Pakistan: Has The Discussion Changed?

It may be the Pakistan leadership wants only to survive, keep its nuclear weapons, and work to secure sufficient funds to take care of its ruling elite – and wait for the day that US forces leave the neighbourhood.

The Trump administration has sought to change foreign policy conventional wisdom about the nuclear threat from Pakistan. To do this, the administration first had to cement the US relationship with its new ally, India.

The security implications of a permanently nuclear-armed Pakistan having weak government, however, are sufficiently serious to support the administration’s initiative to keep Pakistan’s nuclear bombs safe from falling into the hands of the Islamic fundamentalists.

President Trump had to assert that the US was in the business of deterring Pakistan, not the other way around. Trump’s comment about reducing aid to Pakistan was not just macho bragging, but a decision acted upon. The Trump administration was sending a very strong message that the US would no longer be silent in the face of Pakistani threats to turn Afghanistan into a sea of fire.

Indeed, why would Pakistan bargain away its nuclear weapons capability if they believe that precisely that capability is what guarantees the survival of its regime? It only makes sense for Pakistan to give up its nuclear capability if they are, in fact, not to protect its sovereignty or guarantee its survival, but for some other purpose. What if instead, for example, Pakistan regards its nuclear program as the very leverage necessary to bargain concessions from the US USSR and China? What if the goal were to secure an extremely important concession – the reining of rising Indian influence in the sub-continent, a goal long-sought, put on the table when Bhutto accepted to feed grass to Pakistanis but make nuclear bomb to restrain India?

It is likely that Islamabad may change. Pakistan, for the first time, may explicitly agree to dismantle its nuclear terror-infrastructure, but in return for all cuts and sanctions that are “harmful” to the people of Pakistan being eliminated. This may seems as a “small deal” proposal, but nonetheless it has an actual value heretofore never put on the table.

What the Pakistan may not agree to is any requirement that ALL Pakistani nuclear facilities and weapons be dismantled – “a very big deal” – implying that Pakistani “deep state” knows that they have considerably more nuclear facilities than those Iran is working hard to acquire.

During all these nearly 20 years of “strategic patience,” which led only to more Pakistani bombs and increase in their support to terrorism and terrorists, US has failed to control Pakistan despite calling Pakistan as an important ally in “War on Terror.” US should be willing to see that the very nature of the discussion has now been changed – to a non-priority focus on Pakistan’s misuse of F-16 against India and not on the Pakistan’s “hostile policy” in the region.

International Strategic relations are played using national power – diplomatic, information, military, economic, financial, intelligence, and law enforcement – and not just a warm handshake or a cold statement.

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Should India Refuse To Play Pakistan @Cricketworldcup2019?

Sporting events are peace time activities though they have usually been under threat of disruption from terrorists. Actions of terrorists during sporting events are cowardly attacks on non-war structures. Possible disruptions of such events are unfortunately planned for their high-visibility to affect people-morale at low-costs.

International Governing Bodies of Games and Sports are voluntary bodies which have been bestowed the autonomy to manage the interest and purpose of their respective Games and Sports. These bodies draw their authority from the support extended to them by their members. Such Governing Bodies get their relevance by regulating the standards and organization of events thereby sustaining the magnificence of respective Games and Sports. Any exhibition of their failure to manage such standards and events can demean and disrupt the very existence of such Governing Bodies. Any failure of the governing bodies is a failure of the members and tarnishes the glory of the sport.

After the event has been announced and participation confirmed, if due to any reasons, any disruption is caused to the event, it affects the event, the authority of the governing association, the competitive spirit of the sportspersons and the glory of the sport. When such disruptions are caused by a member country for political reasons, alienation of such country from other member countries is likely besides being unfair towards the sportspersons, the organisers of the event and the governing body of the sport.

In the heat of seething anger, driven by nationalistic fervour, following the Pakistan’s involvement in the February 14 suicide bombing in Pulwama that killed 40 paramilitary soldiers, India has already disrupted the event of International Shooting Sport Federation by refusing visas to Pakistani shooters last week. This disruption came while other 500 athletes from 61 countries participating in other events were already in India for their competition. In the past, India had refused a visa to a boxer from Kosovo to take part in the women’s world championships in the New Delhi because India did not recognise Kosovo as a state. There was a similar incident ahead of the Rio Olympics, when the IOC had revoked Olympic qualification status of the Asian Shooting Championship in November 2015 after Kuwait refused to grant visa to an Israeli delegate. Malaysia, too, was recently stripped of the hosting rights for the World Para Swimming Championship after denying visa to Israelis. In all such incidents, the respective sporting event, the organisers and the international governing body and the local governing body were embarrassed while no substantive diplomatic or political gains accrued to anyone.

