Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Markazi Majlis-e-Shura in my Naani ghar..!

It was a fascinating spectacle.

The Markazi Majlis-e-Shura of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind was about to begin in my grand mother's house. The atmosphere was that of bonhomie. You could find sherwani clad Moulanas everywhere. Where on earth you could find such a comraderie and mutual affection.

I was very much elated. I found myself running here and there. I was very much amused and excited. In my grandpa's room elderly Moulanas were staying. H Abdur Raqeeb Sahib's voice could be heard. I could not comprehend what is being said. Raqeeb Sahib was sitting in a chair and some Moulana was reclining in a bed. They were talking amicably.

Suddenly I found myself in the hall. It is the same hall where I used to play as a child. Grand pa used to listen BBC in his radio sitting in a easy chair in that very hall. They had converted it into a meeting hall.

Instantly I found myself moving towards the backyard. There people are taking their breakfast silently. Ameer-e-Halqa A Shabbir Ahmed was eating french toast. Somebody was placing a slice of a colourful fruit in someone's plate.

Then again I found myself in the passage between the hall and the backyard. At that instant Ameer-e-Jamaat in a bright blueish black Sherwani entered. He was moving confidantly like a bridegroom with a vibrant smile lit in his face. His steps are measured. He was flanked by two Moulanas. I could not recall their faces.

The hall is nearly full. Ameer-e-Jamaat and others were sitting in a row.

Suddenly I hear a feeble voice of my wife calling Rafia, my fourth daughter (who is doing her UKG). I look for Rafia. She was coming towards me. I move towards her to fetch her.

Just then the voice of my wife had gone shriller.


I woke up instantly.

Oh! It was a dream!
What a dream it was!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Biggest winner of the world in 2011 was Islam : Patrick Buchanan

This year, clearly, one of the world's big winner was -- Islam.

From Morocco to Pakistan, a great awakening is occurring. The most dramatic example of Islam rising again came in Egypt, with the fall of the 60-year-old military dictatorship. The West hailed the coming of democracy but democracy delivered a rude shock. In the first round of voting, over 60 percent of ballots were for the Muslim Brotherhood or the radical Islamist Nour Party. In the second round, 75 percent voted Islamist. In Tunis and Tripoli, too, the overthrow of autocrats revealed a silent majority sympathetic to Islamism.

Worldwide, the Muslim population has surpassed Catholicism as the world's largest religion, with 48 members of the U.N. General Assembly now boasting a Muslim plurality or majority.

India, with 150 million Muslims, has more than both Egypt and Iraq. Russia, with 25 million, has more Muslims than Libya and Jordan combined. China has more than Syria. Five percent of Europe is Muslim, and the numbers continue to rise.
If demography is destiny, the future would seem to belong to Islam.
Patrick Buchanan in an article titled "Second Period of Islamic Powrer" in Realclearpolitics. Here

Friday, December 23, 2011

Relating to Neighbours

Neighbours have rights, be they Muslims or non-Muslims. The Prophet of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "He is not a true Believer who eats his fill while his neighbour is hungry." (Bayhaqi.)
Thus, the quality of our Din (Faith) and fate in the Akhira (Hereafter) will also be determined by how well we fulfill your obligations towards our neighbours. In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, a man said:
"O Messenger of Allah, such and such woman has a reputation for engaging very much in Prayers, Fasting and Almsgiving, but she hurts her neighbours with her tongue quite often." He said, "She will go to Hell." Then he said, "O Messenger of Allah, such and such woman engages in only a little Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving and gives just a few pieces of cheese in charity, but she does not hurt her neighbours with her tongue." He said, "She will go to Paradise." (Ahmad, Bayhaqi.)
One class of neighbours is our relatives. Another class are those who are not our relatives and the third class of neighbours are those who sit with us, even for a few minutes. This third class of neighbours is a very wide group and includes those who sit by our side. If we are travelling in a taxi, bus, train or aeroplane the person who is sitting by our side is our neighbour. If we are in the office, our co-worker is our neighbour. If we are at school, our classmate is our neighbour. The Prophet gave a comprehensive account of our duties towards our neighbours when requested to do so by one of his Companions:
If he asks for a loan, you should give him a loan; if he wants your help, you should help him; if he be sick, you should go to see him; if he be needy you should try to fulfill his need; if he gets good news, you should congratulate him; if any calamity befalls him, it is your duty to console him; if he dies, you should attend his funeral; you should not raise your walls to such a height that they obstruct the ventilation of your neighbour's house, even if he is willing; do not tantalise your neighbour with the smell of your delicious food unless you send a portion of it to him; if you bring fruit into your house then send some to your neighbour; otherwise, keep it hidden from your neighbour, and you should also be careful that your children do not take some out, else the children of your neighbour may feel disappointed. (Tabarani)
Compiled From:
In the Early Hours" - Khurram Murad, p.125

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Enlightened Leadership

The enlightened Muslim leadership of the early empires enabled the rise of the various golden ages. This vision of leadership, however compromised by the unavoidable human ego, institutional failings, bad luck, and corruption, managed for more than eight centuries to inspire a climate of invention and intellectual ferment that was unique and helped shape a future vision of modern leadership in Europe and other non-Muslim countries.
The leadership legacy of Abu Bakr would seem to be in creating a model of humility, compromise, incorruptibility, and a dedication to charity and public welfare. These values provided an enduring ideal of leadership in the Muslim world and beyond, an ideal often contrary to the baser instincts of men.
Ali is one of the first Muslim leaders to set down in writing a detailed template for enlightened leadership, elements of which later surfaced in the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates, in Fatimid and Sunni Egypt, in Seljuk Persia and Anatolia, in the Delhi sultanate and Mughal India, and in the Ottoman Empire.
Evidence is included in a lengthy letter on leadership, which Caliph Ali sent to his loyal follower, Maalik al-Ashtar, appointing him as the new Muslim governor of Egypt:
... Remember, Maalik, that amongst your subjects there are two kinds of people: those who have the same religion as you have, they are brothers to you; and those who have religions other than that of yours, they are human beings like you.... Let your mercy and compassion come to their rescue and help in the same way and to the same extent that you expect Allah to show mercy and forgiveness to you....
You must always appreciate and adopt a policy, which is neither too severe nor too lenient; a policy which is based upon equity will be largely appreciated. Remember that the displeasure of common men, the havenots and the depressed persons overbalances the approval of important persons, while the displeasure of a few big people will be excused by the Lord if the general public and masses of your subjects are happy with you....
Remember, Maalik.... The thing which should most gladden the heart of a ruler is the fact that his State is being ruled on the principles of equity and justice and that his subjects love him. And your subjects will only love you when they have no grievances against you. So let them have as many justifiable hopes in you as they can and fulfill as many as you reasonably can. Speak well of those who deserve your praise. Appreciate the good deeds done by them and let these good actions be known publicly.
Compiled From:"Lost History" - Michael Hamilton Morgan, pp. 254-257

