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How governments drive tobacco trade

Tobacco – a colonial addiction

Six companies and sundry State monopolies drive global cigarette consumption. These six companies derive more than US$100 billion dollars in revenues, globally. For many years they were advertising industries largest customers.These six companies are headquartered at former European imperial powers (UK, France, Spain), USA and Japan.

Four tobacco companies and State monopolies control global tobacco trade. (Image source - http://www.tobaccoatlas.org). Click for interactive source map.

Four tobacco companies and State monopolies control global tobacco trade. (Image source - http://www.tobaccoatlas.org). Click for interactive source map.

In recent years, dozens of cigarette manufacturing companies have consolidated under four major private corporations: Altria/Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, and Imperial Tobacco. State monopolies are also major cigarette manufacturers. The largest state monopoly is China National Tobacco Corporation, with a global cigarette market share that exceeds that of any private company. Because the European Union intends to restrict further mergers and acquisitions that increase a tobacco company’s market-share dominance, industry consolidation trends may have peaked.

The tobacco industry includes some of the most powerful transnational corporate entities in the world. Tobacco conglomerates have diversified into many other industries, such as financial services, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, real estate, hotels, restaurants, communications, and apparel, among others. The tobacco industry is expected to continue increasing in size and power.

The global tobacco market, valued at $378 billion, grew by 4.6 percent in 2007. By the year 2012, the value of the global tobacco market is projected to increase another 23 percent, reaching $464.4 billion. If Big Tobacco were a country, it would have the 23rd-largest gross domestic product in the world, surpassing the GDP of countries like Norway and Saudi Arabia. (via Tobacco Atlas Online – Tobacco Companies.).

India’s small production base is a combination of two aspects. Indian social inertia against addictive substances and the Government on the other. Indian cigarette business, small as it is, was put in Indian hands during Indira Gandhi’s socialist days. BAT lost control of ITC, which was placed in the hands of professional Indian managers.

Cigarette production in major markets (Graphics by timesofindia.com.). Click for larger image.

Cigarette production in major markets (Graphics by timesofindia.com.). Click for larger image.

Chinese State Tobacco monopoly

The complicity of governments is very similar to the modern expansion in prostitution – especially in the West.

Or Western powers pushing opium in China in the nineteenth century. After the opium experience of the Chinese, when Western trading houses, under State protection, using the garb of ‘free trade’, made China into the largest consumer of opium.

The Chinese Govt. has replaced opium with tobacco.

The second secret of the tobacco business is to be dominant in purchasing and cornering tobacco stock. For cornering tobacco stocks, Big Tobacco depends on Central Banks’ support – aka State support. For instance, ITC (and other major global tobacco purchasers) in India has a major presence in Guntur, where Indian tobacco trade is headquartered.

ITC’s over-sized chequebook buys it market dominance.

The Indian tobacco profile

India is the third largest producer of tobacco – after China and USA. India ranks 6th as a tobacco exporting nation, as most of tobacco in India is consumed by domestic consumers. Tobacco consumption in India follows traditional patterns, as a non-industrial product – spanning chewing tobacco, bidis (tobacco rolled in leaves), hookah, clay pipes and snuff. Indian traditional tobacco usage consumes between 75%-85% of total tobacco cultivation.

Indian tobacco consumption and control follows consumption patterns of psychotropic drugs. All the major drugs in the world came of India – opium is afeem, khuskhus पोस्त; cannabis is charas, ganja, marijuana, hashish. Heroin is a derivative of opium. Even, as Indians are significant (legal) producers, they are not high on consumption lists.

However, drugs never became a big problem in India. Unlike in China, or in Medieval Middle East (when drug crazed criminals called hashishis became assassins). All these drugs were introduced to the world by India – with records going back to 1000 BC. Similarly family and peer pressure plays an important role in controlling the less dangerous form of traditional tobacco usage in India. In modern times, Indian gold smuggling was funded by carriage and export of drugs.

Cigarette production consumes less than one-fourth of India’s tobacco production.

