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Archive for February, 2013

The Puzzle & Launch Of Sunny Leone

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Funding Sunny Leone: Not knowing Hindi or Bollywood, deep into porn industry, would Sunny Leone risk her own capital on a uncertain Bollywood future?

Not knowing Hindi or Bollywood, deep into porn industry, would Sunny Leone risk her own capital on a uncertain Bollywood future?  |  Cartoon by Satish Acharya in Santabanta.com

Not knowing Hindi or Bollywood, deep into porn industry, would Sunny Leone risk her own capital on a uncertain Bollywood future? | Cartoon by Satish Acharya in Santabanta.com

Stardom in Bollywood is an uncertain creature. It takes a mix of the following three factors to come close to success in Bollywood: –

1. Talent: Like Amrish Puri, Om Puri, Madhuri Dixit, last and not the least Amitabh Bachchan had significant talent to make their screen characters come alive.

2. Audience Connect: Rajesh Khanna, Rajendra Kumar, Joy Mukherji connected with the audience mood of their times. A few like Dharmendra could change from being a romantic hero in Blackmail, Jeevan Mrityu to the famous action hero (कुत्ते मैं तेरा खून पी जाउंगा; Kutte main tera khoon pee jaonga).

Google’s high search-rank for Sunny Leone is probably due to combining porn-search and Bollywood search.

3. Family-Other Connect: To decode deal-making clues in Bollywood needs insider information – which is many cases means family support or a sponsor. Dev Anand, Subhash Ghai launched many heroines between the two of them. The Kapoor family has been integral to Bollywood for the last 60 years. Is there any commercial logic for a Bollywood entity to sponsor Sunny Leone’s career? None I could imagine!

Is Mahesh Bhatt dumb enough to fund and launch Sunny Leone? It staggers my low-opinion of Mahesh Bhatt to believe that he can be so stupid.

Is google aggregating Sunny Leone's porn search with her Bollywood linked searches? | Cartoon by Satish Acharya in Santabanta.com

Is google aggregating Sunny Leone’s porn search with her Bollywood linked searches? | Cartoon by Satish Acharya in Santabanta.com

Twinkle, Twinkle

Sunny Leone has no Bollywood-related talent, no Bollywood-audience connect or unlikely to have a Bollywood sponsor.

A Bollywood career in the initial stages needs an estimated Rs.3.0-5.0 crores – to pay for people who will do the public relations, press management, contract negotiations, scheduling, coordination, deal-filtering. After spending Rs.3.0-5.0 crores, success in Bollywood is uncertain. It seems unlikely that Sunny Leone is funding her own career in Bollywood.

It has long been rumoured that some wanna-be superstars (Hint: A garment-exporter, a second-rung film-star, SS supposedly) fund movies to get a role.

This begs a question.

Dumb, Dumber

Who is funding Sunny Leone? Who is spending the nearly US$600,000-1 million that it costs to launch a Sunny Leone in Bollywood? What is the motivation behind launching Sunny Leone?

Sunny Leone has once again got the tongues wagging with her controversial tweet. This time it is quite more sensitive.

According to a leading news agency, the pornstar turned actress tweeted, “Rape is not crime, it is a surprise sex.”

In no time the starlet realized her mistake and deleted her tweet, but by then it got retweeted by her followers.

Later on Sunny even clarified her tweet on the micro blogging site and tweeted, “Who ever has said this rape comment is an idiot. I never said this. Grow up!!!!!!!!!?”

via For Sunny Leone, rape is not a crime but ‘surprise sex’ – Indian Express.

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UK loses top AAA credit rating

February 23, 2013 1 comment

British Economy: What solution? Import another 100-Lakshmi Mittals+Ratan Tatas..

