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Acid Violence: Consuming Humanity

A form of violent assault, acid attack is formally defined as the act of throwing acid into the body of someone else with the intentions of disfiguring or injuring out of jealousy or revenge. The statistics show that more than eighty percent of the acid attack victims all over the world are women and children. Although quite prevalent even in states of America and other developed nations, acid violence seems to be almost unique to the Africa and South Asia region with most incidents happening in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
These acid attacks happen all over the world but are notably more prevalent in Cambodia and India as well due to the cheap prices and easy availability of acid.A large number of Indian households use concentrated acid to sterilize their kitchens and bathrooms, as Americans use bleach.
The studies carried out across the world have revealed that most of these acid attacks are used as punishing measures towards women who have refused to accede to the commands of the men. These acid attacks are used as tools against the women who have in general stood against the atrocities of men. The effect of these acid attacks on their lives has been destructive and these women are often forced to face social isolation and ostracism from their community. The physical and psychological trauma of such incidents is enormous and long-lasting. A large number of these acid attack victims also develop suicidal tendencies due to the fear of rejection and agony of living forever with these marks.
The results of these acid attacks are heinous. The acid generally eats through the skin and bone of the victims, leaving burn marks which can permanently disfigure, maim and kill them. Apart from personal reasons like family disputes, estranged lovers and domestic violence, these attacks are also widely used to mar the physical attractiveness of women in a lot of cases.
With the world moving towards complete transformation into a technological hub where men and women are given equal rights and opportunities to grow as a career oriented professional, it is gruesome to see that such heinous acts of crime are like a slap on the face of development.
Of the total registered cases of acid attacks, a large percentage is contributed by domestic violence and family disputes. It has been observed that in a lot of cases, men have attacked their wives with acid when they simply refused to succumb to their demands such as throwing themselves into prostitution to fend for money and refusing to give their consent for the second marriage of their husband.

“I screamed in pain. Acid burns immediately. It is like when you light a piece of paper and how fast the flames consume it. That is how the acid works. It moves inside, consuming you.” woman in Uganda who was a victim of acid attack recalled her memories.

In India, a large number of cases of acid attacks have been the result of love relationships gone sour. Often, a large number of rejected lovers tend to take up to this crime when they feel that the girl they love is not responding accordingly or has out rightly rejected their proposal. The fear of seeing the one you desire going up with someone else is something which takes the human out of the person’s mind.
In Afghanistan and Pakistan majority of women faced acid attacks as part of their domestic violence sufferings. Countless women have faced the horror of this in human acts of violence at the hands of their husbands and in laws. These incidents have not only ruined the lives of victim but also affect many others of the same gender psychologically.
The terror of acid in most these victimised regions are such that women now feel insecure to their very life and safety whether they are alone or at home.
This has also been observed that a large number of these cases remain unregistered and therefore a lot of victims fail to receive any help from the concerned agencies. In a large number of such cases, due to acute scarcity of money, these victims don’t even get proper medical treatment and have to live with this agony for the remaining parts of their lives.
Apart from the fear of being burnt and disfigured, perhaps the most dangerous thing about these acid attacks is the fear that is created by these attacks. Some time back, a case was reported in Afghanistan, where some bikers had thrown acid on a group of school going girls to create havoc and to send across a clear message to their parents to keep their daughters at home. Backed by Taliban, this attack was largely condemned all over the world.
It is high time that the people around the world should realise that they are humans and not mere animals who can kill or slaughter anyone else to fulfil their own petty interests or to avenge something which could simply be overlooked as something extremely trivial.
Besides, it needs to understood by men that women, often known as the fairer sex, are not mere toys to seek pleasure and be thrown once used. They are also human, who have equal intellectuality as men. This should now be accepted by people that women can actually contribute a lot to the development of the households and society at large and that they should be given equal opportunities like men. Not merely chopped and burnt when desired!
On behalf of the entire team of The Oslo Times, I strongly criticise these acid attacks that have tarnished the fabric of humanity all over the world and request to the authorities and influential people in various regions to come forward and help these women whose life is being spoilt by this act of tyranny by some inhuman cluster of people.
The governments around the world should banned and regulate the retailing of such harmful and destructive chemicals which are being sale openly in the consumer market and are easily available to any common person without any check or purpose. We should by all means try and make this world a better place to live in, not a hell where nothing good can be expected.

Human Trafficking: An Ancient Curse on Mankind

In the present world where mankind has moved out to other celestial bodies and is inventing something new every day, there still are some who are not bothered about this progress and are just trying to pull the civilisation back to those times where humanity and courtesy were not even invented. It is very sad to see that even in the most developed nations, there are some who do not want to look up to modern ways of progress and are just exploiting humanity in every way for their petty vested interests.

Although life has moved a lot ahead, still issues like human trafficking appal us. Not only the under-developed countries, this demon has even engulfed a huge number of people, especially women and children, hailing even from the most developed nations of the world. Human trafficking can be better defined as the illegal trade of human beings for the purpose of reproductive slavery, commercial sexual exploitation, forced labour, or modern day slavery in different industries and also for household work.
Human trafficking has been identified, world over, as the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. This comes second only to drug trafficking. This is substantially different from people smuggling as in smuggling, people voluntarily request to be hired for services. On the other hand, human trafficking involves forced ways like kidnaping and buying and selling of people.
The majority of trafficking victims all over the world are between 18 and 24 years of age. Besides, an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked from 127 countries and are sent across to different geographies to be sold and used for different requirements by the buyers.
The main reason that can be attributed to the growth of this industry is lack of education and financial disparity among different sections in each economy. Most of the victims of this human evil are bought or kidnapped from weaker economies or regions like north-east part of India, Nepal, Malaysia, Indonesia, Afghanistan and several other countries in Africa like Nigeria and Sudan and are sold to the well offs in developing and developed economies for a whopping amount of money. In totality, as many as 161 countries are reported to be affected by human trafficking by being either a source, transit or a destination point.
The statistics revealed by different agencies related to human trafficking are rather alarming. According to different surveys, 95% of the victims of human trafficking experience physical or sexual violence during the transportation or after being sold. Most of these victims, even if bought for household chores, are subjected to inhuman conditions and are often raped and killed at some point of time or the other.
The nexus of human trafficking is growing and is already worth US $31.6 billion. Out of this, 49% is generated from industrialised economies, 30.6% from Asia and Pacific, 4.1% generated from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 4.7% is generated in the Middle East and North America. Such is this nexus that even the most prominent people of several regions are a part of it. The people who profit by victimising the children and women into this sex trade are only 50% of the problem. The other half is constituted by the ones who patronise this exploitative industry. This whole system is being run under the protective shelter of several important and effective people of different regions.

The traffickers who are also known as pimps when sex trade is the main reason for trafficking exploit vulnerability and lack of opportunities in remote areas. They offer promises of marriage, employment, education, and an overall better life and finally sell the victims to the effluent.
The story does not end here. The buyers who buy these ‘commodities’ put these victims into difficult conditions and often make them live without food and minimum requirements for days. They often beat them up, bruise them black and blue, give them electric shocks, and even give them scars that do not go away for their entire lives. There also have been instances when a victim has even died after being put to such tough physical and unacceptable sexual tyranny.
Even as the society wakes up to a new age wherein progress of technology and mankind is the key, the evil of human trafficking has stricken and has bled many a lives. When women are matching steps with men and are getting advantageous position in different industries, it is extremely depressing to see more and more women being pushed into this exploitation that often claims their lives and many a times leave them with diseased bodies for the rest of their lives.
The worst part about all this is that all governments worldwide recognise this human trafficking as the most heinous crime against humanity, still not much has been done till now to eradicate this evil from the surface of earth. The governments and administrations all over the world are just neglecting this major crime against humanity. Although, several regulations and laws cover this issue, but not of much avail. Nothing significant is actually happening in this direction that can protect the victims from being trafficked in the first place.
It needs to be understood by the people as well as the governments that human trafficking cannot be abolished by putting things into place proper regulations and laws. The need today is that the people should be more active and aware about their fundamental rights and the administration should ensure proper protection to the under privileged sections of the society.
On behalf of the team of The Oslo Times, I want to send out this message to the people in different geographies that this evil can only be abolished when we all join hands and determine to free our society of this evil. We strongly condemn this ill practice and want that the administrations take some firm steps to improve the situation.

Anna Hazare: The Man Who Changed Indian History

73 year old Anna Hazare who has reconstructed the present era of the country with his revolution against corruption in the country, has shown to the world that if your motive is true, you can garner the support of an entire country including the young and the children. The revolution that started from a simple ground in central Delhi, the entire world became captive of this man’s fast unto death movement. This movement witnessed the participation of more than a million followers and got support from all sections of the society.
A Gandhian in body, mind and spirit suddenly became the face of India’s fight against corruption. A country which was tired of rhetoric and corruption which has percolated to its deepest lanes suddenly woke up to the revolution against corruption which was started by Anna. The teaming millions chanting the slogan of ‘I am Anna’ largely came together with the help of a very effective social media campaign, headed by Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan aptly known as the ‘Team Anna’.
Hazare, a former army man, began his social activism from Ralegan Siddhi, a village in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra, where he successfully led a movement against alcoholism and made Ralegan Siddhi a model village. Hazare’s campaign was instrumental in the implementation of the Right to Information Act in Maharashtra, which is considered one of the best RTI Acts in the country.
It is surprising that an enlightened man like Anna once wanted to kill himself as he was not able to find a purpose in his life and was feeling utterly hopeless. It is said that one day at New Delhi Railway Station, he found a book on Swami Vivekananda. He concluded that the motive of his life lay in service to his fellow men.
Anna Hazare not only found a supporter in the common man but even the celebrities, socialites, and political circle as well. However, this is not a new battle for him. He has fought many battles while being in the country’s army. It seems that the man has the combination of Subhash Chandra Bose’s fiery temperament and the political mind of Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi which no government can handle.
After taking voluntary retirement from Army, he returned to his native village only to find the farmers back home struggling for survival. He started rainwater conservation that put his little hamlet on the international map. drop two corrupt Cabinet Ministers. In 2003, he forced the Congress-
In the year 1995-96, he also forced the Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra to drop two corrupt ministers from the cabinet. In 2003, he also forced the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) state government to set up an investigation against four ministers. In April this year, four days of fasting brought thousands of people out in support of his crusade against corruption. They also made the government realise it could not be dismissive about Anna Hazare and his mass appeal.
His relationship with the UPA government has been strained to say the least from very start. The truce of April was short-lived. An exercise to set up a joint committee made up of equal numbers of Government representatives and civil society activists, including Anna Hazare came to naught when the two sides failed to agree and drafted two different Lok Pal Bills. The government has brought its version in Parliament and Team Anna was livid.
Team Anna needs to realized, that it is against a mighty democracy run by some most corrupt and shrewd mind is in the world. It needs to make its moves very strategically. The govt. not only delayed the bringing of the bill but also, finally succeeded in not passing it in the winter session of the parliament.
While the govt. failed to pass the anti-corruption bill in the parliament, it failed the promised given to Anna and the people of the country, the movement itself has not died. It will rise once again, like phoenix from the ashes, despite Anna’s ill health and the confusion team Anna is facing. They will find victory coz now India’s has had enough, and India will be grateful to the man who brought this change.

 

A Curse on Womanhood

The land of Jats, Haryana, which has been acknowledged by the entire country for the chivalry of its people who have contributed greatly to the Indian armed forces in the past and also in the present day, has much more to itself than just that.

The state of Haryana, despite its golden image, is ironically also known for being a true culprit of the women backwardness in the region. The state suffers from the lowest sex ratio in the entire country, thanks to the female foeticide that has prevailed here despite all bans and policies framed by the government. There are places in the state where the gender ratio is 800 women per 1000 men and then there are places where it is much lower at 600 per thousand men. It is not difficult to imagine what other atrocities follow women in this state.
Putting shame to the rest of the civilised world, this state is much ahead in women trafficking and has adopted despicable customs to fill in the gap. It is hard to believe in the modern day world of today but it is the harsh truth that several regions in state buy women to get married to. Finding a bride through the conventional way has become so difficult in these regions that families find it easy to buy women from helpless families in other areas. These people have also set an average price for the enjoyable commodity-brides. The brides here are generally brought at Rs 4000 per girl. The prices may go up to 5000 or 7000 depending upon the looks and appearance of the girl.
The real problem, however, is much bigger than this. Once brought, these women are treated like slaves and can be sold if the buyer finds them unsatisfactory. There have also been instances where a single woman is bought for multiple male members of a family, making her situation even worse. Women are made to live in dismal conditions and their trade has flourished so well that a supply chain has been established for this. If abandoned by their buyer, these women either have to face a gang rape by entire village community or are forced to other outrages like parading in the public without clothes and harassment. This generally happens mostly in the case when either their buyer has died or has abandoned her.
The main reason behind this shameful custom in Haryana is two-dimensional. One is the demand factor and the other one is the vulnerability and availability of the women due to poverty, lack of education, lack of access to rights, disparities in income and the scope for exploitation of the victim.
Although article 23 of the Indian Constitution prohibits trafficking of any form and there are specific acts as well to stop immoral trafficking, bonded labour, and juvenile justice still the enforcement of the laws in this regard is not up to the mark. Therefore, the general condition of women remains pathetic. This society of male dominance has never accepted women as natural beings but just merely property and commodity to fulfil their needs.
With such exploitation, it would be folly to expect the interference of women in family and social matters. The girls who study and take up some profession are looked down upon and are often killed in due time.
Most girls for bride trafficking are brought from rural areas of the north eastern states like Assam, West Bengal and also from a few places down south. A high percentage of these women come from the poor and uneducated Muslim population of the country. Besides, nearly 20,000 girls from Nepal are brought to the state to get married to their buyer husbands.
Many say that this tradition has been adopted from the Mahabharata but it would be foolish to blame the mythologies for this. If this is just the adoption of what our ancestors did, there are many more things that should have been adopted from that era. Or is it human psyche to pick up only the evil in everything.
This tradition has resulted in a lot of opposition from women groups and NGOs as well. However, due to lack of political will and week enforcement of laws has not changed much in the state. This system has also given rise to several honour killings in the state which are often done when a girl comes forward to choose her husband herself often from a different community.
With such atrocities taking place against womanhood, the day is not far when women would not be found in Haryana at all and even the state may end up becoming mere history in the geographical map of the country.
It is expected from the political and administrative system that it should take active action and think of upliftment of women in this state so that the coming generations are freed from this evil.

