Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Some important books on Mumbai’s (Bombay) history, people, art and architecture

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Bombay, Meri Jaan : Writings on Mumbai

By Jerry Pinto


The City in Action : Bombay Struggles for Power

By Jim Masselos


The Colonial City and the Challenge of Modernity

By Sandip Hazareesingh


The Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island

By S.M. Edwards


Bombay and Mumbai: The City in Transition

By Jim Masselos Sujata Patel


My Passage from India : A Filmmaker’s Journey from Bombay to Hollywood and Beyond

By Ismail Merchant


Bombay Cinema : An Archive of the City

By Ranjani Mazumdar


Bombay Art Deco Architecture : A Visual Journey (1930-1953)

By Navin Ramani


India's Jewish Heritage : Ritual, Art, and Life-Cycle

By Shalva Well


Living With Violence : An Anthropology of Events and Everyday Life

By Roma Chatterji


The Kapoors : The First Family of Indian Cinema

By Madhu Jain


The Cinemas of India : 1896-2000

By Yves Thoraval


Bollywood : A History

By Mihir Bose


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Books on Mumbai life, Mumbai terrorist attack, Mumbai Bollywood, Mumbai Film industry, Mumbai art etc

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bachchan says media misrepresented his gun comment

Bachchan says media misrepresented his gun comment

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has said that the media misrepresented the remark on his blog about having slept with a gun under his pillow when the Mumbai terror attacks took place.

“It is a pity that the 'intellectual media' portrays the incident of the gun under my pillow as one of ridicule and mirth... Of one that reflects a fear on my part…It is a shame that the mettle of my comment was not put across in the context of its entirety, thereby bisecting the thought and making it weak,” Amitabh posted on his blog www.bigb.bigadda.com early on Sunday.
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'Ram Gopal Varma is not a terrorist'

'Ram Gopal Varma is not a terrorist'

NDTV Correspondent
Monday, December 1, 2008 (Mumbai)

This is how Maharashtra's Chief Minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh tried to clear Ram Gopal Varma's name from the ongoing controversy around the Bollywood filmmaker's visit to the devastated Taj hotel along with the Chief Minister and his Bollywood actor son Riteish Deshmukh.

The filmmaker defended himself saying that he meant no insensitivity to anybody when he went to the Taj yesterday. The hotel, along with the Trident and Nariman House has been the site of one the most brutal terrorist attacks in India.
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Aamir gave me the best compliment ever – Jiah Khan

By Rajiv Dutta

British-born actress Jiah Khan, who hogged the limelight for her role in Ram Gopal Varma's Nishabd opposite Amitabh Bachchan in 2007, says she has received the best ever compliment in her life from her Ghajini co-star Aamir Khan.

"Aamir told my mother that if I were a part of Ghajini it was because of my own achievement and talent. It was the best compliment I have received that too from the best actor of the country - Aamir Khan. What more could I ask for," Jiah said.

Jiah says getting selected for Ghajini was the most memorable moment for her because she feared rejection.
"When Aamir and the director told me I was in, I couldn't believe it! I was in tears and overwhelmed," she said.

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India summons Pak envoy, Rice tells Pak to co-operate

India summons Pak envoy, Rice tells Pak to co-operate

London: The United States has told Pakistan it expects nothing short of complete cooperation in investigations into the terrorist rampage in India, and Pakistan's response will be a test of the will of the new civilian government, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Monday.

Talking tough with Pakistan, the Ministry of External Affairs in India has summoned the Pakistan High Commissioner after strong links to Pakistan in the Mumbai Terror attack emerged.

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Israel awaits Mumbai attack dead

Israel awaits Mumbai attack dead

Orphan Moshe Holtzberg with his grandfather Shimon Rozenberg in Mumbai - 28/11/2008
Moshe Holtzberg with his grandfather after the attack that killed his parents

Israeli and Jewish victims of the Mumbai attacks are to be flown to Israel for burial, officials there say.

The two-year-old son of a rabbi and his wife, who were killed at a Jewish centre, will also be flown to Israel with the Indian nanny who saved him.

Israeli religious leaders have called for special arrangements to be made to allowed her to stay in Israel.

Six Jews were killed at the centre in the attacks on multiple sites in Mumbai that left more than 170 people dead.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Andy David said workers were collecting the remains of the victims and they would be flown back to Israel later on Monday on a special air force flight.

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Tears, shock as Mumbai's Jews mourn rabbi

There were emotional scenes at a Mumbai synagogue Monday as a two-year-old orphan cried out for his parents -- a Jewish rabbi and his wife murdered by Islamic militants.

