Monday, November 30, 2015

A Review of a New Novel" The Cuckoo's Calling"

Review of ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ by Robert Galbraith a Pseudonym of JK Rowling
“The Cuckoo’s Calling’ is a book by Jk Rowling, the famous author of the Harry Potter series under a pseudonym. She has chosen the name of Robert Galbraith and for a time fooled many in the publishing world.
One is immediately reminded of George Eliot who wrote classics likeSilas Marner, Adam Bede and many more. Her real name was Mary Anne Evans, but she adopted a man’s name to write. Perhaps this analogy may not be entirely correct as George Eliot wrote at a time when women as writers were frowned upon. In JK Rowling’s case this is not the matter, but a conscientious attempt to create a mystery. Like Mary Evans she also adopted a man’s name. One reason for the pseudonym could be that JK Rowling wanted to make a clean break from her Harry Potter stories. Whatever it is the mask was soon off and people realized who the true writer was.
The Cuckoos Calling
All said and done ‘The Cuckoos Calling’ is a wonderful tale by itself. A reader can forget about the author being JK Rowling and still relish the book. There is no doubt that Rowling is a gifted writer. She can write anything and it will entertain. There is a magical quality about her pen and this is reflected in the Cuckoos calling which has her stamp all over. She writes simple and excellent English which showcases her newest book as well.
The Plot
The story starts with the death of a supermodel named Lula Landry, who was also known as Cuckoo. The media, as is the case most of the time plays up the death of the model as a suicide. JK Rowling or Robert Galbraith now gets under the skin of the reader. The writer concentrates on the real story behind the death of the girl.
JK Rowling now introduces a private detective named Cormoran Strike. He is a man with a mission, but he has lost a leg in the war in Afghanistan. He doesn’t have much business and is hard up on cash. All the same the private detective pairs up with an assistant named Robin Ellacott, a beautiful girl. The private eye now gets cracking as he begins to unravel the death of the super model with Robin by his side.
JK Rowling weaves an exciting tale and as a standalone ‘first’ novel it holds its own. Rowling touches on many issues for which she is famous like racism, celebrity privileges and a police force that could have performed better. The story line is excellent, but at places the reader can detect that the writer is feminine. Her descriptions and thoughts of the heroine clearly convey that the writer is perhaps not a man. The descriptions where Robin is acutely aware that her breasts attract men are beautifully written. This is the clue that the writer is a woman for only a woman can describe how attractive her breasts are to a man.
Jk Rowling has written an excellent detective story. She could be tempted to write a sequel after the success of this book, but modern fiction has hardly any private detective tales. It appears that the era of Hercule Poiret and Dame Marple may be over. But nobody could have forecast the success of the Harry Potter books and one cannot say whether a similar success awaits the detective hero of this novel. After all even Sherlock Holmes caught on only after some time. As far as this novel is concerned, it must rank among the best books by Rowling. It is sure to enthral her fans.
Personal Life
JK Rowling was born in 1965 in England. She adopted the pen name JK Rowling. Her real name is Joanne ‘Jo’ Rowling. She is an arts graduate from the University of Exeter. She married twice and has two sons and a daughter. Rowling had a daughter from her first marriage. Rowling’s’ first marriage lasted from 1992-95 and she married Neil Murray in 2001.
In 2009 Rowling was awarded the Légion d’honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. She is famous as the creator of Harry Potter which at conservative estimate has sold over 11 million books in many languages and appears in over a 100 websites.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Gandhi vs Nathuram Godse * 79

Was the Killing of Gandhi by Godse justified?

Gandhi was shot dead by Godse in 1948. Sentiments in India are not entirely against Godse and many consider he did the right thing.

The Killing of Gandhi

History records that Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead by Nathuram Godse on 30 Jan 1948. Gandhi was on his way to a prayer meeting when Godse shot him at point blank range. Gandhi succumbed to his death soon after.
The question which begets an answer is as to why Godse shot Gandhi who appeared a relatively defenceless man. For this we have to look back to the turn of the century when Gandhi came back to India from South Africa.
Gandhi’s Dream
Gandhi had two dreams. Firstly he desired that India should not be partitioned and secondly he wished to be regarded as a great leader of both the Moslems and the Hindus. Unfortunately he failed on both counts as India was divided into two nations and the two nation theory and races was accepted by the Imperial power. The Moslem's as well as a sizable section of Hindus also accepted this. Secondly the Moslem's never recognized him as their leader despite all his endeavours. Thus he followed a policy of appeasement to the Muslims throughout his life but still ended up being classified as a Hindu leader.
Gandhi Vs Jinnah
The Moslem's preferred Jinnah as their leader and the few Moslem's who joined Gandhi had no popular base at all. Gandhi started the Khilafat Movement in the fond hope that Moslems would see in him their leader. Again during partition he decided to go on a fast to press the government of India to hand over 55 crores cash reserves to Pakistan which they claimed as their due. Suffice that even Nehru was opposed to this.
Partition 1947
The period up to and just after partition was a terrible period. Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan lost their loved ones in the partition riots. Hindu women were raped in front of their husbands and young girls were abducted. Trains arrived from the west laden with dead bodies and people fleeing the killers were set upon with a brutality that just cannot be described.
One million refugees entered Delhi distraught and traumatized, unable to figure out why their lives had been shattered in a gruesome manner. Obviously they could not understand the rationale behind protecting the Muslims in Delhi. What left them aghast was Gandhi's insistence that Hindu and Sikh refugees should be sent back to Pakistan. It didn't make sense
The Result
All this lead to one solution -the assassination of Gandhi. His killers were Hindus and along with Nathuram Godse the conspirators were Narayan Apte, Vishnu Karkare, Gopal Godse, Madanlal Pahwa and Digambar Badge. The historic trial for murdering Gandhi was held in Delhi's Red Fort. The trial captured the imagination of the nation, unleashing sympathy and hate for the conspirators in equal measure. Badge, who had turned approver was openly spat upon and looked down by all and sundry.
Pictures of Nathuram Godse, Apte and their accomplices during the trial show them as remarkably relaxed, unconcerned about the imminent death sentence. At the end Godse and Apte were hanged and the others were all awarded life imprisonment. They never expressed any regret.
Last Word
Gandhi's actions did gross act injustice to the people of India and showed callous disregard for the sentiments of millions of refugees. If figures have any meaning nearly half-a-million people were butchered and 12 million were rendered homeless. Can it justify Godse's action? The people will have to draw their own conclusion from what I have written.

