World’s unluckiest elephant finally freed – PNS

Mohan the free elephant

Wildlife SOS Volunteer“The severe scars and puncture wounds on Mohan’s body and his emaciated condition confirm the extensive torture and neglect he has endured over the years,” said Dr Khadpekar. – PNS

It’s finally azadi for 55-year-old Mohan, who suffered abuse at the hands of his captors for 50 long years, earning him the epithet of the “unluckiest elephant in the world”.

His rescue could be made possible on Thursday after persistent efforts since July 2014 by Wildlife SOS—a non-profit organisation that works for the welfare and rescue of animals.

Elephant veterinarian Dr Yaduraj Khadpekar, who examined Mohan, found him to be severely emaciated and wounded due to malnutrition and neglect.

“The digestive system has been infested with worms and his liver functioning is impaired. We are getting ready with proper equipment for diagnosis and treatment along with water baths, pools for hydrotherapy and a staff of full-time veterinarians, who are already charting out a strict regimen,” he said.

Mohan’s tale of woes began when he got poached from the wild as a calf and was separated from his herd. He was tied up and beaten to break his spirit (a practice that renders an elephant trainable) after which he was sold off to be used as a begging elephant.

He spent the majority of his life in the villages near Lucknow, walking the streets with his keeper, begging for money or begging outside temples or hired out to be used for wedding ceremonies.

“The severe scars and puncture wounds on Mohan’s body and his emaciated condition confirm the extensive torture and neglect he has endured over the years,” said Dr Khadpekar.

Narrating the problems faced while rescuing the pachyderm, Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said, “Repeated attempts by the forest department, police and Wildlife SOS to rescue the elephant met with hostile and violent mob, as well as more than 20 delays in court proceedings.”

However, in early September a “sympathetic” Bench of the Lucknow High Court took note of Mohan’s deteriorating health and the years of cruelty meted out to him by his owners and finally issued a directive that the jumbo be shifted forthwith to the Elephant Care Center in Mathura run by Wildlife SOS for long-term specialised medical treatment and lifetime care.

Mohan finally arrived there on Thursday in an elephant ambulance. For Kartick Satyanarayan, another co-founder of Wildlife SOS, it is not just about the medical care but also the “freedom to roam free in a spacious enclosure and be fed with healthy and nutritious fodder, fruits and vegetables and also have other elephants to socialise with to ensure his overall physical and psychological recovery in his new home.” – The Pioneer, 23 September 2016

Wildlife SOS Rescue Crew


Ganga: The world’s dirtiest river gets even dirtier – Mail Today

Bhagirathi at Gangotri

Ganga at Har ki Pauri Haridwar

Uma BhartiThe BJP-led government recently launched the Namami Gange programme on the banks of the river in Uttarakhand when 250 projects worth Rs 1,500 crore were launched. … Officials said that from the Gangotri to Ganga Sagar, “Namami Gange” will ensure cleanliness of the river for which Rs 20,000 crore have been earmarked. – Mail Online India

Crores of rupees spent on cleaning the Ganga over the years have gone down the drain with the holy river becoming even filthier.

A recent report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) shows that water quality has worsened at places between Haridwar and Kanpur with heavy presence of fecal coliform bacteria and pollutants like heavy metals and pesticides.

The 1,569 mile-long river that runs from a glacier in the western Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal supports more than 400 million of India’s 1.25 billion population.

In the study “Restoration and rejuvenation of Ganga”, the findings claim: “The River Ganga is blocked and dammed at many places and water has been diverted for various uses. As a result, the water quality and ecological sanctity is threatened.”

The report has made many startling revelations about the water quality due to discharge of untreated sewage into the river.

It says that at present 823.1 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage is being discharged, without treatment, over a distance of 543 km between Haridwar and Kanpur.

Also, the stretch is affected by 1,072 polluting industries.

The latest data show that the water quality worsens as the river flows from Haridwar down to Kanpur.

While the quality criteria mentions that the fecal coliform content should be less than 2500 MPN/100 ml, in a part of Kanpur it reached 40,000 this year.

In 2015, the figure it was 20,889 at that location.

The CPCB has suggested that 30 storm-water drains carrying sewage, sullage and other wastes joining the Ganga at various locations, should have flow measuring systems at the terminal points for assessing the quantity of waste water being discharged.

Also, these drains should be hygienically maintained and properly dredged at regular intervals.

The dredged material should be disposed of properly without any adverse environmental impacts. The board has also recommended that all the factories discharging industrial effluents should transmit online data of their waste matter quality to pollution control boards both at the Centre and state.

“These industries should also submit fortnightly data of effluent-quality based on samples collected manually and getting it analysed through laboratory recognised under the Environment Protection Act,” it said.