Bleeding from Exploitation

Adding another feather to its cap, India showcased its nuclear muscle on this republic day to the entire world. By doing this, India has taken a step towards being in the queue of the developed nations across the world. However, the challenge of child labour exploitation brings us back to the category of developing and underdeveloped countries. It is heart breaking to see thousands of children below 14 years of age working in factories and households.

Childhood is considered to be the most innocent phase of human life. It is the phase when the human foundations are laid for a successful adult life. Yet, a lot of children never experience this phase fully. Many children are only scarred and tormented and simply hate their childhood. They want to break free from this problematic phase and would do anything for getting out of the dungeons of being children.
In an otherwise developed country, these underprivileged children work at the cost of their right to education thereby leaving them permanently trapped in poverty, sadly without education and literacy required for well-paid jobs. Although the national data claims that around 17 million children in India are engaged in child labour, reality is much more alarming. As many as 60 million children are working as labourers in various industries across the country, out of which a large percentage of them work as hidden workers in homes and underground economy.
Reasons behind increasing child labour are often associated with poverty, inadequate public education system and the needs of the large families in the country. A large number of families are generally unable to send their children to school as they cannot afford to go without their children’s income for long.
Further, the demand put forward by several industries across the country has aggravated the situation. Many manufacturing firms and sweat shops are mindfully established at poverty stricken areas which attract children to work as labourers. With profits maximising objectives, these firms are in profit by employing the children rather than adults due to their cheaper wages, higher efficiency and most importantly the absence of union problems.
Although itself and evil, the worst form of child labour is much more heinous than the principal form. Bonded child labour is the most crucial form of child labour in which children are sold by their parents for a petty sum, or to pay off some debt. These children unknowingly enter a long run employer slave relationship and are tied to the debt bondage for usually their entire lifetimes.
Although bondage is illegal in India and several initiatives are being taken to stop bonded child labour, little has been done so far to improve the condition of these children. Both bonded labour system (abolition) act, 1976 and child labour (prohibition and regulation) act 1986 have hardly contributed for the upliftment of these children. This inefficiency of these acts can be attributed to the use of loopholes and ambiguity by the employers.
Child Labour is prevalent in a number of industries where children are tortured beyond imagination to be made useful to the business.
• Child labour in agricultural sector: About 80% child labourers in the country are employed in the agricultural sector. Mostly, children are sold to the money lenders who make them work in the farmed lands.
• Street Children: Children work as beggars, flower sellers and are also used for selling small articles on the roads around the traffic signals and main points. They go hungry for days on not fetching enough money to the employer. In fact, most of them are purposely starved to create sadness in the minds of people who would either give them something or buy the article from them.
• Glass Factories: Almost 60,000 children are employed in glass and bangle industry and are forced to work in extreme conditions like excessive heat.
• Matchbox Factories: Experts claim that out of the total labourers working in this industry, more than 35% are children below 14 years of age. They are forced to work 12 hours a day, usually starting at 4 in the morning.
• Carpet Industry: Around 4, 20,000 children are employed in the carpet industry in the country.
It has to be understood by the general public in the country that the malady of child labour has to be reduced by all means and it can only be done if every individual takes the responsibility of reporting and bringing into limelight. As a member of the general community, this fact has to be understood by the people of the country that no evil can be removed just by the implementation of appropriate rules and regulations.
Government, police or even the judiciary cannot do anything without the help of the people who live and see child labour all around them. It is our social responsibility to first speak against any such thing happening around us and then take the things forward by reporting such cases to the authorities.
On the other hand, government need to come forward with better policies and should ensure better implementation of these policies to abolish this ill practice that has robbed millions of children around us from living a peaceful and happy childhood.

Organ harvesting

Organs are not useful when they are dead. They drug them first and remove the organs. Then they leave them to die. Human rights campaigner Hamdy Al-Azazy

International organ trafficking has become a huge multibillion $ business and it continues to grow. The traffickers have become more and more ruthless and have absolutely no boundaries. An example is Antonio Medina, 23 year old migrant from Central America on his way to USA with his wife were captured by a criminal gang. After being locked in separate rooms, Medina heard his wife screaming. Later on, he entered the room and saw his wife on a table with her chest wide open and without her heart and kidney. Medina was lucky; he and some others were saved by Mexican soldiers. This is the small part of global trafficking as for most of the part, organ trafficking occurs in hospitals where medical practitioners are corrupt and cooperate with traffickers because of the profit.

Poor and desperate people can earn between 3,000 to $15,000 for selling their organs, especially kidneys, to middlemen who re-sell them to wealthy buyers for as much as $200,000.

Although it happens in most of the countries, however it is more prevalent in Israel, India, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Brazil, Nepal, the Philippines, Kosovo, Iran and the former Soviet states in Eastern Europe. Most of the countries here have weak authorities and poverty makes people desperate to sell their organs to the wealthy. The customers are from the US, Western Europe, the Arab Gulf states, Israel and other wealthy countries.

Everybody has 2 kidneys that filter the toxins out of the bloodstream. If a patient with failure in both kidneys will die quickly unless he/she is treated with a dialysis machine or get a transplant. The transplants prolongs the lives of the patients but patients who receive organs from living donors have better survival rates rather than those receiving from deceased donors.

Online Business

China has done it well by attracting sellers and buyers by using the web. The communist country has the world’s highest execution rate and the dead convicts supply healthy young organs at all time. The Chinese justice system works effective and quick for those who are sentenced to death and corrupt government workers take advantage of the situation to earn extra money.

Once patients arrive to China, the organizers will force them to bid more than the others so that a single organ will go for the highest price. They are forced to sit at the hospital and wait and watch who will get the organ from the executed prisoner.

Israel and shortage of donors

This globally black market is deceptive and dirty. The traffickers use deception, violence and coercion to buy and sell organs from desperate people and sell them for much higher price to more developed countries. These middlemen form partnership with doctors in different hospitals who perform these transplants for an arranged fee and no questions. The numbers from World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that 5000 people sell their organs on the black market each year. Many of the black marketed kidneys harvested by the rootless gangs are destined to patients in Israel.

With a population of 7,4 million and a very modern medical system, Israel has a alarming shortage of donors because of the religious belief. Only 12% of Israelis are registered as donors according to the Israeli National Transplant center. What’s positive is that the Israeli police has been very aggressive against organ traffickers and managed to break up 3 international gangs since 2008.

The criminals profits from the poor and the sick, both parts that try to survive. They will pay a seller $10,000 and collect $150,000 from the patient.  The buyers are flown to cities and hospitals to wait for the procedure until they find a recipient.

Unfortunately, there are corrupt doctors everywhere and it is impossible for them not to know about the transplants because of the money that is involved. How can they not know about whether the donor is a blood relative or not?  Not only the middlemen, but the doctors must also be held accountable together with everyone that is involved.

Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, from New York, admitted in a Trenton federal court to brokering three illegal kidney transplants for desperate New Jersey-based customers in exchange for payments of $120,000 or more. He also pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count for brokering an illegal kidney sale.

The religious debate

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, a prominent and leading arbiter of Jewish law in Israel advises that donating body parts violates the religious faith, which states that “upon death, a body should be buried intact.” This has lead to a huge shortage of donors and the list of patients is growing. The result is that money hungry gangs prey on these desperate people.

Shmuel Eliyahu, chief Rabbi of Safed, Israel has started a project to get 100 colleagues to sign a document advocating organ donation. “The Torah tells people to help others when they can, especially if it means saving a life. Donating an organ is a mitzvah, or good deed, “he said.

Egypt

In this area, there is a network of Bedouin smugglers who steal organs from refugees who travel in the harsh desert in search for a better life in Israel. If they can’t pay for the large amount of money to their smugglers, they have to pay with their organs. Many African refugees have been found in the desert with their organs missing.

The most dangerous and cruel traffickers are the Sawarka Bedouin tribe who steal organs from refugees coming from Ethiopia, Eritrea or Sudan. If they can’t pay, the men lose their organs and the women are raped.

Al-Azazy, a human rights activist stated that the victims are drugged before the traffickers remove the organs as the organs aren’t useful when the victim is dead. After the surgery, the victim is dumped in a dry well where hundreds of other bodies rest. They all have one thing in common, and that is the deep scar they all carry. This heinous act is a shame and the corrupt Egyptian doctors are working together with the Bedouins and perform the surgery in mobile hospitals.

Countries involved

According to information from WHO, kidney transplants are carried out in 91 countries. Approximately, 66,000 kidney transplants, 21,000 liver transplants and 6000 heart transplants were performed globally in 2005.

Organ harvesting is going on at full speed in Philippines, Turkey, Iran, central Europe, mainly in the Czech Republic, Caucasus, mainly in Georgia, Pakistan, India, Africa; such as Mozambique and South Africa as one of the main countries.

The surgeons removes kidneys, lungs, pieces of liver, even corneas, bones, tendons, heart valves, skin and other sellable human bits. The organs are kept in cold storage and air lifted to illegal distribution centers in the United States, Germany, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Israel, South Africa, and other rich, industrialized locales. This barbaric business makes more money than human trafficking and drug trafficking.

The Middle East residents of the Gulf States (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman) have travelled to India, Philippines and to Eastern Europe for many years to purchase organs because of some Islamic teachings that allow organ transplantation to save life but prohibit organ harvesting from brain-dead bodies.

The Gurgaon kidney scandal

Police arrested several people for running a kidney transplant clinic in Gurgaon, Delhi. The kidneys came mostly from poor people from Uttar Pradesh and transplanted to clients in USA, UK, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Greece. Dr. Amit Kumar, who ran the clinic and the guesthouse, was arrested in Nepal on 7 February 2008 but not surprisingly, he denied having anything to do with the trafficking. Officials seized a bank draft worth Rs. 936,000 together with €145,000 and $18,900 in cash. He tried to bribe the Nepali police but was not successful.

The donors were lured to the clinic for job opportunities and then asked if they were willing to donate their kidney for the amount of Rs. 30,000. If they resisted, they would forcedly be dragged into the operation room.

I personally stand for saving lives but this type of harvesting should not happen in the 21st century. The way the eastern Europeans and Chinese perform the surgery reminds me of the death camps in Nazi Germany. There are many pictures on the internet showing dead naked bodies dumped over each other on the floors. All of them are opened up and emptied for organs. It’s disgusting and inhuman how a human life can be taken away so easily. As long as there is a shortage of donors, the business will continue flourishing. It is sad to think about all those who are chained to the bed waiting for a kidney, liver or heart but no one has the right to murder another human being for the sake of money.

“When I look in the mirror and see that scar, it’s a daily reminder of what I went through,” he says. “I feel this raw grievance inside.” Abdullin, 28 from Azerbaijan.

Balkanization of India – Dividing Indian Provinces

When we talk about UP – Uttar Pradesh many things come in our minds, Politan took a look into the ongoing political turmoil. This state has always remained a backbone of Indian politics and its politicians but what it faces today and always from decades was only the exploitation of its resources and its talent. Once called most shining state of Indian Union is now dragging its feet in the murky waters of corrupt politics formed by the hives of greedy and third grade politicians like mafia lords, castists, illiterate leaders who not even have a moral and ethics to speak properly for their one selves.

This state has given great leaders to the Indian society and the most number of prime ministers but it never receives its share for development. Decades of exploitation and negligence has taken toll on the prosperity of its people and their generation’s prolonged poverty and unemployment left its people no choice but to migrate to other states or just search for other options for their survival on meager incomes?

The state since British times have remained united has been facing the division on the grounds of development, community or tribes just on to satisfy either their political or communal aspirations. As far as economics is concerned of smaller provinces no doubt these stands have better chances of focused development and better approachable administration. Due to the vast expanse of state of Uttar Pradesh has resulted in acute poverty, slow development, divided politics, labor migration, and fewer opportunities for educated youth. Because of the much larger divide in the regions of Uttar Pradesh which comprises of Braj, Rohilkhand, Purvanchal, Avad, Bundelkhand has dis-similarities in terms of social and economical importance in the terms of widely changing political scenario.

With nearly 200 million inhabitants, Uttar Pradesh is not only the most populous state in India but also the most populous sub-national entity in the world. Only five countries which are: the People’s Republic of China, India itself, the USA, Indonesia and Brazil have higher populations. It is also one of the most economically and socially backward states in India.

On virtually every index of social development, whether literacy, infant mortality or unemployment, Uttar Pradesh ranks among the lowest in India; the situation is compounded by the fact that figures for females is invariably much lower than for males on every parameter. In sheer magnitude Uttar Pradesh is half the size of France, thrice that of Portugal and four times of Ireland. Seven Switzerland and ten Belgium’s could easily fit in this mammoth state. A little bigger than England, Uttar Pradesh has one out of every 36 persons in the World living here. The travel time from Ghazipur to Ghaziabad or from Churk to Chamoli within U.P. will easily exceed a cruise across the oceans. Uttar Pradesh represents the heart of India.

The state which used to be the one of the most industrialized and resource rich state has fallen short in the race of economic development in competition with other states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerela, Tamila Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and even states as small as Punjab, Goa, Haryana and Delhi which are shining tall as the glittering corners of the Indian growth story. However many good policy implementation have taken place in the past but none of those schemes or any revolution marked its impact of the entire state population just like the partial effects of Green Revolution which only benefitted the farmers and agri-business of western UP region whereas the other region especially Eastern UP and Bundelkhand lacked behind and get hardly benefitted from this super successful revolution in the field of agriculture which gave the new dimensions of prosperity and economics to the people of Punjab, Haryana and Western UP.

Though larger states have much larger sources of revenue and are more economically in dependent but in case of Uttar Pradesh the whole scenario is completely different and got affected not because of slow economic progress but due to the corrupt politics and destructive wrong policy making by the state politicians.

By declaring the state division Mayawati clearly stated that she has full political intentions for the upcoming state assembly elections which due in next year 2012 so in order to span her wings as a national party and meet the growing economical demands of people in the affected regions of the state she passed a resolution to divide into four separate states without even considering the opinions of the opposition and conducting the fair voting procedure in the state assembly instead of all this she cleverly passed the bill by the voice vote which means that the vote is awarded to the side which gets the loudest chorus of support. She has unveiled her hidden face of being a true follower of Jinnah who divided India and now the results are in front of everybody.

Votes were not cast electronically or by paper. Hence opposition’s unpreparedness to the presented draft and the voice raised by the angry opposition parties against the draft and the Mayawati’s check mate which stumble the entire political vision for the upcoming elections of all the political parties got the clean sweep passing for her triumph card played by this behemoth rising leader.

Whether or not whatever the central government decides on this sudden shift in the state politics and the related separation issue but this intentional move has now send the shock waves to all those states and their ministries which too are facing the same rising demand of the separation like the most violent and recent ongoing one of Telangana where it will be difficult for the federal government to concede to the demand as it is already facing protests over the demands for the formation of a new state of Telangana in Andhra Pradesh.

