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Thimphu was choosed as the capital of Bhutan in 1952

Tshering Tashi

“The favourable aspects of a site in Thimphu valley have made it eminently suitable for the capital.” A recently discovered report titled, “New Capital for Bhutan in the Thimphu Valley,” dated April 1963, reasons why Thimphu was eminently suitable as the new capital of Bhutan.

The first reason was that Thimphu was suitable for round-the-year living. It was also found that the practice of shifting the capital from Thimphu to Punakha during the winter was found expensive for the state. Although the report does not state, it implies that by moving the capital permanently to Thimphu, the state would be absolved of this financial burden. 

Secondly, the proposed site for the capital adjoins the Tashichhodzong and it would be in the proximity of His Majesty’s Palace. In the life of the Bhutanese, these two institutions are of great significance.

Thirdly, Thimphu had the land required for housing a population of 12,000 to 20,000. Fourthly, Thimphu could be reached in about 10 to 15 hours from the Indian airstrip of Hasimara. This factor was considered of great consequence in a country where access in the mountainous terrain was hazardous, time consuming and expensive. 

Fifthly as the site of the capital, Thimphu could maintain effective control on movement in the highways from the north as well as from the South.  

Sixthly, the physical features of Thimphu made it scenic and impressive. Located at an altitude of 8,000 ft. and in between two sub-Himalayan ranges rising sharply to about 12,000 ft., Thimphu provided a good aspect for the capital. Lastly, Thimphu commanded a perennial source of water supply. The terrain was found suitable for good drainage and sewage disposal systems.

The Report

The neatly typed seven-page report has been classified under four broad categories. The categories are;  Preliminary Framework of the capital, Social Base, Economic Base and fourthly the Plan. Under each broad category there are subsections. For example under the first category, the subheadings are, “ Need for a governmental centre, the Site and Scope of Planning. Given the significance of the historical data extracts of the report are being reproduced.  

The Contents 

Under the first broad heading of Preliminary framework of the capital, the need for a governmental centre is justified as “ the opening of the 120 mile highway from Phuntsholing to the Thimphu valley and beyond augurs an era of a development and progress in Bhutan. Activities of varied nature will spring up a consequence of the inter-communication made possible by the highway. It is appropriate that a governmental centre, from which the nation building activities can be conceived, directed, co-ordinated and controlled, be established and developed.”

In the scope of planning, the report states that, “the planning of a township of the size envisaged in a country such as Bhutan, presents problems of adaptation common to all places where such work is being done for the first time. Such problems as arises need to be solved during the first five-year development. The resources of the country have to be harnessed and geared to this end. This work itself will be the  bulk of the programme for the first five years. The growth of the township immediately after this period will be faster. It is possible for the capital to reach the planned size in about 15 years on the whole. A comprehensive plan for 15 years has been envisaged.”

Point 2.1 is classified as Population and its characteristics; “ In the absence of Census data, population estimates can be made only approximately, based on the employment potential of the community. An estimate of the total employment generated in the capital at Thimphu is worked out in paragraph three. It is assumed that the family size will continue to be between three and four persons. Adjustments for factors such as average life expectation, fertility rate, infant mortality, etc., are made on the basis of available information. The estimate of population is as follows:

1967, 5,000 persons, 1972, 7,000 persons, 1977, 10,000-12,000 persons may achieve a high figure of 20,000.”

The report states that the housing policy for the capital must include the provisions to be made by the various departments of the government to house their staff, the extent to which private housing will come up in the capital and also on the clusters to which the Bhutanese workers would like to move in the capital. Adaptations of the prevalent building techniques in rubble, rammed earth and timber will have to be evolved. The resources for putting up a large number of buildings need to be studied. 

To realise the housing facilities demanded, the report assumes that Bhutanese who move to the new capital will continue to build on developed land made available to them. The houses would be similar to or a little improved versions over the traditional adobe houses. It is expected of the government to build houses for their employees on a scale determined by the number of institutions set up in the new capital.

The report states that the extent of development of Thimphu town will span over an area of 700 acres. However, only 400 acres will be used for the development of the town and the balance of 300 acres will be used for agricultural purposes. 

The report proposes to keep a provision for an orchard or alternatively a plantation. The designated area would be north of the Tashichhodzong and cover an area of 20-25 acres. It will also have an agricultural experimental station with a piggery and poultry.

The consultants estimate the rate of development of Thimphu as Rs. 8,000 per acre. The town plan is based on the population estimate of 12,000 with a maximum projection of 20,000 people living in the capital city. The city dwellers were categorised in five income groups starting from those earning Rs. 300 per month to 1,200 per month. Subsistence farmers are also included in the category.  

The report proposes to have a police force of 50 personnel, a school with enrolment of 300-400 and ultimately 600 students. At that time, there was already a hospital and the report recommends adding a T.B Ward to the hospital. 

The April report has a list of maps. Out of the 11 maps, only three were attached to the report; Housing Layout, Road Hierarchy and the Design Report for the Water Supply & Drainage Scheme of the City at Thimphu Valley-Bhutan. The missing eight maps are, Comprehensive Plan 1962-77, Plan for the first stage, Housing Sector D, Housing Sector C, House Design, Perspective of Cluster, Industrial District, Plot and Building Analysis and lastly the Road Hierarchy. 

One of the first documents reflecting the intentions of His Late Majesty to make Thimphu the capital is reflected in a letter dated 3 June 1962. While details are not available, apparently, the Royal Government of Bhutan wrote the letter to the Director of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur to review the terms of contract. 

