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INTERESTING FACTS: TIBET

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    These days China is in regular news but for the wrong reasons, and whenever China is discussed Tibet cannot be left behind.  

    Tibet, in other words—Tibet Autonomous Region, is a historic and autonomous region of China that is often called “the roof of the world.” Tibet is a region in East Asia covering most of the Tibetan Plateau. Tibet lies on a vast elevated plateau of Central and East Asia, covering most of the Tibet Autonomous Region, North-western Yunnan (a province in south-west China), western half of Sichuan (a south-western Chinese province that contains a stretch of Asia’s longest Yangtze river). It also covers Southern Gansu and Qinghai province in Western China, and Indian regions of Ladakh and Lahaul Spiti (Himachal Pradesh) as well as Bhutan. In the Southeast there is Myanmar (Burma), India, Bhutan and Nepal in the South.

    Tibet stretches approximately 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) north to south and some 2,500 kilometres (1,600 miles) east to west. It is the world’s highest and largest plateau, with an area of 25 lakh square kilometres (or 970,000 square miles) (about five times the size of Metropolitan France). With an average elevation exceeding 4,500 metres (14,800 feet) and is surrounded by imposing mountain ranges that harbour the world’s two highest summits, Mount Everest and K2. K2, at 8,611 metres above sea level, is the second highest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest at 8,848 metres. K2 is located in the Karakoram Range and lies partly in a Chinese-administered enclave of the Kashmir region within the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang province in China, and partly in the Gilgit-Baltistan portion of Kashmir under the administration of Pakistan.

     Tibet’s incorporation into the People’s Republic of China began in 1950 and has remained a highly charged and controversial issue, both within Tibet and even worldwide. Many Tibetans (especially those outside China) consider China’s action to be an invasion of a sovereign country, and the continued Chinese presence in Tibet is deemed an occupation by a foreign power.

    Public opinion outside China (especially in the West) has tended to take the side of Tibet as an independent (or at least highly autonomous) entity. There is no question, though, that the 14th Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual and temporal leader, has become one of the world’s most recognizable and highly regarded individuals.

        Before the 1950s Tibet was largely isolated from the rest of the world. It constituted a unique cultural and religious community, marked by the Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhism. Little effort was made to facilitate communication with outsiders, and economic development was minimal.

    Tibet is on a high plateau—the Plateau of Tibet—is surrounded by enormous mountain masses. The relatively plain, northern part of the plateau is called the Qiangtang. It extends more than 800 miles (1,300 km) from west to east at an average elevation of 16,500 feet (5,000 metres) above the sea level. The Qiangtang has brackish lakes, (Saline water lakes). The largest being lakes Seling and Namu. There are, however, no river systems there. In the east the Qiangtang begins to descend in elevation. The mountain ranges in south-eastern Tibet cuts across the land from north to south, creating meridional (southern) barriers to travel and communication. In central and western Tibet the ranges run from northwest to southeast, with deep or shallow valleys forming innumerable furrows.

    The Qiangtang is bordered on the north by the Kunlun Mountains, with the highest peak, Mount Muztagh (on the Tibet-Xinjiang border), reaching up to 25,338 feet (7,723 metres). The western and southern border of the Plateau of Tibet is formed by the great mass of the Himalayas—where the highest peak is Mount Everest, which rises up to 29,035 feet (8,850 metres) on the Tibet-Nepal border. On the north of Lake Manasarovar, or Manas Sarovar, also called Mapam Yumtso in Tibetan and stretching eastward is the Kailash (Gang-disi) Range, with clusters of peaks, several exceeding 20,000 feet (6,100 metres). This range is separated from the Himalayas by the upper course of Brahmaputra river (in Tibet called the Yarlung Zangbo or the Tsangpo), which flows across southern Tibet and cuts south through the mountains into India and Bangladesh.

