What will happen on May 16th, 2014?

 

Rajeev Srinivasan

 

I write this shortly after the exit polls for the 2014 elections have been published, and they have uniformly suggested that the NDA will come to power with somewhere between 240 and 300 seats on their own. If you believe that the exit polls and the elections have successfully captured the will of the people, this is good. But if you are a suspicious type, it is not difficult to imagine that another constitutional coup will be readied in the next couple of days till May 16th.

 

I have written about several constitutional coups successfully carried out by the Congress in the past http://www.rediff.com/news/column/column-rajeev-srinivasan-4-ways-the-congress-won-power-through-constitutional-coups/20140107.htm , and I see no reason to believe they have suddenly reformed themselves. They will hang on to power at all costs, and will be prepared to sacrifice the last Indian for it.

 

I would be astonished, indeed floored, if there were a smooth and simple transfer of power to the NDA. The Congress did demit office once, when Indira Gandhi lost in 1977 or so, but today’s Congressis are a different kettle of fish. They have more to hide, and also have more at stake, including their ill-gotten gains salted away, probably, in Macau these days as Switzerland has gotten a bit too hot.

 

In this context, several statements made by Congress bigwigs look sinister. A few days ago, P Chidambaram promised that on the 16th, there will be a big surprise. Now coming from one of the most astute of Congressmen, and one known not to exaggerate, this probably means that we are in for a “May Surprise” much like incumbent American presidents like to deliver “October Surprises” that help them.

 

Rahul Gandhi, the heir-apparent manqué, was more precise: he promised that 22,000 people would die if Narendra Modi were to be elected. Why exactly 22,000? He did not elaborate.

 

But Amaresh Misra, a leading Congressman, was quite vocal in a series of tweets on May 13th. He promised rivers of blood. In fact he was quite blood-curdling, here is a selection, verbatim. It doesn’t appear to be mere bravado; and since he is a confidant of Rahul, we need to take his threats seriously; in fact I am not sure why he has not been subject either to the Section 66A provisions that have been used to shut down people deemed dangerous on the Internet, or to the Election Commission’s strictures regarding the model code of conduct during elections.

 

Amaresh Misra ‏@AmareshMisra  12h

To save democracy, all those supporting right wing forces on twitter will be killed. We will send CRPF to your houses. Drag you out/shoot!

Amaresh Misra ‏@AmareshMisra  12h

A fascist leader who will kill minorities, change India’s secular character will be stopped by the Indian State by any means!

Amaresh Misra ‏@AmareshMisra  12h

We will come out on the streets on 16th May to combat communal forces. We will kill all anti-national BJP supporters!

Amaresh Misra ‏@AmareshMisra  11h

Whoever supports Modi is a Pakistani agent. He is liable to be killed with a bullet above his waist!

Amaresh Misra ‏@AmareshMisra  9h

In Egypt, the army killed 2000 fundamentalists to preserve secularism. We will kill 2,00,000 Sanghis to save Indian democracy!

Amaresh Misra ‏@AmareshMisra  7h

Indian people will not accept even one seat to BJP/NDA beyond 180, cause that means rigging by Modi. We will call in the army. We will kill!

Amaresh Misra ‏@AmareshMisra  7h

Election Commission will be responsible for any violence on 16th May. EC needs to insure BJP/NDA does not get 1 seat beyond 180!

 

To put this in context, I wrote recently (in the unfortunately titled http://www.rediff.com/news/column/rajeev-srinivasan-the-time-will-come-when-america-can-dictate-to-india/20140303.htm ) about the Berkeley mafia focusing on ‘violent riots in India’. The general tone – and the decidedly dubious members of the group – suggested to me that far from ‘studying violent riots’ they may well be keen to incite a few. Reading between the lines, some of them, including US residents, have been spending a lot of time in the field in India, although it is not clear if they are trying to construct new and improved narratives for Gujarat 2002, or whether they are doing reconnaissance for new riots to be launched.

 

To add to this, to my personal chagrin as my alma mater, Stanford’s Law School has just produced a report entitled, ponderously, “When Justice Becomes the Victim: The Quest for Justice After the 2002 Violence in Gujarat” http://humanrightsclinic.law.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/When-Justice-Becomes-the-Victim-secure.pdf . I haven’t read it, but judging from the breathlessness with which it was sprung upon an unsuspecting public by lefties – I imagine it consists of more warmed-over nonsense that paints the 2002 Gujarat riots as, well, the greatest example of man’s inhumanity to man, since, let me guess, the fire-bombing of Tokyo in WW2 that killed 100,000 people?

 

What this suggests, in conjunction with the rabid anti-Modi rhetoric from the western military-industrial-media complex, especially the New York Times and The Economist, is that the imperial and religious-conversion types there have no intention of letting go of India, now that they have locked on to it as a prime target for domination, and have amassed (in Rajiv Malhotra’s terminology) an army of sepoys to ensure that their writ continues to run in India.

 

Therefore, there are several scenarios I fear may be played out in the near future:

 

  1. The 1996 scenario, with the NDA only getting 250 seats, and being forced to demit office after only 13 days
  2. The AAP scenario, with a puppet government sworn in and the Congress pulling the strings from behind
  3. The Kerala 1957 scenario, with the country being made ungovernable through manufactured violence
  4. The Z scenario, with Modi being liquidated and martial law being imposed

The 1996 scenario

Atal Behari Vajpayee only managed to get 252 seats, and with all the ‘secular’ parties unwilling to support him, was forced to resign after 13 days and call for fresh elections. This is the most benign scenario the Congress might follow: and it would be a relatively simple matter for them to manipulate the Electronic Voting Machines to get this outcome.

 

We have known for a long time (see indiaevm.org or my previous column http://news.rediff.com/column/2010/sep/01/the-real-issue-with-electronic-voting-machines.htm ) that EVMs are highly vulnerable. Given the opaque and easily-penetrated nature of election security, and given endemic corruption, it is highly probable that EVMs can be manipulated to come out with any result desired by the powers-that-be. Let us note that the Supreme Court-mandated VVPATs (EVMs with printed receipts ready for a recount if need be) are in only 20,000 out 18,00,000 booths, in effect making the court order superfluous. We still have the EVMs that did such yeoman duty in 2009.

 

I predict that they will confine the NDA to 250 seats, thus leaving Narendra Modi to the tender mercies of the Teen Kanya (J Jayalalitha, Mamata Banerjee, and Mayawati), whose support the NDA would require to hit the magic 272. All of them are tough customers, and it would be very difficult for the NDA to win them over (with Jayalalitha a slightly better prospect). Chances are that a fresh election will have to be called later this year.

 

The problem is that Narendra Modi’s literally superhuman efforts addressing hundreds of rallies (and they were more than a normal human being should be asked to deliver) are what brought about the Modi Wave or Tsunami. It would be literally impossible for him to replicate this feat, and thus a by-election would bring a much-diminished tally to the NDA, obliging them to once again solicit the various regional satraps and being forced to accept their agendas.

 

And how will the obvious disconnect between the exit polls and the election ‘results’ be explained away? Oh, the exit polls are always wrong, they will say, pulling out the numbers from 2009 for reference. In fact, the Economic Times has already done so, right on cue (“Before results, opinions”, May 12th). There is also the small matter, as pointed out by Monu Nalapat in 2009, that the EC web site had some results before counting started – that is, instead of the server taking data from the individual EVMs, the results were pre-programmed into the server!

And oh, just to make things more entertaining, they may actually pull off the trick of having Arvind Kejriwal defeat Modi in Varanasi. EVM magic at  your service!

The AAP scenario

 

By now it is clear that the Aam Admi Party, despite all its hoopla, was merely a mask for the Congress, and a way for it to split anti-incumbency votes. The proper modus operandi was used to perfection in the Delhi polls recently. By sacrificing the unpopular Sheila Dixit (well, let’s not cry for her – she’s comfortably ensconced as Kerala Governor: nice sinecure) the Congress was able to blunt the BJP’s thrust to rule Delhi.

 

By projecting AAP as different from the Congress, and then quietly supporting them at an opportune time, the election was essentially stolen from the BJP: the AAP made big inroads into the educated urban cohort that is the most fed-up with the Congress. Naturally, western vested interests, in the form of various Agencies and Foundations, provided the lion’s share of the funding, and the media, with alacrity, anointed Arvind Kejriwal as a serious contender for the Prime Minister post. (In reality, the AAP may win 0-1 seat, at best 2-3.)

 

This scenario can work with that hoary chestnut, the Third Front government that will surely be trotted out should the NDA not get a clear majority. As in 2004, when the Communists ‘supported the UPA from outside’, it would not be difficult to arrange a ramshackle and unsteady coalition to form the government, with the Congress ‘supporting it from outside’.

 

Of course, this would lead to disaster, as investors, especially the FIIs who have run up the Sensex and the rupee, immediately leave in droves, as they would be aware that absolutely nothing would move forward on the economic front. Status quo ante, stagflation.

The Kerala 1957 scenario

 

The Communist government of EMS Nambudiripad, duly elected, was ousted in 1957 using a classic, reputedly standard spy agency tactic. By funding and supporting the most reactionary elements in Kerala (you can guess who they were), the three-letter Agency was able to manufacture a law-and-order situation.

 

The great democrat Jawaharlal Nehru, far from upholding the sanctity of the democratic process, promptly used Section 356 of the Constitution to impose President’s rule and kicked EMS out. Not that I hold any brief for the Communists, but this was a patently authoritarian act, and it set India on the slippery slope towards later, indiscriminate use of the Center’s powers to get rid of state governments it simply did not like.

 

Given the Berkeley mafia’s exertions, and the Stanford guys’ fulminations, not to mention seriously bone-chilling perorations in The Guardian, etc. by all sorts of people – and I have to mention that, to its credit, the Wall Street Journal  has kept away from this travesty – it seems likely that the West (especially John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and other assorted Democrats) is intent on creating problems in India.

 

There have been many instances when popularly-elected leaders have been subverted – the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran, or that of Allende in Chile come to mind – after the creation of serious law and order situations. In case you think I am kidding, Exhibit A: last month’s Assam riot between Muslims and Bodos; last week’s Meerut riot between Muslims and Jains (yes, Jains!); and today’s Hyderabad riot between Muslims and Sikhs.

 

The threats from Rahul Gandhi and Amrish Misra point to the likelihood of such planned ‘uprisings’ taking place. Of course, the use of violence to disrupt and tie down an administration can happen even if a Modi government does come to power. Incidentally, this is very close to what is happening in Thailand right now, as low-level violence has paralyzed the nation, and a court has just asked Yingluck Shinawatra to step down.

The Z scenario

 

This is the most alarming, but by no means unthinkable, scenario. The film Z by Costa-Gavras, based on real-life incidents in Greece in the 1950s, shows how an enormously popular candidate for the presidency is assassinated by the military junta in power. When popular unrest bubbles up, the generals declare martial law and countermand the elections. This is quite possibly the greatest political film of all time, and it is my nightmare scenario.

 

Let us remember that as long ago as five or six years ago Karan Thapar, a journalist with strong ties to the Congress, talked about “the sudden removal of Narendra Modi”. It was obvious that he was thinking about an assassination, a physical liquiation. So this scenario has been thought about by at least some people.

 

I argued some time ago http://www.indiafacts.co.in/author/rajeev-srinivasan/#sthash.DtEgOnxf.dpbs that Modi had grown too popular to be assassinated – as the backlash would surely propel the BJP to office. However, now that the election is over, that point is moot, and it would not constrain anybody.

 

And exactly what will happen in such a scenario? Even though people have suggested there would be a civil war, I doubt it. The Army has remained apolitical and thus a marginal player. The average Indian is too docile to go out there and throw Molotov cocktails, and even if we had more hot-heads in the population, as in Iran or Ukraine or Egypt, or even in the US (remember the “Occupy Wall Street” etc. demonstrations?), it is hard to sustain an agitation over a long period, and the authorities can wear you down – you do have to go to work and earn a living, after all. Thus, an actual coup would become a fait accompli.

 

I have outlined above several scenarios that might unfold by Friday. I truly hope that I am wrong, and that there will be a smooth transition of power without the decimation of any of the institutions of the State. If otherwise, I hope that the least violent and the least damaging path will be taken, for the sake of this great nation.

2291 words, May 14, 2014

Errata: An earlier version said 1998 instead of 1996 for the short-lived Vajpayee government. Sorry.

 

A slightly edited version of the following was published on rediff.com on march 1st, 2012 at http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-social-contract-why-modi-scares-the-usual-suspects/20120301.htm

Social Contract: Why Narendra Modi scares the bejeezus out of the usual suspects

Rajeev Srinivasan on why Narendra Modi is a threat to the establishment because he overturns many of the convenient myths they propagate

It is a predictable a winter ritual: around this time every year it gets into high gear. A bit like Super Bowl season or duck-hunting season: the season to invent, regurgitate and shed crocodile tears over stories about how wicked Narendra Modi is.

