Friday, December 30, 2011

Cuddalore town suffers brunt of ‘Thane’ cyclone

By Shafee Ahmed Ko, for,
Chennai: The woeful cry from the rich and the poor is one and all one can hear now in Cuddalore as severe cyclonic storm named “Thane” crossed the coastal fishing town of Tamil Nadu Friday morning leaving 5 persons dead (official count) and hundreds of homes destroyed.
Five persons reportedly died in Cuddalore in incidents of wall collapse and electrocution while one person died in house collapse in Puducherry.

Having heard the predictions from Chennai Meteorological department, on Thursday this correspondent contacted Mr. Kamaluddin, President of FeMWAS (Federation of Muslim Women Aid Society) in Cuddalore and learnt that the situation was very bad, and Mr. Kamaluddin asked TCN to pray Allah. He was contacted repeatedly from Friday morning but the line was not accessible. Then one Mr. Younus was contacted in Cuddalore to get more information about the devastation.
The town of Cuddalore district, situated near Pondicherry, has a sizeable Muslim population.
Mr. Younus informed that hundreds of poor people have been rendered homeless and are sheltered in camps, schools, and marriage halls. They are served with packets of food from Thursday night. The cyclone could not cause many casualties as the residents had vacated their home after the warning from the government dept.
The cyclone hit Cuddalore and its adjoining districts and caused a land fall between Cuddalore and Pondicherry, the Union Territory, early this morning. The cyclone which crossed Cuddalore with wind speed of 120 km per hour severely damaged the town and the district. The waves rising above 40 ft the sea level and heavy torrential rain water inundated Cuddalore town and suburban areas besides damaging crops worth several crores of rupees. Paddy field and banana groves have been totally uprooted. Several uprooted sturdy trees are now lying across the main roads obstructing traffic with electric lamp posts fallen, speaking of the volume of the destruction. Cuddalore is almost cut off from the district. The torrential rain and the wind are still nonstop, and people are warned not come out.
There are reports of people being electrocuted by fallen live wires, and houses damaged by fallen trees. Most of the trains departing from Chennai to South are either delayed or cancelled. Air traffic from Chennai is also hit.
The impact of the wind has been so severe that one of the cargo ships anchored at deep sea off Chennai bay, is washed ashore to Chennai Marina Beach near “Anna Samadhi”, the Tomb of Annadurai, and the first Chief Minister of DMK party.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Workshop on Police orientating on “The Role of Police in Civil Society” conducted by CSSS (Mumbai) and COVA in association with Hyderabad City Police.

 A one day workshop was organized on 27-7-11 at Madina Education Centre, Hyderabad on“The Role of Police in Civil Society” by CSSS (Mumbai) COVA in association with Hyderabad City Police.

25 senior level police officers and a few members of civil society organizations working on Communal Harmony, Peace and Social Justice attended this workshop.  Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Chairman, Centre for Study of Social and Secularism, Mumbai was the guest speaker.
 Mr. Mohammed Turab, Executive Secretary, COVA welcomed guest speakers, Senior Police Officers and other invitees from civil society organizations and requested Dr. Anand Raj Varma to preside over the workshop and to conduct the proceedings.

 While inviting Mr. Mahesh Bhagwat, IPS for his opening remarks Dr. Varma recited an Urdu couplet   –
 Yaqeen Mahkam, Amal paiham, Mohabbat Faateh Aalam,
Yahi Mardon ki Shamsheerein hain, Jihad Zindagani Mein.

 In his opening remarks, Mr. Mahesh Bhagwath, IPS.,Joint Commissioner of Police, Administration said that need of this workshop was felt very much since long  to sensitize police officers to enable them to perform well.  

Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer in his address said religion doesn’t clash with other religion but interests of people in power.  A truly religious man can never be communal person. We have to come out of prejudices and remove narrowness. There are exemplary examples of communal harmony of olden days of India. A Muslim sufi  Hazrath Nizamuddin Aulia walking one fine morning  along the bank of Jamuna river glanced at the river and said that the women bathing in the river are worshipping Allah.  Dara Shikoh translated Upanishads into Persian language and King Akbar wrote a book “Majmua Al Bahrain”.   He referred to the comparative works of Pandit Sundar Lal in his book Geeta and Qura’n and tried to prove similarities of teachings in both the holy books.  In the context of Europe the word “Communal”   is positive word meaning community action whereas in our context it becomes a derogatory word connoting religious bigotism and hatred. Wrong and out of context interpretation of medieval history is the main cause of all misconceptions and religious hatred and communal violence.