    China has fought and will keep fighting battles over water. The Plateau of Tibet is the principal source of the rivers, of East, Southeast, and South Asia. The Indus River, known in Tibet as the Sengge Zangbo (“Lion Spring” in Chinese: Shiq-uan He), has its source in western Tibet near Mount Kailash, a mountain sacred to Buddhists and Hindus. It then flows westward across the Kashmir region into Pakistan. Three other rivers also begin from the west: the Xiangquan River (Tibetan: Langqen Kanbab, “Elephant Spring”) flows west to become the Sutlej River in north-western India and Pakistan. The Mabja Zangbo River flows into the Ghaghara (Nepali: Kauriala) River to eventually join the Ganges (Ganga) River; and the Maquan River (Tibetan: Damqog Kanbab, “Horse Spring”) flows east and, after joining the Lhasa River south of Lhasa, forms the Brahmaputra.

    The Salween (Nu) River has its source in east-central Tibet, from where it flows through eastern Tibet and Yunnan and then enters Myanmar. The Mekong River begins in southern Qinghai as two rivers—the Ang and Zha—which join near the Tibet border. The river then flows through eastern Tibet and western Yunnan and enters Laos and Thailand. The source of the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) rises in southern Qinghai, near the Tibet border; after flowing through southern Qinghai, the Yangtze turns south to form most of the Tibet-Sichuan border.

    Tibet’s three largest lakes are centrally located, on northwest of Lhasa. They are Lakes Dangre Yong (Tibetan: Tangra Yum), Nam, and Siling. On the south of Lhasa lie two other large lakes, (Yangzho Yong) and Puma Yung (Pumo). In western Tibet two adjoining lakes are located near the Nepal border—lake Mapam-Mansarovar, sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus, and lake La’nga.

        The (CPC) Communist Party of China gained control of the People’s Republic of China in the year 1949, after the civil war that started in 1945. Post that they invaded Tibet in the year 1950. Tibet had earlier declared independence from China in 1913. In 1951, the Tibetans signed a seventeen-point agreement reaffirming China’s sovereignty over Tibet but providing an autonomous administration led by Dalai Lama. In 1959 the 14th Dalai Lama fled from Tibet because of the uprising to India where Government of India gave him shelter under cover where he established the Central Tibetan Administration. The Tibet Autonomous Region within China was officially established in 1965.

    The Tibetan Empire existed from the 7th to 9th centuries AD when Tibet was unified as a large and powerful empire and ruled an area considerably larger than the Tibetan Plateau, stretching to parts of East Asia, Central Asia and South Asia, in the 7th century, but with the fall of the empire the region soon divided into a variety of territories.

    Following the Xinhai Revolution against the Qing dynasty in 1912, Qing soldiers were disarmed and escorted out of Tibet Area (Ü-Tsang). The region subsequently declared its independence in 1913 without recognition by the subsequent Chinese Republican Government. Later, Lhasa took control of the western part of Xikang, China. The region maintained its autonomy until 1951 when, following the Battle of Chamdo, Tibet was occupied and incorporated into the People’s Republic of China, and the previous Tibetan government was abolished in 1959 after a failed uprising. Today, China governs western and central Tibet, called Tibet Autonomous Region while the eastern areas are now mostly ethnic autonomous prefectures (in certain countries a district under the authority of a prefect or governor) within Sichuan, Qinghai and other neighbouring provinces. There are always tensions regarding Tibet’s political status and dissident groups that are active in exile. Tibetan activists in Tibet have reportedly been arrested and even tortured.

    Although Tibetans refer to their land as Gangs-ljongs or Kha-ba-can (“Land of Snows”), the climate is generally dry. Most of Tibet receives only 18 inches (460 mm) of precipitation (both rain and snow) annually, with much of that falling during the summer months. The Himalayas act as a barrier to the monsoon (rain-bearing) winds from the south, and precipitation decreases from south to north. The perpetual snow line lies at some 16,000 feet (4,800 metres) in the Himalayas but rises to about 20,000 feet (6,100 metres) in the northern mountains. Humidity is low, and fog is practically non-existent.

Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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INTERESTING FACTS & QUOTES-19

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Boiling the ocean: Means to go overboard or to delve deep into such small details that a project becomes impossible. The phrase, boil the ocean, appears in business as well as other group settings. In the literal sense, boiling the ocean is  impossible because there’s too much water for it to be possible.

What are brown, grey and white goods? Brown goods are consumer electronics, grey goods are computers etc., and white goods are domestic appliances. These are collective names for different types of electric and electronic equipment. These goods also include equipment powered by batteries such as computers, monitors, industrial dishwashers, ventilation units, etc.

