Narendra Modi’s Foreign Policy – Japan


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 13, 2015           10.10 P.M.

In the world of obfuscation of national frontiers, in the age of internet and social media reach, no country can remain isolated. It shouldn’t either. Foreign Policy is, thus the most important aspect of modern governance.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi took oath of office, it was widely assumed and believed that due to lack of international exposure, he would rather falter if not fail in Foreign Policy. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised his friends, critics and enemies alike. Today after almost 18 months, foreign policy initiatives have become his strongest achievement and accomplishment.

In my last blog I wrote about 3 epoch-making initiatives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the realm of foreign policy. He initiated 3 forums to support India’s World View. During the U.N. Climate Change Conference 2015 in Paris [ COP 21 ] , he proposed a new forum of 120 nations named INTERNATIONAL SOLAR ALLIANCE [ I.S.A. ]

Thus the above mentioned 4 new forums bearing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s signature are there in the foreign policy domain and they will remain the biggest hallmark of India in the coming days. India’s 1st big initiative, Non-Aligned Movement [ N.A.M. ] , started by 1st Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru is, for all practical purposes, now dead. No other Prime Minister after that could usher anything worthwhile. So it is right to say that in the realm of Foreign Policy Narendra Modi is the 2nd most successful Prime Minister of India. He is 2nd to Jawahar Lal Nehru only technically. In fact he is 2nd to none.

4 most successful initiatives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi till date :

1 – Forum for India-Pacific Islands cooperation [ F.I.P.I.C. ]

2 – Indian Ocean Outreach Programme [ I.O.O.P. ]

3 – India-Africa Forum Summit [ I.A.F.S. ]

4 – International Solar Alliance [ I.S.A. ]

 

Foreign Policy successes, apart from multilateral forums,  is also measured in bilateral terms. Prime Minister Narendra Modi scores in this arena also.

Till date Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made 30 foreign trips. He has made 1 visit each to 26 countries. They are : Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Canada, China, Fiji, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Russia, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UAE, UK & Uzbekistan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made 2 visits each to : France, Nepal, Singapore & USA.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in following multilateral meetings also. They are : BRICS [ Fortaleza & Ufa ] / G-20 [ Brisbane & Antalya ] / ASEAN [ Naypyidaw & Kuala Lumpur ] / SCO [ Dushambe & Ufa ] / IBSA [ New Delhi ] / INDIA-AFRICA FORUM [ New Delhi ] / SAARC [ Kathmandu ] .

He has developed unique and intimate relationships with almost all the world leaders. Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe is one of them.

India - Japan Location Map

India – Japan Location Map

Shinzo Abe came to India on a 3 day official visit on December 11, 2015. This visit, apart from clinching of several deals and contracts, will always be remembered for GANGA AARTI in Varanasi.

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

 

But first let us first look at the other major economic and social accomplishments. Following is the 16 major agreements, known as Power of 16.

Nuclear Energy, Bullet Train, Make In India in Defence, Double Taxation Avoidance are some of the major agreements, which were signed.

16 Agreement Signed with Japan

16 Agreement Signes with Japan

16 Agreement signed with Japan

 

4th Int'l Control Regime

4th Int’l Control Regime

 

Maritime Challenge in Indo-Pacific Region

Maritime Challenge in Indo-Pacific Region

 

Maritime Safety , Trade & Commerce

Maritime Safety , Trade & Commerce

 

ODA Loan

ODA Loan

 

Partnering for Make In India

Partnering for Make In India

 

UNSC Reform

UNSC Reform

 

Shinkansen Bullet Train

Shinkansen Bullet Train

 

But this visit of Japanese Premier will always be remembered for GANGA AARTI on the banks of eternal GANGA in Varanasi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited his Lok Sabha constituency and performed pooja and Aarti along with the guest.

 

Coming for GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Coming for GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

 

GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

 

GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

 

GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

 

GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

 

GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

 

GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

GANGA AARTI in Varanasi Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

 

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[ Photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi & Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is taken from the twitter handle of Shri Narendra Modi & documents have been photo copied from the twitter handle of Shri Vikas Swaroop, Spokesperson Ministry of external Affairs. I express gratitude. ]

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Bru Tribe : Refugee In Their Own Country


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 07, 2014           00.30 A.M.

Frankly speaking , few weeks back , I was unaware of the existence of Bru tribe of Mizoram . Years ago I had read about some conflict between Mizos of Mizoram and one particular tribe living there , near Bangla Desh and Tripura border . I knew that these days that particular tribe live in Tripura in exile. But apart from that I have not heard anything about Brus . When last week I read a couple of articles in Times of India and Hindustan Times , I came to know that the tribe in question is Bru and they are living in tents as refugee in their own country since 17 years.

