Monday, August 25, 2014

KATHLEEN STEPHENS, CHARGE D’ AFFAIRES OF US EMBASSY CALLS ON MANEKA SANJAY GANDHI

Kathleen Stephens, Charge d' Affaires of US Embassy calls on Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister of Women & Child Development

Both sides to hold a Dialogue on Women’s Empowerment by year end
Ms Kathleen Stephens, Charge d` Affaires of US Embassy in New Delhi today called on Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister of Women & Child Development.

Both sides discussed the issue of empowerment of women as a global issue as well as the common concern of increasing number of incidents of crime against women.

Mrs Maneka Gandhi stated that her government is seized of the matter and that all possible steps are being taken to address the issues. She enumerated the steps like one-stop crises centres being set up in each of the districts across the country which will have attached to it a panel of police, lawyers, a trained 24 hour caretaker, nurses, counsellors, a rescue vehicle to attend to women in distress. Other steps include introducing the concept of foster care for children being introduced for the first time in India and adoption reforms through the Juvenile Justice (Protection & Care of Children) Bill, 2014 which has been introduced in the Parliament, Mrs Gandhi added.

The Minister said that she has personally written letters to Chief Ministers of all the states to have at least 33% women in police force.

Ms Kathleen Stephens offered to extend the US cooperation to women in the field of infrastructure, institutionalize approaches and bring about change in attitude towards bringing empowerment to women. To give effect to this cooperation, both sides agreed to hold a high level Women`s Empowerment Dialogue by the end of this year. Mrs Maneka Gandhi said that the Dialogue should translate into a working programme to address women’s needs and to find practical ways to assist them. It should comprise of committed NGOs from both sides, she added.

Both sides agreed to have an immediate round of meetings to finalise details of the Dialogue on Women’s Empowerment. 
Kathleen Stephens, Charge d' Affaires of US Embassy calls on Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister of Women & Child Development

Both sides to hold a Dialogue on Women’s Empowerment by year end
Ms Kathleen Stephens, Charge d` Affaires of US Embassy in New Delhi today called on Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister of Women & Child Development.

Both sides discussed the issue of empowerment of women as a global issue as well as the common concern of increasing number of incidents of crime against women.

Mrs Maneka Gandhi stated that her government is seized of the matter and that all possible steps are being taken to address the issues. She enumerated the steps like one-stop crises centres being set up in each of the districts across the country which will have attached to it a panel of police, lawyers, a trained 24 hour caretaker, nurses, counsellors, a rescue vehicle to attend to women in distress. Other steps include introducing the concept of foster care for children being introduced for the first time in India and adoption reforms through the Juvenile Justice (Protection & Care of Children) Bill, 2014 which has been introduced in the Parliament, Mrs Gandhi added.

The Minister said that she has personally written letters to Chief Ministers of all the states to have at least 33% women in police force.

Ms Kathleen Stephens offered to extend the US cooperation to women in the field of infrastructure, institutionalize approaches and bring about change in attitude towards bringing empowerment to women. To give effect to this cooperation, both sides agreed to hold a high level Women`s Empowerment Dialogue by the end of this year. Mrs Maneka Gandhi said that the Dialogue should translate into a working programme to address women’s needs and to find practical ways to assist them. It should comprise of committed NGOs from both sides, she added.

