Friday, April 30, 2010

Finally Pakistan did it - Moving 1 Lakh troops from eastern border(with India) to western border

Philip Bobbit in ‘The Shield of Achilles’ says that “War is not a pathology that, with proper hygiene and treatment, can be wholly prevented. War is a natural condition of the State, which was organized in order to be an effective instrument of violence on behalf of society. Wars are like deaths, which, while they can be postponed, will come when they will come and cannot be finally avoided.”

Until now Pakistan is keeping major part of forces in her eastern border with India – anticipating an imaginary attack – while FATA and NWFP and other parts are bleeding, regularly hit by suicide attacks and where the writ of the state is not valid beyond the provincial capitals.

US were urging Pakistan to move her troops from east border to fight Taliban & Co in the western border. A suggestion which will not be welcomed by Pakistan at any time, after all they are locked in an imaginary war with India - the single most thing which shot up Pakistani army’s prominence in the country and the only justification for such a huge army.

Anyway finally under US pressure and due to the worst conditions in the western border (if it can be called as a border) Pakistan moved 1 lakh (.1 million) troops from eastern border to her western border to fight with Taliban & Co. Now what we have to see is how Al–Quaida, Tehreek-e-Taliban, Quetta Shura Taliban, Gulbuddin group, Haqqani Network etc will welcome this new development.

Look at the recent statement from Michele Flournoy, the Under Secretary for Policy in the Department of Defense "Although extremist attacks have led to the repositioning of substantial Pakistani forces, Pakistan's strategic concerns about India remain preeminent," He added that "We must continue to reassure Pakistan that as it combats the terrorist threat, it is not exposing itself to increased risk along its eastern border," he told a Congressional hearing.

Who is exposed here to the increased risk in eastern border? If Pakistan is not supporting and help India centric terrorist groups there will not be any problems in the eastern border. Its good to remember that even in the peak point of ‘Kargil’ war, India didn’t crossed the international borders.

The troop movement from Eastern border to western border will be considered as a welcome gesture by Indian administration but little it will do if Pakistan didn’t stopped supporting India centric terror groups and proxy war.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Honour killings - Are we protecting the honour or heading for a downfall?

"Hindu caste leaders in the northern Indian state of Haryana have given their backing to six people convicted last month in an "honour killing" case.The heads of 20 caste councils also demanded legislation to ban marriages between members of the same sub-caste." - BBC

Indian village proud after double "honor killing" - Reuters

How may people already lost their lives in these killing spree?

What is the meaning of honour? Webster define honour as "Esteem due or paid to worth; high estimation; respect; consideration; reverence; veneration; manifestation of respect or reverence". It is of two types; one is our own feelings and the second one is how society treats us. Which one is better? I will vote for the first one. If you are wondering why I consider the first choice as answer, then let me explain.

Before that I would like to ask one question. How you define crime? How you define what is good and what is bad? If you are saying that it’s all there in constitution, IPC or CrPC, then how these rules are written?

These rules are based on what society thinks; what is good and what is bad, not exactly what is good and what is bad - its all relative. In each and every decision making process what we are doing is - comparing an action with the existing laws of society and take a decision whether it is good or bad. Just like courts producing each verdict by comparing it with the existing rules. The only thing which matter is what the society thinks at the time of writing the law.

So what is right and what is wrong? The simple answer is if you are thinking that your action is correct then it is right and if you think its wrong, then it is wrong. But in majority of cases the thought of ours are not fully ours, it is heavily influenced by the way we brought up, our surroundings, in the society we leave etc. That’s why an act which is perfectly correct for us is extremely wrong for Europeans, Americans etc and vice versa.

But at the same time there are some things which are our basic rights. The first and foremost one is ‘freedom’ everything else is dependable on this one. If you look at the history there are certain persons who are respected us the greatest persons. If you are looking further to their life you can see that they are not ready to be bounded by the laws of society. It doesn’t matter whether it is Socrates, Rajaram Mohan Roy or Sri Narayana Guru, they tried to think beyond the narrow limits of society. Copernicus dare to question the existing belief, Amundsen, Scott, Tensing, Hilary, Darwin, Wright brothers etc dare to think and go beyond the societies limits.

But what will happen if we are not ready to give people the freedom to think? The society can’t move forward, they can’t grow after a certain limit. Every human begins who are attached with the society have an energy level, the maximum value is equal to the maximum value of the society, they can’t go after that. But if you are free then there is no limit. So what is this honour killing indicates? Let’s look at some basic facts.

Anyone in the world have any power to decide their birthplace? Parents? Locality? Gender? Religion? People don’t even have the power to choose their name!!! Then how can a person, who born in a low caste is different in social status than that of one in higher caste? If religious text says that there is no birth and death, the process of death is simply - soul removing his/her envelope and birth is soul is taking a new envelope, then what is the problem with the people who are the followers of the same system?

Now a days honour killing is always in the news. It’s sure that this is not a new phenomenon, but earlier there was no cut-throat competition in media industry. After the killing of lovers or married couples - who are belonging to different caste or religion; do you think that the society becoming a more respectful one? If this is honour, then why society doesn’t show it against rapists? After all rapists not even care about the age of victims. It doesn’t matter for them if it is a two year old child or eighty year old lady. In these cases why society doesn’t search for honour? Society have problem with a legal marriage or love affair but not with illegal hungry for sex???!!!

Society doesn’t have any problem with distorted sex ratio? No problem with millions of girls being killed before they born? If you are saying that proper education will curb this activity- then you are totally wrong, educated people are leading the way!!!

But a forward looking society can’t tolerate this. We need people who have the courage to think beyond – who can look beyond the shades and saw the bright light of Sun. That is the way for unlimited growth. Honour killing will not lead us to anywhere, no society can move forward if they are not ready to give freedom to their citizens. So before supporting honour killing think - do you want to go forward or backward.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Sania - Shoaib marriage and Indian Laws

Newspapers and electronic media are chewing and re-chewing the Sania - Shoaib news; like they don’t have anything else to report. All of a sudden price rice and farmers suicide doesn’t become a problem. Many people even suggested that it may even affect the Indo - Pak relations!!! What is this? Is there anything left in the world which can adversely affect the Indo - Pak relations? The more interesting things in this entire story is "Telephone Marriage" and superfast divorce. All these raises many questions about the vaidity and applicaility of Indian laws.

Its doesn’t matter who is going to marry Sania. It’s her choice; she can wed whomever she wants. People don’t have to bother about it.

But what is this telephone marriage? Is it valid in India or in any other part of the world? anyway it is an interesting concept!!! If it is valid then SMS marriage, Email marriage etc should be valid too. The next problem is how Shoaib get such a superfast divorce? What is Indian law regarding divorce? If such divorces are possible then what is the need for family courts and such long procedures?

We have to reevaluate at our own laws, its validity and applicability. What we need is a uniform personal law which is applicale in the entire land and waters ruled by Indian government. One should be able to find out what the law says in any situations. In this case what happened is – Everyone is creating their own laws and the state doesn’t have one.

Many even said that Sania should not marry shoaib - they forget that marriage is a personal choice. It is sure that any foreign person who is looking to this entire events will be bewildered by the fact that India doesn’t have a common marriage law (Is there any law in IPC or some other text which is applicable to every one?) even after 60 years of indepenence.

Time is already gone to create a uniform law. Atleast do it now, so that in the future courts can say something in the case of SMS and email marriages and Superfast divorces.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Build roads to Maoist HQ

What is the difference made in the life of tribal in the eastern- central India after we got independence? Did there connectivity to the rest of India improved? How many roads through which a bus can travel, rails are reaching these districts? How many schools or hospitals are there in these tribal regions? What is the mode of communication? Haw many subscribers are there in these tribal regions for the mobile companies?

But remember that these regions are one of the wealthiest regions of India. Trillions of dollars ores are lying under the ground. Multi National Companies are queue to get a piece of that cake.
It is an easy for insurgents to grow in these good soils. They have all the required things, poor or no communication facilities, absence of roads, poverty etc. Does it mean/makes that Maoists methods are right? There is no need for second thought. Its absolutely wrong. They are not fighting for the development of the area - Earlier it was the hobby of Maoists to blast the communication towers.

The recent attacks on security personals in the Maoists affected areas reflect the need for a well developed communication and transportation facilities. We are building a lot of roads in the insurgent hit Afghanistan, good; It also earned lot of good will. But it’s another matter that we being pushed from all the ends (except from the poor people) to scale down the activities!!!

But we have to replicate those activities here too. Make the best roads to the tribal and highly populated Maoist areas. It will make the transportation of troops very easy. Well maintained roads can do wonders. If any one has any doubts, please look towards north - China. They are developing the border regions with alarming speed, making roads to Pakistan and trying to connect to ‘Gwadar port’ by road; Connecting Tibet with remote part of China; new rail to link Nepal with China; heavily investing in trans Asian rail project connecting East Asia with China.

The heavy use of UAV (Unmanned Areal Vehicle) will be highly effective in planning and executing operation with clinical precision. Gather as much information as possible, and then plan the attack, if possible try to get the satellite images too.

Improvement of communication facilities is very important too. These tribal regions should have easy connectivity to district HQ, state capitals and New Delhi. Information is highly important, and how fast we get it is very important. Along with this we have to tap all the financial sources Maoists have - which they are using to procure guns, ammunition etc. With out a continuous flow of money it is not possible to go on for long.

Another important fact is intelligence, tap all the possible sources whatever it may be. Try to split them, across the world it is an established fact that buying insiders will make the movement week. It is sure that not all the cadres will be happy being and tagged as Maoists.

New Delhi have to think all the out of box solutions.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Government should have a uniform and opeartional policy against Maoist insurgency

Dentwada is a wake up call, in fact a costly wake up call. The sheer number of security personal killed - 76 persons - shows the magnitude of the problem. According to the history, India doesn’t lose these much security personals in a single day during the decades long Maoist insurgency. The alarming fact is that, it’s not the fist time we are facing these much losses. We are facing this for a long time and the death toll is increasing. Take a look at the chronology of Maoist attacks against security forces.

16th July 2008 - 21 police personals - Orissa.
June 29- 38 troops -Orissa
October 8, 2009 the death toll was 17 - Maharashtra
June 16 -11 police personals were killed due to land mine blast - Palamau
June 13 - 10 police men were killed - Bokaro
June 10 - 9 policemen killed - Jharkhand.
May 22 - 16 Police men - Maharashtra
April 13 - 10 security personals killed - Koraput.
Feb 15, 2010 - 24 personals of EFR (Eastern Frontier Rifles)
April 4 - 11 security personal of SOG - Koraput
April - 76 Security personals - Chhattisgarh

 Apart from this a lot of security personals and civilians are died in these attacks. This problem is not started today or yesterday. History travelled a long way from the mountains of Naxalbari in 1967 to the forests of Dantewada.

It is true that they are naxals are mostly operating from the forests. As it is guerrilla warfare, it will take time to stop it. But what is the government strategy about it? After long silence central government woke up against naxals; declaring them as the single most threat to India’s security. The irony of the fact is that we find them as the single most security threat after they spread in more than 30% of the republic.
Now as the operation ‘green hunt’ is going on - but a lot of people already questioned the strategy against Maoist insurgency; especially the coordination level between different states. At this time when the technology is readily available - I don’t think it will take much time to create a detailed satellite map of the region. But why we are not ready to using it fully? One thing I didn’t understand fully is the use of Bullet proof jackets and mine detectors.

Every one knows that bullet proof jackets can reduce the number of deaths. And mine detectors can detect mines to a great extent. But to what extent we are using it? I will highly recommend the home minister to see this year’s Oscar winning film "The Hurt Locker". The instruments which are using in the movie are not alien one, it is working in Iraq, Afghanistan and in many other countries. In fact countries like US are funding highly for the instruments like that. But how far we moved forward in the technological warfare against insurgents, in which government have huge advantages?

The problem is about security personal’s communication facilities. How long it took the news of attack to reach the base camp? And why? It’s true that we can’t use land lines or even mobile towers. Blasting mobile towers are already become a hobby for Maoists. But what about satellite phones? Government can easily provide satellite phones to the police men and paramilitary forces them.

The other factor is about the coordination and intelligence activities. Now-a-days intelligence agencies are successful in arresting many terrorists who are waging war against republic, that too from different countries. But what is happening in Eastern - Central India? How can a Maoist leader can call media persons at any time he wish and intelligence officials are still not able to pin point the location?

Most of the paramilitary troops may not be local people, they are all coming from different parts of India - so it is natural that they will not be familiar with the terrain - which is a huge advantage for Maoists. So whenever officials are conceptualizing an attack they have to include small but critical number of personals who are local to the area, even if it may be civilians. It will not be a good strategy to launch attacks in different states at different time. Coordinated attacks will be highly beneficial. Along with this use Airforce for greater and fast mobilization of troops.

But this recent attack may prove to be the beginning of an end. In any case now government can’t sit idle after facing this insult. It is certain that the public support for Maoists will be reduced to a great extent after this attack. But what we required is a political will to go on.

Above all it is the will of the people, if they are with the government; there will not be any problem for the government to go on. One more thing to add here is Government should not be a party in the land acquisitions for the private sector. If private sector wants land they can directly approach the people, if required government can mediate. The lands in the central - eastern India have trillions of dollars of mineral wealth, but above all we have to consider the will of the people.


Friday, April 2, 2010

The Great Indian GM (Genetically Modified) Food Debate

It is not easy for a country like India to produce all the required food for her population, which is close to 1.17bn. And as the population increases the availability of land reduces, which will result in to the massive deforestation. If people don’t have enough land to live, how they can use enough land for agriculture? Due to the long neglect and disrespect towards farmers, now a day’s people are unwilling to take agriculture as a profession.

In addition to that now a day’s government is creating special economic zone where ever they can. Many of these Special Economic Zones are coming up in the fertile lands; I can’t understand why chemical, automotive, software plants require fertile lands? They can use the lands where the soil is not good for agriculture. If companies are finding it difficult to set up infrastructure in such places, government should come forward to help them.

In this scenario, no special powers are required to predict that the area available for agriculture will fall in the future and so as the output. In the sixties when we faced this disastrous situation, where the food safety of the country was depending on the imports, Green Revolution solved our problem. Later we were even able to export rice and other agricultural products to other countries. But now after more than three decades we are again facing the problem again.

Many recommend Genetically Modified crops as a solution, but this new technology is facing wide spread opposition from various civil society groups and NGOs. According to the definitions - GM food derived from the genetically modified organisms (GMO). The changes are introduced to their DNA by genetic Engineering.  GM products first hit the markets in the early 1990’s- first in Soybean, corn, cotton seed oil etc and later animal products – like pigs which engineered to produce Omega-3 fatty acids.

These food products are in market for the more than 15 years. In 2004 a review by ‘US National Academies of Sciences’ and later in 2008 a review by ‘Royal Society of Medicine’ states that – To date, no adverse health affects are attributed to Genetic Engineering, have been documented in human population. But other organizations like ‘Organic Consumers Association’, ‘Greenpeace’ etc says that health risks posed by GM products and its environmental risks are not adequately investigated.

According to the ‘UNEP’ report about the last food crisis - which affected numerous countries from Egypt to Haiti and Cameroon to Bangladesh - there was a 50- 200% increase in commodity prices. This food crisis also added another 44mn people to the under nourished category. According to the report the reasons for this crisis are Speculation in food stocks, Extreme whether conditions, low cereal stocks, growth in biofuels which competes for cropland and high oil prices.

Of course the other reasons will be the poor public distribution system and low yields.

In these situations the new technologies like GM crops may find a new role in ensuring the food security but the fears associated with GMP’s are not so less important. After the widespread opposition from state governments and NGOs Minister of State for Environments and Forests- ‘Jairam Ramesh’ put a moratorium on the environmental release of Bt Brinjal. This product has a foreign gene named ‘Cry 1 Ac’ from soil bacterium, which is supposed to insert insect resistance to Bt Brinjal. The interesting thing is that the environmental release of Bt Brinjal developed by ‘Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co Ltd (Mahyco)’ was earlier approved by GEAC (Genetic Engineering Approval Committee) on October 14, 2009. Now what public have to think? - Government is rejecting their own committee’s findings and approval.

The things related food safety are critical to the survival of human beings, lacks of people are already died due to famine and malnutrition. Many times it was not due to absence of food but our notorious inefficiency in Public Distribution System (PDS). Even if GM foods are prooved highly successful if we are not ready to enhance the PDS, the situation will remain as it is.

All the things related to the GMF (Genetically Modified Food) products have to be thoroughly tested and have to make sure that it will not adversely affect human begins. But this doesn’t mean that we should reject GM technology and GM foods altogether. In these days Genetic Engineering is using in a verity of fields - from industrial to agricultural sector. One of the advantages (claims) related to the Genetic Engineering is that – it will reduce/avoid the usage of pesticides required in agricultural sector. It is good to remember that various pesticides are already proved disastrous for both humans and nature. Do you remember the name of any chemical pesticides which proved good to human health?

In the first generation GM crops may not be that much successful, it may give inconsistence results and even reduced yields. But which technology hits the market as a perfect one? Any one remember what was the size of computers when it was introduced in the later half of 1940’s, and what is its size now? How many trial and errors happened during the invention of electric bulb? It is the fate of every technology; it will slowly prove successful after the not so impressive first results. (I am not saying that every technology proved successful in the end).

In fact what governments should do is, instead of raising concerns about the GM products of private companies they should set up adequate lab, and field trial facilities. If the result is not satisfactory to the government they can deny the license for environmental release. In any case government has to make good investments in this sector and create a definite policy for Genetic Engineering. All these things are released to market after spending crores dollors, in R n D, so the price of it will be high. If government is not ready to commit massive investment in this sector and overhaul the PDS system, the situation will remain as it is.


You can find Indian governments policies related to Genetic Engineering (GE) here - Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India