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Archive for October, 2010

Introduction
Kashmir has become the petri dish of the 21st century and thus it shall be viewed by political scientists of the future. What would challenge their concepts of a modern state is not where state and religion may cohabit neither detracting from the other, but to what extent a state may let religion its free exercise of its hold on their believers. Religion is self expression of belief and it must remain where it belongs as springboard for impulses and actions that which could be best expressed for the common good of the society. If prayer is a cornerstone of one’s belief- system praying to his god or Allah or whatever that he may be instrument of peace to all and conducting himself to live at peace makes him serve his private belief and the requirements of the state. Instead to use certain passages from here and there and sow discord and disaffection to all and sundry must be practicing a religion of hate. Looking at what goes on in Kashmir I wonder if a mixture of state and religion have not been applied wrongly. As a preface I only need to compare her early history and now.
Kashmiri culture,melting pot of many faiths
Historically The Muslims and Hindus of Kashmir lived in relative harmony, since the Sufi way had much in common with the Rishi tradition of Kashmiri Pandits. Hindus and Muslims revered the same local saints and prayed at the same shrines in the former times and this was but one example that their culture didn’t require man’s belief as a hurdle for acceptance. Their culture, I mean Kashmiri culture, had absorbed from various belief-systems Hinduism, Buddhism. Later in 1349 Shah Mir became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir. For the next five centuries, Muslim monarchs ruled Kashmir, including the Mughals, who ruled from 1526 until 1751, then the Afghan Durrani Empire that ruled from 1747 until 1820. That year, the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh, annexed Kashmir. In 1846, upon the purchase of the region from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Dogras—under Gulab Singh—became the new rulers.
We can see fortunes of this state followed the turn of history as followed elsewhere- and the only pivot that history revolves upon in true sense of the word, is on changes.
If under the rulership of Hindu kings were grievances by any particular section the aggrieved parties had recourse to change what was evil. History shows Kashmir tolerated their rulers both good and bad and their culture, arts and literature were never in danger of annihilation. From all records set down by the historians, travelers and officials we do not see systematic extermination of the minorities and their way of life in the state as we have seen of the Jews and Gypsies under the Nazi Regime.
Law is paramount-The Act of 1947
It is true Jammu and Kashmir has a Muslim majority population. As with changes being the only course of history it is neither special if at present Islam is practiced by about 67% of the population of the state and by 97% of the population of the Kashmir valley,. Against this in order to put the demographical changes in perspective, we need to account for Buddhists and Sikhs as well. According to political scientist Alexander Evans, approximately 95% of the total population of 160,000–170,000 of Kashmiri Brahmins, also called Kashmiri Pandits, (i.e. approximately 150,000 to 160,000) left the Kashmir Valley in 1990 as militancy engulfed the state. According to an estimate by the Central Intelligence Agency, about 300,000 Kashmiri Pandits from the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir have been internally displaced due to the ongoing violence. The state of Kashmir under the union of India cannot be treated as altogether another entity since the Indian Independence Act 1947 gave rise to the creation of two new nations: the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. This Act had validated Pakistan and India as well as voided the British suzerainty over the 562 Indian princely states. According to the provisions of this Act these states were left to choose whether to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. Jammu and Kashmir, the largest of the princely states chose India and the provisions laid in the Act have been met. Period. The fact that there is a predominantly Muslim population or it was determined by a Hindu ruler (Maharaja Hari Singh) do not invalidate the union. To sum if Pakistan is a nation so is India and the state’s choice also legally correct.
In October 1947, Muslim revolutionaries in western Kashmir and Pakistani tribals from Dir entered Kashmir intending to liberate it from Dogra rule. Unable to withstand the invasion, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession that was accepted by the government of India on 27 October 1947.
Shifting focus
Now in order to understand what ails Kashmir we need to separate those players who have no right to be there whether in the form of ideologues or as fighters. For example what is the interest of Al-Qaeda in a purely internal issue? If they want to organize a campaign of terror in Kashmir the only way that can be done is with the help of Pakistan. Apart from the majority of Jammu and Kashmir being Muslims, Pakistan has no moral or legal right to interfere in internal affairs of India. When Mujahiddins were being armed and trained in Afghanistan against Soviet Russia in the Eighties it was known that the Talibans were largely helped by Pakistan. We see its repercussions even now. Only that Pakistan is forced into a false position where they have to fight Al-Qaeda elements hiding in northwestern Pakistan. (Their collusion with Taliban in Afghanistan then has now created homegrown Taliban forces.) Therefore Al-Qaeda wants Pakistan to fight India on the issue of Kashmir. Thereby they reason it will force Pakistan to move its troops to the border with India and relieve pressure on them. (US Intelligence analysts say al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives in Pakistan-administered Kashmir are helping terrorists they had trained in Afghanistan to infiltrate Indian administered Kashmir. There is nothing that can verify reports from the media of Al Qaeda presence in the state. As it seems now it is a proxy war waged by Kashmir militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan. It must be noted that Waziristan has now become the new battlefield for Kashmiri militants who were now fighting NATO in support of Al-Qaeda. Kashmir issue has now owing to the run of events (that originally had nothing to do with Kashmir state or India as a Republic) become free for all. It is not politics but religion as interpreted by some that is hogging up the headlines.
After Islam what then?
From experience it has been brought home with regards to the Kashmir issue in a chilling manner, terrorism has completely kept away the focus so a new trail is impacted into the sub-continent where religion may if allowed would do away with geographical boundaries that was sacrosanct earlier. An Islamic crescent from Europe to Russia straddling Asia is what some extremist Islamic groups harbor in depths of their hearts. (Instead of tolerance and harmony that were natural impulses in the hearts of Kashmiris irrespective of their religion we see hardening into set opinions and ill will. Under such a mindset mischief of extremists is easier done than cured.) What happens to such nations wrenched out violently from their political history when Islam finally becomes a spent force as Christianity is now. ( It is my belief that religions may have two millennia to run their course). This is what would interest the political scientists in future.
I hope the present Indian government will take the lesson of the blunder of the Vajpayee government when on Dec 24th, 1999 Indian Airlines IC 814 from Kathmandu to Delhi was hijacked to Taliban-controlled Kandahar airport in Afghanistan. The drama lasted a week exposing the weak kneed approach of BJP led government and it has caused more serious damage in the years to come. Five high profile terrorists in Indian prisons were released to secure the lives of the Indian passengers on the flight.
One of the released terrorists, Masood Azhar, went on to start the terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, that killed hundreds of Indians — security personnel and innocents — in later years. Also it gave another innocent victim, the American journalist Daniel Pearl. India need to know that appeasement of terrorists is not an intelligent option.

