Tracing the Origin of Saraswati River to Tons and Baspa Rivers

By Dr. Ashok Malhotra, Ph. D. UBC Canada

Abstract: A recent exhaustive study by K. S. Valdiya on the now extinct Saraswati River concluded that the origin of this river was a Himalayan Glacial one. In the present work, the author examines major glacial rivers in the designated Himalayan region so as to locate the precise glacial sources and rivers that were likely to have contributed to this river. It is suggested that The Tons and Baspa Rives are possible original Himalayan sources of the Saraswati River before they changed their course to flow westwards and eastwards into the present day Yamuna and Sutlej Rivers respectively.

 

 

The Saraswati (also spelt Sarasvati) River is one of the main Rigvedic Rivers mentioned in ancient Sanskrit texts. This river more or less disappeared from South Asian subcontinent perhaps as early as 1500 BC.   Its precise origin and route remains a matter of debate for scholars. Some years ago, this author, based on available studies, had written an informal socio-cultural blog note on the topic [1] and speculated that the glacial origins of this river may be the Tons and Baspa rivers of the Himalayas. Since then, others have expressed interest in the idea and would like a more scholarly albeit brief note on the topic. Therefore, this author is now reproducing the main thesis on the glacial origins of the Saraswati River as the present day Tons River as also perhaps the Baspa River in this brief online note for rapid availability of any interested person.

 

The Ghaggar-Hakra River

There is reasonable agreement among scholars on the route of this river in the plains as the present day seasonal river, the Ghaggar- Hakra, especially the part that passes through Haryana and Rajasthan. This is well confirmed by an overwhelming body of both ancient as well as modern scientific evidence. Most scholars accepted identification of the Vedic Saraswati River with the Ghaggar-Hakra River as early as the 19th and early 20th century, including Christian Lassen, Max Müller, Marc Aurel Stein, C.F. Oldham and Jane Macintosh amongst others. However, its northern connections and tributaries to the Himalayas are not yet fully ascertained as also its southern routes of flow into the ocean.

Clinching evidence in favor of identifying the Ghaggar-Hakra River as the lost Saraswati River is recent archeological evidence that traces ancient cities dotted along the route of this ancient river including prominent recent discoveries of Bhirrana and Rakhigarhi [2]. The greatest of early civilization of mankind had all developed along the banks of major rivers from the Indus to the Nile. Although Indus valley civilization is the name given to this ancient civilization of the sub continent, the Saraswati River rather than Indus was the prominent course of this civilization at its peak in light of discoveries since the earliest cities of this civilization were discovered along the Indus River. It would now be more correct to refer to this ancient civilization as the Indus-Saraswati Civilization as a civilization of two rivers.

Himalayan Glacial Origins

In his recent well-argued and thorough study, K. S. Valdiya [3] proves with an enormous body of supporting scientific evidence and arguments, the fallacy of some modern studies [4] that deduced that Saraswati River did not originate in the Himalayas but was merely a monsoon river. Moreover, additional recent archeological evidence since of extensive and thriving cities discovered in Haryana such as Bhirrana and Rakhigiri would not have been possible if the river was not a perennial one. Therefore, the conclusion is that the Saraswati River was a glacial fed river seems reasonable.

The Nadistuti hymn (10.75) of the Rigveda [5] mentions that the Saraswati flowed between Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west. Later Vedic texts like Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanas as well as the Mahabharata mention that the Saraswati dried up in a desert. The goddess Saraswati was a personification of this river. The late Rig Vedic Nadistuti sukta enumerates important rivers from the Ganges in the east up to the Indus in the west in clear geographical order. Here (RV 10.75.5), the sequence “Ganges, Yamuna, Saraswati, Shutudri” places the Saraswati between the Yamuna and the Sutlej, which is consistent with the Ghaggar identification. The river being a perennial one may have caused floods in the monsoon months month much as the Nile River used to as suggested by Rigveda 7.95.1-2 Here the Saraswati is described as:

This stream Saraswati with fostering current comes forth,

Our sure defense, our fort of iron.

As on a chariot, the flood flows on,

Surpassing in majesty and might all other waters.

Pure in her course from mountains to the ocean,

 Alone of streams Saraswati hath listened.

Thinking of wealth and the great world of creatures,

She poured for Nahusa her milk and robustness.

