9/11 and Beyond

9/11 was a catastrophe. On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defined the presidency of George W. Bush.

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Freedom at Midnight

The independence of Pakistan and India has been fairly well chronicled, both with accuracy and biases. For instance, the renowned book Freedom at Midnight (1975) authored by Larry Collins and Dominique LaPierre, famous historians/writers, for a major part, revolves around the incidents that took place from the time Lord Mountbatten reluctantly accepted his posting as the last Governor General of India till Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.

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The resilience of Beirut۔ a reminiscence

Beirut was rocked by a port explosion on August 4 that killed 154 people, injured 5,000, destroyed a swathe of the Mediterranean city and sent seismic shockwaves around the region. There are speculations regarding the perpetrators of the bloody detonation, which has taken a massive toll of lives. This article is not about ”whodunnit“ or the conspiracy theories emerging; nor about the ”day of judgment“ protest rallies for Lebanon ’s leaders to take responsibility for the deadly blasts.

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August 5—Ram Mandir bhoomi-poojan or Yaum-e-Istehsal?

· The BJP is ruthlessly exploiting religion for political ends. The ominous date of August 5, 2019, Narendra Modi and his fascist regime illegally annexed Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and Ladakh and converted it into Indian Union Territories, is being celebrated as Ram Mandir bhoomi-poojan where a Ram Temple is set to be constructed in Ayodhya. Readers may recall that in 1992, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) parcharaks (activists) including LK Advani, Narendra Modi, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti, along with RSS Karsevaks (workers) members of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, had demolished the historic Babri Masjid.

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The hullabaloo over Hagia Sophia’s reinstatement as a Mosque

A lot of furor is being raised in the Christian world to condemn the reestablishment of Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO world heritage site in Istanbul and a global symbol of world history and multicultural representation, as a mosque. Hagia Sophia, once Christendom’s greatest church, which was converted into a mosque under the Ottomans, before becoming a museum in the 20th century, has now been reinstated as a mosque.

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Remembering Kashmir Martyrs’ Day

“Kashmir Martyrs’ Day” is observed on July 13, every year to commemorate the sacrifice of the twenty one Kashmiris, who were killed outside Srinagar Central Jail by the troops of Dogra Maharaja in 1931 during a revolt.  There is a background to this painful event, which continues to be memorialized.

Kashmiris have been oppressed since 1846, when the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was created and despite having an over 95% Muslim population, the state was sold by the British East India Company to Hindu Maharaja Gulab Singh for Rs. 75,00,000. The Hindu monarch treated the Kashmiri Muslims as serfs and unleashed a reign of terror to tyrannize them.

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China’s subtle message to India

Chinese diplomacy is suave, subtle and refined. It was once defined that when a Chinese diplomat will tell you to go to hell, he will do it so politely that you will look forward to the trip. Over the years, Chinese diplomacy has not lost its finesse, except that it has become assertive.

A 2017 Chinese movie Wolf Warrior sheds light on the polite but firm nuance of Chinese diplomacy. The slogan of the movie has been borrowed from a Han Dynasty saying: “Whoever offends China will be punished, no matter how far they are.” At the end of the film, the red cover of a Chinese passport is displayed, accompanied by the message: “Citizens of the PRC: When you encounter danger in a foreign land, do not give up! Please remember, at your back stands a strong motherland.”

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Why India should not use Russian S-400 missiles against China

India is embroiled in a border skirmish with China in the Ladakh region in which, it has lost territory as well as scores of soldiers including a battalion commander. The encounter has left India red-faced and prompted its Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to seek the early delivery of the sophisticated S-400 Triumf Air Defence  Missile System from Russia.

The Indian Defence Minister is in Moscow to attend the 75th Victory Day Parade. He is reported to have sought urgent supply of equipment and spares needed for the Russian-origin fighter aircraft including the Su-30MKIs and MiG-29s of the Air Force and the MiG29Ks of the Indian Navy, the T-90 battle ranks for the Army and the Kilo-class submarines of the Navy along with other warships.

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