Jamnalal Bajaj awardees – 2010

President Pratibha Patil on Thursday presented the Jamnalal Bajaj Awards for 2010 for outstanding contributions in social development. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and Governor K. Sankaranarayanan were present at the occasion.

“The objective of these awards is to encourage, recognise and reward outstanding people who have given their lives for Gandhian ideas. We want millions to get inspired by them,” said Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation chairperson Rahul Bajaj.

Chewang Norphel, a 74-year-old civil engineer from Ladakh, was presented the award for application of science and technology for rural development. His ‘artificial glacier’ has helped farmers in the dry and difficult region of Ladakh get water supply in April and May — the most crucial period of sowing.

Mr. Norphel’s 20-year-old innovation has received many awards and recognition. “A team from Chile had recently visited me to emulate this project in their country. People want to implement it in Lahaul-Spiti in Himachal Pradesh,” he said.

Mr. Norphel artificially creates a glacier at an altitude 4,000-5,000 feet lower than a natural glacier. “A lot of water is wasted during winter. So, I tried diverting a channel from the main stream. In this way, the glacial run-off is stored at different altitudes above the village. When spring is to arrive, the artificial glaciers melt first, ensuring water supply for crops.”The natural glaciers start melting only after mid-June.

Chunibhai Vaidya, a nonagenarian from Ahmedabad, was given the award for outstanding contribution in the field of constructive work. The oldest living Gandhian, Mr. Vaidya has been active in many movements in Gujarat and Rajasthan for betterment of the poor and the marginalised. He has also authored several books.

Water supply

Mr. Vaidya was instrumental in providing drinking water supply to more than 352 villages in Gujarat. He has also mobilised social groups for various activities, like de-silting canals. “We are moving towards a very unjust society, where the distribution of resources in not equal. The government does not own the resources, the community does. We will fight for a just society.”

The award for development and welfare of women and children was given to Shakuntala Choudhary, a nonagenarian from Assam. She has trained thousands of gram sevikas through Kasturba Centres throughout the State, and also worked for maintaining peaceful and harmonious relations among various social groups.

The award for promoting Gandhian values outside India was given to Lia Diskin from Brazil. Ms. Diskin has formed a non-governmental organisation for community-oriented programmes in education, healthcare, human rights, environmental preservation, social welfare and cultural peace.

She has also been organising ‘Gandhi Week’ since the past 28 years.

The winners were chosen from 124 nominations across the world.

Source:  Nonagenarians among four Jamnalal Bajaj awardees.

Ancient insect may end Indian isolation theory



The discovery of a trove of insects preserved for millions of years in amber raises new questions about how long India was isolated before it joined the Asian continent, researchers said in a new study.

The insects — bees, termites, spiders, and flies — had been entombed in the vast Cambay deposit in western India for some 50 million years.

Scientists had long assumed that India was for a time an isolated island-continent, and consequently expected that the insects found in the amber would differ significantly from those elsewhere in Asia.

But researchers wrote in their study appearing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the insects were not unique as would be expected had India been sequestered for as long as they originally believed.

“We know India was isolated, but when and for precisely how long is unclear,” says David Grimaldi, curator in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History.

“The biological evidence in the amber deposit shows that there was some biotic connection,” he wrote, suggesting that an extended separation would have given rise to a unique flora and fauna.

India separated from present-day Africa and after about 50 million years collided with Asia, creating the Himalayas.

Rather than finding evolutionary ties to Africa and Madagascar — land masses geologists say India was most recently linked to — the researchers found relatives in Northern Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas.

“The amber shows, similar to an old photo, what life looked like in India just before the collision with the Asian continent,” says Jes Rust, professor of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Universitaet Bonn in Germany.

“The insects trapped in the fossil resin cast a new light on the history of the sub-continent,” said Michael Engel, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and curator of entomology at the University of Kansas.

“What we found indicates that India was not completely isolated, even though the Cambay deposit dates from a time that precedes the slamming of India into Asia,” he said. “There might have been some linkages.”