At this time there is an insistence from some quarters that India should refuse playing against Pakistan at the ICC-World Cup to be held in England from May 30, 2018. Leaving out the political opinions, Gavaskar and Tendulkar want India to play while the Skipper, Kohli, would like to be guided by the government. The Committee of Administrators of BCCI has thrown the ball in the court of the Indian government to decide.

There are different facets of the likely decisions. ICC World Cup 2019 tournament will be played from 30 May to 14 July 2019. The format for the tournament will be a single group of ten teams, with each team playing the other nine teams, and the top four teams progressing to a knockout stage of semi-finals and a final. Thus there will be 45 matches between the teams leading to the selection of top four while the other six will be knocked out of the tournament. Two semi finals will follow – one between rank 1 and 4 and the other between rank 2 and 3. The losing teams at the semi-finals will be knocked out of the tournament. Winners from the two semi-finals shall play the finals. Including the 2 semi-finals and a final, there will be 48 matches in all. The fixture list for the tournament was released on 26 April 2018 after the completion of an International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in Kolkata.

If India decides not to play Pakistan at the World Cup, the first disruption would be of the 22nd ODI scheduled for 16 June 2019 at 3.00 pm GMT.  Pakistan will get a walkover amounting to India conceding defeat. For this match, Pak will get two points and India zero. Of course, the spectators and broadcasters shall seek refunds and the organisers shall face a harrowing time.

Next, should the tournament so unfold that India and Pakistan reach the top four. There is a great likelihood that they may have to meet to play the semi-finals or the finals. Will India again not play Pakistan? Can ICC world Cup Champion be decided by a walk-over? Well India can again decide not to play but such refusal shall not show India any positively to the world sporting community and sports lovers.

If India really does not want to play Pakistan, she should ask for deletion of Pakistan from the tournament or India can choose to withdraw from World Cup 2019. If India withdraws, yes, a 48 match tournament may have to be re-jigged to 39 match tournament but the semi-finals or the finals shall not be disrupted. The spectators and broadcasters shall seek refunds and the organisers shall possibly face more irksome time but the dent to the glory of Cricket and the tournament would be less damning.

If however, India decides to play Pakistan as has been scheduled and decided, the organisers, spectators, broadcasters, audiences, players, everyone will heave a sigh of relief but the politicians will create a ruckus in India.  The fall out of the decision to play Pak would not end with politicking.

The first match is still more than 10-weeks away. What could happen between India and Pakistan on the political, diplomatic, economic, or military front is very uncertain. The developments in Indo-Pak relations would have different repercussions and emotions. Presuming the most peaceful scenario where no further coercive military action is taken by India against Pakistan during this period, the match of 16 June will turn into a highly emotional visible battle between India and Pak. Should India win the match, team-India shall earn all the accolades and medallions from Indian public. If however, should India lose, and God-forbid, should India lose to Pakistan at Semi-final or final, Team-India would be seen as having let the country down and face intense emotional outbursts and brickbats. The jingoistic Indians will make life hell for the players in the Indian team.

Breaking bi-lateral relations can always be a unilateral decision but breaking multi-lateral relations is not the same. India can unilaterally choose to withdraw from any multi-lateral relation but cannot disrupt a bilateral engagement in a multilateral arrangement. In principle, if India chooses to use sports as a tool for dealing with Pakistan, then by all means it should seek ouster of Pakistan from the memberships and events of the International Governing Bodies of Sports. The apartheid regime of South Africa had resulted into Cricket South Africa being banned. A terror/rouge regime of Pakistan should result into Cricket Pakistan being banned. Any of such actions shall only be prospective.

However India should not reorder or disrupt multi-lateral sporting events once they have been finalised. Such dislocation is not sportsmanship or sportsmen-spirit; and not even good diplomacy or deed.

Will Team-India be able to handle the aftermath of a defeat at the hands of Pakistan in the tournament is not a trivial risk.

