Recent Movies

We watched a lot of movies recently. All of these movies are pretty good.

21 Grams is Director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s second movie. His first, Amores perros, has been on my to-watch list for quite some time even though I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. 21 Grams is good with a non-linear timeline which does seem a bit forced at times.

We liked The Human Stain much more than most reviews or viewer ratings. Both Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman are good, though their casting is questionable. Based on the physical requirements of his character, Anthony Hopkins should not have been cast in this role. Kidman is too classy and beautiful to be believable as a janitor.

Love Actually is definitely a chick movie. Guys, take your wives or girlfriends. It is a light, romantic movie with a large cast and a number of subplots about love. It takes a dig at the American President (played by Billy Bob Thornton) and Tony Blair.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World was a great movie technically. The climactic plot twist however was not very believable. Also, the movie would have been much more authentic if the language was closer to what sailors actually speak. I haven’t heard such polite sailors ever. I guess it was because of the movie-makers’ desire to get a PG-13 rating.

Mystic River is probably the best movie of this lot. Highly recommended.

The Station Agent is a nice indie movie which is in limited release. It’s definitely worth watching but the movie seemed to end a bit abruptly.


It’s been 9 years since December 1, 1994, the day Amber and I got married. It’s been a wonderful 9 years. I have discovered what love really means in this period, not that I wasn’t in love when we got engaged, but that love has turned out to be much more than I ever thought it could be.

Wedding, Wah Cantt, Pakistan 1994 Skardu, Pakistan 1995 Lahore, Pakistan 1995
Islamabad, Pakistan 1996 Daytona Beach, FL 1997 Washington, DC 1998 Los Angeles, CA 1998
MS Graduation, Georgia Tech 1999 Niagara Falls, NY 1999 Blue Ridge Parkway 2000
Yellowstone National Park, WY 2001 Paris, France 2002 Karachi, Pakistan 2002 Piscataway, NJ 2003

I don’t know what I was smoking when I booked my ticket for the thanksgiving trip home, but I managed to exclude both Eid (deliberately) and our anniversary (my mistake) from my trip. So, here I am today back in school celebrating alone. Actually, we did celebrate it together yesterday. We had a great dinner at Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant in New Brunswick, NJ. Their sampler platter was very good.

Kashmir: More Than Terrorism

In a previous post, I wrote:

[…] would you acknowledge that Palestine, Chechnya and Kashmir issues are about more than just terrorism?

Joshua Scholar in turn asked:

What is the situation in Kashmir about?

I’ve been wondering about Kashmir ever since I heard an Indian ambassador claim that militants were killing Hindu civilians simply to drive them out leaving a Muslim majority – ie for no other reason than ethnic cleansing?

Talk about leading questions!

He also got a little impatient, on thanksgiving day and then today.

I guess Zack has no intention of answering my question. That’s disappointing.

Anyway, I notice that Zack didn’t keep his promise and come back to support what he said either in the case of Chechnia nor in the case of Kashmir.

I am sorry, Joshua, but where I live, I still had 6 hours to keep my promise after your last comment.

Joshua has also posted an excerpt of a blog post on a part of the terrorist and Islamist dimension of the conflict in Chechnya. I am going to leave Chechnya aside for now except to ask if anyone here knows about Imam Shamil or President Dudayev.

Back to Kashmir. I have a separate category for my Kashmir posts. I have posted about the geography as well as religions of Kashmir. I have also posted about my Dad’s experiences at the time of partition of India in 1947 in Jammu. I will probably post more about Kashmir history. I should probably clarify again that I am not a Kashmiri and have never lived there.

Pankaj Mishra had a series of articles in the New York Review of Books about three years ago which provide a good source for the current Kashmir troubles which started around 1989.

BBC covers Kashmir here, with a backgrounder on the start of the conflict between India and Pakistan in 1947 here and a timeline here.

The US State Department human rights report for 2002 mentions a number of human rights abuses in Indian Kashmir.

Human Rights Watch has a report detailing government and militant abuses of human rights in Kashmir.

And here is a Human Rights Watch report from 1993 about the threats against Hindus in Kashmir valley.

When the conflict escalated 1989, militant groups issued widespread threats to members of the minority Hindu community in Kashmir. Attacks on Hindus since 1988, and particularly in early 1990, have driven more than 100,000 Hindus to flee Kashmir to Jammu and Delhi, where most remain in increasingly desperate conditions in refugee camps. Tens of thousands of Muslims have also fled. Those militant groups which espouse an extremist Islamic ideology have also issued threats to persons associated with businesses they consider “un-Islamic,” including liquor dealers and cinema hall owners. Militant groups have also issued threats to journalists whom they have accused of “biased” reporting.

[…] The militants have also used threats to compel Hindu families and suspected political opponents to leave the Kashmir valley. Beginning in 1988, many Hindus were made the targets of threats and acts of violence by militant organizations and this wave of killing and harassment motivated many to leave the valley.198 With government assistance, a large part of the Hindu community in Kashmir, numbering more than 100,000, left the valley in 1989-90.199 These threats have continued. According to one report in 1992, when one militant group, the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimin, appealed for the Kashmiri Hindus to come back to the valley, two others, Al-Umar and Al-Jehad, immediately issued press releases warning them not to return.

198 [Footnote in the original report.] The government role in encouraging the exodus, particularly the part played by former Governor Jagmohan, is a matter of considerable controversy in Kashmir and among the Hindu refugees in Jammu and New Delhi. Some reports suggest that while many Hindus left the valley out of fear of militant violence, some may have been encouraged to leave by authorities who hoped to undermine support for the militant movement.

199 [Footnote in the original report.] The precise number of Kashmiri Hindus who fled the valley during this time is not known. Estimates vary widely. According to one press report, as of November 1990, some 50,000 Hindu families had fled. See James P. Sterba, “Valley of Death,” Wall Street Journal, November 9, 1990. India Today previously had reported almost 90,000 Hindus having left the valley for Jammu or Delhi. India Today, April 30, 1990, p. 10. Many began leaving in 1988, and the migrations contined through 1990.