Nevertheless if the draft related to Division of State of Uttar Pradesh would get a green light by then the benefits which the people who are lacking behind in the India’s growth story will have a chance to stand and have a say of their own in the national arena. There will be increase in the job opportunities at all levels, economic development in all those regions where till now except the word of development nothing has come to their reality, poverty in these regions can be eradicated and administration can focused more deeply on the root causes of the under development and can work closely with all the communities while becoming more accessible to the local public and making them represented by the native communities / tribes.

Nevertheless recent and earlier examples of state partitions like of Bihar (Bihar – Jharkhand – Orissa), Madhya Pradesh (MP – Chhattisgarh), Assam division into various North Eastern States. Only two separation cases stand apart the one of Punjab and Haryana, Gujarat from Maharashtra & one of the Uttarakhand.  Others say new states remain works in progress – among them Uttarkhand and Chattisgarh, despite the latter’s current woes and a strong Maoist presence. It has taken some four decades for Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to turn into successful states.

Clearly, there are other identities in India which are not founded in language – caste or more importantly, a shared cultural identity, are some of them. Some states in the north-east were carved out to assuage tribal anxieties at being swamped by more resourceful and advantaged outsiders.

You have to visit the Telangana region to see how different it is from the rest of the state although people share the same language. Also, many say if you have nine “Hindi-speaking” states, why can’t you have two “Telugu speaking ones”?

Others say new states don’t serve any purpose. They end up benefiting entrenched local elites and the middle class, and leave the poor in the lurch. They point to Jharkhand which was carved out of southern Bihar in 2000 – nine years on, many of its people have turned to Maoists, and its politicians are embroiled in some of India’s worst corruption.

A number of north-eastern states carved out of Assam are accused of becoming fiefs of local elites or kleptocracies. The issues of lack of development and growing corruption are untouched. Creating financially unstable states, critics say, can lead to even more problems.

Shorter divisions are more prosperous and are more sustainable in the long term with focused governance and direct policy implementation. However the growing divide in the Indian Union where the two worlds of Bharat and India exists side by side pose challenges and obstacles to the rising Indian domain and the future politicians. Will all this lead to the Balkanization of India, as some fear?

Love Burns; Bride burning

My mother-in-law used to say that my husband was too educated for me, that he didn’t get a fair dowry, said Bhargava, who now lives alone in a New Delhi slum.

It first started with emotional and verbal abuse that escalated into physical when her husband and mother-in-law scalded her with boiling water. Desperate and with no choice, Bhargava dowsed herself in kerosene and set herself on fire. 40% of her body was burned. “I miss my daughter and fear the evil that may befall her. Though I passed these times, somehow, to my children I am dead,” she said.

These men marry their wife’s “until death do us part”, and they make that happen too. After being condemned and banned, bride burning is still alive and well in India. The practice is used because it’s the most effective way to cover the crime. The family members can basically call it an “accident” or “suicide” since the fire destroys all evidence. Most of the burn victims gets infection and rarely survive so that prosecution is not needed.

One reason is that divorce is equal to shame in many societies and stains the family honour. To become a widow is better than having a divorce.

Pay up or else…

Dowry murder has become a lucrative business for greedy in-laws and husbands. The dowry may be paid and the family receiving it may be happy at the time, but they usually change their mind afterwards. If the bride’s parents won’t or can’t pay more, the bride is victimized. After abusing her, the in-laws usually end the problem by deciding to kill her in cold blood so that the son can remarry and get more dowry from another family. Legal attempts have been made to eradicate the dowry system from 1939 but the practice is still continuing. In 1989 an amendment of criminal law was passed stating;

One man’s death is another man’s bread

Dowry first originated in the upper class families as a wedding gift to the bride from the family. Then the dowry was meant as a help with marriage expenses and became insurance in case if the in-laws terrorized her. The groom often demands a dowry consisting of a large sum of money, farm animals, land, furniture or electronics.

In the Indian subcontinent, including Bangladesh and Pakistan it is reported that “dowry death”, often called “bride burning”, happens once every 100 minutes and there are between 4,000 and 25,000 victims. As bizarre as it may seem, yes, married women are murdered by their husband or their in-laws for the financial opportunities available once the bride is dead.

The theory behind the dowry is that the putative husband is taking over the responsibility of the bride’s family and as she has little value on her own, a dowry must accompany her to make the marriage worthwhile for the groom.

The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961 makes it a criminal offence to both give and receive a dowry but the custom and traditions are so deeply rooted that it is still ongoing. After the wedding, demands will be made during the marriage that the original dowry was insufficient and additional dowry is required. The wife’s demise means the husband can keep his wife’s dowry and marry a second time with dowry if not get rid of her and then remarry.

While this horrific domestic abuse is against the law, India’s patriarchal society, including its police and Courts of Law, have not taken this inhumane violence as seriously as they need to. An amendment to India’s criminal law was finally enacted in 1986 which reads:

“where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of marriage and it is shown that immediately before her death she was harassed and put to cruelty by her husband or any relative of her husband in connection with demand for dowry, such death shall be called as “dowry death”.

It is estimated that at least one woman dies in related act of violence every hour in India. Some are set on fire, some are hanged, and some are fed poison or sleeping tablets. Most of these cases are not investigated as homicide by the police but are written off as accidents or suicides.

However, Indias National Crime Records showed that there were 8,172 dowry deaths’s including suicides in 2008 and less than 10% had been investigated. In India having a female is such a burden now because of dowry that many people are aborting female fetus’s because of the risk and toile it takes on one’s family safety and financial situation. Link

A 85 year old woman and her elder son were sentenced to life imprisonment including a fine on Rs 12,000 each for burning alive her younger son’s wife for failing to fulfill her dowry demands in India.  Their conviction came on the basis of the bride’s dying declaration where she told that her mother and brother-in-law used to harass and beat her for not fulfilling their demand of bringing a motorcycle and a television dowry.

22 October 2008, one day before the murder, the mother-in-law Husan and her elder son Nasim had beaten Gulnaz for failing to bring dowry. The next day when Gulnaz woke up, Husan picked a fight with her while Nasim doused her with kerosene oil and set her ablaze.  Her husband Nasuriddun and their nephew ran in hearing her cries trying to extinguish the fire. They took her to a nearby hospital where she died 2 months later.  The duo defended them by saying that they were not home and that the victim had caught fire accidently while she was igniting the stove to warm food for her husband.

While in Pakistan, divorce is possible but some families prefer murder rather than to divorce them. It is difficult to imagine how someone can kill their wife, the mother of their child over money or simply because they are no longer wanted. In many of these cases, the police are told that the victim was killed by an exploding stove and there will usually not be any persecution. Doctors however have reported that the injuries of many of the victims are not consistent with stove burns.

 

Saira Liaqat, 26 holds a portrait of herself before being burnt in Lahore, Pakistan. July 9th, 2998 at the age of 15, Saira was married off to a relative who later attacked her insisting her to live with him although the agreement was that she would move to his house after finishing school. After the attack, Saira have undergone 9 plastic surgery to recover from her scars with the help of Depilex Smile again Foundation in Lahore, an organization that helps burn victims to reintegrate into society through medical and psychological support.

The main problem in Pakistan first of all is the lack of investigation, arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators. Women are seen as property and not given any respect or value what so ever. This is a great shame, because these women are mothers, sisters, daughters and wives. These men’s mother was once a bride, and would they want the same for them? It’s a selfish act from people that has no respect for human life when they not only destroy a innocent person’s life but take the mother away from their children.

More specialized burn units are needed in hospitals and not least a new law that bans this custom and that does not collide with another law so that the perpetrators go free.

Roopa, a tragic story in India

Roopa was 14 when she fell in love with a boy 3-4 years older than her. Her family did not approve of him and wanted her to finish school, however Roopa decided to run away with him. Her family managed to bring her back home twice, the second time with the help of the police but Roopa wanted to marry the boy. Finally her parents relented but wanted nothing to do with the marriage.

Roopa then married the boy with his family’s consent. They also had a registration, where they showed her age as 18, the legal age of marriage without the parent’s consent. However a year later, when her parents visited her to see how she was doing, the in laws made a dowry demand. Her parents refused saying the marriage did not have their consent. More so, Roopa’s father in law is wealthy — and they saw no reason for them to give him more money. After the parents left, the abuse began. Roopa’s mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and husband took turns beating her. She was made to work like a slave for the whole family — cooking, cleaning, etc. Then they started starving her and forcing her to eat their left over’s. By the time she was 15 Roopa was pregnant and after her son was born, the abuse intensified.

Then the family separated the child from her and made plans to get rid of her. She tried to run away on two occasions but was brought back (by other villagers) and severely beaten. The second time they locked her in a room without food for 7 days. When they found out that the neighbors had been sneaking food to her, the mother-in-law, the sister in law and the husband, all together, held her down and forced acid down her throat. They then left the house assuming that she’d be dead by the time they got back.

Miraculously Roopa managed to get out of the house and the neighbors took her to the hospital where she told the doctors what had happened to her. Unbelievable 2 hospitals didn’t want to report this to the police and turned her down while the third was forced to take her in because she had passed out from pain. The in laws in the meantime found out that she had been taken to a hospital and as they were worried about an investigation they actually came to the hospital and paid her expenses for a month, after which the doctors said they could do nothing more and she was taken back to the village where they live.

The suffering continued but her parents had heard about the news. When they came to see her, the in-laws said that she had tried to commit suicide. The next day, her father came back to the village, this time with some male relatives. He knew they would kill his daughter if he didn’t take her out by force. First he tried to file an official complaint (FIR) with the local police but Roopa’s father-in-law was not only wealthy, he was on the village judiciary so the police refused to take the complaint. Roopa’s father then begged the police to help him get his daughter out, he said all he wanted to do was save her. Finally an armed police van was sent to escort him to the village.
Roopa is back with her parents and is now hospitalized and undergoing treatment. The acid had caused a lot of damage to her internal organs and for 3 months she has not been able to consume any food orally. She has to be ‘fed’ through a tube inserted into her stomach and lost a tremendous amount of weight. Her recovery will be a very slow and painful process with continued tests and surgery.

 

A woman is burned to death almost every 12 hours and the dowry murders are increasing. 90% of cases of women burnt were recorded as accidents, five percent as suicide and only the remaining five percent were shown as murder. Despite of bans and laws against it, convictions are rare and judges who usually are men is easily bought off with a nice sum of money.

What should be done?

  • Women and girls must be educated so that they know about their rights and can become economically independent. Then there must be opened more shelters that can provide help and protection for this women. Something that also would be useful is if the shelters would be given authorization to claim on behalf of the victim even if the family refuses to go to court.
  • Children must be educated in morals and ethics so that the younger generations will learn to respect each other and solve conflicts without the act of violence.
  • The media must increase awareness and publicize tragedies to help change the public perception on dowry violence, and for this, the censorship must be free.

Organizations like Amnesty must publicize this so citizens from around the world can be made aware of the situation’s gravity and help support the ban.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

Skin bleaching originated from Asia all the way to ancient China and Japan where the proverb says; “one white covers up three ugliness.” Then in 1960, skin lightening products were imported from Asia and launched in USA mainly for African-American women then it spread to Africa and Latin America where societies considers far skin as beautiful and as a higher social standing.

In Britain, obsession with fair skin can be traced all the way back to the 16th century and was called Venetian Ceruse, also known as Spirits of Saturn. The ceruse would be used as a skin whitener and the best they could find in that time. The product consisted of a pigment made by a white lead that caused lead poisoning and damage the skin as well as significant hair loss. If used over a long period of time, it would cause death. A famous user was Elizabeth I of England.

Skin whitening is considered to be a multi product as the consumers in the West use it for its lightning and anti age benefits while Asian consumers prefer it for lightening the overall color and tone of the skin. An important fact is that Asian women does not use these products to look like Caucasians but simply because fair skin has a social status in the society.

Poor people,villagers and those in India who are considered as low cast works outside and their skin will become dark. Rich people and those who can afford to stay indoors will remain pale and fair so this is connected to social status. Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese etc have a yellow undertone in their skin and the whitening products do target this as well.

Dangerous effects

There are 2 dangerous and extreme methods of whitening the skin. The first one employs cortisone which destroys the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). It passes into the bloodstream and the person develops a strong addiction towards it. Many women who have used this method have reported that they have developed depression. The other method is to use products with an ingredient called hydroquinone which was banned in the entire European Union in 2001 but still sold in the black market. Hydroquinone lightens the skin color by killing the cells that produce melanin (the melanolyte). From historical background, hydroquinone was first used in the 1930s when some African-Americans employees noticed that there were some discolorations appearing on their skin caused by Monobenzyl Ether of Hydroquinone (Monobonzone).

A fair business

The strongest and fastest growth remains in Asia-Pacific with Japan dominating the market followed by India and China. According to a report done by Global Industry Analysts (GIA), the Asian market will cross $2 billion by 2012. By 2015, it will reach $10 billion as new markets in the West emerge together with the growth in Asia-Pacific. Western markets have shown growth largely because Asian and African consumers demanded lightening products. The same report also revealed that lately there has been an increase in the market for men’s whitening products.

Fair & Lovely was first launched in India in 1975 and has become the largest selling skin whitening cream in the world. It is created by Unilever’s research laboratories and claims to give drastic results in 6 weeks. On their website, the product is called “the miracle worker* and is proven to give 3 shades of change. It held a commanding 50-70% share of the skin whitening market in India in 2006, a market that is valued at over $200 million. The target market for Fair & Lovely is mainly young women aged 18-35 but according to retail and market research reports, girls down to 12.14 years widely use fairness creams.

Despite being one of the leading products in this sector, are allegedly using photo touch-up to achieve desired results. The ad campaign was withdrawn when they got public criticism, especially from women’s groups from India, Malaysia and Egypt. Similar ads manufactured by FMCG giant Unilever showed a miraculous change in the complexion from dark to very fair using photo touch-ups was also withdrawn from the UK market in October 2008.

Many dermatologists have been debating on this subject and they claim that the fairness creams won’t be effective and show such results without the use of skin bleaching ingredients such as hydroquinone, steroids, mercury salts and other dangerous chemicals and Fair & Lovely does not contain this.

These products were once produced targeted only to women but the products are very popular among men. The sales have raised 100% in rural India and the products for male increased 20%.

Hindustan Unilever, one of the largest consumer products companies in India, producing Fair and Handsome, sent CNN an email saying: “Fair and Handsome is a market leader with almost 70% market share in India and doing extremely well in Gulf countries and the Middle East as well.”

