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Friday, 23 October 2009

LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR (MAY BE!)

After a war of words with each other over the Arunachal Pradesh border issue and over Dalai Lama’s visit to the State (China alleges that he is promoting separatism), India and China have finally joined hands to address the issue of climate change.

India and China have agreed to set up a joint working group to discuss climate change and policies and projects pertaining to the same. Both the countries are favouring the idea that the developed countries must reduce their emissions by 5 percent. In this regard, the Prime Ministers of both the countries will meet soon during the ongoing Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Thailand.

I hope that India and China find some common grounds to agree and work upon in the context of the border row as well.

Monday, 19 October 2009

LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR (REALLY?!)

India seems to be going through a rough patch as far as its relations with two of its neighbouring countries is concerned. India’s relations with China and Pakistan are testimony to this. In this post of mine I shall be discussing some of the current Sino-Indian and Indo-Pak issues.

As if the perennial Kashmir border issue with Pakistan was not enough, now China has once again stirred up the Arunachal Pradesh border row. China claims that Arunachal Pradesh is a part of its territory. While on the other hand India has time and again said that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of it. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee made a very intelligent remark in this context. He said that the 13th October assembly elections in which 72 percent of Arunachal Pradesh’s citizens voted reinforces the fact that Arunachal Pradesh is very much a part of India.

The issue snowballed into its current size when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Arunachal Pradesh on October 3. This visit by Singh set threat bells ringing in China. Ever since tensions only seem to be spiraling between the two countries. Home Minister P. Chidambaram has clearly stated that Chinese workers can come to India only on employment visas and no more on business visas.

Yet another bone of contention between these two countries is Chinese President Hu Jintao’s statement regarding China’s decision to continue to support projects in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). To this the External Affairs Ministry responded via an official statement which declared that China shouldn’t help in the development of any activities in PoK as it is well aware of India’s concerns in this context.

The silver lining of this dark cloud is that Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has expressed the desire to meet his Indian counterpart in the ASEAN Summit scheduled for the coming week.

Now I shall move on to our next neighbour i.e. Pakistan. Not long ago, it was all over the news that Pakistan had arrested seven men for involvement in 26/11 Mumbai blasts (excluding Hafiz Muhammad Saeed- the founder of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and allegedly the mastermind behind the 26/11 attacks). This effort on part of Pakistan was appreciated both by India and USA. India was finally getting to see Pakistan make the right moves in the right direction. Though not much has come in on the proceedings of the seven men but Pakistan not charging Saeed with the 26/11 Mumbai attacks (citing no evidence against him as the reason) despite the fact that India has given Pakistan all the evidence against him hasn’t gone down well with the Indian security agencies.

Next is the ‘someday active, someday passive’ Balochistan issue. Pakistan has pulled India unnecessarily into this futile controversy. India is too busy trying to tame tensions and terrorism at its borders to be instigating terrorism anywhere else in the world.

All these issues put together in one frame give out a clear message that either India needs to brush up its diplomatic skills or pull up its socks and be on guard all the time.

Friday, 24 July 2009

A VIP: YOU RULE!!

Of late a lot has been written in the newspapers about former President Abdul Kalam being frisked by the Continental Airlines and being asked to take off his shoes. Most of the people feel that this is wrong. But somehow I don’t see this as something offensive. Mr. Kalam is a known face for the people here in India. He is a prominent figure in our country and majority including me respects him for all his achievements. But to expect that everyone around the world should know him equally well is like facing away from the reality.

The spokesperson of Continental Airlines made it clear that Mr. Kalam was very cooperative during the entire process of checking. Then why are these people shouting their lungs out when Mr. Kalam is nowhere to be heard?

But what happened raises a very important question which is that “Should VIPs be exempt from security checks?”

