Lets’ be the Change that we want to see in our Nation!

According to one of the statistics, 70 per cent of India’s population falls under the youth category ie, below 35. The questions arising at this stage is – can the country’s largely youth population, change India? The obvious answer to this is YES if one uses the ideas, has the ambition to do something, has the confidence to win, and has a righteous heart. Everywhere we hear people complaining about lack of amenities, increasing crimes, sky rocketing food prices, corruption, red tapism , terrorism, injustice etc. – but do we ponder on how can we change it all?

The 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai saw people coming to streets demanding some action. Less than a year later, we cannot even compel the government to take stern action against the culprits. Why? It’s high time every individual realises that we should raise our voices demanding action. Youth are the leaders of tomorrow, so it’s our duty to raise ourselves with the goal to serve the nation, however petty it may be. Remember each and every Indian can make a difference. You need not belong to the Gandhi family or be a descendant of the Scindias, Ambanis or the Birlas. You just need to inculcate intellectualism, human values and observe a commitment to service. With everyone following this, India will surely become more tolerant.

Our politicians are using the British policy of “divide and rule” in their selfish interests Let us remind them “United we stand and we will”. We crib of our government not providing world class solutions and facilities, but how many of us follow our fundamental duty to vote? Remember, to vote is a right and a duty. It is the building block of tomorrow. If we do not use our franchisee, we have no right to complain of corrupt people in the political arena.

It’s on account of our apathy that our farmers are dying out of debts when agriculture is said to be India’s prime sector. We keep on complaining about rising food prices but we do not give any thought that it may be due to agriculture land being converted to SEZ (Special Economic Zones). Can’t we raise our voices for thepoor, uneducated farmers rebelling against SEZ and demand irrigation facilities. Can’t there be a hundred Medha Patkars in a population of billion plus. We believe corruption is the root of most problems, but we don’t hesitate individually when we bribe a peon just to avoid long queues? We, the face of India tomorrow, should practise what we preach.

Self realisation is important to an individual and there are millions of alternatives if one wants to really do something. One can be a part of a NGO and can at least give physical support if not monetary help. Join the armed forces to protect our motherland. Create an environment of sound health facilities for those who cannot afford health facilities. Feed the poor, encourage parents to send their children to schools. Practice and preach family planning which will help keep population growth under control. IT companies can create IT solutions for upliftment of villages to reduce the urban-rural divide. Use public transport which will help India maintain environmental standards. Stop deforestation and plant more tress for a greener India. Raise voices against crimes against women, children, or anyone for that matter. Use the Right to Information (RTI) to get answers from the government. Be a law-abiding citizen. Use the media constructively. Join the IAS and be an active part of society. And there are numerous other options available.

Albert Einstein once said,“Problems cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them”. Youth, its time for you to wake up before it’s too late.

China should break up India: Chinese strategist

Almost coinciding with the 13th round of Sino-Indian border talks (New Delhi , August 7-8, 2009), an article (in the Chinese language) has appeared in China captioned ‘If China takes a little action, the so-called Great Indian Federation can be broken up’ (Zhong Guo Zhan Lue Gang, www.iiss.cn, Chinese, August 8, 2009).
Interestingly, it has been reproduced in several other strategic and military Web sites of the country and by all means, targets the domestic audience. The authoritative host site is located in Beijing  and is the new edition of one, which so far represented the China International Institute for Strategic Studies (www.chinaiiss.org).

Claiming that Beijing’s ‘China-Centric’ Asian strategy, provides for splitting India, the writer of the article, Zhan Lue (strategy), has found that New Delhi’s corresponding ‘India-Centric’ policy in Asia, is in reality a ‘Hindustan centric’ one. Stating that on the other hand ‘local centres’ exist in several of the country’s provinces (excepting for the UP and certain northern regions), Zhan Lue has felt that in the face of such local characteristics, the ‘so-called’ Indian nation cannot be considered as one having existed in history.

