ACHA PEACE BULLETIN http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/ACHAPeaceBulletin

A publication of Association for Communal Harmony in Asia  (ACHA) www.asiapeace.org

 

Editor: Pritam K. Rohila, Ph. D.

 

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ACHA PEACE BULLETIN-Volume V, No. 10, October 1, 2003, (Next issue, November 5, 2003*)

 

CONTENTS
 
Peace & Harmony News From & About South Asia
Organizations
Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS)
Indian Muslim Council-USA
Council of Advocates International

Feature

Metro and Mandir: A Thirst for Quality Development, Dipankar Gupta
Living in the Fringes to Worship, Barnita Bagchi 

Arts & Entertainment

Awards

Books, Reports, Manuals & Databases

Prisoners of the Nuclear Dream, M.V. Ramana and C. Rammanohar Reddy

The History of History, (Politics and scholarship in Modern India), Vinay Lal

On Becoming an Indian Muslim, Mohammad Waseem

On Developing Theology of Peace in Islam, Asghar Ali Engineer

NGORC Journal - Quarterly on Civil Society Enhancement

Children

Conferences & Symposia

Courses & Training Programs

Environment

Fundraisers

APSA- Dosti Fund

Slide Show

Vacancies

Websites

Women

 

REPORTS & ANALYSES

(For a copy send a blank email to pritamr@open.org with its subject as the UPPERCASE word in the article title. Please limit your request to 3 articles)

 

Bangladesh

                     Bangladesh is BEING Pakistanised,  Shahriar Kabir, Hindustan Times, September 24, 2003

Bangladesh & India

                     India battles nature on Bangladesh BORDER, Myra MacDonald, alternet.org, Aug 22, 2003

Bhutan

                     KING-size Problem, Wasbir Hussain, South Asia Intelligence Review, September 22, 2003

Books

Human RIGHTS in Insurgency, A G Noorani, Ecomnomic & Political Weekly

Sri Lankan Migrant Labour and GENDER Roles, Gurpreet Bal, Economic & Political Weekly

Communal Harmony

Inter-faith Harmony: Where Nehru and Gandhi MEET, Ramachandra Guha, September 23, 2003

Kerala ENJOYS Religious Harmony, ‘ Yoginder Sikand, Qalander, September 2003

Communalism

Advani Backs 'Study' Saying Majority Will Be Minority SOON, S Bhattacharya, Indian Express,

Religious Demography in India extols an exclusivist political CREED, B.G. Verghese, The Week

DEMOGRAPHIC Demonology, Partha Chatterjee, The Telegraph, July 10, 2003

Education

How TEXT books Teach Prejudice, Teesta Setalvad, EFI News, September 11, 2003

History

The LAST emperor (&white Mughals), William Dalrymple, Guardian

Humor

Bush LAYS Off Congress; will Outsource Lawmaking to India, Jay Slupesky, fallcreek.com

India

NEW Flowering of India and Indians, Rediff.com, September 20, 2003

Jharkhand: Vigilantes in a CYCLE of Violence, Nihar Nayak, South Asia Intelligence Review

What's in a FLAG? Sarmila Bose, The Daily Times, September 22, 2003

India-Ayodhya

PROOF of temple found at Ayodhya, Rediff.com, August 25, 2003

India- Jammu & Kashmir

Some CALL them Kashmir's renegades,They know how to make the quantum jump from

extremism to democracy, September 25, 2003

India-Muslims

GHETTO to Mainstream: Emergence of the Modern Muslim, B G Verghese, Times of India

The `DALIT Muslims' and the All-India Backward Muslim Morcha, Yoginder Sikand, Qalander,

India's Muslim TIME Bomb, Pankaj Mishra, The New York Times, Sept. 15, 2003

Nepal

Maoists take their BATTLE to Nepal's heart, Deepak Thapa, Asia Times, September 17, 2003

Nuclear issues

NEED for nuclear transparency, M V Ramana The Daily Times, September 25, 2003

Fallout of Nuclear WAR Planning - Spectre of Armageddon, N.D. Jayaprakash

Pakistan

Disquiet on the northern FRONT, Ajai Shukla, Indian Express

Pakistan & India

KARGIL, a `test for limited n-war,' The Hindu, Aug 20, 2003

Images that promote FEAR, Kalpana Sharma, The Hindu [India] September 12, 2003

Time to go TRACK-III, Iftikhar H. Malik, Dawn, September 14, 2003

Religion

Religious Conversions Threaten SOME Hindus in India, Jason Overdorf, The Far Eastern

