Sunday, July 31, 2011

Where are the women Gandhians? Unlike Gandhians like Sucheta Kripilani or Aruna Asif Ali, today's women politicians are megalomaniacs

By Sankar Ray/DNA-

Daily News & Analysis, 31/07/2011

Where are the women Gandhians?

Unlike Gandhians like Sucheta Kripilani or Aruna Asif Ali, today's women politicians are megalomaniacs

The governor of West Bengal MK Narayanan signed an order on February 3, 2011, appointing Dr Amit Banerjee, professor and head, department of cardiothoracic surgery, GB Pant Hospital, New Delhi, and the senior-most cardiac surgeon in India's academic institutions, as the vice chancellor, West Bengal University of Health Sciences. A national talent search scholar, Dr Banerjee is the winner of several prestigious awards and was editor, Indian Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, between 1991 and 1996.

Inexplicably, the then additional chief secretary, in charge of health and family welfare, M N Roy, disallowed Dr Banerjee to join when he submitted his joining report on July 1 although the incumbent was never given a deadline for joining in his new post. Grapevine has it chief minister Mamata Banerjee arbitrarily directed the top bureaucracy not to let the incumbent join after June 15. The executive committee of WBUHS has been asked to look out for another person and in the queue are a few newly-found sycophants of Ms Banerjee.

Ms Banerjee made her way upwards through a singular and protracted effort with an uncompromising adherence to personal values of austere and simple lifestyle. Nonetheless, her anathema towards a democratic milieu around her cannot be ignored. The ham-handed attitude towards Dr Banerjee is a reflex of one on a high horse with a revolver and whether it's a syndrome of megalomania is the concern of a social psychologist.

Megalomaniac feats among woman politicians and other sections of socialites are a feature, particularly in peasant societies that are distinctively different from industrially developed ones. In India, we found this propensity, essentially an outreach of extremely possessive traits, among top woman political leaders like Bahujan Samaj Party chief and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and her counterpart in Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalithaa, dictator-leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham.

They are very different from Sucheta Kripalani, India's first woman chief minister, who courted imprisonment repeatedly during the freedom struggle and whom Indira Gandhi described as "a person of rare courage and character who brought credit to Indian womanhood."

The likes of her were Aruna Asaf Ali, who hoisted the tricolour at the Azad Maidan during the Quit India movement, and Usha Mehta, a famous Gandhian who was instrumental in the operation of the Secret Congress Radio during the QIM. Unlike Indira Gandhi, they were democrat to the core, and believed that a democrat has to behave democratically among colleagues and juniors.

Maybe, the authoritarian trends reflect a sense of insecurity as the women are victims of discrimination and are challenged by male-dominated social hierarchy. Professor Everett Hagen, an economist having taught at MIT, scripted a theory -- known as Hagen's Theory -- on the direct relationship between societal change and personality change of people. He was of the view that a change from traditional to modern society happens when a change takes place in people's personalities. Traditional societies, Hagen holds, are dominated by authoritarian personalities while the modern societies are ruled by innovative personalities. The advent of Mamata Banerjee vouchsafes this in West Bengal, where peasants constitute over 70% of population.

Georgina Wayden in a paper, Women and Democratization: Conceptualizing Gender Relations in Transition Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1994), focused on the impact of gender relations on democratisation. Among the key questions she threw up were the role of women's movements in the transition to democratic rule and their impact on competitive electoral politics. Braving limitations of narrow definitions of democracy and the top-down focus Wayden studied the relationship between civil society and the state and the existence of 'political space' in different processes of transition in Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe and came out with a comparative gendered analysis.

Authoritarian aberrations affect the image of even very honest politicians. Coming back to the Mamata phenomenon that generated new aspirations for democratic movement with genuinely humanist tone, her quasi-dictatorial mindset would affect her most. But this deviation is not involuntary. When she was asked why democratic functioning is absent in the Trinamool Congress, she shot back, "Why don't you ask this question to Sonia Gandhi?"

Her followers may recite the Sahitya Academy laureate Bengali poet Joy Goswami:

Whatever you say, I shall do exactly that,
I'll eat exactly that, wear exactly that,
apply exactly that on my body.
And leave to go out.
I'll abandon my own land and go away without a word.

(The writer is a veteran journalist & commentator, specialising in left politics and environment)

Copyright restricted. Under license from

BJP to grill govt on corruption, Lokpal issues in Parliament

BJP to grill govt on corruption, Lokpal issues in Parliament


Amritsar, Jul 31 (PTI) The BJP today said it will grill the central government on the issues of corruption, terrorism and non-inclusion of Prime Minister from the ambit of Lokpal in the monsoon session of the Parliament, which starts tomorrow.
The BJP will not allow smooth functioning of both the Houses if the Congress-led UPA government does not address these issues, BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.
On the Lokpal issue, he said the draft approved by the cabinet is below expectation and the party supports inclusion of the Prime Minister in its ambit.
On the 2G scam, the party spokesperson said the BJP demands the CBI probe against P Chidambaram, the then Finance Minister when the 2G Spectrum allocation was made, and asked why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi are maintaining "silence" over the matter.
Prasad also sought inclusion of all the suspects in the ongoing CBI probe into the cash for vote scam, saying the Congress had compromised with principals to cling onto power at the Centre.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bangladesh youth learns about human trafficking at Youth Journalism Camp

Bangladesh youth learns about human trafficking at Youth Journalism Camp

In Mymensigh, Bangladesh young journalists are taking actions to end human trafficking. The Youth Journalism Camp, organized by Relief International, teaches students of secondary schools the necessary journalistic skills to spread the message about human trafficking. The main objective of the project is to reduce vulnerability to human trafficking in the Jamalpur District of Bangladesh and to raise awareness of the general public.

Jamalpur is one of the less developed districts of Bangladesh, where the majority of the population depends solely on the agriculture sector. As a result, these people remain unemployed during specific times of the year. In this period, they often migrate to urban areas in search for employment or opportunities to migrate, which make them vulnerable to forced labour or other forms of exploitation.

The Journalism Camp was established in cooperation with the US State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP). The project targets students and teachers of 6 different schools in the districts of Melandah, Bakshiganj and Dewanganj.

" We aim to teach students about effective reporting procedures on social issues so that they can use wall magazines, news letters and various community service projects to generate widespread awareness about human rights and prevention of trafficking, " said Nazrul Islam, Country Director of Relief International in Bangladesh.

The Camp was part of the programme entitled "Enhancing Community Capacity to Reduce Vulnerability to Human Trafficking in the Jamalpur District of Bangladesh",, with a special focus on women and children. More journalism trainings for youth will take place in the next year and a half and they are expected to reach more than 300 students and teachers in one of the most trafficking prone districts in Bangladesh

About the Camp participants have said:

"This camp has been an extremely useful source of information for us. We can now work as youth journalists and protest against trafficking and other violations of human rights."

"I have gained in depth knowledge at this Camp. Now if I find any cases of trafficking or exploitation in my own community, I will be able to protest against it and also enlighten my fellow community members about the risks associated with trafficking. I will also clarify their misconceptions and counsel on various matters pertaining to trafficking. "

India Invites Myanmar's Suu Kyi who was recently freed from several years of house arrest.

Saturday, July 23, 2011 10:08:16 PM (IST)

India Invites Myanmar's Suu Kyi

New Delhi, Jul 23 (IANS): The government has invited Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to visit India.

The invitation was extended to Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, when Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao met her at her villa in Yangon last month. The meeting lasted for an hour.

"I hope she comes to India. She spoke warmly of India," said a government source familiar with the discussions between Rao and Suu Kyi, who was recently freed from several years of house arrest.

This was the first high-level Indian contact with Myanmar's pro-democracy icon and Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, who studied in the Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi.

At the end of the meeting, both expressed a desire for the bilateral relationship to blossom and grow, sources said.

Rao had accompanied External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on a three-day visit to Myanmar in June.

Amid criticism by some western countries that India was not doing enough to push the cause of democracy in Myanmar, the sources defended India's pursuit of its economic and strategic interests in that neighbouring country.

Black money trail: 'Notices sent to 17 people'-Feb 5, 2011(Can't say if any thing has comeout of it by now...VT)

Black money: Govt sends notices to 17

PTI | Feb 5, 2011, 12.19PM IST

KOLKATA: The government today said it has served notices to 17 persons alleged to have kept untaxed money in foreign banks and prosecution has begun against them, but refused to reveal their names.

The comments, made by Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee here, came a day after some media reports revealed names of 15 entities, including individuals and trusts, said to have kept illicit money in LGT Bank of Liechtenstein, an European country neighbouring Switzerland. . ( Read: Black money trail: 15 Indian secret accounts abroad named by Tehelka magazine )

"We have received a few names and already served notices on 17 persons and prosecution has begun," he said.