Until two years ago, non-filter cigarettes comprised 30% of the total cigarette consumption. But with an increase in excise duty on non-filter cigarettes from Rs 168 to Rs 819 per thousand from March 1, 2008, the demand for low-priced filter cigarettes has risen At present, the excise duty on a pack of 10 filter cigarettes is Rs 8.19, and VAT Rs 1.05. Thus, taxes total Rs 10 per pack. Illicit cigarettes are sold for less than this amount, leading the government to believe that either registered cigarette units are evading duty or foreign-made cigarettes are flooding the market from Myanmar and the UK The business of low-cost cigarettes is big in the country, especially in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab. (via Article Window).

The expansion of manufacturing in cigarettes globally (see chart) is much like the housing scam in US and Europe. Banks made huge advances, created a bubble, and are now busy foreclosing these loans. The modern myth of Republic Democracy at work.

How maya works in real life.

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.

Pakistan – Blackmail as State Policy

March 6, 2011 1 comment

How American puppets in Middle-East have kept their people backwards ? (Image courtesy - venturacountystar.com). Click for larger image.

United States is being subjected to an old-fashioned protection racket by Pakistan: pay up or things could go bad for you. Those making money out of extortion and blackmail always come back for more. It’s a measure of the US’s waning global strength that it seems to have no option other than to keep paying.US is paying for Pak protection racket | By SHAUN GREGORY |

Pakistan’s DNA

Jinnah held the entire sub-continent to ransom. After 200 conflicts in 150 years, as the British with their backs to the wall, were walking away, Jinnah became a spoiler. The hour of triumph turned into moment of tragedy. A country born out of this blackmail, has now formalized blackmail as State Policy.

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.

The cost of American attention

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment
President Gerald R. Ford and the Shah of Iran confer over a map during the Shah's May 1975 visit to Washington, D.C. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sits in the background. (Photo courtesy of Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library)

President Gerald R. Ford and the Shah of Iran confer over a map during the Shah's May 1975 visit to Washington, D.C. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger sits in the background. (Photo courtesy of Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library)

Gratitude – the heaviest burden

Policy mavens in India, the print and visual media, all ‘gratefully’ acknowledge US role in the de-hyphenation of India and Pakistan. Indians have also become grateful to the USA, for ‘allowing’ India to play a role in Afghanistan.

So, India was at pains to justify its own policy, when Obama called on India to re-look at support to the regimes in Iran and Myanmar (Obama still calls it Burma).

India would do well to look at some facts and history. I will not use the indefensible and well-known US record in Pakistan.

Look back in anger

Instead, let us look at Iran itself. Shri Obamaji, can you without cringing, recall American involvement in Iran? Iran, under the Shah of Iran? A more totalitarian and repressive regime the people of Iran have not seen. A regime that the US installed, supported, promoted and shoved down the throats of Iranians.

Regime change

Are you forgetting Chile-General Pinochet, Bhai Obama? The military junta of Chile, that the USA supported, promoted, aided, propped up – and installed. After murdering the democratically elected President of Chile. Hint – his name was Salvador Allende. Choosing between Chile’s generals, the Shah of Iran and the Myanmarese junta is a no-brainer. Lessons we don’t need, Shri Obama? At least, not from America!

India may soon have a nuclear China, Pakistan, Iran at its borders. (Cartoonist - Patrick Chappatte in "International Herald Tribune"; cartoon courtesy - sinotrading.us). Click for larger image.

India may soon have a nuclear China, Pakistan, Iran at its borders. (Cartoonist - Patrick Chappatte in "International Herald Tribune"; cartoon courtesy - sinotrading.us). Click for larger image.

Oh! And by the way

You should know something about Afghanistan. Something which your State Department probably has not informed you.

India and Afghanistan was India.Till the British Raj lost Afghanistan.

Americans and Obama do no favor to India by accepting India’s interest, role and influence in Afghanistan. We Indians still remember that Afghanistan was an essential part off India – as do the Afghans. Without taking recourse to Ashoka, Mauryans and the Gupta kingdoms, which ruled over Afghanistan. Indian TV shows still rule over Afghanistan.

