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Secularism is must to keep India united and strong: Asaduddin Owaisi

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Hyderabad: India will be poorer without its core secular values, MIM’s articulate leader Asaduddin Owaisi says, rubbishing charges that he and his party are communal.

“The only thing which unites and keeps India strong is the pluralism and diversity of this great nation,” the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief told IANS here.

“The ethos of this country are secularism, diversity and pluralism, and that is the thing which strengthens our country and that has to be strengthened come what may,” the Lok Sabha member added.

The London-educated Owaisi says it was wrong to call the MIM a Muslim party.

“MIM is a political party which espouses the cause of not only Muslims but also Dalits and other weaker sections. It is not a Muslim party.

“It definitely wants the development of the biggest minority of the land but to brand it a party of a particular religion is completely wrong.

“Who has given them (critics) the right to call me secular or communal or anti-national? These people don’t hold intellectual rights over nationalism or secularism.

“India is a free country and I have the right to contest elections. These baseless allegations will not stop my political journey,” said Owaisi.

Owaisi justified his decision for his party to contest six of the 243 seats in the ongoing Bihar assembly elections and denied allegations that he was in the field to split the anti-BJP vote.

While acknowledging that the BJP and other rightwing groups were his main foes, Owaisi is not ready to play second fiddle to the so-called secular camp.

“That doesn’t mean I play second fiddle to all these political parties and go along blindly and forget about my real development agenda,” he said.

The MP fumes at calls for a ban on the MIM.

“Here is a political party doing everything to create more confidence to strengthen Indian democracy. You can disagree with my politics. You have all the right, but don’t say don’t participate in democracy.

“If you do, what is the message you are sending to people who believe in democracy? What is the path left then?”

The MIM has been expanding outside its traditional base in Hyderabad. It made an impressive debut in the Maharashtra assembly elections last year by winning two seats.

It will also contest two assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh later this year.

“By our sheer participation (in electoral politics) for 57 years, we have strengthened Indian democracy.

“We have voiced our concerns in assemblies, municipalities, panchayats and parliament.”

Owaisi countered the argument that parties like the MIM were to blame for Hindu-Muslim divide.

“The so-called secular parties don’t have the guts to say that polarization is happening in the majority community, mainly in the upper castes.

“Because it is politically incorrect for secular parties to make such a statement, they (target) Muslims or MIM.

“The mobilization has happened on the other side, not on the Muslim side. That is why they (BJP) won 280 (Lok Sabha) seats. There is nothing like a Muslim vote bank. It’s a myth,” he said.

Owaisi criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not hitting out at party colleagues making hate speeches.

He also wondered what happened to Modi’s assurance to a delegation of Islamic scholars that they could call on him even at midnight.

Referring to the September 28 lynching of a Muslim man, Mohammad Akhlaq, in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that he ate beef, Owaisi wondered why didn’t Modi call up the victim’s family?

“This is a family whose son is protecting the Indian skies from external enemies,” he added, referring to Akhlaq’s son who is with the Indian Air Force.

(Mohammed Shafeeq, 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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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)

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The major Challenge is to make the Youth of the Country Entrepreneurial and not Job Seekers : Venkaiah Naidu

"The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers," Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government's various initiatives.

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Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu. Wikimedia Commons
  • At a time of tepid job growth and continuing income disparities, the major challenge is to make the youth of the country entrepreneurial and not job seekers, Vice President  Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.

“Disparities continue to remain in India and so there is a need for inclusive growth… there is the need to take care of the suppressed, oppressed and depressed,” Venkaiah Naidu said at the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s (BYST) silver jubilee celebrations here with Britain’s Prince Charles as the chief guest.

“The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers,” Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government’s various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises like Startup India, Standup India and the Mudra financing scheme for underprivileged sections.

Modelled on Prince Charles’ Trust for business startups, BYST, founded by Lakshmi Venkatesan, daughter of former President R. Venkatraman, is engaged in building rural entrepreneurship — “grampreneurs” — as also enterprise among under-privileged sections, which includes business mentoring. The current BYST chairman is Bajaj Group chief, Rahul Bajaj.

“Without mentoring, it would be very difficult to set up startups, with all the business, marketing and other vital issues involved in the first two-three years,” Prince Charles said in his address at the International Mentoring Summit organized by BYST to mark its 25 years.

“What amazes me are the sheer number of jobs these young entrepreneurs had created. The aim of such a project should be to create a virtual cycle of creating entrepreneurs who can then invest in the future of business,” Charles said referring to his trust.

BYST was officially launched in 1992 by Prince Charles and expanded its operations to six major regions of India.

Out of these six regions, four — Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad — run the urban programme while two regions — Haryana and Maharashtra — run the rural programme.(IANS)