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Published in the 16-31 Jan 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition


How nice to see your wonderful webpage? Indeed, when I saw your website I got very happy because of having similar newspaper in Turkey called the Milli Gazete which is being published for nearly 32 years, alhamdulillah. On the other hand, seeing your website means that as being ummah we have many more brothers who are in every fields of life in the world. I will subscribe to your Gazette insha Allah as soon as possible in other words having suitable condition like taking money. As you know we Muslim students in the universities are getting more professional and be aware of events happening around us. But of course we are not like you who are so devoted, humble and capable of doing khedemat to Islam. Thank you very much for your service. 
Muhammad Izzeddin, Istanbul

Very good work you are doing no threats can deter your work. Go on and on...
It is like this during freedom struggle some rebellions/freedom fighters were doing underground publications of handbills and the British thought it as anti-crown activities. These communal forces see Muslims as anti-nationals. We must assert that we are pure Indian national and we want to assert and get our due share of our rights for the taxes which we pay, be it is sales tax or indirect tax on property or excise on any commodity we use. and in all respect we are Indian. Hence our rights and powers as a citizens should be equal to all others and we should not merely to be used as vote bank to allow them to rule over us. Don’t worry about the threats, go on courageously, it is a part of the game.
Husainali Dharamsi, Mumbai

Let me wholeheartedly appreciate your the Milli Gazette that is in itself a uniquely laid-out fortnightly amongst all the Indian newspapers.
M Atyab Siddiqui, NOIDA (U P)

Osmania University
Apropos of Mr. Ibrahim Usmani’s article on the selection of next VC of Osmania University, please permit me to correct an error. Osmania Univesity is not a minority university. All the same, it would be fair to appoint a Muslim preferably an academician of national stature, as its next VC, after 20 years gap.
Syed Shahabuddin

West and Islam
Apropos of " A war between old bedfellows " by a Muhammad Khalid from Oslo is very objectionable. I want to know whether he is a columnist or a simple reader. The article is full of contradictions and superficial evaluation of some complicated events of recent history of the world. His knwoledge of history and his respect to the men like Suckerno of Indonesia and Kamal Ataturk of Turkey identify his affiliation. He has tried to criticise and lambast the Mullahs and west, but target is the Islamists. His preceptors and their fellows are the most pro-West and sabotagers of the concept of ' Emarat and Khilafat' of Islamic state policy. I wonder, why he did not praise Parvez Musharraf in the same sentence where he lambasted Ziaul Haque. I conceive the same idea as his to so-called Mullahs. But I condemn his attribution as heroes to the butchers of Islamists and Islamic values whose contribution to Islam are well-known to all. Today Islam and Islamists are facing challenges worldwide from within and without . 

The challenges from within are : 1. The so-called progressive, pro-west and communist leaders and scholars in Muslim society. 2. Disunity among the Juristic schools. 3. Lack of interest in Islam among the Muslim masses . 4. The puppet governments led by the kings and autocrats installed by the colonial powers in their respective fiefdom . 

The challenges from without are: 1. The incarnation of middle age crusades in the west . 2. Zionists all over the world and middle East in particular. 3. Hindutva brigade in India. 4. And misinformed people among non- Muslims . 
Brother Khalid, please reorient your mindset and think seriously and sincerely for the whole Ummah . Our dignity, prosperity and future are integrated with Islam
Prof. Nurul Islam, Chanchal, Malda, WB

Triple talaq
There recently has been some new on Zee TV concerning the abolition of triple talaq in one sitting in India and a certain Maulana Quraishi seems to be spearheading this. We would appreciate it very much if you would kindly send the said information to us.
S A Aziz Shaikh Chairman/Secretary Quranic Shariah Council, South Africa
Editor: The All India Muslim Personal Board has not abolished triple talaq. In fact, it has no such authority. It has advised Muslims to desist from this abominable practice. Mr Abdur Rahim Qureshi is the spokesman of the board.