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Five deeds to heaven

Abu Dhar, states: 'I asked the Messenger of God [may God bless him and grant him peace] how the servant is delivered from the fire.' and he answered, 'By faith in God.'
'O Messenger of God, is there no deed with faith?'
He Answered, 'That you give in charity what God has put in your possession' - or 'That you give in charity what God has provided you with.'
'O Messenger of God, what if a person is poor and finds nothing to give?'
He said, 'Then let him enjoin justice and forbid wrongdoing.'
'And what if he is unable to enjoin justice and forbid wrongdoing?'
'Then let him assist some simple-minded person.'
'O Messenger of God, what if whatever he did would not help?'
'Then let him assist someone who has been wronged.'
'O Messenger of God, what if he were too weak and unable to help someone who has been wronged?'
'Do you not wish to leave your friend any good? Then let him restrain himself from harming others.'
'O Messenger of God, do you mean that someone will enter Heaven for doing thus?'
He replied, 'Anyone who manages but one of the things I have described will be taken by the hand into Heaven.'
[Bayhaqi, Suhuab al-Iman]
Compiled From:
"The Invocation of God" - Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, p. 37

Saturday, December 17, 2011


The Prophet, peace be upon him, held one of his Companions, called Abu Lubabah, in great esteem, so much so that he had left him in charge of Medina when he had left for the first Badr expedition. Some time later, a young orphan came to Muhammad to complain that Abu Lubabah had taken from him a palm tree that had long been his. The Prophet summoned Abu Lubabah and asked him to explain. Investigations showed that the palm tree did belong to Abu Lubabah, and the Prophet judged in the latter's favour, greatly disappointing the young orphan. Muhammad privately asked Abu Lubabah, justice having now been rendered, to give the tree to the young orphan, for whom it was so important. Abu Lubabah adamantly refused: he had gone to such lengths to assert his right of ownership that to concede to this request was inconceivable. This obsession veiled his heart and compassion. Revelation was to recall, on both the individual and collective levels, the singular nature of the spiritual elevation that makes it possible to reach beyond the consciousness of justice, that demands right, to the excellence of the heart, that offers forgiveness or gives people more than their due: "God commands justice and excellence." [Quran 16:90]
It was not a question of giving up one's right (and Abu Lubabah had been justified in requiring it to be acknowledged); rather, it involved learning to sometimes reach beyond, for the sake of those reasons of the heart that teach the mind to forgive, to let go, and to give from oneself and from one's belongings, moved by shared humanity or love. The Prophet was saddened by the reaction of his Companion, whom he held in great esteem: he realized that Abu Lubabah's almost blind attachment to one of Islam's recommendations, justice, prevented him from reaching the superior level of justness of the heart: excellence, generosity, giving. Eventually, another Companion, Thabit ibn Dahdanah, who had witnessed the scene, offered Abu Lubabah an entire orchard in exchange for that single palm tree, which he then gave away to the young orphan. Muhammad rejoiced at that outcome and did not resent Abu Lubabah's attitude. He later entrusted Abu Lubabah with other missions.
Compiled From:
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 133

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Things are not always as they seem

Things are not always as they seem. Let us analyse this statement from an Islamic perspective.
Noah started making his ark in a desert. His friends made fun of him saying, ‘where is water?’ ‘Are you going to sail the ship in the desert?’ He had to tolerate their taunting remarks. Who won ultimately?

Musa’s mother threw her infant son in the river. Did he die?

Yusuf’s jealous and scheming brothers threw him in a well. Was that the end of Yusuf?

Ibrahim was thrown in the fire. Did the fire harm him?

When Imran’s wife delivered the baby-girl – Maryam, she regretted for not having delivered a baby boy. Was she right? Is not Maryam one among the four great women of the world? Did she not become the blessed mother of Prophet Isa!

When Musa left Egypt along with Bani Israeel, he lost his way in the cover of darkness and had to face Red Sea, and no way to ‘escape’! Who realised that very moment that the apparent danger to Musa and his followers would turn out to be the end of the mighty Phir’oun!

Abrahah, the Christian governor, left Yemen with a huge army of men and elephants, with the evil intention of demolishing Ka’bah. Did he achieve success?

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions left everything behind in Makkah and migrated to Madinah. Was it an acceptance of his ‘defeat’ at the hands of the pagan Arabs?

At the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah, the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) were greatly upset because the Prophet agreed to all the terms of the Treaty dictated by the enemies of Truth and the terms were seemingly unfavourable to the Muslims. What happened later?

Abu Jandal was crying as he was captured during the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah and the enemies had put chains around him. He screamed: Help! Help!! None helped. It appeared as if the Prophet was pushing his companion into the jaws of death. Who had the last laugh?

Many such situations are found in the stories of the past nations. The start of the situation might indicate the end would be unpleasing. But if you read the complete story, you will realise that Allah has a plan which brings out a fruitful result.

At times in our life we are faced with certain difficulties, it might seem that it is a punishment being given out but it actually turns out to be a blessing from Allah. Our duty is to stay patient and realize that He is the All-Knowing! Patience, courage, and determination can be gained by reading the numerous inspiring stories mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadeeth.

Let’s have a brief explanation to the three incidents quoted above.

Prophet Nuh faced taunting remarks from his nation. But he did not become discouraged. He kept on following the orders of Allah. He and his followers were saved from Allah’s punishment. As for the disbelievers among his nation, they were punished because of their arrogance. We learn from his story the importance of following the orders of Allah, making Him our priority, ignoring the pressure put by those who have a blindfold on their eyes!

Musa’s mother had faith in Allah, which gave her the courage to put her new born baby in a river. As a result Allah kept her baby safe and returned him to his mother. He also granted her son Prophethood. It is very difficult for a mother to give up her baby. Who could dare to put one’s baby in a river? But this mother did that. Her deep faith in Allah made it easier for her to accept Allah’s decision.

After Yusuf was thrown in the well by his brothers it seemed he would not have survived. But the result turned out to be different. He was afraid but then he recalled his father’s love and affection. Yusuf prayed to Allah for help. He was not afraid anymore. This incident instilled in him patience and courage.

