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the wonder of the human mind is that it fills in what is missing, weaves in the dreams of a group, touches up inanimate objects with the color of love and longing – isn’t that magic? Continue reading
Voldemort was once a sensitive child and one of the brightest of Professor Dumbledore’s students. Then one day things changed. The Dark Lord inflicted a reign of terror in the hearts of Potterland.
But Voldemort is dead.
The deft actions of the Navy Seal of the United States of America has put an end to the days of the dark lord. Osama Bin Laden is no more.
There is jubilation all over America and people had gathered in droves at Ground Zero to celebrate.
But ‘now what’ in Potterland? Is the world’s largest, most powerful nation (militarily?) going to turn its back on the Mecca of Terror and concentrate on economic development back home and invest in philanthropy?
Well, from the fact that no one in the corridors of the White House is seen grinning yet, not even the President of the United States under whose leadership this historic event transpired, it is clear that that is unlikely.
The White House is keenly aware that this is only the end of one Act in this ten year old play that is still ongoing and that there is still no sign of closure or n even the end.
American citizens around the world has been alerted to take care. Osama is gone but we haven’t got Al Qaeda yet. International experts confirmed the justification of this anxiety.
For those who are aware they know fully well that Al Qaeda is not just one organization or even one unit. It has over the years become the world union of all Islamist Jihadis all over the world, from Africa to Asia, with bases and operations spanning five continents.
An eye surgeon by profession Ayman al–Jawahiri has his own hawk eyes trained on the world events and patiently awaits his turn at Leadership. He is an university blue, trained in tactics and even more dangerous and ruthless than Osama.
He, unlike Osama, would not target the military but attempt to beat the enemy at the dinner table – Economic warfare.
As it is, the United States of America, the world’s richest country has been struggling with its domestic problems for the last three years, with its national debt running into multi-trillions now. Large chunks of US economic deficit is due to the additional and growing military expenses to cope with feeding and managing American troops stationed in scores of warfronts in Africa, Middle East, Far East, Pakistan, Afghanistan …
He would aim to increase tension to engage the US troops further and deeper. Jawahiri would use their best friend Taliban in Afghanistan and Iraq. Al Qaeda think-tank Abu Yahya al-Libi would keep the pot roasting in Libya. Colonel Gaddafi is his special friend and the Colonel is already very angry with the US. They have killed his son. They have killed his grandson! These are very serious injuries for any man.
Eventually, the American economy would begin to flounder and the nation become vulnerable and that would be the moment of the Islamist Independence Day sun to rise most likely.
Did Pakistan Benefit From Osama Bin Laden’s Capture and Death?
Outside of all this, the Pakistani question looms over everyone’s head. With the “goras” winning their quarry this time, Pakistan killed quite a few birds with one stone.
a) Its relation with the US increasingly became strained because of the kidnappings and killings of the US diplomats in Pakistani Pakistan’s position was very difficult – on the one hand it had to keep the Us content and on the other manage its own militant agenda. Now that the Americans got what they wanted, Pakistan gets to iron out the differences a bit and prove to the US that it is with them in the war against terror: issue based support in changed circumstances.
b) By declaring the cutting off of supplies it used the situation to play out to its own people.
c) Pakistan wanted Al Jawahiri in the fore front for a long time but could not with the ailing Osama still alive and did not want to bloody their hands with the sin of removing Osama themselves. Now with him conveniently out of the way – their problems are solved.
US After the end of Bin Laden: Is the War on Terror Over?
For the Obama government, it was necessary to show the world that they are capable of walking the talk and with the burial of Osama in the deep seas Obama managed to bury the Husseini issue as well.
However, to ensure another term at the White House it would be necessary to keep Frankestein happy. So, it is likely that the United States of America would come to an understanding with the Pakistani government and continue their homage at the shrine of the Mecca of Terror. Pakistan knows this. Give and take. The day their interests clash, the claws and teeth would be bared, feathers fly, and the chips would fall where they may.
