Saturday, 30 July 2016

Who Is Artem Vaulin, Alleged Kickass Torrents Operator

Who Is Artem Vaulin, Alleged Kickass Torrents Operator? Everything We Know About 'Tirm'BY JULIA GLUM @SUPERJULIA ON 07/21/16 AT 11:36 AM

If you downloaded Kanye West's album "The Life of Pablo" or a "Game of Thrones" episode without paying, you can probably thank Artem Vaulin. Or, at least, you could have, before he was arrested.

The United States Department of Justice announced they'd detained Vaulin, a 30-year-old Ukrainian who on the internet goes by "tirm," Wednesday in Poland for owning Kickass Torrents. The piracy directory website that was attracting more than 50 million users every month also appeared to have been pulled offline Thursday.

"Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials," assistant attorney general Leslie R. Caldwell said in a news release. "In an effort to evade law enforcement, Vaulin all

The Justice Department alleges that Vaulin has operated Kickass Torrents since 2008. In 2010, tirm was listed as "The Owner — too busy for all your problems." In that role, Vaulin was likely receiving a share of the site's estimated $17 million in annual ad revenue, according to the criminal complaint. The tirm bio was later removed.

Vaulin registered several Kickass Torrents domain names after buying them through GoDaddy starting in 2009. The Justice Department examined a variety of his email accounts, including, which contained scans of his passport and driver's license.

At one point, someone forwarded him a message from a film company requesting information about a user uploading certain content titled. The employee asked Vaulin if Kickass Torrents should ignore the request, and Vaulin wrote back, "Of course."

The complaint shows that the Justice Department was able to locate Vaulin in part because he used Facebook and iTunes.

Other information about Vaulin is scant. A curriculum vitae for a Ukrainian professor says he advised an Artem Vaulin who worked on a thesis titled "Web-Based Semantic Data Collection and Warehousing" in 2007 at the Kharkov National University of Radioelectronics. A LinkedIn profile in Vaulin's name lists his skills as project management, strategic planning and customer service. It also says he speaks Ukranian, Russian and English.

Complaint against Vaulin

Artem Vaulin: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Published 7:54 pm EDT, July 20, 2016 Updated 7:57 pm EDT, July 20, 2016

Artem Vaulin, named as the alleged owner of KickassTorrents in a federal lawsuit, was arrested in Poland. The U.S. is going to seek his extradition as they seek to shut down the most popular torrenting website in the world. (Read all about the lawsuit here.) Who is Artem Vaulin?

Here’s what you need to know.
1. Artem Vaulin Was Arrested in Poland and May Be Extradited to the United States

One of Artem’s websites. (Djinn)

Vaulin was arrested in Poland by local police. The federal government is going to try to have him extradited to the United States for his trial.

Four charges have been filed against him: two counts of criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement.

2. Vaulin Could Face Up to 20 Years in Jail

The copyright charges can bring a sentence of five years, but the money laundering charge has a maximum sentence of up to 20 years.

According to the Complaint, Artem Vaulin has gone by the name “tirm” online. The press release about his arrest adds that he is innocent until proven guilty, and thus far is only “alleged” to have committed these crimes.

3. He Owns a Company Called Cryptoneat, Which the Lawsuit Alleges Was a Cover for KAT

Photo from Cryptoneat’s Facebook page. (Facebook)

Artem Vaulin, 30, is from the Ukraine. The complaint alleges that he has been the owner and operator of KAT since November 2008. The complaint also states that he operated a Ukrainian company called Cryptoneat at least partially to conceal KAT’s operations. According to the complaint, a backup account for KAT’s Whois registration was once (see page 34 of the complaint.) redirects to

On LinkedIn, there is an Artem Vaulin from the Ukraine who works at Cryptoneat. Cryptoneat has a LinkedIn page, as does Artem (although his profile does not have a photo.) According to CryptoNeat’s LinkedIn page:

We are a software development company crafting our own products since 2008. Our latest project is wine scanner iOS application

We support personal responsibility and involvement with no overmanagement standing in the way of imagination and creative thinking.

Flexible schedules and smart workspace — we hold to the ergonomics cult: Herman Miller chairs, standing desks, Apple hardware and multi-monitor configurations.”

On LinkedIn, 20 employees are listed for Cryptoneat, including developers, marketing directors, and software engineers. Cryptoneat also has a nice-looking website here. Perks for employees include paid sick leave, gym membership, Herman Miller chairs, bicycle parking, refrigerators, no dress code, and days off. The website makes the company look legitimate, not like a front organization.

Cryptoneat also has an Instagram page here, but it’s unclear if any of the people in the photo are Vaulin.
4. His LinkedIn Profile Lists Project Management, Strategic Planning, and Customer Service as His Top Skills

An Artem Vaulin on LinkedIn, who’s listed as the founder of Cryptoneat, has a sparse profile without even a photo. He listed his top skills as Project Management, Management, Strategic Planning, and Customer Service. These appear to just be skills that other LinkedIn members vote on for you.

Vaulin has 105 LinkedIn connections. His languages are listed as Ukrainian, Russian, and English. The only companies he follows are Cryptoneat and Grupo EDFAN.

There are two other Artem Vaulins on LinkedIn, both listed as being in the Russian Federation and both with similar photos. It’s not known if these are the same Artem or a different person.

Access Hidden Settings on your Phone

Access Hidden Settings on your Phone

Depending on what flavor of Android your phone is based on, you might be stuck with a settings page that is… a bit of a mess to say the least.

For that reason, Google introduced a search feature in the settings app starting with Android 5.0 Lollipop.

Settings App Search Menu

However, there are a few settings screens that are inaccessible from this search bar. These are activities that are able to be called within the Settings app, however, they require you to directly invoke them as the manufacturer has not otherwise provided a user-accessible link. The easiest way to launch these settings are to use an app like Activity Launcher, but Nova Launcher/Tasker and other apps are able to access these activities as well. What hidden menus you are able to access differs across devices, but here are a few examples that I’ve found on the Nexus 6P (that should be accessible on most Android phones) as well as a few that are specific to the Huawei P9.

Notification Log

Did you know that Android logs all of your notifications? Since Android 4.3, Google has tucked away a hidden settings page called the Notification log that lists every notification received with the notification’s title, status bar icon, originating app, and time the notification was posted. Unfortunately, the log does not record detailed information about a notification so you’re unable to see the exact contents of a Hangouts message, for instance. This settings page can be found at$NotificationStationActivity.

Detailed Cellular/Network Information and App Usage Statistics

There is a hidden “Testing” settings page ( that can be readily accessed by many Android phones. Within the settings screen here, you are able to view detailed information about your current cellular and WiFi collection as well as app usage statistics. Within the Phone Information page (directly accessible via, for instance, you can see a list of nearby cellular towers (I’ve redacted that part in my screenshot because the list is very large), your signal strength, and some network testing information such as successful packets sent/received. In addition, you can set your preferred network type, disable the cellular radio (effectively the same as enabling airplane mode, without toggling WiFi/Bluetooth), and change some other network settings. Be warned that these network settings are hidden for a reason, so do not change any settings unless you are absolutely sure you know what you’re doing.

Next up is the Usage Statistics (directly accessible via screen. Here, we have a page that provides us some basic information about how much time we spend using certain apps. Android logs and lists your app usage and allows you to sort by usage time, last time the app was used, or by app name. It’s a quick and easy way to see what apps you regularly use without having to give permission to a third party app to track your habits. And yes, it persists across reboots.

Finally, there’s the hidden WiFi settings page (directly accessible via or by entering *#*#4636#*#* in the dialer). There’s not much useful information to be gleaned here for the average user, though. The WiFi API page lists a few options that developers can use to pull information about the device’s WiFi connection, but there’s nothing for you to use. The WiFi Config page provides a ton of information about your currently configured WiFi networks, though, so if that information is relevant to you then you’ll enjoy this page. Finally, the Wifi Status page provides a more condensed version of your Wifi configuration and even allows you to run a quick ping test to test your connection.

