Friday, December 26, 2008

As Oil Price Falls, Cash Strapped Russia's President Arrives in India

The Russians are big players in oil/gas exports. Oil prices have fallen from $146 a barrel in July to about $34 today. No wonder the Russians' backsides are burning. What will the President of Russia get as a gift from the Indian government after his visit to India?
  • Probably the Admiral Gorshkov ship deal - which was held up because of Russians demanding a preposterous price - will now be passed by the spineless Congress(I) Government.
  • Probably a deal for some more fighter planes and tanks?
  • Probably leasing of a few nuclear subs?
But then, the Congress(I). has to play fair, it gave such a superb deal to the Americans on the nuclear deal didn't it? How about a confidence vote to get the Gorshkov deal signed Mr. Manmohan Singh?

A naive, self doubting, recognition-mongering Indian is better off giving a wide berth to people who mouth platitudes like "Natural ally", "Relations ascending to new heights", "Strategic partnership" etc. They are what they are, empty words! What speaks louder than words is plain money. In this moment of world economic crisis, the Indian household has been able to save enough to bail it's government and banks out! This is a moment of our strength, we Indians should talk to the world demanding the respect we deserve. But you can bet that the inept and malicious Congress(I) government will give the greedy and cunning Russians a superb deal on a platinum platter sacrificing our respect.

The media was again at it's spineless best mouthing platitudes fed to them by the Russian spin-doctors and their collaborators/agents in India. This report from Indian Express (published on yahoo) is a case in point. I haven't checked up LiC's (N rAvaNa's) views on the visit, I can bet they will be on similar lines.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy holiday season

The holiday season is upon us. Like most of you I'm on vacation currently.
I do want to take this time to thank my fellow bloggers HF, Andromeda, Pilid and Shrivatsa whose inspiring writing in this blog keeps it going strong.
A special thanks to all our readers whose support, opinions and critique of this blog enables us to focus on keeping the media honest.
This year has been very eventful and looking forward to 2009 there is promise and hope of better things but also fear and uncertainty which makes it all the more fun discussing the issues with you all.
Wishing you all a very happy holiday season.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

UPA gifts Nagaland to Christ

Original Nagaland maps lost
The unraveling process begins:
Original maps demarcating the borders of Nagaland have been lost, Home Minister P Chidambaram said here on Wednesday.
The statement is significant as the separatist National Socialist Council of Nagaland has been fighting for six decades to create a Greater Nagaland by slicing off parts of three neighbouring states to unite 1.2 million Nagas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thoughts about the Mumbai attacks from West Asia

In recent times a lot of blogs, including this one, have covered the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in great detail. They have provided perspectives from inside India, Pakistan and from other western countries.
But what about West Asia? What do the Iranians, Saudis and others think?
Chindu's Atul Aneja provides some details in an article, How West Asia views Mumbai attacks .
The article is reasonably succinct in summarizing the widespread thoughts among leading Middle-eastern media outlets as evinced in,
there is plenty of sympathy in the Arab and Iranian media for Pakistan, which is seen not as an instigator of the Mumbai attacks but as a victim of this conspiracy. There is a considerably large body of opinion that after the Mumbai attacks, the stage has been set for Pakistan to be targeted militarily during the Obama Presidency. The ultimate objective of a chain of events that could follow Mumbai is to draw both Pakistan and Afghanistan along with India firmly into the western orbit of influence.

The Iranians in their usual sense of paranoia blame the victims for the attacks without providing evidence.
The influential hardline Iranian daily, Kayhan, said on December 1 that India, the U.S., Britain and Israel were behind the Mumbai terror attacks.

A minor Saudi daily portends an Indo-US assault on the 'peaceful' Pakis,
The Indian brother may have already given the Americans a mandate to launch wars in the Indian subcontinent, whose management will be India’s responsibility, since it is possessed by the same ‘vengeance obsession’ that struck the Americans [in 2001].

However all this is overshadowed by the statements of Hezbollah in this context. The spokesman associated the incidents to Takfirs,
Takfiri ideas which make others targets of killing and aggression ... the deadly Takfiri thought has been tearing apart the body of the Muslim community, [has] inflicted massacres on them and shed much of their blood.

The larger issue though is the terrorist sympathetic thought process of most of the Middle eastern media which blames the US and Western forces, but does not offer any constructive solution other than asking for inaction from India. Thanks for your help Middle Eastern brothers.
When the terrorists hit Tehran or Mecca, we'll offer similar advice. Oh wait a second, there are already millions of them in those places so they'll find company there.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Loss of Indo-Pak civilian contact regrettable says Chindu

There are hundreds of families who's lives were changed for the worse after the Mumbai incidents. People who have lost loved ones, lives scarred. However Chindu's Nirupama Subramanian,another BHL (bleeding heart liberal) is deeply saddened by the loss of 'civilian' contacts.
Certainly, more Pakistanis went to India but there were lots of Indians too who travelled to Pakistan.

Really like who? A measure by the Government to regulate potential terrorists from entering the country is also being slammed. There has been enough evidence to show that there was significant on-site analysis by the terror groups before the attacks and that most of the aggressors had support already in place. So logically it would appear they have misused India's offer of peace to stab its people in the back. But Chindu's bleeding heart diva Nirupama thinks otherwise.
Measures to liberalise the visa regime between the two countries, discussed in detail between the two home secretaries in Islamabad just a day before the Mumbai terror began, now seem like a distant dream.

At every level India needs to blackball Pakistan and its people. If we are not going to attack them as said by Hon.Pranab Mukherjee, we need to make their lives miserable and make that country go bankrupt as soon as possible.

Educating Hate

Read Shourie's speech. It is quite interesting and his points make a lot of sense barring the one about legal representation for terrorist suspects. The Sustainable Development Policy Institute Report on Pakistani school curricula is here. As Shourie points out in his speech, children are taught to hate Hindus and India from as early as Class I and to aspire for jehad and shahadat (martyrdom) as early as Class VI (you can skip to pages 20-23 if you do not have patience to read the whole thing). 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Zardari's stand up comedy act continues

In what seems to be a daily occurrence Pak's PM and Comedian-in-Chief appears to be hitting gear in stride. In a recent announcement, Chindu's favorite Islamic terrorist leader claimed,
There is no supportive interaction with our intelligence (agencies) and the LeT. Lashker-e-Taiba happens to be a banned organisation in Pakistan

Let me ask you a question Mr. Zardari, have you been completely healed from your foot-in-the-mouth disease? Last time you made such a bold statement, you had to beat a hasty retreat.
How is it that after decades of an unholy alliance were you able to make such a push?
Didn't the same thing happen after 9/11 when your old pal Mushy made a claim to gather all the 'non-state actors' supporting the Taliban and Al Qaeda?
More one-liners from Zardari included bits like,
the Indians have given us very little information. I have offered to the Indians that we will do a joint investigation into this Mumbai incident and if it leads anywhere, we will take action.

Or that his puppet regime was the true ruler of Pakistan,
Democracy controls Pakistan. All the players understand that democracy is the only way.

Maybe MMS in true style should start calling Gen. Kayani, than this buffoon with little more than bombastic statements.

Hafiz Saeed's 'House Arrest'

Here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Diplomatic Game and Its Implications

What was interesting about yesterday's news headline about India seeking a ban on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa is what was not mentioned. China which is reported elsewhere to have blocked three past attempts to proscribe the organization.

The media is already going gaga over the steps Pakistan is said to have taken - ban the organization, seal their offices and detain their leaders. All of these steps were also done in 2002 when the Lashkar-e-Taiba was officially banned. Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed have been detained in the past just as now only to be quietly released several months later. They are similarly under house arrest now, a punishment usually reserved for high ranking officials and senior political leaders, not terrorist kingpins. Their assets are also said to have been frozen. How true that is will be known in the days to come.

But it is an understatement to say that I am skeptical. For one thing, Geo TV reports that the detention of Saeed is for three months. If that is supposed to be the end of the matter for a man responsible for thousands of lives, that is quite a joke. Of course, we do not know what the deal is with Lakhvi and Zarar Shah. It is highly doubtful that international resolutions and sanctions including that of the UN Security Council are of much value in containing these elements. Saeed has already been on a US terror list since May but it does not appear to have had much effect on his activities. All the Jamaat institutions including its schools and hospitals are said to have been closed now but it is doubtful that the Pakistani government would have done that at one go if it believed that this would be anything more than a temporary thing (humanitarian efforts which have garnered the organization a considerable degree of popular support will be hit considerably which means one can expect a backlash).

Most importantly the Pakistani government has rejected India's extradition request and India has apparently not responded to that country's latest suggestion for a joint investigation (previously the same suggestion has been rejected - with good reason says B.Raman). That implies a deadlock which, unless resolved, is only a matter of time before these detainees will be released and it is back to business as usual. We will have to wait and watch what happens on this score in the days to come.