 Difference between advertising and publicity: Advertising is what a company says about its own product, but Publicity is what others says about a product. Conversely, publicity is done by a third party which is not related to any company. Whereas, advertising is under the control of the company which is just opposite to publicity.

Mumbai discharges 750 metric tonnes of plastic every day, which is a sixth of its total garbage.

Mckinsey & Company an American worldwide management consulting firm estimates that tech giants worldwide spent anywhere between $20-30 billion on artificial intelligence in 2016.

Till 1985 marijuana and cannabis, that is, ganja and bhang derivatives, were legally sold in the country through authorised retail shops in India. It is believed moderate consumption of marijuana is far less harmful than tobacco and alcohol.

An old Rabbi once asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended and the day had begun. “Could it be”, asked one of the students, “when you can see an animal at a distance and tell for sure, whether it’s a sheep or a dog?” “No”, answered the Rabbi. “Is it, when you can look at a tree at a distance and tell whether it’s a fig tree or a peach tree?” wondered another. Again, the Rabbi answered “No”. The impatient pupils demanded: “Then what is it?” “Well … it is, when you can look at the face of any man or a woman and see that it is your sister or brother: Till then it is still midnight.”

Although we are second to China in population, our country is adding almost an entire Australia each year.

Recently published data shows that a quarter of white extremist’s attacks, in Europe since 2015 targeted Muslims and mosques. And now you have the retaliatory Sri-Lanka terror attack.

It’s always been the nature of government that it underpays at the top and overpays at the bottom.

The latest report of the UN’s Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released recently, states that Indian agriculture may be significantly impacted even by a 1.5 degree centigrade increase in average global temperature.

According to the Indian healthcare market research report 2016, our healthcare sector is one of the largest in terms of employment and revenue generation. Growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 16.5%, it will possibly be worth $280 billion by 2020. The 2017 national health policy seeks to increase government spending from the abysmally low 1.4% to 2.5% of India’s GDP.

Russia has lost more than it has won through its policy of confronting the west.

Rivers have been the lifeline of all civilizations. No wonder they are considered sacred across cultures. In India, the Ganga symbolises knowledge, Yamuna was known for love stories, Narmada stood for bhakti, knowledge and logic, Saraswati for brilliance and architecture, and India got its name from the Sindhu also known as Indus.

The name Punjab has been derived from five rivers, which are Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej that collectively signify “five waters” or “the land of five waters.” Starting off in the Tibetan highland of western China near Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the Indus river flows through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir.

One of the longest rivers in the world, the Sindhu also known as Indus has a total length of over 2,000 miles and runs south from the Kailash Mountain in Tibet all the way to the Arabian Sea in Karachi, Pakistan. Where, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej—eventually flow into the Indus.

Russia has no companies in the top 100 global brands. The three most valuable companies in Russia today were also the three most valuable 10 years ago.

The brain contains 10 billion nerve cells, making thousands of billions of connections with each other. It is the most powerful data processor we know, but at the same time it is incredibly delicate. As soft as a ripe avocado, the brain has to be encased in the tough bones of the skull, and floats in its own waterbed of fluid. An adult brain weighs over 3 lb and fills the skull. It receives one-fifth of the blood pumped out by the heart at each beat.

82% of the wealth generated last year went to the richest 1% of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth. Adding Indian dimension to the horror story of global inequity, the report, added India’s richest 1% garnered as much as 73% of the total wealth generated in the country in 2017.

India is a water stressed country with a per-capita water availability reducing from 1820 to 1545 cubic metres between 2001 to 2011.

Online retail in India is estimated to grow to $200 billion by 2026, up from just $15 billion in 2016.

Car penetration—India is around 20 per 1000 people, China is at 90 per 1000 people, and the US is at 750 1000 people.

Greenpeace International, an NGO estimated that the beverage giant Coca Cola produced 110 billion throwaway plastic bottles in 2015. Most of these go for landfills or to the ocean. Owing up to its responsibility the company recently announced that it would make all its packaging recyclable by 2030.

