Posts Tagged 'india'

Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement

Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement

Love jihad – real or a myth?

Love jihad – real or a myth? A detailed study by an NGO. Good work. Read at your leisure.
http://samvada.org/wp-content/Voice-for-Justice-Book.pdf

Why My Father Hated India

Why My Father Hated India

Aatish Taseer, the son of an assassinated Pakistani leader, explains the history and hysteria behind a deadly relationship

Ten days before he was assassinated in January, my father, Salman Taseer, sent out a tweet about an Indian rocket that had come down over the Bay of Bengal: “Why does India make fools of themselves messing in space technology? Stick 2 bollywood my advice.”
My father was the governor of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, and his tweet, with its taunt at India’s misfortune, would have delighted his many thousands of followers. It fed straight into Pakistan’s unhealthy obsession with India, the country from which it was carved in 1947.
View Full Image

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Mohandas Gandhi visits Muslim refugees in New Delhi as they prepare to depart to Pakistan on Sept. 22, 1947.

Though my father’s attitude went down well in Pakistan, it had caused considerable tension between us. I am half-Indian, raised in Delhi by my Indian mother: India is a country that I consider my own. When my father was killed by one of his own bodyguards for defending a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, we had not spoken for three years.
To understand the Pakistani obsession with India, to get a sense of its special edge—its hysteria—it is necessary to understand the rejection of India, its culture and past, that lies at the heart of the idea of Pakistan. This is not merely an academic question. Pakistan’s animus toward India is the cause of both its unwillingness to fight Islamic extremism and its active complicity in undermining the aims of its ostensible ally, the United States.
The idea of Pakistan was first seriously formulated by neither a cleric nor a politician but by a poet. In 1930, Muhammad Iqbal, addressing the All-India Muslim league, made the case for a state in which India’s Muslims would realize their “political and ethical essence.” Though he was always vague about what the new state would be, he was quite clear about what it would not be: the old pluralistic society of India, with its composite culture.

Every day at sunset, Indian and Pakistani guards on the Wagah border face off in a militaristic flag-lowering exercise called the Beating Retreat Ceremony. WSJ’s Tom Wright reports on India’s effort to tone down the bizarre display.
Iqbal’s vision took concrete shape in August 1947. Despite the partition of British India, it had seemed at first that there would be no transfer of populations. But violence erupted, and it quickly became clear that in the new homeland for India’s Muslims, there would be no place for its non-Muslim communities. Pakistan and India came into being at the cost of a million lives and the largest migration in history.
This shared experience of carnage and loss is the foundation of the modern relationship between the two countries. In human terms, it meant that each of my parents, my father in Pakistan and my mother in India, grew up around symmetrically violent stories of uprooting and homelessness.
But in Pakistan, the partition had another, deeper meaning. It raised big questions, in cultural and civilizational terms, about what its separation from India would mean.
In the absence of a true national identity, Pakistan defined itself by its opposition to India. It turned its back on all that had been common between Muslims and non-Muslims in the era before partition. Everything came under suspicion, from dress to customs to festivals, marriage rituals and literature. The new country set itself the task of erasing its association with the subcontinent, an association that many came to view as a contamination.
View Full Image

Rex USA
Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, in May 2009. He was assassinated in January 2011.

