Archive for January, 2010

Asur tribe descendants in modern India

January 23, 2010 2 comments

Indian pauranik history makes sense after ‘asuras’ as a verbal cue for slavery and slave masters /traders is used.

Western rendition of Tomyris with Cyrus' head - Peter Paul Rubens, 1630  | Click for image.

Western rendition of Tomyris with Cyrus’ head – Peter Paul Rubens, 1630 | Click for image.

“Mahishasur was the most powerful man in the two universes (Swarga and Prithvi). The Devas knew that if he lived for long, human beings would stop worshipping them. So they joined hands and killed him through deceit. If this is how the gods are, why worship them?” said Daharu Asur. So passionate are the Asurs about this that Daharu started talking rapidly in his native language, not realizing that no one else could understand a word of it. After prolonged persuasion he agreed to speak in broken Hindi.

“We hate the gods and goddesses. Our forefathers stopped worshipping them and we strictly follow the path they showed us. We have learnt from our forefathers that gods can do no good to anybody. They only aim to get worshipped, at any cost,” he said. The Asurs worship only their ancestors or nature, offering them haria (rice beer) and chicken on a sacred day. (via Here, kids behead lions and Durga Puja is a period of mourning – Kolkata – City – The Times of India).

Battle scenes from Ramayana

Asuras in Indic history

Indian pauranik and classical history begins to make sense only after ‘asuras’ as a verbal cue for slavery and slave masters /traders is used.

Similarly, the story of Bali, the ‘righteous’ Asura king, who was sent to the patalaloka, by Vamana, makes sense, the moment ‘demons’ are defined as slave-owners and enslavers.

Therefore, once asura for slave traders /owners is used, the reading of Indian Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, Mahabharat and Ramayana, everything, begins to makes much sense – especially historical sense. Without this interpretation, there are missing elements. For instance, the story of Bali and Vamana, the horror stricken response of readers to Sita-apaharan by Ravana and others.

Jataka stories, cautionary tales for adults, mainly considered as children’s stories in the West, also reflect social mores and realities of the times. This Jataka story (click on the link) refers to a “demon’ (another word for a slave trader) and cautions travellers and merchants about slave traders. This ‘demon’ kidnaps the merchant – but leaves the goods behind.

An old undated photograph of Asur tribesmen.

An old undated photograph of Asur tribesmen.

Asuras in Indic History

Interesting are the many Mahishasurmardini statues, coins and seals, especially by the Gupta kings and coins by many other Indic rulers, recovered from Afghanistan and Iran.  The issuance of Mahishasurmardini seals and coins continued, going by by appearances, celebrated the victory of Tomyris, over Cyrus, for the next 800-1000 years. Such coins, seals and statues have been foundin modern day Iran, Afghanistan, which support this linkage.

The possible link between Ahura Mazda and Mahishasura (Sanskrit root of Mazda Ahura?) has been the source of much speculation. Ahasuerus, the Persian King, in the Hebrew Book Of Esther and Ezra, is considered by some to be Xerxes. The commonality of Sanskritic language, symbols between Zend Avestha and Aryan India are well known for me repeat. After all, Zarathushtra was also from Bactra (hellenized form of Bharata-ah).

As the Achaemenid Dynasty inherited the Assyrian Kingdom, they also made for a Persian linguistic makeover. From Dravidian-Elamite language to Sanskritic-Old Persian (influenced by Sanskritic-Assyrian linguistic systems). This, however, did not change everything. The Elamite element in Zoroastrian revolt against the daiwas (devas), continues today in Elamite-Dravidian-Tamil Nadu, where asura kings like Ravana and Neduncheziyan are respected.

Rome and Persia

After the defeat and death of Darius, the eclipse of the Achaemenid Dynasty gave rise to the दुरातान्त्रिक duratantrik regimes of Greece, Rome, and the Desert Bloc regimes of Islamic dynasties and the European colonial powers. For sometime, Indic सुरतान्त्रिक suratantrik forces supported the Sassanian kingdom in Persia to over-throw the Greek rulers and keep the successor Roman Empire at bay.

The battle between Durga and Mahishasura - at Mahishasura-mardini temple, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

The battle between Durga and Mahishasura – at Mahishasura-mardini temple, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

With the help of the Indian elephant corps, the Sassanians stopped the Romans at Persian borders in 363 AD. Roman forces retreated, when confronted by Indo-Sassanian armies with Indian elephants. For the next nearly 400 years, Romans were wary of any large expeditions into Indo-Persian territories. It is interesting that the enemies of the daiwas (enemy of devas are the asuras, in Indian scriptures), the Zoroastrians (followers of Ahura Mazda, speculatively Mahishasura) allied themselves with a Suren.

