Archive for September, 2012

Is This True: Election Fixing Yumm-Rika Style?

September 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Election Rigging In YummRika: Tell me these stories are bunkum.

Cartoonist: Khalil Bendib

Cartoonist: Khalil Bendib

A more important story, however, is the fact that Bain alumni, now raising big money as Romney bundlers are also in the electronic voting machine business. This appears to be a repeat of the the infamous former CEO of Diebold Wally O’Dell, who raised money for Bush while his company supplied voting machines and election management software in the 2004 election.

In all 234 counties of Texas, the entire states of Hawaii and Oklahoma, half of Washington and Colorado, and certain counties in swing state Ohio, votes will be cast on eSlate and ePollbook machines made by Hart Intercivic. Hart Intercivic machines have famously failed in Tarrant County (Ft. Worth), adding 10,000 non-existant votes. The EVEREST study, commissioned by the Ohio secretary of state in 2007, found serious security flaws with Hart Intercivic products.

Looking beyond the well-documented Google choking laundry list of apparent fraud, failure and seeming corruption that is associated with Hart Intercivic, an ongoing Free Press investigation turned its attention to the key question of who owns the voting machine companies. The majority of the directors of Hart come from the private equity firm H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. has been heavily invested in Hart Intercivic since July 2011, just in time for the current presidential election cycle. But who is H.I.G Capital?

Out of 49 partners and directors, 48 are men, and 47 are white. Eleven of these men, including H.I.G. Founder Tony Tamer, were formerly employed at Bain and Company, and two of those men, John P. Bolduc, Douglas Berman, are Romney bundlers along with former Bain and H.I.G. manager Brian Shortsleeve.

via The Free Press — Independent News Media from Columbus, Ohio


The Dawn: An unposted letter to PM Singh

September 23, 2012 3 comments

An ‘open’ letter by a Pakistani reporter to MMS created a huge debate in Pakistan – with more than 1100 comments. A 2ndlook at the letter.


Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude to you and your government for considering over 900 Pakistani Hindu citizens eligible for Indian nationality. It is a great gesture indeed for the Hindus who once lived in Pakistan. I understand that Hindus remain your government’s first priority because many in your government identify with them;

Mr Singh, we all do appreciate your humanitarian policies and would urge you to expedite the citizenship process of Pakistani Hindus, however, I find it my duty to inform you that people who profess other religions in Pakistan are equally deprived of peace and should be given an opportunity to seek asylum in India. Why is this move focused towards Hindus? Don’t you think that the Indian government, while at it, should chalk out a strategic plan to cater to Pakistanis — irrespective of caste and religion — whose lives are threatened within the boundaries of Pakistan?

Various members of the Indian government are corresponding with you on the status of Hindus who migrated to India to seek shelter. One of them is Laxmikanta Chawla who, amongst many other points, stated that, “Since the Pakistani government has failed to protect its minorities from frequent atrocities so the Indian government needs to look after them.”

via An unposted letter to PM Singh | DAWN.COM.

Dear Faiza – You must understand the agreement that we have with the leaders (past) of your nation – which binds (and separates) our people together. The recognized leaders of Indian-Muslims demanded that they needed a separate country for themselves.

They got it.

All Indian Muslims who felt that they had a better future in Pakistan went to Pakistan. Any Indian Muslims still in India, who are unhappy with treatment of Muslims in India are welcome to go to Pakistan.

Indian Muslims in Pakistan have to manage their past, present and future. They demanded that right – and that was given to them. Indians Hindus who could not leave Pakistan earlier – and who are leaving now, have a right of residence in India.

There is no choice in this.

This is the agreement that binds (and separates) us. An agreement that our grandfathers made – and we have to honor it.

I do hope you now understand why the Indian government cannot start ‘treating dejected Pakistanis on equal footing as Hindus.’

If you can get your Pakistani Brothers and Sisters to withdraw their demand for Pakistan – and liquidate the country of Pakistan, the agreement will stand null and void.

All those Muslims and Christians who trusted India – have our solemn promise that we will do our best for them as Indians – which we have done.

However, if there is any disagreement on this point …

Muslims can go to Pakistan.

Christians can emigrate to Australia, UK, Canada, USA. These countries have an implicit policy of allowing Indian Christians to emigrate to these countries.