     Economic Review, September 10, 2003

Sri Lanka

Our ETHNIC Imbroglio, Izeth Hussain, The Island, August 20, 2003

Gender mainstreaming and the BUDGET, The Island, September 10, 2003

Human Security: Sri LANKA, Ian Martin

Women

Misogynist READINGS, Omar R. Quraishi Dawn, 21 September 2003

 

PEACE & HARMONY NEWS FROM & ABOUT SOUTH ASIA

(Readers are invited to submit similar information  from other areas of South Asia to help us broaden of our coverage. Please send the info to pritamr@open.org , a week before the date of publication of the next issue of ACHA Peace Bulletin)

 

*Bangladesh & India

 

India, Bangladesh discuss border problems, fencing: IANS

India and Bangladesh have begun talks to demarcate their border and fence it to check illegal migrants and terrorists, officials said on Friday. newindpress.com, September 20 2003

 

India keen on Kolkata-Dhaka rail link

The proposal has been put forth after seeing the four-year successful run of Kolkata-Dhaka bus service and launch of a similar link between Dhaka and Agartala on Friday.

http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/19bang2.htm

Dhaka-Agartala bus service flagged off

Regular commercial service will commence on Saturday September 20.

http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/19bang1.htm

 

*Bhutan & India

 

India and Bhutan agree to work closely against Northeast terrorists

India and Bhutan agreed in New Delhi on September 18, 2003, to work closely on checking the problem of Northeast terrorists operating from Bhutanese soil. A joint statement issued at the end of a five-day visit of Bhutanese King Jigme Singye Wangchuk stated that both countries would not allow their territories to be used by anyone to harm each other's interests. Indian Express , September 19, 2003.

 

*India

 

Kalam pens poem for riot victims

'The Life Tree' has been included in a music album called 'Peace Works' - brainchild of renowned danseuse Mallika Sarabhai. http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/29khan.htm

 

Fresh appeal in Best Bakery case

At the prompting of the Supreme Court, the Gujarat government has sought a retrial in the case related to the post-Godhra riots. http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/29best.htm

 

Government representatives hold talks with Naga leaders in Amsterdam

Union Government's chief emissary K. Padmanabhaiah and Intelligence Bureau (IB) Director K.P. Singh commenced a fresh round of talks on September 17, 2003, with Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, president and general secretary, respectively, of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM), at Amsterdam, capital city of the Netherlands. Approximately 31 issues relating to greater autonomy for the State of Nagaland raised by the NSCN-IM, among other aspects, were to be discussed. Northeast Tribune, September 17, 2003.

 

Prominent Muslims condemn Mumbai blasts 
Bollywood writers Javed Akhtar and Hasan Kamaal, actor Farooq Sheikh, noted Urdu journalist, Sajid Rashid and Communalism Combat's Joint Editor Javed Anand said the Muslim community should not be targeted. http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/aug/27blast3.htm 
 
Syro Malabar Church head issues guidelines 
Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil says the guidelines will help improve the image of the church in the country and usher in religious harmony and communal peace. http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/aug/20iype.htm 
 
India-Jammu & Kashmir
 
Mufti plans trip for migrant kids
According to a J&K police official, the Mufti plans to take 400 boys in the first phase so they get a feel of their homeland. http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/27onkar1.htm
 
PM launches mobile phone services for J&K http://www.rediff.com/money/2003/aug/20kashmir1.htm 
 
*Nepal 
 
'Ring for Peace' 21 September 
A coalition of groups working to declare Nepali children a zone of peace is organising a Nepal-wide campaign to ring bells for two minutes at noon on Sunday, 21 September, which is International Peace Day. Called 'Ring for Peace' the organisers have asked all Nepalis to take part, ringing temple bells, bells at home, bicycle bells, car horns to call for an end to conflict and violence. 
 
*Pakistan & India
 
Pakistan team talks peace on Amma's birthday
'The confluence of various faiths that have come to see Amritanandamayi is the best occasion to think in terms of a peace dialogue between India and Pakistan,' said London-based Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs Saleha Mahmood Abedin. http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/25amma.htm
 
Indian PM to attend SAARC meet in Pakistan  http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/25pm1.htm
 
A Game of their own
Although tensions between Indian Muslims and Hindus have erupted in recent years, some Indian and Pakistani students at University of Southern California set aside their differences and play a weekly game of cricket. Daily Trojan http://www.dailytrojan.com/article.do?issue=/V150/N20&id=02-game.20c.html, September 23, 2003
 
Pak hands over Vajpayee's SAARC invitation to diplomat 
The invitation from Pakistan Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali was handed over to Indian Deputy High Commissioner T C A Raghavan. http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/20pak1.htm
 
Indo-Pak CEO Forum was established September 14 in New Delhi, during a visit by a dozen CEOs from Pakistan to promote more economic cooperation between the two neighbors (PTI, Via India west September 19, 2003)
 