Note: You must hit “Refresh Stats” to see detailed information.

Huawei P9-Specific Settings

Here’s where things get interesting. Device manufacturers often hide specific settings of their own, and just like the above few activities you’ll have to do some digging to find some of these. For Huawei’s P9, here are a few that I’ve found.

USB OTG Toggle

Now here’s an oddball feature. Apparently, there’s a hidden toggle that was supposed to be used to enable/disable USB OTG (and by default the option is off) but for some reason it was left out of the settings app. As far as I know, USB OTG works regardless of whether or not the option is enabled in this screen. Perhaps Huawei originally intended to disable the feature by default, but then decided against it?

Signal Icon Style

This setting allows you to change the behavior of the signal icon, depending on how many SIM cards you have inserted (the Huawei P9 accepts two SIMs).

Time Display Mode

This setting lets you choose whether or not you want to display the timestamp seen in calls, messages, and calendar in local time or Beijing time. I’m not sure why this menu exists, but if you need it it’s there to use.

Audio Balance

Here’s an interesting one that was hidden by Huawei: a sound balancing feature. Supposedly, you are supposed to be able to control the left/right sound balance using this slider, but I couldn’t hear any difference. Perhaps Huawei scrapped this feature partway through development, so we might see it in a future Huawei phone.

Now that we’ve gone through a few of the hidden settings activities as well as how to access them, you should try digging through your phone’s settings app to see if you can find anything interesting. Who knows, there could be a really useful feature that was cut at the last minute!

Real story of Rahul Gandhi’s Dalit outreach

Real story of Rahul Gandhi’s Dalit outreach: Fake mom and a readmitted patient

by Jul 26, 2016

The Congress is not making it easy for Rahul Gandhi, whose life sways from one blunder to the next with a bit of power nap at workplace thrown in between. It is bad enough covering the countless goof-ups of the Congress's heir-apparent but it becomes infinitely trickier when party leaders add to his gaffes. The end result is a case study on how India's grand old party is hurtling towards oblivion.

File image of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

A day after sleeping over a Parliament debate on atrocities against Dalits, Rahul Gandhi woke up to Dalit empowerment like Alice in Wonderland and headed for Gujarat.

The party obviously thought that it will be a great photo-op, a good chance to cash in on BJP's discomfort and may even ensure a slice of the Dalit vote pie if Rahul Gandhi, the son, grandson, and great-grandson of former Indian Prime Ministers, goes and hugs a few affected people or maybe even shares a cuppa with them.

It all went according to the script. In a show of solidarity with the Dalits, who were recently assaulted and humiliated in Gujarat by members of a self-styled 'cow protection group', Rahul Gandhi first visited Mota Samadhiyala village in Una to meet the victims' family members. He then proceeded to Rajkot Civil hospital. Three youths, who were beaten up by the gang, were undergoing treatment there along with 11 other Dalit men who had attempted suicide during the large-scale statewide protests.

The meeting went swimmingly. Pictures of Rahul meeting the recuperating youths and hugging the mother of a victim were widely circulated.

"I met the mother of the victim. She said that she sees no way forward - we are trampled in Modiji's Gujarat everyday," Rahul Gandhi had said, taking a dig at the Prime Minister. It showed how the Congress Vice-President's heart beats for the oppressed.

There was one problem, however. It now emerges that Ramaben, the tearful woman whom Rahul met during his visit to the hospital assuming her to be the mother of one of the victims, was not even remotely connected to any of the youths.

State Congress general secretary Hemang Vasavada has admitted that local party leaders had "planted" Ramaben to make it visually more appealing. The idea was to 'humanise' the story so that Anandiben Patel administration, already under the cosh, could be portrayed in an even poorer light before Rahul and the media. The police has now started an inquiry.

"It was an indefensible and foolish act that has embarrassed the party, giving ammunition to the BJP, which had been on the back foot on the Una incident," Vasavada, a Rajkot-based neurosurgeon, told The Telegraph.

It appears that the woman, Ramaben, is a history-sheeter with a "dubious" background and has faced cases of bootlegging, extortion and attempt to murder. She had also apparently campaigned in elections for Rajkot Congress MLA Indranil Rajyaguru and local councillor Vasram Sagathiya.

In the TV footage, the woman was heard telling the Congress Vice-President that "now we will not go back to Mota Samadhiyala, our village." However, according to the report which quotes police sources, Ramaben lives in Rajkot and is suspected of links with the bootlegging mafia in Gujarat.

Questioned by the media, Ramaben said: "I never said that I am his (victim's) real mother but being from the Dalit community I am like his mother."

"I don't understand politics. These TV-wallahs are unnecessarily harassing me," she told a newspaper.

Under pressure, the party's state unit came up with a fantastic explanation. Congress leader Rajyaguru said he didn't know Ramaben and accused the BJP of "planting her to defame the Congress."

It is still unclear how that may be possible because only those cleared by the SPG, who handles Rahul's security, can meet the Congress Vice-President.

As if the entire incident wasn't embarrassing enough, more details have emerged from the stage-managed nature of Rahul Gandhi's Rajkot visit.

According to a report in The Indian Express, hours before the Congress Vice-President landed in Rajkot, Ramesh Sarvaiya, a victim of the public flogging who had been discharged from Junagadh civil hospital on 18 July, was re-admitted to General Hospital in Rajkot under alleged political pressure so that the Congress scion could meet him.

Doctors at the Rajkot and Una hospitals claim huge political pressure to let the victims stay in hospital even if they are fit to be discharged.

“The four patients from Una are completely normal. They are fit to be discharged any time. Other 11 who have attempted suicide by consuming poison are also fine and can be allowed to go home. But there is a lot of political pressure on us to let them stay in the hospital. The leaders of various political parties are coming to us and telling us that they are very serious and that they should continue to get medical treatment,” the report quoted a senior doctor Rajkot government hospital, as saying.

Beyond the gaffes, which lends a macabre hue to extremely tragic incidents, these instances are a pointer to how political parties exploit human tragedies and use victims as a prop for scoring brownie points. It is unclear whether these 'photo-op politics' or 'tragedy tourism' result in any electoral gains but parties can't be faulted for not trying.

Shortly after Rahul Gandhi's departure, Aam Admi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, too, flew in to bake his bread in the oven of discontent. AAP intends to contest the Gujarat Assembly polls and the Dalit uprising gave him a chance to get himself pitch-forked into the headlines.

Congress needs to step up its game though. The gaffes put the tag 'paid' to any political mileage it may have hoped for from the Dalit outrage.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Kali Yuga: When Did It End and What Lies Ahead?

Kali Yuga: When Did It End and What Lies Ahead? 
By Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev | Nov 05, 2015 | 18,150 views 

In the yogic astronomy, we divide the orbit of the Earth around the Sun into 27 segments, called nakshatras. Each nakshatra is further divided into four equal sectors called padas or steps.

Multiply 4 by 27 and it equals 108. These 108 units mark the 108 steps that the Earth takes through space. Each nakshatra corresponds to one half of the lunar orbit around the Earth. The cycles within the human body respond and correspond to that.

In a woman’s body, there are very obvious cycles of 27.55 days if she is perfectly healthy. In a man’s body, the cycles are less obvious and pronounced – they happen in a different way and are of a larger span of time. In any case, these cycles are happening all the time in the solar system and the larger universe.

The microcosm and the macrocosm both are playing the same game. But who should play whose game? If you think the macrocosm is going to play your game, you will waste your life. If you play the macrocosm’s game, your life will be beyond your expectations.

