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The Pakistan Navy hosted ‘Aman-2021’ from February 11-16. The exercise was the seventh edition of the ‘AMAN series’ of exercises, which started in 2007, and is held by Pakistan Navy biennially. This year’s edition was conducted off Karachi and the participants included Chinese, Turkish, and Russian warships, among others.
This exercise was touted by some Pak media as Pakistan’s “opportunity to project a positive image as a key player in regional peace and stability”. Further, the six-day long exercise was said to “affirm Pakistan’s resolve of cooperation against terrorism” — a rather rich statement coming from a country that is in itself a major contributor to terrorism, violence, illegal activities, and instability in the region.
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While it is heartening to see Pakistan take requisite measures to position itself as a harbinger of peace and stability in the region, given Pakistan’s long-standing struggle with its own internal demons, some of which has spilled over to its neighborhood over the years, it is doubtful such an Exercise will accrue any tangible results in the long run.
For instance, the exercise was hosted in Karachi which has been rife with sectarian violence. The Pak National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) had issued a terror alert in January this year, warning of terror incidents in Karachi. This was followed by another news report dated 3rd February from Samaa TV, a Pakistani Urdu language news television network, which has quoted NACTA and warned that terrorists are planning a VBIED attack on an ‘unspecified important government department’ in the near future. Adding on to the security woes, numerous reports highlighting Karachi’s notoriety as a hub for narcotics trade in Pakistan wouldn’t provide much comfort to the participating nations either!
Further, two recent developments cogently foreground Pakistan’s hypocritical, and somewhat questionable commitment to peace and stability. Recently, the Pakistani Supreme Court acquitted Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the abductor and murderer of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl to the international opprobrium. Secondly, according to reports, on January 8, 2021, the Anti-Terrorism Court at Gujranwala ordered the arrest of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar on charges of terror financing. Experts indicate that the Pakistani court’s actions are clearly linked to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) beginning the process to review Islamabad’s efforts to counter terror financing and money laundering in recent weeks. In light of these developments, Pakistan hosting an exercise called, ‘Aman’, meaning ‘peace’ seems morally fraught at the least.
One should recall that the terrorists who used the sea route to orchestrate the 26/11 attack on the Indian city of Mumbai came from Pakistan. It would be interesting to also note that in November 2020, Pakistan’s top investigating body, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had admitted that 11 terrorists involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were Pakistanis. In addition, it still figures in the FATF Grey List for terror financing. Internally, the media has been rife with reports of Pakistan’s castigation of places of worship belonging to non-Islamic denominations. Recently, on December 30, 2020, more than 1,000 Pakistani citizens led by a local cleric belonging to the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) attacked, looted valuables, and demolished the Krishna Dwara temple, despite the Pakistan Hindu Council having alerted local authorities. Given these on-ground facts, one wonders whether Aman-21 is nothing more than an exercise in self-deception.
Apples and Oranges
The relentless ‘India- obsession’ that most Pakistani thinkers and journalists suffer from includes even the Pakistani PM Imran Khan. Given the Pakistan PM’s recent outburst at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, it can safely be surmised that reason and logic become the first casualties of such obsession. Comparisons between Aman-21 and Ex-Malabar compromise logic for rhetoric, and choosing jingoism over substance.
Ex-Malabar started as a bilateral exercise, established in 1992, between the Indian Navy and the US Navy. Over the years, given the commitment of the two navies towards freedom of navigation and good order at sea, the exercise has today grown to include other like-minded naval powers such as Japan and Australia which share the common belief of rules-based international order. Here, like-minded means ‘democracies’. Thus, positioning Ex-Malabar as a symbol of ‘Indian hegemony’ in the IOR is not only misinformed but also betrays a dysfunctional understanding of modern-day geopolitics.