Fatima Jinnah from Pakistan: Woman of Substance

Fatima Jinnah the Woman Who Defied the Ulema and Contested Against General Ayub Khan

Fatima Jinnah was the sister of Mohammad Ali Jinnah the Muslim leader who created Pakistan. Her grandfather was a Hindu and her father was a first convert to Islam. She was born in 1893 and at a young age her father expired in 1901. From then on she was under the guidance and patronage of her brother Mohammed Ali Jinnah. She opposed the Ulema by fighting against General Ayub Khan for the post of President of Pakistan in 1965
Pakistan and women
Pakistan has a tortured history particularly with regard to women, who are effectively reduced to second class citizens in the Islamic republic. One woman who blazed a different trail was Fatima Jinnah who is now greatly respected in Pakistan as Madar-e Millat (mother of Nation). But all this is lip service as in real terms the position of women in Pakistan had deteriorated over the years with leaders like general Zia ul Haq introducing the Hadood ordinance that effectively reduced the status of women by accepting certain principles of jurisprudence as outlined in the Sharia.

Fatima Jinnah was the sister of Mohammad Ali Jinnah the Muslim leader who created Pakistan.  She was a Shia Muslim and defied orthodoxy to study dentistry at the Dr Ahmed Dental College in Calcutta in 1919. Later after getting her degree she opened her dental clinic in Bombay in 1923.

In 1929 she gave up her practice to be with her brother after the death of his Parsi wife and look after his house in Malabar Hill, Bombay. This took its toll and one does not hear of any love liaison of Fatima Jinnah and she did not marry. She however learnt the nuances of politics by being along with Jinnah in his agitation for the creation of Pakistan. After 1947 and the creation of Pakistan Fatima went into hibernation and withdrew from active politics. But fate took a hand during the 1965 presidential election which Ayub Khan the military dictator had himself called. She became the candidate of the combined opposition against Ayub.Fatima attracted huge crowds and this unnerved Ayub Khan, who started by blaming her as an American and Indian agent.
Sick minds product in Pakistan.Simply ludercous

The Election

Ayub panicked and decided that the best course to defeat Fatima was to rig the election. In a rigged election the massive crowds that thronged her election meetings failed to translate into votes and Fatima lost. Historians feel that in case there was a direct election Fatima would have won, but Ayub had introduced a restricted voting system in the form of the election being confined to basic democrats who numbered just 80,000.

The Ulema a factor in Pakistan politics opposed her and declared that people should not vote for her as Islam does not permit a woman to be President. Later General Zia up Haq made an amendment during his dictatorship to effectively amend the constitution to debar a woman from being president of Pakistan. This law is in force even now.
Effect of 1965 election
 The 1965 election is a watershed in Pakistan politics as Fatima Jinnah defied the Ulema and toured the length and breadth of the country to rouse the people against the Military general. Millions lined her campaign trail and it was apparent that the Ulema were side lined.
Last word
The fight of Fatima for the President of Pakistan is a shining episode in Pakistan’s history as for the first and only time a woman despite opposition from the Ulema fought for the post of President of Pakistan. Fatima died in 1967 ostensibly of a heart attack, but rumours abound that she was murdered as her head was severed. It’s anybody’s guess as to what actually happened as a cloak of secrecy surrounds the event in Pakistan.

Looking at Fidel Castro and Cuba * 71

Fidel Castro, a Legend by Himself * 

Castro came to power in 1959 when he landed in Cuba with a band of revolutionaries. These revolutionaries moved towards Havana and the small group swelled to thousands as people en masse joined them with a one point aim to overthrow the American puppet Batista. This man fled and Castro came to the helm of affairs in Cuba.