The outcome of the letter was the first town plan meeting held in Phuntsholing. The meeting was held on 9 August. The Bhutanese delegation was led by Dasho Lhendup Dorji and consisted of Rai Bahadur T.D. Densapa, Sri M.S Nair and Sri O.P Mathur. The two Indian professors, Prof. R.K. Dhar and A. Subbakrishniah from the Indian Institute of Technology travelled from Kharagpur to Phuntsholing to present the preliminary plan in the form of 22 points. Nine months later, in April 1963, the seven-page report, “New Capital for Bhutan in the Thimphu Valley,” was drafted.  

The process of shifting the capital to Thimphu started much earlier. In 1952, His Majesty the Second Druk Gyalpo passed away and his dying wish was for his son to move the capital from Bumthang to Thimphu. After completing all the funeral rites His Late Majesty the Third Druk Gyalpo and Her Majesty Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck moved to Paro and embarked on setting up Thimphu as the new capital of Bhutan.



Naga Rebel’s Son and His Wife Arrested for Posing With Assault Rifles at Their Wedding, Released on Bail

  • In Wedding Pics, Nagaland Rebel Leader’s Son, Bride Pose With Assault Rifles

Dimapur: Nagaland Police on Wednesday arrested the couple who posed with automatic assault rifles at their wedding reception in this commercial town of Nagaland. The couple was released on bail bond later.

Two National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Unification (NSCN-U) militants — Ato Sumi and Mughaho — and the bodyguards of the home minister of the NSCN-U, Bohoto Kiba, were also arrested for giving their assault rifles to the couple, a police officer said.

The photographs and a video of the son of Bohoto Kiba and the bride brandishing assault rifles — M4 and AK 56 — at their wedding reception had gone viral on the social media.

“We have arrested the couple and two NSCN-U militants in connection with a suo moto case registered in Diphupar police station for displaying firearms at a wedding reception,” a police officer told IANS.

The couple got married on November 9 at the 5th Mile in Dimapur.

“We have recorded the statements of the couple. They said that the bodyguards of their father handed them the weapons (for photography) at the reception,” he said.

The police have seized the weapons and a case has been registered under the Arms Act, 1959.

Kiba is a powerful Naga rebel leader, who had courted controversy by threatening journalists in Nagaland in 2012. The top militant leader had threatened to shoot the members of the press.

The NSCN-U was formed by breakaway leaders of the Socialist Council of Nagalim-Isak-Muivah and the Myanmar-based Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang.

The NSCN-U faction is also one of the seven Naga groups holding peace talks with the government.


Between Oolong and Darjeeling

by Simon Winchester | NYT

I had initially thought the book might be little more than an extended advertisement for Ms Lovell’s business. But then I found myself quite caught up in her infectious enthusiasm

Simon Winchester | NYT

It was in Calcutta, 40 years ago, a steaming hot Friday monsoon morning, and I had come down from my newspaper’s office in Delhi to write about the industrial tea trade. I was at the headquarters of Macneill and Magor, a tea giant of the time, whose red brick godowns lined the banks of the Hooghly River. I had a breakfast-time appointment with the company spokesman, a genial Anglo-Indian named Pearson Surita, a man possessed of an accent so plummy that on the side he did cricket commentaries for All-India Radio.

56GlenburnTeaEstatebungalow Brew and a view: A visitor at a Glenburn Tea Estate bungalow in Darjeeling.

The elevator creaked us up to the penthouse, with its fine view of the Maidan. Pearson sat me down by his desk, then promptly called the bearer and demanded two pink gins. But it wasn’t even 8 o’clock, I protested. “Don’t worry, old boy,” Pearson replied. “It’s Poets Day.” Puzzled, I sipped timidly at my gin while Pearson threw his down in one gulp, then called the departing bearer. Another two, he demanded. I yowled still more forcefully. It was early morning. Pink gin? “Don’t be silly,” he repeated. “It’s Poets Day.”

What poet? I ventured — Yeats? Auden? Tagore (who was, after all, a Bengali). “Damn fool,” Pearson said to me genially, though by now he had turned bright red and was sweating majestically. “Poets Day here in Calcutta. Stands for ‘Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday.’”

To Pearson, tea was merely a commodity, something that came in large chests, consisting in the main of dried black twigs, crushed by brass engine rollers after being picked in goodness knows how many dozens of estates far away in Assam and Meghalaya and Upper Burma, where the pickers lived in execrable conditions and were paid a pittance. And the customers at the other end: philistine Britons, mainly, who drank the stuff with sugar and milk and let it stew in the pot for hours. No, tea was just a job, and a job that paid nicely, though Pearson would rather have gin. He really didn’t care about tea.

But Henrietta Lovell most certainly does, and these days publicly decries those people, and those industries, whose cavalier attitude to this most divine of nectars and the Camellia strains from which it is made is, in her view, little short of sacrilege. So she is now on a holy mission to educate us all so that we can know the difference between a pu’er and an oolong, between a rooibos and a Darjeeling, and why it matters, greatly.

Ms Lovell is a hearty, galumphing Briton of good pedigree and even better connections who once worked in corporate finance in New York. But on a whim, 15 years ago, she chucked that career to start the Rare Tea Company in London and has since devoted her life to advancing the cause of leaf tea (and to denouncing that epitome of foulness known as the tea bag). More important, she busies herself promoting those farmers around the world who grow tea and tend to it with the care and compassion that so ancient and elemental a beverage deserves and rightly demands. Her visits over a decade and a half to these faraway rural geniuses are what Infused: Adventures in Tea is about.

