Sunday, 27 May 2007

Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu has claimed that the welfare measures his government introduced during 1995-2004 resulted in the economic prosperity and educational advancement of Muslims in the State while minorities in other States continue to languish in poverty and illiteracy

Syed Akbar
Tirupati, May 27: Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N
Chandrababu Naidu has claimed that the welfare measures his government
introduced during 1995-2004 resulted in the economic prosperity and
educational advancement of Muslims in the State while minorities in other
States continue to languish in poverty and illiteracy.
“Justice Rajendra Sachchar Commission appointed by the UPA government at
the Centre pointed out in its report that Muslims in Andhra Pradesh are
educationally and economically better placed as compared with their
counterparts in other States in India. Muslims are better off in Andhra
Pradesh because of the series of welfare measures the Telugu Desam
government had undertaken in the State. The Congress and other governments
elsewhere failed to uplift the lot of Muslims and this is the reason why
they are backward there,” the TD leader observed at the party’s three-day
annual general body meeting, Mahanadu, which began here on Sunday.
The TD supremo, of late, has been laying claim on all success stories in
the State saying that it was the result of his well-planned welfare
schemes and development programmes. Now he claims that Muslims are well
off only because of his Telugu Desam government’s policies.
Chandrababu Naidu, who has now embarked on “Mission Rebuild Telugu Desam”
to prepare the party for the 2009 Assembly elections, laid emphasis on the
welfare of Muslims, backward classes, scheduled castes and tribes, women
and youth in a bid to win back their support. The Mahanadu’s resolutions
were unusually loaded with the talk on welfare and development. Almost
one-third of resolutions the Telugu Desam leadership moved for approval at
the Mahanadu pertained to the welfare sector.
Aware that the votes of minorities play a crucial role in as many as 70
Assembly constituencies, Chandrababu Naidu sought to drive home his
message across the Muslim community that its life and honour and property
will be safe only under the Telugu Desam rule. “The blast at the Mecca
Masjid and the subsequent police firing on innocent people is a clear
indication of the breakdown of law and order in old city. There was no
communal violence when the TD was in power. The police acted with
restraint. Hyderabad got international recognition as the city of growth
and progress. Three years after the Congress came to power, the city is
now linked to terror activities,” he pointed out.
The Mahanadu also moved a condolence resolution on the Mecca Masjid blast.
Chandrababu Naidu and other party leaders stood up in silence as mark of
respect to 14 people killed in the blast and subsequent police firing.
“Appease minorities” was evident all through the discussion on “welfare
resolutions” the TD discussed and adopted on the first day.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Superannuation in Telugu Desam: Babu does not want leaders above 60 years

2007
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, May 25: Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu has decided to show the door to senior party leaders who had attained "political superannuation".
This in effect means those above 60 years in Telugu Desam will not get party ticket in the next Assembly elections scheduled for May 2009. The "young and energetic" will get utmost priority and in fact Chandrababu Naidu has reserved 40 per cent of the Assembly tickets to youngsters. Moreover, the TD leadership will try its hand on "open selection" of candidates for the Assembly polls giving a free hand to local party leaders to have their say in the candidate selection drive.
Chandrababu Naidu has taken these and other decisions as part of his latest "power mantra" of giving a "new direction" to the Telugu Desam, which is now in its silver jubilee year. He is likely to give finishing touches to his plans at the party's annual general body meeting, Mahanadu, scheduled for three days from May 27 at the temple town of Tirupati. But he will hold the new political strategy close to his chest and will not reveal it till the next Mahanadu or the election fever catches up in the State.
"The Telugu Desam is now 25. Those who joined the party 25 years ago when they were, say, 40 years of age, are now 65. In a way the party is old. We want to infuse new blood by giving at least 40 per cent of the tickets to the youth. We will also think of taking the opinion of the local leaders in the selection of candidates for Assembly polls. But we will come out with a detailed plan at an appropriate time," Chandrababu Naidu told this correspondent.
Chandrababu Naidu, who has given a "free hand" to district party leaders in the district unit elections, said the experiment was successful and he would replicate it in the Assembly polls. He said the silver jubilee Mahanadu would be quite different as far as party's policies and programmes are concerned.
The Telugu Desam, he said, introduced economic reforms with a "human face" in 1995 and the benefits of such reforms are being reaped now. The number of billionaires have increased. This is a good sign. But at the same time the poor has remained poor. We should focus on them. For this we need an alternative economic programme," Chandrababu Naidu said in an interview on the eve of the Mahanadu.
Referring to the Muslim reservation issue, Chandrababu Naidu alleged that the Congress government had complicated the matters. "It is a simple issue and it should have been solved easily. But the Congress has complicated it. We need to clear the mess once we come to power," he pointed out.
On the free power to the farm sector, Chandrababu Naidu said the TD would come out with a "special package" for farmers at an appropriate time. He said the Telugu Desam would also take a decision on separate Telangana at an opportune time.
The TD, he said, had not made up its mind on the Presidential polls. "We did not say that we will support the BJP candidate. The defeat of the Mulayam Singh government in Uttar Pradesh will have no affect on the moves to form a third political alternative force in the country," Chandrababu Naidu observed.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Mecca Masjid blast: Mosques to get protection

