Dubai Expo: India Prominently Displays Controversial Ayodhya Ram Mandir at Pavilion Entrance

India's pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 has a large and prominent display of a miniature model of the controversial Ram Mandir at its entrance. Ram Mandir will replace the Mughal-era Babri Masjid that was destroyed by a Hindu mob in 1992.  It represents Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of India as a Hindu Rastra built on the ruins of the country's Muslim past. Inaugurating the Indian pavilion,  the country's trade minister Piyush Goyal told the media that "Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally gave us ideas and a lot of guidance on how to showcase India". 

Model of Controversial Ram Mandir at Dubai Expo

“It is a great opportunity to showcase emerging new India to visitors who are coming from all over the world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally gave us ideas and a lot of guidance on how to showcase India as a modern vibrant technology driven international economy," trade minister Piyush Goyal, who inaugurated the India pavilion on Friday, told reporters.

World Expos have a long illustrious history going back 170 years. They represent an opportunity for  participating countries to showcase their achievements in arts, sciences and technologies. First mechanical computer was shown at the 1862 London International Exhibition on Industry and Art. Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated the first telephone at Philadelphia in the 1876 Expo in the United States. 
Pakistani Pavilion at Dubai Expo

Pakistan has a large pavilion at Dubai Expo which will remain open for six months. It will highlight opportunities for trade, tourism and investment in the country. The focus on the first month of Expo 2020 Dubai at the Pakistan Pavilion is Balochistan.    

Pakistani pavilion attracted about 8,000 visitors when it opened yesterday. Speaking on the occasion, Pakistani representative Aftab Abro said: “The response has been outstanding and we have people appreciating all aspects of the pavilion, ranging from the colorful façade to the vibrant bazaar and also our custom-made Pakistani restaurant called ‘Dhaba’ that has been a great crowd-puller…We are grateful to the Expo 2020 Dubai for bringing the world to us so we could show them what Pakistan is all about. After taking their reviews, we were happy to learn that coming to our pavilion dispelled many misconceptions and doubts they had about Pakistan, due to some false information they got from unreliable sources. By physically coming to the Pakistan pavilion they said they experienced the real Pakistan.”


Riaz Haq said…
Oops: Former Air India A320 Aircraft Gets Stuck Under Foot Bridge. This isn’t the first time this has happened. In 2019, a truck carrying a former India Post Boeing 737-200 got stuck under a bridge in West Bengal. #India #BJP #modi #AirIndia

It’s not every day you see something like this. Then again, this also isn’t the first time that something like this has happened.

How an Air India plane got stuck under a bridge
Video has gone viral of a former Air India Airbus A320 getting stuck underneath a bridge on the Delhi-Gurugram highway near Delhi Airport.

Now, in fairness, this mishap has nothing to do with Air India as such. The plane no longer belongs to Air India, and was in the process of being transported in order to be scrapped, with the wings removed. This mistake is the fault of the company responsible for transporting the plane.

It’s pretty amazing that the plane is basically halfway underneath the bridge before the truck carrying it comes to a stop. I guess the truck was going at full speed, and wasn’t anticipating any problems.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an expert on trucking logistics, but I’d assume that if you’re transporting an aircraft, you’d figure out exactly how much clearance you need, and then make sure you don’t get under a bridge with less clearance than that. But maybe that’s just me… 😉

This isn’t the first time this has happened
In 2019, a truck carrying a former India Post Boeing 737-200 got stuck under a bridge in West Bengal, so this Air India incident is the second time in a couple of years that we’ve seen something like this happen in India.

For that matter, even that wasn’t the first time such an incident had happened. Also in 2019, a China Southern Airbus A320 got stuck under a bridge in Harbin, China.

So, how do you get a plane “unstuck” from under a bridge? The solution seems to be to let air out of the tires of the trucks, so that they have just enough clearance to get out from under the bridge. On the plus side, at least it seems like in all of these cases there wasn’t any significant damage to the bridges.

Bottom line
A former Air India Airbus A320 got stuck underneath a bridge in Delhi, which is the third such incident we’ve seen in the past couple of years. While I imagine the logistics of transporting an aircraft fuselage are complicated, it’s still surprising to me that this has happened a few times now in a fairly short period.

Generally the solution here is to let air out of the tires. I suppose the damage to the plane isn’t a huge deal if the plane is just going to get scrapped, though the damage to the bridge is a different story.
Riaz Haq said…
Why do young #Indians support #Modi? He has not delivered #employment growth or kept his #economic promises but he speaks the language and aspiration of these #millennials. To many in #India's #Hindu majority, he assures them that the #BJP has their back.

By Vivan Marwaha

Aspirational young Indians today are looking for role models who they believe will protect them, and they are attracted to politicians with whom they share stories and experiences. Language is a particularly emotional issue.

English has long been a reserve of the Indian elite, and an aspiration of middle-class Indians seeking upward social mobility.

But in the 2019 elections, Hindi-speaking politicians, shattering the last vestiges of these elites, were rewarded by voters, while the opposition Indian National Congress, led by English-speaking dynasts from the Nehru-Gandhi family, was nearly wiped clean from the country's "Hindi belt" - states mainly comprising Hindi-speaking people.

As I spoke to Indian millennials, they told me about how Mr Modi delivered speeches in Hindi to audiences in New York, London, and Sydney, and how proud that made them. The thinking went: "if he can make it there, so can we".


According to conventional wisdom, incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in trouble: the country was experiencing a 45-year high unemployment, disproportionately impacting India's youth, the world's single-largest labour force.

The economy had come to a crawl and a sense of malaise prevailed everywhere I went. Many of the millennials I was interviewing, including those in their 30s, were living at home with parents, reliant on their families for basic purchases.

Most of these people had voted for Mr Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) five years earlier, in 2014, buying their promises of wide-scale development and hundreds of millions of new jobs for India's booming population of young people.

But conventional wisdom was turned on its head when the prime minister and the BJP were re-elected with an even bigger majority than the 2014 election, shattering decades-old political dynasties in their family fiefdoms.

The writing was on the wall: young Indians had firmly consolidated behind Mr Modi. Post-poll data confirmed this, with nearly 40% of those aged 18-35 voting for the BJP.

In many other countries, this may not make sense: why would young voters, who hadn't advanced much, seen their trust broken, and had arguably been set back by years under this regime, return the incumbent to power?

The answer to this question also defied conventional wisdom on Indian elections, given that India has a long record of voting out incumbent politicians.

But with millennials leading the charge, Indian politics has gone through a fundamental reordering: young voters want leaders who speak, pray, and look like them.

For decades, India was governed by English-speaking, Western-educated technocrats who shared little in common with the country's largely-agrarian and vernacular-speaking population.

Although many members of parliament and state assemblies came from the grassroots, those who wielded cultural and political power in Delhi did not.


In an unstable and volatile economy, Indian millennials seek leaders who promise stability and security, and Mr Modi and his party's messaging captured this sentiment to impressive results.

Shortly after the 2019 Pulwama bombings in Kashmir - and the subsequent air strike in Balakot in Pakistan - every BJP leader added the designation of "chowkidar" (watchman) to their Twitter handle, signalling their promise to Indians to protect them from all enemies - foreign and domestic.

Riaz Haq said…
Unprecedented #power crisis looms in #India. Over 50% of 135 coal-fired power plants don't have enough coal stock. Over 70% of India's #electricity is generated using #coal. #Energy Crisis threatens to derail India's post-#pandemic #economic recovery.

This crisis has been in the making for months.

As India's economy picked up after a deadly second wave of Covid-19, demand for power rose sharply.

Power consumption in the last two months alone jumped by almost 17%, compared to the same period in 2019.

At the same time global coal prices increased by 40% and India's imports fell to a two-year low.

The country is the world's second largest importer of coal despite also being home to the fourth largest coal reserves in the world.

Power plants that usually rely on imports are now heavily dependent on Indian coal, adding further pressure to already stretched domestic supplies.

What is the likely impact?
Experts say importing more coal to make up for domestic shortages is not an option at present.

"We have seen shortages in the past, but what's unprecedented this time is coal is really expensive now," said Dr Aurodeep Nandi, India Economist and Vice President at Nomura.

"If I am [as a company] importing expensive coal, I will raise my prices, right? Businesses at the end of the day pass on these costs to consumers, so there is an inflationary impact - both direct and indirect that could potentially come from this," he added.

If the crisis continues, a surge in the cost of electricity will be felt by consumers. Retail inflation is already high as everything from oil to food has become more expensive.

Vivek Jain, Director at India Ratings Research described the situation as "precarious".

In recent years, India's production has lagged as the country tried to reduce its dependence on coal to meet climate targets.

India's Power Minister RK Singh, in an interview with The Indian Express newspaper, said the situation is "touch and go" and that the country should brace itself for the next five to six months.

A senior government official, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed to the BBC that the situation is worrying.

If this persists, Asia's third largest economy will struggle to get back on track, warns Ms Zohra Chatterji, the former Chief of Coal India Limited - a state-run enterprise responsible for 80% of the country's coal supply.

"Electricity powers everything, so the entire manufacturing sector- cement, steel, construction - everything gets impacted once there is a coal shortage."