I had initially thought the book might be little more than an extended advertisement for Ms Lovell’s business. But then I found myself quite caught up in her infectious enthusiasm as she ventured — twice defeating her own cancer, which tried in vain to slow her down — out into the world in search of the green tea hills in China, Japan and India, of course, but also in Malawi, Nepal and South Africa. On occasion, her style can be a little exhausting, with her bursts of Pete Wells-ian polychrome, but one can excuse her. This is a love letter, after all.

I read the book in one contented go on a flight from Sydney to Hong Kong, where I had a few hours’ wait before moving on to New York. Nowadays, it’s surprisingly tricky to find a good loose-tea store in Hong Kong’s vast Starbucksian airport. But it was a long layover and eventually I winkled out the shoe box of Fook Ming Tong, tucked away on an upper floor, and handed over a not insubstantial wad of folding money for a package of Lovell’s most highly recommended ambrosia: white silver tip tea from Fujian Province in southeastern China. Once home, I found myself a graduated-temperature electric kettle, as also suggested, heated fresh water to 75 degrees Celsius and infused three grams of the unprocessed leaves for 90 seconds flat. I then poured the pale and steaming liquid into two fine china cups and took them upstairs.

One careful sip, then two, then a bold draining — whereupon my wife and I declared this tea to be quite sublime, perfect, entirely unlike anything we’d ever tasted before. An impeccably caffeine-loaded, faintly perfumed start to the day. And far, far better and more efficacious in inducing wakefulness and good cheer than ever was gin, pink or otherwise, most especially when taken before breakfast.

Infused: Adventures in Tea


Ayodhya verdict: Retired SC judge says minorities have been wronged

  • The Supreme Court announced its verdict in the controversial Ayodhya case on November 9
  • SC gave the disputed land to Ram Janmbhoomi Nyas
  • Retired SC Judge AK Ganguly said minorities have been wronged

As the Supreme Court put an end to the centuries-old Ayodhya Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute case on November 9, by giving the disputed land to Ram Lalla, the share of support and opposition started to pour in as soon as the verdict was announced.

Post the Ayodhya Verdict, Retired Supreme Court Judge AK Ganguly expressed his discontent with the apex court’s decision of giving the land to the Centre for the construction of Ram temple and said that the minorities have been “wronged”.

The Supreme Court announced its final verdict in the contentious Ayodhya case on November 9, less than a month after it concluded final hearing in the case.

The apex court gave the disputed land to the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, recognising Lord Ram — the deity Ram Lalla as a legitimate legal personality. The entire 2.77-acre of disputed property was given to Ram Lalla.

“I am perplexed and disturbed. The constituion gives the right to every one and justice has to be given to everyone but in this case the justice has not been done to minorities,” Retd. Justice AK Ganguly said.

“This is undeniable and it is also undeniable that the mosque waa demolished by sheer act of vandalism. Even the SC has in its verdict said that it is a gross violation of rule of law and act of vandalism. In that scenario the question is that who has been wronged. It is the minorities that have been wronged,” AK Ganguly added.

Raising questions on the verdict that has been given AK Ganguly asked, “The court has found that mosque has not been built by demolishing a temple. No archaeological evidence of temple under the mosque was found and the demolition of mosque is a gross violation of constitutional provisions. Now on what basis have they said that it is widely believed by the Hindus that the owner of the land is Ram Lalla?”

“My conscience is disturbed as a student of constitution. The Supreme Court is bound to protect the rights of the citizens including the minorities. Where does my right go?,” AK Ganguly further asked.

Among those not supporting top court’s final decision in the Ayodhya dispute is also AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi who said that “the Supreme Court is Supreme but not infallible”.



Temple at disputed site, alternative land for mosque, says Supreme Court

The five-judge Constitution Bench of Supreme Court has said the Allahabad High Court’s verdict of splitting the disputed Ayodhya land among Hindus and Muslims defied logic

A Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on November 9 has delivered its judgment in the cross-appeals filed by the Hindu and Muslim sides challenging the three-way partition of the disputed 2.77 acres of Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land among Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara and the Sunni Waqf Board in September 2010.

In a unanimous judgment, the Bench has ordered that a temple must be constructed at the disputed site and the Muslims must be compensated with five acres of land at a prominent place in Ayodhya. The court also ordered the Central government to formulate a scheme within three months to implement this order.

 The Supreme Court on Saturday cleared the way for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque.

In one of the most important and most anticipated judgements in India’s history, the Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi put an end to the more than a century old dispute that has torn the social fabric of the nation.

The apex court said the mosque should be constructed at a “prominent site” and a trust should be formed within three months for the construction of the temple at the site many Hindus believe Lord Ram was born.

Here are the reactions:
Welcome the verdict: Mohan Bhagwat

“We welcome the verdict, it shouldn’t be looked at a defeat or victory for anyone, rather something that would strengthen the sense of unity in the country,” RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has said.

On Kashi and Mathura, Mr. Bhagwat says that there was a historic background to the RSS being involved with Ayodhya. “As an organisation we don’t otherwise involve ourselves in agitations and we will revert to our man making mission,” he said.

It’ time to strengthen the spirit of bhakti: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute should not be seen as anybody’s win or loss, and appealed to countrymen for peace, unity and amity.

“This decision of the Supreme Court is important for several reasons: It shows how important is to follow the legal process in resolving a dispute. Each side was given enough time and opportunity to present its arguments. The temple of justice resolved the decades-old case amicably.

