Karaval Milan members family get to gether
>> Read More
|The Ideology Of Pakistan - 11/7/2012
The Ideology of Pakistan: A thorny issue
-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro
If I were a rational person I would not be writing this blog. In the past I have lamented the proliferation of garbage, lauded junkies and soothsayers at a sufi saint’s shrine, delved into nostalgia about rail travel, and written about other harmless subjects. These blogs and features received mostly bouquets and some brickbats from the readers.
But today I want to talk about a very difficult subject. No, I am not confessing that I am a serial killer or a closet drag queen; sorry, nothing juicy like that. This particular subject has been like a thorn in my heart for many years but good judgment and sane counsels from friends has stopped me from pulling it out of my heart and speak out what I really think about it. Pakistan’s poet laureate Faiz Ahmed Faiz perfectly expressed this feeling thus:
Harf-e-haq dil mein khatakta hey jo kantey ki tarha
Aaj izhar karein aur khalish mi tjaey
(The truth that lives in the heart like a thorn)
(Speak it out, now, and banish the pain)
You see, I have a serious problem with the question, “What is the ideology of Pakistan?” I can see you, dear reader, sniggering and saying, “Every man, woman, transvestite, child, the 25 per cent literate or the 75 per cent illiterate, and even some intelligent well brought up parrots know that there is a single word answer to this question, and it is Islam. Even the country’s full name is “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan” and according to the constitution, “only a Muslim can become the head of the state”.
So case closed; get back to writing about garbage dumps because that is where you rightly belong.
I think dear reader, you are right and I should stop here. But, what to do about the thorny medical condition that Faiz Ahmad Faiz has talked about in his verse? No, I cannot stop; I belong to the Faiz tribe and must banish this pain, now.
You see, all manner of thinkers, whether liberal (simple, leftist or Islamist flavour), or radical (again of the three flavours) or secular, and any valid combination thereof have me totally confused.
The simple liberals say: Pakistan was created for the Muslims who could not possibly thrive in a Hindu dominated India. Hindus and Muslims are two different nations. Thus, the ideology of Pakistan is Islam. They quote Quaid-i-Azam’s speeches to support their point of view.
I humbly submit the following questions and opinions to this august group:
1. What about the large number of Muslims that were left behind in India? If the larger Muslim populace could not survive under the domination of the powerful Hindus what chances did the much-diminished population of Muslims have? Imagine, if today all the Muslims were in an undivided India they would have constituted nearly 40 per cent of the total population! That would have given them serious political clout to fight for their rights.
2. Consider that by creating a new state based on distrust and hatred, it actually created two warring states on day one of their creation. This intense animosity between the two countries has remained the single most important factor in the formulation of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Internally, every leader in Pakistan has cynically invoked the specter of the fear of India and milked the cow of national security whenever faced with domestic unrest and disaffection. The distrust of India gives immense clout to the army that gets a free hand to spend the poor country’s money on defense. What has that expenditure given in return? Half the country was lost and the remaining is living under very insecure conditions. Soon there may be nothing left to defend!
3. What happened as early as 1971 to that great common bond of religion that was the basis of creating a new nation? Just 24 years after the creation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan more than half the population decided they had enough of being part of the great Republic?
4. Following the partition of India in 1947, Mohammad Rushdi’s lovely voice sang to us on the radio;
Hum laayen hein toofan sey kashti nikal key
Iss mulk ko rakhna meray bachoo sumbhal key
(We have steered this boat through stormy waters)
(My children, take care of your precious country)
And stormy waters they were; millions killed, maimed, raped and displaced on both sides. A human tragedy occurred on a colossal scale that was not anticipated by any of the great leaders of the Hindus, Muslims or British. Who should history hold responsible for these massacres?
The same saga was repeated in 1971. Once again, thousands killed, raped or maimed. Only this time it was the blood of Muslims mingling with the blood of other Muslims and the semen of Muslim Pakistani soldiers entering bodies of Muslim Bengali women. No Sir, this does not fit well at all in your raison d’êtrefor Pakistan, the famous “Two Nation Theory”. Where was the mother of all bonding, “Islam”? Unless, of course, you say that East Pakistan and West Pakistan were two nations in this case! More likely, years of exploitation by the West Wing gave the Bengalis a broken heart that no bond could keep together and no balm could heal.
