Archive for August, 2019

Grand Canyon – Things to See n Do …

Posted on August 27, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Shadows cover the south rim in Grand Canyon National Park (Xanterra Travel Collection)

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Horace …

Posted on August 27, 2019. Filed under: Roman Thought |

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and drink

Horace was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus. “He can be lofty sometimes, yet he is also full of charm and grace, versatile in his figures, and felicitously daring in his choice of words.” – 
From His Work –

Who then is free? The wise man who can govern himself. A word once uttered can never be recalled and anger is but a short madness. 

Clogged with yesterday’s excess, the body drags the mind down with it. How great, my friends, is the virtue of living upon a little!

Labor diligently to increase your property. Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work. Leave the rest to the gods. 

You traverse the world in search of happiness, which is within the reach of every man. A contented mind confers it on all. on all. Make good use of the present.

Always keep your composure; else you can’t score from the penalty box. To win, you have to score. 

When things are steep, remember to stay level-headed. Begin, be bold and venture to be wise. Don’t think – Just Do. Dare to be wise! Begin. He has half done who begins. 

In bad times we hope and in good times we fear a change in fortune. If matters go badly, it will not always be so.

Your own safety is at stake when your neighbor’s wall is ablaze. 

Whatever advice you give, be short. The pen is the tongue of the mind. Words will not fail when the matter is well considered. 

It is no great art to say something briefly when, like Tacitus, one has something to say.

He gains everyone’s approval who mixes the pleasant with the useful. Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment. 

What we learn only through the ears makes less impression upon our minds than what is presented to the trustworthy eye.

Good sense is both the first principal and the parent source of good writing. I never think at all when I write. Nobody can do two things at the same time and do them both well.

Strange – is it not? That of the myriads who before us passed the Door of Darkness through; not one returns to tell us of the road, which to discover we must travel too.

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Battle of Little Big Horn …

Posted on August 27, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Battle of Little Big Horn or Custer’s Last Stand –

Charles Marion Russell - The Custer Fight (1903).jpg

The Battle was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, who were led by several major war leaders, including Crazy Horse and Chief Gall and had been inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull.

The U.S. 7th Cavalry, a force of 700 men, suffered a major defeat while under the command of Lieut Colonel George Armstrong – formerly a Brevet Major General during the American Civil War.

Five of the 7th Cavalry’s twelve companies were annihilated and Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew and a brother-in-law.

The total U.S. casualty count included 274 dead and 55 severely wounded. The Indians lost 30 – 100 men.

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Husbands n Wives …

Posted on August 26, 2019. Filed under: Mars & Venus |

Why Do Indian Husbands remain faithful disciples of their wives? -Answer By Dr Iyer, MD

I will tell you my personal story as to why I remain faithful to my wife.
It is just for survival.

Her multitasking always amazed me, especially when it came to chemistry.
It was 8 in the morning. In the kitchen, my wife was checking the viscosity of the sambar, the solubility of chutney and the permeability of coffee, all at the same time.

The huge number of multisized, multilabel bottles and cans on the shelf in front of her, looked like a 17th century alchemist lab with containers of different shapes and sizes labeled in Hebrew and Arabic. Hebrew and Arabic you can learn, but here it was a different challenge. The ‘Horlicks’ bottle contained chili powder, 

The ‘Bournvita’ tin, salt, while the oats tin had turmeric. 
I won’t be surprised if the rat poison cover had pickles in it. But even without the blink of an eye she confidently opens a container labeled Britannia biscuit , puts a little masala powder in one of the cookers, and put it off. No watches to time, no weighing scale to go by.

But then suddenly, there was this call from the department of physics. 

The milkman has come with the milk. Even without a lactometer she predicted that the milk did not meet the required specific gravity to be deemed fit for human consumption, adult, pediatric and our pet cat included.

The simultaneous arrival of the old newspaperwalla needed supervision in weights and measures department, which she did with accuracy eligible to earn an ISO certification.Within the next 20 minutes she noted that the particulate matter in the tap water was alarmingly high (to me it seemed usual) and made sure that no one used it for drinking.

