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Posts Tagged ‘Anglo-Saxon Bloc’

Gold grand prix – The Chinese challenge

Total Gold demand - Top world markets (Image courtesy 0 ft.com). Click for a larger copy.

Total Gold demand - Top world markets (Image courtesy - ft.com). Click for a larger copy.

Golden ambitions

Western media has breathlessly announced that India’s leadership of many centuries as the largest buyer of gold has been broken by the Chinese. What does this mean for India and China? Not to forget the rest of the world. In the last few months,

India and China combined to contribute 63 percent of the total gold jewelry demand in the world in the first quarter.

Investment demand has grown (in China) by an average 14 percent a year since deregulation of the market in 2001, “a trend that has continued with the strong growth momentum witnessed in the first quarter,” it said. China’s investment demand jumped 123 percent to 90.9 tons in the first three months, compared with an 8 percent rise to 85.6 tons for India.

The country’s total (investment + jewelry)  gold demand in the first quarter jumped 47 percent from a year ago to 233.8 tons, the council said. That still lags behind Indian consumption of 291.8 tons, according to the council. (emphasised text in brackets supplied.)

Gold-to-silver ratios in the past few decades. Image courtesy - wsj.com. Click for larger image.

Gold-to-silver ratios in the past few decades. Image courtesy - wsj.com. Click for larger image.

Law abiding citizens

International regulatory damping of gold demand – especially in USA, India and China eased from 1975 onwards – from December 31st, 1974, with Executive Order 11825 by Gerald Ford.

Unlike India, which was well serviced and supplied with gold by the Indian underworld, China and the USA were deprived of gold supplies during this regulatory blackout of nearly 50 years. Current growth in demand for gold in China is building on a

low base which means that the investment demand and demand for an inflation hedge from 1.3 billion increasingly wealthy Chinese people is more than sustainable.

The not realized important fact that the people of China were banned from owning gold bullion from 1950 to 2003, means that the per capita consumption of over 1.3 billion people is rising from a tiny base. Gold ownership by the Chinese public remains minuscule. Especially when compared to other Asian countries such as Vietnam and India.

Should the Chinese economy crash as some predict, demand could fall. However, sharp declines in Chinese equity and property markets and a depreciation of the yuan would likely lead to significant safe haven demand for gold. Chinese demand alone likely puts a floor under the gold market at $1,450/oz.

It is worth noting that the People’s Bank of China’s gold reserves are very small when compared to those of the U.S. and indebted European nations. China appears to be quietly accumulating gold bullion reserves. As was the case previously, they will not announce their gold purchases in order to ensure they accumulate sizeable reserves at more competitive prices.

China – Biggest gold producer and consumer

China is already the world’s largest producer of gold from 2007, for four years now. China has captured the top position from

South Africa, which was producing as much as 1,000 tons of gold in 1970, (but) has seen its mining production decline for five straight years.

Accelerating a drop in output last year, the country’s mining authorities started a crackdown on unsafe mines after 3,200 workers were trapped at Harmony Gold Mining Ltd.’s Eldestrand mine in October.

Following an order by President Thabo Mbeki, the mining commission in the last three months started to requiring gold mines that suffer a fatal accident to suspend operations while a safety audit takes place. (emphasised text in brackets supplied.)

In 2010 Chinese gold production was

340.88 tonnes of gold in 2010, retaining the position of the world’s largest producer of the precious metal, the China Gold Association said. The number of domestic gold producers shrank to around 700 at the end of 2010, from 1,200 in 2002, through mergers and acquisitions

Further recently, the Chinese Government, through public sector companies, bought South African gold mines from the Australian owner.

Citic Group, China’s biggest state- owned investment company, and partners agreed to buy Gold One International Ltd. (GDO) for about A$444 million ($469 million), gaining gold assets in South Africa.  China Development Bank Corp. and Long March Capital Group are the other members of the bidding group, which is seeking as much as a 75 percent stake and plans to keep the company trading in Australia and South Africa, with a potential listing in Hong Kong. Citic is bidding through its Baiyin Non-Ferrous Group Co. unit and China Development Bank through its China-Africa Development Fund.

Gold One operates the Modder East mine in South Africa and also has projects in Mozambique and Namibia.

A frothing-at-the-mouth FT.com found many reasons to critique the deal.

China and silver

The other big story is silver. Why this sudden spurt in prices? How sustainable is price increase in silver?

Silver is down nearly 30% this month in volatile trading. Such a move in the Dow Jones Industrial Average would equate to an eye-popping drop of more than 3,700 points. Tony Crescenzi of Pacific Investment Management Co. called silver’s parabolic rise and subsequent skid a “tulip mania-style move.”

Silver backers counter that even with its recent drop, the lesser precious metal has retained a nearly 80% gain over the past year.

While gold supply is well understood, silver bulls and bears argue about just how much silver is out there. Some analysts make the case that silver in batteries and photographic film is “recycled” back into the market, reducing scarcity. Silver bulls, of course, think that’s a bunch of poppycock.

More important, the gold-silver price ratio has gotten out of whack. During most of the past 10 years, the ratio hovered around 60, meaning gold was 60 times more expensive than silver. Silver’s incredible surge over the past year has pushed the ratio down to 43, a level not seen since silver’s last crazed phase in the early 1980s. At its peak, back on April 29, the ratio narrowed to 31, a level not seen in three decades.

Silver bulls will argue that the gold-silver price ratio should reflect the 15.5 level authorized by France in 1803, or the 15 level outlined in the U.S. Coinage Act of 1792. It’s more likely that the ratio will revert to modern-era norms rather than race back to the Napoleonic era. And that means that gold, more than silver, looks like the solid store of value today.

Behind this huge spike in silver prices

The Chinese.

As 2ndlook has pointed out earlier, Chinese love silver – and Indians love gold. Most of Chinese consumption of gold is by a few well-heeled elites with guanxi.

But only look at the Chinese trading frenzy in silver.

Chinese speculators have emerged as a big driver of silver’s spectacular rally and subsequent crash with trading in the metal in Shanghai soaring nearly 30-fold since the start of the year.

