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  • Thomas George\r\n\r\n\r\nA storm (from Proto-Germanic *sturmaz “noise, tumult”) is any disturbed state of an astronomical body’s atmosphere, especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather. It may be marked by strong wind, thunder and lightning (a thunderstorm), heavy precipitation, such as ice (ice storm), or wind transporting some substance through the atmosphere (as in a dust storm, snowstorm, hailstorm, etc).\r\n\r\nStorms are created when a center of low pressure develops, with a system of high pressure surrounding it. This combination of opposing forces can create winds and result in the formation of storm clouds, such as the cumulonimbus. Small, localized areas of low pressure can form from hot air rising off hot ground, resulting in smaller disturbances such as dust devils and whirlwinds.\r\n\r\nStorms are disturbances of the atmosphere, accompanied by strong winds and often by some form of precipitation such as rain or snow. Violent storms include the following:\r\n\r\n Blizzard – a severe snowstorm accompanied by strong winds with a minimum speed of 35miles per hour combined with either falling snow or snow on the ground to reduce visibilities to ¼ miles for at least 3 hours.\r\n Dust Storm – also known as sandstorm is a common phenomenon in dry regions. It is characterized by high winds which carry great clouds of dust, usually in an area that has undergone a long period of drought. Dust storm cause soil loss from the dry lands and they can remove organic matter and the nutrient-rich lightest particles, thereby affecting the agricultural productivity in that region.\r\n Hurricane – a tropical cyclone (wind that rotates round a calm central area) that originates over the warmer areas. The cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms and extremely high winds (74 mph) and heavy rains that often inflict extensive damage in coastal areas.\r\n Ice Storm – is a type of winter storm characterized by freezing rain or freezing drizzle causes a glaze of ice on all exposed objects. It happens when a warm cloud rains above a layer of colder air. This lowers the temperature of the droplets to below zero; however it remains in liquid form. The super cooled droplets freeze into ice on impact when they fall onto a surface.\r\n Squall – is a sudden, sharp increase in wind speed (18mph – 25mph) that is usually associated with brief (at least 1 minute) and heavy precipitation. This usually occurs in a squall line.\r\n\r\n\r\n Thunderstorm or Electric Storm – is a form of weather that is characterized by severe storm accompanied by lightning and thunder, strong gusty winds, heavy rain, and occasionally hail. Sometimes thunderstorms produce tornadoes and waterspouts (a tornado or lesser whirlwind occurring over water and resulting in funnel-shape of rotating cloud-filled wind usually extending from the cumulus cloud down to a cloud of spray torn up by the whirling wind from the surface of an ocean.\r\n\r\n\r\n Tornado – a violent, whirling storm of small size, it is usually very destructive. Tornado is formed when huge masses of clouds moving in different directions meet. The air starts to spin in a spiral and a funnel of twisting air, low pressure inside the funnel sucks up anything it touches. It can travel across land at very high speeds and its roaring noise is heard up to 40km away.\r\n Typhoon – is a tropical cyclone that is similar to a hurricane, except that it occurs over the western Pacific Ocean and its shores.\r\n\r\nSto­rms­ are one of those incredible forces of nature that can change life in a single instant, but just how do we measure how destructive a storm is? Is it by the number of lives lost? Is it having lasting impact on a population? What are the financial costs of the d­estruction? Most violent storms produce a terrible and terrifying combination of all three — the overall effects often leave people stunned and devastated that so much chaos could happen on the whim of weather.\r\n\r\nAll circling weather patterns with low-pressure centers technically are called cyclones. So hurricanes and tornadoes fall under the cyclone designation, but the term can be used to denote anything in the category that fits the definition. For example, middle-latitude (or midlatitude) cyclones, huge weather systems of varying strengths, are also in this category.\r\n\r\nThe term “hurricane” is used for a storm that begins east of the International Date Line. This type of storm is called a typhoon if it’s spawned to the west. If you’re in the Indian Ocean, you call this same storm a cyclone.\r\n\r\nFive Most Destructive Storms\r\n\r\n1. Bhola Cyclone\r\n\r\nA y­ear before Bangladesh would become an independent nation by seceding from­ Pakistan, it was struck by a raging cyclone. The cyclone caused chaos on the low-lying coastal delta, and according to some, was a contributing factor in the fight for independence.\r\n\r\nAlthough cyclones do not necessarily occur more often in and around Bangladesh, when cyclones strike they cause immense devastation because of the country’s topography. The 1970 storm, nicknamed the Bhola Cyclone, proved to be one of the greatest natural disasters in recorded history, even though it only made landfall as a Category 3 storm. Fatality estimates range from 300,000 to one million people, although most estimates put the tally at 500,000 people.\r\n\r\n2. The Great Hurricane of 1780\r\n\r\nNo hurricane in the Atlantic had even come close to matchi­ng the death toll from this massive storm until 1998’s Hurricane Mitch, which struck Central America. That hurricane took the lives of 11,000 to 18,000 people, mostly from Nicaragua and Honduras.\r\n\r\nHowever, the Great Hurricane of 1780 still overshoots that devastating statistic. An estimated 22,000 people perished between October 10 and October 16 in the eastern Caribbean, mainly in the Lesser Antilles, with the heaviest losses on the islands of Martinique, St. Eustatius and Barbados. Beyond these casualties, it’s estimated that thousands of sailors, mostly French and British, who were campaigning in the region also perished in the storm when the dramatic weather plowed into their vessels [source: NOAA].\r\n\r\n3. The Galveston Storm\r\n\r\nOn Sept. 8, 1900, Galveston, Texas, braved a storm of biblical proportions. The island city, located ­just off the Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico, had a population of about 37,000 people an­d bright economic prospects before that fateful day. But on September 9, the city had a population of about 30,000 and millions of dollars in damage [source: The 1900 Storm].\r\n\r\nSo what brought this turn of events to the people of Galveston? A hurricane — estimated to be Category 4 strength — slammed into the unprotected, low-lying island, and the destruction it brought with it was immense. Generally, researchers estimated the Galveston storm’s death tolls to be between 8,000 and 10,000 people (wider estimates range from 6,000 to 12,000 people). However, remains were still washing ashore in February of the following year. To this day, it’s the deadliest natural disaster to ever strike U.S. territory.\r\n\r\nThe hurricane’s 225 kilometer-per-hour (140-mile-per-hour) winds and 4.5-meter-high (15-foot-high) storm surge demolished 3,600 buildings [source: The 1900 Storm]. The whole island was submerged, and when the waters finally receded, 12 city blocks (nearly three-quarters of the city) were washed away [source: Zarrella]. In the intervening hours, people struggled to stay alive, clinging to anything they could find above water.\r\n\r\nAfter the hurricane and as the town moved to rebuild, efforts were made to provide some protect­ion in the event of a similar future disaster. The town propped up buildings — in some cases as high as five meters (17 feet) above their original elevation — and the whole grade of the island was raised. The town also constructed a sea wall five meters (17 feet) high and 16 kilometers (10 miles) long, which thankfully helped protect the city in 1961, when another hurricane hit.\r\n\r\n4. Hurricane Katrina\r\n\r\nAlthou­gh the death t­oll from this furious storm wasn’t a record-breaker, Hur­ricane Katrina’s financial impact was incomparable. Let’s take a look at the storm that changed New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast region forever.\r\n\r\nIn August 2005, trouble began brewing in the Atlantic. The storm first began to form in the vicinity of the Bahamas and proceeded to travel across the southern end of the Florida peninsula. The hurricane was relatively tame during its journey in Florida, compared to what was coming. Upon returning to open waters, Katrina strengthened with a vengeance and grew into a Category 5 hurricane. In the 18 hours prior to landfall, it mellowed into a Category 3 storm.\r\n\r\nBut what remained remarkable about Katrina was its enormous size. On August 27, Katrina’s expanse almost doubled, with tropical storm-force winds felt 161 nautical miles from the eye of the storm in every direction. When it slammed into the Gulf Coast on August 29, Katrina hovered in the upper reaches of a Category 3 storm, and the eye of the hurricane passed only 23 miles (37 kilometers) from downtown New Orleans [source: Knabb].\r\n\r\nKatrina’s storm surge towered almost 30 feet in some places, and its effects were registered throughout the Gulf Coast region. The combination of extreme storm surges and time-weakened levees caused New Orleans and the surrounding communities to sustain severe flooding. Eighty percent of New Orleans was underwater — up to 20 feet (6 meters) in some places — and it would be 43 days, in part because Hurricane Ritashowed up about a month later, before the last of the deluge could recede [source: Knabb].\r\n\r\nEventually, the world heard of Katrina’s lethal results. Hurricane Katrina spawned 43 tornadoes that traveled across the southeastern United States. The storm directly caused the deaths of an estimated 1,500 people in four states — the most fatalities occurred in Louisiana. Thousands of homes were destroyed and damaged. In Louisiana and Mississippi, the storm surge was so severe in some places that it annihilated entire coastal communities. The oil rigs and other facilities in the region that were hit spilled millions of gallons of oil. The financial toll is nearly incalculable because of its complexity — lost jobs, missed revenue opportunities and destroyed businesses all factor among the financial losses. Preliminary damage costs (mainly figured through insured losses) were estimated to be about $81 billion [source: Knabb]. Hurricane Katrina’s total financial impact was later estimated at approximately $200 billion, and some suspect that number will hit the $300 billion mark when the final totals are released [source: Galvin].\r\n\r\n5. Tri-State Tornado\r\n\r\nMany tornadoes leave death, injury and destruction in their wake, but one tornado stands in ­a class by itself. On March 18, 1925, the Tri-State Tornado struck, and it still remains the deadliest tornado in U.S. history.\r\n\r\nSweeping out from ­southeastern Missouri, the Tri-State Tornado careened clear across the southern tip of Illinois before finally dissipating in the lower regions of Indiana. What’s remarkable is that these three locales are 352 kilometers (219 miles) apart, and the tornado traveled this distance in just three and a half hours [source: SEMP].\r\n\r\nTo really understand how impressive the Tri-State Tornado was, let’s compare it to an average tornado. Typically, tornadoes travel about 45 kilometers (30 miles) per hour and are between 150 to 600 meters (500 to 2,000 feet) wide. Generous estimates suggest they travel an average of 10 kilometers (6 miles) before dissipating [source: Tarbuck]. The Tri-State Tornado, on the other hand, had an average speed of 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour and a top speed of 117 kilometers (73 miles) per hour. It traveled more than 36 times an average tornado’s usual distance, and some eyewitnesses said its path was nearly a mile wide [source: NOAA].\r\n\r\nScientists today wonder if the Tri-State Tornado was actually a family of tornadoes created from a massive supercell storm, which could account for the extremity of its activity. The central argument against this theory stems from the path of the tornado, which would have been very unusual had it been caused by multiple twisters. For 183 of the 219 miles, it traveled to the same degree along a perfectly straight vector [source: NOAA].\r\n\r\nAll told, the EF5 storm killed 695 people. Of that total, 234 lived in the town of ­Murphysboro — sadly setting the record for the most fatalities incurred by a tornado in a single city in U.S. history. In total, 2,027 people sustained injuries from the tornado’s passage, and 15,000 homes were destroyed. Some towns were completely obliterated [source: SEMP].\r\n\r\nThe U.S­ Central plains — nicknamed Tornado Alley — have the highest frequency of tornadoes in the world [source: Tarbuck].\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Ambujam Ramanujam\r\n\r\n\r\nUN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday announced a new agency – UN Women – headed by former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, to oversee all programmes aimed at promoting equality for women.\r\n\r\n‘Ms. Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership, highly honed political skills and uncommon ability to create consensus and focus among UN agencies and many partners in both the public and private sector,’ Ban said at the UN headquarters in New York.\r\n\r\n‘I’m confident that under her strong leadership, we can improve the lives of millions of women and girls throughout the world,’ Ban said of Chile’s first female head of state.\r\n\r\nHe said the creation of UN Women is the fruit of four years of effort to achieve one of his priorities as secretary-general.\r\n\r\nThe process to select the head of UN Women began shortly after the General Assembly approved the plan for the new agency in July 2009 and a 26-member selection committee proposed three candidates.\r\n\r\nBan chose Bachelet, who the committee unanimously endorsed, he said.\r\n\r\nUN Women\r\n\r\nUN Women, by amalgamating four United Nations agencies and offices, is to create a new single entity within the Organization to promote the rights and well-being of women worldwide and to work towards gender equality. It is set to become operational in January 2011 and will merge the UN Development Fund for Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women.\r\n\r\nThe agency’s status will be comparable to that of Unicef and Bachelet will hold the rank of deputy secretary-general.\r\n\r\nThe General Assembly adopted a resolution on 14.09.2010 on improving system-wide coherence within the UN, and the text spells out the support of Member States for a new consolidated body – to be headed by an under-secretary-general – to deal with issues concerning women.\r\n\r\nThe resolution means the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW) will be merged.\r\n\r\nIn a statement issued today by his spokesperson, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “particularly gratified” that the Assembly had accepted his proposal for “a more robust promotion” of women’s rights under the new entity.\r\n\r\n“An important step has been made in strengthening the United Nations’ work in the area of gender equality and empowerment of women, as well as in ensuring the effective delivery of its operational activities for development, which constitutes the other key components of the resolution,” the statement noted.\r\n\r\nMr. Ban said in the statement that he had appointed more women to senior posts than at any other time in the history of the UN, including nine women to the rank of under-secretary-general. The number of women in senior posts has increased by 40 per cent under his tenure.\r\n\r\nThe Assembly’s resolution tasks Mr. Ban with providing Member States with a comprehensive proposal outlining the mission statement, structure, funding and oversight of the new entity so that it can be created as soon as possible.\r\n\r\nThe resolution also calls for greater measures to harmonize business practices within the UN development system, ways to improve the funding system for such activities, and other steps to streamline practices within the world body.\r\n\r\nAfter the resolution, UNIFEM – which currently operates in autonomous association with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) – issued a statement welcoming “the unanimous strong support” among Member States, which follow three years of extensive consultations on the structure and operational details of the new body.\r\n\r\n“UNIFEM trusts that deliberations can resume soon ensuring an informed and swift establishment of the composite entity,” the statement said.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    The National Film Awards is the most prominent film award ceremony in India. Established in 1954, it is administrated by the Indian government’s Directorate of Film Festivals since 1973.\r\n\r\nEvery year, a national panel appointed by the government selects the winning entry, and the award ceremony is held in New Delhi, where the President of India gives away the awards. This is followed by the inauguration of the National Film Festival, where the award-winning films are screened for the public. Declared for films produced in the previous year across the country, they hold the distinction of awarding merit to the best of Indian cinema overall, as well as presenting awards for the best films in each region and language of the country. Due to the national scale of the National Film Awards, it is considered to be the equivalent of the American Academy Awards.\r\n\r\nThe 57th National Film Awards will be presented to the best of Indian cinema released during the year 2009. The 57th National Film Awards 2009 was announced on 15th September, 2010. The 57th National Film Awards is presented to the best of Indian Cinema released during the year 2009.\r\n\r\nEminent director Rituparno Ghosh was declared Best Director for Bengali film Abohomaan. The movie ‘Delhi 6? claimed the award for national integrity while Aamir Khan’s blockbuster ’3 Idiots’ won the national award in the most popular category. Malayalam film ‘Kutty Srank’ was declared Best Film while Well Done Abba clinched the award for Best film on social issues.\r\n\r\nThe awards has also been announced to the following:\r\n\r\nBest Actor award Amitabh Bachchan adjudged as Best Actor for ‘Paa’\r\n\r\nBest Actress award went in favour of Ananya Chatterjee for her role in Abohomaan.\r\n\r\nBest Camerawork: Anjali Shukla.\r\n\r\nBest Sound Engineer: Oscar winner Resul Pookutty\r\n\r\nBest Supporting role (Male): Farooq Sheikh for the film Lahore\r\n\r\nBest Supporting role (Female): Arundhati Naag for the film Paa\r\n\r\nBest Playback singer (Male): Rupam Islam\r\n\r\nBest Playback singer (Female): Niranjana Sarkar (Housefull)\r\n\r\nBest Music: Dev D\r\n\r\nBest lyrics: Swananad Kirkirey for the film 3 Idiots\r\n\r\nBest Music Director: Amit Trivedi for the film Dev D\r\n\r\nBest Child Film: Ottani Pati and Kesu\r\n\r\nBest Child actor: Jiva and Anba Karasu\r\n\r\nBest Music score: Illyaraza for Pazhassi Raja\r\n\r\nBest Choreography: K Shivashankar for film Magadhira\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Nambi Arooran\r\n\r\nThose intending to become doctors and treat patients may soon have to clear a common exit test after getting the MBBS degree from medical colleges.\r\n\r\nThe regulating body, Medical Council of India (MCI), has given a statutory recommendation for a mandatory exit test, which is under active consideration of the health ministry, the Supreme Court was informed on 17.08.2010.\r\n\r\nConsidering the sensitive nature of the profession — dealing with life and death — and keeping in mind varying standards of education in medical colleges, MCI has proposed a common exit examination for MBBS pass-outs intending to become doctors and treat patients, Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam told a Bench of Justices R V Raveendran and H L Gokhale.\r\n\r\nThis recommendation of the MCI was to standardise the skills of doctors, said the regulatory body’s counsel senior advocate Amarendra Saran supplementing the arguments of the health ministry advanced through the SG.\r\n\r\nThis is in line with the decision of the Bar Council of India (BCI) making it mandatory for law graduates to clear a test to be able to practice in courts.\r\n\r\nImportantly, both Subramaniam and MCI counsel, senior advocate Amarendra Saran, informed the Bench that very soon a notification would be issued to put in place a single window admission test for filling post-graduate course seats in all private and government medical colleges from the next academic session (2011-12).\r\n\r\nThe Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it supported the Medical Council of India’s proposal to have a common entrance test (CET) for admission to post graduate medical courses and that it wanted to notify it within a week.\r\n\r\nThis would ease the tension and trouble of thousands of students competing for few PG seats, for which they have to travel to different places to appear in entrance examinations for PG courses of different colleges. Clashing of the dates of examination used to add to the woes of the students. But, these will be a thing of past from next year, thanks to the common entrance test for PG seats in all private and government medical colleges.\r\n\r\nHowever, the joint attempt of MCI and the government to push through the common admission test for MBBS courses in private and government medical colleges did not get the stamp of approval from the apex court, which said it could not do so without getting the responses from the state governments.\r\n\r\nThe reluctance of the Supreme Court stemmed from the fact that Tamil Nadu, which has a special law for the purpose which has already received President’s assent, had strongly objected to the common admission test for MBBS across the country.\r\n\r\nThe Bench said: “We do not know which all states will object to this and how the students, a volatile community, would react to this proposal. So, let the Centre put before us the proposal and we will seek the response of the state governments.”\r\n\r\nThe Solicitor General agreed and said though the health ministry was carrying out the task of achieving a consensus among the states for a single window admission test for MBBS courses in all medical colleges, it would be easier and expeditious if the apex court helped through the judicial process to achieve the goal that would benefit the entire community of students aspiring to be doctors.\r\n\r\nGiving the Centre a week to place the proposal before it for issuance of notices to the state governments to elicit their response, the Bench said: “The courts have already contributed to a lot of problems and we do not want to contribute to this by giving a go-bye to the settled procedure.”\r\n\r\nSenior counsel Amrender Saran, appearing for the Medical Council of India, said new rules and regulations for the CET had been put in place and they had been approved by the government. There would be centralised counselling after the CET and at the end of the course there would an exit test for doctors. The Bench directed the matter to be listed after a week.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Shanthi Rajagopal\r\nReasons for the present unrest in Jammu and Kashmir\r\n\r\nThe immediate trigger for the current phase of protests was the death of 17-year-old Tufail Mattoo, who was killed by a tear gas canister which struck his head during a protest in Srinagar in June, 2010 against the Machhil fake encounter of April 30, 2010. Many observers have blamed his death — and the deaths of other young men since then — on the security forces lacking the training and means for non-lethal crowd control. Tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon are used all over the world in situations where protests turn violent but in India, live ammunition seems to be the first and only line of defence. Even tear gas canisters are so poorly designed here that they lead to fatalities.\r\n\r\nWhatever the immediate cause, however, it is also safe to say that young Tufail died as a direct result of Machhil. Though the Army has arrested the soldiers responsible for the fake encounter, the only reason they had the nerve to commit such a heinous crime was because they were confident they would get away with it. And at the root of that confidence is Pathribal, the notorious fake encounter of 2000. The army officers involved in the kidnapping and murder of five Kashmiri civilians there continue to be at liberty despite being charge-sheeted by the CBI. The Ministry of Defence has refused to grant sanction for their prosecution and has taken the matter all the way to the Supreme Court in an effort to ensure its men do not face trial. What was the message that went out as a result?\r\n\r\nHad the Centre made an example of the rotten apples that have spoiled the reputation of the Army instead of protecting them all these years, the Machhil encounter might never have happened? Tufail would not be dead and angry mobs would not be attacking police stations and government buildings. Impunity for the few Army personnel has directly endangered the lives of all policemen and paramilitary personnel stationed in Kashmir. There is a lesson in this, surely, for those who say punishing the guilty will lower the morale of the security forces.\r\n\r\nCriticism against AFSPA\r\n\r\n\r\nWhatever is its logic, it is certain that the Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA) has long been regarded a heavy-handed law, one that allows the Army overweening powers and special immunity in areas that are deemed “disturbed”. Primarily intended for the Northeast when it was crafted in 1958, it was extended to Jammu and Kashmir in 1990. In both cases, the Law has been central to the region’s resentments.\r\n\r\nThough it has long been contested as disproportionate and “draconian”, the Armed Forces and Defence Ministry have long objected to its withdrawal saying that the forces need that special cover to maintain control in volatile areas, and that taking it away could have serious security implications. On the other hand, there is unanimity in Kashmir that AFSPA should be relooked, given the new normal in the state, it’s clear investment in the electoral process and then waning of violence, and there were signs that this would be heeded, even through this new cycle of conflict in the Valley. The debate over the act continues but now, there is indication that AFSPA may be relaxed in six districts in Jammu and Kashmir — Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam, Jammu, Samba and Kathua (conveniently, NC and Congress bastions). This is not just a huge symbolic move, it will also compel Security forces to reorient their actions in the interiors of the State and make a visible difference in daily life.\r\n\r\nHowever, now it all hinges on Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. He has received a tremendous boost, having demonstrated the Centre’s backing on a core demand — the question is whether he can channel this newfound political capital into keeping these regions secure. Imphal witnessed a round of extortions and separatist trouble, after AFSPA was withdrawn, and the Chief Minister looks hapless. Omar must be careful not to become another Ibobi, and end up proving the necessity of a harsh Act that no one really wants.\r\n\r\nArmed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)\r\n\r\nThe Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) is supposed one of the most draconian pieces of legislation passed by Parliament. Under the Act, all security forces are given unbridled powers to carry out their operations once an area is declared ‘disturbed‘. Even a non-commissioned officer can shoot to kill based on the mere suspicion that it is necessary to do so to “maintain public order”.\r\n\r\nThe people of Jammu & Kashmir have been agitating for the past three months for withdrawal of the Act. Chief Minister of Jammu Omar, too, has stressed that AFSPA should be withdrawn from areas where it has not been used at all.