Phalgun 17 Vik Samvat 2067. Yugabda 5112: 1 March 2011

1. FESTIVALS: Varsh Pratipada, Gudi Padwa or Ugadi, the first day of the month of Chaitra and of the Hindu year, falls on April 4 this year. Gudi Padwa is dedicated to the worship of Lord Brahma, as according to the Brahma Purana this is the day when Brahma created the world. This festival is also celebrated to commemorate the victory of Shree Rama over Bali. Chaitra Navaratra starts on this day. In some parts of Bharat neem leaves are mixed with jaggery (gur) and distributed on this day. The contrast between the bitterness of neem and the sweetness of jaggery signifies the conflicting aspects of human life - joy and sorrow, success and failure, ecstasy and agony. Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, founder of RSS was born on this day in 1889 AD. Adya Sarasanghachalak pranam is offered before hoisting dhwaj at shakhas on this day.
2. Cong responsible for 99% corruption: Ramdev: Baba Ramdev launched his campaign against black money by singling out Congress in front of a big crowd at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on 27 Feb 2011.
The yoga guru, who recently confirmed his desire to enter the political arena, was harsh on Congress, calling the UPA government the "most corrupt". Ramdev held Congress responsible for 99% corruption in the country as the party has been in power the longest.
The assorted cast that gave him company included leading social activists and Muslim religious leaders. Notably, Baba Ramdev was soft on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, though he said the latter happened to lead the most corrupt government.
3. Isro’s ‘lunar tunnel’ could be future base: Scientists at the Space Applications Centre (SAC), using data gathered from Chandrayaan-I's Terrain Mapping Camera and Hyper Spectral Imager (HySI) payloads, found a 1.2km-long buried, uncollapsed and near horizontal lava tube.
The hollow cave situated just above the lunar equator on the nearside of moon, can accommodate a large number of astronauts and scientific instruments, and also protect them from hostile lunar environment. "Such a lava tube could be a potential site for future human habitability on the moon for future human missions and scientific explorations, providing a safe environment from hazardous radiations, micro-meteoritic impacts, extreme temperatures and dust storms," a team of scientists led by A S Arya of SAC, Ahmedabad said reporting the findings in 'Current Science'.
4. First of its Kind: RSS IT Sangam at BEngalURU: 10th anniversary of RSS IT milan shakhas attended by IT Profssionals in Bengaluru and Mysore saw a participation of about 1000 IT professionals. The concluding function was attended by Ram Madhav, the member of the Rastriya Karyakarini Samiti and of Lead India fame Rajendra K Misra.
R.K.Misra in his speech appreciated the values and ethics that RSS carries & said ‘In spite of all false allegations & all the bad publicity, RSS has just not survived but it has thrived. RSS’s affiliate Seva Bharati is carrying out more than 1.5 lakhs of service activities & it is the RSS activists who first help the needy during calamities’.
Talking about the role of youth, Ram Madhv said, Bharat is the world’s ancient country with at least 5,000 years of heritage & also the youngest country with more than 60% of its population below the age of 30 years and more talented young population than any other nation.
5. BHARATIYA SOLVES 400-YEAR-OLD SUNSPOT MYSTERY: A Calcutta physicist Dibyendu Nandy at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Calcutta and American scientists Andres Munoz-Jaramillo and Petrus Martens and two US scientists have solved a 400-year old mystery on the working of the sun.
The scientists found that variation in speed of flow of plasma within the sun towards its equator affects the frequency of sunspots. The work offers the possibility for short term forecasts of space weather that can be used for scheduling space missions and air traffic near Polar Regions.
6. ELEVEN GET DEATH PENALTY FOR GODHRA TRAIN CARNAGE: 11 people were sentenced to death and 20 to life imprisonment for the February 27, 2002 Godhra train carnage by a special trial court in Ahmedabad on March 1, 2011. Fifty-nine kar sevaks were burnt alive in the S6 coach of the Sabarmati Express near Godhra railway station, sparking the worst communal riots in Gujarat that left more than 1200 people dead in three weeks. Terming the case “rarest of rare”, the court said all the active conspirators deserved the death penalty while their associates were spared the gallows and given life terms. It also said it wasn’t an act of ‘terror’ but rather, a planted ‘conspiracy’ to target the kar sevaks in the train.