Both sides agreed to have an immediate round of meetings to finalise details of the Dialogue on Women’s Empowerment. 
 Coal blocks allocation case exposes all govts since 1993 onwards
From: AAP MEDIA CELL  Mon, 25 Aug '14 5:40p
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Show full Headers
                                              Monday, August 25
The Aam Aadmi Party welcomes the Supreme Court decision declaring the allocation of 218 coal blocks allocated by successive governments between 1993 and 2010 as illegal, arbitrary and non-transparent.
The Supreme Court’s view will go a long way in protecting the natural resources of the country which have been mercilessly plundered by different political parties in power at the Centre, with the sole motive of allowing corporate houses to make huge financial gains at the cost of the country.
It may be recalled that when Arvind Kejriwal and his colleagues had undertaken an indefinite fast in July 2012, demanding a CBI probe against corrupt UPA ministers, one of their key demands was cancellation of these coal blocks.
The then UPA government and many other parties, including the BJP had ridiculed the demand of Kejriwal and his colleagues at that time. The AAP would like to ask these parties, what they have to say now.
The AAP will now wait for the final verdict of the Supreme Court on September 1, but it is very clear that all allocations made during the 17 year period mentioned above are now clearly illegal and have no legal effect any longer.
The only question that the country’s top court has left open to be decided now is what would happen in those few cases where the state governments have signed mining leases and people are actually mining.
Without exception, all governments since 1993 beginning with the late PV Narasimha Rao’s regime till the Manmohan Singh government, including the Atal Behari Vajpayee government, have been held responsible of having allocated coal blocks through the unfair route of screening committees.  
The AAP demands that the BJP’s central government should immediately cancel all these allocations without waiting any further, since the Supreme Court direction is absolutely clear in this regard.
Regards.
AAP Media cell
Protest outside Harsh Vardhan's residence to demand his resignation
From: AAP Media Cell  Mon, 25 Aug '14 5:54p
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
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                                       Monday, August 25
Please find enclosed the photographs of the protest by the residents and volunteers of the Aam Aadmi Party’s Krishnanagar Vidhan Sabha assembly segment, outside union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan’s residence.
The protest was organised against the health minister’s direct compromise with corruption by shunting out whistleblower officer, Mr Sanjeev Chaturvedi from the post of Chief Vigilance Officer of AIIMS.
The protestors displayed placards and posters demanding the health minister';s resignation for victimising an honest officer at the behest of BJP leaders, who were angry with Chaturvedi for exposing corruption at AIIMS.
The health minister is changing his stand everyday and is making false statements in a desperate bid to wriggle out of his unjustified and untenable decision to compromise with corruption by having shunted out a honest officer on the instructions of BJP leadership.
The health minister had tweeted on Friday (August 22) that Chaturvedi had been twice rejected by the CVC and that his continuation as CVO of AIIMS was “irregular and indefensible”.   
The minister on Saturday changed his stand from rejection to opposition by the CVC in 2012 and 2013. The AAP dares the health minister to put in public domain any document which has support his claim.
The fact is that the CVC did not either reject or oppose Chaturvedi’s appointment as the CVO of AIIMS, a clarification sought by the commission is being twisted and wrongly presented by the health minister to mislead the country in a desperate bid to divert attention since his direct compromise with corruption now stands fully exposed.
Regards.

BND spying on Turkey since 1976

25082014

BND been eavesdropping on Turkey since 1976

German Federal Intelligence Service, BND, has been eavesdropping on Turkey since 1976 following the Social Democrat Chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s government approval, Focus magazine wrote on Saturday.
Passions over previous spying allegations revealed in the media are still running high, but a new report may add fuel to the fire triggering further tensions between the two long-time North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies.
As for the current BND’s mandate to keep their eye on Turkish political and social institutions, it had also been given a green light by a government working group, which brought together representatives of the chancellor’s office, the defense, foreign and economy ministries, reported Focus, citing government sources.
A spokesman for the German government declined to comment on the report. Media agencies
केरल की राज्यपाल, श्रीमती शीला दीक्षित, केंद्रीय गृह मंत्री श्री राजनाथ सिंह से मुलाकात करते हुए।

Swaraj’s Vietnam visit

25082014
Swaraj
Trade, defence and security tops agenda Keen to bolster India’s bilateral ties with the strategically-important Vietnam, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will today undertake a series of meetings with the top leadership here focusing on connectivity, trade, defence and security cooperation.Swaraj, who arrived Vietnam last evening, will hold talks with her Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh.She will also call on President Truong Tan Sang and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.The Minister has said that she will discuss a number of issues with the Vietnam leadership.She said that under the new BJP-led government, India will adopt an “Act East Policy” for which Vietnam is an important country.The visit to Vietnam comes just days after Hanoi renewed India’s lease of two oil blocks in South China Sea for another year, a move that could rile China.China and Vietnam have an acrimonious relationship due to their stand-off over the South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons.Due to its estranged ties with China, Vietnam is looking at India for a deeper defence cooperation which includes possible procurement of weaponry besides training especially that of the Navy.Talking about Indo-Vietnam cooperation, Swaraj said that India had helped Vietnam with its knowhow in rice cultivation through a rice centre set up here.”Look today, at how they have left us behind” in rice exports, she said addressing an event last night.Since 1976, India has offered several Lines of Credit (LoCs) to Vietnam over the years on concessional terms and conditions. So far, India has extended 17 LoCs worth more than USD 165 million to Vietnam.The last major LoC extended by India was in July last year for execution of a hydropower and pumping project.Officials said that India has also extended lines of credit of USD 100 million for infrastructure and defence procurement.India has also agreed to consider earmarking an amount of USD 100 million under Buyer’s Credit to the National Export Insurance Account for use by Vietnam.Both the countries also have a fairly robust economic ties and the bilateral trade stands at USD 8 billion, of which Indian exports to the country is about USD 5.4 billion.