Watch out Virat Kohli; you are going to be at the coal face of reality when the moment of truth arrives.

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The onus of #SayNoToWar is with Pakistan – Don’t let it get shifted on to India

Just for the kind reference of the apostles of peace, who are trending #SayNoToWar, in a written reply in Lok Sabha, then Defence Minister A K Antony had said, “530 soldiers were martyred during Kargil War under operation Vijay. 3,987 soldiers have been killed afterwards during the years 2000-2012.” According to Global Terrorism Database at University of Maryland, 6488 terrorist attacks were recorded in India during 2002–2015. Little more than 7600 people killed and over 14400 wounded.

Pakistan’s unprovoked act of aggression against India on 27 February 2019 including violation of Indian air space by Pak air force and targeting of Indian military posts seems to be irrational to the point of suicidal. Through the capture, mal-treatment and vulgar display of bleeding Indian Air Force pilot, Pakistan has already violated the Geneva Convention and if Wg Cdr Abhinandan Varthaman was not handed over back to India within 7-days, it would have amounted to Pakistan having officially declared war against India.

How can Pakistan hope to survive a battle with, much less defeat, an enemy possessing an unprecedented diplomatic backing and an economic base 10 times that of Pakistan? An Indo-Pak military battle is one that Pakistan is always going to lose, so how does one explain Pakistan’s decision? Do the Pakistani leadership recognize the odds against them? Do they have a concept of victory, or at least of avoiding defeat? Or does the Pakistan’s leadership prefer a lost battle to an unacceptable peace?

It would appear that Pakistan’s decision for war is dictated by Pakistan’s conceit and the threatened economic destruction of Pakistan by India. While Pakistan’s aggression in India this morning may be the trigger for the ensuing military conflict, the road to this battle is built on Pakistan’s doctrine of inflicting a thousand cuts on India through terror, drugs, counterfeit-currency, insurgency, supporting the secessionists in Kashmir, causing Hindu-Muslim trouble and many other low grade war tactics.

Is India underestimating the role of fear and smugness in Pakistan’s calculations and overestimating the effectiveness of economic and diplomatic sanctions as a deterrent to war, whereas Pakistan underestimating the cohesion and resolve of an aroused Indian society and overestimating their own strategic geography as a means of defeating India’s diplomatic superiority.

A military battle with Pakistan is, of course, a battle India is always going to win, but Pakistani people are not the enemy the Indian government wants to fight. India has to settle her accounts with the rouge ISI, the military and the stooge political leadership of Pakistan who are hand in glove in persistent enmity and hostile activities directed against India and survive by fuelling animosity between the people across the boundaries.

The real enemies of Pakistan are its military and the ISI who thrive on corruption and legitimise their subversion of democracy by projecting the bogey of India as an enemy. These enemies have already failed Pakistan as a nation and multiple generations of Pakistani people.

War is not the solution to any problem. But war may be the only arrow left in the quiver of peace loving India in its long haul efforts to find a solution to the problem called Pakistan.

If Bhagwaan Shree Krishna could be requested for His guidance at this hour, I suppose, He would support India waging the Dharma-Yudh (not to be mistaken as war in the name of religion like jihad).

This is not war-mongering but exploiting war as the very last recourse in pursuit of right, just and sustainable peace.

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Without Malice towards Pakistanis

Instead of marching Pakistan towards democracy, the Pakistan army and the ISI have chosen the model of totalitarianism camouflaged as parliamentary democracy as a way of governing their people. Armed forces are an apparatus in the hand of a national government; unfortunately however, Pak National Government has become an instrument in the hand of Pak army Generals and Pak Parliament is nothing more serious than a debating club.

Policy subjugated to adversarial-obsession-with-India, anti-India rhetoric or demonstrations will not solve any of the crises facing the Pakistanis. These protests and speechifying are ISI’s way of distracting attention from the government’s failure to improve the living conditions of the people living under its repressive regime.

The only way for the Pakistanis to move forward is by protesting against their failed political parties and military establishment. Many Pakistanis, however, are afraid to speak out against their rulers in Pakistan. Why would any Pakistani speak out against the national government when the ISI or the Pak army arrests and harasses those who even dare to post critical remarks on Facebook? Why would any Pakistani criticise their Prime Minister when he or she knows that this would endanger their lives?