According to the article, if India today relies on any thing for unity, it is the Hindu religion. The partition of the country was based on religion. Stating that today nation states are the main current in the world, it has said that India could only be termed now as a ‘Hindu religious state’. Adding that Hinduism is a decadent religion as it allows caste exploitation and is unhelpful to the country’s modernisation, it described the Indian government as one in a dilemma with regard to eradication of the caste system as it realises that the process to do away with castes may shake the foundation of the consciousness of the Indian nation.

The writer has argued that in view of the above, China in its own interest and the progress of Asia, should join forces with different nationalities like the Assamese, Tamils, and Kashmiris and support the latter in establishing independent nation-States of their own, out of India. In particular, the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) in Assam, a territory neighboring China, can be helped by China so that Assam realises its national independence.

The article has also felt that for Bangladesh, the biggest threat is from India, which wants to develop a great Indian Federation extending from Afghanistan to Myanmar. India is also targeting China with support to Vietnam’s efforts to occupy Nansha (Spratly) group of islands in South China Sea.

Hence the need for China’s consolidation of its alliance with Bangladesh, a country with which the US and Japan  are also improving their relations to counter China.

It has pointed out that China can give political support to Bangladesh enabling the latter to encourage ethnic Bengalis in India to get rid of Indian control and unite with Bangladesh as one Bengali nation; if the same is not possible, creation of at least another free Bengali nation state as a friendly neighbour of Bangladesh, would be desirable, for the purpose of weakening India’s expansion and threat aimed at forming a ‘unified South Asia’.

The punch line in the article has been that to split India, China can bring into its fold countries like Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan, support ULFA in attaining its goal for Assam’s independence, back aspirations of Indian nationalities like the Tamils and Nagas, encourage Bangladesh to give a push to the independence of West Bengal  and lastly recover the 90,000 sq km territory in southern Tibet .

Wishing for India’s break-up into 20 to 30 nation-States like in Europe, the article has concluded by saying that if the consciousness of nationalities in India could be aroused, social reforms in South Asia can be achieved, the caste system can be eradicated and the region can march along the road of prosperity.

The Chinese article in question will certainly outrage readers in India. Its suggestion that China can follow a strategy to dismember India, a country always with a tradition of unity in diversity, is atrocious, to say the least. The write-up could not have been published without the permission of the Chinese authorities, but it is sure that Beijing will wash its hands out of this if the matter is taken up with it by New Delhi.

It has generally been seen that China is speaking in two voices — its diplomatic interlocutors have always shown understanding during their dealings with their Indian counterparts, but its selected media is pouring venom on India in their reporting. Which one to believe is a question confronting the public opinion and even policy makers in India.

In any case, an approach of panic towards such outbursts will be a mistake, but also ignoring them will prove to be costly for India.

— By: D S Rajan, is Director, Chennai Centre for China Studies.

Source: REDIFF

Sex education for Children, education for Politicians.

I still feel dazzled by the recent drive of politicians across all spectrums, stuck in an age when the change of thoughts could be near impossible, to ban sex education in schools. Even the likes of Baba Ramdev speak boastfully about the need to have yoga than sex education in schools. But Mr. Baba is almost 50 years old, went to school till 8th and then to ‘Gurukul’. He doesn’t even have the slightest of idea of the s**t going on in schools today and speaks like a top-level marketing man on a role to promote his product/service. Sure yoga is great for an individual. But letting it be a substitute for sex education is like trying hitting a six with a plastic bat.

Just the thought of not having sex education in schools in this age, filled with negativity in the digital air and one click access to mind corrupting pleasure moments on the Internet, sends me in the state of excessive jadedness and paramount tension. India, with people high on the thought of sex and eve-teasing (not all), cannot be safe or even think of reducing the rise in no of cases of molestation, rapes (indignity towards women) or in young (below 16) people indulging in sexual encounters (a view supported by the SC).

