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Indian Secularism: Is There A Rationale For Defensiveness?

April 30, 2014 3 comments


Does Indian society and polity need to defend itself against random barbs of sectarianism? Any quantitative measure would indicate that no grounds exist for such barbs.
.

Twitter exchange between - swapan55- and @_sabanaqvi We have agreement ... Screen shot on 2014-04-30 03-35-10 | Click on image to go actual tweet message

Twitter exchange between – swapan55- and @_sabanaqvi We have agreement … Screen shot on 2014-04-30 03-35-10 | Click on image to go actual tweet message

fter having to give away Pakistan and Bangladesh (now), which was about 20% of the Indian land-mass, India by rights could have decided to be a narrow, sectarian country.

End Games

Even before the Indian Partition, Indians in neighbouring countries (e.g. Sri Lanka, Burma) under British influence were expelled, excluded and made into second class citizens.

These were difficult political compromises made by Indian negotiators – to arrive at the outline of current political India. With a broken economy and no military back-up, negotiations with world’s pre-eminent military and economic power were never easy or straight-forward.

In any negotiations, British Raj usually started with an advantage.

Trading Losses

100-years before Independence, in 1840, Britain had already lost Afghanistan – which was a part of the Sikh Empire last ruled by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and founded by Banda Bahadur.

Soon after Independence, Tibet was lost to China – while US made much noise and gave little support. Keeping Communist China with one foot outside the Soviet camp, to US was more important than Tibet or India.

After ceding Pakistan and losing traction in Burma, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Tibet were major blows to India. These were major raw-materials sources for India and markets for Indian output. These countries were also important buffers from land-based military adventurers.

Polity Trends

After these kind of amputations, the modern India that was put together has a vast numbers of ‘minorities – with no singular elitist class. In Bharattantra, Brahmins and banias were excluded from political affairs and the State was excluded from academic and economic affairs.
In this kind of context, the Congress Party, painted as a ‘Hindu’ party, had to make special efforts to be seen as a national party. Above sectarian politics. After 70-years of seeing treatment in the West and in neighbouring Pakistan and Bangladesh, the long-term fundamentals of Indian society should be plain.
Especially to Indian Muslims.

Worship vs Religion

Since, worship-practices in India have been so varied, to make that as a political point does not come easily to Indian polity or society. Unlike the West, where  secularism came about due to Napoleonic imposition to curtail excesses by the Church.
In Bharattantra, India’s traditional political philosophy, State intrusion into worship-practices or traditions is alien and unacceptable.
However, in most parts of the world, religion is usually a political weapon – controlled by One Book, One God, One Government, One Currency, One Morality, et al.
Hence, for and in India, wariness about making religion into a political issue is ever-present – which must be dealt with the contempt that it deserves.
Can there be any room for debate or discussion on this?

Can we?

Having granted Pakistan, midwifed Bangladesh, historical agreements are clear. Muslims from the Indian sub-continent, who wish to insert Islam into politics are free to do so.
In Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Ignorant Teaching The Blind: Problem with the Parable

September 7, 2013 3 comments

To rebut shallow readings of Harishchandra story no external logic, data is needed Answers are in the criticism itself.

Advertisement for First Indian movie, ‘Raja Harishchandra’, appeared in Bombay Chronicle on 3rd May, 1913.

Advertisement for First Indian movie, ‘Raja Harishchandra’, appeared in Bombay Chronicle on 3rd May, 1913.

I

ndian ignorance of Bharattantra (the classical Indian political system that governed India) is so colossal that it only be seen when ‘respected’ writers expound on Indian classics in mainstream media – from a position of total ignorance and bias.

From Darkness

Take this. We have today a post on Raja Harishchandra which is being faulted for all the values that it stands against.

Below is an excerpt.

Fifty generations have been told to emulate the virtuous monarch. In order to keep his word, Harish Chandra was prepared to endure the worst possible misery. The nobility of this is emphasised in every retelling. Gandhiji, for example, loved the story and, certainly, he lived by this principle of accepting extreme personal hardship in the pursuit of his moral principles.

