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Indian author moots confederation to settle Kashmir issue

Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday released a book that calls for a confederation of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh but without undoing the partition as the only way to address poverty and resolve the Kashmir dispute.

“Regional cooperation with a focus on human security problems, on movement of people and on trade without unreasonable restrictions” was the need of the hour, Mr Ansari said at a function in Mumbai, apparently agreeing with the book’s argument.

“The common traits in cultural traditions and historical narratives need to be transmitted to younger generation through conscious promotion rather than prevention of cultural exchanges, films, and other cultural activities,” Mr Ansari said in his appeal to the governments and civil societies in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Mr Ansari made these comments while releasing August Voices, a new book by Indian peace activist Sudheendra Kulkarni, which calls for an India-Pakistan-Bangladesh confederation. Read more

Source: DAWN

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A book launch gone wrong: Indian activist Sudheendra Kulkarni hit by Shiv Sena ink attack

384580-pti-sudheendra-kulkarni-ink-attack-edFar-right Hindu nationalists in Mumbai have doused the head of an Indian think-tank in black ink in protest at the launch of a book by a former Pakistani foreign minister.

The Shiv Sena party said the ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni was a form of “peaceful protest” against Pakistan.

The party later cancelled a planned protest at the launch of Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book amid an outcry.

Mr Kulkarni called the incident “an attack on democracy”

He was later admitted to hospital to have the ink removed.

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Finding Gandhi in cyberspace

IN 1972, philosopher Hubert Dreyfus published a manifesto at a time when researchers were proposing a theory for general problem solving and automatic machine translations. This manifesto brought into question the inherent inability of disembodied machines to mimic higher mental functions because it was based on what the philosopher called a naïve and philosophically untrained conception of mental functions. The nature of research in Artificial Intelligence has undergone paradigmatic changes in the past four decades, and still it is prudent to remember Dreyfus’ warning in What Computers Still Can’t Do.

Sudheendra Kulkarni’s tome on Gandhi’s manifesto for the Internet Age is not informed by either the anxieties of Dreyfus or the teachings of the great historian and sociologist of the age of information, Manuel Castells. But, maybe that is not his burden. Kulkarni’s quest is not to recast the Internet in the presumed image of Gandhi. His attempt, mercifully, is also not to force-fit Gandhi as an advocate of the new commons of the Internet. Neither is he asking the simplistic question: “Is Gandhi relevant in the age of Internet?” Although, it is possible to read this doorstop of a book in all the three ways; indeed, many of those whose testimonials have been printed in the book have read it in one of these ways. But such a reading is unfair to the book.

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G@ndhi’s Web

The history of human evolution is, in some defining ways, the history of man-machine relationship. It is captured, partly though not fully, by the evolution of the tools—technologies in the current idiom—that man has invented to satisfy his material, socio-political, knowledge-seeking, cultural, artistic and spiritual needs. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution in Europe in the 18th century came a time when the man-machine relationship underwent a dramatic transformation, at once liberative and lethal. Breathtaking advances began to be made in science, creating products that quickened and broadened social change. However, they also violently altered the political map of the world. This is because machines, including war machines, became tools in the hands of colonisers, exploiters, plunderers and empire-builders. Traditional societies in Asia, Africa and America, which had created diverse and priceless intellectual, cultural and wisdom traditions of their own, were robbed of their freedom, resources and livelihoods. Worse, the colonisers claimed that they had a divine mandate to modernise and civilise the enslaved peoples.

Enter Mahatma Gandhi. The leader of a national liberation struggle the like of whom history has never produced. There are many unique aspects of the man, his message and the method he evolved to challenge the mightiest empire of his time, and these have been illuminatingly explored in thousands of books. His lifelong and uncompromising commitment to truth (satya) and non-violence (ahimsa), and his heroic campaign for inter-faith harmony culminating in his martyrdom, have inspired the entire world. Thinking people everywhere acknowledge his greatness and believe his message to be relevant both today and tomorrow.

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