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One ‘Birather’ to Another?

June 1, 2012 2 comments

Back in 70s, the new-found power by the Islāmic Middle East made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity? What now …

The State of Public Policy  in Pakistan  |  Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; Source & courtesy: Pakistan Today  |  Click for image.

The State of Public Policy in Pakistan | Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; Source & courtesy: Pakistan Today | Click for image.

Oil wealth

The oil riches, glitzy infrastructure boom of the Middle East, after the 1973 Oil Embargo, had a profound effect in Indian Muslims. The new-found power by the Islamic Middle East made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity.

For the general Indian, the Middle East was the answer to the slow Indian economy. In an economy of shortages, with an over-valued Indian currency, the Dubai allure was irresistible. It was the passport to wealth and abundance.

Jannat lost?

It took another 10-15 years for Indians to discover the underbelly of Dubai.

To an average Indian, the prospect of slow career growth in Dubai, limited growth opportunities, the discrimination between the Western expatriates and Indians (and others) had a telling – and chilling effect. The Indian-Muslim, expecting a warm welcome in sandy climes, found a sneer instead.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy - time.com). Click for larger image.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy – time.com). Click for larger image.

Unfortunate victims in this labour-import by the Middle East, many are in the Saudi Arabia. With a rich Welfare State, high disposable incomes

THE presence of a housemaid in a Saudi house has become inevitable. If this inevitability is not because of her services, then it is because of the need to imitate others. This is a fact that everybody knows. The need for housemaids is connected to the ways Saudis live — women go to work, responsibilities for the social and educational welfare of children, men failing to help with house duties, few day-care facilities for children, large and spacious homes, extended families and increasing numbers of children. The net result is that the majority of families need to have housemaids. The truth of the matter is that some of us need more than one housemaid. (via Saudis and domestic help — ‘maid’ for each other).

This above extract on Middle East does not utter the word India even once – or the abuse of these maids – as another story, from the same publication shows.

But now the 40-year-old woman says her sponsor stopped paying her four months ago and then sold her to a labor placement agency in Riyadh for SR13,000 (about $3,460).

After promising to pay her the back salary, the agency sent her to work for another Saudi family without paying her the promised sum. And she claims her new employer, a Saudi woman, is treating her poorly, such as not paying her a salary, keeping her locked up so she won’t flee and denying her medical attention.

“I’m sick and this woman won’t give me even a Panadol, and she has not given me salary,” Beevi told Arab News.

“There are three other maids here, too: an Indonesian, a Sri Lankan, and one from Morocco. They have not been paid their salaries either.”

If the allegations are true then a number of Saudi labor laws have been violated by Beevi’s first sponsor, the labor placement agent and the new employer.

Besides the obvious illegal practice of not paying a salary, a sponsor cannot sell off an employee to a third party agent. That third party agent is likewise prohibited by law from then hiring out a worker under somebody else’s sponsorship.

The new employer has also broken the law by taking in a worker who is not under her sponsorship. Beevi says she is still under the sponsorship of her first sponsor.

Beevi has complained to the Federation of Kerala Associations in Saudi Arabia (FOKASA), which has filed a petition on her behalf to the Indian Embassy in Riyadh. (via Housemaids bought, sold like chattels | ArabNews).

Welcome to the party

But for Pakistanis the story has been different.

Brought up on a history that glorified Mohammed Bin Qasim, Pakistan’s official history hitched itself to Muslim ‘invaders’ and ‘conquerors’ of ‘idol-worshiping’ India. Even invoked on cricket fields, the Mohammed Bin Qasim narrative gained further strength in Pakistan with the Oil Boom in the Middle East.

From 1975-2005, as India slowly and inexorably pulled away and ahead of Pakistan, this narrative started sounding rather tinny. Further, the plateau and decline of the Oil Boom in the Middle East, diluted the power of this narrative.

What of Pakistani perception of treatment of Pakistanis by the Saudis?

Not very complimentary if this report is anything to go by.

RAWALPINDI: Airport Security Force personnel at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport allegedly entered into an altercation with the military attaché of the Saudi embassy on Thursday, after he refused to cooperate during security checks and abused Pakistan and called Pakistani officials his “servants”.

According to officials from the ASF, Colonel Sukhari, who was meant to fly out to Riyadh, refused to get a routine body check and started quarrelling with the security personnel at the airport.

The Saudi embassy official became abusive and attacked the ASF officials, say eye witnesses. He also abused Pakistanis in general and called them “servant class,” said eyewitnesses.

