Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sethusamdram Project

The battle lines are drawn for the next round of elections. The central government is slowly inching towards mid-term elections. In its latest affidavit filed with the Supreme Court in the Sethusamudram Project, central government says there is no historical proof of RAM or Ramayana.

What the government of Inida lacking here is poilitical dimplomacy or 'Raja neethi'. They should have been very careful while dealing with the religious sentiments of the people. It appeared as they are pleasing their boss 'The Super PM' and apeasing other religions. It is a practice in Congress party that they take decisions and if it boomerangs then the blame would be on the government. If it is appreciated then credit goes to Sonia Gandhi. Everyone knows that what ever decision is taken party/government is with full knowledge of Sonia Gandhi.
What the government could have done is they should have focussed only on the Ramsethu than 'Rama'. They should have done carbondating of the structure. They could have submitted the result of scientific proof done by a 'third party'. Now in a sudden 'U' turn madam Gandhi 'intervened' and directed the government to alter its argument. Though most of the political parties in India claim they are secular they are not. Including the so called secular parties like Congress, SP, Communists side Muslims and Christians while BJP known for its affliations to Sangh Parivar. It is high time now we stop saying Indian political parties are secular.

One just cannot dismiss it as a myth or based on theory of a geologiost who doesn't believe Hinduism. What I am trying to convey is our beliefs and faith should come in the way of the research. The existence of God is myth according to science but is a faith to billions of people on this earth. Science says there is no proof of Gods existence. likewise there is no proof to say there is no God. Science doesn't answer many mysteries of the Universe. They fail to reason how ancient civilisations possesed the so called 'modern techniques'. Can they say Quran or Testaments are incorrect and not be followed because there is no proof of existence of God and hence cannot be believed that they were given to Prophets by God himself hence they cannot treated as Holy books? There is no scientific proof that God exists; neither is there any proof that God does not exist. The same holds good in the case of Ram too; there is no proof that he existed; neither is there any scientific proof that he did not exist.

The argument offered was we cannot take Ramayana as a historical proof to prve it. Very true we cannot prove a lot many tradions of India, the 'Vedas' its science, 'Vedic Astrology' or any other ancient science that is part of Hindu culture is striken down as superstitous or unrealistic. The argument offered was there is no proof that it is correct. Then why there is no research is conducted to to proove that Ramayana, Vedic Mathematics, Vedic Astrology are incorrect. Hindus refer to a calender or 'Panchaang' for their daily rituals. It says at what time sun raises and at what time sun sets. Whether there is an eclipse on a particular day or not. These are calculated mathematically well in advance without any current day scientific methods by a Pandit. How is this possible when Vedic astrology is a trash or a superstition.

The present day view of world about India, Hindusim and its culture was presented by Britishers and Christian missionaries. Which obviously is incorrect. Ancient India had a tradition of passing on knowledge orally. Even if recorded they were recorded on palm leaves which never lasts long. Ancient India never had a tradition of building stupas or stone tablets. It was 'Asoka the great' had started this tradition. Does that mean there was no Chankya? or any other stories epics happend. Much of the information about Raja Purushottam or 'Porus' was obtained from the notings of Greek historians. We learnt our history from Britishers who gave an attempt to understand Indian culture and traditions. They have not succeded 100%. Most of the time they are incorrect. All religions survive on myths. Rationalists would have been on more solid ground if they had attacked myths of all religions. Unfortunately, Indian rationalists attack only Hindu myths. This is politically dangerous. Tolerance of diversity has been the hallmark of Hindu culture. What rationalists are doing is to take advantage of that tolerance of diversity to destroy the base of that tolerance.

Why the samples from Ramsethu were not tested scientifically, if tested why they were not made public. Now the Hindus all around the would like to know the truth. The onus is on the government to proove that Ram or Ramayana or Ramasethu doesnot exist. No theories.

Related Readings:

Monday, September 10, 2007

Social Networking--How weird?!

"Why are you on Orkut!" exclaimed my 19 year old cousin Leena when I told her that I am on orkut too. "How come on orkut" inquired her younger sister Spandana. They were surprised to find me there. I laughed it loud. "I just wanted to taste waters" I told them.