The end of Osama Bin Laden is a historic event but in no way the end of the history of Islamist militancy. The reign of terror and wars would continue. Action-reaction in keeping with Newton’s third Law of motion would continue as once this team would win and another time that one.
The rift between the America and the Islamist world is now complete and is unlikely to ever mend.
What Does the Capture and Death of Bin Laden Mean for the world?
The war on terror now would probably never end for either side.
Whenever Pakistan feels threatened, the ISI would use the Taliban and Al Qaeda against the US and soon Jawahiri would declare war against the US as Jihad or the Holy War and America would seek his head.
Today as I sat and watched the British Queen place a wreath at the Irish Garden of Remembrance, and their national anthem played and I watched their faces, I dreamed that someday, India and Pakistan be standing at Rajghat, paying homage to the man both nations revere as Bapu. I hope and pray that someday, at Obamaland someone would have a brain wave and remember Gandhi (and Martin Luther). An eye for an eye never does end wars and if you want to see change around you, be the change yourself is what he had said.
I think that the hardest thing about being good is that you have to be so belligerent all the time.
You are either fighting off the bad people or you are fighting bad deeds. Or, as is more often the case with common people like me, one is constantly fighting theurge to wade into the muck to get even with evil. That is the worst scenario of all. You emerge from such enterprise neither a winner nor a content person. And there is a lot of dirty washing to do afterwards which is tedious and unpleasant.
Actually come to think of it, there is another even worse impediment to being good and that entails the crime of “maintaning peace” “being diplomatic” which in effect means, “play along with the bad” . Pretend it isn’t bad. Or just do what bad does, smile when your heart is crying, say nice agreeable things when what you actually wish to do is to scream, “this is not FAIR!!!! You are evil”.
Sometimes it is tiresome to try to stay “good” …
Anyway, this postis mainly about Sex and the lies Indians (dot, not feather) are made to believe.
The other day I was told that Indians are averse to talking about sex and that sex has never played an important role in our lives and culture, as it has in the West.
Is that really a fact?
What about the Mahabharata?
It has been called the national epic of India…in very much the same sense that the Illiad is the national epic of Classical Greece. The Mahabharata is the story of a great war that ended one age and began another. The story has been passed down to us in a classical canon of Sanskrit verses some 100,000 stanzas long; that’s about 12 times the length of the Western Bible….the earliest layers of the epic were composed between 2500 and 3000 years ago.
The Mahabharata contains virtually all the lore and legend of the Classical Hindu Tradition – which is also, in typical Hindu defiance of simple-minded historicity – very much a living tradition. Here are the great creation stories – Manu’s flood, the churning of the ocean, the descent of the Ganges. Here are the favorite myths and fairy tales. Here are the jokes. Here are the codes of law – moral, ethical, natural. One of the best things about the Mahabharata is its wonderful richness of episode and detail.
But Mahabharata is not a random collection of tales, like the Medieval gestes (to further prove the habit of thinking Eurocentrically). Every digressive bit of the Mahabharata is there to shed light on a central story. The core event of that story is the great battle that was fought on the field of Kurukshetra between the five sons of King Pandu and their allies on the one side and the hundred sons of King Dhritarashtra, with their allies, on the other side. The battle was the culmination of a long history of struggle and diplomatic maneuvering, and it involved virtually every tribal king and every powerful city-state in Central and Northern India at the time.
It was a tragic war, that pitted brothers against brothers, sons against fathers and uncles, brave noble men against brave noble men. And it was devastating. Nearly all of the best men died in the long battle. The Pandavas, the sons of King Pandu, survived, but there was no victory, for the war had destroyed the world that they knew, and the emptiness of what they had won colored the rest of their lives. (WM Blake)
WM Blake’s account is one of the best and most informative and lucidly written accounts of the great Indian epic I have read so far.
As he points out the Mahabharata is a living tradition in India – but is it?