The BJP-led government recently launched the Namami Gange programme on the banks of the river in Uttarakhand when 250 projects worth Rs 1,500 crore were launched.

These projects were also launched at 108 places situated on the banks of sub-tributaries.

Officials said that from the Gangotri to Ganga Sagar, “Namami Gange” will ensure cleanliness of the river for which Rs 20,000 crore have been earmarked. – Mail Online India, 21 September 2016

Ganga Barrage at Kanpur

Ganga at Varanasi

Ganga at Patna

See also

  • All Ganga articles here

13 – Tamil Nadu in the grip of Jihad – Thamizhchelvan

Ramanathapuram Collector & Police Official at Iftar Party

JournalistThe fundamentalists of Ramanathapuram have been supporting ISIS and Kashmiri separatist movements. The coastal area has fallen under the control of jihadis. Secret camps are conducted for giving weapons training. Rampant smuggling of gold, arms and narcotics has been happening with ease. … The Ramanathapuram coast is a security threat for India. – Thamizhchelvan

In its documentary on Jihad in Tamil Nadu released in February 2016, Hindu Munnani had earmarked a considerable portion to show how the district of Ramanathapuram has come under the spell of Islamic fundamentalism over the years.

Vaethalai, a small town in the district occupied an infamous spot in our history when the Muslims of the town protested against the celebrations of India’s independence in 1947. Vadivelu, a shopkeeper from Vaethalai says, “A few years ago, some Islamic fundamentalists unfurled the national flag upside down. They deliberately dump garbage around our Vinayakar temple and threaten us not to use loudspeakers during our bhajans in temples in the auspicious Tamil month of Markazhi”.

Politicians from the district have always been encouraging and supporting Islamic fundamentalists. In 2004, during the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, the fundamentalists indulged in stone pelting and instigated riots under the supervision of a member of the State Assembly, who is now a Member of Parliament.

Chinnathambi, a local person from Pudhumadam area says, “On 16th of August 2006, the then Panchayat Chairman, along with his supporters, brought down the national flag and tied up footwears up above the flag pole”. He adds that Hindus in that village are discriminated in many ways.

Ramanathapuram: Press advertisement calling for space for construction of mosques

Devi Pattinam is another coastal hamlet dominated by the minority community. When one Zakir Hussain became panchayat president, local fundamentalists prevented Hindus from celebrating the traditional Dharma Muneeswarar temple festival in May 2013. A challenge was thrown at Hindus to celebrate the festival. Earlier, construction of a new mosque was facilitated strategically on the procession route. Local Hindus say that fundamentalists from outside areas were brought in to beat them.

Based on the complaint lodged by Hindus, the police formally apprehended just two juvenile boys and sent them to “reformation” school. Local Hindu women say they fear even going to bazaars as they are threatened quite often. They say that the local police are faithful to the fundamentalists.

Segu Naina held the post of panchayat chairman of a place called Thondi, which was a historically significant port. On his instructions, government authorities demolished a temple without the knowledge of Hindus, in order to construct a coastal police station. Although 120 acres of poromboke land is available near the temple, they unnecessarily demolished the temple which was located on just 3 cent land. The local villagers allege that Segu Naina had vowed to demolish all Hindu temples in Muslim-dominated Thondi. The police filed cases against the Hindus who questioned the demolition of the temple.

Fundamentalist activities increased manifold when Jawahirullah of Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (political face of the Tamilnadu Muslim Munnetra Kazahagam, TMMK) was elected to the state assembly in 2011.

Another fishing hamlet, Periyapattinam, seems to be under the control of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). A local, named Pazhani, got converted as Mohammed Basheer and is now forcing Hindus of his locality, Mutharaiyar Nagar, to convert to Islam.

Ramanathapuram: Muslim youth get secret weapons training

Fundamentalist elements from various states like Assam, Bihar, Karnataka and Kerala were receiving weapons training in Periyapattinam. When the police caught them on 25 June 2012, all fundamentalist organizations indulged in a concerted agitation; the government yielded to their pressure and all extremists were released. The Arab-style mosque built in this nondescript hamlet is a classic example of Wahhabism getting entrenched in the state.

Thirupullani is a famous Hindu shrine located on the shores. It is a Ramayana heritage temple signifying the episode of Rama resting on grass (Dharba Sayana) contemplating ways and means of reaching Lanka. Ramachandran, a local person says, “The name board of the temple was smashed by fundamentalists on 20 February 2013 and the police didn’t take any action even after a complaint was registered”.

Another person, Durai says, “Fundamentalists from SDPI indulged in violence during Swami Vivekananda’s 150th year anniversary celebrations in a government school at Vannangadu near Thirupullani on 9 March 2013”.

