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Archive for May, 2010

Focus on landless farmer, deprived tribal – not Maoist-Naxalite

Peasants and tribals who have lost lands in the last 800 years, that they owned earlier, are now being used by Maoists for a power grab..

Hot air will not help any more  |  Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; source & courtesy - indiatimes.com  |  Click for image.

Hot air will not help any more | Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; source & courtesy – indiatimes.com | Click for image.

Recovering from a heart ailment in January 1965, a little-known communist activist in a small town at the foothills of the Himalayas propounded the first of his eight theses for an armed struggle. Written in the backdrop of the 1964 split in the communist movement, worsening food crisis and a radical mood in Europe, Latin America and much of Asia, Charu Mazumdar’s documents laid the foundation of what would constitute the severest internal security challenge to India almost halfa-century down the line.

Had North Block cared to trace the genesis of the ultra-Left insurgency, they would have found that much of the Maoist mayhem closely followed Mazumdar’s script. The rare documents seem to have provided the guidelines to the Maoists for their recent strikes.

His first thesis, completed on January 28, 1965, instructed the communist cadre to set up secret and armed ‘activist groups’ in rural areas. The second thesis called for creating ‘liberated zones’ where ‘class enemies’ had been eliminated. The next paper gave a direct call for taking to arms to liberate more and more areas. The fourth paper emphasises on clandestine organisation to wage the armed struggle. In the fifth document, he asked the Maoist cadre—at that time a breakaway faction from the CPM—to be armed, to set up secret units and politicise the followers. Even before he could complete the fifth thesis, Mazumdar was arrested in September 1965. In the sixth thesis, he rejected the system of parliamentary democracy and criticised the conventional Left’s practice of organising strikes in industry. In his last two documents, he recognized the importance of drafting the students and youths from middle-class homes for ‘revolutionary’ activity, called for concentrating on rural areas. (via Charu’s theses – Naxals’ driving force).

Sloganeering can't solve this problem!  |  Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; source & courtesy - indiatimes.com  |  Click for image.

Sloganeering can’t solve this problem! | Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; source & courtesy – indiatimes.com | Click for image.

The Maoist red herring

The Naxalites-Maoists have hijacked the tribal peasant efforts to reclaim land usurped by (mainly) the Islamic and the British rulers in India. What the peasant and the tribal want is undisputed property right – the very thing that Marxists want to destroy. Like they demonstrated in Nandigram, West Bengal, when prime fertile land was taken away from farmers and handed over for ‘development.’

West Bengal should be an eye opener

What the Marxists want is complete control over the (at least) economic lives of the tribal and peasants – like we have seen in West Bengal. Marx himself thought that peasants were like a ‘sack of potatoes.’ The Maoists-Naxalite are stepping into the vacuum created by the Indian State – by a simple expedient of ‘aligning’ with the tribal and farmers against a ‘common enemy’!

It is the Indian State and polity which has done nothing for years – except trample on the property rights of the Indian peasants and tribal. From West Bengal to Orissa, from MP to Andhra Pradesh!

The Indian State has lost sight of rthe problem!

The Indian State has lost sight of the problem!

From Stalinist Russia in British arms

Fleeing from Stalinist Russia, after his arrival in India, MN Roy became a useful tool in British hands. It would do well to remember how the British and the Communists (like MN Roy) supported each other. It was the CPI that fathered some of these movements just before and after Indian independence. Starting with actions in  the then Travancore and the Nizam State and in Travancore. MN Roy’s understanding of Indian history is completely clear, when he wrote,

“The Mohammedan power was consolidated in India not so much by the valour of the invaders’ arms as owing to the propagation of the Islamic faith and the progressive significance of Islamic laws.

The Indian Government, by marshalling the might of the State against the Maoist-Naxal is possibly again losing sight of the real problem.

The landless Indian farmer and the deprived Indian tribal!

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Belgium regrets the assassination of Patrice Lummumba

First create caricature; then demonise; then kill! As it happened with Patrice Lummumba!

First create caricature; then demonise; and kill! As it happened with Patrice Lummumba! (Artist: Michael Cummings; Published: Sunday Express, 21 Aug 1960)

Belgium expressed regret for its role in the 1961 murder of the former Belgian Congo’s first prime minister after independence, there has been no talk here of a British apology for imperial wrongs. (via Displaying An Empire For Posterity – NYTimes.com).