The wide river bed (paleo-channel) of the Ghaggar river suggest that the river once flowed full of water during the great meltdown of the Himalayan Ice Age glaciers, some 10,000 years ago, and that it then continued through the entire region, in the presently dry channel of the Hakra River emptying into the Rann of Kutch. The Late Glacial Maximum, 13,000-10,000 years ago is defined primarily by the beginning of the modern warm period, in which the earth warmed substantially. Southampton researchers [6] have estimated that sea level rose by an average of about 1 meter per century at the end of the last Ice Age, interrupted by rapid ‘jumps’ during which it rose by up to 2.5 meters per century. Global sea level rose by a total of more than 120 meters as the vast ice sheets of the last Ice Age melted back. This melt-back lasted from about 19,000 to about 6,000 years ago in which period  it is expected that the flow of the Saraswati River would have been at its peak.  The river continued to flow, with reducing flow, until perhaps around 1500 BC helping create one of the earliest known civilizations of mankind. Presently the remnants of it as the Ghaggar- Hakra are seasonal monsoon river having been disconnected from its Himalayan source.

It seems clear from Rig Vedic descriptions that it is not that the Sutlej or Yamuna Rivers that have moved away from Saraswati River although their course has altered somewhat over the centuries but those rivers too existed in ancient times. Rather it is the tributaries of Saraswati that have shifted away and most likely begun to flow into the former rivers instead of the Saraswati River.

The most important tributaries in the Himalayas that emerge from glacial sources in the region between the Sutlej and Yamuna are the Baspa that now flows into the Sutlej and the Tons that now flow into the Yamuna. The Tons River develops from its tributaries, the Rupin and Supin Rivers. In ancient times it is likely that tectonic shifts altered the course of these latter tributaries to feed into the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers as at the present time. This conclusion is in accord with that of Validya [3] although they have not identified the rivers by name. They state in all their works that the discharge of the once mighty Saraswati had diminished when its eastern branch swung south to join with the Yamuna.

During the active Indus valley civilization, Saraswati River was not just a monsoon river because it was fed by glacial tributaries that presently flow into the Yamuna and Sutlej aside from the additional monsoon fed tributaries that flow from the Shivaliks at a point somewhat west of the Yamuna but east of the Sutlej in the Himalayas so as to become the mightiest of rivers of the time. When the Tons River changed its course due to seismic activity or landslides and began to flow into the Yamuna, it dealt a blow to the Saraswati River in the dry months of the year [7]. The deduction is that Tons and perhaps also the Baspa rivers in their original state as existed soon after the late glacial maximum some ten thousand years ago were glacial sources for the sacred Saraswati River

The Tons River 

It appears that the Tons River became a tributary of the Yamuna a few thousand years ago following a tectonic event in the Himalayas. Prior to the shift, the Tons river, possibly also enriched by the present day Baspa river, once ran an independent course running southwest into Haryana where other tributaries merged into it.  This river was the Saraswati River mentioned in Vedic texts as the greatest of all Indian rivers. The fact that Saraswati River was the mightiest of rivers of its time is not in doubt as evident from prominent Indus valley sites dotting its course. The source of Tons River lies in the 6,315 meters high mountain presently known as Bandar punch and it would perhaps be more appropriate to refer to them now as the Saraswati Mountain Ranges. The Tons is the most major of perennial Indian Himalayan Rivers. In fact, it carries more water than the Yamuna itself that it now meets but appears not to have a few thousand years ago when it was one of the major Himalayan sources of the Saraswati River.

Conclusion

It has been argued that the Tons River as also perhaps the Baspa River were original glacial source of Saraswati River and that its change of course became the major cause of drying up of Saraswati river it must be mentioned that drying up of the Saraswati region may have been accelerated due to natural solar cycles or due to man made causes very much like the present day climate change as indeed some recent studies suggest. Deforestation and urbanization is likely to have been a contributing cause of climate change and this must have taken place in Indus-Saraswati valley civilization because of agricultural needs. A recent NASA study ascertains that trees and forest help to create rain[8]. The Indus Valley civilization was wiped out 4,350 years ago by a 900-year-long drought, scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur (IIT-Kgp) have found[9]. The study revealed that from 2,350 BC (4,350 years ago) till 1,450 BC, the monsoon had a major weakening effect over the zone where the civilization flourished. This ancient civilization was eventually forced to abandon cities along the Saraswati and move eastwards towards the greener Yamuna and Gangetic plains.

