Sunday, October 22, 2017
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By Tajamul Hussain
If I wrote what I really want to, I'd be inviting a sea of troubles. Scribbling of their distaste will draw flak (and all the ills man can endure) from friends, enemies, bureaucrats, politicians, religious leaders and the like. Friends, enemies, and people of different ideological hues would roast me alive for trying candor and spewing lava of bitter truth. In their vindictive frenzy, guys would make certain to keep the wound green. A tirade of invectives and castigations, accusations and blames, condemnation and revilement would make life miserable. A torrent of slanderous, even life-threatening 'mails' and 'calls' will be followed by goons of different hues who would converge at my door. The bovine camera crews of eye-ball hungry news channels and media/Facebook warriors will make a mou...
Kashmir Times News Report
Why Indians may be looking for a Rahul Gandhi
By Badri Raina
For a momentous three years or more, the Republic has been in a swoon of sophistry, a bubble of bombast. Not without effect, since Indians across classes and castes actually came to be taken in by a new style of leadership that made of words, gestures, slogans, and fake assertions an irresistible mix of mesmeric iteration. A leadership that came to draw the same sort of unthinking allegiance from citizens that in India is reserved for godmen and dispensers of magical potion. In contrast to the flamboyant theatricality of such leadership, the tiny pinpricks of fact sought to be communicated by a diminutive Rahul Gandhi were quickly made the stuff of comedy by the spinmasters of the ruling dispensation. Rahul's tactless exertions came to be propagated, if you like, as a pretender David thr...
Kashmir Times News Report
The stranger at Aligarh
Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander
Education is the road to success. It is the only source of empowerment. Since childhood we are indoctrinated with this fact that if we need to excel in life, then we need to be the best in education. The emphasis on education has resulted in knowledge explosion and spur in educational institutions. Education certainly is responsible for giving birth to a new era of enlightenment and progress, though lot more needs to be done and accomplished. We are still far from the goal of completely eradicating illiteracy. The eradication of illiteracy should be made a priority but due to various reasons defense, security, fighting terrorism and stockpiling weapons are what most nations do focus judiciously. Also education has been retrograded and rendered synonymous with literacy, with the result tha...
Kashmir Times News Report
This apple season
By S Mukhtar
"Uncle: Apples…Heaven's apples!" "What apples…wherefrom?" "As you were out, a boy left 10 apples for you…said Uncle knows these wherefrom. I ate 4; 6 for you Uncle…in your room. I wish I had all." "All yours OK." "But Uncle you too must taste them. See what wonder these are!" "What?" "Right said 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away' and I am given one almost daily…but these apples, I have never seen their likes before…yes, not earthly, stolen right from the topmost garden of paradise they seem! Soft, whole gulp-down mouthfuls of magically sweet cooling calming juice, mesmerising flavours, O anaesthetising taste, yes taste-buds' best love, nothing is their compare anywhere even in world-famous Kashmiri chef-d'oeuvre. Good Uncle, I want such apples for all of us, dinner ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Delay in announcement of poll dates for Gujarat creates controversy
By Satish Misra
Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti on October 12 announced that assembly election in the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh are going to be held on November 9 but created a controversy of sorts by holding back the poll schedule of Gujarat which too has to face elections. What makes the whole episode intriguing is the fact that while results of the Gujrat assembly elections are going to be announced on December 18 along with that of Himachal but exact dates of the election are being kept under wraps. It is a departure from the past practice. In 1998, 2007 and 2012, the Election Commission had announced the dates of elections in two states on the same day and had announced the results on the same day. While the main opposition party in Gujarat-the Congress-has taken a strong exception to t...
Kashmir Times News Report
Wasting lives in 'hell-holes' of Indian jails
By Humra Quraishi
Rajesh and Nupur Talwar freed from the prison cell, after it couldn't get proven that they killed their daughter Aarushi. But what about hundreds and thousands of the under-trials who sit languishing in the worst possible jailed conditions? Going by rough estimates almost two- thirds of the prison population are under-trials. That is, not proven guilty and with that technically innocent, yet crucial years of their lives get wasted in those hell holes. Why! A well- known lawyer had once told me that majority of the under trials come from financially and educationally and emotionally deprived backgrounds and with find it impossible to hire lawyers to free them from the hellish situation they have landed in. I'm even told most are not even aware of the 'crimes' they have been booked for, th...