Finally much has been said about validity of Jihad as legitimate Islamic requirement to turn the world into Darul Islam. Al Koran do speak of Jihad but its interpretation as intended would mean different for different people. My essay is with special reference to the state of Kashmir enjoying special privileges under the Union of India as no other states enjoy. On what basis shall these know-all apply? Is Jihad to be waged against the past and for hospitality of the host nation? Those who are sure of their Koran may ask if hospitality of people,- Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and their way of life that allowed Muslims to prosper and live in amity are to be paid back with ill-will and rancor?
(ack:wikipedia)
benny

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What happened in Rwanda, Serebrinica or Kosovo was terrible. Blood was spilt and ethnic cleansing waged by either side merited highest punishment to those who were responsible. Those who pulled the trigger were as guilty as those who stood on the sidelines and cheered on. No less evil were those ideologues who made the cause appealing so the blood bath would surely go on ( invariably history has taught us that these ‘compelling’ reasons soon enough show themselves unsustainable by shock of events occurring elsewhere. ) No less reprehensible is what caused in the aftermath of Korean War. The powers that allowed families to be split in the middle not caring for the emotional anguish on the families are unpardonable. I shall merely post the news and hope those who have caused and perpetrated this misery be treated as war criminals.
‘SEOUL, South Korea – Hundreds of Korean family members separated for more than half a century by the Korean War embraced each other in tearful reunions Saturday, a day after troops exchanged gunfire in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the countries.

“I thought you were dead. Mother missed you so much,” 61-year-old South Korean Lee Min-gwan told his 90-year-old North Korean father, Ri Jong Ryol, according to pool reports by local reporters.

“I did not forget (you) every single day for the past 60 years,” Ri replied to his son, who was 100 days old when they were separated during the war.

Foreign media were not allowed to cover the reunions.’
benny

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Bedazzled,bedevilled and damned'

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I have started a new blog url of which is http://ben4ben.wordpress.com. I shall be exclusively posting updated classics there. Name of the blog is Elves Bells.
Those who are interested in updating the fairy tales of old are welcome to sample them .These stories shall be illustrated wherever possible.
benny

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'Does our master follow our conversation?'

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The Tale of the Bull and the Ass ©

