Tuesday, October 9, 2001,
Chandigarh, India






E D I T O R I A L   P A G E


EDITORIALS

Air raid on Afghanistan
I
T is war and this time in the immediate neighbourhood of India. There may be fallouts, unpredictable and totally unacceptable to this country. But New Delhi has no options and it was not consulted but merely informed of the missile attack an hour before it really began.

Laloo's real trial begins now!
B
IHAR supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav has tried to put up a brave face following the Supreme Court’s decision to transfer 36 cases of the infamous fodder scam to Jharkhand courts. But the development has rattled him. Whatever he might say, he will not find things as easy in Ranchi as he did in Patna.

This India and that
I
NDIA has many faces. Most of them are attractive because they represent the rich cultural and linguistic diversity of the country. But there is one face that is not merely ugly but disturbingly scary. It keeps showing itself in different shapes and forms, from time to time, in most parts of the country.



EARLIER ARTICLES

Blair’s blank words
October 8
, 2001
Concerted global effort needed to combat terrorism
October 7
, 2001
Hijack drama
October 6
, 2001
Saving the Taj
October 5
, 2001
After Taliban what?
October 4
, 2001
Killing spree unabated
October 3
, 2001
Madhavrao Scindia
October 2
, 2001
UN bans terrorism
October 1
, 2001
Kairon: Punjabi dynamism, American accent, lasting legacy
September 30
, 2001
India on the sidelines
September 29
, 2001
Dominant thinking in USA
September 28
, 2001
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
 
OPINION

American strategy against terrorism
Daunting challenges before India
M. L. Sondhi and Ashok Kapur
I
S the American campaign only against Osama bin Laden and the hardline Taliban? Or is it against international terrorism? Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee's letter to President Bush following the October 1 car bombing near the state legislature building in Jammu and Kashmir, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's public warning that Israel should not be treated as Czechoslovakia of 1938 deserve special attention.

MIDDLE

Aik Lamhe ka Sultan
Dharam Bir Sharma
I
T was the year 1950. The Bhakra Control Board had convened a high level Indo-Pak meet of senior officers to settle the river water dispute. The venue was Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. The Chairman of the Board was Mr C.L. Trivedi. The Secretary was perhaps Mr Gulati ISE.

REALPOLITIK

India and Bush’s Osama war
P. Raman
I
T is nearly a month since the Osama terrorists hurt American pride on that Black Tuesday. For about a fortnight, the air was thick with shouts of “retribution” and vows to bring Bin Laden “dead or alive”. 

  • Preeta Bansal gives up job

75 YEARS AGO


Akalis urge release of prisoners

TRENDS & POINTERS

Married to an Afghan, she faces threats
S
HE cooks for her husband, looks after the house, goes shopping and loves to write - apparently no different from any other Bengali woman. But Sushmita Banerjee is different — she eloped with and married an Afghan “Kabuliwala” (those who are in the moneylending trade) in 1989, lived in Afghanistan for seven years and suffered at the hands of the country’s ruling Taliban regime.

SPIRITUAL NUGGETS

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Air raid on Afghanistan

IT is war and this time in the immediate neighbourhood of India. There may be fallouts, unpredictable and totally unacceptable to this country. But New Delhi has no options and it was not consulted but merely informed of the missile attack an hour before it really began. President Bush called Prime Minister Vajpayee to tell him of the decision; it is somewhat meaningless in terms of concrete political relations but very significant in terms of diplomatic protocol. Then there was the sweetener in the form of an assurance that the USA will include the Maulana Masood Azhar-led Jaish-e-Mohammed in the list of 25 terrorist outfits banned in that country. There is no word about Lashkar-e-Toiba, the hyper active killing group in the Kashmir valley. Obviously, among terrorist groups there are some more equal than the others. Looking away from India’s urgent concerns, there are several aspects that are striking. The USA has learnt the right lessons from the impulsive Operation Desert Storm against Iraq in 1991. It was then an anti-civilian campaign in which vital bridges, hospitals and roads were destroyed. Anti-American sentiment soared and President Saddam Hussain emerged stronger. So, this time the joint American-British raids are concentrated only on military targets like airbases, radar facilities and Taliban headquarters. Civilian targets are out. Also, US military planes drop food packets and medicine in an unprecedented public relations exercise. The hope is that the common Afghan will welcome the assault since it brings in its wake food to a starving population in the grip of two years of drought.