Ancient insects find shows India wasn’t isolated 50mn yrs ago   Insects Frozen In Amber Offer Clues To India’s Past   Fossil find in Gujarat tweaks India’s ‘breakaway’ story    India ‘may not have been an isolated island-continent 50mn yrs ago’  Ancient insect find raises questions about India’s origins   Indian Amber Fossils Shed Light On India’s Past   Frozen in time, 50 million years ago  Prehistoric creatures discovered in huge Indian amber haul   Insects in ancient amber reveal surprising ties  Amber Gives a Glimpse of Ancient India  700 species of insect found in ancient Indian amber   Insects in Ancient Amber Reveal Unexpected India-Asia Ties  

Talaq joke on Skype ends marriage

An e-savvy Qatar resident typed talaq thrice while chatting with his wife on Skype. He says he did not mean it but Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband has ruled that his nikah stands terminated.

That’s not all. The man can remarry his divorced wife only after halaala, a practice under which the woman has to marry another man, consummate her marriage and be divorced by her new  man before she can marry her previous husband again.

Deoband’s fatwa section — Dar-ul-Ifta (DuI) — recently received a written request from Qatar, seeking a fatwa on a rather amusing situation. The youth stated that he was recently chatting with his wife on Skype when he typed the word ‘talaq’ three times, though he did not mean it and asked if his nikah was still valid.

Dar-ul-Ifta shot back that the nikah stands terminated. “When you pronounce talaq three times, it means talaq has taken place, and it does not matter whether the woman has reciprocated or not. Your wife has become ‘haraam’ for you whether you are aware of the commandment of Islam or not. You neither have the right to take her back nor solemnise new nikah with her without a valid ‘halaala’. After the completion of ‘iddah’ (iddat) period, the woman can marry where she wishes except you,” the seminary said.

As per

via Talaq joke on Skype ends marriage

Former IG Lakshmana gets life in Verghese murder case

The former Inspector-General of Police in Kerala, K. Lakshmana, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a CBI Special Court on Thursday in the case relating to the killing of Naxalite leader A. Varghese in a fake encounter.

Judge S.Vijayakumar also imposed a fine of Rs.10,000 on him. The court directed him to pay the amount to the legal heirs of Varghese.

Holding that the case did not come in the category of rarest of rare cases so as to attract capital punishment, the judge said it was “an instance of custodial violence and murder” going by the facts and circumstances of the case. The accused, therefore, deserved life imprisonment.

The court on Wednesday convicted Lakshamana (75) for “the brutal killing of Varghese” in the Thirunelli forest in Wayanad 40 years ago. The judge found Lakshmana, second accused, guilty of the offence punishable under Section 302 (murder) read with Section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The court acquitted the former DGP, P. Vijayan, third accused for lack of evidence.

The CBI took over the investigation into the case on a directive from the High Court in 1999. The CBI probe was ordered following the revelations by the former police constable, P. Ramachandran Nair, that he shot dead Var

via Former IG Lakshmana gets life in Verghese murder case.

China continues to snub India

Wen of China 

India and China have expressed readiness to resume high-level defence exchanges that have been put on “pause” after a senior Indian Army officer was offered a stapled Chinese visa. But, China continues to snub India saying that there will be no change in its policy of issuing stapled visas to people of Kashmir.

A group of 15 Nobel Peace Prize winners has released a letter asking the leaders of the G20 nations to press China to free imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo, the winner of the 2010 prize. The group, including former US president Jimmy Carter and Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, also called on the leaders at their summit next month to ask China to free Mr Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, from house arrest. Mr Obama did not sign the letter.

Relationship with Pakistan and China appears to be becoming stronger. China is showing signs of providing nuclear technology to Pakistan. Beijing has been preparing to build two new reactors at Chashma, where it has already built one and is finishing another, despite the qualms of Washington, New Delhi and other capitals.

(with Inputs from sinonewsforindians.wordpress.com )

China snubs India again    Sino-Pak nuclear collaboration   Singh-Wen talks seen positively   Nobel winners lobby for Liu release   Pakistan and China move closer in nuclear embrace    Pakistan and China move closer in nuclear embrace

Kahmir Update – Oct 30

Border Front
In the midst of the credible intelligence reports that about 80Islamic militants are ready to sneak into the Kashmir valley to continue the militancy in India,  Pakistani  forces shelled Indian posts. Indian Army lodged protests with Pakistan over ceasefire violations.

Kashmir Interlocutors
Interlocutors appointed by the Indian Government in their first visit to the Kashmir, met youth who were involved in stone throwing incidents and the militants who are lodged in the prison. They also met J&K governor and the Chief minister Omar Abdullah.