7. Four Sanskrit scholars get literary awards: The Ramkrishna Jaidayal Dalmia Shreevani Alankar for Sanskrit literature has been awarded to Pt Mohan Lal Pandey, Prof Piyushkant Dixit (2009), Prof Hare Krishna Satapathy and Dr Dhanurdhar Jha (2010) for their contribution to Sanskrit literature. The award was presented by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar at a function in New Delhi on 26th February.
The awards comprise Rs 2 lakh in cash, a citation, an idol of Shreevani, Mangalvastra and Shreephal. The selection board is headed by former CJI Ranganath Mishra and has six eminent scholars of Sanskrit on it. Three foreign scholars also assess the work.
8. BABA RAMDEV’s CONTRIBUTION: PRESS STATEMENT BY ASHOK SINGHAL: The 2-G spectrum scam causing a loss to the national exchequer an amount of Rs. 176,000 crores, the ISRO scam causing a loss of 200,000 crores and the CWG scam are now the hot topics of discussion in nook and corner of the country. Congress has recently commented on Baba Ramdevji. The contributions that Baba Ramdevji has made towards the causes of globalization of the Patanjali Yoga system and the Ayurvedic system of medicine makes not only Bharat but the entire world thankful to him.
Pointing fingers at the government machinery in the matter of the Batala House terrorist incident, visiting and encouraging people at Sanjarpur in Azamgarh that were involved in terrorist activities,
making Pakistan happy by misleading the Bharatiya nation about the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist act and unwittingly making a mockery of Hemant Karkare’s martyrdom by trying to misquote the latter, are a few of Digvijay Sing’s perverted actions that give the impression that he is playing to the galleries of Pakistanis and other foreign forces.
Godhra carnage, the Court has clearly accepted, was the result of a big conspiracy, carried out meticulously. But even then how could the kingpins of the conspiracy get release orders – it is now a topic of discussion in the whole country.
9. Dr. Vishwas gets Sahitya Academy Award: Samsktit Bharati’s Akhil Bharatiya Prashikshana Pramukh Dr Vishwas, Mangalore has been awarded the reputed Kendra Sahitya Academy Award for Translation. He received the award of 2010 for translating well known littérateur Dr SL Bhairappa’s most debated Kannada novel ‘Avarana’ to Samskrit. Dr Vishwas is considered to be one amongst top contemporary analyst of Samskrit literature in Bharat.
10. SEWA USA APPEAL: Yuva for Sewa 2011: Sewa International USA encourages young adults (ages 18-30) to volunteer and provide a helping hand to one that needs it most. Yuva For Sewa (YFS) is a volunteering opportunity with projects of 1 to 6 months duration available in Bharat and the US. The projects are designed for youth to channel their talent, energy and enthusiasm and to help them in making a difference for the communities they volunteer in.
Projects available in various fields are such as Basic Education, Technical Education, Self Employment, Women Empowerment, Healthcare, and others that will match your interest.
· Minimum 18 years of age
· Must be living currently in the US or Canada
· Commitment of at least 1 month for US projects and 2 ½ months for Bharat projects
· Enthusiasm and a will to make a change.
Project Locations:
· Bharat (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh)
· USA (Cleveland, Houston, Atlanta, Washington D.C.)
· Application Deadline: March 31st, 2011
· Bharat interns must be able to reach Bharat by June 6th for the Orientation. For more info pl visit or mail to
11. YOUTH For SEVA Hyderabad: – Cloth Bags and Narayan Patra Drive has been designed to encourage people to minimize the use of plastic in their daily lives. As part of this, YFS volunteers conduct a door-to-door campaign, where people are given a cloth bag with a pamphlet inside containing a list of eco-friendly practices and are signed up for Narayana Patra. Narayana Patra is a program where every household puts aside a fistful of foodgrains of their choice before they begin cooking for the day. These foodgrains are collected at the end of a fixed period, about a month or more and are then distributed amongst the needy.
