NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013
Shri Ramapir Mandir/Temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

World Hindu Council ready to provide Temple priests to Pakistan

By Editorial Staff
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
(Photo : Remains of a Hindu temple and Muslim shrine, in the citadel of Multan, Punjab State in Pakistan)

Lack of priests holds off rites in Multan temples

Pakistan : Rituals in many Hindu temples in Pakistan, including famous Prahlad temple and Sun temple in Multan, have been suspended.

Visiting Pakistan’s Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Hamid Saeed Kazmi has said since all the important Hindu temples were facing an acute shortage of priests, the Government had no option but to suspend religious functions in Multan temples.

Kazmi was in UP to visit his ancestral village in Amroha, around 300 km south-west of Lucknow. His father Syed Ahmad Saeed Kazmi belonged to Amroha. The family migrated to Multan in 1935.

The international wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which provides Hindu priests to the overseas temples, said it can supply priests if the Pakistan Government was ready to give visas and security to them.

Apart from Prahlad and Sun temples, some shrines in the Sindhu valley are also hit by the priest crunch. Prahlad temple is an important religious place for Hindus because it is believed that the festival of Holi started here.

“The Pakistan Govern-ment tried to restore religious rituals in these temples because the local Hindu population is missing their religious traditions,” he said, but added that Hindu population has declined in the region. He, however, refused to give reasons for this decline.

The United Nations had offered to adopt Sun temple and Sindhu valley temples as World Heritage sites but the Pakistan Government had rejected the proposal, Kazmi said.

In-charge of international affairs of VHP Swami Vigyananand told The Pioneer: “Everyone knows the state of Hindus in Pakistan. The VHP needs assurance from the Pakistan Government before it sends priests to the neighbouring country.”

The Swami said that VHP sends purohits overseas only on requests either from the Government or from the community. “The VHP is concerned about the plight of Hindus in Pakistan and would want to do everything for them,” he said.

It is not the first time that voice has been raised to protect Hindu identity in Pakistan. Earlier this year, Baluchistan’s provincial Assembly, having two Hindu law makers, passed a resolution against construction of a dam that would have inundated Hinglas Mata temple. The VHP had also voiced anguish over the construction of the dam and had given a memorandum to Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. The Federal Government of Pakistan had later shelved the proposal to construct the dam.

India : BJP to Take Up Cause of Pakistan Hindus Fleeing to Punjab

By Editorial Staff
Thuesday, June 29, 2010
 (PHOTO : BJP Punjab unit members in Amritsar)
Chandigarh,  – The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Punjab unit Friday announced that it would take up the cause of Hindu families from Pakistan who have been forced to settle in the state after being driven out of their country.

The state unit has set up a three-member committee under Rajya Sabha member Avinash Rai Khanna to look into all aspects of the issue, including relief to such families who have taken shelter in Punjab.

Most of these families are living in Amritsar and nearby areas and fear for their lives if they are forced to return to Pakistan.

Khanna said that most of the families driven out of Pakistan have settled in three places – Rajpura, Amritsar and Jalandhar.

The committee will hold a meeting in Chandigarh June 29 to get inputs from BJP legislators and other leaders about the exact number of families from Pakistan living in Punjab and suggest future course of action for them.

The committee will also visit the three cities and meet with the distressed families.

Khanna said that the Hindus and Sikhs were hounded out of Pakistan for fear of their lives.

‘The options before them are to either convert to Islam or run for their lives, leaving their property and businesses behind,’ he said.

Khanna added that the Punjab and central governments will be approached to get relief for the families.

Was Jinnah's Pakistan worth the fight?

By Mohammad S.Solanki (PHP Managing Editor)
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
(Photo : Mohammed Ali Jinnah, known to Pakistanis as "Quaid-i-Azam")
Islamabad : MORE than half a century after the end of British rule on the Indian subcontinent and the creation of India and Pakistan - born through the Hindu-Muslim partition in 1947, the Muslims who opted to stay in India are still getting a raw deal in every sphere of life. Still drowned in the scourge of poverty and backwardness, they continue fighting the ever-haunting spectre of communal riots and threats to their religious and cultural identity. The sense of insecurity experienced by the Indian Muslims in the post-partition era has compounded many times in recent years.

The man who might have made a difference was Mohammed Ali Jinnah, known to Pakistanis as "Quaid-i-Azam", the great leader. Jinnah was 70 years old and dying of tuberculosis when, in 1947, he became the first governor-general of Pakistan, a country he more or less created after breaking off from the Indian National Congress. He thought their freedom movement was becoming increasingly pro-Hindu and chauvinist as independence neared.

But Jinnah was not an Islamist. A cosmopolitan lawyer trained in London, he wore European clothes, he drank (a matter of huge controversy in Pakistan) and he was married to a member of the Parsi religion, Ruttie Petit, who has since been written out of Pakistani history.

Perhaps the savants Mohandas K. Gandhi, Lord and Lady Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru caballed to give Jinnah a ''moth-eaten'' Pakistan stripped of Kashmir and other choice territory. Richard Attenborough's portrayal of Jinnah as a cold fish in his film “Gandhi”(1982) is yet another subject of communalism.

Should there have been a Pakistan at all? On this point there remains a question of an explosive issue rarely discussed in the subcontinent. ''What if Jinnah were to come alive to see the mess that is his Pakistan?'' He asks, and then he answers: "It would still look better than Muslim life in Hindu-dominated India." With Hindu fundamentalism on the rise, there is enough evidence to back his assertion that pogroms, poverty and prejudice have dogged those Muslims who stayed behind after partition.

Jinnah would perhaps quote Dr. Balraj Madhok, former Professor of History at Delhi University who while explaining the term “Hindu” said, “Everyone living in India is a Hindu. Hinduism is no religion; it is the name of a civilization (Tahzib), a way of life.” In an interview with the New York Times correspondent in 1996 at Delhi, Professor Madhok said, “In this country we have never insisted on religious conformity and we are not going to start now. However, one we do insist on is that Muslims become Indians. They can worship as they like, but they must adopt this country's customs.”

A Gujarati Brahman, Daynada Saraswati, (1824-1883), openly raised the slogan “India for Hindus”. According to him, Hinduism was to be the sole religion of the subcontinent and the Hindus its sole master. The Muslims were foreigners. Hindu militant Bal Thackeray of the Shiv Sena and other militant Hindu organisations are thinking that Muslims have their own homeland in the shape of Pakistan. Countless incidents and discrimination can be cited against the Muslims of India.

The historic 16th century Babri mosque was razed by thousands of Hindu fanatics in Ayodhya (UP) on 16 December 1992. The government could have averted this tragedy had the law-enforcing authorities been more agile rather than being silent spectators to the demolition.

According to Indian journalist Yuvraj Mohite, recording his statement in the court at Mumbai, “Bal Thackeray, founder of Shiv Sena, ordered the massacre in December 1992 after demolishing Babri Mosque. The double-dealing Congress Ministry of the then Prime Minister Narashimha Rao at the centre did nothing to prevent destroying the 450-year-old Babri Mosque by BJP and VHP and other anti-Muslim elements. The Statesman of New Delhi (02 December 1992) reported, “The VHP and Bajrang Dal cadres were taught demolition methods by a retired brigadier of the army in a month-long training camp in a Hindu village in the Gujrat state. The state government had full knowledge of it.”

In an online article, the statement “Advani betrayed me on Babri” by Amit Sharma of The Indian Express notes that Kalyan Singh has come out with a point-by-point rebuttal of the charges against him. He claimed that L.K. Advani and other leaders of the RSS and its outfits had hatched a "deep and secret" conspiracy for demolition of the mosque and "these leaders had not only kept me in the dark on the issue but also betrayed me."

Discrimination of the Muslim community in services is another example of deprivation. According to a 1991 census, Muslims make up 12.60 per cent of the total Indian population. However, the representation in para-military forces, educational institutions and the private and public sector is far below their proportion.

The percentage of the Muslims in the civil and foreign services is less than a quarter of their population. Further, a white paper, prepared by All India Milli Council (AMIC) and presented to the then Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, on the performance of the Indian Union during the first 50 years, there were only 116 Muslims out of a total 3,883 administrative officers (2.98%), 45 out of 1,433 police service officers (3.14%), and 57 out of 2,159 foreign service officers (2.64%). In the central government, Muslims make up 1.6% of all Class 1 officers, 3.9% of all Class 11 officers and 4.4% of the technical supervisory staff.

