Know the unknown soldier

24 04 2008

Know the unknown soldier

April 18, 2008 Courtesy : Hindustan Times

Ask us increasingly cynical and notoriously fickle Indians to name something or someone we still have deep and abiding respect for and chances are we will all have the same answer: the Indian Solider. We may have lazy scorn for our politicians, historic resentment of our bureaucrats and deep-seated envy of our industrialists. But show us those landscaped images of a lone jawan stoically standing guard on an icy, barren, mountaintop, throw in a few strains of AR Rahman’s Vande Mataram and watch our tears turn into a flood of empathy.

We push our military into duties that were never really part of its job description. So, apart from and in addition to fighting wars and terrorism, we count on our soldiers to play roles as varied as building bridges when the tsunami hits, keeping the peace during religious riots and even managing the now-epidemic condition of saving children who mysteriously end up at the bottom of borewells.

But if we are a country that really cares so deeply for its military, why is it that a monster called apathy is in serious danger of devouring the future of the Armed Forces?

This week, while we were all consumed by whether the Olympic torch would make its way safely past India Gate (built by Edwin Lutyens to honour the 84,000 Indian soldiers who died in World War I), the Army Chief was making a trip down the same road. He was on his way to meet the Urban Development Minister, probably wondering — as many of his predecessors had before him— whether he would have any luck convincing this government to do, what the British had already done as far back as 1921. He was carrying a file that has now travelled through multiple ministries for seven years: the plans and architectural designs for a National War Memorial.

For the last two years, different government bodies including the Delhi Urban Arts Commission, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the Heritage Conservation Committee have squabbled like recalcitrant children over whether the designs for the memorial are tenable. Could anything be a more shocking illustration of the stranglehold of red-tape around what should have been a flagship project for any government?

The designs for the memorial (the proposal is to build the structure around the canopy at India Gate) have been created by Charles Correa, easily one of India’s most venerable architects. Yet ask officials what has held up the green signal, and they will tell you it is a “lack of consensus” over how high the walls of the memorial should be. Have you heard of anything more ludicrous?

Admittedly, India Gate is a heritage building, and any new construction within its circumference would have to be aesthetically sensitive. But that is not even the point. Surely the question to ask instead is why military chiefs should have to implore different mantrijis to sign on the dotted line for something that should be a matter of intuitive national pride. We like to think of ourselves as self-confident nation, a global powerhouse that is hard to beat. And yet, a file to create a national memorial for soldiers who die in conflict has gathered cobwebs and dust for seven long years, and we aren’t even angry enough to ask why.

Perhaps it’s time to admit that cocooned in the embrace of the new economy and the surging sensex, we may like to be believe that we care about the ordinary Indian soldier, but at best, our solidarity is notional and feeble. We have passionate opinions on whether India is a ‘soft state’ or whether our governments are ‘tough on terror’. But beyond the sound and fury of drawing room debate, soldiering is something that happens to other people. We respond to stories of valour and tragedy with applause and tears but as the moment passes, so does our interest and engagement. It’s almost like watching a movie — for those three hours we are transported enough for celluloid emotion to tug at our hearts, but as the popcorn winds down and the lights beam up again — we know that our lives are elsewhere. Our engagement with the plight of the Indian Soldier is similar — ephemeral and maudlin, but essentially indifferent.

The PLU (People like us) brigade would no longer consider the military as a career option and many of those who did are now lining up and pleading for the freedom to leave. Ask the Generals and Admirals unofficially, and they will concede that they have to reject resignations, because the shortfall would be too dire to deal with. In Kashmir, there are already reports of ordinance and artillery units doubling up for infantry duty, because of the numbers crunch. And for the first time in years, the Army is actually considering a one-time emergency, short-service commissioning of officers to fill the ever widening gap. That’s how serious and morale weakening the situation is.

Like any other wing of the government, the military knows it can’t compete with the big bucks of the private sector. But, no matter, what your view is on the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, can you think of a single reason why the military has never had a representative on any pay board? Or why the military shouldn’t just have its own wage board?

The carpers will ask where it will all end. Tomorrow, the police and the paramilitary, they say, will ask for the same. The liberals will hurl phrases like ‘jingoism’ at you and say far too much fuss is made about soldiers. But chances are that they have never had to stand upright and tearless to salute a coffin draped in a flag. And the rest will say we are on the side of the soldier and forget all about it with the turn of this page.

In the meantime, the old school soldier will try and tell a generation that doesn’t care that everything is not about money. He will say that there are such things as romance and respect for which there is no other substitute. He will then open the newspaper and read about a country that has been debating whether we need a war memorial since the 1960s. And he will be silent.