There are quite possibly three reasons why there is such widespread and venomous criticism of Modi, apart from the obvious political fact that he has become a viable candidate for national office. Any one of these is good enough reason for Modi-bashing; but given all of them simultaneously, no wonder his detractors are practically apoplectic.

The three reasons, in my opinion, are:

  • Modi has created a Social Contract with the people of Gujarat, which seems to work; it has broader national implications as well
  • Modi has tamed the corruption monster, by not taking bribes himself, but more importantly, preventing others from doing so
  • Modi has shown total contempt for political shysters and media hucksters: this hurts their amour-propre; not to mention their pocket-books

Modi’s greatest achievement has been the fact that he has created a clear social contract with the people of his state. (I am indebted to my friend B Rao of Los Angeles for this insight). Modi promised them development, and he delivered. In return, he asked for just one thing: discipline; and the people delivered. This has become a win-win situation for both parties, and for investors: there is a visible change in Gujarat’s fortunes, right on the ground.

The State GDP growth rate of Gujarat in the recent past has been at a scorching pace of 11.3% in 2005 (see http://www.rediff.com/business/slide-show/slide-show-1-glimpses-of-gujarats-high-growth-story/20120209.htm), considerably greater than that of India as a whole. This does not, alas, satisfy carping critics.

There was a long essay in Caravan magazine: I glanced through it, and one of the points made was that, even though $920 billion in investment had been promised for Gujarat during the last few ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ meets, only about 25% of these have materialized. That, however, is the norm in India: no more than about 25% of the promised investment actually materializes.

But look at the sheer numbers: almost a trillion dollars in investment proposals, and actual investment of, say, $230 billion! That is astonishing. This number can be directly contrasted with another large number: $462 billion. That is the amount estimated by Global Financial Integrity http://india.gfintegrity.org/ as the total amount siphoned out of India through illegal financial flows between 1948 and 2008.

In an intriguing irony, ‘Vibrant Gujarat 2011’ saw MoUs for $462 billion being signed – precisely the same as the amount estimated by Global Financial Integrity as having been spirited away in sixty years of allegedly socialist rule at the Center!

Modi has delivered on his implicit Social Contract: growth in return for order. When you think of social contracts, there are several models to consider, for instance those attributed to Europeans such as Locke, Rousseau and Hobbes, medieval imperialist models, Indian models, and the Confucian ‘Iron Rice Bowl’.

A common thread among all these models is that there is a tradeoff: there are rights, and there are responsibilities. It is necessary that you give away some of your rights in the interest of the greater good of society. The models differ in details, as well as in perspective – for instance is it teleological/utilitarian, preferring the greatest good for the greatest number, or is it deontological, preferring to protect the rights of the very weakest members? In some cases, it is neither, and is meant to be purely exploitative.

It could be argued that Modi has revived a traditional Hindu/Buddhist social contract, which, in return for discipline and hard work, provides the populace with security and righteous order. The population may pursue dharma, artha, kama, or moksha, without interference from the State; but they pay taxes and do their civic duty, and the State guarantees protection from predatory outsiders. This is roughly in line with the American idea of the rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

This general Indian principle also evolved into the idea of gentlemanly warfare, wherein non-combatants were spared, with only the kshatriya class involved in bloodshed, battles ended at nightfall, and winners were chivalrous to fallen foes.

This sort of contract is explicit in Emperor Ashoka’s reign, and most vividly in Chanakya’s Arthashastra. Chanakya laid out in detail the kinds of information-gathering and management control that a sovereign needs to institutionalize, and contrary to popular mythology, Ashoka employed thousands of spies to ensure that any unrest was nipped in the bud and malcontents isolated.

This model was what turned India into the most prosperous nation in the world, as detailed in Angus Maddison’s magisterial economic history of the world. It was in fact the world’s leading economic power till roughly 1700 CE.

This model worked for several thousand years, from the earliest known stages of the Indus-Sarasvati civilization roughly five thousand years, up until the arrival of Arab and Turkish hordes in the 1100 CE timeframe, and later, the European hordes circa 1700 CE. This dharma or ‘natural order’ in Locke’s terms has been forgotten by modern Indians, brought up on a steady diet of misinformation.

The models that today’s Indians are more familiar with are Hobbesian, leading to “nasty, brutish and short” lives – those of empire. We have endured three forms of this imperial model: Muslim, Christian, and Communist. And we have barely survived.

The Arab/Turkish Muslim social contract of dhimmitude imposes order by explicitly reducing the rights of certain groups (non-Muslims) while allowing them the minimum possible subsistence to exploit them as productive members of society. However, in India, this was an unstable equilibrium because the Hindus resisted, and resisted continuously, unlike non-Muslims in, say, Iraq, Egypt or Persia.

The European Christian social contract of colonialism imposes order by explicitly pursuing a policy of overseas theft and loot, based on the superiority of “guns, germs and steel”. Interestingly, this social contract is now unraveling, as there are no more subject peoples to loot and steal from: Europe is collapsing into oblivion.

An excellent interview in the Wall Street Journal on February 26th with historian Norman Davies http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203918304577240984211126416.html suggests that the end is nigh for Europe. Why? Its social contract with its citizens has been that they would get prosperity in return for providing the muscle for overseas expeditions. Bereft of empire and forced to fall back on their own (minimal) resources, countries like the UK are rapidly reverting to their natural, Hobbesian state: the riots in several cities last year are indicative of this.

The Communist social contract is a form of fascism and Stalinism.  It demands absolute loyalty from the public in return for… well, promises, but not often the reality, of prosperity. There is the stinging criticism that Communism offers you a version of democracy: “one man, one vote, one time”. That’s it. One time.

The incarnations of this contract range from the brutal gulags of the Soviet Union, China and Cambodia to the more mellow socialism in India. But that last, even though less violent in visible ways, has been an economic crime against humanity: it prevented 400 million Indians from climbing out of poverty. After sixty years of it, Manmohan Singh called hunger in India a ‘national shame’. It is indeed a shame, and it indicates the utter failure of the Communist/socialist social contract.

This is why the powers-that-be fear Modi’s obviously successful social contract: much as they try to paint Modi as hell-bent on victimizing Muslims, the latter have voted with their feet. They are willing to stay in Gujarat, eschew violence, and prosper. The Hindus are doing exactly the same thing: they have stayed, eschewed violence, and prospered. Precisely: a real secular state, where you succeed not based on your religion, but on how hard you work.

So clearly there is an alternative to the orthodox Stalinism of the powers-that-be, one that works. How terrible it will be if the rest of the country took notice! Whatever will the purveyors of failed social contracts do? That is reason number one Modi is bad.

Reason number two is related. Endemic corruption, and lack of leadership, are the biggest problems India faces. There are many leaders who are supposedly personally honest, but who allow those around them to indulge in the mass loot of the public treasury. Is that any better than if they were themselves indulging in theft? Probably not: it just adds hypocrisy to their other crimes.

Modi has been able to fix corruption with a singular mantra: not only is he personally not on the take but he doesn’t have offspring on the take either (Bhishma-like, eh?). But what’s more, he doesn’t allow anybody else to be corrupt either. This is most distressing for the neta-babu crowd. The fishes and loaves of office are turning into ashes in their salivating mouths: so what is the point in spending big bucks to get a rentier job or an MLA seat unless your rent-seeking self can recoup the investment in a matter of months? None whatsoever, and that is precisely the point!

It is amusing to note that Narendra Modi is immensely popular everywhere in Gujarat, except in the capital Gandhinagar – his party gets defeated here routinely, while it gets two-thirds majorities elsewhere! The neta-babu log are, understandably, unhappy with him. But I suspect the legendary mango man (aam aadmi) is quite happy.

The third reason is that, just as Modi has tamed the politician-bureaucrat nexus, he has also figured out the way to deal with the loud and self-important media, soi-disant “intelligentsia” and the NGO crowd. He doesn’t pay any attention to their foaming at the mouth; in fact, if I remember right, there was some incident where he simply got up and walked off a live TV interview when the rabid host kept hyperventilating.

India’s media and “intellectuals” have fattened themselves by attaching themselves to the mammaries of the welfare state, and following a simple mantra: “All the news that will get us crumbs from the government or junkets from foreign donors”. In fact, India has some of the most astonishingly biased people in positions of power.

There is, for instance, a statement by an activist immediately after the Sabarmati Express was set on fire, and 59 Hindus, mostly women and children, were burnt alive. This person said: “while I condemn today’s gruesome attack, you cannot pick up an incident in isolation. Let us not forget the provocation. These people were not going for a benign assembly. They were indulging in blatant and unlawful mobilization to build a temple and deliberately provoke the Muslims in India.” (‘Mob attacks Indian train’, Washington Post, Feb 28th, 2002 http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A13791-2002Feb27?language=printer).

Now imagine that this person sits on the all-powerful National Advisory Council! Let us now further imagine that this person has relentlessly filed petition after petition against Modi; has been accused of serial perjury and witness tampering; and is yet considered a credible spokesperson.

This is just an example of a media/NGO nexus that believes strongly in “truth by repeated assertion”, a successful tactic by the Communists too. That the Indian media is prostituting itself to the highest bidder (when they are not being bigots) is no surprise; no wonder Modi doesn’t care two hoots what they think. But this, of course, annoys the hell out of said media who fancy themselves as judge, jury and executioner put together.

There is a minor cottage industry that is centered on explaining how Hinduism is at the root of all evils in India. The latest is a bunch of misinformed kids at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, who wrote an essay wherein they blamed everything that is wrong in India on the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Arthashastra. There is ample evidence that this sort of ritualized strawman-building-and-knocking-down is a successful imperial tactic.

For instance, the British claimed Ayurveda and kalari payat were evil, banned them, and burned the books. They claimed the ancient practice of smearing cowpox pus as a preventive against smallpox was ‘barbaric’, and banned it. They claimed devadasis were an abomination, but in fact they were, like geishas, cultured women of substance, who often endowed public works like dam-building. They claimed dowry and jati are evil; but dowry, according to Veena Talwar Oldenburg’s remarkable research, was the result of British practices. Jati is the very reason Indian civilization has survived, because its distributed nature makes it hard to eradicate.

Narendra Modi is one person who has figured out the antidote to the venom from the self-proclaimed “intellectuals” and their newspapers and TV. He goes over their heads to a higher-authority: the people. And the people respond, showing said “intellectuals” how superfluous they are. No wonder they are livid.

Thus, by re-creating a viable social contract, by being an ethical leader, and by ignoring the vicious, Modi has shown he has the one thing that India needs: leadership. Not at all good, if you are one of those currently pretending to be leaders.

2200 words, 26th Feb 2012

I wrote this initially for publication in a newspaper, but on second thoughts decided they would have too hard a time with it. Hence I decided to just post it here. I omitted to add a bunch of other information I had because of the word limit, but it would be useful to think of:

a) how the media and the State always suppress information about the misadventures of Christist godmen: the Sister Abhaya case has been essentially shelved because the Supreme Court (how conveniently!) decided that narco-analysis was not acceptable, just in time for the perps nun Seffi and godmen Kottoor and Puthrukkayil to escape

b) how large-scale conversion has turned not only the Northeast, but most of Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh into Xtist-majority areas where Hindus are oppressed

c) how land-grab is one of the major objectives: the tribals are converted, and their land is simply taken over by the Xtists. The entire Western Ghats in Kerala, formerly tribal and public land, has been captured by Xtists

d) how Xtists are expropriating Hindu cultural artifacts and claiming them to be their own, eg. bharatanatyam, mohini attam, yoga, karnatic music

e) how Hindu leaders and Hindu children are being abducted in Pakistan (especially in Baluchistan) and there is not a peep from the Government of India about it. Most recently, the most revered Hindu monk, an 80-year-old, was abducted and hasn’t been heard from since — we should presume he has been murdered

f) how Xtist icons have started appearing with State benediction. The crosses on official Indian coins are clearly Xtist idols.

I did not have space to go into these, but they are worth considering.

Here’s the original article:

Is there a powerful mafia working tirelessly to convert Hindus?

Rajeev Srinivasan wonders if there is a malevolent design behind how Hindu leaders are consistently subjected to brutality by the State

What do Aseemanand, Lakshmananda and the Kanchi Swami have in common? They were all making things difficult for missionaries to meet their conversion targets, and they paid for that ‘sin’. There is a sinister pattern – if you stand in the way of the conversion mafia, they will liquidate you.

Aseemanand’s social and educational work for decades in the tribal Dangs district of Gujarat has been highly appreciated by the tribals themselves. But he has been jailed on flimsy charges, likely tortured, and what sounds suspiciously like a ‘confession-at-the-point-of-a-gun’ has been wrung out of him.