Kashmir Times News Report
Human Rights
A Permanent Fire Cracker Ban
By Vasudha Rao
The Supreme Court has banned sale of fire crackers in Delhi NCR. The news item then narrates that many will lose jobs as they are employed by the fire cracker industry. 85% of fire crackers are manufactured at Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu. As per the report, more than 3 lakhs employees are employed in making fire crackers & nearly 5 lakhs in ancillary industries like packaging, transport etc. The report by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in 2013 stated that kids as young as 5 years old are employed for nearly 12 hours for making fire crackers. And for all this labour, the kids are paid measly amounts of Rs. 30-50/-per day. The children work in most dangerous conditions in tiny sheds with no safety gear .They are filling flower pots, fuses, paper pipes etc. The cloth...
Kashmir Times News Report
Regulatory exclusion of the rich buying gold
Poorman's inclusion subjected to Aadhar, Pan
By Nantoo Banerjee
In two interesting decisions, earlier this month, the government, on the one hand, exempted the rich from submitting personal documents such as Aadhaar and PAN, for investing over Rs. 50,000 in gold jewellery. On the other, it made the unique identification number (UID) compulsory even for small postal savings in Public Provident Fund (PPF), National Savings Certificate and Kisan Vikas Patra schemes. The first part of the two contradictory regulatory decisions concerning economic and financial transparency was taken at the 22nd GST Council meeting on October 6. The government said it need not be informed on jewellery purchase of over Rs 50,000. Indirectly, this means jewellers will not have to report data on buyers to the government's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). Further, the govern...
Kashmir Times News Report
Trump and Iran
By Gwynne Dyer
"...One orb to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them." Five months ago, during Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, he was invited to open the "Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology". (I'm not making that up.) The huge, darkened room they were in looked like a cross between a starship bridge and a television control room. And there was a photo op, as there always is at these events, but this one was different. There was a glowing orb on a pedestal, with the continents in black and the seas in pale grey. Trump, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and Egyptian dictator General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi all put their hands on it as if they owned it - and held the pose for almost two minutes. The radiant globe (and the illuminated floor) lit their faces from below. If you want to mak...
Kashmir Times News Report
Student Unions Amid Neoliberal Times
By Bhat Iqball Majeed
The famous words of Ambedkar, "Education means to Educate, Agitate and Organize", poignantly specifies the purpose of institutions of higher learning and universities. Universities are considered to be higher seats of learning where issues are discussed and debated, ideas are generated and progressive culture is groomed. Priority of nation states to establish institutes of higher learning is significant not only as a matter of constitutional right but a human right. Universities are grounds for developing consciousness among the students for a just society free from oppression, suppression and subjugation. Thus the very nature of universities being politically vibrant and sensitive is an essential inherent characteristic of its existence. Any attempt to depoliticize the universities is n...
Kashmir Times News Report
Opening the floodgates to money laundering
Sops to gem & jewellery trade belittle fight against black money
By K Raveendran
Buying gold and jewellery during Diwali is supposed to be auspicious as it is believed to bring luck for an entire year ahead. So jewellers line up their best deals and promotions in the run-up to the festival season. A leading jeweller, accounting for some of the highest sales turnovers both in India and outside, has deemed that the best lure for gold during this Diwali is not any fanciful offer of discounts or goodies that go with seasonal purchases but a government notification exempting gold and jewellery purchases of values exceeding Rs 50,000 from the requirement of PAN card, Aadhaar or other proofs of identity and anti-money laundering provisions. A special Diwali promotional SMS from the jeweller was a terse message about the new government decision: "Greetings from....Government...
Kashmir Times News Report
Braid chopping: Let's analyse by getting facts first
By Imran Khan
While coming back from work, I sat beside a nonlocal young boy in a Sumo taxi. He too was travelling back from work. On the way, a middle aged lady condescendingly asked this non-local boy, "Why you guys keep chopping braids?" Others in the Sumo bursted into a laughter as the boy, stunned and shocked, replied "What makes you think I am a braid chopper?" The braid chopping chaos in Kashmir these days is such, that even our own family members may be mistaken as braid choppers in the dark. Anyway another traveler in the same Sumo added to this somewhat strange and funny discourse by saying that "a women has recently died of braid chopping". I was shocked to hear it. I got curious of knowing the details and nervously asked him, "Where?" He replied, "I don't know, I just heard about it". I a...
Kashmir Times News Report
Gurdaspur bypoll defeat
A wake up call for Narendra Modi and BJP?