One man who has won the admiration of the third world is Dr Fidel Castro. This bearded cigar smoking Cuban revolutionary is like a brand name. He stood up to the might of Uncle Sam and carved a niche of his own in world history. For the record he is the longest serving President of any country in the world. He retired in 2006 and handed over the reins to his brother Raul Castro. As on date the Castro brothers have ruled Cuba for 53 years and that is a record that will be difficult to emulate.
Coming to Power and Bay of Pigs Invasion
Castro came to power in 1959 when he landed in Cuba with a band of revolutionaries. These revolutionaries moved towards Havana and the small group swelled to thousands as people en masse joined them with a one point aim to overthrow the American puppet Batista. This man fled and Castro came to the helm of affairs in Cuba.
The fledgling government now faced its first test in 1960 as the CIA launched an invasion with the help of Cuban exiles in the USA. Kennedy was the President at the time of the invasion, but the plans were drafted and approved earlier during the presidency of General Ike. The invasion known as the Bay of Pigs invasion failed and most US citizens were surprised. It showed that Castro had a groundswell of support among the masses.

In 1962 the Cuban missile crisis erupted when the Soviet government started erecting missiles in Cuba. Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba and Nikita Khrushchev, the realist that he was agreed to dismantle the missiles. But a secret protocol included a quid pro quo that was agreed to by Kennedy. In this the USA agreed not to destabilize the Cuba regime. The US has honored this commitment till date. The result is that Castro remained in power and became a bone in the US throat. Thus despite all the touting of a US victory, Kennedy had to pay a heavy price for it in the shape of a communist government in Cuba. For Castro had embraced Marxism and communism was the de facto economic policy in Cuba.The 1962 Missile Crisis and the Quid Pro Quo
Castro and Power
The US press and the so called free world regularly publicized ‘news’ of Castro’s atrocities. But independent observers were of the view that the people targeted were only the rich sugar barons who were in any case close to the US. Economically also the USA was hit as Castro nationalized all foreign companies. As the USA controlled 90% of Cuban economy, they were badly hit. But the agreement of Kennedy gave them no leeway to attack Castro.
Last Word
Castro ruled till 2006 till his health failed him and he handed over the reins of power to his brother Raul Castro. Raul has been at the helm of affairs since then and in the 2013 party Congress announced that he would retire in 2018 as he is already 81. This is a magnificent gesture and an appreciation of ground realities as a successor in the 52 year old Miguel Diaz- Cannel is appointed first Vice President. An orderly succession is thus on the line. When Raul retires in 2018, the Castro brothers would have made history by ruling for 59 years. A wonderful achievement.
American propaganda  failed to overthrow the Castro brothers, as even after the collapse of the Soviet Union Cuba has rolled ahead. But Presient Obama charted a fresh course and has recognised the reality and now Cuba is recognised by the USA and a thaw has taken place. This reinforces that the Castro brothers won the battle and Fidel himself is one of teh legends of all time

New Weapon Concept: The Drone * 74

The Drone: Cost Effective Method to Wage a Battle


The drone is being extensively used by the United States for a variety of tasks. It is used to hit targets in the restive North West Frontier of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is also in use in Yemen. The US security apparatus is also using the drone to spy on US citizens to detect potential terrorists and groups
What is Drone?

The drone is a cost effective method of inflicting comprehensive damage to an enemy. It is a pilot-less aircraft that is radio controlled and carries a lethal arsenal of bombs or other incendiary material. The drone is the latest technological innovation in warfare and is a force multiplier. Most countries in the world would love to have a drone and India is no exception. Indian Drone DRDO (Defence Department of research and Development) is the apex organization that is conducting research in this field.

Drone is a Force Multiplyer

 The Indian effort is assisted by Israel and as per reports the Indian drone should soon be ready for test trials by the end of the year. Russia and China are also in this field, but it will be some time before they can perfect one for combat duty. It is no surprise that the Iranians are also in this field trying to get their act going from pieces of a captured American drone.

 The Drone as a Force Multiplier Clausewitz in his principles of war has enunciated surprise and concentration of force as a principle of war. The drone effectively fulfills this axiom. It is a surprise weapon that can strike an enemy at its power and decision making center like a war council meeting. This can have devastating effect and it is on record the Americans have been able to wipe out many top leaders in the echelons of the enemy force like Taliban and al Qaeda. It is also a weapon that is cost effective. Its operation results in incalculable damage to an enemy with minimal loss of manpower and other factors. Thus a pilot-less drone can be an effective method, without putting soldiers at risk. 

A drone can achieve results quicker and is more effective than many platoons of soldiers who may be assigned for the same task. The USA is successful in its fight against terror in the Middle East and NW Pakistan because of the drone attacks. India is also gearing to use the drone against Islamic militants holed up in the mountains of Kashmir.

The Drone and Collateral Damage

 Many people are against the use of the drone as it may result in collateral damage by the killing of some people who may be in the vicinity of the terror leaders. This is something that has two sides of a coin, for most terror groups make civilians including women and children as a shield while conducting their meetings to plan attacks. They themselves have no compunction in killing civilians and children. An example is the suicide bombers being used by the Taliban and al Qaeda, some of whom are just children. Against such an enemy which has no principles, it is an act of god to use the drone against them. 