From 14th-18th century, it was the Afghan Indians who ruled over North India and Delhi. Ranjit Singh’s Sikh kingdom ruled over Afghanistan till about 170 years ago.

Coming back to Iran

Any regime is better than the American-installed Shah’s misrule. The reactionary Islamic regime in Iran is a result of the US-sponsored nightmare under the Shah. Some 30 years ago, Ayatollah Khomeini, returning from exile, seemed like deliverance, after the Shah fled Iran.

The cost of American attention and lessons of Pakistan are not lost. The people of Iran, I am sure, will do well without American attention. I have no doubt that the pendulum of politics in Iran will swing towards sanity and balance – soon. Unlike Pakistan, an American client-State.

Americans and Bourbons – learn nothing , forget nothing

What I seriously doubt is the American ability to learn or forget. The USA cannot forget Haiti, or learn from the Cuba. Even 200 years after Haiti’s independence. And a 100 years after America failed to ‘purchase’ Cuba.

India’s success – the race for credit!

November 9, 2010 11 comments

With India’s recovery from economic devastation of colonialism now irreversible, many are standing up to claim credit.

A mercenary mass-media and a 'captive' intelligentsia distort the picture! (Cartoon by Jeff Stahler).

A mercenary mass-media and a 'captive' intelligentsia distort the picture! (Cartoon by Jeff Stahler).

End of WWII

Try imagining the Bretton Woods conference. Of the less than 50 countries, three stand out.

Britain – with an empire on which the sun never set.  At the end of WW2, Britain was a superpower, its huge colonial Empire intact – apart from the massive debt that it owed the US. With Germany defeated and Hitler dead, Italy in shambles and Mussolini hanged, Japan nuked into submission, Britain sat at the head of ‘high tables’ in the post-WW2 world deciding the fate of the nations – with its partner in crime, the US of A.

The US itself was financially dominant (with 25000 tons of gold reserves), militarily effective (with atomic bombs) and industrially strong (unaffected by the WWII).

The wreckage that was India

India on the other hand, was an abandoned wreckage, impoverished by 100 years of colonialism, millions killed by an indifferent British Raj during the Partition of India (giving rise to a Pakistan), The Great Bengal Famine.

Poverty, hunger, disease, with social distortion and destruction on an unprecedented scale in world history stalked the land.

Is corruption an Indian monopoly?

Is corruption an Indian monopoly?

To the Indo-skeptical US and UK, add a few thousand Muslim secessionists, claiming to represent nearly 10 crore Muslims!

Regardless of accountability, contribution or acceptance, Muslims secessionists were “much too conscious of their erstwhile political, intellectual, and cultural superiority to be able to accept their new position.” Muslim leadership saw themselves as in a position to demand an “equal share of the power which would befit and be commensurate with their status as the erstwhile rulers of India.”

Cut to the 21st century

‘Great’ Britain is close to bankrupt Britain – with a gross national debt (public, private, corporate debt) equal to 500% of GDP. The decline  of US is palpable – though the imagined demise is at least a few decades away. Pakistan’s implosion is happening in real-time and apparent. India has come out in the last 60 years – stronger and greater.

For every Indian success there are many, in India and abroad, who give and take credit. No one, but no one, wants to compare the Indian politician to his global peers who have presided over the fate of ‘superior’ nations. The following report by an ‘interested’ party is no secret – but a matter of prejudice and intellectual baggage that needs to examined.

Lazy minds, mercenary media (Cartoon by Don Addis.).

Lazy minds, mercenary media (Cartoon by Don Addis.).

Seriously

India Habitat Centre has rarely witnessed such a gathering … line of cars waiting to gain entry snaked around the road and outside the Stein Auditorium, the queue of Delhi’s intelligentsia was long and winding … never before had such a huge crowd spontaneously turned up  – The occasion was the Penguin Annual lecture –  the speaker, Ram Guha … I looked around me and was amused to see that I appeared to be the only politician present. [for a] lecture [that]was intensely political namely “India’s political tradition — those who made it and those who did not” – also the platform to launch Guha’s new book, Makers of Modern India, an anthology of writings of those who have been, according to Guha, the primary “makers of modern India”.

