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Posts Tagged ‘Gandhiji’

Inquiring Minds Would Like To Know: Y U Worry I Ask

April 17, 2013 27 comments

Here is a Brown American with a roaring (self-implied) career at UCLA-B. Why does he worry about India. We Indians will manage. Without him and without his help..

Twitter - Interactions 2013-04-18 01-04-59

Twitter – Interactions 2013-04-18 01-04-59

Interesting!

Here is an American, who has a long list of vituperative tweets about Gandhiji. Most of the time, it is equally bitter tweets about India. (links to tweets = Tweet1, Tweet2, Tweet3).

I mean, here is a Brown American. With a self-declared career at UCLA, Berkeley (if I remember correctly). Why does he spew poison about India 80% of the time?

As an American citizen, should he not be contributing his might to helping his country of choice to come out of an economic recession that poses an existential threat.

No! What does he do?

He goes on and on about India. Why worry about India.

We Indians will manage. Without him and without his help.

Since he has such a high opinion of himself (and I have no reasons to disbelieve his opinion of himself), why does he not extend a helping hand to his own countrymen.

PS: I forget.

Anyone here can figure why he needs to know my paternity?

Anything in my tweets that should make him want to know my paternity? I wonder … Inquiring minds would like to know …

Modern India: Are Muslims Safe In A Hindu India?

November 28, 2012 4 comments

While Hindus have no freedom in any Muslim country, is there any country that gives more freedom or safety than India to Muslims.

Indian Muslims thought that Hindus cannot be trusted. If some of you still have doubts, the gates to Pakistan are still open  |  A March 2004 cartoon by Zahoor.

Indian Muslims thought that Hindus cannot be trusted. If some of you still have doubts, the gates to Pakistan are still open | A March 2004 cartoon by Zahoor.

In an atmosphere of mistrust, being a Muslim and on top of that a ‘rebelling’ Kashmiri is a double whammy. For such a person like me, to articulate my unexpressed feelings about Bal Thackeray, whom I earnestly believe to have lived his entire life as a demagogue if not a blood-letting fascist, even within my deep thought processes sounded to be a sacrilegious act.

Bier draped in Tricolour and not only people like LK Advani, the ideological equivalent of the deceased leader, but also the apparently staunch political rivals like Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and Sharad Pawar making all efforts to be seen amongst the sea of people at Shivaji Park was enough to cast a drowning feeling that the country has already accorded its recognition to a man who divided the society not only on religious lines but also on the very basis of regional identities. Moreover, the so-called leading lights of civil society, normally considered to be the standard-bearers of the public behaviour, also making a beeline to pay their homage sapped all the courage within me to register my dissent.

My question is to the authorities who decided to bestow an honour of state funeral to the departed leader: Was he a constitutional figure that warranted a gun salute? Obviously he was not and in case his popularity necessitated a military honour then the powers to be are setting a very dangerous precedent. If a state recognition to a divisive figurehead in his death was out of compulsion as two-million mourners joined the funeral, then it truly underscores the sorry state of affairs.

In case tomorrow a majority of India turns out to be supporters of Gandhiji’s killer, will the cowardly rulers, having no conviction left, declare Nathuram Godse as the new father of the nation? And provided the rulers affirm not to be cowards and claim that the decision to accord gun salute to the funeral of a Hindu extremist leader who believed India to be a Hindu Rashtra was made purely on merit, then what stops India to be a Hindu state in near future?

The brute and raucous majority only has to decide the fate of the nation and not the secular principles as the rulers pretend to follow, and then what inhabits us not to dread that the soul of India has been lost, since long?

via What stops India from becoming a Hindu state? – Analysis – DNA.

Birbal’s beard

Does this article also remind you of चोर कि दाड़ी में तिनका  (roughly meaning: guilty conscience pricks the mind)? I was grossly reminded of Birbal feeling his way through the beards of possible suspects.

Bad Hiding Place

Hiding behind Gandhiji’s loin-cloth, we have Firdous Syed raising a spectre of Nathuram Godse becoming the Father of the Nation. To nurse and espouse such an idea just shows what poor opinion the English-speaking elite have of Indians.

