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Finally Dara Shukoh the forgotten Prince honoured!

There are number of confusions arising post changing of road name to Dara Shukoh Road as last year Aurangzeb Road name was changed to APJ Abul Kalam Road. Lesser know who was Dara Shukoh apart from only being a Mughal Prince.

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Dara-Shikoh

NDMC has renamed the Lutyen’s Delhi road from Dalhousie Road to Dara Shukoh Road.

Going by the old adage ‘It is better to be late than never!’ NDMC has re-named the road in the heart of the historic capital of India, Lutyen’s Delhi from Dalhousie Road to Dara Shukoh Road. The honour to Prince Dara Shukoh came in the 402nd year of his birth.

There are number of confusions arising post changing of road name to Dara Shukoh Road as last year Aurangzeb Road name was changed to APJ Abul Kalam Road. Lesser know who was Dara Shukoh apart from only being a Mughal Prince.

Prince Dara Shukoh was born on 20 March 1615 at Akbar Fort–presently known as The Magazine after British changed the name–Ajmer. He was the eldest son of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, who later became the most liked Prince of the Mughals among the masses.

Prince Dara Shukoh was born with mystical abilities, having not much attraction toward the luxuries of Mughal Empire. He would love to read and enjoy the company of spiritual people which led him to be the disciple of Mulla Abdul Latif Saharanpuri, Mian Mir, Baba Lal, Sarmud Baba, etc. It was the understanding about abilities of Dara Shukoh that Mian Mir took him along to Amritsar at the time when he laid the foundation stone of Golden Temple. Dara Shukoh was a combination of the qualities of his two ancestors Humayun and Akbar. From the first he gathered the habit of reading and learning and from the latter belief in oneness of the Almighty.

Dara Shukoh was a person having amalgamation of many instincts; he was an author, a poet and a painter. Iksir-ul-Azam happens to be his diwan consisting of his ghazal, rubaiats, on Sufism and Qadirism—doctrines of mysticism. His paintings are considered to be important in Indo-Persian Art style of painting.

Dara Shukoh to quench his thirst for truth travelled far and wide. It is believed that he travelled more than 14,000 kms in his life span of 44 years—which are still less if the childhood years are subtracted from his life. He travelled from Ajmer to Delhi, to Agra, Allahabad, Varanasi, Kashmir, Gujarat, etc, and many more places. He compiled his travelogue in form of books which reflect some part of his towering personality. His learning from the Sufi saints were compiled for the future generation by him in a book Safinat-ul-Auliya (1640 AD), Sakinat-ul-Auliya (1643 AD), Risala-e-Haq Numa (1647 AD) and Tariqat-ul-Haqiqat and Hasanat-ul-Arifeen (1653 AD).

Dara Shukoh can also be termed as seeker! He travelled to Varanasi to understand Hinduism and there he met Baba Lal a mystic soul of that time. His book Mukalama Baba Lal wa Dara Shukoh is a compilation of the dialogue between him and Baba Lal regarding the queries of the author about Kashi, question on the Hindu mythology, about Ram, Sita, Krishan, etc. About the truth of Brajdham, exact recitation of syllable Om, Panchabhuta about the human soul and the Divine Soul (Param Aatma). He also understood jyotish and is said to have written a book on this topic in Sanskrit. Risala-e-Haq Numa is an asceticism revelation about ‘Yoga’ system. Majma-ul-Bahrain was the book which was the result of nine years of research and study regarding the two doctrines Brahmavidya and Quran. Majma-ul-Bahrain–the mingling of the two oceans–by Prince Dara Shukoh is a testimony about the similarities in Sufism and Hinduism. Dara Shukoh learned Sanskrit and studied the Upanishads. Being inspired by the hidden treasures in the Upanishads; made him to translate the same into Persian in form of Sirri-i-Akbar. This book happens to be a remarkable parallel about the tauhid or unity of God which is present in Quran and Upanishads alike.

