Archive for May, 2012


Oh Nijaam — Amir Khusro

Beholding your appearance, Oh Nijaam
I offer myself in sacrifice.
Amongst all the girls, my scarf is the most soiled,
Look, the girls are laughing at me.
This spring, please dye my scarf for me,
Oh Nijaam, protect my honour.
In the name of Ganj-e Shakar (Nizamuddin Aulia’s pir),
Protect my honour, Oh beloved Nijaam.
Qutab and Farid have come in the wedding procession,
And Khusrau is the loving bride, Oh Nijaam.
Some have to fight with the mother-in-law,
While some with sisters-in-law,
But I have you for support, Oh Nijaam. —-Amir Khusro

 

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What are the odds. A team which is placed 6th in its country’s league ie English Premier League goes on to win not only FA CUP of 2012 but infact Champions league 2012. Chelsea has finally made history, it won Champions League for the 1st time and certainly not the last. Those fans of Manchester United who thought that “Manchester, the city” is represented by them only and so is English premier league certainly must have got a BIG wake up call. Premier League was won by Manchester City, their first in 44 years and new European Champions won their first since inception of the club in 1907.

The more I see the blogs and news about Chelsea’s win the more desire I have to rub the win into the faces of those self appointed “greatest club” in England, Manchester United fans. I think NOW it is time to take a break from that self proclaimed non-sense (which can be called sycophancy) which the club and its pseudo fans all across the globe so fancied (their way of feeling THE power).

 Most importantly please go and tell those CRY babies GERMAN media to get a life, stop shitting them self so much they might get Cholera. Then will have to read Love in the time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez  to get through daily life and find love. (A Spanish plot, wait didn’t the Spanish also CRUSHED them with 3 Spanish players in the Chelsea Team.)

The above graph clearly shows that even though BAYERN Munich had the most possessions. It takes few shots to make the day (though Drogba must be delighted after a scare that he got during the match). Time and again Frank Lampard, the NO 8 of Chelsea and stand-in captain (who I think should be the captain) showed his leadership skill finely.

The victory is against odds as the Coach himself was fired ( Andre Villas-Boas who was sacked 9 months into the Job for not producing results by Abramovich (The Russian oil barron). Andre Villas-Boas was assistant to the “The Special One“, Jose Mourinho )

The win is a great one but it seems that Torres was unhappy at not being in the starting line up, so an issue brewing there.Now  the latest thing on the mind of every Chelsea fan is who will be the Manager of the team. Without doubt  Roberto Di Matteo has done a remarkable job as a care taker (being ex-Chelsea player, his passion was never short for the team). One hopes that  Roberto Di Matteo will be rewarded by Abramovich. Though as the reports suggest that it is not a sure give away.  Plus reports suggests that 34 year Drogba will be let go as his age doesnot fits into the future plans of a young team by Abramovich. (what a pity)

Now as a Fan all I desire is that Chelsea win it next time too. The champions league, Premier league and FA cup 2013. The Torres issue will eventually be settled but the news that Abramovich might sell the team as his goal of being the European Champions is fulfilled  is something on which one can’t comment on and have no idea how it might have impact on Chelsea’s future. The Dubai’s family brought Manchester city and pumped loads of money into it which led to change in the teams fortune .  So money was an aspect on which Chelsea was build on. I read an interesting article on this regard in guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/21/success-chelsea-manchester-city-high-price?CMP=twt_gu

What ever may happen in the future, the  history will remember one thing. The FA  Cup 2012 and UEFA Champions League 2012 belonged to Chelsea.

Bride by Amir Khusro

You’ve taken away my looks, my identity, by just a glance.
By making me drink the wine of love-potion,
You’ve intoxicated me by just a glance;
My fair, delicate wrists with green bangles in them,
Have been held tightly by you with just a glance.
I give my life to you, Oh my cloth-dyer,
You’ve dyed me in yourself, by just a glance.
I give my whole life to you Oh, Nijam,
You’ve made me your bride, by just a glance. —-Amir Khusro

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It has been a while since I watched Alain de Botton talk on TED.com talk about Atheism 2.0 and most importantly his idea of Institutionalizing  atheism. He is curious like many as to how the world over religions work. The various components they employ which are so similar in pattern.