An official report prepared by Dr. Gopal Singh Committee shows a marked disparity between Hindus and Muslims in economic, social and educational fields. The committee's report based on a sample survey of 80 districts across the country, found there were only 92 Muslims out of 2,698 students in engineering colleges. The number of Muslim students in the MBBS courses in eight universities of eight states was 98 out of 2,895. Though the statistics are for 1991, there is no significant change as far as the Muslims are concerned in all spheres of activities.

Is India really communal? One may, perhaps find a clue, that the venom of communalism was spewed during the British rule when earthen pitchers were categorized as Hindu water and Muslim water.

An article by the eminent Indian columnist Kuldip Nayar “History a la Joshi”, further gives a hint of the communal and ethnic politics that has become deep-rooted amongst Indians. In the article Nayar writes, “For the first time in the last 40 years, where the International Trade Fair at Delhi became a factor, handicrafts by Muslims and Sikhs had been displayed at a section called “Minority Handicrafts”. Handicrafts are either good or bad, they are not tagged as minority.”

The Indian Muslims are in a dilemma, whether to accept humility in the form of Indian nationalism (based on secular ideas) or to preserve their Muslim identity.

Now, the question is one of whether Jinnah's Pakistan was worth the fight.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pakistani Hindus Feel Pressure to Convert To Islam

Sunday, June 27, 2010
SIALKOT, PAKISTAN : A total of 57 Hindus have converted to Islam since May 14 in Sialkot. The people belong to adjacent Pasroor town and embraced Islam to “survive in the society,” their Hindu relatives told The Express Tribune on Monday. Mangut Ram, a close relative of some of the new converts, said that 35 members of a family embraced Islam because they were under pressure from employers.

He said four Hindu brothers along with their families lived in the village of Nikki Pindi. Two of them and their families embraced Islam on May 14 in a local mosque (Haidri Mosque) in the village. Ram said that Hans Raj, Kans Raj, Meena/Kartar and Sardari Lal along with his with nephews and sons worked at an eatery in Karachi.

Ram said that his co workers often spoke against Hindus in Karachi where his family worked. “The owner of the shop where I worked said that after a few months of his employing me the sales dropped drastically because people were avoiding purchasing and eating edibles prepared by Hindus, said Ram”. Sardari Lal and his brother Meena/Kartar worked at a sweets shops for several years and made a decent living. Other Muslims employees of the nearby shops discriminated against them and persecuted them. The shop owner was forced to think about their future at his establishment. “That was when the two brothers and their families decided to embrace Islam in order to keep their jobs and be secure,” Ram added.

Pakistan ranks 10th among ‘failed states’ in World

Source Dawn News
Sunday, June 27, 2010
(Photo : Outside Veiw of Hindu Mandir in Mithi City, Pakistan)
WASHINGTON : Pakistan was ranked the 10th most failed state in the world, just three places below Afghanistan, in a US survey released on Monday.

Somalia tops the 2010 Failed States Index followed by Zimbabwe, Sudan, and Chad.

The index issued by the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace, a Washington-NGO, ranks India 87th in a list of 177 countries.

Burma has been placed at 13. Sri Lanka is ranked 22 and Nepal 25. China is at 57th place.

Norway is ranked the world’s most stable country and is at the bottom of the list.The Untied States is ranked 158 but is not among the 10 most stable countries.

The report notes that Pakistan has more than once been described as the world’s most dangerous country. Its wild northern reaches remain host to various branches of the Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda.

More than three million Pakistani civilians were displaced by “counterinsurgency” operations in 2009 — the largest single movement of people since the Rwandan genocide.

“President Asif Ali Zardari’s democratically elected government looks hapless — unable to gain any measure of civilian control over a nuclear-armed military … or an intelligence service that stands accused of abetting the Afghan Taliban,” observes the Foreign Policy magazine.

Social Indicators

Pakistan is the world’s seventh-most populous country, with a population density of over 226 people per kilometre. The country has a moderate youth bulge; the average age is 21 and over 37 per cent of Pakistanis are under 15 years of age.

Pakistan has historically been home to vicious political battles between rival parties, as well as consistent conflicts within the tribal regions and in Balochistan. Pakistan suffers from a significant brain drain.

The instability of the country has pressured many students to seek education abroad; many scientists, doctors, and businesspeople who can afford to leave the country altogether.

Economic Indicators

The poorest 10 per cent of Pakistanis account for four per cent of the national income, while the richest 10 per cent account for over 26 per cent of the income.

“Billionaire President Asif Ali Zardari is one of Pakistan’s wealthiest men.”

The official unemployment rate is 7.4 per cent but it could be higher.

The country had a trade deficit of nearly $15 billion in 2008 and has an inflation rate of 20.8 per cent. The inflation rate increased dramatically due to devaluation of the Pakistani rupee under Pervez Musharraf and the rising costs of production stemming from social and political instability.

Political/Military Indicators

While presidential elections in Pakistan are indirect, President Zardari’s election nevertheless represents a shift towards legitimate democratic governance.

The continuing violence in Pakistan’s poorest and most remote regions makes it extremely difficult for food and medical supplies to reach the areas that need it most. Many parts of the country go without electricity and clean water; conditions are notoriously poor in the refugee camps in northern Pakistan.

The human rights situation has improved significantly since 2008.

The security apparatus indicator has also improved. In Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan local militias exercise significant control over their communities. In the tribal areas, the government’s authority is barely recognized.

The 2008 parliamentary elections brought tensions within the political elite to a peak. However, the conclusion of the elections and the restoration of civilian government have since eased tensions.

The indicator for external intervention has worsened since 2008. Pakistan is the second-largest recipient of US foreign aid. The US is also using drone aircraft to attack Taliban and Al Qaeda sites within Pakistan.

Sindh The new epicenter of Global Instability or Terrorism !

By Gopinath Kumar (PHP Executive Editor)
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Pakistan : Sindh has always been a fertile and rich country. For thousands of years, it had maintained trade links with other countries, some of them in far-flung regions of the world. Historians have found evidence that ships carrying merchandise from Sindh regularly called at the ports of Egypt, Java, China and Sri Lanka. From these countries, goods such as gold and silver ornaments and precious stones found their way to the royal Sindhi courts and temples. Sindh’s government treasuries had always been replete with gems and all types of treasure. In spite of their affluence, Sindhis always avoided to maintain large armies and to conquer the neighboring lands. On the contrary, invaders from outside gravitated to the riches of Sindh attacked the country a number of times and acquired so much wealth by loot and plunder that they dreamed of using that wealth to conquer other countries and extend their sway over the world. This is why all the intruders that have ruled India at times attempted to extend their jurisdiction over Sindh too.

Although we have no coherent accounts of the history of Sindh from the periods prior to the Arab rule, it is an established fact that everyone, from Persian invaders to Alexander the Great, who attempted to conquer India, acquired Sindh too and had a free  plunge in the country’s riches. The Arabs wanted Sindh for its wealth to finance their expeditions further deep into India. Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf[1] had dispatched his general, Muhammad bin Qasim, with express directions to seize the treasures of Aror and Multan (North Sindh) and occupy all regions of India up to the frontiers of China. Mahmud of Ghazna, the inveterate plunderer, also wanted the treasures of Somnath to finance his Indian expeditions. The principality of Somnath at that time had acquired the status of a regional hub of trade for Sindh and Gujrat. After the conquest of Sindh by the Arabs,  Sindhi traders chose to make Somnath their commercial and financial capital, as they considered their wealth more secure in Somnath away from the reach of the Arab marauders who controlled much of the western parts of Sindh. Such was the glitter and allure of the gems and treasure accumulated in Somnath that it tempted Mahmud to descend several times from cold northern valleys beyond the Karakorams thousands of miles down south into the hot tropics of India to quench his lust for pillage and plunder. After a number of attempts and several years Mahmud was finally able to take over Somnath but fortunately by then he was too wearied and too old to further carry on with his nefarious designs and soon after he died.