\r\n\r\nThe Indian Defence Minister, Thiru Antony, however, is believed to have told the chief minister that the army has reservations against any amendment to or partial withdrawal of the AFSPA from the State.\r\n\r\nThe Act was imposed on Jammu & Kashmir at the height of the separatist terrorist movement. Now, as most places in the State have reported a drop in terrorist violence, the people are demanding its withdrawal. But others believe the State is still ‘sensitive’ and withdrawing the Act will handicap the Army.\r\n\r\nPassing of the Act\r\n\r\nThe Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was passed on 11 September 1958 by the Parliament of India. It conferred special powers upon armed forces in what the language of the act calls “disturbed areas” in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.\r\n\r\nThe Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 was an Act to enable certain special powers to be conferred upon members of the Armed Forces in the disturbed areas in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. “Armed forces” means the Military forces and the Air forces operating as land forces and includes any other Armed forces of the Union so operating.\r\n\r\nSpecial powers of the Armed Forces\r\n\r\nSection 4:\r\n\r\nThis section sets out the powers granted to the military stationed in a disturbed area. These powers are granted to the commissioned officer, warrant officer, or non-commissioned officer, only a jawan (private) does not have these powers. The Section allows the armed forces personnel to use force for a variety of reasons.\r\n\r\nAny commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or any other person of equivalent rank in the armed forces may, in a disturbed area,-\r\n\r\n(a} if he is of opinion that it is necessary so to do for the maintenance of public order, after giving such due warning as he may consider necessary, fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law or order for the time being in force in the disturbed area prohibiting the assembly of five or more persons or the carrying of weapons or of things capable of being used as weapons or of firearms, ammunition or explosive substances;\r\n\r\nThis means the army can shoot to kill, under the powers of section 4:-\r\n\r\n(a), for the commission or suspicion of the commission of the following offenses: acting in contravention of any law or order for the time being in force in the disturbed area prohibiting the assembly of five or more persons, carrying weapons, or carrying anything which is capable of being used as a fire-arm or ammunition. To justify the invocation of this provision, the officer must be “of the opinion that it is necessary to do so for the maintenance of public order” and should give “such due warning as he may consider necessary”.\r\n\r\n(b) if he is of opinion that it is necessary so to do, destroy any arms dump, prepared or fortified position or shelter from which armed attacks are made or are likely to be made or are attempted to be made, or any structure used as training camp for armed volunteers or utilized as a hide-out by armed gangs or absconders wanted for any offence;\r\n\r\nThis means the army can destroy property under section 4(b) if it is an arms dump, a fortified position or shelter from where armed attacks are made or are suspected of being made, if the structure is used as a training camp or as a hide-out by armed gangs or absconders.\r\n\r\n(c) arrest, without warrant, any persons who has committed a cognizable offence or against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed or is about to commit a cognizable offence and may use such force as may be necessary to effect the arrest;\r\n\r\nThis means the Army can arrest anyone without a warrant under section 4(c) who has committed, is suspected of having committed or of being about to commit, a cognizable offence and use any amount of force “necessary to effect the arrest”.\r\n\r\n(d) enter and search, without warrant, any premises to make any such arrest as aforesaid or to recover any person believed to be wrongful restrained or confined or any property reasonably suspected to be stolen property or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances believed to be unlawful kept in such premises, and may for that purpose use such force as may be necessary, and seize any such property, arms, ammunition or explosive substances;\r\n\r\nUnder section 4(d), the army can enter and search without a warrant to make an arrest or to recover any property, arms, ammunition or explosives which are believed to be unlawfully kept on the premises. This section also allows the use of force necessary for the search.\r\n\r\n(e) stop, search and seize any vehicle or vessel reasonably suspected to be carrying any person who is a proclaimed offender, or any persons who has committed a non-cognizable offence, or against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed or is about to commit a non-cognizable offence, or any person who is carrying any arms, ammunition or explosive substance believed to be unlawfully held by him, and may, for that  purpose, use such force as may be necessary to effect such stoppage, search or seizure, as the case may be.\r\n\r\nSearch and Seizure\r\n\r\nEvery person making a search under this Act shall have the power to break open the lock of any door, almirah, safe, box, cupboard, drawer, package or other thing, if the key thereof is withheld. Any person arrested and taken into custody under this Act and every property, arms, ammunition or explosive substance or any vehicle or vessel seized under this Act, shall be made over to the officer-in-charge of the nearest police station with the least possible delay, together with a report of the circumstances occasioning the arrest, or as the case may be, occasioning the seizure of such property, arms, ammunition or explosive substance or any vehicle or vessel, as the case may be.\r\n\r\nProtection of persons acting in good faith under this Act\r\n\r\nNo prosecution, suit or other legal proceeding shall be instituted, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government, against any person in respect of anything done or purported to be done in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.\r\n\r\nSection 5: This section states that after the military has arrested someone under the AFSPA, they must hand that person over to the nearest police station with the “least possible delay”. There is no definition in the act of what constitutes the least possible delay. Some case-law has established that 4 to 5 days is too long. But since this provision has been interpreted as depending on the specifics circumstances of each case, there is no precise amount of time after which the section is violated.\r\n\r\nSection 6: This section establishes that no legal proceeding can be brought against any member of the armed forces acting under the AFSPA, without the permission of the Central Government.\r\n\r\nThough human rights advocates term these provisions as draconian, one must consider the armed forces point of view as they have to actually operate on ground against trained and armed insurgents without any concern or protection of their own human rights. If we want our armed forces to operate effectively against armed insurgents, we as a nation are obliged to provide them with necessary wherewithals and constitutional support. This is exactly what has been catered through AFSPA by our national parliament.\r\n\r\nImmunity of the Security Forces\r\n\r\nThe Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, which grants soldiers far-reaching powers to arrest and kill, has impunity scripted into it. In line with Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Section 6 of AFSPA prohibits the prosecution of a soldier accused of misusing its provisions unless the central government grants sanction.\r\n\r\nIn Kashmir, the Army brass has used this section to protect its men from going to trial even in incidents where they stand accused of heinous crimes such as the abduction and murder of unarmed civilians. In States like Manipur, so powerless have the civilian authorities become in the face of the Army presence that no one is even willing to take cognizance of serious crimes allegedly committed by soldiers.\r\n\r\nIn 2004, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised the people of Manipur that he would seriously consider replacing AFSPA with a more humane law. He appointed a committee headed by Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy to examine the functioning of the law; and the committee, noting the way in which the law was being abused, suggested its replacement by an amended version of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. In the face of the Defence Ministry’s objections, however, the report was quietly shelved.\r\n\r\nNow, in the wake of the resurgence of mass protest in the Kashmir valley, the central government has once again started making promises about amending AFSPA. The time to make these changes is now. Section 4 should be amended to explicitly incorporate the principles of necessity and proportionality and\r\n\r\nSection 6 must be changed to allow for the prosecution of illegal acts in all cases except where the government is able to convince the courts otherwise. Expedient steps like taking some districts out of the ambit of “declared areas” just won’t do, it is felt.\r\n\r\n13th September 2010\r\n\r\nCabinet Committee on Security is set to decide on the J&K government’s demand for partial withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.  Indications suggest that the political leadership is coming around to accept J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s demand for partial lifting of AFSPA, the Armed Forces are stating that the State government is trying to pass the buck to the Army to conceal its own failure. The Army’s argument already has support within the CCS with Defence minister A K Antony refusing to give in to persuasion by Home minister P Chidambaram who has been spearheading the move to withdraw or amend the law which the Army believes to be crucial for its operations in the troubled State. The Army has a sympathiser also in Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.\r\n\r\nArmy’s reservations have been conveyed to the Prime Minister by its Chief, General V K Singh, himself. Significantly, General Singh had earlier publicly complained about the political leadership frittering away the gains the armed forces have made in the fight against terror at a huge cost.\r\n\r\nThe key question before the CCS headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be whether to or not to withdraw the AFSPA from certain parts of the strife-torn Valley. It is a proposal backed by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah as a confidence building measure after months of unrelenting protests in the Valley.\r\n\r\nDo you think the time has come to withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from Jammu & Kashmir? Or will such an action lead to greater problems in the State?\r\n\r\nSeptember 2010\r\n\r\nBJP holds dharnas in J&K to protest against autonomy\r\n\r\nPradesh BJP staged dharnas in 41 assembly constituencies of the State to protest against the demand for granting autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir terming it as a “dead issue”, as per a Jammu report.\r\n\r\nBJP State President Shamsher Singh Manhas, along with party MLA Jugal Kishore Sharma, led protest dharna at Nagrota, which was attended by over 600 party activists from different parts of the constituency.\r\n\r\nSpeaking on the occasion Manhas said except for a handful of NC leaders, including its chief Farooq Abdullah and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, no one from any of the State’s three regions has uttered even a single word in favour of autonomy during all these years of Independence.\r\n\r\nSince the NC-Congress combine has failed to come up to the expectations of the people and maintain law and order in the State, the NC leaders are now trying to divert the attention of people from the real problems confronting the State by talking about dead issues like autonomy, he alleged.\r\n\r\nThe BJP on 15th September 2010 put up a staunch opposition to any move to tinker with the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and grant of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. However, the party’s stance regarding the AFSPA drew support only from ally Shiv Sena and the Samajwadi Party. The party blamed Pakistan for violence in the Valley and sought a say for the Jammu and Ladakh regions while taking any decision to defuse the ongoing crisis.\r\n\r\nReflecting the seriousness with which the BJP takes the Kashmir issue, its top four leaders, L K Advani, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, attended the all-party meet. Having already made its stand clear, Gadkari minced no words in arguing that the BJP would oppose any move to partially withdraw or dilute the AFSPA. The party leaders also asked the government not to concede to demands for autonomy.\r\n\r\nSources said the BJP leaders argued that security forces including the Army have done an exemplary job in dealing with separatists and fighting terrorists. They contended that no decision should be taken under pressure which would demoralise the Forces.\r\n\r\nPak trying to exploit unrest in Kashmir: Army Chief\r\n\r\nPakistan is trying to take advantage of the unrest in Kashmir as indicated by a few infiltration attempts across the border, Army Chief General VK Singh said on 19.09.2010.\r\n\r\n“There have been more attempts at infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir in the last two months. There could be some links (between the attempts and the situation in the border State). Pakistan is trying to exploit the situation,” said Gen Singh, who was in Chennai to review the passing out parade at the Officers’ Training Academy (OTA).\r\n\r\nThe army chief’s comments came a day after India asked Pakistan to take effective action against infiltration from across the Line of Control (LoC) and dismantle terror infrastructure as it is people of Jammu and Kashmir who suffer its consequences.\r\n\r\nOn the demand for dilution of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and its partial withdrawal from Kashmir, Gen Singh said as the Supreme Court observed, the provisions of AFSPA are neither arbitrary nor in violation of the Constitution of India. “We have told the Ministry of Defence whatever the army has to say and the matter is under the Government’s consideration,” he said.\r\n\r\nCongress top body discusses Kashmir\r\n\r\nThe Congress Core Group on 17.09.2010 met at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence in New Delhi to discuss the present unrest in Jammu and Kashmir. The meeting is learnt to have discussed the current unrest in the Valley that has claimed nearly 70 lives since mid-June, 2010.\r\n\r\nWays to restore peace and normalcy in the Valley was reportedly explored during the meet.\r\nThe government has been trying hard to bring the situation under control as stone-pelting mobs continued to clash with security personnel routinely. There has been relative calm in the Valley since the past two days due to Eid celebrations on Saturday.\r\n\r\nSingh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi were present at the meeting, as were Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home minister P Chidambaram and party’s president’s political secretary Ahmed Patel. Prithviraj Chavan, AICC in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir, and senior party leaders from the state Ghulam Nabi Azad and Saifuddin Soz also attended the meeting.\r\n\r\nI am a fighter and will overcome this crisis – Omar Abdullah\r\n\r\nOn the eve of the all-party delegation’s visit to Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on 19.09.2010 ruled out his resignation and hoped the controversial AFSPA would be removed from the entire State for which people should create conducive atmosphere of peace.\r\n\r\nRemoval of the AFSPA would be the first confidence building measure for the people of Kashmir by the Centre to demonstrate its sincerity and it could build on it to take further steps in future to resolve the problem, he said.\r\n\r\n“I am not the one who shows his back when problems are there. I am a fighter and will overcome this crisis for the people who have voted me to power. Insha Allah we will overcome this soon,” he told in an interview.\r\n\r\nJ & K unrest: Death toll crosses 104 in 100 days – 19.09.2010\r\n\r\nDeath continues to be the only constant in the Kashmir Valley with the toll mounting to 104 over the last 100 days.\r\n\r\nHome Minister to lead team, invite goes to Hurriyat as well\r\n\r\nHome Minister P Chidambaram and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal will be part of the all-party delegation that will visit Jammu & Kashmir to assess the ground situation and gather views for inputs to the Centre on tackling the unrest in the Valley. The delegation is expected to commence its two-day visit from 20.09.2010.\r\n\r\nWhile there will be an “open invitation” to all stakeholders to meet the delegation, official sources said that written invitations would be sent to over 30 leaders, including separatist leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq.\r\n\r\nSources said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee could also join the delegation, but it has not been finalised yet. All political parties have been asked to nominate one representative to the delegation.\r\n\r\nEarlier, Congress president Sonia Gandhi held deliberations with senior party leaders on the modalities of the visit. Those present included Mukherjee, Chidambaram, A K Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Prithviraj Chavan and PCC chief Saifuddin Soz.\r\n\r\nAll Party Delegation visit Jammu and Kashmir – 21.09.2010\r\n\r\nWith a thick security blanket in place to enforce curfew, a 39-member all-party delegation on 20.09.2010 began the task of assessing the situation in Kashmir by meeting representatives of political parties in Jammu and Kashmir.\r\n\r\nSome of the delegates called on separatist leaders, including hardliner Syed Ali Geelani, and moderates like Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik.\r\n\r\nThe Mirwaiz, in a memorandum to the delegation, said: “Let the Government of India act on the suggestions given by the Kashmiris and facilitate to establish and empower an official body, a Kashmir Committee, consisting of senior representatives of all major Indian political parties to develop and enter into a process of engagement with the representatives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Let this process be transparently designed to deliver a negotiated solution to the Kashmir issue that is mutually worked towards by and acceptable to all parties concerned.”\r\n\r\nThe delegation, headed by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, arrived Sri Nagar early in the morning and drove to the S.K. International Conference Centre (SKICC). Setting the tone for three-day deliberations, which will conclude in Jammu on 22.09.2010, Mr. Chidambaram told the visiting delegations that they were in Jammu and Kashmir to listen to their views and give them a patient hearing and reach out to the State people.\r\n\r\nIn a closed door session, leaders of the National Conference (NC), the Congress, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and other smaller groups put forth their views on putting an end to the cycle of violence.\r\n\r\nHowever, informed sources said most of the participants largely spoke about the resolution of the Kashmir issue and reaching out to the victims of excesses in the past three months.\r\n\r\nState Finance Minister Abdur Rahim Rather, who headed the NC delegation, said: “We stressed on the restoration of autonomy as permanent solution to the Kashmir problem and also demanded that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act be withdrawn and a dialogue process initiated. We did not expect immediate results.” He said the NC would not reconsider its alliance with the Congress.\r\n\r\nPradesh Congress Committee chief Saifuddin Soz led the party delegation. “We stressed upon the unity of the State, which cannot be compromised at all. We also asked the all-party delegation to reach out to civil society in order to get the real feel of the situation,” he said.\r\n\r\nThe PDP delegation was led by its general secretary, Mohammad Dillawar Mir. Its senior leader and MLA, Nizamuddin Bhat, said the party was shocked as they could not get adequate time to express their ideas. “We only got 15 minutes and that was not enough.”\r\n\r\nThe PDP was even thinking of not meeting the all-party delegation as the government had “declared war on its own people by imposing 72-hour long curfew,” but “since we were part of a decision taken about it in Delhi, we were morally bound to come here.”\r\n\r\nCPI(M) State secretary Y. Tarigami told the delegates: “The current crisis is the manifestation of aggregation of failed political approaches to resolve the basic problem. There has been failure to develop and evolve a sustainable, result-oriented dialogue process, debates and discussions aimed at resolving the main problem rather than dealing with its offshoots.”\r\n\r\nMr. Tarigami reminded Mr. Chidambaram of his various statements, including the one in which the latter termed Kashmir a “unique problem, which requires a unique solution.” He told the Minister that his statement needed to be implemented in letter and in spirit. “This approach needs to be carried forward and strengthened.”\r\n\r\n“Cutting across the party lines and their respective positions vis-à-vis the Kashmir problem, Parliament is expected to address the Kashmir issue with the utmost seriousness. There could be difference of opinion, but that does not denote that Kashmir can be made a battleground for the conflicting political ideology at the cost of Kashmiris’ genuine political aspirations,” he added.\r\n\r\nCentre unveils 8 point formula for Kashmir – 26.09.2010\r\n\r\nThe Centre will appoint a group of interlocutors, under the chairmanship of an eminent person, to begin the process of sustained dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir with political parties, groups, students, civil society and other stakeholders.\r\n\r\nThe decision to begin the process of sustained dialogue was part of an eight-point initiative taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in New Delhi on 25.10.2010. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.\r\n\r\nBriefing journalists on the slew of measures finalised, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said the decisions were based on the report submitted by him to the Prime Minister and the inputs of the all-party delegation that had visited Srinagar and Jammu on September 20 and 21.10.2010. Mr. Chidambaram had led the 39-member all-party delegation to the State.\r\n\r\nIn a step aimed at reaching out to the people of the State, the Centre would advise the Jammu and Kashmir government to release all students detained for stone-pelting and similar violations of law, and to withdraw all charges.\r\n\r\nMr. Chidambaram said the Centre would request the State government to immediately convene a meeting of the Unified Command to review deployment of security forces in the Kashmir Valley, especially in Srinagar, with particular reference to descaling those at bunkers and checkpoints in the city and other towns. He said the Unified Command would review notifications issued for disturbed areas.\r\n\r\nReplying to a question, he said that withdrawal or dilution of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was not discussed.\r\n\r\nHe said the government would grant an ex gratia of Rs. five lakh to the family of each of those killed in civil disturbances in Kashmir since June 11, 2010. He said the Centre would also advise the State government to review cases of all Public Safety Act (PSA) detenus and withdraw detention orders in appropriate cases.\r\n\r\nReplying to a question, the Home Minister said there were 84 persons under judicial custody, 110 under police custody and 51 had been detained under the Public Safety Act since civil disturbances began in the Kashmir Valley in June. He said that 108 persons had lost their lives in civil disturbances.\r\n\r\nThe Centre would request the State government to take steps to immediately reopen all schools, colleges, and universities, hold special classes and ensure that examinations are conducted on schedule for the current academic year.\r\n\r\nMixed reactions from mainstream and separatist political parties – 26.09.2010\r\n\r\nUnion Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s announcement of an eight-point formula to defuse the crisis in Kashmir has evoked mixed reaction from mainstream and separatist political parties.\r\n\r\nChief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed the Centre’s decision to move towards finding a solution to the Kashmir problem. Four points concerned the State government and of that “we have already decided on one regarding opening of schools on 27.10.2010.” He said his government would take gradual steps to de-escalate the tension in the area.\r\n\r\n“The Unified Headquarters will review areas under the Disturbed Areas Act but don’t expect results after the first meet, it will take time. We need to discuss how to reduce security forces’ footprint,” Mr. Abdullah said.\r\n\r\nOpposition People’s Democratic Party’s senior leader Nizamuddin Bhat was cautious in responding to the announcement. “To address the current situation in Kashmir is a complex issue. We will have a look at the announcement and will discuss it within ourselves before making a response but one thing is clear that the thrust is to be given to minimising the trust deficit,” he said.\r\n\r\nSenior NC leader and Law Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar said it was a good initiative especially the one on appointing interlocutors. “We hope that these interlocutors would meet separatist leadership and take forward the dialogue process for the peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue. Other announcements are also positive in nature,” he said.\r\n\r\nPradesh Congress Committee chief Saifuddin Soz too welcomed the appointment of interlocutors, saying it was a good beginning. “I have heard about the release of all students, reviewing the laws, and a package to the families who have lost their dear ones. This all has relieved me,” Professor Soz told.\r\n\r\nDescribing the eight-point package as mere ‘eye wash,’ Chairman of hard-line Hurriyat Syed Ali Shah Geelani said India was buying time. “None of our demands has been discussed.” “This is mere time-buying tactics adopted by India. We will not bow down to the economic packages by the New Delhi. Our youth did not sacrifice their lives for the economic packages,” said Mr. Geelani. He said the protests would continue “till India accepts Kashmir as an international dispute and other four conditions laid down by our party.”\r\n\r\nOn removing bunkers from Srinagar city, Mr. Geelani said this is was just a cosmetic measure which won’t help. “We want complete demilitarisation of Jammu and Kashmir and not cosmetic measures.”\r\n\r\nJammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik said, “Our working committee will meet and discuss it threadbare and comment.”\r\n\r\nThree interlocutors chosen for Jammu and Kashmir – 13.10.2010\r\n\r\nGovernment on 13.10.2010 named three interlocutors, including eminent journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, to hold talks with all shades of opinion including the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir as part of efforts to bring peace in the state.\r\n\r\nBesides Mr. Padgaonkar, Information Commissioner M.M. Ansari and noted academician Radha Kumar were the other two named by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram as interlocutors chosen in consultation with the state government.