Mohammed Ali Jinnah was born on Christmas Day 132 years ago.
Though Jinnah is looked upon as the person who created Pakistan and in process divided India, he was by all means a secular person.
He is considered a founder of Pakistan though Jawaharlal Nehru's ambitions also played an equal role in the creation of the Islamic republic of Pakistan.
In this era it could be unbelievable that Jinnah who was fond of alcohol, cared little about halal meat and rarely offered Namaz, became the champion of Islamic cause. He couldn't read or write Urdu and barely spoke a few sentences.
A secular and nationalist, Jinnah had plunged into freedom movement but this successful lawyer had later got disenchanted with Congress. His address to the constituent assembly of Pakistan is often quoted:
"...you are free- you are free to go to your temples mosques or any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state... in due course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to Muslims- not in a religious sense for that is the personal faith of an individual- but in a political sense..."
Unfortunately, later Pakistan drifted from Jinnah's secular path. The population of Hindus dwindled in the country. Ahmadiyyas and the Christians faced wide persection. Initially it was the Mohajir-Punjabi schism and later sectarian clashes caused further divide.
Today sixty years after its creation Pakistan has left the path envisioned by Quaid-e-Aazam MA Jinnah and stands at the crossroads. Though India has also seen internal strife, riots and massacres, Pakistan has become just an instrument in the global geopolitics and as an American foothold in the region.
With an unstable Afghanistan on one side, growing Talibanisation and militancy apart from fears of uprising in the frontier, Pakistan has a tough course ahead. It needs a charismatic and accomodative leader, at least, one able successor to Jinnah, who can lead the country through these troubled times.
Thursday, 25 December 2008
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
An executive engineer was beaten to death and later the body was thrown at the police station in Auraiya in Uttar Pradesh (UP).
The local MLA Shekhar Tiwari, who abandoned the body at the police station, at night was allowed to go by the police. He is now absconding and the police have not named him in the FIR either.
The engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta, was taken away from his house, beaten up and later left in the police station. His body bore signs of torture. Gupta's brother Sharad said that the local MLA was demanding Rs 2 lakh from Gupta.
Sharad Gupta said that Tiwari had earlier also harassed his brother and then the matter was taken to the PWD Minister Nasimuddin Siddiqui and he had intervened. But for the upcoming birthday celebration of BSP chief Mayawati, the MLA was allegedly extorting money and refusal to pay off, angered him and his supporters so much that they brutally beat him to death.
Angry over the brutal murder, the PWD staff of the state has decided to go on strike. The killing has evoked sharp reactions from other political parties also. Meanwhile, the legislator, Shekhar Tiwari, was later arrested from Kanpur. CM Mayawati has said that she will not tolerate any lawlessness and stern action will be taken.
Thursday, 18 December 2008
Cricket has become the casualty post-Mumbai terror attack. On Thursday, the official announcement was made that Indian cricket team is not going to tour Pakistan for the test series.
Three test matches were scheduled to be played in the series apart from five One Day Internatinal Matches and a T 20 match. Though BCCI officials didn't want cricket series to be aborted, the government has decided otherwise.
The Sports Minister asked the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) to cancel the upcoming series and it became clear today that the series would not be played. Earlier, the minister MS Gill had made a strong statement and hinted at the cancellation.
Whether it is the right step or not is debatable. True, the nation is sad and shocked at the attack on Mumbai. Feelings are running high in the country and there is much rhetoric from war-mongers.
Saturday, 13 December 2008
Ajmal Amir Qasab who is the lone terrorist caught after the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes belongs to Faridkot in Okara district of Pakistan's Punjab province.
His father, Amir, has owned up his son, after he was shown the photograph of Qasab.
Though the government of Pakistan hasn't officially accepted it as yet, Qassab alias Kasab has written a long Urdu letter to the High Comission, seeking legal aid.
He also wants the bodies of slain terrorists to be sent to Pakistan for burial. Pakistan has recently cracked down on Lashkar-e-Taiba [now named as Jamat-ud-Dawa]. But this is more because of US pressure.