Pakistanis must remember that their grand-fathers and great Grand fathers were all Indians. They can choose to hate India if they are willing to hate their heritage and their legacy. Pakistan cannot achieve peace with India until Pakistanis are at peace with their lineage and history which they share with Indians.

In April-May, India will again celebrate democracy by voting in a free and democratic election. The Pakistanis, meanwhile, will mark another year of weak regime and failed democracy, and will continue to dream about heading to any real ballot box at all.

Is this the future for which Jinnah created Pakistan separating from India? Pakistanis and Pakistan deserve better.

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Election-2019 in the VUCA world!

Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) is the world we now live in. Corroboration is to be seen in the events of the last seven weeks which are also the first half quarter of 2019. These 50 days certainly feel like more than seven weeks.

Between the U.S. government shutdown; government of India approving merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda; a viral and controversial new Gillette ad inviting men to work on toxic masculinity; Government rejecting a demand for a JPC to probe the alleged scam in Rafale jet deal; the EU passing a ban on a range of single-use plastics; the mind-blowing and awe-provoking glimpses of the KUMBH at Prayag; the unbelievable and provocative glimpses of the future at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, the revolving-stage at the rock-star like show of Modi in Surat, a major new study finding that that oceans are warming 40 percent faster than many scientists had previously estimated, the job-creation or the lack of it data from NDA rule; the hope-inspiring-hope-depressing thoughts from Davos; Supreme Court getting caught in the politics of CBI chief; never-ending Brexit drama; Mayawati facing ED heat; the Ocean Cleanup system breaking down and being towed back to port for repair; more fugitives being extradited to India from the middle-east; weather extremes–US Midwest in deep freeze, prolonged cold spell in north India and a burning Australia; the ‘jumalebaaj or a congenital liar’ label being stuck on both of the Prime Ministerial aspirants of 2019; the 10-year challenge on social media; a series of reports on breakthrough new bio-materials; Indian cricket victories down-under; Israel claiming that a cure for cancer is only a year away; Sabarimala temple issue igniting Kerala; and many other stories big and small — a lot has happened in just a the first five weeks after we rang in the new year.

And then came the Valentine’s Day attack on the CRPF convoy near Awantipura in Pulwama district of J&K. This shook the entire nation and once again brought the horrors of terror in focus. The after-shocks of the attack and rebounds are going to come soon.

In the midst of all the good, bad and ugly types of news, 2019 is also the year India is electing the 17th Lok Sabha to be voted in by nearly 100 million first time voters – the courageously optimistic youth which defines the Good Life of tomorrow in an entirely different way from the 70-80 million people who were voters for the last time during the previous general election of 2014 and who are not there to vote in 2019.

India deserves and therefore we, the people, need to pull together and elect the best leadership paving the road ahead towards superior governance, efficient public services and shoring up of national, racial & cultural pride to actually deliver the Good Life in question.

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70-years of Alienation of Kashmiri people is a national disgrace

Let us not trivialise the Kashmir problem, its history and current situation. The solution for the Kashmir problem cannot come from abroad: not from the United Nations Security Council, or from anyone else. It must be the result of dialogue. It is the job of the Government of India to manage the integration of people of Kashmir with people of India and it is essential to discuss with people of Kashmir. Given that Kashmir is integral part of India; people of Kashmir are integral part of the collective called the people of India. There is nothing for us to discuss with Pakistan or someone else with regard to our people and our territory.

 

In the first half of the 1st millennium, the Kashmir region became an important centre of Hinduism and later of Buddhism; later in the ninth century, Shaivism arose. Islamisation in Kashmir took place during 13th to 15th century and led to the eventual decline of the Kashmir Shaivism. However, the achievements of the previous civilizations were not lost.

In 1339, Shah Mir became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir, inaugurating the Shah Mir Dynasty. For the next five centuries, Muslim monarchs ruled Kashmir, including the Mughal Empire, who ruled from 1586 until 1751, and the Afghan Durrani Empire, which ruled from 1747 until 1819. That year, the Sikhs, under Ranjit Singh, annexed Kashmir. In 1846, after the Sikh defeat in the First Anglo-Sikh War, and upon the purchase of the region from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh, became the new ruler of Kashmir. The rule of his descendants, under the suzerainty (or tutelage) of the British Crown, lasted until 1947. Maharaja Hari Singh, great-grandson of Gulab Singh, who had ascended the throne of Kashmir in 1925, was the reigning monarch in 1947 at the conclusion of British rule of the subcontinent and the subsequent partition of the British Indian Empire into the newly independent Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan.

