Sunday, 28 March 2010

Telangana agitation - part I: The genesis of Telangana Movement, what triggers the sentiments?

Five decades of Telangana struggle
By Syed Akbar
The five decade-old Telangana struggle has now metamorphosed into a movement for self-respect and self-rule. The struggle no longer revolves around the backwardness of the region. The new slogan that's becoming popular these days is "exploitation by settlers".
And this talk of exploitation incidentally revolves around the emotions and sentiments attached to the land. The Telangana movement has finally assumed the shape of a land struggle, a fight against the "occupation" of
agricultural lands and the "unrealistic" real estate business that has allegedly deprived the locals of an opportunity to own a house.
"It is now an emotional issue, much more to do with the sentiments of the locals, peasants and the poor," argues Prof Papi Reddy of Kakatiya University.
Like many struggles around the world, the movement for a separate Telangana state is fuelled by the argument that people from other parts of the country, those from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema to be precise, have "occupied" agricultural lands, denying the not-so-fortunate local farmers the opportunity to till their very fields. The real estate too "fell into the hands of the settlers", who jacked up the prices to unrealistic levels. This is said to be one of the reasons for the present "heartburn" among the Telanganaites. The
Andhraites, however, have their own tale to tell.
Initially Telangana farmers and land owners benefited from the sale proceeds of their lands, but soon they realised that what they had been paid for their property was a "pittance", given the enormous farm benefits reaped by the so-called settlers. "While the farmers remained poor, those who came in from other areas became rich. This disparity has grown to such an extent that the local farmers now want their lands back," explains senior TRS leader T Harish Rao.
Those who purchased the lands, on the other hand, argue that they invested heavily to make the otherwise barren lands cultivable. Telangana region is at a geographical disadvantage as far as gravitational flow of water is concerned. The only way to make the lands fit for cultivation is through bore well irrigation. The poor Telangana farmers could not invest in bore well irrigation.
"The Andhra farmers pumped in money to create the facility. They did not cheat anyone. They paid the money the local farmers demanded. It is a clear land transaction and no deceit is involved in it," says Prof N Samuel, who heads the United AP Joint Action Committee.
Like many others in Telangana, TRS floor leader Etala Rajender, however does not buy Prof Samuel's argument. "We lost lands, jobs, self-respect under Andhra rulers. The fight for separate Telangana is over five decades old. Unless people of Telangana have self-rule, this region cannot be developed. If we continue to stay in a united Andhra Pradesh, the condition of the people will further deteriorate. Its better we part as friends. The people of Telangana region have realised it is now or never. We have 1000 reasons to separate,
land being the main reason," he argues.

The so-called settlements began in Telangana in two phases. One during 1948-1952 and another after 1982, after the Telugu Desam was formed. Even during the Nizam's regime there was an influx of people from coastal Andhra, but it was limited to some villages and towns. Heavy investments poured into in Hyderabad and neighbouring Ranga Reddy district as also in agricultural lands in Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Medak and Mahbubnagar districts in the last 30 years.
According to sociologists, the first influx (1984-52) of people from other two regions was mainly in search of jobs, though there were quite a considerable number of farm land transactions too. Since people from coastal Andhra, under Madras presidency, were educated in English, they were preferred in Telangana for local jobs that require knowledge of English. They got jobs in government, banks, educational institutions and important companies. Many of them sold away their agricultural lands to purchase lands in Telangana, which were relatively cheaper.
There are allegations that the mulki rule (jobs and education for locals) was observed more in breach, to accommodate people from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema. Under the mulki rule the Nizam ensured that 80 per cent of seats in educational institutions and jobs in government sector are reserved for the locals. The 80 per cent rule was for jobs at district level. At divisional level, which has higher jobs, a 60 per cent quota was fixed for the locals under mulki regime. The Nizam implemented the rules all through his rule, since 1928.
Harish Rao could not hide his displeasure over the "continued violation of the locals only rule" when he says, "people of Telangana region have been victims of loot in every sphere. It’s not just land. It’s in every sphere".
The second influx (after 1982) revolved mainly around real estate. Many individuals came to Hyderabad and surrounding areas in search of employment, while the rich and influential invested heavily in real estate and
industries. Moreover, the political equations too changed in the State, allegedly facilitating the influx. In the last three decades, only one leader from Telangana became the chief minister (Dr M Chenna Reddy ruled for a year).
Prof Papi Reddy points out that several public representatives including ministers, MLAs, MLCs and capitalists "grabbed" valuable land and acquired assets in Telangana region. Their alleged clout over political and official machinery enabled them to purchase lands from the poor Telangana people at "throwaway prices". They did not leave even the Wakf properties, he adds.
"They constructed entertainment parks and five star hotels. Subsequently, they inflated the land prices and earned thousands of crores of rupees in profits. The government machinery failed to curb ‘land mafia’ and instead facilitated them with regularisation of encroached lands. Our struggle is basically for land and exploitation of our people. There is a gentlemen's agreement signed in 1956 on how much land to buy. But people from other regions have violated the agreement. Thousands of acres of land was given away to corporates and film studios for Rs 2,000 an acre. These are our resources and lands," says OU student leader J Kalyan.
Tracing the genesis of the Telangana struggle, writer Durgam Ravinder observes that "when people of Telangana realised how those from coastal Andhra were taking over their agricultural lands and jobs, they came up with the slogan against the non-locals".
Differing with the Telangana argument, Prof Samuel observes Andhra people are in an advantageous position due to historical and geographical reasons. "Andhra people have more access to English education because the region was under the rule of the British. One should be inspired by the success of Andhra people settled in and around Hyderabad".
Emphasing that the present pro-Telangana and anti-Telangana movements are emotionally linked to the land, SS Shiv Shankar, who is spearheading the movement for a separate north Andhra state, seeks to clarify that while people of Telangana are angry over the alleged occupation of their lands by "settlers", coastal Andhra people, who had invested heavily in and around Hyderabad over the years, do not want to let Hyderabad go as they too are "sentimentally attached to the city".
"Whether it is the people of Telangana or coastal Andhra, the issue is the emotional and sentimental attachment to the land. If Telanganaites are attached to their region, others who have made Hyderabad their home, are also similarly attached to Hyderabad," he argues.