Moshe Holtzberg cried out as he accompanied his grieving grandparents and dignitaries including Israel's ambassador to India, Mark Sofer, at the synagogue memorial service.

The toddler's parents -- Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka -- were among those who died when heavily armed Islamist extremists stormed into the Nariman House complex in the Colaba Market area where they lived and worked.

So far, the bodies of six Jews have been identified and an Israeli official said the toll could be higher as forensic teams try to identify more.

The five-storey building, also called Chabad House after the ultra-orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement, served as an educational centre, synagogue and a hostel for Israeli tourists.
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Terrorist attack in Mumbai, India and some important books on terrorism

Shop online at our secure online bookstore: www.gmpublications.com. We have one of the largest collections of books on Art, Feminism, Education, Human rights, Biographies, Christianity, Islam, Islamic Law, Law, South Asia, Pakistan, terrorism and History etc. If you don't want to order online please contact us by mail or telephone.

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Terror's Last Gasp in Kashmir

By K.S. Rajamani


Terrorism in India's North-East : A Gathering Storm

By Ved Prakash


Terrorism Strikes

By Basetty Narsing Rao


Terror in Punjab : Narratives, Knowledge and Truth

By Ram Narayan Kumar


International Terrorism: Challenges of 21 Century

By Dasarathi Bhuyan


Globalization of Terror : A Threat to Global Economy

By Niranjan Das


Global Terrorism

By Md. Elyas


Global Terrorism

By Ashok Bhatt


From the Terrorists Point of View : What They Experience and Why They Come to Destroy

By Fathali M. Moghaddam


The Folds of Insurgency

By A.P. Maheshwari


Encyclopaedia of Bioterrorism

By SK Prasad


Dying to Kill Us

By Robert Brown


The Truth of Terrorism

By Hanif Tarin


Terrorism and Militancy : History and Problems

By Neera Khetrpal


International Encyclopaedia of Bioterrorism and Biological Weapons, Vols. I and II

By Md. Elyas


Global Terrorism : Ideology and Operation

By Robert Allison


Counterinsurgency and the Global War on Terror : Military Culture and Irregular War

By Robert M. Cassidy


Women as Weapons of War : Iraq, Sex and the Media

Kelly Oliver


Goodbye Shahzadi: A biography of Benazir Bhutto

By Shyam Bhatia


The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

By Yasir Hussain


Terrorism Resistance and Islam : A Study of 7/7 London Bombings
By Obaidullah Fahad
ISBN: 8183871198
Physical Description: 316 pages
Year of Publication: 2007

Transnational Terrorism : Perspectives on Motives, Measures and Impacts
By Amulya Tripathi Chintamani Mahapatra
ISBN: 8184050363
Physical Description: 446 pages
Year of Publication: 2007

A to Z Of Terrorist Organisations of the World
By PK Das
ISBN: 8184200898
Year of Publication: 2007

Cross-Border Terrorism In South Asia
By PK Das
ISBN: 8184200904
Physical Description: 312 pages
Year of Publication: 2007

Islamic Fundamentalism in South Asia
By R.K.P. Multani
ISBN: 8184200737
Physical Description: 320 pages
Year of Publication: 2007

Al Qaeda's Great Escape : The Military and the Media on Terrors Trail

By Philip Smucker

ISBN: 8170492610, Publisher:Manas


Anti-Terrorism Laws : India, The United States, The United Kingdom and Israel

By K.R. Gupta

ISBN: 8126901381, Publisher:Atlantic


Baghdad Burning : A Young Womans Diary from a War Zone


ISBN: 8188965340, Publisher:Women Unlimited



By L.R. Reddy

ISBN: 8176483117, Publisher:APH


Biological Espionage : Special Operations of the Soviet and Russian Foreign Intelligence Services in the West

By Alexander Kouzminov

ISBN: 8170493072, Publisher:Manas


Biological Weapons and Terrorism

By G.C. Satpathy

ISBN: 8178351684, Publisher:Kalpaz Pub


Bioterrorism: Threat of Massive Global Destruction

By R. C Mishra

ISBN: 8172731078, Publisher:Authors Press


Combating Terrorism

By M.G. Chitkara

ISBN: 8176484156, Publisher:APH


Combating Terrorism : The Legal Challenge

By Arnab Goswami

ISBN: 812410851X, Publisher:Har-Anand


Dictionary of Terrorism and Bioterrorism

By Karan Raj

ISBN: 8178900406


Emergence of Terrorism : The Role of Western Countries

By Larry Burchall

ISBN: 8126904119, Publisher:Atlantic


Encyclopaedia of International Terrorism

Verinder Grover

ISBN: 8176293040, Publisher:Deep & Deep


Encyclopaedia of International Terrorism

Giriraj Shah

ISBN: 8126110449, Publisher:Anmol


Encyclopaedia of Jihad

R.K. Pruthi

ISBN: 812611116X, Publisher:Anmol


Global Jihad : Current Patterns and Future Trends

Rajeev Sharma

ISBN: 8174790535


Global Terrorism : Foreign Policy in the New Millennium

Ramesh Chandra

ISBN: 8178352400


Global Terrorism : Melting Borders, Hardened Walls

Pravin N. Sheth

ISBN: 8170339502


Global Threat of Muslim Fundamentalism : Are Islam and the West on a Collision Course?

