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Lethargy As Opinion

August 16, 2011 3 comments

Examining governance records of selected ten premiere post-WWII governments across the world could throw up some surprises.

Colonial motivations

The British Raj needed to mock and diminish the Indian politician. The Indian political leader was trying to dislodge the colonial Government from their position of power. Churchill’s famous descriptions of Gandhiji as ‘that naked fakir’ and Indian politicians as ‘men of straw’ was a sentiment shared across ruling elites in Britain.

Seems like in India, too

Post-independence, this mockery of the Indian politician has only grown. This criticism, carping and mockery has no basis in fact – statistics, measurements, performance metrics. Anything at all.

The drag government’s been on the Indian story is astonishing. No government in the world’s been such a burden to a country. It’s done none of the things it’s meant to while it seems to eye private success with greed. There’s only so long this frame can hold…

One of the things making me happiest in America was the man coming up was celebrated. In India, I sense disgust, revulsion for that person, that he should suddenly have aspirations, riches, ambitions. In Noon, I’ve tried to get at this. (via ‘I think of myself as Indian in a sense that includes Pakistan’ – Page 2 – Times Of India).

Aatish Taseer, whose books and writings have been met with much fanfare, publicity and soundbites, is another one who bites into the dust of empty criticism.

If we are to examine governance records of selected ten premiere post-WWII governments across the world, Taseer’s emptiness (he is not alone) will stand exposed.

These 10 governments four from Europe (France, Germany, Italy and UK), two from South America (Argentina and Brazil) Japan and USA, China and India. Looking back at the 65 years after WWII (1945-2010), the context and strategies of these ten countries throws up some surprises. India would definitely be a part of the Top-3 anyway that such a performance can be rated.

Image source and courtesy - economist.com.

Image source and courtesy - economist.com.

Just on what basis have other governments have done better? All that bedevils Indian governance are present in all other countries. And the answer to all that ails ‘modern’ governance, can only come from India.

You can do a 10 country evaluation here and vote. And maybe, Taseer-miya …

You should read about भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra, .

Be afraid … Very afraid, Manubhai

Akali leader, Master Tara Singh threatened to go a hunger strike for a Punjab based on linguistic lines, had Nehru worried. RK Laxman's cartoon on Akali leader, published on June 23, 1961. (Image courtesy - timesofindia.com.). Click for larger image.

Akali leader, Master Tara Singh threatened to go a hunger strike for a Punjab based on linguistic lines, had Nehru worried. RK Laxman's cartoon on Akali leader, published on June 23, 1961. (Image courtesy - timesofindia.com.). Click for larger image.

Examining the history of political causes in the Indian context, should be a cause of concern to the Indian Government. The cynicism and casual attitude of Indian authorities is misplaced.

Western debates

For much time after Independence, the Indian Government spent time dilly-dallying on identifying boundaries of administrative States. Some suggested, that like Europe had drawn some arbitrary lines across Africa, India also should do the same. Or like the straight-line boundaries of States that make up the USA.

Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; Courtesy timesofindia.com. Click for larger image.

Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev's hunger strikes have touched a raw nerve across India. Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; Courtesy timesofindia.com. Click for larger image.

Western predictions about the collapse of the Indian nation were never absent from the public sphere. Without a past to go by, Nehru dithered.

You can’t hide

The man in the vanguard of the linguistic reorganization of states movement was Potti Sreeramulu – from Chennai. While Potti Sreeramulu was a Telugu, he was from Chennai – which at that time had a bigger Telugu population than today.

At stake was the issue of Chennai– then Madras. Would Chennai go to Tamil Nadu, when it was formed, or go to Andhra Pradesh, whose formation was already announced.

Rajagopalchari, another acolyte of Western ‘capitalism’, ignored Potti Sreeramulu. Finally after years of dithering, by Nehru’s administration, Potti Sriramulu went on a hunger strike.

Nehru and Rajagopalchari took no notice. Potti Sriramulu died. The formation of Andhra Pradesh followed.

Hunger strikes make rulers look bad

Gandhiji’s hunger-strikes were famous the world over – and the British made a pretense of succumbing to this moral force, at least in the case of Gandhiji.

Be afraid. Very afraid. What happens if Baba Ramdev ... (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for larger image.

Be afraid. Very afraid. What happens if Baba Ramdev ... (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for larger image.

Remember, the British had been casual about the demands and the subsequent death of a political prisoner, Jatin Das during hunger strike at Lahore Jail. Even before, in Northern Ireland, the death of Terence MacSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork, who died on 74-day hunger strike in 1920, while a prisoner of the British government, did not shake the British much.