With regard to Aman-21, what Pakistan needs to understand is that by conducting an exercise to merely “project a positive image”, with little on-ground capital to back its initiatives, rings hollow. For instance, Ex-Malabar is only a part of the larger narrative that India and the Indian Navy fulfill in the IOR. These are augmented by sincere efforts towards genuinely fostering peace and stability in the region. For instance, earlier in 2020, as part of PM Modi’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region) and Indian Navy’s reputation as the Preferred Security Partner, India undertook three Covid-related outreach Missions to provide food and medical aid; SAGAR-I to five IOR nations, SAGAR-II to four East African nations and SAGAR-III to two South-East Asian nations. The SAGAR-IV mission to Comoros and Madagascar is presently being undertaken by the Indian Navy’s largest amphibious platform INS Jalashwa. The Navy also deployed a warship in the conflicted waters off Somalia to escort food-aid vessels of UNWFP, the 2020 Nobel Peace Laureate.
Likewise, Exercise Samudra Setu entailed evacuation of 3,992 Indian citizens by Indian Naval ships in the aftermath of the outbreak of Covid-19, while the Indian Navy has been an integral part of the ongoing ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative, which has already supplied the two indigenously manufactured vaccines to over 15 countries including Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan. In an unsurprising gesture of goodwill, India has also offered its vaccine to locally-posted Chinese and Pakistan navy diplomats.
Modern-day geopolitics is more than a matter of who has a bigger gun. It entails fostering genuine goodwill through sincere efforts. Perhaps, Pakistan navy should bear this in mind the next time it organizes an orgy of photo ops for the world, while a pitched-existential battle in the form of terrorism, hunger, and poverty rages on within. (IANS/SP)
Every child who grew up in the 90s and the early 00s has certainly grown up around Tom and Jerry, the adorable, infamous cat-chases-mouse cartoon. The idea of naughtiness and playing mischief had the standards that this particular series set for children and defined how much wreckage was funny enough.
The show's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera initially named their characters Jasper and Jinx. They did not plan for the fame that Tom and Jerry brought them when they released a movie by the name of "Puss Gets the Boot". This movie featured a certain cat and mouse who were a notorious pair, named Jasper and Jinx. When the movie became a hit, the names of the characters were changed and the show shot to fame.
Tom and Jerry became a go-to cartoon for children in the early 00s, and it was one of those shows with a firm foundation, that had already been in the running for decades. The original template had been planned nearly 80 years ago, and the makers did not change it. The music that was played in the many episodes, made a breakthrough in its own way. It is the most easily recognizable melody with utterly nostalgic associations.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons Image credit: wikimedia commons
A set of supporting characters were defined for the show, to occasionally take the focus off the original pair. There was a large, black woman named Mammy Two Shoes and a bulldog who took Jerry's side. Mammy Two Shoes was discontinued because her character portrayed racist tendencies. A tall white woman replaced her, who was kinder and loved mice. Either of the women's faces was never revealed.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons. There are a host of other shows besides this that aim to replicate the same aspects of the cartoon but do not come close at all. Despite the immense amount of violence in the show, it is a beloved pastime of parents and children alike.
Keywords: Tom and Jerry, Cartoon, Hanna and Barbera, Television
One of India's leading private museums, the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) Bengaluru, has released new primary research conducted by the ReReeti Foundation, on audience behaviour in India's cultural sector. While more than half of the respondents thought the arts and culture are essential, they rarely manage to make time for it. The majority (60.6 per cent), mostly young people under 30, felt Indian museums could present more engaging content, and most perceived culture as anthropological/ sociological. Of the diverse categories included, music emerged as the most popular cultural activity.
The report is based on a survey of 500 people, which included school and college students, professionals across sectors, homemakers and senior citizens. The first initiative of its kind in the cultural space, the report shares valuable insights into the behaviour and expectations of Indian audiences engaging with a broad range of cultural activities. As part of MAP's mission to foster meaningful connections between communities and the cultural sector globally, which includes its innovative digital programme Museums Without Borders, the report shares a wealth of insights that can help museums across the country understand their audiences better. As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.
