Sunday, November 10, 2019


Let me begin my thoughts by reaffirming that demolishing Babri Masjid was wrong especially in a secular and democratic nation like India. Those who did it ought to be punished so that such acts are not repeated.

Yesterday the Indian supreme court gave the verdict on the centuries old Ayodhya dispute. The timeline for the dispute is as follows:

- 1528: Babri Masjid built by Mir Baqi, commander of Mughal emperor Babur.

- 1885: Mahant Raghubir Das files plea in Faizabad district court seeking permission to build a canopy outside the disputed structure. Court rejects the plea.
 Click here for the full events.

The final verdict  : Entire Disputed Site Goes to Hindus for Ram Mandir, Muslims to Get 5 Acres of Alternate Land
It is not a fair judgement since one cannot demolish a structure and build another based on hearesays alone. If so, entire India would need to be dug up to right whatever wrongs imagined or otherwise. But I think SC wanted to end this dispute in a peaceful manner and it is indeed a relief to note that the Muslim board has accepted the same though it could be out of compulsion. But it is clear that India needs peace. The animosity between the two communities is not new. Blame it on various invasions and specially partition. Invasion was unavoidable but partition was avoidable. The fate of millions were decided by few men who only wanted power? 

Why did the 1947 partition of India unfold the way it did?
Although the agreement required no relocation, about 15 million people moved or were forced to move, and between half a million to 2 million died in the ensuing violence.

If one thinks the above did not affect the remaining Indians then one is naive and shall never understand the Ayodhya issue too. I think the two communities continue to test each other. They hide their insecurity and fears and at times erupt in riots. Now with a nationalistic party at the helm it is not getting better. But what if the courts had given a different verdict? There is no guarantee that the government would have been able to quell the unrest. This am sure is one reason the Muslim community is accepting the verdict while hoping to move forward.

Sometimes one hears from the south of India, specially Kerala boasting about religious tolerance as opposed to the north of India. Maybe they should look at the following map to know who was affected the most during the partition if not by the various invasions.

The extent and patterns of ethnic cleansing that led to the collapse of minority population shares in then western India was not anticipated. As late as November 1945, the Commander of the Indian Army, Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck, predicted that the “principal danger areas (for ethnic conflict) are likely to lie in the United Provinces, Bihar and Bengal”, these having also been the principal areas where religious rioting had taken place in the years leading up to Independence (Figure 2a, and Jha and Wilkinson 2012). Yet, the patterns of ethnic cleansing were very different (Figure 2b), and the areas that Auchinleck thought would be most susceptible to violence still enjoy sizeable minority populations to this day.

If Ayodhya is viewed against this backdrop let this verdict take the nation forward since there are many wounds still festering. India is indeed diverse and can never be like another democratic country. But the least one can do is understand the issues involved and stop escalating issues.


Thursday, October 10, 2019


If there is heaven on earth they say it is in Kashmir. 

Maybe it is because of this that everyone is fighting for this piece of land. History tells us that Kashmir was once ruled by a king who sought help from newly independent India in order to avoid being invaded by Pakistan. While India tried to win the hearts of Kashmir by giving it a special status and by pouring more money that it has ever given to other states, Pakistan never gave up it’s pursuits. In fact, the first war between India and Pakistan was fought over Kashmir and the next one in 1965 ensured that Pakistan shall be forever under the grips of the military regime. 

(The Indo–Pakistani war of 1965 caused thousands of deaths on both sides with a heavy deployment of armoured vehicles)

India had two options: either give up Kashmir or make Kashmir a part of India in every way. Over the years India tried in every way to make Kashmir a part of India but it has never worked. Pakistan never gave up and has always encouraged militancy among the Kashmir youth. Even today if you converse with a Kashmiri who fights for independence at the end his/her support is for Pakistan.

 In the late 1980s, separatist discourse gained momentum in Kashmir and the military insurgency started spreading in the valley against what is perceived as an Indian occupation. 

Now one may wonder why India should resist this. If Kashmir is ever separated from India it is for everyone to see that Pakistan shall occupy it within no time. Why not says Pakistan. But shall the world ever say that? Look at the both the nations and where they stand after 1947. The same set of people or DNA started building a nation. Where does Pakistan stand now? How good is it’s economy as compared to India?

