India is the motherland of Indian Muslims – Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband

India is the motherland of Indian Muslims – Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband

Mohtamim or chief of the Dar-ul-Uloom, Deoband, the most respected Islamic seminary in India has used strong words to react to “questions” raised by certain groups on how Muslims in India view the country and whether they see it as Dar ul Harb (Land of apostates) or Dar ul Islam (Land of Islam).

Mohtamim Marghoobur Rahman, has said: “There is no question to call it Dar ul Harb. It is Dar ul Amn. So long as Indian Muslims enjoy protection according to Indian Constitution, they are bound to serve their motherland. We are patriotic Muslims and shall ever remain so according to the Indian Constitution…According to Indian Muslims, India is their motherland. They have been prepared and are still being prepared to serve their country in all possible constructive manners.”

Oscars to Rahaman and Resul Pookutty

Oscars to Rahaman and Resul Pookutty

A.R.Rahman won the Best Score for Slumdog Millionaire and Best Song for Jai Ho from the same film at the 81st Academy Awards night held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on the 22nd of February, 2009. Rahman is the first Indian to win two Oscars. Sound engineer Resul Pookutty won the award for sound mixing in Slumdog Millionaire. Gulzar shared his Oscar with Rahaman. Slumdog Millionaire swept the Oscars and won 8 out of the 9 categories it was nominated in.

Resul Pookutty while receiving the award dedicated the award to a billion Indians while invoking the Om – “I come from a country and a civilization that given the universal word. That word is preceded by silence, followed by more silence. That word is “Om.” So I dedicate this award to my country”. He shared the honours with colleagues Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke.

Allah Rakha Rahman born January 6, 1966 in Chennai is a film composer, record producer and musician. R. Rahman was born to a Tamil Hindu family. His father R. K. Shekhar, was a composer and conductor for Malayalam films. Rahman lost his father when he was 9 years old, and his family rented out musical equipment as a source of income. He converted to Islam from Hinduism in 1989 along with his sisters. He has three children, Khadijah, Rahima and Aman. Rahman is related to the southern Indian actor Rashin Rahman. Rahman is the uncle of composer G. V. Prakash Kumar, who is the son of Rahman’s elder sister, A. R. Reihana.

Skilled in Carnatic music, Western classical, Hindustani music and the Qawwali style, Rahman has been noted to write film songs that amalgamate elements of these music systems and other genres, layering instruments from differing music idioms in an improvisatory manner. Symphonic orchestral themes have accompanied his scores, where he has employed leitmotif. Rahman’s compositions bring out auteuristic uses of counterpoint, orchestration and the human voice, evolving Indian pop music with unique timbres, forms and instrumentation. His work has garnered considerable acclaim and a large global fan base.

He emotionally said, “Ellapogazhum Iraivanuke” in Tamil meaning ‘May all praise belongs to the Almighty’. He expressed his gratitude to his mother by saying “Mere paas Maa Hai”, a popular dialogue in Hindi movie and explained, “I’ve my mother who showers all her blessings. I’m really glad”.

Abuse women in the Church – Amen!

Abuse women in the Church – Amen!

Amen – an autobiography of a 52-year-old nun Dr Sister Jesme Raphael reveals sexual abuse and lesbianism in Catholic convents. Sister Jesme Raphael is a former nun and member of the Congregation of Mother of Carmel(CMC). She was the Principal of St Mary’s College, Thrissur, in central Kerala.

The book discusses many things but also frankly tells how sisters fall into immoral associations unable to withstand sexual deprivations, how priests exploit them and above all the avaricious ways of the Order to which she belonged. The book, in Malayalam, was released in mid-February under the title “Dedicated to Jesus, Amen.” The explosive book, ‘Amen – Oru Kanyasthreeyude Atmakatha’ (Amen Autobiography of a Nun) is selling briskly in the state with its publishers having ordered a third reprint of 2,000 copies within weeks of its release. The book is dedicated to “My Lord Jesus and His Dear Ones”.

