The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.
Monday 31 August 2015
Sunday 30 August 2015
Saturday 29 August 2015
Friday 28 August 2015
Thursday 27 August 2015
Wednesday 26 August 2015
Tuesday 25 August 2015
After (naturally) expecting it - as we are hearing Pakistani leaders of different hues, including Pakistan's National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz - Sharif's version was only a symbolic summation of how the political establishment of Pakistan once again surrendered before its all powerful army (and therefore its real ruler, the army chief there).
And it is good that we, in India, didn't reach much into it and decided to stick to our position this time - that the whole Jammu and Kashmir (including Pakistan occupied Kashmir) is our integral part and its society and politics will be governed according to the Indian Constitution - and not what some sidelined separatist leaders like the Hurriyat ones say.
It is good, that, we, as a nation, are finally shedding its Pakistan obsession.
Yes, it is political pragmatism that every nation wants a peaceful neighbourhood, especially with democracies. And, irrespective of intelligence claims and counterclaims, we have valid and worldly reasons to believe that India is not orchestrating unrest in Pakistan. Terrorism and other internal rifts in Pakistan are its own making and Pakistan is paying a heavy price for that - now.
We need to see Pakistan at best as a small country in our neighbourhood that shares common cultural elements with us. If any reality, in any comparison of India vis-à-vis Pakistan exists, it ends here, at this cultural context.
India had 17.22 crore Muslims according to figures from Census 2011 and Pakistan's overall population that year was 17.62 crore. And Muslims are just 14.2% of our population.
Sovereign India and Pakistan started their journeys the same day - two countries that shared a joint geographical patch and culture until then.
India remained a democracy, and with time, in fact, strengthened its institutions and processes. Its security establishment proudly built on its own. Its economy grew. Its middle class swelled. And today, it has become as imperative a market for the global economy as China is. And as China is slowing down, the world is looking to India - the world's fastest economy - the world's third largest economy - and the world's youngest country demographically - with projections to have the world's largest middle class by 2030.
Yes, India's democracy has had its internal flaws but in spite of that, we have a healthy electoral system that makes our democratic set-up robustly functional.
But, Pakistan started faltering very early on its sovereign journey. During 68 years of existence, the country has been ruled by its army most of the time. Pakistan's political establishment could never stand on its own. Military effectively entrenched itself into every aspect of Pakistan's socio-political milieu - killing democracy in the process.
Pakistan has historically been anti-India, fighting and losing wars since 1948. Pakistan’s Army, in order to remain the most powerful institution in the country, has always resorted to anti-India propaganda to suppress and sideline political voices. The violence in the aftermath of the India-Pakistan partition gave Army a powerful tool to instil fear in Pakistani masses by name-calling India.
Yes, in India, every aspect of society has corruption as malaise, but here, we can raises voices and push for remedies. Pakistan's military establishment doesn't allow that - acting on cases based on its self-interest.
Pakistan of the day is failing to handle its internal mess, something that is its own creation, including terrorism, anarchy in tribal areas and separatist movements but the ego (or the compulsion) of its ruling/military dispensations is forcing them to still engage in anti-India activities and propaganda - primarily in Jammu and Kashmir - and in India wherever possible - trying to provoke Muslims in the name of religion - even if India has more Muslims than Pakistan - even if the Muslims of India have registered maximum decadal population growth rate (as the Census 2011 data on growth rate of different religious communities released today says). They are our equal brothers and complete the arch of India's diverse cultural landscape.
India and Pakistan started their journeys as independent countries in similar circumstances. India is a global player now - on its way to become a global power in a multi-polar world - and Pakistan is not even a regional player.
Monday 24 August 2015
Sunday 23 August 2015
In fact, it was only waiting to happen because Pakistan was not in a position to dictate terms of the talks. And at the same time, it could not send home the message that it bowed before India by agreeing to an agenda that didn't include talks on Jammu and Kashmir.
Given the stated position of this government, the Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance government, we have reasons to believe J&K cannot be on any agenda of talks where different factions of All Party Hurriyat Conference are invited by Pakistan as the third party - at least till Narendra Modi is the prime minister of India.
India, as the doctrine goes, doesn't consider J&K a disputed territory and the present government has been, ever since its inaugural, particularly emphatic about expressing it.
The bilateral talks between India and Pakistan were broken in August 2014 when India had cancelled Foreign Secretary level talks on issue of Pakistan being adamant on talking to Hurriyat leaders.
So, obviously, if Pakistan was serious about talks, if it had accepted to go ahead with 'now cancelled' NSAs meeting, it had to keep in mind that why the talks last year were cancelled in the first place.
For the BJP, political analysis in India (and Pakistan) was growing more and more vocal about the possible stand taken by the NDA government after Pakistan invited Hurriyat leaders for talks even this time.