Zahiruddin Babar too eyed the treasures of Sindh to finance his Indian expeditions. Although Babar did not himself attack Sindh, he extended his reign to Kandhar whose ruler Shah Beg Arghun took refuge in the plains of Sindh and eventually conquered it. It is one of the poignant episodes of the history of Sindh that its enemies at various junctures have put aside their differences and partnered in the exploitation of the country. Shah Beg Arghun after conquering Sindh had Babar’s name chanted in the weekly Juma prayer sermons as the current Muslim Caliph. Although this move legally put Sindh under the suzerainty of Kandhar and effectively made Arghun the deputy or viceroy of Babar, the strategy earned Arghun time to consolidate his hold on Sindh. The Arghun army, after taking possession of the treasures of Sindh, ransacked and despoiled the culturally rich and affluent city of Thatta, and reduced the internationally famed metropolis to a virtual graveyard. When there was nothing left to rob, the army began tearing apart houses to extract timber and other building material. A sizable portion of the wealth thus looted made its way to Kandhar and enabled Babar to raise a large army to attack India and establish the Mughal Empire. There is no denying the fact that Britain could only firm up their control on all of India after they were able to have Sindh. In 1843, when they annexed Sindh, Bahadur Shah Zafar ruled India and just within fourteen years the British forces were able to put a seal on the Mughal rule in India. The economy of Sindh was very important to the British rulers and they at several occasions rejected the demand of the Punjab for more share in the water from the river Indus—although the Punjab was asking for the favor to irrigate the lands that the British government in India had allotted to army men from the province as reward for the latter’s services to the Crown. The British did not choose to disappoint their loyal Punjabi subjects, who had served them through thick and thin and helped them quell every insurgency and revolt, just because they were driven by the values of justice and natural rights. But definitely they were fascinated by Sindh and could not afford to adversely affect Sindh’s revenues and economic output which constituted a sizable portion of the colonial government’s income.

In the present times, the military establishment of Pakistan is dependent on the economic potential of Sindh, which contributes about 70 percent of Pakistan’s GDP. In addition, the country has been exploiting the vast coal, oil and natural gas resources of Sindh for decades. Sindh thus bears the costs of maintaining the 700,000-plus defense establishment of Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal. If Sindh stops injecting funds in the national income of Pakistan, the country would not be able to maintain its military and the Pakistan government would collapse under its own burden. At this stage, it would not be appropriate to segue into a discussion of the raison d’être of maintaining a large military for protecting the borders of any country. It would be just appropriate to  note that presently Pakistan army has been made to fight the Taliban and Islamic extremists and embark upon an effort to contain Islamic militancy in the country. In this situation, both the Pakistan army and the Islamic militants need financial resources to be able to keep fighting. The Taliban had seized Swat and adjoining areas not just to have a sanctuary in the tribal belt for themselves but also to take control of the emerald mines and other precious stones quarries in the region. They not only sold emerald extracted from the Swat valley, but they also raised funds by auctioning off the assets of the government and multinational companies in the areas under their control. Before the army launched its operation in the area a few weeks ago, the Taliban held weekly auctions in Swat to sell off the government and multinational assets and traders from all parts of Pakistan, especially the Punjab, participated in those auctions.

Wars, whether fought against insurgents like the Taliban or for conquering the world, incur tremendous costs. To continue waging their so-called Jihad, the Taliban need more than the funds raised by selling the gemstones and war booty. While it can be argued that the primitive and crude Taliban may not be tuned in to the intricacies of economics, but

Pakistan’s establishment is well grounded in the economic realities and are unambiguously aware that how the country earns its income and which part of the country is economically most important. Western countries, particularly the United

States, have time and again voiced their concern that the Taliban enjoy an active and wholesome support of the army and military agencies of Pakistan. These concerns cannot be shrugged off in the face of the fact that Pakistan Army first actively supported and nurtured Afghan Mujahedeen against the Soviet Union and later made those Mujahedeen into the Taliban and kept patronizing them. Like their traditional friends in Pakistan army, the Taliban also know that it is Sindh which keeps infusing blood in the anemic economy of Pakistan. In this backdrop, one can justifiably claim that resettlement in Sindh of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Swat is part of a strategic plan to further entrench the colonial-style vested interests in Sindh which have recently been apprehensive of losing out to the new dynamics of globalization in the area. In the light of the symbiotic relation between the army and the Taliban, it would be unrealistic to ignore the thrust of these protagonists to consolidate their hold on Sindh and its resources before the realities of globalization make it difficult for them to unabashedly keep skimming off the surplus Sindh produces. Resettlement of IDPs in Sindh thus emerges as a very clever move: 1. to sustain the Pakistani establishment’s control on the resources of Sindh, 2. to permanently mutilate the Sufi and secular traditions of Sindh and thus extinguish the well-corroborated Sindhi pride that Sindhi youth has always been loath to participate in any type of terrorism. Both the Taliban and Pakistani agencies are adroitly making their moves and this time Sindh happens to be the chess board. According to the leader of Pashtuns in Sindh, Shahi Syed, there are four million Pashtuns in Karachi and nobody is able to make an accurate estimate of the number of the Taliban or members of Al-Qaeda among them. According to estimates, there is a combined population of between seven and eight million Pashtuns in Sindh, which include Afghanis, people from tribal areas, and ordinary Pathans. Although a vast majority of them is settled in Karachi, at least a quarter of this Pashtun population is dispersed in other parts of the province.

Never in history has Sindh suffered so great an influx of outsiders as it has after the creation of Pakistan. First it was the Indian refugees immediately after the Partition in 1947—a vast majority of which was cleverly guided into Sindh and these refugees, who call themselves Mohajirs, kept trickling in for many decades to come. Then it was the notorious One Unit[2] which enabled the Pakistani establishment (the Punjab-dominated civil and military bureaucracy) to settle millions of Punjabis in Sindh. Following the teachings of Machiavelli, the rulers[3] planted pockets of non-native population in various parts of Sindh—in addition to Karachi, there are whole villages and small towns populated by the Punjabi settlers in the interior of Sindh. During the Afghan war in the 1980s, hundreds of thousands of Afghan immigrants made Sindh their permanent home. Now it is the turn of displaced Swatis to head toward the universal sanctuary for the destitute, the displaced and refugees—called Sindh. According to media reports so far about 1.8 million people have been displaced and the town of Swat has been completely abandoned. The problem is not only Swat, the military operation is set to expand to Mingora and the adjoining areas up to Peshawar and the stream of refugees is not going to abate. If most of these IDPs get settled in Sindh, the precarious ethnic balance in Sindh will tilt in favor of the migrants and the Sindhis will be permanently reduced to a minority in their own homeland.

History bears out that whenever Sindhis have been able to self-rule, they have disseminated love and peace and busied themselves in the creation of arts and literature, in cultural activities, in trade and commerce, and, in the process, established and nurtured high civilizations. But whenever Sindh has slipped into the control of outsiders, its wealth has been utilized for regional disruption, war and egotistical pursuits. Because Sindh is the land of Sufis and Sindhis are eternally peace-loving, religious extremism has never endured in Sindh except for intermittent bouts in the times of foreign rule and within the settlements the foreigners established. Sindhis can continue to follow the teachings of the Sufi saints, and conduct themselves as liberal, tolerant, and peace-loving people, only if they will remain in majority in their homeland.

History is full of accounts of migrations and re-settlements, but there has always been a limit to influx of immigrants in a country. One finds no precedence that outside rulers have attempted to resettle their whole towns and cities into their dominions or colonies. The six-decade long state-sponsored resettlement process in Sindh is unique with no parallel anywhere in the world and any time in the history of mankind. The total desertion of Swat in the wake of military operation gives rise to many pertinent questions. Is it sheer failure of Pakistan army or is it part of a well-planned strategy? There are only a few thousand refugees in the camps established by the government and international agencies, while those rendered homeless are estimated at about two million and hundreds of thousands are heading to Sindh! Hordes of them have settled in the districts of Tando Muhammd Khan, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Dadu, and Karachi and the local Pashtuns in Sindh are receiving the refugees and establishing camps for them. If the Pakistan government is once again up to its old strategy of raking in charity money and stirring the conscience of the world into pumping in more funds in the name of IDPs, the civilized world should not allow themselves to be duped into sacrificing Sindh, Sindhis, and their

5000-year old culture of peace and nonviolence at the altar of this game of strategic compassion contrived by Pakistani agencies. The United States must revisit its current policy and evaluate the causes of past failures in the region. Every time the US took on the Taliban or Islamic militants, the latter slipped out with the help of their inveterate allies in Pakistan army. From Afghanistan the militants infiltrated into Iraq and then into Pakistani tribal areas, and now they are all set to make Sindh their new battleground. In this situation, the United States, instead of wasting time with Pakistan army in the desolate mountains of Swat and tribal areas, ought to concentrate on preventing the influx  of IDPs and thus, the Taliban into Sindh, because if Islamic militants get into Sindh, this land of Sufis will turn into an epicenter of talibanization. Sindh can keep its traditions of peace and religious liberalism only if it is able to keep intact the shrines of Sufi saints—both the Hindus and Muslims among Sindhis revere these saints and pay homage to them. The Taliban are notorious for their intolerance toward Sufi saints and they indulged in the shameful acts of destroying Sufi shrines and other symbols of religious tolerance and diversity in Afghanistan. In the absence of these emblems of Sufism in Sindh, there will be mushrooming of madrasahs – churning out multitudes of young talibs ever ready to blow off themselves and everyone else. Pakistan shares borders with India and India has sustained all invasions from the northwest. After the Taliban are able to entrench themselves in Sindh, they will be knocking at the doors of India and their militancy will conveniently spill into India. It may be intentional on the part of those-who-matter in Pakistan, to let India experience the real lightning of Islamic extremism after having them encounter its faint sparks during the Mumbai terror last year. Will it be prudent for the world’s sole super power to let Islamic terrorists broaden the reach of their activities to Sindh and India? The Taliban phenomenon will shatter Indian economy and weaken the country both internally and externally.