The commodity, nicknamed “the devil’s metal” for its wild price swings, surged 175 per cent from August to a peak of almost $50 a troy ounce two weeks ago. Since then, it has plummeted 35 per cent, hitting a low of $32.33 on Thursday.

At the same time, silver turnover on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, China’s main precious metals trading hub spiked, rising 2,837 per cent from the start of this year to a peak of 70m ounces on April 26, according to exchange data.

The number of contracts outstanding, an indicator of investor exposure, doubled over the same period.

Silver trading in Shanghai remains below the levels in London and New York, the two main global hubs, but its rapid growth means its has become increasingly significant in driving prices.  “I’m pretty certain it’s the Chinese retail [investment] that is driving this move,” one senior precious metals banker said. “There’s an enormous amount of speculation going on out there, they’ve got the bit between their teeth.”

The Chinese gorilla

Looking at the reports of the market and commodities, it is plain that the Chinese Government is an interested player in gold acquisition – something that 2ndlook projected nearly 4 years ago. And the Chinese consumer is behind the rise in silver prices.

Since China is anyway the world’s largest producer of gold, disruption in gold supplies has not highly marked. If other Governments follow the Chinese example, gold prices could explode. If Chinese buying gets very aggressive, again, prices could spike.

The only cloud on the horizon could be some kind of consensus to bring some undeclared quantities of gold into the market – like the Central Banks Gold Agreement (CBGA). Is that likely? The only such seller could be EU members? With the Euro-zone and the Euro-currency itself in such trouble,  would ECB members dare to sell gold?

Especially, if the Chinese Government is ready to buy?

Top national central bank gold holdings. (Image courtesy - FT.com.). Click for larger copy.

Top national central bank gold holdings. (Image courtesy - FT.com.). Click for larger copy.

Of Mice and Men – 2015 Gold Outlook

USA, EU traderelationships with oil producers. The European hands-on, micro-management issue of trade balance seems to be delivering? Some may question, what it is delivering, though.

USA, EU trade relationships with oil producers. The European hands-on, micro-management issue of trade balance seems to be delivering? Some may question, what it is delivering, though.

Of mice and men

While the US dollar is weakening, by design, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain are being bankrupted by a deliberately overvalued Euro.

In such a scenario, China believes that it has a winning hand. Even though, the Chinese exports juggernaut has been slowed by a yuan, trading at 17 year-highs. March 2011 reports indicate

an unexpected $7.3 billion trade deficit, the biggest in seven years. The nation’s (China’s) exports rose at the slowest pace since November 2009.

The US is betting that a weak dollar will reignite economic growth – much like what happened after the Japanese Yen strengthened due to Plaza Accord (1985).

For Europe, the grand prix is to replace the dollar as the currency of international trade – especially oil trade. Euro as a international trade-currency-of-choice, will give the Euro region access to more than 1 trillion euros in zero-cost floating balances.

China is expecting the yuan to play a similar role. Such are plans made by mice and men.

Monsieur Murphy says

What can go wrong with these plans? Plenty.

The eternal enemy of currency manipulation – gold. As a million bureaucrats work on the mechanics of their plans,

Increasingly, everyone is a victim - except the powerful 0.5% elite that rules the world. Break their power. Buy gold. (Cartoonist - Ted Rall; courtesy - http://charlesgoyette.com). Click for larger image.

Increasingly, everyone is a victim - except the powerful 0.5% elite that rules the world. Break their power. Buy gold. (Cartoonist - Ted Rall; courtesy - http://charlesgoyette.com). Click for larger image.

Sales of gold coins are on track for the best month in a year amid the worst commodities rout since 2008, a sign that bullion’s longest bull market in nine decades has further to run, if history is a guide.

The U.S. Mint sold 85,000 ounces of American Eagle coins since May 1 as the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 raw materials fell 9.9 percent. The last time sales reached that level, bullion rose 21 percent in the next year. Gold will advance 17 percent to a record $1,750 an ounce by Dec. 31 and keep gaining in 2012, the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 31 analysts, traders and investors shows.

UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, had its second-best day this year for physical sales on May 9, according to a report the following day. The bank’s sales to India, the world’s top bullion consumer, are more than 10 percent higher than in 2010. (via Gold Coins Show Bull Market Unbowed in Commodities Decline – Bloomberg).

You take free advice …?

While George Soros talks of gold being the ultimate bubble, his companies are quietly buying gold.

Back in late January, as the world’s important people rubbed elbows in Davos, billionaire investor George Soros had some rather definitive thoughts to offer on gold, which he called “the ultimate asset bubble,” according to reports.

However, he neglected to mention that his hedge fund had been buying.

Another report points out that the liquidation (by people like Soros) of investments in public investment vehicles may be replaced by private investments.

In this game of musical chairs, when the music stops, everyone who does not own gold is out. (Cartoon by David Horsey; Courtesy - http://politicalhumor.about.com). Click for larger image.

In this game of musical chairs, when the music stops, everyone who does not own gold is out. (Cartoon by David Horsey; Courtesy - http://politicalhumor.about.com). Click for larger image.

The new filings from funds “may show that big names exited ETPs and this news may cause prices to slip in the very short term,” said Bayram Dincer, an analyst at LGT Capital Management in Pfaeffikon, Switzerland. Some funds switched to holding gold directly so they wouldn’t have to announce it publicly, he said.

Is gold a bubble?

A rather disbelieving journalist writes of the situation in the West

Gold is in a bubble. Anyone will tell you that. They’ve been saying it since gold was about, oh, $500 an ounce. But it’s a funny kind of a bubble. It’s the only one I’ve encountered where so few people seem to own the asset in question.

During the dot-com bubble, you met lots of people with tech stocks. Taxi drivers told you what dot-coms they owned. During the housing bubble you met normal, ordinary people who were trading up to expensive homes using adjustable-rate mortgages, buying new condos off plan to flip, and cashing out their fictional “equity” through a refinance mortgage.

But who actually owns gold? I keep hearing about the gold bubble, but every time I ask people if they own any themselves, they say, “no, no, of course not, it’s a bubble.”

Some bubble.

Central banks around the world are printing more dollars, euros, pounds and yen. Gold may simply be a less awful currency than all the others. Banks can’t print any more of it, so its price should probably rise while other currencies fall.

