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 BOOK REVIEW

Pakistan and China: Iron Brothers
Andrew Small, The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics (C. Hurst & Co., U.K., 2015), xvi, pp.319.

F.S. Aijazuddin

Henry Kissinger’s book On China reminds one of the Great Wall. Long, meandering, formidable, it is designed to keep intruders away from the Inner Kingdom of his private papers. In comparison, Andrew Small’s The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics is akin to a Chinese ball puzzle - meticulously crafted, breathtaking in its detail, and articulated so that its seven chapters can rotate independently of each other.
Small spent over six years studying his subject. He describes it as ‘an intellectual orphan, falling between a variety of disciplines [because] the obstacles facing the analysts in their efforts to find reliable sources and establish facts make it that much more tempting to neglect.’
As if to compensate for that arid paucity, Small has compacted 180 pages of text with over 1,200 references. No chapter is longer than 26 pages; none has less than 100 references. The book is dense, not unlike the populations of China and Pakistan. 
In 1950, Pakistan was one of the first countries (certainly the first Muslim country) to recognise the re-minted People’s Republic of China. The Chinese have never forgotten that. Its support for Pakistan knows no seasons. That support began with diplomatic camaraderie, then gradually deepened into concentric levels of economic assistance, military know-how and materiel, missile development, nuclear technology, and most recently terrorism control.
Ever since its independence, Pakistan has been used by the United States, abused by the Soviet Union, opposed by India, and manipulated by Saudi Arabia. China however has shown a patriarchal tolerance towards its young neighbor, using (in Andrew Small’s words), ‘a blend of temperate support, gentle scolding, and steely pragmatism’. To China’s chagrin, a delinquent Pakistan ‘oscillates between hope, self-deception, public exaggeration, and resigned realism’.
Both China and Pakistan share borders with India; India shares an enmity with both.  According to an Indian diplomat quoted by Small, China views India as ‘a pretender too big for its boots’. His Pakistani counterpart believes China sees Pakistan as ‘a low-cost secondary deterrent to India’.  The Chinese prefer to watch India and Pakistan stay locked together in ‘a state of managed mistrust’.
The Chinese leadership, despite its assurances that ‘a distant friend is not as helpful as a near neighbour’, will never be able to dispel India’s wariness of its ambitions, however artfully these may be wrapped.  Schemes such as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road (President Xi Jinping’s ‘string of pearls’) merely accentuate India’s fear of encirclement. It is not alone. North Korea and Myanmar share its apprehensions.
Small’s thesis is that Pakistan forms ‘a central part of China’s transition from a regional power to a global one.’ That explains why China is determined to invest in Pakistan, and never tally the cost. ‘Pakistan’, General Xiong Guangkai once admitted with unusual candour, ‘is China’s Israel’.
Chinese technological support for Pakistan began in earnest during the 1970s.  It was soft and non-lethal in nature e.g., the Heavy Mechanical Complex and the Heavy Foundry Forge at Taxila.  However, during and particularly after Pakistan’s 1971 conflict with India over East Pakistan/Bangladesh, in which China extended moral, diplomatic and materiel support but refused to open a front on India, the level of cooperation entered a new phase.  
The Chinese became bolder, its aid more overt. Its assistance ballooned into mega projects such as the northern Karakoram Highway, the southern port of Gwadar (which a Chinese company operates and to which China has announced a commitment of over $30 billion), and two more nuclear power plants – Chashma III & IV – “to augment two supplied year earlier. These will cost China another $6.5 bn.
