Extremely annoyed by constant poking of US Security agencies over President Barack Obama's visit to India for the occasion of Republic Day, Indian Government has decided to celebrate the event in Washington at White House. According to sources, the government has asked White House officials to convert Barack Obama's house into Red Fort for 3 days from where India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address to the world.
"Their (US security agencies) non-stop demands are now becoming nonsensical things yaar. This guy (Obama) is going to visit for 2-3 days and he wants to change the entire Delhi by 360 degrees. What nonsense? It is better Modiji visit US and address to the nation as well as world from White House. We have asked US agencies to make necessary arrangements in the remaining span of time. We also asked them to colour White House into red, so that feel will remain as Modiji and Pranabda are giving speech from Red Fort," said an official privy to the development.
The official confirmed that both, President Pranab Mukherjee and PM Narendra Modi are willing to spend some time in US to address people. They also asked the viability of taking all the people who planned to witness the event at Red Fort.
"Aakhir Delhi ki public ko bhi to US visit milni chahiye n," said the official.
Column – Sourajit Aiyar
Views expressed are entirely personal. Apologies for any unintentional offensive connotation
As the intensity and tenure of extreme cold wave increases each successive year in the subcontinent's northern fringes, the region of Kashmir faces one of the worst brunt of this phenomenon of climate change. This phenomenon, which has forced Indians in northern cities like Delhi, Chandigarh and Shimla pack up as many as four layers of woolens, now poses a realistic solution to the decades-long Kashmir conflict.
What is India-Pakistan Kashmir conflict?
The dispute over Kashmir started right after the 1947 independence, which saw British India break into India and Pakistan. The rulers of the individual Princely states signed instrument of accession towards either country (or for independence). Pakistan comprised of British India's Muslim-majority provinces, and hence it believed that Kashmir should have been part of it since the region was Muslim majority. However, Kashmir's royal family was Hindu, and its Hindu king, Hari Singh, signed the instrument of accession towards India as it wanted India to intervene when tribal fighters from the west (Pakistan) started making advances towards Kashmir. Controversies and opinions have differed on both sides, and hence it was born one of the longest-running regional conflicts in the world, with both India and Pakistan occupying areas of Kashmir.
What is the current climatic situation in Kashmir?
However, the phenomenon of global climate change, where increasing heat is melting glaciers and increasing sea-levels in some places, extended periods of extreme cold weather freezing up other places, and changes in rainfall patterns causing extended drought in other places. As the intensity and length of the cold weather increases in the regions straddling the Himalayas and HinduKush, it is becoming increasingly difficult for locals to survive in such extreme conditions. More and more people prefer the option of migrating to warmer regions further south, rather than staying to face the harshness each year. Needless to mention, the freezing temperatures has also played havoc with crop production and cattle farming for the poor farmer communities in rural Kashmir, adding to their misery.
In such a challenging scenario, both separatists and Pakistan are allegedly reconsidering their continued claims. Separatists are reconsidering independence since the region itself does not have adequate resources to manage the challenges posed by the weather if it becomes independent. In short, independence might turn out to be an extremely expensive proposition for them. Similar worries are impacting Pakistan's sentiments to call Kashmir part of its own, since the financial challenges of managing a region under extreme climatic stress is too much for a nation already reeling with domestic challenges in its provinces. Extended periods of extreme cold each year is also making China reconsider its plans to renovate its Xinjiang-Gilgit-Pakistan road infrastructure. Pakistan economy's overt dependence on China has been believed to be an underlying reason for Pakistan's claims to the region, since it would ease Pakistan-China connectivity. Hence many believe that as China's interest wanes due to the high cost of constructing in the extreme weather in Gilgit and north-west Kashmir, Pakistan's interest is also reducing as a whole.
So how Kashmir conflict will resolve?
In this situation, the continuance of the conflict might see an eventual end if the separatists and Pakistanis are unwilling to take the financial responsibility of managing a region suffering under extreme climatic stress. The catalyst creating this situation, i.e. global climate change, is itself a serious challenge and no cause for joy. However, if it reduces a decades-long conflict, that itself might be a small benefit for the region.