Lakshmananda, the octogenarian monk who worked for thirty years in Orissa’s tribal areas, was the subject of many death threats; he was physically assaulted; and finally he and others in his ashram were gunned down with AK-47s.

The Kanchi Swami was humiliated – tejovadham – on trumped-up charges; he was jailed like a common criminal (as though house arrest were unknown in India), in a deliberate effort to damage the prestige of the Kanchi Sankara Matham. The Kanchi Swami’s ‘crime’? He has been active among the scheduled castes in Tamil Nadu, ensuring their inclusion in what had long been criticized as an upper-caste institution.

The list is endless: there is the Bangalore monk Nityananda – wasn’t it quite amazing that minutes after his allegedly compromising videos were flashed on TV, there was a self-organizing ‘irate mob’ available to burn down his ashram? After all the righteous indignation, when the alleged woman in the video – actress Ranjitha – said that the whole thing was fabricated by a missionary, who is also issuing death threats against her, that was blanked out by the pliant media.

Possible reason for the wrath against Nityananda: the charismatic, lower-caste monk was seen as a role model, and was attracting large numbers of young followers from the lower castes.

Then there were the persistent allegations against the Sai Baba of Puttaparthi regarding pedophilia – it turned out that when challenged in court, the accusers simply had no leg to stand on.

There have been many attempts to damage the prestige of the Sabarimala shrine. The possible reason: there has been a lot of conversion among lower castes, especially in Tamil Nadu, by the judicious use of a Madonna cult. This appeals to the Indian weakness for mother-and-child memes (as in the baby Krishna imagery), and resulted in a rather good harvest. The growth of the Sabarimala pilgrimage halted this particular conversion juggernaut.

First, there was the attempt to physically wipe out the shrine – although that could be attributed to more mundane motives, such as encroaching on the forest land nearby. Some time in the 1950s, before the pilgrimage became popular, Christians actually set fire to the temple.

Then there was the attempt to manufacture a historical Christian presence at Nilakkal, on the route of the pilgrimage. Allegedly, a 2000-year-old wooden cross, installed by the famous Saint Thomas, was unearthed intact. That would have been a genuine miracle – 2000-year-old wood does not survive buried in Kerala’s humid earth; and Thomas had never even come to India (he died in Ortona, Italy, as certified by the Vatican). But it was a good try.

Third, there was the ‘compromising photographs’ ploy. The chief priest of Sabarimala was invited to an apartment in Cochin, where he was coerced into compromising positions, and photographed, by some Christians.

Fourth, there was the “I went to Sabarimala and touched the deity” scam by a film-extra. She claimed that, contrary to custom that women of child-bearing age do not visit the shrine, she had gone there in her twenties, and in the crush of pilgrims, had fallen in the sanctum and touched the murti by accident, thus polluting it. All of which turned out to be untrue. No surprise that she is married to a Christian.

If you put two and two together, it can be seen that there is a Vietnam, or a South Korea, developing in India. These Buddhist-dominated nations were rapidly Christianized in the post-war period; Buddhist monks were seen self-immolating in South Vietnam, in self-sacrificing protest against religious oppression at the hands of Catholic tyrants like Madame Nhu.

Similarly, South Korea, for long a Buddhist-majority nation, was turned in five decades into a Bible-thumping country. In India’s northeast, of course, converted Nagas now demand a separate Christian Naga nation. Violent Christian terrorist groups massacre Hindus – Shanti Tripura, a Hindu monk, was shot dead (ah, the signature AK-47 again) in his temple. The same with Bineshwar Brahma, Hindu Bodo leader and litterateur. Then there are the Hindu Reang tribals, 45,000 of whom were ethnically cleansed from Tripura for refusing to convert.

This pattern of abuse suggests that there is indeed a systematic, sinister plan in action.

Rajeev Srinivasan is a management consultant.

825 words, Jan 8, 2011

A version of the following appeared in DNA on 24th August at http://www.dnaindia.com/opinion/report_the-magnificent-incongruity-of-onam-in-declining-kerala_1427765, and the pdf is at:http://epaper.dnaindia.com/epaperpdf/24082010/23main%20edition-pg10-0.pdf

The magnificent incongruity of Onam

Rajeev Srinivasan laments that the festival has been reduced to a travesty of its true self

The ten days of Onam arrived with multifarious splendors: flower arrangements in courtyards, maidens resplendent in off-white, gold-bordered two-piece saris, grand multi-course vegetarian meals served on banana leaves, boat races, sensuous tiruvatira-kali dances, and new clothes, ona-kodi, for all. The skies cleared post-monsoon, the beginning of the Malayalam year with the month of Chingam/Leo and the land is green and fertile, freshly-washed.

On the tenth day, thiruvonam, August 23rd this year, everyone dressed up to greet the legendary King Mahabali, of whose splendid reign the gods themselves became jealous, so that he was consigned to the underworld, whence he visits his beloved subjects on just this one day.

That is the theory. I wish this were still true in Kerala, but this native son is saddened by the reality. Onam is less and less relevant with each passing year. For starters, it is a harvest festival where there is almost no rice cultivation, or harvests.

Secondly, the old gods are eclipsed. Mahabali may have been compelling in a simpler time, but the post-modern denizens of Kerala may find him naïve: who allows himself to be tricked by a dwarf?

Thirdly, the landscape itself is changing. The infinite vistas of paddy fields are gone;  once-free-flowing, perennial rivers – the envy of those not so blessed – are now constrained ribbons in the sand in lean times. What looks like untouched wilderness in the High Ranges is a green desert of monoculture: plantation tea or rubber; it is no rainforest storehouse of genetic variation.

Fourth, despite all the talk of the Kerala model – anthropologist and environmentalist Bill McKibben once wrote stirringly about how Kerala mirrors the US in various indices, at one-seventh the income – the quality of life has deteriorated sharply. It now leads in suicides, alcoholism, and almost certainly in hypocrisy and crimes against women. The matrilineal joint family, a masterful social construct, has fragmented into nuclear families.

And almost all of this deterioration is man-made. While one must not, Canute-like, futilely order the waves to retreat, what has happened in Kerala in just a couple of generations is the very opposite of progress.

Let us remember that this is the fabled Spice Coast, whose riches, especially black pepper, caused the Roman senator Pliny the Younger to complain imperial treasuries were being drained. “Quinqueremes of Nineveh” used to sail to the great ports of Ophir and Muziris, modern-day Poovar and Kodungallur.

British surveyors arriving in Kerala in the 1800s were astonished at the clever use of agricultural implements and techniques such as sowing with a drill plough, crop rotation and propagation from cuttings. This tiny state, watered by 41 rivers, has some of the most fertile and well-watered land in the world. Abandoning agriculture there is a tragedy of the highest order.

The reason there is no rice cultivation in Kerala is that, in an example of the principle of unintended consequences, socialists hiked up agricultural wages. They did it to ensure laborers got a decent wage, but farming became inherently loss-making, and large acreage now lies fallow. Ironically, the farm laborers became destitute, as their jobs simply disappeared. Kerala subsists on rice, vegetables and other produce trucked in from neighboring Tamil Nadu.

As for the old gods of the land, they have been superseded by just one: Mammon. Kerala people hold nothing more precious than their wallets. In fact, Kerala is a cargo-cult, like those South Seas islands in the Pacific, which, after World War I,I became so dependent on goods imported from the US that they literally worship the ships bringing them.

Keralites worship Electronic Fund Transfers, because that is what keeps the state afloat. There is no mysterious ‘Kerala model’ of development: it is a money-order economy surviving on remittances from its sons (slaving away in the deserts of West Asia) and its daughters (slaving away as nurses everywhere).

The very flora and fauna are changing, too. The endemic thumba, celebrated symbol of purity and humility in Malayalam literature, has virtually disappeared. Flowering plants like the ixora and hibiscus yield much less; temperatures have risen. Traditional species of fish are disappearing from the catch both in lakes and the sea.

This once magnificent land, proud of its traditions, has changed beyond recognition. A little ditty, originally written about my father’s ancestral village, is appropriate for all of Kerala today:

Keralam mahadesam

Nerukedinuravidam

Annam nasti, jalam pushti

Madyapanam mahotsavam.

Kerala is a great land,

The origin of untruth.

No rice, lots of water,

Drunkenness is the big festival.

And oh, the tight-fitting cotton two-piece sari, the set-mundu, a delight on shapely local lasses, has lost out to particularly ill-tailored, polyester salwar-kameez. The set-mundu is only trotted out on festive occasions; it, like Onam, and the local culture that gave us kathakali and the Sanskrit koodiyattam, is fast becoming a museum piece.

A version of this appeared in Daily News & Analysis on 27th July at http://www.dnaindia.com/opinion/main-article_hindu-terrorism-doesn-t-exist-but-do-we-want-one_1415107 and the pdf for the same is at http://epaper.dnaindia.com/epaperpdf%5C27072010%5C26main%20edition-pg14-0.pdf

Truth by repeated assertion

Rajeev Srinivasan on the motivated campaign about alleged ‘Hindu terrorism’

Joseph Goebbels pithily described propaganda thus:

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.

By this measure, there appears to be a conspiracy in India to propagate a certain set of views, and in Noam Chomsky’s words, to “manufacture consent”. Like the military-industrial complex in the US which allegedly controls what its citizens think, there is a media-State nexus in India, whereby the mass media unquestioningly regurgitates the State’s perspective.

A recent example is the fuss about a new Indian ‘laptop’ for $35. It is virtually impossible to get a large portable display for less than $50, and with the electronics and packaging, even if the software is free, there is no way the bill of materials can be less than $100. Yet the media swallows this story whole.

This is far from the most egregious example. Bafflingly, the media repeats the government’s anodyne, statements that inflation will subside “in the next six months”. This is ludicrous and has no rationale, yet mandarins mouth it regularly. But it is never challenged by the media; meanwhile, food inflation is galloping at over 20%.

But the cravenness of the media is most evident when it comes to that pet project of the State, known as ‘secularism’. The actual meaning of the term, which emerged in the context of the continuous interference of the Catholic Church in the affairs of the State in medieval Europe, is that the State is fully indifferent to religion.

However, in India, so-called ‘secularism’ means precisely the opposite – the State looks upon every individual primarily based on his religion. For instance, the Prime Minister made the statement in December 2006 that Muslims should have first rights to the resources of the country. This violates the Constitution, but it has become part of the accepted ethos through repeated assertion.

The most blatant example of this propaganda is the current feeding frenzy about ‘Hindu terror’. The fact is that there is practically no history of Hindu terror. Religious terrorism has traditionally been the monopoly of the Abrahamic traditions, including Communism. Monotheists by definition divide the world into ‘us’ and ‘them’, and demonize the Other, probably a necessary condition for terror.

Communist terrorists regularly massacre people in Central India, West Bengal and Kerala. There was Jewish terrorism – the Stern gang in Palestine, which had as a member Yitzhak Shamir, later Prime Minister of Israel, comes to mind. There are many historical examples of Christian religious terrorism, going back to the liquidation of the Albigensians and other heretics around 345 CE, the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition (and especially the version in Goa), all the way to assassinations by radical anti-abortionists in the US.

The National Liberation Movement of Tripura is an explicitly Christian terrorist group, forcibly converting people. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland has unleashed terrorism in its pursuit of “Nagalim for Christ”. The assassination of Swami Lakshmananda in Orissa, when his major ‘sin’ was that he was defending Hindu tribals against the depradations of Christian missionaries, is another example.

But clearly Islamic terrorism is the biggest example of religion-based terrorism today. Suicide bombings, the fatwas on Salman Rushdie and others, 9/11 and 26/11, the periodic bombings in many parts of India, college professor T J Joseph’s hand getting sliced off as retaliation for alleged blasphemy, all these are instances of Islamic religious terrorism. The terrorists themselves take pains to point out that their acts have religious sanction.

Compared to all this, there is no evidence whatsoever that there is Hindu terrorism. The so-called Malegaon blast case and other alleged instances of Hindu terrorism languish because of lack of evidence, although, those accused such as Sadhvi Prajna are also rotting away in jail. If there are incidents of Hindu violence, these are almost inevitably reactions to terrorism imposed on them.

The moral equivalence drawn between the Abrahmics’ inherent tendency to violent terrorism and the non-existent Hindu or Indic terrorism is abhorrent.

There is the Panchatantra story about the man with the goat and the three rogues. The rogues convince the gullible man, via the ruse of repeatedly telling him that he is carrying a dog, to abandon the goat, which of course was their original intent. The rogues in the media and the State are, through repeated assertion, convincing people of the ‘fact’ of Hindu terrorism. Do we want to make it a self-fulfilling prophesy?

