Saturday, April 9, 2011

9 April

Today is the day when the 2003 invasion of Iraq reached a milestone in its long journey.
9 April 2003, US took control of the capital city Baghdad.
The photograph which made to the front-pages of almost every other news-paper in the world the next day was the photograph showing the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue.
The 12 meter high statue was built in April 2002 to honor Saddam on his 65'th birthday.
In the media, the event was published as follows....
When a bunch of local Iraqis could not take down the statue,once the city was captured, a US armored vehicles was instrumental in toppling the statue. The media coverage shows photographs with a considerable crowd cheering and celebrating the fall of Saddam's regime.
The event and photograph became a symbol for the fall of Saddam. Interestingly, most of the Arab world had been thinking of Iraq having upper hand in the war till then.

But later it was claimed that the scenes as were made to appear, were different.
The photograph of people celebrating was said to have been modified and crowd was added digitally to make it look bigger. The supposed "locals" who tried taking the statue down and later  celebrated were in fact brought down from other places by the military. Just to give a bigger appearance to the whole event.

 US Army's Psychological Operations division is said to have been involved in setting things up. Yeah, they have such division. In layman's terms, they are the one's who take control of the propaganda once the US military has taken over. Wikipedia- "The purpose of United States psychological operations (PSYOP) is to induce or reinforce behavior favorable to US objectives"

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2 April

Dhoni hits his powerful six over the long-on boundary and the Indian world erupts....

They did it. After 28 years,they lift the the world cup once again.
What a way. What a way.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

29 March

Mangal Pandey and Mohamed Bouazizi. These two people are connected by 29 March and for being sources of rebellion in their respective countries. Read more...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

27 March

27 March, 1973.

Marlon Brando's performance in The Godfather won him the Academy Awards for best actor.
A dedicated participant in the African-American civil right movement and a supporter of the Native American cause,Marlon Brando refused to accept the Oscar.

Sacheen Littlefeather appeared in front of the audience in the award ceremony on behalf of Brando. She was a Native American Activist. She explained that owing to the "poor treatment of the Native Americans in the film industry" Brando had denied accepting the award.
This happened on the backdrop of the recent events at "Wounded Knee" .The place "Wounded Knee" was taken over by Native Americans which resulted in a stand-off between them and US authorities.
Marlon Brando's refusal gave media attention to the Native American issue in US and worldwide and was considered a major event in the Native American Movement.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

26 March

Chipko Andolan

March 26, 1974.

Chipko movement did not start today.Well, not technically. But the landmark moment in the movement's history came on this day in 1974 when a group of local peasant women in Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India prevented the felling of trees by hugging them. At a time when there was hardly any environmental movement going on India or any other developing nation, for that matter, this movement captured the attention of the world.

Among the pioneers of the movement were Chandi Prasad Bhatt (who was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay award for the same) and Sundarlal Bahuguna (who first 'politely' refused the Padma  Shree in 1989 but was recently awarded the Padma  Bhushan in 2009.)

The movement was a great success as it resulted in bans on commercial felling of trees in the Himalayan forests. It is regarded as a socio-economic revolution since it brought the control of the forests and its resources to the local people from the hands of a babu who did not care anyway.

Read the wiki link for more about Sundarlal Bahuguna:

During the Anti- Tehri Dam protests he said:

"We in Himalaya are facing a crisis of survival due to the suicidal activities being carried out in the name of development... The monstrous Tehri dam is a symbol of this... There is need for a new and long-term policy to protect the dying Himalaya. I do not want to see the death of the most sacred river of the world - the Ganga - for short-term economic gains."

--Sunderlal Bahuguna

The dam was completed in 2006.

-- Post by Khanderao

Thursday, March 24, 2011

24 March

24 March 1906. The census of the British Empire shows that England rules a fifth of the world population.  The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom.
They went on to control a fourth of the world population in 1922 in all the continents.

The night of 24 March 1943,76 Allied prisoners of war attempt an intelligent plan to escape the POW camp at Stalag Luft III. After well thought and planned contruction of tunnels 76 crawled out that night. The 77'th prisoner was seen crawling out and the guards were alerted. Of the 76 escapees 73 were recaptured.The Gestapo executed 50 of the captured POW's.

"The Great Escape" released in 1963, reproduces the brave and intelligent mass escape.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

23 March

Bhagat Singh,Rajguru and Sukhdev, revolutionaries of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association were executed by the British Indian Government on 23 March 1931.
They were sentenced to be hanged till death for their involvement in the Suanders murder case.
Apart from the murder case, Bhagat Singh was also involved in the bombing in the Central  Assembly.
Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt had planned to explode a bomb in the Central Legislative Assembly where the Defence of India Act was going to be passed. The purpose of the act was mainly to curb revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh and gave large power to the police.
The bomb was prepared to have no substantial power which could cause injury.It was just to create a loud noise,which would figuratively "open the ears of the deaf government".
Bhagat Singh and Dutt threw leaflets stating these reasons and gave themeselves up for the arrest. Shouting "Inquilab Zindabad" as police handcuffed them.
Getting arrested was part of the plan to spread the revolution and connect with the people during the hearings. Due to British propaganda Hindustan Socialist Republican party members were more like terrorists for the common people. The hearings acted as podium for Bhagat to share their fundamentals and motives with Indians.
As a protest against unequal treatment in the prison Bhagat and his comrades went on hunger strike for 63 days. The government had to give in to their demands,but Bhagat's motives were successful,people had started understanding his ideals. The strike made him popular outside Punjab for the first time.
The 1931 Irwin pact was a truce between Congress and British government. The pact resulted in freeing thousands of political prisoners involved in Non-cooperation movement. Gandhi,a very open admirer of Bhagat Singh's patriotism did plead for the commutation of the death sentences but was not successful.
The executions were preponed fearing backlash.But they did infact cause a stir in the region.The executions were protested in assembly and Indian politicians criticised government for not carrying out the sentence.They feared the events could jeopardise the peaceful atmosphere in the country.
Some of the snippets of the news articles published aftewards give an account of the consequences of the executions.
Sukhdev,Rajguru Bhagat Singh,who always believed in martyrdom became examples of fierce patriotism for many Indian generations to follow.