For this year, the question in India seems to be, “Will gold cross Rs.25000, by 2011 Diwali?”

The shadow of oil

Middle East Politics (from Coming apart, coming together By Edward R. Kantowicz; Page 165; courtesy - books.google.com). Click to go to source.

Middle East Politics (from Coming apart, coming together By Edward R. Kantowicz; Page 165; courtesy - books.google.com). Click to go to source.

Is the USA like Britain was a hundred years ago? (Caroon courtesy - mpg50.com.). Click for larger image.

Is Pax Americana like Britain was a hundred years ago? (Cartoon courtesy - mpg50.com.). Click for larger image.

Fat and lazy

Between 1875-1935, Britain was dependent on India for gunpowder, on USA and Iran for  oil, on Malaya and India for rubber. British economy had grown fat and uncompetitive – unlike Italian, German and Japanese economies.

Even though Britain won WWII, their economy was a lost cause. Though Germany, Italy and Japan were losers, with their economy in shambles, they could make a brilliant recovery and vastly out-compete Britain.

The story of Middle East oil is similar for USA and West. The Welfare State, built on a diet of cheap oil, easy dollars,  is now too expensive for the West to sustain. The above book extract gives an excellent snapshot of the oil industry in the 20th century.

And the shadow of oil on the 21st century.

Abbottabad does not quite add up

May 11, 2011 2 comments
The difference between 'civilized' West and 'barbaric' Islamic world. (Cartoon by John Cole; courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for original image.

The difference between 'civilized' West and 'barbaric' Islamic world. (Cartoon by John Cole; courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for original image.

Things go bump in the night

In the early hours of 2nd May, 2011, an obscure twitter-user started tweeting  about the US raid on Osama Bin Laden’s safe-house – 35 km from Islamabad, 200 miles south of the Afghanistan border, in Abbottabad. In a city, which houses Pakistan’s equivalent of Indian Military Academy.

But Pakistan’s police, para-military, military forces claimed ignorance, showed surprise, feigned outrage. Par for the course. Was it abject failure or a cover-up in Pakistan , by the powers-that-be?

US triumphalism is misplaced. But then Osama's death will surely get Obama many votes. (Cartoon courtesy - http://jeffreyhill.typepad.com). Click for larger image.

US triumphalism is misplaced. But then Osama's death will surely get Obama many votes. (Cartoon courtesy - http://jeffreyhill.typepad.com). Click for larger image.

Afraid of the mullah-madrasa-mujahid combine, predictably, Pakistan started denying any role in the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Truly Pakistan ‘doth protest too much, methinks’. Secret deal or not, in the past or post-facto, a deal around killing Osama could have been easily hammered out between Pakistan and USA.

It suited both the leaderships.

It is election time in USA

Pakistan was not alone in using Osama. Osama alive was source of US funds for Pakistan. Osama dead is an election ticket and a feel-good factor for the a USA being battered by the Great Recession. As Rajiv Dogra points out, on the opposite side of the world,

The timing suited Obama well. It had long been speculated that Osama would be killed around the time Obama’s re-election campaign kicked off.

Predictably, the US made a song-and-dance about the annual aid of US$3 billion that they dole out to Pakistan. Compared to the US$3 trillion that the US Department of Defence is unable to account for, this talk of US$3 billion makes for poor form.

Pakistan's soldiers patrolling the tribal area of Ditta Kheil in North Waziristan for militants and al-Qaida activists in March.| Photograph by Mohammad Iqbal/Associated Press | Picture courtesy nytimes.com /Click for original image.

Pakistan's soldiers patrolling the tribal area of Ditta Kheil in North Waziristan for militants and al-Qaida activists in March.| Photograph by Mohammad Iqbal/Associated Press | Picture courtesy nytimes.com /Click for original image.

On a lighter – and logical side

Famous for the song केम छे ‘kem che, kem che’ from the film जिस देश में गंगा रहता है Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rahta Hain, a Bollywood songwriter confidently predicted, soon after 9/11, that Bin Laden would be found near the White House or Islamabad!

Coming to India

Memories dimmed, history forgotten, India draws wrong conclusions from these Western adventures in our neighbourhood.

After WWII, as British, French and Dutch colonialists were being thrown out of Asia, in country after country, the West was in real danger of losing markets and raw material sources.

To make war palatable, Desert Bloc invented religion. (Image  source - loonpond.com; artist attribution not available at image  source)

To make war palatable, Desert Bloc invented religion. (Image source - http://loonpond.blogspot.com; artist attribution not available at image source).

A new power, fueled by a growing migrant population, USA, took the place of tired, old powers – Britain, France and the Dutch. Instead of the openly exploitative system of European powers directly running colonial governments in these Asian countries, the US installed an opaque system – which is equally exploitative. To impose its writ on the newly independent Asian countries, the US simply destroyed their  economies by war. The USA, then instituted the innovative USCAP Program and ‘helped’ these countries. These countries (Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, et al) were now ruled by overtly independent regimes – but covertly, client states of the USA.

US multinationals and home-grown oligarchs (keiretsus, chaebols, etc.) took over the economy – and sidelined British, French and Dutch companies. To impose this economic model, US armies, using nearly 1 million troops, killed 50 lakh Asians. The takeover of European colonial possessions by the USA was handled over 3 regimes of Eisenhower-Kennedy-Johnson seamlessly.

Between a rampant USA, behind biggest terror spots of the world, and a nuclear-armed, imploding Pakistan, India’s choices are difficult – and reactive policies inadequate.

Once more, Osama’s death and Obama’s antics bring out India’s policy inadequacy in sharp relief.

Carnegie, I can see you

February 25, 2011 3 comments
Time magazine used the Population Explosion idea on its cover. (Picture courtesy - shipbright.wordpress.com).

Time magazine used the Population Explosion idea on its cover. (Picture courtesy - shipbright.wordpress.com).

according to a study by the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Energy. It has concluded that the 13th-century Mongol leader’s bloody advance, laying waste to vast swaths of territory and wiping out entire civilisations en route, may have scrubbed 700m tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere – roughly the quantity of carbon dioxide generated in a year through global petrol consumption – by allowing previously populated and cultivated land to return to carbon-absorbing forest. (via Why Genghis Khan was good for the planet | From the Guardian | The Guardian).