I still want to direct your attention towards the hundreds of Hazaras who are executed every day in broad daylight on the streets of Pakistan. I wanted to ask if you could lend a helping hand to the countless Christians who live in fear of being arrested or murdered for committing blasphemy in the country. The scores of civilian dying in the north-western side of Pakistan because of militancy and drone strikes could also avail your assistance, that is, if you plan to offer any; You must also realise that Christians, and even Muslims are not exactly ‘at peace’ in this country either.

You and a few representatives of the Indian government must also have a rendezvous with Ahmadis to understand how they face religious persecution in every aspect of their lives. I insist you meet with Pakistanis who are desperate to bring about a positive change in the society and see how they are threatened and harassed in ways that are unfathomable by many.

Dear Faiza – I hope you understand that I am elected by the people of India – and not by Hazaras, Christians,  of Pakistan. So, I have  no reason to think, to worry, about the people of Pakistan. I also do not need to realize any of the things that you want me to realize.

Or to offer any assistance to Pakistani citizens.

I think that all problems that Pakistanis have with Pakistan, must be addressed to the Government of Pakistan.

I am sure you would know all the details about political asylum but will reiterate that it is not easy for all Pakistanis to seek asylum in countries such as United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia as many of them do not have the resources to do the same. India remains the only hope for many people who can reach the country via Attari with minimum resources.

I don’t know what would I have done if was given an option to move to India. Perhaps, I would have moved but this is a question that will remain unanswered unless your government starts treating dejected Pakistanis on equal footing as Hindus.

Dear Faiza – With my limited understanding of asylum seekers, it may be better for Pakistanis to wait – and get their chance in United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia.

These countries are either much bigger than India – or have a population density that is lesser than India.

They also offer, by popular agreement, better ‘opportunities’ than India. India is a poor choice – even if you are making it first choice in the ‘second’ class.

Going by what Chawla said I must request you to not be so harsh on our government which is currently embroiled in a conflict with the superior judiciary and has other important tasks at hand rather than safeguarding the interest of the very people for which it was elected. It is important that you understand that the government of Pakistan is not only unable to look after its minorities but is also incapable of catering to the heavy majority and ensuring their safety.

Mr Singh, this might not be news to you but every life which is snubbed out in a militant or violent attack in Pakistan pushes the progress made by the handful of Pakistanis who believe in mutual respect for peace, life and religious diversity, a hundred steps back.

Dear Faiza – The Indian Government dealing with the Pakistani Government is not directed to make life difficult for the people of Pakistan. All that we demand of the Pakistani nation is that they fulfill their obligation of one nation to any another.

On any other issue you must take up the matter with your own government.

Mr Singh, many Pakistanis will refuse to openly admit this but most of us would like to be considered eligible for Indian nationality. The reason behind our desire to move is extremely simple. It is because India since 1947 has grown as a nation, an economy and a country. Despite of the poverty and other related issues, we all see India as a progressive society and in a very positive light. We all want to live in a country which is ruled by secular politicians where fascist elements are given minimum representation in the parliament; a country where people can coexist or at least consider this ideology a welcoming thought.

It is indeed with a heavy heart that I leave Pakistan today in search of a safer country — a place where I can express myself freely without being threatened and flagged as a heretic.

En route to a strange country, crossing the all too familiar roads of Karachi, I saw a poster featuring Jinnah with a small line stating “Pakistan needs you”. Mr Singh, never before did I feel such fierce emotion. The words struck me and for the first time in my life, made me realise that we all have failed Jinnah and the Pakistan he envisioned.

Like many others before and after me, I am running for safer pastures where my life will be valued and respected, leaving my fellow countrymen behind to fight with the demons that dictate the order of the day in Pakistan, my home.

Dear Faiza – The father of our nation was clear about one thing. Be the change that you want to see in others.

If there is anything that you like about India, Indians, or for that matter of any other culture, be the change that you want to see. You cannot solve the problems in Pakistan by coming to India.

To all those Indians who are leaving India, my advice is the same. You cannot fix India by leaving India.

That said, if any Indian who cannot stay in India and fix India, my advice is – leave. Go. And build a life in a country, culture, nation, people of your choice. Our best wishes go with you.

But, we have one request – Forget about us.

Not my place or position to give advice to Pakistanis – but if you pushing me, I will repeat the above advice.

