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  • 08/26/14--23:17: Where are all the good men?
  • ...imagine the talk among Asians in Rotherham.....Good people will feel shame..... Lots instead will blame the victims.....girls from disadvantaged backgrounds.....lured with cheap gifts and false affection....children seen as trash, by rapists as well as the authorities, including the police......
    ....
    It seems all our societies are struggling to deal with angry young men. Earlier there used to be epidemics, wars, and famines that helped in "mowing the lawn," to reduce the burden of young men who have nothing to live their lives for, nothing to look for in the future. Simultaneously, women are now coming out of the shadows and they are also less willing to tolerate nonsense. Hence the men are facing a crisis situation: you may still take out your frustrations at work by beating up the lady at home, but society (not just the law) is much less forgiving these days.

    We have never thought much about the love jihad narrative, but the role of society in trampling the wishes of men over women must not be under-estimated. Why should men (all communities) today get social sanction for multiple marriages?

    Even worse, why should men be allowed to get away with abusing women for decades as the men in charge look the other way? Why did the courageous few fathers who attempted to rescue their daughters get arrested instead? Why did the victims themselves get arrested for drinking problems? Why did it take four reports over ten years for the police to acknowledge serious problems? Why was there no community outreach to the women (whites as well as minorities)?
    .
    Given powerful evidence of industrial scale sexual abuse, why are there still no public naming and shaming of the responsible officials?Why does it have to be women such as Prof Alexis Jay and Yasmin Alibhai Brown (see below) to stand up for other (all) women?
    ............

    There have been a few heroes such as Andrew Norfolk of the Times who blew the whistle on the piss-poor performance of the Rotherham police and the child services. We wish there were more folks like him.

    Society needs more good men who will lead the youngsters to a path filled with hope, instead of anger. Perhaps an institute for developing male leaders in the new age? Less of the old, my way or the highway boss, more of the enlightened leader-servant. Else we will be on a fast-track to a broken society....as the men fall down, they will also drag the women along with them.
    .......................... 

    .....report on child sexual abuse in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, between 1997 and 2013: About 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham over a 16-year period, although no one knows the true scale of exploitation over the years. In more than a third of these cases the youngsters were already known to child protection agencies.

    Written by Prof Alexis Jay, a former chief inspector of social work, the investigation concluded that the council knew as far back as 2005 of sexual exploitation being committed on a wide scale by mostly Asian men, yet failed to act.
    ....
    This is the fourth report clearly identifying the problem of CSE in Rotherham. The first, commissioned by the Home Office back in 2002, contained "severe criticisms" of the police and local council for their indifference to what was happening under their noses.
    ......
    But instead of tackling the issue, senior police and council officers claimed the data in the report had been "fabricated or exaggerated", and subjected the report's author to "personal hostility," leading to "suspicions of collusion and cover up", said Jay.
    .....
    Council and other officials sometimes thought youth workers were exaggerating the exploitation problem. Sometimes they were afraid of being accused of racism if they talked openly about the perpetrators in the town mostly being Pakistani taxi drivers.
    ....
    Roger Stone, Rotherham's Labour council leader since 2003, said that he had stepped down with immediate effect following the publication of the Jay inquiry. "I believe it is only right that I, as leader, take responsibility on behalf of the council for the historic failings that are described so clearly in the report and it is my intention to do so," he said.
    .....
    Jahangir Akhtar, the former deputy leader of the council, is accused in the report of naivety and potentially "ignoring a politically inconvenient truth"by insisting there was not a deep-rooted problem of Pakistani-heritage perpetrators targeting young white girls. Police told the inquiry that some influential Pakistani councillors in Rotherham acted as barriers to communication on grooming issues.
    .....
    On a number of occasions, victims of sexual abuse were criminalised – arrested for being drunk – while their abusers continued to act with impunity. Vital evidence was ignored, Jay said, with police apparently trying to manipulate their figures for child sexual exploitation by removing from their monitoring process girls who were pregnant or had given birth, plus all looked after children in care.
    .....
    Jay concluded that from 1997-2013, Rotherham's most vulnerable girls, some as young as 11, were raped by large numbers of men. Others were trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated, with some children doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight if they told anyone what had happened.
    .....
    No case involving Rotherham men came to court until November 2010 when five "sexual predators" were convicted of grooming three girls, two aged 13 and one 15, all under children's social care supervision, before using them for sex. In the past 12 months, 15 people have been prosecuted or charged with child sexual exploitation offences in Rotherham.
    .....
    The victims were offered gifts, rides in cars, cigarettes, alcohol and cannabis. Sex took place in cars, bushes and the play areas of parks.
    .....
    A mortgage adviser who drove a BMW and owned several properties promised to treat a 13-year old "like a princess". Another man pulled the hair of a 13-year old and called her a "white bitch" when she tried to reject his attempt to strip her.
    ......
    Keith Vaz, chair of the home affairs select committee, which interviewed Rotherham council officials during its own inquiry, said: "When we took evidence, Rotherham council were in denial and Stone is right to step down. Others responsible should also be held to account.
    .....
    In summer 2013 Vaz's select committee published its own report, which criticised the council and the police in Rotherham, particularly for the lack of prosecutions over a number of years. That report was prompted in part by an investigation by the Times reporter Andrew Norfolk, which alleged that Rotherham police and council had deliberately covered up CSE. 
    ......
    Jay's report is particularly critical of the authorities' failure to engage properly with the 8,000-strong members of Rotherham's Pakistani-heritage community. Akhtar, deputy leader until he lost his seat in May, told Jay he had not understood the scale of the child exploitation problem in Rotherham until 2013. 

    Jay writes: "He was one of the elected members who said they thought the criminal convictions in 2010 were 'a one-off, isolated case', and not an example of a more deep-rooted problem of Pakistani-heritage perpetrators targeting young white girls. This was at best naive, and at worst ignoring a politically inconvenient truth."
    ......
    She found that attempts by senior people in the council and the police to downplay the ethnic dimensions of CSE in Rotherham were ill judged. There was also a failure to engage with women in the Pakistani community, she said, writing: "There was too much reliance by agencies on traditional community leaders such as elected members and imams as being the primary conduit of communication with the Pakistani-heritage community."
    ......
    Other than two meetings in 2011, there had been no direct engagement with either men or woman from the Pakistani community about CSE over the past 15 years, she added.

    The issue of race, regardless of ethnic group, should be tackled as an absolute priority if it is known to be a significant factor in the criminal activity of organised abuse in any local community, wrote Jay. 

    She suggested councillors can play an effective role in this, "especially those representing the communities in question, but only if they act as facilitators of communication rather than barriers to it. One senior officer suggested that some influential Pakistani-heritage councillors in Rotherham had acted as barriers."

    .......................
    The report by Professor Alexis Jay into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham is both appalling and yet strangely reassuring. Professor Jay, who is clearly committed to justice and equality for all, has produced her findings without fear or favour. This is new and rare, and I welcome it. Most of the perpetrators were described as “Asian” by the young victims, some only 11 years old.

    ...
    White experts and officers have for too long been reluctant to confront serious offences committed by black and Asian people. Such extreme tolerance is the result of specious morality, that credo that says investigating such crimes would encourage racism or enrage community activists and leaders, or, worse, make the professionals appear racist. 

    So, instead of saving children who were being gang raped, drugged, assaulted, threatened and terrorised, they chose to protect rapists, abusers, traffickers and drug dealers. And themselves.

    I can imagine what the talk will be among Asians in Rotherham today. Good people of course will feel shame. Lots, however, will not, and instead will blame the system or the victims – young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds who were lured with cheap gifts and false affection. Such children are seen as trash, low life, by their rapists as well as the authorities, including the police.

    The perpetrators are not paedophiles in the normal sense of the word. Racial and cultural odium as much as ugly lust and power drives them to abuse. Most of them are also irreversibly misogynist. It is a lethal mix, this sexist psychopathy.

    I partly blame their families and communities. Too many Asian mothers spoil their boys, undervalue their girls, and demean their daughters-in-law. Within some British Asian circles, the West is considered degenerate and immoral. So it’s OK to take their girls and ruin them further. Some of the most fierce rows I have ever had have been with Asian women who hold these disgusting views.

    I ask them to think what they would feel if gangs of white men took out their girls, gave them presents, took them places, and then seduced, beat and passed them around. The men might say they were rescuing the girls from oppression, showing them a good time, saving them from a life of forced marriage and all that.

    Yes, racists will have further ammunition after this report. Blame those who did what they did, not those who are brave and just enough to expose them. I will always fight for the rights of minorities. But I will not defend the indefensible.
    .......

    Link (1): theguardian.com/rotherham-abuse-report-finds-1400-children-were-victims

    Link (2): independent.co.uk/rotherham-child-abuse-scandal-apologists-misogyny-and-double-standards

    Link (3): rotherham-sexual-abuse-children
    .......

    regards

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  • 08/27/14--05:38: "We are here to stay"


  • ...."I visited him (Imran Khan) in the hospital and he congratulated me....he will play the role of a constructive opposition...Imran invited me to Bani Gala.....assured me he is with the government in all steps taken in good faith" ..... 
    ....
    After a long, long wait....hopeful (wise) words for Pakistan (from Pakistan). We want to see a decisive leader, not a fire-breather, neither a passive observer.
    .....
    Amid mounting pressure from protesters to quit as Pakistan's Prime Minister, a defiant Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday refused to resign saying the country has survived "difficult times" and the current political crisis too shall pass.


    "We have survived difficult times. In the 2008 elections, our hands were tied. But we campaigned and participated, we did not cry about rigging — and it would have been a legitimate cry," he said in his first major speech since the crisis erupted two weeks ago.

    "Because at that time there was a dictator that controlled the government. He held those elections...But we said if PPP has got more seats than us then we will accept that right of the PPP" he said in his address to the National Assembly.

    Political stalemate has continued for the last two weeks with Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri's Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) refusing to budge from their demand of the Prime Minister's resignation over allegations of rigging in last year's general election and killing of 14 PAT supporters in Lahore on June 17.

    Sharif expressed hope that this phase will pass and Pakistan will be steered towards prosperity.

    The Prime Minister in his address indicated in no uncertain terms that his government and the present Parliament are here to stay, Dawn News reported.

    "We are not going to be diverted by these things. The journey for the supremacy of Constitution and law in Pakistan will continue with full determination and God willing there will not be any interruption in it," he said.

    Sharif said today would be remembered in the nation's history as a great day for democracy.

    "This great display of strength will always be remembered. It makes me happy to think that this is the voice of the 200 million people of the country," the premier said. Sharif said his PML-N for five years worked with the Pakistan People's Party government and supported it to complete its term.

    "I visited him (Imran Khan) in the hospital when he was injured and he congratulated me on winning the polls and said he will play the role of a constructive opposition," Sharif told the House. "Imran's claims were published in the papers as well," he said, adding that PTI had reservations but accepted the results of the elections.  "Later, when Imran invited me to Bani Gala, I went and we had a pleasant discussion. He assured me he is with the government in all steps taken in good faith," Sharif said.

    The crisis escalated in the last week with thousands of supporters of Khan and Qadri camping outside the Parliament, demanding the Prime Minister's resignation.

    Sharif said "if today, we correct ourselves for the way forward, that will be positive for Pakistan."

    He pointed out that a committee had already been constituted for electoral reforms and all political forces should sit together and give their opinions.

    "This is the triumph of a vision...which is not about individuals...governments come and go, prime ministers come and go but focusing on the principle of democracy and Constitution is a victory of the system, of democracy," he said.

    "I haven't seen a similar example in the country's history," Sharif told the House, adding that the fact that nine of out ten parties voted for the resolution supporting democracy was a historic moment for Pakistan.

    He also referred to the government's developmental ventures in his address.

    "Our energies should be directed towards Pakistan's development instead of what we have witnessed in the recent days," Sharif said.

    Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered PTI and PAT protesters to clear the Constitution Avenue which also includes a road in front of the apex court and the Parliament by Thursday.

    A five-judge larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, was hearing a set of identical petitions filed by bar associations across the country against the PAT and PTI's sit-ins on Islamabad's Constitution Avenue.

    According to petitioners, protesters were breaching the rights of the common citizen which ensure freedom of movement and right of assembly.

    After making several observations, the court ordered PAT and PTI protesters to clear the way in front of the Parliament by Thursday.

    The protesters have been sitting in front of the Parliament House and the Supreme Court building since August 19, making the road impassable for government employees.

    The order came as the clock ticked on a 48-hour ultimatum given by Qadri on Monday for the Prime Minister to step down.

    Back channel efforts to broker a settlement between the government and protesters were on.



    .....

    Link: Pakistan-survived-difficult-times-this-too-shall-pass-Nawaz-Sharif

    ....

    regards

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    .....This week the British embassy in Washington decided to hark back to Blighty’s glory days....picture of a sparkler-bedecked cake “commemorating the 200th anniversary of burning the White House”....embassy quickly retracted: “Apologies for earlier Tweet. We meant to mark an event in history & celebrate our friendship today …. Today UK-US celebrate #specialrelationship”.....
    ...
    .....
    Whichever way the September 18th vote goes for Scottish independence, one thing is for sure: after 112272 days (starting 01 May, 1707), Scotland will no longer count as a willing partner in the Union. Truth be told, this breakdown started during the Thatcher years triggered by the hated poll tax. However from what we read in the papers and based on accounts by friends, even most of Northern England (Yorkshire and even the Midlands) is in a different planet compared to London and the South-East England.

