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How Pak altered demography of occupied Gilgit- Baltistan

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New Delhi/Washington: Since it occupied Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), the Shia-dominated region of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has altered its demography, resulting in the massive reduction of the Shia population from 80 to 39 per cent.

In a recent study conducted by the Law and Society Alliance, a New Delhi-based think tank headed by N.C. Bipindra, the population of G-B is now approximately 1.5 million, with around 39 per cent Shia, 27 per cent Sunni, 18 per cent Ismaili and 16 per cent Nurbakhshi.

Earlier, the region was dominantly inhabited by Shia Muslims with a share of 80 per cent. As per the last census held in 1998, the population of G-B was around 870,000.

Once, one of the most multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multi-linguist regions of the world, G-B in the last seven decades has however faced severe persecution from the Pakistani Army. The report, titled ‘Human Lives Matter: A Comparative Study and Analysis of Human Development and Human Rights in J&K and PoJK/G-B’, said that the most severe damage to the culture and ethnicity of the region occurred in 1988, when militants supported by the Pakistani military and Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs, launched attacks in the region and killed hundreds of people.

 Known as ‘The Gilgit Massacre’, it lasted for 16 days with continuous bloodshed, burning of more than 14 villages and molestation of local women. “People were burnt alive in their homes – not for their fault, but for their faith,” the report said, adding that till 2013, around 3,000 Shias were massacred by the state-sponsored Sunni extremists in G-B.

A report of the International Human Rights Observer’s (IHRO) G-B chapter, released in 2013, stated that around 3,000 people have been killed in sectarian violence since 1988. On the loss of lives and its impact, it stated that about 900 women have been widowed and nearly 2,500 children orphaned. The report mentioned “the loss to property is inestimable”.

On 16 August 2012, in an act of “targeted genocide” of Shia Muslims in G-B, over a dozen gunmen forced 19 passengers, mostly Shias, off four buses and shot them at point-blank range. It was the third such incident in six months, only to be followed by many more similar occurrences. In one incident, 18 Shia pilgrims were openly killed on the Karakoram Highway in Kohistan district while returning from Iran on 28 February 2012. Another brutal attack claimed the lives of 20 people at Chilas on 3 April that year. The Shias, in general, have been the subjects of attack across Pakistan.

Shias of the G-B region are targeted and killed across the country. In the aftermath of violence that occurred in Gilgit and Chilas, two Shias from G-B were shot dead in Quetta on 3 April and Ahmer Abbas, a Shia student from G-B, was shot dead in Karachi on 6 April 2012.

In a protest against the targeted killings, Majlis-iWahadatul Muslimeen (MWM) Deputy General Secretary Allama Asghar Askari said, “The entire Shia community has been deeply shocked by the unending spate of targeted killings. The government seems to be concerned over peacocks dying in Sindh but gives no importance to people mercilessly killed by extremists.”

Besides numerous violent attempts of ethnic cleansing in these regions, the Pakistan government and military, under the leadership of Zia-ul-Haq, made several continuous attempts to alter the ethnic demography of the region, the report said. Post 1980s, Sunni Muslims from hegemonic Pakistani provinces like Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa started to make an influx through business routes and started to gradually settle in the region.

Researcher and activist Samuel Baid points out: “The influx of outsiders has created two problems, depletion of employment opportunities for the locals and brutalisation of sectarian tension. The outsiders grab land and government jobs. It is not only the jobs that the outsiders grab, but they also plunder upon forest and natural resources in the region. The funds allocated for the development of G-B are spent on the Army deployed there.”

 The Pakistani elites, including several Corporate, Army Generals and politicians have acquired land and built sprawling residences in G-B. The list includes Prime Minister Imran Khan, former President Parvez Musharraf, Senator Talha Mahmood and Hamid Gul, as well as many others. Many Chinese citizens, who initially came to work on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), have now settled all across G-B. A 2010 Stratfor report estimated the figures and claimed that 7,000 to 11,000 PLA soldiers guard CPEC projects. The number is expected to multiply manifold in a decade.

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The battle of freedom

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S C bose

In the path of achieving freedom, there have been several instances that let us hold our heads high. Every day had been a battle to expel the anarchist Britishers. Here is a list of the days that helped make August 15, 1947, happen.

