December 2006


The Great Indian Mutiny had a fabulous year. We are getting new readers everyday and its increasing day by day. We are now in Top 100 blogs of India. Thus makes it thrilling and exciting for us. As we move forward we will raise more issues which are close to our hearts and relevant to all. In aspiring this we need your invaluable support, feedback, new ideas and tips. Please let us know your thoughts.

To celebrate 2006 we have compiled list of Top 15 posts here.

  1. India blogspot blackout, no ban
  2. Visa free travel for Indians
  3. Innocent, a mile high
  4. Miss Tibet 2006
  5. Munnabhai to wed Pakistani belly dancer
  6. Osama bin Laden shot dead in India
  7. Why can’t we do what Israel is doing?
  8. The Ten Most Dangerous Things Users Do O
  9. What does Munnabhai’s daughter look like
  10. Is this really the ‘Indian’ thing to do?
  11. Why I am an Atheist
  12. Sorry Angelina. You can’t!
  13. 12 days of christmas: the indian mix
  14. Miss Macaca is bikini queen
  15. Ye Mera India..

Enjoy and happy reading.

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Abi has a must-read post at How the other half lives on how Indian villagers escape/fall in to poverty.

As stated by Union Information and Communication Minister Dayananidhi Maran From Jan 1st BSNL will upgrade all Broadband plans to 2MB. yes that right no more 256kbps, 512kpbs, 1 MB etc just one standard 2MB plan for broadband which means the intenet connection will be 8 time faster for everyone.

Union Information and Communication Minister Dayananidhi Maran today said the Center would “rewrite” the broadband policy, bidding adieu to 256 kbps speed limit and provide unlimited speed in January next.
Speaking after inaugurating Ericsson’s new research and development facility here, Mr Maran said as the country was moving towards an era of unlimited bandwidth, the policy was set for a major overhaul.
He said BSNL and MTNL were working on aggressive schemes to offer new bandwidth and unveil the same in January next.
This will mean goodbye to the present 256 Kbps speed,” he said.
Mr Maran said while increasing the bandwidth, the department also wanted to increase the penetration of personal computers, which was still below the desired level.

if you don’t believe look here on bsnl site. Also download limits have been increased a bit for different plans if not substantially. Notable difference is the increase of ridiculously low 250MB to 1GB for HOME Plan 250 (Still useless and is only good for checking your email). But hold your hats before you jump for joy this increase in Bandwidth doesn’t apply to the Unlimited plans which most tech savvy Internet users use. I remember how excited I was when Broadband was released in 2006 but what I and everyone realized was that it was not exactly broadband rather a crippled version of it. A lot of people had pointed out during that time that BSNL and other broadband Providers could easily provide faster speed without limitation on the downloads.

The true definition of broadband is an always on unlimited connection with a minimum speed of 256kbps

In fact when broadband was being offered for the first time there was no unlimited Plan it was Airtel who first started offering Unlimited Plan for below Rs. 1000 and BSNL was forced to offer unlimited plans as well to keep up with the Competition. Hopefully Airtel again offer these 2MB speed for their unlimited Broadband Plans since I find their customer care far better than BSNL. A good place to keep up with broadband news is the broadbandforum.in to find out which Broadband provider is suitable for your area.

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Thanks to Tech-buzz and Shankar for the Tip Off

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been executed, a witness said.

“Saddam’s body is in front me,” said an official in the prime minister’s office when CNN telephoned. “It’s over.”

In the background, Shiite chanting could be heard. When asked about the chanting, the official said “These are employees of the prime minister’s office and government chanting in celebration.”

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not attend the execution, according to an adviser to the prime minister who was interviewed on state television.

The execution was videotaped and photographed, state television reported, and those images will be distributed to the media.

Al-Arabiya television network reported that Barzan Hassan, Hussein’s half-brother, and Awad Bandar, former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court, were hanged after Hussein. All three were convicted of killings in the Iraqi town of Dujail nearly 25 years ago.

Now, Saddam is no more, let us try analyze what lead to this in views by Noam Chomsky in a recent interview.

Q. From invasions to reasons for staying. What would constitute ‘victory’? What are the motivations guiding US policy? What went wrong? What explains the calls for withdrawal? Impact of anti-war campaigns and comparisons with Vietnam? What are the options? Is division a solution?

Noam Chomsky: The official reason was what Bush, Powell, and others called “the single question”: will Saddam end his development of Weapons of Mass Destruction? The official Presidential Directive states the primary goal as to:

“Free Iraq in order to eliminate Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery and associated programs, to prevent Iraq from breaking out of containment and becoming a more dangerous threat to the region and beyond.”