The Cycle of Four Yugas 

The precession (caused by gradual rotation of the Earth’s axis) of the equinoxes is the period of time that it takes the Earth’s axis to pass through one complete cycle of the zodiac. It takes the planet 72 years to pass through one degree of the zodiac and 25,920 years to complete one full circle of 360 degrees.

One half of the journey takes 12,960 years and covers the four yugas. 
Satya Yuga lasts 5184 years. 
Treta Yuga lasts 3888 years. 
Dwapara Yuga lasts 2592 years. 
Kali Yuga lasts 1296 years. 
These four yugas taken together come to a total of 12,960 years

The Beginning of Kali Yuga 

The story of Mahabharat needs to be seen in a certain context. 
In 3140 BCE, the Kurukshetra War ended, and in 3102 BCE, Krishna left his body. Three to four months after the war, the Kali Yuga began. 

As of 2012 AD, Krishna’s era ended 5,114 years ago. If you subtract 2592, which is the cumulative number of years of the two Kali Yugas that are at the bottom of the ellipse which describes the axial precession, you arrive at 2522 years.

That means we have already completed 2522 years of Dwapara Yuga, and since its total duration is 2592 years, we still have 70 years until its completion. 

In the year 2082, we will complete Dwapara Yuga and move on to Treta Yuga. 

The world will go through another upheaval, not necessarily in terms of war but probably in terms of population explosion and natural calamities, before moving on to this new era of wellbeing and upward movement of human consciousness.

Yugas and Human Consciousness 

The solar system with the Sun and the planets around it is moving in the galaxy. It takes 25,920 years for our solar system to complete one cycle around a larger star. 

From the effects upon the planet, we believe this big star or big system that our system is going around is not located in the center of the orbit but somewhere to the side. 

Whenever our solar system comes closer to this big system, all the creatures living in our system rise to greater possibilities. Whenever our system moves away from it, the creatures living in our system come to the lowest level of possibility – we say this is Kali Yuga. 

When our solar system is closer to the “Super Sun,” Satya Yuga will begin. The human mind will be at its highest capability. 

People’s ability to know life, people’s ability to communicate, people’s ability to live joyfully will be at its highest. Or in other words, we will have sensible people. All it takes to live well on this planet is a bunch of sensible people.

In Satya Yuga, human ability to communicate will be at its best because the ether will be very close. Right now, the etheric sphere of the planet is raised to a certain point. There was a time when it was much higher – now it has come a little closer. When the ether is very close and I want to convey something to you, I do not have to say it. Even when my eyes are closed, you will know what I want to say. When the ether rises a little bit but is still at a certain distance, if I close my eyes, you will not know, but if I open my eyes and look at you, you will know what I want to convey.

The Ether and Spiritual Possibilities 

If the ether rises some more, you can know by breath. If you go into the forest, you will see, because your vision is blocked to some extent, after some time, the most significant way of knowing things is by smell. Most animals that live there know things only by smell. Because of such concentrated life energy, the ether is high. Because the ether is high, they do not have to see.

If you talk, they will get confused. When the ether is very low, you have to talk all the time – otherwise, people will not get it. Even if you talk, they will not get it. You have to knock and talk continuously to make them get it. The etheric content in the atmosphere determines how sensitive you are in terms of your ability to communicate.

Krishna also said that after over 5000 years, there will come a many thousand year period of time that will be fabulous.

At the same time, no matter which time, which yuga, which planetary position we are in right now, still, individual human beings can rise above all this. Still, individual human beings can live in a golden time within themselves. Even in the worst of times, the possibility to be well above it is always there for an individual human being.

There are many things one can do to enhance the ether or create etheric content. This is why Krishna said, in Kali Yuga, which is down there, far away from the Super Sun, the ether will be so low that there is no point in trying to teach them yoga, meditation, mantras, or yantras – they will not get it.

Just teach them devotion. If they are devout, they will generate their own ether. And because of this etheric content in the atmosphere, they will perceive. Devotion is not for the dumb – but even if you are the dumbest, you can still get it.

Thousands of years ago, they said that as the solar system moves closer to the Super Sun, human intelligence will blossom. As the solar system moves closer, the realization that the whole body and the whole universe are electric structures will come naturally. Right now, we are moving towards Treta Yuga, which is the second best time that can happen in a cycle of yugas.

Krishna also said that after over 5000 years, there will come a many thousand year period of time that will be fabulous. We will not make it there, but we can set the foundations for it and have the joy of creating an atmosphere for a stretch of thousands of years of golden time upon the planet.

This is not all predictions and conjecture – this is based on a deep-rooted understanding about what happens with the human mind in relation to the planet on which we live. We do not only live on this planet – we are the planet. If you do not understand this today, you will understand this when you are buried. The planet understands that you are a part of it – only you think something else of yourself.

Mahabharat – The Story of Every Human Being 

The story begins because you have false ideas about yourself. Mahabharat represents the grand misconception of human beings about life; their sufferings, their rises and falls. It goes on and on, simply because human beings are struggling to come in tune with life. Whatever someone who is in tune with it tries to say, everyone else will misunderstand. Light cannot be put in words, but if you open your eyes, you can see the light. Similarly, if this life that you are opens up, it can feel life, it can become life.

Life cannot be told. Telling is only to inspire, to de-mesmerize you from your own self-mesmerism. Every human being has hypnotized himself or herself into their own limitations and they believe this is it. If you undo that hypnotism, they will feel fearful because existence is limitless. Therefore, if they are spinning one way, you have to spin them the opposite way for some time for them to feel they are going somewhere.

The whole Mahabharat is just this effort. No matter what they are doing, everyone thinks they are doing it for the good. Whether it is “my good,” “your good,” someone else’s good, or everyone else’s good – whatever kind of good, everyone thinks they are doing it for the good. But everyone is neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong – the story just goes on.

The story is not about a particular person – Mahabharat comes under the classification of Itihasa. In India, there are three categories of great texts: Itihasa, Purana, Veda. Vedas are full of abstract ideas, scientific theories, and explanations for celestial happenings.

Puranas are stories of beings who are not human. Itihasa is the story of the human being, not in terms of history, though there is a historic element to it. The facts are rooted in history, but this is the story of every human being – it is about the meaning of your life. Only if it is your story, it can be a process of growth for you.


15 Predictions for Kali Yuga from the Bhagavata Purana

15 Predictions for Kali Yuga from the Bhagavata Purana

In the last canto of the Bhagavata Purana there is a list of predictions and prophecies about the dark times for the present age of Kali Yuga. 

The following 15 predictions, written more than 5,000 years ago by sage Vedavyasa, are amazing because they appear so accurate. Despite the negative tone of these prophecies, there is still one bright spot for all of us, which is mentioned at the end.