I believe the answer to this question should be a stern no. Because the people who are currently generating the clamor pertaining to this issue will be the first one’s to blame the government if at all and ever any unfortunate incident happens involving a VIP. In case of a crisis when VIPs are provided with special provisions over masses to make sure that they escape unscathed people are livid. Then what is so derogatory about a VIP being frisked for security. If they have to be made to feel like a VIP, then there can be separate areas for frisking VIPs but not to frisk them at all gets a big no. If this is about paying respect to the dignitaries of the country then it can be done in many ways other than allowing them to take things as serious as security of the masses for granted. An ordinary person from among the masses could be a threat to the people then why not a VIP?

Moreover our Government believes in the policy of ‘Once a VIP, always a VIP.’ Even some of the former VIPs are exempt from the security checks, which is again not acceptable. The VIPs get several other special provisions and I have no issues with that, but compromises are not be made on things as fundamental as security of the citizens. Often the important (apparently) people can be heard saying that they belong to the masses but when it actually comes to reaching out to the people they are held back by the weight of their VIP tags.

Monday, 30 March 2009

HELP STOP RAGGING!!

It's time for all of us to wake up from our slumber. Ragging has to be stopped right away if we do not want any more Aman Kachroo's. Aman Kachroo a fresher in a medical college was harassed and put to a brutal death by his seniors. All of us can lend a helping hand in putting an end to this crime. Go to http://stopragging.org/ and sign the petition that will be sent to the PM to put forward the view that the Indian Penal Code should be amended to make ragging an offence. Kindly do it as soon as possible and also let the people around you know about it. You can sign the petition till May 7. Please do it..even I did. Here's hoping to see you become a part of this significant initiative.

Monday, 2 February 2009

MANGALORE PUB ATTACK

You are an irresponsible parent and hence we are doing the job of disciplining your children: this is what the Sri Ram Sene goons are telling the parents of the victims of the Mangalore pub incident. This is the justification of the attack by these goons at girls who were spending some time at a pub named Amnesia.


Though this incident has attracted the ire of many sections of the society, I will just give a brief of this very unfortunate happening. The incident goes like this: some girls were at this pub Amnesia in Mangalore and suddenly the goons of Sri Ram Sene entered the premises and started hitting the girls badly. To the horror of these girls they were chased down and hit repeatedly. Some girls also claim to have been molested. This is a really shocking episode that has come to light. However the most unfortunate part of the entire story is yet to come and it is that neither these goons nor their ‘masters’ are apologetic about what they did. There is this lack of resentment as they believe that they are helping to preserve the Indian culture. But the fact is that they aren’t doing it for the culture, rather for their own sake. This is a clear attempt to hog the limelight.

The victims of this horrifying act are too scared to lodge any complaints. Even shocking is the fact that the CM of Rajasthan and some other political figures are lending support to this heinous act. Even this episode has raised that question once again: Is such moral policing called for? The answer is an absolute and unambiguous NO. Such people in the name of cultures or regions do no good to the society. The fact that such incidents are happening and are offered support by political figures is a blot on our country’s claim to be a democracy. I don’t say that girls should or should not go to pubs, all I say is that no second person or party has to right to take the decision for the person concerned.

This incident has me uneasy as it has also thrown light on yet another alarming fact i.e. there is still this huge divide between girls and boys in our ‘progressive’ country as only girls are being asked to keep away from pubs or discotheques. It is also being said that such places are not good and not a part of the Indian culture as they have been taken from the Western culture. “Girls shouldn't try and imitate boys”- statement by another one of our leaders. To this I have to say that if pubs are ‘not at all’ a part of the Indian culture and such bad places to be in then why is it okay for men to be present at such places. If something is bad, it is bad for all or for none. Some intelligent people have very rightly given an alias to this group, which is Indian Taliban.

If someday you see a girl being beaten for having stepped out of her place don’t be surprised- after all it's just a way of preserving the Indian culture.

Now, time for an eye-opener for these wolves disguised as sheep: Indian culture has always advocated tolerance towards all beings. It’s not girls or anybody else who is to be stopped from stepping out of their places and enjoying their selves as per our culture; rather it is such intolerance, such ill-treatment of people that has to be stopped from firming its roots amongst us.