 

References

  1. https://alienaccount.blogspot.in/2014/08/reviving-lost-sarasvati.html
  2.  Wright, Rita P. (2009), The Ancient Indus: Urbanism, Economy, and Society, Cambridge University Press, p. 133, ISBN 978-0-521-57219-4,
  3. K. S. Valdiya, The River Saraswati was a Himalayan-born river K. S. Valdiya Current Science, Vol. 104, No. 1, 10 January 2013, http://www.currentscience.ac.in/Volumes/104/01/0042.pdf 
  4. Giosan, L. et al., Fluvial landscapes of the Harappan Civilization. PNAS, 2012 (www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnsas.1112743109)
  5. The Rigveda, translated by Stepahnie W. Jamison and Joel P. Brereton, 3 Volume Set, Oxford University Press, 2014
  6. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101201120605.htm
  7. Jain, Sharad K.; Pushpendra K. Agarwal; Vijay P. Singh (2007). Hydrology and water resources of India- Volume 57 of Water science and technology library – Yamuna River. Springer. pp. 344–354. ISBN 1-4020-5179-4.
  8. https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2608/new-study-shows-the-amazon-makes-its-own-rainy-season
  9. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/900-year-drought-wiped-out-indus-civilisation-iit-kharagpur/articleshow/63776710.cms

NOTE: This note can be found as a downloadable online note at:

https://www.scribd.com/document/380650060/Tracing-the-Origin-of-Saraswati-River-to-Tons-and-Baspa-Rivers

 

 

 

 

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Some Basics of National Healthcare Policies

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Good health is central to human happiness.  A Human may be a happy human without much wealth but he cannot be a happy without good health.  There is the old saying – where there is health there is hope. Because of this, Health care must remain a central subject of healthcare policy of governments. Recently, this author has contributed many of his thoughts on the topic to leadership of US and India on twitter where this policy is under active debate and transformation. However, twitter, because of its brevity and informality cannot explain points fully. This note shall attempt to do that. A blog note also has a wider and more durable presence for the world at large and all do need to devote their attention to this topic some of the time, so central it is to life.

Ranking Countries by Healthcare Outcomes

Several different ways and methods exist to rank countries of the world on healthcare but the simplest is infant under five mortality rates in a country. It is a reflection of a lot else within a country on the health front. It is not a perfect criterion but it is also least amenable to manipulations and bias and a fairly good one for a quick check. Such rates can be found in lists on Wikipedia and elsewhere easily. Some countries fare well with infant mortality rate under five deaths per thousand live births. The worst touch near hundred.

Three factors influence health and infant mortality rates most, first is the life style and environment of people that includes the air, water and food they consume: second the general level of prosperity in a country and lastly public spending on health by governments for public and not private healthcare.

Thus Monaco a small city state seems to have the healthiest population in world, scoring high on all three fronts.  Japan and Scandinavian countries score very high because of high second and third factors. Cuba a small country has lower infant mortality rate than USA because of public healthcare even though the latter is much richer that depends on private for profit care and insurance. Ikaria an island in Greece has perhaps the healthiest population on the planet for lifestyle reasons.

Private for profit versus non-profit charitable or public healthcare

An unfortunate reality of human life is that humans are driven by greed. Only a few saintly persons among them escape its grip. Perhaps humans are much too recent in evolution on a planetary timescale to have reached a higher level of existence yet.  Human traits regarded as bad in general play a role for good in special cases for humans too, not just animals. It is for this reason Nature has created such traits. Fear helps a human to learn and protect, anger has helped humans to overcome injustice, lust is essential for procreation and so it is with greed too, it has a role to play in human welfare.

While humans have been wise to exploit greed for some of its needs through capitalistic mechanisms with careful control in many areas to create prosperity, the profit motive fares badly in some areas. One area where profit motive does badly is care of infants. Rich persons have tried to provide care for their children through hired nanniess but only in rare cases is such care better than that by love of a mother and in many also disastrous. Secret cameras installed by mothers have revealed some of the most horrific of treatments by nannies of babies in some cases. Seems a nanny in a British royal family would pinch a royal baby’s bottom every time she handed it to the mother so that it would begin to cry and she could secure her job. A second area where ‘for profit activity’ has failed in human experience or at least fared very badly is healthcare.  It can lead the’ for profit healthcare’ industry consciously and subconsciously to make people sick rather than healthier while giving an impression of caring for them. The daily deaths by the opioid crisis in America are a proof of this as is widespread prevalence of prostrate and other cancers in richest countries of the world. For profit healthcare tends to create unnecessary fears and procedures for profit. A human can choose if to buy a facial cream or car but he has no choice when fears of death or severe pain are raised. In India, patients are routinely pushed into ICU for high profits by some hospitals and then kept there even after near dead on artificial support to prolong the profit.