Mukherjee, however, said that it was not possible to reveal the names of those who have stashed money in overseas banks.

"The government, suo motu, cannot reveal the names because according to treaty we can only use the information for taxation purposes," Mukherjee told reporters.

"We can only reveal the details in the open court when the matter comes up for hearing," Mukherjee added.

These are the persons whose names were given to India by the German government, which had purchased the stolen data of over 1,400 people with secret accounts in the LGT Bank. ( Read: Black money funds political parties: Rahul Bajaj )

The Indian government has been refusing to make public these names citing secrecy clause in the deal with Germany, and has shared the details with the Supreme Court only.

The black money issue has become a big political controversy, with the opposition parties asking the government to reveal these names and even the courts mounting pressure to take action to bring back the black money stashed by Indians abroad.

Late last month, Mukherjee held a press conference in the national capital on the black money issue and said the government has initiated a multi-pronged strategy to tackle the issue, but the names cannot be disclosed due to bilateral treaties with various governments.

He had said there was no legal framework available right now with the government to reveal details about black money accounts and treaties are being negotiated with 65 countries for getting information about tax evaders.

Mukherjee maintained that there were no clear estimates about black money and the government has constituted a multi-disciplinary committee to get studies conducted to estimate the quantum of illicit funds generated by Indian citizens. ( Read: SC asks government to ascertain source of black money )

"The government has nothing to hide. No question of hiding. Let us understand the issue. No information can be made available unless there is a legal framework.

No sovereign government is going to share information unless there is a legal framework," he had said.

Information on black money 'flowing in': Pranab-Jul 30, 20

Information on black money 'flowing in': Pranab

PTI |Jul 30, 2011, 05.24PM IST

NEW DELHI: Details of assets and payments received by Indian citizens in several countries have "started flowing in" and are being investigated, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee disclosed on Saturday.

Information about wealth stashed away in Swiss banks by Indians is expected by the government before the end of the year, he indicated after pointing out that India had signed a Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty with Switzerland.

The treaty is likely to be ratified by the Swiss by September and information about tax avoidance should be available thereafter.

Information regarding assets and payments received by Indian citizens was now now under different stages of processing, he said.

Rejecting the opposition charge that the government was not not serious about dealing with black money, the minister told PTI that while previous governments which included the BJP, CPI and other opposition parties had done nothing in this regard, the UPA had launched a five-pronged strategy in this regard.

Besides creating an appropriate legislative framework, the government had started renegotiations with 75 countries to get more information. Negotiations have been completed with 53 countries or jurisdictions.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The extraordinary icon who matters-To admirers, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the embodiment of steadfastness. To critics, she is a rigid and impractical

The extraordinary icon who matters
Rajiv Bhatia

To admirers, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the embodiment of steadfastness. To critics, she is a rigid and impractical politician.

Understandably, even well-read people fumble if asked to name the leader of Myanmar's pro-democracy movement — Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. She is referred variously as ‘Suu Kyi', ‘Mrs Aung', ‘Daw Suu' or ‘The Lady.' A safer, if impersonal, way is to use only her initials. What, however, is regretful is that our insularity prevents us from listening to her and reflecting on what she has to say about her country, our important but neglected neighbour. She may not hold all keys to the Myanmar riddle now but she retains a strong influence on her people and the country's international partners. And India still figures prominently in her thoughts.

The BBC did a singular service to Myanmar watchers by broadcasting two lectures by ASSK under the 2011 Reith lecture series named ‘Securing Freedom.' These were secretly taped and smuggled out. Entitled ‘Liberty' and ‘Dissent', they were shared with the world on June 28 and July 5. A notable point at the outset is that although she severely criticised previous military regimes, the present ‘civilian' government has chosen to react with tolerance and maturity by largely ignoring her criticism.
Freedom, truth and non-violence

Crafted astutely, the lectures reflect her intellectual depth and spiritual strength. ASSK shares her thoughts on what freedom means to her and to others who are still in the sad state of “un-freedom.” She reiterates the importance of “freedom from fear,” arguing that fear is an adversary that remains until the end. Its elimination need not be “complete” — only “sufficient to enable us to carry on,” although even this requires tremendous courage. Hers is an unparalleled profile in courage and passion for her cause. She rejects the label of “opposition” for her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), preferring to call it a “dissident movement.” Citing Vaclav Havel, she observes that the basic job of a dissident is “to serve the truth.”

If it sounds quintessentially Gandhian, her recent views on non-violence have a peculiar nuance. While she herself rejects violence, she asserts that she did not condemn those who indulged in violence against the military regime. She adds that “if I were to support violence,” it would be only because she believed that a short burst of violence would prevent “worse things from happening in the long term.” She asserts that her adherence to non-violence is due to political and practical, not moral, considerations.

‘The second struggle'

Although adopting a civil and measured tone, she is unsparing in her criticism of the generals. Referring to the State Law and Order Council which ruled the country from 1988 to 1997, she points out that the Burmese equivalent of ‘law and order' is ‘quiescent, cowering, crushed, and flattened.' Citizenry of this kind was “perhaps not far from the truth” then. The NLD, she says, stands for an antithesis of such kind of people.

When starting her movement long years ago, she called it “the second struggle for independence,” but she notes the differences. The main difference is that while the first struggle was against a foreign power, Britain, this one is against antagonists who are “the same nation, the same race, the same colour, the same religion.” Another difference is that while the colonial government was authoritarian, “it was significantly less totalitarian” than the junta.
Other issues

The State Peace and Development Council, which ruled from 1997 to 2010, is not spared either. The referendum and elections organised by it are depicted as “mishaps.” She spells out three reasons behind the NLD's non-participation in the 2010 elections: the new Constitution's provision that the Army can take back all powers whenever it wants was unacceptable; the NLD was unwilling to abandon its members languishing in jails; and it rejected the idea that the 1990 elections (which had resulted in its decisive victory) may be “wiped off the political map.” What truly troubles the NLD and its supreme leader is the stark reality that the Constitution is the military's gift to people rather than the prize they have won themselves; and that a large chunk of political class and civil society is willing to try out the new dispensation.

The Q&A sessions that followed the lectures produced valuable insights. She was dismissive of the recent elections and the new government. There are “no real changes” — only “lots of very beautiful words, but these are not enough.” She holds the view that “a charade of democracy can be more dangerous than outright dictatorship,” explaining that people want change so much that “they are deceiving themselves” in believing that it has arrived. Many disagree with her, but this is where she stands. Responding to criticism that the NLD is caught “in a rut” and is “frozen in time” and asked to indicate which of the four policy instruments to deal with the government — engage, isolate, impose sanctions and attack — she would prefer, she says “critical engagement” is her favoured approach. She wants the world to help in “our network for democracy,” thereby “empowering the people and decreasing their dependency on the government.” One only hopes that doves led by President Thein Sein are listening and will gain strength to engage her. Myanmar's problems are serious and deep-seated. The absence of national reconciliation is a heavy cross to bear.
International politics

ASSK's views on the internal situation evoke both support and criticism. To admirers, she is the embodiment of steadfastness. To critics, she is a rigid and impractical politician. But when it comes to international affairs, it is difficult to agree with her.

She criticises India's policy towards Myanmar again. India, she says, “should be firmly rooted in the democratic principles, instead of putting trade and strategic interests in the forefront.” Conceding that even other democracies (such as South Africa which she admires) have not supported her movement, she adds philosophically: “I am disappointed but at the same time we got rather used to it.” Her anguish is understandable, but does she understand how international politics works? Her comments about China show even greater impracticality. She says (rightly) that China wants stability in Myanmar, but believes (wrongly) that China has reservations about stability through military repression or about its relationship with Myanmar. Their traditional fraternal relations have recently been turned into a strategic partnership. Her view that the European Union is “very supportive” may be true of the past but many member-states are now looking for pathways to cooperate with the government.

Two replies were particularly moving. Asked if her sacrifices (including denial of opportunity to bid goodbye to a dying husband) were too high a price to pay, she said that many others had “paid much more ... for their beliefs.” On whether she was aware that she might have to give up her life for her cause, she replied: “Yes, I think we all come to terms with such a possibility early on.”

ASSK is an extraordinary icon, with a mixed bag of successes and setbacks. As an expert put it, “internally she has kept the flame of hope alive in a long and dark period.” Externally she is an inspiration to those fighting for liberty. But her coming to power to lead a democratic Myanmar ... well, that is quite another matter.

(The author is a former ambassador to Myanmar.)

India is too corrupt to become a superpower Ramachandra Guha

India is too corrupt to become a superpower
Ramachandra Guha

The sociologist Ashis Nandy once noted that “in India the choice could never be between chaos and stability, but between manageable and unmanageable chaos”. He wrote this in the 1980s, a decade marked by ethnic strife, caste violence, and bloody religious riots. But it applies even more so to the India of today, and is being made worse by the steady deterioration and corruption of India’s ruling political elite.