Barkha Dutt is Managing Editor, NDTV 24×7





Secular garb for Aurangzeb

24 04 2008
Secular garb for Aurangzeb

Aided by an administration that is of late making anti-Hinduism an important component of state policy, a small group of Muslim bigots in Chennai disrupted an exhibition on Aurangzeb, the despotic ruler who destroyed hundreds of Hindu temples in the 17th century, including the most sacred shrines at Banaras and Mathura.
The story of the horrors perpetrated by this ruler in the name of Islam had been put together through pictures and drawings by the Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism (FACT). The man behind this initiative is François Gautier, a noted journalist and a trustee of FACT who is committed to salvaging truths about India’s ancient and medieval history from the garbage that is palmed off as history by a small group of pseudo-secular historians who subsist on the patronage of the Nehru-Gandhis and the Communists. The exhibition, which has 40 paintings, show cases Akhbarats (edicts) issued by Aurangzeb. It has been viewed by over 100,000 people in other cities before it went to Chennai. The organisers were, therefore, shocked when Chennai Police forcibly closed the exhibition at the instance of a handful of protesters.
The exhibition was based on the work of eminent historians. The history of the reign of Aurangzeb, including the story of his cruel and oppressive conduct vis-à-vis the Hindus and the Sikhs, was first put together after a life-time of research into the edicts passed by him by Jadunath Sarkar, one of India’s greatest historians. Sarkar’s work on the Mughals — and thereafter the four volumes he wrote, especially on Aurangzeb — is considered the most definitive account of events of that time. Sarkar translated Masir-i-Alamgiri — a history of the reign of Aurangzeb — by Saqi Mustad Khan. Khan’s narration was based on orders passed by Aurangzeb and material available in state archives in 1710. Sarkar also translated Akhbarats, which were essentially reports on the orders passed by Aurangzeb. In addition, there are other accounts like Mirat-i-Alam and Alamgir-Nama written by persons employed by Aurangzeb. Eliot and Dawson’s History of India as told by its own historians aggregates much of the work done by these historians.
There have been several other accounts, including the much-acclaimed series titled The History and Culture of the Indian People edited by the eminent historian RC Mazumdar and published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, and the monumental series on civilisation by Will Durant.
A common thread that runs through all these accounts is the zeal displayed by Aurangzeb to promote Islam and to crush other faiths. Here is a list of the atrocities committed by him, as narrated by historians employed by him: Aurangzeb issued an order on April 9, 1669 to the governors of the provinces, directing them “to demolish the schools and temples of the infidels and put down their teaching and religious practices strongly. Besides innumerable temples throughout the empire, even the famous Hindu temples of Visvanath at Banaras, of Keshav Dev at Mathura, and Somnath at Patan were destroyed. Even the loyal state of Jaipur was not spared, and sixty-six temples were razed to the ground at Amber”. Ten years later, on April 2, 1679, he imposed jizya on Hindus. This was an oppressive, commutation tax that had to be paid by Hindus in order to be allowed to continue to practice their faith.
According to Sarkar, jizya was imposed by Aurangzeb “with the object of spreading Islam and overthrowing infidel practices”. Mazumdar says, “He felt gratified when many Hindus, unable to pay it, embraced Islam.” But, destruction of temples and jizya were just the tip of the iceberg. Various other measures were adopted to force Hindus to convert to Islam. Here is a list provided by Mazumdar in his series: In April 1665, Aurangzeb fixed Customs duty on goods imported into his kingdom at 2.5 per cent for Muslim merchants and five per cent for Hindu merchants. He offered Government jobs and commutation of prison terms for those who converted to Islam. In 1668, Aurangzeb prohibited all Hindu religious fairs. In 1671, he passed an order dismissing all Hindu head-clerks and accountants and hiring Muslims in their place.
In March 1695, he prohibited all Hindus, except Rajputs, from riding in palanquins or on elephants and also forbade them from carrying arms. Aurangzeb also went after the Sikhs with a vengeance. He ordered the destruction of Sikh places of worship and the expulsion of the Sikh Guru’s representatives from the cities. He imprisoned Guru Tegh Bahadur and killed him after torturing him for several days because he refused to convert to Islam. The attack on Sikhism continued during the tenure of the next Guru, Guru Govind Singh. His headquarters in Anandpur were attacked several times and his four sons were slain. On Mathura, Masir-i-Alamgiri says, “During the month of Ramzan, the Emperor… issued for the demolition of the temple in Mathura. In a short time… the destruction of this strong foundation of infidelity was accomplished, and on its site a lofty mosque was built… The idols, large and small, set with costly jewels which had been set up in the temple were brought to Agra, and buried under the steps of the mosque of the Begum Sahib, in order to be continually trodden upon. The name of Mathura was changed to Islamabad.”
In recent times, a bunch of pseudo-secular or Marxist historians has been trying to bury these historical truths just as Aurangzeb buried the idols of Hindu gods at the entrances to the mosques that he built. They have also been attempting fraudulent and criminal misinterpretation of facts in order to paint even persons like Aurangzeb, who launched monstrous attacks on Hinduism and Sikhism, as “secular” beings. Some Muslim groups in the country have been abetting this pseudo-secular enterprise. The attack on FACT’s exhibition in Chennai is the latest manifestation of this phenomenon — which is nothing but a renewed assault on truth and on Hinduism. The only answer to this is to take this exhibition to every nook and corner of the country and to publicise the Akhbarats of Aurangzeb’s time in every way possible. We cannot promote secularism by turning a blind eye to truth. We must freely discuss the communal agenda of rulers like Aurangzeb if only to show how barbaric the state can become when it is wedded to theocracy. That is how the citizens of India in the post-independence era will appreciate the value of democracy and genuine secularism and the basic structure of our Constitution.




PRESS RELEASE: Oslo Peace Conference, South Asia

15 04 2008

CONFERENCE ON SOUTH ASIAN CONFLICTS UNDERLINES SPIRITUALITY AND PEACE AS THE WAYS FORWARD

Look at Guruji’s Interview to the Norwegin TV network


Oslo, Norway. April 12, 2008: Bringing together top leaders, senior diplomats and experts from diverse backgrounds, a historic Conference on Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia concluded in the “peace capital” of the world today, calling for peaceful resolution of the unsettled issues and highlighting “spirituality” as a way forward.

The two-day Conference, which focused on the internal armed conflicts in South Asian nations of India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal, was organized by ‘The Art of Living Foundation’ of spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and discussed possible solutions and ways and means to achieve them. Another aim of the initiative was to highlight the need to promote dialogue and evolve a consensus among the stakeholders to deal with the problems, which have together taken millions of lives in the last few decades.
Norway’s Special Envoy for the Peace Process in Sri Lanka Jon Hanssen-Bauer, Members of European Parliament Erika Mann and Nirj Deva and Aud Kvalbein, Deputy Mayor of Oslo were some of the prominent European speakers in the conference.

From Asia, Ramvichar Nitam, Home Minister of the Naxal insurgency-affected state of of Chhattisgarh and MDMK chief Vaiko represented India, while Sri Lankan perspective was presented by Arumugham Thondaman, Minister for Youth Empowerment and Socio-Economic Development ,Jayalath Jayawardhne, MP,Dr Rajiv Wijesinghe( Gen Secy. of the Peace Secretariat) and prominent Buddhist Monks Dr. Brahmanawatte Seevali Nayaka Thero, Deputy Secretary General, Sri Lanka Amarapura Mahanikaya and Dr Maduluvave Sobitha Nayaka Thero, Chief Incumbent of Nagavihara Kotte,. Besides, renowned experts, academics and members of The Art of Living Foundation from various nations also participated in the unique initiative.

“It is a humongous task to find harmony in diversity. We must continue to pursue the path of peace. Conflicts are bound to come and we have to make them a stepping stone to achieve the ultimate goal of global peace,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the main motivation behind the initiative, said.

”Whether it is inter-religious conflict, or intra-religious conflict, or it is a conflict between communist or capitalist ideology, it all starts in the minds of people, in the hearts of people. When such conflict begins, they shut themselves for reasoning, prejudice overtakes, and communication goes haywire. It’s here we need to build the trust among the communities. Spiritual leaders, religious leaders, can play a bigger role in this” Sri Sri added.

“Through this conference, we appeal to Sri Lankan government, Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE), Buddhist monks in China, Chinese government, Myanmar regime…everyone for peace and restraint, and to have a preference for coming to the table for resolution of issues,” the globally known Indian spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said in his concluding remarks.

During the course of the conference, a host of subjects such as ‘the role of civil society and the governments in conflict resolution’,’role of media in the conflict resolution’ and ‘Peace building in South Asia’ were discussed in detail. Separately, workshops on the Naxal insurgency problem in India, ethic Tamil strife in Sri Lanka and Burma were also conducted.

Deliberating upon the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka, top Norwegian peace negotiator Jon Hanssen-Bauer said: “The common understanding between the government and the LTTE has been that talks are aimed at finding a political solution that are acceptable to all communities in Sri Lanka. For Norway, any solution endorsed by the Sri Lankan people is of course acceptable to us.”
Participants also expressed concern at the existing situation in Sri Lanka . Mr Thondaman, minister from Sri Lanka said,”I am strongly of the opinion that there is no military solution. His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been preaching the attainment of inner peace for years, through yoga, meditation and stress relief. An individual at peace, within himself, he obviously influences the inner peace of other individuals around him.”

Buddhist Master Seevali Nayaka Thero said that today there is so much conflict happening and this is the time to think for both the Government and LTTE about how many lives are being lost because of this war. “In any place, in any country, only by war you cannot solve the problems. Only peace talks, and reconciliation, can solve the problem,” he added.

MDMK leader Vaiko speaking about Sri Lanka said,”a whole ancient race is about to be wiped out. I would appeal to the European Union to put pressure on the Sinhalese government to end its military offensive on the LTTE, ” ”Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has done a commendable job by convening this conference of this scale” he added.