Nehru’s indifference to Potti Sriramulu hunger-strike was a great propaganda point for the West. Nehru’s reputation was sullied.

Agony prolonged

After the death of Potti Sriramulu and the formation of Andhra Pradesh, demands for other States followed.

Samyukta Maharashtra was again very noisy and divisive. Similarly, Nehru dragged his feet on Punjab too. Master Tara Singh of the Akali Dal went on a hunger strike. A worried Nehru, ‘keeping in anxious touch with developments while making a tour of Uttar Pradesh’, had Tara Singh arrested. More than 30,000 Sikhs joined Master Tara Singh in jails across North India. Punjab, Haryana and Himachal followed.

Manubhai - Anna-Baba may not be very sophisticated politically or ideologically. But they are touching a protest nerve. That is the दुखती रग ' dukhti rag.' (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for larger image.

Manubhai - Anna-Baba may not be very sophisticated politically or ideologically. But they are touching a protest nerve. That is the दुखती रग 'dukhti rag.' (Cartoon by Ajit Ninan; courtesy - timesofindia.com). Click for larger image.

India different

60 years on, many of these States are larger than 90% of the countries in the world.  There is need to break them up into smaller units. There are growing demands to do the same. Telangana is one such case – which has hung fire for more than 40 years.

Meanwhile the anti-corruption protests are reminiscent of the Jaya Prakash Narayan’s movement in the 1970s, which finally paralysed the Indian State – and provoked Indira Gandhi to impose emergency.

Indians joining in these protests, are protesting about many issues – and using Anna Hazare’s and Baba Ramdev’s Anna-Baba protest vehicle to ride. Anna-Baba have succeeded in identifying the दुखती रग ‘dukhti rag’ – the jangling nerve, of the people.

Anna-Baba’s agendas are thin – very thin. But the people are thick as flies. Just like Jaya Prakash Narayan’s movement.

Manubhai, those who don’t learn from history …

Karl Marx on the opium trade

June 7, 2011 1 comment
Faced with a labour crisis after slave revolts, Europe (specially England) needed alternatives for a new 'slavery' model. A fugitive theorist - Karl Marx. Capitalists and capitalist nations of Europe loved – especially the USA.. Click for bigger image.

Faced with a labour crisis after slave revolts, Europe (specially England) needed alternatives for a new 'slavery' model. A fugitive theorist - Karl Marx gave a model for 'slavery'. Capitalists and capitalist nations of Europe loved – especially the USA.. Click for bigger image.

Marx on the Opium trade

Some 150 years later, Karl Marx’s commentary on the opium trade remains relevant.

Much loved by the capitalists of his time, Karl Marx analyzed opium trade well.

Nurtured by the East India Company, vainly combated by the Central Government at Pekin, the opium trade gradually assumed larger proportions, until it absorbed about $2,500,000 in 1816. The throwing open in that year of the Indian commerce gave a new and powerful stimulus to the operations of the English contrabandists.

In 1820, the number of chests smuggled into China increased to 5,147; in 1821 to 7,000, and in 1824 to 12,639. Meanwhile, the Chinese Government, at the same time addressed threatening remonstrances to the foreign merchants, punished the Hong Kong merchants, (with) more stringent measures. The final result, like that in 1794, was to drive the opium depots from a precarious to a more convenient basis of operations.

The trade shifted hands, and passed to a lower class of men, prepared to carry it on at all hazards and by whatever means. Thanks to the greater facilities thus afforded, the opium trade increased during the ten years from 1824 to 1834 from 12,639 to 21,785 chests.

The year 1834 marks an epoch in opium trade. The East India Company lost its privilege of trading (and) had to discontinue and abstain from all commercial business whatever. It being thus transformed from a mercantile into a merely government establishment, the trade to China became completely thrown open to English private enterprise which pushed on with such vigour that, in 1837, 39,000 chests of opium, valued at $25,000,000, were successfully smuggled into China, despite the desperate resistance of the Celestial Government.

We cannot leave without singling one flagrant self-contradiction of the Christianity-canting and civilization-mongering British Government. In its imperial capacity it affects to be a thorough stranger to the contraband opium trade, and even to enter into treaties proscribing it.

