People in Pakistan are being attacked left and right by two evil groups: Pakistani Taliban terrorists and perpetrators of sectarian violence (e.g., Sunnis slaying Shias and vice versa). It was the former who gunned down 132 children and 9 adults and injured many at a military school in the city of Peshawar on December 16, 2014.

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An excerpt from the recent book World Order by Henry Kissinger, now 91, appeared in the Times of India Edit Page. The author, a former United States Secretary of State, writes that according to the Bhagavad Gita and the Arthashastra, it is acceptable to kill one’s enemies, ignore the morality issues.

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A family visits an astrologer to know an auspicious date and time for an engagement or a wedding in the family, or for moving into a new home. Parents of a child ask an astrologer to make a booklet that will have the child’s janmaxar (horoscope) and a summary of the child’s future. An entrepreneur consults one before starting a new venture. Astrology has many believers in India.

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"War [with India] is not an option," said the office of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a statement at the conclusion of a Pakistan's National Security Committee meeting in which the recent gun fires along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir was discussed. If "war is not an option" then Pakistan should ask anyone living near the LoC if a skirmish is an option.

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The fans of Narendra Modi are angry at those who are criticizing him, the way a newly married man is angry at his parents and family members for criticizing his new wife. "How dare you chide a new bahu!" the man roars, give her some time to show what she can do for our family. The supporters of Prime Minister Modi, who assumed office on 26 May 2014, are saying the same thing: give him some time to show what he can do for our country.

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A troubling trend is emerging that indicates more and more candidates with legal cases against them are elected to Parliament, the highest law making institution in India. Ten years ago, 24% of Members of Parliament (MPs) were accused of breaking laws. This figure then jumped to 30% in 2009, and now it stands at 34% in 2014.

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Some of our politicians run for public offices for fame, some for power, many for money, and the rest for combinations of two or three.  So, when we see our leaders on televisions or see their pictures in newspapers or hear them talk, we know they have become famous.  When see them in designer clothes or driving expensive cars or living in nice homes, we know they have become wealthy. 

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The 2014 general election for India's House of the People (Lok Sabha in Hindi) is winding down. The airplanes, buses, cars, helicopters, and trains carrying the candidates and canvassers will soon reach the regions where the remaining voters are awaiting the chance to cast their ballots.  It is, however, unlikely that these voters are going to hear, see, or read anything new.

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Parents in India hope or somewhat expect that their children will follow in their footsteps.  So, actors’ children become actors; doctors’ kids become doctors; industrialists’ progenies become business owners. Believing in this tradition, one public leader’s four generations followed his footprints fittingly.

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The candidates have filed their nomination papers.  All the rest, commonly in demand during election season, is already in place: astrologers, camera crews, election officers, the police, pollsters, pundits, reporters, supporters, and voters.  The 2014 election for India’s House of the People, also called the Lower House of Parliament (or Lok Sabha in Hindi) is about to start. 

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The state of Bihar has rough and rugged topography, some adivasi people, and the nation of Nepal as neighbor. Its infrastructure is poor and revenue meager. And, last year, it was identified as one of the least developed state in India by a central government appointed panel.

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The book The Hindus: An Alternative History by an American author Wendy Doniger has generated a controversy in India.  In an out-of-court settlement, Penguin Books India has reportedly agreed to pull the plug on Doniger’s book and has further agreed to pulp her book’s copies.

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