Naunihal Singh

ISBN: 8174873910


Holy Warriors : A Journey into the Heart of Indian Fundamentalism

Edna Fernandes

ISBN: 067005870X, Publisher:Penguin


Imperial Hubris : Why the West is Losing the War on Terror

ISBN: 8170492629


International Terrorism and the Contemporary World

Satish Chandra Pandey

ISBN: 8176256382


Islamic Terrorism : Myth or Reality

M.H. Syed

ISBN: 817835117X


Jihadi Terrorism : Making of a World War?

Shashi B. Sahai

ISBN: 8121209056


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Endeavour lands after costly detour

Endeavour lands after costly detour

Nasa said Endeavour's "home-improvement" mission to the ISS was a success [EPA]

The space shuttle Endeavour has touched down safely in a Californian desert after being re-routed from its original landing site at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

US space agency Nasa said the shuttle glided to a smooth landing at the backup site at Edwards Air Force Base on Sunday after aborting its first landing attempt due to dangerously high winds and a stormy sky.

Endeavour and its seven astronauts were returning from a 16-day marathon "home-improvement" mission at the International Space Station (ISS).

"Welcome back. That was a great way to finish a fantastic flight," Nasa mission control in Houston radioed.

"And we're happy to be here in California," shuttle commander Christopher Ferguson replied.

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Endeavour lands safely in California

Space shuttle Endeavour landed safely in California yesterday, despite a last-minute change in its landing destination.

Bad weather forced the shuttle to land at Edwards Air Force Base in California instead of the shuttle's primary end-of-mission landing site at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. It landed at 13:25 local time (21:25 GMT).

As a result it will be transported back to Florida on the back of a modified 747 jumbo jet in around a week's time, a journey of around 2,500 miles, in preparation for its next scheduled flight in May 2009.

Endeavour's mission to the International Space Station (ISS), its 22nd flight, lasted 16 days and saw commander Chris Ferguson and his crew travel over 6.6 million miles.

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Space shuttle glides to safe landing in California


EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — Space shuttle Endeavour slipped out of a brilliant desert sky and touched down safely in California after a nearly 16-day mission to repair and upgrade the international space station.

Stormy weather at the shuttle's main Florida landing site forced controllers to divert Endeavour and its crew of seven astronauts across the country to Edwards Air Force Base, where it glided to Earth at 4:25 p.m. EST Sunday.

"It's great to be back on the ground, and it's great to be in California," shuttle commander Christopher Ferguson said, standing with three of his crew members on the tarmac near the shuttle.

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Terror in the Name of God

By Yoginder Sikand

"Never forget that the life of this world is only a game and a passing delight, a show ….the life of this world is nothing but means of deception:. (The Quran, Al-Hadid: 20)

"There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim" (Baba Guru Nanak Sahib)

According to media reports, it is possible that the recent deadly assault on Mumbai was masterminded by the Lashkar-e Tayyeba, a Pakistan-based self-styled Islamist terrorist outfit. Whether the attacks were indeed the handiwork of the Lashkar, as is being alleged, or of some other agency, such as the CIA and the Israseli Mossad, as others believe, remains to be fully investigated, but there can be no doubt that radical Islamism, like radical Hindutva, poses a major threat to peace and security in both India and Pakistan.

What makes such terror-driven self-styled Islamist groups thrive in Pakistan? It would appear that the very foundational myth of Pakistan, the so-called 'two nation theory' on which the country was founded, is itself conducive to militaristic interpretations of Islam. In a mirror image of the thesis propounded by the early ideologues of Hindutva—that the Hindus and Muslims of India were two entirely different nations and that the latter could live in India only if they agreed to turn Hindu or else be stripped of all civic rights—the ideologues of the Pakistan movement claimed that the Hindus and Muslims of pre-Partition India were two irreconcilable nations that could not live together. On the basis of this specious argument, they demanded a separate state for the Indian Muslims. This is how Pakistan came into being.