Islam, the religion of 21st century 
The 9/11 attack on US has opened a Pandora's box of various questions about Islam. After that incident Islam and its followers have been branded as fundamentalists and terrorists. There is a deliberate attempt to denigrate the ideology of Islam. Will this sinister campaign against Islam undermine the ideology of Islam? Akbar S. Ahmad in his book Islam under Siege, has offered a valuable insight. He has written that the 21th century will be the century of Islam. 

Islam is not only a metaphysical religion but it offers solution to the problems of human beings also. Islam does not discriminate on the basis of religion or caste. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had said in his last sermon in Mecca that neither an Arab had any superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab had any superiority over an Arab. Neither a white man had any superiority over a black man, nor a black man had any superiority on a white man and that they were the children of Adam who was created from clay.

Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi has written that Islam has no place for egotism and self-conceit, be individual or collective. Familial and sectarian pride as seen in Eastern and Islamic countries or the British imperialism, American Capitalism, Russian Communism all were patently un-Islamic ideologies. The nature of the world is inseparably linked with the social justice of Islam. 

In the words of Sarojini Naidu "the sense of justice is one of the most wonderful ideals of Islam, because as I read the Qur’an I find dynamic principles of life, not mystic but practical ethics for the daily conduct of life suited to the whole world." 
Obaidur Rahman Nadwi, Lucknow 

Narasimha Rao a great, but corrupt PM
Former prime minister late Congress leader PV Narasimha Rao was the father of Indian economic reforms. He was appointed general secretary of the party and served in the central government as cabinet minister many times because of his abilities. During his tenure as PM the Babri Masjid was demolished. Thereafter he was a confused and corrupt PM.
Noorullah Khan Falahi
New Delhi 

Best Bakery
Tehelka expose that Zaheera Sheikh was bribed to turn hostile is shocking enough that an entire govt. machinery behaves like criminals to stoop to an extent to sabotage the rule of law by buying the witness by hook or crook. Of course, Zaheera Sheikh betrayed the whole Muslim community and the secular citizens of the country just for money and vested interest.

She should be punished along with those criminals who tried to manipulate her. We will keep our fight alive till our last drop of blood against the communal forces.
Abdullah Khan, AMU, Aligarh

Lack of knowledge
Once upon a time I was reading an article, I found that due to lack of knowledge about other religions a lot of unfortunate incidents had taken place. India is home to many religions and cultures. Most of us don’t know the basic teaching of religions and criticise one one another’s religions.

The Jamia Millia Islamia has introduced a course on comparative religions in order to familarise students with the basic teachings of other religions and cultures. 
Noorullah Khan Falahi, New Delhi 

Islamic scholars 
Islamic scholars are the real heirs of prophets of Allah. They have great responsibilities because Islam and the mankind are in danger. The matter of concern is that even Islamic scholars are not in a position to detect the real issues disturbing Muslims and dividing them.

Indian Muslims are divided. The formation of the new Muslim Personal Law Board by some Ulema is an unfortunate development. Islamic scholars should come forward in solving the problems of Indian Muslims.
Dr Md. Farooque Azam
Editor, Ilam-o-Danish fortnightly, Bhagalpur

Careers in management
I have seen the articles in MG 16-31 December 04 issue. The author of the article has presented only plus points and omitted the minus points. Every student of catering institute has to have in house training in a hotel where he will have to spend part of the training in hotel bar and part of the training in the restaurant of the hotel where he has to serve alcohol to customers which is part of the training. How can we ask our youth to take to a profession where they will have to do things forbidden by the holy prophet. I will never advise our young men to take up catering course.

There are other courses available where there are good job opportunities in India and abroad also. I recommend Hospital Management. This is a course started by Apollo Hospital in collaboration with Australia. This is a three year course with international recognition. This will have great demand not only in India but also abroad. I strongly recommend this to our youth. May Allah guide us on the right path. Ameen.
MZ Chida, Chennai

Naxalite violence
Keeping in view the rising incidents of the Naxalite violence, the government must beef up security arrangements in the country. Uttar Pradesh is now also under the threat of Naxalite violence. 