\r\n\r\nMr. Chidambaram said the three interlocutors are “very credible people” and they will begin work as early as possible. “We may add one more interlocutor later,” he said.\r\n\r\nThe decision to appoint a set of interlocutors was taken at the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting chaired by Prime Manmohan Singh on September 25, 2010.\r\n\r\nThe terms and references of the panel will be to hold talks all shades of opinion including mainstream political parties and separatists. The panel will cover views of all the three regions — Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir.\r\n\r\nRadha Kumar, who heads the Nelson Mandela Institute of Peace in Jamia Milia Islamia, has been engaged in back-channel discussions with moderate Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani.\r\n\r\nRecently, she was in the Valley and had met Geelani who was undergoing treatment in Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in Srinagar.\r\n\r\nPadgaonkar was part of Kashmir committee led by eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani.\r\n\r\nAnsari, who was professor and Director at the Hamdard University, is an educationist and economist before moving as an Information Commissioner.\r\n\r\nTwo special task forces for Jammu, Ladakh constituted 13.10.2010\r\n\r\nThe Government has constituted two special task forces for Jammu and Ladakh regions to examine the allocations in terms of infrastructure needs and make suitable recommendations to overcome the deficiencies.\r\n\r\nWhile Abhijit Sen, a Planning Commission member, will be leading a task force on Jammu, Narendra Jadhav, another Planning Commission member, will be the chairperson of the team on Ladakh, an official notification said on 12.10.2010.\r\n\r\nIt said the two task forces have been constituted keeping in view the immediate objectives to maintain peace and order and defuse the situation through confidence building measures.\r\n\r\nThe decision on forming of three task forces was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on September 25, 2010.\r\n\r\nThe terms and references of the two task forces would be to identify the special development needs of the region and suggest measures to address them and to examine allocations to the regions in terms of infrastructure needs. They will make suitable recommendations to overcome the deficiencies.\r\n\r\nThe task forces have been given three months to submit their reports.\r\n\r\nBesides Sen, the other members for Jammu task force are Joint Secretary, (Plan Finance-I), Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, Divisional Commissioner (Jammu), Dr Najeeb Jung, Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia University and Dr Amaresh Dubey, Prof of Economics, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, JNU. Joint Secretary (Kashmir), Ministry of Home Affairs will be the Convenor.\r\n\r\nBesides Jhadav, the task force on Ladakh will comprise Joint Secretary, (Plan Finance-II), Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Prof Akhtar Majeed, Director, Centre for Federal Studies and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Hamdard University, Dr Navnita Chadha Behera, Department of Political Science, University of Delhi as members and Director (Kashmir), Ministry of Home Affairs as Convener.\r\n\r\nThe task forces may co-opt officers of the state government and such other officers of the Central and State Governments as and when necessary. They include Commissioner and Secretary to state government, Principal Secretary, Planning, Development and Ladakh Affairs and Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Lakshmi Narasimhan\r\nIndia’s most controversial dam project, the Narmada project, was first envisaged in 1940s by the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The dam was part of a vision of development articulated by Mr Nehru. The Narmada Dam Project is a large hydraulic engineering project involving the construction of a series of large irrigation and hydroelectric multi-purpose dams on the Narmada River in India. But several legal and logistical arguments between various Indian states delayed the announcement of the project until 1979. The multi-million dollar project involves the construction of some 3,200 small, medium and large dams on the Narmada river. The Narmada originates in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and empties into the Arabian sea after flowing through Maharashtra and Gujarat states. Of the thirty large dams planned on river Narmada, Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is the largest structure to be built. It has a proposed final height of 136.5 m (448 ft). The project will irrigate more than 18,000 km2 (6,900 sq mi), most of it in drought prone areas of Kutch and Saurashtra. Critics maintain that its negative environmental impacts outweigh its benefits. It has created discord between its government planners and the citizens group Narmada Bachao Andolan.\r\n\r\nNarmada Bachao Andolan (NBA)\r\n\r\nNarmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that mobilised tribal people, adivasis, farmers, environmentalists and human rights activists against the Sardar Sarovar Dam being built across the Narmada River, Gujarat, India.\r\n\r\nTheir mode of campaign includes hunger strikes and garnering support from noted film and art personalities (notably Bollywood film actor Aamir Khan). Narmada Bachao Andolan, together with its leading spokespersons Medha Patkar and Baba Amte, were the 1991 recipient of the Right Livelihood Award.\r\n\r\nControversy\r\n\r\nThe controversy over large dams on the River Narmada has come to symbolise the struggle for a just and equitable society in India. Shortly put, the Government’s plan is to build 30 large, 135 medium and 3000 small dams to harness the waters of the Narmada and its tributaries. The proponents of the dam claim that this plan would provide large amounts of water and electricity which are desperately required for the purposes of development.\r\n\r\nThe Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Movement), which is spearheading the protest, says the project will displace more than 200,000 people apart from damaging the fragile ecology of the region. NBA activists say the dams will submerge forest farmland, disrupt downstream fisheries and possibly inundate and salinate land along the canals, increasing the prospect of insect-borne diseases.\r\n\r\nSome scientists have added to the debate saying the construction of large dams could cause earthquakes. They say that in a country as disorganised as India, it is likely that the necessary maintenance of these dams may suffer.\r\n\r\nBut those in favour of the project say that the project will supply water to 30m people and irrigate crops to feed another 20m people. In what was seen as a major victory for the anti-dam activists, the World Bank withdrew from the Narmada project in 1993.\r\n\r\nSeveral other international financial institutions also pulled out citing human and environmental concerns. The construction of Sardar Sarovar dam itself was stopped soon afterwards.\r\n\r\nGo ahead\r\n\r\nHowever, in October 2000, the Indian Supreme Court gave a go-ahead for the construction of the dam. The court ruled that the height of the dam could be raised to 121.92 metres and no higher, until cleared by an environmental authority appointed to undertake the task. This is far below the proposed height of 130 metres, but higher than the 88 metres that the anti-dam activists want.\r\n\r\nOpponents of the dam question the basic assumptions of the Narmada Valley Development Plan and believe that its planning is unjust and inequitous and the cost-benefit analysis is grossly inflated in favour of building the dams. They claim that the plans rest on untrue and unfounded assumptions of hydrology and seismicity of the area and the construction is causing large scale abuse of human rights and displacement of many poor and underprivileged communities. They also believe that water and energy can be provided to the people of the Narmada Valley, Gujarat and other regions through alternative technologies and planning processes which can be socially just and economically and environmentally sustainable. They claim that large numbers of poor and underprivileged communities (mostly tribals and dalits) are being dispossessed of their livelihood and even their ways of living to make way for dams being built\r\n\r\nLarge dams imply large budgets for related projects leading to large profits for a small group of people. A mass of research shows that even on purely technical grounds, large dams have been colossal failures. While they have delivered only a fraction of their purported benefits, they have had an extremely devastating effect on the riverine ecosystem and have rendered destitute large numbers of people (whose entire sustenance and modes of living are centered around the river). For no large dam in India has it been shown that the resettled people have been provided with just compensation and rehabilitation.\r\n\r\nCritics say that Sardar Sarovar takes up over 80% of Gujarat’s irrigation budget but has only 1.6% of cultivable land in Kutch, 9% of cultivable land in Saurashtra and 20% cultivable land in North Gujarat in its command area. Moreover, these areas are at the tail-end of the command and would get water only after all the area along the canal path get their share of the water, and that too after 2020 AD. In summary, they fear that all available indicators suggest that these needy areas are never going to benefit from the Sardar Sarovar Project.\r\n\r\nSo as the anti-dam activists ponder their next move, the government has started again with construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Thangai VS Annan\r\nThe Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is the official document that outlines the fundamental laws and the structure of government in the island nation of Sri Lanka. This is Sri Lanka’s second republican constitution and was promulgated in its original form on 7th of September 1978 by the National State Assembly.\r\n\r\nSeptember 8th 2010\r\n\r\nEighteenth Amendment of the Constitution\r\n\r\nThe Sri Lankan Parliament this week voted to approve a constitutional amendment, the Eighteenth Amendment that removes the two term limit on the presidency and authorizes the President to appoint the chairs and members of several key independent commissions, judges, and other government officials.\r\n\r\nArticle 30 of the Sri Lankan Constitution sets the presidential term at six years, but Article 31 limits a president to two terms.  The Eighteenth Amendment lifts that limit and allows a president to run for an indefinite number of six-year terms.\r\n\r\nThe government’s press release says that the change “will enhance the people’s franchise and give the people a wider choice in the election of a President.\r\n\r\nThe Amendment also empowers the president to appoint the chairs and members of an array of independent commissions, judges, and other government officials.  The Amendment abolishes the Constitutional Council, a ten-member body created under the Seventeenth Amendment and comprised of members appointed by both the President and leaders in Parliament (including opposition members and a minor party member).  Under the Seventeenth Amendment, the President was empowered to appoint independent commission chairs and members, judges, and certain other officials only upon the recommendation of the Constitutional Council.\r\n\r\nThe Eighteenth Amendment replaces the old Constitutional Council with a new Parliamentary Council, consisting of five members of Parliament (with only two opposition members).  Under the Eighteenth Amendment the President alone is empowered to appoint independent commission chairs and members, judges, and certain other officials, but “in making such appointments, the President shall seek the observations of the Parliamentary Council.”\r\n\r\nThe Eighteenth Amendment also requires the President to attend Parliament once every three months.  Under the old Article 32, the President had “the right at any time to attend Parliament.”\r\n\r\nThe Amendment comes in the wake of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 18-point re-election victory in January.  The Amendment will allow President Rajapaksa to run for a third term in 2016.  The BBC has more on the politics behind the Amendment.\r\n\r\nHistory of the Constitution\r\n\r\nWhen the UNP came to power in July 1977 with a five-sixths majority, the second amendment to the 1972 Constitution was passed on 4 October 1977 to bring in the Executive Presidency, and Mr. J. R. Jayewardene, the then Prime Minister, became the first Executive President on 4 February 1978. Before the 1977 General Election the UNP also sought a mandate from the people to adopt a new Constitution. A Select Committee was appointed to consider the revision of the Constitution. The new Constitution, promulgated on the 7th of September 1978, provided for a unicameral Parliament with legislative power and an Executive President. The term of office of the President and of Parliament is six years. It also introduced a form of multi-member proportional representation as the electoral system. The Parliament was to consist of 196 Members, but this was later increased to 225 by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.\r\n\r\nThe Constitution provided for an independent Judiciary and guaranteed Fundamental Rights, providing for any aggrieved person to invoke the Supreme Court for any violation of his or her fundamental rights. The Constitution also provided for a Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman) who could investigate public grievances against Government Institutions and State officers and give redress. It also introduced anti-defection laws, and referendums on certain bills and on issues of national importance.\r\nConstitutional Amendments\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAmendment\r\n\r\n\r\nDate\r\n\r\n\r\nSubject\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFirst\r\n20.11.1978\r\nDealing with jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal\r\n\r\n\r\nSecond\r\n26.02.1979\r\nDealing with resignations and expulsion of Members of the First Parliament\r\n\r\n\r\nThird\r\n27.08.1982\r\nTo enable the President to seek re-election after 4years; vacation of office of President\r\n\r\n\r\nFourth\r\n23.12.1982\r\nExtension of term of First Parliament\r\n\r\n\r\nFifth\r\n25.02.1983\r\nTo provide for by-election when a vacancy is not filled by the party\r\n\r\n\r\nSixth\r\n08.08.1983\r\nProhibition against violation of territorial integrity\r\n\r\n\r\nSeventh\r\n04.10.1983\r\nDealing with Commissioners of the High Court and the creation of Kilinochchi District\r\n\r\n\r\nEighth\r\n06.03.1984\r\nAppointment of President’s Counsel\r\n\r\n\r\nNinth\r\n24.08.1984\r\nRelating to public officers qualified to contest elections\r\n\r\n\r\nTenth\r\n06.08.1986\r\nTo repeal section requiring two-thirds majority for Proclamation under Public Security Ordinance\r\n\r\n\r\nEleventh\r\n06.05.1987\r\nTo provide for a Fiscal for the whole Island; also relating to sittings of the Court of Appeal\r\n\r\n\r\nTwelfth\r\n\r\n(Not enacted)\r\n\r\n\r\nThirteenth\r\n14.11.1987\r\nTo make Tamil an official language and English a link Language, and for the establishment of Provincial Councils\r\n\r\n\r\nFourteenth\r\n24.05.1988\r\nExtension of immunity of President; increase of number of Members to 225; validity of Referendum; appointment of Delimitation Commission for the division of electoral districts into zones; proportional representation and the cut-off point to be 1/8th of the total polled; apportionment of the 29 National List Members\r\n\r\n\r\nFifteenth\r\n17.12.1988\r\nto repeal Article 96A to eliminate zones and to reduce the cut-off point to 1/20th\r\n\r\n\r\nSixteenth\r\n17.12.1988\r\nto make provision for Sinhala and Tamil to be Languages of Administration and Legislation\r\n\r\n\r\nSeventeenth\r\n03.10.2001\r\nto make provisions for the Constitutional Council and Independent Commissions\r\n\r\n\r\nEighteenth\r\n08.09.2010\r\nto remove the sentence that mentioned the limit of the re-election of the President and to propose the appointment of a parliamentary council that decides the appointment of independent posts like commissioners of election, human rights, and Supreme Court judges.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSeptember 2010\r\n\r\nSri Lanka’s 1978 constitution is much maligned for it was seen as the root cause of the island’s many problems, social and political. It created an all powerful executive presidency which had no parallels. The Sri Lankan President has no peers when it comes to the powers he/she enjoys. It is the president’s prerogative to appoint judges, personnel to head all key institutions. He also has the power to dissolve the parliament by dismissing governments. No court can institute action against the president.\r\n\r\nThe move of incumbent Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa seeking to repeal the Article 31 (2) of the constitution to pave the way for his third-term election sparks controversy in the country. The article stipulates: “No person who has been twice elected to the office of President by the people shall be qualified thereafter to be elected to such office by the people.”\r\n\r\nThe president’s immense powers were reflected in the statement of Junius Jayawardene, the creator of the system, which said as President of the Republic, the only thing remained beyond him was the capability to convert a man to a woman and vice versa.\r\n\r\nRajapaksa has achieved what none of his predecessors did – ending the 30 year-old military campaign of the Tamil Tiger rebels to set up a separate state in the north and east regions. He was elected for his second term with a resounding 60 percent of the vote. He won the hearts of the majority Sinhalese who for reasons of sheer nationalism voted for the man whom they claimed liberated them from the clutches of terrorism and unified the Sinhala nation.\r\n\r\nRanil Wickremesinghe, the main opposition leader claims Rajapaksa had no mandate for a change.  He claims that he did not get enough votes to change it and that what he tried to do now is to use defectors from other parties to vote for it.\r\n\r\nOther people may have different opinions. Common people insist that the move is a good one.  Ajith Nandalal, a fruit seller said that he supported the move to extend the term for the president.\r\n\r\nRajapaksa has become a cult political figure after his military success. His detractors point to the president’s desire to create a Rajapaksa dynasty.\r\n\r\nThe Rajapaksas waited in the sidelines as the Senanayake and Bandaranaike dynasties dominated the island’s politics since winning independence from Britain in 1948 until Jayawardene changed the pattern in 1977.\r\n\r\nThe popular president’s elder son Namal is already a key figure in the administration and the president’s three brothers, Chamal(parliamentary speaker), Basil (the powerful economic development minister) and Gotabhaya (defense secretary and the man credited for plotting the down fall of the Tiger rebels) are all figures of immense stature.\r\n\r\nA senior minister Dallas Alahapperuma said that when Jayawardene became president he was 72 years old. Realistically there was no way for him to go beyond a second term. That was why there was only a two term limit.\r\n\r\nRajapaksa was 60 when he was first elected. He will be 72 when he completes his second term in 2016 and by Jayawardene’s precedent should look good for more terms beyond the two.\r\n\r\nRajapaksa is not the only successor of Jayawardene who took office on the strength of the pledge to abolish Jayawardene’s monstrous creation. But like Chandrika Kumaratunga before him, he chose to ignore the pledge once he found himself firmly in the saddle.\r\n\r\nThe 17th amendment (17A) adopted with cross party support in 2001 was a case in point. The constitutional council was empowered with the presidential prerogative to make the key appointments in the broader concept of depoliticizing the key institutions.\r\n\r\nRajapaksa ignored to implement the 17A throughout citing it was undermining his presidential authority. Purists saw it as the president’s discomfiture to stick to principals of good governance and accountability.\r\n\r\n“The government should have implemented the 17A, which would create good governance and improve the rule of law in the country. Therefore this amendment would have an adverse impact on the country,” Newton Wickramasuriya, the chairman of the National Chamber of Industries said.\r\n\r\nThe Minister of Construction Wimal Weerawansa told reporters that the 18th amendment has eliminated room to topple the government. Weerawansa said the constitutional provisions which sought to weaken the government have now been laid to rest with the passage of the amendment on September 8.\r\n\r\nThe government’s defense of the amendment is mainly centered around economic development in the post conflict phase that the island is currently going through. “It is generally recognized that to accelerate development a fundamental requirement is a strong executive. That is an absolutely essential condition,” G. L. Peiris, the minister of External Affairs argued.\r\n\r\nThe Tamil and the Muslim minority have been generally supportive of the powerful presidency relatively better than their majority Sinhala counterparts. Minority leaders, particularly the Tamils used the powers to make demands which the Sinhalese presidents sometimes were obliged to fulfil.\r\n\r\nThe presidency had at least been able to confer the due status to the Tamil language. Jayawardene in the 1980s was able to legalize the official language status to Tamil.\r\n\r\nThe main Tamil party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) still stands to oppose 18A.\r\n\r\n“It is very undemocratic and flawed in principle,” Suresh Premachandran, a senior TNA legislator claimed. The main Muslim party is in support. “We have risen to the occasion,” Rauff Hakem, leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress said.\r\n\r\nThe 1978 constitutional process and the 18A both have a thing in common — the lack of time allowed for public debate to weigh the pros and cons.\r\n\r\nUS Condemns Sri Lanka Constitutional Amendment\r\n\r\nThe United States on Saturday condemned Sri Lanka’s passage of a constitutional amendment granting the president new powers, saying it undermined democracy.\r\nU.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called on Mr. Rajapaksa’s government to take steps to strengthen independent institutions, increase transparency and promote national reconciliation.\r\n\r\nThe government argued the constitutional change was justified to give Mr. Rajapaksa time to build Sri Lanka’s economy after a long civil war with Tamil Tiger separatists.\r\n\r\nOpposition and rights groups criticized the measure as a blow to democracy and a step toward dictatorship by Mr. Rajapaksa. Critics also accuse him of stifling dissent, jailing opponents and disregarding the rule of law as he holds an office with almost unchecked control of the government.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Shanthi Rajagopal\r\nThe Babri Masjid Controversy\r\n\r\nThe Ayodhya issue is a political, historical and socio-religious debate. The controversial issue of Ram Janambhoomi and Babri Masjid has always been a big influence on Indian politics for several decades.\r\n\r\nThe main issues revolve around access to the birthplace of the Hindu God Rama, the history and location of the Babri Mosque at the site, and whether a previous Hindu temple was demolished or modified to create the mosque.\r\n\r\nThe tension started with the Mughal emperor Babur, who entered India after defeating Hindu King Rana Sangram Singh in 1527. Babur made his General Mir Banki in-charge of the area. Banki visited Ayodhya in 1528 and reportedly built a mosque destroying a Hindu Temple.\r\n\r\nThe first Hindu-Muslim riot broke out over the issue in 1853 during British Rule. Following the clashes, the then British Government erected fences around the place to divide the Hindu-Muslim worship area. Muslims were allowed to offer prayers in the inner part of the mosque and Hindus to worship outer side of the disputed construction.\r\n\r\nIn the year 1949, both the communities moved the Court claiming ownership of the land. Later, the Faizabad District Magistrate declared the place as disputed land and locked the main door of Babri Masjid.\r\n\r\nOn January 16, 1950, one Gopalsingh Visharad filed a petition in Faizabad District Court seeking rights for Hindus to visit their Lord and offer pujas to Rama.\r\n\r\nIn a retaliating suit, the Babri Masjid side also filed a petition on February 21, 1950, claiming that the land should be handed over to Muslims because structure was built by Babur’s General Mir Banki in 1528. The furious Hindus held massive demonstrations outside the Court against the petition.\r\n\r\nIn the year 1959, the Nirmohi Akhara had filed a claim petition in the Court and requested transfer of land from the receiver.\r\n\r\nThe Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) formed a committee to build Ram Temple at disputed place in Ayodhya in 1984. Later on February 1, 1986, the Court granted permission to Hindus to offer pujas at Babri masjid on a petition filed by one Umesh Chandra Pandey.\r\n\r\nThe judge ruled that the temple be opened for unrestrained Hindu worship. Subsequently, the Vishwa Hindu Parihad started a nationwide campaign for the replacement of the existing mosque-turned temple with a proper temple structure.\r\n\r\nJust after the Court’s verdict in favour of Hindus, the Muslim community formed Babri Masjid Sangharsh Samiti to fight for the place.\r\n\r\nThe Ayodhya issue was intensified in 1989 following the VHP’s move to lay down foundation stone for Ram Temple at the controversial monument on November 11, 1989.\r\n\r\nIn the year 1990, the then Prime Minister Mr. Chandrashekhar tried to find out the solution through dialogue but the outcome was zilch.\r\n\r\nOn December 6, 1992 the Babri Masjid structure was demolished by karsevaks, despite a commitment by the government to the Supreme Court that the mosque would not be harmed. More than 2000 people were killed in the riots following the demolition.\r\n\r\nOn December 16, 1992, the Liberhan Commission was set up by the Government of India to probe the circumstances that led to the demolition of Babri structure. It is the longest running commission in India’s history with 48 extensions granted by various governments.\r\n\r\nIn 1994, the Apex Court directed acquisition of 70 acres of land at disputed place and maintained the status quo till the final decision is made on the ownership of the land. In his order, the Supreme Court stated that it would not be in favour of democracy if the land was given to a particular community without ownership decision.\r\n\r\nOn June 30, 2009, Liberhan Commission submitted its finding before the Prime Minister but the report has not been made public yet.\r\n\r\nOn 23 November 2009 the Liberhan commission report was leaked to the media. The leaked report concluded that the demolition was planned by top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party.\r\n\r\nThe hearing on the ownership of land was completed on July 25, 2010 and final verdict will be delivered by Special Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court on September 24, 2010.\r\n\r\nOnce again the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid controversy has taken centre stage in the country. The debate over the ownership started off between Hindus and Muslims. State Governments have been on high alerts following the possible backlash after the verdict.\r\n\r\nOn the other hand, religious leaders once again swing into the action to take the mileage. In this series, former BJP leader Kalyan Singh visited the Ayodhya on September 16, 2010 along with 200 supporters.\r\n\r\nThe Central government also made an appeal to maintain calm and peace after the verdict. In its appeal government said that the verdict will not be final it will be one step forward to find out the permanent solution to the dispute.