A Strange Divorce Wednesday, Mar 29 2006 

Aftab Ansari and his wife Sohela went to bed as usual, but got up divorced! The reason is very strange: Aftab said ‘triple talaq’ in sleep.

Local Muslim leaders are bent on enforcing the divorce quoting Islamic procedures, but the couple, who have been married for eleven years with three children, refuse to split.

But there is a solution for that, too, in the hallowed procedures that the Muslim leaders quote: The couple can remarry after a period of at least 100 days, during which time Sohela should spend a night with another man and duly get a divorce from him.

I’m prone to ask a silly question: What if that man doesn’t divorce her after one night?

It seems that Sohela is a talkative woman who tells her friends what her husband utters consciously or unconsciously in bed. It has landed her and her husband in trouble.

Link to the news story.

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The Oldest Tortoise Dies Sunday, Mar 26 2006 

A giant aldabra tortoise thought to be around250 years old has died
in the Kolkata zoo of liver failure, Indian authorities said on Thursday
[23 March 2006].

The tortoise had been the pet of Robert Clive, the famous British
military officer in colonial India around the middle of the 18th century.
(Link)

He had been witness to the tumultuous course of history- Indian history.

He saw his master (Robert Clive)
and his successors tightening the grip over India, determined to keep
India as the most precious possession of the British Empire. He saw the
first freedom struggle of the Indians (dubbed ‘Sepoy Mutiny‘ by the British) in the middle of the 19th century.

He had been witness to the freedom struggle that brought India freedom from the British in 1947, the partition of India and the largest human migration in history and the communal bloodbath that it had caused and the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

He also witnessed the rise of Independent India as a secular democratic state, earning its rightful place in the comity of nations.

And now he is gone!

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A Classification Of The Rich Sunday, Mar 26 2006 

According to Forbes magazine there are 793 billionaires in the world today and their combined wealth is $2.6 trillion.

Billionaires have always intrigued the rest of us with their flashy life styles, expensive possessions, uncanny money-spinning skills, bewildering idiosyncrasies, etc.

Some inventive people have devoted themselves to the task of helping the rich better their lives in more ways than ordinarily possible by understanding them personally and gaining insight into their their psychology. Their swear by the motto:”to serve them, we have to understand the underlying person and what his or her value system is.”

Larry Samuel, a Ph.D. scholar, who has been studying the habits and behaviour of the millionaires and runs a market research firm, Culture Planning, on behalf of JPMorgan, has classified the American millionaires into “five archetypes, each with its own Passion Points, consuming habits, and style”. The five types are:

1. Thrillionaires

2. Coolionaires

3. Realionaires

4. Wellionaires  and

5. Willionaires

To know them in detail, please follow this link.

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Conversion and Punishment Wednesday, Mar 22 2006 

Abdul Rahman, an Afghan, converted to Christianity 14 years ago, but he was arrested last month when his family and relatives reported the matter to the authorities. Rahman is in a prison in Afghanistan awaiting the death penalty for the unforgivable ‘crime’ of denouncing Islam and embracing Christianity.

A convert is considered a traitor, despised and denounced by all and condemned to death by Islamic law (Sharia).

“We will ask him if he has changed his mind about being a Christian,” Presiding judge Ansarullah Mawlazezadah says. “If he has, we will forgive him, because Islam is a religion of tolerance.”(!!!) (Link).

“They want to sentence me to death, and I accept it,” Rahman told reporters last week, “but I am not a deserter and not an infidel.” (Link).

(Photo source).

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Holi, The Carnival Of Colour Splash Sunday, Mar 19 2006 

On 15 March India celebrated Holi, probably the most boisterous and frenetic of all the festivals of Hindus. Holi is a carnival of colors and is celebrated by splashing and spraying colors on one another. In the frenzied celebration of Holi, differences of age, gender, status and the like vanish. The revelers forget themselves for a day in the wild mirth.

Those who are reluctant to participate in such wild celebration can still oblige those who are bent on playing Holi with them by simply allowing the revelers to dab and daub colors on their forehead and cheeks.

As Holi approaches, everyone forgets the dangers of reckless revelry. Schools remind students of the need to choose harmless, natural colors and advise them to celebrate Holi safely by being careful not to squirt colors into eyes or pour onto the head. All are advised to be very careful while washing off the colors in tanks and lakes after long hours of riotous celebration. Still Holi doesn’t pass off without reports of one or other hazards.

Many deaths have been reported from all over India. Of the twenty one deaths that have been reported in our state (Andhra Pradesh), eight have been from Hyderabad city alone. Two of them occurred at Vennelagadda, which is very near our residential area and a third at Suraram, one of the neighboring areas.

Photos of Holi celebration
on 15 March 2006.
A brief introduction to Holi and some of its legends.

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Terrorist Attacks in Varanasi Friday, Mar 10 2006 

Varanasi, the holiest city of the Hindus with an unbroken history of thousands of years, became the latest target of Islamic terrorists on Tuesday, 7th March 2006.

The terrorists struck at two places- the first at a temple and the second at a railway station- and triggered three explosions that killed more than 20 innocent people and injured many.

The 400 year old temple was teeming with devotees who had come for evening worship when the first bomb went off. This was the third terrorist attack at a Hindu temple in recent years. Muslim terrorists struck at Akshardham temple in Ahmedabad on 25 September 2002, killing 39 people; a six member suicide squad tried to storm the Ramajanmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya on 5 July 2005 and got killed (a woman devotee who had sustained injuries died later).

The Varanasi blasts once again show how vulnerable India is. Islamic terrorists can strike at a place of their choice at will.

The timing of these latest attacks was calculated to deflate the general mood of self-satisfaction in the Indian establishment prompted by the high profile visit of the U.S. President and the much publicized nuclear deal the two countries have signed.

By targeting devotees inside a revered temple in Hinduism’s most sacred pilgrimage center the terrorists have inflicted another deep wound in the Hindu psyche, which will keep aflame animosity towards Muslims in the collective conscience of the Hindus.

The Islamic terrorists (controlled by their masters in Pakistan) have proven a point and exposed India’s vulnerability once again.

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