China’s trade with Pakistan in 2001 was close to $1.1 bn. This year, it is expected to reach $ 15 bn., making China Pakistan’s second largest trading partner.   Chinese investments in Pakistan have doubled over seven years.
Militarily, China has taken its own advice. It has taught Pakistan’s military how to fish. The Pakistan army now manufactures tanks locally (the Al Khalid). Pakistan makes short and medium range missiles  - the ballistic missile Shaheen I, M-11 missiles, and the Babur cruise missile based on the Hong Niao Chinese prototype. (Small tells us that Pakistan could have made them on its own; it would have taken ‘longer’.) The Pakistan Air Force with Chinese help now makes JF 17 Thunder and JF 10 fighter jets at Kamra. The Pakistan Navy has received Chinese F-22P and four Jianwei class frigates, also C-602 anti-ship cruise missiles.  
In effect, China has removed the tarpaulin covers from its covert supply of arms.  In the 1980s, it used to route armaments surreptitiously through Pakistan for use by Afghani rebels against the Soviets. Today, it is acknowledged as Pakistan’s largest known supplier of arms, with 47% of Chinese global arms exports marked for Pakistan.
Perhaps no largesse can symbolise the quality of China’s commitment Small calls it the ‘ultimate gift from one state to another’ - than its Promethean transfer of nuclear technology to Pakistan.  It began in 1965 when Pakistan, after a desultory war with India, realised that it could never compete with its adversary in conventional weaponry. Within thirty-three years, Pakistan was able to retort to Indian nuclear tests at Pokhran with six successful tests of its own at Chaghai. China feigned ‘deep regret’, but embraced the new polarity.
China’s concern is not the nuclearisation of South Asia. Its apprehension lies in the control of Pakistan’s nuclear assets. Small quotes a Chinese expert’s remark that while China is willing to help defend a Pakistani bomb, it will not ‘help them protect an Islamic bomb.  If it’s under the control of a mullah, then everything changes.’
Until General Ziaul Haq’s coup in 1977, all of the Pakistani leaders China interacted with - whether elected or self-appointed - were western-trained, liberal-minded, soft-centre Muslims. It was only after the defeat of the Soviet that fundamentalism emerged as a militant credo, terrorism its weapon of selective destruction. Chairman Mao Zedong’s policy of ‘letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend’ had not foreseen the three spectres of extremism, splittism and terrorism,  the divisive aims of the Uyghur insurrection, or the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Xinjiang.  (How many of us know that Xinjiang occupies one sixth of China?) 
Understandably, the Chinese have broadened their contacts with Saudi Arabia and in Pakistan with rightwing political parties such as the Jamaat Islami (JI) and the Jamiat-e-Ulema (JUI). They are hoping to set a Muslim rightist to catch a Muslim fundamentalist.  The crucial challenge for China in its relations with Pakistan (Andrew Small anticipates) will be in ‘dealing with a country that is both the greatest source of China’s terrorist threat and the crucial partner in combating it’.
Andrew Small concludes his study with the observation that the one commodity Pakistan can offer China is friendship. Apart from geography, that is. And it is this fraternal bond that the Chinese now toll in the ringing phrase ‘Iron Brothers’.
Recently, President Xi Jinping has advised his countrymen ‘to keep pace with the changing circumstances and evolving times. One cannot live in the 21st century with the outdated thinking from the age of Cold War and zero-sum game.’  Andrew Small’s timely and brilliantly researched book provides his readership with the perfect means to keep pace with a rapidly changing China and a dyslexic Pakistan.
Courtesy:  ‘China and Pakistan: Iron Brothers’, The Political Quarterly, Volume 86, Issue 3 (July-September 2015), pp.463-465.