Yunus was swallowed by a fish, Musa was puzzled at the acts of Khizer, Ja’far ibn Abi Talib had to confront Negus, Ali ibn Abi Talib had to sleep on the bed of the Prophet, risking his life on the night of migration, Prophet Muhammad had to surrender to Allah’s will while he lost his sons and consequently had to face the taunting remarks of the Quraysh calling him ‘Abtar’!

Yet look at how they turned out for them in the end. So don’t despair!
Have patience especially during difficult times. Patience is a virtue and if conquered, its fruit will be sweet.

Remember after every difficulty there is ease. Allah does not want to hurt his beloved servants. All hard times teach a lesson or two. It makes one courageous to survive in the world. It teaches one to be fearless of everything except of Allah.

Muqeet in his best. Here

Islam and European Renaissance

What are now often called ‘Western values’ – democracy, equality, toleration, freedom of speech, etc – are the products largely of the Enlightenment and of the post-Enlightenment world. Such values are, of course, not ‘Western’ in any essential sense but are universal; they are ‘Western’ only through an accident of geography and history.

Christian Western Europe rediscovered the Greek heritage, and in particular Aristotle, in the thirteenth century, a rediscovery that helped transform European intellectual culture. It inspired the work of Thomas Aquinas, perhaps the greatest of all Christian theologians, and allowed reason to take centre stage again in European philosophy.

But how did theologians and scholars in Western Europe find their way back to Greek thought? Primarily through the Muslim Empire. As Christian Europe endured its ‘Dark Ages’, an intellectual tradition flowered in the Islamic world as lustrous as that of Ancient Athens before or Renaissance Florence after. Centred first in Baghdad and then in Cordoba, in Muslim Iberia, Arab philosophy and science played a critical role not just in preserving the gains of the Greeks but in genuinely expanding the boundaries of knowledge, both in philosophy and in science.

Arab scholars revolutionsed astronomy, invented algebra, helped develop the modern decimal number system, established the basis of optics, and set the ground rules of cryptography. But perhaps more important the science was the philosophy. The Rationalist tradition in Islamic thought, culminating in the work of Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd, is these days barely remembered in the West. Yet its importance and influence, not least on the ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition, is difficult to overstate. Ibn Rushd especially, the greatest Muslim interpreter of Aristotle, came to wield far more influence within Judaism and Christianity than within Islam, his commentaries shaping the thinking of a galaxy of thinkers from Maimonides to Aquinas himself.

Christians of the time recognized the importance of Muslim philosophers. In The Divine Comedy, Dante places Ibn Rushd with the great pagan philosophers whose spirits dwell not in Hell but in Limbo ‘the place that favor owes to fame’. One of Raphael’s most famous paintings, The School of Athens, is a fresco on the walls of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, depicting the world’s great philosophers. Among the pantheon of celebrated Greek philosophers including Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras and Diogenes stands Ibn Rushd.

Today, however, that debt has been almost entirely forgotten. There is a tendency to think of Islam as walled-in, insular, hostile to reason and freethinking. But the fact remains that the scholarship of the golden age of Islamic thinking helped lay the foundations for the European Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution. Without the Muslim world, it is possible that neither may have happened.
 Kenan Malik in Pandaemonium. Here
Read  "Islam is the answer for the environmental crisis", says Prince Charles

Mideast uprisings: A lesson for strong men and counterfactual historians

Manipulated over the past century and a half by greedy outsiders and their own repressive leaders, many Arabs in the middle east and north Africa are saying, "Enough already!" In country after country from Morocco to Bahrain, popular uprisings are now a raging fire. The long simmering resentment of ordinary people against widespread corruption, unemployment, grotesque inequalities and curtailment of freedom which is now a growing explosive anger, is said to have been sparked by the self-immolation of a young Tunisian man who refused to be cowed down by the brutality of a corrupt police force. The wave of protests has caught the world by surprise, especially the recent events in Egypt where the stunning removal from power of Hosni Mubarak, the long time dictator and US ally was unimaginable just a few short months ago. Egyptians themselves are probably among the most surprised. This time the bogeyman for the mass demonstrators is not the US or Israel, but their own leaders who have long exploited anti-US sentiments to control the citizenry while doing the bidding of the west for their own profit. I have no special insights to add to what we are hearing in the news about the middle east. Things are in a ferment; it is hard to predict how the present and future will shape up in Egypt or elsewhere, and what the implications are for the coming trends in geo-politics. At this moment, the hottest spot in the Arab fire storm is in Libya where the crazy colonel has threatened to become a martyr while inciting a civil war among his countrymen with the help of foreign mercenaries. A map of the region shows the time line and the current status of events in the affected areas.
Ruchira in Accidental Blogger. Here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hukumat-e-Ilahyia se Welfare Party of India Tak

What is the reason behind the decision to launch Welfare Party of India? Has Jamaat-e-Islami Hind compromised its treasured principles? Has the Jamaat discarded its nasb-ul-ain? What about the age old cherished dream of forming the Hukumat-e-Ilahiya (Kingdom of God)? Could this be described as a turnaround by the Jamaat? Ameenul Hasan answers all the questions convincingly and patiently. You could see a different Ameen here. The vibrancy is missing. He speaks smoothly and with conviction. After watching this enlightening lecture all the doubts regarding the Welfare Party move fade away. A must watch for those who have not yet digested the major move by the oldest Islamic Movement in India.

Malappuram in Karachi

The tiny Malayali community in Karachi has shrunk over the years. Those who remain wait in vain for a passage to India
The nondescript apartment looks like an average home in Karachi. It’s the bar of Chandrika herbal soap in the bathroom and the Mathrubhoomi calendar on the wall, ubiquitous to Malayali homes, that betrays the lineage of its occupants. The flat’s octogenarian owner, BM Kutty, came to Karachi from Kerala in search of greener pastures in 1949, a time when Karachi was just a train ride away from Mumbai. Since then, the political activist has spent six decades of his life as a Pakistani national.

Kutty is part of the shrinking community of Malayalis settled in Karachi. Unlike some Muslims of north India who migrated to Pakistan during Partition, the migration of Malayali Muslims had a different context. The first exodus from Kerala to Karachi took place in 1921, the year of the Mappila Revolt, when landless Malabar Muslims (Mappilas) of Malappuram district in north Kerala launched an armed rebellion against the British and upper-caste Hindus. The uprising was brutally crushed after the British proclaimed martial law, and the Karachi chapter of Mappilas was born.