Swadeshi Movement

The British Viceroy, Lord Curzon, with the aim of weakening the unity and curbing the Nationalist movement, devised a scheme to separate Bengal and reorganise the territorial distributions dividing the Hindus and Muslims in 1905. The “Boycott” resolution was adopted at a conference held at the Calcutta Town Hall on August 7, 1905, thus establishing the Swadeshi movement and bringing its previously fragmented leadership under one leadership. A hartal and a day of sorrow were called in Calcutta on October 16, 1905, the day the division came into effect. People observed a fast, and the kitchen hearth was left unlit. Hindus and Muslims tie Rakhis to each other to symbolise unity. It was successful and the partition had to be annulled.

Azad Hind Bharat

On December 30, 1943, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose hoisted the Indian flag at the Gymkhana ground in Port Blair and declared the island to be independent when the entire nation was clutched under British rule. He further renamed the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as Shaheed and Swaraj to mark the establishment of the Azad Hind Government, which also had its own currency and stamps. Upon raising the Azad Hind flag, Bose, the leader of the Azad Hind Provisional Government, also kept his word that the Indian National Army would be standing on Indian land by the end of 1943.

Champaran Satyagrah

The peasants in the Champaran district of Bihar were made to endure unimaginable hardships when Europeans compelled them to plant indigo, a blue dye. They weren’t paid enough for the indigo, and they couldn’t cultivate the food they needed. Tired of the agony, the peasants turned to Gandhi. As Gandhi’s first Satyagraha movement in India, the Champaran Satyagraha of 1917 is regarded as a pivotal uprising in the history of the Indian Independence Movement.

Civil Disobedience movement

Civil disobedience, also known as passive resistance, is the act of refusing to comply with the requests or orders of a government or occupying power without using force or other aggressive forms of resistance. Its typical goal is to pressure the government or occupying power into making concessions. On April 6, 1930, M.K. Gandhi started the Civil Disobedience Movement by breaking the government’s salt law by picking up a handful of salt after finishing the illustrious “Dandi March” from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi. He served as the movement’s inspiration and helped to mobilise the population in the liberation battle. Due to the disregard for the salt law, the Civil Disobedience Movement expanded across the nation.

Quit India Movement

August Kranti or the August Movement are other names for the Quit India movement. Mahatma Gandhi began the “do or die” Bharat Chhodo Andolan, often known as the Quit India movement, on August 8, 1942. All of the Congress Working Committee members began to be arrested on August 9 as soon as the movement began. While being placed under house imprisonment, Mahatma Gandhi was brought to Ahmednagar Fort. Approximately 940 persons lost their lives as a result of the British’s harshness during this nonviolent campaign. There were also 1630 injuries. More than 60 000 activists were detained at the same time. However, this movement brought the nation together.

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‘We Women Want’: Fitness on agenda

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Clinical nutritionist Dr Ishi Khosla, Fitness Expert Vesna Jacob and Dr Rita Punhani IVF Specialist of Indira IVF appeared on ‘We Women Want’ to discuss fitness tips and bust some diet myths.

The panel stressed that it is important to monitor what you eat but also the timing of the meal. Diet such as intermittent fasting and Ketos were discussed with their pros and cons. An important point was also made regarding fitness that its best to exercise when you can even if its for ten minutes and not wait for the half hour – forty minute slot for a warm up. For as Vesna Jacob said our body is primed to be active, the primitive man did not see a tiger and then say wait let me first warm up before I defend myself. Dr Punhani pointed out how a good diet is essential for a woman’s health in various stages of her life from maturity to motherhood to menopause while Dr Khosla talked of the importance of gut health. The show was moderated by Priya Sahgal, Senior Executive Editor ITV Network.

Catch fresh episodes of ‘We Women Want’ every Saturday at 7:30 PM on NewsX. The program will also streamed live on major OTT platforms- Dailyhunt, Zee5, MX Player, ShemarooMe, Watcho, Mzaalo, Jio TV, Tata Play and PayTm livestreams.

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A BLAST FROM THE PAST

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When we reach our late twenties and early thirties and realise how much we miss good television, we tend to go down the nostalgic path. Growing up, with summer vacations lasting a full month and shorter school days, picking a show to watch was perhaps the most challenging assignment. Our TV schedules were quite set, and included everything from Disney cartoons to Indian comedy. This edition includes a chart of five programmes we watched over and over again as children and would gladly reserve time in our work calendars to watch.

