Posts Tagged 'mumbai attack'

The Tata way

October 10 2009

Meeting with H N Srinivas – Senior Executive Vice President, Taj Group of
Hotels

Last evening, I had a dinner meeting with HNS in Goa (I was there for a
National Institute of Personnel Management conference – as a speaker).
He narrated the 26th November 2008 terror attack on Taj Mumbai and there
were some important points.

*A. Terrorist Entry*

*
*1. They entered from the Leopold Colaba hotel entrance and also from the
northern entrance – spraying indiscriminate bullets on the Taj security
personnel and guests in general.
2. Though Taj had a reasonable security – they were surely not equipped to
deal with terrorists who were spraying 6 bullets per trigger.
3. The strategy of the terrorists was to throw chunks of RDX in an open
area that will explode and burn – creating chaos so that the guests and
staff run helter skelter so that the terrorists could kill them. The idea
was to create maximum casualties.
4. There were several critical gatherings and functions happening in the
hotel on that day – a Bohra wedding, global meet of Unilever CEOs and Board
members and 2 other corporate meetings were being held in the hotel –
besides the usual crowd.
5. The firing and chaos began at about 8.30 p.m. and the staff including
employees on casual and contract basis displayed exemplary presence of mind,
courage and sacrifice to protect the guests who were in various halls and
conference rooms.

*B. Stories of Staff Heroics*

*
*1. A young lady guest relation executive with the HLL gathering stopped
any of the members going out and volunteered 3 times to go out and get stuff
such as ice cubes for whiskey of the guests when the situation outside the
hall was very explosives and she could have been easily the target of the
bullets
2. Thomas George a captain escorted 54 guests from a backdoor staircase
and when he was going down last he was shot by the terrorists
3. There were 500 emails from various guests narrating heroics of the
staff and thanking them for saving their lives
4. In a subsequent function, Ratan Tata broke down in full public view and
sobbed saying – “the company belongs to these people”. The wife of Thomas
George who laid his life saving others said, she and the kids were proud of
the man and that she did not know that for 25 years she lived with a man who
was so courageous and brave
5. The episode happened on 26th November, a significant part of the hotel
was burnt down and destroyed – the hotel was re-opened on 21st December and
all the employees of the hotel were paraded in front of the guests
6. It was clearly a saga of extra-ordinary heroics by ordinary people for
their organisation and in a way for their country. The sense of duty and
service was unprecedented
7. The young lady who protected and looked after the HLL guests was a
management trainee and we often speak of juniority and seniority in the
organisation. She had no instructions from any supervisor to do what she did
a. She took just 3 minutes to rescue the entire team through the kitchen
b. Cars were organised outside the hotel as per seniority of the members
c. In the peak of the crisis, she stepped out and got the right wine glass
for the guest
8. People who exhibited courage included janitors, waiters, directors,
artisans and captains – all level of people

*C. The Tata Gesture*
*

*1. All category of employees including those who had completed even 1 day
as casuals were treated on duty during the time the hotel was closed
2. Relief and assistance to all those who were injured and killed
3. The relief and assistance was extended to all those who died at the
railway station, surroundings including the “Pav-Bhaji” vendor and the pan
shop owners
4. During the time the hotel was closed, the salaries were sent my money
order
5. A psychiatric cell was established in collaboration with Tata Institute
of Social Sciences to counsel those who needed such help
6. The thoughts and anxieties going on people’s mind was constantly
tracked and where needed psychological help provided
7. Employee outreach centers were opened where all help, food, water,
sanitation, first aid and counseling was provided. 1600 employees were
covered by this facility
8. Every employee was assigned to one mentor and it was that person’s
responsibility to act as a “single window” clearance for any help that the
person required
9. Ratan Tata personally visited the families of all the 80 employees who
in some manner – either through injury or getting killed – were affected.
10. The dependents of the employees were flown from outside Mumbai to
Mumbai and taken care off in terms of ensuring mental assurance and peace.
They were all accommodated in Hotel President for 3 weeks
11. Ratan Tata himself asked the families and dependents – as to what they
wanted him to do.
12. In a record time of 20 days, a new trust was created by the Tatas for
the purpose of relief of employees.
13. What is unique is that even the other people, the railway employees,
the police staff, the pedestrians who had nothing to do with Tatas were
covered by compensation. Each one of them was provided subsistence allowance
of Rs. 10K per month for all these people for 6 months.
14. A 4 year old granddaughter of a vendor got 4 bullets in her and only
one was removed in the Government hospital. She was taken to Bombay hospital
and several lacs were spent by the Tatas on her to fully recover her
15. New hand carts were provided to several vendors who lost their carts
16. Tata will take responsibility of life education of 46 children of the
victims of the terror
17. This was the most trying period in the life of the organisation. Senior
managers including Ratan Tata were visiting funeral to funeral over the 3
days that were most horrible
18. The settlement for every deceased member ranged from Rs. 36 to 85 lacs
in addition to the following benefits:
a. Full last salary for life for the family and dependents
b. Complete responsibility of education of children and dependents –
anywhere in the world
c. Full Medical facility for the whole family and dependents for rest of
their life
d. All loans and advances were waived off – irrespective of the amount
e. Counselor for life for each person

