Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A New Cold War in Kashmir

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Speaking of consensus, there's the small and ever-present matter of Kashmir. When it comes to Kashmir the consensus in India is hard core. It cuts across every section of the establishment -- including the media, the bureaucracy, the intelligentsia, and even Bollywood.

The war in the Kashmir valley is almost 20 years old now, and has claimed about 70,000 lives. Tens of thousands have been tortured, several thousand have "disappeared," women have been raped, tens of thousands widowed. Half a million Indian troops patrol the Kashmir valley, making it the most militarized zone in the world. (The United States had about 165,000 active-duty troops in Iraq at the height of its occupation.) The Indian Army now claims that it has, for the most part, crushed militancy in Kashmir. Perhaps that's true. But does military domination mean victory?

How does a government that claims to be a democracy justify a military occupation? By holding regular elections, of course. Elections in Kashmir have had a long and fascinating past. The blatantly rigged state election of 1987 was the immediate provocation for the armed uprising that began in 1990. Since then elections have become a finely honed instrument of the military occupation, a sinister playground for India's deep state. Intelligence agencies have created political parties and decoy politicians, they have constructed and destroyed political careers at will. It is they more than anyone else who decide what the outcome of each election will be. After every election, the Indian establishment declares that India has won a popular mandate from the people of Kashmir.

In the summer of 2008, a dispute over land being allotted to the Amarnath Shrine Board coalesced into a massive, nonviolent uprising. Day after day, hundreds of thousands of people defied soldiers and policemen -- who fired straight into the crowds, killing scores of people -- and thronged the streets. From early morning to late in the night, the city reverberated to chants of "Azadi! Azadi!" (Freedom! Freedom!). Fruit sellers weighed fruit chanting "Azadi! Azadi!" Shopkeepers, doctors, houseboat owners, guides, weavers, carpet sellers -- everybody was out with placards, everybody shouted "Azadi! Azadi!" The protests went on for several days.

The protests were massive. They were democratic, and they were nonviolent. For the first time in decades fissures appeared in mainstream public opinion in India. The Indian state panicked. Unsure of how to deal with this mass civil disobedience, it ordered a crackdown. It enforced the harshest curfew in recent memory with shoot-on-sight orders. In effect, for days on end, it virtually caged millions of people. The major pro-freedom leaders were placed under house arrest, several others were jailed. House-to-house searches culminated in the arrests of hundreds of people.

Once the rebellion was brought under control, the government did something extraordinary -- it announced elections in the state. Pro-independence leaders called for a boycott. They were rearrested. Almost everybody believed the elections would become a huge embarrassment for the Indian government. The security establishment was convulsed with paranoia. Its elaborate network of spies, renegades, and embedded journalists began to buzz with renewed energy. No chances were taken. (Even I, who had nothing to do with any of what was going on, was put under house arrest in Srinagar for two days.)

Calling for elections was a huge risk. But the gamble paid off. People turned out to vote in droves. It was the biggest voter turnout since the armed struggle began. It helped that the polls were scheduled so that the first districts to vote were the most militarized districts even within the Kashmir valley.

None of India's analysts, journalists, and psephologists cared to ask why people who had only weeks ago risked everything, including bullets and shoot-on-sight orders, should have suddenly changed their minds. None of the high-profile scholars of the great festival of democracy -- who practically live in TV studios when there are elections in mainland India, picking apart every forecast and exit poll and every minor percentile swing in the vote count -- talked about what elections mean in the presence of such a massive, year-round troop deployment (an armed soldier for every 20 civilians).

No one speculated about the mystery of hundreds of unknown candidates who materialized out of nowhere to represent political parties that had no previous presence in the Kashmir valley. Where had they come from? Who was financing them? No one was curious. No one spoke about the curfew, the mass arrests, the lockdown of constituencies that were going to the polls.

Not many talked about the fact that campaigning politicians went out of their way to de-link Azadi and the Kashmir dispute from elections, which they insisted were only about municipal issues -- roads, water, electricity. No one talked about why people who have lived under a military occupation for decades -- where soldiers could barge into homes and whisk away people at any time of the day or night -- might need someone to listen to them, to take up their cases, to represent them.