TOM AND JERRY

Everyone has heard of “Tom and Jerry”, the only well-known programme where a mouse routinely outwits and humiliates a cat ten times its size. Tom and Jerry had the most straightforward stories, but you never lost interest in them because they were so humorous and snarky. You were eager to learn what new scheme Tom had in mind and how Jerry was going to thwart it. Even though the show ran under a different name and with different studios in each decade, Tom and Jerry continued to air in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and even the 2000s.

TAKESHI’S CASTLE

For a generation raised during the Pogo and Nickelodeon periods, watching “Takeshi’s Castle” meant seeing people fall into mud puddles. This programme will return in more than 240 markets in 2023 thanks to Amazon Prime. Takeshi’s Castle, an Indian adaptation of a Japanese programme, became well-known for its entertaining chores and Jaaved Jaffrey’s hilarious commentary.

COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG

The majority of cartoons from the early 2000s were often highly joyful and heartwarming. However, “Courage the Cowardly Dog” was a show about scary monsters that looked like they could be straight out of some Steven King book or an old horror movie. It wasn’t really the most kid-friendly show, but it had to be one of, if not the all-time popular cartoon of the 2000s.

SHARARAT

How we wished we were three magicians who lived in a house where they could make anything happen. For us, that was “Shararat”. This childhood show was almost like a fantasy world for Indian children—a mansion with three generations of magicians living in “Muggleland.” Therefore, we had this tiny region of Indian magicians long before the world had Harry Potter and the country of Hogwarts. It was seasoned with sweetness, spice, and just the proper amount of vice.

SCOOBY-DOO

Everyone who was born after the 1960s has seen “Scooby-Doo” at some point in their lives. In essence, Scooby, Shaggy’s talking dog, and four youngsters (who appear to be in their mid-20s) look into numerous crimes that happen around town. The twist is always that the crimes were perpetrated by some type of monster, ghost, spirit, beast, or pretty much any extra-natural entity. The characters on the programme were Fred, who was slick and sophisticated, Velma, who was nerdy, Shaggy, who was laid back and easily scared, Scooby, who loved scooby snacks, and Daphne, who played a sort of damsel in distress role.

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A SPRAWLING PIECE OOZING WITH LOVE FOR EVERYTHING INDIAN

Every 10 minutes during the first half, the movie keeps switching its genre, undergoing brilliant tonal shifts with the assurance of a master conductor at work.

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Laal Singh Chaddha

The long-awaited Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer “Laal Singh Chaddha,” which has finally hit the theatres this week, is an adaptation of the 1986 novel titled “Forrest Gump” by the American author Winston Groom. The novel was famously adapted by Eric Roth for the 1994 Hollywood film of the same name, directed by Robert Zemeckis, which bagged 6 Academy Awards. Directed by Advait Chandan, Laal Singh Chaddha also stars Naga Chaitanya (in his Hindi film debut), Manav Vij, Arun Bali, Mona Singh, and Aaryaa Sharma.

Given the narrative’s sprawling nature, making a film like “Laal Singh Chaddha” is like making 15-20 films. That’s how herculean the task would have been for Aamir, Advait, and the team. Remaking a film like Forrest Gump is no kid’s play. I don’t think anyone but Aamir Khan could have delivered a film of this scope and scale. It’s heartening to see the kind of respect that the film pays to historical accuracy as well as getting the different aspects of Sikhism right.

Every 10 minutes during the first half, the movie keeps switching its genre, undergoing brilliant tonal shifts with the assurance of a master conductor at work. Credit must also go to Atul Kulkarni for beautifully adapting “Forrest Gump” to an Indian setting and for seamlessly weaving the important historical events of the last 40 years into it. When it does the Kargil War, it seems to do it better than ‘Shershaah.’ When it does sports, it seems to match “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.” When it does comedy, it seems to do it better than most. And as a drama, it really excels in terms of cinematic storytelling for the most part.

“Laal Singh Chaddha” comes across as a breath of fresh air at a time when the Hindi film industry needs it the most. Aamir Khan’s innocence personified as Laal Singh Chaddha, and his chemistry with Kareena Kapoor is the major highlight of the film, along with his bromance with Naga Chaitanya and Manav Vij. There are some beautiful segments of magic realism that are beautifully crafted. Like a boy who walks using crutches, suddenly starts running like P T Usha when subjected to bullying. The colour grading is so good that the movie looks stunning visually, and honestly, I haven’t seen a more beautiful looking period film made in India.