12. Gujarat House gets first tribal Speaker: Legislator from Mangrol in Surat district, Ganpatbhai Vasava on February 24 became the first tribal to become Speaker of the House. Vasava was elected unanimously with CM Narendra Modi proposing his name and Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil supporting him. The post had fallen vacant due to the death of veteran Ashok Bhatt in September last year.
Chief Minister Narendra Modi said that a tribal leader ascending the post of the Speaker is a great tribute to the golden jubilee year of the State's formation.
13. Satyanarain Bansal ji is no more: A Tribute : Veteran sangh activist and former Delhi Prant Sanghachalak Satyanarain ji Bansal passed away at Maharaja Agrasen hospital in New Delhi on february 19. He was 84. He is survived by a son Ravi Bansal who is now prant prachar pramukh of Delhi, and four daughters. He was suffering from some age-related ailments for some time.
He played a key role in expanding the Sangh, Bharatiya Jansangh and then the BJP work in Delhi with full devotion. Despite getting very weak and losing eye sight he used to attend the Thursday shakha in Keshav Kunj till a few weeks ago. He presented an ideal before all his friends and the swayamsevaks.
He actively participated in the freedom movement. Satyanarainji was general secretary of Shri Vaishya Agrawal Panchayat, and also held various responsibilities in Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, Shri Dharmik Ramlila Committee and many other such organisations.
14. NOT AUTONOMY , DISPLACEMENT OF HINDUS THE REAL ISSUE: BHAGWAT: RSS chief, Dr Mohan Rao Bhagwat assured the displaced Hindu community of Kashmir that entire Bharat is with them and their problems are the problems of entire Bharat.
Speaking at the Samoohik Shivratri Mahotsava on Feb 27 in Delhi. a function organized by Jammu Kashmir Vichar Manch, he stressed on the need to mobilize public opinion on grass root level throughout the country for resolution of all such issues in J&K.
Others who spoke at the occasion were Smriti Irani, President Mahila morcha BJP and TN Razdan, President, national JKVM,
15. LARGEST HINDU TEMPLE COMPLEX IN EUROPE IN HAGUE: Hague in Netherlands will have the largest Hindu temple complex in mainland Europe. Hague Mayor and Council have reportedly approved the construction of this about one million Euros temple complex, which is a consortium of three different movements, and will be an icon for Hague and Netherlands when finished. Construction is expected to begin in 2013 and complex is said to open in 2014.
This complex, located directly behind the station Hollands Spoor in Laakhaven West area, will result in three temples built side by side and linked together, including International Society for Krishna Consciousness and Arya Samaj, and containing two towers, 90 apartments, and facilities for yoga and meditation.
16. WESTERN INTERVENTIONS IN DRAVIDIAN AND DALIT FAULTLINE: BREAKING India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines, a book jointly authored by Shri Rajiv Malhotra, chief of the Infinity Foundation and Shri Aravindan Neelakandan, intellectual activist, columnist launched in New Delhi on February 9.
Releasing the book, eminent jurist and MP Shri Ram Jethmalani said the book is ‘an eye opener, a warning to us’ not only of internal enemies but external enemies outside our border who are collaborating with dummies, proxies inside our border trying to weaken Bharat, break her unity. Author Aravindan Neelakandan said that it essentially seeks to put in spotlight foreign-based organisations that seek to shape and govern certain political and ideological movements inside Bharat so that hatred and violent conflicts can be generated inside Bharatiya communities leading to eventual balkanisation of the country. Shri S Gurumurthy, Professor Upendra Baxi, former Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University, Shri Rajiv Malhotra presented a whole background to the book and his experiences and findings while working on it.
17. Ladakh council drops J&K logo, adopts new emblem: The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) has decided to adopt an insignia similar to the national emblem by replacing the Jammu & Kashmir's logo, drawing a sharp reaction from Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) which said it was "unfortunate".
In a unanimous resolution in this regard, the council adopted the symbol with the Ashoka pillar which almost resembles the national emblem.
18. BHARATIYA soldiers may don sci-fi gear: The defence ministry has floated a global request for information (RFI) to procure "integrated computer and communication systems (ICCS)" for infantry soldiers, who constitute well over one-third of the 1.13-million strong Army.
Under “integrated computer and communication systems” (ICCS), infantry battalions will be equipped with "soldier-wearable" computers, radios and GPS, backed by central power pack modules and battle-load carrier vests.
