BANGKOK (Reuters) - A Thai Buddhist monk cut off his penis with a machete because he had an erection during meditation and declined to have it reattached, saying he had renounced all earthly cares, a doctor and a newspaper said on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old monk, whose name was withheld for privacy reasons, allowed medical staff at Maharaj hospital, 780 km (480 miles) south of Bangkok to dress his wound, but refused reattachment, hospital chief Prawing Euanontouch said.
"We cleaned up the wound, gave him some stitches, but he declined to have it reattached because he said had abandoned everything," Prawing told Reuters by telephone.
Prawing declined to comment on the monk's erection, which Bangkok-based Kom Chad Luk tabloid reported on its Web site.
Mumbai police Commissioner A.N. Roy said an intensive investigation that included using truth serum on suspects revealed that Pakistan's top spy agency had "masterminded" the bombings.
Roy said Pakistan's Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence, or ISI, began planning the attacks in March and later provided training to those who carried out the bombings in Bahawalpur, Pakistan.
"The terror plot was ISI sponsored and executed by Lashkar-e-Tayyaba operatives with help from the Students Islamic Movement of India," Roy said at a news conference to announce the completion of the investigation.
Class divisions in India:
Between 2 and 5 per cent, or 22 to 55 million, are Brahmin, the highest caste.
Brahmins are estimated to hold more than 70 per cent of government and judicial posts.
Almost 70 per cent, 770 million people, are Dalits, or Untouchables.
Forty-eight hours after bombs ripped through Mumbai, the needle pointed to Pakistan. Intelligence agencies on Thursday confirmed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was the “mastermind” of the blasts that killed about 200 people.
The Mumbai Police, meanwhile, identified the trio who planned and executed 11/7: Rahil, Zahibuddin Ansari and Faiyaz, linked to the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Of them, Rahil had reportedly made an abortive bid to trigger a blast at Byculla railway station on March 11 — the eve of the anniversary of the 1993 Bombay blasts.
The agencies, which briefed National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and Cabinet Secretary BK Chaturvedi, said the blueprint for Tuesday’s blasts was made by the ISI while the “plan” was executed by “local Indian operatives”.
A senior intelligence officer said the synchronised explosions had the “hallmark” of an ISI operation. Militants operating in Kashmir were not capable of such meticulous planning and could only carry out fidayeen attacks or plant bombs in crowded places like markets.
“A lot of planning went into the blasts. This is typical of an ISI operation, as was revealed during the 1993 Bombay blasts,” said an officer.
Rahil, Ansari and Faiyaz could be the local operatives the intelligence agencies hinted at. Mumbai Police Commissioner AN Roy told HT: “We’re looking for Rahil, Ansari and Faiyaz who orchestrated the seven blasts.” Roy said Rahil, “a SIMI old-timer”, had been leading a LeT module, while Ansari and Faiyaz were wanted in the Aurangabad explosives-seizure case.
KP Raghuvanshi, chief of the Mumbai Police’s Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), said Ansari and Faiyaz had brought in the RDX from Pakistan. Though the ATS arrested 16 operatives from Ansari’s module, he and Faiyaz gave the police the slip. Apparently, the module was receiving instructions from Junaid, reportedly ISI’s operations chief for India.
The police said the blasts could have been in retaliation of Gujarat riots.
Eight bombs hit Bombay's commuter rail network during rush hour Tuesday evening, killing at least 147 people and wounding more than 400 in what authorities called a well-coordinated terrorist attack.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility in the bombings, which came in quick succession — a common tactic employed by Kashmiri militants. The blasts came hours after a series of grenade attacks by Islamic extremists killed eight people in the main city of India's part of Kashmir.
India's major cities were put on high alert. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called an emergency Cabinet meeting and said that "terrorists" were behind the attacks.
(AP) An Indian court sentenced a doctor to two years in prison for using ultrasound tests to determine the sex of fetuses, the first physician convicted for flouting a law designed to end an epidemic of parents aborting female fetuses, officials said Wednesday.