When a round of talk was killed last year on same issue, why to reintroduce that element again?
Because, either Pakistan wanted to kill the talks again - with its inborn compulsions to run away from words of logic and geopolitical pragmatism - or - it wanted to send home a message (to its Army) that it was dealing with India on its own terms - and so was a dominant negotiating partner - in case if India accepted Hurriyat as a party in negotiations - that meant Kashmir was on the agenda - something that India had refused from the day one - since Ufa.
India was never going to accept these terms, even if it didn't set any precondition other that those agreed at Ufa - reflected by the joint statement of both countries.
Pakistan's political leadership, under international pressure, most importantly from the US, willingly or unwillingly, agreed to restart the talks and India took a leading step here by inviting Pakistan.
But Pakistan tried to exploit even this move by propagandizing that 'India was compelled to come to the talking table' - and that Pakistan did not blink first.
Now, we know, the world community knows, and even many in Pakistan, including its military and political leadership know, that Pakistan is no match for India. India has moved much ahead and is a global economic powerhouse now. Its scientific and defence prowess are years ahead than Pakistan.
Pakistan, therefore, cannot set terms, other than agreed, while negotiating with India. That reflected in Sartaj Aziz's presser where he clarified that he was visiting India for the talks even if he was not hopeful of any outcome.
Pakistan's problem - primarily of its military establishment - and therefore of its political establishment - is - that its foreign policy has been India centric ever since the country came into existence in 1947.
And the cancelled NSA talks show nothing has changed on that front - even now.
In fact, India was always in a different, positive league than Pakistan. But we, politically, mismanaged the whole affair, with every subsequent government giving Pakistan legroom to exercise and promote its propaganda voices on different global platforms. We allowed Pakistan to even outmanoeuvre us on many times.
But, it had to end somewhere. And the process has begun - even if the realization has come very late.
India, like China, is imperative for global economy now. Yes, Pakistan, too, is a nuclear power, but its security establishment is far superior, innovative and indigenous and is accustomed to work under a democratic leadership.
India is asserting its rightful position on the global stage now and the world is taking note of it. India's neighbours (excluding China and Pakistan) see India now as a senior partner that gives them due bilateral importance.
The problem with Pakistan's political leadership is - it cannot say no even to the Hurriyat leadership - we all remember the serious note taken by Pakistan after Nawaz Sharif didn't meet them during his India visit last year in May 2014 or when Ufa statement didn't mention Kashmir this year - then how can it stand before Pakistan's military - the institution that wields real power there?
Pakistan's Army didn't want these talks to happen, as evident by escalation in incidents of ceasefire violation by Pakistan after the Ufa meeting. And the talks ultimately, expectedly, didn't happen.
It has further weakened the political establishment in Pakistan.
Hurriyat has no significance for India. The party with its different factions doesn't matter even in Jammu and Kashmir's politics. Jammu and Kashmir has elected government and people's participation, over the years, in the electoral process, has increased quite impressively, in spite of the continued run of cross-border terrorism by Pakistan, trying to incite separatist voices.
Hurriyat, in fact, is a ploy by Pakistan's Army to keep another of its anti-India ploy running - the anti-India rhetoric based on Kashmir - an eternal lifeline 'sort of thing' for Pakistan's Army.
And Pakistan's political establishment, irrespective of the realpolitik, is forced to follow whims of this ploy.
Saturday 22 August 2015
Friday 21 August 2015
Thursday 20 August 2015
Wednesday 19 August 2015
Tuesday 18 August 2015
Army chief of Pakistan, Raheel Sharif, met Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif today to discuss the upcoming dialogue between the National Security Advisers of India and Pakistan. Chief of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s notorious spy agency, was also there.
Obviously, the public façade of such meetings are always conveyed as something else, like this was a routine security meeting between the prime minister and the army chief. But on agenda was the upcoming NSA level meet in Delhi and as ceasefire violations have continued in spite of Nawaz Sharif’s words, we can easily guess what would have transpired in the meeting.
No such meeting happened in India. No such meeting for the ‘meeting’ of NSAs is going to happen in India.
Narendra Modi doesn’t need to call Indian Army chief to prepare for Ajit Doval – Sartaz Aziz meet in New Delhi on August 23-24.
Indian political establishment is free from such interference. That is the strength of our functional democracy.
And that is just one among many pointers that tell why we are a flourishing democracy and why Pakistan is still a limping military state – a country where democracy has always been dependent on its army to draw sanctity – a country where military has been in the government most of the time.
Monday 17 August 2015
Naturally, expectedly, Pakistan had to reply in the same diplomatic language and today, it called India’s Deputy High Commissioner to lodge its ‘strong’ protest.