Africa

Sale of whitening creams in Africa is worth millions of dollars each year. In Tanzania, where use and import of skin lighteners are banned, the sale is still high as dangerous creams are smuggled into the country and caused many women skin damages such as scratch marks and black dots after burning their skin. Others developed skin cancer. There is no doubt that bleaching harms the skin. The procedure destroys the black pigment in the top layer of the skin called epidermis, but exposure of the dermis layer under the epidermis to harsh weather will increase the chances of skin cancer. In Tanzania, women have been warned against using these chemicals after a woman had taken some tablets to bleach her skin and died after her flesh turned into liquid form and started dropping off. Despite the dangers, the women still use the products and the men continue desiring women with lighter skin.

Pakistan and India

Fair & Lovely is the most popular whitening product in Pakistan and recently this company has come up with a whitening product for men called Fair & Handsome. The commercial starts with a young darker skinned man sad because he can’t get a date. The Indian actor Shahrukh Khan advises him to use Fair & Handsome his skin tone gets lighter and he is suddenly surrounded by sexy supermodels. The same is shown in a television drama named Bidaai, featuring 2 sisters, one adopted and has dark skin while the other is pale. The pale gets prince charming. In another TV commercial that is very discriminating, two men, one with dark skin, and the other with light skin stands on a balcony overlooking a neighborhood. The darker skinned guy says “I am unlucky because of my face” to his friend. His light skinned friend replies, “Not because of your face, because of the color of your face” before handing over a whitening cream. The commercials are sending the message; get whiter skin, and you’ll get the girl, the job of your dreams etc.

 

Pakistanis and Indians are obsessed with the idea of becoming fair. The women who can afford it, stays away from the sun, get facial treatments with whitening products and use foundation and powders that are several numbers lighter than their own skin color making them look gray rather than white. So when parents look for a bride for their sons, they prefer a fair skinned girl and the men are more attracted to lighter skinned girls. A survey done for the biggest matrimonial site named Shaadi.com showed that almost 12,000 people said that skin tone was the most important criteria for choosing a life partner in 3 northern Indian states.

Even after the partition from India, Pakistanis held on the cast system and most families prefers to marry their children within the family and cast. Most of the upper class does have lighter skin and many of the lowest casts have the darkest skin. Darker skinned people do have a hard time in both countries since having lighter skinned people gets more respect. A choice of a partner with darker skin color will raise many questions from people (also in front of your partner) of why you married a dark skinned person. They don’t mean to offend but ask because it is strange to them.

The desire for fair skin has also isolated the women so that they are not able to function outside the home such as participating in sports. “Because of Indian men’s concept of beauty, so many talented players do not take up cricket because it is a grueling sport and you are out in the sun for at least seven to eight hours,” said a Cricket Captain to the news once. If the men also do the same then there will be no sports played in the country. On the other side, Fair & Lovely has an ad where a female cricket broadcaster gets a job after lightening her skin…

Snow white syndrome; Maybe not fair but still lovely
Unfortunately people can’t accept their skin color in countries where they are dark or brown skinned and go drastic steps to change the color of their skin. One of the major reasons for this is that the media and the society that forces on these ideas. A fair skinned female is more likely to get the job instead of a darker skinned girl, the handsome boy is more likely to choose the fair skinned girl to be his wife and the fair skinned girl will get the lead role in a movie or music video while the darker skinned once are pushed behind her.  The same goes for men. Let’s be honest, if you have fair skin, you will be successful. We all know that the ads aren’t truthful and that there is Photoshop work behind.

Just look at Aishwarya Rai. Her picture on the cover of Elle magazine India made headlines when she appeared miraculously fair. Instead of doing this, Elle India could go in front as an example by putting a dark, dusky, golden, brown girl on the cover to respect those who have a darker color, to show them that they are beautiful and to tell them that they too matter.

This obsession with fair skin and priority of the girls and men with lighter skin color is discriminating. Still in the 21th century, there is this ignorance that those with lighter skin is more superior and those would darker does not matter. Girls have the pressure of trying to find a suitable husband who will marry her because he loves her, not because of her skin color. I dont think that the older generations will change this way of thinking but the younger generations can stand against the stereotypes and make a statement.

 

Shortage of girls – wife sharing

The day that I have been expecting has arrived. After writing about female infanticide and its negative effects such declining in the female population, I read in the news today that young brides has to share bed with her husband’s other brothers who has failed to find wife’s.

If the girl resists, she faces physical violence and some has been burned. These cases are rarely reported to the Police officials as women aren’t allowed to go outside.

Decades of aborting female babies have led to a shortage of women and the worst place to suffer is Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh in Northern India. Other problems are the rising incidents of rape and human trafficking. In rural Bhagpat, women have to veil themselves in the presence of men, forced to stay in the house and be a house wife and child bearer. This view of the female gender has lead to discrimination and made the women worthless.

According to India’s 2011 census, there are only 858 women to every 1,000 men in Baghpat district, compared to the national sex ratio of 940. A May study in the British Medical Journal Lancet wrote that 12 million Indian girls were aborted over the last 3 decades.

Child sex ratios in Baghpat are even more skewed and on the decline with 837 girls in 2011 compared to 850 in 2001 – a trend mirrored across districts in northern Indian states such as Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan and Gujarat in the west.

‘In every village, there are at least five or six bachelors who can’t find a wife. In some, there are up to three or four unmarried men in one family. Haryana has suffered tremendously and many men struggles to find a bride.

Some families buy brides from other states and others who cannot afford it shares the one daughter in law they have. In traditional dominated regions, sons are seen as asset and breadwinners who will take care of the family and continue the name. Daughters on another hand are regarded as burden because of the dowry tradition and the fact that once they get married, they leave the home.

Personally, in my opinion this act is as wrong as it can get. A marriage is between the husband and wife. When the wife has to share the bed with her brother in laws, that shows that this tradition of female abortion has done its damage. The girls are forced to sleep with her husband’s brothers and this is considered as rape. A corrupt act like this is not allowed by the government but everybody keeps this as a secret in rural areas and since the girls isn’t allowed to go outside, they don’t have the chance to report this.

The only solution is to break these deep rooted ancient traditions and the only way this can happen is to educate the girls, provide them healthcare and other opportunities so that they know their rights and can be independent. Another thing that I have been thinking about lately is that usually when an item is rare, its value increases. No wife means no child.

https://hatefsvoice.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/harmful-practices-to-the-female-body-part-4-female-infanticide/

https://hatefsvoice.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/haryana-india-the-womens-curse/

 

Harmful Practices to the female body; Part 4 Female Infanticide

“I lay on my bed weak after childbirth. My mother-in-law picked up the baby and started feeding her milk. I knew what she was doing. I cried and tried to stop her. But she had already given her milk laced with yerakkam paal [the poisonous juice of the oleander plant]. Within minutes, the baby turned blue and died.”

This is just one of thousands of stories told by women giving birth to newborn girls. In the west were the mothers first reaction is to get the baby lied down n her chest so that mother and child bond together, women in India has to witness their baby taking their last breath. One of the popular methods of killing newborn girls is to use the oleander plant looking like a pleasant flower but a milky sap that if ingested, can be a deadly poison.

Female infanticide is the intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies at or soon after birth. This twisted custom was common in China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) due to the overpopulation and the second half of the twentieth century due to the one child policy. The practice was so common in Greece of 200 BC that among the 6,000 families living in Delphi, only 1% had two daughters. Arabs before Islam used to kill their newborn daughters but was prohibited when Islam came (“And when the female (infant) buried alive (as the pagan Arabs used to do) shall be questioned; for what sin she was killed?”

Today, this practice is most common in China, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia), Artic (Inuit tribes especially) and some sub-Saharan African countries, among the Yanomani in Brazil, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. Some methods used globally vary between starving her to death, suffocating her by wrapping her tightly in a quilt, poisoning her, strangling, drowning, or breaking her spinal cord by snapping it.

In India it made awareness to the international world when in the 19th century, when it was found out that in some villages in India, no girl babies were found at all and in other cities, there were 343 boys to 54 girls.

The reasons behind it are almost always cultural rather than directly religious. It remains as a head ache in the third world countries but two of the most populous countries are notoriously famous for the high number of killing newborn girls, China and India. In India, family and social pressures to produce a son are immense. In most regions, sons are desired for reasons related to kinship, inheritance, marriage, identity, status, economic

  • Earning power: Men are usually the main income-earners, either because they are more employable or earn higher wages for the same work, or because they are able to do more agricultural work in subsistence economies. Since male babies have a greater income potential, they are less likely to be killed.
  • Potential pensions: In many societies, parents depend on their children to look after them in old age. But in many of these cultures a girl leaves her parental family and joins her husband’s family when she marries. The result is that parents with sons gain extra resources for their old age, when their sons marry, while parents with daughters lose their ‘potential pensions’ when they marry and move away.
  • Dowry: Some girl babies are killed so that the family doesn’t have to pay a dowry when they get married. In Indian society it is tradition for the parents of the bride to give a dowry to the groom and his family. The dowry consists of large amounts of money and valuable goods. For families with several daughters this can be a serious financial burden.

Mothers are often helpless to do anything, having no rights over their children while the women on the husband’s side commit the killing. The methods used have been handed down from generation to generation and there is a variety of them. Babies are fed milk laced with the sap from poisonous plants or pesticides, given paddy (rice with its husk) to swallow, which will slit their throats, fed salt to increase their blood pressure, stuffed in clay pots, swallow poisonous powdered fertilizer while others were smothered with a wet towel, strangled or allowed to starve and dehydrate to death.

INDIA

According to census statistics, “From 972 females for every 1,000 males in 1901. The gender imbalance has tilted to 929 females per 1,000 males. These numbers shows a serious imbalance that over time will have serious consequences.

A study of Tamil Nadu by the Community Service Guild of Madras similarly found that “female infanticide was common” in the state, though only among Hindu (rather than Moslem or Christian) families. “Of the 1,250 families covered by the study, 740 had only one girl child and 249 agreed directly that they had done away with the unwanted girl child. More than 213 of the families had more than one male child whereas half the respondents had only one daughter.” (Malavika Karlekar, “The girl child in India: does she have any rights?,” Canadian Woman Studies, March 1995.)

Fetal Murder

The number of female babies killed by feticide is greater than the number killed by infanticide. Abortion is legal in India under certain conditions, but sex-selective abortions or female feticide is a crime.The missing status of innumerable women (more than 100 million women are reported to be missing worldwide) points toward female feticide, infanticide, and other forms of gender discrimination as resulting in the high mortality of females at most stages of life. Abortions are most common among rich couples who can afford ultrasound scans to illegally check their unborn baby’s sex according to a research done by the UNPF. At one point, several clinics have been closed as hundreds of foetuses were found outside.

All medical tests that can be used to determine the sex of the child have been banned in India, due to incidents of these tests being used to get rid of unwanted female children before birth. The selective abortion of female feotuses is most common in areas where cultural norms value male children over female children, especially in parts of People’s Republic of China, Korea, Taiwan, and India. A 2005 study estimated that over 90 million females were “missing” from the expected population in Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan alone, and suggested that sex-selective abortion plays a role in this deficit.

In order to cope with the problem, the Indian state has taken some measures in Tamil Nadu for families with one or two daughters and no sons; if one of the parents undergoes sterilization, the government will grant the family $160 in aid per child as instalments as the girl goes through school. She will get a small golden ring and on her 20th birthday, $650 will be paid to serve as dowry or to pay the expenses of higher education. Another campaign driven by the Delhi government deposits 5,000 rupees ($202) in the name of a girl at the time of her birth and 25,000 more through her childhood as long as she stays in school.

Indian Girls Bear Dowry Burden

After birth, it is also usual for girls to eat less than boys and to eat when the male has finished his meal. In cases of illness, it is usual for boys to get more healthcare than girls and more money is spent on clothing for them rather than the girls.

2001 census reports show that Punjab and Haryana reported fewer than 900 girls per 1,000 boys. Like China, there is a strong son preference for various socio-economic reasons, such as the son being responsible for carrying on the family name and support in old age.

Families pay large sums in order to marry off their daughters. Although dowry was prohibited in 1961, newspaper reports illustrates that the phenomenon is continuing. There has also been escalation in dowry demands and related offenses such as harassment of the bride’s family, the acid burning of a bride, and even her murder. The advertisements for sex determination in the 1980s bore slogans like, “Pay five hundred now to save fifty thousand later.” The gender-based oppression of women in India starts at birth in the form of infanticide and feticide.

Going by a rough calculation, nearly 6,000 female babies must have been poisoned to death in Usilampatti taluk in the last decade and births are registered only if the deliveries take place in the hospitals. “There is also this widespread belief among the Kallars that if you kill a daughter, your next child will be a son.”

Many Kallar families realise that they are committing a crime, but they are convinced that, given their difficult circumstances, they are taking the only course open to them. A villager woman once said; “How can we poor people rear so many daughters in this painful dowry situation? The village panchayat and the village administrative officer have no right to investigate or interfere in our personal affairs. If I and my husband have the right to have a child, we also have the right to kill it if it happens to be a daughter, and we decide we cannot afford it. Outsiders and the Government have no right to poke their noses into this.” Her husband, Andi, concurred: “we have no money to keep our daughters alive.”

China

A missionary (and naturalist) observer in China the late 19th century interviewed 40 women over age 50 who reported having borne 183 sons and 175 daughters, of whom 126 sons but only 53 daughters survived to age 10; by their account, the women had destroyed 78 of their daughters.” (Coale and Banister, “Five Decades of Missing Females in China,” Demography, 31: 3 [August 1994], p. 472.)

According to Zeng et al., “The practice was largely forsaken in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s but the number of “missing” women showed a sharp upward trend in the 1980s, linked by almost all scholars to the “one-child policy” introduced by the Chinese government in 1979 to control spiralling population growth.

Jonathan Manthorpe reported a study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, claiming that “the imbalance between the sexes is now so distorted that there are 111 million men in China — more than three times the population of Canada — who will not be able to find a wife.” As a result, the kidnapping and slave-trading of women has increased: “Since 1990, say official Chinese figures, 64,000 women — 8,000 a year on average — have been rescued by authorities from forced ‘marriages’. The number who have not been saved can only be guessed at. The thirst for women is so acute that the slave trader gangs are even reaching outside China to find merchandise. There are regular reports of women being abducted in such places as northern Vietnam to feed the demand in China.” (Jonathan Manthorpe, “China battles slave trading in women: Female infanticide fuels a brisk trade in wives,” The Vancouver Sun, January 11, 1999.)

Although the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) created laws to provide equal rights for women and men, female infanticide has increased dramatically since 1989 and the one child policy. This policy was created to prevent the increasing population and children born outside the plan would not be issued residence cards which would deny them education and other benefits. The parents would risk fines, salary cuts and even imprisonment.