What is not emphasised is that Harish Chandra was also prepared to put other people through equally great misery, without consulting them, in order to keep his word. He ruined his family and humiliated his wife by forcing her to strip in public (that particular theme has always fascinated Indians). Apart from the patriarchal assumption that his wife and son were disposable goods, he thought his word outweighed his responsibilities as a family man.

We are not told what happened to the kingdom’s per capita income in the period between his abdication and the divine intervention. Perhaps the place prospered. Perhaps not. Either way, Harish Chandra handed over executive responsibilities and the state’s resources to someone with unknown competencies when it came to making executive decisions, or managing state finances. As an absolute monarch, he did not, of course, consult his subjects on the regime transfer.

The story also contains a raft-load of caste stereotypes and biases. Brahmins are good; Kshatriyas are good; corpse disposers are dirty, unless they are gods or Kshatriyas in disguise. The biases and assumptions offer fascinating insights into the social structure of ancient India: absolute monarchy, absolute patriarchy, caste rigidities and a twisted code that placed personal honour above the well-being of the family, or of entire kingdoms. In itself, this would be only of historical interest.

The scary thing is that Harish Chandra’s behaviour is cited as being worth emulating in 21st-century school textbooks. The negative externalities of his behaviour are ignored even in the modern versions of the story. Caste and patriarchal prejudices are reinforced, and the concepts of democratic consultation and consensus are conspicuous by their absence.

By contemporary moral standards, Raja Harish Chandra was a monster. He should have broken his word and taken whatever punishment the Maharishi handed out, sooner than cause this sort of harm to his family. Nor should he have disposed of state resources in this irresponsible fashion and placed the lives and fortunes of all his subjects in potential jeopardy.

Moral standards change. When you read an old story, you have to cherry-pick the moral lessons you should imbibe from it. Unfortunately, as a nation, we seem to have internalised all the wrong lessons from Raja Harish Chandra.

His laudable commitment to the truth and to keeping his word has fallen by the wayside. But the monumental self-absorption and absolute indifference to the well-being of others that he displayed characterise both our public and private behaviour.

The parable also supposedly teaches us to rely upon divine intervention. Raja Harish Chandra beggared himself and abdicated responsibility for the state’s resources. Only divine intervention put things right again. We emulate him as best we can, by playing ducks-and-drakes with our public finances. Unfortunately, divine intervention is not that reliable when it comes to fixing fiscal deficits.

via Devangshu Datta: The problem with the parable | Business Standard.

Usual Stuff …

The writer of this post, Devangshu Dutta (DD), makes the usual five points.

  1. Rigid caste system
  2. Absolute monarchy
  3. State-controlled economy
  4. Slavery
  5. Self-absorbed Indians

To see how shallow DD’s reading of Harishchandra story is, no external logic or data is needed. All the answers are in the criticism itself.

Caste System: If Raja Harishchandra could from a king become a chandala to a king again, how rigid was the caste system?

In which society, in the history of the world has a king become a king again after having come down in his life to a lowly status as a chandala?

Rajas & Nawabs: What are the marks of absolute monarchy? Grand palaces, monuments, costly wars, humongous treasuries, over-taxed peasants groaning in misery, oppressive police and soldiery, et al.

How many such elements do we find in Indian history for 4000 years after Raja Harishchandra?

From Indus Valley-Saraswati Basin cities till Mughal India how many monuments do we find? Over-taxed peasants make an entry after Mughal India and the British.

Royal Patronage: It may come as a surprise to DD that the ‘Indispensable’ State was not the engine for Indian economic activity till about 100 years ago.

While economies in the Rest of the World depended on royal patronage, Indians had unfettered right to land and gold. Even currency and coinage were not controlled by the kings. So much for DD’s silly argument of ‘absolute’ Indian monarchs.

This ensured that local and national economy did not depend on royal patronage or initiatives.

Unlike in the ‘modern’ ‘free market’ or socialist economies.

Slavery: Slaves have no control over slavery.

From capture to death, slaves have no control over their destiny – and this loss of liberty has State protection. Indian classics have many stories how kings became ‘dasas’ and later freed themselves from the position of ‘dasas’.

Dasas controlled their servitude – whereas slaves cannot. Indian legal texts expounding Bharattantra have no laws that give State protection to slave-owners. India remains the only society in history that has never given legitimacy to slave owners. It appears that slave owning societies were described as asuric societies.