Ramanathapuram : Warning boards by Jamaths directed at Hindus

Many coastal hamlets are under the spell of fundamentalism. The state government’s plan to form a separate taluk bringing all these villages under the same administration was not welcomed by the Hindus. Muslim jamaths have displayed “warning boards” banning outsiders—read Hindus—from entering their villages. These boards were removed by the police only after the issue got national attention after it was reported by the Delhi-based Daily Pioneer on 16 February 2013.

Tamil Muslim youth in ISIS t-shirts

The fundamentalist youth of Thondi displayed their association with the international terrorist organization ISIS by wearing T-shirts with ISIS logo. The photograph was posted on a Facebook page named Mukanool Muslim Media (Muslim Facebook Media), run by a foreign-based extremist named Sangai Ridwan.

Sangai Ridwan

This man, operating from the shadows, never reveals his identity even to his own brethren whom he tries to recruit for extremist activities. When the issue caught nationwide attention due to media reports, the state police filed an ordinary case and even justified it by saying that ISIS was not a banned organization. Meanwhile, fundamentalist organizations such as SDPI protested the police action and warned that the youth should not be arrested. The state police didn’t bother to investigate further.

SP Pattinam is a place near Thondi. On 10th October 2014, when a rowdy by name Syed Mohammed stabbed Sub Inspector Kalidas while trying to escape from jail, Kalidas fired in self-defense and the rowdy died. Muslim organizations took to streets and started attacking Hindus in the name of bandh. Their leaders demanded that  the government take action against police officer Kalidas. The State Government yielded to the pressure, suspended Sub Inspector Kalidas, ordered his arrest and sanctioned a solatium of Rs 5 lakhs to his family. Kalidas had to fight for more than a year to come out on bail.

Fundamentalists attacking temples seems to be a regular phenomenon in Ramanathapuram district. The documentary shows locals describing the attacks and bombings on temples such as Vallaba Vinayak temple at Sandhakadai (19.09.2012), Veerabhadra and Kannan temples (31.10.2012), Om Sakthi Vinayagar temple (21.09.2013), to name a few.

Swami Vivekananda landed on the shores of Ramanathapuram after delivering his historical speech at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago. To commemorate the event, a lamp post was erected and it stands as a lasting memorial for the saint. Jihadis desecrate this lamp post regularly. Durai of Gnana Deepam Seva Sangam, which maintains the lamp-post, says, “Every year, during the occasion of Vivekananda Jayanthi, we would renovate it and the jihadis who visit the nearby mosque for prayers, desecrate it. Even if we identify the culprits and inform the police, they do not initiate any action”.

Apart from attacking temples, jihadis also indulge in encroaching temple lands. Armed with the documents obtained by RTI, advocate Ramamurthi of Hindu Munnani says, “Salim Mullah Khan the former district secretary of Tamilnadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, has encroached upon the land belonging to Agni Veerabadreshwarar Temple situated near Ramanathapuram bus stand and has constructed houses and shops upon it. Even after getting the required documents through Right to Information Act and after petitioning the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Department and the collector about the loot, no action is forthcoming”.

Disrupting temple processions, threatening temples not to use loud speakers, hiring spaces near temples on rent and conducting namaz there, are some of the activities being indulged in by jihadis to threaten or provoke Hindus. Unfortunately the police seem to support them as averred by local Hindus in the documentary.

Councillor Nagarajan says that government officers belonging to the community connive with the jihadis and help them encroach highways and poramboke lands. He says, “Municipal Commissioners Mujibur Rehman and Sirajudheen have helped a Muslim business house by name Maharaja Textiles, by allotting the government hospital complex as the parking space for the vehicles visiting their shops, apart from making the entire stretch as a ‘one-way’ stretch.”

The jihadis do not spare even the police, despite their being faithful to them. Kenikkarai police station located just outside the collectorate was attacked by jihadis on 2nd February 2014 for arresting a criminal, and a sub inspector grievously injured. Even while the officer was trying to control the mob, his jeep was torched. In spite of all this, the police recorded the incident as ‘accident’.

Ramanathapuram : Iftar party inside Keezhakarai Government Hospital

Government officers, taking cue from the Government, go to any extent for appeasing these groups. On 14 June 2014, the district police stormed into an RSS camp and arrested the cadres who were doing physical exercises and drill. The collector issued a show-cause notice to the concerned school for allotting its premises for an RSS camp. But the very same collector participated in iftar parties and other functions organized by extremist organizations like TMMK. Following the footsteps of their seniors, the junior staff of Keezhakarai government hospital turned their premises into a virtual fortress for Ramzan festivities and iftar parties.

