Saturday, 9 October 2021

Are we the same people?

Are we the same people?

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The fact is India and Pakistan are really different; Muslim League leaders demanded and separated from India to have their own country called Pakistan fearing that Hindus may dominate and suppress others. In the last seventy two years, India and Pakistan have gone their own way. India progressed as a country is respected in the comity of nations, while Pakistan is considered as a failed state that exports terrorism. Both were independent nations in 1947. India is a vibrant and biggest democracy in the world with secular and liberal credentials. While Pakistan is an Islamic nation and martial law was imposed many times in Pakistan by the military rulers.......

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Many people wonder whether we are the same.  And if so why do we react and behave differently? A foreigner friend of mine once asked – ‘Are Indians and Pakistanis the same? They look alike but there’s something, which makes them different. Indians are tolerant, literate with a wider outlook and Pakistanis, intolerant, majority are illiterate with narrow outlook.

I responded – We may look alike. We may dress similarly. We may eat the same kind of food. We may share the common culture, history and tradition. There may be many commonalities, but we are not the same. There is something which sets us apart. If we were the same, then why did we part in August 1947? Why did they demand a separate Muslim nation? Why did we fight four wars? You ask a Pakistani, he too might tell you the same. Though we share a common border, we are different just like we share a common border with China and are very different from them.

Some of the politicians from north, in the early years were bent upon convincing that Pakistanis are our brothers, unjustly separated from us, who long for peace and friendship with India. The truth is that Pakistan is a separate Islamic nation, distinct, independent country. Just as you see the external similarities between us; look closely and deeper, you will find distinct dissimilarities in us – in politics, the people, the dressing their approach to problems, their mindset and thinking, their home-grown problems, their government, etc.

The fact is India and Pakistan are really different; Muslim League leaders demanded and separated from India to have their own country called Pakistan fearing that Hindus may dominate and suppress others. In the last seventy two years, India and Pakistan have gone their own way. India progressed as a country is respected in the comity of nations, while Pakistan is considered as a failed state that exports terrorism. Both were independent nations in 1947. India is a vibrant and biggest democracy in the world with secular and liberal credentials. While Pakistan is an Islamic nation and martial law was imposed many times in Pakistan by the military rulers. In between sham elections were held, but the real power is in the hands of the Pak army. No Prime Minister can survive without the support of the army top brass in Rawalpindi. Imran Khan is the Prime Minister, but the real power is with the army.

Most of the kids of the Pakistan army personnel are studying abroad. And after retirement, the army generals go abroad and settle in UK, US, Australia, Canada and other countries. The common man suffers making it difficult to survive with mismanagement and rising prices. May be this forces them to get violent or pick up the gun. Even today with threats and warnings from FATF and IMF, and sanctions looming large, the ruling party and media are singing praises of Imran Khan though some leaders and a few from the media criticize him for destroying Pakistan. Some, like Fiza Khan, a Television anchor even claims him to be a world leader of stature who is respected and heard by the world. But everyone knows the truth. His motor-mouth statements and interviews along with uncalled for statements and utterances by his ministers, mainly Sheikh Chilly Rashid and Fawad Choudhary do a lot of harm to the country. With the economic crises, political isolation, terrorist activity, prices rising, no one knows where the country is heading. They have been exposed for playing a double game in Afghanistan. It will cost them dearly. US and its allies are already working on taking action.

The people of India know what they want and where they are heading. To be one of the top 3-4 economies in the world, this tells the story of India’s long term planning, progress and influence around the world. It is respected and India’s views are considered. Still Pakistan tries to compare itself with India after more than seventy years of independence. The people of India and Pakistan might look the same but they are vastly different from each other. We see things in a different perspective of carrying everyone along in our journey to progress. Pakistan keep talking about Islam and the masses are fed with false history and stories of bravado of the Pakistan army and their leaders.

The Pakistan government doesn't think on long term policies with its merits for the benefit of Pakistan. Their mindset is such that they look for short term policy which can benefit the army and politicians. The army officers and politicians are rich with most of their children living abroad. The vast majority of the population is poor and illiterate. They are fed with lies, glorifying Pakistan, wrong history and hatred for India, especially Hindus. They don’t talk about Osama bin Laden being killed by the Americans in Pakistan. He is hailed as martyr. Rest is all Indian propaganda.