2007
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, May 24: Mosques of archaeological and tourist importance will get special protection in view of the blast at the historic Mecca Masjid in the city.
To begin with, Mecca Masjid, Toli mosque, Khairatabad mosque and Royal mosque will be monitored round the clock by specially-trained personnel of the minorities welfare and the archaeological departments and the State Wakf Board. All these mosques will have metal detectors and closed circuit TV cameras. Cloak rooms will be set up outside these mosques as part of increased security measures. All these mosques are around 400 years old and are structural marvels in themselves.
The Haj House and the Mallepally Mosque will also get metal detectors and CCTVs. But these places will be monitored by the State Wakf Board. Mallepally mosque is the State headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat.
The city police will train the personnel of minorities and archaeological departments and State Wakf Board. It will also provide logistic support to these departments. The police will, however, not involve itself in the security at these mosques because of religious sentiments.
"Civilian employees will conduct frisking of devotees and tourists at these mosques. The CCTVs will function from 4.00 am to 9.00 pm. As these mosques are under the joint management of the minorities and the archaeological departments, they will share the expenditure on security," Minorities Welfare Minister Muhammad Ali Shabber said.
The Mecca Masjid will have 21 CCTVs with a central control room, six door metal detectors and five hand-held metal detectors. The height of the fencing will be increased. Traffic flow on the Shahalibanda-Charminar Road will be closed during the Friday prayers.
As many as 30 unemployed youths will also be hired by these departments for additional security at these places, the minister said.
The archaeological department has sanctioned Rs 30 lakh for security measures at Mecca Masjid.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Mecca masjid blast: Hyderabadis maintain restraint

May 20, 2007
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, May 19: The restraint maintained by people after the Friday's bomb blast at the historic Mecca Masjid has once again proved that Hyderabadis have become wiser and seen through the game of communal elements.
A few years ago any small incident around the Mecca Masjid used to trigger communal violence. But during the last five years there have been no major incidents of violence however strong the provocation was.
For the first time the Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen faced the mob ire outside the Mecca Masjid. MIM legislators Akbaruddin Owaisi, Mumtaz Ahmad Khan and Syed Ahmad Pasha Quadri were roughed up by the mob which resisted his entry into the mosque after the blast. The mob also manhandled leaders of other political parties after the incident. The angry people also damaged the vehicles of the MIM.
In normal circumstances the MIM would have called the shots. The people kept the MIM aside and decided to be on their own.
Rajya Sabha MP V Hanumantha Rao pointed out that he had witnessed a welcome change in the people of the old city. "They have become wiser. They are now more interested in earning a square meal than fighting one another in the name of religion. That the situation did not turn serious shows that they want peace and communal harmony," he said.
Even Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil appreciated the change in the outlook of Hyderabadis. "By maintaining restraint they have exposed the communal elements. The people's resolve showed that those who want to create violence will never succeed," he said.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Fiji: Better days ahead for Indian origin Fijians