In fact, there is no Indian word for slaves – except imported words.

Self-absorbed Indians: From Matthew Arnold to Max Muller, we have seen how colonial Britain has painted Indians as inward looking.

Factually, from the Indian woman who was the inn-keeper at Babylon to the Yogi who met Socrates, Indians have travelled the world over. Indians are the second largest diaspora in the world today – after the Chinese. Unlike Christopher Columbus or Vasco da Gama who were sponsored by the State, the Indian diaspora has spread across the world at their own risk –

Without State sponsorship.

The skeptical and unbelievers, will have counter-arguments – which is a valid position. But DD’s post seems to show that as far as Indian classics go …

In modern India, we have the blind leading the ignorant.


 

7-Most Important Things You Should Know About Narendra Modi

July 16, 2013 22 comments

Must you not know why you love or loath #NaMo – more commonly known by his full name Narendra Modi.

After you read these 7-Most important things about Narendra Modi you will no longer wonder why you loved him – or loathed him.

Clear your ideas about Narendra Modi.

1. From CM-to-PM

If Narendra Modi does succeed in his Prime Ministerial bid, he will India’s first Prime Minister (PM) who progressed from a party worker to a Chief Minister onto become the Prime Minister.

Narendra Modi’s move from CM to PM will not be an ‘accidental’ PM, as some of the other PMs. Like Deve Gowda (Karnataka-CM -11 December 1994 – 31 May 1996), Chandrasekhar (never a CM per Wikipedia), Choudhary Charan Singh (UP CM-18 February 1970 – 1 October 1970; 3 April 1967 – 25 February 1968), VP Singh (UP CM – 9 June 1980 – 19 July 1982), IK Gujral (never a CM per Wikipedia).

Narendra Modi’s kind of career progression, from party worker-to-minister-to-Chief Minister-to-probable PM candidate while logical, has never happened in India.

If it happens, it will open the minds of career politicians on possible career paths.

2. Modi’s Polity

How close is Narendra Modi to the classical Indian ideal of polity where concentration of power is impossible with wide dispersal of power, wealth and poverty – defined as Bharattantra by 2ndlook?

Narendra Modi is as far – or as near to Bharattantra, as any politician in India. After all, a fruit never falls far from the tree. Indian political parties, politicians, party workers are all part of the system – of which Narendra Modi is a product.

Narendra Modi’s activist, hands-on style makes it appear that he is more efficient – but as LK Advani pointed out, Gujarat is an already ‘efficient’ State. Modi ‘may’ lay greater ‘focus’ on agriculture, education, mega-projects, etc. Congress may ‘claim’ greater ‘commitment’ to ‘minority, women & child’ welfare, etc.

Is Modi likely to ignore ‘minority, women & child’ welfare? Unlikely, going by his sound bytes.

Is Congress likely to ignore agriculture, education, mega-projects? Unlikely, going by their manifesto and sundry noises made by talking heads.

More or less is the difference between BJP and Congress.

3. Modi As A Polarizing Figure

So, is Modi a polarizing figure?

More than 6 years ago, APJ Kalam, India’s erstwhile President suggested that India must move towards a 2-Party democracy – like the US.

This movement from multi-party democracy to a 2-party democracy calls for a kind of polarization that is now common across Desert Bloc. In Europe it is Social Democrats  (represented in India by the Congress) and Christian Democrats (which is BJP in India). In the US it is Republicans and Democrats. In Britain it Conservatives versus Labour. In the Islāmic world, it is Shia vs Sunni.

Only in India has there been so many political entities with a rainbow of ideologies. Till 1977 it was Congress and the Seven Dwarfs – Congress (O), CPI, CPIM, Forward Bloc /Republican Party, Jana Sangh, Praja Socialists, Swatantra Party. In 1977, Jayaprakash Narayan worked to create an amalgam of Janata Party – which managed to oust Congress for the first time. The amalgam melted under pressures of power-jockeying by the Janata Party constituents.

Nevertheless, the 1977 Janata Party victory unleashed a spate of regional parties, that made local issues centre stage. Now for more than 30 years, no single party has won a parliamentary majority on its own steam. In such a situation, political fluidity has forced a certain kind of national consensus that ensures whichever party is in power, has to follow a broad political consensus on national policy.

