Saturday, May 27, 2017
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Two Bombs
By Gwynne Dyer
There were two bombs on Monday. The one in Britain killed at least 22 people and injured 120 as they came out of a concert at Manchester Arena. It was carried out by a suicide bomber named Salman Abedi and claimed by ISIS. The other was in Thailand, and injured 22 people at a military-linked hospital in Bangkok; nobody has claimed responsibility yet. But what happened afterwards was very different. In Manchester they just kept calm and carried on. The Scottish band Simple Minds went ahead with their scheduled concert at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on Tuesday night, and 80 percent of the people who had bought tickets showed up for the show. Lead singer Jim Kerr told the audience they would all have "felt cowardly" if they didn't play, they had a minute's silence for the victims, and th...
Kashmir Times News Report
The cat and the bedpost..!
Quite often while driving on Sundays I see churches with people standing outside. They don't go in, they don't listen to what the priest is saying, but they stand outside and as far as they are concerned they have done their religious duty to God! The religious duty or ritual, is going to church! Not for praying, not for listening, but simply going, and being either in it, or outside it. Not just churches, but also mandirs and masjids too. So often ritual takes over the act of prayer or meditation doesn't it? I do believe that all rituals were started with good intentions, but slowly people forgot the content and remembered only the form. A devout man who had a cat used to spend several minutes each day at prayer and meditation in his bedroom. He read a part of scripture and a devoti...
Kashmir Times News Report
Small Farmers' Plight
Agriculture on reverse
By Moin Qazi
His speech if of mortgaged bedding, On his kine he borrows yet. At his heart is his daughter's wedding. In his eye foreknowledge of debt he eats and hath indigestion He toils and he may not stop. His life Is a long-drawn question Between a crop and a crop —Rudyard Kipling, The Masque of Plenty As the world transitions from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - which aim to end poverty and hunger and promote sustainable development - small farmers hold an important key. In India, small and marginal farmers - those who work on less than two hectares (five acres) of land - constitute 80% of total farm households, 50% of rural households and 36% of total households. Sadly, the plight of these farmers is very distressing. ...
Kashmir Times News Report
The food trolley club..!
By Robert Clements
A nightmare faced by airhostesses quite often, other than hijacks and terrorist attacks are people who want to walk past the food trolley to the toilet when food is being served. I was talking to Anne a pretty young flight steward, and she swore people did it on purpose or out of habit. I sat on a flight the other day and decided to watch. Nobody stirred while the plane was taxing to the runway, and nobody dared get up while the aircraft took off. There was a general calm as the plane leveled off and my neighbour, who I'd never met before told me the news in his paper was better than mine. "How do you know?" I asked surprised. "I buy the paper," he said, "and it's sensational! Rapes, murders and that sort of thing! You like stuff like that?" "I'm not sure," I said and settled down to...
Kashmir Times News Report
Manchester Attacks: What price Hypocrisy?
By John Wight
The lack of a coherent anti-terrorism strategy in Washington and by extension the West, as emergency services deal with the devastating aftermath of yet another terrorist atrocity in Europe - this time a suicide bomb attack at a concert in Manchester, England - has been thrown into sharp relief during President Trump's tour of the Middle East. Specifically, on what planet can Iran be credibly accused of funding and supporting terrorism while Saudi Arabia is considered a viable partner in the fight against terrorism? This is precisely the narrative we are being invited to embrace by President Trump in what counts as a retreat from reality into the realms of fantasy, undertaken in service not to security but commerce. Indeed those still struggling to understand why countries such as the ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Teach your children well..!
