Sunday, 31 July 2011
Thursday, 28 July 2011
Now Prableen’s blog about Friday’s massacre has become an Internet sensation. “I had a guardian angel,” writes Prableen, vice chairperson of the Oslo division the Norwegian Labour Party’s youth wing. Hundreds have posted messages comforting her.
On Sunday, Prableen and her family — father Malkeet Singh, a cab driver from Patiala, mother, brother and sister — offered prayers at the local Gurdwara in Oslo. The teenager is at home now, recovering from the nightmare, her father told HT.
In a country that is home to some 5,000 Sikhs, a second Indian-origin teenager, Pratap Singh, 15, also survived the massacre.
When a bomb exploded at the Labour party office in Oslo, killing seven people, Prableen wrote in her blog, “We comforted one another that we were safe on an island. No-one knew that hell would break out among us as well.”
Then shots ran out in Utoeya. “I saw him shoot. Everyone began to run. The first thought was, ‘Why is the police shooting at us? What the hell?!’”
The teenagers ran into a room as Breivik continued to shoot and jumped out of a window. She spotted her best friend through the window but couldn’t get to him. She “saw the fear in his eyes.”
They ran into the woods, stopping only to help the injured as they made their way down to the lake Tyrifjorden that surrounds the island, 40 km from Oslo. Crouching behind a brick wall along with others, she prayed, cried and called her family and friends from her mobile phone.
“A man came. ‘I am from the police’.” Someone shouted back that he had to prove it, and the killer started to shoot. “He reloaded. Shot more. He shot those around me. I remained lying. I thought: ‘Now it is over. He is here.”
Prableen lay there for an hour, buried under dead bodies.
Then she ran for the lake and, tearing off her jumper, began to swim, heading for a rubber boat several children were clinging on to.
She became so tired she turned on her back, using only her feet to paddle.
Rescued by police, the children were taken to a hotel, where she was reunited with her best friend.
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
Sunday, 24 July 2011
"I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar Rivers. And there, where
they were living, I sat among them for seven days - overwhelmed."
- Ezekiel 3:15
After a recent speaking engagement, a mentally handicapped man who was wearing thick
glasses and baggy trousers trotted up and gave me a big hug. We talked as he stood
next to me, twisting his necktie with his finger. I asked about his church and his
friends. Out of nowhere, he smiled, stuck out his chest and said, "Ezekiel 3:15...
that's what I like about my friends!"
It seemed a strange thing to say, so I asked him what is so special about the verse.
He proudly quoted it:
"I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar Rivers. And there, where
they were living, I sat among them for seven days - overwhelmed" (Ezekiel 3:15).
I gave him a strange look. He explained, "Don't you get it? 'I sat among them.'
And, wow, for seven days!"
A light dawned. "O-o-o-o-h," I said. "I get it. You are pleased that your friends
sit with you and get down on your level, right? And they try to see things from
your perspective, the way you see them." He nodded enthusiastically and went on
to remind me that the captives in Ezekiel's time must have really appreciated friends
who would sit down with them seven whole days. That was a long time to be feeling
someone else's hurts.
As that mentally handicapped man walked away, I gained a new appreciation for how
much the smallest of verses can help. Who would have dreamed that Ezekiel 3:15 would
have anything to do with instructing friends on the fine art of compassion and empathy.
Lord, help me to get down on the level of those who hurt today. Help me to show
a little empathy for those in need. You did it... Ezekiel did it... the friends
of that handicapped man do it every day. And I can do it, too.
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Just like eating pizza with a tandoori chicken topping, post modernism offers a mish mash mix of all kinds of philosophies served in a viable and attractive form, just take what suits you and leave the rest sort of format. Here east meets west and creates a new color or genre which is almost foreign to the east where the thinking or philosophy might have originated.
Take for example the post modern yoga which is being marketed to the West by techno and business savvy gurus.It is very different from the classic yoga as it is known in India. And so it is with the other religions and philosophies being exported for western consumption.
Noted Indian philosopher, author and speaker of International acclaim, Vishal Mangalwadi , discusses some of these topics . I will share some of his short videos.