I am afraid collateral damage cannot be avoided. Till date a mere 5000 people have been killed in drone attacks, while dropping the A bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima which killed 200,000 is justified on the ground that it brought Japan to the surrender table. Where does one draw the line? 

Last Word

 The drone is being extensively used by the United States for a variety of tasks. It is used to hit targets in the restive North West Frontier of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is also in use in Yemen. The US security apparatus is also using the drone to spy on US citizens to detect potential terrorists and groups. It is the weapon of the 21st century. The drone can however have severe limitations as it cannot by itself win a war. The drone is good for precision target attacks, but to win the war the infantry soldier must hold the ground. In that respect the infantry soldier remains the kingpin of any combat.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Kabir Bedi was a real Macho Star * 71

 Indian Star to Remember: Kabir Bedi who also Starred in Hollywood
Kabir Bedi is a star from India, who had a degree of success in the West in both Hollywood and TV serials
Kabir Bedi
Kabir Bedi is a Sikh star from India. He is a tall and muscular man who exuded a macho image, unlike most other stars on the Hindi screen. He was educated at St Stephens College in Delhi and made his debut in Hindi cinema nearly 4 decades back. Bedi did get some good roles in Hindi cinema, but he opted to try his luck in Hollywood Not many Indian heroes have made it good in Hollywood, but Kabir Bedi is one of that rare breed. Kabir acted in many Hollywood movies. His shared a stellar in “Ashanti” with Michael Caine and in the James Bond movie “Octopussy” he more than held his own as the arch villain. He starred with Roger Moore in this film. Bedi was a great success in the TV serial “” in Italy and girls swooned over him. This was a tale of a romantic Asian pirate during British colonial times; It was an Italian-German-FrenchTV series which broke viewership records across Europe
Italian Knighthood
The President of the Italian Republic officially knighted Kabir Bedi in 2010. He received the highest ranking civilian honor of the Italian Republic and given the title “Cavaliere" (Knight). This is a great honor for Bedi. No Indian star has been so honored outside India. Kabir also starred in the serial “ bold and beautiful’ for over a year.
Kabir Bedi married 4 times and had 3 children. He But there is no doubthe was one of India’s finest actors and ruggedly handsome. I have seen his old movies and even his latest movies and I can say he is an actor without peer.
Kabir Now
Kabir Bedi is now semi-retired and acts occasionally if a role appeals to him. There is no doubt that Bedi had exceptional talent, but somehow I feel he wasted his time in having umpteen love affairs, which became center piece in his life. One has just to watch the Hindi movie “ Khoon Bhari Mang” to realise what an explosive actor he was. 
I watched his TV serial “ SandoKhan” and one can’t think of a more macho and handsome man than Kabir Bedi. Kabir is now 69, but he still exudes a charm that endears him to women. He last married in 2005.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Book Review of a Pakistan Woman Writer: " The Crow Eaters

Book review ‘The Crow Eaters’ by Bapsi Sidhwa a Woman Parsi Writer from Islamic Pakistan

Women in Pakistan
Pakistan and women’s rights are two divergent roads that do not meet. Despite a woman Prime Minister in Benazir Bhutto and numerous bills for women’s rights, the lot of the Pakistan woman has not improved. In fact it has worsened with the ill famous Hadood ordinance promulgated by General Zia ul Haq. In such a scenario a woman writer from Pakistan is a refreshing experience, even if she is a non-Muslim. The woman writer is Bapsi Sidhwa who is a Parsi.
Bapsi Sidhwa
Bapsi Sidhwa is a Parsi writer from Pakistan who has defied the system and produced a string of novels that have won her critical acclaim. But the start was not at all rosy as “the Crow Eaters “her first novel was difficult to publish for want of a publisher. She took a decision to publish the book privately and it was a runaway success. The book could not find a publisher as Bapsi Sidhwa was unknown and the fact that she hailed from Pakistan was itself a drag
The Crow Eaters-The Plot
The Crow Eaters is a book in English and mirrors the Parsi life in undivided India, when the Raj was supreme. The book gives a glimpse of Parsi customs and life in India at the turn of the last century. The plot is simple and revolves around the main character Faredoon Junglewalla, a Parsi who leaves his home somewhere in Central India and with his pregnant wife, mother in law (Jerbanoo) and daughter arrives in Lahore. He travels in a cart with all his belongings. Lahore smiles on the fortunes of Faredoon and he amasses wealth, but not before he makes a false insurance claim and succeeds.
Faredoon and his Family Life
Faredoon does not look back and his rise is phenomenal, but Bapsi brings out the clash of Parsi values when his son falls in love with an Anglo-Indian girl. Faredoon cannot allow it and the boy is shattered when he learns his love is a part time prostitute.
The undercurrent of the book is the animosity between Faredoon and his mother in Law Jerbanoo. These episodes are beautifully written and are the piece de resistance of the novel. Bapsi also pictures the hospitality of the Parsi community which is closely knit and any Parsi visiting Lahore is treated to a round of breakfast and dinners by all Parses’.
A Lovely Account of Parsi Life
The book is a paean on the life of the Parsi community and despite it having death as a part of its theme; it is in reality a hilarious tale. The jousts between the mother in law and the son in law are beautifully depicted as well as the staunch belief in religion of Faredoon. He also believes in the inevitability of fate when one of his sons dies as forecast by an astrologer.
The novel ends at the beginning. This is a result of Bapsi’s power of the pen as the novel starts with a death, the death of Faredoon at the age of 65, depicts his life and ends again with his death. On his death bed with partition around the corner faredoon advises his family to live with peace as to who ever the rulers are.
Bapsi as a Writer
Bapsi Sidhwa has interwoven a lovely tale of Parsi life at the turn of the last century. She gives us a picture of how the Parsi community lived and nurtured their faith. She also brings out the reason for the Parsi success and the fact that they were non political all through.
Bapsi has excellent command of the English language and the books makes easy reading. It has been translated into Urdu and many in Pakistan know about her. Bapsi is now a naturalized citizen of the United States, but her roots are in Lahore and she brings to the reader the lovely period in that city, before politics took over and India was divided.
The book won the David Higham Award for first books and is widely read. Bapsi has also been awarded the Nishan e Imtiaz a literary award by the Pakistan Government. She was on a committee for empowerment of women when Benazir Bhutto was Prime Minister of Pakistan..
Bapsi deserves more than average praise as she made it good despite coming from Pakistan which today is the hotbed of obscurantism
Last Word