By Robert Clements
It was a rasta roko or road protest: Students in school uniform standing in the middle of the road! Blocking traffic! Creating traffic jams! Preventing cars and buses, taxis and other vehicles to proceed further….! A strike!" This happened last Saturday, because a girl was knocked down by a taxi while crossing the road… …I can imagine the shock and anger of the other students…. ..But was it the taxi driver's fault? Didn't she see the taxi coming? Did she try to run across the road confusing the driver? My mind goes back to my years in school … Our headmaster got in touch with the traffic cops and organized a Traffic Patrol for the students on Mount Road. Every morning the seniors, were given the opportunity to regulate traffic on the road outside.. What a feeling..! I remember hold...
Kashmir Times News Report
Yogi Adityanath in dual role
By Rajindar Sachar
The mysterious rise of Yogi Adityanath as a centre of power contenders amongst the BJP/RSS leaders seems to baffle the public. It is a wrong assessment that he has been installed at the instance of Modi/Amit Shah. They are too politically astute not to create another power centre against themselves. Though Yogi was no doubt a Thakur (the Bollywood perpetual tormentor of the weak, and ruthless in accomplishing his aim) - he was a Mahant for a long time thus establishing easily his credentials to the Brahmanical family leadership of the RSS. Yogi has proved this by openly announcing immediately his aim of a Hindu Rashtra (against all sense of realism and which is a constitutional monstrosity) that is pleasing to Mohan Bhagwat and his coterie. A win in 2019 could throw Modi beyond challeng...
Kashmir Times News Report
Monster outside and dad behind me ..!
By Robert Clements
The house I grew up in was an isolated one, and though it was fun to have huge fields outside and even a vineyard at the edge of those fields, for me, a youngster, not yet into his teens, the nights were scary. What was most scary was the whining, screeching, sometimes thundering sound of the wind outside and one of my duties as the eldest was to walk to the rear of our home and shut the back window. To do so, I had to leave the warmth and security of the living room, where my dad and rest of the family sat, walk through the dining room, down a long badly lit corridor and there at the end was the window, opening like gaping hole into a dark terrifying world, from which came the eerie sound of the monster wind. The window opened outward, and what I found most terrifying was to have to st...
Kashmir Times News Report
India Heading for One-Party Rule?
By Aijaz Zaka Syed
All politics is local, said US politician Tip O'Neil. Under Narendra Modi, nothing is local anymore. Writing for Aljazeera, Prof Apoorvanand of Delhi University explains how India is permanently in election mode these days and insurrectionary politics is keeping the nation in a perpetual state of agitation. "BJP is trying to convert all elections, be they for rural, municipal or district administrative bodies, into national elections," he argues. The party achieves this by harping on emotive issues like nationalism, security and perpetual tensions with Pakistan even in local body polls, and conflating support for the BJP and Modi with the support for the country. With the explosion of social media and TV channels, local election campaigns have started reaching every nook and cranny o...
Kashmir Times News Report
Trump and the Tramp's Tale..!
By Robert Clements
It was early one morning the people of New York, some of them anyway heard that the Statue of Liberty had been speaking to someone down below, the previous night. A drunk, who had made his home on the same island, told people next day, it was Trump, the lovely Liberty had been speaking to. "She was giggling," said the tramp, though nobody believed him, "She said, I told you so, I told you so, and Trump, he just put his head down and moaned and groaned!" "Trump, would do no such thing!" said some furious Republicans. "Why would he moan and groan?" "He said them mattresses in the Lincoln bedroom were pretty hard," said the drunk tramp, "and the Statue of Liberty, she giggled even more!" "But why would the President of the United States want to have a conversation with a statue?" asked t...
Kashmir Times News Report
Corruption Unlimited: Politicians in the dock
By Poonam I Kaushish
Political India is beginning to resemble a leaking sieve. As notorious tales continue to tumble out fast and furious about Messrs Lalu and parivar, Chidambaram and son Karti, Congress's Sonia's son-in-law Vadra and spiced with allegations against Aam Aadmi's Kejriwal. Trust our netagan to evoke "political vendetta" (sic), "malicious onslaught" and "baseless charges" yelling blue murder when cornered. After all, denial is always their last refuge! Their plunder is both grisly and horrifying. Take former Union Finance Minister and his son Karti who are in the CBI and Enforcement Directorate's crosshairs over involvement in the Aircel-Maxis deal wherein Karti allegedly received a $2 lakh payment as payoff. Alongside 'kickbacks' from other firms whose files were pending with the Foreign Inv...