    There is essentially a sense that London- a truly global city and home of the super-affluent - does not care much about the poor cousins "oop north" and imposes out of touch policies and unwanted migration on the rest of the country. 

    Thus while the upstart (and popular) parties are polar opposites - Scottish National Party (SNP) is left-liberal and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is libertarian-paleocon - they are in agreement that London is bad for the country and harmful for the future. In the words of the wag, there is no better-together (pro-union campaign slogan), only bitter together.
    ...
    How should we feel about all this as Indians? We note that the article gives credit to the British for giving Indians the gift of democracy. There are other folks who would say that India would not even exist as a nation but for the British. Thing is, if you choose to take credit for the good things, you need to own up to  the bad things as well (the Victorian holocausts, the Bengal famine,...).

    Also something which is almost never emphasized, it was the British-Indian army that helped maintain order in the far reaches of the empire and which also played a significant role in the World Wars and countless other wars. If Britain gave birth to a new India, the British empire was sustained through Indian blood, sweat and treasure. Not for nothing, India was known as the crown jewel of the empire. The moment Britain lost India, the empire gig was up.
    .....
    During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Britain had dominion over so many portions of the Earth it was said, famously, that “the sun never set on the British Empire.” Since the end of World War II, however, that sun has been steadily dipping toward the horizon. Today, sundown is truly at hand.
    ...
    On Sept. 18, the voters of Scotland will go to the polls to determine whether their nation will declare independence from the United Kingdom after 307 years of union with England. Polls over the last 18 months reported by the website What Scotland Thinks show a gradually rising tide for independence even though advocates of remaining in the U.K. still lead in the surveys. But many Scots have said they are undecided—and thus they hold a key to the decision. 
    .....
    The Economist magazine has suggested that Scots voting with their heads will choose to stay with England, while those voting with their hearts will opt for independence, but “it is the nationalists who have fire in their bellies.”
    ....
    The undecided Scots also hold the key to the final dissolution of one of the greatest empires in history. The British Empire brought profound changes to the world—but in the decades since its rapid decline after World War II it has become a kind of a historical joke, sometimes in poor taste. 
    ....
    This week the British embassy in Washington decided, for reasons only known to itself, to hark back to Blighty’s glory days and tweet a picture of a sparkler-bedecked cake “commemorating the 200th anniversary of burning the White House” during the War of 1812. 
    ..
    After newspapers got wind of the tweet, the embassy quickly retracted it, tweeting: “Apologies for earlier Tweet. We meant to mark an event in history & celebrate our strong friendship today …. Today UK-US celebrate #specialrelationship & work together shoulder to shoulder across the globe.”

    ....
    But even that assessment is somewhat self-delusional. Since the beginning of the Cold War, America has done the lion’s share of the shouldering. Britain, the colonizer of America, has become in some ways the colony (or lapdog, as some self-deprecating British wags put it). And now it’s about to get even smaller.
    ....
    The downsizing process has been long and hard. At its most extensive, the British Empire comprised 57 colonies, dominions, territories or protectorates from Australia, Canada and India to Fiji, Western Samoa and Tonga. From London, the British ruled about 20 percent of world’s population and governed nearly 25 percent of the world’s land mass, according to calculations by British researcher Stephen Luscombe. 
    ....
    The spread of British influence, including the English language, gave birth to the United States, the world’s only superpower; the world’s largest democracy in India; and, perhaps inadvertently, disseminated British concepts of freedom, democracy and common law around the globe. On the negative side, Britain once corrupted an entire nation, China, with opium purely to extract drug revenues, and its haughty, racist dominance of subjected peoples left generations of rage in its wake in many countries (not least of which are some of those closest to home, like Ireland).
    ....
    Today that empire has been reduced to 14 scattered islands such as the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean and Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific. The Commonwealth of Nations founded before World War II and revived after the war comprises 54 former British territories but is little more than a monument to the empire. Now the wave of dissolution is lapping up against the shores of the British Isles themselves.
    ....
    Of course it’s been many years since Britain has acted like an empire, though some former provinces still experience “colonial cringe” at the sound of upper-crust British English. London’s imperial might began to crumble during World War II after Japanese armies marched to gates of India and the shores of Australia, breaking the back of Western colonialism before Japan was defeated in 1945. A nationalistic surge ended the colonial era, beginning with the withdrawal from India and Pakistan in 1947.
    ....
    Some would say the empire officially came to an end in February of that year when—utterly drained by the two world wars—the British cabled Washington that they no longer had the money or troops to defend Greece or Turkey as the Soviet Union threatened to extend its influence in the early Cold War. ...
    “The British are finished,” Dean Acheson, soon to be Harry Truman’s secretary of state, was said to have remarked when he read the cable. The United States quickly displaced the United Kingdom as the main stabilizing power in the West.
    ....
    The decline of British power hasn’t come without a fight. In 1942, Winston Churchill was famously quoted saying: “We mean to hold our own. I have not become the king’s first minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.” 
    ....
    But his successors have been liquidating ever since. Over several decades, Britain withdrew from East of Suez and from their possessions in Africa; Hong Kong, the city-state that reverted to China in 1997, was among the last to go. There has been one exception: In 1982, in a desperate effort to hold onto the miniscule Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, the U.K. fought a brief war with Argentina—which it won as a kind of imperial consolation prize.
    .........

    Link: politico.com/the-sad-end-of-the-british-empire

    .....

    regards

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    A very interesting piece in caravan

    http://caravanmagazine.in/vantage/what-indian-soldiers-first-world-war-wrote-home-about

    To commemorate the centenary of India’s service in the First World War, the British historian David Omissi collected the letters of Indian soldiers away from home in Indian Voices of the Great War, published this year by Penguin. These eloquent letters offer a poignant glimpse into the lives of these Indian soldiers, whom history forgot.

    Examples:

    A wounded Sikh to his father
    [Gurmukhi]
    Brighton Hospital
    18th January 1915

    Tell my mother not to go wandering madly because her son, my brother, is dead. To be born and to die is God’s order. Some day we must die, sooner or later, and if I die here, who will remember me? It is a fine thing to die far from home. A saint said this, and, as he was a good man, it must be true.



    Ram Prasad (Brahmin) to Manik Chand (c/o Sikander Ali, Bamba Debi Bazar, Marwari Water Tank, Bombay)
    [Hindi]
    Kitchener’s Indian Hospital, Brighton
    2nd September 1915

    And send me fourteen or fifteen tolas of charas, and understand that you must send it so that no one may know. First fill a round tin box full of pickles and then in the middle of that put a smaller round box carefully closed, so that no trace of the pickles can enter. And send a letter to me four days before you send the parcel off. [Letter withheld]

    ...

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  • 08/27/14--20:03: COPS. Oh America!
  • Another one. A producer of the show COPS is shot by....a trigger happy cop. 

     The rate at which cops kill unarmed people (mostly black people, but occasionally others as well, as in this case) is too damn high. In fact, the rate at which Black people get killed by cops is higher than the rate at which they were lynched by the klan in most years..... I avoid a lot of news stories because i have become irritable in my old age and for peace of mind I avoid news that tends to trigger elite left-lib bs, but even the paranoid can have real enemies and in this case the leftlibs have the right target...out of control copishness is an awful problem in this country. If someone could somehow dial that down and stop the war on drugs, this would be a great country. I wish I knew how to do it within my lifetime. On the other hand, I remain a man of faith....i think we will eventually get there. WHEN will we get there? that is the issue...probably not soon enough.

     Of course its not just cops. The fetishization of guns and the desire to shoot them extends well beyond militarized trigger-happy cops. 
    If I was a hard hearted cynic, I might say this instructor had it coming, but imagine the burden this poor 9 year old girl will carry for the rest of her life. Her parents may be idiots for taking her to a gun range to shoot automatic weapons, but she is still a child and deserves sympathy...


    Look at what police officer Sunil Dutta has to say about this topic...and weep.
    btw, as some of the above links show, the libertarian magazine Reason has long had the right idea about the war on drugs, the prison mafia and militarized overbearing copishness in the land of the free...



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  • 08/28/14--10:42: We have a deal!!!
  • .....as per the proposed agreement, the armed forces would control strategic policy areas, such as relations with the United States, Afghanistan and India...promise of freedom for former president (retd) General Pervez Musharraf and that Sharif's government had secretly agreed to let Musharraf go abroad after a symbolic indictment over treason......
    ......
    When Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said we are here to stay he was actually trying to convey a message.

    Poor Imran Khan, Sharif senior has reportedly managed to strike a deal with the Army after all. Actually that is not quite correct, the Army has used Khan to soften up the Sharif brothers. Ayesha Siddiqui calls this  a "soft coup" and that Nawaz will remain a Prime Minister in Name Only (PiMNO, our words). The chance of PTI riding the protest horse to the throne now appears remote.
    .......
    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is close to making a deal with the Pakistan Army, in the backdrop of the political events that are unfolding in the federal capital, The Wall Street Journal reported.

    The report suggests that as per the proposed agreement, the armed forces would control strategic policy areas, such as relations with the United States, Afghanistan and India.
    .......
    The military has extracted a promise of freedom for former president (retd) General Pervez Musharraf and that Sharif's government had secretly agreed to let Musharraf go abroad after a symbolic indictment over treason, which took place in March.
    The Wall Street Journal says the government went back on the deal as a result of which trust had eroded between the military and Sharif.

    Government aides said the military has seized on Sharif's weakened status during the political crisis and are now seeking guarantees from the prime minister that he will follow through on the agreement, the report suggests.

    It also says that for the rest of his term, Sharif will be a ceremonial prime minister.
    "If Nawaz Sharif survives, for the rest of his term, he will be a ceremonial prime minister—the world will not take him seriously," said Ayesha Siddiqa, an analyst based in Islamabad. "A soft coup has already taken place. The question is whether it will harden," the report says.

    Government aides said in the report that the administration was also willing to let the prime minister's brother, Shahbaz Sharif, step down as chief minister of Punjab.

    Thousands of protesters led by cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan have camped outside the parliament building in Islamabad to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The two-week showdown at the heart of the capital has rattled the country and shaken Sharif's government just 15 months into a five-year mandate.

    Imran Khan has remained defiant and refused to end his sit-in protest, saying he was seeking “independence or death” and would not rest until both Sharif brothers quit.
    Khan has alleged massive cheating in the May 2013 poll, though international observers said the vote was largely free and fair.

    .......

    Link: nawaz-close-to-reaching-deal-with-army

    .....

    regards

    0 0

    ......by the 1990s, genocide had a “super stigma,” ....as the international court for Rwanda put it, it was the “crime of crimes” .....When it came to the Khmer Rouge, this development was only complicated by the peculiar political usage of “genocide” in Cambodia.....In 1999, the UN Group of Experts announced...not take a position on“whether the Khmer Rouge committed genocide with respect to part of the Khmer national group.” ......
    ....
    .....
    Cambodians are enthusiastic about play-acting to honor the memory of the victims of Pol-pot and company. We can sympathize as we sense that there will be a fuller sense of closure that way.  

    As far as justice is concerned...unfortunately all we have (again) is a lot of play-acting and word-playing and a bit of fore-playing (but much more expensive to enact at $220 mil...all those lawyer fees....).

    We love international law. Majority community killing their own is not considered genocide. However, majority community killing minorities is appropriate for the g-tag.

    Thus Chicoms killing 45 mil Hans is not considered suitable for the worst of the worst tag. Neither is the 30mil killed by Stalin and company. Not even the 3 mil Khmers killed by Pol Pot qualifies as genocide.

    As a saving grace the 20k Vietnamese and 90k Cambodian muslims (Cham) killed by the Khmer Rougue may finally see some justice. Regardless of definitions, evil men need to be taken down by other (righteous) men on earth, not any supernatural agency.

    Incidentally something which aroused our curiosity is the Cambodian word for genocide: prolai pouch-sas. We are no linguists but "prolai" in Sanskrit (used in Bengali as well) denotes a state of crisis (at the end of times level). Perhaps a person who knows will step forward and clarify?
    ..................
    August 7 was supposed to be judgment day for the last two leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime.

    Thirty-five years after the end of Pol Pot’s calamitous agrarian revolution, a United Nations-backed court in Phnom Penh found the movement’s chief ideologue Nuon Chea and the former president Khieu Samphan guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced them to life in prison.
     
    On the lawn in front of the courtroom on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, the mood was self-congratulatory. Deputy Prime Minister Sok An called the judgment “a milestone” for the court and for Cambodia, which rebuilt itself “from scratch after liberation from the genocidal regime, the regime of horror.” David Scheffer, the UN Secretary-General’s special expert to the court, said, 

    “Today, the winds of international justice swept through the rice fields of Cambodia, through its cities, its villages, its forests.”
     
     Finally, some were saying, the Khmer Rouge’s top echelon was being held accountable for a utopian folly that killed as many as two million people. For what the US Congress once described as “one of the clearest examples of genocide in recent history.” For what various American officials — Hillary Clinton, Steven Rapp, Samantha Power — have also called a genocide.
     
    Except that neither Nuon Chea nor Khieu Samphan was convicted of genocide on August 7. And the tribunal will never even consider that charge in connection with the vast majority of the Khmer Rouge’s victims, the Khmer people, who make up 90 percent of the Cambodian population today. 