For example, let us consider “sex”.
Isn’t half of what is in the epic, about politics and statecraft and the other half of The Mahabharata really about “sex” in all its manifestations in a (modern) society?
Marriages were defined and conducted, based on lust and sexual preferences of men and women. Governements relied on sex and sexual relations to stay in power. Father son relationship gets defined and subsequent history is influenced by the sexual urges of one man (Santanu).
If Vishma had not committed to never marry, and if he had children, would the Mahabharata have been what it is?
Vishma is called “vishma” because he had made this terrible vow to his father’s would be wife’s father: I shall never take a wife to ensure your daughter’s son is the regent to the throne of Hastinapur.
King Shantanu, Vishma’s father, lusted after this beautiful woman called Gangaand in his middle age went so far as to stake the claim of his legitimate heir to get what he wanted.
What about Prince Pandu? Why is he called “pandu” ?
The term means someone that is weak and cannot bear the excitement of sexual acts. He had married early and because he liked both the dark and light skinned Princesses that were shown to him, he married them both and lived so recklessly for the first few years of his married life that he became ill. Later, he was advised to abstain so he could live and rule.
But he needed an heir.
So, the kulo-purohit or the royal Priest and their court advised them to use sperm donors to get children.
In those days you had to fly in the donor so he could mate directly with your wife. They could, for obvious reasons, not do it at the palace. You know the common people. They are insensible to the ways of statecraft and they might not understand. So the King and his two queens, Madri and Kunti were chariot driven to the forests.
In those days women had rights.
So, the King asked the queens to decide who they wanted to be donor for their children. Kunti and Madri together, had chosen the Sun God, Indra the ruler of Heaven and Earth, and three other Gods with specific powers and endowments to donate sperms for them.
Indra and the Sun are both known to be tall, fair skinned, strong and good looking men with sharp features. Probably they were white men – Caucasians. Arjuna the ace archer was sired by him.
Bheema was dark skinned and the strongest of the five brothers (but had the kindest heart and the one that really truly loved Draupadi). The books say “Vayu” or “Pavan Deva” – the ruler of the winds – could have been a Sri Lankan or Dravidian.
Yudhistira was fathered by Dharma. Nakula and Sadeva were sired by the Aswin twins, the Gods of Medicine – doctors basically and known to be very good looking. These brothers could have been from the Eastern part of India judgiung the description of theway the princes looked and even the way the Aswins are described.
Yudhistira, Bheema and Arjuna – the eldest three were the sons of Kunti, the fair skinned, doe eyed Princess. Nakula and Sadeva were the sons of the olive skinned and sexy siren Madri.
But we could go back further – to Ramayana, the other epic, that is made the basis for the militant Hinduism today.
How was Rama and all his brothers born?
The King of Koshal (capital city Ayodhya), had been married for years and happily – he had three queens , Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. But they had no son.
So, the royal Priest advised they perform the great puthreshti yagna (yagna = a fire rite) , for which the King had to go personally and inviteMuni Rishyasringa. Later from the fire of the sacred rites, emerged a beautiful deva, that offered a little saucer full of what is called “payesam” to the King and directed him to feed it to his queens.
They did get sons – four of them: Rama, Bharat (yes, this is the Bharat whose name is actually what the Indians call India, “Bharatbarsha”), Lakshman and Shatrughna. This could be a symbolic way of hinting at using a sperm donor for childbirth.
And how did women get married in those days?
Before Manu slapped his terrible repressive rules on the women of India, women had swayambhar sabhas held for them when they were of marriageable age.
The family of the lady invited all the eligible bachelors and she was briefed about who is who and then she was ushered into the sabha or the gathering with a garland in her hand. She would out it around the neck of whoever appealed to her the best.
Manu had clapped the rule of marriage and marking, because when he was a boy he had watched his mother walk off with a sage that requested her favour. It was permmitted. Because sex was not a dirty act or a dirty word back then. It was a sensible, serious business and one that was a matter of choice and consent.
