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The NGO ‘Bijness’

March 13, 2012 1 comment

There is nothing that (most) NGOs will not do for money – and media attention.

Wedding images by hindu.com | Click for image.

Wedding images by hindu.com | Click for image.

Known as “village of sex workers,” Wadia, the small village in Tharad taluka in the border district of Banaskantha in north Gujarat close to Rajasthan border, is all set to change the course of its life. In a village where most of the grown-up women were known for taking to prostitution to feed themselves and their male family members depended on them, the young girls are refusing to follow the traditional business and settle in normal life by marrying and rearing a family.

A dozen girls whose engagements were finalised on Sunday were of 12 to 17 years of age. Since they were not of marriageable age, the marriages could not be solemnized. “But we did not want the opportunity to slip off, so we at least arranged for the engagement ceremony so that the future commitment remained in tact,” said Mittal Patel, the co-ordinator of the Vicharti Samudaya Samarpan Manch, the voluntary organisation working for the welfare of the nomadic tribes.

It was the first time a mass marriage was organised in the village and soon it turned to be a festival. “Not only today[Sunday], the villagers were singing and dancing in preparation of the marriage festival for the last two days and the entire village turned in an unprecedented festive mood on the occasion,” Ms. Patel said.

The Manch had been working hard among the members of the Saraniya community, a nomadic tribe migrated to Gujarat from Rajasthan during the Moghul period, for the last five years or so to bring normalcy in their lives and help erase the village’s image of prostitution.

Saraniyas, who were experts in shinning and shaping swords, had left their native villages in Rajasthan with the army of Rana Pratap in his fight against the Moghul emperor, Akbar. But after his defeat, neither Rana Pratap nor the Saraniyas returned to Chittorgarh to prepare for the next round of battle. The Saraniyas later settled in Wadia village. (via The Hindu : States / Other States : Wadia women turn over a new leaf.).

Manufacturing news

Interesting!

12 girls agree to get married – and AP, (Associated Press) a giant news ‘manufacturer’ gets interested. Washington Post, Huffington Post, MSNBC.COM use use this feed to create news.

Indian NGOs are getting nearly US$ 2 billion in ‘aid’ each year – which is more than the official aid that India itself gets. Or more than what Sub-Sahara gets. More than Pakistan and Egypt get from USA.

I am also wondering now how many of these marriages were for real. Were those brides and grooms ‘incentivized’? What and how much was the incentive?

NGO-activistas

To get a handle on the NGO-bijness, let us go Ghaziabad.

A report commissioned by GoI, authored by Prof.KK Mukherkee, (former head of department of social work, DU) and Suttappa Mukherjee on prostitution in India, coincided with the global scare on the AIDS ‘epidemic’. Mukherjee who had previously estimated in 1990, Indian urban prostitute-count between 70,000-100,000 zoomed their number to four million – as per an IANS news release. Giving different figures ranging from 2.8 million to 4 million, this estimation seems to be badly off the mark.

Roughly speaking, Indian population went up from 90 cr. in 1990 to 115 cr. in 2012. Less than 30% population growth in 22 years – and the growth in prostitute-count up by 4000% – from 100,000 (urban-count only) to 40,00,000 (national count).

So, what changed?

Was it Viagra?

Indians and India, did not change much.

Sexual abilities and appetites could not have gone by so much. Except India has a little more money now. But what has changed is that there are megabucks to be made in the NGO ‘bijness’. And you cannot get megabucks by being factual or cool.

NGOs have to make for ‘explosive’ problems. Unless an NGO can make out a doomsday scenario, they don’t get money. At least not Big Money.

Big Money comes from Big Lies.

The Mukherjee-duo run a prostitution ‘prevention-rehabilitation-conversion’ centre – Gram Niyojan Kendra, outside Delhi, at Ghaziabad, with activities to ‘uplift’ tribals in Bharatpur. NGO-activistas like KK Mukherkee would like to nail-and-jail commercial sex buyers.

Those who are in the ‘industry’ think otherwise.

However, Khairati Bhola of Patita Uddhar Sabha differed. The move to make clients punishable would make the lives difficult for sex workers and it could force the profession underground. This would also give police a chance to fleece the clients.

The story so far

India has many tribes and towns that have commercial sex as their main economic activity. The Amalapuram-Peddapuram complex, near Andhra Coast, or the Bachra and Bedia tribes in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan. It is common, oral story that well-trained actresses, Waheeda Rehman and Jaya Prada, came from the Peddapuram-Amalapuram complex.

I wonder why so many people are involved in ‘saving’ these girls and women. Why are these NGOs and officials so keen on imposing their ‘morals’ on these peoples. Wherever there is forced prostitution, the State has a case to intervene.

