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Google doodle honours Amrita Pritam on 100th birth anniversary

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Amrita Pritam Doodle

New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) Clad in a red and yellow salwar-kameez, her head demurely covered, she sits on a white sheet in a courtyard engrossed in a book, a sprig of roses at her feet. The archways behind her spell out Google as the global search engine honoured Punjabi-Hindi and Urdu novelist, essayist and poet Amrita Pritam on her 100th birth anniversary.

As The Guardian noted in an obituary, Pritam’s death in New Delhi on October 31, 2005 aged 86, was “mourned on both sides of the India-Pakistan border, for it was she who chronicled so movingly and passionately the pain of partition in 1947”.

“Regarded as the leading 20th-century poet of the Punjabi language, she wrote verses that are sung and recited in cities and villages by many who are illiterate – such is the hypnotic appeal of her poetry. She was, in many ways, the voice of the Punjabi people, for her poems gave utterance to their anguish. She enshrined the concept of ‘Punjabiat’, the deep consciousness of being a Punjabi – a child of the land of the five rivers – irrespective of religious or caste affiliation.”

Born in Gujranwala in what is now Pakistan, Pritam was known as the most important voice for women in Punjabi literature. She became the first woman in 1956 to win the Sahitya Akademi Award for her magnum opus, a long poem titled “Sunehade” (Messages). She received the Bharatiya Jnanpith, one of India’s highest literary awards, in 1982 for “Kagaz Te Canvas” (The Paper and the Canvas).

But then, such was her stature that it was Pritam who honoured the awards rather than the other way around – the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award, in 2004 and before that the Padma Shri in 1969. Also in 2004 she was conferred with the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship for Lifeime Achievement as an “immortal of literature”.

She also received the Bulgarian Vaptsarov Award in 1979 and Degree of Officer dens, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Officier) from France. Nominated to the Rajya Sabha 1986-92, towards the end of her life, Pritam was honoured by Pakistan’s Punjabi Academy, to which she had remarked: “Bade dino baad mere maike ko meri yaad aayi” (My motherland remembered me after a long time).

Beginning her journey as a romantic poet, Pritam soon shifted gears and became part of the Progressive Writers’ Movement. Its effect was seen in “Lok Peed” (People’s Anguish) (1944), which openly criticised the war-torn economy after the Bengal famine of 1943.

Briefly working at the Lahore station of All India Radio before the partition of India, Pritam was also involved in social work participated in such activities wholeheartedly, after Independence when social activist Guru Radha Kishan took the initiative to bring the first Janta Library in Delhi, which was inaugurated by Balraj Sahni and Aruna Asaf Ali. This study centre-cum-library is still running at the Clock Tower in Delhi’s old quarters.

She married Pritam Singh, son of a leading hosiery merchant of Lahore’s Anarkali bazaar, in 1935, but left him in 1960. She is also said to have had unrequited affection for poet Sahir Ludhianvi, the story being depicted in her autobiography, “Rasidi Ticket” (Revenue Stamp). When another woman, singer Sudha Malhotra came into Sahir’s life, Pritam found solace in renowned artist and writer Imroz and spent the last 40 years of her life with him. Imroz designed most of her book covers and made her the subject of his several paintings. Their life together comes alive in “Amrita Imroz: A Love Story”.

In a career spanning over six decades, Pritam penned 28 novels, 18 anthologies of prose, five short stories and 16 miscellaneous prose volumes.

Such is what immortality is made of.

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Fiscal expansion and monetary ‘teasing’

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The unexpected corporate tax cuts alongside previous measures announced over the last few days by the government amount to a total fiscal expansion of around 0.8 per cent of GDP at face value. That said, private estimates in this regard are between 0.2 – 0.4 per cent shy of the governments estimate.

Here are the growth, monetary policy, and bond market aspects of the move:

Growth

With this the government has shown a clear commitment to shore up growth even with its back against the wall, fiscally speaking. Further, it has resisted an easy consumption stimulus which may have had very little multiplier effects and possibly may have eventually contributed to some macro-economic imbalances. Rather, the tax cuts will help improve corporate profits and hopefully improve our global competitiveness. Further, incentives for new units announced may also help with attracting some of the global supply chains reallocations that are underway given escalating trade tensions.

This may, however, not necessarily be a substantial shot in the arm for near-term growth prospects. The tax cuts may be used in a variety of ways, including stepping up investments, reducing debt, cutting product prices, increasing salaries, buyback and dividends, among others.

All told, the immediate pass-through and growth impulses created may be not as strong and thus the tax buoyancy hoped for on the back of stronger growth may have to wait for a while. This is especially true as general competitiveness in an increasingly challenging world requires other aspects of factor input efficiencies to fall in place as well.