I am reading his book called The book that Changed Your World (see side bar).
Sunday, 17 July 2011
My boast is in the Lord. He helped me overcome the unpleasant conflict I wrote about in my last post.
I could not sleep that night and spent time reading Scripture verses and praying, in which I found solace. Past midnight I emailed a friend and received a comforting reply from her. In times like these one is in need of just one person who says they understand what you are going through.
Jesus is our Wonderful Counsellor. He is our Prince of Peace. This I experienced in those troublesome hours.
The next morning my devotional from Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby was written just for me. I want to share it with you
He Is at Your Right Hand
Daily Devotional for Friday, July 15th, 2011
I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8
What does it mean to set the Lord always before you? It means that you choose to relate everything you encounter to your trust in God. What you choose to focus on becomes the dominant influence in your life. You may be a Christian, but if your focus is always on your problems, your problems will determine the direction of your life. If your focus is on people, then people will determine what you think and do. In biblical times, the right hand was the most distinguished position, reserved for one’s chief adviser and supporter. When you choose to focus on Christ, you invite Him to take the most important position in your life as Counselor and Defender. Every time you face a new experience, you should turn to Christ for His interpretation and strength. When people insult you and mistreat you, you should seek direction from your Counselor regarding the right response. When you face a crisis, you should receive strength from the One at your right hand. When you experience need, you should consult your Counselor before you react. When you face a fearful situation, you should take courage from the Advocate at your right hand. Everything you do is in the context of your relationship to Christ. What an incredible act of God’s grace that Christ should stand beside you to guide you and counsel you and defend you! How could you ever become dismayed over your situation with Christ at your right hand? What confidence this should give you!
Thursday, 14 July 2011
We are living in a very violent world. Hatred, like garbage is strewn across the earth invading our lives and consciousness with its stench and disruption.
I awoke to news of different kinds of violence.
Three serial bomb blasts in Mumbai , yesterday July 13th and a news report of an innocent Pastor and his wife being beaten up and persecuted for the sake of Christ, in the western part of my state.
In the evening I had to stand up to verbal resistance from Jags who is our church helper. He is a good man but suffers bad moods . I try to overlook this as he does a lot of good.
All this disturbed me quite a bit but along came Milka (Pastor 's daughter) who wanted my help with her English assignments, letter writing and a news report. That eased my mind.
She told me something which really amused me. Two days ago I helped her with another English assignment. Her teacher was so pleased with it that she dictated it to the entire class to note down. Har-har!
Coming back to what I was writing about .The devil is not at rest my friends. He is assaulting the earth in many forms be it terrorism, angry blood thirsty mobs or a subordinate whom you have to deal with everyday.
The Bible gives a very accurate account to today' s world .
1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money,proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3;1-5
Read these 2 news reports. The first one is from the BBC
Three near-simultaneous explosions have shaken India's commercial capital
Mumbai (Bombay), police say,
Police sources were reported as saying the explosions were caused by home-made bombs.
At the scene
BBC News, Mumbai
The blast here was not powerful. Police have said the explosion in Zaveri Bazaar was stronger.
Police say the timing of the blast - 1900 - is significant. This was the height of the evening rush hour - it was designed to cause maximum panic and casualties.
One person asked why Mumbai is always the target of attacks.
However, many of the people gathered here now are merely onlookers curious to see what has happened. People have come from nearby areas to see what is going on.
There is no evidence of real panic here
But in other parts of the city, the story is grimmer. There is panic and people are rushing back home.
Anger and curiosity in Mumbai
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh denounced the bombings and appealed to Mumbai residents "to remain calm and show a united face".
US President Barack Obama strongly condemned the "outrageous" attacks, and offered "support to India's efforts to bring the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to justice".
The latest explosions hit the city as workers were making their way home.
The first struck the Zaveri Bazaar at 1854 (1324 GMT), tearing through the famed jewellery market, according to police. A minute later, a second blast hit the busy business district of Opera House, in the south of the city. At 1905, the third bomb exploded in the Dadar area of central Mumbai.
Because the explosions occurred within minutes of each other, "we infer that this was a co-ordinated attack by terrorists", Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters.
Mumbai had been put on a state of high alert and a commando team was standing by, he said. Delhi, the capital, Calcutta and several other cities have also been put on alert.
Forensics teams have been sent from Delhi and Hyderabad to examine the explosion sites.
The majority of Mumbai's people live in slums, and millions live on the streets. This cannot make for a very happy place and the city's 'resilient spirit' has now become the cruellest Indian cliche
BBC News, Delhi
The authorities have not yet said who they believe might be behind the explosions and no group has said it carried them out.
In Zaveri Bazaar, witnesses described a motorcycle exploding next to a jewellery shop. Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik said a bomb had been left in an abandoned umbrella.
Photographer Rutavi Mehta told the BBC he was shopping nearby and heard the explosion. He grabbed his camera and ran to the scene.
"I took a couple of photographs. I think they might be too graphic for broadcast," he said.
"Bodies and limbs were strewn everywhere. People were crying and screaming. The area was packed with shoppers at the time of the blast. A few offered assistance to the blood-soaked victims, while others looked on in a state of shock," he said.
"It was totally chaos. There were pools of blood everywhere."
The second and most powerful blast was in the nearby Opera House district. Local media said it was planted inside the two-storey Prasad Chamber building.
Mumbai has been targeted many times in recent years, most notably in 2008 In the central Dadar district, the bomb tore apart a taxi that was parked next to a bus stop, witnesses told the BBC. It was unclear whether the explosives were planted inside the vehicle or in a nearby electricity meter box.
"I heard a loud explosion. And then I saw people with serious injuries lying in pools of blood," another person told the Times of India.
An unexploded bomb was also reportedly been found in Dadar.
The choice of locations makes it clear that the blasts were intended to cause maximum casualties, says the BBC's Soutik Biswas in Delhi.
But footage of one of the blast sites - a ripped-off cover of a bus shelter and a car with its glass shattered - points to a medium-level and possibly crude explosion, adds our correspondent.
According to some reports, the blasts came on the birthday of Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, the sole surviving gunman from the 2008 attacks. But court records show his birthday to be in September.
Those attacks, which targeted two high-end hotels, a busy train station, a Jewish centre and other sites frequented by foreigners, were blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group.
Pakistan was quick to condemn the latest explosions, in a statement issued by the foreign ministry.
Peace talks between Pakistan and India have only recently resumed since they were broken off after the 2008 attacks.
Mumbai has been targeted many times in recent years.
As well as the 2008 attacks, co-ordinated blasts on seven of the city's trains on 11 July 2006 caused massive loss of life. More than 180 people were killed and hundreds wounded in those bombings, which were blamed on Islamist militants.
The city suffered four bomb attacks during 2003, including twin blasts on 25 August 2003 which killed 52 people.
In 1993, 257 people were killed and 700 injured in a series of 12 bomb blasts across the city. The attacks were allegedly ordered by the Muslim-dominated underworld in retaliation for Hindu-Muslim riots.
July 13, 2011:
Pastor, Wife Beaten in Uttar Pradesh
On 3 July, an angry mob accused Pastor John C.V Samuel from Assembly of
God's Church (AGC) of forceful conversion, beat him up and his wife in
Manpuri, Uttar Pradesh
The incident took place when Pastor Samuel, his wife and some believers went
to attend the burial service of Anil Saxena, who attended Pastor Samuel's
church for the past two years. Saxena committed suicide on Saturday night
after he had an argument with his father, reported our correspondent.
The angry mob suddenly rushed on the pastor and his wife, mercilessly beat
them up and falsely accused them of forceful conversion and of being the
cause of Saxena's death.
Saxena's wife intervened and told the mob that they went to the church by
their own free will and nobody has forced them.
The pastor's wife called the police by phone. The police arrived at the
scene and rescued the couple from the angry mob and took them to the
Pushpanjali Hospital, Agra where they were admitted.
Area Christian leaders submitted a police complaint but no actions have been
taken at press time.