Wise nations such as Iceland and Japan have banned for profit private hospitals realising this truth about human nature and healthcare and ended up with some of the best healthcare in the world. If policy makers of some countries offer arguments to the contrary, it is because of three reasons: First because of ignorance or brain washing by peers, second because of trying to hide a government’s shortcoming in providing public healthcare to people and lastly because of the loot and exploitation of public for profit. The entire for- profit chain of the for-profit healthcare industry shares the loot and this includes some lawmakers too.

It goes without saying that when healthcare is publically funded healthcare, the health insurance industry has no role to play. It only has a role in the for-profit healthcare system.

Private Practice by Medical Practitioners

While inadequacy of for-profit hospitals has been made amply clear in the last section, there is a useful role for the family or neighbourhood doctor or dentist on payment basis in society to meet lesser healthcare needs of society that do not need care of a larger facility or hospital. An individual doctor may not design organised practices of loot as a larger business organisation may and can provide convenient help. Such a practice may be carried out from homes or an office in a commercial area. However, to ensure that private practice by medical practitioners does not morph into private hospital care some regulations are necessary. An example of such regulations is

1 A doctor on salary in a public or charitable hospital may not carry out private practice because it will compromise the former.

2 Private practices by a doctor must employ no more than two full time employees and two part time employees and shall be carried out in an establishment of no more than five hundred square feet in carpet area.

Minimum and Maximum Charges

Around two decades ago in a note comparing the good and bad of communism and capitalism this author had published an online note that suggested that while government funded healthcare is a good idea it is also a good idea to charge a small fraction of costs from patients. This realisation of the author had emerged from his experience in a fully paid healthcare system in Canada. A small charge say around 10% of costs with caps prevents misuse and increases public participation in improving quality of healthcare in a country. It also improves the efficiency of public hospitals. This author is glad to note that this practice exists in places like Iceland, Norway and Japan with some of the best healthcare systems in the world. However more thought is needed on the minimum and maximum charges

Minimum Charge:

The famous doctor A J Cronin had described how a practitioner with private practice could make good money by pampering hypochondriacally or leisurely rich old ladies by pampering them with placebos. While this is fine on high street it compromises public hospitals. A minimum charge of around a few dollars for visiting hospitals prevents misuse by public. Many a person would then just take a day of bed rest with a common cold rather than knock on the door of a hospital. A percentage of total treatment cost is also a good idea for minimising unnecessary hospitalisations and treatment.  The minimum charge could simply be issued as a ticket at the gate of the hospital to all who enter not just those who seek consultation and treatment. It would help to keep a hospital more clean and secure as needed in a place of care.

Maximum Charge:

While charging a minimum as a percentage has been explained it is also necessary for fixing a maximum to prevent citizens from getting Bankrupt in case of serious needs. Norway has fixed a cap of three hundred dollars a year. An even better idea is to make this cap equal to the income tax paid by a citizen in the preceding year.

This note ends with a wish that may God grant humans wisdom to lead healthy and happy lives as long as they live.

Mystic Secrets of Happiness

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A Flowering Creeper in the Author’s Home

While some humans, for some of their lives, lead peaceful and happy lives, there are also huge numbers who suffer from varying levels of unhappiness. The unhappiness may vary from severe distress and trauma as for those bombed in their homes and forced to flee as in Syria or Yemen presently, to just those suffering form daily stress and grind of life. It has been so with me too in my journey through life dear friend.

It is worth reflecting on the cause of all this and do something to make our lives peaceful and happy for how can there be happiness without peace? Once one discovers root causes of misery and the path to overcome them, one can gain huge amounts peace, happiness and exhilarating joy. While the worldly teach us ways to make money or become more successful, the experience of many is that such paths lead to misery more often than happiness.

In the end two things decide course of our lives. First are our own thoughts and actions that create our world and second are circumstances that world around us seems to impose. We may call these First Cause and Second Cause. While some feel that they may be able to do something about the first cause they also feel the second is out of their control.

Mystics since ancient times have reflected deeply on human life and workings of the universe believe that even the second cause is a result of our past thoughts and deeds, our karma. One may not agree with mystics but then one will agree that there is nothing that can be done about it short of curse our fates or someone else for it making matters worse. Better it is not to bother about it at all and just put up with it if there is nothing that can do about it.

As regards the first cause, our own thoughts and deeds, they are in our control.  All would agree that it is best to work with the first cause in a way that improves lives in the best possible way. In fact, if one does that, one may reach the same path mystics recommend for dealing with both the first and second cause, whether we believe in the words of the mystics or not.

It is our own desires, thoughts, and actions that are the only thing in our control and it is this we must work with to improve our lives. What path should we follow for this? Should we choose this path on our own or seek advice from elsewhere too?

