Saturday, 29 November, 2008

Startling Revelations

Initially, the idea of this post was to throw more light on the abbreviations and jargon used by journalists to describe the mayhem unfolding in Mumbai.  NSG, fidayeen, Marcos, Lashkar-e-Taiba etc... But as I investigated each link on Wiki and googled those terms, I hit upon some sinister weblinks and most of them - official. The Lashkar and other militant organizations in Pakistan are living ammunition posing a huge threat to India, America, UK, Israel and other nations on their radar...

I'd leave you and your intelligence to draw inferences from this information. Also note that some of the information and links lack context. But, disclaimers aside, it is starling...

1.Who are the NSG?
The National Security Guard (NSG) was set up in 1984 as a Federal Contingency Deployment Force to tackle all facets of terrorism in the country.  Thus the primary role of this Force is to combat terrorism in whatever form it may assume in areas where activity of terrorists assumes serious proportions, and the State Police and other Central Police Forces cannot cope up with the situation. The NSG is a Force specially equipped and trained to deal with specific situations and is therefore, to be used only in exceptional situations.
Source : NSG's Official Website

2. What is a Fidayeen attack?

A fidayeen attack is a suicide tactic used by militants. Such attacks are especially common in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. In a fidayeen, a militant equips himself (most fidayeens are men) with weapons and a sizeable amount of ammunition. He then proceeds to gain entrance into a military base, checkpoint or other military installation and proceeds to open fire on law-enforcement personnel. He continues his attack until he runs out of ammunition, at which point he is gunned down by security forces. Fidayeen militants sometimes do attempt to escape but are almost always shot by security forces shortly afterward because the militants rarely have a "getaway" plan chalked out. These militants, like suicide bombers are prepared to die during the execution of the attack.

But a Fidayeen attack is not a suicide attack. It is a different kind of attack usually carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba in Jammu and Kashmir. In this attack a Fidayee heavily armed enters into a military camp or convoy and start firing bullets and throwing grenades and fights till death. A fidayee does not blow himself up with explosives and if he gets a chance after fulfilling the mission he may try to escape.
Source : Wikipedia

3.What is Lashkar-e-Taiba?

- Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET) is the armed wing of the Pakistan-based religious organization, Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MDI), a Sunni anti-US missionary organization formed in 1989. LET is one of the three largest and best-trained groups fighting in Kashmir against India, and is not connected to a political party. LET's leader is MDI chief, Professor Hafiz Mohammed Saeed.

- LET has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir since 1993. LET is suspected of eight separate attacks in August that killed nearly 100, mostly Hindu Indians. LET militants are suspected of kidnapping six persons in Akhala, India, in November 2000 and killing five of them.

- LET has several hundred members in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in India's southern Kashmir and Doda regions. In their operations, LET uses assault rifles, light and heavy machineguns, mortars, explosives, and rocket propelled grenades.

- LET is based in Muridke (near Lahore) and Muzaffarabad. LET trains its militants in mobile training camps across Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Afghanistan. LET collects donations from the Pakistani community in the Persian Gulf and United Kingdom, Islamic NGOs, and Pakistani and Kashmiri businessmen. The amount of LT funding is unknown. LET maintains ties to religious/military groups around the world, ranging from the Philippines to the Middle East and Chechnya through the MDI fraternal network.
Source : For Immediate Release
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
December 20, 2001

Description: A black AK-47 rifle, placed against a yellow sun in the center, protrudes vertically from an open, green Koran. Above the rifle, in black, is a semi-circular Koranic phrase which translates: "And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah." These images are set against a light blue background. Below the Koran is white lettering against a red background; it bears the group's original name: Markaz al-Dawa wa al-Irshad (the Center for Preaching and Guidance).

Explanation: The Koran signifies the centrality of Islam to Lashkar-e-Taiba's ideology; green is also Islam's traditional color. The blue background represents Allah's mercy and the sun symbolizes wisdom and virtue. The rifle's placement above the Koran, and the inscription above, denote the organization's belief that violent jihad will establish a society based on Islamic precepts. The red on the bottom is a symbol of strength and violence.