The minute elections were over, the establishment and the mainstream press declared victory (for India) once again. The most worrying fallout was that in Kashmir, people began to parrot their colonizers' view of themselves as a somewhat pathetic people who deserved what they got. "Never trust a Kashmiri," several Kashmiris said to me. "We're fickle and unreliable." Psychological warfare, technically known as psy-ops, has been an instrument of official policy in Kashmir. Its depredations over decades -- its attempt to destroy people's self-esteem -- are arguably the worst aspect of the occupation. It's enough to make you wonder whether there is any connection at all between elections and democracy.

The trouble is that Kashmir sits on the fault lines of a region that is awash in weapons and sliding into chaos. The Kashmiri freedom struggle, with its crystal clear sentiment but fuzzy outlines, is caught in the vortex of several dangerous and conflicting ideologies -- Indian nationalism (corporate as well as "Hindu," shading into imperialism), Pakistani nationalism (breaking down under the burden of its own contradictions), U.S. imperialism (made impatient by a tanking economy), and a resurgent medieval-Islamist Taliban (fast gaining legitimacy, despite its insane brutality, because it is seen to be resisting an occupation). Each of these ideologies is capable of a ruthlessness that can range from genocide to nuclear war. Add Chinese imperial ambitions, an aggressive, reincarnated Russia, and the huge reserves of natural gas in the Caspian region and persistent whispers about natural gas, oil, and uranium reserves in Kashmir and Ladakh, and you have the recipe for a new Cold War (which, like the last one, is cold for some and hot for others).

In the midst of all this, Kashmir is set to become the conduit through which the mayhem unfolding in Afghanistan and Pakistan spills into India, where it will find purchase in the anger of the young among India's 150 million Muslims who have been brutalized, humiliated, and marginalized. Notice has been given by the series of terrorist strikes that culminated in the Mumbai attacks of 2008.

There is no doubt that the Kashmir dispute ranks right up there, along with Palestine, as one of the oldest, most intractable disputes in the world. That does not mean that it cannot be resolved. Only that the solution will not be completely to the satisfaction of any one party, one country, or one ideology. Negotiators will have to be prepared to deviate from the "party line."

Of course, we haven't yet reached the stage where the government of India is even prepared to admit that there's a problem, let alone negotiate a solution. Right now it has no reason to. Internationally, its stocks are soaring. And while its neighbors deal with bloodshed, civil war, concentration camps, refugees, and army mutinies, India has just concluded a beautiful election. However, "demon-crazy" can't fool all the people all the time. India's temporary, shotgun solutions to the unrest in Kashmir (pardon the pun), have magnified the problem and driven it deep into a place where it is poisoning the aquifers.

Is Democracy Melting?

Perhaps the story of the Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world, is the most appropriate metaphor for the insanity of our times. Thousands of Indian and Pakistani soldiers have been deployed there, enduring chill winds and temperatures that dip to minus 40 degrees Celsius. Of the hundreds who have died there, many have died just from the elements.

The glacier has become a garbage dump now, littered with the detritus of war -- thousands of empty artillery shells, empty fuel drums, ice axes, old boots, tents, and every other kind of waste that thousands of warring human beings generate. The garbage remains intact, perfectly preserved at those icy temperatures, a pristine monument to human folly.

While the Indian and Pakistani governments spend billions of dollars on weapons and the logistics of high-altitude warfare, the battlefield has begun to melt. Right now, it has shrunk to about half its size. The melting has less to do with the military standoff than with people far away, on the other side of the world, living the good life. They're good people who believe in peace, free speech, and in human rights. They live in thriving democracies whose governments sit on the U.N. Security Council and whose economies depend heavily on the export of war and the sale of weapons to countries like India and Pakistan. (And Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, the Republic of Congo, Iraq, Afghanistan... it's a long list.)

The glacial melt will cause severe floods on the subcontinent, and eventually severe drought that will affect the lives of millions of people. That will give us even more reasons to fight. We'll need more weapons. Who knows? That sort of consumer confidence may be just what the world needs to get over the current recession. Then everyone in the thriving democracies will have an even better life -- and the glaciers will melt even faster.