An official from the Airport Police said the Saudi official started the fight by slapping an ASF official, identified as Idrees. (via Refusing to cooperate: ‘ASF men rough up Saudi embassy official’ – The Express Tribune).

Not surprising this ‘official’ history attracts sarcasm and derision in Pakistan.

For instance this tweet.

https://twitter.com/majorlyprofound/status/208440711551524864


Oil was not well in Hyderabad

October 27, 2011 5 comments

Middle East oil riches moved Indians Muslims also towards ‘purer’ Islam.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy - time.com). Click for larger image.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy - time.com). Click for larger image.

Growing up in Hyderabad

A burkha (hijab) in Hyderabad (earlier capital of the Nizam State; India’s largest non-British city; with 40% Muslim population) was a rare sight till the early 70’s. From mid-70s, burkha (hijab) usage started gathering steam. Used to modern Western discourse based on Islamic demonization, it may appear far-fetched, but the Hyderabadi Muslim of 1960’s was more ‘modern’ and ‘liberal’ than today’s ‘Hindu’ – a development with many nuances and qualifications.

If one dusts a few Urdu periodicals from more than a century ago, several episodes of women’s rights movement can be found having roots right here in Hyderabad.

A debate on women’s liberation was raging in Hyderabad in the 1880s, reveals noted scholar on Islamic affairs Anwar Moazzam. The first Urdu journal on women, ‘Mu‘allimi-Niswan,’ published from Hyderabad, had initiated a heated discussion on the subject which was followed by an agitation on the issues of pardah (veil) and rights for Muslim women. There were several voices raised against the practise of pardah. The other magazines that carried forward the debate in the early decades of the 20th century were ‘Tahzib-i-Niswan’ and ‘Ismat.’

“But no systematic study has been taken up on this subject due to lack of access to the periodical data. There are several other insights available in this source (Urdu periodicals) in the Indian cultural tradition,” he remarked.

Moazzam, former head of the department of Islamic Studies at Osmania University, said that while he was working on the preparation of catalogues on Urdu books he found that journals in Urdu have never been researched for political, social and cultural issues.

Giving background of the Urdu Documentation Centre (UDC) project, he said it began in 2002 with sponsorship from a consortium of US universities led by the University of Chicago under the leadership of its bibliographer James Nye. The cataloguing work was taken up first at the Sundaryya Vignana Kendram and then at the State Central (Asafia) Library. (Women’s lib was hot topic in city in 1880s).

Oil wealth

After the 1973 Oil Embargo, the oil riches, the glitzy infrastructure boom of the Middle East, had a profound effect in Indian Muslims. The new found power by the Islamic Middle East made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity.

For the general Indian, the Middle East was the answer to the slow Indian economy. In an economy of shortages, an over-valued Indian currency, the Dubai allure was irresistible. It was the passport to wealth and abundance.

It took another 10-15 years for Indians to discover the underbelly of Dubai. To an average Indian, the prospect of slow career growth in Dubai, limited growth opportunities, the discrimination between the Western expatriates and Indians (and others) had a telling – and chilling effect. The Indian-Muslim, expecting a warm welcome in sandy climes, found a sneer instead.

Low RPM engine

As the Indian economy slowly started revving up in the 1980′s – starting with consumer electronics and auto-sector de-licensing, Indians found a new modus vivendi with Dubai and himself. The nineties saw this trend only become more pronounced. The Arab ‘sheikh’ marrying poor girls from Hyderabad peaked during this period.

In the last 10 years, as Saudi debt ballooned, Dubai’s problems also became apparent. Just as it was apparent, and Quicktake pointed nearly 3 years ago, that wheels are coming off Dubai. Most oil producing countries, are now living at the edge.

Kaal-chakra

The Indian Muslim in the meantime, has also come a full circle.

The colonial-era myth of ‘Muslims were the erstwhile rulers of India’, has weakened. The few ideological acolytes of Jinnah in India, have wilted in the face of a imploding Pakistan. To this combination, add an anti-Islamic West and declining Middle East. This has forced Deoband to admit that

for Muslims, there is no better country than India, no country in which Muslims are doing as well as they are doing in India. Our complaints, our objections, our problems exist, and we will continue to fight our fight for justice, but in other countries the situation is much worse.

For most Indian Muslims, the Middle East sheen, by this time, has worn off. Increasing incomes in India and stagnant incomes in the Middle East- and the circle is complete.