British companies are making third-grade acquisitions abroad - which is not helping British industry to stay the course  |  Cartoon on Jan  15  2013  by Randy Bish  via Cagle.com

British companies are making third-grade acquisitions abroad – which is not helping British industry to stay the course | Cartoon on Jan 15 2013 by Randy Bish via Cagle.com

T

he combined debt of the UK economy – State, Corporate and household debt is at a staggering 500% of the GDP. This is the debt that the UK economy has to support. Assuming weighted average interest rates on this debt is at a low 5%, it means that the UK economy is spending 25% of its production on interest payments.

Since the savings rate of the UK is low-to-negative, it means that the UK economy will borrow more – just to make interest payments.

What could be a solution?

Massive inflation to get this debt down quickly.

Or slowly ratchet down the debt, and write-offs, low-inflation,  and desperate prayers that the economy:

  1. Hits another North Sea oil
  2. Builds another 1000 ARM-chips kinds of company
  3. Imports another 100-Lakshmi Mittals+Ratan Tatas.

How likely is any of this?

The UK has lost its top AAA credit rating for the first time since 1978 on expectations that growth will “remain sluggish over the next few years”.

The ratings agency Moody’s became the first to cut the UK from its highest rating, to Aa1.

Moody’s said that the government’s debt reduction programme faced significant “challenges” ahead.

The UK has had a top AAA credit rating since 1978 from both Moody’s and S&P.It added that the UK’s huge debts were unlikely to reverse until 2016.The UK’s net sovereign debt was the equivalent of 68% of the country’s annual economic output, or GDP, at the end of last year.All three major credit agencies last year put the UK on “negative outlook”, meaning they could downgrade its rating if performance deteriorates.Germany and Canada are the only major economies to currently have a top AAA rating – as much of the world has been shaken by the financial crisis of 2008 and its subsequent debt crises.

via BBC News – UK loses top AAA credit rating for first time since 1978.

Without Comment: Gun Ownership in Germany

February 23, 2013 1 comment

Germany is at No.4 on licenced gun-ownership numbers..

Germany's Gun Population  |  Image source & courtesy - spiegel.de

Germany’s Gun Population | Image source & courtesy – spiegel.de

Germany’s National Firearms Register, which came into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, recently published its first statistics. A total of 5.4 million legal weapons are registered with private owners in the country. The most are registered in the state of Bavaria (1.1 million), followed by North Rhine-Westphalia (1 million) and Baden-Württemberg (700,000). Approximately 550 German authorities submitted data. The introduction of the register is broadly seen as a political reaction to killing sprees in Erfurt in 2002 and Winnenden in 2009. Moreover, the European Union has stipulated that all member states must launch central firearms registers by the end of 2014. Germany has the fourth highest per capita number of legal firearms, lower than the United States, Switzerland and Finland — but higher than Mexico, South Africa and Russia. Germany’s largest police union, the GdP, estimates there are up to 20 million illegal firearms in Germany.

via Information Graphic: Gun Ownership in Germany – SPIEGEL ONLINE.`

 

Harvard Group To Offer Advice To Indian Government on Rape

February 21, 2013 1 comment

Some nights, these new Don Quixotes from Harvard can be seen riding in the dark, on their quest to save us backward Indians.

A decrepit Don Quixote & Sancho Panza searching for 'battles' abroad - while there is darkness at home.  |  Cartoon by Lee Lorenz of New Yorker

A decrepit Don Quixote & Sancho Panza searching for ‘battles’ abroad – while there is darkness at home. | Cartoon by Lee Lorenz of New Yorker

Wam totally puzzled!

Why is Harvard offering advice, gratis, to the Indian Government?? Without being asked by the Indian Government?

Is it ignorance @Harvard?

Are Harvard professors so ignorant about the rape situation in the USA, that they waste time on India?

On some nights, these new Don Quixotes from Harvard can be seen riding in the night, on their quest to save us backward Indians

On some nights, these new Don Quixotes from Harvard can be seen riding in the night, on their quest to save us backward Indians

When the US has such a pressing problem at home, why are these professors not spending time at home – instead of concentrating on India?

Gawd, propaganda!

It must be the propaganda motive? Hide problems at home – and focus on negatives abroad?