UP Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has said that the Naxalite problem can be solved by concerted efforts and bringing the disgruntled into the mainstream. It is time that the general public should come forward in cooperating with government to combat the menace of Naxalites. 
Obaidur Rahman Nadwi, Lucknow 

Over 150,000 people were confirmed dead in India and seven other Asian countries from the December 26th earthquake and the resulting tsunamis.

Now the Question raised is could India and the other third world countries affected by this tragedy have reduced the human losses if they had known at least a few hours before the triggering of the effects of the earth quake. The answer is a very strong possibility.

Advanced industrial countries in the West have the early warning system in place and as a matter of fact they had observed the phenomena at least a few hours before the earthquake. 

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre and the International Tsunami Information Centre, both in Hawaii, detected the December 26th earthquake of Indonesia that generated the Indian Ocean tsunamis( AFP) and they had time to alert their friends( 26 advanced countries which were not likely to be devastated by the earthquake and the tsunamis) but God Knew best whether they deliberately or unintentionally failed to alert the poor Asian nations based on the silly notion that they were not members of the Information Centre.
But one of the meteorologists in the U.S.A. said we took it lightly and failed to communicate to other nations in the region because they are not members of the Centre (PTWC). Another official put the blame on the system of communication.
This is totally unacceptable. In the 21st century where super highways, internet facilities and cell phones exist for mass communication through out the world, the international Television stations like CNN and BBC alone could have broken the news about the earliest observation of the generating tragedy within an hour or so and just an hour or two is enough to warn several thousand people bathing, jogging and enjoying the sea breeze along the beaches and fishermen families living close to the sea shores and thus even the most rudimentary warning systems could have saved the lives of several thousand people caught totally unaware. 

The indifferent behaviour of the meteorologists of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre should be seriously investigated by the U.N.O. and should be charged under the laws of crimes against humanity if they had been found to act negligently. Negligence can not be ruled out considering the fact that Western Government planners and politicians have been dehumanising the lives of the people of the third world. The non-White race has become inconsequential and its people conceptually emasculated and reduced to "attitudes", "trends" and mere statistics as we helplessly witness Americans doing it in Iraq and the Zionists outdoing their American allies in Palestine 

For laymen like me the level of ignorance that a prestigious world Nuclear Club member(India) has, is simply shocking as we gather from the newspaper reports that the Director of India's Institute of Oceanography Mr. Satish R. Shetye had said that he found out only three hours after the disaster struck. 

What is much more appalling is that thousands of surviving victims received absolutely no help, no food, no first aid in some cases for more than 12 hours and in some cases for three days. True! It is a massive and unexpected tragedy. But do we have the system in place to meet such tragedies that pain the poor far more cruelly? 
We do have the resources but unfortunately since 1947 our politicians have been concentrating on wrong priorities and wasting the financial resources on less important show case projects. How would we justify poor countries like India and Pakistan spending about 15% of their GDPs on defence when about 30% of their population do not have the means to meet their basic necessities and are likely to be worst affected when a massive natural calamity strikes their nations. 

It is high time we took this tragedy as a wake up call from one true Almighty God and changed our beliefs, policies, systems, priorities, attitudes and managerial skills. 
P.A.Mohamed Ameen, Brunei

The ocean which provides sea food to mankind turned into a killer storm. It may be regarded as a warning from God to man to come out of his delusion that technological advancement cannot protect from the wrath of God. 
S. Akhtar Patel, Kanpur Deh-392150

Thundred and lightning! terror! 
darkness destruction, horror and death!
dead bodies scattered here and there 
ah! the volcanic eruption. Flood water 
running at Jet Speed! Catacalism and 
the sky looking red-hot with blood!
shrieks shrill screams — save! Save! 
help! Help! Run up lest we are dead 
this is the grave sitiuation caused 
by Tusnami in Southern Indian 
if is a national tragedy and in other respect an in international one.

As humanist I appeal to all 
individuals and organizations irrespective 
of the caste, creed and political ideology 
they follow to render all possible help 
to the victims of Tusnami. The the suffers are no other than our brothers, sisters and children.