Had this assertion of national identity meant the casting out of something alien or foreign in favor of an organic or homegrown identity, it might have had an empowering effect. What made it self-wounding, even nihilistic, was that Pakistan, by asserting a new Arabized Islamic identity, rejected its own local and regional culture. In trying to turn its back on its shared past with India, Pakistan turned its back on itself.
But there was one problem: India was just across the border, and it was still its composite, pluralistic self, a place where nearly as many Muslims lived as in Pakistan. It was a daily reminder of the past that Pakistan had tried to erase.
Pakistan’s existential confusion made itself apparent in the political turmoil of the decades after partition. The state failed to perform a single legal transfer of power; coups were commonplace. And yet, in 1980, my father would still have felt that the partition had not been a mistake, for one critical reason: India, for all its democracy and pluralism, was an economic disaster.
Pakistan had better roads, better cars; Pakistani businesses were thriving; its citizens could take foreign currency abroad. Compared with starving, socialist India, they were on much surer ground. So what if India had democracy? It had brought nothing but drought and famine.
But in the early 1990s, a reversal began to occur in the fortunes of the two countries. The advantage that Pakistan had seemed to enjoy in the years after independence evaporated, as it became clear that the quest to rid itself of its Indian identity had come at a price: the emergence of a new and dangerous brand of Islam.
As India rose, thanks to economic liberalization, Pakistan withered. The country that had begun as a poet’s utopia was reduced to ruin and insolvency.
The primary agent of this decline has been the Pakistani army. The beneficiary of vast amounts of American assistance and money—$11 billion since 9/11—the military has diverted a significant amount of these resources to arming itself against India. In Afghanistan, it has sought neither security nor stability but rather a backyard, which—once the Americans leave—might provide Pakistan with “strategic depth” against India.
In order to realize these objectives, the Pakistani army has led the U.S. in a dance, in which it had to be seen to be fighting the war on terror, but never so much as to actually win it, for its extension meant the continuing flow of American money. All this time the army kept alive a double game, in which some terror was fought and some—such as Laskhar-e-Tayyba’s 2008 attack on Mumbai—actively supported.
The army’s duplicity was exposed decisively this May, with the killing of Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad. It was only the last and most incriminating charge against an institution whose activities over the years have included the creation of the Taliban, the financing of international terrorism and the running of a lucrative trade in nuclear secrets.
This army, whose might has always been justified by the imaginary threat from India, has been more harmful to Pakistan than to anybody else. It has consumed annually a quarter of the country’s wealth, undermined one civilian government after another and enriched itself through a range of economic interests, from bakeries and shopping malls to huge property holdings.
The reversal in the fortunes of the two countries—India’s sudden prosperity and cultural power, seen next to the calamity of Muhammad Iqbal’s unrealized utopia—is what explains the bitterness of my father’s tweet just days before he died. It captures the rage of being forced to reject a culture of which you feel effortlessly a part—a culture that Pakistanis, via Bollywood, experience daily in their homes.
This rage is what makes it impossible to reduce Pakistan’s obsession with India to matters of security or a land dispute in Kashmir. It can heal only when the wounds of 1947 are healed. And it should provoke no triumphalism in India, for behind the bluster and the bravado, there is arid pain and sadness.
—Mr. Taseer is the author of “Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey Through Islamic Lands.”

Beheaded jawans cremated in a hurry

http://www.dailypioneer.com/359064/Beheaded-jawans-cremated-in-a-hurry.html

Beheaded jawans cremated in a hurry
August 07, 2011 1:22:34 AM

Srinagar/Dehradun/ Haldwani

Reporters: Khursheed Wani/Sunil Kumar/ Rajendra Markuna

Militants didn’t mutilate, says Army; doesn’t let families see bodies

Two badly mutilated bodies of soldiers have raised passion in the rank and file of the Army against heavily-armed infiltrators who have increased frequency of attempts to sneak into the Kashmir valley to perpetuate acts of violence.

The Army says that the bodies were mutilated in a fierce gunfight in Farkian Gali sector of Kupwara on July 30. But some reports claim that the infiltrators caught hold of the soldiers of the Kumaon Regiment, beheaded them and took away their heads as war trophies before badly mutilating the bodies. The infiltrator group hasn’t been identified so far, sources maintained.

The family members of Hawaldar Jaipal Singh Adhikari and Lance Naik Devender Singh, whose headless bodies were sent to their native places, were not allowed to see the mutilated bodies.

Though Jaipal Singh Adhikari’s family members were inconsolable when his completely wrapped body was brought here by the Army, none knew that there was more to the version handed out to them — that Adhikari was killed in a grenade blast.

With the information of militants having beheaded two Army jawans in Kupwara region, where Adhikari was posted, trickling in, questions are being asked if Adhikari was one of them. Thirty six-year-old Adhikari was a native of Asgola village, Dwarahat in Almora. He joined the Army in 1994. Jaipal’s family including his wife Beena and two children had recently shifted to Himmatpur, Talla, Haldwani. He was about to join his family in August.

