Kumar Govindan
11 min readOct 21, 2023

About: the world this week, 15 October to 21 October 2023; Israel’s War; Australia’s Voice; Poland’s Vote; India — Space, Trains, a Murder, and same-sex marriage.


Israel Strikes Back

The Israel strike back -Operation Iron Swords-on the terrorist Hamas, following the savage barbarism of 7th October in Israel, is in a ‘pregnant next stage of attack’ phase. And this week there was a hullabaloo over a rocket striking a Gaza Hospital -Al-Ahli-al Arabi Baptist Hospital -and claimed to have killed over 500 people. Hamas- and the general media-quickly blamed it on Israel, but evidence shows that it was a failed Palestine Islamic Jihad rocket launched towards Israel that fell back on Gaza. And only the parking lot of the Hospital was damaged with the Hospital buildings itself standing tall without significant damage. And the number of people killed is nowhere near as claimed.

United States (US) President Joe Biden made a dash to Israel to stand with them. And then based on convincing evidence shown by Israel that ‘we did not do it’, declared that Israel is not to blame, and the other side did it. Later, the US National Security Council (NSC) released a statement publicly, which it said is based on all available data, currently: “The IDF is NOT responsible for the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday.” The assessment is based on the following, according to the NSC: Overhead imagery; Intercept; and Open Source information. (IDF — Israel Defense Forces).

Meanwhile, Hamas continues using people as human shields and galvanising the Islamic world against Israel in the name of religion-right or wrong, apart. And still keeps pumping rockets into Israel. Many counties across the World saw mostly pro-Hamas rallies (despicable) and some pro-Israeli rallies of support. Countries bordering Israel, such as Egypt and Jordan refused to allow Palestinian refugees from the Gaza Strip into their counties. Israel has been continuously announcing the those in the Northern part of Gaza must move towards the South of the Gaza River as it plans to attack Hamas hideouts in the Northern Gaza. And it went about surgically eliminating the leadership of Hamas, one by one.

Towards the end of the week, Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also made a dash to Israel with a plane load of supplies, to show solidarity.

Hamas still holds 200 plus Israeli hostages in the Gaza and their release is key to starting the process of ending the War. On another front Hamas’ partner in crime, the Lebanese based Hezbollah — a political party and militant group, began shooting rockets into Northern Israel, and Israel is busy fending them off as well.

Meanwhile, Israel closed down its Embassies in the Middle East: Egypt, Turkey, Jordon, Bahrain, and Morocco, and has recalled its diplomatic staff citing deteriorating security in the region.

Humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip is deadlocked at the Egyptian Border-Rafah- and a frenzy of negotiations are underway to allow them to pass. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appeared at the Border and made an emotional appeal for aid trucks to move into the besieged enclave.

Tensions in the region at their highest level ever.

The Voice of Australia

Australia has overwhelmingly rejected a plan to give greater political rights to indigenous people in a Referendum, dubbed ‘The Voice’, held on 14 October 2023.

All six states voted ‘No’ to a proposal to amend the constitution to recognise First Nations People and create a body for them to advise the government. The referendum was Australia’s first in almost a quarter of a century. With the ballots counted, the ‘No’ vote led ‘Yes’, by 60% to 40%. This is the first attempt at constitutional change in 24 years.

The Voice was held with the questions for a Proposed Law: (1). To alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. (2). Do you approve this proposed alteration? Yes or No.

Supporters of the losing ‘Yes’ said that entrenching the indigenous peoples into the constitution would unite Australia and usher in a new era. Supporters of the winning ‘No’ said that the idea was divisive, would create special ‘classes’ of citizens where some were more equal than others, and the new advisory body would slow government decision-making.

Who are the ‘First Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders’ of Australia’?

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the first peoples of Australia, meaning they were here for thousands of years prior to conquest and colonisation. ‘Aboriginal’, refers to the indigenous inhabitants of the continent-people who lived on the Australian mainland and surrounding islands for tens of thousands of years before the first Europeans arrived in the early 17th century. Aboriginal people may choose to identify with their language groups and traditional lands, for example, Gunditjamara people are the traditional custodians of Western Victoria, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation are from Sydney, and the Yawuru people are the traditional custodians of Broome in Western Australia.

Torres Strait Islanders are the indigenous Melanesian people of the Torres Strait Islands, which are part of the state of Queensland, Australia. Ethnically distinct from the Aboriginal peoples of the rest of Australia, they are often grouped with them as Indigenous Australians. The Torres Strait region is located between the tip of Cape York and Papua New Guinea and is made up of over two hundred islands. Seventeen of these islands are inhabited. There are also two Torres Strait Islander communities, Bamaga and Seisia, on the northern peninsula area of mainland of Australia. The Torres Strait is also home to the Aboriginal Kaurareg Nation who are the traditional inhabitants of Muralag (Prince of Wales Island), Kirriri (Hammond Island), Ngurupai (Horn Island) and Waiben (Thursday Island).

In 2016, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples made up just 3.3% of the Australian population. Of that group, the majority were under the age of 25. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples live in urban, regional and remote areas and are present in all communities, not necessarily on their traditional lands.

There are varying estimates for how long Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have lived on the Australian continent. However, upwards of 60,000 years is what current research reveals. They find no specific mention in Australia’s 122 years old Constitution.

The Vote of Poland

The Parliament of Poland, like the legislature of most democracies around the world, is bicameral. It is composed of an upper house -the Senate- and a lower house -the Sejm. Both houses are accommodated in the Sejm complex in Poland’s capital, Warsaw.

Members of the Sejm and the Senate are directly elected by the people, usually every four years. The Sejm has 460 members, while the Senate has 100. To become law, a bill must first be approved by the Sejm and then the Senate, but the Sejm can override a Senate refusal to pass a bill.

Since 1990, the President has been elected by the people. However, the President is still sworn in before the National Assembly, which is also the only organ which can declare the President’s permanent incapacity to perform his duties, or bring an indictment against him. From 1992 to 1997, the National Assembly drafted and passed a new Constitution, which was approved by a national referendum on 25 May 1997. The Government of Poland is a unitary parliamentary representative democratic republic, with the President as the head of state and the Prime Minister as the head of government.

Poland went to the polls this Sunday, 15th October, between 7am and 9pm for electing members of the Sejm and the Senate, with 231 seats in the Sejm needed for a party to clinch power outright. The turnout was an impressive 74% and the highest since the collapse of communism in 1989. Parties was successful in galvanising a large number, especially the younger votes, for the first time. The campaign was marred by harsh, divisive rhetoric, reflecting deep polarisation with Polish society.

With the counting of votes, Poland’s opposition is on course to remove the populist ruling party from power, however with no absolute majority for a single party-setting the stage for weeks of high-stakes negotiations to form Poland’s next government.

The incumbent Law and Justice party, known by its Polish acronym PiS, won the biggest share of the vote with 35.38%, which translates into 194 seats in the Sejm. However, it lost parliamentary majority, according to official results released by the National Electoral Commission.

PiS, led by Jarosław Kaczynski, finished ahead of opposition party Civic Coalition (KO), led by former Polish Prime Minister and European Council President Donald Tusk, on 30.7%, which is 157 seats. The close result made the centrist Third Way and left-wing Lewica parties kingmakers; both groups are opposed to the hardline PiS and have indicated they will seek to form a new coalition government with Donald Tusk.

The combination of KO — 157 seats, the Third Way — 65 seats, and the New Left- 26 seats, have won over 54% of the votes and 248 seats, enough for them to form a stable government in a coalition.

In the Senate, KO won 41 seats to PiS’s 34 seats, and along with the Third Way’s 11 and Lewica’s 9 seats, commands a majority here too.

The situation points to an end to PiS’ divisive eight-year rule, which saw a drastic overhaul of Poland’s democratic institutions and grave warnings that the country was lurching towards populist authoritarianism. Tusk had promised to restore democratic norms in Poland and cooperate with Western European allies, among whom Poland was fast becoming a pariah.

According to the Polish Constitution, the President must call a new parliamentary session within 30 days of the election. Then, he has 14 days to nominate a candidate for Prime Minister, after which the nominee has 14 days to win a vote of confidence in parliament.

If Donald Tusk does eventually take charge of Poland, he will face a monumental task in reversing PiS’ illiberal reforms of the country’s judiciary, public media, and cultural bodies. He will also seek to re-establish Poland as a major player in the European Union (EU), and likely look to smooth over tensions that emerged between Poland and Ukraine over the imports of Ukrainian grain.

PiS, which has been mired in bitter spats with the EU during its eight years in power, was seeking a third consecutive electoral success- an unprecedented feat since Poland regained its independence from the Soviet Union.

Some voices said, “Poland is back. By far the most important election in Europe this year is the Polish national election. It ended tonight with a victory for democracy.”

India Potpourri

Flying on the success of Chandrayaan 3, this week India set itself two ambitious Space Goals: one to send a Man to the Moon by 2040; and two, to set-up and Indian Space Station by 2035. And even before these two goals, India will send three astronauts into space in 2025 to get the hang of things.

In a first move towards this end, this week the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will be launching Gaganyaan spacecraft to demonstrate that the capsule carrying humans can safely return home. Called, Flight Test Vehicle Abort Mission-1 (or TV-D1) ISRO would be testing the spacecraft’s ‘crew escape system (CES)’ to see whether the crew can safely escape the craft in the event of a malfunction.

Watch this space.

This week, RapidX, India’s first Rapid Rail Train Service (RRTS) was inaugurated in Uttar Pradesh State’s Ghaziabad in the National Capital Region (NCR) in the stretch from Sahibabad to Duhai Depot. A RRTS corridor of 82km is expected to be operational by June 2025. The trains this section, which are capable of running at speeds up to 180 km per hour, will eventually cut the journey time between Delhi and Meerut to less than an hour. Authorities said it is a ‘transformational’ regional development initiative, which is designed to provide high-speed trains for intercity commuting every 15 minutes, which can go up to a frequency of every 5 minutes, according to requirement.

Sowmya Vishwanathan was a 25 years TV Journalist working with Headlines Today (now, India Today) in New Delhi as a News Producer. She has stayed back late to help with a breaking news event. And in the early hours, 3.05 am, on 30 September 2008 she left her Office at Jhandewalan to drive to her home in Vasanth Kunj. She, phoned home to say, “I’m reaching home in five minutes. Keep my breakfast ready”. That would be her last call. Later her body was found in her car, on the stretch of Vasanth Vihar’s, Nelson Mandela Road. She had died from a headshot wound.

This week, after 15 years, a Court in Saket, New Delhi, convicted four accused for the murder of Sowmya. The investigations revealed that one of the accused, Ravi Kapoor, first shot at her to stop the car in an attempted robbery, but when she did not stop, he shot her fatally. When Sowmya had overtaken him, he followed her noticing she that was alone in the car. He tried to intercept her, but she did not stop, leading to the shooting and her murder.

Ravi Kapoor was a brutal Killer who donned various attires: Policeman, Judge, Doctor, etc., to dupe and rob people on Vasanth Vihar’s Nelson Mandela Road. He also ‘acted ‘ as a Police Informer, which perhaps kept him off the Police radar. His many other crimes of killing an Information Technology Executive Jigisha Gosh, and a Cab Driver, caught up with him, providing vital clues that helped the Police piece together the crime.

This week, one of India’s Spiritual Gurus, Godman Bangaru Adigalar, 82, passed away due to a heart attack at Melmaruvathur — a Temple Town, 90 km from Chennai, Tamilnadu. He is the founder of the Melmaruvathur Aadhiparasakthi Siddhar Peetam, which runs the Melmaruvathur Aadhi Parasakthi temple. He was called ‘Amma’ meaning mother in Tamil, by his followers and devotees. Adigalar was believed to be the Poorna Avatar (holding all 16 qualities of an Avatar of God) as well as the incarnation of the supreme power Aadhi Parasakthi. He treated his followers equally, regardless of gender, caste, or religion. He brought in revolutionary reforms such as paving the way for women to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Shakti temples.

Bangaru Adigalar leaves behind his wife, two sons and two daughters, who manage several educational institutions owned by the family. He was conferred the Padma Shri award, one of the country’s highest civilian awards, in 2019. He also experienced an Income-Tax raid in his House and Businesses in the year 2010.

Aadhi Parasakthi or Mahadevi or Aadhi Sakthi is the supreme Goddess in Shaktism sect of Hinduism. This sect believes that all Hindu Gods and Goddesses are manifestations of this single great Goddess. Durga is one of the forms of Mahadevi.

Same-Same, But Different

This week, India’s Supreme Court (SC) declined to legally recognise same-sex unions, in a landmark ruling that also emphasised the rights of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community to be free of prejudice and discrimination.

Handing down the verdict, the SC struck-down legalising same-sex marriage saying it’s the job of Parliament to decide the validity of same-sex marriage. It went on to say that the Constitution does not grant a fundamental right to marry, and the institution cannot be elevated to the status of a fundamental right. Courts to steer clear of policy matters.

Stating that queerness is a natural phenomenon, the SC suggested that the government forms a committee on marriage rights and presents a bouquet of gay rights to the LGBTQ community. It also observed that gender cannot be the same as sexuality.

In summary, the SC ruled that the Same-Sex has: No right to marriage; no right to civil union-it can be only through laws; no right to adopt children; have the right to choose their own partner; transgender persons have the right to marry. Same-sex couples cannot claim a fundamental right to marry.

Queer persons are not prohibited from celebrating their love for each other, but have no right to claim recognition of such union. They have the right to choose their own partner and must be protected — by the Government- to enjoy such rights.

Striking down the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) regulation, the SC said the law cannot assume that only heterosexual couples can be good parents and that doing so would amount to discrimination. Unmarried couples, Queer can jointly adopt a child, and proceeds to say that CARA violates the Constitution.

More voice stories coming-up in the weeks ahead. Adopt World Inthavaaram.



Kumar Govindan

Once an Engineer, now a Make-in-India Entrepreneur; Wordsmith; Blogger; maybe a Farmer!