Things to prove you’re a bombayite

July 31, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

1. You say ‘town ‘ and expect everyone to know that this means south of Churchgate.

2 You speak in a dialect of Hindi called ‘Bambaiya Hindi’,
which only Bombayites can understand.

3. Your door has more than three locks.

4. Rs 500 worth of groceries fit in one paper bag.

5. Train timings ( 9.27 , 10.49 etc) are really important events of life.

6. You spend more time each month traveling than you spend at home.

7. You call an 8′ x 10′ clustered room a Hall.

8.. You’re paying Rs 10,000 for a 1 room flat, the size
of walk-in closet and you think it’s a ‘steal.’

9. You have the following sets of friend: school friends, college friends, neighborhood friends, office friends and yes,
train friends, a species unique only in Bombay. (REALLY TRUE)

10. Cabbies and bus conductors think you are from Mars
if you call the roads by their Indian name,
they are more familiar with Warden Road, Peddar Road, Altamount Road

11. Stock market quotes are the only other thing besides cricket
which you follow passionately.

12. The first thing that you read in the Times of India is the
‘ Bombay Times’ supplement.

13. You take fashion seriously.
You’re suspicious of strangers who are actually nice to you.

14. Beggars and the homeless are invisible.

15. You compare Bombay to New York’s Manhattan instead of any other
cities of India.

16. The most frequently used part of your car is the horn.

17. You insist on calling CST as Victoria Terminus (VT), and Sahar and
Santacruz airports instead of Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

18. You consider eye contact an act of overt aggression.

19. Your idea of personal space is no one actually standing on your toes.

20. Being truly alone makes you nervous.

21. You love wading through knee deep mucky water in the monsoons, and
actually call it ”romantic’.

22. Only in Bombay, you would get Chinese Dosa and Jain Chicken.

– fwd: vathan shettigar

Are you suffering? Jesus is with you, Pope Francis says

July 31, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

Poland, July 29, 2016: The Way of the Cross shows Christ’s embrace of everyone who hungers, suffers, and dies – and the imperative for Christians to do works of mercy. Those were Pope Francis’ words for young people at World Youth Day in Krakow on Friday.

“Jesus himself chose to identify with these our brothers and sisters enduring pain and anguish by agreeing to tread the ‘way of sorrows’ that led to Calvary,” the Pope said July 29. “By dying on the cross, he surrendered himself into to the hands of the Father, taking upon himself and in himself, with self-sacrificing love, the physical, moral and spiritual wounds of all humanity.”

“By embracing the wood of the cross, Jesus embraced the nakedness, the hunger and thirst, the loneliness, pain and death of men and women of all times,” he continued.

The Pope spoke to thousands of young people gathered in a field in Krakow’s Blonia Park.

He reflected on the question: “Where is God?”

“Where is God, if evil is present in our world, if there are men and women who are hungry and thirsty, homeless, exiles and refugees?” he asked. “Where is God, when innocent persons die as a result of violence, terrorism and war?”

He asked where God is in the face of cruel and deadly disease, in the exploitation and suffering of children, and in “the anguish of those who doubt and are troubled in spirit.”

“These are questions that humanly speaking have no answer,” Pope Francis said.

“We can only look to Jesus and ask him. And Jesus’ answer is this: ‘God is in them.’ Jesus is in them; he suffers in them and deeply identifies with each of them. He is so closely united to them as to form with them, as it were, ‘one body’.”

The Pope told young people of the importance of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, saying they open us to God’s mercy and help us appreciate that “without mercy we can do nothing.”

These are the only answers to evil, he said.

“In the face of evil, suffering and sin, the only response possible for a disciple of Jesus is the gift of self, even of one’s own life, in imitation of Christ; it is the attitude of service. Unless those who call themselves Christians live to serve, their lives serve no good purpose. By their lives, they deny Jesus Christ,” the Pope declared.

The Pope stressed the importance of both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

“We are called to serve the crucified Jesus in all those who are marginalized, to touch his sacred flesh in those who are disadvantaged, in those who hunger and thirst, in the naked and imprisoned, the sick and unemployed, in those who are persecuted, refugees and migrants,” he said. “There we find our God; there we touch the Lord.”

He said the credibility of Christians is at stake in how they welcome both those who suffer physically and those who suffer spiritually.

“The Way of the Cross is the way of fidelity in following Jesus to the end, in the often dramatic situations of everyday life,” he added. “It is a way that fears no lack of success, ostracism or solitude, because it fills ours hearts with the fullness of Jesus.”

Christ brings this path even to societies that are divided, unjust, and corrupt.

“The Way of the Cross is not a sadomasochistic habit. The Way of the Cross alone defeats sin, evil and death, for it leads to the radiant light of Christ’s resurrection and opens the horizons of a new and fuller life. It is the way of hope, the way of the future,” the Pope said. “Those who take up this way with generosity and faith give hope and a future to humanity.”

“And I would like you to be sowers of hope,” he added.

“Dear young people, on that Good Friday many disciples went back crestfallen to their homes,” he concluded. “Others chose to go out to the country to forget the cross.”

“I ask you – and respond, each of you, silently in your hearts – how do you want to go back this evening to your own homes, to the places where you are staying? Your tents? How do you want to go back this evening to be alone with your thoughts? The world is watching us. Each of you has to answer the challenge that this question sets before you.”

He added special mention of those attending World Youth Day from war-torn Syria: “Tonight Jesus, and we with him, embrace with particular love our brothers and sisters from Syria who have fled from the war. We greet them, and we welcome them with fraternal affection and friendship.”

– cna

Pastor killed by Maoists in East Godavari district

July 31, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Andhra Pradesh, July 30, 2016: Maoists killed pastor John Maraiah at Lachhigudem in Chintur mandal of East Godavari district on Friday night. Locals said that Maoists killed Maraiah as they suspected he was a police informer. Lachhigudem is situated at a distance of 20 km from Edurallapalli police station. The policemen are afraid to visit the village as it is located in thick forest. GCIC coordinators Pastor C. S. John and his associate Pastor Steven are seized of the matter and trying to carry forward mission of educating the tribal community with grace and passion. Pastor Maraiah working very closely with them in the past.

Kakinada July 30 -Maoists numbering of more than 200 intruded into two tribal villages in Chintur mandal in East Godavari agency area last night and created terror by killing Church pastor Maraiah in Latchigudem and kidnapping Kaniti Raju in Vankagudem.

Raising slogans, the Maoists slit the throat of the pastor and left a letter warning that any one acting as the police informers would meet the same fate. They also mentioned in the letter that the police of Chinturu and Nellipaka were confining the innocent people in the name of Maoist sympathizers in police stations and torturing them.

Following the incident, the anti-naxal police squads have intensified the combing operations in the area. Police officer on special duty Pakeerappa and ASP Swetha have visited the villages today and inquired with the local people about the incident.


How violent Gau-Rakshaks(cow protectors) & police work in tandem

July 31, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Maharashtra, July 31, 2016: Cattle traders complain of a nexus between police and cow-vigilantes who harass them with impunity.NDTV goes undercover with a cattle trader transporting buffaloes

Truck is hijacked by cow-vigilantes, taken to police station

Driver, carrying necessary permits, is charged under animal cruelty laws

As violence by self-styled cattle vigilantes or gau-rakshaks swells across India, roiling the parliament and grabbing headlines, NDTV attempted to get a ringside view of how they are allowed to operate with impunity.An NDTV cameraperson, Sanjay Mandal, armed with a hidden camera, posed as an assistant to a truck carrying 10 buffaloes from Pune towards Satara district, about an hour south of the city in Maharashtra. Shafaaq Qureishi, the driver told us that he had brought 20 animals to Pune for sale. Only 10 were sold, and so he was going back with the rest to see if he could sell them in a rural mandi.

To ensure that the truck met legal guidelines, we checked its papers and its contents. According to Maharashtra’s laws, the slaughter (or transport for slaughter) of cows, bulls and calves is prohibited.

