Sunday, January 31, 2010


By Chitranjan Sawant
Do you know China? Do I know China? It is kind of hard to answer the question.One may have read the history and geography of China but that knowledge is bookish.The real knowledge about the land and the people comes from visiting the land and interacting with the people.There are not many men and women on planet Earth who can claim this privilege.
China has had meteoric rise in the last few decades of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century. China is an economic super power and dictates terms to Europe and America.In the late 19th and early 20th centuries China was down in the dumps both economically and militarily. The political corruption of rulers in Beijing had led the country on the down hill road.As many as eight powers of the world, seven European powers and one Asian power, Imperial Japan, had ridden roughshod over Imperial China and divided her into economic zones where each of the eight ruled the roost. Politically speaking, some Chinese territory was conquered by or ceded to these arrogant powers. Hong Kong became British to its finger tips.It was not until 1997 that Hong Kong reverted to the lap of the motherland, China. By then China was a Communist country and was on road to becoming a world power in her own rights. The British could not have continued their sway and suzerainty over the island even if they wished to. Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and future King of the United Kingdom personally went to Hong Kong to preside over the transfer ceremony and see the Red Star of China replace the Union Jack of the British. The writing was on the wall and the British were quick to read and react.
Privately the Chinese strategists recalled with glee that it was the British Governor of Hong Kong who opened the case of the transfer of the island to the motherland; otherwise the Chinese were in no hurry to lose their sleep over it. An enigmatic statement indeed.
When you say "Good morning", the Chinese gentleman is in no hurry to declare it a good morning too. The Chinese gentleman will look at the sky, look at the man breaking ice in conversation and assess the situation before returning the complimentary greetings. This is the characteristic of the entire Chinese nation.A thorough assessment of the situation and the environment must be done before speaking a word. The speech must follow thinking. Deliberation accompanied by a debate may lead to a conclusion and ultimate communication. It will thus be seen that deliberation precedes communication and it is a basic Chinese characteristic from time immemorial. The foreigners feel that the Chinese government delays action or communication to the European powers and Americans. The Chinese people on their part are extra cautious in dealing with the foreigners. Once bitten Twice Shy - an ancient adage is followed by the Chinese people in letter and spirit.
YANG QUEIDZ -this Chinese phrase meaning Foreign Devil is used for all whites visiting China. What to say of the Emperor of China, even the common court officials and ordinary man in the street did not trust the foreigners and refused to have any social interaction with them. In an official interaction, a few words, if any, were spoken. Even ambassadors extra-ordinary and plenipotentiary were dismissed from the Imperial court after an audience in as short a period as was possible. Suffice it to say that the historical mistrust that the Chinese government and people have for western powers persists.
The present hardline statement or the harsh tone of political reaction of Beijing on the proposed sale of sophisticated military hardware by America to Taiwan should be read in the historical backdrop.
The revolt like situation in Sinkiang in western China or in Tibet has made the Beijing officials a bit nervous. Consequently they have become hard liners in diplomacy and forsaken elasticity. The Chinese adopt a diplomatic position, pursue it and ensure that the Chinese will is not weakened. The other day 25 or so Uighur Muslims of Syin Jiang sought asylum in Cambodia to escape the Chinese law and punishment. The Chinese government brought tremendous pressure on the Cambodian government and had those Muslims repatriated to China to face trial for involvement in the riots in Urumqi. The Chinese saw their will done, notwithstanding the western diplomatic pressure to annul repatriation of Uighur Muslims to China. Apparently, this Chinese success in the diplomatic domain became a possibility because China is now a major player on the world stage. China adopting a strident tone in world affairs is a direct result of her becoming a super power economically, politically and militarily. China has left her neighbours miles behind in this race and achieved the desired goal with sincere planning, meticulous execution and non-deviation from the goal. Now even the sky is not the limit. China is now a global power and has the will to do what it wishes to.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
President Barack Obama will not take the result of the election for a senate seat from Massachusets is a cause for concern for him and the Democrats. The GOP has wrested the senate seat held by the Democrats for almost half a century. No less a person than Ted Kennedy, a scion of the Kennedy family had represented his home state. Moreover, President Obama had campaigned himself for the lady of his party but did not cut much ice. I am sitting half a world away from the scene of action and someone may say what can you judge as an outsider. Pray, my judgement will be impartial and unbiased, if you like. I am an India from India who have had the privilege of living and learning Chinese in America almost half a century ago. I promise you I shall be fair and friendly in my assessment.