Over the past 5 years, with the high intensity in the sales of video and camera enabled devices, there has been a huge surge in the exposure of privately held sexual proceedings, watched by millions worldwide quite to the embarrassment of the victims and their families. Curbing these exposures has been almost impossible for mostly it’s the victims themselves taping the exotic times, sure to be leaked. But the waves of curiousness generated to watch this brain triggering moments has seemingly surpassed the encouragement to be morally educated and professionally thoughtful. Sex, as a thought if imbibed in a child at a young age, could hamper his growth in being socially matured and his stance in differentiating when placed with options.

The stand that these politicians take to ban sex education is first that it will teach and encourage students to have sex when they are in schools. Gosh! I had sex education in my school when I was in the 10th grade. All we boys in that grade were simply bored by the biological terms that the educators were using. The reason! We all knew what sex was. It just shows the degree to which these politicians are ill-informed and are going ahead and ill-informing the society. The only good thing that apparently happened, is that we actually happened to see a condom and know the importance of it. Imagine. You are high in those last 3-4 years of your school with the thought of girls & sex and you do not know what a condom is. During my time (I graduated from school in 2002), sex was known to most of the boys right from the 6th grade. When I say sex was known, I do not mean all the technicalities and all the right-wrong stuff, but sex in its basic sense is. It was a knowledge shared even amongst the girls. And today in this high bit-rate internet generation, we are talking about introducing it in 8th grade. More than 90% (could be an understatement) of the students in that age would know what sex is. The only thing remains is to tell them whether their full knowledge about it is factual or not.

World Health Organization(WHO), way back in 1993, had carried a survey in which it found that the people who have been imparted with sex education in the school are more likely to delay the indulgence in sex compared to those not given sex education in schools.It also found that it reduces sexual activity among  young people and encourages the one who have already indulged in sex to have safer sex.Researchers found “no support for the contention that sex education encourages sexual experimentation or increased activity. If any effect is observed, almost without exception, it is in the direction of postponed initiation of sexual intercourse and/or effective use of contraception.” Failure to provide appropriate and timely information “misses the opportunity of reducing the unwanted outcomes of unintended pregnancy and transmission of STDs, and is, therefore, in the disservice of our youth,” the report called Effects of Sex Education on Young People’s Sexual Behavior says. This report was commissioned by the Youth and General Public Unit, Office of Intervention and Development and Support, Global Program on AIDS, and the WHO.

So the basic argument about sex education through this political mindset tends to be so misguided.

The other argument they make is that our cultural values and heritage cannot allow sex education to be part of the curriculum. Let me get this straight. So according to these politicians, killing people on the basis of religion, hating people on the basis of caste and differentiating them on the basis of region and language fits our culture, but educating the kids of this nation with proper knowledge so as not to allow them to be victims of HIV and STD’s is disgraceful to this culture,especially in this land of ‘Kamasutra’, whose drawings and sculptures one would find around the caves and temples in India. The height of narrow-mindedness of these politicians is evident and as much as I hate saying this, I do not think I would even respect such a ‘Indian culture’, described by these politicians, let alone follow it, which puts the life of its own kids on the edge, especially being in a society where sex is given such a negative posture and sex talk is avoided as much as one would avoid standing on the edge of a 1000 ft cliff. Even the rape victims here are blamed for being raped, rather than the person who raped her and socially isolated(in a way tortured), not able to find a husband (those bloody man’s always want a virgin,no matter how much they f**k other women before marriage) and physologically disturbed(they have to accept  rape as an unfortunate event instead of a crime). I still do not know what ‘Indian Society’ these politicians keep babbling about.

“Message should appropriately be given to school children that there should be no sex before marriage which is immoral, unethical and unhealthy,” said the parliamentary committee report. So having sex before marriage is immoral and unethical? Who are these politicians to decide what’s immoral and unethical. These are the same group of corrupted, extremist, vote-bank gamers who have made the culture of Divide and Rule thrive. Morality is an individual’s virtue and not a guideline to be labourously followed. And talking about health, I have never heard the issue of hygiene being raised and pushed by these politicos in this land where diseases flow as easily as a fly by the wind of a storm. This should not be a country where everything has to be decided by ethics, morality and traditional thoughts. The moral police that guard’s the behaviour of people are the same that takes bribe in huge amount. Rather truth needs to have a dictatorial stand. Truth needs to be embraced and put into effect. Only than can we expect desired positive results.

