Revolutionizing Awareness

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Posts Tagged ‘Sri Lanka’

Igniting Kannada minds

Posted by Admin on November 5, 2012–.html

Eminent scholar K V Narayana’s path-breaking initiative ‘Reading Karnataka’ seeks to radically change our traditional concepts of information and knowledge.

“We are not going anywhere,” said Prof G Venkatasubbaiah, effectively indicating that “the Kannadigas are here to stay and we will survive” irrespective of all the recent politicising of language issue.
Another crusader, Prof U R Ananthamurthy, never gets tired of pushing for “all information/knowledge to Kannadigas through Kannada”. But there is an unexpressed “also” to it, implying most of our knowledge sources are in English.
That the language issue has become a political game is common knowledge. The current topic of debate is the Nature of Knowledge. Journalist Sugata Srinivasaraju calls it an “epistemological intervention”.
Scholar and critic Dr K V Narayana thought of expanding the debate on such an issue and he started a series of workshops, a special knowledge zone, what he calls ‘Karnataka Oodu’. Some translate it as ‘Reading Karnataka’. It could also be termed Karnataka Studies. The three basic questions he poses are:
1. What should be the nature of the knowledge that we receive through Kannada?
2. Should the knowledge that we receive through Kannada be similar to the one we derivefrom English?
3. Is there a need to also import the frameworks through which we receive knowledge, that is, should we also borrow the troughs in which knowledge is contained?
“Karnataka Oodu (studies) is a result of debates we used to have among a group of friends and we decided to expand the reach and started conducting workshops at various places for the last two years,” says KVN.
“The first step we need to take in this process is to integrate the various knowledge zones that remain scattered, independent and disconnected in the language. Though we can’t erase the borders between them, we should not create walls. Through this process, as it connects history, sociology, political science, anthropology, archaeology, art history, linguistics etc., we’ll figure out the way Karnataka has been perceived and interpreted by these disciplines. As we peruse the material, we’ll realise that the various disciplines have perceived and placed the land and its culture in a global framework. That there is hardly any difference between an insider’s view and an outsider’s take because the theoretical receptacles are the same or similar. They are indistinguishable and alien. The only difference is that the insider would have written his exegesis in the Kannada language.”
‘Karnataka Study’ aims to get as many as possible to think about acquiring the capacity for thinking in Kannada and it should start from within and not be borrowed from outside. Education has resulted in getting into the habit of looking at ourselves from the outside rather than evolve a method that comes as being an insider critique.
If this has to change, we have to use frameworks that have an organic or symbiotic relationship with the knowledge that is created.
“In our enthusiasm to ensure that all knowledge is made available in Kannada, we opened our gates wide. Now, we realise that the knowledge we possess is what got transferred from elsewhere and that we haven’t created any of them ourselves. We seem to have expanded our understanding of things, but then we have lost the ability to think independently. Ram Manohar Lohia had once said that India had not produced an independent thinker since the 4th century. Shankaracharya was the last one. We have come to such a pass that if need to develop a process of thinking, we borrow it from outside; we have lost confidence that a Kannada mind can create it independently. When we borrow, we struggle to adapt to them to our circumstances and that in itself appears like a huge exercise. We should not only have a goal to create our own knowledge systems, but we should also believe that it is very much possible.”
He says that some sort of languor or fatigue has impeded the Indian mind. To think independently has taken a back seat. “It is like the state of Hanuman’s mind in Ramayana just before his leap across the ocean. He thinks he is an insignificant small ape and may not be able undertake the venture. But luckily for Hanuman, there are others around to instil confidence in him, that he is very much competent to carry out the job. But sadly, there is nobody to do that to our languages and cultures. We have simply given up.
“As we get into an exercise like this there are people who’ll accuse us of being frogs in the well. They may be correct, but while we express wonderment about the expanse of the ocean, we can’t allow our ponds and lakes to go dry. They sustain us, not the sea.” (Translated by Sugata Srinivasaraju)
Is the ‘Reading Karnataka’ a process or a product?
KVN says it is both. “It is something that I have been preoccupied since 30 years since my student days. Take for instance, the American concept of South Asia. For them, South Asia comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. But from our point of view Tibet, Burma, Malaysia, Japan also belong to South Asia. However, we are conditioned by their concept. But our culture thoughts should be for our understanding and should relate to our lives in the contemporary times. The Kannada life, its problems should be understood from our point of view and we have to reclaim our intelligence. I call it the moment of realisation. Can we really reclaim our way of thinking? I think we can. We have to interact and include our younger generation into the debate and since it is not merely an intellectual exercise, but also emotional. They will definitely respond.”
KVN also talks about the scholars who address the pan-Indian or global audience “with their backs turned on Kannadigas, they should be facing the Kannadigas, if you know what I mean.” One has to talk to Kannadigas as an insider and not as an outsider.
KVN and his friends are organising workshops across the state and the response has been phenomenal. The next workshop is on September 1 and 2 at the farm house (Nisargadhama, Doddaballapur – Chikkaballapur Road, Thimmasandra,) of Kannada activist T N Prabhudev at Doddaballapur. Boarding and lodging facilities will be provided at Doddaballapur for participants. Those interested contact K Y Narayana Swamy (9739007127) and Ravikumar Bagi (9448881480).