I shall not blame the lady who lost. It was not her fault. I shall not unduly praise the man who won. He is no great shake.In fact he was a little known big built man who had to convince the voters that he was serious about the election and hoped to win. Frankly speaking no one was prepared to bet his money on his win at the hustings. Developing a hind sight the lady says that she knows where the faultline was. perhaps it was beyond them to repair it.
Although it was an election for a senate seat from Massachusets, national issues came into play. The common man as a voter played a decisive role in the election. let us take the fact as real and not as fiction that the number of independent voters, not aligned to any party, was a large one. They were in a position to swing the result one way or the other. And they did.
President Barack Obama was a player in this game. He played well but lost. He did not lose as an individual. He lost as a policy maker. Obama, in my opinion as an independent observer, bites more than what he can chew. Indigestion is bound to be a symptom of allied ailments to follow. Never mind if the Surgeon General is in attendance 24x7. Allow me to use a double negative in a negative sense like our African-Americans do. The Surgeon General can't do nothing. it is a case of too little and too late.
You know it. I know it. Accuse me of emphasising the obvious and yet I shall do it.
The Health Care was the undoing of Obama in the present senate seat show.An average American voter is angry. He wants no Health Care bill. The new fangled hobby horse of old Obama is too high to ride. It is extra-ordinarily expensive. It will mean collecting a Trillion dollars from the tax payers. Over taxation - no one wants it. Who will be the beneficiaries of the new fangled scheme. Possibly illegal immigrants from Latin America, carribean, Hispanics and Black men and women whose citizenship is in grave doubt. Ask the American citizens "why should I and my family pay for the health care of men and women who are not even American citizens?"The voters are angry. Their anger has been reflected in the ballot paper that has been counted. it is an alarm bell for President Obama. Is he listening?
Of late there has been an extra-ordinary emphasis on the Civil Rights movement. The venerable black leader, Martin Luther King,Jr has been brought in focus. "We shall Overcome"was sung here, there and everywhere. Fine. No one should find fault with that. It is a part of history.
let us fathom the white man's psyche. America is his country too. America has an African-American as the President. He is the President of the United States of America that is inhabited by both the Whites and the Blacks. Tilting the balance one way or the other may be deterimental to the interest of the nation and the country. Therefore, President Obama should not only be doing things for the entire natiion but appear to be doing so. Let the vegetables from the White House kitchen garden be given away to both the Whites and the blacks.
The African-American citizens perhaps expect too much in too short a prriod of time from the first ever black President of the United States. Brakes have to be applied. The earlier the better.
President Barack Obama has been in the White House for just a year. Are we expecting too much from him? Indeed that is the case. HOWEVER, HE TOO MADE TOO MANY PROMISES. Will he be able to live up to people's expectations? Time alone will tell. Let another 365 days pass.
Admittedly obama is not the same cheerful man that he was before he crossed the threshold of the White House. He may appear to be calm outwardly but he gets worked up when he is in the living quarters. He needs support of his people. But he will have to work harder for this.
President Barack Obama had promised to bring the boys home from theatres of war. He could not keep his word. Indeed that would have meant handing over Afghanistan to the Taliban on a silver platter. He is a war-time commander in chief too. More later

Saturday, January 16, 2010


By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
Counter-attacking the nagging counsel of the plaintiff who wanted every answer in just one word- yes or no, the defendant put a question to him “Have you stopped beating your wife?” An answer in any form would have branded the counsel as a wife-beater. The counsel was silenced and he beat a retreat. Jokes apart, beating a wife is an admission of matrimonial discord, besides being a social stigma. It is a criminal offence too. With a view to encouraging a homogenous home in a homogenous society, creating a perfect understanding between a husband and his wife should be the aim of social activists.