Prediction 1:

Religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, duration of life, physical strength and memory will all diminish day by day because of the powerful influence of the age of Kali.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.1

sri-suka uvaca
tatas canu-dinam dharmah
satyam saucam ksama daya
kalena balina rajan
nanksyaty ayur balam smrtih

Prediction 2:

In Kali Yuga, wealth alone will be considered the sign of a man’s good birth, proper behaviour and fine qualities. And law and justice will be applied only on the basis of one’s power.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.2

vittam eva kalau nṝṇāḿ
kāraṇaḿ balam eva hi

Prediction 3:

Men and women will live together merely because of superficial attraction, and success in business will depend on deceit. Womanliness and manliness will be judged according to one’s expertise in sex, and a man will be known as a brahmana just by his wearing a thread.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.3

dāmpatye ‘bhirucir hetur
māyaiva vyāvahārike
strītve puḿstve ca hi ratir
vipratve sūtram eva hi

Prediction 4:

A person’s spiritual position will be ascertained merely according to external symbols, and on that same basis people will change from one spiritual order to the next. A person’s propriety will be seriously questioned if he dos not earn a good living. And one who is very clever at juggling words will be considered a learned scholar.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.4

lińgaḿ evāśrama-khyātāv
avṛttyā nyāya-daurbalyaḿ
pāṇḍitye cāpalaḿ vacaḥ

Prediction 5:

A person will be judged unholy if he does not have money, and hypocrisy will be accepted as virtue. Marriage will be arranged simply by verbal agreement, and a person will think he is fit to appear in public if he has merely taken a bath.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.5

sādhutve dambha eva tu
svīkāra eva codvāhe
snānam eva prasādhanam

Prediction 6:

A sacred place will be taken to consist of no more than a reservoir of water located at a distance, and beauty will be thought to depend on one’s hairstyle. Filling the belly will become the goal of life, and one who is audacious will be accepted as truthful. He who can maintain a family will be regarded as an expert man, and the principles of religion will be observed only for the sake of reputation.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.6

dūre vāry-ayanaḿ tīrthaḿ
lāvaṇyaḿ keśa-dhāraṇam
udaraḿ-bharatā svārthaḥ
satyatve dhārṣṭyam eva hi
dākṣyaḿ kuṭumba-bharaṇaḿ
yaśo ‘rthe dharma-sevanam

Prediction 7:

As the earth thus becomes crowded with a corrupt population, whoever among any of ther social classes shows himself to be the strongest will gain political power.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.7

evaḿ prajābhir duṣṭābhir
ākīrṇe kṣiti-maṇḍale
yo balī bhavitā nṛpaḥ

Prediction 8:

Harassed by famine and excessive taxes, people will resort to eating leaves, roots, flesh, wild honey, fruits, flowers and seeds. Struck by drought, they will become completely ruined.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.9

anāvṛṣṭyā vinańkṣyanti

Prediction 9:

The citizens will suffer greatly from cold, wind, heat, rain and snow. They will be further tormented by quarrels, hunger, thirst, disease and severe anxiety.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.10

himair anyonyataḥ prajāḥ
kṣut-tṛḍbhyāḿ vyādhibhiś caiva
santapsyante ca cintayā

Prediction 10:

The maximum duration of life for human beings in Kali Yuga will become 50 years.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.2.11

triḿśad viḿśati varṣāṇi
paramāyuḥ kalau nṛṇām

Prediction 11:

Men will no longer protect their elderly parents.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.42

na rakshishyanti manujah
sthavirau pitarav api

Prediction 12:

In Kali-yuga men will develop hatred for each other even over a few coins. Giving up all friendly relations, they will be ready to lose their own lives and kill even their own relatives.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.41

kalau kakinike ‘py arthe
vigrihya tyakta-sauhridah
tyakshyanti ca priyan pranan
hanishyanti svakan api

Prediction 13:

Uncultured men will accept charity on behalf of the Lord and will earn their livelihood by making a show of austerity and wearing a mendicant’s dress. Those who know nothing about religion will mount a high seat and presume to speak on religious principles.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.38

sudrah pratigrahishyanti
dharmam vakshyanty adharma-jna

Prediction 14:

Servants will abandon a master who has lost his wealth, even if that master is a saintly person of exemplary character. Masters will abandon an incapacitated servant, even if that servant has been in the family for generations. Cows will be abandoned or killed when they stop giving milk.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.36

patim tyakshyanti nirdravyam
bhritya apy akhilottamam
bhrityam vipannam patayah
kaulam gas capayasvinih

Prediction 15:

Cities will be dominated by thieves, the Vedas will be contaminated by speculative interpretations of atheists, political leaders will virtually consume the citizens, and the so-called priests and intellectuals will be devotees of their bellies and genitals.

Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.32

dasyutkrishta janapada
vedah pashanda-dushitah
rajanas ca praja-bhakshah
sisnodara-para dvijah

Despite all of these dark prophecies, there is one good quality in this age of Kali yuga:

kaler dosha-nidhe rajann
asti hy eko maha gunah
kirtanad eva krishnasya
mukta-sangah param vrajet

“Although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: simply by chanting the names of Krishna, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.” (Source: Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.51)

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Yahoo story

When Yahoo Refused to Buy Google for $1 MillionTasneem Akolawala , 26 July 2016

  • Sergey Brin and Larry Page approached Yahoo in 1998
  • They were looking to sell their PageRank system for $1 million
  • In 2002, Google again looked to Yahoo to raise $3 billion in funds
After several futile attempts to revive the company's old appeal, Yahoo has now announced that it is selling most of its core services to US telecommunications giant Verizon. This marks as the end of an era for a company that once defined the Internet. 

Yahoo was at its most successful in the 90s, but its failure to keep up with the emerging trends contributed to its downfall. The other major factor that caused this fate was a series of missed opportunities by its executives. 

In 1998, Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin had approached Yahoo, with an opportunity to buy its PageRank system for as little as $1 million. The duo wanted to focus on their studies at Stanford, but Yahoo showed no interest as it wanted users to spend more time on its own platform.

PageRank is an algorithm designed by Brin and Page that ranked websites for the order they are displayed in Google search results. It is named after Larry Page, and is a way of measuring the importance of websites. While PageRank helped in showing up search results of relevant third-party sites based on keywords, Yahoo did not want users to leave their platform at all. It had directories that were designed to answer questions, view email, shop and even play games on its platform - something that seemed to work well for them at that time.

However, as time progressed the online world soon began to realize the importance of third-party online advertising revenue. Google built its own pay-per click service called AdWords back then, and is now the key reason for Google's rags to riches story. 

In 2002, Brin and Page went to Yahoo once again, this time to raise funds worth $3 billion. However, then Yahoo Chief Terry Semel refused the offer as it looked to again build its own search engine to compete with Google. Yahoo acquired search engine Inktomi and ad revenue maker Overture in its mission to build the search engine that would topple Google.

However, Yahoo failed miserably in execution, and fell to its own demise. While Yahoo's absorption into Verizon's AOL Internet business is now the new reality, Semel and his board of directors must surely lament all the wrong and over-ambitious decisions they made in the past. If Yahoo had agreed on the deal with Google co-owners in its nascent days, Yahoo's fate would possibly hold a different story.

Google aka Alphabet is now one of the world's most valuable companies, with its worth nearing $500 billion. In comparison, the latest deal reveals that Yahoo's core business was worth just $4.83 billion

12 Things You Didn't Know About Yahoo, a Giant That Once Ruled the Internet
Agence France-Presse , 26 July 2016

  • For years, Yahoo was the leading "portal" for the Internet
  • Yahoo IPO in 1996 was the largest for a tech startup at the time
  • It was once the leading search engine
Among the best-known names on the Internet, Yahoo was one of the first companies that enabled users to find their way online, but has lost its role as a leader.

On Monday, Yahoo agreed to sell its core Internet operations to telecom giant Verizon for $4.8 billion, capping a long decline from when it had a peak market value of some $125 billion in 2000.

Here are key facts about Yahoo:

1. Founded in 1994 by Stanford University students David Filo and Jerry Yang, Yahoo was created as a type of directory for the Internet. It was originally called "Jerry and Dave's Guide to the World Wide Web" and when the Yahoo name was agreed upon, its founders said in jest that it stood for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle."

2. Its initial public offering in 1996 was the largest for a tech startup at the time.

3. Based in Sunnyvale, California, Yahoo has offices around the world and was for years the leading "portal" for the Internet, with a home page that allowed users to click on categories such as sports, finance and movies, or search for information.

4. It employed 11,700 people. Marissa Mayer was named chief executive in July 2012 but has been cutting staff significantly. As of March 31, its employee count was estimated at 9,400 and falling.

5. Yahoo was once the leading search engine for the Internet but it has been overtaken by Google, which launched in 1998.