Throughout India’s history the manifestations of its chaos have been largely social and political: from secessionist movements and sectarian pogroms, to its enduring territorial conflicts with China and Pakistan. The bomb blasts in Mumbai last week are but the latest example. The perpetrators are as yet unidentified: like the 2008 Mumbai attacks, they may have originated from Pakistan, but whoever they turn out to be, this was a familiar example of one of India’s pervasive and long-standing fault lines.

Yet the Republic of India today faces challenges that are as much moral as social or political, with the Mumbai blasts having only temporarily shifted off the front pages the corruption scandals that more recently dominated. These have revealed that manner in which our politicians have abused the state’s power of eminent domain, its control of infrastructural contracts, and its monopoly of natural resources, to enrich themselves. Rectifying this is now arguably India’s defining challenge.
These scandals implicate many of the country’s most powerful leaders. They include the large scale looting of mineral resources in southern and eastern India; graft during the organising of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi; the underpricing of mobile phone contracts to the tune of billions of dollars; and also numerous property and housing scandals in Mumbai. Corruption is not new in India, but the scale and ubiquity of these problems is genuinely unprecedented.

This activity cuts across political parties – small and large, regional and national. It has tainted the media too, with influential editors now commonly lobbying pliant politicians to bend the law to favour particular corporations. But while journalists may collude, and many companies and corporate titans have benefited, the chief promoters of this malaise have been the politicians themselves.
There is a curious paradox here; for India is the creation of a generation of visionary and selfless leaders who governed it in the first decades of freedom. These men and women united a disparate nation from its fragments; gave it a democratic constitution; and respected linguistic and especially religious pluralism, out of the conviction that India should not become a Hindu Pakistan. Today’s scandals, however, have their origin in the steady deterioration in the character of this Indian political class.

Surging growth is another proximate cause. Economic liberalisation has created wealth and jobs, and a class of entrepreneurs unshackled by the state. But its darker side is manifest in rising income inequalities and sweetheart deals between politicians and favoured businessmen, leading to the loss of billions of dollars to the public exchequer.

Was this necessary or inevitable? Perhaps not. The truth is that since 1991, the word “reform” has been defined in narrowly commercial terms, as meaning the withdrawal of the state from economic activity. The reform and renewal of public institutions has been ignored. It is this neglect that has led to a steady corrosion in state capacity, as manifest in the growing failure to moderate inequalities, manage social conflict, and enforce fair and efficient governance.

This could have been anticipated. Over the past three decades, a series of commissions have highlighted the need for institutional reforms, that, among other things, would insulate administrators and judges from interference by capricious politicians; prohibit criminals from contesting elections; curb abuse of the power of eminent domain; provide proper compensation for villagers displaced by industrial projects; make more efficient the now mostly malfunctioning public health system.
Many, perhaps all, of these reports have been read by Manmohan Singh, India’s scholarly prime minister; indeed, several were commissioned by him. Which is why the inaction on their recommendations is so disheartening. When Mr Singh became prime minister seven years ago, his appointment was widely welcomed. He was seen as incorruptible, and with the added advantage of a lifetime of public service. Tragically, in terms of concrete institutional reform these have been seven wasted years.

To single out an honest and intelligent man when corruption and criminality flourish may seem unfair. But W.B. Yeats was right: it is when the best lack intensity and conviction that we must fear for ourselves and our future. Mr Singh has been content to let things ride. He has not asserted himself against corrupt cabinet colleagues, nor has he promoted greater efficiency in public administration. Whatever the cause – personal diffidence or a dependence, in political terms, on Sonia Gandhi, his party president – this inactivity has greatly damaged his credibility, not to say India itself.

If nothing else, the current wave of corruption scandals will put at least a temporary halt to premature talk of India’s imminent rise to superstardom. Such fancies are characteristic of editors in New Delhi and businessmen in Mumbai, who dream often of catching up with and even surpassing China. Yet the truth is that India is in no position to become a superpower. It is not a rising power, nor even an emerging power. It is merely a fascinating, complex, and perhaps unique experiment in nationhood and democracy, whose leaders need still to attend to the fault lines within, rather than presume to take on the world without.

Norwegian mass killer's manifesto hails Hindutva-says his Justiciar Knights “support the Sanatana Dharma movements and Indian nationalists in general.

Norwegian mass killer's manifesto hails Hindutva-says his Justiciar Knights “support the Sanatana Dharma movements and Indian nationalists in general.” In section 3.158 of the manifesto, he explains that Hindu nationalists “are suffering from the same persecution by the Indian cultural Marxists as their European cousins.25/7/11”
Praveen Swami

Goals of Indian Hindu nationalists were identical to Justiciar Knights, Anders Breivik claimed

Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik hailed India's Hindu nationalist movement as a key ally in a global struggle to bring down democratic regimes across the world.

‘2080: A European declaration of independence' lays out a road map for a future organisation, the Justiciar Knights, to wage a campaign that will graduate from acts of terrorism to a global war involving weapons of mass destruction — aimed at bringing down what Breivik calls the “cultural Marxist” order.

India figures in a remarkable 102 pages of the sprawling 1,518-page manifesto. Breivik's manifesto says his Justiciar Knights “support the Sanatana Dharma movements and Indian nationalists in general.” In section 3.158 of the manifesto, he explains that Hindu nationalists “are suffering from the same persecution by the Indian cultural Marxists as their European cousins.”

“Appeasing Muslims”
The United Progressive Alliance government, he goes on, “relies on appeasing Muslims and, very sadly, proselytising Christian missionaries who illegally convert low caste Hindus with lies and fear, alongside Communists who want total destruction of the Hindu faith and culture.”

Even though Hindus who are living abroad “get an eagle's view of what's happening in India, Indian Hindu residents don't see it being in the scene.”

Breivik's manifesto applauds Hindu groups who “do not tolerate the current injustice and often riot and attack Muslims when things get out of control,” but says, “this behaviour is nonetheless counterproductive.”

“Instead of attacking the Muslims, they should target the category A and B traitors in India and consolidate military cells and actively seek the overthrow of the cultural Marxist government.”

“It is essential that the European and Indian resistance movements learn from each other and cooperate as much as possible,” he concludes. “Our goals are more or less identical.”

Lists websites
Breivik lists the websites of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the National Volunteers' Organisation, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad as resources for further information.

The manifesto pledges military support “to the nationalists in the Indian civil war and in the deportation of all Muslims from India.” This is part of a larger campaign to “overthrow of all western European multiculturalist governments” and evict “U.S. military personnel on European soil.”

India is one of several countries — including Russia, the Philippines, China and Thailand — where Breivik hopes his successors will fight.

He uses the work of historians K.S. Lal and Shrinandan Vyas to point to the threat posed by Islam to Europe, saying their work has established that millions of Hindus were killed in a genocide during 1000-1525 AD. N.S. Rajaram, another historian, is quoted as saying India's “political class have been so debilitating that they continue to live in a state of constant fear.”

Breivik's manifesto envisages that this future organisation would hand out a “multi-cultural force medal,” which would be awarded for “military cooperation with nationalist Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and/or atheist forces (non-European) on Hindu, Buddhist or Jewish territory. These efforts must be directed against Jihadi or cultural Marxist forces, personnel or interests.”

The medals would include a “Liberation of India Service Medal,” which would be awarded for “assisting Indian nationalist forces to drive out Islam from Indian territory.”

Breivik's Indian-made combat badges, revealed by The Hindu as having been contracted to a workshop in Varanasi, were the first in this series of battle decorations.

His manifesto acknowledges that lives will be lost in the war, and calls for the organisation to “provide and subsidise a standard edition of the Justiciar Knight tombstone” for those who fell in battle.

Since a “European tombstone carver, preferably specialised in traditional tombstone architecture, is likely to charge more than 5000-10000 Euro in order to create the stone,” Breivik suggested that “producers in low-cost countries should be contacted for the task of creating one or multiple stones in the future.”

He acknowledged that this “might sound hypocritical considering the fact that cultural conservatives in general oppose Indian or Chinese membership in [the] WTO and the fact that we generally prefer in-sourcing as many industries as possible. However, conserving our funds is a central part of our struggle.”

Even though Breivik's Knights would fight shoulder to shoulder with Hindu nationalists, his vision for their rights in a post-revolutionary Europe is limited. The manifesto envisages the creation of a “servant class,” made up of non-Muslim individuals from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.

“During their stay,” the manifesto envisages, “they will work 12 hours a day for the duration of their contracts (6 or 12 months) and are then flown back to their homelands.” “These individuals,” it goes on, “will live in segregated communities in pre-defined areas of each major city.”

Clinton Pushes India on Human Rights in Burma-In her words, India has “the potential to positively shape the future” of the region.