The preference for male babies coupled with the “one child per couple” policy has led to an increase in female infanticide, the concealment of female births, sex-selective abortion, and the abandonment of infant girls. If parents choose to hide the birth of a daughter, she will have no legal existence. She will face difficulties receiving healthcare, education, and other state services.

Girls are less likely to be given adequate healthcare and nutrition than their the males. If abandoned or given up for adoption, Chinese infant girls risk horrible neglect and mistreatment in state orphanages. The infant girls spend their days tied to wicker “potty” chairs. They are provided with no toys, physical attention, or mental stimulation. Disease runs rampant in the orphanages, and an estimated one in five children die (Woods, Brian “The Dying Rooms Trust”).

The Chinese government has taken a number of steps to combat the practice of female infanticide, as well as promote and protect women’s rights. The Marriage Law and Women’s Protection Law prohibit female infanticide, and the latter prohibits discrimination against women who give birth to daughters.The Sex Selective Abortion Law and Maternal Health Care Law of 1994 were created to put an end to sex selective abortions, and the latter prohibits the use of medical technology to determine the gender of a fetus but unfortunately, the practice continues in China despite these efforts.

A crime against humanity

  • According to a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
    up to 50 million girls and women are missing from India’ s population as a result of systematic gender discrimination in India.
  • In most countries in the world, there are approximately 105 female births for every 100 males.
  • In India, there are less than 93 women for every 100 men in the population.
  • The United Nations says an estimated 2,000 unborn girls are illegally aborted every day in India.
  • Upon marriage, a son makes a daughter-in-law an addition and asset to the family providing additional assistance in household work and brings an economic reward through dowry payments, while daughters get married off and merit an economic penalty through dowry charges.

The lack of education, low financial productivity and old customs and traditions have played a high role in this crime. Although many young people try to defy this act, you can still find female infanticide in every part of the country. Not only in the villages and poor areas but among rich families who desire a son.

This human rights violation of denying birth to a female child or not allowing her to live because she is a female is a crime. It not only affects the communities it also impacts in many ways on the national and international communities where female infanticide and feticide may not occur. Social unrest as a result of the disproportionate female and male gender ratio may manifest itself as crime in these societies, such as, the kidnapping of young women, forced marriages, sex crimes, wife purchasing, frustration-related psychological problems, and an increase in prostitution. Sadly some of these effects have already been reported in China.

Alarming Facts:

  • In 1992 Amartya Sen calculated that 37 million women were ‘missing’ in India . The UN in 2001 estimated that there were 44 million missing women in India.
  • A report by Palash Kumar published on Dec. 15, 2006 says India Has Killed 10 Million Girls in 20 Years. The report says “Ten million girls have been killed by their parents in India in the past 20 years, either before they were born or immediately after, a government minister said, describing it as a “national crisis”.
  • Punjab loses every fourth girl. “By the 2011 census, we would be killing off 10 lakh (1,000,000) girls a year.” (Stop Murdering The Girl Child, Tribune, Correspondent or Reporter, Sep 26, 2007)
  • Every year in India, an estimated 500,000 female foetuses are aborted because they are female.
  • In Tamil Nadu recent analysis of statistics indicates a shortfall of about 13,000 daughters per year, 67% due to pre-birth deficit which suggests a high rate of female foeticide and 33% due to infanticide, and neglect.
  • Data compiled for 2008 by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) showed that there were 8,172 dowry deaths in the country, and for the same year, there were 81,344 cases of cruelty towards women by husbands and relatives. The actual numbers are probably much higher since many cases go unreported, or are reported as suicide.

What can be done?

Eliminating the practice requires changes in the way girls and women are valued by society. In India, UNFPA supports the Government in a comprehensive approach that includes building media interest, creating community-based networks to advocate against the practice, sensitizing health providers and involving youth and other key stakeholders. In Haryana State, where the sex ratio imbalance is one of the highest, function as women’s social action groups that promote the rights of daughters. These groups have convinced families and doctors not to practice sex selection.

Following a campaign by health and human rights activists, legal measures to ban the use of prenatal diagnostic techniques for sex selection were first passed in the Indian state of Maharashtra in 1986. Among the advocates against female infanticide were United Nations organizations, including UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO, who were working alongside international NGOs and India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

1. Support legislation and organizations that will increase access to education for girls. When more girls become educated there will be more opportunity for them to achieve success and for there to be more value placed on women and girls in society.
2. Outreach to health professionals, young women and men about stopping this practice In rural areas, poverty, lack of education, economic resources and inadequate healthcare facilities lead to the killing of infant girls whereas in urban areas selective abortion is commonly employed by individuals with access to modern technology that allows for early sex detection.

Haryana, India – The curse of Women

The land of Jats – Haryana traces its roots to the five thousand years old Mahabharata epic which defines the traditional cry of women empowerment where the mythical Draupti struggled & adjust among her the five husbands of choice. The situation of women in Haryana has remained in the most deplorable state where the womb of humanity feels the fears of superstitious believes where the light of insanity enters the choice of ultras to be born or not. This state has set many excellent examples for the nation & has always raise the national honor in terms of agriculture where green revolution changed the lives of millions, where the world’s best athletes were born & bring home the honors, the community which has remain as inspiration to the nation at large is in real a true culprit of the women backwardness in the region.

Haryana suffers from the lowest sex ration / gender ration in the country where there are 800 females per 1000 males in some places it even goes below then 600 females per 1000 males. Haryana has the highest rates of abortion resulting in the largest cases of infanticide in the country which stood at close to 70000 as per 2001 data rose from the past record of 62000.The practices has lead to acute shortage of marriageable females in the state which has not only contributed in the national girl deficit but also leaded in the loss of births within the past 2 decades caused by abortion & sex selection according to the BBC report of 2006 & Lancet Journal report of 2006.

This has given rise in the bride trafficking where the state has become the center for women trade which has now become so much helpless that now the families find easier to purchase bride for their sons rather finding & spending exorbitant amounts on marriage extravaganza where the average cost of girl is Rs.4000/- depending upon her appearance, age & region. Sonepat district has remained a top buyer & driver of trade the average price of girl ranges between Rs.5000 – Rs.7000.

The problem not only lies here but it has lead to opening of many other criminal activities which are of extreme nature such as the women are treated as the slaves where if the owner gets unsatisfied they sell their property bride to other at negotiable rates. Women are living is such a dismal conditions that their trade has now generated system of supply chain where women are sell, purchase, delivered, resell treated like a mere commodity which if found unsatisfactory can be exchanged or replaced with a better one. The vulnerability & frequency of AIDS in the state where now it is leading the front with greater transparency particularly in younger generation which is being affected most.

Which has made this territory as the state with highest number of rapes annually where women if abandon particularly in village may witness the sexual assault by the whole village or locality. This extremity happens when the owner of the women abandons her or if the husband cum buyer dies early. There have been many cases where women were raped by the whole village repeatedly, harassed or paraded nude in the locality, abducted for a limited period of time.

The cause of trafficking is two-dimensional. One is the demand factor and the other is the vulnerability of the person being victimized, more the demand, and more the crime. The vulnerability of the trafficked victim is another dimension. Vulnerability, as often quoted, is not exactly attributable to poverty. It is a culmination of several factors, including awareness of rights, lack of access to rights, illiteracy, disparities of income , the scope for exploitation of the victim, poor law enforcement, lack of public awareness and the ” culture of silence” to violation of rights of others.

***

Article 23 of the Constitution of India prohibits trafficking in any form. We have special legislations like the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA), 1956, the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000. The law enforcement scenario, seen from the traditional viewpoint, presents a dismal picture. Research conducted by the National Human Rights Commission during 2002-2004 shows that the major issues in law enforcement are as follows:

1. Lack of priority-The law enforcement agencies and justice delivery agencies, for various reasons, accord lowest or nil priority to human trafficking issues.

2.  Insensitivity-The lack of sensitivity to human trafficking is a major challenge. It is more of an attitudinal issue.

3. Victimisation of the victim-More often, the trafficked women have been arrested and penalized for ‘soliciting’.

4 Improper Investigation-trafficking involves a long trail, starting from the source point, covering several transit points before terminating at the destination. But the investigation is more or less confined to the place where the victim is rescued. Victims remain more often unheard and unrepresented.

5. Organised crime perspective is lacking in investigation- HT involves several offenders like recruiters, transporters, traffickers, harbourers, exploiters and conspirators. But often, investigation is limited to those present at the scene of rescue. Human trafficking being an organized crime requires sharing of intelligence and an in-depth investigation into all linkages but this is rarely done.

6. Lack of co-ordination-The response to human trafficking requires co-ordination among the various government departments, like police, public welfare, health, women and child. The gap in co-ordination is a major challenge to the response system.

7. Lack of coordination with NGO’s- The ITPA and labour laws do assign specific role to NGO’s; however there is no institutionalized system of co-ordination between the law enforcement agencies and NGO’s.

8. Lack of Appreciation-Several instances of good work done by the police officers, researchers, NGO’s, etc, in controlling human trafficking can be cited. However such actions are not acknowledged and disseminated; often good news is no news and bad news is good news.

 9. Lack of Emphasis on Rehabilitation- This is a major challenge which leads to not only victimization of victims but also re-trafficking of the rescued person. Despite the fact that several corporate set aside large funds for social responsibility, lack of synergy with the law enforcement agencies and NGO’s has been an impediment in effective dovetailing of such sources for rehabilitating the victim.

With laws in face & in force, the situation still remains as usual as before with no improvement in reality having no grounds of morality to stand as hurdles in the insane traditions & practices of the citizens which even in this century are not civilized enough to be able to give respect & empowerment to their most vulnerable family members of their society. The state of the women is not only confined to the mere infanticide acts but also too many such more odds which she face throughout her life until her death. The society of male dominance has never accepted women as natural being but as the property of their belongings & needs who is being used as the mere commodity for getting the purpose solved with no regards to the crying souls of the wombs. Women in Haryana are subject to slavery & maltreatment by their sole mates in the very sorry state. Females are not allowed to interfere into the family & social matters. They even have no say about any matter which is of their concern. A girl who work or goes for any profession are treated with disrespect & are considered to be very forward.

This is a common practice in the rural areas where women are still fighting for their very existence. Due to continuous exploitation & infanticide on large scale from thousands of years as a tradition has now resulted into a huge deficit in girl population which has affected the entire gender ration of the state & the country too. Where on a national level according to the 2006 survey girl deficit has crossed 500000 mark which is unsuitable to meet the growing demand of brides across the state & in the country at large. Due to this girls are now being forced to marriage at early age, being forced into sex trade.

Due to the shortage of marriageable girls in the state they are being more vulnerable to rapes where now Haryana has surpassed the national crime rate in terms of rapes, abductions, trafficking while positioning itself at the top.

The most heinous of the crimes which are being carried out in a much organized & sophisticated manner under the hidden roofs is when the woman is being in some cases raped by the whole village where even the leaders of the village communities are also involved or order this heinous act to commit by their people. But the most traditional of them all which is still in practice & is being acceptable by the society due to the high level of girl shortage, poverty & illiteracy among the lower & middle income group is that in many families the girl is being forced or sell for marriage to the multiple males of the single family like for example if in a family there are more than one bachelor males & due to the acute shortage of girls in the vicinity & state they marriage a single girl who marries them as their common bride hence fulfilling the purpose of being a wife for all.

This tradition is as old as 5000 years which has roots traced back to Mahabharata era according to Hindu mythology.  This has resulted into a much outcry from the women empowerment bodies & judiciary but due to lack of political will & week enforcement agencies the whole scenario of women in the Jat land is uncertain & in dismal state. The region which is being most affected by this custom is Mewat which also witness a large involvement of Khap panchayat system which is traditional system of judiciary in Haryana who have always been at the fore front of controversy related to their style of functioning, decisions & their legality under the national legal framework.

This system has been responsible for the honor killings in the state & has still leading the stand of carrying out the tradition in this century. The honor killings are being done in relation to the unacceptable marriages which are being made by the absconding couples belonging to the different social group or community. These inter community or runaway marriages are never accepted in the local society & are being subject to the verdict of these khap panchayat which are respected & treated as the final body in the rural heartlands of this state.

With the dual system of constitutional & traditional rights the society of civilized & uncivilized has remained always at the loggerheads with each other making the society more male centric & dominant in the role of the decider who have till now has remained responsible for the women dismal situation in the state which has now facing the challenge of its survival. The day is not far when the Land of Jats will be a mere name in history whose stories will be told to the children for their sleep if the current status of women is not been lifted & treated with due respect in the society.

Afghanistan-India relationship

The dust of Mi’s hovers around the deserted Kabul airport when the clouds of terror are looming over with a pale shine of smile which came as Laden dived his soul into the deep blue sea. Here comes the expected & most awaited regional dignitary equally important as the invaded partner of Obama administration struggles to find solution to future power vacuum after its withdrawal from the breeze of opium.


The visit to Afghanistan by Manmohan Singh was his first visit since 2005. He is the first Indian PM to be speaking in the Afghan parliament as no other neighbor countries have done before.
Mr. Singh’s visit to Afghanistan comes just over a week after Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by US navy seals in Pakistan. Both Mr. Singh and Mr. Karzai feel that their opinion about Pakistan harboring militant groups was right as bin Laden was discovered there. Even though the visit had been planned before the operation, as Pakistan’s reputation is damaged, India may use this opportunity to tie a closer relationship with Afghanistan as both countries share the same concern over the troubled neighbor with its terrorist network groups operating. In his speech, the Indian PM told that “the Afghan MPs should be left to make decisions about their country’s future without outside interference.”
The two leaders also had discussions about the regional stability, counter terrorism and the India-Afghanistan strategic partnership that is also built on the shared conflict they have with Pakistan. Mr. Singh said; “We wish to see a peaceful, stable, democratic, pluralistic Afghanistan. We strongly support Afghan people’s quest for peace and reconciliation, and India supports firmly the unity, integrity and prosperity of Afghanistan.” Both countries did also issue a Declaration of Strategic Partnership and made sure to send out a message that India, unlike the US will stick around and several other support such as financial aid.

Financial aid and partnership
Mr. Singh promised $500m in aid to Afghanistan, which comes besides $1.5bn already promised. The money will be spent on various projects and initiatives such as agriculture, schools, roads, social sector, capacity building and other infrastructure projects. India is also building the new parliament in Kabul – at a cost of $19m.