Comment

F.S. Aijazuddin

Henry Kissinger’s book On China reminds one of the Great Wall. Long, meandering, formidable, it is designed to keep intruders away from the Inner Kingdom of his private papers. In comparison, Andrew Small’s The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics is akin to a Chinese ball puzzle - meticulously crafted, breathtaking in its detail, and articulated so that its seven chapters can rotate independently of each other.
Small spent over six years studying his subject. He describes it as ‘an intellectual orphan, falling between a variety of disciplines [because] the obstacles facing the analysts in their efforts to find reliable sources and establish facts make it that much more tempting to neglect.’
As if to compensate for that arid paucity, Small has compacted 180 pages of text with over 1,200 references. No chapter is longer than 26 pages; none has less than 100 references. The book is dense, not unlike the populations of China and Pakistan. 
In 1950, Pakistan was one of the first countries (certainly the first Muslim country) to recognise the re-minted People’s Republic of China. The Chinese have never forgotten that. Its support for Pakistan knows no seasons. That support began with diplomatic camaraderie, then gradually deepened into concentric levels of economic assistance, military know-how and materiel, missile development, nuclear technology, and most recently terrorism control.
Ever since its independence, Pakistan has been used by the United States, abused by the Soviet Union, opposed by India, and manipulated by Saudi Arabia. China however has shown a patriarchal tolerance towards its young neighbor, using (in Andrew Small’s words), ‘a blend of temperate support, gentle scolding, and steely pragmatism’. To China’s chagrin, a delinquent Pakistan ‘oscillates between hope, self-deception, public exaggeration, and resigned realism’.
Both China and Pakistan share borders with India; India shares an enmity with both.  According to an Indian diplomat quoted by Small, China views India as ‘a pretender too big for its boots’. His Pakistani counterpart believes China sees Pakistan as ‘a low-cost secondary deterrent to India’.  The Chinese prefer to watch India and Pakistan stay locked together in ‘a state of managed mistrust’.
The Chinese leadership, despite its assurances that ‘a distant friend is not as helpful as a near neighbour’, will never be able to dispel India’s wariness of its ambitions, however artfully these may be wrapped.  Schemes such as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road (President Xi Jinping’s ‘string of pearls’) merely accentuate India’s fear of encirclement. It is not alone. North Korea and Myanmar share its apprehensions.
Small’s thesis is that Pakistan forms ‘a central part of China’s transition from a regional power to a global one.’ That explains why China is determined to invest in Pakistan, and never tally the cost. ‘Pakistan’, General Xiong Guangkai once admitted with unusual candour, ‘is China’s Israel’.
Chinese technological support for Pakistan began in earnest during the 1970s.  It was soft and non-lethal in nature e.g., the Heavy Mechanical Complex and the Heavy Foundry Forge at Taxila.  However, during and particularly after Pakistan’s 1971 conflict with India over East Pakistan/Bangladesh, in which China extended moral, diplomatic and materiel support but refused to open a front on India, the level of cooperation entered a new phase.  
The Chinese became bolder, its aid more overt. Its assistance ballooned into mega projects such as the northern Karakoram Highway, the southern port of Gwadar (which a Chinese company operates and to which China has announced a commitment of over $30 billion), and two more nuclear power plants – Chashma III & IV – “to augment two supplied year earlier. These will cost China another $6.5 bn.
China’s trade with Pakistan in 2001 was close to $1.1 bn. This year, it is expected to reach $ 15 bn., making China Pakistan’s second largest trading partner.   Chinese investments in Pakistan have doubled over seven years.
Militarily, China has taken its own advice. It has taught Pakistan’s military how to fish. The Pakistan army now manufactures tanks locally (the Al Khalid). Pakistan makes short and medium range missiles  - the ballistic missile Shaheen I, M-11 missiles, and the Babur cruise missile based on the Hong Niao Chinese prototype. (Small tells us that Pakistan could have made them on its own; it would have taken ‘longer’.) The Pakistan Air Force with Chinese help now makes JF 17 Thunder and JF 10 fighter jets at Kamra. The Pakistan Navy has received Chinese F-22P and four Jianwei class frigates, also C-602 anti-ship cruise missiles.  
In effect, China has removed the tarpaulin covers from its covert supply of arms.  In the 1980s, it used to route armaments surreptitiously through Pakistan for use by Afghani rebels against the Soviets. Today, it is acknowledged as Pakistan’s largest known supplier of arms, with 47% of Chinese global arms exports marked for Pakistan.
Perhaps no largesse can symbolise the quality of China’s commitment Small calls it the ‘ultimate gift from one state to another’ - than its Promethean transfer of nuclear technology to Pakistan.  It began in 1965 when Pakistan, after a desultory war with India, realised that it could never compete with its adversary in conventional weaponry. Within thirty-three years, Pakistan was able to retort to Indian nuclear tests at Pokhran with six successful tests of its own at Chaghai. China feigned ‘deep regret’, but embraced the new polarity.
China’s concern is not the nuclearisation of South Asia. Its apprehension lies in the control of Pakistan’s nuclear assets. Small quotes a Chinese expert’s remark that while China is willing to help defend a Pakistani bomb, it will not ‘help them protect an Islamic bomb.  If it’s under the control of a mullah, then everything changes.’
Until General Ziaul Haq’s coup in 1977, all of the Pakistani leaders China interacted with - whether elected or self-appointed - were western-trained, liberal-minded, soft-centre Muslims. It was only after the defeat of the Soviet that fundamentalism emerged as a militant credo, terrorism its weapon of selective destruction. Chairman Mao Zedong’s policy of ‘letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend’ had not foreseen the three spectres of extremism, splittism and terrorism,  the divisive aims of the Uyghur insurrection, or the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Xinjiang.  (How many of us know that Xinjiang occupies one sixth of China?) 
Understandably, the Chinese have broadened their contacts with Saudi Arabia and in Pakistan with rightwing political parties such as the Jamaat Islami (JI) and the Jamiat-e-Ulema (JUI). They are hoping to set a Muslim rightist to catch a Muslim fundamentalist.  The crucial challenge for China in its relations with Pakistan (Andrew Small anticipates) will be in ‘dealing with a country that is both the greatest source of China’s terrorist threat and the crucial partner in combating it’.
Andrew Small concludes his study with the observation that the one commodity Pakistan can offer China is friendship. Apart from geography, that is. And it is this fraternal bond that the Chinese now toll in the ringing phrase ‘Iron Brothers’.
Recently, President Xi Jinping has advised his countrymen ‘to keep pace with the changing circumstances and evolving times. One cannot live in the 21st century with the outdated thinking from the age of Cold War and zero-sum game.’  Andrew Small’s timely and brilliantly researched book provides his readership with the perfect means to keep pace with a rapidly changing China and a dyslexic Pakistan.
Courtesy:  ‘China and Pakistan: Iron Brothers’, The Political Quarterly, Volume 86, Issue 3 (July-September 2015), pp.463-465.