Meanwhile, the conference also zeroed down on the problem of ‘Naxalism’, which has been identified as “the single largest threat to the internal security of the country” by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the past. The ultra-Left Naxal movement, which started in late 60s, today affects one-third of the total districts of India and has been responsible for killings of thousands of people in states battling the menace.

Explaining the government’s perspective, Home Minister of Chhattisgarh Ramvichar Nitam said that the problem also had a serious socio-economic aspect to it. He outlined various steps taken by the state government to bring the Naxal youth into the mainstream and counter the insurgency militarily.

On its part, the Art of Living Foundation has also taken a lot of initiative in educating youth in the affected districts about the importance of spirituality. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has also persuaded the Naxalites for dialogue, and called upon them to give up violent means. Nirj Deva, Member of European Parliament, who conducted the workshop on Naxalism, said that he would take up the issue with fellow Parliamentarians and work towards increasing awareness and action in this regard.

Among other prominent participants were Khin Maung Win, Deputy Executive Director, Democratic Voice of Burma, Francois Gautier, Editor-in-chief, La Revue de I’lnde, Brahma Chellaney, Centre for Policy Research, India, Wasim Zaman, Director, CST for South and West Asia, United Nations Populations Fund and Sashi Raj Pandey from Nepal.




PRESS RELEASE: Oslo Peace Conference, South Asia

15 04 2008

CONFERENCE ON SOUTH ASIAN CONFLICTS UNDERLINES SPIRITUALITY AND PEACE AS THE WAYS FORWARD

Oslo, Norway. April 12, 2008: Bringing together top leaders, senior diplomats and experts from diverse backgrounds, a historic Conference on Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia concluded in the “peace capital” of the world today, calling for peaceful resolution of the unsettled issues and highlighting “spirituality” as a way forward.
The two-day Conference, which focused on the internal armed conflicts in South Asian nations of India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal, was organized by ‘The Art of Living Foundation’ of spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and discussed possible solutions and ways and means to achieve them. Another aim of the initiative was to highlight the need to promote dialogue and evolve a consensus among the stakeholders to deal with the problems, which have together taken millions of lives in the last few decades.
Norway’s Special Envoy for the Peace Process in Sri Lanka Jon Hanssen-Bauer, Members of European Parliament Erika Mann and Nirj Deva and Aud Kvalbein, Deputy Mayor of Oslo were some of the prominent European speakers in the conference.
From Asia, Ramvichar Nitam, Home Minister of the Naxal insurgency-affected state of of Chhattisgarh and MDMK chief Vaiko represented India, while Sri Lankan perspective was presented by Arumugham Thondaman, Minister for Youth Empowerment and Socio-Economic Development ,Jayalath Jayawardhne, MP,Dr Rajiv Wijesinghe( Gen Secy. of the Peace Secretariat) and prominent Buddhist Monks Dr. Brahmanawatte Seevali Nayaka Thero, Deputy Secretary General, Sri Lanka Amarapura Mahanikaya and Dr Maduluvave Sobitha Nayaka Thero, Chief Incumbent of Nagavihara Kotte,. Besides, renowned experts, academics and members of The Art of Living Foundation from various nations also participated in the unique initiative.
“It is a humongous task to find harmony in diversity. We must continue to pursue the path of peace. Conflicts are bound to come and we have to make them a stepping stone to achieve the ultimate goal of global peace,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the main motivation behind the initiative, said.

”Whether it is inter-religious conflict, or intra-religious conflict, or it is a conflict between communist or capitalist ideology, it all starts in the minds of people, in the hearts of people. When such conflict begins, they shut themselves for reasoning, prejudice overtakes, and communication goes haywire. It’s here we need to build the trust among the communities. Spiritual leaders, religious leaders, can play a bigger role in this” Sri Sri added.

“Through this conference, we appeal to Sri Lankan government, Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE), Buddhist monks in China, Chinese government, Myanmar regime…everyone for peace and restraint, and to have a preference for coming to the table for resolution of issues,” the globally known Indian spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said in his concluding remarks.
During the course of the conference, a host of subjects such as ‘the role of civil society and the governments in conflict resolution’,’role of media in the conflict resolution’ and ‘Peace building in South Asia’ were discussed in detail. Separately, workshops on the Naxal insurgency problem in India, ethic Tamil strife in Sri Lanka and Burma were also conducted.
Deliberating upon the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka, top Norwegian peace negotiator Jon Hanssen-Bauer said: “The common understanding between the government and the LTTE has been that talks are aimed at finding a political solution that are acceptable to all communities in Sri Lanka. For Norway, any solution endorsed by the Sri Lankan people is of course acceptable to us.”
Participants also expressed concern at the existing situation in Sri Lanka . Mr Thondaman, minister from Sri Lanka said,”I am strongly of the opinion that there is no military solution. His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been preaching the attainment of inner peace for years, through yoga, meditation and stress relief. An individual at peace, within himself, he obviously influences the inner peace of other individuals around him.”
Buddhist Master Seevali Nayaka Thero said that today there is so much conflict happening and this is the time to think for both the Government and LTTE about how many lives are being lost because of this war. “In any place, in any country, only by war you cannot solve the problems. Only peace talks, and reconciliation, can solve the problem,” he added.
MDMK leader Vaiko speaking about Sri Lanka said,”a whole ancient race is about to be wiped out. I would appeal to the European Union to put pressure on the Sinhalese government to end its military offensive on the LTTE, ” ”Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has done a commendable job by convening this conference of this scale” he added.
Meanwhile, the conference also zeroed down on the problem of ‘Naxalism’, which has been identified as “the single largest threat to the internal security of the country” by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the past. The ultra-Left Naxal movement, which started in late 60s, today affects one-third of the total districts of India and has been responsible for killings of thousands of people in states battling the menace.
Explaining the government’s perspective, Home Minister of Chhattisgarh Ramvichar Nitam said that the problem also had a serious socio-economic aspect to it. He outlined various steps taken by the state government to bring the Naxal youth into the mainstream and counter the insurgency militarily.
On its part, the Art of Living Foundation has also taken a lot of initiative in educating youth in the affected districts about the importance of spirituality. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has also persuaded the Naxalites for dialogue, and called upon them to give up violent means. Nirj Deva, Member of European Parliament, who conducted the workshop on Naxalism, said that he would take up the issue with fellow Parliamentarians and work towards increasing awareness and action in this regard.
Among other prominent participants were Khin Maung Win, Deputy Executive Director, Democratic Voice of Burma, Francois Gautier, Editor-in-chief, La Revue de I’lnde, Brahma Chellaney, Centre for Policy Research, India, Wasim Zaman, Director, CST for South and West Asia, United Nations Populations Fund and Sashi Raj Pandey from Nepal.




CONFERENCE ON SOUTH ASIAN CONFLICTS UNDERLINES SPIRITUALITY AND PEACE AS THE WAYS FORWARD

13 04 2008

Oslo meet favours spreading awareness on Naxal threat
courtesy: zee news
Oslo, April 12: Bringing together top leaders and experts from diverse backgrounds, a conference on peace and reconciliation in South Asia here has favoured efforts to spread awareness in Europe on the problem of Naxalism faced by India and ways to resolve it.