1. India shows effort to rebuild Afghanistan as a stabile Afghanistan is good for them. Pakistan on the other hand feels uncomfortable with much Indian influence in the region, especially in Afghanistan as there is a power struggle going on.
2. Pakistan is rooted in the Afghan society by language, tradition, cast, and ideology. Without the Pakistani cooperation and coordination, peace can’t and never will be implanted in Afghanistan. This doesn’t mean that Afghanistan should choose their friends and supporters based on the Pakistani opinion as Afghanistan has the ultimate right to choose who they want to cooperate about strategic relations in the region with as they have their own sovereignty and rich history. The Afghans has never been occupied by other nations and has always shown strong resilience such as when they broke the legs of the Soviet Union and defeated the British several times in history.
3. India needs Afghanistan, no doubt about that. India with its many problems such as poverty, environmental problems as pollution of water and air, low wages and unemployment among youth, India is seen as a rising superpower with its economy. And what India needs is Afghanistan’s natural gas reserves and precious minerals. Historically, Afghanistan has been an important country because of its connection with the Silk Road and the geopolitical territory as it is bordering to 7 countries.
4. There is a power struggle going on in the region and the countries are competing over capitalism. Afghanistan’s diplomacy is not too strong but it is not that weak either. They want to maintain a balance between Pakistan and India as well as keeping a good relationship with India without outside interference.
5. The peace and reconciliation council (jirga) is necessary in today’s Afghanistan and a good step between the government and the Taliban function. But because the Taliban is in deep connection with Pakistan, the council will not be successful in its work for peace without the help of Pakistan.
6. As the Indian PM came on a visit to Afghanistan to tighten the relationship and partnership, the Pakistani President Mr. Zardari has chosen to pay a visit to China to strengthen the Pakistan-China relation and perhaps speak about some nuclear deal just to give US something to think about.

Since the fall of Taliban Afghanistan has remained a center of diplomacy & external affairs which are so important to the nations concerned that even a small hic can draw lines on political minds.
The strategic partnership proposed between the two nations must involve a serious public participation which should consider the communal & social values of the affected.
If India needs to safeguards his interests in Afghanistan then he should work on more ground realities through both political & investment channels.
Here are the following points which India should consider if he wants to play an important role in the building of Afghan nation.

1. India can send or post few units of his armed forces in order to fill the power vacuum there.
2. Provide training to the newly formed Afghan forces & police.
3. Encourage Indian corporates to set up shops there
4. Establish media network & partnership between both media & press outlets
5. Introduce free trade zone or area between the two countries for the tradable products.
6. Introduce educational framework to support & encourage Afghan children & society.
7. Encourage Afghan government to open more trade routes in order to make Afghanistan a better transit point & center for the South Asian countries to form a better trade network in the region ultimately benefiting Afghanistan as the trading administrator for the region.
With the increase in cooperation between the two the day is not far when these historically connected blood lines of people will again take shape to form a better future where there is only peace, harmony & prosperity will prevail & exist with no feeling of war & terrorism.

The easy way out

Suicide is defined as the deliberate killing of oneself. Nowadays, suicide has become the most growing cause of death among youth between 15 and 25. The difficult question is; “why do the students kill themselves?”

Some of the reasons may be the pressure the students face as they must succeed with the expectations back at home from parents. The shame in the classroom mixed with the shame at home marks the students deeply. Suicide does not come to mind immediately but slowly grows stronger as the person feels lost, lonely, confused, anxious, depressed and stressed. The major victims are those who come from a small town or village and are harassed by the “cool” students from the metro cities.

South Korea

Korea is famous for its education and one of the effects of this pressure has increased the suicide rates among students down to teenagers. A total of 146 students have committed suicide in 2010 alone.

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is one of the nation’s top universities, but it has become known for the rising suicides among its students. Four students and one professor have committed suicide in the last three months at this prestigious university. KAIST’s students have blamed the pressure of intense competition and the unique penalty system which charges the students extra fees for underachievement that has contributed to the suicides. If the grades falls below 3.0, the student is forced to pay 63,000 Korean Won (around 58$)

KAIST University was established by the Korean government as the nation’s first science and engineering institution and has received huge government financial and legal support. Therefore, many have argued that KAIST students should not complain about the stress and competition since they are being supported by the government and enjoy privileges while ordinary students have none of these benefits. They are also excluded from military duty while all able bodied Korean men are obliged to take.

Mental Weakness

Right after the 4th suicide, President of KAIST, Suh Nam-pyo said in a press conference that the school will scrap its penalty system but it was not enough for the public who called for the President to resign since he had created this system. His comments after the suicide made people go against him as he meant that the students who committed suicide were suffering from mental weakness.

India

Between 2006 and 2008, 16,000 school and college students committed suicide according to the health ministry.  The World Health Organization (WHO) along with experts and doctors has demanded that a long term strategy needs to be put in place to tackle problems like anxiety, depression, stress and suicidal tendencies. As Cherian Verghese, a specialist with WHO India said; “The mental health system needs and overhaul. Our schools might be giving good education but we need education in life skills.”

The social taboo around mental health is a problem and the country needs more psychiatrists and social counselors who can counsel people during post-disaster trauma disorder. In a country with almost 1,21 billion people, living with social stigma, growing competition and the desire to succeed in every field, there are almost 3,500 psychiatrists trying to cope with the mental health.

From the beginning of 2010, more than 20 students committed suicide in Mumbai, India’s biggest financial capital. One of the mistakes of the schools is that, the schools pay more attention to results than to the “total education” of the child. And when parents are caught up with work, it creates a lack of attention and love but the expectation of good grades remains.

Japan

According to a report issued by the national police of Japan (NPA) as an annual study of suicide on March 3, 2011, suicide rates in Japan have increased 20% in 2010 and those who commit suicide mostly are unemployed. NPA report mentions the unemployed who committed suicide were mostly students or scholars. In 2009, the rate of student suicide unemployment counted 23 people and this number increased in 2010 with 53 people, 130% more.

China

As millions of students graduate every year, one in three graduates is unable to find a job. Already in 2009, suicide was listed as the leading cause of death among students. With 1.5 million graduates from 2009 still out of work, there are simply not enough jobs to go around, and the problem has been exacerbated by the impact of the global financial crisis.

In a country where university education has become crucial for the future success, the government has tried to manage the problem by offering soon-to-be-graduates positions as teachers and low level government positions in rural areas, but few are willing to return to the country side since their degrees was supposed to guarantee them escape and a better life.

Self-poisoning suicide attempts among students in Tehran, Iran.

A cross-sectional study was conducted on self-poisoned students admitted to Loghman-Hakim Hospital in Tehran, Iran and the study included age, sex, substance abuse, personal history, familial history and the immediate precipitant for the suicide attempt.

The results showed that a total of 248 students (200 F and 48 M) Self poisoning with a pharmaceutical agent was the most common attempt modality (87.5%). The most common precipitant for the suicide attempt was family conflict (54.4%), followed by romantic disappointment (29.4%). The most common psychiatric disorders were adjustment disorder (84.3%). and depression (18.1%).

Facts about suicide (religious tolerance.org)
  • Industrialized countries tend to have a higher suicide rate than poor developing countries.
  • U.S. suicide rates are highest in the western and rocky mountain states and low in the northeastern states.
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among the population.
  • The most common method used my male are firearms (58%) and women to choose poisoning (40%).
  • More females than males attempt suicide.
  • More males than females succeed at suicide.
  • Married people have a lower rate of suicide than those who are divorced, separated, widowed or single.
  • Among the most common faith groups in the U.S., protestants have the highest suicide rate, Roman Catholics second and Jews as the lowest rate.
  • A person has a higher risk of committing suicide if their parent, close relative or close friend has taken their own life.

Click at the picture for a larger image

What are the reasons?

According to WHO, in the last 45 years, suicide rates have increased by 60% around the world and are placed among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 and almost 30% of the suicides in the world occur in India, Japan and China. India stands for 10% of the suicides in the world, Japan has 30,000 suicides every year, in South Korea, one human life is ended by suicide every 40 minutes and in China, 287,000 people take their own life vey year.

Now that we have seen the numbers and statistics of suicide, the focus should actually be on the reason why people choose to end their life, and researches have shown many various reasons combined with the culture and environment of the country they live in. But one important reason is economic hardship together with the society becoming more and more materialistic and the people’s struggle to keep up. In the urban areas, stress and depression is the major causes for suicide.

Japan has always had very traditional societal structure and for a person to lose his/her job is considered as the ultimate shame and suicide preserves the person’s honour and makes them avoid shame. Then there is the pressure placed on the Korean students that the exam season is known as the “suicide season”. Now, the Korean government has started to launch public campaigns against suicide as well as educational programmes to avoid signs of depression and prevent suicidal tendencies. In China, there is awareness of the problem but there is still no strategy put forward to prevent it.

I have collected various reasons from different sources and put them together as a small guideline to prevent students in any age to commit suicide.

1. Lack of harmony between child and parents.

Many parents work to make an earning and as they are pressured with time, tension from work, tight schedules, family problems and worries about life, they become unable to pay attention to their children. The only thing they achieve is to fulfil the children’s basic needs and provide money. The children feel lonely and pressured to not fail as this will bring them shame. Another important aspect is that parents must find time to follow what the children are doing, where they go, who their friends are and etc.

2. Inefficiency

Some parents expect too much of their children and this imposes a heavy burden on the child. The parents must not be disappointed, angry or insult the child in case of a failure but rather encourage them to succeed next time as failure is the pillar of success.

3. Admission process

India is one of the countries with this problem where students have to wait in long queue throughout the day in rural areas or at computer centers as t electricity comes and goes. Situations like this bring frustration and anger. Here the government or the school must provide better ways for the students to get the necessary tools they need.

4. Keeping happy atmosphere at home.

Parents should not involve the children in their tensions and listen carefully to them. The children will be stronger if the parents give them discipline together with love and good culture. By this, the parents will manage to transfer confidence to the children.

5. Frequent meetings between parent-teacher and child.

Frequent meetings make aware of children’s real position and their right things as well as wrong things can be checked out. Parents and teachers should encourage children by giving rewards and explain when they have done something wrong. These remedies will build the child for the future to handle failure much better.

 

The curse of the Acacia tree

In the clinic area, some 150 people gather together for the daily painful ritual. The common thing between these poor souls is the thick stick they all support themselves on. They are all infected by Kala Azar. The treatment is extremely painful as the patient gets a high dosage of medicine injected on the seat muscle. During the 17 days of treatment, most of the patients have to be hold down by 3-4 people and to manage to walk afterwards; they have to use a walking stick. But even though the pain, these patients are the lucky ones. Some children have to walk days with high fever just to reach the clinic, and others never make it there.

The eruption

Life goes on in the villages as women carry water and children playing around. The big acacia tree looks beautiful at sunrise and sunset and the children likes to play around it. But it is here that the black sand fly is that infects 500,000 people a year. It is when the sun is on its way down that the fly’s swirls around the red tree. Children up to the age of 4 are most affected that attacks the skin, eyes and mouth.

2010 has been the year with large eruption since the largest epidemic happened in Sudan on the west side of Upper Nile under the civil war in 1980 and 1990’s. 100,000 people lost their life and many villages were left empty.

The reason for the epidemic can be explained by the large amount of refugees returning back after the peace deal between north and south in 2005 and an increased number of internally displaced in the states of Upper Nile and Jonglei.

South Sudan has been battling with the worst epidemic of the deadly kala azar disease during the last 8 years, with tens of hundreds of people infected according to medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

If the patient is untreated, the parasitic disease, spread by the bite of an infected fly, is fatal in almost 100% of cases. By the end of November, MSF had treated 2,355 south Sudanese for the disease. By the end of October 2010, more than 9,330 cases in south Sudan had been reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO), most of these were children. Almost 5% of those who received treatment at medical facilities later died, according to the WHO.

What is Kala Azar?

Click at the picture for a larger image

Kala Azar is a deadly disease caused by parasitic protozoa Leishmania donovani, transmitted to humans by the bite of infected female sandfly, Phlebotomus argentipes. It lowers immunity, causes persistent fever, anemia, liver and spleen enlargement, loss of body weight, diarrhea, and fatigue and if it is left untreated, it kills. The disease suppresses the immune system so that the patient is vulnerable to other infections. Kala Azar was first discovered of Western doctors in 1824 in Jessore, India (today’s Bangladesh) thinking it was malaria. The name Kala Azar is derived from Kala which means black in Sanskrit, Assamese, Hindi and Urdu and the Persian Azar for disease. It is regarded as the second disease after Malaria taking lives.

Current situation

The disease is endemic in three countries; Bangladesh, India and Nepal and approximately 200 million people in the Region are “at risk” from the disease. The disease is now being reported in 45 districts in Bangladesh, 52 in India and 12 in Nepal. The total number of districts reporting Kala Azar exceeds 109. Of the estimated 500,000 people in the world infected each year, nearly 100,000 are estimated to occur in the Region. In the endemic countries, Kala Azar affects the poorest as they have little knowledge about the disease and unlikely to seek early treatment and most of those who start treatment cannot afford to complete it.

Treatments

The Indian medical practitioner, Upendra Nath Brahmachari, was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1929 for his discovery of ureastibamine (an antimonial compound for the treatment of Kala Azar) and a new disease, post Kala Azar dermal leishmaniasis.

Even with recovery, kala-azar does not always leave the person unmarked. Sometime after successful treatment, a few months with African Kala Azar, or several years with the Indian one, a secondary form of the disease may set in, called post Kala Azar dermal leishmaniasis, or PKDL. This condition shows up as small, measles on the face, which gradually increases in size and spreads over the body. Eventually the lesions may form disfiguring, swollen structures resembling leprosy, and occasionally causing blindness if they spread to the eyes.

The medicine is expensive and the treatment very painful. The fact that this disease affects the poor and malnourished is making it worse. Most of the doctors working in the cities do not have the possibility to get to many villages or to transport the medicine for various reasons. To help these people, much needs to be done, and much money is needed for medicine and transport. The fact that children have to walk for days under the burning sun for days with high fever and extreme pain is sad and hard to imagine for us but unfortunately true.

 

Fatwa vs Reforms in Indian Muslim Society by Fahad Hussain

Start of war within:

When Indian got independence in 1947 leaders approached evry community to encourage them for their participation in forming proper national constitution. It was the time when few laws & reservations were passed on the demand & requirements of the specifc communities; in this race though suffered & torned apart by the partition Indian Muslim community was still confident that they will make it to the national liberty & will enjoy the social status which this community enjoying from centuries. The thought priviledged section of the Indian society was then started to diminish in environment of nationalism & economic development. Tied in the useless ideologies & reserved vains Muslims contibution to the nation fell drastically & were left behind in the race of community development. When the reforms were introduced it was felt that there will be a massive change in the Muslim society but to no avail. Sikhs improved, Jains Improved, Hindus were raised from their age old boundations of caste system, Christains improved, Buddhists who were just known of their monk culture & traditions were also moved ahead in the society but when nation looked towards its Muslim citizens they were struggling to survive & facing the threat of radicalization. Though every Indian citizen whether he or she has equal rights in the constitution the muslim society at large was never benefited from it. The reason for this is just because the system with in which neither the Islam recognise nor the society have enrooted the community as a whole which have not only affected the development of the Muslims in India but have also pushed them backward positioning them as the least productive society of India.