Local holiday has been in vogue for the annual festivities of the famous Uttarakosa Mangai temple in Ramanathapuram, since the British era. The very same district collector cancelled that holiday in 2015. In 2014, he ordered removal of raksha threads worn by school students and audaciously justified his order by saying that it was done to put an end to the skirmishes happening between the students! When asked the reason for allowing minority students to wear their religious symbols, he reportedly said he would do as he pleased and challenged the Hindus to go to court against him.

M. H. Jawahirullah

The documentary says that the political parties have given the district on a platter to the fundamentalists. They have always placed Muslims as their candidates in elections and those candidates have invariably won. In 1996, it was Rehman Khan from DMK, in 2001 it was Anwar Raja from AIADMK, and in 2006 it was Hasan Ali from Congress-DMK combine, and in 2011 Jayalalithaa gave the seat to her ally MMK; its state president Jawahirullah contested and won. It may be recalled that Jawahirullah was formerly with SIMI and was one of the founder members of Al Ummah, which perpetrated the Coimbatore blasts in 1998. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Mohammed Jaleel contested for DMK and Anwar Raja contested for AIADMK; Anwar Raja won.

The fundamentalists of Ramanathapuram have been vociferously supporting ISIS and Kashmiri separatist movements. Almost the entire coastal area has fallen under the control of jihadis. Secret camps are conducted for giving weapons training. Rampant smuggling of gold, arms and narcotics has been happening with ease. Palm groves and thorny bushes serve as excellent hideouts. Mosques with tall minars are being built at regular intervals along the coast.

These mosques serve as hideouts for militants who infiltrate from Sri Lanka. Pakistan’s ISI allegedly sends militants from Sri Lanka to India through this coastal belt. As Mannar province of Sri Lanka is Muslim-dominated, the ISI creates militant cells and they infiltrate through Ramanathapuram. The Tamilnadu-Kerala connection of jihadis is already thriving. And for the ISI, Ramanathapuram in the Bay of Bengal is like Malappuram of the Arabian Sea. The documentary asserts that the Ramanathapuram coast is a security threat for India.

(To be continued)

The above incidents and more on Jihadi activities in Ramanathapuram district can be seen in the following You Tube link: Ramanathapuram in Danger



Uri Attack: Talk of a tactical response over the strategic one is growing louder – Danvir Singh

Narendra Modi & Pranab Mukherjee

Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Manohar Parrikar & top officials

Colonel Danvir SinghEvery attack is followed by high level meetings followed by dossiers and diplomatic sparring. On the other side, the cunning Pakistani leaders snigger at the Indian rhetoric. … India has to be serious to get the support it desires from the world on Pakistan. We need to help ourselves before expecting any one else to help us. – Colonel Danvir Singh

On September 18,  Home Minister Rajnath Singh cancelled his overseas visit after hearing of the attack on an army camp in Uri. Back in 2014 on December 05, six terrorists had attacked the Indian Army’s camp at Mohura in Uri. The Army then had retaliated killing all the six terrorists. Our own losses included eight army soldiers and three Jammu and Kashmir policemen. In all, 17 human lives were lost.

In a rerun of sorts, a similar audacious attack was launched in the wee hours on September 18, 2016 at Uri on an Army Camp by Pakistani terrorists. Amasingly the response of the government of India, the media and the analysts appeared to be eerily similar to that which followed the earlier attacks. A response that has been well rehearsed over and over again. Something that has been perfected, as it appears, in the ongoing proxy war unleashed by our revisionist neighbour, Pakistan.

No one seems to have learnt a lesson. The Army always blames it on the harsh inhospitable terrain to cover up its ineffectiveness  in checking infiltration. This despite the fact that millions of rupees have been invested in erecting the fence along the LoC and three-tier counter infiltration Army deployment providing depth to the obstacle.

The politicians have their responses ready depending upon the forthcoming elections and their political constituencies and compulsions. The media goes berserk chasing prime time headlines. National fervour, emotions, melodrama and the aggressive argumentative Indian makes a perfect TRP recipe.

Every attack is followed by high level meetings followed by dossiers and diplomatic sparring. On the other side, the cunning Pakistani leaders snigger at the Indian rhetoric, quietly reminding their arch enemy India about their nuclear capability.

Masood AzharThis set piece performance as per the script has become a part of our existence and psyche.  More than 24 hours have elapsed since the four gun blazing Jaish-e-Mohamad terrorists came and butchered 17 Indian soldiers. An extremely shameful incident for any soldier and the army at large.

Adding injury to that insult is the vain waiting of a decision to enable take the revenge for those killed comrades. A wait that seems unending. Frustration and demoralisation grows with each attack, and the rising body count.