If he counts himself as an Indian – it is a sad reflection on his self-esteem. If he sees himself as a pragmatic Indian – till he can get a better passport, it just shows complete lack of character.

While on the subject of Gandhiji, two points.

One, like Bal Thackeray, Gandhiji had no constitutional or official capacity. Would Firdous Syed deny Gandhiji similar tribute? The Indian State gains by respecting Gandhiji. Gandhiji did not need a Nobel Prize to gain respect and admiration.

The other point. The last man to accept the partition of India was Gandhiji. To give security to all the Indian Muslims who felt insecure in a Hindu India. That was the deal, Firdous Syed. You can still go to Pakistan, if you are feeling insecure in Hindu-India.

Alibaba ate food without salt

Of the Forty thieves fame, ate salt-less food at the den of thieves. That is the respect, Muslim culture is supposed to have for hospitality. If you, Firdous Syed are using Indian nationality as a temporary shelter, at least have some basic respect for your Hindu hosts – while you get a passport of your choice.

If you are the Kashmiri-azaadi spouting liberal, let me see you criticize any Muslim-separatist, sitting in Srinagar. On any day of the week – leave alone a Friday. While Hindus have no freedom in any Muslim country, is there any country that gives more freedom or safety than India to Muslims.

Or are you, Firdous Syed assuming that who you calls Hindus are like Pakistanis who showered rose-petals on Salman Taseer killers? On the subjects of those who you call Hindus, has it ever occurred to you, to ask a question, why Hindu-Indians are welcome in secular Britain – but Pakis has become a pejorative?

Facebook, Facebook on the wall

Firdous Syed, are you aware that secular Great Britain, has prosecuted, fined, imprisoned nearly 5000 people in the last three years for making ‘insensitive’ comments on social media. That Vikram Buddhi languishes in an American prison because he said George Bush murdabad on the internet – in support of Iraqi Muslims.

In Mumbai, India, these policemen have been suspended for prosecuting one case. Indian courts sprang to cartoonist Aseem Trivedi’s bail application. EVM-activist Hariprasad found Indian courts sympathetic.

Vikram Buddhi reminds me. I know hardly any Hindus have supported Vikram Buddhi. But, have any Muslims supported him, for whom he is in prison for nearly 5 years now?

Or do you think India should be secular like Switzerland, which is afraid that a third mosque in Switzerland will change the national character of Switzerland? Or do you want Manmohan Singh to say like Angela Merkel on television that multi-culturalism has failed? Or do you think India like Denmark should pay Muslims money to emigrate out of India?

Firdous Syed you can claim Rs.11 from me any day that you want to leave India.


Gandhiji: Indians Must Be Thankful to Nobel Committee for Not Giving Him the Award

November 11, 2012 1 comment

As Euro-power declines and Nobel propaganda becomes less effective, to gain fresh legitimacy, the Nobel Committee may try and foist a posthumous Nobel on Gandhiji.

A portrait of Gandhiji by Illustrator: Alexey Kurbatov Location: Moscow, Russia

A portrait of Gandhiji by Illustrator: Alexey Kurbatov Location: Moscow, Russia

Is this true?

British administrators, it is believed, ‘influenced’ the Nobel Committee against a Nobel Prize for Gandhiji. Was the Nobel Committee even close to giving Gandhiji the Peace Prize?

So grateful …

What ever the truth, I am grateful to the British Raj, all the British administrators and bureaucrats, politicians who managed the Nobel award process – to deny Gandhiji the Nobel prize.

Nobel prize, the committee says cannot be awarded posthumously – though some 13 years later, the UN Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjold was given the Nobel 6 months after his death.

Before that, the Nobel prize for Literature was awarded posthumously to Erik Axel Karlfeldt in 1931. Nobel Foundation Statutes were revised in 1974, to create a justification why the award cannot be awarded posthumously – unless death happened after the announcement.

According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation in force at that time, the Nobel Prize could, under certain circumstances, be awarded posthumously. Thus it was possible to give Gandhi the prize. However, Gandhi did not belong to an organisation.

So silly

It would have been so silly to know Gandhiji as a Nobel prize winner.

Along with terrorist-freedom fighter like Yasser Arafat (1994), terrorist-politician Menachem Begin (1978). Where would Gandhiji be, if he was clubbed with a clown-politician like Jimmy Carter (2002). Imagine Gandhiji rubbing shoulders with Barack Obama (2009), a non-entity when he won the prize. Or a crowning gag like EU (2012), as a peace prize winner. Gandhiji, staunchly against religious-conversions in the company of a do-gooder like Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (1979) – promoted by the Vatican, as Mother Teresa.

Or a war-monger like Henry Kissinger (1973).

Earlier, in 1945, Cordell Hull, who in 1939, was instrumental in refusing entry to some 950 German-Jewish refugees, was given the Nobel prize in 1945. Hull even co-authored a pamphlet, calling for bar on entry of European-Jews to America.

A Nobel committee member’s expression of regret for repeatedly overlooking Mahatma Gandhi for the Peace Prize has left his grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi and historians distinctly underwhelmed. “It really does not behove us to be lamenting the absence of a Nobel for Gandhi, when the committee itself has apologised for this so many times and when Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi have accepted the Peace Prize in his name.”

Nobel committee member and Conservative Norwegian politician Kaci Kullmann was quoted by a TV news channel on Thursday as saying ignoring Gandhi was “one of the greatest mistakes” of the Nobel.

Gandhi was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and, finally, a few days before his assassination in January 1948 for the Peace Prize.

“What people forget is that at the time, the idea that the Nobel peace prize would go to a non-European was utterly absurd,” said Mihir Bose, author of Raj, Secrets and Revolution, a biography of Subhash Chandra Bose.

“After all, when Tagore was awarded the Nobel, Rudyard Kipling was furious…”

via Nobel apology leaves Bapu’s grandson unimpressed – Hindustan Times.


If Patel …

December 1, 2011 7 comments

What if had we Sardar Patel, instead of Nehru. Sardar Patel would have still died on December 15th 1950?

It is forgotten today that close to 50 millions died during the British Raj - due to extermination by armed mercenarties; violence against ethnic groups; administration that was callous and indifferent . All that Gandhiji could do with some officials was produce post-facto guilt.  |  Cartoonist: Matt Wuerker; Pub. Date: 2010-06-16  Source and courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com  |  Click for source image.

It is forgotten today that close to 50 millions died during the British Raj - due to extermination by armed mercenarties; violence against ethnic groups; administration that was callous and indifferent . All that Gandhiji could do with some officials was produce post-facto guilt. | Cartoonist: Matt Wuerker; Pub. Date: 2010-06-16 Source and courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com | Click for source image.

If …

A popular past time with the Indian Right is to be pose a rhetorical question, “What if Sardar Patel had become India’s first Prime Minister – instead of Nehru?”

Sardar Patel would still have died on December 15, 1950 – less than a year after the Indian Constitution was adopted on January 26th, 1950. To any further ifs … I can only say,

If only such commentators would stop posing such futile scenarios.

Tactics and solutions rooted in their time, place and context. |  Cartoonist: John Deering  |  Pub. Date: 2010-07-27 |  Source & courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com   |   Click fopr source image.

Tactics and solutions rooted in their time, place and context. | Cartoonist: John Deering | Pub. Date: 2010-07-27 | Source & courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com | Click fopr source image.

Similarly

When people try to be speculative and start with …

I believe Gandhi would have admired the energy and community spirit in Zuccotti Park, but if he were at the protests, he would have taken up the human microphone and suggested some modifications.

First, Gandhi would reject the division between the 99 percent and the 1 percent. Gandhi did not believe in enemies: he worked on the premise that solutions emerged only from cooperation. This truth is often lost in discussions of his political tactics of noncooperation and civil disobedience. Noncooperation is best understood as an invitation to cooperate. “We are the 100 percent” may not make for a dramatic slogan, but from Gandhi’s perspective, it is the only way to achieve true and lasting change in society.