Bapsi Sidhwa was born in 1938 and started writing in early nineties. He list of awards and books is listed below. These show she is not an ordinary run of the mill writer, but a lady with command over teh English language
  • Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe/Harvard (1986)
  • Visiting Scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation Center, Bellagio, Italy, (1991)
  • Sitara-e Imtiaz, (1991), Pakistan's highest national honor in the arts)
  • Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award (1994)
  • Premio Mondello for Foreign Authors for Water (2007)
  • Inducted in the Zoroastrian Hall of Fame (2000

Published Books

  • Their Language of Love (2013)
  • The Crow Eaters : Published by Readings Lahore (2012)
  • Jungle Wala Sahib (Translation) (Urdu) (2012)
  • City of Sin and Splendour : Writings on Lahore (2006)
  • Water, a Novel (2006, )
  • Bapsi Sidhwa Omnibus (2001)
  • An American Brat (1993)
  • Cracking India (1991, U.S.; 1992, India; originally published as Ice Candy Man, 1988, England)
  • The Bride (1982, England; 1983;1984, India; published as The Pakistani Bride, 1990 US and 2008 US)
  • The Crow Eaters (1978)

How the Muslims of the North West Frontier and Afghans adopted the Shalwar Kameez

The Shalwar Kameez and its adoption by Pathans and Afghans

Hari Singh Nalwa
Hari Singh Nalwa

Shalwar kameez

History is a peculiar combination of a record of wars and its effects. It also affected the dress worn at that time. One dress that is so common among the men and women of the North West Frontier and Punjab is the Shalwar Kameez. It consists of a loose shirt up to the knees and under it is a trouser called the Shalwar which is tied at the waist with cord. The shalwar is broad at the thighs and tapers to an embroidered collar around the ankles. This was the original dress , but now many innovations have been made.
This was the standard dress of the Sikh women in the Punjab, but was never worn by the men. In the 
Hari Singh and the Afghans
19th century one man named Hari Singh Nalwa terrorized the Afghans and the men of the frontier. Hari Singh Nalwa was a general of the army of Maharajah Ranjit Singh who was intent on expanding the Sikh empire further west. His capital was Lahore.
In a series of battles from Multan, Jamrud, Peshawar the Afghans were badly beaten. The name of Nalwa now created a great fear psychosis among the Pathans and they wondered what to do. Hari Singh was a ruthless man and the Afghans were loath to be captured by him.
Hari Singh and his code
They also learnt that Hari Singh as per his code of conduct spared the women and the children. The Afghans thought of a plan to escape from the battle field. They decided that the best course was to wear the shalwar kameez, the dress worn by the Sikh women and escape. This ruse was successful in a number of cases particularly during the night. 
Afghans adopt the Shalwar Kameez
The Afghans and the Nathans thus started wearing the shalwar Kameez and now it is worn by both men and women in the North West Frontier and Punjab. It has become the standard dress of the Afghan and Pathan men. People may well ask, as to what was the dress of the Pathans before they adopted the Shalwar Kameez. The Pathans wore a robe similar to what the Arabs wear now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Mercure Resort in Abu Dhabi: Fun and Pleasure ** 100