P.N. – After reading this column, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appointed our columnist Mr. Sourajit Aiyar in-charge of merging Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) into Indian Kashmir.
Inspired by Dera Saccha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's movie debut in Messenger of God (MSG), Pope Francis has decided to venture with PK's director Rajkumar Hirani's next venture to bring anomalies of all the 'other' religions in very light and subtle ways. Pope has confirmed this news and said that the movie would not be man-made but god-made.
"Just today I have seen extraordinary and totally divine movements of Sir Ram Rahim Singh. It inspired me so much that I immediately demonstrated few of my mysterious moves to my good friend Doctor Alberto Gasparri like punches or flying in the air like Superman, etc. I also called Sir Jesus (Jesus's name popularised by Yash Chopra in Western World) from my special phone and asked his permission for demonstrating these qualities publicly. To show them in proper way I plan to release a movie on myself," Pope Francis told India Satire correspondent on phone.
Pope told the correspondent that he would like to introduce concepts such as 'Pope Fundamentalism' and 'God-made vests and briefs (Chaddi Banyan)' in this film. Pope also confirmed that he would maintain his modern Pope image and would wear new age man-made clothes
He said "I am in touch with director Raj Kumar Hirani who directed P.K. I really liked P.K. and satire on all the other religions and faiths. I think only Hirani could direct me well. The idea of this movie would be simple. Anybody who criticizes or makes fun or pokes or satires any other religion other than all the other religions he would get a big punch. It is simple and will develop a new idea 'Pope Fundamentalism'. I will also put few other issues such as how man-made things are hurting climate and bringing global warming. I asked Hirani to develop something humorous that will promote the idea of using Godmade things. He immediately told me that for a starter we will bring God-made vests and briefs (chaddis and banyans) in the movie."
Pope also contacted Ram Rahim Singh, asking why he didn't choose to put Jesus among all these characters of his name. He suggested to put Ram Rahim Jesus Singh, although Dera Saccha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh told him that he considers Jesus is in his heart.
When India Satire correspondent called Hirani to confirm the news, Hirani's secretary told the correspondent that he was busy in selecting words in hindi to reflect best punch for word or action 'punch'.
"Few punchlines like ***** maa*na or ***** pe ***th are the best to use instead of action or word 'punch' for the movie's Hindi version. It's like if somebody mocked my faith then 'g***d m**o u**i'," said the secretary.
(S.N.: Pope Francis could use all his rights to punch writer's photos)
Every city has a story behind its name. Some stories are historical due to significant events or situations related to that area. Some derived their names from famous personalities, real or mythological, while some from the people who settled there. Some names were the original ones, while some evolved over time. For example: Mumbai derived its name from the local goddess Mumbadevi, while the city's colonial-era name, Bombay, is believed to have derived from the Portuguese word for 'Good Bay', after the Portuguese arrived. Buenos Aires comes from the Spanish word for 'Good Air', after the fresh, undiluted air of the open Steppes. Ho Chi Minh City is named after the famous Vietnamese statesman. Singapore basically means 'Land of the Lion'. This word has connections to the Indian language, probably an impact of the Indian labour that moved there to work in the plantations in the Malay peninsula. Had the Americans arrived in Singapore earlier, it might have been known as Rafflesville today after Sir Stanford Raffles. Dhaka is believed to have got its name from the ancient Dhakeshwari Temple, built by Bengal's Sen dynasty. Islamabad comes from the words Islam and Abad. Abad means place or base, hence Islamabad connotes Place of Islam. Kathmandu derives its name from Kaath ka Mandap, the Hindi word for "wood-covered structure", a famed structure in the city's historical Durbar Square complex. Boston and New York get their names from the English towns of Boston and York respectively, possibly the origins of the settlers who migrated to those areas. Kolkata gets its name from the three villages that originally occupied that area. Rome is named after Romulus, the founder of the new city. Leopoldville, the original name of modern-day Kinshasa, is after Belgium's King Leopold, after the Belgians colonized central Africa.