Oil, Dubai and India

December 16, 2009 1 comment

Sunny, Sandy Dubai

Dubai – the modern El dorado?

In the last 40 years, Dubai and Middle East oil had interesting effects in India.

After the 1973 Oil Embargo, the oil riches, the glitzy infrastructure boom of the Middle East, new found power had a profound effect in India. It also made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity. The Bombay High oil find just about saved the Indian economy – and the Indian mental equilibrium. For the general Indian, the Middle East was the answer to the slow Indian economy. In an economy of shortages, an over-valued Indian currency, the Dubai allure was irresistible. It was the passport to wealth and abundance.

A voyage of 50 years

It took another 10-15 years for Indians to discover the underbelly of Dubai. To an average Indian, the prospect of slow career growth in Dubai, limited growth opportunities, the discrimination between the Western expatriates and Indians (and others) had a telling – and chilling effect. The Indian-Muslim, expecting a warm welcome in sandy climes, found a sneer instead.

As the Indian economy started taking off in the 1980’s – starting with consumer electronics and auto-sector de-licensing, Indians found a new modus vivendi with Dubai and himself. The nineties saw this trend only become more pronounced. The Arab ‘sheikh’ marrying poor girls from Hyderabad peaked during this period.

Oil wells that don’t end well

By 2000, India had arrived – and it was apparent to Indians, at least. In the last 10 years, as Saudi debt ballooned, Dubai’s problems also became apparent. Just as it was apparent, and Quicktake pointed more than 1 year ago, that wheels are coming off Dubai. Saudi Arabia started accessing debt in 1980’s due to low oil prices – to pay the bill for a ‘welfare state’! Since then that debt has been reduced significantly – it still stands at US$62 billion.

Most oil producing countries, are now living at the edge. As India’s new oil discoveries come on line from 2009, China’s post-Olympics appetite for oil reduces, a recessionary US cuts down on oil consumption, a stagnant EU damps on oil – what happens to these oil producing countries!!

With the dollar hegemony at risk, what happens to their dollar reserves?

Arab sheikhs cant get poor girls from Hyderabad any more

The global liquidity boom saw the Indian economy offer more domestic opportunities. India’s software successes gave the Indian expat manager in the Middle East some new found respect. The Arab ‘sheikh’ is not the frequent sight in Hyderabad now – nor is he as important, as then.

The Indian Muslim in the meantime, has also come a full circle. From the colonial-era myth of ‘Muslims were the erstwhile rulers of India’, to a situation where (admittedly, the few) Jinnah’s ideological acolytes in India, in the face of a imploding Pakistan, an anti-Islamic West and declining Middle East have had to perforce admit, what Deoband mainatained is that

for Muslims, there is no better country than India, no country in which Muslims are doing as well as they are doing in India. Our complaints, our objections, our problems exist, and we will continue to fight our fight for justice, but in other countries the situation is much worse.

I sometimes wonder, how a very well-to-do, urbane, Hyderabadi Muslim, I know, who thought he was a Muslim first, an admirer of the West next and India is the worst place on Earth till the 80’s, thinks now.

But for most other Indian Muslims, the Middle East sheen, by this time, has worn off. Increasing incomes in India and stagnant incomes in the Middle East- and the circle is complete.

Public debt imperils world economy

December 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Surprised at this 'perfect storm' - Don't be!

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has warned that the world’s 30 leading industrialized economies will see their indebtedness grow to 100% of output in 2010, a near doubling from the percentage 20 years ago. (via Public debt imperils world economy – International News – livemint.com).

Till the fat lady sings

The debt spiral is not ended yet.

Like the Dubai crash shows, the world economy is not yet out of the woods. Struggling firms, in the face of a weak consumer and industrial markets, may just keel over. A domino effect may set off yet another round of closures, bankruptcies, mergers, and defaults.

More importantly, are Western Governments. With public debt (read that as Government debt) exceeding 100% of GDP for every Western Government – Ireland at more than 1000%, Britain at nearly 200%, US at more than 100%, they are the vulnerable soft-spot of the global economy.

I want more

The shopping bill for Western welfare state is not going away – except up. Welfare bills are getting more ambitious – and the domestic lobbies want more ambitious schemes. High cost economies are being protected by barriers and stockades.

Run … hide … but you can’t turn your back

The political constructs of the West have hit a wall – and there is no way but down! Since the West is busy hiding elephants in the room, the need for a different political ideology remains unaddressed.

An ideology like भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra.

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