    When the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, as this tribunal is formally called, does address genocide in a second phase of the leaders’ trial, it will do so only in relation to two Cambodian minorities: the Vietnamese and the Cham, a Muslim group.
     
    This is an awkward development. Some 20,000 Vietnamese and 90,000 Cham are believed to have died under Pol Pot — compared to well over 1.3 million Khmer, according to the most conservative estimates. 

    One Khmer woman, who lives in exile and travelled to Phnom Penh for the August 7 verdict, said that the court’s decision not to consider a genocide charge on behalf of the Khmer left her feeling like victims were being denied their “right to the precise term for what was done to us” — it was as though “history had not been understood.” For Ung Billon, another Khmer who is the president of a victims’ association in France called Les Victimes du Génocide des Khmers Rouges and who also came for the verdict, it was “an insult.”


    And so even Cambodians who were relieved by the guilty verdicts and especially the life sentences, like these two women, were left feeling baffled, even betrayed, by the court’s handling of the genocide charge. This is only natural. “Genocide” has been the term of choice in Cambodia to describe Pol Pot’s regime for nearly four decades. It is the characterization favored in schoolbooks and the local news, by bureaucrats and lawyers.
     
    In this respect at least, the ECCC is frustrating the very people to whom it was supposed to bring resolution, recognition, and reconciliation. Not only does the court’s narrow, technical definition of genocide clash with the widespread popular understanding of the crime, it also risks pitting different Cambodian communities against one another.
     
    There is, in fact, a simple explanation for why most of the Khmer Rouge’s crimes, though widely thought to be a paradigmatic example of genocide, both inside and outside Cambodia, are not actually that: the 1948 Genocide Convention, which codified the concept into international law, deliberately ruled out its application to political pogroms and class war — the signal crimes of Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.
     
    That treaty defines genocide as killings, among other acts, committed with the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” This idea built on the word “genocide” itself, a neologism combining genos (Greek for race or tribe) and cide (Latin for killing), which the Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin proposed in 1944, well into the Holocaust, to denote the deliberate “destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group.” 

    But the language adopted in the convention was also a compromise reflecting the power dynamics of the day. The Soviet Union, for example, opposed including “political” in the list of protected groups in the definition, presumably because it was wary of getting into trouble for purging its opponents back home.
     
    The Khmer expression for genocide, prolai pouch-sas, seems to have first appeared when Cambodia ratified the Genocide Convention in 1950. But then it hardly was used, even within the learned elite; it appears neither in the 1956 Cambodian penal code nor in the 1966 reference dictionary of Khmer compiled by the scholarly monk Chuon Nath. And when the term became common in Cambodia, at least in official and formal written language, soon after the Vietnamese toppled the Khmer Rouge, it took on a meaning different from Lemkin’s original.

    The Vietnamese communists, previously the Khmer Rouge’s patrons, marched into Cambodia in late 1978, after vicious incursions by Pol Pot’s forces into Vietnam and amid mounting evidence that his regime was self-destructing. The Khmer Rouge went underground, and in short order the Vietnamese tried some of the movement’s leaders in absentia, holding what they called “the trial of the genocide crime of the Pol Pot-Ieng Sary clique.” (Ieng Sary was the Khmer Rouge’s foreign minister then –- and a defendant at the ECCC until he died last year.)
     
    They turned the S-21 detention and torture center in Phnom Penh into a showroom of horrors, with advice from curators in Eastern Europe. A large sign calling the former prison the “Genocide Museum” was placed at its entrance and inmates’ clothes were displayed in mounds, an iconographic touch inspired by Nazi concentration camps.
     
    All this made good political sense. The Vietnamese needed to justify their occupation of Cambodia, and they needed to do so while distinguishing the virtues of their communist ideology from the perversions of Pol Pot’s vision. What better way than to cast the Khmer Rouge regime as an aberrant form of communism and accuse it of genocide, the Nazis’ defining crime?
     
    Propaganda became even more necessary as the Vietnamese’s lightning liberation turned into a lengthy occupation; their continued presence risked rekindling many Cambodians’ ancestral anxiety about Vietnamese expansionism — an anxiety so deeply engrained it had long been the fodder of terrifying children’s fairytales. Schools were supplied with new textbooks short on pedagogy and long on hyperbole. “The Pol Pot-Ieng Sary clique killed more than 3 million people and completely destroyed everything in Cambodia,” read one book intended for the second grade. “We are absolutely furious and strongly struggle against these atrocities.” January 7, the day in 1979 that Vietnamese troops seized Phnom Penh from the Khmer Rouge, became celebrated as Victory over Genocide Day.
     
    However heavy-handed, the effort caught on. Prolai pouch-sas roughly means to eliminate the lineage of a people or a nation, and that definition echoed many Cambodians’ personal experiences under the Khmer Rouge, according to Muny Sothara, a psychiatrist at the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization, an NGO in Phnom Penh that provides mental-health services, who has worked since 2007 with Khmer Rouge victims involved in the trials. Pol Pot’s minions had seemed intent on weeding out their enemies by “pulling them out roots and all,” as one creepy Khmer Rouge saying went. The movement often targeted a suspect’s entire family, group of colleagues, or community.
     
    And so it was that almost as soon as the Khmer phrase for “genocide” came to mean anything to Cambodians, it meant something both broader and more precise than the destruction of a nation, ethnicity, race, or religion “as such”: it meant the Khmer Rouge’s attempt to exterminate Cambodians, mostly Khmer — their own group. (Kong Sothanarith, a forty-something news editor at Voice of America, told me recently, “It’s when I went into journalism that I realized the word meant almost exactly the opposite of what I had been taught.”) And the term took. The horror of the Khmer Rouge “genocide” was a rare matter on which Vietnamese occupiers and Cambodian occupied could agree.

    On April 30, 1994 -– while a bona fide genocide was raging in Rwanda — the US Congress passed the Cambodian Genocide Justice Act, which created the Office of Cambodian Genocide Investigations in the US State Department, which in turn created the Cambodian Genocide Program at Yale. 

    The idea was to document the Khmer Rouge’s crimes and at some point prosecute them.
    Very soon after that, the UN Security Council set up two tribunals to judge abuses committed when Yugoslavia and Rwanda imploded — the first international criminal courts since Nuremberg and the Tokyo trials. 

    The notion of genocide finally had its day in court. (It had not be properly adjudicated before, not even at the “genocide” tribunal that had tried Pol Pot and Ieng Sary in 1979, which had used a legal standard of its own making.) Meanwhile, in France, Germany, Spain, and Ethiopia, legislators and judges were expanding the concept, sometimes specifically to cover the destruction of political groups. Some legal scholars were also trying to apply it to Cambodia: Pol Pot’s regime had committed a genocide against the so-called “new people,” those urbanites who were the prime enemies in its class war; its general onslaught against Cambodians, a national group, could be called an “auto-genocide.”
     
    That the concept of genocide was stretched this way is a measure of the cachet and clout it had acquired by then. After all, there was no legal gap that needed filling: the Khmer Rouge’s crimes readily fell under other categories, like crimes against humanity (a widespread and systematic attack against civilians) or war crimes (severe mistreatment of certain combatants and civilians during a conflict). And most jurists would agree that international law establishes no formal hierarchy among mass crimes. 

    But by the 1990s, genocide had a “super stigma,” according to Patricia Wald, a US Court of Appeals judge who served at the Yugoslavia tribunal. Or, as one chamber at the international court for Rwanda put it, it was the “crime of crimes.”
     
    When it came to the Khmer Rouge, this development was only complicated by the peculiar political usage of “genocide” in Cambodia. In 1999, the UN Group of Experts that had been asked to figure out how best to try Pol Pot’s lieutenants — Pol Pot himself had died the year before — announced that it would not take a position on the “complex interpretive issues” surrounding “whether the Khmer Rouge committed genocide with respect to part of the Khmer national group.” 

    And so when the ECCC came into being in 2006, genocide was included in its mandate (along with crimes against humanity, war crimes, and violations of the Cambodian penal code). And under the court’s civil law procedure, it would be up to two investigating judges to lead a factual inquiry and determine how to characterize any crimes they uncovered — a technical-seeming task fraught with high-stakes symbolism.
     
    The Khmer Rouge leaders were arrested in 2007, and at first were charged only with crimes against humanity and war crimes. (There were four leaders at the time, but since then Ieng Sary has died and his wife, the Khmer Rouge minister for social affairs Ieng Thirith, has been declared unfit to stand trial because of dementia.) Genocide charges were brought two years later, and only in reference to the Vietnamese and the Cham. 

    Marcel Lemonde, who was the international investigating judge back then, recently explained to me his office’s thinking on the issue. He said that “troubling facts” unearthed during the investigation suggested that the Khmer Rouge “may have intended to destroy the Cham as Cham rather than as political opponents, and to destroy the Vietnamese as Vietnamese rather than because the regime was at war with Vietnam.” Not so with the Khmer population. “To establish that a genocide occurred, a group needs to have been identified,” he explained, “and that group cannot be the quasi entirety of the population – otherwise the notion no longer makes sense.”
     
    Still, it had been a difficult call. Lemonde and his Cambodian counterpart, You Bunleng, feared that pursuing a genocide charge exclusively on behalf of two small minorities would offend many survivors and victims’ families. But Lemonde said that he and You Bunleng, who was especially uncomfortable, decided they could not avoid the issue by dismissing the genocide charge altogether at that stage. Better to give it a full airing at trial and let the prosecution, victims’ representatives, and the defense debate its merits and its limits. Genocide, the ECCC’s marquee crime, had become a liability.
     
    When the trial judges decided to segment the gigantic indictment into smaller parts and stagger them, they postponed the genocide issue to a later stage. (The recent verdict concerns only abuses pertaining to various forced population transfers and the execution of officials from the military government that the Khmer Rouge deposed in April 1975; the next phase of the trial, which is expected to start later this year, will include genocide, as well as crimes at certain work cooperatives and security centers, internal purges, and forced marriage.) 

    Nuon Chea’s lawyers challenged that decision. In an appeal last year citing “the sheer gravity” of the genocide charge and its “special and privileged role” as “an encapsulation of the Khmer Rouge period in the public mind,” they asked that it be included in the first part of the trial. Whether they really saw an opportunity to win an acquittal or simply wanted to kick up some dirt, you know something is amiss when a defendant is clamoring to be prosecuted, and ASAP, for genocide.
     
    The trial judges certainly face an awkward predicament, one more awkward still than the investigating judges did. They are damned if they rule there was no genocide against the Cham or the Vietnamese (meaning, there was no genocide at all). And they are damned if they rule there was a genocide (meaning, against some group other than the Khmer majority). Whatever they do, this internationally sanctioned court — which has cost some $220 million so far — will frustrate most Cambodian victims’ sense of what happened to them.

    Nor is it clear that the two minorities stand to gain much from the special treatment. An eighty-four-year-old imam I met in 2011 in a small Cham village in Kompong Chhnang, a few hours north of Phnom Penh, complained that the Khmer Rouge had prohibited him from praying and forced him to eat pork. Yet he also said, “When it came to the beatings and the killings, no one suffered more than anyone else.” 

    This view is common, says So Farina, a researcher at the Documentation Center of Cambodia, or DC-CAM, who has interviewed several thousand Cham over the past decade. Most Vietnamese, for their part, have no desire to stand out, especially against Khmer Cambodians, according to Long Danny, another DC-CAM researcher. Many are poor, some are stateless, and most would rather keep a low profile: anti-Vietnamese sentiment still runs very deep in Cambodia.
     
    The perils of these paradoxes haven’t surfaced yet because the ECCC operates at a remove from daily life, and outside the court the same old talk of that other, generic kind of genocide still prevails. Educational and outreach efforts to parse the term’s legal and casual uses have been modest and mixed. DC-CAM, which was originally set up by Yale’s Cambodian Genocide Program to collect evidence of Khmer Rouge crimes, is credited with putting together in 2007 the first history book to describe the regime in any detail. 

    The book largely forgoes the use of “genocide,” preferring to focus on facts, but the accompanying teacher’s manual uses the word liberally. And through its “Genocide Education” program, DC-CAM has been distributing posters with anti-“genocide” slogans to schools throughout the country. Even Muny Sothara, the counselor from TPO, and some victims’ lawyers have favored maintaining their clients in a state of constructive confusion.
     
    How much longer can such obfuscating work? Thouch Féniés Phandarasar, a Khmer refugee living in France who testified at the trial last year and flew back to Phnom Penh for the judgment earlier this month, told me she hadn’t realized how the court was handling the genocide charges until the week before the verdict, when she was briefed on the second phase of the trial. And then she was “outraged,” she said. 

    For her, “genocide” connotes extermination in a way that “crimes against humanity” cannot, and so “if the tribunal refrains from using the term, it must do so for everyone, rather than use it just for the Vietnamese and the Cham.” Ung Billon, the head of the victims’ association in France, told me, “This was a genocide between two political ethnicities: The communists killed us because we weren’t communists. So to be told that Khmer victims aren’t included in the genocide is unacceptable for me.”
     
    One could argue that the long-awaited trial of the “Khmer Rouge genocide,” that oxymoron, will help clarify both the nature of communism and the notion of genocide by confronting the essentially political character of most of the Khmer Rouge’s crimes with the politically expedient origins of the legal definition of genocide. But it is a lesson that comes at a cost for the people the court was supposed to help, the victims, especially those who are most involved in its work.
     
