Archive for January, 2010

Book Brings 51 Assamese Sports Persons Together

January 31, 2010

assam sportst Two young journalists of Assam wrote a book, first of its kind, on the life and achievements of 51 Assam’s sports persons who represented India in international events.

By Manas Pratim Sarma

Writing A sports article might not be a difficult task. But writing a book on sports is not an easy achievement. And if the book covers a whole range of sportspersons from various fields, it would be marked as a treasure for generations to come.

Two young journalists of Assam have made a remarkable contribution by publishing a book on sportspersons of Assam, who represented the country in different sports arenas.

It is a dream come true for Jintu Barthakur and Chiranjib Sharma when their hard work was highly praised not only by the sports fraternity of North East but also by people from other walks of life. “Antorjatik Krirakhetrot So-ta Dashakar Asomiya” (Assamese Sportsperson on International Platform Over Six Decades) is the result of the hard work and the commitment of Jintu and Chiranjib. Assamese sportsmen have a glorious past, a colorful present and a promising future.

From the time of the magical shots of the first International Assamese footballer T. Ao (captain of the Indian team,1948 London Olympic) to the time of the sensational archer Jayanta Talukdar, many Assamese players have brought home many international awards, thus bringing glory to the nation. The book covers the careers and lives of 51 players who represented India in various Olympic Sports at various times.

“We tried to cover the lives of different Assamese sportspersons who represented India. We thought it was the best option to introduce the sportsmen over six decades (by writing the book)”, Said Jintu. But the job was not so easy. It took almost 3 years to give the final touch, added Jintu, who is also a sport journalist of a leading daily of Assam.

“We traveled extensively to interview many sportsmen”, said Chiranjib, the co-author of the book. The book included Bhogeswar Barua, Fariha Zaman, Babul Phookan, Krishna Dekaraja, Madhurjya Barua, Monalisa Barua Mehta and many others. In addition, the Assamese players who had represented India in various non-Olympic events get credit for their glory in a special section of the book.

The unique effort of Jintu and Chiranjib had been appreciated. Demand for the book has been increasing since it was released. “This book is very special as no such step has been taken earlier to bring these stars on single platform”, says R J Duori. After the overwhelming response, the writers are now planning to hit the market with the second edition of the book.

Oil India Willing to Take Over ONGC Assam Oilfields

January 31, 2010

Oil_India_Ltd New Delhi, Jan 31 : As Government mulls hiving off Oil and Natural Gas Corp’s Assam oilfields, state-owned Oil India has said it is willing to take over the assets and can run the fields more efficiently than that the current owner.

“There is no probability, we will definitely be able to run them (Assam oilfields of ONGC) better than anyone else,” OIL Chairman and Managing Director N M Borah told a news conference here.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has suggested that ONGC explore the possibility of hiving off its Assam assets into a wholly-owned subsidiary. The proposal is aimed at improving the productivity of ONGC’s Assam operations.

ONGC produces 1.1 million tons of crude oil annually from the Assam fields employing over 4,000 personnel. On contrast, OIL used 6,500-odd employees to produces 3.

ULFA Talks: RSS Rules Out Compromise on India’s Sovereignty

January 31, 2010

mohan bhagwat “RSS keeps away from politics. Hindutva teaches tolerance and acceptance”: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

New Delhi, Jan 31 : RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat today echoed the government’s stance on peace talks with the ULFA, stressing that the country’s sovereignty and unity are non-negotiable.

“The sovereignty, unity and security of the country cannot be negotiated with. Talks are held under peaceful conditions and not by fighting. So the discussions have to be within this parameter,” Bhagwat told reporters here.

On various ethnic and insurgent groups demanding autonomy or separate states by balkanizing Assam, he said, “The country is one and it is only for administrative convenience that states were made.”

To queries on steps by the RSS to stop the alleged large-scale conversion activities of Christian missionaries in the northeast, he said, “Conversion is either by lure or force. Earlier, there was no resistance from the people. But now people are alert and we are creating awareness about it.

“As progress brings about awareness, the RSS, besides the government, is helping the development activities of the country. If people are alert, they cannot be converted and lose their cultural identity.”

The RSS chief said Hindutva was also a way forward for stopping conversion as it awakened awareness in society.

