The Hindu Daily Editorial Discussion 23/3/19 By - Ashish Singh
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Page 8 Page 9 When free speech is truly free What can India do to influence China on Masood Azhar? India-China dialogue has expanded but the two countries are not on the same page on terror Testing Israel's character Its true power is its capacity to make those in power accountable to those who don't have power Beyond the 'us-them' binary By calling the Christchurch attacker a terrorist,. The April election will determine whether Israel the New Zealand Prime Minister sent a powerful message Travesty of justice The Samjhauta blast case raises doubts about India's resolve to prosecute terror cases Back on track belongs to all its citizens or to the Jewish people alone .India and the Maldives must continue to build a shared strategic vision .world
Next stage in the Great Game GS PAPER 2 India and its Neighbourhood relations. PA TAN TNDIA
. As international talks with the Taliban leadership gain momentum, India's foreign policy establishment has gone through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. After the initial denial that several countries, including the U.S., Russia, U.A.E. Qatar and Saudi Arabia, were engaging with Pakistan in order to bring senior Taliban leaders to the table in late 2017, India protested against being cut out of the talks. It then negotiated to join them, followed by expressions of deep misgiving over where the talks would lead.
Valid concerns .The misgivings are well placed, and confirmed by the results of the last round of talks between U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban leaders in Doha (February 25-March 12). The talks appeared to be held on the Taliban's terms, and at a venue of its choice. Therefore, while clear agreements have been forged on the withdrawal of foreign forces and on not allowing Afghan soil for use by foreign terror groups, agreements on a comprehensive ceasefire and an intra-Afghan dialogue, once considered the minimum "redlines" or starting point of engaging with the Taliban, have now been made the last priority.
These talks have also broken the most important redline, that of being led by, or at least held with the full backing and knowledge of, the democratically-led government in Kabul. This became evident a few days ago. During a visit to Washington on March 14, Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib lashed out at Mr. Khalilzad for "delegitimising" the Ashraf Ghani government by carrying out talks in the dark,
Another reason for New Delhi's disquiet is that these talks continue without acknowledging a role for India, despite this being an expressly stated goal of Mr. Trump's South Asia policy. This week, Mr. Khalilzad's conference at the U.S. State Department to discuss "international support for the Afghan peace process, the role each party can play in bringing an end to the war, and progress to date in peace talks" included only special envoys from Russia,
Finally, there is the uncertainty for Afghanistan's future that these talks have wrought that worries India. . When talks with the Taliban began, the objective was to try to mainstream the insurgents into the political process, and at least have a working ceasefire by the time presidential elections, scheduled for April 2019, were held. The reality is far from that. The Taliban continues to carry out terror attacks in Afghanistan even as its leadership talks with the U.S. Despite the Ministry of External Affairs issuing a statement on the importance of holding the presidential elections, the Afghan vote has been further postponed to September 28.
New Delhi is worried about the prospect of chaos and civil war, akin to the scene after the previous U.S. pullout in the early 1990s that cut India out and brought the Taliban to power in Kabul with Pakistan's support. Despite the restricted room for manoeuvre, however, there are several steps New Delhi can and must take in the present scenario to ensure both its own relevance in Afghanistan and stability in the region.
Talks with Taliban To begin with, there is the question of talks with the Taliban, which India has thus far refused. In the recent past, the Modi government has shown some flexibility on the issue, by sending a "non-official" representation to the Moscow talks with the Taliban. After a visit to Delhi in January by Mr. Khalilzad, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat even suggested that India should "iump on the bandwagon" of engaging the Taliban.
The truth is, 2019 is not 1989, and much has changed inside Afghanistan as it has in the world outside. . While Afghan security forces have suffered many losses in the past year, it is unlikely that the Taliban would today be able to overrun and hold Kabul or any other big Afghan city as it did before. It also seems inconceivable that a "full withdrawal" of U.S. troops will include giving up all the bases they hold at present. Given technology, social media and the progress in education in Afghanistan since 2001 (the number of secondary graduates rose from 10,000 to more than 300,000 in 2015), it is also unlikely that the Taliban will be able to control the hearts and minds of Afghans if it were to revert to its brutal ways.
Finally, both India and Pakistan have a shared responsibility in building a dialogue over Afghanistan post-reconciliation. It is necessary that officials on both sides find a way to sit across the table on Afghanistan some day.
Bhagat Singh went to the gallows, along with two of his comrades, Sukhdev and Rajguru, on March 23.1931 Bhagat Singh stands out in bold relief as someone who, at a young age, defined nation and nationalism for us He had an alternative framework of governance, which is strongly reflected in the corpus of writings that he has left behind. Sadly, we hardly care to revisit this serious intellectual inheritance and only venerate him as a martyr. This veneration is laudable but incomplete.
lncisive commentary Singh was barely 1Z when he published his first article, in 1924, in Matwala, a Hindi magazine from Calcutta. . The subject was 'Universal Brotherhood', which was not a very easy issue to write on at such a young age. He imagined a world where "all of us being one and none is the other. It will really be a comforting time when the world will have no strangers." All those who are busy "othering" and creating strangers out of their own fellow citizens need to grapple with Bhagat Singh's views, instead of merely glorifying him as a martyr. 02
He emphatically exclaimed that "as long as words like black and white, civilized and uncivilized, ruler and the ruled, rich and poor, touchable and untouchable, etc., are in vogue there was no scope for universal brotherhood". He went on to say, "We will have to campaign for equality and equity. Will have to punish those who oppose the creation of such a World." Among the heroes of our freedom struggle, he was perhaps the only one who had this vision at such a young age. ISI
Inclusiveness came first The decade of the 1920s saw a rise in communal politics, from both Hindu and Muslim groups. However, Bhagat Singh steadfastly remained committed to the idea of a plural and inclusive India. He founded the Naujawan Bharat Sabha in Lahore in 1926, whose manifesto said, "Relizious superstitions and bigotry are a great hindrance n our progress. They have proved an obstacle in our way and we must do away with them. 'The thing that cannot bear free thought must perish
Bhagat Singh expressed his disenchantment with the politics of Lala Lajpat Rai, whom he and other youth otherwise venerated. He was not even remotely close to the political stature of Lalaji yet he had the courage and the conviction to publicly disagree with him Not many can do such a thing now. Bhagat Singh referred to Lalaji's growing proximity to the Hindu Mahasabha and other communal forces during the 1920s, and the older reader reacted to this in his speeches when some youth joined Bhagat Singh in expressing their concern.
We are quick to dub Europe as capitalist and don't think about their great ideas or pay any attention to them. We love divinity and remain aloof from the world.'" This is what an anarchist stood for, Singh reaffirmed; he was not a blood-thirsty young man who believed in the bomb and the pistol, as the colonial government labelled all revolutionaries. *Today, we need to remember his revolutionary ideas. Mere valorisation of his nationalism and ultimate sacrifice is true but sadly incomplete. In these rancorous times, his intellectual bequest should be a beacon to build a new India.
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