Traders who transport buffaloes legally also face harassment and attacks.

The buffaloes in the truck were declared infertile by the government mandi or market from where they were purchased. The driver also had a medical certificate from a government veterinarian permitting their travel.

And yet, just an hour from Pune near the village of Saswad, a mob of aggressive ‘gau-rakshaks’ or cow-vigilantes stopped the truck. They pushed and shoved Sanjay and the driver, yanked him out and snatched his phone.

Screaming abuses all the while, they forced themselves into the truck’s cabin and steered it into a police station.

Until then, they had not even looked in the back of the truck.

At the Saswad police station, a bigger crowd gathered. The tension in the atmosphere was palpable.

Police officials made little attempt to control the mob. Instead they were taking cues from a young man leading the gau-rakshaks. He identified himself to NDTV as Subhash Tayade, a member of the local Hindutva group, Samastha Hindu Aghadi.

Police appeared to be taking cues from Subhash Tayade, a leader of the gau-rakshaks.

Tayade’s boys told us they were tipped-off about the truck by a Pandit Parsuram Modak, the owner of a nearby gau-shala or cowshed. “We were looking out for this truck all night after Pandit-ji’s tip off,” they said.

A Facebook community page describes Mr Modak as a gau-rakshak, who has worked for “the BJP and RSS for 40 years”.

When we asked Sub Inspector AS Tapade how a mob can forcibly stop a truck and push and shove those inside, he said the gau-rakshaks only pass on information to the police.

What we had witnessed was very different – it was rule of law by mob. When pressed, Tapade said they would act against the gau-rakshaks if needed.

A senior official, Inspector SS Gaud arrived and took charge. Halfway through Mr Gaud’s hearing, Mr Tayade received a call from a man called Swamy. He handed the phone to the Inspector, who told Swamy that the truck contained buffaloes, not cows or bulls, and seemed to have all its papers.

The police admitted the truck had the papers needed for transporting the buffaloes.

Swamy turned out to be Shiv Shankar Swamy, who, according to lawyers for the cattle traders acts as an enforcer for a number of cattle shelters in the Pune area. He has multiple cases registered against him, including for attempt to murder as well as a brief spell of externment (a temporary exile) from the district.

A short while after Swamy’s call, the police registered a case under the anti-animal slaughter laws, as well as under animal cruelty laws.

Sadiq Qureishi, a member of a group that provided legal aid to drivers, was furious. He said, “We have a medicine box, water, fodder, all that is needed. The police are acting under pressure from above.”

We glanced in the room next to the Inspector’s cabin. Inside were gau-rakshaks, helping the police draft the FIR or First Information Report.

Despite multiple attempts, the police inspector refused to comment. At the time of our report going to air, the truck has been seized, the animals sent to a cattle shelter, the driver arrested. Those who led the mob, attacked the truck, and created a near-riot like situation remain at large.

– ndtv

Peace prayers in Syro-Malabar churches

July 31, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Kerala, July 28, 2016: Spiritual head of Syro-Malabar church Cardinal George Alencherry has condemned the murder of a priest in a church in northern France by Islamic State, voicing concern over religious radicalism “misleading and inspiring youth to do anti-national activities in India.”

Condemning the terrorist attacks targeting Christians in many parts of the world, Cardinal Alencherry directed that special prayers be held in all Syro-Malabar churches on July 31 in the wake of challenges posed against world peace and Christian faith.

“The brutal killing of Fr Jacques Hamel as he held a church service has sent shock waves throughout the world,” the cardinal said yesterday.

Two attackers on July 26 slit the throat of the 86-year-old priest celebrating Mass in a church in France, killing him and gravely injuring one of the worshippers present, before being shot dead by police.

Cardinal Alencherry said the incident occurred as France was already reeling under the killing of 84 people in Nice this month and a string of other deadly attacks which claimed several lives.

The Cardinal also expressed concern over incidents in India wherein people following Christianity were “weaned away” from it to join the extremist ideologies.