We should not live for ourselves alone; 
we should live for others too 
whatever God has been pleased to give us, 
there is share of others also in it.

let us wake up to our conscience
and human responsibilities. Let us 
remember that the best form of prayer 
is to love man, Particularly when he in distress. 
let us contribute with both hands for the help, treatment and 
rehabilitation of the Tusnami Victims.
I express my fond regards and deep sense of gratitude to all individuals and organization that are coming up to this help.

Akhtar Hussain Aftab, Patna 


Voters should be paid for their votes
Where the best workable solution offered by an enterprising economist, to do justice to any poverty alleviation programme in India, will be to shower currency notes to the villagers from a helicopter, Election Commission wants to haul two election candidates, both from opposition parties to show cause why both of them should be prosecuted for offering a single lousy currency note of possibly a hundred rupees to two poor women of the poverty stricken Bihar state. That, when the world already believes how block votes have been routinely cornered through block payment of lump sum bribes to the block contractors, who sell votes to the highest bidder. 

Democracy will not suffer, if an institutionalized method could be devised to pay all voters a percentage of per capita national income, right across voting boxes. At least, their votes will then have some material value.


I can always tell when I am about to get into trouble, because words are coming out of my mouth or off my typewriter. I got into a little bit of trouble with my Thanksgiving article when I alluded to the importance of the ethical and humane treatment of animals by saying that it may be more halal (permitted) to eat a pig killed quickly and (supposedly) painlessly with a gunshot to the head than to eat a turkey that had suffered a torturous electrocution. Of course there are many health reasons -both known and possibly some unknown- that pork is forbidden, so my hyperbole (exaggerated claim) was taken more seriously than I intended. To help people forget that slip, I offer this even more offensive article. I'm joking! -- at least I hope I'm joking. I don't intentionally offend people; it just happens. Well, heck. 

Raised in the foothills of North Carolina, I have been a Muslim only five years now, and my perspectives are bound to reflect the Americana thinking of a country lifestyle that includes creasy greens and cornbread, raccoons in the chicken feed, firewood to be split, and Santa Claus in a plaid shirt. Yes, Santa still visits here even though Christmas morning begins with my husband's announcing the adhan (call to prayer). I've been told that "Christmas is un-Islamic," but it's not un-Islamic at my house where people of various faiths accumulate for Christmas dinner and a message from the Qur'an. Sometimes even strangers show up unexpectedly, but I always have extra goody bags (with treats and small gifts) so that everyone receives a Christmas present. After a halal dinner, we gather in the living room for prayer and to share poems, Scripture, songs, and even skits. This is the only time that our visitors ever hear Scriptures from the Qur'an, including the story of Mary and Jesus (peace upon them). Visitors not only hear the Qur'an, but we pass the Book around and the guests participate in reading aloud. 

Those whose childhood memories do not include the traditions of Christmas may not understand the American obsessions surrounding the holiday. Whether one enjoys old fashioned customs in the country or the dazzle of shimmering, city lights and bustling sidewalks, Christmas offers unique opportunities with family and friends, fun and excitement, charity and good deeds, tidings of peace and joy, homemade fudge, and unmatched festivities. Most people have many warm Christmas memories, so, just for kicks, here is a holiday `tail' from my mental scrapbook:

My daughter Tana saw a wind-up critter she wanted. To me it looked like a ferret, but the box said, `weasel.' Tom (my husband) thought it just looked like a tail with a ball on the end of it.

Later, when Tom was going out, I whispered for him to get the critter for a stocking-stuffer. Imagine the fit I took when he came back with a goofy toucan instead. I asked, "What made you get that goofy toucan?" "Because," he explained, "the sales lady didn't have a parrot." "Why would you get a parrot if she had one? You were supposed to get a weasel!" "You never said `weasel,'" he argued. "You told me to get a parrot." I continued complaining and finally said, "I can't understand why you'd drag home that goofy toucan when Tana wanted that stupid tail that looked like a ferret." Wait. Ferret. Parrot. The problem became clear.