6. According to data compiled by Netmarketshare, Yahoo handles just 7.7 percent of global online searches compared with 70 percent for Google and 11 percent for Microsoft's Bing.

7. For online advertising, Yahoo is only expected to take 1.5 percent of the worldwide digital advertising market this year, down from 2.1 percent in 2015, according to eMarketer.

8. With its Web portal, Yahoo remains an important online destination for email, messaging, news, and video. It gets 204 million regular visitors in the United States, according to comScore, which ranks it as the third-largest digital media property in the US.

9. In October, Yahoo became the first online service to stream a regular season NFL American football match, getting 15 million viewers.

10. Yahoo's finances have been skewed by its stake in China's Alibaba. It bought a 40 percent stake in Alibaba in 2005 for $1 billion and its current holding is now worth some $30 billion - the vast majority of Yahoo's market value of around $37 billion. It also holds a multibillion-dollar stake in Yahoo Japan. These holdings will not be transferred to Verizon but remain in a separate entity.

11. In 2013, Yahoo moved to attract a younger audience by buying the online blogging platform Tumblr for $1 billion.

12. Yahoo posted a loss of $4.4 billion for 2015, and in its most recent quarter lost another $440 million, having to write down the value of much of its assets. Revenues for 2015 were $4.9 billion.

Monday, 25 July 2016

NFC-cashless transaction pioneer Yeldi Softcom

NFC early mover Yeldi, the queue buster
By Anusha Ashwin

Can an ordeal on a boat ride in the Island of Maldives pave way for the origin of a digital wallet company? Yes! It can. Way back in early 2008, Ra Arjunamurthy the Founder of Yeldi Softcom, was holidaying in Maldives when he encountered an ordeal in paying cash to the boatman for a ride in the middle of the sea. A born-entrepreneur, Arjunamurthy, then had a sudden brainwave about using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to create products in cashless transaction and digital payment space. He believed that the NFC technology could bring a revolution in the cashless payment ecosystem.

Chennai-based Yeldi has now emerged as a company that is actively engaged in research, products and end-to-end services based on NFC technology. The company is co-founded by Arjunamurthy’s daughter Lakshmi Deepa, who is a rare woman entrepreneur in the digital wallet space.

In 2009, the breakthrough was quite naturally set for Arjunamurthy, as that was the time when Android-based smartphones were progressively developed and as he worked on the prototype for an NFC Device and a digital payment card, Google, in 2011, launched ‘Google Wallet’, which validated that his research and product development were on the right track. Google Wallet is a peer-to-peer payments service developed by Google that allows people to send and receive money from a mobile device.

Queue Buster Product Strategy

Talking about the genesis of Yeldi, Founder Arjunamurthy says, “I wanted to create a product using NFC technology which would disrupt the market and as a seasoned telecom entrepreneur my experience indicated that the best bet was to target the cash market. With the line slowly blurring between offline and online world, there was a need to create cashless transactions for enhanced customer experience. I wanted to hit cash transactions at a level for people in the bottom of the pyramid as well as the top. That is the area where real financial inclusions take place. Also, I just did not want to create an NFC-based product but also wanted to be a value-added-service company catering to the needs of the customer from start to end in cashless transactions.”

While product development started in 2008, Yeldi’s business launch took place only in 2012 and commercial operations, in fact, started in mid-2015. In the interim period, Yeldi’s core product development team consulted various technology experts based out of US, UK, France and China. Yeldi developed its core NFC technology in collaboration with NXP Semiconductors. In 2009, the company was registered; 2010 to 2012 were the formative years for the company, where considerable investment was made in R&D. Arjunamurthy collaborated with NXP for the highly-secured chips and also identified a Chinese manufacturer for the NFC-based handset.

“My vision was to create a product that caters to every cashless petty transaction like the day-to-daykirana shop. Just imagine a housekeeper or maid using a pre-paid card to make a small transaction for purchase of groceries. You just need to top-up the card with money and the transaction details are sent through an SMS to your handheld Yeldi device. Similarly, I found a significant need for cashless payments in every vertical. Be it at restaurants, gas stations, healthcare centers, booking tickets and many more. If there is a queue for any service, my product should be that queue buster there,” says Arjunamurthy.

Catering to both B2B as well as B2C verticals, Yeldi’s products have found success in varied verticals like healthcare, hospitality, multiplex, airlines, corporate establishments and banks. Yeldi caters not only to the Indian markets but also overseas markets. A brief explanation of Yeldi’s products and services are listed below:

Yeldi’s Handset: Yeldi’s NFC-enabled handset has all the features of a latest Android smartphone. Besides the obvious functionality as a 3G/4G smartphone, it works as a secure mobile Point-of-Sale Terminal. In its functionality as a POS terminal, Yeldi’s handset will interact only with Yeldi’s own tags, ensuring utmost security. Currently, there are two models priced approximately at Rs 8,500 and Rs 12,000 respectively.

iTapIt: The National Development Bank Plc (NDBP) in Sri Lanka has launched a pre-paid wallet cum debit card, iTapIt, for use among its customers, malls, restaurants, tea plantations and at schools with the technology being provided by Yeldi. Sri Lanka’s tea and rubber plantation workers use this card to mark their attendance, record the number of hours worked and even collect wages through a simple tap.

Meal Card: National carrier Air India has implemented Yeldi’s pre-paid cards for micro-payments at its Chennai and Hyderabad IRCTC-run canteens. Some 3,000 ground staff employees have subsidized meals at these canteens. This is Yeldi’s first venture in offline transaction and in a closed group format. With Yeldi’s pre-paid card wallet, Air India employees just flash their NFC-enabled cards at Yeldi’s NFC-enabled smartphone that acts as a payment receiver to make payments for their coffee or lunch. The canteen management certainly rate Yeldi’s technology as advantageous as it busts the queue and is more secure and the hassle behind handling cash and tendering change has been eliminated. The queue gets cleared within minutes and it avoids the cumbersome transaction of small payments.

Laundromat Card: Upmarket Delhi-based Laundromat Gaurdini, which caters to a host of politicians, celebrities and industrialists, now accepts Yeldi cards for payments. Explaining in detail, Arjunamurthy says, “Usually such high profile people do not pick their clothes from Laundromats on their own. A chauffeur or a maid is assigned this work, and they might not necessarily have the knowledge to operate a debit or a credit card. This is where Yeldi plays a role. The Gaurdini laundry card owner can pre-load a fixed amount between Rs 1,000-2,000 onto the card. And anyone with the card can make payments by flashing it near the Yeldi device and the bill amount is automatically deducted from the card.”

Hospitality Card: High-end condominiums like Bounce Back and Nirvana are one of Yeldi’s clients in the hospitality sector. Yeldi’s cards act as a pre-paid card for residents at every point as an access card like at the gymnasium, club house and other in-house facilities.

Ara eTap: This was launched in 2012. Ara eTap is an NFC sticker-based mobile payments service. Consumers who sign up for the service will be provided with an NFC sticker or a tag to attach to their mobile phones. The customer can buy an ara eTap, which is a tag, use the secret PIN given to him/her and can transact across all major product and service outlets.

Merchant Business Boosters: This is best suited for owners of portable restaurants, small (Kirana) shops, retail chains or an e-commerce online portal. When a merchant purchases Yeldi’s handset, he is given 500 Yeldi’s digital wallet cards. A tap-and-pay feature allows the merchant’s customers to pay for the transaction, which can be mobile recharge, payment of bills, and booking movie tickets among others.

Yeldi’s Mobile App: The mobile app is inbuilt and can be customized for every customer. The app will allow customers to place orders or schedule appointments, check the latest offers, view past transactions, etc.