Since day before yesterday, there have been a series high level meetings at New Delhi.  A few tweets and a few statements did generate a hope of a retaliation or at least a muscular response. At this juncture, I would like to recall the statement of the then Indian Army Chief, General Bikram Singh, who after the LoC beheadings, said, “we will retaliate at the place and time of our own choosing”.  Alas! In these many years we have not been able to select a place and set the time. The soldiers continue to die as the nation and its army bleeds.

Being an optimistic veteran, I believe and hope that this time around the script may change. India could respond. Discussions are underway to work out the type of response, be it diplomatic, strategic or tactical or a mix of all.

The nation looks at the Prime Minister with the hope that he will call the Pakistani bluff and teach them an everlasting lesson. Within the military circles, the talk of a tactical response over the strategic one is growing increasingly louder. As an old saying goes, “the ships are not built for the harbours.” Let’s hope our national prestige and soldier’s honour is restored and the battle ships steam out. By the fall of the evening on September 19, it emerged that the Indian Prime Minister has asked his government to focus on isolating Pakistan diplomatically.

Is India buying time? Or has Mr Narendra Modi realised what his predecessors, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Mr Manmohan Singh came to realise about the harsh facts of our strength and political will after the Parliament and Mumbai attacks? Has Modi covered those startling gaps in preparedness of our armed forces, which was once highlighted by his own minister General V. K. Singh, when he was the Military Chief, through his leaked letter to the Prime Minister.

Or, has Mr Modi has decided to play a Mrs Gandhi, who went ahead to shape the world opinion before reshaping the region’s map. The options available to India that can be exercised under present circumstances are diplomatic, strategic and tactical in that  order. Diplomatically India needs to go out all tongs and hammer to expose the real face of Pakistan to the world. We need to highlight the atrocities in Baluchistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir to the world, and walk the talk of extending support to Baluchistan as underscored by the Prime Minister on August  15 from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

India needs to change its stance from being a vulnerable nation at the mercy of Pakistan to a strong aggressive nation at the UNGA. We need to expose Pakistan at the world body and reply credibly to the Kashmir  bogey.

Pinaka Rocket LauncherStrategically on long-term basis we need to strengthen our position in Afghanistan and support Baluch movement more substantially both materially and morally.

Going specifically on the response to Uri, India could explore usage of Navy for an economic blockade supported by cruise missile attacks on all the terrorist camps in POK and Pakistan Punjab. Use of Air Force at initial stage could bring in reverses as Pakistan’s air defence would all be primed, their eyes fully focused  on the Indian skies. Hence that may not be a wise option.

While exercising this option,  India will have to be prepared for the likely heavy cost of the conflict spiralling out of control on the escalatory ladder. Tactically, Indian army could raise the bar and bring upon the enemy to bear a heavy price for facilitating infiltration by smothering their defensive posts on the LoC that fall on that nefarious route. Weapons like the Smerch, Pinnaka and the Bofors could play havoc with Pakistani positions across the Line of Control. Use of infantry and special forces for cross border raids could augment the tactical efforts.

On the domestic front, we need to strike a unity in all political voices when it comes to action against Pakistan as the tone tends to change due to ethnic and religious affinity shared across the border with their core vote bank constituencies.

India has to be serious to get the support it desires from the world on Pakistan. We need to help ourselves before expecting any one else to help us.

It’s the right time now. – The New Indian Express, 20 September 2016

» Colonel Danvir Singh is a former CO of 9 Sikh Light Infantry. He is now an associate editor of Indian Defence Review and author of Kashmir’s Death Trap: Tales of Perfidy and Valour. Email him at

Map of secret terrorist training camps in Pakistan

Uri Heroes


Uri Attack: Is India getting impatient with Delhi’s strategic restraint? – Prashant Jha

Narendra Modi & Nawaz Sharif

Prashant Jha“Strategic restraint”, a phrase limited to defence or foreign policy experts, is suddenly part of public discourse. Going beyond it may seem desirable, there are political and social pressures pushing India towards it, but it is a difficult unchartered path where risks, so far, appear to outweigh gains. – Prashant Jha

The Uri attack that left 17 [18] soldiers dead has triggered calls for India to shed strategic restraint and impose costs on Pakistan for engineering such strikes.

High-level security meetings are underway to devise a response. And there is a general air of uncertainty about what will come next in the already strained India-Pakistan ties.

The call for an aggressive response, especially on social media, comes in the backdrop of a perception that India has, for too long, taken Pakistani hostilities lying down.

As the rhetoric gets shriller, it is important to answer three questions.

