A woodman was carrying a sack full of chopped wood on his back. His sack was heavy and filled beyond its limit. The man, bent under his bulky burden, was struggling not to drop any of the wood pieces as he walked.
However, the poor man couldn't avoid tripping over a stone on the road and half of his load fell out of their precarious pile. Another man happened to be passing by and saw the mishap.
'If I load those fallen pieces of wood back into your back sack, what would you give me?' he asked.
'Nothing.' said the man carrying the wood.
'That's acceptable.' agreed the other man. He collected all the chopped wood scattered on the road and crammed them back into the sack of the woodman. When done, he asked for his payment. The woodman was baffled.
'I told you, I would give you nothing.' he said.
'Yes. And that's what I want. Nothing.' said the other, 'Give me my nothing!'
After some quarrel, the two men decided to let the kadi solve their problem. Nasreddin Hodja was on duty at the time. He listened to both men earnestly. Then he addressed the man who was expecting his payment of nothing.
'My dear fellow, could you please lift the far right corner of that rug on the floor and check what is underneath?' The man did as he was told and looked under the rug.
'What do you see?' asked the Hodja.
'Nothing.' said the man.
'Well, take it and go home.' commanded the Hodja, 'That is your payment!'
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First BJP CMs in Maharashtra, Haryana
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to have its first chief ministers in Haryana and Maharashtra. The party won a majority in Haryana, and in Maharashtra, it has emerged as the single largest party.
The party’s gamble of contesting alone in Haryana and snapping ties with its oldest ally, Shiv Sena, in Maharashtra have paid off. The results strengthen the hand of Prime minister Narendra Modi, who, along with BJP president Amit Shah, scripted the risky strategy in the first round of state elections after the Lok Sabha victory in May. Elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand are due in a few months and the party may consider a mid-term election in Delhi, now under central rule.
"For those who thought the Modi wave is over, this is proof that it's still a tsunami that can crush all competition. People of India consider Narendra Modi their undisputed leader," said Mr Shah, whose micro-management of election campaigns has become a defining character of the BJP along with the oratory of Mr Modi. The results will also mean less power for state leaders of the party, increasingly dominated by the national leadership.
However, failure to win a simple majority in Maharashtra left the BJP with a sense of incompleteness, though with twice as many seats as the Shiv Sena, the nearest opponent, it has established its primacy in the state for the first time. The Congress and the NCP were left far behind, with 42 and 41 seats respectively.
With Maharashtra and Haryana under the saffron flag, the BJP would now have six chief ministers, controlling large states. Alliance partners lead governments in Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. The BJP’s efforts to dictate the terms of engagement with allies got a further fillip with these results.
For Obama and Modi, a friendly stroll but no embrace
WASHINGTON: In a get-to-know-you visit fraught with awkward undertones, US President Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to repair a strained relationship between their nations on Tuesday, emerging with expressions of good will but little in the way of concrete deals.
At an Oval Office meeting and during a stroll around the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, Obama and Modi emphasized what they had in common as democratic leaders who overcame personal obstacles, campaigned as outsiders and embraced technology as a vital tool in politics and governing.
But their talks yielded no resolutions to thorny disputes over taxes, trade and civilian nuclear energy cooperation that have divided the United States and India in recent years. And there was little sign that human rights — a particularly sensitive topic for Modi, who has been accused of being complicit in deadly anti-Muslim riots — was a major item on the agenda.
"Human rights and the importance of inclusive governance were part of the discussions between the president and the prime minister today," Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary told reporters. But a statement issued jointly by the United States and India after the talks made no mention of the issue.
The White House has grappled with the perceptions of a visit meant to spotlight the president's high hopes for working with Prime Minister Modi while not lavishing the full measure of White House pageantry on a leader who until recently was barred from entering the United States because of the allegations of human rights abuses more than a decade ago.
Still, in a striking gesture that Modi later said gave their relationship a "new dimension," the president left the White House on Tuesday to give the prime minister a personal tour of the King Memorial, recalling Obama's own visit in 2010 to the onetime home in Mumbai of Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian champion of democracy and nonviolence who was a model for the American civil rights leader.