    Many Cambodians, like other people who survive mass crimes, seem haunted by that question with no answer: “Why?” But a moment after first asking it they often repeat it with this characteristic twist: “Why did the Khmer Rouge try to exterminate Cambodians?” If only the Khmer Rouge had tried to exterminate an ethnic or national group other than their own — if only their central purpose had been to commit a genocide –- then it might all make a bit more sense.
    .....

    Link: http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/aug/25/khmer-rouge-genocide-wasnt/

    ....

    regards

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  • 08/29/14--01:52: Zone One
  • In addition to a fairly exhausting travel schedule I've been consuming a fair few iBooks.


    I'm currently trying to finish my trilogy of Zombie Apocalyptic novels (Zombie survival guide, World War Z & Zone One). Now of course the first two are written by the same author (Mel Brooks's son, Max Brooks) and thankfully I saw the film before I read the book because that way I didn't have to complain.

    Nonetheless I came across Xone One in some tendentious article complaining about the lack of colored people in Sci-fi (right now the main divide being address is the gender one, my book club just had an interview with Ms. Leckie of Ancillary Justice) but while I simply zoomed through WWZ & even ZSG, Zone One tends to be less easier as a read. It's simply more elaborate, less plot driven and doesn't have the pace that Apocalyptic novels demand.

    The age of Multi-culti is fast waning to an end, the hidden rise of Indo-China is soon shaking West out of its stupor and complacency as the World's greatest hegemon (LA-LON is a good axis but it's not insuperable) and so we pass an age where somehow the colour of ones skin someone incurs automatic advantages. Race will have a novelty factor but the counter-stereotyping of Hollywood (which is still stuck in a black-white dynamic as the only real operating one) sooner or later will have to align to reality..

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  • 08/29/14--03:17: Soft coup-
  • I think the Army has emerged as the comprehensive and legitimate winner of this Pakistani imbroglio.


    Democracy has been defanged until the next election but at the same time the fiction of it's legitimacy has been maintained.

    Compared to the results of the Arab spring (Egypt, Libya, Syria); a stable military is very good for unsteady democracies. Kudos to GHQ for steering an optimal outcome for all parties concerned.

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  • 08/29/14--07:09: Egypt shows the way
  • ....Khan is unpredictable....proudly calls his supporters junoonis -- or "crazies"....The military might enjoy the troubles Khan gives the prime minister, but it is unlikely to tie its institutional fortunes to Khan....Pakistani democracy continue to muddle along as it has in the past. Pakistan optimists will be disappointed....But things could be worse.....
    .....
    The American establishment and its paid interlocutors (not meant in a derogatory sense) have now responded to the soft coup in Pakistan. Short answer: after observing what happened in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world, the focus is back to stability over anarchy. Shorter answer: "but things could be worse."

    We are not sure why the veil of modesty is required though. The whole world and his uncle knows now that Nawaz Sharif is finished. In Pakistan (just like in Egypt and in Thailand) it is clear that Army rule (the most trusted institution) is preferred over mob rule (politicians are hated for cronyism, inefficiency,...).

    One of the primary reasons for Army putting down Sharif is that he wanted better relations with India (and acted on it by not meeting with Kashmiri separatists/nationalists). In this way Kashmir is shown up as the third rail of Pakistani politics, you touch it, you die. 


    We are not sure what lessons India will need to learn from this, but the reality is there is no constituency (apart from the poor in both countries) that will benefit from a peace dividend. For now the best solution is status quo on the border and cold peace across South Asia. While it is true that "things could be worse," but then.....things could be much better.

    A silver lining amongst this mess: Indonesia. It is a pure miracle when poor countries also choose to be democratic. Indonesia has followed Thailand (ten years ago) in electing a populist to the top chair. We sincerely hope that it does not follow Thailand by deposing the government when things become too uncomfortable for the elites.

    ..............
    In 1960, president and field marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, Pakistan's first military dictator, built the city of Islamabad almost from scratch. Pakistan's original capital, Karachi, was roughly 800 miles away from his headquarters in Rawalpindi, and Ayub Khan -- as the story goes -- wanted to reduce his commute in order to more easily serve the requirements of both his military office and the presidency of Pakistan. In relatively short order, Rawalpindi had a new twin city and Pakistan had a new capital. Instead of flying from one office to the next, Ayub Khan could now walk, jog, or drive.

    That little slice of Pakistania illustrates the most important rule of the decades-long contest between Pakistan's unruly civilian democrats and its unconstitutional military rulers: When the Army wants something, it gets it.
    ...
    Since Aug. 14, Islamabad has been in a state of constant uncertainty and insecurity. Politicians opposed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have been leading a sit-in of thousands of protesters demanding nothing less than the resignation of Sharif -- who has been prime minister twice before and deposed in coups both times.
    ....
    Today in Pakistan, there are two big questions: Is the military attempting to stage-manage Sharif's third exit? And is his political tormentor, the temperamental former cricket star Imran Khan (unrelated to Ayub Khan), the Army's choice as his replacement?
    ....
    Two separate camps are conducting the Islamabad protests against Sharif: Khan leads one, and Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, an anti-Taliban cleric formerly based in Canada, leads the other. The two leaders are a study in contrasts, but they share one explicit objective -- to oust Sharif. 

    Pakistani fatigue with the saga has been growing, and on the night of Aug. 28, the Army became explicitly involved as a guarantor of talks between the opposition camps and the government. The announcement of the Army's role as the adult in the room is nothing new for Pakistan, and though expectations are that the crisis is petering out, protests could continue as long as Sharif stays in power.
    ....
    Where did this mess begin? The 2013 elections brought Sharif back to power for a third term and saw Khan's party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice), emerge as a major force in politics. Khan's complaints that Sharif stole the election received little attention until Qadri entered the picture. A colorful cleric with a superb network of philanthropic activities and a politically insignificant but deeply committed corps of disciples, Qadri has a history of agitating against democratically elected governments. 

    When Qadri announced his decision to return in June from his adopted home in Canada to Lahore to launch yet another agitation, alarm bells went off for Sharif.
    ....
    On June 17, things took a tragic turn. Already exercised by the 100 degree-plus Fahrenheit heat and smarting at the way senior leaders within Sharif's government had spoken of Qadri, supporters of the cleric clashed with police in Lahore's tony Model Town neighborhood. Fourteen people died, including a teenager and at least two women, with much of the blame for the violence placed squarely on police brutality. The Model Town tragedy galvanized Qadri's supporters and stripped Sharif of whatever moral high ground he had. The shifting national mood after the affair buoyed the opposition's spirits, and Khan could smell blood.
    ....
    In July, Khan announcedhis decision to march on Islamabad -- with the objective of ousting Sharif -- on Aug. 14, Pakistan's Independence Day. On Aug. 10, Qadri announced that he would march on Islamabad as well. The processions to Islamabad received wall-to-wall coverage from Pakistani media, with some questioning whether the size and diversity of the protesters deserved such lavish 24-hour exposure. As it has dragged on across two weeks, the crisis has developed a momentum of its own. Khan has planted himself and several thousand protesters in front of the Pakistani parliament building, insisting that he will leave only when Sharif resigns.
    .....
    Few, if any Pakistanis, would argue against the substance of Khan's complaints -- that the electoral process needs major reforms and that corruption throttles the economy. Instead, most debate focuses on just why Khan is so confident that he will succeed in dethroning Sharif -- despite the prime minister's nationwide support and Khan's falling stock.
    .....
    Khan's bravado is, on the surface, perplexing. His level of popular support has dropped significantly since the May 2013 election, and his performance since then has been pedestrian, at best. His speeches at these protests have been cavalier, even vulgar: He threatened to send his enemies to the Taliban so that the group could "deal with them," according to the New York Times. He denigrates parliament and the prime minister; in one speech, he proudly proclaimed that the fear of protesters has caused Sharif to "wet his pants." This is hardly the kind of leader whom soldiers from any country would want to call boss -- much less the ultraconservative ranks of the Pakistan Army.


    For some, this kind of confidence only comes from the knowledge of having the support of Pakistan's military brass. Could it really be betting the house on Khan?
    ....
    Probably not. Pakistan's military faces a hostile India on its eastern border and a dysfunctional peace process in Afghanistan on its northwestern one. In between, it is trying to stamp out the remarkably resilient and potent Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, against which it recently launched a massive operation in the remote Pakistani region of Waziristan. Now is not a good time for the Army to manage a chaotic political transition.
    ....
    And removing Sharif would probably complicate the country's fiscal situation. Pakistan is a poor country with an even poorer record of fiscal management. Outside aid is vital to the country -- be it from the IMF and World Bank or from friendly nations like the United States, China, and Saudi Arabia. International lenders hate instability and coups, and they have a long-standing man-crush on Sharif and his team because they are the big-business, Barbarians-at-the-Gate-type capitalists who love to privatize things while disproportionately taxing the poor instead of the rich. Khan, on the other hand, is a wild man when it comes to economic policy. Just this week, he instructed Pakistanis living abroad to stop using legal means of sending home remittances and once again start using the hundi system -- the preferred cash-mobility solution for terrorists everywhere.
    ....
    Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who unsurprisingly is a close relative of Sharif, is surprisingly good at what he does: managing exchange rates, borrowing cheaply, and stamping out dissenting views on the economy. While growth is still sluggish, Dar has convinced lenders that Pakistan is becoming a less risky investment. Bureaucrats from the World Bank and IMF love him because he is an old-school chartered accountant. Sharif loves him because he is family. And though the Army may not love him, they probably like Dar a lot more than they like the prospect of dealing with Khan's cuckoo ideas about how to get remittances to Pakistani shores.
    ....
    Many in the armed forces think Sharif is being needlessly vindictive in pursuing legal cases against Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the former chief of army staff who seized power from Sharif in October 1999, imprisoning Sharif and later exiling him to Saudi Arabia. Now Sharif is pursuing a case against Musharraf, who is stuck in Pakistan, unable to leave because of a court injunction related to a treason case against him -- though Sharif's people insist the motivation is rule of law and not revenge.
    ....
    Additionally, Sharif's overtures to India, especially to its newly elected Hindu nationalist prime minister, Narendra Modi, may make some of the generals deeply nervous. Sharif accepted Modi's invitation to his inauguration, and in a break from Pakistani tradition, Sharif did not meet with separatist leaders from Kashmir whom Pakistan supports. If Pakistan and India become normal neighbors, the military's influence in Pakistan automatically decreases. The hawks clearly won't go easily.
    ....
    But the fears of Sharif improving relations with New Delhi too quickly have likely been assuaged by the rank incompetence with which he implements decisions. Evenif he wanted to, Sharif cannot move any faster than a bored glacier on a cold day. He is hamstrung by an obsession with surrounding himself with loyal but inept advisors and bureaucrats.
    ....
    Sharif has severely undermined his own rule. His shambolic treatment of his own party members, to say nothing of the opposition, is legendary -- often ministers can't get meetings for weeks on end. The presence of his family members in government grates all segments of Pakistani society: Dar's son is married to Sharif's daughter, Asma Nawaz. Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif is his younger brother; Water and Power Minister Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali is his nephew, as is prominent parliamentarian Muhammad Hamza Shahbaz Sharif. If only his strategic vision for the country were as consistent as his nepotism.
    .....
    On the other hand, the best thing Sharif has going for him is the quality of his competition. Pakistan with Khan at the helm would be a disaster of epic proportions -- and that's even with the country's extremely high tolerance for shambolic leadership.
    ....
    Khan may be the world's oldest teenager, with a captive national audience. He thumbs his nose at political niceties and employs an invective that dumbs down the discourse. Like Justin Bieber, Khan focuses on electrifying the urban youth who genuinely believe him to be a messianic solution to the disenchantment they feel about their country. And Khan's understanding of Pakistan's problems is probably only slightly more sophisticated than Bieber's. Khan does not have the policy chops to fix what ails Pakistan: The crux of his efforts during these few weeks has been that he, not Sharif, should be prime minister.
    ....
    Sharif is a known entity and one easy to tame. Khan is wild and unpredictable. He proudly calls his supporters junoonis -- or "crazies." The military might enjoy the troubles Khan gives the prime minister, but it is unlikely to tie its institutional fortunes to unstable and irresponsible political actors like Khan. Pakistani democracy under Sharif will continue to muddle along as it has in the past. Pakistan optimists will be disappointed, because this crisis is unquestionably a setback for democrats. But things could be worse. For now, the most Khan is likely to achieve in challenging Sharif is further strengthening the military's already strong hold on key decisions guiding the country's future.
    ....
    As Americans watch in horror as Syria, Libya, and Iraq come apart, perhaps they will warm to the idea of a Pakistan managed by its highly disciplined and professional armed forces. That would be exactly the wrong conclusion to draw from the political chaos in Pakistan. Now more than ever, Pakistan needs the rest of the world to reiterate its strong support for democracy.

    .......

    Link: foreignpolicy.com/the_pretender_to_pakistans_throne_imran_khan_nawaz_sharif

    ......

    regards

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  • 08/29/14--08:09: False Dawn?
  • .....Suzuki Motor has shifted the technology transfer paradigm into reverse, importing transmission technology developed in India and installing it in the new Carry commercial vehicle in Japan......Auto Gear Shift...automated manual transmission with an electro-hydraulic actuator.....Unlike computer-assisted automatic transmissions, Suzuki's relatively low-cost technology is structurally simpler and improves fuel efficiency by around 5%......
    ....
    The Indian economy is finally showing signs of life. After such a long time in coma, it will take a considerable amount of nursing to build things back up. We are not close to any industrialists but we see mostly relief at the end of ...uncertainty. In that sense what Narendra Modi is to India, Pakistani Army is to Pakistan.  