Today's statement by Pranab Mukherjee all but ruling out war gave India's game away completely. Not that there was ever much of a chance of military action but prematurely declaring that India will only plead with Pakistan but do nothing more suggests that the Indian government has put all its eggs in the diplomatic basket. The strategy, as CNN-IBN Live points out, is to drive a wedge between the civilian and military establishments in Pakistan through this effort. By ruling out war and respectfully requesting (Mukherjee said 'please') the Pakistani government to shut down the terrorist infrastructure, it can strengthen the hands of the civilian government and isolate the military-ISI hardliners. To the contrary, a military response, it is argued, would have strengthened the hands of the Pakistani military and weakened the civilians. The big assumption here is that the civilian government can effectively deliver. There is no guarantee that that is indeed going to be the case. On the contrary, definitively ruling out a military response can equally well strengthen the hardliners who can sabotage any crackdown knowing fully well that the price to be paid is small if any.

It must also be borne in mind clearly that the success of the diplomatic strategy hinges entirely on the US. None of Pakistan's moves are being made to please us. Nor is the successful effort at the UN Security Council which materialized owing to strong American backing. The silver lining for India's strategy is that the killing of Americans and Israelis has given this incident unprecedented international coverage and there is a much better recognition now of the danger of LeT in the US than there was before. Whether that will lead to sustained pressure on Pakistan from the US remains however to be seen. There is good reason to be skeptical on this score particularly as later outrages on the Afghan front can deflect attention in the days to come.

There is no question that this incident has caused acute embarassment to the Pakistani military and the ISI. They are certainly anxious to find a way out of this with the least amount of damage. But American efforts to reorient the Pakistani military into an anti-terrorist outfit whose focus is to combat domestic terrorists rather than India has so far not come to fruition. Gen.Kayani has reportedly rejected an offer purportedly made by the US to retrain combat units to that end. That suggests that the organization continues to place considerable importance on its traditional anti-India orientation. There is also considerable American suspicion that the Pakistani army is selectively fighting only those Taliban who pose a threat to their country while letting the Afghan Taliban run their show freely. There is good reason to suspect that such a strategy has indeed been put into effect by the Pakistani military which again goes to suggest that the idea of using jihadis continues to be central to their strategy to extend their influence in Afghanistan. That being the case, the obvious goal of their military now in light of this controversy will be to take some cosmetic measures now, ask their cadres to lie low for a while and then perhaps reorient them once more to an India-centric agenda restricted to killing Indians rather than going after the 'Americans, Jews and Crusaders', the larger goal of the Al-Qaeda sponsored jihad. After all, when only Indians were dying the world did not care much and was happy to look away. If the LeT can be put on such a tight leash once more, it would not only head off a confrontation with their cadres in the Punjab but also serve their long term strategic interest against India by keeping the jihad going without much fuss from the Americans - in other words, business as usual. That, I suspect, is the most natural goal of the Pakistani military and being the eight hundred pound guerrilla in that country, may well succeed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Foundation for a pragmatic policy towards the terrorist state of Pakistan

It is time for all Indians to recognize Pakistan as the global harbinger of terror and treat them accordingly. If the recent acts of aggression of Mumbai do not prompt this action then nothing will. A friend forwarded this article, '8 things India Inc, govt must do against Pakistan' by R Vaidyanathan, who is a professor of finance and control, Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore.
This article contains a very pragmatic analysis and approach which the mandarins in the North block should heed and was published on Rediff(I'm sure Chindu would've blocked this at the germination stage).
Some excerpts,
Recognise and treat Pakistan as a terrorist state. The state policy of Pakistan is terrorism and their single-point programme is to destroy India.

About the Pak's army
..do not try to think of Pakistan without its army, irrespective of who rules that country temporarily and nominally. At least 70% of the market capitalisation of the Karachi stock exchange is owned by the army and related groups.

About the people within India who support Pakistan,
There are three groups in India, who are obsessed with friendship with Pakistan. One is the oldies born in that part before partition and who are nostalgic about the Lahore havelis, halwas and mujras. The second is the Bollywood and other assorted groups, who look at it as a big market. The Dawood gang has financed enough of these useful idiots. The third is the candle light holding bleeding heart liberals (BHLs) who cannot imagine India doing well without its younger brother taken care of.

This issue needs to be tackled now with the government, sane citizens and members of the media should initiate action against this failed terrorist state.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Putting some bogeys to rest- the faces of Terror

The photo released by Mumbai Police of the terrorists who are all from Pakistan which should make our secular media shut the f*&k up.
Now what is the next step? Can we launch an offensive now?

Chindu will probably come out and state these are outliers and not your normal citizens from the friendly neighboring country and defend these terrorists. I can understand motives of groups like SIMI. But groups like LeT should not be allowed to expand and should be shut down immediately.
Wonder if MMS and Sonia Maino have the grit to do what is necessary.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Pakistan's clock is ticking

Apparently somewhere Indian politicians and bureaucrats found some b*lls to force Pak into action.
I never thought, I'd read these words in the Chindu,
Islamabad to formulate plan to act against Lashkar-e-Taiba

After all the apologetic positioning by Chindu about Pakistan's so called innocence in the whole sordid affair, with the metaphorical gun being put to Pak's head by both India and the US, Chindu reports the obvious that LeT was involved with the ISI in planning and operating the Mumbai terrorist attack.
Even US politicians like McCain are sympathetic to India and appear resigned to the fact that India would retaliate.
This is India’s 9/11. We cannot tell India not to act when that is what we did, asking the Taliban to hand over Osama Bin Laden to avoid a war and waging one when they refused to do so,

However that article written by Nirupama Subramanian titled, McCain warns Pakistan of Indian air strikes does not have a single statement direct or implied where there is evidence of India's retaliatory air strikes. Such articles steaming with lack of logic appears to be Chindu's style these days.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Now LiC has a real conflict of interest

"In politics there are no permanent enemies or friends" -Churchill


Let's see, Karat + JJ = opportunistic alliance. Now does LiC start singing the praises of Amma or does he keep up the 'secular' ideology and support MuKa and his cronies. Probably LiC will have to go with his 'tail' between his legs to Amma.

Words, Words and More Words...

Today's editorial notes all the problems with the much hyped strategy of diplomatic engagement in light of recent developments but then concludes:

The complexity of this situation, its seeming intransigence, will challenge India’s political and diplomatic capabilities in the coming weeks — and the sane answer is certainly not jingoism and military threats.

Diplomacy, as it notes, has not worked. And military threats are not a 'sane' answer. So what is the solution? Singing happy songs? Thinking happy thoughts? Oh, never mind. The revered Chief Editor cannot bring himself to say it.

Nirupama Subramanian sums up the Pakistan but offers anything on how India must proceed in light of this.

The best of the lot was Harish Khare yesterday, quite unique in his theory. Here is the gem I liked the most:

Perhaps the terror master-minds were right in their calculations that by targeting upper middle class men and women they can bank on India’s middle-class-centric media to create an anti-politician (and, eventually an anti-democratic) mood.

So the terrorists' goal was to create an anti-politician mood in the country!! I should really hand it to Khare for his remarkable insight unlike anything I have heard before. I wonder whether the terrorists themselves had thought about this.

Here are some more of his other wise observations:

It is time the Prime Minister and the government demonstrated intellectual spunk and administrative muscle.

...The same ambience of ‘public anger’ after the December 13 attack on Parliament House pushed the Vajpayee government into an ‘aar –paar’ (do or die) game with Islamabad. The itch for ‘doing something’ against Pakistan must be avoided.

Pakistan must not be touched. Period. That leaves very little wiggle room for the PM to demonstration any muscle or 'spunk'. Which means Khare's exhortation is also - to use the expression - just 'bunk'.

...Good politics and good governance demand that our response to Mumbai should not aggravate communal tensions at home. It is the duty of the Manmohan Singh establishment to use the next few months to educate the country on the sobering reality that rampant communalism over two decades has not made India a more secure place.

His advice about the rampant communalism suggests that he probably missed the bit about the perpetrators sailing into Mumbai from Pakistan.

People must get a clear feeling that the government is sincere about ensuring their security – and treats this as its primary duty.

With the riders he has put forth, good luck with that.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Chindu celebrates Dr. Thapar's "accomplishments"

History, it is said, is written by winners of wars. However it is also written by people who have biased opinions and prejudices against society and want to narrate their imagination which is often negated by evidence.
A prime example of such a person is Dr. Romila Thapar who leads the left wing educational researchers at the JNU. Apparently she has been awarded the 2008 Kluge prize by the US Library of Congress, as reported here.
As the US LoC stated,
“created a new and more pluralistic view of Indian civilisation, which had seemed more unitary and unchanging, by scrutinising its evolution over two millennia and searching out its historical consciousness.

For a detailed expose of how biased and unscientific Dr. Thapar and other similar Marxist historians are, do check out Arun Shourie's book, Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud
here
Given the hatchet job done to Indian culture by people like Dr.Thapar, I do not find it surprising that Chindu celebrates her.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

In the Aftermath of the Mumbai Attacks

The mind-numbing carnage has finally ended. Heads have begun to roll. But little else has changed and how much the few things the government has promised actually mean is uncertain at best. It is by now a cliche to say that the great tragedy of our time remains the stupendous failure of the present government to take the threat to India's very existence seriously. Will anything change now following this so-called mumbai's 9/11? So far, the signs have not been very encouraging to say the least. As Jaitirth Rao mentioned in the Indian Express a couple of days ago, we all know in our hearts that this will not be the last of the attacks we face. Now that they have, by gaining global attention, spectacularly succeeded in their objectives, rest assured that there will be attempts to replicate them in myriad forms in mumbai and other cities in the country. None of them has anything more than the most rudimentary security infrastructure which means future carnages are likely to occur on a matching scale even if the number of foreigners killed is fewer.

In fairness, few modern day socities can completely preempt attacks of this sort especially after fully prepared terrorists have arrived at their doorstep. Many of us work not in fields but in institutions housed in concrete buildings - hospitals, schools, colleges, companies, hotels, shops, restaurants, theatres etc. - few of which have either the means or the ability to protect themselves from such fidayeen strikes. It is extremely difficult if not impossible to protect all of these places and in any case, neither the government nor civil society is even looking at this prospect let alone comprehend the humongous nature of such a task. That means we remain at the mercy of these organizations which remain fully at liberty to choose their targets and to kill at will living in the fond hope that they will not choose us simply for self-serving tactical or strategic reasons, i.e., the cost of preparation and attack is not justified by the impact that the panic and fear the expected publicity will generate.

As for internal security, the few measures the government has announced seem to be hardly measure up to our needs. The country needs both a short term and a long term plan with the former aimed at mitigating risk of future attacks and the latter aimed at formulating an more enduring solution to this problem. What we have instead seen is simply a patchwork of proposals whose efficacy is unclear. The coast guard and navy have been put on alert but since we do not know how the hijacked fishing trawler evaded detection in the first place, what exactly will have to change to prevent this is not known. Four NSG units stationed in different cities have been promised by the PM to ensure timely intervention. For one thing, India now has six major cities - not just four. So, are Bangalore and Hyderabad to be left to their own devices then? We do not know yet but I would not be surprised if that is the case. Secondly, this will take many months if not years to execute which means this will be of little help in the immediate future when given the current trend over the last year, additional attacks may be expected. Thirdly, one of the major criticisms has been the delayed arrival of the NSG at the scene of all the action because of difficulties in finding transportation. There is no word on whether anything if any will be done to fix this before the next attack.

Local police have not only been woefully inadequate in numbers but poorly equipped or trained to handle situations of this kind. At the railway station (VT/CST), they have been alleged to have run away from the scene when the shooting began. There has so far been no mention of what if anything is to be done to train these first responders to deal with a situation of this kind. As Ajay Sahni points out in Outlook today, they are the ones who can make a real difference to outcome by limiting the initial damage but there is no word of how their capabilities will be augmented in light of this threat. The Karnataka government has announced that it will set up a commando force of 30 people to respond to such an attack. If it took 200 NSG commandos three days for their operation, one is left to wonder what a small force of 30 can do in response to a multipoint attack of this kind.

As for going after those responsible for these attacks, there are few good options and the GoI will have to review the very same ones that the NDA government looked at in 2001 following the parliamentary attacks. Our own diplomacy is a joke and the latest demarche to hand over the 20 most wanted men suggests exactly that. The Pakistani government will surely not hand over those who are likely to expose the ISI's culpability in all the past attacks which means that absolutely nothing will come out of it (I cannot believe that the GoI even seriously expects this). India may score a few political points in the diplomatic world but it will effectively change nothing on the ground. The LeT will continue to go about its murderous business as usual with at best a few token arrests and detention of their top leadership for a few days till the storm abates. As Ajai Sahni again points out, Pakistan has weathered many a storm of this kind and there is absolutely no reason to think that the current round will be any different from the past ones.

The only other option to this utterly ineffective and useless line of action is war. Apart from the huge cost and the dangerous consequences of a war between two nuclear powers, the consequence might turn out to be a weakening of the civilian dispensation in Pakistan which is still finding its feet. But is our inaction going to strengthen the civilian leadership there? There is little reason to believe so. Is it not going to embolden the intelligence and military elements who aided and abetted this attack not to mention the LeT itself? Very likely. Needless to say, India's inability to impose any cost for these ever more provocative attacks is simply to invite more of them. However, war cannot be an immediate step. India would have to first complete the investigation and lay out the evidence all the while pursuing diplomacy. When the time comes, we would have built up international opinion sufficiently in our favor to justify the action we take.

Pranab Mukherjee appears to have already ruled out war which in effect is telling Pakistan that there will be no punishment for its inaction. This is not surprising given that he similarly counseled against war even in 2001 following the attack on parliament. But by boxing itself into such a position, the GoI has left itself with little wiggle room if the diplomatic offensive goes nowhere (as everyone expects).

There is some reason to think that this attack may have been orchestrated by those in the Pakistani agencies who are opposed to the ongoing war against the Taliban so as to divert attention and to end the effort which their government is half-heartedly pursuing under intense American pressure. This report shows how early efforts are being made at a rapproachment between the Army and the Taliban in the name of fighting the common enemy India. The GoI might be calculating that a military attack on Pakistan will be playing right into their hands. Even if that is so, the question is whether not playing into their hands entails any real benefit to us. The benefits of such restraint are clearly becoming less and less tangible as the cost mounts.

Despite the scale of these attacks and the affront to the Indian state (as The Hindu called it), India's day of reckoning has not arrived. That means more attacks, more killings and more destruction........all in the near future. Till our leadership accords security the primacy it presently requires and summons the courage to take daring and bold action, blood and gore will remain an integral part of front page reporting.And if not acted upon quickly, the very idea of India, as Chidambaram called it, will soon come to evoke ridicule and contempt, not pride.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Post-terror editorial

http://www.hindu.com/2008/11/28/stories/2008112854791000.htm

In a rare departure from tradition, N.Ram shares the grief of the victims of the terrorist attack. I have shown repeatedly in the past how the post-terror editorial followed a similar pattern. N.Ram justified Islamic jihad through the standard phrases:
- discimination against minorities
- babri masjid demolition (this one never ends)
- hindu intolerance
- rss/bjp (any and everything wrong in india can be traced to this)
- pakistan's good intentions
- congress' good governance

The editorial never had any valid recommendation to counter terrorism. How can N.Ram come up with anything valuable when his analysis(sic) is rigidly biased. In this editorial too, he says more policemen and intelligence would do. Empowering them is not an option and no more tough measures required. How can you take this guy seriously?

This terror attack has destroyed the "mumbai resilience". Now the anger is palpable. What incident will trigger a smilar change in N.Ram? Afterall, a "secular" tag and a fully loaded gun could not help Karkare save his own life. And N.Ram is no more immune than him.

Just as the political establishment failed to inspire confidence, the media outlets have failed to trigger any intelligent debate on the issue of tackling terror. I was watching the coverage on NDTV today. It was about joining and not breaking up the nation. The discussion about improving relations with Pakistan never seemed to end. Friendly ties with Pakistan took precedence over terrorism. N.Ram toed a similar line in the past too. I would blame the media as much as the political class for misleading the public.

Some foriegn media outlet has written about the elephant in the drawing room. Very soon, you may expect the Indian media to follow suit. But Chindu will be very frugal with the truth. I doubt if it will even make it to the print edition. So I am posting the excerpts here:

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/001200811282241.htm

"When faced with fundamentalist demands, India's democratically elected leaders have regularly preferred caving to confrontation on a point of principle. The country's institutions and culture have abetted a widespread sense of Muslim separateness from the national mainstream," the Wall Street Journal said in a stinging commentary.

"The country's anti-terrorism effort is reactive and episodic rather than proactive and sustained. Its public discourse on Islam oscillates between crude, anti-Muslim bigotry and mindless sympathy for largely unjustified Muslim grievance-mongering. Its failure to either charm or cow its Islamist-friendly neighbours -- Pakistan and Bangladesh -- reveals a limited grasp of statecraft," the Journal said.

on taking office in 2004, one of the first acts of the ruling Congress Party was to scrap a federal antiterrorism law that strengthened witness protection and enhanced police powers.

The Congress, it says, has stalled state-level legislation in Gujarat, which is ruled by the opposition BJP. And it was a Congress government that kowtowed to fundamentalist pressure and made India the first country to ban Mumbai-born Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses" in 1988.

It is now time to call the WSJ a communalist, hindu fundamentalist, fascist, saffron outfit.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Quick observations on the Mumbai blasts

This incident is changing the way India approaches terrorism. So far it has been quick to sweep it under the rug as isolated incidents. Now hitting Mumbai the terrorists have struck a nerve and now lets see how the people respond back.
As my fellow writer HF wrote,
the gravity of the situation seems to have caught up finally. the usual rhetoric about "mumbai resilience", "terror has no religion", etc. is also missing.


In a departed change from the usual modus operandi of IED's this hostage drama appears to be taken from the Chechen rebel hostage incident.

Rumors flying fast that the email from the Deccan Mujahideeen originated from Russia would now link this group with the LET, Al Qaeda and potentially the Chechen rebels.

The killing of policemen especially the chief of ATS is really unfortunate. However I'm surprised that he would lead from the front, when given the multiple hostage incidents, his leadership from the back would've been invaluable.

The incompetence of the Central and Maharashtra governments in managing the media which seems to have a free rein in interviewing every Tom Dick and Harry and adding to the confusion while providing limited value in terms of news reporting. People like Veerappa Moily and Pranab Mukherjee are incredibly bad in handling such situations and jump into confrontational poses than calmly speaking to the people. Also what is the point in interviewing Mahesh Bhatt and Javed Jaffri?

In the near future we might hear about the "Spirit of Mumbai"another esoteric concept famously touted by the media but probably rubbished everywhere else.

terrorists end the "hindu terror" drama

the terror attack on mumbai is tragic and the killing of policemen is very unfortunate. but the "hindu terror" drama on the tv news channels seems to have come to an end, atleast for the moment. the tragic death of ats chief, karkare has evoked reactions. he was leading the wild goose chase in the sadhvi pragya case. some thought he received swift justice. the poor guy paid a heavy price for looking in the wrong places. the secular media began the coverage of the attacks and karkare's death with an eye on forthcoming elections. rss and bjp became the prime suspects. the gravity of the situation seems to have caught up finally. the usual rhetoric about "mumbai resilience", "terror has no religion", etc. is also missing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Consequences of the British Policy Shift on Tibet and Its Implications for India

I do not know if any of you have been following the recent events on the Tibetan issue. Following Beijing's hardening of its stand on the question of Tibetan autonomy, the talks collapsed leaving the Dalai Lama and Tibetan exiles with few good options to pursue their agenda.

So what prompted Beijing's sudden shift? While there has always been speculation that China is simply using these talks as a ruse in order to buy enough time to allow the Dalai Lama to pass away and the movement to peter out, an important event that has caught the attention of observers and is thought to have been a prime motivation are the recent statements of the British foreign secretary David Miliband.

Britain, as the former imperial power most closely associated with the political issues concerning Tibet has long adopted a position not unlike what India has taken insisting that Tibet is an autonomous part of China. But the recent statements recognizing direct Chinese rule in Tibet indicates a marked shift in that position.

Read the op-ed by Robert Barnett, a professor of Tibetan studies at Columbia University in today's NYT on the consequences of this British move. One point he makes that is not only true but disturbing is this:

Britain’s change of heart risks tearing up a historical record that frames the international order and could provide the basis for resolving China’s dispute with Tibet. The British government may have thought the issue of no significance to Britain’s current national interests and so did not submit it to public debate. But the decision has wider implications. India’s claim to a part of its northeast territories, for example, is largely based on the same agreements — notes exchanged during the Simla convention of 1914, which set the boundary between India and Tibet — that the British appear to have just discarded. That may seem minor to London, but it was over those same documents that a major war between India and China was fought in 1962, as well as a smaller conflict in 1987.

With the Chinese economy and its military strength both growing at a dizzying pace and the emergence of a dominant China in this part of the world, the consequences of these facts could prove to be ominous for India which has a still unsettled border dispute with that country. As the Dalai Lama pointed out recently, India has so far been overcautious on this matter. As for The Hindu, it has restricted itself to reporting news items without taking any position on the implications of these important developments vis-a-vis India. I would lay any wager that N.Ram is fully aware of these facts but has chosen to remain silent about them perhaps owing to his fealty to the Dragon.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Complaining about the Iraq occupation

One of Chindu's pet peeves is complaining about the US occupation of Iraq and gives space for any left leaning writer from Chennai to China to Cuba to rant on the topic. The most recent being 'Killers call the shots in ‘justice’ system'.
I empathize with the suffering of the common people in Iraq and their concerns of lack of law and order. However the writer suffers from a clear case of hindsight and does not compare the current situation with that of decade past. Couple of questions:
Where were these people when Saddam and his minions were torturing civilians for decades?
When the piece focuses on the suffering, what solutions does it offer?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Civilian NGO's support terrorists

Someone once compared the media to a pack of dogs yapping about every car that passes them by. Now the Chindu reports that the NGO's are continuing their hullabaloo over the police targeting of terrorists. U.R. Ananthamurthy, Jnan Pith-Award winner, in a show of support to terrorists says,
Every encounter death may be a homicide because the police are operating under tremendous pressure

Are you kidding me? How about respect for the victims who were killed, civilians who were targeted by these purveyors of terror? Where were you when they hit Bangalore, Jaipur, Delhi and other cities?
In a stern warning to the media Ananthamurthy
was critical of the media and requested journalists to refrain from using the names of the accused before they were convicted. “Phrases like ‘Muslim terrorists’ must be avoided,” he said.

So Mr. Ananthamurthy, how should these terrorists who have killed thousands?
Would you like it if we called them mis-guided youth who have chosen to attack civilians due to socio-economic injustices but should not be attributed to any religion?
The scary part is the amount of money being pumped into these efforts by "external sources". With the media already in cahoots with external sources for obvious majority baiting reasons, this appears to be a coordinated effort to paint the police in bad light and with the "Hindutva terror campaign" in full swing it appears to be a long fight for anyone with patriotic intentions.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mu Ka's senile rants on the Maran brothers

The Mu Ka (CM of TN) vs. Maran brothers feud is something worthy of a Ekta Kapoor or Radhika mega serial coverage. For those unaware of this issue the gist being the Maran brothers owned TV Channels and newspapers conducted some polls last year which showed the DMK party in poor light and the portrayal of Stalin as heir apparent. For any unbiased observer this would appear to be a realistic portrayal of the state of affairs in Tamil Nadu. However elements within the DMK (i.e. people who were shown in bad light) raked up dissent with Mu Ka(Emperor Palpatine) that the Maran's were abusing their influence. So Mu Ka promptly showed the brothers the door in an effort to keep his family united.
Now yesterday Mu Ka in an early celebration of
Festivus decided to air the grievances against his grand nephews.
Chindu being the canny cat decided to favor Mu Ka against the Sun TV owners.
It gives a detailed coverage to Mu Ka but restricts Kalanidhi Maran's detailed statements to a paragraph.
With the ejection of Vaiko first and now the Maran brothers, DMK is following the most honorable of Indian political traditions, nepotism. And thanks to Chindu for not pointing out the obvious.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Hindutva Terror" the insanity continues

Chindu in its quixotic quest to associate any unknown bombing to the evil geniuses of "Hindutva Terror" has decided to up the ante by associating them to blasts in Madhya Pradesh. All this is in an article titled,
Politics helped Hindutva terrorists

There are several questions which Praveen Swami does not dare tackle, like for example why the sudden interest in these cases after 6 years.
Who are the "informants" who have suddenly appeared out of the woodwork?
Madhya Pradesh police, the sources said, soon developed information linking the attempted bombings to local Hindutva activists, Ramnarayan Kalsangram and Sunil Joshi.

Police "developed" information, now that sounds like painting Hindutva supporters with little evidence.
Can someone explain the difference between anti-social groups planting a few bombs against fascist groups targeting certain groups by killing and maiming many. Chindu has taken the low road here by fighting for secular ideology against fairness in the justice system.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

'Accidental' Murder

Check this out. I wondered what the headline meant - 'Murder not deliberate'. Eh? If it is not deliberate, it is not murder. Period.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Obama and Afghanistan: The Hindu's Dangerous Policy Advice

Today's editorial 'Obama and Afghanistan' is quite off the mark in both assertions and hopes.

President-elect Barack Obama does seem to understand that greater attention needs to be paid to the non-military dimensions of the policy that the United States has pursued in Afghanistan. He has indicated that he is not averse to the nascent attempts to establish contacts with moderate elements of the Taliban and is said to be inclined to include Iran in the ambit of the peace-making efforts in the region. His focus is likely to incorporate an emphasis on boosting socio-economic development efforts in the war-torn country. Few would dispute that all these steps are not just necessary but long overdue.

I do not quite see any major shift in the US Afghan strategy at this point. Contacting the moderate Taliban in an attempt to win them over has been going on (off and on actually) for some time now and there is nothing new about that. Bringing Iran into the picture would be an important shift but is not going to happen anytime soon until American engagement with Iran picks up and leads to major confidence-building measures. Boosting socio-economic development is something that has been tried since 2001 - millions have poured into development activities in the NWFP and the tribal areas. In fact, the region has not seen the kind of construction ever since the first Afghan war winded down following the departure of the Soviet Union in 1989. I fail to see what exactly Obama is going to change in all of this. It seems more like The Hindu wants to deny George Bush the credit for these steps.

Even the Bush administration, which has for too long been overly dependent on strong-arm methods, appears to be waking up to reality since it has ordered an intensive inter-departmental reappraisal of available intelligence in order to generate a range of options for its successor. But while all this is to the good, there is a risk that the “Obama effect” on international affairs could derail the process of evolving a more nuanced approach.

The Hindu wants a 'nuanced' approach instead of a strong-armed one. What exactly is this alternative?

Over the past year and more, U.S. military commanders in charge of this theatre have tried to persuade NATO allies to contribute more troops to the Afghan operations. These efforts have not met with much success because the allies were fearful of being roped into supporting roles for the Bush administration’s belligerence. However, with Mr. Obama soon to take office,there are indications that the allies might relent.

The paper is worried that European countries might contribute troops and the outlook for the anti-Taliban forces might actually improve! By the way, its explanation for European reluctance to contribute troops is not really the Bush administration's belligerence. Even European countries realize that stabilizing Afghanistan is in their interest. It is more their inability to do so - the small families and falling birth rates in European countries have made the people fearful of losing their only children. Coupled with the pacifist sentiment of a continent still recoiling from the horrors of the two world wars, public antipathy to any greater role in the Afghan conflict has made it difficult for their governments to get involved any further. Owing to these domestic reasons, The Hindu can stop worrying - it is unlikely that a lot of additional help will be forthcoming even to an Obama administration. In fact, press reports indicate that their diplomats have already signaled to his advisers not to expect it and therefore to avoid asking them in the first place.

If there is a substantial increase in the number of U.S. and NATO troops on the ground, tactical options such as raids on Taliban and Al Qaeda hide-outs across the Durand Line, would become more feasible. The question is whether at that point in time Mr. Obama will be able to resist resorting to the “bad cop” part of the Afghan strategy he outlined during the course of the election campaign. NATO-member states and other allies are highly unlikely to contribute more troops unless there is clear agreement on the rules of engagement. It is inconceivable that any of them, including the United Kingdom, would allow its troops to be used for military operations inside Pakistan’s territory. The allies would prefer to be involved only in programmes to train Kabul’s security forces although some might agree to participate in counter-insurgency operations. However, their presence would provide scope for the U.S. military to consider more adventurist options. The international community has a responsibility to clearly define the limits of intervention in this context so that Mr. Obama is warned against succumbing to pressure for an adventurist strategy well before he finalises his Afghan policy.

So The Hindu is worried that Obama might pursue an adventurist policy! He might be tempted to cross the Durand line and attack inside northwest Pakistan. And horror of horrors, NATO support might tacitly lead him to it! No. The Hindu would prefer him to limit US involvement strictly to the north of the Durand line much like our own failed counter-insurgency strategy in Kashmir. For over a decade and a half, the Indian army fought terrorist infiltration in Kashmir but was unable to end the scourge because of the constant flow of infiltrators freshly trained in PoK camps managing to cross the LoC to enter the Indian side. What was the success rate with that strategy? Quite poor if I remember correctly. The rate of infiltration ebbed and flowed but never stopped. Now The Hindu wants Obama to replicate the same failed strategy to fight the Taliban - never mind that leading terrorists remain happily ensconced in their mansions on the outskirts of Peshawar and firmly in control of some of the major towns like Bajaur and Swat but America has an absolute obligation to respect Pakistani territorial sovereignty and must under no circumstances act against these people even if they are dedicated to reviving the Taliban in Afghanistan.

If there is one thing that has goaded the Pakistani military into action in recent times, it is the fear of the alternative, namely the threat of unilateral American attack. American drones are already attacking Taliban safehouses as part of a less-than-secret agreement with the Pakistani military. Now The Hindu wants to abandon this strategy that with all its pitfalls has yielded mixed results in favor of one that is guaranteed to fail. The results of course would be no less than disastrous for India. Were the Taliban to succeed in maintaining their strength in all their current strongholds, it not only spells doom for the Karzai government but will be such a morale booster to the Kashmiri fighters that India can expect a renewed and resurgent insurgency at our doorstep ready to go all the way with even more potent weaponry and a much more ambitious agenda that will aim at nothing less than dismemberment of India.

Clearly, the paper is very anxious to lay the groundwork for such a calamitous future. Obama though is very smart and his advisers are surely better informed than to accept such stupid and dangerous advice. He has promised in the past that the Afghan war is an important priority for him and he will do everything to ensure that the region is stabilized. Today he reiterated that his aim is to wind down troops in Iraq so as to be able to make more provisions to send them to Afghanistan. In light of what India has invested in the Karzai dispensation, that is a welcome step which sends a message of continued engagement in this volatile region. The Hindu's advice of course needs to be treated with the contempt it deserves.

Boycott Novell protesters manhandled in Kerala

Recently there was an conference on Free Software conducted in Cochin. This was covered in usual bland format by Chindu here.
However what they censored out was the fact that a few protesters against Novell were kicked out by the police. For details do check out the blog here.

Let us see the parties involved here,
  • Novell- the sponsor but not the paragon of "free" software if one checks its lawsuits against Linux and other flavors of Unix.
  • Kerala Police - the goons who work for the CPM Government.
  • Chindu - an English version of Deshabhimani, supporter of 'free press'
You can make your own conclusions of what might've happened.
In a side note, V.R. Krishna Iyer columnist in Chindu and one of Pilid's favorite writers turned 94 and who else but V.S.Achutanandan, honorable CM of Kerala. Hopefully we'll see some interesting anti-capitalistic articles from VRKI soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

News 'Analysis'

Today's choice of op-ed articles caught my attention owing to their utter impertinence. The first by Natwar Singh 'news analysis' catalogues some letters exchanged by Pandit Nehru.with the King of England and his secretary. These may no doubt some interesting titbits from history though I fail to see what is there to analyze about it here. News analysis is supposed to contain perspectives on contemporary issues, not merely historical trivia.


The other article by T.R.Andhyarujina has the same problem. Franklin Roosevelt's court packing plan of the 1930s is a well-known fact of history that the author recites succinctly. There is however nothing new in what he has written. Nor he does tie these in any manner to the Indian situation. What then is the 'new' contribution he makes here? He draws two conclusions.


First is that even the highest judiciary at times tends to overstep its limits and intrude into policies of government with disastrous results for the nation. Secondly, methods to pack the court by government to obtain favourable verdicts can never be the means to correct the court verdicts even if they are egregiously wrong.

Fine. Everyone already knows that the judiciary can overstep limits with disastrous results for the nation. But who exactly in the Indian government today is trying to pack the courts to get favorable verdicts? I am not aware of any such plan made by anyone. If there was, that would have been scandalous enough to occupy the front pages of all newspapers and the top news stories in every TV channel. By the way, judges themselves appoint other judges in India. In that situation, the analogy to our system is weak if at all it exists. Once again, interesting but pointless. This may be worthy of space in the magazine section on a weekend but not an op-ed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chindu discovers pyramids in Tamil Nadu

Based on today's online version of Chindu, there were Pyramids discovered in Tamil Nadu as per the headline One more pyramid site. The image below is a sight to see,

However reading the article reveals that the pyramid was found near Cairo which is not yet part of Tamil Nadu (but Mu Ka wishes it were). The glorious days of doing editorial reviews are long gone.

Fwd: Toxic Chinese milk products may have entered India

did you get to read this on chindu?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Girish

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Toxic_Chinese_milk_products_may_have_entered_India/articleshow/3692859.cms

Milk products import from China was a paltry 186 kg in 2005-06 which rose to 665 kg the next year. However, the imports grew to more than 7,000 kg in 2007-08 and stood at 88,000 kg in the first six months of the current financial year before it was banned.

Children who eat chocolates and biscuits with high milk content infected with melamine run the risk of organ failure or other long-term effect that may cause irreparable damage to other body organs.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Conversions and Hinduism: Chindu's bigotry against Hindus

A natural process of transformation
M.S. Prabhakara takes a critical look at the claim that Hinduism does not enjoin conversions as the so-called revealed religions do.

There are three aspects in the article that I would like to address:
1. Flawed evidence
2. Ideological motivations
3. Insinuations

1. Flawed evidence:
Let me take the evidence first.
I confine myself to some irrefutable facts of history in Assam and its neighbourhood in northeast India.

The author does well to state the limitations of his case upfront. And these limitations are quite serious when one considers that all the 3 chosen examples are dubious.

In the first example, the Ahom rulers became Hindus " partly [as] the result of a number of accidental circumstances, and partly [as] the outcome of a deliberate policy". As the conversion is into Hinduism, Prabhakara is obviously not impressed. He blames the vile Brahmins for the conversion and eventual fall of Ahom dynasty!!!
The point to note is that the role of the Brahmin clergy was crucial at every stage of the conversion of the king and the upper echelons of the Ahom court and the subsequent schisms and the prolonged conflicts of the late 18th century that had dimensions of caste, tribe, ethnicity, faith and belief, that historians consider was one of the factors that led to the debilitation, and finally the defeat in war and the destruction of the Ahom kingdom in the first quarter of the 19th century.

The Ahom rulers left their minority religion to take up the majority religion of Hinduism. Interesting to note that they chose the minority sect of Shaktism and not the majority sect of Vaishnavism. So, did these vile Brahmins come from Shaktism or Vaishnavism? Was it a conscious decision by the rulers to convert? Did the Brahmins threaten or induce the rulers to convert? Inconvenient questions.

The second case on King Pamheiba requires more elaborate history than the selective rendering dished our by Prabhakara to suit his agenda.
- Vaishnavism came to Manipur around 1470AD.
- King Kyamba (1467-1508AD) fell sick. It is said that he was diagonised through proper worship of Vishnu. A Vishnu temple was built in the palace and regular prayers were conducted ever since. But the King was not initiated into the sect.
- King Khagemba (1597-1652AD) too was not initiated into Vaishnavism, although Vishnu became a part of the local customs.
- Pitambar Charairongba was the first Manipuri king to be formally initiated to Vaishnavism. In 1619 Charairongba was inclined to the Madhavcharya sect of Vaishnavism, so he began to worship the Radha Krishna. But he never attempted to impose this new faith upon his people.
- King Pamheiba imposed Hinduism as state religion. Not only did Pamheiba persecute followers of Meitei religion but also people of other Vaishnava sects.
- Pamheiba was an invader. He was involved in persecution even before he met Santi Das in the later part of his life.

When viewed in this context, it is evident that King Pamheiba indulged in religious conversions for attaining his political ambitions. As with ambitious rulers indulging in military conquests, non-conformance was viewed with great suspicion and usually handled in high-handedness. The author Prabhakara, deliberately selects a portion of history to project a king's misadventure onto the Hindu religion. That the other kings in the lineage did not take a similar path debunks his "missionary position".

Finally, the Gait report. The colonial records are notorious for their administrative motivations when it comes to dividing the Indian society. The report looks straight out of a Christian chronicle of conversions. I would have discarded this example straight away. The weakness in Prabhakara's argument is also glaring.

By the author's own admission, animists are Hindus.
This could be said even of the substantial sections of the people who were so-called animists, for Hinduism of by its nature then, as now, admitted a variety of conflicting practices and paid obeisance to a variety of gods and goddesses.

The so-called conversions is within Hinduism and hence become irrelevant in this discussion.

2. Ideological motivations:
The author Prabhakara deliberately avoids touching upon the ideological motivations driving religious conversion into the Abrahamic religions. Whereas proselytisation is a necessary tenet of the faithful in Islam and Christianity, it has no official sanction in Hinduism. On those instances, like King Pamheiba's, it is driven by individual initiative and not by religious stricture. Prabhakara provides absolutely no evidence to say that these acts of conversions into Hinduism were driven by the same kind of religious compliance as is ordained in Islam and Christianity.

Islam and Christianity have centralised, religious power structure, driven by political agenda. Proselytisers obtain, from such centralised power structure, religious sanction for inducing conversions. Hinduism is not known to have any such centralised power structure. The author provides no evidence to suggest it exists. Nothing in what he has written suggests that fraudulent conversions received official sanction from a central power structure. In such a scenario, it is dishonest on the part of the author to attribute acts of conversion into Hinduism to a broader aspect of Hindu religion.

3. Insinuations:
Having done grave injustice by equating Hinduism with the aggressive proselytisation in Islam and Christianity, Prabhakara crosses all limits of academic decency by accusing Hinduism in no uncertain terms. Here is a collection from the article:
- “exclusive” territory of Hinduism
- sanatana dharma, of which varnashrama dharma is an integral part
- this acceptance of Hinduism did not prevent conflicts between the adherents of Vaishnavism, the predominant faith in Assam at that time, and Shaktism
- The point to note is that the role of the Brahmin clergy was crucial at every stage of the conversion of the king and the upper echelons of the Ahom court and the subsequent schisms and the prolonged conflicts of the late 18th century that had dimensions of caste, tribe, ethnicity, faith and belief, that historians consider was one of the factors that led to the debilitation, and finally the defeat in war and the destruction of the Ahom kingdom in the first quarter of the 19th century.
- virtually the whole population of the Imphal Valley, accounting for about two-thirds of the population, became Hindu in a matter of a few years following the King, Pamheiba (1714-1754), becoming a Hindu
- So fanatical was the attachment of this convert to his new faith that he ordered the suppression of ancient beliefs and practices that were unacceptable to Chaitanya Vaishnavism.
- mindless vandalism the destruction of earlier literature in that script, a precious heritage. Those who did not accept this variety of Hinduism were persecuted, considered outcasts.
- Does one catch echoes or intimations of other processes and inducements practised by, or attributed to, others engaged in conversions, like the abuse of the Other, in more recent times in the rest of the country?

The author's conclusion is particularly damning.
Despite claims of being an ‘eternal faith,’ Hinduism in other parts of the country too should have spread in a similar manner, securing converts through inducements, promises and threats of a spiritual and material kind. If only we knew more about such processes in the so-called mainstream areas of the country, there would be less of heartburn and manufactured animosities over a very natural process of social and personal transformation.

On what basis did the author reach this conclusions? What part of his article supports this conclusions? Is this a case of Chindu writing the conclusion and Prabhakara going in search of evidence? How is the author so cocksure that Hinduism in other parts of the country too *should* have spread in a similar manner? If a nation as big as India has been converted in fraudulent ways into Hinduism, there must have been extensive literature explaining such process. From more recent history, do the Parsis record such an experience?

To call fraudulent and coercive conversions from Hinduism to Islam and Christianity "a natural process of transformation" is an affront to the predominantly Hindu society. An attempt to justify it by pulling out the bogey of similar acts by Hindus is ludicrous.

This is not just shoddy scholarship but bigotry against Hinduism and Hindus. More damage is being done by media's animosity towards Hindus than the mass conversions perpetrated by Islam and Christianity. Now the same media is also overzealous in fabricating the term "Hindu terrorist". If ever there was one, the media outlets are inviting it's ire.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

All Indians are equal, but some are more equal than others

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. George Orwell

It has been close to 50 years since Orwell wrote this prescient scathing writing about how socialists and communists preach about equality but do not practice it. The Supreme Courts latest declaration about "All of us are Indians, says apex court" reminds me of what Orwell meant. Let me elaborate.
The Supreme Court, in what will be quoted as a landmark decision by Chindu and its media sisters, said,
by saying that "all of us are Indians" and there is no difference between people coming from various regions.

This is a nice utopian judgment but has a few flaws:

  • This judgment unfairly targets only the MNS and Raj Thackeray for regional bias, but seems to conveniently forget that the same situation is happening across the country.

  • The situation in Kashmir is worse with the Islamic terrorists and their surrogates in the political arena like Yasin Malik, Mufti Sayeed, the Abdullahs are all guilty of the same crime. Unfortunately the victims are peaceful Kashmiris who do not recourse to violence to show their angst.
    Why is the Supreme Court not giving them a sermon?

  • Common Indians cannot buy land in Kashmir thanks to Article 370 enacted to pay off Kashmiris and for protection of the vague concept of 'Kashmiriyat'. Respected Supreme court justices we are all Indians, can you allow us to buy land in Srinagar?

  • The situation in Assam is dire for any non-muslim Indians who are being targeted by the immigrant Bangladeshis and their terrorist friends.

  • The law and order situation in New Delhi is replete with incidents of violence and rape of common citizens with the police being an idle bystander. I'm sure the Supreme Court justices can speak out about how criminals are just not targeting people from other parts of the Country.
    Yes on a personal note, a close family friend and his wife were murdered in cold blood by criminals in Delhi when their house was robbed a few years back. The case is still being investigated.

  • How about intolerance towards Tamilians in Karnataka every time the Cauvery issue comes up? Where are the Supreme Court justices when Tamilians get beaten up in the streets of Bangalore?