*D. Epilogue
*
1. How was such passion created among the employees? How and why did they
behave the way they did?
2. The organisation is clear that it is not something that someone can
take credit for. It is not some training and development that created such
behaviour. If someone suggests that – everyone laughs
3. It has to do with the DNA of the organisation, with the way Tata culture
exists and above all with the situation that prevailed that time. The
organisation has always been telling that customers and guests are #1
priority
4. The hotel business was started by Jamshedji Tata when he was insulted in
one of the British hotels and not allowed to stay there.
5. He created several institutions which later became icons of progress,
culture and modernity. IISc is one such institute. He was told by the rulers
that time that he can acquire land for IISc to the extent he could fence the
same. He could afford fencing only 400 acres.
6. When the HR function hesitatingly made a very rich proposal to Ratan –
he said – do you think we are doing enough?
7. The whole approach was that the organisation would spend several hundred
crore in re-building the property – why not spend equally on the employees
who gave their life?

*Minuted by Dileep Ranjekar

http://www.mail-archive.com/bharatudaymission@yahoogroups.com/msg01593.html

What has UPA Govt. achieved? – A mail from a friend

Dear Friends,

Please take 5 minutes and read it.
General Elections are coming..
And its our right and duty to know what has been achieved and what has happened in last 5 years. Please read and do circulate it…
A) Is this Government really protecting us ??
Nov 7 2006: Mumbai Train Blasts. 209 Killed.
Aug 25 2007: Hyderbad Blasts: 42 Killed
Oct 11 2007: Ajmer Blasts : 2 Killed
May 13 2008: Jaipur Blasts : 68 Killed
July 16 2008: Ahmedabad Blasts : 57 Killed
July 25 2008: Banglaore Blasts: 1 killed
Sept 13 2008: Delhi Blasts: 26 Killed
Sept 27 2008: Delhi Blasts: 2 Killed
Sept 29 2008 : Gujarat Blasts : 1 killed
Oct 21 2008: Imphal Blasts : 17 Killed
Oct 30 2008: Assam Blasts : 40 Killed
Nov 26 2008: Mumbai Attack: 180 killed
Every major city in India has been attacked consistently over the last two years. Since 2004, 3850 Indians have died in Terror attacks in over 3000 incidents. Is the common Indian on the streets really safe ?
Did you know that on the day of the Mumbai train blasts, the Government gave Rs 150 crores for earthquake relief in Pakistan ? Last year our Govt. has given Rs 3,000 crores (600 Million Dollars) to Afghanistan ? This, when victims of terror in India have not yet got aid ? What’s going on ?
B) Is this Government really secular ?
1. When Madrasas are being shut down in Pakistan, the Indian Government is giving them CBSE status !! It is depriving Muslim children in getting secular education. A Madrasa educated person can get a job in any government office without going through the secular education system. Can India afford to have fundamentalists in government departments? Why cannot the government shut down Madrassas and let Muslim children study with the rest ?
2. Our Government has given 25 lakh scholarships ONLY to minority students.
What sin have the majority done not to deserve these ? Why cannot poor students of all communities be given scholarships instead of only Muslim children ?
3. Thanks to the Congress led Government, out of 36000 temples in Andhra Pradesh, 28000 have closed down in the last five years. Do you want the same trend to continue in other parts of the country ? Do you want a Nagaland type of situation in the whole of India ? While government controls most of the Hindu temples, the minority community has had full freedom to organize their religious bodies. The minority communities now have the first right over resources. Is this not a blatant violation of fundamental rights of the majority community ?
4. Why have the minorities in Nagaland, Mizoram & Kashmir not got the similar privileges like the minorities in other states ? Why is the Govt following different rules for different religions ?
C) Is this government really making friends or enemies for India ?
Thanks to a weak and visionless foreign policy, India has created enemies all around. By the Home Minister’s own admission : “India is surrounded by a circle of fire”. Rajiv Gandhi’s vision of a powerful “SAARC” is now defunct.
1. Today, India commands little respect from all its neighbours, despite being the largest democracy in the world.
2. Terrorism has engulfed the country from inside and outside. Of course Pakistan,the motherland of international terrorism continues to be a big threat.
3. China has territorial ambitions on India.
4. Nepal, is now being headed by a Maoist government and is ideologically more aligned to China. While India helped to dismantle the dynastic rule in Nepal our own Government surreptitiously supports dynastic rule within its own party.
5. Myanmar is increasingly aligning with Chinese forces with huge Chinese investments in that region.
6. Indian Policies in Srilanka have made Tamil Nadu burn. Will Tamils ever forgive India for encouraging military assault rather than facilitating peaceful dialogue on their north and north east regions.
7. Bangladesh continues to repeatedly aid and abet terrorism.
D) Is this Government really pro-poor ?
The number of people living below the poverty line has increased by a horrifying 20 per cent. India had some 270 million people below the poverty line in 2004-2005, when the present Government took office. That number has gone up by 55 million, or 20 per cent!
E) Does this Government really care about the nation ?
The Pakistani flag is now being hoisted in five districts of states like Assam where the Muslim population has gone up significantly. 92,000 Hindu and 6,000 Christians are now languishing in refugee camps. The government has turned a blind eye to this.
In the name of security, innocent people have been put in jails, whereas people like Yaasin Malik who has 23 murder charges on him, are moving Scot free and gathering their own strength. Is it acceptable to any patriotic Indian ?
Can the Congress led UPA promise a non-muslim CM in J&K ? Reservation for a Hindu student in Nagaland ? If so, we wholeheartedly support them. Otherwise they should sit at home the next few years and rethink their policies.
Can our politicians stop stooping down to any lengths just for money and power ? Like Mr.Sharad Pawar, who first ditched the Congress and then ditched the people and aligned back with the Congress, just to be in power.
Don’t be deceived. What appears to be communal is not communal, and what appears to be secular is not secular. It is time we change our thinking.
Having said all this even BJP has not proved to be any better. But for now we need a change. Let us choose the lesser of the two evils. The same party brought to power again and again means encouraging unabated corruption.
Stand up for this most tolerant and ancient civilization and prevent this great nation from becoming a communal battleground. As citizens of India we must vote for change.
“And as per the CAG website (Controller Audit General of India) more than 50,000 crores rupees has gone missing from the Govt. Treasury”
WAKE UP INDIANS. LET US VOTE FOR CHANGE.

