Category Archives: History

Not everything of value comes at a price: Rahul Dravid

On the 11th Sir Donald Bradman oration, Rahul Dravid was chosen to give speech and as always he showed his excellence with his extra ordinary, thoughtful and studious speech with a pinch of humor. Reflecting on the brilliance of the Donald Bradman, he talked about Cricket – then and now with careful observations from history and understanding the current cricket scenario. He also analysed what changes we should expect in a game of cricket and how we should be prepared for the changes

He started off by drawing a parallel between India and Australia. Not only in terms of Cricket but also how the Australian success against the English team was treated as a success for Indians during pre-independence era. Often, “War”, “Battle”, “fight” are the words being used to describe Cricket nowadays which was a reality at that time because Australia and India were on the same side fighting the English empire during Burma war and World War II. Cricket was a common denominator between India and Australia.

Rahul took pride in saying that he shared one thing with Sir Don Bradman – The No. 3. He laughed off on how different their batting styles are where Bradman could make a ton before lunch but he himself would bat entire day for the same. However, he believed that dignity, integrity, pride, compassion and competitiveness are the values with which Bradman played are still relevant and every cricketer should embody these traits. He emphasized on how Bradman’s praise for the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar meant a lot for every Indian who hardly saw a glimpse of Bradman’s cricketing talent but felt joy in his success.

He also touched upon a common notion in media about Indian cricket as a representative of “Money and Power”. He made it clear that this clichéd image is not true as cricket in India has developed from players coming from all classes, regions, with different mother-tongues and also it involves sacrifices of people surrounding these players. To be able to hold together such a team is Indian captain’s job and all the cricketers who have given a chance to do that have done it with all sincerity. Speaking of holding and working together as a team, he recalled an example of two cricketers from his Under-19 days when two Indian batsmen not knowing a word of each other’s language, made a 100 runs partnership, only because their common language was Cricket.

He mentioned that Indian cricket reflects the country itself. With all the media involvement in Cricket, he firmly said that Cricket is full of stories that are not being talked about (in public). Reciting examples of how talent has its roots deep inside India, he told the story of Indian players like Virender Sehwag who used to travel 84 km for match practice, Umesh Yadav who gave away his police training and a road to Munaf Patel’s home had to be re-constructed for press reporters.

Rahul Dravid known for his humility did not forget fans’ contribution to the game of Cricket. He believed that audience amplifies the atmosphere of a cricket match while remembering Kolkata 2001 test. He asked us to find a clue in how smaller towns are getting huge crowd which has given India her World Cup winning captain. He suggested his fellow cricketers that everything has started from fans, so it’s important that we should respect them first. A wave or smile back towards fans is what they ask for. He remembered 2011 Indian world cup win and how fans were thanking instead of congratulating them for bringing home the glory.

As Cricket has developed into 3 formats, Rahul remains strong on the view that Test cricket deserves to be protected. He mentions it wonderfully that, “Not everyone who fell in love with Test Cricket because they wanted to be a businessman. Not everything of value comes at a price.”

The great wall finished his meticulous speech with a message which is a lesson for everyone in whatever field they might be –

“Winning matters! But how we play is as important (as winning)”

Bradman Oration by Rahul Dravid from Rahul Dravid on Vimeo.

On this day: Tsunami struck South Asia

On Sunday morning of 26 December in 2004, Earthquake measured 9.1 on Richter Scale and 18.6 mi epicenter depth was observed in West Coast Sumatra Island which was the epicenter for Tsunami.

Here are few facts about the nightmare that devastated many lives

  • This earthquake was caused by two tectonic plate called as Indian and Burma plate.

  • It affected 18 countries. These are Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri-Lanka, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Maldives, Reunion Island (French), Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Somalia, Tanzania, Kenya, Oman, South Africa and Australia.

Image result for tsunami 2004 damage

  • In Sri-lanka, 1720 km coastline was damaged along with 300 m to 3 km inland area. 78529 houses were destroyed and 41097 partly damaged. More than 30 thousand lives were lost and more than five thousands are still missing while around 500K people remain displaced

  • Indonesia was one of the worst affected by Tsunami with Banda Aceh saw 126,602 people were dead and more than 93 thousand people still missing. Around 500 thousand people remain displaced till date.

