Monday, March 30, 2009

Kasim Sait - reader or ghost

As some of our readers have duly pointed out, Kasim Sait is one of those regular writers to Chindu who happens to be published on a daily basis. He has a singular track record of supporting Chindu on most of its opinions (probably around 95% of the times). Recently he voiced his opinions on LiC's path breaking piece on Tibet's emancipation,

The emancipation of the people of Tibet is a historical landmark. The condition of the Tibetans up to the late 1950s under the yoke of the Dalai Lamas and their feudal kulak nobility was primitive. As N. Ram has pointed out in his article “Celebrating social emancipation in Tibet” (March 28), the patient efforts by the CPC led to the liberation of the enslaved Tibetan peasantry and toiling classes. They were put on the path of economic empowerment, free from the suppression of a theocratic state. The drumbeating supporters of the retrograde Dalai Lama would do better to serve the cause of not only the free Tibetans but also the entire toiling humanity.
Kasim Sait,

There are numerous sycophants in the Anna Salai white towers. I truly wonder if this person really exists.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The ability of LiC to twist facts.

I'm appalled at the ability of LiC to once again write banal accounts of his trips to Tibet and make the Tibetian cause appear weak and paint their rightful struggle as a figment of someone's imagination.
In an article 'Celebrating social emancipation in Tibet ' the LiC brings out the lowest level of yellow journalism.
The commemoration has come half a century after the Democratic Reform did away with feudal serfdom and slavery and the theocratic system in Tibet, emancipated a million serfs, and laid the basis for the autonomous modern development of the region as part of the Chinese socialist system.

Really celebrated by whom? The communist politbureau?
He then goes on to quote selected quotes from the Dalai Lama to portray him as an ardent supporter of Marxism and Mao.
Quotes like these,
I was so attracted to Marxism, I even expressed my wish to become a Communist Party member.

If LiC can cherry pick the Dalai Lama's quotes then how about this one?
As for the failure of the Marxist regimes, first of all I do not consider the former USSR, or China, or even Vietnam, to have been true Marxist regimes, for they were far more concerned with their narrow national interests than with the Workers' International; this is why there were conflicts, for example, between China and the USSR, or between China and Vietnam. If those three regimes had truly been based upon Marxist principles, those conflicts would never have occurred.

Ignorance thy name is LiC

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fwd: China Takes Aim at Dollar

china is the one developing nation which is overly worried about  imminent devaluation of usd, what with its 1.3 trillion dollars turning into worthless paper. for long, it flogged its citizens to sustain the extravagant lifestyles of americans. and when the american corporations have collapsed under their own weight, the impact of bankrupt americans is having a multiplier effect on the export-oriented chinese economy. the chinese govt cannot dump the dollars as it will trigger a financial meltdown and insane write-offs; it cant use the money to pump up its economy without risking hyper-inflation. the chinese are doomed long before the communist govt is. india is relatively insulated as the exposure to usd is minimum.
you can expect the cheap cronies in chennai, who only cost a few cents, to now call for a financial overhaul. after all, it is in china's best interests more than india's.

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

China called for the creation of a new currency to eventually replace the dollar as the world's standard, proposing a sweeping overhaul of global finance that reflects developing nations' growing unhappiness with the U.S. role in the world economy.

"Hindoo superstition" registered as TM

While Hindus are busy rejecting their culture and customs as blind superstition, the vultures are indulging in cultural appropriation. The ancient Hindu knowledge is repackaged, registered as trademark, patented and commercialized globally while the Hindus are getting thoroughly "secularised".

Now, Super Brain Yoga joins "Christian yoga".