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Dhanushkodi – at land’s end

Posted by Admin on June 2, 2012;_ylt=AkU66VgByHenNcsNIwBv1Sjc4e9_;_ylu=X3oDMTRqZm5pMG1pBG1pdANlZGl0b3JzcGljc2FydGljbGVwYWdlBHBrZwM0YWE0YWQwMi0xNGE0LTNiM2YtOWY1Yy1lZGZlZGJjZjUzOGUEcG9zAzQEc2VjA01lZGlhQ2Fyb3VzZWxSZXNvdXJjZXNDQVRlbXAEdmVyA2Q4YjczM2UwLWFhZjUtMTFlMS1iYWZmLWJkOTE4N2Q4ODUzNw–;_ylg=X3oDMTMyNG1zcWxlBGludGwDaW4EbGFuZwNlbi1pbgRwc3RhaWQDMTllYTFmZTEtYzE5ZS0zYjM3LWEzYzktMTg2NzYzMzIxZWMyBHBzdGNhdAN0cmF2ZWx8dHJhdmVsZXIEcHQDc3RvcnlwYWdl;_ylv=3

Dhanushkodi – at land’s end

Barely 20 km from the town of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, Dhanushkodi gets its name from Dhanush (bow) and Kodi (end). The name alludes to an anecdote in the Ramayana, where Lord Rama broke the bridge constructed by his army of monkeys between the mainland and the island of Lanka with a stroke of his bow. Barely 50 yards long, Dhanushkodi is the sole terrestrial border between India and Sri Lanka. It was inhabited until 1964, when a terrible cyclone wrecked the village and swept a passenger train into the sea. Though Dhanushkodi today is a ghost town, it is still visited by pilgrims. Yahoo! reader J MADHU RANTHAKAN presents a photographic travelogue of a journey to land’s end.


A distant view of Dhanushkodi town from a vehicle. Pilgrims from all over India visit Rameswaram Temple to bathe in the holy wells and in the sea. It is a well-known pilgrimage site. Only a few, though, know the mythological and historical importance of nearby Dhanushkodi.


A view from Kothandaramaswamy Temple, located 12 km from Rameswaram. Popular belief goes that Vibishana, brother of the demon king Ravana of Lanka, surrendered before Lord Rama here. The mythological importance assigned to this town is that when Lord Rama returned to India after vanquishing Ravana, Vibhishana pleaded with him to break the setu (bridge) so that no other armies would use it. Rama acquiesced to his request and broke the Indian side of the bridge with the end of his bow. This place came to be known as Dhanushkodi (Dhanush is ‘bow’ and kodi is ‘end’ in Tamil) and remains to this day a holy place for Hindus.


Road leading to Dhanushkodi from Rameswaram. It was on this island in January 1897 that Swami Vivekananda, after his triumphant visit to Chicago to attend the Parliament of Religions in September 1893, set foot on Indian soil from Colombo.


Dhanushkodi is today a ghost town and human habitation is almost non-existent as only a few fishermen with their families now live here.


On the fateful night of December 22, 1964, Indian Railways train number 653, the Pamban-Dhanushkodi Passenger, left Pamban with 110 passengers and five railway staff. It was only a few yards before Dhanushkodi railway station when it was hit by a massive tidal wave. The train was washed away, killing all 115 on board. In all, over 1,800 people perished in the cyclonic storm. Following this disaster, the town was declared unfit for living.


All forms of transport to Dhanushkodi stop at Moonram Chathiram. From here, we hire a vehicle – a smelly van that carries fish – more suited to the sandy terrain, to traverse the mud tracks leading up to the ruins. A 7-km bumpy ride along the shore and sometimes into the sea water takes us to the actual ruins.


Dhanushkodi used to have a railway station, a small railway hospital, a higher secondary school, a post office, customs and port offices, temples and a church. Ferries between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar in Sri Lanka transported travelers and goods across the sea. There were hotels, textile shops and inns (dharmashalas) for pilgrims and travelers.


Remains of the ruined town. Groceries and vegetables were brought by the railways through the Indo-Ceylon Express also called Boat Mail), which connected Madras (now Chennai) to Colombo. Ferries from Talaimannar brought textiles and luxury goods. Before 1964, a train connected Sri Lanka to Madras. It stopped at a pier in Dhanushkodi. From there, passengers used a ferry to cross the 18-km Rama Setu.


Brick walls etched by time and tide tell tearful stories. The structures that withstood the tidal wave exist, buried under the sand and some partly weathered by the sea, adding a mysterious beauty to the place.


The remains of the church and railway station buildings. A few fishermen have settled here in thatched huts.


The walls of the church still stand.


A survivor of the 1964 cyclone who now lives in Dhanushkodi supplies drinking water to tourists from a well on Dhanushkodi beach.


It is amazing that the well, which is just a few yards from the sea, supplies sweet drinking water.


An array of fishing boats seen from the bridge.


A view from the centre of Pamban bridge. I was fortunate to get this shot without any vehicular traffic.