Japan is a peaceful country. The matrimonial life of most of the corporate executives is, however, not peaceful. On way back home from the office, most of the executives stop at the pub for a drink and boiled pork. By the time they totter out of pub to head for home, the thought uppermost in mind is the imminent shower of harsh and abusive words of an otherwise docile wife. It is not the middle age that has made the difference. It is the law enacted by the Diet or parliament recently that entitles a wife to 50 per cent of the pension of the retiring husband, should they go through a legal divorce successfully. The cases of divorce among the retiring executives are on the rise. The number of nubile damsels tying the nuptial knot is on the decline. Girls of new generation do not want to go through trials and tribulations of a marital life like their mothers. Boys have no such reservations. The oriental homes are still dominated by husbands, irrespective of the divorce law. It continues to be a man’s world.
The Vedic Vivah is a sacrament and not a contract as it is in some other religions. When the Hindu Marriage Act came into force in 1955, it changed the concepts relating to divorce that was non-existent earlier. It gave women more freedom and put financial pressure on the husband like payment of maintenance charges to the wife during pendency of a divorce suit. While grant of a divorce on grounds of mutual consent became easier, in other cases suits lingered on for a decade or more and still divorce was nowhere in sight. The divorce petitions broke homes before they could be heard as a legal case. Verbal bickering increased and broke social peace. Some eminent judges, jurists and legal luminaries thought that the Hindu society was better off without the relevant provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.
Some socialites fond of fun and frolic used provisions of the said act to pressurise their rich but oldish hubbies to dole out more money and more money to the fun-loving wife who enjoyed the close company of younger men with facilities bought with husband’s money. Since the word “divorce”or a suit for divorce tarnishes the image of a respectable family in society, husbands continued to be blackmailed by the sadistic behaviour of their estranged wife. Perhaps the legislature could not visualise this sorry state of affairs otherwise it could have made legal escape routes for the exploited husbands. The law has made a mockery of marriage. It would be a good idea to collect and collate cases of misuse of such provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act and put legal pressure on the central legislature to amend the law suitably.
Is a marriage compatible or incompatible? Has a Hindu marriage broken down beyond redemption? There are instances where a marriage exists just in name and the erstwhile husband and wife have nothing to do with each other physically, mentally and spiritually. Yet the mutual consent for divorce is not there. Perhaps one party or the other has taken recourse to harassment of the spouse and derives sadistic pleasure. Courts of law say that “breakdown of a marriage beyond redemption” is no ground for divorce as the law makers did not make a provision for this broken marriage as a ground for grant of divorce. It is sad. The court does not go beyond this except in some rarest of the rare case where it did grant divorce saying that both the husband and wife have gone beyond the point of no return in their aggressive animosity towards each other. In such cases the courts also say that the grant of divorce in such rarest of the rare case would not be cited as a precedent. Rather unfortunate.
The remedy obviously lies with the legislature. However, it has not yet chosen to act. The long wait is perhaps for a Law Commission to take cognizance of such hardships caused by the relevant act. Another way out is to mobilise public opinion in such a massive way that the like-minded MPs choose to effect relevant amendments or just scrap the Act itself. It will depend on which way the wind blows at a given time. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the Hindu Marriage Act has caused legal and social hardships to a sizeable section of the Hindu society. By the way, the term Hindu in law includes Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Arya Samajists and so on. Thus the segment of society affected by non-provision of easy remedial measures to get out of a failed marriage is quite a large one.
The best way to keep out of harm’s way is to make the marriage compatible, come what may. Is it a like building castle in the air? No, not at all. Live like a good husband, live like a good wife and take care of each other to avoid a blockage or a breakdown in marriage. Let the ideas flow both ways. COMMUNICATION OR SAMVAD is a maha- mantra or a mega recipe that every married couple must learn by heart. If one of the two partners sulks and avoids the company of the other partner, that is the point when a sagacious elder in the family should step in for proper counselling. Many a time it is seen that as an individual both the husband and the wife are good. And yet they fail to reach an understanding on issues that divide them. Sometimes it boils down to matters mundane like what should be cooking in the kitchen and when. This ticklish issue may be resolved by the couple directly by what is called the principle of “give and take.”Both have to accommodate each other. When there is a lack of accommodation, there is a lack of understanding, a senior lady member of the family may intervene and sort out the matter.