And nothing is going to move except these diplomatic gestures, like the cases have been between India and Pakistan where India has been patiently calling Pakistan to take action against anti-India activities from its soil, like the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 or like Dawood Ibrahim having a safe haven in Pakistan. And these are not isolated examples.
Pakistan has never taken these demands seriously. Because its rulers derive their sanctity from their anti-India rhetoric.
Pakistan being an Army ruled country for most of its independent history has historically been anti-India, fighting and losing wars since 1948. Pakistan’s Army, in order to remain the most powerful institution in the country, has always resorted to anti-India propaganda to suppress and sideline political voices. The violence in the aftermath of the India-Pakistan partition gave Army a powerful tool to instil fear in Pakistani masses by name-calling India.
And Pakistan’s political establishment, including its political parties, that was dependent on Pakistan’s Army for its public life, just followed the suit, willingly or unwillingly.
So, even if Pakistan tries to sound moving ahead politically on its various issues with India, its military does the otherwise, following its own agenda, that is Pakistan’s main agenda irrespective of what Mr. Nawaz Sharif thinks and irrespective of what his ministers convey.
Any event of political ramification, including India-Pakistan dialogue, has been held hostage to this narrowcasting of interests by the omnipotent (in Pakistan) Pakistan’s Army – including the India-Pakistan Joint Statement at Ufa last month.
People of Pakistan are not inherently India haters or bashers – success of India’s cultural products, especially movies, shows. A report in The Express Tribune today carried an analytical peace on how Akshay Kumar’s ‘Brothers’ has won over the box office in Pakistan and how ‘it has dealt a blow to the Pakistani movie releases of the week’. And ‘Brothers’ is not the first case.
Also, in India, people are running a campaign to raise Rs. 10 Lakh for treatment of a girl from Karachi in a Mumbai hospital.
Political process and India-Pakistan dialogues are inimical to the Pakistan Army’s interest (and to the political class that survives and thrives on Pakistan’s Army) because it will lead to an increased people to people movement between two countries who shared a common land till 1947. The patch of the land is still the same and so are the cultural elements.
An increasing pro-India sentiment, that can gradually happen with normal bilateral ties and increased cultural exchanges, will weaken Pakistan’s Army as people there would legitimately be questioning its dominance in the public sphere – a bane for any democracy. Army there would never want it to happen.
So, diplomatic protests, thought different means, will continue. And along with them Pakistan’s proxy war in India – with ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
What is inimical to the long-term interests of Pakistan’s Army is that India now has started replying to Pakistan in its Pakistan’s own language – inflicting heavy damages something that Pakistan’s Army and media cannot report.
And as Pakistan is no match to India – and as India is poised to become a global power from a regional player – and as Pakistan’s Army cannot engage India in a direct fight – or cannot harm India’s interests strategically – as India’s defence capabilities are superior than Pakistan – and as Pakistan cannot do more than standalone terror strikes and ceasefire violations – the Pakistan Army is bound to suffer losses in the days to come.
And it has already begun.
Sunday 16 August 2015
Around 2.6 million Indians are among the 10 million strong UAE population. What is important to note here that around 8.5 million people in the UAE population are expatriates. The Emirati citizens of the seven Emirates, that together make UAE, are just around around 1.5 million.
Most of the Indians there are from Kerala. They form the largest expatriate group in UAE, a country that is an important trade partner of India, i.e., with around US$ 60 billion of annual trade and counting. That makes UAE India’s third largest trade partner. If trade in goods are taken only, then UAE is the largest trade partner of India globally.
And Indians living there send back home over US$ 12.5 billion annually.
Besides, UAE is an important oil supplier for India in the Gulf region, catering to around 10% of its import needs.
UAE is an important trading partner of India that is also increasingly important for our energy security mix in the changing geopolitical scenario.
So, it was negligent on our part when no prime minister could find time to visit the nation in 34 years and Narendra Modi’s ongoing visit should be seen in that context.
Politically, in India, what would get maximum political traction – has a religious undercurrent – with his visit to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque this evening. For his political rivals, as they promote, Narendra Modi is a Hindu hardline leader and according to them, Muslims are in danger under his governance. They should have got their answer by now.
What is going to add to the debates is the latest development – that the UAE government has allotted land in Abu Dhabi to build a temple – first in the capital city of an Islamic nation that is a federation of absolute monarchies – Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Ajman and Umm al-Quwain.
India of the day cannot be run with a communal agenda. Muslims are not in minority here. They are around 14% in India’s total population and they are our equal brothers.
And in fact, they are one of the pillars of India’s cultural diversity, something without which India cannot survive as the world’s largest democracy.
Saturday 15 August 2015
Filmmakers here wanted to deliver a Masala entertainment package and they excelled in that with Sholay.