How the religions are so efficient in getting the jobs done or more importantly get ideas across ?

Thing which fascinated me more was when he said that organizational capabilities of various religions could be studied and employed on the corporate scenario.

One wonders the amount of efficiency one could achieve and it also gives deep insight into how many spiritual gurus use organizational building skills to build and strength their religions. It made me think that religion as whole is an amalgamation of music therapy, counseling therapy, group counseling, color therapy, meditation, building exercise strategies, loss coping exercises and confidence building exercises.

His comment which stood out and set the course for the 20 minute speech was very interesting (something of a view which I kind of subscribe to)

I think there is an alternative. I think there are ways — and I’m being both very respectful and completely impious — of stealing from religions. If you don’t believe in a religion, there’s nothing wrong with picking and mixing, with taking out the best sides of religion. And for me, atheism 2.0 is about both, as I say, a respectful and an impious way of going through religions and saying, “What here could we use?”

what strikes most in his conversation is a different view point that he brings into Atheism and how many people appreciate little things in many religions and are not harsh and dismissive about them out right. They however choose to dwell over them, choose to think about them and see how it is impacting many people’s lives and how psychologist (more so behavior psychologist ) could learn from such studies of human society.

The points being that people enjoy many holidays like Christmas carols, Diwali light, the colors of Holi, the mysticism of sufi saints (their poetry and songs to be precise), the hard-work oriented martial and spiritual nature of the Sikhs and constant evolutionary, inquisitive and peaceful learning of the Buddhists. The most important point being that CULTURE of any nation leads to the guidance and morality which is build in the people (children to be precise) and sustained through their life via ritualistic norms.

Finally, while having a conversation with the host , Alain de Botton talks how we can agree to disagree, which is a trait which could certainly handy in Democracies of the world and in handling sensitive issues.

Though a contrary view point that I got on another blog said that religion isn’t a salad bar, where you can nibble on the parts you like and elide the nasty bits; the pieces fit together to form a larger whole. ” this is utter horseshit, because exactly this thing happens in religion all the time. ever hear of syncretism?

Well that may be but what needs to be seen in the context is that many new religions were formed on those very doctrines, nibbling on the salads and reforming the old views and loop holes, eg : Christianity from Judaism, Islam from both Christianity and Judaism plus other local religions, Buddhism and Jainism from Hinduism and Sikhism from Islam and Hinduism. So may be he  (Alain de Botton ) is about to form a new religion as the  host suggested  or  he has given us good reason to think about religions and how they are build and sustained.  One can say that then it amounts to very fascinating piece for sociology lecture though not sermon (as I doubt sermons are up for debates)  🙂

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Khalil Gibran On Beauty

Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?
And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The aggrieved and the injured say, “Beauty is kind and gentle.
Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us.”
And the passionate say, “Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread.
Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us.”

The tired and the weary say, “Beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit.
Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow.”
But the restless say, “We have heard her shouting among the mountains,
And with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions.”

At night the watchmen of the city say, “Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east.”
And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say,
“We have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset.”

In winter say the snow-bound, “She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills.”
And in the summer heat the reapers say,
“We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves,
and we saw a drift of snow in her hair.”
All these things have you said of beauty,
Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,
And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

Over the years there has been a raging debate in the world society of late regarding the cousin and same clan marriages. The south Asian societies usually had a traditional system where it was avoided to be married into one’s own clan and that too of your mother, thereby propagating conventional wisdom that cousin marriages are absolutely NO-NO.

Same is the case for the American society where cousin marriages are frowned upon baring President Roosevelt who married his distant cousin (one doubts however that there has been some other, with cousin marriage who may have become president of United Sates of America). Though, the phenomenon of cousin marriages was usually among the royals of Europe, who use to use it to keep the bloodline “PURE”.