Vinayachandra B K

We, The Nation(s) Of India

We, The Nation(s) Of India
RAJIV MALHOTRA
http://www.tehelka.com/story_main41.asp?filename=Ne170109we_the.asp

India breathes through her multiplicity, not her fragmenting voices

THERE IS a buzz about India becoming a superpower. But, are superpowers confused about national identity or inviting others to solve their civilisation’s “backwardness”? Does a superpower allow foreign nexuses to co-opt its citizens as agents? India graciously hosts foreign nexuses that treat it as a collection of disparate parts. Is super – powerdom delusionary?

The Mumbai massacre painfully exposes flaws in our national character, the central one being the absence of a definitive, purpose-filled identity. Who is that “we” whose interests are represented, internally and internationally? How should Indianness be defined? Where is the Indianness that transcends narrow identities and vested interests, one that is worth sacrificing for? Is it in the popular culture of Bollywood and cricket? Or is it deeper? The national identity project is at once urgent and compelling.
The need for national identity
In their pursuit of personal goals, Indians are intensely competitive. But we lack consensus on a shared national essence and hence there is no deep psychological bond between citizen and nation. National identity is to a nation’s well-being what the immune system is to the body’s health. The over-stressed body succumbs to external and internal threats, and eventually death, as its immunity weakens. Similarly, a nation stressed by a vacuum of identity, or multiple conflicting identities, or outright confusion, can break up. Just as the body’s immune system needs constant rejuvenation, so too a nation needs a positive collective psyche for its political cohesion.

Major nations deliberately pursue nation building through such devices as shared myths, history, heroes, religion, ideology, language and symbolism. Despite internal dissent, Americans have deep pride of heritage, and have constructed awe-inspiring monuments to their founding fathers and heroic wars. Where are Delhi’s monuments honouring the wars of 1857 or 1971, Shivaji, the Vijayanagar Empire, Ashoka, or the peaceful spread of Indian civilisation across Asia for a millennium? Where are the museums that showcase India’s special place in the world?