820 words, 25th Jul 2010

A version of this appeared in DNA on Jun 15th at:

http://www.dnaindia.com/opinion/main-article_parlous-state-of-temples_1396426

and here’s the pdf for the full page:

http://epaper.dnaindia.com/epaperpdf/15062010/14main%20edition-pg12-0.pdf

The parlous state of Hindu temples in India

Rajeev Srinivasan believes government has no business running temples into the ground

There was shocking news recently about the collapse of the raja-gopuram of the Sri Kalahasti temple near Tirupati. This is no ordinary temple – it hosts one of the five important Saivite jyotir-lingas, each associated with one of the elements (earth, wind, fire, air and ether). The gopuram was built by Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagar in 1516 CE, although the shrine itself is a millennium or two older. Most nations would treat such ancient monuments as a treasured part of its cultural heritage, but not India.

The 150-foot tower, a typical Southern-style vimana with intricate carvings, was damaged by lightning some years ago, yet absolutely nothing was done by the authorities. After the collapse, to add insult to injury, a report by a commission said the tower had “outlived its life”. Would this same logic apply to, say, the Taj Mahal – has that outlived its life? It is the business of the State to maintain its cultural heritage and artifacts. There are reports of similar damage to other temple towers, eg. at Srirangapatna near Mysore.

Then there was the news that the Kerala High Court lambasted the Travancore Devaswom Board for being corrupt and inefficient. The Court observed that Hindu temples are struggling“orphanages”, poorly maintained and falling apart; Hindus are orphans.

Furthermore, a Cochin Devaswom Board official got drunk and vomited within the temple precincts at the Siva temple at Vaikom, necessitating elaborate purification ceremonies. This is also no ordinary temple – a major Saivite shrine, it is also historically important. It was the Vaikom Satyagraha in 1924 that led the way to the dramatic Temple Entry Proclamation in Travancore in 1936. And the official’s ‘punishment’? He was promoted to Vigilance Officer!

All these events point to an abomination in the allegedly secular Indian State – there is no separation of Church (meaning religion) and State, as is the norm in modern nations. The State must be indifferent to religion, and it should not allow religious sentiments to color its actions — the true definition of the term ‘secularism’.

A Devaswom Board is an oxymoron. There should be no involvement of the State in religion, which should be left to individuals and religious groups. In fact, that is so with non-Hindu religions in India – they can run their own affairs with no interference from the government, except for largesse – such as Haj subsidies for Muslims, and Andhra’s own subsidies for Christians to travel to Palestine/Israel on pilgrimage.

On the other hand, Hindu temples are under the control of an interfering State, with disastrous results: they are being destroyed systematically by the rapine and pillage of the malign State. On the one hand, temple offerings are expropriated by the State; yet, the State does not even perform basic maintenance. The offerings, amounting to crores, from large shrines such as Tirupati or Sabarimala, are simply treated as general government revenue, and are not recycled to small, poor temples.

Traditionally, temples were the centers of the community, running cultural events, acting as a focal point for efforts such as water conservation, drought relief, famine avoidance, and so forth. This is in the racial memory of Hindus – and so we contribute whatever we can afford to the temple. The State has found it convenient to appropriate these funds. The pittance that a poor believer donates is grabbed and diverted by the Government!

The malice is obvious in Kerala where the State controls most of the temples through the Devaswom Boards, which, it is said, are infiltrated by atheists and anti-Hindus. It can be seen in the difference between Board temples and others. The latter, private temples belonging often a joint family, are thriving, while the Board-controlled temples are impoverished, falling apart, and finding their lands stolen.

I found this to my chagrin at my own family’s centuries-old temple, which we had handed over to the Travancore Devaswom Board about a hundred years ago. On my previous visit, about five years ago, the temple, while old, was thriving. Today, it is on the verge of being abandoned, thanks to indifference and possibly even malice on the part of the Board: an alleged renovation has been totally botched.

This is, amazingly, a continuation of a colonial-era crime – a British Resident named Munro, a missionary bigot, forced the Maharani of Travancore circa 1819 CE to commingle temple lands with government lands, with the result that a lot of those lands, essential to the income and running of temples, were alienated. Consequently, the 10,000+ temples in Travancore then have now been reduced to a mere 2,000.

Governments have no business interfering in religion. It is a crime against the people of India for the government to ruin these cultural treasures, a common heritage of this nation.

815 words, June 12, 2010

An edited version of this appeared on rediff on May 6th at http://news.rediff.com/column/2010/may/06/rajeev-srinivasan-on-the-banality-of-evil.htm

Why good people do bad things: the ordinariness of evil

Rajeev Srinivasan on why normal people do appalling things in the wrong circumstances

In the aftermath of the Ajmal Kasab trial and the failed bomb attack in New York, the impartial observer would find it hard to conclude that Pakistanis were mild, inoffensive people. But in fact there are a number of people – apart from the professional Wagah candle-holders – who cannot believe that this kind of horror could come from the kind of Pakistanis they know – PLUs (people like us), urbane, sophisticated, great hosts and dinner companions.

There is, of course, the fallacy of rapid generalization: every Pakistani is not like the people you know, who are likely to be the world-traveling sort. There are many dirt-poor, uneducated people who have been brainwashed with strange notions of what Indians are like and what India is like. Given high population growth and a fairly stagnant economy, the number of these “Bottom-of-the-Pyramid” people is much larger than those at the top of the pyramid, the 22 ruling feudal families who own the place.

But apart from the logical fallacy, there is also a more subtle issue, that of how easily evil can take over  even perfectly normal, well-adjusted people. It turns out you don’t have to be a sociopath to do the most horrifying things: your random neighbors, such as the kindly old man down the street, the kid who drops off the newspaper, the old lady who is full of religious zeal – any and all of them can turn into monsters under the appropriate circumstances.

This was demonstrated in Cambodia, when under the Khmer Rouge, perfectly ordinary people became mass killers. I have been to Tuol Sleng prison and interrogation center in the middle of Phnom Penh, where thousands of people were tortured, and confessions extracted from them. They were photographed and meticulous dossiers prepared about each of them. They were then taken to the Killing Fields on the outskirts of town and dispatched with a blow to the back of the head with a spade.

But what is most amazing about Tuol Sleng is that it was formerly a school in the middle of a residential neighborhood! It still looks like an inoffensive school from outside, although inside it is the Genocide Museum, with the interrogation cells left as they were, harrowing paintings of inhuman torture, and row after row of black and white photographs of those who were about to die, including some Indians and other foreigners. It is a metaphor for the banality and very ordinariness of evil. The Khmer Rouge were the greatest mass-murderers in the recent past, killing some 15% of their compatriots.

Ordinary Cambodians – farmers, artisans, bicycle-repairers, fishermen – were instruments of civilizational suicide. Similarly, perfectly normal Hutus went on the warpath in Rwanda against  embattled Tutsis, attempting genocide. Ordinary Germans did the bidding of the Nazis; ordinary Europeans participated in an orgy of violence on innocent people during the horrifying Inquisition, dispatching thousands, especially women, in the most appalling ways.

And so with the Pakistanis. The young men of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and other terrorist outfits were not monsters to begin with: they were turned into what they are quite deliberately – they have been manufactured by a consciously-created system where they have no choice but to become monsters.

I was reminded of all this when I was listening to an archived podcast from 2007 of an interview with Philip Zimbardo, a retired professor from Stanford, whose celebrated “Stanford Prison Experiment” of 1971 was a startling practical demonstration of how evil is engendered. In 2006, Zimbardo wrote a new book, The Lucifer Effect, because he was struck by similarities between the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq and the Stanford experiment.

The experiment was simple: Zimbardo set up a simulated prison in the basement of one of Stanford’s buildings, and recruited 24 normal male college students for a two-week study of the behavior of prison guards and prisoners. The students were randomly assigned to either role and given uniforms or prison smocks to wear, but no specific instructions on behavior except that there must be no physical contact. Zimbardo himself acted as both ‘jail superindendent’ and research leader.

The results were startling: within 36 hours, the ‘guards’ started misbehaving, exerting their power over the ‘prisoners’. One of the prisoners had a nervous breakdown. Within three days, the guards were exhibiting brutal, sadistic behavior, and the prisoners were increasingly humiliated and oppressed. Several other prisoners also had nervous breakdowns. On the night of day five, sexual torture began: the prisoners were made to expose themselves, and to simulate sodomy with each other.

On the sixth day, a shaken Zimbardo abandoned the experiment, which had been slated to run for two weeks. He was shocked to realize that certain dangerous boundaries were being crossed, and that some of the participants might end up with permanent psychological damage.

The fact that perfectly normal, intelligent college students – they had been screened for any abnormality – could so easily be turned into sadistic monsters is astonishing. Apparently the situation had gotten the better of them:

Perhaps the normal human condition is indeed the Hobbesian “nasty, brutish and short”. Maybe “Lord of the Flies”, the book about a group of boys abandoned on an island evolving into a dictatorial society, is all too true. Perhaps the Law of the Jungle is indeed the right metaphor, much as we like to think of ourselves as civilized beyond fang and claw and might-is-right.

In a related study, the Milgram Experiment at Yale analyzed the willingness of volunteers to administer electric shocks to unseen victims based on orders from authority figures. It turned out that – with no gender differences – people were quite willing to torture people whom they had never met. (The shocks were simulated, and so were the recorded screams of the recipients, but the subjects didn’t know that.)

Zimbardo believes that it is not the individual’s own inherent tendencies, but the social situation around them that drives bad behavior. That can help us understand the pathology of the Pakistani situation. These young men have been told for such a long time that Indians and Hindus are evil and monstrous that they have internalized it. It is the environment that addles them. Therefore, expending a lot of effort on the arrest and prosecution of individual terrorists is not going to have a major impact, because they are expendable – there are many waiting in line, ready to step into their shoes. In that sense, it is immaterial what happens to Ajmal Kasab – he is simply cannon fodder, dispensable.

It is the system that is psychotic, and it is so by intent. That is why Pakistan refuses steadfastedly to move against those who have created the system: for instance, Hafiz Saeed of the Jamaat-ul Dawa (the current nom-de-guerre of the Lashkar-e-Toiba). The Pakistanis have refused again and again to prosecute Saeed, just as they refuse to extradite Dawood Ibrahim. These are strategic assets for the ISI. People like Hamil Gul, ex-ISI eminence-grise, have articulated the grim calculus of this perspective.

The system in Pakistan was put in place by General Zia-ul-Haq, who fundamentalized education, the Army, and the rest of society (it may be remembered that Zia in effect banned the use of the ‘Hindu’ sari, and encouraged the ‘Pakistani’ salwar-kameez). The textbooks were re-written to eulogize Central Asian invaders. History begins with the Arab invasion of Sind in 712 CE. The word ‘Hindu’ is always preceded by ‘cunning baniya’. The idea that a single Mohammedan soldier is worth ten Hindus in valor was put about, notwithstanding considerable evidence to the contrary.

American psychologist Sam Keen suggested in Faces of the Enemy that a major part of warfare lies in dehumanizing the enemy. Every nation has created extraordinary propaganda against its enemies: by internalizing this, young soldiers are able to kill other young men without compunction, because they believe the enemy are sub-human monsters intent on raping ‘our’ women, destroying ‘our’ nation, and so on. The  book includes hundreds of posters, cartoons and other material from 20th century propaganda, which Keen calls the “archetype of the hostile imagination”.

Surely, there is Indian propaganda against Pakistan; however, it is on a secular plane, and does not target Pakistanis based on religion. In fact, average Mohammedans are better off in India as compared to anywhere else in the world, including, and especially Pakistan, where only the feudal upper classes (castes) live well. In  North India (as seen in Vikram Seth’s “A Suitable Boy”, there is a certain admiration – justified or not – for some alleged nawabi high culture, possibly because using Farsi/Arabic is considered cultured by some.

And the leftists in the media are ever-ready to cry themselves hoarse in the service of poor Mohammedans. Not to mention a government with a Prime Minister who says without irony, “Muslims must have first claim on the nation’s resources”, which is, in passing, strange from someone sworn to uphold the religion-blind Constitution.

But that is not what Pakistanis believe. In encounters with middle-class Pakistanis in America and on the Internet, I have heard how glad they are that there is a homeland for subcontinental Mohammedans who would otherwise have been oppressed by Hindus. They are silent, however, when I point out that there are, in fact, two homelands, and how the one homeland couldn’t keep half of its inhabitants happy and started a genocidal war with them.

This incomprehension about India was seen in the transcripts of the conversations by the 11/26 terrorists with their handlers in Pakistan: the terrorists were obviously confused that India was not a whole lot like what they had been brainwashed into believing.

Thus, it is the environment, of radicalization and mind-games, that is creating a cadre of evil-doers. Any amount of ‘talks’ and ‘goodwill gestures’ and ‘walking the extra mile’ is unlikely to change the situation unless the hate-mongering institutions with a monomanical jihadi agenda are dismantled. So long as India cannot get Pakistan to do this, there will be an endless supply of cannon fodder.