She calls the current situation a "wake-up call for India" and says the time has come to reduce its over-dependence on coal and more aggressively pursue a renewable energy strategy.

What can the government do?
The question of how India can achieve a balance between meeting demand for electricity from its almost 1.4bn people and the desire to cut its reliance on heavily polluting coal burning power plants has been a major challenge for the government in recent years.

The vast scale of the problem makes a short-term solution unlikely, according to Dr Nandi.

"It's just the sheer scale of things. A huge chunk of our energy comes from thermal [coal]. I don't think we've reached that stage yet where we have an effective substitute for thermal. So yes, it's a wake-up call, but I don't think the centrality of coal in our energy needs is set to be to be replaced anytime soon, he said.

Experts advocate a mix of coal and clean sources of energy as a possible long-term solution.
Riaz Haq said…
The business heads expressed keen interest to make investments in Pakistan in their respective domains and also briefed them about their companies. The president later witnessed the signing of three MoUs between Pakistan’s Special Technology Zones Authority with Mastercard, Galaxy racer (E-sports) and Shorooq Partners VC Funds.

President Dr Arif Alvi on Saturday inaugurated Pakistan Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020. First lady Samina Alvi and Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood were also present on the occasion. The president also visited different stalls of the pavilion where he was briefed about Pakistani products.

The president while meeting with heads of leading investment and technology firms in Dubai said that Pakistan is offering promising business opportunities to foreign investors through one-window operations in sectors of innovation and technology. The President said the one-window facility under Special Technology Zones

Authority is aimed at encouraging and facilitating the foreign investors to expand their information technology footprint in Pakistan.

He said the government has set up the STZA with a mandate to provide world-class digital and physical infrastructure across the country and put Pakistan on global technology radar. The President invited the companies to invest in Pakistan’s diverse sectors particularly in e-business. The business heads expressed keen interest to make investments in Pakistan in their respective domains and also briefed them about their companies. The president later witnessed the signing of three MoUs between Pakistan’s Special Technology Zones Authority with Mastercard, Galaxy racer (E-sports) and Shorooq Partners VC Funds.
Riaz Haq said…
#Indian #Farmers Confront #Modi Head-on! Farmers’ goal is not necessarily to defeat the #BJP, whom polls suggest will cruise to an easy victory. BJP's top elected leader Yogi Adityanath, a #Hindu monk and protégé of Modi, is very popular. #FarmersProtest

“This is now a fight for those who died,” Jagdeep Singh, whose 62-year-old father was among those run over by the jeep, said from the family farm. “And those who are living, this is now a fight for all of us until we die.”

Elsewhere, under the harsh light of an LED lamp in an unfinished brick farmhouse, Ramandeep Kaur wept over the loss of her cousin, Lovepreet Singh, a 19-year-old who was studying English in hopes of getting an education and living in Australia.

“Until they take back those laws,” she said, “the farmers’ agitation will continue.”

The deadly incident took place in a remote corner of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state and a prize in elections to be held early next year. The protesters were shadowing top members of Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., as they began to campaign.

The farmers’ goal is not necessarily to defeat the B.J.P., whom polls suggest will cruise to an easy victory. The party’s top elected leader, Yogi Adityanath, is a Hindu monk and protégé of Mr. Modi who is popular with the party’s Hindu base, and the opposition is fragmented. Instead, the farmers aim to draw more national and international attention to their plight.

The protesting farmers think that Mr. Modi’s market-friendly overhaul last year of the nation’s agricultural laws will put them out of business. India’s Supreme Court has suspended implementation, and the government has proposed a series of amendments. The farmers balked, saying they would settle for nothing less than their full repeal.

Further action could take years, given the court’s full docket, but the farmers fear the suspension will be lifted if they let up.

No one disputes that the current system, which incentivizes farmers to grow a huge surplus of grains, needs to be fixed. The protesters fear the speed — the laws were passed in mere weeks — and the breadth of the changes will send the price of crops plunging. Mr. Modi’s government argues that introducing market forces will help fix the system.

“The composition of farming has to somewhat change,” said Gopal Krishna Agarwal, a B.J.P. spokesman on economic issues. “The farm sector needs heavy investment, and that can come from the private sector.”
Riaz Haq said…
'While I'm Alive, I'll Keep Speaking.' Journalist Rana Ayyub's Fight to Expose the Truth in India

Ayyub is used to living on the edge. In 2018, for example, BJP supporters shared on social media a pornographic video doctored to include Ayyub’s face in an attempt to discredit her. For more than four years, she has received a barrage of anonymous death and rape threats on her social media. But for the last several months, she has been the victim of a campaign of intimidation by Indian authorities that has taken even her by surprise. In June, the Uttar Pradesh police opened an investigation into Ayyub and other Muslim journalists after they tweeted a video showing a violent attack against a Muslim man. Police and government officials said the man’s claim was faked and police accused Ayyub and several others of attempting to “create animosity between Hindus and Muslims,” saying they did “not make an attempt to establish truth in the case.” In a statement at the time, the Uttar Pradesh government said it placed “absolute sanctity to rule of law, civil liberties and freedom of expression” and the investigation was not lodged “due to any witch-hunt.”

In June, the central government’s Income Tax Department sent Ayyub a summons, investigating her income in relation to her fundraising for COVID-19. (During the height of India’s pandemic earlier this spring, she traveled the country distributing humanitarian aid that she had raised funds for via her online following.) Shortly after, the Enforcement Directorate began investigating Ayyub’s foreign sources of income. Ayyub describes the accusations as baseless. She says she has been followed in the street by mysterious cars, and that she has been forced to disclose to authorities confidential information and emails, including with her editors. On Sept. 27, she filed an appeal against the Income Tax Department, where her case is pending. (The department did not respond to TIME’s request for comment.)

After an experience being tailed by an unknown car for 90 minutes in Mumbai, Ayyub wrote a letter for one of her family members to publish in the event of her death. “It just says that in case anything happens to me, I don’t want you to let my death go in vain,” she says. “I want the future generation of journalists, writers, activists to know that even if my life is short-lived, it’s a fight worth fighting. While I’m alive, I’ll keep speaking.”
Riaz Haq said…
#Facebook researchers found that two #Hindu nationalist groups with ties to #India's PM #Modi's #BJP party post inflammatory anti-Muslim content on the platform that have caused hundreds of deaths of innocent #Muslims in #Delhi, elsewhere. #HindutvaTerror

Inflammatory content on Facebook spiked 300% above previous levels at times during the months following December 2019, a period in which religious protests swept India, researchers wrote in a July 2020 report that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Rumors and calls to violence spread particularly on Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service in late February 2020, when communal violence in Delhi left 53 dead, according to the report. India is Facebook’s biggest market with hundreds of millions of users.

Hindu and Muslim users in India say they are subjected to “a large amount of content that encourages conflict, hatred and violence on Facebook and WhatsApp,” such as material blaming Muslims for the spread of Covid-19 and assertions that Muslim men are targeting Hindu women for marriage as a “form of Muslim takeover” of the country, the researchers found.

Private Facebook groups made up of like-minded users generated more divisive content. Inflammatory content primarily targeted Muslims, the researchers wrote.

Facebook was so concerned about how its services were tied to communal conflict that it dispatched researchers to interview dozens of users. A Hindu man in Delhi told them he received frequent messages on Facebook and WhatsApp “that are all very dangerous,” such as “Hindus are in danger, Muslims are about to kill us,” the researchers reported.

There is “so much hatred going on” on Facebook, one Muslim man in Mumbai was quoted as telling the researchers, saying he feared for his life. “It’s scary, it’s really scary.”

Many of the users believed it was “Facebook’s responsibility to reduce this content” in their feeds and on WhatsApp, the report said.

Facebook researchers determined that two Hindu nationalist groups with ties to India’s ruling political party post inflammatory anti-Muslim content on the platform, according to two separate reports earlier this year by teams investigating abuse of the company’s services. The researchers recommended one of the organizations be kicked off for violating the company’s hate speech rules, according to one report, but the group remains active.

The other group, researchers said, promotes incitements to violence including “dehumanizing posts comparing Muslims to ‘pigs’ and ‘dogs’ and misinformation claiming the Quran calls for men to rape their female family members.” That group also remains active on Facebook, and wasn’t designated as dangerous due to “political sensitivities,” the report said.

The reports show that Facebook is privately aware that people in its largest market are targeted with inflammatory content, and that users say the company isn’t protecting them. The documents are part of an extensive array of internal Facebook communications reviewed by the Journal that offer an unparalleled look at how its rules favor elites, its algorithms breed discord, and its services are used to incite violence and target vulnerable people.
Riaz Haq said…
#Hate campaign in #India against #Urdu for being a ‘Muslim’ language. #Hindu nationalist groups target #Indian-born language after clothing brand comes up with a #Diwali advertisement with Urdu words. #HindutvaTerror #Islamophibia_in_india via @AJEnglish

Last week, Hindu right-wing forces in India forced a leading firm to withdraw its festive season advertisement after it featured a couple of words from the Urdu language, which in the popular imagination in the country is a “Muslim language”.

The company, FabIndia, issued an advertisement for Diwali – a significant Hindu festival that falls next month – showcasing its latest collection of clothes. The text at the top read: “Jashn-e-Rivaaz”.