The computer module, for instance, will include data terminals for senior commanders, portable planning boards for commanders and wrist displays for soldiers. This will ensure soldiers are able to receive, store and transmit complex voice, data and video signals for advanced "situational awareness".
"ICCS must have the ability to accept and present real-time information provided by C4I (command, control, communication, computer and intelligence) tools," says the RFI. "Soldiers should have the ability to exchange pertinent information up and laterally across the chain of command under all environmental and climatic conditions," it adds. All these taken together will bolster the soldier's "lethality, survivability, sustainability, mobility and situational awareness" in the digitized battlefield.
19. Creator of Bharatiya Comics Anant Pai expires: Anant Pai Mangalore, popularly known as Uncle Pai, was a Bharatiya educationalist and creator of Bharatiya comics, in particular the Amar Chitra Katha series in 1967 passed away on February 24th, 2011.
The idea behind starting a comic book series devoted to Bharatiya culture and history came to Pai from a quiz contest aired on Doordarshan in February 1967, in which participants could easily answer questions pertaining to Greek mythology, but were unable to reply to the question “In the Ramayana, who was Rama’s mother?”
He left his job and started Amar Chitra Katha the same year. The series went on to become a publishing milestone for the Bharaitya comic book scene, selling over 86 million copies of about 440 titles.
20. Eat and feel like the Pandavas: The main objective of holding Jaya Utsav is to showcase collective pictures or stories of the vast culture of Mahabharata with many contradictions and deviations in different parts of the country," says Molly Kaushal of Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts which is holding the month-long festival to bring alive the living traditions of Mahabharata with art exhibitions, ritual demonstrations, lawn performances, master craftsmen workshops, literary evenings and chalchitra.
“This festival aims to highlight interesting stories through various sections with Bhim ki rasoi being one of them. We know Bhim was fond of food so we introduced some traditional delicacies like kunti ka achaar and draupadi ki kheer apart from bhim ki chaat here,” she adds.
The festival also has a master craftsmen workshop with a variety of items like Agad jewellery from Gujarat, black coloured Gambhira mask from West Bengal, Gond paintings from Madhya Pradesh and leather puppets called Tolu bommalatta from Andhra Pradesh apart from vividly-coloured dolls showing different characters and episodes of Mahabharata. To bring out more facts from the epic, there is screening of some films and TV adaptations of Mahabharata.
21. Hindu 'kanyadaan' of Muslim girls on Godhra anniversary: A mass 'nikaah' of 25 Muslim couples was organized by the Godhra Samagra Muslim Samaj, which brought the two communities on a single platform and had Hindus perform a ritual akin to 'kanyadaan'. It also, to some extent, lifted the mood in Godhra on the ninth anniversary of the train carnage in which 59 persons were burnt to death in the Sabarmati Express, sparking riots that left over 1200 people killed.
The 'nikaah' where young brides and bridegroom from Panchmahal district tied knots witnessed a gathering of 8,000 guests at the Masjid-e-Kuba near Chandni chowk area. The menu had only vegetarian items as organizers wanted to respect the religious sentiments of the non-Muslims.
22. BHARAT may be largest eco by 2050: In view of its continuing robust growth, Bharat is expected to be the world’s largest economy by 2050, surpassing China and the US a Citi report said. China should overtake the US to become the largest economy in the world by 2020, then be overtaken by Bharat by 2050, financial services group Citi said.
The estimates are based on purchasing power parity (PPP), an economic growth indicator that takes into account the purchasing power of each countrys currency, instead of the prevailing exchange rate conversion. Bharatiya economy is expected to be nearly $85.97 trillion on PPP basis by 2050 from $3.92 trillion in 2010,Citi said.
23. The many shades of Shiva: One of the shades of Lord Shiva. Mahashivaratri, three days from now, will be a special day for Umer Farukh. He will celebrate the festival through the night, by reciting ballads and songs in praise of Shiva. Farukh belongs to the community of Muslim jogis, spread across the historical region of Mewat, which comprises parts of Haryana and Rajasthan. They are Muslim, but the jogis worship Shiva and other Hindu gods such as Hanuman. "We consider Hanuman as our elder brother and Shiva as our patron deity," says Farukh.