\r\n\r\nConsidering the sensitivity of Verdict, the Special Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court has called counsels of the both party to find out any possibility of amicable solution into the matter on September 17 2010.\r\n\r\nIn the lieu with past examples of Hindu-Muslim communal harmony, the High Court is hopeful about an out-of-court settlement to set another example of unity.\r\n\r\nWhat are these title suits about?\r\n\r\nThe Lucknow High Court will rule on four title suits on 24.09.2010. The first suit was filed sixty years ago, on January 16, 1950, by Gopal Singh Visharad, asking for the right to worship. The court restrained the removal of idols, and allowed the worship to continue. The State of UP appealed against the injunction on April 24, 1950. In 1950, Ramchandra Paramhans filed another suit, but this was withdrawn later. In 1959, the Nirmohi Akhara entered the fray and filed the third suit, asking for possession of the spot, doing away with the court-appointed receiver and claiming that it was the custodian for the spot at which Ram was supposedly born. On December 18, 1961, the UP Sunni Central Board of Waqfs moved in to claim possession. On July 1, 1989, another civil suit was filed in the name of Bhagwan Shree Ram Lalla Virajman for declaration and possession of the Masjid complex. All the four disputes were pending before a Faizabad court till 1989, but were later transferred on October 23, 1989, to a special bench of the Allahabad High Court.\r\n\r\nMeasures for Security\r\n\r\nThe government has decided to impose Section 144 of the CrPC (Prohibition of Assemblies and Processions) in the entire State on September 24, as a precautionary measure against untoward incidents that could arise after the Supreme Court verdict is delivered on the Ayodhya issue.\r\n\r\nA high-level meeting of ministers, police and bureaucrats also decided to hold peace committee meets in sensitive areas on the day.\r\n\r\nHome Minister’s Advice\r\n\r\nHome minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday the 22nd September 2010 stepped in with calls for a more mature and a more balanced approach to the judgement of the Allahabad high court in the four Ayodhya title suits scheduled to be delivered on Friday the 24th September, 2010.\r\n\r\nAddressing a press conference, the Home Minister said the parties to the suits as well as the general public and the media should reserve their opinions on the judgement and not make any hasty pronouncements. “While the parties to the suits study the judgement and ponder over the next steps, I would appeal to the general public to receive the verdict of the court as the culmination of the legal process that deserves our respect and acceptance.”\r\n\r\nThere is concern in the government that forces on both sides of the religious aisle could use the “easy-to-offend” types in both communities to foment trouble over the judgement. The verdict presents a tricky situation for the Centre and Forces associated with the issue for a variety of reasons.\r\nIn the event of the verdict going in favour of those favouring a Mandir, they would immediately demand permission to construct the Ram temple. A major impediment in this will be the fact that 67 acres around the disputed site is in the possession of the Union government.\r\n\r\nThe temple advocates could pile up pressure on the government to enact a Law to hand over the acquired land to the temple trust. But this is certain to be contested by Muslims.\r\n\r\nIn the event of the verdict favouring the Masjid votaries, there would be calls to immediately correct a ‘historic wrong’ and hand over the site to the Babri committee. As the next legal step is available to the losing party, the latter is sure to approach the higher judiciary for relief.\r\n\r\nAny intervention that would delay the transfer of the land is certain to provide an opening to community members to invoke ‘victimhood politics’ — despite the court’s order, justice was being denied to them.\r\n\r\nRealising the challenge posed by the verdict fallout, Mr Chidambaram said that it would be inappropriate to reach any hasty conclusion that one side has won or that the other side has lost.\r\n\r\n“It would be reasonable to assume that one or both sides would immediately apply to the special bench of the high court for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court on the issues that either side may think have been decided against it.\r\n\r\nArticle 134 (A) of the Constitution allows a party aggrieved to make an oral application in this regard immediately after the passing of the judgement,” the home minister said.\r\n\r\nPlea for deferment of case\r\n\r\nRamesh Chandra Tripathi, one of the litigants in the Ayodhya land title dispute case approached the Supreme Court for deferment of the high court decision. A three judge bench of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had on September 17 dismissed Tripathi’s application for deferring the verdict, scheduled for September 24, holding that the same lacks cogent and substantial grounds and also imposed a Rs. 50,000/- cost on him.\r\n\r\nPetitioner’s counsel Sunil Jain in the Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court argued that the decision pertaining to the Ayodhya land title dispute needs to be deferred in view of the impending Commonwealth games and the security implications it may pose. The petition also states that parties to the dispute must be given some more time to arrive at an amicable solution. Further arguing that the Uttar Pradesh government has not been given the required central forces as requested, Jain contended that this can result in the State government’s inability to control any untoward incident or violence post decision of the High Court.\r\n\r\nInviting the Court’s attention to the dissenting judgement by Justice Dharam Veer Sharma of the three judge bench at the High Court the petition argued that the case must be seen in the light that the order of the High Court lacked consensus. On the point of cost imposed on Tripathi, it has been argued that in the dissenting opinion the Judge clearly stated that “There is no provision under the law through which a penalty of Rs. 50,000/- can be imposed for making the application to relegate the matter for mediation under section 89 Civil Procedure Code”.\r\n\r\nJustice Altamas Kabir however refused to hear the matter on the ground that the assigned roster does not allow his bench to hear the petition. Justice Kabir stated that it was for the Registrar with the permission of the Chief Justice to assign an appropriate bench to hear the case. Justice Kabir stated, “I am not entitled to determine civil suits as per the roster”.\r\n\r\nThe Verdict was slated on 24.09.2010\r\n\r\nThe verdict is awaited for September 24th, 2010. Over a lakh uniformed men have been brought in to police every corner of Ayodhya , Faizabad , Lucknow and 19 other sensitive areas in the State. The High Court will decide that day on whom the disputed Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid land belongs to? And was the Masjid built over a temple? It’s been one of India’s most divisive and sensitive disputes.\r\n\r\nNot wanting to take any chances the Mayavathi government has banned all peace rallies – protest rallies and distribution of sweets post the verdict. Entry into the premises of the Lucknow High Court where the verdict will be delivered on 24.09.2010 has been restricted – the registrar has asked lawyers who don’t have a case on the 24th September 2010 not to come to High Court. Not just that, security for the three judges who will read out the historic Babri verdict has been doubled.\r\n\r\nRumour mongering – a big worry for the State government has been taken care of by the Center. Mass SMS’ and MMS have been banned till the 27.09.2010 across the country. While Home Minister P Chidambaram has asked all Governments of all the States to be on high alert, the Karnataka Government has gone a step ahead ordering all schools to be shut on the 24th and 25th September, 2010. These two days will also be dry days in the State.\r\n\r\nIf the verdict goes in favour of Babri mosque, it will definitely hurt Hindus sentiments. Muslims will feel the heat of partiality if it goes against them.\r\n\r\nIt seems no conclusion of this dispute in the both circumstances. However, meeting and discussion are on to douse the fire calmly but it will be important to see next development after the court verdict.\r\n\r\nSC stays Ayodhya title suit verdict for one week – 23.09.2010\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Supreme Court on 23.09.2010 stayed for a week the Ayodhya title suit verdict that was due to be pronounced by Allahabad High Court on 24.09.2010 and will hear the plea for deferment of the judgement next 28.09.2010.\r\n\r\nThe Court issued notices to the contesting parties on the petition filed by retired bureaucrat Ramesh Chand Tripathi challenging the order of the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court order refusing to defer the verdict in the 60—year—old Ram Janambhoomi—Babri Masjid title suit dispute.\r\n\r\nA Bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran and H L Gokhale stayed the verdict for a week following conflicting views over the issue of entertaining the petition challenging the High Court order.\r\n\r\nTripathi, in his plea before the apex court, claimed that the verdict might disturb communal harmony and lead to violence in the country. In the petition filed through advocate Sunil Jain, he cited several reasons for deferment of the verdict, which he said would be in “public interest” in view of the apprehension of communal flare up, upcoming Commonwealth Games, elections in Bihar and violence in Kashmir Valley and Naxal—hit states. The petition had feared that there would be inadequate security personnel in Uttar Pradesh to provide security.\r\n\r\nChief Justice to head bench on plea to defer Ayodhya verdict – 25.09.2010\r\n\r\nA three judge bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia will on 28.09.2010 decide the fate of the special leave petition seeking deferment of the Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ayodhya title suit. Besides the Chief Justice, the bench would include Justices Aftab Alam and K.S. Radhakrishnan. The matter has been listed as the first item on the agenda at 10.30 a.m on 28.09.2010. The court had also asked Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati to be present and assist the Supreme Court.\r\n\r\nThe special hearing on 28.09.2010 assumed considerable importance in view of the fact that one of the three judges of the Ayodhya bench in Lucknow — Justice D.V. Sharma — is due to demit office on October 1, 2010.\r\n\r\nCJI replaces Justice Kumar with Justice Aftab Alam for Ayodhya Case -26.09.2010\r\n\r\nCJI S H Kapadia heads the Bench in Supreme Court Number 1 of Supreme Court, also known as Chief Justice’s Court, and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar sit with him almost regularly.\r\n\r\nBut, with the Apex Court due to hear the Ayodhya matter which can have repercussions for Hindu-Muslim equations, the CJI appears to have put into practice the oft-recited adage — “justice should not only be done, but also appear to be done” — and drafted in Justice Aftab Alam in place of Justice Kumar for the crucial hearing on 28.09.2010.\r\n\r\nSupreme Court stay goes; High Court to deliver Judgement on Sep, 30 2010\r\n\r\nThe Allahabad High Court verdict in Babri Masjid-Ramjanma Bhoomi title suit will be pronounced on September 30, 2010 at 3.30 pm. The three-member bench decided to deliver judgment after the Supreme Court rejected the application of one of the defendants Ramesh Chandra Tripathi for the deferment of verdict in case on 28.09.2010. The Supreme Court lifting the stay on the verdict granted on September 23, 2010 cleared the decks for the High Court the judgment. With three days left for the retirement of Justice Sharma, the court has now decided to deliver the verdict on September 30, 2010.\r\n\r\nAyodhya land to be divided into three parts – Allahabad High Court – 30.09.2010\r\n\r\nA three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court on 30.09.2010 ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya where a makeshift temple was built after razing the Babri mosque in 1992 was Lord Ram’s birthplace.\r\n\r\nHowever, it ruled that the land be split among three contesting parties equally. Justices S U Khan, Sudhir Agarwal and D V Sharma delivered a split verdict in 60-year old Ayodhya title suit filed by the Sunni Central Waqf Board. The majority of the bench ruled that the disputed land in Ayodhya was a joint property, held by all the three claimants namely Hindu Mahasabha, Nirmohi Akhara and Sunni Central Waqf Board.\r\n\r\nThe majority also ruled that the central dome of the disputed structure, where idols of Lord Ram are presently kept in the makeshift temple, be allotted to Hindus. Justice Khan ruled that the mosque was built by Babar, not by demolishing a temple, but on the ruins of a temple.\r\n\r\nJustice Sharma categorically rejected the claim of Sunni Central Waqf Board and has ruled that the ‘disputed site is the birth place of Lord Rama’.\r\n\r\nHowever, the entire bench was of the view that the central dome of the disputed structure goes to Hindu Mahasabha, where idols were installed in 1949 and again in 1992 after the demolition of the Babri Mosque. The sita rasoi and ram chabootara have been given to Nirmohi Akhara.\r\n\r\nThe judges said that none of the litigants would take any action on the land for the next three months.\r\n\r\nLawyers K N Bhat and Ravi Shankar Prasad, who represented two of the Hindu litigants, announced to reporters that the bench had decided that Lord Ram was born where the Babri mosque was built.\r\n\r\n“All the three judges, including S U Khan, are unanimous in accepting that the idol of Ram cannot be removed from the place where it is installed right now,” said lawyer and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad in Lucknow after the court verdict.\r\n\r\nThe bench invited suggestions from all the parties for demarcation of the land.\r\n\r\nThe bench delivered the verdict in Court No 21, where entry of only 47 persons including the litigants and their counsels was allowed. The High Court had been totally fortified. Uttar Pradesh almost came to a virtual halt at 3.30 p.m., when the historical judgment was being delivered.\r\n\r\nWhat the Judges said:\r\n\r\nJustice S U Khan\r\n\r\n“Disputed structure was constructed as mosque by or under orders of Babar. It is not proved by direct evidence that premises in dispute including constructed portion belong to Babar or the person who constructed the mosque. No temple was demolished for constructing the mosque, but it was constructed on the ruins of the temple or some of its material was used in the construction of the mosque.”\r\n\r\nJustice Sudhir Agarwal\r\n\r\n“It is declared that the area covered by the central dome of the three domed structure, the disputed structure being the deity of Bhagwan Ram Janma Sthan and place of birth of Lord Rama as per faith and belief of the Hindus, belong to plaintiff- Bhagwan Sri Ram Virajman. and shall not be obstructed or interfered in any manner by the defendants, Rajendra Singh and others.”\r\n\r\nJustice Dharam Veer Sharma\r\n\r\n“The disputed site is the birth place of Lord Rama. Disputed building was constructed by Babar, the year is not certain, but it was built against the tenets of Islam. Thus it cannot have the character of a mosque. The disputed structure was constructed on the site of old structure after demolition of the same. The ASI has proved that the structure was a massive Hindu religious structure. The idols were placed in the middle dome of the disputed structure in the intervening night of 22/23 December 1949.”\r\n\r\nMuslim groups disappointed\r\n\r\nMuslim groups on 30.09.2010 reacted with disappointment to the dismissal of the Sunni Central Waqf Board (SCWB) suit and the three-way division of disputed land ordered by the Allahabad High Court in the Ayodhya title suits.\r\n\r\nSCWB lawyer Zafaryab Jilani said the Board, the main litigant on behalf of Muslims, will appeal against the decision in the Supreme Court: “The High Court’s formula of one-third land is not acceptable to the Waqf Board and it will go to the Supreme Court.”\r\n\r\nHe, however, added that the matter would come to a “full stop” with Muslims accepting the decision once the apex court gave its final verdict. He also said he was gladdened by the mature and calm response of the people to the verdict. “What is important is that we as a nation have matured. This reflects the faith of the people in the Constitution.”\r\n\r\nHindu Mahasabha to challenge ruling\r\n\r\nThe Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, one of the early litigants in the Ayodhya title suits, on 30.09.2010 said it would challenge the Allahabad High Court order to divide the “Ramjanambhoomi” land in three parts.\r\n\r\n“We have decided to challenge the decision to divide the Ramjanambhoomi land in three parts”, said State president of ABHM Kamlesh Tiwari. “Our fight for the Ramjanmbhoomi was acknowledged by the entire bench unanimously”, he said.\r\n\r\nHe said the legal battle was initiated by Mahasabha president of Faizabad Gopal Singh Visharad in Janauary 16, 1950.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Initiating long-pending reforms in the selection process for the elite all-India services like the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS), the Government has decided to introduce an aptitude test at the preliminary examination level while doing away with the assessment on the optional subjects.\r\n\r\nThe Civil Services Aptitude Test, which will be common for all candidates, would be introduced from 2011, Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Prithviraj Chavan said on 25.09.2010 in an interaction with The Indian Express journalists at the ‘Idea Exchange’ programme in New Delhi.\r\n\r\n“We have taken a decision that we will drop the 23 optional subjects at the preliminary stage and substitute that with a common aptitude test that will assess the reasoning ability of the candidates,” Chavan said. “There will be a test for minimal English language skills as well — of Class X level,” he said.\r\n\r\nIn the existing system, the candidates have to sit for a test of general studies — which is common to all — and another on their elective subject. Both consist of objective type questions. Marks obtained in the optional subjects are normalised on a common standard so as to provide a level playing field for all candidates.\r\n\r\nSince the candidates are assessed in detail on the elective subjects in the main examination, it was decided to replace the optionals at the preliminary stage with an aptitude test that will judge the candidates’ decision making skills and aptitude for a demanding career in civil services. The new process would also do away with the need for normalisation since every candidate will have to answer the same question paper.\r\n\r\nThe main examination will remain unchanged as of now.\r\n\r\n“The new system will bring in further objectivity into the examinations,” Chavan said.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Sampth Kumar\r\nSept 3 2010\r\n\r\nSonia Gandhi has been re-elected the Congress chief for a record fourth time. She was re-elected unopposed. By doing so she will be setting several records in the history of the 125-year-old party, among them being the longest-serving incumbent. Her name was announced at a ceremony at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi on Friday the 3rd September 2010. She has been the Congress president since 1998, and is the seventh person of foreign origin to become the president of the Congress – a party formed to secure a greater share in governance for educated Indians.\r\n\r\nHard work and perseverance have negated a sea of hurdles.. From the very limited experience in the art of governance, she has eventually risen to the present position with the hope of realizing her late husband Rajiv Gandhi’s vision and in following the footsteps of her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi. Besides being in the office for 12 years, Sonia is also the Chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance which is into its second successive term. Both Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi each held the post of Congress president-ship for only seven years.\r\n\r\nAddressing the party workers after her re-election, Sonia said that it was a great responsibility. She thanked all Congress workers and said that whether they were in power or not they should always work for the oppressed.\r\n\r\nThe leaders who proposed her name included party chief ministers – Sheila Dikshit of Delhi, Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan and Bhupinder Singh Hooda of Haryana – as also several senior leaders and ministers.\r\n\r\nGandhi has created a record for the longest tenure as Congress chief by steering the party since April 1998 when she replaced the late Sitaram Kesri. Only once she had to face a contest with senior leader Jitendra Prasada throwing his hat in the ring a decade back but she had defeated him.\r\n\r\nBiography of Sonia Gandhi\r\n\r\nBorn into a family of modest means in an Italian village on the banks of a river in 1946, Sonia Maino, now Sonia Gandhi, has made waves in history by becoming the President of India’s century-old Congress party. Being the third woman of foreign origin to hold the prestigious post after Annie Beasant and Nelli Sengupta, Sonia Gandhi also became the fifth from the Nehru family to take over the Congress reins. The other four were Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. She also is the eighth person of the foreign origin to be the Congress president.\r\n\r\nShe officially took charge of the Congress party in 1998 and was elected to parliament in 1999. She was first elected as a Member of Parliament to the 13th Lok Sabha from the Amethi Parliamentary Constituency of Uttar Pradesh in 1999, getting 67% of the polled votes.  She has been elected to the 14th Lok Sabha from the Rae Bareily Constituency of Uttar Pradesh.   On 18 May 2004, after her Congress party won the Indian election, she was slated to become Prime Minister, but declined after fierce opposition and the promise of future turmoil from the defeated right wing\r\n\r\n2004 General Elections\r\n\r\nIn the 2004 general elections, Gandhi launched a nationwide campaign, criss-crossing the country on the Aam Aadmi (ordinary man) slogan in contrast to the ‘India Shining’ slogan of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) alliance. She countered the BJP asking “Who is India Shining for?” In the election, she won by a large margin in the Rae Bareilly constituency in Uttar Pradesh. Following the unexpected defeat of the NDA, she was widely expected to be the next Prime Minister of India. On 16 May, she was unanimously chosen to lead a 15-party coalition government with the support of the left, which was subsequently named the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).\r\n\r\nAfter the election result, the defeated NDA protested once against her ‘foreign origin’ and senior NDA leader Sushma Swaraj threatened to shave her head and “sleep on the ground”, among other things, should Sonia become prime minister. The NDA also claimed that there were legal reasons that barred her from the Prime Minister’s post. They pointed, in particular, to Section 5 of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1955, which they claimed implied ‘reciprocity’. This was contested by others and eventually the suits were dismissed by the Supreme Court of India.\r\n\r\nA few days after the election, Gandhi appointed Manmohan Singh as prime minister. Her supporters compared it to the old Indian tradition of renunciation, while her opponents attacked it as a political stunt.\r\n\r\nIn a short span since she plunged into active politics before the mid-term Lok Sabha elections, Sonia in fact, had wrought a political miracle by becoming the dual chief of the 113 year old Indian National Congress and its Parliamentary party. In the process, Sonia Gandhi also emulated her husband, mother-in-law and grandfather-in-law—Rajiv, Indira and Nehru— who all held the two posts during their career.\r\n\r\nBirth and Growth\r\n\r\nSonia Gandhi, nee Maino, was born in a place called Ovassanjo, 80 km away from Turin, on Dec. 9, 1946. Married into India’s best known family of Nehru-Gandhi in 1968, the 64-year-old Sonia Gandhi became a primary member of the Congress less than a year ago before the Calcutta Congress Plenary Session in August 1997. Since Rajiv’s death, Sonia had led a life of near recluse for six years but for her appearances at a few official functions. She touched many a heart when she poured out her (agony) at a public meeting a few years ago in Amethi about the delay in the probe of Rajiv assassination case.\r\n\r\nBarring such veiled political statements, Sonia hid her emotions behind a thick veil of secrecy keeping observers guessing about whether she nursed political intentions at all. But fawning Congressmen, looking for a charismatic personality to lead the party to electoral success, kept sending their appeals to her to come and take over the party. After an excruciating spell of suspense, Sonia, who long remained something of an enigma to many, finally decided to campaign for the Congress in the just-concluded Lok Sabha electors and is credited by observers with preventing a doom for the party. Congress, which was forecast not to cross the double digit mark managed a tally of 141 seats, largely due to her charismatic presence during the campaign.\r\n\r\nIn fact, the top job of the Congress organisation was offered to her on a platter immediately after the death of her husband on May 21, 1991. But a grieving and reluctant Sonia declined the offer. Travelling the length and breadth of the country in a hurricane election tour, Sonia caught the imagination of the masses, by her emotional speeches in Hindi prepared in advance. Observers commented that Sonia successfully adopted her mother-in-law’s mannerism and style in warming her way to large crowds which had turned up at her election rallies. Sonia, whose Italian origin gave her opponents propaganda grist, became a full-fledged Indian citizen in 1984 after the death of Indira Gandhi.\r\n\r\nSonia met Rajiv Gandhi in Cambridge during 1960s when the former Prime Minister was studying at the famous British University. They were married in 1968 after three years of courtship which began in a Greek restaurant in the university town. The simple ceremony was held on Vasant Panchami day in February, the same day when Indira Gandhi married Feroze decades earlier. The wedding was a simple nondenominational ceremony in the garden of 1, Safdarjang Road. The new addition to the family became an instant favourite. Sonia and Indira became extremely fond of each other. It was a relationship that time would deepen still further.\r\n\r\nStrange as it may sound now, Sonia had, in fact, shown aversion to politics for long. She detested politics and opposed her husband Rajiv entering it. Eventually, Rajiv resigned from Indian Airlines to join politics after Sanjay’s death in 1980. Now not only Sonia is in the thick of politics, but her children, Rahul and Priyanka, too are in great demand in the Congress circle for taking over the Youth Congress.\r\n\r\nAfter the death of her husband Rajiv Gandhi and her refusal of becoming Prime Minister, the party settled on the choice of P. V. Narasimha Rao as the Prime Minister. Over the next few years, the Congress fortunes continued to dwindle and it lost the 1996 elections. Several senior leaders such as Madhavrao Sindhia, Rajesh Pilot, Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Arjun Singh, Mamata Banerjee, G. K. Moopanar, P. Chidambaram, Jayanthi Natarajan were in open revolt against the incumbent President Sitaram Kesri and quit the party, splitting the Congress into many factions. In an effort to revive the party’s sagging fortunes, Sonia Gandhi joined the Congress Party as a primary member in the Calcutta Plenary Session in 1997 and became party leader in 1998.