Friday, October 25, 2013


A gwala (cattle herder) named Budhi Ram was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Himachal when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust. 

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, Will you give me a calf?"  
Budhi Ram  looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, Why not?" 
The yuppie parks his car, whips out his macBook Air computer, connects it to his iphone, and surfs to a NASApage on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. 
The young man then opens the digital photo in iPhoto and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg , Germany . 
Within seconds, he receives an email on his iPhone that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his iPhone and, after a few minutes, receives a response.    
Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized LaserJet printer, turns to Budhi Ramy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."                          
"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Budhi- Ram. 

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car. 
Then Budhi Ram says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly who you are & what is your business , will you give me back my calf?"        
The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?" 
"You're Rahul Gandhi, says Budhi- Ram. 
"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie idiot, "but how did you guess that?" 
 "No guessing required." answered Budhi Ram. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about how working people make a living - or about cows, for that matter.  This is a herd of sheep. ... 

Now give me back my dog.

 God, Please Save India !!!


Courtesy: Vijayvani and BR Haran
Islamic University at the foot of Thirumala
by B R Haranon 25 Oct 201311 Comments

The world’s busiest pilgrimage center; hundred per cent Hindu in character and identity; great religious, cultural and educational hub; rich in Hindu Temples and educational institutions - that is Tirupati! Ancient temples and the sacred Swarnamuki River assert the character and identity of this magnificent place. People owe their existence to Bhagwan Venkateswara and everything is done in Bhagwan Balaji’s name only. 

Now the pilgrimage center is on the verge of losing its peace and piety due to the attempt of a Muslim business group to establish an Islamic University at the foothills of Thirumala. Heera Islamic Business Group, which has its head office in Hyderabad, is constructing a massive six storey varsity in a village called Chandragiri in Tondavada Panchayat, just 13 kms away from Tirupati town. Named Heera International Islamic College, the construction has caused huge concern in the minds of the local populace and the town could soon witness a series of protests and legal wars, thanks to the government authorities who have allegedly given permission for its construction without application of mind.

Religious significance of the place

SV Badri, a social activist and freelance journalist, and grandson of late Kalyanam Iyengar (“Laddu Iyengar”, pioneer of the internationally renowned “Tirupati Laddu”), explained the religious significance of the place: “As per the Sthal Purana, Bhagwan Srinivasa married Devi Padmavati at Narayana Vanam near here. After marriage, Bhagwan with His Consort shifted to Srinivasa Manga Puram (near Tondavada) where a temple for Bhagwan Srinivasa and Devi Padmavati exists. Both Bhagwan and His Consort used to go to a Shiva temple located on the banks of the sacred Swarnamuki River to serve Sage Agastya. This temple was said to be consecrated by Sage Agastya and hence the Deity attained the name Agastheeswara. Bhagwan Srinivasa served Sage Agastya at this temple for six months before shifting to Thirumala. In fact, Sage Agastya had consecrated five temples along the river Swarnamuki. It is really shocking that an Islamic Institution is being established in such a great Hindu pilgrimage center”.

Heera Islamic Business Group

The Group’s Mission Statement says, “It is guided by Iman, following Shariah Law engaged in Halal avoiding Haram. It is on a mission of spreading the knowledge of Allah to the four corners of the world.”

The history of the group and its CEO is interesting in the sense that such a phenomenal growth in just a decade is unimaginable! Ms Shaik Nowhera is the Founder and CEO of Heera Group. Her profile, as per her official website, says that Ms Shaik was born to Shaik Nanne Saheb and Shaik Bilkis in 1973 and that her grandfather Shaikh Kolkar Madaar Saheb started “SNS Transports” in 1920 and soon became successful in the wholesale business of fruits, vegetables and textile products. It adds that she inherited the religious, cultural and business traits from her father and started an Islamic School for women in Tirupati by name “Madrasa Niswan” in 1998 with 150 students, most of them from poor families.

Then comes the mindboggling information that she started Heera Gold Exports & Imports in 2008 in order to meet her expenses which increased along with the increase in the number of students. Within five years, she started many more enterprises under the banner of Heera Group of Companies – Heera Jewellers, Heera Pure Drop, Heera Textiles, Heera Granites, Heera Rice, Heera Electronics, Heera Real Estates, Heera Developers, Heera Foodex, and so on…

Nowhere in her official website are her educational qualifications mentioned; there are no details about her early life in school and university. However, under the title ‘Islamic Scholar’ there is mention of her starting a madrasa with six girls at the age of 19 to teach the Quran and the Hadith.  This madrasa now supposedly has around 300 girl students.

At the same time, Shaik Nowhera’s rise as a business entrepreneur is stupendous. While there is absolutely no information regarding her grandfather’s transport business, which he supposedly started in 1920, her father’s continuation of it and the other wholesale business of vegetables, fruits and textiles on the Group’s official website (, her diversifying from Islamic teaching to gold trading is mentioned.

Having ventured into gold trading in 2008, she diversified further into many other fields (mentioned above), establishing branches in states such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, West Bengal, and countries such as China, Canada, the Gulf and west Africa - 19 Companies in just five years!

While the web domain for the group was created only in December 2012, each company in the group has its own website. But none of the companies gives us details regarding turnover, balance sheet, etc. All websites carry the profile of CEO Shaik, but nothing, absolutely nothing, about other officials or board of directors. This gives a feeling of a sort of dubiousness about the business conglomerate. 

Ms Shaik has a Facebook account ( since August 2013, where she blows her own trumpet, showing photographs of her sitting at the head of a table surrounded by men and women.


While construction of the Islamic College was going on silently in Chandragiri village, the Bharatiya Janata Party was the first to smell it locally. The official spokesperson of the State unit, G. Bhanu Prakash, convened a press conference and demanded an explanation from both Central and State Governments regarding the proposed establishment of an Islamic University at such a sacred Hindu town. Stating that the temple town and the hill temple have been on the radar of terrorists, as per various intelligence reports, he questioned the need for such a university when the local Muslim population is only 0.9%.

Another organization, Adi Hindu Parirakshana Samithi, also issued a protest statement. Its president, Kalluri Chengaiah, questioned the need to set up such a university in the sacred temple town particularly when it is on terrorist radar. He felt it amounts to buying trouble.

The US-based Global Hindu Heritage Foundation’s Prakasarao Velagapudi conveyed deep anguish over the development in Chandragiri village, “We have got much information from our contacts in Tirupati about the construction going on there. It seems it is being built on a Temple land and that it also violates the rules and regulations of Tirupati Urban Development Authority. Tirupati is a sacred temple town for Hindus worldwide and apart from the world famous Venkateswara Temple at the Seven Hills and the Padmavati temple at Thiruchanur downhill, we have several ancient temples in and around the town. When the Muslim population is almost zero in the town, we don’t understand the need for such a University there and we suspect there is more to this proposal than what meets the eye. We appeal to both the Central and State Governments to stop the construction immediately.”

Surprisingly, while the Heera Islamic Business Group with 19 companies in several countries, has its registered office at Tirupati, the locals seem totally unaware of such a big business conglomerate operating from their town. Congress politicians and former Municipal Chairman of Tirupati, Prasanna Kumar Reddy, said, “Muslims who live here are few in number and they revere Lord Venkateswara greatly. They mingle with us as brothers and sisters and this place is absolutely peaceful. However, this kind of an institution may bring students and faculties from outside, and over a period of time if they start indoctrinating the locals and impose Wahhabism on them, it would greatly affect the harmony and lead to untoward incidents resulting in division among people along communal lines”.

Adikesavulu Reddy, district president of YSR Congress farmers’ wing, said, “Tirupati is an important education hub of Andhra Pradesh. Sri Venkateswara University has lot of technical and academic institutions under its belt apart from primary and secondary schools. We have the Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth also here. The local Muslims, who are just 0.9% of the town’s population, are truly satisfied with the available schools and colleges and their curriculum, and they live in harmony with us. So, there is no need for an Islamic University here. Moreover, it looks like the Heera Group has not obtained permission from the Board of Intermediate Education and the University Grants Commission to start either a College or a University. It must also be checked if they have violated the TUDA rules while constructing the building and there are allegations that they have usurped temple lands to construct their college.”

Shamir Basha, a market contractor for over thirty years said, “We are living peacefully here. Local Hindus also participate in our festivals. We have not heard of this lady or her business group until she started constructing this college. The local Muslims will not accept such an institution, which is shrouded in mystery. We do not want any controversy and I feel controversies may erupt when outsiders start coming and settling here. We are blessed by the Lord of Seven Hills and this beautiful town should not lose its peace because of outsiders.”

Manoharan, tahsildar of Tondavada, participating in an agitation against a separate Telengana, said permission was given for construction as the land is a patta land. He said the Tondavada Panchayat has given a No Objection Certificate. 

Heera Group press meet

This writer visited Tirupati on September 17, 2013. After meeting the locals, the writer proceeded to Chandragiri village accompanied by SV Badri and was surprised to learn that a press conference had been convened by the Heera Group the same day. This was a stage managed and well rehearsed program. Hundreds of chairs were put under a shamiana and an overhead projector set up with a big screen to show audio visuals. Buses came in succession bringing hundreds of burqa-clad girls who took their seats obediently. Media persons were given seats and provided with a bottle of “Heera Pure Drops” packaged drinking water.
Suddenly the overhead projector and screen were removed without giving any reasons. Ms Shaik Nowhera came with two women and men and addressed the media for about half an hour, in Telugu.

She attacked the BJP spokesperson, “Bhanu Prakash of BJP has made a lot of baseless allegations against us. We have not done anything illegal. We are a big business conglomerate with 19 companies operating internationally. I am a local person; I hail from Tirupati; In fact, my grandfather had started a transport company by name SNS Transports here in 1920 and I inherited the business from my father and diversified and developed them to the present level. While focusing on business development on the one side, we pay our attention for the empowerment of Muslim women on the other side. As I belong to this place, I personally want to help the educational empowerment of the girl children. As there are 3.5 lac Muslims in the voter list of Chithoor district, we would like to serve at least 6 lac girls in this college. The BJP is making empty allegations. We are constructing this building on patta land which we bought and registered in our name. This is not temple land. We have got permission for construction. We will go step by step. The education which we impart in our Madrasa is equal to Secondary School Certificate, as we teach other subjects like Maths, Science, History, etc apart from Urdu and Arabic. We have value addition of Islamic tradition and culture. We also impart training in Nursing, Computers, etc.”

She went on and on, talking about Hindu-Muslim unity, secularism, human rights and her love for the Indian government which takes care of the minorities. She said, “I can start a university abroad or wherever I want. But, I want to serve the Muslim girls of India and I would like to start from Tirupati, my native place”.

A woman sitting next to her, introduced as the “Principal” of the institution, carried a bunch of papers and showed them whenever Shaik prodded her during the course of her speech. The girl students applauded at regular intervals by clapping. However, nothing was given to the media persons; no printed press statement was issued even after asking for it several times. And no explanation was given for not showing the audio visual.

Shaik failed to give convincing answers to pointed questions by the media. The journalists asked her why she was not popular locally despite being a native and owning such a huge business group; how she arrived at the figure of 6 lac Muslim girls from 3.5 lac Muslim voters; about the courses being offered; whether permission was obtained for construction of a college or simply a madrasa? She gave evasive answers. Asked about her educational qualifications, she first refused, but later said she studied in an Islamic school in Chennai.

Media persons were surprised to note that she could not speak even a few words in English despite being CEO of such a huge business conglomerate. One reporter commented privately, “Was it really Ms Shaik who addressed us? We have never seen her before. Had they shown the audio visual, we could have identified her. But now, we are not sure if the one who addressed us was the CEO of Heera Group”.

