Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pearls from Kasim Sait

This regular reader of cHindu has never disappointed in entertaining us with his pearls of wisdom. He is a veritable modern day Socrates in his analysis and unfailing ability to always side with the judgment made by cHindu. Here's his latest on Wikileaks -
The BJP's propensity to misuse Hindu nationalism and its not-so-hidden support to the Indo-U.S. strategic relationship, have been reinforced by the India Cables. However, the most amusing part is the glee of the Congress leaders in the BJP's discomfiture. Should they not worry about the corroborative evidence in the cash-for-votes scam provided by the earlier cables? Amid all the somersaults indulged in by the Congress and the BJP, should not we laud the sincerity and honesty of Prakash Karat who not only stuck to the declared ideological stand of his party during his interview referred to in the cable but has also been forthright on the happenings during the UPA-1 regime, which led to the Left's withdrawal of support?

Laud the sincerity of Karat? Bashing BJP on its agenda? The writer can surely do better than trumpet the old mantras of LiC and minions.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wikileaks portrayal of the joker Prakash Karat

Read this article in entirety if you need a long laugh. cHindu's editorialization of Karat's portrayal in wikileaks is incredible. They want to show the CPM buffoon as some kind of Superhero.
The Embassy, in a cable to Washington the same day (31968: confidential), described Mr. Karat as a “talented and skillful leader who is well-aware of his political importance.”

WTF! Karat as skillful? What election of importance did he win? Or for that matter an issue of importance that he has lead a debate on? Nothing. West Bengal or Kerala wins have been achieved by local leaders like Basu, Buddha, Achuthanandan etc.
Relatively young [at 57], he will be a powerful figure on the Indian political scene for years to come, and could play an increasingly important role in the formation of future Indian governments.”

Other than capitulating to the first UPA Government and help putting India further down the corrupt hellhole its in right now, Karat has little to provide.
The Marxist leader noted that land reform was the strength of the CPI (M) in West Bengal, “where it increased agricultural production, made the state into India's largest rice producer, and demonstrated that small farms can be productive.”

I'm sure the people who struggle for a single meal in West Bengal will feel happy to know how the CPM has solved World hunger at a single stroke.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Twisting wikileaks - Jaitley's remarks

Its one thing to make blatantly illogical statements analyzing current affairs like how Sidd V does in his columns in cHindu. Its absolutely ridiculous to portray the words of an American diplomat as fact.
( Thanks to fellow blogger Nationalizer for the heads up)
The article clearly states Jaitley's statement which reads:
In India's northeast, for instance, Hindutva plays well because of public anxiety about illegal migration of Muslims from Bangladesh. With the recent improvement of Indo-Pak relations, he added, Hindu nationalism is now less resonant in New Delhi, but that could change with another cross-border terrorist attack, for instance on the Indian Parliament,

However it chose to provide credence to the statement of the diplomat who claimed:
Pressed on the question of Hindutva, Jaitley argued that Hindu nationalism ‘will always be a talking point' for the BJP. However, he characterized this as an opportunistic issue

This is yellow journalism at its best. Shame on cHindu for distorting facs and not providing accurate explanations. Thankfully with Twitter people have challenged LiC and his minions to answer to facts. Though they still have proven to not be accountable.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Legality of Libyan Intervention: Varadarajan's Half-Truths

I wish to draw attention to Siddharth Varadarajan's op-ed today titled "Odyssey Dawn, a Homeric Tragedy". As I pointed out in an earlier post, the Iraq invasion is not quite analogous to the Libyan situation today. Nor for that matter is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israeli attack on Gaza was a response to the rocket attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza. Much has been written about the Goldstone report and its findings and I will not go into that here. It suffices that the point is being made here in a purely rhetorical sense and has no direct bearing on the Libyan question.

With regard to the UN Security Council resolution 1973, this is what he says:
The problem with UNSCR 1973 is not the in-built ‘mission creep' but the fact that it is ultra vires. No resolution can violate the principles and purpose of the U.N. Charter. Article 2(7) is quite explicit: “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.”

This is a very selective reading of the relevant provision of the UN Charter. Article 2(7) states:
Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.

