Archive for July, 2018

Dutch Frankness …

Posted on July 25, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts |

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20180131-where-dutch-directness-comes-from

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A Dog is a Dog – Love Him or Her …

Posted on July 25, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts |

http://time.com/5342964/human-bond-dog-thoughts/

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Croatian President …

Posted on July 25, 2018. Filed under: Personalities |

Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic …

The Croatian president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic has created a storm by her beauty and selfless support of her national team. But do we know what lies beneath her beauty? 

Born on 29 April 1968, she is a graduate in English and Spanish literature. She has done post-graduation in international relations. She is a Fulbright scholar, who studied at George Washington university, Harvard and John Hopkins university.

At the age of 46, in the year 2015, she became president and started pursuing her doctorate in international relations. 

Don’t get waylaid by her beauty because she is an ex army commando and an ace marksman too.

From 2007 to 2011 she was the ambassador of Croatia to US. Then she became the first woman to be the NATO assistant secretary general for public diplomacy.

In that capacity she visited Afghanistan number of times to raise the morale of NATO troops deployed there.

In the NATO circle she is known as SWAMBO. That is she who must be obeyed.

Known as a no nonsense woman, she instilled discipline and dedication, leading by her own example. She has been voluminously praised by both George Bush Jr and Barack Obama.

She bought her own economy class ticket and came to Russia to see Croatia playing. She put on Croatian Jersey and sat in the VIP box.

Breaking all norms, she mingled with spectators and hugged the players, who were sweating and in briefs in the dressing room. 

She speaks Croatian, English, Spanish and Danish language. She is fairly adept in German, French, Russian and Italian. She was seen speaking to both Putin and Macron fluently in Russian and French. 

She is the epitome of a Leader – brilliant, savvy inspiring, disciplined. 

— 

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Murky World of Assassinations …

Posted on July 24, 2018. Filed under: From Russia with Love |

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-44860698?ocid=global_bbccom_email_22072018_top+news+stories

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The Bombay Mumbai Story …

Posted on July 23, 2018. Filed under: Indian Thought |

According to our ancient history, a group of 7-seven islands comprising Colaba, Mazagaon, Old Woman’s Island, Wadala, Mahim, Parel, & Matunga – Sion formed a part of the Kingdom of Ashoka the Great of Magadh, ironically in North India.
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The 7 islands of Mumbai passed through many hands – the Sultans of Gujarat, the Portuguese & the British. Every ruler left behind proof of residence in Mumbai.
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The Mauryans left behind the ★Kanheri-Caves (Borivali N-Park), ★Jogeshwari-Caves ★Mahakali-Caves & the caves of “Ghara-puri” island more popularly called.. Elephanta.
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The Sultans of Gujarat built the Dargahs at Mahim & Haji Ali.
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The Portuguese built the two Portuguese Churches, one at ,Prabhadevi & the other, St. Andrews at Bandra. They also built Forts at Sion, Mahim, Bandra & Bassien (today’s Vasai). The Portuguese named the group of 7 slands ‘Bom Baia’, Good Bay.
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The British built a city out of the group of 7 islands & called her Bombay – spoilt from the original Mumbai. The original settlers of the 7 islands, the Koli fishermen, worshiped Mumba Devi, her Temple still stands at Zaveri Bazar/Paydhuni.. Cotton Exchange ..near Chowpatty.
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The Kolis called the island Mumbai, ‘Mumba’-devi, Mother Goddess’
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In 1662, King Charles II of England married the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza, & received the 7 islands of Bom Baia as part of his dowry. Six years later, the British Crown leased the 7 islands to the English East India Company for a sum of 10 pounds in gold per annum.
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It was under the “English East India Co” that the future megapolis began to take shape ! After the first War for Independence in 1857, Bombay once again became a colony of the British Empire
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History has forgotten this but the first Parsi settler came to Bombay in 1640, he was Dorabji Nanabhoy Patel.
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In 1689-90, a severe “plague” प्लेग epidemic broke out in Bombay & most of the European settlers succumbed to it.
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The Siddi of Janjira Fort (MS) attacked in full force. Rustomji Dorabji Patel, a trader & the son of the city’s first Parsi settler, successfully defeated the सिद्दी Siddi (African-Nigro) with the help of, the Kolis & saved Bombay.
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Gerald Aungier, Governor of Bombay built the Bombay Castle, an area that is even today referred to as Fort. He also constituted the Courts of Law. He brought Gujarati traders, Parsi shipbuilders, Muslim & Hindu manufacturers from the mainland & settled them in Bombay.
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It was during a period of 4 decades that the city of Bombay took shape. Reclamation was done to plug the breach at Worli & Mahalakshmi, and Hornby Vellard was built in 1784.
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The Sion Causeway, connecting Bombay to Salsette, was built in 1803. Colaba Causeway, connecting Colaba island to Bombay, was built in 1838. A Causeway connecting Mahim & Bandra was built in 1845.
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Lady Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, the wife of the First Baronet Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy donated Rs. 1,57,000 to meet construction costs of the Causeway. She donated ₹ 1,00,000 at first ! When the project costs escalated & money ran out half way through, she donated ₹ 57,000 again to ensure that the vital Causeway was completed.
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Lady Jamsetjee stipulated that no toll would ever be charged for those using the Causeway. Today Mumbaikars have to pay ₹-75 to use the Bandra-Worli Sealink, connecting almost the same two islands.
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Sir JJ Hospital was also built by Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy. The ship building “Wadia family of Surat” was brought to Bombay by the British. Jamshedji Wadia founded the Bombay Port Trust & built the Princess Docks in 1885 & the Victoria Docks & the Mereweather Dry Docks in 1891. Alexandra Docks were built in 1914.
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A Gujarati civil engineer supervised the building of the Gateway of India.
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The Tatas made Bombay their headquarters & gave it the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel & India ‘s first civilian airlines, Air India. The Godrejs gave India its first vegetarian soap. Cowasji Nanabhai Daver established Bombay ‘s first cotton mill, ‘The Bombay Spinning Mills’ in 1854.
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By 1915, there were 83 textile mills in Bombay largely owned by Indians. This brought about a financial boom in Bombay ! Although the mills were owned by the Gujaratis, Kutchis, Parsis & Marwaris, the workforce was migrant Mahrashtrians from rural Maharashtra.
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Premchand Roychand, a prosperous Gujarati broker founded the Bombay Stock Exchange. Premchand Roychand donated Rs. 2,00,000 to build the Rajabai Tower in 1878.
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Muslim, Sindhi & Punjabi migrants have also contributed handsomely to Mumbai. Apart from its original inhabitants, the Kolis, everyone else in Mumbai, are immigrants.
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When the Shiv Sena came to power in 1993, the name Bombay was replaced with Mumbai.
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Army’s Strike Mtn Corps Shelved …