Whether sex education is important or not is not a debate which should involve the politicians or their survey,but the youngsters and their experiences (there are issues the youth can address better and clearly). Its the youth which has to address this issue,while the media being responsible and approaching and addressing their concerns.I am a youth and I know the importance of sex education,something which i have tried to express in this article. I can just hope that reality makes its present felt, and our kids would have a better and healthy life in the coming times.

Ten Years Later: The War India Forgot!

It used to be an eerie landmark; the tree I saw everyday in the summer of 1999, blackened and ripped by incessant bombing at the old brigade headquarters, is green again.

But much else has withered. The legacy of the Kargil war, one of the toughest wars of modern military history — far tougher than Iraq and Afghanistan — has been shortchanged by India’s politics. 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government has mostly looked away since 2004 when it came to observing the anniversary of the BJP government-era war. President Pratibha Patil was requested to come to Drass, but declined, army sources said.

“I think it’s just disgraceful. They are trying to politicise the issue for no reason,” retired Colonel VN Thapar, father of the late Kargil war hero Capt. Vijayant Thapar, told the Hindustan Times as he prepared to head to Drass, the world’s second coldest inhabited place after Oymyakon in Russia.

That is the casualty in a country where a major section of its under-15 population of 350 million have no recollection of the war and no sense of what it meant for India.

“We used to think armymen live a cushy life and zoom around in cars and waste money — I had no empathy for the Army,” said Manraj Singh, 19, a physical education student from Punjab’s Abohar town, as he sat back after dinner at a restaurant in Drass, a town of 2,000 people. “After we came here and saw how and in what kind of place they fought and won the war for the nation I felt really proud of them.”

More than 520 soldiers died in the Kargil war.

In 1999, Indian soldiers had to clamber up impossible, vertical cliffs amid gunfire to retake strategic Ladakh mountains from hundred of Pakistani raiders, including army regulars who sat on the height and could easily bring down approaching soldiers.

On July 26, the day when victory was declared in 1999, Defence Minister A.K. Antony will only pay a wreath in New Delhi, staying away from the massive 10th anniversary celebration planned in the operational hub of Drass on the weekend when top generals from across India and the families of slain officers and soldiers are to arrive here.

Congress MP Rashid Alvi called it “Bharatiya Janata Party’s war”. Coal Minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal said he did not know about the anniversary.

A top army officer shrugged it off. “We chose this life. We aren’t cribbing or hankering after praise. We shall honour our heroes ourselves,” said the officer, declining to be named as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

But Thapar, whose son Vijayant died fighting as he led an advance on a mountain feature called Knoll, said: “This is going a bit too far. I think we should not expect anything from the leaders and have the army and citizens celebrate.”

That is what is happening.

Unlike previous years when Drass hosted mostly western backpackers Indians dominate the tourists who have come here for the summer.

Yes, the former bombed-out dusty town is now a tourist hub.

The town where the ‘market’ was a row of crumbling wooden-shuttered shacks, and just a tea shop for some shelling-time reprieve, now has several small hotels “with complete sanitary fittings” — as one proudly advertised.

“It’s amazing so many Indian tourists are coming this year,” said Mohammed Saleem, 45, of the Afzal hotel. “They want to know what happened at Tiger Hill and Tololing peak and Drass.”

Businessman Saleem Iqbal, 25, sees a greater opportunity.

“If we get permission to take tourists to Tiger Hill on horseback, there will be a big boom,” he said.

Not like the ones he heard everyday in the summer of 1999 as he hunkered fearfully in his first floor marketside home.

 Source: Hindustan Times

The Indian Political System – As I See it

This is purely based on my analysis and I might be wrong in my interpretations – so feel free to criticize me and have a healthy discussion, I anyway love making mistakes , learning and then evolving from there on. And before I start , this is Quite Serious and Insightful unlike my other posts.