Telangana agitation - part II: Land is more than just stones and rubble

Why People Are Attached to their Native Place
By Syed Akbar
Land is not just a piece of the earth. It is more than stones, mud, rubble, plantation and buildings. Land is part of the human emotions and entiments. In a nutshell, land is part of human life and struggle.
People have been emotionally attached to their lands, native villages, cities and towns and their territories. What makes human beings so emotionally attached to land?
Scientists have now unravelled this mystery. It's all in the brain, they say. The human brain releases certain chemicals, as one approaches his native place or the city he has spent a major portion of his life in. This makes the person sentimental and highly joyous. It refreshes him. Even people, who spent quite a considerable time in a foreign land, feel this sense of pride and happiness,the moment they land in their country.
This natural human attachment to land has resulted in several bloody wars down the ages. It led to  innumerable land struggles, giving rise to the "us vs.they" talk. Still several parts of the world witness bloodshed and violence over the claim of land by various groups of people. Not only land claim has sociological basis, it has scientific reasoning too, as a recent study by two professors of University of Pennsylvania shows.
The Pennsylvania team comprising senior psychologists Paul Rozin and Sharon Wolf, selected the emotional issue of land in Israel-Palestine. The subjects were all Jews.
The idea was to find out whether human beings imbue land with positive or negative associations. At the end of the study they found out that land could be perceived as having either good or bad essences. The Jewish subjects told the researchers that they would not trade or forfeit their land, even for an equivalent plot of land elsewhere. And so would a study of Palestinians reveal. That's the power of emotions attached to land.

Telangana agitation - part III: Emotional attachment to land down the ages

Emotional attachment to land

By Syed Akbar
Bhoodhan or land donation has always occupied a pride of place in India. Down the centuries emperors, kings and local nobles donated cultivable lands to the landless poor. Land donation was considered one of the best means of providing sustenance and livelihood to the have-nots. This ancient philosophy continues even to this day. The democratically elected governments have assumed the role of kings, donating lands to the landless poor.
Andhra Pradesh leads India in terms of land donation by the State. In the last four years, the State government has distributed five lakh acres of land to the landless poor under its "land for the poor" campaign. Incidentally, land distribution to the poor was one of the contentious issues during the peace talks between Maoists and the AP government during 2004. The talks failed, but the State government took up the land distribution campaign.
Indian kings and nobles distributed lands to religious places too. There had been instances of Hindu kings donating lands to Muslim charities and Muslim kings offering lands to temples and Hindu endowments.
India, where land is often equated with mother (Bhoo mata or Zameen Ma), is perhaps the only nation in the world where people came up with voluntary donation of millions of acres of land. Acharya Vinobha
Bhave, through his Bhoodan movement in 1951, could inspire people holding lands to donate to the landless poor. In all five million acres or 20,000 sq km of land (a little larger than Anantapur, the biggest district in Andhra Pradesh) was donated as part of the movement.
Political parties, particularly the Communists, have launched a number of movements with the argument that land belongs to the tiller. The BJP too made it a national issue some time ago.

Telangana agitation - part IV: Influx of people from coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema to Hyderabad

Some Quick Facts

By Syed Akbar
1. With influx of people from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema to Hyderabad and surrounding districts in search of employment, thenumber of Assembly segments in Telangana region went up by 12 from 107 to 119.
2. In the delimitation of Assembly constituencies during 1978, Andhra region had 134 seats, Telangana 107 and Rayalaseema 53. In the recent exercise Andhra lost 11 seats while Rayalaseema lost one. Telangana
gained by 12 constituencies. It shows influx of people from coastal Andhra region to Hyderabad and surrounding areas in the last three decades.
3. The migration from coastal districts is mainly in search of jobs. There's no employment potential in any of the nine districts in coastal Andhra or four districts in Rayalaseema. The only place in the State that offers employment other than Hyderabad is Visakhapatnam. The State government failed to develop industries and corporate offices in equally important places like Vijayawada, Guntur, Kurnool, Rajahmundry, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal, Nellore and Tirupati. This explains the influx.

The lemony way to lose extra weight

By Syed Akbar
No one can resist a glass of chilled lemon water on a hot summer afternoon. While lemon (as also its cousins from the citrus family) is the best fruit to quench one's thirst and beat the heat during this summer, this natural repository of vitamin C has several medicinal and health properties including losing weight and fighting fatigue.
Lemon acts good on the stomach, helping against constipation and assisting in easy digestion. It is also a natural way of keeping the skin glowing and in healthy condition.
This fruit from the citrus family contains five per cent citric acid, which is quite sufficient to meet the vitamin c requirement of an individual. It also contains minerals like calcium, phosphorous and magnesium,
besides vitamins of the B group. As lemon contains bioflavonoids, regular consumption of this fruit makes the blood vessels strong. It also improves the overall functioning of the heart.
More importantly, slimming experts the world over have been suggesting intake of lemon juice mixed with honey and hot water to fight excessive weight. Though modern doctors (allopaths) do not agree with this lemon-honey-hot water formula for obesity treatment, practitioners of traditional medicines still prescribe it for those who want to burn away those extra calories.
Home remedies
Suffering from headache and nausea? Why don't you try this simple health recipe. A glass of hot water mixed with juice from a lemon fruit. It not only gives relief from headache and nausea, but also clears the
For those conscious of their beauty and skin health, nothing beats a glass of water mixed with lemon extract, taken everyday in the early morning.
As said earlier, obese people as also those mildly overweight may consume a glass of honey-lemon juice-hot water concoction every morning.
For instant energy, take a glass of lemon juice mixed with water, salt and sugar. It fights dehydration by providing the much needed salts to the body.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Tamarind controls fever, cools body

By Syed Akbar
South Indian meal is incomplete without rasam and sambar. And as we all know, tamarind forms an essential ingredient in the preparation of palate-stimulating rasam and mouth-watering sambar.
Tamarind, though not a native tree of Asia, has become an important constituent of the Indian kitchen over the centuries, thanks to the health benefits it offers. Tamarind fruit, leaves and bark are recommended for
various ailments in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha. Pulihora (tamarind rice) and tender tamarind leaves curry are also popular items on the South Indian menu card.
Tamarind is a natural body coolant. While it keeps the body cool in the healthy, it brings down the body temperature (fever) in patients suffering from various ailments including malaria and typhoid. Tamarind leaves and fruit (pod) not only provide the much needed vitamin C to the body, but also fight away skin diseases, rashes, freckles (melanin concentration marks) and itches. Since tamarind is a good source of vitamin C, it helps in preventing scurvy (spots on skin and spongy gums).
Home remedies
If you are suffering from cold and resultant blockage of nose, a glass of hot tamarind rasam is the best bet.
Tamarind is a mild laxative and those suffering from simple constipation or slow bowel movement may consume two tablespoons of tamarind paste mixed with water. This mixture will also bring down the body temperature in case you suffer from fever.
For quick relief from sore throat, you may gargle with tamarind water (tamarind paste mixed with water).
A decoction prepared from tamarind leaves will kill harmful worms in the stomach and intestines.
Apply tamarind pulp on the affected portion of the skin for immediate relief from itching.

