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Pakistan killing our Intellectuals and History, says Baloch freedom activist Mazdak Dilshad Baloch

Most of the Baloch leaders and intellectuals are either dead, underground or have fled Pakistan fearing for their life

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Map of Pakistan. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

– by Kushagra Dixit

New Delhi, August 28, 2016: An “identity crisis” looms before the Baloch people as Pakistan is killing their intellectuals and strategically suppressing their history, says a Baloch freedom activist, adding that they will “not let Pakistan take our cultural identity from us”.

According to prominent Baloch freedom movement activist Mazdak Dilshad Baloch, the lullabies of Baloch mothers “are the only source of the history lesson for the new generation” of their people.

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“As per Pakistani textbooks, Balochistan is a barbaric nation and Baloch people are barbarians who fight among themselves. That’s what they (Pakistan) teach their kids, a manipulated history of Balochistan,” Mazdak told IANS.

The issue of manipulated history in textbooks was also raised in the Pakistan Parliament earlier this year, after the 12th standard sociology books defined Baloch as “uncivilised people who engage in murder and looting”.

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“There is a total crackdown on journalists, lawyers, doctors, engineers, students. The figure of missing people has crossed 25,000 and about 25 Baloch journalists have been killed. They are killing our intellectuals, educated ones who could take us forward in the future,” said Mazdak, who was in the Indian capital.

He said most of the Baloch leaders and intellectuals are either dead, underground or have fled Pakistan fearing for their life.

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Terming the Pakistani media a “puppet” and Pakistan an “artificial nation”, the young activist who was in Delhi to garner the support of Indians and Baloch people, said, “Our history is being suppressed and this is part of their strategy. Baloch people are voiceless and Pakistani media can’t help us”.

“They are confining our 700-year-old history to 70 years which is not even ours. Our children are told that Jinnah was our founder, while it was Mir Miro Baloch who founded the kingdom of Balochistan in 1410,” Mazdak said, adding that while Baloch people love education, they resist the Pakistani syllabus.

“They teach us about Ahmed Shah Abdali. He was a great person in history and should be celebrated by Afghans. We have nothing to do with him, Sher Shah Suri, Mahmood Gaznavi or Mughals. You can’t just snatch someone else’s history and make it your own.

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“We have our own history, culture, and lifestyle. You can see our clothes and carpets — they have the same pattern and geometry as were in Mehergarh (an ancient site in Balochistan). Our historic fingerprints are still intact. Our culture and language is never dying and we will not let Pakistan take it from us,” Mazdak said.

He also speaks of Hindu shrines in Balochistan including the famed Hinglaj or Nani Mandir.

“Hindus in Balochistan are not Indian or Pakistani, they are Baloch Hindus. We have been protecting and celebrating the centuries-old legacy. The town of Mastung, where I come from, has a Mahadev temple. We protect and respect them because it’s part of our heritage,” he said.

“All around the world mothers would tell their children a fairy tale. But a Baloch mother while putting her child to sleep tells about how the forefathers got this land, this is how they fought and got martyred. So this is how the children there are brought up. This is how a sense of sovereignty is inherited in their blood,” he explained.

Asked why he opposes the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a project that allows China to access the Gwadar Port in Balochistan from its western province of Xinjiang, the activist in exile called it “a conspiracy to loot our resources”.

“We are not against economic activities or anything that would uplift the economic condition of the region, but for this, they have to talk to Baloch, not the people in Lahore. It is a conspiracy to loot our resources as with this move there is no economic benefit to the Baloch people,” he said.

“Army and government of Pakistan only want our land and our resources.”

Saying that while they want to nurture a free Balochistan as a “democratic”, “secular” and “gender-balanced” nation, Mazdak calls Pakistan an “artificial country”.

“If they (Pakistan) teach correct history then people will ask why it even got separated from India, with which it shares history. Even ethnically and genetically they are same. This shows how ignorant Pakistan is and what kind of artificial country it is,” he said. (IANS)

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Dalai Lama says that India and China have great potential

The spiritual leader feels that both the countries are doing compassionate works

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Dalai Lama talks about India and China
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai says that India and China can work together. VOA

New Delhi, Nov 19

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have “great potential” and they could work together at a “practical level”.

“I think, a great potential… India and China combined are doing more compassionate work… At a practical level also. Imagine two billion people working together,” he told reporters here after inaugurating Smile Foundation’s initiative, The World of Children.

The spiritual leader, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since 1959, said neither country had the “ability to destroy the other”.

“Whether you like it or not, you have to live side by side,” he said.

Underlining the ancient spiritual connection between the two countries, he said Chinese Buddhist Hsuan Tsang visited Nalanda (now in Bihar) and brought Nalanda Buddhist traditions to China.

“All thinkers of Nalanda are Indian. So Nalanda’s tradition is India’s tradition,” he said.

The Nalanda traditions had turned Tibetans, who were warriors, into more compassionate, peaceful and non-violent nation, he said.

“So sometimes in Delhi, teasing my Indian friend, (I say) if Tibet still remained in the previous way of life, like Mongols, Chinese invasion may not have taken place,” the Dalai Lama said in a lighter vein.