The conference, which focused on the internal armed conflicts in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal, concluded yesterday calling upon all the stakeholders to opt for peaceful means and restraint while dealing with their respective situations.

“The problem of Naxalism has grown exponentially in the past few years. It is being identified by the Indian government as the single most dangerous internal security threat and affects nearly one-third of the total districts,” Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, whose `The Art of Living Foundation` organised the meet, said.

“It is very important that it comes to the notice of international community, especially European nations, who can further help us in dealing with it,” he said.

“Also, through this conference, we appeal to Sri Lankan government, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Buddhist monks in China, Chinese government, Myanmar regime…Everyone for peace and restraint, and to have a preference for coming to the table for resolution of issues,” the Indian spiritual guru said in his concluding remarks yesterday.

He insisted that in present circumstances, “spirituality” was the only option left for a credible, long-term solution to the problems.

Bureau Report

Attached Photo Captions:
Picture 1: Speakers, at the conference on Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia, with His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Sri Lankan minister Thondaman, MDMK leader Vaiko, European parliament members Erika Mann and Nirj Deva are seen. The two-day conference, held in Oslo, ended on late evening, April 11, 2008.
Picture 2: (From L to R ) Mr. Khin Maung Win, Deputy Executive Director, Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway, Rt. Rev. Dr. Brahmanawatte Seevali Nayaka Thero, Deputy Secretary General, Sri Lanka Amarapura Mahanikaya, Mr. Arumugam Thondaman, Minister for Youth Empowerment & Socio-Economic Development, Sri Lanka, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Ms. Erika Mann, Member of European Parliament, Mr. Vaiko, General Secretary, The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Tamil Nadu, India, Mr. Ramvichar Netam, Home Minister of Chhattisgarh, India at the at the two-day conference on Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia, Oslo, which ended on late evening, April 11, 2008.
Picture 3: Hundreds of people participate in the peace march organised by the Art of Living Foundation in Oslo on April 10 as a prelude to the two-day Conference on Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia.
Picture 4: His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressing the two-day conference on Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia in Oslo. The conference concluded on late evening, April 11, 2008




CONFERENCE ON SOUTH ASIAN CONFLICTS UNDERLINES SPIRITUALITY AND PEACE AS THE WAYS FORWARD

13 04 2008

Oslo meet favours spreading awareness on Naxal threat
courtesy: zee news
Oslo, April 12: Bringing together top leaders and experts from diverse backgrounds, a conference on peace and reconciliation in South Asia here has favoured efforts to spread awareness in Europe on the problem of Naxalism faced by India and ways to resolve it.

The conference, which focused on the internal armed conflicts in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal, concluded yesterday calling upon all the stakeholders to opt for peaceful means and restraint while dealing with their respective situations.

“The problem of Naxalism has grown exponentially in the past few years. It is being identified by the Indian government as the single most dangerous internal security threat and affects nearly one-third of the total districts,” Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, whose `The Art of Living Foundation` organised the meet, said.

“It is very important that it comes to the notice of international community, especially European nations, who can further help us in dealing with it,” he said.

“Also, through this conference, we appeal to Sri Lankan government, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Buddhist monks in China, Chinese government, Myanmar regime…Everyone for peace and restraint, and to have a preference for coming to the table for resolution of issues,” the Indian spiritual guru said in his concluding remarks yesterday.

He insisted that in present circumstances, “spirituality” was the only option left for a credible, long-term solution to the problems.

Bureau Report

Attached Photo Captions:
Picture 1: Speakers, at the conference on Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia, with His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Sri Lankan minister Thondaman, MDMK leader Vaiko, European parliament members Erika Mann and Nirj Deva are seen. The two-day conference, held in Oslo, ended on late evening, April 11, 2008.
Picture 2: (From L to R ) Mr. Khin Maung Win, Deputy Executive Director, Democratic Voice of Burma, Norway, Rt. Rev. Dr. Brahmanawatte Seevali Nayaka Thero, Deputy Secretary General, Sri Lanka Amarapura Mahanikaya, Mr. Arumugam Thondaman, Minister for Youth Empowerment & Socio-Economic Development, Sri Lanka, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Ms. Erika Mann, Member of European Parliament, Mr. Vaiko, General Secretary, The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Tamil Nadu, India, Mr. Ramvichar Netam, Home Minister of Chhattisgarh, India at the at the two-day conference on Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia, Oslo, which ended on late evening, April 11, 2008.
Picture 3: Hundreds of people participate in the peace march organised by the Art of Living Foundation in Oslo on April 10 as a prelude to the two-day Conference on Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia.
Picture 4: His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressing the two-day conference on Peace and Reconciliation in South Asia in Oslo. The conference concluded on late evening, April 11, 2008




Indians and others march for global peace in Norway

10 04 2008

Oslo, Apr 10 {PTI} Hundreds of people, including many Indians, braved the chilly winds and rain for a symbolic march to the Nobel Peace Centre here today to highlight the cause of global peace and amity.

Holding huge placards with messages for harmony, the participants in the march organised by a major Indian humanitarian organisation, drew a lot of attention as they walked through the lanes of the downtown in the capital of the nation which is often accredited with maximum peace initiatives by any country.

”We may be far from India, where the problem of Naxalism is growing, or from Sri Lanka where a three decade war is still on, but we feel the need for global peace is maximum today and therefore, wherever possible, it has to be highlighted,” Pragyan, a member of The Art of Living Foundation, which organised the march said.

Beginning from Youngstorget, the marchers held candles in their hands and carried on a silent 3 km walk across major markets where many of the onlookers joined them.

”I know about the problems many of the South Asian countries are going through. I feel Norway should involve itself more actively there,” said Kearre Bernard, a local who was among the marchers. He insisted that Oslo must also try and play a major part in resolution of Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan, which has been ”a major problem for the last 60 years, and has led to three wars.”

Swami Sadyojatah, who led the march, emphasised that spirituality could play a great role in dealing with the armed conflict situations around the world.

”While political solutions can be searched for, spirituality can really influence people at individual levels, making the possibility of peace more likely”, he said.

The marchers eventually assembled at the Nobel Peace Centre and placed the candles at its gate, resolving to pursue the cause and spread awareness about it.

The march was organised as a prelude to a two~day conference on Peace and reconciliation in South Asia, which will begin later in the day. Many Indian leaders including MDMK chief Vaiko, Chhattigarh Home Minister Ramvichar Netam and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar would take part in the conference, which would also have senior ministers from Sri Lanka expressing their views on the ethnic problem. PTI GD





Naxal Exhibition: Preview

8 04 2008
FACT India
Naxalism: A Threat to Unified India

Click here for a miniature view of the exhib
Opens :::
April 10th and 11th Oslo, during the Conference on Peace and Reconciliation http://www.sap2008.org/

Ingeniørenes Hus Møtesenter, Kronprinsens gate 17, 0251 Oslo – Norway, http://www.ingeniorenesh

The Exhibition is a reflection of the Left wing insurgency in India, a blend of photographs, statistics and an analysis that forms the presentation of FACTS. The exhibition travels through the lives of the victims in Naxal infested states and present their lives as well as the lives of those valiant fighters both civilian and from the government. It is a fight against, the act of killing just because ideologies differ. The ideology of Intolerance and disharmony aided by violence, is taking a toll on the very same people, the ideology claims to be fighting for. Here we have been working on a series of issues on Naxalism and the havoc it has created over the years on the Indian populace and threat it poses to the unity of India.