Business can end Indo-Pak mistrust: Vajpayee http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/16vaj1.htm
 
Pak business delegation arrives in India http://www.rediff.com/money/2003/sep/13pak.htm
 
Pak industry delegation holds talks with Confederation of Indian Industries at Cancun
http://www.rediff.com/money/2003/sep/13wto3.htm
 

Pakistan freed 16 Indian Sikhs September 8 in a goodwill gesture. They had been arrested in Turkey trying illegally to get to Europe, and deported to first Iran and then to Pakistan (Reuters, Via India west September 12, 2003)

 

More than 250 Indian fishermen freed by Pakistan in a goodwill gesture reached Okha Port (Gujarat, India) in 28 boats, September 7 (Reuters, Via India west September 12, 2003)
 

Elsewhere

 

Pakistan’s number one rock group Junoon and India’s King of Bhangra Daler Mehndi will meet September 20 at London’s Wembly’ Arena  to sing the friendship anthem “Yaaron Yehi Dosti Hai” and to encourage fraternity and peace between the people of India and Pakistan. (India West September 19, 2003)
 

ORGANIZATIONS

(Readers are invited to submit similar information  from other areas of South Asia to help us broaden of our coverage. Please send the info to pritamr@open.org , a week before the date of publication of the next issue of ACHA Peace Bulletin)

*Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS), Himalaya Apts, I Floor, 6th Road, TPS III, Mumbai, 400055, India, www.csss-isla.com, E-mail csss@vsnl.com Contact person: Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer

CSSs organized one-day workshops on communal harmony in several eastern UP cities including Ayodhya, Gorakhpur, Varanasi and Sultanpur. Some of the participants, who have shown keen interest in the subject will be sent to Mumbai for a week-long workshop to be conducted by Dr. Engineer and Ram Puniyani from November 29 to December 6.  To help support this important work can be sent to Asha, A-893, Indira Nagar, Lucknow-226016, UP, India or to Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Himalaya Apts, I Floor, 6th Road, TPS III, Mumbai, 400055, India, More information from csss@vsnl.com or ashaashram@yahoo.com

*Indian Muslim Council-USA, 265 Sunrise Highway, 1-355 Rockville Center, NY 11570, Website: www.imc-usa.org Email info@imc-usa.org. Bay Area Chapter, S. Ahmed, 2088 Walsh Ave, Suite C-2, Santa Clara, CA 95051, Telephone 408.219.1433, Email sajedahmed@yahoo.com

 

On this joyous occasion of India’s 57th Independence Day, for the first time IMC-USA's took part in "India Festival," organized by the Federation of Indian Associations of Northern California (www.fiaonline.com), on August 16 and 17, in Fremont, CA. The group decided to highlight the beauty of India and its centuries old traditions of humanity, tolerance and its unique unity in diversity and to warn people against the divisive forces who are out to destroy their country by dividing the country along the very lines that are supposed to be the features of our diversity. Using the theme of “Many languages, many religions, many cuisines, many attires, but ONE COUNTRY...ONE PEOPLE, they displayed images representing various religions, languages, attires, and cuisines on their booth and all promotional items. Photos can be viewed at  http://photos.yahoo.com/imc_ilovemyindia


*Council of Advocates International, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/advocacycouncil Secretary General: Hamid Bashani, bashani2000@yahoo.com 613.744.0962
 
The Council organized a panel discussion in Toronto, ON, Canada. Tapan Kumar Bose, Secretary General,  South Asian Forum for Human Rights; Teesta Setalvad, a human rights activist from Mumbai, and Tarek Fetah, a journalist and host of “The Muslim Chronicle” participated.  Hamid Bashani pointed out that the reactionary and fundamentalist forces use Kashmir issue to create further divide and hatred among the people of subcontinent. He said that fundamentalist militants are not the freedom fighters and like security forces they are responsible for human rights violations and senseless killings in Kashmir. He urged people who claim to fight for freedom democracy and social justice to respect these principles themselves. He said that there would be no peace without justice, and that people of the sub-continent would not accept balance of terror in the name of peace. 

 

FEATURE

 

*Metro and Mandir: A Thirst for Quality Development, Dipankar Gupta, Times of India, August 21, 2003 http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com:80/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow
 
In politics generally all publicity is good publicity. Occasionally, a public figure can be hurt by hostile reportage, but ideologies thrive on being discussed, whether positively or negatively. Therefore, the more the opposition rants against Hindutva, the more prominence the RSS and allied organisations get. It is free publicity for them. 
 
t is futile to hope that elections can be won on a negative platform, and even more foolhardy to believe that the masses can be swayed to your side by asking them to give up their religious or community identities. Secularism can never win on this kind of an abnegationist platform. Secularism thrives best when it makes religious and sectarian passions irrelevant to the political debate. 
 