Top US officials have unambiguously spelt out their war plan. Osama bin Laden is a secondary object. The primary aim is to topple the ruling Taliban regime and install a friendly government. The hope is that after sustained rocket attacks the fighting structure of the militia will crack with large sections either deserting the Taliban or joining the rival Northern Alliance. The Taliban will thus fade into memory and the incoming government will turn anti-Osama bin Laden and hand him over to the USA. There are many imponderables in this but the USA firmly believes in the ultimate effectiveness of this. The hectic attempts to woo the rag-tag Northern Alliance and convince ousted king Zahir Shah that he is the most beloved leader of Afghanistan and the only person who can unite the country are part of this grand plan. The USA is fighting its own anti-terrorist battle and India is not part of this. It has to fight it own terrorists and both British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President Bush have made this clear.
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Laloo's real trial begins now!

BIHAR supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav has tried to put up a brave face following the Supreme Court’s decision to transfer 36 cases of the infamous fodder scam to Jharkhand courts. But the development has rattled him. Whatever he might say, he will not find things as easy in Ranchi as he did in Patna. First of all, he would be less of a VIP in Jharkhand than he is on his own turf. Naturally, the scope to influence or coerce witnesses would be greatly reduced. But his real worry is that his capacity to run the Bihar government by remote control would be greatly reduced because the cases might entail endless trips to Ranchi in the days to come. And if he is arrested Jharkhand jails won’t provide him an opportunity to hold his Cabinet meetings right there behind bars. Bihar is the unique state where the Chief Minister herself is no more than a rubber stamp, a distinguished member of a so-called “kitchen Cabinet”. It is Mr Laloo Yadav who runs the show all the way. The arrangement worked just fine as long as the venue was Patna, be it inside the Beur jail or outside it. The perks and privileges that he enjoyed on the home ground might not be available under the NDA government of the neighbouring state, which was part of Bihar not too long ago. In fact, Mr Yadav might be ruing his decision to support the formation of a new state. His bravado that the RJD has an equally strong unit in Jharkhand sounds rather hollow.

While Mr Yadav has expressed his “full faith” in the judicial system, his supporters have gone to town spreading the rumour that the decision to transfer the cases was part of a sinister conspiracy to eliminate Mr Yadav in a Jharkhand prison. If this charge was made by ordinary workers, it would not have merited much attention, but both RJD national spokesman Shivanand Tewari and leader in the Lok Sabha Raghubansh Prasad Singh have repeated it. The attempt is obviously aimed at deflecting public attention away from the main issue but in the process the party has cast aspersions on the apex court itself. That only shows how desperate the Laloo camp has become. The former Chief Minister’s worries have increased further on realising that very few ministers have been visiting him after the latest Supreme Court decision. Mr Yadav has an impressive record of turning every adversity to his advantage. It would be interesting to watch if he can repeat the Houdini act yet again or whether he has finally met his nemesis.
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This India and that

INDIA has many faces. Most of them are attractive because they represent the rich cultural and linguistic diversity of the country. But there is one face that is not merely ugly but disturbingly scary. It keeps showing itself in different shapes and forms, from time to time, in most parts of the country. In the tribal belt of Bengal and elsewhere it shows up for instigating people into killing women for practising witchcraft. Last week it showed up barely 90 kilometres from Lucknow in a remote village where a seven-year-old child was sacrificed by his own uncle and aunt to please the local deity. That the ghastly incident occurred close to the city known for its refinement and good taste is not the only reason for expressing shock and horror. The more disturbing aspect of such crimes is their wide social acceptability among the local people. According to one report, the child was sacrificed by his issueless relatives at the prompting of a tantrik. In another account the villagers have been quoted as supporting the human sacrifice for saving them from the curse of an impending epidemic. The police has, of course, arrested the couple said to be behind the gruesome crime. The evidence against the couple may even result in their conviction. But what about the plight of the parents who lost their son? And the tantrik who sowed the seed of the evil of killing a child in the superstitious minds of two of his devotees?