Control your BP through Sarpagandha

By Syed Akbar
Rauwolfia serpentina, popularly known as Sarpagandha, is the Nature's gift to man against high blood pressure, snake bites, sleeplessness, hysteria, paranoia and schizophrenia. But Rauwolfia is considered a wonder drug as far as its anti-hypertension
properties are concerned. It was once used as a front-line drug against high blood pressure, but because of its certain side effects, Sarpagandha is now used as a second line medicine to treat hypertension. Since pure alkaloids extracted from Rauwolfia act quickly on the human
body including the circulatory, reproductive and nervous systems, it is better to use the powdered raw roots of the plants for home remedies. Its extracts are sold in the form of differently branded drugs, but for the purpose of home remedies, one should take the raw roots, powder them and consume with either honey, milk or oil. In this way, one can reduce the highly dangerous side effects. A word of caution. Only those with high blood pressure should consume Sarpagandha as it will further bring down the blood pressure in normal
persons, leading to hypotension or low BP. Pregnant women and people with gastric ulcers better avoid the plant or its extracts.
The roots contain a chemical called reserpine, which is widely used in antihypertensive drugs. As its name suggests (Sarpa, snake; gandha, smell), Sarpagandha works against snake bites. It is also widely used in treatment of reptile bites.
Home remedies
For sound sleep and quick relief from insomnia or mental stress, take 500 mg of Sarpagandha root. Powder it and mix it with a teaspoon of sesame (gingelly or til) oil. Consume it before going to bed. To beat severe skin red rashes (hives), take a few fresh leaves of Sarpagandha. Crush them and apply the paste on the affected portions of the skin.
Those suffering from high BP may take Sarpagandha root preparation to keep the blood pressure under check. Take 500 mg of root, powder it and mix it with water or honey. The preparation may be taken twice daily. One should avoid extra dosage as it will lead to drastic fall in blood pressure, causing severe health trouble. Pregnant women should avoid it.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Natural calamities: Yoga helps in stress management

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 18: Practising yoga for about a week will be useful in stress management after any natural calamity. A week of yoga will decrease sadness and anxiety in victims of natural disasters like tsunami, flash floods, cyclones and earthquakes. Yoga is a good intervention for post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to Dr Shirley Telles of the department of Yoga Research, Patanjali Yogpeeth, certain yoga exercises help in controlling heart beat, breath rate and emotional distress. Yoga, particularly Sudarshana Kriya, acts not only on the body improving physiological functions, but also relieves mental tension, stress and trauma associated with loss of life and property in a calamity.

Patanjali Yogpeeth researchers including Dr N Singh, Dr M Joshi and Dr A Balkrishna studied the effect of yoga on the victims of natural calamities including floods. The team selected two groups of victims, one performing yoga and another non-yoga group. The results showed that those who performed yoga had overcome the trauma and sadness easily. The yoga group practised yoga for 60 minutes while the non-yoga group continued with its normal work.

"A week of yoga can reduce feelings of sadness and possibly prevent an increase in anxiety after calamity," the study pointed out, adding that
since yoga includes asanas, kriyas, pranayamas and dhyana, it can be regarded as an intervention to treat stress resulting from a traumatic event.

According to the Yogpeeth team, high distress levels at the time of assault significantly predict increased levels of fear and anxiety in the following months. "Since the level of distress is strongly correlated to Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, an attempt to decrease distress immediately following the event may result in a more positive treatment outcome.

The study noted that since interventions like trauma debriefing in the initial period will only increase the risk of PTSD symptoms, yoga practices like Sudarshan Kriya Yoga can be considered for surviving victims of natural calamities. The researchers suggest yoga activities like loosening exercises (movement of joints) for 10 minutes, asanas for 20 minutes and pranayamas for 25 minutes. The session can be concluded by five minutes of guided relaxation in shavasana.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Garlic controls cholesterol, purifies blood

By Syed Akbar
Garlic bread, garlic papads, garlic pickle, and garlic pills. Garlic indeed finds its way into almost every Indian recipe. It is one of the oldest known herbs to man and has been an essential ingredient in many kitchens around the world.
Since garlic has strong and pungent odour thanks to its high sulphur content, this herbal pod is now commercially available in the form of pills. One or two garlic pills a day will keep the body strong through heightened immunity against microbes, bacteria, fungi, virus and other parasites.
Garlic is often described as a wonder drug that cures or prevents a variety of ailments ranging from common flu or cold to highly infectious and deadly diseases like plague. It is mainly used to control blood cholesterol and purify the blood system in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha. Garlic is also used in allopathic preparations.
For the young, garlic is a natural way of fighting pimples and acne. Make
sure that garlic is used in regular kitchen preparations for a glowing skin. If you cannot take raw garlic, garlic bread or garlic papads will be of great help. This way you can avoid bad breath caused by high sulphur content in raw garlic.
Recent research studies have proved that garlic is a broad spectrum antibiotic.
In other words, it fights a wide range of harmful organism. Thanks to its anti-oxidant properties, garlic prevents formation of cancerous cells in the body.
There's also a word of caution. Garlic acts against medicines that help blood clotting. Doctors do not recommend garlic preparations before surgery or when one is injured and bleeding.
Home remedies
For a healthy body and blood free of harmful cholesterol, take a few garlic
cloves every day.
You can make garlic cough syrup at home for relief from common cold and
sore throat. Take a few cloves of garlic. Wash and slice them. Pour a cup of boiling water and allow it over night. Add sugar or honey and take one or two teaspoons of the syrup.
Garlic oil is good for toothache.
Garlic ointment can be applied on affected portions of the skin for relief from fungal or bacterial infections.