” This Politician Doesn’t Deserve My Vote ”
” All politician suck big time. – (PJ) What ? ”
” All are corrupt , inefficient and India will always remain this way – Lets Shift to America , UK etc. ”

During the past few years I have met many people who are part of the system (MPs , MLAs , Corporators etc.) and also people who have been constantly challenging the system like Ramesh Ramnathan ( Janagraha) , Arvind Kejriwal ( RTI ) , Capt. Gopinath etc. and my opinion about this whole system and setup has undergone a sea change. I was always of opinion that the best way to solve India’s problems is to make all the politician stand in a line and then shoot some of them, so that the rest of them start working properly. Though I still feel that it could be one of the solutions but I have also realized that leaders are nothing but a true reflection of the people they represent (Majority obviously) or as they say in Hindi , Jaisi Praja – Waisa Raja.

Let me explain better with the real life experiences I had. I am sure most of you would have seen SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and might have been angered and disgusted at the way Mr. Danny Boyle had portrayed the slums. But trust me its much more worse than that. The last time I happened to travel through an internal road of a slum, atleast half of it was filled with filth, consisting faeces and god knows what else (Just the thought of that moment , makes me uneasy) and then there are people sitting on their charpais , on the same road and cutting vegetables , making chotis , eating food, etc. like any of us would normally do in our balconies. Politicians visit such places, NGOs visit , I and U might visit(only if its unavoidable) but do you think anyone would want to clean that filth ??? None !!!! Instead we would try to teach children, give them money, clothes, etc. because we know that they live there and its them who got to make sure things are clean and neat. Even if someone takes the initiative and cleans it up, they would make sure that it again goes back to its old condition within no time because that is their system; that is how they have been living , that is a part of their habits and lifestyle.

The same applies to us in India too, when we people are so used to filth around us, why would a handful of us at the Helm of Power be responsible for cleaning it?

Now let me familiarize you with the election process in India.

Over 90% of the people do not get basic food and money to survive.

Over 90% do not understand government policies, fiscal policies, infrastructure expenditure, industrialization and other similar things.

What really matters to them is the food that they can get and its all about those 2 rupees per kilo rice, money that is spent, those bottles of Beer that are splurged,etc. which make a party win and come back to power again.

With the so-called educated population who can understand macro factors and differentiate between good and bad being just 10%, out of which only around 70% do not vote.

And to reach out to billions through people employed as “party workers”, requiring a daily expenditure of approximately Rs.1000 per person per day, it basically means that just to merely contest an election and have any chances of winning, you need a minimum of a whopping Rs. 25 Crores for  the level of a MP, 8 Crores for an MLA and around just a crore for a corporator.

And when someone is spending so much, along with other party expenses, marketing expenses, etc., with no system of Political Donation unlike America wherein people are educated, literate, self-sufficient (to the scale of 90%), what else can one expect???

Trust me, from my experience, over 30% Politicians want to work genuinely for the Public but its the system, bureaucracy and other Politicians which literally handicap them. So how do you solve the problem?? Get smarter, educated people and make them understand and form a higher, smarter vote bank with over 70% from current 10% and trust me Indian Political System will be much much better than America’s.
I will try to put up one effective solution to all the problems keeping all the problems in mind. Do check that out too.

Just imagine that you have full access to RBI with Billions of Dollars, No police, No Parents, No teachers to bother you, literally no one to ask you any questions or hold you accountable. What would you do???

Do you keep the cash for a billion People whom you don’t even know, or have sex, deposit the cash in Swiss Account, buy properties and live life king size?

Its simple. There are only a handful who have skills to play through the system and climb to positions where they get access, with hardly a handful to question, then what do you expect ??

Lastly, the other day one of my friend, during a long discussion was complaining about how the politicians have ruined this country: “They are supposed to do this and that, but all they do is nothing. Its all about criminals and muscle power”.