IPL now in South Africa

Continuing with the series on the IPL issue which my fellow blogger socal has so rightly pointed out most of the parties involved have exhibited a cavalier attitude towards the real problem and are only focused on furthering their own personal agendas.
As per the latest news, IPL will now be played in South Africa. Lalit Modi has struck a deal with the cricket association of SA and more details will be announced soon. One can expect the Chennai Super Kings to play at the Centurion or the Mumbai Indians in Durban or the Kolkatta whatever to play in Cape Town. The larger issue is that IPL has disappointed the fans at large. There are certain aspects which made these teams unique,
  • The loyalties towards cities and their fanbases

  • The presence of up and coming local talent

  • Live cricket watching experience

Granted the audience in the stands is a fraction of the overall population, but playing in SA is akin to playing in Mars. If the English Premier League or the Italy Serie A were faced with a similar situation would the Manchester United were to play in say Mangalore or AC Milan were to play in Beijing? One wonders how their fans would react hearing such news. But IPL takes fans for granted and thinks they will spend their hard earned money on a crappy product and a significant portion of the revenue would be given to SA. I do hope that the fans bring this up to the attention of the IPL and potentially the courts.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The real shame

With some skill our dream home minister has turned debate over cricket into political football, simultaneously realizing its dreaded politicization in turn. While politicization is such a strict no-no with the establishment, you would think that dear minister would calibrate himself more carefully. But this being election season, such restraint is not politically feasible. To twist a common dictum, there's no such thing as bad politicization. 

'Enough about politicization already!' you say. Well, we're just getting warmed up. Rather warming you up...for the inevitable editorials that'll ensue. And 10 points for guessing who'll be the fall guy delegated with this crucial responsibility in your favorite communal newspaper.

While the scribes are obviously worked up at the coming 'Festival of democracy' (they see the taxpayer funded ad money ringing at their cash registers), the widespread despondency among aam aadmis can be witnessed in the comments section online, and in comments flying freely on streets. Some are even rudely chastising the media to take their 'festival' and shove it, since it hardly makes a difference as to which crook rules them. They have a point. Election is about spending their money to decide who should spend more of their money over the next five years(assuming the govt. lasts). IPL, on the contrary, is about instant gratification, today. Kal kisne dekha hain?

But lets concenrate on the serious. The most dubious reason cited by our dream home minister against the IPL is its commercial motive. Now, one doesn't recollect the constitution saying anywhere that all commercial activity should stall during elections. So whence comes the noblesse oblige? Politicians anywhere else in the world will stampede to claim any mega sports event precisely because it jumstarts real economic activity. The other untrue notion being bandied about is that only the organizers benefit from the event. Hmm...who gets the tax windfall out of the IPL's massive earnings? From the record ad revenue? Certainly not the aam aadmi

Since we are talking about a good ol' Congress politician, if it is not about money, what else could it be about but politics, and power that follows. To understand the PC mindset (I mean politically correct)  at work here we need to remind ourselves the feats achieved by jihadi terrorism. The jihadis have always jacked up the impunity of their attacks, starting with bicycles going right upto airplanes. Audacity of their hope next time could well mean despair for cricket fans and relatives in some Indian city. What went on in Pakistani capital during the recent attacks on cricketers could well prove to be a mock rehearsal. Considering the fabulous job done by his immediate predecessor, and himself, PC probably knows what we don't. Another deadly attack amidst the election could well drive the proverbial nail in UPAs political coffin. Goodbye to cabinet ministership after that.

What else do you make out of the IPL saga then? That the might of Indian govt. has been made to surrender to fear, again, is the real shame. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Election commission tamasha - Varun Gandhi Chronicles

The Election commission is now a fully functioning organ of the UPA government. In a recent statement the EC condemned the BJP's nomination of Varun Gandhi, stating his recent comments should be condemned,
The Commission expects that the least that the party [which has disapproved Mr. Gandhi’s speeches] must do is to deny the party nomination to Mr. Gandhi as its candidate at the present general election to the Lok Sabha. Any sponsorship of his candidature by the Bharatiya Janata Party, or any other political party at this election, would be perceived as endorsing his unpardonable acts of inciting violence and creating feelings of enmity and hatred between different classes of citizens of India, destroying the social, democratic and plural fabric of the country, as enshrined in the Constitution.