Forces that fragment
Voices of fragmentation drive India’s internal politics — from Raj Thackeray to M Karunanidhi to Mamata Banerjee to the Quota Raj to the agents of foreign proselytising.

While social injustice, in India and elsewhere, demands effective cures, proper treatments do not follow faulty diagnoses. Since colonial times, influential scholars have propagated that there is no such thing as Indian civilisation. India was “civilised” by successive waves of invaders. The quest for Indianness is futile since India was never a nation. The noted historian Romila Thapar concludes that India’s pluralism has no essence. Like a doughnut, the center is void; only the peripheries have identity.

Such thinking infects Indian elite. Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju, citing western historians, asserts that the Munda tribes are the only true natives and that 95 percent of Indians are immigrants; that all so-called Aryan and Dravidian classical languages are foreign, ruling out anything as pan-Indian in our antiquity; and that worthwhile Indian civilisation begins with Akbar, “the greatest ruler the world has ever seen.”

This accelerating crescendo, portraying India as an inherently artificial, oppressive nation, is directed by western academics advocating western intervention to bring human rights. It is supported by private foundations, churches and the US government and promotes fragmentation by bolstering regional identities, “backward” castes, and religious minorities. Sadly, our own people, such as many activists and the westernised upper class, have internalised India’s “oppression of minorities.” The human catastrophe that would envelope diverse groups — especially the weakest — in the aftermath of India’s break up is blithely ignored.
Beyond tolerance and assimilation
Critics worry that national identity promotes fascism. But while many civilisations have used identity for conquest, my vision of Indianness is driven by mutual respect. We respect the other who is different provided the other reciprocates with respect towards us, in rhetoric and in action. The religious “tolerance” of Judaism, Islam and Christianity is a patronising accommodation; it puts up with others’ differences without respecting their right to be different. In contradistinction, Indian civilisation embraces differences reciprocally.

Movements that eradicate differences span the ideological spectrum. Some religions claim mandates from God to convert the religiously different. Although the European Enlightenment project dispensed with God, it enabled erasing ethnic diversity through genocide of Native Americans and slavery of African-Americans. Asians were luckier, because they could become “less different” via colonisation.

Today, many Indians erase their distinctiveness by glamorising white identity as the gold standard. Skin lighteners are literal whiteners. Media and pop culture incorporate white aesthetics, body language and attire for social status, careers and marriage. The venerable “namaste” is becoming a marker of the older generations and the servants. Pop Hindu gurus peddle the “everything is the same” mumbojumbo, ignoring even the distinctions between the dharmic and the un-dharmic. Intellectuals adopt white categories of discourse as “universal”.

Difference eradicating ideologies are hegemonic. Either you (i) assimilate, (ii) oppose and suffer, or (iii) get contained and marginalised.

But Indian philosophy is built on celebrating diversity — in trees, flowers, matter, human bodies, minds, languages and cultures, spiritualities and traditions — and does not see it as a problem to be dealt with.

All social groups manifest an affinity for in-group relations but in the ideal Indian ethos, in-group affinity is without external aggression. Before colonial social engineering, traditional Indian castes were fluid, informal containers of identities, interwoven with one another, and not frozen hierarchically. This applied to Muslims, Christians and Hindus. Each caste had its distinct norms and was respected by others. My India is a web of thousands of castes encapsulating diverse genes and memes. This ideal is the exact opposite of fascist ethnocentrism.

Diversity yes, fragmentation no
The socially mobile castes that had preserved India’s diversity were frozen into castes to serve the British divide-and rule. Independent India adopted caste identities to allocate quotas instead of safeguarding individual rights. When the Congress party failed to integrate a vast mishmash of subidentities, regional vote-banking entrepreneurs captured India’s political fragments. Now, national interests are casually disregarded for fear of offending these fragments.

Cover Story Globalisation has opened the floodgates for minority leaders to tie-up with western churches and NGOs, Saudis, Chinese and just about anyone wanting to carve out a slice of the Indian elephant. Such minorities include the Nagas, now serving as a foreign subsidiary of the Texas Southern Baptist Church; Tamils who first got Dravidianised and are now being Christianised through identity engineering; Maoists in over 30 percent of India’s districts; and Saudifunded Pan-Islamists expanding across India. These fragmented identities weaken Indianness due to their loyalty to foreign alliances. The leaders depend on foreign headquarters for ideological and financial support.