Only fade away

Of General Suren, not much is known – which by now, should not surprise us. Some ancient maps show the Gandhara-Takshashila region as Suren. Suren also supposedly ‘lacked strategic vision’ – these days, called ‘killer instinct’, for which he was shortly later killed. But it is interesting that the enemies of the daiwas (enemy of devas are the asuras, in Indian scriptures), the Zoroastrians (followers of Ahura Mazda, speculatively Mahishasura) allied themselves with a Suren. The House of Suren’s had traditional rights to install the crown of Persian rulers.

A 1000 years later, the Sassanian army, had forgotten their lessons – and could not use their few elephants to full effect, against the Islamic Arabs.

Model for Indic assimilation

A probable model for Indic assimilation is the synthesis of Parsis (Zoroastrian) in India. Zarathustra, a Bactrian, established the Zoroastrian faith, which became significantly popular in the Persia and the North West swath of India. The Achaemenid Dynasty succeeded the Elamites (Dravidian Indians) in Iran – and the took over the Assyrian Empire. With the change in regime, came a change in the linguistic policy. Elamite-Dravidian language was replaced by Sanskritic-Old Persian.

Till about 8th century BC, the Zoroastrians were based in Iran. Within a few years, after the fall of Zoroastrian Sassanian kingdom, under persecution by the Islamic conquerors, in Persia, the first set of Zoroastrians made their way back to  India. Over the next 200 years, from 8th century to 10th century, the Zoroastrians returned to the larger Bactra  – Bharat(ah).

The second major influx of Zoroastrians, was in the 17th-19th century. The second wave of immigrants mostly carry the ‘Irani’ surname and were significantly associated with setting up tea parlours. India was the mother lode to which these populations reverted. The commonalities between Vedic and Zoroastrians texts are significant and well known to repeat here.

Asur tribe photograph. Courtesy -

Asur tribe photograph. Courtesy –

Slave Memory In Indian Society

There are also no historical records of slave trades, prices, quantities, ownership anywhere in India. In fact, Sanskritic Indian languages have no word for slaves.

By the 10th century, Slave memory faded out in India. The Indic word for slave owning cultures, asur, became disconnected with slave ownership. The understanding of the word ‘asura’ changed – and foreign words like ‘ghulam made their way into Indic languages.

To rediscover that the descendants of the legendary asurs are with us today – alive, well and living with their old ‘enemies‘ is a tribute to Indic mindset, which humanizes instead of demonizing. To find their history intact, after more than a 3000 years, passed on in the oral tradition, is verily a wonder.

Remember the ragpicker. Infrastructure for the poor – II

January 20, 2010 3 comments

India’s historic cost competitiveness, was based on self-employment and not on jobs, tenancy, etc.

While the rich get heard ... the poor struggle!  |  Image source & courtesy -  |  Click for image.

While the rich get heard … the poor struggle! | Image source & courtesy – | Click for image.

Try as I might, I could not get any sense from her that those who recover recyclables from our garbage and sort them out perform a highly useful social function, which householders do in developed countries by sorting out their own garbage before passing it on. What is needed is to do the sorting elsewhere and thus help improve the lives of those who do it for us and are absolutely at the bottom of the social ladder. Besides, we need to understand while we have a right to a clean and pleasant environment, they have a right to receiving help, which can improve their lives, so that they do not have to scavenge to keep body and soul together. (via Subir Roy: Remember the ragpicker).

Indian infrastructure

This is the second in the infrastructure series of posts. Anyone who is tracking India (or the Indian economy), know that the hot topic among the Indian ‘richeratti’ is infrastructure. The rich and powerful keep pointing at China, the Asian Tigers and at practically all countries to ‘show’ how infrastructure is the most important.

Is it time for them to get a better deal?  |  Photo: A.Muralitharan; source & courtesy -; on Sunday, Jun 01, 2008  |  Click for image.

Is it time for them to get a better deal? | Photo: A.Muralitharan; source & courtesy –; on Sunday, Jun 01, 2008 | Click for image.

In the choke-hold of Western politico-economic constructs, hides the linear path of concentration of wealth for the few and ‘full-employment’ for the rest. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few – and the other are fobbed with jobs. People are bounced from job to job – or promised lifetime employment, depending on what is convenient.

In such a system, infrastructure means – for the rich, the powerful. Glitzy airports, swanky malls and hotels, plush conference centres and smooth highways. It is another matter that the poor will also gawk at these edifices – which is anyway half the aim.

The other half is to maintain status quo.

The poor are the future of India

As this post (linked and extracted above) points out, the poor rag-pickers are delivering a very important service – just like hawkers are. Or service providers like electricians, plumbers, domestics are. Many of these service providers have been shut out of the economic mainstream – and work on crumbs. What the poor really do not need are handouts – but a level playing field. Either the Government stops favoring the rich with subsidies and /or cheap infrastructure – or the poor should come at the head of the list.

Have you noticed how projects for the rich – for instance, take five-star hotels, industrial projects seem, to get endless supply of water. The poor have to stand in a line at a community tap – and scrap for a few bucketfuls. Less than 10% of the rich people (farmers, industrialists, etc.) seem to be getting nearly 80% of the water in India, which the poor are thirsting and begging for.