I'm sure Chindu is already writing an editorial on this topic wanting to praise a rosy picture of how the law of the land should be upheld, but it should look at incidents across the country before making its decision.
As always, I'm open to your thoughts on this issue.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Chindu on a rampage on 'Hindutva terror groups' while Assam bleeds

There has seldom been clearer exposition of double standards as shown in the recent handling of the Malegaon investigation and the Assam blasts. On one hand the arrests of the Sadhvi Pragnya Thakur and Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant for the blasts in Malegaon has been given high level, Kandhamal style coverage (as it affects minorities). There are 4 articles on the issue, from Purohit’s improbable path to becoming a terrorist to
He is the founder of Hindutva terror group, say investigators by the venerable Praveen Swami and two other articles.
However the blasts in Assam where an Islamic terrorist group has claimed responsibility and the involvement of Bangladeshi immigrants have been noted is given very limited coverage and appears to be swept under the rug.
The key note from Praveen's article sums up the media credibility on this issue,
The officials said there was, as yet, no evidence to confirm media speculation that Purohit had sourced the explosives through his military contacts.

Why is there so much noise but yet little evidence?
In an unrelated incident, another VHP worker was killed by Maoist Christian terrorists.
Wonder if Chindu would brand Maoists as Christian terrorists as they rightly should be called?

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Hindu's Take on the US Presidential Election

Today's editorial made a salient point with particular reference to the potential victory of Barack Obama in tomorrow's US Presidential election: the failure of affirmative action policies directed at ensuring inclusiveness of minorities in relatively more liberal and leftist European countries in contrast to the more limited, libertarian approach of the right-leaning United States. And yet, most political ideas that The Hindu continues to favor are policies based on European simulacra, particularly the rigidly secular French model. If the paper is so acutely aware of the failure of these policies, why then does it insist upon trying the same in our country?

K.V.Prasad compares our very own Mayawati to Barack Obama. Apart from the fact that they both hail from backward communities in their respective countries, there is very little that is common to both of them. Obama understands issues well and has chalked out proposals to deal with many of them. In contrast, Mayawati, though a powerful populist, has been running the UP government whimsically making decisions that are anything but reasoned and devoting considerable effort to deifying herself. Despite her failure as an administrator and a leader, the Left's fascination for her seems to be growing by the day and so is The Hindu's. What exactly does she have to offer to anyone apart from more quotas for everyone and ban orders against anyone displeasing her base? It seems that she is perhaps more akin to Sarah Palin - quite popular amongst her base but so whimsical as to be pretty much a blank slate in every other respect with very weak ideas of her own. Which is why the CPI(M) is willing to work with her. She is the ideal candidate who can provide the party with a face, the perfect mask behind which its dangerous and diabolical agendas can be put into practice without eliciting much of a reaction from the rest of the political crowd.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Lack of logic or consistency when accusing Hindutva activists of terrorism

Secular media has always felt the need to defend Islamic terrorism even when the problem is dire and threatens almost every state in India (except perhaps Jammu and Kashmir where its part of their DNA). Now the Malegaon blasts and the alleged involvement of a Sadhvi and army men have given ammunition to the secular media to blast the Hindutva brigade of terrorism.
LiC and his cronies have decided to jump on the rooftops and shout that no one is innocent in an article, Hindutva’s terror link.
Why is this editorial so biased?

  • It does not take into account due process of the law or the fact that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. The same standards it used for Islamic terrorists who have killed in the thousands.


  • LiC contradicts news published by his own newspaper check this out,
    In the editorial,
    a militant section of the Hindutva network was behind the September 29 bomb blasts in Muslim-dominated Malegaon in Maharashtra and Modasa in Gujarat has shattered the myth propagated by the Hindutva campaign that only Islamist fundamentalism breeds terrorism.

    However in another article in the Chindu the same day, 'Clean chit to Pragya in Modasa blast case'
    A police spokesman said here on Saturday that a team of the Gujarat police, which was present during the interrogation of the Sadhvi for the Malegaon bomb blasts, found nothing against her and her alleged associates in the Modasa blast case.



A fellow blogger Shantanu in his blog has a series going on about 'The Great Joke that is Indian Media' which provides biased coverage from other sources.
There is no denying that Hindutva groups have to act responsibly in society and not go barbarically setting off bombs, otherwise their claim would ring hollow. However the media has shirked its normal cautious wait and respond mode by jumping on hanging the accused before a trial. The ATS is still gathering evidence and yet to respond with its analysis. In rushing to deliver judgment LiC has proved once again that biased reporting is a hallmark of Chindu these days.

Friday, October 31, 2008

After other regions terrorism strikes Eastern India

When one looks at a map of India today, it is very difficult to pinpoint a state where terrorism has not struck. Now its Assam's turn.
Let us see the states struck, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Kerala, Karnataka, AP, TN, Maharashtra, New Delhi, Rajastan ....
I hate to beat statistics on this issue, but the tentacles have spread far and wide. However what was interesting was Chindu's response in what it termed as Terrorism: the gathering storm.
While using its vast network of resources and superior intelligence, Chindu's rationale comes up with this rationale for terrorism,
In India, too, jihadists have acquired unprecedented influence — in no small measure because of the abject failure of the Indian state and political system to check and combat Hindutva-led communal violence.

And beyond calling for the head of the Home Minister, it offers little in substantiative solutions to tackle the problem at hand.
It is time a change was made at the helm of the Union Home Ministry, if only to demonstrate that collective responsibility cannot possibly mean that nobody takes the rap for a system’s appalling failure.

Thanks for protecting the terrorists, we know whose interests Chindu and LiC have in their heart.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anatomy of an interview with Mr.Rajapaksa

In recent times Chindu has pulled off some major coups by means of interviews with Advani, coverage of the Nuclear deal with key participants and now the interview of Mr.Rajapaksa the Sri Lankan President.
This is an important time in that country with the recent heavy fighting between the Army and the rebels. There are hundreds of thousands of civilians whose lives have been significantly affected by the fighting. While it is not possible to interview LTTE given the risks, Chindu has attempted the right step by interviewing the Sri Lankan President and the CM of the northern province. I would definitely give them kudos for that.
Before reading further, I would recommend you to read this interview of Mr. Rajapaksa by Chindu editor Mr.Ram.
After reading the interview, I'm not sure that the tough questions were asked. Please do bear in mind I'm not a journalist, just a blogger.
There are a lot of softball questions in this interview like,
How do you see the relationship between your government’s military operations in the North and the political solution?

or,
Are you satisfied with the state of bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and India?

or,
How do you view the concerns expressed in India and elsewhere over the adverse impact of the military operations on a large number of Tamil civilians in the Wanni?

The answer by the President Mr. Rajapaksa is again very politically correct but reports from numerous resources seem to differ.
The military operations directed against the LTTE are not intended to harass Tamil civilians or cause any harm or hardship to them. Our policy in this regard is very clear. We are making, and will continue to make, every effort to avoid civilian casualties.

One would've have expected a veteran journalist like Mr.Ram to bring out statistics and leveraged investigative journalism done in the past like the Bofors incident to provide international readers the perspective of the current issues from Mr.Rajapaksa than a set of statements which any spokesman would've spouted. Also the interview reads like a set of canned questions with really no follow up questions based on the answers provided.
As a reader I would like to see more interviews of the same, but the questioning pattern change.
Do read the article and let us know of your thoughts.

Chinese dumping welcomed by Chindu

Thanks to an anonymous reader for pointing this article.
Written by A. Srivathsan and Li Xinran this article goes on to laud the impressive quality in the imports from China.
“If you have a viable volume, China is a good place to shop for building materials. It is the manufacturing hub of the world and offers good price and an impressive range of choice,”says Chitty Babu, Managing Director, Akshaya Homes. On an average, Akshaya imports about 10 to 15 tonnes of building materials every two months.

There are several issues which come to mind.
How is China able to keep the costs so low?
When there is an obvious quality issue with the industry not certified, why does Chindu not raise that as an issue?
Why is there a double standard between supporting products from China against products from other countries?
What about the local competition and their thoughts on being sandbagged by cheap Chinese imports?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tacit acknowledgement of erroneous ways? I'm not sure

Happy Diwali or Deepavali to all our readers!
Over the last few months the comments from the Reader's editor of Chindu has been a source of mixed messages and at times entertainment for his analysis of the reader's comments about the newspaper. The recent incidents in Orissa and other parts of the country which were given the Chindu coverage apparently did not go well with lots of readers, even loyal ones.
However LiC's response to the questions raised was predictable,
We investigated and authenticated the details. FIRs had been lodged and there were eye-witnesses but the police failed to register a case until The Hindu’s investigative reporting made it a major issue and brought it on the national agenda. Our prominent Page 1 coverage and the meticulous follow-up has had a significant impact and there was greater pressure on the governments to act according to the law of the land and the canons of civilised conduct.