Radiologist Anil Sabsani told a pregnant undercover investigator that she was carrying a female fetus, but it could be "taken care of," officials said.
Indian families often see girls as burdens, and gender tests and abortions have led to a skewed ratio of males to females.
Female children frequently require large dowries _ cash and gifts given to the groom's relatives by a bride's family _ and often receive medical treatment and education after male children.
Some ultrasound clinics used to advertise with the slogan: "Pay 1,000 rupees now for a test, rather than 100,000 rupees later."
Nationwide, the number of girls per 1,000 boys declined from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001, according to the 2001 national census. In wealthy Haryana state, the census showed 820 females for every 1,000 males.
The past two decades have seen the birth of nearly 10 million fewer girls than would otherwise have been expected, nearly all presumed by researchers to have been aborted, according to the Lancet, a leading British medical journal.
Abortions are legal in India but revealing the sex of a baby or aborting one because of its gender are not. The government outlawed prenatal sex-determination tests in 1994, but the law is widely flouted _ especially among affluent and middle-class Indians _ despite repeated official pledges of a crackdown.
As news of the government decision spread, the patients gathered under a tree to discuss what to do. "We will go to the government and plead," said one of them, but another waved him down with his bandaged hand and said, "They will not allow us to even enter the compound."Note that while the sisters tend to the most hated and isolated members of Indian society, according to their contract with the government, they are not allowed to "do any preaching of the Bible or carry on any proselytizing activities among patients of the hospital as well as on the premises". Lepers protest Gujarat decision to stop sisters running hospital
Chinga Powar came from a government hospital in neighbouring Maharashtra. In that hospital, he said, doctors would "not even come near us. The nurses would give out tablets in a plastic bag tied to a stick. The toilets were never cleaned, because lepers used it. We were treated worse than animals."
Nikki, Osmond, and Nicholas epitomize the American spirit -- they are hard-working, career obsessed and driven by consumer desires. But in reality, this isn't how they started life -- all have new personas that they have adopted as part of their jobs in India's call centers. Before adopting their new American skins, they were Vandana, Omar and Nikesh. Teachers armed with catalogs and snapshots of shopping malls, helped them to adopt Western personalities in order to make them more successful call center workers. Americans and Europeans are unhappy that local call center jobs have been relocated to lower wage countries, and the more Western the call center workers seem, the less likely they are to get any friction from the other end of the line.Inside a Mumbai Call Center: Indian by Day, American by Night
However, India's population worries government planners who, despite the eight per cent economic growth rate, will need to generate tens of millions of new jobs.Government planners think that jobs are generated by government planners? Navel-gazing absurdity at its worst. I guess they have to justify their jobs one way or another. I really wish India would find her Reagan.
Let's talk about commencement speeches. PepsiCo's CEO famously gave Columbia's graduating MBA class a speech in which she gave America the middle finger. Liberals generally cheered and called conservatives tone-deaf for “not getting it." A speech like this ten years ago would get no news. But outraged conservative students immediately contacted blogs like Powerline and Hugh Hewitt. The firestorm caused inestimable damage to PepsiCo-I know I'm not buying their products while she's there, and I'm not alone.Well, you won't believe this. As it turns out, I owe Indira a most abject apology.
The five fingers of a hand are used typically to denote differences. Then why the fuss when PepsiCo president Indira Nooyi did what most of us do spontaneously?As it turns out, she was just expressing love, a feeling of cosmic inclusiveness, and a kaleidoscope-transcending profound Vedantic, Jain and Buddhist tradition! Man, what a relief! I thought she was flipping me the bird! Next time some irate commuter flips me off in traffic, I'm stopping the car right there and getting out, dewy-eyed and weak from love, to hug him. Assuming I get through his hail of bullets and he doesn't manage to run me over first.