Kashmir Times News Report
Lying Awake..!
By Robert Clements
Ever so often do I hear people telling me how they lay awake through the previous night. They make it sound like the end of the world. "You lay awake all night?" I ask laughing. "Yes," they say, "yes, don't laugh Bob!" "And did dragons and leopards and ghosts try to get at you?" "No!" they say and then start laughing with me. I was once like that. I thought it was the most terrible thing to lie awake. I tossed and turned and woke my poor wife, and walked the house and most probably woke everyone else. My wife would get up and give me a sleeping pill which started acting when dawn was breaking and it was time to rise. I still go through bouts of sleeplessness, but have started enjoying these moments. I look out of the window and see the trees swaying gently or during the monsoons; vi...
Kashmir Times News Report
Every story has two sides: Kashmir is no different
By Neha Saigal
I recently finished reading Shahnaz Bashir's "Scattered Souls", which is a collection of powerful short stories depicting the price that ordinary citizens living in Kashmir are paying because of excessive militarization. The Indian Government may justify this as much needed policing against the Kashmiri insurgents, to maintain internal security. But with all due to respect to the National Security Advisor, the Home Ministry and the Indian Army: How is any country going to maintain peace and security by further angering mobs and distancing civilians? After reading Bashir's book, I feel compelled to write this piece, the people in those pages are like ghosts. I say this as their everyday reality rarely crosses our mind, we are so caught up in playing the good patriotic Indian that we forge...
Kashmir Times News Report
Julian Assange, Sweden, and continuing battles
By Dr Binoy Kampmark
It had been, from the start, a cruel wait and see game. Lacking logic and consistency, the Swedish effort to extradite Julian Assange from the United Kingdom, not for formal charges but the pretext of questioning him over sexual assault and rape, collapsed on Friday. The Director of Public Prosecutions Marianne Ny and Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren, in a press conference in Stockholm, were doing their best not to have Assange have the last, grizzly laugh. Abandoning the investigation had been a logistical matter, as they had been unable to serve the Australian with allegations during an interview at the Ecuadorean embassy in November 2016. It is worth pointing out that getting that interview had been a point of persistent refusal and stonewalling from the Swedish prosecutor's office. ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Indian IT sector facing major strains
Government doing nothing to deal with large lay offs
By Nitya Chakraborty
As the Narendra Modi Government is busy making preparations for its gala third anniversary at the centre later this month, reports are coming every day of big lay offs in the information technology companies in the country. The impact of the Trump administration's decision on the Indian IT sector has not been fully analysed yet but even before the total assessment is done by the Indian companies, the managements which have earned huge profits in the recent years through software exports and other IT related activities, have started firing its own employees at the first available opportunity. The Prime Minister is going all out for building a digital India but the main protagonists who will help in building that, are losing jobs in every part of the country. The situation has taken a seri...
Kashmir Times News Report
Peacocks and Garbage Dumps..!
By Robert Clements
Suddenly there's a flurry of activity in the capital; secret meetings, political parties in a tizzy, and rumours floating; the commotion is about who will be the next president of the country. Newspapers and TV channels have suddenly found something to pique their readers and viewers. But I'm a bit puzzled. The president of this country unlike that of the USA is just a constitutional head, a titular figure. What's the fuss about then? Around five years ago I'd been to Delhi and since it was an official visit, stayed for three days in one of the bungalows of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the residence of the president of India. It was a spectacular place, and I was treated like royalty. The view in the mornings of peacocks and other birds moving around in the vast estate is unforgettable. I...
Kashmir Times News Report
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