Prince Dara Shukoh always advocated similarities among religions of this world, and propagated the same. His ideology was similar to the one of Kabir and Emperor Akbar from the 15th and 16th century. He vindicated about secularism, oneness of all the human being, which was the reason to his killing. It was not the desire of Dara Shukoh to be the king of Mughal Empire, but the bigot Aurangzeb was worried and in jealousy eliminated his elder brother. Why Prince Dara Shukoh could not attain fame and glory can be reasoned out as done by Shri Gopal Gandhi explaining beautifully that ‘Shikoh’ in Persian means ‘terror’ while ‘Shukoh’ stands for ‘glory’.

It was on 20th March 2015 Fraternity to Inculcate Vedic Erudition & Senses (FIVES) an NGO organized a talk on the topic: If Dara Shukoh was the King! celebrating the 400th birthday of the Prince, which was learning for many. It was also communicated by the General Secretary of FIVES that they had sent letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March 2016 proposing release of postage stamp on the 401st birthday of Prince Dara Shukoh. FIVES got portraye of Dara Shukoh remade which was procured from Bangalore Achieves of Museum of History. The original artwork was created by Hunhar in 1650 and FIVES got it recreated in colour version for their event (same is on wikipedia page of Dara Shukoh). History has hidden treasure about Prince Dara Shukoh who was liberal, secular, knowledge loving, etc. with most of the positive attributes, still to be delivered unto the people.

Many are false propagating why a road in the name of Mughal Prince is being done, without understanding anything about Prince Dara Shukoh, or it is another election gimmick to woo Muslims or a salutation to secular bent of Dara Shukoh! It could have been done on his 400th birthday on 20th March 2015 but it is right as per saying, ‘It is better to be late than never!’

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US, Russia and the Middle East

Taking into account the current dynamics, the strikes have given a jolt to any political negotiations to end the seven-year conflict in Syria.

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Warning by the Russian President Vladimir Putin that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to the world affairs, it throws light on the prospect of a real possibility of a direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia.

There are enough factors involved that has led to the return of cold war era and as the UN chief stressed that “also with a vengence” and the world is at risk of ”full-blown military escalation”.

The tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats over the poisoning of a former spy in the UK and the sanctions by the United States, the European Union (EU) and other countries and international organisations against Russia over Ukraine and latest sanctions against 24 Russians by US over Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election have led to the hostility and the diplomatic channels are not working to reset the relations between Moscow and Washington.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has confimed that Moscow is considering to supply its most sophisticated S-300 missile defense system to protect Syria.

The recent intervention by President Donald Trump of halting the plan for new sanctions against Russian companies linked to Syria’s alleged chemical weapons points to the confusion and inconsistent policy of Trump towards Russia and Syria.

This move by Trump assumes importance as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has informed the Security Council that the US troops are “locked and loaded,” ready to launch another military strike if the Syrian government ever uses chemical weapons again,on the contrary, President Trump still wants a White House summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump is also in favour of pulling US troops from Syria within six months and replacing them with troops from Egypt, Qatar and United Arab Emirates. If the troops from Arab countries will be sent to Syria then the already perilously complicated Syria battle will be escalated into a full blown war.

A classified briefing to the Senate by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, suggests that Trump’s determination to withdraw has hardened despite lobbying by French President Emmanuel Macron and other proponents of a longer commitment in the war-torn country. But top Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, said that the decision will enhance Russian influence in the country and set the stage for a conflict between Israel and Saudi on one side and Iran on the other side.

The ongoing conflict in Syria and the intervention by Western powers in the strategic Middle East shows that the crisis will linger on for decades to come. Since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the U.S. entered into several ongoing overseas conflicts, beginning with the invasion of Afghanistan. The removal of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and Muammer Gaddafi of Libya unsettled a traditional balance of power in the region.

The US launched military intervention to safeguard its strategic interests and to counter the rise of regional powers. After 2003 Iraq war, Arab power and its influence started diminishing as Iran expanded its influence in Iraq and the Middle East. Under Ahmadinejad, Iran asserted its supremacy in the wider region.