There was a merchant in Mosul and he had a wife by name Zainaba. She loved him to distraction. She wanted to engage him at all hours in conversation. While in the middle of crossword puzzle she was sure to ask whatever popped in her mind. It was her way of being of one mind. One day while he was testing his skills against so many other contestants ‘Who Want to be a Millionaire’ she called him up to ask if he remembered the last episode of ‘The Bold and the Beautiful.’ In trying to oblige her he lost his concentration and was eliminated at the penultimate round. Poor Faizal! There was no escape for him . She peppered him whether at home or by long distance.
So he took to his Koran and read at one stretch from the beginning to the end fifteen times. Every time he heard his wife’s footfalls he pushed a note for her, ‘Do not disturb! Angel Gabriel may strike me dead for impiety.’ Of course the ruse worked. Zainaba loved him as I said, to distraction. But to displease Allah, Oh no it was unthinkable.
On the fourth month Faizal was about to prepare for his evening prayer and an angel appeared and saluted him. The angel said he was sent to bless him for his devotion. ‘Such thirst for knowledge! Allah shall reward you, O righteous One.’
Faizal wasn’t sure what it was he wanted most. ‘May be you want to understand the mind of your devoted wife?’ the Angel prodded helpfully.
‘Oh no!’ he spluttered, ‘I would like to understand the animal talk. Cows chew the cud more than they care to talk. The ass may bray but only at the dawn.’ Faizal muttered aloud. The angel understood the drift and said, ‘Allah, the Most Benevolent is pleased to grant your heart’s desire.’
The angel warned Faizal not to tell this to another soul. Punishment for breaking his oath would be death, the angel had warned. Faizal was sure the chance to live among his farm animals and avoid having to answer all his wife’s questions was well worth the risk.
Thus Faizal began to show all of a sudden undue attention to his farm. His wife naturally wondered about this. Whenever she could buttonhole him he found excuses to remove himself. ‘The farm must need all the attention it can get,’ she said to herself.
One morning Faizal sat before the stalls to hear the Bull chat with the Ass.
He heard the Ass ask, ‘You think our master can follow our conversation?’
Mr. Bull said, ‘Our master is so pious that he only wants to make his wife think in the same lines as he does.’
The Ass exclaimed, ‘ If that is the case he doesn’t understand his wife at all.’
The Bull asked him to explain. The Ass said, ‘Every time I carry our mistress to the market or her folks she will tug at the reins or relax; and I instantly know what is expected of me. She tells me ‘I need to tell in many words to make your master do a thing. I wish he were as clever as you. Oh many a times I have nearly died of vexation!’’
The Bull nodded wisely, ‘Allah ought to have married her to you. Then our master would have been left in peace.’
The master burst out laughing. His wife came at that precise moment and asked, ‘What on earth has got into you!’
Faizal would not answer. It struck her odd. She came to his side, ‘No man laughs for nothing! Unless he is insane.’ She stood there and asked him to tell the reason.
‘No I cannot !’ Faizal replied. She became very amazed and suspected there was something very sinister in his laugh.
‘Why did you laugh?’ She pestered him for day and night. In the end wearied by her constant sulking and demands he thought it was better to be struck dead by the angel than living under the same roof with her. ‘I shall tell it all,’ he thought to himself, ‘and break my oath’.
Next morning he went to the Kazi’s office to set his affairs in order and came home.
The woman stood at the gate and asked eagerly, ‘Are you going to tell me or not?’
‘O woman,’ Faizal said wearily, ‘I will tell my secret after I have purified myself. For by telling it I shall die.’ Zainaba was so possessed by curiosity that she asked him to get ready.
While he was washing himself in an out-house adjoining the house he saw all the farm animals wore a sad expression except a cock that strutted among some fifty hens. The dog asked if he didn’t care for the fate of his master.
‘Why should I if he cannot manage one woman in his household?’ Faizal realized that the cock managed his harem as he deemed fit and the hens were all contented for his highhandedness.
After the ceremonial wash he went into the house. His wife approached him to ask, ‘Are you going to tell your secret or not?’ He reached for his walking stick and beat her till she pleaded mercy.
‘Do you still want to hear my secret?’
‘Oh no!’ wailed the woman.
He threatened to beat her if she ever irritated him with unnecessary demands.
She promised not to repeat this and said she had learned her lesson.
That night he went to make peace with her. After all they had lived some forty years and raised children. He tried to speak but could only bray. His wife wondered what got into him.
A month later she was going to visit her son and along the way she told the Ass, ‘I got the most wonderful husband. He is pearl among men. He loves my company and makes me feel like a woman. Only fault is that he brays like you. Then no man is perfect.’

benny

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Sorry. it is removed. Continue reading it in the Wow-Wow Tales-b

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conclusion:
The fat capitalist had its face pinched with mounting woes. It thought it could knock at the door of the ants and get help. So it waded through thick snow even as army of ants from abroad were converging there. Those ants hit by natural calamities knew the ants in so and so county were unaffected. To the incessant knockings of the grasshopper a door opened. The ant asked why had it come to them. The grasshopper narrated its difficulties.
The ant said it could not spare anything. ‘We are expecting great many mouths to feed.’ The ant said that the ants from all the affected counties were approaching them for help.
‘Workers of the world, unite! so says the Book,’ said the ant,’So our surplus should go to feed them. And not you.’
‘Why not me?’ asked the grasshopper,’ We belong to the same county. Where is your patriotism?’ The ant knew the grasshopper in spreading its wealth around and investing abroad to escape tax at home was merely fooling itself. ‘My patriotism is right where it belongs and it isn’t something we need to concern right now.’
The grasshopper turned away sadly but not wiser by its experience.
benny

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