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Sorted by :  April  2014
by R Hariharan on 30 Apr 2014 1 Comment

Why is Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa tweaking the Muslim community, which by and large had been his loyal political partner? Since 2012, the Buddhist fringe organization Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has continued to attack with impunity, individuals, institutions and businesses connected with Muslim cultural and religious practices and identity like places of worshi...

by K P Prabhakaran Nair on 29 Apr 2014 3 Comments

On Tuesday, April 22, when the Supreme Court Justice HL Dattu put a pointed question to Solicitor General P Kuhad, “Why don’t you stay open field trials of GM crops”, it said more than meets the eye. It is important to remember that the apex court-appointed high powered six-member technical expert committee constituted to examine the entire question of GM cr...

by Hari Om on 28 Apr 2014 2 Comments

The election campaign in the strategic Jammu & Kashmir State, like in the rest of the country, is in full swing. Elections to the two Lok Sabha seats in Jammu have already been held on April 10 and 17, and elections to the remaining four seats in Kashmir Valley and Ladakh will be held in three phases on April 24 (over) and 30 and May 7. Two national parties ...

by Jayasree Saranathan on 27 Apr 2014 2 Comments

The word ‘Munda’ is found in the name of many villages throughout India and it is generally believed that ‘Munda’ is the name of the community. But the fact is that the so-called Munda people do not call themselves Mundas! They have a different name for themselves. “Munda” is the name by which they call the chief or head of a village. Even the Oraon people c...

by Jayasree Saranathan on 26 Apr 2014 0 Comment

According to anthologists, the Konkan coast was the former home of the Oraon tribes of the Mundari speaking groups. The Konkan coast is a raised or reclaimed region; such a region is known as Urvi or Ur. The people of Ur are known as “Uran” or Uravan” in ancient Tamil. The name Oraon sounds like these words which refer to the people living in...

by Waiel Awwad on 25 Apr 2014 1 Comment

On 19 April 2014, two religiously motivated terrorists, one of them on a motorbike, blew himself up near a bakery factory in my small city Salamiyeh, after which apparently a Libyan suicide bomber driving a car loaded with ammunition blew himself up to kill the maximum number of bystanders; indeed, scores of civilians got killed and...

by Bhaskar Menon on 24 Apr 2014 10 Comments

The weekend issue of Business Standard has a column by one Arundhuti Dasgupta that is outright ignorant. It is a shaggy-dog take on alliances in the Mahabharata and the Odyssey, ostensibly to give perspective to the current Indian political scene. None of it makes any sense because her basic premises are wrong. For instance, she thinks the Pandavas had the u...

by Franklin Lamb on 23 Apr 2014 0 Comment

National Museum, Damascus: Over the past three years not many victories in Syria have been witnessed by this observer. Indeed some developments have even brought to mind Plutarch’s description of the Greek King Pyrrhus‘ defeat of the Roman legions some while back. But an achievement by the Syrian government and its people on 4/3/14 in an auction house in Lon...

by Sandhya Jain on 22 Apr 2014 10 Comments

Even as Narendra Modi’s march to Delhi seems unstoppable, two unnecessary irritants threaten to take the sheen off his triumph, the like of which independent India has never seen. The Gujarat Chief Minister is resented in some circles not for his non-Congress background, but because he represents the first break in continuity with elites bequeathed by the co...

by Jayasree Saranathan on 21 Apr 2014 1 Comment

“Vanaras” of Ramayana fame were in the line of attack of Parashurama! An inscription states that Vali and his clan were descendants of a race of Kshatriyas who emerged in the aftermath of Parashurama’s hunt for kshatriyas. An inscription dated in the 38th regnal year of King Vikramadhitya VI (i.e., AD 1112) dealing with the origin of his feudatory of his Dad...

by Jayasree Saranathan on 20 Apr 2014 2 Comments

The Renuka cult and the importance of Navaratri puja for Renuka worshippers bring out the other side of Parashurama’s fury, in that it shows who stood by him in his killing spree. One of the reasons for this presumption is found in the traditional ideas connected with the much maligned Mang people of...

by Ajay Chrungoo on 19 Apr 2014 4 Comments

This increasing conformity to the dictates of the fundamentalists and separatists is either an expression of the extent of coercion which the terrorist regimes are capable of exercising on the public mind or an endorsement of the agenda which terrorist regimes are pursuing. In an atmosphere of fading militancy, conformity should also fade away. 3) If...

by Ajay Chrungoo on 18 Apr 2014 2 Comments

The subversive war in Jammu and Kashmir is not only about keeping the destabilizing internal security challenges alive through calibrated terrorist attacks from time to time. In the recent past, it has been more about successfully deploying blinkers on policy making about internal security by using the democratic space and faultlines in the nation building p...

by R Hariharan on 17 Apr 2014 2 Comments

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA)’s thumping victory in Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council (NPC) election in September 2013 has to be viewed in the post-Eelam War political setting, which was freed from the stranglehold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) after nearly three decades. The election is a watershed in Sri Lanka Tamil history as it...

by Ellen Brown on 16 Apr 2014 2 Comments

Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world’s biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. According to an SEIU report: Derivatives … have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for...