What is it that has made this Mewati community — comprising more than 10,000 families — embrace Hindu gods as their own? The answer lies in the community's origins. The jogis trace their lineage to the legendary guru Gorakhnath. Ismail Khan, a wandering minstrel from Bengal — and a follower of the Nath sect — is believed to have started the lineage. "Our community is also called Ismail-panthi, after him," says Farukh.
In keeping with their lineage, the traditional role of the jogis is that of wandering minstrels — who survive on alms received for their singing. The jogis, who are also referred to as Mirasis, perform for their jajmans on occasions like marriage or aqeeqah — the naming ceremony of a child.
The uniqueness extends to the way the compositions are sung, often accompanied by traditional instruments like jogia sarangi and bhapang — a characteristic, one-stringed instrument reminiscent of Shiva's damru. Since Shiva is a favourite of the community, songs in his praise form a bulk of the jogis' repertoire, with "Shivji ka byavla" (Shiva's wedding) being a popular theme.
On Mahashivaratri, as the bhapang and other instruments are played and songs sung from the Shivleela, the jogis may also be sending out a silent prayer to their patron deity to take care of their future. ( Atul Sethi ,Times of India , February 27,2011)
24. Mountain camels to boost ITBP prowess: Near-extinct species of “double-humped” mountain camels and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) are set to complement each other’s interests in the cold inhospitable terrain of the Himalayas.
The ITBP is raising a new camel unit composed of the Bactrian species. These double-humped animals are found only in the high-altitude areas and are different from those found in the sandy deserts. These are classified as “critically endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, which estimates about 800 such animals surviving in the remote and mountainous areas of Central Asia.“The aim of raising this unit is two-fold,” a senior ITBP officer said. “While these animals would boost out logistic and patrolling capability in the mountains, we would also like to protect the species and increase their numbers through a breeding programme,” he added. To begin with, the force is procuring five such animals from local sources, which would be based in the Nubra Valley, adjacent to the Siachen glacier in Ladakh. One animal costs about Rs 30,000 and officers expect it would take about a year to train them for the military tasks expected from them. These sturdy animals can carry up to 300 kg of load, much greater than ponies, mules and yaks, and go without food and water for a long time. ITBP officers said that the height of these animals and the long strides gives troops better view and greater tactical advantage during patrolling.
25. Karnal women find place in Guinness World Records: Women from Karnal have secured a place for themselves in the Guinness World Records for having converged on one place to push 446 prams for a 1.8 km-long pram walk. The event was organised by the National Integrated Forum of Artists and Activists (NIFAA) on January 13 this year to propagate gender equality. More than 65 per cent of the 500 participants were from rural areas.
The earlier record of 306 prams was held by the Mother Center Hviezdicka, Slovakia. Chairman of NIFAA Pritpal Singh Pannu said an official communication had been sent by the Guinness World Records, approving NIFAA’s claim under the “Most People Pushing Pram” category.
26. Garo and Rabha Hindus Janjati Manch petitions PM: In a letter to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, BB Jamatia, president of Janjati Dharma Sanskriti Suraksha Manch has made a request to institute a National Enquiry Commission headed by a retired judge of Supreme Court to investigate the hostile role and anti-national activities of church in the sensitive, volatile, vulnerable and strategic zone of Northeast Bharat. Jamatia stated that with the help of militant organisations, church has been very aggressive in Garo and Rabha inhabitation. Even after when Rabha Hindus and remaining portion of Garo Hindus refused to convert, the church applied the tactics of offering booze, bullets and Bible. In doing so, church has centuries’ old experience in this field at international fora.
27. Sahaja Yoga guru passes away in Genoa: Mataji Nirmala Devi, who popularized the Sahaja Yoga form of meditation around the world, died at the age of 88 in Genova in Italy. Born in a family of freedom fighters in 1923, the spiritual guru also participated actively in freedom struggle and later founded the Vishwa Nirmal Dharma.
Thousands of her followers across the globe have expressed deep sorrow and grief at her demise.
