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India’s Partition – Unknown Aspects

September 28, 2011 3 comments

There is some weight to the argument that even ‘Hindus’ wanted Pakistan.

A cartoon in the Amrita Bazar Patrika published in May 1947, graphically captured the doubts and confusion in people's minds.5 Titled, ‘Who is Right?’ it showed four key public and political figures, H. S. Suhrawardy, Shyamaprasad Mookerjee (the leader of the Hindu Mahasabha), M. A. Jinnah and M. K. Gandhi each with a placard with their supposed propositions. Thus Suhrawardy holds ‘United Bengal in Divided India’, Mookerjee ‘Divided Bengal in United India’, Jinnah ‘Divided Bengal in Divided India’ and Gandhi holds up a sign with ‘United Bengal in United India’ (Cartoon Source - journals.cambridge.org. Attribution - Figure 1. ‘Who Is Right?’Source: Cartoon in the Hindustan Standard, 17 May 1947, 5.). Click for larger image.

A cartoon in the Amrita Bazar Patrika published in May 1947, graphically captured the doubts and confusion in people's minds.5 Titled, ‘Who is Right?’ it showed four key public and political figures, H. S. Suhrawardy, Shyamaprasad Mookerjee (the leader of the Hindu Mahasabha), M. A. Jinnah and M. K. Gandhi each with a placard with their supposed propositions. Thus Suhrawardy holds ‘United Bengal in Divided India’, Mookerjee ‘Divided Bengal in United India’, Jinnah ‘Divided Bengal in Divided India’ and Gandhi holds up a sign with ‘United Bengal in United India’ (Cartoon Source - journals.cambridge.org. Attribution - Figure 1. ‘Who Is Right?’Source: Cartoon in the Hindustan Standard, 17 May 1947, 5.). Click for larger image.

Caught between a neo-colonial narrative jointly crafted by the British and Congress Governments in India, events have a way of being losing context and substance. Jinnah as the man behind partition, is a story that is only partly true.

Three interesting incidents in that crucial period make for a counter-balance to the Jinnah-as-the-villain story that is made out.

The Gallup Poll

Over a period of at least 50 years, successive British bureaucrats and propagandists sold India the story that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together.

On April 23, 1947, the ‘Amrita Bazar Patrika’ featured results of a poll where it had asked if Bengali Hindus wanted a “separate homeland”. An overwhelming 98.3% Bengalis voted in favour, and 0.6% voted against the division of the province. On being asked about this poll, both Dutta Gupta and Singha express concern and suspicion about this poll and many other public discourses that came to conclusions that completed neglected the voice of Hindus living in East Bengal. (via ‘We can only carry India in our hearts’ – Times Of India).

These surveys, were engineered by the Gallup Organization, a leading opinion-polling agency, which controlled India from UK. There was a large body of opinion and support for Muslim autonomy in Muslim majority areas – and ‘Hindu’ support for a Muslim Homeland was in this context. Also, must be the remembered that in polls like this, the question is more important than the answer.

And the reason for the result of this poll, was the questionnaire.

Lala Lajpat Rai asked for Pakistan

Another significant votary for Muslim autonomy in Muslim-majority areas was Lala Lajpat Rai – whose ideas are being projected as support for Pakistanand Partition of India.

(Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; on 4th May 2011; source and courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for source image.

(Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; on 4th May 2011; source and courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for source image.

The ‘innocent’ Indian Muslim

Just like ‘Hindu’ support for Pakistan is being twisted out of context, it is equally true of ‘Muslim’ support for Pakistan.

For another, we forget that Indian Muslims from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan did not vote for Pakistan or Jinnah.

It was a small minority, of less than 5 lakhs who voted for the Muslim League, carefully selected by the British, which was designated as representative of Muslim interests, that voted for Pakistan. From the nearly 10 crore Muslims. A fact we would do well to remember.

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 emphatically Jinnah 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.


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Pakistan – An alienating identity

September 28, 2011 9 comments

What has gone wrong? A question that many Pakistanis ask. And a few honest answers filter through.

Three nuclear powers - cheek by jowl.|  The Equalizer cartoon by David Horsey; published - May 28, 2002 in Seattlepi.com / SL   |  Click for image.

Three nuclear powers – cheek by jowl.| The Equalizer cartoon by David Horsey; published – May 28, 2002 in Seattlepi.com / SL | Click for image.

Fault Lines

Pakistan may have silently accepted that the premise of Pakistan’s nationhood was wrong.

Apart from a few ‘desperate’ bonzos, Pakistanis feel bad at the plight of their nation. The destructive rhetoric of Us vs Them, symbolic of the Desert Bloc, dries up in the hot sands of genocide, poverty, crime.

Unlike भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra.

This extract below, from a Pakistani newspaper, asks some tough questions.

First, we alienated ourselves from Hindu community because we were Muslims, and then we kept on alienating millions of our own (the Eastern wing, followed by the peripheral groups including the Baloch, Seraiki, Sindhi and the religious minorities) in trying to prove that we were Muslims.

An answer that Pakistanis are asking - and one day will get. (Cartoon by Don Wright; source and courtesy - thuklak.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

An answer that Pakistanis are asking – and one day will get. (Cartoon by Don Wright; source and courtesy – thuklak.wordpress.com). Click for larger image.

How ‘Pakistani’ would the relatives of Habib Jalib,those martyred at Ali Hajweri shrine and the Ahmedi worship places be feeling, or for that matter the IDPs from Swat, the separatists from Balochistan, and the millions of peasants and wage labourers, who despite their right to vote our incapable of bringing material improvements in their lives, is anybody’s guess. (via An alienating identity – The Express Tribune Blog).

And Tripwires

And the answer to these questions.

On an India-Pakistan Forum, the idea of भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra has started getting discussed – and outlined.

भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra is India’s classical political ideology, that worked on four freedoms –

  • धर्म (dharma – justice)
  • अर्थ (arth – wealth and means)
  • काम (kaam – human desires)
  • मोक्ष (moksha – liberty)

and guaranteed three rights –

  • ज़र (jar – gold)
  • जन (jan – human ties)
  • जमीन (jameen – property)

For all. And Bharattantra may be the way forward for India and Pakistan to work together, in the view of some forum members.

God … I miss the Soviet Union

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Anand Giridharadas buries a verbal hatchet into Amazon’s back – and his own two feet.

Is Anand trying to tell us that Americans were earlier all Santa Claus? (Cartoon by Jeff Stahler; 9/21/2011; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

Is Anand trying to tell us that Americans were earlier all Santa Claus? (Cartoon by Jeff Stahler; 9/21/2011; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

The prevailing American story line is seething anger at politicians: they’re corrupt, or heartless, or socialist, or dumb. But many other recent developments, suggest that the problem is significantly deeper.It is becoming a country in which people more than disagree. They fail to see each other. They think in types about others, and assume the worst of types not their own.

It takes some effort these days to remember that the United States is still one nation.

It doesn’t feel like one nation when a company like Amazon, with such resources to its name, treats vulnerable people so badly just because it can. Or when members of a presidential debate audience cheer for a hypothetical 30-year-old man to die because he lacks health insurance. Or when schoolteachers in Chicago cling to their union perks and resist an effort to lengthen the hours of instruction for children that the system is failing. Or when an activist publicly labels the U.S. military, recently made safe for open homosexuals, a “San Francisco military.” Or when most of the television pundits go on with prefabricated scripts to eviscerate their rivals, instead of doing us the honor of actually thinking.

The more I travel, the more I observe that Americans are becoming foreigners to each other. People in Texas speak of people in New York the way certain Sunnis speak of Shiites, and vice versa in New York. Many liberals I know take for granted that anyone conservative is either racist or under-informed. People who run companies like Amazon operate as though it never occurred to them that it could have been them crawling through the aisles. And the people who run labor unions possess little empathy for how difficult and risky and remarkable it is to build something like Amazon.

What is creeping into the culture is simple dehumanization, a failure to imagine the lives others lead. Fellow citizens become caricatures. People retreat into their own safe realms. And decency, that great American virtue, falls away. (via The Fraying of a Nation’s Decency – NYTimes.com).

Your Grace Spreads Darkness

Anand Giridharadas’ and his enlightened ideas have graced the web-pages of this blog earleir. His ideas continue to shine through – creating darkness, where there was no light. Had it been a good-natured, red-neck American who was writing this kind of tripe, it would have been understandable.

But Anand Giridharadas?

Graduate from an American University, journalist with IHT, for sometime consultant with McKinsey, whose articles gets reprinted in NYT. Whose books are sold on Amazon.

Surprising!

Talking Your Walk

First and foremost. Anand Giridharadas on the way some Sunnis speak about Shias. It is the same as some Americans speak about Muslims – or anyone or anything else. Like certain ‘Whites’ speak of ‘Blacks’. Or about obese people. No different. Why does he specify Sunnis and Shias, I could not fathom. Unless he is treading the beaten path of demonizing politically, unpopular people.

If Anand Giridharadas wants to talk of dehumanization, it unfortunately, does not stop at Others, or at American borders – or short of Muslims. It starts with You.

Humanity, by the way, is universal. वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम, vasudhaiva kutumbakam (meaning “vasudha”, the earth; “eva” = emphasizer and “kutumbakam”, “family”)is sumtin dat Anand Giridharadas, noz nuttin abot.

Said One WASP To Another

Coming to American decency.

I am sure that if Anand Giridharadas goes through some old copies of NYT, he will espy prejudices and discrimination against the Irish, the Polacks and the Eye-Talians. Dare I remind Bro Anand Giridharadas how the name of another Eye-Talian Bro has been rubbed out from history books. The man who gave Jefferson the ideas. The same ideas that Jefferson stumbled upon, while dining alone, and is today famous for.

The WASP Americans were also building character. Of the Native Americans, African-Americans, Chinese, Germans, 'Eye-Talians', Irish, 'Polacks', Jews, and others. Can their decency be doubted? (Cartoon by David Horsey; September 2008; source and courtesy - http://revart.blogs.com). Click for larger image.

The WASP Americans were also building character. Of the Native Americans, African-Americans, Chinese, Germans, 'Eye-Talians', Irish, 'Polacks', Jews, and others. Can their decency be doubted? (Cartoon by David Horsey; September 2008; source and courtesy - http://revart.blogs.com). Click for larger image.

Before the Irish, Poles and the Italians, we had the Americans who had certain kind of thoughts about Chinese labour. More recently the Mexicans may give Anand Giridharadas some ideas on American decency. I will not even start on talking to African-American or the Native-American chapters on American decency.

How Anand Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life

He might want to look up NYT archives on Thind vs United States (1923). By the way, Thind maybe the reason, why Anand can call himself an American today. Labour shortage, after WWII, was another reason.

His exalted opinion of the American people is surely wishful thinking.

The Organization Man

The third point is surely he should do some reading on the corporate environment in the 1930s and 1950s – to what was called the period of the Organization Man – the quintessential Company Man and his behaviour. The book warns that corporate culture may induce ‘individuals (to) sacrifice their personal beliefs, initiative, and imagination in order to belong.’ Writen in 1956, by William Hollingsworth Whyte, for sometime Assistant Managing editor with Fortune magazine, the chapter on Scientism,has been a useful template against flummery.

After Whyte, Scientism became ‘not Science! It is not Fact. It is Faith —in beliefs that are unsupported by Facts and Evidence’. Before him, in the 19th century, Scientism, was in fact scientific thinking – and people were warned of ‘boastful and blatant scientism and naturalism which does not hesitate dogmatically to negative the doctrines of faith.’

Industrial societies … Before and After

Whyte’s  narrative of the Ecole Polytechnique, partly explains the modern French ‘success’ with public sector. The less hopeful, greyer and bleaker version of Whyte would be Barbara Ehrenreich – whose books, Nickel and Dimed (2001) and Bait and Switch (2005) have explored the world of the American Unemployed.

Easier still, and for earlier accounts, he can read Charles Dickens (for British equivalent of the American Factory era), or see some Charlie Chaplin movies. I would especially recommend Modern Times to him. Even Roald Dahl’s, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory would give him a taste of the Amazon’s earlier avataars. He will realize that the front face of companies like Amazon, the gloss, glaze and polish, is maya.

At the end of it all, I am reminded of a doha by Goswani Tulsidas.

तेरे भावे जो करा, भला बुरो संसार | नारायण तू बैठ कर, अपनो भुवन बुहार||
Do whatever pleases you, forget about pointing fingers at the world;
You (who are in God’ image) sit down and first sweep your own house clean.

Media Role In Iraq War

September 26, 2011 2 comments

Looking at images of how US media presented the Iraq case to the US people.

Cartoonist Clay Bennett makes a case for leaders to take a polygraph test on the Iraq war. (Cartoon title - State of the Union Address; by Clay Bennett, for Chattanooga Times Free Press - dated 08/25/2003; source and courtesy - i78.servimg.com.org). Click for larger image.

Cartoonist Clay Bennett makes a case for leaders to take a polygraph test on the Iraq war. (Cartoon title - State of the Union Address; by Clay Bennett, for Chattanooga Times Free Press - dated 08/25/2003; source and courtesy - i78.servimg.com.org). Click for larger image.

American Triumphalism. (Michael Ramirez cartoon; dated 17th Dec. 2003; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

American Triumphalism. (Michael Ramirez cartoon; dated 17th Dec. 2003; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

The text on the printout reads,

“The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

A statement presumably made by GW Bush Jr. in his State Of Union address.

On the other hand, France was pilloried by cartoonist Michael Ramirez.

Reluctant to join the anti-Iraq alliance, France did not see any big contracts coming their way.

The same oil that the anti-Iraq alliance, led by the USA, was gunning for.

France looking at the Iraq war through oil-glasses. (Cartoon by Michael Ramirez, dated 28 Jan, 2003; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

France looking at the Iraq war through oil-glasses. (Cartoon by Michael Ramirez, dated 28 Jan, 2003; source and courtesy - cagle.com). Click for larger image.

War On Terror – Desert Bloc Style

September 25, 2011 3 comments

One 9/11 Tally: $3.3 Trillion By Shan Carter and Amanda Cox; Published: Sep. 8, 2011 | Click for larger image. |  Short URL for Source  - http://goo.gl/YmjzV

One 9/11 Tally: $3.3 Trillion By Shan Carter and Amanda Cox; Published: Sep. 8, 2011 | Click for larger image. | Short URL for Source - http://goo.gl/YmjzV

Bush, CIA, FBI did not have to convince anyone of the need for war, killing, death and destruction. Frenzied activity by people and media to convince each other did the job.

Convince each other

A reading or search on the internet, about Saddam Hussein’s killings and genocide, reveals feverish discussions. At one internet forum after another forum, participants were quoting a non-existent report to convince each other.

Based on cyber-fluff. Circular references. At the centre of which, is a cyber vacuüm.

शून्य. Nul. Zéro. Null. μηδέν. ゼロ. нул. Cero.零. Darkness. Nothing. Zilch.

Saddam’s war with Iran, at the behest and encouragement of the West, was painted as ‘human-rights’ violations. Death of soldiers in any war, cannot be equated to civilian casualties. Soldiers are going to war, armed to the teeth, with eyes wide open, knowing fully well, that it is a case of kill or get killed.

The alphabet soup behind this

Bush, CIA, FBI did not have to convince anyone. Frenzied activity by people to convince each other of the need for war, killing, death and destruction did the job.

Wonder who created these viral and circular links, (now dead, but live at some time) on the web, without any source or existence. Which of the American agencies – CIA FBI, NSA, DEA, DOE, Bureau of ATF, DIA, NRO, NIMA, CTC. NPC. INR. DOE Intel., Army Intelligence et al?

But let us assume that vox americanum populi, vox dei (Voice of the American people is the voice of god), and accept the figure of less than 600,000 deaths under Saddam Hussein.

Ten years later

After the bombing of twin towers, on September 11, 2001, there has been much official sentiment and sanctity.

How much of that is real and balanced?

Note the racial undertones to the comments? (Cartoon by Ted Rall; dated 2011-09-16; Source and courtesy - rall.com). Click for larger images.

Note the racial undertones to the comments? (Cartoon by Ted Rall; dated 2011-09-16; Source and courtesy - rall.com). Click for larger images.

Slice of life

Three images capture an ‘objective’ and factual way of looking at the last ten years.

One was an ‘infographic’ presentation by New York Times (fig.1), that has been doing the rounds on the internet.

The slick presentation using an attractive and thin graphic, calculated the US$ trillions that these wars are costing. As though, it was American money, to start with.

Iraqi money and Iraqi oil was being used to kill Iraqi civilians – and then an accounting done on that money, as though it was American money. The Nordhaus report, used by the nytimes.com, says,

Iraq’s oil resources could satisfy current U.S. oil imports for almost a century.

Real people

Two Western estimates, of deaths in Iraq, (extrapolations from Lancet/John Hopkins estimate), and the statistical report by ORB (Operations Research Business) used a statistical sampling method.

A figure of one million Iraqi and Afghan civilian casualties has been arrived at by this estimation method. An estimation method commonly used and usually accepted.

Documented and cross verified reports by the Iraq Body Count, count more than a 100,000 civilian deaths in Iraq. To all those believe that only the Body Count report is good enough, I wonder why they don’t use the same standard for figures about deaths due to Saddam’s atrocities.

Whatever number one may chose, it is important to use the same standard. Saddam, it seems was a lesser evil.

Saddam killed far fewer Iraqis than the Americans have.

White House Trophy Room? (Cartoon by Herbjorn Skogstad | Published May 2011 | Source and courtesy - cagle.com) | Click for a larger image.

White House Trophy Room? (Cartoon by Herbjorn Skogstad | Published May 2011 | Source and courtesy - cagle.com) | Click for a larger image.

Does it matter

Of the nearly 1 million undocumented and estimated Iraqis dead or the documented 100,000 Iraqis dead, the number does not matter. Both the numbers, are huge numbers.

Not that this is the first time. After killing 20 lakh Vietnamese, the American Empire (and its respectable mouth-piece, Time magazine) only counts its own 60,000 killed. In Iraq, after 10 lakh dead Iraqis, the US Empire counts, its’ own less than 5,000 dead.

It is this part of the behaviour that is most revealing. Is self absorption an imperial trait?

Imperial Traits

The British Empire till well after its death, continued (s) to remain self-absorbed. As though other people did not exist, do not matter. Twentieth century, British writing about India, had deteriorated to pure drivel. Best epitomised by Chirol – Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol (28 May 1852 – 22 October 1929).

In case of Pax America, in an earlier Cold-War era, this self-absorption was marked by books like The Ugly American – which sold 5 million copies, in a nation of some fifty million households. Since, the writing of The Ugly American, the self-absorption has only deepened.

This self-absorption screams through these three images linked to this post.

Image no.1 – About my money. It was Iraqi oil and Iraqi money, by the way. A message to David Leonhardt, the Washington Bureau Chief of nytimes.com, evoked no response.

Image no.2 – Talks about my social position. If every month, hundreds of people, are blowing themselves up, there has gotta be a bigger problem, than your social position. Stop looking at Muslims. Look at yourself.

Image no.3 – About my trophies.

Do more words and more bombs, make the War on Islam, OK?

What to do

Possibly, all this killing and war is my problem, in my mind. Who is to blame, if I was brought up, believing,

ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत्।

तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा: मा गृध: कस्यस्विद्धनम्।।

(God resides in all; All this here, is permeated by Brahman [The Supreme Soul], whatever there is in this world. Enjoy things by renunciation. Do not covet others’ wealth. – Ishopanishad; Shloka 1; note alternate translation comment below.).

How I wish, I could erase this shloka from my head!

More False Data on Global Warming Withdrawn

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Propaganda, false data, twisted statistics, unethical researchers – Thy name is Climate Change.

Cartoon by Patrick Corrigan of Toronto Star; source and courtesy - scottthong.wordpress.com. Click for larger picture.

Cartoon by Patrick Corrigan of Toronto Star; source and courtesy - scottthong.wordpress.com. Click for larger picture.

The new The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World that had glaciologists in a rage for incorrectly showing Greenland as having lost 15% of its ice since 1999 is about to get a retroactive makeover thanks to some very persistent scientists.Nervous glaciologists, eager to avoid a kerfuffle that climate skeptics might christen “Atlasgate,” barraged both The Times Atlas’ publisher, HarperCollins, and the media with complaints.

Researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, which provided the data used by HarperCollins cartographers, quickly distanced themselves from the new atlas, alleging that they weren’t consulted before the publisher made its bold statement. On Tuesday, HarperCollins apologized for the 15% number in the news release, as well as for not consulting scientists. But they stood by their map. (via Publisher Issues Apology and Promises Corrections – ScienceInsider).

The story so far …

The global warming and the climate control story has been a long story about propaganda, false data, twisted statistics, unethical researchers. Mostly supported by Governments of Britain, Norway, Denmark and Australia. This is one more incident in that global warming myth.

But … yes!

There is a global pollution reality, originating in the West. That the West does not want to address.

Bob Nadkarni makes a life in Rio’s Favelas

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment
Cartoon from seattlepi.com; monsoon masala section

Cartoon from seattlepi.com; monsoon masala section

When Bob Nadkarni first opened the Maze (Rua Tavares Bastos 414, No. 66; 55-21-2558-5547; jazzrio.com) in the Tavares Bastos favela in 2005, the spot attracted “tourists with an adventurous side,” said Mr. Nadkarni’s son, Bruno, who grew up in the space before it was converted into a bed-and-breakfast and now manages its music nights. (Tavares Bastos has been considered relatively safe since 2000, when the state’s Special Operations Police Unit moved its headquarters to the community.) (via In Brazil, a Second Life for the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro – NYTimes.com).

There could be an interesting story in this persona of Bob Nadkarni.

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