“Jashn” in Urdu means a celebration while “Riwaaz”, which is actually “Riwaaj”, means tradition. The title translated to “A Celebration of Tradition”.

But a young parliamentarian belonging to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who often makes headlines for his Islamophobic remarks, was not happy.

“Deepavali is not Jashn-e-Riwaaz,” 30-year-old Tejasvi Surya posted on Twitter, calling Diwali by its more traditional name.

“This deliberate attempt of Abrahamisation of Hindu festivals, depicting models without traditional Hindu attires, must be called out.”

FabIndia is a household name in India and sells clothes, furniture, home furnishings and food items. It has hundreds of showrooms across the vast country and abroad.

Surya said the company “must face economic costs for such deliberate misadventures”.

Soon, other members of the BJP and other Hindu nationalist groups started attacking FabIndia on social media, accusing the brand of “hurting” the religious sentiments of Hindus.

“The Hindutva project sees Urdu as a ‘Muslim’ language. And invisibilising Urdu is part of the larger project of marginalising the Muslim community, in fact, physically eliminating it,” Nivedita Menon, professor at the Centre for Political Studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Al Jazeera.

“Hindutva” refers to a century-old Hindu supremacist movement which seeks to convert India into an ethnic Hindu state.

The Urdu language was born in northern India during the Mughal rule. Linguists and historians say Urdu and Hindi originally developed from Khadi Boli, a dialect of the Delhi region, and Prakrit. It also borrowed heavily from Persian, Turkish and Arabic languages.

Until the British colonised the subcontinent, Urdu and Hindu languages were collectively referred to as Hindustani. It was British linguist John Gilchrist who for the first time classified and defined Hindustani into two broad categories – words inspired largely by Persian and Arabic were identified as Urdu, and those inspired by Sanskrit became Hindi.

However, spoken Urdu is similar to Hindi and the two share a common grammar and a large percentage of their vocabulary.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan is very satisfied and glad to be participating in the very unique expo, because the China International Import Expo (CIIE) helps in "improving Pakistan's overall trade with China" and also "increases Pakistan exports to China," Pakistan Ambassador to China Moin Ul Haque told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Friday.

Pakistan has been participating in the event from the beginning. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan attended the first CIIE in 2018. He told media that CIIE would serve as a great opportunity for Pakistan to boost its exports.

The latest two expos were held during the pandemic period, and many Pakistan businessmen and companies could not participate physically. However, Pakistan businessmen still have access to this expo through online pavilions, the ambassador said.

Pakistan is exporting a large number of products in China. Textiles, leather, IT and food products including rice, mangoes and vegetables were among the major products sold to China, according to the ambassador.

In recent years, there has been a very substantial increase in the two countries' trade, he noted. China is currently the second-largest export destination for Pakistan.

Trade between China and Pakistan totaled $12.56 billion in the first half of 2021, up 63 percent year-on-year. Pakistan exports to China reached $1.73 billion, up 83.6 percent year-on-year, according to Chinese Ministry of Commerce data in August.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, in the first three quarters of the year, Pakistan exports to China increased by 75 percent, and trade has increased by more than 60 percent, according to the ambassador. "We hope that by the end of this year, we will be able to achieve record figures."

As a flagship project under the Belt and Road Initiative, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has made significant progress, which also witnessed a closer China-Pakistan relationship with a shared future.
Riaz Haq said…
#Modi's #BJP-linked #Hindus block #Muslim Friday prayer by spreading cow-dung over the location in #Gurgaon #India. #Hindutva #Islamophobia

rows of cow dung cakes spread across the ground last week - after right-wing groups held a "puja" that included spreading the dung over the namaz prayer spot - remain untouched.

Gurgaon: Opposition to namaz at open spaces in Haryana's Gurgaon reared its ugly head again today, after members reportedly affiliated with Hindu groups occupied a site in Sector 12A to stop Muslims from praying.
Visuals from the site showed people sitting around - they assembled in the morning and claimed to be making a volleyball court. In effect, though, they are preventing prayers from taking place.

"We are sitting here quietly... but will not allow prayers. We will plan for a game here," one of those occupying the ground, Parmila Chahar said, while another, Veer Yadav, said: "We will set up a net... will build a volleyball court here (and) children will play. Will not allow namaz, no matter what."

Nearby, rows of cow dung cakes spread across the ground last week - after right-wing groups held a "puja" that included spreading the dung over the namaz prayer spot - remain untouched.

Muslim organisations, who have faced protests and displays of intimidation at this and other sites for the past several weeks, have said they will not offer prayers at this site today.

"We have told everyone that until we have an agreement with our Hindu brothers, we will not be offering prayers here... DC saheb has also given us a week," they said.

Today's protests are the latest in what has become a weekly stand-off over between the two sides, with residents of some Gurgaon neighbourhoods - boosted reportedly by members of right-wing groups - have hit out at the Muslims praying at what they say are public spaces.

The site in Sector 12A is one of 29 (it used to be 37) "designated" for the offer of namaz after an agreement between Hindus and Muslims following similar clashes in 2018.

Some of these spaces are, in fact, public property, such as one in Sector 47. Others, however, are private property, on which no possible objection can be raised to the offer of namaz.

Last week (before Friday prayers on November 5) Gurgaon authorities withdrew permission to offer namaz at eight of these "designated" sites. The administration said this was after "objections" and warned that if similar "objections" were raised at other sites, "permission will not be given there".

"Consent from the administration is necessary for namaz in any public and open place," it said, adding, "If local people have objections at other places also, permission will not be given..."

The administration had said a committee - to be constituted by Deputy Commissioner Yash Garg - will hold discussions on identifying alternative sites, but it is unclear if the committee has met since or if there has been progress in selecting such spaces.

The week before November 5 police detained 30 protesters from Sector 12A; in videos of the stand-off, they could be seen with placards that read "Gurgaon administration, wake up from your sleep".

Last month they were vociferous protests in several other sectors too, including 12A and 47, at which dozens of people had gathered chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' and holding placards reading 'stop namaz in open spaces'; police had been forced to deploy in large numbers.

Protesters claim "Rohingya refugees" use the prayers as an excuse to commit crimes in the area.

Riaz Haq said…

Facebook is stifling an independent report on #humanrights in #India. Dangerous material hasn’t been removed by #Facebook, including posts comparing #Muslims to locusts & calling for #Hindus to gather weapons for violence against Muslims. #Modi via @WSJ

The Journal reported in August 2020 that Facebook’s then top public-policy executive in India had opposed applying Facebook’s hate-speech rules to a Hindu nationalist politician and others. The executive didn’t respond to requests for comment at the time and later departed the company. A group of civil-society organizations citing the Journal’s reporting published an open letter urging Facebook to “address dangerous content in India.”


Ritumbra Manuvie, who co-founded an Indian-diaspora-led group based in The Hague called Stichting London Story, which studies disinformation and hate speech, said her organization has provided Foley Hoag with a variety of pieces of content that she says violate Facebook’s rules.

But much of the material remains on Facebook, she said, such as a video that has received an estimated 40 million views in which a Hindu speaker tells an audience that Muslims and Islam should be exterminated. Facebook’s “lack of oversight” of content on its services has “normalized dehumanization and hate speech against Indian Muslims,” Ms. Manuvie said.


“They are trying to kill it,” said Ratik Asokan of India Civil Watch International, one of the organizations that provided the law firm with input. Mr. Asokan said that Facebook has raised technical objections through the law firm that have caused delays, such as changing definitions of what can be considered hate speech and included in the report, undermining what Facebook said would be an independent study. The law firm hasn’t provided a timeline for completing it, he said.

Much of the material his group has flagged as dangerous hasn’t been removed by Facebook, even though it violates Facebook’s rules, he said, such as posts comparing Muslims to locusts and calls for Hindus to gather weapons in preparation for violence against Muslims.

“With a complex project like this, the goal is to be thorough, not to meet an arbitrary deadline,” said Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook, a unit of Meta Platforms Inc., FB +3.87% referring to the timing of the report. “We look forward to our independent assessor, Foley Hoag, completing their India assessment,” he said, referring to the law firm Facebook has commissioned to write the report.


In recent years, Facebook has released executive summaries of human rights impact assessments it commissioned on its operations in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. It released the full version of one it commissioned on Myanmar. In each instance, it said the consultants it engaged completed their work in less than one year.

Following the Journal’s Facebook Files report last month, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology wrote to Facebook’s top executive in India to ask for details on how the company monitors and removes inflammatory content on its platform, according to government officials.
Riaz Haq said…
Four #Muslims booked in #Indian state of #UP for #sedition over hoisting ‘Pakistan flag’; #Police found no #Pakistan flag was found during a search of the two houses. #Modi #Hindutva #BJP #Islamophobia_in_india via @IndianExpress

Gorakhpur SSP Vipin Tada said the police were investigating the matter. Also, they were verifying the writing in Urdu found on one of the flags handed over to them.

Police said businessmen Talim, Pappu, Ashiq and his brother Asif were booked after an FIR was lodged under IPC Section 124-A at Chauri Chaura police station. No arrest has been made so far.


FOUR PEOPLE from two families in Gorakhpur’s Chauri Chaura town have been booked for sedition following a complaint that they hoisted the Pakistan flag on the rooftop of their houses, police said on Friday.