The British, who constitute part of Europe culture who came to India to establish colonialism,  had a monolithic religion and culture. In, they saw the diversified plural India an opportunity of keeping Indians non-unified by means of playing mischief of one religion against another. Hence they assigned the responsibility of distorting India’s history to two scholars namely Eliot and Darson who embarked on the task with a clear mind of creating a divide between the two religions. We must always remember that anything quoted out of context will lose its meaning and lead to many interpretations.

He said that Savarkar and Jinnah both modernists were non-religious and communal.  Moulana Azad felt humiliated when people told to him that he is surely winning election from the constituency he is filing nomination as majority population of that constituency is Muslims, and he tore off the nomination paper.  He said I want votes of citizens of my country not of Hindus or Muslims.

Auragazeb is the highly misquoted king in the entire medieval history; labeling him as a religious bigot and anti Hindu. In his personal life, all his deeds are anti Islamic such as he killed his all three brothers and imprisoned his father for the sake of usurping power. On the other hand his main general was a Hindu namely Tilak. Aurangzeb issued farmanas and released magnanimous grants   to many temples and a Shiva temple, which was visited by the speaker.

  The copy of the Firmaan was shown to him by the Pujari of the temple. The king also built Jain temples in Gujarat.  Ghori is labeled as attacker of Somnath temple but before coming to India he attacked many Mosques in Multan of Afghanistan for the sake of wealth. Those days’ temples were also the abode of riches and the wealth was kept hidden right inside the idols; hence he had to break the idol to amass the wealth. When this background is not known and looked only at the action, it gives wrong meaning.

Giving the chronological account of all the riots he said before coming of the British, only two riots took place in Ahmedabad in 1892. In the independent India, in 1961, Jabalpur riots werethe first major riots followed by Rourkela in 1964, Ranchi in 1967 Ahmedabad in 1969, Bihar shareef in 1981, Vadodara in 1982, Bhivandi in 1984, Meerut in 1987, Bhagalpur in 1989, Bombay in 1992 and Gujarat in 2002.   After 1947 3300 riots took places in various part of the country taking about 42,000 innocent lives.

Mostly the riots have the hidden political and economic motives of defaming the present regime or eliminating the competition as it happened in the case of Kanpur riots or vacation of slum areas. It happened in case of Gujarat where a simple suggestion given by Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer to Mr. Chowdhary the successor of Mr. Solanaki, the then C.M  stopped the riots after  distressed sale of land was banned. 

The question answer session followed and one Police Officer said that he worked in the old city of Hyderabad and learnt important verses from the Holy Quran and quoted wherever required.  Through this way I won hearts of the people making them receptive to my words.  This helped a lot in maintaining peace and harmony.

Dr. Varma inviting Mr. Jeevan Kumar, President, Human Rights Forum recited the following couplet –
Chhupe baithe hain gulshan mein bahaarein lootne waale,
Kali ki aankh lag jaayegi, to kharo, tum na so jana.

Mr. Jeevan Kumar in his presentation illustrated about the plight of old city and how the crimes and communal riots are emanating from it. There are 35 localities in the old city of Hyderabad.  They did not comply with the government norms prior to construction. The Government and urban local bodies have jaundiced eye towards them manifested in neglect of vital service sector like Health and Education in the forms non availability of proper infrastructure and staff in health care and education. Important recommendations of Ramanachari Report were given a go by and only existing Govt institutions like High Court and Administrative Tribunal are on their way to getting shifted elsewhere.  There is deprivation of Banking facilities, no LIC office, no old age homes, no recreational centers and limited ATMs facilities. Banks don’t come forward to offer loans and ghettoization of communities is happening rapidly leading to accentuation of mental blockades.

There is similarity in the behaviors of both Hindu and Muslim communities in terms of their orthodox practices of going to witchcrafts. He cited the other examples like Kakara palli and Gangavaram port where attempts were made to forcefully evacuate the people depriving of their livelihoods intertwined with the natural resources available there. In all these systematic and cruel plans of the Govt machinery executed with   hand in glove with the multi national companies, 
police fully cooperated with them leaving the Human Rights issues of people to wind. For all thess Human Rights violations, government did not take action against the erring officials but rewarded with promotions, which raised strong objections from the side of police officials.