Monetary policy

Prima facie, if, unlike earlier expectation of limited further space, fiscal policy has indeed chosen to step up to the plate, then monetary policy need not be as aggressive, all else being equal. That said, the global and local context is weak enough to argue for yet some (though not substantial) incremental role for monetary easing. This is especially true because RBI Governor Das doesn’t appear to be as large a fiscal hawk, currently (indeed welcoming the bold step from the government, after observing one day prior that fiscal space seemed limited).

We would hence look for monetary “teasing” incrementally, as opposed to “easing” that we were expecting before and would expect the repo rate to bottom out in the 5 to 5.25 per cent area. The one caveat to this view is of further global growth deterioration which would then open up room for further easing, whereas liquidity policy is expected to remain one of substantial surplus.

Bonds

As noted, before term spreads have been quite wide for this part of the cycle, largely reflecting the inadequate availability of risk capital versus the supply of bonds (the same inadequacy is being reflected as higher credit spreads in the loan and credit market).

Despite more than adequate liquidity now, risk capital has been cautious possibly due to lack of confidence on market risk, given the fiscal and bond supply overhang. Since a large term premium has already existed, we wouldn’t expect a significant further expansion just because the risk has now materialized.

Further we don’t expect the entire expansion to manifest in the Centre’s fiscal deficit. After sharing this with states and accounting for other levers built in, we are looking for a final fiscal deficit of 3.7 nper cent versus the 3.3 per cent budgeted. This will entail some additional bond supply eventually, but with the cushion that the Centre’s net bond supply was slated to fall substantially in the second half of the year versus the first.

Portfolio Strategy

With the prospects of monetary easing somewhat diminishing in incremental intensity, and accounting for the somewhat higher bond supply, we may expect some amount of curve steepening going forward. This may likely happen as market participants anchor themselves to 3 thoughts: One, liquidity will remain abundantly surplus. Two, repo rate is here or modestly lower. Three, prospects of a very large bond rally are somewhat diminished (although this view will evolve going forward depending also on how much net additional supply actually manifests for local absorption) . This will likely increase appeal for the front end of the curve versus the longer duration, hence creating steepening pressure.

Reflecting the above thought, we have cut our recent duration elongation into the 10-14 year segment and are now refocussing on being overweight 5-7 year for government bonds in our active duration funds. For AAA corporate bonds, the relative value continues in up to 5 years. These segments could better align to what remains an environment of abundant surplus liquidity, a very attractive term spread, still general lack of credit growth, and continued global monetary easing.

(Suyash Choudhary is Head – Fixed Income, IDFC AMC. The views expressed are personal)

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Border security is vital to both US and India : Trump

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Houston, Sep 22: Sharing stage with PM Modi at NRG stadium in Houston, US President Donald Trump announced US-India tri-service military exercise named as “Tiger Triumph” and said that border security is vital for both US and India.

“In November the US & India will demonstrate dramatic progress of our defence relationship, holding the first-ever tri-service military exercise between our nations, it is called ‘Tiger Triumph. We fight for the citizens we proudly serve.We are against radical islamic terrorism and will fight who threaten our security as border security is vital to US and is vital for India we understand that ,” Trump said.

President Donald Trump spoke highly of India’s investment in the US and mentioned the NBA which recently announced its first-ever game in India.

“We welcome India’s growing investments right here in the lone star state. Nations around the world are investing in the United States because they know we have the best economy and best workers in world.We want to thank everybody and India has never invested in the US like it is doing today, and I want to say it’s reciprocal because we’re doing the same thing in India,” Trump said.

First-ever NBA game in India
” Very soon India will have to access to another world class American product-NBA basketball. Next week thousands in Mumbai will watch the first ever NBA game in India..am I invited Mr. Prime Minister? I may come, be careful I may come,” Trump said.

The game in India will feature the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers playing two preseason games October 4 and October 5 at the Dome, NSCI, SVP Stadium in Mumbai, the NBA stated on its website.

“Today we honour all of the brave American and Indian military service members who work together to safeguard our freedom. We are committed to protecting innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump added.

Trump appreciated Modi policies and said, ” As a result of PM Modi’s pro growth policies, India has lifted nearly 300 million out of poverty, and that is an incredible number.”

“The relationship between the United States and India is stronger than ever before,” he said.
President Donald Trump took the stage at “Howdy, Modi!” following a speech from India’s leader praising the relationship between both nations.

“You (India) have never had a better friend as President as President Donald Trump,” Trump said at NRG Stadium Sunday afternoon. “Under PM Modi’s leadership, the world is witnessing a strong, sovereign republic of India.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened his rally in Houston by praising President Donald Trump.

“Friends, as I told you, we have met a few times and every time he has been the same: warm, friendly, accessible, energetic and full of wit,” Modi said.