J MADHU RANTHAKAN is a software professional and a hobbyist photographer interested in sculptures and heritage temple architecture. He also loves photographing nature and children. He is a native of Pollachi in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu.

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Temple-spotting in Cambodia

Posted by Admin on May 27, 2012

Temple-spotting in Cambodia

Wait, don’t go back after visiting Angkor Wat. LAKSHMI SHARATH recommends five other breathtaking temples to see in Siem Reap

Note from the Admin : – Remember Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar(Burma), Indonesia, Sumatra, Borneo, Papau New Guinea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia and the entire archipelago of the Philipines, all belonged to one large landmass of Oceania and Austra-lasia formerly known as Lemuria and where along with the main region of the Indian Sub-Continent of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka along with southern regions of Afghanistan or the North Western Frontier Provinces such as Sindh and Baluchistan were all part of a flourishing and glorious Hindu Empire. Their remnants today have been weathered away by winds, floods and erosions leaving only glimpses of what one could term as the closest of the Pre Antediluvian civilizations of our forgotten past to a state of supreme Utopia.


Thought Angkor Wat was synonymous with Siem Reap? Think again. Once you are done with the sunrise and sunset and the tour of Angkor Wat, do not head back to the next destination in Cambodia. Buy yourself a three-day Angkor pass and visit other marvelous temples and you will find a slice of ancient civilization waiting for you.


The gates of the fortified town Angkor Thom opens into a different world and Bayon would probably be your first stop. Like the faces that greet you at the gate, Bayon is carved with them as the towers give the impression of a mountain with small peaks. Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, this was the state temple of the ancient rulers. You will need at least a couple of hours to see this enormous temple complex. Spare some time to wander around the town of Angkor Thom. This is my favorite temple in Siem Reap.


You would probably remember this temple for the Angelina Jolie film Tomb Raider. As I walked around Ta Prohm, it was amidst a restoration process assisted by the Indian government. The trees, their long serpentine roots and sturdy trunks, beckon you here. The eyes follow them as they mysteriously curl around a boulder and add an element of wildness to a sculpture. It was believed to have been a temple monastery. Ta Prohm leaves you breathless as you watch the elements of nature and art create wild magic in front of you.


Preah Khan is another masterpiece that literally opens into a different world as you enter the portals of the temple. It was believed to have been a Buddhist university as well. The trees add a different dimension to the sculptures as you see them growing on the walls of the temple, almost holding onto them.


Banteay Srei is probably the smallest of the temples here and it is also one of the furthest from the Angkor complex. Carved in sandstone, this temple’s name I am told literally means Citadel of Women in reference to its beauty. The journey will take you about an hour, but it is worth spending every minute here.


The guides and the tuk tuk guys will highly recommend Pre Rup for the sunset and I found it rather quiet compared to the other sunset points This state temple is built a few kilometers away from Angkor town and stands on the way to Banteay Srei. The towers, built in laterite, sandstone and brick, glow in the evening sun as we spend a few quiet moments before returning to Siem Reap.


Five is a rather small number when it comes to the temples of Angkor and the monuments around Siem Reap. If you have more time, do check out the Roluos Group of temples – Bakong is beautiful ; or visit Kbal Spein or Kulen Mountains to see the River of thousand Shiva lingas – small stone carvings on the bed of the Siem Reap river.

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Halebeedu – the crown jewel of Hoysala temples

Posted by Admin on May 5, 2012

Note from Admin : – Behold the remnants of a civilization vastly superior to any of the western nests of plague found today. Try matching the depth and details provided in the Architecture of theses buildings in any of your past and modern civilizations. Observe the sanctity of theses places, their sacredness, solemnity, peace and quiet. No occult and perverted rituals and blood sacrifices to some abstract gods like in your western secret societies and no abuse of victims be they children or women. Just sacred gathering of people to adore and garner prayers upon and request humbly of provisions of grace and blessings from magnificent beings of Light from the Higher dimensions. True Gods they be not Ets posing as Gods like in your Holy Bible and other ancient scriptures. The beings we worship are beings of pure consciousness.

The energetic vibrations associated here are harmonious to the Tree and Sacred Flower of Life. It accentuates the incoming rays of the Great Central Sun itself aiding the believer in the individual Ascension process.

  Behold the glory and multitude and vastness and continence, unwavering over several millennia and yugas of my glorious motherland, her beauty and traditions rooted in the ancient cultures of her unfathomable and legendary past you worthless wretched disgusting Caucasian vermin.

You bring desolation and unwarranted destruction with wanton disregard for her Godliness. You try and destroy my proud nation with your jeans, disgusting coffee, McDonald shit junk food, multi national corporations for all types of goods and services founded in your filthy western nations based on unethical and moral disregard for human values and ever cringing for more profit and insatiable greed, ridiculous and shallow cosmetic products, base disgusting music, songs and hip hop pop rock culture along with forcing us to learn your version of history in our education books and forever holding us guilty to your white man’s burden. Yeah right! It truly has always been the coloured man’s burden.

I will not tolerate or put up with this any longer. I will not let my country be one of your playgrounds anymore.