Pakistan army which has thrived on enmity with India has contrived this game to circumvent the international pressure that it should focus on its north-western tribal region rather than on its eastern border with India. It appears a calculated move to blur the difference between the army’s new, but unwelcome, enemy and its traditionally favorite foe. The Taliban operating in Sindh will acquire way more strategic importance than their present situation and can nudge China to come open in their support as China considers India its military and economic rival. In that situation, the United States will permanently lose its war against terror. It is in the geostrategic interests of both India and the United States to prevent the influx of the Taliban into Sindh.

100,000 Brahmin Hindus return to the land of the Pandits, Kashmir

Source Thenational
Sunday, June 27, 2010
(PHOTO : The annual Mela Khirbhawani festival in Tulla Mulla, Kashmir)
TULLA MULLA :Two decades after fleeing Kashmir, thousands of Brahmin Hindus, known as Pandits, returned to their ancestral homeland yesterday to pray at a sacred shrine, the biggest congregation of Pandits since their exodus.

Amid tight security, around 100,000 Pandits came from across India to gather in Tulla Mulla, 27km east of Srinagar, at the historic Khirbhawani temple to seek blessings from the goddess Ragnya Devi.

“I don’t want to go back [to heartland India]. I want to die here,” said Ishri Bhatt, 65, a widow who fled the Muslim-majority valley in 1989 along with an estimated 200,000 Pandits when a insurgency against Indian rule broke out.

They re-settled in the Hindu-dominated southern part of the state, Jammu, and other parts of India.

But the Pandits have recently begun to return. An estimated 4,000 families have moved back to the territory, split between India and Pakistan but claimed by both in its entirety, since 2004 when relations between the nuclear-armed rivals began to thaw. The intensity of militant violence in Kashmir has also decreased since then.

Jawaharlal Langar, 72, a retired librarian at Kashmir University, now lives in New Delhi but is originally from Srinagar’s Shivpora district. He was one of the Pandits returning for the first time. Mr Langar said: “Why and how did we have to leave? I don’t want to go into those details because that would only reopen old wounds. I took a flight from Delhi and on landing in Srinagar found things have changed for the better and the atmosphere is quite cordial.”

Violence, however is still common enough to keep the vast majority of Pandits from moving back. Street battles between Indian security forces and stone-throwing protesters are a daily occurrence. Human rights abuses against civilians are also commonplace, according to rights groups. Tens of thousands have died.

Most of the visiting Pandits said they prayed for the return of peace so that they can come back to their homes. Prince Bhatt, 41, Ishri Bhatt’s son, said: “I’m quite happy over the way we were greeted by the people living in the temple vicinity and other Muslims. All that is needed now is some bold initiatives by the government and the politicians.”

The Kashmir Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, who visited the temple yesterday, said new government initiatives would encourage Pandits to return. They include reservations in government jobs.

Many of the Pandit families are well-settled in their new lives, making it difficult to return to an uncertain situation.

Mr Langar, sitting near the stream in the shade of poplars, willows and walnut trees, said: “I wish [to return] but I can’t. My children and grandchildren are settled outside the Valley of Kashmir and it would be naive to seek to resettle here when your beloved ones are not around.”

But the desire to return remains strong even among the post-migration generation, some of whom have never been to the valley. Rajat Hangloo, 13, said: “There is no better place to live than our own Kashmir.” Speaking in Kashmiri, Rajat added: “It is cool here and too hot there [in Jammu]. Yes, I want to spend the rest of my life here.”

Before the eruption of violence, Pandits and Muslims lived in relative harmony sharing a unique Kashmiri culture. At the Khirbhawani temple yesterday, Muslims greeted the pilgrims with open arms, offering them fruit and drinks and even hosting some in their homes. Habla Begum, a Muslim resident of Tulla Mulla, felt “quite contented” while pouring ghee into the tiny earthen lamp pots that are lit by the Hindu devotees as part of their prayers.

Abdul Aziz Shah, 64, a resident of neighbouring Safa Pora township, said, “Militancy was a curse. We’ve paid a heavy price and continue to suffer. One of the pitfalls was the flight of our Pandit brethren. They must come back.” Mr Shah said his family has sold sweets, flower petals and other items to Hindu pilgrims for seven generations.

Hota Forum Invites NZ Public To Participate In Hindu Festival Of Raksha Bandhan

Sunday, June 27, 2010
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND : The Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum is organizing a landmark cultural event for New Zealand society by celebrating the Hindu Festival of Raksha Bandhan - that promotes Universal Fellowship and venerates Womanhood. The festival will be celebrated on 29th August 2010, at the Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland.

Hindu Council of New Zealand is the first year host of the HOTA Forum, and will take initiative in celebrating the festival this year with support from all other Forum members. “This festival will convey the message that Hindus desire to integrate within the wider New Zealand community as a productive, law-abiding community. The HOTA forum can further enhance this integration” said Ms. Mamta Bhikha, coordinator of this year’s festival.

Sacred Hindu Art Festival Held In Surakarta, Indonesia

Sunday, June 27, 2010
SURAKARTA, INDONESIA : The Hindu community has organized a national Sacred Hindu Art Festival in Surakarta, 15-17 June. About 10 regions, including Bali, participated. The Festival was organized to introduce sacred Hindu art to the people.

A lecturer from the Surakarta Institute of Art, I Nyoman Sukena, said that the sacred art was used for religious ceremonies. “Even though they are the same fundamentally, each region has their own characteristics,” said Sunarto. The types of art in competition are namely gamelan (musical ensemble) or tembang (vocal music), Rejang dance and Sidakarya dance.

Encouraging Bhutanese Hindus Living Abroad To Be Proud of Their Heritage

Sunday, June 27, 2010
DENVER, COLORADO : “Hindus settling in the western countries can lead their lives as proud Hindus and preserve their religion, heritage and culture” Dr. Ved Nanda, the president of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA declared here recently. Addressing a large gathering of Bhutanese Hindu Community of Colorado at the Nepali New Year celebration in Denver, he urged the community to continue their Hindu way of life in America and assured them they have the freedom and cultural environment to do so.

Dr. Nanda asked the Bhutanese community to be vigilant and not fall prey to the proselytization efforts by the Christian missionaries. It is essential and possible to continue many Hindu practices such as daily puja, bhajan, keertan and temple worship in the U.S., he observed. He praised the Hindu communities in Suriname, Guyana and the Caribbean countries as a model for Hindus worldwide for preserving and promoting the Hindu religion and culture for generations. He also stressed that many Hindus in the western countries have successfully maintained their Hindu identity.

Neelam Shreshta, president of the Rocky Mountain Friends of Nepal (RMFN) chaired the event and offered support to the Bhutanese families. Colorado Bhutanese Community, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) USA and Sewa International organised the event. More than 400 Bhutanese participated in the celebrations. For details on the struggle of these families read Hinduism Today article:

Temple dedicated to Shankaracharya opened for Canadian Public

Source Hindustantimes
Sunday, June 27, 2010
TORONTO, CANADA : After five years of wait, Shree Sharadamba Hindu Temple complex, built at a whopping cost of 11 million dollars to stand as “a testament to Canada and India’s proud traditions of pluralism”, was finally opened for the public. The complex which consists Sringeri Sharadamba Temple and the Adi Shankara Museum, was consecrated yesterday in a ritual known as “Kumbhabhishekam”.

The complex is the first in Canada that is dedicated to Adi Shankaracharya, a saint who lived in India 1,300 years ago and played a great role in uplifting Hinduism. On the occasion the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, “The complex stands as a testament to Canada and India’s proud traditions of pluralism. This place of worship is an important landmark and a fitting tribute to Hindu community’s place in Canada’s cultural landscape.” Harper felt that Canada is “fortunate” to have a large and dynamic Indian community. “The fabric of Canadian life continues to be immeasurably enriched by Indian contribution. I am certain that this new temple and museum will foster fellowship among Hindu Canadians in the Greater Toronto areas for generations to come.”