The Arab spring that began in 2011 in Middle East created a fluid situation and US supported pro-democracy movements that led to the removal of President Ben Ali in Tunisia and Muammar Gaddhafi in Libya. Saudi Arabia saw an opportunity for regime change in Syria where the Alawite regime of Basher al Assad had enjoyed Iranian support. US and its allies supported anti Assad forces with arms, imparting training to achieve their strategic interests of curtailing the Shiite Iranian influence and installing the pro-American and pro-Sunni leaders in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Russia started played an active role in challenging traditional domains of US influence and even emerged as a key player in Syria and in September 2015,the Russian military intervened in the Syrian Civil War for supplying military aid against rebel and jihadist groups.

Iraq’s descent into sectarian strife in 2006 reverberated into a number of states in the region, thus stoking social tensions.

Taking into account the current dynamics, the strikes have given a jolt to any political negotiations to end the seven-year conflict in Syria.

Russia is of the view that US must have waited for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspection before military strikes. Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a telephone conversation to stress the importance of thorough and impartial investigation to be conducted by the OPCW mission in Syria.

Thus, the civil wars in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq should be resolved peacefully otherwise terrorism in the form of ISIS would take recruits from refugees and the regional crisis will be escalated to a full blown global war among the competitive alliances led by US and Russia.

Blog : By Arti Bali,
arti

(Senior Journalist)

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The unexplored Indian paradise

While travelling through the North East, also experience a safari with a difference on yaks. Get a chance to explore the breathtaking beauty of Sikkim on one of the colourfully-adorned yaks, an experience definitely beyond compare!

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Sikkim Tourism

When you end up with some time for yourself, an escapist spirit awakens among many of us. Such is the chaos of our cities that we cherish even minor respites from it. One such respite is the Spiti Valley in the Himachal where the journey is just as blissful as the destination.

Once you hop onto your bike, you can choose between two routes to reach the scenic town of Spiti. The first option is entry from Manali via Rohtang and Kunzum La. Once you have passed Rohtang, it’s truly a heavenly experience, with the highest point being the snow-covered Kanzum pass with a breathtaking view of the Shigri Glacier. Alternatively, you can also opt for the more comfortable, yet longer, road from Shimla.

An absolutely breathtaking land, Spiti is a treat for all travellers, but especially bikers, with the majestic Himalayan landscape, amazing views, rich history and warm and friendly people. Also, be prepared for an overnight stay along the way preferably at Reckong Peo which is known to be a calm and serene stopover.

A ride through the beautiful barren landscapes of the Himalayas is the biggest draw of the valley. Another highlight of Spiti is the magnificently rich cultural past that is still alive in the ancient Gompas (monasteries) of the region and the enlightened monks that reside within them. Though they can be reserved initially, your curiosity for their culture and few smiles can win their hearts enough for them to offer you some refreshing cups of teas and insight into the Gompas like no other could. Amongst others that you might choose to visit, Key Gompa, Saskyagongmig Gompa and Dhankar Gompa are a must visit. If your curiosity for the local culture still refuses to subside, head over to the Tabo Monastery. 50 Kms from Kaza, it is one of the oldest functioning Buddhist monasteries in the world (est. 996 AD), with extremely well-preserved wall paintings and artifacts!

The Seven Sisters, as the North Eastern Indian states are commonly known, are where lush green forests, picturesque valleys and vibrant cultures come together to create magic. Each state has something special to offer and we are sure that these places will be the high points of your trip to the vibrant North-East.

Starting with Arunachal Pradesh, the Siang River is a must visit. A tributary of the mighty and ferocious Brahmaputra River, it’s a great spot for river rafting, an adventure that few can match up to in terms of thrills.

Moving on, situated in the valley of the Tawang River in the northwestern part of Arunachal Pradesh, Tawang Monastery is the largest monastery in India and second largest in the world after the Potala Palace in Tibet. Founded in 1680-1681 in accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, it is known as in Tibetan as Galden Namgey Lhatse, which translates to ‘celestial paradise in a clear night’. Surrounded by lush green hills, the monastery provides a visually colourful contrast with the colour-rich murals on its walls, exquisite architecture and vibrant atmosphere. With peaceful serene atmosphere so strong, the monastery possesses an otherworldly quality to it that drives away all worries and stress you had.