The two families have told the police that they had put up religious flags, which were mistaken for the Pakistan flag, said Gorakhpur Additional Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Awasthi. They removed the religious flags once social media posts claiming that they were Pakistan flags started doing the rounds.

No Pakistan flag was found during a search of the two houses, the police said. The families handed over to the police four flags, which they said had been mistaken for the Pakistan flag.
Riaz Haq said…
UAE Princess and activist Hend bint Faisal Al Qasim expressed her outrage against the right-wing Indian Journalist Sudhir Chaudhary and called him Islamophobe and Terrorist.

Princess Hend, who has the Twitter handle @ladyVelvet_HFQ is a very popular activist on Twitter. She has often raised issues of human rights and minorities all over the world.

The UAE Princess lashed out after the reports of Sudhir Chaudhary being invited to speak in UAE at an International Seminar. The organizers of the event have invited Sudhir Chaudhary as one of the speakers.

Sudhir Chaudhary, who works was for Zee TV owned by Subhash Chandra, a BJP functionary and old RSS connected personality has had a troubled history. He was once arrested and sent to Tihar Jail for conduction a sting operation against an industrialist and which was allegedly a scam to extort money.

In recent years Zee TV has been running stories against Indian Muslims and Sudhir Chaudhary, as one of the leading anchors has used his position and platform to indulge in anti-Muslim propaganda. He ran many shows against the Tabligh Jamaat, accusing them of spreading COVID-19. The Indian courts had exonerated the Tabligh Jamaat against any such crime.

As an anchor of Zee TV, Sudhir Chaudhary played a crucial role in hate propaganda against the Muslims who had gathered to protest in Shaheen Baugh Delhi during the CAA/NRC protest. His deliberate use of fake news and slander against Muslim women and students did a lot of damage to the legitimate protests.

Then Sudhir Chaudhary went on to conduct a show which accused Muslims of involvement in a fictional term called Land Jihad.

The outrage by Princess comes at a very crucial time when Muslims of India have been under a constant barrage of Islamophobic News and Hatred and most times that has resulted in mob violence and bitterness faced by the Muslims of India in day-to-day life.

The protest by Princess comes at a crucial time when there is a rising Islamophobia and India and it’s important to shame such intolerant Islamophobic behavior so that it deters such journalists or men with influence on misusing their power against innocent minorities and if they do, there is some price to pay

Riaz Haq said…
#Indian anchor Sudhir Chaudhary ‘dropped’ as speaker at #AbuDhabi event after #UAE princess calls Zee News anchor #terrorist. "Terrorist not welcome in UAE" #Hindutva #Islamophobia #Modi #BJP via @Janta Ka Reporter 2.0

Sudhir Chaudhary of Zee News has been ‘dropped’ as a speaker from an Abu Dhabi event after a UAE princess called the controversial TV anchor a terrorist. UAE princess Hend bint Faisal Al Qasim on Sunday took to Twitter to inform that Chaudhary had been dropped from the event.

She wrote, “Sudheer Chaudhary dropped from the panel of speakers at the Abu Dhabi Chartered Accountants.”

The princess also shared a protest note from the members of the Abu Dhabi chapter of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, who expressed their disagreement with the decision to invite Chaudhary as a speaker to the body’s forthcoming event.

They wrote, “We the undersigned members of the Abu Dhabi chapter of ICAI, writing this note to express our disappointment and disagreement with the decision of including controversial journalist Sudhir Chaudhary in the panel of speakers in the forthcoming seminar of the chapter.”

The signatories of the letter also highlighted the Zee News anchor’s ‘criminal misdeeds’ as they wrote, “No doubt that Sudhir Chaudhary is a popular TV personality but he has been alleged to have involved in numerous unprofessional journalism and criminal misdeeds.”

Princess Hend on Saturday had reacted angrily to the decision to invite Chaudhary to the UAE despite the latter’s role in promoting Islamophobia through his TV broadcasts. Addressing Chaudhary as a ‘terrorist,’ the UAE princess had reminded the organiser how the controversial TV anchor had been routinely defaming Islam and its followers.

Princess Hend on Sunday had reminded as targeting any race or religion with hate speech was a crime in the UAE. She had tweeted, “In the United Arab Emirates hate speech against any religion, caste or race is a crime. #Peace #Tolerance #HardWork #Expo2020 #Love #Focus #Growth.”

She had added, “When a criminal spews venom onto a society, that invites violence causing the burning of homes, businesses and mosques. A #MuslimHolocaust is started, together with the abuse of other minorities- Dalits/Sikhs as well. Police sit & watch. I will not welcome such hate in the UAE.”

Chaudhary has been at the forefront of Indian TV anchors, often referred to as lapdogs or TV criminals, in fuelling hatred against Muslims in India. He had led a campaign to defame Indian Muslims by blaming them for spreading coronavirus in 2020. Several Indian high courts later concluded that blaming the members of the Tablighi Jamaat for the spread of the virus was part of propaganda.

Riaz Haq said…
#India using cyber-volunteers (#trolls) to silence critical voices. "Hindutva Watch" #Twitter account with nearly 26,000 followers was abruptly suspended in April this year with no reason given. #Modi #BJP #censorship #SocialMedia via @AJEnglish

Government invites citizen volunteers to flag ‘unlawful’, ‘anti-national’ content as activists fear the creation of a surveillance state.

The group that ran the Hindutva Watch handle on Twitter – which flagged instances of violence and bigotry from Hindu nationalist groups – had long been accustomed to being abused and trolled for content critical of the Indian government.

But even they were stunned when the account, with nearly 26,000 followers, was abruptly suspended in April this year with no reason given.

The suspension of that, and dozens of accounts deemed to be critical of the government, came shortly after the launch of a cybercrime volunteers programme by India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to report illegal or unlawful online content, Reuters news agency reported on Monday.

Citizen volunteers, or “good Samaritans”, are required to maintain “strict confidentiality”, and report child sex abuse material, as well as online content “disturbing public order” or religious harmony, and against India’s integrity, the MHA said, according to the report.

For activists, journalists and others critical of the government, it has become harder to distinguish between trolls, the governing Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) information technology cell and the cyber-volunteers – estimated to number in the hundreds.

“For us, Twitter was important to expose communalism, hate speech, fake news and pseudoscience spread by right-wing forces,” said a spokesperson for Hindutva Watch who asked not to be named for safety reasons.

“For this, we have been trolled, abused, threatened. The online vigilante machinery stalks accounts that are critical of the BJP or the RSS, labels them as anti-national, and lobbies to get them suspended,” the spokesperson said.

RSS refers to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the far-right ideological mentor of the BJP.

Complaints about posts are assessed under Twitter’s terms of service and Twitter rules, and “any content that is determined to be in violation is actioned in line with our range of enforcement options”, a spokesperson for Twitter said.

The MHA did not respond to calls and emails requesting comment.

Digital warriors
The BJP swept into power in India in 2014 and won by an even bigger margin in 2019, its victories credited to a large extent to its savvy IT cell and social media prowess, fuelled by thousands of supporters it calls digital “yodhas” or warriors.

Modi, 71, is known to be tech-savvy, with 73 million followers on his personal Twitter account, and follows several individuals who are known to harass those critical of his government, and who often say in their profile that they are “proud to be followed by Modi”.

“The cyber-volunteers programme goes beyond just silencing people,” said Swati Chaturvedi, an independent journalist who has written a book on the BJP’s social media strategy and her experience of being trolled.

“But it is actually a very smart move, as they can carry on browbeating dissent online without coming under more scrutiny themselves,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

More than half of India’s 1.3 billion population has access to the internet. The country has more than 300 million Facebook users and 200 million on Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service – more than any other democracy in the world.

About 22 million Indians use Twitter, according to Statista.

India, like other countries, has recently introduced laws to limit so-called misinformation and to censor content that is deemed to be critical of the government’s management of the coronavirus pandemic.

Riaz Haq said…
#Indian city of #Ahmedabad in #Modi's #Gujarat Bans #Eggs. Plainclothes municipal workers swarmed into the busy neighborhood, seizing contraband. The dealers ran or watched helplessly as the authorities took their illicit goods. #Hindutva #BJP

And with that, the government had conducted a successful crackdown on eggs.

Not just the eggs themselves, though city officials had confiscated hundreds of trays of those, too. The authorities grabbed everything — gas canisters, bread, vegetables, plates, glasses, stools — that one might need to run a food cart to sell eggs scrambled, fried or wrapped in a fragrant breading. On the curb, only broken shells remained.

The food-cart operators who got away counted themselves lucky to have escaped.

“We found out that the truck was approaching our location,” said Virendra Ram Chandra Singh, who added that he could prepare eggs 156 ways. “We ran home with our carts, pushing hard and fast.”

The place of the humble egg in the street food culture of Gujarat, a state in western India where people take their snacks seriously, has become the latest flash point in the growing role of religion in everyday life. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has a Hindu nationalist base, the national government has taken steps in recent years to promote the religion and to sideline Muslims and other groups.

Emboldened local governments have followed suit, enacting rules in some places that adhere closely to Hindu doctrine. That is especially true in Gujarat, which Mr. Modi led for 13 years before becoming prime minister and which is often seen as a laboratory for pushing policies to reshape India along his Hindu nationalist vision. Those include tightening a ban on alcohol and adding protections against the slaughter of cattle, which many Hindus consider sacred.

