India set to retain fastest growing economy tag

BY REUTERS

NEW DELHI: India probably gathered momentum to hold its ranking as the world’s fastest growing large economy in the quarter through March, giving Prime Minister Narendra Modi more to celebrate after completing two years in office last week.

Modi swept to power promising to revitalise Asia’s third-largest economy and, despite a dearth of private investment and shrinking exports, his policies are having some success as cooling inflation and lower interest rates have boosted consumer demand. A Reuters survey of economists expected data out on Tuesday will show India’s gross domestic product grew 7.5 per cent year-on-year between January and March, faster than the previous quarter’s 7.3pc.

“This 7.5pc growth, in a global slowdown environment, has a potential to pick up even more,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said last week in general comments about the trends.

India’s upbeat outlook contrasts with neighbouring China, where growth slipped to 6.7 in the first quarter – the slowest posted by the world’s second largest economy in seven years.

Read more » DAWN
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Indus Valley Civilisation much older than thought: report

KOLKATA: It may be time to rewrite history textbooks. Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have uncovered evidence that the Indus Valley Civilisation is at least 8,000 years old, and not just 5,500 years old. It took root well before the Egyptian (7,000 BC to 3,000 BC) and Mesopotamian (6,500 BC to 3,100 BC) civilisations. What’s more, the researchers have found evidence of a pre-Harappan civilisation that existed for at least 1,000 years before this.

The discovery, published in the prestigious Nature journal on May 25, may force a global rethink on the timelines of the so-called ‘cradles of civilisation’. The scientists believe they also know why the civilisation ended about 3,000 years ago: climate change.

“We have recovered perhaps the oldest pottery from the civilisation. We used a technique called ‘optically stimulated luminescence’ to date pottery shards of the Early Mature Harappan time to nearly 6,000 years ago and the cultural levels of pre-Harappan Hakra phase as far back as 8,000 years,” said Anindya Sarkar, head of the department of geology and geophysics at IIT-Kharagpur.

Read more » DAWN
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Indus era at least 8,000 years old; ended because of weaker monsoon

Experts have found evidence of the Indus Valley Civilization being at least 8,000 years old and not 5,500 years old.

By Mystery Of India

Due to a recent revelation made by scientists from IIT-Kharagpur and Archaeological Survey of India, time has arrived to rewrite history textbooks. Experts have found evidence of the Indus Valley Civilization being at least 8,000 years old and not 5,500 years old, taking root well before the Egyptian (7000BC to 3000BC) and Mesopotamian (6500BC to 3100BC) civilizations. What’s more, the researchers have found evidence of a pre-Harappan civilization that existed for at least 1,000 years before this. As per a report published in Times of India, this may force a global rethink on the timelines of the so-called ‘cradles of civilization’. The scientists called climate change the reasson behind the ending of the civilization 3,000 years ago.

“We have recovered perhaps the oldest pottery from the civilization. We used a technique called ‘optically stimulated luminescence’ to date pottery shards of the Early Mature Harappan time to nearly 6,000 years ago and the cultural levels of pre-Harappan Hakra phase as far back as 8,000 years,” said Anindya Sarkar, head of the department of geology and geophysics at IIT-Kgp.

Read more » http://www.mysteryofindia.com/2016/05/indus-era-8000-years-old.html

United States adds two Pakistan-based groups to terror blacklist

By AFP

WASHINGTON: The United States (US) on Wednesday designated two Pakistan-based groups ‘with links to the Taliban’ as global terrorist threats.

As “Specially Designated Global Terrorists”, US citizens are forbidden from associating with the Tariq Gidar Group (TGG) and the Jamaat ul Dawa al-Qu’ran (JDQ), said a statement released by US State Department.

“Any assets owned by the groups in places under US jurisdiction will be frozen, and US law enforcement will be authorised to investigate their activity.”

According to the statement, the TGG is linked to the Tehreek-i-Taliban — the Pakistani Taliban — and is based in Darra Adam Khel.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1260591/united-states-adds-two-pakistan-based-groups-to-terror-blacklist

How India is quietly becoming a space exploration power house

A string of successes by India’s space program is placing the south Asian country among the world’s space superpowers.

India successfully launched a prototype space shuttle on May 23; a mini, unmanned space vehicle called the Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstrator. The shuttle traveled to an altitude of about 40 miles above Earth’s surface, short of the 62-mile barrier between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space, before returning to Earth and into the Bay of Bengal.

Read more » CSMONITOR
See more » http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0524/How-India-is-quietly-becoming-a-space-exploration-power-house?cmpid=gigya-fb

 

Is Queen Elizabeth a descendant of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)? The answer will blow your mind

By Ali Zain

LONDON (Web Desk) – Queen Elizabeth-II of United Kingdom, the world’s oldest living monarch who marked her 90th birthday last month, has had a number of myths spring around her in the past.