    The problem with dictatorships however is that .....in the words of one famous person....it creates a nation of cowards. The global system run by the elites would love to have countries filled with political cowards and economic consumers. The freedom to eat..but not to talk. Ask no questions and ...Jiyo Life. What is not to like?
    ...........
    As another renowned person has commented...the peasants are rising everywhere (however the number of good jobs is small in comparison). The caste system (India's gift to the world) will be entrenched firmer than ever. Right now the WASP Brahmins and Oxbridge Brahmins are in charge. Down the road there will be newer Brahmins from Beijing, Delhi, Jakarta, Ankara.....

    We are optimistic that the axis from East Asia to South Asia will form durable alliances and grow together. India (and Indians) should look east and be learning Mandarin and other languages (as a suggestion why not try Vietnamese?). These are old ties between old cultures. A bit of chest thumping is OK but (we hope for the sake of global prosperity) there will be no hot wars in the China sea.

    As far as the pernicious effects of religion goes...we are sick and tired of it. Stop killing people...in  the name of religion. Live and let live. Killing off the minorities will lead to a corruption of the majority....forever. We hope that all communities realize this soon (not soon enough for the millions of victims world-wide).
    .........
    India's economy grew by a faster-than-expected 5.7 per cent in the three months through June, its fastest pace in two-and-a-half years, helped by a rebound in manufacturing and mining sectors, government data showed on Friday. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast annual growth of 5.3 percent in the quarter.

    Manufacturing expanded at an annual rate of 3.5 percent during the April-June quarter compared with a contraction of 1.2 percent a year ago. Mining sector grew 2.1 percent compared with a 3.9 percent annual fall a year earlier, the data showed.

    ....

    In a rare move, Suzuki Motor has shifted the technology transfer paradigm into reverse, importing transmission technology developed in India and installing it in the new Carry commercial vehicle set to roll out in Japan later this month.

    Japan's second-largest minicar manufacturer has a strong presence on the Indian subcontinent, where it recently developed Auto Gear Shift, an automated manual transmission with an electrohydraulic actuator that automatically operates clutch and gearshift. Unlike computer-assisted automatic transmissions, Suzuki's relatively low-cost technology is structurally simpler and improves fuel efficiency by around 5%.

    However, shifting gears causes a slight vibration, an issue that still needs to be addressed.

    The new Auto Gear-equipped Carry will be priced just under 900,000 yen ($8,574), the same as the current automatic transmission version. Suzuki aims to install the transmission in other models and reduce its production cost 10,000 yen to 20,000 yen below that of regular automatic transmissions.

    Suzuki released the Celerio subcompact featuring the automated manual transmission technology in India in February. Automatic cars account for a sliver of India's automobile market, representing less than 1% of all cars on the road there. 

    But nearly half of Celerio buyers, according to the automaker, choose the affordable automatic model, pushing Suzuki's management toward a decision to apply the technology to domestic models.

    The carmaker eventually plans to release subcompact models equipped with automated manual transmissions in Europe as well. They will be also showcased in Southeast Asia and other emerging markets.
    ....

    Link (1): Economic-growth-hits-two-and-a-half-years-high-in-June-quarter

    Link (2): asia.nikkei.com/Business/Suzuki-taps-India-developed-transmission-technology

    ....

    regards

    0 0
  • 08/29/14--11:49: India is a "sinful country"
  • .....families came forward after the cops approached them with the information provided by Arif's father.....his idea of Islam and how the religion should be followed.....admonish those who listen to music and watch television.....frowns upon women who don't wear a veil and work with men......
    .....
    Not just Arif Fayaaz Majeed who is reportedly killed in action in Mosul, but as many as 19 youths from Mumbra and Bhiwandi have joined the army of the Caliphate. Mumbra and Bhiwandi are satellite townships north-east of Mumbai, and are noted for being hot-beds for Islamists.

    Thus it is likely that many more families will be devastated as more and more boys become cannon fodder.It is hard to judge them harshly....after all they are barely adults...and they have been brainwashed by people whom they trusted implicitly (the culprit must be given exemplary punishment, see below). 

    But stepping away from the human tragedies for the moment, this question seems to be of great interest and significance: why is India sinful?

    Now we can think of several legitimate answers to that and they may even have a specific resonance with Indian muslims...mostly pertaining to human rights of young muslim males and the entire civilian population of Kashmir (valley).

    But please note why Majeed (supposedly) considers his country to be a sinful place: The note does admonish those who listen to music and watch television. He also frowns upon women who don't wear a veil and work with men.

    ...
    GUYS LISTEN UP:  WOMEN WILL NOT BE DENIED THEIR RIGHTS because of strictures from scriptures composed by men and enforced by men (all of them).

    If the men decide to fight for a pure state BECAUSE they dislike the fact that women are gaining freedom..well all we can say in response is goodbye (we still wish you well). Also we hope that you are not coming back (but your mother still cries for you and would love to have you back).

    ......
    An Indian engineering student who suddenly left for Iraq with three friends this spring, and who was believed to have joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has been reported dead, a man whose nephew was part of the group said Thursday.

    The student, Arif Majeed, 22, left his home in Kalyan, outside Mumbai, in May, telling his family he was going to study, and next contacted them from Iraq, where he and his friends slipped away from a religious tour group and traveled to Mosul, a city now dominated by Sunni militants. The case has drawn the attention of the authorities because it is one of the first documented instances of young Indians being recruited online by an international jihadist group.


    Iftekhar Khan, whose nephew Fahad Tanvir Sheikh was one of the three men who left with Mr. Majeed, said the news of Mr. Majeed’s death was conveyed in a phone call by another of the group who made the journey to Iraq, Shaheen Farooqui Tanki. “Arif’s father requested Shaheen’s family to ask about their son Arif. A few days later, Shaheen called again and said Arif had died. He didn’t know how but he was crying,” Mr. Khan said.

    Several Indian newspapers reported that Mr. Majeed had been killed in an explosion, possibly as a result of an airstrike. Mr. Tanki’s family gave Mr. Majeed’s father the news after evening prayers on Tuesday. “Imagine the state of a father who does not even get to see his son’s body,” Mr. Khan said.

    In a letter left behind for his family, Mr. Majeed, who was Muslim, asked for forgiveness and said that he would next see them in heaven. He said he was glad to leave India, which he described as “a sinful country.”

    An announcement, in Urdu, Arabic, English and Hindi, on a website often used by ISIS, said Mr. Majeed, shown holding a weapon, had been martyred in Iraq. It said that Mr. Majeed, who went by the name Abu Ali Al Hindi, had participated in the fight for the Mosul Dam and married a Palestinian woman from Gaza. The information could not be independently confirmed.

    “This website is false. Anyone can make a website and send a wrong message,” Mr. Khan said. “Our boys were peaceful.”
    .....


    The Mumbai police have zeroed in on a small-time businessman suspected to be the brain behind the radicalization of the four Mumbai men who are believed to have joined jihad in Iraq and Syria.

    Adil Dolare, 35, who works with the Islamic Guidance Centre in Kalyan and had organized the tour to Baghdad from where the four never returned, used to meet them every evening at Kalyan's Don Chowk.

    The investigators, meanwhile, have expanded their probe and identified 15 more men from Mumbra and Bhiwandi who may have joined the four from Kalyan in Baghdad and enlisted with the Sunni insurgent group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

    Dorale and the four reported missing from Kalyan — Arif Fayyaz Majeed, Fahad Tanvir Sheikh, Aman Naim Tandel and Saheen Farooqi Tanki — are all residents of Bazar Peth and spent considerable time together.

    Dolare, who also runs a business in Navi Mumbai, often delivered talks on Islam in religious institutions.

    Islamic Guidance Centre through Rahat Tours and Travels had booked Arif, Fahad, Aman and Shaheen with 37 others on a seven-day tour of Baghdad. The group's air tickets were bought by Akbar Tours and Travels.

    ....
    The group left Mumbai on May 25 and returned on June 1. Arif, Fahad, Aman, and Saheen, however, stayed back. On May 26, Arif's father filed a missing complaint with the Kalyan police and produced a note written by his son expressing his desire to join jihad. Arif's father was followed by the families of Fahad, Aman and Saheen, who filed their complaints on May 29 and 30.

    Investigators have so far not come across any links between Dorale and the 15 men from Mumbra and Bhiwandi, who too, just like the four from Kalyan, left Mumbai on a pilgrimage to Baghdad on May 25, but did not return.

    Cops now know that around 250 people left for Baghdad on May 25 from Mumbai and 19 of them did not return. They all flew from Mumbai to Dubai and then to Istanbul and Iraq.

    .....

    Link (1): nytimes.com/indian-muslim-said-to-have-joined-isis-is-reported-dead.html

    Link (2):  Thane-businessman-radicalized-Kalyan-youth-who-joined-ISIS-funded-their-Iraq-trip
    ......

    regards   

    0 0

    ....“The guy who couldn't save his own head from being cut, how he will save others heads is my question?....Happy Ganpathi day to morons!”....“Can someone tell me if today is the day Ganesha was originally born or is it the day his dad cut his head off?”.....
    “love to know from devotees a list of what obstacles he removed” ........"All tweets I put on Ganesha....unintended to hurt anyone's sentiments...but if they did I sincerely apologize"....

    ....

    ....
    Best wishes on Ganesha Chaturthi to all believers and fans. We have to admit, we do think of Ganesha as a cutie pie. Also he is mama's golden boy and you know that no one crosses his mom and lives to tell about it (ask the demon Mahisha-Asura).
    ......
    .....
    Incidentally this reminds us of theTamizh commandment: kakaikku than konju pon konju....literally my crow is a golden crow....figuratively, the love a mother feels for her child who is not blessed with the best of appearances...
    .......


    ...
    BTW if you are curious to know how left-liberals think about Ganesha just follow Ram Gopal Varma on Twitter. RGV is originallyfrom Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh and he is a super-hit director in both the Hindi and Telugu film world. His top movie is Satya (we also rate Rangeela), which Danny Boyle has claimed as an inspiration for Slumdog Millionaire (that must be a first...a western director...for real or for show....claims to being inspired by Bollywood).

    In an ideal world, we would be most happy if the liberals established a hegemony in which we could crack jokes (even mean jokes) about religion and the religious...all of them. The sheer number of ridiculous religious leaders in India (and in the wider world) presents endless opportunities for (black) comedy. But we would propose to do it in a fair-minded and even-handed manner, or we are in danger of looking ridiculous ourselves. RGV we are sure, thinks twice about breaching some boundaries than others. Why is that?

    Now, we should be clear that RGV is entitled to his views and opinions, but we fail to see what good comes out of this tamasha. From a political standpoint he is acting like a recruiting agent for the BJP.

    Poking the crocodile is a lot of fun...sure, but then why crawl back with the apologies? Be a big boy and dish it out and be prepared to accept the consequences...in the extreme case be prepared to go to jail and start a new life-edition as a free speech martyr (we fully support him in that battle).

    RGV considers himself as a man on a mission...to remove the cobwebs of superstition from the minds of deluded people. This is a fine and honest goal. Thomas Jefferson was also a man on a mission and he said that the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. RGV should have boldly stood up for (all) free speech and the free-flowing blood would have helped the tiny sapling to grow into a massive banyan tree.

    We did like some of the non-inflamed responses, especially the one by "Subodh" who made a sporting attempt to respond to Shri RGV (questions marked below in bold and in red).
    ............

    It is painful to see that those who take pride in Hindu religion couldn't answer any of his questions and instead childishly chided him for insulting Hindu gods. If you can't answer legitimate questions about the gods that you worship, you should stop being so religious.

    His questions were hardly that difficult to answer..With a little bit of wit and wisdom, anyone could have answered them, but sadly the IQ levels of 'bhakts' and also their knowledge about their religion is very low.

    Here's how you need to respond to silly questions..
    ...
    Q- What did Ganesha do that his brother Kumara dint do so that only Ganesha became god? Is it becos Kumara dint get head cut off like Ganesha?
    A - He was cuter, wiser, wittier and hence gathered more followers. Like in movie industry where more the fans you have, the bigger screen god you become, in heavens too children of gods who gather more followers become bigger gods.


    Q - Can someone tell me if today is the day Ganesha was originally born or is it the day his dad cut his head off?
    A - Today's the day we don't ask silly questions about gods we worship and use our brains to understand the symbolism behind mythological tales of gods.


    Q - Does Lord Ganesha eat with his hands or his trunk?
    A - He eats with his mouth


    Q - I have an innocent question...can someone please tell me how a Lord who couldn't save his own head will save others heads?
    A - A local wrestler might not be able to win against a national or Olympic level wrestler but he can save you from a local goon. Same way, Ganesha couldn't save his head from a more powerful god - his father, but is capable of saving heads of mere mortals.


    Q - Does Lord Ganesha eat much more than other Gods? My doubt is becos all the other Gods are either trim or muscular
    A - Not really. Buddha is trim when he is meditating, but when he starts laughing and becomes 'Laughing Buddha' he develops a big paunch


    Q - Did Lord Ganesha have a paunch in his childhood too or did it develop in the recovery time of the elephant head operation?
    A - His mother, Parvati, sculpted him..and since all moms like cute and cuddly children, she sculpted him with a paunch


    Q - Can someone explain how someone can cut off a child's head who was just trying to protect his mother's modesty?
    A - Can you explain how you can eat meat of chicken, goats, pigs and other innocent animals knowing that the poor creatures are just trying to enjoy life with their family

    .....
    No religion has a god as child-friendly as Lord Ganesha. Animal heads on divine beings is not quite unknown in other religions. The Egyptians had several but let's face it when it comes to terms of endearment, jackals and falcons just cannot compare to an elephant.

    It was a particular elephant's bad luck but Hinduism's good fortune, that when Lord Shiva went looking for a head to replace the human one he had lopped off, he came across an elephant, some say Indra's mount Airavata and not an annoying crow or a fearsome tiger. That would have given our Ganesha a very different temperament.

    But with his elephant head, Ganesha becomes the most genial of all gods especially for a young child. The broken tusk makes him vulnerable. The plump belly makes him comforting. He is virtuous as gods are supposed to be but exudes a more approachable friendliness. 

    ....
    Though Hindu children routinely and religiously pray to Saraswati for a little help during examinations, no one would make a children's film called My Friend Saraswati. But it makes perfect sense for a lonely boy neglected by his parents to find a buddy and fairy godfather rolled into one in the elephant-headed god in My Friend Ganesha.

    Ganesha isn't just friendly. He also has a certain kind of smart that a kid can instantly relate to.
    ....

    Take that story of Ganesha and Kartikeya and their great race to circumnavigate the world. While Kartikeya huffed and puffed and set off at great speed to go around the world, Ganesha just sat his parents down and went around them. It was so incredible to read it on the colorful pages of Amar Chitra Katha and know that the handsome, super-athletic school jock didn't always have to win the race.
    ....

    Without being in the least bit preachy, it also told us not to underestimate the kid who looked a little odd, the class misfit, the one the other children might laugh at. We could instantly relate to it because it was a story about sibling rivalry but one that thankfully did not end in the bloody trauma of Cain and Abel. But most reassuringly, it reiterated splendidly what as children we intuitively grasped - our parents are the centre of our worlds. (Of course perhaps that's also why parents never tire of telling that story to their children.)
    ....

    As a child there were things that mystified me about Ganesh. How did someone of his girth ride a mouse? Why did an elephant's head make the rest of him so roly-poly? In the Bengali iconography during Durga Puja he came with a kola-bou, a banana tree draped in a white sari with a red border. Though scholars have argued whether the kola-bou was his bride or a representation of the Mother Goddess herself, as a child I was always worried the elephant-headed god might snack on his banana-plant bride in an incautious moment.
    .....

    Amar Chitra Katha had no answers to these conundrums and Devdutt Pattanaik had not yet written his 99 Thoughts on Ganesha. The story of his creation itself, I discovered later, had been sanitized and tempered. 
    ....
    Parvati creates Ganesha as her little gatekeeper out of the rubbings of turmeric paste she has anointed herself with. He is Vinayaka, the son born without the help of a husband. When Shiva lops his head off for the effrontery of denying him entrance, Parvati is inconsolable. Firstpost's Lakshmi Chaudhry recalled her daughter coming back from school and telling her a more “family-friendly” version of that story. 

    “Parvati felt so sad when Shiva killed her little boy, she started crying,” she said, explaining how Shiva replaced his head to soothe his distraught wife. This was definitely not my grandmother's Ganesha story. 
    ....
    My daughter's very progressive pre-school had sanitised the myth to fit the portrait of a happy modern nuclear family. Don't worry, good daddies comfort sad mommies, and make it all okay. “No, baby, Parvati was so angry that she vowed to destroy the entire universe,” I corrected her,“The gods were so terrified that they ran to Shiva and begged him to bring the boy back to life.” The Parvati I grew up with was not a heart-broken waif, but powerful and feared goddess whose wrath had to be appeased in order to save all creation.
    .........
    That says more about our discomfort with powerful females than anything about Ganesha. But the sweetness of the teary Parvati also makes it a better bedtime story and gives Ganesha an extra dose of cuddliness. Ironically the very qualities that have made him both beloved and lovable have also been his greatest handicap.

    In Hinduism he might be the Remover of Obstacles but outside the faith he has become more cute and less god. In a world of animated films where animals routinely talk in human voices, Ganesha, to much of the world, belongs to a different pantheon - more Disney than God. 

    .....
    But unlike a Disney character he is in the public domain - free to be emblazoned on t-shirts, keychains, lunchboxes. And unfortunately he also ends up on things he should never be. American Eagle put him on slippers. Sittin' Pretty put him on toilet seats. Café Press put Ganesha and other gods on thongs and $79 yoga mats.
    ....
    Bollywood-themed parties in the West put up statues of Ganesha and Buddha for that exotic touch while belly-dancers gyrate and the bartender mixes cocktails. A party organizer in San Francisco once said she would try and educate her clients about the significance of religious symbols and put up signage explaining them but she was not sure that anyone cared after the "third shot of tequila".

    Were the companies intending to disrespect Hinduism? Probably not. Ganesh to them was just a cool iconic image. But the danger of cool is then even a God becomes a commodity to be bought and sold. The god who removes obstacles seems helpless when the juggernaut of popular culture turns him into a potbellied party prop.

    Pattanaik says reassuringly that though he's been turned into celluloid cartoons and plastic China-made dashboard displays, “Ganesha does not mind, so long as we appreciate the realm of his mother, and aspire for the realm of his father.” Perhaps that's true. But still one should think long and hard before annoying any god especially one with the memory of an elephant.


    ......

    Link (1): ram-gopal-varma-trolls-lord-ganesha

    Link (2): the-challenges-of-being-ganesha
    .....

    regards

    0 0

    ....Dwivedi's statement reflected that Congress wants to follow BJP...creating "old age home" for senior leaders.....a taunt directed at the ruling party by Congress when it dropped Advani, Joshi and Vajpayee from parliamentary board.....
    ...
    ..... 
    When the revolution comes it can take off in so many uncertain ways.

    We did not quite imagine that a Hindutva flavored govt that is in love with the concept of a 5000 year old civilization and making policy based on (age-old) scriptures would launch a movement (admittedly for self-serving reasons) for pushing youngsters to power (well OK 50+ aged youngsters, but then we are talking about India).
    ...................
    ....
    Continuing on this theme, we should not be limit the action to politicians only. Scientists, entertainers, technocrats,... all those who continue to feather their nests and do not let young talent come forward should be asked to retire post 70. One outstanding example that comes to mind: long after her nightingale as a girl days were behind her, Bollywood would stick stubbornly with Lata Mangeshkar (we mention this with all humility and as an ardent admirer).
    ...........
    Now the cremation fires have touched the Congress as well and it will spread beyond it for sure. As we see it, the party who can best capture the imagination of the youth will win the next elections. 

    The only issue with an iron-clad Stop at 70 rule is that the Leader is 63 years young (Madam is 67). Are people not too concerned that they are making a nice rod for their own backs? We will believe the good news when we see the proof in action.
    ..............
    Congress today distanced itself from party leader Janardan Dwivedi's remarks that people in politics should not continue in active posts beyond 70 years of age even as another party leader Digvijaya Singh backed him.
     ......

    "Let me make it clear. This is his view and he is certainly entitled to it.... This is not the party view. This is not the party stand. This is his personal opinion," party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters in reply to a volley of questions on the issue.

    His refrain was the same when asked whether Dwivedi's statement reflected that Congress wants to follow BJP's model of creating "old age home" for senior leaders, a taunt directed at the ruling party by Congress when it dropped LK Advani, MM Joshi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee from parliamentary board.

    A senior party leader speaking on condition of anonymity said that the sentiment expressed by Dwivedi were not improper but it is not feasible to have any specific cut offs in a large party like Congress.

    Party general secretary Digvijaya Singh, speaking separately, backed Dwivedi saying that "change is the law of nature". Singh, who has generally been at odds with Dwivedi, recalled that in the Burari AICC sesssion 2010, he had pitched for a generational change in the party under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.

    "I had said the same thing in Burari session. Congress party always gives opportunity to the youth. Change is the law of the nature. In the modern management lexicon, it is called succession management. "It should happen at every level from top to bottom. I am in favour it. It is high time for major changes in the organisational structure," Singh said.

    The conflicting views in Congress have been aired at a time when there is a likelihood of a generational shift in the party to take on a resurgent BJP.

    Singh said, "We will do whatever we are asked to do. Antony Committee has given its report and the restructure should happen accordingly."

    Citing examples of various other fields where elders handover the responsibility to a young team, Dwivedi had said "similarly generational change is also necessary in politics. "After certain age, people should not live on active posts in a political organisation."

    Dwivedi has at the same time said that he did not mean to say that people above 65 or 70 should retire from politics and that they can take other responsibilities that do not require hectic activities.

    To a question on whether he wants his 65 or 70 formulae also to be applicable to 67-year-old Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Dwivedi said that the post of Congress president and some others could be exceptions to it.

    The remarks of Dwivedi, who is the general secretary in charge of the Organisation, had come yesterday a few days after BJP dropped veterans Vajpayee, Advani and from the parliamentary board and named them in Margdarshak Mandal, mentor's group.

    They also came at a time when there is intense speculation about imminent changes in the AICC setup with the younger generation likely to call the shots and leaders of Dwivedi's generation may be replaced.

    Dwivedi's remarks were being seen as indication of things to come.

    "The writing on the wall is clear. After such a debacle, a party can come back only after fighting on the street for which youngsters are needed. It is the young, who have to fight the electoral battle," another senior party functionary said on the condition of anonymity.

    The average age of AICC secretaries appointed by Rahul Gandhi last year was 40 to 45 years. Besides a number of PCC chiefs like Ashok Tanwar in Haryana and Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan, who were appointed in last one year are among the youth brigade.


    .........

    Link: www.firstpost.com

    .......

    regards

    0 0


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    We know from history that the skill, wisdom and effort (and oodles of luck) needed to build and sustain a working democratic system (whatever you may think of the pros and cons of such a system is a separate and interesting discussion) in one of the ex-colonial countries is orders of magnitude greater than the skill needed to just run a functional government for a few years. Saddam, Gaddafi, Ayub Khan, they all ran functional regimes and even made their Universities conduct their examinations on time. But none had a system with adequate checks and balances or the mechanism to transfer power smoothly from one elite clique to another without having to shoot the other clique first.
    It may be possible to repair the effects of poor governance by this or that democratic regime in a few years, but if the system as a whole is undermined and devalued, then it may never get working again, or may take decades to repair. Political authority (like money) is a shared (useful) illusion. Puncture the illusion and what is left is naked force (or, if enough of asabiya exists, a monarchy; whether called a monarchy or under some other name).

    Given our history, it is a significant achievement that all parties participated in a reasonably (by our standards) fair election under reasonably (by our standards) neutral caretaker administrations and an actual transfer of power took place peacefully. All that progress can be (and is) being undermined by this sustained campaign against democracy and civilian politics (with TUQ playing a conscious and Imran Khan a characteristically semi-conscious role in the undermining). That the Sharifs are not the best rulers is hardly debatable, but that the system should be wound up on that account is a disastrous step beyond the punishment of the Sharifs for any specific crime or misdemeanor. They must be removed from within the system or else they must be tolerated for their term. There is no third choice.
    We know very well from our history that the next step in the paknationalist (aka PMA) framework is a "technocratic government of all talents" and we also know that in short order that will prove worse than the poor Sharifs and will lack even the rickety checks and balances that limit the damage done by the Sharifs or any other democratically elected crook. Beyond that, we also know that the institutional biases of the Pakistani army in particular are utterly opposed to the rights of smaller nationalities and are determined to pursue suicidal and extremely disruptive policies with respect to relations with our neighbors and with the wider world. The Sharif brothers dalliances with ASWJ notwithstanding, it is the army that is most responsible for creating and sustaining various sectarian and islamofascist tendencies in the body politic. For all these (and other) reasons, this latest farcical soft coup is very bad news.
    Finally, it is good to keep in mind that it is not all fun and games...there really IS a bottom. One fine day the whole shithouse could go up in flames (as East Pakistan did in 1971); and what follows could then cause significant discomfort even to those whose low opinion of the Sharifs or of bourgeois politics or of the current politicians, makes them look kindly upon any disruption to the system...
    I would add that I have come around to agreeing with those who think that NONE of the major VISIBLE players really had a detailed plan or a script that has been faithfully followed during this farce. But that does not mean that there is no one with a coherent agenda. There are people with coherent agendas and they make hay while the sun shines on Imran Khan's empty chairs. Just as the ASWJ terrorists are pursuing their agenda, the "Paknationalists" in the intelligence agencies are pursuing theirs. Sharifs (including Raheel Shareef) may have no plan and may be blundering in the dark, but some people have plans and most of them are dangerous...


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  • 08/30/14--08:26: Mission 5000
  • Everything in life needs a mission (and a vision) statement, even a humble blog like BP.

    When the old brownpundits "crashed and burned" we were very sad that such a wonderful meeting place of ideas is lost forever. We must thank the proprietors for bringing BP back into our lives.

    At that time the thought occurred that something must be done - an initial spark - that leads to a solid foundation from which further progress (incremental) is possible.