It is evident that the latest incident of child-sacrifice is part of a larger malaise that has not received the attention it deserves. It would be instructive to find out the measures that the Centre or the state governments concerned have initiated for attacking and destroying the root cause of actions that have no basis in rational and enlightened think. Social reforms have been introduced in many fields by right-thinking individuals. However, nothing much has been done either by social reformers or state agencies for putting the fear of the law among bogus priests and charlatans who exploit the ignorance of the people. Perhaps, Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi, who is keen to cover the portals of education with all forms of vedic glory, should be requested to draw up a policy for freeing the country from the stranglehold of superstition. Why? Because it encourages the ignorant people to praise the obnoxious practice of sati and other forms of human sacrifice. It would be a pity if India is allowed to take its place in the global village without being made to shed its ugly and inhuman face that showed up last week in a village near Lucknow.
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American strategy against terrorism
Daunting challenges before India
M. L. Sondhi and Ashok Kapur

IS the American campaign only against Osama bin Laden and the hardline Taliban? Or is it against international terrorism? Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee's letter to President Bush following the October 1 car bombing near the state legislature building in Jammu and Kashmir, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's public warning that Israel should not be treated as Czechoslovakia of 1938 deserve special attention. They indicate that American coalition building with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is aimed at accommodating the interests and agendas of the two states which have supported key elements in the terrorist network that destroyed the World Trade Center in New York.

America, Pakistan and India have serious dilemmas. America needs Pakistan now because Islamabad offers diplomatic and other support in the fight against the Taliban, it carries American messages to Kabul and Kandahar. Pakistan is also important for logistical support and air passage for military strikes against Afghanistan. In return, the USA is paying Pakistan's asking price. Sanctions have been dropped quickly, although this was in the works before September 11. Talks are going on about economic and military aid and debt restructuring, and the USA is looking the other way regarding Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir. This is a weakness in the anti-terrorism campaign though justified for safeguarding American interests. Pakistan has also convinced America not to accept the Indian offer of port facilities for its warships or the offer of basing facilities for its aircraft. It does not hurt to be a rogue state as long as it is a useful one. Strategic necessity, not a democratic value system, is the basis of coalition building.

Pakistan's dilemma is of a different kind. Its military brass has two powerful Taliban supporters in former ISI chief Lieut-Gen Mahmood Ahmed and Lahore's 4 Corps Commander Lieut-Gen Mohammad Aziz. The latter was General Musharraf's Chief of Staff and the architect of the Kargil conflict. The ISI has a vested interest in the ongoing insurgency in the region. As its operations remain stalled in Afghanistan, Kashmir is the only available arena for the ISI. Save for Kashmir insurgency, the ISI has nothing to show for itself.

Afghanistan has failed to go in accordance with the scheme of the ISI only in the sense that the US-led coalition will now destroy the Taliban and Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network which have spread fundamentalism in Central Asia and fuelled the fighting in Chechenya. However, one must not forget that the USA in the past was interested in an accommodation with the Taliban for the safety of its oil pipeline through the area, and it was the Taliban which refused to cooperate. So, the USA and Pakistan (through the ISI) can still be in business in a post-Taliban Afghanistan, and one cannot rule out the possibility that American forces may stay longer in Central Asia after the crisis is over, just as they did in the Gulf region after Operation Desert Storm (1991).