Thus, the very basis of the Pakistan movement was the myth of undying hatred and hostility between Hindus and Muslims. This so-called 'two-nation theory' remains the official ideology of the state of Pakistan, and is taught to every Pakistani child in school through carefully doctored textbooks. To question the theory, as many Pakistanis privately do, is considered a punishable crime and as akin to sedition. Accordingly, the Pakistani state has, since its inception, seen its survival as being crucially dependent on actively promoting as well as indirectly abetting anti-Indian and anti-Hindu sentiments. As movements for autonomy in provinces increasingly restive of Punjabi domination mounted, first in the erstwhile East Bengal, and then in Baluchistan and Sindh, the Pakistani state came to increasingly rely on an instrumental use and cynical manipulation of Islam and on the bogey of Hindu or Indian domination to ensure its survival and increasingly threatened legitimacy. Naturally, this expanded the space and scope for groups, not just the Lashkar, but scores of others as well, who claimed to speak in the name of Islam to whip up anti-Indian and anti-Hindu sentiments. For them hatred of India and the Hindus were considered as among the defining features of Pakistani nationalism.

The rise of the Lashkar and similar self-styled jihadist groups thus cannot be understood in isolation from these broader political processes. These groups received a major impetus under the American-backed and hugely unpopular military dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, who cynically backed radical Islamist groups to win public support as well as to pursue the CIA-funded war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. It was at around this time that self-styled Islamist groups began entering the political arena in a major way, setting up political parties and fighting elections. This led to all sorts of compromises, to widespread corruption and to rapidly escalating militancy by different Islamist groups competing with each other to prove to the electorate their purported claims of representing and speaking for Islam. The more obscurantist a group's approach was with regard to a whole host of issues—women's rights, the Kashmir question, relations with India and so on—the more ardently 'Islamic' it considered itself to be and it presented itself so to the public whose support it sought to win.

Under Zia, several dozen radical Islamist groups were liberally funded by the Saudis and the Americans in the war in Afghanistan, but soon these went out of control. They turned against their American patrons and started dreaming of exporting their self-styled jihad to the rest of the world. Some of them, including the Lashkar, even went to the extent of calling for the establishment of a global so-called Islamic Caliphate and for conquering the entire world under the 'Islamic flag'. Whether or not the leaders of these groups actually believed all this bombastic rhetoric no one can say, but it certainly appealed to vast numbers of youth, particularly from impoverished families, who were fed on a steady diet of fanciful tales about the luxuries they would wallow in if they died or were 'martyred' in the cause of what was presented to them as a divine mission.

These groups went on to serve what were seen as the strategic interests of the Pakistani state, as for instance in Kashmir, where they were sent to battle Indian forces as well as Kashmiri nationalist groups struggling for a sovereign Jammu and Kashmir, which would be independent of both India and Pakistan. Since Pakistan was a crucial ally of the West, America chose to remain mute in the face of these developments. Likewise, these groups were solidly backed by the Pakistani state in its desperate effort to install the pro-Pakistan Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and this also received American support. The Lashkar set up several training camps in Afghanistan and gave the Taliban considerable military and moral support.

It is thus the consistent assistance given by the Pakistani state to self-styled Islamist groups that has allowed them to flourish in the country, so much so that now, when the Pakistani state has itself begun to face an immense threat from these very groups, it finds itself helpless. It is an indicator of how powerful these groups have become in Pakistan that even though the present government might want to clamp down on them it cannot do so. Large parts of Pakistan are today characterized by extreme lawlessness where the writ of the state does not run. Decades of cynical manipulation of Islam by the Pakistani state for the narrowly construed ends of Pakistan's elites have now led to a situation where even if the state wants to curb these self-styled Islamist groups it finds itself helpless. Powerful sections within the Pakistani state apparatus, including in the ISI and the Army, are fiercely averse to taking any action against these groups, and are said to be consistently providing support to them.

But is the Pakistani state serious in its claims of being determined to take on Islamist terror groups that have mushroomed across the country? It appears not, just as the Indian state has not taken any serious steps against Hindutva terror groups in India. The Pakistani government claims to have banned the Lashkar, to have frozen all its assets and to have put its leaders under arrest. But ample indications exist to suggest that, in actual fact, the Lashkar is being permitted to operate freely after being conveniently allowed to change its name and re-christen itself as the Jamaat ud-Dawa. The Jamaat ud-Dawa's website is freely accessible on the Internet, relaying incendiary, hate-driven speeches of its senior leaders, who seem to be under no control whatsoever. The Markaz's magazines in English, Arabic and Urdu continue to be published, with a reported circulation of several hundred thousand. On a visit to Lahore three years ago I chanced upon a bookshop in the very heart of the sprawling Urdu Bazaar that specializes in Lashkar literature that spews venom and hatred against India and the Hindus, but also against a whole host of Muslim groups that the Lashkar does not consider genuinely Islamic—including the followers of the Sufis, the Barelvis, the quietistic Deobandi-related Tablighi Jamaat and the Shias, all of which it brands as 'enemies of Islam' or their 'agents'. And, I was told, despite the fact that the Lashkar was officially 'banned', it still operated from its headquarters in Muridke, not far from Lahore, and also managed several dozens of centres across the country under various names. Is one to imagine that the Pakistani government is so weak in the face of radical groups as to be unable to close all these institutions down?

In this context, the question arises as to why Pakistani civil society has been unable to effectively challenge the venomous (and what I, as someone who has studied Islam for the past two decades, regard as a wholly distorted) version of Islam that is propelled by self-styled Islamist groups such as the Lashkar. This issue is particularly intriguing given the fact that radical Islamist groups have consistently received only a relatively small share of the vote in successive elections, indicating that their hate-driven vision of Islam does not appeal to the majority of Pakistani people.

There are several reasons for this, among the most salient being the fact that the liberal, progressive middle class in Pakistan is very miniscule, the country still remaining largely feudal, tribalistic and extremely patriarchal in its set-up and ethos. Efforts by the few liberal Islamic scholars that exist in Pakistan to articulate progressive interpretations of Islam on a range of issues—including women's rights, relations with non-Muslims and relations between India and Pakistan—have generally met with stern opposition and even violence from Islamist outfits, with some of these scholars being forced to flee for safety to the West. The sheer fear of being killed for publicly opposing radicals and their perverted brand of Islam keeps numerous progressive thinkers in Pakistan silent, thus perpetuating a vicious circle in which the radicals are allowed to go unchallenged. Furthermore, the state has consistently denied space to progressive Islamic scholars, fearing their potential for dissent from the official view, seeing the radicals as more pliable and amenable to manipulation. This explains, for instance, the fact that despite its bombastic 'Islamic' credentials, Pakistan is yet to produce any well-known Islamic intellectual who has sought to deal creatively with the manifold demands and challenges that modernity poses. The status of Islamic, in addition to social science, research in Pakistan is woeful, and this can be explained, in part, by the fear on the part of the establishment of voices of dissenting scholars that might challenge ruling myths. The fact that Pakistan spends less than 2 per cent of its budget on education and that numerous Vice-Chancellors of Pakistani universities are retired army generals are indicators of this mind-set.

Terrorism—and this includes terror resorted to by non-state actors as well as by the state—today poses a grave threat to the peoples of both India and Pakistan. Islamist and Hindutva terrorism feed on each other, while posing to be each other's most inveterate foes. I recall reading some years ago—I cannot recall where, though—the perverse pleasure that a senior Lashkar expressed when the BJP-led NDA government came to power. Syed Maududi, the chief ideologue of the Jamaat-e Islami, who can be considered the major architect of modern-day Islamism, is on record as having declared that he would prefer India to be an officially Hindu country to being secular because that would further his case for the 'Islamic state' that he dreamed of establishing in Pakistan. Islamist outfits in Pakistan find ready fodder for whipping up anti-Indian and anti-Hindu passions by pouncing on acts of terror and anti-Muslim violence spearheaded by Hindutva groups in India, often abetted by the state. Likewise, gruesome acts of terror committed by Pakistan-based Islamist groups are quickly seized upon by Hindutva forces in India to further demonise Muslims and to build their Hindu vote-bank. Hindu and Islamist terror thus enjoy a symbiotic or mutually beneficial relationship while claiming to oppose each other. This obvious fact must be recognized when conceiving responses to the challenge of terrorism in our region.

There are no easy solutions to the predicament we find ourselves in today. But there is surely at least one thing that we must do, and this was suggested to me by the noted New Delhi-based Arya Samaj scholar, Swami Agnivesh, who has consistently been speaking out against all forms of terror, including in the name of Islam and Hinduism as well as state terrorism. The most effective way to challenge terrorism in the name of religion, Swami Agnivesh suggested, is for Muslims to denounce and stiffly oppose terror engaged in by self-styled Islamic groups who claim to speak in the name of Islam, and for Hindus to do likewise with regard to terror spread by militant Hindu groups. Sadly, today, the approach of many of us to the phenomenon is selective and skewed, with many Hindus denouncing only the terror unleashed by self-styled Islamist groups, and many Muslims denouncing only acts of terror masterminded by Hindu groups. At the same time, many Hindus and Muslims continue to turn a blind eye to, or even support, forms of terror being perpetrated in the name of the very religion which they claim to follow.