“Its (Maoism’s) purpose is to destroy an existing society and its institutions and to replace them with a completely new structure.” – Mao Tse-Tung

Well-educated Naxalites leaders have taken advantage of the dissatisfaction among the poor and uneducated population by offering them an alternative way to growth and development.

After fighting each other and splitting like an amoeba, today there are many Maoist parties and organizations that either predate the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) or emerged from factions when the CPI-ML split after the death of Charu Mazumdar. Communist Party of India (Maoist) is the consolidated destructive form of the Leftwing extremism that has been creating more problems to the poor than fighting them on their behalf.

Maoist rebels have been attacking innocent villagers without reason and destroying public facilities like Hospitals, Schools, rail, road transport, power transmission and communication facilities which are crucial for the local communities. Armed naxals have denied the basic amenities to the poor and under privileged in the name of liberating them.

The Left wing terror has lead to massacre of politicians in Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh apart from killing innocent civilians. Human rights violations have become a part of their daily routine with women being raped, children taken away as child soldiers and couriers while pushing interior areas into a humanitarian crisis and away from development. While their resolutions claim and boast of a free and egalitarian society the Left wing terror group has itself been plagued with caste differences and inequality.

In the name of “supporting oppressed nationalities” the communist terrorists now have developed nexus with extremist organizations in Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and abroad. In the name of a “UF (United Front) of all secular forces” they have been trying to create divisions among Muslims, Christians and Sikhs. While many of the cadres have been deserting the party, frustrated and realizing what a hollow ideology of hate they have been blindly following, the terror perpetrators are hounding those who have left the so-called “movement”.

This Exhibition has been brought to you by FACT India through an extensive field study, and thanks to extensive media coverage of the problem and we would like to acknowledge the sources websites of Ministry of Home affairs and South Asia terrorism Portal.

FACT India is a Registered Trust. Contributions are welcome and donations are exempt under Section 80 G of the IT Act.

FACT India
41, Jor Bagh, New Delhi 110 003, India.

The world should stand beside Tibet

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/09/EDE11024F5.DTL

As a Tibetan, it is bittersweet to see Tibet on the front pages. The world is finally seeing Beijing’s repressive rule there, but the tragedy is that it has required such bloodshed. As Chinese forces now attempt to crush the protests, the crisis in Tibet has laid bare two important issues: the Tibetan people’s unresolved demands, and how these aspirations impact Tibet, the world and China itself.

For more than 50 years, Tibet has been a land of simmering resentment. Tibetans have various grievances, but the common thread is that Tibetans want what all nations want: to control their own lives, society and religion. Tibetans are not simply protesting specific policies; they are demanding their right to self-determination. It is no coincidence that in many protests, Tibetans are attacking symbols of state power, ripping down the Chinese flag and replacing it with the banned Tibetan one.

Unlike the demonstrations in the 1980s, the protests have spread far beyond the capital, Lhasa, to towns and villages across Tibet. Tibetan exiles are staging sympathy protests worldwide, including when Beijing’s Olympic torch comes through San Francisco today. These actions feed off one another, thanks to the Internet, digital cameras, cell phones and shortwave radio. This unity among Tibetans inside and outside Tibet represents a far stronger challenge to Chinese rule than before, and will give Tibetans renewed inspiration regardless of whether the protests in Tibet are temporarily suppressed.

For the international community, it is now impossible to accept Beijing’s narrative that Tibetans are happy as part of China. The economic growth that Beijing touts in Tibet is exposed as a synonym for Chinese colonization. The world now sees that, like East Timor and other former colonies, the Tibetan people’s demand for freedom may be temporarily repressed but is destined to boil over. The only question is whether the world will do anything to support these legitimate aspirations.

China’s self-absorbed myth that it “liberated” grateful Tibetans has also been shattered; its central narrative justifying Tibet’s place in its empire has vanished. Its policy of “Sinicizing” Tibet through immigration of Chinese settlers and vilifying His Holiness the Dalai Lama is just adding fuel to the fire. For the first time, Beijing has actually admitted that the Tibetan protests are widespread and conducted on a large scale.

Beijing has now resorted to a new propaganda tactic, casting Tibetans as violent criminals and Chinese as victims. This is largely because Beijing needed a domestic response to images seeping into China of Chinese forces attacking Tibetan protesters. State-controlled media are now broadcasting images of Tibetans attacking Chinese settlers; ignoring, of course, that the demonstrations in Lhasa were peaceful for days, and that most other Tibetan protests have been wholly nonviolent (the same cannot be said for Chinese forces, who used live ammunition against unarmed Tibetan protesters. The result of China’s new propaganda strategy has been to create an “us versus them” backlash among many Chinese vis-À-vis Tibetans. This is a reckless and potentially dangerous incitement of Chinese nationalism, but also has the effect of changing Chinese perceptions of Tibet. Tibetans are no longer portrayed as colorful if slightly backward “minorities.” Tibetans are now ungrateful colonial subjects in open rebellion. This is significant, because recognition of the difference between Tibetans and Chinese is the first step to recognition that Tibet is not China.

Looking forward, as with many colonized nations, there comes a tipping point when a sufficient number of people rise up and say “enough.” That point has been reached in Tibet. Ngawang Sangdrol, a Tibetan nun who became a political prisoner at age 12, once declared, “There is fire inside our bodies, but we dare not let the smoke out.” Now, the smoke has escaped, and for Tibetans in Tibet and across the Tibetan diaspora, there is a renewed push for freedom. And China? China will resist losing its colony, but then so did France with Algeria, Serbia with Kosovo, and Imperial Japan with Manchukuo.

The magnitude and vociferousness of the protests across Tibet demonstrate that Beijing cannot forever contain Tibetan demands for self-rule. Trying to do so only leads to instability. Through their courage and resilience in the face of a half-century of military occupation and religious and cultural oppression, Tibetans have made it abundantly clear that they want more than ever to determine their own future. The world should stand by their side.

Nima R. Taylor Binara is a member of the board of directors of Tibet Justice Center, a not-for-profit organization based in Berkeley that advocates the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination. www.tibetjustice.org.

This article appeared on page B – 9 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Olympic Protests Focus On Tibet’s Struggle

Learn History Behind Tibet, China’s Troubled Relationship

POSTED: 4:37 pm CDT April 7, 2008
As the eyes of the world begin to turn to the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, the focus has been straying from the athletic competition.Controversy is swirling around the upcoming international event because of many facets of Chinese policies and politics. But one issue has risen to the forefront: Tibet.Protests and demonstrations have erupted in many countries across the world, speaking out against the cultural repression and violence that has revitalized Tibet’s struggle for independence from China.Tibet, also known by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), is the second-largest province in China. TAR incorporates about half of historical Tibet, consisting of Ü-Tsang and western Kham, while the Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures and Counties are part of Quinghai, Gansu, Yunnan and Sichuan. The borders roughly correspond with the actual zone of governmental control before 1959, when Tibet was self-governing.Tibet’s struggle for independence from China began centuries ago, when the Qing Dynasty put Amdo under Chinese rule in 1724. Four years later, eastern Kham was also incorporated into the neighboring Chinese provinces.However, Tibet as we know it today has been seeking independence from China for nearly a century. After the British invasion of Tibet ended in the early 1900s, Britain acknowledged China’s control over Tibet in the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907, by stating that it would “not to enter into negotiations with Tibet except through the intermediary of the Chinese Government.”