Unfortunately, most of our secularists do not quite realise that pure anti-communalism is not effective secularism. Jawaharlal Nehru succeeded in getting a secular India off the ground by promising a resurgent India resplendent with large dams and steel factories accomplishments his fellow citizens could be proud of. This was accompanied by land reforms, zamindari abolition, resettlement of refugees, import substitution and non-alignment. On none of these issues did the entire saffron spectrum have any expertise. 
 
Why is it that secularists are scared of dreaming of big things again? True, the Nehruvian vision now lies in ruins. But what have we done to replace this vision of secularism with another one that is equally powerful and can light an ideological fire in the country? 
 
In fact, an alternative secularism is staring us in the face. When the metro was inaugurated in Delhi, the wild enthusiasm with which it was greeted was almost pathetic. Among other things it demonstrated how much the people wanted development with quality. 
 
The metro was no ordinary train service, it was a transit system that was world class. It is this aspect of the metro's glitz and efficiency that caught the public imagination. It was not a sub-standard product that was being fobbed off as a people's train. Given our past record at providing public utilities, the metro was indeed a breakthrough. 
 
Free education has meant inferior education, free health has degenerated into unhygienic and deplorable public hospitals, and cheap transport is generally translatable into cattle cars and trains leaping off tracks. It is not surprising that such empty socialist ruses have been exposed and can no longer enthuse the public imagination. 
 
What the recent metro madness demonstrated is that there is a thirst for quality development. This is development of the kind that does not just meet felt needs, but "felt aspirations" as well. Expectations, in this sense, have gone up. 
 
Villagers know that no real development is possible in rural areas. They want to leave the countryside for the cities as fast as the urban world will absorb them. But this absorption so far has not been quality absorption. Is it not possible for secularists to put forward a bold plan that will take care of this rural exodus and promise a dignified city life? 
 
Oscar Wilde once said that socialism in his country was only good for keeping the poor alive. Developmental programmes in our country too, whether initiated by the government or by NGOs, are primarily aimed at keeping the poor alive on a day-to-day, hand-to-mouth basis. Such exercises are repeated year after year with some ancillary economic regeneration programmes that alleviate desperate poverty at the cottage level. 
 
Over the past two decades, there has been a perceptible ideological shift in the country. Most Indians are tired of low-level equilibrium. They want a breakthrough. They don't only have needs, they have aspirations too. Just like the metro in Delhi was a breakthrough in transit facilities, they would like spectacular quality developments in other areas too. The paradigm of being poor but pure in the village has 
no takers, least of all in the villages. 
 
A true secular vision for India would be one that promises high levels of urban life, that provides facilities for quality education and health, as well as for technological developments in the countryside such that non-farm employments are not just distress measures of the abject poor. 
 
This is how secularists can help India make the grade into the 21st century. An alternative political agenda of this sort would also render the saffron brigade completely helpless. It is good for Akhand Bharat and Ram mandirs, but can they handle a thousand metros? 
 
In 1945, France was about 47 per cent rural. But from the late 1970s onwards, only about three per cent of France live in villages. So it is not as if quality urbanisation takes forever and cannot be consciously planned for. 
 
In India the rate of migration to towns and cities is very impressive. Today over 50 per cent of the poor SCs are urban. In addition, in a majority of states, non-farm rural income is well over 25 per cent. And yet, what do we have by way of a non-agrarian alternative? What plans do we have to upgrade urban facilities from housing, to education, to transport, to occupations? 
 

So if there were to be an electoral competition today between mandir and metro, the Ram Bhakts would be in for a very unpleasant surprise. Let this be an inspiration for an alternative developmental paradigm that seeks to address the long felt aspirations for quality development in the country.

*Living in the Fringes to Worship, Barnita Bagchi

(This had appeared in Lest We Forget, a booklet released on the occasion of 'India Sabka', a youth festival celebrating Indian multiculturalism organized by Majlis and Open Circle, in December 2002 in Mumbai)

Sudhanya and Kaushalya sit in one corner of the station. Sudhanya sings with the two-stringed 'dotara' in hand. 'amar apon khobor aponar hoi na, ekbar aponare chinle pore achenare jae chena'. 'my self doesn't have any news or knowledge of itself, it's only once you know your self that you can get to know the unknown.' There's quite a crowd. The song by Lalan Shah, the most famous of Bengal's syncretic songmakers, ends.

