Pretoria, 01 May, 2017: In a proud moment for India, two Indian-origin women freedom activists (Fatima Meer and Shantie Naidoo) were awarded South Africa’s highest National Order awards by the South-African President Jacob Zuma on 28 April, 2017 (Friday).
The Order of Luthuli in silver was posthumously received by Fatima Meer while Shantie Naidoo received the same award at the Presidential Guest House in Pretoria.
Naidoo is a descendant of Thambi Naidoo, one of Gandhi’s most trusted lieutenants during his tenure in South Africa at the turn of the last century.
Shantie Naidoo joined 21 other people who were part of a group which suffered at the hands of the apartheid-era security police. The police tortured them and held them in solitary confinement. It is the same confinement from where Meer, a lifelong friend of the late Nelson Mandela together with her husband Ismail Meer, started her activist career as a high school student aged 17 in 1945.
At the time of Presidency Meer quoted, “The Indian community suffered the enactment of the first Segregation Act which restricted their economic and residential rights to specific areas in the country.”
Meer assembled high school students and established the ‘Students Passive Resistance Committee’ in order to canvass and raise funds for the Passive Resistance Campaign.
“The Indian community resisted by organising Satyagraha, the first since Gandhi’s Satyagraha at the close of the century,” Meer further continued.
Outshining as a historian and sociologist, Meer was a stimulating writer. Her writing masterpieces include Mandela’s biography and the script for Akbar Khan’s film ‘Taj Mahal’.
Her book ‘Portrait of Indian South Africans’ was published in 1969. Being a socially committed human, she donated the total proceeds of her book to the ‘Gandhi Settlement’ towards the building of the Gandhi Museum and Clinic at the ‘Phoenix Settlement’. Phoenix Settlement, an initiative by Gandhi is now managed and supervised by his granddaughter Ela Gandhi.
Meer passed away in 2010. Before her death, she served as a member of the parliament under the Presidentship of Mandela since 1994.
Access to education is one of the most basic rights of people across the world. However, when it comes to pursuing higher education from international universities, it seems like there are only a few who can afford to study at a destination of your choice.
While the thought of moving abroad and living in a new place with people from different faiths and nationalities can be extremely exciting, there are a few things you must responsibly think about before you take a final decision. The cost of tuition fees, food bills, rent are some of the important aspects to think about and plan before making a call.
Still, living abroad doesn’t come cheap. Wondering about affordable destinations to study abroad? We have got you covered!
With more than 350 universities and institutions offering over 800 courses to make a choice from, Germany makes one of the better and affordable destinations to study abroad. As an emerging education destination, Germany has witnessed an increasing trend of international students with as much as a 14 per cent increase between 2013 and 2015.
Germany is believed to have some of the best academic infrastructures in the world that focus not only on education, but holistic development of the student. The country is also considered to be the one of the top countries to attain specialization in disciplines relating to engineering and technology.
While knowing a new language is always a benefit, students need not know German for courses opted in English.
Despite being a nation in central-Europe, the cost of living in Germany is surprisingly low when compared to other European countries. According to data available on the internet, Germany has a lower cost of living than Denmark, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
As per information by the German Academic Exchange Service, international students are believed to spend about 725 Euros as part of their daily expenses while local students spend about 864 for their expenses.
Apart from low sustenance costs, German universities have little to no tuition fees which make them an attractive choice as one of the affordable destinations to study abroad.
The Finnish education system has been ranked as one of the best in the world. The country offers a wide variety of courses to choose from and a student can go to Finland as a student for a complete academic degree, an exchange student or as a trainee.
Regardless of your nationality, students are exempted from paying tuition fees at Finnish Universities which makes the country a good choice for one of the most affordable destinations to study abroad. However, there are some exceptions in case of a few master’s degrees and programmes.
Since all education costs are born by the Finnish government, students going to the country for Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees do not have any scholarship. However, students joining Finnish universities for doctoral studies and research can avail certain scholarships.
The country has a reputation for a high cost of living in comparison to other countries but Helsinki is suggested as the most affordable city in the region.
3. NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand has a lot to offer to international students. With cheaper cost of living than nearby places like Australia and reasonable tuition fees, New Zealand has emerged as one of the most affordable destinations to study abroad.
There are 8 universities in New Zealand that comprise a safe and welcoming community and offer high quality of education.