Kindly pray for Pastor Samuel and his family and for peace in the area
An Appeal to write to Authorities
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
I saw this video featuring street food in the old and very congested part of my city (Allahabad) I come here sometimes to buy spices and groceries. These two guys from the TV show, Highway On My Platter are travelling all over India exploring all kinds of eating places from roadside dhabas (kiosks) to moderately priced restaurants. They have published a very delectable book by the same name which I wish to buy.
This is the famous Loke-Nath street.
Today' s newspaper tells me that eating hot spicy curries can help one lose weight. Scientists say that cayenne pepper, the key ingredient in hot curries raises body temperature which helps burn calories (Daily Express). They also found that appetite levels decreased in subsequent meals.
Well , I like a hot green chili or two with my food.
Hope that helps me shed a few pounds.
But too much spicy and hot food can give you stomach ulcers , moderation should be exercised.
We' ve had rain showers now and then with stretches of hot and humid days.
Our garden and church campus is sprouting wild grass and shrubs. Its a struggle to keep it clean and under control.
Sin and short comings sprout up in our hearts and we have to spot them and root them out before they take root.
We have a promise in the BIBLE
For sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law but under grace.
Sunday, 10 July 2011
Because YOU Prayed
BECAUSE YOU PRAYED...
God touched our weary bodies with His power
And gave us strength for many a trying hour
In which we might have faltered ,had not you,
Our intercessors faithful been and true.
BECAUSE YOU PRAYED...
God touched our eager fingers with skill,
Enabling us to do His blessed will.
With scalpel,suture, bandage;better still
He healed the sick,the wounded, cured the ill.
BECAUSE YOU PRAYED...
God touched our lips with coal from altar fire,
Gave Spirit fullness,and did so inspire,
That when we spoke , sin blinded souls did see;
Sins chains were broken,captives were made free.
BECAUSE YOU PRAYED...
The "dwellers in the dark" have found the Light
The glad Good News has banished heathen night.
The message of the cross so long delayed
Has brought them life at last- because you prayed.
Such a beautiful poem from an old Back to the Bible publication I rediscovered. Don' t underestimate the power and reach of prayer.
Saturday morning my Dad 's colleague and friend, Mr Panday dropped by after ages. He 78 years old and doesn' t get around too much because of arthritris. He is a Hindu man but never forgets to phone at Christmas and New Years. When my phone number changed , he could not contact us and I didn' t have his number too. Now we have exchanged numbers so we can call up once in a while. We had a good time recalling old times, catching up on news and just chatting.
After Panday Uncle left a group of 4 young people came. Ameeta and her husband work at the Christian University and Benalin and Barun are missionaries among collge students. Aunt Maya is my Mom 's widowed sister in law. She had to vacate her rented apartment.
Her son and daughter' s homes are too small and their life style too busy so she has requested if she can stay with us till she finds a suitable place for herself. I have already stored some of her stuff in my storeroom. The type of housing she is looking for is cheap and close to her son and daughter ( both married with families) because she has many medical problems and illnesses.
I could not turn down her request because she says she feels more free and relaxed in our home than anywhere else. We embrace her with the love of Christ. Although having another ailing person in the house is not easy for me.
But I want to continue our family tradition of opening our humble home as a haven and oasis for whoever needs it. Do pray for us.
Coming back to our weekend visitors.
Today while I was in church I got news that my friend Poonam had arrived by train from another city. She comes occasionally on weekends for a business meeting. I came home home to find she had already showered and had a cold drink. She didn 't want breakfast as she was in a hurry for her appointment and then catch a train back, although I saved lunch for her.
Just as we started making lunch ( a paneer -cottage cheese curry and lentil and rice) when family came by. Thomas is a professor at the Christian Univeristy and Annie is a housewife at the moment. It was so good to see them . I was specially over joyed when Annie remarked that she noticed I ha d lost quite a bit of weight since she last saw me in March....about 6 or 7 kigs or 12 to 14 pounds. That 's a huge compliment for me. I am working on losing more weight.