Is Modi image has taken retreat

25082014
  1. Bihar bypolls results not as we had expected it to be,as state leaders we take responsibility : Shahnawaz Hussain,BJP 
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     Is Modi image has taken retreat or the Modi sarker has not been able to perform according to expectations of people who has shown excellent  liking for the Modi eloquence and his promises. with the results of assembly bye election in five states prove the point. Congress and its allies UPA II proved that they cared for themselves and NDA leader Modi on spring board assured pan India would work for the masses but in 100 days his methodlogy and his wheel of development moved in snail pace and thus these results in backdrop exhibits that people are in no mood to give NDA full marks.
    Hope these bye election  be an eye opener for the new PM who comes from humble background and prove his metal by giving momentum to the nation by his professional wisdom to make people belief that there is real force who can navigate the nation in hours of need to better heights. Modi who has taken enough time to make his plan but remember ” people don’t plan to fail they just fail to plan “his movements with the executives who are  not professional and are responsible for development not reaching the last mile because of their inherent nature of taking masses as common people who deserve  nothing. The two PM  Mr Rajiv Gandhi and Mr MM Singh has admitted their failure, will Modi, “‘ the hopes of billion” would also lay lame excuses .
    Modi not meeting people or holding darbar is another weakness for the Prime Minister Modi who shall remain cut off from the ordinary people and their aspirations the party or RSS would not be able to read pulse of the people but would shed their sermons.
    Most of political analyst believe that this is the time of professional to enter into governance and the developed countries have shown exemplary advancements by employing, adding the professional in all around governance of the states or in center.
    This is high time that professional who have been outclassed from governance from last two decades are given the right opportunity to step in for the development of this great nation.

ISTITUTO ITALIANO DI CULTURA DI NEW DELHI – INCONTRI IN BIBLIOTECA

25082014
ISTITUTO ITALIANO DI CULTURA DI NEW DELHI  – INCONTRI IN BIBLIOTECA
Le regioni d’Italia al cinema/ Italian Regions in Cinema
&
Dal libro al cinema/From Book to Film
13 Agosto / August – 17 Dicembre / December 2014
Tutti i mercoledì / Every Wednesday @ 19.00
Mercoledi/Wednesday, 27 Agosto27thAugust @19.00
Le regioni d’Italia al cinema: FRIULI-VENEZIA GIULIA
The Regions of Italy in Cinema: FRIULI-VENEZIA GIULIA

Apnea / Apnea
Drammatico / Drama
2005, 93 min.
Regista /DirectorRoberto Dordit
APNEA (Apnea)
A trentacinque anni, Paolo fa il giornalista sportivo a Vicenza dopo una brillante carriera di schermidore. Un suo amico muore d’infarto. Era un ex campione come lui, ed era diventato un imprenditore di un distretto industriale di quella provincia. Inaspettatamente, Paolo si accorge che costui non era amato da chi gli stava più vicino. Vuole riscattarlo. Presto però scopre che l’amico defunto aveva una zona d’ombra nella sua vita. E anche la sua morte non sembra chiara. La ricerca della verità diventa per Paolo un’intrusione in un mondo ostile e lo espone a rischi sempre maggiori. /After a brilliant career as a fencer, thirtyfive year old Paolo works as a sports journalist at  Vicenza . A friend, Franz, dies of a heart attack. He was a former fencing champion like himself, and had become a businessman, like many in that rich Northern Province . Unexpectedly, Paolo finds out that his friend’s life wasn’t as straight-forward as he thought. Even his death is unclear. For Paolo the search for the truth becomes an intrusion in a hostile world and exposes him to bigger risks.
Venue: Tessitori Hall, Italian Cultural Institute, New Delhi
Entry Free: For security reasons please show your valid Photo Identity Card.
For more information, please visit our websitewww.iicnewdelhi.esteri.it/IIC_Newdelhi