Kaushalya takes Sudhanya by the hand and helps him get up. He is blind. He is also a 'baul', and a singer. She has come from a lower middle-class family in the suburban town of Ranaghat, and has defied social strictures to marry this singer. 'Aul, baul, fakir, pir', performers and singers, practitioners of mysticism and syncretism, householders and mendicants, all these form a rich spectrum in what we might call the bhakti movement in Bengal, current even today. The songs of bauls are some of the most powerful mystical works of art found in the world.

The term 'manush' or 'human being' recurs in Bengali syncretic songs, as a condition to be attained by men and women by being humane, loving, actively altruistic towards other humans. Fairs and village festivals, masjids and mandirs, all in turn host the song performances, which are the most visible expression of Bengal's syncretism. These performances are only the tip of some very complex, rich, earthy, philosophical ways of life.

Bengali syncretic songs express a spiritual and esoteric worldview, which is written in 'sandhyabhasa', or 'twilight language'. But this metaphorical twilight language is deeply rooted in earthiness. The marvels of the human body, a vision of the bodily union between men and women as the acme of synthesis, unraveling the metaphors of the body to get a sense of the mysterious workings of the universe- such themes are central to 'baul' lore.

As is syncretism, a commingling of sufi and vaishnav and their own distinctive beliefs. Not all bauls sing, though. And while some bauls wear a sufi-like habit of saffron cloth, many consider this merely an upstart, trendy fashion. Many bauls live ordinary lives of householders, like many other members of important Bengali syncretic sects, such as the Shahebdhanis, the Balaharis, and the Kartabhajas.

Pirs and fakirs, like sants and gurus, are a part of this syncretic world. Created mainly by lower-caste Hindus and poor Muslims, these sects have members whose identities aren't readily discernible as different from the mainstream religions. Sometimes also practicing more traditional religious customs, they identify others who know their lore by terms in their twilight language.

Non-singing bauls, like other members of religious sects, usually have a powerful hidden life of spiritual practices, which in a major way involve their learning to make the body an instrument of spiritual attainment and ecstasy. Initiates into syncretic life and lore say report that the glamourization of the 'baul' has inevitably often led to the glitziest and cheapest and shallowest forms of baul performance and practices being peddled to an urban and Western audience. But faced with terrible poverty, an already hard to maintain regimen of inner control and discipline, and the lure of mike and francs, it is no wonder that many succumb to the lure of bright lights, often facing brief careers in limelight that end in tragedy.

Meanwhile, singers like Sudhanya sing Miyajan Fakir's song, at once about the transience of pleasure and about the processes of fertility and the conception of new life: 'Once every month, a flower blooms in the ghats of pleasure; If it is not the auspicious moment, the flower fades and goes. It comes and it floats away, and no one can find it then.'

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

 

*Through October 19, New York, NY, USA: THE WORLD OF BUDDHISM will explore the key concepts and imagery of one of the world's great religions, 6:00-9:00 p.m., at Asia Society and Museum, 725 Park Avenue at 70th street. Admission: $7 adults; $5 students and senior citizens. Free to members and children under 16. Free admission Fridays. More info from The World of Buddhism

 

*Through February 15, 2004: REVERIE AND REALITY: Nineteenth Century Photographs of India from the Ehrenfeld Collection, an exhibition of 115 vintage photographs by some of the earliest and most significant practitioners of the medium (such as Lala deen ayal, Linnaues Tripe, Samuel Bourne, John Murray) at the Legion of Honor Art Museum. The photographs range from scenes of daily life in villages to sumptuous and formal visits of foreign royalty. Admission is $8 ($6 seniors and $5 youth). More info from 415.863.3330 www.thinker.org

 

 AWARDS

 

*Staines International Award For Religious Harmony was bestowed on Teesta Seltalvad, co-editor of Mumbai-based Communalism Combat and Admiral L. Ramdas, former Chief of Indian Navy, by Dr. Diana Barnes of U. S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor, on August 16, 2003, at away at Wilmington, Delaware. Both have championed the cause of secular India and have been heroic promoters of religious harmony. The Award will be given Leaders from Canada, India and various Countries and states are expected.

