Sunday October 22, 2017
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­Indian Caribbean Museum at Trinidad and Tobago needs State’s Help

The museum in Waterloo is dedicated to the preservation of artifacts on the material history of indentured immigrants in the Caribbean.

The Indian Caribbean Museum. Image source: Wikipedia

Last Wednesday, a lecture was given by the Anthropologist Dr Kumar Mahabir at the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce in Westmoorings where he urged the state to assist the continuous existence of the Indian Caribbean museum via government grants. Trinidad and Tobago is known for having the only Indian Caribbean museum in the world.

92-year-old San Juan resident Andrew Richardson, Chairman of the National Trust Valerie Taylor was present along with Sunday Express columnist Lennox Grant and conservationist James Telfer.

Dr Kumar said, “The largest number of arrivals (at the museum) took place in May. It gets 65 per cent domestic tourists and 35 per cent foreigners. We need to ensure it is preserved for posterity.”

“The Indian Caribbean museum was the only one of its kind in the world. There is an Indian diaspora museum in Belize, Central America, but that is opened only for private viewing and strictly by appointment. This museum in Waterloo is dedicated to the preservation of artifacts on the material history of indentured immigrants in the Caribbean. It is open to the public free of charge from Wednesdays to Sundays,” Mahabir said.

While addressing people present in the conference room, Mahabir shared vignettes on the historical archives, with kitchen utensils such as tawah (flat, round cast-iron griddle), a bilnah (rolling pin) as well as mortar and pestle. There were also rare documents, thematic paintings and documentary films on indentureship. Through this, it was found that the process by which East Indians travelled to the Caribbean from India and worked on sugar cane plantations on a contractual basis.

Dedicated to preserving artefacts: Veteran journalist Lennox Grant, right, chats with anthropologist Dr Kumar ­Mahabir, who spoke on the Indian Caribbean Museum during a lecture at the Chamber of Commerce, Westmoorings, last ­Wednesday. The function was hosted by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. —Photo: AYANNA KINSALE
Dedicated to preserving artifacts: Veteran journalist Lennox Grant, right, chats with anthropologist Dr Kumar ­Mahabir, who spoke on the Indian Caribbean Museum during a lecture at the Chamber of Commerce, Westmoorings, last ­Wednesday. The function was hosted by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. —Photo: AYANNA KINSALE

This museum is present in Waterloo as it falls under a group of tourist attractions such as the 84-foot Hanuman Murti, ­Temple in the Sea that is 84 feet in height, was built by ­Siewdass Sadhu and in the vici­nity of the traditional clay potters (deyas).

Sacred Places of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Peaceful and Powerful Destinations, a National Geographic publication has featured this museum.

Related Article: St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art: Demonstrating Hindu Deities in Scotland

  • Need for State funding

It is unfortunate that the museum operates through donations from visitors and doesn’t receive any annual subvention or a monthly stipend from the governments- both People’s National Movement (PNM) and People’s Partnership. The state needs to intervene in the matter and show accountability as tourism has the potential to branch out the economy.

“It is even more important since there is an economic slowdown. We need to adopt a more serious attitude like countries like the United Kingdom (referring to the Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare town) and France (Mona Lisa),” he said.

Dr Kumar informed that they were about to conduct interviews with people over 90 years old to document their life experiences.

“Again the State could intervene and assist historians and researchers financially. These elderly folk are valuable sources of oral history. They would have lived through two World Wars… They have witnessed significant milestones in Trinidad and Tobago’s history, such as Independence and the (Tubal Uriah) Butler riots,” he added.

Last year, in 2015, the India Caribbean museum at Waterloo, Carapichaima has attracted about 5,500 domestic as well as international visitors and has been operating for a decade now.

(Inputs from Daily Express)

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India Demands Data on UN Staff Misconduct, Use of Immunity

United nations
India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about misconduct by UN staff. Flickr

United Nations, Oct 7: In an attempt to break the wall of silence around the crimes and UN staff misconduct and those on its assignments, India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about such cases and the immunity invoked against prosecutions.

Yedla Umasankar, the legal advisor in India’s UN Mission, touched a raw nerve here by criticising the UN on Friday for not vigorously following up allegations of serious wrongdoing by its employees who enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, a prized possession of its staff.

“It appears that the UN system itself may be reluctant to waive immunity even for serious misconduct carried out by its personnel while serving on its missions, so that such cases can be prosecuted by the host governments,” he told the General Assembly’s committee on legal affairs.

“Even a few of such instances or allegations of crimes committed by UN personnel is highly damaging for the image and credibility of the United Nations system and its work around the world,” he added.

His statement also touched on the practice of some countries that protect their wrongdoers at the UN.

Umasankar demanded that secretariat disclose how many cases of serious misconduct by UN personnel were registered and the number of cases where the UN refused to waive immunity to allow their prosecution.

He also wanted to know in how many cases the host country wanted the immunity waived so it can prosecute those accused; the number of times the UN asked the host country or the country that sent them to prosecute them; how many times it consulted countries before waiver of the immunity of their personnel and how many of them refused UN’s request to waive their citizens’ immunity.

The information he wanted does not cover the diplomats sent by member countries to represent them at UN bodies and enjoy diplomatic immunity with the nations hosting the UN facilities.

After scores of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, especially exploitation of children, the UN vowed to uphold a policy of zero tolerance and began publishing data on such cases in peacekeeping operations including how they were dealt with.

Starting with the year 2015, it began identifying the nationalities of those accused.

However, it has not made public a roster detailing all the allegations and proven cases of serious misconduct across the entire UN.

