Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Although it may seem that your death has been forgotten, wherever you may be, know that your death was not in vain and that some of us do remember. You never knew us, but your death influenced us profoundly. Rest in Peace.
- Any fresher pays the same fees as the senior students and is thus entitled to use the same facilities that any senior can use;
- As a citizen, a fresher has a right to lead a life of dignity and liberty without having to bow down to anybody, senior or peer;
- Beating, abusing and forced acts of depravity are against the rule of law and every fresher has the right to protect himself from them, while the Institution and society at large are bound to protect that right;
- Law does not force a fresher to call his seniors 'Sir' or 'Ma'am' and although it may be done voluntarily, a fresher also has the right not to do the same and the Institution is bound to respect and protect that right; and
- Freshers represent an important section of college society and have the right to participate in all events and organizations that function within that society.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
May 16, 2018
The Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh
The morning prayers had just ended. Tezi Toko, a young monk at the monastery, lifted his head from prayer. Today’s prayers had been special, for a new batch of monks had just joined them. Life was quiet in Tawang, with people minding their own lives, including the monks and priests at the Monastery.
But Tezi had heard some disturbing rumours from the village: strange men in Army uniform had been seen across the mountains. Tawang, being a disputed site between India and China, was not new to Army men, but these seemed different. Some people had suggested that the Chinese were invading, but most people had brushed that theory aside. The Indian Army would never allow that to happen, they said. They had reposed faith in the tricolour that flew majestically in the village square.
Just then, there was a sudden scream from an adjoining corridor. Tezi rushed there to see another fellow monk looking out of the window in horror. Smoke was rising from the village outside and people were running helter-skelter in fear. Women and children could be seen screaming as families tried to stay together. The fire was spreading quickly, but its source was not immediately apparent.
Tezi strained his eyes to see where the fire was coming from, until he finally saw them. A band of uniformed men tossing grenades at whatever, or whoever, they could lay their eyes upon. Within moments, the village roads turned crimson. But when Tezi looked upwards, towards the horizon, his skin tingled in horror. There, a sea of soldiers could be seen marching towards the village. It felt as though the end of the world had arrived for Tawang.
Tezi returned to his chambers and knelt down to pray. He tried to concentrate on his prayer, but his mind kept wandering. He wondered how long it would take for the invaders to reach the Monastery. He knew it wouldn’t take them long once they reached the village square. But they would stop, at least briefly, at the Square. They had to take care of the tricolour, after all.
December 21, 2012
Onboard the Prime Minister’s Special Aircraft from New Delhi to Beijing
Although he seemed calm answering the media’s questions, the Prime Minister had a lot on his mind. This trip to Beijing was to be significant, as the two countries were all set to sign a Comprehensive Convention of Economic Cooperation and a number of security-related pacts.
But that was what the world was looking at. Over the past few years, India had been silently negotiating with Bangladesh to allow it to use its roads to transport goods and people – including soldiers – from and to the North East. It was exhausting, but necessary. Simultaneously, India had begun scaling up its border security along the Siliguri Corridor, which remains the weakest security point of the nation.
The Prime Minister knew that it would be foolish for the Chinese to ever invade India. But he also knew that if it were ever confronted with downfall, the Communist Party could act very foolishly. And, as they say, a strong body with a weak mind is a very dangerous combination.
This is a story that I wrote for Kshitij. It's purely a work of fiction.
May 13, 2018
Somewhere in Chengdu Military Province, China (bordering Bhutan)
The mood in the Control Room was tense. Everybody’s eyes were glued to their screens as they followed the tiny red dots on the Global Positioning System. It was crucial that they were not found, at least not this early into the Operation.
General Qin Zhang had just finished a top-secret call with the Premier. Everything was going as planned. Things were bad in Beijing, protests had broken out everywhere and it had become near impossible to control the mob of angry students.
Just two days back, the Communist Party’s worst nightmare had come true: the little island of Taiwan had proclaimed Independence, ending over seven decades of existence as a pseudo-state. Mainland China had failed to prevent this unilateral secession and people saw this as a crushing blow to the Government. Now, there were voices calling for the Communist Party to relinquish power and atone for its failure. And again, as it had done in Tiananmen Square, the Party had called on the People’s Liberation Army to save it.
But that was easier said than done. Within hours of the Taiwanese declaration, the United States invoked its Taiwan Relations Act and covered Taiwan under its nuclear umbrella. American Naval bases in Japan and South Korea sprung to life as the entire Taiwan Sea was converted into a fortress. Cruisers, submarines, carriers: nothing could pass the American cordon. Nuclear threats were meaningless before the Superpower.