Yes I really wanted to experience this so called social networking. Initially I was a bit annoyed when I found many of my junior colleagues glued to orkut. I felt they are much of the project time and resources. I noticed this even amongst newly recruited who are fresh out of college. “What is there in orkut?” I enquired and “what is it?” “It is a social networking site where you can connect with a number of link minded people, find your lost friends” was the answer. I looked at the person thoughtfully and decided to taste this phenomenon.

I created my profile on orkut and started browsing the site when ever I find time or feel like browsing the site. I could hardly make any friends except adding a few colleagues of mine and my 2 cousins. Yes it is really amazing you have interest to network with people of common interests. You can exchange information on various topics. During our college days it was difficult to obtain information on anything. Firstly we were not sure who should we approach to. Now all you need to do is just post it on one of those sites like orkut or myspace, another networking site, you find the information flowing in your way from allover the world. Amazing! soon I started to like these sites. Though I am not active on these sites I was made certain observations while browsing those sites occasionally.

The popularity of social networking websites has opened up a whole new world of interaction. Poaching is a well known menace in the knowledge industry. Despite taking many actions to prevent poaching at workplace it is happening through some social groups in the sites like orkut and myspace. With the popularity of these sites, darker trends are also emerging. Being a virtual world out there what ever you post that would be visible to everyone. You might loose your privacy if you’re not clever enough. You might end up making friendship with a wrong person. If you post your pictures or share your personal information like email id or phone number that might be misused by others. Anti national and anti social elements started using these sites for their activities avoiding the police or intelligence agencies. So many hate campaigns are launched posting false information and hurting the sentiments of large number of people.

With extensive use of social networking sites in India, the young population chatting for hours, however is unaware of the risks involved. Sharing personal information on social networking sites like Orkut, Tagged, hi5, etc can be hazardous. The delinquents will have no difficulty in using someone's personal information for their vested interest, cyber experts say.

There has been number of cases reported in the country where the people were cheated after sharing their personal information on Internet. Latest among them is one of a youth from Mumbai who was murdered, after pals on the net abducted and then killed him, having won his confidence through the network chatting.

I started to wonder what these college going kids and working singles with some 2-4 years of experience do on these sites are they really use it in a right way. They search for new friends and make new friends and share a lot of personal things with them who they never met before. People started using social networking groups to seek justification for what they were doing and for support.

At times I ask myself are we different online than we are in person? I don't think you're fundamentally different than you are offline. You may be expressing another dimension of your personality or say more than you would in real life, but it's still one aspect of you. One doesn’t know how honest someone is being about themselves. You can't detect any gaping and obvious annoyances that would be easy to see in person. This trend has got some impact on social skills. What is the need to find friends online? I fail to find an answer.

However one thing I must say like a coin there are always two faces to any such innovations. One should be very careful though!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Muslims: Don't make these mistakes

I was watching APEC coverage on tv on yet another lazy Saturday morning in Melbourne. As it was boring I switched the channel to another news channel, "Bin Laden’s new message to America -- embrace Islam" was flashed by the channel. Sooner all the news channels around the globe and all the newspapers covered the same news.

Since the attack on WTO in New York on 9/11, Al Qaeda and Bin Laden got more coverage around the globe. They said it is “Jihad” in the name of Allah for Islam. And sooner almost every non-Muslim country started treating Muslims as terrorists or terrorist sympathisers. And everyone started thinking Islam is bad or barbaric religion.

Is Islam that bad? No religion is wrong. All religions preach the same. It is people who interpret it differently made them look different. It is those wrong views of some people made some religions look bad. Every religion says “Let there be no compulsion in religion” meaning a religion cannot be imposed on anyone.

The revelation of divinity in Islam is specifically described as compassion: Allah is Rahman-ir-Rahim - the very acme of kindness and compassion. Although Allah has 99 names, depicting all his varied attributes, He is known in the Holy Koran mostly as Rahman and Rahim. Quaran emphasise forgiveness and compassion and not on killing innocent people. It preaches tolerance not intolerance as some obscurantist mullahs or Bin-laden preaches. They are preaching and practicing Islam as an intolerant religion. This is a total negation of all that Islam stands for.