Such groups are no longer minorities, but are agents of dominant world majorities. They are franchisees of the global nexuses they serve. They are adversaries of the Indian identity formation. Do they truly help India’s under classes? These global nexuses have a disappointing track record of solving problems in countries where they have operated for generations, including Latin America, Philippines and Africa where most natives have become converted. The imported religion has failed to bring human rights and has often exacerbated problems. Yet, Indian middlemen have mastered the art of begging foreign patronage in exchange for selling the souls of fellow Indians.

Towards an Indian identity
Hindutva is a modern political response lacking the elasticity to be the pan-Indian identity. Other popular ideas are equally shallow, such as the Indianness defined by Bollywood and cricket. Ideals like “secular democracy” and “development” do not a distinct national identity make. It is fashionable to blend pop culture with European ideologies and pass it off as Indianness. Such blends cannot bind a complex India together against fissiparous casteism and regionalism coming in the orbits of Islamist jihad and evangelical Christianity.

Indianness must override fragmented identities, no matter how large the vote bank or how powerful the foreign sponsor. Gandhi articulated a grand narrative for India. Tagore and Aurobindo saw continuity in Indian civilisation. Nehru had a national vision, which Indira Gandhi modified and defended fiercely. The Ashokan, Chola, and Maratha empires had welldefined narratives, each with an idea of India.

Debating Indianness fearlessly and fairly
A robust Indianness must become the context in which serious issues get debated. Everyone should be able to participate — be it Advani or Sonia, the Imam of Jama Masjid or Hindu gurus, Thackeray or the underworld — in a free and fair debate on Indianness, and no one should be exempt from criticism.

But the Indian intellectual mafia, which built careers by importing and franchising foreign doctrines, suppresses debate outside its framework, and brands honest attempts at opposing them as fascism. I offer a few examples.

A few years before 9/11, the Princeton-based Infinity Foundation proposed to a prestigious Delhi-based centre to research the Taliban and their impact on India. The centre’s intellectuals pronounced the hypothesis an unrealistic conspiracy theory and unworthy of study. Even after 9/11, the American Academy of Religion refused to study the Taliban as a religious phenomenon while persisting with Hindu caste, cows, dowry, mothers-in-law, social oppression, violence and sundry intellectual staples.

Some analysts hyphenate Islamist terror with Kashmir, imputing that terrorism is a legitimate dispute resolution technique. “The plight of Muslims” is a rationalisation; and Martha Nussbaum, a University of Chicago professor, blames “Hindu fascism” as the leading cause of terrorism and justifies the Mumbai massacre by hyphenating it with Hindu “pogroms,” Hindu “ethnic cleansing against Muslims,” and the Hindu project to “Kill Christians and destroy their institutions.” Her insensitivity to the victims, just two days after 26/11, was given a free pass by the LA Times.

Double standards are evident when cartoons lampooning Islam are condemned, whereas serious attacks against Hindu deities, symbols and texts are defended in the name of intellectual freedom. ( COMMENT: For more on this aspect, I would recommend a reading of “INVADING THE SACRED” (RUPA & CO) – Rajiv Malhotra was the ‘prime -mover’ in getting the book published. A fine intellectual treatise.)

Be positive and “live happily ever after”
The Bollywood grand finale, where the couple lives happily ever after, is de rigueur. Friends insist that my analysis must end with something positive by way of solving the problems I uncover. Hard evidence of dangerous cleavages in India, spinning out of control, is too “negative.” The need to work backwards from a happy ending and only admit evidence that fits such endings is an Indian psychological disorder. But we don’t expect doctors to reject negative diagnoses, analysts to ignore market crashes, or teachers to praise our unruly children. What if there is no “good” alternative?

It is disturbing that strategic options against Pakistan must subserve the sensitivities of Indian Muslims. This gratuitously assumes that Indian Muslims are less Indian than Muslim. Some fear that strong Indian action will precipitate increased jihad, or even nuclear war. Such fears recapitulate the early campaigns to appease Hitler. Once a violent cancer spreads outside the tumour’s skin, it demands a direct attack. Vitamins, singing, and lamp-lighting are pointless. In sports or warfare, medicine or marketing, you cannot win by only using defence. The offensive option that cannot be exercised is merely a showpiece. If national interests are dominated by minority sentiments, our enemies will exploit our weakness. A paralysed India emboldens predators.

Games nations play
After Indians return to psychological normalcy, apathy will be confused as resilience. When each episode is seen in isolation there is short-term thinking, a tolerance of terrorism, and an acceptance that mere survival is adequate. Strategic planning requires connecting the trends clearly.