“It should be seen seriously that hectic activities are on to wean away people who follow Christian faith, radicalise them and inspire them to join anti-national activities,” he said.

His statement assumes significance in view of reports of alleged forcible conversion to Islam at the behest of terror outfit Islamic State.

Some Keralite Christian youths, including a girl Merin Jacob from Kochi, had converted to Islam before they went missing in Middle East.

The senior priest also urged the government to step up efforts to ensure the release of a Keralite priest, Tom Uzhunnalil, from the captivity of extremists in Yemen.

– times of india

16-Y-O christian girl raped in Pakistan has ‘no hope for justice,’ says father

July 31, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Pakistan, July 29, 2016: The father of a 16-year-old Pakistani Christian girl who was sexually assaulted by Muslim attackers in Sheikhupura, Punjab, has said that he sees no hope in his quest to find justice for his daughter, criticizing the country’s legal system.

“Obviously the police will not implicate them,” Nasar Masih said of his daughter’s rapists, according to Christians in Pakistan.

Masih’s daughter was reportedly raped by 23-year-old Muhammad Iqrar and his accomplices on July 7. The father managed to break into Iqrar’s house after hearing his daughter’s cries, though the attackers fled the scene of the crime.

“I was home when the incident took place. Sonia tried to set herself free and shouted for help but we failed to hear her as the doors were closed,” Masih told WWM.

“However, as we eventually heard her cries we rushed and stormed into Iqrar’s house. Seeing us, Iqrar fled from the scene leaving Sonia in a critical situation.”

Masih fears that the Muslim attackers have the backing of the local political leadership, and predicted that even if the police eventually take action, they will show favor toward the culprits.

Persecution watchdog groups, such as International Christian Concern, also predicted in a statement on Thursday that the authorities “will undoubtedly side with the rapist.”

“There are many such instances of persecution of Christians at the hands of Muslims in Pakistan, with little reaction or justice from the authorities,” ICC added.

The father reiterated that despite an outcry from Pakistani Christians over the case, he does not “have much hope for justice.”

“Even forensic reports can be interfered with, and if Iqrar isn’t jailed he will be free to harass us as their house is so near to ours,” he added, warning that police could even try to fabricate a story of his daughter and Iqrar being in a relationship.

Other groups, including the British Pakistani Christian Association, have also reported numerous cases this year of Christian girls being kidnapped and forced into Islamic marriages. Earlier in July, the BPCA said that a 14-year-old girl from Shadab Colony in Faisalabad suffered this fate, after which her father was shot and killed when he tried to rescue her.

Najma Bibi, the teenager’s mother, told the BPCA that she is seeking justice both for her daughter and her slain husband.

“The police have not done anything substantial to help my daughter, we now have no money to defend our rights and without my husband we have no voice. We live in a hopeless situation, we need help. I pray that my daughter will continue to place her hope in Jesus Christ,” Bibi said.

At least 700 Christian girls are raped and forced into Islamic marriages every year, the NGO Movement of Solidarity and Peace said in its 2014 statistics, though the BPCA has argued that even that number is “extremely conservative.”

– christian post

ISIS executes, Crucifies Syrian man on electric pole for ‘Apostasy’

July 31, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Syria, July 30, 2016: The Islamic State terror group executed and crucified a man in Syria’s northern Aleppo province before hundreds of residents, accusing him of apostasy for refusing to join prayers at a mosque, according to local reports.

The 28-year-old victim, identified as Hussein Muhammad, was arrested by Islamic State’s religious police in the city of al-Bab before being charged by a Sharia court, according to ARA News.

“A Sharia judge decided to execute and crucify the man in public, claiming he was an apostate who refused to perform Sharia duties and violated the basic laws of the Caliphate,” an anonymous source was quoted as saying.

Muhammad was first shot to death on Thursday, and then his body was hung on an electricity pole for everyone to see.

“The victims’ body will remain crucified for three days, and ISIS threatened people that anyone who would try to remove him will be mercilessly punished,” an activist was quoted as saying.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it has documented more than 2,353 executions of Syrian civilians during 25 months since the terror group declared its alleged caliphate.

Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, is an offshoot of al Qaeda, and wants to establish a caliphate in the Levant region and beyond.

While the Sunni terror group is losing territory in Iraq and Syria, it still has 18,000 to 22,000 fighters there despite some 13,000 airstrikes by the international coalition led by the United States, according to CIA director John Brennan.

The group uses brutal methods to torture and punish those who it considers to be its enemies, including Muslims who do not believe in its version of Islam. However, Christians and other minorities are among its main targets.

In its English propaganda publication, ISIS last year sought to justify its barbarity, saying it is “Islamic” to capture and forcibly make “infidel” women sexual slaves.

“Before Shaytan [Satan] reveals his doubts to the weak-minded and weak hearted, one should remember that enslaving the families of the kuffar [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shari’ah that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Qur’an and the narration of the Prophet … and thereby apostatizing from Islam,” stated the IS’ propaganda magazine “Dabiq.”

– christian post

Extreme Hindu activists kidnapped Pastors in Madhya Pradesh

July 29, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Madhya Pradesh, July 26, 2016: Extreme Hindu activists kidnapped pastor Rampal Kori ,38, Nand Lal ,49, a member of his church, on July 21 night from a house at Mauganj tehsil in Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh, where they were leading a prayer meeting

According to Pastor Kori, their abductors tied them to a tree and beat them up with wooden sticks, kicked and punched accusing them of indulging in religious conversion, a charge they deny.

Even though the police rescued them in an early morning operation, on July 22, eight hours after their abduction, they were sent to jail on the same day charging them with hurting Hindu religious sentiments and violating the provisions of the stringent anti-conversion law that restrains conversion through allurement or force.

“They were kept in the police station the whole day on Friday after their rescue on the pretext of protection and when the evening came, instead of letting them go home, they were sent to jail”, says a fellow pastor Ram Yesh.

“It was really a shock for all of us,” he told

According to the information, the police gave ample opportunity to their kidnappers to file a counter case against them in another police station for violation of anti-conversion law and hurting religious sentiments of Hindus instead of arresting them for kidnapping the duo.

The Christians waited at Mauganj police station with no clue as what was happening until they were sent to jail. The move was an apparent attempt by the Hindu activists to save their face and justify the criminal act, those in the know opine.

A senior police officer of Mauganj, Kamlesh Sharma, however, has denied any involvement of police in facilitating the right wing Hindu activists in any manner to lodge a complaint against the Christians.

“We have already registered a case against Hindu activists under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, house trespass among other charges”, he told

“We are trying our best to arrest them,” he added.

Now the Christians have moved an appeal before the Sessions court against the order of Judicial Magistrate’s court, which is likely to come up for hearing on July 26.

“We know they are innocent and it will be vindicated in the court,: Pastor Yesh says.


MPs assure minority rights protection in Education policy

July 29, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Chennai, July 28, 2016: Parliamentarians who participated in a recent seminar in Chennai on the draft of the National Education Policy assured the Christian missionaries that they would ensure protection to the rights of the minorities.

At the seminar organised by the Consortium of Christian Minority Higher Educational Institutions and Stella Maris College, Ernakulam MP K.V. Thomas (Congress) and Rajya Sabha members T.K. Rangarajan (CPI-M) and Tiruchi N. Siva (DMK) assured the consortium that the policy would be discussed threadbare in the House before being approved.

“Rights of minorities will be protected in education policy,” said the MPs responding to concerns expressed by Christian missionaries.

Participants expressed concern over how the government did not consider opinions from grassroots workers such as teachers to develop a comprehensive policy.

Participants should draft a new policy and forward it for discussion, said Mr. Rangarajan.

The present government was attempting to promote “fascistic Hindu Rashtra by replacing Indian history with mythology and Indian philosophy with Hindu theology,” he said.

Mr. Thomas recalled his days as teacher and said colleges were forced to seek donations as government funding was inadequate. Schools had collected donations for noon meal scheme to ensure that children did not drop out of school.