More than Congress, BJP is trying to break this mold, by polarizing voters – which it hopes will be at the cost of the regional parties. Congress with the momentum of being a party in power, sees less need for this polarization right now. But that can change. For now, it is BJP which is eager for this polarization.

What are the ideological underpinning to this polarization? Nil. Zero. Zilch. 零. Nul. Null. μηδέν. ゼロ. нул. cero. It is simple power-calculus by BJP-Congress to reduce the importance of the regional parties.

4. Will Namo Polarization Strategy work?

Considering the sheer number of issues that confront India, people will choose ‘specialist’ political parties to address specific issues. Can two-party system capture all the issues that bother the Indian Voter? For now, seems unlikely.

Modi instead of chasing coalition partners, is chasing polarization!

Will this polarization strategy work?

Modi has gathered around him many Indian-Americans and it seems like this polarization idea is coming out of an Brown YummRikan Hat. Much like how some Brown YummRikans crafted the India-Shining campaign, even the current Modi strategy seems to have significant Brown YummRikan inputs.

Many of these Brown-Foreigner voices are creating a red-herring agenda for Narendra Modi. In less than 10 days, two such foreign writers expected Modi to model himself on Reagan and Thatcher. Are these foreign-consultants influencing Modi?

For instance, this revealing statement

In a democracy there will be a polarization between Democrats and Republicans.

Namo’s inspiration from US, sounds much like Advani’s call for debate with Manmohan Singh in 2009 elections – just “like in foreign countries.”

Wonder why this preoccupation by Narendra Modi with taking direction from American democracy!

5. Namo’s Message

What is Narendra Modi’s agenda? If NaMo has no defining agenda, Congress will define it.

Like 2002. Or ‘Hindu Terror’.

He says Development. Modernization. What does this mean? Will words like development, modernization enthuse the Indian Voter to stand in a line and vote for Narendra Modi?

How many Voters will stir from their houses to ‘save’ India from dynastic politics? How many Voters share Modi’s concerns about dynastic politics.

After notching up more than 75 combined man-years of governance in 12 states and the centre from 1990-2013, does BJP have to answer silly accusations about ‘secularism’?

Will Modi get more votes, if he raises the debate pitch on ‘secularism’? In a nation, where people do not bother about their neighbours religion, will speeches about secularism brings votes or boredom?

In 2009 elections, Advani raised dead topics like:

  • Money in Swiss Bank (Why bother? I am not getting any of it?)
  • Television debates (I doubt if he has anything interesting?)
  • Terrorism (Bhai, yeh terrorism kya hota hai? Urban anxiety!)
  • Strong India (Looks pretty solid to me!)

Is this anything as simple and smart as ‘Garibi Hatao’? Narendra Modi agenda as PM and his campaign has, similiar-to-Advani lack of focus.

6. Modi The Reformer

While Narendra Modi keeps making sounds about ‘minimum government, he is also admiring how the Chinese State spends an amount far bigger than India on ‘educating’ Chinese.

While  data on Gujarat government has not been collated, it is also irrelevant. Narendra Modi’s policy-response as a Prime Minister are likely to be far different from his actions as  Chief Minister. The change in context will surely change the response also.

Apart from paying lip-service, Narendra Modi has made no policy outline on thinning or reducing the State. Of course, one must remember that the India State is the thinnest among all major economies of the world.

7. Modi & 2002

Which party organized communal riots in response to Direct Action announced by Jinnah? Congress!

India has long history of communal riots – and Congress has used this ‘tool’ – liberally and frequently. While this is public knowledge, no one penalizes Congress for being an organizer of communal riots.

Unlike BJP, Congress has managed to keep 1984 anti-Sikh riots out of limelight – and keep the 2002 riots in full focus. Even the horrific Godhra incident has been airbrushed out of the national RAM (random access memory).

Is this the first time communal riots have happened in India? No. Is it the last time. No, to that also.

Will communal riots happen in the future. Definitely yes. Just like tension and riots are happening in Belfast. Like the US police forces are readying for race riots after Zimmerman acquittal in the Trayvon killing case.