“…This decision should not be seen as a victory or defeat of anyone. Be it Ramabhakti or Rahimabhakti, this is the time for all of us to strengthen the spirit of Bhakti,” the Prime Minister said.

Certain premises of the judgment are questionable: CPI(M)

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has said while the party  maintained that the issue should be resolved by a judicial verdict if a negotiated settlement was not possible, certain premises of the judgment are questionable.

“The Court judgment has itself stated that the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 was a violation of law. This was a criminal act and an assault on the secular principle. The cases pertaining to the demolition should be expedited and the guilty punished,” the party’s press statement said.

The Court has also appreciated the 1991 Places of Religious Worship Act. Adherence to this law should ensure that no such disputes on religious places are again raised and utilized, it said.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) also urged that there should be no provocative acts using the judgment, which will disrupt communal harmony.

We are in favour of a temple construction: Congress

The Congress Working Committee passed a resolution accepting the Supreme Court verdict. It also appealed to appeal to all parties and communities to abide by secular values and the spirit of fraternity.

On being asked about the if it favoured the construction of Ram temple, Congress communication chief Randeep Surjewala said, “We are in favour of a temple construction.”

“The Indian National Congress respects the verdict of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya case.

“We appeal to all the parties concerned and to all communities to abide by the secular values and spirit of fraternity enshrined in our Constitution and to maintain peace and harmony.

“It is the responsibility of each one of us to reaffirm our tradition of mutual respect and unity among all that has defined our society through the ages”, the CWC statement said.

All should accept it: Kerala CM

Without going into the details of the Ayodhya judgement, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said that with the Supreme Court ruling on an issue that has caused a lot of turbulence in the past, all parties should accept it gracefully.

“All should respond positively as the Supreme Court verdict is final. Nothing should happen which will cause any sort of issues. Even when the Babri Masjid demolition took place, Kerala by and large had reacted in a very mature way. Likewise today also it should be the same,” Vijayan said while speaking to the media soon after the verdict.

Will not challenge verdict: Litigant Iqbal Ansari

Expressing satisfaction with the Supreme Court judgment in the Ayodhya case, Iqbal Ansari, one of the litigants, on Saturday said he will not challenge it in court.

“We welcome the Supreme Court decision and the biggest happiness is that it is finally curtains down on this long pending issue,” Mr. Ansari said on phone from Ayodhya.

“We will not challenge the court verdict from our side,” he said, adding that “we are very happy with the decision.” Mr. Ansari said it was always being said that whatever the court will say will be correct.

“We respect the decision. Now this is the responsibility of the government where it provides land for the mosque. This is a sort of victory of the Muslims,” he said.

We all should strengthen mutual harmony and brotherhood: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday said all parties should respect the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya issue and maintain India’s age-old tradition of living together in harmony and brotherhood.

“The Supreme Court of India has given its verdict on Ayodhya issue. All parties, communities and citizens should respect the decision and maintain our centuries-old culture of living in togetherness. We all have to come together to strengthen mutual harmony and brotherhood,” she said in a tweet in Hindi.

Let us renew the pledge for peace, Prasad

“A historic day when a landmark judgment has been delivered upholding the majesty of the judicial system of India. It is a victory for India. We all salute the judgment”, tweeted Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

“Lord Ram always talked of Maryaadit Aacharan. Let us renew the pledge for peace, amity and understanding. Let India grow further and prosper inspired by the eternal principles of our civilizational heritage,” Mr. Prasad added.

Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi too welcomed the judgment.

“The Supreme Court judgement on decades old Ayodhya matter should be welcomed and respected wholeheartedly by all of us. It’s our collective responsibility to strengthen unity, social harmony, brotherhood in the country”, Mr. Naqvi said.

Adityanath urges people to maintain unity, amity

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday welcomed the Supreme Court judgment on the Ayodhya land dispute and appealed to people to maintain unity and amity.

“We welcome the Supreme Court verdict. Everyone should support for unity and amity in the country. In UP, the government is committed to maintain peace and security,” Mr. Adityanath tweeted in Hindi.

Verdict puts closure to old dispute: Ram Vilas Paswan

BJP ally and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan asserted on Saturday that the Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya issue has put a closure to the dispute that had lingered for more than a century.

“The Supreme Court has given a very clear and unanimous verdict. Sentiments of all parties have been respected in this unanimous judgment. It has put a closure to the dispute that has lingered for centuries,” the Lok Janshakti Party leader said.

“The entire nation respects this historic verdict. Thanks to the Supreme Court”, Mr. Paswan said.

Uma Bharti recalls Advani’s role in Ayodhya movement

Welcoming the Supreme Court order, BJP leader Uma Bharti hails late VHP leader Ashok Singhal, party veteran L K Advani for their role in temple movement.

“L.K. Advani’s devotion to temple cause is at root of BJP’s success, and for it’s coming back to power for another term”, Ms. Bharti said.

Joy and relief, says Sri Sri Ravishankar

Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar, who was part of a three-member mediation panel in the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, on Saturday described the Supreme Court verdict on the matter as “historic” and said it has brought “joy and relief” to people of both the communities from a long-standing dispute.

Ravishankar told reporters that he “wholeheartedly” welcomes the judgement of the Supreme Court and the case which had been going on for long has finally reached a conclusion. He urged people to maintain peace and harmony in the society.

“I wholeheartedly welcome the historic judgment of the Hon. Supreme Court. This has brought joy and relief to people of both communities from a long-standing dispute,” he said in a tweet.