\r\n\r\nShe contested Lok Sabha elections from Bellary, Karnataka and Amethi, Uttar Pradesh in 1999. In Bellary she defeated veteran BJP leader, Sushma Swaraj. She was elected the Leader of the Opposition of the 13th Lok Sabha in 1999 during the regime of the BJP-led NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee. As Leader of Opposition, she called a no-confidence motion against the NDA government led by Vajpayee in 2003.\r\n\r\nIn the 2004 general elections, Sonia Gandhi launched a nationwide campaign on the Aam Aadmi (ordinary man) slogan challenging the ‘India Shining’ slogan of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. She won the election by a large margin in the Rae Bareilly constituency in Uttar Pradesh. On 16 May 2004, she was unanimously chosen the leader of the United Progressive Alliance, a 15-party coalition government with the support of the left.\r\n\r\nIn March 2006, Sonia resigned from the Lok Sabha and also as chairperson of the National Advisory Council under the office-of-profit controversy. She was re-elected from her constituency Rae Bareilly in May 2006 by a huge margin of over 400,000 votes.\r\n\r\nAs chairperson of the National Advisory Committee and the UPA chairperson, she played an important role in making the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the Right to Information Act into law. She addressed the United Nations on 2 October 2007on the occasion of international day of non-violence coinciding the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Under her leadership, the Congress-led-UPA returned to a near majority in the 2009 general elections with Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister. The congress party’s unique achievements and promotions in the uplift of the millions of downtrodden Indians and in nurturing the nation to become an economically powerful country in south-east Asia are attributable to the able and determined leadership of incumbent president Sonia Gandhi. May the vision of the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and his fore-fathers be realized with the bless of god under Sonia’s leadership.\r\n\r\nThe Foreign Presidents\r\n\r\nSixty-three-year-old Sonia Gandhi, who settled in India after marrying Nehru family scion Rajiv Gandhi in 1968, is the first person of foreign origin to become the Congress chief since Independence.\r\n\r\nThough Alan Octavio Hume, a Scotsman, had founded the Congress in 1885, he did not become its president. Instead, W.C. Bonnerjee, a prominent lawyer and nationalist of what was then Calcutta, was elected the Congress president at its inaugural session in Bombay (now Mumbai).\r\n\r\nGeorge Yule became the first foreigner to become the Congress president at its 1888 Allahabad session.\r\n\r\nThe other foreigners who have held the top post during the freedom struggle were William Wedderburn (1889-Mumbai session), Alfred Webb (1894-Chennai session), Henry Cotton (1904-Mumbai), Annie Besant (1917-Kolkata) and Nalini (Nellie) Sen Gupta (1933-Kolkata).\r\n\r\nWhile the other six foreign-born Congress chiefs were British, Sonia Gandhi is the first Italian-born to hold the post. Sarojini Naidu became the first Indian woman to assume the post at the 1925 Kanpur session.\r\n\r\nSonia Gandhi’s mother-in-law and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi first became the Congress chief in 1960, when her father Jawaharlal Nehru was the prime minister. She assumed the post again in 1978, when the Congress was in the opposition. She continued in the post till her assassination in 1984.\r\n\r\nIndira Gandhi set the trend in 1980 of the prime minister also being the Congress chief, which continued during the tenures of prime ministers Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao.\r\n\r\nSonia is the fifth member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to become the Congress president, and belongs to the fourth generation of the family to hold the post.\r\n\r\nRajiv Gandhi’s great grandfather and eminent lawyer Motilal Nehru was the first from the Nehru family to be elected to the party chief’s post at the Amritsar session in 1919. He again assumed the post in 1928 at the Kolkata session.\r\n\r\nMotilal Nehru was succeeded by his son Jawaharlal Nehru at the 1929 Lahore session. Jawaharlal Nehru became Congress chief seven more times – 1930, 1936, 1937, 1946, 1951, 1953 and 1954.\r\n\r\nSonia Gandhi, who has been in office for 12 years, has already become the longest-serving Congress president. Both Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi each held the post for only seven years. However, Jawaharlal Nehru was elected to the post eight times.\r\n\r\n“Sonia Gandhi’s importance in the Congress’ history should not be viewed only by the longevity of her career. She has held the post during crucial times and led the party very ably,” recalled 93-year-old K. Karunakaran, a special invitee to the Congress Working Committee and one of the oldest active Congress leaders. “She defended the Congress against the National Democratic Alliance government for six years and brought the party back to power at the centre, that too, without compromising on the party’s principles,” Karunakaran told.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Manimegalai\r\nOfficial celebrations are taking place in southern India for the 1,000th birthday of one of the grandest temples ever built on the subcontinent. The Brihadisvara temple – in the town of Thanjavur, 350km (220 miles) south-west of Chennai – is considered the finest example of southern Indian architecture.\r\n\r\nR Nagasami, the state of Tamil Nadu government’s retired director of archaeology, says it is not clear when work started on the attraction, which is better known as the Big Temple. He claims that they can definitely say it was completed in the year 1010. This conclusion was made from stone inscriptions.\r\n\r\nUnlike other Hindu temples built during that period, this one was made using granite. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, a major Hindu deity, it consists of 13 tiers, and its main tower soars majestically to a height of 60m (200ft). The master designers built the hollow tower by interlocking stones without using any binding material.\r\n\r\n“This is the only temple in the whole of India,” says R. Nagaswamy, former Director, Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department, “wherein the builder himself has left behind a very large number of inscriptions on the temple’s construction, its various parts, the daily rituals to be performed for the Linga, the details of the offerings such as jewellery, flowers and textiles, the special worship to be performed, the particular days on which they should be performed, the monthly and annual festivals, and so on.”\r\n\r\nRaja Raja Chola even appointed an astronomer called ‘Perunkani’ for announcing the dates, based on the planetary movements, for celebrating the temple’s festivals.\r\n\r\nThree temples in Thanjavur and Ariyalur districts, namely the Brihadeeshvara temple, Iravateswarawamy temple and the Big temple at Gangaikondacholapuram built by the great Chola kings have been declared as world heritage monuments by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).\r\n\r\nThe Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur built by Raja Raja Cholan is celebrating its millenium this year; the Iravateswarawamy temple at Darasuram near Kumbkonam was built by Raja Raja II and the Big temple at Gangaikondacholapuram was built by Rajendran Cholan, son of Raja Raja Cholan in Ariyalur district.\r\n\r\nThe three temples are in stone and have almost same architecture and design except for the size. While the Big Temple at Thanjavur remains colossal in all its aspects — a towering Vimana with a height of 212 ft, a big Linga in the sanctum sanctorum, a huge Nandi in the front and Goddess Periyanayaki also standing tall, Darasuram and Gangaikondacholapuram account for smaller forms of the Big temple. Despite the general concept of a chariot being pulled, the sculptures differ in the three temples.\r\n\r\nThe Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) maintains the three temples well and has almost reconstructed the whole temple at Darasuram.\r\n\r\nThe construction of the Big Temple — also known as Rajarajeswaran Udaiyar after the great king — began in 1003A.D. and was consecrated for worship on the 275th day of the 25th year of the King’s reign (1010 A.D.). The temple is 1000 years old this year (2010). This edifice is one of the finest and most exquisite specimens of the Chola architecture. Dedicated to Lord Siva, it is located within a spacious inner courtyard measuring 240 X120 m. The temple is replete with inscriptions relating to its origin and endowments and also sports a profusion of friezes from the epics.\r\n\r\nChola Dynasty\r\n\r\nConsidered one of the tallest structures in India at that time, the temple was built on the orders of the King Raja Raja Chola, the most prominent sovereign of the Chola dynasty.  The Cholas reached their zenith during the 11th Century, subduing smaller kingdoms and bringing most of southern India under their rule.\r\n\r\nThey were also pioneers in naval warfare, carrying out hostile waterborne expeditions to Sri Lanka and the Far East.  Raja Raja Chola, who ruled from 985 AD to 1014, was a Saivite, a branch of Hinduism that worships Lord Shiva.\r\n\r\nHis capital was the town of Thanjavur, situated on the banks of the River Cauvery, which is considered sacred by Hindus. “King Raja Raja was also known as Sivapada Sundaran [which means a man devoted to the feet of Shiva],” says Mr Nagasami.\r\n\r\n“Temple inscription says he first placed all the spoils of war at the feet of god and sought blessing from the almighty.”\r\n\r\nAgain, this is the only temple in India where the King specifically mentions in an inscription that he built this all-stone temple called ‘kattrali’ (‘kal’ meaning stone and ‘tali’ a temple). This magnum opus, running to 107 paragraphs, describes, among others, how Raja Raja Chola, seated in the royal bathing hall on the eastern side of his palace, instructed how his order should be inscribed on the base of the vimana, how he executed the temple’s plan, the list of gifts he, his sister Kundavai, his queens and others gave to the temple.\r\n\r\nThe inscriptions provide a list of 66 beautiful bronze idols Raja Raja Chola, Kundavai, his queens and others gifted to the temple. The inscriptions elaborate on the enormous gold jewellery, inlaid with precious stones such as diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, corals, pearls, for decorating each of these bronzes. Interestingly, the measurements of all these bronzes — from crown to toe, the number of arms they had and the symbols they held in their arms — are inscribed. Today, only two of these bronzes remain in the temple — that of a dancing Siva and his consort Sivakami. All the jewellery has disappeared.\r\n\r\nRaja Raja Chola gifted gold vessels to the temple, and their weight, shape and casting were mentioned in the lithic records. Even a small spoon, ‘nei muttai,’ for scooping out ghee, finds a mention. The inscriptions throw light on the temple’s revenue from various sources, the mode of payment and the meticulous accounting procedures. “It shows the care and attention with which the temple property was entered in the registers and the responsibility fixed for handling them. Raja Raja Chola had an extraordinary administrative talent, unsurpassed either before or after him,” Dr. Nagaswamy said.\r\n\r\nThe inscriptions even speak about the temple’s cleaners, sweepers, carriers of flags and parasols, torch-bearers for processions at night and festivals, cooks, dancers, musicians and singers of Tamil and Sanskrit verses.\r\n\r\nRock transported\r\n\r\nThe temple is 240m long and 120m wide. There was no rock formation near the temple, so it had to be transported from quarries 50km away. It is believed the rock was brought to the building site by river boat.\r\n\r\nPS Sriraman, Assistant Superintendent Archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India, says that the Big Temple when compared to other temples of that time, is at least 40 times bigger. He claims that this was a dramatic scaling up. It shows their confidence and imagination. It has a very unique design. It is the first Hindu temple to be built on such a grand scale.\r\n\r\nInterestingly, the temple also has number of statues and stone carvings depicting the life of Buddha.\r\n\r\nV Ganapati Sthapati, a well-known temple architect, says: “The temple tower incorporates the same building principles used in the construction of great pyramids. They designed the temple using traditional knowledge which is held as family secrets, and passed down from father to son. They carved out rocks using hand-held tools.”\r\n\r\nThe inscriptions found in the temple have helped scholars understand the Chola Empire.\r\n\r\nExcellent condition\r\n\r\nThe temple, which also has fresco paintings, has survived the ravages of countless monsoons, six recorded earthquakes and a major fire. It is now maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, a central government body.\r\n\r\nIts superintendent archaeologist, Sathyabama Badrinath, says: “The temple is in excellent condition. It has no structural problems. The weight load is evenly distributed among pillars and beams. It needs very little maintenance.”\r\n\r\nUnlike its sound structure, patronage for the temple is somewhat shaky.\r\n\r\nSoon after its completion, its chief patron Raja Raja died. His son, Rajendira I, succeeded him. He was a far more successful military leader and wanted to build a much bigger version of the Big Temple.\r\n\r\nHe shifted the capital of the Chola kingdom to Gangaikondacholapuram, about 60km away, and started building a new temple there.  “Raja Raja had donated large tracts of land to provide money to maintain the temple. But Rajendira Chola diverted all these revenues to his newly built temple,” says Mr Badrinath.  Why Rajendira did this still baffles historians today.\r\n\r\nHis decision deprived the Big Temple of royal patronage. As artisans went to work at his new temple, work on the Big Temple began coming to a halt.\r\n\r\nBut Rajendira was only able to build a smaller version of the Big Temple.\r\n\r\nFurther down the line, the Cholas built hundreds of temples along the banks of the River Cauvery, changing its landscape forever. None of the forts and palaces built by the Cholas survives today.\r\n\r\nBut the remaining temples stand testimony to their achievements and are a major tourist attraction for both local and foreign visitors.\r\n\r\nThere are, however, concerns about the up-keep of the Big Temple. Recently, an ill-conceived move to drill a bore-well just a few metres away from the main structure had to be stopped by a court order. Increasing commercial and construction activities near the temple has prompted local authorities to impose tighter building restrictions.\r\n\r\nAugust 2010\r\n\r\nThe State government drew up plans to celebrate in a grand manner the contribution of Chola King Raja Raja I to the renaissance of art and culture besides governance.\r\n\r\nThis happened because the Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi was of the view that the celebration should not be delayed any more and there could be no better occasion to remember the King than the 1000th year of the Brihadeeswarar Temple.\r\n\r\nThe government wanted to organise the celebrations much earlier, but preparations for the World Classical Tamil Conference gave little room for any other elaborate event between January and June this year.\r\n\r\nUsing Raja Raja Chola as the theme, the Chief Minister wants to use the opportunity to inculcate in the younger generation the great achievements of Tamil leaders.\r\n\r\nOf particular relevance will be the effort to place history in a context and make people realise the importance and the odds against which the great structures were built.\r\n\r\nNoted archaeologist R. Nagasamy said “clarity of mind and drive for excellence in all the fields” were the hallmark of Raja Raja.\r\n\r\nDr Nagasamy, former director of Department of Archaeology said  claimed that he was a hero who applied his mind to every aspect of governance. He conducted land survey and introduced intelligent tax system and increased the area of cultivation, realising that it was vital to the State economy.\r\n\r\nWhile Raja Raja Chola encouraged higher studies in every field by organising scholarly settlements in the form of Brahmin colonies, side by side he set up commercial establishments.\r\n\r\nDr Nagasamy pointed out that Raja Raja also encouraged a vibrant rural democratic system by introducing election to the village administration and that he entrusted the administration in the hands of experienced persons and that he had the highest judicial standards.\r\n\r\nRaja Raja also involved all the villages in the maintenance of royal temples and introduced an unsurpassed payment system.\r\n\r\nExplaining why Chola bronzes are celebrated across the world, D. Srikanta Sthapathy, director Poompuhar, said they were proportionate and followed the traditional iconometry to perfection.\r\n\r\n“For the Chola bronze the face is the prominent unit and all other parts of the body would derive from it. Even the size of the finger is decided based on the size of the face,” he said, adding that people across the world were visiting Swamimalai to see for themselves the making of bronzes.\r\n\r\nArchaeological Survey of India (ASI) is likely to come out with a book, digitally documenting Chola paintings in the 7 panels inside the sanctum sanctorum of the big temple in Thanjavur.\r\n\r\nP.S. Sriraman, an archaeologist with the ASI, said the murals were brilliant considering the fact that the possible use of true fresco technique provided the artists with very little time to execute and finish the murals.\r\n\r\nThe artists had to work in near dim conditions. They never had the distance to fall back to have a look at the figures to check the relative proportion.\r\n\r\n“But when we analysed the paintings digitally and in the large format reproductions, the proportion of individual figures and ensemble of figures is near perfect,” he said.\r\n\r\nCelebration on September 25th 2010\r\n\r\nThanjavur town reverberated with dance and music as the millennium celebrations of the Big Temple kicked off with gaiety on Wednesday the 22nd of September 2010.\r\n\r\nHundreds of people thronged venues like Sivaganga Park, Karanthai Thamizh Sangam, Raja Rajan Mani Mandapam, Tholkappiar Arangam and the Old Housing Unit besides the Big Temple, to relish the folk dances and classical music. Union Minister S.S.Palani Manickam and State Co-operation Minister Ko.Si.Mani, inaugurated the Thanjai Sangamam programmes at Karanthai Thamizh Sangam by beating the drum.\r\n\r\nV. Irai Anbu, Secretary, Tourism, P. A. Mani, Commissioner of Art and culture, A.C.Mohandoss, Director, Tourism and M.S.Shanmugham, District Collector, were present on the occasion.\r\n\r\nSpellbound performances\r\n\r\nThe opening of the gala event was followed by Poikkal Kuthiraiyattam by Nadi Rao and party. Subsequently, Mayilattam, Kavadiyattam, Kummi and other folk dances cast a spell on the audiences .\r\n\r\nRaja Raja Cholan who had built the temple patronised artistes. According to an epigraph, there were 640 selected dancers who performed in the temple during the King’s period . The temple also has 108 karna sculptures of Bharata Muni.\r\n\r\nAt the beautifully illuminated Big Temple, the programmes started with Karagattam by Thenmozhi Rajendran party. Thamizhisai by ‘Sirkazhi’ Siva Chidambaram followed the Karagattam.\r\n\r\nArray of programmes\r\n\r\nStarting with “Thirumudi Sootiduvom, Thamizh Thaikku” and Sivachidambram enthralled the audience with the popular song from film Raja Raja Cholan, “Thanjai Periya Koil Pallandu Vazhgave” which was sung by his father Sirkazhi Govindarajan in the film. Dance by “Thirunagai” Narthangi Nataraj and vocal by Sudha Ragunathan left the audience spellbound.\r\n\r\nS. N. M. Ubayathullah, State Commercial Taxes Minister, M.Rajendran, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil University, Babaji Rajah Bhonsle, senior prince and hereditary trustee of Palace devasthanam participated in the programmes.\r\n\r\nPeople enjoyed the programmes in LED screens put up near the Elephant Mandapam, at the entrance of the temple and the car parking in front of it. Thappattam and Therukuthu went on at Sivaganga Park, while Kuravan Kurathi and Puliyattam went on at Raja Rajan Mani Mandapam.\r\n\r\nNayyandi melam and other programmes were performed at Tholkappiar Arangam and the Old Housing Unit.\r\n\r\nThe town wore a festive look with serial lights, festoons and decorations in many buildings.\r\n\r\nThe Dance Event\r\n\r\nIt was a challenge to make everyone feel that there were 1,000 dancers on the floor. After all, the event could make it to the Guinness book of records and had to be verifiable.\r\n\r\nK.Sudhakar of Swathi Soft Solutions and S.B.Khanthan, director, had to meet the organising challenge. Now that the event is over, they have filed an application for the mammoth dance event, marking the completion of 1000 years of Brahadeeswarar Temple at Thanjavur, for listing as a Guinness achievement.\r\n\r\nHere’s how the organising part was done: technical crew of Swathi Soft Solutions arrived 48 hours in advance with 9 cameras, two Jimmy jib cranes and fitting accessories to capture the excitement of 1,000 Bharatha Natyam virtuosos and to feed live web casting through www.kalakendra.com and www.kutcheribuzz.com as also for release as DVD. Vantage camera positions had been marked based on the floor map and dancers positions meticulously drawn by Dr Padma Subrahmanyam. Mock camera drills were conducted till 2 am on the previous night by S.Jayakumar, the chief videographer and his crew.\r\n\r\nThe task of assembling 1,000 dancers belonging to various dance schools across the globe two hours before the schedule start right on their respective positions was handled by ABHAI, Brahan Natyanjali and Dr Padma Subrahmanyam.\r\n\r\nStamp and Coin\r\n\r\nThe curtains came down on the five-day-long millennium celebration of the Big Temple here on Sunday the 26th September with Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi making a slew of announcements and the release of a special postal stamp and a five- rupee coin.\r\n\r\nAt a function held at the Armed Reserve Police training grounds here, the Chief Minister said that a paddy variety would be named as Rajarajan 1000. A number of infrastructure development schemes for Thanjavur would be taken up, including improvement of roads, widening of the Irwin Bridge and creation of wings in the Thanjavur Medical College-Hospital for trauma care and cancer treatment. Referring to the State government’s sanction of Rs. 25 crore for the schemes, Mr Karunanidhi said the Union government had also announced the sanction of Rs. 25 crore but the State government was yet to receive the amount. He wanted Union Ministers G.K. Vasan and V. Narayanaswamy to ensure that the funds were released.\r\n\r\nUnion Minister for Communications A. Raja handed over the first copy of the new stamp to Mr Vasan. Union Minister of State for Finance S.S. Palanimanickam presented the inaugural coin to Mr Narayanaswamy. Praising the greatness of the Chola emperor, Mr Karunanidhi said the administration of the emperor was famous for its elaborate system of land measurement and taxation. The proceeds collected through taxes were used for the welfare of people The Chief Minister presented 1,000 coins to Padma Subrahmanyam for the dance programme organised at the Big Temple on Saturday in which she and 1,000 dancers participated.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Shanthi Rajagopal\r\nThe election of 2010 is a historical turning point in Swedish history. The Social Democrats traditional dominance in almost a century seems to be broken (for good?) and the far-right Sweden Democrats will become part of the Swedish Government for the first time. As a Swedish newspaper did put it: “A centre-right government (The Alliance) without a majority, a crashed social democracy and a kingmaker party with roots in the far-right”.\r\n\r\nGiven below is a low-down on who the main contestants of the Swedish election are, the way they have risen to power and the outcome of the elections.\r\n\r\nThe Alliance\r\n\r\nThe Alliance (Alliansen) coalition consists of four centre-right parties – the Moderates, Liberals (Folkpartiet), Centre, and Christian Democrats. Party leaders are current prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, education minister Jan Björklund, enterprise minister Maud Olofsson and social affairs minister Göran Hägglund, respectively. The coalition has together formed the government since gaining the majority of parliamentary seats in the 2006 election.\r\n\r\nThe Alliance was formed as Alliance for Sweden (Allians för Sverige) by party leaders Fredrik Reinfeldt, Maud Olofsson, Lars Leijonborg and Göran Hägglund on August 30th 2004 with a declaration to work towards a viable centre-right government alternative to the centre-left Social Democrats, who had by then held power for 23 of the previous 26 years.\r\n\r\nThe 2006 election came to be defined by the concept of “Utanförskap” (Alienation). The Alliance regularly cited figures of up to 1.5 million Swedes living on the margins of the labour market and society, proposing to address the problem. When the votes were counted the Alliance parties had won 178 seats in parliament and the opposition parties 171.\r\n\r\nThe Alliance parties are going to polls on their record of being the responsible alternative for Sweden’s public finances.\r\n\r\nFinance minister Anders Borg repeatedly emphasises the fact that Sweden has fared the financial crisis and subsequent recession better than many other EU countries but warns that caution remains with regard to the challenges that lie ahead both at home and abroad.\r\n\r\nThe Alliance, like the Red-Green opposition, were keen to emphasise that there were two clear alternatives available to voters on September 19th. They argue that while the centre-right parties offer a platform for jobs, the centre-left offer welfare.\r\n\r\nThe Red-Green coalition\r\n\r\nThe Red-Green coalition consists of three parties – the Social Democrats, the Green Party, and the Left Party. Party leaders are Mona Sahlin, Peter Eriksson/Maria Wetterstrand and Lars Ohly, respectivley.  The Left Party and the Green Party previously supported the minority Social Democrat government that held power from 1998-2006.\r\n\r\nThe centre-left Red-Green coalition was formally announced on December 7th 2008 after the parties had managed to reach agreement on basic principles of their economic policy.\r\n\r\nThe formation of what has become known as the Red-Greens (de rödgröna) came after several months of negotiations following the breakdown of talks in Bommersvik in 2008. The Left Party declined to budge on key economic issues – such as the independence of the Riksbank and budgetary discipline.\r\n\r\nThe Social Democrats and the Green Party presented a joint budget proposal and announced a cooperation which excluded the Left Party. Following internal criticism from leading Social Democrat groups, as well as significant shifts in Left Party economic policy, the parties were able to patch up their differences and in December announce a ”deeper cooperation” with the goal of building a coalition government after the 2010 election.\r\n\r\nOn August 31st 2010, The Red-Greens presented an election manifesto entitled: Responsibility for the whole of Sweden (Ansvar för hela Sverige), promising to match the Alliance reform budget of 12.8 billion kronor ($1.72 billion) for 2011.\r\n\r\nThe Red-Green parties are going to the polls on a platform of welfare investment over tax cuts. While the coalition has promised tax cuts of up to 17 billion kronor for pensioners, it rejects further tax cuts for wage earners and proposes the reintroduction of some form of wealth tax.