India-Afghanistan-Taliban Relations

India-Afghanistan-Taliban Relationship

With the US leaving Afghanistan after 20 years, the world wonders what will the fate of the country be, which is as unstable as ever.  Let’s understand what role can India play in maintaining regional peace.

Crux of the Matter

Before USA
Taliban is a militia insurgency group waging ‘jihad’ against the Afghan Government. Taliban in Pashto means Students.

  • 1992 – Mujahideen overthrew Najibullah’s communist regime and came to power. It formed the Islamic State of Afghanistan.
  • 1996 – Taliban took over Kabul and the country and imposed sharia law.
  • Mujahideen led Northern Alliance fought the in-power Taliban. With US support, they defeated the Taliban and formed a government in 2001.
  • This alliance was backed and aided by India. Till then, India had no contact with the Taliban and considered them to be a proxy of Pakistan.

India – Taliban
India hasn’t had any official relations with the Taliban because:

  • India didn’t want to anger the Afghan Government.
  • India didn’t know who to contact due to internal divisions in the Taliban.
  • India didn’t want to go against its idea of not talking to ‘terrorists’.

IC 814 Hijack
Indian Airline flight IC-814 was hijacked and forced to land in Kandahar, Afghanistan. India was forced to release 3 militants, including Masood Azhar in return. India as they had no contact whatsoever with the Taliban then.

Taliban’s Stance On India
In 2019, the Taliban said that it had no interest in Kashmir and that it is India’s internal matter. As per Al Jazeera, unofficial backchannels were opened with Taliban in 2021.

India has invested heavily in Afghanistan and has provided with ~$2 billion in aid and funded projects like the Afghan parliament.
India funded Chabahar port in Iran is connected to central Asia via Afghanistan. Thus, India needs to protect its investments in Afghanistan.

Experts have cited the need for India to have influence in the Afghan Govt to counter the regional influence of Pakistan and China after the US leaves. India is also the only regional country that has friendly relations with the US and other western countries, as well as Russia and Afghanistan.

Peace negotiations in earnest is the only answer. An acceptable compromise that reflects Doha process, Moscow format & Istanbul process is essential. The future of Afghanistan cannot be its past. A whole new generation has different expectations. We should not let them down.

S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister, India

  • Hindu Kush means ‘Killer of Hindu‘ which might refer to the fact that slaves from the Indian Subcontinent would struggle to survive in the harsh Afghan mountains. It is the name of the 800 km long mountain range that stretches through Afghanistan mostly.

Celebrating Kishore Kumar

Celebrating Kishore Kumar

Kishore Kumar is a household name when we think of evergreen Bollywood era and old Hindi songs. Let’s take a musical journey through the Golden Era, and remember beloved Kishore da on his birth anniversary.

Crux of the Matter

Born as Abhas Kumar Ganguly on 4th Aug, 1929, he was the youngest of four siblings, the eldest of whom (Ashok Kumar) had made it into Bollywood as an actor.

Initial Breakthroughs
Made his first appearance in the movie ‘Shikari’(1946), and made his singing debut two years later for the movie ‘Ziddi’ with the song ‘Marne ki Duayen kyon mangu’.

Rise To Stardom
He starred in Bimal Roy’s ‘Naukari (1954) which was a commercial success. His most popular films as an actor include ‘Chalti ka naam Gaadi’, ‘Jhumroo’, ‘Half Ticket’, ‘Padosan’ amongst many others.

A Style of his Own
Initially inspired by KL Saigal, Kishore Kumar would often try to sing like him, until S D Burman suggested that he develop a style of his own. That’s when he picked up yodeling.

Famous Songs

  • ‘Maana Janaab ne Pukaara Nahi’ (Paying Guest).
  • ‘Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si’ (Chalti ka Naam Gaadi).
  • ‘Yeh Dil na hota Bechara’ (Jewel Thief).
  • ‘Eena Meena Deeka’ (Aasha), the list goes on.

Kishore’s Feat

He won 8 Filmafre Awards for Best Playback Singer

  • 1970: Roop Tera Mastana (Aradhana).
  • 1976: Dil Aisa Kisi Ne Mera (Amanush).
  • 1979: Khaike Paan Banaras Wala (Don).
  • 1981: Hazaar Raahen Mudke Dekheen (Thodisi Bewafaii).
  • 1983: Pag Ghungroo Baandh (Namak Halaal).
  • 1984: Agar Tum Na Hote (Agar Tum Na Hote).
  • 1985: Manzilein Apni Jagah Hain (Sharaabi).
  • 1986: Saagar Kinaare (Saagar).