Naah! Then it …

Must be altruism.

Are these Harvard professors so ‘genuinely’ altruistic that they don’t care of home problems?

Like Don Quixote, they go jousting with windmills in foreign lands!

Some Sancho Panza from India will ride on the quests of these Harvard Don Quixotes

Some Sancho Panza from India will ride on the quests of these Harvard Don Quixotes

the Harvard community to contribute to a Policy Task Force titled “Beyond Gender Equality”, convened to offer recommendations to India and other South Asian countries in the wake of the New Delhi gang rape and murder. Diane Rosenfeld, Director of the Gender Violence Clinic at Harvard Law School and Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, will head this group. Their principal task this semester is to produce a working paper that advises on the implementation of the recommendations from the Verma Committee. The committee in a bold move, points out the need to reassess the military powers that are allowed to operate with impunity in conflict zones. Part of our discussion will focus on real reparations and support for survivors of sexual violence, in a manner that allows them to function as integrated members of their communities.

via A History of Violence | Harvard College Women’s Center.

With their liberal-progressive Indian Sancho Panzas by their side?

Sancho Panza with Don Quixote from zazzle.com

Sancho Panza with Don Quixote from zazzle.com

Some good news for embattled and weary Indian feminists. All those endless submissions to the Verma Committee prepared and submitted, all those critiques of the Ordinance written and disseminated, all those street protests, all those meetings with students and the public, all those delegations to government officials, ministers…not to mention decades of efforts to amend the rape laws.

It’s been a long hard haul, so it’s a great relief that the Harvard Law School has stepped in to take this burden off our shoulders.

It’s so good to know that there are Harvard Professors to make all the “bold moves” that Indian feminists have never made. Attack the impunity of security forces? Now that’s a bold move indeed – would any of us shy Indian women be so bold as all that? I wonder where the Verma Committee got that crazy idea from?

via Harvard to the rescue! « Kafila.

I read Don Quixote (by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra; Spanish: [miˈɣel de θerˈβantes saaˈβeðɾa]; 29 September 1547 (assumed) – 22 April 1616) in school – and could not understand why such simplistic satire was so highly revered. I finally understood Don Quixote when I understood Liberal Progressivism a few years ago – and then Don Quixote made sense to me.


<em>Don Quixote</em>

Kargil: Breast Beating In Pakistan

February 21, 2013 1 comment

Kargil Misadventure: Pakistan’s superficial ‘analysis’ and breast-beating after each defeat hides a deeper problem.

India operated Hawker Hunter Mark 56 (designation for Hunter F.Mark 6) bought from Britain that was phasing out these aircraft.

India operated Hawker Hunter Mark 56 (designation for Hunter F.Mark 6) bought from Britain that was phasing out these aircraft.

In the India-Pakistan War of 1965, there was a real risk of China joining in with a third front against India. Thundering in the parliament, Pakistan’s foreign minister at that time, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto assured the Pakistani nation of China’s support.

In the event of war, Pakistan would not be alone. Pakistan would be helped by the most powerful nation in Asia. War between India and Pakistan involves the territorial integrity and security of the largest State in Asia. (Z.A. Bhutto, Foreign Minister, Pakistan, in the National Assembly; July 17, 1963).

Though China was neutral, India had its hands full. Pakistan as member of SEATO and CENTO, was brimming with the most advanced arms – supplied by the US. As a part of the Baghdad Pact, Britain was on Pakistan’s side.

When PAF Was In Better Shape

In the 1965 War situation, Pakistan was part of the CENTO and SEATO alliance, armed by the US with the US F-104 Starfighters, F-86 Sabres that were significantly superior to Indian Airforce (IAF).