Who are the present-day fundamentalists to try to impose their view of Islam even on a Muslim population? Obviously, they have no business behaving the way they are doing and need to be condemned by all, particularly Muslims, because they are giving such a bad name to Islam, apart from oppressing humanity in the name of a religion that came to the world as a blessing of Allah

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC 75 BC) - Worth Learning

"A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first and Honest people are screwed first."
"Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous."
"The biggest guru-mantra is: Never share your secrets with anybody. ! It will destroy you."
"There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no Friendship without self-interests. This is a bitter truth."
"Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions - Why am I doing it, What the results might be and Will I be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead."
"As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it."
"Once you start a working on something, don't be afraid of failure and don't abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest."
"The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all direction."
"A man is great by deeds, not by birth."
"Treat your kid like a darling for the first five years. For the next five years, be strict to them. By the time they turn sixteen, treat them like a friend. Your grown up children are your best friends."
"Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror is useful to a blind person."
"Woman's beauty and Youthness are so dangerous. Both of them can bring a drastic change and mysterious consequences."
"Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth."

Great Indians of the past

ARYABHATT(476 CE) MASTER ASTRONOMER AND MATHEMATICIAN Born in 476 CE in Kusumpur (Bihar), Aryabhatt's intellectual brilliance remapped the boundaries of mathematics and astronomy. In 499 CE, at the age of 23, he wrote a text on astronomy and an unparallel treatise on mathematics called "Aryabhatiyam." He formulated the process of calculating the motion of planets and the time of eclipses. Aryabhatt was the first to proclaim that the earth is round, it rotates on its axis, orbits the sun and is suspended in space - 1000 years before Copernicus published his heliocentric theory. He is also acknowledged for calculating p (Pi) to four decimal places: 3.1416 and the sine table in trigonometry. Centuries later, in 825 CE, the Arab mathematician, Mohammed Ibna Musa credited the value of Pi to the Indians, "This value has been given by the Hindus." And above all, his most spectacular contribution was the concept of zero without which modern computer technology would have been non-existent. Aryabhatt was a colossus in the field of mathematics.

BHASKARACHARYA II(1114-1183 CE)GENIUS IN ALGEBRA Born in the obscure village of Vijjadit (Jalgaon) in Maharastra, Bhaskaracharya's work in Algebra, Arithmetic and Geometry catapulted him to fame and immortality. His renowned mathematical works called "Lilavati" and "Bijaganita" are considered to be unparalled and a memorial to his profound intelligence. Its translation in several languages of the world bear testimony to its eminence. In his treatise "Siddhant Shiromani" he writes on planetary positions, eclipses, cosmography, mathematical techniques and astronomical equipment. In the "Surya Siddhant" he makes a note on the force of gravity: "Objects fall on earth due to a force of attraction by the earth. Therefore, the earth, planets, constellations, moon, and sun are held in orbit due to this attraction." Bhaskaracharya was the first to discover gravity, 500 years before Sir Isaac Newton. He was the champion among mathematicians of ancient and medieval India. His works fired the imagination of Persian and European scholars, who through research on his works earned fame and popularity.

ACHARYA KANAD(600 BCE)FOUNDER OF ATOMIC THEORY As the founder of "Vaisheshik Darshan"- one of six principal philosophies of India - Acharya Kanad was a genius in philosophy. He is believed to have been born in Prabhas Kshetra near Dwarika in Gujarat. He was the pioneer expounder of realism, law of causation and the atomic theory. He has classified all the objects of creation into nine elements, namely: earth, water, light, wind, ether, time, space, mind and soul. He says, "Every object of creation is made of atoms which in turn connect with each other to form molecules." His statement ushered in the Atomic Theory for the first time ever in the world, nearly 2500 years before John Dalton. Kanad has also described the dimension and motion of atoms and their chemical reactions with each other. The eminent historian, T.N. Colebrook, has said, "Compared to the scientists of Europe, Kanad and other Indian scientists were the global masters of this field."

WIZARD OF CHEMICAL SCIENCE He was an extraordinary wizard of science born in the nondescript village of Baluka in Madhya Pradesh. His dedicated research for twelve years produced maiden discoveries and inventions in the faculties of chemistry and metallurgy. Textual masterpieces like "Ras Ratnakar," "Rashrudaya" and "Rasendramangal" are his renowned contributions to the science of chemistry. Where the medieval alchemists of England failed, Nagarjuna had discovered the alchemy of transmuting base metals into gold. As the author of medical books like "Arogyamanjari" and "Yogasar," he also made significant contributions to the field of curative medicine. Because of his profound scholarliness and versatile knowledge, he was appointed as Chancellor of the famous University of Nalanda. Nagarjuna's milestone discoveries impress and astonish the scientists of today.