The last part of the provision has been conveniently left out of his quotation. As the text of UNSC Resolution 1973 clearly states, it is precisely under this Chapter VII that the Security Council has acted. Article 39 empowers the Security Council to determine "any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or acts of aggression" and decide upon measures to maintain or restore international peace and security. These words guarantee broad powers to the Security Council and there are past resolutions which have been triggered by internal disturbances in various countries. Particularly since the end of the Cold War, a broad definition of threat to the peace as a positive concept (as opposed to a negative absence-of-war notion) is fairly apparent in resolutions and Presidential statements. It is therefore eminently debatable whether this is indeed a violation of the UN Charter as claimed.

Varadarajan is nostalgic for the Saddam Hussein regime:
Like the Iraqis who foolishly welcomed the American invasion of their country in 2003, the Libyans who wanted Operation Odyssey Dawn may well end up taking part in a tragedy of Homeric proportions.

He should tell that to the Iraqi Shia who have just been empowered, the Kurds and the Iranians who fought against the Baathist dispensation. If Gaddafi is overthrown, I doubt likewise that there would be many who would miss him.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Story of Indian crabs(diplomats) at the UN

There's common lore of a group of crabs sent in a box. The lid was open but none of the crabs escaped. It was not due to the fact that these crabs were too disciplined or lazy or unfocused. It was because they were too busy pulling each other down that they did not escape.
The cHinduLeaks provides a great story in real life of how our own UPA government decided to undermine its UN representative.
Accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, the cable ( 64794: confnoforn) sent on May 19, 2006 by Mr. Wolff reports that Mr. Malhotra criticised Mr. Sen for taking a confrontational approach to the U.S. government. Not just that. Mr. Malhotra indicated he had been sent specially to counter the Permanent Representative. He told the U.S diplomat that he had — and would use — a “direct line” to New Delhi to ensure U.S.-India co-operation in New York.

This is precisely the kind of journalism we expect from cHindu. Good work by Nirupama Subramanian and Suresh Nambath. Lets hope there's follow up action to this article to put the UPA's feet to the fire.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

cHinduLeaks - Sonia supports Islamic terror for Kashmiri votes

The cHinduLeaks via India cables, expose the key differences between Sonia G and then President Abdul Kalam.
In was a clear evidence of one person's conviction for justice and integrity and the other person's corrupt nature. The Congress with Sonia and Ghulam Nabi Azad argued with Kalam on the behalf of Afzal asking him to provide clemency. This for a known terrorist who was involved in the planning and execution of the attack on the Parliament.
It quotes unnamed party sources as telling the Embassy that if “the UPA grants a pardon for Afzal or stalls his execution, the Congress Party will be portrayed by BJP leaders as weak on national security. If, however, the President lets him hang, some fear Congress may lose support from their traditional Muslim vote block on a national scale.”

Another traitor who was exposed is Yasin Malik who has been claimed as a peace broker by cHindu and its pet Arundhati Roy.
Kashmiri Muslims feel sympathy for Afzal” and that his only crime was “buying a car.” (Afzal Guru was not a member of the team that attacked Parliament but had bought the Ambassador car which breached Parliament's first line of security.) “How does this warrant a death sentence?”

So in what is clearly a planned lack of suo motu by the Government the usual rigmarole of keeping terrorists within the justice system without meting out the punishment given by the courts was enforced.
The cable suggests that the “easiest option for the Congress may be to delay Afzal's execution for years to consider his appeal for clemency.” This is exactly what has happened. In February 2011, Home Minister P. Chidambaram clarified in Parliament that Afzal Guru's mercy petition, filed on October 3, 2006, had not yet been forwarded to President Pratibha Patil.

It is to be seen if cHindu and LiC will pursue justice with the same zeal they have pursued cases like Godhra or the Orissa killings.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The curious case of cHinduLeaks

One of the casual reader's pet peeves with the cHindu has been that it has been conservative beyond the point of boring. Rather than breaking news as early or even reasonably of value, it often waits until that news is dead or people have moved past it to pronounce its verdict. Case in point being the Wikileaks story. It was like the Godfather movie plot in slow motion. With Assange out of the spotlight (albeit temporarily), this has been passed over for other more important things like the situation in the Middle East, Japan earthquakes, World Cup etc. Now cHindu in typical cHind-like fashion decides to resuscitate the Frankenstein called Wikileaks which shall be thus named as cHinduLeaks.
So we will be looking at the analysis provided by cHindu and provide our usual colour commentary.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Praying for Japan

We pray for hope for Japan and its people in this time of need. A real tragedy for a nation which has for the most part held up its end as a responsible hard-working nation.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Will Indian blogs be censored like China?