Pushpesh Tripathi, MLA from Dwarahat, who was present during the cremation, told The Pioneer that the ‘body’ which was brought in the casket did not even have limbs.

“Army authorities told the martyr’s father about the unfortunate death and took his permission for token cremation, which was done with full State honours,” said Tripathi.

The defence spokesman claimed that four infiltrators were also shot down while they tried to escape into Pakistan, their bodies were spotted on the other side of LoC but they could not be retrieved by the Army.

“The entire group of infiltrators has been pushed back and their bid foiled,” the spokesman claimed. However, sources said the infiltrators had enough time to catch hold of the soldiers and mutilate their bodies.

Defence spokesman Lt Col Jagmohan Singh Brar conceded that the bodies were badly mutilated but denied the claim that they were beheaded and heads taken away as war trophies by the militants.

“There was a fierce gun-battle at the LoC in which two soldiers died on the spot while another critically injured soldier, who was evacuated to 92 Base Hospital, succumbed later,” he said. “When a soldier receives a full burst of fire from an automatic weapon, everyone knows what happens to the body,” he said, explaining the gory state of the bodies.

Brar said that the frequency of infiltration bids had increased during past two weeks as infiltrators were making efforts to enter the Valley before the onset of winter season. Defence sources said July and August are the choicest months for infiltrators to redouble their efforts to infiltrate as the mountain passes have least or zero accumulation of snow.

Army says that it is fully geared up to face the challenge of infiltration. Earlier this week, Army Chief Gen VK Singh along-with Northern Commander Lt Gen Parnaik and Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen Syed Atta Hasnain visited forward posts to check preparedness to block the ingress of heavily-armed militants.

Sources said the Army has launched a massive combing operation along the Line of Control in the twin border districts of Kupwara and Baramulla following reports of fresh infiltration bids by militants in smaller groups. Sources said around 50 infiltrators sneaked in during past two weeks and the Army is trying to engage and eliminate them in areas closer to the LoC.

The latest two infiltration bids were made on August 5 but the Army foiled them at the cost of death of a jawan in Kupwara. During the two weeks, amid enhanced frequency of infiltration attempts, four infiltrators and five soldiers including a junior officer were killed.

Relatives and other locals joined the Adhikari family in mourning the death of the Uttarakhand native as did military personnel, representatives from the local administrative and social activists.

Bruised martyrdom

Some reports claim that infiltrators caught hold of two soldiers of the Kumaon Regiment, beheaded them and took away their heads as war trophies before badly mutilating the bodies.

Army says the bodies were mutilated in a fierce gunfight in Farkian Gali sector of Kupwara on July 30.

Defence spokesman claims that four infiltrators were also shot down while they tried to escape into Pakistan; their bodies were spotted on the other side of the LoC but they could not be retrieved by the Army.

Dwarahat MLA Pushpesh Tripathi, who was present during the cremation, told The Pioneer that the ‘body’ which was brought in the casket did not even have limbs.

why future belongs to india

Why the future belongs to India
By
Sri : Gurcharan das
(http://gurcharandas.blogspot.com/2009/05/why-future-belongs-to-india.html)

In preparing for a much publicised debate in London on the motion ‘The future belongs to India, not China’, I was reminded of a conversation with my mother. She had asked, what is the difference between China growing at a rate of 10% and India at 8%? I replied that the difference was, indeed, very significant. If we were to grow at 10% we could save twenty years. This is almost a generation. We could lift a whole generation into the middle class twenty years sooner. She thought for a while and then said gently, ‘we have waited 3000 years for this moment. Why don’t we wait another twenty and do it the Indian way?’