Despite President Asif Ali Zardari committing to act tough and claiming that an attack on Mumbai, but an attack on Pakistan, few in Indian establishment are convinced that Pakistan would act tough on militants.
Sunday, 7 December 2008
The Mumbai terrorist attack failed to change the voter mood and the anger against government didn't translate into the anti-Congress vote.
Initial trends clearly indicated that Congress was again returning to power in Delhi and Sheila Dixit was set to lead the party to victory for the third time in succession. Delhi voted for Sheila Dixit on development plank--either it is metro railway or the flyovers. The electorate of Rajasthan rejected the Vasundhara Raje's BJP government and Congress is bouncing back here also.
In Mizoram Congress is all set to get a majority. While Congress had nothing to lose in Madhya Pradesh as the last Assembly had little presence of the party. So it fared better though BJP is forming the government on its own again. In Chhattisgarh BJP has a slight lead and may form the government though Congress hasn't fared too badly.
The elections cleary indicate that despite BJP's best efforts to polarise the voters on the issue of terrorism, particularly the terrorists attack on Mumbai, and raking up controversial issues like Afzal Guru's hanging didn't cut the ice with the Indian voter.
Now, LK Advani would have to think of strategies to turn the tide in the upcoming Parliamentary elections. Though elections for the assembly and parliament are fought on different issues, it is still a setback for the Congress though it may form governments in MP and possibly Chhattisgarh.
Thursday, 4 December 2008
A wave of angry messages and comments directed at senior journalist Barkha Dutt have flooded the internet in the last couple of days.
On social networking website Facebook, communities like 'Take Barkha Dutt off air' and 'The worst senior journalist on the planet' have been joined by thousands. What's the sudden reason for this tsunami of anger against her?
Perhaps, it was because of the fact that ordinary young reporters could be excused if they get worked up in such circumstances, but not a seasoned journalist like her. She was accused of over-excitedness, histrionics and 'made up' emotions besides insensitivity towards the victims and their kin on whose faces the mike was put up when bullets were raining.
Such was the anger that Barkha Dutt had to respond and a special article was featured on the homepage of NDTV's website. Says Anurag Kashyap to Tehelka, "When I see Barkha Dutt on We The People, trying to talk with a common man who lost six members of his family, almost trying to force something out him, that makes me angry. It seemed so false, so overdramatic."
"A general sort of suggests that there were no hostages in Oberoi Trident. (Clever.) Then, our herione of revelations calls the head of Oberoi, and the idiot confirms a possibility of 100 or more people still in the building. Hello! Guys with guns, you’ve got more goats to slay. But before you do, you’ve got to love NDTV and more precisely Ms. Dutt. She’s your official intelligence from Ground zero, writes a blogger.
Another angry blogger writes that Barkha moved around Taj and didn't venture towards the CST which is a more vibrant symbol of Mumbai and where 55 person died, probably because the latter represents middle-class and the poor citizens.
Citizen journalist Sunitha Stalin wrote at Merinews website that media allowed terrorists to make use of the medium and gave them wide publicity. "When the commandos and police were fighting the terrorists to save the lives of our brothers and sisters, what was the media doing – gaining publicity and earning money?
Though Naval chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta went a step ahead and made a personal charge that during Kargil war the NDTV coverage led to the killing of three armymen. Barkha, who is Group Editor of NDTV English, has called it baseless and wrong. She has countered the charges.
Barkha's close friends in the media are trying to come to her rescue. But such was the outpouring of criticism that she had to write a long reply to all these accusations. The wikipedia entry was altered recently and it read, 'she will do pretty much anything to be seen on TV', mentions Neha at her popular blog.
Her bossing over others, interrupting the work of everybody from police to the fishermen and shoving passers-by for a byte, irrated the viewers. Blogger Mekin summed her response up in a sentence: Barkha meant that there were no rules in place, so we could not have broken any. Mekin says that she wanted to say that you, viewers, have no intellect that tells you what is right and what is wrong.
May be she is loud, arrogant and bossy. Some of her criticism may be because every successful person has a hategroup just like he has several fans. But many factors combined to give rise to this anger. Her response can be read at the link.