Indians must understand the reality of multiple geopolitical board games. Moves on one gameboard trigger consequences on others, making the tradeoffs complex. The South Asia gameboard involves USA-India-Pakistan as well as China-Pakistan stakes. Besides external games with its neighbours, India plays internal games to appease fragments, which are influenced by foreign stakeholders. Religion is used as soft power in the game of Islam versus the West, and India’s fragmentation hastens the harvesting of souls in the world’s largest open market. The multinational business gameboard spotlights India as a market, a supplier, a competitor, and an investment destination.

In another gameboard, scholars of South Asia construct a discourse with Indian intellectuals as their sepoys and affiliated NGOs as paid agents. Following the academic and human rights experts who profited from the Iraq invasion, the players in this game hope that US president designate Barack Obama will budget billions to “engage South Asia.”

The identity challenges are offset by forces that hold India together. Private enterprises that span the entire country bring cohesion that depends on high economic growth and its trickle down to the lowest strata to outpace population growth and social unrest. Economic prosperity is also required for military spending. More than any other institution, the armed forces unify the nation because they realise that soldiers must identify themselves with the nation they are prepared to die for.

Recent US policy supports India’s sovereignty, but this should be seen in the context of using India as a counterweight against Pan-Islam and China. In the long run, the US would like India not to become another unified superpower like China or to disintegrate into a Pakistan-like menace. It will “manage” India between these two extremes. An elephant cannot put itself up for adoption as someone’s pet. It must learn to fend for itself.

Lessons for India
Although the US is a land of immigrants, pride of place goes to the majority religion. Political candidates for high office are seriously disadvantaged if they are not seen as good Christians. The church-state separation is not a mandate to denounce Christianity or privilege minority religions. America was built on white identity that involved the ethnic cleansing of others. To its credit, India has avoided this.Obama sought a better, unified nation and transcended the minorityism of previous Black leaders. Unlike the Dravidianists, Mayawati, and those Muslim and Christian leaders who undermine India’s identity, Obama is unabashedly patriotic and a devout follower of its majority religion. America celebrates its tapestry of hyphenated identities (Indian-American, Irish-American, etc.) but “American” supersedes every sub-identity. Being un-American is a death knell for American leaders.

In sharp contrast, Mayawati, Indian Muslim leaders, Indian Christian leaders, Dravidianists and other “minority” vote bankers have consolidated power at the expense of India’s unified identity. Unlike the promoters of fragmented Indian identities, Obama is closer to Mahatma Gandhi and Ambedkar, champions of the downtrodden within a unified Indian civilisation.

India can learn from American mechanisms. Indian billionaires must become major stakeholders in constructing positive discourse on the nation. They must make strategic commitments like those made by the Carnegies, Rockefellers and Fords in building American identity, its sense of history, and in projecting American ideals. American meritocracy in politics, implemented through internal primaries, is vastly superior to the cronyism in Indian politics.

The area studies programmes in American universities have close links to the government, think tanks and churches, and they examine nations and civilisations from the American perspective. India should establish a network of area studies to study neighboring countries and other regions from India’s viewpoint. India should study China’s establishment of 100 Confucian Studies Chairs worldwide and the civilisational grand narrative of other nations.

Ideological “camps” with pre-packaged solutions are obsolete. The Indian genius must improvise, innovate, and create a national identity worthy of its name.

Rajiv Malhotra is the President, Infinity Foundation,(Princeton, N.J., U.S.A.) who also writes on issues concerning the place of Indian civilisation in the world

Hang your heads in shame, my countrymen: Arvind Lavakare

http://vivekajyoti.blogspot.com/2008/11/hang-your-heads-in-shame-my-countrymen.html

Nov 30, 2008
 
Hang your heads in shame, my countrymen: Arvind Lavakare

It was a national humiliation

Hang your heads in shame, my countrymen. Do it because a dozen-odd terrorists traveled 500 nautical miles of the Arabian sea from Karachi to Mumbai’s Gateway of India, just opposite the grandiose Taj Mahal Hotel and proceeded to humble the city of 16.4 million into utter helpless ness for over 48 hours even as over 125 civilians and some distinguished professional security men lost their lives to the hand grenades and rifle bullets of a fanatical mindset. It was a humiliation worse than the drubbing the Chinese army gave us in 1961.