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Chaitanya and his original birthplace

Omar Khalid Rumi

Mayapur temple by Kedarnath

Alauddin Husain Shah (1494–1519), an independent late medieval Sultan, founded the Hussain Shahi dynasty in Bengal. Rup Goswami and Shanatan Goswami were two brothers who worked for the great Gaur and Sonargao administrator Sultan Alauddin Hussain Shah. Rup (1489-1564) was Sultan’s chief secretary (Dabir Khas) and Shanatan became the state revenue minister (Saghir Malik). Their ancestral home was at Fatehabad, Jessore. Chaitanya’s ( 1486-1533) advent on the scene changed the scenario as both the brothers, fascinated by his ideologies and followers left Hussain Shah’s forces to join hands with Chaitanya at Barogharia, Chapai Nababgonj and Rahanpur area.
It is believed that Alauddin Hussain Shah was born here at Debiganj and had his seat of administration somewhere near this place. This was ‘Gaur’ during 15th and 16th centuries and Hussain Shah was the Sultan of Gaur. A biographer called Goswami in search of the original birthplace of Chaitanya found some writings of Rup in “Nabadipastakam”. The couplets were:
“In Gaura Kingdom on the side of the heavenly dighika, this sacred pond is always full of bliss and pleasure, Navadipa, I meditate on that.”
This brings us to the fact that Chaitanya’s birthplace was near a pond and a dighi(large pond).
The other couplet says:
“Wherein the only house which has blissful belonging to Misra ‘Purandar’ was located and which has the place of birth and other ‘Lila’ of Sri Gaur. I meditate at that Navadipa” (Misra Purandar-Jagannath Misra , father of Sri Chaitanya. Purandar was the title).
Location of Gaur:  Here we must take into account the location of Gaur. Gaur as we know is easily located surrounding Rajshahi, Maldah, Natore, Naogaon, Bogra and part of North Bengal. During the Middle Ages beginning with Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah (1338) and later Alauddin Hussain Shah (1493-1519), the region became Gaur. But even before this there was another Gaur and this one was located in Sylhet. During the war between Hajrat Shah Jalal and Raja Gaur Gobinda of Gaur, the name of the place was Gaur. And it remained so till it became Srihatta/ Sylhet sometime during 16th century. During the reign of Sultan Firoze Shah Dehlabhi, Sekandar Khan Gazi fought against Gaur Gobinda during 1303 along with Peer Shah Jalal. There is a place called Garduari where a fort was found underneath a small hillock. A huge dighi was there also called ‘Raja Maer Dighee’.
Jagannath Misra, father of Chaitanya, was a Nath himself and had a house at Dhaka Dakhhin, Sylhet of today. That house is still there. I had the opportunity to visit the house when my family was invited by one of their descendents to their house in 1960. I saw a huge pond just in front of the house. Rup Goswami must have mentioned about this pond as the sacred pond in his couplet (two rhyming lines of verse one after another).
 Indian archaeological division tried to find this dighika along the house near Ballal dighi mouza bought by Kedarnath in 1887, who named it Mayapur. The archaeological division already had Ballal dighee in their report as the dighi in the couplet mentioned as Chaitanya’s dighi. But unfortunately they found the site after excavation of a mound nearby as a Bauddha Bihar which nullified the fact that the site had anything to do with either Chaitanya or Ballal Sen.
Bickering was still going on among various groups about the original birthplace of Chaitanya when during 1887 the first group that initiated the search for the birthplace was led by Sri Kedarnath, although it was not sure whether he actually searched for Chaitanya’s birthplace.  Kedarnath was Deputy Magistrate and Deputy collector of Krishnanagar sub-division of Nadia District (1976). He was a scholar and a member of the Royal Asiatic Society of London and was highly praised by Dr. William Hunter. He established many bhakti-mandaps. He was given the title of Bhaktibinod by the society of scholars at Baghnapara of Kalna in Bardhaman and ultimately he took up ascetic life of Nath-gopi, after retirement from service. He produced blank-verse in Bengali poetry in 1857. He was instrumental in establishing Sri-Navadip dhamma Pracharini Shabha in 1883 and gradually acquired some land in the Bamunpukur and Ballal mauzas and named it as Mayapur of Antarduip. On the holy festival day of 1894 he erected a temple and called it Jog-pith (Jog-Pith of Matshendranath the Nath guru). Later this place was turned into Chaitanya’s birthplace by some Baishnavites and Hindus in the 20th century which in fact had nothing to do with Chaitanya.
It must be noted here that it was the British who first coined the name “Nadia” and later Navadip. Originally this place was called Osmanpur and later Kashimpur. Nearby the huge river Jahnabi, named after the Muslim saint Jahnu of Jahnunagar was also changed to Ganga by the same people along with local Hindu Zaminders.
After the establishment of this temple at Mayapur, the whole area as wide as 3 sq km became a place for the Baishnav and Hindu devotees during the 20th century. But the intention of Kedarnath seemed otherwise. Being a Nath himself he erected a nath-bhakti-mandap and a temple by getting hold of some rich Mohanta’s. The Mohanta’s are basically land holders for the Nath-gopi people for the burial and taking care of the lands arranged for the same. By doing so over generations, some of these Mohantas became big land holders and rich. Kedarnath got hold of some of those and erected the temple for the Nath devotees. After Kedarnath’s departure some local Hindus along with Baishnavites turned the place into Chaitanya’s birthplace.
The name Nadia / Nudia was coined by the British during the 19th century but while the early Nadia was devastated, the new Nadia cropped up on the other side of the river Janhabi (Ganga) but nobody even raised a question as to which is the original Nadia. So this Nadia remained as it is. Nobody gave a thought that the Nadia of Ballal Sen was not this one.
Chaitanya’s childhood:  Chaitanya had his childhood in Gaur, Sylhet. It is for sure, as now we know that he moved on to North Bengal during early 16th century and settled somewhere near Nababgonj and had his ‘Lila’  khetra near Rahanpur, the original Nadia as mentioned in Minhaz’s Tab-kat-I-Nasiri. This Nadia had all the histories stamped on it from 12th century onwards even before. Near Lakhhan Sen’s place there were huge Bauddha Bihars at Rahanpur, Biharail and Khalimpur. When Bakhtiar ravaged the area they all fled and so after that incidence Buddhism around that area slackened somewhat but did not die out. And during the same period the new religion “Nathism” was capturing the minds of the people and already thousands of people were attracted towards it and becoming more and more interested in the Guru-Sishha ( Master-Disciple ) ideology of the Naths. This really attracted Chaitanya as well but he began to form a changed idea based on the same Guru-Shishha tenets. This was his new ideology which he began preaching in and around Nadia/Naoda/ Rahanpur. Pretty soon people caught on with this imagination and started to follow him around. Rup-Shanatan too broke away from Sultan Alauddin Hussain Shah’s state and joined the hands of Chaitanya.
The great administrator Sultan Alauddin Hussain Shah was ruling Bengal from here. It is believed that he was born here at Debiganj near Nababganj and most probably his sit of administration was somewhere here at Hosenabad. His name was also associated with Chhoto Shona Masjaid which was dedicated to his name. There’s a stage set for him and his entourage on the north-west side inside the mosque for prayers. There’s a fort at Daldalia which was built by him and Alinagar still bears his name. All these facts point to the fact that he was here sometime in between 1493-1519. He had Rup and Shanatan Goswami under his patronage. But soon both of them fled to join Chaitanya. The famous commotion between Kazi of the Kazipara and Nimai Shannashi ( Chaitanya ) occured here at Barogharia, Kazipara near Nababganj.
So all the facts mentioned points to one and only one fact that the Nabadwip or Nadia we are considering here, is at this place Rahanpur. The same is also being mentioned in Tabkat-I-Nasiri. Rahanpur was mentioned as Nadia/Nabadwip. Had Chaitanya being born at Mayapur,there should have been something to point at to prove the fact. This has been going around for ages that Mayapur was the birthplace of Chaitanya and to prove that fact they just point to Mayapur temple created or erected by Kedarnath.
Some unscrupulous pundits of 19th/20th century with ulterior motives were behind this. Kedarnath established the bhakti-mandap/temple in 1894 for the Nath people but soon afterwards, after the departure of Kedarnath, these pundits during 20th century, suddenly decided that these should be the birthplace of Chaitanya. Nobody questioned the fact as most people did not bother to delve deep down into the real history and it prevailed. But actual facts lay somewhere else.
The real Nadia was somewhere else not very far away, at Rahanpur- Nabaganj in Rajshahi.

Comment

Omar Khalid Rumi

Mayapur temple by Kedarnath

Alauddin Husain Shah (1494–1519), an independent late medieval Sultan, founded the Hussain Shahi dynasty in Bengal. Rup Goswami and Shanatan Goswami were two brothers who worked for the great Gaur and Sonargao administrator Sultan Alauddin Hussain Shah. Rup (1489-1564) was Sultan’s chief secretary (Dabir Khas) and Shanatan became the state revenue minister (Saghir Malik). Their ancestral home was at Fatehabad, Jessore. Chaitanya’s ( 1486-1533) advent on the scene changed the scenario as both the brothers, fascinated by his ideologies and followers left Hussain Shah’s forces to join hands with Chaitanya at Barogharia, Chapai Nababgonj and Rahanpur area.
It is believed that Alauddin Hussain Shah was born here at Debiganj and had his seat of administration somewhere near this place. This was ‘Gaur’ during 15th and 16th centuries and Hussain Shah was the Sultan of Gaur. A biographer called Goswami in search of the original birthplace of Chaitanya found some writings of Rup in “Nabadipastakam”. The couplets were:
“In Gaura Kingdom on the side of the heavenly dighika, this sacred pond is always full of bliss and pleasure, Navadipa, I meditate on that.”
This brings us to the fact that Chaitanya’s birthplace was near a pond and a dighi(large pond).
The other couplet says:
“Wherein the only house which has blissful belonging to Misra ‘Purandar’ was located and which has the place of birth and other ‘Lila’ of Sri Gaur. I meditate at that Navadipa” (Misra Purandar-Jagannath Misra , father of Sri Chaitanya. Purandar was the title).
Location of Gaur:  Here we must take into account the location of Gaur. Gaur as we know is easily located surrounding Rajshahi, Maldah, Natore, Naogaon, Bogra and part of North Bengal. During the Middle Ages beginning with Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah (1338) and later Alauddin Hussain Shah (1493-1519), the region became Gaur. But even before this there was another Gaur and this one was located in Sylhet. During the war between Hajrat Shah Jalal and Raja Gaur Gobinda of Gaur, the name of the place was Gaur. And it remained so till it became Srihatta/ Sylhet sometime during 16th century. During the reign of Sultan Firoze Shah Dehlabhi, Sekandar Khan Gazi fought against Gaur Gobinda during 1303 along with Peer Shah Jalal. There is a place called Garduari where a fort was found underneath a small hillock. A huge dighi was there also called ‘Raja Maer Dighee’.
Jagannath Misra, father of Chaitanya, was a Nath himself and had a house at Dhaka Dakhhin, Sylhet of today. That house is still there. I had the opportunity to visit the house when my family was invited by one of their descendents to their house in 1960. I saw a huge pond just in front of the house. Rup Goswami must have mentioned about this pond as the sacred pond in his couplet (two rhyming lines of verse one after another).
 Indian archaeological division tried to find this dighika along the house near Ballal dighi mouza bought by Kedarnath in 1887, who named it Mayapur. The archaeological division already had Ballal dighee in their report as the dighi in the couplet mentioned as Chaitanya’s dighi. But unfortunately they found the site after excavation of a mound nearby as a Bauddha Bihar which nullified the fact that the site had anything to do with either Chaitanya or Ballal Sen.
Bickering was still going on among various groups about the original birthplace of Chaitanya when during 1887 the first group that initiated the search for the birthplace was led by Sri Kedarnath, although it was not sure whether he actually searched for Chaitanya’s birthplace.  Kedarnath was Deputy Magistrate and Deputy collector of Krishnanagar sub-division of Nadia District (1976). He was a scholar and a member of the Royal Asiatic Society of London and was highly praised by Dr. William Hunter. He established many bhakti-mandaps. He was given the title of Bhaktibinod by the society of scholars at Baghnapara of Kalna in Bardhaman and ultimately he took up ascetic life of Nath-gopi, after retirement from service. He produced blank-verse in Bengali poetry in 1857. He was instrumental in establishing Sri-Navadip dhamma Pracharini Shabha in 1883 and gradually acquired some land in the Bamunpukur and Ballal mauzas and named it as Mayapur of Antarduip. On the holy festival day of 1894 he erected a temple and called it Jog-pith (Jog-Pith of Matshendranath the Nath guru). Later this place was turned into Chaitanya’s birthplace by some Baishnavites and Hindus in the 20th century which in fact had nothing to do with Chaitanya.
It must be noted here that it was the British who first coined the name “Nadia” and later Navadip. Originally this place was called Osmanpur and later Kashimpur. Nearby the huge river Jahnabi, named after the Muslim saint Jahnu of Jahnunagar was also changed to Ganga by the same people along with local Hindu Zaminders.
After the establishment of this temple at Mayapur, the whole area as wide as 3 sq km became a place for the Baishnav and Hindu devotees during the 20th century. But the intention of Kedarnath seemed otherwise. Being a Nath himself he erected a nath-bhakti-mandap and a temple by getting hold of some rich Mohanta’s. The Mohanta’s are basically land holders for the Nath-gopi people for the burial and taking care of the lands arranged for the same. By doing so over generations, some of these Mohantas became big land holders and rich. Kedarnath got hold of some of those and erected the temple for the Nath devotees. After Kedarnath’s departure some local Hindus along with Baishnavites turned the place into Chaitanya’s birthplace.
The name Nadia / Nudia was coined by the British during the 19th century but while the early Nadia was devastated, the new Nadia cropped up on the other side of the river Janhabi (Ganga) but nobody even raised a question as to which is the original Nadia. So this Nadia remained as it is. Nobody gave a thought that the Nadia of Ballal Sen was not this one.
Chaitanya’s childhood:  Chaitanya had his childhood in Gaur, Sylhet. It is for sure, as now we know that he moved on to North Bengal during early 16th century and settled somewhere near Nababgonj and had his ‘Lila’  khetra near Rahanpur, the original Nadia as mentioned in Minhaz’s Tab-kat-I-Nasiri. This Nadia had all the histories stamped on it from 12th century onwards even before. Near Lakhhan Sen’s place there were huge Bauddha Bihars at Rahanpur, Biharail and Khalimpur. When Bakhtiar ravaged the area they all fled and so after that incidence Buddhism around that area slackened somewhat but did not die out. And during the same period the new religion “Nathism” was capturing the minds of the people and already thousands of people were attracted towards it and becoming more and more interested in the Guru-Sishha ( Master-Disciple ) ideology of the Naths. This really attracted Chaitanya as well but he began to form a changed idea based on the same Guru-Shishha tenets. This was his new ideology which he began preaching in and around Nadia/Naoda/ Rahanpur. Pretty soon people caught on with this imagination and started to follow him around. Rup-Shanatan too broke away from Sultan Alauddin Hussain Shah’s state and joined the hands of Chaitanya.
The great administrator Sultan Alauddin Hussain Shah was ruling Bengal from here. It is believed that he was born here at Debiganj near Nababganj and most probably his sit of administration was somewhere here at Hosenabad. His name was also associated with Chhoto Shona Masjaid which was dedicated to his name. There’s a stage set for him and his entourage on the north-west side inside the mosque for prayers. There’s a fort at Daldalia which was built by him and Alinagar still bears his name. All these facts point to the fact that he was here sometime in between 1493-1519. He had Rup and Shanatan Goswami under his patronage. But soon both of them fled to join Chaitanya. The famous commotion between Kazi of the Kazipara and Nimai Shannashi ( Chaitanya ) occured here at Barogharia, Kazipara near Nababganj.
So all the facts mentioned points to one and only one fact that the Nabadwip or Nadia we are considering here, is at this place Rahanpur. The same is also being mentioned in Tabkat-I-Nasiri. Rahanpur was mentioned as Nadia/Nabadwip. Had Chaitanya being born at Mayapur,there should have been something to point at to prove the fact. This has been going around for ages that Mayapur was the birthplace of Chaitanya and to prove that fact they just point to Mayapur temple created or erected by Kedarnath.
Some unscrupulous pundits of 19th/20th century with ulterior motives were behind this. Kedarnath established the bhakti-mandap/temple in 1894 for the Nath people but soon afterwards, after the departure of Kedarnath, these pundits during 20th century, suddenly decided that these should be the birthplace of Chaitanya. Nobody questioned the fact as most people did not bother to delve deep down into the real history and it prevailed. But actual facts lay somewhere else.
The real Nadia was somewhere else not very far away, at Rahanpur- Nabaganj in Rajshahi.


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USAID chief visits Fakirhat project

Mr. Alfonso E. Lenhardt, acting USAID administrator, visited the Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) Farmer Nutrition School recently at Fakirhat Upazila in Bagerhat, says a press release. He was accompanied by the USAID/Bangladesh Mission Director, Ms. Janina Jaruzelski.
SPRING Bangladesh has been working closely with the Bangladesh government in supporting 1,300 community clinics since the project's inception in 2012.

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Mr. Alfonso E. Lenhardt, acting USAID administrator, visited the Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) Farmer Nutrition School recently at Fakirhat Upazila in Bagerhat, says a press release. He was accompanied by the USAID/Bangladesh Mission Director, Ms. Janina Jaruzelski.
SPRING Bangladesh has been working closely with the Bangladesh government in supporting 1,300 community clinics since the project's inception in 2012.


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An old lady’s Letter: To whom it may concern

Julie Taylor

The following letter was written to a bank in USA by a 96 year old woman. The bank manger thought it interesting enough to have it published in New York Times

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his depositing the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly transfer of funds from my modest savings account, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only thirty-one years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.
My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has recently become. From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.
My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.  Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.
Please find attached an Application Contact Status form which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, but there is no alternative.
Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.
In due course, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service.
As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Please allow me to level the playing field even further. When you call me, you will now have a menu of options on my new voice mail system to choose from.  Please press the buttons as follows:
To make an appointment to see me.
To query a missing payment.
To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home
To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required.  Password will be communicated to you at a later date to the Authorized Contact. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7.
To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call. Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee of $50 to cover the setting up of this new arrangement. Please credit my account after each occasion.
May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous, New Year.
Your Humble Client...
Julie Taylor
Sent by: SA Mansoor

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Julie Taylor

The following letter was written to a bank in USA by a 96 year old woman. The bank manger thought it interesting enough to have it published in New York Times

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his depositing the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly transfer of funds from my modest savings account, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only thirty-one years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.
My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has recently become. From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.
My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.  Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.
Please find attached an Application Contact Status form which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, but there is no alternative.
Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.
In due course, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service.
As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Please allow me to level the playing field even further. When you call me, you will now have a menu of options on my new voice mail system to choose from.  Please press the buttons as follows:
To make an appointment to see me.
To query a missing payment.
To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.
To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home
To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required.  Password will be communicated to you at a later date to the Authorized Contact. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7.
To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call. Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee of $50 to cover the setting up of this new arrangement. Please credit my account after each occasion.
May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous, New Year.
Your Humble Client...
Julie Taylor
Sent by: SA Mansoor


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