“To hell with the short, dark, cowardly Bengalis, they were a burden on our economy anyway. Good riddance!”
Sir, I cannot argue with this impeccable logic based on sound military and economic theory.
5. But the thorn is still residing in my heart and it is asking you, “Do you realise that the Bengalis are doing far better now in Bangladesh than they were in Pakistan? And the good Muslims, the Biharis (labeled Bhikaris or beggars by our great erstwhile Amir-ul-Momineen, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq) who supported a united Pakistan are still rotting away in the infamous “Geneva Camp”, homeless and stateless. And I guess it is relevant to remind you that you left a lot of Muslims back in India in 1947 too! Who is next on the list of your “Jamaican Farewell”?
6. Fast forward from 1971 to now. The country is splitting apart like a rag doll. The glue of Islam has come unstuck. It is not the infernal enemy India that has caused this. We are our own worst enemy. The Balochis are demanding a separate province. Parts of Pakistan are not in the control of the state. The demand for an autonomous Sindh is picking up steam. How do you explain this? All these people demanding independence are Muslims, not a Hindu or Sikh is to be seen. Reminds me of the famous poem about the five mice that set out to hunt and only one came back alive! I think you can guess who the last mouse left in the Islamic Republic is.
The secular / left-liberals claim that Pakistan was envisioned as a secular state. This group, ad nauseam, quotes M.A. Jinnah’s 11thAugust, 1947 speech that talks of equal rights for all religious groups in the newly formed Pakistan.
I pose the following questions to these well-meaning idealists:
1. Respected Sirs, if Mr. Jinnah had envisioned Pakistan as a secular state why did he bother to create it in the first place? Pre-partition India was secular and remains secular to this day.
2. If Pakistan was to be a secular state why do religious groups wield so much clout that even a so-called liberal, Mr. Bhutto, bowed down to their demand for banning alcohol (that he imbibed with a gusto himself) and declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslims? It is clear that the religious extremists have far greater power than their performance at the polls suggests. Acts of violence against minorities continue unabated. Draconian laws created by Zia-ul-Haq continue to thrive and no one dare repeal them.
Lastly, the Religious groups claim that Pakistan was created to be a “true” Islamic state where every aspect of life and death will be according to the tenets of Islam.
To this fine group of Islamic scholars and fighters, I ask how did they determine that “true” Islam forbids modern education, imposes severe restrictions on women, instructs elimination of non-Muslims or bans a good game like football?
I will not insist on an answer since it is most likely written on the tip of a bullet.
So now I am in a situation that the great Caribbean crooner Harry Belafonte found himself in when he asked his father to tell him about the birds and the bees:
It was clear as mud, but it covered the ground
And the confusion made my head go around
Therefore, friends, liberals/leftist/rightist/centrists, I am going to give my answer: get ready to swallow the bitter pill.
The Muslim extremists are morally right! The ideology of Pakistan is Islam (remember, everyone is Pakistan knows that). The creation of Pakistan gave the perfect weapon to the likes of TTP and LeT. A weapon that was more powerful than any nuclear device. They got a complete country called Pakistan, beautifully packaged in green, with a big card on it that said, “Made for Islam”. You can argue till the cows come home that the brand of Islam of the TTP is not the “Real Islam”. If theirs is not the real Islam can anyone present an alternative model of an Islamic state? Saudi Arabia? Afghanistan under the Taliban? Iran? (Sorry, these guys are Shias, thus non-Muslims). Mr. Bhutto tried to sell “Islamic Socialism”; he was hanged. Poor Mr. Salman Taseer just mentioned his dislike for the blasphemy law; he was killed and the killer was garlanded by no less than our lawyers.
No one can come up with such a model for the simple reason that a theocratic state cannot work in modern times.
I have no cure to offer. We cannot turn back the clock to 1947. However there are three minimum prerequisites for making a new start:
1. We must have the moral courage to privately and publicly declare that religion cannot be the basis for creating a nation-state. Once we have established this basic premise we do not let anyone – whether an elected representative or a religious extremist – use religion to exploit those honest, hardworking Pakistanis who are only seeking a square meal, some security of life and property, a decent education, healthcare and a little hope for the future.