She had understood that the cost of democracy is the price the poor pay in the delay of their entry into the middle class. She did not elaborate the ‘Indian way’ but it must include taking a holiday on half a dozen New Years Days! It is easy to get mesmerized by China’s amazing progress and feel frustrated by India’s chaotic democracy, but I think she had expressed the sentiments of most Indians who will not trade off democracy for two per cent higher growth.
In referring to the ‘Indian way’, my mother meant that a nation must be true to itself. Democracy comes easily to us because India has historically ‘accumulated’ its diverse groups who retain their distinctiveness while identifying themselves as Indian. China has ‘assimilated’ its people into a common, homogeneous Confucian society. China is a melting pot in which differences disappear while India is a salad bowl in which the constituents retain their identity. Hence, China has always been governed by a hierarchical, centralized state-a tradition that has carried into the present era of reform communism. China resembles a business corporation today. Each mayor and party secretary has objectives relating to investment, output and growth, which are aligned to national goals. Those who exceed their goals rise quickly. The main problem in running a country as a business is that many people get left out.

India, on the other hand, can only manage itself by accommodating vocal and varied interest groups in its salad bowl. This leads to a million negotiations daily and we call this system ‘democracy’. It slows us down–we take five years to build a highway versus one in China. Those who are disgruntled go to court. But our politicians are forced to worry about abuses of human rights, whereas my search on Google on ‘human rights abuses in China’ yielded 47.8 million entries in 13 seconds! Democracies have a safety valve-it allows the disgruntled to let off steam before slowly co-opting them.

Both India and China have accepted the capitalist road to prosperity. But capitalism is more comfortable in a democracy, which fosters entrepreneurs naturally. A state enterprise can never be as innovative or nimble and this is why the Chinese envy some of our private companies. Democracy respects property rights. As both nations urbanize, peasants in India are able to sell or borrow against their land, but the Chinese peasants are at the mercy of local party bosses. Because India has the rule of law, entrepreneurs can enforce contracts. If someone takes away your property in China, you have no recourse. Hence, it is the party bosses who are accumulating wealth in China. The rule of law slows us down but it also protects us (and our environment, as the NGOs have discovered).

We take freedom for granted in India but it was not always so. When General Reginald Dyer opened fire in 1919 in Jallianwala Bagh killing 379 people, Indians realised they could only have dignity when they were free from British rule. The massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989, where 300 students were killed, was China’s Jallianwala Bagh. China today may have become richer than India but the poorest Chinese yearns for the same freedom.

Because the Indian state is inefficient, millions of entrepreneurs have stepped into the vacuum. When government schools fail, people start private schools in the slums, and the result is millions of ‘slumdog millionaires’. You cannot do this in China. Our free society forces us to solve our own problems, making us self-reliant. Hence, the Indian way is likely to be more enduring because the people have scripted India’s success while China’s state has crafted its success. This worries China’s leaders who ask, if India can become the world’s second fastest economy despite the state, what will happen when the Indian state begins to perform? India’s path may be slower but it is surer, and the Indian way of life is also more likely to survive. This is why when I am reborn I would prefer it to be in India.

—-The writer is speaking in a debate in London on 12 May 2009 in support of the motion ‘ The future belongs to India, not China’—–

Liberal Fascists – Ram Madhav

http://samvada.org/2011/news/liberal-fascists-an-article-by-ram-madhav/
This is an old technique of our pseudo-intellectuals. Attack and abuse.. but never engage in a debate or discussion over the issues raised or the arguments made.
Sesham Kopena Poorayet…. goes an old adage. What remains when you run out of arguments is anger and abuse.
What Dr. Subramanian Swamy had written in an article titled “How to wipe out Islamic terror in India” are his views. One may or may not agree with his views. The article was found fit for publication by the editor of a prestigious Mumbai-based English daily.
Ideally our intellectuals should have responded by countering Dr. Swamy’s arguments and opinions. Instead what we hear are endless invectives. I am not giving any opinion on the content of the article here. But how can I or anybody else deny Dr. Swamy his right to articulate his views?
In fact the political mission of many Islamists is under scrutiny all over the world. Tons of literature can be found in US and Europe over political Islam. In the most liberal parts of the world issues relating to Islam and its political ambitions are debated freely and opinions freely expressed. But in our country it is a complete taboo.
I am not surprised about the reactions from politicians like Digvijay Singh. In fact we can ignore them. For, they are just merchants of votes, rather unscrupulous. They don’t read books that they go to release. We don’t need to imagine that they had read Dr. Swamy’s piece before condemning him. They are knowledge-proof and information-proof. All that they know is to cynically exploit every opportunity for their narrow vote-bank politics. In fact they must be cribbing and wallowing that ‘Osamaji’ had not telephoned to them before getting killed so that they could have declared a grand nexus between the CIA and the RSS in eliminating ‘Osamaji’ – ‘part of a global anti-Muslim conspiracy’. Ignore them.
But what about our intellectual brigade that lungs out choicest sobriquets at Dr. Swamy for daring to write that article? What about our Minority Commission which is ‘seriously considering’ taking legal action against him?