Gandhi would underscore that social transformation requires significant responsibility on the part of each of us. The world is not a static system or an unalterable one. Society exists in a certain way when we enter it, but it is our actions or our inaction that maintain the status quo, make things worse, or transform them for the better. Gandhi explained this most pointedly when he declared that the British Empire existed because Indians had let it exist. He would say the same thing about the drastic income inequality in America today: it is here because Americans collectively allow it to be here.

He would therefore encourage the protesters to focus their efforts on direct social assistance and positive political action. In regard to social work, the protesters’ eviction from their tents in the park may be a blessing in disguise. At the height of his prominence in 1930, Gandhi renounced his own home and political headquarters and later moved into the heart of rural India (via What Would Gandhi Do? – NYTimes.com).

You can bet your bad penny, that such people don’t have two ideas to rub together.

More than 2000 years ago, Buddha and Indian kings sent Buddhist monks to help local rulers implement Bharattantra - then known as Dharma. | Cartoonist: Mike Peters Pub. Date: 2007-10-11; source and courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com | Click for source image.

More than 2000 years ago, Buddha and Indian kings sent Buddhist monks to help local rulers implement Bharattantra - then known as Dharma. | Cartoonist: Mike Peters Pub. Date: 2007-10-11; source and courtesy - cartoonistgroup.com | Click for source image.

His time and place

Gandhiji too was a product of his times. Satyagraha, non-cooperation, boycott of British products had all been used as political weapons before Gandhiji used them.

The credit to Gandhiji is for his timing and public awareness before he used them. His uncanny knack to find situations to use these tactics was useful. His ability to find intellectual figures and ideas acceptable to the West (from Tolstoy, Thoreau, Jesus) as ‘citations’ for his cause and tactics, much criticized today, was useful then.

And that is what is important.

Right time, place and tactics.


‘Strong’ cultures go weak in their knees

August 19, 2010 2 comments
Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

Lingua Franca

Soon after the French Revolution (1789-1799), the new republic of France decided that it needed to stamp out all the local languages – and have One language – lingua franca. At the time of the French Revolution in France,

regional languages such as Provençal, Breton, and Basque were still strong competitors against standard French, the French of the Ile de France. As late as 1789, when the Revolution began, half the population of the south of France, which spoke Provençal, did not understand French. A century earlier the playwright Racine said that he had had to resort to Spanish and Italian to make himself understood in the southern French town of Uzès. After the Revolution nationhood itself became aligned with language.

Adds another writer

at the time of the French Revolution, only 10-12 % of France spoke French. Over the next 100 years, public schools and conscription armies turned “peasants into Frenchmen”. France simply did not allow diversities to flourish. Everyone came to speak French.

Look Again (While the British were busy in India, America's Founding Father's stole America from Britain - and the Native Americans.).

Look Again (While the British were busy in India, America's Founding Father's stole America from Britain - and the Native Americans.).

In the land of the Free

Americans were not allowed to learn or teach non-English languages for the best part of 200 years. All other language groups had to become American by giving up their own languages – and adopt the language of the land of the free.

By 1923, thirty-four states had laws that declared English the language of school instruction.  Since then, most states have enacted laws that require the use of English in specific situations, such as in testing for occupational licenses.

During the 1980s, resurgent xenophobia, directed this time toward Latino/a and Asian immigrants, revived interest in and support for comprehensive English language laws.  Organizations, such as U.S. English, formed to urge states and Congress to enact Official English and English-Only laws that encompass all aspects of government. (from Impact of English Language Movement on Consumer Protection Regulation By Steven W.  Bender Excerpted from Consumer Protection for Latinos: Overcoming Language Fraud and English-Only in the Marketplace, 45 American. University Law Review – 1027-348, 1047-1054 (1996).)

Various US state governments outlawed all languages – except English. It was only in 1923, was this was finally set aside after the matter reached the US Supreme Court (read Meyer vs Nebraska). The USA gathered some courage to start timidly with more than English only after seeing India’s success with 15 languages.

Why are these countries so ‘protective’ about their language? Why do they then want to ‘spread’ their language (English or French) to others?

Coming to India

In India, from a Western stand-point

Contrary to public perception (in the West), India gets along pretty well with a host of different languages. The Indian constitution officially recognizes nineteen languages, English among them.

Why is it that India preserves its unity with not just two languages to contend with, as Belgium, Canada, and Sri Lanka have, but nineteen? The answer is that India, like Switzerland, has a strong national identity.

As for India, what Vincent Smith, in the Oxford History of India, calls its “deep underlying fundamental unity” resides in institutions and beliefs such as caste, cow worship, sacred places, and much more. Consider dharma, karma, and maya, the three root convictions of Hinduism; India’s historical epics; Gandhi; ahimsa (nonviolence); vegetarianism; a distinctive cuisine and way of eating; marriage customs; a shared past; and what the Indologist Ainslie Embree calls “Brahmanical ideology.” In other words, “We are Indian; we are different.” (via Should English Be the Law? underlined text supplied for clarity).

How can we ever credit this poor, vernacular, dhoti-wearing man with such 'liberalism'? (Cartoon character - RK Laxman's Common Man).

How can we ever credit this poor, vernacular, dhoti-wearing man with such 'liberalism'? (Cartoon character - RK Laxman's Common Man).

Credit Gandhi or Nehru

Robert D.King (quoted above) after a fair amount of research makes a few missteps. He writes how in India

Hindi absolutists wanted to force Hindi on the entire country, which would have split India between north and south and opened up other fracture lines as well. For as long as possible Jawaharlal Nehru, independent India’s first Prime Minister, resisted nationalist demands to redraw the capricious state boundaries of British India according to language.

How long would Nehru have lasted if really tried imposing Hindi? In this Hindi-imposition charade, some read a ruse by Nehru to actually impose English on the Indian population. His ‘tryst with destiny speech gives the game away completely – as his many other statements on English.

Similarly, Ashutosh Varshney (quoted above) makes a fine distinction between Indian‘mosaic’ and  the Western ‘melting pot’ models. He goes then and he misses the beat, completely, by crediting Gandhiji for this Indic construct!

He says, “Under Gandhi, India consciously embraced diversities” is he implying that before Gandhiji, India was a mono-bloc society. Was it under the thrall of ‘One’? Would Gandhiji have become a Mahatma in India, if tried the ‘melting pot’ strategy?

I think not!

Gandhiji would have been rejected, rubbished and trashed before he could have said M – of mosaic, melting pot or Mahatma. The only people who cannot be credited are the nearly 120 crore Indians who get by using each others languages! What role did they play in this?

Strange logic, this!

What Kapil Sibal does not know and hurts us

November 16, 2009 4 comments

Before the western model brought by the British or the Church, there were ezhuthu pallis, or writing schools, run by ezhuthu ashans, or writing masters. There were also schools run by wealthy individuals in their homes for their daughters.

In these tutorials, generations learnt to read and write using writing nails, palm leaves and sand, paying fees in kind. Outside Kerala, gurukuls functioned successfully for centuries. And these were always privately-funded. Is this model better than pumping in more public money into inefficient government schools?

That is the question that James Tooley, a British researcher and writer on education, asks in his recent book, The Beautiful Tree. He sees existence of private education in pre-British India as an argument in favour of low-cost private education that can cover every child. He finds virtue in the large number of private schools that are run in the slums he visited.

This goes against the thinking of development experts, including Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze. A study by the latter argues that the solution is to improve government schools rather than close them.

Madhav Chavan, the founder of NGO Pratham, which in its study found that the poor also preferred to send their children to private schools, sat close to Tooley at the launch of the book. But he made it clear he did not share the views of the author.

To say that private schools hold the key to universal education is to say the unspeakable. As unspeakable as saying that the king has no clothes. (via Sreelatha Menon: A new lesson).

The Beautiful Tree - by DharampalEnd of the road … the bankrupt model

The health care (USA), social welfare (USA), employment benefits (UK), showcase countries (Japan), are running countries into the ground. India has, as yet, not gone down that path. Though, the Indian State has been trying – quite hard.

My first glimpse of this model was through the draft of Parag Tope’s forthcoming book – Operation Red Lotus.

I say without fear of my figures being challenged successfully, that today India is more illiterate than it was fifty or a hundred years ago, and so is Burma, because the British administrators, when they came to India, instead of taking hold of things as they were, began to root them out. They scratched the soil and began to look at the root, and left the root like that, and the beautiful tree perished. (Gandhiji, at Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, Oct 1931 – extracted from Indian Models Of Economy Business And Management By Kanagasabapathi; Page 60).

Gandhiji, in correspondence with Sir Philip Hartog, (chairman of the Auxiliary Committee on Education), laid out the the pre-colonial scenario, which has now been buttressed by research by Dharampal, a Gandhian, in his book, Beautiful Tree, Indian Education in the 18th century.

Sreelatha Menon, seemingly, depends on Tooley’s own PR handouts to write this up. In the entire post in Business Standard, she never makes a mention of Dharampal, whose work is the most authoritative today. Tooley, a (for sometime) IFC-World Bank employee, this research resulted, (funded by the Templeton Foundation) in a book – of course called, The Beautiful Tree.

Between a rock and a hard place

Dharampal’s pioneering work, in 1983, has, not surprisingly, been ignored by the Amartya Sens and The Jean Drezes of the world – all their avid followers in India. Kapil Sibal has been trying to further the colonial British efforts by laying out a red carpet for foreign universities – while tying up Indian institutions into-knots-into-knots-into-knots. The ‘modern’ theory about Indian education goes that all credit for Indian education should go either to the British Colonial Raj or the Christian Missionary Benevolence.

This Indian education model was, till about a 150 years ago, unique in the world. With the highest literacy ratio in the world, and completely privately funded, it set global and historic benchmarks. This model has been buried under a mound of silence – and once in a while you get a glimpse of this.

The teacher from Kerala

Thursday, Oct 05, 2006; Kaumudi Teacher - She renounced her gold ornaments for the cause of the freedom struggle (being honoured at her Kannur residence)

Thursday, Oct 05, 2006; Kaumudi Teacher - She renounced her gold ornaments for the cause of the freedom struggle (being honoured at her Kannur residence)

Badagara, Malabar, 13 January 1934

… I had just finished my speech at Badagara … I had finished speaking and was selling the presents received when gently walked up to the platform Kaumudi, a girl 16 years old.

She took out one bangle and asked me if I would give my autograph. I was preparing to give it, when off came the other bangle. She had only one on each hand. I said, “You need not give me both, I shall give you the autograph for one bangle only.” She replied by taking off her golden necklace.What chance did the British have against a woman like this?

This was no easy performance. It had to be disengaged from her long plait of hair… “But have you the permission of your parents?” I asked. There was no answer. She had not yet completed her renunciation. Her hands automatically went to her ears and out came her jewelled ear-rings amid the ringing cheers of the public, whose expression of joy was no longer to be suppressed. I asked her again whether she had her parents’ consent to the sacrifice.

Before I could extract any answer from the shy girl, someone told me that her father was present at the meeting, that he was himself helping me by bidding for the addresses I was auctioning and that he was as generous as his daughter in giving to worthy causes. I reminded Kaumudi that she was not to have the ornaments replaced. She resolutely assented to the condition.

As I handed her the autograph, I could not help prefacing it with the remark, “Your renunciation is a truer ornament than the jewellery you have discarded.” (via Gandhi in his own words).

What chance did the British have after this ‘performance’ by 16 year old Kaumudi! In Kannur town, Kaumudi teacher still inspires a new generation of students. Living quietly, Kaumudi teacher is remembered, though not as well as she deserves to be – and more importantly, as much as we need to.

What chance did the British have against a woman like this?
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