The Prime Minister’s views were supported by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. “I applaud members of the Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation for making this worthwhile project a reality. Thanks to your collective vision and hard work, the temple will serve as a proud symbol of unity and will be instrumental in preserving and promoting Hindu culture and traditions in Ontario,” McGuinty said. He commended the contributions made by the Indo-Canadian community in social, economic and cultural fabric of the province. Over 10,000 devotees joined in the consecration in which priests scaled the Sringeri Temple’s new tower, typical of South Indian architecture. Four of the priests poured over its carved facade sacred water from the Ganges and Yamuna and other rivers of India.

Ravi Subramanian, Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation Trustee Board Chairman, said “I think this temple will stand out as something unique that can be seen from some distance. I would hope that anybody who comes to the temple would find it a place where they will feel relaxed. It’s like a sanctuary of peace among the bustling heart of Toronto.”

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Daily Inspiration from Pakistan Hindu Post (PHP)

By Dr.Radhe Shyam Kumar (PHP Managing Editor)
Sunday, June 20, 2010
“Man must do his duty. Do not think of the gains of your actions. A wise man treats all alike. Anger and desire dull your intelligence. Accept pain and pleasure in the same way. A man must understand and do what is right...Partha, give up this base faint-heartedness, arise, and do your duty!"
~ Thus states Lord Krishna to Arjuna on the battle field of Kurukshetra ~

Pakistani Hindu Migrants Sans Basic Facilities Even in India Today !

By Gopinath Kumar (Executive Editor)
Sunday, June 20, 2010
(PHOTO : Group of Pakistan Hindus in India now, Say - never want to return back to there Motherland called Pakistan)
Amritsar : More than 10,000 Pakistani Hindus who, were allegedly forced to migrate to India for factors ranging from alleged forced conversion efforts to lack of employment opportunities for minority communities in that country, were staying afloat in India sans any basic facilities like education or job avenues for want of citizenship rights.

The plight of Pakistani Hindus had allegedly turned from bad to worse in the aftermath of the rise of Taliban forces in Pakistan, particularly, in Peshawar of the NWFP and in Sialkot of Punjab (Pakistan) during the past 10 years.

The migration of Pakistani Hindus to India has been going on from 1980 onwards, but what had reportedly triggered their influx to India in the past decade was an array of alleged conversion efforts, a number of which even turned out to be successful in Peshawar and Sialkot areas where a couple of Hindu families had reportedly embraced Islam to save their jobs or land-holdings.

Those who were unable to bow to the fundamentalists pressure chose to flee to India after attaining short-term visas on the pretext that they were going to meet their relatives in India.

“Over 300 Hindus have come to India through Samjhauta Express from Sialkot during the past six months. We have got information that nearly 35 Hindu families of the area had got converted to Islam between May 14 and 19.

Though they had anticipated some relief in India, more than 10,000 migrants were putting up in India without valid documents and were yet to get citizenship rights,” said All India Hindu Shiv Sena national president Surinder Kumar Billa.

Pakistani Hindus have been putting up in various Indian cities and townships like Rajpura (700 families), Jalandhar (200 families), Khanna (700 families), Amritsar, Jalgaon in Maharashtra, Raj Nandgaon in Chhattisgarh, New Delhi, and in Madhya Pardesh. Most of these migrants were forced to do menial jobs.

“Since, these families not having any residential proofs, their kids are unable to get admission to schools. There is no Government of India grant for them despite the fact that it was fully aware about their plight.

The Home Ministry had ratified norms in 2001 stipulating that any Pakistani Hindu could be considered for grant of Indian citizenship rights if he or she proves his or her stay in India for at least five years. But, how can these people do it so easily? They have been giving representations and application forms to DCs, but without any tangible results, rued Billa. Priyan Bharti, DC, Jalandhar, had forwarded one such representation to the Punjab Home Secretary, he added.

Hindu legislator (MNA) questioned Shahbaz Bhatti on funds spent on Hajj /Umra from Minorities funds and Details of maintenance of temples of Hindus and Sikhs, Pakistan

By Rakesh Kumar (PHP Islamabad)
Sunday, June 20, 2010
(Photo : Mr. Krishan Chand Parwani, Memeber of National Assembly of Pakistan)
ISLAMABAD : During the budget debate, minority legislator Mr.Krishna Chand Parwani took on the chairman Pakistan Evacuee Trust for mismanaging the funds for minorities and spending of this amount for Hajj and Umra . Whether performing Hajj and Umra from the funds for minorities was justified, he questioned while asking the minister for minority affairs to look into that matter.

He questioned how much funds were spent for the maintenance of temples of Hindus and Gordawaras of Sikhs.

Parvani also demanded of the government to appoint a judicial commission to probe the affairs of the Pakistan Evacuee Trust. The standing committee of the National Assembly twice summoned the chairman Evacuee Trust but he did not take it seriously, he said.

Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, while replying to the points raised by the minority member regarding the affairs of the Pakistan Evacuee Trust said the government would look into the issue. The prime minister will also take note of the concerns of the member, he said.

Shahbaz Bhatti termed the budget a step forward towards progress and prosperity.The minister said the government had taken a number of steps for the welfare of minorities as it had implemented five per cent job quota for them.

Pakistani Minorities form Working Group for Human Rights Issues

By Dr. Radhe Shyam Kumar (PHP Managing Editor)
Sunday, June 20, 2010
(Photo : Pakistani Hindu during festival time in Sindh and according to Pakistan Hindu Council, there are about Five million Hindus in Pakistan. Nearly 4.5 million of them live in Sindh province. Most are from the low caste Dalit community. )
KARACHI : The representatives of Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Bahai, Ahmedi and Zoroastrian communities of Sindh formed on Saturday a working group on ‘Right of Communities Vulnerable Because of Their Belief’ during a meeting at a local hotel. The Human Right Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) would support the group.

The group will highlight human rights violations through fact finding reports, researches, issuing public statements and arranging press briefings and also to analyse the laws, practices and policies, which are discriminatory and would provide recommendations. The meeting also decided that the group will conduct capacity building programmes of the members of vulnerable communities and a mechanism of early warning signs to determine the tension involving minorities and would recommend appropriate actions.

During the meeting, the participants discussed the agenda of the newly formed group including the status of commission of minorities, countering advocacy of hatred based religious beliefs, discrimination being faced by the communities in services, education, family and property laws, constant threats and fear, blasphemy laws and property related issues. During the meeting the participants decided that the newly formed group would meet once in six months.

Addressing the meeting HRCP Director I A Rehman said that the group would address all the issues being faced by the communities and deal with the rights of these communities.

“Since the last several years, the living conditions of minorities has worsened and the communities have become extremely vulnerable as extremists and militants are inciting hatred,” he said, Amar Guriro

The Hindus - Our Neighbor, By Farman Nawaz

By Editorial Staff
Sunday, June 20, 2010
(PHOTO : Mr.Farman Nawaz is a Pakistani column writer. His Articles can be seen at Asia Times Online, The Frontier Post, Statesman and Daily outlook Afghanistan . He supports democracy, regionalism and human rights)
Islamabad : The partition of India is one of the nightmares that became a reality. Our history is written in such a way that it is very difficult to teach it avoiding the hatred against Hindus. Its main theme is based on enmity of Hindus. Telling truth to the students can put question mark on your patriotism and nationalism. It is always a risk to explain the events in such a way that students can get to the truth. The information given in these books has got the shape equivalent to religious beliefs. Opposing these information can even confuse your religious status.

     It is always very difficult for me as a social studies teacher to explain this horrible truth to my students, not because that I do not love Pakistan but because that I will have to teach them hatred against Hindus – our neighbors. Moreover, after explaining every thing in detail, it is again very difficult to tell them that do not write these facts in examination. Because I have experienced it when my two papers at master's level were fail for writing these bitter facts.

     Our society is religious in nature. Every new idea is first of all judged by the common people according to their limited religious knowledge. If it fits in their sphere of religious knowledge so well and good but if it is a little bit different then it is not even rejected but rather the people who discuss it are labeled Infidels.

     However teaching social studies, I have found such techniques that help me to express my views safely and smoothly. My aim is always to promote such viewpoint that can lead to create positive attitude towards regional countries. I emphasis on those aspects of religion and politics that can promote harmony among nations and saying no to violence.