Arundhati Roy was born in 1959 in Shillong, India. She studied architecture in New Delhi, where she now lives. She has worked as a film designer and screenplay writer in India. Roy is the author of the novel The God of Small Things, for which she received the 1997 Booker Prize. Her new book, just published by Haymarket Books, is Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers. This post is adapted from the introduction to that book.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Islam offers good guidance on containing H1N1: Mufti

THE recent Influenza A (H1N1) epidemic is a validation that certain verses stated in Al-Quran and hadith, forbidding Muslims to consume pork, are not just empty words, said the State Mufti yesterday.

Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Dr Ustaz Hj Abdul Aziz Juned highlighted this in his lecture yesterday at the Kampung Lambak Mosque in Berakas after mass Isyak prayer.

"Al-Quran is full and filled with knowledge, and no one can compete with the knowledge of Allah (SWT)," said the State Mufti, adding that pigs are forbidden to Muslims because the Almighty knows the danger that it poses and can cause.

Stating that there is a need to discuss the H1N1 outbreak, he reminded the congregation that in Islam, pigs are mughallazhah (things considered as najis or ritually unclean), such as dogs and pigs.

According to the State Mufti, there are four different verses in Al-Quran that remind and warn Muslims of the danger posed by pigs.

These quranic verses are in Surah al-Baqarah verse 173, Surah al-Maidah verse three, Surah al-Anam verse 145 and Surah an-Naml verse 115.

"One of the verses explains that the reason pigs are forbidden to Muslims is because it is dirty," he said.

The State Mufti explained that it is considered dirty because pigs contain bacterias, viruses and parasites that cause and carry various diseases.

He added that once the viruses and parasites are transferred to humans, it can cause a variety of dangerous diseases or infections.

Examples of some diseases that the State Mufti gave were Influenza A, a viral infection on the respiratory system; Japanese B encephalitis, a viral disease causing serious inflammation of the brain; stomatitis, which is a viral infection of the mouth characterised by ulcers and inflammation; and myocarditis, an inflammation of the myocardium (muscular wall of the heart or heart muscle).

The State Mufti added that pigs are not only carriers of diseases and a host for bacterias, viruses and parasites, but they can also evolve and adapt itself to become more vicious and dangerous types of strains.

It has been proven that the flu virus can adapt itself and be transferred to humans, he said, adding that this is what is currently happening.

He further commented that the change of the infection's name from swine flu to H1N1 was to get rid of the negative image associated with pigs.

These negative images brought up by the H1N1 flu has brought fear to many, up to the extent that it might bring about the slaughter of pigs, said the State Mufti.

There are also fears that it will affect the pork product industry, estimated to cost billions of United States (US) dollars, he said, adding that regardless of the epidemic's name, experts have stated that the virus threatening to affect the world is a flu virus caused by pigs.

Quoting from the Associated Press (AP) report, the State Mufti explained that, according to Dr Raul Rabadan, a Biology professor from Colombia University, US, scientists have traced the virus genes to pigs, where six out of eight segment branch of the virus are from pigs and the remaining two are derived from birds and humans. (RSH1)

Source: The Brunei Times

Alex Smart Said: Brunei is a country for those who dont know..

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Islam and H1N1

Monday, September 21, 2009

DATE SHEET: 10th Class Kashmir | Secondary School Examination

The Jammu And Kashmir State Board of School Education has released the final date sheet for the 10th class. Please Click on the Image for a clearer version of the Date Sheet!  

Alec Smart Said: Chus be Matric Pass Hasa Hey!! Moth Cham Diwaan Maas hasa Hey!

Eid Mubarak | Selamat Hari Raya |


Alex Smart said nothing :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Now When Farooq Abdullah Prayed


Please read this before reading this article:

When Omar Abdullah Prayed


I am thankful to someone for this picture. I wouldnt mention his name though (if he wants me to mention, well I can..). I am also thankful to a reader who chipped in this comment in my earlier post on Omar Abdullah..

It was all grandpa's vision. Hindu Muslim Sikh Eesai Aapus mein hai bai bai. Hindu Son in Law, Muslim ...., Sikh Daughter in Law and Eesai Son in Law. Long live the family and the vision!!!!