Friday, July 29, 2011
Clinton Pushes India on Human Rights in Burma-In her words, India has “the potential to positively shape the future” of the region.

Clinton Pushes India on Human Rights in Burma

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 at 12:45 pm UTC

Posted 1 week ago

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Burma government's human rights record “continues to be deplorable,” and calls on India to encourage Burmese authorities to engage in dialogue with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Clinton, speaking Wednesday in India, also urged New Delhi to press the nominally civilian Burmese government to begin releasing political prisoners jailed over more than four decades of military rule.

She said India's leadership should take on new responsibilities in the Asia-Pacific region, including speaking out against human rights abuses. In her words, India has “the potential to positively shape the future” of the region.

She called Indian Foreign Secretary Nirumpama Rao's visit with Aung San Suu Kyi last month in Rangoon a”signal moment,” and urged New Delhi to continue to use its influence to help improve human rights in Burma.

India gradually has been reaching out to Burma's former military junta over the past decade, after years of firm support for Aung San Suu Kyi.

New Delhi has also shown interest in helping Burma deal with separatist rebels based along their common border. It also seeks access to Burmese natural gas and hopes to counter China's growing influence in the country.

The United States and the European Union have been assessing how to work with the new Burmese government since elections in November, which ended direct military rule. However, retired and active-duty military officers hold most key positions in the new government, and critics say little has changed in recent months.

The 'Pakistanisation of Europe' — A terrorist explains-He was terrified of the idea of several ‘mini Pakistans’ appearing all over the map of Europe.


The 'Pakistanisation of Europe' — A terrorist explains

The Norwegian terrorist who killed over 90 people in two recent attacks in Oslo, was terrified of the idea of several ‘mini Pakistans’ appearing all over the map of Europe.

The 'Pakistanisation of Europe' — A terrorist explains

Oslo: A 1,600-page manifesto titled '2083: A European Declaration of Independence', written by Anders Behring Breivik, showed a picture of the future of Europe, citing poor human rights in Pakistan as the fate of the continent.

In his doomsday scenario for Europe, Breivik predicted that several 'mini-Pakistans' would be created all over Europe by 2083, one in each country due to 'Lebanon-style' conflicts, the Express Tribune reports.

"It could be similar to the division of India after World War II, with the creation of one or several Islamic 'Pakistan' enclaves," he said.

Breivik also claimed that Pakistan is systematically annihilating all non-Muslim communities. He claimed that Hindu girls are being forced to convert to Islam in Sindh.

The 'Pakistanisation of Europe' — A terrorist explains

He described the situation for Christians in Pakistan as being no better, citing Father Emmanuel Asi of the Theological Institute for Laity in Lahore as saying in 2007 that Pakistani Christians are frequently denied equal rights, the paper said.

The inability of Muslim immigrants to assimilate into European society seems to bother him, which he blamed on Muslim parents not allowing their children to adopt European ways.

He also asked why Muslim girls are considered 'off-limits' to everyone, including Muslim boys, and why Muslim men view ethnic Norwegian women as 'whores'.

He railed against multiculturalism, which he blamed for making immigration too easy for Muslims in Europe, the paper said.

The 'Pakistanisation of Europe' — A terrorist explains

"When the veil of multiculturalism disappears, it will be Pakistanis who live in London, Turks who live in Berlin, Algerians who live in Paris and Moroccans who live in Amsterdam. And then the show begins," he said.

He called this 'dramatic demographic shift' the 'Pakistanisation of Europe'.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hina Rabbani Khar pitches for Indo-Pak cricket series,as she broached the topic of sports diplomacy isquickly on to the front foot- Jul 29, 2011,

Hina Rabbani Khar pitches for Indo-Pak cricket series

TNN | Jul 29, 2011, 01.50AM IST


NEW DELHI: Pakistan's young foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar was quickly on to the front foot as she broached the topic of sports diplomacy during her meeting with SM Krishna on Wednesday. Batting for resumption of cricketing ties, Khar told Krishna that the game had the potential to bring closer the two countries at a time when people were keen on peace.

Khar made the point that the time was particularly ripe for resuming Test series between the two nations. There has been no bilateral series since the Mumbai attacks in 2008. In fact, no international team has toured Pakistan since March 2009 when the Sri Lankans were attacked in Lahore by terrorists.

Krishna responded, saying India was keen on resuming sporting ties and hoped India would soon host the Pakistani cricket team and vice versa. While cricket did not find specific mention in the joint statement, it said the two ministers emphasized on holding sports tournaments. Khar is also learnt to have pitched for cricket matches between the women's teams of the two countries.

The idea played on throughout her visit. At Wednesday's dinner in the Pakistan high commission, she asked BCCI vice-president and MoS for parliamentary affairs Rajeev Shukla to work towards initiating an India-Pakistan cricket series.

BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla is learnt to have assured visiting Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar that resumption of an Indo-Pak cricket series would be discussed at the BCCI meeting scheduled for next month. A series is said to be tentatively scheduled for next year but it has not been confirmed yet.

The BCCI and the Pakistan cricket board recently held a meeting in Hong Kong on the sidelines of the ICC annual conference in which resumption of bilateral cricketing ties was discussed.

Khar, a polo enthusiast herself, may have taken some tips from her 11-year-old son, a cricket enthusiast who accompanied her to India. For a Pakistan cricket board that is struggling to remain afloat, it is imperative to engage India in a bilateral series not just to generate revenues but also to give the right message to other Test nations who are shying away from playing there.

In India though, it is likely to be seen by many, including opposition parties, as a major concession to Pakistan. Krishna had said in April that India had agreed to play matches with Pakistan while going ahead with peace talks, leading to BJP condemning the statement. The opposition party maintains that cricket ties should be revived only if there is a change in Pakistan's attitude towards terror.

Saffron-Left may call for bandh on Monday-Jul 29, 2011,

Saffron-Left may call for bandh on Monday


Ambarish MishraAmbarish Mishra, TNN | Jul 29, 2011, 06.01AM IST

MUMBAI: Papering over their differences and launching a combined offensive on the state government, the Shiv Sena-BJP-RPI alliance as well as the Left on Thursday threatened a Mumbai bandh on August 1 over the issue of providing free homes to mill workers. The government, on its part, plans to act tough and quash any such move.

The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which supported the morcha, though, is unwilling to back the bandh. "The opposition showed its strength by bringing out a morcha. Now, we should make the government move on the issue. This can be done in the legislature as well as the budget session. It is pointless to bring the city to a halt and put Mumbaikars to hardship," said MNS MLA Nitin Sardesai.

The morcha generated considerable interest in Mumbai as both Sena CEO Uddhav Thackeray and his estranged cousin, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, were slated to join the trek from Byculla to Azad Maidan where the morcha culminated into a public meeting.

However Raj, his MNS activists in tow, briefly joined in and left without addressing the meeting. "I am not here for speeches or photo-ops . I am here to extend my whole-hearted support to mill workers who are fighting for their legitimate demand," the MNS chief told mediapersons.

Addressing mill workers at Azad Maidan, Uddhav Thackeray said the state government should come up with a concrete package to provide free homes to mill hands over the next three days, failing which the opposition will go ahead with a bandh call on August 1 - the 91st death anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak. Lokmanya had a large following among Mumbai's mill workers in pre-Independence India.

Earlier, thousands of mill workers marched through the arterial Byculla-J J Hospital-Mohammad Ali Road stretch in a show of strength. The scene was straight out of 1960s when Mumbai was seen as the centre of labour movement. Several mill workers came from Konkan or western Maharashtra where they migrated after the 1982 textile strike petered off and mills began to shut. The morcha brought the fractious textile unions of Mumbai on a common platform.

"Chawls in central Mumbai have been replaced by malls. The state government should provide us with a roof over our heads," said Anusuya Pednekar, wife of a mill hand from Lower Parel.

Later, addressing the conclave , Uddhav Thackeray told mill workers that they will not get their houses by organizing indefinite fasts or morchas.

Thackeray, Athavale, Vinod Tawde of the BJP and Datta Iswalkar of the Girni Kamgar Sangharsha Samiti recalled the role of the textile workers in the Samyukta Maharashtra agitation of 1950s, which led to the creation of a separate linguistic state for Marathis.

Noted actor Nana Patekar spoke at the meeting and urged the Maharashtra government to provide homes to the dispossessed mill workers. "I have grown up in the BDD chawls. I am one of you, even if I may be earning a few pennies more than you," Patekar said.

By reviving the legend of 'Girangaon' , the once prosperous , fabled textile hub of Mumbai, and sinking their party differences, the Sena-BJP-MNS-RPI-Left parties plan to project a united opposition front ahead of the 2012 BMC elections. The Samyukta Maharashtra narrative also speaks of a grand opposition alliance against the then undivided Congress, say political observers. However, much depends on MNS, which is unwilling to let the Sena set the agenda for the opposition.