You caught your Kasab but what about the numerous Kasabs who are ready to wipe out the entire population of Pakistan by flagging them as infidels, anti-Islam, pro-India, US puppets and just plain secular? What about us who continue to strive for a change, however, feel helpless at the hands of the radical elements freely roaming around in Pakistan? Is there any solace for us?

If you seek solace or advice you must go to the West – United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia. You can try France, Spain also. The Vatican is also a good place. They have centuries of practice in giving solace and advice.

The fact that it has never helped anybody is another matter. But they are seeking to save souls. They are free with advice and give solace.

Viktor Bout, Arms Dealer:: His Rise and Fall

September 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Probably the most, well-known arms traders. After Adnan Khashoggi.

Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, right, escorted by Thai police commandos, arrives at Bangkok's Don muang airport on Tuesday Nov. 16, 2010. Thailand extradited Bout to the U.S. to face terrorism charges, |  Source-AP Photo; courtesy - THAILAND OUT.

Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, right, escorted by Thai police commandos, arrives at Bangkok’s Don muang airport on Tuesday Nov. 16, 2010. Thailand extradited Bout to the U.S. to face terrorism charges, | Source-AP Photo; courtesy – THAILAND OUT.

Viktor Bout, an arms dealer of Ukrainian origins, a Russian citizen, was arrested during a US DEA sting operation, in Thailand in 2008, before being extradited in 2010 – and finally convicted and sentenced by US Courts in 2012.

Subject of a 2005 Hollywood film, ‘Lord of War’ based on his life, running foul of US authorities, he was set up for an arrest in Thailand.

Two things.

One – During the time that Viktor Bout was active, the US President was also suspected to be involved in the Iran-Contra scandal – as an arms dealer and in money laundering.

Two– As the Soviet Union collapsed, citizens of their country could no longer get adequate State protection – which would have been unthinkable till the 1980s.

Nobody, but nobody, messed with Soviets – or Soviet citizens.

A small part of the Viktor Bout story below.

Viktor Bout (C),  Russian arms dealer, in U.S. custody after being flown from Bangkok to New York Photo: AP

Viktor Bout (C), Russian arms dealer, in U.S. custody after being flown from Bangkok to New York Photo: AP

One morning in late December, I went to the prison to meet Bout. In a conference area, a few prisoners, wearing brown jumpsuits without handcuffs, sat in plastic chairs, holding legal documents. When word reached the guards that Bout was headed downstairs, they cleared out the other prisoners and covered the room’s sole window.

The sound of chains and jangling keys heralded his arrival. Surrounded by two guards, Bout inched forward, shackled at his ankles, wrists, and waist. The guards unfastened his cuffs, then left Bout and me alone. He wore an orange jumpsuit, navy slippers, and orange socks. Gesturing toward the guards, he said that watching over him had “become almost a religion for them.” We sat at a circular table. His voice was soft, his sentences punctuated by wan smiles. “The special-housing unit?” he said. “Solitary confinement? Even the U.N. says that solitary confinement is torture.” (He was referring to a recent report by the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, which had called for a ban on solitary confinement.) “I am being tortured twenty-four hours a day.”

Gerald Posner, a journalist and a lawyer who had advised Bout for a time, pro bono, recalls that when they first met Bout hadn’t wanted to discuss his case; rather, he wanted to “talk about black holes and how Stephen Hawking was overrated.” I have a faltering grip on two of the languages Bout speaks—Persian and Urdu—and, after exchanging pleasantries in them, Bout dilated on the legacy of Persian poetry, which he called “the language of love,” and the importance of reading Ferdowsi’s epic poem “Shahnameh” for understanding the Iranian, Afghan, and Tajik psyche. Recently, he said, he had read several books about harsh detention and survival. He praised Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken” and encouraged me to read Henri Charrière’s “Papillon.”

We met four times, between late December and mid-February. Two weeks after my first visit, having started “Papillon,” I pointed out that toward the beginning of the book Charrière lays out his plan to seek revenge on the people responsible for his incarceration. I asked Bout if he felt similar rage. “Why should I feel aggressive toward these people?” he said. “They are sleepwalking men.” He went on, “The D.E.A. has become worse than drug dealers. At least drug dealers have ethics.”

The longer we sat in the small, musty room, the more the tempered side of Bout’s personality receded. I asked whether he felt any remorse. “I did nothing in my mind that qualifies as a crime,” he replied. “Sure, I was doing transportation of arms,” he said. “But it was occasionally. Three hundred and sixty days were normal shipments. For five days, I shipped arms and made a couple of hundred thousand dollars.” (Mirchev, by contrast, recalls a period of “almost daily flights” for UNITA.)

As for his fateful lapse of caution, he said, “If it was a trap and I fell into it, O.K. But what did I do? Did I declare myself to go to fucking Colombia? Did I grab a gun and go to kill an American? I just want a big country like China or Russia to do this to an American. Will you also call it justice?” He was practically spitting out the words. “This is not justice. It’s a minefield. What you people don’t understand is that it’s coming for you next. You’re living in a police state. Everything your Founding Fathers got, you’re giving back. It’s like Stalin’s time. You can be arrested for just saying—no, thinking—something. ‘Oh, he’s an arms dealer,’ they say. Why do they say this? Because I’m Russian!”

Bout had stood up and was leaning across the table, his face inches from mine. “Do you people have the moral standing to ask this question? Who are you to judge me? You have authority over me, but you don’t have power over me!”

On February 3rd, Dayan requested that Bout be moved out of solitary confinement. In a hearing five days later, Judge Scheindlin agreed, saying that Bout’s prison conditions seemed “brutal” and “unnecessary.” On the tenth, Suzanne Hastings, the warden at the prison, appeared in court to tell Scheindlin that she thought Bout’s status was “appropriate,” as he posed a threat to the guards, other prisoners, and himself.

“I don’t know what to say,” Scheindlin replied, adding that Bout struck her as “a businessman.” She went on, “You may not like the business he is in—but he is a businessman. I never heard any evidence that he personally had been involved in violence or terrorist acts. . . . He is an arms dealer. We have lots of arms dealers here, too. Sometimes they cross the lines as criminals, sometimes not. This is a business.”

On February 24th, Judge Scheindlin ordered that Bout be transferred to the general prison population. “Although I recognize that courts are loathe to interfere with questions of prison administration,” she said, “I cannot shirk my duty under the Constitution.” This ruling not only improved Bout’s immediate circumstances; it also seemed like a signal that Scheindlin would not recommend that Bout be assigned to the kind of “super-max” facility that keeps all inmates in solitary confinement—a prospect that Dayan recently compared to being “buried alive.”

A long prison term still awaits, however. On March 12th, Bout, who turned forty-five not long ago, will receive a sentence of between twenty-five years and life. “They will try to lock me up for life,” Bout told me. “But I’ll get back to Russia. I don’t know when. But I’m still young. Your empire will collapse and I’ll get out of here.”

via Viktor Bout, Arms Dealer, and His Rise and Fall : The New Yorker.

I am glad that that no Indians figured as a significant player in this tale across the world.

Team Anna Breaks Up. Anna, Kejriwal go separate ways: The Dance Of Lilliputs

September 20, 2012 1 comment

Can these ‘corruption-fighters’ reconcile an expanding State with decreasing corruption?

Will Harry Potter-Anna Hazare riding on a magic broomstick, wave a wand and corruption will disappear?  |  Cartoon by Manoj Kureel.

Will Harry Potter-Anna Hazare riding on a magic broomstick, wave a wand and corruption will disappear? | Cartoon by Manoj Kureel.

What can you do with anger, rage, fury?

Can empty rage fuel a revolution?

Not in India, at least. Ideologically empty movements like Arab Spring have little impact on a nation – except it replaces one mobster with another.

Can these ‘corruption-fighters’ reconcile an expanding State with decreasing corruption? Can these ‘corruption-fighters’ reconcile more police with less crime? Have these ‘corruption-fighters’ studied the global corruption scenario? Have these ‘corruption-fighters’ quantified sectors where it is rampant, has increased, and where it has decreased? Have they quantified the volume and value of corruption?

Even before the battle has been defined, there is strategy and tactics. The corruption issue in India is so deeply superficial, that it is a matter of greater concern than corruption itself.

Arvind Kejriwal’s former associate, member of Team Anna and now associate of Baba Ramdev, Devinder Sharma (thinks) the split is a victory for the Congress which always worked for it. He said the Congress also wanted them to form a party which would then eat into the Opposition votes and improve its own chances of victory.

He should go back to Anna and the movement as forming a party now would only help the Congress, says Sharma. He says that right from the beginning it was known that Anna was sympathetic to the Congress. But the Congress also maintained a hot line with Kejriwal, and tried all means to create differences in them, besides pushing them away from Baba Ramdev, says Sharma.

He says that when the five Congress ministers came to receive Baba Ramdev at the airport and held talks at Claridges hotel, one of the demands made by Kapil Sibal was that Anna Hazare should not be allowed to come to the Baba’s stage. “If Baba comes talks fail, Sibal told us,’’ says Sharma. “The very next day Arvind Kejriwal gave a list of conditions for us if we wanted Anna to share stage with the Baba. ‘’

Kapil Sibal also told us that he was talking to Arvind every day. This was confirmed later by Arvind to me, says Sharma.

Again in December when the crowds were thin in Mumbai, Baba offered to come and join the protests but Arvind did not allow it. While first it was Sibal who was doing the manipulation, later it was Sandeep Dixit who was in touch with Arvind followed by Yogendra Yadav. “You need time to build a party. If they form a party now, they would help the Congress which is what they want,’’ says Sharma.

Yogendra Yadav political analyst and now member of the political alternative being formed by Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan said a new party by them need not necessarily help the Congress. He said that the exit of Anna Hazare from a future political option is a set back. But at the same time it opens up new opportunities, he said.

via Anna, Kejriwal enacted a Cong script, says former associate.

After splitting with his team, Anna Hazare on Wednesday night had a hush-hush meeting with yoga guru Baba Ramdev.

The surprise meeting was held in a house in posh Golf Links of Delhi in which former Army Chief Gen V K Singh is believed to have been present.

The meeting came soon after Hazare had a tumultuous meeting with his team over turning the anti-corruption movement taking a political plunge.Pramod Joshi, a spokesperson for Ramdev, confirmed the meeting but said he was not aware of what was discussed in the meeting.

There was also no confirmation about Singh’s presence in the meeting.

Hazare had earlier skipped the protest organised by Ramdev last month.

via Post split with Arvind Kejriwal, Anna Hazare meets Baba Ramdev : North, News – India Today.

Have the  'corruption-fighters' studied the issue seriously?  |  Cartoon by Yusuf.

Have the ‘corruption-fighters’ studied the issue seriously? | Cartoon by Yusuf.

What can we do with corruption?

Corruption is the handmaiden of democratically managed Welfare State – a model imported by India, from the West. Silly protests or one more quasi-judicial body will probably add another layer of corruption at worst – or check corruption at the very best.

The same media that inflated Anna to Gandhiji’s level now blames

‘a large section of India’s middle class believed that the Anna-Kejriwal combine had miraculously created the magic potion that would, in one fell swoop, rid India of one of the biggest ills plaguing the country.’

Unlike 2ndlook. While 2ndlook was clear on the expectations from Anna, there was also understanding that Anna Movement was ideologically empty.

But Anna had crowds?

What of the crowds that supported Anna movement and hunger strike?

If RSS was indeed behind the Anna Movement, like the RSS has claimed – and Anna disclaimed, I am afraid.

It is worth remembering that RSS also supported JP’s movement  that had the Janata Party as the electoral lead. RSS supported Janata Party, led by an ex-Congress leader Morarji Desai at its head, who had a credible allegation of being in CIA pay.

The split between veteran anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare and his one-time man Friday – Arvind Kejriwal – was engineered by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), sources told Headlines Today on Thursday.Sources said that it was emissaries of the RSS and Hazare’s close aides who convinced the Gandhian against Kejriwal and facilitated the split.

Revealing the inside story, sources told Headlines Today that RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav was assigned the task of effecting the split, while industrialist Sitaram Jindal was tasked with facilitating communication between the saffron organisation’s top leadership and Hazare. Reportedly, Jindal made multiple trips to the crusader’s native place, Ralegan Siddhi, over the last fortnight.

Sources said that Jindal convinced Hazare’s old aides against Kejriwal’s political party. Yoga guru Baba Ramdev and spiritual leader and Art of Living (AoL) founder Sri Sri Ravishankar, who are considered close to Hazare, also played a significant role. They were aided at every step by Kiran Bedi and former Army Chief General V.K. Singh.

Once Hazare made the split official last night, he left for Jindal’s farmhouse around 8.45 P.M. He then moved to Golf Links for a secret strategy session. Ramdev joined the meeting later even as Jindal, Gen Singh and Bedi remained in a huddle for over 30 minutes.

According to sources, Bedi has been promised chief ministership of Delhi and Gen Singh a BJP ticket from Bhiwani Lok Sabha constituency in Haryana.

via Is Anna Hazare the Sangh Parivar’s new mask? : India, News – India Today.

So full of himself

Anna’s assessment of his own value is breath-taking.

Announcing his break with Kejriwal, he warned, चुनाव के टाइम पर मैं प्रचार करने के लिये नही जाऊंगा. इतना ही नही, मेरी फोटू नही यूज़ करना, मेरा नाम नही यूज़ करना. आपके हिम्मत पर जो कुछ करना है कर लो. (In effect he is saying,  Do what you can, without me, my name, my photos or my campaigning.). See video below.

Did someone tell Anna-bhau that his work was not about his photu, his name or his silly speeches – but about corruption?

Anna is such a ideological deadbeat!

The Kashmir Story: A Western Narrative

September 20, 2012 2 comments

Western academia and media has little difficulty in justifying military invasions of countries like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan – but see moral issues with India’s annexation of Kashmir.

On January 25, 1957, Kashmir was merged with India, ignoring a UN ruling. Harold Macmillan, Selwyn Lloyd, Richard Austen Butler hectoring Nehru on Kashmir. Dag is Dag Hammersjold, the UN Secretary General.  |  Cartoonist: Michael Cummings in Daily Express, 28 Jan 1957; source & courtesy -

On January 25, 1957, Kashmir was merged with India, ignoring a UN ruling. Harold Macmillan, Selwyn Lloyd, Richard Austen Butler hectoring Nehru on Kashmir. Dag is Dag Hammersjold, the UN Secretary General. | Cartoonist: Michael Cummings in Daily Express, 28 Jan 1957; source & courtesy –

Abdullah, the Lion of Kashmir as he enjoyed being styled, was a Muslim leader who, like Badshah Khan in the North-West Frontier Province, had been an ally of Congress in the years of struggle against the Raj, and become the most prominent opponent of the maharajah in the Valley of Kashmir. There his party, the National Conference, had adopted a secular platform in which local communists played some role, seeking independence for Kashmir as the ‘Switzerland of Asia’. But when partition came, Abdullah made no case of this demand. For some years he had bonded emotionally with Nehru, and when fighting broke out in Kashmir in the autumn of 1947, he was flown out from Srinagar to Delhi by military aircraft and lodged in Nehru’s house, where he took part in planning the Indian takeover, to which he was essential. Two days later, the maharajah – now safely repaired to Jammu – announced in a backdated letter to Mountbatten, drafted by his Indian minders, that he would install Abdullah as his prime minister.

Does Pakistan have any legitimate claim to any further territory or people  |  ZAHOOR'S CARTOON on Wednesday, July 13, 2005; source & courtesy:

Does Pakistan have any legitimate claim to any further territory or people | ZAHOOR’S CARTOON on Wednesday, July 13, 2005; source & courtesy:

For the next five years, Abdullah ruled the Valley of Kashmir and Jammu under the shield of the Indian army, with no authority other than his reluctant appointment by a feudatory he despised and Delhi soon discarded. At the outset, Nehru believed his friend’s popularity capable of carrying all before it. When subsequent intelligence indicated otherwise, talk of a plebiscite to ratify it ceased. Abdullah enjoyed genuine support in his domain, but how wide it was, or how deep, was not something Congress was prepared to bank on. Nor, it soon became clear, was Abdullah himself willing to put it to the test. No doubt acutely aware that Badshah Khan, with a much stronger popular base, had lost just such a referendum in the North-West Frontier Province, he rejected any idea of one. No elections were held until 1951, when voters were finally summoned to the polls for a Constituent Assembly. Less than 5 per cent of the nominal electorate cast a ballot, but otherwise the results could not have been improved in Paraguay or Bulgaria. The National Conference and its clients won all 75 seats – 73 of them without a contest. A year later Abdullah announced the end of the Dogra dynasty and an agreement with Nehru that reserved special rights for Kashmir and Jammu, limiting the powers of the centre, within the Indian Union. But no constitution emerged, and not even the maharajah’s son, regent since 1949, was removed, instead simply becoming head of state.