The Rich have it ... the poor don't get it!  |  Image source - Reuters; courtesy - on June 10, 2009, 9:41 am  |  Click for image.

The Rich have it … the poor don’t get it! | Image source – Reuters; courtesy – on June 10, 2009, 9:41 am | Click for image.

Low cost India

Europe, Japan and the Asian Tigers used favorable exchange rates against the US dollar to propel their growth rates – an (artificial) advantage that India did not have. For India’s historic cost competitiveness, was based on self employment – and not on jobs, tenancy, etc. For all those who are worried about ‘nation-building’, who cannot sleep in the night, thinking of India, should look at India’s poor.

It is the poor who will have to be taken care of.

Rajarathnam did not talk about the American dream

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

In Sanskrit, the difference between लाभ labh (profit) लोभ lobh (greed) is सूक्ष्म thin. Very thin. Government should not be greedy in matters of taxes and imprisonment.

He told the story with the broad, toothy smile that had ingratiated him to a generation of Silicon Valley executives. The grin softened the edge of a boss who d call you an idiot or prod you into some humiliating stunt: Would you take $5,000 to be shocked with a stun gun?

In a mansion on a manmade island in Biscayne Bay in February 2007, Mr. Rajaratnam seemed determined to live up to his regal description of his name. It was Super Bowl weekend, and America s rich and powerful had descended on South Florida to watch the Indianapolis Colts play the Chicago Bears. Mostly they were there to do business. Mr. Rajaratnam s business was running a hedge fund, Galleon Group, that had made him a billionaire. And that business was based on contacts. (via The Man Who Wired Silicon Valley –

Hatchet job … or a smear

This rather long post in WSJ was rather interesting. Some things stand out.

  1. The article mentions how the SEC and FBI was working to “build the biggest insider trading case in a generation.” What makes it the largest insider trading case? US$20-US$25 million? By the way, nowhere do the writers mention that the amount in question is US$20 million (as per FBI and US$25 million per SEC). In more than 15 A4 pages, and 6500 words.
  2. The whole article is about anecdotes – I counted more than 32 anecdotes and gave up.
    Maddof and his craft is alive and in the US Fed's office

    Maddof and his craft is alive and in the US Fed's office

  3. This WSJ article talks of a “dizzying picture of multiple insider-trading rings”. Worth US$20 million in insider trading?
  4. This article talks of a how Rajarathnam had earlier handed over a huge cache of documents in an investigation relating to his younger brother Rengan, in “early 2007 in cooperation with an SEC investigation of his younger brother, a probe that hasn’t resulted in charges.”
  5. “There is reason to fear that there is a culture –not only at hedge funds but at large firms in the financial sector — that thinks nothing of casually exchanging material nonpublic information,” said Preet Bharara. Now if this is the pervasive culture, how come only Rajarathnam and his ‘associates’ were investigated, charged and arrested.
  6. Is Preet Bharara expecting that every word of every conversation be released to the public before talking to anyone – or is he talking of a simul-cast of all conversations! Google are you listening!!
  7. “Insider-trading charges are notoriously difficult to prove. That’s because Wall Street is awash in information, and every savvy investor tries to be the first to ferret out important tidbits. To gain a conviction, prosecutors have to persuade a jury that a person traded on information that they knew was not only confidential but was also important enough to move a company’s stock price.” Why is it difficult to prove? Because it is difficult to define? Now if the WSJ knows this, should it not be fair and balance the coverage. But nowhere do they examine the difficulty of defining insider trading.
  8. Would you like to prosecute Citibank, Goldman Sachs and Alan Greenspan for the way they ‘saved’ LTCM? If you ask me, it was a mix of inside information, racketeering and anti-trust rolled in one.
  9. WSJ articles talk about how another case had to be dropped as they were “unable to prove that Mr. Rajaratnam traded on the information.”

On Wall Street

Coconut Bharara - Brown outside, vindictive inside?

Coconut Bharara - Brown outside, vindictive inside?

The case of the Sri Lankan Rajarathnam has similar smell to it. The US prosecuting authority, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, alleges that the Galleon Fund made some US$20 million out of this insider trading.

Galleon Fund (more than US$5 billion in assets under management) probably spent more than US$20 million on tea, coffee, espresso, soda, Evian and paper napkins.

Rajrathnam’s own net worth was estimated by “Forbes” to be US$ 1.3 billion. Is there any sense, any balance to these cases. Especially, when what constitutes ‘insider’ trading itself is so vague and nebulous!

Is Preet Bharara, indulging in reverse ‘affirmative action’ by prosecuting Rajarathnam? Is a ‘Whiter-than-White’ Preet Bharara trying to prove that he is colour blind?

“If you’re a wealthy trader, you aren’t special,” Bloomberg quoted Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara as saying at a press conference. “Knock on our door before we come knocking on yours.”

What Preet Bharara should do is investigate Hank Paulson, the Former Treasury Secretary, under whose watch many bankruptcies happened conveniently in favour of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

Character certificates from prosecutors?