There is another issue – terrorism has now become a job, and quite a lucrative one at that. Zimbardo is of the opinion that a lot of the brutality in the Stanford Experiment and at Abu Ghraib happened because of simple boredom, especially at night, when the guards had nothing better to do and wanted some entertainment – perhaps the ultimate in the banality of evil.

In the case of the Pakistanis, and, alas, in the case of a number of home-grown terrorists in India, terrorism has now become an easy and attractive job, with perks like foreign trips (eg. to Pakistan via Dubai to throw people off the scent), cash (including counterfeit Indian rupees shipped in container-loads), women (who will dare say “no” to an AK-47?) and so on. For an ill-educated youth with poor prospects, this must be like manna from heaven. This has been demonstrated in Kerala where a number of young men were trained and shipped off to J&K as mercenaries/jihadis to kill Indian soldiers.

Thus, the cognitive dissonance between the “they are just like us” ordinary citizens of Pakistan and the ruthless killers is a matter of their environment. Unless it is cleaned up, and the godfathers of the system such as Hamid Gul, Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim forced to stand down, India – and (note to President Obama) the West — will continue to face evil and bleed. It is not the individuals, but the system of propaganda and inducement of hatred that is to blame. And that suits the Pakistani establishment just fine: it sustains their failing State.

This was published at http://news.rediff.com/column/2009/nov/11/rajeev-srinivasan-on-the-struggle-for-dharma.htm

Roses in November: In search of righteousness
Rajeev Srinivasan on why Dharma underlies every act in India
After all the festivities of Navaratri and Deepavali, November arrives with several anniversaries of some significance. These are, in one way or the other, related to the idea of Dharma, and thus closely entwined with the very basis of Indian civilization. As metaphors, they are a good counterpoint to the slaying of the buffalo-demon by the Goddess – an icon that goes back to Indus-Sarasvati times. Clearly, the struggle for Dharma is never wholly won.
Read the rest of this entry »

Published by the Pioneer on May 4:

http://www.dailypioneer.com/173668/Triumph-and-tragedy-in-Sri-Lanka.html

The news and the images coming out of Sri Lanka are horrendous: 100,000 Tamil civilians trapped on a tiny beach, where cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are making their last stand . The LTTE are using the civilians as shields (according to the Sri Lankan government); and government troops have shelled hospitals and killed thousands of non-combatants this year (according to The Economist quoting human-rights groups and the UNHCR).

The photographs of long-suffering Tamil refugees fleeing the war with nothing more than the clothes on their backs remind us of the curse of the Indian subcontinent: religion- and ethnicity-based conflict, generally leading to the genocide of Hindus. We saw this in 1947 and 1971. Millions of Hindus were ethnically cleansed from Pakistan and Bangladesh then, and the handful remaining are now fleeing newly-Talibanized territories; now they are being driven out of Sri Lanka’s Jaffna and the Eastern Provinces at the fag-end of a brutal civil war.

The LTTE certainly did not expect to fade into oblivion, their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran a fugitive. Only a couple of years ago, the Tigers were rampant, scoring victories on land and sea, and terrorizing Colombo with their makeshift air force. What turned things around? Probably much covert aid from governments, including India’s, wary of the Tigers’ penchant for redrawing boundaries by force (and China’s, fishing in troubled waters).

That, and internal dissension. The turning point was the defection in 2004 of ‘Colonel’ Karuna Amman, formerly LTTE commander in the Eastern Province. The LTTE ran a tight ship, and defectors generally were liquidated, but Karuna – as reported by the Wall Street Journal last year — thrived, and has become a minister, although he is at loggerheads with his erstwhile protégé and now-Chief Minister of the Eastern Province, Pillaiyan.

After sama (negotiations) and dana (give-aways) failed, bheda (creating dissent) worked, and now the Sri Lankans are applying the last of the four tactics of classical Indian stagecraft, danda (punishment). This is an object lesson for India’s pusillanimous politicians who advocate sweet-talk and appeasement of terrorists; and for Obamistas, advocating land-for-peace (India’s land, that is, to be given to Pakistan, so that the ISI would leave the Americans in peace). Pandering does not work, the iron fist does. Crush the terrorists first, then talk to real people.

There is a startling silence in India about the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils. This has to do with two factors: one is that most of the shrieking banshees in the human-misery cottage-industry do not care about the human rights of Hindus, and Sri Lankan Tamils are about 85% Hindu. Second is that the killing of Rajiv Gandhi by the LTTE, and the incessant noise by the DMK in their favor has genuinely turned off many people. The LTTE’s idea of its Tamil Eelam (they have taken down the maps on their website showing this) consists of north and eastern Lanka, all of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and parts of Karnataka and Andhra: in other words, most of South India. This is comparable to the jihadi wet-dream of a ‘Mughalistan’ consisting of most of North India.

It further appears that this ‘Eelam’ was meant to be a Christian-stan, in fearsome symmetry with ‘Mughalistan’. Let us note in passing that at Partition, missionaries had demanded a Christian-stan consisting of the Northeast, tribal areas of the Central Provinces (Chota Nagpur), and Travancore. Clearly, they have not given up the idea of territorial gains through any means.

The church has a well-known modus operandi. In Rwanda, the church fomented genocide by dividing Hutus and Tutsis – who, to the casual observer, and to the geneticist, appear identical – through claiming that the former were short and dark, and the latter were tall and fair, and that Tutsis were oppressing Hutus. Several Christian godmen and godwomen have been convicted of crimes against humanity for their direct role in massacres of Tutsis.

In India too, the church has fabricated a divide between the alleged ‘Aryans’ and ‘Dravidians’ – tall and fair vs. short and dark, oppressor, oppressed, sound familiar? – which was initially the handiwork of a white padre named Caldwell. It remains an interesting but little-known fact that churchman Max Mueller who invented the entire ‘Aryan’ fiction recanted in later years, admitting he was wrong.

The church has had a dubious role in Sri Lanka too. It is surely curious that most of the famous cadres of the LTTE are Christians (examples include Prabhakaran himself who is a Methodist, Anton Balasingham, the suicide-bomber Dhanu who killed Gandhi). Senior non-Christians in the LTTE, remarkably, have been captured, have died in battle, or been liquidated.

And the LTTE has wiped out all other groups representing the Tamil cause. The very ruthlessness of the LTTE is an indicator of its Semitic thought-process. Buddhists and Hindus have always co-existed peacefully all over Asia – in India, Indonesia, Afghanistan, etc. – until West Asian ideologies appeared. The church, and the LTTE, had no use for moderates or for negotiation.

There is another party with ill-intent in all this: China. As part of their ‘string of pearls’ strategy, they previously supported violent Communist insurgents, but these were wiped out by the Sri Lankan government. Now the Chinese are supplying heavy equipment, including planes and artillery to the army. Their likely objective: the prized deep-water port of Trincomalee, which would help them control shipping in the Indian Ocean, not to mention be a serious problem for India in its own backyard.

But with the apparent demise of the LTTE, the Sri Lankan government should be able to negotiate from a position of strength. Tamils can see that militancy and terrorism has achieved nothing but catastrophe for them. The Sinhalese, if they are wise, will deal magnanimously with their Tamil fellow-countrymen and reconcile with them. They must recognize that Tamils have genuine grievances arising from bumiputra-style discrimination against them for decades. They need to appreciate that the LTTE are not synonymous with Tamils. Then Sri Lanka can become the success story of the subcontinent with its superior health and education record.

Reflections on Slumdog Millionaire

Rajeev Srinivasan

Despite the hoopla in some circles about Slumdog Millionaire, I find it a disturbing film: empty-headed in one way, and malicious in others. A number of reviewers (for instance, the London Times’ Alice Miles http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/alice_miles/article5511650.ece ) have called the film “poverty porn” – a prurient voyeurism focusing on the suffering of others, especially of children. I agree.

There is nothing wrong about portraying poverty. Some of the greatest films of all time, for instance the magnificent Pather Panchali, focused on the troubled lives of the poor. But they treated their poverty-stricken protagonists with sensitivity and caring. Slumdog Millionaire treats the poor as disposable cartoon-characters to be ill-treated and tortured; of course, they also break into song at convenient moments.

 

There have also been very good films focusing on the nasty, brutish and short lives of street children in Mumbai and Sao Paolo respectively: Salaam Mumbai and Pixote. Neither was easy to watch: it is never easy to see children being brutalized. But there was a certain air of truth to them; and beyond any hackneyed saccharine endings, there was the feeling that at least some of these children would survive and thrive.

 

There is no such redeeming virtue in Slumdog, which is unapologetic about graphic violence. There is a harrowing scene where a young child has his eyes burnt out with acid. There is a similar scene in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s masterpiece Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom, set in fascist Italy, where a handsome young man’s eyeball is gouged out. Salo is one of the most brutal and horrifying films ever made: and it was intended to be so, in a Brechtian way – the viewer was supposed to be horrified at man’s capacity for evil.200px-saloposter

 

Salo was set in an Italian castle, to which four aging libertines – the Duke, the President, the Magistrate, and the Bishop — kidnap a group of absolutely beautiful young men and women. These youths – no more than teenagers – are put through the most gruesome physical, mental and sexual tortures imaginable, including brutal and public rapes, tongues ripped off, nipples burned with candles, violent sodomy, the forcible eating of feces, and so on.

 

Salo was a meditation on the nature of evil, with the four men, representing four pillars of society, bringing to life Dante Alighieri’s vision of the medieval Christian hell, along with a dash of violence straight out of Marquis de Sade. Pasolini, a homosexual and a leftist, probably intended this as an indictment of fascism.

 

Perhaps Danny Boyle imagines he is following in Pasolini’s footsteps when he portrays Mumbai as a living hell. Is this film, similarly, an indictment of India? Is there more to the film than an exercise in artistry? Is it purely coincidental that it carries an eerie echo of the official position of the British government, as recently articulated by their Foreign Minister David Miliband, on a visit to India?

 

Let us be charitable and assume that Boyle wanted to condemn whatever it is in India that has caused this abject poverty to happen and continue. Who were the culprits? Ironically, it was British imperialists who beggared a hitherto prosperous India by “borrowing” capital that is worth $10 trillion — yes, trillion — in today’s terms. Besides, tens of millions of Indians were starved to death by uncaring British imperialists, as graphically described in Mike Davis’ Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino and the Making of the Third World. Perhaps this would be a good time to ask Britain for reparations?

 

And who has kept 250 million Indians in poverty even after the imperialists left in 1947? Why, the Congress, and the Communists! Through mind-numbingly idiotic schemes whose main result was the large-scale transfer of public wealth to private hands, the Congress and the Communists, through sixty years of their rule, have successfully prevented a large number of Indians from rising from poverty. So Boyle is targeting the true villains.

 

If only this were the case! But we all know it is not. Danny Boyle’s target – everybody’s soft target, because it does not retaliate with violence – is Hinduism, as Kanchan Gupta suggested in the Pioneer (“Slumdog is about defaming Hindus” http://www.dailypioneer.com/152164/Slumdog-is-about-defaming-Hindus.html). This is similar to how Deepa Mehta and Shabana Azmi dissembled about their use of the names “Sita” and “Radha” – names pregnant with meaning for Hindus – in the over-rated film “Fire”, as I pointed out ten years ago on Rediff.com (“The problem with Fire” http://www.rediff.com/entertai/1999/jan/11fire.htm )

 

There is a tendency among the British to stereotype and demonize Hindus in particular and Indians in general. For some reason, this is welcomed with nothing short of rapture by a section of the media and the self-proclaimed “intelligentsia” of New Delhi. There is, for instance, a second-rate historian who routinely thunders against Hindus. The level of his incompetence was exposed in a BBC film where he suggested that the Christian apostle Thomas “could have” come to India. Well, he didn’t – and history is generally about what happened, not what “could possibly have” happened.

 

Another example is the local stringer for a magazine. He arrived in India after a stint in Pakistan, and he declared at the time that he liked Pakistanis, whom he “could sit around with, and wonder what the heck was going on.” On the contrary, he condemned Indians as “prickly nationalists”, for whom he obviously felt distaste. Unfortunately, his declaration has vanished from the website, but he backs up his assertion in each and every one of his dispatches. His prejudices are there for all to see.

 

Why do they do this? I have a few theories. One is that the British always found it easier to relate to Mohammedans, because both thought of themselves as natural conquerors. British rule was also heavily influenced by the Church, as is documented in Suhash Chakravarty’s brilliantstudy The Raj Syndrome: A Study in Imperial Perceptions. The Christian British found Hindus incomprehensible, and this 

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continues to this day.

