Friday, November 28, 2008

Post-terror editorial

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:

"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

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.