Patrice Lumumba - before his execution. (Picture by Horst Faas - AP). Patrice Lumumba led the movement for Congo’s independence from Belgium (June 1960). Within 10 weeks, the new Congolese Communist Govt. was deposed by a CIA backed-coup. Lumumba's controversial independence day speech reminded that the Congolese were "Nous ne sommes plus vos macaques!" (We are no longer your monkeys!)*.  Lumumba escaped from his house arrest, but was rearrested from a plane in Elizabethville, beaten and humiliated in front of diplomats and journalists, put on the truck and taken away. This was Lumumba’s last photo. A few weeks later, he was executed, and his body dissolved in acid.

Patrice Lummumba - before his execution. (Picture by Horst Faas - AP). Patrice Lummumba led the movement for Congo’s independence from Belgium (June 1960). In his independence day speech, Lummumba reminded "Nous ne sommes plus vos macaques!" (We are no longer your monkeys!). Within 10 weeks, the new Congolese Communist Govt. was deposed by a CIA backed-coup and Lummumba arrested. Lumumba escaped from his house arrest, but was rearrested from a plane in Elizabethville, publicly beaten and humiliated, put on the truck and taken away. This was Lumumba’s last photo. A few weeks later, he was executed, and his body dissolved in acid.

Familiar pattern! First create stereotypes, then caricature these stereotypes. Preferably demonize these people. After this, killing these ‘demons’ is not a problem. Nobody remembers Patrice Lummumba anymore, anyway! No tears for you, Patrice!

Killing you wuz public service! Right, Leopold!!

A case of full blown hubris!

May 26, 2010 8 comments
Full blown case of hubris! (Artist - Michael Cummings - Publisher - Daily Express - Date of publication - 11 May 1958)

Full blown case of hubris! (Artist - Michael Cummings - Publisher - Daily Express, Britain; Date of publication - 11 May 1958).

In the years after independence, Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten continued to meet, and write, and share a love of India. When she died, suddenly, at the age of 58, Nehru sent an Indian Navy frigate to the spot where she had been buried at sea in the English Channel, to cast a single wreath of marigolds. (via Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire – Alex von Tunzelmann – Books – Review – New York Times).

No one to check him

This is beyond my imagination! Sending an Indian Navy ship to throw flowers at a girl friend’s funeral!

Without a leader of competing stature within the Congress, to check his growing hubris, Nehru’s disconnect grew. Gandhiji was assassinated in 1948. Sardar Patel was no more by the end of 1950. Ambedkar in 1956 and in 1958, Maulana Azad passed away.

From the opposition, Savarakar was rendered toothless after being charged in Gandhiji’s assassination. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee died in 1953, JB Kripalani, JP Narayan, Vinoba Bhave all ‘retired’ from electoral politics. Leaving Nehru to run freely.

On the other hand, Nehru coopted the CPI, Ram Manohar Lohia et al, into espousing radical variations of his socialist policies.

Nehru and Eisenhower

Internationally, Nehru became close to Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower’s ideas of the ‘military-industrial’ complex, his infamous ‘domino theory’, in 1954, appealed to Nehru.

Nehru and Zhou Enlai /Chou en lai (Picture courtesy - Outlook)

Nehru and Zhou Enlai /Chou en lai (Picture courtesy - Outlook)

It was during Eisenhower presidency that both America and India were on the same side regarding the Anglo-French-Israeli Suez invasion and the Hungarian crackdown by the Soviets.

Nehru regarded Eisenhower highly. On the other hand, Nehru’s overtures to Stalin were met with hesitation.

The US also used Tibet and India to confront China – who the US was fighting in the Korean peninsula. It was Eisenhower’s repeated threats to use nuclear weapons which made the Chinese back off to the 38th parallel – and created a North Korean strategy to obtain nuclear weapons.

Nehru’s schizophrenic policy of ‘Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai’ on one hand, and ‘forward positions’ policy on the other hand, without adequate military, diplomatic preparation, tempted the Chinese to ‘teach India a lesson.’ The CIA deluded Tibet into a confrontation with China, by ‘training’ some stragglers and irregulars.

1956 Elections – Socialist Gains

Eisenhower’s Domino story seemed to resonate in Nehru’s mind after the 1956 election. A shocked Nehru stampeded towards socialism. CPI and the Praja Socialist Party, won 19.33% of the combined vote – versus Nehru’s Congress which got 47.78% of popular vote. The performance of the Praja Socialist Party, a party formed in 1952, whose founder-members were Jayaprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia, JB Kripalani, was especially unnerving. This challenge to Nehru within 10 years of Independence from a non-Congress platform made these socialist leaders, legends in their own lifetime.