Written by MG Singh
Abu Dhabi and Dubai are two places that are visited by millions of tourists every year. I have now been in Abu Dhabi for quite some time and the wonders of the place never seem to stop to enthrall me. Abu Dhabi has lovely game parks and resorts where one can spend time. These are some of the best in the world. Its hard to imagine that just six decades back Abu Dhabi was little more than a fishing village. 
Mercure Resort
One of the resorts worth visiting is the Mercure Resort, situated high up in the Jebel Hafeet mountains. This is the highest mountain range in the UAE and rises to a height of about 5000 ft. The resort which is a five star luxury hotel is at a height of about 4900 ft. At this height it becomes pretty cold in winter and its best to carry some woollens with you.
The Drive
The resort overlooks the plains below and its an awesome sight. The road to the resort marches the best roads I have driven on in the Alps or the Rockies in America. One can easily steam at 100 km an hour and its a drive to relish.
The Resort proper
The Mercure resort, though in a  Islamic state has all the trappings of luxury. There is an excellent bar and after 10 at night on certain days an enchanting belly dance is performed for the guests.  I really enjoyed the belly dance by a Lebanese grl along with my Chivas.
The resort has an excellent gym and 5 eating outlets. The best place to eat is by the poolside, which overlooks the plains below. 
Swimming pool
The swimming pool is heated and one can dive in even in winter.  There is always a bevy of girls from India and America making use of the pool in bikinis and other swim wear.  One other sight of this pool is to see the Arab Muslim women swimming in the pool in burkha. These women wear a bikini or swim wear and cover themselves with a Burkha and jump in the pool.  This is not allowed in other swimming pools in the West. However the burkha follows its own rules and in the water floats up leaving a voyeur to have a glimpse of lovely legs of Arab women. What a piity they keep them covered.
Last word
I have been twice to this resort. Its best to go after making a prior reservation as walk in rates can be sky high. The resort is a gay place and a great place to relax . Its about an hour and half drive from the capital. I use my Mustang, but for others taxis and luxury bus is available.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pay Commission and OROP: the Ex Servicemens Leadership Have led all to Nadir of Despair

The Ex serviceman's agitation for OROP has entered nearly the 180th day. The period or days is not important except that it has gone on for a pretty long time. However what it has achieved is a big zero and as things stand a 24% increase of pensions authorised for other government servants is denied to the ex servicemen.

What a tragedy, even the legitimate demands of the ex servicemen like equalisation of pay  as per the highest band and  2014 as the base year of calculation is denied. I wonder what the leadership achieved. The next revision is now in 2019 and one does not know what will happen then.

The 3 Chiefs of staff as I wrote earlier are the villains of the piece. These gutless men who just want to cling to their chair have let the men they command down the drain. Not one of them could put his foot down and insure that these regressive decisions are not taken.

In addition the entire approach of the ex serviceman's leadership played into the governments hands by spurning political support. You can't win a battle on ' good will". There has to be solid political support and on this General Satbir Singh and his team have gravely defaulted. What have they to show? Nothing . All this would have come about  even if there was no agitation. Thus this agitation served no purpose and the government dismissed it as a few old men sitting and not eating. It's so silly.

I do not know what is the solution, but this entire leadership of ex servicemen should pack up and go home. They just cannot achieve anything. There is also no political support and the ex servicemen are on their own. Defeat was imminent.

Understanding Doctrine of Necessity and the Pakistan Connection

What is " Doctrine of Necessity" and its Sordid Connection with Pakistan

The Doctrine of necessity is an ancient law, but is rarely used except in Pakistan where it has been used to justify martial law and the sordid hanging of Bhutto, prime minister of pakistan


“Doctrinne of necessity” is a legal term. This is a term used in constitutional law and is as old as history. What does it mean? It means that a government can resort to extra constitutional authority in case there is a breakdown in law and order. The purpose is to restore order in a situation when anarchy rules. The Romans used this doctrine in the occupied lands. Later in the 13th century the doctrine was given a legal cover by the 
jurist Henry de Bracton (1210-68).

Theory of Blackstone and Henry Bracton

Henry Bracton was perhaps the first to give a proper legal frame work to this theory. He lived during the 13th century and was perhaps influenced by the conditions in England at that time.
The doctrine was further revised by William Blackstone (1773-68) an English Jurist. Both jurists had a common thread that this doctrine was a necessity in case there was a breakdown in law and order. The crucial point is “breakdown in law and order”. There is a related question as to who will decide this. The jurists did not amplify on this matter.
‘Doctrine of Necessity’ has never been used in England. But it has been used in Germany by Hitler and now in Pakistan. Pakistan is one nation that has repeatedly upheld changes in Pakistan’s political environment by military coups under this doctrine. This makes sad reading.

Doctrine of Necessity and Pakistan

The Doctrine of Necessity has been known for over 2000 years, but it has been rarely invoked in modern history. The state of Pakistan has however relied on this doctrine to justify military coups and judicial political hangings like of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto by the army general Zia ul Haq.
The first time this doctrine was used in Pakistan was in 1954. The events are now well known. The then Governor general of Pakistan Ghulam Mohammed dismissed the constituent assembly. He took this unconstitutional step as he felt that the assembly did not represent the people of Pakistan. It was a partisan step and an appeal against theGovernor General’s order was filed in the Sind High court. The President of the Constituent Assembly Maulvi Tamizzuddin was the man who filed the appeal.
It is on record that the Sind high court ruled in favor of the petition filed by Maulvi Tamizzuddin. The Governor Generalwent in appeal to the Chief Court of Pakistan (later the Supreme Court). The then Chief Justice Muhammed Munir seeing the wind blowing with army breathing down his neck ruled in favor of the Governor General. Justice Munir relied on the doctrine of necessity as enunciated in Roman law and further enunciated by Ivor Jennings. This was a sad day for Pakistan.

