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Modi backs ‘freedom’ in Balochistan, Pakistani Kashmir

In a first for any Prime Minister, Modi referred to Pakistani human rights abuses in both Balochistan and the part of Kashmir it controls

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Source: sify.com

New Delhi, August 15: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, August 15 openly came out in support of “freedom” for Balochistan and “Pakistan-occupied Kashmir” and said India will never tolerate terrorism.

In his over 90-minute Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the Prime Minister also stressed that his government’s main aim was to empower the common Indian.

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In a first for any Prime Minister, Modi referred to Pakistani human rights abuses in both Balochistan and the part of Kashmir it controls.

“The world is watching. People of Balochistan, Gilgit, Baltistan and occupied Kashmir have thanked me a lot in the past few days. I am grateful to them,” Modi said, referring to his comments last week on excesses in Pakistan’s largest province and in the Pakistani part of Kashmir.

He said the way people from these Pakistani regions “wished me well, gives me great joy”.

In thanking an Indian Prime Minister, “they have thanked the whole population of my country”, he said. “I want to offer my gratitude to these people.”

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Modi had said at a meeting on Kashmir last week that it was time for Islamabad to explain to the world “why it has been committing atrocities on people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Balochistan”.

On Monday, Modi also hit out at Pakistan for supporting terrorism. This, he said, was in contrast to the way Indians reacted with sorrow when terrorists slaughtered school children in Peshawar.

“That is the nature of India. But on the other hand, look at those who glorify terrorists. What kind of people glorify terrorists? What kind of people celebrate when people are killed?”

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Modi’s third speech from the Red Fort came amid continuing violence in the Kashmir Valley that has left 56 people dead in five weeks of street unrest.

Modi avoided any reference to Kashmir but warned those disturbing “unity in the country”.

“All those who are killing innocents … I want to tell them that this country will not tolerate terrorism and militancy. Return to the mainstream. The road of militancy and terrorism does not help anyone.”

Modi said his governance objective was to deliver the fruits of economic development to the last Indian.

He said he was promoting transparency in governance and listed measures the NDA government had taken over the past two years to make life easier for ordinary people.

He explained how certain shortcomings were hindering India’s progress. He urged people to fight against such practices and strengthen social harmony for an overall development of the country.

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“Every citizen should fight against the differences in the society on the basis of caste and class. Only economic development will not help in the development because without social harmony and unity, the development will not be complete.

“We have to take everyone together be it Dalits, tribals, oppressed and people from the financially weaker section of the society.”

The Prime Minister said in India there “are a lot of problems but we also have 1.25 billion people to solve them”.(IANS)

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Know How Grammy Award Winner Inspired by PM Modi to Dedicate Music to Environment

From songs like "Ganga" - depicting the plight of the river considered holy by most Indians - to his Grammy-winning album "Winds of Samara" - which speaks of peace and global harmony

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grammy award winner, modi
"What was to be a photo opportunity with the Prime Minister turned into an hour-long discussion with him on environment. He spoke on the impact music could have on society and inspired me to make music on environment," Kej told IANS in an interview here. Wikimedia

A chance meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2015 in New Delhi inspired Bengaluru-based Grammy Award winner Ricky Kej to dedicate his life and music to the cause of environment.

Since then, Kej, who has represented India on global fora, performing at venues including the United Nations General Assembly in New York and UN Headquarters in Geneva, has been using music to flag ecological issues to policymakers and public the world over.

“What was to be a photo opportunity with the Prime Minister turned into an hour-long discussion with him on environment. He spoke on the impact music could have on society and inspired me to make music on environment,” Kej told IANS in an interview here.

From songs like “Ganga” – depicting the plight of the river considered holy by most Indians – to his Grammy-winning album “Winds of Samara” – which speaks of peace and global harmony – Kej’s music connects with all — from world leaders to the man on the street.

With the aid of compelling visuals, Kej’s music, and collaborations with global music artists, highlights the deleterious consequences of urbanisation, climate change and human-animal conflict.

modi, grammy award winner
From songs like “Ganga” – depicting the plight of the river considered holy by most Indians – to his Grammy-winning album “Winds of Samara” – which speaks of peace and global harmony – Kej’s music connects with all — from world leaders to the man on the street. Wikimedia

“There are so many issues in India like child labour, gender inequality and poverty, which none seem to be reflecting through music. We see that music has lost the identity of being an art form and has become a profession,” he lamented.

Kej, 37, bagged Grammy in 2015 for the ‘Best New Age Album’ for “Winds of Samsara”, created along with South African flautist Wouter Kellerman. He is also recognised as the ‘United Nations Global Humanitarian Artist’ for his music with environmental consciousness.

The subjects of Kej’s music include, the rising air pollution in global cities and towns, the perils being posed to wildlife due to urbanisation and the story of Republic of Kiribati, an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean off Fiji, whose coasts are receding each year due to rising ocean levels due to global warming, among others.

With 15 studio albums released internationally, 3,500 commercials, three feature films in Kannada and over 100 music awards in 20 countries to his credit, the conservationist-musician’s album “Shanti Samsara” was released by Modi and then French President Francois Hollande at the United Nations Conference of Parties (CoP-21) Climate Change Conference in Paris, held from November 30-December 12, 2015.

The album, conceived after his meeting with Modi, had Kej collaborate with about 500 musicians from 40 countries, for songs like “Ganga”, throwing light on the pollution plaguing the river, and on “Earth and Water”.

“Politicians and policymakers are used to statistics and numbers, but when one approaches them through art, it makes a lot of difference. I have seen politicians change their perspectives towards environmental causes after attending my concerts,” Kej asserted.

The element of environment and nature in his work comes from his own experiences. For instance, he composed the song “One With Earth” – which highlights natural farming and the need to give up chemical fertilisers – after he lived with the tribals in Andhra Pradesh’s Araku Valley to understand their lifestyle and traditional farming techniques.

Grammy award winner, modi
“There are so many issues in India like child labour, gender inequality and poverty, which none seem to be reflecting through music. We see that music has lost the identity of being an art form and has become a profession,” he lamented. Wikimedia

Born in 1981 in North Carolina in the US, Kej moved to Bengaluru with family when he was eight, with intense love for music and nature.

“As a child, I felt music and nature were connected and found music in the sounds of nature, birds and animals. I used to look at music as a way of understanding history, cultures and emotions from different parts of the world. A lot of my education was through music,” said Kej, who was part of a rock band “Angel Dust” during his class 12th from Bishop Cotton Boys’ School in Bengaluru.

Even as Kej pursued a dental science course on his father’s advice, he continued to create music and decided to pursue it full-time on completing the degree.

“Like most musicians, I started my career with popular music and later turned to heavy metal and jazz. I finally zeroed in on world music as it connects with the people the world over, irrespective of the language they speak,” Kej recalled.

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As a professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in the renowned Indian Institute of Science (IISc) campus in this tech hub, the musician believes his job is to approach environmental subjects artistically.

“Numbers don’t hit people as hard as visuals and art can. My job as a musician is to drive the numbers and data through emotions,” Kej added. (IANS)