In the aftermath of Pathankot terror attack, India and Pakistan has exhibited lot
of maturity which is a revelation in itself. Earlier whenever Pakistan based terrorist
group carried out terror attacks in India, it use to create tension in the region.
Pakistan use to out-rightly reject involvement of their citizen even if the evidence
is provided. On the other hand Indian leaders would talk of bombing Pakistan in retaliation.
Ultimate sufferer use to be peace initiative. However this time both the countries
have shown restrain and deserves appreciation for it.
Indian leaders did not issue any hostile statement despite deep sense of betrayal.
The attack took place just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Lahore
to greet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Shariff on his birthday. Modi had put his
own image at stake by initiating peace process with Pakistan. India shared all the
initial evidence collected from the attack site with Pakistan. The Pakistanis also
acted swiftly on the evidence presented by India. Raids were conducted across Pakistan
and arrests were made. This is for the first time Pakistani establishment have shown
such promptness. In another welcome sign, Foreign Secretary-level talks between India
and Pakistan has been rescheduled and not cancelled. Many feared that talks will
be cancelled. Infact today ministry of external affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup
issued a statement welcoming Pakistan government's statement on Pathankot Attack
probe that considerable progress has been made against terror elements involved in
the attack. It is also expected that an investigating team from Pakistan will soon
visit India to gather more evidence. The maturity shown by leaders of both the hostile
neighbours is encouraging and augurs well for the future. Hopefully FS level talks
will be held at the earliest. Dialogue is the only way forward to resolve the outstanding
issues straining the relation between India and Pakistan.
Hitting the Base and the Superstructure: Yet another 9/11?
The terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 is significant because it fundamentally
questioned the prevailing sense of security and the political structures that had
been established to provide it. It can be well perceived that the attacks were directed
not just at physical targets but at representations of power. No building symbolized
the neoliberal economic world order better than the twin towers of the World Trade
Centre, and no building symbolizes the military might of the United States better
than the Pentagon. The White House, the target for a failed third attack, would have
been the perfect representation of political power. Can we, then, say that the brazen
attack at the Pathankot Air Force Base on the 2nd of January 2016 was a similar assault
on the military structures of India? The whole world had just stepped into a new
year when heavily armed Pakistani terrorists attempted to storm the Air Force base
with the obvious intention of destroying fighter jets and helicopters housed there
leaving a deep impact on the recesses of our consciousness. The shock experience
of both 9/11 and the Pathankot macabre can be linked to a fundamental breach of security,
for security had come to be associated with the integrity and sovereignty of the
The terrorist attack at Pathankot represents a different type of threat, one that
cannot easily be anticipated, nor prevented, through prevailing state-based structures
of security. The conflict was not launched with conventional military equipment but
with simple and unanticipated means. The attack itself took place in surprise, revealing
a fundamental weakness in the state’s intelligence apparatus. Unlike 26/11 Mumbai
terror attacks, this particular one wasn’t aimed at civilian, although India certainly
lost some brave souls, but at the very heart of a military target. “The creation
of symbols seems to be hard-wired into human brains and human personalities,” said
Christopher Simpson, professor of communications at American University in Washington,
D.C. “People build symbols to try and express themselves, and these expressions reflect
their culture.” Political and religious movements wrap their ideology and goals in
symbols such as crucifix, swastika, hammer and sickle- or buildings and monuments.
These symbols make a statement and evoke potent emotions. Touch the Sky with Glory
is the hallmark crest of the Indian Air Force which is the fourth largest air force
in the world. The use of symbolism in armed struggle has been extremely effective
historically both as motivation for one’s own forces and to instill fear in one’s
enemy. The Pathankot attack was a strategic maneuvering on the part of the terrorists
to disorganize, terrorize and disrupt the military infrastructure and activities
at the IAF base.
The terrorist needs to publicize his attack. If no one knows about it, it will not
produce fear. The need for publicity often drives target selection; the greater the
symbolic value of the target, the more publicity the attack brings to the terrorists
and the more fear it generates.
Since the rhetoric of terrorism is largely non-verbal (though many terrorist attacks
are followed by claims of responsibility and explanation), symbols play an important
role in creating meaningful messages, and consequently become central to the mission
and effectiveness of terrorism. The Twin towers of the WTC stood as the very image
of globalization, capitalism, and Western economic superiority, their collapse both
exposed and symbolized ‘the vulnerability of governmental power and the fragile nature
of the dominant cultural worldview. Psychology discusses the effect of symbols on
the human mind, and gives insight into why the rhetoric of terrorism may be conducted
partly through symbols. The attacks, more often than not, create fewer casualties
than might be expected by the magnitude of the news they generate; however, such
acts leave potent signs and images indelibly impressed upon our minds. The significance
of their message creates interference and anxiety in the form of powerful psychological
noise in our daily lives.
Relations between India and Pakistan have been complex due to a number of historical
and political events. The tussle between the two states have been defined by the
violent partition of British India in 1947, the Kashmir conflict and the numerous military
conflicts fought between the two nations. Consequently, even though the two South
Asian nations share linguistic, cultural, geographic, and economic links, their relationship
has been plagued by hostility and suspicion. The recent attack has caused a nation-wide
tremor, the reverberations of which would be felt for years. Hoping against hope,
will the Joint Investigation Team probe into the matter seriously? We are all doting
on Pakistan to lead the way this time.
Department of English
Build it safer
An earthquake moves the ground. It can be sudden movement, but more often, it is
a series of shock moves at short intervals, moving the land up and down and from
side to side.
All building can carry their own weight vertically; so even badly built building
can resist some movements, but building are not necessarily resistant to side to
side loads, so it is important to take it into account during the structural engineering
design and construction phase with some earthquake proof measure.
The extra weight produces great forces on the building and helps in collapse. The
more weight there is and the higher the building, the stronger, the building and
its foundation must be to be resistant to earthquakes. In lots of multi storey building,
the floor and roofs are just resting on the walls held there by their own weight;
it can result in a floor and roof falling off its support and crushing down.
When designing earthquake safe structure, the first consideration is to make the
highest bit, the roofs as light as possible, this is best done with profiled steel
cladding on light gauge steel zed purlins.
If it is flat floor, this could be made with a galvanized steel decking and solid
insulation boards, and topped with a special membrance having slope of about 2 degree.
It’s your home, make it safer.
Madhu Tok ,
With India’s population increasing steadily and rising living standards the demand
for meeting its energy challenge in a sustainable manner is the pressing need. The
need of the hour is to develop renewable energy solutions like solar power for sustainable
& cost effective energy solution. Hope the union budget paves way with right policies
to make India’s solar power dream a reality