FATHER OF MEDICINE Acharya Charak has been crowned as the Father of Medicine. His renowned work, the "Charak Samhita", is considered as an encyclopedia of Ayurveda. His principles, diagoneses, and cures retain their potency and truth even after a couple of millennia. When the science of anatomy was confused with different theories in Europe, Acharya Charak revealed through his innate genius and enquiries the facts on human anatomy, embryology, pharmacology, blood circulation and diseases like diabetes, tuberculosis, heart disease, etc. In the "Charak Samhita" he has described the medicinal qualities and functions of 100,000 herbal plants. He has emphasized the influence of diet and activity on mind and body. He has proved the correlation of spirituality and physical health contributed greatly to diagnostic and curative sciences. He has also prescribed and ethical charter for medical practitioners two centuries prior to the Hippocratic oath. Through his genius and intuition, Acharya Charak made landmark contributions to Ayurvedal. He forever remains etched in the annals of history as one of the greatest and noblest of rishi-scientists.

ACHARYA SUSHRUT (600 BCE)FATHER OF PLASTIC SURGERY A genius who has been glowingly recognized in the annals of medical science. Born to sage Vishwamitra, Acharya Sudhrut details the first ever surgery procedures in "Sushrut Samhita," a unique encyclopedia of surgery. He is venerated as the father of plastic surgery and the science of anesthesia. When surgery was in its infancy in Europe, Sushrut was performing Rhinoplasty (restoration of a damaged nose) and other challenging operations. In the "Sushrut Samhita," he prescribes treatment for twelve types of fractures and six types of dislocations. His details on human embryology are simply amazing. Sushrut used 125 types of surgical instruments including scalpels, lancets, needles, Cathers and rectal speculums; mostly designed from the jaws of animals and birds. He has also described a number of stitching methods; the use of horse's hair as thread and fibers of bark. In the "Sushrut Samhita," he details 300 types of operations. The ancient Indians were the pioneers in amputation, caesarian and cranial surgeries. Acharya Sushrut was a giant in the arena of medical science.

VARAHAMIHIR (499-587 CE)EMINENT ASTROLOGER AND ASTRONOMERA renowned astrologer and astronomer who was honored with a special decoration and status as one of the nine gems in the court of King Vikramaditya in Avanti (Ujjain). Varahamihir's book "panchsiddhant" holds a prominent place in the realm of astronomy. He notes that the moon and planets are lustrous not because of their own light but due to sunlight. In the "Bruhad Samhita" and "Bruhad Jatak," he has revealed his discoveries in the domains of geography, constellation, science, botany and animal science. In his treatise on botanical science, Varamihir presents cures for various diseases afflicting plants and trees. The rishi-scientist survives through his unique contributions to the science of astrology and astronomy.

ACHARYA PATANJALI (200 BCE) FATHER OF YOGAThe Science of Yoga is one of several unique contributions of India to the world. It seeks to discover and realize the ultimate Reality through yogic practices. Acharya Patanjali, the founder, hailed from the district of Gonda (Ganara) in Uttar Pradesh. He prescribed the control of prana (life breath) as the means to control the body, mind and soul. This subsequently rewards one with good health and inner happiness. Acharya Patanjali's 84 yogic postures effectively enhance the efficiency of the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive and endocrine systems and many other organs of the body. Yoga has eight limbs where Acharya Patanjali shows the attainment of the ultimate bliss of God in samadhi through the disciplines of: yam, niyam, asan, pranayam, pratyahar, dhyan and dharna. The Science of Yoga has gained popularity because of its scientific approach and benefits. Yoga also holds the honored place as one of six philosophies in the Indian philosophical system. Acharya Patanjali will forever be remembered and revered as a pioneer in the science of self-discipline, happiness and self-realization.