By noon she discovered an unusual biologic phenomena of slowing of the movement of our goldfish in our jerry can sized aquarium and predicted that the prognosis and outcome was poor.

With my postgraduate degree in medicine, I did not find the fish too abnormal but uttered an “yes yes”, more to avoid an argument than anything else. By evening 6 the goldfish died.

She followed the exact norms of environmental safety in disposal of the mortal remains with necessary prayers; identifying that the cause for the mortality was the new brand of fish food, without an autopsy.

The arrival of the gardeners made her take critical decisions in the area of agriculture deciding on which manure would suit the mango tree better.

And the financial wizard happily manages to run the home with a fiscal deficit starting by the end of third week of every month.

It is said that management skills go beyond what you are taught in the B schools., However top grade they are, you need some special senses. I agree. Even if my salary cheque lies deep in my hospital coat pocket she smells it out by the time I park the car.

Phenomenal I say. Isn’t it. Surprising that with all these qualifications, a working day from 6 am till 11 pm, and on call 24 hours a day, Indian housewives are still considered unemployed and have no organized Trade Union.

Administering the department of Home, with two terrorizing kids is another matter I don’t want to discuss here, because, at least one of them is a young ‘Activist’.

Today is the era of re-designation, where the department heads have become Directors, Managers rechristened as Chairman and owners as CEOs.

Without call for a strike, we have decided to elevate and promote the good old, young at heart, all knowing housewife to a “Homemaker.”

She is happy with it!

I have very little knowledge of chemistry, nature science, food and beverage or commerce or arts.
I remain faithful to my wife, and I cling to her just for survival.

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The Modi – Shah Brand …

Posted on August 26, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

By Suhel Seth 

Ideally, under precarious circumstances, we could we be discussing Marks & Spencer whilst referring to M&S: but in the context of India, it would be perhaps both timely and wise to study the influence and writ of Brand Modi and Brand Shah: and of course the reference is to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Home Minister Amit Shah.

Never before in the history of India, other than the Nehru-Patel duopoly, have we seen a political partnership of the kind we are seeing in Modi-Shah. A partnership that is strategic; firm and clear in what it wants to achieve. The fact that both men care very little to offer explanations to various cabals makes them even more appealing. And obviously more feared.

But then this is the new norm of political strong men across the world. They need to (and eventually do) drive both fear and avowed loyalty and its almost as it they whilst striving to unite, often polarise like never before. A fortnight ago, the Government pushed through legislation which obliterated a holy cow like Article 370: since 1950, no one wanted to rock this boat but Modi-Shah did.

They did it because they could and that is the first trait of the M&S brand: they are convinced of what needs to be done and they set out to do it. You may disagree with the idea or the implementation but you cant fault them for being decisive. Decisiveness is a trait loved by the people in their leaders. This will work brilliantly for M&S. 

In order to understand the workings of these two gentlemen, you must also take into account a historical context: they were both pushed against the wall, together, whilst in Gujarat.

They were, certainly to themselves and their supporters targets of abuse and hatred whilst no court of law in the land had actually indicted them. Their vilification by the outside world brought them together: in many ways they took refuge in their isolation as also in their troubles: which is why when Modi ran for Prime Ministership, he leaned on Amit Shah to deliver not just the party but equally the elections, which Amit Shah did with aplomb.

Which is their second virtue: both these men had had a track record of delivering on what they promise. Delivering on a promise is a critical trait for any successful brand: and I have always maintained that consumers don’t buy the brand: they inherently buy the benefits.

Many people took umbrage at the comments that Narendra Modi first made when he took over. One was related to corruption whist the other was a swipe at the prevailing Lutyens Culture.

Amit Shah in his response to queries in Parliament on Article 370 adopted a similar approach: while defending the Government’s decision to abolish Article 370, he also made it abundantly clear that this was a legacy issue for the Congress and that they in the BJP were merely correcting an enduring historical wrong.