The next day Tom went back to the store, and this is what he said to the sales lady: "I'm returning this toucan because my wife told me to get a `ferret,' but I thought she said `parrot,' and she had a fit when I came home with this goofy toucan instead of a weasel, and all I really want is a tail with a ball on the end of it." During the stunned silence that gripped the store, Tom glanced around to see that, not only the sales lady, but also all the customers, were staring at him with glazed eyes and dropped jaws. Finally Tom came home with the weasel, or ferret, or whatever it was, but by then Tana had decided she'd rather have the weird gorilla thing. :D

From my point of view, there seems to be three types of Christmases, and I think Muslims can find creative ways to perform dawa 
(witnessing) and good deeds in all three. The first type of Christmas is the religious, Christian holiday. 

When my sister Toy worked third shift in the hosiery mill, her crew had planned a Christmas supper the last work night before the holiday. When time came, everyone headed for the break room except an employee who had just started working there a couple days before. Toy approached and invited her to the supper. "How do you know it's the right day?" the woman spat. Toy answered, "I know it's tonight because it's been posted on the bulletin board for the last three weeks." The woman, a Jehovah's Witness, huffed impatiently. "I mean how do you know Christmas is on the right day?" "I'm not asking you to change your religion," Toy answered. "I'm just inviting you to come eat." The Jehovah's Witness refused the invitation and ate her sack lunch alone. 

There was another recently hired employee that night -a Muslim man. He not only contributed to the covered dish supper, he had also participated in the name-drawing for exchanging small gifts. He was a recent immigrant, and this was his first experience with Christmas. The Muslim expressed joy during the communion of dining, and he shared with the Christian and Jewish group his Islamic belief in the Gospel. 

So, who was the best representative of his or her religion?

I've read that the date of December 25th was chosen in order to coincide with the already-celebrated birthday of Mithras, the Roman god and guardian of imperial troops. To me, however, it seems of no consequence what affected people's decisions hundreds of years ago; what matters is what people do today and what is in their hearts and minds. Whether it's the "right day" or not, the miracle of Jesus' birth is commemorated, and the best thing about Christmas is that Muslims have this once-a-year opportunity to reach out to Christians and others about the truth of Islam as it relates to Jesus (peace upon him). Many people are led into a religious lifestyle because of their belief in Jesus; it makes perfect sense that such belief continues leading them into the better religious life that Islam offers. Why should we squander a golden opportunity just because it's not on the "right day" or because it's not an Islamic holiday? Mosques, Islamic organizations, and individual Muslims can find creative ways to invite non-Muslims to meet Jesus as an Islamic figure, and the spirit of Jesus may lead some of them to accept Islam and receive the "double mercy" promised in Surah 57: 28.

Besides, it's really a good thing that Christmas comes to us during the winter -the time when people are most in need of warm shelters, hot food, coats and gloves, and laughter and cheer (as winter is said to be psychologically more depressing than other seasons). Because of the Christian belief that Jesus is God's gift to humanity, the emulation of giving is an important part of the holiday. Not only are gifts exchanged among friends and family, but also gifts and services are provided for strangers. Without the focus on charity during December, many individuals and families in America would be left out in the cold. Muslims can witness for Islam by volunteering to help with charitable projects sponsored by businesses and organizations. The best thing about Christmas is that the needy can be helped as the image of Islam gets a boost when others see Muslims involved in "the Christmas spirit" (the spirit of giving). 

There is also the secular Christmas that includes the extravagant commercialism associated with the holiday. The day after Thanksgiving is called "black Friday" because storeowners can begin making more entries in black ink instead of red in their accounting books. It has been estimated that the average Christmas shopper will spend $700 this year between black Friday and Christmas Eve. Zowee! The real Santa Claus would probably be shocked at how his good deeds have been exploited for the purpose of reaping sales. 