That was the basis for congressional support for the invasion. The Directive goes on with the goal of cutting “Iraqi links to and sponsorship of international terrorism,” etc. A few phrases are thrown in from the standard boilerplate about freedom that accompanies every action, and is close to a historical universal, hence dismissed as meaningless by reasonable people, but there to be dredged up by the doctrinal system when needed.

When the “single question” was answered the wrong way, and the claims about international terrorism became too much of an embarrassment to repeat (though not for Cheney and a few others), the goal was changed to “democracy promotion.” The media and journals, along with almost all scholarship, quickly jumped on that bandwagon, relieved to discover that this is the most “noble war” in history, pursuing Bush’s “messianic mission” to bring freedom and democracy to the world. Some Iraqis agreed: 1% in a poll in Baghdad just as the noble vision was declared in Washington. In the West, in contrast, it doesn’t matter that there is a mountain of evidence refuting the claim, and even apart from the timing—which should elicit ridicule—the evidence for the “mission” is that our Dear Leader so declared. I’ve reviewed the disgraceful record in print. It continues with scarcely a break to the present, so consistently that I’ve stopped collecting the absurd repetitions of the dogma.

The real reason for the invasion, surely, is that Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world, very cheap to exploit, and lies right at the heart of the world’s major hydrocarbon resources, what the State Department 60 years ago described as “a stupendous source of strategic power.” The issue is not access, but rather control (and for the energy corporations, profit). Control over these resources gives the US “critical leverage” over industrial rivals, to borrow Zbigniew Brezinski’s phrase, echoing George Kennan when he was a leading planner and recognized that such control would give the US “veto power” over others. Dick Cheney observed that control over energy resources provides “tools of intimidation or blackmail”—when in the hands of others, that is. We are too pure and noble for those considerations to apply to us, so true believers declare—or more accurately, just presuppose, taking the point to be too obvious to articulate.

There was unprecedented elite condemnation of the plans to invade Iraq, even articles in the major foreign policy journals, a publication of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and others. Sensible analysts were able to perceive that the enterprise carried significant risks for US interests, however conceived. Global opposition was utterly overwhelming, and the likely costs to the US were apparent, though the catastrophe created by the invasion went far beyond anyone’s worst expectations. It’s amusing to watch the lying as the strongest supporters of the war try to deny what they very clearly said. There is a good review of the “mendacity” of neocon intellectuals (Ledeen, Krauthammer, and others) in The American Conservative, Jan.

More on this detailed interview here .

What do you think on Iraq and the way Saddam was brought to justice.

Iran may become one of the top 10 features of the outgoing year for a number of reasons, including its nuclear dossier and the Holocaust conference, as well as the anti-Israeli rhetoric of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In short, Iran has made others view it as a regional superpower and the key player in the Middle East.

Its nuclear program remains the top issue, with good reason, because it threatens the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

If Iran implements its nuclear program in the proclaimed format, namely on the basis of its own uranium enrichment technologies, this will deal a death blow to the NPT. Iran’s program will trigger the domino effect, encouraging Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan to follow suit.

The bomb is not the issue, as Iran will most likely decide against creating it. But it will hover merely one step away from it, forcing Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan to cover the same distance. Tehran promises to share its nuclear technology with Kuwait and Syria, which, taken together with Israel’s 200 nuclear charges, will turn the region into a nuclear powder keg.

There are reasons to suspect that Iran’s nuclear program is neither peaceful nor civilian. Its Natanz facility will have 54,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges, and it has already put into operation two cascades with 164 centrifuges each. Iran intends to turn on all of the 54,000 centrifuges. What for?

Russian nuclear experts say this number will allow Iran to produce its own nuclear fuel for 20 nuclear power units. So far, Iran plans to turn on only one unit, at the Bushehr nuclear power plant, which is being built with Russia’s technical assistance. The unit is expected to be put into operation in September 2007 and start generating electricity in November. The construction of the other 19 units is not planned so far.

On the other hand, the same experts say, given the political will, the 54,000 centrifuges can be used to create five to seven nuclear charges within two weeks at the most.

Therefore, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) cannot issue guarantees of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, although it cannot prove its military goals either. The IAEA has questions to Tehran which it has refused to answer so far, keeping the world on nuclear tenterhooks.