28. HINDUS JOIN QUAKE RELIEF EFFORTS: Christchurch . . . a city on its knees. Members and volunteers of the Hindu community have joined the nation in offering prayers to give strength to the families and friends of earthquake victims.
“In this hour of national emergency, a number of Hindu organisations, temples and associations have come forward to provide relief to earthquake victims,” Dr Chaturvedi said.
The Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum, in coordination with Sewa International, have launched an appeal to contribute to the ongoing aid and relief work in Christchurch, and to residents who have been displaced to various New Zealand cities. To assist with Sewa International relief work, contact or Kishor Mistry on 09 537 2766. You can make monetary donations to Sewa International through the ASB account number: 12-3055-0216216-00.
29. HONORING TAGORE WITH THE SANSKRITI EXPRESS: The Minister for Railways, Mamata Banerjee has said that 'Sanskriti Express', a special exhibition train to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, is set to go on a cultural exchange program to Bangladesh on an invitation by Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina.
The Sanskriti Express launched in May 2010 is showcasing artistic works, philosophy and teachings of Tagore. The train has been moving across the country and has been visited by more than 2.4 million people in 18 States so far.
30. NOT JUST ANOTHER HOSPITAL: Dr. Hedgewar Hospital, Aurangabad is in service of common man for last 21 years. Besides providing good primary health services, the project looks at Integrated Development of villagers and slum dwellers, in and around the city. Under the project called as “Bhagirath Water and Land Management Program” the project, with the help of a businessman, had provided soft loan to 12 farmers of Morhira village (population less than 5000 as per census 2002). This was given 9 months ago to install Drip Irrigation system in their farm land. They were supposed to repay after 2 years.
These farmers have produced yield 5 to 10 times more than last year, experimented to produce turmeric which others think is a miracle, incurred income 6 times more than expenditure. All of 12 decided to repay back the hand loan ahead of the date. On 16th February 2011 at 10 AM, all 12 farmers handed entire amount to the businessman who had helped them.
Now, farmers of all nearby villages have started visiting their farms to understand and follow them. Change agents have born!That is why we claim that “Dr. Hedgewar Hospital is not the just another hospital”.
31. Amarnath Yatra from June 29: Shri Amarnath Shrine Board said on February 18 that the annual Amarnath Yatra would be held from June 29 to August 13.
32. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Dr. Shankar Tatwawadi, Samyojak Vishwa Vibhag will be back in Bharat after touring Singapore and Thailand. Visitors: Dalip Mistry and Prabhubhai Mistry – UK.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Winning gives birth to hostility/ Losing, one lies in pain. / The calmed lie down with ease/having set winning and losing aside. – Dhammapada


G Parthasarathy
By agreeing to resume dialogue with Islamabad, New Delhi has allowed those behind the 26/11 carnage to walk free. Will Manmohan Singh now hand over Siachen?
New Delhi appears to have lost its sense of direction in dealing with Islamabad. Mr Manmohan Singh came close to fashioning an agreement with General Pervez Musharraf on Jammu & Kashmir, which recognised that “while borders cannot be redrawn, we can work towards making them irrelevant — towards making them just lines on a map”. But Mr Singh’s belief that terrorism should not be allowed to undermine the ‘composite dialogue process’ with Pakistan has cost us dearly both before and after the 26/11 attack on Mumbai. At least 184 people, including nationals of countries ranging from the US and the UK to Israel and Singapore, perished in the ruthless terrorist carnage unleashed by the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. There is no dearth of evidence about the involvement of the ISI in this carnage. This was not the first attack by the ISI on Mumbai. Dawood Ibrahim, the mastermind of the 1993 carnage, still lives comfortably in Karachi.
Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee agreed to resume the ‘composite dialogue process’ in January 2004 following an assurance from Gen Musharraf that territory under Pakistan’s control would not be used for terrorism against Bharat. Bharat and Pakistan announced the resumption of what was the ‘composite dialogue process’ in all but name on February 10 this year. Worse still, the Mumbai carnage was reduced to a virtual footnote — just another terrorist incident — in the announcement. India has received unprecedented international support to deal with the perpetrators of 26/11. The Israelis have filed a highly publicised law suit in a New York court against LeT chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and ISI boss Lt General Shuja Pasha for their role in the Mumbai attack. We have, however, shot ourselves in the foot, thanks to some divisive and irresponsible statements by certain politicians, voicing concern about ‘Hindu terrorism’ in India.