However whatever happens in Pakistan will have some consequences for India. India has to be a quiet observer and watch what unfolds or happens there from time to time. It is clear – we are not the same people. And they too feel the same. Until 1947 we may have been the same, but they were brainwashed into believing they're a separate community, different and superior and India is out to destroy them. And partition happened on 15 August 1947. The two nations went their way but the animosity continued.

Trying to prove we are the same, creates more mistrust and suspicion. Sometimes, being different and accepting it with mutual respect for one another, helps to give peace a better chance! To understand the Pakistanis better one should just have a look at their media or TV channels. The anchors, the so called political analysts, defense strategists, ex-army officers or experts blame all their failures are due to India. Anything wrong that happens in Pakistan, it's immediately blamed on India. Everything is due to Indian conspiracy or a result of Indian propaganda. These anchors or experts are either really ignorant or illiterate, it shows from the way they speak lies and direct venom against India. And their vastly illiterate population believes them without knowing the facts.

Ask any Pakistani about the four wars Pakistan initiated against India, they will say that Pakistan won all the four wars and their brave Pakistan army defeated the coward Indian invaders. They have an Indian obsession though it's over seventy years since Pakistan was formed. And they're shocked and jealous of India's progress - its power, its rising economy, its world-wide influence in business, industry, trade, corporate and foreign investment. And visit of top political leaders, diplomats and officials from other leading countries to India regularly, and also Indians occupying senior positions in top notch multinational companies in USA and around the world.

Listen to the Pakistani anchors and experts like Fiza Khan, Qamar Cheema, Zaid Ahmed, Anika, Hilali and others, they give an impression that Pakistan is a progressive, rich, modern and a vibrant country, very influential, leader of the Muslim world and economically well off and a major player in this region. And have every right to interfere in Afghanistan and play a major role in guiding the Taliban. Also claim they have sacrificed and contributed a lot for Afghanistan and helped Americans in the war on terror for decades. And claim to be victims of terrorism. And try to glorify Pakistan as a strong country with a strong and powerful army and ISI the number one intelligence agency in the world. However there are a few sane voices like Arzoo Kazmi, Aalia Shah, Najam Sethi, Hamid Mir and Hasan Nissar who believe in facts and present the truth. But some of them are abused and called traitors but nevertheless they continue to report objectively.

But the fact is otherwise, Pakistan is in a chaos, the economy is in shambles with IMF and FATF imposing strict penalties. The Imran Khan government is on a borrowing spree from various agencies and countries. Nobody believes Pakistan and it's seen as the epicenter of terrorism and an exporter of terror. Osama bin Laden was found to be hiding here. And its claim to be a player in the region is a myth. It's more of a trouble creator. Major terrorist organizations are based here. And many UN designated terrorists are given shelter here. Every other day, there is some blast or killing in the Afghan-Pak border areas or we hear of Pakistan army soldiers being attacked by different factions of Taliban. It's almost isolated in the world, except for support from China and Turkey to some extent. They too are realizing the futility in supporting Pakistan.

Pakistanis fail to realize before August 1947 they were part of India and their ancestors were Hindus, who were converted by coercion or by force. They disown their culture, history and their origin. They try to make false and funny claims of being Arabs, Turks, Afghans, etc. They're all in a confused state of mind without a history, tradition and culture. Tarek Fateh a critic of this thought tries to remind them of their origin, culture and past and he is criticized for it. He is also called a traitor. Though some educated Pakistanis are accepting the facts and regretting of having separated from India.

The Pakistanis praise and claim the invaders of Hindustan as their heroes though they have nothing to do with them. They have named their missiles after Gazi and Ghaznavi. Claim Abdali as the saviour of Islam by defeating the Hindu Marathas in the battle of Panipat. What kind of mindset can you expect from them who overlook their own history, culture and roots? The Arabs look down upon them. They're not welcome in many countries. Their passport is looked at with disdain and suspicion and many a times it attracts questioning, body search and special checks. It's not only common Pakistanis but also politicians and actors. A popular Pakistani actress in a TV interview narrated the treatment meted out to them with tears in her eyes. She emphasized about the insult and this is how they are treated in foreign airports, especially western airports.