Later, we saw a woman who had parked her vehicle at the wrong place. I told him that i will go and tell her its wrong. That is what i am supposed to do. Whether she listens to me or not is a different story altogether, but let me do what i am supposed to do. And he said “NO NO, its her wish, let her do what she wants. How does it bother you and what difference does it make to you?”.

This is the case with most of us. We complain and expect everyone else to do what they are supposed to do without doing what we are supposed to do. :)

And frankly, most of the times we are clueless and handicapped and don’t even know what we can do. Slums are too far, NGOs are run by government officials to make money.

I cannot commit, i have no time, am not good at this – I will try to address all of these issues along with a solution – watch out for my next post.

Hopefully this can initiate a debate and action or not, I hope people will be forced to think. In case you have liked it and feel it makes sense , then please do SHARE it with your friends, family & contacts.

Rohit Begwani
rohitbegwani@gmail.com

Revival of Test Cricket

India is always considered as a cricket-loving nation. India’s journey to fame of cricket was not so easy. Fans worship their favorite cricketers next to God. Recently, there was news that the MCC and ICC are worried about Test Cricket, and think its in trouble. Yes, there is no doubt to it. We all know that Test Cricket is a real talent test for any cricketer in the world. But what I see from here, test cricket will eventually become somewhat similar to the proverbial goldfish swimming in a bowl, players playing in an empty stadium or for the benefit of those who can subscribe to media carrying the highlights.

Don’t Blame BCCI & ICC:

For those, who are constantly criticizing BCCI and ICC for introducing IPL. I really don’t understand how a two-year-old baby of cricket can destroy 130 yr old tradition of cricket. In England T20 is played from a long time, why not cry for that?

I am a big fan of Test Cricket when it’s played at the highest level but that doesn’t mean I just shun off other versions of cricket too. I doubt any T20 would have given you the thrill the last moments of the drawn Ashes Test or the Test-saving innings from Laxman-Dravid against Aussies.

Makeover: There are many ways that ICC shall adopt so as to make test cricket amazing and pull the attention of cricket lovers back. Here are some of the ways I would suggest.

1.      Introducing an International Test Championship

2.      Making sporting pitches, not the deathbeds for bowlers mostly seen on the subcontinent

3.      Allow substitutions to make it more interesting at least in the 3rd and 4th innings, so teams can adapt mid-way. Imagine defending a 120 run target with 7 bowlers

4.      Allow day-night versions of test cricket. The crowd will start pouring in.

5.      Performance-based points/payments for Test cricket.

Although some of the above-mentioned points seem to be ridiculous at first glance, but you never know which might hit the jackpot.

We need to make sure that Test cricket will not die – but will change and become more exciting.

What do you think? How can Indian cricket play a role in reviving the oldest form of cricket?