\r\nMona Sahlin and Social Democrat economic affairs spokesperson Thomas Östros, regularly point out that unemployment has increased over the past four years and argue that government policies on sick pay and unemployment benefits have lead to greater divisions among groups in society.\r\n\r\nThe Social Democrats\r\n\r\nThe Social Democrats are the largest party within the centre-left Red-Green coalition that is fighting to wrestle back power after four years in opposition.  Mona Sahlin is the party leader and is bidding to become Sweden’s first female prime minister. Other noteable figures within the party include economic policy spokesperson Thomas Östros, former justice minister Thomas Bodström, party secretary Ibrahim Baylan, and Stockholm politician Carin Jämtin.\r\n\r\nThe Social Democrats were founded in 1889 and are thus the oldest party in Swedish politics. The party is the most successful in Swedish political history, dominating post-war government and credited with being responsible for the massive expansion of Sweden’s welfare state.\r\n\r\nThe Social Democrats, then led by Göran Persson, succumbed to a crushing defeat in the 2006 elections, receiving 34.99 percent of the votes, its lowest showing since universal suffrage.\r\n\r\nMona Sahlin replaced Persson in 2007 to become the first female party leader. Sahlin was something of a compromise choice after several leading figures ruled themselves out of the race and has struggled to unite factions of the party.  She was roundly criticised by Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) for launching a two party coalition with the Green Party, and excluding the Left Party, in October 2008. The Left Party later joined what became the Red-Green coalition. The party ideology is based on a social corporatist economic model and strongly support feminism and advocates equality, taking an active stand against discrimination and racism.\r\n\r\nThe Social Democrats are campaigning on a theme of Sweden as a “country of possibilities” under the slogan – ”We can’t wait”. The party’s platform has the development of the welfare state at its heart, promising measures to adress inequality in society and boost job creation and thus tax revenue. The Social Democrats’ priorities are made clear in their election declaration – ”Welfare must go before major tax cuts”. The party going to the polls on a programme of investment in public services, with the only major tax cuts directed at pensioners.\r\n\r\nMona Sahlin’s leadership of the party is under scrutiny and there is widespread speculation that she would not survive a second successive election loss for the party.\r\n\r\nThe Moderates\r\n\r\nThe Moderates are the largest party in the centre-right Alliance coalition that has been in government since 2006. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is the party leader. The party has a further nine ministers – Finance Minister Anders Borg, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, Justice Minister Beatrice Ask, Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, Migration Minister Tobias Billström, Trade Minister Ewa Björling, Development Aid Minister Gunilla Carlsson, Social Insurance Minister Christina Husmark Pehrsson, and Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors.\r\n\r\nThe Moderates are a centre-right, liberal conservative political party founded on October 17th 1904. By the early 1970s, and under the stewardship of Gösta Bohman, the party shifted from traditionalist conservatism to a more liberal approach to the economy and the party governed in various coalition constellations from 1976 until 1982.\r\n\r\nAfter the crisis government and reform years under Carl Bildt between 1991 and 1994, the party had a long period in opposition. Having lost the 2002 in disastrous fashion, the Moderates elected Fredrik Reinfeldt as party leader and a process of change towards the political centre was begun.\r\n\r\nReinfeldt relaunched the party in Blairite fashion as ”the New Moderates” and worked to form a viable political alternative to the Social Democrats as part of the four-party Alliance for Sweden.\r\n\r\nFredrik Reinfeldt’s ”New Moderates” campaigned as the ”New Workers’ Party” on a platform of job creation and adressing alienation in Swedish society, winning 26.23 percent of the vote to help the Alliance to victory.\r\n\r\nIn power the Moderates have dominated government policy holding key ministerial posts in the finance, defence, trade and foreign ministries.\r\n\r\nJob creation has remained the focus of the mandate period with measures such as in-work tax credits, lower payroll charges for the young, and the RUT deduction for household services, key initiatives.\r\n\r\nThe Moderates have also pushed through the end of national service and the abolition of wealth tax.\r\nThe Moderates campaign is very much focused on Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Finance Minister Anders Borg. The party is pushing its line on jobs and crime, and argues that it is the party to trust with the public purse.\r\n\r\nThe Moderates have stated their ambition to wrestle the role of default party of government from the Social Democrats and recent opinion polls indicate that it could become the largest parliamentary party.\r\n\r\nThe Liberals\r\n\r\nThe Liberals are one of the three smaller parties which make up the centre-right Alliance coalition that has been in government since 2006, having polled 7.5 percent in the 2006 general election. Education minister Jan Björklund is the party leader. The party has a further three government ministers – Minister for Higher Education and Research Tobias Krantz, Minister of EU Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson and Minister for Integration and Gender Equality Nyamko Sabuni.\r\n\r\nThe Liberal Party (Folkpartiet liberalerna – fp) is a social liberal political party with roots dating back to the end of royal autocracy in 1809. The party’s base is mostly among the middle-class and is known for its positive stance toward the euro, EU, nuclear power, and Nato, and for its no-nonsense profile on education issues.\r\n\r\nAside from taking its place in a war-time coalition government, the Liberals first experienced power in a three party coalition government in 1976 under Prime Minister Thorbjörn Fälldin, which ultimately came to an end in 1982.\r\n\r\nAfter being part of the crisis government and reform years under Carl Bildt between 1991 and 1994, the party had a long period in opposition.\r\n\r\nThe Liberals enjoyed a successful 2002 election, in an otherwise disappointing year the centre-right, but was criticised for adopting populist right-wing rhetoric when proposing a language test requirement for obtaining Swedish citizenship.\r\n\r\nThe party leader since 2007 is Jan Björklund, a former army major and school-teacher, known for his tough stance on order in schools. Björklund recently aired his view on the re-nationalisation of the public schools system, currently the reserve of municipalities.\r\n\r\nThe party supports more open immigration, especially for economic migrants. The Liberal Party under Jan Björklund has been described as standing for a strain of liberalism dubbed ”law and order liberalism” and the party regular defends the ”right to place demands” on groups in society such as immigrants and the unemployed.\r\n\r\nGender equality minister Nyamko Sabuni has meanwhile been criticised from some quarters for declining to identify herself as a feminist.\r\n\r\nThe Liberals campaign is very much focused on party leader Jan Björklund and equality minister Nyamko Sabuni, and the party is pushing its education and integration line as the party of action which does not shy from tough choices.\r\n\r\nThe Liberals have enjoyed a rebound in the polls recently with Björklund’s straightforward approach putting the party in a strong position to wrestle the position of the Alliance’s second party away from the Centre Party.\r\n\r\nThe Greens\r\n\r\nThe Greens are bidding to become the second largest party within the centre-left Red-Green coalition that is fighting to wrestle back power after four years in opposition.\r\n\r\nMaria Wetterstrand and Peter Eriksson are the party spokespersons. Other noteable figures within the party include economic policy spokesperson Mikeala Valtersson, former MP turned journalist Gustaf Fridolin, and Ship-to-Gaza activist Mehmet Kaplan.\r\n\r\nThe Swedish Green Party (Miljöpartiet de Gröna) was founded in 1981 and is thus the youngest parliamentary party. The party emerged out of the movement opposing nuclear power and first gained parliamentary seats in 1988.\r\n\r\nLong a 5 percent party, the Green Party has enjoyed the support of around 10 percent of the electorate in a slew of recent opinion polls, and the party had set itself a target of 12 percent at the September 19th election.\r\n\r\nThe party’s appeal has extended from its original environmentalist hardcore to attract most of its support among the young, female, urban middle-classes.\r\n\r\nIn the mid-1990s the party took a stand against Sweden’s membership of the European Union, although the policy demanding a new referendum was finally discarded in September 2008.\r\n\r\nWhile acting as a support party for the Social Democrats from 1998-2006, the Greens pushed their green tax agenda advocating a general shift in taxation policy towards higher taxes on unsustainable and environmentally unfriendly practices and products.\r\n\r\nThe party was the first to raise the issue of climate change in Sweden and is credited with pushing the issue into the political mainstream.\r\n\r\nThe party has long campaigned as a party that looks forward and not to the left, or the right on the political scale. The 2010 election campaign is no exception with the party pledging to ‘Modernise Sweden”.\r\nOne of the Green Party’s principles is to work against political careerism. In practice this means that elected representatives are limited to three terms in office and so the popular Maria Wetterstand, and co-spokesperson Peter Eriksson are required to stand down in 2011, regardless of the election result.\r\n\r\nThe Sweden Democrats\r\n\r\nThe Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna – SD) polled 2.6 percent of the votes in the 2006 parliamentary elections. Jimmie Åkesson is the party leader.\r\n\r\nThe Sweden Democrats were founded in 1988 and in contrast to other far-right parties across the EU, has roots in the neo-Nazi movement, specifically the Keep Sweden Swedish (Bevara Sverige Svenskt) group.\r\n\r\nThe party under Mikael Jansson, and now Jimmie Åkesson, has worked hard to tone down its more extremist elements in recent years in an attempt to attract a broader base of support outside of its core of young working class males. The party’s ideology is based on nationalism and social conservativism.\r\n\r\nImmigration underpins all of the Sweden Democrats’ policy positions, with immigrants and Sweden’s culturally mixed society argued to be the source of all of the country’s perceived ills.\r\n\r\nThe party campaigns against immigration and multicuralism and argues for the construction of a culturally homogenous Sweden.\r\n\r\nThe Sweden Democrats are inspired by the electoral success of Pia Kjærsgaard and the Danish People’s Party.\r\n\r\nWhile, like Kjærsgaard, SD rejects accusations of racism, the party’s election campaign has been notable for a series of mishaps which have damaged the party’s attempts to present a shift away from the political extremes.\r\n\r\nDespite, or perhaps because of, these electoral campaign controversies, polls indicate that the party is on course for seats in parliament but, regardless of the result, is unlikely to gain any influence on government policy.\r\n\r\nSwedish Election 2010\r\n\r\nA far-right party in Sweden has won seats in parliament for the first time, denying the governing centre-right coalition an overall majority. The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats have won 20 of the 349 seats in the country’s single assembly, following the general election.\r\n\r\nThe alliance, led by centre-right Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, fell short of a clear victory with 172 seats. Mr Reinfeldt says he will seek the support of the opposition Green Party. The Greens are currently allied with the centre-left Social Democrats.\r\n\r\nOne Swedish newspaper wrote: “the nightmare scenario has happened”…\r\n\r\nSweden’s ruling center-right coalition won the re-election, marking a historic moment as a non-socialist government was elected to a second term for the first time in the country’s political history.\r\n\r\nSwedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s center-right four-party coalition — made up of the Moderates, the Liberals, the Christian Democrats and the Centre party — held on to power, but lost its outright majority.\r\n\r\n“The Swedish people have cast their vote, and they have ruled that we are the ones who should keep governing,” Reinfeldt said at his party’s election night celebration.\r\n\r\nHis coalition won 49.3 percent of the vote, officials at the Swedish Election Authority said after all 5,668 voting districts reported. The opposition “red-green” coalition — consisting of the Social Democrats, the Left party and the Green Party — had 43.7 percent of the vote, election officials said.\r\n\r\nThe far-right anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party also made a strong showing, winning 5.7 percent of the vote and a place in the national parliament for the first time. With possession of 20 seats, the party could wind up tipping the balance of power between the two major coalitions, although party leaders, including Reinfeldt, have vowed not to cooperate with the Sweden Democrats.\r\n\r\nThe leader of Sweden’s red-green opposition coalition, Mona Sahlin, conceded defeat. She told her supporters they were not able to regain the trust of the voters.\r\n\r\n“We have lost,” she said, stressing that the center-right coalition also failed to get an outright majority. The ruling coalition won 172 seats, while Sahlin’s group took 157 in the 349-seat parliament.\r\n\r\nSweden has a long tradition of socialist rule, with a cradle-to-grave welfare system. But the global financial crisis threw Sweden into one of its worst economic downturns since World War II.\r\n\r\nThe ruling conservative coalition, which came into power in 2006, imposed a string of austerity measures and managed to turn Sweden’s economy into one of the strongest in Europe, with an expected growth of 4.5 percent this year. The crisis management appears to have impacted many voters.\r\n\r\n“I think the economy is the key issue,” said one man at a Stockholm polling station. “I think Sweden has done very well for the last few years during the global financial crisis, and I hope the government will stay on.”\r\n\r\nBut with a tightening of fiscal policy, several groups in Swedish society have seen their situation worsen. Pensioners and sick people are among the hardest hit, and the leader of the red-green coalition had urged voters to vote for change on.\r\n\r\n“There is a clear difference between the left’s and the right’s tax policies towards working people and pensioners,” said one elderly woman who had just cast her ballot. “My pension has gone down during these last years.”\r\n\r\n“The moderate party and the center-right alliance seeks the confidence of the voters,” Reinfeldt said in a televised speech, the eve of the election. “We do this with a promise to take responsibility. We have taken Sweden through a difficult economic crisis. Many decisions have been hard to make, and not everything has been right from the beginning.”\r\n\r\nBut, he said, “After a difficult financial crisis, confidence in the future is now growing in our country. It is great to see how Sweden gets back on its feet. We are seeing more jobs and the unemployment is going down. Sweden today has Europe’s strongest economy, but there is a risk for new troubled times. There are countries in our surroundings that have lost control over their economy and have had to make hard cuts and increase taxes. This will always hit the weakest the hardest. Don’t put Sweden in this situation.”\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, Sahlin said, nearly all Swedes want “a health care based on their needs, not their wallet, and a school that helps all children gain knowledge, regardless of their background … I want to take responsibility for Sweden, the welfare state. If we can handle the jobs situation, then our economy will grow, and we can impose our welfare.”\r\n\r\n“I am for reductions in tax but not at any cost,” she said. “Don’t vote away Sweden the welfare state. What we sell and tear down now will never come back.”\r\n\r\nThe far-right Sweden Democrats, which received 2.9 percent of votes in 2006, nearly doubled its votes this year. But its anti-immigration policies have caused all the main party leaders to vow not to cooperate with it, even as it won seats.\r\n\r\n“I think it is more important than ever that everyone goes to vote today, so that we can stop them,” one young woman voter said, referring to the Sweden Democrats. “I think it would be a day of shame for all Swedes if those people would come into parliament.”\r\n\r\nSweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson said his party had been treated unfairly in the election\r\n\r\nA far-right party in Sweden has won seats in parliament for the first time, denying the governing centre-right coalition an overall majority. The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats have won 20 of the 349 seats in the country’s single assembly, following Sunday’s general election.\r\n\r\nThe alliance, led by centre-right Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, fell short of a clear victory with 172 seats.  Mr Reinfeldt says he will seek the support of the opposition Green Party.\r\n\r\nThe Greens are currently allied with the centre-left Social Democrats.\r\n\r\nGreen Party co-chair Maria Wetterstrand said the opposition bloc – which won 157 seats – remained united.\r\n\r\nMr Reinfeldt also did not rule out working with the Social Democrats.\r\n\r\n“On many questions there is a possibility for broader co-operation,” he told reporters. “We have to see how the Social Democrats define their road ahead.”\r\n\r\nHowever the prime minister reiterated that his four-party Alliance for Sweden would not form a coalition with the far-right.\r\n\r\nWe will not co-operate, or become dependent on, the Sweden Democrats”\r\n\r\n“I have been clear on how we will handle this uncertain situation,” he said. “We will not co-operate, or become dependent on, the Sweden Democrats”.\r\n\r\nMedia boycott\r\n\r\nSweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson said his party would use the opportunity to make itself heard, as it had not been invited to official debates during the campaign. He claims that they have in many ways been treated as anything but a political party in this election. Even so, today they stand there with a fantastic result. The situation is a bit uncertain just now, but he claims that they have four years ahead of them to speak out on the issues that matter to them and influence Swedish politics.\r\n\r\nBBC regional reporter Damien McGuinness said the success of the far right has shocked many voters in Sweden.\r\n\r\nWinning 20 seats in parliament, the Sweden Democrats have obviously touched a nerve, he adds.\r\n\r\nThe party appears to have tapped into voter dissatisfaction over immigration, saysa correspondent, with the result undermining the image of Sweden as a tolerant and open-minded country.\r\n\r\nWomen Take Control of Swiss Government\r\n\r\nThe election of Simonetta Sommaruga in Sweden is a historic step in a country where women only got to vote on a national level in 1971.Ms Sommaruga becomes the fourth female in the seven-member Federal Council.\r\n\r\nSwitzerland is not the only country in Europe to have a female majority in cabinet although it is rare. Spain’s cabinet formed in 2008 has more women than men. Finland and Norway also have cabinets with female majorities. However Switzerland is regarded as rather conservative and did not allow allow females to vote nationally until 1971 and the last canton granted female voting rights only in 1990!\r\n\r\nWomen in Switzerland, who weren’t allowed to vote or run for office just 40 years ago, now control the country’s government. Women gained a four-person majority in the country’s ruling seven-member Federal Council with the election of Social Democrat Simonetta Sommaruga, who defeated a candidate from a right-wing party.\r\n\r\nEconomics Minister Doris Leuthard currently holds the country’s rotating presidency. Switzerland, which granted women the right to vote in 1971, now becomes the fifth country in the world—after Norway, Spain, Finland and the Cape Verde Islands—to have a female majority government. Advocates hailed the milestone, but warned that the country’s business and academic spheres have a lot of catching up to do.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Ajikumar Parayil has tinkered with the digestive system of a common gut and sewage bacterium to produce in abundance a chemical compound that promises an inexpensive route to a blockbuster cancer drug.\r\n\r\nParayil, an Indian scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has helped coax E. coli bacteria to make taxadiene, a precursor compound for paclitaxel, a drug widely used to treat breast, lung and ovarian cancers.\r\n\r\nPaclitaxel was first isolated in the 1970s from the bark of the Pacific yew tree, but early production methods required cutting down two to four fully grown trees to extract enough of the drug to treat a single patient.\r\n\r\nRecent production methods involve harvesting the drug from plant cells grown in the laboratory, but even this process yields small quantities, and the drug is still expensive — about $10,000 per dose in the US.\r\n\r\nNow Parayil and his colleagues at MIT and Tufts University in Boston have analysed the complex sequence of steps in the synthesis of paclitaxel and used that knowledge to engineer genes of E. coli to produce taxadiene. They have described their results in the journal Science on 1.10.2010.\r\n\r\n“This bacteria produces 1,000 times more of this precursor than any other engineered microbe,” said Parayil, a postdoctoral associate at MIT, who had obtained a PhD from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam.\r\n\r\nParayil first engineered E. coli to eliminate a bottleneck that was interfering with the synthesis of taxadiene, and then gave the bacteria two genes from the Pacific yew tree to get them to produce copious amounts of taxadiene.\r\n\r\n“There are several more steps to obtain paclitaxel from taxadiene, but the taxadiene synthesis is the most challenging step,” Parayil told.\r\n\r\nAlthough organic chemists possess the knowhow for chemical synthesis of paclitaxel, their methods involve anywhere from 35 to 50 steps, and in any case yield quantities that are not economically viable.\r\n\r\n“If you can make (paclitaxel) a lot cheaper, that is good, but what really gets people excited is the prospect of using our platform to discover therapeutic compounds in an era of declining new pharmaceutical products and rapidly escalating costs for drug development,” said Gregory Stephanopoulos, a professor of chemical engineering at MIT.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Robert Edwards, the British scientist whose pioneering research with his late colleague Patrick Steptoe led to the birth of the world’s first “test-tube baby” in 1978, has won 2010 Nobel Prize for medicine.\r\n\r\nBorn in Manchester in 1925, Professor Robert Edwards started his research on human fertilization at the National Institute for Medical Research in London in 1958, and later moved to Cambridge where, with Steptoe, he founded the Bourn Hall Clinic, the world’s first IVF centre.\r\n\r\nSteptoe died in 1988. Despite his significant contribution, he cannot be jointly awarded with Professor Edwards because rules do not permit for the prize to be awarded posthumously.\r\n\r\nThe Nobel Assembly at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, which awarded the prize worth ten million Swedish Kronor, described his work as “a milestone of modern medicine.” “His work has made possible the treatment of infertility, a medical condition that affects a large proportion of humanity including more than 10% of couples worldwide,” it said in a statement.\r\n\r\nThe 85-year-old scientist Robert Edwards was reported to be too ill to comment. “The success of this research has touched the lives of millions of people worldwide. His dedication and single-minded determination, despite opposition from many quarters, has led to the successful application of his pioneering research,” his family said.\r\n\r\nHe brought hope to millions of childless couples\r\n\r\nReacting to the Nobel award for British scientist Robert Edwards, Professor Basil Tarlatzis, past-president of the International Federation of Fertility Societies, said it was “a well-deserved honour.”  Mr. Tarlatzis said the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) had “opened new avenues of hope for millions of couples throughout the world.”\r\n\r\nBut, perhaps, no one was more delighted than Louise Brown, who owed her birth to the IVF treatment devised by Professor Edwards and his late colleague Patrick Steptoe. “It’s fantastic news. Me and mum are so glad that one of the pioneers of IVF has been given the recognition he deserves. We hold Bob in great affection and are delighted to send our personal congratulations to him and his family at this time,” said Ms. Brown, now 32. Her birth on July 25, 1978 prompted headlines around the world. Since then some four million babies have been born using IVF.\r\n\r\nFor Professor Edwards and his colleagues it was a “Eureka” moment they discovered that they had succeeded in creating a fertilised human embryo in 1968 but it took another 10 years before the procedure was sufficiently refined to enable the birth of a baby. “I’ll never forget the day I looked down the microscope and saw something funny in the cultures. I looked down the microscope and what I saw was a human blastocyst gazing up at me. I thought: ‘We’ve done it,’” Professor Edwards recalled in a speech two years ago.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Two Russian-born scientists in United Kingdom shared the Nobel Prize in physics on 5.10.2010 for “groundbreaking experiments” with the thinnest, strongest material known to mankind — a carbon vital for the creation of faster computers and transparent touch screens.\r\n\r\nAndre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, two professors at the University of Manchester in Britain, demonstrated the exceptional properties of graphene, a form of carbon that is only one atom thick, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.\r\n\r\nExperiments with graphene could lead to the development of new superstrong materials and innovative electronics, the academy said in announcing the 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) award.\r\n\r\n“Graphene transistors are predicted to be substantially faster than today’s silicon transistors and result in more efficient computers,” the academy said in the citation. “Since it is practically transparent and a good conductor, graphene is suitable for producing transparent touch screens, light panels and maybe even solar cells.”\r\n\r\nAndre Geim, 51, is a Dutch national while Novoselov, 36, holds British and Russian citizenship. Both are natives of Russia and started their careers in physics there.\r\n\r\nNovoselov is among the youngest winners of a prize that normally goes to scientists with decades of experience. The youngest Nobel laureate to date is Lawrence Bragg, who was 25 when he shared the physics award with his father William Bragg in 1915.\r\n\r\nAndre Geim last year won the prestigious Korber European Science Award for his discovery of two-dimensional crystals made of carbon atoms, particularly graphene, which “has the potential to revolutionize the world of microelectronics,” the University of Manchester said.