Mr. Siva said his leader M. Karunanidhi had issued a detailed statement on the party’s stand on the policy.

Mr. Siva said the government should constitute a committee that includes academics, representatives from marginalised sections, minorities, and the people with disabilities to draft a new education policy.

The thrust on regulations and absence of academicians’ viewpoints were a cause for concern, said Bishop Joshua Mar Ignathios of Mavelikara, chairman of Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India’s Commission for Education.

“The policy had ignored the poor and dealt marginally with education of women and girl children. The focus was on use of technology and mathematics and science. There was an absence of attention to social sciences,” he said.

The seminar was held to invite suggestions on the policy and forward them to the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

– hindu

Orissa youth at WYD: In the name of our martyrs, we learn mercy

July 29, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Krakow, July 28, 2016: The martyrs of Orissa “spiritualy accompany not only us, but all the young Indian pilgrims. This is because their death has changed our faith, not in a deeper way but certainly making us more aware. Thanks to them and World Youth Day we learn mercy”, says John. He is 21 years old, from the “warrior” caste and comes from the diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. Accompanied by three priests, a group of 50 young people are in Krakow for the XXXI World Youth Day, and have among them a Hindu girl who is considering starting the catechumenate.

The Indian presence in Poland is not impressive: The Orissa delegation do not know the exact numbers, but estimated at about 500 fellow countrymen. However after Italy, France and Poland of course the Indians on the streets of the cultural capital of the country seem the most numerous: singing, involving other young people, bring their flags to every event.

John lost a close friend in the pogrom of 2008. Still today he carries a photograph in his wallet. “He is not a martyr – he tells AsiaNews – because he had no alternative to a violent death. Even in life he was not a hero. But for me his death, somewhat ‘normal’ way even if tragic, deepens our faith. If God chooses the humble to be his witnesses, my friend was one of them”.

On 23 August 2008, a Maoist group killed Hindu leader Saraswati Laxanananda in his ashram, in Kandhamal District, a fact the group readily admitted. However, the followers of the radical Hindu cleric blamed Christians, whom he had criticised for a long time because of their social involvement with tribals and Dalits (outcaste) and had accused – along with bishops, priests and nuns – of proselytising.

In Kandhamal, Hindu extremists unleashed the most violent persecution against the Christian minority that India had ever seen. Overall, the pogrom forced 55,000 Christians to flee, with 5,600 houses and 415 villages raided and set on fire. According to government figures, 38 people were killed and two women raped. Scores of people were injured and permanently maimed. The Church and social activists reported instead the destruction of almost 300 churches, plus convents, schools, hostels and welfare facilities. At least 91 people died, 38 immediately, 41 from injuries sustained in the violence, and 12 in police action.

John’s friend, Rajesh, was one of the victims “not counted”. The government says the boy, “is considered a so-called ‘white’ death because the victim died of a stray gunshot wound. To me that’s okay, I do not seek revenge. I would perhaps like to see more justice, but this is an evil that affects India and the whole world”. The trip to Poland “is an opportunity for me to remember him. During one of the morning catechesis in Hindi I spoke of his death, and many people asked me more”.

John is not only a regular of the catechetical meetings and appointments with Pope Francis, who tonight will meet with young people in Blonie Park for the first major youth event. The young Indian spent two days prior to the beginning of the WYD in close contact with one of the priests of the vocational centers scattered around the city. Like every WYD, the Krakow edition it is not only dedicated to the theme chosen by the Pope – this year “Blessed are the merciful” – but also of the sacrament of reconciliation and vocations.

This experience “satisfied me beyond belief. The theme chosen by my companion was ‘come and see’, which I know is a very common theme in European vocational centers. And indeed I did: he took me to a seminary, we spoke with a contemplative religious, but most of all I was heard in a way I had never been listened to before”. The young man concludes: “I feel a love that I can not express at heart. Perhaps it is the Lord who calls me, perhaps not. But I could not go home without talking to a priest”.

– asianews

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