When I was little, my older brother tried to tell me that Santa Claus was not real. I would not be convinced, however, that an elfish, jolly, little man in a red suit did not come down the chimney, eat the cookies I left for him, and fill my dirty sock with fruits, candy, jacks, and crayons. Exasperated, my brother resorted to a higher authority. At our old homestead, either of two resources settled all disputes. One was the family Bible [the Qur'an had not yet been revealed -at least not to us]; the other was a big, red, A-Z encyclopedia that Mama had gotten with savings stamps from the grocery store. Whatever was in the Bible or in the red book was considered fact -end of discussion. "Go get the red book," my brother Jimmy ordered. He looked up "Santa Claus" and confidently began to read out loud, but Jimmy soon became flustered as he read of "Sinter Klass," originally from Turkey, who showed his love for children by making wooden toys and leaving them in the children's shoes outside their dwellings on Christmas Eve. Because of Santa's legendary testimony, "the Santa Claus spirit" became a simile for the spirit of giving at Christmastime.

Where I live, there are many Jews who witness in the spirit of Santa Claus. At one restaurant owned by a Jew, the owner closes for business on Christmas Day but cooks a traditional, holiday dinner for disadvantaged families. A synagogue collects toys, and a Jewish man dresses like Santa and gives toys to the poor children visiting the restaurant. Other Jews voluntarily cover for Christian employees who would otherwise have to work on Christmas Day. Some Jews, as well as Christians, help elderly and handicapped people with Christmas shopping, and also purchase gifts for families whose possessions, including Christmas presents, suddenly vanish in house fires or burglaries. If Jews, who regard Jesus as just another Jewish martyr during Roman oppression, can reflect the goodness of Christ through such impressive mitzvot (good deeds), certainly Muslims can do at least as much. The best thing about Christmas is that there are so many opportunities to show the world that Santa Claus was really a Muslim at heart.

The best Christmas is the one of a universal, interfaith connection. Christmas is not only a Christian holiday, it is an American holiday in which wishes of global peace and prosperity ring in the air. It is a time of good will that transcends all races, religions, and cultures. When Irving Berlin was asked how he, a Jew, could write the song "White Christmas," he answered, "I can because I can write as an American." American Muslims also can join in a silent hymn traveling to Allah (blessed is He) from the hearts of all peace-loving Americans during this festive season. 

It may seem hypocritical for Americans to be celebrating a day of joy, peace, and good will while our government leaders seem hell- bent on destroying the world, but we citizens are no longer an integral part of a government "of the people, for the people, and by the people," and we must latch onto whatever resources are available to counteract a government out of control. From the exploitation and genocide of Native American Indians to the indiscriminate atomic bombing at the end of WW2 to the `punitive war' waged against Iraqi civilians, the United States writes its own continuing saga of terrorist activities. Whether or not any given war is justified, we must never keep silent about the senseless acts of injustice and oppression accompanied with the punitive war (the war within the war, the purpose of which is to break the morale of civilians until they become accepting of whatever their fate). Hope and faith are powerful weapons of mass preservation, and the best thing about Christmas is that it affords a special time for all Americans to unite our energies into one living sonnet of love with the purpose of affecting a world in distress. When my son Duston ("Dusty") was eight years old, our family attended a Christmas Eve party. The party was festive, but the atmosphere was secular. Late in the evening, the host and hostess invited us to see a century-old, log house that they had just restored after bringing it, piece-by-piece, from the mountains where it was about to be destroyed for road construction. The guests were talking and laughing loudly as we all admired the detailed restoration and antique furnishings. Dusty asked the hostess if he could offer a song in honor of those long-ago inhabitants whose laughter was remembered only by the silent logs now embracing a wholly different generation. Everyone grew quiet, and as I wondered from where came that angelic voice, Dusty gave the most inspiring rendition of "Silent Night" that anyone there had ever heard. Long after the song was finished, silence kept its hold on the treasure of the moment as people wiped tears from their eyes. The song had suddenly reminded them that Jesus, as indicated in the Qur'an, is "a sign" and "a mercy" for humanity (Surah 19: 21). The best thing about Christmas is that it gives us pause to reflect upon the amazing bounty of Allah's love shown to us through all the divine messengers including Muhammed the Seal of the Prophets (peace!). 