2. We must insist that religion is a matter of one’s belief and faith and there can be no restriction on practicing it in the private realm, but that we must separate it from the affairs of the state.
3. We normalize our relationship with India and shift our priority from defense to regional cooperation. Internally, we divert our resources from national security to the social sector.
But I am afraid that none of the above will happen and we are more likely to hang the messenger.
Faiz Sahib, the thorn is out and the pain is gone and now as you said:
Ik mout ka dhanda baqi hey, uskko bhi hum nipta leingey.
(All that is now left is the business of death, and that too will be taken care of soon).
|Dakshina Kannada Sex Ratio Is Abnormal Says Government - 11/7/2012
Alarming drop in sex ratio in Dakshina Kannada
There are 945 girls for 1,000 boys in the zero to six age group
The District Reproductive and Child Health Officer M. Rukmini on Tuesday expressed concern over the abnormal drop in the sex ratio in the Dakshina Kannada in the age group of zero to six.
In her presentation on women and child health, Dr. Rukmini said as per the 2011 census there were 945 girls for every 1,000 boys in the age group of zero to six. “This is abnormal as the number of girls has to be higher than boys. The number of girls is getting reduced in the district,” she said. There were 951 girls for 1,000 boys as per the 2001 census for this population. However, the ratio for the general population in the district is 1,018 women for every 1,000 men as per the 2011 Census. Fewer females in the age group of zero to six indicates the possibility of the district going the Punjab and Haryana way.
Dr. Rukmini said reasons were not known for the gradual decrease in the number of females in the district where literacy rate was high. “We do not know whether this is for the one-child norm that is highly prevalent in the district. We are not sure whether there are laboratories still identifying the sex of the child in violation of PC and PNDT Act (Pre Conception and Pre Natala Diagnostic Techniques(Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act). A study has to be done,” she said.
Dr. Rukmini’s presentation was among the presentations made during a programme to create awareness about the National Rural Health Mission among the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat members. Only 15 of the 35 zilla panchayat members turned up for the programme.
Dr. Rukmini said there was a need to promote “no-scalpel vasectomy” in the district as fewer men were opting for it. There were about 44 cases in 2011 as against 35 in 2010. There were around five cases in 2008. Lack of numbers of the NSV, she said, had not in any way changed the situation with regard to family planning. The fertility rate in the district, which is the number of children born a couple, was 1.3 as against the required norm of 2.
District Malaria Officer Arun Kumar spoke about the vector-borne diseases while the District Disease Surveillance Officer B.V. Rajesh spoke about prevention of communicable diseases.
The District AIDS Prevention Officer Kishore Kumar spoke about HIV-AIDS prevention.
Free delivery in government hospitals for all groups
There will be no charges for childbirth in government hospitals. The government will bear the cost of looking after the mother and the infant under the Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojana, which is being implemented since September 2011.
District Reproductive and Child Health Officer M. Rukmini said the scheme applied to all women, regardless of their financial condition. Those in the above poverty line too were eligible. An exception has been made for Dakshina Kannada to apply the scheme also for women from Kerala. Under the scheme the government will bear the entire expenses of investigation and treatment charges. The treatment given for the child within the first 30 days will be free.
Dr. Rukmini said the scheme provides for free ambulance facility to pick up the pregnant women and later drop her back after the delivery. But the clause of dropping the woman has been removed as the State government was yet to decide on bearing this expense, she said.
| Endosulfan Poisoning Hits Dakshina Kannada - 11/7/2012
HC tells govts to act against endosulfan
Bangalore, Nov 8, 2012 DHNs:
The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday directed the Central and state governments to act against “endosulfan poisoning” in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts as the pesticide was wreaking havoc on many families there.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna, hearing a suo motu petition, observed that the endosulfan chemical had ruined “generations.” The court pointed out that a mother wanted her endosulfan-affected child to die as she thought there would not be anyone to look after it, in case of her death first. Such instances depicted the gravity of the situation.
State government advocate Ravindra Kolle likened the endosulfan-induced health problems to those of the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy. The endosulfan manufacturers too should be held liable to pay compensation to the victims. He said manufacturers resorted to selling the pesticide under a different brand name, following the ban on endosulfan.
“It is the same content in a different name. The manufacturers continue to use the chemical despite objections,” he said.