The talks on Iran’s nuclear program, as well as endless debates by experts, political analysts and other specialists, have turned into a cliffhanger compounded by Iran’s intricate diplomatic embroidery. More than three months have passed since the UN’s August 31 deadline, by which Tehran should have stopped work on its first cascade of 164 uranium enrichment centrifuges. Since then, Iran has put into operation a second cascade and announced the intention to increase the number of working centrifuges to 3,000 by March 2007.

It is certainly bluffing, as it does not have the necessary capacity for this. Yet it has played a joke on the UN Security Council no other country has dared to play before.

Ahmadinejad’s statements to the effect that “Iran has made a crucial decision and is moving honorably along its chosen path,” and that Tehran would consider any Security Council resolution on sanctions as a hostile move are most likely just verbal bravado, which the world has learned to regard calmly.

Tehran fears sanctions, or else why did Ali Larijani, head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, rush to Moscow shortly before the planned stopover in Moscow by U.S. President George W. Bush? Tehran thought President Bush and Vladimir Putin would discuss the Iranian nuclear dossier, and feared that Bush would convince Putin to vote for harsh sanctions against Iran. Tehran needed Russia’s support, and Larijani received it. But nothing lasts forever.

Putin later said that Russia’s support to Tehran was aimed at encouraging it to maintain relations with the IAEA so as to clarify the nuclear watchdog’s questions and restore the world’s trust in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programs. But it appears that Tehran is not willing to resume talks, at least not now.

On December 23, the UN Security Council voted on the Iranian resolution. The permanent members of the council, who form, together with Germany, a six-country group on Iran, have coordinated sanctions against Iran. The resolution proposed by the European Trio, which is negotiating with Iran on behalf of the European Union, differed radically from Russia’s stand.

Moscow argued that the sanctions should cover only the areas that worry the IAEA – enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and work on all heavy water-related projects, and the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.

The Security Council heeded the Kremlin’s arguments, but future developments are almost impossible to predict, especially considering the “Persian motifs” in Tehran’s foreign policy. One way or another, Russia’s neighbor, Iran, will continue to play a key role in the region, and this is the main result of the story with its nuclear dossier.

From India’s point of view its vital to have good relations with Iran. India’s relation with Iran are under strain after India has supported U.S. led motion in U.N.council. Our economic relations are under strain esp; the long awaited project of gas pipeline seems to be going no where.

More on this here

For the Indian Army, the year 2006 proved to be a year of challenges and achievements. The Indian Army continued to guard the nation from external and internal threats.

Though a ceasefire is holding along the LoC in J & K, troops continued to guard it against infiltration and ex filtration by anti national elements. In the hinterland, in J & K and the North East, it continued to seek and apprehend/neutralise terrorists. In J&K alone, close to 600 militants were killed and over 400 apprehended while over 200 surrendered.

In the process large quantities of arms, ammunition and other war like stores and equipment were recovered. Various militant groups have either been neutralized or considerably weakened. The common man continues to look up to the Army as an important organ of the nation to provide safety, security and succour.

Modernisation

Trials for identifying 155 mm/52 Calibre towed guns are in process and the selection process will commence once these are completed. Electronic surveillance devices such as unmanned ground sensors, Battle Field Surveillance Radars, Infra Red Sensors, Hand held thermal imagers etc. have been introduced to assist in counter terrorism operations. The Army is also working towards Network Centric Warfare concept for a digitized battlefield of the future. The Army is adequately prepared to operate in the prevailing NBC environment in the region and these capabilities are regularly reviewed keeping in view the changing threat scenario, as required.

Contributions In UN Peacekeeping

Besides the ongoing contribution in various Peace Keeping Missions under the UN banner, the Indian Army dispatched a contingent for the first time to Golan Heights. They joined the UN Disengagement Observation Force (UNDOF) with troops from Canada, Japan, Australia, Poland and Slovakia, UNDOF is deployed in an Area of Separation between Israeli and Syrian Forces

4 SIKH, deployed in Lebanon was awarded the Force Commander’s Unit citation for the stupendous manner in which this battalion performed its tasks. It may be recalled that this battalion was located between two warring faction in the region. In a rare honour, UN Secretary General Mr Kofi Annan also visited this battalion.

Sino Indian Border Personnel Meetings

Besides Chushul, Nathula and Bumla for the first time ever, a Sino Indian border personnel meeting was held in Area Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh on 18 Nov 2006. Peace and tranquillity prevails on the Sino – Indian frontier.