Robert Khuzami, director of enforcement at the SEC, said the charges show Rajaratnam’s “secret of success was not genius trading strategies.”

“He is not the master of the universe. He is a master of the Rolodex,” Khuzami said.

Is Khuzami here to pronounce judgment on Rajarathnam’s business skills? How is this comment relevant at all? All that Khuzami & Co needs to do is show culpability for specific action(s) – and not pronounce or give character or competency certificates.

What Khuzami is doing is usually called vilification. And why do you need to indulge in vilification, Mr.Khuzami? Is that not abuse of your office and statutory powers? Is that not misuse of Government machinery?

“Greed is not good,” Bharara said. “This case should be a wake-up call for Wall Street.”

I think I know …

I agree with you on this one, Mr.Bharara. Greed indeed is not good. Now you (might) know that in Sanskrit, the difference between लाभ labh (profit) लोभ lobh (greed) is सूक्ष्म thin. Very thin. A government official should not be greedy in justice and convictions.  America’s overflowing prison population is proof enough that rigid justice wont work. It is always better to be a little lenient – rather than being repressive.

Checking out the American Dream

Checking out the American Dream

But then maybe it is beyond your tolerance. After all, in all the articles and posts, which covered Rajarathnam, not once did Rajarathnam bang his head at the altar of the ‘American Dream.’

It is galling, isn’t it? I understand your frustration and anger. Everyone else does it. Why is Rajarathnam not doing it? Maybe that is what is beyond tolerance.

I fully understand!

Hillary Clinton describes Haiti quake as ‘biblical’

January 18, 2010 Leave a comment
Crocodile tears, Hillary!

Crocodile tears, Hillary!

“It is biblical, the tragedy that continues to stalk Haiti and the Haitian people,” said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as she said she would shorten an Asian tour to deal with the crisis. (via Horror in Haiti quake as up to 100,000 feared dead – Yahoo! News UK).

The only reference in the Bible that could be correlated to this is in The Book Of Genesis when “Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before The Lord. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.” (Genesis 19:27-28)”

I wonder what similarity did Hillary Clinton see between Haiti, Sodom and Gomorrah?

What Hillary does not tell us … others do!

One Christian Gospel website writes,

The wrath of nature has fallen upon the kingdom of Haiti (it is actually a Republic!) … well known for its dark, mysterious culture and dismal life for the inhabitants.

The first black country, Haiti was formed when angered slaves rebelled and broke away from the nation of France by defeating the French army some 200 years ago. Now the island’s population totals nearly 9 million people and for many of them, each and every day of life is like a hell on Earth, especially now. (ellipsis mine; parts excised for brevity).

Use such 'ideas' to 'recruit' the vulnerable

Use such 'ideas' to 'recruit' the vulnerable

Of course, while the Haitians, were French slaves, life was not a living hell! Haiti was the land of milk and honey I presume?

Of course, this Christian Gospel site does not need to show how ‘interventions’ by Western Christian Nations kept Haiti regressive – or how the Christian West imposed sanctions and reparations, worth US$21 billion in current (2004 dollar) values, on the ‘freed’ slaves, for the Haitian crime of War to fight for their liberation from French Slavery!

This statement from Hillary Clinton proves two things.

One. Pat Robertson is not the only worm in the wood-works. Two. 200 years later, West is unable to get over the Haitian Slave Revolution.

Jagdish Bhagwati lays out diaspora’s impact on India

January 10, 2010 3 comments
Why are we not grateful to The Great Indian Diaspora?

Why are we not grateful to The Great Indian Diaspora?

Indeed, over time, the flood of such stories coming from the diaspora helped lay the groundwork for the abolition of the senseless licensing restrictions on capacity creation, product diversification, on import competition, that became part of the liberal reforms.

In the case of Japan, its transformation through major initiatives throughout the Meiji era was accomplished rather by sending gifted Japanese abroad to bring back ideas that were adapted to Japan’s culture and needs. In our case, the diaspora has served that function.

But the diaspora has also contributed to India’s achievement of world-class status by its achievements in a variety of fields of science, arts and culture. Noting this growing trend in the United States, I once remarked that we were the next Jews of America: a high-achieving diaspora that would soon dominate the scene as the Jews, once discriminated against brutally, had managed to do. Today, that forecast has come true. (via Jagdish Bhagwati: Diaspora impact on a changing India).

I am not proud of diaspora’s success

Mr.Bhagwati – let me be honest (I usually try and also succeed, at honesty, I mean).

I am very happy for the Indian diaspora – where ever they have succeeded. You will also find that I am not proud of it – because we, the desis, had very little (if anything at all) to do with your success. And we, poor country desi bumpkins that we are , we should realize that – fast.