Tripura has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and suffers from lack of infrastructure. Manik Sarkar of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) served as the Chief Minister of Tripura from 1998 to 2018. His reign was the longest in the state’s history.

Prices are the only thing that defy the law of gravity.

Interesting quotes and lines.

‘In depth of the winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer’—ALBERT CAMUS, French philosopher, author,  and journalist.

‘God’s in His Heaven, All’s right with the world’–Robert Browning.

Don Marquis once joked, ‘an idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it.’

‘Everyone dies. But not everyone lives’—Shobha De.

‘Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving’—ALBERT EINSTEIN

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share it if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: THIS UNQUIET LAND … by Barkha Dutt

Copyright@shravancharitymission

 

THIS UNQUIET LAND

(STORIES FROM INDIA’S FAULT LINES)

By Barkha Dutt

(Published in 2016)

Publisher: Aleph

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

    There is an old saying. ‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.’ I think the saying fits in quite well in this case as you’ll come across many lives in this book.

    Barkha began working in 1994 for a news show that was originally broadcasted on Doordarshan. Her entry into journalism coincided with the birth of private TV. But, then, why this book all of a sudden? Showcasing India’s fault lines that runs deep and wide. Some of them even go back, centuries. The book is some three hundred plus pages. Where, she has selected certain topics, that have been haunting India for quite some time now. And these topics have even besmirched India’s reputation abroad. Basically she has handpicked issues that she came across during her career as a journalist. And around those issues the book spreads like a Banyan tree, but without any storyline. Hence it is difficult to summarise or even write a synopsis. However, what I’ve attempted here for you is, the trait of the book. Along with its central points that will give a sense of what the book is all about.

    The book spins around issues and the issues spin around Barkha. It has a gamut of aspects—starting right from her childhood, including parents, education, career, enthusiasm and even frustration. But most of the time … it is India’s helplessness. So, not a very superlative narrative for the country I would say. But I guess it can’t be helped. Because, for most journalists the uncompromising tenet is to first broadcast the negatives comprehensively, and beyond that if the time permits a few positive outlines too. Remember by broadcasting achievements you don’t get as many eyeballs as you get by broadcasting disasters. To substantiate the point Barkha quotes a VIP who says—‘India is a country that moves from headlines to headlines.’ Of course sensational ones. 

     The central theme of the book perambulates around, the last hundred years of India. One could call it the not-so-recent as well as the recent events of India. But then, while cruising through the book one does get a stale feeling, as if you’re zipping through some old newspaper columns or an old magazine article in staccato effect. Certain pages get you a feel as if you’re negotiating a long prose, though well described but high on verbosity. And what really keeps you charged during such narrations, are things that you don’t know, and that too, within what you know and also what goes on behind the scene. Many of us know a lot about the Kargil war through electronic and print media. Yet, we may not know, how important a role, late Mr Brajesh Mishra played in solving the crisis. Or we may have heard about Bhanvari Devi rape case in Rajasthan. But we may not know that ‘Bhanvari Devi’ was the starting point in the rape history of India where the other end was ‘Nirbhaya.’ The title covers the following chapters. Where, each chapter appears to be a short book in itself.

    PLACE OF WOMEN:  the chapter is almost like the rape history of modern India. The description below is about Bhanvari Devi and how ghastly.

     ‘Post rape: ‘Back at the police station, she was asked to strip and leave her ghagra behind as evidence. It was past midnight when she made her way home draped in the thin cloth of her husband’s turban.’ she picks the narration from Bhanwari Devi rape case of Rajasthan and links it up with Nirbhaya.

    In between, the lady author also spreads across to other rape cases, that had figured in various headlines during all these years. At times the narration appears as a memoir with a lot of emphasis on the sufferings of Indian women vis-a-vis the unceasing tyranny of the Indian men. Something, that is even otherwise known to most Indians. But then she doesn’t really relay any out-of-the-box suggestions, to at least dampen the malaise. She gives a good account of a lady journalist. Problems she faced while commencing her career. And in all of that, she juggles quite well with the words but the content doesn’t seem to be very uncommon. In certain pages sentences are long. But then they are vivid and to the point. The book has a tilt towards feminism which is quite obvious.