Aamir Khan transforms into ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ in no time and brings the character to life as only he can. Chaddha’s simplicity, to go with his honesty and a sense of contagious optimism that he carries with him at all times, lights up the screen. Whether he is narrating some story, trying to save lives on a battlefield, or making an effort to sell undergarments, Aamir’s Chaddha always makes us root for him.

Mona Singh is wonderful as Chadda’s loving mother. It’s easily the performance that will take away all the accolades. I was in school when ‘Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi’ used to air on TV and having seen Mona Singh all these years, I have always known that she is a fine actor, but seeing what she achieves in ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ made me realise that she is actually one of the finest actors working in the country right now.

But the biggest surprise of the movie is Kareena Kapoor. Who would have thought that a wafer-thin character that Robin Wright played in “Forrest Gump” would become the centrepiece of the Hindi adaptation almost three decades later. This is Kareena Kapoor’s finest performance since ‘Jab We Met.’ It is a layered performance, and we can see the character’s dichotomy throughout the film’s running time.

It can be said with absolute certainty that technology has been put to use to de-age Kareena (and Aamir) for this. But the end result is so good and it makes me particularly happy that we have aced the use of this cutting-edge technology better than what Hollywood did with, say, ‘The Irishman’.

I also would like to praise both Naga Chaitanya and Manav Vij for their wonderful cameos. For me, their characters’ bromance with Laal Singh Chadda is one of the film’s major highlights. It’s a masterstroke to make Manav Vij’s character a soldier from the enemy ranks, as opposed to ‘Forrest Gump’, where Gary Sinise’s Lieutenant character was Gump’s compatriot. I would be remiss to not mention Pritam, Arijit Singh, and Amitabh Bhattacharya, who have done wonderful work with the film’s music, songs, and lyrics. Overall, I must say that Laal Singh Chadda has reinstated my faith in Hindi cinema. It’s not a perfect film. It suffers from pacing issues in the second half. It’s probably not even Aamir’s best work. But it is cinematic storytelling at its purest. Here’s a sprawling period piece oozing with nostalgia and an abundance of love for everything Indian. The naysayers can denounce him, but so long as we have stalwarts like Aamir Khan working in the Hindi film industry, Bollywood is here to stay.

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In the blink of an eye

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Gallery Dotwalk is all set to organise a group exhibition show titled “In the Blink of an Eye”. The show, curated by Shruti Ramingaiah, has already started and will be held till 10th September 2022. ‘In the Blink of an Eye’ considers the states of transcending into sleep and being awake as a metaphor to reflect on time as extended, indefinite, and nonconsecutive happening, event, and passage.

The show features ten artists from different cities in India with the diverse practises and approaches they bring to this exhibition. Each artist in this exhibition explores events from the past and even recent times. They reflect on the many meanings of memory, from personal to collective. Going back to their roots, a group of artists revisit their relationship to a site, place, and events.

The ten artists are Bhisaji Gadekar, Chandan Bez Baruah, Jyothi Basu, Kundan Mondal, Midhun Gopi, Rachana Nagarkar, Prajakta Palav Aher, Saju Kunhan, Shruti Mahajan, and Sneh Mehra.

In a candid conversation, curator Shruti Ramingaiah said, “This curatorial is interested in the idea of transition and how we understand the element of time in our everyday and the changing world around us. This show is an attempt to reflect on time that is non-linear. It asks us how we connect with the past, present, and future that are taking place, overlapping simultaneously. The exhibition considers a brief state of transcending into sleep and being awake as a metaphor to explore the possibilities of going beyond our preset notions of time in our daily life. The exhibition probes the viewer to rethink, what it means to be constantly on the move. At the core of all this, how then do we make sense of reality? “

The show will be on view from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm.

Headquartered at Delhi-NCR, Gallery Dotwalk is an art gallery committed to building an art space that pivots on integrity and genuineness that converses with art enthusiasts around the world, utilising the prowess of technology and positive contributions to the art milieu.

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THE ART OF COMMUNICATING WITH ANIMALS

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We all love our little furry friends, don’t we? But what if we tell you that you can actually talk to your pet or any animal around? What if we tell you that you can understand your pet’s feelings and emotions and help them lead a better, happier life?

Sounds unbelievable, right?! But guess what, it’s true. Read on as we decode what “Animal Communication Therapy” is all about. 