The damage caused by these irresponsible statements became evident when I recently met a group of distinguished Pakistanis who averred that India had no right to insist on action against the perpetrators of the 26/11 terrorist attack as it had taken no action against the ‘Hindu terrorists’ responsible for the deaths of Pakistani nationals in the Samjhauta Express bomb blasts. Pakistan’s official spokesman has accused India of lacking the resolve to act against ‘Hindu terrorists’. Pakistan has also launched a campaign claiming that the Indian Army is full of ‘Hindu terrorists’ like Lt Colonel Srikant Purohit, now under arrest for his alleged involvement in the Malegaon blasts. The issue of ‘Hindu terrorism’ was raised when Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao met her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in Thimphu. Irresponsible statements have resulted in India paying a high price internationally.
India’s response to the Pakistani propaganda machinery has been weak and incoherent. Instead of asserting that terrorist acts, allegedly executed by Indians (from SIMI and Abhinav Bharat), were exclusively in their own country and cannot be equated with the 26/11 attack, which was carried out by Pakistanis crossing illegally into India, our Government has appeared defensive and confused in handling the issue. This, in turn, has led to India getting itself cornered and unable to maintain continuing pressure to force Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the 26/11 attack to book. India's astute Foreign Secretary, who has handled past negotiations with Pakistan with commendable skill, has urged people not to “lend any credence” to what Hafiz Mohamed Saeed says. But is it prudent to forget that after vowing to raise the “green flag of Islam” on the ramparts of the Red Fort, Hafiz Saeed masterminded terrorist strikes on the Red Fort in Delhi in January 2001 and on Mumbai in December 2008?
Having been put on the defensive on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, the Government of India has only further weakened our position by agreeing to what in effect is resumption of the ‘composite dialogue’ with Pakistan. The result of this is going to be that Pakistan will divert attention from terrorism it sponsors to its ‘grievances’ on issues like river waters, Siachen, Sir Creek and Jammu & Kashmir. While continuing engagement with a neighbour is imperative even in times of conflict as during Gen Musharraf’s Kargil misadventure, what we are now finding is that even the terms of the dialogue, which effectively sideline the salience of terrorism Islamabad sponsors, have been set by Pakistan.
Given the growing violence and religious extremism within Pakistan, it should be obvious that the weak civilian Government headed by President Asif Ali Zardari lacks the authority to take any bold measures on issues like terrorism, given the ‘India-centric’ obsession of its Army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. It is, therefore, astonishing that our Government is prepared to resume dialogue with Pakistan on Siachen. Only a few years ago, the Prime Minister appeared agreeable to withdrawing forces from Siachen until he was forced to backtrack because of political and public opposition. Mr Singh’s readiness to consider troop withdrawal from Siachen was not only opposed by the Army but also reportedly by his colleagues in the Government and the Congress. Given Gen Kayani’s track record, it would be a perilous mistake to withdraw from Siachen in the belief that the Pakistani Army will keep its word and not move into areas vacated by us as it did earlier in Kargil. Our Army has made it clear that if the Pakistanis were to walk into vacated positions we now occupy in Siachen, we would not be able to retake those positions which we have held sacrificing the lives of scores of our officers and men. Do the sacrifices of our men in uniform count for nothing?
India has already lost its trump card in dealing with Pakistan-sponsored terrorism because of political leaders giving divisive, religious colours to terrorism and due to its diplomatic naiveté. Under the directions of Gen Kayani, the Pakistani Government has returned to sterile rhetoric about Jammu & Kashmir and disowned the framework for a solution devised earlier with Gen Musharraf which was based on territorial status quo. Does our Government seriously believe that talks between Foreign Secretaries will lead to Gen Kayani having a change of heart or restraining Gen Pasha from planning attacks on Indian Territory and on Indian interests in Afghanistan? Any pullout from Siachen has to be linked to a final settlement of the Kashmir issue and India should neither forget not forgive the perpetrators and masterminds of the 26/11 attack. (Daily Pioneer March 03, 2011)