But even devout Hindus don’t always agree among themselves what practices the faithful should follow, a conflict that also raises issues of income and class. Hence the bitter disagreement over eggs.

Many Hindus are vegetarian, particularly among the elite within India’s traditional caste system, and some of them consider eggs to be meat products.

Citing complaints from Hindus as well as health concerns, local officials in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s largest city, and at least four other cities in mid-November banned the sale and display of meat, fish and eggs on the street. As the mayor of one city, Rajkot, told the local news media: “Carts with nonvegetarian food can be seen everywhere in the city. The religious sentiments of the people are hurt by this.”

The local authorities weren’t expecting the backlash. In recent days, facing a lawsuit and protests, officials in Ahmedabad relented and allowed sales of previously forbidden food to resume for now, though the dispute is being considered by the courts. They did not respond to requests for comment.

Top leaders with Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, which dominates politics in Gujarat, deflected blame to local officials. “Some people eat vegetarian food,” the state’s chief minister, Bhupendra Patel, told local media. “Some people eat nonvegetarian food. The B.J.P. government does not have any problem with it.”
Riaz Haq said…
As #Hindu Extremists Call for Killing of #Muslims, #India’s Leaders Keep Silent. Hundreds of right-wing Hindu activists and monks swore to turn India, constitutionally a secular republic, into a Hindu nation, even if doing so required dying and killing.

“If 100 of us are ready to kill two million of them, then we will win and make India a Hindu nation,” said Pooja Shakun Pandey, a leader of Hindu Mahasabha, a group that espouses militant Hindu nationalism, referring to the country’s Muslims. “Be ready to kill and go to jail.”

Even by the standards of the rising anti-Muslim fury in India, the three-day conference in the city of Haridwar, 150 miles north of New Delhi, produced the most blatant and alarming call for violence in recent years.

The crowded auditorium, where right-wing Hindu monks called for other Hindus to arm themselves and kill Muslims, included influential religious leaders with close ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governing party, and even some members of the party.

Videos of the event have spread widely on social media in India this week. Yet Mr. Modi has maintained a characteristic silence that analysts say can be interpreted by his most extreme supporters as a tacit signal of protection.

The police, who readily jail rights activists and comedians on charges lacking evidence, have been slow to take action. Even opposition political groups have been restrained in their response, an indication of the degree to which right-wing Hindu nationalism has gripped the country since Mr. Modi came to office in 2014.

The inflammatory remarks come as some states governed by Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., are holding elections, including in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, where the conference was held. Mr. Modi was busy campaigning this week in Uttar Pradesh for Yogi Adityanath, his hard-line protégé and the state’s chief minister, who has frequently fanned anti-Muslim hatred.

Multiple episodes of violence against Muslims have been reported during election season, including attacks by mobs trying to close businesses owned by Muslims.

“There are virtually only a handful of political leaders left who even mention the need to preserve India’s secularism,” said Gilles Verniers, a professor of political science at Ashoka University near New Delhi. “The B.J.P. may face increasing political challenges, but it has won its cultural war, with lasting effects on India’s democracy, and on India’s largest minority.”

Right-wing Hindu nationalists have preached violence online for years, but the violence has recently spilled onto the streets. Muslim fruit sellers have been beaten and their earnings snatched away after being accused of luring Hindu women into marriage to convert them. Muslim activists have been threatened with prosecution under an antiterrorism law that has been scrutinized by courts.

Riaz Haq said…
#Modi's Politics of Hate Come for #India's #Christians! Santa Claus set on fire & #Hindu goons disrupt service in Haryana on #Christmas!! Days before, a #Hindu religious congregation allied with #BJP/#RSS made chilling calls for #Muslim genocide!!!

As the Hindu Rashtra progresses apace, calls for genocide no longer shock. It is business as usual. Indian democracy is disintegrating, and it’s time for the world to wake up and respond, before it is lost, irretrievably, and at an inconceivable cost.

"Every Hindu" was exhorted to pick up weapons to "protect" their religion from Muslims. "There is no more time…there’s no other way…there’s no solution apart from" getting ready to kill them, the speakers declared.

"Nothing is possible without weapons. If you want to eliminate their population then kill them. Be ready to kill and be ready to go to jail. Even if 100 of us are ready to kill 20 lakhs [two million] of them [Muslims], then we will be victorious, and go to jail," one of the speakers said, adding she was prepared to be "maligned" like Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse, but would still "pick up arms to defend my Hindutva from every demon who is a threat to my religion."

The hatemongers made a hair-raising comparison between 'culling' Muslims as part of a "cleanliness drive," drawing a parallel with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swach bharat abhiyan, his "Clean India" campaign. They praised the ethnic cleansing model used by Myanmar against the Rohingya.

At a Hindutva rally in New Delhi, whose footage went viral at the same time as the Haridwar hate fest, attendees raised their arms in a straight arm salute and swore an oath that "Till our last breath, we shall fight, die for and if need be, kill, to make this country a Hindu Rashtra, a Hindu-only nation." At both meetings, the parallels with Nazi Germany were unmistakable.

One attendee commented defiantly after the footage had spread over social media: "No one can stop India from becoming a Hindu Rashtra."

Even worse, the politics of hate have become so mainstream in India now that for two days not a single leader of the opposition condemned the calls for genocide which had already gone viral on WhatsApp; finally, Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted a condemnation. The police reluctantly registered a complaint which failed to name a single person despite all the extremists being identifiable.

This is the same India where a Muslim comedian was jailed for a joke he didn’t even tell. The police claimed that he could have told a joke which would be offensive to Hindus.

The RSS makes no secret of the fact that Muslims, whom it blames for the partition of India in 1947, should be second-class citizens with no claims to the public square. And they celebrate Modi for propagating their views.

Extremists valorize him for the 2002 riots in Gujarat where 1000 Muslims died in riots under his watch as the state’s governor. Ever since Modi took office as prime minister, Muslims have been lynched for possessing beef, their traditional occupations of leather and butchery criminalized and public prayers disrupted.

Riaz Haq said…
In #India, calls for #Muslim #genocide grow louder. #Modi’s silence is an endorsement. Is this the type of “democracy” #Biden and other allies are championing? #Islamophobia #Hindutva #BJP #MuslimLivesMatter @RanaAyyub

“The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread. When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out ‘stop!’"

These lines, written by the German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht, came to me as I heard the horrifying speeches delivered by Hindu nationalists during a religious conference this month, when leaders issued direct calls for genocide against Muslims.

“If 100 of us are ready to kill two million of them, then we will win,” said Pooja Shakun Pandey, a leader of Hindu Mahasabha, a militant organization, at a conference in the city of Haridwar, 150 miles north of New Delhi. “Be ready to kill and go to jail.”

At the same event, another Hindu seer invoked the crackdown against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar as a model for what can be done to drive Muslims away, a monstrous event that has been covered in the media.

The Dharma Sansad (Hindu convention) was attended by members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party. Videos of the packed event have been circulating on social media. Attendees made pledges to turn India into a Hindu nation. Unsurprisingly, the calls for violence and extermination have been met with silence by Modi and others — a silence that translates as an endorsement.

Inciting violence is a crime in India, but Pandey and the other speakers remain free. The police are supposed to be investigating but have been very slow to act — since they know full well these leaders have the protection of the ruling political class.

In fact, these Hindu leaders have now been emboldened to form a paramilitary force of monks who they claim will lead an armed fight against the 220 million Muslim population in India.

Days after the conference, Tejaswi Surya, Modi’s handpicked youth leader and a BJP member of parliament, called for bringing Indian Muslims and Christians back to Hinduism, “the mother religion.” He then tried to walk back his comments.

What is happening in India, where calls for genocide and ethnic cleansing are a centerpiece of our political debates? Where the Hindu nationalist who assassinated Mohandas K. Gandhi, a global symbol of nonviolent resistance, is glorified by national leaders.

What is happening in India, where the majority Hindu community fails to repudiate acts of terror unleashed in its name? Where Muslims are lynched on the streets, where Christmas celebrations are attacked, where the government has blocked the charity of human rights icon and Nobel laureate Mother Teresa from receiving international donations.

What is happening in India, where Suresh Chavhanke, the influential owner of a right-wing nationalist news channel, calls for people to “fight, die and kill if required” to make India a “Hindu nation” at an event on Dec. 19 in the national capital as the cameras rolled and the police looked on.

What is happening in India, where law enforcement is more likely to investigate journalists over tweets and the sons of critical public figures over alleged marijuana possession, than go after fanatics calling for mass murder?

What is happening in India, where the captain of the Indian cricket team, Virat Kohli, loses his position for defending a Muslim colleague who was targeted for his faith?