Italian Embassy Cultural Centre
50- E, Chandragupta Marg (Entry from Nyaya Marg)
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi – 110 021
Phone: 0091-11-26871901/03/04
www.iicnewdelhi.esteri.it




OMAR ABDULLAH BEING HECKLED BY OPPOSITION IN THE ASSEMBLY

25082014
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah being heckled by opposition in the Assembly 
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GOVERNMENT GO BACK: THE NARMADA VALLEY IS OURS

25082014
Thousands of Sardar Sarovar oustees declare right to ownership of the acquired land and houses
as per New Land Acquisition Act, 2013
More than 2000 oustees and 200 supporters from across India gather at mass rally and public meet
Demand halt to Sardar Sarovar and answers from NDA Govt.:
Condemn the Dam of illegality and corruption
Ultimatum to Modi Govt upto 10th October: Struggle to intensity if decision not revoked
24th August, 2014/ Badwani: More than 2000 people from the Sardar Sarovar Project affected villages stormed the streets of Badwani today in a massive rally, followed by a huge meeting where a declaration that would shake the Government of India in the days to come was made. The declaration asserted that as per the New Land Acquisition Act, 2014, thousands of families living in the villages, where their land and houses have been acquired for the Project, have now become owners, since they have either not accepted compensation or have not given possession of their lands and houses, even 5 years after acquisition. With this declaration, a new phase of struggle begins in the valley and the Government cannot submerge even an inch of land now and, if necessary, start all acquisition process afresh.
The declaration was made in the presence of more than 200 supporters from across the country including an internationally acclaimed hydrologist, representatives of various social movements and organizations, lawyers, teachers, students, artists, and social activists from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu ,Kerala, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Telangana and West Bengal, who joined the farmers, agricultural, labourers, adivasis, women, the young and the old of the valley. The sitting MLA of Badwani, Ramesh Patel and Former MLA of Dharampuri, Panchilal Meda also expressed solidarity with the struggle. The oustees celebrated the declaration with a plough, cart wheel, unfurling of banners, as also with the songs of well-known musician and writer Swanand Kirkire.
The oustees and supporters demanded that the destructive step of increasing the height should be immediately revoked. They openly challenged the Central and the state governments on the decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on illegal and undemocratic grounds. Medha Patkar, addressing the large gathering stated that thes struggle on Narmada, which is to complete thirty years in 2015 has once again become vibrant and rejuvenated with this new declaration. In the long history of thirty years, the movement has challenged the state powers and the World Bank at several junctures. The Morse Committee Report against the World Bank is a significant example. Time to time, the height of the dam has been stopped through the pressure of the movement and the solidarity attained from across the country and the world. We will face every challenge from the Govt, she said, with an endorsement of applause from the oustees, who also addressed the gathering.
If the height of the dam is increased, it implies the submergence of the thousands of hectares of most fertile land yielding best of wheat, maize, sugar cane, fruits, chilly, vegetables, cotton, bajra. Thousands of farmers, agricultural labourers, fisher folks and shop-keepers and several others are not yet rehabilitated and Govt. has to answer people’s questions before even thinking of any further project work. More than 2.5 lakh people from 245 villages from three states (Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat) continue to live in the submergence area. Despite numerous Supreme Court, High Court orders and Narmada Tribunal Award promises for rehabilitation, thousands have not yet been rehabilitated. Massive corruption is being inquired into by the Justice Jha Commission since 5 years and thousands of cases are under inquiry, exposing fake claims of rehabilitation, but the government is hell-bent on raising the height of the dam, violating all constitutional guarantees. The oustees, at today’s gathering issued an ultimatum to the Modi-led NDA Govt. that the struggle would be intensified, if the illegal decision to raise the height of the SSP is not revoked.
In every village, be it Khalghat, Pipri, Chhota Barda, the team witnessed that rehabilitation is a fraud, review of Back Water Level is a huge game of numbers and that the Govt. is pushing the dam for ulterior purposes, not for Kutch and Saurashtra, but for Ambanis and Adanis. Internationally acclaimed hydrologist, Raj Kachroo, while addressing the people, said that the government should stop being dishonest to the people and demanded that the project-affected and their experts should also be part of any further decision making process including real assessment of back water impact.
Thousands of affected people and the large number of persons supporting the cause from across the country have strongly resolved to intensify the struggle of Narmada Bachao Andolan.
Earlier in the day more than 300 people gathered on the banks of Narmada, at the Gandhi Samadhi, Rajghat for the Prathana and Sankalp. Tomorrow, the last day of the three – day Narmada Ghati Adhikar Samvaad Yatra, the team of supporters would visit the hilly adivasi village Manibeli and interact with the oustees on the issues and challenges in the hilly areas.
Kamla Yadav       Mukesh    Kailash Awasya  Meera   Medha Patkar