One more thing, you think you have those disgusting looking three sided or four sided hideous pyramids numbering 86,000 around the world, all so remnant of a signature of overdrive for power by the Atlanteans and the Orion factions.

Guess what, we have 86,000 temples in India alone, discounting the ones in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar(Burma), Java, Sumatra, Borneo and the Philippines. Not to mention the fact that it was and still belongs to the more massive and submerged continent of a bygone era –  Australia is our land and our remnants there the Aborigines were butchered and are now near extinction, ruled by whites who were sentenced to it as convicts of a penal colony of the British Empire and whose descendants are exactly what their forefathers were and will always be.

There are plenty of holes into the crust of the Earth below temple foundations in India and Sri Lanka which lead to very ancient underground caverns and subterranean cavities inhabited by all sorts of reptilian races and beings of a semi advanced nature. They are not too violent or too spiritual and they don’t like to be disturbed.

How many times have you heard of them coming to the surface abusing and raping us in the middle of the night or conducting experiments on us or even eating us? Not much not because it isn’t recorded or documented but because we each know how to treat one another and give and take respect. We don’t disturb them and they don’t trouble us. Simple. Also we do not propagate hate and violence in our daily life like how you do all the time in your parts of the world.

So they are not drawn to positivity which we maintain very well on the surface. Where there is violence there they are being given an open ticket of entrance. Also we do not secretly or morbidly worship any of them in our temples, all those photos where you see snakes, those are the good ones and allegorical in nature than literary. So we don’t call out to them secretly to come up and perform sick twisted rituals through our bodies on infants and virgin girls.

What? Is it too hard to comprehend that there are good reptilians as well. The ones with honour and dignity just as much as any well natured and good human being.

Think about my ramblings…

One more thing…when we pray to our Gods we ask them to put up wards in all places where we live so that the nether world beings do not infringe on our privacy.

The name Halebeedu means ruined city, a coinage that took effect after the capital of the Hoysala empire was sacked by the Mughal sultanate twice. Its original name was Dwarasamudra and the temple here is considered the crowning glory of Hoysala architecture.

Enjoy this photo-essay by ANANTH V RAO

ANANTH V RAO is an engineer by profession and a hobbyist photographer with a passion for picturing architectural grandeur as well as nature and wildlife. He was born and brought up in Hassan, Karnataka, a place known for its culture and heritage. He lives in Bangalore.


Known as Dwarasamudra in the 12th and 13th centuries, Halebeedu was the capital of Hoysala Empire. It is situated at a distance of about 30 kms from Hassan, Karnataka. The name Dwarasamudra (Dwara = Entrance, Samudra = Sea) came due to the presence of a lake constructed beside the Hoysaleshwara temple, which resembled the sea. It then changed to Halebeedu (ruined city) after it was laid to ruin by the Moghul sultanate twice. The Halebeedu temple is considered as the ultimate work of Hoysalas and it took more than a century to complete building.


Halebeedu temple comprises of two shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. Hoysaleshwara and Shanthaleshwara are the two deities in this temple.


The segment that joins the Hoysaleshwara and Shanthaleshwara shrines.


There are eight friezes on the temple walls. Each carries an array of decorations. The lowest frieze depicts charging elephants, which symbolize strength and stability. Above them, in order, are friezes with lions, which symbolize courage, floral scrolls as decoration, horses for speed, another band of floral scrolls, depiction of Hindu epics, Makara (beasts) and finally a frieze with hamsas (swans). No two animals are alike in a total frieze span of over 200 m.


The plinth and the temple is built in the form of Sri Chakra (star shape), a characteristic feature of Hoysala architecture. Sri Chakra is considered most auspicious in Hindu religion.


The walls of the temple consist of carvings of different deities of Hindu mythology as well as stories from the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Puranas.


This is Varaha (the boar), the third incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Varaha saved mother earth from the demon Hiranyakasha.


Govardhana Giridhari – Lord Krishna holding up Govardhana mountain to protect his village Gokula from the torrential rains caused by Lord Indra. The people and cattle can be seen seeking shelter beneath the mountain. The carvings are so intricate that one can see monkeys, hunters, tigers and a lizard in the mountain above Lord Krishna.

HalebeeduGajasura Mardana. Lord Shiva, as Gajasura Mardana, is slaying Gajasura, the elephant demon by ripping him off from inside out. Observe the two legs and tail of the demon above Shiva’s head.

HalebeeduNataraja Shiva, the king of dance. It is believed that Shiva as Nataraja performs this thandava in order to destroy a weary universe and make preparations for Brahma to begin the process of creation. Observe the snake making way through the ear of the skull and exiting through the eye socket to the right of Shiva.


Uma Maheshwara. Shiva in a calm state with his consort Parvathi in his lap. A mongoose sits beneath Parvathi as her mount.


Mahishasura Mardini is one of the furious forms of Goddess Parvathi. Mahishasura Mardini slew the buffalo demon, Mahishasura, after nine long days of fighting. This is celebrated as Mahanavami or Ayudha Pooja in southern India.


Makara is a mythical creature, the front portion of which is in the form of an elephant or crocodile, and the hind portion is in the form of a peacock’s tail. Makara is the steed of Goddess Ganga, as well as of the sea god Varuna.