WTF ! I say WTF! Let me see the numerous ways in which this statement is filled with hypocrisy. The EC has been silent and inactive when numerous other activities of communal hatred and castiest violence were pursued by 'secular' parties and leaders like Laloo Prasad, Karunanidhi, various CPM leaders etc.
Now for it to come and offer advice to the BJP is ridiculous to say the least.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Campaigning for a criminal and a terrorist

It is elections time and politicians shed all inhibitions. Chindu joins the frenzy by rooting for its favourite party. Vijayan's statements are reproduced unquestioningly, a luxury accorded only to CPM.

Vijayan is an  accused in the Lavalin scam and Maudany (Madani) served jail term for the Coimbatore blasts targetting the communal Advani.

The Hindu : Front Page : Maudany stands for secularism: Pinarayi
Mr. Vijayan said the LDF had opposed Mr. Maudany strongly in the past. However, Mr. Maudany made it clear that he was in favour of secularism following his release from jail. He came out in the open against religious extremism and communalism and rightly approached political parties that followed similar principles.

Friday, March 20, 2009

When the hand gets the finger

Let's face it: national parties aren't doing so well this election season. First, it was the BJP in Orissa, and now it's the turn of the media's favorite party. Twice in a row at that. Laloo extinguished the Congress flame in Bihar with his lalten and now it's the JMM in Jharkhand hitting bullseye from its quiver.

Is it an indication of the underlying weakness of the ruling party? I don't know. Those who do, viz., the media, surely aren't telling much. Only Ram knows why. :)

PS- What Abhishek Singhvi will say, too, is anybody's guess. 'Fool me once'....perhaps. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Secularism rears its beautiful head-Varun Gandhi chronicles

Recently Varun Gandhi going off on a rant said,
This is not a hand [Congress symbol], it is the power of lotus [BJP symbol]. It will cut the head of …
If anyone raises a finger towards Hindus or if someone thinks that Hindus are weak and leaderless; if someone thinks that these leaders lick our boots for votes; if anyone raises a finger towards Hindus, then I swear on Gita that I will cut that hand.

And in Chindu there are numerous quotes by the secular bigots like Digvijay Singh and others condemning the statement.

It comes as bit of surprise that the Congress and the Left show more anger towards someone making rabble rousing statements, than against the terrorists and their masters when they attacked Mumbai.
I have seen only one grainy video on youtube. Could someone please post a link to a video of the alleged speech on the comments section?

Friday, March 06, 2009

The tiger, goat and bale of hay

One of the earliest puzzles from my childhood was how a boatman could transport a tiger, a goat and a bale of hay? It's odd that a person would be transporting a tiger and a goat by himself. It is a situation that Indian politics finds itself in today with the three large groups the UPA, the NDA and the motley crew of the Third front. However what is clearer is the fact that UPA and the NDA will not support each other to power and the Third front cannot get close to a majority by itself.
What is obvious for any political observer is the fact that despite the pronounced breakup between the UPA and the Third Front, it is likely that they would shed their past hatred in a heartbeat and get back into bed to taste sweet political power after the elections.
This naked ambition is evinced by Tamil Nadu State Congress president K.V. Thangkabalu who,
predicted that the Left’s resumption of ties with the Congress-led UPA would be based on the realisation that the Third Front was a pipedream.

And his opinion of the irony of central alliances and state battles would make anyone in the states cringe.
They have been good to us and we have been good to them in spite of being on opposite camps in a few States such as West Bengal and Kerala.

It appears that the pigeons have been released even before the battle has started. It will make for an interesting election season for the Indian Citizen and his/her sensibilities.

Letter to Hindu

The following is a letter I received from a reader J.Ravi with the request that it be published. He says that he sent this to the Chief Editor of The Hindu and the MD but (not surprisingly) got no reply. I reproduce here the contents of his letter as mailed to me in its entirety.

The Managing Director

The Hindu


Dear Sir,

Since Mr.Ram took over as the Editor, certain unsavoury changes have taken place in our revered newspaper.

Please allow me to elaborate on these.

* The “letters to the Editor” is filled with letters that totally agree with the editor’s views and many sing paeans to his wisdom. Letters critical of the editor/paper are almost never published.