Cabinet overrules Manmohan, keeps PM out of Lokpal ambit-Jul 29, 2011

Cabinet overrules Manmohan, keeps PM out of Lokpal ambit


Himanshi DhawanHimanshi Dhawan, TNN | Jul 29, 2011, 02.05AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Thursday decided to keep the office of the prime minister outside the fold of the proposed Lokpal, overruling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself. The judiciary and conduct of MPs in Parliament was also kept outside its ambit.

The deliberations of over two hours saw Singh making an argument for inclusion of his office within the Lokpal's ambit, only to run into resistance by the overwhelming majority in the Cabinet.

The revised draft provides for the majority of the nine-member Lokpal to be drawn from among people with legal background: a concession to the argument that the quasi-judicial body will require people with understanding of law and legal practices. In another significant addition, any trust or body including NGOs that receive public funds will come under Lokpal's scrutiny.

Defence minister A K Antony, I&B minister Ambika Soni, telecom minister Kapil Sibal and rural development minister Jairam Ramesh supported the prime minister. Ramesh spoke forcefully, saying there should be emphasis on transparency. But the group found itself overwhelmed by the argument of the majority that this would be a recipe for destabilization, and would leave his office hobbled. "It is not a matter of an individual but that of an institution", was the dominant refrain.

Interestingly, three former chief ministers of Maharashtra in the Cabinet - agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and science and technology minister Vilasrao Deshmukh - were among the most vocal in opposing the PM's suggestion. The troika from transparency activist Anna Hazare's home state cited their experience to argue that NGOs and civil society would target the PM if he was exposed to Lokpal.

UPA ally DMK had spoken in favour of bringing the PM within the ambit of Lokpal but chemicals and fertilisers minister M K Alagiri, now the party's sole representative in the Cabinet, was not present at the meeting.

Finance minister Pranab Mukhejee said tabling of the bill could not be delayed and that disagreements over whether the PM should be within the scope could be hashed out within the standing committee. Urban development minister Kamal Nath said the bill should provide for creation of similar anti-corruption ombudsmen in states.

The bill will be introduced in Parliament in the first two days of the monsoon session beginning on Monday.

The nine-member Lokpal will include a chairperson who will be a serving or retired chief justice or judge of the SC and 50% of its eight members will have judicial background.

The bill cleared by the Cabinet has introduced a seven-year limit to filing of complaint from the day the offence was committed. In a departure from its original draft, the government also changed the constitution of the selection committee including the PM, Speaker, Leader of Opposition in both Houses, one Cabinet minister, one sitting chief justice of a High Court, one sitting judge of Supreme Court, one eminent jurist and an eminent person. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, law minister Salman Khursheed said the bill approved by the Cabinet had included 34 of the 40 suggestions made by Hazare's representatives. Asked if Hazare was challenging the government, Khursheed retorted, "They are not challenging the government but Parliament.'"

The judiciary has not been included in the bill as its autonomy and independence should be maintained, Khursheed said, adding that a separate Judicial Accountability Bill was introduced in Parliament. Similarly, the citizen's charter will be dealt with in a separate legislation for public grievances.

The removal of Lokpal will be the prerogative of the President. While the Lokpal will have separate teams to conduct inquiries and investigations, it will not have the power to prosecute someone accused of corruption. Besides, it would also take up corruption matters involving ministers, MPs, Group 'A' officers and others equivalent to this grade in any body, board, authority, corporation, trust, society or autonomous body set up by an Act of Parliament and funded by public money. The Lokpal would not require sanction or approval under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, in cases where prosecution is proposed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gr Noida admin to open talks with villagers(they should consider problems of People who invested money for homes as well..VT)

Gr Noida admin to open talks with villagers

A day after the Allahabad High Court sent a bunch of petitions on the Noida Extension row to a larger bench, the Greater Noida Authority announced it was ready to open talks with residents of Patwari village, where state acquisition of farm land had earlier been quashed by the High Court.

Greater Noida Authority CEO Rama Raman said on Wednesday that a notice has been sent to the pradhan of Patwari, asking him to convene a panchayat and select a committee comprising the villagers.

The Authority has not fixed a date for the meeting. Pradeep Yadav, a Patwari farmer, said the notice had reached the village, and a panchayat would be held soon.

Raman said three issues will be addressed broadly during the talks. They comprise ‘abadi,’ or populated lands; six per cent of the developed property with which farmers would be compensated; and the increased compensation for the acquired land. CEO Raman listed the three issues in that order, and when pointed out that the third pointer on his list is the farmer’s primary demand, he said, “We are ready to talk to them on all issues. It is too premature to discuss the amount of compensation now.”

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Raman said the Authority will be open to regularising the abadi lands, and will discuss the possibility of ending the lease-back system. “For those who will be given their abadi land, we will try to make it easier for them to pay back the compensation they have availed from the Authority, possibly with flexible payments,” he said.

When an acquired piece of abadi land is returned to the farmer, the title deed is not transferred back. The property is only leased to the farmer. The farmers of Noida Extension want to end this practice.

Sources, however, said that the Authority will try to put before the farmers the latest land acquisition policy of the Uttar Pradesh government. At Shahberi, where acquisition has to begin afresh, there is also the possibility of the Authority buying plots from individuals instead of notifying the whole area.

“We had to convert areas notified for Planned Industrial Development to residential plots after the recession threatened it. Not many industries were showing interest in setting shop in the area, which is why we converted it,” Raman said.

However, he hinted later that the recession may not have been the most important reason: “We had planned that Shahberi and the seven-eight adjoining villages should come under an industrial area. However, the Crossings Republik project came up across Shahberi, in Ghaziabad’s Dundehera. As a result, Shahberi became a much sought-after residential area, and land-grabbers began constructing illegal colonies there,” he said.

50 from Mayawati’s village move court

ALLAHABAD: At least 50 residents of UP Chief Minister Mayawati’s ancestral village Badalpur, Greater Noida, have approached the Allahabad High Court alleging that apart from acquiring their land (nearly 230 hectares) they faced discrimination on the issue of compensation.

According to counsel for petitioners, V M Zaidi, the petition is likely to come up for hearing before the same bench that is hearing all the land acquisition related cases of Noida and Greater Noida.

Counsel for Greater Noida Authority Ramendra Pratap Singh, however, said he was not aware of any such petition. The petitioners have alleged that while the Authority paid compensation after acquiring land, it took the money back from a few farmers. They were then allegedly given land in prime locations. The petitioners have questioned why all villagers were not given land.

'People living in north have bigger brains'they have evolved to cope with the longer winters and greyer skies in northern climes, say British research

'People living in north have bigger brains'

PTI | Jul 28, 2011, 05.24AM IST

LONDON: People living in the north have bigger brains than those staying in the south, says a study.

Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily mean northerners are more intelligent than people from the south - just that they have evolved to cope with the longer winters and greyer skies in northern climes, say British researchers.

In fact, a team at Oxford University, who measured the brain volume of 55 skulls from around the world, came out with this intriguing theory that people from countries further from the equator have more grey matter and larger eyes than those from sunnier parts, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported. This is because living in low light conditions means the eyes and brain need to work harder in order to process images to a good level of detail, or "high resolution" , say researchers.

Lead author Eiluned Pearce said the study suggests that the bigger brains and eyes are needed to see properly in dimmer light.

"As you move away from equator, there's less light available, so humans have had to evolve bigger and bigger eyes. Their brains also need to be bigger to deal with extra visual input. "Having bigger brains doesn't mean higher latitude humans are smarter, it just means they need bigger brains to be able to see well," she said.

Lokpal bill to be tabled in Parliament today-Jul 28, 2011

Lokpal bill to be tabled in Parliament today/"We sincerely appeal to the Union Cabinet to present a strong Lokpal Bill in Parliament. There is nothing for a common man in the present version of Government's Lokpal Bill


Pallavi GhoshPallavi Ghosh , CNN-IBN

Updated Jul 28, 2011 at 07:52am IST

New Delhi: The Cabinet is likely to take up the Jan Lokpal bill for consideration on Thursday. However as government gets ready to table the bill in parliament during the monsoon session, those who forced the government to quicken their pace remain dissatisfied.

In a statement Anna Hazare expressed his displeasure. He said, "We sincerely appeal to the Union Cabinet to present a strong Lokpal Bill in Parliament. There is nothing for a common man in the present version of Government's Lokpal Bill."

Cabinet will take up both the versions - that of the ministers as well as of the civil society. Some changes have been made in the government's version incorporating suggestions from the opposition and allies.

But the big point is the Prime Minister will not come under the purview of the bill. Government sources say that their determination to exclude the Prime Minister was strengthened by the support they received from the BJP.