The country has an extremely flexible education system that can comfortably match the budget of students and offers great value for money. International students can further avail several scholarships that are provided by the New Zealand government, foreign governments, educational institutions, and private sources.
There is no stipulated figure for the annual living expenses incurred by international students as that can vary depending upon the university chosen by every individual student. However, the New Zealand government suggests having up to 15,000 dollars to comfortably cover expenses during the first year of study.
4. SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa is next on our list of most affordable destinations to study abroad.
Tuition fees in South Africa depend upon your choice of university and the education programme.
Nearly all higher education institutes in South Africa comprise of student support offices that help student find and settle into their chosen programmes and accommodations which are available both, on campus and within close proximity to the university campus.
The cost of living in South Africa is relatively low. As per data on the internet, students can estimate an expense of about 980 USD per month, which will include student’s accommodation, food expenses, bills and travel.
These lower costs mean students need not spend exorbitant prices during their student years, in comparison to expenses in other developed countries.
Canada has long been one of the preferred countries by people from all parts of the world, courtesy its warm and welcoming society. The country has fast emerged as a preferred location for international students too.
Apart from being extremely peaceful, safe and welcoming, Canada is known worldwide for its high standard of living and low cost of living for students.
Canada is known to have some of the cheapest tuition fees for international students when compared to other English-speaking universities. As per data available on the internet, international students bear an annual expense within the bracket of 20,000 to 30,000 Canadian dollars, which includes their tuition and living expenses.
Students enrolled in any Canadian university and aged between 18 and 25 can avail discounts when purchasing their monthly transport pass. Students need not spend much on food bills, either.
All these factors when combined together make Canada one of the most sought after and affordable destinations to study abroad.
Choosing to study abroad can be a tough call, and you must consider all factors before you make a decision. We wish you all the best!
– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala
Even after 70 years of Pakistan’s creation, Balochistan refuses to associate itself as a part of the country
Pakistan’s military occupation of Balochistan began in 1948 before which the province had existed as an independent state
The insurgency in Balochistan traces its roots in ethnic nationalism along with feelings of political and economic exclusion
Balochistan, August 31, 2017 : Located in the South West of Pakistan, the Balochistan province of Pakistan constitutes nearly 45 per cent of the country’s territory. However, even after 70 years of Pakistan’s creation, the people of the province refuse to associate themselves with Pakistan or its framework of a nation state. They believe they have been Balochis for over three thousand years, who have now been invaded.
“It is freedom struggle,” believes activist Naela Quadri Baloch like many other Baloch nationalists. According to her, Balochistan had been occupied by Pakistan in 1948 and “ever since we have been fighting against Pakistan to free ourselves”, she believes.
What can I say on the day of #EnforcedDisappearance. I have lived a witness of the sufferings of my people waiting days, months and years.
In 2016 during an interview with The Times of India, the women’s leader and activist Naela Quadri Baloch had asserted that Pakistan is not interested in Kashmiris but specifically in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir for its desire to control the Indus river system. Similarly, it is also not interested in the Balochis, but the land of the state for its strategic location and mineral reserves.
Baloch nationalists assert that Pakistan’s economy is dependent on loans from the IMF, World Bank and the Western countries that are allegedly taken on the pretext of Balochistan’s rich mineral resources. They further claim that Pakistan’s strategic importance is also due to Balochistan coast. Pakistan would not be able to survive, which is why it does not want Balochistan to emerge as an independent state.
While the world views it as an insurgency movement, Balochis address their protests as a freedom struggle to liberate and unify their people and land from control of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.
They maintain that Balochistan was never a part of India or Pakistan and it had always been an independent country.
Balochistan At The Time Of Partition
Balochistan comprises of four erstwhile princely states – Kalat, Kharan, Lasbela and Makran, that had been unified by Naseer Khan, the Khan of Kalat.
During the British rule, the province was divided into British Balochistan (25 per cent) and Native Balochistan, occupying 75 per cent of the total territory with people pledging adherence to Naseer Khan.
Immediately following partition and the creation of Pakistan, Khan’s descendant, Mir Ahmed Yaar Khan was faced with three options – independence, or accession to either India or Pakistan. He decided upon independence, following which a communiqué was released on August 11, 1947 giving independent sovereign status to Kalat.