India has evolved a unique social system having a distinct view of life with values in society. On this basis, Hindutva is for unity in diversity, people of different cultures to live together, smaller identities live harmoniously as a part of a larger identity. This is Indian culture,” Bhagwat said.

On reports about missionaries indulging in child trafficking in the northeast, Bhagwat said poverty was being exploited and this had to be stopped through strict measures.

Discounting Shiv Sena’s claim that Mumbai was for Marathi Manoos only, the RSS chief said, “Mumbai is for all Indians. People of all languages, communities, tribes are children of India…Nobody can prevent Indians from moving to any part of the country in search of employment.”

On the unabated illegal migration of Bangladeshis into Assam, he said “The Supreme Court and the Foreigners Act are clear on who is a foreigner. The infiltrators are a danger to our economy and culture.”

He said the government has not taken the issue seriously. “Its first job is to protect the sovereignty, unity and security of the country. Vote considerations weigh heavy on taking measures against infiltrators. Problem delayed is solution delayed as it has a negative impact on security.”

Asked if the RSS made distinctions between Hindu and Muslim Bangladeshi infiltrators, Bhagwat said, “Under the Foreigners Act, all coming voluntarily, irrespective of religion, are foreigners. Those thrown out from there are refugees and are to be treated accordingly as per law.”

The RSS had begun a public awareness campaign on the foreigners issue as it was the only way within the democratic limits, he said.

On Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi taking a broadside at UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origin, Bhagwat said, “RSS keeps away from politics. Hindutva teaches tolerance and acceptance.”

Alex Reid is The Celebrity Big Brother

January 31, 2010

alex-reid-celebrity-big-brother Alex Reid, the cage-fighting boyfriend of glamour model Jordan a.k.a. Katie Price, has won Celebrity Big Brother. The 34-year-old emerged victorious with 65.9 per cent of the public vote with singer Dane Bowers getting the second place with 34.1 per cent votes.

Football hard-man turned Hollywood actor Vinnie Jones came third with 20.2 per cent votes. Channel 4 have announced that this was the last celebrity version of the series which will be made.

After been adjudged winner, Reid, who was booed by crowds as the show got under way, said, “I love Katie Price. I really love her.” Jordan was thought to be at the studio to greet him. She sensationally dumped Reid on ITV reality show I”m a Celebrity … but the pair are thought to have got back together before he went into the house.

Channel 4 have announced that this year’s series of Celebrity Big Brother will be the last, although the regular version featuring members of the public will return in the summer.

Meghalaya Has Two Chief Ministers Now

January 31, 2010

20030328007101606 Shillong, Jan 31 : Meghalaya now has two Chief Ministers: Congress leader D D Lapang and the party’s state unit chief Dr Friday Lyngdoh.

An official press release recently said the Meghalaya government has promoted Deputy Chief Minister Friday Lyngdoh to the rank of the chief minister.

Lyngdoh is the Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president.

“The rank and status of Lyngdoh has been upgraded from the rank of deputy chief minister to that of chief minister. He shall continue to function as political advisor to the Chief Minister,” the official notification read.

“Lapang is the real chief minister, while Lyngdoh is chief minister without any power,” a senior Meghalaya minister loyal to Lapang was quoted by news agency as saying.

“In Meghalaya everything is possible. You are with one party at lunch, have dinner with a different party and are with a third party for breakfast. That is why there is so much instability in the state,” said A Lyngdoh, a tribal community leader.

Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari told a TV channel, “I don’t think constitutionally it is impermissible. There is a chief minister and another has been given the rank of chief minister.”

Religion in Nagaland Newspapers

January 31, 2010

An outstanding feature of the conflict framing seen in newspapers here is the fact that it is rooted in Christian theology. What makes journalism in Nagaland unique is that what is acceptable here would not be acceptable in most other parts of an officially secular country.

By Sevanti Ninan with Athili Anthony Sapriina

Kohima Cathedral Kohima Cathedral

The media is a significant player in any region with a history of ongoing conflict, violent or otherwise. What makes journalism in Nagaland unique is that what is acceptable here would not be acceptable in most other parts of an officially secular country.

The outstanding feature of the conflict framing seen in newspapers here is the fact that it is rooted in Christian theology and that is accepted as the norm.

Editorials are written invoking Biblical injunctions. Guest contributions are frequent written by priests. Politicians exhort the people using a biblical context.