It was because our motherland, India, is a soft nation, tested and proven so several times. Despite the weighty evidence of Clement Atlee, the Britain’s post World War II prime minister to the contrary, the Congress party brainwashed the entire nation, including the press, that it was the non-violence strategy of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi that brought us independence……

Imagine the People’s Democratic Party of Jammu & Kashmir granting pensions from government to families of slain terrorists. Imagine, the Prime Minister himself disclosing his sleepless night over the plight of the mother of an Indian Muslim held in police custody in Australia on suspicion of being involved in a bomb blast but not over the plight of mothers of thousands of his innocent countrymen killed in terrorist violence.

Imagine two Cabinet Ministers oppose the ban on SIMI despite the latter’s proven guilt. Imagine one Cabinet Minister wanting all illegal migrants from Bangladesh to be given full citizenship rights, when it is well-known that many among them have links with terrorists. Imagine another Cabinet Minister approving of a University vice chancellor’s decision to deploy funds provided by a foreign government to be utilized for the legal defence of two of his University students accused of involvement in terrorist violence.

Imagine, lastly, that amounts running into thousands of crores have been spent on the Haj subsidy for Muslims but the security of our very long coastline on the west is so ill-funded that terrorists can come from Karachi across the Arabian Sea to Mumbai without being spotted.

Contrast all of this is typically indolent-cum-idealistic-cum-selfish Indian attitude to the stark realism and patriotism of the USA when 9/11 occurred in 2001. One thing that nation did shortly after that dastardly day was the enactment by the USA Congress of what’s come to be known as the USA Patriot Act. That nomenclature is really an acronym, and the full name of that legislation is “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001”. If a name can arouse emotions, that one certainly does. And however draconian that law has been, it has prevented the recurrence of 9/11.

Unless the whole young nation of ours forgets non-violence as a magic mantra and unless our politicians show a commitment similar to that of the USA to engage in a literal war against terror, we shall continue to allow just about a dozen-odd terrorists to humiliate an entire nation for over 48 hours, even as a naïve Prime Minister calls the Pakistan chief of intelligence to share info with us.

— Arvind Lavakare
(Arvind Lavakare may be 71, but the fire in his belly burns stronger than in many people half his age. The economics post-graduate worked with the Reserve Bank of India and several private and public sector companies before retiring in 1997. His first love, however, remains sports. An accredited cricket umpire in Mumbai, he has reported and commented on cricket matches for newspapers, Doordarshan and AIR. Lavakare has also been regularly writing on politics since 1997, and published a monograph, The Truth About Article 370, in 2005).

Is Mumbai really anything new? By Dr. Richard Benkin

http://www.analyst-network.com/article.php?art_id=2612
 
Is Mumbai really anything new?  
29 Nov 2008 
By Dr. Richard Benkin
 
Albert Einstein once said “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”  What happened in Mumbai in the closing days of November 2008 was evil.  The terrorists who planned and financed it were evil.  The terrorists who carried it out were evil.  And the terrorists who provided tactical and other support were evil.  That should surprise no one.  People long have known the depths of depravity to which radical Islam is capable of sinking.  Have they not given us ample evidence?
 
Just since the September 11, 2001 bombings that killed over 3000 Americans, radical Islamists have carried out over 11,000 terror attacks worldwide.  While they were not the first to use suicide bombers or hijack airplanes, Islamists carried both to new heights as their principle weapons of terror.  They have blown up schools and students, driven busses into crowds of people, set off terror bombs on public transportation and elsewhere in dozens of countries throughout Asia and Europe.  Their leaders openly call for genocide against Jews and Hindus, and their followers are trying to carry out those calls.  Wherever they have had the power to do so, they deliberately destroy religious shrines and houses of worship and brag about it as step in destroying other faiths or variants of Islam.  And then they have the gall to claim that these things were done because they were angry at some perceived offense, frustrated at their current living conditions, or defending their own warped conception of human rights.  So, while terrible, are the events that unfolded in ten locations across Mumbai anything new or surprising?  Did the terrorists do anything they have not promised us they would do?
 
The tragedy is that these events could have been prevented.  Radical Islam has been warning the rest of us that it means to re-make our planet in its own image and kill anybody that threatens to stand in its way.  Its practitioners have vowed repeatedly to destroy India as an abomination against Islam; yet its leaders act as if they were only kidding.  Despite the country experiencing almost non-stop Islamist attacks, the ruling Congress Party maintains a strict policy of non-confrontation with home-grown Muslims who support the radical organizations.  It recently showed far more zeal in prosecuting an alleged “Hindu terrorist” after a bomb went off in a predominantly Muslim town.  The accused Hindu priest was interrogated several times, despite the fact that her only tie to the bombing was a car used in the attack, which 38 year-old Sadhwi Pragya Singh Thakur had sold years before.  In a policy of appeasement similar to Britain’s (which was also a target in the Mumbai attacks), that same government deliberately refrains from identifying terrorists as Muslim. 
 
Indian Hindus often complain that the government is not carrying out its mandate of secularism but practices a “pseudo-secularism” that bends over backwards to favor minorities even if it means heaping disabilities on Hinduism or Hindus.  Its recently-passed budget contained millions in subsidies for Muslims to go on the Hajj to Mecca and pilgrimages to Jerusalem; but not a penny for the numerous but uncounted Hindu refugees from Islamist ethnic cleansing in Bangladesh.  Other groups are agitating because the government took possession of Hindu temples but refuses to maintain them.
 
Before Mumbai, there had been 1,111 Indian fatalities (mostly defenseless civilians) from terrorist attacks in 2008 alone.  Most attackers were Islamist, but 369 Indians were killed by leftists.  When I was in India earlier this year, there was a terrorist attack or counter terrorist operation every day.  But while security forces will go after individual terrorists, the government has made no strong moves to stop terrorism at its root—either by breaking up home-grown supporters or taking any one of numerous actions at its disposal against foreign nations involved in the death of Indian citizens. Neither has India done anything to end its open border policy, especially in the North and Northeast where I observed contraband in the form of arms and drugs being carted into India under the noses of the Indian Border Security Force and other militia.  Terrorists also enter India freely from Bangladesh, Nepal, and China.
 
Indian intelligence sources now have confirmed that the Mumbai terrorists received training and support from Pakistan.  All information points to at least two Islamist organizations, including Lashkar-e-Taiba in Kashmir.  One of the captured terrorists, Abu Islam, however, reported “that they reached India via sea route and they were trained by the Pakistani army as well as [the] Pakistan intelligence agency, ISI.”  Abu Islam lives in Pakistan, and several reports identify a number of terrorists as “British subjects of Pakistani origin.”  These revelations already have caused an international stir.  The British government asked the Indians “not to jump to conclusions” without a full investigation.  More ominously, the Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi cut short his visit to India after the allegations surfaced; although he later said that Pakistan would “extend full cooperation and at all levels,” while denying a Pakistani connection to the attacks.  Reneging on that pledge, however, the Pakistanis refused to send the head of the ISI as requested but only “a representative.”
 
The way India responds to these nascent geo-political events will indicate how extensive its anti-terror resolve might remain.  Pressure against that resolve will come from Europe, Iran, the Arab world, and almost every member of the international NGO club; all of whom will counsel “cool heads” and argue against taking action to preserve Indian lives.  These are the same parties that continue to push a faux human rights agenda Israel, thereby aping the Islamists they are in effect supporting.  For instance, when Palestinian terrorists were blowing up innocent Israelis on public busses, they were unyielding in telling Israel to make concessions to the terrorists because the latter felt “humiliated” by the checkpoints they had to pass on their way to wreak havoc on Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities.  The United States similarly lost a lot of the resolve it had after the September 11th attacks.  It did destroy Afghanistan’s oppressive and racist Taliban government.  And by the way, which nation’s capital is only 100 kilometers from the radical seminary that trained the Taliban?  Saudi Arabia?  Iran?  Pakistan?  The answer, unfortunately, is India where the Darool Uloom Seminary just north of New Delhi.
 
US anti-terrorist actions have prevented any attacks on its soil since September 11th,  and they are wrapping up their successful mission in Iraq.  But the unity of resolve that characterized the United States in the days following 9/11 is a distant memory.  The US President who launched the war on Islamist extremism, George W. Bush, will be leaving office in a matter of weeks; and his administration has been engaged in trying to pressure Israel into rewarding the Islamists.  Moreover, Americans have just elected a President, Barack Obama, whose policy is to negotiate with those nation-states that sponsor Islamist terror.
 
It is up to Indians and Indian leaders to learn from these mistakes and recognize the danger they face on a daily basis from Islamist radicals.  Whether in a new “coalition of the willing” (to borrow a phrase from Bush), the sort of changes in its border and security policies that the United States started to make after 9/11, or a sustained military and intelligence effort to destroy any of the millions of Indian Muslims who are part of or support Islamist extremists; the resources exist for India to energize the lagging international fight against the international scourge of Islamist terrorism.
 
[Dr. Benkin is a noted expert on South Asia and is available for speeches, commentary, or consultation through this paper.]