Genocides are good

For some 100 years, the Carnegie Endowment /Institutions has been providing cover, logic and justification for Desert Bloc’s genocidal behaviour. This is yet another example. Genghis Khan was good, because he ‘reduced population’. Hitler was good because he reduced the Jewish population. Churchill was very good – he reduced Indian, Arab, populations. Various American Presidents were also very good. They annihilated the entire Native American Population in the USA. Anglo-Saxon Policy in Australia is good because it has again wiped out Australian Aborigine population.

Before that, the Abbot of Citeaux instructed his followers at the start of the Albigensian Crusade“Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius” (Kill them all, God will know his own). “Get gold, humanely if possible, but at all hazards, get gold.” (1511, King Ferdinand of Spain to his conquistadors). Since, it was not possible humanely, the Spanish Conquistadors massacred millions.

These massacres cut green house gas emissions. And this is a double-trick. So, in our outrage at the notion that Genghis Khan’s massacres were good, we don’t reject the fraud of Global Warming Is Bad notion.

Red herrings – the challenge ahead

To get around the ‘problem’ of economic stagnation, the West has created artificial ‘crisis’ situations.

  1. Population Explosion
  2. Global Warming and climate change
  3. Civil Wars in Africa
  4. Islamic Demonization and the spectre of Islamic terrorism
  5. Financial meltdowns

These are major diplomatic offensives using media, academia, events and situations to

  • Maintain superior negotiating positions
  • Define the agenda – which usually means non-substantive issues.

Carnegie, I can see ya!

Churchill quote - I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas ... I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes ... It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gases ; gases can be used which would cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror could be used which would cause great inconvenience, and would spread a lively terror and yet leave no serious permanent effect on most of those affected. (Litctman 1995: 519)

Churchill quote - I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas ... I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes ... It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gases ; gases can be used which would cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror could be used which would cause great inconvenience, and would spread a lively terror and yet leave no serious permanent effect on most of those affected. (Litctman 1995: 519)

Champions at Genocide – Taimur Leng and Churchill

December 31, 2010 7 comments
Cartoonist Leslie Illingworth's faithfully reproduces Churchill's views on India. (Cartoon courtesy - cartoons.ac.uk; Published - Daily Mail, 20 May 1947).

Cartoonist Leslie Illingworth's faithfully reproduces Churchill's views on India. (Cartoon courtesy - cartoons.ac.uk; Published - Daily Mail, 20 May 1947).

Hitler believed that the so-called Nordic race, which in his view included Germans and Britons, was destined to rule the world. He sought to emulate, not supplant, the British Empire: the German empire would comprise the Slavic countries to the east. As he saw it, the United Kingdom would retain its colonies but assume the role of Germany’s junior partner in world domination. (read more via Churchill’s Dark Side: Six Questions for Madhusree Mukerjee—By Scott Horton (Harper’s Magazine).

Eat what you can digest

Looking at the lukewarm  coverage, desultory reporting and the general indifference to Madhusree Mukerjee’s masterly work on the Bengal Famine, I am drawn to some intriguing conclusions.

‘Modern’ Indians can be satisfied with perception and propaganda. Easier to digest, I presume. Empirical evidence be damned. Between the Rightist Islamic-atrocities and the Marxist effete-feudal theologies, Indian history suffers. At this rate, India will become another case of ‘forget-nothing-learn-nothing’.

Indian military might

The commentators are very enamored by ‘victims-of-Islamic-atrocities’ narrative – even though India’s military might would have reduced these ‘invasions’ to extensive plunder-pillage-massacre expeditions. In the few cases where these ‘invasions’ were able to consolidate, the regimes were short-lived.

British jaziya tax?

The crippling taxes that these Islāmic ‘invaders’ were able to impose, were less crippling than Western colonial extraction. At the end of the Mughal Raj, India was still a formidable economy. Even after, the Mughal rulers had bloated their treasury to the largest in the world. By the time the British were sent packing, Indians were left struggling for roti-kapda-makaan.

Taimur and Churchill

The Delhi massacre of Taimur Lame, the Mongol looter accounted for less than 2 lakh victims (most estimates are 1,00,00). The Bengal Famine engineered by the British accounted for 40-50 lakh victims (British estimates are 10,00,000-20,00,000). Taimur was a Hindu-hating Islāmic plunderer. Churchill and the British Raj oozed the milk of human kindness? From every pore and orifice of their bodies?

Westernization – the new religion

So enamored with the new religion of ‘Westernization’ are we, that no criticism will be accepted or tolerated. Compared to the ‘co-operation’ with the Islāmic plunderers our ‘collaboration’ with the West is in no way less damaging or in any way less culpable.

Not a welcome message, I guess.

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Eat what you can digest

Looking at the lukewarm coverage, desultory reporting and the general indifference to Madhabi Mukherjee’s masterly work on the Bengal Famine, I am drawn to some intriguing conclusions.

‘Modern’ Indians can be satisfied with perception and propaganda. Easier to digest, I presume. Empirical evidence be damned. Between the Rightist Islamic-atrocities and the Marxist effete-feudal theologies, Indian history suffers. At this rate, India will become another case of ‘forget-nothing-learn-nothing’.

Indian military might

The commentators are very enamored by ‘victims-of-Islamic-atrocities’ narrative – even though India‘s military might would have reduced these ‘invasions’ to extensive plunder-pillage-massacre expeditions. In the few cases where these ‘invasions’ were able to consolidate, the regimes were short-lived.

British jaziya tax?

The crippling taxes that these Islamic ‘invaders’ were able to impose, were less crippling than Western colonial extraction. At the end of the Mughal Raj, India was still a formidable economy. Even after, the Mughal rulers had bloated their treasury to the largest in the world. By the time the British were sent packing, Indians were left struggling for roti-kapda-makaan.

Taimur and Churchill

The Delhi massacre of Taimur Lame, the Mongol looter accounted for less than 2 lakh victims. The Bengal Famine engineered by the British accounted for 40-50 lakh victims. Taimur was a Hindu-hating Islamic plunderer. Churchill and the British Raj oozed the milk of human kindness? From every pore and orifice of their bodies?