“Many Mappilas fled to Mumbai or Karachi. Here, they started from scratch with nothing but a kettle and cups, delivering tea to offices. Soon, they were running paan shops and hotels,” says Kutty. Today, most Malayalis in Karachi are small-time owners of shops and restaurants. One can find an odd Malabari restaurant in the city, the masala dosa on the menus of many non-Malabari restaurants, and Malabar betel leaves from Kerala in Karachi’s paan stalls. But few of the city’s Mappilas speak Malayalam. At schools run by the Malabar Muslim Jamaat, established in 1920, a handful of students can speak Malayalam, but second-generation Malayalis are more fluent in Urdu than in their native tongue.

According to the Malabar Muslim Jamaat, the Malayali population in the city is dwindling. From 64,000 in 1986, they are one-tenth of that figure now, living in middle-class colonies like Mahmudabad, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Shershah and the Muslim Malabari colony.

For Karachi’s Mappilas, visiting relatives in Kerala was never a hassle, even after Partition, says Kutty. But after the 1965 India-Pakistan war, the scene changed, as ties between the two countries soured, and trade and travel links were snapped. Those who managed to get a visa went to meet their families in Kerala; some tried to stay on as fugitives in their own homeland only to be deported. “Some with wives and children in Kerala got remarried in Karachi. A few others with means managed to get Indian passports,” says Kutty, who recently published his autobiography Sixty Years in Self-Exile: No Regrets. A few hundred Pakistani Malayalis continue to retrace their steps back home, mainly to Kerala’s northern districts, and are fighting to reclaim their Indian citizenship. But they have to be content with living on long-stay visas until the Indian government decides on their fate.

Why would some of Karachi’s Mappilas want to return to Kerala? The first set of Mappila migrants and others such as Kutty had come here in search of better job prospects. In the Seventies, Malayalis on their way to the Gulf found Karachi their accidental homeland. Abdul Kadar, 54, from Tirur in Kerala, landed on the Karachi coast in 1976. “A travel agent charged me and several others Rs 700 each, promising to take us from Mumbai to Dubai by sea. Our motor launch set sail and when it finally docked, we were told that we were at our destination. I got off along with the others. I realised that I had been duped and brought to Karachi instead,” says Kadar. Stranded in a foreign land with no passport, Kadar was forced to get a Pakistani passport by claiming that he was born there.
Shalini Nair in Indian Express. Here

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The beginning of the end of the Western hegemony

Tawakul Karman
The Arab liberation revolution will fundamentally change the Middle East. The acceleration of the West's decline will change the world. One outcome will be a surge toward China, Russia and regional powers like Brazil, Turkey and Iran. Another will be a series of international flare-ups stemming from the West's lost deterrence. But the overall outcome will be the collapse of North Atlantic political hegemony not in decades, but in years. When the United States and Europe bury Mubarak now, they are also burying the powers they once were. In Cairo's Tahrir Square, the age of Western hegemony is fading away.
Ari Shavit in Haaretz. Here and Here

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Imran Siddiqi bags Infosys Award

Dr. Imran Siddiqi, Scientist and Group Leader, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad has bagged the Infosys award for outstanding scientists.

Dr Imran Siddiqi has been chosen for the Infosys Rrize 2011 in Life Science by the Infosys Science Foundation for his path-breaking contribution to the understanding of clonal seed formation in plants which could revolutionize agriculture for poor farmers in developing countries.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs 50 lakh, with a 22-karat gold medal, and a citation.
More Here and Here and Here

Monday, December 05, 2011

Islamic Finance in the 21st Century

It is no secret that conventional financial systems are not working and the sector is looking for alternative and responsible ways of doing business.

Islamic finance poses an ethical and non-conventional model and is currently the only area with strong growth, said Professor Ignacio dela Torre, Academic Director of the Master in Finance Programmes at Spain's Instituto de Empressa (IE) Business School last week.

Dela Torre was speaking at the relaunch of the Saudi-Spanish Centre for Islamic Economics and Finance, a partnership between IE Business School and Saudi Arabia's King Abdul Aziz University.

The relaunch coincided with a conference on "Islamic Finance in the 21st century". He said when employment levels are high in the West, it makes sense for finance students to familiarise themselves with alternative finance models that also include eco-finance and micro-finance.
"From a macroeconomic point of view it makes sense that European governments and financial markets set up Islamic windows so excess liquidity can be channelled through some European financing markets with these structures."
"There is already $1 trillion (Dh3.67 trillion) of Islamic money and it is growing at 20 per cent with $200 million of additional Islamic money coming in every year," said Dela Torre.
Students are showing interest in this area of finance and universities in the United Kingdom and France have responded to the demand early on. Over the past five years, IE has been offering Islamic finance programmes.
"When you travel to the Gulf, where 50 per cent of banking is Islamised, there are not enough people with skills and understanding of Islamic finance," he said.
He added that from a career perspective it is wise to have knowledge of this area because those who work in conventional finance will sooner or later be faced with Islamic finance.
Amelia Naidoo in Gulf News. Here

A pacemaker without wires

A pacemaker that regulates the heart by wirelessly zapping it with pulses of ultrasound from outside the organ is currently undergoing human trials in Europe.

Conventional pacemakers stimulate the heart tissue via electrical leads that are fed into the heart through a vein. But leads can fail, requiring additional surgery to remove and replace them. The conventional approach also restricts where the therapeutic shock can be delivered.

The new device uses focused acoustic waves that are picked up by a small receiver implanted permanently inside the heart, converting the energy into electricity. Unlike radio waves, ultrasound can pass through tissue at high-enough energy levels without causing any heating.

"This represents a significant breakthrough, eliminating the lead in the heart," says Paul Skjefte, marketing strategist for EBR Systems, the company that created the pacemaker. The startup, based in Sunnyvale, California, was spun out of research by founder Debra Echt, a former professor of medicine and a cardiologist at Vanderbilt University.
A report in Technologyreview. Here

Sunday, December 04, 2011

"Egypt revolution is Youthquake": Sadat Husseini

Here is the most powerful speech given by Br Sadat Husseini on "Middle East revolutions: Impacts and expectations". 
Sadat Husseini is member of Central Advisory Council of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. In his speech he has listed out five lessons to be learnt from the Middle East revolutions. It is worth watching.
I heard the full speech in one session. This is the first time that I have spent so much time in viewing a speech. The subject is alluring and Sadat captivates you with shers, arabic slogans, Quranic verses and english quotations.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

A slap that failed to stir the nation

The day Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar received ‘the slap’ I and Sharad Joshi were speaking at a national conference of farmers in Haridwar. A little after lunch, Swami Ramdev walked in to take his seat on the dais and expressed his apologies for being late. He said he was late because he had got busy responding to media questioning on the thappad.