Most Indians - maybe the French, too - would agree that we tend to use our hands a lot as aids to expression. Often, gesticulating is perceived as a charming mannerism that - besides helping the speaker express herself better - actually adds value to thought-expression.
The five fingers of a hand are used typically to denote differences. Then why the fuss when PepsiCo president Indira Nooyi did what most of us do spontaneously? Nooyi enjoys an enviable reputation in the US as a corporate icon. In her commencement speech at the Columbia Business School recently, Nooyi compared the five continents to the five fingers of the hand.
But when she held up her middle finger to denote America, right-wing bloggers launched a vitriolic attack on the politically incorrect Ms Nooyi, who was being "ungrateful" and "ungracious" to a country that had become her home by using an obscene gesture to describe it.
OK, maybe Nooyi could have been more careful, considering the practice in the US to use the middle finger for obscene gestures. She even apologised to prevent the issue from snowballing. And outside of the right-wing blogger sites, none in the media in the US has bothered to carry the news.
But the innocuous gesture has touched a raw nerve in the post-9/11 neo-patriots. I would say to them - please relax. Patriotism, loosely defined, is love for your country - a deep-rooted affinity for your civilisation and people. Patriotism, however, is not a high form of love.
Because, in its extreme form , patriotism lends itself to vilification - as happened in the case of right-wing bloggers' reaction to Nooyi. Intense patriotism tends to exclude all love other than its own; it makes you monocultural.
How do you measure true love? True love is universal love, a concept the average Indian mind has absorbed, sponge-like, from a profound Vedantic, Jain and Buddhist tradition that transcends all faiths, vocations and economic classes that form the kaleidoscope that is India.
Someone who understands love only in Anglo-Saxon terms would indeed find it difficult to extend the feeling to all of existence and more. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines love thus: having "a strong feeling of affection for someone" and gives the following examples of usage: "a person or thing one loves" or "love for their country".
In the Indian tradition, love is much more than an expression of affection for any single individual, family, community, town, country or continent.
It is a feeling of cosmic inclusiveness that has space for creatures of all shapes and sizes, for people of all creed and persuasion, for countries of all hemispheres and climate, for planets of all star systems, for universes and multiverses - in short, for all and nothing. Infinite love has infinite objects of affection - each with its own space to grow and give.
Coming as she does from an Indian cultural background, Nooyi's gesture meant no more than what she said it meant. It was not a suggestion that she loved America less. In fact, she was asking America to convert self-love to universal love to make love all-inclusive.
Unless, of course , the self being loved is the universal Self, the all-pervading, all-inclusive Brahmn. What can be more reasonable than that?
Lucknow, Aug 19: An edict issued by three clerics of the Darul Uloom at Deoband has kicked up a storm not just within the Muslim community but also among many women candidates.Take that. Being ignored and treated as-worse than comical-irrelevant may be a worse fate than hanging. Can we hang them anyway though?
The order bars women from contesting the ongoing panchayati raj polls in Uttar Pradesh.
But many Muslim women say they will go ahead with their campaigns despite the edict.
In a tiny Uttar Pradesh village of Bairiakhas, just two days before the panchayat polls, 37-year-old Tajbun Nesha is making the last few rounds of her village, trying to gain all the goodwill she can to win her first election.
She has six children and has not really ventured out of her house. But with Pradhan's seat reserved for women, Tajbun now has a chance to step into the limelight.
Tajbun believes it is important for women of her community to come forward.
"So what if we are Muslims, we don't necessarily have to stay in purdah. We can also come out and work for the betterment of the people in the society around us," said Nesha.
Most women in this part of the world do not have independent identities. Even while they contest elections they are recognized as somebody's mother or wife.
In Mathauli village, Sehruneesha may be identified as Raju painter's mother, but she has a strong view on clerics issuing fatwas on women participating in elections.
"The Maulvis and the Pandits are always issuing fatwas on something or the other but who adheres to them? It is easy for them to issue fatwas, but we have to go out and earn our living and lead our lives.