The US attached, like in Vietnam, Laos, Norway, Cambodia what was then called a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) to Pakistan. A few months before Pakistan commenced hostilities, the US head of MAAG was changed. In May 1965, General Robert Wiygul Burns became chief of the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Pakistan. Over the next two years, in the face of increasing evidence of the US role in the 1965 war, the MAAG was withdrawn from Pakistan in July 1967. After neo-colonial wars in  Korea, Vietnam, Indo-China, the MAAG became infamous. Mostly renamed as United States Military Groups (USMILGP or MILGRP), MAAGs continue in some Latin American countries such as Peru, the Dominican Republic. Also MAAGs can be found in Africa for instance in Liberia.

Two years later, under a new name, US military advisers were back in Pakistan. Star pilots and trainers like Chuck Yeagaer were sent by the US to Pakistan – to help Pakistan prepare for a battle against Soviet weapons being used by India in 1971 War.

Hands Tied

Comprising of Vampires of WWII vintage, the French Mirage Mysteres, the Anglo-Hawker Hunters and Canberras or the Anglo-Gnats, the IAF went into the 1965 War at a disadvantage. By the 1971 War, the IAF had re-configured tactics, using numbers, altitude to overwhelm the Sabres with inferior Gnats – starting with the airfight at Boyra.

Compared to the nearly 10,000 Sabres that were manufactured world-wide, less than 450 Gnats were built; mostly bought by Indians. The Yugoslavs bought second-hand F-86s in preference to the Gnats. The RAF itself did not buy Gnat for any conflict role – but only for aerobatic, trainer usage.

Indian officers /soldiers atop captured Pakistani Patton tanks at Kemkaran. About 100 Patton tanks were left behind by the retreating Pakistan Army. These captured tanks were used to set up Patton Nagar war memorial.

Indian officers /soldiers atop captured Pakistani Patton tanks at Kemkaran. About 100 Patton tanks were left behind by the retreating Pakistan Army. These captured tanks were used to set up Patton Nagar war memorial.

Though believed, Pakistan’s more modern Patton tanks were not as superior to the Indian Centurions. At the end of 1965 War, India captured 97 Pakistani tanks – and set up a war memorial called Patton Nagar with these captured tanks.

India’s Diplomatic Position

India’s relationship with the Soviets had not yet reached the levels of the 1970s.

What and who stopped China from joining Pakistan in its assault on India? Stalin’s lukewarm response to Nehru’s overtures and the alleged CIA plot to kill Nehru in 1955, temporarily brought Nehru close to Eisenhower. After the 1965 War with Pakistan, India-Soviet alliance grew in strength.

Wailing & Breast-beating

The last one year has seen a lot of ‘analysis’ in Pakistan, about Pakistan’s misadventure in Kargil.

Pakistan’s superficial breast-beating after each defeat hides a deeper problem. Can a nation born out of blackmail – apart from hate, prejudice, have a foreign policy that makes sense.

ISLAMABAD, Feb 16: Former corps commander Lahore Lt-Gen (retired) Shahid Aziz on Saturday said problems in the armed forces are increasing as the army chiefs have been trying to cover up issues fearing it would defame the organisation.

He was speaking at the launch of his book Yeh Khamoshi Kahan Tak at Islamabad Club on Saturday.

Gen Aziz, who played a role in Pervez Musharraf’s coup and also held an important post in the army and ISI at the time of the Kargil war, said his aim to write the book was to guide the new generation.

It may be noted that Gen Aziz also worked as chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for about two years after his retirement from the army in 2005.

Gen Aziz said while taking part in the coup he knew that he was violating the law.

While in service, he added, so many times he had to disagree with the decisions of his seniors and even resigned from the staff college.

He claimed that he was against the decision of following the instructions of United States but Musharraf insisted that only he could see the full picture of the situation. “Even today the policy of Musharraf is being followed,” said Gen Aziz.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Ashraf Sarab of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), said when the Kargil adventure was started the Kashmiris were asked by the army to take to the streets because they (forces) had decided to enter the Indian held Kashmir.

“But after sacrificing a number of soldiers, the army went back,” he added.

“I talked to then Minister for Kashmir Affairs Majeed Malik but he said Kashmiris should not have started protests.”

It showed that the Kargil war was either a strategic mistake or launched on the directions of someone else, because after the war India and US came closer to each other, he observed.

Engineer Mumtaz from the research and development wing of the armed forces told Dawn that Gen Aziz was the key person during the Musharraf coup. Gen Musharraf used to get his input regarding every decision, he added.

via Army covering up issues, claims ex-general | Newspaper | DAWN.COM  .


Looking At Mrinalini-Mallika Sarabhai: Progressive, Feminista, Activista

February 19, 2013 6 comments

Using State patronage, Mrinalini Sarabhai emasculated Bharatanatyam, making it sterile and esoteric.

Annie Besant in Cardiff (1924) with two Theosophical Society officials from India greeted by Cardiff Theosophists at Cardiff Central Station. Back Row: (Left to Right) Miss Chambers (looking to right) Miss Wallis (almost hidden), Mrs Freeman, Mr Peter Freeman (General Secretary, Wales), Mrs Graham Pole. Front Row: (Left to Right) Mr Graham Pole, Babu, Dr Annie Besant, The Right Honourable Sastie. Lad presenting flowers is David Freeman, son of Peter Freeman.

Annie Besant in Cardiff (1924) with two Theosophical Society officials from India greeted by Cardiff Theosophists at Cardiff Central Station. Back Row: (Left to Right) Miss Chambers (looking to right) Miss Wallis (almost hidden), Mrs Freeman, Mr Peter Freeman (General Secretary, Wales), Mrs Graham Pole. Front Row: (Left to Right) Mr Graham Pole, Babu, Dr Annie Besant, The Right Honourable Sastie. Lad presenting flowers is David Freeman, son of Peter Freeman.

Over the last ninety years, women from three generations of Sarabhai family have been a significant fixture of the Indian media-elitist press.

Look Down In Anger

Led by Mrinalini – widow of Vikram Sarabhai, the leader-pioneer of India’s successful space program. Looking down at her husband’s traditional Indian family, but hanging onto her revered husband’s coat-tails, Mrinalini Sarabhai inveigled herself into India’s ruling elites.

Using State patronage, Mrinalini Sarabhai emasculated Bharatanatyam, making it sterile and esoteric. So much so, thanks to Mrinalini and her acolytes, Bharatanatyam to an ordinary Indian has become a laughing matter.

In parallel was Rukmini Devi Arundale, married to British Theosophist Dr. George Arundale. Mainly responsible for ‘sanitizing Bharatanatyam by ‘removing the extraneous sringaar and erotic elements from the dance’ to obtain Western respectability. A dance form that was enriched by more than 2000-years of Indian culture, has now become dead in just 75 years.

Following in Mrinalini’s footsteps, is daughter Mallika Sarabhai and grand-daughter, Anahita. Promoting the toxic sludge leftover by the British Raj.

The Arundale-Sarabhai women are a small part of a larger picture. Rukmini Devi Arundale sought to ‘improve’ Bharatanatyam ‘inspired’ by ballerina, Anna Pavlova  – while Mrinalini Sarabhai went to USA, American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Col. Henry Steel Olcott,

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Col. Henry Steel Olcott,

Cogs In A Wheel

Rukmini Devi Arundale was influenced by her own family’s links with the Theosophical Society with its tangled roots and thinking.

From Germany.

The German nation is less than 150 years old. Born out of Napoleonic wars, the idea of Germany depended on Indian historiography for a national narrative. Indic concepts like Aryan values, were distorted by Anglo-German academics into an Aryan tribal identity. Taking this Aryan philosophy further, German thinkers progressed to create a new theology for their new nation – theosophy. From Germany, these ideas travelled to Britain, where Madam Helena Petrovna Blavatsky formed The Theosophical Society.