Fenugreek is the best bet for obesity, diabetes

By Syed Akbar
Hot methi ke parathe. No one can resist eating them. Methi or fenugreek has always been a kitchen favourite all over the world since times immemorial. Fenugreek is an essential ingredient in many food stuffs in many cultures across the continents.
Methi contains special oils, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, which keep the body healthy. Methi has exclusive properties which fight obesity and diabetes. Recent research studies have shown that methi is good for those suffering from diabetes. For the obese, fenugreek fights the fat cells and reduces the overall body weight.
Fenugreek seeds and leaves can be consumed. The stem can also be eaten, but it is highly bitter in taste. Curry prepared from fenugreek leaves (since methi is bitter, it is generally used with other greens, meat or wheat) helps fight flatulence, indigestion and keep the bowels highly functional.
Ayurvedic doctors prescribe fenugreek for certain liver problems like some forms of jaundice. Methi is good for growing children and the elderly too. Nursing mothers are often encouraged to take fenugreek seeds as it increases lactation.
Home remedies
Methi chai: Fenugreek seeds tea acts as a body coolant and gives instant relief from high temperature (fever). The methi tea is slightly unpalatable, but has a good impact on health. We can make it a bit
tasty by adding lemon juice.
Since methi tea has the properties to reduce body temperature by producing sweat, Ayurvedic and Unani doctors believe that toxic elements are sent out of the body in the form of perspiration.
While fenugreek seeds soaked in water or fenugreek seed power in the form of capsules are good for controlling blood sugar, fenugreek leaves can be chewed to keep the stomach in healthy condition.
Chewing leaves also reduces gastric gases or flatulence.
Those suffering from anaemia can improve the iron content in their blood by eating raw fenugreek leaves.

Fennel fights flatulence

By Syed Akbar
Fennel seeds (saunf) are essential ingredient in gripe water fed to babies, suffering from indigestion and other gastric troubles. In adults too fennel seeds work wonders - fight flatulence, help in digestion, improve blood circulation, and increase milk production in lactating mothers.
While fennel seeds are good for health, fat obtained from them has been found to be harmful. Those with sensitive skin should better avoid fennel seed oil, though it has wide applications including treating insect
and even snake bites. In women it stimulates menstruation.
Saunf gets its medicinal properties because of the presence of a substance called anethole. In babies with the problem of painful teething, fennel water is the best home remedy.
A small dose of gripe water prepared by fennel seeds is good for babies with gastric troubles. For adults,fennel tea relaxes intestines and gives relief from constipation and bloating. Pregnant women should better
avoid fennel seeds, their extracts or preparations. Saunf may act on the uterus and may cause complications related to pregnancy.
Fennel contains carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin C and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and manganese.
Quick remedies
Fennel tea can be prepared by boiling a glass of water and adding a teaspoon of fennel seeds to it. The decoction should cooled and filtered before consuming. You may add honey to it. This is good for people
suffering from digestive disorders.
A teaspoon of fennel seeds, if consumed raw, improve vision, fight hypertension (high blood pressure) and increase lactation.
A teaspoon of fennel seeds give relief from stomach ache as they have antispasmodic effect.
Fennel seeds also help in losing weight and strengthening the muscles.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Health Quiz: All about the heart and its functions

By Syed Akbar
This simple quiz will help you know how well informed you are about your heart and its functions. Each right answer fetches you 10 points. Excellent, if your score is 80 and above, good if it is between 60 and 80, average if it is 40 and 60, and bad if the points earned are below 40. Get ready to take the test.
1. We quite often hear cardiologists referring to infarction or myocardial infarction to be precise. Infarction is one of the leading causes of heart attacks. What is meant by infarction?
a) Heart-lung machine b) Fast beating of heart c) Heart attack d) death of cells of heart
2. Coronary artery supplies blood to the heart. If this is blocked, it prevents blood supply to heart muscles, leading to heart attacks. Is this true?
a) yes b) no
3) What happens if a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain is damaged or blocked?
a) heart attack b) stroke c) fever d) nothing, simple giddiness
4) Many say that they love from the deep of their hearts. By the way how many rooms or chambers does heart have?
a) three chambers b) four chambers c) two chambers d) no chambers, it is one solid piece
5) What is hypertension?
a) blood pressure b) low blood pressure c) high blood pressure d) mild blood pressure
6) When blood pressure is measured, the meter shows two readings. What is the upper reading called?
a) systolic blood pressure d) diastolic blood pressure (c) BP d) hypotension
7) When a person is said to have a normal blood pressure?
a) systole of less than 90 and diastole of less than 150 b) systole of less than 140 and diastole of less than 90 c) systole of more than 100 and diastole of more than 150 d) none of the above
8) Children do not get heart attacks?
a) yes b) no
9) What exactly is the function of heart?
a) generating vital nutrients necessary for the body b) intelligence c) creating affection d) pumping blood
10) Major symptoms of heart attack are
a) Chest discomfort b) pain in arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach c) shortness of breath with or without pain d) all the above
1) d 2) a 3) b 4) b 5) c 6) a 7) b b 9) d 10) d

The magic of Aloe vera

By Syed Akbar
Aloe vera, a small succulent herb grown as an ornamental plant, is regarded as a panacea for a multitude of dermatological problems. It is also widely used as a general health tonic and an aphrodisiac. Both modern and traditional forms of medicine have recognised its importance as a wonder herb that's capable of fighting even cancerous cells in the body.
Research is presently underway in different parts of the world on the efficacy of Aloe vera in fighting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Aloe vera has been found to kill bacteria, fungi, viruses and other harmful micro-organisms present in human beings. Aloe vera has wide applications in veterinary medicine too.
Its multitude of benefits notwithstanding, Aloe vera has been found to contain allergy-causing chemicals. So experts in herbal medicine caution people from consuming too much of Aloe vera. It can be applied liberally on the skin, but one has to exercise caution in case of oral intake.
It is quite easy to grow Aloe vera at home. A small pot is enough to grow the plant. Ensure that sunlight falls on the plant. Do not water the plant too much, as it kills. Its succulent leaves are used for herbal preparations. For quick results, Aloe vera paste can be prepared freshly at home, for application on the skin for relief from local inflammation, infection and pain. Skin blemishes and pimples can also be tackled by Aloe paste.
Aloe vera juice can be consumed to kill intestinal worms like platyhelminthes (tape worms) and nemathelminthes (round worms), as a purgative, to fight vaginal infections and herpes and to reduce the impact of psoriasis and eczema.
For those conscious of their beauty, Aloe vera preparations can postpone wrinkles on face and body and improve the skin tone and texture, while giving a glowing look to the face.
Quick remedies
You may take Aloe vera juice as a general health tonic and to clean the digestive system of worms and harmful organism. To prepare a glass of fresh Aloe vera juice, cut a leaf, clean it with water and remove thorny edges on sides. Cut the leaf vertically and remove the gel. Blend the gel and add water. You may add sugar to taste and consume it fresh.
Do not discard the leaf after removing the gel. You may rub it on the affected portion of the skin for relief from acne, rashes, burns and bruises. You may also rub the leaf for glowing skin texture and as a natural moisturiser.
You may also prepare a paste from Aloe vera gel and apply it on your face and body. The gel works as a natural sunscreen. Aloe vera gel can also be mixed with egg yolk and olive oil for application on the skin as a herbal moisturiser.

Health Quiz: Dental health and hygiene

By Syed Akbar
This simple quiz will help you know how well informed you are about your teeth and dental hygiene. Each right answer fetches you 10 points.Excellent, if your score is 80 and above, good if it is between 60 and
80, average if it is 40 and 60, and bad if the points earned are below 40. Get ready to take the test.
1. Human teeth are made for
a) tearing b) cutting c) chewing d) all the above
2) Your teeth contains a substance, which is the hardest material in the body
a) dentine b) enamel c) pulp d) calcium
3) The ideal way to keep the teeth in good health is to brush
a) thrice a day b) everytime you eat c) before going to bed d) twice a day
4) Brushing teeth hard several times a day will cause
a) injury and damage to gums b) whitening of teeth c) kill bacteria d) none
5) Teeth are of two types, milk teeth and permanent teeth. An adult human being generally contains
a) 30 teeth b) 32 teeth c) 36 teeth d) 34 teeth
6) How many sets of teeth do we have
a) four -- incisors, canines, molars and premolars b) three -- incisors, molars and premolars c) two -- canines and molars d) five -- mandibles, premolars, molars, incisors and canines
7) Children are often warned against eating too many sweets. Do sweets really contribute to tooth decay and gum diseases?
a) Yes, because bacteria present in the mouth convert sugar into acid, thus damaging the teeth b) No, sweets are good for teeth as glucose present in sugar strengthens them
8) What causes bad breath?
a) Large accumulation of saliva b) Unhealthy stomach c) Release of foul smelling digestive gases d) Presence of bacteria in the mouth which release various sulphur gases
9) What is dental plaque?
a) fluoride b) calcium c) thin coating of bacteria and food particles d) coating of dentine and enamel
10) What type of foods prevent dental problems?
a) Bubble gum b) chewing of raw fruits and vegetables c) cocoa d) potato and carrot
1) a 2) b 3) d 4) a 5) b 6) a 7) a d 9) c 10) b

Ginger, best cure for motion sickness

By Syed Akbar
Many complain of giddiness and vomiting while travelling by bus or train. This is quite common and doctors blame it on "motion sickness". For people, who suffer from motion sickness, morning sickness or chemotheraphy- related problems, the common kitchen ingredient, ginger, is the best herbal and handy cure.
Ginger, technically called Zingiber officinale, has been regarded as a "great herb/ medicine" or "Maha Aushadi" since times immemorial. This rhizome has found its way into all systems of medicine, including allopathy, and is regarded in many communities around the world as a quick herbal remedy for a number of common health problems and conditions.
Scientific studies conducted by several research institutions including the Hyderabad-based Indian Institute of Nutrition have revealed that ginger contains medicinal properties that control high blood pressure, check ovarian cancer, prevents cancer of large intestine, gives relief from menstrual cramps, constipation, heartburn, cold and flu and migraine, and reduces damage to kidneys in diabetic patients. Ginger has also been found to be anti-inflammatory, anti-flatulent (controls digestive gases) and anti-oxidant (fights cancer).
Ginger rhizome contains proteins (2.3 per cent), fat (0.9 per cent), minerals (1.2 per cent), fibre (2.4 per cent) and carbohydrates (12.3 per cent), besides minerals like iron, calcium and phosphorous. Vitamins like thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The major active components found in ginger are gingerols.
The effectiveness of ginger (940 mg) in motion sickness was found to be equivalent of allopathic drug, dimenhydrinate (100 mg). Ginger administration (1g) prior to elective gynaecological laparoscopy was also
found to be effective in preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting.
Home remedies
For quick relief from sore throat and common cold, consume freshly prepared ginger tea. To prepare ginger tea, obtain decoction of freshly cut ginger pieces (10 grams) by boiling them in four cups of water for about 20 minutes. Filter the decoction and consume it. For additional health benefits and taste, you may add honey and lemon juice.
Since ginger has been scientifically proven to fight fungal infections, those suffering from skin problems including athlete's foot can prepare a ginger solution and soak their feet in it. They may also apply it to affected skin. It provides relief from itching and pain. To obtain the ginger solution, add a little ginger to warm water. Once it cools down, put your feet in the solution for about 10 minutes. If your body sweats too much and suffer from body odour, make it a habit to chew small pieces of ginger dried in lemon juice, salt and jeera (cumin seeds).
To fight nausea take "alla murabba" (ginger-jaggery sweet) available in the market.

Aswagandha fights insomnia, keeps body fit

By Syed Akbar
Aswagandha, scientifically called Withania somnifera, is often described as the Indian ginseng. As its scientific name "somnifera" suggests, Aswagandha induces sleep in people, who suffer from insomnia or sleeplessness. Unlike chemical sedatives and tranquillisers, Aswagandha calms the body and mind before inducing sleep.
Aswagandha's odour is not palatable. It smells like the horse's sweat (in Sanskrit "aswa" means horse and "gandha" means smell). But its health benefits range from fighting insomnia to improving fertility levels, and from controlling diabetes to keeping epilepsy under check. It improves the muscles, fights fatigue and brings down the levels of trauma and suffering.
In Ayurveda, Aswagandha finds a variety of uses including fighting cancerous cells, stomach and intestinal problems and rheumatoid arthritis. Despite all its benefits, it has a bad impact on pregnant women. Aswagandha may cause miscarriage and health experts advise that pregnant women should better avoid it. Some Ayurvedic doctors prescribe
Aswagandha as a memory booster.
The roots, leaves and seeds of this wonder herb are used in Ayurveda, Unani and other traditional medicines in different parts of the world.
Home Remedies
Infertility: Aswagandha is known to improve fertility levels in men. Those suffering from infertility may take daily a teaspoon of powder made from the roots of Aswagandha. The herb stimulates the reproductive hormones.
Weakness: For those suffering from general weakness and exhaustion, Aswagandha is one of the best bets. Take Aswagandha root powder and mix it with ghee and honey. Take a teaspoon everyday. It will remove general
weakness, strengthens the muscles and the bones.
Sound sleep: A teaspoon of Aswagandha root powder before going to bed will fight fatigue, mental anxiety and puts the brain to sound sleep. It acts on the brain and nervous system. Ayurvedic doctors use it as an adaptogen

Thursday, 11 March 2010

A bitter gourd a day keeps diabetes away

By Syed Akbar

No doubt, bitter gourd or bitter melon is the most unsavoury of all vegetables. And yet its medicinal properties far exceeds those of many herbs.
Though bitter gourd or karela is a universal plant, it is mostly cultivated in Indian sub-continent and parts of Asia.
Scientists are now exploring the possibility of developing injectible insulin from bitter gourd to keep the blood sugar levels under check in diabetic patients. Laboratory results have been successful. Like any other vegetable, karela does not have much calories.
It contains a variety of vitamins, trace elements and minerals, besides dietary fibre that keeps the body slim. Elements present in bitter gourd include iron, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese. Unani and Ayurvedic physicians prescribe bitter gourd juice for people suffering from skin problems like psoriasis.
The uniqueness of karela lies in the presence of a chemical called charantin, which reduces high blood glucose levels. Ayurvedic doctors recommend bitter gourd for treatment of diabetes, blood disorders, digestive problems and as an immune booster. It is often recommended for the treatment of piles.
Quick remedies
Prepare a very small glass of bitter gourd juice in a mixer. For taste, add some lemon juice. Drink it on empty stomach daily. This will improve your general health and skin tone and texture.
For people living with diabetes, bitter gourd is the best home remedy. You may consume bitter gourd pickle or curry with not much oil, karela chutney or simply drink bitter gourd juice. The juice should be taken in a little quantity every day. Excessive intake is not good. Pregnant women better avoid bitter gourd juice as it may lead to miscarriage.
Bitter gourd juice has been found to improve eyesight thanks to the presence of vitamin A in sufficiently large quantities.

Indian sarsaparilla cleans blood, fights VD

By Syed Akbar
Indian sarsaparilla, commonly called Nannari or Sugandhi, is a refreshing drink, full of health benefits. It
has a number of medicinal properties, including the ability to fight venereal diseases particularly syphilis.
Come summer and sarsaparilla drink becomes quite popular. It cools the body, removes heat, cleans the
stomach, improves blood circulation and fights infection. Indian or false sarsaparilla has been in use for
hundreds of years and traditional medicines around the world recognise this herb as a general tonic and
health booster. In Ayurveda it is used to treat venereal problems like syphilis.
It is also recommended for skin ailments like eczema and psoriasis. It has anti-pyretic properties too and
brings down the body temperature. No wonder then sarsaparilla drink is in great demand on hot summer
In sarsaparilla, the root finds use in traditional medicines. Its leaves and stem are not used. Some
practitioners of traditional medicines prescribe sarsaparilla for people suffering from rheumatic pains.
Indian sarsaparilla is known to improve the kidney functions as also protect the liver.
Home remedies
Beat the heat on a scorching summer day by drinking a glass of Indian sarsaparilla extract mixed with
lemon and soda. Take sarsaparilla roots and clean them with water. Take a vessel, pour water in it and put
the cleaned sarsaparilla roots. Boil the water for 20 minutes. Cool it and filter the water. Mix sugar in the
filtered water and keep it aside. Whenever you want to prepare a glass of sarsaparilla drink, pour one
quantity of sarsaparilla extract and mix it with four quantities of water. For taste, you may add lemon.
Instead of plain water, you may also use soda.
The sarsaparilla extract can also be mixed with chilled milk for a refreshing drink to reduce body heat.
You can prepare sarsaparilla tea too to keep the body hale and health and free from diseases. Sarsaparilla
tea is recommended as a general tonic. Take a few roots of sarsaparilla, wash them and soak them in hot
water for 15 minutes. Filter the water and drink it. You may add sugar for taste.

Herbal cure: Tulasi, the incomparable one

By Syed Akbar
Headache, cough and cold, worms in the stomach, skin infection, hypertension, diabetes and ulcers. If you
are suffering from any or all of these health problems and do not want to take chemical or synthetic drugs,
Tulasi is the best herbal and natural option. It is a good muscle relaxant.
Tulasi leaves, stems, flowers and seeds contain a variety of medicinal properties now proved by scientific
studies. It is an anti-oxidant and fights cancers. Not many know that Tulasi can also be used as a
contraceptive, to control birth rate. Studies show that Tulasi extracts, when used for about two months,
reduce sperm count, serving as a natural birth control source.
Tulasi, as the name in Sanskrit suggests, is "incomparable". Indeed, it is a herb with incomparable medicinal properties. The most common property of Tulasi is its ability to fight pain. It is analgesic and recent studies on alcoholic extract of Tulasi leaves showed that the herb provides relief from headaches. It is a wound-healer too, thanks to its anti-septic properties.
Tulasi extracts have been found to fight against helminths (parasitic worms), virus, fungi, bacteria (like
Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas), diabetes, inflammation, cataract, stress and memory loss. Tulasi derives
its medicinal properties because of the presence of several natural chemicals including oleanolic acid,
eugenol, rosmarinic acid, linalool, apigenin and ursolic acid.
This wonder herb, widely used in traditional medicines, particularly Ayurveda, for thousands of years,
improves the functioning of liver, brain and other vital organs.

Quick remedies

Joint pains: Crush 10 grams of Tulasi leaves to extract its essence. Add 10 grams of ginger extract and
consume the mixture.
Vomiting: Take a tablespoon of Tulasi seeds and wash them. Mix the seeds in honey and consume. It works
well as anti-emetic in children.
De-worming: Prepare 25 grams of Tulasi extract and mix it with 2 grams of black salt. Consume it once
daily for four days to get relief from parasitic worms and related problems.
Sore throat: Boil 10 grams of Tulasi leaves in 500 ml of water. Cool it and gargle for quick relief.

Health Quiz: Amazing facts about human body

By Syed Akbar
This simple quiz will help you know how well informed you are about your body and its functions. Each right answer fetches you 10 points.Excellent, if your score is 80 and above, good if it is between 60 and
80, average if it is 40 and 60, and bad if the points earned are below 40. Get ready to take the test.

1. Dull people are often chided as having husk in their brain. But what really does the brain mostly contain?
a) 80 per cent water b) 80 per cent husk c) 90 per cent muscle d) 100 per cent neurons
2. What makes the brain intelligent and master control room?
a) 100 trillion neurons b) 100 million neurons c) 100 billion neurons d) 10 billion neurons
3) Roller coasting is indeed a thrilling experience. But do people who regularly ride on roller coasters have a higher chance of developing a blood clot in the brain?
a) Yes b) No
4) Sneeze is surrounded by superstitions. Many feel that it is a bad omen if someone sneezes when one is going out on some important work. Is it possible to postpone the sneeze. If so, how?
a) by simple clapping b) by singing c) by dancing d) by pinching yourself hard
5) You cannot tickle yourself. Why?
a) Your sensation does not work on your brain b) your hands have the same skin as your rest of the body c) the brain knows it in advance so it ignores the tickling d) your nervous system does not respond
6) What is the most frequently used facial expression?
a) anger b) smile c) laugh d) frowning
7) An apple a day is said to keep doctor away. What makes apple so special?
a) presence of pectin which lowers cholesterol levels b) presence of iron which aids blood improvement c) both d) none
Which season records the lowest number of suicides around the world?
a) rainy season b) summer c) winter d) all the above
9) Is it true that your liver does over 500 functions?
a) yes b) no
10) Human eyebrows are vestige. Yet they perform one important function. What it is?
a) Stop dust from falling into the eyes b) Stop sweat from falling into the eyes c) stop rain water from falling into the eyes d) none of the above


1) a 2) c 3) a 4) d 5) c 6) b 7) a c 9) a 10) b

The Royal Palaces of the Nizams of Hyderabad

Book Review
The Royal Palaces of the Nizams
Author: Dr MA Nayeem
Pages 400 of royal matt art paper; hard-bound with multi-colour jacket of thick art paper. Price Rs 2,000. Published by Hyderabad Publishers, 10-2-5/8/1, AC Guard, Hyderabad - 500004

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad. The name brings to our minds the pictures of marvelous tombs, palaces and pearls. The history of Hyderabad has been intertwined with the glory of its palaces, magnificent in nature and imposing in structure with architectural beauty without parallel.
Though some of the city palaces have disappeared with time, there still remains a few, reminding us the glory Hyderabad once was, and retelling the anecdotes buried deep in history and time.
Senior researcher, historian and author Dr MA Nayeem has been known for highlighting the little known aspects of Hyderabad of yore. His writings reflect the deep commitment he has for the history of
erstwhile Hyderabad State. If one has to know or learn the history of Hyderabad and its structure and its people, Dr Nayeem is one name, one cannot afford to ignore.
His latest venture is The Royal Palaces of the Nizams. Dr Nayeem, while analyzing the architectural and artistic marvels of Hyderabad palaces, comes out with a new nomenclature: Asaf Jah or Osmanian style
of architecture. Indeed, the Asaf Jahi style is unique in all aspects and Dr Nayeem lucidly explains them in detail.
"At the close of the 18th century the European influence percolated Hyderabad. First it was the French, and later the British.The latter had a significant and lasting impact on the architectural evolution of Asaf Jahi style. The Nizams and his nobility built lavishly in a variety of European-derived styles. The revival of the Qutb Shahi style transformed into Neo Qutb Shahi during second half of the 19th century also contributed to the stylistic development," he argues.
Dr Nayeem further dwells, subsequently, with the formation of the city improvement board in 1912 by the Nizam VII for the development of Hyderabad resulted in the construction of numerous public buildings in the new style called the Osmanian. This style is still existing in the structures all over Hyderabad. Thus, mixed architectural features are found in the royal palaces of the Nizam.
“In fact, the Khilwat Mubarak has a mysterious blend of Ottoman, Iranian, Qutb Shahi and Mughal style. The Chow Mohalla palaces are in European style. The Falaknuma palace is purely European. The Purani Haveli and Nazri Bagh are in mixed style. While King Kothi is in European style. The Mahbub Mansion is European-Mughal. The palace at Kolkata is in European style. The Nizam's palace in New Delhi is in Mughal-European style”.
Dr Nayeem’s is the first comprehensive and exclusive review about the art and architecture of the royal palaces of the Nizams. In this book he recaptures the sublime spirit of the opulent oriental life and
culture in Hyderabad, where the magnificent, lavish and exotic court of the Asaf Jahi rulers flourished from 1720 to 1948.
According to this city historian, the grandeur of oriental culture reached its zenith in the later half of the 19th century during the times of the sixth Nizam, It continued by his successor, the last Nizam, during the first half of the 20th century. These Nizams were reputedly the richest men in the world and were called fabulous Mughals.
Dr Nayeem documents his review with 500 historical photographs in multi-colour, though a few are in monochrome. “These are unique documents of not only art and architecture but also of the political,
social and cultural life and times in Hyderabad in 1591 and its physical settings”.
The book is divided into four parts, each dealing with an exclusive subject including the palaces the Nizams had built outside Hyderabad, in Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and even in Ooty and Machilipatam.
In the chapter on architectural background, Dr Nayeem traces the architectural styles in Hyderabad the stylistic developments.
One of the chapters is devoted to the royal places of the Nizams in Hyderabad and describes only the main palaces: the Khilwat Mubarak- Chow Mohalla palaces; Purani haveli complex; Falaknuma palace; the King Kothi complex; Mahbub mansion, Zeba Bagh and Moti Mahal-Nau Mahal. Within them they comprise 30 palaces which are described and illustrated by the author.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Did HIV has its roots in India?

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 8: The deadly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has its roots in India, according to researchers at the University of Hyderabad and Kakatiya University.
Contrary to popular belief that HIV, the infectious agent of AIDS, had originated in sub-Saharan Africa, the new study points out that the virus had its roots on the Indian soil in pre-historic times. The researchers, M Radhakrishna of HCU, and S Ram Reddy of Kakatiya University, observe that Charaka Samhita (ancient Ayurvedic text dating back to 300 BC) contains reference to an immunodeficiency problem similar to HIV.
"Medical, archaeological, mythological and biological evidences point out the possibility of origin of AIDS in Indian sub-continent. The man and monkey association started in India by Paleolithic period. We can find monkey paintings in various historic sites and ancient Indian literature... Many sculptures from 300 BC to 12th century CE depicted the monkey-man association. It is also depicted that the monkeys are giving medicine to the king that strengthens monkey-man association from many thousand years," the researchers said.
Caraka Samhita contains references to "azokshyam" (degradation of immunity) an AIDS-like disease. Many of the archaeological sites of period between 3000 BC to 1000 in India were displaced due to various viral diseases. Archaeological reports reveal that massive deaths occurred in those areas.
"The consumption of primate meat by certain tribal and non tribal communities is still prevalent in north east and eastern India. The use of meat from hunted primates as a bait to agricultural pests is also common in the north eastern states. A few of these Indian monkeys were found to be serologically and virologically positive to simian retroviruses," they pointed out.
According to them, Assamese macaque and pigtailed macaque harboured simian foamy virus. Natural infection by simian retrovirus in languor (Semnopithecus entellus) has been traced in two different geographical regions of India.
"Analysis of HIV-1 subtype C and HIV 2 genome sequences from India showed that these sequences were closely related to each other and phylogenetic (evolutionary) analysis of these sequences clustered together and showed monophyletic (common) lineage. Origin of AIDS in Indian peninsular should be investigated for simian immunodeficiency virus in wild monkeys of India," they said.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Majlis al Shura: Dr Manmohan Singh seeks cooperative relations with Pakistan