Interview with Mahendra Chaudhry, Minister for Finance, National Planning and Sugar Industry, Government of Fiji.
==================================
May 20, 2007
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, May 19: Mahendra Chaudhry, Fiji Minister for Finance, National Planning and Sugar Industry, has said better days are ahead for the people of Indian origin in Fiji with the new interim government planning strategies to restore lasting democracy in this south Pacific island nation.
The interim government, in which Mahendra Chaudhry's Fiji Labour Party is a coalition partner, will soon come out with a people's charter and include it in the country's Constitution. "This will end racial discrimination against the people of Indian origin and help in restoring lasting democracy," says the Fiji leader in an interview with this correspondent.
Mahendra Chaudhry has now emerged as the Messiah of a million strong people of this south Pacific island nation. As the Finance and National Planning Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry has before him the daunting task of restoring the bankrupt coffers of the government and also planning strategies to restore democracy and put an end to the coup menace.
In the December 2006 coup the military overthrew the elected government and formed an interim government. Mahendra Chaudhry's Labour Party joined the interim government to "set Fiji back on the rails of good governance, buoyant economic and administrative reforms".
"As the Labour Party leader, I have a major role to play to provide better living standards for and end discrimination against Fijians of Indian descent. I have also sought the help of the Indian government in holding credible elections in Fiji. I have requested for electronic voting machines to stop rigging," said Mahendra Chaudhry, who was in Hyderabad recently.
Fiji has witnessed four coups in the last 20 years involving the military. Two coups were aimed at the Labour Party. The Labour Party governments were overthrown in 1987 and 2000. In the 2000 coup the military was backed by ethnic businessmen. "I was then the prime minister. You all know I was held captive and my government was brought down," he said.
He said he had not analysed the reasons for the last coup in December 2006. As far as the three earlier coups were concerned, they were staged by the military backed by corrupt businessmen and leaders who lost power. The Fiji Labour Party governments were dethroned twice. We came to power in democratic elections in 1999 and within a year of coming to power the government was brought down in a coup. It was backed by corrupt businessmen with the support of some members of the Indian community.
"We have formed a commission to study the reasons and submit a report. The commission will also suggest us on good governance and democratic rule. There will be no more coups once we study the real reasons behind them. Indians will have a better and peaceful future in a new Fiji," he said.
He justified his Labour Party joining the interim military government saying his party took the decision in the national interest. "The December 2006 coup was to end six years of bad rule in the country. The military had no option but to intervene. The economy has run down completely. There was no financial or fiscal planning. The national debt had doubled. The percentage of people living with poverty crossed 40 per cent. There was a break down of law and order. The government was pursuing the rightist agenda against minorities, particularly those of the Indian origin. The situation was desperate. In these circumstances we joined the interim ministry. The idea was to put Fiji back on the rails. The coup was on governance issue and not racial in nature," Mahendra Chaudhry clarified.
Referring to the delay in holding elections in Fiji, Mahendra Chaudhry said the international community particularly USA, Australia and New Zealand wanted the Fiji government to hold elections in two years. Things are really very bad.
"And we need time to set right the mess. We have sought three years. There's a gap of just 12 months. The process is long. We have to conduct census, set constituencies boundaries and go for revision of electoral rolls. We have formed a constituencies boundaries commission. It has to submit its report. All this is time consuming but it is worth waiting. We have a better Fiji where everyone is treated equal," he hoped.
Asked whether the Fiji government was planning for a direct flight service between Hyderabad and Fiji, he said, "we are planning for Singapore as a hub. Hyderabad is linked to Singapore and this will have a direct connection between Hyderabad and Fiji. We plan to have direct flights either from Mumbai or New Delhi. Fiji has in place with India an Air Services Agreement. However my government will endeavour to upgrade this to an 'open skies agreement' similar to that which India has in place with the US and the UK and is currently negotiating with ASEAN.
In the near future a tourism office could be established in India for this purpose. You would also be pleased to note that Fiji has an open and straightforward visa requirement for Indian nationals wishing to visit Fiji. Visitors are granted visas on arrival provided necessary travel documents are in order and one has sufficient funds to sustain a trip.
Referring to the law and order situation in Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh, the Fiji minister said his was the second visit to the city. The law and order is good. Pointing out at intelligence officer MA Saleem, who was attached to him as his security guard by the State government, Mahendra Chaudhry said Fiji had to learn a lot from Andhra Pradesh on the security front. "The governance here is good. We have to learn a lot from the administration in Andhra Pradesh. Hyderabad has emerged as a truly international city. I liked the people here. They are dynamic," Mahendra Chaudhry observed.
Talking about his finance portfolio he said there was no money in the exchequer. "We are now working out a new budget. A revised budget has been brought to rehabilitate the economy. The International Monetary Fund is endorsing it as a right step in the right direction. We will evolve a people's charter of governance. We will incorporate it as a chapter in our Constitution. There will be checks and counter checks on governments".
On Fiji seeking help from India, he said the whole world was knocking at India's door as a result of its remarkable achievements and also due to the promise and potential it holds. "Fiji, however, has been a long standing ally and friend of India with bilateral relations dating back more than a century.
The governments of Fiji and India have closely engaged on many levels and have developed cooperation in key areas such as, agriculture, trade, ITC, health and pharmaceuticals, as well as tourism," he added.
Tourism promotion is on top of the agenda. Tourism is one of Fiji's most important industries and makes a significant contribution to the economy in terms of foreign exchange earnings and employment generation. It has acted as a catalyst for investment in our infrastructure development.