A play of light and shadow in the temple precincts.


A visitor standing amidst the hand-lathed filigreed pillars of Halebeedu temple admires the intricate carvings on the walls.


Lord Hoysaleshwara. Halebeedu temple is among the Hoysala temples where regular worship is held.


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Posted by Admin on January 30, 2011

“Is the notion of a deeply divided society the right template for comparing Northern Ireland with other cases of ethnic conflict?”

Table of contents:

Part I: Outline;

Part II: Limitation of this study:

Part III: Key words;

Part IV: General discussion;

Part V: Conclusion.



Part I:


The central argument of this paper revolves around the native-settler discourse of ethnic conflicts. Obviously, no conflict, ethnic or other, can happen in a vacuum and without a reason. Keeping this in mind, this paper presents the basic reasons for which major ethnic conflicts have been taking place around the world today. It presents a brief background to the ethnic conflict in Northern Ireland, mainly to understand that this is a case of a deeply divided society, for this is necessary to form the basis of the thesis topic. The next component of this paper is a presentation of the core background to some other leading ethnic conflicts around the world. The conflicts taken up in this section are South Africa, Israel/Palestine and Sri Lanka.  This is done with the intention of underscoring the essential nature of these conflicts –while being ethnic in nature, all these have happened out of a deeply divided society brought about by these ethnic aspects. More importantly, a brief explanation of the other conflicts taken up for this study is provided in view of the fact that this is meant to be a comparative paper, in which these are used as the frame of reference. The section on the background to these other conflicts is brief and is not a historical, blow-by-blow account, as it is meant to just enable an understanding of the roots of the ethnic nature of these conflicts. Then, this paper traverses into another of its central arguments –the element of territory in these conflicts. Since it is implied in this thesis statement that a) Northern Ireland’s is an ethnic conflict, and b) that other cases of ethnic conflict are a product of a deeply divided society, this paper does not explore a popular perspective on this conflict, which is whether the conflict in Northern Ireland can be classified as an ethnic one. In the concluding part, it sums up its understanding of the paper. It avoids reference to some commonly used interpretations of ethnic conflicts.


Part II:

Limitation of this study:

One area of incompleteness of this study is that while there are several ethnic conflicts raging on in the world at this point of time, this paper, due to the paucity of space allotted to it, makes a comparison of only a select list of these to the conflict in Northern Ireland. An inclusion of some of the other leading ethnic conflicts, such as those of the Basque region of Spain, Corsica, East Timor, Cyprus and some in Africa to name a few, would have made this paper more comprehensive.


Part III:

Key words:

Ethnic conflict, society, Natives, settler, commonality, land, catholic, protestant, whites, blacks, slavery, Jews, Arabs, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Israel, Palestine, Sri Lanka, persecution, Diaspora, homeland, Holy Land, Sinhalese, Tamil.


Part IV:

General discussion:

The ethnic conflict in Northern Ireland:

A reading of the history of Northern Ireland points to the clear fact that it is indeed a case that can be fitted into the template of a deeply divided society:  the conflict dates to almost five centuries, to the reign of Henry VIII. This Tudor monarch’s newfound zeal, the result of his break from Rome, was to make him target his neighbour, whose catholic nature he viewed as a challenge to English expansionism. It was basically a sectarian conflict, in that attempts were made by the English monarchs, led by Henry VIII and followed up later by Edward VI and Elizabeth I, to supplant the existing catholic religion with its brand of Christianity, Protestantism. Naturally, the essentially Gaelic population resented these efforts at forced Anglicanism. When these original inhabitants refused to be forcibly converted to the new religion, the English persecuted them by outlawing some of their cherished religious practices, and alienated them by developing a condescending attitude towards the followers of the scurrilously termed ‘popery’. (Finnegan, 1983, pp. 9, 10) The depths of this division took a turn for the worse following a policy of forced ‘plantation’, or augmentation of the population of the Settlers by successive English monarchs. The most notable example of this attempt to change the ethno-demographic character of the province was the one by James I, king of both the English and the Scots, to settle in about 150,000 protestant Presbyterians from Scotland into Ulster in Northern Ireland. This was a direct effort at undermining the local catholic population –the language and religious affiliation of the new Settlers were markedly different from those of the Natives. In the later part of that century, Oliver Cromwell, too, enforced this policy by rewarding these Settlers with grants of vast areas of land in Northern Ireland. The crux of the problem could be crystallised into the efforts of the native catholic population to get the Protestants out of their country, and the recalcitrance of the Settlers to stay on. (Morris-Hale, 1997, p. 95) Thus, in this sense, it qualifies as a problem of a deeply divided society.

The next section explores the similarity in the nature of this problem with some other cases of ethnic conflict in different regions of the world.