     The syllabus and information given in Pakistan study books are in such a way that the students are hypnotized by the idea that Hindus were the usurpers of Muslims' rights in united India. Muslims were kicked out from the services. After telling these information my first question from my students is "Have you ever met with a person who is working in the Middle Eastern states?" Mostly our people go to these countries for earning money so our people have a lot of information. Then I ask them that what these people tell you about job opportunities and different nationalities?" My students answer that our people are mostly laborers and Indians mostly do office work. Then my next question is ‘why we are not protesting against this cruelty'. Our Arab brethren will surely listen to us. My students are of the opinion that it is not logical because Indians are good in education that is why they get these jobs. But as their minds are hypnotized so they can not think that the same was the case before partition but at that time but instead of competing with Hindus, we protested and divided the India. Survival of the fittest is the rule of the world but we ran away from that competition so still we are not fit. Was that logical decision? And if that decision was logical, so we must appreciate Bengalis for their struggle for rights and now Balochis too deserve appreciation.

     We must think over this reality that now the same Hindus are employing Muslims in India and Muslims are employing Hindus in Arab States. Indian Film industry is mainly based on Muslims and now a days Muslim singers from Pakistan are their main playback singers. We must ask ourselves the reasons of this amalgamation.

     The next objection from students is that Hindus were working for the domination of their Hindu culture that is why Muslims were forced to think about separate state. But they do not think that now in a separate country we are watching Indian Channels and we have never heard that any Muslim child is converted to Hinduism and started worshiping idols.

     My students has another objection that why I always criticize my own nation. I tell them that criticizing one's own nation is purely Islamic. Because Hazrat Jafar Tayar, in the court of Najashi – a Christian ruler, mainly criticized the culture and policies of his own nation – the Quresh.

     Regarding the question that why Indians are there in Afghanistan, I always tell my students that where there you will see America in this region, you also see Indians or Chinese to neutralize the imperialistic designs of the US.

     As compared to Christians, Hindus (our neighbors) are so defamed here in Pakistan that it does not matter what arguments and reasons you collect for speaking and writing in favor of India, people hesitate to believe you. It seems to them an unlawful, sinful, and immoral act. Blaming and opposing India is a very easy technique to make your statement authentic, accepted, and popular.

     In the midst of such people, it is extremely difficult to create space for your articles in the leading newspapers. In addition, on local level the people consider you a traitor. However, this dust of mistrust will definitely get away one day. Aman Ki Asha is good endeavor but it is an effort on a limited scale. Common Pakistanis living in the remote areas are still unaware of it.

           Indian entertainment media should also play a part in this regard because common people are mostly attached with these channels. Sorry to say but these channels only promote religious ceremonies and culture of Hinduism. If we look at the media of our democratic and secular neighbor in the East, one will never believe that it is the media of a secular state. In their every drama serial, you will see the actors and actresses worshiping plants and idols and performing many other religious rituals. Its ok we don't hate their religion and religious practices but our people think that it is just a show off or propagation of Hinduism. Our younger generation is exposed to it. This was the threat, which was propagated by our religious circles before partition. They were of the opinion that very soon Muslims will loose their identity in united India. If Indians feel that by this way they can trim down the hatreds for Hindus in Muslim society so they are breathing in fool's paradise. Only their open-mindedness towards Pakistan can change the psyche of our youth.

     There are some facts in our history that we cannot justify and it destroys our efforts for Aman Ki Asha. But now Indians should behave in such a way that can give us strength and legitimacy here in Pakistan to work for peace in the region. Especially those Indians, which have taken the risk to work in Afghanistan, can do a lot in this respect. They can guide their government to frame such policies that lead to harmony between the warring neighbors. Only sincere efforts can bring prosperity and peace in the region. We can and surely we will work for the positive image of India here in Pakistan but Indians will too have to come forward with some agenda to get closer to Pakistanis.

From Pillar To Post, By Kuldip Nayar

By Editorial Staff
Sunday, June 20, 2010
(PHOTO : Mr Kuldip Nayar)
Pakistan : GENERAL Ayub Khan, then at the helm of the Pakistan government, is believed to have told Soviet Union's Prime Minister Kosygin that if India were to come to a settlement with Sheikh Abdullah, head of the Jammu and Kashmir government at that time, Pakistan might accept the agreement. Kosygin was trying his best to span the distance between India and Pakistan, despite Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's doubts over the role of Russia, who had been supplying arms to Pakistan.

Soon after, the Sheikh was detained for nearly 12 years in South India. He had reportedly asked New Delhi to make the terms of the Instrument of Accession good. The state had given to the centre only three subjects -- defence, foreign affairs and communications.

Since then, the All Party Hurriyat Conference jumped into the arena. Its agenda goes far beyond the Sheikh or, for that matter, the ruling National Conference. Unfortunately, the Hurriyat has split into hardliners and moderates. Whatever its verdict on the government headed by Farooq Abdullah, the Sheikh's grandson, he has made the security forces accountable.

The suspension by the army of a major and removal of a colonel from service for their "role" in dubious encounters is not a small achievement. In fact, Farooq has ordered an inquiry into the fake encounters in the past and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on his recent visit to Srinagar, said that strict orders had been given to the security forces not to violate human rights.

Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said: "We expected the prime minister to start a bold political initiative on Kashmir but nothing of that sort has come through."

Obviously, the Hurriyat has not taken into account Dr. Manmohan Singh's message that the government was committed to push forward the process of negotiation. His was the first visit to Kashmir after he had met Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani at the Saarc summit in Bhutan.

The Indian prime minister wanted the Hurriyat to come on board before India held a series of ministerial-level meetings with Pakistan. It is naïve on the part of Mirwaiz to demand a public announcement on what the government has in view. A dialogue is the only way to hammer out differences. In the case of Kashmir, Pakistan is also a party.

True, Srinagar was shut and hundreds were on the street when the prime minister arrived there. But this is an exercise over which the Hurriyat has gone many a time before. People are tired. They see very little on the horizon. They have sacrificed nearly all that they had.

The span of 25 to 30 years, the hey days of Hurriyat, is not a small period to wait. It is nobody's case that the people's alienation in the valley has not disappeared, nor that the Hurriyat has ceased to count.

I think the failure of the Hurriyat is in having preferred bullet to ballot. They revolted when they, young and idealistic, witnessed the charade of an election in Kashmir in 1987.

Indeed, the polls were rigged. But going across the border, getting training and returning with weapons was the reaction of angry, helpless people. Violence, as some Hurriyat leaders have realised, was not an option that could have yielded results. Coming into conflict with the state, which is thousands of times stronger, was foolhardy. Believe me, I am not underestimating the sacrifices of people. Very few movements in the world have been so determined and so sustained.

The Hurriyat should have returned to the ballot box after the violent agitation it had launched gave diminishing returns. In violence, the people in India witnessed a forceful cessation of Kashmir, which is considered part of the country. The Hurriyat movement was seen as a challenge to the country's integrity.

The Hurriyat should have tried to capture the Jammu and Kashmir assembly. Instead, they propagated the boycott of elections. Their argument was that the polls under the aegis of the Indian Election Commission were not acceptable to them. They proposed supervision by the UN observers. No sovereign country could have accepted this.

Had the Hurriyat leaders demanded that the Indian human rights activists should be the observers, they might have had the consent of New Delhi. But would the Hurriyat have won? This uncertainty might have been the main reason for it not participating in elections, which have their own dynamics. Popular agitators are not normally put in the gaddi.

The Hurriyat's tilt towards Pakistan, probably necessitated by the situation in which they were, has distanced it from India. That the solution of Kashmir is not possible without Islamabad is understandable. But the Hurriyat did not have to play the Muslim card. It only created further doubts in the mind of the majority in India. After the exodus of most Hindu pandits from Kashmir, the valley has nearly 96% of Muslims.

But this is the Hurriyat's weakness, not the strength. Not having the support of the Hindu-majority Jammu and the Buddhist- majority Ladakh, the Hurriyat has forfeited the right to speak for the entire state. It should have at least wooed the Kashmir pandits, many still in camps, to return to their homes. Some Hurriyat leaders have realised this a bit late. But the party as such still cannot pursue the matter wholeheartedly because a few among them do not want Hindus back till the Kashmir solution is finally settled.

Even in its demand, the Hurriyat has been equivocal. It has oscillated between autonomy and independence. Realising that Pakistan is equally opposed to independence, as India is, the Hurriyat wants a solution that is acceptable to the people of Kashmir. But that has not been spelled out.

