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Ashok Kumar, the Pakistani Hindu soldier who sacrificed his life for the Pakistan army (while fighting in Waziristan in 2013) was recently awarded Tamgha-i-Shujaat on March 23, 2015.
But his name was suffixed with “late” and not “Shaheed” (martyr) as used for Muslim soldiers who sacrifice their lives. The fact that Ashok died while in Pakistan is a clear evidence of his loyalty towards the country.
But why was he not called a martyr just like the Muslim soldiers?
It was because of his religious identity, the fact that he was a Hindu. But the question is, does his religion make his life any less valuable than the others?
If he didn’t think twice before dying for a Muslim nation, why did Pakistan hesitate to consider him equal to a Muslim soldier?
It is unfortunate that his life wasn’t important enough because of the age old strained relationship between India and Pakistan; Hindus and Muslims.
Discrimination against Pakistani Hindus
Reports suggest that most of the 2 million Hindus in Pakistan are compelled to pay regular sums, as a type of ransom, to extortionists and local leaders in exchange for the physical security of their families and themselves. Furthermore, they’re even required to have some kind of contact with a Muslim, as a sort of protection, so as to be able to efficiently carry out any sort of business.
Instances of discrimination between Non-Muslims in Pakistan aren’t new. The biggest evidence of the unfavorable treatment meted out to Hindus is evident from the very fact that the numbers of Hindus in Pakistan have gone down from 15-24% during the time of partition in 1947 to 1.6% presently. Thus, religious apartheid happens to be a very prevalent practice.
Religious apartheid practices
Hindus were not allowed to join the armed forces until before 2000. This is in contrast with the country’s Christian community whose members have been serving in the army for much longer with many of them having been on senior postings.
This goes to show that the discrimination isn’t against any ‘outsider’ but specifically, and much more strongly for the Hindus.
Hindu minorities living under the influence of the Taliban in Swat, Pakistan, were forced to wear red headgear such as turbans as a symbol of dhimmi. Dhimmi was the name applied by the Arab-Muslim conquerors to indigenous non-Muslim populations who surrendered by a treaty (dhimma) to Muslim domination.
Using school textbooks to incite hatred
A very important evidence of the religious apartheid happens to be the ‘alleged Hindu hatred’ taught in Pakistani school. It is a part of the textbook syllabus for students.
A report recently published by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad said:
“Four primary themes that emerge most strongly as constituting the bulk of the curricula and textbooks…are that Pakistan is for Muslims alone; Islamiat is to be forcibly taught to all the students, whatever their faith, including compulsory reading of Qu’ran; the ideology of Pakistan (sic) is to be internalised as faith, and hate be created against Hindus and India; and students are to be urged to take the path of Jehad and Shahadat.”
Further, “Associated with the insistence on the Ideology of Pakistan has been an essential component of hate against India and the Hindus..”
The Islamisation of textbooks began under the US-backed rule of army dictator Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, who courted Islamists to support his rule. Fearing rebellion from Pakistan’s right wing polity, the State does not take up this issue so as to be on the safer side and avoid risks.
”Teaching discrimination increases the likelihood that violent religious extremism in Pakistan will continue to grow, weakening religious freedom, national and regional stability, and global security,” said Leonard Leo, the chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.
”The anti-Islamic forces are always trying to finish the Islamic domination of the world,” read one passage from social studies text being taught to Grade 4 students in Punjab province, the country’s most populated.
This inciting of hatred results in children growing up with closed minds and flawed mindsets. Teaching young kids twisted information to suit one’s political stance is an act of insensitivity and an effort to induce violent.
Unending instances of discrimination
The plight doesn’t end here.
According to a BBC Hindi report, on May 29th, 2015, Sandhya Das, a Pakistani national, was declined admission in the Peshawar University because she was a Hindu. Das had graduated from the same university.
Sandhya’s family desperately needed money for the treatment of her father, who was suffering from an acute heart ailment. Even though she had the required qualifications, she was denied the job as she wasn’t a Muslim. The report also quoted human rights activist Rakshanda Naaz as saying that the condition of Hindus living in Khyber Pakhtun area is really bad.
Vandalism induced by religious intolerance
In July 2010, around 60 members of the minority Hindus in Karachi were attacked and ethnically cleansed following an incident when a Hindu youth drank from a water tap near an Islamic mosque.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan came out with a report in 2010 stating that at least 25 Hindu girls are abducted in Pakistan every month.
In January 2014, in an attack on a temple, the guard was gunned down.