After World War I

After World War I and the decentralization of China’s government, Tibet enjoyed a brief period of self-governance wherein the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, ruled in peace until his death in 1933.Despite this apparent independence, neither the Republic of China nor the PRC ever renounced China’s sovereignty over Tibet and in 1950 the People’s Liberation Army invaded and crushed the ill-equipped Tibetan forces. After the Seventeen Point Agreement was signed in 1951, Tibet was officially incorporated into the PRC.Still, the Tibet outlined in the Seventeen Point Agreement was to be a highly autonomous region ruled by the Dalai Lama, and was confined to the modern borders known today. The rest of historical Tibet was subject to land redistribution, which resulted in the first of many rebellions from monks and Tibetan noblemen.

Rebellions, Protests And Unrest

Though the rebellion had outside support, including the help of the American CIA, it was crushed in 1959. Thousands of Tibetans were killed, and the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, fled to exile in India where he currently resides in Dharamsala.Today, Tibet is nominally governed by the Central Tibetan Administration, also known as the Government of Tibet in Exile, though due to recent unrest, China has tightened its central control.Peaceful protests began on March 10 when hundreds of monks from Drepung monastery called for an end to religious restrictions and the release of imprisoned monks. Protests spread rapidly throughout Tibetan populated areas, and concerns of human rights violations lit up across the globe as the Olympic torch makes its way to Beijing.The protests quickly escalated away from nonviolent displays of dissent and developed into riots, resulting in many arrests and deaths — exact numbers of which are unclear due to conflicting reports from China and the Government of Tibet in Exile.Beijing has blamed the Dalai Lama and his followers for inciting the ongoing violence as an attempt to sabotage the Olympics, an allegation the religious and political leader vehemently denies.The exiled spiritual leader has repeatedly condemned violence, and has pleaded with the international community to instigate an objective probe to discover what really may have happened when the Buddhist monks clashed with the Chinese forces.

An Olympic Boycott?

International powers certainly have shown an interest in the conflict. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has stated that he may boycott the opening ceremony if China continues to crackdown on Tibet, and Prince Charles has said that he would skip the Olympics altogether.Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and members of Congress also drafted a house resolution calling on the PRC to end its arrests of nonviolent Tibetan protests, and its ongoing cultural, religious and economic repression in Tibet. Resolution 1077 calls on the Chinese government to begin dialogue with the Dalai Lama and find a long-term solution that will respect the human rights of Tibetans.China has voiced dissatisfaction over foreign discussions of the situation in Tibet during European Union foreign ministers’ discussion in Slovenia.”The Tibet issue is completely China’s internal affairs. No foreign countries or international organizations have the right to interfere in it,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, according to the official Xinhua news agency.The Dalai Lama has expressed that he does not seek the separation of Tibet from China, and instead hopes for “meaningful self-rule” while remaining a part of China. The holy man has insisted that he is willing to work with Chinese authorities to achieve peace and stability in the region.

http://www.fact-india.com





Naxal Exhibition: Preview

8 04 2008
FACT India
Naxalism: A Threat to Unified India

Click here for a miniature view of the exhib
Opens :::
April 10th and 11th Oslo, during the Conference on Peace and Reconciliation http://www.sap2008.org/

Ingeniørenes Hus Møtesenter, Kronprinsens gate 17, 0251 Oslo – Norway, http://www.ingeniorenesh

The Exhibition is a reflection of the Left wing insurgency in India, a blend of photographs, statistics and an analysis that forms the presentation of FACTS. The exhibition travels through the lives of the victims in Naxal infested states and present their lives as well as the lives of those valiant fighters both civilian and from the government. It is a fight against, the act of killing just because ideologies differ. The ideology of Intolerance and disharmony aided by violence, is taking a toll on the very same people, the ideology claims to be fighting for. Here we have been working on a series of issues on Naxalism and the havoc it has created over the years on the Indian populace and threat it poses to the unity of India.

“Its (Maoism’s) purpose is to destroy an existing society and its institutions and to replace them with a completely new structure.” – Mao Tse-Tung

Well-educated Naxalites leaders have taken advantage of the dissatisfaction among the poor and uneducated population by offering them an alternative way to growth and development.

After fighting each other and splitting like an amoeba, today there are many Maoist parties and organizations that either predate the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) or emerged from factions when the CPI-ML split after the death of Charu Mazumdar. Communist Party of India (Maoist) is the consolidated destructive form of the Leftwing extremism that has been creating more problems to the poor than fighting them on their behalf.

Maoist rebels have been attacking innocent villagers without reason and destroying public facilities like Hospitals, Schools, rail, road transport, power transmission and communication facilities which are crucial for the local communities. Armed naxals have denied the basic amenities to the poor and under privileged in the name of liberating them.

The Left wing terror has lead to massacre of politicians in Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh apart from killing innocent civilians. Human rights violations have become a part of their daily routine with women being raped, children taken away as child soldiers and couriers while pushing interior areas into a humanitarian crisis and away from development. While their resolutions claim and boast of a free and egalitarian society the Left wing terror group has itself been plagued with caste differences and inequality.

In the name of “supporting oppressed nationalities” the communist terrorists now have developed nexus with extremist organizations in Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and abroad. In the name of a “UF (United Front) of all secular forces” they have been trying to create divisions among Muslims, Christians and Sikhs. While many of the cadres have been deserting the party, frustrated and realizing what a hollow ideology of hate they have been blindly following, the terror perpetrators are hounding those who have left the so-called “movement”.

This Exhibition has been brought to you by FACT India through an extensive field study, and thanks to extensive media coverage of the problem and we would like to acknowledge the sources websites of Ministry of Home affairs and South Asia terrorism Portal.

FACT India is a Registered Trust. Contributions are welcome and donations are exempt under Section 80 G of the IT Act.

FACT India
41, Jor Bagh, New Delhi 110 003, India.

The world should stand beside Tibet

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/09/EDE11024F5.DTL

As a Tibetan, it is bittersweet to see Tibet on the front pages. The world is finally seeing Beijing’s repressive rule there, but the tragedy is that it has required such bloodshed. As Chinese forces now attempt to crush the protests, the crisis in Tibet has laid bare two important issues: the Tibetan people’s unresolved demands, and how these aspirations impact Tibet, the world and China itself.

For more than 50 years, Tibet has been a land of simmering resentment. Tibetans have various grievances, but the common thread is that Tibetans want what all nations want: to control their own lives, society and religion. Tibetans are not simply protesting specific policies; they are demanding their right to self-determination. It is no coincidence that in many protests, Tibetans are attacking symbols of state power, ripping down the Chinese flag and replacing it with the banned Tibetan one.

Unlike the demonstrations in the 1980s, the protests have spread far beyond the capital, Lhasa, to towns and villages across Tibet. Tibetan exiles are staging sympathy protests worldwide, including when Beijing’s Olympic torch comes through San Francisco today. These actions feed off one another, thanks to the Internet, digital cameras, cell phones and shortwave radio. This unity among Tibetans inside and outside Tibet represents a far stronger challenge to Chinese rule than before, and will give Tibetans renewed inspiration regardless of whether the protests in Tibet are temporarily suppressed.