Muslim Dimise:

Indian constitution recognize the religious education & its system as per religious laws. In just 60 years millions of madarsas have sprunged up across India without having a proper strategy which can streamlined them with the national output, many religious Islamic centers have been formed, Three central universities were exclusively established but the condition remained the same & with little exception it further got deteriorated instead of growing. The major role in the demise of the Indian Muslim society was played by the clerics themselves as they have never accepted the reformed & an influential non muslim society & its culture. Every time they talk about the religious duties but what exactly the rights which Islam gives to its followers were never told clearly & specifically. The conditions now are such that even in centers of their religious sutdies like universities, madarsas, other centres hardly have proper scholars & professional efficiency rate like the education that is given in the madarsas hardly stands out as world requirement. The ideology they are taught about is not fully transparent rather its is more dark & short sighted consising the scholars in the dark world of fundamentalism. Whenever a society wants to move forward & there is a talk of upliftment especially for women their voices started sounding out from the corners of these institutions & the Fatwa is passed without any consideration of proper Sharia & the opinion of the society. They says women should not work, they should not go outside the household, girls education is not important but they never says that women should be uplifted in the society, women must be respected & allowed to work, children at any cost must be send to school, abortions are not allowed, divorces must be prevented, jobless youths should get to work; they never fight against the odds of polygamy which though allowed but on certain rightfull conditions under sharia but now a days has become a way to get more bodily pleasure. Due to their blind perceptions the Islamic society in India has now been divided into many factions or radical school of thoughts having specific ideologies & false histrical proofs. The contidion of Indian Muslim society is deteriorated to such an extent that only 14% of muslims women contributes to the work force in the muslim society national figure is much less even lesser than the other religions, there are only 6% muslims who are qualified enough are working in the public departments. With 34% of the contibution in the national population muslims economic contirbution is hardly 5% in the national GDP. Non of the muslim politician after 1970s has made to better political ministeries. Confined to & oftenly related to their torned vains of Pakistan, muslims just because of their low self esteemed & un acceptable care less perceptions are now being discriminated & are linked to foreign spying agnecies. This has also resulted into a various restructions in their beureucratic promotions & posistional restrictions in the institutions such as like Secret services, Armed Forces, Politics as well as in Private sector too. There is a need of proper social reforms in the Indian Muslim society where every member of it can move & stand shoulder to shoulder with others contributers. The centres of muslim education must be streamlined with the national education system. There is also need of reforms in the clerical system in India where clerics must know about the actual situation of the society & must take decision in more familiar & peaceful manner. Women in Islam always enjoyed the liberty & respect as well as in Indian society too whose law & contitution’s portion also considers & practice many sharia laws & its system exclusively for Muslim society. It is the only constitution in the world which have sections & articles & laws compatible to all the religions.  Fatwa order must be respected & circumstancial position of the society must be understand properly before issuing it. It should not be issued just in case or on the bases of personal opinion but rather it should be issued with the proper consideration of sharia & the local laws which too are compatible with the Islamic Sharia here.

India is a host of many great islamic institutions like for example: Aligarh Muslim University (Asia’s Largest & India’s Oldest Central University), Osmania University, Jamia Milia Islamia, Dar Ul Uloom – Deoband (world’s second largest islamic madarsa & university), Centre & Head Quarters of Bareillvi School of thought – Bareilly, Centre & Head Quarters of Jamait E Islami, Islamic Centre of India, Islamic Research Foundation – India. India is also a host of world’s biggest Waqf Board & has separate Ministry of Hajj. There are also several big deemed universities dedicated to Muslim minority but also exclusively for Islamic education.

بھارت میں پشتون ولی کے خاتمے فہد حسین کی طرف سے

پختون ولی جو صرف اسلام کی طرح کسی بھی افغانستان کے لئے اس سے بھی اتنا ہی اہم ہے 1857 کے بعد سب سے زیادہ Rohilla پشتونوں کی شکست ہے جو Rohilla سلطنت کے طور پر اور سخت 1947 کے بعد شمالی بھارت کے بڑے بڑے علاقے راج کے بعد کا سامنا کرنا پڑا ہے. طرزعمل اور پٹھان کے لئے زندگی کا لائحہ عمل کا کوڈ دہائیوں کے ذریعے ایک مشق میں تیز کمی دیکھی ہے. جیسا کہ بھارت تقسیم اور بنیادی معلومات پاکستان اور بعض کے نو تشکیل ریاست گیا ہے ان کے آبائی علاقے میں واپس پناہ اسی کے خون کا باقی حصہ لیا ان کی ثقافت اور روایات جو ایک بار ملک ہے جہاں ان کے کوڈ کو قانون تھا حکومت کے ساتھ زندہ رہنے کے لئے جدوجہد کئی کے لئے اور جان لاکھوں کے لئے. ساتھ بدلتے وقت اور ایک سیاسی جائزہ روایات کے لئے مشکل کام کیے جب اس کے اثرات افغانستان کے صرف ایک پرانی شان کے ساتھ بائیں اقلیتی کا تعاقب کیا اور محب وطن وعدوں سے بچ. ساتھ ہی جین پول دوسرے مذہب اور کمیونٹیز کے ساتھ مل رہی انٹر تبدیل سماجی تبدیلی کی ساری نئی آسمان آتا ہے.

روایات اور اخلاق کی کمی : روایات اور مہمان نوازی ، محبت لوک رقص ، گانے اور دیگر ثقافتی سرگرمیوں کی طرح ، عدل و انصاف ، بخشش ، روایت پسند خصوصیات گئے زمانے اور کی طرف سے کے الفاظ تھے بچ گئے انٹر نسلی شادیوں کے ساتھ ملا کر لئے گئے تو. پھتون کوڈ جو افغان اور ان کے قبائل کے قوانین ہمیشہ کے لیے گم ہو گئے ، جیسا کہ نئی نسل میں مزید چھوٹے یا کوئی ان کے بلند کے عنوان اور عام طور پر نئی ہندوستانی سماج میں ان کی منظوری کے نقصان کے نتیجے میں والدین کی طرف سے منظور علم کے ساتھ رہ گئے تھے. پشتون میں جرگہ کے نقصان پر بھارت میں بائیں سے 1947 کے بعد کا م برائےمکمل روایتی گر. اتحاد و مساوات کا کوڈ کو اسلام کے طور پر کھو جنگ لڑی میں بھارت کو تقسیم کر دیا پھیر لیا اپنے سماجی ڈھانچے لکھ کر لگا کے واسطے سے سکولوں کے ساتھ متعدد جماعت اور نظریات میں یہ الگ کرنا.

Rohilla سلطنت کے تحت بھارت میں پختون ولی کے مراکز : جیسے شہروں لاہور ، رامپر ، میرٹھ ، لکھنؤ ، امروہہ ، سمنسل ، مجففرنگر ، شاہجہامپر ، سہارنپور ، دہلی ، آگرہ اور بہت سے بے شمار شہروں میں جہاں ایک بار پشتون حکومت اور نکھرا تھا افغان ثقافت کی چھوٹ گیا جس پختون ولی کی قبر پر بنائے گئے تھے. سب سے زیادہ نقصان جو افغانوں کا سامنا کرنا پڑا نقصان اور ان کی زبان پشتو کا کوئی فائدہ نہیں ہے جہاں ایک وقت میں پوری قوم پڑھتا ہے اور فخر اور شان کے ساتھ بولتے ہیں لیکن پشتو اب بھی سکھایا ہے جو کچھ اس میں اعلی تعلیم کی پیشکش اداروں کے متن کی کتابوں میں موجود تھا.

پٹھان معاشرے میں آج شاید ہی کوئی کوڈ یا مشہور بھارت میں بلایا خان ان کے طرز عمل کی آبائی کوڈ جو بھی ہے اب مکمل طور پر افغان معاشرے کے نام نہاد مغربی اثر و رسوخ کی دھول میں گم ہی امتوں کو یہاں بچ جانے والے کی طرف سے اپنی اقدار اور مذہب سے بڑھ کر ہے پیروی . خون کی لائن کے نقصان کے ساتھ بھارتی پٹھان اپنی روایات اور ہے پہلے ہی افغانستان میں جو ان پر پابندی کا افغانی میں یا پابندی میں جبکہ نسل پر بھارتی پٹھان کے طور پر ان کی بھارتی بائیں بلا صرف اسرائیل کہہ کے طور پر ممتاز سے الگ کی سنگین مستقبل کا سامنا ہے.

پختون ولی کا ورثہ ہے جو آج بھی بھارت میں موجود ہے :

ایک نظر اور روایتی گجل ، قوالی یا صوفی افغان پشتون کو دیسی موسیقی ، لوک رقص ، جمہور علماء کرام نے شاعری کا لطف کر سکتے ہیں. تاریخی افغانوں کی طرف سے تشکیل یادگاریں ابھی بھی یاد پورے بھارت اور احترام ہے جو سیاحوں کے لاکھوں ہر سال اپنی طرف متوجہ کے ساتھ برقرار کھڑے ہیں.

یہ حکم ہے جو صدیوں سے بھارت کی حکومت اب ہے کہ ہندوستانی تاریخ کا متن اس کھو سائے سے بچ جانے والے کی کتابوں میں ہی موجود تھے.

The Queen and Abdul: A friendship beyond boundaries

In the summer of 1887 as Queen Victoria approached the Golden Jubilee of her reign, she was overcome with feelings of loneliness. She had never stopped mourning for her beloved husband, Prince Albert, who had died in 1861, and had chosen to wear widow’s black all her life. As she looked ahead to the special occasion and the celebrations that loomed before her, the lonely Queen missed his presence more than ever.

The government was doing everything they could to make a unique show to celebrate the Jubilee and suggested to Queen Victoria that they should invite some Indian princes, who with their colorful clothes and expensive jewelers provide the necessary glamour to the occasion. The Queen liked the idea and at her Jubilee, her Empire would sparkle before the world. She also suggested that it would be good to have some Indian servants around her, to help when the Indian princes as well.

He arrived in England in June 1887, just three days before the start of the Jubilee celebrations. The Queen, then aged 68, had been a widow for 26 years. For a while, the empty space in her life left by the death of her beloved Albert in 1861, had been filled by John Brown who became her trusted companion. Their relationship was so close that there were rumours that they were lovers or had even secretly married and the Queen was dubbed ‘Mrs Brown’. But Brown died in 1883, leaving the Queen devastated and lonely once more. “I sat alone! Oh! Without my beloved husband,” she wrote mournfully of the Jubilee thanksgiving service. On the 3rd day of the celebrations, the Queen was introduced to her present from India-the well dressed young servants, one stout and smiley, the other one tall and handsome. The two immediately began to wait at the Queen’s table and Karim became the favourite as he impressed her with his dignified bearing and assisting her with everything.

The tall 24-year-old Karim was a clerk in Agra Jail and the smiling and portly Buksh was a seasoned table-hand who had worked for the Maharana of Dholpore. They arrived for the Jubilee, not knowing what to expect but from the day they kissed the Queen’s feet and began waiting on her, it was the young Karim who caught the Queen’s eye. In his diary, Karim wrote following on meeting Queen Victoria for the first time; “I was somewhat nervous at the approach of the Great Empress… I presented nazars (gifts) by exposing, in the palms of my hands, a gold mohar (coin) which Her Majesty touched and remitted as is the Indian custom.”
He was to become her closest companion for the last 13 years of her life, filling the void left by the death of her husband and, later, of her close friend, John Brown.

The curry King

One day Abdul Karim walked into the kitchen in Osborne House with the spice box that he had carried from India. He had decided to cook for the Queen. As the cooks stood amazed and watched, Karim was chopping, churning and grinding the masalas. The aroma of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and nutmeg covered the room. Karim had prepared chicken curry, daal and a fragrant pilau. Soon after, Karim was stirring up exotic biryanis and dum pukht, dishes from the Mughal kitchen while Korma’s would simmer in the cast iron pots and ground almonds and cream laced the rich curries. For the first time in her life, Queen Victoria was introduced to the taste and smell of India. She described it as “excellent” and ordered the curries to be made regularly.

The rise of Abdul Karim

11th August 1888, the Queen noted in her journal: “I am making arrangements to appoint Abdul as munshi (teacher) as I think it was a mistake to bring him over as a servant to wait at table, a thing he had never done, having been a clerk or munshi in his own country and being of a rather different class then others. Karim had also told her that he was unhappy with his position as a table hand and that he wanted to return to India since it was a demanding job. The Queen immidiatly decided to raise his rank and make him stay: “He (Abdul) was anxious to return to India, not feeling happy under the existing circumstances. On the other hand, I particularly wish to retain his services, as he helps me studying Hindustani which interests me very much and he is very intelligent and useful.”


Karim from Agra charmed the Queen with his stories of India and even served the Queen her first curry. Always fascinated by India, her “Jewel in the Crown” and the country she ruled from thousands of miles away, the Queen chose Karim to learn about India. Soon he became her Urdu teacher, giving her lessons every evening. He read to her the poetry of Ghalib and she used to walk around with a phrase-book of Hindustani words. While Buksh remained waiting at tables, Karim was promoted and soon became noticeably close to the Queen. She tended to him personally if he fell ill and fussed about his comfort and well-being.Within a year, Karim was promoted as the Queen’s Indian Secretary and given the grand title of Munshi Hafiz Abdul Karim. She commissioned portraits of him to be painted by Rudolph Swoboda and Von Angeli, and all photos of him waiting at table was destroyed. He was also given houses in Balmoral, Windsor and Osborne and allowed to use the billiard’s room with the other gentlemen of the Household. He accompanied her on her European holidays and soon the pair was inseparable.

At every step the Queen honoured him with titles and medals and gave him the CIE and the MVO, one step away from a Knighthood. Even Karim’s father, Haji Wuzeeruddin, was given the title of Khan Bahadur and he became the first person to be allowed to smoke a hukkah (water-pipe) in Windsor Castle.

