Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Storming the Red Zone...with human shields?

.....Imran Khan’s terrible hunger for power is a frightening thing to see...his refusal to accept that system can only be improved, not torn down......More than convincing people of Nawaz Sharif being unfit to be Prime Minister, Imran has made a more solid case for why he should never, ever be awarded that mantle....
We are outsiders...and this comment will probably give offense: Captain Sahib has gone completely bonkers. We agree with The Nation (Pakistan) editorial that Imran Khan should declare victory and go home.

It is bad enough that IK wears the mask of civil disobedience by urging his supporters to not pay taxes. Presently, just about 0.9% of Pakistan pays tax (he should know of this). How is such a step somehow enlightened?

But to encourage women and children to march to the Red Zone against the full might of the military...is insane. Add to this the crazy ultimatums. Nawaz Sharif supposedly has till Wednesday (Aug 20) to resign. What if he does not?

12:55am DawnNews reported sources as having said that the Pakistan Army has taken charge of the Interior Ministry's control room. Former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah however has rejected the reports, saying that the Interior Ministry is still in charge of the control room.

Sunil Dutta: super-cop

..I'm a cop....If you don't want to get hurt, don't challenge me....don’t argue with me.....don’t say I’m a racist pig.....don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge.....don’t scream at me that you pay my salary......
Sunil Dutta, a Professor of Homeland Security at Colorado Tech University, has been an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department for 17 years. The views presented here are his own and do not represent the LAPD.
  • M.A. Homeland Security, Naval Postgraduate School, United States Center for Homeland Defense and Security, Monterey, CA, (2012)
  • Ph.D. Plant Biology, University of California, Davis (1995)
  • M.S. Plant Physiology, University of Florida, Gainesville (1989)
  • B.S. Botany, Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, India (1986)
.....Dr. Sunil Dutta is a full time law enforcement professional working in Los Angeles.  He has been with the LAPD for sixteen years.  His assignments have included Watch Commander, Internal Affairs Investigator, patrol officer, and Collision Investigator.....Prior to joining the LAPD, Dutta was a scientist with a specialization in biochemistry (host-pathogen interactions, plant hormones, carbohydrate metabolism, and regulation of dormancy).  He is an amateur musician..... 
To tell the truth (and after you have recovered from the shock), that was a mighty impressive op-ed. 

Dr Dutta is most likely from a feisty Punjabi (or Haryanvi....based on his bio) background. He is also the "first" Indian-American law and order conservative that we have ever heard from (or heard about). We presume that his students really dig his non-nonsense way of looking at things (it requires years of practice to pitch it just right). Also he is a sharp-spoken biologist (we know a few of them).

As for the rest, yes...excellent advice...for blacks and browns. When we first learned to drive (in the USA) it was drummed into our rebellious heads (incidentally, by a black tutor) that whenever the police stop you for any reason, come to a stop, slow and easy (hazard lights ON), keep your windows lowered and your hands visibly placed on the wheel. 

First among equals (men)

.....During Ramzaan, we’d call the Hindus and Christians over for aapam and curry...We shared our lives.....I sat up all night for Shivaratri.....Vilakkupara has a temple with Shiva  as the pratishtham (presiding deity).....all the festivities during Makara Sankaranti, I was part of all that..... 
We would guess that the purpose of a "First Men in India" list (see below) is for scoring in a "general knowledge" or GK exam. A mind numbing exercise, if there was one.

The madness of GK exams is highlighted in a famous 1970s Bong novel - Jana Aranya by Shankar (Mani Shankar Mukhopadhyay), later a memorable movie by Satyajit Ray. The goal is to short-list nine out of 27,000 graduates. One question relates to a name that is possibly an Indian river OR a (eponymous) ship with the India navy. The examinees are confused, this is a public sector organization (owned by the government) held exam, hence the examiners will prefer the ship as the correct answer!!!

Now all lists are limited to a fashion and so is "First Men in India." It can be expanded (and cut short) in so many different ways. For example, we consider this of the utmost importance, that Abhinav Singh Bindra won the first individual gold medal in the Olympics (Beijing, 2008). If you have scored a once in a hundred year achievement, it deserves to be celebrated.

Building Toilets not Really Useful?

Left, right, and toilets:
Most people in India defecate in the open. Most people worldwide who defecate in the open live in India. The diseases spread by open defecation kill hundreds of thousands of Indian children each year and stunt the physical and cognitive development of those who survive....The importance of removing faecal germs from children’s environments follows clearly from economists’ growing understanding of early-life human capital accumulation. Study after study is showing that exposure to disease and other health insults in the critical first months of life translate into quantitatively important lost productivity as adults (for a recent review, see Currie and Vogl, 2013). If children exposed to more open defecation grow up to be adults who earn less and pay less tax, open defecation is not only a health disaster but an economic one too.
Remember that 35% of Indian population is under 18. For this cohort time has nearly run out to make any meaningful intervention. So the "economic disaster" has largely already happened. The issue is reducing its severity and preventing its future occurrence.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Patriarchy- but not always

The deliberate ambiguity of 'love jihad':
This spectre haunting social conservatives throughout the land, is known as 'love jihad' — the idea that Muslim men are allegedly attempting to woo non-Muslim, especially Hindu women, with the end result being (a) marriage and/or voluntary conversion, or (b) sexual exploitation and/or forced conversion. Now, let us pause and notice how (b) is of course criminal while (a) is legal. The concept of 'love jihad' itself seems very ambiguous. We would argue that this ambiguity is deliberate. 
Extremist and patriarchal forces - mostly Hindus, occasionally Christians as well -
In other parts of the world, Buddhists and Sikhs also engage in such allegations.
are deliberately conflating the two different things above with very severe consequences for the communal amity of India. They are mixing love between a woman who happens to be non-Muslim and a man who happens to be Muslim with rape or "grooming" of Hindu women, even if it begins with the promise of love by a Muslim man. The latter has happened, but so have similar sexual exploitation by co-religionists. The issue is clearly not just about rape itself, but a broader sense of community "honour" that is seen as being vested in its women. 
The conflation serves the cause of patriarchy in Hindu society and is driven by a strange form of envy at the patriarchal setup in Muslim society which might be worse. The argument that one hears in social media and on the street, and one that is unlikely to be articulated by political representatives publicly, basically boils down to this - "They do not allow 'their' women to marry us, but they want to take 'our' women"...