     It’s high on lexicon for an average reader, who might have to Google more often, to keep cruising. Therefore, the target audience is clearly the elite. But shouldn’t books with such historical sparks be, in easy read format? She has dug out some exhaustive statistics on females of India, especially, working women, and their sexual harassment.

    The book has a striking hard cover. The title is appropriate and gets further substantiated by a pin pointing sub title that says—STORIES FROM INDIA’S FAULT LINES. It is well presented in terms of font and flow. But it is still not a very moving book. As it swings between, diverse chapters and the personal memoir and does not have a linear penetrating plot. And it goes on and on. Sure intermittently it has interesting frills. As a messenger she has reported the happenings in the most erudite style, but has not presented too much of her own view points. She also touches upon the Gulabi gang of Uttar Pradesh that once operated in full flow. At places the narration is quite pungent when you compare it with the topic. Chapter deals with women’s issues, especially rape where it also cites three other cases. But then there are no incites or suggestions to solve the menace. She also goes on to describe the methodology of women politicians and about the callousness of women officers who are not sensitive to women’s cause. Superwoman versus supermom is comparison she draws quite artfully.

THE COST OF WAR

    This chapter by and large takes you through the sad tale of Kargil War. During the war Barkha was often seen near the the LOC. It was well covered by the channel she was working for, then. I’m sure. She must be carrying evocative memories about it. Such memories don’t die. Rather, you carry them to your grave. In this chapter, she even goes on to describe the role of Brajesh Misra, principal secretary and national security advisor to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in quite a detail, which you won’t come to know unless you read the book. She even elucidates the role that the diplomats of India played in bringing the war to an end, together with the balancing act of the US. She throws up some good war statistics. But she could have vented her views more ferociously. The chapter has a lot of stuff from ground zero.

    It fleshes out some good war statistics. It also hazily talks about gun configurations. The chapter explicates extensively, about the various wars with Pakistan and even the border skirmishes with China. She mixes the blend of her career and the Kargil war quite efficiently. For the general public doesn’t know what all goes on behind the scene and this is where she makes a killing. Excellent and moving description about martyr’s cremation.

     The sentence that moved me was, ‘And so in Kargil without snow shoes or proper high-altitude gear, Vishal and other first-time troops literally crawled their way up to peaks as high as 18,000 feet, where the temperature slipped to as much as ten degrees below zero to fight for the honour of their platoons and regiments.’

TERROR IN OUR TIME

    The chapter covers the gory parliament attack of 2001. It also gives a good account of, the history of terrorism in modern India. In this the lady author covers selected terrorist attacks. She gives a wide coverage of 26/11 Mumbai attack, describes Ajmal Kasab’s episode in detail. And how, in that moment of disaster, communities come together in Mumbai’s Zaveri bazaar. Narration is good and content is extensive. She also sketchily talks about farmer’s suicide. As a true messenger she reports whatever is happening in India. She talks about various issues without any solutions. Then she goes all over and even touches upon Sheena Bora murder case in page 95. She then even adds Samjhauta express and Malegaon blasts. A lot of it is the same and reverberates in your mind as news items of those times. But yes there are some finer points too, which were kept under the carpet, which is interesting. ‘Extremism is a bigger threat than terrorism’ she hears from another VIP.

    But in the ultimate analysis I would ask. If such books even reach the think tank of the dispensation to act upon, or they just get into their personal libraries and sit their as literary accolades. She further makes an important point–200 districts have Maoist movement—India’s red corridor. Where, she richochet’s some good statistics. And gives a good hidden perspective of India, overall.

IN THE NAME OF GOD

    She covers Gujarat riots together along with with the rapes that happened in 2002. A lot of it is a recount of recent history. How kar-sewaks were murdered and Muslims were massacred as a consequence of that. But she nowhere blames the media for reporting inflammable stuff. Rather she rarely points a finger at the media. She covers Gujarat riots in great detail but has less to say about the sentiments of the relatives of the kar-sewaks who were murdered in Godara. The narration appears as catchy news reports without author’s own modulation. She talks about the strong points of Indira Gandhi. She covers Babri Masjid demolition too. And compares the trinity– Narsimha Rao, Rajiv Gandi and Rahul Gandhi