Assuming Narendra Modi did turn a Nelson’s eye to the rioting, in previous and subsequent cases (like in Assam) did riots happen without political connivance?

2014-The Bugles Sound

Clearly, the 2014 Election Bugle has been sounded.

BJP and Narendra Modi have time to clean up their confusion.

By early announcements by the BJP, Congress has been forced to drain their venom early. Will they have the bite left, by the time elections actually happen?

Anna-Kejriwal has seen their first defection. Kiran Bedi has thrown her lot with the BJP.

Interesting times ahead, folks!


Ranking Moms Is Just So Bad An Idea

May 11, 2013 3 comments

Why is this British NGO so desperately putting down moms from Africa?

No mother is any lesser than any other. To try and show superiority ...|  Cartoon by Randy Bish, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - May 10, 2013 via PoliticalCartoons.com

No mother is any lesser than any other. To try and show superiority …| Cartoon by Randy Bish, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – May 10, 2013 via PoliticalCartoons.com

Wherever in the world it is, bringing up children is a job second to none.

Every mother and father, and societies that help them bring up a child deserve a lot of respect.

To see people scoring points likes this …

For Moms in Finland, every day is Mother’s Day. A new report from the non-profit Save the Children says that the Scandinavian nation is the best country on the globe for mothers to live.

Scandinavia is definitely a good place to be a Mom. Finland, which often places high on education and quality of life in other international lists, is followed by Sweden at no. 2 and Norway at no. 3. In fact, all but one of the top 10 countries where Moms are the safest are European, with Australia placing tenth.

The ten unsafest places for mothers are all located in Central Africa, with the Democratic Republic of Congo ranking worst. An estimated 98% of newborn and 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries where basic health care services are scarce.

Check out the top 10 best and worst countries for mothers below, and see the full report here.

Best:

1) Finland

2) Sweden

3) Norway

4) Iceland

5) Netherlands

6) Denmark

7) Spain

8) Belgium

9) Germany

10) Australia

Worst:

167) Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

168) Chad

1

69) Nigeria

170) Gambia

171) Central African Republic

172) Niger

173) Mali

174) Sierra Leone

175) Somalia

176) DR Congo

via 10 Best Countries for Moms | TIME.com.

Proof of the pudding

So, if these Western countries are so good for women and becoming mothers, how come women here don’t want to become mothers often enough?

Why are these top 10 countries having so few babies? Why are their populations shrinking?

Motherhood statements on Mother’s Day that don’t hold up?

Simple statements that these countries have lowest infant mortality, maternal mortality, etc would have been enough.

But if you try ramming in a truck through simple data like this, it looks awfully close to talking down to us in Third World?

And if you know, your own backyard needs fixing, why waste time in putting down other people? Like how children in Britain want a brother /sister more than any other gift for Christmas? Or how the State thinks that it has more rights in naming a child compared to the child’s parents?

If your social systems are so good, why try these kind of dubious tactics to score points over people in Africa, who are down right now.

Pointing fingers at others is …

Bad psychologically.

Bad in ethics.

Not to forget Bad Journalism


Japan’s Child Pop. shrinks By 150,000 to a record low

India has more children than the total population of any country in the world – except China.

How about doing a few things just coz they are right?  Mebbe not 'necessarily' 'profitable'  |  Joel Pett, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, Cartoonists and Writers Syndicate, and was published on December 7, 2009 in USA TODAY

How about doing a few things just coz they are right? Mebbe not ‘necessarily’ ‘profitable’ | Joel Pett, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, Cartoonists and Writers Syndicate, and was published on December 7, 2009 in USA TODAY

If people are becoming richer, more educated, in better living conditions, in a technologically superior time than any other in history, why can’t they afford children?

Earlier, when the father alone could raise a family of ten, today’s parents are afraid that, “even two incomes are no longer enough to make ends meet before pay day.”

You Pay For This …

The One Big reason that parents in the West and Japan are not having children is because of the cost.

Sheer economic costs.

A recent post in the Newsweek elicited much discussion and reactions – broadly falling into two categories.

Personal financial limitations and difficulties and social values on the other hand.

Apart from a sermonizing David Cameron, in UK, a recent report suggested that just one child, “a child from birth to adulthood will cost £140,000. This means the average couple works two years to fund each offspring – couples with children are twice as likely to file for bankruptcy as those without.”

