Saturday, 30 April 2011

attack on MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi: The old rivalry between MIM and MBT

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 30: The murderous assault on MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi is seen as an attempt to check the party's growing dominance in the old city politics. It also opens the old political wounds of the MIM-MBT rivalry that dates back to mid 1990s.
The MIM has not only increased its representation in the State Assembly from five to seven but also emerged as the champion of social causes like fighting against the growing menace of call money and land mafia.
The Majlis, under the leadership of young Owaisis, had rejected the dominance of unscrupulous pahelwans or free-style wrestlers, who were troubling people through land grab, lending money on high interest rates, and
collecting "mamools" from commoners building their houses. The pahelwans, who once called the shots, had been cut to size by denying them political support. This has angered some of the pahelwans, forcing them to
shift their political loyalty to rival MBT. Akbaruddin had openly fought against illegal encroachments on government lands and distributed them among the poor.
The party in a way took up reformation of the pahelwans telling them point blank that what matters in electoral politics is "mass power" and not "muscle power". Growing literacy levels among old city residents and increase in political awareness are said to have forced the MIM to dump anti-social pahelwans.
Mohammad Bin Omer Al-Yafai, who allegedly masterminded the Saturday's attack, is a pahelwan, who once supported the MIM. He and other pahelwans in his family had shifted base to the MBT in the last Assembly elections. The pahelwans supporting Al-Yafai have been running a bitter feud with the MIM leadership, particularly Akbaruddin Owaisi as he had vacated their encroachments.
The presence of MBT corporator Amjadullah Khan and a large number of party supporters at Yashoda hospital, where the injured Al-Yafai family members were undergoing treatment, gave credence to the argument that the attack was an attempt to checkmate the MIM from further expanding in the old city.
Call money rackets are run by unscrupulous pahelwans in the lanes and bylanes of old city. They lend money to petty vendors in the morning and charge between 10 and 20 per cent interest by the night. Those who could not pay are pulled out of their houses and beaten in full public view. Call money menace has grown to such high proportions that the Muslim clergy has to intervene declaring it as illegal. The MIM took up the cause of call money victims in its new avatar as socio-political reformer of the local Muslim society, thereby winning over the electorate.

Attack on MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi: The Owaisis have never sought police protection

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 30: The Owaisis have never sought police protection either for themselves or the Darussalam, the headquarters of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen. 
Right from Abdul Wahed Owaisi, who took over the reins of the MIM after the police action, to the third generation Owaisi brothers, the family freely moved in the city even during the worst of communal riots without any police protection. Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi too had no armed bodyguards.
While legislators vie with one another to seek armed bodyguards and complain about "meagre" security, Asaduddin Owaisi, MP, and his younger brother Akbaruddin Owaisi, MIM floor leader in the State Assembly, have been consistently rejecting the security cover offered by the city police.
Only recently, the police had offered two bodyguards each to the Owaisi brothers, but they had turned down the offer. City police commissioner AK Khan said they have renewed the security cover offer to the MIM MP and the MLA after the Saturday's murderous attack on Akbaruddin.
Quite often the Owaisis had said their faith in God and service to people would protect them and if God willed otherwise no amount of security cover would safeguard them. The Owaisi brothers self drive their vehicles without even personal bodyguards. Old timers recall that Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi used to move freely on his Norton motorbike without fear.
Unlike the offices of other political parties, which are fortified by heavy armed guards, the Darussalam, which brims with activity, does not have even private guards. There are no metal detectors and visitors are not frisked. It's a free passage to the Darussalam and meeting Owaisi brothers comes without any hassles.

Attack on MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi: Who is Mohammad Bin Omer pahelwan?