So, taking pride in the diaspora’s success is hypocrisy on our part. It is recognized by (many of) us, we desis, that we cannot and do not want to provide the means, infrastructure, capacity, rewards and recognition that the West provides to get the output that Indians have produced in other parts of the world. Only too happy with your success – and we should take no pride or credit for it. Period. We are also very grateful that you have decided to keep your Indian passport – and not exchanged it for another country’s.

No reminders … puhleeze

I will not remind you about the benefit of the highly subsidized English language education – for which India’s poor have paid through their nose. Only to find that the bird’s fly the coop when the time came (poor idealistic sods, these desis!). I would like to see how many of the Indian diaspora have succeeded in France, Spain, Portugal, Japan, Korea, Germany, Russia – or now China!

Coming to the Indian ‘success’. This great liberalization that you are going rah-rah about!

The Great Indian progress

The poor, landless labourer, remains poor and landless. Hardly any change. The only way he can get educated is, if he agrees to learn English! The Indian State does not allow private sector into education – and denies him education in the manner and medium that he is comfortable with.

Shh ... How can you point out such 'truths'!

Shh ... How can you point out such 'truths'!

Coming to business – the SME sector remains at the fringe, and over-burdened with a regulatory overload. The only people who have seen a reduction in regulatory overload is Big Business.

Anyway, let us not quibble. The Indian economy has become a force to reckon with – and we Indians can feel proud of that. With your permission, that is! Of course, if you feel, that we should not take any credit for this, and the diaspora remote-controlled that too, I will defer to you.

Behind the ‘success’

Poor country bumpkin, that I am, I need your guiding light. Can you enlighten me about your opening comment, when you say “Indian policy framework had degenerated into an unproductive, even counterproductive, set of policy choices that had produced the abysmal growth rate of approximately 3.5 per cent per annum over nearly a quarter of a century.”

I have only one troubling question. When you speak of ‘degeneration’, the logical question is degenerate from what? From the Colonial Raj policy framework? Or is it the Maratha or Mughal policy framework? Or is it the Gupta or Maurya framework.

Policy options before Bombay High

When you talk of “external payments crisis in 1991 was the occasion for changes that would systematically begin to discard the policy framework” my chanchal mind (curse it!) begins to wonder again. What choices did India have before the Oil discovery at Bombay High? With a flat -on-its-back industrial and agriculture sector, with low capital, with a starving nation, what options did India have? Before Bombay High? If you can kindly enlighten me with the policy choices that India had earlier?

After Bombay High, India could start cracking the whip. The 1977 Janata Government, with comfortable foreign exchange and grain reserves, could take some bold policy decisions. IBM and Coca-Cola walked out. My sluggish memory recalls George Fernandes doing something about this.

A chastened Indira Gandhi

In 1980, Indira Gandhi started with de-licensing the auto sector and the consumer goods sector. With declining dependence on oil imports, India had foreign exchange to invest in building a agricultural and industrial base. This gradual liberalization continued – in spite of many democratic regime changes. My desi,  mand and moti buddhi tells me that broadly this was something that India could manage. One may quibble or cavil – but broadly where were the choices? Am I missing something?

Post 1991, choices are there for all to see.

Where would India be without its entrepreneurs

The current respect that India gets is for two reasons – both home-grown. The Indian software success was entirely home grown – without multi-national inputs, technology, entities, funding. To grow from nearly 50 million to 50 billion in a matter of 20 years – is something that we desis will have to give credit to the diaspora, I presume. Narayana Murthy, Azim Premjee, Rajendra Pawar, Fakirchand Kohli are just presumptuous upstarts who do not know when to be grateful! They have should have banged their head at the altar of the Great Indian Diaspora! I agree, Mr.Bhagwati.

Same case with the pharmaceutical industry, also I presume. Parvinder Singh, Yusuf Hamied, all the pharma czars from Ameerpet, Hyderabad are taking credit, which should rightfully go the Great Indian Diaspora.

The Indian auto-component sector, which has given rise to the Bajaj, TVS, Tatas, Mahindras are again, I presume,  being unduly arrogant of their success. They should quietly give all the credit (not to mention the profits, control, shares) to the Great Indian Diaspora.

I can go on with this list – Shri Pujya Jagdish Bhagwatiji. But you are right. We should now go out and build four temples at the chaar dhaam to the Great Indian Diaspora without whom India would have been nowhere.

What ungrateful wretches, we desi Indians are!

Secular politics and violence

January 10, 2010 2 comments

Guilt-based secularism is a short-term patch, which creates its own backlash – like it is in the West. Secularism has no place in India.

Gotta have 'progress' and become 'modern'!  |  Cartoon by Michael Leunig  |  Source & courtesy -  |  Click for larger image

Gotta have 'progress' and become 'modern'! | Cartoon by Michael Leunig | Source & courtesy - | Click for larger image

An essential precondition for combating the culture of intolerance is to recognise that monotheistic religions — which believe in the inherent superiority of an exclusivist, hierarchical, jealous god, who alone is the True God while all others are false and evil — have to make respectful space for other ways of relating to the divine. There are strong connections between authoritarian ways of thinking and tendencies to see god as an intolerant, jealous and tyrannical authority figure that punishes those who do not do his bidding. The continuing efforts to convert so-called heathens and believers in false gods are resulting in endless strife and conflicts. (via Violence has many faces – Edit Page – Opinion – Home – The Times of India).