UK DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, MR. NICK CLEGG CALLS ON THE PM

25082014
The UK Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Nick Clegg calls on the PM Shri, in New Delhi 
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INVITATION: NATIONAL CONVENTION “CHALLENGES TO INDIAN DEMOCRACY

25082014
 Invitation: National Convention “Challenges to Indian Democracy: Nuclearisation, Militarisation, State Violence”
From: napm india  Mon, 25 Aug ’14 12:20p
To: napm-india  and others
Dear Friends,
We cordially invite you to the 2-day National Convention on “Challenges to Indian Democracy: Nuclearisation, Militarisation, State Violence” on August 30-31st being organised at the Constitution Club in New Delhi. Please find attached the detail program and invitation attached with this email.

People from the grassroots struggles, eminent intellectuals and activists will converge to discuss the road ahead in the backdrop of the assaults on democracy which have intensified with the rightwards shift in the political landscape of the country.
We request you to kindly send us your confirmation onpksundaram@gmail.com (mobile – 9810556134), this would help us in preparing logistics and food etc at the venue.
Please also share this invitation with your friends and colleagues.
Looking forward to your participation and a meaningful dialogue.
With warm regards,
Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace(CNDP)
Popular Education and Action Centre(PEACE)
Indian Social Action Forum(INSAF)
National Alliance of People’s Movement(NAPM)
NoMore Campaign
People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy(PMANE)
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons(ICAN)

VIMARSHA ON ‘EDUCATION & TEACHERS : EMERGING PERSPECTIVES’

25082014
Invitation for Vimarsha on ‘Education & Teachers : Emerging Perspectives’ by Prof J S Rajput on 5th Sept at 5 pm
Vivekananda International Foundation
To Information Center VIFMe
Today at 12:23 PM
Please join us for tea at 4.30 pm.




YOGRAJ SINGH (CRICKETER YUVRAJ SINGH’S FATHER) ARRESTED AFTER GETTING INTO A SCUFFLE OVER CAR PARKING

25082014
Panchkula : Yograj Singh (Cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s father) arrested after getting into a scuffle over car parking 
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QUAKE OF M7.0 CENTRAL PERU

25082014
Quake of (M7.0) CENTRAL PERU -14.6 -73.6 (3fa06)
USGS ENS
To Nksagar_1@yahoo.com
Today at 5:24 AM
Globe with Earthquake Location

Quake of M7.0 – CENTRAL PERU

Preliminary Earthquake Report
Magnitude7.0
Date-Time
  • 24 Aug 2014 23:21:41 UTC
  • 24 Aug 2014 18:21:42 near epicenter
  • 25 Aug 2014 03:21:41 standard time in your timezone
Location14.622S 73.566W
Depth58 km
Distances
  • 42 km (26 mi) ENE of Tambo, Peru
  • 61 km (37 mi) E of Puquio, Peru
  • 108 km (66 mi) S of Andahuaylas, Peru
  • 131 km (81 mi) SW of Abancay, Peru
  • 471 km (292 mi) SE of Lima, Peru