The moment he gave out the news of the ‘the slap’ there was a round of applause. I think the clapping and cheering that followed was louder than the applause any one of us had received during and after our presentations. Meanwhile, the stream of messages on my mobile seemed never ending. My twitter too was flooded with congratulatory messages. I am aware that howsoever we may strongly condemn the incident, which was the politically correct thing to do, the fact remains that there was a sense of jubilation all around.

For a country reeling under an unprecedented price rise, corruption and economic policies that benefit only 1 per cent of the population, ‘the slap’ was an expression of the simmering anger and increasing frustration. While the more daring have picked up the gun (in the Maoist-affected areas) against the inequalities being continuously perpetuated with impunity, the liberal and the educated in the urban centres too are getting restless. I agree with Shobha De when she says ‘this is not about Sharad Pawar. He just happened to be the man at the receiving end of the most recent slap’.

Please do not get me wrong. I am not advocating throwing shoes to be a democratic form of dissent. But at the same time, I want you to think, and think deeply, as to why this democracy finds nothing disturbing when farmers kill themselves in order to draw the attention of powers that be to their plight. Such arrogance and indifference in a people’s democracy can’t go on for long. “The slap’ and the chappal cannot be simply dismissed as the work of a mentally unstable person. It is an expression of growing anger among the masses. Let us not wait for an Arab spring to force the Indian democracy to truly respond and represent the people. It is a question of the forgotten 99 per cent. #
Devinder Sharma in Ground Realities. Here.

Mohamed Badie, the man who matters most in Egypt

Who is the man at the helm of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, now poised to lead Egypt in the post-Mubarak era?

Liberals view him as an uncompromising religious conservative and even within the Muslim Brotherhood some doubt his ability to lead. Will Mohamed Badie succeed in uniting the Muslim Brotherhood and forming a parliamentary majority?

The press conference was set to start at noon, but at one the long table at the front of the tightly packed room remained empty. The cameramen were still jostling to set up their equipment, jamming their heavy tripods into what remained of the spaces along the walls.

It almost didn’t matter, everyone knew the story they were there for. It was all about the man who would finally take his seat at the table at 2 PM: The Muslim Brotherhood’s General Masul, the General Guide, Mohamed Badie. It was September 2010 and parliamentary elections, were on everyone’s minds, as they are today. Especially when it came to predicting the power of the Muslim Brotherhood in those elections.

Mohamed Badie Abdul Mageed Samy, a highly educated man with roots in labour rights and a strong commitment to outreach, is poised to become one of the most influential powers in the ‘new Egypt.’ Yet, his rise from relative obscurity to the forefront of national politics has left many Egyptians perplexed. Liberals view him as an uncompromising religious conservative and even within the Muslim Brotherhood some doubt his ability to lead. Will Mohamed Badie succeed in uniting the Muslim Brotherhood and forming a parliamentary majority?
 Maryam Ishani in Majalla. Here and Here

Friday, December 02, 2011

The Art of Asking

Remembrance has greater merit than supplication. This is because remembrance is adulation of God Almighty by the beauty of His attributes, His gifts and His names; while supplication consists in the servant asking God for something he needs. And what is this compared to that? Thus, it is stated in a hadith: 'To someone too busy with My remembrance to supplicate Me, I give what is more excellent than what I give to those who ask.' [Muslim]
This is also why the preferred form of supplication begins with praise and adulation for God, then gives blessings upon His Prophet and, finally, asks for what one needs. This follows a hadith from Fudala Ibn Ubayd. When the Messenger of God heard a man in worship supplicating God without praising Him and without invoking blessings upon His Prophet, he remarked, 'This one has rushed things.' Then he called the man over and said to him or someone else [who was with them], 'When one of you offers the prayer, let him begin with adulation for his Lord Almighty, then let him ask for blessings upon the Prophet. After that, let him ask for what he wants.' [Ahmad, Tirmidhi]
Compiled From:
"The Invocation of God" - Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, p. 120

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

இராஜாஜியின் குலக்கல்வித் திட்டமும் ஜெயலலிதாவும்

1969 ஜனவரி 20 ஆம் நாள்...
உடல் நலிவுற்று சென்னை அடையாறு புற்றுநோய் மருத்துவமனையில் சேர்க்கப்பட்டார் அண்ணா.
உற்சாகம் ததும்ப புன்னகை பூத்த முகத்துடன் மருத்துவமனையில் வந்து இறங்கிய அண்ணா, ஏராளமான புத்தகங்களுடன் உள்ளே நுழைந்தார்.

அங்கு அவர் தங்கியிருந்து சிகிச்சை பெறும் வகையில் ஏ.சி அறைக்கு ஏற்பாடு செய்யப் பட்டிருந்தது.
அவரை அங்கும் இங்கும் அழைத்துச் செல்ல சக்கர நாற்காலி தயாராக இருந்தது.
அமெரிக்காவிலிருந்தும் பம்பாயிலிருந்தும் புற்றுநோய் நிபுணர்கள் வரவழைக்கப் பட்டனர்.
அண்ணாவுக்கு என்ன ஆகுமோ, ஏதாகுமோ என்ற பதைபதைப்பில் தமிழக மக்கள் ஆழ்ந்தனர்.
மருத்துவமனையின் ஒவ்வொரு அசைவுகளையும் ஊடகங்கள் செய்தியாக்கிக் கொண்டிருந்தன.
திமுக பொருளாளர் சாதிக் பாட்சா தமது அறிக்கைகளின் மூலம் அண்ணாவின் நிலை பற்றிய அறிவிப்புகளை செய்து கொண்டிருந்தார்.
இத்தனை பரபரப்பும் பதற்றமும் சூழ்ந்து நிற்க அண்ணா மட்டும் அமைதியாக, தாம் கொண்டுவந்த புத்தகங்களை படித்துக் கொண்டிருந்தார்.உயிர் போகும் வேளையில் கூட வாசிப்பை நிறுத்தாத அன்றைய முதல்வர் எங்கே..?
உலகத் தரத்துடன் கூடிய ஒரு வாசிப்புச் சாலையை உருக்குலைக்க நினைக்கும் இன்றைய முதல்வர் எங்கே..?

புற்றுநோய் முற்றிய நிலையிலும் புத்தகங்களோடு வந்திறங்கி, மருத்துவமனையைக் கூட நூலகமாக மாற்றினார் அன்று அண்ணா!
என்ன நோய் முற்றியதோ தெரியவில்லை, அந்த அண்ணாவின் பெயரால் அமைந்த அழகிய நூலகத்தை மருத்துவமனையாக மாற்றத் துடிக்கிறார் இன்று அம்மா!
Aloor Shanawaz at his best. Here

How British, American and European firms exploit Indian 'guinea pigs'

Western pharmaceutical companies have seized on India over the past five years as a testing ground for drugs – making the most of a huge population and loose regulations which help dramatically cut research costs for lucrative products to be sold in the West. The relationship is so exploitative that some believe it represents a new colonialism.

