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In Jammu and Kashmir, No Takers for Modi’s approach

Modi government has been maintaining a deaf silence since August 2016 on the problem going on in Kashmir ie on the causalities and the sufferings due to pellet guns.



Despite the rude shocks of low voter turnout registering at barely 1% for the Lok Sabha seat in Srinagar, the Modi government remains clueless and therefore unable to do something about the Kashmir unrest.

On April 9, the Srinagar Lok Sabha byelection was marred by violence where eight persons were killed and scores of others were injured. The second attempt to conduct polling in all 38 polling stations located in central Kashmir’s Budgam district also failed miserably as the voter turnout dipped further to just about 1% (only 476 votes were polled out of 34000 listed voters).

Image result for jammu kashmir by-polls

This shows how clueless the government has been in understanding the Kashmir problem. It has not been able to touch the pulse of the voters who do not respond to Modi’s idea of development in the valley. Modi should rather understand their deep agonies, feeling and ambitions to regain trust of the Kashmiris.

But the problem lies in Modi’s approach of abandoning the option of reaching out to Kashmiris. They fear that the central leadership may try to separate Jammu from Kashmir to find a political solution to the problem. Kashmiris also feel that the BJP is only fulfilling its own political agenda of strengthening its party and weakening Article 370,which grants special status to the state.

Thus Modi government has been maintaining a deaf silence since August 2016 on the problem going on in Kashmir ie on the causalities and the sufferings due to pellet guns.

Image result for causalities and the sufferings due to pellet guns

The international community is aware of the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir and PM Modi should not drag down the national interests in his self-obsession. The latest confirmation of BJP losing trust in Jammu and Kashmir is evident from the lowest voter turnout in the history of the state and the country. Meanwhile, Separatist leaders like Ayed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Yasin Malik have boycotted the elections and have asked people to follow the elections boycott.

Now Modi is in a fix:

  1. Unable to understand the root cause of the problem
  2. At this stage it cannot express remorse for the killings and any roll back of the forces deployed as it will hurt its base.
  3. Modi and BJP is in a dilemma how to engage Kashmiris for the welfare of Jammu and Kashmir and the country.
  4. Modi should strain his mind and change the approach towards jammu and Kashmir which has brought the country to such a dead end.

It is immaterial for the country whether he keeps awake and occupied on the problems for more than 20 hours a day when Modi is unable to find any solution to the Kashmir unrest since September 2016.


arti bali

By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist


I am missing the magic of live: Pankaj Udhas

The singer, who has seen the music industry shift from albums to singles, calls the development a tragedy.




Pankaj Udhas,

New Delhi: In January this year, Ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas completed 40 long years of his career. With more than 50 albums under his belt and some ever-green film songs including ‘Chitthi Aayee Hai and ‘Jeeye To Jeeye Kaise, the singer was all set for a grand celebration — 40 concerts across the country. However, he could do only one at the Nehru Stadium in Mumbai in January. “Things changed completely after Covid struck. Nobody could imagine,” laments this Padma Shri recipient.

For someone who has always preferred live concerts, jumping the digital bandwagon, like many other singers was not really an option. “You just cannot create the right atmospherics in a virtual concert. There is no intimacy, no immediate feedback and no interaction with the audience,” says Udhas.

Feeling that in current times, the whole narrative has been around Covid, and many other diseases which also require urgent attention were being ignored, Udhas, who is also the President of Parent’s Association Thalassemic Unit Trust (PATUT) decided to do a fundraiser called ‘The Ghazal Symphony’, which was streamed on Hungama Platforms on November 21.

“I had recently performed 11 of my most popular Ghazals with violinist Deepak Pandit in a Symphony set-up that involved 40 musicians. While Ghazal as a genre is spontaneous like Jazz, in this the music was arranged. Also, it was captured on a five camera set up and recorded on multi-track. We had a good opportunity to do post production work properly. The concert therefore had top class sound and great visuals. Considering we did not want to charge for a virtual concert, a call for funds was raised through Ketto. “

Optimistic about the future and popularity of Ghazals among the young, the veteran singer says that one just has to take a look at social media to see how the genre is faring among the young. “Be it Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, don’t we see a lot of couplets being thrown around by young kids? I agree they may not be in the major groove of Urdu literature, but they are still using lines by Mirza Ghalib to current generation poets like Bashir Badr and are therefore aware of the poetic aspect.

Also, back in 1998, I made some changes in terms of the musical approach to my Ghazals. I intentionally created some numbers which were sung keeping in mind the young. They were accompanied by videos that would appeal to the younger generation. Take for example the nazm — ‘Aur Is Tarah Kijiye Batein’. I get tagged by youngsters singing it on Instagram.”

Believing that the digital medium can be instrumental in making Ghazals more popular, Udhas plans a series of activities on his YouTube channel that will involve young listeners, once the pandemic is over.

The singer, who has seen the music industry shift from albums to singles, calls the development a tragedy. “Albums were in demand when we sold music physically. While selling CDs, records, one needed a certain playing time, like 44 minutes on a CD. To accomplish that, six to eight numbers were required.

It’s sad that today as far as audio labels are concerned, they show zero per cent physical sales. Now even DVDs are more or less gone. So the point is when physical sales are gone, how do you monetize eight numbers? In order to create eight songs, one needs money — to pay the poet, studio and musicians. That’s why everyone has got into singles, because with that you are investing a limited amount of finances..”

Talk to him about his absence from the movie music scene and Udhas feels that film music is going through a dark phase and has not really made any headway in quite some time. “In the 80’s, when Nadeem–Shravan came up with ‘Aashiqui’, it became the music of the nation crossing all barriers. Or take the music of ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ which spellbound everyone.. We haven’t had any major success like that lately. Cinema music will take a while to recover because they have got into a groove — they need to break out of that and try to create something different.”