The joke going around India - how do the Pakistani Generals and officers go around with medals tucked on their uniform though they have lost all wars? They even forget to make a mention of how they lost half their country in 1971 and 93,000 troops surrendered before the Indian Army in Dhaka. If reminded, they just wave it off saying its Indian propaganda. And now it hurts them to see how Bangladesh has gone ahead of Pakistan in many fields with a healthy economy, high GDP, the people whom they looked down upon, calling them names and teasing them for being dark, short and speaking Bengali.

Imran Khan when he became Prime Minister was hailed as an educated PM who could present Pakistan's views and arguments on the world stage. But he turned out to be a politically novice and illiterate about world affairs. He once said - Germany and Japan share borders. Though they fought against each other are now together. He continues his faux pas and makes loose statements and continues to put his foot in the mouth. Many of his statements have done more harm than good for Pakistan.

Pakistan is almost a size of an Indian state. They try to compare anything and everything with India, little realising India is far ahead of Pakistan in every field, be it the armed forces, economy, education, literacy, health care, manufacturing, trade, exports, etc. But the politicians and media are bent on comparing itself with India.  Any debate or discussion is not complete without any reference or criticism of India. Pakistan is not taken in seriously in the world. Their intolerant face and suppression of minorities are highlighted in the media.

Pick up any school book of history in Pakistan, children are taught hatred against non-Muslims. Islam is glorified. They are taught Hindus are Khafirs, inferior and that they ill-treat women. The nation was born out of hatred for Hindus. And they continue to do so. So every generation are taught to hate Indians and Hindus.  The recent news about Ramayana and Mahabharata being included in school syllabus and a temple being built in one of the Gulf countries has upset them. The exhibiting of a model of Ram Mandir in Dubai Expo is breaking news. This shows their intolerance. See their media and their TV channels or social media. It is full of venom against India. They blame India for all their failures. Indian conspiracy and Indian propaganda are the favourite words of the anchors and experts. Now with internet and social media, many Pakistanis are learning the truth as to how the government, army and media are hiding their failures and blaming it on India, and how the general public is fooled. And learn how Pakistan is fast moving towards becoming a failed state.

When you mention India, the world looks at it positively as a world leader, a strong economy, a large market with well developed infrastructure, modern industries, IT giant with educated, skilled and hard-working people, a progressive country worth collaborating with and investing in. And when you mention Pakistan, the world looks at it with suspicion, a country sheltering terrorists and an exporter of terror with large illiterate population with extremist views and with its economy in shambles and the government on a borrowing spree, nobody would take the risk of investing there. Chanakya, the ancient Indian thinker had pronounced – those who don’t know their history will soon be bereft of their geography.

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Monday, 27 September 2021

From a Dumb Wax doll to Iron Lady!

 


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From a Dumb Wax doll to Iron Lady!

From mom ki gudiya to ma durga it had been quite a journey until she was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards, who turned to be Kalistani sympathizers on 31 October 1984. Indira Gandhi was known for her strong personality and also went to war with Pakistan supporting the Independence Movement in East Pakistan leading to formation of Bangladesh. The Goongi gudiya, who went on to become Iron Lady. Atal Behari Vajpayee addressed her as Ma Durga.

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When she was chosen as the leader of the Congress party to be the first woman Prime Minister, no one gave her a chance and opposition expected her to be weak and quit with the burden of all the issues and problems facing a developing country. India lost two stalwarts, Nehru and Shastri in a short span of few years. The question was who would be the next Prime Minister of India. Kamraj, the Congress President, who didn’t approve of Morarji Desai for his outdated ideas and opinions, became the king maker by suggesting and putting forward the name of Indira Gandhi, a novice and whose experience was only as the Information and Broadcasting minister under the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Indira Gandhi was not the automatic choice of the Congress party leadership, which was dominated by a group of old congressmen. Opposition leaders and senior politicians and her detractors such as Morarji Desai, would often call her - Mom ki gudiya and Goongi gudiya in an effort to undermine her.

But soon people saw glimpses of what Indira Gandhi is capable of. She soon grasped the understanding of governance, foreign affairs, economy and politics of the country. Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. In the Congress Party's Parliamentary leadership election held in early 1966 caused by the death of Prime Minister Shastri, she defeated her rival Morarji Desai to become leader, and thus succeeded Lal Bahadur Shastri as the first woman Prime Minister of India.