My friend Debra refers to Christmas songs as "infectious." I hope some of them are -well, maybe not "Gran'maw got run over by a reindeer," but here are a few lines (from different Christmas songs) with which we should like to infect the world: ".Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.. I pray that every lonely soul will be fed and warmed and that not a single child will be harmed.. God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.. Peace and love will come to all if we just follow the Light.. There would be no more lives torn apart, and wars would never start, and time would heal all hearts.."

According to a hadith (teaching), Muhammed (peace!) said, "The son of Mary will surely come down as a fair judge." Many people hope for the Messianic Age at which time Christ (Messiah) will come to judge the nations and rid governments of corruption. Even those who do not accept a literal return of Jesus can hope for a metaphoric return in which the true Gospel replaces invented doctrines. People of all religions of Light -particularly the Abrahamic religions-- must work together as we focus on our consonant values of faith, hope, charity, honesty, wisdom, and good will until the world enters a spiritual and intellectual renaissance that propels us ever closer to being ready to receive the Messianic Age of justice and righteousness. 

The best thing about Christmas is that it keeps the hope of world peace alive. I'm just a simple, country gal, but the hope of world peace sure sounds Islamic to me. 
Linda "iLham" Barto


Within hours of Aceh tsunami hitting the coasts of nations around Indian Ocean, the first to face the world with a reassuring message of relief and rehabilitation, was not Bush, Blair, Putin, Koizumi or Hu Jintao. It was India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. While Bush came out with a $15 million, a measly amount in comparison to $3.6 billion for Florida tornado disaster that took 116 lives, and offered aid to India towards relief, India found it convenient as well as appropriate to decline the offer and assured of its full capacity to cope with the disaster, at least as far as Indian shores were concerned. Gone were the days, when the first port of call for all heads of Indian government was either the US or the UN, whenever any big calamities hit its people. That newly acquired confidence will not go unnoticed by the rest of the world. India has come of age, and as befits a nation aspiring to be counted on the highest seats of world governance, India had taken the first step to project itself as a self-sufficient and responsible nation that could take care of its people without having to go around the world with a begging ball. 

The next, step for India, will be, no doubt, to look beyond its borders and treat all such natural tragedies as common concern of all the people of the world. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has come out of that centuries old Brahmanical taboo that ghettoized India to its own shores. In today’s globalized world, India under the new leadership, has confidently and promptly acquired the new accoutrements that perfectly suit the native ethos of a people humane enough to populate this vast continent of a nation, without any reference to ideologies of religion, caste, region, race and languages. Let all such ideologies compete to fit the criteria of being the best suited to India’s coming of age and its humanitarian contribution to the peace and well-being of the world. 



Bush proposes, God disposes. The second among the US shooting gallery of evil empires, starting with Soviet Russia, was none other than the Shiite Iran. 

Rumsfeld visited Iraq and met Saddam in a famous picture that shows the historical complicity of the US defense establishment to court Saddam to bring a regime change in Iran, through a proxy war. 

Eight long years and hundreds and thousands of Iraqis and Iranians dead, did not accomplish US goals in Iran. Iran is now progressed to become a potential nuclear threat to US and its protégé Israel. 

US invasion of Iraq, was to give US a more pliable regime in Iraq, to undertake a lesser category of regime change by using Iraq, its people, its armed forces and its staging post to once again try a first degree regime change through direct invasion of Iran. 

That goal seems to have been botched as the much touted democratic rule that US is promising to Iraqi people and the doubting world, with the never factored possibility that the majority in any democratic result, would bring in a Shia majority rule in Iraq, and would strengthen Shia ties between any new Iraqi regime and the brotherly Shia Iran. 

As the dire prospects of a new axis of evil appears to be developing with Iraq too joining the cavalcade, US planners are rushing to new tactics to introduce new spanners in the works, in the classis strategies of ‘divide and rule’. 

It is anybody’s guess how far the new Shia dominated government will be handicapped by US stranglehold on all its lifelines. But the prospects of a new factor --- unplanned, unintended, unexpected --- is bound to further mess up the clean frontlines drawn up by Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz.


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