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 30: Mohammad Bin Omer Yafai, the pahelwan (wrestler) who allegedly masterminded the attack on MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, hails from the Al-Yafai tribe in Yemen. His forefathers, who served the Nizam as bodyguards, had settled in the Barkas (corruption of Barracks) area of the city.
Yafai is a family of free-style wrestlers and every male member is trained in body building right from the childhood. The family has now a little over a dozen wrestlers. Mohammad Bin Omer, a wrestler himself, had participated in national wrestling championships in late 1970s.
The wrestler owns restaurants and function halls, named after his father Omer, also a wrestler, in old city and runs a real estate firm dealing with lands in Barkas, Chandrayangutta, Pahadisharief, Bandlaguda and
Mohammad Bin Omer was a staunch supporter of the Majlis till a couple of years ago. It is alleged that due to the support he enjoyed from the MIM, the GHMC had changed the design of the flyover at Chandrayangutta to save his property. He even constructed a mosque beside his property, a function hall, just to protect it from demolition during the flyover works.
The trouble started after he went against the MIM leadership to side with its arch rival MBT. The pahelwan got the support of local media too during the last Assembly elections in 2009. Mohammad Bin Omer has been into real estate dealings for the last 20 years. The MIM had vacated the alleged encroachments on a government land by the pahelwan on a nine-acre plot at Ghousenagar in Bandlaguda, and distributed it among the poor.
The attack is linked to a dispute over a two-acre plot, which the MIM wants to convert into a graveyard. The MIM leadership secured government funds to construct a compound wall. While the Pahelwan claims that it is a private land, the MIM claimed it to be government land. Akbaruddin returning after participating in a programme to start works for the compound wall when the attack took place.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Miracles of Prashanti Nilayam: Sri Sathya Sai Baba stood for Satyam, Shivam and Sundaram; religious tolerance, simple living were his hallmark

By Syed Akbar
Sri Sathya Sai Baba stood as the symbol of truth (Satyam), goodness (Shivam) and beauty (Sundaram). The Baba selected Mumbai to spread the message of "Satyam", Hyderabad for "Shivam", and Chennai for
The three grand temples the Baba had established in these cities were named after the three major qualities of divinity. They stand testimony to the Baba's quest of spreading the divine message - Satyam, Shivam,
Sundaram - God is the Truth, the Good and the Beautiful.
Born at Puttaparthi on November 23, 1926, Sri Sathya Sai Baba built the edifice of his Prashanti Nilayam (abode of peace) on the pillars of love, service, goodness, right conduct, peace, non-violence, dedication,
simplicity and truth. Since these quintessential qualities of divinity are free from the material concept of religion, the Baba preached equality of all religions and unity of humankind. He declared himself as the avatar of Shirdi Sai Baba on May 23, 1940.
It was on these noble principles that the Baba had built the spiritual museum in the Prashanti Nilayam complex. The Museum of Eternal Heritage houses symbols, books, photographs and posters of holy sites
- some of them in 3D - of all the major religions in the world. Also called Sanathana Samskruti Museum, it promotes the message of the unity of all religions. The exhibits displayed highlight the main teachings of the major religions of the world as also the lives and teachings of great saints and spiritual masters.
The spiritual museum was so aesthetically designed that one gets a feeling of a real visit to the holy sites - be they that of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism or Sikhism. The serenity and
peace in the museum's environs further enhance the rare spiritual treat one experiences there. One can sit relaxed and recite verses from the Bhagwat Gita, the Quran, the Bible and the Guru Granth Sahib.
The Baba's teaching of "service above self" is witnessed in reality as one enters the Prashanti Nilayam. Senior officials, top businessmen and industrialists vie with one another to welcome visitors and to carry their
luggage to their allotted rooms. Baba's devotees make it a bounden duty to spend at least a week at Prashanti Nilayam serving visitors and other devotees. They keep aside the ego attached to their positions, cook food in the community kitchen, serve it in the sprawling dining hall, wash plates - all with a smiling "Sai Ram".
Right from his childhood, Sathyanarayana Raju or Sathya as the Baba was called, practised what he preached. Even as a young boy he enacted a play, "Cheppinattu Chesthara?" (do we practice what we
preach). It was an instant hit with the villagers then. As he grew up, he continued to attract devotees, with his teaching "love all serve all".
It is the plain truth in his teachings coupled with his simplicity that had made nearly three million people living in over 150 countries as his devotees. The Baba's spiritual empire now spreads over 13,000 institutions and charitable organisations including superspeciality hospitals, sports stadia, and schools. The list of his devotees reads like the who's who in every conceivable field from politics to science, and from entertainment to sports. There are more than 1000 books on the Baba.

Miracles of Prashanti Nilayam: Sri Sathya Sai Baba was ahead of time in assessing medical needs of people through superspeciality hospital

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: It was the summer of 1994. A technician in a blood bank in a small village was busy separating the blood components before storing them so that several patients could benefit from a single blood donation. Advanced medical technology had not yet caught up in the State. The corporate health culture had not fanned out of Hyderabad and many blood banks in the country had not even heard of the technology to separate blood components.
The village was Puttaparthi in the ever-parched district of Anantapur and the blood bank belonged to Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences. Right from its inception in early 1990s, the superspeciality hospital, a brain child of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, had been a trend-setter in providing the best of the medical facilities to the poorest of the poor.
"Did you visit the hospital? How are the facilities there?" the Baba asked a team of visiting journalists from Hyderabad. The media team had just finished visiting all the departments of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher
Medical Sciences and the Baba wanted to know whether facilities needed to be upgraded.
The medical vision of the Baba was far ahead of the times. Donated blood if separated into its components like plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, can be utilised for a number of patients depending on their need.
A patient may need just plasma and transfusing only plasma will help in saving other components, which can be utilised in other needy patients. Many hospitals have realised its importance many years after the Baba introduced the concept in Puttaparthi. When a small medical department like blood bank was so advanced 17 years ago, one could easily imagine the type of medical services patients would get in Puttaparthi hospital.
If the Puttaparthi hospital stands testimony to Sri Sathya Sai Baba's unique medical vision, the water supply scheme in Anantapur district speaks of his selfless service to a people, whose district is gradually turning into a desert. The drinking water scheme launched by the Baba remains as man's best answer to Nature's desertification process.
Sri Sathya Sai drinking water project is by far the largest-ever potable water scheme taken up by a non-governmental agency in the country. The scheme, with 750 km main trunk and 1550 km branch lines, covers nine lakh people in 750 villages. The water scheme checked migration of people during summer.
The Baba had also introduced the best of learning and teaching methods at his Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, which is now a deemed university. Thanks to the Baba's vision, a remote area like Puttaparthi could not have seen an advanced planetarium, an airport, a modern hospital and a

Wakf Amendment Bill 2010: All India Muslim Personal Law Board accuses Union Minister Salman Kursheed of conspiracy

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 24: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board on Sunday accused Union Minister for Water Resources and Minority Affairs Salman Kursheed of "conspiracy" in getting the Wakf
Amendment Bill 2010 passed in the Lok Sabha.
"Yes, we see a conspiracy behind the passage of the Wakf Bill in the Lok Sabha. The haste with which the Minister got the Bill passed in the lower house supports our conspiracy charge," AIMPLB official
spokesperson Abdul Raheem Qureshi told reporters here.
Briefing mediapersons on the two-day deliberations of the working committee meeting of the Board which concluded here on Sunday, Abdul Raheem Qureshi said there was no need to pass the Wakf Amendment Bill 2010 in haste, unless there was some conspiracy against the Muslim endowment in the country.
"Normally Bills are not taken up on Fridays in the Lok Sabha. The agenda listed was private members Bills. But the agenda was postponed to introduce the Wakf Bill. On Friday afternoon members are generally busy leaving for their constituencies. When the Bill was taken up for discussion Muslim members were away for Friday prayers. The minister rushed through the Bill and ensured that it was passed," he alleged.
He said the Bill needed certain changes related to spending revenue from Wakf properties and unregistered Wakf institutions. The revenue generated from Wakf institutions should be spent for purposes for
which they had been endowed by donors. The Bill facilitates anyone to lay claim on the unregistered Wakf properties. This provision should be deleted.
Asked about the legality of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Abdul Raheem Qureshi they need not secure government's recognition. "We are a private registered body. We have every right to take up
issues of the community," he pointed out.
Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi said the Wakf Bill had been referred to select committee by the Rajya Sabha with Saifuddin Soz as the chairperson.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Sesamum indicum: Gingelly/sesame lowers blood cholesterol