The roots of the conflict can be traced to 1994, when a political party called the Bru National Union (BNU) was formed to promote the tribe’s welfare. In September 1997, at a conference in Saipuilui village in Mamit district, the BNU adopted a resolution to demand for an Autonomous District Council (ADC) for Brus in the western belt of Mizoram. Mizoram is predominantly inhabited by Mizos. Other tribes in the state include the Hmars, the Lai and the Chakmas, each of whom have their own ADC. Interestingly, though the Brus are the largest minority in Mizoram their demand for an ADC went unheeded. “What was wrong with that demand?” asks Elvis Chorkhy, chairman of the Bru Coordination Committee that has been working with the government to repatriate the Brus. “ Was it so unconstitutional as to lead to the physical torture and harassment of the Brus ?”

The bloody ethnic clashes of 1997 displaced  over 4000 Brus initially . They fled to neighbouring Assam and Tripura’s sleepy town of Kanchanpur , which lies about 45 km from the Mizoram border. 17 years ago, thousands of Brus fleeing attacks from Mizos took refuge here. Many crossed the border on foot. The displaced Brus put up temporary shelters on the lower tracts of the Jampui hills that separate Tripura from Mizoram and Bangladesh. Today, there are over 35,000 Internally Displaced Persons languishing in the seven camps spread over the region. Here, scores live amidst filth and human waste with small mountain streams being the only source of drinking water. The incident, like many others in the North East India , hardly made it to the national media , print and electronic both .

https://i0.wp.com/www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/2/india-maps.jpg

[………The Map of Mizoram showing Bru Dominated Areas & Area of Bru Refugee Camps in Tripura ]

To know more about the Bru tribe , I checked Wikipedia and came to know a fascinating history about them . I am reproducing the Wikipedia article in verbatim .

The history of Bru (Reangs)

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The Bru are the second most populous tribe of Tripura after the Tripuris. According to the legend, a Tripuri prince who was once exiled by the King made his way, along with his followers, to the Mayani Thalang area of Lushai hills [ now Mizoram ] and founded a state over there. He proclaimed himself King and his descendants too ruled over the break-away state for generations. As it sometimes happens, there came a time when there was no heir to succeed to the throne, leading to anarchy in the kingdom. At around the same time, bitter feud and internal vendetta saw four chiefs of the following sub tribes Twikluha, Yongsika, Paisika, Tuibruha leave their hearth and home along with their entourages to migrate back to the state of Tripura. It was a long and difficult journey, fraught with danger and the travellers had to make more than a couple of attempts before they successfully made their way up the Dombur hill.

At the time, Mahendra Manikya ruled the kingdom of Tripura. The chiefs made many attempts to reach the King to request asylum. They approached ministers, bureaucrats, and courtiers for help in arranging a meeting with the King but with no success. By this time, they had exhausted their supplies and were rather anxious to catch the attention of the King. Finally in desperation, they breached the dam on the river Gumti where worshippers had gathered for prayers. This was a serious crime and all of them were immediately apprehended and brought before the king. The crime was a serious one and merited capital punishment. But before the King could pass his judgement, the chiefs managed to send word to the Queen Gunoboti. They begged her for help and she persuaded the King to forgive them. The chiefs swore fealty to the Queen and to the throne of Tripura and settled down in the Kingdom. Popular legend has it that the Queen even offered the chiefs breast milk, to symbolize their new parent-child relationship, in a large brass pan which was gifted to the chiefs along with other valuable things, carefully preserved by Reangs till date.

The latest episode in the ongoing conflict between Mizos and Brus came on November 23 , 2013 . It was two days before the Mizoram assembly elections, when Bru militants allegedly belonging to the Bru Democratic Front of Mizoram (BDFM) and helped by members of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) abducted three young men.

The incident reignited the long-standing conflict between the Mizos and the minority Brus . Enraged by the abduction of the Mizos, several protests spearheaded mostly by the powerful NGOs MZP and the Young Mizo Association (YMA) were organised throughout the state. Subsequently, local village headmen were threatened with dire consequences if they did not ask the militants to release the Mizos.

