Kashmir in the Crosshairs: The View from Brazil

Here’s the latest post from our intepid Brazil bureau chief, Gian Paul. While we’ve been fretting about the gyrations of the stock market, GP has been thinking about the land where the saffron grows.

It’s interesting that Gian Paul, who is Swiss-born, is fixated on Kashmir because it reminded me of Switzerland, with its chalets and snow-capped mountains, when I visited there in 2004.

Kashmir is also the homeland of the family of Neel Kashkari, the 35-year-old that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has named to oversee the $700 billion bailout fund. Like his boss, Kashkari has piercing eyes and a shaved head. The Indian papers are calling him the “$700 billion man.”

But Kashkari is another post. Here are Gian Paul’s thoughts on Kashmir, part of an Indian state called Jammu and Kashmir, and how it may be affected by the ingress of Pluto into Capricorn on Nov. 27. Over to you, GP:

Pluto was discovered on Feb. 18, 1930 by Clyde Tombough. The former planet’s sidereal revolution is almost 250 years. Consequently astrologers have little statistical data on Pluto’s effects.

In an effort to understand more, I’ve been sifting through astrological charts that I have accumulated over time. The most striking discovery I’ve made is related to the chart of the moment when World War I started.

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, on June 28, 1914, in Sarajevo, was marked by the ingress of Pluto into Cancer. This is exactly opposite where Pluto will be transiting at the end of November.

So I proceeded to draw the chart of Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn. It will happen on Nov. 27, at 01 hours GMT. I drew the map for London, quite near to Greenwich, where the day begins.

The ascendant of the Pluto ingress is 24 degrees of Virgo, within 3 degrees of a conjunction to Saturn, which will be opposing Uranus. Coincidentally or not, the rising in the Sarajevo chart is just two degrees away, at 22 Virgo.

Looking beyond the financial concerns of the moment, I dug up the charts of the creation of modern India and Pakistan, as I suspect that things there have reached explosive proportions.

Pakistan is practically broke and has less than one month’s reserves to cover imports. The risk is that the government will start some stupid military initiative related to neighboring Kashmir to distract the Pakistanis from the financial problems.

A fertile highland wedged between Pakistan and India, Kashmir was put under “indefinite curfew” by India on Oct. 5.

As students of the subcontinent know, Kashmir has been a source of contention between India and Pakistan ever since the two nations were created in 1947. When Britain divided the region in two, it left the Kashmiris with three options: Merge with India, merge with Pakistan, or remain independent.

Kashmir’s then-ruler decided to go with India, though the population of Kashmir is 80% Muslim and has more in common from a religious standpoint with Pakistan than with India. Though India has many religions, the Hindus have dominated politics since the departure of the British.

For the past decade, Kashmir has been a hotbed of guerrilla activity, as Islamic militants have crossed the border from Pakistan and the Indian military has put the region under virtual house arrest.

This has nearly destroyed Kashmir’s valuable tourist trade, which dates back to British colonial times, when it was fashionable to vacation on colorfully painted houseboats on Lake Dal outside Srinigar. Most of the tourists in the area today are young Israelis, who aren’t put off by the Indian military presence or the possibility of a terrorist attack by an Islamic militia.

The problems in Kashmir might appear at first glance to be a local matter between India and Pakistan until we remember that both nations have nuclear weapons.

What’s astrologically striking about the birth charts of both nations (set for 0 hours on Aug. 15, 1947) is that Mars is at 0 degrees 35′ of Cancer. This is where Pluto was at the beginning of World War I. By the end of November, Mars will be getting the opposition of Pluto when it moves into Capricorn.

To paraphrase U.S. President John F. Kennedy, who once declared, “We are all Berliners now,” are we all about to become Kashmiris? We may have to indeed, to prevent the province from becoming a staging ground for the worst fears of mankind.

Overheard at the United Astrology Conference

I’ve long been an avid eavesdropper, and the wireless revolution has created more opportunities for me to engage in this fascinating pastime as people have personal conversations in public places on their cell phones. Early this morning, I was sitting in the lobby of the Denver Sheraton, where 1,500 astrologers from 48 countries have gathered for the United Astrology Conference.

The subject of my interest was a meeting between an astrological software developer and a venture capitalist for an astro matchmaking service that comes with social networking features. I did a quick Google search and it does appear that some dating sites have tried to incorporate astrology, but nothing big-time jumped out at me.

Of course, in India, where no one marries without consulting an astrologer, I’m sure something like this already exists. But what these guys were talking about was e-Harmony meets MySpace and AstrologyZone. The only problem I anticipate with something like this is the tendency of people, particularly those past the age of 30, to lie about their age.

Case in point: One of my former sweethearts gave me a birthdate of July 30, 1931. Based on this information, I calculated a composite that I thought was a beautiful thing. I even threw a birthday party for him for a special year. Fast-forward through four years of entanglement in a complicated triangle and his license falls out of his wallet one day.

As I picked it up and say, “What a nice photo this is for a license,” his face turned white. I didn’t look at the birthdate because I had no reason to believe he was lying. As I handed the license back to him, he confessed that he had shaved two years off of his life and that his real birthday was July 30, 1929. You gotta love those vain Leos!

If memory serves me correctly, the new composite had Sun square Neptune, the planet of disillusionment and deceit in it.

So good luck to any astrological dating service that accepts a date of birth without supporting documentation!