And there is something else that we need to do as individuals, and I have found that this simple principle works wonders even at a very personal level. It might sound 'unfashionable' or even 'purile' for those who do not find any place for God in their lives, but for millions of people in India and Pakistan who do believe in some higher force, no matter what they name it, it would strike an immediate chord.

This principle I owe to Rano Devi, a landless Dalit labourer from the Bhil tribe who had been released through the efforts of a human rights' group from slavery-like conditions in the estate of a powerful landlord. I Rano met while on a visit to Sindh in southern Pakistan three years ago. A powerful woman she was—dark and tall, and walking proud and erect. A courteous hostess, she welcomed me into her one-roomed hovel built on a scrawny patch of land that a social activist friend of mine had provided her and plied me with milk-less tea and a roti, which was all that she could afford.

Rano told me her story, of how she was enslaved by a landlord, who happened to be a Muslim, and who kept her for four years in shackles. Then, after a protracted legal battle, she was released through the efforts of my friend and his comrades, all of who happened to be Muslims.

She went on to enunciate a simple but very compelling principle thus:

'Live for your religion, don't die or kill for it. Express your religion through love and service, like the brothers who rescued me did, not through oppression, murder and mayhem, for that is a heinous crime in God's eyes. After all, we are all accountable for all our actions to God. To Him we shall return after we die, when He will decide our fate till eternity based on our deeds in this world'.

'If we were to realize that this world is temporary and that real, eternal life starts after death,' Rano continued softly, tears welling up in her eyes, 'and if we were to constantly keep this in mind, perhaps people would dread to misuse God's name for un-Godly acts'.

And there was another thing that Rano said that inspires me as I write these lines:

'We call Him Ishwar, and Muslims call Him Allah, but He is one and the same', said Rano. 'There are good people in every community, just as there are bad people, too. Just as that landlord who enslaved me claimed to be a Muslim, the brothers who freed me were also Muslims. And there are both good and bad people among Hindus as well. Remember that, brother. It is only when good people in every community join hands that this Hindu-Muslim problem or the problems between India and Pakistan can ever be resolved'.

That sage advice from this impoverished Pakistani Dalit woman is, to my mind, a basic premise we need to start from in our joint struggle against terror in the name of religion and national chauvinism.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

'Boy' attackers shot Aussies in India, Mumbai

Nov 27, 2008: An Australian student has told how rampaging gunmen shot his girlfriend during a series of coordinated terrorist strikes in India's financial capital, Mumbai.

Townsville student David Coker, 23, and his Sydney partner Katie Anstee, 24, were eating at Mumbai's Cafe Leopold when the gunmen opened fire, shooting Ms Anstee through the leg.

The bullet broke her femur and exited through the front of her thigh. She is undergoing surgery.

Mr Coker, a law graduate and son of Federal Magistrate John Coker, suffered a bullet graze to his leg.

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80 dead in Mumbai terror attacks, scores held hostage

80 dead in Mumbai terror attacks, scores held hostage

People stand around a damaged vehicle at the site of an explosion in Mumbai. (Photo: AP)
First Published : 26 Nov 2008 11:10:54 PM IST
Last Updated : 27 Nov 2008 09:15:26 AM IST
MUMBAI: At least 80 people, including a foreign tourist and four top police officers, were killed and over 250 injured as terrorists struck in yet another series of planned and synchronised gunfire and bomb attacks in the heart of India's financial capital late Wednesday, authorities said. Terrorists were reported to be holding tourists and other guests hostage in two five-star hotels, the Taj Intercontinental and Trident (formerly Oberoi), facing the waterfront across the Arabian Sea close to the city's most important landmark, the Gateway of India. Four top police officials, including Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, were among the 10 policemen killed in the gunbattles with the terrorists, police confirmed. Among terror targets was the city's busiest railway station, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), formerly the Victoria Terminus that is a World Heritage site.
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Carnage in Mumbai, India, 82 people killed


Hostages were being held in the Taj Mahal hotel, part of which was also on fire [AFP]

Groups of heavily armed men have attacked several high-profile hotels and restaurants in the Indian city of Mumbai, leaving at least 82 people dead and more than 250 injured.

Attackers were still holding hostages early on Thursday and engaged in a standoff with security forces at the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels.

Police said six attackers had been killed and nine others arrested hours after the attacks began on Wednesday night, but Vilasrao Deshmukh, the chief minister of Maharashtra state where Mumbai is located, said the situation was not yet under control.