[As it progressed]… an eminent writer in the audience loudly commented that the leaders of today referred to by Guha had not only failed to read these seminal works, but if they read them, could probably not understand them … this admittedly eminent writer … was entirely serious. His cynical dismissal of the entire political class shocked me to the core. What was worse, the entire audience sniggered at the remark … can [anyone] be considered to have an open mind — be it a good writer or sociologist — if he simply dismisses the entire political class with one demeaning remark.

In a democracy are only politicians corrupt? What about bureaucrats, judges, teachers, lawyers, policemen, doctors, nurses, bus conductors? Are not even some journalists and media houses and writers corrupt? What, therefore, gave this eminent writer the right to snigger crudely at senior political leaders? How did he think politicians get elected? By being stupid? In fact, electoral politics is the most intellectually and physically challenging of occupations, as any elected MP will tell you. Besides, you live in a fish bowl, get kicked out every five years and have to seek re-election … (read more via The leaders’ legacy | Deccan Chronicle | 2010-11-08; parts excized for brevity; text within […] supplied for clarity).

The World Of Indian Politicians

The World Of Indian Politicians

Filmi Stereotypes

Till 1980s, the popular Hindi filmi villain was the caricatured businessman. Madhuri Dixit’s movies and the 90’s liberalization, killed this stereotype.

Possibly, the massacre of politicians in ‘Inquilab’ ( a 1980’s film starring Amitabh Bachchan) initiated the change of villain from the businessman to the politician.

Today, a popular profession for villains in Hindi films is politics.

Behind Indian Success

Is this forward march of India an accident ? Or a happy co-incidence? Black magic, perhaps? Not forgetting credit to The West? After all, the the West is confident that modern Indian success is due to Western contribution? Of course, it begs a question as to why this has not happened in any other country.

Or why the West could not arrest its own decline?

Is the secret of India's success like the Indian rope trick?

Is the secret of India's success like the Indian rope trick?

The Wonderous NRI

We must not forget the NRI contribution – especially the Westernized NRIs (like Lord Meghnad Desai who wants to be an Indian now). Possibly, the only people who should not get any credit is are the desi, home grown Indians – and Indian politicians.


Escape to the West @Indian Taxpayers’ cost

October 31, 2010 Leave a comment
An intimate connection with the country: Nehru with Kamala Nehru (to his right) and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit and other family members. Photo: The HIndu Photo Library

An intimate connection with the country: Nehru with Kamala Nehru (to his right) and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit and other family members. Photo: The HIndu Photo Library

An incident towards the end of his life illustrates the strength of his involvement. The family was at the breakfast table at Teen Murti House. A visiting nephew said the country was in a mess, its problems would never be solved and he, for one, was getting out to settle abroad. Nehru who had remained silent suddenly spoke in a rage, ‘Go where you like, but if I am born a thousand times, a thousand times I will be born an Indian.’ (via The Hindu : FEATURES / SUNDAY MAGAZINE : The family perspective).

Chickens come home to roost

After pushing English language, Western Socialism, Soviet Style-Economic Planning, American Technology, what else could have happened in the Nehru household.

For many decades now, the ruling elite in India has created ways and means to ensure that they have ‘passport’ to the West – so that they could ‘escape to the West.’

The elite has captured to system - and are making the poor pay for their 'needs'!

The elite has captured to system - and are making the poor pay for their 'needs'!

 

Not that it matters

It is not the loss of these people to the West that hurts. It is the blatant abuse of tax-payer money to create a system that churns out products that are acceptable to the West. Not the needs of the people who pay for the system.

What rankles is when the NRIs and the RNIs (Resident Non-Indians) when they gang up to exploit the ‘desis’ – and then turn around and condemn and envy the same desis who have supported them, lauded their success – without envy and toiled for their own success.

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