By Syed Akbar
Riyadh, March 1: Prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Monday said India wishes to live in peace and friendship with its neighbours and seeks cooperative relations with Pakistan.
Addressing the Majlis-al-shura, a symbol of participative governance in the oil-rich Arab nation, Dr Singh said “I believe that all countries of South Asia should work to realise the common vision of peace and inclusive development for the region.”
Stating that India is keen to seek cooperative relations with Pakistan, Dr Singh said India’s objective is a permanent peace because it recognises that it is bound together by a shared future.
“If there is cooperation between India and Pakistan, vast opportunities will open up for trade, travel and development that will create prosperity in both countries and in South Asia as a whole.”
He however, said, to realise this vision, Pakistan must act decisively against terrorism. If Pakistan cooperates with India, there is no problem that the two countries cannot solve and they can walk the extra mile to open a new chapter in relations between the two countries.
On the situation in Afghanistan he said that the government there needed the support of the international community in restoring peace and development in the country.
Dr Singh, who had the rare honour of addressing the historic Majlis-al-shura meeting, said West Asia is a vital part of India’s extended neighbourhood.
“We have deep and intricate ties with the Gulf countries. We have a high stake in the peace and stability of the region. Neither the countries of
the region nor the world can afford fresh turmoil. We sincerely hope
that wisdom will prevail and that in the resolution of conflicts and
differences, dialogue will triumph over confrontation. There is no issue more important for peace and stability in the region than the question of Palestine,” Dr Singh said.
Dr Singh is the first Indian Prime minister to address the shura meeting. Referring to India’s economic progress, he said, “In the next 25 years we aspire to growth rates of between 9 to 10 per cent annually. This will enable us to lift millions of our people out of poverty and to transform India into one of the largest economies of the world. India looks to the future with confidence and hope.”
Tracing the long cultural ties between India and Saudi Arabia he said, “Indian Muslim scholars went to Mecca in order to learn Islamic
theology. Arab Muslim scholars came to India to learn mathematics,
science, astronomy and philosophy. Today, Islam is an integral part of India’s nationhood and ethos and of the rich tapestry of its culture. India has made significant contributions to all aspects of Islamic civilization. Our 160 million Muslims are contributing to our nation building efforts and have excelled in all walks of life.”
Stating that the Saudi Arabia is the cradle of Islam and the land of the revelation of the Holy Quran, he said, “ I have come to this ancient land with a message of peace, brotherhood and friendship. India regards Saudi Arabia as a pillar of stability in the Gulf region.”

Indo-Saudi agreements to boost bilateral ties

By Syed Akbar
Riyadh, March 1: India and Saudi Arabia late on Sunday night signed five major agreements that will not only boost bilateral ties between the two nations, but will also help in curbing terrorism in the region.
The major treaties were the extradition treaty and the agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons. Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad and Saudi second deputy prime minister Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz signed the treaties on behalf of their respective nations.
A memorandum of cultural cooperation between the ministry of culture and information, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the ministry of culture, government of India was also signed in the presence of prime minister Dr manmohan Singh and Saudi ruler King Abdullah.
Other memoranda signed as part of the Riyadh Declaration were MoU between Indian Space Research Organisation and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology for cooperation in peaceful use of outer space, and agreement on scientific and technological cooperation bdetween the department of science and technology, India, and KACST, Saudi Arabia.

India, Saudi Arabia signs Riyadh Declaration to put an end to crime, terrorism, human trafficking

By Syed Akbar
Riyadh, March 1: India and Saudi Arabia have agreed to enhance cooperation in exchange of information relating to terrorist activities, money laundering, narcotics, arms and human trafficking, and develop joint strategies to combat these threats.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is currently on a historic bilateral visit to the oil-rich Arab nation, signed what is called the Riyadh Declaration with Saudi ruler King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud here late on Sunday night. The declaration is being hailed as a new era of strategic partnership, after the Delhi Declaration signed by the two countries in 2006.
Earlier, King Abdullah accorded a traditional welcome at his Al-Rowdha Palace, before the two leaders sat down for bilateral talks. They renewed condemnation of the phenomenon of terrorism, extremism and violence affirming that it is global and threatens all societies and is not linked to any race, colour or belief.
As part of the Riyadh Declaration, the two countries signed the xtradition treaty and the agreement for transfer of sentenced persons. The peace process in the Middle East was high on the agenda of Dr Manmohan Singh and King Abdullah. They expressed hope for the early resumption of the peace process within a definite timeframe leading to the establishment of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestinian State, in accordance with the two state solution. The two leaders emphasized that continued
building of settlements by Israel constitutes a fundamental stumbling block for the peace process.
India and Saudi Arabia decided to raise their cooperation to a strategic partnership covering security, economic, defence and political areas. The two leaders further emphasised the importance of strengthening the strategic energy partnership based on complimentarity and interdependence, including meeting India's increasing requirement of crude oil supplies. Dr Manmohan Singh invited Saudi Arabia to participate in crude storage facilities in India.
The Riyadh Declaration emphasized the importance of regional and international efforts focusing on making the Middle East and Gulf Region free of all nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction. The leaders encouraged Iran to respond to efforts to remove regional and international doubts about its nuclear programme, especially as these
ensure the right of Iran and other countries to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. They also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and called for the preservation of Afghanistan’s sovereignty and independence.

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This Day In History

Mother's Care

Mother's Care
Minnu The Cat & Her Kittens Brownie, Goldie & Blackie

Someone with Nature

Someone with Nature
Syed Akbar in an island in river Godavari with Papikonda hills in the background

Recognition by World Vegetable Centre

Recognition by World Vegetable Centre

Under the shade of Baobab tree

Under the shade of Baobab tree
At Agha Khan Akademi in Kenya

Gateway to the Southern Hemisphere

Gateway to the Southern Hemisphere

Convention on Biodiversity

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