In 2012, Unidentified men stormed the 160 years old Hindu temple of Guru Gorakhnath and Lord Shiva in Peshawar. The Idols of Shiva and Nath Gurus were destroyed, holy books are set on fire, human excreta were thrown and so on.
According to reports, the attackers burnt images and took away idols from the temple in the Gorghathri area, and fled the scene after the incident
Haroon Sarblal, a representative of the Hindu community, condemned the incident as ‘unacceptable’. He called upon the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government to arrest the vandals and provide security guards for the temple.
“If the government wants the Hindu community to remain calm, it should arrest the vandals and punish them accordingly,” Sarblal told The News Agencies.
At a two-day workshop conducted by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pushpa Kumari broke down into tears as she narrated the incident when a body of a 17-year-old girl was taken out from a graveyard because she was buried in a Muslim graveyard.
Carrying a bunch of newspapers dated last week, she said, “There are five cases of sexual harassment of Hindu women in Sindh, including the gang rape of a teenager.”
With each passing day, evidences of religious apartheid are increasing. Religious minorities and those brave enough to speak out against intolerance have often been killed, seemingly with impunity, by militant sympathizers. Lack of cooperation from police and administration adds insult to the injury.
With such vandalism and discrimination dotting the landscape of Pakistan, the Hindus are left looking for a home.
A cryptocurrency is a digital/virtual currency, that is secured by cryptography (study of hiding information). There are over 6,500 cryptocurrencies in existence as of September 2021. The value of cryptocurrency is growing at a quick rate and analysts and experts are still expecting a sharp rise in the value of Bitcoin, the oldest, and most valuable cryptocurrency in the world. however, china doesn't seem to be on board with the idea of digital coins in its economy as it has banned dealing and trading in these digital tokens.
China has taken several decisions to curb the rise of cryptocurrency in its market since 2013 by putting in place increasingly stricter rules on virtual currencies. But on September 17th, China's central People's Bank of China (PBOC) announced that all activities from transactions made in cryptocurrency to crypto mining are deemed illegal including offering trading of digital assets, order matching, token issuance and derivatives. Anyone who's found guilty of being involved with cryptocurrencies and working for overseas platforms from within China will be severely punished. Chinese Government directed the banks to not provide any products or services such as trading, clearing and settlement for cryptocurrency transactions.
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The price of several cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin etc. fell drastically after China's announcement. Bitcoin fell below $30,000 for the first time in more than five months nevertheless it recovered some ground by reaching $38,131, though it was still down -10.4%. Ether under Ethereum blockchain lost as much as 22% and Dogecoin lost up to 24%. Two of the largest bitcoin exchange companies Huibo and Binance have halted new registrations for new Chinese registrations and are planning to retire current accounts adhering to the country's new policies. Huibo announced that it'll close down all existing Chinese accounts by the end of the year. The ban makes buying or selling the assets difficult for Chinese mainland investors, as they cannot do so unless they leave the country. The ban has had a major negative impact on the gaming and tech sector.
ALSO READ: The Great Indian Crypto Circus
China was once the world's biggest bitcoin trading and mining centre in 2017. But in May 2021 China's State Council vowed to ban virtual coin transactions and mining. Several Chinese crypto companies are moving out of the country so that the impact of the ban would relatively limited. But why did China went as far as banning cryptocurrency? While the reasons behind China's ban on cryptocurrency remains vague. Speculations are that crypto trading had rebounded and was threatening to the safety of people's assets and disrupting the normal economic and financial order, that it is to prevent money laundering. A report by CryptDailyUse explained that the decision was made in favour of reducing energy prices, greenhouse fuel emissions and carbon footprints concerned with cryptocurrency transactions. China's ban will put China's internet security to test as to whether they're able to find and punish people and platforms that are breaking the laws. Some analysts have claimed that determined investors will find one or the other way to make trades in crypto or they'll simply move off-shore to perform transactions.
A new version of the Akash missile- "Akash Prime" was successfully tested by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at the Integrated Test Range in Odisha's Chandipur on Monday at around 4:30 pm. The missile intercepted and tore apart a high-speed unmanned aerial target mimicking enemy aircraft, in its first flight test after all the enhancements.
Akash Prime is equipped with an indigenous active Radio Frequency seeker to accurately locate the enemy aircraft. The upgrade includes an improved, Launcher, Multi-Function Radar and Command, Control and Communication system. The test was carried out amidst bad weather conditions and yet Akash Prime successfully detonated the threat proving the all-weather capability of the weapon system. The improvements also established that the new missile has comparatively more reliable performance under a low-temperature environment at higher altitudes
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The system performance was validated through the data captured by number Radar, Telemetry and Electro-Optical Tracking systems deployed by ITR, Chandipur," the DRDO said. The test was also witnessed by a team of Indian Air Force Officers.