Theosophists were used by the British Raj to make a flanking attack on Indian society. The British Raj made prominent land grants to The Theosophical Society. Its HQ at Chennai is a landmark even today. Superficially ‘sympathetic’ to an Indian viewpoint, Theosophists subverted Indian history, building a base for the acceptance of trojan ideas like Aryan Invasion Theory. Theosophists promoted the image of ‘reasonable’ Britishers with whom Indians could do business with.

British Theosophists like Annie Besant and Allan Octavian Hume, of the Liberal Progressive kind, promoted the Congress.

Indians soon took over the Congress and made it into a raucous, Independence-demanding, anti-colonial organization. In the Congress, those with Theosophist-linkages were immediately welcome – and given important positions (like George and Rukmini Arundale).

Excerpts from a recent interview with three-generations of the Sarabhai women. Ideas that are toxic-sludge dressed attractively.

Mrinalini: My mother Ammu was a fashionable young lady. She drove her own horse and carriage, and was friendly with many of the women who were at the forefront of society. After my father’s death, my mother made our home, Gilchrist Gardens, a centre for both social and political circles.

Mallika: The legacy I got from my mother was to not have to think in terms of gender, to celebrate being a woman, a feminine feminist.

A flavor of Pre-Independence India

Mrinalini: With the growing unrest in the country and Gandhiji’s call to women to participate in the freedom struggle, she joined the Congress in the late 1930s, became President of the All India Women’s Conference,Sarojini Naidu visited us often, with her sisters Mrinalini and Subhashini and brother Harindranath. My mother was drawn into the women’s movement and became active in the struggle for their rights through them. Subhashini was an ardent communist, an enemy of the British, and once took refuge with us.

On marriage to Vikram Sarabhai

Mrinalini: For me, getting married and moving to Gujarat was a big challenge. Especially since I married into such an overpowering family like the Sarabhais, I felt very alone. Vikram was immediately immersed in the business and his laboratory, and did not have much time to be with me. The whole family was extremely self-contained, and seemingly so confident, which made me feel inadequate. To live up to the high ideals of the family, which were never put into words but very obvious from my mother-in-law’s behaviour, gave me a sense of isolation that has lasted all my life. They conversed in Gujarati, which I did not understand. People do not realise the trauma a girl goes through when she marries into an alien background. Perhaps that is why marriages in India are still arranged by the families whenever possible. Even little things like food suddenly take on enormous proportions. It was as though I did not exist, except when we met at lunch or dinner. It was so overwhelming. Small happenings, but they leave deep scars.

On economic ‘independence’ – and its effects

Mrinalini: I think economic independence is very much required to live the life of your choice. My father’s will was unusual. He had left my mother her own income, and equal shares to each of the four children. So all of us were financially secure.

Mallika: It’s been very, very hard. When I took over Darpana — the institution for performing arts which my mother had set up — in 1977, about 30 percent of its funding came from the government. I decided that if I wanted to chart an independent course, I had to reduce our dependence on the government. By the 1990s, we used to get a fair amount of corporate funding for either individual events or for festivals. But after 2002, and my stand against Narendra Modi and my public interest litigation against him in the Supreme Court, the corporate sponsorships gradually stopped. For instance, we have an amphitheatre space that Amul used to sponsor events at. Post 2002, that stopped. A lot of these CEOs are my classmates from IIM Ahmedabad, and they would say to me: “Mallika, we can sponsor you anywhere outside Gujarat. But in Gujarat we are told in no uncertain terms that we will not be allowed to operate here if we associate with Darpana.”

Mallika: In 2006-07, we were going to do a performance at the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute in Gandhinagar. They were very keen to have us. The audience was in place and the show was set to begin at 6:30 PM. At 5:45 PM, the Director, looking very shame-faced, walked up to us and said, “Sorry, I have to cancel the show because I’ve just had a call from Anil Ambani’s office. The Chief Minister’s office called Anil Ambani’s office to say, ‘You will not have Mallika Sarabhai perform.’”