As wisdom increases one realizes how little one knows of life and the world but a fool is secure in his knowledge. Therefore the latter would not need the feel to seek any advice from anyone, secure in the knowledge that he knows the best path forward.

What of others who feel that it would be better to consult before choosing one’s path in life? Here too one may face problems. As an example, consider a person who is suffering from a physical ailment such as chronic pain and decides to consult a medical practitioner for it. The doctor he consults may be moved more by greed and the benefits a big pharma company offers him and therefore instead of recommending a safe pain killer or course of action that offers relief, advises a course of opioid pain killers that makes huge profits for the company. These latter may feel like heaven for a bit but they can addict, compromise health and then kill. Thus one has in effect jumped from the frying pan into the fire. This is not a rare instance because large parts of the world are motivated by greed. Enough wisdom is required not just to seek help but also a little more wisdom than that to reject the wrong sort of help.

Similar is the case for those who feel that the best recourse is to surrender to a religion, spiritual teacher or guru for solace when life is in distress. Here too there are many sharks in disguise motivated by greed. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing out to enslave souls and strip them of whatever goodness remains with them after making them feel like they are in heaven for a bit. How does one safeguard oneself?

The good news for those who trust in God and their own heart is that His help is available directly to all. He shall lead one suffering from pain to the right doctor; give enough wisdom to find one or quite often suggest how to just use things like rest, sunshine, pure air, a bit of exercise and patience to overcome the difficulty.

Similar is the case for spiritual help. If some further education is required in this direction, the Lord has scribbled knowledge on every leaf, flower and tree as well as in one’s heart before sending a soul forth into life. Often we smudge that knowledge with things like lust, anger and greed. When we control the latter, knowledge surfaces.

If necessary, He shall lead one to right words, the right path and it shall most definitely not be in a religion that says that only though them you can find salvation, for that is like a car dealer who says it is only in his car you shall find comfort and it is the best. There are numerous types of cars out there each good for someone or the other.

When it comes to the human condition, there are an infinite number of possible conditions and an infinite number of spiritual paths out there, each to discover for himself, with the help of the Lord. While theologians shall continue to debate and quarrel until kingdom come, mystics of the world have spoken the same language from beginning of time and shall continue to until final dissolution. If you would like to know more about these paths than check out the author’s blog on the topic at

https://ashokbabji.blogspot.com

Or if you prefer to read about in a book that you can read and reflect on with ease and which you can keep with you for referring back as and when you feel like, then you may find the contents of that blog in a little book – Mystic Pathways to Love, Peace and Happiness. It can be found at the following link as well as elsewhere if you search for it on google

https://www.amazon.com/Mystic-Pathways-Love-Peace-Happiness/dp/1546343792/

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Loveganism – Food Sans Violence

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Around 2500 years ago Gautam Buddha advocated compassion and non-violence to all life including animals. This led to a large number of persons adopting a vegetarian life style in South Asia. In recent times the concept has spread further, across the globe.

A traditional vegetarian diet consists of not consuming any meat or fish. However milk and its products are consumed freely. In a traditional vegetarian diet eggs are not consumed since these too are regarded as a flesh food. Vegans on the other hand go further and consume no animal product at all including milk.

Some years ago, this author proposed the concept of Loveganism that included eliminating or at least minimizing violence to all life, not just animal life but also plant life. Lovegan foods are foods that conform to this principle. Since the introduction of the concept online a few years ago, it seems that some have taken up loveganism in different parts of the world. A fresh note summarizing the older ones would therefore be useful.

At first glance, it may seem that loveganism would lead to a highly restricted diet but it is in fact not so. All it requires is love for both animal as well as the green side of life. A Lovegan diet is easier and healthier than both vegetarian and vegan since milk and eggs are part of lovegan food provided they can be produced compassionately. In traditional farming homes a small number of cows or hens are kept as free range pets and consuming some of their milk or eggs does not involve cruelty to the animal. Some modern farmers have also devised compassionate forms of larger milk dairies and poultry farms that permit the cows or hens to roam to over fenced enclosures.

As regards the plant kingdom, it may be noted that food grains such as wheat are collected when wheat grass has completed its life cycle and hence bread is a lovegan food as are lentils, fruits, nuts and a whole range of vegetables that do not involve killing the entire plant. Potatoes and peanuts may be collected after the plant dries out or begins to do so. Vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage and cauliflower involve cutting the plant and are therefore not a part of lovegan diet. Leafy vegetables are lovegan food provided the entire plant is not plucked out but leaves are taken selectively and periodically as new growth comes up. Plants produce leaves far more abundantly than humans produce hair.

Therefore, a lovegan food eater has a wide range of foods to select from and can attain a life style that is healthier than both vegetarians and vegans.

A Wise Precaution

For those contemplating a vegetarian or lovegan life style, it may be mentioned that the human body takes time to adapt and one may suffer in health by suddenly giving up on meat. The sensible way appears to be to cut down the number of times in a week meat is consumed bringing it down to once a week over several months as the first step. This would give the body time to adjust as also an opportunity to learn about alternatives. Only when one has become comfortable with that should one consider giving up on meat altogether. It may be noted that taking up any system of thought in a fanatic way does not appear to be wise in most thing, especially not food. Even after one has become a vegetarian, if occasions arise when one is visiting, eating out or emergencies, one should accept whatever is available or appealing in a spirit of gratefulness. In the eventual analysis any food does good to one’s soul if we use our life and energy in contributing good to the world.

An interested reader may find a lot more discussion on the subject at the following link:

http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/search?q=lovegan

Refugee Absorption Potential of Different Countries

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At the present time the world is grappling with an unprecedented refugee crisis especially due to instability and destruction in Syria. A large number of refugees have now run away to neighboring countries of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordon but since many are neither finding any permanent shelter there nor work or assured food year after year and children are having to grow up without any reasonable avenues of education many have started making their way towards Europe, the only nearby region at peace accessible to the refugees. Just today on the media a Minister from Hungary has said that Europe must not be made to suffer the burden alone but being an International issue it should be shared by the world, this being an International problem. The proposal is up for discussion in UN soon.

The question then arises is that if the world agreed to share the refugee burden how should they be distributed? Some countries are too poor or too small to accept any refugees; some have their own huge populations such as Bangladesh. There is a need to find a simple and just criterion that can measure the refugees absorption potential of any country in a fair and quick manner. In fact such a number is fairly simple to define realizing that the refugee absorption potential of different countries is proportional to their GDP and Land area and inversely proportional to their own population. Thus we may define the Refugee Absorption Potential Number, RAP as

RAP = GDP x Land Area of Country / Population of Country

Stated in words this criterion is simply saying the following:

The more the GDP of a country the more capacity it has to take in refugees, and more the existing population density of a country the less its capacity to accept refugees.

The land area may be measured in square kilometers and GDP is millions of US Dollars.  With the present units the right order of magnitude of numbers is obtained with 1 refugee for the least able countries and in thousands for the most able with a total of around 1.5 million.  Thus if a country has twice the RAP number as compared to another country it has the potential to absorb twice the number of refugees. It is a different matter if it agrees to or not. Countries that agree to opt in and share the burden then may share a given number of refugees in proportions of their RAP numbers.

It would be nice if someone out there can calculate the RAP number for all the countries of the world, so that the world may view the potential in this regard of different countries that make up our world. Perhaps the Hungarian Minister can do the calculation quickly and present it to the UN. Some quick approximate ones are presented next for the purpose of illustration for a few countries only.

ILLUSTRATION

as an illustration an approximate calculation of RAP was done to distribute 1.4 million refugees according to RAP. This is only a first approximate attempt for illustration and if the proposal is used, fresh accurate ones must be done with recent data. The present calculation was also a quick one with no time to check carefully and may have errors.  The input data is as online at: http://doheth.co.uk/info/countries-of-the-world.php

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How to Reform the UN

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Continuing conflicts in the world are proof that UN has not been an effective mechanism in curbing tragic conflicts in the world. The power of veto by one or other member has stalled progress. The world would be a safer place if the following two reforms can be made to the UN

I The Power to override vetoes

The general assembly of the UN must be granted power to override vetoes on resolutions of the Security Council by a two third majority vote. This is only fair since just a handful of nations must not control all the powers of the UN

II Making Votes of General Assembly more democratic

Presently in the UN general assembly very small nations as well as the largest ones have an equal vote of one. This does not lead to a very representative decision. The problem can be easily fixed by making votes proportional to population of different countries, not exactly but as shown in the table so that the smallest of nations also have one vote and the largest no more than 10.

Proportional votes in UNGA

Proportional votes in UNGA

Nations that do not pay their prescribed contribution to the budget, say 1% of their GDP in a particular year would have their voting rights suspended in the following year.

With the two reforms as stated here the world can move faster to end conflicts that have been erupting in different parts of the world from time to time.

Segregation of refugees as Group A and B is essential need

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As instability continues in many countries of the world, most notably Syria at the present time, many humans are fleeing home and country to arrive at the doors or borders of another country. While the host countries struggle with the issue as to how to deal best with the problem, one very basic and fundamental point is being missed in places, a point that should really have been obvious from the start.

The point is of is separating refugees in two groups termed here as Group A and Group B. Both groups require a different treatment, can be easily identified and would not only ease the situation of dealing with refugees but also reduce human distress hugely. This is how the two groups are defined

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Group A: These are families consisting of parents and children, single parents with children, unaccompanied minors or orphans and single women

Group B: These are adult men or groups of adult men

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It would seem obvious that group A requires priority processing and treatment since it includes the most vulnerable of humans including children and babies. They require maximum assistance too. Group B on the other hand can put up with greater hardship. This latter group also requires scrutiny to weed out economic migrants and potential terrorists or gang members that may be trying to sneak in to other countries.

In holding facilities and camps too there is a need to divide the area in two separate parts for these two groups. It would then also minimize the risks of crime against children and women that can take place in any human habitation and increase the security of all.

Refugee child offering biscuit to police blocking path. Image source: https://twitter.com/Andrea_Done/status/641876779439902720/photo/1

Refugee child offering biscuit to police blocking path. Image source: https://twitter.com/Andrea_Done/status/641876779439902720/photo/1

While some in Europe, in particular Germany, Sweden and Austria are doing a lot to help  refugees from Syria, they cannot do it alone. If other large countries with space and means such as Saudi Arabia, USA, Canada, Australia and Russia can come forward to to help refugees in camps near Syria, it would be a great relief. In particular help is needed urgently for Group A refugees (families with children and children alone)

A Plan to end the World Refugee Crisis – PHICS and beyond

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While many parts of the world live in peace, there are countries suffering from turmoil and war for prolonged periods, in the worst cases such as in Syria and Iraq, huge numbers of humans including the old, women and children are compelled to leave their homes and flee either within their own countries or to other countries. When persons are displaced within their own countries, it may be regarded as primarily an internal problem of that country, although in humanitarian interest other countries may try to counsel or influence it to resolve the issue. When huge numbers of humans flee the country and arrive in other countries, it no longer remains an internal problem of that country but becomes an International one. What can the world do about it? Existing international mechanisms such as the United Nations have clearly failed to resolve such issues and a new plan that works is urgently needed.

The world community must come together to alleviate the distress of humans.

Concerned at the situation in places like Somalia, Sudan, Iraq and Syria this author had applied his mind to the crisis in 2013 and proposed a plan called PHICS here
https://ashokmalhotra.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/need-for-a-new-international-law-to-save-humans-syria/

It consisted of the following;

1. If there is chaos, disorder, massive loss of life and human displacements from any country of the world on a continuing basis for a period longer than a year that has caused refugees to flee not just their homes but also their countries in hundreds of thousands, then such a country should be declared as a failed state in need of international intervention and supervision by force if necessary.
2. Such a country shall be placed under international governance, imposed if necessary by an international force for five years
3. During these five years a new standard prepared constitution shall be imposed and supervised elections shall be held while every attempt is made to restore order. The constitution can later be modified by a two third majority of the elected representatives and the country shall be handed back at the end of these five years but the next two elections shall also take place under supervision.

This is only the initial draft for discussion stated very briefly. It may be finalized after debate and safeguards stated. An appropriate forum for such a debate is the general assembly of United Nations. The only alternative to a new law as described here and termed as PHICS for the world is to host millions of refugees from disturbed countries and in the long run create disturbances in their own countries. The world suffers as a whole when there is any significant suffering in any part and the only few who gain are the dealers and makers of arms

How to Overcome Obstruction

Whenever any major change is proposed in the world, some country or person may have its own legitimate objections. The power of vote and democracy is able to override such objection. However the UN has been unable to do this because of the power of the veto held by a few select nations. PHICS cannot work if the power of veto continues in the present form. In case of a veto, the matter must be sent to the General Assembly again and if two thirds of the members propose, it should be abolished.

The Unique Situation of Iraq and Syria

While PHICS is proposed to be applied country wise, there are times when the problems of two neighboring nations are intertwined and need a special joint treatment as in the case of Iraq and Syria. In this case what is required before imposing national constitution and elections is a year or two spent in reorganizing the borders of the country with a view to long term stability. For example, seeing the turmoil in Iraq and Syria it would be best to redraw the borders of these countries to create three countries, A Shia Country merging Shia portions of Iraq and Syria with connecting corridors.; a Sunni country similarly and Kurdistan merging Kurdish portions of Iraq and Syria. Such reorganization would also correct  historical errors in drawing country boundaries and one such has clearly  been made here. Such an exercise would involve an international body of experts and a final approval of the United Nations with power to override vetoes as described earlier

iraq

A new Kingdom is born – Piland

The Flag of Kingdom of Piland

The Flag of Kingdom of Piland

Today I was fascinated by a news report that an American has claimed a piece of the planet that apparently belonged to no country i.e. it was Terra Nullius. He has named it the Kingdom of North Sudan and declared himself as king. I do not have sufficient knowledge of International law to know how far this claim is valid or if it is a joke. However just for fun and as an experiment it is decided to repeat this exercise with a new Island that emerged earlier this year in the Antarctica along with an apparently previously unclaimed sector of the Antarctica – Marie Byrd land.

The name Pi Island has been tossed around for the new island because the day of it birth 3/14 and this name has inspired the name of the new Kingdom. Therefore, if not contrary to law, I claim this island, including it in this Kingdom of Piland, a new country that includes Marie Byrd Land and islands in that sector off the coast of Marie Byrd Land  declaring myself as the King Emperor of Piland. Presently the population primarily consists of visiting Penguins. :- ) but it shall eventually hopefully become a constitutional monarchy on the lines of UK with a written constitution in future. Until then proclamations of the King shall be law.

By this proclamation dated the 16th of July 2014, We the King Emperor declare Tsaven of https://www.blogger.com/profile/02361550958689286343As the Duke of the Piland Island, i.e the newly emerged island. This honor being bestowed on him due to his revealing the island to the world at http://frozennerd.blogspot.in/2014/03/a-new-island-is-born.html Subject to his acceptance of this honor.

Marie Byrd Land is the portion of West Antarctica lying east of the Ross Ice Shelf and the Ross Sea and south of the Pacific Ocean, extending eastward approximately to a line between the head of the Ross Ice Shelf and Eights Coast. It stretches between 158°W and 103°24’W. The inclusion of the area between the Rockefeller Plateau and Eights Coast is based upon the leading role of Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd in the exploration of this area. The name was originally applied by Admiral Byrd in 1929, in honor of his wife, to the northwestern part of the area, the part that was explored in that year. (from Wikipedia)

All citizens of the world are regarded as adjunct citizens of the Kingdom of Piland, if they so desire,  and may visit freely without visa or restriction and live or visit the Kingdom of Piland if they wish provided they do not carry out any activity to damage the environment in any substantial way and do not hurt or kill any plant, animal or fish beyond what is required for their short term food, clothing or shelter needs. – By Proclamation of the King Emperor of the Kingdom of Piland  The creation of the Kingdom is an attempt to protect the planet from any unnecessary exploitation aside from an exploration of new innovative laws and practices.

The primary goal of creation of the Kingdom of Piland is to make contributions towards protecting and enhancing the environment of the planet.

Marie-Byrd Land

Marie Byrd Land, Kingdom of Piland

Marie Byrd Land in Antartica, image from ( modified before use here)
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marie_Byrd_Land_in_Antarctica_%28Relief%29.svg
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

 Assert your claim of citizenship to this new as yet experimental country (an experiment in International law) on Facebook merely by liking the page at  https://www.facebook.com/PilandKingdom

 

NOTE: Please register any sound objections, if any, that you may have to the idea of Kingdom of Piland as described here as a comment. If you do not, this Kingdom will become a reality

It goes without saying that as long as there is no fairly permanent human settlement and habitation in the Kingdom of Piland by persons who regard themselves as its citizens, the Kingdom must remain a merely symbolic thing or a game in virtual space or at best a first step only. Yet it is not impossible that an unexpected turn of events would make such a settlement possible. It would then become a physical reality.

 This appears to be similar to  —–^ “New Jersey v. New York, 523 US 767 (1998)”. US Supreme Court. May 1998. Retrieved 29 January 2010. “Even as to terra nullius, like a volcanic island or territory abandoned by its former sovereign, a claimant by right as against all others has more to do than planting a flag or rearing a monument. Since the 19th century the most generous settled view has been that discovery accompanied by symbolic acts give no more than “an inchoate title, an option, as against other states, to consolidate the first steps by proceeding to effective occupation within a reasonable time.8 I. Brownlie, Principles of Public International Law 146 (4th ed.1990); see also 1 C. Hyde, International Law 329 (rev.2d ed.1945); 1 L. Oppenheim International Law §§222-223, pp. 439-441 (H. Lauterpacht 5th ed.1937); Hall A Treatise on International Law, at 102-103; 1 J. Moore, International Law 258 (1906); R. Phillimore, International Law 273 (2d ed. 1871); E. Vattel, Law of Nations, §208, p. 99 (J. Chitty 6th Am. ed. 1844).”