By Dhaval Mehta
Politics is just like the game of cricket, of glorious uncertainties, and it keeps fluctuating over a period of time. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which won a record mandate of 282 seats and emerged as the single largest party after 30 years had become trendsetters in Indian polity and PM Narendra Modi made his mark as a supreme leader for the past three-and-a-half years. On Sunday (October 15) results for the bypoll were announced in Kerala and Punjab. It was nothing new in Kerala as Congress backed IUML won the Vengara seat against the ruling LDF and it wasn't a surprise that BJP couldn't open its account as it has always been a marginal player in Kerala. But, the biggest jolt suffered by the saffron party was that they lost their seat in Gurdaspur held by Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna,...
Kashmir Times News Report
Polls and politics
By A.G. Noorani
This absurdity was capped by a damning disclosure. The government had sought the ECI's views in 2015, which it provided "in March that year". The exchange was kept secret for two years. The government had floated the proposal in several trial balloons in recent months. Rawat was well aware of these moves - he reads the newspapers. Why he chose to walk into a political minefield so confidently, with his eyes wide open, can only be guessed. ELECTION commissioner O.P. Rawat is the latest victim of flattery. Recently, he said that the Election Commission of India would be capable of holding Lok Sabha and states assemblies elections simultaneously by September 2018, and that the government had sought the ECI's views. The government was told that funds would be needed for electronic voting m...
Kashmir Times News Report
Dubai becomes world's first city to adopt blockchain technology
India may follow with its own cryptocurrency
By K Raveendran
Dubai has scored another world first, by becoming the first city to adopt the blockchain technology that powers the cryptocurrency for some of its official transactions. In a first of its kind global initiative, the Dubai Land Department, the government arm responsible for the registration and regulation of real estate in the emirate, is now processing and implementing all real estate transactions on a blockchain. Ultimately, all Dubai properties will be recorded on a blockchain within two to three years. Dubai's dogged drive in becoming the world's first blockchain city is gathering pace with everything from its airport, to a citywide payments system and even an official state cryptocurrency set to be powered by blockchain technology. The initiative is a part of the emirate's wider 'D...
Kashmir Times News Report
Indian voters' capacity for surprises is difficult to read
By Brij Bhardwaj
As India moves towards a decisive poll in 2019, one cannot help but recall lessons of history which threw up surprises and made us bow our heads before the sagacity and wisdom of Indian voters who showed remarkable capacity of seeing through the webs woven by clever politicians and spin doctors. It may be possible to fool them once or for some time, but in the end they see through the webs woven and make their own free choice and the result is a big upset. We saw such a upset in States in late sixties when Socialist firebrand Dr Ram Manohar Lohia was able to make dents and help in establishing Governments in several States in North India in which representatives of several political parties were represented. These parties had nothing in common in terms of ideology or program, but they jo...
Kashmir Times News Report
Rajnath Singh on sycophancy overdrive
Knee-jerk reaction betrays BJP desperation
By Arun Srivastava
Home Minister Rajnath Singh's comment "anti-national forces can't appreciate economic trends" betrays the acute compulsion of survival in the BJP. It also signifies a desperate attempt to distance himself from the remarks of his senior leader Yashwant Sinha. The use of the term anti-national for Sinha is indeed shocking. While Rajnath has been quite ecstatic of the growth of the economy, the chairman of the newly-reconstituted Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC), Bibek Debroy and other members of the council, which includes Niti Aayog advisor and former finance secretary Ratan Watal, and economists Surjit Bhalla, Rathin Roy, and Ashima Goyal, have gone on record that the economy was witnessing slow down. Does Rajnath mean they are also anti national? His act can only be s...
Kashmir Times News Report
World Food Day
By S Mukhtar
"Great Uncle: Hurrah! 16 October: World Food Day!" "Thank you, dear." "How got started and when?" "Dear, World Food Day (WFD) was established by Member Countries of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at its 20th General Conference in November 1979. Since the first World Food Day in 1982, the Day has been celebrated every year in more than 150 countries and also by many other organisations concerned with food security - such as World Food Programme and International Fund for Agricultural Development." "Uncle, - but the objectives of observing the Day…yes what?" "Food for all: May none go hungry!" "And Uncle, - themes of the Day…yes what?" "Dear, each year since had an individual theme, I list only some, - 1981 & 1982: Food comes first; 1991: ...
Kashmir Times News Report
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