Why did terrorists choose Mecca Masjid?

2007
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, May 19: Terrorists have chosen the historic Mecca Masjid for the Friday's bomb blast for the simple reason that the mosque has been linked to the sentiments of Hyderabadis.
For the 25 lakh Muslims of Hyderabad, Mecca Masjid is more than a mosque. It is a sacred place of high reverence and the mosque of their aspirations. And for the people of Andhra Pradesh, irrespective of their religion, the 400-year-old Mecca Masjid is a historical monument of great eminence.
Terrorists know well that anything sacrilegious at the mosque will arouse the emotions of people and lead to communal disturbances in the city. Moreover, Mecca Masjid has always been the focal point of communal trouble in the city. The mosque has open access and there's no security mechanism.
Mecca Masjid is one of the seven wonders of Hyderabad and the biggest mosque down the Vindhyas. Only the other historic Jama Masjid in Delhi is bigger than Mecca Masjid. Incidentally, the Jama Masjid was built by Emperor Shahjahan while the Mecca Masjid was completed by his son Emperor Aurangzeb.
"The Mecca Masjid was selected as the target site as the casualties will be higher. It is the principal mosque in twin cites and devout Muslims generally prefer to offer the Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid. Even those who come from outside straightaway visit the grand mosque for the Friday congregation. The mosque harbours the holy relics of Prophet Muhammad, besides a black stone (Sang-e-Siya) specially brought from Mecca during the mosque construction," observes senior Islamic scholar Hafiz Syed Shujat Hussain.
A peep into the past shows that Mecca Masjid was the "starting point" for almost every "retaliatory" step by local Muslim youths. The mosque has emerged as the centre of protests particularly after the demolition of the historic Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in December 1992.
"Though the mosque is controlled by the State government's minorities welfare department, officials have always failed to maintain its sanctity when it comes to controlling violent protests by some misguided elements everytime a major incident related to Muslims or Islam takes place around the globe. The mosque has an open access. Erection of metal detectors outside the mosque and thorough frisking of people visiting it will prevent such incidents," points out All-India Shia Youth Organisation general secretary Mir Hadi Ali.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, May 17: Hyderabad sits on carbon monoxide poisoning, a highly
dangerous gas that was once used by kings to execute people.
The average peak level of carbon monoxide or simply CO in the city
atmosphere for the months of January, February, March and April was 18 mg
per cubic metre per hour as against the standard level of 4 mg/cm and
permissible level of 12 mg/cm.
Worse is the case with high traffic areas like Panjagutta where the peak CO
level for the first four months of this year was 26 mg/cm, according to AP
Pollution Control Board ambient air quality studies. The recordings were as
high as 23 mg/cm in Paradise and Charminar and as low as nine mg/cm in
green areas like Nehru Zoological Park and Kasu Brahmananda Reddy
National Park.
City doctors link high incidence of breathing-related problems, nausea and
convulsions among Hyderabadis to constant exposure to vehicular CO
emissions. Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas known to man as
early as 300 years before the birth of Christ and it has emerged as the
single
largest cause of accidentally poisoning among Americans. Increasing number
of vehicles and frequent traffic snarls have turned Hyderabad as one of the
few cities in the country with high CO exposure rates.
"Carbon monoxide can lead to respiratory chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease and allergic bronchitis. It can even lead to death in case of heavy
exposures. At low levels, CO leads to reduced oxygenation which may cause
forgetfulness, fatigue and insomnia. We have been receiving many such cases
of late," says Dr A Raghu, consultant physician at Apollo DRDO Hospital.
This gas has the tendency to freely mix with the blood stream leading to the
formation of carboxyl haemoglobin.
The danger from this gas can be gauged from the fact that haemoglobin
prefers CO to oxygen. The haemoglobin molecule likes to take 200 times
more CO than oxygen, he points out adding that the high levels of CO
concentration in Hyderabad atmosphere will prove disastrous to the health of
the people in the long run.
Though 2.5 per cent carboxyl haemoglobin (at a CO limit of 30 mg/cm for
one hour) is recognised as definitely harmful to health, experts around the
world have now set a standard limit of one per cent carboxyl haemoglobin
(12 mg/cm for one hour). This means in Hyderabad the peak CO level is
more than twice the standard limit.
Senior pulmonologist Dr Pradyut Waghray attributes the high levels of CO in
Hyderabad to fumes from industries and exhaust from diesel vehicles.
"Respiratory cells get affected by carbon monoxide. It also hits RBCs and
reduces oxygen carrying capacity of the blood," he says adding that constant
exposure leads to chronic persistent respiratory asthma.

