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Archive for March 12, 2011

Capital of Afghans in India from the facades of Rohilkhand – Bareilly. by Fahad Hussain

Founded by Mukrand Rai in 1657 & nourished by Afghan warriors Bareilly is a true Afghan city which in true sense was developed by the Rohilla warriors of the Mughal Army consisting of Yousufzai, Barech, Khatakzai. Since my childhood days I have always get fascinated by the stories & the history of these tribes which have contributed in their own respect. Growing as stepping stones walking in the by lanes of my grandmother’s house I always been a witness to the changing archaeology of this city once used to be thriving Rohilla stronghold where there are forts & estates of honoured warriors concreting the bricks of Afghan second home out of Durand wondering why they had made this place to be their second to none native place, so, the answer lies in the geographic location of this city which is been properly residing at the equidistance junction at the cross roads of Agra, Delhi, Lucknow, Nepal & the mountains of Himalaya which gives both the feel of home & the political connectivity with different empires & kingdoms of those times. As I walked through life, I have witnessed the encroachment on the famous real estates of the Rohilla Empire which though was destroyed by the British after the 1857 revolt. Era of Hafiz Rehmat Khan (15 September 1748 – 23 April 1774). The Rohilla Fort (famously called as Qila localy) once a luxury resting place is now wears the worn & torn of the aftermath standing now as the gates with its remaining facades colour in the red brick over looking at the heart of India’s longest market where one can find shops dated back to late 19th & early 20th centuries making jewellery since the Afghan’s time. Afghans has not only developed this city but also contributed to its vibrant & tribal ideological culture mixed of all religions synonymously turning into the city of peace. There are lots of festivities & celebration where hardly people find in any other Indian city though now a day’s getting increasingly popular.

Legacy: One can see the archaeological sites though not protected still fighting for their survival can be reached easily by road. Archaeological sites one can still see in this century are: Jama Masjid – Pilibhit (Rohilkhand Division), Gates & Facades of ruined Rohilla fort – Bareilly, Ramnagar Fort – Aonla, Bareilly, Tomb of Hafiz Rehmat Khan – Badaun (Rohilkhand Division) Tombs built by other Rohilla leaders in Fatehganj , Bareilly, Raza Library – Rampur (Rohilkhand Division), Rampur Fort & Railway station – Rampur (Rohilkhand Division), Bibi Ji ji Masjid – Bareilly, various ruins & damaged estates across Rohilkhand Division, colony of Zakheera where one can still find the old estates of Rohillas & other districts which were earlier was the part of Rohilla Empire (Meerut, Muzaffar Nagar, Bijnor, Shahjahanpur, Kumaon & Garhwal Regions of Uttarakhand state), Durgah of Hafiz Rehmat Khan centre of famous Islamic school of thought “Bareilvi”. One can meet & find pure Afghan people in the city living there for generations now though most of them have now become a mixed Indian due to the inter racial marriages but the feel of Afghan can still be feel & smell in the City with the presence of numerous Afghan tribes with the walls of the beautiful vibrant by lanes of this historic geography spreading the fragrance of its glorious past & telling stories of the martyred empire which once ruled the basin of Ramganga now a dried & filthy drain.

World News Headlines of March 12

New quakes rock tsunami-devastated Japan

SENDAI, Japan: Huge earthquakes rocked northeastern Japan on Saturday, a day after a giant temblor set off a powerful tsunami that killed hundreds of people, turned the coast into a swampy wasteland and left two nuclear reactors dangerously close to meltdown.

U.S. Wary of Libya Role

WASHINGTON—The U.S. military doesn’t want to send troops into Libya, even for humanitarian duties, until Col. Moammar Gadhafi has left power, a senior defense official said Friday. The admission provided a sign of the Pentagon’s skittishness about taking overt military action against the government.