Westernization – the new religion

So enamored with the new religion of ‘Westernization’ are we, that no criticism will be accepted or tolerated. Compared to the ‘co-operation’ with the Islamic plunderers our ‘collaboration’ with the West is in no way less damaging or in any way less culpable.

Not a welcome message, I guess.

Shortlink

http://dlvr.it/CQTYh

India Non-Violent Struggle? The Myth

December 9, 2010 7 comments
Blaming political opponents is easier. Naxalism is one such trick. For 250 years, the Indian State has not solved this problem.

Blaming political opponents is easier. Naxalism is one such trick. For 250 years, the Indian State has not solved this problem.

The Madhya Pradesh Government are in consultation with the Centre on the action to be taken regarding Maharajah Pravinchandra Bhan Dev, Ruler of the erstwhile tribal State of Bastar in southern Madhya Pradesh. Among the charges against the Maharajah are that he has been inciting the Adivasis who number about eight lakhs to violence. The situation there is very delicate and calls for careful handling. The Adivasis still look upon the Ruler of Bastar as a representative of the Goddess Danteswari Mata in whose name the Maharaja ruled just as the Travancore Maharajahs ruled in the name of Lord Padmanabha. (read more via The Hindu : Today’s Paper / MISCELLANEOUS : This day that age).

Sense of priority

Bastar’s tribal peoples were never the quiet type. The British discovered that early in the day. The newly minted Indian State also discovered this – as this 50 year-old news-item shows. And that can be said for most tribals across the plateau. The tribal disaffection with the idea of the ‘modern’ State has been a permanent feature. It is all credit to the Unlettered Indian (aka The Indian Voter) who has been able to distinguish between shades of power grab.

Militant Maoists are seeking to using this disaffection for a power-grab. Just like Kashmiri terrorists. To impose a worse form of the ‘modern’ State – the Islāmic type in Kashmir or the maoist type in various tribal lands.

Increasing power and spending is the way of all 'modern' States! (Cartoonist - Daryl Cagle)

Increasing power and spending is the way of all 'modern' States! (Cartoonist - Daryl Cagle)

Sense of priority

These same tribals, now branded as Maoists, Naxalites, organized themselves into many armies and fought British armies for more than a 100 years. For the same reasons. Land grabbing by the State. The Indian State would do well to learn from the British experience. Probably, the modern Indian State does not know its own history – and believes in its own propaganda.

Official history, strangely, does not tell us that between 1800-1947, apart from the Anglo-Indian War of 1857, there were more than 75 battles, skirmishes, revolts, mutinies, involving thousands, up to lakhs of Indians, across India. And more than double that many conspiracies, hold-ups, explosions, bombings, which were not organized. These more than 200 violent actions have been completely glossed over by post-colonial India’s historians. Obviously, more than 200 incidents of violent opposition to British misrule over 150 years (1800-1947) deserves better treatment by official historians. Especially, the people who fought most of these battles.

The tribals.

Sense of priority

The Anglo-Mysore Wars, Anglo-Maratha Wars, the Sikh Wars, the Afghan Wars plagued British misrule in India.The 1857 Anglo-Indian Wars were a landmark in opposition to colonialism. These were the major conflicts that continued to blaze across India.

Apart from these major conflagrations, significant opposition to the British misrule came from Indian forest-dwellers and migratory peoples. The Chotanagpur area (Surguja, Ranchi and Hazaribagh areas) passed to the British from Mughals in 1765. War and famine followed. The Bengal Famine of 1770 (1769-1773) was much written and analysed. The Jharkhand area remained on the boil for nearly 150 years after Buxar.

On the conflict side, the Paharia Revolt (1766-1778), by the hill-dwellers of Rajmahal Hills, soon followed. Santhals, opened a wide front against the British. One of the first of many such campaigns, started operations from the Tilapore forest against the British from 1781-1785 – led by Tilka Manjhi (also spelt Majhi). The dates of Tilkha Majhi’s revolt, vary widely – some continuing till 1799. The Tamar revolt (1783-1789) was another revolt in the modern Jharkhand area which occupied British attention in India – while they were fighting the American colonies. The Anglo-Santhal battles continued for the next 100 years. The Kol (also Khol, Khole) continued these insurrections in early 19th century.

Immediately after Buxar, in 1764 Major Hector Munro, who took charge of “the Company’s army, found the sepoys in a state of open revolt. There is no instinct of obedience in native armies in India” complains the English ‘historian’. In 1780, the East India Company faced revolt in Benares from Raja ‘Cheyt Sing’ who was appointed to “furnish the company with three regular battalions of Seapoys” who instead ‘massacred , in cold blood, thirteen of Capt.Wade’s men, who fell into his hands in the Hospital at Mirzapoor’.

If this was not enough, there were the Sannyasi rebellions (1763-1800).

Sense of priority

The only system that will meet the aspirations of the tribals, the Kashmiris, is something that will give them access to ज़र, zar (gold), जन jan (people) and ज़मीन jameen (land). A system that will guarantee the four essential freedoms – काम kaam (desire, including sexual) अर्थ arth (wealth), मोक्ष moksh (liberty) and धर्मं dharma (justice)

भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra.

Collusion or collaboration? The Think Tank Initiative

November 24, 2010 10 comments

Is the West capturing Indian think-tanks via Think Tank Initiative-an effort to increase policy development capacity.

Number of Government Employees (data and image source - data360.org.). Click for larger image.

Number of US Government Employees (data and image source – data360.org.). Click for larger image.

Bloated bureaucracies

Reluctantly, the West now admits that ‘no one can argue India is a failing or failed state’. With a rising economy, India is being subjected to a tide of aggressive trade and tariff barriers, diplomatic actions and propaganda initiatives. With such non-military aggression, India definitely needs to muscle up its own foreign affairs ministry.

A declining Britain has  15000 Foreign Office employees. India has a cadre, numbering less than 700 of Indian Foreign Service (IFS) rank – compared to 15000 Foreign Office Staff in UK. The Indian IFS-to-Foreign Office employee of Britain may not be an apt comparison – but that is the best indicative data for now.