 

Established by the International Council of Evangelical Churches, this Award in the Field of Human Rights is an honour given to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding achievements in human rights. It commemorates Australian missionary Dr. Graham Staines who, along with his two little sons Timothy and Philip, was burnt alive, in India. The award also records the Christian witness of Mrs. Gladys Staines who, in the depth of her grief for her murdered family, found in her heart the strength to forgive the killers of her husband and her sons. More info from Rev. Bernard Malik, 302.354.5110 www.icec.us

 

*Magsaysay award for social work was, July 30, 2003, given to Shanta Sinha for his pioneering work in the area of child labour. She heads M V Foundation, a voluntary organisation she founded to promote education in rural areas for the last two decades.

http://www.humanscapeindia.net/article/aug03/SHANTA.htm

 

BOOKS, REPORTS, MANUALS & DATABASES

 

*Prisoners of the Nuclear Dream, M.V. Ramana and C. Rammanohar Reddy (Eds), Orient Longman, New Delhi., Pages 502, Rs.  575. From India's nuclear dream and Iraq's nightmare, by J. Sri Raman, The Tribune, August 10, 2003 http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20030810/spectrum/book2.htm

 

Iraq is a heaven-sent opportunity for the Indian nuclear hawks to revive the argument that makes the bomb synonymous with security, to peddle the "deterrence" theory as proven beyond doubt. The common purpose of the essays in this volume, compiled before the "Coalition of the Killing" blitzed Baghdad, is to prove this theory to be a tattered myth. As the editors sum it up: "The people of India and Pakistan`85have now to come to terms with Robert Jay Lifton's assertion: 'The central existential fact of the nuclear age is vulnerability.' The nuclear dream only makes us prisoners of insecurity."

 

*The History of History, (Politics and scholarship in Modern India), Vinay Lal, Oxford University Press, Pages 294, Rs: 650

 

 Aryavarta reaches Silicon Valley. The saffronised history spawned on innumerable websites by amateur NRI historians may well be the most tangible, if not most agreeable product of India's globalisation. It is perhaps apposite that the North American proponents of Hindutva, as well as revisionist Hindu historians, should have found the Internet an agreeable avenue for the propagation of their world-view.  http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=29019

 

 *On Becoming an Indian Muslim, Mohammad Waseem (Translator & Editor), Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2003, Pages: 355, Rs.650 ISBN: 019-565807-8 (Via Qalander, July 2003 http://www.islaminterfaith.org/bookreview.html#book)

 

This book …brings together a number of hitherto un-translated writings by French scholars, past as well as contemporary, rendered into English by the late Mohammad Waseem. Together, these articles cover a range of issues: from the early Muslim presence in India to the gradual spread of Islam among local communities and Islam's fascinating encounters with other religious systems in the region. In short, as the title of this book suggests, they seek to provide a glimpse into the little-understood historical process of `becoming' an Indian Muslim.

 

*On Developing Theology of Peace in Islam, Asghar Ali Engineer, Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, Pages: 220, Rs.400, ISBN: 81-207-2466-6 (Via Qalander, July 2003 http://www.islaminterfaith.org/bookreview.html#book1)

 

For many traditional Muslim `ulama, non-Muslims are seen as `enemies of God', doomed to eternal perdition in Hell. Hence, Muslims are called to severe all relations with the `impure' `unbelievers', and tolerance, if at all allowed, is seen simply as a missionary tool in the hope that ultimately the recalcitrant `unbelievers' would be won over to Islam. Engineer argues that such understandings place an insurmountable barrier to peace-building efforts and inter-community dialogue. More importantly, he contends, they represent a complete misreading of the actual message of Islam. Engineer then sets about developing a radically different understanding of the theological `Other' in Islam.

 

*NGORC Journal - Quarterly on Civil Society Enhancement http://www.ngorc.org.pk/journal

 

This issue of NGORC Journal brings a focus on the important issue of ‘Governance’ in the context of Non-Profits. To highlight the topic, following articles have been included in this issue.

 

NGO Resource Centre (Pakistan) is a non-profit support organization that provides management training and advice to build capacity within citizen organizations. It conducts research and collects data on the citizen sector in Pakistan to inform policy dialogue and promote an enabling environment.

 

CHILDREN

(Readers are invited to submit similar information from other areas of South Asia to help us broaden of our coverage. Please send the info to pritamr@open.org , a week before the date of publication of the next issue of ACHA Peace Bulletin)

Jammu & Kashmir Govt launches open school scheme 

Aimed at providing an alternative channel of education to those who could not get entry into formal system of education, Jammu and Kashmir government has launched state open school (SOS) to help widen the access to education. (Press Trust of India via KGN News kashmir_news@yahoo.com  August 6, 2003)

 

Bonded to the loom

Karnataka's silk industry has an excessive appetite for bonded child labour in India. Priya Ganapati discovers a tableau of exploitation and oppression. http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/12spec.htm

 

Dismal progress by Pakistan in primary education: Report

The United Nations Development Programme in its annual report on Human Development 2002 said that Pakistan recorded very dismal performance in 2002 in the areas of primary education and gender equality due to which it has been declared a state with no progress in these sectors whereas the country has been termed a top priority area by UNDP as far as child mortality rate was concerned. (Nation, Via Pakistan Facts Sheet facepk@hotmail.com )

 

