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Links 1 through 10 of 2447 ddas edEn's Bookmarks

In NZ and in an increasing number of countries religion has a major problem on its hands — the majority of citizens are no longer ignorant and uneducated. Science and reason has replaced religion and faith. The battles have been fought, the war is over and religion has lost. Their power gone, they can no longer force our obedience. Having their primitive stories exposed as fictions mean they can no longer even persuade us to follow them willingly. Yet religion refuses to surrender. It struggles on mortally wounded, gasping and wheezing, attacking when cornered with the only weapons it has left: denial and isolation. For the first time in history it goes off the offensive and onto the defensive, and we get the pathetic plea of "Please respect my religion". Is this a legitimate and fair request? Should we feel obliged to back down? Definitely not, and we'll explain why this request should not only be ignored, it doesn't even make sense. This is just another bogus religious statement..

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In the absence of a true national identity, Pakistan defined itself by its opposition to India. It turned its back on all that had been common between Muslims and non-Muslims in the era before partition. Everything came under suspicion, from dress to customs to festivals, marriage rituals and literature. The new country set itself the task of erasing its association with the subcontinent, an association that many came to view as a contamination. Had this assertion of national identity meant the casting out of something alien or foreign in favor of an organic or homegrown identity, it might have had an empowering effect. What made it self-wounding, even nihilistic, was that Pakistan, by asserting a new Arabized Islamic identity, rejected its own local and regional culture. In trying to turn its back on its shared past with India, Pakistan turned its back on itself.

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In the absence of a true national identity, Pakistan defined itself by its opposition to India. It turned its back on all that had been common between Muslims and non-Muslims in the era before partition. Everything came under suspicion, from dress to customs to festivals, marriage rituals and literature. The new country set itself the task of erasing its association with the subcontinent, an association that many came to view as a contamination. Had this assertion of national identity meant the casting out of something alien or foreign in favor of an organic or homegrown identity, it might have had an empowering effect. What made it self-wounding, even nihilistic, was that Pakistan, by asserting a new Arabized Islamic identity, rejected its own local and regional culture. In trying to turn its back on its shared past with India, Pakistan turned its back on itself.

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Article 370 is an anachronistic decree that has outlived its utility, militates against India’s sovereignty, and discriminates against both Indians and Kashmiris by mutually excluding each other from syncretic growth. It is redundant, can be debated and constitutionally discarded, says Vivek Gumaste. "The genesis of Article 370 was steeped in discord. It was not the outcome of popular consensus. It was a crafty ploy engineered by Sheikh Abdullah (the current CM’s grandfather) who envisioned himself becoming the supreme leader of a sovereign state in the future by exploiting this concession -- made possible by a pliant Jawaharlal Nehru."

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10,000 forest trees are chopped down to build the Mughal road in Kashmir. No one makes a noise. Acres of land in the Kashmir valley are given to install mobile phone towers. No one screams. Acres and acres of land in the Kashmir valley are allotted to lay sewage and drinking water pipes. No one objects. But when 40 hectares of uninhabitable land is handed over to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board to provide better facilities to the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims, all hell breaks loose. Why? Because the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board caters to Hindu pilgrims who want to visit the Amarnath shrine in the valley of Kashmir. It is as simple as that. Politically correct politicians, policy-makers and administrators might try to tell you that it is not about religion, but the fact of the matter is that it is all about religion. It is a design by communal forces within the valley to completely Islamicise the valley by removing every symbol of Hinduism and other faiths from the valley.

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The allotment of land for the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board was a trigger for the azadi sentiment in Kashmir, Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who has emerged a crowd-puller among the separatist leaders, tells Aasha Khosa.

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Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award for national service. The order was established by Dr Rajendra Prasad, President of India, on January 2, 1954. Today, there are 41 Bharat Ratna winners in India, the last being Bhimsen Joshi. And yet, there are noticeable absentees. Mahatma Gandhi, the most conspicuous but since he was already elevated to the "father of the nation", his posthumous soul automatically opted out of the race. But there was no Sardar Patel either, the iron man of India until 1991, despite the fact that the provision to award the Bharat Ratna posthumously was enacted way back in 1955. This provision was probably made to confer the award on Sardar Patel. But Nehru"s profound ideological and personal differences with Patel came in the way. Patel was intrinsically a man who connected to the masses unlike Nehru"s Anglicized condescending approach.

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After making his speech in Birmingham tomorrow, David Cameron will need a chillax. A bit of telly, perhaps. Allow me to suggest a programme, one that may seem far removed from the choreography of a party conference but that is in fact very relevant to how he and his fellow Conservatives talk about the poor. So you meet Kaale, in Kolkata's Bowbazaar, scraping together money to rent a room where his family can live. A reserved, even grave thirtysomething, he gets up in the middle of the night to dive into the jewellery district's stormdrains and dodge the snakes and scorpions to scour for particles of gold. You hear from Rajesh, who runs a moonshine stall on a Mumbai beach, and is worried that the council will tear down his illegal, makeshift home. What comes through in these tales is their subjects' incredible ingenuity. After getting bilked on the price of his buckets of mucky water, Kaale works his mobile phone and negotiates with other buyers.

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The history writing by the British was a deliberate and systematic effort. The British used history of India as a tool for demoralizing the natives. History of India was twisted, falsified and misinterpreted on a grand scale. In a letter dated December 16, 1868 the famous Indologist Max Muller wrote to the Duke of Argyll, the then Secretary of State of India, 'India has been conquered once, but India must be conquered again and that second conquest should be a conquest by education'.. (Ref: 'The Life and Letter of F. Max Muller, edited by Mrs. Max Muller, 1902, Vol.1, p.357). Prof. Max Muller was not just a philosopher, he was also an examiner for the Indian Civil Service(ICS) examination. Teaching of falsified history played a great part in this 'second conquest'.

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