The new changes in Indian IT act proposes draconian laws to censor content being posted. The proposed rules are incredibly sweeping and can affect anything from Huffington post to this blog.
The overemphasis on blogs, indicating the government's anxiety to control them; the ‘vagueness' of the reasons for which the government can block websites; and the utterly regressive move of introducing ‘intermediary due-diligence,' a favourite tool of repressive regimes against bloggers, is upsetting, says Shivam Vij, journalist, Kafila.

Simply put this will be a challenge to censor every one. But if implemented will cause a lot of hassles for the common blogger.
“The Internet community will always end up being smarter. India does not control the rest of the web, and people can write blog posts by sending just an email. The lesser fortunate ones will end up facing the ham-handed fist of these new guidelines,” Krish Ashok, a Chennai-based blogger

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mollycoddling Cruel Dictators

True to form, The Hindu has vehemently come out any military intervention in Libya. As Muammar Gadhafi's stronger forces crush the ragtag rebel army, The Hindu wants the world community (in particular the West) to continue to fiddle as Libya burns. We are told that otherwise grave dangers may come to pass. And pray, what are these?

Arming the rebels would bolster Mr. Qadhafi's claim that a colonialist plot is being hatched.

Is domestic butchery preferable to a colonial conspiracy? I doubt it. Lending material support to the rebels when they are desperately in need is likely to gain the West and the international community support rather than undermine it. In the face of an active civilian uprising the odds of the struggle leading to successful democratization are considerable. Moreover, the effort will gain the democratic world influence with the rebels to support its goals of freedom and democracy. The Arab league is not exactly known for leadership and waiting for it to make up its mind may well turn out to be a futile exercise - even if its support comes through, it may of little more than rhetorical value.

Mr. McCain's suggestions sound very much like the threats the U.S. issued in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Aside from the flagrant illegality, such an adventure would take a horrifying toll on civilian population.

The difference between Iraq and Libya is that unlike in Iraq, there is an ongoing humanitarian disaster in Libya. The situtation here is closer to Bosnia than Iraq. The intervention in Bosnia was and remains popular though the legality of that action continues to be debated academically just as the intervention in Iraq and the drone attacks on Pakistan are also being contested. Leadership entails that the UN and the international community show resolve and fulfil their obligations to humanity by acting decisively rather than pass worthless resolutions and enact useless dramas in seminar rooms much like a debating society. The UN is often paralyzed but that cannot be reason for all countries to stand by and watch the slaughter in silence.

As for the "horrifying toll on civilian population", it is not as if the ongoing civil war has been or is going to be a very peaceful affair. Would The Hindu prefer that the brutal and horrifying casualties come from Qadhafi's hands? The West has better weaponry that can at least limit incidental civilian casualties - "collateral damage" as it is called - much better than the Libyan forces which in any case are targeting civilians deliberately. At least with outside intervention, the lives lost will be for a worthy cause. If Qadhafi wins, what has anyone gained as a consequence of that besides him, his family and his loyal (and bloodthirsty) supporters who will continue to have a free hand to abuse their tyrannical power to plunder Libya's national wealth?

Worse, the editorial is opposed to even arming the rebels. If Qadhafi himself had written it, he probably could not have done a better job.

The Hindu's position is consistent with its past stances - its vehement resistance to the NATO's presence in Afghanistan while remaining silent about the atrocities of the Taliban and its soft support for the fraudulent elections conducted by the Burmese junta. Mollycoddling cruel dictators is just the latest. Yet the same newspaper preaches to us about the Indian government's human rights atrocities. The double standard is obvious.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Hypocrisy between Libya and Saudi Arabia, China

A layman cannot distinguish between Saudi and Libya if the names were removed from this article. However the media chooses to remain passive in the case of one and acting with moral repugnance on the other. Where is the equanimity on the situation of people in both these countries?
The kingdom banned all demonstrations saying they contradicted Islamic laws and society values, according to a statement issued by the Interior Ministry. The new clampdown came a day after about 100 members of the Shia minority staged a protest in the western region of the kingdom.