In the post-Taliban environment, convergence between the US and Pakistan governments will be in the context of American military and economic interests in Central Asia. So, this may be the strategy for the ISI's future role in post-Taliban Afghanistan. In any case, it makes sense for the ISI to intensify its campaign in Kashmir and to keep the fires burning and its constituency intact within the Pakistani government and society. The ISI is not like a business corporation which is prepared to lay off employees in the face of a market downturn.

The ISI is a state within a state, and it has supporters in the upper reaches of the military as well as in its ranks. The military too has a strong incentive in promoting ISI-led Kashmir insurgency as a safety valve to let off fundamentalist steam in view of Pakistan having changed itself from being a Taliban-supporter to an anti-Taliban US supporter.

India's dilemma is that the USA may not be able to force General Musharraf to curb Kashmir insurgency (assuming that it wants to, and the BJP coalition is under intense pressure from the Congress party, the Leftists and some of its own constituents to curtail its pro-US tilt). Under the present circumstances, it appears that Jammu and Kashmir may not figure prominently in any Indo-US dialogue. The burden will be on the political and military leadership to make an independent assessment of the renewed insurgency in Kashmir in the context of America's actions and interests in relation to Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is the basis for coalition building, and one must be mindful that American international coalitions like the one in World War II with the UK, Stalinist Russia and the allies against Hitler are usually temporary and issue-driven. Such coalitions are rarely based on principles although they may be presented as principled ones.

After the disappointing Tony Blair visit to the subcontinent the importance of adequate diplomatic preparations by India cannot be overemphasised. The Government of India must take the public into confidence regarding the feasible policy options and strategies to ensure that Pakistan's influence in post-Taliban Afghanistan is kept in the balance, given the nature of Islamabad's involvement since the mid-eighties. India must insist on a complete elimination of the Taliban to enable a moderate Afghanistan to return to the family of nations. India must retain several strategic options to destroy the ISI-Taliban nexus .

India appears to have made a far-reaching commitment without finding out whether the USA and the UK will be prepared to bear the cost for the eradication of terrorism in Kashmir. At a time when the USA and the UK are publicising the activities of terrorist networks in the mass media, it is urgently necessary for Indian diplomacy to see things in both historical and comparative contexts. The Ministry of External Affairs must provide an authoritative data base about the strength, organisational support and sources of expenditure of the terrorist networks in the subcontinent. Simplistic and at times contradictory polemics about the terrorist problem will not help.

Appeasement will only make it more difficult to shape a strategically beneficial relationship with the USA. Vague and ad hoc diplomatic efforts can be dangerous without sorting out our priorities. Does India have the political leadership needed to seize the opportunity?

M.L. Sondhi is Co-Chairperson, Centre for the Study of National Security, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Ashok Kapur is Chairman, Department of Political Science, Waterloo University, Canada. 
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Aik Lamhe ka Sultan
Dharam Bir Sharma

IT was the year 1950. The Bhakra Control Board had convened a high level Indo-Pak meet of senior officers to settle the river water dispute. The venue was Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. The Chairman of the Board was Mr C.L. Trivedi. The Secretary was perhaps Mr Gulati ISE. India was represented by Mr Sarup Singh, Chief Engineer, Bhakra Dam, and Pakistan was represented by Mr Abdul Hamid and Mr Mehboob.

I was P.A. to the Secretary and was assigned the job of taking down minutes of the proceedings. I reached the site half an hour in advance with my shorthand notebook. I was accosted by a plumed, gold laced long flowing liveried peon looking like a Maharaja, Inquisitively, I requested him to show me round Rashtrapati Nivas and he readily agreed. Then I requested him to show me Rashtrapati’s office room and his office chair. He did oblige me. “May I sit in this chair for a moment”. “Oh sure” he quipped.

I sat in the chair and for a moment I felt I was on top of the globe. Some footsteps were heard and I instantly got up. Varied reveries flashed across my mind. First it was that of guilt. Why a pygmy status person should have ascended the throne of India? If somebody had seen me, how ludicrous it would have been? Then brushing aside self pity the idea came to my mind that I was for a moment un-notified, unseen head of the state (while ascending) and unsung unwept head of state while “relinquishing” the charge.

If the late Sir Ganga Ram as a child sat in the chair of his father’s boss (an executive engineer) and actually rose to the post of Xen, I could just as well aspire to be the President of India in my next life. At least a beginning had been made in this life!! Yesterday, I was with Baij Nath Sharma, my intimate friend, a recipient of awards from the PM and the CM for meritorious services and now a freelancer. I narrated to him this anecdote lying dormant in my bosom for the last 50 years. He inspired me to share it with the world. After all, I was Aik Lamhe ka Sultan, known only to myself, my God and the Chair alone.

The exhilaration I received for appointing myself the “President of India” far exceeds the joy I got from 50 gold medals I received in various veterans athletic meets round the globe.Top

 

India and Bush’s Osama war
P. Raman

A US Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber
A US Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber carrying air-launched cruise missiles in pods under its wings. B-52s, B-1 and B-2 stealth bombers were reportedly used in the attacks on Afghanistan. — Reuters

IT is nearly a month since the Osama terrorists hurt American pride on that Black Tuesday. For about a fortnight, the air was thick with shouts of “retribution” and vows to bring Bin Laden “dead or alive”. Every time George Bush screamed “make no mistake about it”, the world increasingly realised that in the present complicated geopolitics, elimination of the Taliban is going to be a long war of attrition.

If ordinary TV viewers have become cynical about the whole tamasha, Bush’s aides too were sharply divided over the strategy against the Taliban. The initial bravado was founded on the misconception that synchronised missile attacks and “carpet bombings” will flush out Laden from his hideout. At least at that point of time, this was the USA’s only objective. Warning came from within Pentagon about Afghanistan’s tricky terrain and ruthless adversaries. As in Vietnam, it is easier to get into a war than getting out of it.

Thus during the four-week period, the Bush administration went on revising its war strategy to suit diplomatic resistance and changing perceptions of the dangers of a ground war. Most Islamic allies dilly-dallied. Barring Tony Blair, other edgy EU allies remained hesitant. And so China. Incidentally, the most substantial support came from Russia and its CIS allies - for their own domestic interests. Unlike India, Musharraf played his card fairly well and wrested maximum concessions, giving out very little.

The latest US gameplan, which looks more practical and effective, is based on using the Northern Alliance of anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan as the mainstay of the armed offensive. Even before September 11, there have been moves in this direction. The USA and Russia had begun arming and training the Northern Alliance elements. Now the USA and the UK will use their unquestioned aerial power to destroy Taliban camps and hideouts to aid the advancement of the Northern Alliance forces. At selected places, the USA will also deploy its special forces.

The strategy, if works out well, suits all except Pakistan. Use of the rival Afghans against the Taliban in tricky ground wars will enable the USA to reduce the deployment of its own troops to the minimum. This is some thing domestically highly sensitive. An anti-war movement is already picking up in the USA. This has forced even its mainstream media to take note of the protests. A loss of its soldiers will make the protests shriller which no US President can ignore.

Friendly to Russia, an effective Northern Alliance will provide the former the much needed buffer and relief from the direct Taliban penetration into its Chechnya. Even China and the neighbouring CIS states - barring perhaps Turkmenistan - will welcome the replacement of the meddlesome Taliban by a more flexible regime. Under the plan, once the Northern Alliance seizes Kabul, the USA and its allies will formally install a friendly regime. The Northern Alliance has already agreed to accept the exiled king Zahir Shah as the head of the new regime. Once this is achieved, the USA hopes to ensure its survival by pumping in massive aid and arms to eliminate the remnants of Taliban.

Pakistan is one country that feels highly disturbed over the joint US-Russia-UK move. The Northern Alliance is opposed to Islamabad. The latter had expressed its ire over the USA move the moment it came to know about it. A suspicious US had accordingly reduced its operational dependence on Pakistan to the minimum. If the move succeeds, it can cut at the very roots of the existing terrorist network under Islamic fundamentalism with the Pak-Taliban combine as its mainstay. Musharraf has tried his best to scuttle the move.

Unfortunately, all the while there has been a deliberate move in the West to downplay the real dangers from the Pakistan-Taliban combine. The Taliban elements have been penetrating deep into all neighbouring countries with the intention of spreading its fundamentalist tentacles. Like Kashmir on this side, every CIS country and Russia have been waging a desperate battle against the fundamentalist groups. The Chinese authorities have been trying to exterminate the ethnic pro-Taliban groups in its Xinkiang tip. However, US oil MNCs, who have developed vested interests in the region and have working arrangements with the Taliban authorities, have constantly tried to shape up American policies for the region. This may not succeed now.

In the world community, the main opposition to the US move for a coalition to fight Taliban comes from those who believe that the UN is the best authority to undertake such a task. If one country, even if it is the only super power, is allowed to launch a war on another country, that will strengthen such a dangerous precedent already prevalent. This will give any country the authority to attack others on whatever pretext. Russia had initially taken this position but agreed to the US-led assault as it suited its objective of keeping Taliban from its borders.

As compared to others, the official Indian reaction has been rather amateurish and purposeless. A phone call from the USA left Jaswant Singh so thrilled that he instantly offered all facilities to the USA, including military.

This was before the Pentagon itself had decided its strategy. Every other country, especially Pakistan, had bargained hard at every stage. The Indian responses were in tune with Jaswant Singh’s unsolicited, instantaneous offers to the USA on its NMD and imports concessions under WTO. Incidentally, Indian fears on the new US sale of sophisticated arms to Pakistan had to be expressed by Murli Manohar Joshi.

So far, Musharraf’s claim that terrorism in Kashmir is “sacred” jehad had not been countered by the West. Its media still harps on this theme. Apparently, we are faced with a dubious, dual strategy on countering cross-border terrorism — the US gameplan based on its own geopolitics and a comprehensive world approach to eliminate all sorts of terrorism exports. The Vajpayee-Jaswant Singh dispensation has not adequately made it clear to the USA that there should be a simultaneous fight against all sorts of terrorism, including that of Osama bin Laden.

You cannot separate one Islamic terrorism from the other. More worrisome to India is that despite its ready support, there is still no guarantee that the USA will insist on an end to Pakistan support to the Kashmir terrorists once Laden has been captured “dead or alive”. This is where Indian diplomacy is found wanting.

Preeta Bansal gives up job

Preeta Bansal, the highest-ranking Indian American woman in public service, gave up her job as New York Solicitor General after the shocking US terror attacks, although the decision was not linked to it.

Bansal believes “the most effective public servants are often those who periodically walk away to reflect quietly on their core values.”

Bansal, whose office was a block away from the World Trade Center (WTC), said her decision was taken several months before the tragedy.

Bansal had earlier said she would not take up any job soon. She plans to take about a year off to “spend time with my family, teach a course on aspects of American constitutional law, think, read and write a bit about law and policy.”

She also hoped to do quite a bit of travelling but would “stay involved with numerous national policy, philanthropic and legal advocacy organisations.” Most of all, though, she would like to “relax.”

Attorney General Spitzer said: “Preeta always insisted upon intellectual honesty and excellence in the state’s legal work. She led and inspired many other lawyers within the department by thinking creatively and astutely on novel public law issues.” IANS
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Akalis urge release of prisoners

Amritsar
The Akali leaders in general have welcomed the withdrawal of notifications issued in 1923, proclaiming the SGPC and the Shiromani Akali Dal 'unlawful associations.' They are now contemplating to move Government to release the remaining Akali prisoners which they express will close the chapter of their struggle with Government. .... API
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TRENDS & POINTERS

Married to an Afghan, she faces threats

SHE cooks for her husband, looks after the house, goes shopping and loves to write - apparently no different from any other Bengali woman.