by Ashok B Sharma on 15 Apr 2014 1 Comment

The careful social engineering done by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in forging a rainbow alliance with smaller Dravidian parties may help in boosting its winning prospects in at least four parliamentary constituencies in Tamil Nadu. The expectations can rise for the NDA alliance in the state if it can make its way between two formidable forces – the DMK ...

by Virendra Parekh on 14 Apr 2014 6 Comments

Polling has already begun in the most important election in India since Independence, barring 1977. 1977 was about continuity of freedom and democracy. 2014 is about the content of freedom and democracy. The whole country has become a Kurukshetra, field for an epic battle. On the surface, the conflict is between a leaderless ruling coalition widely recogniz...

by Jayasree Saranathan on 13 Apr 2014 3 Comments

The head-alone cult of Renuka worship is not confined to India alone. The head-alone image is seen in the myths and art of ancient Greece also, in the Gorgon head which resembles Goddess Kali with protruding tongue and dreadful looks. What is surprising is that many of these art works on Gorgon heads show them with a tilak on the forehead, a symbol that is u...

by Jayasree Saranathan on 12 Apr 2014 2 Comments

Santals are a Mundari speaking group. They along with Mundas, Oraons and Hos form almost four-fifth of the total population of Mundari speakers. {1} The festivals and cultural traditions are almost similar among all these groups. However, the Santals follow a custom of their own, not found in others, which reminds us of a connection with...

by William Blum on 11 Apr 2014 1 Comment

Indoctrinating a new generation: Is there anyone out there who still believes that Barack Obama, when he’s speaking about American foreign policy, is capable of being anything like an honest man? In a March 26 talk in Belgium to “European youth”, the president fed his audience one falsehood, half-truth, blatant omission, or hypocrisy after another. If George...

by George Friedman on 10 Apr 2014 0 Comment

Ever since the end of the Cold War, there has been an assumption that conventional warfare between reasonably developed nation-states had been abolished. During the 1990s, it was expected that the primary purpose of the military would be operations other than war, such as peacekeeping, disaster relief and the change of oppressive regimes. After 9/11, many be...

by P Suryanarayanan on 09 Apr 2014 9 Comments

King Bindusara after a prolonged illness was still scheming to anoint his favourite son Susima as his successor to the Mauryan Empire. Despite the fact that Susima has failed in his duty to contain the revolt as governor of Takshila and also being hugely unpopular and a bad administrator, Bindusara was hell-bent on anointing him to the throne simply because ...

by Sandhya Jain on 08 Apr 2014 3 Comments

As parts of Tripura and Assam kick off the lengthy voting process in one of the most keenly contested parliamentary elections, this will possibly be the first time that the northeast is not perceived as marginal to Indian democracy. Mr Narendra Modi can legitimately claim credit as the first prominent leader to give these States a sense of belonging to the c...

by Ramtanu Maitra on 07 Apr 2014 4 Comments

After years of indecisive leadership and a decade strewn with major financial scams, India’s 815-million-member electorate needs to opt for a strong and decisive leader when exercising their franchise in nine stages to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The electoral process will begin on April 7 and end on May 12. It is expected that the names of the 543 parliamenta...

by Jayasree Saranathan on 06 Apr 2014 0 Comment

One of the popular Munda hamlets in Chota Nagpur is Datinakhali, which sounds like Dakshina Kali, the form of Kali who drinks the blood of the people slain in a battlefield and dances on dead bodies in the battle field (a description found in many texts of Tamil Sangam literature). Her fury is such that she tramples on her consort Shiva while dancing over th...

by Jayasree Saranathan on 05 Apr 2014 24 Comments

Munda speaking people are perhaps a much discussed but less understood people of India. Though there were different opinions on their origins, recent genetics studies have shown that they were indeed autochthonous to India and not of South East Asian origin {1}. Their genetic markers are shared by many others in India thereby showing a shared origin within I...

by Matthias Chang on 04 Apr 2014 2 Comments

Some strange parallels with catastrophic consequences: While this article is published on April 1st, 2014 I hope that all concerned would not take this analysis as an April Fools’ Joke but a serious attempt to explore what are the likely scenarios beyond that which have been discussed over the last few weeks. I have thought long and hard since the publicatio...

by George Friedman on 03 Apr 2014 0 Comment

During the Cold War, US secretaries of state and Soviet foreign ministers routinely negotiated the outcome of crises and the fate of countries. It has been a long time since such talks have occurred, but last week a feeling of déjà vu overcame me. Americans and Russians negotiated over everyone’s head to find a way to defuse the crisis in Ukraine and, in the...

by Adity Sharma on 02 Apr 2014 5 Comments

Swami Vivekananda once said: “Education is the manifestation of perfection already existing in man.” Swamiji traveled the length and breadth of India to awaken the innate thirst for education that extended across social boundaries. He understood the poverty India suffered at the hands of foreign invaders, and boldly strove to spread the message of...

by Virendra Parekh on 01 Apr 2014 1 Comment

Politicians, we are told, use words to conceal their thoughts and not to express them as ordinary people do. That art blossoms to its best during the election season — also known as the silly season or ‘mat’wali mausam. All leaders try to be all things to all people. Just try to imagine what these leaders would say if they were really to speak their minds? L...

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