The court also asked the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, State Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board to file their affidavits in response to the petition.
The matter was taken up by the court after Justice Manjunath recently wrote to the Chief Justice that many people were afflicted with physical disabilities and mental retardation owing to the spraying of endosulfan as a pesticide in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. Justice Manjunath wanted his letter to be treated as a writ petition.
On October 12,the Bench ordered issue of notices to the Centre and the State Forest department for failing to mitigate the plight of several endosulfan victims.
|Israel Disappointed At Obama's Victory - 11/7/2012
Obama: The world's joy, Israel's disappointment
Jerusalem, Nov 7 , 2012,(PTI)
While Barack Obama's victory was lauded across the world, there was uneasiness in the Israeli establishment and concerns in the media over whether the US President would try to extract 'revenge' on Premier Benjamin Netanyahu for his tacit backing of Mitt Romney.
Though Netanyahu congratulated Obama on his victory and expressed hopes that they "will continue to work together", other leaders of the ruling parties had a difficult time hiding their disappointment, some openly saying that Obama was not trustworthy.
"The strategic alliance between Israel and the US is stronger than ever. I will continue to work with President Obama in order to assure the interests that are vital to the security of the citizens of Israel," Netanyahu said in his congratulatory message.
Despite the gesture, Knesset members from the Prime Minister's Likud party expressed their disappointment over Obama's re-election, expressing their hope that Israel would now be pressured into making political concessions.
"Obama is not good for Israel and we're concerned that he will try to pressure Israel into making concessions because of his chilled relationship with Netanyahu," a Likud lawmaker was quoted by Ynetnews as saying.
Another Knesset member, who had expressed his support for Republican candidate Romney noted that the Israeli Prime Minister would have no choice but to come to terms with Obama's re-election.
"In the end we will have to work with him, and that's what will happen. In spite of the disappointment over this re-election, I believe that Netanyahu and Obama will eventually work together," he was quoted as saying.
Knesset member Danny Danon too expressed his disappointment saying that "Obama cannot be trusted".
"The State of Israel will not surrender to Obama. We have no one to rely on but ourselves," he argued.
The frosty relations between Netanyahu and Obama were highlighted throughout the US election campaign in the Israeli media and the Israeli Premiere's tacit backing of Romney was amply visible.
This led some to believe that the US President would work against Netanyahu in the forthcoming Israeli elections, if elected a second time.
Romney also re-iterated his support for Israel in no uncertain terms accusing Obama of throwing the close ally under the bus and declaring that the Jewish state will be his first stop on the international map.
The ties between Obama and Netanyahu have soured over Israel's policies of continuing building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The us, under Obama, has also resisted Israel's calls for laying down clear "red lines" to stop Iran's nuclear programme.
|CAG Vinod Rai Criticizes Government - 11/7/2012
Govt's brazenness in decision making appalling: CAG
Gurgaon, Nov 7 , 2012 (PTI)
CAG Vinod Rai, whose reports on irregularities in coal block allocations and 2G telecom spectrum had created a major political storm, today deprecated the "brazenness" with which the decisions were being taken, calling it "appalling".
"The brazenness (with which) decisions were being taken is actually appalling...", he said speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) meet here.
The Comptroller and Auditor General, however, noted that with the Right to Information (RTI) act administrative and political executive have become conscious that they "will have to be answerable".
"....each one of us will be held accountable, we are conscious of that," he said adding that today everything is in the public domain.
Reacting to his remarks, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari hit back at the CAG saying if he talked about brazennes in decision-making, then questions could be raised about the time when he was in the government.
"If he talks about brazenness in decision-making and if it refers to the time-period of this particular government, I think it would be worth his while to recall that he was part of the same government from 2004 to 2008.
"And I guess, when he talks about brazenness, that paradigm equally applies across the board to everyone who was part of the government," Tewari said.
The CAG also sought constitutional status for agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to make them effective instruments for fighting corruption.
"... if you really want some of these institutions (like CBI and CVC) to deliver, you must take a risk and ... take courage to make them Constitutional," he said.
|Coming Soon - You Can SMS In Kannada - 11/7/2012
SMSes in Kannada will be a reality soon
Ashwini Y S, November 7, 2012, Bangalore, DHNS:
If all goes well, mobile users can start sending SMSes in Kannada in the next two or three months, thanks to the State cabinet’s approval on Tuesday to use of Unicode as the official standard for Kannada.