But Sushmita Banerjee is different — she eloped with and married an Afghan “Kabuliwala” (those who are in the moneylending trade) in 1989, lived in Afghanistan for seven years and suffered at the hands of the country’s ruling Taliban regime.

Soon after her marriage to Jaanbaaz Khan, she went to live with her in-laws in Sarana village near Ghazni in Afghanistan. When Sushmita reached Afghanistan, communist Najibullah was still ruling the country.

She still remembers that fateful day in 1992 when the Taliban troops entered the village and took shelter in a local mosque.

They went from house to house to say that they would bring back peace in the country and that if anyone tried to oppose them, they would kill that person. Sushmita has also not forgotton how they forcefully converted everyone in the village to Islam.

Unable to bear the “trauma” anymore, she tried to escape from Ghazni, but was caught by the Taliban and sentenced to death. But, finally she managed to escape from the Taliban firing squad by snatching an AK 47 rifle.

After returning to India, Sushmita wrote about her “horrible” days in Ghazni and how the ordinary Afghan men and the Taliban tortured women, in several books called “Kabuliwala’s Bengali Wife”, “Not a single word is a lie”, etc.

After reading the book “Kabuliwala’s Bengali Wife”, Ujjal Chakraborty, a Bollywood Director, asked Sushmita for her permission to make a film on her life.

She agreed and thus began the shooting of the English movie titled “Escape from Taliban”, with Manisha Koirala playing the lead role, in different parts of Leh and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir three months ago.

But in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the USA, Sushmita’s life took a turn for the worse.

Kolkata’s Afghan community came to know that Sushmita’s life had become a theme for a film. And after realising that once the movie gets released, the entire world will know what the Taliban did in the name of Islam, they started threatening both Sushmita and Jaanbaaz. They even asked Jaanbaaz to either divorce Sushmita or force her to stop the shooting of the film.

But it was too late for Sushmita to back out since she had already given her permission and had no legal option to withdraw it now that the shooting had begun.

Meanwhile, Jaanbaaz, who claims he loves his wife dearly and can’t imagine living without her, says that if Sushmita fails to stop the shooting, the Taliban will kill his entire family in Afghanistan. He says his family members have already called him several times, asking him to request Sushmita to withdraw her permission otherwise they will face dire consequences.

Sushmita has already consulted her lawyer and is trying to seek an injunction on the shooting even though she feels what she is going to do would be total injustice to the producer, director and other crew members, but she is also running out of options. ANI
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During meals exercise your will that your food should be properly digested and build for you a body in harmony with your spiritual aspirations, and not create evil passion and wicked thoughts. Eat only when you are hungry and drink when you are thirsty, and never otherwise.

***

If some particular preparation attracts your palate, do not allow yourself to be seduced into taking it simply to gratify that craving. Remember that the pleasure you derive from it had no existence some seconds before, and that it will cease to exist some seconds afterwards; that it is a transient pleasure, that that which is a pleasure now will turn into pain if you take it in a large quantities; that it gives pleasure only to the tongue, that if you are put to a great trouble to get that thing, and if you allow yourself to be seduced by it, you will not be ashamed at anything to get it; that while there is another object that can give you eternal bliss, this centering your affections on a transient thing is sheer folly.

—H.P. Blavatsky, Practical Occultism. "Some Practical Suggestions for Daily Life."

***

Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.

—Anthelme Brillatsavarin, Physiologic du gout, 4

***

Chastity is a wealth that comes from the abundance of love.

—Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds.

***

And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures.

For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

—Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

***

Never crave for material wealth, crave only for the Supreme Wealth, the Paramatma who will never leave you once you have attained Him. Happiness does not lie in riches, for such riches are evanescent; they exist today and may vanish tomorrow. True happiness lies in the Paramatma who is eternally existing.

—Hanumanprasad Poddar, Wavelets of Bliss
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