A picture is worth a thousand words.. Need I Write More!!???


Alec Smart Said: Farooq is wishing EID MUBARAK to ganesha (the idol) and giving him EIDI..

Saturday, September 19, 2009

When Omar Abdullah Prayed

I was reading the online version of Greater-Kashmir when I saw this story:

Title: Omar prays for peace!!!!

There are so many lines which are worth pondering upon by people like me.. So let me start! I maybe wrong (naturally) and I (as usual) may cause a lot a emotions to flow.. Let me start my article..

Oh Wait! Let me APOLOGIZE in capital letters and red ink! I may hurt a lot of you, religiously, as well as politically (Not that Islam wants them to be different but I will you why they are, atleast in Kashmir.. Read on! Prepare to get Times-Of-Kashmired)

The chief minister, Omar Abdullah, today offered Jum’at-ul-Vida prayers
So nice of him, considering he is married to a Non-Muslim.. Case Closed..

Dargah Sharief, considered to be the epitome of spiritual blessings all over the valley.
I dont think all the spiritual blessings are thrown there! Now why is it considered the "Epitome", when we know that Allah (SWT) is closer to us than Dargah is to the University of Kashmir..

نَحۡنُ أَقۡرَبُ إِلَيۡهِ مِنۡ حَبۡلِ ٱلۡوَرِيدِ
(We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein 50-16).

or if I am just allowed to push my points a little further towards the cliff, I present the Ayah:

“And who is more astray than one who calls on (invokes) besides Allah, such as will not answer him till the Day of Resurrection, and who are (even) unaware of their calls (invocations) to them?” [al-Ahqaaf 46:5]

"You Alone do we worship. And You Alone do we ask for help."

3. The administration had made all arrangements for smooth arrival
Always so interesting to see the words "administration" and "all-arrangements" in the same line. Case Closed.

Omar prayed for peace and tranquility for all the people of Jammu and Kashmir
Ok! Fine! Maybe he did!! But its not gonna be answered anyway!! Bummer!!!


Alec Smart said:
The entire Dargah Sharief premises was jam packed.
Why wouldnt it be. It will Lal Chowk from tomorrow!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The One with the Funny Advertisement...

The song is too good, the rap and some moments in the video will make you laugh until you are dead!!! and then you may call that terrorismm.. (I Know.. Baad Joke)..

Enjoi the Video!!!

Alec Smart said: Look for this line

You need not go to Europe or Amrikkkaaaaa
We have got Gondola in India...
So enjoy the ride and enjoy the sinowww!!
Wear ur skieess and get set gooo!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My blog has a new look

Can you please forward your blog address so that I can put up the links on my blog...


and if you know some other links please post them too!! Lets create a global platform for all of us!!


Alec Smart said : " Mamoon, are you kidding me. You think someone reads your blog?"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The One with all the clothes!

So my exams have finished and my room is but a terribles mess.. My clothes are unwashed and.. -err have to wash them! I put all the dirty clothes at one side and things like date kernels, empty packets, empty coffee things, spoons, deos, combs, tissues, papers, pens, spiders, mosquitoes, mobile recharges, socks, snakes, and whales on the bed.. First mission completed.. Second to search every pocket for things such as mobile phones, 100 Rm notes, my friends, and my laptop.. Found a scissor in one and a watch on another... So far so good.. Took me 10 minutes to find my dynamo bottle! (Surph Excel for those in India!).. Oh no!!! Whats that!! My favourite jeans is torn!!! Cannot be!! Ah! There is a solution! Mom had given me a 'tsitchen pan daav" -(needles and thread) when I was about to leave for Malaysia a year before.. TADA!! I managed to sew it up!! Now my thumb doesnt want to stop bleeding! and my eyes are dizzy (a direct consequence of trying to put the thread into the needle) and my backs sore (i leaned too much when i was playing tailor-tailor).. Sigh! and i didnt do a really good job! It looks so wierd! Oh my jeans...!!

Things to buy: 3 or 4 buttons to sew to my kurta! Apparantly the Indian style button tend to fall out and my kurta looks too vulgar... Oh my poor thumb!!!

Alec Smart said: Dont tell his momma about this u nosy nosy people!!