Lets’ not Forget Them

It’s that time of the year again.
Every July since the year 2000, the Indian media and the Army in that order, celebrates the eviction of Pakistani intruders from the forbidding heights of Drass and Batalik (and not Kargil, as we all in the media keep referring to for some completely unfathomable reason).
The Army, of course, appropriately remembers its martyrs — the young and not so young officers and several hundred jawans — who sacrificed their lives in recapturing a piece of real estate that the Pakistanis had encroached upon. It was a heroic battle against heavy odds. After that conflict, Vikram Batra, Anuj Nayyar, Manjo Pandey, to cite just three martyrs, became household names.
This year, on the 10th anniversary, the Army has planned a larger celebration and rightfully so.
We in the media have also gone into an overdrive to commemorate the occasion.
After all, Kargil was this generation’s first war. It was also India’s first televised war. We made citizens feel that they were part of the war by beaming images right into their bedrooms.
In many ways, Kargil (I actually hate using the word, but Drass or Batalik do not have the same resonance in the people’s mind as Kargil has) is also a landmark in the military-media relationship in India.
Till 1999 the Army establishment generally looked upon the media as a nuisance. Post-Kargil, the armed forces have woken up to the media’s potential as, what the military fondly calls a force-multiplier. An uneasy relationship till then gave way to greater awareness about one another facilitating meaningful interaction.
This year in fact the Army has made special efforts to invite all those who had reported the conflict from the area that summer. This, the Army says, is its tribute to media’s contribution in the Kargil conflict.
I, like many others, was in the sector in 1999, reporting the events for Outlook magazine. Every year since 2000, I too have written or spoken about the experience in the Kargil-Drass-Mushkoh-Batalik sector.
I am also hoping to be at the Drass memorial on 25th and 26th July later this month to meet up with friends who made Kargil (that word again!) such a memorable experience in our life a decade ago.
And yet, ever since I went there last week to report on what has changed and what has not in the decade since the war, a sense of unease has gripped me. At first I thought it was plain tiredness. After all, one is older by a decade and the body doesn’t take the rigours of travelling in the high mountains as easily as it did 10 years ago.
But deep down, I knew there was something more to my disquiet than just creaking old bones.
Then suddenly it hit me this morning: Are we in the media guilty of over hyping Kargil and its martyrs at the cost of totally ignoring the others? To be honest, the answer is yes.
By admitting this, I am in no way taking away the sacrifice and heroism of our soldiers during the 1999 conflict. Or trying to belittle the tough conditions under which we in the media operated and reported the conflict.
But I will also be less than honest if I don’t admit that collectively we in the media are equally culpable in ignoring or downplaying the unending internal battles fought by the Army as well as other security forces across India.
How many of us for instances, know the names of Col. Vasanth or Subedar Chunni Lal? Or for that matter Constable Tukaram Ombale? How many of us remember the faces of the unnamed police and CRPF constables who die by the dozens in the battlefields of Chhattisgarh and Orissa? Or for that matter army jawans who continue to sacrifice their lives in counter-insurgency skirmishes in India’s north-east?
In Kargil, nearly 500 people lost their lives.
Every year since then at least 400 security personnel have died in action across India.
Is their martyrdom less significant? Don’t their families deserve similar adulation? They certainly do but I am afraid even we in the media tend to report on these incidents for a day or two and move on to our next story.
In the process, we have ignored the interminable internal security threats that India faces, be it in Kashmir, the north-east or in the heartland from the Maoists. And underplayed the sacrifices made by the gallant soldiers who fight them.
In less than a fortnight, when the nation pays a collective tribute to the Kargil martyrs, all of us can perhaps introspect and review our attitude towards other, lesser known but equally valiant soldiers who fight on without expecting anything in return.
As I look ahead, post the Kargil anniversary, it is perhaps time for me to do away with my Kargil obsession and refocus on the current and future battles.

Source: NDTV Written by Niting Gokhale

Nervous China may attack India by 2012: Expert

A leading defence expert has projected that China will attack India by 2012 to divert the attention of its own people from “unprecedented” internal dissent, growing unemployment and financial problems that are threatening the hold of Communists in that country.

“China will launch an attack on India before 2012. There are multiple reasons for a desperate Beijing to teach India the final lesson, thereby ensuring Chinese supremacy in Asia in this century,” Bharat Verma, Editor of the Indian Defence Review, has said.

Verma said the recession has “shut the Chinese exports shop”, creating an “unprecedented internal social unrest” which in turn, was severely threatening the grip of the Communists over the society.

Among other reasons for this assessment were rising unemployment, flight of capital worth billions of dollars, depletion of its foreign exchange reserves and growing internal dissent, Verma said in an editorial in the forthcoming issue of the premier defence journal. In addition to this, “The growing irrelevance of Pakistan, their right hand that operates against India on their behest, is increasing the Chinese nervousness,” he said, adding that US President Barak Obama’s Af-Pak policy was primarily Pak-Af policy that has “intelligently set the thief to catch the thief”.

Verma said Beijing was “already rattled, with its proxy Pakistan now literally embroiled in a civil war, losing its sheen against India.” “Above all, it is worried over the growing alliance of India with the US and the West, because the alliance has the potential to create a technologically superior counterpoise.