The answer is as loud and clear as the hate spewed at those events, as the mobs that have been given a free pass to attack minorities.
Riaz Haq said…
#Modi's heir apparent #Adityanath’s reign of terror. Chief Minister #YogiAdityanath founded #Hindu Yuva Vahini that is responsible for multiple massacres of #Muslims in #UttarPradesh, #India. #Hindutva #Islamophobia #terrorism via @thecaravanindia

PARVEZ PARVAZ, a journalist and social activist, was passing by the Gorakhpur railway station when he noticed a big gathering near the statue of Maharana Pratap. It was the evening of 27 January 2007, and dusk had just fallen. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Gorakhpur MP, Adityanath, dressed in saffron robes, was delivering an incendiary speech to rousing cheers. Parvaz was aware of tensions pervading the city because of a clash during a recent Muharram procession, in which a Hindu boy was injured and later died. “Seeing the charged atmosphere, I safely ensconced myself within the crowd,” he told me. The crowd was made up primarily of members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, a youth militia Adityanath had founded five years earlier. Inconspicuous within the large gathering, Parvaz began to record the speech with a handheld camera he always carried with him.

“Ek Hindu ke khoon ke badle aane wale samay mein hum prashashan se FIR darj nahin karwaenge,” Adityanath declared. “Balki kam se kam das aise logon ki hatya usse karwaenge”—In the future, if a Hindu’s blood is shed, we will not get the administration to lodge an FIR; instead, we will ensure he kills at least ten in return. The crowd erupted in cheers.

As soon as Adityanath finished his speech, Parvaz quietly returned home, but the city began to detonate. “A hotel just in front of the venue of the meeting was looted and vandalised even before Adityanath could finish his speech,” Sunil Singh told me. At the time, Singh was one of Adityanath’s most trusted lieutenants, serving as the HYV’s state president. He is one of the accused in the case. Singh had addressed the crowd just before Adityanath spoke. “The hotel was owned by a local Muslim,” he told me. “From there, the rioting spread to other parts of Gorakhpur.” At least two persons were killed and property worth crores of rupees was burnt.
Riaz Haq said…
#Hindutva could devour both #India and the #BJP. In a formally secular India, #Hindu religion indeed seems to have become the opium of the people, a mass distraction from the transformative social agenda that the country needs. #Modi #Islamophobia

With the rapid radicalisation of sections of Hindu society, the Hindutva project has become dangerously autonomous. It is no longer possible to see it only as an electoral strategy of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Today one does not need to even presume the direct hand of the BJP or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh behind Hindutva’s every move.

Its exponential social growth may have placed it beyond their control. In a formally secular India, religion indeed seems to have become the opium of the people. When Marx described religion as “the sigh of the oppressed ...

Riaz Haq said…
India’s government is exporting its #Hindu nationalism. Example: #Leicester in #UK. #Modi paints India as a kind of Hindu Zion. #Islamophobia is rampant among bjp stalwarts. Authorities have bulldozed Muslim homes in #Delhi & #BJP ruled states. #Hindutva

The violence that erupted two weeks ago between Muslims and Hindus in the English city of Leicester, home to a large population of Britons with South Asian ancestry, appears at last to be dying down as police flood the streets. It began with brawls and quickly escalated into attacks on mosques and temples.

Events in faraway Leicester bear on Banyan’s Asian preoccupations, largely because of the reaction of the government of India. Its high commission in London condemned the “violence perpetrated against the Indian community in Leicester and vandalisation of premises and symbols of [the] Hindu religion”, but, pointedly, did not condemn Hindus’ violence against Muslims.

Admittedly, Pakistan decried a “systematic campaign” of violence and intimidation against Muslims. But then Pakistan, a state founded on putting Islam (and by extension communalism) at its core, would look after its own, wouldn’t it? The Indian state, by contrast, long sought to represent a secular ideal that rose above communal divisions.

That ideal also informed the internationalist, inclusionary rhetoric of India’s foreign policy. The notable omissions in the Indian High Commission’s statement are indicative of a break in policy since the rise to power in 2014 of Narendra Modi, the prime minister. He is cheerleader-in-chief for Hindutva, a strident form of Hindu nativism promoted by his Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp).

The Indian government’s response was notable in another respect. Most of Leicester’s South Asian Muslims have their ancestral roots not in Pakistan but, like its Hindus, within the borders of India itself. Mukul Kesavan, an Indian writer, writes that to identify only with its Hindus “is to withdraw...the ancestral claim to India from the Muslims of Leicester.”

This is all of a piece with the bjp’s majoritarian approach at home, where Hindus constitute four-fifths of the country’s 1.4bn people and Muslims about one-seventh. Islamophobia is rampant among bjp stalwarts (though Mr Modi usually carries a dog whistle). When Hindus and Muslims have clashed in Delhi or in bjp-ruled states, authorities have bulldozed Muslim homes in retribution. Mr Modi’s Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 grants Indian citizenship to refugees from neighbouring countries—so long as they are not Muslim.

As Mr Kesavan argues, standing up for Hindus abroad bolsters Mr Modi’s standing among Hindus at home. Mr Modi has long understood this aspect of personal power. Before the pandemic he staged huge rallies for the Indian diaspora in America and Britain. On visits abroad he pointedly combines diplomacy with prayer. Mr Modi paints India as a kind of Hindu Zion.

In the American capital this week the foreign minister, S. Jaishankar, lambasted those supposedly spreading false views of India, such as the Washington Post. He defended the government’s suspension of the rule of law and the internet in majority-Muslim Kashmir as motivated only by pure intentions. The minister is representative of Hindutva at the heart of the foreign-policy establishment. A paper in International Affairs, an academic journal, by Kira Huju of Oxford University describes how Indian diplomats hewing to the secular, internationalist line have been squeezed out, silenced or marginalised in favour of hardline hacks. Not only that, diplomats abroad must now promote a Hindu-inflected alternative medicine known as Ayurveda, as well as take instruction in the promotion and practice of yoga.
Riaz Haq said…
The Wire
Lal began his career as an archaeologist with a commitment to empirical rationality. However, by the 1990s, he was known as a 'bhagwa archaeologist' for his spurious claims on Ayodhya. |


B.B. Lal and the Making of Hindutva Archaeology
Lal began his career as an archaeologist with a commitment to empirical rationality. However, by the 1990s, he was known as a 'bhagwa archaeologist' for his spurious claims on Ayodhya.

If there is one name in the history of post-independent India that has had a towering influence on the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), it is Braj Basi Lal, who recently passed away last month at the age of 101.

Lal’s career biography ideologically maps the trajectory ASI took after India broke its colonial shackles. Lal began his career as an archaeologist with a commitment to empirical rationality as seen from his early writing in the ASI journal Ancient India in the 1950s. However, by the 1990s, he was known as a “bhagwa [saffron] archaeologist” for his spurious claims on Ayodhya, which provided an archaeological impetus to the eventual demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.

As a young archaeologist, Lal was trained at the famous Taxila School of Archaeology in 1944. Led by Mortimer Wheeler – the last director general of the colonial ASI – this is considered to be the first school of field archaeology. It had an enduring impact on the trajectory of post-colonial Indian archaeology, as many students who attended went to become the director generals of the ASI, including B.B. Lal who headed the ASI from 1968 to 1972.

The first time I saw B.B. Lal was during unsavoury circumstances. It was a cold winter of 1994 during the Third World Archaeological Congress (WAC 3) held in Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi. As a young graduate student of archaeology, I was a delegate attending the WAC 3 – a gathering of international archaeologists held once in four years. The conference opened with disarray organisation, disordered logistics, and corruption allegations.

Palpably, an unofficial gag order prohibiting any discussion on the demolition of the Babri Masjid was floating in the glittering corridors of the five-star hotel. I heard muted voices of dissent and the simmering tension in the air threatened to disrupt the conference.

On the last day of the conference, an ugly fistfight broke out on the stage of the hotel’s regal ballroom. The national and international delegates sat in stunned silence. Amid a heated discussion and vociferous slogan shouting, a group of senior Indian archaeologists led by B.B. Lal and right-wing archaeologist S.P. Gupta were seen rushing onto the stage.

They snatched the microphone from the Indian delegates who had come up to the podium to read a petition for WAC-3 to pass a resolution condemning the demolition of the Babri Masjid. The conference ended wretchedly, with the WAC Council boycotting the official closing ceremony in protest.

B.B Lal’s role in transforming the ASI from a sedate government organisation excavating diverse pasts of this ancient nation to something that has been trying to prove the archaeological veracity of the ancient Hindu epic tradition is indelible.

Riaz Haq said…
B.B. Lal and the Making of Hindutva Archaeology

Lal’s most significant discovery was that of the earliest Jain terracotta figurine (4th century BCE) and Roman Rouletted Ware (1st-2nd century CE). This evidence showed that Ayodhya was not just part of the brisk ancient trade route, but it was a multicultural site. There was no mention of a Hindu temple at the site. The short excavation reportage in IAR ironically stated that the entire period after the 11th century “was devoid of special interest”.

However, it was in 1990 when the Ram Janmabhoomi movement was jolting the political climate in India, and more than 10 years after he had excavated Ayodhya, Lal, in an influential article in a Hindu propaganda journal, Manthan, announced that he had recovered Hindu temple pillar-bases during the excavation.

Lal forcefully asserted his authority as an eminent ASI archaeologist behind his egregious claim that remains of a Hindu temple existed under the Babri Masjid. He allegedly provided false archaeological justification for the claim that the Hindutva fundamentalists were making about the Babri Masjid. Archaeology was irrevocably pushed into the greatest political crisis of postcolonial India.