USA has some 2.0 crore (20 million) employees (local, state and federal) – roughly equal to India’s which has a population, four times the size of US population. And we are not talking of contract staff in the US Govt. who are off-rolls. Experts worry about

the 10.5 million federal contractors and grantees the government’s “hidden workforce” because politicians tend not to mention them when discussing the size of the federal bureaucracy. Yet such workers absorbed nearly $400 billion in federal contracting funds and $100 billion in federal grants in 2005. They often performed vital work such as researching new vaccines, running federal computer systems and making body armor, weapons and meals for the military.

The number of civil servants is increasing, too, up 54,000 since 2002 to 1.9 million workers. That is still fewer than the 2.2 million civil servants on the federal payroll in 1990, at the end of the Cold War.

The US foreign service comprises of some 11,500 Foreign Service employees 7,400 Civil Service employees 31,000 Foreign Service National employees  – totaling to about 50,000.

A remarkable case comes from Ireland. In a country of 45 lakhs, some 3 lakhs are highly paid government employees. An estimated 69% are in the 15-64 years of employable age – leaving us with a workforce of 30 lakhs people. Fully 10% of the Irish workforce is in the Government. With such a bloated bureaucracy, apart from bankruptcy, what else can happen in Ireland?

Been there and done that! The Think Tanks are a known devil. Indians love this unknown angel.

Been there and done that! The Think Tanks are a known devil. Indians love this unknown angel.

Brains and brawn

These small numbers of IFS bureaucrats have run a tight ship. At this stage I will take recourse to Lant Pritchett and his discussion paper on ‘India-The Flailing State’. Pritchett thinks that India ‘runs’ due to the ‘incredibly spectacular intelligence, cleverness, and competence of the top tiers of the Indian government’.

Indian bureaucracy, of which these 600+ IFS diplomats are a part of, are let us assume, better than the British 15,000 – or the American diplomatic corps or Chinese 50,000 foreign office employees. For instance, Pritchett notes that the World Bank, which usually has

Setting up a think tank. All you need is some devious money. Cartoonist - Wiley Miller.

Setting up a think tank. All you need is some devious money. Cartoonist – Wiley Miller.

staff of high quality with international expertise, was by and large matched or over-matched at nearly every level by their counter-parts at the corresponding levels in the government. The brains of the Indian state can formulate excellent policies and programs in nearly every domain. The head is so strong it can even remain in teetering control of the mountain of official paper work … (from Is India a Flailing State? Detours on the Four Lane Highway to Modernization Lant Pritchett Harvard Kennedy School.)

Red herrings – the challenge ahead

To get around the ‘problem’ of economic stagnation, the West has created artificial ‘crisis’ situations.

  1. Population Explosion
  2. Global Warming and climate change
  3. Civil Wars in Africa
  4. Islamic Demonization and the spectre of Islamic terrorism
  5. Financial meltdowns

These are major diplomatic offensives using media, academia, events and situations, to

  • Maintain superior negotiating positions
  • Define the agenda – which usually means non-substantive issues.

But for an India to match the trade and tariff barriers, propaganda and diplomatic offensives, calls for more resources.

The inner working of think tanks. Cartoonist – Wiley Miller.

The inner working of think tanks. Cartoonist – Wiley Miller.

Distortion of outcomes

Complicating the current situation is the US currency mechanism, called USCAP (by 2ndlook) which favors selected US allies with advantageous exchange rates.

Using outsiders

I am all for a thin Government. Now, if that must not change, what must? Judicious use of ‘outsiders’? What Americans call think-tanks. India has a few think-tanks – and these Indian think-tanks turn out competent, workman-type of reports.

Using Western constructs, ideology (and funds) as a start point, these Indian think-tanks believe that they are not effective due to funding constraints, for one. The other allegation that these think-tanks make is how Indian government and bureaucracy does not take them or their output seriously.

Collaboration and cooperation

This may be the opportunity and opening that Indian media (the largest in the world, quantitatively) can use to improve their standing in the global market.

Indian media caters largely to the domestic consumer for one and the Indian diaspora for another. In spite of its size, high growth rate and healthy financial position, Indian media is not thinking global.

Indian media and the academia can change this. Collaborative work, supplementing GoI’s output can be the direction for all three constituents – media, academia, and the bureaucracy to break out of the current pecking order.

Benign designs?

The manner of funding Indian NGOs by external sources, especially the West, isnot benign anymore. More than 33 lakh NGOs operate in India, with foreign funding that is estimated at US$4 billion. This figure is double the official Government figure that is based on declared receipts, which reports say, are under-declared.

In times to come

Is the West aiming to capture these Indian ‘think-tanks’? The promotion of Western Climate Change agenda by Amartya Sen, under the auspices of the Aspen Institute India is indication of times to come.

The lure of ‘foreign’ sabbaticals to Indians is reducing. An over-valued rupee has diluted the perceived value of foreign junkets. Better opportunities at home has decreased the attractiveness of Western posting. With increasing opportunities in India, some of usual tools used earlier have been blunted.

A new idea!

How then is the West aiming to ‘influence’ Indian policy ‘development’? The Think Tank Initiative is an ambitious South-Asia wide effort to increase policy development capacity. Run by

five international donors, coordinated by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), an ambitious South Asia-wide effort to increase policy development capacity in the subcontinent, through the “Think Tank Initiative” (TTI). The donors, contributing a total pool of $110 million globally, include the Hewlett and Gates Foundations and the British and Dutch governments.

 Fishing in the thinktank (Cartoon Date - Mar 29, 2009; from the Lincoln Journal Star; Courtesy - nealo.com - Cartoon by Neal Obermeyer). Click for larger picture.

Fishing in the thinktank (Cartoon Date – Mar 29, 2009; from the Lincoln Journal Star; Courtesy – nealo.com – Cartoon by Neal Obermeyer). Click for larger picture.

The first salvo was fired by Kanti Bajpai who wrote about the ‘few’ Indian think-tanks in April 2010. This was soon followed by Sanjaya Baru – earlier spokesman and media advisor to the Indian Prime Minister (between May 2004-July 2008). He espoused the cause of foreign funding of Indian think tanks. Prof. PN Bhagwati joined the issue with Sanjaya Baru, and suggested that Indian Govt. can depend on NRIs – instead foreign funding.

By the way, we are in august company. This initiative has reached out to China, too!