Don’t forget these were the very same people who vigorously defended using their full vocal might M.F. Hussain when he painted Durga Mata, Sita Mata and Bharat Mata in the nude and obscene. That was described as ‘artistic freedom’. And these were the ones who were defending seditious bellows of Arundhati Roy and Jeelani etc. That was freedom of expression. Why then can Dr. Swamy not enjoy that freedom?
But that is how our pseudo intellectuals operate. They did it before too, several times, with several others. When Syed Shahabuddin was attacking Js. Krishna Aiyer on Shahbano judgment or when he was haranguing against Salman Rushdie – remember, without even reading the book Satanic Verses – these intellectuals were not seen anywhere to stop him. They were mute spectators to the fundamentalist Muslims’ targeting of Taslima Nasreen and their hurling of choicest invectives at her. Even to this day she runs from pillar to post every six months to ensure that the Indian Government doesn’t throw her out under the pressure of the fundamentalist groups.

In all these cases the refrain of these pseudo intellectuals is that the sentiments and sensitivities of the Muslims must be kept in mind. Let me recall that when Ayatollah Khomeini declared fatwa of death against Rushdie the great American Democrat and former President Jimmy Carter didn’t ask for the Ayatollah or the Muslims to show greater sensitivity to the right to freedom of expression of other people. Instead he only called for greater Western sensitivity to Muslim feelings. So did Margaret Thatcher of the UK.
Our pseudo intellectuals don’t bother when a Derek van Gogh is murdered or a Geert Wilders is made to make umpteen number of rounds of the courts or a Scandinavian magazine office becomes a target of repeated attacks for an ordinary cartoon depicting the Prophet or an Ayan Hirsi Ali is hounded out of Netherlands. Their freedom of expression doesn’t count. They pounce on Dr. Swamy in the similar manner for using a platform to express his views. He must be thrown out of Harvard; he must be prosecuted.
Now are they not the real Fascists – the Liberal Fascists?

Are they just ‘useful idiots’? – S Gurumurthy

Are they just ‘useful idiots’?

S Gurumurthy

21 Jul 2011

http://expressbuzz.com/biography/Are-they-just-%E2%80%98useful-idiots%E2%80%99/296511.html

See this list of seculars and liberals. Justice Rajinder Sachar, author of the famous Sachar Committee Report on the state of Indian Muslims; Dileep Padgaonkar, one of the three interlocutors on J&K appointed by the central government; Harish Khare, the media adviser to the prime minister; Rita Manchanda, the India/Pakistan Local Partner for Women Waging Peace; Ved Bhasin, editor, Kashmir Times; Harinder Baweja, editor (investigations), Headlines Today; Gautam Navlakha and Kamal Chenoy, human rights activists, and; Praful Bidwai, well-known columnist. This is the illustrative list of popular Indian liberals who exert powerful influence over the Indian discourse — be it on Kashmir or secularism or on corruption or communalism or on Narendra Modi or Sonia Gandhi.