Hope no new issue crops up: NCP

The Nationalist Congress Party hoped that no new dispute cropped up in the country in the name of religion following the supreme court verdict on Saturday that cleared the way for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya.

NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik said it had been the position of the party to accept the SC verdict.

“It has been our position right from the beginning that we will accept the supreme court verdict and all should accept it. Hope no new dispute crops up in the country in the name of religion,” Mr. Malik tweeted.

He also urged people to maintain peace and harmony.

Welcome and respect SC verdict: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

BJP national vice president Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday appealed to people to respect the supreme court’s final order on the disputed Ram-Janmabhoomi title suit in Ayodhya which paved the way for construction of a Ram temple.

“All should respect and welcome the supreme court verdict. Let us all respect and welcome the SC decision.

Nobody has lost. Our country has always given the message of peace to the world. I appeal to the country and all the people to maintain unity, love, harmony and brotherhood,” the former Madhyra Pradesh CM told reporters.

Verdict a milestone in Indian jurisprudence: Amit Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah welcomes the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya. Lauding the apex court for bringing closure to the decades long dispute, Mr. Shah said, “the verdict will prove to be milestone in Indian jurisprudence”.

Mr. Shah appeals for calm and maintenance of harmony among communities following the verdict.

Mr. Shahalso expressed his gratitude to all saints, institutions and unnamed people who struggled through bringing a legal closure to the dispute.

Historic verdict, says Rajnath

“The judgment on Ayodhya historic, will further strengthen India’s social fabric”, says Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Verdict historic, balanced and judicious: Javadekar

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday hailed the Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya case, saying the judgment is historic, balanced and judicious.

In a unanimous verdict, the Supreme Court paved the way for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot an alternative 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a new mosque at a “prominent” place in the holy town in Uttar Pradesh.

“The judgment of the Honourable Supreme Court on Ayodhya is historic, balanced and judicious. I am sure that everyone will welcome it,” said Mr. Javadekar.

Verdict a salute to sacrifices of lakhs of workers: Togadia

Former VHP president Praveen Togadia on Saturday welcomed the Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, saying the apex court’s order giving Ram Lala’s birth land for Ram Temple is a salute to the sacrifice of lakhs of workers.

“Ram Temple at the same place of Ram Birth has been Hindu demand for more than 450 years. Lakhs of Hindus sacrificed their lives, careers, families for this. Today, Supreme Court giving the same land for Shriram Temple is a salute to this sacrifice,” Mr. Togadia said in a statement

A new era of harmony should begin: Pejawar seer

Vishwesha Tirtha Swami of Pejawar Mutt said on Saturday that both the Hindu and Muslim sides should accept the verdict of the Supreme Court on the Ramjanmabhumi-Babri Masjid issue.

Addressing presspersons in Udupi, the seer said that he accepted the verdict of the Supreme Court on the Ayodhya issue. The Hindus required the Ramjanmabhumi, while the Muslims required the mosque. The Court had ordered for the Ram Temple to be constructed at the disputed site, while it had ordered for five acres of land to be provided to the Muslims at a prominent place in Ayodhya. “Both Hindus and Muslims should accept this verdict. This verdict will help in Hindu-Muslim amity,” he said.

The seer said that a proper land should be given to the Muslims to construct the mosque. “Hindus should help the Muslims in the construction of the mosque and the Muslims should help the Hindus in construction of the temple. “A new era of harmony should begin in the country,” he said.

The seer said that consequent to the veredict, the Hindus should not take out victory processions and the Muslims should not get provoked. The Muslims should respect the religious beliefs of the Hindus and vice versa. There should be no disharmony in the country and all should work for the development of the nation, he said.

To a query, the seer said that the government will have to decide on the scheme to implement the order in three months. The government and the seers would decide. “It is the responsibility of the Government, Hindus and Muslims. I will go to Delhi on Sunday and hold talks on this issue with Hindu and Muslim religious leaders. Efforts should be made to reach unanimity on all issues,” he said.

To another query, the Pejawar seer said that there was no need to create controversy over Kashi and Mathura.

Accept order wholeheartedly, says Karnataka CM

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has welcomed the Supreme Court’s order in the Ayodhya case and appealed to people to accept it “wholeheartedly.”

Mr.Yediyurappa took to twitter from his official handle and appealed to people without reacting emotionally. He further stated that the order is not a victory for any party nor defeat to any of the parties involved. He called for peace and harmony to prevail.

He said in the tweet, “Let us all wholeheartedly welcome the apex court verdict. This is neither a victory for anyone, nor a defeat for anyone. Don’t react emotionally. Let harmony and peace prevail.”

Credit to Ashok Singhal and L.K. Advani, says Govindacharya

Former RSS ideologue K.N. Govindacharya, a key figure in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, on Saturday credited late VHP stalwart Ashok Singhal and veteran BJP leader L.K.Advani for the success of the cause.

“I am extremely happy. Now, in three months a plan will be made for constructing the temple,” he said, asserting that social harmony must be maintained so that the country can move from “Ram temple to ‘Ram rajya’”.

“Lakhs of workers made sacrifices. For the leadership of the movement, I will give highest credit to Ashok Singhal and L K Advani,” he said.

Kejriwal welcomes verdict

“We welcome the Supreme Court judgement on Ayodhya which ended decades old dispute. I appeal for peace and harmony,” says Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

Will seek a review: Sunni Central Waqf Board

Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board’s Zafaryab Jilani on Saturday expressed dissatisfaction over the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya verdict, saying it has a lot of contradictions and they will seek a review of it.