There is an increasing level of noise in Pakistan, that a 'Kashmir solution' was nearly finalized with India. Does this mean, that Pakistanis coming to terms with realities?  |  Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies.

There is an increasing level of noise in Pakistan, that a ‘Kashmir solution’ was nearly finalized with India. Does this mean, that Pakistanis coming to terms with realities? | Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies.

By now, however, Delhi was becoming uneasy about the regime it had set up in Srinagar. In power, Abdullah’s main achievement had been an agrarian reform putting to shame Congress’s record of inaction on the land. But its political condition of possibility was confessional: the expropriated landlords were Hindu, the peasants who benefited Muslim. The National Conference could proclaim itself secular, but its policies on the land and in government employment catered to the interests of its base, which had always been in Muslim-majority areas, above all the Valley of Kashmir. Jammu, which after ethnic cleansing by Dogra forces in 1947 now had a Hindu majority, was on the receiving end of Abdullah’s system, subjected to an unfamiliar repression. Enraged by this reversal, the newly founded Jana Sangh in India joined forces with the local Hindu party, the Praja Parishad, in a violent campaign against Abdullah, who was charged with heading not only a communal Muslim but a communist regime in Srinagar. In the summer of 1953, the Indian leader of this agitation, S.P. Mookerjee, was arrested crossing the border into Jammu, and promptly expired in a Kashmiri jail.

Pakistan's Faustian Deal with British-American clique has harmed Pakistan more than they have been able to harm Pakistan  |  Cartoon by Zahoor on February 15, 2011, in

Pakistan’s Faustian Deal with British-American clique has harmed Pakistan more than they have been able to benefit Pakistan | Cartoon by Zahoor on February 15, 2011, in

This was too much for Delhi. Mookerjee had, after all, been Nehru’s confederate in not dissimilar Hindu agitation to lock down the partition of Bengal, and was rewarded with a cabinet post. Although since then he had been an opponent of the Congress regime, he was still a member in reasonably good standing of the Indian political establishment. Abdullah, moreover, was now suspected of recidivist hankering for an independent Kashmir. The Intelligence Bureau had little difficulty convincing Nehru that he had become a liability, and overnight he was dismissed by the stripling heir to the Dogra throne he had so complacently made head of state, and thrown into an Indian jail on charges of sedition. His one-time friend behind bars, Nehru installed the next notable down in the National Conference, Bakshi Gulam Mohammed, in his place. Brutal and corrupt, Bakshi’s regime – widely known as BBC: the Bakshi Brothers Corporation – depended entirely on the Indian security apparatus. After ten years, in which his main achievement was to do away with any pretence that Kashmir was other than ‘an integral part of the Union of India’, Bakshi’s reputation had become a liability to Delhi, and he was summarily ousted in turn, to be replaced after a short interval by another National Conference puppet, this time a renegade communist, G.M. Sadiq, whose no less repressive regime proceeded to wind up the party altogether, dissolving it into Congress.

Abdullah, meanwhile, sat in an Indian prison for 12 years, eventually on charges of treason, with two brief intermissions in 1958 and 1964. During the second of these, he held talks with Nehru in Delhi and Ayub Khan in Rawalpindi, just before Nehru died, but was then rearrested for having had the temerity to meet Zhou Enlai in Algiers. A troubled Nehru had supposedly been willing to contemplate some loosening of the Indian grip on the Valley; much sentimentality has been expended on this lost opportunity for a better settlement in Kashmir, tragically frustrated by Nehru’s death. But the reality is that Nehru, having seized Kashmir by force in 1947, had rapidly discovered that Abdullah and his party were neither as popular nor as secular as he had imagined, and that he could hold his prey only by an indefinite military occupation with a façade of collaborators, each less satisfactory than the last. The ease with which the National Conference was manipulated to Indian ends, as Abdullah was discarded for Bakshi, and Bakshi for Sadiq, made it clear how relatively shallow an organisation it had, despite appearances, always been. By the end of his life, Nehru would have liked a more presentable fig-leaf for Indian rule, but that he had any intention of allowing free expression of the popular will in Kashmir can be excluded: he could never afford to do so. He had shown no compunction in incarcerating on trumped-up charges the ostensible embodiment of the ultimate legitimacy of Indian conquest of the region, and no hesitation in presiding over subcontracted tyrannies of whose nature he was well aware. When an anguished admirer from Jammu pleaded with him not to do so, he replied that the national interest was more important than democracy: ‘We have gambled on the international stage on Kashmir, and we cannot afford to lose. At the moment we are there at the point of a bayonet. Till things improve, democracy and morality can wait.’ Sixty years later the bayonets are still there, democracy nowhere in sight.

via Perry Anderson · After Nehru · LRB 2 August 2012.