Defining agenda in India

Madhu Kishwar, (at least) in my mind, belonged to that category of NGO-activist variety, who was busy in promoting and pushing various ‘progressive’ ideas down the reluctant throats with exhortations, of “Swallow! Dammit! Swallow! This is good for you! Can’t you understand, how good this is for you.”

Obama becomes President - Illusory signs of progress?  |  Cartoonist - Alan Moir; source and courtesy -  Click for source image.

Obama becomes President - Illusory signs of progress? | Cartoonist - Alan Moir; source and courtesy - Click for source image.

This interpretation  (Madhu Kishwar’s) of ‘secularism’ is a not a progressive specialty. The ‘progressive’ establishment has replaced religion – and their behaviour remains the same.

Instead of religion, they now slaughter people in the name of democracy (Iraq), Communism (The Vietnam War), millions are killed in the name of Progress (USSR), Cultural Revolution (China).

In the name of religion, race, nation …

Of course, parts of the Desert Bloc, also continue to slaughter people in the name of religion – in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, et al. Singapore imposes ‘progress’ on its citizen – and China plus some other ASEAN members aim to copy Singapore to a small extent on this axis.

In all this, India has not been entirely unaffected. Of all these examples, it is India which has been least affected – due to ’embedded value systems’. And it is good to see that some voices are raised against this ‘progressive’ theology.

The problem with 'progress'  |  Cartoonist - Barry Deutsch; source and courtesy -  |  Click for larger image

The problem with 'progress' | Cartoonist - Barry Deutsch; source and courtesy - | Click for larger image

Madhu Kishwar carries on wonderfully well, laying out the entire case, so well, till she comes to last paragraph.

Then, BAM!  You get socked in your teeth! You cannot kill in the name of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai!’ says Madhu Kishwar. As though Indians have been doing that for centuries (or decades). Thinking back, I can see Madhu Kishwar, as another victim of the Big Issue.

What’s the Big Issue

The Big Issue – starting from 8th century onwards, (with huge temples), to the 15th century (Bhakti Movement), was when India(ns) started defining itself in religious terms. First, it was Buddhism, which became a religion. Then it was Jainism – and last, was Hinduism. Very soon, Dharma became religion – and India started aping the Desert Bloc.

Without basis in fact, reality or history, Madhu Kishwar demolishes her own structure by equating India with the Desert Bloc (believers in monotheism). This is one thing, that we in India must understand, discover, find out, investigate – and then, after that, believe, that we are different. At least our culture, history, belief systems and actions are different. Hence, we don’t use ‘Bharat Mata’ as an excuse to kill and slaughter. But, if push comes to shove, we will shove back and more!

In the name of ‘Bharat Mata!’

Indian cartoon raises a storm in the Western world

January 9, 2010 1 comment
Police of Kingdom of 'Dhritarashtra' - When ruled by a Blind King destruction is inevitable
Police from the Kingdom of ‘Dhritarashtra’ – When ruled by a Blind King destruction is inevitable

“Cartoons in Australia are normally done by people who are either clever or witty and this one’s neither,” the secretary of Victoria’s Police Association, Greg Davies, told reporters.

Davies said it was “incredibly offensive and wrong” to suggest police were not investigating the murder and that it was too early to categorise Garg’s death as a race-hate crime.

The Indian cartoonist, R. Prasad, said there was a sense of injustice in India and that the attitude of Australian authorities “amounted to acceptance of racism or authorising similar future crimes as mere opportunistic violence”.

“The cloak of the Ku Klux Klan is a globally known and recognised cultural signifier that represents racism. It also symbolises violence in the name of race or colour,” he added in an emailed statement.

Garg’s killing … threatens to damage diplomatic ties as well as Australia’s 15.4 billion US dollar education export industry.

The Federation of Indian Students in Australia said it was “too early to rule in or rule out any cause for the death of Mr Nitin Garg”.

But spokesman Gautam Gupta urged police to provide statistics on the number of crimes committed by and against Indians and whether criminals have been caught and trialled in previous cases of assaults against Indians.

The editor of the Mail Today claimed that Australian police statistics showed one in 20 attacks in Melbourne was against an Indian student despite them representing just one in every 1,000 people in the city.

“Silence on the facts and figures are not going to help the situation,” Gupta said, adding that there was a rising level of cynicism amongst the Indian diaspora.

In June, police said that 1,447 people of Indian origin were victims of crime against the person — such as robberies and assaults — in Victoria between June 2008 and July 2009, an increase from 1,082 the previous year.

Gupta said the Australian government’s response to the latest murder was seen as “merely diplomatic and an exercise in public relations and image damage control”.