But something had to be done to reassure the people that the Party could protect China’s sovereignty. After hectic discussions, the Party and the PLA had finalised Operation Southern Tibet. It was necessary to take these territories by force, lest the Party should be pulled down.
General Zhang checked his own screen, which showed the progress of the nuclear weapons as they were being transported from Sichuan to the border. He was interrupted by one of his officers, who said, “General, Battalion 10 reports that Highway 21 has been reached and is being destroyed.” The General nodded in acknowledgement and smiled.
May 14, 2018
An undisclosed location in New Delhi
Neeraj Shah, Officer-in-Charge for the North East in R&AW, was very worried. His team had goofed up badly. Just a few hours back, they had reported to the Prime Minister that a small group of militants had destroyed a part of National Highway 21, which is the lone road that connects the North East and parts of West Bengal with the rest of India. He was informed that the situation was not very serious, although there might be some shortages in the region.
But fresh intelligence reports had pointed to something much worse. There were reports of villages being razed and communication channels failing entirely. There were also reports that the Assam Rifles HQ had come under heavy missile fire from forested areas. No known militant group had such capabilities. Just a few minutes back, informers from Shillong blanked out and the only other source, from Imphal, was unable to provide any useful information.
What made things worse was the fact that a large contingent of troops had just been moved to the border along the Tibet Autonomous Region from the North East. Taiwan had declared Independence and China wanted India to guarantee that there was no trouble in Tibet as it dealt with Taiwan. India complied but had not expected any trouble in the North East. Now, with NH 21 being rendered unusable, troops could only be flown to Guwahati and that would take time.
Compounding Officer Shah’s worries was the strange behaviour of R&AW’s computers: they kept shutting down or deleting information at random. They couldn’t find any virus and suspected a cyber attack. Consequently, they had to be pulled off the network. It was like being back in the 1980s. He only prayed that this was not a foreign attack.
But moments later, he received a memo from one of the offices under him. It had been confirmed that hundreds, maybe thousands, of soldiers of the PLA had managed to cross the border through the unsecured mountains of Bhutan: the least militarised of India’s borders. It seemed that China was invading India’s North East, although this could be a rogue battalion. Whoever they were, they had choked off the Siliguri Corridor, the narrow strip of land that connects the North East to the mainland.
Nobody knew what to do.
(To be continued)
(To be continued)
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
This year, the annual Indian of the Year returns. In the last three years, we celebrated the rise of India in the comity of nations. This year, we celebrate the largest multi-discipline sporting event ever to be held in India: The 2010 Commonwealth Games.
The logo for this year is designed around the CWG10 medal: a stylized chakra with the Indian colours on its edges. The CWG is after all, the biggest thing for India this year.
The label for the previous IOTY's have been replaced by a single IOTY label to better reflect the continuity of the award.
The 2010 Opinions 24x7 Indian of the Year
Coming next year
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
His words betray a sense of immaturity so characteristic of Pakistan's military, which virtually runs the country's foreign (and to a large extent, domestic) policy. By tying everything to Kashmir, the army elite has wrecked the roots of Pakistan, destroyed its economy and, perhaps the worst of all, ensured that democracy never really takes root in "Midnight's Other Child."
The former dictator made a case that foreign powers should solve the issue for Pakistan ("solve" here means that they should force India to give up Kashmir to Pakistan) instead of going after strategic deals with India. Well, Mr. Musharraf, Pakistan is treated like a rogue state because that what it is: a country that has fermented trouble across the world. It is a reality that foreign policy favours strategically important countries and Pakistan could have become such a country had it assumed a more mature foreign policy. But dictators seldom think with a cool head, and that's why we have the situation today.
I wish the All Pakistan Muslim League good luck as it adds another piece to Pakistan's political chessboard. Although I seriously doubt is can make even the slightest dent.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
The decision of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court is mature, balanced and made on an informed basis. The judgement, which as such is quite long, can be summarised as follows:
- The erstwhile Babri masjid was built on a temple.
- The disputed site is indeed the birthplace of Lord Ram and has been worshipped by Hindus for centuries.
- The land shall be divided into three.
- A third, including the part under what used to be the central dome, shall go to the Hindu Mahasabha.
- Another third shall go to Nirmoha Akhara and a third to the Sunni Waqf Board.
- The plea of the Babri Masjid Action Committee stands rejected.
The run up to the judgement saw an immense build up of security forces and intense debate within different sections of society. The uninformed were brushing up on the issue while the more informed were debating it intensely.
In the end however, there were almost no major untoward incidents. India has changed since 1992: the younger generation no longer cares for this. Nobody wants any more trouble. This is a good indication to those, who want to rake up trouble using this issue, that their attempts are futile.