Those who want to be in purdah should remain in it and those who do not want it, need not be in it," said Sehruneesha.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was recently in Washington and addressed a joint session of Congress. Most visiting heads of government don't get that privilege, but Singh is no ordinary leader. The Indo-American relationship is emerging as one of the foundations of the global system. For the United States, India -- particularly since 9/11 -- has come to represent a strategic partner in the U.S.-jihadist war: By its very existence as a U.S. ally, it serves to keep the pressure for cooperation very high on rival Pakistan. For India, the United States has come to represent an alternative to its former relationship with the Soviet Union, which helped to guarantee India's regional interests. Thus, Singh's visit, while dealing with a range of the normal minutiae of international relations, represents confirmation that something of fundamental importance has happened.I found the explanation of why it was that India was effectively marginalized in the world order insightful. Good piece from George Friedman on this monumental event.
Unlike many summits, this particular one has had the look, feel and substance of a significant event. Foreign leaders do not usually get to address Congress. The entire tone of the meetings implied a significant turning point. But in this case, the concrete agreements were as important as the symbolism: Significant deals were signed.
The most publicly significant was a deal giving the Indians access to American nuclear technology for civilian uses. India became a nuclear power in 1974, against strong U.S. opposition. The decision to give India nuclear technology -- even for civilian uses -- marks a sea change in American thinking about India's nuclear capability. To be more precise, it marks the culmination of a sea change. Washington used a series of severe, near-nuclear crises between India and Pakistan following the Sept. 11 attacks to leverage Islamabad toward greater cooperation with the United States. It was clear then that the United States was changing its view of India "on the fly." This new agreement represents a public affirmation that Washington regards India's nuclear capabilities as non-threatening to American interests and, indeed, as a potential asset.
In agreeing to increase India's nuclear technology base, albeit only for civilian uses and under international supervision, the United States is affirming that a special relationship exists with India.
At the same time that this public agreement was being reached, official leaks from the Pentagon said that India would begin purchasing up to $5 billion worth of conventional weapons, once Congress approves the deal. This requires an act of Congress because current law on non-proliferation bars the sale of a wide array of military technology to countries that have acquired nuclear weapons -- specifically focusing on any technology that might be useful to a nuclear weapons program. Since the technologies that are potentially useful are amazingly diverse, large swathes of technology are excluded from sale. Should Congress approve the bill, it would place India in a position similar to that of Israel (save that Israel doesn't acknowledge publicly that it has nuclear weapons).
The things being sold to India are also interesting. For example, India will be allowed to purchase Aegis technology, which is designed to protect naval vessels -- and battle groups -- from anti-ship missiles. So far, only Japan has acquired the technology, partly because of its cost. In addition, New Delhi will be able to purchase anti-submarine patrol aircraft. The United States, which until a few years ago regarded the Indian naval build-up -- based on Soviet technology -- as a threat to U.S. control of sea lanes in the Indian Ocean, has now completely reversed its posture. It is selling New Delhi naval technology that will allow the Indians to fulfill one of their key strategic objectives, which is to be able to control regional sea lanes. The United States would not be providing this technology without having achieved a far-reaching strategic agreement with New Delhi.
This, by the way, has the Pakistanis worried. Islamabad clearly understands that its status as Washington's ally in the U.S.-jihadist war will go only so far in terms of duration and dividends for Pakistan. In other words, while India gets a long-term strategic relationship with the United States, Pakistan's relationship is viewed as short-term and tactical.
To understand the major shift taking place between Washington and New Delhi, it is important to understand the geopolitical context that created it. Almost from the beginning, there were tensions between the United States and India. India's formal position was non-alignment between the Soviet Union and the United States. It was one of the founders and leaders of the non-aligned movement. Apart from its formal position, India had fundamental problems with the geopolitical stance of the United States, which during the Cold War was heavily focused on developing Muslim allies.