Dr. welcomed Mr. King Shuk Nag to speak reciting the couplet –

Mujhe os junoon ki hai justajoo, jo chaman ko bakhsh de rang o boo,
Jo naveed o fasle bahaar ho, mujhe os chaman ki talaash hai;
Mujhe os sahar ki ho kya khushi, jo ho zulmaton se ghiri huee,
Meri shaam e gham ko jo loot le, mujhe os sahar ki talash hai.

Mr. King shuk Nag Resident editor of The Times of India, speaking to the police officers said that when Gujarat riots were going on he was present in Ahmedabad and is a witness to the unfair attitude of the Chief Minister Mr Narendera Modi towards Muslim Community.  Police is always in a dilemma either to follow the instructions of their higher ups and people in power or go by rule position. To do either of these two things will entail in inviting the wrath. Both ways they are defeated.

 For the wrong instructions of higher ups, the axe falls on the lower level officers not on the higher ups. In urban areas police officers are involved in land settlements, for any deal, they will have to circumvent the rule position to execute it. Very often situations are communalized by the political bosses for vested interests and when it goes out of control then are handed over to police to set it right. Instead, if from the beginning, free hand is given to the police, it will be handled dexterously by the police. Continuous on field duties being away from homes make the behavior of police violent and as a result they tend to over react with the people. One way communication in the name of strict discipline gives no scope to ventilate the issues of lower rung police officers. Competitive postures of Jhanda politics by both communities is creating wedge between the two communities.

Ms Mah Jabeen of Phoenix, NGO said there is no gender sensitivity in the whole of police department. She felt anguish at the way foreign Prime Ministers or other leaders come to India with their own baggage of security arrangements and even vehicles and frisk the Indian leaders in their country frown her as if our police is not capable enough to handle them. 

She dreams of a peaceful egalitarian society where every body enjoying all the human rights. She said track record of the police and their behavior during communal riots is far from satisfactory as they tend to become partisan. She quoted the dream of Ram Manohar Lohia of a society without any police stations. A.P has become the most violent state with increasing State violence and other forms of violence.

In his concluding speak Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer took the names of legendary police officers like OP Bali, Suresh Khopade and Vibhuti  Narayan Roy  with their   exemplary behavior who took people into confidence and they became his ears and eyes; he exhorted all the higher officials to emulate them. It is observed that in general at lower constabulary level, police tend to have communal behavior than at higher IPS officers.  After Godhra bogy burning incident, for three days police maintained peace in the town because of the duty conscious Police Officer who was transferred and only when orders from state Government were given, then communal riots started.

 He quoted the faulty and immature policy of late Rajiv Gandhi of appeasing Muslims  by overturning the order Supreme Court of Shah Banu case  and to appeasing Hindus got the Babri Masjid unlocked opening a Pandora’s box and engulfing the entire country into communal carnage. The decade of 1980 -90 was the decade of most communal riots. In most of the riots, Police behavior was partisan against Muslims.

He said Bomb blast and Terrorism is the offshoot of communal attacks and reaction to injustices done during the riots by one community against others and by the State.  Ajmal Kasab confessed that during his terrorist training, he was shown repeatedly the CD of Gujarat riots and upon asking didn’t he get the feeling that he was killing innocent about his indiscriminate firing, he retorted back saying when they killed innocent Muslims in Gujarat, when they didn’t get such feeling, why should he get. First Bomb blast came as a reaction to the Bombay riots. Further he said that 3 Ds namely Democracy, Diversity and Dialogue are important for promotion of pluralism, harmony and peace.

In creation of Pakistan opinion of only 4% of Muslims   was taken. Those Muslims who migrated to Pakistan were and are treated there as second grade citizens and called as Mohajirs. Highly regarded religious body Deoband‘s Jamait ul Ulama e Hind bitterly opposed to creation of Pakistan. Local Punjabi Muslims in Pakistan dominate the whole populace. Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan didn’t like that after death his body is buried on the soil of Pakistan and as per his desire his body is laid to rest in Afghanistan. 

Dr. Varma concluded his presidential remarks with the following messages:

  1. Shakti se Bhakti Badi, Sookhe ko Hariyaye,
            Shakti se jo na tare, Shraddha se Tar Jaye.

  1. Freedom without discipline is license,
            Discipline without freedom is tyranny.
  1. Jalaao dil ko, ujaala karo khayalon mein,  
            har ek dil ki kasak ho tumhare naalon mein;
            Andheri Raat hai, Uttho khuloos e dil le kar,
            koi pucaar raha hai tumhein ujalon mein.