Posted on July 23, 2018. Filed under: Indian Thought, Personalities |

From The Wire – Ali Ahmed, a former Infantry officer with a PhD from JNU, has worked at a think tank and taught at a central university in New Delhi.

It is reported that the Indian army’s much vaunted mountain strike corps (MSC) has been put in cold storage. An insinuation attributed by the media to unnamed sources has it that the decision to raise the MSC was a result of institutional factors rather than strategic necessity.

According to these sources, the army officer corps saw the MSC as a way of accessing a greater slice of the defence budget. By blaming the army for inflating the threat perception in order to make itself the primus inter pares among the three services suggests, however, that the sources are set on diverting attention away from the implications of the decision for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

The government, well past its honeymoon period, has been coming in for criticism lately. Its actions following the prime minister’s end-April dash to Wuhan for an ‘informal summit’ with Xi Jinping – the renaming of Taiwan as ‘Chinese Taipei’ on the Air India website, the reins put on the army’s assertive actions on the Line of Actual Control and the visible distancing from the Tibetan government-in-exile – have drawn adverse comment.

The perception is that there seems to be that the policy of self-assertion – whose high point was the 73-day standoff with the Chinese at the Doklam plateau last year – is being reversed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping as they take a boat ride on the East Lake in Wuhan, China, April 28, 2018. Credit: PIB//Handout via Reuters                                                                                  ……

Further, the government downsized the defence budget to its lowest proportion this year in terms of gross domestic product since 1962.

Mindful of the unforeseeable consequences of a diplomatic or military crisis in an election year, the government apparently has developed cold feet on its policy of standing up to China. It therefore needed to send a signal to Beijing that it is drawing its claws back.

The MSC had been cleared by the previous UPA government very reluctantly and rather late in its tenure, when, in its second avatar, too weak to fend off the army’s pitch for the MSC any longer, it had sanctioned the corps.

The May 2013 Chinese intrusion in the Depsang sector perhaps forced the government’s hand, with its approval coming quick in wake of the intrusion that July. The first division for the corps started being raised in January 2014.

The Modi government took a view of the new raising early in its tenure, with finance minister Arun Jaitley – temporarily double-hatted as defence minister – going about reviewing its necessity. In the event,  Manohar Parrikar, who became full-time defence minister after Jaitley, indicated that the decision was a ‘temporary, not permanent freeze’ on its size. 

While on the one hand the BJP-led government wanted to project a tough-on-security image, the prime minister had indicated at the combined commanders’ conference that the army should turn to technology rather than compensating for capacity voids with manpower, as it was wont to do.

The decision came despite the Chinese intrusion early in the Modi tenure in the Chumar sector, even as the Chinese president Xi Jinping was being hosted by Modi at Ahmedabad.

Even so, the army persisted with its raising, though it was difficult going. Immediately prior to the 73-day stand-off with the Chinese at Doklam last year, the second division of the MSC was reportedly under raising at Pathankot.

The army had to dig into its war reserve stocks to equip it, thereby depleting those stocks as the defence public service utilities and ordnance factories could not keep pace. Its vice chief controversially admitted to the parliamentary standing committee that war reserves had fallen short of the stipulated levels.

It appears that the government has finally taken a call and clamped down on further new raisings, affecting the corps gaining its full complement.

Hopes are now pinned on the study underway by the army training command on ‘optimisation’, whereby manpower for the completion of the MSC can be created from within existing resources rather than by an increase in recruitment, as was the case so far.

In other words, the MSC is not quite shelved. It can be completed without expanding the size of the army. In any case, the completion date had been projected at 2021, as the MSC was to be set up under the 12th army plan and part of the 13th army plan, part of the long term integrated perspective plan looking out to 2027.

Weapons acquisition has been underway for some two years now, with the 145 ultra-light howitzers cleared for purchase at the cost of $750 million under the fast track foreign military sales route in June 2016. In other words, the MSC completion is only postponed.

This begs the question as to why. 

The Modi government has been in election mode all through its tenure. Even as it has gained control of over a dozen states, it is hesitant to face national elections, with some of its initiatives, specifically demonetisation and the GST scheme being poorly conceived and implemented.

Its strategy of polarisation has been called out for taking India down the Pakistan route with religious majoritarianism potentially undermining governance and the rule of law.

Modi is well aware that the feel-good, high-wattage advertising of India Shining had not worked to preserve the pervious NDA government in power. He is also aware that the social outlays of the UPA government had allowed it to retain power in 2009.

In what is now an election year, Modi knows he needs to focus on the domestic and can do without the distraction of a border crisis, especially with a superior foe.

He does not need China in the political strategy underway of internal polarisation as he approaches the 2019 elections. Pakistan serves him well on this score.

Thus, he has temporarily toned down the assertive strategy in relation to China, even as he remains free to   revert to it once the elections return him to power.

The invitation to Donald Trump to grace Republic Day suggests India continues to take its United States partnership seriously, implying that another turnaround may be at hand once elections are out of the way.

If election compulsions are behind the decision to delay the MSC, placing the army in the line of fire by implying – through ‘sources’ – that the army’s organisational pathologies were behind the move to raise the MSC inflicts collateral damage on the army’s reputation.

The army had advanced a strategic rationale for the MSC, arguing that India faced a ‘two front’ threat. While India had the offensive capability to tame its western neighbour, the army argued that it required a similar capability for tackling its neighbour to the north.

The army wished to move from dissuasion to deterrence. While the two defensive divisions that were formed in 2009-10 enabled defensive deterrence or deterrence by denial, an offensive corps would provide the punch for deterrence by punishment.

The UPA reluctantly fell in line not because it agreed with this rationale but because of its well-known institutional weakness. The Modi government’s parliamentary majority gave it the political clout to  challenge the army’s MSC rationale but it chose not to because it believed that standing up to China would work to its political advantage.

Now, at the fag-end of its tenure, the BJP’s willingness to call into question the army’s strategic perspective and advance a reason that deflects any blame from itself for going slow on the MSC front marks a new political low.

The Modi government’s inability over the past four years to put out an overarching strategic doctrine accounts for its twists and turns in the strategic field, belying its claim to a credible record on defence. It must not be allowed to profit electorally from its false claims.   

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A Woman 80 Yrs Young !!! …

Posted on July 22, 2018. Filed under: Sports |

She drove a 20 yr old car from Cape Town to Cairo – telling Border Guards she was headed for London to have Tea with the Queen …

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20180718-from-africa-to-tea-with-the-queen

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Our Constition Stands Tall …

Posted on July 20, 2018. Filed under: Indian Thought |

A constitutional renaissance

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Well, Well, Well – Facebook is Really an Ad Biz!!! …

Posted on July 19, 2018. Filed under: Business |

https://slate.com/technology/2018/07/zuckerberg-called-trump-to-congratulate-him-after-winning-the-election-because-facebook-is-an-ad-u.html

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Big Time Scamsters …

Posted on July 19, 2018. Filed under: Personalities |

In league with the Nirav Modi’s of India are the Singh Brothers, who even compromised the US Food and Drug Control Authoerity ….

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-28/billionaire-singh-brothers-accused-in-lawsuit-of-siphoning-money?cmpId=flipboard

 

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