Lal’s assertion about the presence of temple debris under the mosque had led to an acrimonious debate among archaeologists and historians in India. He led a group of historians and archaeologists, along with his collaborator S.P. Gupta, who provided archaeological justification to the political project of Hindu fundamentalism.

With this, the project of Hindutva’s appropriation of archaeology’s scientific legitimacy to pursue its divisive politics reached its logical conclusion on December 6, 1992, when the Babri Masjid was demolished.

Along with this project, Lal is also the progenitor of the other favourite Hindutva archaeological project – ‘Aryanization of the Indus Civilization’. This basically means deceptively force-fitting archaeological evidence of the Harappan civilisation (3300-1800 BCE) with the Vedic civilisation (1500-600 BCE) and creating a new ethnic category called the ‘Vedic-Harappans’ – the authors of the ‘Out of India’ theory.

This project disputes the movement of the Aryans from the West, and asserts, without much evidence, that the Harappans were indigenous Vedic Aryans. This is a speculative premise devoid of any material data on the ground through which the Harappan civilisation becomes the birthplace of the indigenous Aryans who spoke the proto-Indo-European language and spread throughout the Eurasian world.

The centre of this process of ‘Aryanization’ – the practice of reading Aryan elements into Harappan material culture – is the river Saraswati, which, thanks to specious scholarship by Lal, moved from the mythological to the archaeological realm. I say specious because in all of his official ASI publications that dealt with the Harappan site of Kalibangan that Lal excavated, he never used the word ‘Saraswati’.

He excavated the site of Kalibangan from 1960-69, but published the report only 34 years after the end of the excavation. In the meanwhile, in non-official publications, Lal routinely postulated the idea that the monsoon-fed Ghaggar-Hakra paleo-channel was actually the Vedic river Saraswati, without archaeological, geological, or hydrological evidence.

If Lord Rama was the divine centre of the property dispute at Ayodhya for Lal, then Goddess Saraswati was the celestial pivot of the making of the Vedic Harappans.

Riaz Haq said…
Thousands of mosques targeted as Hindu nationalists try to rewrite India’s history | India | The Guardian

Shamsi Jama Masjid, an 800-year-old mosque in Uttar Pradesh, is the latest flashpoint in a dispute that could eventually turn violent

Hannah Ellis-Petersen in Uttar Pradesh
Sun 30 Oct 2022 01.00 EDT

In a small, darkened office in Budaun, where dusty legal books line the walls, two lawyers have fallen into a squabble. VP Singh and his taller associate BP Singh – no relation – are discussing Shamsi Jama Masjid, the mosque that has stood in this small town in Uttar Pradesh for 800 years.

According to the lawyers, this grand white-domed mosque, one of the largest and oldest in India, is not a mosque at all. “No no, this is a Hindu temple,” asserted BP Singh. “It’s a very holy place for Hindus.”

Records dating back to 1856 make reference to the working mosque, and according to local Muslims, they have been praying there undisturbed since it was built by Shamsuddin Iltutmish, a Muslim king, in 1223. The Singhs however, have a different version of events. In July, they filed a court case on behalf of a local Hindu farmer – and backed by the rightwing Hindu nationalist party Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) – alleging that Shamsi Jama Masjid is not a mosque but an “illegal structure” built on a destroyed 10th-century Hindu temple for the god Shiva. Their petition states that Hindus have rightful ownership of the land and should be able to pray there.

Except, the two bickering lawyers can’t quite agree on the historical facts. BP Singh initially claimed that the original Hindu temple was destroyed by a Muslim tyrant king – but then VP Singh contradicts him.

“Not destroyed, altered,” said VP Singh. “Most of the original Hindu temple is still there.” They claim as evidence a lotus flower painted on the inside of the mosque dome. But when the Observer was given access to the mosque, there was no such Hindu motif, and instead it was the calligraphy of a Qur’anic verse. There was also no sign of an alleged “hidden locked room filled with Hindu idols” in the mosque, which VP Singh claimed he had seen in the 1970s as a child. Instead, the room in question was a store cupboard, filled with cleaning materials and prayer mats.

The pair also could not settle on exactly when Shamsi Jama Masjid, which they refuse to call a mosque, began to be used by Muslims for prayer five times a day as it is today. After BP Singh stated that Muslims were praying there up till the 1800s, VP Singh leaned over to mutter quietly to his associate: “No no don’t say that, don’t say that.”

More loudly, VP Singh then proclaimed: “Actually no this wasn’t a mosque, it was never used for namaz [Muslim prayer] until recently when the Muslims forcibly occupied it and tried to convert it into a mosque.” They claimed to have “proof” but were unable to find it.

“When the Muslims ruled, we Hindus were all persecuted, we were killed and tortured,” added BP Singh. “Now we are taking back what is rightfully ours.”

The case has been met by puzzlement from local Muslims, who are contesting it in court. “How can you claim this is not a mosque?,” said Anwer Alam, legal counsel for the mosque committee, pointing up to the imposing white domes. “No Hindu has ever prayed at this mosque since its inception 800 years ago. This suit has no legal grounds.”
Riaz Haq said…
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today unveiled the logo for India's G20 presidency. The logo depicts a lotus flower (which is also the BJP party symbol).

The Prime Minister underscored that the seven petals of the lotus represent seven continents of the globe and seven notes of music, adding that the G20 will bring the world together in harmony.

"I congratulate countrymen on the historic occasion of India's G20 Presidency. 'Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam' is the signature of India's compassion for the world. Lotus portrays India's cultural heritage and faith in bringing the world together," he said.

The G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation representing around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.

"This G20 logo is not just a symbol, it is a message, an emotion running through our veins. It is a resolve, which is now being included in our thoughts," PM Modi said elaborating on the logo.


Narendra Modi
The G-20 Summit in India in 2023 will reflect the spirit of वसुधैव कुटुंबकम…One Earth, One Family, One Future!
Riaz Haq said…
India At 75: Hindu Faith Bottled And Home-delivered

High in the Himalayas, where the mighty Ganges is still a frigid glacial stream, labourers fill jerry cans with its holy waters to be distributed to Hindus all over India.

Buyers sparingly use the precious liquid to bless important occasions, from births, weddings, and funerals to festivals such as Diwali or the purchase of a new car.

"This is for every faithful Hindu who can't get here personally," said one of the workers in the pilgrimage town of Gangotri, giving his name as Ramesh.

"It feels blessed to be part of a project that reaffirms our Hindu faith and delivers this divine water to all corners of the country," he told AFP.

The scheme is run by the Indian postal service and is one example of a raft of initiatives, from the symbolic to the gargantuan, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi promoting Hinduism in the country 75 years after independence.

The water is considered purest closest to its source so is collected in Gangotri, where the Ganges starts its roughly 2,500-kilometre (1,550-mile) journey across India, and trucked to a bottling plant 100 kilometres downstream.

After being left to settle for three or four days, it is filtered in tanks before workers decant it by hand into 250-millilitre plastic bottles.

Bought over the counter at post offices around India, they cost just 30 rupees ($0.37) each -- customers can also order them online for home delivery at 321 rupees for a pack of four.

Millions of the little containers have been sold since the scheme launched six years ago.

Since winning elections in 2014, Modi has put Hinduism front and centre of his government in the officially secular nation of 1.4 billion.

The core tenet of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and its militaristic ideological parent the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, is that Hinduism is India's original religion.

This worries India's 210 million Muslims and other minorities. Social media is rife with hate speech and attacks on Muslims and Christians have risen, activists say.

Modi's biggest religious construction project is a grand temple being built in the ancient city of Ayodhya.

Hindu zealots destroyed a centuries-old mosque there three decades ago, triggering sectarian violence that killed more than 1,000 people -- most of them Muslims.

The government has also pushed a $1.5-billion highway project in the northern state of Uttarakhand, which will make it easier for Hindu pilgrims to reach Gangotri and three other Himalayan temples.
Riaz Haq said…
India At 75: Hindu Faith Bottled And Home-delivered

The sites already receive hundreds of thousands of devotees each year, and environmental activists are concerned about building grand highways and tunnels in the ecologically sensitive region.

Modi's government has made clear it will not let up on its vision, however, channelling money into researching the properties of cow urine -- a sacred animal in Hinduism -- and finding "proof" of legends in Hindu scriptures.

Some school textbooks have been rewritten to airbrush the role played by Muslims in Indian history, while Islamic-sounding names of cities have been changed.

These "dramatic initiatives... create an ethos of a majoritarian nation and sublimely reinforce the feeling that we now see ourselves as a de-facto Hindu country," said Hartosh Singh Bal, political editor of The Caravan, an Indian English-language magazine.

"Modi knows exactly what he's doing," he added.

"If critics now raise concerns about minorities or injustice, they can be labelled as someone who's against such schemes delivering holy Ganges water -- and shut them up."

Recipients of the precious liquid, though, have no such concerns.

New Delhi postman Rupesh Kumar, 23, has made several deliveries of the holy water, including during the current auspicious festive period.

He feels "additional responsibility" whenever he is carrying it to a customer for their ritual needs, he told AFP.

"We also used Ganges water in the family for all special and religious occasions," he said.