The judiciary too will not to be included. Disagreeing with team Anna that all bureaucrats should come under its purview, government's draft says only those in rank of deputy and joint secretary should be included. The investigation will be independent and time bound.

Newly appointed Law Minister Salman Khurseed said, "It will be a robust bill with views of all to be included."

The Hina factor in India-Pakistan talks(even in Pakistan over 67 percent of the population is below 30yrs)-28/7/11

The Hina factor in India-Pakistan talks

New Delhi: When 34-year-old Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan's youngest and first woman foreign minister, holds talks with her Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna, 45 years her senior, the world will be watching to see how she handles her first major diplomatic outing and navigates the troubled waters of the India-Pakistan relationship.

The Hina factor in India-Pakistan talks

Khar touched down here in a special flight Tuesday amid intense interest. Will her relative youth and inexperience bring a whiff of freshness to the perennially troubled relationship between the two neighbours? Or will the young foreign minister, fond of polo and trekking, struggle to hold her own in the talks that come barely a week after her appointment was formalised?

The jury is out on that one.

Amid widespread cynicism in Pakistan's predominantly patriarchal establishment, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari justified her appointment, saying it would "send positive signals about the soft image of Pakistan".

Khar, however, remains somewhat of a mystery in India. Curiosity has been piqued by her unusual background that blends the feudal and the modern.

The Hina factor in India-Pakistan talks

A postgraduate in hospitality and tourism from the University of Massachusetts, Khar comes from a wealthy feudal family in southern Punjab and owns Lahore's posh Polo Lounge, a haunt of the rich and the powerful. Her father is a large landowner from Muzaffargarh. Her uncle Ghulam Mustafa Kar was the subject of "My Feudal Lord", a biting account of patriarchal society in Pakistan penned by his fifth wife Tehmina Durrani.

Analysts here are sceptical on whether Khar can make a real difference to the course of the revived peace process between India and Pakistan.

Satish Chandra, a former deputy national security adviser and a former envoy to Islamabad, says Khar's youth won't be a disadvantage. On the contrary, she could provide an image advantage to Pakistan, Chandra told IANS.

"It will be a good photo-op, with an attractive young minister," he said. He added that given Pakistan's military-dominated establishment it does not matter who is the foreign minister of Pakistan.

"The shots are being called by the army, and when it comes to India-Pakistan relations, the script is always cleared by the army," said Chandra.

The Hina factor in India-Pakistan talks

Agreed G. Parthasarathy, a former high commissioner to Pakistan. "It's good for Pakistan to have a young, attractive lady to represent Pakistan in bad times when that country is being increasingly seen as an epicentre of terrorism."

"Having entered politics through the military, she is likely to be influenced by the military which calls the shots on India-Pakistan relations," Parthasarathy told IANS.

Khar entered politics in 2002 and became a member of national assembly of the PML-Q party, affiliated with then Pakistan president Gen Pervez Musharraf.

She joined the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) ahead of the February 2008 general election and was made minister of state for economic affairs by the Zardari government in 2008.

The Hina factor in India-Pakistan talks

Her rise has been meteoric since, propelled by favourable circumstances. Barely four days after then foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's removal, she was named minister of state for foreign affairs.

Khar has become Pakistan's 26th foreign minister at a time when her country is suffering perhaps the worst image crisis and is being repeatedly singled out as a patron for terrorists and jihadists.

On the India front, there is, however, a window of opportunity. If her country can sustain the revived peace process, Khar, too, will share the credit. For now, the expectations are minimal, and that may well be Khar's big advantage in a country where over 67 percent of the population is below 30.

Source: IANS

Gandhi's khadi gets a makeover-Fabindia, Shoppers Stop and four others have shown interest in a public-Private Partnership with Khadi Bhawans-28/7/11

Gandhi's khadi gets a makeover

After 86 years, big brands are in fray to bond with Khadi - Fabindia, Shoppers Stop and four others have shown interest in a public-private partnership with Khadi Bhawans to manage 8 outlets.

Gandhi's khadi gets a makeover

A Khadi Fashion Show underway in Goa

New Delhi: The 86-year-old Khadi brand will not be the same again. It is learnt that six companies, including Fabindia and Shoppers Stop, have shown interest in partnering eight Khadi Bhawans spread across India.

Besides, three Mumbai-based retailers have given a joint expression of interest (EoI) for the public-private partnership with the Khadi Bhawans, officials told Business Standard on the condition of anonymity. Delhi-based Sushila Khadi GramUdyog, a bulk-supplier to Khadi Bhawans, is also in the fray.

The EoIs are in response to a tender floated by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for 'Khadi' marketing operation. The proposal is for a 51-49 per cent partnership, where 51 per cent will be with the corporate entity. KVIC comes under the Ministry of MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises).

Audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which is an advisor to the deal, along with KVIC will shortlist the applicants soon, before taking a final decision on the winners.

The official spokesperson of Fabindia could not be contacted for a comment, and an email sent to the company remained unanswered. Shoppers Stop neither confirmed nor denied the development. A representative of Sushila Khadi GramUdyog said it had submitted an EoI for a partnership with the Khadi Bhawans.

Under PPP, eight direct sales outlets (DSOs) of KVIC in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ernakulam (Kerala), Goa, Bhopal, Patna and Agartala will be handed over to a KVIC-corporate joint venture in the next six months. The operation and management of these DSOs will be transferred to this joint venture (JV) under a lease contract, restricting any disposal of assets.

Gandhi's khadi gets a makeover

Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee is on the frontlines of bringing Khadi in vogue.

The historical Khadi Gramudyog Bhawan in the heart of the capital is among the outlets that are being considered for the JV arrangement with a corporate group. The KVIC-corporate JV is also expected to set up 20 new "Khadi Plazas" in some of the commercial centres of the country. While the marketing organisation will have a 51-49 per cent shareholding, production department will maintain 100 per cent KVIC ownership.

The corporate entities must have a networth of at least Rs 65 crore and average turnover of more than Rs 100 crore in the last three financial years, starting from March 31, 2010, according to the KVIC tender. At least three years' experience in marketing, distribution or retailing is a must, the tender specifies.

Out of the EoIs submitted till June 6, those deemed fit on the basis of evaluation by KVIC and PwC will be termed QIPs (Qualified Interested Parties). The QIPs will be invited to submit a proposal detailing their technical, financial and commercial capabilities and a binding financial bid.

The QIPs will also get an opportunity to conduct a due diligence and take up site visits and will also have access to data rooms and hold discussions with the management of KVIC.

''The JV, which is a part of the Asian Development Bank's reform programme -- KRDP (Khadi Reform and Development Programme) -- for KVIC, is meant to do a radical repositioning of the Indian khadi industry to make it a self-sustaining unit," according to a senior official in the ministry of MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises). The $150-million loan by Asian Development Bank for the khadi reform programme was signed on December 22, 2009. It's a three-year loan till 2012.

Disapproving the JV, Ram Shastri, national convener of Khadi Swadeshi Forum (KSF), said "Corporatisation of the labour-intensive khadi industry, which is supposed to be run on 'no profit, no loss' basis is its death knell, threatening the livelihood of one crore khadi workers employed in it."

Gandhi's khadi gets a makeover

Earlier, the MSME ministry had listed five khadi bhawans as loss-making units. These were Gram Shilpa (Delhi); Khadi Bhawans in Patna, Bhopal, Kolkata and Goa. MSME rejected the proposal of Directorate of Marketing, KVIC, to extend financial assistance for payment of salary and provident fund as per the 6th Pay Commission to loss-making units. Rather, such units were directed towards exploration of Internal Resource Generation (IRG) possibilities, and to henceforth earn their salary themselves. It was also recommended that the loss-making Bhawans could be adopted (and provided logistic support, etc) by the better-performing ones.

Khadi bhawans in Kamla Market (Delhi), Agra, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Kolkata were declared loss-making before they were closed down. Corroborating these closures on ground, an official from the MSME ministry said all direct sale outlets (DSOs), except Delhi, were running on losses. Sales from 10 DSOs all over India are estimated at around Rs 45 crore.

Overall, there are 7,050 sales outlets owned by KVIC and they generate sales worth around Rs 1,000 crore.

Lack of working capital and long gestation period in the production of khadi from cotton were the key reasons for shutting down of khadi units, according to a ministry official. He added that the khadi industry needed to be more aligned with the market forces of demand and supply.

Santosh Desai, CEO of Future Brands, said, "The Khadi brand has not aligned itself with the market forces and new age consumer. Freedom from government apparatus and focus on marketing will help khadi emerge as a strong brand because its concept is strong from the core."

Commenting on the brand, Madhukar Sabnavis, country head, Discovery and Planning, Ogilvy and Mather, India, said some private players were filling the gap in their own way "by leveraging on both traditional Indian materials and craft to position themselves at a more premium end of the market."