However, by October 1947, Mohammad Ali Jinnah mooted Kalat to formally join the state of Pakistan. The Khan of Kalat did not agree to the accession which was followed by a standstill between the two leaders upon the status of present-day Balochistan.
Becoming A Part Of Pakistan
By April 1948, the Pakistan army moved into the province and captured Kalat. The Khans’ attempts of an armed campaign against the Pakistan army went futile and the province was merged with Pakistan by June 1948.
At the center of Balochistan’s forced accession was Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who had previously been hired by the Khans for his legal services to negotiate Kalat’s independent status with the Britishers.
Before partition, Jinnah had successfully mooted an ‘Independent Status’ of Kalat for which he was graciously awarded with gold. But, Balochistan breathed as a free country only from August 1947 to March 1948, after which Jinnah breached trust and betrayed the Khan, forcing the Pakistani invasion and eventual accession of Kalat.
Surprisingly, during the struggle and annexation of present-day Balochistan, the Indian Congressmen, Mahatma Gandhi or the then-Governor General Lord Mountbatten made no attempts to hinder in the remonstration. This indifference can be attributed to the Indian leaders’ failure to realize the strategic implication of a sovereign Balochistan at the time.
A Growing Ethnic Nationalism
Following the formation of Pakistan, distorted power relations existed among different Muslim ethnicities. Additionally, unchallenged power was exercised by Punjabis who comprised of about 56 per cent population of the state.
In 1954, the One Unit scheme was launched by the federal government of Pakistan to merge the four existing provinces of West Pakistan (Khyber-Pakhtunkawa, Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab) to form a homogeneous, united political entity in an attempt to,
Forge national unity on basis of Islam and geography
Reduce gross expenditure
Help eliminate ethnic prejudices.
The move triggered violence throughout the country and especially in Balochistan, wherein this was interpreted as a strategy to establish Punjabi domination.
Balochistan rose against the move, which came to an end in 1970 with the overthrow of the One Unit scheme.
However, following the rebellion, a strong sense of nationalism, propounding larger political autonomy and a separate state for Balochistan broke a full-fledged insurgency from 1973 to 1977; over 80,000 personnel were deployed to quell the rebellion.
Armed struggle to achieve separation from Pakistan lasted throughout the 1970s, in which 3,300 army personnel and 5,300 Balochis were killed. However, the Pakistani government successfully compressed the movement.
Baloch nationalists have repeatedly argued that they are yet to receive any benefit from the development projects that have been initiated by the government in Balochistan.
Reportedly, the Sui Gas Field in Balochistan caters to most urban households in the country. Despite producing about 45 per cent of gas for Pakistan, the province gets to consume a mere 17 per cent. Additionally, the Balochis get a nominal amount of Pakistani Rupees 6 for a 24-hour supply.
The Pakistani government, in collaboration with China, initiated the development of the Gwadar port in the province, with an aim to better trade ties with Asia, Europe, and US. However, a large number of Punjabis and non-Baloch people were hired for the project, leaving an increasing population of Baloch engineers and technicians unemployed.
Balochistan has one of the world’s richest reserves of copper and gold. However, as much as 16 kgs of gold is seized everyday by the Chinese under an arrangement with the government, which robs the Balochis of major economic benefits.
Despite being one of the country’s key providing areas,
80 per cent population of Balochistan continue to live in the absence of safe drinking water
80 per cent people do not have access to electricity
70 per cent children have never been to school
63 per cent of Balochis live below the poverty line
It frustrates me to see d natives of Gwadar dying of thirst. No drinking water for locals thanks to all being spent on so-called CPEC scam.
While ethnic nationalist interests continue to worry Balochistan, a primary demand has also been about better control over the economic resources of the region.
However, the Pakistani government blames the nationalist struggle in the region for impeding the developmental process.
Political Subjugation By Islamabad
Balochistan makes up nearly 45 per cent of Pakistan’s territory but the Balochs comprise only 5 per cent of the total population, making them a minority in Pakistan.
Their representation in the National Assembly of Pakistan is also negligible (17 out of 342) which reveals that the Balochis have lost their say in policy formulations and are forced to adhere to laws that have been put in place for them by power honchos sitting in Islamabad.
Additionally, the Pakistan government centered in Islamabad has eradicated most of the Baloch activists and nationalists, calling them ‘foreign agents against the state’. This can be supplemented with the murder of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti who was an ex chief minister of Balochistan.