\r\n\r\n“Graphene is the thinnest material in the world, it’s one of the strongest, maybe the strongest material in the world. It’s an excellent conductor. Electrons move through it very quickly, which is something you want to make circuits out of,” Schewe said.\r\n\r\nHe said graphene may be a good material for making integrated circuits, small chips with millions of transistors that are the backbone of all modern telecommunications. Its properties could also lead to potential uses in construction material, Schewe said, but added it would take a while “before this sort of technology moves into mainstream application.”\r\n\r\nThe prize of 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.5 million), awarded by the Nobel Committee for Physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, was the second of 2010 Nobel prizes.\r\n\r\nThe prestigious awards were created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel and first given out in 1901. The prizes are always handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Peruvaian author Mario Vargas Llosa has won 2010 Nobel Prize for literature, the Swedish Academy announced in Stockholm on 7.01.2010.\r\n\r\nThe Swedish Academy’s citation said it honoured the 74-year-old author “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat.” His international breakthrough came with the 1960s novel “The Time of The Hero.”\r\n\r\nVargas Llosa is the first South American winner of the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature since it was awarded to Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 1982.\r\n\r\nThe Swedish Academy announced the award in Stockholm, praising Mr. Vargas Llosa “for his\r\nMr. Vargas Llosa’s body of work includes more than 30 novels, essays and plays that have been widely translated in English, French, Swedish and German.  Some of his best-known works include “The Green House,” “Conversation in the Cathedral,” “Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter,” “A Fish in the Water: a Memoir,” “The Feast of the Goat” and “The Storyteller.” His other honors include winning the Cervantes Prize in 1995, the highest literary honor in the Spanish-speaking world.\r\n\r\nVargas Llosa was born in 1936 in Arequipa, Peru. He lived for few years in Bolivia with his family, returning to Peru in 1946. His father opposed his ambitions to be a writer and sent him to military school. His work found a wide international audience in the 1960’s with the publication of “The Time of the Hero,” a novel based on the time he spent at the military academy that aroused controversy in Peru.\r\n\r\nAfter a period in France where he worked as a language teacher and journalist, he returned to Peru and became heavily involved in politics. In 1990 he became a candidate for president, losing in a run-off election.\r\n\r\nMr. Vargas Llosa is currently spending a semester teaching Latin American studies at Princeton University.\r\n\r\nThe awards ceremony is planned for Dec. 10 in Stockholm where Mr. Vargas Llosa will receive 10 million kronor, or about US $1.5 million.\r\n\r\nThe last South American to win literature Nobel was the Colombian Gabríel García Márquez, who was awarded the prize in 1982. The last Spanish-speaking writer to win the prize was the Mexican Octavio Paz in 1990.\r\n\r\nList of Nobel Prize Winners in Literature so far\r\n\r\n2010 — Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru\r\n\r\n2009 — Herta Mueller, Romania and Germany\r\n\r\n2008 — Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, France and Mauritius\r\n\r\n2007 — Doris Lessing, United Kingdom\r\n\r\n2006 — Orhan Pamuk, Turkey\r\n\r\n2005 — Harold Pinter, United Kingdom\r\n\r\n2004 — Elfriede Jelinek, Austria\r\n\r\n2003 — J. M. Coetzee, South Africa\r\n\r\n2002 — Imre Kertesz, Hungary\r\n\r\n2001 — V. S. Naipaul, United Kingdom\r\n\r\n2000 — Gao Xingjian, France\r\n\r\n1999 — Gunter Grass, Germany\r\n\r\n1998 — Jose Saramago, Portugal\r\n\r\n1997 — Dario Fo, Italy\r\n\r\n1996 — Wislawa Szymborska, Poland\r\n\r\n1995 — Seamus Heaney, Ireland\r\n\r\n1994 — Kenzaburo Oe, Japan\r\n\r\n1993 — Toni Morrison, United States\r\n\r\n1992 — Derek Walcott, Saint Lucia\r\n\r\n1991 — Nadine Gordimer, South Africa\r\n\r\n1990 — Octavio Paz, Mexico\r\n\r\n1989 — Camilo Jose Cela, Spain\r\n\r\n1988 — Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt\r\n\r\n1987 — Joseph Brodsky, United States\r\n\r\n1986 — Wole Soyinka, Nigeria\r\n\r\n1985 — Claude Simon, France\r\n\r\n1984 — Jaroslav Seifert, Czechoslovakia\r\n\r\n1983 — William Golding, United Kingdom\r\n\r\n1982 — Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia\r\n\r\n1981 — Elias Canetti, United Kingdom\r\n\r\n1980 — Czeslaw Milosz, Poland and United States\r\n\r\n1979 — Odysseus Elytis, Greece\r\n\r\n1978 — Isaac Bashevis Singer, United States\r\n\r\n1977 — Vicente Aleixandre, Spain\r\n\r\n1976 — Saul Bellow, United States\r\n\r\n1975 — Eugenio Montale, Italy\r\n\r\n1974 — Eyvind Johnson, Sweden; Harry Martinson, Sweden\r\n\r\n1973 — Patrick White, Australia\r\n\r\n1972 — Heinrich Boll, Germany\r\n\r\n1971 — Pablo Neruda, Chile\r\n\r\n1970 — Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Soviet Union\r\n\r\n1969 — Samuel Beckett, Ireland\r\n\r\n1968 — Yasunari Kawabata, Japan\r\n\r\n1967 — Miguel Angel Asturias, Guatemala\r\n\r\n1966 — Shmuel Agnon, Israel; Nelly Sachs, Sweden\r\n\r\n1965 — Mikhail Sholokhov, Soviet Union\r\n\r\n1964 — Jean-Paul Sartre, France\r\n\r\n1963 — Giorgos Seferis, Greece\r\n\r\n1962 — John Steinbeck, United States\r\n\r\n1961 — Ivo Andric, Yugoslavia\r\n\r\n1960 — Saint-John Perse, France\r\n\r\n1959 — Salvatore Quasimodo, Italy\r\n\r\n1958 — Boris Pasternak, Soviet Union\r\n\r\n1957 — Albert Camus, France\r\n\r\n1956 — Juan Ramon Jimenez, Spain\r\n\r\n1955 — Halldor Laxness, Iceland\r\n\r\n1954 — Ernest Hemingway, United States\r\n\r\n1953 — Winston Churchill, United Kingdom\r\n\r\n1952 — Francois Mauriac, France\r\n\r\n1951 — Par Lagerkvist, Sweden\r\n\r\n1950 — Bertrand Russell, United Kingdom\r\n\r\n1949 — William Faulkner, United States\r\n\r\n1948 — T.S. Eliot, United Kingdom\r\n\r\n1947 — Andre Gide, France\r\n\r\n1946 — Hermann Hesse, Switzerland\r\n\r\n1945 — Gabriela Mistral, Chile\r\n\r\n1944 — Johannes V. Jensen, Denmark\r\n\r\n1943 — No prize awarded\r\n\r\n1942 — No prize awarded\r\n\r\n1941 — No prize awarded\r\n\r\n1940 — No prize awarded\r\n\r\n1939 — Frans Eemil Sillanpaa, Finland\r\n\r\n1938 — Pearl Buck, United States\r\n\r\n1937 — Roger Martin du Gard, France\r\n\r\n1936 — Eugene O’Neill, United States\r\n\r\n1935 — No prize awarded\r\n\r\n1934 — Luigi Pirandello, Italy\r\n\r\n1933 — Ivan Bunin, stateless domicile in France\r\n\r\n1932 — John Galsworthy, United Kingdom\r\n\r\n1931 — Erik Axel Karlfeldt, Sweden\r\n\r\n1930 — Sinclair Lewis, United States\r\n\r\n1929 — Thomas Mann, Germany\r\n\r\n1928 — Sigrid Undset, Norway\r\n\r\n1927 — Henri Bergson, France\r\n\r\n1926 — Grazia Deledda, Italy\r\n\r\n1925 — George Bernard Shaw, United Kingdom\r\n\r\n1924 — Wladyslaw Reymont, Poland\r\n\r\n1923 — William Butler Yeats, Ireland\r\n\r\n1922 — Jacinto Benavente, Spain\r\n\r\n1921 — Anatole France, France\r\n\r\n1920 — Knut Hamsun, Norway\r\n\r\n1919 — Carl Spitteler, Switzerland\r\n\r\n1918 — No prize awarded\r\n\r\n1917 — Karl Gjellerup, Denmark; Henrik Pontoppidan, Denmark\r\n\r\n1916 — Verner von Heidenstam, Sweden\r\n\r\n1915 — Romain Rolland, France\r\n\r\n1914 — No prize awarded\r\n\r\n1913 — Rabindranath Tagore, India\r\n\r\n1912 — Gerhart Hauptmann, Germany\r\n\r\n1911 — Maurice Maeterlinck, Belgium\r\n\r\n1910 — Paul Heyse, Germany\r\n\r\n1909 — Selma Lagerlof, Sweden\r\n\r\n1908 — Rudolf Eucken, Germany\r\n\r\n1907 — Rudyard Kipling, United Kingdom\r\n\r\n1906 — Giosue Carducci, Italy\r\n\r\n1905 — Henryk Sienkiewicz, Poland\r\n\r\n1904 — Frederic Mistral, France; Jose Echegaray, Spain\r\n\r\n1903 — Bjornstjerne Bjornson, Norway\r\n\r\n1902 — Theodor Mommsen, Germany\r\n\r\n1901 — Sully Prudhomme, France\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nSri Krishna Sweets and Jeywin congratulate the Top 50 Rankers and they will be receiving separate emails and SMS from Sri Krishna Sweets about the further contact programmes.\r\n\r\nWe thank all the Civil Services Aspirants for enthusiastically participating in the Competitive Online Test conducted in www.jeywin.com. We assure YOU in providing very good support for the Civil Services Exams continuously. Seeing the tremendous response to this contest, we hope to conduct more such programmes shortly. Stay in continuous touch with www.jeywin.com to find out. Jai Hind!\r\nDream Dare Win\r\n\r\nwww.jeywin.com\r\nThe following are the Names and Roll Numbers of the Top 50 Rankers of the\r\nSri Krishna Sweets and Jeywin Online Competitive Objective Test\r\nconducted on 10.10.2010 and 11.10.2010\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nS.No.\r\nName\r\nRoll No\r\n\r\n\r\n1\r\nKaviya\r\n7533\r\n\r\n\r\n2\r\nM.Rajashtree\r\n5874\r\n\r\n\r\n3\r\nEldho Titus\r\n9053\r\n\r\n\r\n4\r\nKarthikeyan\r\n8032\r\n\r\n\r\n5\r\nShamili\r\n7528\r\n\r\n\r\n6\r\nNagarajan .A\r\n7457\r\n\r\n\r\n7\r\nAruldaniel\r\n8903\r\n\r\n\r\n8\r\nRupakumar\r\n5517\r\n\r\n\r\n9\r\nMaria Josephine F\r\n9033\r\n\r\n\r\n10\r\nRavindhar\r\n9011\r\n\r\n\r\n11\r\nKarthic\r\n461\r\n\r\n\r\n12\r\nB.R.Devanandan\r\n9010\r\n\r\n\r\n13\r\nChinmaya Sahoo\r\n8999\r\n\r\n\r\n14\r\nPrabu\r\n8557\r\n\r\n\r\n15\r\nSreenivasan\r\n3000\r\n\r\n\r\n16\r\nLeninvignesh s\r\n8964\r\n\r\n\r\n17\r\nSaravana kumar t\r\n9022\r\n\r\n\r\n18\r\nAnand\r\n1673\r\n\r\n\r\n19\r\nSHANMUGA SUNDARAM\r\n9042\r\n\r\n\r\n20\r\nSiddharthan\r\n6761\r\n\r\n\r\n21\r\nNeeraj Singh\r\n8256\r\n\r\n\r\n22\r\nVijayakumar.s\r\n4588\r\n\r\n\r\n23\r\nZulfihar\r\n8550\r\n\r\n\r\n24\r\nSurjith bharathi.p\r\n8946\r\n\r\n\r\n25\r\nJayashree Sridar\r\n8949\r\n\r\n\r\n26\r\nSyed Abusali\r\n6937\r\n\r\n\r\n27\r\nSolai\r\n1384\r\n\r\n\r\n28\r\nRAJESH SHARMA\r\n3350\r\n\r\n\r\n29\r\nMaruthachalam .S\r\n7812\r\n\r\n\r\n30\r\nS. Abarna\r\n8096\r\n\r\n\r\n31\r\nNithya\r\n8992\r\n\r\n\r\n32\r\nHaritha\r\n90\r\n\r\n\r\n33\r\nChandra lekha\r\n9051\r\n\r\n\r\n34\r\nGunasegaran.d\r\n2816\r\n\r\n\r\n35\r\nNaren\r\n3157\r\n\r\n\r\n36\r\nKiruba Shankar K\r\n7379\r\n\r\n\r\n37\r\nRajalakshmi\r\n2488\r\n\r\n\r\n38\r\nV.S.Vigneshwer\r\n7517\r\n\r\n\r\n39\r\nNithin\r\n7504\r\n\r\n\r\n40\r\nRajeev\r\n6150\r\n\r\n\r\n41\r\nPraveen Kumar\r\n9049\r\n\r\n\r\n42\r\nManimekalai.V.\r\n7726\r\n\r\n\r\n43\r\nKrithik\r\n6561\r\n\r\n\r\n44\r\nHULASH KUMAR\r\n1985\r\n\r\n\r\n45\r\nRAGUPATHI RAJA C\r\n7439\r\n\r\n\r\n46\r\nJohn Paul\r\n9016\r\n\r\n\r\n47\r\nMuthu Krishnan\r\n1015\r\n\r\n\r\n48\r\nSunil\r\n5136\r\n\r\n\r\n49\r\nP.NALLATHAMBI\r\n8094\r\n\r\n\r\n50\r\nABHISHEK BAL\r\n3669\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n...
    Two Americans, Peter Diamond and Dale Mortensen, along with British-Cypriot citizen Christopher A. Pissarides won the the 2010 Nobel Prize for Economics for their studies of markets and the nature of problems such as high unemployment.\r\n\r\nPeter A. Diamond of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and fellow American Dale T. Mortensen, a professor at Northwestern University, will share the $1.5 million award with Christopher A. Pissarides, a British and Cypriot citizen who teaches at the London School of Economics.\r\n\r\nThe prize committee said the trio’s work had emerged as an important guide to why unemployment may remain high, even as new job opportunities emerge following the recession. Christopher Pissarides, a 62-year-old professor at the London School of Economics, who was born in Cyprus, said he believed he was working in an area where economists could be of real help to society.\r\n\r\nThe three men pioneered and developed models that help explain, among other things, why there are so many jobless people even as there are a large number of job openings — a problem that is particularly relevant today as the United States and other developed countries grapple with stubbornly high unemployment.\r\n\r\nThe prize highlights one aspect of a policymaking problem which has bedevilled Governments of advanced countries since the oil shocks of the 1970s: high unemployment which has risen even higher because of the global economic crisis. The jury lauded the trio “for their analysis of markets with search frictions”, which helps explain how unemployment, job vacancies, and wages are affected by regulation and economic policy.\r\nAccording to traditional theory, labour markets should work on their own, with job-seekers finding available jobs, thus creating balance.\r\n\r\nThe three Nobel laureates, however, help show with their model — the Diamond-Mortensen-Pissarides, or DMP model — that markets do not always work in this way.\r\n\r\nOwing to small glitches, buyers may find it difficult to find sellers and job-seekers may not find the employers looking to fill a position.\r\n\r\nFor instance, a small cost faced by employers looking for labour may mean they decide not to take on workers even though they need them.\r\n\r\nThe trio’s model helps explain why unemployment persists and proves stubbornly resistant even when economic circumstances improve. It also helps identify areas for government policy action, pinpointing for instance what governments can do to improve employment and prevent long-term unemployment through training.\r\n\r\nThe jury noted the trio’s work in search theory can also be applied to other areas besides the labour markets, including the housing market and public economics. Mr. Diamond (70) is associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mr. Mortensen (71) with Northwestern University and Mr. Pissarides (62) is at the London School of Economics.\r\n\r\nIn 2009, Elinor Ostrom — the first woman to ever win such a prize — and Oliver Williamson of the United States won the Economics Prize for their work on the organisation of cooperation in economic governance.\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Thangai VS Annan\r\n\r\nIndia was elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council on 12.10.2010 with an overwhelming number of countries endorsing its sole candidature from the Asian group.\r\n\r\nAfter A gap of 19 years, India will once again be at the UN high table — the Security Council — as a non-permanent member, in what is expected to give a fillip to its bid for a permanent seat.\r\n\r\nIn polling for 10 seats that took place at the U.N. headquarters in New York, as many as 187 countries in the 192-member UN General Assembly voted for India, the largest support received by any country for a non-permanent seat in the past five years. India has been on the UNSC six times in the past.\r\n\r\nFive votes that didn’t come to India, one country backed Pakistan while another rooted for Swaziland. Another member wasn’t present, one abstained and the fifth voted against India. Since it is a secret ballot, the identities of these countries are not known.\r\n\r\nOther non-permanent members elected today were Germany, South Africa, Colombia and Portugal.\r\n\r\nTo win, India needed support of two-thirds of the 192-member General Assembly. After Kazakhstan pulled out of the race early this year, India was the lone candidate from Asia. Its two-year term at the Security Council begins on January 1, 2011.\r\n\r\nIt is of significance that, for the first time, the Security Council will witness the simultaneous presence of all BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) countries, and three of the four G4 countries (India, Brazil and Germany). The Council will also include a number of developing countries with which we have close ties as well as some of our global strategic partners.\r\n\r\nIndia had no competitor from Asia group after the withdrawal of Kazakhstan earlier in 2010.\r\n\r\nThe last time India was part of the UNSC was in 1991-92. It suffered a shock defeat in 1996 when it lost to Japan despite banking on solidarity among developed countries. India will take over as a UNSC non-permanent member from Japan on January 1, 2011, for the seventh time.\r\n\r\nThe UNSC has five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom — who have veto rights. There are also 10 rotating members who have the right to vote, but cannot veto a resolution.\r\n\r\n“This resounding endorsement of India’s candidature at the United Nations reaffirms the overwhelming support India enjoys in the international community,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said at a press conference in New Delhi soon after the results were known on 12.10.2010.\r\n\r\nWhile thanking all the member states who supported India’s candidature, Mr. Krishna said the country would have to live up to the responsibility entrusted by such a large number of countries. He also hoped India’s objective approach would pave the way for its entry as a permanent member. “India will demonstrate to the world that India is good for the world,” he added.\r\n\r\nUNSC – India’s non-permanent membership and the road ahead\r\n\r\nC.S.R. Murthy\r\n\r\nIndia’s latest election, with the highest number of votes cast in the United Nations General Assembly, to serve a two-year term as non-permanent member of the Security Council commencing in January 2011 is a worthy development that should prompt informed appreciation of its importance. On the one hand, the election, no doubt, is a clear recognition of the long and rich reputation our country has earned in the U.N., besides being an acknowledgment of the growing importance India continues to gain in matters of multilateral governance. On the other hand, it could be dismissed as being too little too late a development to quench India’s vexatious thirst for status of a permanent member. What are the opportunities and challenges awaiting India in its new role? How is the non-permanent membership relevant to pursuing our aspiration for permanent membership? A useful basis for such speculation should be a stock-taking of the patterns in India’s performance in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the occasions when it served as a non-permanent member previously.\r\n\r\nAt the San Francisco Conference where U.N. structural architecture was finalised, India not only supported the need for permanent members in the UNSC, but also persuaded the powerful countries to accept an eligibility criteria for election to the non-permanent membership category. No comparable criteria guided the selection of permanent members, while the non-permanent members are to satisfy tough criteria of contribution to peace and equitable geographical representation.  Our approach to the U.N. is characterised by, to borrow Jawaharlal Nehru’s words, “wholehearted co-operation” through full participation “in its councils to which her geographical position and contribution towards peaceful progress entitle her.” How tough, nevertheless, is the route to non-permanent membership became clear from the fact that, after establishment of the U.N., it took four years for India to enter the UNSC through the election route. Inclusive of the ensuing stint, India has to its credit only seven terms (mostly) representing the Asian region in a span of 65 years.\r\n\r\nBetween the first two terms it had during the 1950s-1960s, there was a gap of 15 years, while India will assume its seat now after a lapse of 19 years since its previous term ended in 1992. The years it served in the Council coincided with “testing times” for the Security Council and the U.N. at large. Major conflict situations occurred during the time India was a member, the Korean war during 1950-51, the two Arab-Israeli wars in 1967 and then in 1973, Israel’s first invasion of Lebanon (1977), and the first Gulf war against Iraq (1991). During the time of its non-permanent membership of the UNSC, the Indian delegations had espoused certain fundamental principles that should govern relations among Member States. These are the principles of non-use of force, the respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of States, and the peaceful settlement of disputes. The principle of the inadmissibility of territorial acquisition by force is absolutely fundamental to India’s approach.\r\n\r\nIn terms of quality of participation, strikingly India’s contribution at the UNSC mirrors the larger picture of India’s role at the United Nations, encompassing a good mix of maturity, moderation, pragmatism and propriety. India not merely abstained in the vote on the resolutions adopted on the question of Jammu and Kashmir, but also ceded its turn to preside over the Council meeting in March 1951 because the Kashmir question appeared on the agenda. Moderation was manifest in the total absence of a negative vote, while abstentions remained few and far between. The characteristics of flexibility and pragmatism were evident in plenty in terms of a willingness to work with others in helping the process of drafting or refining texts that had the potential of obtaining the widest possible support. It is naturally difficult to categorically assert whether such an undoubtedly enviable performance decorated by the gifts of devotion and dexterity is a rarity among countries (developed or developing) which have served on the Council as non-permanent members.\r\n\r\nAgain, India strove to be part of the democratic majority helping in the adoption of broadly acceptable decisions and resolutions. On the one hand it was part of 59 per cent of the resolutions adopted either unanimously or without a vote. Even in regard to the aggregate of 113 adopted resolutions (41 per cent) which attracted division, India cast an affirmative vote on 101 (89 per cent). Only on no more than a dozen occasions has it stood aside without joining the concurring majority. To be sure, India had not voted against any resolution, but  has resorted to abstentions only to signal its reservations. Interestingly, India was never a loner as an abstaining country; it had the company of China, the USSR, Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe on many occasions. Six abstentions (50 per cent) pertained to the last term during 1991-92. Those abstentions exemplified India’s sensitivity to negative implications of the adopted resolutions for such important issues of principle as respect to state sovereignty, non-discrimination among Member States of the U.N., unconditional and immediate ceasefire, recourse to coercive action after exhausting all other options, respect for the jurisdiction of other organs, and so forth.\r\n\r\nIndia sought to take pains to bring Non-Aligned member countries together in the UNSC. Side by side, India seemed to place high hopes in the potential of the non-permanent members in the Council to play the role of constructive peace makers. Such a strategy was advocated, although in vain, during the Gulf war soon after it entered the Council in 1991. Earlier in the mid-1980s, India moved a proposal aimed at a long overdue increase in the non-permanent seats in the Council reflecting “more adequately the enhanced membership of the Organisation.” However, the primacy of this move was lost when it became a part of the larger demand since 1992 to expand the Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories.\r\n\r\nNo doubt, India’s self perception is more robust than what it was in 1991-92.  Whether India will make a difference to the deliberations and outcomes in the UNSC during its upcoming tenure will depend less on solo heroic propensity than on the effective partnerships and positive consensus it is able to build and sustain involving, first, sister non-permanent members and then the permanent members. It is encouraging that India, Brazil, and South Africa will be working together for a year in the Council which could become a nucleus of a larger coalition on salient issues. Will these three countries make history in the Council by being together or miss the opportunity as the Non-Aligned troika (India, Egypt, and Yugoslavia) did when they sat in the Council when the Korean conflict erupted in 1950 will be the moot question. If the past is a guide, India may not be keen to adopt a confrontationist posture and vote alone against a resolution, but more keen to work to be part of legitimate, transparent, effective Council.\r\n\r\n(Professor C.S.R. Murthy teaches at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.) Courtesy: The Hindu\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...