A State Intelligence Official who came to the meeting said she was not known in Tirupati at all until 2008 and that she had grown too big in too short a time, which could be possible only due to her Gulf connections. 

Temple, Land, Water

Sorakayala Krishna Reddy, an academician and historian based in Tirupati, revealed that, “You could have seen the dilapidated temple tower very close to the college. This temple was built during the 16th century (1542), by Shri Thiruvenkata Nathudu, grandson of the great musical saint Annamacharya. The presiding deity was Bhagwan Venkateswara and this temple was later destroyed by the Islamic invader Hyder Ali in the 18th century (1782). The college which is being constructed now actually stands on the temple’s pond. It is not clear how the land got into the hands of this Heera Group. A transparent investigation must be done”.

Just outside the 12-foot high compound wall, the institute has placed a name board: ‘Heera International Islamic College’ and ‘Women’s Arabic College’. However the Group’s emblem has the abbreviation ‘HIIU’ meaning ‘Heera International Islamic University’. Below the name board stands a signage made of stone reading, “Swarnamuki River Rejuvenation Project – Construction of Sub-Surface Dam, Chandragiri”.

The project was undertaken with a mission to rejuvenate the Swarnamuki River. Some NGOs of Chithoor district formed a consortium under the leadership of the Rashtriya Seva Samiti (RASS) to take up the Swarnamuki River Rejuvenation Project. The project received support from CAPART, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD).

RASS website ( says, “The implementation of the Swarnamuki River Rejuvenation Project is expected to bring about the augmentation of drinking and irrigation water in 400 habitations in nine mandals of Chithoor district; augmentation of drinking water supplied to important pilgrim towns like Tirupati, Tirumala and Sri Kalahasti, increase in bio-mass in 49,411 hectares of un-cultivable area; assured irrigation of 70,799 hectares of cultivable area and stabilization of agriculture; increase in per capita income and employment generation. This innovative project got afforestation not only in the country but at international level also.”

So, the main allegation that the land could not be a patta land cannot be ruled out. There is a possibility of manipulation of documents and the onus lies on the government to find out the truth behind the land on which the college is being constructed.


BJP Spokesperson Bhanu Prakash demands a Commission of Inquiry headed by a serving High Court Judge to find out the authenticity of the Heera Group, the antecedents of Ms Shaik Nowhera, the group’s financial resources, funds for the construction of the college, accounting and IT Returns, etc. He said the college would not be allowed to come up and widespread protests would be undertaken until the Government stops it. Kalluri Chengaiah, president of Adi Hindu Parirakshana Samithi conveyed similar sentiments. 

This issue is similar to the situation which prevailed in 2006 when the then Chief Minister Samuel Rajasekhar Reddy, who was encouraging Christian missionary activities in Tirumala-Tirupati, released a GO saying Bhagwan Venkateswara’s assets were only two hills covering an area of 27.5 sq. kms., and the other five hills would be taken over by the government for converting them into a picnic spot with multiplexes, food courts, commercial, sports and entertainment infrastructures, including a rope-way to reach the top of the hills. He was forced to beat a retreat after fierce agitations by several Hindu organizations. The AP High Court also quashed the Government Order.

Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra are already volatile with protests against the separation of Telengana. In this scenario, the onus lies on the Government to act decisively on this communally sensitive issue, as several questions remain unanswered.    

User CommentsPost a Comment
It does not require huge intelligence to see that this 'Ms Shaik Nowhere' is a fictional character, and at the bottom of the whole enterprise lies something monstrous and sinister. The character the writer encountered at Tirupathi might just be a proxy and a cover.

A check on the website immediately convinces one that the whole corporate thing is make belief. The so called businesses listed are most likely shell companies, but there is huge money coming in from some mysterious source.

This is a good case for sleuthing. The intelligence agencies need to find out who is behind the whole sinister enterprise.
Report Abuse
Muslims will not allow Hindus to live in peace. They will keep on inciting them to pick up a fight, if and when Hindus respond they will cry wolf. In 2006 had gone to Trimbakeshwar Jyotirling near Nasik there was no mosque. In 2009 a mosque had come up close to the temple.

Soon there will be AZAAN blaring from loudspeakers at such high volumes that all devotees and prayers wd be distrubed.
Outside Sankaracharya Mutt at Kanchipuram too a mosque came up in the 1980's. AZAAN loudspeaker is so loud that it can be heard in the temple complex, disturbs prayers.
Hindus refuse to understand the Muslim mind and act accord

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Aryam : Some considerations
23/10/2013 10:01:17  Dr Vijaya Rajiva

Krinvanto vishwam aryam (Make the world noble , Rig Veda, 9.63.5)

In a previous article ' Proto-African-Indian Sanskrit and the word Aryam' (Haindava Keralam, 27/09/2013 ) the present writer had spoken about the misuse and abuse of the word Aryam by Western scholarship, thus leading to the act of evil by Hitler, and hence the urgent responsibility for the Hindus of India and elsewhere, to reclaim this word.

The word Aryam, like the ancient Hindu symbol of the swastika( also horribly misused), symbolised that which was universal, the world view which was Vishwam. Scholars have noted that the word sarvam and vishwam have related but not identical meaning. Sarvam is an undifferentiated whole, while Vishwam is a whole whose parts are differentiated although connected with each other. It was this latter Rig Vedic ideal of Vishwam that distinguised Hindu India from other ancient civilisations which emphasised Sarvam.

The word Aryam/Aryata/Aryatva continued to be used by Hindu scholars down the ages and signified the Rig Vedic call to make a noble world based on Rtam and the social practice of Dharma. It had no racial connotations. For contemporary Hindus it might be useful to also be aware of the linguistic practice of the word Aryam wherever it occurs in the scholarly exegetical tradition. It can be approached at 4 different levels, singly or jointly. This has been pointed out by Dr.BVK Sastry in an important essay (Scholarship on Sanskrit,Tamil,Prakrits - A key prerequisite for understanding Hindu Traditions' DANAM conference, 2004).