As she took over as the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi had to face several challenges, internal as well as external. After the Tashkent declaration and the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri in Moscow, Pakistan felt they could pressurize India and bully the new Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. She handled the turmoil within Congress, after the part split into two, Congress (I) and Congress (O). Her party took charge and literally wiped out Congress (O), which mainly consisted of old and senior congressmen. Later some returned to her fold and others vanished from the scene. As days and months went by, she showed strong acumen of a natural and stern leader. She was opposite of her father in terms of thinking and taking action. She had the will and guts to face tough situations internally and externally. The world looked at her and India with respect.

She was capable and faced the super power America with aplomb. She showed the world she is a strong leader capable of handling external challenges too. The year was 1971 and the month November. The genocide in East Pakistan was forcing lakhs of refugees to flee and seek shelter in the border states of India. It put enormous pressure on India. And Indira Gandhi decided to do something about it as no major powers were willing to intervene. In fact they were supporting Pakistan. Richard Nixon announced – If India pokes its nose in Pakistan, US will not keep its trap shut. India will be taught a lesson.

And Indira Gandhi responded – India regards America as a friend. Not a boss, India is capable of writing its own destiny. We know and are aware how to deal with each one according to circumstances. Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi articulated these exact words sitting with the US President Richard Nixon in the White House, while maintaining an eye-to-eye contact. This incident was narrated by the then Secretary of State and NSA, Henry Kissinger, in his autobiography.

That was the day when the Indo-US joint media address was cancelled by Indira Gandhi who walked away from the White House in her inimitable style. Kissinger, while ushering Indira Gandhi to her car, had commented - Madam Prime Minister, don't you feel you could have been a little more patient with the President? Indira Gandhi replied -Thank you, Mr Secretary, for your valuable suggestion. Being a developing country, we have our backbones straight and enough will and resources to fight all atrocities. We shall prove that days are gone when a power can rule and often control any nation from thousands of miles away.

Thereafter, as soon as her Air India Boeing touched down at Palam runway in Delhi, Indira Gandhi summoned the leader of the opposition, Atal Behari Vajpayee to her residence. Post an hour of discussion behind closed doors, Vajpayee was seen hurrying back. It was thereafter known that Vajpayee would be representing India at the United Nations. For the first time, an opposition leader would be representing his country to put forth its views and policies.

Donald Paul of BBC had jumped in with a question to Vajpayee - Indira ji regards you as a staunch critic. In spite of that, are you sure you'd be at the United Nations shouting your throat out in favour of the incumbent Government? Vajpayee had a repartee - A rose adorns a garden, so does a Lily. Each is beset with the idea that they are individually the most beautiful. When the garden falls in a crisis, it's no secret that the garden has to safeguard its beauty as one. I have come today to save the garden. This is called Indian Democracy.

The resultant history is all known to us. America sent 270 famed Patton tanks to Pakistan. They called the world media to demonstrate that these tanks were produced under exclusive technology, and are thus indestructible. Their intention was very clear. This was a warning signal to the rest of the world that no one should help India. America did not stop here.  US companies supplying to India were told to stop supply. They were sternly told by US to cease dealing with India anymore. India's effort thereafter was only about fighting back. Indira Gandhi's incisive diplomacy ensured supplies from other sources..

In the western border, in the war with Pakistan, the battle that lasted just a day and it destroyed a majority of the 270 Patton tanks in the Thar Desert. The destroyed tanks were brought into India for display at traffic crossings. The hot deserts of Rajasthan, still stands as a witness where US pride was decimated. America realized India’s resolve under Indira Gandhi and her close ally, Russia. The Bangladesh war lasted for eighteen days with the signing of the document of surrender by Gen Niazi in charge of East Pakistan, and thereafter culminated in the surrender of 93,000 Pakistani soldiers as prisoners of war. Pakistan lost half its territory with the birth of Bangladesh. Its forces had to publicly surrender to India. Mujibur Rahman was released from Lahore Jail. Later in the month of March, Indira Gandhi recognized Bangladesh as an independent nation in the Indian Parliament. . The Goongi gudiya, who went on to become Iron Lady of India. In 1999, Indira Gandhi was named 'Woman of the Millennium' by a BBC poll.