French police arrest senior Eta activists

MADRID – French police arrested four members of Basque separatist group Eta late on Thursday night, including two military leaders, Spain’s interior ministry said yesterday…

Tsunami-hit Japan awakes to wide destruction, toll exceeds 1,000

TOKYO: Japan confronted devastation along its northeastern coast on Saturday, with fires raging and parts of some cities under water after a massive earthquake and tsunami that likely killed at least 1,000 people. ( See: Quake, tsunami hit Japan ) Daybreak revealed the full extent of the damage from Friday’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake — the…

Tsvangirai eyes ‘divorce’ from Mugabe as coalition totters

Zimbabwe’s fragile power-sharing government was on the brink of collapse yesterday with both sides claiming irreconcilable differences and foreign diplomats warning of a spike in political violence. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said the government is “dysfunctional” and called this week for a “divorce” from President Robert Mugabe and his..

State of emergency declared over fears of nuclear leaks

Japan was fighting to avert a nuclear disaster last night as it declared a state of emergency and evacuated thousands near a damaged plant. As officials conceded that radiation levels had risen inside one damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi power station, there were fears of a leak with reports last night that the authorities were planning to…

EU leaders call on Moammar Kadafi to step down

In a unanimous declaration, leaders of the European Union push for Libyan dictator Moammar Kadafi to give up power. They say they will consider ‘all necessary options’ to protect Libyans from Kadafi’s attacks, but stop short of backing military intervention. Share By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times.

Gates Visits Bahrain Amid Huge Protests

MANAMA, Bahrain — As security forces and pro-government vigilantes beat back protesters here on Friday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates arrived on an unannounced visit to offer American support to the royal family and prod the king and crown prince toward talks with protesters demanding more democracy. His visit took place against a…

Ivory Coast crisis: ‘Nearly 450,000 refugees’

Ivory Coast crisis Eyewitness: ‘We were slaughtered’ Descent into ‘madness’ Affects on cocoa trade Q&A: Ivory Coast election crisis More than 450,000 people have fled their homes because of the crisis in Ivory Coast, the UN refugee agency says….

Defense Secretary Robert Gates warns U.S. allies about ‘precipitous’ exit from Afghanistan

Speaking at a NATO meeting, Robert Gates says, ‘There is too much talk about leaving and not enough talk about getting the job done right’ in Afghanistan. His remarks are seen as an attempt to keep allies from using a planned U.S. drawdown as a pretext for withdrawing large numbers of troops. Share By David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times…

Latest World News

 

Important Events on March 12

March 12: Independence Day in Mauritius (1968); Arbor Day in China and Taiwan

Gandhi at the Dandi March

  • 515 BCE – Construction of the Temple in Jerusalem was completed.
  • 538 – Vitiges, king of the Ostrogoths, ended his siege of Rome, leaving the city in the hands of the victorious Roman general, Belisarius.
  • 1622 – Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier, founders of the Jesuits, were canonized as saints by Pope Gregory XV.
  • 1930 – Gandhi began the Dandi March (pictured), a 24-day walk to defy the British tax on salt in colonial India.
  • 1947 – Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman proclaimed the Truman Doctrine to help stem the spread of Communism.
  • 1971 – The Turkish Armed Forces executed a coup by memorandum, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel.

Albinos the victims in Africa

A six-year-old albino girl in Burundi has been found dead with her head and limbs removed, in the latest killing linked to ritual medicine. Albinos in the region have been targeted because of a belief peddled by witchdoctors that their body parts can be used for magic potions. The girl, who was attacked, was the sixth person with albinism to be killed in Burundi since September. Armed attackers broke into the family home and tied up the girl’s parents before shooting her in the head, local officials say.

Tanzania is also a country in Africa were albinos are targeted and killed the moment they are spotted. Only the past year 25 albinos were murdered here. Since 2007, 44 albinos have been killed in Tanzania and 14 others have been slain in Burundi, sparking widespread fear among albinos in East Africa. At least 10,000 have been displaced or gone into hiding since the killings began, according to a report released this week by the International Federation for the Red Cross and Crescent societies.

The head of the Burundi Albinos’ Association, Kasim Kazungu, says people with albinism had not suffered any discrimination until other Burundians heard about the lucrative trade in albino body parts in neighboring Tanzania. Not long ago police officers in south-western Tanzania arrested a man who was attempting to sell his albino wife to Congolese traders and two mothers in western Tanzania were also attacked with machetes after gangs failed to find their albino children.

