Friday, August 1, 2014

Save Gaza is lovely....but not enough

“Sisi is worse than Netanyahu, Egyptians are conspiring against us more than the Jews” .... “They finished the Brotherhood in Egypt, now they are going after Hamas” ...“There is clearly a convergence of interests of these regimes with Israel” ...the Egyptian fight against political Islam and the Israeli struggle against Palestinian militants were nearly identical....“Whose proxy war is it?”.....
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Brit-Pak cricketer Moeen Ali who helped England crush India in the third Test match with a six-wicket haul was reprimanded by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for wearing a wrist-band in support of the people of Gaza. Malaysian cyclist Azizulhasni Awang has also been threatened with a ban by Commonwealth Games officials in Glasgow, Scotland.
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The Hindu-Brotherhood is supposedly in favor of a "robust response" from Israel - enemies of Islam/Muslims worldwide, unite!!! Israelis are asking (and inviting Indian solidarity) what would happen if thousands of rockets were launched from Pak-administered Kashmir on Indian civilians?

That question has been answered before, not once, but many times and was crystal clear in India's response to 26/11 attack on Mumbai. Not even a finger was lifted in anger. Hafiz Saeed is happily surviving with a 10 mil dollar bounty on his person.

There are two important lessons here which point to a single conclusion. 
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Shah-Jahan-Abad rises from the ashes

...the victory of the British East India Company signaled the end of Purani Dilli.....For over 200 years the Red Fort and neighbouring areas housed both Mughal nobility and ordinary citizens.....The capture of Delhi in 1858 led to Shahjahanabad and Chandni Chowk being changed forever.....city was torn apart by the British....they unleashed a vendetta against the people....Muslims were hounded out of and their properties looted and destroyed.....
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From the (mythical???) all-glass capital of Indraprastha (Pandavas, Mahabharata) to the modern times and modern-day New Delhi, the valley marked by the Yamuna river to the east and the Aravalli hills to the West and South-West has been privileged as the seat of political power in India.

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Take any train that terminates in the old (original) Delhi station (for example, Mussorie Express from the eponymous Hill Station) and at journey's end you cross the river and trundle past the magnificent Red Fort. You will not easily forget the experience (we promise).
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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nirvana: Viagra, plus a glass of bubbly

 ....traditional herbs...huge industry worth Rs 9,000 crore..Naxal- ridden district of Bastar in Chhattisgarh.....champagne and a local form of Viagra....after you eat it for three or four months, that your wrinkles have lifted.....Tribals have lived longer and better ....using the abundant herbs and roots to stay vital and virile......
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Here is (hopefully) a bright idea. Grant safe passage and visiting fellowships to Maoists crouching in the jungles of Bastar (and other parts of central India) to travel to China and see first-hand how/why it is "glorious to be rich." 

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Cheap talk you say. How will the poor tribals ever hope to get rich. Here is another bright idea- by selling herbal Viagra to the Chinese!!!

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In turn, the Maoists can persuade the Chinese to not destroy all the tigers and rhinos and other wildlife in the search for the perfect penile care solution. What a win-win-win situation will that be. 


Eye in the Sky. US, Pakistan, U2 etc

Dear Omar;

When he have plenty of free time on hand and nothing else to do then you can go over the following piece of a chapter of cold war history.
Hamid


Eye in the Sky – United States, Pakistan and Reconnaissance during Cold War
Hamid Hussain

Being a friend of the United States is like living on the banks of a great river.  The soil is wonderfully fertile, but every four or eight years the river changes course, and you may find yourself alone in a desert’.  Pakistan’s army chief and President General Muhammad Zia ul Haq to CIA director William Casey, 1983 (1)

United States and Soviet Union were engaged in a worldwide competition for dominance after the Second World War.  Intelligence gathering was an important part of this power struggle between the two super powers.  In the pre-satellite era, high altitude reconnaissance by special aircraft and signal interception were key components of intelligence gathering.  In 1950s and 60s, these operations were conducted from United States as well as from bases all around the globe. 
A variety of equipment was used to gather intelligence including static electronic monitoring facilities on the borders of Soviet Union, high altitude reconnaissance aircraft such as U-2 and RB-57 to collect electronic (ELINT), signals (SIGINT), photos (PHOTOINT), telemetry (TELEINT) and air sampling for detection of radiation emanating from nuclear test sites.  Several agencies including Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Strategic Air Command (SAC) of United States Air Force (USAF), United States Air Force Security Service (USAFSS), United States Army Special Security (USASS) and National Security Agency (NSA) were involved in these wide ranging intelligence activities.

Main focus of these operations was monitoring of missile and nuclear test sites, location of bombers, missile sites and radars and eavesdropping on Soviet communication system.  The general agreement between United States and Pakistan was that in return for Pakistan’s cooperation in such activities, United States would modernize Pakistani armed forces.  Pakistani part of the deal included provision of facilities for U.S. intelligence gathering operations as well as cooperation in some aspects of the operation.  Both parties entered into these agreements looking at their own interests.  United States saw Pakistan as a window through which to peep into Soviet Union’s backyard and Pakistan saw this cooperation as a shortest possible way of modernizing its armed forces. 

Culture and Open Defecation

A couple of weeks ago The New York Times ran a front-page story on the widespread prevalence of open defecation and malnutrition in India. This bit caught a lot of attention:
Open defecation has long been an issue in India. Some ancient Hindu texts advised people to relieve themselves far from home, a practice that Gandhi sought to curb.

You can read rebuttals here and here.