The Other Big reason is, Western social and political leaders have made it uncool to have children.

Like this French woman-writer, Corinne Maier, who, disturbed at an exhibition of Belgian surrealists, decided, “at that point, I thought, ‘I really regret it, I regret having children.’ ” Her subsequent book, “40 Reasons for Not Having Children” in French, was also translated and sold well in English.

An American ‘comedian’ Adam Carolla was caught moralizing: “The best parenting of all is not shitting out the kids when you can’t afford the kids.”

The last word on this.

The Optimum Population Forum judges the price of a condom to have had a nine million per cent “return on investment” when set against the cost to the planet of having a child.

In such a moral atmosphere, which self-respecting set of parents would start a family?

It is a brave child, who dares to come into this kind of unwelcome society.

This over-production, over-waste, over-war model can change. How about a 2ndlook?  |  Cartoon by Steve Greenberg on Oct. 22, 1994. in Seattle Post Intelligencer. For an updated cartoon - http://goo.gl/r9HLa

This over-production, over-waste, over-war model can change. How about a 2ndlook? | Cartoon by Steve Greenberg on Oct. 22, 1994. in Seattle Post Intelligencer. For an updated cartoon – http://goo.gl/r9HLa

Am I Backward?

Why is the ‘developed’ world choose to commit a ‘demographic’ suicide.

Beats me!

But then, by common consensus of the superior Western media and its Brown-American cheerleaders, I am from an under-developed country like India.

Can I even begin to understand ‘development’?

By the way, here are the latest stats on the self-inflicted genocide of Japan.

As the nation celebrated the national Children’s Day holiday on May 5, the number of children under 15 years of age fell 150,000 from a year earlier to a record low 16.49 million as of April 1, according to government estimates released on May 4.

The child population shrank for the 32nd consecutive year and hit the lowest level since statistics became available in 1950, the internal affairs ministry said.

The estimates, based on national population census and other surveys, were compiled for Children’s Day on May 5.

Those under 15 years of age accounted for 12.9 percent of the total population, one of the lowest levels in the world. The corresponding figure is 19.6 percent in the United States, 16.5 percent in China and 15.6 percent in South Korea.

According to the estimates, there were 8.44 million boys and 8.04 million girls. By age, 3.55 million were between 12 and 14; 3.4 million were between 9 and 11; 3.2 million were between 6 and 8; 3.17 million were between 3 and 5; and 3.16 million were between 0 and 2.

via Child population shrinks 150,000 to record low 16.49 million – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.

Compelling logic, eh?  First you impoverish people, then take away everything - and then blame them for all the problems!  |  Cartoon by Catherine Pain  in a post titled Why are we surprised when we get what we pay for? on 24 April 2013; source & courtesy - open.ac.uk

Compelling logic, eh? First you impoverish people, then take away everything – and then blame them for all the problems! | Cartoon by Catherine Pain in a post titled Why are we surprised when we get what we pay for? on 24 April 2013; source & courtesy – open.ac.uk

By the way, the Indian children are nearly 31% of the gross population – and India has about 44 crore children.

India has more children than the total population of any country in the world – except China.



Kilroy Was Here: National Shame Syndrome Hits China

While American graffiti has become a cult symbol – a subject of books, films, media coverage, one graffiti by a Chinese tourist has become a national shame.

Will Chinese copy the US - and paint graffiti across the world?  |  Cartoon by Stephens on Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 6:16am in South China Morning Post

Will Chinese copy the US – and paint graffiti across the world? | Cartoon by Stephens on Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 6:16am in South China Morning Post

During and after WWII, American soldiers were parts of invading armies that warred in more than 50 countries. With the British and Russians, Americans were victorious in WWII.

Colonialism to Neo-Colonialism

After WWII, American armies waged long and expensive wars against Asians in South East Asia to impose US hegemony over former French, Dutch and British colonies.

Using a Communist bogeyman, propped by Eisenhower’s Domino Theory, American forces killed more than 50 lakh Asians (5 million) in Cambodia, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam. After the Asian Wars and the collapse of the Soviet Union, American attention has turned to the Islamic world.