ACHARYA BHARADWAJ (800 BCE) PIONEER OF AVIATION TECHNOLOGYAcharya Bharadwaj had a hermitage in the holy city of Prayag and was an ordent apostle of Ayurveda and mechanical sciences. He authored the "Yantra Sarvasva" which includes astonishing and outstanding discoveries in aviation science, space science and flying machines. He has described three categories of flying machines: 1.) One that flies on earth from one place to another. 2.) One that travels from one planet to another. 3.) And One that travels from one universe to another. His designs and descriptions have impressed and amazed aviation engineers of today. His brilliance in aviation technology is further reflected through techniques described by him: 1.) Profound Secret: The technique to make a flying machine invisible through the application of sunlight and wind force.2.) Living Secret: The technique to make an invisible space machine visible through the application of electrical force. 3.) Secret of Eavesdropping: The technique to listen to a conversation in another plane.4.) Visual Secrets: The technique to see what's happening inside another plane.Through his innovative and brilliant discoveries, Acharya Bharadwaj has been recognized as the pioneer of aviation technology.

ACHARYA KAPIL (3000 BCE) FATHER OF COSMOLOGY Celebrated as the founder of Sankhya philosophy, Acharya Kapil is believed to have been born in 3000 BCE to the illustrious sage Kardam and Devhuti. He gifted the world with the Sankhya School of Thought. His pioneering work threw light on the nature and principles of the ultimate Soul (Purusha), primal matter (Prakruti) and creation. His concept of transformation of energy and profound commentaries on atma, non-atma and the subtle elements of the cosmos places him in an elite class of master achievers - incomparable to the discoveries of other cosmologists. On his assertion that Prakruti, with the inspiration of Purusha, is the mother of cosmic creation and all energies, he contributed a new chapter in the science of cosmology. Because of his extrasensory observations and revelations on the secrets of creation, he is recognized and saluted as the Father of Cosmology.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Strategic importance of Sethusamudram project

"India never lost her independence till she lost the command of the sea in the first decade of the 16th Century". ---Kavalam Pannikar the architect of India's naval doctrine

Maritime power represents military, political, and economic power, exerted through an ability to use the sea or deny its use to others. It has traditionally been employed to control "use-of-the-sea" activities undertaken by nations for their general economic welfare and, often, even for their very survival. Maritime power and naval power are not synonymous, the latter being a sub-set of the former. Traditional land powers are more and more focusing on developing their maritime capabilities to safeguard their economic interests and extend their sphere of influence.

India's fractious polity continues to limit its economic and military potential. Nor have been able to lend a strategic purpose to India’s foreign and economic policies.
  1. Now a days there is a lot of fuss around Sethusamudram project. Lot of protests but the government is hellbent to finish it why?

  2. India is now conducting naval excersise in Bay of Bengal regularly with US, Japan etc despite the protests from it ally Left front why?

To know the answers please read below.

The background

Asia’s two raising powers India and China are driving the economic, political and military strategies of various nations across the globe. Contrast to Chinese strategy India’s strategy is a reactive. Both countries have enormous energy demands. China a proactive nation, diversified its sources of energy from Asia, Africa, Latin America, China has got an energy security policy in place much longer than India. Competition for finding new energy resources is increasing between these two nations. China has found itself increasingly dependent on resources and markets accessible only via maritime routes. To safeguard its trade routes and flow of resources in a world in which the United States is the dominant naval power, ensuring a continuous supply of energy is most important prerequisite for China in building an advanced, industrialized state. 85 percent of China's trade is sea-based that passes through Indian Ocean. Also, with its 26 shipyards, China has emerged as the world's fourth largest shipbuilder. All the oil supplies to Southeast and East Asia that originate in the Middle East are shipped from ports in the Red Sea or the Persian Gulf. The sea-lanes from here converge in the Arabian Sea and then pass through the Gulf of Mannar and curve off the western, southern and southeastern coast of Sri Lanka.

Taking advantage of a sharp downturn in India's relations with Bangladesh over issues ranging from illegal immigration to Islamist terrorism, transit and trade, Beijing has upgraded its ties with Dhaka to gain naval access to the Chittagong port, to establish a road link with Bangladesh via Myanmar and to acquire Dhaka's immense natural gas reserves. China is already the largest supplier of weaponry to Bangladesh. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's offer to provide Dhaka with nuclear reactor technology has led to speculation as to whether Beijing would replicate in Bangladesh the sort of military, nuclear and missile collaboration it has with Pakistan. Bangladesh and Nepal are also expected to join Pakistan in concluding peace and friendship treaties with China in the near future. Apparently, while India has been preoccupied with fighting cross-border terrorism on its own territory-courtesy China (through Nepali Maoists and their Indian connection Naxalites. China is the main source of weapons to Maoists and the Talibans) and Pakistan, China has been busy making significant inroads into India's backyard through cross-border economic and strategic penetration of Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. China's support for India's smaller neighbours suggests that gaining access to markets and natural resources is not the only reason behind Beijing's South Asia policy: Beijing also wants to make a point on the limits of Indian power. After Myanmar and Bangladesh, to complete the "arc of influence" that would contain India in South Asia, China is determined to enhance military and economic cooperation with the Maldives and Sri Lanka. China's ambition to build a naval base at Marao in the Maldives, its recent entry into the oil exploration business in Sri Lanka, the development of port and bunker facilities at Hambantota, the strengthening military cooperation and boosting bilateral trade with Colombo, are all against Indian interests and ambitions in the region.