4. Who is Professor Hafiz Mohammed Saeed?

I hope these articles don't evoke an anti-Pakistan sentiment because that clearly isn't the need of the hour. Nonetheless, one cannot deny that the country is home to a FACTORY of living bombs waiting to be deployed at the point of a finger. Also, I happened to hit upon a link to Professor Hafiz Mohammed Saeed's official organization Jamat Dawah. Prof. Saaed as you may have read earlier is the founder and chief (which he denies on this website) of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. His claim on his official website is contradictory to the NY Times interview above. His website has so many references to the use of 'jihad' and Anti-India tones that it fails me as to how this man is allowed to function so freely.

P.S. - Some Shocking Links :- (PLEASE VISIT THEM)
If you read the date on this writeup, it reads 25th April, 2008
  • The students were shouting slogans such as, “The only remedy of correcting those who have insulted the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, is Jihad”
  • "The rally was so humongous that it stretched from the Press Club, all the way to the G.P.O."
  • "They also demanded an end to the oppressive GRE test system for admission to universities"
Please understand that this is Prof. Saeed's official website. Date reads 21st May 2008
"In a statement issued here yesterday, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed said Muslims should wage jihad against countries that have disrespected the Prophet, sallallahu alaihi wasallam, instead of signing trade and friendship pacts with them"
    "He said Muslims should implement Islamic laws and values in accordance with the teachings of the Quraan and Sunnah in their homes, and urged Muslim women to cover themselves and instill Islamic values in their children, and to abandon Hindu traditions and customs. The solution to all the problems of Muslims lies in turning back to the Quraan and the Sunnah, he stressed."

      Amidst this madness, I found solace in a website named Bharat Rakshak

      P.S. - I am truly rattled guys. As I type these final words, I hear L.K. Advani address a gathering that - during his tenure as the home minister under Vajpayee's prime-ministership he ensured that all terrorists were invariably killed. Vote-bank politics, anyone?

      Wednesday, 26 November, 2008

      Mumbai is Bleeding...

      As I write, the news keeps pouring in... our city is bleeding... from indiscriminate firing, sporadic blasts and our indifference. Tomorrow we will wake up with the comfort that our kin escaped the mayhem. Tomorrow we'll flash our 'Things-To-Do' list and catch up on the lost time tonight... As I write, 5 die in Vile-Parle ... but you see I am unaffected. At home. Safe. My family is upset. Like your family is. But you see... we are unaffected.

      This clearly cannot go on. Our country is not a playground. I am at a loss for words and solutions. But this cannot go on. Just Cannot. I am willing to do anything that is asked of me to contribute to our nation's security. I cannot live in this fear. Because I realize that I've only been lucky until now. Sorry, but I am not going to wait until my misfortune catches up on me or my loved ones.

      Mumbai is Bleeding... And today... even I am.

      P.S. - It is getting much worse. It is apalling.  

      P.P.S - Wake up and smell the blood. This is a threat to our fundamental Right to Freedom. It's 2.15 am and some of India's top cops have died. The Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai's iconic ambassador to the world is in a blaze. Is this India's 9/11? I hope it is. Because after 9/11 I haven't heard of a single terror attack on America. More importantly, I hope the night comes to an end soon. No more deaths man. No more deaths.