For the international community, it is now impossible to accept Beijing’s narrative that Tibetans are happy as part of China. The economic growth that Beijing touts in Tibet is exposed as a synonym for Chinese colonization. The world now sees that, like East Timor and other former colonies, the Tibetan people’s demand for freedom may be temporarily repressed but is destined to boil over. The only question is whether the world will do anything to support these legitimate aspirations.

China’s self-absorbed myth that it “liberated” grateful Tibetans has also been shattered; its central narrative justifying Tibet’s place in its empire has vanished. Its policy of “Sinicizing” Tibet through immigration of Chinese settlers and vilifying His Holiness the Dalai Lama is just adding fuel to the fire. For the first time, Beijing has actually admitted that the Tibetan protests are widespread and conducted on a large scale.

Beijing has now resorted to a new propaganda tactic, casting Tibetans as violent criminals and Chinese as victims. This is largely because Beijing needed a domestic response to images seeping into China of Chinese forces attacking Tibetan protesters. State-controlled media are now broadcasting images of Tibetans attacking Chinese settlers; ignoring, of course, that the demonstrations in Lhasa were peaceful for days, and that most other Tibetan protests have been wholly nonviolent (the same cannot be said for Chinese forces, who used live ammunition against unarmed Tibetan protesters. The result of China’s new propaganda strategy has been to create an “us versus them” backlash among many Chinese vis-À-vis Tibetans. This is a reckless and potentially dangerous incitement of Chinese nationalism, but also has the effect of changing Chinese perceptions of Tibet. Tibetans are no longer portrayed as colorful if slightly backward “minorities.” Tibetans are now ungrateful colonial subjects in open rebellion. This is significant, because recognition of the difference between Tibetans and Chinese is the first step to recognition that Tibet is not China.

Looking forward, as with many colonized nations, there comes a tipping point when a sufficient number of people rise up and say “enough.” That point has been reached in Tibet. Ngawang Sangdrol, a Tibetan nun who became a political prisoner at age 12, once declared, “There is fire inside our bodies, but we dare not let the smoke out.” Now, the smoke has escaped, and for Tibetans in Tibet and across the Tibetan diaspora, there is a renewed push for freedom. And China? China will resist losing its colony, but then so did France with Algeria, Serbia with Kosovo, and Imperial Japan with Manchukuo.

The magnitude and vociferousness of the protests across Tibet demonstrate that Beijing cannot forever contain Tibetan demands for self-rule. Trying to do so only leads to instability. Through their courage and resilience in the face of a half-century of military occupation and religious and cultural oppression, Tibetans have made it abundantly clear that they want more than ever to determine their own future. The world should stand by their side.

Nima R. Taylor Binara is a member of the board of directors of Tibet Justice Center, a not-for-profit organization based in Berkeley that advocates the Tibetan people’s right to self-determination. www.tibetjustice.org.

This article appeared on page B – 9 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Olympic Protests Focus On Tibet’s Struggle

Learn History Behind Tibet, China’s Troubled Relationship

POSTED: 4:37 pm CDT April 7, 2008
As the eyes of the world begin to turn to the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing, the focus has been straying from the athletic competition.Controversy is swirling around the upcoming international event because of many facets of Chinese policies and politics. But one issue has risen to the forefront: Tibet.Protests and demonstrations have erupted in many countries across the world, speaking out against the cultural repression and violence that has revitalized Tibet’s struggle for independence from China.Tibet, also known by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), is the second-largest province in China. TAR incorporates about half of historical Tibet, consisting of Ü-Tsang and western Kham, while the Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures and Counties are part of Quinghai, Gansu, Yunnan and Sichuan. The borders roughly correspond with the actual zone of governmental control before 1959, when Tibet was self-governing.Tibet’s struggle for independence from China began centuries ago, when the Qing Dynasty put Amdo under Chinese rule in 1724. Four years later, eastern Kham was also incorporated into the neighboring Chinese provinces.However, Tibet as we know it today has been seeking independence from China for nearly a century. After the British invasion of Tibet ended in the early 1900s, Britain acknowledged China’s control over Tibet in the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907, by stating that it would “not to enter into negotiations with Tibet except through the intermediary of the Chinese Government.”

After World War I

After World War I and the decentralization of China’s government, Tibet enjoyed a brief period of self-governance wherein the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, ruled in peace until his death in 1933.Despite this apparent independence, neither the Republic of China nor the PRC ever renounced China’s sovereignty over Tibet and in 1950 the People’s Liberation Army invaded and crushed the ill-equipped Tibetan forces. After the Seventeen Point Agreement was signed in 1951, Tibet was officially incorporated into the PRC.Still, the Tibet outlined in the Seventeen Point Agreement was to be a highly autonomous region ruled by the Dalai Lama, and was confined to the modern borders known today. The rest of historical Tibet was subject to land redistribution, which resulted in the first of many rebellions from monks and Tibetan noblemen.

Rebellions, Protests And Unrest

Though the rebellion had outside support, including the help of the American CIA, it was crushed in 1959. Thousands of Tibetans were killed, and the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, fled to exile in India where he currently resides in Dharamsala.Today, Tibet is nominally governed by the Central Tibetan Administration, also known as the Government of Tibet in Exile, though due to recent unrest, China has tightened its central control.Peaceful protests began on March 10 when hundreds of monks from Drepung monastery called for an end to religious restrictions and the release of imprisoned monks. Protests spread rapidly throughout Tibetan populated areas, and concerns of human rights violations lit up across the globe as the Olympic torch makes its way to Beijing.The protests quickly escalated away from nonviolent displays of dissent and developed into riots, resulting in many arrests and deaths — exact numbers of which are unclear due to conflicting reports from China and the Government of Tibet in Exile.Beijing has blamed the Dalai Lama and his followers for inciting the ongoing violence as an attempt to sabotage the Olympics, an allegation the religious and political leader vehemently denies.The exiled spiritual leader has repeatedly condemned violence, and has pleaded with the international community to instigate an objective probe to discover what really may have happened when the Buddhist monks clashed with the Chinese forces.

An Olympic Boycott?

International powers certainly have shown an interest in the conflict. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has stated that he may boycott the opening ceremony if China continues to crackdown on Tibet, and Prince Charles has said that he would skip the Olympics altogether.Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and members of Congress also drafted a house resolution calling on the PRC to end its arrests of nonviolent Tibetan protests, and its ongoing cultural, religious and economic repression in Tibet. Resolution 1077 calls on the Chinese government to begin dialogue with the Dalai Lama and find a long-term solution that will respect the human rights of Tibetans.China has voiced dissatisfaction over foreign discussions of the situation in Tibet during European Union foreign ministers’ discussion in Slovenia.”The Tibet issue is completely China’s internal affairs. No foreign countries or international organizations have the right to interfere in it,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, according to the official Xinhua news agency.The Dalai Lama has expressed that he does not seek the separation of Tibet from China, and instead hopes for “meaningful self-rule” while remaining a part of China. The holy man has insisted that he is willing to work with Chinese authorities to achieve peace and stability in the region.

http://www.fact-india.com





Photos and Video of the Bengali "Asru Exhibition"

2 04 2008

Photos and Video of the Bengali version of “Asru Exhibition” in Thakur Nagar, Thakurbadi, North 24 paraganas, West Bengal

Photos: Click here

From asru exhibiti…

From asru exhibiti…
From asru exhibiti…
From asru exhibiti…
From asru exhibiti…
From asru exhibiti…

FACT in association with Hindu Samhati has organised an exhibition of the Persecution of Minorities in Bangladesh by the Islamic Fundamentalists. Ashru (tears), is an exhibition on the shocking persecution that has been and is being inflicted against the Hindus and other minorities in Bangladesh. The Exhibition shall go on 1st – 6th April, 2008, at Thakurnagar.