But these are derivations that are known to be essentially true. Some other derivations can be thought of by stretching the human imagination, even if the results might be grossly inaccurate (and sometimes a tad offensive). For example: one might say that Warsaw is thus name because it 'Saw many Wars'. That might well be true, if one looks at Polish history in the 20th century. The name Kuala Lumpur might be so if Lumpur meant Bear in Bahasa Malaya. Perhaps Koala Bears migrated to Australia along with the hordes of P.R. seekers. Madras, the earlier name of Chennai, was perhaps because everyone was in a Mad-Rush to see Superstar Rajnikant's movies. Cairo's origin 'Qahira', might well be a derivative of quarry. That may not be surprising if digging all the rocks to build the mighty Pyramids resulted in deep quarries in the Egyptian countryside. The fact that Maldives has always had men as its Head of State, probably resulted in its capital being called Male. Most US cities have names similar to several European or Asian cities. Perhaps the Americans had already forecasted that the US Military would eventually be present in several countries due to the Cold-war, Terror-war, etc. Hence, it made sense to have recognizable names as it would make life easier while writing home. Johannesburg (i.e. Place of Johannes) gives a sense of exclusivity. Whoever Johannes was, there is no other town on earth whose name comes even close to Johannes. This sense of exclusivity possibly seems in line with South Africa's Apartheid history, when the whites tried to show themselves as an exclusive group. Kingston means King's Town, which sounds cool. That may make sense since everything about the Jamaicans is cool - their music, rum or cricketers. Lucknow sounds appropriate, considering life seems to run totally on luck in the UP badlands. Breaking the name of Lahore into two-parts would suggest the profession practiced by 'loose women'. But that would be downright offensive and hence, my sincere apologies in advance for this horrible twist of the English language. Moscow is possibly from 'Moss-Cow'. The bitter cold probably pushes its milkmen into hibernation during the winter, and hence this prolonged non-usage leads to the cows developing moss around the shady udder-area as it got dampened by snow-slush. Paris probably got its name from the 'purring' sound lovers are supposed to make when talking fancy-nothings to each other in a romantic setting. That might explain why it is called the City of Love. Canberra is where the Aussies have cans of beer (or maybe cans of berries). Berlin probably got its name from the music band of the famed hit, Take my Breath Away. In some ways, that's precisely what the World-war and Cold-war did to the city. Japanese names like Osaka, Tokyo, Yokohama, Kawasaki were probably what the Judo and Karate masters screamed at each other to scare the opponent away. Dakar means burp in Hindi and it's a bit mysterious how Senegal in west Africa named its city after the Hindi word for burp. Phnom Penh was probably where Sean Penn's great-great-grandfather was born. Ouagadougou was probably named thus because its numerous military coups made its governments' tenures 'all-ouagadougou'. Dubai sounds fancy when you pronounce it as 'Dubaaayy', by extending the second part. That might be okay since everything about Dubai is fancy – glittering buildings, reclaimed islands and city-sized malls. Hong Kong was probably where King Kong loved climbing Centrals' skyscrapers. The less said the better about Dildo and Intercourse, cities in Canada and USA respectively. There might be similar other inaccurate (and offensive) derivations one might make from other cities in this world.
But this brings us to the actual topic – how did Bangkok get its name? Some suggest the name is after its famous (or infamous) lady-boys, who pose as women. Some suggest its because it's a cheaper alternative to Amsterdam for tourists. Both suggestions sound offensive, considering it is a place with rich history, culture, serenity and scenery. There are connections of the word Bangkok to the Makok fruit or Koh islands, though these remain unclear. The actual origin of the name still remains a puzzle!
(Story reported by our special correspondent Sourajit Aiyer. By the way, moderator of this site 'Charlie' is banging his head after reading and publishing this story.)