The major problem arises when a third person steps in and gets emotionally involved with one of the two partners. To begin with, one should not allow such a situation to develop. In case it has developed, the most intelligent way of overcoming it is to banish the outsider who is disrupting the matrimonial life. It is easier said than done but not impossible to attain. Indeed, help of a professional counsellor who is not attached to either party must be sought and obtained. An effective marriage counsellor may succeed in putting the matrimonial life back on rails. It is a possibility. Just try it. Once the life ambles back to a near normalcy, please ensure that the element of suspicion does not creep in surreptitiously. Suspicion in the post-rapprochement period is a distinct possibility and a special on-guard is required to avoid a repeat performance of the sulking couple.
A couple leading a healthy marital life is strongly advised to beget as many children as they can conveniently afford to bring up and educate. Children are a cementing factor in the matrimonial relationship. Sometimes children play the role of mediators in a nuptial tiff successfully. Therefore, every couple must bear sons and daughters for the sake of saving their own marriage. In the long run, children will be a positive factor in promoting peace and prosperity in the family. They will keep their parents out of harm’s way. Love in this case too is a two-way traffic. Allow the traffic an uninterrupted flow on the road of life. Let the life run smoothly by assembling the extended family at the dining table for at least one meal to be eaten together. Let the elders listen to the children first and then give a piece of advice, if required. Thus children will find communication with elders quite convenient and there will be a free flow of ideas. With a view to facilitating communication in an uninterrupted manner for marital peace and family accord, Listen first, talk thereafter, says a Veda mantra “SHREUNIYAM SHARADAH SHATAM – PRABRAVAM SHARADAH SHATAM”.
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Sunday, January 3, 2010


By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM

Rather strange that India and her citizens who have suffered most at the hands of Islamist terrorists should adopt a policy on fighting terror that the world feels is soft. It is unbelievably true that three Pakistan hard core terrorists who were taken to Pant hospital in the national capital,Delhi by an escorting party of Sikkim Police escaped from their custody.Apparently the police escort was lax. The police is lax in its discharge of duty and taking the terror threat seriously because the government is lax. The political parties are more interested in not annoying the Muslim vote bank by being constitutionally correct in tackling terror. Whuile it is true that all Muslims are not terrorists, it is also true that by and large all terrorists are Muslims. Thus tackling terror firmly means causing annoyance among illiterate and pro-Pakistan elements in the Muslim community. Terror attacks in India were by and large sponsored by the State agencies of Pakistan. Thus the terror is known as Islamist terror, not only in India but in the entire world.
What is the way out? The Islamist terror must be tackled firmly and the terrorists must be brought to justice. Those who have been sentenced to various terms of imprisonment or in some cases sentenced to death by hanging, their sentences should be carried out at once.
All cases of terror should be dealt with as per law of the land by fast track courts for speedy justice. If a case lingers on too long, the witnesses against terrorists lost interest as their profession or business suffers.Justice delayed is justice denied.
The public opinion should be aroused against those politicians and political parties who are soft on terror. It will rise to such a crescendo in due course of time and with proper efforts made that even the pro-Pakistan persons and parties (Pakistan is the hub of global Islamist terror) will have little option but to become firm in dealing with the terrorists. The fear of losing Muslim vote banks would be eroded if the moderate Muslims are weaned away from the hard core Muslims. It is seen that ,by and large the Muslim women are not pro Islamist terrorists. They should be influenced through articles, speeches and personal approach by Mahila Mandals to lend support to the anti-Islamist Terror Forum. If a forum like this does not exist in mofussil towns and villages, it should be formed and activated.
Need of the hour is that every patriotic citizen must come forward and voice his or her opposition to the Islamist terror outfits that are causing a permanent damage to human society in general and to the Muslim society in particular. And the earlier it is done, the better it would be.
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