      Monday, 24 November, 2008


      The familiar aroma of the sun-kissed bean
      Of blue-eyed dreams under November skies
      A frothy mouth so passionately speaks
      Of epic Greek fables and the distant sun
      Fragile fingers fondle the Holy Grail
      A hair strand fails to distract her heart
      At the innermost core of it I lie
      And in her magic eyes love comes alive
      Gullible men such as I don't see
      It was never us
      Always that goddamn Coffee

      Monday, 17 November, 2008

      No Other Option

      There is no room in this world for people who wallow is self-pity. No room for people who sigh, look back and say, "I wish I had done things in another way". There is no room for people who are unwilling to fight out their moods, obstacles and the barriers of their mind. There is no room for people who say, "I'd do it better the next time around". No room for people who look at someone else succeed and say to themselves, "I wish I was there". There is no room for people who can't toil. There is no room for people who don't have the conviction to follow their heart. No room for the ones who don't learn from their mistakes either. Because in this world, there are too many of them. Too many of them fighting, struggling, pushing, challenging, growing and pursuing the lives of their design. If you have a design for your life, you better live it. There is no room for another option.

      Thursday, 13 November, 2008


      Read from bottom to top             
                                                               With love in my heart I climb your each stair                                                                 Your Door of Light opens to the soul I bare...  
                                                   But I don't seek power of self over mortal men
                                                  Instead I seek to love in the pure way love can;

                                          It is in the ego of man to create wonders alone
                                        To carve victories, win a seat on envy's throne;

                                 & in that lifeless moment I feel your calm     
                                Your reassuring voice : my healing balm;

                       In the eerie dark of the night I pray
                     For some holy light to come my way;
                It speaks of all the things I am not
              And the myriad things I wish to be;

        In the silence of the night I feel
      My inadequacy creep upon me;                                                                                                                                         


      Tuesday, 11 November, 2008

      Choices - I

      My choice of food has a profound effect on my intellect, energy and well-being. Not just the choice of food but also the timing and frequency of the intake. I really don't know if any of you will be able to relate to the post but it's the truth of my life. Had I not been a physically weak kid with a severely dysfunctional diet - don't know if I'd have paid much attention to what goes into my stomach.

      Folks of my age revel in the pizzas, pastas, sev puris, pav vadas, pav bhajis and the likes. With a metabolism that comes with our age, this diet is no surprise. No surprise because it caters to the taste buds. The generous layers of mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, onion and other divine ingredients lead to an orgasm for the tongues across the world.

      Unfortunately, sometimes an orgasm for the tongue leads to an impotent stomach *Yes, I need some serious help with analogies* So, great tasting food often creates a not so great experience after the food slips down my throat. Hence the question I ask is - Food for the stomach or food for the tongue?

      In an ideal world this question would be irrelevant. But in my not so ideal universe, this awareness has brought with it certain choices. The choice to either create a sustained feeling of zest in me or to let my hedonistic tongue rule my body.

      Until a few months back, I had no such awareness. To keep up with the dietary prowess of my peers, I put my body through all the foods that evoked feelings of lethargy, restlessness and depression. Foods which did not align with my relatively weak digestion. and it happened for the longest time. Until Yoga came into my life.

      Yoga Institute in Santacruz advocates a Sattvic Ahara (diet) which focuses on the nutritional aspect of food alone. Infact, it is a fundamental requirement in the practice of Yoga.

      Sattvic diet is food that gives life, strength, energy, courage and self-determination. Sattvic food gives us more than the gross physical requirements of the proper mix of proteins, carbs and fats etc. It also gives us the subtle nourishment necessary for vitality and consciousness. Food is seen as a carrier of the life force called prana and is judged by the quality of its prana and by the effect it has on our consciousness.

      With this knowledge and awareness, I am more prudent with my food choices. The pizzas and burgers still exist but they now co-exist with the awareness that I have to replenish my system with nutrients that will allow me to feel better and lighter from within. With food which will allow me to be in greater control of my emotions. And with a lifestyle which allows me to be zestier, healthier and free of disease.

      Let me ask you - What do you eat for?

      Ahara-suddhau sattva-suddhih, sattva-suddhau dhruva smritih; Smriti-lambhe sarva-granthinam viprarnokshah - By the purity of food follows the purification of the inner nature, by the purification of the nature, memory becomes firm and on strengthening the memory, follows the loosening of all ties and the wise get Moksha thereby.