 

How was Churchill different from Hitler …

October 30, 2010 3 comments

How was Churchill different from Hitler? A mercenary mass-media and a ‘captive’ academia distort the picture!

Churchill blamed Indians for the Gret Bengal Famine - After all, why did Indians have to breed like rabbits ...? he asked.

Churchill blamed Indians for the Great Bengal Famine - After all, why did Indians have to breed like rabbits ...? he asked. Click for larger image.

Decades of planning

Emerging nations (India is, hopefully, re-emerging), at some point, will confront militant and aggressive powers, who have used major massacres to secure their ends. Apart from well documented and known military massacres , there are equally effective massacres – the Bengal Famine of 1943 being a prime example.

Like much of Western history, the British (Lord Willingdon, Neville Chamberlain, Montagu Norman, Winston Churchill – as the Chancellor of the Exchequer) executed a scorched earth policy in India from 1920-1945 – culminating in the The Great Bengal Famine.

After all what is a brown life worth?

A propaganda victory

Some three million Indians died in the famine of 1943. The majority of the deaths were in Bengal. In a shocking new book, Churchill’s Secret War, journalist Madhusree Mukherjee blames Mr Churchill’s policies for being largely responsible for one of the worst famines in India’s history. It is a gripping and scholarly investigation into what must count as one of the most shameful chapters in the history of the Empire.

The scarcity, Mukherjee writes, was caused by large-scale exports of food from India for use in the war theatres and consumption in Britain – India exported more than 70,000 tonnes of rice between January and July 1943, even as the famine set in. This would have kept nearly 400,000 people alive for a full year. Mr Churchill turned down fervent pleas to export food to India citing a shortage of ships – this when shiploads of Australian wheat, for example, would pass by India to be stored for future consumption in Europe. As imports dropped, prices shot up and hoarders made a killing. Mr Churchill also pushed a scorched earth policy – which went by the sinister name of Denial Policy – in coastal Bengal where the colonisers feared the Japanese would land. So authorities removed boats (the lifeline of the region) and the police destroyed and seized rice stocks. (via How Churchill ‘starved’ India.).

Pictures of the hungry and dying in Bengal during the famine.

Pictures of the hungry and dying in Bengal during the famine. Click for larger image.

Systematic Britons

They implemented a series of economic and administrative measures that killed millions in the Bengal Famine, would impoverish India – and sustain the empire. Between 1920-1945, the British manipulated exchange rates and trade to impoverish the Indians. Food grain prices rose sharply on supply disruptions during WW2. Indians had no financial reserves. 40 lakhs Indians died in the resultant Bengal Famine.

Savage response

After the fall of Singapore, and the rapid Japanese advance, with Subhash Chandra Bose in the vicinity, a revolt by Bengal would have had catastrophic effect on the colonial administration. Howard Fast, in his novel ‘The Pledge’ speculated that the Bengal Famine was a deliberate creation – possibly to weaken the local population. Subsequent research has confirmed that this ‘theory’ of  deliberate famine.

No bodies ... no famine ... What famine ... ? The British efficiently disposed of the bodies in Kolktta. (Picture by life.com; courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.).

No bodies ... no famine ... What famine ... ? The British efficiently disposed of the bodies in Kolktta. (Picture by life.com; courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger image

Caught in a pincer movement, between Subhash Bose’s trained and armed soldiers and Gandhiji’s unarmed force, the British Raj responded savagely. With massive additions to the Indian police force.

The British were better …

Under dubious licences and restrictions, the British Raj turned Bengal into a huge concentration camp. Like the Spanish had done in Cuba, nearly 80 years ago. General Valeriano Weyler, “The Butcher,” was sent from Spain to stamp out the independence movement in Cuba. He created modern history’s first concentration camps. Hundreds of thousands of men women and children were put into concentration camps. In Havana city alone, 52,000 people died.

Afraid that Bengal would fall to Subhash Bose, Burma’s rice crop was barricaded from Bengal. To cut Bengal from Burmese rice, Indian traders in Burma were hounded out. Grain trucks were not allowed to move into Bengal. Without Burmese rice, on which Bengal depended, an estimated 40-50 lakh people in Bengal died.

All that was left of Indians - Skin and bones. Why did Indians have to breed like rabbits? asked Churchill. (Picture by life.com; courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger image

All that was left of Indians - Skin and bones. Why did Indians have to breed like rabbits? asked Churchill. (Picture by life.com; courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger image

The Bengal Burma link of the ages was broken. Chettiar money lenders were thrown out of Burma. From being a granary of Asia, Burma started declining – and there was no rice for exports. Result – The Bengal Famine of 1943. Tally – 40-50 lakh deaths. As Gideon Polya has pointed out, Australian sheep have lower mortality rates.

Dignity of death

In his study (Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation By Amartya Sen) about The Great Bengal Famine, Amartya Sen highlights that “…for every dead woman there were nearly two dead men …” Sir Charles Elliot Famine Commissioner in Mysore in 1876 the general belief about Indian famines that “all authorities seem agreed that women succumb to famine less easily than men.”

The end of extraction

After WW2, Churchill very much wanted the option of squeezing the Brown man at least a little more. Whatever little there was left of the Brown man after the Great Bengal Famine of 1943.

A womans collects fallen grains of food from the road. (Picture by life.com; courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger image

A womans collects fallen grains of food from the road. (Picture by life.com; courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger image

Clement Attlee pointed out that there was nothing left to squeeze. Attlee thought that the cost of squeezing was greater than the value of the extract. After Montagu Norman, Churchill, Lord Willingdon, Neville Chamberlain had finished with the Great Bullion Scam against India from 1925-1945. After the war was over and the Brown man was used in Africa and Europe. They let us go – and allowed us to rule ourselves.

How can we ever repay this debt?

Hitler was never alone

Hitler’s biggest mistake – he lost the war.

The genocide with which his regime was charged with was also carried out against the Native Americans in the USA, the Australian aborigines, in Congo by the Belgians.

Post colonial Governments in Kenya and India have ignored the cover-up of the millions killed by the colonial rulers – in the Mau Mau operations in Kenya or the 1857 War in India.