BJP slammed Padagaonkar, one of the interlocutor, for his remarks supporting involvement of Pakistan as a party to end  terrorism in Kashmir. Padagaonkar claims to be realistic in his approach to solve the Kashmir Problem. Interestengly, Ram Jethmalani, a BJP MP supported interlocutors toeing a line different from the party he represents. Anantha Kumar,  a senior BJP leader suggested merging of PoK with India as a final solution to the Kashmir problem. 

Arundhati Roy sharing dias with Kashmiri separatist leader Geelani opined that Kashmir was never an integral part of India. BJP called for strictest possible action  against her. Veerappa Moily, union law minister strongly criticised her statements. The Hindu, a prominent Indian daily, supported Arundhati Roy and opposed initiating  sedition charges against her citing the freedom of expression.  Bajarang Dal warned Arundhati Roy for crossing all limits in the name of freedom of expression.

International relations
Meanwhile, United States, snubbing Pakistan, maintained that Kashmir as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.

Amend constitution to make way for azaadi debate: Panel        Sedition or democracy: How far can freedom of speech be taken?      Pak violates ceasefire, opens fire on Indian posts in Poonch      Written complaint against Arundhati Roy   Arundhati Roy Offends the Indian State – Again  Who has set interlocutors’ agenda, asks BJP

Infosys Prize – 2010 announced

Chandrashekhar Khare, Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Sandip Trivedi, Professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, Ashutosh Sharma, Chair Professor and Principal Investigator, Centre of Nanosciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, Chetan E. Chitnis, Principal Leader, Malaria Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi, Amita Baviskar, sociologist at the Institute of Economic Growth in New Delhi and Nandini Sundar, Chairperson of the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics won Infosys Prize for the year 2010.

The Infosys Science Foundation, established by Infosys Technologies Ltd., on Monday, 25th October 2010, announced the winners in the five categories of the Infosys Prize 2010.

Chandrashekhar Khare got the prize for excellence in Mathematical Sciences. He won the prize for his “fundamental contribution” to number theory, particularly the solution he found for the Serre conjecture. Sandip Trivedi, won the prize in the Physical Sciences category for “finding an ingenious way” to solve two of the most outstanding puzzles of superstring theory — what is the origin of dark energy and why there is no mass-less scalar particle — simultaneously. He “revolutionised” the field of superstring theory and provided “the basis of much of the ongoing research throughput the world.”

Ashutosh Sharma won the prize in the Engineering and Computer Science category for his “fundamental contributions” in materials science.

Professor Chitnis’ won the prize for his work in Life Sciences providing the basis for development of a viable malarial vaccine. Amita Baviskar, and Nandini Sundar were declared joint winners of the prize for excellence in Social Sciences. While Professor Baviskar won the prize for her work on social movements in contemporary India, Professor Sundar was awarded the prize for her contribution to the understanding of social identities.

The jury for Mathematics category was headed by Srinivasa S.R. Varadhan, Professor of Mathematics, and Frank J. Gould, Professor of Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University.

The jury for Physical sciences category was headed by Shrinivas Kulkarni, astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology.

In the Life Sciences the jury was headed by Prof. Inder Verma, American Cancer Society Professor and the first incumbent of the Irwin Mark Jacobs Chair in Exemplary Life Sciences in the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, U.S. Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen headed the jury for the prize, which will be shared by the two winners.

N.R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman and Chief Mentor, Infosys, and a trustee of the Foundation, said the Prize “aims to recognise and acknowledge the outstanding work done by researchers, creating role models and thereby encouraging the youth to pursue careers in scientific research.” He said research “is the key to sustaining India’s growth.”

The six winners were drawn from 201 nominations. Each prize carries a cash award of Rs. 50 lakh, which Mr. Narayana Murthy said would not be taxed in the hands of the prize winner.

The award ceremony will be held on January 6, 2011 in Mumbai, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will present the awards to the winners. The corpus for the prize was established with an initial contribution of a total of Rs. 45 crore by members of the executive board of Infosys. About half the current corpus of Rs. 100 crore has been as a grant from Infosys.

Group clash in Arunachal Pradesh

Map of Arunachal Pradesh 

Tension persisted in the Namsai subdivision of Lohit district in Arunachal Pradesh following clashes between tribals and non-tribals  over demand for permanent residential certificates by the non-tribals.