While the focus has been on sexual exploitation and abuse reported on peacekeeping operations, Umasankar said that “at a broader level, the issue of accountability has remained elusive in some cases”.

He attributed it to “the complexities of legal aspects relating to sovereignty and jurisdiction”, the immunity or privileges that may be necessary for UN operations, and the capability or willingness of countries to investigate and prosecute the accused.

He noted that the UN itself cannot make criminal prosecutions.

While Indian laws has provisions for dealing with crimes committed abroad by its citizens, not all countries have them, he said.

Those countries should be encouraged and helped to implement such measures, he added. (IANS)

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Seven Best Places To Visit In October In India

Seven destinations you cannot miss this Autumn.

Best places to visit in October

Autumn is one of the most pleasant seasons. With the atmosphere being a little breezy and trees shedding their leaves, the view around you is picturesque. And, it would be really boring if you miss out on a vacation in this wonderful weather. After all, we must never pull ourselves away from packing our bags and go on vacations to interesting places. Below are seven best places to visit in October in India:

7 Best Places To Visit In October In India:

  1. Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh

Best holiday destinations in October
Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh

The sunrise in Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh is one of the most beautiful in India. The weather in this destination at this time is just how you want it to be. It is the only hill station of Madhya Pradesh, and indeed one of the most popular in India. From Parasailing activities to site seeing, you can do a lot in this lovely place! This definitely needs to be added to your bucket list.

2. Kutch, Gujarat

Best places to visit in October
Common Crane bird at Kutch

Indeed one of the most beautiful and tempting places to visit in the month of October is Kutch. The white sand will have a cool and pleasant temperature. The place is full of nature and its beautiful creations. From deserts, oasis and architecture, to wildlife and delicious food, this place is heaven on Earth. The place’s heritage and beauty make it one of the best places to visit in October.

3. Hampi, Karnataka

Best places to visit in October
Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi once was known for its magnificent architectural beauty. Much of it has now been ruined and vandalized. The city still, remains to be a quick and joyful getaway for this pleasant season. Especially if you live in Bengaluru, you should not be giving this thought a second consideration.

Also Read: Taj Lake Palace: Floating Palace in Udaipur is the Ultimate Destination for a Romantic Break 

4. Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

Best places to visit in October
Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

Divine has to be the perfect word to describe the beauty of this place. The beauty of Ganges along with the serene view of the mountains, there is nothing more which one wants in their vacation. Living in Rishikesh would be living in peace. If your friends have tagged along with you, then Rishikesh can be an adventurous trip as well. Activities like river rafting, trekking and boating are popular in this area.

5. Darjeeling, West Bengal

best places to visit in october
Darjeeling, West Bengal

Darjeeling in West Bengal is called the ‘Queen of hills’, and with October being the ideal season for enjoying the beauty of Hills, we should rename it to ‘Queen of October’.  Colonial architecture, hills, rock gardens, shopping complexes and Monasteries- these places make Darjeeling an all-in-one tourist destination.

6. Nainital, Uttarakhand

Best places to visit in October
Nainital, Uttarakhand

One of the best hill stations of India, and indeed one of the best places to visit in October. Nainital’s weather, trees, farms, lakes, mountains and temples are completely breathtaking. Eating a plate of Maggi along with your family in this lovely tourist destination will make your trip more memorable.

7. Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Best places to visit in October
Jodhpur. Rajasthan

Rajasthan is India’s most beautiful state, and Jodhpur is the most beautiful city. Lakes, temples, palaces and every mark of royalty, is visible in this state. The city’s beauty, culture and heritage attract a lot of tourists every year and in every season, and hence makes it one of the best places to visit in October. So why should one miss the chance to spend his/her beautiful October away from Jodhpur?

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Indo-Pak Peace Talks Futile Unless Islamabad Sheds Links with Terrorism, says Study

A Study by a U.S. think tank calls India and Pakistan talks futile, until Pakistan changes its approach.

India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan. Wikimedia.

A Top United States of America (U.S.) think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace called the relations between India and Pakistan futile, unless Islamabad changes its approach and sheds its links with Jihadi terrorism.

A report “Are India and Pakistan Peace Talks Worth a Damn”, authored by Ashley J Tellis stated that such a move supported by foreign countries would be counterproductive and misguided.

The report suggests that International community’s call for the India and Pakistan talks don’t recognize that the tension between the two countries is not actually due to the sharp differences between them, but due to the long rooted ideological, territorial and power-political hatred. The report states that these antagonisms are fueled by Pakistani army’s desire to subvert India’s powerful global position.

Tellis writes that Pakistan’s hatred is driven by its aim to be considered and treated equal to India, despite the vast differences in their achievements and capabilities.

Also ReadMilitant Groups in Pakistan Emerge as Political Parties : Can Violent Extremism and Politics Co-exist? 

New Delhi, however, has kept their stance clear and mentioned that India and Pakistan talks cannot be conducted, until, the latter stops supporting terrorism, and the people conducting destructive activities in India.

The report further suggests that Pakistan sees India as a genuine threat and continuously uses Jihadi terrorism as a source to weaken India. The report extends its support to India’s position and asks other international powers, including the U.S., to extend their support to New Delhi.

Earlier in September, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) slammed Pakistan for its continuous terror activities. She attacked the country by saying that India has produced engineers, doctors, and scholars; Pakistan has produced terrorists.

Sushma Swaraj further said that when India is being recognised in the world for its IT and achievements in the space, Pakistan is producing Terrorist Organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba. She said that Pakistan is the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity.

-by Megha Acharya  of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.