The exhibition coincides with the holy occasion of the birthday of Sri Sri Harichand Thakur – a great social and religious reformer of the 18th century and the founding Guru of the Matuya Sect (a Vaishnav Sect). The sect which primarily consists of the Namasudras a valiant Caste of Vaishanavites assembles in numbers as close to a million and raising every year to comemorate the fight against the persecution lead by H H Sri Sri Harichand Thackur in Bangladesh and India. The persecution inflicted by the Islamists was so unbearable that H H Sri Sri Harichand Thakur had to fight them.

The exhibition is organised at Thakurnagar in West Bengal and the occasion is the birthday (Janma tithi) of H H Sri Sri Harichand Thakur. The Exhibition was inaugurated by Sri Keshav Rao Dikshit, Senior Pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The inauguration had the previlige of having Sri Aditya Roy, noted Social Activist, Sri Advocate Ratnoswar Sorkar Secretary All India Refugee Front, Sri Tathogatho Roy, Author, Ex MP Rajya Sabha, Sri Jagadish Sorkar, Councilor, Gobardanga.

” The the people and Govt of India have forgotten the plight of the refugees from the East pakistan / East Bengal while those from the west were accomodated and well compensated those from the east are still lagging in poverty” said Sri Ratnoswar Sorkar. The Refugee front he said would take every action possible to give the refugees their deserving right.

“Hindu Samhati is done a good begining with the Bangladeshi Minorities’ exhibition and I expect the Hindu Samhati to work among the lower classes of the society so that all classes of the society stand united to face any future challenges” Sri Adityo Roy. He added Hindu Unity is not possible without a conmbined effort and upliftment of the denied. The matuya sampraday had been deprived of upper class Hindus and that should never have happened when they were being persecuted by the Islamic fundamentalists.

“The head quarters of Matuya Sampraday in Bangladesh. He asked why the people of Orakandi, bangladesh are not able to come here at Thakur Nagar for this festival Matuya mela”. The Simple reason He said was they are not muslims and only Muslims are pampered with all favours in Bengal. In Bengal there are some individuals and organisations trying to hide the barborous torture by muslims against Hindus. As a result Matuyas of Orakandi took refuge at Thakur Nagar and this is the time to act and if we do not resist the Illegal migration of Bangladeshis the people of Thakurnagar have to become refugees in someother part of the country. There are so many Thakur nagars along the borders said Sri Tathogatho Roy.

We have had a torturous and attrocities victims with heavy hearts all over India. in India we were inflicted with this wounds for over 1000 years, but still we have not learnt any lessons. The partition of India, direct action in Bangladesh 1946 and many other incidents stand illustration of the aparthied against the Hindus. 40,000 women along with Rani padmini welcomed death in fire rather than the attrocious bad sight of the Muslims. Hindu Samati and organisations like this are the need of the hour to bravely stand up to the attrocities and say enough is enough and to speak the truth of actually what had happened. Sri Keshav rao Dixit

Israel should be an eye opener its a perfect case study for the Hindus.

“The attrocities against Hindus are endless and still our communist inspired media or the social and human right workers do not deem it fit to raise a voice against them. In the name of the secular garb the voice of the deprived is being shutdown, in the garb of fancy words like freedom of expression and speech and selective usage of them there has been a continuous effort to insult the Hindus” Sri tapon kumar Ghosh said.

The Organisation FACT stands for Foundation Against Continuing Terrorism and you all sitting here will be surprised to learn that the founder of this organisation is a French journalist who has been living in India for more than three decades. It also reminds us of how denied and in deep slumber we Hindus are, that a foreigner has to take up the fight on our behalf. Ofcourse it is another thing that he is more Hindu than most of us. Tapon kumar Gosh

About the Mela and the Man behind it.

Thakur, Harichand (1811-1877) a Hindu votary and founder of the matuya sect, was born in Orakandi of kashiani upazila in gopalganj (Greater faridpur) on the thirteenth day of Falgun 1214 of the Bangla calendar. His father, Yashomanta Thakur, was a Maithili Brahmin and a devout Vaisnava.

H H Harichand received little formal education. After completing his initial schooling in a pathshala, he attended school for only a few months. He then started spending his time with shepherds and cowboys and roamed with them from one place to another. He started changing from this time. He was loved by all of his friends for his physical beauty, naivete, love for music and philanthropic attitude. He could also sing bhajan (devotional songs).

H H Harichand’s doctrine is based on three basic principles-truth, love, and sanctity. The doctrine treats all people as equal; people are not seen according to castes or sects. Himself a Brahmin, he professed mixed with lower-caste people and treated them with the same dignity as he did other castes. This is why most of his followers believe H H Harichand to be an avatar (incarnation) of vishnu, and are from the lower strata of society. They used to affirm: Rama hari krisna hari hari gorachand. Sarba hari mile ei purna harichand (Rama is lord, Krishna is lord, lord is Chaitanyadev. But all of them make our Harichand, who is our lord.)

Harichand did not believe in asceticism; he was more of a family man; and it is from within the family that he preached the word of God. He believed that ‘Grhete thakiya yar hay bhaboday. Sei ye param sadhu janio nishchay‘ (the best ascetic is he who can express his devotion to God remaining a family man). He mobilised all the neglected sects and castes and inspired them to remain true to the openness of Hinduism.

H H Sri Sri Harichand left 12 instructions for the matuyas, known as Dvadash Ajna (Twelve Commands):
1. always speak the truth,
2. respect your parents like gods,
3. treat woman as your mother,
4. love the world,
5. remain liberal to all the religions,
6. never discriminate on racial counts,
7. try to establish Harimandir (temple of the Lord),
8. sit in prayer everyday,
9. Sacrifice your self for God,
10. do not practice asceticism in a garb,
11. hold the six cardinal passions in check, and
12. utter the name of your Lord while working with your hand.

H H Sri Sri Harichand died on Wednesday 23 Falgun, the year 1284 of the Bangla calendar.

Hindu bathing festival in Gopalganj, Bangladesh

The Maha Baruni Bath Festival of the believers of the Hindu religion at village Orakandi under Kashiani upazila in Gopalganj is one of the biggest festivals in Bangladesh. The fair is organised every year marking the birth anniversary of Hindu priest Sri Sri Harichand Thakur, who was born in the village.

As they believe that Harichand’s residence is one of the holiest places containing holy water, thousands of pilgrims take baths in Kamona Sagar and Dudh Sagar — two ponds in the residence — on the date of his birth ‘to purify them with the holy water and to be cured of their diseases.’
Thousands of pilgrims from across the country, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Thailand attended the festival.