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Obama Leads Global Condemnation of Mumbai Gun, Grenade Attacks

By Michael Heath

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- President-elect Barack Obama led global condemnation of grenade and gun assaults in India’s financial hub of Mumbai, the third major terrorist attack targeting foreigners in South Asian nations this year.

The U.S. will work “with India and nations around the world to root out and destroy terrorist networks,” Obama’s transition team said in a statement. Gunmen raided Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Oberoi and Trident hotels and carried out attacks across the city that killed as many as 80 people.

The violence in Mumbai came two months after a suicide bombing on the Marriot Hotel in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, killed 40 people and a January attack on the luxury Serena Hotel in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killed eight.

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Indian Muslims in the US condemns terrorist attacks in Mumbai

FARMINGTON,MICHIGAN, Nov 27, 2008: The American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) on Wednesday condemned the serial terrorist attacks in Mumbai city of India. According to latest news reports 80 people have died and over 250 have been injured in the attacks across the city including the CST railway station and the Oberoi and Taj hotels. At the time of this writing an hostage situation continued to exist in the Oberoi Hotel and a commando operation was on.

"We strongly condemn these dastardly attacks which targeted the innocents. AFMI conveys its deepest sympathies to the bereaved families and prays for the speedy recovery of the injured. We salute the the brave police officers who lost their lives and express our heartfelt condolences to their families," said Mr. Ali Quraishi, president of AFMI.

"AFMI demands the respective state and central governments to take immediate action in bringing the culprits behind this attack to justice. We also urge the respective governments to direct the police and security forces to not to target any innocent persons," Mr.Quraishi added.

"We also appeal to the people of India to maintain peace and not to fall prey to the machinations of anti-national and divisive forces."

The American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin, is a North American based grassroots organization, dedicated to socio-economic and educational development of Muslims and other underprivileged masses in India.

Contact: AFMI, 29008, West Eight Mile Road, Farmington MI 48336, USA
Tel: 248-442-2364; Fax: 248-476-8926 Email: afmi11@aol.com; / www.afmi.org

Obama's US economic jolt

Will Obama's team manage to calm markets more effectively? [GALLO/GETTY]

Barack Obama, the US president-elect, is stepping into a yawning power vacuum in Washington DC in an unprecedented effort to restore confidence in the financial system.

"The truth is, we don't have a minute to waste," Obama has said.

"Right now, our economy is trapped in a vicious cycle: The turmoil on Wall Street means a new round of belt-tightening for families and businesses on Main Street – and as folks produce less and consume less, that just deepens the problems in our financial markets."

Obama said the economy needs a "jolt" - a whopping stimulus package to put people back to work, fix the crumbling public infrastructure and develop clean energy sources.

What he might have added is that the current president needs a jolt to wake him from his irresponsible slumber.

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Obama Team Starts to Take Shape, May Include One-time Rival Hillary Clinton

Obama Team Starts to Take Shape, May Include One-time Rival Hillary Clinton

Posted: November 25, 2008PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION: PDF
The make up of President-elect Barack Obama's new administration began to emerge this week with his announcement of a new economic team and reports that former Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton could be named Secretary of State.
Larry Summers, Barack Obama and Joe Biden, AP photo
President-elect Obama announced his choices for the top economic advisers in his administration, including former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, right, as the head of the National Economic Council.

With more people losing their jobs, plummeting stock prices and further declines in the housing market, President-elect Barack Obama held a series of press conferences this week to show that his administration will "hit the ground running."

Obama tackles the economy first

Tim Geithner

Obama chose New York Federal Reserve president Tim Geithner to be his Treasury Secretary, an appointment that must be approved by the Senate.
For the important position of Treasury Secretary, Mr. Obama nominated Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York. Lawrence Summers, a highly respected Harvard economist who got into trouble several years ago for questioning why more women are not succeeding at math and science, will head the White House Economic Council.
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Astronauts' water a go

HOUSTON -- After several days without luck, astronauts finally ran a successful test on equipment that turns urine into drinking water on the International Space Station.

"Not to spoil anything, but I think up here the appropriate words are 'Yippee!' " space station commander Mike Fincke told Mission Control early yesterday. "There will be dancing later," was the reply.

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Nokia to Launch 5800 XpressMusic

Nokia India is all set to launch its latest 5800 XpressMusic in the country.

The latest gadget in Nokia’s brand XpressMusic is equipped with S60 5th Edition user interface it also features virtual computer-style QWERTY keyboard and sports touch interface with tactile feedback. To add to your amazement, there is also a Media Bar to access music, photos and videos directly.