In any other situation, why bother?

Strangely, there is little information on this. Few books (actually no book on google) talk about this. Media does not know how to present this. Should the media talk with moral superiority, or should it titillate.

For instance, this small note below in Wikipedia was deleted.

The Bachara are a tribe of people in the western part of Madhya Pradesh in central India.

They are known for the tradition of child prostitution, with families making their first daughters, as children, into prostitutes to support the family. The tradition is centuries old and is still practiced today.The documentary film Highway Courtesans was made in 2004 about this tribe. Their customers mostly are the truckers passing by the highway.Bachara women and their customers are subject to frequent extortion by the police for money.There have been very little efforts by the government for the welfare and upliftment of the tribe.They are looked upon with contempt by the other communities of the area.

What little that is known comes from oral knowledge.

The case against Indian historians

December 24, 2010 47 comments
Eminent Historians - Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud By Arun Shourie (Image courtesy - amazon.com).

Eminent Historians - Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud By Arun Shourie (Image courtesy - amazon.com).

Shourie’s two legs

Arun Shourie’s book, Eminent Historians, covers an important subject – Indian history. Shourie makes out a case that Indian media and academia have done a bad job of cleaning up Indian history. Colonial inversions, ommissions and distortions continue to plague Indian history – more than sixty years after British were sent packing. If Indian history is in bad shape, Marxist historians are to blame – says Shourie.

Using extensive primary sources, ranging from the Koran to Guru Granth Sahib (Chapter 13), from Marx and Engels to Lenin and Mao, Shourie’s builds excellent scaffolding. He uses his famed journalistic skills to uncover accounting scams in the academia.

The tactics used by these ‘non-productive’ academics to smear and attack critics, evade accountability are well exposed by Arun Shourie (Chapter 5 & 6). Whether dealing with the decline of Buddhism, or the outright falsification of Indian history, deliberate avoidance of evidence, while obvious in some cases (AIT, AMT) to see it exposed again is a shock (Chapter 11 & 15).

Two-legged theory

Since, Arun Shourie’s thesis is, by this time, well-accepted, more on this may not be useful. Instead, an examination of the non-Marxist structures are worth examining

Arun Shourie’s book, Eminent Historians, walks on two legs – the legs of religion and right-wing political ideology. Two rather weak concepts. It is worth remembering that the concepts of political Right and Left were defined, when European economies struggled with the end of slavery (1830-1860) and serfdom (1830-1910).

How isms work. A popular cartoon n the internet.

How isms work. A popular cartoon n the internet.

Right … Left … Same difference

Faced with a restive labour force, Europe adopted two distinct paths. Left and Right. In both cases the end results were the same – concentration of wealth, power and land in the hands of the elite. To European citizenry, it finally was a choice between two elites – a Leftist coterie and Rightist cliques.

These European concepts never worked well in India, where polity changes followed a different trajectory.

History in a box

Unfortunately, Shourie also limits Indian history to India’s boundaries. He cannot see the global canvas on which Indian history has played out over the last thousands of years.

Or the agenda of ‘external’ forces that continue to define Indian history. For instance, of the 911 World Heritage Sites, just three Hindu temples figure on the list. It has recently been decided that 2 temples each in Indonesia, Thailand and Nepal would be added.

Money isn’t everything?

Regrettable as it is, Arun Shourie also expects Indian historians to work on starvation diets and shoe-string budgets of Rs.12,000 (Chapter 2, 3 & 4). In the best of times, Rs.12,000 is not enough to pull out one sheet of sensible history.

To be fair to Indian academia, they have been usually under-funded and over-looked. Is it surprising that Indian historians seem to be writing and catering to the West?

Hagiography isn’t quite history

A large part of Arun Shourie’s narrative rests on accounts written by Islamic court-historians (Chapter 10, 12). These court-historians were appointed and rewarded to write glowing and exaggerated acconts of their patron’s campaigns. These hagiographic accounts of Islamic conquerors, written by court-historians, do talk of slaughter, loot, enslavement, mass conversions.

The most interesting exception is Shourie’s reference to Guru Nanak Dev’s description of Islamic atrocities in Guru Granth Sahib (Chapter 13) .

Gold, gems, jewelry

Temple destruction can be better understood by two things. One – temple wealth. A recent report revealed that the Tirupati temple alone has more than 8000 kg of gold. (Business Standard Page 1; December 18 2010) How much gold do the temples of Sabarimalai, Jagannath Puri, Madurai Meenakshi have? This temple wealth is not a modern phenomenon.