Hyderabad sits on carbon monoxide poisoning

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, May 17: Hyderabad sits on carbon monoxide poisoning, a highly dangerous gas that was once used by kings to execute people.
The average peak level of carbon monoxide or simply CO in the city atmosphere for the months of January, February, March and April was 18 mg per cubic metre per hour as against the standard level of 4 mg/cm and permissible level of 12 mg/cm.
Worse is the case with high traffic areas like Panjagutta where the peak CO level for the first four months of this year was 26 mg/cm, according to AP Pollution Control Board ambient air quality studies. The recordings were as high as 23 mg/cm in Paradise and Charminar and as low as nine mg/cm in green areas like Nehru Zoological Park and Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park.
City doctors link high incidence of breathing-related problems, nausea and convulsions among Hyderabadis to constant exposure to vehicular CO emissions. Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas known to man as early as 300 years before the birth of Christ and it has emerged as the single largest cause of accidentally poisoning among Americans. Increasing number of vehicles and frequent traffic snarls have turned Hyderabad as one of the few cities in the country with high CO exposure rates.
"Carbon monoxide can lead to respiratory chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease and allergic bronchitis. It can even lead to death in case of heavy exposures. At low levels, CO leads to reduced oxygenation which may cause forgetfulness, fatigue and insomnia. We have been receiving many such cases of late," says Dr A Raghu, consultant physician at Apollo DRDO Hospital.
This gas has the tendency to freely mix with the blood stream leading to the formation of carboxyl haemoglobin.
The danger from this gas can be gauged from the fact that haemoglobin prefers CO to oxygen. The haemoglobin molecule likes to take 200 times more CO than oxygen, he points out adding that the high levels of CO concentration in Hyderabad atmosphere will prove disastrous to the health of the people in the long run.
Though 2.5 per cent carboxyl haemoglobin (at a CO limit of 30 mg/cm for one hour) is recognised as definitely harmful to health, experts around the world have now set a standard limit of one per cent carboxyl haemoglobin (12 mg/cm for one hour). This means in Hyderabad the peak CO level is more than twice the standard limit.
Senior pulmonologist Dr Pradyut Waghray attributes the high levels of CO in Hyderabad to fumes from industries and exhaust from diesel vehicles. "Respiratory cells get affected by carbon monoxide. It also hits RBCs and reduces oxygen carrying capacity of the blood," he says adding that constant exposure leads to chronic persistent respiratory asthma.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Dalita Govindam: Special darshan of Lord Venkateswara for Dalits in villages