Khadi industry was born in 1925
Khadi was started by Mahatma Gandhi as an idea and a movement
Objective was to make India self-reliant by boycotting foreign goods
Khadi started as a freedom struggle, and later turned into a dress code for political leaders
Private players have exploited the khadi fabric in the recent years to make it fashionable

Source: Business Standard

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Land acquisition bill draft in public domain soon to ensure fair compensation:States to decide who acquires land Ramesh-27 July 2011

Land acquisition bill draft in public domain soon: Ramesh/New land acquisition Bill to ensure fair compensation: Min
Land acquisition bill: States to decide who acquires land
Indo-Asian News Service
Wednesday, 27 July 2011 08:38

New Delhi: The much-awaited land acquisition bill will be compliant with the exiting legislations on panchayats and forest rights and its draft will be placed in public domain in the next two-three days, rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said on Tuesday.

The minister told media persons that there will be one draft of the bill which will include aspect of relief and rehabilitation though there could be different yardsticks of compensation for urban and rural areas. The bill will comply with the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act and the Forest Rights Act, he said.

He said there will be need for land for industralisation, infrastructure and urbanisation in the coming next ten to twenty years and the bill has been prepared keeping in mind these requirements. But ensuring food security was essential and multi-crop, irrigated land should not be acquired easily, Ramesh added.

The minister said that Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had made big contribution towards the bill. He said that the bill will not only keep in mind interests of farmers but also those whose livelihood was dependent on land.

Ramesh said that farmers should also get some benefit of appreciation in price of their sold land. The minister, who toured some Maoist-affected areas of Chhattisgarh last week, said there was need for more flexibility in implementation of rural development plans in these areas.

"Giving a new dimension to rural development in Naxal (Maoist)-affected areas is my priority," he said. He said there were demands about relaxing the norms relating to road construction and increasing administrative expenditure of some schemes.

He said that people affected by Maoist violence should be included in Indira Awas Yojana (IAY). Ramesh also said there was paucity of government staff in Maoist-affected areas and recruitments should be done locally.

Noting that since many of the Maoist affected districts were on borders of states, there should be joint effort from concerned states at improving infrastructure.

The minister, who was on a visit to Rajasthan on Monday, said biggest problem in western areas of the state was drinking water. He said he will soon visit Maoist-affected areas in Orissa and Jharkhand.

Going ahead with the step-by-step approach towards normalisation of ties, a host of CBMs(CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES-) are expected to be announced.-


Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 26, 2011

Pakistan's foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar arrives at the AFS Palam, in New Delhi....
The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan who will meet for talks on Wednesday are expected to follow a carefully drafted template to take the peace process forward through a ‘step-by-step’ approach. The template looks at keeping the dialogue process on track, working on a gradual
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* Indo-Pak foreign secys finalise CBMs
* Giving direction to Indo-Pak bilateral ties a priority: Khar
* Our response to N-attack would be heavy: IAF chief
* Khar will carry 'complete mandate' of Pakistan: Gilani
* 'Khar meeting Geelani and Mirwaiz a bad idea'

approach to reduce the trust deficit through various confidence building measures (CBMs), extending ministerial-level dialogue in some areas and — most importantly — to ensure that the core issues of J&K or terrorism don’t derail the dialogue process.

That in a nutshell seemed to be the way forward as foreign secretary Nirupama Rao met with her Pakistan counterpart Salman Bashir on Tuesday to give the finishing touches to the agenda for the foreign ministers’ meet on Wednesday.

Striking a positive note, Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar said she hoped that the two countries “have learnt lessons from history but are not burdened by it.”

She arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday. Khar, who talks to her Indian counterpart SM Krishna on Wednesday, said both countries could move forward as “good, friendly neighbours, who have a stake in each other’s future”.

While reviewing the dialogue process, both ministers will focus on keeping the dialogue process ‘compressive and sustained’, Indian officials said.

Going ahead with the step-by-step approach towards normalisation of ties, a host of CBMs are expected to be announced.

The cross border CBMs finalsed at a recent meeting between top officials of the two countries will also be announced on Wednesday.

They focus on improving trade and people-to-people contact apart from a re-look at the visa protocol. The meetings of the expert group on various other CBMs, including the nuclear and conventional one, will be held soon.

‘Jayalalithaa inspired the US squeeze on Lanka’ - July 27, 2011

‘Jayalalithaa inspired the US squeeze on Lanka’

* July 27, 2011
* By M. Gunasekaran

The ruling AIADMK is mighty thrilled at the U.S. congressional committee voting to ban aid to Sri Lanka pending ‘accountability’ over atrocities in the final phase of the Eelam war.

Scores of AIADMK seniors, including ministers, have issued big advertisements in Tamil newspapers in Tuesday hailing the American initiative, which they insist was inspired by chief minister Jayalalithaa’s resolutions in the state Assembly demanding that Delhi should impose economic embargo on Lanka.

The US move has come as a major setback to the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime in Sri Lanka, which came under worldwide criticism following the recent TV documentary, Killing Fields of Channel Four of Britain. The video was also telecast in India and created huge revulsion amid the thousands of viewers across the country.

The video caused a fresh bout of anti-Colombo protests in the Tamil Nadu.

Not just the AIADMK lieutenants, even large segments of the Tamil Diaspora across the world are hailing Jayalalithaa’s strong support of the Lankan Tamil cause — particularly on the issue of rehabilitation of the war-displaced people and also bringing to trial the war-criminals in the island. It is alleged that over 40,000 civilians were killed in the last few days of the Eelam war in May 2009.

Diaspora websites are in fact expressing hope that Jayalalithaa would emerge as the ‘Indira Gandhi of the Tamils’ securing for them their Eelam “just as Indira Gandhi liberated Bangladesh”.

Diaspora meetings in several parts of the world have expressed happiness at Jayalalithaa’s initiatives and hoped she would be able to exert pressure on Delhi to shake off its “long-held indifference to the Tamil plight”.

At the same time, DMK president M. Karunanidhi has been fast losing his ground with the Diaspora, with many being upset that he let down the Eelam Tamils in their hour of crisis.

“Even the local pro-Eelam sympathisers are now his bitter critics. They are looking to Jayalalithaa to secure justice for the Tamils”, said Mr Viduthalai Rajendran, general secretary, Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam.




26/07/2011 Nepal police arrest Mumbai blast suspect: Report


Nepal police arrest Mumbai blast suspect: Report

Kathmandu: A Nepali man, believed to be in his early 40s, has been arrested from capital city Kathmandu on the suspicion that he had links to this month's serial blasts in India's business capital Mumbai which killed 24 people and injured nearly 150, Nepal's official media said.

Nepal police arrest Mumbai blast suspect: Report

Mohammad Zahir, a resident of Sarlahi district in Nepal's Terai plains near the Indian border, was arrested by Nepal Police's anti-terrorism cell on the basis of intelligence reports, the state-run Gorkhapatra daily reported Tuesday.

The man was said to have been conducting suspicious activities from his rented apartment in Baluwatar, an upmarket area in the capital where the official residence of the prime minister is located.

He was found to have had phone conversations about the Mumbai blasts as well as sent text messages on his mobile phone, the daily said.

It said Zahir was arrested last week but the news was kept secret. Currently, he is in police custody.

Nepal police arrest Mumbai blast suspect: Report

There were no immediate comments from police authorities.

Three serial blasts rocked Mumbai July 13, causing death and destruction in Zaveri Bazaar, a jewellery hub, the Opera House business district and Dadar.

A terrorist group, the Indian Mujahideen, is suspected to have been behind the attacks.

With India and Nepal sharing an open border, Indian authorities have often claimed that several groups planning terror attacks in Indian cities had links in Nepal, either smuggling in firearms and hit men from the Himalayan state or providing logistical support from there.

Source: IANS

India Vs Pak: at birth, and now A shared historical legacy has led India and Pakistan more into strife than any cohesion-26/07/2011.

By Jyothi Raghuram, India Syndicate, 26/07/2011

India Vs Pak: at birth, and now

A shared historical legacy has led India and Pakistan more into strife than any cohesion.


It is not merely a history of centuries that India and Pakistan share. Culture, language and geography also links them, although both countries view this shared heritage differently. If religion defined the national identity of Pakistan during partition, the same has continued as a national philosophy over the decades.

What is known as Indian civilization is as much a legacy of Pakistan, but it is only Mughal history that it acknowledges as its own. And it is this difference in perception that has damaged the psyche of the two nations.

The partition of the two countries, one of the bloodiest in human history, marked the migration and death of millions across the subcontinent. It is also a story of one of the most contrasting developments of two neighboring nations, both of whom began with little political experience at governance, empty coffers, and wounded societies.

Pakistan today is the hub of terrorism, a "failed state", while India is considered an emerging economic superpower. Historically, India was never a cohesive whole, so the concept of a nation was more geographical at birth. India had to carry religious minorities along, whereas Pakistan was created and built around an Islamic identity.