The latest victim was a seven-month-old baby. He was mutilated on the orders of a witchdoctor peddling the belief that potions made from an albino’s legs, hair, hands, and blood can make a person rich. Sorcery and the occult maintain a strong foothold in this part of the world, especially in the remote rural areas around the fishing and mining regions of Mwanza, on the shores of Lake Victoria. Once these poor albinos would seek protection from the sun to avoid skin cancer, now they have to go into hiding just to simply survive and avoid being cut in pieces.

Nobody seems to know why the killings are happening now, but Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete is now putting pressure on the police to identify where albinos live and offer them protection but it seems like it’s not going to be easy as long as the witchdoctors persuade people to bring albino body parts.

Albinism

Albinism is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes due to absence or defect of an enzyme involved in the production of melanin. Albinism results from inheritance of recessive gene alleles and is known to affect all vertebrates, including humans. The most common term used for an organism affected by albinism is “albino”. Albinism is associated with a number of vision defects, such as photophobia, nystagmus and astigmatism and lack of skin pigmentation makes the organism more susceptible to sunburn and skin cancers.

We want your legs!

The last adult albino to be murdered was Nyerere Rutahiro. He was eating dinner outside in his rural compound, when a gang of four strangers burst in, and threatened to arrest him. As his wife Susannah looked on helplessly, the men began to hack at Nyerere’s arms and legs with machetes. “We want your legs,” they shouted, “We want your legs,” his wife recalls, still deeply traumatized by what she saw. Nyerere was targeted for being albino but he was human in the end and died a horrifying death. He was a man in his 50s, father of two and working as a farmer just like the others in the same area. His body was laid to rest in a cement-sealed grave to protect against grave robbers who often steal body parts of the dead to give to witchdoctors.

Nyerere is buried in a cementgrave

This is the work of organized gangs, according to Tanzanian police in the capital Dar as Salaam. Witchdoctors, middlemen and the clients who pay for albino body parts are among the 173 people in custody so far for these macabre killings but none has been prosecuted.

Ostracised

The sad reality is that albinos, who can afford it, are now flocking to urban centres where they feel a little safer. African albinos endure insults, discrimination and segregation throughout their lives. They also have a high risk of contracting skin cancer in a region where many jobs are outdoors.

Away from the wards, under the shade of a mango tree, a black woman sits with her albino daughter. Ashura and Amina, her angelic looking 9 year old. They may seem an odd couple at first, but the firm eyes of the mother reveals a woman deeply protective of her child. She is a woman who looks older than her years. Ashura and Amina now live on their own, ostracised by the rest of their family. “When Amina was born my husband and the older two children moved away,” recounts Ashura. “They were so ashamed and thought Amina would bring us bad luck, but I am not leaving her, she’s my daughter,” Ashura say.

Every parent nurturing an albino child has good reason to be frightened in today’s Tanzania. The stories of youngsters being snatched from their parents’ arms or attacked on the way to school are horrific but a part of reality.

Mary Owido, 36 years old and mother of 6 lacks pigment that gives color to skin, eyes and hair, says she is only comfortable when at work or at home with her husband and children.”Wherever I go people start talking about me, saying that my legs and hands can fetch a fortune in Tanzania,” she says. “This kind of talk scares me. I am afraid of going out alone.”

The surge in the use of albino body parts as good luck charms is a result of “a kind of marketing exercise by witch doctors,” the International Federation for the Red Cross and Crescent societies said. The report says the market for albino parts exists mainly in Tanzania, where a complete set of body parts including all limbs, genitals, ears, tongue and nose can sell for $75,000. Wealthy buyers use the parts as talismans to bring them wealth and good fortune.

Many fathers in denial
Almost 90 percent of albinos living in the region were raised by single mothers, because the fathers believed their wives were having affairs with white men. Some African communities believe that albinos are harbingers of disaster, while others mistakenly think albinos are mentally retarded and discourage their parents from taking them to school, saying it’s a waste of money. This resembles the witch-hunt that took place in the middle ages were women and girls would be burned at the stake accused of being witches.

Due to a lack of education, many albinos are illiterate and are forced into menial jobs, exposing them to the sun and skin cancer and those who manage to finish school face discrimination in the work place and are never considered for promotions. But one thing is positive and that is that before people would not dare to speak about albinism and would always keep silence. Today, everybody is talking about it and hopefully things will change so that these people can live as a part of the community and not as outcasts.

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