Thus what we’ve seen in almost everything that Modi-Shah have done, is to disrupt the status quo. To use surprise as a lethal weapon but with effectiveness and stealth. Disruption is a tremendous tool employed by great brands to draw both consumers as also shift the battleground qua competition.

Political strategy is like a game of chess. You always plan the moves but never make them known. It’s not about arriving for the game and then planning your moves. What the Modi-Shah duo have mastered, over the years, is a sense of discretion.

Discretion in a country like India is both potent and necessary because given the leakages, many of the best laid plans can come asunder. They used discretion in almost every major policy initiative: be it demonetization; the surgical strike or more recently Kashmir.

Discretion amongst brands leave competitions second-guessing which again is both a unique and profitable trait of successful brands. Akin to a brand launch.

In sum, India is now seeing a new political idiom and not just a new political force. The tone and manner of this brand duopoly is different from any other that we’ve seen in the last hundred years, I would wager. It is about firmness and focus and built on the 4 Ds. 

Decisiveness. Delivery. Disruption. Discretion. 

And now compare it to the competitive political brands and you will see why they are wallowing in the kind of misery that they are bogged in..
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1965 War – A Pak Hero Passes Away …

Posted on August 26, 2019. Filed under: Personalities |

By Hamid Hussein –


Brigadier ® Nisar Ahmad Khan (28 March 1920 – 30 July 2019)

Brigadier ® Nisar Ahmad Khan passed away on 30 July 2019 in Michigan; United States.  He was nick named ‘Kaka Nisar’.  A fine officer and gentleman who was instrumental in a very important holding action of armor in 1965 Indo-Pakistan War faded away into the fog of history. 

He was born on 28 March 1920 at Bassi Pathana near Sirhind in Patiala state.  This Muslim Pathan colony was established during Mughal era.  This small Muslim enclave in a Sikh state provided soldiers to the Maharaja of Patiala. 

Several generations of Nisar’s ancestors proudly served Patiala state. According to Maharaja Patiala CaptainAmarindar Singh, Kaka Nisar was sixth generation of the family to serve Patiala state.  He followed the family tradition, joined Ist Patiala (Rajindra) Lancers and was commissioned on 21 March 1943. 

In 1947, on partition of India, he opted for Pakistan army.  He received regrant of his commission on 28 August 1948 and assigned Pakistan Army number PA 959.  He joined Probyn’s Horse (5th Horse) of Pakistan army. 

He was Officer Commandant (OC) of School of Armor in Nowshera from March 1954 to July 1955.  In June 1956, when 20th Lancers was raised under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Nasrullah Khan with Major (later Major General) Jahanzeb Khan as Second-in-Command, Nisar was posted to 20th Lancers during the raising of the regiment. 

He raised 25th Cavalry on 09 June 1962 and  commanded it from the day of raising to 22 September 1966.  He was promoted Brigadier and served as Commandant of Armored Corps Center and Record Wing from 02 September 1971 to 01 October 1972.  He commanded an ad hoc Changez Force in 1971 Indo-Pakistan War.

Adi Tarapore of 17th Poona Horse and Kaka Nisar of 25th Cavalry were both originally from state forces and not regular Indian army.  Adi had joined Hyderabad State Forces first serving with 7th Hyderabad Infantry and later Ist Hyderabad Lancers.  

After 1947, with absorption of state forces in Indian army, he joined 17th Poona Horse.  Nisar was originally from Patiala State Forces.  Adi and Nisar had served together during Second World in Aden when their respective regiments were deployed there as part of Indian Imperial Service Brigade. 

Both regiments have great respect for the opposing Commanding Officer considering them outstanding and thoroughly professional officers who gave the best performance. 

Dilemma of partition for individuals is highlighted by the story of another officer of 25th Cavalry. 