Following huge riots in Jammu, in October 1947, Pashtuns from Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province recruited by the Poonch rebels, invaded Kashmir. The tribesmen engaged in looting and killing along the way into a guerrilla campaign in a mission to frighten Hari Singh into submission. Maharaja Hari Singh appealed to the Government of India for assistance, and the Governor-General Lord Mountbatten agreed on the condition that the ruler accedes to India. The Instrument of Accession is a legal document executed by Hari Singh, ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, on 26 October 1947. By executing this document under the provisions of the Indian Independence Act 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh agreed to accede to the Dominion of India. Once the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession, Indian soldiers entered Kashmir and drove the Pakistani-sponsored irregulars from all but a small section of the state.

Due to a botch up in handling of the foreign affairs and international relations by the then self anointed Indian political leadership comprising of Nehru and Mountbatten, and the aspiring new political leader of Kashmir – Sheikh Abdullah, former princely state which had diligently and legally acceded to India, became a disputed territory, and is now administered by three countries: India, Pakistan, and the People’s Republic of China. Historically, Kashmir referred to the Kashmir Valley. Today, it denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir (which consists of Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, and Ladakh), the Pakistan-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan, and the Chinese-administered regions of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.

The problem about lack of integration of Kashmiri people with rest of Indian people is not a “race struggle” or a “class struggle” as is made out to be by our wise people who were educated based on the Marxist political economy. We finally understood how wrong the whole ideology is.

Historically, Kashmiri people were always Indian people. Gaps or fissures among people were a consequence of the Mughal-Muslim rule which had led to creation of Indian-Muslims and then driven a wedge between the Indian-Hindus and the Indian Muslims. This fault line between the two Indian groups were not limited to just the Kashmir valley but had spread all over India. This fault line culminated into dismembering of India into Pakistan and the persisting Hindu-Muslim friction in modern India.

Mass integration of Kashmiri people with people of India could not have been a spontaneous process. It had to be something which was to be organized by the political elites of India and Kashmir. Mass integration creates cultural, social and political conflicts, shocks and tensions. It challenges the structure of society that has been gradually developed over centuries, maybe even millennia.

Individual integration by Raja Hari Singh was a matter of considerable individual courage and the product of an individual or family will. Mass integration is a totally different phenomenon. The gregarious nature of mass integration makes decision making much less important than it is during individual integration. Mass integration remains a dicey act, but mass integration increases the courage in an individual that is necessary for any integration. Mass integration also has the effect of changing the objectives of people who are integrating. The goal is no longer to be assimilated into the new world, but to strengthen one’s old way of life.

What is strange with mass integration is the willingness of people who are integrating to benefit only from the advantages available to them. Also at work, often, is the will to extend their home world to their host country and to transform it gradually according to their own tradition. Such a transformation is not the primary intention of every one among those who are integrating; but this intention encourages political or religious activists.

The mass integration that we should have witnessed did not involve the individual, but the crowd, the collective, the group. Unfortunately, some individuals monopolised the process – by posturing for conditional integration and grant of special rights to themselves. This caused polarisation and hardening of the other extreme pole where some other individuals opposed the integration and advocated secession and separation. Sympathy towards the individual posturing makes sense only with individual migration. An individual Kashmiri is not the culprit; he is a victim, and not just a victim of the tragic situation in his own state, but the victim of the wrong assumptions of the multi-culturalist Indian elites who are supposedly overseeing the mass integration of Kashmiri people into India but do not even hesitate for a moment to actually mass alienate those people. Crowd, mass behaviour does not deserve the same consideration. It is the Indian and Kashmiri political elites, who have been the biggest stumbling block in way of people integration.

Both the Kashmiri-Indians and Non-Kashmiri-Indians should stand in the shoes of the other side, be able to find a solution. No masterminding from abroad.

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Fettering Social Media

A government would try to achieve total control over our life through its might and muscle is the traditional notion of totalitarianism. Today, we may not have such despotism but we do essentially have totalitarian forces in the world in the form of these large tech companies. But guess what? They didn’t use any might and muscle on us. We voluntarily opted for this arrangement. And we live in a world today in which these tech giants have a level of control and an ability to manipulate us that Stalin, Hitler or Mussolini could only have dreamed of. The more rope we give them, the sooner they can hang us all.

The internet, especially social media, has become one of the primary places for people to exchange viewpoints and ideas. Social media is where a considerable part of the current national conversation takes place.

Favouring one kind of political speech over another by the current media giants certainly skews the national political conversation in a lopsided way that conflicts with basic principles of democratic freedom of speech and what presumably should be the obligations of virtual monopolies.

If the big social media companies such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, choose what to publish and what not to publish, they should be subject to the same licensing and requirements as customary media organizations like press and TV.

The apparent leftist bias, however, not only shows itself in the suppression of conservative speech on websites of social media giants. Censorship and selective presentation of speech by such big tech companies has led to some unfortunate and unsavoury political and social consequences.

Produced by investigative journalist Peter Schweizer and directed by M.A. Taylor, a new documentary, “The Creepy Line,” is revealing the way in which the major technology companies Google and Facebook manipulate consumers through the collection of users’ data. Shedding light on current controversies surrounding privacy and political bias, the film argues that even the most intelligent people among us are serving as unwitting pawns in a power grab, enabled by mathematical algorithms, without our being aware of it.

Censuring of Social Media by various national Governments has already begun. Even the European Union is seized of the subject. It is quite likely that some form of regulation of Social Media will follow.

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Autonomy and Freedom

A big din is being heard about Autonomy and freedom of Institutions. It is necessary therefore, to have an objective understanding of the concept devoid of any confusion or purposive interpretations.

Autonomy refers to independence and self-governance.

Like any living being, Human being has the ultimate autonomy and therefore has complete independence and free-will to do what one wants. However, as humans form into groups (tribes or countries) they encumber themselves in a social contract to concede individual independence and self-governance to the group; and the group then acquires Autonomy (independence and self-governance) with regard to other groups.

Groups then create systems and institutions of leading the autonomy of the group for the pursuit of common goals by establishing accepted codes (constitution) and structures (government).

Constitution therefore binds the group and glues the government to the group. Through the systems defined in the constitution, the government draws its autonomy. Government is thus given the independence to wield the capacities as a legislature to be able to implant and pursue official goals, setup execution machinery and protect the social contract between the Government and the people through judicial structures.

Government in turn creates and/or allows to be created sub-systems and structures for the delivery of the will of the people. Thus private and public institutions in various forms and structures – natural persons; juristic persons or public corporations, incorporated companies, societies (association of persons), partnerships or proprietorships come into existence. A corporation may be created in one of two ways. It may be either established by statute or incorporated under a Law such as the Companies Act, 1956 or the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

These institutions enjoy varying degrees of autonomy – as the government wishes to allow them – but all autonomy is delegation of authority by the government. Autonomy cannot exceed the levels of “Reasonable independence and self-governance” as may be necessary for the effective and efficient delivery of common goals of the nation. Such autonomy does not lead institutions to an irredentist or secessionist state. Irrespective of the extent of autonomy, no institution can be extra-constitutional and there shall always be some “Reasonable Restraints” on the unbridled freedom or independence of individuals and institutions in the larger interest of the social contract which binds the citizens together.

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Child Marriage – Why overlook Muslims and fault Hindus

The practice of child-marriage exists in Muslim society in India much more than it subsists among Hindus.

Speaking at the release of an analysis of child marriage statistics in the country, in June 2017, Supreme Court Judge Justice AK Sikri had said, “Prevention of child marriage act is a secular law. But the Muslim personal law says once a girl attains puberty, she is ready for marriage. Nowadays, a girl attains puberty at the age of 11.”  It has been more than 85 years since the first law to outlaw child marriage was enacted.

Of all the women covered in the census in 2001, 43% were married before 18 years of age. In 2011 census, the figure stood at 30%. Of the women who got married during the 10 year period, 2001-2011, 20% were wed before they were 18 years of age. While the practice of underage marriages dropped across all religions; Muslims lagged behind in this social change.

childmarriageHighlighting the inconsistencies in various laws, a bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta of the Supreme Court on 11 October 2017 had touched upon separate marriage laws for Hindus and Muslims and said the provisions make a “mockery” of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA).