By Syed Akbar
Sesamum indicum or gingelly is one of the oldest herbs known to man. In fact, man started cultivating this herb almost 4500 years ago. Sesamum has been associated with a number of civilisations including the Egyptian, Middle Eastern, and Indus Valley. The medicinal properties of Sesamum have been exploited to their fullest in almost all systems of medicine. It is believed that the plant had its origin in Africa and then spread to various parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, China, and Indian sub-continent.
Sesamum is known to induce abortion if consumed in large quantities. It's better that pregnant women avoid using Sesamum in large quantities. Sesamum seed and leaves are used in medicinal preparations. Seeds can be used raw, roasted or in the form of oil extracted from them. Leaves are grounded to obtain paste and used for external applications.
The medicinal properties of Sesamum are many. But it is valued for its cholesterol lowering property. Other medicinal uses are treatment of piles, skin troubles including burns and wounds, loose motions, dandruff, low haemoglobin content in the blood (anaemia), rheumatoid arthritis and tooth decay. It also promotes hair growth and helps in keeping the hair black for a longer period. It can be used as a general health tonic.
Home Remedies
If you are bothered by dried ear was, you can get relief by pouring two or three drops of pure Sesamum oil into the ears. The wax gets softened and it can be removed easily.
Anaemia or low haemoglobin levels in the blood can be over come by regularly taking Sesamum seeds with a pinch of jaggery. Pregnant women should avoid Sesamum and jaggery as a precautionary measure.
Since it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, chewing a tablespoon of Sesamum seeds will help in keeping the stomach and digestive tract free of harmful organism, and keeps the skin glowing.
Since it is rich in vitamin E, Sesamum oil if gently massaged on the head helps in promotion of hair growth. It also fights dandruff. Take only a few drops of oil and massage on the scalp. Crushed leaves of Sesamum can also be applied.
Take Sesamum seeds, ground them into power, take a teaspoon of this powder, mix it with a little quantity of honey and consume it twice a day to keep the body in good health.
Decoction obtained from the leaves of Sesamum can be massaged on the head to prevent premature greying of hair.
A few drop of lime juice mixed with a few drops of Sesamum oil can be applied as natural ointment for relief from burns, and to beat dry skin.
Make Sesamum seed paste and mix it with butter. Consume it twice a day for relief from painful piles.