    Vishnu Priya\r\nThough ancient Indians were known to have knowledge about rocket science- it being used in during wars- it was only after independence that the process of exploring space really accelerated. India’s experience in rocketry began in ancient times when fireworks were first used in the country, a technology invented in neighbouring China, and which had an extensive two-way exchange of ideas and goods with India, connected by the Silk Road.\r\n\r\nMilitary use of rockets by Tipu Sultan during the Mysore War against the British stimulated William Congreve to invent the Congreve rocket, predecessor of modern artillery rockets, in 1804. After India gained independence from British occupation in 1947, Indian scientists and politicians recognized the potential of rocket technology in both defence applications, and for research and development. Recognizing that a country as demographically large as India would require its own independent space capabilities and recognising the early potential of satellites in the fields of remote sensing and communication, these visionaries set about establishing a space research organisation.\r\n\r\nOur first biggest success was on April 19, 1975, when India launched its first satellite into space. It was launched by the Soviet Union from Kapustin Yar using a Cosmos-3M launch vehicle. The ‘Aryabhata’ was named after a 5th century Indian mathematician, who founded concepts of the numerical value zero and many astronomical calculations in around 500 AD.\r\n\r\nAfter that India has sent a number of satellites into space, notably the Apple (1981), Bhaskara –I (1979) and Bhaskara –II (1981), INSAT-1 series (1A, -1B, -1C and -1D), INSAT-2 series (2A, -2B, -2C and -2D), IRS-Series (1A, -IB, -1E, -P2, -1C, -P3, -1D), Rohini (1A, 1B, 2 and 3) and Sross.\r\n\r\nAlso, India has developed various Launch vehicles that make a space programme independent and are the most important technological measure of its advancement. Prominent among them are Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV), Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV), Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).\r\n\r\n1960-1970:\r\n\r\nDr. Vikram Sarabhai was the founding father of the Indian space program, and is considered a scientific visionary by many, as well as a national hero. Once Sputnik was launched in 1957 he recognized the potential that satellites provided. India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who saw scientific development as an essential part of India’s future, placed space research under the jurisdiction of the Department of Atomic Energy in 1961. The DAE director Homi Bhabha, who was father of India’s atomic programme, then established the Indian National Committee for Sapce Research (INCOSPAR) with Dr. Sarabhai as Chairman in 1962.\r\n\r\nThe Indian Rohini programme continued to launch sounding rockets of greater size and complexity, and the space programme was expanded and eventually given its own government department, separate from the Department of Atomic Energy. On August 15th 1969 the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was created from the INCOSPAR programme under the DAE, continued under the Space Commission and finally the Department of Space, created in June of 1972.\r\n\r\n1970-1980:\r\n\r\nThe sixties had witnessed Sarabhai taking part in an early study with NASA regarding the feasibility of using satellites for applications as wide as direct television broadcasting, and this study had found that it was the most economical way of transmitting such broadcasts. Having recognized the benefits that the satellites could bring to India from the very start, Sarabhai and the ISRO set about designing and creating an independent launch vehicle, capable of launching into orbit, and providing the valuable experience needed for the construction of larger launch vehicles in future. The ISRO recognized the advanced capability India had in building solid motors with the Rohini series, and also that other nations had favoured solid rockets for similar projects, and set about building the technology and infrastructure for the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV). Inspired by the American Scout rocket, the vehicle would be a four-stage all-solid vehicle.\r\n\r\nAryabhatta – India’s first Satellite\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, India began developing satellite technology anticipating the remote sensing and communication needs of the future. India concentrated more on practical missions, directly beneficial to people instead of manned space programs or robotic space explorations. The Aryabhata satellite, launched in 1975 from Kapustin Yar using a Soviet Cosmos-3M launch vehicle, was India’s first satellite.\r\n\r\nSLV – India’s first Satellite Launch Vehicle\r\n\r\nBy 1979 the SLV was ready to be launched from a newly-established second launch site, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC). The first launch in 1979 was a failure, attributed to a control failure in the second stage. By 1980 this problem had been worked out. The first indigenous satellite launched by India was called Rohini-1.\r\n\r\nAfter successfully testing the first indigenous launch vehicle SLV-3 in 1980, ISRO built the next generation Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV). ISRO’s Launch Vehicle Programme had a giant leap with the successful launch of IRS-P2 spacecraft onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in October 1994. On 18 April 2001, India successfully launched is Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). Technology development for advanced launch vehicles made good progress with the breakthrough achieved during the year in Supersonic Combustion Ramjet (SCRAMJET) to be employed in Air-Breathing engine. This is an important element in the launch vehicle technology development. Concepts for reusable launch vehicle are also being studied.\r\n\r\n1980-1990:\r\n\r\nFollowing the success of the SLV, ISRO was keen to begin construction of a satellite launch vehicle that would be able to put truly useful satellites into polar orbits. Design of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) was soon underway. This vehicle would be designed as India’s workhorse launch system, taking advantage of both old technology with large reliable solid-stages, and new liquid engines. At the same time, it was decided by the ISRO management that it would be prudent to develop a smaller rocket, based on the SLV, that would serve as a testbed for many of the new technologies that would be used on the PSLV. The Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV) would test technologies like strap-on boosters and new guidance systems, so that experience could be gained before the PSLV went into full production.\r\n\r\nEventually, the ASLV was flight tested in 1987, but this launch was a failure. After minor corrections, another launch was attempted in 1988, this launch again failed, and this time a full investigation was launched into the cause, providing valuable experience, specifically because the ASLV’s failure had been one of control – the vehicle could not be adequately controlled on removal of the stabilizing fins that were present on the SLV, so extra measures like improved maneuvering thrusters and flight control system upgrades were added. The ASLV development had also proven useful in the development of strap-on motor technology.\r\n\r\nIndian National Satellite System\r\n\r\nThe Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system is one of the largest domestic communication satellite systems in the Asia-Pacific region. In the 1980s, it initiated a major revolution in India’s communications sector and sustained the same later. The satellites of INSAT system, which are in service today, are INSAT-2F, INSAT-3A, INSAT-3B, INSAT-3C, INSAT-3E, KALPANA-1, GSAT-2, EDUSAT and INSAT-4A, that was launched recently. The system provides a total of about 175 transponders in the C, Extended C and Ku-bands. Being a multipurpose satellite system, INSAT provides services to telecommunications, television broadcasting, weather forecasting, disaster warning and Search and Rescue fields.\r\n\r\nINSAT system is also providing meteorological services through Very High Resolution Radiometer and CCD cameras on some of its spacecraft. This apart, cyclone monitoring through meteorological imaging and issue of warnings on impending cyclones through disaster warning receivers have been operationalised. For this, 350 receivers have been installed along the east and west coasts of India.\r\n\r\nIndian Remote Sending Satellite System\r\n\r\nIndia has the largest constellation of Remote Sensing Satellites, which are providing services both at the national and global levels. From the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) Satellites, data is available in a variety of spatial resolutions staring from 360 metres and highest resolution being 2.5 metres. Besides, the state-of-the-art cameras of IRS spacecraft take the pictures of the Earth in several spectral bands. In future, ISRO intends to launch IRS spacecraft with better spatial resolution and capable of imaging day and night. The satellites of IRS system which are in service today are IRS-1C, IRS- ID, IRS-P3, OCEANSAT-1, Technology Experimental Satellite (TES), RESOURCESAT-1, and the recently launched CARTOSAT-1 capable of taking stereo pictures. The upcoming Remote Sensing Satellite are Cartosat-2, RISAT (Redar Imaging Satellite) and Oceansat-2.\r\n\r\n1990-2000:\r\n\r\nIt was not until 1992 that the first successful launch of the ASLV took place. At this point the launch vehicle, which could only put very small payloads into orbit, had achieved its objective. In 1993 the time had come for the maiden flight of the PSLV. The first launch was a failure. The first successful launch took place in 1994, and since then, the PSLV has become the workhorse launch vehicle – placing both remote sensing and communications satellites into orbit, creating the largest cluster in the world, and providing unique data to Indian industry and agriculture. Continual performance upgrades have increased the payload capacity of the rocket significantly since then.\r\n\r\nUnder pressure, Glavkosmos halted the transfer of the associated manufacturing and design technology to India. Until then, ISRO had not been affected by technology transfer restrictions thanks to the political foresight of Sarabhai in indigenizing technology. However, elements of the ISRO management cancelled indigenous cryogenic projects in anticipation of the Russian deal. Instead of canceling the deal, Russia agreed to provide fully built engines instead, and India began developing an indigenous cryogenic engine to replace them, in the GSLV-II. There is still some controversy over the issue of the cryogenic engine acquisition, with many pointing to the decision to cancel indigenous projects as being a grave mistake – India would have likely had a fully indigenous engine operating by the time the GSLV launched if indigenous development had started from day one. Despite this one uncharacteristic slip in an otherwise extremely successful programme, and the loss of potential payload capacity over the decade that occurred as a result, ISRO pressed on.\r\n\r\n2000-2010\r\n\r\nPolar Satellite Launch Vehicle\r\n\r\nThe four stages PSLV is capable of launching upto 1,600 kg satellites into a 620 km polar orbit. It has provision to launch payloads from 100 kg micro-satellites or mini or small satellites in different combinations. It can also launch one-two class payloads into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). So far, it has performed nine missions with eight consecutive successes. The latest launch of PSLV (PSLV-C6) was on 5 May 2005 during which the vehicle precisely placed the 1560 kg CARTOSAT-1 and the 42 kg HAMSAT into a 620 km high polar SSO.\r\n\r\nGeosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle\r\n\r\nThe GSLV was successful on its very first test flight. After its successful second flight on 8 May 2003, it was commissioned. This was followed by the success of its third flight on 20 September 2004. The GSLV is capable of launching 2,000 kg class satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). The development of Indigenous cryogenic stage to be used as the third stage of GSLV made further progress during the year. The cryogenic engine which forms part of this stage, has already been successfully qualified. GSLV-Mk III, a new version of GSLV and capable of launching spacecraft weighing upto 4 tonnes to GTO is under development.\r\n\r\nInfrastructure\r\n\r\nAn elaborate launch infrastructure exists at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota Island on the East Coast of India which is about 100 km from Chennai. Sriharikota is located at 13$dG North latitude. From here, satellites can be launched into a variety of orbital inclinations starting from 18$dG and extending upto 99$dG. Full-fledged facilities for satellite integration, assembly and launch exist there. Sriharikota also houses a Telemetry, Tracking and Command network for tracking satellites and monitoring them. The newly built Second Launch Pad at SDSE SHAR as a redundancy to the existing launch pad, and to cater to the requirement of GSLV-Mk III as well as other future launch vehicles, was commissioned on 5 May 2005 with the successful launch of PSLV-C6.\r\n\r\nCurrently the most powerful Indian launch vehicle in operation; the first development flight of the GSLV took place in 2001. The program’s benefits have been scrutinized due to frequent payload cutbacks and delays. The indigenous cryogenic engine for the GSLV’s upper stage was tested in 2007. ISRO has reconsidered the effectiveness of the GSLV for the needs of the 2000-2010 decade and began development of an indigenous and new heavy launch vehicle, GSLV III. The latter is not related to the GSLV-I/II and will be based around the proven format of liquid main stages and two solid strap-on boosters. It will resemble the Ariane 5 and other modern launchers and will have sufficient payload capacity for manned spaceflight. The inaugural flight is scheduled for 2008.\r\n\r\nChandrayaan 2008: ISRO intends to send a small robotic spacecraft into lunar orbit mounted on a modified PSLV. It will survey the surface of the moon in greater detail than ever before and attempt to locate resources. Countries, including the US have expressed interest in attaching their own payloads to the mission. ISRO and NASA have an agreement to carry two NASA probes as a payload.\r\n\r\nAVATAR Scramjet: This is a long-term project to develop a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) restricted to the launch of satellites. Theoretically, AVATAR would be a cost effective launch vehicle for small satellites and therefore a commercially competitive launch system. A scaled-down technology demonstrator is scheduled to fly c.2008. Recently ISRO successfully tested a scramjet air breathing engine which produced Mach 6 for seven seconds. ISRO will continue research related to using scramjets in RLVs after 2010.\r\n\r\nISRO has entered the lucrative market of launching payloads of other nations. Prominent among them are the launches of Israel Space Agency’s, TecSAR spy satellite, and Israeli Tauvex-II satellite module. The CARTOSAT-2, launched on the July 2006, carried a small Indonesian payload of 56 kg.\r\n\r\nLeveraging its expertise in cryogenic technology to design Hydrogen fuel cells to store and handling of hydrogen; ISRO teamed up with Tata motors to develop a prototype hydrogen passenger car for Indian market, expected to hit road by end of 2008.\r\n\r\nOn November 15, 2007 ISRO achieved a significant milestone through the successful test of indigenously developed Cryogenic Stage, to be employed as the upper stage of India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). The test was conducted for its full flight duration of 720 seconds on November 15, 2007 at Liquid Propulsion test facility at Mahendragiri, in Tamil Nadu. With this test, the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage has been fully qualified on the ground. The flight stage is getting ready for use in the next mission of GSLV (GSLV-D3) in 2008.\r\n\r\nOn April 28, 2008 ISRO successfully launched 10 satellites in a single mission further boosting it’s capabilities in space.\r\n\r\nThis includes 690 kg CARTOSTAT-2 and another 83 kg mini Indian satellite, IMS-1; and eight other nano satellites made by various universities; and research and development institutions in Canada and Germany offered at a subsidized price as part of a goodwill gesture by the Indian Department of Space.\r\n\r\nANTRIX\r\n\r\nAntrix, the commercial front of the Department of Space, is a single window agency for marketing Indian space capabilities. It is playing a key role in the worldwide availability or IRS data through Geoeye, USA. Antrix also provides IRS data processing equipment.\r\n\r\nAntrix offers launch services using India’s PSLV. Two German, one Korean and one Belgian satellites have already been successfully launched by PSLV. Through Antrix, Telemetry, Tracking and Command support from the Indian ground stations are offered. Similarly, lease of transponders from INSAT system is possible. In this regard, 11 transponders have already been leased to INTELSAT. Customers for the spacecraft components offered by Antrix include world’s leading spacecraft manufacturers.\r\n\r\nDuring the year, an agreement was entered into with EADS Astrium, Paris for the joint manufacture of 200 kg and 300 kg class satellite platforms for the telecommunications market. Besides, Antrix won contracts from Europe and Asia for launch services in the highly competitive international markets. After the successful development of a low cost, compact, modular and rugged Automatic Weather Station (AWS) in co-ordination with industry, the technology has been licensed to industry for regular production.\r\n\r\nThus, in addition to successfully developing spacecraft and launch vehicle technologies indigenously, India has also been successful in the application of satellite technology to benefit its national economy. At the same time, India has also been sharing space-based information with the international community and providing commercial space services globally.\r\n\r\nInternational Cooperation\r\n\r\nFrom the days of its inception, ISRO has had a very good record of international cooperation. It has Memoranda of Understanding / Agreements with 26 countries / space agencies. A UN sponsored Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTE-AP) set up in India has trained more than 400 personnel of the Asia-pacific region. during the year, CSSTE-AP completed 10 years. In addition, ISRO provides training in space applications to personnel of developing countries through its Sharing of Experience in Space (SHARES) programme. ISRO has launched scientific payloads of other space agencies like Modular Opto-electronic Scanner of DLR, Germany that was flown on IRS-P3 spacecraft and the data is being shared by scientists of DLR, India and the US. It has a co-operative agreement with NASA / NOAA for the reception of meteorological data from INSAT spacecraft by those agencies.\r\n\r\nMegha-Tropiques is a joint satellite mission of ISRO and French Space Agency CNES for atmospheric studies. The satellite will be built and launched by ISRO and CNES will develop two of the payloads and the third payload jointly with ISRO. At the same time, scientific instruments developed in the United States, Germany, Sweden, UK and Bulgaria will be launched on board India’s Chadrayaan-1 spacecraft. This apart, an Italian scientific instrument will be included onboard India’s OCEANSAT. 2 satellite. Instruments for astronomical observation jointly developed with Israel and Canada will be flown onboard India’s GSAT-4 and RISAT satellites respectively. And, an Indian scientific instrument to study solar physics and solar-terrestrial sciences will be flown onboard Russia’s CORONAS-PHOTON satellite.\r\n\r\nIndia has also set up three local User Terminals and a Mission Control Centre for the international COSPAS / SARSAT programme for providing distress alert and position location service. A search and Rescue Transponder is included in INSAT-3A spacecraft. India is a signatory to the International Charter on Disaster Management and is providing remote sensing data for the same.\r\n\r\nInterface with Academic and R&D Institutions\r\n\r\nThe ISRO has an active programme to interact with academic and research institutions all over the country for the benefit of our space programme. In this regard, the Sponsored Research Programme (RESPOND) is an important component of DOS. Under RESPOND, DOS support research and educational activities at universities, individual colleges, and at the Indian Institutes of Technology as well as other research institutions. During the year 2005-2006, 13 projects were successfully completed and 62 new projects were initiated at 42 academic institutions comprising universities, colleges and research institutions. In addition to research projects, DOS supported 73 conferences, symposia, educational and promotional activities in the areas of importance to ISRO, besides providing support to ISRO-institutional chairs at reputed institutions.\r\n\r\nIndia in Space: A Timeline\r\n\r\n1961: The government put “Space Research” under the jurisdiction of the Department of Atomic Energy\r\n\r\n1962: Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) established with Dr. Sarabhai as Chairman; Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) also formed\r\n\r\nNov 1963:\r\n\r\nTERLS launched the first sounding rocket\r\n\r\n1969: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) formed\r\n\r\n1972-76: ISRO conducts air-borne remote sensing experiments\r\n\r\nApril 19, 1975: Aryabhata- the first Indian satellite launched\r\n\r\n1979:\r\n\r\nBhaskara-I fired into space on June 7\r\n\r\nOn August 10, ISRO launched SLV-3 with Rohini Technology Payload on board. However, the satellite could not be placed in orbit\r\n\r\nThe Second Experimental launch of SLV-3; Rohini satellite successfully placed in orbit on July 18\r\n\r\n1981:\r\n\r\nAn experimental geo-stationary communication satellite – APPLE successfully launched on June 19\r\n\r\nBhaskara-II launched on November 20, 1981. (The Bhaskara satellites are named after a 17th Century Indian astronomer and was meant to study ocean and land surface data at a cost Rs. 65 million)\r\n\r\nFrom 1982 to 2003, India sent a series of INSAT or the Indian National Satellite System into space proving its mastery in space science. INSAT is a series of multipurpose Geo-Stationary satellites for telecommunications, broadcasting and meteorology needs.\r\n\r\nApril 10, 1982: INSAT-1A launched\r\n\r\n1983: INSAT-1B, launched on August 30\r\n\r\n1984: Indo-Soviet manned space mission on April 1984\r\n\r\nJuly 21, 1988: INSAT-1C\r\n\r\nJune 12, 1990: INSAT-1D\r\n\r\nJuly 10, 1992: INSAT-2A launched\r\n\r\nJuly 23, 1993: INSAT-2B\r\n\r\nDecember 7, 1995: INSAT-2C\r\n\r\nJune 4, 1997: INSAT-2D\r\n\r\nApril 3, 1999: INSAT-2E launched by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana\r\n\r\nMay 26, 1999: Indian Remote Sensing Satellite, IRS-P4 (OCEANSAT), launched by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C2) along with Korean KITSAT-3 and German DLR-TUBSAT from Sriharikota\r\n\r\nMarch 22, 2000: INSAT-3B launched by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana,\r\n\r\nOctober 22, 2001: PSLV-C3 successfully launched three satellites — Technology Experiment Satellite (TES) of ISRO, BIRD of Germany and PROBA of Belgium.\r\n\r\nJanuary 24, 2002: Successful launch of INSAT-3C by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana\r\n\r\nSeptember 12, 2002: PSLV-C4 successfully launched KALPANA-1 satellite from Sriharikota\r\n\r\n2003:\r\n\r\n• INSAT-3A launched by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana, (April 10, 2003). • Successful launch of INSAT-3E on September 28, 2003. • ISRO`s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C5, successfully launched RESOURCESAT-1 (IRS-P6) satellite from Sriharikota(October 17, 2003).\r\n\r\n2004: Maiden operational flight of GSLV (GSLV-F01) launched EDUSAT from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota (September 20, 2004)\r\n\r\n2005: • PSLV-C6 carries CARTOSAT-1 and HAMSAT satellites from Sriharikota on May 5, 2005 into orbit.\r\n\r\n• Launch of INSAT-4A by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana, (December 22, 2005).\r\n\r\n2007:\r\n\r\n• ISRO launches India’s CARTOSAT-2 and Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-1) and Indonesia’s LAPAN-TUBSAT and Argentina’s PEHUENSAT-1 at one go on January 10, 2007.\r\n\r\n• Successful recovery of SRE-1 from Bay of Bengal after it reenter the earth’s atmosphere on January 22, 2007 – a crucial operation that will help India in mastering the know how of reentering earth atmosphere from space.\r\n\r\n• Successful launch of INSAT-4B by Ariane-5 from Kourou French Guyana, (March 12, 2007).\r\n\r\n• PSLV-C8 successfully launched Italian astronomical satellite AGILE from Sriharikota on April 23.\r\n\r\n• Successful launch of GSLV with INSAT-4CR on board from SDSC SHAR on September 2.\r\n\r\n2008:\r\n\r\n• PSLV-C10 successfully launches TECSAR satellite under a commercial contract with Antrix Corporation on January 21, 2008.\r\n\r\n• PSLV-C9 successfully launches CARTOSAT-2A, IMS-1 and 8 foreign satellites from Sriharikota on April 28.\r\n\r\nChandrayaan-1 launched by a modified version of the PSLV XL on 22 October 2008 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 06:23 IST\r\n\r\nMoon Impact Probe lands on Moon`s south pole on November 14, 2008\r\n\r\nCelebrating India’s moon moment- Courtesy: The Hindu\r\n\r\nTwo years ago, India’s destination moon began on a wet windy morning from an island on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. As most of India slept, on rainy October 22 when the sun had barely peeped out of an ominous cloud band, a 300-tonne monster belching fire and thunder leapt up from the coast. It was literally a new dawn for India, showcasing the country’s technological prowess at its best. It was with nervous energy that I watched India’s coming out party, one may suggest, in launching its maiden mission to the moon.\r\n\r\nIt was a dramatic moon rise for a country where over a billion hearts were beating in anticipation of the success of its maiden mission to the moon. The successful takeoff from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDCS), Sriharikota, at 6.22 a.m. on October 22, 2008, was a spectacular, copybook launch for Chandrayaan-1 and one that catapulted India into a small clutch of powerful, space-faring giants across the world. Calling it a historic moment achieved against tremendous odds, G. Madhavan Nair, then Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), said: “Today what we have charted is a remarkable journey for an Indian spacecraft to go to the moon and try to unravel the mysteries of the Earth’s closest celestial body and its only natural satellite.”\r\n\r\nA remarkable journey had undoubtedly begun. The success of the launch finally allayed concerns at lightning that was occurring in the atmosphere due to rain and stormy weather; also a fuel leak in the launch pad caused some worry.\r\n\r\nAlmost a year after its launch, the first-ever evidence of water on the moon made worldwide news. Space science experts from NASA and India said “the moon is not bone dry” and the real impact of this discovery is only beginning to hit us. Led by Carle Pieters, Professor of Geological Sciences at Brown University, Rhode Island, U.S., who was also principal investigator of the Moon Minerology Mapper (M3) on board Chandrayaan-1, the team published what is now termed a game-changer discovery — of these “distinct signatures of water on the moon.” The Indo-American team discovered water on the moon as a thin, invisible film covering on what we for half-a-century thought was a parched, waterless pock-marked moonscape.\r\n\r\nWhen Chandrayaan-1 was aborted 10 months after launch, a year and more before originally planned, there was intense scientific debate on whether the mission had succeeded or failed. The finding of water has changed the flavour and direction of that debate forever. Mr. Nair emphatically stated, when quizzed about the mission’s premature end, that it was a success because the mission had achieved 95 per cent of its original goals before the official termination. Nearing the second anniversary of the historic launch, a high-power review committee set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has concluded that “the scientific experiments could only cover 70 per cent of the moon.” The panel also revealed, for the first time, that it was a tiny 110-gram part that cost merely $5000 which brought down the $100-million mission. As one ISRO engineer remarked, “it was an ant that killed the elephant.”\r\n\r\nA part called a ‘DC-DC converter,’ very much akin to a tiny transformer that was imported from an American company, Modular Devices Inc., is what failed. Not one but five of them sequentially failed onboard Chandrayaan-1, causing the premature termination of the mission. The probe committee, in its 50-page report, faulted ISRO on its testing and quality assurance for not having detected the poor quality of this vital imported component. But at the same time the panel concluded, “the management of Chandrayaan-1 mission particularly after the occurrence of failures, clearly points out to the maturity of ISRO in mission management.” Dubbing the mission “quite successful,” the Prime Minister’s panel concluded that Chandrayaan-1 “has brought great prestige to India.”\r\n\r\nThere can be no doubt that the mission united India like never before and the discovery of water was the icing on the cake. “Never seen before images of the permanently shadowed craters of the Moon have been captured,” said Paul D. Spudis of the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, principal investigator of the payload sent to search for water. “The new radar images are not only visually arresting, but they will be extremely useful in unravelling the complex geological history of the Moon as a whole,” he says.\r\n\r\nThe real impact and significance of this finding may make its dimensions felt only in the years to come. As Dr. Pieters herself says: “This opens a whole new avenue [of lunar research], but we have to understand the physics of it to utilise it.” Isn’t it intriguing that moon rocks available after the Apollo missions never showed any sign of water on analysis, which is why experts always held that the moon was dry, except possibly for some pockets of water ice in the shadowy craters at the poles?\r\n\r\nChandrayaan-1 also began a rather unique spirit of international partnership and collaboration as it was an Indian mission with international partners, carrying onboard six scientific instruments from the U.S., the European Space Agency and Bulgaria. No extra fee or travelling ticket was charged by India to fly these instruments over 4,00,000 km — all overseas partners really got a free ride to the moon.\r\n\r\nDespite its premature death, India’s maiden mission returned many scientific goodies, including the life giving message that the moon is moist. This startling discovery came about even though Chandrayaan-1 was the cheapest mission to go the moon in decades. Now the excitement is so high that a whole new generation of interplanetary missions is on the anvil. A revisit to the moon this time with a lander and a rover is planned for 2013; a mission to study the sun called Aditya is cooking; a fly-by mission to an asteroid is being considered; and scientists are already nurturing dreams of sending an unmanned mission to Mars within a decade. On its second birthday, let us celebrate India’s moon moment!\r\n\r\n(By Pallava Bagla – He is the correspondent for SCIENCE magazine and co-author of the book Destination Moon — India’s quest for the Moon, Mars and Beyond. Views expressed are personal. He can be reached at pallava.bagla@gmail.com)\r\n\r\nDream Dare Win...

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