“All these three concerns of Chinese Communists are best addressed by waging a war against pacifist India to achieve multiple strategic objectives,” he said.

While China “covertly allowed” North Korea to test underground nuclear explosion and carry out missile trials, it was also “increasing its naval presence in South China Sea to coerce into submission those opposing its claim on the Sprately Islands,” the defence expert said. He said it would be “unwise” at this point of time for a recession-hit China to move against the Western interests, including Japan.

“Therefore, the most attractive option is to attack a soft target like India and forcibly occupy its territory in the Northeast,” Verma said. But India is “least prepared” on ground to face the Chinese threat, he says and asks a series of questions on how will India respond to repulse the Chinese game plan or whether Indian leadership would be able to “take the heat of war”.

“Is Indian military equipped to face the two-front wars by Beijing and Islamabad? Is the Indian civil administration geared to meet the internal security challenges that the external actors will sponsor simultaneously through their doctrine of unrestricted warfare? “The answers are an unequivocal ‘no’. Pacifist India is not ready by a long shot either on the internal or the external front,” the defence journal editor says. In view of the “imminent threat” posed by China, “the quickest way to swing out of pacifism to a state of assertion is by injecting military thinking in the civil administration to build the sinews. That will enormously increase the deliverables on ground – from Lalgarh to Tawang,” he says.

Source: Times of India dated 12th July 2009

India gay sex ruling could set precedent: UN

GENEVA: A landmark ruling in India to legalize gay sex could set an example for about 80 countries which still outlaw homosexual sex, a UN agency said on Thursday. It would also encourage more HIV victims in India to come forward to seek treatment and information, added the United Nations joint programme on HIV and AIDS.

“We think this will set an important precedence throughout the world,” said Susan Timberlake, who heads UNAIDS’ human rights and law team. She added that in almost all of the countries that outlaw homosexual sex, “both the law and the homophobia… results in both the denial of human rights of men who have sex with men, transgender people and lesbians, but also in the denial of health care services that they desperately need in the world of HIV.”

Anand Grover, the lawyer who argued the case before New Delhi High Court, described the decision as an “historic event because India was the country where the anti-sodomy laws were first statutorised…and the same law was then replicated all over the British Commonwealth.”

He added that countries that still outlaw homosexual sex can now “use this as a precedent.” “Countries in Africa can use this as a precedent. Same for Asia,” he told journalists in Geneva.

Several Commonwealth countries still view gay sex as illegal, including Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, and many Caribbean islands. In India, homosexual HIV sufferers would now find it easier to seek information and treatment, said Pradeep Kakkattil who heads UNAIDS’ technical support division.

“What this judgement could help in is encourage men who have sex with men to come out more and seek those services… and it will make much easier for people working in the field to provide that information,” he said.

When homosexual sex was outlawed, patients “would not go to the doctor because of fear of … potentially being reported to the police,” said Kakkattil.

“Besides the threat of imprisonment, these victims also faced blackmail from police,” he said. “Health workers providing help to homosexual HIV sufferers are also working in precarious situations, he added. He said that it’s not uncommon for police to arrest you because you are providing information on something illegal.”

Source: Times of India

The Country Calls

I came across this poem written by Sanjana Khanna on a website. Really liked it so am putting it over here. Indian Army is perhaps the best organization to join. Hopefully thi spoem will act as motivation for the readers. I would also like to thank the poet for such a good poem.

When you see olive green
Be filled with “josh”
‘Coz this is the real Indian team
– Uncorrupted, “sarfarosh”.

When you snuggle in bed
Spare a thought for the soul
Who fights an unseen enemy
In darkness and cold.

For us our soldiers die,
Leaving their families in sorrow.
And remember —
“They give up their today, for our tomorrow.”

They cry out with grit —
“Kill ’em, cut ’em, but kneel not”
And with such burning passion
Isn’t there something we feel not?

Do we still prefer
To join the unemployment queue?
While our country calls —
“Do you have it in you?”

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http://www.indianarmy.gov.in
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