India PM Narendra Modi to visit China in May

PM Modi
PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit China in May, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has announced during a three-day visit to Beijing.

China is one of India’s top trading partners but they vie for regional influence and dispute their border.

The announcement comes after US President Barack Obama’s landmark visit to India last week.

India and the US share an interest in curbing China’s growing regional influence.

During Mr Obama’s landmark visit he and Mr Modi signed the “Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region” pledging to work together to keep freedom of navigation, maritime security and air space safe, especially in the South China Sea.

Correspondents say it was the first time India and the US had come together openly to say that they do not want Asia to be dominated by one power.

“Mr Modi is going to come in May. I will give them dates today. This is a preparatory visit,” Ms Swaraj told reporters in Beijing, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to take Mr Modi to his home province of Shaanxi, reports say.

Mr Xi visited India in September. The two sides signed 12 agreements during his visit.

Read more » BBC
Learn more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-31087807

Sindh is under attack. The land of Shah Latif bleeds again. Can Sufism save Sindh?

sufi_sachalBy Suleman Akhtar

The seven queens of Shah Latif’s Shah Jo Risalo – Marui, Sassui, Noori, Sorath, Lilan, Sohni, and Momal – have put on black cloaks and they mourn. The troubles and tribulations are not new for the queens.

After the sack of Delhi, Nadir Shah (Shah of Iran), invaded Sindh and imprisoned the then Sindhi ruler Noor Mohammad Kalhoro in Umarkot fort. Shah Latif captured it in the yearning of Marui for her beloved land when she was locked up in the same Umarkot fort.

If looking to my native land
with longing I expire;
My body carry home, that I
may rest in desert-stand;
My bones if Malir reach, at end,
though dead, I’ll live again.

(Sur Marui, XXVIII, Shah Jo Risalo)

The attack on the central Imambargah in Shikarpur is as ominous in many ways as it is horrendous and tragic.

The Sufi ethos of Sindh has long been cherished as the panacea for burgeoning extremism in Pakistan. Sufism has been projected lately as an effective alternative to rising fundamentalism in Muslim societies not only by the Pakistani liberal intelligentsia but also by some Western think-tanks and NGOs.

But the question is, how effective as an ideology can Sufism be in its role in contemporary societies?

To begin with, Sufism is not a monolithic ideology.

There are several strains within Sufism that are in total opposition to each other, thus culminating into totally opposite worldviews. The most important of them is chasm between Wahdat al-Wajud(unity of existence) and Wahdat al-Shahud (unity of phenomenon).

The former professes that there is only One real being not separated from His creation, and thus God runs through everything. While Wahdat al-Shahud holds that God is separated from His creation.

Take a look: Shikarpur blast: SHO suspended, investigation underway

While the distinction between the two might seem purely polemical, it actually leads to two entirely opposite logical conclusions.

Wahdat al-Wajud sees God running through everything. Thus apparent differences between different religions and school of thoughts vanish at once. In diversity, there lies a unity thus paving way to acceptance of any creed, irrespective of its religious foundations.

Ibn al-Arbi was the first to lay the theoretical foundations of Wahdat al-Wajud and introduce it to the Muslim world.

On the other hand, the Wahdat al-Shahud school of thought was developed and propagated by Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi, who rose to counter the secular excesses of Akbar. He pronounced Ibn al-Arbi as Kafir and went on deconstructing what he deemed as heresies.

Wahdat al-Shahud in its sociopolitical context leads to separation and confrontation. The staunch anti-Hindu and anti-Shia views of Ahmed Sirhindi are just a logical consequence of this school of thought. Ahmed Sirhindi is one of the few Sufis mentioned in Pakistani textbooks.

Historically, Sufis in today’s Pakistan have belonged to four Sufi orders: Qadriah, Chishtiah, Suharwardiah, and Naqshbandiah.

It is also interesting to note that not all of these Sufi orders have been historically anti-establishment.

While Sufis who belonged to the Chishtiah and Qadriah orders always kept a distance from emperors in Delhi and kept voicing for the people, the Suharwardia order has always been close to the power centres. Bahauddin Zikria of the Suharwardiah order enjoyed close relations with the Darbar and after that leaders of this order have always sided with the ruler (either Mughals or British) against the will of the people.

Explore: Old Sufis, new challenges

Sufism in the subcontinent in general and Sindh in particular, emerged and evolved as a formidable opposition to the King and Mullah/Pundit nexus. Not only did it give voice to the voiceless victims of religious fanaticism, but also challenged the established political order.

To quote Marx it was ‘the soul of soulless conditions’.

A case-in-point is Shah Inayat of Jhok Sharif, who led a popular peasant revolt in Sindh and was executed afterwards. Shah Latif wrote a nameless eulogy of Shah Inayat in Shah Jo Risalo.

Continue reading Sindh is under attack. The land of Shah Latif bleeds again. Can Sufism save Sindh?

Technology And the Threat of a Jobless Future

The Typical Millennial Is $2,000 Poorer Than His Parents at This Age

More young people are living in poverty and fewer have jobs compared their parents’ generation, the Baby Boomers, in 1980

By 

The past is another country. In 1980, the typical young worker in Detroit or Flint, Michigan, earned more than his counterpart in San Francisco or San Jose. The states with the highest median income were Michigan, Wyoming, and Alaska. Nearly 80 percent of the Boomer generation, which at the time was between 18 and 35, was white, compared to 57 percent today.

Three decades later, in 2013, the picture of young people—yes, Millennials—is a violently shaken kaleidoscope, and not all the pieces are falling into a better place. Michigan’s median income for under-35 workers has fallen by 26 percent, more than any state. In fact, beyond the east coast, earnings for young workers fell in every state but Hawaii and South Dakota.

Read more » The Atlantic
Learn more » http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/01/young-adults-poorer-less-employed-and-more-diverse-than-their-parents/385029/

Pakistan successfully test-fires new stealth cruise missile

Pakistan on Monday successfully test-fired a new indigenously developed cruise missile capable of delivering nuclear and conventional warheads up to 350 kilometre, bringing many Indian cities under its range.

The Ra’ad missile enables Pakistan to achieve “strategic standoff capability” on land and at sea, as it uses extremely complex ‘Cruise Technology’ that has been developed by only a few countries in the world, Pakistan army said.

The state of the art Ra’ad cruise missile with stealth capabilities is a low altitude, terrain hugging missile with high maneuverability and can deliver nuclear and conventional warheads with pinpoint accuracy,” army said.

Director General Strategic Plans Division, Lieutenant General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, while congratulating the scientists and engineers on achieving yet another milestone of

historic significance, termed it a major step towards strengthening Pakistan’s full spectrum credible minimum deterrence capability.

“Pakistan’s strategic pursuits are aimed at achieving strategic stability in the region,” it said.

He appreciated the technical prowess, dedication and commitment of scientists who contributed whole heartedly to make this launch a success.

He showed his full confidence over operational preparedness of Strategic Forces including employment and deployment concepts, refinement and training of all ranks in operational and technical domains.

The successful launch has been commended by President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. They also congratulated the scientists and engineers for their outstanding achievement.

Courtesy: Rediff
Read more » http://www.rediff.com/news/report/defence-news-pakistan-successfully-test-fires-new-stealth-cruise-missile/20150202.htm