Since restrictions on drug trials were relaxed in 2005, the industry in India has swollen to the point where today more than 150,000 people are involved in at least 1,600 clinical trials, conducted on behalf of British, American and European firms including AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Merck. There may be more.

While there is no official figure, some estimates suggest the industry may be worth as much as £189m. Regulators have struggled to keep pace with the explosion. Between 2007 and 2010, at least 1,730 people died in India while, or after, participating in such trials. Many of those people, often only eligible for the studies because they were ill, might have died anyway. Yet when there are complications, even those resulting in deaths, there is often a failure properly to investigate.
Andrew Buncombe and Nina Lakhani in The Independent. Here

From tragedy to travesty: Drugs tested on survivors of Bhopal

Secret reports seen by The Independent reveal that drug trials funded by western pharmaceutical firms at the Indian hospital set up for survivors of the Bhopal disaster violated international ethical standards and could have put patients at risk.

Some 14 patients died during the three trials examined by the reports. In one trial, for an antibiotic, five out of seven patients died during the trial or soon after it finished. While there is no suggestion that every death merits compensation, critics say there has been no adequate investigation into whether compensation was appropriate in any of the cases. None has ever been paid.

At least eight other trials were carried out on hundreds of Bhopal gas victims. The Independent has evidence of patients who were unaware that they were taking part in a trial at all. The conduct of the trials has exposed the hospital to furious criticism from activists who say that survivors have been used as guinea pigs without proper informed consent.
Nina Lakhani in The Independent. Here

News can be bought and sold :Seema Mustafa

The story of a country cannot be without its people. The government’s decision to bring in a Food Security Bill cannot be divorced, in the coverage, of what impact it will have on the ground. It is the job of the media to explore not the legalities of the legislation, but whether it will bring relief to the people, and to what extent. These stories are not being covered any more with the media getting away with a couple of quotes from the VIP politicians, and a ‘this party is against the other party’ kind of superficial approach. What has happened to the Women’s Reservation Bill? What does 51% FDI in the retail sector mean for the people? And by people, the yardstick should be poor people, and not just the consumers who determine the advertisements and the TRP ratings.

People do not like to come out on the streets to protest. Not even those who belong to political parties. They do so because they genuinely believe that there is no other course, and the issue is important enough to merit their participation. But when thousands of workers march on the streets of Delhi for justice and rights, the entire media without an exception blocks them out as they are the conscience check for unbridled capitalism keeping the corporates in business.

All that is reported are traffic jams as a result of people’s protests. Of course, if the protests turn violent the media is in full attendance to damn the protestors and their supporters.

The state has realised the importance of controlling the media across the world, particularly in democracies. It has also realised that it does not need to do this through draconian laws (like censorship) and has opted for outright seduction. Big media empires are set up with covert state support, and the pay back is through the manipulation of news that is difficult to detect. This has happened in the US, it is happening in India. Multi media chains are being established by industrial houses, they get full support by the government that even bails them out at later stages through closed door multi-crore deals, so that eventually they can control the news.
The distance between the journalist and the politician has been bridged, and both go to bed with each other to ensure smooth functioning of the new media industry that first creates the news and then disseminates it with admirable ease. The voter cannot be controlled, but the information can. And as the Iraq war and its embedded journalists have shown so successfully to the world, information can be bought and sold.
Seema Mustafa in DNA. Here

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Fast Car

If the life of this world is an illusion, the period of greatest illusion occurs during youth. It is a period of high energy and great enthusiasm, coupled with an air of invincibility and perpetuity. Like the driver of a fast car, one may also develop a disdain for the slower cars on the highway of life. It is difficult to imagine that the car will run out of fuel and that one day the engine will wear out.
For the moment though the car is fast and it can go places!
For this reason there are special warnings for the youth and glad tidings for the person who uses this energy wisely. A famous hadith tells us that on the Day of Judgment no man will be able to move from his place until he answers five questions. "How did he spend his life? How did he utilize his youth? How did he earn his wealth? How did he spend it? And, how did he practice what he learnt?" [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]. While the first question asks generally about one's life pattern, the second especially focuses on the period of youth.
On the other hand, the person who devoted his youth to the worship of Allah will be among the selected seven kinds of people [Bukhari, Muslim].
Hence the profound advice in another famous hadith to value five things: "Youth before old age, health before sickness, wealth before poverty, free time before preoccupation, and life before death."
A fast car is dangerous if it does not have strong controls. And that is where Shaitan targets the vulnerable --- by loosening the controls. It has been his time-tested trick to work through temptations and make desires look irresistible. The path of deviation looks good. It is cool. It is fun. It is endlessly entertaining. The only problem is,it leads to assured disaster.
Compiled From:
"Youth: On Culture, Religion, and Generation Gap" - Khalid Baig

Monday, November 28, 2011

Police, administration and judiciary should be committed to secular principles.

The last six months have witnessed attacks on members of the minority community in four different states: Forbesganj, Arhariya in Bihar, Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, Rudrapur in Uttarakhand and Gopalgarh, Bharatpur in Rajasthan. All those who have been killed and suffered material losses have been members of the minority community. Despite the fact that the states concerned are ruled by very different political dispensations — the BSP in Uttar Pradesh, JD(U)-BJP in Bihar, the BJP in Uttarakhand and the Congress in Rajasthan — the unforgivable and dangerous communal bias displayed by the police and administration and the ways in which political rulers have sought to cover up, justify or downplay this bias, have been similar. Those who believe that all Indian citizens have the right to equal treatment from the administration and the judiciary must voice their concern.

Affected families from Forbesganj, Moradabad and Gopalgarh attended a convention against communal conflict organised by the All India Democratic Women’s Association in the capital recently. Rudrapur went unrepresented because the families of victims have fled the town. They spoke at the convention about bereavement. It was not pity they sought, but recognition of injustice, and punishment of those responsible.

The events of recent months have emphasised the necessity of making the police, administration and judiciary free of bias and committed to secular principles. Exemplary punishment must be meted out to those who violate these principles. Governments must display much more sensitivity and commitment to rehabilitation. The state has to prove its commitment to the secular Constitution through action that cannot be half-hearted and tardy.
Subashini Ali in Indian Express. Here

Fallujah remembered by a US marine

It has been seven years since the 2nd siege of Fallujah -- the American assault that left the city in ruins, killed thousands of civilians, and displaced hundreds-of-thousands more -- the assault that poisoned a generation, plaguing the people who live there with cancers and their children with birth defects.