Also, certain readers have their letters published very often (possibly because they agree with the editor always). The reader Kassim Sait comes to mind – we readers are condemned to read his jaundiced remarks, sometimes twice a week!

* The letters supporting the views of the editor are self-righteous and strongly expressed, while the very few critical letters are meek, almost apologetic (possibly due to heavy editing).

I have been watching this trend for years now and I have analyzed this – please find attached an Excel file for your kind perusal. This file has analyzed the “ letters” and the editorial sections for 100 days – from Sept/17/2008 to Jan/12/2009. On average, each day has about 14 letters with one letter criticizing the editor/paper’s stand – on most of the days, there are NO dissenting letters!

* All the leading English dailies have provisions for the readers to post comments on

editorials/op-eds/front-page stories etc that allow for active reader participation. Abusive remarks/postings are removed periodically even by other readers.

Unfortunately, the Hindu does not have this feature. Your readers have to be content with the editor’s views/opinions/beliefs/values/prejudices presented as news and the gospel truth with no discussion or debate – so important for lively exchange of ideas and free speech, things which the editor often professes to cherish.

* The ombudsman is content to clarify on clerical errors, grammar and syntax mistakes. Please give him the authority to be the true conscience-keeper of the paper.

* Biased reporting – we see this as the basic philosophy of the editor: Samples:

· The general news coverage, the editorials and the opinions sell the premise that the BJP/center-right parties in India and the world/the U.S.A can do nothing right and they are the fountain-head of all evil. Equally, the Left (especially the CPM!!!) in India & abroad, and Russia/China can do no wrong and these are the epitome of the combined wisdom of the human race and are the torch-bearers of righteousness.

· According to the editor, nationalism in India/Japan/rest of the world is fascism, but one-party dictatorship seamlessly integrated with nationalism in China is perfectly acceptable.

· Certain public individuals are above board for the editor – Karunanidhi, Karat, Bardhan, Yechuri, Chandrachoodan, Jayalalitha, several others of the Left and selected regional chauvinists are never criticized.

· Sonia Gandhi was referred to by her full name – then it gradually became Ms.Gandhi and now it is only Gandhi – possibly this is meant to convey to the young readers that perhaps she is related to the Mahatma.

· Issues are deliberately reported partially with malicious intent – in a recent example, the BJP was (as expected) castigated for the Mangalore incident, but utterances against the “pub culture” by Gehlot and Ramdoss were not reported. Another example is the vitriol poured by the editor on CEC Gopalaswami’s recommendations. He was ridiculed, chastised, and his motives were “exposed” by 2 articles on the same day! The CEC’s other recommendations (of not giving government jobs to the commissioners and not allowing them to join political parties after retirement) were published two days after the other English dailies reported it!

· Under the present editor, the Hindu has become a spokesperson for the CPM – he is perfectly entitled to his party membership, but the paper should not be a vehicle to propagate the ideology of one party (any party for that matter). If the editor persists in this, the Hindu is not a national newspaper but merely a party mouthpiece.

· Under Mr.Ram’s editorship, certain issues affecting our country are never discussed: examples:

a) the burgeoning cost of Admiral Gorshkov (the free warship now to cost $2bn) – possibly not to offend “the time-tested friendship”.

b) China ’s claim of Arunachal Pradesh

c) Bangladeshi infiltration into India – possibly not to expose their participation in polls to elect the Left parties in west Bengal and Tripura.

d) China ’s back-stabbing in the NSG – believe it or not, Siddharth Varadarajan actually supported their actions!

e) Riots in India whenever instigated by the Congress and the Left ( Delhi riots and Nandigram pogroms come to mind).

f) Corruption in the Left parties – SNC Lavalin issue is a recent example.

We can go on and on.

The central issue is that under the present editor, the Hindu has lost the stature it had in the past. We remember the halcyon days when it was the beacon of free unbiased reporting during the Bofors issue.