However, most astounding among these myths is the claim that she is the great granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), from his 43rd generation.

Although disputed, genealogical records of early-medieval Spain also support the claim.

According to available information, Queen Elizabeth belongs to the family Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abbad, who was a descendant of Muhammad (PBUH) through his daughter Fatima (RA) and grandson Hasan ibn Ali (RA).

Al-Qasim was originally a judge appointed by Caliph of Cordoba but he seized power and formed his own dynasty, the Abbadids. He became the ruler of Seville in al-Andalus in 1023.

Six decades later, in 1091, the Almoravids of Morocco attacked their kingdom which was then being ruled by al-Qasim’s grandson Al-Mu’tamid ibn Abbad. Ibn Abbad was defeated and deprived of his throne.

Continue reading Is Queen Elizabeth a descendant of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)? The answer will blow your mind

Iran, India, Afghanistan sign transit accord on Chabahar port

TEHRAN: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday signed a three-way transit agreement on Iran’s southern port of Chabahar.

India said it will invest up to $500 million in a deal to develop a strategic port in Iran and both countries planned a number of projects they say are worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Today is an important and historical day of development of relations between the three countries,” Rouhani said in a televised speech, seated between the two other leaders.

“From Tehran, New Delhi and Kabul, this is a crucial message … that the path to progress for regional countries goes through joint cooperation and utilising regional opportunities.”

Modi said: “We want to link to the world, but connectivity among ourselves is also a priority.”

Read more » DAWN
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The Hit on the Taliban Leader Sent a Signal to Pakistan

Mullah Mansour was Pakistan’s man picked to lead the Afghan Taliban, and he was killed on Pakistani soil. Is this the beginning of a new U.S. strategy?

By Bruce Riedel

The death of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mansour in an American drone strike is a significant but not fatal blow to both the Taliban and their Pakistani Army patrons.  

The critical question Afghans and Pakistanis are asking is whether this is a one-off or the beginning of a more aggressive American approach to fighting the war in Afghanistan.

Mullah Mansour became the Taliban’s leader last year after it was revealed his predecessor, Mullah Omar, the founder of the Taliban, had been dead for two years from unknown causes.

Mullah Omar’s death in a Pakistani hospital in Karachi had been covered up for two years by the Pakistani Army’s intelligence service, the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate or ISI, and the cover-up allowed the ISI to manipulate the Taliban very effectively behind the scene.  Mullah Mansour was the ISI’s handpicked successor. 

 

 

House of Representatives votes to block $450 million US aid to Pakistan

By PTI

WASHINGTON: Ignoring objections of the White House, the Republican majority House of Representatives has approved the National Defense Authorisation Act which blocks $450 million aid to Pakistan for failing to take action against the dreaded Haqqani network.

The NDAA 2017 (H R 4909) was passed by the US House of Representative (277-147) on Wednesday night, which among others included approval of three major amendments reflecting the strong anti-Pak sentiment prevailing among the US lawmakers.

As a result, as per the House version of the Bill, the Obama administration must certify that Pakistan has met before releasing $450 million in aid.

Read more » The Times of India
See more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/House-of-Representatives-votes-to-block-450-million-US-aid-to-Pakistan/articleshow/52357890.cms

The Forgotten Story Of Allah Bux Soomro, India’s Hero Who Strongly Opposed The ‘2 Nation’ Theory

by Nishant Raj

The name Allah Bux has for long been mistreated on both sides of the border. Allah Bux Soomro, the man who stood for righteousness and advocated secularism, still remains an unsung hero. The prime minister of Sindh during the Quit India Movement of 1942 and the founder of the Ittehad Party, he was one of the first people to vehemently oppose the two-nation theory.

Read more » ScoopWhoop
See more » http://www.scoopwhoop.com/The-Story-Of-Allah-Bux-Soomro/

Time to Put the Squeeze on Pakistan

Nearly 15 years after 9/11, the war in Afghanistan is raging and Pakistandeserves much of the blame. It remains a duplicitous and dangerous partner for the United States and Afghanistan, despite $33 billion in American aid and repeated attempts to reset relations on a more constructive course.

In coming weeks, Gen. John Nicholson Jr., the new American commander in Afghanistan, will present his assessment of the war. It’s likely to be bleak and may question the wisdom of President Obama’s goal of cutting the American force of 10,000 troops to 5,500 by the end of the year. The truth is, regardless of troop levels, the only hope for long-term peace is negotiations with some factions of the Taliban. The key to that is Pakistan.