“The judgement is not satisfactory. We feel that it’s very unjust. Yet it’s the judgement of SC and therefore we respect it. We will look into legal course ahead,” he said.

We respect, accept verdict: Ajmer Dargah

The spiritual head of Ajmer dargah on Saturday welcomed the decision of Supreme Court on Ayodhya case and appealed to people to maintain peace and harmony.

“The judiciary is supreme and everyone should respect the decision. It is the time to present a united face before the world because entire world is looking at India today,” Dargah Deewan Zainul Abedin Ali Khan said.

“We respect and accept the verdict. I appeal to the people of the country to maintain harmony and peace. This is the victory of the judiciary and the message should be loud and clear that how much the judiciary is important for us and people of the country are peace loving, he told PTI.

He said that respecting and honouring the laws of the land is the basic Islamic teaching.

“We now need to concentrate on the development of self and the nation, he said.

There should not be any further controversy: Nitish Kumar

In a first reaction to the Supreme Court judgement in Ayodhya case, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday asked everyone to accept the verdict.

“”We should all in the country  accept the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya issue …it’s an unanimous verdict and there should not be any further controversy on it”, says Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.

(With inputs from Correspondents, agencies)

Economy, Society

Jeff Bezos Is No Longer The World’s Richest Man

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has lost the title as the world’s richest man, paving the way for tenacious Bill Gates to grab the top spot after Amazon’s lacklustre Q3 results resulted in Mr Bezos losing nearly $7 billion in stock value.

Amazon shares fell 7 per cent in after-hours trading on Thursday, leaving Mr Bezos down to $103.9 billion.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is currently worth $105.7 billion.

Mr Bezos ended Mr Gates’ 24-year run as the richest man in 2018 and became the first man on earth with a net worth of $160 billion.

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Amazon CEO says tabloid owner blackmailed him

Chief Executive of Amazon Jeff Bezos posts a blog saying the parent company of tabloid The National Enquirer tried to blackmail him with the threat of publishing “intimate photos.” Ryan Brooks reports.

Amazon reported a 26 per cent drop in net income in its third quarter, its first profit decline since 2017, reports Forbes.

In after-hours trading, Amazon dropped nearly 9 per cent to $1,624 per share.

Gates debuted on Forbes’ first ever billionaire list in 1987 with a net worth of $1.25 billion.

Mr Bezos first joined The Forbes 400 list of richest Americans in 1998, one year after Amazon went public, with a net worth of $1.6 billion, the report added.10 COMMENTS

The Bezos couple finalised their divorce in April in what was reported as the biggest divorce settlement in history, entitling MacKenzie Bezos to Jeff Bezos’ stocks worth around $36 billion.

Economy, Society

Assam tea workers get nominal wage: Oxfam

Assam tea workers get only 7 per cent of price, says report
For a 200 gram packet of branded Assam tea sold in India for Rs 68, less than Rs 5 is left for workers.
By PTI |
GUWAHATI: Tea brands and supermarkets capture over two thirds of the price paid by consumers for Assam tea in India with just seven per cent remaining for workers of estates, according to a research released on Thursday.
The new research, commissioned by Oxfam and undertaken by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), called for urgent action from supermarkets, tea brands and state authorities to end the suffering of Assam’s tea workers.

The “relentless squeeze by supermarkets and brands on the share of the end consumer price” for tea makes poverty and hardship for workers in Assam more likely, said the report after interviewing 510 workers in 50 tea estates in the state to ascertain the main challenges faced by workers.
But, combined with rising costs and the impacts of the climate crisis, it is also contributing to a severe economic crisis for the entire Indian tea industry, it said.
“The research also found that despite working for over 13 hours a day, workers earn between Rs 137 to Rs 167. It found that tea brands and supermarkets typically capture over two thirds of the price paid by consumers for Assam tea in India – with just 7 per cent remaining for workers on tea estates”, said a release.
For a 200 gram packet of branded Assam tea sold in India for Rs 68, less than Rs 5 is left for workers while tea brands and supermarkets retain around Rs 40, according to the study.

The report-‘Addressing The Human Cost of Assam Tea’- stated that the proposed Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill can enable the struggling Assam tea industry viable.
It can also ensure fair wages and decent working and living conditions for tea plantation workers and their families.
Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar said, “We welcome the attempts of the government to increase the wages of tea plantation workers and the upcoming Occupational Health and Safety bill. Both have the potential to address the systemic injustice faced by the tea workers in Assam.”
He said tea brands have often questioned the financial viability of paying fair wages to workers, but the research showed that “by sharing just two per cent additional value of the price of tea, fair living wages can be provided to millions of workers in the sector”.

Human Rights, Society

Final NRC status: 15 buildings, schools, hospital in India’s first detention centre for those not in Assam NRC

India’s first detention centre is being built in Goalpara district’s Matia.(ANI

In the final list of National Register of Final NRC status: 15 buildings, schools, hospital in India’s first detention centre for those not in Assam NRCCitizens (NRC) published on August 31, more than 19 lakh people were excluded. However, those left out can still apply to the designated Foreigners’ Tribunals within 120 days for their cases to be heard.

The work on India’s first detention centre is progressing at quick pace in Goalpara district’s West Matia area in Assam, weeks after the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published, leaving out nearly 1.9 million people.

“The work on this project started in December 2018, our target is to complete it by December 2019. It will cost around Rs 46 crore. Fifteen four-storey buildings are being built — 13 for men, 2 for women,” Junior Engineer (JE) of the detention centre, Rabin Das told ANI.