Ever since the creation of Pakistan, it has been evident that the Pakistan government is more concerned with occupying the physical territory of Balochistan, with meager interest in its indigenous population.
The Pakistan army, on command of the government has employed every possible armory against its own people of Balochistan, in an attempt to contain the province within its seizure. Furthermore, army cantonments have been established at Dera, Gwadar, Bugti and Kohlu to gauge activity and movement of the Baloch people.
Additionally, despite occupying 45 per cent of Pakistan’s territory, the budget allocated to Balochistan is minuscule in comparison to its vast landmass.
In 2002, General Pervez Musharraf had striked a deal with China over the Gwadar port development as part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Baloch people condemned the allocation of land to the rich businessmen of Punjab and Karachi and further lamented the unemployment stemming from the project. The move also instigated further violence in the region.
As of now, according to report, all 22 districts of Balochistan continue to suffer at the hands of the enduring insurgency with the tally of displaced people now crossing over 2 lacs.
In more recent times, the Pakistan army took aid of suicide bombers to tackle the ongoing insurgency. On August 8, 2017, as many as 54 lawyers became victims of a suicide attack, which is being touted as a State-funded action as the group included several Baloch activists who had been vocal about Pakistan army’s interference in state affairs.
According to a report published in Dawn,prince of the now redundant Kalat state, Prince Mohyuddin Baloch who is now the Baloch Rabita Ittefaq Tehreek chief, had said that Balochis are not looking to wage wars. Until now, Balochis have not once attacked Pakistan, but only defended themselves.
He said the objective of their protests has been to draw the government’s attention. However, regretfully, no one is paying any heed to their cries.
Dr. Aasim Sajjad Akhtar had rightly quoted in an article in the Economic and Political Weekly that the “ethnic difference remains the single biggest fault line in Pakistani politics.”
The Balochistan insurgency thus, traces its roots in a ripe ethnic nationalism along with feelings of political and economic exclusion. This animosity among the country will continue unless Pakistan accepts its non-Muslim history.
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Balochistan makes 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan
The reputation of Pakistani army is tarnished among the Baloch population
There is a total breakdown of dialog between the civilians and the government
New Delhi, August 22, 2017: Balochistan, the southwestern province of Pakistan, makes 44% of the total land mass of the country. However, contrary to the expectations of the development that should have taken place in the province, it is its exploitation that is more evident.
The reputation of the Pakistani army is tarnished among the Baloch population. The anti military feelings among the civilians date back to 1948. The British rule ended in the Indian subcontinent in 1947, after which the princely states were offered with the options of acceding to India or Pakistan or remaining independent. The then ruler, Khan of Kalat of Balochistan chose to remain free. But, according to some, Pakistan, in 1948, against the wishes of the Baloch and their Khan, forcibly converted Balochistan into it’s province. At that time, feelings of betrayal and resentment took roots among the civilians, which only grew more intense with the passage of time.
Inequality and discrimination against Balochistan have continued to increase, resulting in an unrest in the province. Poor representation in the Pakistani army, in parliament, has left them feeling alienated.
Although Balochistan has experienced a dramatic rise in activities of the Islamic State and its local affiliates, the government officials continue to decline the existence of the Islamic State in the province. How would it deny the death of hundreds of innocent people, who were killed in at least three major terrorist attacks is the question.
There’s a total breakdown of dialogue between the civilians and the government. The Baloch have been fighting for their independence from Pakistan since long, and Pakistani government seems to believe that excessive use of force is the right solution. What is perceptible is that Pakistan is unaware, that armies are meant to be used against enemies and not one’s own people.
A lot of Baloch people had been abducted and executed by Pakistani agencies and army, while many of them were killed and dumped across Balochistan. The issue is indeed alarming. “Balochistan has had the dubious distinction of being the world capital of enforced disappearances where more than 2,000 journalists, singers, teachers, lawyers have been forcibly abducted, tortured, killed and dumped since 2009 – in just five years, as many as in Chile during the reign of Augusto Pinochet,” mentioned a DailyO report.
The Human Rights Watch has released several reports on abducted people in Balochistan, The freedom struggle of a province that has witnessed agony, darkness, and perpetual violence for more than a decade is, indeed, real.
-by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha