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Charge of the lite brigade

The nature of the political beast is the same. Welcome to globalization of ideology. A standardized world. No difference at all!

It has been Post WW2 belief that Economic planning and State intervention will work. (Artist - David Low; (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 26 Jun 1944).

It has been Post WW2 belief that economic planning and State intervention will work. (Artist - David Low; (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 26 Jun 1944).

Low-cal, idea-lite brigade

With a collapsing economic base, changing power equations, their social superiority in tatters, the West has created a corps of propagandists, whose  job it is to create red herrings and  dead-end arguments. These content-lite ideologues, manage to put many ‘victims’ on the defensive.

For the past few quarters, we have seen a rising tide of co-ordinated attacks on China, using right-wing Christian rhetoric, from pit-bulls like Hugh Hendry, Jim Chanos, with the Charlie Rose show chiming in, aided by ‘think-tanks’ like CFR.

A recent column, deals with one such nuisance. A banker-economist-columnist, Abheek Barman writes about Ian Bremmer and his latest ‘theses’ about ‘state capitalism.’

Ian Bremmer, a pundit who analyses global political risks at the Eurasia Group, has recently argued that giant companies, backed by governments, are out to capture free markets. Among others, he identifies China, Russia, Brazil – and India – as candidates that practice ‘state capitalism.’

Western auto industry

Is the French and German auto industry anything but State controlled. With governing boards packed with representatives of the various Landesbanks, union representatives, where does private sector classification come from.

'Confidence of the voter' is always useful and preferred. In case it is absent ... does it matter? (Artist RJ Matson - from Roll Call, Date - 7/21/2010 4.02.01 PM).

'Confidence of the voter' is always useful and preferred. In case it is absent ... does it matter? (Artist RJ Matson - from Roll Call, Date - 7/21/2010 4.02.01 PM).

Are we forgetting how Europe’s largest auto-manufacturer Volkswagen, was set up by State initiative? Or how Renault was saved from the ignominy of ‘Nazi’ collaboration by State initiative? How long would the Agnelli Empire last without State support? Are we not forgetting how Chrysler has been saved several times by US State guarantees – and now GM, too!

Banks on a dole queue

A Swiss survey estimates that the Western banks may need US$1.5 trillion in capital-support. Would Mr.Bremmer like to name the likely source for these funds? French banking is public-sector controlled – which in turn controls French industry. Are we saying that Alsthom, ENI and ANSALDO are private creatures!

In the USA, the heavy-hand of the State was plain and for all to see in the handling of LTCM, WaMU, Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers. Can anyone forget how Robert Rubin, Hank Paulson, Alan Greenspan all had a distinguished private-sector career (mostly at Goldman Sachs) – before and after their positions in the US Government.

Ian Bremmer frequently faults the ‘sovereign funds’ as a ‘marker’ of the State Capitalism’. Are BofA, Citibank, JP Morgan-Chase, RBS, Barclay’s, Credit Lyonnais, Credit Agricole anything but sovereign funds by another name? Was the Western housing bubble anything but an ‘efficient’ cash-tranfer mechanism? US-Fed printed money and the banks distributed – and the State bailed out the banks. A welfare scheme by another name.

And no! I solemnly declare that there was and is no conflict of interest in all this.

Voter apathy is the real objective behind the mock-fights and pseudo-competition - a facade for collusive power-sharing. (Artist - Jeff Parker, from Florida Today, 7/30/2010, 2.02.01 PM)

Voter apathy is the real objective behind the mock-fights and pseudo-competition - a facade for collusive power-sharing. (Artist - Jeff Parker, from Florida Today, 7/30/2010, 2.02.01 PM)

The incestuous bureaucracy

This kind of co-ordination, without an explicit policy, is possible in a close-knit, group, which has a shared value system, and is accepted by the general population. National bureaucracies have followed similar paths across nations.

What is good for General Motors is good for America. In the USA, Fortune 500 corporations, Wall Street firms, top banks serve as recruiting and training grounds for top bureaucrats. In China and the ex-USSR, the overtly political Communist Party was the training and recruiting ground for bureaucrats.

In most other countries, certain ‘secular’ institutions covertly work as training and recruiting rounds for creating an aligned bureaucracy. Top Japanese and French bureaucrats strangely come from one university. For instance, in Japan from The University of Tokyo, Law Faculty and the French ‘enarques’ cut their teeth at Ecole National d’Administration (ENA). The role of Oxbridge in the British Government cannot be understated.

Making the 'right' noises is 'modern' politics! (Artist - Peter Brookes, Published - The Times, 21 Sep 2002).

Making the 'right' noises is 'modern' politics! (Artist - Peter Brookes, Published - The Times, 21 Sep 2002).

Between 1900 and 1986, 45 per cent of permanent secretaries –or administrative heads of government departments –came from Oxford, 23 per cent from Cambridge.

Like Secretary Hillary Clinton correctly pointed out to business leaders in Pakistan, “we tax everything that moves and doesn’t move, and that’s not what we see happening in Pakistan.” Compared to G7, the share of the State in the BRIC nations would be less than 25% of the national GDP.

The nature of the beast is the same, Mr.Bremer. And this goes for you too, Mr.Barman. The world, these days has become ideologically standardized. Welcome to globalization. No difference at all!

And to think! Ian Bremmer accuses the BRIC countries of practicing ‘state capitalism’. Mr.Bremmer, these arguments are futile. Much like the futile British charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War, against the Russians. Like the French general said, it is C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre, c’est de la folie. (It is magnificent, but it is not war, it is folly).

Extract from Ian Bremmer in Foreign Affairs

From The End of the Free Market | The Call.

A generation ago, the collapse of communism made clear that government can’t simply mandate lasting economic growth. To fuel the rising prosperity on which their long-term survival will depend, political leaders in China, Russia, the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf and other authoritarian states have accepted that they have to embrace market-based capitalism. But if they leave it entirely to market forces to determine winners and losers, they run the risk of enriching those who will use their new wealth to challenge the state’s power.

Instead, they have embraced state capitalism. Within these countries, political elites use state-owned and politically loyal, privately owned companies to dominate entire economic sectors — like oil, natural gas, aviation, shipping, power generation, arms production, telecommunications, metals, minerals, petrochem­icals, and other industries. They finance all these institutions with the help of increasingly large pools of surplus foreign cash known as sovereign wealth funds.

State capitalism isn’t an ideology. It’s more a set of management principles. It can never match the hold that communism once had on the popular imagination, because it wasn’t born as a response to injustice. It was created to maximize political leverage and state profits, not to right historical wrongs. The system is not the same from one country to another, because the ruling elites in Beijing, Moscow, and Riyadh use it to meet distinctly different sets of needs. And no two state capitalist governments can ever fully align their interests. By its very nature, it’s exclusionary; like mercantilism, it promotes one state at the expense of others. That’s why there can’t really be any kind of “state capitalist consensus.”

Instead, you get client states — mainly smaller Asian countries in China’s shadow and energy exporting governments in Africa and Latin America badly in need of friends with deep pockets. Brazil, India and other big emerging markets that have elements of both free market and state capitalist systems have seats at the G20 table alongside some serious free market skeptics. The developed states don’t have much to offer them at the moment that looks attractive for their economic stability.


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The Problem With Hindus

July 27, 2010 11 comments

While Mother Teresa raised millions in the name of India and its poor, the money was unaccounted and no published accounts are available for public scrutiny.

Rudeness, arrogance, disrespect

The intellectual arrogance displayed in the interview below by the Late Mother Teresa is simply breathtaking. Her rudeness and disrespect for the host society leaves me wordless. In a society where ‘many, many, many Hindu people share with’ her, she finds it beneath her, to respect her hosts.

This, may not be Mother Teresa’s problem – but it may, well be, The Hindu problem. People living in India no longer know the difference between religion and dharma. People of Bharata-ah no longer remember when religion was maya and dharma was supreme. Giving equal position, respect and consideration to religions and dharma is the India’s problem today.

Mother Teresa’s advice – We regressive, dirty-brown, idolatrous, backward Hindus can and were never be a happy lot. Unless we embrace Jesus!

Jeeez-us.

Mother Teresa (Cartoon by John Spooner @ theage.com.au)

Mother Teresa (Cartoon by John Spooner @ theage.com.au)

Extracts from Mother Teresa’s interview

Q. Here in Calcutta, have you created a real change?

A. I think so. People are aware of the presence, and also many, many, many Hindu people share with us. Now we never see a person lying there in the street dying. It has created a worldwide awareness of the poor.

Q. Beyond showing the poor to the world, have you conveyed any message about how to work with the poor?

A. You must make them feel loved and wanted. They are Jesus for me. I believe in that much more than doing big things for them.

Q. Friends of yours say you are disappointed that your work has not brought more conversions in this great Hindu nation.

A. Missionaries don’t think of that. They only want to proclaim the word of God. Numbers have nothing to do with it. But the people are putting prayer into action by coming and serving the people. Everywhere people are helping. There may not be a big conversion like that, but we do not know what is happening in the soul.

Q. What do you think of Hinduism?

A. I love all religions, but I am in love with my own.

Q. And they should love Jesus too?

A. Naturally, if they want peace, if they want joy, let them find Jesus. If people become better Hindus, better Muslims, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there. They come closer and closer to God. When they come closer, they have to choose. (via : Interview with MOTHER Teresa: A Pencil In the Hand Of God Of God By EDWARD W. DESMOND, Monday, Dec. 04, 1989).

From the 1954 - 2010 - Indians are the most optimistic

From the 1954 - 2010 - Indians are the most optimistic. Cartoon by RK Laxman, Times of India.

Is it my Satanic mind

But Mother, or should I say Saint Teresa now, I have one question. It must be that ‘Hindu’ Satan putting this question in my corrupt ‘Hindu’ mind, which has not embraced Jesus.

You see the Christian world has been doing something they call consumer ‘optimism’ surveys. For  few decades now, these ‘Hindu’ Indians have been a rather optimistic lot. And the West, which has embraced Jesus (at least more than these Hindus have) are much more pessimistic.

Can I have some divine guidance from you.

Your statement somehow also reminds me too much of a similar statement by the alpha-dog of the Colonial pack – Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, PC, FRS who ‘despaired’ for the ‘Hindu’ Indians , led by a half-naked fakir … and men of straw (mostly Hindus). Especially, since we Hindu-Indians are a “beastly people with a beastly religion

Being a Saint, the Mother must be right. She rightly loves her religion more. She also prescribes that we backward Hindus should also love her Catholic-Christian religion more.

Unless the Indic mind changes – and changes fast, Mother Teresa’s wish may come to pass.

 

2ndlook does not want the Kohinoor back in India!

July 26, 2010 2 comments
The world’s most precious diamond - Count Wittelsbach-Graff diamond; from the famed Golkonda mines.

The world’s most precious diamond - Count Wittelsbach-Graff diamond; from the famed Golkonda mines. (Image courtesy - The Voice of Russia)

Keith Vaz, the Indian-origin British MP, wants the Kohinoor diamond to be returned to India and asks Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss the issue of its return during his visit to India next week.

Vaz said in a statement: “It would be very fitting for the Kohinoor to return to the country in which it was mined so soon after the diamond jubilee of the Indian republic and 161 years after its removal from India.”

Vaz said the return of the treasure to India would give meaning to the new coalition government’s desire to enter into a new era of partnership with India. “This will certainly convey a new age of Indo-British relations. The prime minister will certainly win the hearts of all Indians if he is prepared to discuss the display of the Kohinoor in India itself, and possibly even its permanent return.”

The diamond was taken to England in 1849 following the defeat of the ruler of the Punjab region, Duleep Singh, and the annexation of the Punjab. As part of the Treaty of Lahore settlement, the gem was surrendered to Queen Victoria. (via Cameron asked to discuss Kohinoor return to India – UK – World – The Times of India).

Maharajah Ranjeet Singh, by Jivan Ram, 1832. Lithograph of watercolor and pencil original, 14.7 x 10.6 cm. (Courtesy - Rita and Gurinder Singh Mann.; photo - Library, University of Berkeley.)

The last Indian 'owner' of the Koh-i-noor - Maharajah Ranjeet Singh, by Jivan Ram, 1832. Lithograph of watercolor and pencil original, 14.7 x 10.6 cm. (Courtesy - Rita and Gurinder Singh Mann.; photo - Library, University of Berkeley.)

Keep the Koh-i-noor

2ndlook would be delighted to let the Koh-i-noor remain in Britain.  In the crown of the British monarch. A symbol of everything British! Of British loot, genocide, bloodshed, exploitation, slavery.

Also a grim reminder of British history to Indians. The loss of the Koh-i-noor and the Orloff diamonds are no loss really. What can India gain by having two more stones – or losing two stones.

Beautiful stones. Granted

Are you serious

If Britain and Keith Vaz is serious about making amends for the loot, just return the many manuscripts that lie (some say secreted) in the basements of British museums and libraries. India’s biggest loss in the years of colonialism was not the Koh-i-noor but the loss of centuries of learning.

Much of that learning is something Indians today do not even know they have lost.

Jefferson’s ‘invisible’ writings

Recently, (claims St.PT Barnum) some unknown writings of Thomas Jefferson have been ‘discovered.’ Written using invisible ink, (claims St.PT Barnum), these writings reveal the ‘true’ nature of Jefferson’s thinking. St.PT barnum with his ‘patented’ anti-propaganda technology, has been able to read the ‘invisible’ portions of the document.

StPT Barnum adds

Indians, remember!

As Thomas Jefferson, an Anglo-Saxon ideologue earlier said, “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”. The rest of Jefferson’s tract, written in ‘invisible ink, said “If you are fools to trust us, are not vigilant, and gullible enough, we will come and enslave you, exploit you, loot you and rob you.”

Jefferson ended his tract in invisible ink, by writing “Now, all you reds, browns, blacks, yellows, greens! Don’t you ever say that you were not warned!”

The enigma of Buddhism

July 25, 2010 24 comments

2000 years later, other religions have not been able to match the Buddhist spread! And remember all this without the sword!

Confucius, Lao tzu and Buddhist Arhat by Ding Yunpeng (ca. 1547-1628) a Ming dynasty painter, painting at the Palace Museum, Beijing

Confucius, Lao tzu and Buddhist Arhat by Ding Yunpeng (ca. 1547-1628) a Ming dynasty painter, painting at the Palace Museum, Beijing

Power Play By Buddhism Monks

In a 1000 years. By 500 AD Buddhism had spread to Britain, China, Central Asia. We can look at a popular medium like cinema to gauge the power of Buddhism.

For instance in Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee undertakes the mission given to him by the Government Intelligence Department after it meets the approval of the Buddhist monk. In Tom Yum Goong, only after seeking advice from the Buddhist teacher does Kham (essayed  by Tony Jaa) go on a rampage in Australia. The Buddhist teacher cautions Kham about playing with ‘fire’.

Chants and Idols?

Trite messages like follow-the-path-of-ahimsa, life-is-full-of-misery, respect-life, could not have gained Buddha so may followers. Esoteric ideas like Nirvana, dukkha, et al, could not have been the reason. People don’t change so much for so little! Or resist change so much when confronted by the sword!

This was obviously not because Buddha’s statues were prettier than the statues of previous deities. Or because Buddhist chants sounded better. If that, anyway, was the reason, the statues of previous divinities could have been prettified.

In the meantime, in India

Viktoria Lyssenko, a Russian Indologist, makes an interesting linkage – a linkage that is lost to India, forgotten and dismissed as ‘ancient’ and irrelevant (interview extracted below).

Buddhism for long disappeared from the Indian scene, but the fundamentals of its philosophy were formulated as part of Indian philosophical thought with its traditional polemics and constant exchange of ideas between different schools. This deep familial link of Buddhism with the Indian philosophical soil that engendered it is being missed by both Buddhist and Hindu philosophy studies. Buddhists study six Hindu darshans, but in a rather formal way as if these were dogmatic systems. Specialists on darshanas also formally study Buddhism. In my opinion, the important aspect missing is the mutual enrichment of both traditions, their constructive impact on each other. (via ‘Branches of Indology like religion flourishing in Russia’ – The Times of India).

So, what made Buddhism so attractive?

The axis of Confucian-Platonic authoritarian, ‘wise’ rulers, who were not accountable, was (and remains) the overwhelming model for the world. Property rights remained with less than o.1% of the people. Under the CRER principle, (cuius regio, eius religio, meaning whose land, his religion; CRER) even the most personal religious beliefs of the individual were subject to State approval, as per law.

Analects of Confucius - book written by Confucius (551 - 473 BC) before Socrates and Plato with Zhu Xi's commentary. A pre-Meiji Restoration Japanese edition. (Picture courtesy - iastate.edu).

Analects of Confucius - book written by Confucius (551 - 473 BC) before Socrates and Plato with Zhu Xi's commentary. A pre-Meiji Restoration Japanese edition. (Picture courtesy - iastate.edu).

The only exception to this was the Indic system of polity – where property rights were vested with the user, justice was decentralized (did any Indic king dispense justice?), religion was maya and dharma was supreme. The modern Indian State has acquired the Desert-Bloc-Platonic-Confucian authoritarian principles of the State as parens patriae. So, the power of the Indic ideas is something that India seems to have forgotten, missed and lost!

Compare and Contrast

Contrast the faith that the Chinese have in Buddhist teachers with the negative representation of Church and priests in Hollywood. One set has been able to maintain trust and faith for more than 2000 years – and the other set seems to have lost it in less than a 1000 years.

Is it any surprise that the common Chinese loves and venerates the Buddha – and the Chinese Government lays so much emphasis on Confucianism?

How Buddhism became a religion?

Indian religion and culture shapes half the world even today. China (Buddhism), Indonesia (considering that Mahabharata is their national epic and their use of Sanskritic names), entire South East Asia (except Philippines) and of course, India. What makes the Indian success remarkable is that this status has been acquired without significant military cost or economic expenditure.

After the destruction of Takshashila, in 499 AD(?), without access to the ‘Indian thought factory’, Buddhism soon became a religion outside India. Buddha in India, was another, in a long line of teachers. Not so in the rest of the world. Cut off from Indian philosophy, Buddhism soon stopped growing.

Remember all this without the sword! 2000 years later, other religions have not been able to match this spread!

The ‘idea’ of Pakistan-II

July 24, 2010 1 comment

Of nearly 10 crore Indian Muslims in 1941, a mere 5 lakhs voted for Jinnah, the Muslim League and Pakistan.

With time, India could see a future beyond Jinnah and Pakistan! (Cartoon - Artist: David Low (1891-1963) Published by Evening Standard, 21 Sep 1945)

With time, India could see a future beyond Jinnah and Pakistan! (Cartoon – Artist: David Low (1891-1963) Published by Evening Standard, 21 Sep 1945)

Britain has often been taunted with employing “divide and rule” tactics in India, but the cleverest attempt at dividing and ruling is that of Jinnah. Moslems number only 94.5 millions according to the census of 1941. Compared with the 255 million Hindus, they will always be in a minority in any system of democratically elected bodies.

To counter this disability the Moslems, as long ago as 1909, pressed for and secured the electoral device of separate Hindu and Moslem electorates, with seats “reserved” in the legislature on a communal basis. This procedure ensured to Moslems a political representation in excess of their numerical proportions. But it did not satisfy them for long.

When Congress ministries took office in seven out of eleven provinces in 1937, Moslem Leaguers (who had polled only 4.6 per cent of the total Moslem vote) were denied any share in the spoils of office. Moslem League propagandists have represented this situation as a denial of their legitimate rights, and as proof of a Hindu determination to dominate India. Tactically, it may have been unwise of Congress, but under a party system of government it is difficult to see how it could have done otherwise. Congress did not refuse office to Moslems as such, but to Moslems who were not members of Congress.

The experience of one election convinced Jinnah that his party could never hope to enjoy a ruling majority. In 1940 he accordingly resurrected the theory of Pakistan, claiming that Hindus and Moslems are two separate nations.

Before 1940 no one outside the Moslems, and few among them, took Pakistan seriously, but by persistent advocation in season and out, Jinnah has made of it the central issue before India today. He has made of the League a real political party, and in the recent elections to the Central Legislative Assembly it won all the Mohammedan seats (30), polling 86.6 per cent of the total Moslem votes. These elections were based on the extremely restricted franchise of the 1919 Act, and the total number of votes cast was only 586,647, representing almost exclusively the propertied classes. (text highlight supplied)

The real problem starts from this point the League is pledged not to make the new Constitution work unless it starts from the basic assumption of Pakistan. There must be not one but two constitution-making bodies, says Jinnah -one for Hindustan and one for Pakistan. Hindus naturally are not willing to submit, in advance of the elections, to the dictation of a minority.

Jinnah wrecked the Simla Conference – called by the Viceroy, Lord Wavell -in July, 1945. He can wreck the elections. All he has to do is to stall, and the longer he stalls, the stronger he grows.

Jinnah’s growing power and prestige have only made him more obdurate. Would he have dared to go so far if he had not felt assured of outside backing – that is, from Britain? At all events, his attitude has caused Jawarhalal Nehru, the most modern and internationally-minded Congress leader, to declare that Congress will negotiate no further with the League under its present leadership.

Britain’s offer of August, 1940, guaranteed minorities against forcible inclusion in any future Indian Union or Federation; the undertaking was reiterated in the Cripps offer of March-April, 1942, and at the Simla Conference.

Jinnah asks the British government to guarantee his Pakistan scheme; he does not ask the people of India, and is quite oblivious to the 30 millions who would be a Hindu minority in the six provinces which he claims: Sind, Baluchistan, the North-West Frontier Province, the Punjab, Bengal, and Assam. Of these, only the first three have a decisively Moslem population.

If Britain backs Jinnah in his intransigence, she will be accused once more of utilizing the communal divisions to delay a settlement and final handing over of power. But what if Britain calls Jinnah’s bluff? What if he is bluntly told that the question of Pakistan is not for Britain or Moslems alone to decide, but must be settled by the whole Indian people through their elected assemblies?

Britain’s Labor Party … has, since it came to power, gone little further than the Tories. Current pronouncements, … have been confined to the old formulas, with emphasis on the necessity for prior agreement among Indians, and warnings against attempts to secure results by violence. They have not dealt with the fundamental question of what the British government will do to break the stalemate.

Failure to grasp this nettle firmly has already led to suspicions that the leopard has not changed its spots, and that despite the change of government, Britain is still more interested in word-spinning than in action. Even the moderate and liberal sections of the Indian press speak of an “Anglo-Moslem conspiracy to keep India in perpetual subjection.” But so long as there is doubt about Britain’s intentions, communal differences will be accentuated, simply because each community wants to secure the best possible terms far itself before Britain “quits India.”

Moslems to this day are the weaker community financially and educationally. Of male Hindus, 14.7 per cent are literate, compared with 10.7 per cent of the Moslems; for women the percentages are 2.1 and 1.5 (1931 census). Separate electorates have merely accentuated communal differences.

The rice-eating Moslem mopla of Malabar has far more in common with his Hindu neighbors than he has with the wheat-eating Punjabi Moslem. Only the most confused thinking could produce a two-nation theory in India, where there are dozens of distinct races and languages.

Jinnah, who is far from being confused in his thinking, knows all this. It is plain, therefore, that the Hindu-Moslem conflict should be seen, not as a religious one, but as a straightforward political and economic struggle for power, with the spoils of office as prizes.

The principle of self-determination, which is of the essence of democracy, applies to nations, not to the fortuitous divisions of a subcontinent conquered by an alien power. The mutinies in the Royal Indian Navy and Royal Indian Air Force are no mere protests against pay or conditions but are political mutinies directed against foreign rule. Whatever the attitude of her political leaders, the people of India are united as never before in vehement opposition to foreign rule. (via India – Magazine – The Atlantic).

Britain 'saved' India from Japan - with the Great Bengal Famine - 40-50 lakhs of people dead! (Cartoon - Artist: Sidney 'George' Strube Published: Daily Express, 07 Aug 1942).

Britain ‘saved’ India from Japan – with the Great Bengal Famine – 40-50 lakhs of people dead! (Cartoon – Artist: Sidney ‘George’ Strube Published: Daily Express, 07 Aug 1942).


The ‘facts’ behind the emotion

This post excerpted from The Atlantic, written in 1946, a year before India’s Independence, makes a few points that are unclear to most Indians.

The ‘innocent’ Indian Muslim

Indian Muslims did not chose the Muslim League. British policy in India made it seem that Indian Muslims had chosen the Muslim League. Of the nearly 10 crore Muslims, less than 5 lakhs voted for the Muslim League. Jinnah’s claim and bravado sprang from the backing of half a per cent of India’s Muslim Population.

Popular leaders like Sheikh Abdullah of Kashmir or the Deoband Seminary rejected emphaticallyJinnah and his Pakistan theory. The ordinary Muslim had no truck with Jinnah or Pakistan. Meanwhile, Sachar Committee report notwithstanding, the ‘ordinary’ Muslim before Independence was behind the general population.

And remains so.

A wolf in wolf’s skin

The British created (through their separate, limited electorates) the ‘idea’ of Pakistan, reiterated the role of this ‘idea’ in 1940, 1942 and the Simla conference of 1946 – and many times in between.

Had Jinnah decided not to get used by the British masters, someone else would have filled Jinnah’s shoes. It would have taken any two-bit politician, no time at all, to fill the void,  had Jinnah declined this role. The leopard has not changed its spots.

The State of Pakistan continues to be used by Western powers for their own ends.

Britain expected 20 lakh Indian soldiers to shed blood for the British Empire. The 'disloyal' Indian leadership did not see it that way - especially Subhash Chandra Bose. (Cartoon - Artist: Illingworth, Leslie Gilbert, 1902-1979 Published - Daily Mail, 6 April 1942).

Britain expected 20 lakh Indian soldiers to shed blood for the British Empire. The ‘disloyal’ Indian leadership did not see it that way – especially Subhash Chandra Bose. (Cartoon – Artist: Illingworth, Leslie Gilbert, 1902-1979 Published – Daily Mail, 6 April 1942).

Now that it is over …

The Congress is taking the easy way out. It demonises Pakistan, which while being counter-productive, also increases the stakes and decreases the ability to engage Pakistan. 60 years is a long time – a long enough time for the Pakistani State to deliver on its self-defined mandate.

In the meanwhile things have changed. Joseph Stiglitz, in April 2010, indicated that Bangladesh and Sri Lanka could become the next export-production centres for the US, specifically and generally the West. After China. A decade down the road, with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as US clients, India’s may see itself encircled by Anglo-Saxon client states.

Not a happy thought.


An encounter in Athens

July 21, 2010 9 comments
Socrates being offered hemlock - death by drinking poison! The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David at Metropolitan Museum of Art. Click for larger image.

Socrates being offered hemlock - death by drinking poison! The Death of Socrates (1787) by Jacques-Louis David (French, 1748–1825) at Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York - Metropolitan Museum of Art. Click for larger image.

Socrates, the greatest of all oral communicators, was freaking out over “the very latest communications technology, written language based on an alphabet” though as Powers concedes, “writing wasn’t completely new”. Socrates believed that scrolls would erode thought by permitting people to forget what they had learned because they’d be able to look things up, that “they wouldn’t feel the need to ‘remember it from the inside, completely on their own.’ ” Worse, writing wouldn’t “allow ideas to flow freely and change in real time, the way they do in the mind during oral exchange.” (via Born to Check Mail By LAURIE WINER, Published: July 9, 2010, Book Review – Hamlet’s Blackberry – By William Powers – NYTimes.com).

Indian yogis in Athens

Socrates was a great believer in oral teaching. The shruti tradition in India was alive before Socrates was born. Was that a coincidence? After all, Valmiki committed to palm leaves pre-existing history. Similarly, Krishna Dwaipayan Vyasa wrote the pre-existing history of Mahabharata!

Mentioned by Aristoxenus and recalled by Eusebius, Socrates’ encounter with an Indian yogi however, is not well-known. Mentions of the Athenian encounter between the Indian yogi and Socrates are a rarity in modern history. Socrates was accused of

disrespect for the gods whom the state recognizes, of introducing new divinities and of corrupting the young

Socrates was condemned to death by poison. Compare this to Indian ethics which forbid violence against the intellectual class – the Indian brahmins, priests, and rishis.

One question!

What were the alien gods that Socrates was promoting? What was it that Socrates was teaching that ‘corrupted the Greek youth’. The alien gods and teachings that Socrates was accused of promoting – were these from India?

Why would the ancient Greeks be anti-Indian?

Pliny’s moralizing verdict on the Roman trade with India,’ borders on being an anti-India polemic. Pliny’s India writing’s remain a significant academic memory even today.

Why the anti-Indian polemic?

Indic ideas that threatened the world

Indian teachers and intellectuals were sent to all corners of the world. The spread of Buddhism in Asia is well-chronicled. In 2nd century AD, Origen, a Christian pioneer, attributed the spread of Christianity “The island (Britain) has long been predisposed to it (Christianity) through the doctrines of the Druids and Buddhists, who had already inculcated the doctrine of the unity of the Godhead”

Why did Buddhism become the most popular religion in the world. Pretty statues, musical chants? Unlikely ... (Photo by Benoy K. Behl, Courtesy - ngenespanol.com)

Why did Buddhism become the most popular religion in the world. Pretty statues, musical chants? Unlikely ... (Photo by Benoy K. Behl, Courtesy - ngenespanol.com) Click for larger image.

Mani, the Buddhist teacher,  and his adherents, known to Christians as Manicheans were the nightmare for Christianity till the 15th century, feared by the Vatican for a 1200 years. Vatican killed, burnt and quartered all those who displayed any leaning towards Manichean-ism.

St.Augustine was canonised for his conversion from Manichean to Christianity. When Mani called for overthrow of slavery, the Vatican at the Council of Gangra, re-affirmed its faith in slavery. Islamic invaders searched and destroyed statues or boet /buta (meaning statues of Buddha?).

The reason behind this ‘persecution’?

Indian economic system in 500 BC ensured property rights for all – something that Europe could achieve only in the 19th century. Property, wealth and power concentrations in Greece would be threatened by Indic thought.

Travelling salesmen stop travelling

From 5th century we increasingly see more stories of visits to India. Visits by Indian rishis begin to dry up. The last Indo-Buddhist seems to be Mani.

1000 years after Mani’s death, the Vatican was afraid of his his ‘hold’ over the European populations.

Socrates was a great believer in oral teaching. The shruti tradition in India was alive before Socrates was born.

After all Valmiki committed to palm leaves pre-existing history. Similarly Krishna Dwaipayan vyasa wrote the pre-existing history of Mahabharata!

This is not to forget the encounter between Socrates and the Indian Rishi.

From 5th century we increasingly see more stories of visits to India. Visits by Indian rishis begin to dry up. The last Indo-Buddhist seems to be Mani – of whom the Vatican was adraid even 1000 years later.

Were the alien gods and teachings that Socrates accused of promoting, from India? After Pliny’s anti-India polemic remains a significant memory even today .

Defla-inflation – the Answer to Europe’s Problems

July 19, 2010 10 comments

If the USA could ride on a dollar-float equal to US GDP, for the last 60 years (1950-2010), could EU be left standing, watching, inactive and hurting (as in envy).

The problem of stagnant economies! (Cartoonist - Chip Bok; published on 2005-06-05; source and courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com).

The problem of stagnant economies! (Cartoonist - Chip Bok; published on 2005-06-05; source and courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com).

Curse of the ‘Strong-Euro’

Euro-zone would not have gotten itself into such a twist but for chasing the ‘strong’ Euro chimera.

An over-valued Euro made imports cheaper, gave excess inflows, liquidity, and the average Europeans abroad, a false sense of prosperity.

The strong Euro also made way for stagnating, indebted, deficit-prone economies of Europe.

Behind the ‘Strong-Euro’

Of course, Europe needed to make a success of the Euro. If the USA could ride on a dollar-float equal to US GDP, for the last 60 years (1950-2010), could EU be left standing, watching, inactive and hurting (as in envy).

USA let the Euro-Ride continue for the last 7 years (2002-2009) knowing that this can only result in a over-priced, stagnant, option-less Europe. Makes me wonder if Goldman Sachs acted alone in arranging all those off-book loans to Greece?

Hank Paulson … have you been naughty, again?

This may look like Bleak House on 'Bleaker' Street! But the situation ain't so bad. (Cartoonist Bruce Tinsley; Mallard Fillmore series; published on 2010-04-15; source and courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com).

This may look like Bleak House on 'Bleaker' Street! But the situation ain't so bad. (Cartoonist Bruce Tinsley; Mallard Fillmore series; published on 2010-04-15; source and courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com).

A nervous Europe

Erosion of Western dominance makes Europe resort to underhand ideas, legalistic sleights of hand that stretch definitions and prolongs the war of attrition.

  1. With Indian and Chinese manufacturing on the roll a nervous Europe is stuck for answers.
  2. With Indian pharma and auto sectors challenging the world, Euro-powers are nervous and fidgety.
  3. With surging Chinese manufacturing, Europe has run out of answers.
  4. With an indifferent USAon one side and the economic expansion of Asia on the other side makes for one, very nervous Europe.

Luring Kenya, with an Uganda waiting in the wings, by the use of ‘incentives’ to create legal hurdles for pharma-imports is a demonstration of this strategy.

TRIPS recognises IPRs as territorial rights and IP is protected only in the jurisdiction where it is registered. However, Kenya’s recent Anti-Counterfeit Act even recognises IPRs protected in other countries . This would make generic goods imported into or transiting through Kenya illegal if a patent exists anywhere in the world. This has serious repercussions not only for Indian exports but also takes away right of Kenya to independently define patentability criteria based on its development requirements. This is also a loss for Kenya, which in initial stages of its development would be denied the opportunity of drawing innovation and encouraging economic growth within the country.

Many other African countries are being lured into the same trap. There were allegations that EU provided funds for a similar bill in Uganda. Such legislations would deny public access to generic drugs and make them dependent on monopoly of a few patent drug suppliers. Three AIDS victims had to move Kenya’s Constitutional Court against the Anti-Counterfeit Act for a stay on the grounds that it denied them access to generic anti-retroviral drugs and, thus, violated their Right to Life. (via Time to challenge plus-size IPRs-Comments & Analysis-Opinion-The Economic Times).

How will Europe get out of this pit?

How will Europe unwind this complex knot?

The way out for Europe will mean severe belt-tightening. Not an easy thing in easy times, belt-tightening is the bitter pill that Europe may need to swallow.

A mix of defla-inflation with Euro-devaluation will be needed to fix things for some time. Deflation in wages, property and stock prices, inflation in consumer prices combined with Euro devaluation below dollar parity may see Euro zone on the road to growth! Not an easy road!

Is it a wonder that you get to hear a stuck Europe, squealing!


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