It has been seven years and the lies that justified the assault still perpetuate false beliefs about what we did.

The American veterans who fought there still do not understand who they fought against, or what they were fighting for.

I know, because I am one of those American veterans. In the eyes of many of the people I "served" with, the people of Fallujah remain dehumanized and their resistance fighters are still believed to be terrorists. But unlike most of my counterparts, I understand that I was the aggressor, and that the resistance fighters in Fallujah were defending their city.

It is also the seventh anniversary of the deaths of two close friends of mine, Travis Desiato and Bradly Faircloth, who were killed in the siege. Their deaths were not heroic or glorious. Their deaths were tragic, but not unjust.

How can I begrudge the resistance in Fallujah for killing my friends, when I know that I would have done the same thing if I were in their place? How can I blame them when we were the aggressors?
Ross Caputi in Here

Ten principles of the Prophet of Islam

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the most successful man in the entire human history. Being the last Prophet of Islam, he not only set a good example for the whole mankind but also showed to them how to achieve success in this world. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, a prominent Islamic scholar, has identified 10 successful principles taught by the Prophet.

“By studying the life of the Prophet we can derive those important principles of success,” he wrote in an article. “To begin from the possible” is one of those principles. The Prophet’s wife Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) has explained this principle through a Hadith in which she said: “Whenever the Prophet had to choose between two options, he always opted for the easier one” (Al-Bukhari). To choose the easiest option means to begin from the possible, and one who begins from the possible will surely reach his goal.

To see advantage in disadvantage was the Prophet’s second important principle, says Khan. In the early days of Makkah, there were many problems and difficulties. But a verse in the Qur’an, “With every hardship there is ease, with every hardship there is ease,” (94:5-6) inspired Muslims. They learned from the verse that if there are some problems, there are also opportunities at the same time. “And the way to success is to ignore the problems and avail the opportunities,” Khan points out.

Changing the place of action was another principle, which is derived from the Hijrah. According to Khan, Hijrah was not just a migration from Makkah to Madinah but was a strategic move by the Prophet to find a more suitable place for Islamic work.

“Make a friend out of an enemy” was the fourth principle, which the Prophet learned from the Qur’an, which enjoined upon him the return of good for evil. The Qur’an then added, “You will see your direst enemy has become your closest friend” (41:34). “It means that a good deed in return for a bad deed has a conquering effect over your enemies,” Khan wrote in his article.

After the Battle of Badr, about 70 of the unbelievers were taken as prisoners of war and many of them were educated people. The Prophet announced that if any one of them would teach 10 Muslim children how to read and write he would be freed. This was the first school in the history of Islam in which all the students were Muslims and all the teachers were from the enemy rank. Here comes the fifth principle: Wring success out of failure.

The power of peace is stronger than the power of violence is the sixth principle. When Makkah was conquered, all of the Prophet’s direst opponents were brought before him. They were war criminals, in every sense of the word. But the Prophet did not order to kill them. He simply said: “Go, you are free.” The result of this kind behavior was miraculous. Most of them embraced Islam.

No to dichotomous thinking was another principle of the Prophet. “In the famous Muta battle, Khaled bin Waleed decided to withdraw Muslim forces from the battlefield because he discovered that the enemy was disproportionately outnumbered. When the Muslim forces reached Madinah, some commented “O Furrar” (deserters). The Prophet said “No. They are Kurrar” (men of advancement).” Those Madinah Muslims, who commented wrongly about their forces, were thinking dichotomously, either fighting or retreating. The Prophet said no. There is also a third option, and that is to avoid war and find a time to strengthen yourself to make a powerful comeback. History tells us that the Muslims, after three years of preparation, advanced toward Rome and won a resounding victory.

To bring the battle in one’s own favorable field was the Prophet’s eighth principle. Before the Hudaibiyya Treaty the unbelievers were determined to engage Muslims in fighting, because obviously they were in an advantageous position. But the Prophet, by accepting their conditions unilaterally, entered into a pact. It was a 10-year peace treaty. Until then, the meeting ground between Muslims and non-Muslims had been on the battlefield. Now the area of conflict became that of ideological debate. “Within two years, Islam emerged as victorious because of the simple reason of its ideological superiority,” the scholar said.

Gradualism instead of radicalism was the ninth principle, which is well-established by a Hadith reported by Al-Bukhari. Ayesha says that the first verses of the Qur’an were related mostly to heaven and hell. And then after a long time when the people’s hearts had softened, the specific commands to desist from adultery and drinking were revealed in the Qur’an. “This is a clear proof that for social changes, Islam advocates the evolutionary method, rather than the revolutionary method,” Khan explained.

To be pragmatic in controversial matters was another of the Prophet’s important principles, he said. During the writing of the Hudaibiyya Treaty, the Prophet dictated these words: “This is from Muhammad, the Messenger of God.” The Quraysh raised their objections over these words. The Prophet promptly changed the word and ordered to write simply Muhammad son of Abdullah. This pragmatic approach adopted by the Prophet brought peace and prosperity for Muslims and accelerated the propagation of Islam.
In Arab News. Here

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Why do we laugh?

He who laughs last usually has to have the joke explained. But then why bother? After all, nothing kills humor faster than analysis. That sentiment has long dogged humor studies, a field often disparaged as an affront, even an existential threat, to its subject matter. It’s just a joke: Don’t overthink it.

But what if humor (or mirth, in research speak) is intimately linked to thinking? What if we’d have trouble thinking without it? That’s the argument of “Inside Jokes: Using Humor to Reverse-Engineer the Mind” (MIT Press, 2011).

Coauthored by three scholars, the book had an unusual genesis: It began in 2004 as an undergraduate term paper. First author Matthew Hurley, a native of Reading, Mass., had enrolled at Tufts University after a few years of travel and work as a computer programmer. As part of a self-designed major in cognitive science, Hurley took a course on humor taught by the psychologist Reginald Adams Jr. It struck Hurley that most humor theories focused on why we find certain things funny. But, he wondered, why do humans find anything funny? Why do we have a sense of humor in the first place?
Chris Berdik reviews the book "Inside Jokes: Using Humor to Reverse-Engineer the Mind" in the Boston Globe. Here

Hemant Karkare, unsung hero of 26/11

In Hemant Karkare’s net (of investigations, of course) many big and small fishes of VHP, RSS, Bajrang Dal and Sanatan Sanstha (which has been found to be involved in Diwali-eve blasts in Goa last week) had been trapped. Serving and retired army officers, academics, serving and retired officials of India’s premier intelligence service were ensnared in Karkare’s fishing net. The menacing power of the latter groups, inspired by sustained anti-Muslim hate campaigns of the last six decades, gave the plot a sinister and highly destructive character.