Ambitious Roadmap

With a strong belief that his products have the potential to disrupt the digital wallet market and the potential to replace credit cards, Arjunamurthy spells out his plans for the future. He says, “Being at the cusp of digital wallet innovation, scaling up will be a natural phenomenon for Yeldi. Our products have been widely accepted nationally and internationally. In the coming years, Yeldi will foray into Qatar, Philippines, Bangladesh and Malaysia. By the end of 2016, Yeldi will tie-up with 16 national and international banks to launch a service similar to Sri Lanka’s National Development Bank.”

In the next 18 months, Yeldi intends to sell 300,000 units of NFC phones, which means that consequently along with the phone there will be a scale-up of sales of digital cards, tags or stickers. Yeldi will gain commissions from each transaction. A plan is also underway to manufacture the phones in India. “I am in advanced stage of talks with a manufacturer to make my handsets here in India as the demand rises. The reason behind this thinking is that once my phone is sold to a customer, my job does not end there. My company has to be a continuous service provider like an email service provider. Every time a customer makes a recharge with Yeldi’s card I am benefitted. Large part of the Return on Investment (RoI) for me is dependent on this recharge market.” The company is also in talks with some of India’s premier educational institutions to seek advice on creating an absolute secured handset in India.

Currently, Yeldi has an employee base of 100 and is planning to expand the headcount to 240 by 2017. Building an efficient sales team will be the company’s human resource manager’s primary focus as the company has three products in the pipeline and the launch has been scheduled for the next two years. Creating a pan-India presence will be the sales team’s top priority.

Yeldi, since inception, has been a bootstrapped company. Until recently in March 2016, the promoters of the company diluted 26 per cent stake in favor of an undisclosed private equity investor. Yeldi is currently valued at $200 million and Arjunamurthy’s aim is to touch $2 billion by 2018. “$2 billion is just a figure. My company’s true value will be recognized when my products earn 1 million subscribers. Garnering 1 million subscribers is my ultimate goal,” he says.

Automation will shrink jobs in IT-10 skill sets to help you stay relevant

Automation will shrink jobs in IT but these 10 skill sets can help you stay relevantRuchi Bambha ECONOMICTIMES.COM | Jul 22, 2016, 01.57 PM IST
NEW DELHI: India's Information Technology (IT) job market is likely to take an automation hit.

Campus recruitment of graduates across engineering colleges is looking at its first dip since 2009, a time when global recession had led to significant job losses and lower hiring by companies, as companies resort to automation in entry ­level coding jobs and look at optimizing their bench strength.

HfS report points that while process-based jobs will perish, the industry will see a 56 per cent increase in high-skilled jobs.

"With clients worldwide tightening their IT spends and the IT industry grasping digital and its nuances, companies are focusing on strengthening their existing workforce while trying to understand what the future will hold in terms of skills, jobs and work. From a one­time training system, IT companies will need to adopt ongoing and sustainable training while incentivising self learning," says Nasscom president R Chandrasekhar.

A US­based research firm HfS Research predicts that India's IT services industry will lose 6.4 lakh 'low­skilled' jobs to automation in the next five years.

By 2021, HfS said that the IT industry worldwide would see a net decrease of 9 per cent in headcount, or about 1.4 million jobs.

"India churns out nearly 16 lakh graduate engineers every year, of which nearly two lakh are absorbed by the IT industry ­ the largest organized recruiter at the
campus," the report states.

Nasscom says fresh hiring in the current financial year may be lower than last year as IT companies are facing pressure on margins, besides focusing on automation of jobs.

"Hiring activity in the year before last was 2.20 lakh (new jobs were created in IT sector). Last year, (FY 2015­16) there were about two lakh additions. This
financial year, we are expecting it to be on the lower side of that", says Chandrasekhar.

But all is not that bleak.

The HfS report points that while process­based jobs will perish, the industry will see a 56 per cent increase in high­skilled jobs. High­skilled jobs require creative problem solving, analytics and critical thinking.

Automation will shrink jobs in IT but these 10 skill sets can help you stay relevant ­. So, if you have to stay relevant in the IT sector, there is enough scope. Here are 10 high­skill jobs that will help you stay secure professionally:
  • Web production lead
  • Product designers and simulation engineers
  • Data scientist
  • Digital marketing head
  • Mobile product development engineers
  • Product developers
  • Actuary
  • Information security analysts
  • Research and development engineers
  • Quality assurance analysts
The mid­skilled have a chance to upgrade their knowledge quotient. For the low­ skilled, short­ term courses in integration and management services,
web research and content management can increase their employability quotient.

Till educational institutes revise their courses, one will have to pick up some new skills for better jobs.

India Deploys T-72 Tanks in Ladakh to Counter China’s Military Build-up

India Deploys T-72 Tanks in Ladakh to Counter China’s Military Build-up

The Indian Army appears to have moved over 100 tanks to its disputed border with China.
By Prakhar Gupta
July 20, 2016

For the second time in its entire history, the Indian Army has moved over 100 tanks to the frontline in Ladakh, a geostrategically important region located along the so-called Line of Actual Control (LOC) in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Almost five decades ago, in a desperate attempt to use tanks against the invading Chinese army, the Indian Mechanized Division had airdropped five tanks in Ladhak, which has witnessed frequent incursion attempts by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in recent years.

A calculated strategic maneuver by the Indian Armed Forces, the deployment of tanks in the disputed region is aimed at reinforcing the Indian position in the valley overlooking China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

Much to New Delhi’s displeasure, China has undertaken massive reconstruction and development projects on its western border with India in the recent years. Also reported by Pentagon, China’s aggressive militarization campaign in the region has been a cause of concern for India. “We have noticed an increase in capability and force posture by the Chinese military in areas close to the border with India,” U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Abraham M. Denmark, told reporters during a press briefing after the Pentagon submitted its annual report on “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China.”

In a report published by The Hindu, Lt. Gen. SK Patyal, the general officer commanding the Leh-based 14 Corps, which is in charge of the eastern sector with China and parts of the Line of Control (LOC) with Pakistan, was quoted as saying: “We have to defend our borders. So whatever it takes us in terms of infrastructure development, in terms of force accretion, we have to do in the best manner.”

If reports in the Indian media are to be believed, T-72 battle tanks of Russian origin were moved to eastern Ladakh, located at 14,000 feet above sea level, six to eight months ago. Starting in 2014, two regiments of T-72 tanks have been moved to the valley. The third regiment is scheduled to arrive soon, forming a complete brigade. As more tanks are expected to arrive, the feasibility of maintaining the combat readiness of mechanized equipment in an area where the temperature drops down to -45 degrees Celsius has been called into question.

While the flat terrain of the valley provides for the movement of heavy mechanized equipment such as India’s formidable T-72 tanks, the Indian army takes special precautions to maintain these sophisticated machines. 

Colonel Vijay Dalal, who commands the tanks, noted that the “air is in the region is rarified and temperatures go down to -45 degrees Celsius.” The low temperature in the region affects the performance of the tanks. The Indian military, the commander said, uses special lubricants and fuel to keep the tanks running, and added that at least twice every night, the engines are revved up to keep the systems in order.

After a humiliating defeat in territorial scuffles in 1962, and with China’s subsequent rise to power in Asia, the Indian government neglected development in the border region in an attempt to promote peace and stability. In view of China’s rapid development drive in the disputed region around Ladakh, the outlook in New Delhi has changed considerably.

An officer posted in the region, as quoted by The Hindu, said, “There is not much accretion by China, but their logistical capability has gone up.”

In a bid to match with China’s military and infrastructure build-up across the border, India has undertaken the construction of roads to facilitate movement of armored vehicles and heavy equipment as well as the development of existing airstrips and advanced landing grounds to expedite the flow of troops and supplies to the area — unreachable by land for most of the winter.