  • Rahmatullah Lampuuk mosque, located in Lhoknga region of Aceh remained unscathed where Tsunami devastated the whole city and structures around the mosque were reduced to ground. Many people took refugee in this mosque built by Dutch colonizers in 1881.

  • More than 10 thousand people lost lives in Tsunami which struck Indian coastline leaving more than 600K people displaced. As per World Bank, Total economic loss is supposed to be of $1.5 b

Are we prepared enough?

In 2004, on the 10th anniversary of Tsunami, UNESCO recognised the achievements of Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS). United Nations General Assembly decided that 5 November should be designated as World Tsunami Awareness Day. /IOTWMS conducted the IOWave16 on 7 and 8 September 2016. The exercise simulated the Indian Ocean countries being put in a tsunami warning situation requiring the National Tsunami Warning Centre (NTWC) and the National and/or Local Disaster Management Offices (NDMO/LDMO) to test the SOPs and communication links at all levels of the warning and response chain. Twenty-four Indian Ocean Member States participated in the exercise, and for the first time, 12 countries took the exercise down to the community level where over 50,000 people were evacuated.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO is leading a global effort to develop and implement ocean-based tsunami warning systems as part of an overall multi-hazard disaster reduction strategy

 

Remembering the 16 December 1971: Part 2/2

Indian and International intervention

India published their refugee intake from East Bengal region which was striking 1.2 million refugees. Various efforts were done by United Nations to provide medical and humanitarian support for these refugees. After US government cancelled arms sales to West Pakistan on 8 November 1971, India also took this matter to United Nations on 18 November. In response to Gopalpur tragedy, Mukti Bahini launched a military action against West Pakistani troops on 21 November. A couple of days later, state-of-emergency was implemented across East Bengal region on 23 November.

After West Pakistani troops enforced a military action against East Pakistan on 3rd December. Appeals were discussed from India and USA in United Nations in a period of early half of December. In effect to that, United Nations appealed West Pakistan to withdraw their troops on 7 December 1971 and a ceasefire on 15 December.

The surrender

As West Pakistani troops came under the International Pressure and the war was destined to be over soon on 14 December 1971, Al-Badr military launched an attack on Bengali intellectuals who they thought could play an influential role in building up a separate nation.

However, more than 90 thousand Pakistani troops surrendered to Indian and Bangladeshi Liberation forces on 16 December 1971 which was the largest of its kind since World War 2. Surrender Instrument was signed by Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi, CO of Pakistan Army forces.

Atrocities

A nine-month long war for its liberation is probably one of the most poorly-documented war with each side claiming different statistics of fatalities and atrocities caused in the war. However, as per various international agencies statistics, interviews, news reports, first-hand accounts of victims, it is believed that more than 3 million Bengali people were killed during the war period.

The most who had suffered during the war period were Bengali women. General Tikka Khan led military in what might be referred as most shameful event in mankind history, raped more than 400,000 Bengali women. As per a CIA documentary, these genocidal rapes were shockingly supported by Muslim religious leaders who called for impregnating women with Muslim fetuses. Girls as young as 14 were raped in what was referred as rape camps. Rape was used as a tool for degradation of society and destruction of a community. Some reports also suggested that even after the surrender, West Pakistani troops showed no remorse for their genocide rather they boasted.

All these atrocities left a never healing scar on the victims as well as on everyone who was victim of this war in some or the other way.

Bangladesh as an Independent Nation

After the surrender on 16 December 1971, Bangladesh was recognized as a sovereign nation. But not to forget the horrific it has to gone through to achieve this sense of freedom. Even after so many decades have been passed through, there is still a sense of denial of atrocities being forced upon Bangladesh. Wounds of the war are still very fresh in Bangladeshi people. Amount of scars the war has left on Bangladesh it is important to look back and give an ear to the freedom fighters of 1971 Liberation war to bring the justice to all the genocide, women and children of 1971.

Vijay Diwas (Victory Day)

16 December 1971 is celebrated as Victory Day of Bangladesh in Bangladesh and Vijay Diwas in India.

Remembering the 16 December 1971: Part 1/2

Eastern Bengal part of India and Western Punjab and valleys region were formed together as The dominion of Pakistan when India got its freedom from British Colonial rule on 14 August 1947. Though both regions were under the Pakistan regime, the regions were not only distant from each other by miles but also the cultural, political and economic conditions were significantly different. The period between 1947 to 1971 saw a biggest turmoil in East Pakistan in terms of culture as well as politics.

East Pakistan economic and political degradation

After four months since Khwaja Nazimudin was appointed as a Chief Minister of East Bengal, University of Dhaka demanded Bengali to be recognized as an official language of Pakistan considering the prominent ethnicity in East Pakistan. However, the demand saw a backlash from Md. Ali Jinnah denying Bengali and persisting with Urdu as official language which got official confirmation on 26 January 1952. Exactly a month after the incident, Urdu was declared as official language, the outbreak in Dhaka was resulted in death of ten individuals which could be one of the first violence incident against the government forces. Powers shifted from Awami Muslim League to United Front Coalition in April 1954. A couple of years later, on 29 February 1956, a new constitution came into effect describing Pakistani Republic with Urdu and Bengali as official languages. However, clashes between government forces and different political parties continue to happen till winter of 1968 with hundreds of people losing their lives.

The violence between Government and East Pakistan political parties led to a formation of combined force called Democratic Action Committee (DAC) which rose to prominence. In just a span of a year, more than 600 people were killed in East Pakistan. On the backdrop of Awami League coming into power in 1970 in Pakistani National Assembly as well as East Pakistan Assembly, political violence took hundreds of lives until March 1971 in Syedpur, Jaydevpur, Chittagong, Rangpur, etc.

Conflict and How the events unfolded

Post effects of parliamentary elections saw resurgence of voices from intellectuals, civilians, students, religious minorities in East Pakistan. In order to suppress these voices and political parties in East Pakistan, West Pakistan launched a military offensive on the night of 25 March 1971 which is referred to as “Operation Searchlight”. Having lost voices and lives throughout since 1947, East Pakistan declared their independence on 26 March 1971, since then the war broke out which went down in history as one of the horrific wars in human history.  China, Malaysia, Turkey and Iran expressed support for the West Pakistani troops who were proliferating inside East Pakistan territory. Mukti Bahini, a liberation army was founded by East Bengali nationalists against the General Tikka Khan led West Pakistani troops. On 5th of May 1971, West Pakistani troops broke through in Gopalpur to kill Mukti Bahini members.

Read Part 2/2 here

Shaurya diwas’ vs ‘Yaum e Gham’: Babri Demolition Ayodhya

On Dec 6, 1992, a group of Hindu ‘karsevaks’ brought down the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya to grounds. It has been 25 years since Babri demolition but the same wrath can be seen fiery among the Hindu & Muslim organisations. Remembering the day, on 6 Dec 2017 Shaurya diwas was celebrated by Hindus. While the Hindu organisation celebrated Day of Valour, the day was treated as a Day of sorrow by Muslim organisations.  While the Hindus were wearing saffron to mark it as day of victory, the Muslims wore black bands celebrating it as back day, while the riots victims want to keep it as a ‘Harmony Day’.

While many Hindus proclaimed supporting the Shaurya Diwas, while there are many who assert the litigants as criminals and thugs who has nothing to do with religion, the spirit of religion or the spirit of Hinduism. Also some Muslims unsupported the Muslim organisations for litigating their demands in unfair ways stating that these are unethical elements are poisoning the society by name of Islam, Mhd. Prophet never called for blood dispersal , he always gave a grounding in  the message of peace and love.

 ‘Shaurya Diwas’ for Hindus:

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal celebrated the silver jubilee of Babri demolition by organizing shobha yatra, mashaal juloos, sabhas & march in Faizabad, Ayodhya , Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli , Bijnor and other locations of western UP. People in Ayodhya – Faizabad were requested to light up their homes with lamps; the temples were also decorated with diyas taking a pledge for construction of Ram Temple at the disputed site. The VHP sevaks raised processions holding flags and banners claiming Ram Temple construction at the disputed site.

‘Yaum e Gham’ for Muslims:

The Indian Union Muslim League, Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM declared it as Day of mourning for Muslims.  Muslims celebrated it as a black day by wearing bands tied around the arms. Iqbal Ansari recited Quranic verses remembering the litigants of Babri demolition. In the session, they also deliberate the legal status of the case and take pledge to stay strong on grounds to get their demands fulfilled.

In 2010, Allahabad High Court had already declared a three-way division of the land between Nirmohi Akhara, Lord Ram deity and the Sunni Waqf board but the protesters are still unhappy with the judgment. On December 5 2017, the final hearing of the case was to be done by Supreme Court but now it has been further suspended till February 8, 2018.

Babri Demolition – A Menace to Hindu-Muslim Brotherhood

History is always written from the writer’s perspective. So we’ll always find different versions of the same event in history and we might never know what the truth really is. But what is important that we as a nation should adhere to the beautiful word in which India is described in our constitution – “Secular”.

babri-masjid-demolition

Ayodhya is believed to be the birth place of sovereign Rama who is supposed to be an incarnation of lord Vishnu. Hindus treat Ayodhya as a sacred Hindu land.  Babri mosque located in Faizabad district, Uttar Pradesh is a matter of dispute among Hindus & Muslims for years. It is believed that a Hindu temple was demolished to create the mosque. The 2.77 acre disputed land has been captive for years. It is not just a religious heated discussion but also a scope of political and historical deliberation.

None of the Hindus & Muslims assemblies can arrange for strong evidences to upkeep their privilege for the disputed area. The Hindu organisations claiming that mosque located at the disputed land bore an inscription stating that it was built by Mir Baqi – general of the Muslim invader Babur in 1528 A.D.). It is alleged that Babar came to India in an early 20th century; he was dressed as a Qalandar (Sufi ascetic). On getting directives from Sufi saints Shah Jalal and Sayyid Musa Ashiqan, he took a pledge to triumph over India and construct Babri mosque after the Janmasthan temple demolition. The mosque was thus named as Babri Masjid (Babur’s mosque) or masjid-i-janmasthan after the name of Babar. The Hindu organisations build up their claim saying that the Archaeological Surveys also conclude that a Hindu temple used to exist at the disputed site. They also assert that there have been several historical evidences that support that the mosque was created after demolishing the Rama temple. In early Mughal period there are no solid facts that upkeep the temple demolition stories by Babar. There are some submissive manuscripts from Late Mughal period that relate to the incidence of temple demolition and creation of mosque at the same place, though we cannot claim the temple demolition saga as fact merely on basis of these stuffs.

The dispute:

The disputes related to Babri mosqe are going one from a long time between Sunni Wakf Board and the ABRM claiming the site possession. Akhil Bharatiya Ramayana Mahasabha (ABRM) agitated the privilege of disputed land in 1946. In 1949, the mosque was attacked by Hindu activists, they broke into the mosque to place idols of Rama and Sita. After that the gates were locked for public by police to circumvent further rebels.

Rest is history:

On 6 December 1992, Vishva Hindu Parishad and BJP kar sevaks organised a rally at the mosque site. The provoking political rally advanced to matter of wrath among the mob. The mosque was attacked with a number of improvised tools and brought to the ground in a few hours. Muslim organisations expressed outrage at the mosque destruction. More than 2000 people were killed at in the riot. The rage among mob spread like a fire in Mumbai, Bhopal, Delhi, Hyderabad and other major locations in India. After Babri demolition in 1992, three-judge bench of The Allahabad High Court divided the disputed land among Hindu Maha Sabha, Islamic Sunni Waqf Board and Nirmohi Akhara. Though they are not pleased with the judgment, the case still stays and spreading further like a nasty germ among the Hindus & Muslims.

“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.”
― Aldous HuxleyCollected Essays