Major Annu Khan was the legendry Viceroy Commissioned Officer (VCO) of 17th Poona Horse. His two sons Risaldar Yunus Khan and Daffadar Mehboob Khan also served with their father’s regiment. 

In 1947 when India was divided Annu Khan and Yunus Khan decided to stay in India but Mehboob Khan decided to come to Pakistan.  Mehboob’s son Shamshad Ahmad joined Pakistan army. 

Shamshad’s maternal grandfather Risaldar Kale Khan served with 16th Cavalry.  In 1965 war, Shamshad was serving with 25th Cavalry of Pakistan army and his regiment fought against both his maternal and paternal family regiments; 16th Cavalry and 17th Poona Horse. 

If Mehboob had decided to stay in India, it was very likely that his son Shamshad would have joined one of his family regiments and fighting against 25th Cavalry. 

Those who served under Kaka Nisar remember him as a thorough professional and ‘fully devoted to the well being of all under his command’.  With Kaka Nisar’s passing, another chapter of the old generation of officers is closed.  He was one of the oldest armor officer of Pakistan army. 

Rest in peace Kaka Nisar.

Lest the young soldiers be strange in heaven,
God bids the old soldier they all adored
Come to Him and wait for them, clean, new-shriven, 
A happy doorkeeper in the House of the Lord.
Lest it abash them, the strange new splendor,
Lest it affright them, the new robes clean;
Here’s an old face, now, long-tried, and tender, 
A word and a hand-clasp as they troop in.”
My boys,” he greets them: and heaven is homely, 
He their great captain in days gone o’er;
Dear is the friend’s face, honest and comely,
Waiting to welcome them by the strange door.
The Old Soldier by Katharine Tynan  

Acknowledgements:  Thanks to Lieutenant Colonel ® Zahid Mumtaz for biographic details of Brigadier Nisar’s career and pictures, Brigadier Asif Kamal Mirza ex 25 Cavalry; who served under Nisar and Major ® Agha H. Amin for encyclopedic details of operations of 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistan Wars in the theatres where Kaka Nisar operated.

Hamid Hussain

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Second Graders on Moms’ …

Posted on August 25, 2019. Filed under: Mars & Venus |

Rita Tetens – Answers of 2nd-Grade School Children 

Why did God make Mothers? . 1. She’s the only one who knows where the scotch tape is. 2. Mostly to clean the house. 3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers? 1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us. 2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring. 3. God made my mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of? 1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean. 2. They had to get their start from men’s bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom? 1. We’re related. 2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people’s mom like me.

What kind of a little girl was your mom? 1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff. 2. I don’t know because I wasn’t there, but my guess would be pretty bossy. 3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him? 1. His last name. 2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? 3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores? Does he get drunk on beer?

Why did your mom marry your dad? 1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mom eats a lot. 2. She got too old to do anything else with him. 3. My grandma says that mom didn’t have her thinking cap on.

Who’s the boss at your house? 1. Mom doesn’t want to be boss, but she has to because dad’s such a goofball. 2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed. 3.. I guess mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What’s the difference between moms and dads? 1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work. 2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them. 3. Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power that’s who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friends. 4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time? 1 Mothers don’t do spare time. 2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect? 1. On the inside, she’s already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery. 2. Diet. You know, her hair… I’d diet, maybe blue.

f you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be? 1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I’d get rid of that. 2. I’d make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it not me. 3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head. 

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India’s Queen Victoria Era …

Posted on August 22, 2019. Filed under: Personalities |

Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, 6th Nizam of Hyderabad, circa 1890-1911.
Hyderabad, 1937

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Kargil War – Sad, Sordid Version …

Posted on August 22, 2019. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Drass:Worlds Second Coldest Inhabited Place : News Photo

Afraid the Writer of this piece is Unknown – but the broad Story could pass muster.

The Retired Dy Cdr of the Hot Bde where the fire works took place – bounced into me n I was shocked to learn that he had made it to Brig rank w?o Representation after he had been over looked by Three Promotion Boards – in an unheard of Fourth Promotion Board!!

I surmised that the powers that be had wanted him on their side in their Court Battle with the then Brigade Commander> Obviously this was Hanky Panky – to put it mildly!

Here is what is circulating –

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China – the Future ? …

Posted on August 20, 2019. Filed under: Chinese Wisdom |

China’s history of unpredictability goes back a long way.

Tyler Cowan in Bloomberg –

Is the rest of the world getting China wrong yet again? Maybe the country is not doomed to live out unending top-down rule. What is history, after all, but the realization of the wills of countless unpredictable human beings.

Past mistakes about China are too numerous to mention. When it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, many thought China would liberalize. Since Japan, Taiwan and South Korea had all gone on to become full-fledged democracies after periods of autocracy, the pattern was clear: Once they were fairly wealthy, the growing middle classes demanded a say in their government. At the time, it hardly seemed crazy to believe China might go down a similar path.

That turned out to be wrong. It was also conventional wisdom, circa 2010, that China was due for an economic crack-up. That didn’t happen, either.

China’s history of surprising outsiders goes even further back. Before 1979, it was hardly obvious that China would undertake serious economic reforms and usher in the longest and largest period of economic growth in world history.

The Chinese Communist Party — which itself had presided over the deaths of tens of millions in the famines and chaos of the Cultural Revolution, shocking even those most skeptical and pessimistic about its intentions — just did not seem open to liberalization.

The party’s very existence was in a sense surprising, as Karl Marx predicted that successful communist revolutions were mostly likely to come in industrial capitalist societies. But in China the party took power in what was largely an agrarian society.

Earlier yet, it was hardly obvious that a country as large as China would lose the Opium Wars so decisively to a relatively small British naval fleet, and end up having to cede Hong Kong. Nor was it widely understood in the 17th century that China was undergoing a new age of stagnation and would be so radically overtaken by the West.

All of which leads me to quote perhaps the wisest single statement  ever made about China: “China will always surprise us.”

Or consider Hong Kong. Not long ago it was practically a cliché that Hong Kong was a territory of apathetic, spoiled wealthy people, not very committed to self-rule or democracy. That too has been shown to be false, as 1.7 million people took the risk of participating last weekend in a peaceful anti Govt march.

Of course, very few Westerners predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, or for that matter the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970s and the subsequent rise of Islamic radicalism. So I have become a little skeptical of the latest groupthink about China — namely, that China isn’t going to liberalize again. To be sure, there is plenty of evidence for that view.

But has China suddenly become so predictable? Are events there now no longer contingent on the exercise of human will? Modern China is one of the most unusual and surprising societies humankind has created. There are no good models for it, nor are there data from comparable historical situations.

There is, unfortunately, a tendency for Westerners to impose superficial narratives on China and the Chinese, often based on scant observation. One current example is the cliché of the hardworking Chinese student; the reality is more mixed.

Not so long ago the cliché was that China could copy things but not innovate on its own; China is now far ahead of the U.S. with its retail payment system, and is threatening to become the world leader in quantum computing and parts of the biosciences. And of course there was the hoary cliché in 19th-century America that the Chinese were lazy, shiftless and addicted to opium.

The deeper reality is that China, like all of the world’s major civilizations, is large, complex, and hard to understand. This is not to say that generalizations about China are always wrong — only that, just as past narratives have been wrong, so might be current ones.

For myself, I don’t have a coherent story about how the Chinese might move to greater liberty in the next 10 to 15 years. But I do think the actions of the current regime can be read as signs of vulnerability rather than entrenchment. Taiwan and Hong Kong, despite its current crisis, remain strong examples of the benefits of liberalization.

Meanwhile, the notion of the internet — even with censorship — as a liberalizing force has been too quickly dismissed, especially in an America that has fallen out of love with Big Tech.

Which leads to a reality even deeper than China’s unpredictability: people’s continuing capacity to respond to current events and shape their futures for the better.

As you listen, watch and read about China, keep in mind this essential human quality.

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