Prakhar Gupta is a foreign affairs analyst and an independent journalist. His work has appeared in the Indian Defence Review, South Asian Voices, Eurasia Review, and Youth Ki Awaz, among others.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Gen. Malik, Please tell the nation what Barkha did at Kargil

Gen. Malik, Please tell the nation what Barkha did at Kargil 

Jay Bhattacharjee writes an open letter to former Army chief General Malik who led the army in 1999 during the Kargil war. Read on…

General V.P. Malik (Retd.)PVSM, AVSM, ADCFormer Chief of Army StaffPanchkula (Haryana)
Dear General Malik : 23 February 2016

Sir, please allow me to state upfront, that I have been (and will continue to be) one of your admirers for a number of reasons. 

The first one, of course, is that, from Sept.1997 to Sept.2000, you commanded a 1.4 million strong Army that has protected and guarded our young Republic (which is, at the same time, an ancient and venerable civilisation) with the utmost commitment, valour and loyalty. 

For almost the entire Indian population (barring a minuscule minority), the nation’s armed forces are the most admired and venerated institution by a thousand miles (please pardon the hyperbole). No other institution comes anywhere remotely close, in this contest.

The other reasons are personal. You have a natural dignity, composure sang froid, and articulateness that are exemplary. Truly befitting a military leader. Then, of course, it is a matter of record that you led the Army to resounding victory (at an incredible cost) in a war that had everything stacked against it. This does not take away the magnificent contribution of our air warriors, the men in blue, who carried out very difficult operations to support their OG comrades. Your famous statement that the armed forces would do their best with whatever equipment and resources they had at their disposal, is still etched in my mind and brings back painful memories when I think of the Kargil war.

However, the reason why I am penning this letter to you is because of certain developments that are not of your doing. The provocation is the “open” letter sent a few days ago by a prominent Indian journalist, Barkha Dutt, to the Prime Minister. The communication has been uploaded on the internet portal of the media house where Ms. Dutt works (

As you can see, the title of this article is deliberately provocative and eye-catching. Nothing wrong in this, per se, since the media in our shores and in other countries derives its bread and butter from self-generated publicity,whether in the form of TRPs for TV programmes or the number of “likes” / “shares” for a written piece. 

However, the latest salvo of Ms. Dutt (BD) needs to be closely scrutinised and assessed. Please permit me, dear General, to spell out the broader concerns I have with this piece, before I come to the thrust of my letter to you.

It is a matter of enormous mystery to me (and countless others) how BD and her employer company have survived, let alone prospered. If you remember, and I am sure you do, the episode of the Nira Radia tapes and how BD and her shenanigans were mercilessly exposed, you will surely ask yourself how this person continues in public life. 

In any other civilized, democratic country, she would have been hung out to dry and banished to the 4th Estate’s version of Siberia, to live in oblivion. In fact, BD’s shameless shenanigans were briefly featured in a crudely-crafted “apology” on her own channel and she was seamlessly “rehabilitated” in her job, where she continues till today. 

If anything, she has prospered and flourished, and her amour-propre has gone up in geometric progression. It is only in good old Bharat (and in some tin-pot banana Republics like North Korea, Haiti and some Islamic dictatorships) that miracles like this happen.

The present essay by BD fits squarely in her trademark mould. Using all the tricks that her profession has taught her, she projects herself as a fearless defender of civil rights, free speech, right to dissent etc. 

The backdrop for her article is the JNU saga and all its nuances. I am not going into the intricacies of her piece in this letter to you, since I believe the prime Minister and his colleagues are quite capable of rebutting BD’s disingenuousness and intellectual sleights of hand. Because, I now propose to come to the reason why I am writing to you and why I need you to respond. Mea culpa for the rather longish preface, but I am sure you will pardon me.

What bothers me deeply is that, in this latest brouhaha, BD, once again, has projected her “veer senani” image of a fearless warrior and admirer of the country’s armed forces. Her purple prose would have you believe that her Kargil experience in 1999 “and the intimacy and immediacy of that overwhelming exposure would make me a life-long admirer of our military. “ 

In fact, BD gives the distinct impression in her epistle to the PM that she layed a vital role in the entire Kargil war. She compounds her crime when she extols herself in her latest book, This Unquiet Land – Stories From India’s Fault Lines (2016) and involves you directly. She, as is her wont, goes on the attack fearlessly and takes the figurative bull by the horns. This is where you come in directly, dear General.
BD, on page iv of this book, refers to the “venomous whispers” about her conduct when she was covering the Kargil war and claims that when you gave her an appointment after the war, you complimented her about her performance and even said that she (BD) was a “force-multiplier”. 

As far as her use of a satellite phone (an Iridium instrument) was concerned, she quotes you as telling her that others (including some persons in the Army) had the same satellite phones and more importantly, the Pakistani military did not have the capability of monitoring these satellite phones. She puts you in the centre podium by claiming that you have confirmed this conversation with her in your own memoirs of the Kargil war.

This puts the whole thing in a new perspective. The fact is that all sources verify that BD was the only journalist in the war zone who had a satellite phone. Also, the number of satellite phones with the Indian army was limited to a few senior-most officers who were not in the conflict zone. 

Therefore, the chances of BD’s satphone being the one tracked by the Pakistanis are very high. The errors of commission and omission, of which BD is accused of, are extremely serious. 

After the Dy. Brigade Commander at Drass, Colonel David, briefed BD on the progress of the actual assault on Tiger Hill, BD is reported to have gone live immediately. Indian intercepts of Pakistani military messages indicate that the Pakistani rear commanders immediately alerted their troops on top of Tiger Hill to redirect their fire in the direction of the Indian soldiers who were climbing Tiger Hill. About 14-20 of our soldiers were massacred by this deadly fire and died on the ropes they were using to climb their target.

There is another incident pertaining to BD that has been talked about for years. When doing a recording outside the Brigade HQ gate, her cameraman switched on a light fitted on the camera to illuminate her – helmet, mike and all. This was the trademark image of BD that she and her employers mercilessly capitalised on for many years after the war.

A few seconds later, having said that she was reporting from 56 Brigade HQ, BD and her team moved out. After about five minutes or so, Pakistani artillery saturated the area with a barrage, after having got a fix on the light. A small STD booth at the gate took a direct hit, killing an officer and three jawans from 17 Garhwal Rifles, who were present there at the time.

I am reproducing all the old reports, because they have not been satisfactorily explained. Neither have they been investigated with the seriousness and rigour that were called for. 

As a result, BD has got away scot free and, worse, projected herself in a light that may not be accurate at all. Do not forget, General, that the Kargil war was her launch pad. And I am afraid, you have not been altogether kosher with the Indian public, your comrades in the army and your conscience. You have not seriously investigated the reported offences and misdemeanours of BD. 

To start with, when on the 6th July 1999, our Army intercepted the conversations between Pakistani troops dug in at Tiger Hill and their rear HQ, you were furious with NDTV and BD. You immediately directed XV Corps HQ to issue a signal asking the entire press corps to leave the region.

As it transpired, this blanket order was quietly withdrawn a few hours later because of Lt General Arjun Ray (in charge of the Army’s media cell) who persuaded you not to penalise the entire press corps because of BD’s crime. You and the Army took no action against BD. 

A year after the war, when NDTV went into overdrive about their Kargil coverage, you and the Army again kept quiet. This omerta continues till today, even when BD refers to your accolades about her in her latest (2016) book. 

You, clearly are not the only one responsible for the relentless rise of BD. Your Army comrade Mohinder Puri, too, did not hesitate to seek encomiums from BD at his book release function. Neither can Shiv Kunal Verma, from an old military family, resist the temptation to have BD as one of the chief invitees at his book launch.