America’s 400 richest: $1.7 trillion and counting — RT

September 20, 2012 1 comment

In the last 60 years, the West has put a huge effort to ‘export’ their country-model of success. End result. Countries are converging towards a common problem set.

Communism promises to make the rich into poor people. Capitalism romotes a fallacy that it can make you rich.  |  Cartoon by Rex May

Communism promises to make the rich into poor people. Capitalism romotes a fallacy that it can make you rich. | Cartoon by Rex May

Are the rich getting richer? Is this limited to USA? Is India succumbing to this problem?

The answers!

Yes. No. Yes.

The net worth of the Forbes 400 richest Americans grew by 13 per cent in the past year to $1.7 trillion, as the gap between rich and poor continues to widen at a staggering rate.

The average net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans shot up by $400 million to a record $4.2 billion, Forbes said, serving to underscore glaring wealth inequality in America.

The 13 per cent spike in wealth for America’s wealthiest citizens stands in sharp contrast with the overall US economy, as the Federal Reserve recently cut its forecast for economic growth this year to between 1.7 per cent and 2 per cent.Median workers’ wages meanwhile have been flat over the last forty years. The real minimum wage has also actually declined over the same period from $10.55 (adjusted for inflation) in 1968 to just $7.25 today.

By contrast, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 per cent of Americans income grew by 275 per cent. Meanwhile, it is estimated that during the economic expansion between 2002 and 2007, the income of the top 1 per cent grew 10 times faster than the income of the bottom 90 per cent.

The CBO also found that between 1979 and 2005, after-tax income for middle-class Americans (adjusted for inflation) rose by 21 per cent while the richest 0.1 per cent grew by 400 per cent.

Income is the flow of money coming into a household over a year, while wealth or net worth represents the stock assets it has as a result of inheritance and savings.

via America’s 400 richest: $1.7 trillion and counting — RT.

Categories: Uncategorized

The British Raj: Finally Afraid Of Beggars

September 16, 2012 3 comments

By 1945, British imperial leadership had taken on air of defeatism and resignation – going by cartoons and documents of the era..

British politicians 'protesting' against the 'dominance' of the Indian negotiators during the Independence negotiations. People depicted - Musso; (David Low's dog); Low; David (1891-1963); Pethick-Lawrence; Frederick William (1871-1961); Attlee; C. R. (Clement Richard) (1883-1967); Jinnah; Mahomed Ali (1876-1948); Gandhi; Mahatma (1869-1948)| Artist: David Low (1891-1963) Published: Evening Standard, 26 Sep 1945

British politicians ‘protesting’ against the ‘dominance’ of the Indian negotiators during the Independence negotiations. People depicted – Musso; (David Low’s dog); Low; David (1891-1963); Pethick-Lawrence; Frederick William (1871-1961); Attlee; C. R. (Clement Richard) (1883-1967); Jinnah; Mahomed Ali (1876-1948); Gandhi; Mahatma (1869-1948)| Artist: David Low (1891-1963) Published: Evening Standard, 26 Sep 1945

As Indian Independence struggle resonated across the world, the Raj found itself isolated. An embattled British Raj, saw ghosts under every bed – and an enemy in every Indian.

More than 5,000 documents and files dated from 1930 to 1991 have been declassified and made accessible as part of a public archive inaugurated last week at Raj Bhavan.

These documents include a treasure of historical oddities, such as a 1943 note from the general administration department to the governor’s secretary, outlining the menace of beggary and emphasising increased punishment for beggars.

“As soon as the beggar profession know that we mean business, it will melt away from Bombay,” the document states.

There are letters from an Indian Mauritian requesting some part of the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi after his death, so that “the Indians of Mauritius may also pay their homage”.

via From the archives: Paranoia of beggars and much more – Hindustan Times.

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