In modern Mizoram one can find the Mizo mindset about Bru tribe in a Mizoram Home department letter sent to National Human Rights Commission . In the letter dated February 10, the Home department of the Mizoram government listed the reasons that led to the original conflict between the Mizos and the Brus. According to the document, the Brus — recognised as Reangs as per the Constitution (Schedule Tribes) Order, 1950 — fled persecution in the erstwhile Tippera kingdom (now divided between Tripura and Bangladesh) to arrive in Mizoram in the early 1940s. “Brus have always been outsiders and can never be a part of the larger Mizo culture,” says Lalmuanpuia Punte, who was MZP’s president in 1997.

The Mizos say the Bru exodus of 1997 can be traced to a ‘circular’ signed by Bruno Msha, who was then the Bru Student Union president and is currently the general secretary of the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum (MBDPF). Dated March 1998, the ‘circular’ asks all Bru headmen to evacuate their villages and leave Mizoram because of a possible clash between Bru militants and Mizoram security personnel. Msha, who denies signing any such document, claims the story is a Mizo attempt to blame Bru militants for the exodus.

Each side might apportion blame to the other but ultimately, the ethnic violence of 1997 pushed many Brus into relief camps in a remote part of Tripura that borders Mizoram and Bangladesh.

Things, however, continue to look bleak for over 35,000 people still stuck in the forgotten camps of Tripura. A report by the Asian Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Network says ‘The ration quota is so inadequate that Brus do not report deaths as it means a further reduction of the rations’. The abject conditions and the lack of employment and education have made the camps a good recruiting ground for militants. Many young Brus have missed out on education and cannot even get job cards under central government schemes. “This is why we are asking for a Primitive Group Program and a development council which will look after the upliftment of the community once it is repatriated,” says Bruno Msha of the MBDPF.

Adults get a cash dole of Rs. 150 per month and 600 gms of rice per day while minors get half that amount. This is much less than other internally displaced groups like the Kashmiri Pandits and even the Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu have received in the past. Leaders of the MBDPF maintain that unless compensation is increased, no one will go back. Both the home department and Mizo organisations, allege that any attempts at repatriation are foiled by the staging of untoward incidents. The Bru side alleges that it is a conspiracy by Mizos who don’t want Brus to return. With only 5,627 people rehabilitated until last October, the Mizoram government has a mammoth task on its hands. “It has become necessary to remove those camps and resettle the displaced. We are losing precious time and a generation of kids is losing their future. The process needs to be expedited,” said Chorkhy.

But who cares? Mizoram government of Indian National Congress is heartless . National media is silent . National parties are ignorant . Few thousand Brus are insignificant for electoral arithmetic . So these hapless citizens of India are languishing in refugee camps . They are homeless in their own homeland .

According to me Bharatiya Janata Party should do something for these children of lesser God . It may not help electorally , but it is a national cause . A whole generation of Brus are getting deprived of their rights . We must stand for them . Politics is one thing , humanity is something else .

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I express my solidarity with the Bru tribe , who , like Kashmiri Pandits , are refugee in their own country .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to express solidarity with them . We wish their speedy rehabilitation .

[ This blog is not written by me in toto . I have taken excerpts from Wikipedia and quoted from the articles published in Times of India and Hindustan Times and simply re-arranged and re-produced those articles here . I express my gratitude . Views expressed about Brus are mine . ]

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Death of a Blogger in Bangla Desh


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           FEBRUARY24 , 2013           11.00 P.M.

Indian subcontinent seems to be in turmoil these days . Pakistan is perennially unstable and is always on the brink and now Bangla Desh also seems to be stirred and shaken . The latest target in both the countries are social networking activists .

Barely few months back in October 2012 , Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan was shot in the head by the Talibans . Now she is out of the hospital but still faces the threat . She is an avid blogger and posts her thoughts regularly . Her crime was that she wanted to pursue studies and was voicing her views through her blog .

And now the news come from Bangla Desh . A blogger , Ahmed Rajib Haider , is hacked to death allegedly by Jamaat – E – Islami fundamentalists . His only fault is that he is also a blogger and through his blogs he was raising voice against rising fangs of Islamic fundamentalism in secular Bangla Desh . His another crime according to jamaat – E – Islami clerics is that he proclaimed through his blog that he is an atheist . Majority of Bangladeshis think that hacking of Ahmed Rajib Haider is the handiwork of Jamaat – Shibir , the youth wing of the Jamaat – E – Islami .

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bangla Desh is in turmoil since long . People are up in arms for the justice of the victims of 1971 Liberation War .What is now known as Shahbagh demonstration , almost 500 people gathered on February 05 , 2013 to protest against the life sentence to Jamaat leader and accuse of 1971 war criminal Abdul Qader Mollah . They were demanding death sentence for Mollah . In Bangla Desh it is widely and universally believed that Jamaat actively helped Pakistan army during the 1971 war of independence .