There is therefore a substantial component of religious contextualizing, even exhortations, in the daily press.

Such as, On our part, we sincerely regard the reconciliation process as a channel of blessing to the Nagas and shall honor the ‘Covenant of Reconciliation’. We shall not be found wanting in our quest for peace.

Col. Levi Zimik

PRO/IPR Naga Army

Posted on Friday, October 02, 2009

Or,

NPMHR questions factional feud

The Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) also expressed deep anguish and disgust at  the recent ‘reappearance of armed clashes and killings of cadres between the two NSCN(s) groups in Tirap district Arunachal Pradesh on March 12, 2009 and around Bhandari in Wokha, Nagaland on March  14, 2009. ‘Whatever may be the justification or counter allegations made by both groups, NPMHR questions the factional feud and considers it as going against the spirit of turning swords into ploughshares’, stated a press communiqué’ issued by Dr. N. Venuh, Secretary General of the NPMHR.

March 18, 2009 Morung Express

Religious sentiments, predominantly Christian, has always been the binding and also the reconciling factors in the Naga society and there has always been underlying religious influence on Naga nationalism. Newspapers in Nagaland bring a faith-based theme to the Naga conflict when they  highlight the role of religion in the Naga issue.

Naga society is stepped in Christianity and the Church is a major influence on society. Christian religion is synonymous with Naga nationalism, even with the NSCN-IM carrying the slogan ‘Nagaland for Christ,’ which Th Muivah, Secretary of NSCN-IM said in an interview was the ‘manifestation that Nagas can never part with their faith in Christ the savior.’

Newspapers editorials on the Naga issue oft underscore the religion theme. A Nagaland Post editorial ‘A time to heal,’ stresses that the common Christian faith is the common bond that brings different Naga tribes together.

‘The Church therefore plays a vital role as a mediator for reconciliation. Biblically, the first step towards reconciliation is repentance before God and to seek forgiveness. From those who have been wronged and willingness to forgive by those who have been wronged.’

A significant proportion  of the conflict or peace process coverage in Nagaland is also through primary texts, or the actual speeches and writings of the actors  involved, often reproduced in full. One consequence of this is that newspapers become an unmediated medium, with the framing, which is frequently theological, remaining intact. For instance The Naga Forum for Reconciliation comprising of apex tribal bodies and organizations, set up in February 2008, uses newspapers to communicate its goals. In February 2009 when the Forum organised the Naga Convention for Reconciliation and Hope, the Forum’s convener Wati Aier made a speech which was carried in full by local newspapers, and which set out thus, his exhortation to all Nagas.

The FNR greets each of you in the name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ!

On this momentous day, I humbly stand before the Naga people with awe:

‘ That God is sovereign and Lord of all nations and peoples and powerfully present in our midst!

‘ That the Naga spirit is alive and kicking! Your presence here this morning proves it all.

‘ I am in awe, to realize that the future of the Nagas is right here, at our disposal to be ushered in by the Nagas themselves!

Therefore, this is a decisive moment for us. What we decide here is going to be important. Let no one go away from here without making a fresh commitment to the Naga cause, indeed to our destiny.

When Aier is given conventional reporting treatment however, it comes across like this:

According to the forum?s convener, Rev. Dr. Wati Aier, the Naga Convention for Reconciliation and Peace will be a time for the Nagas to look at the current difficulties and ‘trying to figure out as to where do we go from here’.

The meeting will dwell on reconciliation while also acknowledging and supporting the Naga political talks, on with the centre. ‘We are not saying that the talks (Indo-Naga talks) should stop and reconciliation must happen. But we want that both the talks and reconciliation must be given equal emphasis’ Dr. Aier said.

(Morung Express, 24 February, 2009)

It could be argued therefore that from an activist peace journalism point of view a Naga newspaper is being a more effective  instrument for peace when it is functioning as an unmediated platform, rather than when it is practicing journalism.

Here are more examples of  articles from newspapers with  a religious theme.

An appeal for prayer by Arshing Sankhil, General Secretary, Council of Nagalim Churches MIP/GPRN (Nagaland Page -December 2, 2009)

Excerpts– As the council of Nagalim Churches brings this appeal at your door step, we bring it along with Christmas greetings at your home. ?May the joy of peace by upon you.

We would like to appeal to all the national workers to ardently uphold in prayers with fasting the following mentioned points on December 6, Sunday 2009, the National Fasting Day of the month

The collective leadership, that the leading hand of God may continually uphold them as they lead the Naga people along the way towards destination.

The Forum of Naga Reconciliation that God may lead and direct them in their every move for Naga Reconciliation process.

The Government of India and its rulers/leaders that God may give them courage, strength and wisdom so that they do not fail in their part of responsibility in solving the Indo-Naga political issue and inter-relation of the two nations

When compromise is an evil- Thepfulhouvi Solo (Nagaland Post, December 5, 2009)

Excerpts- Killings in Nagaland is said to have decreased because of forgive and forget good works of the peace workers. It is so through the prayer of the faithful but not wholly so. Normalcy seems to be descending on Nagaland because the violent parties have seen what has happened to terror Prahakaran and his world famous world?s greatest suicide organizations.

The sense of ‘forgive and forget’ not origination from the heart is not forgiveness. The Church and Churchmen in particular emphasizes the heart and not the head.

Culture of Violence- Morung Express Editorial (December 2, 2009)

Excerpts– We professes to be a Christian state and people but we have failed to live accordingly. This is our collective failure. Let us all bow our heads in shame.. But how long will we shame our self.

The right thing should be done at the right time- by Rev L Souhie Mhasi/ Readers Mirror- Letters & Views (Eastern Mirror, October 17, 2009)

Excerpts– Praises be to the God and thanked be to the leaders of the FNR for stoppage of killing. The agreement for reconciliation should be materialized whereby the reconciliation should be a holistic reconciliation.

Who is hampering peace and unity to prevail? By Reverend Vicahakielie Perheilie Khruomo, Founder, Christian Democratic Party. (October 28, 2009, Eastern Mirror /Readers Mirror)

Excerpts– Dear Nagas, who is hampering peace and unity to prevail in our land? Is it the money seekers? Is it the fame seekers? Or is it because of those who wrestle for leadership?

Whether NSCN-K, NNC or Federal, every factional leader are deeply concerned to unite Nagas and make them one. Among the Nagas, there have been lots of disunity, hatreds and killings and indulging in various sinful practices. Therefore, on the National Fasting and Prayer programme, NSCN (IM) General Secretary Th Muivah asserts that one of the greatest enemy is sin. Thus, unless we confess our sins and commit no more, it will devour the Nagas.

The Voice of God to Naga Freedom Fighters ? Imsu Jamir, Healing Prayer Centre (June 18, 2009-Eastern Mirror/Readers Mirror)

Excerpts– ‘The Naga freedom fighter should lament bitterly thus says the Lord. You are searching peace and freedom but you are the destroyer of peace and freedom. Your efforts to achieve peace and freedom are getting lost and weakening every day because you have killed many innocent children of God whose voice have reached heaven thus say the Lord.

Therefore, I will curse you and even your children because you have committed unforgivable sin against God. Therefore some clans and groups who defile God shall be completely wiped out from existence thus say the Lord.

If the Nagas do not revive themselves and turn to God, your land shall become a land without human beings thus say the Holy Spirit- Mathew- 24:35 Luke- 21:33

Covenant of Reconciliation- Forum for Naga Reconciliation (FNR) (June 15, 2009 All local papers)

‘Having been deeply convicted by God’s call in Christ, and the voice of the Naga people, we hereby solemnly commit before God to offer our self to Naga Reconciliation and Forgiveness based on the Historical and Political Rights of the Nagas.

We resolve to continue to work together in this spirit of love, non violence, peace and respect to resolve outstanding issues amongst us.

Furthermore, we exhort and call upon other Naga groups to join us in Reconciling with each other?

The Morung Express had the following poll whose results  goes against all of the above:

Do you Consider Nagaland as a Christian State ? Morung Express Polls

The Result

Yes  15 percent

No    67 percent

Others 18 percent

In this state forgiveness, soul searching and reconciliation for the Naga political issue always seems to be articulated in religious terms. From the articles contributed by readers to the local news papers with regard to the Naga political issue, there is always a point made on religion and faith. But the fact that the Naga ‘national workers’ as the cadres are called, do  not follow the ideologies and principles of Christ’s teaching has been an issue for  many readers. 

They wonder why the Naga national workers cheat, extort and kill their brethren, when they profess to be working for the freedom of the land and  its people, under  the benevolence and direction of God.

Really Clever Healthy Food Packaging

January 31, 2010

Stereotype by Daizi Zheng is a series of creative food packaging designed to encourage people to change their bad eating habits. The project includes carrot sticks packaged like cigarettes, blueberries in a blister pack, and celery sticks in a familiar french fry carton.

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While this clever packaging tactic may encourage people to rethink their relationship with healthy food, those blueberries have to be hard to pop out without making a mess.

Via Toxel

Sikkim Promotes Village Tourism

January 31, 2010

By Tashi Pradhan

sikkim Gangtok, Jan 31 : Endowed with spectacular scenic beauty, Sikkim is harnessing its natural bounty for sustainable development through village tourism.

Sikkim is considered as one of the most peaceful and fastest developing states of Northeast India.

In a bid to further develop its economy, the first Winter Village Festival was held at Assam Lingzey village in Gangtok with the aim of promoting Village tourism to boost its revenue generation mechanism.

During the festival, villagers of the area got an opportunity to exhibit their products and resources besides presenting the unique traditions and distinctive cultural features of the Sikkimese society to the visitors.

“We want to introduce eco-friendly tourist spots. We will be able to supply organic based products. Once we start working in this sector, we will be able to encourage local people in tourism sector.” Amrit Rai, member, organizing committee, Winter Village Fest.

Different government departments, self-help groups, NGOs and Panchayat units set up around 32 stalls that showcased traditional Sikkimese food, exotic flowers and crafts of the state.

The main attractions of the event were Adventure sports like rock climbing and cultural shows.

“This type of program will definitely attract tourists from outside. They will get the benefit of knowing new traditions, cultures and people of different types. We can interact,” said Kamala Rai, a local.

The Sikkim Government is aiming to build more traditional houses in model villages with suitable modern amenities so that tourist can experience the rural lifestyle of the state.

Assam’s Picnic Spot Chawki Attracts Tourists as Insurgency Recedes

January 31, 2010

By Peter Todd Alex

chawki Guwahati, Jan 31 : Nature has been generous to Assam by providing it with amazing natural beauty. And, as insurgency declines, people are making their way to various tourist spots across the state.

Chawki, an upcoming picnic spot at Uttarkuci in Baksa district of Assam, is attracting hundreds of people from across the state.

Filled with immense scenic beauty, lush green mountains and meandering rivers that cross its diversified landscapes, the place is a picnickers treat.
The minimum entry fee is charged from every picnic party and the revenue collected is utilized for the maintenance of the place.

Located at the Indo- Bhutan Border, Chawki was once affected by militant activity, but But as normalcy returns, so do tourists.

“Nowadays, there are less and almost no disturbances in the area. Insurgency problem is lessening here. So, people are coming here peacefully,” said Dipak Kalita, a visitor.

A local NGO “Manas Sousi Khongkhor Eco-Tourism Society” comprising of local youths, some of them ex-militants who have laid down their arms and others ex-poachers, have taken the responsibility to develop Chawki and its adjoining areas.

The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), has its base-camps in the area and this also helps to maintain peace in the area.

“After the NDFB and the ULFA moved out from here, this place has become very peaceful. As the place is beautiful, people are coming here for picnics. An NGO has opened up and developed this place. Poor people from the area like us can now earn money by doing business,” said Sulkal Daimary, a local vendor.

The revival of normalcy has not only brought back visitors to Chawki but has also generated business for the local residents who are extremely happy with the changes that have taken place.

Map picture

Aggrieved Mizoram Cabbies Approach Court

January 31, 2010

mizoram taxi Aizawl, Jan 31 : Taxi owners and drivers have moved to the Gauhati High Court against the Mizoram government’s order for rotational service for Aizawl taxis.

Zoram Taxi Drivers’ Association (ZTDA) sources said here today that the cabbies filed an FIR with the Aizawl bench of Gauhati High Court against the order which came into effect from September 14 last year.

After hearing on the case, the high court served show cause notice to the state government of Mizoram, state transport commissioner, state home secretary, SP (Traffic), secretary of state transport authority, traffic management committee and secretary of ZTDA.

In a bid to ease the increasing traffic snarls in the city, the government had proposed rotational service for the taxis from September 14, 2009, according to which each taxi has four days a week, excluding Sundays, to operate.

There are about 400 taxis in Aizawl.