Although China claims that its bases are only for securing energy supplies to feed its growing economy, the Chinese base in the Maldives is motivated by Beijing's determination to contain and encircle India and thereby limit the growing influence of the Indian Navy in the region. The Marao base deal was finalized after two years of negotiations, when Chinese Prime minister Zhu Rongzi visited Male' in May 2001. Once Marao comes up as the new Chinese "pearl", Beijing's power projection in the Indian Ocean would be augmented.

Recently, Sri Lanka allocated an exploration block in the Mannar Basin to China for petroleum exploration. This allocation would connote a Chinese presence just a few miles from India's southern tip, thus causing strategic discomfort. In economic terms, it could also mean the end of the monopoly held by Indian oil companies in this realm, putting them into direct and stiff competition from Chinese oil companies. At Hambantota, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka Beijing is building bunkering facilities and oil tank farm. This infrastructure will help service hundreds of ships that traverse the sea lanes of commerce off Sri Lanka. The Chinese presence in Hambantota would be another vital element in its strategic circle already enhanced through its projects in Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

It is Sri Lanka's strategic location that has prompted Beijing to aim for a strategic relationship with Colombo. Beijing is concerned about the growing United States presence in the region as well as about increasing Indo-U.S. naval cooperation in the Indian Ocean. China looks at using the partnership with Sri Lanka to enhance its influence over strategic sea lanes of communication from Europe to East Asia and oil tanker routes from the Middle East to the Malacca Straits. China has been consolidating its access to the Indian Ocean through the Karakoram Highway and Karachi, through the China-Burma road to Burmese ports and through the Malacca Straits, especially once they have established their supremacy over the South China Sea.

As a rising maritime trading power, Beijing is also seeking to once again project force into the Indian Ocean in the manner of the fleets sent out under the command of Admiral Zheng nearly 600 years ago during the Ming dynasty.

With China's growing naval expansion in the Indian Ocean the ever reactive New Delhi, much like China, has increased its military engagement in the region. India now conducts naval and military exercises with the United States, Japan which is opposed by left parties who has got Chinese affliation. India has signed a defense agreement with Singapore and has cooperative arrangements with many nations stretching from the Seychelles to Vietnam. It has participated in mechanisms to protect maritime traffic passing through the strategic Malacca Straits. After the success of its tsunami diplomacy, India is looking forward to evolve new channels of naval diplomacy with the countries in Indian Ocean.

India's geographical location at the natural junction of the busy international shipping lanes that crisscross the Indian Ocean has had a major impact upon the formulation of it's maritime strategy. The sea area around India is among the busiest in the world, with over 100,000 ships transiting the shipping lanes every year. The Straits of Malacca alone account for some 60,000 ships annually. India itself has a 4,670-mile long (7,516 km) coastline and several far-flung island territories. The 13 major and 185 minor ports that mark India's coastline constitute the landward ends of the country's sea lines of communication. The development of additional ports is a high-priority activity and is taking place all along the western and eastern seaboards of the country. India, today, has a modest, but rapidly-growing merchant-shipping fleet, presently comprising 756 ships and totaling 8.6 million "Gross Registered Tonnes," with an average age of around 17 years, as compared to the global average of 20 years. The Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard are major stabilizing forces in the movement of energy across the Indian Ocean, not just for India, but for the world at large.

Sethusamudram Project

To limit Sri Lankan advantage to China and to gain a firm grip on one of the world's most strategic and busiest sea-lanes India started “The Sethusamudram Project”.