Sure but what about the larger issue of conversion of tribals by the missionaries? Why is your newspaper not investigating that? Perhaps it is because that would not be 'secular'?
The reader's Editor goes on to conclude:
Retaliatory violence is no solution and what has happened in Orissa and Karnataka is a matter of shame. If the forces behind such violence canalise their energies towards eradicating the social and economic causes that make some sections oppressed, the bogey of conversion may not be there.

Before making grand statements, it would behoove the newspaper to stop turning a blind eye towards religious conversion and show the balanced side of journalism by publishing details from the other side as well.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A tale of two mavericks

In someways the Indian political scene is setup in a way that we have similar incidents occurring in different states by people with similar political stars. The incidents I'm referring to are recent arrests of Mr.Vaiko and the arrest and release of Mr. Raj Thakeray.
Given that their political careers parallel each other eerily, from a meteoric rise within one party (DMK and Shiv Sena) under a charismatic mentor (Karunanidhi and Bal Thackeray) to a fallout due to nepotism anointing blood line successors (Stalin or Uddhav) to create their own niche.
I would be interested to see Chindu provide an analysis of how regional pride can be a strong niche, whether its Marathi manoos or being a 'savior' of Tamil rights in an era where the larger parties shy away from taking stands. Another irony is the support Ms.Jayalalithaa is providing Mr.Vaiko, when about a decade back she was the one arresting him. What we would like to see is for violence to end and innocent civilians be spared.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ideology conflicts

Perhaps I'm unable to comprehend Gandhi's ideology, but recent statements by our beloved President Pratibha Patil is a bit confusing. I'm open to clarifications from you. For example, President Patil makes statements like this
If there is any dispute it should be resolved through dialogue, Patil said adding violence "is not the way life" in India.

or,
If the world is today enthusiastic to adopt Mahatma Gandhi's ideals, we in his land of birth have the first duty to abide by these principles,

Then she makes a 180 degrees turn when she praises the Army and makes bold statements like a hardliner here,
We will deal sternly with any kind of violation on our borders.

This picture alone speaks words,

If India were to actually adopt Gandhi's ideals should we not welcome the people who violate our borders. Or for that matter why do we need an Army when we have the greatest weapon which is non-violence.
I'm guessing that probably Mahatma Gandhi would disapprove of that picture.
Let me know of your thoughts.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Leader page article on ending the Afghan war

There are certain issues which have continued for extended periods of time without any resolution and will probably continue to do so. Issues like the Israel-Palestine conflict, enmity between China and Japan, Indo-Pak conflicts and so on. The conflicts in Afghanistan is another issue which has gone on for centuries. For more specifics do read this.
Now M.K. Bhadrakumar former IFS officer and now Chindu "Leader Page" contributor has come up with a brainwave article on how to end the war there and solve the crisis. In his attempt to wrap his brain about the convoluted issues and ground realities, MKB comes up with some really vague, unrealistic proposals which makes me wonder how he passed the IAS exam in the first place! Perhaps there is some quota for morons.
Jokes aside, some of his statements smack of ignorance,
One, do not allow political instincts to be smothered by spooks, strategists and soldiers who surround statesmen.

Sure, but without their inputs how would you get the information on the situation on the ground to make realistic decisions? By watching BBC or CNN?
Two, Taliban is not the problem and it can be made part of the solution provided its variant of “Islamism” is properly understood.

The Taliban have been real butchers of the civilian population with little to no tolerance towards minorities and women and one of the main reasons why the country is in such a mess.
MKB fills the article with anti-US propoganda like,
the U.S. has been proved wrong in believing that imperialism and hubris could trump nationalism.

Really, do you believe Al Qaeda is fighting for Nationalism, have you not read any of the transcripts of their communication or watched Al Jazeera?
The war provided a context for the U.S. military presence in Central Asia; NATO’s first-ever “out of area” operation; a turf which overlooks the two South Asian nuclear weapon states, Iran and China’s Xinjiang; and a useful toehold on a potential transportation route for Caspian energy bypassing Russia and Iran.

Seven, the war should not have been an American enterprise. Nor should it have space for the arrogance of power. Unfortunately, the U.S. uses the United Nations as a fig-leaf but pretty much decides on the war strategy.

There are some issues which MKB brushes like the importance of Pakistan's role in the war and the issues between the various tribes. However he places too much blame on the US and avoids the elephant in the room which is the presence of Al Qaeda and Taliban which are key ringleaders of most terrorist attacks in recent times and have made Afghanistan into a war zone.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Chindu's open comments are met with fire, yes literally.

There are some topics the average person in Tamil Nadu does not take lightly, like imposition of Hindi, how Rajnikanth is still a Superstar, why do they complain about Cauvery water and lastly the LTTE issue.
As pointed out by a regular reader Reason,
chindu chief is crying that Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam in TN attacked his offices in Erode and Coimbatore following his anti-LTTE articles.

The article can be read here.
The liberal media is often under the misconception that only the right-wing Hindu groups protest with violence and the rest are civilized and cultured.
Little do they realize that they have been wearing rose colored glasses all along. The average educated person has little interest in working for political groups or NGO's unless there are some extraordinary reasons like say there is real money, opportunity for power and so on.
Hence most of these political groups are often filled with hired muscle, more likely your average street thug.
In a grandiose statement LiC rants,
In our considered editorial assessment, these chauvinistic, pro-separatist tendencies are deeply inimical to the interests of the Indian people. Hearteningly, the overwhelming majority of the people of Tamil Nadu, who do not want a replay of the propaganda campaigns and violent activities of the terrorist Tamil Tigers in one of India’s most peaceful States, firmly oppose these chauvinistic tendencies.”

If one were to read some of the statements of the "Tamil Nadu political arena", it would seem that they (DMK, ADMK, MDMK and so on) were in favor of the Indian Govt. stopping supplying equipment to the Sri Lankan army's offensive against Sri Lankan Tamils.
However LiC does not understand that or for matter of fact the systematic genocide of Tamilians which has been undertaken by the Sri Lankan army under direct orders of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa as has been documented by several media outlets.
It is indeed the sovereign right of Sri Lanka as it is of India to eliminate any terrorist organisation that poses a fundamental threat to its survival as a nation

If it can condone the actions of the Sri Lankans, then its statements about human rights violations in Kashmir smacks of hypocrisy.
What LiC and his cohorts think is that people do not remember whatever gibberish they spouted previously and that people's sympathy would be towards them as was the case when JJ sent the police into Anna Salai. However in this case they have seriously misunderstood the situation and the audience's sympathies.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ramar Sethu issue- Govt.'s illogical positioning continues

The Ramar Sethu issue is one which clearly exposes the UPA Govt's clear and defined attack on Hinduism and sentiments of millions of its followers. The Government decided to sign up to create a channel without realizing the strength of the people to fight it. The Supreme Court after going through the arguments by Dr. Subramian Swamy and others asked the Government for clarifications.
Apparently when hell freezes over, the Devil will start quoting scriptures.
In this case the UPA Government in a marked change from its earlier positions is now trying to quote versions of Ramayan to bolster its case.
The central argument being,
after returning from Sri Lanka upon His victory over Ravana, Lord Rama “took his heavy bow and with it made several breaches in the bridge so wide that nobody could pass over it on foot.”

This statement is quite ridiculous.
  • Unlike todays bridges which crack with a light storm or flood, the Ramar Sethu was build with layers of boulders and primitive cement (as per the ancient scriptures). Now if you take a jackhammer and try to make huge breaches so deep and wide that people cannot cross (say 4ft by 4ft by 10ft) it will take several days if not weeks to finish the task.

  • Secondly after the war and crossing the bridge, Lord Ram is supposed to have done a quick pooja to the Sea God and flown over to Ayodhya. (As per the same scriptures)


Another idiotic statement by Mr.Parasan, counsel for UPA Government,
“The religious texts relied [upon] by him themselves showed that the bridge had been built and had been broken by Lord Rama himself.” Mr. Parasaran had also argued that anything broken could not be worshipped.

Building any structure would mean that something else would've to be broken unless it exists naturally like Amarnath. Hence going by Mr. Parasaran's logic, Christians cannot visit churches as rocks were broken to build the church, same goes for Muslims too.
The Supreme Court should ignore these asinine statements and order a CBI and Income Tax investigation into the DMK leaders who benefit the most by the channel due to kickbacks from the construction and shipping companies.
For those interested, this article here details more historical evidence of existence of the bridge.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Noble but utterly useless

http://www.hindu.com/2008/10/13/stories/2008101352741100.htm
The hapless ombudsman is now limited to talking about journalistic profession and his own mistakes. Next, we can expect him to comment on his career, his personal life, canine food and cow excretions.