Indian students number 119,000 in Australia … (via Australia slam Indian paper’s Ku Klux Klan cartoon – Yahoo! News).

Such a lovely country – and such lovely people

Just why were Indians raising the issue of crime in Australia? Especially, when crime is so much higher ‘there’ (in India) than ‘here’ (in Australia) was the gist of the long post. Shri Tim Colebatch is rather proud of the low murder rates in Australia. Demmed Indians!

Data spouted by this post ignores some ‘basic’ facts. Murder incidents in Australia are lesser because finding another Australian to kill is so damned hard. In a country of that size, with such a sparse population. And that, my Shri Tim Colebatch, is the reason, why Australian crime rates are lower than in India.

The same post mentions how “India, of course, is a very big country.” But Australia is a much bigger. Three times bigger, in fact. And it has a population of 2.5 crores (25 million) – compared to India’s 110 crores (1.1 billion).

If you compare Indian crime scenario with the Rest of the Western World, you will see a different picture  – completely different. Colebatch does not seem to find it strange when in ‘country of murderers’, “This time last year, I was in India with the family on holiday, and the worst danger we faced was trying to cross the road.”

An Australian paper had telling comment,

According to police statistics for the 2006-07 financial year, the assault rate for Indians in Victoria was about 1700 people in every 100,000. In comparison, the rate of assault of non-Indians in Victoria was about 700 people in every 100,000. (via India paper defends KKK cartoon).

Holy cow … what about racism in India

And maybe this is something that Shri Colebatch, you can share with friend, Rory Medcalf, the Lowy Institute’s program director for international security and a former diplomat in India, who says,

”Part of the problem is that a decision seems to have been taken that there was nothing to be gained with an acknowledgement of racism. That is something the media have fixated on – an attempt to gain an admission on this innocuous point that there is racism in Australia, just as there is in India or any other country.”

After wiping out the entire population of the Australian Aborigines, Mr.Rory Medcalf, thinks that the racism issue is an ‘innocuous point’. The so-called ‘persecuted’ people in India are in a majority, their populations are growing faster than the ‘oppressors’. So, this bit about racism in India, is red herring. Complete ignorance – if it is not trickery.

Whez yo sensa huma

Mr.Greg Davies complains how the cartoonist is neither “clever or witty.” Murder ain’t a fit subject to be humourous about. But the Australian attitude to bury their heads in the sand is. Comes from eating too much of ostrich meat, I presume. And I think this sarcasm is not getting through to Mr. Davis.

Multi-culti balti Australia

Australia, Britain have carefully sold a lemon to their populations about how tolerant they are. Which is bit of a joke. Unlike France, Switzerland which are rabidly xenophobic – and have made a virtue of their hatred for the hijab, burqa, minars and minarets. They don’t do the multi-culti-balti dance. For all its multiculturalism, Australia, how many Africans did Australia admit last year? How many Muslims? What percentage of Australians are Muslims? And to think this is what passes of as multiculturalism in Australia?

Keep on rocking in a Free World

Kippenberger was right after all ...

Kippenberger was right after all ...

Some time back, a German artist, Martin Kippenberger’s creation of the crucified frog was moved to a less visible location, displayed at the Museion, the newborn museum of contemporary art in Bolzano, after His Holiness, The Pope decided to condemn this sculpture.

This sculpture,

“Zuerst die Füße” (first the feet), the sculpture dated from 1990, which measures about a meter and represents a crucified frog holding in its right hand a mug of beer and in its left hand an egg. In this work Kippenberger represents a society that appears perfect but is actually hypocritical.”

When the Islamic world protested about Danish-Mohammed cartoons, there was a huge outcry in Western cities about freedom of speech. When the crucified frog is moved to a ‘less visible location’, there is no protest.

Maybe Kippenberger was right after all.

The looming Yuan-Dollar currency crisis

No dearth of pretenders - EU, Japan ... and now China!

No dearth of pretenders - EU, Japan ... and now China!

There are three separate reasons for this … The reasons refer to the broad determinants of economic growth — capital, labour and productivity.

On the first, India is investing at the same rate as China (approximately 40 per cent of GDP), on the second, India’s labour force growth is about 1.8 per cent per year faster than China, and on the third, China has outpaced India by about 2 per cent per annum (for the last five years).

Most of this outpacing has had to do with the deep and deeper currency undervaluation practised by the Chinese authorities which led to two unsatisfactory outcomes: the great financial crisis of 2008, and now the largest and fastest growing polluter of the world.

For how long will the international community stand idly by? Not very, and this is the first big forecast for the ensuing decade: China’s exchange rate will appreciate significantly starting 2010. How significantly? A first year appreciation to about 6 yuan per dollar from the present 6.8 level. (via Surjit S Bhalla: India’s Shining Decade).

Plausible! Probable … Possible?