He read the following message for the invitees:

“Open your eyes and look for some man, or some work for the sake of men, which needs a little time, a little friendship, a little sympathy, a little sociability, a little human toil – it is indeed in every nook and corner.  Therefore search and see if there is not some place where you may invest you humanity.”

Mr. Mahesh Bhagawat, IPS., Joint Commissioner of Police, Administration said it is the schooling where wrong history lessons were taught and hatred is cultivated into the  young minds towards other community people. If really police shows the will, the riots can be quelled in the beginning.  He expressed that the orientation given by Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer is useful and hoped that the police officers will make use of the learning they carry from this workshop.  He expressed thanks to Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer and other speakers of the workshop and also thanked to COVA for organizing this workshop.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

By 2050, Water Shortages in Megacities May Leave 1 Billion Thirsty

Written by: Anna Loza


new study authored by researchers at the Nature Conservancy concludes that by 2050, there will be about 1 billion people living with perennial water shortages. A water shortage is defined as having less than 100 liters of water per person per day – about 2/3 of a bathtub – to cover all daily needs.
Currently, it is estimated that 150 million people experience such a shortage for at least one month of the year; however, world population is estimated to increase by 3 billion in the next 40 years. By looking at these numbers as well as at climate change projections, the researchers were able to issue some warnings to the worldwide community.
One of the major effects forecasted in the study is the migration of people towards cities and urban populations. As cities grow, so do their water needs. Although water may be supplied to the area, it may have to be pumped from very far away, or unsustainably drain aquifers – a technique that inevitably runs the system dry. As a result, it is estimated that megacities like Mumbai and Beijing – among others on a list of 20 – will be hit the hardest. We reported on an analysis of current water shortages, and alarmingly, some regions hit both lists.
The report estimates that if cities reach out as far as 100 km away, the risk of a water shortage falls significantly, but one has to consider the transportation methods such a distance would require, as well as the likelihood of neighboring cities wanting that water for themselves.
Aside from the challenges our water supply will face from an increasing population, global warming will have some concurring effects. By looking at several projections of the effect global warming will have on various areas it was concluded that events like desertification may leave another 100 million short on water year-round, unless cities can adjust beforehand.
If cities continue to suck in water without change to other systems, the year 2050 may see water issues in more than just urban location – wetlands, freshwater ecosystems, rivers, lakes and marshes will also be hit hard and dwindle. Places that balance a growing population and rare ecology, like India, will face challenging times without some changes to their infrastructure.
Knowing the problem may be half the solution, but solving this problem takes one scarce thing – large amounts of money. Decreasing agricultural and industrial water usage will have a huge impact, as these are the biggest consumers of water worldwide, but it won’t be enough. Offering farmers incentives to decrease irrigation to minimal levels as well as getting rid of non-native thirsty species like Eucalyptus may help, but it won’t bring a full resolution. Infrastructure needs to change dramatically in order to keep cities abreast of demand, and such change takes a lot of money.
The places that are already hit hardest, let alone are on a straight track toward more deficiencies by 2050 are also some of the poorest countries. Although a handful of the periled nations have some good resources, a lot of them need international help if they are to resolve this issue before it gets out of hand.
Perennial water shortage is felt most in the Middle East and North Africa, but seasonal shortages are currently quite widespread and will be more so by 2050.
The researchers call upon urban water managers to work with nature in order to find the most optimal solutions to this crisis; however, wealthier nations and those with better conditions should play a role as well. Some suggested solutions are to build larger reserves for seasonal shortages, utilizing long-distance transport for perennial shortages or investing in desalination; the authors hope to see strong political will and the effective governance necessary to find appropriate solutions.
Lead author Rob McDonald has the following Utopian vision:
Picture this: Instead of each country having to separately borrow funds to build urban water infrastructure, there’s a common pool of money that could finance urban water planning and management in all developing country cities. To some extent, that exists now with some of the major development banks. But there’s a potential I think for that kind of thing to be substantially scaled up.
Not a bad idea, since such a basal crisis will undoubtedly effect the international community, in the form of water shortages or other direct effects on food prices and the economy.
Robert Lalasz has the 20 megacities projected to be hit the hardest by 2050 if no action is taken:
  1. Delhi, India
  2. Mumbai (Bombay), India
  3. Mexico City, Mexico
  4. Lagos, Nigeria
  5. Tehran, Iran
  6. Calcutta, India
  7. Manila, Philippines
  8. Cotonou, Benin
  9. Johannesburg, South Africa
  10. Beijing, China
  11. Abidjan, Ivory Coast
  12. Caracas, Venezuela
  13. Chennai (Madras), India
  14. Bangalore, India
  15. Dubai/Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  16. Lahore, Pakistan
  17. Hyderabad, India
  18. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  19. Tel-Aviv/Jerusalem/Haifa, Israel
  20. Shenyang, China
Civilizations have struggled with water shortages many times in the history of humanity, and it seems that it is now our time to take stock of the situation. Hopefully we’re prepared to make some wise decisions to safeguard our future.
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All images: Featured image by Meena Kadri, Flickr/CC, Nature Conservancy Report, viaGrist