Among the plans unearthed by Karkare was a blueprint for the assassination of 70 prominent Indians who could by a hindrance to the project of Hindutva. Interestingly, most of the persons marked for elimination would, naturally, be Hindus because it is they who primarily run the dispensation. The conspirators were also unhappy with organisations whose Hindutva they suspected to be less virulent than desired.
M. Zeyaul Huque in Milli Gazette. Here

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Just one slap?" :Anna Hazare over slap on Sharad Pawar

Harvinder Singh, a resident of Rohini in the capital, slapped the Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in full glare of TV cameras on Thursday.

Anna Hazare, self-confessed arch rival of Pawar, was quick to respond to the incident. Initially with swagger Anna said, "Just one slap?"; 
A report in IBN LIVE. Here

Ek hi maara? : Anna  Hazara on slap on Sharad Pawar
After committing a faux-pas in his reaction to the attack on Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Anna Hazare said tonight that he was ready to apologise if his remark was perceived to be "wrong".

"He got slapped! Only one slap?" Hazare had said to a group of journalists at Ralegan Siddhi when he learnt about the attack on Thursday. But later he condemned the attack.

Explaining what he meant by his remark, Hazare, talking to a Marathi news-channel, was at pains to explain the faux pas saying "I was addressing a daily gathering of people when someone sent me a note informing about the attack. I wanted to know whether it was just a slap or there was some other kind of violence."

The social activist said he did not say or mean anything inappropriate when he said "ek hi mara?". He always believed in non-violent method of agitation, Hazare said.

"However, if it is perceived that I have said something wrong, I am ready to apologise," he said.
A report in DNA. Here.

“He got slapped! Only one slap?”: Anna Hazare
Anna Hazare on Thursday tied himself in knots with his reaction to the attack on Sharad Pawar first appearing to respond with contempt and later condemning it.

“He got slapped! Only one slap?” he said to a group of journalists who broke out in laughter at his reaction.
A report in The Hindu. Here

Save Kingfisher; Dump Mallya: Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Kingfisher Airlines is deep in the red. Should the government organize its rescue? When millions of small businesses are allowed to go bust when banks cut off credit to thousands of smaller defaulters, rescuing Kingfisher will smack of crony capitalism.

The airline has defenders too. Kingfisher has justly earned a reputation for excellent service standards. Quality is always worth preserving. We need to save Kingfisher without saving Mallya.

Its main competitor in quality, Jet Airlines, has frequently made good profits, while Kingfisher never has.

Kingfisher has already been rescued. Banks converted unpaid loans to Kingfisher into equity at a very favourable premium of 62% to the ruling market price, a tribute to Mallya’s political clout rather than company’s future prospects . Even after that the company has sunk deeper into the red. Even after being restructured and slashed, its debts exceed Rs 7,000 crore. Government concessions to the industry may save other airlines, but not Kingfisher.

A failed management must be changed. That’s normal in a market economy.

If Mallya really wants yet another chance, he must be told to bring in at least Rs 3,000 crore of fresh equity. If he cannot entice the investing public—which is probable--he must sell his other assets. Apart from liquor company UB Holdings, he owns stakes in the cricket team Royal Challengers, Bangalore; the Kolkata football teams Mohun Bagan and East Bengal; and the Formula 1 team Force India. In many other countries his bankers would force him to sell these.

If Mallya will not sacrifice his other assets for Kingfisher , then he cannot ask others to sacrifice their financial interests for him. His creditors should acquire the company and auction it.
Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar in The Times of India. Here and Here

Ashok Mitra's scathing attack on media

If the price is right, the letters will be printed
Is not there a huge misunderstanding at work? The culture of writing letters to the editor, a colonial curiosum, is sought to be grafted into the postcolonial soil. This country during all these post-Independence decades has, however, hardly been a prim, stable system in the grip of the bourgeoisie, whatever the illusion of the latter. Post-Emergency, post-Mandal Commission, post-Babri Masjid destruction, India is a most messy affair. It is worth considering how Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar has come to be accorded retrospective deification more than half a century after his death. Our current inheritance is a coarse, uncouth, relentlessly cynical terrain.

The coup de grâce has been afflicted by economic liberalization, setting at total disarray the parameters of the system. Illiteracy, for one, is fast replacing rational discourse. As long as one is reasonably acquainted with the lingo of the information technology universe, it is possible to get along famously, that is, make piles of money, with no need to surf in any other direction. Familiarity with art and literature has zero lucre-yielding prospect, unless one is savvy enough to climb the bandwagon of, for example, event management or public relations or the electronic media. To stay relevant, it may actually often be necessary to feign idiocy. Globalization-mongers detest history and are proud of their disdain for philosophy; so steer clear of these themes too. Culture is whatever is telescoped into pastilles dispensed by the gobblebox. Little tolerance is shown for news which does not concern one’s narrow sphere of interest. The demand schedule is king. The traditional newspapers have to convert themselves, for dear life, into tabloids. They have been forced to move away from hard news; gossip and visuals are enough.

The central message of globalization — make money whatever the means — has led to the inevitable consequence: indulgence in corrupt practice has turned into passport for social recognition. Since no stigma attaches any more to financial skulduggery, the news industry has taken to it as effortlessly as a duck takes to water. News can now be manufactured if the price is right. Space has to be found for such fabricated news.

Remember the story of the Texas hillbilly who struck oil under his land and was all of a sudden flush with money? At the end of a busy day in town, he stopped for a drink at a wayside inn, right next to the precincts of a newly set up university. He was curious to know what a university did and was told it produced PhDs and the innkeeper had the franchise from the university to sell the doctoral degrees. The hillbilly felt expansive and bought a PhD for himself by dishing out a thousand dollars. As an afterthought, he laid out on the table another thousand bucks and purchased a PhD for his horse as well. That is roughly the state of affairs in India as of this moment. The strange animals who die to write letters to the editor are altogether out of place here. On the other hand, one never knows, they too could easily imbibe the ethos of the free market economy and offer hard cash to newspaper editors to get their lofty thoughts published. If the price is right, the letters will be printed, which eventually will have nothing to do with the quality of their contents.
Ashok Mitra in The Telegraph. Here


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...