'Get to heaven by climbing the terraced fields'. Great Leap Forward poster, Artist - Yang Wenxiu, Published - 1958, September, © Stefan R. Landsberger

'Get to heaven by climbing the terraced fields'. Great Leap Forward poster, Artist - Yang Wenxiu, Published - 1958, September, © Stefan R. Landsberger

Surjit Bhalla outlines a plausible scenario – with China needing to adjusting their exchange rate upwards – much like other US client-states had to! Europe had to in the 70s, Japan in the 90s, Asian Tigers in last 10 years. As examined earlier in some detail by 2ndlook. One question is settled. There will be economic mayhem.

However, Bhalla assumes that the Dollar-Yuan revaluation will happen smoothly – without any significant disruption. And that is one, big, huge assumption – which is based on really, really slippery slope.

Bhalla would do well to remember that last time when China had a problem, it resulted in the India China War of 1962. Just after the disastrous Great Leap Forward and before the equally disastrous Cultural Revolution.

The Great Leap Forward began in 1957-58, saw famine and hunger across China. After the Communist takeover of China, land seized from land owners, was given to peasants in 1949. Ten years later, in 1959, the Chinese State took away the same land from the same peasant. Food shortages, starvation followed. Western (questionable) estimates are that 30 million people died during this period. War with India followed in 1962 – a diversion from the domestic Chinese catastrophe.

What will it be this time?

The approaching mayhem

The next few years will be tumultuous for China.

Much like, when Europe was weaned off the low exchange rate crutch in 1967-1974 period. Stagflation, oil shock, the Nixon Chop followed. How Japan had to live with endaka, the Plaza accord, with S&L crisis in the US.  Or the Asian Tigers had to reset to a higher exchange rate and higher foreign reserves, that accompanied the 1997 (Asian Crisis) to 2000 (The Tech meltdown).

What will follow the Chinese moment in the sun? What will set off economic mayhem in China?

Crime in China (a simmering threat), terrorism in Xinjiang (remote possibility), real estate bubble (a real scenario), dollar-yuan exchange ratio (significant risk)?

Will the Chinese Government be able to ride this storm? Without a war with India? Which side of the fence will China fall? Answers to these questions will be worth waiting for! And prepared with!

Signs of coming troubles?

Great Leap Forward © Stefan R. Landsberger; Source - Zhongguo meishuguan (ed.), 中国美术年鉴 1949-1989 (Guilin: Guangxi meishu chubanshe, 1993). Designer: Zhang Xin'guo (张辛国); Liu Duan (刘端); 1958, October; Put organizations on a military footing, put actions on a war footing, put life on a collective footing; Zuzhi junshihua, xingdong zhandouhua, shenghuo jitihua (组织军事化,行动战斗化,生活集体化); Publisher: Hebei renmin meishu chubanshe (河北人民美术出版社).

Great Leap Forward © Stefan R. Landsberger; Source - Zhongguo meishuguan (ed.), 中国美术年鉴 1949-1989 (Guilin: Guangxi meishu chubanshe, 1993). Designer: Zhang Xin'guo (张辛国); Liu Duan (刘端); 1958, October; Put organizations on a military footing, put actions on a war footing, put life on a collective footing; Zuzhi junshihua, xingdong zhandouhua, shenghuo jitihua (组织军事化,行动战斗化,生活集体化); Publisher: Hebei renmin meishu chubanshe (河北人民美术出版社).

When the Soviet Union imploded, one of the unexpected fall out was the Russian mafia. Recent troubles in China, with the underworld creates a spectre of yet another mafia creating global disturbances. One more element in global trouble spots. To understand this better, turn to Chinese cinema.

Most films that have any Chinese element in it, (actors, directors, characters, locations) end up having the Chinese underworld as an important part of the storyline. Is it that the Chinese are morbidly fascinated by criminals and the underworld – much like Europe was with English pirates and murdering Spanish Conquistadors.

Ranging from Jet Li in Kiss of the Dragon, (Jet Li takes on the French mafia) or Chow Yun-Fat in The Corrupter (exposing police-underworld nexus and corruption in the USA), or Jackie Chan in Rush Hour series or the Chinese Ric Young in The Transporter, Jet Li in Lethal Weapon 4.

All have two elements in common.One is the pervasive Chinese underworld. Across Europe, in the USA. In drugs, fake currency, in smuggling boat people, the Chinese are there – everywhere. Many of these movies have Chinese stars, directed by Chinese directors or even partly funded by Chinese studios .

The second is the absence of the Buddhist monk.

India – the loose cannon!

What kind of ending will we see ...?

What kind of ending will we see ...?

Now, India is one box which defies description. By any global and historical standards, the country should not even exist – much less prosper, or be a significant global player. Too many languages, too much poverty, too much freedom, too many political parties, too many languages, too many religions, too many racial types are the common factors going against India (so goes the Desert Bloc narrative).

In such a situation, even in India, for the Westernized types or the remnants of the Desert Bloc admirers, India remains a failure waiting to happen.

Unfortunately, for these doubting Cassandra’s, India has proven them wrong for more than 5000 years now!

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