The fact that Jammu and Ladakh are nowhere in the picture means that the Hurriyat's demand is only for the valley. This brings the Hurriyat in conflict with what Manmohan Singh has said many a time, that he has no mandate to change the borders. Even otherwise, the Indian nation would not accept another partition on the basis of religion.

After the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York, the scenario in the region from Afghanistan to India has changed beyond proportions. America and Pakistan on one hand and India and Pakistan on the other are trying to come to terms with new developments. Kashmir too figures, but in the larger context.

The Hurriyat might do better if it were to confine the talks between Srinagar and Delhi till India and Pakistan reach a settlement on Kashmir. The Hurriyat should ask New Delhi first to restore the ante-1952 situation, where Srinagar gave it three subjects -- foreign affairs, defence and communications. It would be better than going from post to pillar.

Kuldip Nayar is an eminent Indian columnist.

Britain bans controversial Indian preacher Zakir Naik

By Mohammad S.Solanki (PHP Managing Editor)
Sunday, June 20, 2010
(Photo : Dr.Zakir Naik speaking on Islam and Terrorism)
LONDON : Britain has banned controversial Indian Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik, who once claimed that "every Muslim should be a terrorist," from entering the country, citing his "unacceptable behaviour".

Home secretary Theresa May said 44-year-old Naik would not be allowed to enter the country under laws that can exclude anyone who writes or publishes material that can "foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence".

Indian television preacher Naik was due to give a series of lectures at arenas in Wembley and Sheffield.

May said the doctor was being excluded because repeated comments attributed to him was evidence of his "unacceptable behaviour".

She said: "Coming to the UK is a privilege not a right, and I am not willing to allow those who might not be conducive to the public good to enter the UK."

Website footage had shown the preacher making the claim that every Muslim should embrace terrorism.

Naik said Muslims should beware of people saying Osama bin Laden was right or wrong, adding: "If you ask my view, if given the truth, if he is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him.

If he is terrorising the terrorists, if he is terrorising America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, every Muslim should be a terrorist."

He is also reported as saying that western women make themselves "more susceptible to rape" by wearing revealing clothing.

Mumbai-born Naik is a medical doctor by profession, having attained a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) from the University of Mumbai.

Naik is the founder and president of the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) which is a non-profit organisation. It also owns and broadcasts the free-to-air global Peace TV channel.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Daily Inspiration from Pakistan Hindu Post (PHP)

By Gopinath Kumar (Executive Editor)
Friday, June 18, 2010
O Mother! Let all my speech be your prayer; let all my crafts and technology be your worship and be the mystic gestures of my hand, adorning you. May all my movements become your devotional circumambulating. May everything I eat or drink be oblations to you. Let my lying down in rest and sleep be prostrations to you. Mother! Whatever I do, may all that become a sacramental service and worship for you.
Adi Sankara's Hymn to the Divine Mother

Persecution of Hindus in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa State or NWFP of Pakistan

By Rajesh Kumar (PHP Islamabad)
Friday, June 18, 2010
 (Photo : Peshawar Hindus speaking on their Human Rights issues in Pakistan)
Islamabad : Religious minorities are believed to be much more than the estimated figures of 5 percent of Pakistan's 160 million population as Hindus alone represent 5 to 6 percent of the population (according Pakistan Hindu Council). However, Pakistani census intentionally keeps minority figures low to deny them greater representation. Attacks on minorities further deteriorate the volatile situation in a highly unstable country. It also portrays how Pakistan, an U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic extremism, is itself being increasingly threatened by extremists.

Persecution of Hindus in North-West Frontier Province or NWFP

Peshawar : Although no figures are made available, anecdotal evidence and human rights groups say that attacks against Hindus have risen in the last two years, with temples and worshippers targeted, especially in NWFP province. All the Hindus worry about the future of their families, especially the children in Pakistan.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) also acknowledges that Hindus are in very danger in NWFP and rest of Pakistan.

Hindus in Orakzai agency and Khyber agency have been warned by militant groups to convert or leave the area. Threats against Sikhs, Hindus and Christians are the latest in a series of warnings against religious minorities in the NWFP, who have had to pay jizya and submit to Sharia. The Taliban in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) have issued an ultimatum against local Hindus and Sikhs: either you pay “jizya”, an Islamic poll tax for religious minorities that is akin to protection money, or you leave. Many Hindu and Sikh families have already left for Peshawar and neighbouring provinces. Some 400 Sikh and 100 Hindu families have already left the towns of Bara and Tirah.

In FATA : Muslim and non-Muslim women are not allowed outside their homes without a male relative. In fact all women, even the elderly, have to wear a burqa. For their part, men have to grow a beard and wear a cap; otherwise Lashkar extremists beat them or fine them Rupees 200 to 500.

(Photo : Old Lord Shiva Temple in Peshawar City (Need Repair),Pakistan)
(Photo : Balmik Hindu Mandir in Peshawar City ,need repair too, Pakistan)
(Photo : Ceiling of Hindu temples of Kalibari in Peshawar, Pakistan)
(Photo : Hindu wood carving from Kashmir Smast in Peshawar, Pakistan)
(Photo : S.M. Jaffar identified it with the place of Hindu pilgrimage where they performed the Sardukahr ritual (shaving off heads) in Peshawar, Pakistan)

Hindu Community in NWFP or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa State, Demands Basic Human Rights, Pakistan

By Rajesh Kumar (PHP Islamabad)
Friday, June 18, 2010
(PHOTO : Map of Peshawar City as Capital of NWFP or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)
Peshawar City : The minority Hindu community in northwest Pakistan has demanded that it should be provided the same basic rights as Christians living in the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.

Hindus in northwest Pakistan have no cremation grounds, scholarships for students or special schools in the entire tribal belt, community leader Pandit Jay Gopal said during a dialogue on the rights of minorities in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The seminar held here yesterday was also addressed by the Bishop of the Orthodox Church of Pakistan, Ernest Jacob, and people from different walks of life.

They stressed that the rights of Christians must be protected.

Minority community leader Arshad Masih argued that minorities living in the tribal areas are not issued domicile certificates and this negates their basic human rights.

The children of minority communities are not admitted to schools and youths are not given jobs because they do not have domicile certificates, he contended.

Tribute to Late Kumar Thandani the owner of Hyderabad’s iconic bakery who dies, Pakistan

By Gopinath Kumar (Executive editor for PHP)
Friday, June 18, 2010
(PHOTO : BOMBAY BAKERY in Hyderabad of Sindh, Pakistan)
HYDERABAD, June 11: Man is mortal but legend stays. It can truly be said for late Kumar of Hyderabad’s Bombay Bakery, as its cuisine left an everlasting flavour on the taste buds of those lucky, who had the opportunity to relish these.

Kumar Thandani enjoyed seventy and two winters and met his creator on Friday in a Karachi hospital. A bachelor throughout, he left behind a sister and two adopted children. He was cremated in the evening at the crematorium at Hali Road.

The teary-eyed manager of the bakery Aziz Bhai, said that they had to pack variety of cakes for their overseas customers, of all castes and religions, as these were served to guests on Eid, Holi, Diwali, Christmas and other religious occasions.

Though the bakery was initially run by Kumar’s father but could not match the popularity it gained during the son’s tenure, said some family friends.

People from all walks of life and communities were pouring in at the bakery to pay condolence to Kumar’s adopted son Sonu, now Salman Sheikh who embraced Islam and got married into Najmauddin Sheikh’s family, a former foreign secretary.

Pahlaj Rai, grandfather of Kumar Thandani founded the bakery in the early twentieth century. It was Rai’s Swiss wife who began producing bakery items from their bungalow.

Kumar spent Rs5 million on the construction of Emergency Ward of Red Crescent Hospital, Latifabad unit 2, with cardiac facility named after his grandfather Pahlaj Rai. He also donated Rs3 million towards angiography unit, said cardiologist, Dr Fazalur Rehman.

He donated Rs150,000 per month for hospital’s upkeep, besides meeting other financial assistance whenever needed. “He always helped deserving patients if a request was made’, said Kumar’s friends. Kumar also supported hundreds of poor families.—PHP Staff Correspondent

A Reply To Pakistani Critics, By Dr.Shabir Choudhry

Source  Dr.Shabir Choudhry
Friday, June 18, 2010
(PHOTO : Dr Shabir Choudhry at Jammu and Kashmir Conference in U.K.)
London, U.K. : I got a lot of response for my last article “Gilgit Baltistan and Shafqat Inquilabi”. As always some people have appreciated it and some have criticised it. It is not possible to reply to all the points raised by the respondents, but I would like to make the following submission, which I hope will help some people to understand some issues on the Pakistani side of the LOC.