Narendra Modi with Barack Obama at the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. (PTI photo)
At a luncheon at the State Department not long after, Modi was effusive in thanking Obama "from the core of my heart" for leading him around the memorial. "He took out a lot of time," Modi said. "We were together yesterday and today for quite some time, and today in fact he took me around, and with such ease and such humility."
Modi had been denied a visa to visit the United States because of accusations that he failed to stop religious violence in Gujarat in 2002, when he was chief minister there, which took the lives of more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims. On Thursday, while Modi was in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, the human rights group American Justice Center filed a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan against him on behalf of two survivors of the rioting, seeking a judgment that his conduct was tantamount to genocide.
Modi, Obama bond over political banter, issue expansive vision statement
American officials have declined to comment on the case, except to say that sitting heads of government enjoy immunity from lawsuits in American courts. But human rights activists had pressed the Obama administration to get the president to raise the issue with Modi while he was in Washington.
If he did, it was in private.
Narendra Modi and Barack Obama at the National Martin Luther King Memorial on the National Mall in Washington. (Reuters photo)
"The purpose of these meetings was to improve US-India relations, so we weren't expecting Obama to give him the cold shoulder, but we were hoping there would be a little bit of measure in the red-carpet treatment, so we were surprised by the Martin Luther King side visit," said John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "Delivering a message about human rights is always awkward."
It was hardly the only tricky element of Modi's visit. Their get-together began on Monday night with a small dinner in the White House Blue Room that was a protocol nightmare: Modi was in the middle of a nine-day fast to observe the festival of Navratri, but insisted his hosts go ahead and eat. Modi sat in front of an empty plate and had warm water for dinner while Obama and the two leaders' entourages ate avocados and goat cheese, crisped halibut and basmati rice, a pumpkin creme brulee and a California chardonnay.
The 20-person dinner was a stark contrast to the lavish affair Obama threw for Modi's predecessor, Manmohan Singh, in November 2009, when more than 300 guests dined on arugula salad, curried prawns and pumpkin pie tart at an event whose bill came to more than $570,000.
This two-day meeting did produce some agreements, including the renewal of a 10-year defense cooperation framework, a pact to cooperate on maritime security and several clean-energy initiatives. And as Mr. Obama intensifies the American campaign against the Sunni militant group known as the Islamic State, the two agreed to improve their counterterrorism cooperation and intelligence sharing.
"We discussed the issues of trade, issues of making sure that maritime rules are observed, and we discussed how we can continue to work together on a whole host of issues from space exploration, scientific endeavor, to dealing with humanitarian crises like Ebola in West Africa," Obama said after a two-hour meeting with Modi in the Oval Office.
Modi, for his part, said he wanted to resolve disputes that had stalled the implementation of the American-India civilian nuclear agreement and stymied progress on trade. He said the two leaders had a "candid discussion" on trade.
"We already have the foundation of a strong partnership," Modi said. "We now have to revive the momentum and ensure that we get the best out of it for our people and for the world."
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1 kg meat
1 cup mustard/refined oil
3 tsp red chili powder
3 tsp fennel powder
2 tsp ginger powder
2 tsp cumin powder
3 tsp brown cardamom powder
1 tsp asafoetida
4 pieces of green cardamom
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
1/3 tsp saffron - optional 1 cup curd salt to taste
Wash the meat properly. Heat oil in a pressure cooker.
Put cinnamon, bay leaves, green cardamom, cloves, 1 tsp salt, asafoetida, and meat together.
Fry meat till it turns brown. Once browned, pour a cup of water.
Add the red chili powder and saffron into the meat. Keep stirring for about a minute.
Mix the curd nicely in the mixer and pour it into the pressure cooker.
Keep on stirring till you get a reddish tinge.
Add 2 cups of water, fennel powder, ginger powder, and pressure cook for 2 minutes.
Check if the meat is tender. Peel and grind green and brown cardamom and add to the meat dish.
Finally sprinkle cumin powder and simmer for a minute and serve.
Contributed by Rinki