It was common among the sages and Princes to have consensual sex with who ever they liked. When they wanted to, they approahed people and they asked, it was never a “wham, bam, thank you Mam” searing, tearing act of violent deed or a taboo.
People were civilized about it. They wrote about it unabashedly . They celebrated it, acknowledged children born out of love or lust and took sex seriously.
I wish I was born then instead of now. We seem to have lost so much with “progress”. In so many ways, India, aparently, has actually regressed.
I was born here and I’ll die here against my will
I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there…
Justin Bieber’s debut EP, My World (RBMG/Island Def Jam), released in November 2009, broke Billboard records and went platinum within two months.
He didn’t grow up rich: “My mom and dad split up when I was very young. So I was with my mom. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I didn’t know that. Being young I had everything I wanted. I played sports. I had clothes. But now … being in [the] position that I am now … I’m so blessed.”
Justin Beiber Performs for President Obama: “It’s the only time I’ve ever been nervous to perform,” Bieber says of playing for the Obamas during the holidays in Washington, D.C.
Bieber’s new album, My World 2.0, features contributions by Ludacris, Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, and The Dream. The songs are “mostly about girls, again,” the boy wonder says. “I want them to hear my music and wanna play it again because it made their hearts feel good.”
Justin was a street performer when he was only 13-years-old! He used to perform in front of the theatre in Stratford, Ontario, Canada where its rumored that his mom was acting in a play.
Justin Bieber, 16, gets houseful shows at Madison Square Garden, the squealing twitter generation thinks he is the next Pop Prince of the century.
Beiber’s view on sex: “I don’t think you should have sex with anyone unless you love them,” Bieber says. When asked if he believes in abstinence until marriage, Bieber – who is reportedly dating fellow teen star Selena Gomez – seems wary: “I think you should just wait for the person you’re…in love with.”
His opinion on abortion: “I really don’t believe in abortion,” Bieber says. “It’s like killing a baby.” How about in cases of rape? “Um. Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don’t know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.”
His views on American healthcare: “We go to the doctor and we don’t need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you’re broke because of medical bills. My bodyguard’s baby was premature, and now he has to pay for it. In Canada, if your baby’s premature, he stays in the hospital as long as he needs to, and then you go home.”
Canadian-born Bieber never plans on becoming an American citizen: “You guys are evil,” he jokes.
Beiber’s celeb crush: his childhood bedroom walls were plastered with posters of Beyoncé: “I’ve been totally in love with her since I was seven. She kinda broke my heart when she married Jay-Z,”. “I met her at the VMAs,” Justin says. “I went up to her, said ‘I love your music,’ and she said, ‘Aw, you’re so cute.’ She’s gorgeous!”
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Bieber mentions that interview on Twitter, saying “I count in GERMAN and translate my own name. Guess I know what German is. Guess home schooling is working out. Do your research next time b4 making a lame attempt at hating on a 16 year old.”
So what exactly is Bieber’s ideal world? “I want my world to be fun. No parents, no rules, no nothing. Like, no one can stop me,” he says, and then repeats it. “No one can stop me.”
The India Afghanistan Joint Press Conference laid down significant and historical pointers to diplomatic relations between not only India and Afghanistan but also clearly stated India and Afghanistan’s expectations of Pakistan.
The Indian Prime Minister Mr Manmohan Singh was in Afghanistan meeting President Karzai there today, May 12, 2011.
Five important points that he made are:
1) Peace, security and stability are the most important factors of development and reconstruction.
2) “Peace and security requires all the countries in the region to think afresh in dealing with terrorism”
3) He said that Pakistan and Afghanistan would have to work together to end terrorism.
4) He declared Afghanistan as a “Special Friend” and said that India would stand by Afghanistan in rebuilding its infrastructure and announced fresh commitment of 500 million US dollars in aid to Afghanistan over the next few years. In fact, he committed to 2 billion US dollars in Aid progressively – the largest India has donated to any nation. Considering India has never been a big donor nation, this is hugely significant.