The ethnic conflict in South Africa:  Like its counterpart in Northern Ireland, the ethnic conflict in South Africa, too, is deeply rooted in the divisions of society. The origins of the ethnic conflict of this country can be traced to 1717, when the number of slaves who had been employed by the Dutch East India Company, the VOC in local parlance, was a mere 2000. That year, the company’s directors in Amsterdam asked the local administrative council of Cape if slavery was required for the company for economic reasons. Only one of the council members wanted an abolition of slavery. From here, the increase in the number of slaves working for the Settlers was dramatic –in 75 years, the number of black slaves had grown twelve-fold. This system was to get perpetrated with greater crudity and oppressiveness in the later decades and centuries: “By the mid-1700s the colony had over 650 slave owners, but more than half owned six or fewer slaves. Yet slave owning was widespread enough to promote a dependency on slave labor rather than the development of intensive settlement and agriculture. This dependency lasted into the nineteenth century and encouraged a mentality among White Settlers that certain work and occupations were “beneath” them.” (Beck, 2000, pp. 28, 29) This was to not only leave a seemingly unbridgeable gap in society between the Natives and the Settlers who came to be called Boers, it was also the forerunner to the institution of apartheid, (Pomeroy, 1986, p. 4) an abhorrent practice which came to define standards of human cruelty and oppression. This again is a clear case of a deeply divided society.

Israeli –Palestine conflict:  One of the most violent conflicts of the 20th century, the one between Israel and Palestine, is a premier example of a conflict of ethnicity and nationality being a result of a deeply divided society.

Israel was born in such circumstances that its raison d’etre was detested by its Arab neighbours. The Jews, who had been persecuted for centuries by the Christian masses of Europe in possibly every conceivable manner from being blamed for natural disasters to being degraded publicly for belonging to that religion to being tortured in gas chambers, had finally reached such a precarious stage of their existence by the time World War II ended, that they were left with no alternative to carving out a homeland for themselves. The formation of a separate Jewish nation, they believed, was the only guarantee of their very survival. That homeland had to be the biblical land of Israel, or none else, given the primacy of this nation to their history and culture; unfortunately for them, this was now Palestine, into which Arabs had been ossified for a full 13 centuries, ever since the birth of their own religion, Islam. The declaration of Israeli independence on May 14, 1948, was the culmination of a nearly 19-century old cherished dream of a motherland, and achieved after a lot of bickering in the United Nations. In this declaration, they made clear that for the Jews to become a cohesive nation for the first time in their history out of the reassembly of their people from their Diaspora, there was only one possibility: the existence of the new immigrants at the exclusion of the native population! The following words in the declaration sums up the belligerent Jewish attitude, overlooking the fact that the Holy Land was in Arab possession for all these centuries:


Naturally, this was at direct loggerheads with the native population, which saw this as an intrusion into their very existence. A strange situation had developed, by which two nationalities were trying to compete for existence and survival on the same piece of land to the mutual elimination of each other. Both the cause and result of this was the inculcation of deep-seated animosities, which continue to this day.

The ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka:  The Sri Lankan or Ceylonese ethnic conflict dates to the early part of the previous century. It was fed and exacerbated by a threat perception felt by the land-owning and economically well ensconced, western-educated, mostly Sinhalese native elite on account of the assertiveness of the plantation workers of Indian origin following the departure of the colonial power, Britain. As explained by Perera (1998), although the land mass left behind by the colonizers was nowhere near what it was when it was first occupied, “…the post-colonial rulers of Ceylon, (the Sinhalese elite)… were not ready to accept the plantation workers of southern Indian origin, classifying them as “Indian Tamils” and reaffirmed that they were a foreign population…[w]ithin two years, the United National Party government of 1948 deprived the plantation workers of southern Indian origin of both their citizenship and voting rights. They had already participated in the socialist-led struggles for independence in the 1940s and their voting pattern had helped many socialist candidates win in the 1947 elections. If anti-colonial struggles had brought these plantation workers into Ceylonese politics and the “national” space, the post-colonial state denied these. As the planters had attempted, the post-colonial rulers of Ceylon also resorted to apartheid…” (Perera, 1998, pp. 102, 103) Further proof of the deep division of the society along ethnic lines is the fact that the Tamils have been living in Sri Lanka for ages, and have been in a majority in at least four northern districts. It is these four districts that the Tamils claim as their ‘traditional homeland’, the Tamil ‘Ealam’, for the reason that there was hardly a presence of the Sinhalese in these areas till independence. (Kearney & Miller, 1987, pp. 91-94)


Some researchers, such as Mitchell (2000), have taken the view that while these conflicts taken up for this study (with the exception of Sri Lanka) are essentially ethnic, what marks these out is the fact that they have a strong sub-element of native-settler conflict. Elaborating, he theorises that this is a case in which animosities and attitudes have hardened since the settler has stayed back, and has sought to coexist with the native population. This, according to Mitchell, is as strong a common factor as is the element of ethnicity in the cases he takes up. This is different from cases such as Australia, America, Canada and New Zealand, in which the Natives were all but extirpated. This aspect of the native-settler coexistence, no matter how tumultuous it may have been, is the main commonality among these conflicts. All cases of ethnic conflict in which the Settlers have stayed back have an indispensable element –land issues. In most cases, land has been pivotal to the affairs of the ethnic conflict, because the Natives have been relegated to inferior lands. Another feeling that has run through the colonisers is the feeling of superiority to the Natives, irrespective of whether the Settlers belonged to the same race as the Natives or not. This is the feeling that the Irish war of independence failed to correct. (Mitchell, 2000, pp. 1 and 2) In all the cases of ethnic conflict taken up here, the Settlers have arrived with the aim of betterment, with varying degrees. It is natural that the bone of contention had to be land, since it was natural resources that were the means for a betterment of life. This is the basis for which dispute over territory has been an integral part of these conflicts.