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Remembering CV Raman on his 50th death anniversary: The Eminent Physicist

After India’s independence in 1947, CV Raman became the director of the Raman Research Institute.




CV Raman

Sir Chandrasekhar Venkata Raman popularly knows as CV Raman was one of the most prominent scientists in India. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930 for discovering the Raman Effect. The Raman effect is the inelastic scattering of a photon by molecules which are excited to higher vibrational or rotational energy levels. It is also called Raman scattering.

The Raman effect forms the basis for Raman spectroscopy which is used by chemists and physicists to gain information about materials. Every year, National Science Day is celebrated to commemorate the discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’ on February 28.

On his 50th death anniversary, let us remember the great mind and his contributions to science and this country:

  • After India’s independence in 1947, CV Raman became the director of the Raman Research Institute. Earlier in 1928, Raman had also led an experiment with KS Krishnan on the scattering of light when he discovered the phenomena of light which is now called the ‘Raman effect’.
  • In 1933, Raman joined the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and became its first director. He also employed a monochromatic light from a mercury arc lamp which penetrated transparent material and was allowed to fall on a spectrograph to record its spectrum. Raman also detected the lines on the spectrum, which were later known as ‘Raman lines’.
  • Other investigations carried out by Raman are either experimental and theoretical studies on the diffraction of light by acoustic and ultrasonic and hypersonic frequencies which were also published from 1934 to 1942, along with the effects produced by X-rays on infrared vibrations in crystals when exposed to ordinary light.
  • Raman was appointed as the first National Professor by the new government of India in 1947. During the post-independence period, Raman studied the spectroscopic behaviour of crystals and approached a unique manner for the fundamental problems of crystal dynamics. After leaving IISc in 1948, he remained the director of Raman Research Institute until he died on November 21, 1970 at the age of 82.
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Trump’s decision to cut troops in Afghanistan creates policy vacuum





New York: President Donald Trump’s decision at his administration’s sunset to pull back US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq is among his final attempts to keep his original campaign promise, but creates a policy vacuum and complicates the transition to Democrat Joe Biden in January.

Acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller’s announcement that the US troop strengths in those two countries would be reduced to 2,500 each by January 15 – just five days before Biden takes over – creates a policy vacuum there.

Miller said on Wednesday, “In the coming year, we will finish this generational war and bring our men and women home.”

The war that began in 2001 to root out the Al-Qaeda that carried out the 9/11 attack on the US, and the Taliban than allowed to operate from Afghanistan, has claimed about 2,350 US lives and left more than 20,000 wounded.

Trump had promised in his 2016 campaign to bring all US troops home.

The troops remaining in Afghanistan and Iraq are to defend the US diplomatic and other facilities there.

There was a confluence of views between Trump and some Democratic leaders and opposition from Republicans and the NATO.

The House of Representatives Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith, a Democrat, said, “Reducing our forward deployed footprint in Afghanistan down to 2,500 troops is the right policy decision. At the same time, this reduction must be responsibly and carefully executed to ensure stability in the region.”

But the committee’s Republican leader Mac Thornberry warned Trump, “These additional reductions of American troops from terrorist areas are a mistake.”

“Further reductions in Afghanistan will also undercut negotiations there; the Taliban has done nothing – met no condition – that would justify this cut,” he added.

The peace agreement with the Taliban, which was seen as a precondition for troop withdrawal, has yet to materialise and the terrorist group has continued attacks in Afghanistan.

“The price for leaving too soon or in an uncoordinated way could be very high,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels.

He warned that Afghanistan risks becoming again the centre of international terror with the Islamic State (ISIS) moving there to rebuild “the terror caliphate it lost in Syria and Iraq.”

While Biden has committed to end the “forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East” and to “narrowly focus our mission on Al-Qaeda and ISIS,” neither he nor his transition team has reacted to the preemptive move by Trump.

Trump’s action would make policy-making and implementation difficult as soon as he takes over. It is compounded by him and his transition team being cut out of briefings and denied access to officials and information.

As vice president, Biden had been sceptical of his President Barack Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan, when the force-strength was increased from about 30,000 when he assumed office in 2009 to nearly 100,000 in about a year as he attempted to decisively crush the terrorists in hope of a pull out.

Pakistan has been a key figure in the region, playing all sides. It has benefited from the US invasion of Afghanistan after the 2001 attacks on the US the Al-Qaeda, which was protected by the Taliban and Islamabad, which gave that group’s leader Osama Bin Laden asylum.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Kabul for the first time on Thursday, a day after the US announced the troop cutback, but according to reports did not say anything about it.

The US-backed Kabul government has been suspicious of and critical of Pakistan for its backing of the Taliban.

But now President Ashraf Ghani will have to come to terms with Islamabad, which had facilitated the peace between the Taliban and the US, with nominal participation of the Kabul government in the process.

As the patron of the Taliban, Khan will wield more direct influence over Afghanistan as Washington winds down its involvement.

But on the other hand, when the US involvement is minimised and troops are no longer active beyond the protection of US resources, Islamabad’s leverage is also reduced because US troops would no longer be vulnerable to cross-border terrorism and terror attacks by Pakistan’s proxies and therefore will not have to be deferential to it.

Nor would Islamabad be able to exert influence by manipulating Taliban diplomacy.

The danger for Pakistan and the world will be the rise of the ISIS in an Afghan vacuum. Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) group has been a threat to both Afghanistan and Pakistan and Islamabad will have to contain it and similar groups for its own protection – and not make a deal with them lest it face a backlash from the US.

There has been no signs of opposition in the Pentagon to the troop withdrawal.

After Miller took over the defence portfolio when Trump fired Secretary Mark Esper days after the November 3 election there has been a change in personnel at the top level to douse dissent.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)

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