Ships from the east coast of India to the west coast have to circumnavigate Sri Lanka. This is because of a Sand Stone Reef called Rama Setu or Adam's bridge, at Pamban, near Rameswaram, where the depth of the sea is hardly 11 feet. After the canal is constructed, the distance between Cape Comorin and Chennai would be reduced to 402 nautical miles from the present 755. Further, the canal would considerably reduce the distance between the east and the west coasts with travelling time coming down by 36 hours. It will also avoid circumnavigation of ships around Sri Lanka, thereby resulting in savings in fuel costs and standing charges associated with extra period of voyages. The canal would help make coastal shipping operations from the east coast to the west coast and vice-versa more competitive. The greatest beneficiary of the project would be Tuticorin harbour in Tamilnadu or Vizhinjam port of Kerala, with a potential to transform into a trans-shipment hub such as those in Singapore and Colombo. Vizhinjam port in Kerala is a natural harbour where as Tuticorin port has to dredge. Regional politics would also come into play ahead of National interest.
On the otherside, the project is put up with stiff opposition from fishermen and environmentalists, followers of Hindu faith and some political parties who have raising their voices against it for different reasons.

The entire coastal belt of Tamilnadu around the project area is dependent on fishing. Therefore the fishermen fear loss of their livelihood.

Environmentalists demand several studies such as baseline studies covering three seasons, environmental management Plan, assessing the impact due to dredging and dumping with specific reference to the dumping areas, impact during operation of the canal, impact of oil spill, etc to ensure that proper management plans are drawn to protect sea life, valuable coral reefs and the livelihood of fishermen.

Followers of Hindu faith believe that Ram Setu or Adam’s bridge has got association with Ramayana hence it should be protected.

Other political parties who are wary that DMK would benefit from this project argue that without addressing the concerns raised by environmentalists and fishermen TR Balu the DMK union minister from TamilNadu acted in haste to gain political mileage.

Related readings:

The Meaning of our National Song---Vande Mataram

Bankin Chandra composed the song Vande Mataram in an inspired moment, Rabindranath sang it by setting a glorious tune to it and it was left to the genius of Shri Aurobindo to interpret the deeper meaning of the song out of which India received the philosophy of new Nationalism.

Only the first staanza is taken as our National Song considering the sentiments of all the religions. Following is the meaning our national song. Click here for Full Song of Vande Mataram and its Meaning
Vande Mataram

Vande maataraM sujalaaM suphalaaM malayaja shiitalaaM SasyashyaamalaaM maataram

Mother, I bow to thee! Rich with thy hurrying streams, bright with orchard gleams, Cool with thy winds of delight, Dark fields waving Mother of might, Mother free.

Shubhrajyotsnaa pulakitayaaminiiM pullakusumita drumadala shobhiniiM suhaasiniiM sumadhura bhaashhiNiiM sukhadaaM varadaaM maataraM

Glory of moonlight dreams, Over thy branches and lordly streams, Clad in thy blossoming trees, Mother, giver of ease Laughing low and sweet! Mother I kiss thy feet, Speaker sweet and low! Mother, to thee I bow.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Religion and Politics

There is a growing trend in the terrorists attacks in the past one and half a year. It is indicating that the terrorist strikes are just not to weaken the Indian economy and incite communal violence in India. It has a much larger conspiracy that might lead to disintegration of India. By exploding bombs in Malegaon and on Samjhauta express they tried to spread rumours that it might be the work of a Hindu outfit. They hoped by doing so they can trigger a communal violence and get the support of Indian Muslim for their larger goal. Some pseudo secular parties’ initially uttered same words that it could be a handicraft of a Hindu outfit later it was revealed that LeT and other similar organisations were involved.

About a fortnight before two blasts rocked Hyderabad on August 25, 2007, Lashkar-e-Tayeba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed told a gathering at Lahore that he has started a movement to occupy Muslim populated regions in India. He said Pakistan must reclaim Muslim areas like J&K, Hyderabad, Junagarh, Munabao and West Bengal which, he said, was forcibly occupied by India in 1947. How ridiculous it is!

Since there is a lot of western pressure on Pakistan to weed out the terrorist outfits most of these organisation are cut to size and got relocated to some other countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia etc. Now they have gone Hi-Tec, recruited engineers and doctors to carry out their missions. They are no longer sporting long beards.