WHAT IS THIS THERAPY?

Animal Communication Telepathy simply means to connect with animals in order to understand their feelings with the help of intuitive abilities. The word ‘telepathy’ in itself means distance communication, and in this therapy, the communicator or the owner converses with the pet (or even a wild animal) by focusing on their thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

It is similar to the mechanism of counselling and guidance sought by humans, but here it is meant for animals. Once an individual gets connected to the animal, they keep on counselling them and assure that things change for the better.

IS IT FOR REAL?

While there are no clear-cut claims or sureties of this therapy, several researches, academic literature, and animal therapists emphasise that the communication between humans and animals is facilitated because they share similar mental capabilities and perceptions.

Rupert Sheldrake, Director of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Cambridge University, is one of the notable researchers who explored the psychic connections between humans and animals. He defined this phenomenon as ‘invisible’ connections’ or ‘morphic fields’ created through social interaction.

Since it’s a psychological thing, one needs to believe in the process, as the moment you start to trust, things start working.

Animal communicator Kiran Narang says that this therapy is guided by our belief system, energy, and spirituality.  She adds, “Everything that’s happening around us is a result of the exchange of vibrations, and we all vibrate at a particular frequency. When our frequency matches the animal’s, we connect with them on an emotional, mental, and spiritual level. “

HOW TO COMMUNCATE WITH ANIMALS?

Telepathy with a pet is not at all difficult and just requires learning some basic principles as this art is present in all—it is ‘innate’.

One doesn’t need to be in physical proximity or in front of the pet for telepathic communication. The communicator can talk to the animal even when they are in some other corner of the world, are lost, or are sleeping or eating.

Kiran suggests, “Setting the intention and a desired goal before starting the interaction is important as it helps the communicator or parent calm down, unwind, engage in deep breathing, and slow down their pace. That is how one gets connected to the pet and their frequency. “

One can also do some animal telepathy courses and attend workshops as it aids the process of learning and unlearning.

ANIMAL TELEPATHY SESSION

Animal communication could be done either out of curiosity or when a need arises. It’s just like a normal counselling session or a routine consultation that’s conducted to help and understand pets. This, in turn, also helps their parents. One can also have a session done for their pet to find out what makes them happy or sad, what they like and what they don’t. “If there’s any behavioural problem that the pet or animal is facing, then going for animal telepathy becomes all the way important,” Kiran concludes.

Animal comunicator Kiran Narang said,“Everything that’s happening around us is a result of the exchange of vibrations, and we all vibrate at a particular frequency. When our frequency matches the animal’s, we connect with them on an emotional, mental, and spiritual level.

“BENEFITS OF ANIMAL COMMUNICATION

The benefits that such communication provides for people are widely discussed in Alan Beck and Aubrey H. Fine’s Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy. Researchers and communicators note that animal telepathy leads to an overall sense of happiness, the ability to recover from serious illness and to cope with trauma and loss, and an increased willingness to engage in positive social interactions with others.A BETTER BOND WITH THE PARENT

Once the parent and their pet undergo the telepathic process, a positive change in terms of their bonding and relationship can be observed. The parent gets to know what their pet is feeling and that makes their relationship wholesome. This happens since when one feels the pet’s energy, they make sense of the vibrations and thoughts coming their way.

EMOTIONAL VENT OUT

Since animals are emotional creatures, they feel all sorts of emotions such as anger, joy, grief, etc. just like humans. However, animals can’t vocally express themselves, and so they convey it all telepathically. Establishing a comfortable, safe zone of communication also helps the pets overcome any past traumas or unresolved conflicts from their childhood.

DEALING WITH BEHAVIOURAL ISSUES

Being a pet owner comes with a lot of added responsibilities, and it becomes very problematic if the pet is not behaving properly, peeing, or littering around. Animal communicator suggests talking to the pet and making them realise that their ways are becoming a hurdle for their owners. Kiran suggests, “Talking it out works the best and is very beneficial as the parent can manage everything and also ensure health and hygiene with ease.”

RESOLVING THE PROBLEMS

The process of resolving the problem or issue is a two-way arrangement and is dealt with not only from the pet’s side, but also from the pet owner or parent’s side. The pet owner is asked to look into the problems and amend their ways accordingly. Once the parent changes their behaviour towards the pet, the latter starts showing signs of improvement instantly.

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