Monday, September 22, 2014

Multiculturalism with Chinese Characteristics

Multiculturalism with Chinese characteristics...China's war on terror becomes a war on conservative Islam. 

Not that I am anti-Chinese. I am also a fan of China. Actually I am a fan of everyone. Why not? In our Indian culture we never got too worked up about faraway places anyway, which I think is eminently sensible. and with the current civlizational crisis in the Islamicate world, much worse may happen in less Chinese countries.

But while I can sort of let it go, I dont think the Paknationalist dream of a Chinese-Islamic partnership with Pakistan as China's Muslim enforcer will get away unscathed. I assume they will try to put all of this in the catergory of "American propaganda", but some of it does seem to be true. That could become an issue. 

"China’s campaign against separatism and terrorism in its mainly Muslim west has now become an all-out war on conservative Islam, residents here say.
Throughout Ramadan,police intensified a campaign of house-to-house searches, looking for books or clothing that betray “conservative” religious belief among the region’s ethnic Uighurs: women wearing veils were widely detained, and many young men arrested on the slightest pretext, residents say. Students and civil servants were forced to eat instead of fasting, and work or attend classes instead of attending Friday prayers...

btw, those thinking I am joking about the paknationalist dream have not met Pakistani Nationalists of the senior army officer type... See Zaid Hamid  for details (paid generously for his efforts by the ISI, as reported by his own ex-accountant). Its a load of crap, but that doesnt mean it doesnt have believers....

And meanwhile, the bombs go off.  At least three explosions have been reported in China's Xinjiang province, killing two people and injuring several more, Chinese state media has said.

Shanghaiist reports on Project Beauty: the chinese effort to make Uighur women show their face
project-beauty.jpg

Miss Tourism Queen Xinjiang, Finals


CCTV reports on Miss Tourism Xinjiang.
Miss Tourism Queen International kicks off on Sunday in Urumqi, the capital city of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Sunday. 

Xinjiang cultural troupe in Pakistan


China Post reports on Beard informants.


Brand Brown Muslim

....Rahman was born into a family of struggling Bangladeshi immigrants....Putting himself through Oxford, Cambridge, Munich and Yale, he has been a mathematician, investment banker and international human rights lawyer........one is often tempted to speculate about which of the two characters derives from Rahman himself.....Is it the brilliant, Bangladeshi Zafar?....Or could it be the aristocratic Pakistani investment banker with no name?.... 
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In a way (and we accept with great reluctance) the founding fathers of Pakistan had it right. There is a lot to be said for the creation of a "Medina in South Asia" as the authentic voice of sub-continental Sunni muslims. We have strong reasons to believe that once the memories of the dead and afflicted have faded, the sub-surface links between erstwhile East and West Pakistan will re-assert themselves.
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It is a shame that the (West) Pakistanis did not really recognize the Bangali muslims as their peers and equals. The gaps are slowly mending and with the help of imaginative leadership (aided by generous Gulf dollars) can create a broad coalition of Sunni muslim countries across South Asia (and perhaps even beyond).

If such a federation comes to life, a huge vote of thanks will be due to ...who else...the imperialist United Kingdom (and the West as an extension). The Brown Muslims of London and New York who feel alienated by Western ways and discriminated by Western elites will be the prime movers in any reconciliation, rapprochement and if it comes to that even the hard work of federation building.

Already Bangla-Pak alliances are popular in the West...and why not? The BMs are defined (and constrained) by what they are and what they are not...not Indians (but browns), not Arabs (but muslims), not Westerners (but living in the West).

While inter-marriage will help, the heavy lifting must be done by powerful, sublime literature that help underline the commonalities between Bangladeshis and Pakistanis and subtly (and not so subtly) highlight the differences with other people. Thus we have "In the Light of What We Know" by Zia Haider Rahman a cultural (and spiritual) sibling of "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" by Mohsin Hamid and one which adds to the growing (and unique) voice of Brown Muslims. May such a thousand flowers bloom. 
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lehman Sisters (India)

Indian women (elites) are doing superbly, as may be judged by the just released Fortune top-25 list for Asia/Pacific. Worldwide, Indra Nooyi is ranked #3 right after Mary Bara (GE) and Gini Rometty (IBM).

In A/P we have a total of eight Indians out of twenty five. If there is a quibble, there are too many bankers (as we know that in the left-liberal world bankers are automatically considered evil) starting with Gail Kelly (Australia, Westpac) at #1.

Then again feminists have championed the argument that the global recession of 2008 could have been avoided if only there were a band of Lehman Sisters at the steering wheel instead of the mad, bad brother-hood. Taken in that spirit there is much to cheer about the Indian lady-brigade. The Sisters are in charge of half of the assets of the country. It is good to see a world-beating number that you can feel good about. Go team!!!!

In the top ten we have the fav four of Chanda Kochhar (2) of ICICI Bank, Arundhati Bhattacharya (4) of State Bank of India, Nishi Vasudeva (5) of Hindustan Petroleum, and Shikha Sharma (10) of Axis Bank.
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Playing the loony tunes (non-stop)

....I still remember his analysis....how thoughtful and well-researched it was.....whenever he was on air, I used to tell my parents proudly...that’s my professor on TV....I can’t believe that a scholar like him has been shot dead.....It's like losing a father....
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We are assuming (perhaps wrongly) that since Prof Auj was guest of honour at the Iranian Embassy, he must be a Shia. Ceratinly he can be accused of being a non-conformist.
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Mr. Auj, a recipient of a presidential medal of distinction, was known for his unorthodox views and was fighting a legal case against the originator of a widely circulated text message that called him an apostate.....The professor had issued controversial fatwas (religious decrees) — pronouncing for example that a Muslim woman could marry a non-Muslim man, and that women need not remove lipstick or nail polish before saying their prayers. Such views can cause serious offence to some conservative Muslims in Pakistan....
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This much is true, as Omar has pointed out repeatedly, weapons like the blasphemy law which are shiny and useful will not be put away so easily. It will require a mass movement and a big-hearted man (who can rise above all partisanship).
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A Muslim scholar named Muhammad Shakil Auj who had received death threats over "blasphemy" allegations was shot to death Thursday in Karachi, Pakistan. Auj was the dean of Islamic studies at the University of Karachi, and some of the blasphemy allegations against him reportedly originated with his colleagues. 
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Saturday, September 20, 2014

"Indian Muslims live for India....die for India"

Fine words...no doubt meant sincerely. It is smart politics and smart policy to divide the opposition vote-bank (as the BJP sees it) into Indian Muslims (patriots) and Muslim Indians (splittists). Our opinion remains unchanged: actions speak louder than words (and words need to be spoken with care).  
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Above all we need to put a stop to the polarization for votes aka match-fixing (all parties do it), it is an un-reliable recipe for success (even if it was not such a despicable one to begin with). Everything considered, Toilets before Temples seems to be the best slogan for a secular nation full of young people which looks to the future and stops worrying (but still caring) about the past.

Top-line Verdict: Fareed Zakaria is mostly impressed by Narendrabhai Damordas Modi and has a few reservations. FZ describes NDM as "among the sharpest" he has met and that FZ "underestimated him." Also this: "He is very smart, intelligent and focused. He is very driven and has a long term agenda. He wants to be a statesman at the world stage. He is a man who looks to the future and not into the past," the CNN journalist said.
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