'Projonmo Square' Uprising: Justice for the Vi...

‘Projonmo Square’ Uprising: Justice for the Victims of 1971 of Bangladesh (Photo credit: M. Hasan)

'Projonmo Square' Uprising: Justice for the Vi...

‘Projonmo Square’ Uprising: Justice for the Victims of 1971 of Bangladesh (Photo credit: M. Hasan)

'Projonmo Square' Uprising: Justice for the Vi...

‘Projonmo Square’ Uprising: Justice for the Victims of 1971 of Bangladesh (Photo credit: M. Hasan)

February 05 , 2013 Shahbagh Demonstration was organised through facebook and other social media . Youngsters who were apolitical earlier , are now actively participating in demonstrations and voicing their views . Social networking sites have given them an easy tool in hand . Clamour for punishing Jamaat for their alleged crime during 1971 war of independence are growing . So naturally Jamaat , to save their skin , is trying to term these activists as anti – Islamic and atheists .

So they first attacked a blogger Asif Mohiuddin . He was stabbed but he survived . Now Haider becomes the second victim of attack and he died .

It is very unfortunate . If Jamaat is found guilty by courts for the crimes during war of independence , they should accept the verdict and face the consequences . But they are trying to save their skin by muzzling voices of dissent . Hacking people to death will not help them now . Social networking sites are here to stay and they have become an easy and convenient tools in the hands of young dreamers . They wont be silent now . Forces like Jamaat – E – Islami should understand this . Otherwise very soon they will be extinct .

I think , as a conscientious citizen , it is my duty to ponder and comment on the happenings of the world . I also try to inculcate these feelings in the students of my acting academy  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters . Like some others , I cannot think just about my next batch and proclaim from my housetop that mine is the best acting academy of India , best acting institute of Mumbai or the best acting class of bollywood. My acting students should be world citizens and they should think about the happenings of the world .

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Inder Kumar Gujral : Father of A Failed Doctrine


I K Gujral

I K Gujral (Photo credit: ramesh_lalwani)

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 02 , 2012           11.40 P.M.

Inder Kumar Gujral , the 12th Prime Minister of India , ruled the country for almost 11 months . He was Prime Minister from April 1997 to March 1998 . He , apart from his brief tenure , will always be remembered for 3 (in) famous legacies . He was the second Prime Minister of India , who ruled the country without being elected to Lok Sabha . He was member of Rajya Sabha throughout his tenure . His immediate predecessor H. D. Deve Gowda was the first one to govern the country from Rajya Sabha . His second controversial act was to dismiss BJP government of Uttar Pradesh led by Kalyan Singh . His third (in) famous legacy was a foreign policy doctrine known as ” Gujral Doctrine ” .

Born on December 04 , 1919 in the Jhelum district of undivided Punjab , he died on November 30 , 2012 in Gurgaon , Haryana .

As a student in Lahore , he was member of Communist Party of India . He joined Indian National Congress in 1964 . He was Minister of Information and Broadcasting in the Indira Gandhi government during the dreaded emergency . He allegedly refused to obey commands of Sanjay Gandhi and thus was out of favour . He was later appointed as the ambassador of India to USSR [ Union of Soviet Socialist Republic ] , now known as Russia . It goes to his credit that he continued to hold the position during the tenure of Morarji Desai and Charan Singh regimes also .

He , after returning from USSR , resigned from the Congress in 1980 and joined Janata Dal . He was Minister of External Affairs during the regime of V. P. Singh . He again retained the same ministry during the tenure of H. D. Deve Gowda . The year was 1996 . During this period he propounded his (in) famous doctrine , known as ” Gujral Doctrine ” .

In 1997 , Congress withdrew support to H. D. Deve Gowda government and it collapsed . To avoid general election a compromise was stitched and Inder Kumar Gujral was sworn in as the 12th Prime Minister of India on April 21 , 1997 .

As I have stated earlier , as a Prime Minister he supported the dismissal of Kalyan Singh government of Uttar Pradesh in 1997 and tried to impose president rule . The then president of India K. R. Narayanan refused to sign the recommendation and sent it back . Inder Kumar Gujral government had egg on its face when Allahabad High Court also gave decision against the President’s rule . He had to eat crow .

His another controversial legacy is his (in) famous ” Gujral Doctrine ” . According to this doctrine India , being a big brother , should not demand reciprocity while dealing with her immediate neighbours like ; Pakistan , Nepal , Bangladesh , Bhutan , Maldives and Sri Lanka . Without caring or demanding for any kind of reciprocity , India should give all she can with generosity and magnanimity .