Some 1.9 million people found themselves out of the final version of the NRC published last month after years of efforts aimed at ending a four-decade movement against illegal immigrants. The Supreme Court-monitored process of updating the NRC for Assam, last compiled 68 years ago, took four years and 55,000 officials poring over 66.4 million documents.

Fifteen four-storey buildings are being built in the detention centre -- 13 for men, 2 for women.

Fifteen four-storey buildings are being built in the detention centre — 13 for men, 2 for women. ( ANI Photo )

Those left out have been given 120 days to approach the Foreigners’ Tribunals for review. Over 200 new tribunals have been set up across the state for this purpose. To accommodate the disenfranchised persons, temporary detention camps have been set up across the state. The one coming up in West Matia area is the country’s first formal detention centre

The detention centre is being constructed over an area of 2,88,000 square feet and will have separate residential facilities for the security personnel and officials. Das also stated that the centre will have separate toilets, hospital, kitchen, dining area, recreational area and a school.

“There will be buildings for officers grade 4 staff. It will have 2 security barracks. The water system will have a capacity of 50,000 litres,” he added, reports ANI.


Tsampa: The Tibetan Cereal That Helped Spark An Uprising

On rare occasions as a kid, Renzin Yuthok and his family got to share a special breakfast. They’d gather around a table in their home in Bellevue, Wash., his dad would roll tsampa flour, butter and tea into balls called pa, and then he’d hand them out to his kids.

The meal served a symbolic purpose for Yuthok: “From a very young age, [Tibetans] are taught that … reclaiming our homeland … is what our highest aspiration could be,” he says. Yuthok’s family fled Tibet in the 1950s, but their breakfast — and its grounding ingredient, tsampa — kept him connected to that dream.

The word tsampa in Tibetan usually refers to ground-up, roasted barley flour, although occasionally the flour comes from wheat or another grain. It can be made into cereal, mashed into a poultice or mixed with yak butter and tea to make calorie-dense energy balls for long mountain treks (or breakfast treats for schoolkids). It’s tossed into the air at religious ceremonies and can be incorporated into wedding cakes. The Dalai Lama says he eats it for breakfast.

Thanks to its hardiness (it’s one of the few cereal crops that can survive on the high, arid and harsh Tibetan Plateau), barley has sustained the Tibetan population for thousands of years. Scientists say the cultivation of barley may have enabled ancient Tibetans to expand their civilization into the Himalayas. Researchers have found barley traces in 2,100-year-old remains of tea, which means it’s possible that tsampa was eaten during that time.

But over the last century, tsampa has become even more than a culturally significant staple food. It’s become a centerpiece of Tibetan identity and a tool of protest.

Calling all tsampa eaters

Between 1950 and 1951, China annexed the region of Tibet. Most Tibetans called the event an invasion, while the Chinese, in documents solidifying the annexation, called it a peaceful liberation (though it involved a bloody battle in the region of Chamdo).

Though Tibet’s rulers rejected Chinese claims to their territory, Tibetans had few sources of political unity back then. “Tibetans are diverse in language, custom, habits — there’s a lot of diversity within the single Tibetan group,” says Tsering Shakya, a Tibetan historian and associate professor at the University of British Columbia. So when the Chinese army entered the region in 1950, Tibetans initially lacked a unifying force.

Tsampa — which is eaten across Tibet — soon became that force. “When [Tibetan resistance leaders] were looking to unite [Tibetans] into a single identity, they adopted tsampa as a symbol,” Shakya says. In 1952, two years after the Chinese occupation began, The Tibet Mirror, an independent Tibetan language newspaper, published a letter calling for revolt. Its first call-out? Tsampa eaters:

“We, the tsampa eaters, chuba [traditional Tibetan outerwear] wearers, dice players, raw and dried meat eaters, followers of Buddhism, Tibetan language speakers…we must make the effort to end the [Chinese] occupation.”

Years later, in 1956, the Mirror again called out to “tsampa-eaters” to “unite your minds” and “stand up!” The Mirror’s exhortations were one of a series of events that led to what’s known today as the 1959 Tibetan Uprising, when thousands of Tibetan protesters gathered in the streets of the capital city, Lhasa, calling for Tibet’s independence from China and later, mobilizing to fight the regime. The Dalai Lama fled the region during this time.

In an essay about this time period, Shakya writes, “If Buddhism provided the atom of Tibetanness, then tsampa provided the sub-particles of Tibetanness. The use of tsampa transcended dialect, sect, gender, and regionalism.”

This growing unity, coupled with support from anti-Communist countries like the U.S., was not enough for the relatively small Tibetan population to defeat the powerful Chinese army. They lost their fight for independence and are governed as part of Chinato this day. Thousands of Tibetans were killed during the 1959 uprising, and the Tibetan government-in-exile has estimated that the occupation led to the loss of 1.2 million lives.

Making a comeback

Since the 1950s, China’s incorporation of Tibet has fragmented tsampa’s place as the region’s staple grain, Yuthok says, partly because of an influx of Han Chinese who tend to prefer crops like wheat and rice.

Still, people in Tibet eat far more barley per person than nearly anywhere in the world. And tsampa’s importance to Tibetan identity and struggle has not diminished. If anything, it has been making a comeback.

Starting in 2008, a new wave of revolts began. In 2009, protesting monks cried, “Rise up, all tsampa-eating Tibetans!” In 2012, protesters ate tsampa and threw it up into the air during a mass prayer; at a different rally, according to a witness, monks were “chanting mantras and eating tsampa in protest.”