Would these temples not be tempting targets for loot and enslavement expeditions? Add to this temple wealth, the opportunity to capture slaves and extract ransom. Or capture of valuable military targets like horses, elephants, camels, gunpowder from India.

Islamic armies comprised of landless peoples, without wealth, many of them slaves,  drafted into a loot and enslavement expedition by Islamic brigades. Fed on a thin gruel of riches from loot and plunder, the religious sanction and justification was the topping, the cherry on the cake. Religion, after all, was invented in the Desert Bloc to give a cover to the loot and enslavement expeditions.

The Desert Bloc has consistently resorted to ‘relegiofication’, a tactic defined by Eric Hoffer – and something that Arun Shourie also refers to (Chapter 18).

Learning from history

From their Islamic rulers, the Spanish also learned  how to use religion to cover loot and enslavement expeditions. Spanish loot and enslavement expeditions to South America were also couched in religious garb. Portuguese, in the Mughal court were viewed suspiciously, as they too tried to give their trading activities a religious cover.

A Picasso rendition of the killings in Kora by Americans soldiers.

A Picasso rendition of the killings in Korea by Americans soldiers.

Till 1857, the British followed the Spanish model, and used religious logic, to justify their plunder and massacre in India. The British used religious differences to foist artificial Muslim ‘leaders’ on India – to finally partition India. While Shourie is critical of these Muslim ‘leaders’ (rightly), of Nehru (partly to blame), he is gentle in his criticism of the British role (Chapter 14).

The Desert Bloc has liberally and continuously used religious logic, to justify their plunder and massacre. In modern times, the new religion is ‘democracy’, ‘fredom’, ‘threat of communism’, etc. for wars by the West in Cambodia, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. In the name of ‘progress’, regime changes were attempted and /or made in Chile, Congo, Cuba, Haiti, Hawaii, Iran, Pakistan, Panama et al

Western propaganda has made us aware of atrocities, genocides, massacres in Islamic and Marxist regimes. Strangely, Arun Shourie has no objections to non-communist and non-Islamic atrocities, genocides, massacres – in India and the world. While Shourie talks of 1400 years of Islamic atrocities, genocides, massacres, (page 222) there is not a word of Western (more during Christian rule) atrocities, genocides, massacres. Is it ignorance – or just plain infatuation with the West, Arunbhai?

Arun Shourie effectively brings out how Indian-Leftist political parties looked towards Soviet Russia and China now, for direction, inspiration – and even instructions (Chapter 9).

How different is that from Shourie’s own loyalty to ‘capitalist-Western’ ideology. His rose-tinted view of capitalist ideologues makes his thesis brittle (Chapter 18). Is this because Arun Shourie has still not discarded his World Bank lenses? To the extent of minimizing the role of slavery in Greek and Roman territories (Chapter 16; page 188). Shourie’s inability to see Soviet collapse, in economic terms (collapse in oil prices), but only in ideological terms is shocking (pages 220-221).

More than priests

It may also be worthwhile to examine the role of Brahmins in military strategy. Recall how Alexander massacred thousands of Brahmins, after they organized a successful opposition to Alexander’s campaign.

Bakhtiyar Khilji’s (errata – earlier wrongly mentioned as Allauddin Khilji) destruction of Nalanda (1193 AD)may have been due to the collaboration between gunpowder producers and the Indian academia. How could the area around Nalanda become the world’s largest producer of saltpetre – a high-technology, essential and scarce element for gunpowder, unrivalled in the world.

Purbias, soldiers from the Eastern India (Bihar and Bengal) were in great demand, due to their expertise in explosives. Recruited by Ranjit Singhji’s armies, preferred by the British, the Purbias were also at the vanguard of the 1857 Anglo-Indian War.

The British villification of Indian Brahman also started soon after the kaala paani campaign by Indian Brahmans slowed British recruitment of indentured labour.

The imagery of rampant Islamic invaders, to which Arun Shourie subscribes, massacring helpless Indians, does not quite hold up – except in Islamic and Colonial narratives. The court historians’ caricature of Indians as perennial victims of invading hordes does not sit well – with facts, logic or commonsense.

I am not impressed

If these ‘official’ Islamic court-historian accounts are true, the final tally of conversions was not very impressive (Chapter 10). Just 25% of the Indian population was Islamic, at the time of independence. Divided into about 12 major sects, like Sunni, Shia, Bohri, Khoja, Ahmadiyya, etc., most Muslims were economically and educationally backward. Not quite the picture of successful invaders. (Many faces of Islam by Mohammed Wajihuddin – ToI: December 23 2010: Page 21).