A look at the socio-economic scenario of India and Pakistan in 1947 and the situation now, reveals a chasm that is as much economic as it is political.

Next page: The growth graph of India and Pakistan on major fronts

India Vs Pak: at birth, and now
GDP(purchasing power parity) $4060 billion (2010 (est.) $464.9 billion (2010 est.)
GDP(real growth rate) 10.4 % (2010 est.) 4.8 % (2010 est.)
GDP -per capita (PPP) $3,500 (2010 est.) $2,500 (2010 est.)
Unemployment rate 10.8 % (2010 est.) 15 % (2010 est.)
Population below poverty line 25 % (2007 est. 2007) 24 % (FY05/06 est.)
Budget revenues $170.7 billion (2010 est.) $25.33 billion
Budget expenditures $268 billion (2010 est.) $36.24 billion (2010 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 11.7 % (2010 est.) 13.4 % (2010 est.)

India's booming economy contrasts with Pakistan's instability. India's economic growth rate has averaged over seven 7 per cent since 1997. The country is a major exporter of information technology services and software professionals. The Indian economy bounced back from the world financial crisis, thanks to its domestic demand.

The political unrest in Pakistan has led its economy to the brink of bankruptcy. Economic instability has in turn depreciated the Pakistani rupee. Much of Pakistan's export earnings is from the textile sector. Rising inflation, and poor investment in healthcare, education and the power sector, besides dependence on foreign aid are the major concerns.

Next page: Social indices

India Vs Pak: at birth, and now

India is expected to become the world's most populous country by 2025, with its population crossing 1.6 billion. It will also continue to be the youngest country -- the average Indian will be 29 years of age by2020. Pakistan will surpass Indonesia as the world's largest Muslim country by 2030.
1947 361 million 76 million
2011 1.21 billion 187 million
Birth rate (2009) 2.62 3.17
Infant mortality rate (2009) 47.27 deaths/1,000 live births 63.26 deaths/1000 live births
Sex ratio (2009) at birth 1.12 male/female 1.05 male/female
Sex ratio (2009) at 15-64 years: 1.06 male/female 1.05 males/female
Adult female-male ratio 914:1000 925:1000
Fertility rate 2.68 (2010) 3.58 (2008)

Next page: Indo-Pak military

India Vs Pak: at birth, and now

Indo-Pak military: Arms race in the subcontinent

The defence history of India goes back millennia, as does its maritime history.
India has consistently refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It has however a no-first-use policy of nuclear weapons. India's 2008 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreement makes it the only non-NPT nuclear weapons country that can do nuclear business with the rest of the world.

Pakistan is the only Muslim-majority country to possess nuclear weapons. A close non-NATO ally of the US, it finds a friend in China for its arms build-up and know-how. The Pakistan armed forces is the seventh largest in the world.
Military expenditure GDP 1.8 % 3.00 (2007)
Total defence budget 2011 Rs 1,64,415 crore Rs 325900 crores
Major ports 9 2
Main battle tanks 3000 1000
Artillery units 1000 2500
Fighter aircraft 500 300
Support aircraft 250 50 special mission aircraft
Naval fleet 173 11 combat ships
Aircraft carrier 1
Nuclear submarine 1 8 submarines
Nuclear weapons 100-120 100-11-
Available military power 556,075,946 75,807,598

Next page: Low literacy rates run parallel to poverty and ignorance

India Vs Pak: at birth, and now

Low literacy rates run parallel to poverty and ignorance

Family planning programmes have been unsuccessful in both countries due largely to illiteracy particularly among women
Total literacy rate (in percentage) 74 %# 58 % *
Female 65.46 %# 45 % *
Male 82.14 % # 69 % *

# Indian Census 2011
* Pakistan Millenium Development Report 2010)

The literacy rate in India was just 12 per cent in 1947. Kerala has the highest literacy rate of 93 per cent. India has the largest illiterate population anywhere in the world.

Low literacy rates in Pakistan have had a negative impact on family planning. Coupled with the political unrest, it has retarded the country's socio-economic progress.

Next page: Lop-sided education systems

India Vs Pak: at birth, and now

Lop-sided education systems

Despite being heavily loaded against the girl child, higher education in India has thrown up women professionals and added substantially to the country's work force
Primary schools(2007) 6,88,000 1,56,592
Secondary schools 1,10,000 3,20,611
Central universities 42 NA
State universities 274 128
Deemed universities 100 NA
Expenses on education 4.1 % of GDP 2.8 % of GDP(2009) -- World Bank
Technical and vocational institutes 3125 NA

*NA: Not Available

Institutes of higher learning in India have received much impetus, whereas schooling is yet to be recognized as crucial to inclusive and balanced growth.

The Pakistan government is actively into promoting technical and vocational training institutes as one of the avenues to tackle unemployment in the country.

Next page: Celestial forays

India Vs Pak: at birth, and now

Celestial forays

India's space programmes have been acknowledged as meant for peaceful purposes
No. of satellites launched 50 NA
Space mission (moon) Chandrayaan I NA
Major satellite system (for communication services) INSAT NA
Major satellite system (for natural resource management) IRS NA
Launch vehicles for IRS PSLV NA
Launch vehicles for INSAT GSLV NA
Indigenously developed satellite system INSAT BADR

The Indian Space Research Organization -ISRO-- is the nucleus of India's space programmes. It began working towards developing its own launch vehicles, necessitated by geopolitical and economic compulsions. The lunar spacecraft, Chandrayaan-1, entered the lunar orbit without a hitch, in 2008. Unmanned missions to Mars and to celestial bodies such as comets and asteroids nearer earth, are on the anvil. The IRS enjoys the status of the largest body of remote sensing satellites put to civilian use anywhere in the world.

Pakistan's Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission -SUPARCO -- launched Badr-A from the Xichang Launch Center, China, in 1990. BADR-B, an Earth Observation Satellite, followed suit in 2001, from the Zenit 2 rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The mission aims to launch the high-resolution Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSSS).

Source: India Syndicate

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Edge of the city by Aditi TailangCutting chai BPO workers and rickshaw-pullers alike work hard for their cuppa. New graffiti at the Modi Mills flyover

Edge of the city
by Aditi Tailang

Cutting chai BPO workers and rickshaw-pullers alike work hard for their cuppa. New graffiti at the Modi Mills flyover

The magic of black and white- Jul 15, 2011

The magic of black and white

Times of India

THANE: Eminent photographer Chirodeep Chaudhuri's pictures are driven purely by his instinct and not by the rigid guidelines of the techniques of photography.

He is going to display his work in a slideshow organised by the Foto Circle Society on July 17 at Kala Bhavan in Thane. Chaudhari's multiple interests, creative vision and perfection in compositions and other photographic techniques assure to provide a visual treat to art lovers in the city.

"I'm a self made photographer," insists Chaudhuri. He doesn't have any family background in this field. A commerce graduate, Chaudhuri never used a camera till he completed college. "Since my childhood, I loved reading. I used to visit book stalls and street vendors in search of new books. One day, I came across a magazine named Life at a book stall in Fort, Mumbai. I was marveled by the quality of pictures in the magazine. This triggered my interest in photography. As there was no one to guide me, I decided to learn the art myself. In those days I used to spend most of my pocket money on the books related to photography," says Chaudhuri.

Initially, he used to experiment with simple point and shoot type cameras. He was so inspired by the art that he decided to make a career in photography. His started his career by working in an advertising firm. He used to save up the money he earned in order to buy a new camera.

"My first assignment as a photographer was with the Bombay Tribune. After gaining practical knowledge, I started working as a news photographer for Sunday Observer," says Chaudhuri. Chaudhuri interest in literature, poetry, anthropology, town planning, lifestyles and travel made him work with historian Sharada Dwivedi and architect Rahul Meharotra for their books Bombay: The city within and Fort walks.

Currently, Chaudhuri is working as a creative editor of Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore editions of Timeout Magazine. "My native place is West Bengal. Since the last 12 years I have been visiting my native place near Baradwan regularly.

My ancestors used to conduct Durga pooja since the last 200 years. So, every year I go there during Durga pooja, take pictures and I try to catch the rural lifestyle and people of all age groups on my lenses. Soon I'm going to publish a book on this project. In fact in my slideshow in Thane I'm going to showcase excerpts of this project," says Chaudhuri.

"Photography has provided me soulful pleasure. It provided me the opportunity to meet outstanding people in all walks of life. I was also able to cover many international events like India winning the World Cup. Taking pictures of crooks and criminals and of good and bad incidents has become a part and parcel of my life. No other career would have given me such fulfilling life," he says. Chirodeep Chaudhuri's slideshow is open to all on July 17 at 5.30 pm. at Thane Kala Bhavan.