She got her first rude shock when she was a Novitiate. ”At a retreat for novices, I noticed girls in my batch were unsettled about going to the confession chamber. I found that the priest there asked each girl if he could kiss them. I gathered courage and went in. He repeated the question. When I opposed, he quoted from the Bible which spoke of divine kisses.

Her second shock was from an ordained nun. ”I was sent to teach plus-two students in St Maria College. There, a new sister joined to teach Malayalam; she was a lesbian. When she tried to corner me, I had no way but to succumb to her wishes. She would come to my bed in the night and do lewd acts and I could not stop her.

In Bangalore for a refresher course in English, she writes, ”I was told to stay at the office of a priest respected for his strong moral side. But when I reached the station, he was waiting there and hugged me tight on arrival. Later in the day, he took me to Lalbagh and showed me cupid struck couples and tried to convince me about the need for physical love. He also narrated stories of illicit relations between priests and nun to me. Back in his room, he tried to fondle me and when I resisted, got up and asked angrily if I had seen a man. When I said no, he stripped himself, ejaculated and forced me to strip,”

Priests forced novices into relationships with them. Superiors at least in public frowned on such associations and entrusted others to spy on the suspects. There are hundreds of others in convents who face the trauma but are unable to voice dissent and come out. They shudder to come out. while nuns in the lower ranks were punished if caught for even minor offences, the Church turned a blind eye to indulgences of influential superiors. Atleast on two occassions, Church officials were thinking of moving Sister Jesme to a rehab centre.

Yet convents are reputed for enforcing iron-clad discipline. Nuns are supposed to have nipped the umbilical cord with parents and siblings. For instance, she was allowed to go home for her father’s burial at the last hour. Her superiors thought it was a luxury because many of them hadn’t even had the chance to see their dead.

”I have just opened a window, only one window, and through that window if they see dust or dirt inside the convent, at least in a corner, and if one sister cleans the corner of the convent, then my book has been rewarded,” said Sister Jesme. Not long ago, a study had claimed that 25% nuns were unhappy in convents.

”It’s a very courageous work. It’s not easy for a person who has lived 30 years in a convent to bring out the undesirable things that happened there, particularly matters like jealousy and backbiting between sisters in responsible position,” said M V Pylee, first vice chancellor of Cochin University of Science and Technology.

Now, there’s more embarrassment for the church with Sister Jesmi, once associated with the Congregation of Mother of Carmel under the Catholic Church, recounting her harrowing ecclesiastical life in the autobiography which, she says, forced her to leave the convent. The revelations could further rattle the clergy that’s already in a spot with the Abhaya murder case.

The Catholic Church in Kerala has not reacted officially to the 52-year-old nun’s book. All it has said is that the book contains only trivial matters. But Sister Jesme is undeterred as she is looking for publishers in English and other regional languages.

The book comes soon after the Central Bureau of Investigation booked two priests and a nun in the high-profile sister Abhaya murder case. The state women’s commission now says it will take up Jesme’s case very seriously.

“We are studying the matter and will take it up seriously. I cannot tell you anything more on this issue,” says State Women Commission Chairperson, Justice Sree Devi

A 19-year-old Sister Abhaya, who was murdered because she spoke out against sex in the convent. Another sister Anupama Mary committed suicide, allegedly unable to face sexual harassment by a senior nun.

Pakistan truce with Taliban

Pakistan truce with Taliban

Pakistan’s startling accord with Taliban fighters that would impose Islamic religious law on the strategic Swat valley looms as a setback for the Obama administration’s hopes to mount a united front against militants there and in Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama has announced plans to boost the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan by 50 percent, which would send an additional 17,000 troops to a 30,000 force contingent already there. NATO has 55,000 troops in Afghanistan.

While US is not taking a confrontationist stance over the accord, NATO took a tougher line. The truce between Pakistan and Taliban in Swat “is certainly reason for concern,” NATO spokesman James Appathurai said in Brussels. “We should all be concerned by a situation in which extremists would have a safe haven.”