Timur (1336–1405), the Mongol ruler, shown in this painting from Zafer Nameh (Book of Victory) from 1600. (Image source - BRITISH LIBRARY / HIP / ART RESOURCE; Image courtesy - saudiaramcoworld.com).

Timur (1336–1405), the Mongol ruler, shown in this painting from Zafer Nameh (Book of Victory) from 1600. (Image source - BRITISH LIBRARY / HIP / ART RESOURCE; Image courtesy - saudiaramcoworld.com).

Colonial history … and historians

The Islamic-conquest of India, is a narrative popularized by colonial historians. First, while Shourie talks of Islam through the prism of Arabic Muslims, we must remember it was not the Arabic dynasties of Sufyanids, Marwanids, Ummayads, Abbasids, Fatimids, Aghlabids, Hafsids who conquered and ruled over India. The answer to the riddle of Islam in India, is not in Arabia but 2000 miles east. In the vast steppes of Mongolia.

Muslim Mongolians

The biggest surge in Islamic population came after Mongol rulers, descendants of a non-Islamic Genghis Khan, converted to Islam. The success of Islamic invasions of India too increased after the Mongol Empire became Islamic.

It was not the Arabs, but the Turko-Afghans, from Ferghana to Kabul, who were able to establish rule over India. This region of Ferghana to Kabul, peppered with temples, stupas, Buddhist monastries was considered as a part of India. Military campaigns from this area were no foreign invasions.

Without Indian alliances

This aspect of non-foreign campaigns is more important than just chauvinism. India’s military lead over the rest the world was as formidable as its wealth.

War elephants, an Indian monopoly and specialty, were a feared armour corps, unmatched by any army in the world for 3000-4000 years. Persians, who were clients for Indian war elephants, paid a heavy price after ignoring Indian war elephant corps. The Persians could not stand up to the Arabs; were overrun and Islamized.

Indian cavalry units were legenday – as the inventors of the stirrups. As the largest producer of saltpetre, India’s gunpowder production was twice as large as the rest of the world combined. Behind the might of the British Empire was Indian saltpetre – an essential and scarce element for gunpowder. Behind the British Naval power, was Indian shipbuilding. With such overwhelming military advantages, invading India was not everyone’s cup of tea.

Thus, intra-India alliances were essential for access to elephants, cavalry, explosives and other war material – paving the way for military success.

Maghoki-Attar ("Pit of the Herbalists") named after a nearby spice bazaar, a 12th century mosque, in Bukhara, built on top of a a Zoroastrian temple  (5th century) built after destroying a Buddhist temple.

Maghoki-Attar ("Pit of the Herbalists") named after a nearby spice bazaar, a 12th century mosque, in Bukhara, built on top of a a Zoroastrian temple (5th century) built after destroying a Buddhist temple.

Slaves for monument building

Monument building surged soon after the Mongol Empire became Islamic. This monument building needed slave labour. Slave-traders catered to the demand for slaves from the vast Mongol Empire, capturing Indians, protected by the Turko-Afghan regimes, like the Mughals in India.

The corridor of slavery

Usually overlooked, never factored, slavery accounted for a large amount of ‘traffic’ from India to Central Asia. The Khyber Pass was the largest corridor for slave trade and traffic, till it was overtaken by trans-Atlantic African slave trade by Europeans, 15th century onwards.

The name Hindu Kush was not due to the killings by invading armies, but the deaths of Hindu captives, as they were transported to Central Asian markets, across barren, cold mountain passes.

The Bibi Khanum mosque in Samarkand built by Taimur, the Mongol, after his India raid.

The Bibi Khanum mosque in Samarkand built by Taimur, the Mongol, after his India raid.

More than aphorisms

The important question that Shourie needs to ask – and he does not is, “Why did people give up pagan or other systems for Desert Bloc religions?” Or for that matter why did people accept Buddhism? Mostly, religion conversions were not forced, I believe. It was also not pretty statues, sonorous chants, elaborate temples or majestic mosques.

The reasons maybe somewhere else.

Dharma and moksha

Indic polity, society, culture, ethics did not allow slave trade. For the marginally ethical, religious conversion was the license to participate in slave trade. Conversion to Islam was a way to wealth and power. Much like Westernization is today.

The other distinction which Shourie blurs many a time in his book, is between Islamic rulers and generals (the perpetrators of these massacres and atrocities) and the ordinary Muslim of today (Chapter 14). If the Vatican has committed massacres and atrocities, will we hold every Christian guilty? For crimes committed by a ‘Hindu’ Government, will Arun Shourie hold ordinary ‘Hindus’ responsible?

Same logic.

But Shourie’s logic sometimes escapes me. For instance when Shourie goes onto ‘expose’ double-standards. He criicizes the system for not opposing Mayawati’s ‘murti-abhiyaan’ – but will not accept State installation of statues of Lord Rama (page 200).

Duh!

Follow me … Worship me

Remember, how Hiranyaksha asked his own son, Prahlad and his subjects to treat and pray to him as god. Are Desert Bloc religions different from Hiranyaksha’s religion?

Arunbhai, the real battle is the battle between a sur Bharattantra and the asuric Desert Bloc ideologies. And these battles play out over centuries.

Arun Shourie’s book is an invaluable contribution to the ‘failure-by-Indian-historians’ thesis. Shourie allows his anti-left bias (for good reasons) to over-ride his better judgment, I believe. That is why Arun Shourie is so depressing, when the Indian position seems to inspire optimism the world over.

Apply Gujarat riot case principle to Sikh riots case: PIL in SC – India – The Times of India

May 24, 2009 3 comments

A temporary setback to Tytler

A temporary setback to Tytler

A day after Supreme Court directed a Special Investigation Team probe into the alleged role of chief minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 post-Godhra communal carnage, a PIL sought to draw a parallel between the Gujarat riots and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots seeking parallel treatment by the judiciary.

The petition … said the Supreme Court has handled the Gujarat riot cases with singular motive to bring to book the alleged perpetrators of the mayhem and requested it to take up the hundreds of anti-Sikh riots cases pending in various courts for 25 years without there being any justice to the victims and their families.

The PIL, … was also categoric that pendency of the anti-Sikh riot cases for 25 years made a mockery of the criminal justice system that should equally protect the victims and the right of the accused for a speedy trial. (via Apply Gujarat riot case principle to Sikh riots case: PIL in SC – India – The Times of India ellipsis mine).

1984 anti-Sikh riots

1984 anti-Sikh riots

This PIL does raise some interesting questions in the minds of people I know (and dont know too!), Your Honour!

  1. Are Muslims ‘more equal’ than Sikhs?
  2. Is killing of Muslims by Hindus more heinous than Hindu killing of Sikhs? I am not raising the question of Sikhs and Muslims killing Hindus – for instance in Punjab and Kashmir!
  3. Does the fact that the 1984 killings happened under the very nose of the Supreme Court make it a ‘more understandable’ case?
  4. Is there a greater need to prove to the Muslim (world) that India cares – than to deliver justice to the Sikh population?
  5. The Muslims have many spokesmen in the international world – but the Sikhs have no one except (maybe) fellow Indians? Is the Honourable Supreme Court worried about international opinion more than the due process of law – which will dis-favour the Sikhs?
  6. Older cases should usually occupy the Honourable Court’s attention – rather than newer ones? The Honourable Court may need to explain why a newer case has been more favoured than the older one?
  7. Does the ‘noise’ level of a case create pressure on the Honourable Court?
  8. Does the size of the Muslim electorate have anything to do with this ‘activism’ – compared to the lesser Sikh Voters, leading to ‘passive’ justice?
The Sikhs have not seen justice for 25 years ...

The Sikhs have not seen justice for 25 years ...

The Indian Supreme Court is untainted by dubious legal precedents of the American Supreme Court.

The much vaunted ‘Western principle of equal in the eyes of law’ was given short shrift by the US Supreme Court in the Dredd Scott case – by which the slave forefathers of the modern African-Americans were barred from approaching American Courts. Similarly, in its wisdom, the US Supreme Court rubber stamped segregation between Whites and the African Americans by the Plessy vs. Ferguson verdict (1892). In yet landmark case, the US Supreme Court decided, (Myner v. Happerstett) that being a US citizen did not give women the right to vote. Finally, after more than 100 years of Women’s Suffrage Movement, the right to vote was given to the women in the US in 1924.

Such ‘differences’ in judicial treatment of similar cases dilutes the high standards of that the Indian Supreme Court has set for itself.

Indian economic model – apprenticeship vs jobs

March 18, 2009 1 comment
State Finances

State Finances

The All India average of wages, salaries and pensions for Sate Governments is 32.8% of revenues. Gujarat at 16%  is at half the national average. In fact the only state to come close to Gujarat is Sikkim which is at 21.2%.

Now this interesting.

Getting employees in Gujarat is difficult. The average Gujarathi is more interested in self employment – rather than a job. Lifelong employment as an economic model was a colonial introduction.

Now that is a good economic model for rest of India to follow. Traditional jobs in India were more in the nature of apprenticeships rather than the Western concepts of jobs and employment. The Indian apprenticeship model ensured high levels of initiative and innovation – and a disincentive towards slavery. It also made India into a sustainable and low cost economy.

Appears that Gujarat is the only state which now follows this model.

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