ARVIND KEJRIWAL’S CORRUPTED LOOTERS SWARAJ FOOLING PEOPLE

25082014
Ravinder Singh
Topresidentofindia@rb.nic.inmanmohan@sansad.nic.inspeakerloksabha@sansad.nic.inand 35 More…
Today at 3:14 AM
Arvind Kejriwal’s Corrupted Looters SWARAJ Fooling People
August25, 2014 (C) Ravinder Singh ravinderinvent@gmail.comI opposed Arvind Kejriwal on ECONOMIC issues who is 30 years junior to
me in Public Service or activism. Instinctively I knew he lacks Vision
& Statesmanship to lead even state or district level politics. Media
inflated his Image say 100 fold than he deserves.
He authored ‘Swaraj’ its Introduction is clipped here. It is Full of
Horrible Ideas that are Most Lunatic and anti people and then there
are Obvious Bias In Favor Traders & Moneylenders and against Labor and
Workers.
Key Issues of ‘Tax Evasion’, ‘Black Money’, ‘Hoarding’, ‘Wages‘,
Credit to Farmers & MSMEs’, ‘Illegal Middlemen & Traders’ are Excluded
from Swaraj of Kejriwal.
In chapter on Natural Resources P-32: – Land, Water, Mines,
Agriculture, Land Use is proposed to be Fully Controlled by Gram
Panchayat. Price of land is to be determined by Gram Sabha not the
owners of the land. Even for setting up of Industry it is not the
Owner of the Land who shall have Automatic Right to Land Use Change
but SWARAJ of Arvind Kejriwal doesn’t envisage Engineers, MBAs, Public
Servants on Retirement eligible to set up their own industries –
particularly food Industry.
‘Gram Sabha must have direct control over the land that falls
in their area, Including Water, Land Use etc’
On Money Lending ARVIND KEJRIWAL doesn’t want to ABOLISH it and
instead of Interest Rate of 50% in 4 months or 237.5% annualized
charge Favor charging 95% or 25% in 4 months. Bank Deposits Exceed
Rs.80,00,000 Crores Presently.
P-29: In many villages of a block near Pune a successful experiment is
in progress. Earlier between June and September people used to face
severe financial crises. During this period people used to run towards
cities for employment or take loan from the money lender at exorbitant
rates of 100-150%. If villagers took 100 kg of grain then to the money
lenders they used to give back 150 kg. after four months. In spite of
such a high rates of interest that was paid by the villagers they were
still under the clutches of these loan sharks who would make these
borrowers work for free in the fields of lender. This had adverse
effect on the borrowers who used to get into a vicious cycle. For 100
kg grain that they bought, they paid back 150 kg., which is fifty
percent higher. In other words they were unable to pay back this loan
and went back to the same money lender again and again.
But in this block an organization started a Grain Bank. The people
created an association and this association loaned grain to the
members of the society according to the need of the members. Instead
of returning 150 Kg. grain, now they had to return only 125 kg. grain
only. In four years time the farmers have been able to repay the
entire loan amount to this association. There is no fear of the money
lender, no working free for him and freedom from the loan. Now, the
villagers have surplus grain that is being stored by the association.
This experiment is running successfully in about 150 villages in the
neighborhood.
What kind of Swaraj AAP professes when most of people -
1.]  Don’t have Control over Black Money Generators – MONEYLENDERS,
TRADERS and Hoarders.
2.]  Don’t Get Reasonable Minimum Wages Linked to GDP. In USA minimum
hourly wage is $8 that translates to 40% of Per Capita GDP.
3.]  Don’t have access to Water, Bank Loans, Power, Education, Sewage,
Roads, Healthcare.
4.]  Government doesn’t Collect Taxes to provide Basic Necessities.
5.]  Farmers are not Permitted to Store Process and Market their produce.
6.]  GOI doesn’t protect Intellectual Property of Indians like PATENTS.
Ravinder Singh, National General Secretary.
Sabka Bharat Mission 2019
Y-77, Hauz Khas, New Delhi -110016
Ph: 9650421857, 9718280435
Sabkabharatmission2019@gmail.com