The Indian government as well the opposition reacted sharply to a peace deal between the Pakistan government and the Taliban in Swat. Bringing up the issue in Rajya Sabha, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley said an ‘emphatic response’ was needed to these developments. Jaitley cautioned that the Talibanisation of the Swat valley was a direct threat to India and the region. “The city of Amritsar is just a five-hour drive from Swat. They are at our doorstep … ideologies don’t take much time to cross borders,” he said.

Forest fire engulfs 400 hectares in Amreli

Forest fire engulfs 400 hectares in Amreli

Forest fire engulfs 400 hectares in Amreli. Its been 18 hours since a fire was reported at around 1 pm on 17th February in the Gir forest area of Amreli. Which is about 250 kilometers from Ahmedabad. 400 hectares of forest have been burnt down but there has been no reports of any human or animal casualties. The forest dept is trying to bring the fire under control.

The forest houses deer, leopard and lions, was affected due to the fire. But there has been no reports of any human or animal casualties. Fire in most of the area is under control, but the we are taking every precaution to stop the spread of the fire. However, there have been no reports of death or injury to any wildlife from the forest area.

Register FIR against Renuka: Mangalore court

Register FIR against Renuka: Mangalore court

Mangalore court directed the Mangalore rural police to register a first information report against Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury. The directive from The Judicial Magistrate First Class (third court) came in the case filed by Mayor Ganesh Hosbettu against Ms. Chowdhury. The police were also directed to submit by March 20 an “action taken report” in the case against the Minister.

Ms. Chowdhury reportedly made a remark, in the wake of the growing vigilante attacks in the region against women, that “Mangalore has been Talibanised.” A case has been filed under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 153B (making assertions prejudicial to national integration) and 505 (making statements conducing to public mischief) of the IPC.

Scientific approach to find Osama

Scientific approach to find Osama

Professors Thomas Gillespie and John Agnew of the University of California at Los Angeles use satellite-imagery analysis and elaborate geographic methods to theorize that bin Laden is in the city of Parachinar in the mountains of northwestern Pakistan. Parachinar is about 12 miles from Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. The professors believe bin Laden might be in one of three walled compounds in the city.

The work involves the first scientific approach to establishing his current location. The methods are repeatable and can be updated with new information obtained from the U.S. intelligence community. Gillespie and Agnew used bin Laden’s last reported whereabouts, the mountains of Tora Bora, Afghanistan, and employed “theories that predict how plants and animals distribute themselves over space and over time.”

They deduced that Parachinar fits as a likely refuge. It is a place where the al Qaeda leader could have electricity, physical protection, personal privacy and a small number of body guards, while remaining protected from aerial view. Residing near or in a large city should reduce the risk of his being found in a military raid. The risk would be higher in a small city or an isolated structure. Parachinar has a long history of housing mujahideen during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, so it most likely contains a large number of Taliban soldiers who cross over from here into Afghanistan.

Gillespie and Agnew said they did not believe bin Laden was holed up in a cave, a popular view fostered by then-President George W. Bush. A cave would have to have a sealed entrance, be heated and ventilated, and have supplies transported to the cave monthly or annually. We feel that most of these requirements would have physical manifestation that might easily be seen from space, and that the cave hypothesis is unlikely but could be tested.

No law and order in TN: Swamy

No law and order in TN: Swamy

Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy said the provisions of the Constitution had been rendered unenforceable in the state due to the activities of the “LTTE’s mercenaries.”

He would request deployment of central security forces in the state before the Lok Sabha elections. Swamy, at whom eggs were hurled in the Madras high court said the court had taken note of the incident and ordered action. He sought sufficient steps to prevent such crimes taking place in future. Swamy said he would continue to appear in court for cases relating to the attack on his party’s Madurai office a few months ago and the Chidambaram dikshithars’ appeal against the high court order allowing the takeover of the Nataraja temple by the state government.

He said Tamil Nadu had become a state where the provisions of the Constitution, including the freedom it guaranteed, were not enforceable due to “the atrocities committed by mercenaries of the LTTE”. He suspected the hand of some political and radical outfits behind the attack on him.