Using Unicode would enable usage of any Kannada document in a standard format in a month’s time.
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems.
Computer users will be to use the 12 new Unicode fonts and converters by the end of December, said Ananth Koppar, member of the Kannada Software Development Committee (KSDC) constituted by the government.
Another much-awaited facility that will be launched is the Kannada Braille software, developed by a Hassan-based software company, Maruthi Software and Information System, said Koppar.
He said 12 new fonts, including ornamental, were in the process of testing. The fonts will bear the names of popular Kannada poets and rivers of Karnataka.
Tender for development of eight tasks was awarded in mid-2012 on the recommendations of the committee headed by K Chidananda Gowda, former vice chancellor of Kuvempu University.
“The Committee is scheduled to meet shortly to discuss modalities and procedural nuances pertaining to the implementation of these new softwares. The fonts and converters are ready and there is no challenge to start using Unicode standards. The fonts can be both uploaded and downloaded. The converters on the other hand will be made available in the CD format,” Koppar said. The Committee, however is undecided about converting all the government documents to the new format.
Koppar said the government would shortly float tenders for development of Unicode mobile rendering engine, enabling users to download the Kannada application from any of the high end/smart phones which are compatible with Java-enabled platform. Two other tasks - Optical character recognition software and Kannada speech recognition software was being developed by the Hampi University, he added.
The State government has set aside Rs two crore for the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations.
|Police Put 'Home Stay Attack Journalist' In Jail - 11/7/2012
Mangalore: Home Stay Attack - Journalist Naveen Soorinje Arrested
Mangalore: Home Stay Attack - Journalist Naveen Soorinje Arrested
Pics: Dayanand Kukkaje
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore
Mangalore, Nov 7: Journalist Naveen Soorinje who was booked in the infamous attack on home stay in Padil in July this year, has been arrested by the Kankanady police. He was arrested at Padil here on Wednesday November 7 at around 9.45 pm.
Soorinje, a journalist with a Kannada news channel, was returning from Sullia after covering a JD(S) convention by Kumaraswamy, when the arrest took place. He was with a team of four others including reporters and cameramen.
Kankanady police led by inspector Ravish Nayak intersected the team's car at Padil junction and took Naveen Soorinje into custody.
He was then produced before judge Renuka Raikar at her residence.
On July 28 this year, Hindu Jagarana Vedike activists had attacked a group of boys and girls who were celebrating a birthday at Morning Mist Home Stay in Padil. The attack was recorded on video by Naveen Soorinje, for which he was booked. However, Soorinje had maintained that he had tried to contact the police at the time of the incident, and on not recieveing any response, had recorded the attack as 'evidence'. The attack had evoked widescale protests and outrage among the public and 28 were arrested in the case.
|Syrian Church Brahmavar Celebrates Centenary - 11/7/2012
Udupi: Orthodox Syrian Church Celebrates 100 Yrs with Grand Event
Udupi: Orthodox Syrian Church Celebrates 100 Yrs with Grand Event
Daijiworld Media Network - Udupi
Pics: Harick D’souza, Dazz Digital Studio
Udupi, Nov 8: Catholicate Re-establishment Centenary Celebrations of Brahmavar diocese of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Syrian Church was held on Wednesday November 7 at St Mary's Orthodox Syrian Community Hall, Brahmavar.
A grand welcome was accorded to Thomas Mar Athanasius - Metropolitan, Chenganoor diocese, Geevarghese Mar Coorilos – Metropolitan, Bombay Diocese, Kuriakose Mar Clemis – Metropolitan, Thumpamon Diocese, and Yakob Mar Elias – Metropolitan, Brahmavar Diocese. They were taken in a vehicle procession which started from the Karavali junction, Udupi at 12.30 pm.
Nearly 200 vehicles and more than a thousand people participated in the vehicle rally.
The public meeting started with a prayer led by Thomas Mar Athanasius, Bishop and Metroploitan of Chengannur Diocese. Edna Lewis read a passage from the Bible. A prayer song was sung by the prayer group of St Mary's Orthodox Syrian Church, Brahmavar.