But this is not the list of probables for the Padma awards. This is the list of those who have been the guests of Ghulam Nabi Fai, who was arrested three days back by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US for acting as the front man of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). The Washington Times (July 19, 2011) reported that Fai “was arrested Tuesday by FBI agents in a suspected influence-peddling scheme to funnel millions of dollars from the Pakistani government, including its military intelligence service, to US elected officials to help drive India out of the disputed Kashmir territory in South Asia”. Fai was arrested in US not for working to drive India out of Kashmir — as it is not an offence under the US law — but for the offence of funnelling ISI money to buy influence over US officials for Pakistan. Under the Indian law, the case against the Indian liberals in Fai’s list may well be one of sedition if they had known who Fai was, or if they had not, they could be well just his “useful idiots” as a former editor, R Jaganathan, wrote in his brilliant column in firstpost.com. But are they just useful idiots or more?

The 45-page affidavit by the FBI in the case has charged Fai with “conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign principal”. Media reports that the FBI swears in its affidavit that Fai, who floated the Kashmir American Council (KAC), was a front man for Pakistani interests in US in the garb of Kashmiri’s. The reports say that Fai “took dictation from his masters” in Pakistan. The media cites the FBI affidavit to say that Fai received at least $4 million — at some $500,000 to $700,000 every year — to manipulate the Kashmir debate in favour of Pakistan. And this is important. This is where the Indian liberals listed at the opening are party to advancing the designs of Fai. They had been attending the conclaves and meets organised by Fai, at the instance of ISI, to oust India from Kashmir.

The FBI seems to have worked meticulously to link Fai to his masters in Pakistan. It appears to have got the details of some 4,000 e-mail and telephone exchanges with his handlers in Pakistan. An accomplice of Fai seems to have confessed — as a confidential witness for FBI — that Fai was a henchman of ISI. According to the confidential witness, cited by the media, the ISI “created the KAC to propagandise on behalf of the government of Pakistan”. Fai could play this role unsuspectingly because he was originally from India, being born in Kashmir, with a master’s degree from Aligarh Muslim University. After becoming an ISI agent, according to reports, he began to do what Pakistan and ISI directed him to do, namely hold conferences and seminars funded by ISI for which he was sourcing the propaganda material of the ISI. According to the report, the confidential witness seems to have confessed that, “of the statements Fai makes, 80 per cent are provided by the ISI for Fai to repeat and disseminate verbatim. The other 20 per cent of the KAC’s messaging consists of Fai’s own ideas, which have been pre-approved by the ISI”. So Fai is a hundred per cent ISI mouthpiece.

Our liberals figuring in the list participated as important speakers from India in the conventions and seminars organised by Fai, now charged by FBI as an ISI agent. According to reports, Fai, assisted in his objectives by our liberals, was so effective in hurting India’s interests, that, to counter him, the Indian government specially had to appoint Wajahat Habibullah, a Kashmir cadre IAS officer who retired last year, as minister, community affairs, in its embassy in Washington. Imagine. On the one hand, the present media adviser to the prime minister and one of the three present interlocutors of the government on J&K had worked to hurt India’s interests in the way the ISI was conspiring to do, by participating in the seminars organised by Fai and funded by ISI to “drive out India from Kashmir”; and on the other, the government of India was forced to send out an IAS officer from Kashmir cadre to contain that damage. The result is that those who, through Fai, were part of the ISI design, are now part of the UPA government.

But could Fai with his mission to push Pakistan/ISI agenda “to drive India out of Kashmir” include in his efforts such important opinion-makers of India, unless he knew that their views would advance his master’s interests? Why would Fai not call an Arun Shourie? A Cho Ramaswamy? An M J Akbar? An Arnab Goswami? It is self-evident. Their views would stall, not support, the ISI. Undoubtedly, Fai knew that the views on J&K publicly held by our liberals in Fai’s guest list would further the cause of the separatists. Now, is it easy to dismiss that they were just “useful idiots”?

PS: Two of these liberals are still in high positions — one is an interlocutor on J&K appointed by the Centre and the other is the media adviser to the PM. Mr Prime Minister, this is evidence coming, not from our police, but from the FBI in the US, the country you love most! Are you listening?

The writer is a well-known commentator on political and economic issues.

E-mail: comment@gurumurthy.net