He said nobody in the world wanted violence but it was happening “because our minds are dominated by destructive emotions due to short-sightedness”.

“Nobody wants problems. Yet, many problems are our own creation.”

The Dalai Lama said the existing modern education was oriented to material values. India can take lead in improving the education system by combining modern education with ancient knowledge, he said. (IANS)

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Cleaning of Ganga is not impossible, but it is very difficult.

The holy river is also one of the most polluted river

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Ganga in Haridwar
A pile of garbage lies on the riverbank along the Ganges riverfront known as "Har ki Pauri," the most sacred spot in the Hindu holy town of Haridwar where devotees throng. VOA

– Saket Suman

About five years ago, when Financial Times journalist and author Victor Mallet began living in Delhi, he was shocked to discover that the Yamuna — “this beautiful river of Indian legend and art” — was chocked with untreated sewage and industrial waste after it had passed through the city on its way to Mathura, Agra and on to join the Ganga at Allahabad He wondered “how a river so sacred to so many Indians could also be so polluted and neglected” and then set out to record the plight of the Ganga.

His exhaustive journey led him to various key locations on the river, including its source at Gaumukh and Sagar Island and the Sunderbans at its mouth in the Bay of Bengal. This culminated in the publication of “River of Life, River of Death” (Oxford University Press/Rs 550/316 pages).

“My conclusion is that it is not impossible (to clean the Ganga) — but it is very difficult. Narendra Modi is the latest of several Indian prime ministers to announce plans to rescue the Ganga — in fact, I would say he has been the most fervent — but like his predecessors, he has struggled to implement these plans despite the availability of funds from India itself and from international donors such as the World Bank and Japan.

“Clearly, the Ganga has enormous problems of physical pollution from sewage, industrial toxins and pesticide run-off. Too much of the water is diverted for irrigation in the dry season, which can leave parts of the river without water before the monsoon. But with political will and public support — I don’t think anyone in India objects to saving the river — it can be done,” Mallet told IANS in an email interview from Hong Kong.

The important thing, he maintained, is to change mindsets and he noted in this context that it is quite common among devout Hindus to say: “Ma Ganga is so spiritually pure that nothing we throw in the river will sully her or make a difference.”

The author said that sensible holy men and environmentalists who care for the Ganga term this as nonsense — and the reason it’s not true is that the Ganga’s very spiritual power arises from its physical properties as a life-giver, as a provider of water and fertility.

“That’s why rivers have always been worshipped in ancient times, including in England. So if you destroy the river’s life-giving qualities through pollution, you destroy the source of her spiritual importance,” he added.

In the book, he also states that it is not impossible to clean the Ganges, “as river clean-ups in Europe and America have shown”.

Elaborating on this, he said: “When I was a child living in London, my mother always told me not to fall in the Thames because the river was so filthy that if I fell in I would have to go to hospital and have my stomach pumped! Yet today the Thames is clean — muddy, but virtually free of industrial pollution and untreated sewage — because successive governments and water and sanitation companies have stopped the pollution.

“The same is true of the Rhine in continental Europe and the Chicago river in the United States. The great thing about rivers is that you don’t have to scrub them clean — you just have to stop polluting them and the natural flow of the river does the rest.”

Mallet maintained that the record on the Ganga has so far been disappointing in terms of implementation, but hoped that there will be a change now that there is a new minister in charge.

“If you clean the Ganga by improving sanitation, you not only save the goddess, you also create thousands of jobs in infrastructure development, and save the lives of thousands of children who die each year because of bad water, poor hygiene and stomach bugs. Likewise, if India curbs its greenhouse gases — and this seems to be happening anyway because alternative energy such as solar power is now very competitive on price — then that will also help it to reduce the kind of air pollution that has recently been afflicting Delhi and the whole of North India,” he maintained.

Mallet went on to add that he learnt a lot about the mythology and the history of the river — and the history of India — in the course of his research for the book.

“In a way, India is so rich in civilisations and stories that you can never say you have completed your work as a researcher and writer. You can at least make a start, and also explain the contemporary political, social, religious and environmental issues that affect the river and the country as a whole,” Mallet said. (IANS)

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Manushi Chhillar from India Wins the Miss World 2017 Title

India's Manushi Chillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant here, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

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Miss World
Manushi Chhillar has been crowned as Miss World 2017. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

China, November 19: India’s Manushi Chhillar won the coveted Miss World 2017 pageant, 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000.

Chhillar competed against 108 contestants from various countries at a glittering event held at Sanya City Arena here.

Miss World 2016 winner Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Del Valle gave away the coveted crown to the winner.

Chhillar, who is from Haryana, had earlier this year won the Femina Miss India 2017.

Miss world
Anti Ageing was the official skin care expert for Manushi Chhillar at the Miss World 2017 pageant. Instagram #ManushiChhillar

India, England, France, Kenya and Mexico grabbed the top five spots at the peagant.

Manushi, born to doctor parents, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

Her entire family including brother and sister were present and they looked excited watching Manushi grabbing top five spot.

As many as 108 beauty queens from different parts of the world participated in the prestigious pageant. (IANS)