Dear General, as an officer of the Sikh Light Infantry, you are surely aware of Guru Gobind Singh’s prayer to Lord Shiv when he seeks the courage to do the right thing :
Dehi Shiva Bar Mohe Ihe, Shubh Karman Se Kabhun Na Taron.Na Daron Ari Son Jab Jai Laron,Nischey Kar Apni Jeet Karon.(O God Shiva, give me this boon,That I never desist from doing good deedsI be fearless when I fight the enemyAnd that I certainly attain victory)

As a son-in-law of the Punjab, it is my honour to invoke Guru Gobind Singh. But, finally, I have to conclude with Gurudev’s words, since BD has had the chutzpah to quote Tagore in her letter to the PM. The last Renaissance figure the world has seen, says it all about doing the right thing in life :

অন্যায় যে করে আর অন্যায় যে সহে
তব ঘৃণা যেন তারে তৃণসম দহে।
(The one who commits a wrong and the one who tolerates wrong- doing, may they both be engulfed by the fire of your contempt)
Jay Bhattacharjee MA(Cantab), FCSAdvisor (Corporate Laws & Finance)

Kashmir needs the army, not sermons from liberals, to wipe out jihadis

Kashmir needs the army, not sermons from liberals, to wipe out jihadis
Jul 21, 2016

Do you remember what our so-called liberals were recommending when Punjab was literally burning during the Khalistani agitation? Had the then Punjab director general of police KPS Gill listened to these liberals, dominating our think tanks, universities and national media, Khalistan perhaps would have been a reality by now! Similarly, if we go by the recommendations of these liberals for Kashmir now, it will become the surest way towards the country's disintegration.

Indian Army in action. PTI

What do these liberals say? For them if Kashmir is in turmoil, it is precisely because of the unholy alliance between the BJP and PDP in the state at a time when a man called Narendra Modi is India's Prime Minister. 

For them, whatever we are seeing today in Kashmir has nothing to do with terrorism and fundamentalist Islam. In fact, under the influence of these liberals, some important national dailies have now even stopped using the term “terrorists” altogether; instead, they now prefer to use the word “militants”.

As I have already written in this forum, Kashmir's present woes are essentially because of the diminishing phenomenon of “Kashmiriyat” based on the “Sufism”, the principal feature of the Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. Sufism talks of coexistence with, not total domination over others as propounded by the fanatic Wahabism, financed by Saudi Arabia and implemented by Pakistan in Kashmir. The disturbing elements in Kashmir are essentially Islamists, not freedom fighters that they claim to be. Just see the videos of the speeches of any Hurriyat leader to realise this point.

Pakistani journalist Kunwar Khudune Sahid brilliantly wrote the other day in The Nation, one of Pakistan's leading dailies, that Burhan Muzaffar Wani, whose killing on 8 July triggered the present bedlam in the valley, was “the offspring of the global jihadist movement that emerged in the last quarter of the previous century, hammering Muslim-majority freedom movements into Islamist struggles wherever the occupying force was ‘non-Muslim'- including Palestine, Kashmir and East Turkestan. And the problem with any Islamist ‘freedom' movement is that it intrinsically contradicts the very idea of freedom."

It is a huge myth that Kashmir will be normal once the government starts dialogue with the separatists. 

The then prime minister Manmohan Singh had held three Round Tables with all the stake holders in the valley. He had set up five working groups as a result of the round table initiative, including one on Centre-state relations. But when things were to be implemented, came the stone-throwing incidents in 2010, inviting police retaliations that resulted in 112 deaths. 

In fact, that time, there was some genuine reason for the eruption of the crisis - the Indian Army claimed to have killed three "Pakistani infiltrators" but it was later revealed to be a case of a fake encounter. But this time, there was no such reason - the security forces killed Wani, a known terrorist. Besides, the forces have demonstrated exemplary restraint - the death toll, though unfortunate, is at 43 at the time of writing.

Admittedly, both Central and state governments have displayed their limitations in tackling the present crisis. It is highly debatable whether the body of Wani should have been handed over to his relatives for burial to provide the Islamists the grand opportunity to demonstrate their force. Besides, there has been a great intelligence failure. But this should not distract us from the fact that the present government by the PDP-BJP alliance is the best that could have happened to the state.

As late chief minister Mufti Mohammad Syed had said in an interview to another Pakistani newspaper The Dawn, “The BJP got 25 seats from Jammu in the Assembly Elections. I think ignoring this mandate will be a mistake. The BJP also got a nationwide mandate in the 2014 Parliamentary Elections. I believe it is important to respect the mandate and form a government which is inclusive and takes into account the interests of all three distinct regions viz Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh. In my view, the partnership with the BJP is an excellent opportunity to reconnect people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh with each other. This alliance could be a paradigm shift in Kashmir's political history and reduce regional tensions. Internationally too, the PDP-BJP alliance is a message of our diversity.”

Good-governance and restoration of Kashmiriyat are keys to the peace and prosperity of Kashmir, not talking to the Islamist separatists. The latter need to be dealt with as sternly as possible, not pampered as they are now with crores of rupees spent on their security and health. And for this, the state needs judicious use of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), not its total withdrawal as demanded by our so-called liberals.

The AFSPA is a special provision envisaged by the country's Parliament. It is meant to be used in these two extraordinary circumstances - secessionist violence and internal disturbance. 

The Act is applicable to the armed forces (including the paramilitary), not the general police personnel. Only when the latter, working under normal laws, are not able to take control of the situation and armed forces are called into the service, does the AFSPA come into relevance. 

It provides the armed forces the power to arrest those suspected without warrant, search their places and fire upon, even causing death, those who are acting in contravention of “any law” and those “in assembly of five or more persons” or those who are in possession of deadly weapons.

Obviously, there are conditions attached in the AFSPA and soldiers/officials violating these can always be prosecuted. In fact, available data with me suggests that since 1990, the security forces have been accused of 1,511 cases of human rights abuse. All of these were thoroughly investigated, including by the National Human Rights Commission. A total of 1,473 cases were found to be completely false and had been possibly instigated by terrorist organisations. Where culpability was established, 104 soldiers, including 40 officers, have been punished in 35 cases so far.

But critics question why the armed forces are immune to acting under normal laws such as no searching without warrants and no firing without the magisterial order. The answer is very simple. If the armed forces cannot do anything on their own and need civilian clearance during their operations, how will be their effectiveness different from that of the normal police and paramilitary forces? And if that is the case, where is the need to call them?

As it is, armed forces have been consistently pointing out that they are not interested in managing internal security. So, those opposing the AFSPA should vent their anger not against the armed forces but the political or civilian leadership, which is summoning them to do the job that is supposed to be done by police and paramilitary forces. If you do not call the army, there is no need for AFSPA.

It is true that by its very nature, any extraordinary or anti-terrorism law is bound to affect some “individual rights” - such as liberty of the individual, privacy, autonomy and freedom among others. But their being invoked is necessitated for “public welfare”. All told, terrorist attacks are, fundamentally, an assault not on individuals or on the liberty of individuals, but on the security and welfare of the people as a whole. And since the fight against secessionism and terrorism is not a normal fight, one has to appreciate the need to transcend the excessive individualism that the blind champions of human rights suggest.

Contrary to what the habitual army-bashers say, if Kashmir continues to be with India and if any organisation that the ordinary Kashmiri, as distinct from the separatist, is most comfortable with, then it is the Indian Army. In the process, the Army has made tremendous sacrifices, both in terms of men and material. Abrogating the AFSPA or removing some of its key provisions in an attempt to make it ‘humane' could place the Army (and other security forces) at a great disadvantage in their fight against a vicious insurgency that has now religious overtones. Any watering down of the Act will result in de-motivating the troops whose lawful actions may expose them to decades of litigation in civil courts.

Let us be proud of our armed forces. They need to be encouraged and strengthened, not maligned at.