Sunday, December 09, 2007

EAT AVOCADOS, forget taliban as you can't do nothing about it:

They are coming, the Taliban

The rapid increase in cadres and influence of the Taliban should be a matter of serious concern to everybody, particularly to us Indians. We have the third largest Muslim population in the world.

The Taliban regards India as a kind of Kafiristan, the land of infidels because the vast majority of us are non-Muslims.

For them to wage war against us is religious obligation (Jehad), being killed in that war is Shahadat martyrdom. Their main bases are Afghanistan and the north-western part of Pakistan. The Pakistan government is fighting a losing war against them. It has already lost large areas to them, its soldiers are reluctant to fight their own countrymen and desertions on alarming scale are reported.

Pakistan is a nuclear power and has a stockpile of nuclear bombs. The United States is alarmed at the prospect of Taliban getting hold of these deadly weapons of mass destruction and is helping the Pakistan government to guard against that eventuality.

It is ironical that it was the United States and Pakistan that between them created this hydra-headed Frankenstein monster.

The Taliban are a neo-fundamentalist movement recruited from students (Talibs) of mosque schools and madrasas. It was organised into a military force by Americans and Pakistanis which liberated Afghanistan from Soviet occupation. The movement was led by Mulla Mohammad Omar. It ruled Afghanistan for four years. It was recognised only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the Arab Emirates; the United Nations turned down its application for membership for its discriminatory treatment of women. It introduced medieval rules of justice.

Conversion from Islam, to any religion was punishable with death; women caught in adultery were stoned to death, for petty crimes like theft hands were chopped off; girls schools were closed down; woman denied jobs and put in burqas. If you want to read a graphic description of the havoc caused by the Taliban, read the Afghan writer Khalid Hosseini's two novels: The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Why should we be alarmed by the Taliban? It is they who infiltrate into our part of Kashmir and cause mayhem and murder; it is they who explode bombs in our temples, mosques, dargahs and market places. They are trained killers and highly motivated. If they could bomb New York’s Trade Centre and the Pentagon in Washington, they will find softer targets in India. More than anything else, their nefarious activities give sustenance to our religious fanatics of the RSS, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the BJP. We are caught between the two arms of a nut-cracker.

Experiment to prosper
About 10 years ago, I happened to be in Bangalore. I have many friends there. Amongst the closest is Nirmala Mathan who I befriended during my long stint in Bombay. Together we explored many little known temples in the city. Among the purchases I made was basketful of avocado pears to bring home to Delhi. I am passionately fond of avocados, which cost a bomb in Delhi as they are flown in from Bangalore.

I introduced them to Nirmala’s cuisine. She had me plant one in her home in Langford street, Richmond Gardens. A fortnight ago she sent me six of the first crop of the tree. They were the largest in size and the best-tasting avocados, I had eaten anywhere in Europe, America or Mexico where they originated and are an integral pat of Mexican diet.

I have a hunch avocados can be the answer to India’s quest for wholesome food.

I keep forcing avocado seeds (they are the size of Golf balls) on friends who own land or have garden space. We also have to cultivate a taste for them because they taste bland like butter.

There are dozens of ways they can be eaten as salad, made into cream flavoured with olive oil and vinegar, mashed with potatoes etc. They can be grown just about everywhere in our country.


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