Bodies were disposed as efficiently as food was denied in Bengal. ((Picture by life.com; courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger image.

Bodies were disposed as efficiently as food was denied in Bengal. ((Picture by life.com; courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger image.

While Hitler killed millions (some 5-6 millions) in his concentration camps, Britain killed a similar number in  Bengal. Britain wreaked havoc in India by creating The Great Bengal Famine. Some 40-50 lakh Indians died. Hitler rained the Holocaust on the Jews. Some 50-60 lakh Jews died.

Same difference.

What’s the difference

How were German concentration camps different from Bengal-as-a-concentration camp? There was one significant difference.

The British were kind enough not to use Zyklon gas – which would have killed Indians faster. Instead Indians died, slow, horrible deaths, over a period of 2 years. Unlike Jews, who were killed quickly.  The British were without doubt the more humane murderers – compared to the Germans.


English – The language of progress?

September 30, 2010 3 comments

India is losing business due to loyalty to English Language. We can’t do business with the French or Germans, Spanish or the Arabs. Swahili and Bantu, the Chinese and Japanese are out of bounds to us.

Mr. Feisal Ali (feisal.ali@gmail.com) contributed photograhs (sic) - Khwaja Mohammed Azam, a member of the Indian National Congress based in Ludhiana; friend of Jawaharlal Nehru; picture taken in 1947 when Nehru visited Ludhiana and stayed at my Khwaja Mohammed Azam's residence. (Pic courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger picture.

Mr. Feisal Ali (feisal.ali@gmail.com) contributed photograhs (sic) – Khwaja Mohammed Azam, a member of the Indian National Congress based in Ludhiana; friend of Jawaharlal Nehru; picture taken in 1947 when Nehru visited Ludhiana and stayed at Khwaja Mohammed Azam’s residence. (Pic courtesy – oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger picture.

On 15th August 1947, when Nehru made his ‘Tryst with destiny’ speech, he made a choice for India favoring English.

Status quo is not choice

At that time, an Indian economy in tatters and technologically stagnant, it was necessary choice.

To stay with the choice, 70 years later, is an expensive choice based on legacy and ease.

For instance, India’s recent success with the software industry, has been hobbled due to over-reliance on English language.

In the last 60 years, the issue of English language has acquired a tone of chauvinism, a smell of regionalism and parochialism. Over the last 24 months, 2ndlook has been making out a case against English language. Not on chauvinistic appeal but rooted in economic logic, on political advantage, on long-term benefit. To move forward, not on legacy, but by choice.

It was rather good to see this post linked below, which echoed the 2ndlook logic partly. Where this post missed out was how India software success also failed due to English language!

All the same, knowledge of English is probably an over-rated virtue. As the crisis over the Commonwealth Games has demonstrated, it cannot act as a guarantor of execution ability, efficiency or even honesty. Increasingly, it is becoming an alibi for the lack of enablers within the Indian system for talent to rise, irrespective of linguistic provenance and patronage. India makes much of the fact that its English-speaking population base has been turned to profitable use in the vast information technology (IT) and back office industry. In many ways, IT defines the dynamic new India. But surely independent India’s genius must go beyond leveraging a colonial heritage. (via Kanika Datta: The language of progress).

The Elite is using tax-payer money to create passports for their families to 'escape' to the English-speaking West.  |  Jerry Holbert cartoon on Monday, February 9, 2009; image source & courtesy - townhall.com

The Elite is using tax-payer money to create passports for their families to ‘escape’ to the English-speaking West. | Jerry Holbert cartoon on Monday, February 9, 2009; image source & courtesy – townhall.com

What is India missing out on …

India’s biggest economic success in the last 20 years has been the maturing of the software industry. That has also been its biggest failure.

Between 70%-80% of Indian software business comes from two countries – USA and UK. English speaking countries – both of them. Total software business to these two countries is about US$35-40 billion – out of total Indian software exports of US$50 billion. UK alone contributes nearly 60% of total EU software business to India.

India is losing business opportunities due to India’s loyalty to The Great British Gift To India – English Language. We can’t do business with the French or Germans, Spanish or the Arabic speaking world. The Chinese and Japanese are out of bounds to us – as are the Swahili and the Bantu.

English - The language of progress? Cartoon published in Times Of India on 14th December 1958 - Fifty years earlier. Cartoon by RK Laxman; republished in 2008.

English – The language of progress? Cartoon published in Times Of India on 14th December 1958 – Fifty years earlier. Cartoon by RK Laxman; republished in 2008.

In the past few years …

Like an earlier post pointed out, the lack of language skills has stopped Indians from exploiting the Japanese opportunity. This includes the software business. Same story in Europe also – major opportunities overlooked and ignored. RBI in the meanwhile has been complaining how India’s own IT players have been pretty useless in building a software platform for financial inclusion of India’s poor in the formal economic sector.

This is also true of other business opportunities also. Our ‘success’ with English blinds us to the bigger and larger opportunities that stare at us. And the first thing that we need to do is to diversify our language basket. But with our bankruptcy of ideas on restructuring Indian education system or the vested interest banging begging bowls in front of the Indian tax payer!

India missed out on Japanese investments, technology and business – due to a well-cultivated tunnel vision about English language (amongst many other things). Indian loyalty to English language exceeds the loyalty of the British themselves to their language – and we refuse to see how this affects us.

Is it due to the apparent Indian decision to tie its future to the sinking ship of the Anglo Saxon Bloc?

The Indian 'elephant' bows to English language, legacy and red-tape.  |  Cartoon by David Simonds; courtesy - guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 July 2010 00.06 BST.

The Indian ‘elephant’ bows to English language, legacy and red-tape. | Cartoon by David Simonds; courtesy – guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 July 2010 00.06 BST.

What India needs …

India should set up 7 specialized universities. One for Chinese and Japanese studies. Another university needs to focus on Franco-German language skills. A third must devote itself to creating a centre of excellence in Swahili and Bantu. A fourth must address the Spanish and Portuguese language markets. The fifth must address the SE Asian languages of Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. A sixth university must address the Russian and Slavic languages. Last and definitely, not the least, the seventh university must create a core of qualified and skilled people using Persian and Arabic languages.

This is, of course, apart from Indian language universities.

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