Going through the Supreme Court verdict given by the Chief Justice and three of his brother judges, in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 373 of 2006 on 28 September 2018, it is amply clear that they have once and for all enacted the supremacy of the Constitution over faith. The Chief Justice and his companion judges in different words unequivocally upheld that even in matters of religious faith, Governments, religious and other institutions and the people of India are bound by the constitution of the country. This historic verdict supersedes all other laws of the land and customary practices and beliefs and traditions of different religions/faith which are contrary to it.

Would the political, social and secular leaders fight the evil of under-age marriages without discrimination on the basis of religion of the villains?

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Friends – me a Traveller, without a home or a destination: मुसाफिर हूं यारों… न घर है ना ठिकाना!

Friends – me a Traveller … without a home or a destination

musaaphir hoon yaaron… na ghar hai na thikaana… !

“Hey brother, you are from which village?” “I am from village-Rampur, Post-Daglakakheda, Thesil-Jaunpur, District-Sitamarhi.” “Where have you come from?” This line of conversation used to be a common episode among the migrants settled in the cities or citizens travelling in buses-trains.

Following the knowledge revolution and the post modernist era, a new ‘placeless ness’ has marked a departure from the country space of the 19th and major part of 20th century in the world. Children are now born in one place (even onboard an airplane at times), grow up at different places, pursue their education in different schools or even through distance education (absentee) mode, work in different places, with different organisations that may represent different nationalities, pursue different jobs and careers, find life partners of different nationality, have children with a nationality that is different from their parents, and die miles away from homes.

More people are now global citizens (lack a place in the conventional sense or alternatively, exhibit placeless ness) than ever before. It was heard during the childhood, and there were many occasions to see, some nomadic tribes such as “Gadiyaa blacksmiths” in Rajasthan who would roam around endlessly and they always kept their homes on the bullock-carts. It seems that due to globalization, the new generations have become modern successors of such gypsy blacksmiths loitering around globally.

They don’t have any permanent address.

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मुसाफिर हूं यारों… न घर है ना ठिकाना… !

अरे भैय्या कौन से गांव के हो? हम तो गाम- रामपुर, पोस्ट- दगलाकाखेड़ा, जनपद- जौनपुर, जिला- सीतामढ़ी के रहे; आप कहां से आये रहे? शहरों मे बसे प्रवासी नागरिकों या बस-ट्रेन में यात्रियों के बीच इस प्रकार का वार्तालाप एक सामान्य घटना हुआ करती थी।

19वीं और 20वीं शताब्दी के पश्चात की, ज्ञान क्रांति और आधुनिकतावादी युग के आगे की पीढ़ी, एक नई “ठौर-ठिकाना विहीनता” से चिह्नित हो रही है। बच्चे अब किसी अलग स्थान पर पैदा हुए हैं (यहां तक ​​कि कई बार एक हवाई जहाज पर भी), अलग-अलग स्थानों पर बड़े होते हैं, अलग-अलग विद्यालयों में या अलग-अलग प्रणाली (अनुपस्थिति दूरस्थ शिक्षा) के माध्यम से शिक्षा ग्रहण करते हैं, विभिन्न स्थानों पर काम करते हैं, विभिन्न संगठनों के साथ, अलग-अलग राष्ट्रीयताएं वाले संगठनों के साथ विभिन्न नौकरियों और आजीविका का पीछा करते हैं, विभिन्न राष्ट्रीयता के जीवन साथी पाते हैं, उनके माता-पिता से अलग राष्ट्रीयता वाले बच्चे हैं, और घरों से मीलों दूर मृत्यु को प्राप्त होते हैं।

पहले से कहीं ज्यादा लोग अब वैश्विक नागरिक हैं; पारंपरिक अर्थ में किसी एक स्थान के नहीं है या वैकल्पिक रूप से देखें तो, ठौर-ठिकाना विहीन हैं। बचपन में सुना था, कई बार देखने का भी मौका मिला, कुछ राजस्थानी घुमक्कड़ जातियां जैसे गाड़िया लोहार बिना ठौर-ठिकाने के हमेशा बैलगाड़ियों पर अपना घर संजोये, निरंतर घूमते रहते थे। लगता है, गाड़िया लोहारों की आधुनिक प्रजातियां, भूमंडलीकरण के चलते नई पीढ़ियों के रूप में विश्वव्यापी हो गयी हैं।

इनका कोई स्थायी पता नही है!!

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