The primary interest of the United States was the containment of the Soviet Union. This inevitably caused Washington to focus on two predominantly Muslim countries that bordered the Soviet Union: Turkey and Iran. American strategy could not work if either of these nations were not allied with the United States, and Washington did everything it could to assure their alignment, including engineering a coup in Iran in 1953. The focus on Muslim countries extended beyond these two. The Americans did not want their rear and flanks turned by the Soviets; the United States and Britain, therefore, focused on both Syria and Iraq as well as on the Arabian Peninsula. It is important to recall that during the 1950s the United States had rather cool relations with Israel; it was pursuing a pro-Muslim strategy out of geopolitical necessity.
During the 1950s, the Indians were the ones with a Muslim problem. The partition of India into Muslim- and Hindu-majority nations had created Pakistan, which represented India's primary national security concern. In looking at India's geography, it should be noted that in many ways, India is an island. Its northern boundary essentially consists of the Himalayas, impassable for any substantial military force. Its eastern frontier faces tropical jungles. Most of its borders consist of ocean. Only to the west, where Pakistan lies, did there exist a strategic threat. It is true that what is today Bangladesh was part of Pakistan in those years, but it never posed a strategic threat. As the crow flies, the Pakistani border is only a couple of hundred miles from Delhi and Bombay; that was not a trivial concern.
The United States was pursuing the Muslim world. The Indians saw themselves as threatened by the Muslim world. U.S. and Indian interests, already strained by ideology, diverged fundamentally. India needed a counterweight to the United States and found it in the Soviet Union. Though it never became Communist, India became an ally of the Soviets. The Indians built their armed forces on a foundation of Soviet technology, and their highly bureaucratized economy found some commonality with the Soviets.
From a purely strategic point of view, the Indo-Soviet relationship did not mean all that much. Even after the Sino-Soviet split, the direct impact that India or the Soviets could have on each other's strategic situation was severely limited. India was never the military counterweight to China that the Soviets needed -- not because its forces couldn't challenge the Chinese, but because geography prevented the two forces from coming to grips with each other. People speak of Sino-Indian competition -- and there was a war (though not one that could threaten the survival of either nation) between India and China in 1962 in the Himalayas -- but the fact is that the two countries could be ten thousand miles apart for the extent to which geography permits any meaningful interaction. India's isolation limited the significance of its confrontation with the Soviets. The value of the relationship was marginalized by geography.
India therefore became marginal to the international system. Its major point of contact was with Pakistan, with which it had fought a series of wars -- major ones in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- had serious territorial issues and deep distrust. Pakistan was supported by the United States and China, the two anti-Soviet powers in the 1970s and 1980s. This was partly due to India's relationship with the Soviets and partly due to American interests in the Islamic world.
Marginalization is the key concept for understanding India's position in the world prior to 2001. Geography prevented it from having substantial interaction with the great powers. Its point of contact, Pakistan, was of some importance, but not decisive importance. Prior to becoming a nuclear power, India had only one recourse: naval power. But its economy would not support a full-blooded fleet-building program. Its strength was in its army, but that army could not be projected anywhere.
Its economy was also marginalized. Built on a socialist model that took the worst from Soviet planning and Western markets, the Indian economy isolated itself by laws that severely limited outside investment. Its infrastructure did not develop and, while several key industries -- pharmaceuticals and electronics -- emerged, this never created the fabric of what might be called a national economy. India was a huge, fragmented country, on the margins of the international system. Its friendship with the Soviets and its enmity with the United States were tepid on all sides.
Then came the 9/11 strikes, and the American relationship with the Islamic world was transformed almost overnight. Suddenly, Pakistan became a critical piece of the United States' long-term war plan, and therefore India became an extremely valuable asset. The Indians understood two things. First, that as marginalized as they had been in the Cold War, they had become irrelevant to the international system in the post-Cold War period prior to 9/11. Second, they understood that the U.S.-jihadist war could become India's entry into the broader international system.
