the ruling elite cannot be expected to change things because the majority already has one foot out of the door. Most members of the ruling elite have dual nationality, which means that if the situation deteriorates further they can always leave, along with their capital. This saves them from taking responsibility for improving social conditions and the country’s politics for the benefit of all. http://is.gd/krkPC
Who cares …
On 4th January, 2011, Salman Taseer died. Shot dead by his own body guard. His support for non-Islamic minorities in Pakistan coupled with his support for removal of blasphemy laws from statute books angered extremists. Leading to this killing. Salmaan Taseer’s other bodyguards did nothing against the killer. Many ‘powerful people’, afraid, did not attend Taseer’s funeral.
Like this author points out, the State of Pakistan is in the hands of people who have interests, capital, and a life outside Pakistan. Pakistan needs complete, total commitment.
Another hate crime
On the other side of the world, on Saturday 8th January, 2011, in the advanced world, there was a similar incident. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, during a public event at a Safeway grocery store on the north side of Tucson, was shot.
Giffords — who in 2006 became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, at 36 — has, for more than a year, been the target of violence-tinged rhetoric from political opponents and of threats that appear to have come from right-wing activists.
Sarah Palin’s political action committee posted a map of the US, showing the locations of the 20 Democratic members of Congress, including Giffords, it was targeting for defeat. Each location was marked by an image of a gun crosshairs.
Palin’s camp dismissed charges that she was encouraging acts of violence, saying she had spoken out against violence. But Giffords herself was one of many who spoke out against the image, telling MSNBC: “When people do that, they’ve gotta realize there’s consequences to that action.”
In June, the campaign of Giffords’ Republican opponent in this year’s midterms, Jesse Kelly, placed an ad that read: “Get on target for victory in November/ Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office/ Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”
The website for Kelly, a former US Marine, depicted him with holding an automatic weapon.
Today, Kelly said in a tweet: “We are all deeply saddened by this morning’s shooting. Gabrielle Giffords, the other victims, and their families are in our prayers.”
It is unclear why Gabrielle Giffords was shot. Was is it because she ‘approached the immigration debate in a nuanced fashion, mixing requests for more Border Patrol agents with calls to increase the number of work visas granted to foreigners.’ Or was because she was the first Jewish woman to be elected Congresswoman from Arizona.
Desert Bloc parallels
Gabrielle Gifford and Salman Taseer were ‘marked’ for supporting ‘Others’. Christian intolerance, Islamic extremism. Any difference. Sympathy for ‘kaffirs‘ killed Salman Taseer; supporting ‘aliens’ hurt Gabrielle Gifford. USA & Pakistan-Siamese twins?
Pakistan is evading the blasphemy issue. USA will ‘investigate’ if xenophobia behind Gabrielle Gifford attack. Christian intolerance + Islamic extremism = Desert Bloc behavior. Proof – Attacks on Gabrielle Gifford & Salman Taseer.Last train out
- Family of slain Pakistani politician feels for Giffords (cnn.com)
- Political violence in the US and Pakistan (blogs.ft.com)
- Gabrielle Giffords a Champion of Green Causes (treehugger.com)
- Gabrielle Giffords, update on her brain injury (actionforbetterhealthcare.com)
- Gabrielle Giffords shot in Arizona – Sarah Palin ‘has blood on her hands’ (archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.com)
- Bhutto pledges to defend minorities in Pakistan (reuters.com)
- Salman Taseer assassination – BBC News (news.google.com)
- Global worry: Tucson attack augur more violent US? (foxnews.com)
- Pope Asks Pakistan To Repeal Blasphemy Law (video) (nowpublic.com)
- Taseer Murder Reveals Depth of Pakistan’s Extremist Drift (time.com)
- Pakistan slaying divides nation – Washington Post (news.google.com)
You got this one wrong
David, you are tracing blasphemy to people (like me) who worship rocks, trees, birds, animals, air, water, rivers, seas, mountains, fruits, sunrise, sunset, the waxing and waning of the moon, the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, tools and weapons, water and milk – in fact (and in short) everything. And we are the subject of your cartoon.
Pagans, we are called by ‘others’. Probably, you too. And no, we don’t have the concept of blasphemy. So, David you got this one wrong!! Completely wrong. We, (who are mostly called Pagans) don’t and didn’t do the killings over blasphemy! Because,
We don’t worship The One!
History of blasphemy
If you are looking at a ‘modern’ phenomenon, like blasphemy, it is the history of Desert Bloc that you must look at. Over the last nearly 2500 years. During this period, the cornerstones of ‘modern’ societies, from the Desert Bloc like One God, One Book, One Holy Day, One Prophet (Messiah), One Race, One People, One Country, One Authority, One Law, One Currency, One Set of Festivals, et al were popularized.
From this Oneness, we get the One Currency, One Language logic – fallacious syllogisms, all. This quest of ‘Oneness’ is the root of most problems in the world – including blasphemy.
Birth of religions
Modern religions are a construct of the West Asia-Middle East – and the birth place of the 3 major religions of the world. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In the Indic system, belief structure centres around dharma – धर्म.
In the last 1000 years, India has also become ‘religious’. Indic people have started describing themselves as ‘Hindus’ – a geographical appellation, apart from /Buddhists /Jains /Sikhs. ‘Modern’ blasphemy laws in India are also derived from colonial roots of Desert Bloc origin.
The difference between धर्म dharma and religion? Major!
For one, religion is about worship. There are many other differences also – in method of worship (how you worship), object of worship (what you worship), frequency of worship (e.g. every Sabbath; five times a day, etc.), language of worship (what you say, in which language), etc.