 

The other theory is based on the decline of Britain. The New York Times carried a story (“Falling Pound Raises Fears of Stagnation” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/business/worldbusiness/22pound.html?_r=2&ref=world ) that suggests Britain is going to be very severely affected by the global downturn. This must increase the urgency with which the British – after all, branded a “nation of shopkeepers” by no less a personality than Napoleon Bonaparte – need to seek economic help. The most obvious donors are Arabs, with their stockpiles of cash; therefore it makes sense for the British to appease their sentiments, never mind the cost to India.

 

Whence, for instance, the Miliband statement, which, taken to its logical conclusion, suggests that India should simply hand over Kashmir to Pakistan. No skin off their British noses, I suppose. This sentiment is widespread among British politicians, who are also influenced by the vote-bank-appeasement politics (alas, so familiar to Indians!) because of their Mirpuri and Pakistani constituents who tend to live in compact urban ghettos, unlike Indians who have dispersed into the suburbs.

 

The British will make all sorts of compromises for the sake of trade. This was demonstrated some time ago when, annoyed at something the British said, Malaysia’s then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed abruptly cancelled all British contracts. The alacrity with which the British apologized, nay, crawled abjectly, was a wonder to see.

 

Therefore bad behavior is expected from the British. It is not with the Indians involved – the writer (an Indian diplomat named Vikas Swarup – this is how Indian diplomats present India?) or the actors, or, in particular, A R Rehman. It is disappointing that Rehman has collaborated in such a venture, demeaning and demonizing Hindus and Indians.

 

For several reasons. One, that he is a master artist. I was listening to his songs from Roja the other day, and they are marvelous, especially the one titled “Choti si asha”. I was reflecting how the Tamil original was better than the Hindi version, and the irony of me, someone whose Hindi and Tamil are both pretty rusty, still being able to appreciate them. And the film itself was wonderful, a patriotic and beautifully told tale that emphasized the civilizational unity of India.

 

Two, I was watching a video on youtube about IIT Madras, and there was a professor saying “There was a marvelous keyboard player named Dilip from Loyola College who used to come for Mardi Gras in the 1980’s. Of course he is now known as A R Rehman”. Rehman converted to his new religion a few years ago, and no Hindu objected. He must know that Hindus are not running around slicing Mohammedan women’s throats on a whim or burning them alive. If anything, it is the opposite – the Sabarmati Express in Godhra, Radhabai Chawl in Mumbai.

 

Three, Rehman has sung passionately about the nation in his best-selling arrangement of “Vande Mataram”, which may well have aroused some negative comment among his new co-religionists. Someone who has that feeling of pride in India should not have collaborated with Danny Boyle in this abomination.

 

Yes, I am disappointed in Rehman, despite my very great respect for his artistic genius.

 

Danny Boyle, on the other hand, doesn’t matter. He may get his Oscar, and he may make his next film about the man, somewhere in the US, who kidnapped a teenage hitchhiker, raped her, cut off both her hands, and left her to bleed to death. The girl, somehow, survived. Or about the man in Austria who kept his daughter captive in his basement for twenty-four years, raped and impregnated her repeatedly, and fathered seven children with her. Or about those teenage-runaway-junkie-hookers in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, who accost passers-by with a drug-dazed “Wanna party?” Their lives are unlikely to be better than what the New York Times reports about teenage prostitutes in Cambodia http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/01/01/opinion/edkristof.php . There are many depraved people, and equally depraved voyeurs will never run out of subjects. And if Boyle ever wants to make a quiz show a metaphor for a culture, he would do well to study Robert Redford’s intelligent and provocative Quiz Show, a minor masterpiece.

rediff published this with some fairly significant edits at http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/dec/08mumterror-are-we-heading-to-being-a-failed-state.htm — to some extent the piece was rendered toothless — and so here is the original copy I sent them.

Towards a failed State – Ghori, Jaichand and friends redux

Rajeev Srinivasan on the attack on Mumbai

The invasion of Mumbai by Pakistani terrorists – and undoubtedly local collaborators – is but a replay of times past: the periodic and predictable arrival of barbarians over the Khyber Pass, laying waste to the countryside, and wreaking untold damage on a long-suffering populace. The only crime that the average Indian committed was to focus on the creation of wealth; of course, the barbarians came because of the wealth. Today, once again, India is generating capital, and the intention is to thwart its economic rise.

Then, as now, the rulers failed the populace. There is an implicit contract between the rulers and the ruled: you pay the taxes, obey the rules, and we ensure that your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are unhindered. India’s ruling class failed signally to honor this contract – they never did figure out that the simple expedient of defending the Khyber and Bolan passes would be enough to save the plains, because Nature had been kind enough to build the impregnable Himalayas all around India.

I have never got a satisfactory answer to the question as to why we didn’t build the Great Wall of India. The Chinese built a 1,500-mile wall; Indians could surely have built a 15-mile wall and kept the marauders out. But there was clearly a failure in leadership and in strategic thinking. Time after time, the barbarians would pour in through the passes, march to Panipat or Tarain, and there, in a desperate last-ditch battle, the Indians would lose, again and again. The result: disaster.

Furthermore, there were traitors in-house, too. They would collude with the invaders to the detriment of their fellow-Indians. Jaichand, during the Second Battle of Tarain in 1192 CE, turned the tide of the battle by allying with Mahmud of Ghori against Prithviraj Chauhan, with the result that Northern India suffered 700 years of Mohammedan tyranny – it was a clear tipping point. Or take the battle of Talikota that ended the magnificient Vijayanagar empire: it was their own troops that betrayed them.

Fast forward to today. India is under withering attack on all fronts. To the east, there is the demographic invasion by Bangladeshis, including unhindered infiltration by terrorist elements. The entire Northeast is in danger of secession, given both the narrow and hard-to-defend Chicken’s Neck that connects the area to the Gangetic plain, as well as the Christian fundamentalism and terrorism that is on the verge of turning into a move to secede on religious and ethnic grounds, a la East Timor.

The northern frontier is restive, with Nepal, a former ally and buffer state transformed into hostile territory, with its porous borders turned into a way of infiltrating Mohammedan terrorists and Communist terrorists into India, with the declared intent of capturing the “Pasupati-to-Tirupati corridor”, in other words, most of the eastern half of the country.

China is making increasingly belligerent noises about Tawang and all of Arunachal Pradesh. They are gambling that, despite the summit that just took place in Dharmasala, the steam has gone out of the Tibetan resistance movement. They have been emboldened by the fact that Tibetans were not able to disrupt the Olympics, and the more immediate betrayal by the British (International Herald Tribune, “Did Britain Just Sell Tibet?” http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/11/25/opinion/edbarnet.php) , who declared, contrary to all the historical evidence, that Tibet was always a part of China. Besides, the Chinese fully intend to move forward with the diversion of the Brahmaputra, which is in effect a declaration of war against the lower riparian State, India.

It is likely that the Chinese will march into Tawang – there is a lot of chatter in Chinese circles (see, an analysis by D S Rajan at the Chennai Center for China Studies http://www.c3sindia.org/strategicissues/419) about a “limited India-China war”, a replay of 1962. The Chinese have, in addition to pure geopolitics, another reason to do this, as was pointed out by strategy expert Brahma Chellaney – as in the years preceding 1962, the world is now once again hyphenating India and China. By handing India a sharp conventional military defeat, China would like that hyphenation to be removed decisively, as it surely would be. India will once again be seen as the loser it has been during the entire 1947-2000 period.

In the Northwest, Kashmir burns. The population clearly views India as a colony – they want Indian money, but they are not willing to make the slightest concessions to Hindu sentiments. It is very convenient for them to have the cake and eat it too – there is the little-known fact that J&K has practically nobody under the poverty line (2% and falling), as compared to the average of some 20% in the country as a whole. Kashmiris have prospered mightily despite – or is it because of? – the brutal ethnic cleansing of 400,000 Pundits now languishing in refugee camps.

In the traditionally quiet Peninsula, there is evidence of tremendous terrorist activity. In Kerala, it has been reported widely in the Malayalam media that 300 youths have been hired, trained and dispatched to Kashmir with explicit instructions – kill Indian soldiers and support Pakistani intrusions. Terrorism is just another job. Sleeper cells exist in every town, sometimes in the guise of “Kashmiri emporia”. The Konkan and Malabar coasts are dotted with safe harbors, where weapons, counterfeit currency and contraband are cached. The preferred mechanism – bomb blasts to inflict maximum damage. Logistics, safe houses, surveillance, forged documents, etc. are provided by a wide network.

In the tribal lands of central India, the Northeast and in Orissa, Christian terrorists are joining hands with Communist terrorists. In fact they often are one and the same, as confessed by an alleged Communist leader on TV. Their preferred weapon – liquidation of inconvenient people, as they did in the case of Swami Lakshmananda, the 84-year-old monk that they attacked with AK-47s.

The fact is that all these threats are overwhelming the security apparatus in the country, such as it is. It is quite likely that the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing and the Anti-Terrorism Squad had some inkling of something big being planned, including the movement of small arms on the Ratnagiri coastline, and the logistics-related activities of known suspects. It is unclear why they didn’t take preventive action.

There is a terrifying possibility – that they in fact had no idea this was going on. There is an aphorism that you cannot stop all terrorist activity, but in India the situation is such that no terrorist activity is stopped – they strike at will, and the populace is left to pick up the pieces of broken lives. This is no way to run a country.

The frightening possibility is that the Jaichands have in fact taken over the State. In which case, we can anticipate the total dismemberment of India – possibly preceded by an interregnum where it is failed State – in the near future.

There is one other possibility – that the Army will have to take over. It is a remote possibility, for two reasons – the Indian Army has been determinedly apolitical; and the State has continually striven to weaken it. Someone once made the ridiculous statement that India really didn’t need an army, only a police force, and it appears the entire political class and bureaucracy have internalized this slogan.

See also http://in.rediff.com/news/2002/nov/19rajeev.htm

From 1962 – as always, on November 18th I silently saluted the martyrs of the Battle of Rezang-La, where C Company, 13th Kumaon died heroically to the last man – when the ill-equipped troops froze to death on the Himalayan heights, to the refusal to increase military salaries when the bureaucrats awarded themselves 300% increases recently, the State has told the military that it doesn’t value them. All the Services are starved of funds. The recent open attack on Lt. Col. Purohit is another signal that the State despises the military . As Ashok Malik pointed out in the Pioneer (“A Hindu Dreyfus Affair?” http://www.dailypioneer.com/135567/A-Hindu-Dreyfus-Affair.html ), this is a near-repeat of the celebrated Dreyfus case in France, and alas, we have no Emile Zola to cry “J’accuse!” .

See also http://indiaabroad.com/news/1998/jul/23rajeev.htm

One possible outcome is that the Indian military forces will gradually wither away and die, thus making the statement about India not needing an army a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is another possibility – that of a military coup d’etat. Normally, the prospect of a military takeover – given that they all end up badly – from a democracy is not something one would welcome. But then India is not a democracy – it is a kakistocracy, rule by the very worst possible people – which has the trappings of a democracy but not the substance, so I wonder if military rule could possibly be any worse.

But the chances are getting increasingly good that the Indian State will collapse, just like Pakistan already has. A recent risk assessment by the World Economic Forum and CII (“India@Risk 2008”) considers the economic, energy, food/agriculture and national security that face India. The report is more concerned about the first three items, assuming that India is secure enough as a nation.

I hope they are right, but this invasion of Mumbai – so daring and audacious – makes me wonder. I have considered a nightmare scenario of Chinese battleships arriving in triumph at the Gateway of India, to be welcomed with marigold garlands by the Jaichands, but I have to admit I never thought a motley crew of Pakistani terrorists would invade. The very future of the Indian State, suddenly, is in question. And it is mostly from self-inflicted, avoidable wounds. The failure of leadership is causing India to cease to exist.

Nomenclature terrorism

November 2, 2008

Nomenclature terrorism

Rajeev Srinivasan on the fuss about “Hindu terrorists”

The recent fuss about alleged “Hindu terrorists” has entertained me hugely because all the usual suspects played their expected roles to perfection. The pseudo-secular media had a field day insinuating that Hindu terrorism is as major a problem in India as is Mohammedan and Christist terrorism. The UPA forgot its axiom that “terrorism has no religion”, and joyously crowed about “Hindu terrorists”. The BJP was apoplectic in its attempts to distance itself from the alleged “Hindu terrorists”.

Meanwhile, some actual – not imagined — terrorism activity has been going on in Kerala, where at least 300 people have been recruited by Mohammedan fundamentalists to wage war on the Indian State. Newspaper reports suggest that at least 96 young men from Kerala, who were given military training by SIMI, are at large. 16 of them are in Kashmir, the others in Bangalore or Kerala, according to Intelligence Bureau reports. Apparently there are special instructions in Malayalam in SIMI jungle camps held all over the country, for the poor dears are not so proficient in Urdu/Arabic.