Yet, in its Indian capacity, it forces the opium cultivation upon Bengal, to the great damage of the productive resources of that country; compels one part of the Indian ryots to engage in the poppy culture; entices another part into the same by dint of money advances; keeps the wholesale manufacture of the deleterious drug a close monopoly in its hands; watches by a whole army of official spies its growth, its delivery at appointed places, its inspissation and preparation for the taste of the Chinese consumers, its formation into packages especially adapted to the conveniency of smuggling, and finally its conveyance to Calcutta, where it is put up at auction at the Government sales, and made over by the State officers to the speculators, thence to pass into the hands of the contrabandists who land it in China.

The chest costing the British Government about 250 rupees is sold at the Calcutta auction mart at a price ranging from 1,210 to 1,600 rupees. But, not yet satisfied with this matter-of-fact complicity, the same Government, to this hour, enters into express profit and loss accounts with the merchants and shippers, who embark in the hazardous operation of poisoning an empire.

The Indian finances of the British Government have, in fact, been made to depend not only on the opium trade with China, but on the contraband character of that trade. Were the Chinese Government to legalize the opium trade simultaneously with tolerating the cultivation of the poppy in China, the Anglo-Indian exchequer would experience a serious catastrophe. While openly preaching free trade in poison. it secretly defends the monopoly of its manufacture. Whenever we look closely into the nature of British free trade, monopoly is pretty generally found to lie at the bottom of its “freedom.” (via Karl Marx in New York Daily Tribune Articles On China, 1853-1860 Free Trade and Monopoly; linking text in parentheses supplied; parts excised for brevity and relevance).

Indian Govt on hunt for 31 ‘wanted’

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment
Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - http://bamulahija.wordpress.com

Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - http://bamulahija.wordpress.com

Centre has shared an updated dossier of 31 most wanted terrorists — including 19 of IM and 12 of the other Lashkar-SIMI front, Jama-i-tul Ansarul Muslimeen (JIAM) — with states, asking them to launch a manhunt for them. Security agencies believe that 10 terrorists may be hiding somewhere in the country.

With a majority of them suspected to be in West Asian countries like the UAE and Qatar on Pakistani passports, India has sought help from these nations in the wake of the Varanasi blast.

“A list, comprising 17 top IM terrorists, including Bhatkal brothers — Riyaz and Iqbal — the outfit’s bombmaker Yasin Bhatkal, financer Mohsin Chaudhary and technical expert Abdus Subhan Usman Qureshi alias Tauqeer, has also been with Pakistan for over nine months,” said a senior home ministry official. New Delhi had shared these details with Islamabad during foreign secretary-level talks in February. (Post-Varanasi, govt on hunt for 31 ‘wanted’ – The Times of India).

Small numbers …big problem

31 terrorists is India’s problem. The answer to these 31 operatives is dedicated teams for each terrorist.  Teams drawn from the 10 affected states, with 2 specialists from each state, dedicated to the  task of booking these 31 terrorists. 620 in all. 30 support staff. 6 in information technology; 12 in accounts & admin another twelve in documentation and secretarial section. Another 50 experts in language, cipher, psychology, intelligence, politics and culture can support this group. 700 people in all. To hunt down these 31.

Replacing these 31 operatives will be tough for any organization.

India must 'loose' 2000 DAT Teams (Dedicated Anti-Terrorist Teams) on the 2000 terrorists and 42 terrorist training camps. Table Source - 2ndlook.

India must 'loose' 2000 DAT Teams (Dedicated Anti-Terrorist Teams) on the 2000 terrorists and 42 terrorist training camps. Table Source - 2ndlook.

 

Let’s do the numbers

Indian police has a superb network of ‘humint.’ But, they need more than that – for neutralizing terror.

There are finally less than 1000 SIMI + HuJI activists who could be future terrorists. There are a similar 1000 Kashmiri terrorists. What India needs to do, is to set up a national database on these 2000 suspects – allot (say) teams of 5 policemen to these 1000 suspects.

Monitoring the activities of the 2000 suspects cannot be a national pastime. With neural networks and similar ‘intelligent’ systems, India police should be able to improve their ‘intelligence.’

2ndlook plan for terrorism

2ndlook has been working on a plan to tackle terrorism for 30 months now – resting on an intel-based theme. Not on more – computers, policemen, organizations.

The first output in this plan was the answer to counterfeit currency problem. 2ndlook analyzed this problem (in September 2008) down to a handful of Western companies, their Governments and proprietors who supply Pakistan with the paraphernalia to make fake currency notes. India needs to tackle these 12 companies and about 4 Governments.

The second stage in this plan was 50 days before 26/11 Mumbai attackson October 3rd 2008. Specialist teams to tackle identified, confirmed, proven terrorist candidates – DAT Teams (Dedicated Anti-Terrorist Teams). Instead of Western-style Draconian laws, which depend on mass jails, kills, hanging, State Terrorism, torture, India must depend on a targetted alternative.

Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - http://bamulahija.wordpress.com

Cartoon by Kirtish Bhatt; courtesy - http://bamulahija.wordpress.com

For numbers will set you free

After 26/11, came a bigger 2ndlook anti-terrorism plan. Without demonizing Pakistan, or Pakistanis. Further development of better data came in December 2009, when specific numbers were revealed by Army Chief Deepak Kapoor. 42 terrorist camps is what the Indian intelligence agencies had estimated. Instead of putting a full army on alert, is it not possible to lob grenades into these 42 army camps every month for six months. With such sustained attacks comings in, how long will this structure-of-terrorism hold up.

Indian Government has taken action on some of these proposed points. The FCN issue was taken up with the necessary Euro-zone countries. India also decided to make its own security paper, instead of depending on unreliable-and-unethical European companies.

Why is Hillary Clinton talking to India on Blackberry issue

September 3, 2010 8 comments

Canadian trap-doors

This is interesting!

RIM-Blackberry is a Canadian company. Their main business is to provide safe, secure and reliable system for mobile email over mobile phones. Operating in more than a 100 countries having tie ups with most mobile operators in the world.

From computerworld cartoons by John Klossner.

From computerworld cartoons by John Klossner.

India (among other countries) see a security threat with the Blackberry system due to its high encryption rate. The Blackberry system uses a AES-Triple-DES-128 bit encryption system, which cannot be broken in real-time.

Blackberry claims that they do not have any trap-doors or back-doors for access to data – which seems doubtful.

But the absence of trap-doors and back-doors is possible, as Blackberry system has not suffered from too many malware attacks or hacking of its servers.

US back-doors

The use of Blackberry system by terrorists is stoking the fears of Government of India (GOI). To get over this threat, the GOI has asked Blackberry to install Blackberry servers in India. This ensures that access to decrypted data on a real-time basis – as the data on the server resides in a decrypted form. Blackberry is resisting this solution.

From computerworld cartoons by John Klossner

From computerworld cartoons by John Klossner

“We are reaching out to those countries – the UAE, Saudi Arabia, India and others – to understand the security concerns and see if we can work collaboratively to find solutions.

“So that’s a process that is ongoing here at the Department of State. I’ve got no, you know, announcements to make at this point,” State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters at his daily news conference.

The United States has also been in touch with RIM, the Canadian company that operates the BlackBerry network worldwide. (via US to hold talks with India on Blackberry issue).

Blackberry is a Canadian company. A purely commercial organisation. Why is the US Government getting involved at all. In fact even the Canadian Government has no role, as far as I can see. GOI is asking Blackberry to follow the law of the land. It is security (for GOI) and a commercial decision (for RIM-Blackberry).

Are you telling me that US does not have alternatives to Blackberry for secure data transmissions!

Are you telling me that US does not have alternatives to Blackberry for secure data transmissions!

One report tries explaining the US interest

The United States has also been in touch with RIM, the Canadian company that operates the BlackBerry network worldwide.

Earlier … Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “We are taking time to consult and analyse the full range of interests and issues at stake because we know that there is a legitimate security concern, but there’s also a legitimate right of free use and access. So, I think we will be pursuing both technical and expert discussions as we go forward.”

If some of these countries follow through on the BlackBerry ban that they have announced, it would have an impact on the US government and its diplomats operating in different countries.

A case of severe crackberry

Now would the US Secretary of State be involved if Blackberry usage for some 2000 diplomats was affected? Two things.

One – the Indian Government would be able check on all Blackberry emails that US diplomats are sending via Blackberry. That will mean US diplomats will need to send encrypted mails over internet – which is not such a difficulty.

Two – This reminds me of the Australian-PM’s-speech-copied-by-Canadian-PM’s-speechwriter scandal.

Give me a good story otherwise.

OilMin mulls defamation suit against Anil Ambani’s RNRL

Anything more that you have to say, Shri Deora?

Anything more that you have to say, Shri Deora?

The ministry is contemplating seeking the law ministry’s view on slapping the suit on RNRL over a claim that government share from KG-D6 initially will be just Rs 500 crore, while RIL will earn a super-normal profit of Rs 49,500 crore.

Sources in the ministry stated that RNRL and its executives stuck to this claim despite the government clarifying in a written statement that its revenues from KG-D6 over the life of the field would be more than Rs 84,000 crore, with a clear objective to “malign and tarnish its image”. (via OilMin mulls defamation suit against RNRL).

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