    This is how Mission 1000 came into being. The question was: can we ramp up fast enough, can we put up stuff which is interesting to a broad spectrum of readers? The focus would (naturally) be on browns and their (global) affairs.

    So here we are, 200+ days young, 1000 posts on the score-board and 200,000+ page views. Mission 1000 is well done (if we say so ourselves).


    However things can always be improved and that will depend on the bloggers that will (hopefully) take BP forward (perhaps in new directions). We need more readers who are open-minded and who have some time to spare to come forward and contribute. We cant speak for the bosses but they have been at least very kind to us and allowed us to have our say. That is greatly appreciated.

    Many of our readers have come forward with helpful suggestions (which will be taken up as much as possible) and more are welcome. We would like to get to 5000 posts and 1,000,000 page views in 3-5 years. It will take some effort and a lot of sacrifice, but we think this is a fair target to dream about. And at some point all you can do is to dream sweet dreams.

    warm regards

    0 0
  • 08/31/14--00:52: "Its a jungle out there"
  • .....“You can’t see anything here at D-Chowk. The tear-gas is overwhelming......I have my shirt tied around my face, as do most of the other people who are still here.....This is madness, it’s a jungle out here”.....a Dawn reporter on Constitution Avenue described the melee that took place on Saturday night.....
    ....
    Its actually a war out there. People are drowning in tear gas, women are fainting. The Prime Minister has abandoned his palace (residence). Every one is issuing threats, deadlines and what not.

    So this is what happens when the civilians try to go up against the khakis - their nose gets really really rubbed into the ground. Lost of pawns (people) get shoved around. The polio vaccination drive in Sindh comes to a full stop. The economy goes into a tailspin. The rupee tumbles against the dollar. The international agencies and the diaspora (and even the neighbors) pray that ultimately there will be stability.


    The army will stop the tear gas, the drownings, the killings. Nawaz Sharif will fly out to Saudi Arabia. Zardari will go to prison. The army will chase out the darkness and bring the sunshine back to Pakistan. Long live the Army.
    ............

    “You can’t see anything here at D-Chowk. The tear-gas is overwhelming. I have my shirt tied around my face, as do most of the other people who are still here. This is madness, it’s a jungle out here.”
    This was how a Dawn reporter on Constitution Avenue described the melee that took place on Saturday night.

    The capital city’s high security area, the Red Zone, resembled a battlefield as marchers from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek, en route to their new destination – the Prime Minister’s House – clashed with security personnel.

    Just after 10pm, when both Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan gave their supporters their marching orders, advancing demonstrators heading towards The Presidency, Cabinet Division and Pakistan Secretariat were met with rubber bullets and tear-gas from the heavy police contingents deployed in the area.

    Protesters, mostly men, armed with sticks advanced onward towards the PM’s House, which is located behind the Presidency and the Secretariat. Initially, police and security personnel deployed on Constitution Avenue moved back and allowed them through. However, when charged activists tried to storm official buildings, they were met with force.

    According to DawnNews, at least one person was killed – a woman from the PAT camp – and well over a 150 people injured. Then, just before midnight, the protesters began to push back and hit out at the law enforcement personnel with anything they could lay their hands on – batons, sticks and stones, marbles and slingshots.

    To counter the debilitating effect of tear gas, several piles of trash were set alight by the protesters. Others had salt and wet towels handy, to keep from succumbing to the crippling gas.

    On the streets of the capital, there was an eerie calm. Many chose to remain indoors for fear of getting caught up in the clashes. Ambulance sirens could be heard wailing throughout the night as the injured were ferried from the melee to Polyclinic, Pims and other hospitals across the city.

    After a whole day of anticipation, just after 9:30pm, both Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan gave their supporters orders to march towards PM’s House. Both were clear that their followers should remain peaceful and were at pains to stress that women and children should stay behind.

    Imran Khan promised marchers that he would lead them from the front. But as the procession began to move, his container got left behind.

    Military and rangers deployed inside the perimeter of the Cabinet Block and parliament building looked on as cranes lifted containers blocking the path towards PM’s House.

    Both sides were raising slogans proclaiming unity between the marching parties. Some charged individuals ran towards the Presidency. That is when police began firing tear gas and rubber bullets, stopping most people in their tracks.

    Dense clouds of tear gas forced many-a PTI supporter to abandon D-Chowk and their attempt to march towards PM House. At midnight, the area which had hitherto been occupied by demonstrators from PAT and PTI looked more like the rubble of a warzone. Many women were reported to have fainted, and over 80 people were rushed to Polyclinic, which reported around midnight that it was full to capacity. At the time of going to print, Pims reported at least 50 injured were being treated there.

    .......

    Link: islamabad-protests-all-hell-breaks-loose

    ....

    regards

    0 0
  • 08/31/14--05:17: Love Jihad: problem resolved
  • ...recent case of Tara Shadeo...deceived by Ranjit Kumar Kohli into marriage....real name Raqibul Hasan Khan.....suggestion for the Muslim community....advocate a court marriage in the case of mixed couples....if a girl from another community is to enter a Muslim home....genuine effort to have a more enlightened approach....
    ....
    .......
    We are in complete agreement with Saba Naqvi Bhaumik (a Shia Muslim married to a Bengali Hindu) that civil marriages will go a long way to help resolve the love-jihad problem....but why not suggest civil marriage for every one? Especially as she (correctly) notes that personal marriage laws "diminish women."

    ...........
    ........
    As SNB explains there are enough morons (to borrow the language of Ram Gopal Varma) like Raqibul Hasan Khan to bring to life (and keep alive) the "love jehad" theory. Fact remains that Muslim boys/girls will be falling in love with Hindu girls/boys. We imagine that the social barriers today are a bit more tightly drawn around muslim girls, hence the Muslim boy-Hindu girl match is more likely...hence all the poisonous confusion.
    ..............
    This is how a muslim women rights body views the problem with the personal law as applied to marriages:
    ....
    Among other things, the draft law contemplates a complete ban on the oral, unilateral and triple divorce (talaq) and seeks, instead, use of 'talaak-e-ahsan' method where at least four attempts at reconciliation are made before the divorce is granted. 
    ....
    The draft law stipulates that a Muslim marriage should be solemnised only when the bride is at least 18 years old and the groom 21. Further, there should be "an unambiguous consent" by both, and neither of them should have a living spouse. Polygamous marriage should be strictly prohibited and marriages should be compulsorily registered, payment of maintenance to the wife and children must be made mandatory during the marriage, or in the event of separation and divorce, it says. 

    A minimum 'mehr' should be paid to the bride before the marriage and the amount should not be less than the groom's annual income, the draft law says. The BMMA will launch a nation-wide campaign for creating awareness about the need to codify the Muslim Personal Law and make the government act towards it, Soman said. 
    .......... 

    The way we see it is the conversion "problem" is essentially an issue of purity. For example in a Brahmin household, a Muslim daughter-in-law may not be permitted to participate in puja ceremonies. Likewise a Hindu daughter-in-law will create a problem for Muslim households. However that is essentially a problem for the pandits and the maulavis to resolve. Simply issue fatwas that all temples (mosques) is open to people of all faiths, creeds and castes.

    As we march to the future we have the following three choices: (1) we harmonize in a manner that is considered to be fair by all communities, or (2) we fight and break up (partition) or (3) we fight and the minority groups get assimilated (by the majority). Option II was the easiest one and we have seen two partitions over six decades (both disasters at an epic level). 

    Option III is an even more ugly one (and right now we have something like that taking shape in Pakistan where Hindu girls are abducted in plain view) and the Sangh Parivar will be very happy to work towards this goal. Here we should also mention that the separate but equal approach favored by the left-liberals and secularists did not work in the USA and will not work in India. It is also a repulsive notion. 

    That leaves us with only Option I as the reasonable way forward.

    As we imagine, conservative muslims dislike civil registration of marriage because it is not the way of the Sharia and more importantly, this is a backdoor way to assimilation (with Hindus). The actuality will be that inter-faith couples will further the cause of communal harmony. We are a great believer in inter-caste marriages as well and for the same reasons. The idea of India is an important one to support (and to strengthen) and we cannot let the extremists win. 

    .......
    If there is a historical profile to be used, it would be upper-caste men and/or Muslims who controlled lands and would just pick up and devour women from the lower castes or social strata. It is very likely that following some cross-rel­igious marriages, the woman is pressurised to convert. 

    The recent case in Ranchi of national-level shooter Tara Shadeo, who has alleged that she was deceived by one Ranjit Kumar Kohli into marriage, only to discover that his real name was Raqibul Hasan Khan, is a sad individual tale with its own particular details. No responsible organisation in multi-religious India would see it as conclusive evidence of a trend involving over 144 million Indians.
    ....
    More than an insult to men from a particular denomination, the notion of love jehad is at its core an insult to all women, who are seen as nothing more than chattel, led astray sometimes by wicked men with impure thoughts. But they can apparently be made to see the righteous path with the help of the VHP/RSS that has launched a “brotherhood” campaign in western UP where Hindu girls will tie rakhis on Muslim men. In the land of khap panchayats, brother and sister will presumably live in innocent harmony till the families decide it is time for wedlock and child-rearing to keep the caste and community lineage going.
    ....
    Empirical socio-economic data should be collected from areas where love jehad is supposed to have happened and where it has now allegedly spread to. That would be Kerala, the Mangalore coast of Karnataka and now western UP. One can hazard an intelligent guess that in all these regions the Muslim community would be large in numbers, of which there would be a prosperous strata. They would have come up economically and it is also very likely that the more visible signs of this prosperity would be an increase in the numbers of minarets of madrassas and mosques.
    ....
    Still, people do live in the same towns and the chemistry of love and attraction cannot be circumscribed. Girls of one religion will continue to fall in love with boys from another and vice versa. 

    But because the situation in UP is poised so delicately and the potential for trouble so great, here’s a suggestion for the Muslim community: clerics, prominent citizens and elders of the community should advocate a court marriage in the case of mixed couples. As it is, Muslim personal laws diminish women’s rights. If a girl from another community is to enter a Muslim home, a genuine effort should be made to have a more enlightened approach. 

    In the small towns of UP, the community should organise, reflect and come up with a rational strategy. Clerics too must show that they can speak for something beyond defending regressive personal laws and feeding off the fears of a community.
    .......

    The husband of national champion shooter Tara Shahdeo was arrested in a joint operation by Jharkhand and Delhi Police on Tuesday night, sources said. Ranjeet Singh Kohli alias Rakibul Hassan Khan, 30, was arrested from a place near the Delhi-Ghaziabad border.

    Last week, national rifle shooting gold medallist, Tara Sahdeo, had alleged that she was tortured to change her religion to Islam by a Muslim man who claimed he was a Hindu and married her. In her police complaint, Sahdeo claimed she got married in June this year to a person named Ranjit Kohli. She said the marriage was solemnised as per Hindu rituals.

    However, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when people invited her husband for Iftar, she came to know that her husband's name was Rakibul Hassan. She allegedly found the name on the invitation cards to the Iftar.

    She also alleged that Hassan and 20 other people forced her to change her religion. When she refused, she was allegedly beaten up. Sahdeo also alleged that she was threatened with dire consequences if she told anyone about the conversion. She alleges that she was kept under close vigil but when Hassan went to New Delhi on  August 19, she sent a message to her family members and was rescued.

    .....

    Link (1): http://www.outlookindia.com/printarticle.aspx?291813

    Link (2): muslim-womens-organisation-seeks-changes-in-personal-law

    Link (3): love-jihad-tara-shahdeo-rakibul-hasan-khan-ranjeet-singh-kohli

    0 0
  • 08/31/14--06:08: The United Colors of India
  • .....I am a Hindu, but that is an absurd thing to say....there is nothing like a Hindu.....I am a Brahmin....that doesn’t describe me either.....I am a Hindu in a broad way....Ganga is sacred, Ramayana and the Mahabharata, Upanishads have deep spiritual insights....All this I believe.....I believe what my ancestors believed, that is, there is not one God.... Hinduism is also difficult because it is based on hierarchies.....
    ....
    We are largely in agreement with UR Ananthamurthy - hero of the left-liberals and a (Brahmin) disciple of (Shudra Socialist) Ram Manohar Lohia - that India should find a common path forward based on harmonizing Gandhian and Ambedkarite principles. Except that the true devil is in the details...Gandhi disliked Western societal mores...Ambedkar was passionate about the American way.

    We would like to expand the pantheon by borrowing a liberal lion from the West, such as John Stuart Mill or Thomas Paine. If there is a demand for a C20 inspirational figure then we propose Vaclav Havel...because of his life experiences under a non-liberal regime. Next, a humanist/atheist like Richard Dawkins (or Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens,...) because we would like India (and Indians) to move away from religion and towards humanism.  