Latent Tuberculosis: Indian TB germ not aggressive, says expert

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 23: If the Lancet's recommendation on latent TB is to be implemented by the UK and other developed nations like the USA, every Indian, who wants to visit these countries, may have to undergo nine-month-long medication for latent TB.
According to bacteriologists, since 75 per cent of latent TB cases are difficult to be detected or likely to be mis-diagnosed, as a precautionary measure every Indian suspect would be made to consume latent TB medicines. This will put a heavy financial burden on individuals and create unnecessary resistance to TB, if the person does not carry latent TB germs. Moreover, even active TB germ in India is "shy" in the sense that it does not spread as aggressively as its counterparts in other countries.
"Suggesting that a person undergo tests for latent TB and putting him on medication is a gross violation of human rights. Unless you find the bacteria in the sputum or the lung damaged, you cannot ask him or her to take medication, which is highly toxic and cause harm to liver. Moreover, diagnosis and treatment of latent tuberculosis are both difficult and uneconomical," warns Dr Niyaz Ahmed, senior pathobiologist and Professor (adjunct), Institute of Life Sciences, University of Hyderabad.
Lancet's recommendation is easily said than implemented. A number of ethical and medical issues are involved in treating people with latent TB. According to Dr Niyaz Ahmed, the Monteux test based on skin reaction to mycobacterial protein components is seriously cross-reactive and could produce false positive and false 
negative results in case of 70 per cent of the Indians. Similar difficulties could be encountered with another test called Interferon-gamma test.
India has so far not experienced any institutionalised outbreak as against the famous fatal outbreaks of New York and Kwazulu Natal. That means the Indian strains are less aggressive and controllable. Indians enjoy a distinct natural protection from latent TB due to the facts that their genetic makeup is different, their strains are different and their immune system is already primed due to a saprophytic antigenic background and/or by 
Helicobacter infection.
The UK should therefore, not be worried for Indians. They should in fact be worried about the Pakistanis and Sri Lankans, who do not have the ancestral strains of TB bacteria (TbD1+) in their countries and could proceed to full blown TB more rapidly than Indians, he said.
Anti TB drugs are poisonous to liver in long course and low dosage or short course could select out drug resistant bacteria. Stating that it has become a fashion in the West to project India as a source of infection, he said the story is worst in case of countries that are dubiously known for their highly virulent multi-drug resistant and extremely drug resistant strains such as South Africa, Russia and the countries of the former USSR.
"In fact, the UK should happily give immigrant status to Indians because it is proved already that the Indian strains of Mycobacteria are of ancestral type (genotype TbD1+) and the treatment success rates of up to 95 per cent have been recorded under the DOTS program. These strains are theorised as ‘shy’ in terms of dissemination as compared to some of the very aggressive genotypes such as Beijing, Africa and Haarlem," Dr Niyaz Ahmed said.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sri Sathya Sai Baba passes away; leaves the mortal remains at 7.40 am in Puttaparthi

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 24: Spiritual leader Sri Sathya Sai Baba has passed away at Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, where he was hospitalised for 27 days.

According to Sri Sathya Sai Trust, the Baba passed away at 7.40 am. The body will be kept in state at Sai Kulwant hall in Prashanti Nilayam, the abode of the Baba, for two days for lakhs of his devotees to pay homage.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba was hospitalised on March 28 following problems related to heart and respiration. All efforts of doctors to revive Baba failed.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba stood for unity of all religions and his service extends to millions of people. Among notable charitable works undertaken by the trust include drinking water supply to parched villages in Andhra Pradesh, free superspeciality medical facilities to the poor and top class education.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Guru Sangamam: Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev to float confederation of spiritual movements to check bogus babas, swamis and gurus

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, April 21: Spiritual bodies in the country will soon be governed by a set of ethical guidelines to check proliferation of fake spiritual gurus, swamijis, and babas.
As many as 350 spiritual organisations in the country have agreed to follow ethical guidelines proposed by eminent yogi and mystic Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev. The move is aimed at preventing fake spiritual leaders from cheating gullible devotees.
"We are setting up an umbrella organisation for all spiritual bodies in the country. The Guru Sangamam will serve as a confederation of spiritual organisations. Those fulfilling the strict criteria of meeting ethical guidelines of Guru Sangamam will be eligible to become members of the confederation. Devotees will be able to know whether a particular spiritual organisation is genuine or bogus," Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev said.
The Sadguru was in the city to meet some of his devotees. He told this correspondent that spiritual gurus will meet at regular intervals. One such meeting was held in New Delhi where the proposal to set up a confederation of spiritual organisations or Guru Sangamam was discussed at length. He said 350 and odd spiritual bodies in the country have qualified to be the members of Guru Sangamam.
Stating that India is a "gateway of spirituality", he said about four lakh people search internet everyday for the word, "spirituality". "Unfortunately, the search results they get are mostly of bogus spiritual organisations. We want the world to look at India for spirituality and spiritual solace. Once the confederation of spiritual movements is fully set up, we will ensure that there's no place for bogus bodies. They will simply stand exposed," Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev said.
He said his organisation, Isha Foundation, has taken up spiritual movement to as many as 60,000 villages in Tamil Nadu. "We have named the movement, `one drop of spirituality in every person'. Spirituality has no religion," he said.

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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