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Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti, also known as Guru Gobind Singh Ji's Prakash Parv, is an auspicious day commemorating the birth of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
According to the Georgian calendar, Guru Gobind Singh Ji was born on December 22nd, 1666; but his birth anniversary is celebrated every year in line with the lunar calendar, which falls on January 9th, this year. He was born in Patna and was an outspoken supporter of social equality. He was a vocal critic of injustice and prejudice, and as a result, he became a significant source of inspiration for many people.
Guru Gobind Singh is honoured by Sikhs and have been an important figure in their lives. He is credited with the creation of the Dasam Granth, whose hymns constitute a holy element of Sikh prayers till this day. It was him who initiated the formation of the Khalsa community in 1699. Among his other accomplishments, he was the one who finalised the Guru Granth Sahib as the primary scripture. It is the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh that have enlightened the people of his religion and many others throughout the world.
Guru Gobind Singh was the one who established the five 'K's' that the Sikhs follow today. | Wikimedia Commons
He was the one who established the five 'K's' that the Sikhs follow today:
1. Kesh (also known as kesa): Refers to hair and beard that has not been shorn.
2. Kangha: Wooden comb used twice a day.
3. Kara: A bracelet made from iron or steel worn around the wrist.
4. Kacchera: Short breeches.
5. Kirpan: A sword.
On this day, believers from all over the world extend their warmest greetings to one another and pledge to follow the guidance and practice of Guru Gobind Singh Ji in their lives. Devotees assemble to pray for blessings and organise large gatherings in which they sing devotional songs and share food with each other. Following this, they offer special prayers in Gurudwaras, which are their places of worship. The food plays an important part in the celebration of Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti. Numerous worshippers go to Punjab's Golden Temple to offer prayers and take a dip in the sacred Sarovar (a pool or moat-like tank built around or adjacent to the Gurdwara).
Numerous worshippers go to Punjab's Golden Temple to offer prayers and take a dip in the sacred Sarovar. | Pixabay
Guru Gobind Singh was a poet, spiritual teacher, warrior, philosopher, and writer. Although he passed away in 1708, his principles and convictions have survived through the generations of his followers.
(Keywords: Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti, 9 January, Sikh, Sikhism, Punjab, Khalsa, Guru Granth Sahib, holy)
The new efforts in the Himalayan area aimed at empowering members of the Gujjar-Bakerwal and Gaddi-Sippi groups appear to have alarmed Kashmiri lawmakers. These leaders are concerned that if these areas are given more influence, they would lose a significant portion of their voter base.
For the past 70 years, politicians have offered residents of indigenous communities verdant fields. They were told that they would be given all of their rights and treated equally to everyone else. Politicians, on the other hand, have failed to keep their promises. The transformation in J&K's status quo, on the other hand, has proven to be a watershed moment for these impoverished areas.
Manoj Sinha presented individual and community rights certificates to the beneficiaries of Gujjar-Bakerwal and Gaddi-Sippi communities.ET Government/wikipedia
Under the Forest Rights Act of 2006, Manoj Sinha, the Lieutenant Governor of J&K, presented individual and community rights certificates to the beneficiaries of Gujjar-Bakerwal and Gaddi-Sippi communities in September 2021. These rights were provided in order to usher in a new era of empowerment and prosperity for the Union Territory's disadvantaged aboriginal inhabitants. In places where community rights have been given, Rs 10 crore has been set aside for infrastructure development straight away.
The allocation of Rs 73 crore for cluster tribal model village was the first since 1947. The government has also started the process of establishing 1,500 tiny sheep farms to help these communities become self-sufficient. At a cost of Rs 16 crore, the 'Mission Youth,' in partnership with the Tribal Department, has launched on a mission to establish 16 milk villages to connect at least 2,000 young people to the dairy sector, as well as provide training, branding, marketing, and transportation services.
Tribal tribes have been given rights to small forest produce as well. The government has completed the process of establishing infrastructure for collecting, value addition, packaging, and distribution in collaboration with the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited.
J&K government is also building transit accommodations at eight locations at a total cost of Rs 28 crore.Greater Kashmir/wikipedia
The J&K government is also building transit accommodations at eight locations at a total cost of Rs 28 crore to accommodate the seasonal transient population, with medical camps, animal yards, veterinary services, and proper security included. In Jammu, Srinagar, and Rajouri, the government has planned to construct Tribal Bhavans.
In the year 2020, tribal youngsters would receive Rs 30 crore in scholarships. In J&K, 1,521 seasonal schools for migratory children are being built, as well as two residential schools along the migratory path. The building of seven new hostels for tribal kids is nearly complete, and the UT administration has already requested to the Centre the construction of 79 more hostels.
The Delimitation Commission proposes 16 seats in the Assembly.
The Delimitation Panel, tasked with redrawing assembly and parliamentary districts in J&K, has suggested reserving 16 seats in the Union Territory for the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) populations.
In its draught report, the panel, led by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, advocated nine seats for STs and seven seats for SCs in the future legislative assembly of Jammu and Kashmir.Parties in Kashmir are dissatisfied.
BJP's political interests by dividing people along religious and regional lines.Britannica/wikipedia
Kashmiri leaders responded angrily when the Delimitation Panel released its blueprint. They called the proposal "unacceptable" and said it was intended at separating J&K's communities. These parties claimed that the Delimitation Commission was set up solely to serve the BJP's political interests by dividing people along religious and regional lines, and that the real goal was to install a government in J&K that would legitimise the August 5 "illegal and unconstitutional decisions." Leaders of indigenous groups, on the other hand, welcomed the planned reservation for STs and SCs, calling it a historic step toward eliminating decades of prejudice against them.
The Jammu Development Authority termed the allegations as baseless and asked the politicians how can a government body carry out selective eviction drives? The JDA stated that due process of law was followed while carrying out the drive. The Authority said that 17 pucca and kacha structures raised upon the land were demolished and removed and 41 Kanal Prime land falling under khasra No. 1193 and 1206 was retrieved from the encroachers.
It seems that leaders of National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party have forgotten when they were in power many such demolition drives were carried out across J&K to retrieve the encroached land. It's strange that during their tenures such drives were legal but now these are illegal.
Also read: Difficult Lives Of Nomadic Gujjar-Bakerwal Tribe
Picking up holes
Kashmir based politicians are leaving no chance to pick up holes with whatever present dispensation is doing as they have been left with nothing to do. They have realised that members of tribal communities won't side with them as they fed them with slogans during their tenures. These leaders have foreseen that once the draft of Delimitation Commission is implemented they may end up losing 16 assembly seats. Leaders of tribal communities have on many occasions have stated that they were hoodwinked by the Kashmiri leaders and they won't support any of these regional parties who gave them "lollipops' for the 70-years.
The initiatives taken by the present dispensation have proven beyond doubt that if the erstwhile political regimes wanted they could have done a lot for these communities but tribal men and women were used as vote banks by the politicians. They were dumped soon after the elections ended. The attempts of politicians to give communal colour to the legitimate actions of the government are also not helping their cause as a common man has understood their machinations. The 'Naya J&K' is about including everyone and the actions of the government are speaking louder than its words.
(keywords: 'Naya J&K, Kashmir, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, Jammu Development Authority, STs and SCs, BJP, Delimitation Commission, Gujjar-Bakerwal and Gaddi-Sippi)
By Ila Sankrityayan
Parineeti Chopra, who will join Mithun Chakraborty and Karan Johar on the panel of judges for the reality programme 'Hunarbaaz Desh Ki Shaan,' says she had been waiting for a project like this for a long time and jumped at the opportunity.
"For the previous three or four years, I had been hunting around for a multi-talent show with a qualified panel of judges," Parineeti stated. And when I got the offer, I said to myself, "OK, this is it. This is the programme I've been waiting for."
"The most lovely aspect of this event is that it's a multi-talent presentation," she continued. This programme isn't only about singing and dancing; it's also about discovering talent from far-flung corners of India. This programme provides a platform for folks who would otherwise never have the opportunity to break into the Indian entertainment business and make it famous.
Also read: Parineeti talks about the importance
"However, they will get the opportunity to perform on a stage here. They will be seen by the entire country and the entire globe, and they will be able to start their careers. That is incredibly precious to me. And I'm thrilled to be able to accompany them on their adventure."
She is now promoting forthcoming films.NavBharat Times/wikipedia
The actress is now promoting forthcoming films like as Ranbir Kapoor's 'Animal' and Sooraj Barjatya's 'Uunchai.'
Parineeti may have a lot on her plate, but she's never had trouble managing her time. "I'll have to work doubly hard since I have to shoot for a show and two of my films," she told IANS. It'll be chaotic for me, but you know what they say: where there's a will, there's a way. You must schedule time for the things that matter to you."
"Of course, because I was seeking for a programme like this and it finally came to me, it is my obligation to create the time and rearrange my calendar in order to make it happen," she continued. That is exactly what I am doing at the moment. It isn't a challenge for me. I am looking forward to it.
Her two biggest pleasures, she added, are the opportunity to "be a good mentor with whatever little experience I have" and the opportunity to "learn from Mithunda and Karan, who are of course considerably more experienced in life and in their jobs than I am."
She is the judge on 'Hunarbaaz: Desh Ki Shaan'.Tribune India/Wikipedia
Aakash Singh's performance on 'Hunarbaaz: Desh Ki Shaan' made Parineeti cry, she said.
"There's a candidate named Akash who is remarkable because he comes from a very, very low family," Parineeti told IANS. "He didn't even have anything to eat, but he continued to work on his gift." "He persisted in his battle. And now he's progressed to the point where he can audition for this programme. When I watch folks who have very little in their lives striving but not giving up on their dreams, it makes me very emotional. I'm moved by their stories."
"Mithunda genuinely gets India, he knows the pulse of the people," Parineeti remarked of her fellow judges. "Karan is a prodigy at identifying talent," she continued."
When it comes to judging reality TV talent programmes, they're a dangerous pair," Parineeti said. "It's more about learning from them and becoming the best judge I can be for me, being on the same panel as them. But, of course, we have a particular relationship. And I get to spend so much time with them individually."
'Hunarbaaz: Desh Ki Shaan' will premiere on Colors on January 22 at 9 p.m.
(keywords: Hunarbaaz: Desh Ki Shaan, Mithunda and Karan, Parineeti, Ranbir Kapoor's 'Animal', Sooraj Barjatya's 'Uunchai)
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China has formally opened another front in its bellicosity in the South China Sea, and practically forcing Jakarta to accept a dispute in the Natunas, where there is none, as the area concerned is within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Indonesia as per the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Beijing claims that its "nine-dash" line, an artificial boundary invented by the CCP (Communist Party of China) that covers most of the South China Sea, giving it ownership of this entire maritime area extending to the EEZ of Indonesia in the Natuna Islands. The EEZ is an area extending up to 200 nautical miles from the baseline of a country. While other countries have a right of innocent passage in such territory, a country has special rights regarding exploration and use of maritime resources in its EEZ, to the exclusion of other powers. Jakarta has always stood up to China bullying her in the EEZ without declaring it loudly.
China has repeatedly told Indonesia to halt an oil and natural gas development project in the South China Sea, claiming infringement on its territorial waters. But in early December last year, it officially communicated to the Indonesian government to stop appraisal drilling at Harbour Energy's (LON:HBR) Tuna Block offshore Indonesia in maritime territory that both nations view as their own during a months-long standoff in the South China Sea, reported Reuters. The unprecedented demand raised tensions over natural resources between China and Indonesia in a volatile area of global strategic and economic importance. China not only objected to the drilling operations, but had also sent coast guard vessels into the area to mount pressure on Indonesia. Jakarta has not openly disclosed about China's protests, as that would amount to an admission of a dispute in the area. Even while it does not acknowledge the existence of a dispute, Indonesia in May 2020 sent the United Nations a letter rejecting Beijing's historical claims in the sea indicated by its nine-dash like maps. China, in turn, sent a counter reply to the UN, maintaining its claims in the South China Sea while seeking a solution through negotiations, which Jakarta flatly rejected.
While not inclined to make the spat with China public, Indonesian President Joko Widodo has pursued Jakarta's traditional diplomatic approach of being equidistant from both the United States and China. Like most other ASEAN countries, Indonesia doesn't want to take sides between the two rival powers despite all the Chinese bullying. And he adopted a clever strategy of roping in Britain and Russia to deal with the Chinese pressure. Jakarta sought the support of a consortium of Britain's Harbour Energy and Russian state oil company Zarubezhneft to lay a pipeline across the North Natuna Sea to connect with Vietnam's offshore network. The two companies have already announced that they have found a modest gross gas resource of 600 billion cubic feet after drilling of two appraisal wells in the Tuna block, about 10 km from Indonesia's EEZ. Despite Beijing's objections, the drilling continued for six months and was completed last November with Indonesia's Bakamla (Badan Keamaanan Laut Repulik Indonesia- Indonesian Maritime Security Agency)- claiming success in their ventures, which some analysts called it "a grand victory' over the Chinese."
Beijing's bellicosity in the South China
China equally doesn't let Vietnam drill oil and gas in its own EEZ, which forced Hanoi to seek Tokyo's support. Similarly, China doesn't let the Philippines drill oil in its own waters either, which ultimately forced Manila to start drilling in open defiance to China. Not only that, Beijing imposes annual summer fishing bans in the South China Sea in an attempt to deprive other legitimate countries from fishing in their own EEZ. Both Malaysia and the Philippines too, face an aggressive Beijing in their South China Sea possessions. China already controls the Scarborough Shoal - a disputed feature in the South China Sea, claimed by both Beijing and Manila. Presently, Chinese maritime militias are also eyeing Whitsun Reef, a geographical feature in Filipino waters, which is also being claimed by China. Malaysia, on the other hand, is itself a victim of Chinese bullying. Chinese coastguard ships harass Malaysian oil and gas vessels operating in their own waters. China claims Malaysian territory also and forbids it to drill there.
China has formally opened another front in its bellicosity in the South China Sea.Wikipedia
Signs of Unity among the Claimant States
Brunei, a tiny Sultanate, where China has invested extensively, was naturally passive for a long time in its response towards Beijing denying the country to drill in its own EEZ. But last year, Brunei was appointed as the ASEAN chair and was no longer passive and it quietly showed the ability to mobilize claimant states of ASEAN as well as Indonesia, to express concern about China's aggressive behaviour over the South China Sea disputes. This happened despite China's attempts to woo Brunei through vaccine diplomacy sending a batch of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines in a donation to which its Second Minister of foreign affairs Haji Erywan thanked the former. In January, a Chinese state-owned company Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group had also signed a deal to redevelop and manage a fisheries port in Brunei. But the tiny Kingdom decided to cooperate with other South China Sea disputants who wanted to tackle Beijing's assertiveness in the hotly contested region. While China is trying to pull Brunei to its side, the latter, it seems, has made up its mind to stick with fellow South China Sea disputants within the regional bloc.
Singapore, which is neither a claimant state on the South China Sea, nor has any disputes with any ASEAN members, is also increasingly becoming active on finding a way to manage the conflict. Recent agreements for cooperation in oil exploration and maritime security sectors suggest that some ASEAN members are ready to forgo their own petty differences and take on the main challenge, China. Plans for a maritime accord between Malaysia and Vietnam, for instance, indicate how the ASEAN neighbors are ready to come closer to each other in face of growing Chinese revisionism. However, minor the shift is, it is the beginning of a semblance of unity among some ASEAN members in the face of China's belligerence and their own existential crisis.
China equally doesn't let Vietnam drill oil and gas in its own EEZ Arvind Vallabh / Unsplash
Indonesia dares China
The most recent subtle initiative Indonesia has taken is to invite officials in charge of maritime security from five other countries in ASEAN to meet early next year to discuss how to respond to China's assertiveness in the South China Sea. Head of Bakamla, Vice Adm. Aan Kurnia, was quoted in the Indonesian media as telling reporters that he had invited his counterparts from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam to a meeting in February 2022 to "share experiences and foster brotherhood" among the countries facing similar challenges posed by China. Maritime agencies from the six countries took part in an ASEAN Coast Guard Forum last October, signaling willingness to cooperate. The Jakarta Post quoted Aan as saying that it is important "to present a coordinated approach" in matters related to the South China Sea, and "how to respond in the field when we face the same disturbance'." The vice admiral did not mention China by name.
A meeting similar to the ASEAN Coast Guard forum would be a "great opportunity for ASEAN coast guards and maritime law enforcement agencies to talk and cooperate with each other," Satya Pratama, a senior Indonesian government official and a former Bakamla captain was quoted to have said. "It is also a good idea for Indonesia [through Bakamla] to explain Indonesia's intention so that others can understand and follow suit," he said.
"Coast guards in Southeast Asia have a bad history of cooperation - they see each other as their primary challenges, even worse than the navies, which have learned to cooperate amid competition," to quote Thomas Daniel, a senior fellow at Malaysia's Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS).. This is reflected in ASEAN's attempt to negotiate a Code of Conduct (COC) to regulate maritime activities there, with some nations like the current ASEAN chair Cambodia reluctant to criticize Beijing. This also finds expression in the comment by the Filipino foreign secretary Teodore Locsin Jr. who spoke of those difficulties earlier last month when he addressed a meeting between foreign ministers from ASEAN and Group of Seven (G7) developed countries. He said that as ASEAN countries and China struggle to agree on the South China Sea issues, "recent incidents and the heightened tension ï¿½ remain a serious concern." "These worrying developments underscore the urgency and importance of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea . But negotiations for the COC, even on our watch, went nowhere," Locsin said. Antonio Carpio, a former justice of the Philippine Supreme Court, had his own suggestion that five ASEAN coastal states - the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, plus Indonesia - should form a coalition "to oppose China's hegemony and bullying"
Challenges to Unity remain
Forging unity among the five ASEAN states is not going to be an easy task, as there are longstanding trust issue between them, as well as fear of retaliation by China. In the meantime, however, the Vietnam Coast Guard and the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency signed a memorandum of understanding last month on cooperation in strengthening maritime security and safety between the two forces. But overlapping maritime claims have been an irritant in Vietnam-Indonesia bilateral relations for decades. The two countries frequently clash over the issue of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. In 2019, for example, Indonesia seized and destroyed 38 Vietnamese vessels for illegal fishing. A similar situation is seen between Vietnam and the Philippines, as well as between Indonesia and Malaysia. Yet the very attempt by Indonesia to create some understanding between the coast guards of the five countries signals a resolve on their part to display their unity vis-à-vis the Chinese bully. Whether the attempt to forge unity succeeds or not, it surely heralds a shift in the ASEAN way of doing things from consensus principle to pragmatic approach to deal with China challenge.
Indonesia bolstering its own defenses
Meanwhile, on its own, Indonesia is preparing herself for any eventuality and looks to bolster its defenses in and around Natuna, suspecting that China is exploring opportunities to seize effective control of the islands. The Indonesian military is lengthening an air base runway so that additional planes can be deployed, together with the construction of a submarine base as well. Local fishing vessels act as eyes and ears, take part in an early warning system on the lookout for approaching Chinese ships. With the USA, Jakarta is building a joint training facility for coast guard personnel near Natuna. The two nations held their biggest joint military exercise to date this August, spanning three locations in Indonesia. The drills simulated island defenses.
India is exploring the possibility of selling the BrahMos cruise missile to Indonesia. Forest Katsch / Unsplash
Indonesia could be the next buyer of BrahMos after the Philippines
To build its defence capacities and capabilities Indonesia also has growing defence cooperation with Japan, Australia and India. New Delhi has already finalized a deal with the Filipinos for supply of Brah-Mos supersonic missile systems, jointly produced by India and Russia, amid China's aggressive territorial claims in the South China Sea region. BrahMos will upload substantial confirmed capacity to the Philippines' coastal defenses, and it compares favorably with the anti-ship missiles in carrier with different navies. It is some distance quicker than the U.S. Army's Tomahawk or the Chinese language PLA Army's YJ-18.
India is exploring the possibility of selling the BrahMos cruise missile to Indonesia, and a team from the Indo-Russian joint venture that makes the weapon system visited a state-run shipyard in Surabaya last year to assess the fitting of the missile on Indonesian warships, Besides the BrahMos, India has offered to supply coastal defence radars and marine grade steel to Indonesia and to service the Russian-made Su-30 combat jets flown by the Indonesian air force as part of efforts to deepen bilateral defence and military cooperation.
With a commanding maritime strategic location and ample attributes of developing its national power, Indonesia could well become the spearhead within the ASEAN to checkmate China's expansionist drive in the South China Sea. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Indonesia, China, South China Sea, ASEAN, Beijing, development, oil, natural gas, global, economic, Jakarta, diplomatic, Russia, Britain, USA, agreement, coast, security, maritime, Vietnam, India, Philippines, missile, defence.)
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