    Finally as one of the great Indians (re: Ramchandra Guha, see details below) and as a woman, we would recommend Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay (or Sarojini Naidu), the freedom fighter and social reformer.
    ......................
    Earlier this year, Udipi Rajago­pa­la­charya Ananthamurthy (URA), the Jnanpith award-winning Kannada novelist, educationist and public intellectual, had declared that he would not live in an India run by Narendra Modi. This had provoked lacerating responses from right-wing Hindutva supporters. URA breathed his last on August 22, 2014, before the Modi government completed 100 days in office. ....
    Chandan Gowda of the Azim Premji University had interviewed the litterateur for an eight-part Doordarshan series, telecast in June and July. It is possibly URA’s last major interview. Excerpts:
    ....
    What parts of the Gandhian legacy are important for you?
    His suspicion of the modern world system is one. The modern world system will destroy the earth, will destroy the sky, will destroy the balance bet­ween nature and man because it is very greedy. Gandhi’s rejection was sometimes extreme. But extremes can open the gate of heaven, that’s what they have said. 
    ...
    So Gandhi exaggerated at times, but in the main you know that. He used trains all the time. But he said we could live without trains. He rightly feared centralisation. Gandhi was also friendly towards nature. There are many valuable Gandhian ideas. The whole idea that small is beautiful comes from Gandhi. So he wanted such ideas to govern the whole country. He didn’t like big buildings.
    ....
    How do you view Nehru’s legacy?
    I can still say primary education should  be nationalised and that the healthcare system should also be nationalised. Where do I get these ideas from? I get them from Nehru and, later, Indira Gandhi. We get something very wholesome from the Nehruvian tradition.
    ....
    What has Ambedkar meant for India’s politics in the 20th century?
    I think nobody can help the Dalits reg­ain their self-respect as much as Ambedkar can. Gandhi makes them regain their self-respect, but when they regain it, you know, they will be softer than what they are. But with Ambedkar, they can be themselves and still get self-respect. 
    ..
    Ambedkar was a socialist and had a legal mind. His becoming a Buddhist is very important for me. It’s not merely a political act. It’s a deep act of self-purification. So Gandhi and Ambedkar began with two different directions but they meet at one point, wanting spiritually enhanced visions.
    ....
    Lohia has meant a lot for you as a writer and thinker. How do you evaluate Lohia’s criticism of tradition?
    I learnt a great deal from Lohia—to become what I have always called a critical insider. Lohia was a very great critical insider. He absorbed a lot from India’s spiritual traditions. He has written a great book, Interval During Politics, which has essays on Valmiki, on Vyasa, on Rama, Krishna, Shiva. They are great. 
    ...
    Another great essay called Lessons in Yoga shows he was deeply rooted in tradition. He knew his Shankaracharya too. But he was very critical of the Brahminical element, which becomes more and more important as Indian civilisation evolves. He was also critical of the Shudras behaving in Brahmin ways. His opposition to English as a language of knowledge was important to me.
    ....
    Lohia was able to produce more pol­itical leaders than Nehru did. Nehru inherited his friends from his party, but Lohia created a new leadership. You find it in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Mulayam Singh Yadav and Laloo Prasad Yadav, for example, are products of Lohia’s movement. And Karnataka too has seen many fine socialist leaders. Unfortunately, the socialist leadership became populist in some places. Lohia himself was critical of these trends. He wanted some anarchy so that India kept thinking of alternatives.
    .....
    How have you understood your relation with the Hindu dharma?
    I am a Hindu, but that is an absurd thing to say. I mean, there is nothing like a Hindu. I should say I am a Brahmin, to be very exact. But that doesn’t describe me either, because I have given up the ritualistic part of the Brahmin religion. 
    ...
    I am a Hindu in a broad way, in the sense that all of us believe that the Ganga is sacred, that the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, our two great epics, and the Upanishads have deep spiritual insights. All this I believe. I believe what my ancestors believed, that is, there is not one God but we can imagine several gods and describe them in different ways.... Hinduism is also difficult because it is based on hierarchies.
    ....
    Has anything about Indian politics struck you as mysterious?
    The fact that if you are an ascetic and if you have given up everything, you can go beyond language, religion, caste, and appeal to the whole country. You know when Gandhi emerged, it was a mysterious thing, because he was neither a Bengali nor a Maharashtrian. All great leaders until then had come from eit­her Bengal or Maharashtra.
    ....
    How do you understand the need for swaraj in thought in India today?
    I an not too passionately involved in what they call the desi, because you will not find the pure desi when you search for it. It is based on Sanskrit; it is mixed with Persian; it’s linked with different rulers at different times.  There is nothing pure even in our folklore. Therefore, I am more a follo­wer of Pampa (the 10th century Kan­­­nada Jain poet), who wanted to combine the desi with the marga.
    ...
    All my writing is a combination of the desi and the marga. I have perhaps more marga in me than desi. But there is something like swaraj in ideas. I have a feeling that we have become second-rate imitators of the West. There was absolutely no original thought in India, except for Gandhi, over the last two centuries. He was the only original thinker and he had the courage to imag­ine a world without railways, without technology, without whatever Britain brought to India. He could conceive of a world without these and hence some kind of swadeshi chintana was possible for him, that we can survive without the aid of the West. That we can be intellectual without depending heavily on western thinkers.
    ....
    What are the challenges facing someone who chooses to write about India in English?
    Anyone who writes in English should be deeply knowledgeable about at least one Indian language. I say this for all journalists too. You cannot be an English journalist in Karnataka unless you know Kannada. Similarly, for anthropological, sociological and other kinds of writing.  I think it is very necessary to know how people think, how people feel. You should be able to grasp that. And an ins­tinctive grasp becomes possible if you know the language of the people.
    ....
    Does it matter very much to you that people like you?
    I enjoy being liked. Though I am ill, I forget I am ill because of the affection and warmth I get from people who read me, who remember what I write, who write me letters. I like it very much.
    ....
    Could you tell us how you would like to be rem­embered?
    As a Kannada writer. For having made a contribution to Kannada through my works...that there are many younger writers who will get something from me, because I have brought whatever I could from my own past, from my Brahminical past, from the European world, from my various experiences, and from my probing of my own self into the Kannada language. It might be a threatened language in the modern world, but I have worked against the threat and that is an achievement. I would like to be remembered as a teacher, as a writer.
    ..............

    Consider, in this regard, the current invisibility from the national discourse of Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya. Married to a man chosen by her family, she was widowed early, and then married a left-wing actor from another part of India. She joined the freedom movement, persuading Gandhi to allow women to court arrest during the Salt March and after.

    After coming out of jail, Kamaladevi became active in trade union work, and travelled to the United States, where she explained the relevance of civil disobedience to black activists (her turn in the South is compellingly described in Nico Slate’s recent book Colored Cosmopolitanism). 

    After Independence and Partition, Kamaladevi supervised the resettlement of refugees; still later, she set up an all-India network of artisanal cooperatives, and established a national crafts museum as well as a national academy for music and dance. 

    Tragically, because her work cannot be seen through an exclusively political lens, and because her versatility cannot be captured by a sect or special interest, Kamaladevi is a forgotten figure today. Yet, from this historian’s point of view, she has strong claims to being regarded as the greatest Indian woman of modern times.
    ......

    Link(1): http://www.outlookindia.com/printarticle.aspx?291808


    Link (2): hindu.com/indians-great-greater-greatest

    ......

    regards

    0 0
  • 08/31/14--06:37: The doctor has no heart
  • ....the Indian-American physician....describes how the medical profession has become pitiless, mercenary.....money ripping vocation where doctors treat patients as revenue generators....keep patients in hospital longer than necessary....order needless tests....helping predatory pharmaceutical companies sell dangerous drugs......doctors are suffering from a "collective malaise" of discontent, insecurity, and immoderation..... 
    ....
     ...
    No no no no, we did not say that....we still hero-worship doctors..for us it is the ultimate noble profession.

    But then according to Dr Sandeep Jauhar,  things are very wrong with the medical community in the USA. He speaks as a person from within the belly of the beast, and he claims to speak on behalf of the many outstanding doctors from the Indian American community (and the medical profession as a whole). Who knows if there is any substance in his (devastating) allegations...common people will tend to think that no smoke can result without fire.
    .......

    The growing discontent has serious consequences for patients. One is a looming shortage of doctors, especially in primary care, which has the lowest reimbursement of all the medical specialties and probably has the most dissatisfied practitioners. 

    Try getting a timely appointment with your family doctor; in some parts of the country, it is next to impossible. Aging baby boomers are starting to require more care just as aging baby boomer physicians are getting ready to retire. The country is going to need new doctors, especially geriatricians and other primary care physicians, to care for these patients. But interest in primary care is at an all-time low.


    Perhaps the most serious downside, however, is that unhappy doctors make for unhappy patients. Patients today are increasingly disenchanted with a medical system that is often indifferent to their needs. 

    People used to talk about "my doctor." Now, in a given year, Medicare patients see on average two different primary care physicians and five specialists working in four separate practices. For many of us, it is rare to find a primary physician who can remember us from visit to visit, let alone come to know us in depth or with any meaning or relevancy.


    Insensitivity in patient-doctor interactions has become almost normal. I once took care of a patient who developed kidney failure after receiving contrast dye for a CT scan. On rounds, he recalled for me a conversation he'd had with his nephrologist about whether his kidney function was going to get better. "The doctor said, 'What do you mean?'" my patient told me. "I said, 'Are my kidneys going to come back?' He said, 'How long have you been on dialysis?' I said, 'A few days.' And then he thought for a moment and said, 'Nah, I don't think they're going to come back.'"


    My patient broke into sobs. "'Nah, I don't think they're going to come back.' That's what he said to me. Just like that."

    ...
    It is the Holy Grail for almost every Indian parent: that their son and or daughter go to medical college, become doctors, and embark on a thriving career that brings laurels - and sure, some lolly. 
    ...It's no different with NRIPIO parents, in the US, UK, or elsewhere, which is why the nearly 100,000 Indian American physicians in the US includes some 20,000 who are either born or have grown up in America and graduated from US medical schools. 
    Dr Sandeep Jauhar has been there, done that - and not liked it one bit. And he's blown the whistle on his profession - or ripped it apart with a scalpel. Medicine, as practiced in the United States, is sick - very, very, sick.

    In a devastating - and immensely self critical - book that is making waves in the US, the Indian-American physician, with specialization in cardiology, describes how the medical profession has become a pitiless, mercenary medical profession, money ripping vocation where doctors treat patients as revenue generators rather than human beings, keep patients in hospital longer than necessary to bill them more, order needless tests to generate profits, and cozy up with drug reps helping predatory pharmaceutical companies sell dangerous drugs. American doctors - and that includes Indian-Americans like himself -are suffering from a "collective malaise" of discontent, insecurity, and immoderation.

    None of this is a great secret; discerning patients, activists, and even many physicians themselves have recognized this for a long time in the US. But its Dr Jauhar's astonishing candor in `Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician' that has shocked the medical fraternity and layman alike, shattering the image of the doctor as a do-gooder -and for Indians, that of the NRI physician as the epitome of nobility. 
    No one comes out looking good in this tortured, self-lacerating book: not Jauhar himself, nor his brother (also a cardiologist), nor physician friends and mentors, and not the American system. This is the Ferguson moment in medicine - ugly but true.

    Asked in an interview on Thursday if he intended to stay on in the medical profession at all, given the shock and horror his book is creating (the NYT reviewer said this is the first book that's prompted her to write "Yuck!" in the margin), Dr Jauhar said he owed it to his readers to give them the unvarnished, unfiltered truth, without being irresponsible. 
    ...
    "Probably the person who comes in most for criticism is myself. When you are willing to be self-critical, people will appreciate it," he told me gravely, after initial jokes about his taking potshots at his own family, including his father, subsided. "I am disillusioned with how medicine is practiced in this country but not disillusioned with being a physician. "
    ....
    Jauhar's sulfurous chronicle of the medical profession in the US begins almost as soon after he graduates from fellowship and takes a salaried job at a hospital (after 19 years of college education, including a PhD in physics). 
    ...
    The hours are brutal, the money is meager, and before long he becomes part of the venal system, treading dodgy ethical terrain to keep his body, soul, and family together. He moonlights on other jobs and shills for pharma companies as he observes compromises, cronyism, and corruption flow like crud through the system. Doctors, hospital administrators, the health insurance sector, and pharma industry collude and conspire in sundry ways to rip-off patients - some who want to live forever despite being at their careless best.

    The dysfunction is not entirely due to doctors. Jauhar describes how external sources - the government, the insurance industry, and pharma companies - have all played a role. Doctors, particularly primary care physicians and internists, who previously spent 20-30 minutes with each patient, now hurry out after 10 minutes because they now have to see twice the number of patients to generate the same revenue. 
    ....
    As a result, patients do not get the attention they deserve and are not diagnosed properly. Meanwhile, some specialist doctors get to bilk the system (which is why everyone wants to specialize and there are fewer primary care doctors in the US), prescribing a multitude of tests and treatment -some to cover for malpractice liability, others to generate more revenue. Patients who came in complaining of even routine breathlessness are hustled into taking nuclear stress tests and bumped into cardiac procedures. That's because insurance companies don't pay doctors to spend time with patients trying to understand their problem. But they pay for CT scans and stress tests whether they're needed or not.

    Elsewhere, hospital administrators are also constantly putting pressure on doctors to keep occupancy rates high enough to generate profits (somewhat like hotels). Jauhar cites the economist Julian Le Grand's idea of humans as knights, knaves, or pawns, to describe how the American system promotes knavery over knighthood. 
    ...
    But most of all, once you read this tormented, self-lacerating book, it's hard to see a doctor with the same respect. Doctors know it too. In a survey cited by Jauhar, 30 to 40% of US physicians today say they will not choose the same profession if they had a choice; and even more would not encourage their children to. The medical profession, it appears, is terminally ill, in the United States at least.


    .....

    Link (1): wsj.com/usa-ailing-medical-system-a-doctors-perspective


    Link (2): A-heartless-profession

    .....

    regards

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