Indic worship practices are infinite. Even non-worship to is acceptable – for instance, the Charvaka school of Indian philosophy was atheistic and did not prescribe worship. Structure and deviation from worship practices are a non-issue in Indian dharmic structure. धर्म Dharma has no equivalent in the ‘Desert Bloc’ vocabulary of religions. धर्म Dharma is the path of righteousness, defined by a matrix of the contextual, existential, moral, pragmatic, professional, position, etc. धर्म Dharma is more than moral and ethics.
Many more … and more on the way
The really big difference between religion and धर्म dharma is the holy books. Judaism, Christianity and Islam have one Holy Book each. No deviations. Indian धर्म dharma tradition has thousands which are more than 1000 years old – at last count. And some more on the way.
David, your two Pulitzers notwithstanding, you must do better than this. You cannot let your beliefs, prejudices, ‘received’ wisdom come in the way of ‘truth’.
Or your lack of knowledge!
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned that the world’s 30 leading industrialized economies will see their indebtedness grow to 100% of output in 2010, a near doubling from the percentage 20 years ago. (via Public debt imperils world economy – International News – livemint.com).
Till the fat lady sings
The debt spiral is not ended yet.
Like the Dubai crash shows, the world economy is not yet out of the woods. Struggling firms, in the face of a weak consumer and industrial markets, may just keel over. A domino effect may set off yet another round of closures, bankruptcies, mergers, and defaults.
More importantly, are Western Governments. With public debt (read that as Government debt) exceeding 100% of GDP for every Western Government – Ireland at more than 1000%, Britain at nearly 200%, US at more than 100%, they are the vulnerable soft-spot of the global economy.
I want more
The shopping bill for Western welfare state is not going away – except up. Welfare bills are getting more ambitious – and the domestic lobbies want more ambitious schemes. High cost economies are being protected by barriers and stockades.
Run … hide … but you can’t turn your back
The political constructs of the West have hit a wall – and there is no way but down! Since the West is busy hiding elephants in the room, the need for a different political ideology remains unaddressed.
- Moody’s puts Japan debt ratings on review (theglobeandmail.com)
- Chinese public debt: Coming clean (economist.com)
- Moody’s reviewing Japan rating for downgrade (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- How to illustrate U.S. public debt? (ask.metafilter.com)
- Japan disaster may hurt world economy (politico.com)
- Debts, Debts, Debts (businessinsider.com)
- Moody’s Threatens To Warn About Cutting US Debt Rating (businessinsider.com)
Before the western model brought by the British or the Church, there were ezhuthu pallis, or writing schools, run by ezhuthu ashans, or writing masters. There were also schools run by wealthy individuals in their homes for their daughters.
In these tutorials, generations learnt to read and write using writing nails, palm leaves and sand, paying fees in kind. Outside Kerala, gurukuls functioned successfully for centuries. And these were always privately-funded. Is this model better than pumping in more public money into inefficient government schools?
That is the question that James Tooley, a British researcher and writer on education, asks in his recent book, The Beautiful Tree. He sees existence of private education in pre-British India as an argument in favour of low-cost private education that can cover every child. He finds virtue in the large number of private schools that are run in the slums he visited.
This goes against the thinking of development experts, including Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze. A study by the latter argues that the solution is to improve government schools rather than close them.
Madhav Chavan, the founder of NGO Pratham, which in its study found that the poor also preferred to send their children to private schools, sat close to Tooley at the launch of the book. But he made it clear he did not share the views of the author.
To say that private schools hold the key to universal education is to say the unspeakable. As unspeakable as saying that the king has no clothes. (via Sreelatha Menon: A new lesson).
End of the road … the bankrupt model
The health care (USA), social welfare (USA), employment benefits (UK), showcase countries (Japan), are running countries into the ground. India has, as yet, not gone down that path. Though, the Indian State has been trying – quite hard.
My first glimpse of this model was through the draft of Parag Tope’s forthcoming book – Operation Red Lotus.
I say without fear of my figures being challenged successfully, that today India is more illiterate than it was fifty or a hundred years ago, and so is Burma, because the British administrators, when they came to India, instead of taking hold of things as they were, began to root them out. They scratched the soil and began to look at the root, and left the root like that, and the beautiful tree perished. (Gandhiji, at Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, Oct 1931 - extracted from Indian Models Of Economy Business And Management By Kanagasabapathi; Page 60).
Gandhiji, in correspondence with Sir Philip Hartog, (chairman of the Auxiliary Committee on Education), laid out the the pre-colonial scenario, which has now been buttressed by research by Dharampal, a Gandhian, in his book, Beautiful Tree, Indian Education in the 18th century.
Sreelatha Menon, seemingly, depends on Tooley’s own PR handouts to write this up. In the entire post in Business Standard, she never makes a mention of Dharampal, whose work is the most authoritative today. Tooley, a (for sometime) IFC-World Bank employee, this research resulted, (funded by the Templeton Foundation) in a book - of course called, The Beautiful Tree.
Between a rock and a hard place
Dharampal’s pioneering work, in 1983, has, not surprisingly, been ignored by the Amartya Sens and The Jean Drezes of the world – all their avid followers in India. Kapil Sibal has been trying to further the colonial British efforts by laying out a red carpet for foreign universities – while tying up Indian institutions into-knots-into-knots-into-knots. The ‘modern’ theory about Indian education goes that all credit for Indian education should go either to the British Colonial Raj or the Christian Missionary Benevolence.
This Indian education model was, till about a 150 years ago, unique in the world. With the highest literacy ratio in the world, and completely privately funded, it set global and historic benchmarks. This model has been buried under a mound of silence – and once in a while you get a glimpse of this.