They told us that their church is interested in renting our church hall for their services. Sounds good to us and we will be working on that.
A lot more happened but these are the highlights.
Friday, 8 July 2011
I found these photos on the Amusing Planet website.
Can you identify who they are?
I think I can guess the first one. I can sniff Lady Gaga and Che Guevara in there,or maybe a royal face or two.
In today 's Hindustan Times newspaper I read an article about an Indian film maker called Mani Kaul. He has been described as an iconoclastic, uncompromising, individualistic filmmaker. He was not found in the glitzy world of Bollywood.
He said (the newspaper quotes)
“A new thought — that is the purpose of my films,” he said. “If the film is to show you something that is already known, not only by the filmmaker but also by the audience, where will it lead us?” Television for him was anathema. “The world we are exposed to on television is killing the capacity of wanting to understand. It feeds you… as if you have no capacity for chewing … What food is to the stomach, thought is to the mind.” What would he have to say about the world today and the information overload that leaves no time for boredom, boredom out of which imagination takes wing?
The electronic entertainment is dulling our senses and whitewashing our imagination. I want enough boredom to fire my imagination.
We have crossed the mid way point of 2011
A good time to review the past and pray an d plan for the future.
We may look back with anger, regret and sorrow.
Or satisfaction, joy and nostalgia.
Whatever it is remember God is in control no matter how careless and disorganized the course of life may appear to be.
There is a short prayer in the Bible which says,
"Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90;12
I always wondered what is the need to number or count our days. And why do we need God 's help for that. I found the answer.
We need to know the course , life is taking us through , and accept the seasons of life, and also appreciate the changing colors of life. This can be only done by wisdom from above.
This reminds me of a telephonic conversation my brother in law Prem had ,a few years ago with a relative who is younger than him.
The 30 something man finding himself brimming with vitality and the exilir of youth asked Prem his age. Prem said he was in his early 40s.
"Oh",said the ticklish thirties,' Your days are numbered. You must be growing bald and weak and your eye sight must be dimming, and your teeth falling out?"
No sir , he was not joking this Benjamin Button in the making.
But we all had a good laugh at him after Prem put the phone down.
After a few years later Mr Benjamin Button suffered a slipped disc from which he has never recovered fully. He was bed ridden for a long time and his poor wife had to nurse him like a child. He also turned his back to God and his family suffered immensely.
Whereas my brother Prem, never had any major health problem. He has progressed in his job and career and is greatly loved by all who know him. People see Christ in him.
So, self assurance, arrogance and smugness did not lead this man anywhere.
You may be surprised but there are people like that
in our world today.
Vegetable prices have jumped up in the past few days. I have to number/count my pennies too. Ha-Ha!
Have a good weekend everyone.
Thursday, 7 July 2011
The answer lies in the social-religious world view of my countrymen. The century old traditions incarcerate women within the courtyard of the house.
The status of women improved with the advent of Christianity and western influence. This we owe to our colonists.
Crime against women is on the rise in my state of Uttar Pradesh. Women are feeling more and more insecure unsafe and vulnerable. It is worse for a single woman like me. The police had turned rogue in my state and many times they are the perpetrators of crimes against society. We are a very ill-governed state. God 's mercy is upon us.
Here are 2 stories from the news
STORY # 1
STORY # 2
Female foeticide, infanticide and human trafficking make India the world's 4th most dangerous country for women, with Afghanistan's violence and poverty taking it to the top spot, followed by Congo due to horrific levels of rape, a Thomson Reuters Foundation expert poll said on Wednesday.
Pakistan and Somalia ranked third and fifth, respectively, in the global survey of perceptions of threats ranging from domestic abuse and economic discrimination to female foeticide, genital mutilation and acid attacks.
"Ongoing conflict, NATO airstrikes and cultural practices combined make Afghanistan a very dangerous place for women," said Antonella Notari, head of Women Change Makers, a group that supports women social entrepreneurs around the world. "In addition, women who do attempt to speak out or take on public roles that challenge ingrained gender stereotypes of what's acceptable for women to do or not, such as working as policewomen or news broadcasters, are often intimidated or killed."