By Syed Akbar
As the sun starts rising above the horizon, dozens of senior priests and
officials carrying the idols of Lord Sri Venkateswara and His two
Consorts Sri Padmavathi and Sri Lakshmi Devi enter a sleepy
Dalitwada amidst chanting of Vedic hymns. A specially decorated
chariot with the idols of the presiding deity of the Tirumala-Tirupati
Hills also enters the village.
The idols are placed on a raised platform in the middle of the
Dalitwada, the segregated habitation of so-called lower castes, and the
Vedic priests fan out inviting Dalits for a "darshan" of Lord Sri
Venkateswara, the richest Hindu deity in the world.
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, which controls the Lord
Venkateswara temple atop the Tirumala Hills, has embarked upon a
novel programme to take the processional idols of various Hindu
deities to the doorsteps of Dalits to enable them to worship the
Almighty. Aptly named, the Dalita Govindam, has been a success thus
far and the TTD plans to extend it to all the Dalitwadas across the State
in phases.
"This is just a symbolic gesture on the part of the TTD. The idea is to
create spiritual awakening among the Dalits. They generally do not get
the opportunity for darshan to their heart's content. Moreover, in some
temples they are not allowed by the orthodox. We want to break it and
provide the Dalits with an opportunity to participate in the regular
traditional rituals and offerings the deities," says TTD chairman B
Karunakar Reddy, the brain behind Dalita Govindam.
Once the Dalits gather at the village centre, three couples are selected
from among them to sit in front of the idols and participate in the
special rites (kalyanam). After the rituals are over, the priests and
officials partake lunch and dinner in the Dalitwada. They also sleep in
the village among Dalits before leaving for another Dalitwada the next
morning.
The priests later give prasadam to Dalits. They are offer the Vedic
"asirvachanams", normally an exclusive prerogative of VIPs.
The TTD started the novel programme in Vemuru village in Chittoor
district. Normally the processional idols of Sri Venkateswara and His
Consort are taken out for darshan in the traditional four Mada Streets of
Tirumala. This is the first time that the replicas of processional idols
are brought down the hill for the benefit of Dalits.
The Dalita Govindam, however, received flak from the CPM which
termed the programme as a "modern form of untouchability". CPM
State secretary BV Raghavulu demands that the TTD allow
appointment of trained Dalits as archakas of the main temple at
Tirumala and utilise their services in the traditional kitchen where the
famous laddus are prepared.
Meanwhile, in a first of its kind move, Sri Swaroopanandendra
Saraswathi Swami, head of Sri Visakha Sarada Peetham, plans to take
more than 300 Dalits, who were reconverted to Hinduism from
Christianity, on a pilgrimage of important temples spread across the
State on May 26.
He will lead the entry of reconverted Dalits into the famous Hindu
shrines in Srisailam (Sri Brahmaramba Mallikarjuna Swami), Tirupati
(Sri Venkateswara Swami), Srikalahasti (Shiva), Vijayawada (Sri
Durga Malleswara Swami) and Annavaram (Sri Satyanarayana Swami).
"The Agama Sastras do not prevent the entry of Dalits into temples or
other religious places. The centuries-old Hindu tradition also does not
prohibit it. It's only after the Britishers started ruling India that
untouchability came into being and Dalits were barred entry into
temples. We are simply reviving the ancient Hindu tradition and
practising the Agama Sastras by taking Dalits on a pilgrimage of
important temples," the Swamiji points out.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