1. level of grammar (vyakarana) 2. level of vocabulary (kosha) 3. level of the specific discipline (vyavahara-paribhasha) 4. state of consciousness of the speaker (chaitanya avastha)

The Rig Vedic hymns were composed in the Chandas metre and they come under the category of sacred speech. Hence, the fourth condition 'the state of consciousness of the speaker' is of overwhelming concern for our enquiry, even though the Rishis were careful to compose their utterances in well defined metres. They were not simple spontaneous outpourings but measured expressions invoking the measured realm of the universal cosmos, the Rtam, which is both dynamic and existing in perpetuity as the expression of Sat (Being-Truth). The Devas and Devatas (gods and goddesses) invoked in these hymns are part of that Sat (Being).The linguistic rules of these metres also predate Paninian grammar (the oldest system of grammar in the world) which is the source of the above mentioned 4 items. However, according to scholar Dr. Sastry, Sanskrit (Samskrutam) is covered by rule formulation in the Paninian tradition.

Chandas is the technical name for the language of the Vedas, Generate Bhashaa is the technical name for the crafting of a true and perfect expression. Chandas is sacred and Bhashaa is technically perfected expression. Both are not at par with social language, social historical languages like prakrutham, mleccha , jati-bhasha etc. (private email from Dr. Sastry, Oct.11, 2013).

This would indicate that the Paninian tradition was a continuation of an already sophisticated language grammar that existed during the time of the Rig Vedic rishis. This fact is not surprising since as pointed out by Dr. N.S. Rajaram, the creation of Sanskrit was a well thought out construction by the Rishis (see his second article in the 3 part series 'Indo-Europeans 2: Natural History of Languages', Folks Magazine, Dec.18,2012). Dr. Rajaram has also argued that Sanskrit is a proto African Indian language created by that group of our ancestors that left Africa and travelled to India some 65,000 years ago. His articles in Folk Magazine are a preview of his forthcoming book Gene Times and the birth of History. He bases himself on genetics and population studies.

The significance of this thesis (although Aryam per se is not his central concern) is that the word Aryam, firmly embedded in Vedic culture, is also of proto African Indian origin and not from the proto - Indo European construct set up by Western scholars. The forthcoming book, the fourth edition of Vedic Aryans(Rajaram &David Frawley) examines critically the history of the Aryan Invasion theory and related topics.

Dr. Sastry provides a good overview of the linguistic history of the word Aryam as embedded in Indian history:

" Both Chandas and Bhashaa have several centuries of history before Panini, with several documents preserved along with the history in Indian traditions. The word 'Arya' figures in this hoary past of Indian languages and grammar deliberations. How many times 'Arya' would figure in pre-Paninian literature can be an interesting search and useful data. Buddhists and Jains also used this word in Prakrit and other language flavours. Prior to Panini, more than sixty four grammarians, several Nirukta-karas, and other Darshana Shastrakaaras have deliberated on these topics. Much of this prepaninian resources are to be seriously researched, before making any preferential views favouring either side"(private email from Dr.Sastry, Oct.11, 2013).

The scope of such an enquiry would enlarge our understanding of the Rig Vedic world view than has hitherto been possible.

In our own enquiry ('Proto-African-Indian Sanskrit and the word Aryam') the focus has been on the sacred speech of the Rig Veda and the line 'Krinvanto vishwam Aryam' (RV,9.63.5) which has been translated as : Make the world noble. This Vedic injunction contains within itself the word Aryam as a package deal of many of the central concepts of the Vedic moral and spiritual world view : Rtam, Yajna, Dharma, Satya. Scholar and historian Prof.Shivaji Singh speaks about these as being the central concepts of the Rig Veda ('Vedic Culture and its Continuity : New Paradigms and Dimensions', 2010).

An ongoing continuous unpacking of these central concepts , with emphasis on Dharma as social practice, would be useful in understanding what the message of the Vedic world view is and its contemporary relevance. That has already begun in the work of scholar Dr. Shrinivas Tilak in his book Reawakening to a secular Hindu Nation, 2008 (For a brief account see my previous article 'Proto-African-Indian Sanskrit and the word Aryam, Haindava Keralam, 27/09/2013).

(The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university).



Thursday, 24 October 2013 | PNS | New Delhi
India and China on Wednesday inked the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) to avoid face-offs between the two armies on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), like the one in Ladakh in April this year lasting more than 20 days.
The important pact was signed by Defence Secretary RK Mathur and his Chinese counterpart, in the presence of Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Li Keqiang in Beijing.  The BDCA entails a hotline between the military headquarters of the two countries akin to a similar arrangement with Pakistan wherein the Directors-General of Military Operations (DGMO) of India and Pakistan are in touch with each other every week to sort out any issues. Incidentally, the offices of the Prime Minister’s of India and China have a hotline. 
The pact with China also comprises identifying meeting points between the local commanders in all the sectors of the LAC and not tailing each other’s patrol where there is difference of perception of the LAC among the two armies. The 4,000-km-long LAC is divided into three sectors including Western (Ladakh), Middle (Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh) and Eastern (Arunachal Pradesh). 
The two countries signed the pact after tension mounted on the LAC in April when Chinese troops came more than 19 km inside Ladakh in Depsang Valley leading to a face-off between the two armies for more than 20 days. The situation was defused following intervention at the highest diplomatic level. As regards not following or tailing patrols, officials said here the BDCA will ensure that the two countries do not undertake aggressive patrolling which often leads to tension on the LAC. The pact also says that in case a doubtful situation at the border arises either side has a right to seek a clarification from the other.
It also stipulates that the two countries agree that if the border defence forces of the two sides come to a face-to-face situation in areas of no common understanding, both sides exercise maximum restraint, refrain from any provocative action and not use force or threaten to use force against each other, treat each other with courtesy and prevent exchange of fire or armed conflict.
The BDCA, which outlined a series of procedures to be followed by the two countries along the LAC, also facilitates exchange of information about military exercises, aircraft, demolition operations, unmarked mines and taking consequent measures conducive to the maintenance of peace along the LAC.
 Explaining the salient features of the BDCA, Indian Ambassador to China S Jaishankar told the media in Beijing that the agreement does not hinder the development of infrastructure on the Indian side of the border. India is engaged in rapid development of infrastructure along several strategic areas in the North-East and Ladakh, facing China including building roads and airfields. These projects were undertaken as China has already developed its military infrastructure in these areas.  It has a distinct advantage over India in case of hostilities as it can rush troops and other logistical supplies.
India also raised the issue of Beijing giving stapled visas to two sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh which China lays claim over and considers “disputed”. Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, briefing newspersons, said “the stapled visa issue did come up”. The issuance of stapled visas had adversely affected China’s efforts to get India to agree to a liberalised visa regime for its businesspersons. The Indian cabinet, which was to approve an agreement on liberal visa agreement with Beijing ahead of the Prime Minister’s visit, postponed the decision after the stapled visa incident, sources said.
India also raised its concerns about China planning to build nuclear reactors in Pakistan. Foreign Secretary Singh said the issue did figure but declined to elaborate. Meanwhile, India and China also signed a new agreement to strengthen cooperation on trans-border rivers aimed at allaying India’s concerns over new dams on the Brahmaputra and facilitating the exchange of flood data.
Under the new pact, the Chinese side agreed to provide more flood data regarding the Brahmaputra from May to October instead of June to October that has been agreed upon in previous river water pacts in 2008 and 2010. India has been expressing concerns over China’s plans to construct more dams which New Delhi fears could restrict the flow of the Himalayan river flowing from Tibet. China assured India that its dams are run of the river projects not designed to hold water.
 In addition to the river water agreement, India and China inked several agreements on establishment of Nalanda University at Rajgir in Bihar for which China is one of the participating countries. The two sides also signed agreements to strengthen the cultural exchange programme, Cooperation in Road Transport and Highways, Chinese power equipment service centres in India and agreements to establishing sister city relationships between Delhi-Beijing and Bangalore and Chengdu and Kolkata and Kunming.



Friday, 18 October 2013 | Kumar Chellappan | TIRUPATI


The peace and tranquility of Tirupati has been disturbed by an international Islamic women's college set up by a mystery woman in this holy city.
Tirupati, in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh is the abode of Lord Venkateswara and Goddess Padmavathi and draws millions of pilgrims every year.
The Heera International Islamic College-Women's Arabic College, is a massive six-floor building at Chandragiri village in the suburbs.
This college, which is protected by a four-meter-high compound wall, has given rise to a lot of apprehensions in the minds of the people and Nowhera Shaikh, founder of the college, finds herself in the centre of a controversy.
Even prominent Muslim leaders warn that the institution will create distrust and misunderstanding between various religious groups in the temple town. Shamir Basha, a widely-respected Muslim businessman in Tirupati said the Islamic college established last year was shrouded in mystery. “Nowhera Shaikh claims she is from Tirupati. But nobody had heard her name before she started the college. This is going to be a major issue, perhaps more in intensity than the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue,” Basha told The Pioneer.
Basha, who worships daily at the Lord Venkateswara temple, said the college was a matters of concern. “The college will draw a number of people from West Asia to Tirupati. We are not sure about the kind of people who will be visiting the city. Tirupati is already facing threat from various terrorist groups,” Basha said. 
Sorakayala Krishna Reddy, Tirupati's historian and chronicler said the Islamic college has been built on land reclaimed  from a temple pond.
“The land on which the college has been built belonged to Thimmapuram Venkateswara Temple. This temple was built in 1542 by the grandson of Sant Annamacharya, the music composer. The temple was destroyed by Hyder Ali in 1782. The original statue of Lord Venkateswara measuring 14.5 feet was there in the temple land for a long time,” said Reddy.
Krishna Reddy said the temple land had been given to the priests of the temple by the then administrators. “How this land reached the hands of the present owners is shrouded in mystery. A thorough probe should be ordered into the transaction details of the land,” said the septuagenarian scholar.
The women's college is yet to get affiliation from any of the universities. Recently Shaikh held a Press meet and introduced the media to more than 300 burqa clad girls who are studying at a madrasa for which Shaikh has the permission.
Heera International Islamic College-Women's Arabic College is yet to take off though the social network media and websites are full of encomiums for Shaikh and her projects.   

A senior Intelligence official in Tirupati said he was flabbergasted at the speed with which Shaikh amassed wealth during the last ten years. “She was a non-entity even in 2007. But she married two men in quick succession and was operating from West Asian countries,” said the official.
Prasanna Kumar Reddy, Congress leader and former vice-chairman of Tirupati Municipality, warned that the college has all the potential to upset Tirupati's communal harmony. “There are hundreds of Muslims  in Tirupati who daily pay their obeisance to Lord Balaji and Goddess Padmavathi. Islamists are known for their intolerance to idol worship. What will happen if they unleash a campaign is anybody's guess,” said Reddy.
Adi Kesavulu Reddy, district president of the farmer's wing of the YSR Congress said the land on which the Islamic college has come up is temple land. “There are discrepancies and irregularities in the acquisition of this land by Shaikh. Moreover, there is a sensitive installation of the Indian Space Research Organisation here,” said Reddy.
Shaikh is the Chief Executive Officer of Heera Group which she claims is a Fortune global company. But she declined to reveal information about her educational and professional background.

When it was pointed out that the world has a right to know about the academic qualifications of the self-styled educationist, Shaikh said she was educated in an Islamic school in Chennai. 
Reacting to apprehensions expressed by the local BJP leaders about her college, Shaikh said it was sheer jealousy on their part which made them raise such suspicions. “There are 3.5 lakh Muslim voters in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh and there are six lakh Muslim girls here. I want all of them to get modern education,” she said.

M Venkiah Naidu, BJP MP, said the setting up of the Islamic college at Tirupati was a matter of concern to all. “Muslims constitute hardly 0.9 per cent of the population in Tirupati. The college could have been set up at a place where there is a considerable Muslim population,” Naidu remarked.
SV Badri, religious scholar, pointed out that the Heera Group claimed in its website that it functions according to the framework of the Shariah. “How can a group functioning as per the edicts of the Quran be tolerant towards the idol worshippers of Tirupati,” asked  Badri, grandson of late Kalyanam Iyengar, who introduced the world-famous Tirupati laddoo. The district administration too declined to reveal how Shaikh managed to usurp the temple land.


Monday, 21 October 2013 | Kumar Chellappan | CHENNAI


Hundreds of activists of various Hindu organisations staged a demonstration on Sunday at Arani, the Silk Town, 132 km west of Chennai, in protest against the setting up of an Islamic university at the temple town of Tirupati, abode of Lord Balaji and Goddess Padmavathi.
People of all faiths and political affiliations in Tirupati, have expressed strong reservations against the Islamic university, which has been built on land belonging to a centuries old temple.
The Pioneer had recently published a report about Heera International Islamic College-Women's Arabic College and Nowhera Shaikh, a mysterious woman who is founder of the project. Sunday's demonstration, organised by Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, an umbrella organisation of various Hindu outfits, saw the participation of many sadhus and sannyasins.
“The Islamic university coming up at Tirupati is a hidden motive to destroy Hindu culture and temples. Babur came to India and built the Babri Masjid near Ayodhya, Aurangzeb built mosques near Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Mathura's Lord Krishna temple. We will not allow this to happen in Tirupati,” said Uma  Ravichandran, co-ordinator, HJS.
She pointed out that Muslim residents of Tirupati have also come out openly against the Islamic university. “There are hundreds of local Muslims who worship at the Lord Balaji Temple everyday without fail. For them, the temple is part of their life and heritage. They are afraid that Islamists from West Asian nations would try to enforce Shariah law in Tirupati and that could lead to serious social problems,” said Ravichandran.
The demonstration and protests against the Islamic university has been launched with the blessings of various Hindu acharyas. “We called on Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi, the pontiff of the Kanchi Mutt, and he asked us to go ahead with the protests,” she said. The next demonstration is at Madurai on October 25. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Losing vision and mission: The numerous factors that made the IITs excellent are being whittled away. The picture is of IIT Delhi. Photo: Sandeep Saxena
Photo: The Hindu Losing vision and mission: The numerous factors that made the IITs excellent are being whittled away. The picture is of IIT Delhi. Photo: Sandeep Saxena
India’s premier institutes of technology are losing their academic edge because of unplanned expansion and excessive politics
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) figure prominently among Indian higher education institutions known outside the country. They are internationally respected for the quality of their graduates and for the quality of their teaching. The IITs may be the most selective schools in the world, with more than 500,000 students taking the entrance exams each year. Yet, the IITs have been in trouble for some time, and recent comments by Ved Prakash, the chairman of the University Grants Commission certainly do not help their cause. Mr. Prakash called the IITs “glorified engineering colleges” and argued that traditional universities should be the main beneficiaries of funding.
Standing apart
Why have the IITs been so successful over a half century? They are elite institutions — attracting top faculty members committed to the best-quality teaching and with some focus on research. The faculty knew that their students would be the cream of the crop and that meritocracy would be the hallmark of the “IIT ethos.” They were attracted not by high salaries but by an idea that top, international quality higher education in technology and engineering can succeed in India. The country needs some elite institutions if India is to compete globally. IIT governance has traditionally been less bureaucratic than in other Indian universities — academic staff have had more power to influence key decisions and politics has been generally absent from campus life. In other words, the IITs have been more like the best universities worldwide, and are unlike the mainstream Indian academic institutions. Without question, good governance is central to the success of academic institutions everywhere — and Indian universities, steeped in bureaucracy, have not been noted for effective campus governance
One of the main reasons that the IITs and, later, the Indian Institutes of Management were established was precisely because the traditional universities could not be reformed. Bureaucracy, politics, a dispersion of academic authority, and other factors prevented this. Unfortunately, the situation has not changed over the past half century. While some of the traditional universities have good quality departments and some of the colleges are outstanding, the institutions themselves seem impervious to change.
Why are the IITs in trouble? They have been unable to replace the superior quality faculty who were first attracted, as several generations have retired. Inadequate funding, much greater opportunities in the private sector, and some deterioration at the IITs themselves have made them less attractive. At present, a significant percentage of academic posts remain vacant because appropriate candidates could not be found.
In an effort to “spread the wealth,” there are now 17 IITs, many established in recent years, and some located in quite remote places. This expansion has to some extent “cheapened the brand” since the overall quality could not be maintained — in part because qualified academic staff cannot be lured to mofussil locations. Top facilities — including needed laboratories, residences, and others — could not be provided in a timely way.Overexpansion has not served either the IITs or the quality of Indian higher education well. India, facing public demand for IIT-level education, as well as shortages of top talent in most fields, frequently errs on the side of expanding too quickly, failing to ensure that the needed intellectual and infrastructural resources are available.
Course correction
The IITs have also become enmeshed in the complex political issues affecting Indian higher education. Close to half the students admitted to the IITs must be from the backward classes or disadvantaged caste and tribal groups. Policies relating to these reservations have been constantly debated and litigated.
Appointments of academic staff are also affected by reservation policies — but not to as great an extent. Other political battles concerning the locations of new IITs and other issues have also ensued. There have also been disputes relating to the appointments of IIT directors and allegations of political inference.
The factors that made the IITs excellent are being whittled away. What is needed is a return to the effective policies and practices that characterised the IITs first for several decades. Rather than forced to conform to the norms of the rest of India’s sclerotic higher education system, the IITs should be a beacon for the rest. The UGC’s Ved Prakash has said exactly the wrong thing.
(Philip G. Altbach is research professor and director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, U.S.)
View comments (22)
Sibal and co. are interested in bringing in Foreign universities to India. This is not possible unless IITs lose their sheen. Increasing the no. of IITs under the pretext of giving them a wider reach is only a hogwash.
from:  pawan
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 11:54 IST
As an IIT student, I say we are already at top. It's about maintaining our standards and getting better.
Serious problems that we are facing maintaining our standards are lack of faculty, attitude of student community towards education, political influences and economy of country. There is an dearth of good faculties in most IITs, not that the present faculty is not good, but may faculty positions are vacant because we do not have people qualified enough to teach well. The students no longer care about learning, the focus is on getting good grades somehow, the increasing student to faculty ratio facilitates that, also, our selection criteria has been performance oriented and not merit oriented for the last 5 years to say the least.
Furthermore, there is no guarantee that one would get a decent job after a BTech for IITs, our delicate economy and concentration of jobs in IT sector have demolished whatsoever faith student community had in learning! Don't get me started on getting better!
from:  Amit Kumar Koshta
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 11:41 IST
Sir, many of your concerns are valid but I think one of the major issue is that unlike western universities IITs doesn't have any significant collaboration with industries for research and thus most of the graduate students end up doing a job in IT sector or Data analysis irrespective of the field they did their engineering graduation from.
Alumini IIT Roorkee.
from:  Praveen
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 11:23 IST
IITs are certainly not the correct path forward but Ved Prakash's demand that "traditional universities" should have received equal funding is at best laughable. The selection of faculties is done in most "traditional universities" are done on the basis of bribe and students who end up there are the ones mostly ill-trained. (Certainly the students are not to be blamed as f they had means for better training they would also have gone for IITs.) But this "heady mix" of bad faculty + ill-trained students make them anything but an educational institution. They need total overhaul. An academic audit of faculty - especially Science faculty - needs to be done in traditional universities and those among faculty who do not live up to the standards need to be send away. Only then they can claim some sort of dignity let alone funding.
from: Madhu
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 11:20 IST
Concerns about deteriorating level of quality of education in IIT is valid, but expanding IITs and reservation in them must see in a different way.I am also critical about reservation but if it is to be removed should be removed from all not only from IITs. Expanding IIT may have effected quality or sheen of it but its true only for new one, Previous 7 IITs are still have well trained staff and cream of the student crop. India is youngest country in the world and to tackle the level of competition we needed new IITs and of course we can expect them to be as good as the previous one, it will take time to be that.
from:  Awadhesh
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 10:28 IST
Not something we don't know. Possible solutions would be more helpful.
from:  Vanshika Mohta
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 10:27 IST
When the government was thinking of setting up an IIT in Rajasthan, some of us (including faculty members from IITs, TIFR, and some US universities) wrote to the HRD minister and the chief minister of Rajasthan that it should be located in Jaipur, giving them cogent reasons. We never heard from either of them, and they didn't heed our advice.
At a more personal level, I felt that I should somehow help the IIT in Jodhpur (because I'm from that region) and applied for a job. I never heard from them. They did me a favour because if they had appointed me, I wouldn't have been to do the work in number theory which it has been given to me to do in the meantime. (An older IIT, and one or two IIISERs, have done me the same favour.)
As it turns out, IIT Jodhpur has not been able to attract decent faculty members, at least not in mathematics and physics, and many of those who were initially hired have left for better places. All this was predictable.
from:  Prof Chandan Singh Dalawat
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 09:21 IST
I agree with Dr.Prakash when he called the IITs "Glorified Engineering Colleges". I have seen one of the best students graduating from traditional universities. Traditional universities like Punjab University are gaining prominence because of their high quality of research. I think what is important is not the brand value of the university, but the work that has been accomplished by the student. There is more scope for carrying out interdisciplinary research at the traditional universities. This encourages more collaborations resulting in high impact factor research.IIT's on the other hand are super specialized in engineering field.
from:  Dr. Vijayakrishna
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 07:59 IST
I support the author's view. Of the 8 new IITs, only IIT Gandhinagar and IIT Hyderabad picked up. Some IITs are not even known in the engineering community. Students tend to prefer NITs or other top non-IITs when their rank is just sufficient to get to a new IIT. Now, being practical, how can we reclaim the status of IITs? Can we reduce the number of backward class seats? Definitely not, because of the political influence that is intertwined in the HRD ministry. Is shutting down of new IITs which are not upto the mark a solution? Probably not, because once an institution takes root, it is really difficult to cut it out. I would have been glad if the author could point out innovative and more importantly pragmatic ideas to a problem which might spell a doom to these prestigious institutions.
from:  Vaidyanathan M S
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 07:56 IST
The analysis could have touched the decisions from the Govt and HRD minsters intervention in the past couple of years. This article seems to be generic and lacking depth on isolating the exact problems.
Whatever listed, everybody knows, so what ?
from:  Vinoo
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 07:24 IST
In one respect the IITs are quite different from most Indian engineering colleges: they give importance to mathematics and the sciences, as the world's best institutions do. As an alumnus of two IITs and the father of an engineering graduate, I have seen the difference. Unfortunately, the IITs have been able to attract good science faculty but have been less successful in filling their engineering departments. This may be partly because of the difference between their salaries and what industries offer. It would be nice if someone could suggest a solution!
from:  R S Chakravarti
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 06:54 IST
I am also of the opinion that IITS are becoming less prominent organisations in the eyes of the people of India.More than anything that IITS are not cosidered as best institutions remarks raised by the foreign judging organisation .When they were judging the best 200 institutions,except Indian Institute of Technology Bangalore,no other institution have found their place in the merit list.The main reason for this is the interference of the government.For getting popularity of the masses for vote catching,lower percentage of marks for certain categories were considered for admission.Reservations have been cosidered for certain posts.
from:  krishnamurthiPenathur
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 06:53 IST
- "attracting top faculty members committed to the best-quality teaching".
Heh. Really? I could have swallowed the part about focus on research. Some professors, I must say, still do indulge in that. But this? You do NOT get "best-quality teaching" (and I must emphasize on 'teaching') in the IITs - not by a long shot. The writer clearly does not know much about the IIT system - and yet we have an article written by him about improving that very same system. Ah well.
from:  Prasoon Shukla
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 06:42 IST
The author has pinned several key issues that have over a period of time caused the decline of IITs. The country's best engineering institutions are now merely existing as brand label monuments.
Just one quick look at what career options recent B.Tech graduates of IITs are opting is sufficient to prove the point. Most of them have either lost interest in engineering or did not have the intention in the first place. While there is nothing wrong in taking up management or unrelated software jobs, the danger comes when it becomes a significant trend. Top students from regular university colleges are able to far exceed IIT grads when it comes to engineering concepts. Many of them are pursuing research at top univ's world-wide. Whereas 10 years back, non-IIT students could hardly make it.
This trend of merely taking up a course at IIT for brand label or using it as a spring board to do something else, has been plaguing the IITs for some time now and is definitely not a good trend.
from:  Srini
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 06:33 IST
Well said Prof. Altbach.
I am a '69 alumnus of IIT-Bombay and I fully share your sentiments. Not only are the IIT's centers of academic excellence, but were also microcosms of pan-India. The diversity of the student body was incredible (much like the armed forces) and that exposure has been a great experience as well.
At present it seems to be a struggle for even basic items of creature comforts. Students are packed in the hostel rooms like sardines and no expansion plans seem to be in the offing. The alumni association of IIT-B is doing it little bit, including such basic things as providing laundry facilities in the hostels.
As rightly pointed out in the article, if the IITs are restored to their past autonomy and independence, and in turn the IIT authorities work in a focused and meaningful manner with the alumni, it will not be difficult to address and resolve at least many of the infrastructural problems fairly quickly. Let's hope for the best.
from:  Vijay K Raghavan
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 06:21 IST
Well to start off with, there are a plenty of reason which is plaguing the prestigious IIT's. One of the reasons is that the rapid rate at which the institute has proliferated, has left the quality lagging in various parameters. It also does have some drawbacks with just an average 4% of their Faculty recruit's coming from abroad, unlike the 51% in Harvard. Another reason is the the IIT's have got an brand name for themself's in the Bachelors of Engineering. They hardly have taken up steps to retain their bachelors degree student, who fly off to foreign universities or enter the corporate field. The need of the hour is to atleast come up with some blueprint plan, so that they scale up their strength with the number of students enrolling in their Masters and Doctorate levels. This would invite an cream lot of New generation Researchers and Can also consider them as an new arsenal of inducting them into the universities faculty fold.
from:  Samuel Jeberson John
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 06:09 IST
An educational institution is as good as the quality of its students. Then the faculty and infrastructure. Reservation should not be given for admission to institutes like IIT. Those from the marginalised society need to be given all the facility to coach and prepare these students to score top ranks. The super30 proved good brains don’t need reservation they need only the financial and moral support. The govt of the day by congress don’t have any vision and desire to educate the students well. Just as in other areas so too the education is suffering due to myopic vision of govt and its citizens. We need a change for the better.
from:  Ayyappa
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 05:59 IST
It is very sad that well known IITs have become Govt chamcha institutions, with MERIT given go-by in both recruitment of staff and students; no wonder quality declined and rank fell far below in World class group it was included before
from:  Radhik Hairam
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 05:55 IST
iITs and iISc need to strengthen their Ph.D programs. Ph.D stipends should comparable to entry lecel salaries post Masters to attract the best students. With growing R&D presence in the private sector and increased collaborations with faculty across the world the strength of adjunct faculty can be augmented so that research programs remain challenging.
IISc has over the past decade or more improved itself with better recruitment. iITs are slowly stepping up. What is refreshing is that the system is honest in acknowledging that things have slipped. Therein lies the hope that efforts will be made to fix the problem.
from:  Dr. K. Anand
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 05:38 IST
My experience with IITs have been poor. In 2003, I was in Chennai and arranged for a seminar. It was hot in Chennai. I go to the department and there is no one.
I was sweating and was parched. I gave a talk in Anna University that same visit and the professors were decent enough to take me out for lunch to a fantastic restaurant near by after my talk. This was back in 2003.
Now present day: Due to family circumstances, I visit Chennai often. I thought may be i can give a talk at IIT Madras about my research again. So i wrote to the chair of the respective department several months ago where i wanted to show case my latest research and also attract some quality students for graduate school or postdoc. The guy is yet to contact me. I dont know how busy these guys who don't publish or bring money could be. This is today. I have given 50 talks in my short career so far. I have always been welcomed in other countries except for my own mother land.
from:  Balaji Panchapakesan
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 05:25 IST
Formed as a result of the Sarkar Committee's recommendations ,made ironically at the fag end of British rule in India, and implemented by a newly independent nation, the students and staff of the IIT's have undoubtedly done the nation proud. However, as the author has rightly noted, the IIT's have in recent years lagged behind in many respects, largely as a result of political pressures and poor planning. It is easy to kill a golden goose as much as it is easy to muddy clear waters. Building and maintaining great institutions takes men and women of exemplary training and character. Later generations of leaders in India have largely failed the nation, and the fate of the IIT's is thus unsurprising, for there are many precedents. The University of Madras is today a shadow of its former self under the great Dr. A.L. Mudaliar. And the list goes on. The IIT's are certainly worth saving. But it will take a sea change in the nation for that to happen.
from:  CS Venkat
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 03:29 IST
As an old IITian, I cannot but agree with the comments about the quality and dedication of the then faculty as well as about the recent cheapening of the IIT brand.
There is a telling comment in the article "In an effort to and spread the wealth, there are now 17 IITs, many established in recent years, and some located in quite remote places. This expansion has to some extent cheapened the brand since the overall quality could not be maintained"
I cannot comprehend why our political big-wigs like Sibal do not understand such basic logic.
Or, I must say that the politicians in India well know how to ruin a good thing. God, save our country from its incompetent leaders!
from:  Kumar AA
Posted on: Oct 22, 2013 at 03:14 IST