What is this much-derided strategic restraint that India has been practising? Why has Delhi stuck to strategic restraint despite several provocations, including the 2008 Mumbai strike? And, what has changed now?

Broadly, strategic restraint meant that while India condemned an attack, raised the issue internationally, sought to expose Pakistan’s use of terror as a state policy and stepped up internal security, it did not launch a military counter-offensive.


For one, there is no easy option to inflict costs on Pakistan. Crossing the Line of Control—even in “hot pursuit”—could mean an all out war. Given the nuclearisation of the subcontinent, it is too risky because unlike India, Pakistan doesn’t adhere to the no-first use policy and has flirted with tactical nuclear weapons.

Second, the feeling was that even a surgical strike would drag India into a conflict, adversely hitting economy at home and the India story aboard.

Three, a military offensive is no guarantee of providing a solution to the crisis, which is unique.

If it was just about taking territory, Indian armed forces could well do it.

But the challenge is to force the Pakistani army to give up its policy of exporting terror. India may have the military superiority but a clean, quick victory that would force Pakistan to end the covert war is not certain. In fact, in the short term, terror strikes could well see a rise.

An Indian offensive would go on to strengthen the notorious Pakistani military-ISI-jihadi nexus, which is at the forefront of bleeding India by a thousand cuts.

An Indian response would give credence to their claim—“Hindu India” has evil designs on Pakistan and all should unite against the challenge.

So, why is there now a push for an aggressive response?

For one, India is changing. Its vast nationalist middle-class respects the armed forces, sees Pakistan as an incorrigible enemy, believes that problems in Kashmir are the creation of Islamabad, and is regularly fed a dose of patriotism by some aggressive television.

This constituency is impatient and asks—why a rising India, a powerful India, a bigger India, and an India which is on the “right side” should cave in to Pakistan. And, this is not just a city phenomenon.

In travels across largely rural Uttar Pradesh in recent months, this writer met several young people and many were unhappy with the Modi government’s Pakistan policy. “We should be more aggressive” was the chorus.

There is a second, somewhat paradoxical, reason for this impatience. India has faced a series of terror attacks over the years but the younger generation doesn’t seem to have a sense of what a war means and the suffering that comes with it.

Do remember a bulk of the country’s population is below 25. The last full-scale war that India fought was 45 years ago in 1971 against Pakistan. Many have memories of Kargil but its scale and impact was limited.

And finally, the government of the day, which in a sense represents the constituency outlined above, that believes India’s mistake has been its inability to display hard power.

The BJP championed, in the election campaign, a tough stand it would take—as BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said it in a Twitter post soon after the attack—“for one tooth, the complete jaw”.

The aggressive response to ceasefire violations along the LoC in 2014 was in keeping with that line. Top officials believe there has to be unpredictability in policy otherwise status quo would prevail and Pakistan will continue to “kick India” around. It is time not to succumb to “Pakistani blackmail”

“Strategic restraint”, a phrase limited to defence or foreign policy experts, is suddenly part of public discourse. Going beyond it may seem desirable, there are political and social pressures pushing India towards it, but it is a difficult unchartered path where risks, so far, appear to outweigh gains. – Hindustan Times, 18 September 2016

» Prashant Jha is an author and associate editor at The Hindustan Times.

Uri's Fallen Heroes

Uri Army Base near Srinagar

Line of Control Kashmir 2016


Don’t confuse Wahhabiat with Kashmiriyat – M.D. Nalapat

Hurriyat leaders Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik

Prof M.D. NalapatIt is inexplicable why leaders of so many political parties seek to pamper with public funds the self-declared agents of GHQ Rawalpindi in the Kashmir valley. … The best course would be to give them a ticket to Pakistan, tearing up their Indian passports at the point of departure. – Prof M.D. Nalapat 

Recently, CNN aired visuals by Clarissa Ward, a correspondent who claimed to be reporting from “Free Syria”, i.e. that part of the country that had been prised loose from Bashar Assad. While she had to wear a black abaya while in “freedom”, in Assad’s “unfree” Syria, Ward would have been unmolested even in denims or short skirt, presumably dresses that are more familiar to her than the dress she was in while interviewing “freedom loving” fighters. Such hypocrisy is equally commonplace among Ward-style foreign correspondents in Kashmir, who ignore the reality of the “azaadi” being sought by a violent minority of the people of Jammu & Kashmir being a licence to enforce Taliban-style laws on the population, including stoning to death and chopping off hands. CNN (or the Washington Post, for that matter) has been consistent from the 1990s in backing the Wahhabis in Kashmir, as they were in the case of Libya, when the likes of Arwa Damon and Hala Gorani traipsed around the country in support of the war unleashed in 2011 by Hillary Clinton and other western leaders. In our pell-mell rush to follow US fashions, most of the media in India has continued the error made by Atal Behari Vajpayee during 1998-2004, that of confusing “Wahhabiat” with Kashmiriyat. What organisations such as the Hurriyat seek to achieve in Kashmir is the total replacement of the gentle, Sufi ethos of the state with the harshness of Wahhabism, something which ought to have been clear from at least the 1990s, but which is apparently yet to be understood even by several policymakers.