Akash Prime is equipped with an indigenous active Radio Frequency seeker to accurately locate the enemy aircraft.ANI
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) and industry for the successful flight of Akash-NG- " Akash Prime" Missile. He added that the development of this state-of-the-art missile system will prove to be a force multiplier for air defence capabilities of the Indian Air Force and the successful flight test demonstrates the competence of the Defence Research and Development Organisation in the design and development of world-class Missile systems.
The teams were also greeted and congratulated by the Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman Defence Research and Development Organisation, Dr G Satheesh Reddy. He declared that the success of the Akash Prime team will boost the confidence of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army as the Akash system is getting inducted and improved with more lethal and accurate missiles with capabilities to destroy high-speed agile enemy threats.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
Schools all across the world have been closed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Over 1.2 billion children are out of school across the globe. (Reported by UNICEF). Because of this, education has changed immensely, with the introduction of e-learning, in which tutoring is provided remotely and using various digital platforms. According to research, virtual learning has been proven to enhance retention of information and take up less time, indicating that the changes produced by the coronavirus may be here to stay in the future.
However, many emphases have focused on "recovering" the current system, but there is a chance to "build back better".So, let's see the future of education after Covid19.
Challenges of covid for education
- Learning Loss
- Mental Health, Trauma, and Safety
- The strain on Learning: Professors, Teachers and Early Childhood Educators
Is physical learning a more effective form of learning than e-learning?
One important lesson to be learned from the COVID-19 situation is that the traditional physical teaching method with eye-to-eye contact is still the most effective form of learning. On the other hand, technology is a powerful facilitator, and as such, it has a significant role to play in the educational system.
The majority of educational institutions are trying with digital learning and trainers learning to adapt to new technologies. Training of teaching will need to be revised to include practical elements of technology in education and theoretical aspects of technology. In conjunction with improved methodology, the effective use of technology will be an essential component of teaching training programmes in the near future.
Traditional physical teaching method with eye-to-eye contact is still the most effective form of learning. | Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
Why should we adopt eLearning forever?
Online education allows teachers and students to determine their learning speed and set a timetable that works for everyone. Using an online educational platform provides a better balance of professional and academics, so no sacrifices are required. Online education includes time management skills, making work-study balance more straightforward. A shared plan can encourage both students and teachers to take on new tasks and gain more autonomy.
Online education is usually cheaper than in-person schooling. Payment choices frequently include instalments or per class. This improves budget management. Many of you may be eligible for discounts or scholarships, so the cost is low. You may also save money on travel and class supplies by using free resources. In other words, the financial investment is lower, but the returns may be superior.
There are limitless skills, techniques and subjects to teach and learn on the internet. More institutions and colleges are offering online programmes for all levels and subjects. Every student can choose from learning dancing to higher mathematics. Online programmes allow you to get an official certificate, diploma, or degree without ever having to step foot on a university campus.
Tutors and students can use internet resources like YouTube videos, pictures, and eBooks to enhance their teaching and learning. This supplementary content is available at any time, anywhere, making your education more dynamic and personalised.
There are limitless skills, techniques and subjects to teach and learn on the internet. | Photo by Ralston Smith on Unsplash
Why should we not adopt eLearning forever?
The present E-Learning tends to isolate and contemplate students. As a result of the absence of social interaction, many students and teachers who spend a lot of time online might develop social isolation. Lack of communication and social isolation typically leads to mental health concerns, including stress, anxiety, and negative thinking.
However, in an eLearning environment, there are fewer external factors that motivate students. In many situations, students are left to their own devices during learning activities with no encouragement. Students pursuing E-Learning courses will frequently be expected to master a tricky subject in the comfort of their own homes, without the extra pressure of traditional universities. As a result, students who lack motivation and time management skills may struggle to meet regular deadlines when studying online.
Unfortunately, one of the significant drawbacks of E-Learning is cheating. In Online mode, students can easily cheat in examinations since they are in their own surroundings, with no supervisor and disciple around. This takes the essence of a test and assessment away from the life of a student. Without a video stream, pupils cannot be directly watched during exams. Also, without appropriate identity verification, students taking online tests may allow a third person to take the test in their place, resulting in a false test result.
Because of the absence of social interaction, many students and teachers who spend a lot of time online might develop social isolation. | Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash
Keywords: COVID, education, aftermath, e-learning, aftermath, classes, social, students