As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities. | Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Speaking on the recent report, Kamini Sawhney, Director, Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), said, "MAP is focused on changing the notion of a museum in India, by enabling more relevant and inclusive programming, both online and in our space in Bengaluru. The audience research commissioned by MAP, and conducted by the ReReeti Foundation, provides valuable, and actionable insights which we hope will help museums across the country better understand their consumer base, improve decision making and deepen social impact." As much as 62.3 per cent college students and 47.6 per cent professionals/homemakers perceive culture as anthropological and sociological. Music was the most popular cultural event likely to be attended, followed by heritage tours and plays/comedy shows for Indian audiences.
Over 70 per cent of college students visit museums with family and friends; working professionals, homemakers and senior citizens also predominantly visit with groups/ spouses (indicating a need to focus on increased group programming/facilitation). As much as 68 per cent of people were optimistic about going outdoors for activities and events in 2021. As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.(IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Art, Culture, India, Museum, Music
What is the best way to save Goa from deforestation?
Drinking feni, may well be the answer, says the secretary of the Goa Cashew Feni Distillers and Bottlers Association Hansel Vaz, who on Thursday said, that sipping the state's unique alcoholic drink and making it popular would directly aid the greening of Goa's hills and other barren landscapes.
"To get more cashews, we need to plant more trees. I always say, by drinking feni you will save Goa, because we will be planting more cashew trees and we will have greener hills. The beauty of cashew is you do not need fertile land. You can grow it on a hill which can provide no nutrition. We will be able to grow more trees, if we can sell feni properly," Vaz said. Vaz's comments come at a time when the hillsides of the coastal state have witnessed significant deforestation for real estate development and for infrastructure projects. Feni is manufactured by fermenting and double distilling juice from the cashew apple.
Best way to keep Goa green is to grab yourself a glass of feni. | IANS
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Vaz also said that the promotion of feni was also in sync with the Prime Minister's vision for India to go "vocal for local". "There is no conglomerate, multinational company owning the drink. So every time we sell feni, it is a direct cash injection into Goa. If you sell a feni cocktail in Calangute (a popular beach village), it makes a direct impact in Valpoi and Bicholim, because this money is going down there," the Association official said at a press conference in Panaji.
The Association held the media briefing to announce a road map ahead for the feni industry, especially vis a vis streamlining aspects related to production, standardisation and marketing of the brew to make it popular in other Indian states and abroad.
The efforts to streamline the state "heritage drink" comes a month after the Goa government notified a formal policy, 'Goa Feni Policy 2021', which covers 26 different varieties of feni distilled in the state. "There were many barriers related to feni, which the policy has now addressed," treasurer of the Association Tukaram Haldankar said. One such hurdle was the previous government classification, which described feni as "country liquor", which would deter tourists from purchasing the drink. The reclassification of feni as a state "heritage drink" has lent dignity to the brew which has been manufactured locally in Goa since the 16th century.
But there is more the government can do, along with the state's traditional distillers and manufacturers to promote feni, Haldankar said. | Photo by Ishvani Hans on Unsplash
But there is more the government can do, along with the state's traditional distillers and manufacturers to promote feni, Haldankar said. "We request the government to allow the sale of feni in duty free stores in airports and cruise liner terminals. The government should also support us through the department of Tourism, so that feni can be promoted in its programmes. iIf you go to Scotland, they promote Scotch. Goa should promote its feni to Goa," Haldankar said, adding that traditional distillers should also be given subsidies and other measures should be taken to standardise feni, which he said, "would require further subsidies and financial assistance from the government".
"It should be a standard product like scotch, champagne," Haldankar said. "Like Mexico's tequila, Russian vodka and Japan's sake, we need to export our feni across the country and the world and the local distillers should also benefit economically," president of the Association Gurudutt Bhakta also said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: deforestation,cashew,distillers,association,government, goa, feni, India