"People are often very thankful and polite after I deliver these bottles to their homes."
Riaz Haq said…
Three decades ago, the razing by a Hindu mob of a 16th-century mosque in the northern Indian city of Ayodhya, which Hindus believe is the birthplace of the god Ram, led to the death of 2,000 people and propelled the rise of Mr. Modi’s party.

A temple is now being built there. Mr. Modi, who presided over the groundbreaking in 2020, has called it “the modern symbol of our traditions.”

Faced by such moves, Ms. Roy, the novelist, voiced a common concern. “You know, the Varanasi sari, worn by Hindus, woven by Muslims, was a symbol of everything that was so interwoven and is now being ripped apart,” she said. “A threat of violence hangs over the city.”

I found Syed Mohammed Yaseen, a leader of the Varanasi Muslim community, which makes up close to a third of the city’s population of roughly 1.2 million, at his timber store. “The situation is not good,” Mr. Yaseen, 75, said. “We are dealing with 18 lawsuits relating to the old mosque. The Hindus want to demolish it indirectly by starting their own worship there.” Increasingly, he said, Muslims felt like second-class citizens.

“Every day, we are feeling all kinds of attacks, and our identity is being diminished,” he said. “India’s secular character is being dented. It still exists in our Constitution, but in practice, it is dented, and the government is silent.”

This denting has taken several forms under Mr. Modi. Shashi Tharoor, a leading member of the opposition Congress Party that ruled India for most of the time since independence, suggested to me that “institutionalized bigotry” had taken hold.

A number of lynchings and demolitions of Muslim homes, the imprisonment of Muslim and other journalists critical of Mr. Modi, and the emasculation of independent courts have fanned fears of what Mr. Raghavan, the historian, called “a truly discriminatory regime, with its risk of radicalization.”


With inequality worsening, food security worsening, energy security worsening, and climate change accelerating, more countries are asking what answers the post-1945 Western-dominated order can provide. India, it seems, believes it can be a broker, bridging East-West and North-South divisions.


At the end of my stay, I traveled down to Chennai on the southeastern coast.

The atmosphere is softer there. The economy is booming. The electronics manufacturer Foxconn is rapidly expanding production capacity for Apple devices, building a hostel for 60,000 workers on a 20-acre site near the city.

“The great mass of Indians are awakening to the fact that they don’t need the ideology of the West and that we can set our own path — and Modi deserves credit for that,” Venky Naik, a retired businessman, said.

I went to a concert where a musician played haunting songs and spoke of “renewing your auspiciousness every day.” There I ran into Mukund Padmanabhan, a former editor of The Hindu newspaper and now a professor of public practice at the newly established Krea University, north of Chennai.

“I do not believe Modi can marshal Hinduism into a monolithic nationalist force,” he said. “There are thousands of Gods, and you don’t have to believe in any of them. There is no single or unique way.”

He gestured toward the mixed crowd of Hindus and Muslims at the concert. “People don’t like to talk about the project of Gandhi and Nehru, which was to bring everyone along and go forward, but it happened, and it is part of our truth, part of the indelible Indian palimpsest.”

Riaz Haq said…
Is Manusmriti Back With a Bang?
Subhash Gatade |

How to walk backwards and claim we are a world leader.

In recent weeks, a debate has raged about 17th-century poet-saint Tulsidas’s epic poem Ramcharitmanas and its’ allegedly unfair and humiliating treatment of women and so-called lower castes. Voices to edit such books and scriptures or scrap them have grown louder. Yet, the Banaras Hindu University, a premier central university in Uttar Pradesh, has proposed something that, instead of settling the controversy, muddies the waters more.

The university’s Department of Dharmashastra and Mimansa, whose curriculum already includes studying the Manusmriti among ancient Indian scriptures, has proposed researching the “applicability” of Manusmriti in Indian society. It plans to use the funds received under the Centre’s Institutes of Eminence scheme, which provides research and development grants of up to Rs 1,000 crore each to ten select public-funded institutions.

The BHU’s proposal seems anachronous—and not just because it involves spending money on an esoteric subject, while public universities face a severe fund crunch forcing them to cut down even on essential expenses.

Nearly a century ago, during the first Dalit revolt of its kind in modern times, Dr BR Ambedkar, the legendary leader of the oppressed, symbolically burnt the Manusmriti in a public programme held at Mahad. On 25 December 1927, at the Mahad Satyagraha, he said in the presence of thousands of people from different parts of the Bombay province, as it was then known, that the text was a “gospel of counter-revolution”.

The resolution read out during the symbolic public “cremation” of the Manusmriti, proposed by Ambedkar’s associate Gangadhar Neelkanth Sahasrabuddhe, emphasised the intent of the organisers of the conference. After considering the verses of the Manusmriti, it said, the conference had formed the “firm opinion” that it “undermined the Shudra caste, thwarted their progress, and made their social, political and economic slavery permanent”. The resolution said the context of the text is unworthy of a religious or sacred book. That is why participants performed the “cremation” rites of the book at the conference. The resolution even described the book as “divisive” and a “destroyer of humanity”. All these facts are recorded in public intellectual Anand Teltumbde’s book, Mahad: The Making of the First Dalit Revolt, published by Navayana in 2017.

Nearly a quarter-century later, while dedicating the Constitution to the nation, Ambedkar, who headed its drafting committee, famously declared that the Constitution had “ended the rule by Manu”.

However, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) never saw eye-to-eye with a modern Constitution for India. Their leaders made their objections to modernising Indian tradition clear as their fascination for the Manusmriti. In the late sixties, Maharashtra witnessed a massive movement of Dalits and other democratic sections to protest the RSS supremo’s comments praising the Manusmriti in an interview with the Marathi newspaper, Nava Kaal.

Yet last year, Justice Pratibha Singh of the Delhi High Court spoke of the Manusmriti in glowing terms at a programme held under the auspices of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry or FICCI. She said scriptures like Manusmriti give women “a very respectable position”, a remark that created a furore, earning her much criticism for promoting regressive ideas filled with “casteism and classism”.
Riaz Haq said…
#India is a country of 1.4 billion. But the only face you see everywhere in the capital these days, after 2 days of hosting world leaders for #G20 summit, is that of PM #Modi. From monuments to food, India’s diversity was denied a stage. #G20SummitDelhi

What you don’t see in the videos is also telling. You don’t see the Jama Masjid, one of the most iconic sites in the capital. I didn’t spot any churches. The Taj Mahal, India’s most famous landmark and heritage site, built by the Mughal dynasty that is reviled by the rulers of today, gets only a photo on one of the walls. The Golden Temple, the holiest shrine of Sikhs in India, gets a tiny video clip.


You see him (Modi) not only at the airport and at the grand venue that was recently constructed to host the summit, but on practically every road, every few feet. Sometimes, two car lengths, at most. It’s a one-man show.

Having spent many of my growing and working years in New Delhi, the changes in the city for this mega event stand out.

Schools and offices were shut for the summit, roads blocked for so-called VIP movement. Sometimes you had to wait 15 minutes to cross a street as police cars barricaded them.

Vendors, otherwise ubiquitous on Indian streets and selling everything from fruits and vegetables to clothes, shoes and household items, were missing the past few days. They need a daily income from their sales to survive – but clearly don’t figure in the Modi government’s agenda to push India as the voice of the long-suffering Global South.

On some streets, there aren’t even the stray dogs that are a staple of all neighbourhoods. They, too, were rounded up.

But if Modi was the hero of the diplomatic extravaganza, monkeys were the designated menace. Life-sized cut-outs of langurs have been put up to scare the monkeys that can run rampage in Central Delhi, which hosts most major embassies and hotels, and is close to the summit venue.

The relatively heavy rain cooled temperatures in the capital but the partly flooded
roads also showed that you may spruce up the city but until you really fix the infrastructure, things are not really going to change.

It’s at the venue, however, that the deep stamp of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – which will stand for national elections next year – was most visible.

The old exhibition halls at Pragati Maidan – which means “field of progress” in Hindi and previously hosted anything and everything from international trade fairs to book fairs and auto shows – have been replaced with a grand new convention centre called the Bharat Mandapam. It’s a Sanskrit name, where Bharat refers to India, while a mandapam is the front porch of a Hindu temple.

Just with that name, the exhibition ground moves away from its secular, humdrum past.

The grounds are supposed to be the biggest exhibition space in the country. And as the official information tells you, there are more seats than the Sydney Opera House. But it’s next to one of the busiest roads in the city and near the Supreme Court of India, so it’s not really easy to get that many people to visit in one go anyway.

Unless the government pulls out all the stops to do just that.

The cavernous, warehouse-like halls have barren grey walls, currently hidden behind large G20 billboards and video clips of the different cultural trips the delegates and their spouses have undertaken in the past year.

The billboards are covered with images of the lotus flower. That is India’s national flower but it is also the BJP’s election symbol. And it is everywhere. Even in the official logo of the G20.

The video clips playing on the walls tell a story too. They show glimpses of Hampi – a UNESCO World Heritage site which was also the capital of a 14th-century Hindu empire – of Khajuraho temples and of the Nathdwara temple dedicated to the Hindu god Krishna’s avatar.

Popular posts from this blog

Pakistani Women's Growing Particpation in Workforce

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Plane

Pakistan's Saadia Zahidi Leads World Economic Forum's Gender Parity Effort