Activista Mallika

Mallika: But I continue the work because I believe it’s important. We’ve just done an outreach project in Jharkhand, in 400 villages. The performance was developed with the local people. It’s about the lives of two families — one has six children with one girl. At one stage, the woman is pregnant for the seventh time and she is brought in through the audience, screaming with pain. You had to see the faces of the women in the audience. Because this is all a nightmare they have lived. The woman goes into a government clinic behind the screen and there is silence. The doctor comes out and says, “We’ve lost her.” One year later, the university that sponsored this programme did a study and found that 85 percent of the people who saw that performance had adopted to family planning methods. It’s the highest they have seen anywhere in the world.

Mrinalini: It was always my desire to address the problems of life through dance. It was only when I came to Ahmedabad that I became aware of the problems of women. I was studying Gujarati and had begun to read the newspapers every morning. There were constant reports of young women who died, who were burnt alive. Slowly the horror of these incidents obsessed me and Memory, the dance drama about these hapless brides, was created. I set the plot in Saurashtra. It was the first time that Bharatanatyam spoke of a social problem. From then on, there was no looking back.

On their ‘brand’ of ‘feminism’

Mallika: I’m going to go back to Draupadi. Because in the Mahabharata, she said to Yudhishtra after he lost the game of dice, “I love you but you are a weak man and what you have done is wrong.” For us, when we say “I love you”, it means taking the whole package. We do not separate the fact that you can love somebody and still say, “you are wrong.” Draupadi also says: “I have a brain and a womb, and I’m proud of both.”

Mallika: I think where India can score is that our feminism does not have to equate with masculinity. I’m empowered because I’m empowered. Not because I’m powerful in relation to somebody else. It’s not a race with somebody else. That is essentially feminine. We were never a monoculture. The same woman could be a trident-wielding Kali and also become Parvati and who could then flow as Ganga. We are losing this.

via ‘Our feminism is not in opposition with masculinity. It’s not a race’.

Errata: Earlier version of this post wrongly linked the families of Rukmini Devi Arundale and Mrinalini Sarabhai families. Reader’s comments are pointers to the error. Suitable corrections made.

In A G-0 World, Can BRICS Show Leadership?

February 19, 2013 1 comment

For the world now, instead of ‘G-7, or G-8, or G-20, the more apt description is G-0’ – per Joseph Stiglitz. Can BRICS offer that leadership – starting Afghanistan.

From 1970s, when Pakistan started meddling in Afghan affairs, by how much have Soviet or the American invasions helped Afghanistan?  |  Cartoon By Jeff Darcy, The Cleveland Plain Dealer - 5/21/2012 12:00:00 AM  via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

From 1970s, when Pakistan started meddling in Afghan affairs, by how much have Soviet or the American invasions helped Afghanistan? | Cartoon By Jeff Darcy, The Cleveland Plain Dealer – 5/21/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

With NATO turning tail and leaving, Afghanistan is not much better off than before America’s invasion.

Pakistan, as the sole Islāmic nuclear power, has assigned itself the role of an arbiter of Afghan destiny – a hold over Afghanistan’s future. With its dubious distinction of being a failed State, should Pakistan have any role in Afghanistan?

After ruining Afghanistan with 40 years of disastrous interventions, the West playing the victims is an offensive act | Cartoon By Taylor Jones, El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico - 9/7/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

After ruining Afghanistan with 40 years of disastrous interventions, the West playing the victims is an offensive act | Cartoon By Taylor Jones, El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico – 9/7/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

The West, under NATO’s military command, is walking away from Afghanistan with nothing to show for this invasion.

After billions in dollars, with more than a million Afghans affected by death, combat injuries, manifold increase in corruption, and a Saudi-Pakistan financed Taliban is on the rise, Afghanistan is West’s biggest failure after Vietnam. Never before in the last 200 years has West’s leadership been in question so much.

In the current State of the world, in the memorable words of Joseph Stiglitz, why ‘talk about the G-7, or G-8, or G-20, the more apt description is G-0.’