5) He also said that Afghanistan would have to take power in its own hands and start managing its own affairs, securing its sovereignity, containing its border and that the interference of the International Community should be minimum.
He did not say that International community should leave right away – but he said that it should reduce its presence in due course in Afghanistan.
He also mentioned that India would attempt to build a stronger economic relation with Afghanistan and India would attempt a people to people approach in building relations.
The Indian PM also said that insurgency operations and violent measures does not solve terror problems for anyone involved.
These are significant points that would govern India, Pakistan, Afghanistan relations in the next few years. An interesting point the Prime Minister made that made every Indian citizen and experts proud is when he answered a question by the foreign journalists that now that the US has done it, would India too undertake an American style operation to get the Indian fugitives there or the thousands of terrorists that are sheltered on Pakistani soil?
The Indian Prime Minister quietly said, “India is not America”.
What this means is that India made its stand clear about respecting law and order and international agreements.
India’s taking a firmer stand, increasing aid means there would be pressure on the International Community to contain its interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.
Sri Pranab Mukherjee the Indian Finance Minister who accompanied the PM to Afghanistan said, “I also flagged that Pakistan facilitate the trade which is now being carried out through ports, so that land connection with Afghanistan is reestablished.”
India also made it clear it would try and make an attempt to understand the Taliban’s position and stand by the Pathan or the Pashtuns who constitute over 50 percent of Afghanistani population.
It is to be noted in context that Pakistan was part of the Central Treaty Organization(CENTO Treaty/Baghdad Pact). It was dissolved in 1979, but this Treaty secured the United States of America permission to have bases in Pakistan and have thousands of CIA operatives stationed there and Pakistan has received nearly 20 billion US dollars in aid in the last twenty years from the US.
Link to the earlier meeting in Kabul between Krishna and Karzai for those who needsome background to the current committments and what India’s concern has been with regards to US position with regards to the Taliban.
India’s Connection With Afghanistan
Afghanistan was part of Indian North West Frontier Provinces for thousands of years till 1947. It was after the British left that they became an independent Sovereign nation.
There are over a hundred Indus Valley Civilization sites scattered along that region in our north west frontier indicating the common historical and cultural heritage, as most of the countries in the South of Asia, share.
The Afghani Pashtuns have been a part of Indian demographics since time immemorial. We wear Afghani pants to work, and in fact, Afghanis were the standard money lenders even during the seventies, in India.
The famous Silk Route – the Khyber Pass was used for trade with the Indian subcontinent.
After the Afghan occupation by Russia and later during the war there, Afghan refugees fled to India – that is, those that could – and live here. They have their own Pashtun schools in India too.
Afghani alu bukhara and clothes are dear to Indians and if you watch the way we live, there are lots of similarities in our sense of modesty, hospitality, religious practices, food, the way we raise children.
So, India’s giving aid to Afghanistan is not surprising given the history and geography of the two nations.
India doesnot have billions of US Dollars to throw about. In fact, we have huge debts as of now – and yet, if the Indian government is committing to 2 billion USD in aid to this war torn nation, it means something. Indian citizens understand the importance of this and look forward to having strong diplomatic relations with this neighbouring nation that was once an integral part of the Indian Province.
The United States’ support would be a key to the success of the peace keeping process.
There is a possibility that if Pakistan and India and Afghanistan managed to form friendly ties, the United States might perceive this coalition as a threat as that leaves the possibility of these three nations forging alliance with China at some point. Given the subcontinent’s history, it is unlikely but well, one cannot rule out any possibilities in politics.
However, if India manages to get Pakistan to come to an understanding and get involved in the peace keeping process and work towards social and economic development of this region, it would have far reaching positive consequences for all the countries in the near future.
Current Position of Pakistan vis-a-vis US: May 14, 2011