The Queen as student

The Queen wanted to kearn Hindustani and asked Karim to teach her and he proved to be a serious teacher and a hard task master. He began with teaching her a few words every day. He also made a phrase book for her and soon the Queen would carry this red and golden book with her everywhere. Karim would write a line in Urdu, followed by a line in English and then a line in Urdu in roman script and the Queen would copy these. A few weeks later an exited Queen noted in her journal: “I am learning a few words of Hindustani to speak with my servants. It is great interest to me for both the language and the people. I have naturally never come into real contact with before.”

Karim as clever as he was, helped the Queen with her correspondence and advised her on Indian politics. The Queen would often write to the Viceroy of India and demanding answers of some issues that were raised by Karim but it became more than the Household could bear. Once the Household threatened to resign collectively if the Queen took Karim on her European vacations, but the Queen in an instant rage swept everything she had on her desk on to the floor. Photos, files, ink-pots and boxes, everything fell on to the floor when the Queen heard about the threat. The Queen won the argument and Karim was accompanying the Queen to Europe and the Household did not resign but they didn’t stop plotting against Karim as they involved the Prince of Wales. No matter what the Queen heard about Karim, she would not accept anything and stood by him like a rock defending him to the last.

The Queens death – An end of the fairy tale

The close friendship created much rumours at the castle among the Household who would now gossip. When they continued to maligning Karim, the Queen announced them as racists and sent them message on how to behave. In frustration, the Household declared that the Queen wasn’t sane and threatened that the Prince of Wales would step in as people believed that she was losing her sanity. While the world watched the Jubilee with all its glory in 1897, the Palace was torn apart by intrigue, jealousy and threats to resign because of Karim.

The 81 year old Victoria had died peacefully in her sleep in the year of 1901. She was now dressed according to her wishes for the final journey to Windsor. The procession filed past her son and heir Edward VII and his wife Queen Alexandra together with the Queen’s children, grand children and with a collection of her most trusted servants and Household members. Each stood for a few minutes before the coffin to pay their respects. The King then allowed Karim to enter the Queen’s bedroom making him the last person to see her body alone as he knew about his mothers wishes. Karim entered the room with his head bowed dressed in a dark Indian tunic and turban. As he looked at the Queen’s face that was glowing from the lights of the candles, thoughts raced through his mind. Their first meeting in the summer of 1887, the lazy days they spent together as he taught her his language and described his country, the gossips they shared, her generosity towards him and her loneliness that he understood. He stood silently as he was fighting back the tears; his lips moved saying a silent prayer to Allah to rest her soul. After a final look at her, he left the room silently.

Early one cold, February morning in 1901, the inhabitants of a cottage on the Windsor Castle estate were startled by a loud banging at the door. Tired and dazed, the head of the household, Abdul Karim, opened the front door to find a group of guards standing outside. They were accompanied by Queen Alexandra, wife of the new king, Edward VII, and by Princess Beatrice, youngest daughter of the late Queen Victoria. It was on King Edward’s orders that the house was raided only days before, Abdul Karim had been given a prominent place in Queen Victoria’s funeral procession which aroused the disgust of her family.

Now, much to his astonishment, the guards were ordering him to hand over every letter, note and memo that the late Queen had sent him over the 13 years he had served her. She had written him many letters, sometimes several a day and often signing them ‘Your affectionate Mother and Karim had treasured them. Now the new King wanted to destroy them. A bonfire was started outside the cottage and Karim watched in horror as the drawers were turned upside down.

Abdul Karim, the man that the Queen had called her “dearest Munshi” (teacher) stood and watched in silence as every piece of paper bearing the Queens handwriting was thrown into the fire. All the answers lay in the letters that was cracking in the fire telling the story of a young man who had arrived to Britain 13 years ago as a waiter and had risen t become the Queen’s closest companion and was treated like a son rather than a servant. The Munshi and his family were then ordered to pack their bags and leave for India immediately. The fairy-tale had ended and 8 years later, Karim died heart-broken in Agra. He was only 46.

Abdul Karim’s descendants left for Pakistan when the country was partitioned in 1947, leaving behind all the land and exquisite gifts given to Abdul Karim by Queen Victoria and other European royalty. Only a diary and a few memorabilia survived. A lonely grave in Agra, some portraits in Osborne House, the Hindustani journals they wrote for 13 years, and a house that bears his name in Balmoral, are all that remain today of the Queen’s closes confidant. Yet the story would not manage to be erased from the history books.

India – Soft Power with Nuclear Arsenal

After introducing the economic reforms Indian has now came places. India now not only rose to a respected position on world platform but her economic boom & large population is also contributing to other countries growth story. Here are the few facts about India. Though after all this boom & applause India still remains a very poor country with increasing in equality, inflation & corruption damaging India’s repo as rising soft world power.

Facts about India:

$ 3.548 trillion GDP

India is the third richest country in Asia having $ 3.548 trillion GDP compared on Purchasing Power Parity. GDP per capita of India is $ 3, 1000 with growing population. India is the third wealthiest nation of Asia having a fastest growing economy which is progressing at a rate of 7% per year. 4th in the World after US, China & Japan.

3,165,596 Sq Kms

Is the Land Area of India making her a 7th largest country in the world & 2nd largest country in Asia.

2.67 million bbl/day Oil consumption

Even though India meet her 30% of oil consumption from her domestic oil blocks but the rest difference made her the fourth largest consumer of OIL & GAS this has lead in a huge investments on foreign exploration by Indian Oil & Gas giants. India consuming oil at 2.67 million bbl/day. The combination of oil consumption and relatively flat production has left India increasingly dependent on imports to meet its petroleum demand. In terms of oil use, transportation is the largest sector with highest consumption.

256 million tonnes per annum increasing by 45% annually

India is also the world’s biggest oil refiner with refining all daily raw crude of the Gulf Region & of its own. & host of a world biggest oil refining complex in Jamnagar – Gujarat.

1trillion US Dollars defence imports for next five year

As per Stockholm International Peace Research Institute India is the biggest buyer of arms in the world making a staggering 1 trillion US Dollars of purchase budget for arms imports.

40million tonnes of wheat, 30million tonnes of oil seeds

Is the consumption which requires satisfying the population hunger of India as per UPI Asia estimates? Even though India is in some respect is self sufficient in agricultural production but as the population grows India is now looking to satisfy her hunger through imports last year India imports 5 million tons of wheat & another 7% more oil seeds, even after the bumper crop India have to import other food items respectively. India also supports the largest cattle population in the world making India self sufficient in meat & dairy products supporting the 2nd most populated country in the world with figures going more than 1.2 billion people.

64,215kms

Is the length of Indian Railway network which is the fourth largest in the world carrying 25million passengers & 2.5million tons of freight daily & employing 1.6million people which makes it the largest employer of the world.

3.314 million Kilometres

Is the total length of India’s road network positioning at the worlds third largest. India has the world’s highest road density.

752 Million

Are mobile phone users making India the world’s fastest growing wireless market & positioning India at 3rd place in the world’s list of mobile phone subscribers?

500000

India is the home of the World’s largest ship breaking yard which employees more than 500000 people & breaks almost all the retired shipping vessels of the world. It also houses the one of the world’s largest shipping industry also.

India has now become a second country after US who has launched mission on moon successfully. This has made India a global hub for space technology & aero space engineering which is not only efficient but also cheapest in the world.

Nearly 70% of the information technology & software development & research is done in India making it a largest silicon valley hub of the world.

India has become outsourcing power & centre of the world as almost all the outsourcing in all services being sourced from here. Indian economy before 1990 was agriculture driven economy but now India is a service driven economy transforming her into a technology power house & synonymously tagging a Soft Power Tag.

Almost 70% of the world’s nanotechnology, biotechnological need is being researched & sourced from India.

Pharmaceutical sector is another which is now advancing with enormous pace making it one of the biggest pharma sectors in the world.

After China, India has the world’s highest density of cars where almost every car maker has its manufacturing facility specially designed for meeting Indian demand & also for export purposes. In Delhi alone 1200 cars are sold every day & another 1000 add on the road making Delhi 2nd most polluted city after Beijing as per WHO report. Resulting in a huge traffic jams & increased numbers of road accidents.

India is the largest consumer of Palm Oil in the world 80% of the Palm Oil produced annually in the world is consumed by India.

India is the largest consumer of Gold & Silver in the world where nearly 68% of the total production is consumed by the Indians only.

India is the hub of the world’s largest diamond cutting industry where 9 out of 10 diamonds in the world are cut in India.

Natural Resources:

Indian is the largest producer of Mica in the world, India has huge reserves of coal, iron ore, bauxite, uranium, titanium, thorium, zinc, copper, silver, gold, limestone, bronze, precious stones, granite, marble which rank India in the top five. India also has proven sufficient reserves of natural gas, oil, shale gas.

India – Land of Versatility

Map of Ancient India

When Prophet Adam’s (peace be upon him) first foot set on the earth it was on the Indian Subcontinent & his beloved respected Eve’s on Jeddah the world has hardly knows about the undivided Pangaea which broke apart & the nations formed with streams of blood flowing & forming the line of control dividing families & heart of the children of Adam. It was the era of division & rule when new empires were formed & broke apart by the invaders during this period there was civilization which was flourishing on the banks of Indus creating & designing its own world of cultures, tradition & science, the nation which was carved by those great people was named Akhand Bharat translated later in English by traitors of British Imperials as India which it now popularly called & known as. Now the history was in the making & the world is going to know about the massive silent storm which was deepening its roots throughout the world. The veins of Indian nation are as old as the humans himself. Once called the Golden Sparrow of the world famous for her science, spices, precious gem stones & natural resources was the world leader in terms of economic output & industrialization. India is a land of mother of all civilization famed as “Indus Valley civilization”.  It is the most diverse & multicultural, multiracial nation in the world.  It is said that you will find lingual & cultural variations on every 10 kms in India. India is the land of philosophers, poets & writers. It is where Alexander lost his first battle & was died of his wounds, it is where descendants of Genghis Khan flourished & were settled down here making India center of their architecture & art. It is the land where Sufism flourished & nurtured its roots from the alluvial plains of great Indian rivers.

Inventions / Discoveries:

Mathematics which include Zero, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Astrology, Astronomy, Politics, Ayurveda traditional Indian Medicine practice, Yoga, Karate, Chess, Tunnel construction, Horticulture, rocket launchers, swords, bow and arrow, jewelery ,diamond, ruby, gold, silver, iron animal husbandry, dry land farming, Wheel, Fire, Human Resource Management, Irrigation, Classical Music, Thorium Fusion reactors, Jungle Warfare. Indian mouth freshener beetle leaf (paan) was first cultivated discovered in India, beetle nut was also discovered here, cashew nut, henna, walnut, neem, marijuana were first discovered.

Religions formed & written: Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism.

Languages: Sanskrit, Pali, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujrati, Devnagri script which forms the bases of Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil, Kashmiri, Dogri, Kangri, Sindhi, Marathi, Konkani, Oriya, Manipuri, Mizo, Assamese, Bhojpuri, Nicobari, Prakrit & many countless tribal languages.

Holy Scriptures written: Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Geeta, Guru Granth Sahib, Tripitaka, Mahayana Sutras, Akaranga Sutra & Kalpa Sutra.

Himalayas

Topography – Geography:

In the North Himalaya & Zanskar guards her Frontiers with snow covered peaks & glaciers all year round stretch your arm to the through terrain region, East one will found Arakran Mountains covred with tropical dense jungles as you moved to west the jungle goes deeper  crossing the world’s biggest river delta of Ganga Brahmaputra ending in the central plateau where driving through the most fertile alluvial plains nourished by the waters of the great rivers of Ganga & Yamuna as you move closer to the west the nature leads you towards Thar desert & salt plains of Rann of Kutch where hardly you find

Arakan Mountain Range

a drop of water, turning yourself towards south via salt plains of Rann of Kutch Deccan Plateau welcomes you with its exotic scenery with its cousins Satpura , Vindhya, Western Ghats & Eastern Ghats where your feet will be washed by thethree crystal clear greenish waters of Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal & Indian Ocean taking you to the all new world of advancement of completely with air becomes fresh & cool soothes you through its humid climate of varied cultures & traditions which survives on a world’s longest coastline spanning more than 7000kms. As the road ends of the mainland one can still find himself in India when he chooses to travel the distant archipelagos of Andaman & Nicobar Islands & Lakshadweep Islands.

Historic Frontiers’ with 10 Great Nations full of history & civilization glory;

In North China, Tibet & Afghanistan, Nepal & Bhutan shares their cultures & politics, West its Iran & Pakistan, East thriving jungles invades its plains with Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam & Bangladesh. Her sea frontier even in modern time touches the class of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore through strait of Malaca, Adams Bridge, Adaman Sea, Lakshwadeep Islands.

Modern Frontiers with 7 left to wipe her tears:

After 1947 India has lost much of her ancient boundaries where it has lost Burma & Bangladesh in the east; in the west her souls torn apart by losing away Pakistan & parts of Kashmir, Gilgit, Waziristan & Baltistan losing its touch from ancient neighbours Iran & Afghanistan, in the north the story is not so different as her dry but precious land Aksai Chin which is now a part of Xinjiang province was snatched away by her once friendly brotherly ancient neighbour China & her friendly friend lost battle to China who captured Tibet sheltering his government in exile in their home away from home Dharamshala – Himachal Pradesh.  Now India only borders with China, Nepal & Bhutan in the North, Pakistan in the west, Burma & Bangladesh in east & south provides still undivided victims of British Raj i;e Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore & Indonesia through Andaman Sea, Bay of Bengal Malaca Strait, Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka & Maldives with Adams Bridge & Indian Ocean & Sea of Lakshwadeep & Arabian Sea.

When India wakes up with her lost glory there was nothing but a pledge that someday we will take our glory & respect back from this traitor world. With the introduction of constitution in 1950 when India become Republic lots of promises & policies were made which laid the foundation of the modern & prosperous India. Investments were made to build infrastructure for the looted & divided nation. By the end of 1980s & the end of cold war era India has improved a lot, once said by the First Prime Minister of India Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru that the dams which we have build are the temples of modern India. With the introduction of economic reforms by the then Finance Minister Man Mohan Singh India opened her gates for foreign investment. Now with the result of this India by the start of 21st century has now become a booming power house who now excels in the field of Information Technology, Engineering, Software, Agriculture, Health & Medical Facilities, Education, Aero space, Bio & Nano Technology, Nuclear science. The facts show that from the mid 90s till today India has taken a huge jump forward. The dominance of India now shows & sometimes reflects in the international summits like G8, SAARC, ASEAN, UN, IAEA, WTO, BIMSTEC surviving with the burden of overpopulation whose hunger is never ending. Today India is a economic power house with the world at her feet. As per UN economic data report India will surpass the US GDP by 2050. This has not only made India a biggest challenger & threat to US but also to her neighbours.

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