So important was tsampa to these protests that the modern-day Tibetan resistance movement often goes by another name online: The Tsampa Revolution, or #TsampaRevolution.

Tsampa has also found its way into Tibetan political music and youth culture. In 2012 the rapper Shapaley, who spent his childhood in Tibet, released a song called “Tsampa” on YouTube. The accompanying music video features the rapper sitting behind a bowl of tsampa, a traditional bag for storing the grain and a steaming cup of butter tea.

“Our parents gave us tsampa so we’ll give it to our kids / the Tibetan spirit will always remain,” Shapaley raps. “You can threaten us but we keep doing our thing … you can’t stop us!” At the end of the video he throws what looks like a cloud of tsampa into the air, in homage to the traditional sang-sol ceremony — or perhaps to the monks protesting in Tibet that same year, thousands of miles away.

A health food trend?

Yuthok, who was born in Taiwan and moved to the U.S. as a kid in the 1970s, is now working with his aunts Namlha and Tzesom as they try to spark another movement with tsampa in North America. Their company, Peak Sherpa, sells tsampa as a hot cereal and as “energy bites” — sort of a cross between an energy bar and the traditional pa. The cereal, I can attest, is delicious — the grains are smaller and denser than oatmeal, making for a pleasing nutty taste without the gluey texture of oats.

Because the barley used in tsampa doesn’t have to be heavily processed, it retains more nutrients, and the flour’s healthfulness rivals that of other ancient grains. Tsampa is high in fiber and essential minerals and it’s prebiotic, meaning it helps promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. It has a low glycemic index, which helps keep blood sugar from spiking. Plus, from a marketing perspective, it could be seen as one more in a line of Tibetan foods that have caught on with the health-food crowd — like goji berries and butter tea (reinvented as bulletproof coffee here in the U.S.).

So why has the Yuthoks’ company had a tough time breaking into the U.S. market? While they’re still relatively new, “it’s been really hard,” he admits. “I’d say we’re definitely a niche product at this point.” Though, he notes, “we definitely have our fans.”

Here’s what he suspects: Hot breakfast cereals are a highly competitive sector. Oats are nutritionally comparable to barley. And at only a few cents per serving, oats are much cheaper — and they’re nostalgia-inducing.

“People have a relationship with the Quaker guy, you know?” he says. “They love that guy, and what’s not to love?”

Additionally, American barley is not exactly easy to eat. Most barley grown here comes in a tough, inedible hull that’s difficult to remove, making it hard for food producers to create “whole grain” foods out of the original plant, unlike rice or wheat. Much of our barley is used to brew beer and other alcoholic beverages.

But that could very well shift soon. Tibetan barley lacks a tough outer hull, meaning it’s easy to thresh, like wheat — and that’s likely because of selective breeding by Tibetans over thousands of years, says Patrick Hayes, a professor of barley breeding and genetics at Oregon State University. Hayes is working on popularizing these Tibetan barley strains in the U.S. He plans to use them todevelop locally adapted varieties.

So far, so good. But Hayes is careful to acknowledge the true source of his current success. “We wouldn’t have been able to do this work without what [Tibetans] did over thousands of years.” If he ends up converting us all to barley, we will have tsampa eaters to thank.

BY Susie Neilson . The writer is an intern on NPR’s Science Desk. Follow her on Twitter: @susieneilson.

Development, Society

University of California, Berkeley to adopt 100 villages in Meghalaya

The U.S.-based University of California, Berkeley will adopt 100 villages in Meghalaya to start a concept of smart villages and address the issue of urban migration due to environmental issues, Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said on Friday. The Chief Minister was addressing a gathering at Montreux (Switzerland), who converged for the Caux Forum, which aims to inspire, equip and connect people, groups and organisations to build a just, sustainable and peaceful world.

The State government will sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the University of California, Berkeley in September to adopt 100 villages to start the concept of smart villages in Meghalaya, Mr. Conrad said, according to an official release issued here.

Our cities are already choking and having smart villages will prevent urban migration and related environmental issues, he said.

The Chief Minister spoke highly of the States’ uniqueness in terms of land ownership, forest conservation techniques as he deliberated at the Forum.

He said, “We as a government are proud of our society and the idea of our sacred groves and living root bridges should be known to the rest of the world. My government has given importance to these indigenous knowledge and have stressed on community participation in the implementation of government programmes, he said.

With a population of about 3.3 million people, the Chief Minister said the State is known worldwide for receiving the heaviest rainfall in the world.

Another great aspect of the State is the discovery by Geologists in 2018 about the Meghalayan Age which put the State in the global spotlight, he said.

Informing that about 6,500 villages are there in Meghalaya, he said the government will ensure that the National Resource Management Plans are made through full community participation.

He also informed that there is also a special emphasis on restoration of land in more than 400 villages of the State and added that the government has linked all livelihood programmes to natural resources and are encouraging people to protect these natural resources.

I am happy to inform that this year on World Environment Day we have planted 1.2 million trees and every citizen is encouraged to plant and adopt one tree, he said.

On water scarcity, the Chief Minister said Meghalaya is one of the first States in the country to be ready with the State water policy to face the issue of water conservation and water use.

There are problems we have to address and there are also solutions, we just need to come together to talk, discuss and share and need to create goals that must permeate down to the individual level so that every individual has a goal for the development and good of the society, the nation and the world, he said.

At the 2019 Dialogue at Caux, global thought leaders and practitioners will explore how community and individual actions can reverse degradation leading to peace and stability.