As of 2019, GDP of India is around of 10 times greater than Pakistan. In nominal terms gap is wider (above 10 times) than ppp terms (below 10 times). India is 5th largest country of the world in nominal method and 3rd largest economy in ppp method. Nominal ranking of Pakistan is 43 and PPP ranking is 25. India's economically largest states Maharashtra has GDP ($334 billion) greater than Pakistan. Margin between these two countries was lowest in 1993 when Nominal GDP of India was 5.43x of Pakistan and highest was in 1973 (13.53x).

Now let us see how minorities have fared in both the countries over the years.

In India, if in 1951 Muslims were 9.8% as compared to 84.1%  of Hindus, in 2011 it is 14.23% as compared to 79.8%.  

It is obvious that the Muslim population in India is not declining whereas in Pakistan the situation is getting worse day by day.

At the time of partition in 1947, almost 23% of Pakistan’s population was [composed] ofnon-Muslim citizens. Today, the proportion of non-Muslims has declined toapproximately 3%. The distinctions among Muslim denominations have also becomefar more accentuated over the years. Muslim groups such as the Shias whoaccount for approximately 20-25% of Pakistan’s Muslim population, Ahmadis whohave been declared non-Muslim by the writ of the state, and non-Muslimminorities such as Christians, Hindus and Sikhs have been the targets ofsuicide bomb attacks on their neighborhoods, had community members converted toIslam against their will, and had their houses of worship attacked and bombedeven while they were inhabited by worshipers.”

How did minorities fare in India over the years politically and economically?

A small list of positions minorities have/are occupying in India.

APJ Abdul Kalam(Muslim- Former President)

Manmohan Singh(Sikh- Former Prime Minister)

Giani Zail Singh(Sikh- Former President)

Zakir Hussain(Muslim- Former President)

Mohammad Hidayatullah (Muslim- Former President and Chief Justice)

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (Muslim- Former President)

Mohammad Hamid Ansari (Muslim- Former President)

Sonia Gandhi(Roman Catholic- Former Congress President)

Aziz Mushabber Ahmadi (Muslim- Former Chief Justice)

Altamas Kabir (Muslim- Former Chief Justice)

Jagdish Singh Khehar(Sikh- Former Chief Justice)

S. Y. Quraishi(Muslim- Former Chief Election Commissioner)

Nasim Zaidi(Muslim- Former Chief Election Commissioner)

Sunith Francis Rodrigues(Catholic- Former Army Chief)

Joginder Jaswant Singh(Sikh- Former Army Chief)

Salman Khurshid(Muslim- Former Foreign Minister)

Syed Akbaruddin(India’s current UN representative)

Asif Ibrahim(Muslim- Former Chief of Intelligence Bureau)

These are some of the most important posts of India.

And, the list is unending(Even if I don’t include Actors, Sportsmen, Businessmen and many other notable non-Hindus in India.)

Whereas in Pakistan the national assembly rejects a bill that allows non muslims to become the President or the PM.

Now let us return to the present status of Kashmir.

The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir was rendered infructuous by The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 (C.O. 272) issued by the president of India on 5 August 2019. Indian President Ram Nath Kovind issued an order under the power of Article 370, overriding the prevailing 1954 Presidential Order and nullifying all the provisions of autonomy granted to the state. The opposition calls this unconstitutional and without any precedence. But it has precedence if you look at Indian history. The state of Goa came into existence thus but even now there are many Goans who want Goa to be an independent state.

The fight for freedom began in the 1940s as India inched closer to independence from British rule. But Goa remained a Portuguese colony until 1961, straining relations between India and Portugal as the former's support for the anti-colonial movement in Goa grew. In 1955, India even imposed an economic blockade on Goa. 

In 1961,the Indian army invaded the state after the Portuguese fired at Indian fishingboats, killing one fisherman.

If you think Goans have given their pursuit for freedom then you are wrong.

Thepetitioners appeal to the current members of the United Nations GeneralAssembly (UNGA) to review the subject matter of this petition with a freshperspective as the conscience keepers of world peace. The UNSC resolutionS/5033 was passed in the 988th meeting on 18.Dec.61 with 7 members out of 11voting in favour of the motion calling for India to withdraw its forces fromGoa to its pre 17.Dec.61 position which was vetoed by USSR, a permanent member.

As for this letter’s claim of genocide, it is utter nonsense.

If Kashmir is looked at from the point of religious majority, let us look at another princely state in India which joined India much later. While Cochin joined in1949, Travancore joined only in 1956

Even now my mother who experienced the princely rule states that those times were much better as compared to now. Now I may disagree as much as I can. J

Kashmir too will have its problems in the years to come but am glad that the current step was taken. This will give its inhabitants a chance to experience India just like any other Indian. Without the intervention of Pakistan I believe Kashmir shall prosper and shall truly become an Indian paradise. 

If not, let India give up Kashmir to it's fate. 

The restrictions imposed on tourists intending to visit the Kashmir Valley will be lifted today following a direction from Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Monday. On August 2, the state administration had issued a security advisory asking tourists, especially pilgrims taking part in the annual Amarnath yatra, to leave the Kashmir Valley as soon as possible. Back then, the government had said this advisory has been issued due to a "terror threat" in the Kashmir Valley.

An interesting conversation if you have time to read.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Those beautiful places on earth

A tweet took me back to Peerumade and the one day trip that we made to that place. Just like Munnar and Ooty, even Peerumade and Kuttikanam have changed. Since the tea estates no longer seems to be viable much land has been sold (illegally one presumes) and many cottages and buildings have sprung up. More educational institutions too have been built since the climate is good and it is far away from the usual distractions.

A resort up on a steep mountainside astonished me and we thought of exploring it. I remember climbing that mountain and finding lost or wandering cows and even small caves where wild animals made their home. No idea how this place was given up for a resort. The road that leads to it goes through the estate where I once lived and it is very narrow and steep.

We found none when we reached there.

 Maybe because it is the monsoon time and hence off season. Water source is a small dam built at the bottom of the resort.

One can see Kuttikanam and much of Peerumade from the spot.

Maybe next time one should book early and stay at least one night out here in the wilderness before more buildings come up and take away all the charm.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Marriageable age

This vacation I realized that one can no longer ignore the fact my daughter is of marriageable age. She is now working and people have started to ask us if we are looking out for her. The society has fixed certain age for the same and many fall into it. Daughter says she wants to work and make some money before she gets married while we are not in a hurry too. I mean what more can a mother ask for? Daughter is at home and one can enjoy her presence longer. Some of us had to leave home after 10th and then it was only for short visits that one could stay with the parents. These days many are refusing to marry too or by the time they think they are ready the bus is already gone. But I see no regrets in them. 

Anyway let me see how long she will....

Wednesday, July 3, 2019


My Father and me have this daily sojourn early in the morning while I am preparing breakfast plus lunch while he would be on the lookout for the fish vendor or reading newspaper. Of course over the phone. Today he told me needs to write something and I am like.. what? I am the writer out here! Anyway, told him he should write but can he pacify this curious cat? It is nothing special but something that is currently brewing in Kerala. The place is Panchalimedu. 

Panchalimedu is a hill station and view point near Kuttikkanam in Peerumedu tehsil of Idukki district in the Indian state of Kerala.

Now the issue is as follows:

A Hindu outfit led by Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP) outfit on Wednesday took out a protest march in Panchalimedu in Kerala's Idukki district claiming encroachment of government land by St Mary's church. The problem started when on June 15, a trident was planted in front of a cross in Panchalimedu -- famous for religious tourism.

Panchalimedu is one of the most frequented tourist spots in the state. The hilltop is known for a temple and 14 holy crosses situated there. A few days ago, members of a Hindu right wing group placed a trident near one of the crosses alleging that the Christian community has been trying to encroach upon government land.

As I mentioned earlier in my blog, this is a new tourist attraction and while growing up it was not there. Now my father says this place was initially owned by the Kallivayalil family who still owns much land out there. During the excess land law etc. it was given up and the government acquired it. Now older folks may remember the MRA or the Moral Re-Armament movement, an international and spiritual movement developed from American minister Frank Buchman. In India, it had it's office in Pune and still exists but under a different name: Initiatives of Change. Anyway, this movement wanted a center at Peerumade and thought this place was good enough. It was up to my father to check out and also supervise the building of the boundary wall. Those days the American in charge used to stay with my father and they also had regular correspondence. The letters sent by this man was regularly opened up by our intelligence team in India says my father.

As per my father, this place was not frequented by anyone and he could barely drive his jeep out there. (he learned driving in those rugged terrain, which is another story) He had to walk on rocks and boulders and vouches that there were no crosses or Hindu temples. At least nothing that was visible to the human eye. But you could view Sabarimala and far off places from there.

Maybe the church with it's connection to Kallivayalil may have planted those crosses. As usual, this cross planting could have happened during the "Way of Cross" that is important for Catholics during the Lent period.

It is time both the factions stopped this nonsense before the issue gets out of hand. Religion is dividing and killing and those who are in charge only want power and money.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Paradeshi or a wanderer...

We are all paradeshikals or wanderers.

Am yet to meet someone who has stayed put in one place all his/her life. For instance, my parents stayed at more than four places before they retired and built their house which they can now call their home for real. I stayed at two places until my 10th and then after my parents retired the home that I grew up was no longer my home. Later I  moved to my husband's place and then Kuwait. Initially we moved three flats and then settled in one from the time our daughter was six months old until she finished 12th and almost finished her degree. Since their school was only a walking distance we stayed put. Finally we shifted to a new place which is now my home though am not sure how long.

When I go on vacation to my present home in Kerala, I live out of my suitcase knowing that the return ticket is ever present.

But then nothing is permanent in this world although one does not think so while accruing wealth and property. There are many who buy gold or property hoping to enjoy it later. When is that ever to come? Maybe it shall come for their children but not for them. The house that we build may last until our death and then it is no longer fashionable or convenient to our children if any. That reminded me that too many are migrating from my home state. As long as their parents were alive they visited the country but then came along a day when the visit was only to dispose off the property. While the parents wait to leave this world, the children wait to sell whatever the parents build in their lifetime. Is it a wasteful exercise? Some say it is but how many?

Maybe it is better to stay out of the suitcase without getting attached to any place. This may stop one from accumulating stuff that is not letting you enjoy your present life. Eat, love and enjoy the present moment and then maybe all your days on earth shall be good.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

And time flies....

Landed on this page accidently and thought why not jot a few lines. Am sure just like me those who followed me too have abandoned this blog :).

Daughter is back with us and has now joined as a trainee. She comes home tired and the other day heard her asking her father how I manage my cooking after work. Am sure she never realized it until now. Even I was just like her at her age and was much reluctant to spend time in the kitchen. But now am a seasoned cook and a homemaker. Somewhere along the way I even started enjoy cooking! Maybe it is the urge to eat tasty food and to serve it to others. Daughter cooks too and very tastefully. But now she is very busy.

Out here Summer is at it's peak and I read cities in India are running out of water. It seems more cities will join by the year 2020. It is a dismal scene and will be disastrous if immediate action is not taken. Think it is time for India to declare water emergency.

An impending water crisis on a scale hitherto unrecorded in recent history is predicted by 2020. Unless some miracle happens, it would mean groundwater touching zero by next year in 21 cities nationwide. That such a catastrophe was waiting to happen was known. In fact, this very alarming prognosis was underlined in the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) report released by NITI Aayog in 2018. But it failed to attract the attention it deserved, given the national preoccupation with the recently concluded general elections.

The best way to develop an efficient water cycle is to reuse it whenever and wherever possible. For instance, you can collect water from washing veggies and fruits and reuse it for watering the garden.
Using recycled water for flushing can help bring down your water bills by 30-40 per cent. Collect water from your RO filters in a container and reuse it to wash utensils or mop the floor.
Trap rainwater by installing Rain Water Harvesting systems and reuse it during summers when taps in many Indian cities run dry. It’s not as expensive as you think and can even be retrofitted on an existing house.
Monsoon in Kerala this year is weak and last year's flood has disrupted the ground water table too. It is time to count every drop and save.....

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