      Thursday, 6 November, 2008

      Shit Happens.

      Today was like any other day. Until that one dreadful moment. Everything was shaping up well. Hot water and lemon did its duty like the soldiers on our war front *Insane metaphor*. The joy on my face transcended into every other action. There was an obvious jaunt in my step. Life was as it should be. Glorious. Until that one dreadful moment. My maid prepared the most delicious lunch. And surprisingly I ate more than my four year old nephew. Until that one dreadful moment. I looked up to the heavens with Sachin as he scored his 40th Test hundred. Watching him play that glorious on-drive to Lee, I thought aloud "Is there anything more joyous than this?". Until that one dreadful moment. Anyway, today unlike any other day - my math accuracy was at an all time high too. When that happens - you simply know that life's good. Until... yes, until that one dreadful moment.

      As the voluptious November sun set before my eyes I refrained from switching the lights on. Soaking in all the joy that twilight had to offer, I moved towards the, surprisingly unfinished, lot of Diwali mithais. Kaju Katris and Kaju Puris have traditionally been my favourites. And to retain the decadent consistency of the day I chose not to experiment. Restlessly, in the dying light, I struggled to find the right box. At the bottom of the pile, written in Gujarati in barely legible font, was my treasure trove. Like Gulshan Grover in his rape scenes - I quickly undressed the box. My eyes were gold *metaphor* as I stared at the hordes of uwrapped, glistening Kaju Puris. The sun I saw, from my balcony, was within kissing distance of the horizon. My undressing *unwrapping* skills came to the forefront. In no time - a large, divine, delicious Kaju Puri was sitting in the center of my mouth happily tickling my taste buds. Savouring the taste, I moved towards the window. This was about the time when I took my first bite. And *Crunch* - there it was!

      Now *Crunch* was one sound I did not quite associate with Kaju Puris. I was surprised but I gave it the benefit of doubt. I mean you rarely ever analyze why good food is good. It just is. So keeping that golden rule in mind I continued chewing until I reached my next bite. And guess what I heard again? *Crunch*

      Something was clearly fishy. I rushed back to examine the box. The light was the kind in which you'd mistake Rakhi Sawant for Rani Mukherjee. But common sense still eluded me. A brand new Kaju Puri was in my hand. I squinted my eyes to see if I could spot some interesting ingredient. It's about the very time when something started tickling me on my arms. Clearly a bad time to start fantasizing hot women I told myself. But the tickling persisted. About time I swtiched on the light, right?
      I did.

      And holy fuck! ... An army, no a continent full of RED ANTS stared at me from the box. The Kaju Puri in my hand had a few of those fools dancing too. Petrified!, I threw the puri back in the box... my hands swooshing some of the heroes on my arms. "Phew! That was close!", I told myself.

      And then came - That One Dreadful Moment. *Crunch* as I bit into the remnants of the original Kaju Puri. The one in my mouth. This is one of those moments when the world laughs at your stupidity, misery and trauma without an iota of guilt. It is also one of those moments when you can't ask them to not laugh at you. I knew Shit Happens. I loved it each time it happened. But now.... I hate metaphors. Especially this one. Because today Shit Happened in a way I never expected.

      P.S. :- Anuj was last seen removing fossilized ant bodies from his tongue

      Wednesday, 5 November, 2008

      A New Voice

      Never before have I felt words evoke so much grace, strength and character. His voice has a quite resolve to it. A voice that not only reassures but also inspires. The man epitomizes poise and equanimity. And his words are but a reflection of those qualities. Like Ankit, I believe this to be the finest speech I have heard in my time. India needs a dynamism like his. It needs a voice which talks beyond crass factional politics. A voice that upholds growth and welfare of a united nation. I wish youngsters like us don't fall prey to shallow voices which depend on vote-bank politics. I, like the rest of you, await that change. Until then, as America celebrates, we will tread carefully under Raj Bhaiyya's (oops... Bhau's) watchful eye.