- Swapnil,Khanderao.

P.S. : The authors feel they have not been able to express the significance and importance of the martyrdom of the great revolutionaries completely with their words. But the dedication and patriotism of Bhagat, Sukhdev and Rajguru  was unparalleled and we should always remember the hard-work and sufferings of all those who fought for independent India. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

22 March


Nguyen Thi Ly, 9, who suffers from Agent Orange disabilities. Award winning and renowed photographer Ed Kashi took her photograph during his July 2010 trip as a Vietnam Reporting Project fellow.
The photograph won him World Press Photo's 2'nd prize in Contemprary issues.

On 22 March 1965* US government confirmed that they used chemical weapons against North Vietnamese army during the Vietnam war. 
The Vietnam war was one of the toughest war fought by US. They were up against guerrilla forces taking cover in the dense forests of Vietnam.
A chemical code-named Agent Orange was basically used as herbicide and defoliant by US military. US government initially stated that the herbicide was used over crop fields as those crops would feed the enemy North Vietnamese. This was also an effort to move peasants to US dominated cities,depriving guerillas the rural support.Further,the defoliants would destroy the cover of forest over the enemy.
Later it was found that Agent Orange was contaminated with an extremely toxic dioxin compound. 
The Agent Orange was found to cause severe health effects on people getting in contact with it. In Vietnam,about 40000 were killed or severely effected due to Agent Orange. The effects were carried over to the next generation with about 500000 children born with congenital defects.
The spraying of these chemicals caused severe ecological disturbances too. Erosion, as result of loss of forest cover,soil losing fertile meant difficult reforestation. 
US veteran who fought in Vietnam couldnt escape the damages done by it either. Many of them suffered from skin problems,cancer,digestive and respiratory disorders.
US military was again suspected of using "unusual" weapons,though not Agent Orange, in Iraq. Especially,the abnormal conditions of the dead bodies of armed enemies and civilians killed in Battle of Fallujah raised doubts and questions against US military once again.


*- The date given here is taken from a website which maintains list of events that took place on a given date. The date couldn't be confirmed from secondary sources.Neverthless the events under consideration are the more important aspects.
#- The photograph shown is World Press Photo Award winning phorograph by Ed Kashi.
The authors do not intend to violate the copyrights. The authors thought that the issue at hand can not be more effectively justified by any other image.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

20 March

20 March 1977
Indira Gandhi loses her seat and general elections.
After the dissolution of LokSabha on 18 January earlier that year,elections were held between 16 to 20 March.
The elections in 1977 were the first after Indira Gandhi announced emergency in India.

This is the clip of a news article that appeared in a US daily with a rather strong point of view.

ABC news report on the evening of 20 March can be seen in this video on ABC's website.

Khanderao has more to share on this issue...

Indira Gandhi was the first woman prime minister of India. Atal Bihari Vajpayee called her Durgaa Ma after the war of 1971 that saw the liberation of Bangladesh. But the admiration was not to continue for long. Indira, fondly called Priyadarshini by Pt Nehru, was to become arguably the most controversial person in India’s Democracy during 1975-1977.

It was during this period that she advised then President of India Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to impose a state of emergency. (There is actually a provision in the Indian Constitution for this. Article 352.[Wikipedia]) . see the Article here :
What was the reason for the emergency to be imposed? It had become impossible for Indira Gandhi to continue as the Prime Minister of India after the Allahabad High Court found Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractices in the preceding elections which had seen her coming to power for the second time. It was famously termed firing the prime minister for a driving ticket by The Times. Another reason, is believed to be the railway strike brought about by George Fernandes - a socialist leader- and the events that followed. The emergency lasted for 21 months. Indira declared general elections after that. The Congress contested at more than 450 seats but could manage to win only 189 that too mainly because of the success in the southern states. Indira Gandhi had been rejected by the people of India. It was on this day in history that emergency came to an end.

In spite of all her shortcomings, she will also be noted for playing an important role in reviving India's nuclear program after Pandit Nehru, Green revolution and nationalization of banks.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

19 March-II

19 March 2003
       United States, Britain, Australia and Poland invade Iraq without United Nations sanction.
At 5:30 UTC US bombers started bombing a farm suspected of being visited by Saddam Hussein.
       Soon Baghdad was in the main target. US president G.W.Bush gave the following speech when people of Baghdad ran to save their lives amidst the bombings.
       The operation was called Operation Iraqi freedom.
        To know more: Watch
HBO miniseries, "Generation Kill",
the Academy award winning movie "The Hurt Locker" and
an award winning documentary to explore the faults in US post-war plans..."No end in sight"
"Like" us on Facebook: Today in History

The Bombings

19 March

19 March 1998.
 Atal Bihari Vaajpayee sworn in as 16'th Prime Minister of India.
More important thing to note in this appointment was the national agenda of BJP.
They declared they would keep the "nuclear options open."
Pakistan foreign ministry said National agenda of BJP led government is a "worrisome" document.
They also said that this could start a deadly nuclear arms race in the Indian sub-continent.
As we all know India did conduct 5 nuclear tests at Pokharan later in May and Pakistan followed.
More on that on 12'th May.