1.I wholeheartedly condemn all human rights violations committed in Kashmir; and I demand that culprits must be punished for their crimes. I have condemned the wrong doings on the Indian side of the divide, but those who criticise human rights abuses on the Indian side of the divide only, do they have courage to condemn the following:

2.Can they condemn killing of innocent Kashmiris during the Tribal Invasion sponsored by Pakistan in 1947. Also can they condemn rapes, kidnapping of Kashmiri women and girls, and looting of my homeland - Kashmir, which was done in name of Jihad in 1947/8?

3.Can they also condemn Killings and imprisonment of people of Azad Kashmir at the hands of Pakistan during the Poonch rebellion in mid 1950s? Unlike militants in the Valley, these people did not have training, arms or money from secret agency of enemy country, they were simply asking for their democratic rights.

4.Can they also condemn arrest and inhuman torture inflicted upon people of Azad Kashmir by Pakistan during Ganga Hijacking investigations? Even reading of those atrocities could put Nazi cruelties to shame.

5.Can they condemn rapes and other human rights violations which still take place along the LOC on the Pakistani side of the divide, which people do not report due to social stigma and fear of repercussions; and no human rights organisation on the Pakistani side of the divide has courage to speak about them?

6.Can they condemn denial of fundamental rights to people of Pakistani Administered Kashmir for decades; and looting and plunder of our resources?

7.Can they condemn denial of fundamental rights to people of Gilgit-Baltistan - they were ruled by draconian laws with no accountability for decades?

8.Can they condemn annexation of Gilgit Baltistan by Pakistan, while pretending to be Muslim brother and friend of people of Jammu and Kashmir? Pakistani establishment has hidden their colonial designs under the cover of Islam, which is shameful.

9.Can they condemn demolition of seven mosques on Murree Road in Rawalpindi, where unlike the Babri Mosque, were used by Muslims for daily prayers and teaching of Quran? It was done by the Musharaf government in order to make this route safe for the Americans travelling to Islamabad.

10.Can they condemn killing of 83 innocent madrassa children in Wana, which Pakistan claimed to have bombed; and which resulted in more than 300 people taking oath Quran that they will take revenge of this unjustified massacre of innocent children; and commit suicide bombing if necessary? The suicide bombing in Pakistan started after this event.

11.Can they condemn killing of hundreds of innocent children in the Red Mosque and Jamia Hafsa, in which illegal chemical called White Phosphorous was also used by Pakistani commandos?

12.Can they condemn killing of innocent people by Pakistani regular forces and jet fighters in SWAT, parts of Pakhtoon Khawa and in FATA?

13. People rightly demand that India should allow international human rights organisations to go to Kashmir to investigate the abuses; but they you made a similar demand for the areas of SWAT, parts of Pakhtoon Khawa and FATA, where even Pakistani civilians and media people are not allowed to see what Pakistani army is doing there? Or they want to turn a blind eye to allthis because the culprits are fellow Muslims?

14.And if your conscience allows you, also do condemn killing and rapes committed by Pakistan army, (which now many Pakistanis have acknowledged and some officials apologised for) in East Pakistan during 1970/71.

15.Let me correct information with regard to Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq. Mir Jafar betrayed Nawab Sirajuldaula in war of Plasi in Bengal; and Mir Sadiq betrayed Tipu Sultan in war of Sarnagapatem in Mysore.

16.Perhaps some of these critics are not aware of Pakistani history, and that is why they think there are no Mir Jaffers and Mir Sadiqs in Pakistan.

17.No my friends, your country Pakistan has thousands of Mir Jafars and Mir Sadiqs; and irony is that each one gets VIP treatment and buried in the Pakistani flag; or gets full honour when he leaves his post. That explains how many Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiqs are in your country, especially in the corridors of power and in the Pakistani establishment. Of course there aresome honest and loyal Pakistanis as well, and many of them support us and I salute them; but they have been marginalised and have no voice making.

18.Pakistani President (Musharaf) allowed America to recruit as many people as they required for CIA operations and for operations of other secret agencies. So no one knows exactly how many Mir Jafars you have even in the ranks of armed services and secret agencies. So Habib Yousafzai Sahib, be rest assured, your country has plenty of traitors and hypocrites, and you can proudly claim self sufficiency, at least in this field of generating terrorism, hatred and treachery.

19.Those who claim that we people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted to get independence from India only are totally wrong - we wanted to be independent of both countries whether they are according to you ‘Hindu Brahmins’ or they are Muslim extremists and colonialists.

20.And for information of those Pakistanis who wrongly think that people of Jammu and Kashmir are very eager to join Pakistan need to know that a recent survey conducted by a British Think Tank confirmed our contention that overwhelming majority of the people of Jammu and Kashmir DO NOT want to join Pakistan. According to the survey only 2% were brave enough to take therisk of joining Pakistan.

21.I know for sure that some people will always spread lies and live in fantasy world, as they don’t want to face reality. They will discard what I have written as propaganda, but I have written it for some sane souls who might benefit from the information provided.

I Never Really Cared For Ahmadis, By Fasi Zaka

By Fasi Zaka
Friday, June 18, 2010
(PHOTO : Fasi Zaka taking calls during his popular radio program, is also writer,columnist and TV and radio anchor in Pakistan)
Pakistan : I have never really been vocal about rights for Ahmadis, even privately, but my compassion trigger is easily pulled if there are atrocities against Pakistani Hindus and Christians. Part of this can be ascribed to my belief in the prejudice that the Ahmadis are a relatively well-off community, making the Christians and Hindus of Pakistan uniquely guilty of a double crime, first for not being Muslims and second for being poor. These two communities seem especially vulnerable.

I have changed my mind. And it’s not because of the attack in Lahore that killed so many Ahmadis. The whole country, Muslim and non-Muslim, is under attack by the Taliban.

What really helped me see the inhuman treatment of the Ahmadis in Pakistan is the absence of condemnation for it. Nawaz Sharif in his condolence message said Ahmadis were our brothers; it’s been enough to get the Pakistani religious world on his case. While sympathy is not outlawed for Ahmadis, it may as well be.

Those of us with a passport have declared that “I consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani to be an impostor prophet and an infidel and also consider his followers, whether belonging to the Lahori, Qadiani or Mirzai groups, to be non-Muslims.” Most of us do not believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani was a prophet, but do we have to rub it in? Imagine if the UK put in that sort of column for a prophet of another faith.

We have declared not just that we don’t believe in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, but added the connotation that he was an imposter. People who follow imposters must be crooks, right? Let’s stop the pretence that they are equal, or human.

But no, we are a peaceful people, right? Of course we are. I read a very poignant anecdote in columnist Mosharraf Zaidi’s article recently; he described how an old friend would never say salaam to him in return. His friend is an Ahmadi, he can go to jail for that. I cringe when I see Pakistanis stumbling over one another to felicitate a white westerner who chooses to say salaam when greeting us in our country. Why not put him in jail too? He could be an atheist, whereas at least the Ahmadis believe in the oneness of God.

But, you see it’s not about that. Ahmadis are a secretive people up to no good. They won’t even tell you they are Ahmadis. But who wouldn’t be secretive if they could go to jail for saying they are Muslim, or responding in kind to a salutation of salaam. Or for that matter having a Quran in their home, the same kind you and I have.

Sunnis don’t believe in the imam of the Shias. What about Barelvis and Bohris? Its time their special treatment ended. If anything we have been too moderate. We need to cut diplomatic relations with Indonesia because they refuse to declare Ahmadis non-Muslim as it may open a Pandora’s Box of declaring other groups the same. Why is the amir of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Munawar Hassan, silent on this? He could address this diplomatic issue, after all he did want to cut off diplomatic relations with many countries over the Facebook fiasco.

Pakistani Ahmadis aren’t allowed to go for Hajj, but Ahmadis from other countries are. Maybe we should cut off relations with Saudi Arabia too. Also, since we Muslims believe in equality, I would suggest all non-Muslim countries make it mandatory that we wear special collars to identify us as Muslim when we visit. Or is that going too far since we haven’t, obviously, in the case of the Ahmadis?

The truth is the bulk of this country doesn’t like Ahmadis. They are Pakistan’s Palestinians. Their humane treatment and acceptance will decide whether we are a people who can move forward in the future, or if we will become a fragmented warlord state divided on sectarian lines.

And yes, Ahmadis are worse off in Pakistan than Christians and Hindus. We want to forcibly convert Christians and Hindus. But Ahmadis shouldn’t exist. Period.