Last word

This decision of Justice Munir became a precedent and on a number of occasions the Supreme Court of Pakistan justified Military Coups. Thus military coups against elected governments by general Zia ul Haq and general Mushraff who overthrew the elected civilian governments were given legitimacy.
the supreme court of Pakistan also acquised in the hanging of Zulfikar Ali bhutto. Not something Pakistan should be proud off.

Friday, November 20, 2015

But what do Muslim Women Feel despite Conversion of many White Christian women to Islam

Recently I read a news item that many young girls and even mature women in the west are converting to Islam. These women have been brought up in a Christian environment, yet are converting to Islam. These girls have been brought up in a liberal atmosphere with a degree of economic security, yet they have decided to convert to Islam. These women are ready to wear the hijab and become part of a harem as well and live in the zenana- the exclusive and segregated residence for wives.

This is all good news and one cannot find any rationale for it. Yet it is worth examining what the Muslim woman, born a Muslim feels in the cloistered world of Islam. This question has no easy answer and a lot depends on the makeup of the woman and place of residence.

Islamic women who are educated know the inequality that dogs them from birth. One has to read the novel " The Pakistani Bride" by Bapsi Sidhwa to realise the torture a woman goes through in Muslim society in the Sub-Continent,particularly Pakistan. Muslim women have literally no rights and many right thinking Muslim women are agitating for their rights. But its a no win situation as the roots of discrimination run deep. Many women do not want to wear the black burkha in the heat, but pain of death enforces this. There is no freedom of choice.

Muslim women in particular educated women want to break out of this restrictive fold and many marry  Hindu men, albiet after converting them. The reason is the harsh law that prescribes death for a person converting from Islam to another religion; after all everybody wants to live and life is precious.

Women from the west need to think over consequences of converting and joining the ISI. Muslim women are treated as door mats by the  ISIS. 

India China military Equation * 74

Indian Army Vs China in Ladakh
I write this post with a heavy heart as a nationalist one cannot condone the thinking of the political leadership which in turn rubs off on the Army. I underwent the 41st Staff course at wellington. One of the exercise as part of the curriculum is a study tour of the Northern or eastern border. Which study to tour to take is at the option of the student officer? I opted to visit the Northern border for a first hand study.
The visit to Ladakh was an eye opener. We visited the various Indian Army formations facing China and had a one to one interaction with the Deputy GOC. Some of the results of that inter -action is summarized below.
a) We learnt that the Indian army had one division facing China in a holding role. On query we learnt the Chinese on the opposite side had 6 divisions. This didn’t make sense, one division vs. 6?
b) The 1962 border war had resulted in large areas being occupied by China. After cease fire the Chinese vacated the areas they had occupied and went back to their earlier line of control.
c) This land vacated by the China is now a no mans land with China occasionally patrolling it. On query we were specifically told by the GOC that the vacated area by China was out of bounds for the Indian army and they only watched as once in 3 or 4 days the Chinese trucks came and went away. On query as to why the Indian army did not go back and occupy the territory which India claims as Indian Territory, the reply was that these are the instructions of the government at Delhi.
d) It also appeared that the in the event of a war the Indian army had no plans for an offensive into the occupied area of Ladakh or Tibet.
It also came to light that the Chusul airfield close to the line of control, which was the scene of some bitter fighting during the 1962 war, was not operational. On query as to why it was not made operational when it was in Indian territory. We were told that these were the instructions of the Central Government so as to not antagonize the Chinese.
All this makes sad reading and shows that the Army which mirrors the policy of the Central government may still lead India to another defeat as a when there is another clash. I do not think anything is learnt by India after 1962. One must read Kautaliya that master of political thought,to realize that a dread of an enemy is sign of defeat. Sadly the political leadership intent on filling its coffers with hard cash has no time for the greatness of India. I wonder the pot bellied ministers sitting in Delhi have even heard, let alone read Kautaliya.