From the ferocious avatar, we move on to Brahmaputra’s calmer side in Majuli. The biggest river island in the world, it is home to a number of tribes, each with a colourful vibrant culture that will enchant you on your visit here. While there, you can enjoy yourself with fun activities like pottery making, mask making or just soak in the natural beauty of its magnificent sunsets.

Talking of Meghalaya, you have your pick of nature with lush green hills and breathtaking views, quite a refreshing break from the city’s chaos. But look closer and you’ll find an experience that much richer. Littered among these hills are limestone deposits and a number of caves that will enthrall the explorer in you. Considering that many of these caves are some of the longest and deepest found in India, you are sure to feel all Indiana Jones during this once in a lifetime trek.

While travelling through the North East, also experience a safari with a difference on yaks. Get a chance to explore the breathtaking beauty of Sikkim on one of the colourfully-adorned yaks, an experience definitely beyond compare!

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Syria strikes: What Trump achieved in 70 minutes?

Trump will have to answer: whether the strikes was just a show of power that US is still having its supremacy in the Middle East and will obstruct influence of regional powers or it was a response of the chemical attack.

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Syrian Strike

The US and its allies fired more than 100 cruise missiles at Syria in just 70 minutes in response to a suspected chemical attack in Douma and the Syrian President Bashar al Assad slammed the Western airstrikes as an aggression in clear violation of international accords. President Trump later took to Twitter to describe the missile strikes as “perfectly executed.” “Mission accomplished!” he wrote.

Prime Minister Theresa May conceded by terming the strikes as ‘limited and targeted’justifying that it was to strike
chemical weapons with no intention of toppling Assad.

During a meeting with a delegation from the United Russia ruling political party of the Russian Federation, State Duma lawmaker Sergei Zheleznyak stated, Damascus has praised Soviet arms made in the 1970s, which were used to repel the missile attack, carried out by the US and its allies.

Assad also stated that the US-UK-French attack has not only “consolidated the peoples of Russia and Syria, but all the nations, which are guided by the norms of international law,” Another MP Sablin said. He said during a meeting with Russian lawmakers that the cooperation between Russia and Syria should resist the “aggressive policy of the West.

On On September 14, 2013, then U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reached an agreement on a detailed plan for the accounting, inspection, control, and elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons after an alleged chemical weapons attacks were reported in Syria’s two main cities, the Khan al-Assel neighborhood of Aleppo and the Damascus suburb of al-Atebeh in 2013.

According to the plan Syria was required to provide a full declaration of its stockpile “within a week” and provide the OPCW and the UN access to all chemical weapons sites in Syria. The plan calls for the OPCW inspectors to complete their initial inspections by November and calls for the destruction of the stockpile of chemical weapons and chemical agents by the first half of 2014.

The Western powers must have waited for the inspectors of the organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to have traveled to Douma and confirmed which type of chemical was used Sarin or chlorine?

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iran and China condemned the attacks while Germany, Turkey and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg supported the limited strike.

According to the Syrian state media, President of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov considered the US-British-French tripartite aggression on Syria as a heinous crime and unjustifiable act.

Putin reiterated the Russian claim that the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma that killed dozens of civilians was fake: “Russian military experts, having visited the place of the alleged incident, did not find any traces of the use of chlorine or other poisonous substances. No local resident confirmed the chemical attack.”

But how effective the strikes were in targeting the chemical weapons facilities of the Assad regime is a question that needs to be answered and another issue if its the use of chlorine which is generally used by ISIS then it will have effects as it is yet to be confirmed after a proper international probe. Trump will have to answer: whether the strikes was just a show of power that US is still having its supremacy in the Middle East and will obstruct influence of regional powers or it was a response of the chemical attack.

Syria’s response to the “tripartite strikes” against the country may come in the form of “attacks against the aggressors’ bases” in the country via surface-to-surface missile attacks and with the help of local resistance groups, Brigadier General Mohammed Issa said.

Blog : By Arti Bali,
arti

(Senior Journalist)

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