Orissa's (India) IMR Mission

Orissa has the highest infant mortality rate in the country at 97 per 1,000 live births. Approximately 86,000 infants die in the state each year. Poor healthcare facilities for mother and child, malnutrition, malaria and lack of awareness are major contributing factors. Can the state reduce IMR to the targeted 60/1,000 by 2005?  http://www.infochangeindia.org/features115.jsp 

 

12,000 children under 18 years were arrested in Punjab (Pakistan)

Addressing the workshop, Welfare and Women Development Secretary Qazi Afaq Hussain said around 12,000 children under 18 years of age were arrested in Punjab on different charges from July 2002 to March 2003. “Those involved in petty crimes were released while those who had committed serious crime were sent to jails.”   (Via Pakistan Facts Sheet facepk@hotmail.com )

 

CONFERENCES & SYMPOSIA

(Readers are invited to submit similar information from other areas of South Asia to help us broaden of our coverage. Please send the info to pritamr@open.org , a week before the date of publication of the next issue of ACHA Peace Bulletin)

 

*November 5-7, 2003, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: THE NEW PATHS TO PEACE CONFERENCE is designed to create a real dialogue among experienced practitioners on cutting edge issue of how to build just and sustainable peace and development. The conference features "Learning Lab" discussions led by leading practitioners. These sessions are designed to facilitate learning across participants and provide networking opportunities. More info from peacestudies@uwm.edu

 

*November 9-12, 2003, Whidbey Island, Washington, USA: THE PRACTICE OF PEACE is the theme of this conference. It will address the theme of chaos, confusion, and conflict in organizations, communities, and the world, and will explore what has been learned about working in situations of tension and conflict. Creative ways of conducting peacemaking and mediation will also be discussed. Cost is US $750 (with organizational support), US $450 (non-profits), US $350 (students). More info from  Open Space Institute, 15347 SE 49th Place, Bellevue, WA 98006, USA. T: 1-360-293 2853, F: 1-360-588 8809 Email: sacred@anacortes.net, Website: www.openspaceworld.org/peace  (Via www.coexistence.net)
 

COURSES & TRAINING PROGRAMS

 
*October 14-16, and November 11-13, 2003, Pretoria and Cape Town, South Africa: UNDERSTAND AND MANAGE CONFLICT, a three-day foundational course that aims to provide an overall understanding of conflict and conflict analysis, and to impart the skills to become an effective conflict resolution practitioner. Cost is R 3450. More info from Ian Henderson, African Center for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), Private Bag X018, Umhlanga Rocks, 4320, South Africa. T: 27-31-502 3908, F: 27-31-502 4160 Email: ian@accord.org.za, Website: www.accord.org.za (Via www.coexistence.net ) 
 
*November 28-30, and February 16-20, 2004, New York, NY 10023, USA: DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING INTERVENTIONS FOR GLOBAL CHANGE AT THE UN FOR A CULTURE OF PEACE. This course offered by the Institute for Global Leadership is for people who are searching for a new way to address global challenges that emphasize respect for human rights, peaceful settlement of disputes, ethics, values, and systems that will secure greater ecological integrity, economic and social well being. Register online by September 30 and December 20. Cost: November - $395 ($195 due by September 30); February - $700 ($190 due by December 20).  More info from Virginia Swain, Director, Institute for Global Leadership, 121 West 72nd Street, Suite 8C, New York, NY 10023, USA. T: 1-508-753 4172, T: 1-508-753 1004 Email: vswain@global-leader.org , Website: www.global-leader.org  (via www.coexistence.net )
 
*December 4, 2003, Boston, Massachusetts, USA: ELICITING NEW STORIES ABOUT CONFLICT, as workshop to present ways to elicit enriched stories that help people move beyond their old, polarizing conversations to develop new perspectives and relationships. Participants will explore frameworks and experiential exercises to learn how to listen for what is not said—the absent but implicit—so they can assist parties in thinking about their conflicts in new and constructive ways. Cost is US $160. More info from Manda Bohannon, Public Conversations Project, 46 Kondazian Street, Watertown, MA 02472, USA. T: 1-888-727 8326, F: 1-617-923 2757 Email: mbohannon@publicconversations.org, Website: www.publicconversations.org/pcp/index.asp?catid=51  )Via www.coexistence.net )
 

ENVIRONMENT

(Readers are invited to submit similar information from other areas of South Asia to help us broaden of our coverage. Please send the info to pritamr@open.org  , a week before the date of publication of the next issue of ACHA Peace Bulletin)

 

Lack of awareness threat to Biodiversity

The prevailing unawareness among policy-makers as well as the masses about various environmental hazards is posing threats to biodiversity.  These apprehensions were voiced by experts during the first day of the six-day national workshop on "Environmental Concerns and its Management Issues", organized by Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU), Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in collaboration with Higher Education Commission (HEC). Pakistan Fact Sheet Issue No. 48  (August  31, 2003)