These young men were dispatched to Kashmir with simple instructions: kill Indian soldiers and facilitate infiltration by the Pakistanis. Terrorism has now become just a job. So much so that so-called “spiritual advisers” (“paymaster” may be a more accurate designation) are out there recruiting known gangsters, converting them and sending them off to Kashmir. A particular gang of Christist criminals in Cochin has apparently supplied several converts who made the trek to Kashmir: including one Verghese aka Yasin who took a bullet in his head from the Indian Army and had to be identified from his fingerprints.

All this is ironic: Kerala has long been a supplier of manpower and womanpower – first it was the clerks and petty shopkeepers all over India, as well as a lot of soldiers; then it has been nurses, next construction labor and professionals for the Persian Gulf and America, and most recently, Christist padres and nuns for the conversion industry and as gastarbeiter for the shrinking seminaries of Europe.

I guess it is but a small step to terrorism as a profession. As Adi Sankara said in a slightly different context some centuries ago, “udara nimittam bahu krta vesham” (one wears various roles to satisfy that despotic stomach). It is said that in parts of Malabar, the UAE dirham, the Saudi riyal, and the US dollar are almost as much legal tender as the Indian rupee: there is so much of that stuff floating around. Not to speak of absolutely authentic-looking Pakistani-made Indian rupee notes. A while ago, an entire ocean-going container full of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 counterfeit notes – from Pakistan with love via Dubai – was intercepted in Kerala. That is a boatload of money, indeed.

And then there’s the news about serial blasts in Manipur and – as I write this – in Assam, that have killed large numbers of innocent people. There are all the other blasts – there have been so many we begin to lose count – in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, etc. etc. etc. – where the perpetrators unambiguously let it be known that they were Mohammedans inflamed by religious fundamentalism and jihad.

Christist terrorists have been running rampant in the Northeast for some time: their modus operandi is a little different – they prefer the AK-47 and they generally target specific individuals. They have ethnically-cleansed 45,000 Reang tribals from Mizoram for refusing to convert; they shot respected litterateur and patriot, Bineshwar Brahma in Guwahati; they shot Hindu priest Shanti Tripura in his own temple; and most recently, they shot Swami Lakshmananda in Orissa (let’s not kid around about this: even the alleged Communist terrorist who was trotted out, suitably incognito, on TV to exonerate Christists admitted that most of his flock were Christists).

Not to mention that almost the entire top echelon of the dreaded Tamil Tigers are Christists, and the non-Christists mysteriously suffer “accidents” or are captured by the Sri Lankan Army or “commit suicide”. Velupillai Prabhakaran, Anton Balasingham, et al are all Christists. So was Dhanu, the suicide bomber who blew up Rajiv Nehru Gandhi. There is reason to believe that the so-called Maoists in Nepal are also crypto-Christists, especially some of their top brass.

Of course, none of this qualifies for the “religious terrorism” moniker as far as the lovely English-Language Media and the UPA are concerned. Their sound and fury is reserved for some poor Hindu nun who is, by the power of “truth by repeated assertion”, subjected to an electronic lynch, deemed a terrorist and subjected to tejovadham. This is to be expected, as the ELM and the pseudo-seculars in India have a sworn duty: that of cultural extinction of the native civilization of this country. Once you understand this axiom, their baffling acts are self-consistent in a certain bizarre frame of reference.

Whether the pseudo-seculars do this for money, or they have been brainwashed by the predatory State, is not entirely clear. But then it doesn’t matter, does it, since the end result is the same?

And this deliberate use of nomenclature terrorism – the use of insinuation to demonize and to create defensiveness – is a purely Goebbelsian propaganda tactic. I tried a little experiment on the pseudo-seculars some years ago by returning the favor. I started referring to their ideology as Nehruvian Stalinism. Their immediate knee-jerk reaction was to label me a Hindu fundamentalist, Hindu fascist etc. Which I was prepared for: I told them, fine, maybe I am all that, but you, you are Nehruvian Stalinists.

I got the reaction I expected: when the tables were turned, the pseudo-seculars did exactly what they expect others to do under their attacks. They got defensive, they labored to explain why they were not Stalinists, and how different Nehru was from Stalin. They grew increasingly exasperated as I kept insisting that Nehru was a lot like Stalin: the personality cult, the imperiousness, the purges, the heavy-industry fetish, etc., and how Jawaharlal was merely a little less effective in his ruthlessness.

Happily, I got a few pseudo-seculars into an absolute tizzy denying these allegations; they practically foamed at the mouth. I had succeeded – I had got them to play on my terms, on the playing field I defined; instead of protesting that I was not a fascist, I had changed the terms of reference and forced them to defend their cherished shibboleths. It was good to watch them squirm.

That, I submit, is the way to play this game. Hindus should not bother to try and prove that they are not terrorists. We should say “Yes, there must be Hindu terrorists, just like you guys are Communist terrorists, or Christist terrorists, or Mohammedan terrorists. Any questions?” If they continue to blather, one might hint darkly of caches of AK-47s and RDX.

It is evident that the pseudo-seculars are cowards and bullies, and this will shut them up. Only, gentle reader, I suggest you be careful in your choice of words, just in case somebody has a hidden camera – make veiled threats, where you cannot be pinned down to anything specific. And occasionally mutter knowingly about some atrocity perpetrated by the Christist or Communist or Mohammedan terrorists, and insinuate that you have certain “friends” and you know where the pseudo-seculars live. You know, the kind of thing the Mafioso say in those gangster movies.

Nomenclature terrorism is a game two can play, and the sinister Nehruvian Stalinists can be – as in the quaint phrase they use – hoist on their own petard.

This appeared in the Pioneer of 28th May at http://www.dailypioneer.com/archives2/default12.asp?main_variable=oped&file_name=opd2%2Etxt&counter_img=2&phy_path_it=D%3A%5CWebSites%5CDailyPioneer%5Carchives2%5Cmay2808

Here is my original copy:

Thrice betrayed: how Maya Nand was executed by an American prison company

Rajeev Srinivasan on human rights violations by Homeland Security in the US

Maya Nand had the misfortune to be on the wrong side of history three times: and so he died, shackled, untreated for diabetes, in a prison cell in Arizona. (“Family struggled in vain to help suffering detainee”, International Herald Tribune, May 5, 2008 http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/05/05/america/05detainnand.php). He, a legal immigrant or Green Card holder, made the mistake of applying for US citizenship. This was rejected on a technicality (a misdemeanor charge about domestic violence), and he fell into a Twilight Zone of the penal system. Without recourse to due process, he was incarcerated and essentially subjected to judicial murder in a privately-run prison.

This is startling because it seems like a huge miscarriage of justice, which legal immigrants to the most open and free society in the world should not be subject to. But there are three other aspects that stand out: that poor Maya Nand must have been especially cursed to be so violated by history, three times over; that on the fringes of the legal system of the US there are so many dark corners where people can become non-persons, to be brutalized at will; and that, yet again, the Indian State pays no attention to the oppressed amongst its diaspora.

For, Maya Nand’s ancestors were indentured laborers from India taken to work as near-slaves in the sugar-plantations of Fiji by the British. Nand himself must have suffered from serious discrimination from the indigenous Fijians and therefore moved to the US as a refugee. Finally, with no opportunity to defend himself, he was killed. This is an outrage.

But more alarmingly, it appears legal protections US citizens take for granted are not available to legal immigrant and residents. There are gray areas in the US judicial system that take away the fundamental rights of the individual, including habeas corpus, the right to a fair hearing in court. And the famous ‘Miranda’ rules available to even hardened criminals: “You have the right to remain silent, to an attorney, etc.”

The story of Maya Nand, and a related story about European visitors (“Italian’s Detention Illustrates Dangers Foreign Visitors Face”, New York Times, May 15th, 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/14/us/14visa.html?em&ex=1210996800&en=659393fd425fbf2d&ei=5087%0A ), show there are constructs that put non-citizens into a Kafkaesque No-Man’s Land where they are legally not on US soil even though they physically are; and therefore normal US laws do not apply to them, even those that apply to illegal immigrants! Therefore, they can be held indefinitely without being charged, and there is no way that anxious relatives can even get reliable information about them.

In a strange way, this is the mirror-image of the rationale for the post-9/11 terrorist holding facility in the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. That is another fiction where the base is not quite considered to be on US soil, and detainees are not considered either enemy combatants or prisoners of war, whereby the Geneva Convention doesn’t apply to them (let me hasten to add that I make no assumptions about the innocence or otherwise of those detained in Gitmo, I am merely observing the legal loophole used).

I must admit being shocked when I first read these stories. Accustomed as most of us are to the frequent proclamations about the US being the “home of the free and the land of the brave”, I could not believe such things could happen to holders of the coveted Green Card. (Although, in passing, I know some people who lied about their existing Communist Party affiliations – a big no-no – in their Green Card applications. I am sure they worry someone will bring this little subterfuge to the attention of those grim Homeland Security types. Green Cards, and citizenship, can, and have been, revoked – ask the Indian immigrants who were stripped of citizenship in the early 1900s for being Caucasian but not white).

To some extent these excesses may be over-reactions to 9/11 and the real threat to America from terrorists abroad. But there is a totalitarian streak in the country, which explains how Japanese-Americans were put into concentration camps during World War II. There is also a tendency to apply the harshest methods to non-whites. But then, America has a violent history, including the genocide and cultural extermination of the Native American.

Why does India does not stand up for the rights of its diaspora and demand that the record be set right on historical wrongs? Four years ago, Indian-origin Sikh priest Khem Singh, 72 years old and crippled, was starved to death in another American prison in Fresno, Calif. Before that, there was Charanjit Singh Aujla, shot to dead by plainclothes policemen in Jefferson, Miss. And Navroze Mody, beaten to death in Hoboken, NJ, by racists chanting “dot-head”, an epithet against Indians.

Then there have been the many incidents of oppression, religious and economic, against Indian-origin people in Fiji; they have had no option but to flee. There was violence against Indians in Uganda, Kenya etc. in East Africa, again turning many into refugees; and even before that, Indians were ejected from Burma.

The Indian government has never raised its voice in support of its diaspora in any of these cases. Perhaps that was acceptable when India was a starving banana republic, holding out a begging bowl. But this is not acceptable when India aspires to be a major power.

Then there was the event that showed Indians that the British imperialists were truly evil: April 13th, 1919, Jallianwallah Bagh. The Indian government has never demanded reparations or even an apology from the British for this crime against humanity: 1650 bullets, 1579 casualties.

The Canadians recently decided to make a belated apology for the shameful Komagata Maru incident of 1914 when they denied Indian refugees succor (“Canada to apologize for Komagata Maru”, The Times of India, 13 May 2008, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Komagata_Maru_Canada_to_apologise_/articleshow/3034298.cms ). More such apologies must be demanded.

India deserves a government that is proud of the nation and leaves no stone unturned in protecting its citizens and its diaspora.

990 words, 15 May 2008

This was printed in the Pioneer, April 8th

http://www.dailypioneer.com/archives2/default12.asp?main_variable=oped&file_name=opd1%2Etxt&counter_img=1&phy_path_it=E%3A%5Cdailypioneer%5Carchives2%5Capr808

Here’s my original, which has been slightly edited by the Pioneer. I made a factual error: Moscow was the 1980 Olympics, not 1984.

Are Tibet and Kashmir the same?

Rajeev Srinivasan on how China’s fifth-columnists are exculpating genocide

There has lately been a slew of articles and editorials in India’s English-language media about China’s inhuman genocide and reign of terror in Tibet. Some of these supported the state-perpetrated terrorism against oppressed Tibetans.

The media is merely reflecting the failings of the self-proclaimed “intelligentsia” in India. Their discourse is so distorted that what would be considered lunatic-fringe leftist in the real world is considered “centrist” in India. A true centrist would be, and is, deemed a lunatic-fringe right-winger, and is instantly demonized as a fascist and Nazi.

Therefore the usual perorations of the media can be taken with a large pinch of salt. A number of them support the Chinese, either out of an exaggerated sense of awe about China, or out of loyalty built up through boondoggle Potemkin trips or cold, hard cash.

But they attempt to intimidate people with a logical fallacy: they suggest that Indians have no right to comment on someone else violating human rights. Wrong. The fact that the Indian government may be violating human rights somewhere does not preclude any Indian individual from commenting on, or condemning, what the Chinese are doing. Evil has to be resisted.

Here are a couple of apt quotations: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”, attributed to Edmund Burke, a Briton.

“First they came for the Communists,
– but I was not a communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists,
– but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews,
– but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.,”

attributed to Martin Niemoller, a German, speaking about the Nazis.

Therefore, it is absolutely proper for anyone to speak out against gross human rights violations. Those who use rhetorical devices to try and shut people up are bullying and censoring others. They should be ignored and laughed at.