Appeasing the backers of Wahhabiat damages the chances of Kashmiriyat making a comeback in the Valley, and hence it is not surprising that every gesture of “reconciliation”—i.e. surrender to the Wahhabis—has been followed by a further descent into chaos. This columnist had from the start warned that the “healing touch” touted by the PDP-BJP alliance should bypass the Wahhabis entirely and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed & Mehbooba Mufticoncentrate on those in Kashmir who still believe in the moderate ethos of that state. Instead, as has been taking place in the state since 1975, it was the Wahhabis who were coddled by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and which made the present situation in Kashmir inevitable. According to individuals who are current with the facts, an unambiguous signal was sent from within the state government to the Pakistan lobby that the police would largely look the other way should there be protests. This perception of police inaction was the spark which led to the present flame-up, not the killing of a youthful terrorist, although here as well, the UPA policy of refusing to return the remains ought to have been followed. Those who advised the NDA otherwise need to lose their jobs. Thus far, it does not appear that a single individual from those who have motivated and fuelled so many unwary youths in Kashmir into forfeiting their futures has been held to account. And this in a country where the colonial system of governance ensures that citizens get jailed first while the police question him later, presuming they ever do, that is. In a country where a policy of zero tolerance for black money has been initiated by the Prime Minister, no income-tax officer seems at all curious as to how those loyal to Pakistan and who are resident in Kashmir maintain such opulent lifestyles.

After an initial Wahhabi-appeasing stance, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti appears to be sensing the error in pursuing a soft approach towards those who ultra-hard working for a Wahhabi future for Kashmir. In Delhi, Lutyens Zone policymakers have for long outsourced their thinking to US-based think-tanks, almost all of whom adopt a Wahhabi-friendly tilt in their recommendations. While the US is indeed important in the external security of India, to listen to advice from Washington on matters relating to internal security would lead to a splintering of India. Any country that has followed the US administration’s prescriptions in such matters has spiralled into hell till reversing course, Egypt being a recent example.

Nawaz Sharif & Pak Army ChiefEven after having the door slammed in their faces, it is inexplicable why leaders of so many political parties seek to pamper with public funds the self-declared agents of GHQ Rawalpindi in the Kashmir valley. Taxpayers need to file a petition in court demanding that those policymakers who spend hundreds of crores of rupees of taxpayer money in providing facilities to wannabe Pakistani citizens in Kashmir should be made to repay the cost of such generosity out of their own wealth and income. When members of the Hurriyat are treated at airports and elsewhere with the deference and the protocol shown to Union ministers, it is no surprise that they have contempt for the Indian state. The best course would be to give them a ticket to Pakistan, tearing up their Indian passports at the point of departure. However, before that, it ought to be a criminal misuse of state funds to spend any public money on their upkeep, travel, security or other needs. Vajpayee was correct that Kashmiriyat needs to be encouraged. He was wrong in assuming that pandering to Wahhabiat would assist the return of Kashmiriyat to the Valley. Only those who accept the need for “ekta” should be shown any “mamata” – Sunday Guardian, 10 September 2016

» Prof Madhav Das Nalapat (M.D. Nalapat) is an Indian academic and columnist. Currently Editorial Director of The Sunday Guardian and ITV Network (India), Vice-Chair of Manipal University’s Advanced Research Group, and Director of the Department of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Karnataka.

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Five myths about English that all Indians should stop believing right away – Sankrant Sanu

Uma Bharti

Sankrant SanuWe need to provide an equal opportunity to study Indian languages. This will allow deep technology penetration. English cannot be the vehicle for our development, rather it remains the biggest barrier to our progress. – Sankrant Sanu

Recently, Uma Bharti remarked on the need to propagate Indian languages and how English becomes a barrier. Predictably, people on English news portals jumped on her remarks.

Sample a comment on one such portal:

Anonymous Tweet

There are some enduring myths about the English language in India, particularly in association to “progress”, “technology” and “modernity”. As someone who went to an English-medium school in India, I myself subscribed to these myths. It was only when I travelled the world, to over 30 countries, that I realised our assumptions about English are that of frogs in a well.