Modi also commended Trump’s administration for celebrating Diwali at the White House, and talked about the relationship between the United States and India.

“India has a true friend in the White House,” Modi said.

The India leader also invoked Trump in his signature campaign slogan, “Ab ki baar, Modi sarkar,” which translates to “This time, Modi government.” On stage, Modi replaced his name with Trump’s.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was welcomed by 20 lawmakers and cheered by enthusiastic crowd of 50,000 into Houston’s NRG stadium on Sunday.

Before his speech two US lawmakers — US Senator John Cornyn and House Majority leader Steny Hoyeraddressed the Indian Diaspora.

Calling it a “Texas-sized welcome” for PM Modi, US Senator John Cornyn said “India is one of our best friends and partners… Texas is India’s second largest trading partner in the US”.

ouse Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer: We are inspired by the modern India he(PM Modi) leads while mindful of the challenges, undeterred as India reaches into new frontier of space and equally determined to lift millions out of poverty back on earth.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said, ‘ We are inspired by the modern India he(PM Modi) leads while mindful of the challenges, undeterred as India reaches into new frontier of space and equally determined to lift millions out of poverty back on earth”

“India Like America proud of its traditions to secure a future according to Gandhi’s teachings and Nehru’s vision of India as a secular democracy where respect for pluralism and human rights safeguard every individual
India like America proud of its traditions to secure a future,” Steny Hoyer said.

“We both know the price of freedom and we have to strive for the better life,Our constitutions begin with the same words We the People,” Steny said.
“In recent decades US-India ties have strengthened starting from Bush and former President Obama solidified that and Trump continues that today 25 years since caucus of Indian Americans was created ,” he said.

After Indo-US civil nuclear deal in 2016 India became US major defence partner

“We work together in ways no one envisioned 10 years ago. Steny hoyer House majority leader said, “Wipe every tear from their eye so long as there is suffering and tears, our work is incomplete We the people of India and America must and will continue to pursue to pursue our commitment to wipe tears with a mission with malice against none.it is the shared hope that binds us together for a better tomorrow,” he said.

By Arti Bali,

Sr Journalist (International Affairs)

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Analysis

Kashmiris plight after Modi government abrogated Article 370

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Kashmir Srinagar Situation

The Modi government’s action of forcibly abrogating Article 370 betrays the spirit of Indian democracy and it’s high time that without losing a second, India should end “garrison governance” in Kashmir and free all political prisoners, restore communications and other rights of people in Jammu and Kashmir. After 45 days of Kashmir lockdown; United Nations, European Union, UK have started doing lip service of expressing serious concern about the restrictions on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The veteran leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, who have been supporting integration of Kashmir into India, have been detained under Public Safety Act, which is used for terrorists, separatists.

Hundreds of politicians of National Conference party and Peoples democratic party (with whom BJP stitched alliance to rule Jammu and Kashmir and later suddenly pulled the support ) are under house arrest and prominent leaders who have mass following have been detained under PSA.

Entire communication blackout: isolating group of people from the rest of the world.

There are numerous reports of thousands of young men being arrested so there is no backlash after the Modi government abrogated Article370. The unprecedented lockdown for over 45 days in Kashmir in 21st century is a crucial issue and needs worldwide attention not only because of the change of status of Jammu and Kashmir but the manner in which the decision has been forcefully imposed on the people of the Jammu and Kashmir by the Narendra Modi government.

One cannot imagine how a person feel handicap without phone or internet access.

Ahead of UN speech on September 27, Modi mince good words for Kashmiris to impress the world community, UN, UNHRC.

Ahead of UN speech, now Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly woke up and September 19 said “we have to create a new paradise” and “hug each Kashmiri” as the region entered its 45th day of partial shutdown.
PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Ajit Doval and BJP leaders have been speaking in one voice supporting the Kashmir lockdown and giving a reason what the world powers are unable to read that the 50000 to 60,000 defence personnel has been deployed to avoid backlash .Clearly the Kashmiris are unable to show their resentment.

When the EU, UK started asking when will the lockdown end, the security threat was the reason given by the Modi government.

One must ponder, what terminology should be used if a democratically elected government started implementing policies in a dictatorial manner.

New Delhi denies “genocide“

What will the United Nations call ‘the deliberate isolating of a large group of people (million), especially those of a particular erstwhile state or ethnic group’ in the 21st century. It has been proven medically that if a person is forcibly isolated, then the person will die after a period of depression. Making people mentally ill by forcing some decision amounts to What?

Iltija Mufti, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, said at an event, “Kashmiris feel a deep sense of shock and betrayal. I don’t know how you are going to undo the damage and the pain you have inflicted on the Kashmiri people, no one has shown very little empathy for the plight of the Kashmiris.”