Conclusion: In all these societies taken for this study, the extent of deep divisions in society can be gauged from the fact that irrespective of the point of time of the country’s history at which these conflicts have started, these conflicts have come to be the defining moments of these nations –the ethnic conflict in Northern Ireland may not be as old as the country itself, but nearly five centuries have failed to erase these divisions. In the case of South Africa, apartheid and ethnic conflict have been present almost from the time the white minority came to dominate the country; as for Israel, the warring parties have had to contend with ethnic conflict quite literally from day one of the birth and existence of a Jewish nation. In Sri Lanka, the feeling of ‘them and us’ has been persisting from the time the Tamils settled there, and all it took was the spark of the departure of the colonists to ignite it and make it a full-scale conflagration.

These conflicts have different sub-dimensions that mark them out from each other. For instance, if the conflicts in Northern Ireland and Israel are essentially predicated along nationalist and religious lines, that in South Africa is centred round the colour of the skin, while the conflict in Sri Lanka is ethno-linguistic in character. Yet, the overriding common factor has been the deep divisions between the Natives and the Settlers. Whatever the nature of these elements of conflict, these have at best been sub-components of the conflict, whose main theme is undoubtedly the deep divisions in society. It is exactly these divisions that have not only caused the conflict in the first place, they have nurtured and sustained them.

In fact, so deep are the divisions of the mind that even as late as 1994, when the official obituary was written for apartheid in South Africa,  “…emotionally far too many whites, even liberal whites, still regard(ed) themselves as superior to blacks and far too many of them only accepted the changes that came in 1994 because they could see no alternative rather than because they actively believed in a non-racial society.” (Arnold, 2000, p. 11) It can be said without much fear of contradiction that the same attitude could possibly be prevailing in the other societies taken up here. In sum, it can be fittingly argued that the notion of a deeply divided society is the basis on which all ethnic conflicts of this study have taken place; there is little in Northern Ireland to suggest any radical departure from this norm.

Written By Ravindra G Rao




Arnold, G., 2000, The New South Africa, Macmillan, Basingstoke.


Beck, R. B., 2000, The History of South Africa, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT.


Dunner, J., 1950, The Republic of Israel: Its History and Its Promise, Whittlesey House, New York.


Finnegan, R. B., 1983, The Challenge of Conflict and Change The Challenge of Conflict and Change, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.


Kearney, R. N., & Miller, B. D., 1987, Internal Migration in Sri Lanka and Its Social Consequences, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.


Mitchell, T. G., 2000, Native vs. Settler: Ethnic Conflict in Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland, and South Africa, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT.


Morris-Hale, W., 1997, Conflict and Harmony in Multi-Ethnic Societies: An International Perspective, Peter Lang, New York.


Perera, N., 1998, Society and Space: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Postcolonial Identity in Sri Lanka, Perseus, Boulder, CO.


Pomeroy, W. J., 1986, Apartheid, Imperialism, and African Freedom (1st ed.), International Publishers Co., New York.

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Hybrid Newsletter – 1 for 02.12.2010 A.D

Posted by Admin on December 2, 2010

Spain arrests seven over links to Mumbai attacks

By Teresa Larraz, writing Nigel Davies, editing by Tim Pearce | Reuters – Wed, Dec 1 7:09 PM IST

Spain arrests seven over links to Mumbai attacks

Spain arrests seven over links to Mumbai attacks

MADRID (Reuters) – Seven men have been arrested in Barcelona, accused of providing fake identification documents to al Qaeda-linked groups including the one that carried out the Mumbaiattacks in 2008, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.

Six Pakistanis and one Nigerian were arrested on Tuesday and early Wednesday accused of stealing passports and other travel documents from tourists in Barcelona and sending them toThailand where they were falsified and passed to extremist organised crime groups, it said in a press release.

Among the groups the documents were sent to was the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was blamed for the attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 in which 166 people were killed, as well as Sri Lanka’s separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The ministry said the arrests were part of an international operation in which two Pakistanis and one Thai were also arrested in Thailand, accused of leading the group set up in Spain and other European countries.

The ministry said the group robbed people whose age and nationality enabled members of the militant groups holding the falsified documents to travel freely across borders.

“This large-scale operation neutralises an important cell providing passports to al Qaeda, weakening the falsification apparatus of this organisation at an international level, and as such its operational capabilities,” the ministry said.

Spanish police recovered numerous identification documents in the homes of those arrested, as well as hard discs, memory sticks, 50 mobile phones and SIM cards, and cash in dollars, euros, and British pounds.

(Reporting by Teresa Larraz, writing Nigel Davies, editing by Tim Pearce)


India incapable of quick strike against Pak, US believes

Yahoo! India News – Thu, Dec 2 11:59 AM IST–us-believes.html

India USA Joint Military Exercises

India USA Joint Military Exercises

America suspects India is not agile enough to launch a concerted military attack against Pakistan, Wikileaks cables disclosed on Wednesday. The disclosures also underlined contradictions between what America tells India and what it puts down on its internal records.