Afghanistan was a much better place one millennium ago - as its agricultural exports, arts and crafts will testify. It is the US-Pakistani involvement from the 70s, which has made Afghanistan into a no-man's land. | Cartoon By Jimmy Margulies, The Record of Hackensack, NJ - 10/11/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

Afghanistan was a much better place one millennium ago – as its agricultural exports, arts and crafts will testify. It is the US-Pakistani involvement from the 70s, which has made Afghanistan into a no-man’s land. | Cartoon By Jimmy Margulies, The Record of Hackensack, NJ – 10/11/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

Afghanistan will be the test of BRICS.

Till 1980s, the Soviet Union bordered Afghanistan. Today, while Soviet Union’s successor, Russia no longer shares a border with Afghanistan, as a part of BRICS grouping, it may continue to play a role in post-NATO Afghanistan.

Will China-India tensions come in the way of BRICS to do what is good for Afghanistan? Will China work with BRICS to keep Pakistan out of Afghanistan? When it matters, can BRICS nations put aside their differences and work on common problems – like Afghanistan?

Straightening Pakistan is a matter of hours. What will take time is building capacity among BRICS nations to work together on common problems – and put aside differences, when these differences are not directly relevant.

One thing is for sure.

If BRICS cam make an Afghan solution stick, a new age will dawn in global diplomacy. The current void in global leadership will start getting filled.

Civil war in Afghanistan is directly the result of Western interventions in the last 40 years.  |  Cartoon by By Arend Van Dam, politicalcartoons.com - 10/24/2012 12:00:00 AM  via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

Civil war in Afghanistan is directly the result of Western interventions in the last 40 years. | Cartoon by By Arend Van Dam, politicalcartoons.com – 10/24/2012 12:00:00 AM via PoliticalCartoons.com Cartoon.

With the US and the UK apparently conceding to Pakistan the lead role in reconciliation with Taliban, India is set to hold talks with Russia and China on emerging scenarios in Afghanistan ahead of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force’s withdrawal from the conflict-ravaged country by 2014.

New Delhi is also expected to air its concern over Pakistan’s role in the peace-process in Afghanistan during British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to India scheduled on Monday. Cameron recently hosted Afghan and Pakistan presidents Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari at his country residence Chequers Court. India will get another opportunity to discuss the issues when it will have a trilateral talk with the US and Afghanistan in New Delhi next week.

Sources said India is expected to drive home the point that Pakistan continues to be “a part of the problem” and it cannot yet be seen as “a part of the solution” in Afghanistan. Any hasty careless move to launch the peace process would in fact give an opportunity to Taliban to crawl back to power after 2014. New Delhi is likely to point out that the US itself, in 2011, publicly slammed Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence for its role in fomenting terrorism in Afghanistan.

What worries India is the Afghan High Peace Council’s five-step draft roadmap to 2015, would ultimately give Pakistan the “strategic depth” it always aspired to have in Afghanistan. New Delhi is apprehensive about Washington outsourcing to Islamabad the peace-process with Taliban, before and after the drawdown of the International Security Assistance Force from Afghanistan.

The “draft road map” also seeks to give some key positions in post-2014 Afghanistan to the leaders of Taliban, including that of provincial governors, police chiefs and cabinet ministers.

To facilitate the peace-process, Pakistan, since November, released 26 Taliban prisoners from its jails, ostensibly on request from Afghanistan but without any oversight, triggering fear that some of them might go back to extremism.

When Menon broached the issue during a meeting of the BRICS high representatives for security in New Delhi last month, it was agreed that he and his counterparts from Russia and China would have a separate meeting to exchange views on the peace-process with Taliban and discuss the emerging scenarios in Afghanistan. Sources said the meeting might take place later this month.

New Delhi has made it clear that it is in favour an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process towards peace in Afghanistan but insisted that the “Red Lines” agreed in London Conference in 2010 were strictly adhered to and the extremists entering the process were made to severe all links with Al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations.

via India to talk to China, Russia on Pak role in Afghanistan.


 

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