Other striking feature include graphic equalizer , 81 MB internal memory which is expandable upto 16GB. The handset is also known to work congenially with all types of digital music formats, with built-in surround sound. It gives the best music experience a mobile phone can deliver.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Chandrayaan-1 records unexplained temperature rise

Chandrayaan-1 has reportedly encountered an unexplained rise in temperature.

According to ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) Chairman Madhavan Nair, the vessel has recorded a 10 degree increase in temperature, which is hot enough to affect its advanced instruments. Although moon surface temperatures often reach 100 degrees Celsius, a thermal blanket could theoretically be utilised to keep Chandrayaan-1 from overheating.

The otherwise uneventful mission has thus far been considered a success. Indeed, 9 scientific instruments on board the ship have been activated and are relaying data, including three-dimensional pictures of the moon's surface. However, the ISRO is still waiting to activate the High Energy X-ray Spectrometer (HEX) and the Sub keV Atom Reflecting Analyser (SARA). The HEX is slated to survey the moon's polar region for the presence of water, uranium and thorium, while the SARA will analyse the surface composition of the lunar body.

"These are high voltage systems. You have to wait for some time in orbit before they are switched on," Project Director M. Annadurai told the Hindu.
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Foreign nationals given ID cards in UK

LONDON, Nov 25 (KUNA) -- The British Home Office is to start issuing identity cards to people from outside the European Economic Area, it was officially announced here Tuesday.

The first cards will go to students and the husbands, wives and partners of permanent residents who apply for permission to extend their stay, the Home Office said.

The British Government said that by April 2015, 90 percent of all foreign nationals living in the UK will have the cards, containing fingerprints and personal details.

The main opposition Conservatives have dismissed the cards as an expensive gimmick. They will contain the fingerprints, name, date of birth, nationality and the person's right to be in the UK.

British ministers predict that between 50,000 and 60,000 cards will be issued by the end of next March.

Britains Home Secretary Mrs Jacqui Smith said in a statement "In time, identity cards for foreign nationals will replace paper documents and give employers a safe and secure way of checking a migrant's right to work and study in the UK." But the shadow Conservative Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said "This is a gimmick but it's a gimmick with a price." "While these 'ID cards' won't stop illegal immigration or terrorism, they will land the taxpayer with a multi-billion pound bill...At a time of economic hardship this is the last thing the taxpayer needs," Grieve added.

The BlackBerry Storm: is it all it’s cracked up to be?

The Blackberry Storm, RIM's first all-touch screen keyboard-free smartphone, hit the shelves with record breaking sales on Thursday. Feedback and reviews seem positive so far. The Storm has unquestionably added some much needed competition for the iphone.

The Look

For those of you who have not seen this new strikingly beautiful device, you will know the second you lay eyes on it, that clearly a lot of time and care went into crafting this phone. The majority of the front panel is display, a large 3.25-inch (480 x 360) touch screen sitting just shy of flush with a silver bezel that runs around the sides, top, and bottom of the device.

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Work and family saath saath for SRK

When you are Shah Rukh Khan, time is of essence. When you aren’t filming for movies back to back, you are making appearances at events. And if you aren’t doing either of those things, then King Khan has to film adverts for his endorsements. So in just a jam packed schedule how do you make time for your family?

“When you are Shah Rukh Khan, you make things happen. He knows the demands on his time and so now he asks most of the companies he endorses to film the advertisements at his home in Mannat,” informs a source.

In fact King Khan is believed to have built certain portions of his building in such a way that they can be used for filming these advertisements.
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Maharathi – First Shah Rukh, then Akshay Kumar

Here comes Paresh Rawal, the versatile personality who's gonna have high time in the coming weeks. The film Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye features him in three roles: Abhay Deol's father, gangster Gogi Bhai and a veterinary doctor Handa. Speaking about his characters, Paresh says that all the credits go to Director Dibakar.
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And the Bigg Boss is...

The underdog won. Ashutosh Kaushik, the fun-loving small-town guy walked away with a crore as winner of the second season of Bigg Boss. Raja Choudhary was declared the runner-up

What are you planning to do with your prize money?
I will give it to my parents and they will decide what to do with it.

Did you expect to win?
I thought either Raja or I would win.

Do you think if Rahul had stayed back he would have won?
I wish he had stayed and I had won. My level of confidence is very high.
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Obama names economic team


Wall Street is likely to welcome Geithner's appointment [GALLO/GETTY]

Barack Obama, the US president-elect, has named his White House economic team, which faces the task of kickstarting the struggling US economy.

Timothy Geithner, the New York Federal Reserve Bank chief, was nominated as the next treasury secretary during a news conference held by Obama in Chicago on Monday.

Lawrence Summers, a former treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, is to be the director of the National Economic Council and Christina Romer, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley, was named as the head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

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