Monday, December 19, 2011

2 Day International Conference Held in Chennai:Institute of Objective Studies (IOS)CHENNAI CHAPTER

Chennai - 19 Dec 2011:

An extraordinary International conference on “Challenges Before Youth in the Contemporary World” being organized by the internationally reputed think tank Institute of Objective Studies (IOS) in collaboration with Chennai-based Muslim Educational Association of Southern India (MEASI) concluded here recently. The conference was organized as a part of year-long Silver Jubilee celebrations with fanfare. It is attended by a number of experts, scholars, other dignitaries and delegates from inside and outside the country.

Delivering the inaugural address, Dr Ibrahim Bin Hammad Al Quayid of Riyadh-based World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) said the youth today in general faced three kinds of challenges. According to him, they were of political, economic and socio-cultural nature.

An ideal society can emerge only when these three challenges are tackled tactfully taking them in confidence,” the renowned scholar opined.

Dato Mohammed Iqbal, a well known scholar and United Nations representative from Malaysia, said Islam didn’t differentiate between persons other than piety.

Padamshree Mecca Rafique Ahmed, Chairman, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, Tamil Nadu and a business tycoon said the youth today were running after money and going materialistic. “That’s why they are full of tension, stress and strain,” he said.

According to him, capitalism and Socialism were only 200-300 year-old whereas the history of Islam and Muslims was of more than a thousand years. Therefore, only Islam could come as a natural remedy to the youth, he declared.

In the words of former Director Gen. of Police T.N. Mr. V R Lakshminarayanan, IPS (Retd), the main issue was how to provide education to the entire Muslim community.

Author of his master-piece “Role of Muslim Youth in the Reconstruction of Contemporary World” published 28 years ago, IOS Chairman and star attraction of the conference Dr M Manzoor Alam said he had discussed the issues 28 years ago in his book but they still remained relevant because situation changed with the passage of time but not the root-cause.
On this occasion, important dignitaries were awarded awards.
The conference was organized by the Institute of Objective Studies (IOS), New Delhi in collaboration with the New College – Autonomous, Chennai. It has been able to muster support and participation of all sections of society in general, but youth and women in particular. The Chennai chapter of the IOS is appreciated for its efforts in organising the conference at such a scale and the New College, Chennai for extending its full support to make the event successful.
The conference adopted the following resolutions in its concluding session.


1. It is resolved that serious efforts be taken to set up a specialized ‘IOS Global Council for Youth Development’ in Chennai.
2. It is resolved that Chennai Chapter shall draw a plan to approach regional institutions and policy planners to muster support for augmenting interaction with marginalised groups to study their issues and problems within their specific context. Collaboration with other societies to carry out these activities should be a priority.
3. It is resolved that Chennai Chapter should also establish viable linkages with other regional chapters of IOS and try to create coordination with each other.
4. It was resolved that effort should be made to involve the political, social and cultural segments of Tamil Nadu for creating awareness about the plight of Muslim youth and other marginalised sections of society.
5. It is resolved to request the government to make quality education at higher levels affordable to weaker and marginalised sections of societies as it has become expensive and beyond their reach.
6. It is resolved that special efforts be made to initiate programmes of soft and life skills development among youth at all desirable levels. A close contact with state government in these areas will be aimed at.
7. It is resolved that efforts be made to include ethical and moral value systems in the school and college curricula.
8. It is resolved to request the Tamil Nadu government to protect and promote all minority languages in the state.
9. It is resolved that IOS sets up a separate fund to support Muslim youth who appears for IAS, IPS and other central and state services.
10. It is resolved to make a survey of the Muslim youth and their family members who had undergone physical and mental agony during their incarceration in prisons for several years. Efforts should be made to take suitable measures for their rehabilitation.
11. This conference appeals to the Muslim community to pay maximum attention in bringing up and character building of their children in Islamic perspective and also guide them in the selection of their career.
Bhatkallys News Service
By - A U Asif