Thomas Mar Athanasius inaugurated the function by lighting the lamp.
Yakob Mar Elias read out the message from Baselios Paulose II, Supreme Head, Catholicos of the East and the Malankara Metroploitan. He said that this is the church that holds a 2000-year-old heritage in history. "The church has remained faithful to its Apostolic faith, delivered by St Thomas in 1st century," he added.
Thomas Mar Athanasius, in his inaugural address, said that the church is a National Church and is the only one that has adopted the Indian culture within its worship, life and customs. "It is headed by an Indian and not by a foreigner. It is democratic and episcopal," he said.
Kuriakose Mar Clemis said, "We are a part of the 1st century, with 1,960 years of existence. We are a part of the land where St Thomas' martyrdom was witnessed," he added.
Geevarghese Mar Coorilos wished that this diocese be one of the greatest diocese ever to exist. At the same time, he recalled the efforts of Bishop Alvares in shaping it.
Fr M O John, Church Historian (History and Significance of Catholicate), in his address highlighted that this was the most wonderful and colourful programme during their catholicate centenary Sandesh Yatra.
"Catholicate shows the existence of Apostolic succession and throne of St Thomas in this Church and land," he said.
He explained the history of the Catholicate in brief and said, "The title Catholicos is older than patriarchate or pope. Even the Syrian Patriarch, Patriarch Abdul Meshiha emphasized the fact that Catholicos of Indian (Malankara) Orthodox church is legitimate and the Catholicos throne is fully independent (Indian) from others (no foreign domination)", he said.
Yakob Mar Elias, in his presidential address said, "I have just a few words to thank you all to be able do organize such an event within such a short time."
K Raghupati Bhat, MLA, Udupi, said, "I feel proud to be part of this programme that has been organized by the most ancient Indian Church. Such a historic existence of Christians in India was never known to me before." He praised the contribution made by the SMS Educational Institutions to the society in sports as well as in academics form KG to PG.
Industrialist and KPCC member Pramod Madhwaraj said, "The democratic nature of this church really touched me. I can see the humbleness and kind gestures of the Indian culture very much rooted in these people."
Yakob Mar Elias presented the mementos to the guest of the programme.
Yakob Mar Elias, Thomas Mar Athanasius, Kuriakose Mar Clemis, Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Fr M O John, Church historian, Fr Skaria, Fr Jessen, Fr Ashwin Fernandes, Fr Mathai, Delegates from Catholicate Centre, Devalokam, Fr T M Eldho - The Brahmavar Diocesan secretary, MLA Raghupathi Bhat, Industiralist Pramod Madhawaraj, S Narayan, president Varamaballi gram panchyath, Ivan Suares, Zaclaruash Mani, V C Manni, Johnson and Alex from the Manganing Committee members of Brahmavar diocese were present on the dais.
Fr Lawrence D’souza - vicar general, St Mary's Orthodox Syrian Cathedral, Brahmavar, welcomed the dignitaries and the gathering. Fr T M Eldho - The Brahmavar Diocesan secretary, rendered the vote of thanks. Fr Mathai and Vallerain Crasta compered the programme. More than 2000 people attended this historical event.
The programme concluded with the final blessings from Thomas Mar Athanasius. The choir group sang the Catholicate Anthem (Catholica Mangala Ganam), and at the end all the events, the National Anthem of India was sung.
|'Main Tulsi Hawaii Ke Aangan Mein' In USA Elections - 11/7/2012
Tulsi Gabbard Becomes First Hindu - American to be Elected to US House
Washington, Nov 7 (I Express) : Tulsi Gabbard today created history by becoming the first Hindu-American to be elected to the the US House of Representatives, winning her Hawaii seat by trouncing her Republican rival in a one-sided contest.
An Iraq war veteran, 31-year-old Gabbard defeated K Crowley of the Republican Party with a handsome margin. Her victory has been cheered by the Hindu-American community across the country.
Though just 50 per cent of the votes had been counted when reports came in, Gabbard had taken a massive unassailable lead of 120,000 votes over her Republican rival in her bid to represent Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District in the US House.
She is also the first female combat veteran to serve in the Congress.
"Although there are not very many Hindus in Hawaii, I never felt discriminated against. I never really gave it a second thought growing up that any other reality existed, or that it was not the same everywhere," Tulsi said in a statement, soon after she took an inaccessible lead over her Republican challenger.