 

*Rainwater Harvesting in Tihar Jail, near Delhi, India
With groundwater levels up almost 2 metres in some parts of the sprawling 400-acre Tihar Jail complex following a CSE pilot project last year, the jail authorities now see rainwater harvesting as a long-term solution to their water woes. http://www.rainwaterharvesting.org

 

*The Center for Initiatives for Change (MRA) at Asia Plateau, Panchgani, is  poised to launch a significant move - A long term  process that promises to address some of the complex and urgent ecological issues facing this region and the world at large. As a prelude to this endeavor an environment and cultural festival -Apni Dharati ( Our Earth ) 2003-  that celebrates the indigenous people of the world, will commence on the 2nd of October and close on the 12th Oct.

 

FUNDRAISERS

 

*APSA- Dosti Fund

Pakistani girl Noor Fatima’s treatment at Narayana Hryudalaya Hospital, Bangalore has opened doors for millions of Indians and Pakistanis. Her story proves that the future of India and Pakistan lies in a cooperation; not in confrontation.

 

APSA (Action-group of Physicians of South Asia, recently formed action-group under the umbrella of DiP (Develop in Peace), a non-profit with 501C3 status, working for peace and development in South Asia) has decided to raise funds to help poor children of India and Pakistan. The funds will be sent to Narayana Hryudalaya, Banglore Hospitalas to help equal number of poor children from India and Pakistan. Send Check to Develop in Peace, 10121 Paradise Ridge Rd., Charlotte, NC 28277 (Federal ID 01-0590778) (All donations are tax exempt under 501(C) 3 status). More info from Rizwan Naeem, MD rnaeem@pol.net , Zafar Iqbal, MD (607) 742-6390, ziqbal@lycos.com  and Amit Shah, MD; Home: 704-540-8799; developinpeace@yahoo.com

SLIDE SHOW

Building bridges, via trade http://www.rediff.com/money/2003/sep/16sld1.htm

Galileo: Exploring the unknown http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/19sld1.htm

 

VACANCIES

 

*Executive Director

National Centre for Advocacy Studies (NCAS) is looking for a dynamic and highly motivated person who is committed to rights, equity and justice with a particular focus on the marginalized sections of the society to fill this post.   More info from the Secretary, National Centre for Advocacy Studies (NCAS), Serenity Complex, Ramnagar Colony, Pashan, Pune 411 021 or email to ncas@vsnl.com, and  http://www.ncasindia.org/

 

*Program Assistant

The Lion & Lamb Project www.lionlamb.org is seeking a full time Associate who will maintain relationships with the project's supporters and other organizations, and create PowerPoint slides for parenting workshops and other presentations. The Lion & Lamb Project is a national grassroots initiative providing information about the effects of violent entertainment, toys and games on children's behavior.  More info from Daphne White, The Lion & Lamb Project, 4300 Montgomery Avenue, Suite 104, Bethesda, MD, 20814, USA.   T: 1-301-654 3091, F: 1-301-654 2394 Email: lionlamb@lionlamb.org

 

WEBSITES

 

*http://www.adhunika.org the website offers information about women's rights and women's contribution

in history, society, or the culture of Bangladesh.

 

WOMEN

(Readers are invited to submit similar information from other areas of South Asia to help us broaden of our coverage. Please send the info to pritamr@open.org , a week before the date of publication of the next issue of ACHA Peace Bulletin)

 

Adultery law must apply equally to men, women: Justice Malimath Committee

According to the present law, only a man can be prosecuted for the offence of adultery with the woman being granted immunity from proceedings on account of her position in society.

http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/aug/12adultery.htm

 

Official statistics released by the Federal Education Ministry of Pakistan give a desperate picture of education for all, especially for girls. The overall literacy rate is 46 per cent, while only 26 per cent of girls are literate. Independent sources and educational experts, however, are skeptical. They place the overall literacy rate at 26 per cent and the rate for girls and women at 12 per cent, contending that the higher figures include people who can handle little more than a signature. There are 163,000 primary schools in Pakistan, of which merely 40,000 cater to girls. Of these, 15,000 are in Punjab Province, 13,000 in Sind, 8,000 in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and 4,000 in Baluchistan. FACE facepk@hotmail.com Issue No. 45, July 10, 2003)

 

S Asian women for international court to end torture

A three-day meeting of South Asian women activists ended in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on August 13 with a call to set up regional and international courts to hand down severe punishment to those who torture women. http://www.thedailystar.net/2003/08/14/d3081401088.htm