Though I have all the respect for this erudite statesman , I submit with all the humility that ” Gujral Doctrine “ is flawed . 26 / 11 and other terrorist incidents are ample proof of the futility of ” Gujral Doctrine ” .

As the news of his death came , I remembered his suave and gentle persona . He was our 12th Prime Minister during fluid and turbulent times . He erred when he dismissed Kalyan Singh government in Uttar Pradesh and again succumbed to his innate kindness while propounding ” Gujral Doctrine “ . Real – politic should follow Chanakya or Machiavelli . It should never be based on utopian philosophy of goodwill and generosity .

As per Hindu tradition one should not speak ill of the dead person . But since Inder Kumar Gujral was the Prime Minister of this country and his actions affected us enormously , so it is pertinent to analyze his tenure . This blog precisely does that .

I mourn his death and offer my condolences .

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I , on behalf of all the students and staff of my acting institute , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , pray for the departed soul .

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Maldives : A Coup ; Not Power Transfer


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           FEBRUARY 13 , 2012           12.15 P.M.

Last few days were really fluid in the neighbourhood of India . Tibet is burning and self – immolations continue unabated . World community is watching silently . I posted a blog about Tibet and was watching and reading about Tibet and was trying to get more information about the land of HH Dalai Lama . Suddenly Maldives was in the news and that too for all the wrong reasons . Democratically elected president was removed in bloodless coup and world is again watching with stoic silence .

Map indicating locations of India and Maldives

Map Indicating Location of India & Maldives

First news flash informed us that a group of policemen have revolted and have taken control of some government installations and TV station . Then came news of the resignation of The President of Maldives , Mohamed Nasheed . The then Vice President Dr. Mohamed Waheed took charge immediately and thus became the new President of Maldives . Later on it became apparent that it was a well orchestrated PR exercise of the coup leaders that  some policemen revolted and to quell the unrest and to avoid the bloodshed President of Maldives has resigned .

English: Mohamed Nasheed, President of the Mal...

Mohamed Nasheed ; President of Maldives

English: Profile picture of Dr. Waheed - First...

Mohamed Waheed ; Vice President of Maldives

Everything , in the beginning , looked innocuous and democratic . But news started filtering after few days . Things were not as simple as they looked or made out to look . It was a pre – meditated and pre – planned coup . President Mohamed Nasheed was trying to root out corruption and obviously some of the beneficiaries were aggrieved  and agitated . Moreover President Nasheed was considered a liberal and was close to India . So the hard-liners and some loony-fringes of the island  country were not too happy with him . And so they conspired , staged a coup and deposed the president . It was not a police revolt as it was made out in the beginning for the world community . It is the work of fundamentalists and some jehadi hard-liners . It is also alleged that former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom  is the architect of the coup , a charge ,  he vehemently denies .

English: Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of th...

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom - President 1978 - 2008

It would be pertinent to re-visit some of the incidents preceding the coup . On January 12 , 2012 President Nasheed removed and got arrested Abdulla Mohamed , the Chief Justice of the Maldives Criminal Court on the charges that he was protecting the corrupt officers of President Gayoom’s regime . It was also alleged that the Chief Justice was blocking human rights cases of the Gayoom supporters . After arrest of the Chief Justice Abdulla Mohamed , opposition started agitation for President Nasheed’s resignation . Soon President Nasheed’s supporters were also on the streets and situation became grim and volatile . President Nasheed ordered police and military to control and quell the anti – government protests . Instead of following his order , some section of the police and military disobeyed orders of the President and joined the opposition instead . According to me it is dereliction of duty on part of rebellious policemen and army soldiers . You are not supposed and permitted to disobey the orders of the head of the government of the day .

Rebellious soldiers took control of National TV station and called for President’s resignation . Soldiers took President Mohamed Nasheed under custody and gave him the choice of stepping down or to face consequences . President of the day Mohamed Nasheed rsigned and went home . Vice President Mohamed Waheed was immediately sworn in and thus became the new and 5th President of Maldives . And thus the first elected President of Maldives was forcefully removed and the world remains a mute spectator as they are in the case of Tibet . It is also alleged that he was removed at the gun point and was beaten blue and black .

maldives

maldives

Enchantingly beautiful , Maldives consists of approximately 1190 coral islands , which are grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls . Maldives is the lowest country in the world and the smallest in Asia in both population and land area . Maldives was a British protectorate from 1887 to 1965 . On July 26 , 1965 Maldives became independent and remained a Sultanate under King Mohamed Fareed Didi [ 1965 – 1968 ] , who became 1st president . In 1968 monarchy was replaced by a republic and Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyri Kilegefan [ 1968 – 1978 ] became the 2nd  president . This period is known as Second Republic of Maldives .

Mohamed Fareed Didi President 1965 - 1968

Ibrahim Nasir President 1968 - 1978

After Ibrahim Nasir , Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party became the 3rd president of 2nd republic in 1978 and remained President till 2008 . During his 30 year tenure , there were several attempts to topple him . In 1988 , Indian soldiers were airlifted into Male , the capital of Maldives , to save President Gayoom and restore order and normalcy . The operation was named ” Operation Cactus  ” .

In 2008 a new constitution was approved and first direct presidential election occurred . Mohamed Nasheed of Maldivian Democratic Party won the election and became president . Mohamed Waheed of  Gaumee Ittihaad Party  became Vice President . Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s departure was greeted with much fanfare . Following board is the ample proof of the widespread jubilation .

Welcome to a Maumoon Free Maldives

Welcome to a Maumoon Free Maldives

Apart from being the 1st democratically elected president of Maldives and being the 4th president of the 2nd republic , Mohamed Nasheed has several other distinctions to his credit . He is a fighter for democracy . He was imprisoned for writing an article in a political magazine . That is why he was made an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience in 1991 . He was arrested repeatedly in 1990 , 92 , 93 , 94 and 95 . In 2000 , he was elected as a member of parliament . In 2001 , he was tried and sentenced for 2 and half years for theft  of government property . In 2003 he formed Maldivian Democratic Party in exile in Sri Lanka and Britain . He was recognized a political refugee by Britain in 2004 . In 2005 Mohamed Nasheed returned to Maldives from self – imposed exile and  was again arrested for terrorist activities .

In 2008 he ran for presidential election and won . He is the 4th president of the 2nd republic and the 1st elected president of Maldives . As a president he held one of his cabinet meeting underwater . It was first in the world .

Under Water cabinet Meeting of President Nasheed

It is sad that he was deposed in a coup. He sought India’s help but our government was not very responsive . Indian government launched ” Operation Cactus ” to save a despot and totalitarian like Maumoon Abdul Gayoom but failed to lauch similar operation to save a democratically elected president . I am sad . Maldives will not be same again without Mohamed Nasheed . There are reports of rampaging mob entering the museum and destroying Buddha statues . Ominous signs are there for everyone to see .

Supporters of Mohamed Nasheed are protesting . They are being attacked by police and army personnel . Biggest town of Maldives , Addu , which is also a stronghold of Mohamed Nasheed , is under virtual seize . House to house searches are going on and people are being arrested and tortured .

Supporters of President Nasheed

World leaders should put pressure on the government for the inquiry , as demanded by Mohamed Nasheed . According to me he should be immediately reinstated . If it is not feasible then election should be immediately declared . Arrest and persecution of Nasheed supporters should be stopped immediately . And I would like to add that I am not casting aspersions of any kind on Mohamed Waheed  , the then Vice President .

According to my personal view , Maldives come under the natural area of influence of India . And if the elected president of a friendly country seeks help , it is our duty to rush . Few days back similar coup was averted in Bangladesh . And now news comes of the coup in Maldives .

Our neighbourhood is becoming restive and volatile by each passing day . Inimical forces are at work but we are complacent as usual . I feel ominous days are ahead for India .

I am nobody but I denounce the coup in Maldives in strongest terms . I pray for the safety and well – being of Mohamed Nasheed and his supporters .

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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Sorry Ukraine , My Apology !


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           FEBRUARY 01 , 2012           01.30 A.M.

In the beginning of January 2012 , I read a disturbing news item in the Mumbai edition of Times of India and other news papers . I am putting that news verbatim , as it is available on the internet  :

” Four FEMEN activists have undressed at the Indian embassy in Kiev in protest against the country’s plan to block young Ukrainian, Russian and Kazakh women from entering India as part of a national anti-prostitution campaign.

The topless activists, partially clad in Indian clothes, used a ladder to climb the Indian embassy’s balcony and unfurled banners saying Ukrainians are not prostitutes!”, “Delhi, close your brothels,” and “We demand apologies.”

The protesters waved Indian flags and knocked on the embassy’s doors and windows – until detained by security guards and taken away by the police.

The demo was sparked after the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs ordered its embassies to take extra care checking visa applications from women aged 15-40, who are blamed for the country’s prostitution boom.

FEMEN’s blog says that by issuing such an order, India has gravely insulted the women of Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan.

“Indian prostitution is directly connected with impunity of the country’s criminal business,” the blog states. “Blaming it on women is a shame for the heirs of such a rich and old culture.”

The FEMEN movement made its name by carrying out politically motivated naked protests at home in Ukraine and in countries throughout Europe, including the Vatican . ”

FEMEN

Image via Wikipedia

[ On January 16, Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice refused to register FEMEN as an official political movement, claiming its position was extremist. ]

USSR [ Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ] was dissolved in 1991 and 15 new countries came into existence . Ukraine became independent on August 24 , 1991 and along with other former Soviet Republics , started her life on a new note .

Map of Ukraine

Economy of  Ukraine , in spite of her shinning capital city Kiev , is in shambles . She was unable to cope up with the transition to market economy and started struggling with her economy . She , during this period , was stricken with 8 year – recession also . Then in 2008 , Ukraine was caught in the world-wide economic crisis . Economy suffered and finally plunged .

Kiev - Capital of Ukraine

According to me because of this grim economic situation many Ukrainians started visiting various countries , including India , in search of job and greener pastures . It is said that Ukrainian girls are indulging in prostitution in India . So the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs ordered its embassies to take extra care checking visa applications from women aged 15-40, who are blamed for the country’s prostitution boom.

I strongly feel that such kind of order for the blanket ban of Ukrainian , Russian and Kazakh women is insulting indeed . Even if Ukrainian girls are indulging in some kind of amoral activities , the order is harsh and uncalled for . There is law enforcing agency in India . They must perform their duties and should do something to stop this menace . A policy to not issue visa to the young girls of Ukraine , Russia and Kazakhstan is very humiliating and insulting .

In stead of making the machinery more effective , Government of India issues such insulting advisory to the Indian Embassy . FEMEN , which always protests in the matter of women , took offence and umbrage and protested naked in front of Indian Embassy in Kiev .

FEMEN Protest in Kiev

FEMEN Protest in Kiev

FEMEN Protest in Kiev

FEMEN Protest in Kiev

I am pained to see these 4 photographs . If women can undress themselves for a cause and protest naked in public , one can understand their pain and agony .

I empathise with them . I feel sorry for them . Brothels are in plenty in India . And they are not thriving because of Ukrainian girls . It is reported by some N.G.O.s that poor minor girls of Nepal and Bangladesh are  lured into prostitution and brothels in metro cities of India are full of them . So why blame only Ukrainian girls . Is it not duty of the police to stop prostitution ? Is it not duty of the N.G.O.s to rehabilitate these poor girls and arrange for their deportation to their native countries ?  In stead of strengthening its law enforcing agencies , central government reneges its duty and issues such derogatory and inhuman order .

Words are not saying it and it is not there in the text but the order suggests that Ukrainian women are prostitutes . It is not there openly in the order but one can easily draw the meaning . I am a non – entity but still I feel like apologising to the Ukrainian women .

My Ukrainian friends , I am extremely sorry ! Though I wish to do something regarding this but I am a small and helpless man . I am not more than a spec in the scheme of the things .

I can only express anguish and offer my apologies on behalf of this ancient Nation , where women used to be adored once upon a time and are still worshiped in the form of various goddesses .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Jasmine Revolution in Burma [ Myanmar ]


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JANUARY 21, 2012           01.00 A.M.

2011 will be known in the world history as the year of Jasmine Revolutions . It started with Tunisia .The despotic ruler of Tunisia , Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced to quit his post after 24 years of tyrannical rule .

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia

Egypt was the second nation to be engulfed by the Jasmine Revolution . After having an iron grip on Egypt for 30 long years , Hosni Mubarak was thrown out of power by the rampaging masses .

Hosni Mubarak of Egypt

Soon the revolution reached at the door – step of Muammar al – Gaddafi . After fierce resistance of few months , Gaddafi was thrown out of power and was subsequently killed . His despotic and tyrannical rule lasted for 42 long years .

Muammar al - Gaddafi of Libya

Soon after Libya , Jasmine Revolution reached at the doors of other despotic rulers of Syria , Yemen and China . Syria’s Bashar al – Assad is currently facing the brunt of the masses . 10 years of Bashar al – Assad and 30 years of his father Hafez al – Assad‘s rule is now deeply resented .

Bashar al - Assad of Syria

Yemen is another country , ruled by a totalitarian ruler , Ali Abdullah Saleh. His 21 year – old rule is going to end soon . Jasmine Revolution is furiously knocking at his door .

Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen

At present China is trying to control the Jasmine Revolution . But the question remains , will she be able to check the marching footsteps of the disgruntled masses ?

It is very surprising that in the last quarter of 2011 , Burma [ Also Known as Myanmar ] got rid of  the military rule of 49 years , but the world is slow to react to the new reality . Many in India don’t know much about our eastern neighbour .

Than Shwe , The Military Ruler of Burma

To know about Burma , we should look at the map of British Indian Empire . Map of British India is very interesting . In comprises present day India , Pakistan , Bangladesh , Burma [ Present Day Myanmar ] and Ceylon [ Present Day Sri Lanka ] . People know that West Pakistan [ Now Pakistan ] and East Pakistan [ Now Bangladesh ] were part of India before 1947 . But today’s generation do not know that Burma [ Now Myanmar ] , and Ceylon [ Now Sri Lanka ] , were also part of British Indian Empire .

English: Map of the British Indian Empire from...

IMap of British Indian Empire

1864 Johnson's Map of India (Hindostan or Brit...

Map of British India

At the time of Independence of India in 1947 , British rulers divided the Indian Empire into 4 free and sovereign states . India , Pakistan , Burma and Ceylon became 4 independent states .

Britain's holdings on the Indian subcontinent ...

Proposed Divisions of British Indian Empire

India and Pakistan became two independent states in 1947 . Burma became independent on January 04 , 1948 . Burma is the 40th largest country in the world and 2nd largest country in South East Asia . Burma is also the 24th most populous country in the world .

Political Map of Burma

Locator map showing India and Burma

Location Map Showing India & Burma

After independence in 1948 , Burma was a democratic country for 14 years but unfortunately , on March 02 , 1962 military ousted civilian rulers in a coup . Military junta ruled Burma till 2011 . Then junta was dissolved and a civilian government was installed again .

The 14 states and regions of Burma

14 Provinces of Burma

During it’s 49 year rule military junta changed many things in Burma . The name of country was changed to Myanmar . Though it is not recognised by the world community and the majority population of Burma . Name of the capital Rangoon was also changed to Yangon . Later on capital was shifted to Naypyidaw in Mandalay province .

Aung San Suu Kyi

After 15 years of detention , Burma’s pro – democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released on November 13 , 2010 . In October 2011 many political prisoners were freed and trade unions were legalised . Jasmine revolution seems to be booming in Burma and the country is on the verge of democratic rule .

I have a childhood fascination for Burma . My maternal grand-uncle and maternal grand-aunt lived in Rangoon , Burma during 2nd World War . They used to tell many thrilling stories about Burma . Their stay in Rangoon was also full of very interesting anecdotes . Whenever I used to visit their place along with my mother , I used to sit with them and used to hear their stories of Burma . Now I know that many stories were fabricated but they kindled my fascination about Rangoon and Burma and my childhood fascination still continues .

When I started my studies , I read about Bahadur Shah Zafar and about his imprisonment and his subsequent death in Rangoon . Then I read about Lokmanya Tilak’s infamous jail term and 6 years [ 1908 – 1914 ] that he spent in Mandalay jail . My relationship with Burma was fortified in my mind .

A Hindi film song of ” Patanga ” [ 1949 ] also helped to build up the Burmese fascination . The song MERE PIYA GAYE RANGOON ; WAHAN SE KIYA HAI TELEPHONE , TUMHARI YAAD SATATI HAI …….. still reverbarates in the corridors of my sub – conscious . I haven’t seen this Shyam , Nigar Sultana , Yakub , Gope and Cuckoo starrer , which was directed by H. S. Rawail . But whenever I used to hear C. Ramchandra’s immortal song , specially its lines ; TUM BURMA KI GALIYON ME HO , AUR PHIROON MAIN DEHRADUN ………. TUMHARI YAD SATATI HAI …… I used to feel that I am also roaming in the lanes and by – lanes of Rangoon and Burma .

Another Hindi film ” Burmah Road ” [ 1962 ] again inflamed my imagination about Burma . This Ashok Kumar and Kumkum starrer film was forgettable but a song DAGHABAZ HO , BANKE PIYA KAHO NA , DAGHABAZ HO ……. is still fresh in my memory . Lata Mangeshkar’s voice made this song immortal and Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics were set to tune by Chitragupta .

Since the country is on the road to democracy , I hope to visit Burma one day and would love to roam around in the lanes and by – lanes of Rangoon . May be this will happen soon , may be very soon .or may be in far distant future . I would love to visit Burma , visit Rangoon and would love to meet Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi .

Long live Aung San Suu Kyi !!!

Aung San Suu Kyi

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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