There is growing evidence of how terror networks along the Bangladesh-West Bengal border are pushing in cadres in the guise of students. Among all the check posts, Haridaspur in Bongaon, about 100 km form Kolkata, is reportedly the most “active” in terms of trans-border smuggling and human trafficking. They come in as students from Bangladesh to India. With “student” stamped on their papers, they don’t have to worry about the law enforcement agencies for the duration of their visa. And then, they seem to stay on illegally at a variety of “Islamic” study centres, from Lucknow to Hyderabad. In Hyderabad alone there are more than 70,000 illegal Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslms are staying in the old city and many more in Lucknow, Bihar, Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Thanks to the corruption in the government organisations they obtain ration cards and other documents like domicile certificates etc. They use these documents to obtain Indian passports. If you take a look at the Indian demography statistics it shows that the Muslim population in India is growing at a faster pace in some areas. It is alarming. Our governments turn a blind eye to all the data available to them. They don’t even bother to probe and see whether there it is by design or a natural growth. They just worried about their votes.

Add to this some Muslim clerics like Imam Bhukhari, and Maulana Kalbe Jawad incite certain feelings in the heart and minds of the people in their community. "Politics cannot be separated from religion and it will always be better if clerics lead Muslims in Indian politics", said noted Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad. It looks like they are hand in glove to the terrorist’s network. One side they carry out extremist ideology and another try to motivate ordinary Muslim people through Maulanas and Imams like Kalbe and Bhukhari.

I have a feeling. Being Secular made India a soft nation. And every one out there is trying to take advantage of it, including all the political parties of India. Nothing sells like a religious faith. So in order to secure votes they try to mix religion in their poll strategies. So what is the difference between them and the terrorists? Only difference the political parties are moderate in their nature.

Religion is a private matter of an individual and it cannot be a guidance to rule the State. A State comprises of people from all faiths and if each of those faiths say the State should run according to their own religion and if not “A Separate State” exclusively for them then it is a dangerous situation. This is not acceptable.

There should be a common law and common rule in a democratic way. We believe unity in diversity. Though everyone is free to follow any faith but it should be limited at an individual level. That is the essence of Secularism. So far Indian politicians made fun of secularism concept. They allowed different laws based on religions in the country to settle the disputes though it is against constitution. They fail to bring stringent anti terror laws sighting that might upset a minority community and hence would affect their votes. Its high time now they wakeup and eliminate such idealogies in the budding stage by following Chankyan politics. Any person or act or propaganda, separatism that would work against our Motherland should be suppressed with brutality.

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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sania Mirza -at US Open 2007

Indian cricket team failed once again due to their poor over all performance. The stars as usual didn’t deliver when it matters most! I think it is a blessing in disguise to other sports.

Thanks to Sania Mirza, Mahesh Bhupati, Leander Pace Lawn Tennis got a good following and coverage in Inida especially after Sania Mirza. After an year of injuries and layoff from the play last year Sania bounced back this year and her inform performance this summer in US prior to US open was superb. For the first time she was given a seed (26) in US open and the draw was relatively easier one until 3rd round and if she could overcome the 3rd round hurdle there is an outer chance that she might get a berth in the semi final. This was the expectations until first round of US open.

In the first round she struggled a bit and won it after loosing a set. In the second round she won it with ease and booked her berth in the 3rd round match against 6th seed. I didn’t expect her to win as she lost to 20 year old Anna Chekvetadze from Russia twice last month. I thought at least she would put up a strong fight but she lost it tamely 6-2, 6-3 to the Russian.
Though she improvised her play it is not sufficient. Although now a days speed and power are the key elements in Tennis that doesn’t guarantee a win. One needs to mix the shots. Serve and volley, drop shots, net shots, very good services are important. Just the power and speed are no good. This was proved in the current US open itself. In both men and women’s matches most of the top 15 players struggled against their opponents who are lower in the rankings or no seeds.

In the match against Maria Sharapova who is a second seed player the 18 year old Polish and 30th-seed Radwanska demonstrated a good match. She sensed just how nervous Sharapova was and kept pressing her with hard returns and deep ground strokes and won. Another 20 year old Shahar Peer from Israel who was double partner to Sania was another example. She defeated the 7th rank player from Czech Republic 18 year old Vaidisova.

Shahar Peer

Amongst the future women’s tennis starts Sania Mirza has a long way to go to be in top 10 to make us all proud. Instead of focusing on her rankings she should focus on winning the matches and should come out with strategies on how to play against her opponents.