Echoes from the past

Did the advance of the oppressive Nehruvian State spark the Mohammed Rafi song – Chal ud je ray panchi, Yeh desh hua begaana चल उड़ जा रे पंछी, के अब यह देस हुआ बेगाना from Bhabhi (1957) – starring Balraj Sahni, Nanda, Jagdeep, Durga Khote et al. Music was Chitragupt and lyrics were Rajendra Krishan.

Other 2ndlook posts  on Nehru

India-China Timeline (Source – India Today)

1949: India recognises the People’s Republic of China.1950: India opposes UN resolutions branding China as an aggressor in the Korean war.

1954: China and India sign Panchsheel treaty.

1955: India objects to the inclusion of a portion of northern frontier on the official map of China.

1956: Chou en Lai visits India for the second time. The border question is formally raised.

1958: India objects to inclusion of parts of Assam and NEFA as part of Chinese territories in its maps.

1959: Dalai Lama escapes from Tibet, India gives asylum. China refuses to accept the McMohan line. Chinese troops kill nine Indian soldiers and capture 10 in Aksai Chin.

1960: Pushed by Khrushchev, Chou en Lai meets Nehru in Delhi. Talks end in a deadlock.

1961: Border skirmishes intensify.

1962: China captures Bomdilla and then announces an unilateral ceasefire.

1962: Colombo proposals negotiated between Nehru and Chou en Lai.

The building of the Churchill Myth

Winston Churchill - (courtesy - telegraph.co.uk)

Winston Churchill - (courtesy - telegraph.co.uk)

The three crucial broadcasts were made not by Churchill but by an actor hired to impersonate him. Norman Shelley, who played Winnie-the-Pooh for the BBC’s Children’s Hour, ventriloquized Churchill for history and fooled millions of listeners. Perhaps Churchill was too much incapacitated by drink to deliver the speeches himself. (via The New York Times > Books > First Chapters > First Chapter: ‘Love, Poverty, and War’).

Propagnda masters

To use an actor to deliver a speech, in the middle of WW2. To fool the British public itself, calls for a certain brazenness.

Whatever one may fault the British for, at propaganda they are the best. To drown facts under a tidal wave of falsities, shows British mastery over the ‘science’ of propaganda. I am sure that propaganda is what Indian ancients referred to as  माया maya. There are some other gems also in this post – about British propaganda, which persist even today. Worth a read!

Why am I not surprised by British acknowledgment of Goebbels as a ‘better at propaganda.’

Exporting disease, making a killing

May 22, 2010 7 comments

How pharma lobby uses misuses money to subvert law, opinion and science!

How pharma lobby uses misuses money to subvert law, opinion and science!

Mental illnesses popular in the US, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anorexia and depression, in particular, are now spreading across the world with the speed of contagious diseases, says Watters, who went about investigating why this was happening although different cultures view mental illnesses through a complex prism of religious, scientific and social attitudes. In short, the West, primarily the US, has been homogenising the way the world goes mad.

Underlying this trend is the western assumption that human beings are innately fragile and should consider many common emotional experiences as illness that require professional intervention. There is also the dangerous assumption that certain types of events in a person’s life, such as being laid off, are certain to result in psychological trauma that requires psychiatric care and medication. Why is mental illness being globalised to such an alarming degree that different conceptions of the troubled mind in different cultures are being overridden by the dominant view and are fast vanishing? (via Exporting disease, making a killing).

View from a bridge

Many years ago, reading The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre, only confirmed suspicions and common knowledge about medical malpractices – at least in India. In the last 10-15 years, it has become commonplace for doctors to get beaten up at hospitals in India. Medical malpractice was, personally, never an issue as I have been off Western medicines for nearly 40 years.

But to see the exploitation, from a distance, by the combination of ‘doctor-pharma company’ is a study in nausea. Western medical system is the single biggest creator of disease! Apart from the cases of Japan-Paxil, Sri Lanka-PTSD-Pfizer, there is the well known case of how family planning activists misused quinacrine in India.

From being highly respected citizens, to being beaten up regularly is sad decline for the medical community.

But it had to happen.

Indians banks running a parallel legal system

May 22, 2010 4 comments

Indians banks went overboard - while handing over money and while extracting money!

Indians banks went overboard - while handing over money and while extracting money!

A room full of some 70,000 fake Non-Bailable Warrants NBW is being scrutinised at the court. Officials … have found fake seals of judges’ signatures, and cooked-up court papers. A bank-court staff ring used these papers against clueless borrowers of ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited, Cholamandalam DBS Finance Limited, Reliance Capital and HDFC Bank, among others. Another major fraud is that most of the accused are not in Bangalore. Many live in cities like Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Allahabad, and in remote corners of Jharkand and Bihar. The story unfolded after many such harassed customers complained to the court, sources said.

The scam has shaken the judiciary in Karnataka. One source told this journalist that an advocate had filed 30,000 such cases allegedly on behalf of Cholamandalam DBS Finance in the last six months. An advocate reportedly representing Kotak Mahindra Bank has filed around 10,000 fake cases in the last six months.

The preliminary inquiry has revealed that advocates representing many banks, in collusion with court staff, have created their fake stationery for preparing the orders.(via Banks, court staff fake judge’s orders, News – Latest – Bangalore Mirror,Bangalore Mirror).

A Gurumurthy, the judge in whose court a scam involving court officials, banks and financial institutions to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees was unearthed, has been transferred. It is feared that with the transfer of the judge, the departmental inquiry would suffer.

Some 70,000 fake NBWs were said to have been issued in the last three years to people across the country. Three officials of the court – Tulasamma, the sirastedar, Balasubramani, the bench clerk, and Narasaiah, a case worker, who allegedly ran a ‘parallel court’ in collusion with banks and their advocates, were suspended. (via Whistle-blower shunted out, News – City – Bangalore Mirror,Bangalore Mirror).

Bad news first

Apart from the Times of India group, no one else seems to be covering this issue. National TV channels have been quiet on this. Strange! How come no one else is reporting on this?

Who has issued the gag orders?

Then comes worse news

Is this how bankers are these days?

Is this how bankers are these days?

2ndlook has been flagging, for the last 1 year, how the concentration of power is leading to abusive behaviour by India’s corporate sector.

This is especially true with the newly opened economic sectors like banking and telecom.

This incident is not a financial scam as is being shown in the news report – but an abuse of financial power. Not surprising, how the corporate structures make abuse of authority easy. India’s newly opened economic sectors like banking and telecom have yet to develop their weak and flaccid ethical muscle.

This is particularly tragic, because Indians across the world have the highest faith in their corporate institutions. To find their faith abused in such fashion is shameful.

Though I find it hard to believe that Indian public sector banks seems like a so much better choice – when compared with private banks that follow such sharp practices!

How come Indians are not wanting skyscrapers?

May 21, 2010 6 comments
Mayawati's monuments may end up with as a losing propositon

Mayawati's monuments may become a losing propositon (Copyright and courtesy - Times of India, Ajit Ninan).

If skyscrapers were an index of success, wealth and power, then a trend is certainly visible. The balance of power is shifting to the East. Seven of the top 10 tallest buildings are in Asia—four in China, two in Malaysia, one in Taiwan. Just two are in the US, one of which is a 1974 building.

But it does not look as if India or Indians are unduly worried about failing on another parameter of global ranking. The lack of interest or even public debate on getting India on the tall building map could mean several things. One, we are not at the stage of economic growth where having the tallest building becomes something to think about. Two, there is no massive speculative real estate bubble in the country and cheap money is certainly not an issue. Three, the argumentative Indian does not need the prop of an icon of American culture to define India’s identity or its place in the world. Or it could just be that we are so sure that a fire in the tallest building will end in disaster with the fire engines that can reach all of 10 storeys stuck in a traffic jam caused by a broken-down cycle on the main road. Nope, we don’t even want to go that way. (via Reaching for the sky: How tall is my country – Columns – livemint.com).

Nice observation

The rich and the powerful want their 'infrastructure'! And that is 'progress' ... (Copyright and courtesy - Times of India, TN Ninan).

The rich and the powerful want their 'infrastructure'! And that is 'progress' ... (Copyright and courtesy - Times of India, Ajit Ninan).

When Vilasrao Deshmukh announced that he wanted Mumbai to be the next Shanghai, Indians hooted with laughter. He was never taken seriously after that. Nehru declared his disconnect with India after Tryst With Destiny speech – and his temples of modern India. Is it surprising that the most respected post-Independence leader is Sardar Patel.

While most of English speaking India moans about infrastructure, that the rich need, there is complete silence about what the poor in this country need. India’s poor don’t need monuments. And our rich and powerful are blind to this.

The poor are such a bother!

Monika Halan, (post linked and extracted above) finally cannot resist taking a swipe at the poor! The article ends in a scenario of a burning high rise, in which the rich residents are trapped, and the fire engines to save the rich, are thwarted because a poor man’s bicycle has disrupted the traffic!!

We must banish the poor! Off with their heads!!

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