Now the credibility and professionalism have been lost – it reads like a handout from the CPM’s office. In the process, the Hindu has only succeeded in misleading its readers, especially the young minds – and that hurts.

Please excuse me for intruding on your busy schedule.

I have also attached this letter as a Word file for your kind perusal -- I look forward to receiving your valuable comments.

Yours sincerely,

Jay Ravi

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

'Relaxed Atmosphere' in Tibet

A few days ago, Dirt Digger pointed out on this blog a news item from Xinhua about Tibet that spoke about N.Ram in the third person I quote a statement made therein:
“The reality is that Tibet is on the road of rapid economic development and the atmosphere there is relaxed, not tense at all,” he said [emphasis added].

Contrast that with this report in today’s New York Times:
…Now, the authorities have imposed an unofficial state of martial law on the vast highlands where ethnic Tibetans live, with thousands of troops occupying areas they fear could erupt in renewed rioting on a momentous anniversary next week. And Beijing is determined to keep foreigners from seeing the mass deployment.

…Tibetan regions, a sprawling, lightly populated swath of western China that measures about one-quarter of the country’s total territory, have become militarized zones. Sandbag outposts have been set up in the middle of towns, army convoys rumble along highways, and paramilitary officers search civilian cars. A curfew has been imposed on Lhasa, the Tibetan capital.

“The Tibetan ethnic situation is very serious,” said a paramilitary officer after he stopped three foreigners on a snowy mountain road. “Tibetans are causing trouble. This is an extremely sensitive time.”

The young officer and his half-dozen colleagues at the checkpoint were members of the People’s Armed Police, the main Chinese paramilitary force. The officers said their unit was based in Beijing and had guarded the Bird’s Nest stadium during the Summer Olympics in August, but had been sent here last month. Their mission included keeping foreigners out of the area.

So this life under the military jackboot is the ‘relaxed’ atmosphere in Tibet that Mr.Ram is talking about. I am waiting for a refutation from the honorable Chief Editor about how the Western Press is utterly biased and only The Hindu speaks the (official) truth (with red blinkers) about how things are wonderful but for some mischief inspired by the West which, by the way, does not however exist except in their minds.

Confronting Maududi's Dogma

Praveen Swami usually reports facts about terrorism and the Islamist movement and he does it well. But he is usually careful to refrain from offering any policy prescriptions or advice. Of late, that has changed a little as he has been concluding his writings with a couple of sentences about the way to resolve the issue. In today’s op-ed ‘Mumbai, Mawdudi and the Mujahideen’, he concludes with the following words:
...a host of fugitive jihadists …are working to revive the IM’s campaign. India’s police and intelligence forces have an important role in preventing them from succeeding. But the real challenge involves politics, not policing: defeating Mawdudi’s ideas involves demonstrating that democratic struggles against communalism can succeed. Bar a few honourable exceptions, no politician appears either able or willing to take up this challenge.

If fighting communalism was all it took to confront Mawdudi, we would have had it really easy. Unfortunately, Maududi’s ideas have not achieved their dominant position in Islamist circles because of Indian communal politics. While a small but significant number of Indian muslims may have signed up to volunteer for the jihadist movement, the infrastructure that spawned and sustains it emerged from its own dynamic. The triumph of the ideology and its consequences including the jihadi organizations, training camps and violence all function with very limited contribution from Indian muslims. Communal politics may fuel rage and contribute volunteers to the effort – to that extent Swami is correct – but to argue that successfully combating communal politics will defeat Maududi’s political doctrine is to fatally underestimate its potency and the attractiveness of its teachings to the faithful.