Pakistan’s powerful army and intelligence services have for years given support to the Taliban and the Haqqani terrorist network and relied on them to protect Pakistani interests in Afghanistan and prevent India from increasing its influence there. Under American pressure, the Pakistan Army recently waged a military campaign against the Taliban in the ungoverned border region. But the Haqqanis still operate in relative safety in Pakistan. Some experts say the army has helped engineer the integration of the Haqqanis into the Taliban leadership.

Pakistan’s double game has long frustrated American officials, and it has grown worse. There are now efforts in Washington to exert more pressure on the Pakistan Army. Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has wisely barred the use of American aid to underwrite Pakistan’s purchase of eight F-16 jet fighters. Pakistan will still be allowed to purchase the planes, but at a cost of $700 million instead of about $380 million.

Read more » The New York Times
See more » http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/12/opinion/time-to-put-the-squeeze-on-pakistan.html?_r=0

How India changed the English language

For hundreds of years, words have flowed along the routes of trade and empire. Rahul Verma follows some of their remarkable journeys.

They are in there, often unnoticed. The words that have become part of everyday English. Loot, nirvana, pyjamas, shampoo and shawl; bungalow, jungle, pundit and thug.

What are the roots, and routes, of these Indian words? How and when did they travel and what do their journeys into British vernacular – and then the Oxford English Dictionary – tell us about the relationship between Britain and India?

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20150619-how-india-changed-english?ocid=ww.social.link.facebook

Dalits’ dream of Pakistan

BY TAHIR MEHDI

A group of Pakistani Dalits in Mirpurkhas gathered at their town hall recently. They vowed to initiate a movement to assert their distinct political identity, and fight for their communities’ rights.

The word ‘dalit’ literally means ‘oppressed people’; it has been in use since the 19th century to describe communities that fall outside of the four-caste Hindu hierarchy. These ‘outcastes’ or ‘untouchables’ have been subject to horrendous discrimination, in all spheres of life, for at least the past 2,000 years.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1257165

Hyderabad, Sindh: First ever Dalit Assembly in Sindh held at khanabadosh on 7th of May 2016. The representative of Kolhi, Meghawal, Bheel,SOLANGI, Gurgla, Bagri, Shikari Kabotra along with few Bàloch , Soomra, and Mahesar who count themselves as Dalit which stand for oppressed and broken. The participation was overwhelming and more thn 100 participants came from Nager Parker to Shikarpur and Rahimyaar khan were enthusiastic to stand for their Dalit identity to assert their political space.

Courtesy: adopted from Social media + Facebook.

SHAH ABDUL LATIF BHITAI – Poet of profound inspiration

By Sada Hayat Jalbani

Through out centuries and millennia, poets and prophets have preached love, as it is the strongest binding force in the universe. Shah Abdul Latif of Bhit Shah, Sindh, belongs to this galaxy of the great. His ancestors came to this beautiful part of the world from Herat, a city in the northern Afghanistan near the Iran border. His great grandfather Shah Abdul Karim of Bulri and his father Shah Habib, too, were poets of tremendous repute.
Shah Abdul Latif was born in 1689, about 73 years after the death of Shakespeare. The similarity between the two supreme poets of the world is that both had nothing behind them except their natural genius. It is rightly said that poets are born, not made.

Read more » TheDailyStar
See more » http://www.thedailystar.net/news/poet-of-profound-inspiration

Shaheed Allah Bux Soomro

On 14 May 2016, we have organised a seminar in the memory of Shaheed Allah Bux Soomro. Premier of Sindh during British era. A man of vision, messenger of Interfaith Harmony great patriotic of the Asian subcontinent and above all his love for his motherland Sindh and Humanity. He sacrificed his life but did not compromise with exploiters who exploited religion for their personal interests.
His speech in Delhi in 1940 is a proof of his moderate, liberal and visionary opinion.

You are cordially invited. Venue: Arts Council Karachi, Sindh. Date: Saturday 14 May, 2016; Time: 4.30 p.m

Friends of Sindhu Civilization

The Indus raga: From Bulleh Ki Jana Mein Kon to Tarrin Paunda

BY NADEEM F. PARACHA

The Indus is one of the oldest and longest rivers in Asia. Though it originated in the Tibetan Plateau in China, much of it flows across Pakistan.

Over the centuries, a wide variety of cultures, languages and religions have sprung up on both sides of the Indus.

Five thousand years from the moment the first major civilisation emerged along the Indus, till the creation of Pakistan in 1947, various religions and cultures have thrived here: Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Islam. Each of these religions were indigenised.