TIME FOR INDIA TO USE ITS SOFT POWER IN CHINA

25082014
VIF India .org                                 22-08-14                      Prof R. Vaidyanathan

http://www.vifindia.org/sites/default/files/slideshow/China-Christianity.jpg
July 2014 is an important month for global economics and China. It is the first time in recent history that China has overtaken USA in GDP [adjusted for purchasing power parity or PPP] and has become number one country in the world according to Euromonitor1. Now the order is China/USA/India/Japan in terms of GDP at PPP. Of course in per capita terms, USA has ten times more gross income than China given the population size of the latter.
Still China’s growth has been phenomenal and in the next two decades, it is poised to become numero uno even in nominal terms out running USA. This has implications for India from an Asian perspective and also we need to formulate our strategy about China. Traditionally in the last few decades, we have been looking at China using US or UK lens. This is due to the fact that we have not developed many China centers all over India. Hence we have few experts who understand their language and try to look at China with Indian glasses rather than Anglo-Saxon lens.
The major change that is taking place in China is not related to their growth rates and Three Gorges Dam and the shopping malls and Olympics stadia. That is a typical Western way of viewing China. The main change is in religious affiliation and assertion of Islamic followers and development of large scale underground Church. The middle classes have given up rice [perceived to be for the illiterate poor] and are embracing Christianity since it also helps in job mobility particularly in global companies where the heads could belong to the same Church. The Muslim population is less dispersed and more concentrated in specific locations like western part But there is also a growing interest in China about its past. The Ming dynasty tombs in Beijing which are made in marble were painted in red color during the great cultural revolution of the sixties and even today laborers are washing it to make it back in to white color without success. The guides are not reluctant to talk about it. The ten handed Buddha in the Summer Palace of Ching dynasty near Beijing has significant relationship with our idea of Lord Vishnu who destroys evil and even this is mentioned clearly. More importantly, China is opening what are called Confucius Institutes in more than fifty countries which is similar to British Council efforts but more focused on China’s ancient wisdom. . The first thing we should learn is to stop looking at China with Western glasses.
The economic boom in China has given rise to issues related to their faith/religion and associated things. First and foremost, China is facing a severe separatist [called splitters by Chinese] in their western region namely Xinjiang by Uighurs. The region is populated by followers of Islam religion and seeing unrest for the past two decades. But recently it has reached violent proportions. For instance, early last week Chinese claimed that at least 100 have been killed in disturbances in that region2. Not only that, some portion of the Uighurs has carried the battle to Beijing itself. In other words, one form of regional separation combined with Islamic terrorism has become a major problem in China. There are also reports that the Islamists are taking shelter in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
On the other hand, China is also waging a battle with “unrecognized” Church in its territory. Once a hub of Christianity, worshippers in Wenzhou fear their faith is facing its biggest threat since the Cultural Revolution3. The recent visit of the Pope to South Korea as part of his engaging Asia has fuelled concerns in China since China has its own church and does not recognize Papal authority.
“By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.4 But for China, both the Abrahamic religions are alien to its culture going back several thousand years. So they are trying to revive “Confucianism” by encouraging the study of it as we’ll as opening several centers to propagate it. Buddhism is their ancient religion and Hindu influences are significant.
The keynote speech by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China- Hu Jintao to the 17th Party Congress in October 2007 – devoted a paragraph to religion. He stressed that religious people including priests, monks and lay –believers played a positive role in the social and economic development of China. Hence religion is not any more the opiate of the masses. The state controlled Xinhua stresses that there must be freedom of belief. It says that religion can play an important role in realizing a ‘harmonious society” which is the new political role of the party5. That is the main issue we at India should be interested in. A 2007 study conducted by two professors of China Normal University based on more than 4500 people concluded that more than 300 million people namely 31 percent are religious and more than 60 % of those are in the 16-40 age group. The number of followers of Christianity has increased to 12 % from a low of less than 8% in the nineties.
This last fact is interesting since a huge underground Church has developed in China and
Zhao Xiao, a former Communist Party official and convert to Christianity, thinks there are up to 130 million Christians in China.6. This figure is much more than the official figures of 21 million –16 million Protestants and five million Catholics. If the latter figure is true—which is corroborated by other like Pew Forum –then there are more Christians in China than the Communist Party membership which is pegged at 74 million in the last count.