"On my last trip to the mainland I met a man who told me that his teenage daughter felt embarrassed about her faith, but after meeting me, she's no longer feeling that way. He was so happy that my being elected to Congress would give hope to hundreds and thousands of young Hindus in America, that they can be open about their faith, and even run for office, without fear of being discriminated against or attacked because of their religion," Gabbard said.
She was endorsed by US President Barack Obama, during the election campaign.
Proud of her Hindu religion, she is not Indian or of Indian heritage. Her father Mike Gabbard, is currently Hawaii State Senator and mother Carol Porter Gabbard is an educator and business owner.
At 21, she became the youngest person elected to the Hawaii Legislature. At 23, she was the state's first elected official to voluntarily resign to go to war. At 28, she was the first woman to be presented with an award by the Kuwait Army National Guard.
Early during the Democratic National Convention, Gabbard spoke from stage along with Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Party leader in the US House of Representatives.
"Aloha! I'm Tulsi Gabbard, candidate for Congress in Hawaii and a captain in the Army National Guard," she had said, amidst rounds of applause and cheer from the audience.
Currently a Company Commander with the Hawaii Army National Guard, who has volunteered to serve on two deployments to the Middle East, Gabbard served as Hawaii's youngest state representative in 2002 and is the youngest woman in the US to be elected into such a position.
Having never visited India so far, Tulsi says she is looking to make her first trip to India as an elected member of the House of Representatives.
"As a Vaishnava, I especially look forward to visiting the holy sites of Vrindavan," she said in an earlier interview.
Notably Hawaii is comprised of a majority of Christians with a significant number of Buddhists (10-15 percent of the population).
The number of Hindus living in Hawaii is relatively small, with only two Hindu temples in the entire state, the Iskcon Temple on Oahu and the Aadheenam Temple on Kauai.
Her religion, Tulsi said is not an issue for the election, neither it has been a negative factor in her electoral campaign, she noted.
Tulsi was born in 1981 in Leloaloa, American Samoa, the fourth of five children born to a Hindu mother and a Christian (Catholic) father.
At the age of two, the family moved to Hawaii, the 50th state of the US, also known as the "Aloha State"; which is also the birth place of Obama.
|Police Solve Gas Cylinder & Bikes Theft Cases - 11/7/2012
Mangalore: Police Arrest Inter-state Thieves, Seize Vehicles Worth Rs 4.5 Lac
Mangalore: Police Arrest Inter-state Thieves, Seize Vehicles Worth Rs 4.5 Lac
Pics: Dayanand Kukkaje
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore (PS)
Mangalore, Nov 7: The district crime intelligence bureau (DCIB) under the guidance of DK district SP Abhishek Goyal have traced and arrested four accused in vehicle theft cases.
Addressing a press meet here on Wednesday November 7, SP Abhishek Goyal said that the arrested are Abdul Bashir (21) of Padnoor, Bantwal, Mohammed Harris (19) of Madnoor village, Puttur, Kamalaksha (29) of Veerakambha, Bantwal and Mohammed Faisal (21) of Savanur, Puttur.
The four were arrested for thefts of bikes and LPG cylinders in Puttur, Sullia, Uppinangady, Kadaba, Ullal, and Manjeshwar of Kerala state. They were arrested from Mani in Bantwal and will be handed over to Puttur rural circle inspector.
The police have seized seven Pulsar bikes, two Honda Activas, and a Yamaha bike, along with seven gas cylinders, altogether worth Rs 4.5 lac. The bikes were stolen during 2011-12.
They were arrested based on suspicion as the bikes were found without documents. Also, various complaints had been lodged in the places where they were stolen from. The gas cylinders were stolen from schools, canteens and houses.
Most of the two-wheelers are registered in Mangalore, and one each in Kerala and Puttur. Police teams were formed to trace the culprits.
DCIB inspector Vinay S Nayak, Puttur rural CPI Suresh Kumar, DCIB ASI Sanjeeva Purusha, ASI Anand Poojary, staff Uday Rai, Chandra Adoor, Taranath, Iqbal, Palani, Ritesh, Prashant, Hariprasad, Shivaram, Vasu Naika, Vijay Gowda were part of the operation.