Even though Islam has become the major faith along the Indus in the last 500 years, the dynamic history of the region has kept cultures largely heterogeneous and varied. A commonality was not attempted on the basis of a homogenous or monolithic idea of faith and culture here.

Rather those preaching Islam in the region — especially from the 12th century onward — absorbed existing cultural traditions that had evolved for thousands of years along the river, and, in turn, expressed them through the more esoteric strands of Islam (Sufism).

Historically, the strand of Sufism which emerged on the banks of Indus (especially in Punjab and all the way across Sindh), consciously eschewed religious orthodoxy and, at times, even rebelled against it.

The poetry and music that emerged from Sufi circles along the river is therefore largely a result of the theological, political and social tensions between Sufis and the orthodox ulema and clerics.

This is still the case, as we shall see while reviewing a series of songs related to the historical Sufi tradition along the Indus.

Read more » DAWN
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What I Learned Having Sex as a Young Woman in Pakistan

By Zahra Haider

Pakistan is an Islamic Republic with the highest porn-watching population in the world. That statement in and of itself signifies a particular aspect about Pakistani culture: we are horny and desperate for sex, but God forbid we actually engage in it. Sex in Pakistan is considered a taboo topic. Men generally aren’t judged for it in our patriarchal society but if a woman from a middle-class family or underprivileged background is caught having premarital sex, serious shit goes down.

Women from poorer backgrounds could be victims of various forms of premarital punishment. Punishing women for premarital sex started with former President Zia-ul-Haq’s dictatorship or “Islamization,” which incorporated Zina (stoning to death), andHudood (punishments such as whipping, amputation, honor killing) into Pakistani law. His government dismissed women’s rape accusations, instead labelling them as fornicators and sending them to jail. These draconian forms of punishment are slowly dying out, but still linger in the mentalities of fundamentalists, imams, and police officers. Shariah Law can also be blamed for many gender discriminatory policies in Muslim societies, such as the lack of support for freedom of speech, women’s rights, and, ultimately, human rights.

Even though I had engaged in sexual relations with almost a dozen people before coming to Canada for college in 2012, it wasn’t something I was open about, and looking back I realize my sexuality was still pretty deeply repressed. Due to all these restrictions on us during the horniest years of our lives, in statistically the horniest country (see the above porn stats) in the world, we were forced to get creative during post-pubescent adolescence.

Read more » Vice
See more » http://www.vice.com/read/what-i-learned-having-sex-as-a-young-woman-in-pakistan

What is the original script of the Sindhi language: Devanagari or Arabic?

Today we write Sindhi in Arabic script, but is it true that the original script of Sindhi is Devanagari?

 

Answer:

By Arvind Iyengar, Professional Student in Linguistics

The short answer is: There is no clear answer to this question.

The answer to your question also depends on when you think the Sindhī language came into being, since languages change at a rapid rate.

The language of Shāh ʿAbdul Latīf Bhiṭṭāī (1689 – 1752 AD), the ‘national poet’ of Sindh, might be quite difficult to understand for a speaker of modern Sindhī. Therefore, can Shāh Latīf’s language be considered Sindhī?

That said, those driven by linguistic pride often claim (usually without proof) that the yet unknown language of the Indus Valley Civilisation was actually Sindhī, and therefore, the script used on the Indus Valley seals must be the original Sindhī script (even though no one knows what the symbols mean).

On similar lines, there might be those who claim that (depending on their ideology) either Arabic or Devanāgarī is the original script of Sindhī, again usually without proof.

A Sindhī translation of the Qurʾān and of the Mahābhārata are believed to have existed as far back as the 11th century (assuming of course that one can safely call this language Sindhī). Whether these were written in a Brāhmī-based script or an Arabic-based script is not clearly known (Brāhmī is the ancestor of the modern Devanāgarī script).

By the early 1800s, it has been attested by several authors, both Indian and European, that there were several different scripts in use for Sindhī, including Haṭavāṇikā (or Kẖudābādī), Gurmukhī and of course Devanāgarī and Arabic.

Continue reading What is the original script of the Sindhi language: Devanagari or Arabic?

In-depth: Sindh destroyed, one calamity at a time

BY SHAMEEN KHAN

 

This documentary was shot in four districts of Sindh including Thatta, Badin, Dadu and Tharparkar. It aims to fill the knowledge gap between climate change and its gruesome effects on men, women and children.


The people of Sindh face an onslaught of natural calamities each year, and each year the story is the same. Countless homes are lost, children die or go missing, livestock is decimated.

But alongside natural disasters, manmade hazards have brought about a whole new host of problems that have destroyed the entire ecosystem.

“Most days when my kids ask me for water, I ask them to go to sleep instead.”

Read more » DAWN
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