Thus, a significant change that is taking place in China pertains to religion. The economic growth bereft of spiritual underpinnings in the context of death of Marxism is going to be a great challenge for China and India as an elder brother should facilitate orderly transformation based on our common shared ancient wisdom. Let us remember that China is also a multi-cultural and multi religious society but interested in our shared past. In the words of Hu Shih, former Ambassador of China to USA [1938-1942] “India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without having to send a single soldier across her borders.”Ship loads of Sanskrit and Pali original works taken away by Chiang-Kai-Shek from mainland to Taiwan bear testimony to it. These are exhibited in the Taipei museum even today.
Hence, India should be sending Sri Sri Ravishankar/Mata Amirtanandamayi / Swami Ramdev/ Pramukh Swami/Sankaracharyas/Vaishnavite Seers and other spiritual leaders, Bharatha Natyam experts, musicians, other artists in hundreds to China to “ Conquer and Dominate” by our soft power. We need to print millions of copies of Ramayana and Mahabharata and our Puranas and Gita and Jataka stories in all modern Chinese languages and widely make them available. The CDs of Mahabharata and Ramayana etc. can also be given free. We should start some fifty Bharatiya Vidya Bhavans in China. Actually China needs this more than USA even though all our soft power is currently on show in the USA. We should create a fund of at least Rs.1000 crore for this effort. There is a statue of Kalidasa in the Shanghai theatre unveiled by the theater academy. I do not think of any metro in India including the so called “cultural capital” Kolkata, having a statue of Kalidasa. At Kolkata, the Theatre street became Shakespeare Sarani and not Kalidasa Marg!
We should strategically recognize the weak point of China and also the need of its masses in the absence of Communism. Many a Chinese even today believe that their next birth should be in India to reach salvation. Culture and religion are not taboos any more.
There are other issues. Officially China recognizes or permits only five religions namely Buddhism, Islam, Taoism, Protestantism and Catholicism7. Hence we should take steps to include Hinduism as one of the permitted religions. The Indian Government should take appropriate steps in this regard. The point is that our soft power in culture is interwoven in a tapestry form with the religion. You cannot separate it howsoever one tries it. Carnatic Music without Bhakti is neither music nor art. But our Government of all hues has never raised this issue with the Chinese.
The strategy should be to envelop China with music, dance, art, Yoga. Ayurveda, spiritual texts like Ithihasas, Gita, Puranas etc and capture the hearts of the middle classes as we have done for centuries.
The second issue is related to our own mind-set. We tend to look at China either through the Western spectacles or through local Marxist spectacles—which have more thick glasses. We need to come out of it. Even when invitations come to Indian spiritual leaders, the Government of India remains unenthusiastic and indicates its dis-interest in the false assumptions regarding China’s political orientation. The policy formulators are still living in the sixties and seventies while as China is undergoing a gigantic social crisis due to material prosperity and spiritual vacuum. Unfortunately, as a Chinese colleagueof mine at Shanghai University commented last year, “both our countries are ruled by rootless deracinated foreign educated wonders that do not have any idea of the civilizational roots or the cultural richness of our lands.” Hopefully now it should have changed!!
China is enthusiastically waiting. To quote late B K S Iyengar, the doyen of yoga, “Mr. Iyengar told The Hindu during a visit to Beijing that he saw China as a future home for yoga. When he travelled to Guangzhou to give a lecture, he was stunned to find that organisers had rented out a stadium – more than 1,300 students had come to listen to him”.8
But this is the opportunity to us since it is better to have a competitor and neighbour sharing the past cultural commonness. This will be very useful when the world is going to have two super powers from Asia unlike the conflict of last century between two super powers—USA and USSR- who did not have any shared cultural roots.
China is at the threshold of change. It is yearning for spiritual solace. Many groups and sects from Western countries [with or without permission] are trying to spread their influence and message—since this is an opportunity for them.
Are we ready to undertake such a mission?
Endnotes
1.     [http://blog.euromonitor.com/2014/07/china-overtakes-the-us-as-the-worlds-largest-economy.html]
2.     [http://www.dw.de/china-revises-uighur-unrest-figures/a-17828475].
3.     [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/05/china-christianity-wenzhou-zhejiang-churches].
4.    [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10776023/China-on-course-to-become-worlds-most-Christian-nation-within-15-years.html]
5.     [Asia Times Online July -3 -2008].
6.     [The Economist 2nd October 2008]
7.     [Government White Paper on Religions, 1997]
8.     [http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/india-to-open-yoga-centre-in-china/article6229124.ece]

Published Date: 22nd August 2014, Image source: http://deskofbrian.com/
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Vivekananda International Foundation)

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