U.S.-Indian collaboration began intensely shortly after 9/11. Part of it consisted of a mutual interest in manipulating Pakistan; part of it had broader implications. As the United States began to view the Muslim world as an unreliable and threatening entity, it started to see India in the same light as Israel. It was a potentially powerful ally that, in spite of its hostility to the Islamic world, or perhaps because of it, could be extremely useful. Long, complex negotiations ensued, leading up the present summit. The terms of endearment, so to speak, were defined. A range of issues on which the two sides could collaborate emerged.
A not-so-hidden issue at the summit in Washington was China. Sino-U.S. relations are deteriorating fairly rapidly. There was much speculation about India being an Asian counterweight to China. We have no idea what this means, since geographically China and India occupy two very different Asias. The United States doesn't need a nuclear counterweight to China, and China is very far from becoming a major naval power capable of projecting force outside of its regional waters. By that, we do not mean sailing into these waters, but fighting, winning battles and sailing home. The nuclear technology agreement that Singh obtained in Washington increases the likelihood that China is not going to project force west of Singapore. On the other hand, it was never likely to do so.
There is, however, another dimension to this. For a generation, China has been the place where hot money in search of high returns was destined. It was where the action was. It is no longer that place, except in the minds of the nostalgic and delusional. But India could well be. If one thinks of China in 1980, the notion that its bureaucracy, lack of infrastructure and a culture antithetical to rapid development would yield the economic powerhouse of 2000 would have been unthinkable. It was unthinkable.
India is in China's position of 1980. It has a mind-boggling bureaucracy, poor infrastructure and a culture antithetical to rapid development. At the same time, it has the basic materials that China built on. As the Sino-U.S. relationship deteriorates, India can be a counterweight to China -- not in a military sense, but in an economic sense. If the United States has an economic alternative to China for investment, Washington develops leverage in its talks with Beijing on a host of issues. China, after all, still courts investment -- even as the Chinese buy anything that isn't Chinese.
Another factor underscoring the significance of the shift in Indo-U.S. relations is New Delhi's relationship with Tehran. India's relations with Iran have always been a serious point of contention and concern for the United States. However, due to the situation in Iraq, tensions with New Delhi over this issue are on the decline. The United States and Iran at the moment are developing parallel interests, each with their own reasons to work together to ensure the success of the fledgling Shia-dominated government in Baghdad.
The Indo-American relationship did not develop out of the subjective good will of the leaders. The Sept. 11 attacks created a dynamic that couldn't be resisted, and that created a reality that the Bush-Singh summit confirmed. It doesn't transform the world, but it changes it fundamentally. India will come out of this a very different country, and the United States will look at the Indian Ocean Basin in a very different way.
The People’s Tribunal on the rights of Christian Dalits began its proceedings today. In the initial hearings, some Dalits—also known as outcastes and untouchables— will speak about the discriminations they endure on daily basis because of their faith.People’s Tribunal begins hearings in Tamil Nadu on Christian Dalits rights
A copy of the proceedings will be sent to the President of India, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, and the National Human Rights Commission, the National Commission for Minorities and the National Commissions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Women and Children.
At the core of the trial is a 1950 Presidential Order that excluded Dalit converts to Christianity from government affirmative action programmes such as reserved quotas in public service employment. Muslims, too, suffer from the same discrimination. On the other hand, Hindu, Buddhist or Sikh Dalits are protected.
In an official statement, the National Movement for Dalit Christians Rights, which backs the People’s Tribunal, said that as “[s]trange as it may seem, the full protection of the law and many privileges that are available to Dalits of Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist faiths are denied to their brothers and sisters who have adopted the Christian or other faiths,"
More than 70 per cent of Christian Dalits are concentrated in the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka. The others live in Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
India’s Christian community is 25 million strong, 60 per cent of them from the Dalit caste, which is at the bottom of social hierarchy.