Similarly the tribes of Middle East have massive levels of cousin marriages which is no way related with Islamic practice in particular or is in Quran but a lot to do with the tribal norms of certain tribe (particularly of Arab societies). When a certain group becomes socio-economically powerful then they exert their own “ideologies” on others without understanding the consequences of it. Thereby, trying to institutionalize it via a religious norm in order to propagate authority. Though now with introduction of genetic research being carried out in Arabian countries, the lawmakers of the region understand the fallacy of such unions.

Over the years, scientists have performed genetic evaluations and research in order to find the answers regarding Spanish Habsburg Dynasty’s EXTINCTION.

Habsburg Dynasty was one of the most powerful dynasties in the world who commanded large amount of Europe for over 200 years since 1516–1700. The members of the dynasty frequently married close relatives in such a way that uncle-niece, first cousins and other consanguineous unions were prevalent in that dynasty. In the historical literature, it has been suggested that inbreeding was a major cause responsible for the extinction of the dynasty when the king Charles II, physically and mentally disabled, died in 1700 and no children were born from his two marriages. When Charles II died in 1700 the line of the Spanish Habsburgs died with him and a new dynasty- the French Bourbons- was installed in Spain.

Though many in Spain never got to analyze the genomes of the members of dynasty but there was a widespread belief that it was something rotten in their bloodline which resulted in their end (as staunch Roman Catholics donot like the concept of cousin marriages).

The issue of incestuous or cousin relationship could be seen in the book by Gabriel García Márquez named One Hundred years of solitude (my guess is that Spanish society still is fascinated about the entire Habsburg Dynasty extinction issue and writers try to experiment or play and test with the issue.) . However the book is not only that, it offers an in-depth account to settlers of Europe in South America, a must read and one recommends it with two thumbs up.

Coming back to topic of Habsburg Dynasty. Charles II, was dubbed El Hechizado (“The Hexed”), was the produce of an uncle-niece marriage — Phillip IV with his niece Mariana of Austria. His grandfather Philip III was also born of an uncle-niece marriage — Philip II with his niece Anna of Austria.

According to contemporary writings, he was short and weak and suffered from intestinal problems and sporadic hematuria (the presence of red blood cells in the urine). He did not speak until age 4 and did not walk until age 8.Such detrimental health effects are often seen in children of consanguineous marriage because they are more likely to inherit rare deleterious recessive versions of genes. Charles II’s disorders and illnesses are also evidence of the inbreeding of the line.

The high degree of relatedness of these rulers’ parents combined with the remote inbreeding in the lineage likely had a significant impact on the eventual extinction of the line.

There was a stark rate of infant and child mortality in the Habsburg families. Only about 60 percent of infants survived to age 1, and only half of the children born to the dynasty survived to age 10, compared with about 80 percent survival of infants in Spanish villages at the time.

Gonzalo Alvarez from the University of Santiago de Compostela has confirmed that inbreeding indeed was the reason for the extinction of this dynasty. He traced the pedigree of the entire line back through 16 generations, including over 3,000 people.

For each person, he calculated a figure called the “inbreeding coefficient”, symbolised by the letter F. It measures the probability that a person with two identical copies of a gene inherited both from the same ancestor. For example, a child born to cousins has an F value of 0.0625, but it becomes much higher if the parents come from a long line of inbred couples. The higher the value, the greater the degree of inbreeding in that lineage.

It is more like this suppose paternal grandfather has certain issue in his immune system; say Hemophilia genetic disorders which mean the body’s inability to control bleeding. The bleeding might be exterior, if the skin is broken by a cut, scrape, or abrasion, or it can be interior, into joints, muscles, or organs which are hollow. Here after a wound the body does not heal easily.

If a grandfather has that gene, the same will be passed onto the sons and daughters. If the grandchildren marry ie perform cousin marriages then it would lead to exponential increase in the faulty genome which would aggravate the problem of Hemophilia in the offspring.

There has been research going on in Arab world, wherein after the economic rise of middle east owing to the success of Oil wealth, the sheiks are trying to solve the genetic disease parameters and the young are resisting the age old tradition of cousin marriages.

The inbreeding coefficient of the Spanish Habsburg kings increased strongly along generations from 0.025 for king Philip I, the founder of the dynasty, to 0.254 for Charles II and several members of the dynasty had inbreeding coefficients higher than 0.20. In addition to inbreeding due to unions between close relatives, ancestral inbreeding from multiple remote ancestors makes a substantial contribution to the inbreeding coefficient of most kings. A statistically significant inbreeding depression for survival to 10 years is detected in the progenies of the Spanish Habsburg kings. The results indicate that inbreeding at the level of first cousin (F = 0.0625) exerted an adverse effect on survival of 17.8% 612.3. It is speculated that the simultaneous occurrence in Charles II (F = 0.254) of two different genetic disorders: combined pituitary hormone deficiency and distal renal tubular acidosis, determined by recessive alleles at two unlinked loci, could explain most of the complex clinical profile of this king, including his impotence/infertility which in last instance led to the extinction of the dynasty.

The formula for F, the inbreeding coefficient is:   FI = Σ (0.5)i X ( 1 + FA )

If drift becomes powerful enough it can lead the population toward extinction through mutational meltdown.

When miscarriages, stillbirths and neonatal deaths were removed from the analysis, the inbreeding effect on survival to 10 years was found more consistent and both multiple and logistic regressions show a clear inbreeding depression in the inbred offspring.

In short cousin marriages is an issue, however the laws of the Europe still do not prohibit incestuous relationship (a byproduct of ultra-liberalism which does not takes into account scientific evaluation), though it is been said that having children is a cause since grown up adults can have any form of sexual relation. There are certain states in Unites States too where incest has been legalize but the offspring of such a union is without doubt not considered healthy by the genetics scientists.

Therefore certain societies prohibit cousin marriages or marrying into the same clans. It has been prevalent among south Asian and central Asian societies but with arrival of Islam and with influence of Arabic culture things started changing in south and central Asia. Even for that matter Prophet Mohammad himself said on many occasions that if you want to have fit and strong child do not marry into your own clan.

It has been found in many of the Pakistani British families that they exists an inbreeding depression syndrome which have led to pre mature deaths of many kids. The govt of Britain chooses not to interfere as it may turn into a political fight where they may be accused of islamophobia but fact and rationality of genetics give credibility to practice of not marrying your cousins and into your clan.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/firstcousin-marriages-come-under-scrutiny-7626995.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1394119/Its-time-confront-taboo-First-cousin-marriages-Muslim-communities-putting-hundreds-children-risk.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1392217/Muslim-outrage-professor-Steve-Jones-warns-inbreeding-risks.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2001821/Why-need-action-end-tragedy-disabled-babies-born-Muslims-marry-cousins.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1305078/TAZEEN-AHMAD-Three-uncles-deaf-Five-aunts-died-babies-Why-My-grandparents-cousins-married.html

I must say that one found very interesting statistics on razib Khan’s blog that

The highest levels of inbreeding in major populations have been found in urban Pondicherry (South India) and among army families in Pakistan where 54.9% and 77.1% of marriages are consanguineous, respectively…In Pondicherry 20.2% of marriages are uncle-niece and 31.3% first cousins, whereas in the Pakistan study 62.5% of marriages are between first cousins.

The question finally boils down to that should we be so selfish that it may affect our future generations or using words like liberalization or modernization we are trying to live in a world of self denial and illusion. As passing of law prohibiting such unions is always considered to be regressive but having children out of close relatives or within ones own clan which sets in regressive gene is not consider regressive.

References for people who wish to read more on this topic and wish to have a look at original research :

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0005174

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2009/04/inbreeding-the-downfall-of-the-spanish-hapsburgs/

http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/04/how_inbreeding_killed_off_a_line_of_kings.php

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090312125403.htm

http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/v73/n4/abs/hdy1994183a.html

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