But I found something a little more outrageous in the perspectives of a few China hands, including the editor of a newspaper infamous for reprinting Xinhua propaganda verbatim, and a retired diplomat.

These worthies made the assertion that India must not say anything about Tibet because Tibet is just like Kashmir. This merits attention. In fact, they are right, amazingly enough, although for entirely the wrong reasons. Consider the analogies:

In Tibet, a bunch of outsiders, Han Chinese, invaded and are oppressing local Tibetans.

In Kashmir, a bunch of outsiders, Mohammedans, invaded and oppress local Hindus.

In Tibet, Han Chinese are murdering and ethnically cleansing Tibetans.

In Kashmir, Mohammedans have been murdering and ethnically cleansing Hindus.

In Tibet, Han Chinese are practicing civilizational genocide.

In Kashmir, Mohammedans are practicing civilizational genocide.

In Tibet, a Semitic belief (Communism) is wiping out an Indic faith (Tibetan Buddhism).

In Kashmir, a Semitic faith (Mohammedanism) is wiping out an Indic faith (Hinduism). Therefore, nobody is bothered, as it is the defined job of Indic faiths to be wiped out by Semitic faiths.

With these parallels, there is an exact match between Tibet and Kashmir. The media mavens are absolutely right. And just as the Congress government stood by and watched the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Hindus in Kashmir, the UPA government will stand by and watch the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Tibetans in Tibet. Therefore, on five points out of five, the match is perfect.

There is one difference. Tibetan Buddhism was created in the first place by the few monks who fled Nalanda with their lives when Mohammedan invader Bakhtiar Khilji burned the university to the ground circa 1192 CE (which in itself was a crime against humanity because of the knowledge lost), and beheaded every one of the Buddhist monks he found. Hinduism, specifically Kashmir Shaivism, on the other hand, was the faith of the region from times immemorial.

Ironically, the job was started by Bakhtiar Khilji is being completed by the Han Chinese. This is another example of the Communist/Han-Mohammedan axis, also seen in the A Q Khan Nuclear Wal-Mart. It appears Communists are irresistibly drawn to Mohammedans (although the reverse is not true: the latter liquidate the ‘godless’ Communists as soon as they cease to be ‘useful idiots’). There is an ‘understanding’ between China and Pakistan to keep the lid on Uighur nationalism and separatism.

It is amazing that when it comes to Chinese oppression of Mohammedan Uighurs, Pakistan somehow forgets that it is the owner of the “Mohammedan Bomb”. That, of course, may be because Pakistan’s Bomb is in fact a screwdriver job supplied by China.

Similarly, I look forward to my favorite media mavens’ dilemma when China starts to beat up on Uighurs, who, allegedly, are plotting terrorist attacks the Olympics. Who will said mavens support – Hans or Uighurs, Communists or Mohammedans? Surely they’ll support the hand that feeds them.

The proper solution to both the Kashmir and Tibet problems is the same: the perpetrators of oppression must be made to realize in no uncertain terms that you cannot get away with ethnic cleansing and genocide. Therefore, it must be made clear to the Mohammedans that India will never relinquish Kashmir. Similarly, it must be made clear to the Han Chinese that they will never be able to extinguish the spirit of the Tibetans.

Today, the Chinese look impregnable, and they are using the 2008 Olympics as a coming-out party, just as Japan and Korea did with theirs. But there is a difference: those nations were not oppressive empires at the time, just as India is not. Democracy has a way of dealing with conflict, which is not available to imperialists. It is quite possible that this is in fact the zenith of the Han empire, and that it is downhill from here on.

Let us remember that the historic independent nation of Tibet, which includes the Amdo and Kham regions, accounts for fully one-third of the land-mass controlled by the Han Chinese today. In fact, 60% of that entire land-mass is land that belongs to ethnic minorities. Han Chinese control could collapse, just as the Soviet Union’s Russian domination collapsed.

There are a couple of interesting historical parallels. In 1936, at the height of the self-glorification of the Nazi State, the Berlin Olympics were held. But in ten years, Nazism was dead and buried. In 1984, the Moscow Olympics were held when the Soviet Union looked like an invulnerable empire. In seven years, that empire imploded suddenly. In 2008, when the Han Chinese look, in turn, like masters of the universe, brutalizing others like Manchurians, Mongols, Uighurs and Tibetans. It will be interesting to see where they will be in ten years.

That is another way in which Tibet and Kashmir differ: Tibet may well lead to the unraveling of the Han Communist empire, while Kashmir is not going to affect the fabric of the Indian nation.

1170 words, April 3, 2008

Well, alas, Rediff never bothered to post this even though I sent it to them at the end of 2007, and reminded them several times.

The limits to Hindu tolerance: The story of 2007

Rajeev Srinivasan on how the UPA is out of touch with young India

There is a second reason for why there is a sea-change in the political scenario: the public’s recognition of endemic betrayal of Hindus by the Congress and the Left. There are plenty of other damning reasons why the current the UPA dispensation has proved itself in 2007 to be the very worst government this country has ever seen; I shall list some of them, but then let it pass, for I wish to concentrate on the assault on Hindus:

  1. raging inflation. The official figures are a magical 3%, but the price of essential goods like vegetables (remember the famous ‘onion crisis’ that the media moaned about?) has gone up by about 20-40%. Real inflation if probably 10+%.
  2. rampant fascism and oppression. The Communist allies of the UPA have been on the warpath, raping, killing and cremating in unmarked graves hundreds of people in Nandigram. The UPA is unable to protect the famous ‘aam admi’
  3. virtual loss of sovereignty. One third of the country’s districts are wracked by violent Communist terrorism, and the UPA is playing footsie with this non-State actor surely funded by the Chinese
  4. loss of buffer State Nepal. Though the good offices of various vested interests, Nepal has been swallowed up by a violent Communist theocracy, and become a safe haven for Mohammedan and Christian terrorist targeting India
  5. attempt to make India a vassal of the US. The so-called nuclear deal with the US, in its current form, relegates India forever to second-class status in matters nuclear, and rolls back its deterrent capability
  6. surrender to terrorism. In an apparent attempt to shield its bigwigs from possible Mohammedan terrorist attacks, the Congress has virtually declared an amnesty. Repealing POTA, refusing to obey the Supreme Court ruling regarding hanging Afzal Guru – the signal to terrorists is: you can do anything in India and get away with it. The UPA will support you
  7. pork-barrel policies. The much-ballyhooed rural employment guarantee program, it turns out, is accomplishing exactly what it was meant to do: transfer money from the State to party cadres and middlemen. Hardly anything is reaching the poor. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/south_asia/7005985.stm The least corrupt in this scheme, as the BBC notes, are BJP-ruled Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh! Obviously – fewer UPA middlemen in action there.

Read the rest of this entry »

To be posted when published by Rediff. This is part I

On this Winter Solstice, I am a Gujarati

Rajeev Srinivasan on how the Gujarat elections mark a high point in the year’s news
The Gujarat election results were announced on a very appropriate day: the day after Winter Solstice, the beginning of the movement of the Sun towards the north. Uttarayanam is auspicious, a time of new beginnings; this is the time for which the aged Bhishma waited, in excruciating pain on the sara-sayya, bed of arrows. If we are lucky, we will be seeing a new beginning in the Indian political scenario as well.

John Kennedy said famously in cold-war-era, besieged Berlin after the Wall was built: Ich bin ein Berliner. He meant to say, “I am, metaphorically, one of you Berliners, and I stand by you”. Today, the Gujarati feels besieged by an unrelenting barrage of negative propaganda that portrays them all, collectively and individually, as monsters. All decent people must stand by Gujaratis, because unprincipled rogues are demonizing them willy-nilly.

This demonization is a major reason why Gujaratis turned out in droves to elect Modi; the second reason is the UPA’s obvious antipathy towards Hindus, which is coming back to haunt them.

…. deleted

Here is an excerpt from the first chapter of the Robert Sewell book, quoting Portuguese and Persian envoys, about the splendor of Vijayanagar. This book should be made compulsory reading for all high school students in India.

An electronic version can be downlooaded for free from http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/3310

which is where I got this excerpt from as well.

I suggest you circulate the book widely. It is a good antidote to the re-toxified textbooks in India.

Excerpt:

A Forgotten Empire: Vijayanagar

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

Introductory remarks — Sources of information — Sketch of history of
Southern India down to A.D. 1336 — A Hindu bulwark against Muhammadan
conquest — The opening date, as given by Nuniz, wrong — “Togao
Mamede” or Muhammad Taghlaq of Delhi — His career and character.

In the year 1336 A.D., during the reign of Edward III. of England,
there occurred in India an event which almost instantaneously changed
the political condition of the entire south. With that date the volume
of ancient history in that tract closes and the modern begins. It is
the epoch of transition from the Old to the New.

This event was the foundation of the city and kingdom of
Vijayanagar. Read the rest of this entry »

This column is at http://www.rediff.com/news/2006/nov/13rajeev.htm

There is no point in my reposting it here (unless rediff had edited something out, which they don’t seem to have done.)

I have been intrigued by some of the comments on both parts of this column. Let me say that I was merely celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the southern states. I wasn’t looking to put northern India down: if I were, I’d come straight out and say it, I wouldn’t beat about the bush and be coy. No, I was just observing that the southern states have managed to blunder along and now seem to have a teeny-weeny advantage in a globalized world.

As for language, I have mellowed a bit in my old age, but I have been quite um… shall we say, forceful, in the past on this topic. You can find four previous columns of mine here, and no, I am not going to rehash those arguments. You can believe whatever you want, and that’s fine with me, I am not trying to ‘convert’ anybody:

http://www.rediff.com/news/2000/sep/13rajeev.htm

http://www.rediff.com/news/2000/oct/05rajeev.htm

A small point of fact: there are nineteen or so national languages in India, every one that is printed on a rupee note. They are *all* defined as national languages in the Constitution.

Two languages get a special mention, as ‘official languages’. These are English and Hindi.

Anybody who is not convinced about the economic might of India should really read the voluminous tables in Angus Maddison’s book, which is available for free download on the Web.

Anyone who isn’t convinced of India’s tremendous contributions to intellectual property development should read an old column of mine and follow up on the links:

http://www.rediff.com/news/2004/aug/16rajeev.htm

The Hindu Work Ethic

October 20, 2006

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Here is a picture of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, part of the Hindu diaspora’s flowering.

I wrote the following in 1994 for Hinduism Today.

The Hindu Work Ethic: or, The New “Hindu Rate of Growth”
by Rajeev Srinivasan

India has suddenly become a fashionable destination for investment; many large
companies view India as a must-have market. Is this a flash in the pan, given her
enormous problems of underdevelopment? I think not: because there is a fundamental
Hindu work ethic.  In fact, the 21st century, rather than being the Pacific century, will
really be the Asian century, and India will be a major player in this.
 Read the rest of this entry »

The HAF lawsuit has produced an interesting result: one that allows all sites to claim victory on points. I suspect that is what the court was in fact trying to do: leave everybody with something that they could highlight to their supporters.

Having said this, the core issue, that of the impact of deliberate anti-Hindu propaganda, on sensitive Hindu children in the US, remains up in the air. The same textbooks that have the distortions in them will continue to be used by the school districts for the foreseeable future, although the court has rapped the CBE’s knuckles for poor procedure. And the court has dismissed the locus standi of the usual suspect rabble-rousers in this instance. Thus, as I said elsewhere, a half-victory.

What is entertaining in context is the fact that almost simultaneously, Chinese textbooks have dropped almost all references to the great Mao Tse-Tung. This, I suspect, is giving the leading lights of the Left in India sleepless nights, as their Great Leader is being declared as a god with clay feet by his own countrymen. What of the CPI-M which famously declared that Chairman Mao is “our Chairman”? The delicious irony is that the only places where Marxism still exists are:

  • Cuba (with the imminent demise of Fidel Castro this will change)
  • West Bengal
  • Kerala
  • Nepal
  • The Maoist corridor from Nepal to Andhra Pradesh
  • The BBC, and India’s ELM

That’s it!

Venezuela is not Marxist per se, merely anti-American and nationalist. And even though Marxism has become an expression of Chinese imperialism, and the rotting corpse of Mao is a ghoulish stop on trips to Beijing, China itself is declaring that it has outgrown the idiocies of this murderous ideology.

Marxism is now strictly for the consumption of others whom China hopes to dominate in its goal of world conquest, and this is where the “useful idiots” continue to be China’s storm-troopers.

“Do as we preach, not as we do” — says China now. In this, they have finally become the equal of the Americans, who have long been the champions of moralizing: they want all of us to listen to their rhetoric of free trade and so forth, but the moment we do free trade, they don’t like it because it gives them no advantage. Quite hypocritical, indeed.

Underground processes, Hostile academics
By Ari Saja

http://tinyurl.com/nwzxz