The Show Must Go On

  • Kishor Kumar’s song Pal bhar ke liye from the movie Johny Mera Naam featured in ‘The Simpsons’. It featured in episode 17 titled ‘Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore’ of season 17.

Knowing Father Of Chemical Science In India, Prafulla Chandra Ray

Knowing Father Of Chemical Science In India, Prafulla Chandra Ray

Wondering how Prafulla Chandra Ray became the father of Chemical Science in India? On his birthday today (2nd August), let’s know more about the scientific contributions of this eminent chemist, who was also the founder of India’s first pharmaceutical company.

Crux of the Matter

Acharya Prafulla 
Born in Bengal Presidency of British India in 1861, he went on to become the founder of Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals, India’s first pharmaceutical company.

Literary Works
In 1902, he published the first volume of A History of Hindu Chemistry from the Earliest Times to the Middle of Sixteenth Century. The book contained research done in works of orientalists and ancient manuscripts.

Some Major Recognitions

Research Work
He conducted research on platinum, iridium and sulphides of organic substances and published over a hundred papers on Chemistry, many of which were published in the Journal of Indian Chemical Society.

Discovery Of Mercurous Nitrite
In 1896, Prafulla published a paper on preparation of a new stable chemical compound: mercurous nitrite, which is used in mercuration.

He also proved that the pure ammonium nitrite is stable. This compound is useful as an agricultural pesticide and in making nitrous oxide. 

Presence in Academia

  • Prafulla Chandra retired from the Presidency College in 1916.
  • He started a new Indian School of Chemistry in 1924.
  • He joined the Calcutta University College of Science as its first “Palit Professor of Chemistry”.
  • In 1936, at the age of 75, he retired from active service and became Professor Emeritus.

His Philanthropic Side
In 1923, Bengal suffered a flood which made many people homeless. Prafulla organised Bengal Relief Committee, which collected ₹2.5+ million as relief fund. In 1922, he donated money to establish the Nagarjuna Prize to be awarded for the best work in chemistry.

  • Dr C V Raman was the first Asian to be awarded a Nobel Prize in any branch of science. In 1930, Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of an unknown type of scattering of light which was subsequently called Raman scattering.

India Joins UNESCO Club 40

India Joins UNESCO Club 40

With Dholavira and Ramappa Temple recently being declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, let’s take a little journey across the country and go over all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.

Crux of the Matter

World Heritage Sites In India

  • The slogan of UNESCO is “Building peace in the minds of men and women”. The organisation is headquartered in Paris, France.

What Is UAPA Law?

What Is UAPA Law?

UAPA, one of India’s home-brewed Preventative Detention Law to curb unlawful activities, has been widely cited as a tool to silence dissent. In that light, let’s look at the origins of this law, various amendments in it and some unexpected numbers associated with it.

Crux of the Matter

Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA)
It was enacted on 30th Dec 1967.
The political climate around it:

  • Indian army’s defeat in the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
  • DMK‘s secession promises in Tamil Nadu.
  • Emergence of Separatist elements in Nagaland.

2004 Amendment
After Prevention of Terrorist Activities (POTA) law was scrapped in 2004, its controversial provisions were inculcated in UAPA. The amendment included introduction of clauses related to terrorist activities and their broadened definition.

2008 Amendment
After 26/11 Terrorist attacks, stricter bail and detention provisions for those under suspicion of terrorist activities were added.
It expanded already ambiguous definition of terrorism and authorized warrantless, wide authority search and seizure.

2019 Amendment
This amendment authorized Govt to designate individuals as terrorists. It further established a Review Committee for appeals, where Review Board had no time-limit to decide and no compulsion to reveal its reasoning.

NIA, UPA Enforcer
Operating under the Ministry of Home Affairs, National Investigation Agency (NIA) is responsible for investigating all cases under UAPA. They have designation of Special Courts for NIA trial. The law also enables NIA agents to arrest and seize properties circumventing Police.

Popular Case-Bhima Koregoan
In 2018, NIA arrested late Fr Stan Swamy, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bhardwaj, etc. on accusation of inciting violence at a rally in Koregaon. By 2020, multiple charge sheets have been filed but no trial has started and those arrested continue to be detained.

Human Rights Violation
The vague framing of the act leaves scope for possible misuse and its time consuming judicial proceedings leads to long periods of detention.

In UAPA cases, the process itself is the punishment.

Justice Aftab Alam, former Supreme Court Judge

UAPA Cases & Conviction Rate

  • Indian Constitution is the largest constitution in the World. Every year, 26th November is celebrated as Constitution Day in India to commemorate its adoption in 1949.