The poll by TrustLaw (www.trust.org/trustlaw), a legal news service run by Thomson Reuters Foundation, marked the launch of its new TrustLaw Women section, a global hub of news and information on women's legal rights. TrustLaw asked 213 gender experts from five continents to rank countries by overall perceptions of danger as well as by six risks.
The risks were health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking.
Some experts said the poll showed that subtle dangers such as discrimination that don't grab headlines are sometimes just as significant risks for women as bombs, bullets, stonings and systematic rape in conflict zones. "I think you have to look at all the dangers to women, all the risks women and girls face," said Elisabeth Roesch, who works on gender-based violence for the International Rescue Committee in Washington.
"If a woman can't access healthcare because her healthcare isn't prioritised, that can be a very dangerous situation as well."
Afghanistan emerged as the most dangerous country for women overall and worst in three of the six risk categories: health, non-sexual violence and lack of access to economic resources. Respondents cited sky-high maternal mortality rates, limited access to doctors and a near total lack of economic rights.
Afghan women have a one in 11 chance of dying in childbirth, according to UNICEF.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), still reeling from a 1998-2003 war and accompanying humanitarian disaster that killed 5.4 million people, came second mainly due to staggering levels of sexual violence in the lawless east. More than 400,000 women are raped in the country each year, according to a recent study by US researchers.
The United Nations has called Congo the rape capital of the world. "Statistics from DRC are very revealing on this: ongoing war, use of rape as a weapon, recruitment of females as soldiers who are also used as sex slaves," said Clementina Cantoni, a Pakistan-based aid worker with ECHO, the European Commission's humanitarian aid department.
"The fact that the government is corrupt and that female rights are very low on the agenda means that there is little or no recourse to justice." Rights activists say militia groups and soldiers target all ages, including girls as young as three and elderly women. They are gang-raped, raped with bayonets and have guns shot into their vaginas.
Pakistan ranked third largely on the basis of cultural, tribal and religious practices harmful to women. These include acid attacks, child and forced marriage and punishment or retribution by stoning or other physical abuse. "Pakistan has some of the highest rates of dowry murder, so-called honour killings and early marriage," said Divya Bajpai, reproductive health advisor at the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.
Some 1,000 women and girls die in honour killings annually, according to Pakistan's Human Rights Commission.
India ranked fourth primarily due to female foeticide, infanticide and human trafficking. In 2009, India's then home secretary Madhukar Gupta estimated that 100 million people, mostly women and girls, were involved in trafficking in India that year.
"The practice is common but lucrative so it goes untouched by government and police," said Cristi Hegranes, founder of the Global Press institute, which trains women in developing countries to be journalists.
India's Central Bureau of Investigation estimated that in 2009 about 90% of trafficking took place within the country and that there were some 3 million prostitutes, of which about 40% were children.
In addition to sex slavery, other forms of trafficking include forced labour and forced marriage, according to a US State Department report on trafficking in 2010. The report also found slow progress in criminal prosecutions of traffickers.
Up to 50 million girls are thought to be "missing" over the past century due to female infanticide and foeticide, the UN Population Fund says. Some experts said the world's largest democracy was relatively forthcoming about describing its problems, possibly casting it in a darker light than if other countries were equally transparent about trafficking.
Somalia ranked fifth due to a catalogue of dangers including high maternal mortality, rape and female genital mutilation, along with limited access to education, healthcare and economic resources.
"I'm completely surprised because I thought Somalia would be first on the list, not fifth," Somali women's minister Maryan Qasim told TrustLaw. "The most dangerous thing a woman in Somalia can do is to become pregnant. When a woman becomes pregnant her life is 50-50 because there is no antenatal care at all. There are no hospitals, no healthcare, no nothing."
"Add to that the rape cases that happen on a daily basis, the female genital mutilation that is being done to every single girl in Somalia. Add to that the famine and the drought. Add to that the fighting (which means) you can die any minute, any day."
Poll respondents included aid professionals, academics, health workers, policymakers, journalists and development specialists.