Mali : A New Battleground


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JANUARY 16 , 2013           07.55 P.M.

Birth of Al – Qaeda and demolition of World Trade Centre in New York could be called water – shed moments in the history of modern world . It spawned many Jehads by Al Qaeda against the ” Satanic Western powers ” and several wars by the Western powers to safeguard the world from the ” Islamic menace ” .

War in Afghanistan and killing of Osama Bin Laden are well chronicled and thus need no repetition . But when I read about the recent attack on Mali by French army , I was forced to consult Wikipedia for the history of Mali , as I was not very much familiar with the history of Africa in general and Mali in particular .

An enlargeable map of the Republic of Mali

An enlargeable map of the Republic of Mali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Green: Mali Federation

Location of Mali Federation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in West Africa . Mali is bordered by Algeria on the north , Niger on the east , Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire on the south , Guinea on the south-west , and Senegal and Mauritania on the west . Its capital is Bamako .

Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara, while the country’s southern part, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Sénégal rivers. The country’s economic structure centers on agriculture and fishing. Some of Mali’s prominent natural resources include gold and salt. About half the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

The Songhay Empire at one point controlled alm...

The Songhai Empire at one point controlled almost all of Mali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Map of the successor states of the Ghana Empir...

Map of the successor states of the Ghana Empire, on the upper Niger river valley, West Africa, circa 1200 Common Era. These outlines are approximate, and should not suggest modern states with fixed borders. States in this era were centered around cities and strong places, with variations of influence radiating out from these points. C. 1200 on the eve of the rise of the Mali Empire, usually dated in the 1240s CE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade : the Ghana Empire , the Mali Empire (from which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire . During its golden age , there was a flourishing of mathematics, astronomy, literature, and art .At its peak , Mali was one of the most expansive empires in the world at the time .In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa , France seized control of Mali, making it a part of French Sudan . French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959 , achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation . Shortly thereafter , following Senegal’s withdrawal from the federation , the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali . After a long period of one-party rule , a 1991 coup led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic , multi-party state .

A conflict in northern Mali began in January 2012 . On 22 March 2012 , a group of junior soldiers seized control of the presidential palace and declared the government dissolved and its constitution suspended . On 6 April 2012 , rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) declared the secession of a new state , Azawad , from Mali . Shortly after, the MNLA were sidelined by Islamist groups associated with Al-Qaeda, and dropped their demands for secession . The soldiers who seized power allowed Dioncounda Traoré , the President of the National Assembly, to take office as head of state in accordance with the constitution , but they have continued to wield considerable power . Plans to re-take the north with international assistance are being formulated , after which the interim government plans to hold the long-delayed national elections .

This above mentioned history of Mali is taken from Wikipedia and is being re – produced here . I don’t know what will be the outcome of this war ? I fail to forecast the future of Mali ? Won’t be able to say whether Azawad will be a reality or not  ? Will Al Qaeda be rooted out from Mali like Afghanistan or will it succeed here ? Outcome of war is not certain in Mali but it is certain that Mali will not be same again .

It is my belief that my students of acting should know the history of our country and the world .I don’t want to declare my acting institute as the best acting institute of Mumbai or the best acting academy of India and not tell my students about the current affairs of the changing world . I don’t want to claim that I run the most successful acting class in Mumbai and my students are illiterate when it comes to world affairs .

I want that students of my acting class ,  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , should become a better citizen of India and a conscientious denizens of the world .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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My Views on Jammu & Kashmir


I know this is going to be my most controversial blog. But when the valley is burning and there are more than 100 deaths, how can I keep quiet ? Let us admit that there are so many people in India, who are biased against muslims. I personally don’t like the generalization : every muslim is not a terrorist but every terrorist is muslim. This notion is wrong. Such kind of sweeping remarks humiliate the community. It instills a kind of inferiority complex and a sense of insecurity in the psyche of the general Muslim. In my opinion, people are more concerned about their bread and butter, if they can afford that, rather than supporting a jehadi outfit. They are also a helpless spectator like us when an organization like Al-Qaeda strikes somewhere. What we expect from the muslim community in such a scenario? Do we really expect that an ordinary muslim should take a gun and start fighting a jehadi or a terrorist ? Look at the photo below. These poor fellows could also be an easy target.

Let me take you to the days of Hitler. He was a democratically elected and legitimate ruler of Germany. But later on he became an autocrat and in the worst holocaust , murdered millions. German nation endured it with helpless silence. But they didn’t support Hitler. In the same way, all the muslims are not the supporters of Al-Qaeda, but they too are helpless spectators. They are too feeble to stand and fight Al-Qaeda. Moreover if the might of the world is unable to contain Al-Qaeda, then how can we expect that muslim masses should stand and oppose them ?

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Munich, G...

Image via Wikipedia Hitler & Mussolini in Germany 1940

JAMMU & KASHMIR : Geographical Position : So if we start with the fact that all muslims are not supporters of the jehadi group, then we can view Jammu & Kashmir crisis in right perspective. To say that whole of the province is in turmoil ,is wrong. Geography of the province is unique. Jammu is Hindu majority part of the province and they are not spearheading an agitation for cessation. They are happy to be Indian. Laddakh part of the province is Buddhist majority and they also don’t have anti-India feelings. They are contented as Indians. Northern Areas of the province known as Gilgit, Hunza ( Baltit ) and Skardu are under Pakistan’s control. And Aksai Chin part of Laddakh is under Chinese control. So you have to divide the state of Jammu & Kashmir into 4 different parts : Jammu, Laddakh , the Kashmir Valley and the Northern Areas { Gilgit, Hunza ( Baltit ) & Skardu }.

KASHMIRIAT : People of earlier generation used to take pride in Kashmiriat. according to them, the state of Jammu & kashmir is a testimony or a fine example of secularism. Let us agree that this culture of Kashmiriat is dead. Jammu has no love for the Valley and the feeling in the Valley is reciprocated. During the recent floods of Leh, people from every corner of the country rushed to help, but there was no voice of concern from the leaders of the Valley. And I am not pointing fingers only at separatists. People like Mehbooba Mufti, her father, who was once the Home Minister of India, were not concerned at all. So why we are trying to keep a facade of so-called Kashmiriat alive. Kashmiriat died with the death of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.

SOLUTION : According to me , state of Jammu & Kashmir should be trifurcated .

1 – Hindu majority Jammu should be made a separate and 29th province of India.

2 – Buddhist majority Laddakh should be made the 7th Union Territory of India.

3 – Northern Areas, as and when taken back from Pakistan, should be christened ” Seemant Pradesh “ and should be made the 8th Union Territory of The Nation. No need of saying that Aksai Chin , when liberated, will be with Laddakh.

4 – Now comes the question of The Valley a. k. a. kashmir. First of all we have to make a conducive and congenial atmosphere for the return of the Kashmiri Pandits to their homeland. Every leader of Kashmir have said that Kashmiri Pandits are the part and parcel of our culture. So they should be settled in The Valley and ” Panun kashmir “ should be made as their homeland. It could be like the National Capital Region of Delhi. Almost every party have rejected ” Panun Kashmir “. They say that it would not be a viable entity. But if ” Dadra & Nagar Haveli ” or a tiny ” Diu ” could be a Union Territory then why not ” Panun Kashmir ” ?

Now the question comes about the rest of Kashmir .

1 – We must acknowledge that there are real and genuine grievances of the people. And the central government should address it on the priority basis. It should be addressed as Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee famously said , ” everything will be done insaniyat ke dayere men.”

2 – Loss of life is not acceptable under any circumstances. Trigger happy cops should be restrained and duly punished , if found guilty.

3 – AFSPA ( Armed Forces Special Powers Act ) can also be withdrawn as a test case. It could again be used if need arises or situation gets out of control.

4  – I also endorse of the steps taken by All Party Delegation. There is nothing wrong in going to the house of Syed Ali Shah Geelani or meeting Mirwaiz  Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik. There should never be a protocol coming in the way of meeting our own people.

5 – Kashmir has article 370 in the Indian Constitution to protect her interest. Kashmir has a separate constitution and a separate flag also. [ Only Indian State to have it ] So if the people want some more power, it could be talked. There is no harm in reaching to the people.

6 – If people of the Valley is not satisfied with Omar Abdullah, he should resign. Congress, in order to have a government in the province, should not support him.

7 – National media, specially Barkha Dutt is widely criticized for her reporting, but she has a point. We should understand that.

6 – Terrorism is a worldwide phenomenon. People of kashmir should not be held responsible for this scourge.

The terrorist incidents in the whole year of 2008

Image via Wikipedia Terrorist Attacks in 2008

Vidur

Mumbai , India

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