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Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Home with the old world charm?


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Home with the old world charm?

You must have experienced it. When you enter a expensive, well designed home with everything perfect but still doesn’t appeal to you, but when you enter a simple home with a touch of old world charm with its imperfections, catches your eyes and makes you feel homely and comfortable. You immediately connect with that home...

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Can I design my own home? Is a designer must for designing your home? Many a times, people are in a fix whether to hire an expert to do their house or do it themselves. If you believe in your personal touch, opt for the latter. Be it an apartment, a villa, cottage or a bungalow. I am sure it will cost you less and give you a satisfaction of doing your own home as you dreamt of doing it. I can tell you from experience, the thrill, the challenges and the final satisfaction are worth feeling.

You must have experienced it. When you enter a expensive, well designed home with everything perfect but still doesn’t appeal to you, but when you enter a simple home with a touch of old world charm with its imperfections, catches your eyes and makes you feel homely and comfortable. You immediately connect with that home.

I appreciate the expert's work and feel interior decorators are expensive. They are fine for offices, hotels, restaurants and other public places, where one expects a creative layout, colourful, good design and perfection. I believe if you have a little creative bent of mind, a good sensibility and know what you want, it’s nicer to do the home yourself because you know your needs best. Where to put which furniture and what design, texture and colour of furnishing, curtains to go for or even which shade to paint the walls of different rooms. And what lamps you need and where the lighting, fans and air-conditioners are to be fixed. You have the freedom for your personal choice in all the items and décor.

Have you ever walked into a beautiful home and were struck by the traditional look. I am referring to the décor which makes an impact by its simplicity and brings the living area alive and vibrant. You feel refreshed and feel to be there longer. The vintage look attracts your attention and pleases your eyes.

The look comes as authentic and not-so-perfect or professional, but is eye-catching. An interior designer tends to make it perfect, stylish, but lifeless, rather than a cosy home with a personal touch, where imperfections become perfections! I think such a home helps one to lead a natural and beautiful life, carefree and comfortable ambiance, sitting in your own home sweet home.

As you know best all your needs and requirements of each room, may it be your living room, dining room, bedroom or kitchen; with a little bit of creativity, design the home of your dreams! It may not be fully perfect but the imperfection starts to look the highlight of the home. From contemporary charm, bohemian spirit to rustic feels, give your house the desired look by customizing your interiors and furniture, with a help of a skilled carpenter. And a beautiful mix of themes if the layout and décor demands so. Keep it sleek, simple and stylish with a touch of old. If space permits, a small garden will be an added attraction.

Ethnic interiors with a dash of pastel colours which look neat, subtle and sophisticated are needed. With a touch of vintage, with artifacts, indoor plants, wall hangings, photo frames or antique show pieces and a hint of contemporary fashion if you need. The décor tells about your individual taste and lifestyle. It reflects your thinking and outlook to life.

A word of caution for senior citizens; many of them after retirement, tend to retire from cities to towns to lead a peaceful and quiet retired life. Some of them, out of excitement go for big houses, spending a big chunk of their savings. Big houses need décor accordingly. Remember most of the time, only you and your spouse will be living in it. Occasionally your children or relatives or close friends may come to visit you. Huge houses are difficult to maintain in terms of money and area to clean regularly. 

Since it’s difficult to get house help, most of the time you will have to do the cleaning and housekeeping. Keep this in mind when planning to relocate after retirement. Remember your loved ones or children will not be shifting with you. So have a decent, spacious and a comfortable house with the modern amenities and a spare guest room for your loved ones, friends and relatives who can come over to spend a few days with you. This will serve you well, easy to manage and maintain.

A decent home needs a lot of planning in terms of layout, space, location of different rooms, proper positioning of amenities and utilities. You don't make a home often, so care should be taken to cover all aspects that will take care of your comforts, the sitting area, maybe even a cosy corner where you can relax or work at leisure. Make your house into a beautiful dream home with a natural, simple, vintage, a bit imperfect and sophisticated at the same time. Be it young or old or retired folks, it makes a personal, cosy and comfortable home for all. The old world charm makes for a happy and peaceful living. Truly a beautiful and protected nest!

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