India is a cradle of languages

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, May 9: India has long been known as the sojourn of early human
migration from Africa and latest research studies by city scientists based on
male sex chromosome shows that the country also served as the cradle of
languages.
The forefathers of Austro-Asiatic linguistic family originated in India and
later dispersed themselves to different places, according to a joint study by
the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and
Molecular anthropology group of Biological Anthropology Unit of Indian
Statistical Institute and the Shillong-based North Eastern Hill University's
Department of Anthropology.
The Austro-Asiatic linguistic family is considered to be the oldest
in the country and people who speak these languages are scattered all over
Southeast Asia. The scientists' team analysed the male Y-chromosome
to trace the origin and historic expansion of Austro-Asiatic groups of India.
The report was published online in the latest issue of science journal of
international repute BMC Genetics. The city team studied genetic data of
1222 individuals from 25 Indian populations, covering all the three branches
of Austro-Asiatic tribes, Mundari, Khasi-Khmuic and Mon-Khmer. The
team, comprising among others Dr Lalji Singh, K Thangaraj and BM Reddy,
compared the data with the already available scientific information on 214
relevant populations from Asia and Oceania.
The results suggested a strong paternal genetic link, not only among the
subgroups of Indian Austro-Asiatic populations but also with those of
Southeast Asia. However, maternal link based on mitochondrial DNA is not
evident.
The haplogroup in the Austro-Asiatic populations had originated around
65,000 years ago and the ancestors of this linguistic family carried it
further
to Southeast Asia via the Northeast Indian corridor. "Subsequently, in the
process of expansion, the Mon-Khmer populations from Southeast Asia seem
to have migrated and colonised Andaman and Nicobar Islands at a much later
point of time," the study pointed out.
The present findings are consistent with the linguistic evidence, which
suggests that the linguistic ancestors of the Austro-Asiatic populations have
originated in India and then migrated to Southeast Asia. Four major
linguistic
groups, Austro-Asiatic, Dravidian, Indo-European and Tibeto-Burman, are
present in the Indian sub-continent and the ancestors of speakers of these
languages might have entered at different points of time.
The Austro-Asiatic languages include Mundari, spoken by a number of tribes
living in Chota-Nagpur plateau in Central and Eastern India, Mon-Khmer
(Nicobarese and Shompen tribes from Andaman and Nicobar islands) and
Khasi-Khmuic (Khasi subtribes from Northeast India).
The team sampled almost all the Austro-Asiatic populations of India covering
the entire geographic and micro-linguistic heterogeneity inherent among
them, including the molecular genetic data on the Austro-Asiatic Khasi from
Northeast India, considered as an important corridor for human
migrations to Southeast Asia.
"Austro-Asiatic populations of India are not only linguistically linked to
Southeast Asian populations but also genetically associated. It is most
likely
that these populations have come from Central Asia through the Western
Indian corridor and subsequently colonised Southeast Asia, although more
data on Y-chromosome and mtDNA are needed from other relevant
populations to draw firmer conclusions," the study pointed out.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Indian doctors link heart diseases to food habits

2007
Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, May 5: Aping the West in food and lifestyle is proving to be dear to people in Andhra Pradesh with heart diseases linked to food habits emerging as the leading cause of death.
According to a recent survey published by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence, ischemic heart disease characterised by reduced blood supply to the heart has been killing 13.21 per cent of people in Andhra Pradesh. It is the cause of death in 12.2 per cent of women and 14.08 per cent of men.
Incidentally ischemic heart disease tops the 10 important causes of death in people of the State.
Doctors link the disease to smoking, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, excessive use of hydrogenated fats (vanaspathi) and foods containing high cholesterol levels. So far, ischemic heart disease has been the major cause of death in the US and Europe. That it has emerged as the top killer in Andhra Pradesh is a cause for concern, says senior cardiologist Dr PC Rath.
In patients suffering from ischemic heart disease the flow of blood to the heart is obstructed and thus the heart is deprived of oxygen. This leads to death if not attended to immediately. According to Dr Rath, a little change in lifestyle and food habits will help in controlling cardiovascular diseases.
Cerebrovascular disease (bleeding in brain or cutting supply of blood or oxygen to the brain) is the second leading cause of death in Andhra Pradesh, though it is the third leading cause of death in the West. Cancer or malignancy, which is the second leading cause of death in the West, is incidentally the 10th cause of death in Andhra Pradesh.
While lower respiratory (lung) infections is the third over all leading killer in the State, diarrhoeal diseases occupy the third position in case of women and tuberculosis in case of men. Self-inflected injury is the seventh leading killer both among men and women while asthma and stomach cancer is the eighth major cause of death among men and women respectively, according to the CBHI report.
Road accidents occupy the 10th slot in case of men and dementia (group of disorders relating to brain) is the 10th cause of deaths among women. Cirrhosis of the liver is the cause of 2.19 per cent of deaths among men but incidentally it is absent among women. Cirrhosis is linked to alcohol.
Women tend to be more prone to unintentional injuries than men. Statistics show that 4.09 per cent of deaths in women and 3.81 per cent of deaths in men are attributed to unintentional injuries.

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Mother's Care

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Minnu The Cat & Her Kittens Brownie, Goldie & Blackie

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Convention on Biodiversity

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Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity