Posts Tagged 'obama'

An empress of India in new clothes

An empress of India in new clothes
http://expressbuzz.com/opinion/op-ed/an-empress-of-india-in-new-clothes/222331.html
John MacLithon

Like Sonia Gandhi, I am a Westerner and a brought-up Christian. Like Sonia Gandhi, I have lived in India many years and I have adopted this country as my own.

But the comparison ends there. I did land in India with a certain amount of prejudices, clichés and false ideas, and I did think in the enthusiasm of my youth to become a missionary to bring back Indian ‘pagans’ to the ‘true god’. But the moment I stepped in India I felt that there was nothing much that I could give to India, rather it was India which was bestowing me. In fact in all my years here India has given me so much — professionally, spiritually, sentimentally. Most Westerners, who come here, still think they are here to ‘give’ something to a country, which, unconsciously of course, they think is lesser than theirs. It was true of the British, it was true of Mother Teresa, it is true of Sonia Gandhi.

t is a fact that Sonia brought discipline, order and cohesion into the Indian National Congress. But the amount of power that she, a person of foreign origin, an elected MP like hundreds of others, possesses should frighten her. All the television channels report without a blink that Maharashtra CM rushes to Delhi to meet Sonia Gandhi to plead for his life. But should not Chavan have gone to the prime minister first?
The CBI blatantly and shamelessly quashed all injunctions against Ottavio Quattrocchi and even allowed him to get away with billions of rupees which he had stolen from India. Yet, without batting an eyelid, and with the Indian media turning a blind eye, it goes ruthlessly after the chief minister of the most efficiently run state, the most corruption free. Today the Congress, with Sonia’s overt or silent consent, pays crores of rupees to buy MPs to topple non-Congress governments. Her governors shamelessly hijack democracy by twisting the law

Are Indians aware that their country has entered a state of semi-autocracy where every important decision comes from a single individual residing in her fortress of 10 Janpath surrounded by dozens of security men, an empress of India? Do they know that the huge amounts of the scams, whether the 2G, the CWG, or the Adarsh housing society scam, do not go into politicians’ pockets (only a fraction), but to the coffers of the Congress for the next general elections, and more than anything to please Sonia Gandhi? Nobody seems to notice what is happening under the reign of Sonia Gandhi.
That an Arundhati Roy is allowed to preach secession in India, whereas on the other hand the Congress government has been going after the army, the last body in India to uphold the time-honoured values of the Kshatriyas — courage, honour, devotion to the Motherland. They alone today practise true secularism, never differentiating between a Muslim or Hindu soldier and who for a pittance daily give their lives to their country. First it was the attempt of a caste census, a divide-and-rule ploy if there is one; then there are the first signs that the government is thinking about thinning down the presence of the Indian army in the Kashmir valley, which will suit Pakistan perfectly. And now there is the Adarsh housing society scam in which the army officers, at the worst, were innocently dragged into it. We know now that it was the politicians of the Congress who benefited the most out of it.
It would be impossible in France, for example, to have a non-Christian tell a Hindu (who is a non-elected president or PM) to be the absolute ruler of the country behind the scenes, superseding even the PM. There are many capable people in the Congress. Why can’t a billion Indians find one of their own, who will understand the complexity and subtlety of India, to govern themselves? Not only that, but her very presence at the top has unleashed forces, visible and invisible that are detrimental to the country. There is nothing wrong in espousing the best of the values of the West — democracy, technological perfection, higher standards of living — but many of the institutions are crumbling in the West: two out of three marriages end in divorce, kids shoot each other, parents are not cared for in their old age, depression is rampant and Westerners are actually looking for answers elsewhere, in India notably.
One does not understand this craze to Westernise India at all costs, while discarding its ancient values. Sonia Gandhi should do well to remember that there still are 850 million Hindus in India, a billion worldwide and that whatever good inputs were brought by different invasions, it is the ancient values of spirituality behind Hinduism which have made India so special and which gives it today unique qualities making an Indian Christian different from an American Christian, or an Indian Muslim different from a Saudi Muslim. It is an insult to these tolerant Hindus to show United States President Barack Obama as his first input of the Indian capital the tomb of Humayun, a man who slaughtered Hindus in thousands, taking Hindu women and children as captives. He even subjected his elder brother Kamran to brutal torture, gauging his eyes out and pouring lemon into them.
The tragedy of India is that it was colonised for too long. And unlike China, it always looks to the West for a solution to its problems. Sonia Gandhi, whatever her qualities, is just an incarnation of that hangover, an empress of India in new clothes.
(The writer is the author of Hindutva, sex & adventures)
E-mail: john.maclithon@gmail.com

Mr Obama, do you have real business to talk with us?

Mr Obama, do you have real business to talk with us?

http://www.dnaindia.com/opinion/comment_mr-obama-do-you-have-real-business-to-talk-with-us_1457914

DNA / R Vaidyanathan / Tuesday, October 26, 2010 3:10 IST

The next two weeks will be full of atmospherics and inanities linked to the visit of US president Barack Obama. Indians are known to derive satisfaction from symbolism rather than substance. When Diwali was supposedly celebrated by George Bush’s White House — a celebration in which the US president did not participate — we went into raptures. When Rajan Zed of Nevada was called to chant Vedic hymns at a Congressional opening, we were ecstatic. Similarly, when Obama visits India next month, we will drool over Michelle buying Kanjeevaram sarees or Obama savouring a paratha at a Delhi dhaba — or some such meaningless events. There is a move to take Michelle to the Red Light areas of Mumbai to get a feel of “inclusive” growth. Imagine Gursharan Kaur being paraded in Soho in London as part of her itinerary. Sikhs are pleading with Obama to visit the Golden Temple, even if he merely wears a baseball cap to cover his head.

(Comment: Remember our PM requesting Obama’s autograph?)

This is how we barter away our self-respect, even as our civil aviation minister Praful Patel is charged a hefty free (£480) for using the lounge at Heathrow airport. Our high commissioner in London had to hurriedly pay for it. In India, even head clerks and deputy assistant undersecretaries of the Anglo-Saxon establishments command red carpet treatment and free VVIP lounges at airports. When Obama arrives, he is going to come as a wounded tiger from a declining empire. His party of change would, by then, have lost its last dime in the Congressional elections to be held on November 2. He could well end up as a one-term president. When American presidents are hurt at home, they try to show off abroad. Nixon made his China trip when his fortunes were going downhill back home. Clinton did mischief in J&K and Bush in Iraq.

Democratic presidents come across as more sanctimonious humbugs and self-righteous compared to Republicans. The latter just bother about business; the former want to be seen as backing causes like human rights — as long as it is done abroad. What should our agenda be with Obama? First, we should ask him to remove every Indian entity which is on the banned export list of the US. Second, if he even mentions Kashmir, we should request him to carry on to Indonesia — his next stop. We should recognise Bangladesh as the successor country to a united Pakistan because of its size and the number of members in it had in parliament before the break-up. If at all anyone has a say in Kashmir, Bangladesh as the successor entity has a more legitimate case, Obama should be told.

Third, we should insist on the need to split Pakistan into many more countries in the interests of world peace. Pakistan’s army is the world’s terror central and a constant threat to world peace. The David Headley saga reveals that US intelligence and enforcement agencies such as the FBI, CIA and DEA have been infiltrated and compromised by the Pakistani ISI and its creations like the LeT. The billions given to appease Pakistan will not help world peace and it will only increase global terror. Hillary Clinton says her heart is in Pakistan and one wishes her a hale and healthy heart. We should remember that her husband, through Robin Raphael, was instrumental in creating the Hurriyat in the Kashmir Valley.