America feels it would take India 72 hours to mobile its military resources and launch an attack against Pakistan. Its ambassador to India describes India’s process of mobilisation as “slow and lumbering”.

Officially, Pakistan and America were talking about reining in militant groups after the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, and again after the 2008 attack on Mumbai, but America had no hope that any good would come of it.

The US ambassador to Pakistan had told her state department in 2009 that generous aid would not help in convincing Pakistan to stop supporting the Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The Telegraphreports: “There is no chance that Pakistan will view enhanced assistance levels in any field as sufficient compensation for abandoning support to these groups, which it sees as an important part of its national security apparatus against India. The only way to achieve a cessation of such support is to change the Pakistan government’s own perception of its security requirements,” she wrote.

Pakistan had received more than 16 billion dollars in American aid since 2001. In other words, the Americans were trying to buy peace from Pakistan while being fully aware that they were up against a stubborn supporter of extremist groups.

Disclosures on Wednesday also indicated that the US thought the Indian army had been slow to respond to the parliament attack: … India commenced ‘Cold Start’, a military doctrine developed by Armed Forces, which involves joint operations between Army, Navy, and Air Force, after 2001 Parliament attack but the Army was not able to execute it properly.

The cables sent by US ambassador to India Timothy Roemor on Feb 16, 2010 said that, “Indian forces could have significant problems consolidating initial gains due to logistical difficulties and slow reinforcement.”

Pakistan’s hypocrisy was well in evidence even earlier this year. In April, its prime minister Gilani promised he would act firmly against anti-India groups in his country. In June, the US kept up the pretense that Pakistan could be persuaded to stop supporting deadly groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba.


Assange’s legal options narrow

By RAPHAEL G. SATTER and MALIN RISING, Associated Press – 1 hr 32 mins ago

Julian Assange

Julian Assange


LONDON – Julian Assange’s legal options narrowed Thursday as the WikiLeaks founder lost an appeal against a court order for his arrest and his British lawyer said authorities knew his precise location.

Sweden’s Supreme Court upheld a order to detain the 39-year-old Australian for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual molestation that could lead to his extradition. The former computerhacker has been out of the public eye for nearly a month, although attorney Mark Stephens insisted that authorities knew how to find him.

“Both the British and the Swedish authorities know how to contact him, and the security services know exactly where he is,” Stephens told The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, cables published to WikiLeaks’ website detailed alleged financial support for North Korea and terrorist affiliates by Austrian banks; an allegation by a Pakistani official that Russia “fully supports” Iran’s nuclear program; and a deeply unflattering assessment of Turkmenistan’s president.

Accused in Sweden of rape, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of unlawful coercion, Assange’s last public appearance was at a Geneva press conference on Nov. 5.

Swedish officials have alerted Interpol and issued a European arrestwarrant in a bid to bring him back in for questioning. Stephens, Assange’s lawyer, said that the Swedish prosecution was riddled with irregularities and turning into an exercise in persecution.

Assange denies the charges, and Stephens has said they apparently stemmed from a “dispute over consensual, but unprotected sex.”

It is unclear if or when police would act on Sweden’s demands. Police there acknowledged Thursday they would have to refile their European arrest warrant after British authorities asked for more details on the maximum penalties for all three crimes Assange is suspected of.

Scotland Yard declined comment, as did the Serious and Organized Crime Agency, responsible for processing European arrest warrants for suspects in England — where The Guardian claims Assange is hiding out.

Stephens — who also represents The Associated Press — said that, if Assange were ever served with a warrant, he would fight it in British court.

“The process in this case has been so utterly irregular that the chances of a valid arrest warrant being submitted to me are very small,” he said.

WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said late Wednesday the organization was trying to keep Assange’s location a secret for security reasons. He noted commentators in the United States and Canada had called for Assange to be hunted down or killed.

Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

The latest batch of leaked documents included a frank assessment from the American envoy to Stockholm about Sweden’s historic policy of nonalignment — a policy which the U.S. ambassador, Michael Woods, seemed to suggest was for public consumption only.

Sweden’s military and intelligence cooperation with the United States “give the lie to the official policy” of non-participation in military alliances, Woods said. He added in a separate cable that Sweden’s Defense Minister Sten Tolgfors fondly remembers his time as a high school student in America and “loves the U.S.”

Woods cautioned American officials not to trumpet Sweden-U.S. cooperation in the fight against terrorism too openly.

“The extent of this cooperation in not widely known within the Swedish government,” he said. “Public mention of the cooperation would open up the government to domestic criticism.”

Woods’ comments were front page news in Sweden Thursday, while WikiLeaks dominated the British news agenda as well.

A front page story in The Guardian alleged that one of the leaked cables showed British politicians trying to keep parliament in the dark over the storage of American cluster bombs on U.K. territory — despite an international ban on the weapons signed up to by British authorities. Britain’s Foreign Office denied the charge.


Gillian Smith contributed to this report.




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