Dining at the Lal Qila in Abu Dhabi * 68

Lal Qila
Abu Dhabi is a place that never fails to charm a visitor, especially a person who loves North Indian and North Western Frontier food. The place has wonderful eating joints and restaurants. One can get the best in Continental and Chinese cuisine as well. The entire city is a gourmet’s paradise if you want good food in comfort than nothing beats Abu Dhabi. Here I shall introduce all my readers to a top eating joint servingNorth Indian food.
The Urdu Poet and food
Abu Dhabi has many restaurants that are classy and serve Frontier and Punjabi food. One of the finest places to dine is the Lal Qila located in the heart of the capital city. I understand the eating joint is owned by a Pakistani from Lahore. The restaurant has excellent staff who are courteous and look after you very well. The best part apart from the foodare a bevy of excellent looking Muslim girls in traditional Indian and Pakistani dresses serve and attend to you.
Most of the girls are from Pakistan and what will strike you is the fairness of these girls. Another added attraction is a poet from Lahore. This man in traditional attire of yore goes from table to table and recites some beautiful Urdu couplets that regale the customers. He came to my table and recited a lovely couplet extolling the beauty of my American girl who was dining with me.
My girl didnt understand the couplet, till I translated it for her and she was delighted and blushed a crimson red.
Good meals
The restaurant serves only buffet meals and has one of the most lavish spreads one can think of. The fare on display to taste and savor consists of over a 100 dishes covering Indian, Pakistani and Chinese food. It’s one of the most elaborate spreads I have come across anywhere in the world. My American gal loves it. I think she has now started relishing spicy food as well. The food is exceptional and one can spend a fair amount of time eating and listening to the Urdu couplets.
The only drawback is that beer and alcohol are not served. In a way I think it’s a good thing as one must try and be away from this intoxicant.
A wonderful place
The meal can set you back by 100 dirhams per head, but overall is a wonderful place to dine on the best food available in Abu Dhabi. I would have mentioned some dishes served, but the list is so exhaustive, that it’s not possible in a short article.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Islam Rises like the Phoenix: biggest Religion by 2050

Religion still dominates the ethos of a human being. It remains a driving force in everyday life. Presently the Catholic faith is the most preferred in the world, with the Sunni form of Islam coming second.

The Pew research centre is a non-partisan foundation that carries out research and polls and brings forth its findings in the form of a report, complete with statistical data. The research centre was started in 2004 and is based in Washington. It has earned a name for accurate and unbiased reports.
The Pew centre has published its latest report on religions and their growth. The centre has after due analysis of available data and trends concluded that by 2050, Islam will overtake Christianity as the biggest religion in the world. It also forcasts that Hinduism will decline by 2 percentage points in the over all scenario. It clearly states as per available, data, that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. It also brings out the unsavory fact that both Buddhism and Hinduism are declining in appeal. The Pew centre does not go into reasons and only publishes cold facts. It is for social scientists to analyse and interpret the data.
One can understand the decline in Hinduism. One reason is the rigidty of caste, a phenomenon that does not exist in any other religion. This lowers the esteem value of Hinduism and unlikely to attract new adherents. In fact a sizeable number of lower caste Hindus will be happy to convert to any other religion. One can recollect that Dr Ambedkar and millions of his followers converted to Buddhism in one stroke.
Christainity is growing, but its appeal appears limited. It is also a liberal religion and loses out against the fanatical zeal of Islam. Buddhism of ofcourse is too pacifist in approach and also has a monk structure that does not appeal to a new convert. The fact is that both Buddhism and Hinduism are in a declining mode.
Islam is the religion of the 21st century as Christianity was the religion of the 19th and 20th century. It has tremendous appeal and is a classless society. Its puritan approach has a appeal and thought of Mohammed as Messanger of God has tremendous motivation. The Islamic concept of paradise and promise of 72 virgins to the true believers has its own charm.
One fact that stands out from the figures published by the Pew Centre is that in due course of time Islam will dominate the world. That is a sobering thought.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Sari: Sexy and Exciting Dress of the Sub-Continent

The Allure of The Sari

Oct 20th, 2010
The sari is the standard garb of the women of the sub-continent. It creates a mystery and exudes sex appeal
It must be noted that a mutitude of religions, clans and tribes l form part of the Indian union. But the one dress that is universal is the sari. The sari is a long  wrap that is worn around the hips and extends to the ankles. Women of the sub continent will wear a blouse that will add to the luster of the sari.

The Sari proper
The sari extends to 5 or 6 yards and comes in vibrant colors and designs. In addition sari's will be made of a variety of materials ranging from cottons to silk. Some of the sari's will be embroidered with intricate desins that could make use of gold thread as well. The sari thus can be a costly item as well.Some of the sari's can set you back by Rs 5 Lakh.

Wearing a sari
There are many methods to tie the sari. Tt is usually draped around the waist with a petticoat as an anchor. It has a number of folds  and wearing a sari is an art by itself.  The sari can be worn in a way that the midriff is bare and in some cases , it can be tied low so as to add to the allure of the wearer. When worn with a blouse which can be sleeveless or backless the sex appeal of the woman is greatly enhanced. Many western men have told me that seeing a lovely woman in sari ia a matter of great fantasy for them, as it creates a mystery of the woman by revealing a little and promising a lot.
Sari and sex appeal
Some of the Indian women will tie the sari in a way that the naval is visible.They will embellish the naval with jewel as well. They will wear a low cut blouse that  may be backless. This dress creates a great degree of sex appeal and is sure to fire the imagination of a man. One only has to look at the present day heart throb, the film actor  Deepika Padakune in a sari to realise the potential it generates in terms of sex appeal.

Sari and Types
Some of the tribal women in the east will wear a sari without a blouse. The eastern women will also wear a shorter sari.Mahrastrian women will wear a 9 yards sari which divides the legs, enhancing the sex appeal to a tremendous extant. the sari is a dress that has been in vougue for thousands of years  and is distinctive of the sub continent.