History of Kashmir conflict

The Kashmir conflict is a territorial conflict primarily between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region. Jammu and Kashmir, the largest of the princely states, had a predominantly Muslim population ruled by the Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh. He decided to stay independent because he expected that the State’s Muslims would be unhappy with accession to India, and the Hindus and Sikhs would become vulnerable if he joined Pakistan. the Maharaja signed an instrument of accession on 26 October 1947, which was accepted by the Governor General the next day. While the Government of India accepted the accession, it added the proviso that it would be submitted to a “reference to the people” after the state is cleared of the invaders, since “only the people, not the Maharaja, could decide where Kashmiris wanted to live.”

India sought resolution of the issue at the UN Security Council, despite Sheikh Abdullah’s opposition to it. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 47 on 21 April 1948. The measure called for an immediate cease-fire and called on the Government of Pakistan ‘to secure the withdrawal from the state of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the state for the purpose of fighting.’ It also asked Government of India to reduce its forces to minimum strength, after which the circumstances for holding a plebiscite should be put into effect ‘on the question of Accession of the state to India or Pakistan.’

At least 232 habeas corpus petitions have been filed in the Jammu and Kashmir high court since the nullification of Article 370, pertaining to Public Safety Act (PSA) detentions. Former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah and IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal, territories, senior advocates, businessman are among them.

Amit Shah and Modi is buying time with the statements that the restrictions will be eased without mentioning any date. The Kashmir Valley is basically was a tourist hub before Modi government decision and approximately 70% of the livelihood depends upon the tourists or the daily wages.Consequent to the decision, people have little or no money to survive.

A communications blackout was imposed after the Indian government de-operationalised the Article370 and degraded the status of Jammu and Kashmir from State to Union Territories and snatched the little autonomy the Kashmiri people enjoyed.

The region’s most prominent politicians were detained without any reason and millions of residents being deprived of from the basic fundamental right to move freely, talk and oppose if there is brutality.

On first Friday the security establishment allowed Muslims to offer their prayers but after their namaz they took out a large protest against the abrogation of Article 370 and police used tear gas and pellet guns to thwart the protests.

The the second Friday was Eid and since then Muslims are not allowed to offer prayers at the main Masjid but locality mosques so that the huge number of people are unable to gather and hold protest. This is a systematic brutality on the people of certain religion to push them to do their religious rituals in a confined manner.

There have been numerous reports of people admitted to hospitals with pellet injuries after violent clashes on Saturday night, almost two weeks on from the Indian government’s abrupt decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status. Indian troops also used teargas, chilli grenades and pellets to disperse protesters. A 65-year-old man died after being admitted to the hospital with breathing difficulties, according to reports.

Another aspect that needs to be looked into is the inhuman approach of the Modi government by making Kashmir starve of communication and food. As Jammu and Kashmir was basically a tourism state and by asking tourists to leave the region, the business class was left with little money and the shikara owners are facing difficulty to survive and to crush people’s movement is to make them pauper and starve.

Sporadic protests have continued in Kashmir despite a security lockdown. Forces have responded with teargas and pellet guns and reports emerged that security men forcibly entered the homes and took kids and teenagers.

The government is using False propaganda as its weapon about normalcy in Kashmir and enthusiasm among kashmiris and misleading narrative is being used that development is the major factor and that’s why the autonomy of the Kashmiris has been snatched.If people are rejoicing what is massive security personnel doing.Allow media including foreign media and international observers to see for themselves.

If the government is right, then there is no need to propagate or to promote.

What is the purpose of world powers or institutions when million people are forced to remain in their houses and no foreign observers are there to check human rights violations nor they can communicate with the rest of the world.

To prove above points: A lot of petitions in Supreme Court about illegal detention of mainstream political leaders, kids and teenagers.

While hearing writ petitions by Enakshi Ganguly and Shanta Sinha seeking release of children being detained illegally in Kashmir ever since special provisions of Article 370 were struck down, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said he would visit Jammu and Kashmir, if needed, to check on allegations by a child rights activist that it was difficult accessing the High Court. Under Article 32 of the Constitution, which provides the right to constitutional remedies. Ganguly is an eminent child rights expert and Sinha was the first chairperson of the National Commission for Child Rights (NCPCR).

But one thing should be made clear by the current dispensation (Modi govt) : The entire India needs development in terms of assurance with confirmation that minorities including Dalits and Muslims won’t be attacked in the name of cow slaughter and the common man who suggests or advise the government will not be termed as anti-national.

India should avoid following the path of Benjamin Netanyahu who strongly favours Zionist country. Kashmiris are Indians, government should ask other political parties on how to built trust between them and government.

By Arti Bali

Sr Journalist (International Affairs)

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