracity of the statements made by her as well as
those by social activist Teesta Setalvad. .....
The High Court in New Delhi has
fined two men 10,000 rupees for legally challenging the mainly Hindu country's
official three days of mourning for the death of Pope John Paul, a newspaper
reported on Thursday. .....
Retired Supreme Court judge GT
Nanavati's statement during a recent interview, that he had asked
the Government to reopen the cases against a "few politicians" accused
of participation in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, does not come as
a surprise. Nor does the reason cited-that these cases had not been
properly investigated. .....
After losing his father to AIDS
and his mother to another man, four-year-old Shubam could have ended up
as just another beggar on the ghats of Hardwar. But thanks to the
Divya Prem Seva Mission, Shubam is now studying in a residential school
and does not have to worry about his future Like 300 other children, most
of whom were born to leprosy patients. .....
DR Christopher Queen knew his answers
well when a group of delegates at the first international Buddhist conference
confronted him on a humid Saturday afternoon with some fiery anti-Manuwadi
Gautama Buddha was born and brought
up and died a Hindu, Rhys Davids writes in his famous book " Buddhism".
He says," Gautam's whole training was of Sanatan dharma he probably deemed
himself to be the most correct exponent of the spirit, of the ancient faith,
and it can only be claimed for him that he was one of' the greatest and
wisest and best of the Hindus."' .....
For people who see themselves as
the front line in an uncertain struggle to defend western civilisation-a
struggle, moreover, which has already cost some lives-the cultural warriors
of the Netherlands have a surprising spring in their step. .....
On July 26, 1994, I arrived at
Indira Gandhi International Airport. My instructions were to spend the
first night in some good hotel and then the next day call the two phone
numbers I had been given. I was to ask for a "Farooq." Maulana Abdullah
(a Harkat operative in Pakistan) had given me these instructions over the
This has the potential to bring
the Congress and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) on the same platform.
A text prescribed in the Campus of Open Learning of Delhi University has
held Mahatma Gandhi and the RSS equally responsible for inciting minority
communalism in the country. No prizes for guessing that the text has been
scripted by a Left party cadre working as Reader at the campus. .....
Over the millenniums several places
have become famous tirthas or places of pilgrimages in Bengal. A large
concentration of those places are in today's Bangladesh. Many notable monks,
rishis(Hindu saints), bhikkhus(Buddhist saints), and famous personalities
were born here. Many Muslim tombs of holy pirs and darbeshes exist here,
notable among them is the mazar(cemetery) of Shah Jalal in Sylhet. There
exist several famous Christian churches. .....
One Afghanistan belonged to Mullah
Oomar and one to Hamid Karzai. In Oomar's Afghanistan, if a toenail
of a woman was seen, fundamentalists used to hunt her in all lanes
and bye-lanes. Markets were is poor condition with no sellers or
buyers. Schools and hospitals had become a thing of past only.
In the same Afghanistan, new energy is boiling over. All have come
together to create a developing Afghanistan. .....
Guess where Raghunath Medge and
Sopan Mare, the dabbawallas from Mumbai, stayed in London over the weekend
when they went there to attend the wedding of their 'friend' HRH Prince
Charles to Camilla Parker-Bowles? .....
Those who are vigorous in their
denunciation of the human rights of the Christian and Muslim minorities
in India remain muted on the Bush Administration's policies in Iraq and
the serious violations of the human rights of the Iraqi Muslims by the
American troops. Who is devious, mischievous and motivated? .....
There was something puzzling about
the Indian government's decision to declare a three-day state mourning
for Pope John Paul II, Karol Jozef Wojtyla. Did it try to appear more Christian
than Christians, or more "secular" than the rest? I am all for showing
respect to the dead, irrespective of their creed, faith or colour. .....
In Manapia and Damodara villages
deep in Rajasthan's Thar desert, women cannot hide the joy on their faces.
They no longer have to trudge endless miles across scorching sands in search
of water for their families and livestock. Water is now at their doorstep,
perennially. The picture is no different in nearby villages like Dujasar,
Khadera, Kahala, Masurdi, Kuldhara and Gorera. .....
With Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
in town after a tour of the sub-continent, the usual paeans of praise for
China's spectacular growth performance have once again begun, with the
natural corollary of India's poor performance, and we can expect this to
intensify in the days ahead. That India has been a big under-achiever is
obvious, as is the slow pace at which certain critical reforms are taking
The same day Begum Zareen, Pervez
Musharraf's mother visited her alma mater Aligarh Muslim University, Gujarat
chief minister Narendra Modi was denied a diplomatic visa (and deprived
of his business/tourist visas) by the United States. This, of course, was
plain coincidence, but the historic irony could not be greater. .....