Self Goal? More than international media, it were the Chinese who declared this graffiti as a 'national' shame.  |  Harry Harrison on May 27, 2013 in South China Morning Post

Self Goal? More than international media, it were the Chinese who declared this graffiti as a ‘national’ shame. | Harry Harrison on May 27, 2013 in South China Morning Post

American Chopsuey

These American soldiers made their presence felt in countries they invaded and in those countries where American bases were set up – temporarily (like in India) or permanently (like in Japan).

In India, an early impact was ice-cream. India’s Kwality (now Kwality Walls) ice-creams started by catering to the American military forces stationed in India during WWII. Coca-Cola became a global brand, accompanying American armies across the world.

More damaging than either Coca-Cola or ice-cream, was the explosion in prostitution in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, with the arrival of American soldiers – as a well-oiled machine.

As if this was not enough, these soldiers, to leave their indelible mark, left graffiti behind. One graffiti, that became a marker of this boorish American behaviour was the text and image of Kilroy Was Here.

American graffiti left behind at national monuments, historical sites - and on the bellies of pregnant women. Does the phallic overtones of this graffiti reveal the shallowness?

American graffiti left behind at national monuments, historical sites – and on the bellies of pregnant women. Does the phallic overtones of this graffiti reveal the shallowness?

Graffiti itself goes back to ancient times. Graffiti is found in the ruins of Pompeii, on the walls of ancient Jerusalem, in ancient Egypt. Kilroy follows a long tradition, but was far more famous and all-present than any of them.

Kilroy was here” emerged during World War II, appearing at truck stops, city restaurants, and in military boardrooms. However, the first appearances seem to have been on military docks and ships in late 1939.

“The mischievous face and the phrase became a national joke,” according to author Charles Panati. In theory, he was a soldier, probably American, who travelled all over the world scrawling his immortal phrase. Clearly, the graffiti were scrawled by thousands of different soldiers, not a single one named Kilroy.

During the Forties, Kilroy was everywhere. Panati comments, “The outrageousness of the graffit was not so much what it said, but where it turned up.” He cites the torch of the Statue of Liberty, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Marco Polo Bridge in China, huts in Polynesia, and a girder on the George Washington Bridge in New York. There were contests in the Air Force to beat Kilroy to isolated and uninhabited places around the globe.

The appearance wasn’t always of GI origin, although it was largely tied to the military services. More than once newspapers reported on pregnant women wheeled into the delivery room, with the hospital staff finding “Kilroy was here” written across their stomachs. Panati says, “The most daring appearance occurred during the meeting of the Big Three in Potsdam, Germany, in July 1945. Truman, Attlee, and Stalin had exclusive use of an opulent marble bathroom, off limits to everyone else. On the second day of the summit, an excited Stalin emerged from the bathroom sputtering something in Russian to one of his aides. A translator overheard Stalin demand, ‘Who is Kilroy?'”

SDSTAFF Mac suggests Panati is a better storyteller than a scholar, though.

via The Straight Dope: What’s the origin of “Kilroy was here”?.

Low Self Image

China is whipping itself into a frenzy.

A graffiti by a Chinese teenager, discovered by another Chinese at the Egypt’s Luxor site, was taken up with a frenzy by ‘shamed’ Chinese. While American Graffiti has become a cult symbol – a subject of books, films, media coverage, one graffiti by a Chinese tourist has become a national shame.

Much like India scored a self-goal by making itself look like a country of rapists, when in fact, it has one of the lowest rape ratios in the world.

Does international media need anything more than these self-goals by the Chinese and Indians?

SHANGHAI—Parents of a Chinese junior high school student apologized on May 25 after their son’s name and graffiti were discovered defacing a wall of the ruins of the sacred Luxor Temple in Egypt, which ignited a storm of criticism on the Internet.

“My son understands that he did a bad thing,” his weeping mother was quoted by the Xian Dai Kuai Bao, a newspaper in Jiangsu province in coastal China, as saying.

“I am asking everyone to generously forgive my son (so that) this incident will not adversely affect his future,” his father was also quoted as saying.

The graffiti, written along with the student’s name in Chinese, reads, “I came here for sightseeing.”

Another Chinese tourist, who discovered the graffiti, wrote in Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, on the night of May 24, “I tried to erase this shame by rubbing it off, but my effort was in vain.” He also posted a photo of the graffiti.