Joint Exercise

Indian Army continued to hold joint exercises with foreign armies. Some of these were with Uzbekistan Special Force in Jan 2006, United States for Counter terrorism in Oct 2006 and with US Marine, also in Oct 2006.

Rescues and Relief – Floods

In early Aug 2006, Army rescued over 1600 persons in the flood affected areas of Marathwada, Chattisgarh and Ladakh. Later in the same month, it was deployed for rescue and relief of over 4000 person in Barmer District of Rajastan.

Welfare

Assured decent last rites scheme was introduced this year wherein all assistance is made available to ensure dignity in death of all ex servicemen. A number of educational institutes continue to do yeoman service for the wards of serving and retired Army personnel. Army Wives Welfare Organisation has focused on the welfare of widows of service personnel and children with different abilities.

Suicides

A number of steps have been initiated to address the incidents of suicides in the Army. Though the per capita figures of suicides in the Army are considerably lower as compared to civil society and also many other armies, it is to be expected that these will be controlled even further by various steps which have been initiated.

Adventure Activities

The Indian Army conducted a large number of adventure activities in 2006, the major ones being:-

(a) K2K Para Motor Expedition from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in January 2006.

(b) Army’s Day-Night Hot Air Ballooning Expedition Jaipur to Delhi in February 2006.

(c) Mountaineering Expedition to Mount Cho Oyu in May 2006.

(d) Indo-Kazakhstan Joint Mountaineering Expedition to Mount Nun Peak, Zanskar in Jammu & Kashmir in September 2006.

(e) Joint India – Myanmar Army Car Rally in December 2006.

Visits of Security Forces Commanders

A number of delegation of security forces from various nations visited Army HQs. Some the Security Force Commanders who visited are as under:-

(a) Maj Gen Mohamed Zahir, Chief of Staff, National Security Service, Maldives in February 2006.

(b) Gen Tsutomu Mori, Chief of Staff, Japan Ground Self Defence Force in March 2006.

(c) Lt Gen ISA Chisuzi, Zambian Army Chief Commences in May 2006.

(d) Maj Gen Said Nazzer Slumeiman Al Salmi, Commander of Oman Army visit to India in June 2006.

(e) Gen Peter J Schoomaker, Chief of Staff, US Army in September 2006.

(f) Staff Maj Gen Ali M Subaih Al-Kaabi, Commander, Land Forces, UAE in November 2006.

(h) Gen Francisco Roberto De Albuquerque, Commander, Brazilian Army in December 2006.

Martyrs

The entire nation joined the Army in honouring various martyrs who have laid down lives in counter terrorism operations. The valiant sacrifice of Col GS Sarna during the concluding days of 2006 was widely acknowledged as one more supreme sacrifice on the altar of national security.

More on this here.

Syro Malabar CrossI have never been a fan of mass conversions. I have always been critical of evangelists who have made it a mission to harvest souls in India. Christianity in India has been around for around 2000 years. We make up roughly three per cent of the population. What is the need to convert? Recently there has been a spike conversations due to a few ‘new age’ evangelists from abroad. I seriously believe this could have an effect on religious harmony in the country.

Religion is a personal matter. Let’s leave it at that.

News such as these are disturbing:

A large number of Christians, who were Hindus earlier, have been reconverting their religion to brace Hinduism in Uttar Pradesh.

The reconverts said they had left the Hindu fold because of the false promises made by Christian missionaries.

“I was a Christian four to five years ago, but not now. They had given me many allurements that my children will receive free education, will have higher education and equal status. Those, who had converted to Christianity earlier, were treated differently from those who joined later,” said Sobhran Singh, one of the reconverted persons.

At a function organised by the Dharam Jagaran Samiti, Christian converts attended a ritual where Vedic chants were read, and sacred threads tied on their wrists to symbolise the ‘homecoming’—bracing Hinduism.

“Those Hindus who had converted to Christianity or those who were lured into joining it by Christian missionaries were called here to return back to the Hindu fold with respect and on equal terms. Since they were earlier a part of

Hindu society and they have returned back, so it has been termed as a homecoming,” said Gajeshwar Singh, the regional chief of the Dharam Jagaran Samiti (DJS).

The event comes in wake of Bharatiya Janata Party’s repeated calls for a ban on conversions. The party argues that such a ban will foster communal harmony, however Muslim and Christian minority groups accuse the party of whipping up Hindu voters’ fear to boost its political support.

In a country where out of the 1.1 billion population, 80 percent are Hindus, 14 percent Muslims and only three percent Christians, the religion divide remains a cause of concern for the political parties.

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