A CHRONICLE OF KASHMIR

    Barkha mentions the minute India released Maulana Masoor Azhar, Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed on 31.12.99 for hijacking IC-814 India turned into a soft state. Farooq Abdullah who was then the Chief Minister of J&K vehemently protested this. She narrates further, ‘the minute we gave in, India became a soft state; an apoplectic Farooq Abdullah, who was chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir during the hijacking of IC-814, would tell me later. He phoned L.K. Advani, the then home minister, to vehemently oppose the release of terrorist.’ … She doesn’t hesitate in exposing India’s weakness. Then she covers the 1st suicide attack of the valley. Even harps about countries spreading terrorism, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. She of course has a lifelong obsession about J&K and doesn’t forget to talk about Nehru’s background and the birth and growth of JKLF. An interesting point that she makes is:

    ‘A month later in September, the prevaricating Maharaja Hari Singh made an offer of accession to India for the very first time. Nehru stunned him by making the deal conditional on the release of Sheikh Abdullah from jail. The maharaja refused.’ She also goes on to describe Patel’s conversation with Nehru. And of course she has described J&K’s constitutional history quite well and has also dealt with the malaise of Kashmir in detail.

OF POLITICAL DYNASTS, JUGGERANUTS AND MAVERICKS

    The chapter is full of anecdotal tales which the readers would love reading. It covers lady author’s encounter with various national and international leaders and even there close relatives. Where, it starts from Priyanka, Raga (Rahul Gandhi) and even Robert Vadhra. Barkha is curt and brusque when she wants to be. She compares Modi with Gandhis only to say, ‘Modi was determined to overthrow the political royalty of the Gandhis. He was a citizen who had come to take the kingdom.’ She disparages Raga, who had the luxury of several years of authority without any responsibility. But he neither became a minister in the government nor took charge of the party.

    She then goes on to describe the sum and substance of Arvind Kejriwal and at one point even draws a comparison between him and Raga. Both are youthful men, in their early forties—where, Arvind is acutely educated, and has a self achieved track record.

    Another interesting point that she makes is about Indira Gandhi under whose leadership Congress as an institution collapsed. She then spreads across to various political leaders of India and their parties. Her description about Mani Shankar Aiyar is engrossing. And there is a good compilation of political barbs. And of course how could she leave out Dr Manmohan Singh. L. K. Advani couldn’t have been left out either with his stories about Babri Masjid and his visit to Jinnah’s grave.

    The interesting comparision she draws is in between the ‘Chaiwala’ and the ‘Mufflerman’ (Namo and Arvind Kejriwal). Talks about ‘Achhe Din’ and ‘Make in India.’

    She opines about Modi, ‘I have always felt, in the many years that I have observed him, that Modi’s ambitions are personal not ideological.’

    I personally feel her overexposure to the affairs of Pakistan and Kashmir in some ways narrowed her journalistic prowess. She got branded. And that reflects in the book also. But then exposure is not always in your hands. She covers Nawaz Sharif and his delegation in the US, and his calling Manmohan Singh a ‘Dehati Aurat.’—that she clarifies.

    She talks about AAP party at length and the anti corruption movement.

A SOCIETY IN FLUX

    This chapter flows all over. It has no direction or plot. Whatever she felt … she has written about. And is quite a contrast to the previous chapters. I guess she wanted to close the book now. India is prone to disasters, so she talks about the Nagapattinam Tsunami of 2004, in Tamil Nadu which she had covered. She describes Ambedkar’s conversion ceremony to Buddhism. Where, she doesn’t forget to remind what Mahatma Gandhi had to say about conversion

    ‘I am against conversion, whether it is known as shuddhi by Hindus, tabligh by Mussalmans, or proselytizing by Christians.’

    Then she covers certain topics that had made it to the headlines. She of course digs into the history of India and fetches out things she had not come across in her career. She describes the pliant middle class of India. Talks a bit about the Modern School, where she had studied. Remembers, the Mandal agitation of 1992, and also brushes past IPL, Sunanda Pushkar and even Lalit Modi.

    Overall, a valuable read. Only if you’re interested in knowing how India operates or rather how the government of the day operates.

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Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

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