Immediately after that, one poster after another criticized the graffiti on the Internet. One comment read, “I am ashamed of the graffiti as a Chinese.” Other posters also disclosed the student’s birthday and year of birth, and revealed that he is a junior high school student in Nanjing, Jiangsu province.

Parents of the student called the Xian Dai Kuai Bao on the afternoon of May 25 and met with its reporters. via Chinese student’s graffiti on Luxor Temple ignites Internet criticism – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.


Rajiv Malhotra – Fountain Of Gyaan For Desi Indians

April 28, 2013 25 comments

Inferior desi mind is Rajiv Malhotra’s biggest target. Phoren Maal like Rajiv Malhotra have superior minds.

Rajiv Malhotra has to run down everything that modern India has achieved. Why this antipathy to India?  |  Twitter - RajivMessage- Tata’s Nano will worsen ... 2013-04-28 14-25-45  |  Click to go message.

Rajiv Malhotra has has to run down everything that modern India has achieved. Why this antipathy to India? | Twitter – RajivMessage- Tata’s Nano will worsen … 2013-04-28 14-25-45 | Click to go message.

Rajiv Malhotra, I have bad news for you!

Too Late

It is a little late in the day to run down Tata Nano.

The Indian consumer has decided that at nearly Rs.2.0 lakhs the Tata Nano is not the deal that Ratan Tata had promised at Rs.1.0 lakh.

Sorry! One less, juicy Indian target, for you to run down!

Surely He Knows

But then, Rajiv Malhotra is not running down the Tata Nano for the lack of consumer acceptance.

He is attacking three things: –

1. How can Someone in India decide that they will design a car for India – in India, by Indians, made in India.

Now this is something that few outside Europe, Japan, and the US have been able to do. Korea alone has done this, after Japan. China’s attempts at car making have been plagued by charges of copy-cat engineering – unlike the Nano.

How can backward Indians do this? They have to be wrong, according to Rajiv Malhotra.

2. India will increase oil dependence by Tata Nano, says Rajiv Malhora.

This is his weakest argument. Indians have not accepted the Tata Nano. Instead have decided to go for diesel cars – which return a mileage much better than petrol. Also tax rates on diesel are much lower than on petrol.

The Indian Government misrepresents the difference in tax-rates between diesel and petrol as subsidy on diesel.

3. Inferior desi mind is Rajiv Malhotra’s biggest target. Phoren Maal like Rajiv Malhotra have superior minds.

India must go electric, says Rajiv Malhotra. Make electric cars.

In a country which does not produce enough electricity to light up all households 24-hours a day, India must now add electric cars and increase demand for electricity.

Such superior thinking Phoren Maal has!

Assuming that India can increase electricity production, what fuel will it use for electricity production? Coal, which it will have to import? Same dependence story! Domestic coal which has a high ash content? Washed domestic coal, which will make electricity more expensive than it is? Produce electricity using imported natural-gas that will increase import dependence further?

Maybe India should have lower the cost of public transport – and increase public transport? But that is such a unglamorous idea? Will it get him more twitter followers? Will adoring young men and women throng to hear him about public transport? I guess not!

Indians Love China Stories

But if he talks of how China is making great progress in electric cars, he is likely to get more twitter followers? More thronging audiences.

Never mind the fact, that facts go against Rajiv Malhotra’s brilliant ideas for us desi Indians.

One – China is the world’s largest car market. And electric cars comprise less than 0.1% of its car population. Actually, it is 0.06%. This is the great leap-frog, Malhotra-ma-an?

By the way, the biggest story on electric cars in not the car but the battery. Current Lithium batteries are too expensive. Probably aluminum-air batteries will make electric cars feasible. And where is China in all this? Nowhere.

Two – In August 2010, global media was agog with a traffic jam in China that was 10 days long.

Three– China’s electricity production using coal, is making air unbreathable in all major Chinese cities. China is trying to increase solar energy. But sadly!

3 weeks before this great tweet-gyaan from Rajiv Malhotra came our way, China’s largest solar-panel producer, Suntech declared bankruptcy.

Belly up!

Just like Rajiv Malhotra’s gyaan.



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