The fourth point is that India should not bother with the talk-shop called the UN Security Council. It has lost its purpose and role. It helps some Indian government bureaucrats to have untaxed pensions. The only important member is China and we can deal with it directly. Becoming a permanent member of the UNSC is not exactly a big payoff for us. Many UN agencies are a joke. What is one to make of the fact that Saudi Arabia and Libya are on the human rights panels, and Pakistan is heading the International Atomic Energy Agency (no doubt, by rotation), after proliferating nuclear weapons and sponsoring terror.

The fifth point we need to tell Obama is that India will not look at China through the US’s lenses. We will deal with China on our terms. We have no need to play sidekick to the US when it deals with China. A British political leader during World War II is reported to have said that Britain would fight the Germans to the last Indian. We do not want to be in the same situation with regard to US-China conflicts. The sixth point is that any enlarged scope for US companies to do business in India should be linked to India getting unrestricted access to the US markets for onshore and offshore software services, including visas for our professionals. Every additional Coke bottle consumed in India or insurance policy sold should be dependent on how the US puts Pakistan on leash. We need to unashamedly and unequivocally link commerce with US pressure on Pakistan on terrorism.

Declining empires do listen to rising powers if they want market access. We need to ask Obama to address our real concerns instead of getting carried away with all the soft praise he may shower on us. We have to grow up.

Obama ignores ‘secular’ group complaints, promotes Sonal Shah

Obama ignores ‘secular’ group complaints, promotes Sonal Shah
21 Nov 2008, 0329 hrs IST, Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Obama_ignores_secularists_protests_promotes_Shah/articleshow/3738975.cms
WASHINGTON: US President-elect Barack Obama on Wednesday named Indian – American policy wonk
 
  Sonal Shah as a leader of a key policy working group, ignoring charges from the so-called leftist-secular Indian groups in the U.S about her alleged links with radical Hindu groups.

Shah is one of nine leaders who will head seven Policy Working Groups tasked with ”developing priority policy proposals and plans from the Obama Campaign for action during the Obama-Biden Administration,” the transition team announced on Wednesday.

Shah will co-chair the Technology, Innovation and Government Reform panel along with Julius Genachowski and
Blair Levin.

Other panels, all of which will be headed by a single person, are as follows: Economic: Daniel K. Tarullo,
Education: Linda Darling-Hammond, Energy and Environment: Carol M. Browner, Health Care: Senator Tom Daschle, Immigration: T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Mariano-Florentino (Tino) Cuéllar National Security: James B. Steinberg, Dr. Susan E. Rice.

Some of these positions could conceivably lead to appointments in the administration. For instance, Daschle is now strongly tipped to be the health secretary. On Wednesday, the Obama transition team also formally announced several other White House positions, including David Axelrod as Senior Advisor to the President, Lisa Brown as Staff Secretary, Greg Craig as White House Counsel, and Chris Lu as Cabinet Secretary.

In naming Shah to head a policy group, the President-elect has seemingly snubbed Leftist activists in the U.S who loudly protested her inclusion in the Obama transition team last week, ostensibly because of her family’s connections in India to the RSS and the VHP.

Shah responded with a statement that her ”personal politics
 
have nothing in common with the views espoused by VHP, RSS, or any such organization,” and she has always ”condemned any politics of division, of ethnic or religious hatred, of violence and intimidation as a political tool.”

In its press release about the new policy planning panels, the transition team referred to Shah’s work as the co-founder of Indicorps, a U.S.-based non-profit organization offering one-year fellowships Indian-Americans to work on development projects in India, which Leftist groups had viewed suspiciously.

The transition team also cited her work at the Center for American Progress on trade, outsourcing and post conflict issues and the Center for Global Development on development policy issues.

Sonal Shah currently heads Google.org’s global development efforts and is on temporary on leave from that job to help with the transition. Prior to joining Google, she was Vice President at Goldman, Sachs and Co. developing and implementing the firm’s environmental policy.

She also worked at the Department of Treasury from 1995-2002 on various economic issues and regions of the world, including Bosnia, Kosovo, the Asian crisis and sub-Saharan Africa, and at the National Security Council
from 1998-1999.