When I was a manager at Microsoft, I visited my team at the Microsoft development centre in Israel. This was eye-opening. I later spent a summer travelling in Indian villages and I realised the real cost of our assumptions about English. Contrary to the notions I had about English being necessary for science and technology or for India’s progress, I came to realise that India’s English-medium obsession is one of the biggest barriers to India’s development.

Here then are 5 enduring myths about English:

Israel Institute of Technology Students

Myth 1: English is a language spoken by all well-educated, developed, technically-savvy people in the world

There are millions of people in the world who are well-off, well-educated and technically savvy and they don’t speak a word of English. When I was in South Korea, I found it to be an affluent country. However, it was nearly impossible to find someone who spoke English apart from the staff of the luxury hotel I was staying in. In China, I found a tech-savvy population and a proliferation of high-end iPhones. Yet, even at a fancy restaurant in Beijing, I found that not one person—from the wait-staff to the manager—spoke a word of English. I can’t imagine something like this happening in India. The staff at the Chinese restaurant asked me to type my order into their smart phone. They then used the Baidu app to translate it to Chinese.

HSBC Hong Kong

Myth 2: MNCs do all their business in English; English is necessary for an MNC job

MNCs in all major countries operate in the local language. When I was at Microsoft Development Center in Haifa, Israel, I was surprised to find that the language of communication was Hebrew, not English. Emails were in Hebrew, technical documents and discussions were all in Hebrew. This, when the entire population of Israel is less than that of Delhi. Similarly, Samsung, which is one of the biggest electronics manufacturer in the world with cutting-edge technology has a CEO who did his MBA in Korean. Samsung uses Korean in South Korea, uses Thai for office jobs in Thailand, but in India it uses English. MNCs choose to adapt in different countries of the world but in India, we bend backwards assuming MNC means English.

Studying English in India

Myth 3: English is India’s “competitive advantage” and necessary to develop India

This is the most enduring myth—that English has given India a “competitive advantage” in Information Technology. There are highly technically advanced societies, such as Japan, that do not use English. Some years ago I travelled to Indian villages armed with IQ tests. I found, to my surprise, that rural children outscored urban Indian children in IQ. English, as the language of higher and professional education alienates these children. They find math easy but English hard.

Even when it comes to outsourcing, the advantage is temporary. China’s programmers learn in Chinese and have teams with one outward-facing project liaison who speaks the client language. Thus, China is providing outsourcing to the US, using English, but also to Japan, using Japanese. Only about 5% of the world’s population is native English speakers and the importance of this segment will likely decline as the US and the UK decline as Economic superpowers. China is also investing in technological innovation, developing its own companies, like Baidu and Weibo for search and social networking while its entire technology education uses Chinese.

Japanese language science book

Myth 4: Indian languages are “not suitable” for science and technology education

Science is taught at the graduate level in dozens of languages across the world, from Japanese to Portuguese and from Thai to Polish. It is even written using the pictographic Kanji (Japanese writing system) script with thousands of characters. Even MS-DOS the command prompt operating system from Microsoft supported Kanji characters 30 years ago because the Japanese demanded it.

Indian languages, on the contrary, are highly scientific. They are phonetically sound and can express a range of sounds. They also have technical literatures and vocabulary from hundreds of years. Sanskrit-based grammars also makes it very easy to construct new words.

Hebrew was once considered a dead language, yet it was revived for science and technology education. Technion, Israel’s foremost engineering college is Hebrew-medium and is ranked much higher than the IITs. Languages need investment. India simply needs to invest in its languages and keep them contemporary. It is much easier to translate one thousand key books of science and technology than teach a foreign language to a billion plus people.

Indian Newspapers

Myth 5: People want English, but the government keep pushing Hindi/Indian languages

It is, in fact, the other way round. It is English that is pushed in India by government policy. The government allows only English in the Supreme Court and most High Courts. Most top institutes, be it the IITs,the IIMs or the AIIMS, they are all funded by the government and operate only in English. Most government websites still use English as the primary language. But is this because people want it?

No, where people have a real choice, they prefer to consume Indian languages, not English. Only one of the top 10 newspapers in India is in English. As a percent less than 10% of the newspaper readers prefer to read in English. English TV channels have an even smaller percent of the audience. Thus, given a choice, most people would rather read and listen to their own languages.

The demand for English arises because of flawed government policies that are pushed by the elite. We need to provide an equal opportunity to study Indian languages. This will allow deep technology penetration. English cannot be the vehicle for our development, rather it remains the biggest barrier to our progress. – Scoop Whoop, 9 August 2016

» Sankrant Sanu is an entrepreneur, writer and researcher based in Seattle and Gurgaon. His areas of interest include history, religious and cultural studies, entrepreneurship and technology.

Indian Newspapers

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