The borders might be tranquil and
Muzaffarabad may have become only a bus ride away but amid talk of peace
comes the discordant voice of an artiste, a Hindu singer from Pakistan,
who yearns for freedom and honour in his village that is at risk of being
torn apart by intolerance and prejudice. .....
All India Kashmiri Samaj (AIKS)
has warned that if Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) were prevented from exercising
their ''legitimate'' right to decide their own future, the situation in
the crisis-ridden Jammu and Kashmir State will in no way be satisfactory
and pleasant. .....
It sounds incredible, but it is
true. Can anyone believe that there may be some villages in India specially
in Uttaranchal where Hindus are not allowed to celebrate their most favourite
festival, Holi. Yes, there are about 10 such villages in Haridwar district,
which is called the holiest place of Uttaranchal. .....
The National Democratic Front (NDF),
suspected behind the killing of an RSS leader in Kannur about a week ago,
is a gradual phenomenon among Kerala's extremist outfits. The front has
figured in a string of communal and political killings over the past few
years yet passes off as an advocacy group of progressive liberals. .....
When China's prime minister, Wen
Jiabao, arrives here on Saturday, his four-day visit will be filled with
the usual handshakes and protocols that would ordinarily go little noticed
beyond this region. This diplomatic mission, though, will have an altogether
different feeling. .....
Those familiar with Muslim League
politics between 1906 and 1947 will not be surprised at Mr Badrul
Islam's demand in his article, "AMU calls for justice" (March 3).
The writer says that the Aligarh Muslim University "needs to act
independently in all affairs including admissions". .....
Zahira Sheikh, the "face" of one
of the worst Gujarat riot cases, the Best Bakery massacre, has accused
the National Human Rights Commission chairman of wrongly recording her
statement and sought to cross-examine him. .....
With his decision last week to
sell F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan, President Bush returns to a dangerous
game of self-deception that hasn't been seen at this level of risk since
Richard Nixon was in the White House. .....
The West Bengal Minority Council
today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to extend the visa of controversial
Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, who has applied for one and immediately
expel her from India. .....
The Bush Administration's unshakeable
faith in Pakistan as a steadfast and loyal ally in America's war against
terror, which has resulted in Washington's decision to supply F-16 multi-role
fighter jets to Islamabad, flies in the face of a recent report prepared
by the Congressional Research Service which provides crucial input to policy-makers
on Capitol Hill. .....
Outwardly Pope John Paul II, who
has been actively involved in battling war and suppression, is a beacon
of hope for those who long for freedom. Internally, however, his anti-reformist
tenure has plunged the Roman Catholic church into an epochal credibility
The US State Department's decision
to debar Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from entering American shores
has turned out to be the proverbial thin end of the wedge. In its report,
"Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2004 - 2005", released
on Monday in Washington, the US Administration has equated the BJP-led
NDA Government's policy decisions with violation of human rights and repeated
its trenchant criticism of Mr Modi. .....
Since March 15th there have been
massive and courageous student demonstrations in the southern Iraqi city
of Basra against the notorious Islamist gang led by Moqtada al-Sadr.
The students anger and outrage are a direct response to the a brutal
attack on a student outing from the Engineering faculty of Basra university,
in which al-Sadr's thugs aided by Iranian agents started beating
up the students and destroying their belongings .....
Dr. Younus Shaikh, Pakistani Rationalist
and founder President of the Rationalist organization of Pakistan,
"The Enlightenment", who was once sentenced to death for blasphemy
in Pakistan, writes on Islam and Women. .....
On 6 December 1992, when top BJP
leaders expressed panic over the collapsing Babri edifice, I was
one of the few to perceive that the Hindu movement was in deep trouble
because those riding to the pinnacle of public esteem for espousing
a centuries-old civilizational contest had no genuine desire to see
it to fruition. .....
The Jamiat chief Maulana Asad Madani
today gave the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government a six-month deadline
to get serious about serving the interest of the minorities in Assam. He
revealed his intent to topple the government if it failed to solve the
problems besetting the minorities by that time. .....
Pakistan's Military ruler, Pervez
Musharraf, once again can boast of the lucre brought to his regime by his
alliance with the United States. Breaking an embargo established under
his father's administration 15 years ago, President Bush has agreed to
sell the Pakistani military dozens of high-performance F-16s, a warplane
capable of delivering Pakistan's nuclear weapons that is coveted by its
generals so as to increase the menace to neighboring, democratic India.
To corrupt George Orwell's famous
aphorism: "all Indian Christians are equal, but some are more equal than
others". By embracing Christianity, the Dalits have not found themselves
emancipated from economic and social inequalities. .....
Surely, this can't be what Marx
meant by a dictatorship of the proletariat. But comrades lording over many
north Kerala villages have this version firmly in place, no matter if the
state doesn't quite wither away. .....