Trouble broke out when a procession organised by the Lohit Changlang Development Forum — which represents people from the Deori, Ahom, Moran, Nepali, Lishu, Adivasi, Mising, Sonowal-Kachari and the Koiborta communities — marched towards the subdivisional headquarters town of Namsai from Dirak Gate in Mahadevpur at 9am demanding permanent residential status.

The rallyists to proceed up to a certain distance but they, numbering around 20,000,  crossed the mark. Then the rallyists were provoked by a group of around 20 armed indigenous people who threatened them to leave.  The trouble started and the situation turned worse. Some indigenous poeple also attacked the residence of minister Chowna Mein at Namsai and ransacked it.The nine communities residing in Arunachal Pradesh for several decades had been demanding permanent resident certificates for various reasons.

The State government has passed an order on June 24 this year for issuing Permanent Resident Certificates (PRC) to non-indigenous communities who had settled in the State prior to 1968. The government decision sparked off severe protests from the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union and Tai Khampti Students’ Union, forcing revocation of the decision.

The Lohit Changlang Development Forum had been campaigning on behalf of the nine communities against the government’s decision.and today’s procession was taken out to press for the demand of issuing permanent residential certificates

Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad is agitating demanding permanent residential certificates for the non-tribals of the two districts of Lohit and Changlang. This demand has been strongly opposed by the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union and Tai Khampti Students’ Union.

Additional central forces had been deployed in vulnerable locations. Arunachal Pradesh Police Battalion and India Reserve Battalion jawans, too, are keeping a strict vigil on the situation.

The army had been conducting area domination operations in villages and interior parts of the district at the request of the Lohit district administration to ensure that there was no more trouble. The administration has also issued prohibitory orders in Namsai and Mahadevpur police station areas under Section 144 CrPC and has banned assembly of four or more persons at a place and carrying of any sort of arms or ammunition.

Huts of non-tribals being burnt in some interior areas in Piyong circle of Namsai. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu on Monday ordered airlifting of forces from Itanagar to Namsai sub-division in Lohit district to contain clashes

Sources:               The Hindu               Indian Express              Telegraph-1                        Telegraph -2

Bias by The Hindu in supporting the Sedition

The Hindu newspaper has exhibited bias in the case of Arundhati Roys speech on J&K.

Arundhati Roy on Oct 21 had said in a conference “Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this.” BJP, the main opposition party of India had strongly opposed the statement and demanded strongest possible action against Roy. The law minister of the ruling Congress party was very unhappy over her comment.  He said “Arundhati’s remark over sovereignty of Jammu and Kashmir was unfortunate. Freedom of speech can not violate patriotic sentiments”. The law ministry also confirmed that a case of sedition can be initiated against the booker prize winner author and socialite [SamayLive].

The Hindu news paper came out strongly in support of Arundhati Roy. It advocated that the speech is within the purview of Freedom of Speech.  The news paper in its editorial deplored the demand for action against her.  It termed the angry reactions as zealous hyper-patriotic.  It considered the demand for sedition charges against her as outrageous. The newspaper called Section 124 (A) of the Indian Penal Code which could be invoked for exciting “disaffection” towards or bringing “hatred or contempt” against the government that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment as an archaic section. It tried to justify her remarks by comparing her statements to that of the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. It advised central government to deny reports that it is considering pressing sedition charges against Roy and Geelani. It also advised courts to apply their mind and refuse to entertain any petition against her concluding such petitions as frivolous and vexatious.

The Hindu news paper makes an attempt to extend the scope of the Freedom of speech to include Roy’s speech simultaneously trying to undermine the sedition laws. In the process, it blames Indian government for the violence in Kashmir and repeats allegations of human right violations against Indian state.

The editorial is yet another example of inherent bias in The Hindu against Indian Nationalism.

via ‘Sedition’ versus free speech.

Arundhati’s speech on J&K unfortunate: Moily

Arundhatis speech on jk unfortunate: Moily

Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily on Thursday said that the sedition case against writer-activist Arundhati Roy will be thoroughly looked at even as civil rights group have been protesting against the Government’s reported move to book her and Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for sedition.

“Freedom of speech cannot violate the patriotic sentiments of the people and country. It is most unfortunate and most uncalled for,” Moily told CNN-IBN.

 Moily said that he cannot comment on the case unless he thoroughly examines it.