Sunday, April 20, 2014

The problem with the Hindu right

When self-appointed guardians turn thieves?

The report submitted by Gopal Subramaniam, amicus curiae – appointed by the apex court to assist it in the case related to the control of the temple, reveals organised pilferage of the temple riches. The 600-page report has put the Travancore royal family that runs the temple now under a shadow of suspicion. The report, prepared by the senior advocate after spending 35 days in the temple and interviewing scores of staff and others related to the temple, quoted a temple staff revealing one instance of smuggling out of 17 kilograms of gold concealed in earth. Subramaniam, a former solicitor general of India, himself discovered a gold plating machine inside the temple. This, he suspects, may have been used to replace original gold with fakes. He also came across large quantity of unaccounted gold and silver inside the temple. The amicus curiae also found an underground tunnel in one of the palaces around the temple and footpath over the vaults in which the treasures, which include rare jewels, stone-studded crowns, heaps of gold and silver coins and idols, are stored.
More here. Frankly I am surprised the loot wasn't more extensive. The usual suspects are involved...
Don't forget that these same people once thrived on the hatred towards South Indians in Mumbai.

I believe in the Tamil Nadu Model

Those who do not learn history...

Gujarat Model

Vishwa Hindu Parishad's (VHP) president Pravin Togadia sent temperatures soaring in Bhavnagar on Saturday evening with a hate speech that targeted Muslims for buying properties in Hindu areas. At night, Togadia joined a group of VHP and Bajrang Dal members on a street protest outside a house purchased by a Muslim businessman near Meghani Circle. While saffron groups have been regularly organizing 'Ram Dhuns' and 'Ram Darbars' to thwart such deals, Togadia went a step further by asking the protesters to take complete control of the house and put a 'Bajrang Dal' board on it. 

China on path to be largest Christian country

Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country, but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied. Christian congregations, in particular, have rocketed since churches began reopening when Communist leader Mao Zedong’s death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution. Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s No. 1 economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.

The Trojan Horse rolls into Birmingham

It all started with an anonymous letter. These days it is actually safer to put pen to paper since no electronic trail can be established and all the fancy govt spyware is for nowt.

The letter claims- boys and girls were segregated in classrooms and assemblies, sex education was banned, and non-Muslim staff were bullied. In one case it was alleged that the teachings of a firebrand al Qaida-linked Muslim preacher were praised to pupils.

This could be a massive hoax or it could be a careful plan by the Wahabbists to replace moderate leadership with militants in schools in Birmingham, Bradford and other locations. The Education Secretary Michael Gove is so worried that he has deputed a special Tzar to investigate the allegations. This has the appearance of an internal power struggle. The Salafists are late-comers to the party but they want all of the cake.
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Twenty-five schools in Birmingham are now under investigation following 200 complaints received by the council in relation to allegations of Islamist "takeovers", according to the leader of the city council

Killed by ice, saved by ice

Filed under the truth is stranger than fiction category: the only men who escaped the (ice) cannon balls of the avalanche were under protection of a big wall of ice.

This is symptomatic of larger problems which need resolution through long-term planning and action. While Himalayas earn a lot of foreign exchange for Nepal, the high volume of thrill seekers - even so far as to creating a traffic jam at 29000 feet -  does not do any good to either man or mountain. The relentless pressure to ease access - there is actually a mad plan to attach ladders on mountains to make climbing easier (see below) - may lead to larger disasters. And now 13 Sherpas are dead due to avalanche (and they will not be the last to be killed).



Photos: Exploring Mount Everest

Boko Haram "not unreasonable"

Nigeria may be winning on the economic front (rated #1 in Africa ahead of SAfrica) but it is surely losing the hearts and minds of its own citizens. (Step 1) The Boko Haram terrorists recently kidnapped 129 girls from a boarding school (presumably imparting western education which BH hates). (Step 2) The govt is unable to do anything about it except make a piss poor announcement that most girls have escaped. (Step 3) Some 14 lucky girls do manage to escape, 115 more are still trapped in the forest. (Step 4) The terrified, poor (in all sense of the term) parents are now scouring the forests and have contracted the services of a vigilante group.

If all this does not suggest end of times, what does? Where is the outrage?? Apparently according to the (white) liberals (of the Guardian) the outrage should be directed at the Nigerian state for not having spread the (oil) wealth around (which is fine in our opinion), however, equally they suggest that Boko Harams' approach "makes sense" and the goal of enforcing Sharia is "not an unreasonable position."

It is beyond us to work out a therapy for this specific condition (liberalitis) but we humbly suggest that Simon Allison talks to the dad who is on record saying that he is willing to die so that his daughter may live. It may help focus the mind.



World of riches awaits (perfect SAT score)

He is a just a kid filled with dreams, but for now it is closer to reality with admissions to Stanford and Harvard. Another Indian who will do very well for himself in the USA (hopefully morning shows what the day will be).

However it will be great if he can come back and give something back to his impoverished nation. That "something" need not be idle money, but ideas about how to create jobs (he wants to be an entrepreneur), and develop algorithms that would help cut down waste and remove the stain of corruption from our daily lives (his preferred majors are maths and computer science).

Congratulations to Arunavha (and his family for support).
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A 19-year-old boy from the city has received admission offers from seven top US varsities, most of them Ivy League, after achieving a perfect score in SAT, the standardized examination for admission to American colleges....Arunavha Chanda had applied to eight US universities and got through seven — Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Duke, Cornelle, Georgia Institute of Technology and Dartmouth College. He has got prestigious scholarships from Columbia and Duke and financial aid from the rest as they do not offer scholarships at under-graduate level.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

"endorsement of Modi ...lose faith in humanity"

S Anand is a ferocious Indian super-caste liberal, his mission is to fight on behalf of all the down-trodden against the (as he sees it) upper-caste dominated Indian society.

The almost existential problem he faces (but refuses to acknowledge) is that the down-trodden may identify with a humble chai-wala Shudra (who is also the face of Hindutva). Indeed Modi has strongly campaigned in Bihar and in many other places as a leader of the OBCs and by necessity (and also by nature) he has had to clear out the super-caste dominated top order of the BJP.

In another life (Bollywood movie script that will never be written) Anand and Modi would have been brother revolutionaries engaged in up-ending the social order in their own way. But here they are, representing the magnetic north and south poles of an India at cross-roads.

Anand now`admits that his decision to censor (he does not like the word, naturally) Joe D'Cruz (famous Tamil author and Modi supporter) may have been made in anger/haste, but the logic of the social justice movement is relentless (see below comments of feminist translator V Geetha), any friend of Modi must be denounced as an enemy.

Anand (in our humble opinion) is too blinded by the BJP packaging. He is a smart enough guy to be able to visualize an India in which Shudras are the kings, and who are quite capable of keeping Dalits and Muslims under-foot. The upper-caste vs. the rest was a clear cut case, it is not clear how Anand and his fellow travellers will handle the rise of the dominant middle-castes (who want to terminate the Dalit Atrocities Act officially and prevent cross-caste marriage socially). Will they even bother to listen to an upper-caste guy like him?

Finally we feel compelled to repeat our statement (since we really love Americanisms), censoring speech is always wrong. All free speech fundamentalists (includes journalists and publishers, writers and readers) must believe that (bad, even evil) speech must be countered by (better) speech.


Did ISI order the hit on Hamid Mir?

Whenever the Taliban takes credit for carrying out a spectacular attack it is time to remember the mysterious workings of the world's best secret service.  
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Amir Mir (Hamid Mir's brother) does not mince his words. These folks have nothing to lose and nowhere to hide.
Amir Mir, who is also a journalist told Geo TV that Hamid had told him two weeks back that if anything happens to him then "elements in the ISI and its chief Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam should be blamed".

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And what has upset the dons so much that led to this murderous assault?
He (Amir Mir) said Hamid told him the intelligence agencies were upset with him for the coverage of the Balochistan issue, Musharraf trial and the political interference by security establishment.
 

A sad song which has been played numerous times (see below). Hamid Mir is reportedly out of danger but the message that was delivered is loud and clear (again). The only peace that is acceptable to the thugs (and their masters) is the peace of the grave.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Polarization and (slow) poisoning

Politicians choose to polarize communities because the votes will be secure when voters are insecure. The secular parties have preyed on the fears of the minority community, the opportunity votes lie with the BJP by preying on the fears of the majority community. When both sides do it (as is the case in India), the phenomenon is called match fixing. Entertainment for the elite while the common people have to face the consequences.

Basharat Peer makes many excellent points about the experience of muslims under Modi-raj- literally slow poisoning them with pollution- but he also does not suggest a way forward for South Asian communities to co-exist peacfully. A world renowned (Kashmiri) man of letters is unable to spare a few words about his fellow Kashmiri Pandits who have been permanently expelled from the valley. They too have their own Citizen Nagars where poisons are choking off the lives of small children. Peer is (justifiably) focused on the slums of Juhapura but prefers to avoid references to the ones closer to home in Jammu. Why not denounce the 2-nation theory as well- your villains are our heroes and vice versa- ideological poisons once injected into the system will not automatically drain away (due to vested interests on both sides).

Someone wise said on these pages that today in India you can get killed for being a muslim, while in Pakistan you can get killed for being a different type of muslim. Then again, when it comes to discussing the state of Hindus in Pakistan and in Bangladesh (and in Sri Lanka) most people prefer to avert their gaze (Hindus foremost amongst them). 

If we want to be inclusive and desire peaceful co-existence (and there is really no other rational path) we should call out all the bandits regardless of  their badge. And call for secularism in the public square. And.. the list is endless.


Indian > Chinese > Koreans

As per the Department of Homeland Security (USA) the 2011-2012 figures for resident (more than 183 days in an year) non-immigrants (excludes green card holders) rank-wise below.

Sifting through the data there appear to be three distinct categories: 
(A) Temps from Mexico, India, Canada, UK...all anglophone countries except for Mexico;
(B) Saudi, China, Korea...only here for education, will return home to take advantage of excellent job prospects;
(C) Germany, France...exchange scholars coming to visit and experience America.

We are not sure if this observation is tied up in any manner with the above data, but Category (A) people (and their home nations) tend to be pro-America, the others, not so much.