Its one thing to complain about dictatorship, but to give a free pass to the country which has been in the forefront of sponsoring terrorism in many parts of the world, that is ridiculous. Or for that matter cHindu's favourite nation of cHina

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Manmohan's reputation is now down to personal financial integrity

The elaborate myth that the media manufactured about Manmohan Singh now lies in tatters. So N.Ram rushes to beat the dead snake. He asks tough questions on P.J.Thomas appointment. But he still can't help selling the same old snake oil. He claims that Manmohan has personal financial integrity, while quietly discarding the PM's integrity quotient in matters of morality, law and common sense. What good is personal financial integrity if the person could be compromised on all other matters? I can't quite understand why N.Ram has to keep repeating a falsehood in some form or other. I am fairly certain that once Manmohan Singh is discarded by the dynasty, N.Ram will rush to claim that Manmohan had a poor reputation for personal integrity.
The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : Yes, but what led to the ‘error'?
The proper course for a Prime Minister with a reputation for personal financial integrity would be to square with Parliament and the public on what it was that made him and his senior government colleague insist on, and rush through, the appointment of Mr. Thomas in defiance of morality, the law, and common sense.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Of music, vidwans and critics

Carnatic music is one of India's grand traditions, albeit not a big following as cricket or movies, but a niche following. So its interesting when one of this blog's "patrons" LiC and T.M. Krishna noted Carnatic musician decide to joust on the value provided by cHindu's music critics during the music season.
During a felicitation ceremony of S.V. Krishnamurthy LiC made this passing statement that Indian musicians did not respond well to criticism and wanted to listen to words of praise.
He said many musicians and sabhas were “thin-skinned” and “not used to robust criticism that musicians in western countries get all the time whether they like it or not.They want only favourable reviews, but that is decidedly not The Hindu's expectation,” he said, citing the guidelines evolved by the newspaper in consultation with critics for reviewing concerts and dance performances. He said the critic was an individual expert rasika and writer on music and The Hindu chose “its critics and respected their musical knowledge, integrity, independence, judgement and writing style.”

In response T.M. Krishna responded,
No amount of guidelines will help unless the right people are found. I completely agree that robust criticism is very necessary but it can be robust only when people are chosen very carefully and at the same time I do agree that musicians need to understand the role of critics. But one is not going to happen without the other.

To which LiC responded,
We and tens of thousands of our readers, knowledgeable as well as lay (like me), think highly of our critics, most of whom are well schooled in Carnatic music or are experts. The majority of them, in fact, are not staff journalists.

While in principle I would side with LiC that musicians typically are thin-skinned (knowing quite a few in my family and friends) the larger issue is that LiC should not be the one make that statement. After all he did not like it when others rightly criticized his paper for being a Chinese and communist mouth-piece. He still has the gall to employ people who are assumed associated with the "paid-news" scandal. Its a case of the pot calling the kettle black. In this context if you refer back to cHindu's music reviews they are amatuerish as Krishna rightly claims vacillating between saccharine sweet praise to rabid criticism without details or understanding of carnatic music. I would say this round goes to Krishna on points.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Farce called Gandhianism

Gandhianism is one of those flawed ideologies that is so abstract, utopian and impractical that even the person who conceived it agreed it was not practical at all times. However it has become a mantle piece for any diplomat, bureaucrat who wants to carp on issues using moral grand standing. Case in point MK Bhadra Kumar commenting on the recent riots in Libya and comparing the violence there to Afghanistan.
Somehow he tries to inject Gandhianism into the whole discussion as some sort of moral higher ground.
The irony is that non-violence in Libya becomes the rubric for militarisation of foreign policy. After referring Mr. Qadhafi to the ICC, shouldn't India sign the Rome Statute and become an ICC member-country? Ideally, we should also persuade Mr. Obama, who admires Gandhiji, to revoke his predecessor's decision to pull the U.S. out of the ICC.

When are we going to get rid of the nonsense carpet that Gandhianism means something in today's world?