Maududi’s arguments are not about communal justice nor is it merely a doctrine of hate-and-kill Hindus. In fact, Maududi himself, as far as I know, never advocated violence. His argument was that Islam is not merely a religion in the sense that religions are understood in the modern nation state but a complete code of life. And the role of the state ought to be not only to advocate the ideal (read Islamic) way of life but to enforce it. This proposition must be read in the historical context of Mughal rule which to many signifies the most successful experiment in Islamic triumphalism in South Asia. Aurangzeb Alamgir who is seen as the last great ruler of that empire is greatly revered by Islamists for his austerity, piety, strict interpretation and enforcement of Islamic tenets – his teachings are still followed as the textbook in some major schools such as the Dar-ul-Uloom-Haqqania madrassa. The caliphate that Islamists seek to resurrect in South Asia is therefore, in their view, merely a restoration of the lost glory of Islamic rule – a cause that is not only worthy of the ultimate sacrifice but also achievable in light of the past through the subjugation of what they see as an effete Hindu dominated society. As one can see, these are revolutionary ideas whose objective is to supplant the existing world order with a tyrannical alternative that commands obedience and subservience of the pagan faiths from whom it brooks no dissent. These ideas must be confronted for what they are and what they have to offer which means taking religious zealotry by its horns and neutralizing it. The medieval crusades, the Bolshevik and Maoist revolutions, the rise of Hitler and more recently, the victory of the Taliban all teach us that militant minorities often prevail over silent, ambivalent and vaccillating majorities. That means revolutionary ideas can only be confronted by equally passionate alternatives which in our case would amount to the notion of individual freedom and the articulation of alternative doctrines of a just society. Fighting communalism can only be a part of the struggle, not the whole.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Untimely attack on Lankan cricketers in Pak

A few hours back there was an attack on Sri Lankan Cricketers in Lahore. 6 players were injured.
One might remember this was the tour India was supposed to be part of. After the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, India withdrew and Sri Lanka in its anti-India efforts decided to magnanimously step in. The whole attempt to attack peaceful sportsmen and civilians is condemnable. However there are various levels of irony in this incident. One that while Sri Lanka is the midst of civil war, its cricketers thinking Pakistan of all places, would be safe were attacked in the bee's nest. Another is that all the claims of Pakistan that the Mumbai attacks were stage managed is laid to rest. It would be deeply interesting to see how Chindu attempts to paint the story here.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Readers' Editor Writes on The Hindu's Coverage L-affaire Gopalaswamy

Today's opinion by the Readers' Editor is reasonably well written. It points out the one-sided coverage of the paper on the CEC v. EC controversy. 

Mr.Ram defends the one-sided coverage as 'value judgment' and having nothing to do with fairness. It is true that newspapers seldom entertain the entire range of views on any subject - at some point, the editor must decide what to publish and what to exclude - but it is stupid for a newspaper claiming to be more than a mouthpiece of a particular party to insist that value judgment has nothing to do with fairness. Where an alternative perspective is equally plausible as in this case and many eminent writers indeed made a well-argued case for a contrasting view, the liberal idea of viewpoint diversity and the compelling nature of counterarguments very much warranted their publication. To claim otherwise may be within the editor's discretion but it suggests an illiberal mindset and a cloistered worldview. If those indeed are the values the chief editor espouses, they reflect poorly on his newspaper.

The Reader's Editor says that he is told that the letters that appear in the paper represent a fair proportion of letters received. I have no statistics to disprove this but having carefully observed the sort of letters that get published, I am strongly inclined to look at such a claim as nothing short of facetious. The majority of published letters are laudatory and only the last one or two in a long list happen to be modestly critical. It is quite inconceivable that every editorial position always receives a favorable response in the very same proportion.

CPM, CITU clash; expect chindu to go silent

Unlike the ram sene's attack on a pub, this news will not make a splash. There won't be NDTV reporters at the place well ahead of the goons to report the event live on national television. Chindu will in all likelihood not even report this matter. So there wont be any need to editorialize and the matter may be considered closed.
CPI-M cadre burn down CITU office, angry CITU men attack mall
Activists of Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the labour wing of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Sunday attacked a mall here after their party office was set ablaze allegedly by some Marxist cadre, CITU members said.

Fwd: Tibetan monk 'shot' while on fire

this is the same place n.ram visited a few days ago and described it as heaven.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Xinhua Ram

** Tibetan monk 'shot' while on fire **
A Tibetan monk is shot after setting fire to himself during a protest against Beijing's rule, reports say.
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